I am migrating my saga from fourth to fifth edition. One of the problems I've encontered is I don't have a clear idea about creating NPC's for the saga. For example, I want to create a thief, hiding in the streets and prepared to jump to one of my characters. This simple thing is a bit confusing to me, in part for my basic knowledge about the rules, in part for the info of the basic rulebook.
What can you tell me about this? There is some website of any of the community where there are described a few npc's? There is a "magical" formula to make balanced (in power) NPC's?
I have so much doubts about driving my saga, but I don't want to blow you with a tide of quiestions.
NPCs are a bit of a bugbear for me. There are some really "bestiary" sections in the various Realms of Power books, but I think the line is a little more limited when it comes to regular NPC characters. The core rulebook has a number of pre-generated archetypes, which are useful to drop in. And one trick I use is to rely on the Metacreator software for generating some basic characters for me. It allows me to generate something quickly and then tailor to my specific purpose.
But can I also suggest you get hold of Tales of Mythic Europe? As it's a book of scenarios there are a many many NPCs that can be mined for use in your own stories. Some are fairly specific, but there are others that can easily find a home in other stories.
Uh, page 20 in the core book starts Character Templates, which include a whole bunch of NPC's. In fact, the template "The Rogue" is probably the thief you are looking for (assuming you want a skilled thief). For a less skilled thief, use "The Specialist" swap out Warrior with something and make his specialized skills work with "thieving".
Hey! I'm coming from view Christmas Carol in the Cinema (Yeah, with a girl :p).
That on the page 20, is what I've done at the end. Basing on the Rogue, I pulled down the stats and some traits to make a more "plain" thief (there is a NPC with no more relevance than giving a little fright to the player's character). I think that was the best solution, picking up the grog templates as a "base" and later modify them in the desired way.
There are also some free NPCs available in the Fifth Edition webpage, for the example covenant, and a few others (fan-created) are at the Sanctum Hermeticum Revisited site. More NPCs are scattered throughout the ArM5 supplements, but really I can't think of a good source for non-magus NPCs.
I'd encourage you to cheat. Make some characters to give you a reference point, but generally just improvise - look at the statistics of the PCs, and create the statistics for the NPCs to challenge them (i.e. slightly lower to much lower, generally). Use the stock NPCs (templates and the ones you create) to give you an idea of what's possible, so you won't make up an unarmored man with too much Soak or so on, but don't bother calculating all the character's details. Focus on what's important, perhaps calculating a few Abilities or statistics to make sure things aren't too out of whack (the NPC's combat totals, perhaps). Don't work on stuff that won't get used - don't bother alloting all the character's xp by age if all you care about is his (Presence + Leadership) score, just write down "Pre+Leadership=7" and you're done.
I think Covenants has the most? Around 15 or so...
Lower? Except for magical arts and similar, i prefer having "beefier" NPCs, that way it doesnt matter as much when players come up with some way to wreck 90% of the NPCs "plans" for the encounter.
Which they usually do, and with the SG being just one person, s/he usually has a much harder time coming up with a good response quickly enough.
Exactly, because IF you find yourself in need of using more stats or abilities than you made for the NPC, then just make it up when needed, preferably stick to low numbers when improvising just to reduce the risk of accidentally introducing someone with a skill that ruins something in the game.
Well, it depends on what's the game use of the NPC is. For combat NPCs, which are meant to be defeated in combat - putting the scores above the PC's combat stats is generally not a good idea. That's a recipe to kill militant characters. So - slightly below. For villains, you need to put them above - and tailor Magic Resistance carefully; I generally think the ArM5 RAW provide very low MR, and hardly any flexibility for the SG to change MR.
An index would indeed depend on Atlas' approval, I'm wondering what format would be acceptable. I'd go with
Journeyman or Master/Magus or Grand Master/Archmagus Grog/Companion/Magus/Mythic Companion
Short character description (a few lines at most), giving no stats but the idea of the NPC
It would be an interesting index, but hard to compile.
Incidentally, anyone can submit fan-created NPCs to the Spells Wiki, it's not just for spells - it's for every thing fan-made (including non-Hermetic grimoires, if people want to put them in...).