I have an interesting D&D 5e NPC for you today!
Meet Tiff. An angry turnip farmer with a penchant for solo dining, this unusual NPC carries a quarterstaff at all times and likes involving himself in conflicts. He has a few other quirks, which we’ll get to below.
A gruff and generally misunderstood man as well as a strong combatant, he’s a great NPC for players who need an extra hand on a quest or are looking to hire a guard or mercenary.
Let’s get to know Tiff.
Disclaimer: All opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
If you need an engaging NPC to add to your fantasy TTRPG or Dungeons & Dragons campaign, we’ve got you covered. Welcome to the series, where we contribute our favorite NPCs from our tabletop games for you to steal, modify, and adapt to your own world and campaign.
Have a beloved NPC you want to add? Find our contact info in the footer. We’d love to feature it!
Tiff began as a random card pulled from the Deck of Stories (Amazon link) during a session where my players split the party and nearly wiped. Half the players went to a burning farm to save local citizens, and the other half went to save horses at a charity affected by the same tragic event.
I foolishly assumed before the session began they would choose one option or the other. Instead, they divided themselves across both paths and I had to modify the encounters for them in the moment. I wanted to make both sides of this event as exciting and balanced for them as possible. We have to adapt quickly as Dungeon Masters, and sometimes that’s half the fun.
NPC Improv Time
I had a stack of NPC cards (the Deck of Stories) ready in case I needed some extra hands. In this case, I didn’t want to guarantee a total-party kill (TPK) at the farmstead, so I planted a combatant NPC to help out, alongside the dozens of already knocked out non-combatants they were hoping to save.
These cards have an image of the NPC on one side, and a name, a list of traits, and a quest hook on the back. Whenever I need a new NPC on-the-fly, this is one of my favorite tools. It’s a bit like a minigame for me, and my players love it, too.
Tiff’s original card is shown above. He is a bald, stocky and light-skinned male that holds a quarterstaff and looks ready for a fight. I wanted to keep that vibe going for this NPC.
During their initial discussion with him after saving his life, my players discovered that Tiff has a few quirks. The most notable is a strong desire to always eat meals alone. He requires a special chair that no one else may sit in (a particularly childish request) and he will start an angry fight if someone bothers him while he’s eating.
He held his own during the combat on his farm, so my players knew he would be good to have around. They were willing to deal with a bit of strangeness from him as a tradeoff.
Tiff Character Overview
Let’s take a look at Tiff’s appearance and personality details.
Appearance – Portly, Light-Skinned Male
Tiff is a stocky, muscular human male. He wears neutral-toned clothing and is always dressed to brawl. He carries a quarterstaff and prefers short-pants over the full length variety, because he likes to keep his feet free of obstacles.
He never wears shoes.
Personality – Gruff and Tough
Tiff is a gruff, no-nonsense sort of guy who doesn’t love conversation. He speaks to make his point, and if someone disagrees with him, he is liable to start a fight. He will go up against odds that are clearly not in his favor. What he measures in boldness he matches in loyalty, though; if he finds a friend in someone, he will defend them to his death.
Tiff prefers the company of silence, but will join a party to help with a quest or take odd jobs if the coin is good.
Tiff is by trade a turnip farmer. He loves turnips, and believes they are the most versatile root vegetable. He has gone to jail in the past defending this opinion to the point of violence. The quickest way to incense him is to insult either farming as a profession, or claim that turnips are a worthless addition to a diet. His family has made a meager living farming turnips for generations, and he is very proud of this fact.
What is it that you want from me? Can’t you see I’m trying to eat? I don’t care what your problems are until I’ve finished my plate.
No Farm? He’s Homeless.
If something happens to Tiff’s turnip farm, he will become a wandering vagrant. He does not typically incite crowds to violence, but he would definitely be spotted amongst any mob, for most any reason, as he is quick to anger for a cause he understands. He also loves to get into a good fight. In addition, he will attempt to earn coin in underground (or public) pit fighting.
The stat block you use for Tiff will depend on your party’s levels and needs, but I generally like to use of of these:
You can find the full size on imgur here. Eric Belisle, aka StoneStrix, released this free stat block artwork several years ago on Reddit, and I think it’s fantastic.
A Few Points of Interest
Tiff has a few additional characteristics you may find interesting. Depending on your group’s preferences, you may want to include all of these, or leave some of them out.
He Eats Alone
This NPC does not have typical eating accommodations. He requires a chair custom-made for him or at least designated specifically for his use only, and will certainly come to blows if he is harassed on the matter. He will not eat if there is a rug beneath the table. He prefers a meal of meat and turnips, and will likely provide his own vegetables. He will eat just about any animal if properly prepared, except for cats, or any creature that had a name as a family pet.
He uses his meal times to reflect on his life and as a memorial space for his lost and missing family members.
An Anger Problem
Tiff is quick to anger and slow to apologize. This can make him unlikeable in many situations, but I’d encourage you to tilt him in the party’s favor if you’d like to have him around as a mercenary or guard. For example, at our table, the party saved his life and gave him a home and a steady job. They also cater to his unusual dining requests. He is loyal to them for their kindness and service and will die before he sees something happen to them.
He will also absolutely shake his quarterstaff at them if they bother him while he’s eating.
Why He Eats Alone & Hates Rugs
Much of Tiff’s frustration and anger stems from the fact that he is very lonely. He grew up with a large family and relishes his memories of having loud, joyful family meals together at holidays. Now, due to a series of circumstances, he finds himself alone, estranged from his two children, and a widower.
A Loss Situation
The details on this loss are up to you, but in my game, the players have not asked Tiff about his family or why he wants space at mealtimes. If they were to ask, they’d find out that his family has either passed away or moved to other regions of the world. Some have gone missing, and he suspects bandit attacks. His wife was murdered before his eyes.
A Fateful Picnic
While on a sunset picnic in the countryside, a traveling orc necromancer with a party of two ghouls and a Rug of Smothering attacked them. Tiff feels incredible latent guilt for this encounter, as he was not able to fight off the ghouls that killed his wife as as well as hold off the rug. Because of this, he hates area rugs.
His two children, who are adults now, did not handle the loss well. Tiff distanced himself from them after their mother died, and they moved out as soon as they became of age. In the greatest blow to the relationship to their father, they have sworn off turnip farming for life.
Need a Little More NPC Help?
As with any new NPC you present in your game, the gruff charm, the interest, the humor, all has to come from you. You know what makes your players laugh with delight or loathe an NPC. Use that to your advantage when acting on behalf of your non-player characters. Use Tiff’s details as a starting point and have fun with it! I know you will do a great job.
Make sure to check out other NPCs up for grabs in The Lorekeep.
Do you have a excellent NPC you’d like to share? Did you use Tiff in your game? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below.
Thanks for reading this today. If you enjoyed your time here, please consider subscribing to our newsletter. You’ll get a free Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition compatible character sheet inspired by the Druid class to download and print out, and a notification in your inbox when we publish a new article. Spammers are fed to the false hydra!