Steal My D&D NPC!
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Parri began as a random card pulled from the Deck of Stories (Amazon link) during a particularly memorable session at my table. My players were interviewing NPC patrons to work in their tavern, and in an effort to make this as much fun as possible for everyone, I decided to approach it a bit like an improv game.
D&D NPC Improv Time
I had a stack of NPC cards (the Deck of Stories) that I did not look through ahead of time. 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. I read through the info silently as they met each NPC, and did the best I could to give them an original voice, attitude, and personal “flavor.” It was hysterical! We had a great time.
Parri has since transformed from just a card into someone that my players, and incidentally, most of Waterdeep, (a city on the Sword Coast in Forgotten Realms) would do just about anything for.
The captain of the City Guard, who I named Phoebus, is woefully enamored with her to the point of joining an obsessive underground vampire fan club in an effort to impress her. My players, wanting to help poor Phoebus, of course entangled themselves with some of these unusual and nefarious beings….
Parri is a vivacious, excited, and emotional tiefling woman who speaks in a Croatian accent. She does not speak the Common tongue as her first language, so she sometimes struggles to find the correct word for the moment. She is a lounge singer and illusionist by trade.
Um… of course I have multiple houses. What to you think I am? Some kind of poor person? Do you only have one house? …Why?-Parri
She is incredibly wealthy, which she speaks of matter-of-factly as though it is obvious knowledge, but does not flaunt openly. Most of her wealth is in the form of assets, which were gifted to her by a myriad of admirers. She owns several houses, livestock, and multiple vehicles, including a personal carriage.
Parri is obsessed with supernatural vampire romance novels and wants that story to happen to her. She is very open about this. She also realizes that most humanoid creatures will do exactly as she says or wants without much prompting on her part. This is her existence and her understanding of the world.
She isn’t usually interested in the romantic advances that come her way, because all she wants is a vampire romance like in her books; however, since the stories she reads usually begin in a tame sort of way, she will likewise entertain a new fling until she becomes bored.
She does not take advantage of people directly, but she does not stop them from constantly doing favors for her, either. She does not refuse a gift, and feels no guilt, shame, or sense of “owing” anyone anything in return. She is more often than not irritated by how often people emotionally admit their secret love for her, as though it’s “some big surprise,” and she is dismissive of a potential mate soon after meeting them in many cases. …Not a vampire? Not interested.
She has never met a real vampire and has no idea how terrible of an idea this is.
Parri almost always has multiple superficial relationships going at once and does not take them seriously. Despite her lack of commitment and reputation amongst potential suitors, people, once meeting her, often struggle to maintain their distance or protect their heart from her charms. I think of her as the nicest spider in waiting possible.
How This NPC Charms
Much of Parri’s ability is a mystery, and up to you to decide how important or powerful this aspect is. She has a constant allure that is largely attributed to her confidence and good looks. Many people are curious about this infamous heartbreaker.
The Most Well-Known NPC Tiefling in the Entire Multiverse
Parri’s primary charming ability showcases when she performs. At my table, she is a lounge singer with a permanent room in my players’ tavern. Her performances bring them extra income. They love having her there. The room is decorated with jewel-toned draped silks and large floor pillows. She stands on a low stage in front of her audience, who is seated on the floor. She has a construct body guard in the room at all times.
As this is a 5e Dungeons & Dragons game, any humanoid in the room when she begins performing must make a DC 18 Wisdom save or be charmed. The charmed individual will not leave the performance until it is over, and has a 25% of becoming violent if forced to do so. The charmed individual does not know they were charmed, loves the show, and wants to return as soon as possible.
Many patrons feel a romantic pull towards Parri after having seen one of her shows.
Since Parri loves vampire romance, her songs are themed to fit this. Here’s the YouTube playlist that I think is perfect for the performances, and is what I use in my game. (I don’t use the third song: male vocals.) Any time the players go into Parri’s performance room, I play part of this playlist for them as background music. As she sings, she also performs illusory spells, making the walls behind her and the ceiling above look as though they are a swirling, starry night sky. She also creates dancing lights and other delightful visual treats for her guests while she is on stage.
Why This is a Problem
Parri’s show is not just a charming, alluring experience. Patrons feel tired and look a little older after having seen the show. Parri never feels tired after working, and she never ages. She does not have an exact understanding of what her power does, but she has figured out that she is able to maintain her youth and beauty in this manner. She has no qualms about using it.
How This NPC Works In Game
In game, Parri has met almost every potential admirer my players speak to. Usually these are minor NPCs and my players say something like, “Oh, have you met our performer, Parri? She’s really something…! You should stop by our tavern and meet her!” Sometimes, my players will run into her on a first date with someone new.
Often, if my players ask an NPC if they’ve met Parri, of course they have. My players want to hear this. They get a kick out it, and it’s my job to make the game and world fun for them. Sad guy at a bar, nursing a beer? Heartbroken. Formerly wealthy low-level nobility, lost all his wealth for a woman’s love? So sad. I don’t do it constantly, but I do pepper it into the story here and there and my players think it’s funny.
Because Parri has so many admirers, this makes her a very powerful force. She essentially has an army at her command. You can use this as much or as little as you’d like, but for my game, it ensures her safety and occasionally my players can get a small favor from her (which she of course demands back three-fold).
Most recently, my players needed to create a distraction in the city to keep the guards away from their illegal activities, so they staged a carriage crash into a prisoner transport, running into one of the BBEG’s right hand men at the same time. This wasn’t enough chaos for them, so one of my players disguised himself as the Captain of the Guard, who is currently dating Parri, and after stealing a magnificent engagement ring with a very lucky slight-of-hand check, gave a huge, public speech declaring his dedication to her and proposed.
She said yes! (For now.) They tie her into the story almost constantly. They like knowing her and hearing about her. She is funny and vibrant! They can’t help but like her. She’s a fun character to have in game, and she can be very versatile.
Parri’s Favorite House
Parri’s favorite home (of her several) is a houseboat floating in Deepwater Harbor, within the city limits. It is constantly thumping EDM and she has a small staff of young, attractive people who tend to the boat and make her food and drinks. She does not pay these individuals to work for her; they demand to work for free, simply for the precious opportunity to be near her. Parri does not think about the moral implications of this.
Parri is a lounge singer, and it is decorated as stated above. You can have her lounge as a separate building, or as a room within a larger structure. She will demand a generous base pay along with at least 10% of the profits if she is housed in another building. She can find work elsewhere and knows it, so she has bargaining favor. She will not argue or be nasty about her pay. She simply demands and expects to receive; however, she will be very persuasive when explaining why she is the best performer for the space, including a sample show.
Closing Thoughts: Parri’s REAL Charm is YOU
Parri’s humor, flirtatious nature, and likeability has to come from you. You have to give her 100% effort and make her someone your players will want to talk to again and again. By giving her character a lot of effort, even if your accent feels awkward or you’re not always nailing the delivery, that’s okay.
Your players will love the extra enthusiasm you’re putting into your NPCs and will demand more time with Parri. Have fun with it, and she will surely bring life to your party.
Need a Little More NPC Help?
Did you put Parri into your game? I’d love to hear how it went in the comments below.
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