I am having an NPC related issue. I really want to have an NPC for my Hekinoe campaign, but a) The players completely ignored him in the first scenario and expressed no desire whatsoever to find him, even when they were looking for information regarding the past ten years (an era of time he has been part of), and b) I've grown bored with the "Fas'binder evolves as the players interact with him idea."
I like having an NPC, it gives me a way to talk to the group without having to go all metagame, and it can potentially shore up a weakness in the party. Plus, it makes me feel like part of the group. I mean, I am gaming with the guys, but Steve isn't really a part of The Robust Five, I am the GM and am really a means to an end. They have to deal with me to actually play the game. Having an NPC that wanders along with them, kind of makes me feel more like part of the group.
Since I came to the realization that I was bored with Fas'binder... That isn't precisely right, what I mean to say is that I need to play something I enjoy, and what the players evolve Fas'binder into, might not necessarily be fun to play for me. To continue, this whole NPC idea has gone through a crap ton of iterations. The thing about Kethranmeer was that he was quiet, he was content to do his own thing and if the group decided they needed a half-ton of metal to hit things with a hammer, they could wander downstairs and he'd be enthusiastic about getting stuck in with them. He was quiet enough that when he said stuff, they kind of listened and I could hint that "Hey, you guys are about to get yourselves killed over something stupid." without having to say those precise words. Best of all, they actually developed a bond with him, so when he died, it kind of mattered to the group. Because he was quiet and only really spoke as a last ditch effort or because he was spoken to, it also helped me to avoid guiding the group.
I don't want this new NPC to be just another Kethranmeer. That would dishonor the memory of my fallen NPC and it could get boring for me. With this NPC, I don't want to play the strong silent type, I want someone who forces the players to interact with him, whether they want to or not. I want someone useful to the group, but someone who might not be the easiest to get along with. Someone who's value and use to the group must constantly be weighed against the trouble he brings around. Perhaps during play, they could convince the NPC to be less troublesome.
Anyway, as I said, I've gone through several iterations of the NPC. The first was basically just Fas'binder, but as an Archer Fighter that made his own longbows and arrows and was kind of sniper-like. There was a Zen Archer Monk build that seemed kind of neat and off the wall, then I moved into some psionic ideas, back towards Monk, but as an Elduman Weapon Master wielding a temple sword. The idea moved around a lot is what I'm saying, perhaps a list will follow. Heh.
I want to create something I enjoy playing, but I also want to create something that doesn't step on anyone's toes. I would really like to toy around with an Alchemist, I feel like I could do some interesting things with that class. However, there isn't a lot of variation in what the class does, so I feel like I would be stepping on Eric's toes. I thought about playing that Zen Archer Monk, and while Fred is playing a Monk, his is regular, and mine would have used bows, which leads to a vast difference in play style.
The problem is that the group doesn't really lack anything. In short, there isn't a real area of deficiency among the players. To go long, rather than short, and use 4th Edition terms, we have a Leader (Xein the Alchemist), we have a Controller (Kuyst the Witch), a Striker (Kethralzahn the Monk), two Defenders (D'alton the Gunslinger and Pyrel the Swashbuckler), and a hybrid Defender/Controller (Ran'dahl the Summoner and his eidolon). There's no gaping chasm in the lineup where I can comfortably fit a character without stepping on anyone's toes.
I'm leaning, at the moment, towards a Barbarian using the Drunken Rage class feature from the Advanced Player's Guide. Some of the rage powers are pretty interesting, and the Barbarian does have a few skill points to distribute that could let the NPC back up Xein. I envision a Child of Volung that brews his own beer and chucks his flagon(s) at enemies during his rages. I dunno. It is different, and it might cause the players some trouble, but a Drunken Brute barbarian gets to rage for free as long as he quaffs booze each round. The class concept definitely interests me.
I came up with a build for a Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster, kind of a sneaky type of character that used his spells to augment his skill use and general unpredictability. I just couldn't settle on a build. I was too tempted to be the guy stealthily hiding behind Xein's buzzing chainsword and lobbing fireballs, instead of sneak attacking. Granted, the Arcane Trickster actually gains the ability to sneak attack with spells. I dunno, I built out the guy to 20th level and it just didn't interest me any more.
I dunno, I'll figure something out, maybe.