Monday, October 5, 2009

Top 10 Star Wars RPG Non Player Characters

I am restricting this top ten list to the modules and source books produced by West End Games. The choices are, of course, all highly subjective. But this is my blog, so there! What qualifies these characters as my favorite isn't necessarily how well developed their character was in a specific source, but rather, how they captured my imagination.

10. Q-4
A mining droid may not, at first, seem to be very endearing. Indeed, with only a limited personality and very restricted 'personal interests', a 'borer-droid' like Q-4 would seem to be just a piece of scenery. However, this particular droid (and his dozens of identical brothers) made up for these shortcomings with a lot of enthusiasm and a deep desire to fight the Evil Empire—even though they weren't quite sure what that was. One such droid, introduced in the Death in the Undercity adventure, even joined the droid entourage of my campaign.

9. T-3PO
Introduced in the adventure Starfall, T-3PO was the bitchy, cynical and sarcastic personal droid to an Imperial noblewoman (Lira Wessex). In many ways, she's C-3PO's evil twin sister. The players come across her in the course of the adventure—and I believe she actually tries to betray them at one point or another. In my campaign, "Tee" was adopted by the party (much to her dismay) and to this day works (grudgingly) for Arianne.

8. Spilfer
Spilfer is a hero in his own mind. A salvage expert (of sorts) and one-time NPC companion of my campaign group during the Scavenger Hunt adventure. He's upbeat and comically equipped with a variety of garbage-related gadgets—plus he's a cute little three-foot tall blue-furred squirrel. What's not to like?

7. Kel
Introduced in Galaxy-Guide 2: Yavin and Bespin, Kel is a mysterious underworld arms merchant—who leads a double life as a corporate executive on Bespin. She was fun and memorable as a 'dangerous woman with a heart of gold'. She became involved with the party initially in her 'primary' function as an arms merchant, but a relationship quickly developed between her and one of the characters (Harry). This eventually turned into marriage and the two now run their own resort world together.

6. Agent Tyree
Introduced in the VERY FIRST Star Wars adventure (Rebel Breakout—included in the original, 1987 1st Edition rules), Tyree was a fellow Rebel agent who I envisioned as something of the 'James Bond' of Alliance Intelligence—a solo agent who would occasionally cross paths with the party (most memorably in The Game Chambers of Questal and the Isis Coordinates). As with many of the most memorable NPCs, he eventually developed a relationship with my campaign—marrying Arianne.

5. Faarl the Conqueror
One of the villains introduced in Cracken's Most Wanted, Faarl actually had two incarnations in my gaming campaigns. In both, he was a young (19 year old) warlord, carving out a personal empire for himself on the outer rim. In the vermillion group's game he was a minor 'villain of the week'. In the online Campaign I ran with Adren, Faarl became more than just a throw-away baddie—mainly because instead of just defeating and locking him up, Adren tried to reform him—and eventually succeeded. When the two campaigns were 'merged', we agreed upon the latter background for Faarl as his 'official' story.

4. Lira Wessex
Cold. Cruel. Smart. Beautiful. Lira is a very memorable villainess who appears in two different adventure modules: Starfall and Crisis on Cloud City. In both cases, she is definitely more of a 'mastermind' type villain than a fighter—which sets her apart from a lot of femme-fatale types. She isn't a badass Mara Jade—but she'll hire someone like that to do her dirty work for her.

3. Bane Nothos
The archtypical Imperial Officer. Arrogant. Ruthless. Treacherous. He was one of the earlier villains, first introduced in Strike Force Shantipole—though in truth he doesn't ever confront the PCs face to face in that one. He turns up later in Otherspace and (in a slightly different form) in Otherspace II as well. What made him stand out for me, however was that name. Is that not the coolest bad guy name ever? Oh sure, he's not really a badass—and in fact, in my game, he got gacked pretty easily, but man. Great name. And his legacy was too great to just let go, so I actually created his evil niece, Rina Nothos, to carry on his arrogance.

2. Lady Santhe
A tough but classy old lady in charge of Santhe-Seinar industries (they make TIE fighters for the Empire—among other things). Introduced in the module Mission to Lianna, Lady Santhe was an NPC of many layers—outwardly an Imperial, but secretly a champion for her own planet, corporation and family. Again, she wasn't physically powerful at all, but she was smart, savvy and hard as nails. Her and the Santhe family struck me so much, in fact, that I wrote them into the background of one of my PCs, Adren, who found out she was the long-lost grand-daughter of the 'grey dame of Lianna'.

1. Zardra
Yeah. Probably going to come off as a big old 'fan boy' with this one. Truth be told, I'm really not a huge fan of the 'badass chick' archetype (made so famous by Mara Jade). But Zardra was actually created BEFORE Mara—introduced in my very first Star Wars module: Tatooine Manhunt. This femme-fatale bounty-huntress with a love of personal combat made an impression there—since she was one of the first truly original NPCs—not based on anyone else in the movies (like, for example, the Boba Fett clone Jodo Kast). Like Bane Nothos, she also appeared in the Otherspace adventure. I took this as a cue and had her appear subsequently in many other adventures—eventually forming a relationship with Rick Oman. Needless to say, with a woman like Zardra, the relationship was (and is) tumultuous, but it has also been a fun storyline.


  1. Admiral Kermen didn't make your list. Sigh.

  2. Oh. I forgot about him... and his prime candidates...ready for insertion.

  3. I never met Spilfer, but your description of him made me think of Joe Pesci in the Lethal Weapon movies. Especially the "three-foot-tall" part.

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