As if our Creative D&D Characters column weren’t evidence enough, I love creating NPCs. Several months ago I stumbled across NPC Quirks by Dawn Ibach and was excited to give it a look and use it to create more compelling characters. The accessory has a rating of 3.9 out of 5.0. Also, it is currently an Electrum Best Seller which is a great achievement for a pay what you want title. Let’s take a closer look at it and see how it is.
Writer: Dawn Ibach
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 9 pages
This accessory is no more than what its title suggests it is, a collection of NPC quirks that you can assign to any given character. I guess that’s not entirely accurate. There are also 60+ character portraits you could use as inspiration or crop and paste into a character sheet if you wanted. I love when a product knows its purpose and doesn’t try to be all things in all cases.
It’s hard to judge this product on its originality. The images are all sourced from either Guild creators content items or other online repositories so the art is not original. Additionally, the quirks are quite generic such as “stutters” or “lazy eye”. There are some others quirks that I’d argue are simply conditions more than anything else. Being “pregnant” isn’t a quirk. Nor is a “bandaged extremity”.
There is no writing to speak of here. Sure, there is a brief intro but this product is a list of traits and features. This neither positively nor negatively impacts my assessment.
In regards to production, there is good and there is bad. The good is that the PDF is searchable and text can be highlighted and copied if you need to. The bad is mostly the art. Nearly every photo in this document is a low-resolution file and stretched to fit the format. They’re grainy, inconsistent in style, and largely unnecessary. Even the cover’s art is pixelated. The list of quirks is three pages of single words or short phrases (“Acne” or “Hands coppers to beggar children”). The lists are on a background of white which is great for legibility but looks bad since the rest of the document has a papyrus/scroll background.
The design is lacking. As I’ve said, some of the quirks are interesting. But it would be great if they were setup on tables for rolling. Perhaps even broken out by physical characteristics (“freckles”…”runny nose”) and behaviors (“scratches”…”yawns often”).
There are over 200 quirks and some are pretty interesting as with having no fingernails after some unnamed torture. I can work with that. Others are pretty mundane. Like tattoo. To be fair, it’s up to us to use our imaginations and make a quirk meaningful. NPC Quirks simply misses the mark for me when it had a lot of potential for a useful DM tool.
You can find this product for free on DMsGuild.com.