For my current D&D campaign (Age of Heroes), I’ve attempted to create a rules-light NPC ally stat block. I don’t want to keep track of stats, lists of proficiencies or any of that.
To keep things simple, I’ve broken it up into what matters. Other than their Loyalty score (5e Dungeon Master Guide), which is kept hidden from the players, this is all that they see:
- Advantage: has an Advantage to rolls using this stat
- Disadvantage: has a Disadvantage to rolls using this stat
- Skills (+X): Gets to use Proficiency bonus (equal to average of party) on checks using these stats
- Talent: Something (not combat-related) that the NPC is very good at doing (usually always succeeds; no roll needed)
- Mannerism: A physical quirk
- Interaction: A social quirk
- Ideals: what they strive for (affects Loyalty)
- Bond: what matters to them (affects Loyalty)
- Flaw: what could cause problems for the party
- Weapon: listed first, their main form of attack
- other stuff, kept brief (main outfit, things of worth etc…)
As for Combat, the NPC lasts a number of rounds equal to the average party level. That means that after X number of rounds, they are taken out either due to exhaustion, wounds, bad morale or whatever.
Here is Adja, the first NPC ally that my players have welcomed into the party:
Adja, freed slave
- Advantage: Dexterity
- Disadvantage: Strength
- Skills (+2): Dexterity, Wisdom, Charisma.
- Talent: Drinks everyone under the table.
- Mannerism: Stares into the distance.
- Interaction: Curious
- Ideals: Greed and Freedom
- Bond: loyal to Arcas, who freed her.
- Flaw: Heavy drinker.
- Weapon: Bleeder (+1 knife, DC 15 Constitution save or extra 2d10 bleeding damage)
- Lagashian peasant garb
- Kushite golden slave ankle collar (worth 20 gp)
- 40 sp.