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wild cards
not every npc needs to be an adversary or direct threat to your players. non-player-characters can introduce plots, act as allies, informants, facilitators and foils. Here are a few to toss into the mix.

March 2001 Splinterbone and Brekke Borri

April 2001
Skugg the Ratter
Human Commoner
A filthy, filthy, little man

Skugg the Ratter
A filthy, filthy, little man
Human 4th level Commoner/3rd level Expert

Skugg is a professional rat catcher. He makes his living in an impoverished village somewhere that rats (and other vermin) have become a problem, and he's always ready to offer up advice to anyone with a rat problem. Unfortunately, Skugg is also a fairly disgusting person (by human standards). He is filthy; he dresses in rags, eats garbage, drinks any alcohol he can beg, borrow or (rarely) afford, and he has been picked up on more than one occasion for relieving himself on a public street. He leers at women, scratches himself, swears loudly, smacks his food while eating and belches constantly. His hair is falling out, and he is infected with chronic psoriasis and mange that leaves angry red blotches on his scalp..

Skugg makes up for his boorish behavior and general disgusting-ness with one thing: he is a reknowned expert on rats. He knows their habits, he knows what they like to eat, he knows their mating cycles, and he can tell a brown-hooded tomb-rat from a common goblin-raised cave-rat just by looking at it's teeth ("..differnt gnawing patterns, y'see?"). He knows all about Were-rat Lycanthropy (which he has had twice already) and he is an expert in the best way to catch rats. He is also familiar with the worship of the Goblin Rat-totem, Misquee, and was once even called in as a special consultant when a cult of rat-totem evil orshipping humans was establishing itself in the city of Mudge Deep.

Quote: "Aye then (::beelch!::) excuse yourshelf, milady. Ah yes. The shubject a'hand, as it were. This here looks to be a.. Rodentus Hecatus, (sniffs it once or twice to make sure) Dishtinctive mushk odor, note the coloration..(::cough:: ::spit!::) ooh, and thats some tail length, she's a'got.. Judging by the scars on her belly, it's a weanin' mother, have a look at those teats, aye? I mean on the rat! Probably a whole pack of kits down there, somewhere. This here is a beaut' though, where'd you say you nabbed her? There there, my lovely..ouch!"

Skugg the Ratter
A filthy, filthy little man
Human 4th level Commoner/3rd level Expert
Str 12 Dex 11 Con 13 Int 15 Wis 10 Cha 7
Alignment CN
Lang: Common, Goblin
HD: 4d4/3d6+9 (34 hit points)
Initiative +0
Feats: Skill Focus..Knowledge:Rat Lore, Toughness, Endurance
Skills: Handle Animal +8, Knowledge:Rat Lore +13, Knowledge:Goblin Culture +4, Listen +6, Profession: rat catcher +6, Swim +5, Spot +5, Bluff +6, Gather Information +4, Appraise +2
Saves: Fort: +3 Reflex +2 Will +4
Melee: +4
Ranged: +5
Race/Class Abilities: 1 extra feat, extra skill points, simple weapon proficiencies, light weapon proficiencies,
AC: 10 (no armor)
Items: Genuine mummified rat totem, rat-catchin' bag, jug of hard-grain pumpkin liquor, wooden club, dagger, several dead rats, several live rats, assorted bits of filth, 7 gold coins, 40 copper pieces.

you've got mole!