For Madness Week, it was clear right away that there was only one best option for our Best in Class slot: after having done no less than 14 Weekly Wonders products devoted to the insane and eldritch world of the mythos last year, hitting each and every Paizo class not once but twice, in addition to all the other existing archetypes involving some form of madness, the world just didn’t seem to need more maddening character options right now.
But it could use some eccentric individuals, and so today’s Best in Class is another in our Top Ten style, with ten NPCs with a variety of interesting mental ticks.
1. Gabrielle Webster, Agoraphobic Mastermind. Not quite middle-aged, Gabrielle is the mayor of a small town, despite the fact that a traumatic event in her youth left her with agoraphobia, making her cripplingly uncomfortable any time she is outside of her own home. Not allowing this to stop her, however, she remains quite involved and well-informed regarding the goings-on in her little town, inviting different townsfolk over to dine with her each and every night, and operating through numerous hired agents, potentially including the PCs, who act as her eyes and hands beyond her doors.
2. Linwood Abbott and Graddick Targ, Multiple Personalities. Linwood Abbott is a wizard of some small skill, who adventured for a time in his youth before retiring in despair after his travelling companion, a half-orc barbarian, was slain before his eyes. He now runs a small shop, selling scrolls and potions and performing magical consultation. However, since the trauma, he has developed a second personality, with the same name and outlook as his slain friend. Clerics and shamans who’ve examined him insist he is not actually possessed, though that is what Linwood himself claims, if pressed on the subject. PCs who befriend Linwood may drop by one day to pick up their wares, only to be surprised to find the small, mild-mannered man give them a bear-hug and insist on joining them in their adventures.
3. Amaliya Hughes, False Vampire. A young woman of pale complexion, aristocratic pedigree, and dark hair, Amaliya is quite insistent that she is a vampire, much to the dismay of her scandal-fearing parents. Though Amaliya does not make this claim openly, she responds violently to sunlight, screeching and clawing at any part of her skin that is exposed to it. She refuses to come anywhere near a mirror, flees from garlic, and will not approach holy symbols. Several doctors have examined her and confirmed that she is still alive, but so far there has been no explanation of how she has managed to survive as long as she has, for she began to refuse food over a month ago.
4. Chet Royston, Merchant of Questionable Values. Proud owner of a well-positioned stall in a busy market, Chet Royston is known for his unusual prices, as he seems to have a very different concept of value than what is traditionally accepted, causing him to dramatically undercharge or overpay for certain valuable items, while wildly inflating the price of other things. While this makes him very popular, it remains a constant wonder that his business continues to operate, leading some to wonder if his “crazy prices” aren’t far more cunning than they seem.
5. Gretchen Yates, Compulsive Tavern Owner. Owner of the Fortune’s Favorite tavern, Gretchen is a friendly and personable woman and successful business owner, who owes at least some of her business’s success to her compulsive obsession with cleanliness. While polished tables, spotless floors, and glasses that get more cleaning than a quick rub with a greasy rag are all positives in the hospitality business, her constant need to clean is not all upside for Gretchen, who can sometimes be found cleaning well into the early hours of the morning, quietly crying.
6. Dominick Harlow, the Watched One. A middle-aged man with tan skin and short brown hair, Dominick has never wanted to be anything more than a farmer, or so he keeps insisting. Rising before dawn, he works the fields each and every day, attempting to live the simple life, although he insists that his life is constantly plagued by invisible angels and devils, each of which attempt to persuade him to abandon his simple farming lifestyle and join some cosmic war, claiming that his participation is vital. He also claims that they will play tricks on him and make his life more difficult in order to achieve these aims, and while no one has ever seen any sign of these cosmic tormentors, his farmstead does seem unusually prone to accidents.
7. Amber Finley, Perpetual Amnesiac. An investigator by trade, Amber Finley suffers from a rare form of amnesia that causes her to lose her memories every time she goes to sleep. To combat this, she keeps an elaborate and detailed journal, and her office and home are webs of notes and clues left for herself. While this leaves her sometimes overlooking minor details, and rarely recognizing anyone until they introduce themselves, she is more-or-less able to function normally, unless her notes and journal are tampered with.
8. Brady McLain, Hearer of Whispers. Although his candle shop is fairly popular, the reason that most visitors go there has little to do with Brady’s candles, which are only slightly above average in quality, and somewhat overpriced. In truth, they come because of his “gift:” Brady claims to hear spectral whispers that tell him about the people he interacts with, sometimes predicting their future, and sometimes telling him things about them, or even passing on messages from dead loved ones. In truth, Brady’s messages tend to be accurate or meaningful only a little more often than they aren’t, but he is nonetheless a firm believer in his own abilities, as are many townsfolk.
9. Meredith Walmsley, the Reincarnated. An adventuring cleric of quickly-growing renown, Meredith claims to be her own deity, in a sort of roundabout way. She is convinced that she is the reincarnation of her deity prior to his ascension to godhood, and that although the deity in question remains active, that she is also somehow the same individual. Many in her own faith find this claim to be both ridiculous and borderline heretical, but she is staunchly convinced all the same, and a swell of popular opinion amongst the common folk, who tell tales of her heroism, has made some wonder.
10. Allan Rearden, Geliomaniac Guard. This young town guard has a peculiar compulsion to laugh, and he often has fits of uncontrollable giggling, sometimes at the most unfortunate times. While he does not allow it to prevent him from performing his duties, it certainly leads to some awkward moments when questioning a suspect, in the middle of a chase down a busy street, and even when viewing the scene of a grisly murder.