OOC - NPC character traits

OOC - Hi everyone, I saw this in a weekly email newsletter I get from
roleplayingtips.com and wanted to share it, it's a list of ideas for
making your NPC's realistic, but could also definately be applied to
your main character. There are two sections, character traits/quirks,
and jealousies/fears.
Traits, Quirks
There are many lists of traits and quirks floating around.
1) Absent minded.
2) Obsessive about being perfectly clean and neat.
3) If what's happening isn't about their interests or what
they need, they slowly fade out into some unknown train of
4) Constantly smooths out wrinkles in their clothing.
5) Wrings their hands.
6) Fears strangers.
7) Keeps looking over their shoulder.
8) Keeps shifting their weapon from hand to hand.
9) Has mood swings.
10) Gets angered at strange, specific things.
11) Paranoid, with extremely wide eyes.
12) Uses the same hand gestures in conversation as they do
when casting spells.
13) Actively starts pacing whenever still for a period of
14) Obsessed with a specific weapon, item, person, place or
monster, often telling long, boring stories about it.
15) Rolls their eyes when talking about other people.
16) Is easily cowed.
17) Gossips about other people and makes things up about
18) Cannot make decisions. Asks others what to do several
times before deciding.
19) Bad flatulence.
20) Speaks slow and deliberately.
21) Flips hair out of the way arrogantly.
22) Chews lips and flip-flops over decisions.
23) Snooty. Talks with their nose up and looks down on
24) Uses a dismissive hand wave (fingers pointing down with
a sweeping motion).
25) Belly laughs and rocks back and forth in their seat.
26) Nervous, darting eyes, wringing hands, quavering voice.
27) Speaks in a low, deep voice, pausing after every
sentence to carefully choose their words.
28) Constantly changes their gaze, making eye-contact with
everyone around them again and again, in rapid succession.
29) Near-sighted. Squints at whoever is talking to them.
30) Is well-bred and waves their hand around in the air all
the time, as though to fan away the unpleasant odor of
the PCs.
31) Has a nasal voice.
32) Has a whiny voice.
33) Has a breathy voice, like Marilyn Monroe.
34) Uses a "signature phrase" ("Jinkies!" "By the Sons of
Warvan, you shall be avenged!" "Holy rusted metal, Batman!"
"Tubular!" "Make it so!" "Shards and Shells!" "By your
35) Uses a few words of gibberish that represents phrases
from their native language. Works especially well for
swear words and exclamations.
36) Uses the same vocal pause repeatedly (i.e. ummmm, er,
like, and so, uh).
37) Speaksveryquickly.
38) Speaks slowly as if they are not intelligent.
39) Speaks very slowly as if it isn't their native tongue
and they are translating things in their head.
40) Looks boldly at the PCs with tight lips and narrowed
Jealousies, Fears
Fears and jealousies are great NPC characteristics because
they are easy to roleplay or communicate, can be made
relevant to an encounter or adventure, and help create
memorable NPCs and interactions.
According to dictionary.com, jealousy is:
* Resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or
* Mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry,
* Vigilance in maintaining or guarding something
Create jealousy by picking a person, place, or thing, and
note who or what the NPC resents, covets, fears, or guards,
and also note why. Another thing you might ponder is what
actions the NPC might be forced to take if their jealousy
becomes strong enough.
For one sentence NPCs, a simple note about the object of
their jealousy should be enough for now.
Fears can be weak or strong, and for entertainment and
gameplay purposes, it's worth noting just strong fears
unless you are going for a subtle effect, perhaps as a clue.
Example fears: Fear of....
1) Being alone
2) The dark
3) Loud noise or certain sounds
4) Heights
5) Open spaces
6) Water
7) Public speaking
8) Other people
9) Politicians
10) Animals, certain monsters, races, creatures
11) Sharp things
12) Other opinions or beliefs
13) Opposite sex
14) Flying
15) Alcohol
16) Untidiness, messiness, being dirty
17) Stairs or steep slopes
18) Books, scrolls, writing
19) Plants
20) Bridges
21) Police, the law
22) Battle
23) Cold
24) Clowns
25) Making decisions
26) Crowds
27) Dentists, shaman, priests
28) Disease
29) Evil
30) Clothing
31) Being robbed
32) Blood
33) Travel
34) Failure, defeat
35) Insanity
36) Machines
37) Clouds
38) A certain colour
39) Being injured
40) Vehicles, mounts
41) Children
42) Adults
43) Magic
44) The sun
45) The moon
46) Wealth, money
47) Fire
48) Beards
49) The sky or stars
50) Undead, ghosts

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