Minor Supporting Characters: NPCs
NPCs are non-player characters. They are the characters that the player can interact with to help tell the story and make the world feel like it is alive. It is important to have these characters to give quests and provide exposition, but it is also really important that they have lives of their own within the story and they are not just a device to move the story along.
With that in mind I have been developing some characters that will be found within the opening part of the story (and also the rest of the story, but it is a big world, and there will be lots more to add later.)
Washer Women/ Seamstresses
If an army is to stay healthy, the men need to be clean.
Washerwomen and seamstresses are not servants or slaves, they are free women who travel with the army and live among the soldiers at the war camps. They charge the soldiers a small amount of coin to clean and repair their clothing and armour.
They also run a public bath house where the soldiers can go to bathe and have minor wounds and injuries treated, without the need to see the camp surgeon.
Washerwomen and Seamstresses need to be tough and capable of looking after themselves. Although they are protected by the guards, they are among the very few women who follow the army to the war front and attract a lot of attention from lonely soldiers.
Blacksmithing is a highly skilled job and as such blacksmiths and their apprentices are an integral part of any community in Kaharian. Each settlement has it's own blacksmith, who is highly sought after and well respected, since they are required to make anything from nails and iron fittings to horseshoes and weapons and armour. They are also called upon for the removal of teeth and to aid with other health problems if the village healer or wise-woman cannot help.
In times of war blacksmiths are conscripted to join the army where they repair and maintain weapons and armour, but also help with general maintenance of the war camp.
More than 10 blacksmiths and apprentices can be found in Tristan of Caldahorne's war camp to keep up with the demand of such a large army.
In a war camp, the stable master isn't just responsible for the horses. He is responsible for any and all livestock that might be kept in the camp. He will care for horses, hounds, and any animals like cattle, sheep and pigs that will provide food for the army.
He does not do this job on his own, and has a team of stable boys and farm hands who deal with the mundane running of the stables and basic care of the livestock.
The stable master is responsible for the health and wellness of the animals, he is the only person allowed to administer healing herbs and medical care to the livestock. He can also perform surgery on the animals and will also help the camp surgeon with human patients if necessary.
"An army can't march on empty stomachs."
Like washer women and seamstresses cooks are among the few women to be found in the Caldahornian war camp, and are vital to the survival of the army. The cooks provide food for the entire camp, so the kitchens are a huge communal space that buzz with energy from sunrise to well after sunset. There are nearly a hundred cooks and assistants in Tristan's war camp, and they provide two meals a day for nearly 5,000 men every day.
Although regular trade caravans are sent from the major settlements of Caldahorne to supply ingredients like grain, wheat and cures meats, the soldiers of the camp often help with the collection of food by hunting and gathering whilst out scouting the land. The soldiers tend to bring game like venison, rabbits and pheasants or pigeons, and mushrooms, herbs and berries, which they trade for extra meals or coin.