100 Random Goals For Your NPCs

Engaging and interesting NPCs help your campaign setting come alive. Maybe the players help the NPCs achieve their goals; maybe they thwart them. Sometimes an NPC’s goal might just be something they work towards while the players are off doing something else. The important thing is that every NPC has something that they want. Like real people, they have goals and aspirations, and they pursue those goals and aspirations, sometimes to success, sometimes to inevitable failure.

I’ve put together a list of 100 random goals you can use for your NPCs. You can use the table to flesh out your existing NPCs (particularly the ones you had to improv because the players went in a direction you didn’t expect), or to invent new ones on the fly.

To use it, just roll a d100 and find the corresponding number.

100 Random NPC Goals

ResultGoal
001The NPC wants to return to their homeland or place of origin.
002The NPC wants to escape their current situation.
003The NPC wants to obtain romantic love.
004The NPC wants to obtain fame and adoration.
005The NPC wants to atone for a past crime.
006The NPC wants to find a lost relative or friend.
007The NPC wants to obtain a particular item (a gemstone to make into a wedding ring; a magical sword; a book of secret spells; etc.).
008The NPC wants to be the first at something (first to discover a rumored land; first to break a record; etc).
009The NPC wants revenge on a rival or hated foe.
010The NPC wants to build and expand a business.
011The NPC wants to found a religion.
012The NPC wants to found a secular organization or brotherhood.
013The NPC wants to find a cure for a disease, curse, or ailment.
014The NPC wants to write or create a masterpiece book, song, or piece of art.
015The NPC wants to complete or add to a collection.
016The NPC wants to free an enslaved people.
017The NPC wants to make a lot of money.
018The NPC wants to sabotage a rival group or organization.
019The NPC wants to establish peace between rival/warring factions or governments.
020The NPC wants a family.
021The NPC just wants someone to take over for a while so they can rest.
022The NPC wants to fix a broken but necessary piece of equipment, machinery, or other apparatus.
023The NPC wants to prove that they have surpassed their old master.
024The NPC wants to learn more about a relative who died or vanished before they were born.
025The NPC wants to learn a new skill or trade.
026The NPC wants to end their own life or existence (this goal may not be appropriate for all groups; talk to your players first and reroll if necessary).
027The NPC wants to see a fantastical creature in person (a unicorn, a dragon, etc.).
028The NPC wants to spread their religion to the uninitiated (possibly even by force).
029The NPC wants to avoid a prophesied outcome.
030The NPC wants to have children (or some other heir to carry on their legacy).
031The NPC wants to make a new friend.
032The NPC wants to shirk their duties and responsibilities.
033The NPC wants to break up a relationship or drive a wedge between two people (not necessarily a romantic relationship).
034The NPC wants relief from a chronic malady, wound, or illness that they suffer from.
035The NPC wants to make their family (or a respected mentor) proud.
036The NPC wants to regain something that was lost (wealth, fame, an item, the family property).
037The NPC wants to put a stop to criminal activity.
038The NPC wants to mend a rift between two people (reunite with an estranged father; help two rival blacksmiths work together; etc.).
039The NPC wants to solve an ongoing mystery.
040The NPC wants to protect a friend or family member from something.
041The NPC wants to reinvent themselves as a new identity.
042The NPC wants to foster trade between two groups (tribes, countries, cities, etc.)
043The NPC wants to reestablish a forgotten holiday or cultural custom.
044The NPC wants to make people laugh.
045The NPC wants to prove their power.
046The NPC wants to prove a theory.
047The NPC wants to destroy a rival or hated foe.
048The NPC wants their kingdom or country to expand.
049The NPC wants to prove a rumor about them is wrong.
050The NPC wants to win a game or competition.
051The NPC wants to travel to a thus-far unreachable place (space; time travel; a different dimension; etc.).
052The NPC wants to prove something they believe in exists.
053The NPC wants to destroy or kill a class of people or creatures.
054The NPC wants to preserve nature at all costs.
055The NPC wants to decipher a puzzle or something written in a code or ancient language.
056The NPC wants to repay a debt (not necessarily financial in nature).
057The NPC wants to join an elite group or organization.
058The NPC wants to stay anonymous and not be noticed.
059The NPC wants to change a law or local custom.
060The NPC wants to overcome their fear of something.
061The NPC wants to be more beautiful or attractive.
062The NPC wants to redeem a villain.
063The NPC wants to break a bad habit.
064The NPC wants to remedy something about their personality (an inability to trust people; an explosive temper; always refusing to admit when they're wrong; etc.)
065The NPC wants to profess their love to someone they admire.
066The NPC wants to be taken seriously by someone who doesn't give them due credit.
067The NPC wants to fix an inaccuracy in the culture's accepted knowledge (prove that the world isn't flat; that there is a passage that connects two continents; etc.).
068The NPC wants to dominate or control another person or group.
069The NPC wants to finish someone else's unfinished work.
070The NPC wants to avenge a slain or defeated ally.
071The NPC wants to unbalance an ongoing stalemate.
072The NPC wants to surprise someone with a gift.
073The NPC wants to play a prank on someone (harmful? or malicious?).
074The NPC wants to restore their home to its former glory (home could take the form of dwelling, town, country, etc.).
075The NPC wants to achieve divinity, enlightenment, or godhood.
076The NPC wants to fulfill a prophesy they believe to be about themselves (but is it really?).
077The NPC wants to break someone out of prison.
078The NPC wants to prove their innocence.
079The NPC wants to be inspired or motivated by someone or something.
080The NPC wants to do something that is 100% absolutely impossible to do.
081The NPC wants to win a bet.
082The NPC wants to cheat at a competition or clash.
083The NPC wants to bind an entity to their power (a demon lord bound by runes; a rival merchant bound by contract; etc.).
084The NPC wants to learn a new language -- maybe even one that isn't spoken anymore.
085The NPC wants to catch an elusive quarry (a burglar that leaves no trace; a massive mythical fish; etc.).
086The NPC wants to keep their family or organization from splitting up due to infighting.
087The NPC wants to overcome an addiction.
088The NPC wants to be left alone to engage in self-destructive acts (excessive drinking, gambling, etc.).
089The NPC wants to follow the route or path of someone who came before them (a prior expedition; a pilgrim following a messiah's path to the holy city; etc.).
090The NPC wants to teach their skills or methods to others.
091The NPC wants to be remembered.
092The NPC wants to build something (a house, a castle, a colony, etc.).
093The NPC wants to show support for a cause or person.
094The NPC wants to understand a confusing person or culture.
095The NPC wants to serve a lord, leader, or god.
096The NPC wants to decide between two or more choices.
097The NPC wants to harass or intimidate another person or group.
098The NPC wants to honor or pay homage to someone they respect who has fallen or died.
099The NPC wants to condition a person or group to respond in a certain way to certain stimuli.
100The NPC wants to separate two things (opposing relics; feuding brothers; warring tribes; etc.).

For more complex NPCs, you might even roll 2-3 times.

Leave a comment!
Was this table useful in your game? Let me know how you used it in the comments or add your own ideas for NPC goals and motivations!