Regarding the number of NPCs, they cap out at five in my version. You can make any number of PCs from one to eight. Your party has a max size of eight, no matter what, so if you make eight PCs, then you have no room for NPCs. If you make seven PCs, then you have room for one NPC, and so on. Except that if you make less than three PCs, you still only get the ability to recruit five NPCs at any one time. The cap of five NPCs has been firm ever since I've played this game, which goes back to pretty much forever. I'd love to see that change someday, but as Sitra Achara mentions above, I always hear it's not possible due to the crash issue. *** Regarding character ideas: One thing I've noticed for me is that my attention tends to stay focused when I play lower powered characters. The challenge helps, especially when you know every twist and turn of the game after the last fifteen years of playing it. I stopped playing with Scather and such a long time ago. In fact, for the last years, I play as if the spell Raise Dead didn't exist. If a character dies, they stay dead, no exceptions. It keeps me a little more invested in the group I put together. I always enjoy making themed parties. Someone above already mentioned the idea of doing a Thieves Guild cast of characters. Every character starts as a rogue. Some are more thug like, some are talkers, some are more sneaky. It's a good experience and fits well with the game. Your rogue's gallery really turns into some interesting characters as you progress and make in game choices. Other options I like to play with: 1. a Wizards Guild. This can be extremely difficult, but it's enjoyable if you can make it work. Every character is built as a specialist, so you ultimately have one specialist for each school of magic. Again, going with this option is incredibly difficult, especially in the early phases of the game. Low hit points and no real melee strength. 2. St. Cuthbert worshipers. For this, I like to send in a militant group that acts like reinforcements for the Church of St. Cuthbert. Typically, I'll have a Paladin, at least one Cleric, and then I'll round the party out with zealous warriors, often equipped with clubs to honor St. Cuthbert's use of the cudgel. I like to put them all in red cloaks with red plume helmets. There's a visual sense of strength as these eight characters march about, all under the direction of the Paladin. 3. a family of Drow. The lag in levels is painful, but it's definitely doable. I'll usually have the party leader be a female Matron Cleric, and she's accompanied by either her Patron and her children, or her siblings. Along with them, I'll usually include a couple of Duergar slaves and maybe some Half-Orc slaves as well. Lot of fun. 4. surface elves on a mission to find and rescue the Countess Trilahi and Sir Juffer. 5. the remnants of a tribe of Barbarians who rely on the spiritual teachings of Druids. 6. a mercenary company. I like to keep all of my characters low powered, but even more than usual with this choice. I'll make a leader, a second in command, and then pepper in some spear men and crossbow men. The real fun is in utilizing tactics to see how far the mercenary group can make it. 7. My All Time Favorite: a few kids from a couple villages over. Very low powered. Think Mickey and Cavanaugh level of power. What I like to do is imagine a bunch of kids from a nearby village going out to see the world for the first time, or maybe their village was destroyed and they're all that's left. I'll take the first roll, whatever it happens to be, and accept the literal arrangement of the rolls as they appear. Meaning I don't sort the rolls into stats. I take them in order, sliding all the first rolls to the left.