I'm not sure that RPGs have enough average, down-on-their-luck fellow adventurers, drinking companions and collogues to swap stories of daring and disappointment with.
These are not companions to venture into dungeons with. These are the familiar barflys or members of other adventuring bands, that the PCs encounter on occasion, and swap tales of dungeons plundered, or fled from in horror, as they down pint after pint of foul smelling village ale inbetween more dangerous pursuits.
Here's four of them. I've had them jotted down on a scrap of notepaper for a long time - I think I was reading a rather twinky NPC list from a Forgotten Realms sourcebook, and I noticed that none of them moved in the same circles as my players...
Without further ado;
Quirn the Landless
A mid-level fighter and wanderer, experienced in fighting bandits and living off the land, if needs be. Rather happy-go-lucky, robust and sturdy in a fight, and trusting of other decent seeming sellswords and hedge mages. Usually found in a tavern, either close to broke, or on the path of a dodgy Get Rich Quick scheme. Always survives, most often with just enough coin to maintain his current station in life.
Wears grey wyvern skin armour (fits as heavy leather, protects as a mail shirt), and wields a +1 elven sword and matching dagger. Also has a crossbow and the ugliest horned helmet you've ever seen. Ask him about the armour - it's a good story, and he'll buy the first round while telling it.
The dispossessed minor heir of a tiny, isolated mountain range that no-one has ever heard of. Competent with both healing and fire magics, he maintains a good natured noble air despite his hand-to-mouth lifestyle and less than charming companions. He is distracted and diffuse, and addresses all with noble speech, from real nobility to charmless goblin slaves, which makes him a welcome rarity in many dark and dangerous locales. Treated almost as a lucky mascot by his current companions.
Wears smooth, shiny black leather boots and matching belt, ornate white shirt and velvet cape (always clean and pressed in the morning, despite the previous days endeavours), with a succession of different circlets or crowns, which gives him an unusual appearance in the average village inn. Wields various daggers, wands, amulets and magical rings that he produces from a wide range of unseen pockets.
A block-like fighter and brawler from Southern lands, with mid length dirty blond hair and a huge laugh. She eats and drinks huge amounts, and can drink most men and a fair number of dwarves under the table. Despite this, she is unusually intelligent and insightful, and her sharp wits make her rather dangerous fun when drinking. Any carousing in her company requires double the amount of gold intended to be spent, and results in double experience gained for your gold (therefore FOUR times the planned experience) and double of any repercussions of the night. This can result in burning down the tavern. Twice. That takes skill. Or having two different affairs with two different married partners in one night. Possibly at the same time.
She wears a mail and metal scale vest, leather bandoleers with twin dwarven shortswords, and a back-slung short hafted battleaxe, with a small buckler.
Tarneth the Silent
A tall, gaunt, dark-haired ranger-fighter. Quiet and still, with a vaguely unsettling air, and speaks in single word sentences. Very observant and competent with traps and secret doors, both finding and disarming/opening. He is said to have been jovial and gregarious until a certain dungeon experience, that he never speaks of, and no other survived.
Wears dark leather armour, with a silver belt buckle, and a dark hooded cloak. Carries a thin curved eastern sword that gives off a chill mist when drawn, and causes watchers to turn their eyes away. Also wears a crystal teardrop pendant, that contains the image of a beautiful but unearthly elven maiden.