Generators Guide to NPCs for DnD 5EBy Duncan Thomson on
Sometimes you need a quick NPC description, sometimes a detailed stat block. Other times you want a combat encounter to distract the players for an hour.
For a Quick NPC
For a quick NPC 5thdnd.com gives a colourful 3-line description such as
This fearsome mumbling gnomish fellow is rubbing a talisman. Morbert is strict about social status and rolls his 'r's and stammers while trying to think of a word. He is ashamed of his station in life.
For several NPCs at once Donjon has an NPC generator with class, stats, armour and weapons.
For a Detailed NPC
For more detail the NPC tool at TotalPartyKill gives stats, skills and personality traits.
The NPC Generator has traits, a plot hook, physical features and religion. And lots of opportunity for customisation.
For a more stat block with a templated approach rpgTinker will let you customise by NPC type, race and attribute array. Templates include combat, spellcaster and non-combat options.
If you prefer a random table DriveThruRPG has a free pdf of d100 NPCs with appearance, backstory, plot hook and suggested stats.
Traits, Names and Specific Types
Finally for an amazing pdf of NPC statblocks get Adaptable NPCs on DM's Guild.
For Random Encounters
I'll keep this guide updated so please suggest 5E NPC generators in the comments or on twitter to @DuncanThom