I was browsing through the blogs done by students in the Chaucer class, and was struck with inspiration when somebody mentioned that "this line-up of characters [the pilgrims] almost felt like an introduction to all of the important NPC's in a D&D game at once" (a blog by Lexie Leishman). I thought it might be fun to attempt to not make just NPCs out of the pilgrims and the stories that they tell, but playable characters. Picking a class that you would play as that fits with their background and story, picking their attributes, etc.
Since it does take a while to make characters for D&D, I thought I would start by just creating one - I wanted to make the character Nicholas, of the Miller's Tale. Due to his deceptive ways of seduction and scholarly training, he strikes me as a classic bard. Bards do not necessarily have to play instruments (although Nicholas does play the psaltery) but can be practiced storytellers and scholars as well.
This might be a fun suggestion for an unessay for those who struggle with finding ideas.
The finished character sheet can be viewed here.
I chose a bard as the class because, although he technically is a "clerk" (or a cleric, which is a class in D&D), his behaviour does not seem fit for one (nor his skills). Bards base their actions off of Charisma and Dexterity. I gave Nicholas high stats in both. Notice that his skills of Performance, Deception, Nature (his training in Astronomy), and Persuasion are all quite high, with decently high numbers in Stealth and Religion as well. He is described as playing the psaltery, which is like a dulcimer, so I gave him proficiency in that instrument as well as a few others. His Wisdom and Constitution are quite low, as I figured he was not wise enough to know to stop messing around with Absolon, and his arse took a very unfortunate poker to it, so his wellness may not be best.
His background is as a Cloistered Scholar, though I chose to give him personality traits and features more becoming of a Criminal Background. In terms of playing this as an actual character, it wouldn't be terrible. Bards need high charisma, and usually pick Strength and Wisdom as "dump" stats anyway. This would be a totally viable D&D character! Though you might want a higher Constitution stat.