Adding multiple characters to a scene

Can you add characters like you would foliage? We are trying to create a scene with a large number of characters and it would help with time if we could paint the characters like you would plants or trees.

I think you can add characters with the foliage tool, as of a few engine versions ago, you can add blueprints.

But, not recommended. Your performance will be down the drain.

It might be better to do your characters with particles, have you seen this?