Bedevil Your Players with NPCs

OMG – Did you hear what the magic-user said about the illusionist?

While city-based adventures can be a nice change of pace in RPG games that spend most of their time in dungeons, I think that cities and towns should usually be safe places for adventurers to visit. After all, of the three setting types in most fantasy games – settlements, wilderness and dungeons – two of those three are supposed to be geared towards killing the players. Settlements should be a place where adventurers can heal, resupply and prepare for the next delve into danger (well, except at night, when the vampires, assassins, chaos cultists and thieves are stalking the streets). Without the chance to recover and build, how are they going to do what the game intends them to do?

That being said, there is no reason why settlements cannot present new and interesting challenges to the players. Challenges is the key word here , not dangers. Challenging NPCs can make a visit more interesting without killing or harming the characters physically.

Here are a few ideas for obstreperous NPC’s to bedevil the player characters …

Obstreperous NPCs

1. The Spy – Always nosing into the adventurer’s business, and selling their secrets to interested parties (i.e. the man in the shadows). Spies can help move an overarching plot that develops slowly, and eventually become a source of adventures.

2. The Gossip – Spreads rumors and gossip around town concerning the adventurers, and not always that accurately. The gossip can tip off rivals* and piss off neutrals and allies, making life more difficult and expensive for the adventurers.

* Rival adventurers, of course – I strongly suggest rolling up one or two rival adventuring parties. They use the same town as their base of operations, and thus bump into the adventurers in the local tavern and compete for hirelings. More importantly, when adventurers are trying to clear out a dungeon, the rivals might get to key rooms first, or even run into the adventurers as a wandering monster.

3. The Buffoon – An idiot who wants to help the party, but his help always turns out to hinder (e.g. Gilligan or Joxer the Mighty). The idiot really does mean well, so non-evil characters may have a hard time getting rid of him.

4. The Braggart – A loud-mouth braggart who challenges the PCs at every turn, but couldn’t possibly handle him- or herself in a duel. Unfortunately, the braggart can make things tough on the PCs if they fight back – perhaps their father is wealthy or powerful.

5. The Nemesis – Counts one or all of the PCs as her enemies, to be crushed, destroyed, demoralized or generally messed with. The reason lies in the past, and may be an event so minor the PCs don’t remember doing it. Naturally, the nemesis does not attack openly, and may even appear as a friend and ally. The nemesis attacks through others, and has friends in high places.

6. The Fanatic – The PCs biggest fan, a person with no life of his or her own who has latched onto the PCs, living vicariously through their adventures. The fanatic brags about them, which can create problems with rivals, and begs for chances to adventure with them. If the fanatic’s illusions are shattered, they will turn quickly against their former idols.

7. The Mixer – Likes to start trouble, especially between the adventurers and their allies or retainers, or within the ranks of the party itself. The mixer is cunning and seemingly harmless and innocent, and almost always poses as a concerned advisor and friend.

8. The Schmuck – The schmuck is genuinely likeable and good … and completely hopeless. They are always in need of money or help because they bit off more than they can chew (gambling debts, a fight with a bully, trouble with the tax man or loyal aristocracy, etc.). No matter how much the adventurers help, the schmuck will always screw it up or require more help.

Think about introducing one or two of these annoyances in your next city adventure, and spend enough time on them to make them worthy of being reoccurring NPCs in your game.

Warriors for Hire

Sometimes, you need to hire some muscle to dig into that dungeon. Sometimes, you need a quick, easy blog post that can be written off of a simple illustration. This is that time!

The following warriors correspond to the images above, in order from left to right.

BARL THE BOLD
HUMAN FIGHTER (CHAMPION), LEVEL 3
STR 14 INT 10 WIS 5 DEX 11 CON 13 CHA 11
HP 17 AC 15 ATK +1 FORT 11 REF 14 WILL 16
Dominate 0 HD foes
Bull Rush
Chainmail, Quarterstaff (1d6+1), Short Bow (1d6)

Barl cut his teeth on the field of battle, and fancies himself quite the tactician. Of course, his tactics usually involve rushing the enemy and hacking them to pieces …

AVOMIR THE DARK
HUMAN RANGER (PATHFINDER), LEVEL 2
STR 13 INT 6 WIS 16 DEX 13 CON 10 CHA 5
HP 7 AC 15 ATK +2 FORT 12 REF 11 WILL 13
Sworn enemy (orcs)
Expertise
Chainmail, Short Sword (1d6+1), Longbow (1d8)

Avomir prefers the woodlands and the small villages on its borders to town and city. A lusty rascal, his exploits with the fairer sex are known far and wide.

ASTLEY OF THE BLIGHTED LAND
HUMAN FIGHTER (DUELIST), LEVEL 4
STR 13 INT 8 WIS 11 DEX 11 CON 11 CHA 10
HP 12 AC 00 ATK +4 FORT 11 REF 14 WILL 13
Dominate 0 HD foes
Iron Will, Knack (Hide in Shadows)
Chainmail, Halberd (1d10), Short Sword (1d6)

Astley comes from a far-away kingdom that was laid low by the fires of a red dragon. Speaking little, he prefers to keep to the shadows when not fighting. Astley is a suspicious man, believing there was a traitor involved in the death of his homeland and family.

ORMSBY THE GOOD
HUMAN PALADIN (COMPANION), LEVEL 5
STR 14 INT 5 WIS 15 DEX 13 CON 13 CHA 15
HP 20 AC 19 ATK +4 FORT 9 REF 11 WILL 9
Detect evil, smite chaos (evil) 3/day, lay on hands, immune to fear, turn undead, quest for warhorse
Dodge, Iron Will
Banded Mail, Shield, Spear +1 (1d6+1), Silver Dagger (1d4)

Ormsby is everything a paladin should be, save for his rather conservative approach to fighting evil. Ormsby is a plodding planner, who often takes his comrades to the brink of madness with his hesitancy to move.

CARLOVAN STRONGHANDED
HUMAN BARBARIAN (PLUNDERER), LEVEL 3
STR 15 INT 9 WIS 10 DEX 10 CON 16 CHA 11
HP 20 AC 14 ATK +3 FORT 10 REF 14 WILL 14
Land speed +10, rage 1/day, sixth sense
Cleave, Two Weapon Fighting
Scale Armor, Short Sword (1d6), Hand Axe (1d6)

Despite his prickly exterior, Carlovan is a rather decent man, though with admittedly little patience for the ways of “civilized folk”. If it were not for taverns, he would have no use at all for entering towns and cities.

ZYBOLT WYRM-BANE
HUMAN FIGHTER (FREELANCE), LEVEL 7
STR 14 INT 8 WIS 9 DEX 12 CON 13 CHA 12
HP 31 AC 19 ATK +6 FORT 9 REF 13 WILL 13
Dominate 0 HD foes, two attacks per round
Alertness, Weapon Focus (Longsword)
Platemail, Shield, Longsword +1/+3 vs. Dragons (1d8+1)

Zybolt doesn’t speak much of his history, but he has the acid scars on his back to prove that he once did battle with a green dragon. He offers no proof that he slayed the beast. He is a cunning warrior with a boundless, though wry, wit and a particular love of hard cider.

GEOFF OF THE SHIRE
HUMAN FIGHTER (ARMSMAN), LEVEL 1
STR 17 INT 6 WIS 7 DEX 14 CON 10 CHA 10
HP 6 AC 13 ATK +1 FORT 13 REF 14 WILL 16
None
Toughness
Leather Armor, Pole Axe (1d8+1), Dagger (1d4)

Geoff is a big country boy, earning his armor by fighting orcs on the frontier. A bit naïve, he is nonetheless a brave and patient warrior with a desire to become better.

HAFNAR THE DOUR
HUMAN FIGHTER (GROGNARD), LEVEL 6
STR 14 INT 10 WIS 12 DEX 13 CON 12 CHA 6
HP 21 AC 16 ATK +5 FORT 10 REF 12 WILL 13
Dominate 0 HD foes, two attacks per round
Cleave, Sunder
Chainmail, Short Sword (1d6), Heavy Crossbow (1d6+1)

Even dwarves find Hafnar unpleasant company. He is unrelentingly bleak in his outlook on life, though fortunately he speaks only rarely, preferring instead to spend his downtime smoking his pipe and staring into the fire. Despite his pessimism, he looks forward to one day building a stronghold and governing a barony.

Six Wicked Witches!

Starting a new series today for the Spooky Season. Below you will find six wicked witches (no, I’m not saying all practitioners of witchcraft are wicked … just that these particular ladies are) you might use in your game. Stats for Blood & Treasure are included.

Enjoy!

Beleve

Beleve is a homey little midwife who operates in a burgeoning village. Short and plump, with curly auburn hair and twinkling green eyes, she is a flurry of activity – everywhere doing everything for everyone is Beleve.

Unfortunately, Beleve is also deeply wicked. She harbors a terrible and irrational hatred of men and the women who attract them. Several of the children she has delivered have been replaced with changelings (demons, doppelgangers, whatever is appropriate for your campaign), and her wholesome stews often contain cunning poisons when they are delivered to villagers who she feels have crossed her (they are often unaware of the cross) or in some way hurt her feelings.

Beleve: Human Magic-User: LVL 1 (Adept); HP 3; AC 10; ATK by weapon -1 (1d4-1); MV 30; F14 R15 W12; XP 100; AL Chaotic (CE); Special – Spells (3/2); Str 7 Int 16 Wis 14 Dex 9 Con 8 Cha 12.

Mabel

Mabel is a morose woman of dark demeanor – she dresses in black, as though in constant mourning, her eyes are downcast, her face slack. She dwells in a small town, where she works with the local thieves’ guild, providing what magical assistance she can in exchange for protection and a small piece of the action. She does more than this, though. Mabel is in mourning – for the loss of her fiance many years ago at the hands of the local constabulary. The death came after he got into yet another of his drunken brawls and took a cudgel to the skull. A small guilt offering was made to the grieving bride-to-be, but it only stoked the flame of revenge in her heart. She will have the baron’s heart in payment for her beloved’s demise, and she is slowly worming her way into the luminaries of the guild as a way of getting it. Despite her grieving face, Mabel remains a beautiful woman, and her tale of woe pulls on the heartstrings. Two thieves have already fallen for her dolorous charms and have sacrificed themselves on foolish forays into the baron’s keep. How many more will follow?

Mabel: Human Magic-User: LVL 3 (Invoker); HP 7; AC 11; ATK by weapon +0 (1d4); MV 30; F14 R13 W12; XP 300; AL Chaotic (NE); Special – Spells (4/3/2); Str 8 Int 17 Wis 11 Dex 13 Con 11 Cha 16.

Gwynever

Gwynever is a bubbly woman with cascades of red, curly hair framing her pretty face and ample bosom and blue eyes so deep they almost count as a gaze attack. Most people thought her a pretty little scatterbrain – warm and wonderful and destined to make some lucky man a very expensive wife – and most folk believe that is precisely what happened. At the ripe old age of 16 she did marry, to a timber merchant in a large town. Ten years later, the blush of her youth still radiates from her rosy cheeks and her husband is now a silk and spice merchant, owner of two merchant cogs and proprietor of the estate vacated by old Lord Pasmere (who took ill and died so suddenly, and sadly after his three heirs died in a freak barn fire). Now, Squire Benthick looks forward to the lord mayorship and maybe an elevation into the peerage – no thanks to his silly, expensive, oh so lovely wife.

Gwynever: Human Sorcerer: LVL 5 (Whiz); HP 7; AC 10; ATK by weapon -2 (1d4-2); MV 30; F14 R14 W10; XP 500; AL Chaotic (NE); Special – Spells per day (6/7/5), spells known (6/4/2); Str 5 Int 9 Wis 14 Dex 8 Con 7 Cha 17.

Cadmina

Cadmina is a woman with a severely beautiful face and calm, almost passive demeanor that, when presented with wickedness and vice falls like a stone to reveal a frightening passion for denouncement and finger pointing. Well known in her town for her simple and goodly ways, she dresses simply despite being the wife of a wealthy man, and speaks simply despite coming from a family once known for its stagecraft and rhetoric. Most people know she possesses a talent for magic, and they know too that she has become a veritable bulwark against evil, her denouncements of people powerful and powerless whipping the population of the city-state into a frenzy of witch burning, despite the admonitions of the Lawful church. What people do not know is that Cadmina is the spawn of a succubus, who seduced her father and brought ruin on her family – a ruin that struck behind the scenes and is generally unknown by people at large. She delights in sewing the seeds of suspicion in her city-state, and has no greater aim than the spread of hatred between neighbors.

Cadmina: Fiendish Human Magic-User: LVL 7 (Marvel); HP 20; AC 10; ATK by weapon +0 (1d4-2); MV 30; F13 R13 W10; XP 1,750; AL Chaotic (LE); Special – Spells (4/5/3/2/1), +1 or better weapon to hit, resistance to fire, magic resistance 10%, +2 to hit and damage vs. Lawful (Good) creatures; Str 5 Int 13 Wis 10 Dex 10 Con 9 Cha 12.

Avira

Avira is a strange woman who dwells in the rugged hills around Kalok’s Bowl – a wooded valley watered by natural springs that is surrounded by granite hills. The hills are haunted by trolls, who avoid their “sister” Avira, the daughter of a green hag by a trader from the valley who disappeared 20 years ago. The people of the valley are farmers who do their best to avoid the notice of neighboring kingdoms. When they’ve no other choice, they send delegations into the hills with gifts for Avira and any troll they might run into. Avira looks like a gaunt, but attractive woman. She brews potions for sale and looks forward to adding to the collection of maidens she keeps chained in her gloomy cellar.

Avira: Fiendish* Human Magic-User: LVL 9 (Wizard); HP 17; AC 10; ATK by weapon +3 (1d4); MV 30; F12 R12 W9; XP 2,250; AL Chaotic (CE); Special – Spells (4/5/4/3/2/1), +1 or better weapon to hit, resistance to fire, magic resistance 10%, +2 to hit and damage vs. Lawful (Good) creatures; Str 12 Int 13 Wis 10 Dex 11 Con 12 Cha 8.

Saphon

Saphon is a glorious, radiant queen who took the throne of a small mountain kingdom after her husband, the lake Duke Elleran, was slain by rebellious hill people while on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Walwick. The Duchess quickly took control of the situation and rallied Elleran’s knights to her cause, though the beloved court magician Aswill was sadly slain in the peasant uprising that followed the duke’s death (an uprising few peasant remember having happened). Since then, many of the duke’s heirs have died in the campaign by malefactors that the duchess’ constable has been trying to stamp out. One now remains, the duke’s daughter Alwisse, from his first marriage. A small body of knights worries over her safety, and might look to foreign adventurers to steal her away from Saphon’s reach.

Saphon: Human Magic-User: LVL 11 (Wizard); HP 21; AC 10; ATK by weapon +3 (1d4-1); MV 30; F11 R11 W7; XP 1,100; AL Chaotic (LE); Special – Spells (4/5/4/4/3/2/1); Str 8 Int 14 Wis 13 Dex 9 Con 10 Cha 13.

Next up … Six Groovy Ghouls

Blood & Treasure Pregens

I received an email a week or so ago asking whether there would be an intro adventure for Blood & Treasure as well as some pre-generated characters. Short answer … yes.

I was initially unsure about producing adventures for B&T. My intention was to make a game that could handle most adventures produced for everything from the original edition to Pathfinder (with more GM work on converting 3rd edition and Pathfinder than the classic D&D products). So, if just about every adventure ever written works, more or less, with B&T, why produce more outside of short adventures in issues of NOD? Well, honestly, because someone asked, and because it seemed like a decent freebie download for the game.

That being said, I’m now working on an intro adventure that will play off of the “sample play” bit in the rulebook. Kobolds, exiled bugbears, goblins, fungus, necromancers, etc. Your typical fare.

I’m also working on some pre-gen characters (see below) – I know, the equipment doesn’t always match the art … c’est la vie. I only bought weapons, armor and equipment required by the class – the players could spend the rest of the money on adventure supplies (a good time to learn about the importance of logistics!)

Celebrating The Dragon – A Challenge

Greg at Gorgonmilk posted some of his favorite covers of the venerable Dragon Magazine, and one of them just happens to be one of my favorites as well. So I got this idea – and I challenge the RPG blogosphere to do the same – find your favorite Dragon cover and write up a brief description with stats. Any era or edition (or any set of rules for that matter) – let’s forget the edition nonsense and celebrate a grand old magazine with a little fun and creativity!

For my part, I give you this little beauty from Denis Beauvais

There was much honor to be had in escorting Mirandra, one of the Vestal Virgins of Nomo, to storied Galardis to reconsecrate the Temple of Vesta in that city, recently uncovered from rubble in one of the ruined precincts. For Keiros the Centaur, it was a chance to cement his reputation as a paladin of the highest water, a reputation he had worked especially hard to establish given the proclivity of his people to drinking and fighting. For Gimwold of the Crooked Staff, it meant a chance to delve into the infamous Librarium of Galardis for the lost tomes of the ancient elves. Neither Gimwold and Keiros trusted the canyon bridge they had come to in the Klarkash Mts, but it was a short span, and the men-at-arms and bearers were already grumbling about journeying through those dark and wicked peaks. It was then that Gigatrikh, wretched scion of the great wyrm Yakh Six-Claw, chose to strike. A nubile maiden was just the thing his hoard lacked!

Gimwold of the Crooked Staff, Magic-User Lvl 7: HP 25; AC 8 [11]; Move 12; Save 9 (7 vs. spells); Special: Spells (5/3/2/1). Str 10, Int 16, Wis 13, Dex 14, Con 13, Cha 13. Speaks Common, bugbear, elf, giant and halfling. Equipment: Staff, darts (3).

Keiros the Juste, Centaur Paladin* Lvl 5: HP 24; AC 2 [17]; Move 12; Save 12; Special: Detect evil, protection from evil, immune to disease, cure disease 1/wk, lay on hands (10 hp), turn undead, destrier, carry 150% more than human, +2 AC vs. grapple and overbearing, attack with hooves (1d6). Str 15, Int 9, Wis 12, Dex 11, Con 12, Cha 15. Speaks Common, centaur. Equipment: Platemail, shield, longsword.

Mirandra the Vestal Virgin, Adept Lvl 3: HP 15; AC 9 [10]; Move 12; Save 13; Special: Healer, spells (2 x 1st). Str 10, Int 10, Wis 16, Dex 14, Con 11, Cha 13. Speaks Common. Equipment: Dagger (dropped).

Gigatrikh, Adult Red Dragon: HD 10 (40 hp); AC 2 [17]; Atk 2 claws (1d8), bite (3d10); Move 9 (F24); Save 5; CL/XP 12/2000; Special: Breathes fire (90′ cone, 30′ at base), can speak but not cast spells.

* The centaur race and paladin class can be found in NOD 1

Tycho Brahe – Warrior Astrologomage!

Man, I love this weird world we live on! Here’s an article on Tycho Brahe, a duelist, astronomer, mathematician (who says fighting-men have to be stupid) and minor nobleman who had a pet elk and dwarf jester who was supposedly clairvoyant (he made is psionic powers roll!). Oh, and Brahe had a prosthetic nose made of gold and silver because his own was sliced off in a duel that may have been precipitated by an argument over mathematics or astrology. Since I would like to believe that every earthbound weird-o from our glorious history has a free, all-access pass to live on in NOD after they slip their mortal coil, how about some game stats!

[Note – edited for a couple great idea in the comments.]

Tycho Brahe, Fighting-Man Lvl 1, Magic-User Lvl 6*: HP 21; AC 9 [10]; Save 10 (8 vs. spells); CL/XP 6/400; Special: Spells (3rd). Rapier (1d6 damage), silver dagger, spellbook, prosthetic nose of silver and gold (worth 150 gp).

Tycho’s Spellbook contains the following spells: 1st – Detect Magic, Light, Read Languages, Read Magic, Sleep; 2nd – Detect Evil, Detect Invisibility, Knock, Locate Object, Mirror Image, Strength; 3rd – Dispel Magic, Hold Person, Lightning Bolt, Suggestion.

Jepp, Dwarf Assassin Lvl 4: HP 16; AC 8 [11]; Save 12 (11 vs. death & poison, 8 vs. magic); CL/XP 4/120; Special: Decipher script, disguise, sneak attack x2, skullduggery, poison, clairvoyance (3/day). Jester’s outfit and cap, pig bladder on a stick, three hidden daggers, vial of mercury (treat as slow poison – save or die in 1d4 days).

Tycho’s Elk: HD 4 (19 hp); AC 6 [13]; Atk 1 gore (1d6); Move 15; Save 13; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None.

Johannes Kepler, Magic-User Lvl 3: HP 7; AC 9 [10]; Save 13 (11 vs. spells); CL/XP 2/30; Special: Spells (2nd). Scholar’s robes, parchment and quills, horn of ink, vial of mercury (was it him or Jepp? Or both?).

Johannes’ Spellbook: 1st – detect magic, light, read languages, read magic, shield; 2nd – continual light, levitate, phantasmal force.

* Yeah, we could make him a sage, but where’s the fun in that.

Below is pictured Uraniborg, Tycho’s stronghold. The gardens are planted with medicinal herbs and flowers. Each of the guard towers is guarded by 4 men-at-arms supplied by his royal patron, men wearing breastplates and armed with pole arms, daggers and light crossbows.

On Urban Adventures – Part Two

Notable Citizens
The only citizens you really need to develop are those that will be sought out by the adventurers or that will come into conflict with the them. This list includes alchemists for potions, armorers for armor and weapons, barbers for gossip and healing, priests for healing and holy water, sages for information, moneylenders for high interest loans, the captain of the guard after the inevitable tavern fight and the city-state’s aristocrats for high-level missions. It is best to detail only one or two of each, since reoccurring characters are more engaging to the players and less work for you.

Alchemists
Alchemists are proto-scientists specializing in the creation of special items. In reality, the world’s greatest alchemists, the Moslems, invented, discovered or improved acid, flaming oil, perfumes, soap, distilled spirits (i.e. alcohol), distilled water, glue (made from cheese), syrups, sherbet, gunpowder, artificial pearls and gemstones, fire-proof clothing and many medicines. They also advanced the arts of ceramics and glassblowing, including the grinding of lenses and perfection of mirrors. In Nod, alchemists are also the source of lodestones, poisons and antitoxins. Alchemists can be hired by magic-users to help in the creation of magic items. A hired alchemist will cut in half the time it takes a magic-user to craft a magic item.

One alchemist in six (and all gnome alchemists) can manufacturing potions and know one alchemical secret:

1. The manufacture of homonculi and other vat-grown creatures
2. The manufacture of alkahest, the universal solvent
3. The manufacture of sovereign glue.
4. The manufacture of aqua vitae (a potion that heals all damage, neutralizes all poisons, cures all diseases and restores lost ability score points)

One alchemist in twenty is actually a low-level* magic-user. Because they work with dangerous substances, 1 in 100 alchemists is insane. Alchemists carry daggers and 1d4 vials of acid and fight as normal men with 1d4 hit points.

Animal Trainers
Animal trainers are capable of teaching animals one trick each week. One in six animal trainers (and all halfling animal trainers) can train monsters and dragons at the rate of one trick per month (with one month of training before the creature is willing to be taught). One animal trainer in twenty is actually a low-level ranger. Animal trainers carry clubs, whips and sacks of treats favored by their pupils and fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points.

Armorers
Armorers are smiths that specialize in crafting, maintaining and repairing armor and weapons. An armorer can craft 25 gp worth of an item per month or repair 25 gp worth of an item per day. Lords must employ one armorer for every 100 men-at-arms they employ and provide for them a forge and living quarters. One in twenty armorers is a level low-level fighting-man. Armorers carry light hammers and other tools and fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points.

All armorers can make leather, ring, chainmail, shields and all weapons. One armorer in six (and all dwarf armorers) can manufacture platemail and masterwork items. Masterwork weapons and armor cost 300 gp more than normal. Masterwork weapons are +1 to hit (but are not magical) and masterwork armor grants an additional +1 to armor class. Elf armorers know how to make elven chainmail.

Barber
Barbers are the medieval equivalent of dentists, surgeons and hair stylists, all wrapped into one. They tend to be talkative and well informed about their community and its surroundings, knowing 1d6 rumors. Additionally, barber’s can provide medical care (i.e. double natural rate of healing) for wounded characters. One in twenty barbers is a low-level bard. Barbers charge 100 gp for medical care, 5 gp per rumor and 1 gp for a hair cut (or 10 gp for the works). Barbers carry shears, jars of leeches and bandages and fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points.

Beggar
Beggars are peasants who have bought their freedom or been thrown off their lord’s estate and forced to make their living in a town or city. Characters may wish to hire a beggar to do some spying (with a 2 in 6 chance of success) or they may buy rumors from them. Each beggar has 1d3 rumors he is willing to sell at the cost of 1 gp per rumor. A beggar’s rumors may not be true and could be a ruse to lure the unwary into an ambush. One in twenty beggars is actually a low-level thief, and 1 in 100 beggars is insane. Beggars carry begging bowls and crutches and fight as normal humans with 1d6 hit points.

Blacksmith
Blacksmiths make and repair metal goods other than armor, weapons and precious metals. Blacksmiths craft metallic objects at the same rate as armorers. In fact, there are a wide variety of smiths, each specializing in working a different metal, with blacksmiths specializing in iron. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll pretend that blacksmiths work with all metals. One blacksmith in twenty is a low-level fighting-man. Black-smiths fight as normal men with 1d6 hp.

Bowyer
Bowyers are craftsmen that specialize in making bows, crossbows, slings, bolts and arrows. Bowyers can produce 25 gp worth of goods per week. About 1 in 6 bowyers (and all elf bowyers) can make masterwork bows that are +1 to hit. One bowyer in twenty is a low-level fighting-man or ranger. Bowyers carry tools, longbows and 20 arrows and fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points.

Engineer
Engineers are learned in mathematics, carpentry, masonry and mining. They are essential for building or besieging a castle, for they alone understand how to build and operate siege engines (catapults, ballistae, etc). One engineer in 6 can build clocks and clockwork creatures. One engineer in twenty is a low-level magic-user. Engineers have charts, maps, sextants, tools and daggers and fight as normal men with 1d4 hit points.

Fence
A fence can find and dispose of stolen goods, including magic items. They have a 5 in 6 chance to properly appraise the value of an item, and a 2 in 6 chance to identify a magic item (per the spell identify), hide in shadows and move silently. Finding magic items for adventurers is difficult, time-consuming and costly, and costs 100 gp per month of searching with a 1 in 6 chance per month of success. One fence in ten is a low-level thief. Fences have hooded cloaks, daggers and have a 5% chance of carrying a magic item. Fences fight as normal men with 1d6 hp.

Guide
Guides know their way around wilderness areas. For adventure groups without rangers, guides are a must. They know about all set encounter areas within 30 miles (5 hexes) of their home. They always know what sort of gear one needs to survive in their wilderness and can use all ranger skills successfully on a roll of 1-3 on a 1d6. One guide in twenty is a low-level ranger. Guides have padded armor, hand axes, longbows, 20 arrows and survival gear. They fight as men-at-arms.

Healers
Healers are capable of providing care that double’s their patient’s normal healing rate and provides them a +1 bonus on saving throws against poison and disease. One healer in twenty is a low-level cleric of a healing deity such as Apollo Helios. Healers have staffs, silver daggers and surgeon’s tools. They are assisted by apprentices (treat as students). Healers fight as normal men with 1d4 hit points.

Herbalist
Herbalists deal in herbs and herbal concoctions. In Nod, they are equivalent to apothecaries. Besides local herbs and imported herbs, herbalists can prepare herbal remedies for poisons and diseases common to the local are at the cost of 30 gp. Each of these preparations (elixirs, poultices, etc.) grants a +1d4-1 bonus to saves vs. disease or poison. Several types of flora are useful to spell casters as potion ingredients. Most herbalists fight as normal men with 1d4 hit points, but about one in twenty is a low-level druid. Herbalists carry sickles and sacks of herbs.

Innkeepers and Landlords
Innkeepers own and operate inns, while landlords own and operate taverns. For our purposes, we’ll define an inn as a building in which adventurers can sleep, drink and eat, while a tavern is a building in which adventurers can drink and eat. Some medieval inns were as many as four stories tall and offered a variety of services including stables and hot baths. Most innkeepers and landlords fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points, but one in twenty is a low-level fighting-man or thief.

Jewelers
Jewelers are smiths that work with precious metals and stones. They work at the same rate as armorers (25 gp per week). Jewelers are also likely customers for precious metals and stones found by adventurers, and they can appraise such items as well as a fence. Most jewelers fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points, but one in twenty is actually a low-level thief.

Lawyer
Lawyers are a must for adventurers charged with crimes in a city-state (unless one wishes to go the bribery route). They are knowledgeable about the laws of their city-state and the personality and quirks of the local ruler, who presides over court cases. Many cases take 1d6 days to come to trial. A skilled lawyer can cut this time in half and has a 1 in 6 chance of getting the adventurer off without a fine, imprisonment or mutilation. Most lawyers fight as normal men with 1d4 hit points, but one in twenty is a low-level bard. Lawyers carry walking sticks (treat as clubs).

Merchant
Merchants own or finance ships, caravans and voyages of discovery. They are among the wealthiest non-noble members of society and are often resented by craftsmen (from whom they have taken power in most city-states) and nobles (who they are rapidly eclipsing in wealth). Merchants are ostentatious in their display of wealth and worldly in their tastes and habits. A merchant’s silver tongue gives her a +1 bonus to reactions. Most merchants fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points, but one in twenty is a low-level bard. Merchants are usually accompanied by a low-level bodyguard and a scribe. Merchants carry long swords (rapiers) and daggers. Merchants can also play the role of moneylender, providing loans for collateral and at a 10% interest rate (compounded monthly).

Nobles
Nobles are born into positions of wealth and authority. They are loyal (at least outwardly) to the monarch of their city-state and are assigned by him to positions at court. Nobles are knowledgeable about courtesy, singing, dancing, diplomacy and law. Most are educated in history and rhetoric. Nobles are usually accompanied by bodyguards (or rakes) and servants. Most nobles fight as sergeants with 3d8 hit points, but one in twenty is a low-level fighting-man. Nobles have platemail (worn on the battlefield), shields, long swords and daggers. Assume that a city-state has one noble family per one-thousand citizens.

Prostitute
Prostitutes are men and women who provide a night’s comfort and entertainment in exchange for coins. Their charisma should be rolled on a 3d6, with their fee being 10 gp per point of charisma. Most prostitutes fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points, but one in twenty is a low-level thief or assassin. There is a 4 in 6 chance that a prostitute works for and is protected by a rake, and thus charges double her normal fee. Prostitutes carry hidden daggers.

Rake
Rakes are professional duelists, hired by the wealthy to humiliate or kill their enemies. When not on the job, they are drunkards and louts, picking fights to show off and test their skill. Rakes fight with long sword and dagger, gaining a cumulative +1 bonus to hit each round (the Referee may want to set a maximum bonus, or may not). They have a base Armor Class of 4 [15] from their long experience at fighting unarmored. Young nobles often surround themselves with rakes, who demand a wage of 200 gp per month. Most rakes fight as sergeants with 3d8 hit points, but about one in ten is a level 4 to 6 fighting-man. Rakes carry long swords, daggers and bucklers.

Sage
The sage is a polymath scholar, a “renaissance man” who dabbles in all manner of scholastics. He is not a practicing scientist; that role is left to the alchemist. A sage spends his time teaching (to pay the bills) and writing. Sages can be consulted to answer questions. Essentially, this works as a legend lore spell and takes 1d4 weeks to accomplish (there is research to be done, books to borrow from other sages, tests to be made, etc). Sages are often accompanied by students (see below). Elf sages can answer questions in half the normal time, but charge triple the normal wage.

Sages demand a wage of 50 gp per week. Most sages fight as normal men with 1d4 hit points, but about one in twenty is a low-level cleric, druid, illusionist or magic-user. Normal sages have a 5% chance of having a spell book in their library, and a 1% chance of having a magical tome (i.e. tome of gainful exercise) in their library.

Sailor
Sailors are necessary to operate a ship. Sailors have a 3 in 6 chance to climb and they have a natural Armor Class of 6 [13] due to their practice at fighting unarmored. Gangs of sailors encountered at night may be press gangs under the command of a sergeant (mate). Sailors are paid 2 gp per month. Most sailors fight as bandits, but about one in ten is a low-level barbarian. Sailors carry hand axes or clubs.

Scribe
Scribes are literate men and women capable of writing. About 1 in 6 scribes is a master who can read and write in several languages, has a 4 in 6 chance to decipher scripts, and is capable of helping magic-users prepare magic scrolls (see alchemist). Scribes might be hired to read or write a message at a rate of 10 gp per page, or hired as secretaries and clerks. Most scribes fight as normal humans with 1d4 hit points, but one in twenty is a low level bard or cleric. Scribes carry writing kits.

Spy
Spies come in every shape and size. They have a 3 in 6 chance of performing the functions of an assassin. To simulate an information gathering mission, assume a chance in twenty of success equal to fifteen minus the level or hit dice of the target. To simulate an assassination mission, assume a chance in twelve of success equal to twelve minus the level or hit dice of the target. Spies charge 500 gp per mission. Most spies fight as sergeants with 3d8 hit points, but one in twenty is a level 4 to 6 assassin. Spies have padded armor, daggers, vials of poison, invisible ink, disguises and false papers.

Student
Students are the children of wealthy merchants and craftsmen sent to study under one or more sages, usually to acquire basic knowledge in reading, writing, history and arithmetic, but sometimes on their way to becoming alchemists, lawyers, priests or sages. Students have a reputation for boorish, even criminal, behavior, spending more time fencing and carousing than studying. Their masters don’t care, so long as their parents kept paying their tuition. Students fight as normal humans with 1d6 hit points. They have rapiers, daggers and writing kits.

Tax Collector
Employed by lords to collect taxes, tithes and other fees, tax collectors are usually accompanied by a band of men-at-arms. A tax collector’s salary is 10 gp per month and 1% of all taxes collected. Tax collectors have a 4 in 6 chance of discerning lies and an uncanny ability to detect the presence of valuables. One tax collector in twenty is a low-level fighting-man or thief. Tax collectors have ring armor, light maces, daggers and writing kits and fight as normal men with 1d6 hit points.

Torchbearers
These poor folk are desperate enough for money to accompany adventurers into the underworld holding nothing but luggage. If their employers so desire, they can be equipped with padded or leather armor and simple weapons like clubs. Torchbearers fight as normal humans with 1d6 hit points.

Traders
Traders are sellers of foodstuffs, dry goods and used armor and weapons. Used armor has an armor class one point lower than new armor, and used weapons are -1 to hit. They sell for one-tenth the price of new items. There is a 5 in 6 chance that a trader has in stock an item that costs less than 10 gp and a 2 in 6 chance of having in stock more expensive items. Traders never have alchemical items or masterwork armor and weapons. Traders fight as sergeants with 3d8 hit points, but one in twenty is a low-level fighting-man or thief. Traders can be found in souks, bazaars, marketplaces and emporiums.

* Low-level corresponds to levels 1 to 3.

Next post will cover taxes, organizations, inns and taverns and temples.