Thursday 23 December 2010

Old School Christmas

As the day is nearly upon us, and as I'm unlikely to be posting on the 25th, here is a little treat for you all: back in 1971, an animated Christmas Carol was made that still stands proud amongst the multitude of imitators since. I like this one because of the thoroughly retro feel to its animation, bringing to mind the original Victorian illustrations and with more than a hint of Gustave Dore's cityscapes.

I'd like to raise a glass of port to you all this Christmas; 2010 may not have been the best of years for the world but I'm glad to have all of you as followers and hope that I can offer you many months and indeed years of reading. My best wishes to you all and to all your friends and families.

And now, the movie:

Sunday 5 December 2010

Hooks and the City - part 4

Street entertainers (1d12)

1. Fortune teller
2. Juggler
3. Dancing animal and handler
4. Illusionist doing weird colours in the air
5. Tumblers
6. Fire eater
7. Singer, sole
8. Singers, choir of, female, very harmonious
9. Singers, choir of, male, deep baritone
10. Conjurer, doing tricks with cards, balls, pigeons etc
11. Knife thrower and assistant
12. Mystery play

Street traders – 1d20

1. Clothing – second hand. May have some degree of infestation
2. Clothing new – might have been stolen.
3. Boots and shoes
4. Jewellery – cheap
5. Jewellery – mid-range
6. Artwork – good quality engravings and prints
7. wines and spirits
8. perfumes and cosmetics
9. books – various subjects
10. Charms and religious items – a slim chance that there is a +1 amulet of protection in there somewhere
11. Fruit and vegetables
12. Bread and cakes
13. Folk medicines – as with the fortune teller, the buyer takes a chance.
14. Livestock – chickens, caged birds, mice, rats, cats, dogs. Cattle and sheep would be found at market
15. Meat, cooked – sausages, ham, etc.
16. Herbs and spices – if in a rich area of the city, they will be the genuine article, if in a poor area, they will be an admixture of some genuine and mostly dried and chopped leaves
17. Fortune teller – may be bogus or genuine.
18. Pies
19. Drink – alcoholic
20. Drink - non-alcoholic

If food, then check the following quality table (-1 from die roll if in respectable neighbourhood, -2 if in very well-to-do neighbourhood)

1. Excellent quality
2. Very tasty – might like another one of those
3. Good, you’ve had better
4. Fair – worth the price you paid
5. Passable – you feel as if you’ve been cheated
6. Chewy – that won’t stay down long
7. They must have scraped the mould off that one
8. Has probably passed through more than one digestive system


The party will encounter one of the following trades

1. Apothecaries
2. Armourers & Brasiers (armour-makers and workers in brass)
3. Bakers
4. Barbers (also surgeons and dentists)
5. Basketmakers
6. Blacksmiths
7. Bowyers (longbow makers)
8. Brewers
9. Broderers (embroiderers)
10. Butchers
11. Carpenters
12. Chandlers (candle makers)
13. Clothworkers
14. Cordwainers (workers in fine leather)
15. Curriers (dressers of tanned leather)
16. Cutlers
17. Dyers
18. Farriers (shoers of horses)
19. Fishmongers
20. Fletchers (arrow makers)
21. Girdlers (girdles and belts as clothing)
22. Goldsmiths
23. Loriners (stirrups and other harness for horses)
24. Masons
25. Mercers (general merchants)
26. Needlemakers
27. Pattenmakers (makers of wooden clog-style footwear)
28. Plaisterers (plasterers)
29. Plumbers
30. Poulters
31. Saddlers
32. Salters
33. Scriveners (writers of court letters and legal documents)
34. Skinners
35. Tallow chandlers (Candle makers)
36. Upholders (upholsterers)
37. Vintners
38. Wax Chandlers ( candle makers)
39. Weavers
40. Wheelwrights
41. Woolmen (winders and packers of wool)

The tradesman will be either Master (25%) , Apprentice (55%) or both (20%). They may be

on their way to a business meeting, either with buyers or suppliers,
at their business premises,
going to their premises
coming from their premises

It may also be that if an apprentice or apprentices are encountered, they may be fighting with apprentices of another trade. There is often great rivalry between the trades and these fights sometimes end in death. The city authorities, keen to keep trade where it belongs – i.e. in the city – will not wish to be too zealous in prosecuting those who are responsible for such deaths.

Wererat – beneath the city, in the sewers and catacombs that honeycomb the earth, there is a war going on between the wererats and a band of weretigers or werecats who are hunting them. This battle has consequences above ground too, as the weretigers have been hired to sort the rats out by a group of city dignitaries and the rats have the backing of the thieves’ guild who use their services for travelling through the sewers and spying etc.

Weretiger – a female weretiger has been captured in tiger form and the collar she’s been fitted with is trapping her in this form. She cannot change back. Her mate is in the city to try and find and free her but she is in the process of being sold to a rich noble’s menagerie and if he doesn’t find her soon, her mind will be completely animal by the time she transforms again.

Werewolf – he has entered the city to try and find a sanctuary where he can get cured of his curse but temples are turning him away and he is feeling very tempted by some of the more evil attractions that the city has to offer.

Werewolf 2 – lycanthropes are a powerful clique within the city (valued for their virility and strength), and it is a great honour to be selected to join them. Their needs are catered for and they have their own quarters and privileges, bestowed by the authorities in return for service in defence of the city. The party may see someone being dragged away by two furry looking types and weigh in to rescue them, unaware that the victim is a volunteer and the werewolves are town dignitaries.

Wight – the wight is in fact a former dungeon-delver who was cheated, robbed and left for dead by his comrades and when he recovered, he was trapped inside a tomb complex under the city. He eventually starved to death and now the former party comrades are now being stalked by a creature of the night and are being picked off one by one.

Will O the Wisp – in the slum area of the city, the waste produced by the population is dumped in a huge tip. Scavengers and tip dwellers pick over the refuse in order to find something valuable that might have been overlooked. In areas, the ground has become boggy and treacherous and some denizens of the waste tip have come to an agreement with a will o the wisp that it lures wanderers to their death and feeds on the life force and the tip dwellers then plunder the body.

Wraith – this undead spirit is bound to a particular object by a curse (painting, sculputre, etc) and whoever owns it falls victim to it. The wraith needs a specific number of souls to free itself and is only 1d12 short of that number. The object has a particular occult cachet and is highly sought after by those who have a penchant for such things.

Vampire – a group of vampires lurk in a crypt beneath an ancient building, to which they have been driven by the actions of clerics and paladins over the years. Now, the city wants to knock down the building and redevelop. The vampires want to either stop this or, if such is not possible, relocate somewhere that they are not likely to be disturbed again. The party can take either side of this particular battle. As an added complication, it may be that one of the vampires is sufficiently old that they have knowledge of a system of traps in a dungeon below the city and someone wants to use that knowledge. But how do you torture a vampire?

Lich – some of the would-be lich’s followers are trying to find ingredients for the spell that will cause him to become a lich and are busy preparing the lair where he can live on in peace. Robberies at various apothecaries and magic shops are starting to attract attention but those sent to investigate have vanished without trace (they’ve probably been turned into mummified guardians to serve the lich)

Odd things that happen in taverns (1d12)

1. A wandering minstrel doing a gig in the tavern starts to sing a song and slowly, everyone at every table joins in – except the party, who don’t know it.
2. A man at a nearby table has what appears to be a tiny glowing creature with wings in a golden cage. He can make it do tricks, to the great amusement of all who watch – except one member of the party who can hear a voice inside his head begging him to help the creature.
3. One table in the tavern is always empty and newcomers are told not to sit there. It is the table where a much-liked party of adventurers sat regularly before they vanished one day, never to be seen again. Then one day, the party in question does come back – but as horribly decayed walking corpses, still bearing the marks of whatever killed them. And all the regulars except the party are delighted to welcome them back, seeing them as they were when they left. Why?
4. Above the fireplace of the tavern is a large mirror. Whichever of the party passes it first will notice that it reflects everyone else in the tavern – except them.
5. A young child wanders into the tavern with a box of trinkets, moving from table to table, asking if anyone wants to buy. As she arrives at one table, one of the occupants undergoes some sort of apoplectic fit, staring at the child in horror, screaming for her to keep away and then falling to the floor, frothing at the mouth and soiling himself. He then begins to rant in an unknown language before being dragged out by his friends. The child is visibly upset but then comes over to the party’s table.
6. A card reader is doing the rounds and asks the members of the party if they’d like a reading. Her cards begin to make rather accurate revelations about the party’s activities.
7. During the evening, when the tavern is packed, a group of strolling singers come in and begin a set that includes some old folk songs, a love ballad and a rousing, if bawdy piece. One of the young women will wander round the bar singing and sitting on the laps of one member of each table. At the end of the set, the singers pack up to leave, at which point the young woman will make a beckoning sign and all those who she selected for her attentions will rise and, zombie-like, follow her out of the tavern
8. As the party walk into the tavern, the landlord’s cat, which is sitting in the bar, arches its back and hisses at them with a mixture of fear and hatred.
9. Each time the party ask for drinks and food, the waitress or landlord brings one more helping or tankard than there are members in the party. When asked, she or he gets confused and can’t understand why they did that.
10. While the party are drinking, two members of the city guard come into the tavern and proceed to nail up a wanted poster that is for a member of the party.
11. One evening, while on their way to their regular tavern, the party is bothered by a mad old gypsy woman who begs them to take a cheap and tawdry amulet. She tells them that it will protect them from what is coming. Whether they take it or not, when they get to the tavern, they will find that the innkeeper greets them by different names, serves them different drinks, seats them at a different table. To each other, they still look the same but a glance into any mirror shows that they now have different faces, possibly different races and different genders. If they took the amulet, did it do this or has it protected them from being completely transformed? And if they didn’t take it, would it have prevented this from happening?
12. While playing an innocent game of cards or dice, one of the party gets a lucky streak going that will soon result in accusations of cheating.

Friday 3 December 2010

Hooks and the City - part 3

Noble 2
He has a proposition for the party –he is taking part in a tournament in front of the great and the good of the city and needs some easy opponents to beat to make himself look good. He is willing to subsidise any cure spells or other such magic that the party might require after the fighting and will split any purses he wins between himself and those he beats. He is not concerned with the money, merely the prestige and fame.

Paladin – two paladins have come to the city on an important mission for their church but there is a problem. The elder paladin is mentoring the younger, who has recently converted after being a member of an evil cult for quite some time. Having seen the light, he views his mission as one of both atonement and purification of the realm from evil; he is a good deal more militant and zealous than he might need to be. The elder paladin is perhaps a little resentful of the job of mentor that he has been handed. He would rather be out there using the force of good to bring light to the dark places and slaying evil. In truth, his church has given him this role because they feel he needs to develop himself and a life of slaying was not doing that. As well as resentment, he is also keeping a very watchful eye on his young protégé as he is suspicious of backsliding and at the back of his mind, he thinks “once evil, always evil.” So the seeds are there for some very un-paladin behaviour. Add to this combo the presence in the city of some members of the cult that the young paladin once served, who would love to bring him back to the dark side and the stage is set for some very interesting machinations.

Paladin 2 – a young knight comes to the party with a request. He is the last in a long line of knight, the title of which has been handed down father to son and his father, recently died, has entrusted him with a mission. One of their ancestors is a restless spirit because his death was by decapitation and the body was buried without the head. The family has always made it a personal quest to try and find the head, which they have finally done, although it caused the death of his father. Now he has the head, it is his duty to reunite it with the body and settle the unquiet spirit. All he knows is that the body is buried in a catacomb somewhere under the city; he has a few clues but apart from that, nothing.
All, alas for the party, is not as represented. The knight is in fact hungry for power and the head is the final piece of a skeleton that he is sure, once it is reassembled and blood poured over it – the blood of the party, of course – will regenerate into a powerful demonic entity that will surely reward he who has brought it back to life. He genuinely does not know where the rest of the bones are kept.
He will feign charity, kindness and gallantry – after all, the only thing that matters for him is finding the tomb. If it helps, he can have a medallion or amulet that projects a false reading for Know Alignment spells.

Paladin 3 – a young apprentice paladin, who is not yet qualified, comes to the party to seek their aid. His master has vanished in the city several weeks ago after coming there to find a particular character and the apprentice is getting very worried.
In truth, the paladin in question has been captured by a vicious gangster who had recognised the worth of his captive, and has treated him horribly, removing both his legs and one arm and blinding him as all he wants is to use the lay on hands and cure disease abilities that the paladin has. This horrific state of affairs will run and run until the party manage to track him down and rescue him.

Passers-by and street happenings

1. A random passer-by will stop and ask for directions – if the party can provide them, he blesses them in a foreign language. For the rest of the day, their die rolls are improved by one.
2. Three men are struggling to unload a huge earthenware jar from a cart before carrying it into a house. As they do so, one slips on a patch of mud and the jar drops to the ground and smashes. What’s inside? Something dangerous or something interesting?
3. A woman screams from a loft window of a house overlooking the street, then climbs onto the windowsill and jumps. Halfway to the street, she vanishes. A sinister looking man peers out of the window and makes a gesture of frustration, then darts back in again
4. A passer-by will drop something and carry on up the street as if he had not noticed
5. A passer-by will stop at a shop window and peer in. As he does so, a scaly tentacle will slither up out of the collar of his tunic, look around and then slither back again. No-one else seems to notice.
6. One of the party is tapped on the shoulder by a very shifty looking man who holds out the member’s purse and says “You dropped this, sir”. If the party member checks the purse, it’s all there.
7. As the party turns a corner into a wide street, there is a huge roar of an excited crowd and a surging mass of people comes hurtling towards them, kicking some sort of inflated pig’s bladder from one person to another. Each pass is greeted by hoarse-throated approval from the crowd - then the bladder lands at the feet of one of the party.
8. A passer-by, caught out of the corner of the eye, resembles very much someone that one of the party members wants to see. By the time they realise, the passer-by is rounding a corner and will no longer be there. The party member will catch sight of them again, peripherally and briefly, several times over the next few days. What’s going on?
9. A heavy cart with iron sides and bars at the window is waiting outside a house. The driver is getting edgy and glancing round. Suddenly, two very muscular men come out of the house with a beautiful woman wrapped in chains. As she is being loaded into the cart and the doors locked, she calls out to one of the party by name, pleading for help.
10. A white horse appears from a side street and begins to follow the party. It has a saddle and bridle but no rider. If the party take rooms at a tavern, it will wait in the stables. No-one seems able to mount it as it becomes violent if anyone tries.
11. In a crowded street, a man comes running past the party, fear on his sweat-covered face. As he passes them, further down the way he has come, passers-by begin to burst into flames and die horribly.
12. Livestock stampede as animals escape from a market pen.

Peddler – he has sold what appeared to be a minor trinket to someone who was robbed – the trinket found its way into the hands of a master thief whose fence recognised it as very valuable indeed. They now need to find the peddler and work out where he got it from. Did he steal it or did he acquire it honestly and if so, from where?

Pilgrim – a group of pilgrims has received a vision that their god or spirit has manifested itself within a living person and that person happens to be one of the party. For a while, they will be besieged by adoring worshippers who are only too eager to do anything for their new idol. However, what the party does not know is that part of their religion is that the god’s holy blood must be shed in the correct way to ensure that the earth is made fertile again. And they’ll get very cross if anyone tries to stop them

Pilgrim 2 – a street corner marked by a simple bloodstain is now the focus of pilgrimage by two rival groups of religious devotees. They have fanaticism and weaponry and both are feuding over access to the site, interpretations of the martyr who died there and how best to honour his memory. There’ll be more blood before this is all over. The city authorities are trying to keep a lid on it but repressing it could stoke ethnic tensions.

Press Gang – they’ve shanghaied a group of wastrels amongst whom is someone whose father or guardian is very powerful and has enlisted supernatural aid to recover said person. The press gang are very nervous now as they are caught between this hunter and their own employer (probably a very tough gang boss) and they have worked out that they need to get rid of one of their captives but don’t know which one (they daren't let them all go)

Rake – this young city buck has debauched himself so much that he has come under the influence of a demon or devil who has allowed him seemingly eternal life and youth as long as he can keep the souls coming. The more innocent and pure the soul that he can provide to his new master, the better. However, he has now found a spark of conscience and wants to save the latest pure soul that he is in the process of damning. The demonic master will not want someone so effective to slip through his fingers, so getting the rake out of this one is going to take some doing.

Rake 2 – a young sybarite has discovered the delights of a new drug on the market and is introducing his chums to it. But one of them goes into a cataleptic trance and sees horrible things coming to get them. The drug is in fact connected to an extra-planar creature that is now out for revenge on those who harvested the drug, those who sell it and those who use it.

Rakshasa – one of these has arrived and has hired itself out as an enforcer to a minor gang boss. Under its tutelage and with its help, the minor gang boss is gaining in strength and threatening to upset the balance of power in the city with all the chaos that will ensue. The rakshasa will enjoy playing one gang off against another to try and cause the maximum chaos possible and promote evil.

Ranger – there are two rangers in this hook – an older male ranger and a younger female ranger. The female ranger was captured by orcs at an early age and used as a brood mare to produce half-orcs, bringing human strengths into the orc gene pool. The male ranger rescued her after killing many of the gang that had captured her and after helping her to recover her humanity, trained her as a ranger apprentice. She eventually parted company to strike out on her own but remained on good terms with him.
He started to feel his age, getting older, slower and more of a danger to himself. Parties of adventurers passed him by, he was injured on several occasions and eventually realised that his action days were gone. However, he was approached by a group of city nobles who wanted to use his services as a hunter and provider of exotic meats and to capture animals for the nobles’ private zoos. So down on his luck was he that he agreed and has grown used to the soft life.
His former apprentice, now a fully-fledged ranger has discovered what he’s been up to and has decided, with reluctance that he must be stopped and the nobles punished in case they continue their bad deeds. She has voyaged to the city to deal with the problem. She is tough, strong and rather beautiful but a creature of the wild and so needs a way to carry out her mission and not give herself away before she can fulfil her vows.

Ruffian –
What’s the ruffian up to? 1d12

1. Stalking
2. Menacing
3. Bullying
4. Threatening
5. Escorting
6. Fighting
7. Picking on someone
8. Enforcing a protection racket
9. Vandalising
10. Shouting obscenities
11. Evicting someone
12. Running away

Spectres and Shadows

A large mansion in one of the more well-to-do areas of the city is in a run-down state; the gardens are overgrown and it is clear from the condition of the place that no-one ever goes there. The party may wander past this and think Hmmm… If they decide to start investigating, they will find that their efforts earn the swift attention of some city guardsmen who eject them quick-sharp. If they investigate further, they will find that the house has a very bad reputation, even amongst the city thieves, who have declared it off limits for safety’s sake.
What happened was that the city government, a number of years back was involved in experiments in magic and ritual to create a unit of warriors with supernatural powers to give them the edge in a war that was going on at the time. It all went horribly wrong and the scene of the experiments was sealed off – the cellars and passages under the house. The rituals has opened up a portal to one of the hells and consumed the personnel down there, leaving their spirits as undead, spectres and shadows. The clerics of the city managed to seal the exits but knew that anyone who got down there would be hunted down and consumed by the evil spirits. The spectral remains of would-be thieves and looters also haunt the cellars, mournfully warning of horrible fates for those who try to investigate.


Rookeries – these are derelict buildings that have been turned into places where gangs of thieves can shelter in reasonable safety and use them for storing their ill-gotten gains. They will be suitably trapped and guarded, and have bolt-holes into the local sewers and catacombs. They may even be booby-trapped to collapse once the thieves have scarpered. Only a small percentage of the occupants will be thieves of higher than 1st level – although they will all have some small skill in thieving abilities.

Pickpockets – tend to work a crowd. They will be either children or adolescents, and will work a distraction/snatch/transfer scam, with a crowd of urchins waiting to mob the victim and prevent them from giving chase.

Burglars – if encountered during the day, they will be either casing a joint, possibly on their way to offload stolen goods or just drinking or hanging out with other members of the thiefly fraternity. If it is at night, they will be on their way to a job, committing a burglary or making a getaway. There is a chance that they have been detected and will be leaving the scene at very high speed.

Con men – usually occupied in setting up a scam or carrying one out. Almost always, they will be mistaken for someone else; if the party is very new in the city, the con man may select them to be the mark. They may try to sell fake treasure maps, fake artefacts, bogus magic items with Nystul’s Magic Aura, etc.

Fences – they will often use a bogus antique shop as a front for their dealings, although the shop will have a back door to a network of alleyways, a shaft into the sewers or catacombs and traps aplenty. They will also know a forger or two who can provide provenance for any stolen goods they acquire.

Street robbery – a bit like pickpocketing but more violent, the perpetrators will be older, burlier and armed, mostly with clubs and hammers but maybe one per gang with a knife or short sword.

Captured thief – a pickpocket is apprehended dipping a victim, a burglar is identified and dragged off by the watch, a mugger is pursued by a hue and cry.

Spiv – you’re in a tavern, having a drink and there he is – pushing hooky gear and casting furtive glances over his shoulder. But what’s he selling?


1. Counterfeit clothing
2. Paste jewellery
3. Stolen jewellery
4. Stolen artwork
5. Forged artwork
6. Fake wines and spirits
7. Dodgy perfumes
8. Copied books
9. Fake treasure maps
10. Bogus magic items
11. Charms and religious items
12. Something valuable – they don’t realise it’s worth anything until after the party has bought it.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Hooks and the City - part 2

Another big serving of city-based hooks for you today. I confess that I ran out of inspiration for harlots - they all got a bit samey after a while, so I've taken out the lame ones. I hope that there's something in here for everyone.

Giant rats
Giant rats in the sewers have begun to ingest waste material from the magic user’s guild and are now becoming more intelligent and forming a kind of culture below the streets, complete with weird writing, a basic religion and primitive artwork. They have a rat king, who is blind and mad but also a seer, whose visions have a habit of coming true. He has recently seen omens of an apocalypse and his followers have started to hoard food and other items in anticipation thereof.

Goodwife – she may either be gossiping, going shopping, cleaning house, cooking, tending the family animals, passing the time of day with the neighbours. There is a 20% chance that she is in fact a widow and might see one of the party as a suitable spouse.


Slovenly trull
A serial killer is preying on the dregs of harlotry and one of his accomplices is posing as a trull to lure more to their deaths. They are using the dead for their organs or blood and are making horrible undead creatures out of this. The prostitutes are terrified of the killer, who may well have supernatural abilities but cannot stay off the streets and have scraped together what little they have to try and hire someone to catch the killer.

Brazen strumpet
She has got ideas above her station and is now flaunting herself in a respectable neighbourhood. The goodwives of the area have got together to try and get rid of her. However she is not what she seems and now the goodwives are going missing.

Saucy tart
She likes a sailor and has had several over the past few days whilst a ship’s in town. Through payment by one of the sailors, she is now in possession of something that the ship’s captain needs for sailing (maybe the ship’s lucky charm or talisman) and he needs to find her. A rival captain is also out to get the talisman, either to get the good luck or scupper that of his rival.

Expensive doxy – this woman started out as the trophy wife of a rich businessman but when he died, it was found that his debts were massive and she was sold to a madam who hired her out to her husband’s former business rivals. She managed to get enough cash together to hire an assassin to kill her owner and now lives the good life, dividing her time between the richest men of the city. She will have nothing to do with the party if they are poor or low level but if they have wealth and influence, she will set her cap at the one with the highest charisma. Nevertheless, her history means she has enemies and they might try to get revenge while she’s with her latest victim.

Haughty courtesan – she is serving the needs of a nobleman of the city but worries that she is starting to lose her edge and is very suspicious of all young ladies who catch the eye of her man. She has sought the aid of dark powers and they have agreed to help her, firstly giving her youth in return for her soul and secondly assigning an invisible stalker to despatch any girls who the courtesan gets edgy about. She is, however, rather paranoid and starts seeing what isn’t there. This means that girls who are no threat to her are meeting grisly ends. The nobleman is getting rather alarmed that this trail of death seems to be leading to him and is determined to ‘safeguard’ his courtesan. He has therefore decided to enlist the aid of adventurers to find out what is killing the girls and why.

Aged madam – is having problems as two of her girls have disappeared overnight. No-one saw them leave and all their belongings are still there. One of their clients has gifted them with jewellery as a token of his esteem (he may have stolen it from a temple of darkness way below the city); this jewellery opens a portal to a plane where demons drink the souls of humans and the girls were sucked into it, whereupon the portal closed.

Wealthy procuress – she has been asked by a mysterious and rich client to find him a particular girl who was sold as a slave to a noble of the city. She is trying to track the girl down but this is likely to trigger alarm bells for the noble in question as the girl is the daughter/sister of a man that he had ordered to be killed in order to further his quest for power. If the man is still alive, it means that his men tricked him, or made a mistake. Also, it means that he is going to be made to suffer before his inevitable end (unless he can get out of it in some way). Either the party can be hired to protect him or they may be used as pawns by the avenger himself.

Sly pimp – this man seems to have whatever people want but how does he do it? Easy – helm of telepathy, that’s how. He selects a target, homes in on their deepest thoughts, searches his list of contacts for someone who can provide it and then sets up a honey trap that lures the victim in.

Rich panderer – he was hired to supply girls to a group of young bucks and the money was good. However, tales of their sadomasochistic games have started to percolate through the city and bodies have been found in horrific states of injury. The panderer wants to get out but the young bucks have good protection from the great and the good and they want their supply of victims to continue.

Illusionist – he is selling mirrors that create dark duplicates of their users; the duplicates also suck all the aggressive, assertive and decisive qualities from their victims who become weak, ineffectual and helpless as a result.

Where’s that labourer going?

1) Building
Temple, house, mansion, palace, underground cellar, tunnels, military job, new ship

2) Demolishing
Temple, house, mansion, palace, underground cellar, tunnels, catacomb, stripping out old ship

3) Refurbishing or repairing
Sewer tunnels, run-down mansion, derelict house, haunted temple, crumbling tower, military job, warehouse, dock, renovating ship

4) Loading
Carts, ships, goods into warehouse, masonry onto building site, mysterious packages into house,

5) Unloading
Carts, ships, goods from warehouses, personal belongings into carriage, statuary,

6) Clearing
Rubble, old statues, boxes, crates, carpets, curtains, paintings, antiques, magic user’s equipment, alchemist’s equipment,

7) Dumping
Timber, rubble, crockery, glassware, hazardous waste, barrels, crates, chests, coffins, body parts in bags,

8) Clocking off

What type of labourer? (1d10)

1. Carpenter
2. Joiner
3. Bricklayer
4. Stonemason
5. Plasterer
6. Plumber
7. General groundworker
8. Blacksmith/ironmonger
9. Excavator
10. Demolition

They will not be skilled tradesmen (q.v) but the muscle of any firm.

Magic User – the apprentice of a powerful magic user who was recently blown to bits in a duel with a rival or some mighty monster has swept up the bits and put them in an urn and is taking them off to a cleric to get a resurrection spell done. To make sure that news of the magic user’s death is not broadcast far and wide and gives succour to his enemies, the apprentice has decided to pose as the magic user and is rather pleased with the fear and respect that this gives. However, said enemies are always out to try and kill the magic user and the apprentice may well become a far easier target to eliminate now.

Magic User 2 – a group of apprentices have been given a task by their master in order to see who gets extra training and possibly advancement to 1st level – they must seek out rare and difficult material components of various spells and are allowed to use any methods to do so.

Mysterious lady
The party are walking the streets one night when they hear a scream and moments later, a young lady runs out of a side street, pursued by several heavies with clubs. She hides herself behind the party and the heavies, deterred by the presence of others, leave, but keep a watchful eye on the party. The lady is dressed in clothes that seem very old fashioned, centuries in fact, and she is very beautiful but when asked who she is, she replies that she does not know and cannot remember anything before a few minutes ago when she was being chased by the heavies.
The lady in question has only been alive for a few minutes. She is in fact a classical sculpture that was brought to life by a lovestruck young man who has now made himself scarce. The heavies work for the owner of the sculpture and believed that the lady was involved in trying to steal it.
The owner wants the sculpture back and will try to get the lady and reverse the spell. The young man wants her for his own. As the lady’s unofficial protectors, the party needs to consider what to do and how to resolve this problem. The newly-animated sculpture knows nothing of the world and the ways of it other than speaking.

Mercenary – a mercenary commander approaches the party. He has a problem which is this – his armourer ended up in prison following a drunken night out and there are only a few days to go until his unit ships out. He’ll hire the party to obtain as much armour as they can by fair means or foul. After all, in a few days, he’ll be gone.

Mercenary 2 – this mercenary has been careless with the unit funds and word has got out. He needs recruits of any calibre to ship off to a war somewhere and wants the party to help him dragoon wastrels and drunks into some semblance of order so that he can collect his bounty and scarper.

Mercenary 3 – following the collapse of negotiations regarding their latest contract, a band of mercenaries are stuck outside the city with nothing to do. Therefore, some of them have slipped into the city and are now trying to stir up some sort of quarrel or civil disturbance by provoking the more hot-headed elements inside the city so that they can then be hired to sort it out.

Merchant –
A merchant has, unbeknowingly, come across a ruin or some such wherein can be found a large collection of exquisite statues that he knows a city art collector would love to buy. He has worked hard to set up an auction, private viewings, etc, to drum up interest in his sale, and now everything is in place.
However, recently, he has had several strange incidents – a couple of attempts to capture him, one attempt on his life, two attempted break-ins. He suspects a rival art merchant or a collector and wants to hire the party to provide security for his goods and track down the guilty party.
The truth is that the collection of statues is in fact the result of an encounter between a group of frightened refugees and a medusa, who stalked them when they took shelter in her lair. She later moved on to pastures new, leaving the victims as statues until they were found by the merchant. The families of the victims had hired hunters to track them down and they followed the trail to the ruins, where they found two statues left which they restored to life. They then followed the trail onwards and realised that the merchant had taken the rest. Now they need to get the statues back (preferably undamaged) and will deal harshly with anyone who tries to stop them.

Monk – the last of a monastic order has returned to find his abbey looted and the altar stone and other pieces taken by a rich collector. He sets off to recover them. Bound to the stones by spiritual forces are the ghosts or spirits of other monks. Wherever the stones have stopped, people have died horrible deaths and now the stones have arrived in the city to be delivered. It may be that the collector either wants to put them on display (which will be an opening night to remember as the doors slam shut, lock themselves and everyone starts dying) or he may have them built into the fabric of his new city mansion. The monk on the quest is a peaceable chap who just wants the stones back and is violence-averse. However, the rich guy will send thugs to work him over if he shows his face and so the party is either required to steal the stones or to protect the collector from spectral forces.

Monk 2
An exile from the city, cast out many years ago, has built up a following of tough monks and clerics who followed him as a guru and sensei. Now he has died and his followers have his last wishes to be buried in the city, right where a powerful cult/noble/merchant has built their house/temple/mansion.

Night Hag – on a recent job, a master thief broke into a derelict house with access to a subterranean vault wherein lies a skeleton. Now he’s getting horrific nightmares and is convinced that it’s to do with the loot he’s taken. Unfortunately, the house is now the residence of a band of robbers and thieves who have followed a trail of clues to the vault and have broken in only to find that it’s already been looted. They are on the trail of the master thief, he’s desperate to get the stuff back to the vault to stop the nightmares that are in fact the doings of a night hag who has fastened onto him for an entirely different reason.

Noble – a member of a family that has just lost a vendetta against a rival family is thirsting for revenge. He tries to persuade the party to get involved on his behalf, promising them much if he regains power but what he has neglected to tell them is that his family ran the place like the Borgias and no-one wants to see them back. And anyone who works for them is guilty by association in the eyes of the public.