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.


  1. Good stuff - those old DMG tables are capable of spawning adventures by themselves and your ideas have expanded on them B-)