Though specific lines of business are given, most of these folks can be adjusted to other lines fairly easily…
1.) Phial Fenning, Unprepared Taverner
“Ale? I’m afraid there’s not much call for it around here.”
A scrawny man with an oversized mustache, Phial Fenning is the operator of the Rich Harvest Tavern, an understaffed public house that serves a variety of expensive cheeses, imported wines, and other luxury foods. For some reason, the Rich Harvest Tavern is perpetually out of stock. Perhaps the adventurers are unlucky, but no matter when they show up, he doesn’t have what they wanted to buy. No one else has ever noticed this strange problem.
2.) Asyard Amara, Used Armor Merchant
“Why this armor was only worn by a little old warrior on Sundays, when he was attending services at the Temple of Ares.”
Asyard is a greasy fellow, as hairless as a toad and nearly as wide as he is tall. The armor he sells has generally been salvaged from the battlefield, and usually shows signs of recent repair. Asyard is accommodating (and very insistent) up to the point of sale, but after it’s done, they’ll be lucky to get the time of day from him. Since faulty armor tends to lead to customers dying, this is generally a self-correcting issue.
3.) Trya Upshella, Proprietress of Travelers’ Sundries
“Right, and with that sword, you’ll need the matching Dagger and scabbard, plus our adornment feature, plus the Reinforced Battle harness, and then of course you need the…”
This large, matronly woman runs a well-stocked shop specializing in adventuring equipment. Her personal mission is to have every buyer leave the shop barely able to move. She will sell ‘package deals’ which generally cost more then the items separately, but she will try to confuse customers with fictional fees and local regulations which conceal the full price. Her motto is “No pack unfilled, no purse unemptied.”
4.) Menook Askar, Apprentice Shopkeeper.
“Sure, those bolts will work great with your shortbow.”
This gangly, pock-marked adolescent works for Trya in her Sundries shop, however, unlike her, he is utterly clueless about the items they stock. Customers may still prefer to deal with him, as he couldn’t care less about selling much product, and if the buyer is savvy enough to help themselves, they may be able to leave the store with their pack not quite full, and their purse a little more then empty.
5.) Stannell Troch, Keeper of the Pure Flame Inn
“Yes, of course they’re welcome! We welcome all sorts here, even those thieving, greedy dwarves and lying, treacherous elves! I’ll have the stable boy clear out a stall.”
Stannell Troch is the master of the Pure Flame Inn, as his father was before him. A judgmental, provincial bigot, he hates his job, hates anyone who isn’t from the local village, and especially hates non-humans. Unfortunately, the truculent innkeeper’s cousin is the Captain of the Watch and several of the senior guardsmen served in the levy with him when he was younger, so they tend to side with him in any quarrels with strangers.
The Pure Flame Inn is located on a prominent trade route. It’s also the only inn for miles, so avoiding the place would cost most travelers an extra day of journeying. To avoid the inconvenience, most travelers just grit their teeth and try to ignore the inn’s poor service, high prices, and Stannell’s verbal abuse.
6.) Evnard Astara, Bladesmith
“And look at this fine blade! Note the skilled (if I say so myself) tooling on the quillions! What? You see a notch on the blade? Hmm, one of my apprentices must have dropped it. I will have him flogged! Yes, that does bring the price down a bit..”
Attractive and trim, Evnard is a skilled bladesmith. Unfortunately, he is quite lazy and as a result, he accepts and resells stolen weapons. These are often refurbished to hide their origins and sold as new. He does not advertise this fact, but if player characters attempt to sell him ‘used’ items, he is not going to be terribly picky. If they win his trust (what there is of it), Evnard may even be their doorway to the darker side of the city.
7.)Vlense Chazer, Horse Breeder
“A mere sell-sword could never appreciate the full virtue of these glorious animals! Look at his conformation; such symmetry! Such grace! This is no mere destrier; he is fire and air incarnate! Do you see the fine tone of his muscles, the perfect line of his neck? I thought not! It is obvious to me that you have little appreciation of true equine beauty.”
This pudgy, balding horseman has an encyclopedic knowledge about his thoroughbred offerings and lets no-one forget it. Unless the customer has a similar passion for horses, he can expect sarcastic treatment from the arrogant horse master. If they can match Vlense’s knowledge of horseflesh, he may be willing to offer a better price, but if they seem ignorant, the breeder may inflate his prices just to avoid selling one of his precious thoroughbred destriers to a buyer who wouldn’t properly appreciate it.
8.) Annatha Sirini, Verbose Bookseller
“Why yes, I believe we do indeed have that title. This edition was penned in the Vlana Scriptorium by the Tuien order of monks. Did you know that they only scribe volumes using inks derived from the Hasuthanian Squid? An interesting beast, that squid, for its ink is highly noxious and serves to repel virtually any creature which lives below the waves. The process the Monks use to address the rather distasteful odor is quite involved and has at least fourteen steps, the first of which being…”
A small, mousey woman with lank hair, Annatha is very similar to Vlense Chazer in her comprehensive familiarity with her subject matter (She may even be more knowledgeable than he!). Unlike him, however, she simply loves to provide information to people. Those that tolerate her long-winded discourses can expect reasonable prices, but anyone who is rude or who cuts her off will find themselves paying through the nose.
9.) Ranale Tyrmunk, Leather Goods Merchant
“You drive a hard bargain, Sir, but I cannot possibly let that wonderful belt go for any less then three gold sovereigns! Note the wondrous leather tooling! Surely you would not wish to insult the craftsman who made that with such a paltry sum. Please, take another look: I’m already making a sacrifice, letting it go!”
Ranalet lives for the deal. He will relentlessly haggle the best price possible, trying to sell as much as he can. He has numerous ploys that he unleashes on customers unwilling to pay his inflated prices, such as signaling a relative to feign interest in the same item as his customers are eyeing, or having his wife come in to scold him that his children have no decent shoes. He is skilled at bluffing and deception, and in another life, might make a top-notch lawyer.
10.) Ornaby Methwick, Desperate Fruit Monger
“Are you sure you don’t want any Allanda fruit? Please, I’ll cut you a deal! I really need to make this sale, or the tax collector will close me down and throw me into debtor’s prison, and then my daughters will be sold into slavery….”
This scarecrow-like man operates a well-stocked fruit stand and is always tying to clench a deal as if his life depended upon it. He will whine and beg, saying he needs money to pay for protection, cover his taxes, settle his dead wife’s medical expenses, et cetera. Unlike Ranale Tyrmunk, he actually is in dire straits: His desperate attempts to make a sale may be interrupted by burly thugs harassing him about his debts. Unsympathetic characters who refuse to buy anything may see the unfortunate man pilloried in the town square on the following day.
11.) Jeth Mornicker, Inflexible Herbalist
“Nope. I can’t help you there. Twenty pieces of silver and not a farthing less! It’s a price, not a suggestion.”
Tall, lanky Jeth Mornicker is a rather impatient merchant. He takes great pains to provide high quality herbs and finds dealing with the growers troublesome enough: He won’t tolerate any haggling from his customers. The best way to deal with Jeth is pay what he asks without argument. Customers will find that over time that they may get a little more for their money in larger amounts provided, small ‘freebies’ etc. This favour will evaporate for months should they subsequently attempt to haggle with him.
12.) Galder Morstruck, Carpet Vendor and Collector
“Yes, I do have a rug in red, it’s over here underneath the bronze Parthienian Globe. No? How about this one - let me move the Ablavian platemail - there we go. Isn’t that the finest… No? Well, let’s look in the back room. I’ve got a couple more there, though I’ll have to move the Starien Wall Shield to allow you a proper look.”
This odd man is unusually tall and his features could be most generously described as skeletal. His rug shop is cluttered with odd items of all descriptions, most of which bear no relationship to rugs. Curios, furniture, arms, and many other items may be found here: Galder enthusiastically describes these items to visitors, ignoring the shop’s carpets. He really does not care very much about rugs; the business was inherited from his father. Galder is willing to purchase all manner of odd items, but can only offer a fraction of their market value.
13.) Regin Cotesworthy and Gilles Pavinel, Managers of the Red Gryphon Haberdashery
“Good Sir Knight! My associate and I are so pleased to finally meet you! A distinguished gentleman of such stature: We have JUST the robes you should be wearing! Don’t you agree, Regin?”
“Indubitably, Gilles! I think the velvet robes would look SO distinguished on him!”
A potential customer can barely enter the door of their shop before these two obsequious merchants will be attentively waiting upon them. Armed with fawning flattery, these servile salesmen will wax eloquent about how stylish and elegant the customer looks when clad in their wares. With looks of distaste at the battered and unfashionable garb often worn by adventurers, they will politely offer to have the customer’s previous attire given to charity.
14.) Unvaldr Gallorran, Agent for Red Company Imports
”If you want men to guard your caravan cheaply, you can find bruisers in the local tavern. If you want your goods to get through without trouble, you’ll need to hire my people.”
This burly old condottiere now runs an import and shipping company, entirely staffed by members of his old unit. These grizzled mercenaries have retired from their previous rootless lifestyle and now make their living transporting luxury goods between cities. Unvaldr has a reputation for being a ruthless bargainer, able to squeeze the last shilling from a contract.
The men of the Red Company depend heavily on their reputation as bloodthirsty mercenaries to deter local brigands from harassing them. In the few instances when arrogant or uninformed bandits have attacked their caravans, the Red Company has sponsored retaliatory expeditions to eliminate the threat. If rumor is true, some members of the Red Company aren’t above “tipping off” local bandits about competitors’ travel plans, hoping to steer trouble their way.
15.) Arguman Thann, Capricious Alchemist Extraordinaire
“NO potions for you. SIX Months! Now go!”
With a mercurial temper, this easily-angered alchemist tends to ‘cut people off’ from his wares for varying periods of time for real or imagined slights. This is unfortunate, for Arguman produces potions of utmost quality and charges reasonable prices. An artist among his demanding craft, he already has enough money that individual sales do not overly concern him.
16.) Oppan Lantmar, Blacksmith and Ironmonger
“WHAAAT? SPEAK UUUUP!”
Assaulted eardrums and a face full of garlic breath are the side effects of dealing with the walking mountain called Oppan. With no concept of personal space, he talks a lot and loudly. Part of this may be explained by his near-deafness, caused by years of pounding iron, but those who know him say he’s always been that loud. Determined to be helpful, Oppan does not believe in allowing customers to wander his cluttered shop unassisted: All one can do is hope another customer will come in to distract him.
17.) Carl Longwood, Paranoid Cobbler
“I know your type! Keep your hands where I can see them!”
Perhaps this mouse of a man has been burgled one time too many, or simply fell on his head once too often. His store is filled with alarm bells, locks, and chains. Anyone entering his shop will be watched suspiciously by the grouchy cobbler and his burly apprentice. If they act suspicious in any way, they will be told to leave, and even thrown out by his apprentice, if necessary. It is a little odd, given that he is the only cobbler in town, and stolen shoes would need to be adjusted for proper fit.
18.) Adnair Shonepate, Dealer in Spellstuffs
“If you think these crystals are pure, you should come upstairs with me, miss. I have set aside the finest crystals for my… special customers.”
A paunchy man with an unsettling way of staring at women who enter his shop, this prosperous merchant has a monopolistic license from the Wizard’s Guild as the only local supplier for several exotic materials needed for common enchantments. While he has a fine selection of magical paraphernalia, he uses his position to press his unwanted advances upon any women that have to deal with him. If he were not well connected within the Guild, his noxious lechery would have put him out of business long ago.
19.) Fetzenatz the Foreign, Saddler and Leatherworker
“Why Thank You very muchly kind sir for your order to give… Have be very happy assist for you!”
This well-meaning fellow is always hard at work in his shop, crafting some of the most beautiful and well-designed leather goods in the area. Unfortunately, his grasp of local languages is marginal at best, so attempting to purchase anything can be quite frustrating, as he repeatedly misunderstands what is needed and how much the customer is willing to pay for it. Occasionally, he has his five-year old daughter, Amia, translate for him, but he prefers not to, as he is trying “for to learn speaks Common Tongue good now!” Customers who become frustrated and raise their voices may find themselves dealing with his sharp-tongued wife, Gosla. While Gosla is no more proficient in the Common Tongue than her husband, she is quite able to communicate her opinions of anyone who is rude to her husband.
20.) “Uncle” Gralbold, Dealer in Rare Antiquities
“Look at the fine details! This piece was once possessed by the Wizard Ramogoth, who used it to speak with the spirits of the dead…”
This tall and stooping man has a remarkable collection of exotic goods and antiques, many of which have strange auras or ominous histories. Secretly serving a dark power of evil, “Uncle” Gralbold’s dusty trove of exotic treasures includes a number of items that he has acquired from rather sinister sources. He is very understanding and flexible if someone can’t afford these rare goods, often suggesting “alternative” means of payment, such as completion of a few simple tasks or errands. Those who deal with Uncle Gralbold may not realize the harm caused by their actions until much later.
21.) Marian Markan’s Discount Elixatorium
“Sure, good sir, it might have caused some minor facial abnormalities, but remember how much you saved!”
A large, boisterous woman, Marian Markan is a seller of alchemical preparations, potions and the like. She has both regular priced items and a large assortment of cheaper items of rather dubious quality. She tends to have the best selection of both premium and ‘B-Grade’ items, but has the unfortunate habit of occasionally mixing up her stock…
22.) Veld Mortimer, Garrulous Stableman
“There we were: Facing the Sharu Horde across the Grey Wastes. Captain Gorbran kept saying, ‘Steady boys, steady..’”...
The Head Ostler of Raed’s Livery Yard, Veld is a retired cavalryman more interested in swapping war stories than in helping his clients. Those willing to indulge his rambling anecdotes will enjoy better prices than those who insist on doing business right away. Visitors who aren’t in a hurry may discover that the man’s longwinded tales can be very informative: In his many travels, Veld’s unit seems to have fought with nearly every hostile group on the continent.
Veld truly knows horses and is glad to help visitors find mounts of superior quality, as long as they seem to appreciate horses. He can spot a horse’s weaknesses in seconds, and insists that any horses in his care are properly treated.
23.) Treb Nurlmach, Ship Chandler
“Listen you - either buy something or by the Abyss, get out!”
Treb looks more like a heavily tattooed street tough then a merchant. His personality would be best described as surly. The store is actually a front for a criminal ring and has is operated by the local thieves’ guild. Treb was found to be an unreliable (clumsy) thief and so was ‘volunteered’ to act as the storekeeper. He does need to provide a quota of sales back to the guild, but he resents being forced to act as a storekeeper, so he puts minimal effort into the job. He is insulting, sarcastic, and could not be bothered to haggle.
24.) Calilia the Fair, Mistress of Calilia’s Tailored Attire
“That’s marvelous! Where was that bandit? Why, I remember when my personal friend, Baroness Trebuch, had an affair with a dashing highwayman! He gave her the most remarkable magical presents!
This ravishing young woman is perhaps the most skilled couturier in the realm. One of the few clothiers able to craft attire suitable to be enchanted, she considers herself a personal friend of many of the land’s most influential nobles. Unfortunately, she is a terrible gossip, and readily shares intimate information as she adjusts hems and marks needed alterations. Despite her indiscreet nature, she has a gift for putting people at ease. Many of her clients find themselves relating confidences that they’ve never shared before.
25.) Brother Belden “The Bull”, Keeper of the Shrine of St. Lucia
“Milord, surely you would not consider traveling without bringing some of the holy relics of the blessed saints with you? Why, I knew a man that was captured by the wild pagans of Trolwald, but thanks to the holy thimble he carried, they did him no harm! A man carrying sacred relics is sure to be protected…”
An impressively-muscled man clad in monastic robes, Belden is possibly the most well-informed and determined salesman of holy relics that the church hierarchy has ever seen. He will endless extol the holy virtues of his shrine’s impressive collection of sacred bric-a-brac, doing his best to ensure that visitors are aware of every miracle and blessing ever conferred upon a traveler by such marvelous items as the Teeth of St. Dissam or the Sandals of the Celestial Alariel. Reverent silence is not an option in this aggressive man’s shrine.
26. “Silent” Catho, Farrier of Few Words
To call this non-descript man ‘quiet’ would not do him justice. New patrons may think he is mute: All of his services are clearly priced with pictorial panels on the wall. When asked, he will point to the appropriate panel. He will not speak unless it is absolutely necessary, and perhaps not even then. Many villagers speculate about his silence. Some think he swore an oath, or lost his voice to fairies. What the truth is, none but Catho could tell, and he won’t.
27.) Sahrii Astensia, Superstitious Merchant-Mage
“Wait! You need to properly mollify the Red Spirits before you handle that item, sir! No! Don’t touch that! You’ll draw bad luck upon us all! Augh! Now you’ve done it!”
Sahrii is an exotic woman with long black hair and dusky skin. She is also exceptionally superstitious; oddly so, since she is a dealer in magical wares of all descriptions. One quickly gets the impression that she is terrified of her own wares and she takes inordinate efforts to ward off ‘bad luck’. What meager magical abilities she may possess are ineffective at averting curses, but she places more faith in her superstitious nostrums and charms than in true spells, in any case.
28.) Festiva Throck, Sinister Procuress
”I’m afraid that the lady you requested is not available this evening. There is another lovely young lady available; I’m sure that you would be more than satisfied with her.”
This charming and attractive older woman acts as madam for the House of the Marquis, a small and run-down brothel. While the place seems unsavory enough, it is actually a front for an even more unsettling group: A grim cult led by the charming Festiva. Those brought into this depraved cult can be expected to be brainwashed into committing degrading acts that make their brothel seem tame by comparison. Festiva is one of the driving forces behind this depravity and doesn’t hesitate to abduct more “recruits” if an opportunity presents itself.
29.)Yust Marden and Xak Murch, Printers
“I’ll have to check with my supervisor on that, sir. He’ll be back on Tuesday. Next Tuesday.”
The True Word Printers hold the monopolistic right to print anything in the city, and have the most advanced printing equipment available. While the shop is nominally under the supervision of Yust Marden, very few people have actually seen what Yust looks like. He is supposed to be running the place, but instead leaves his assistant, Xak, to mind the operation. Unfortunately, Xak, a portly, red-faced man, is apparently quite useless. He can only manage the simplest of tasks: If anything significant is needed, he will claim that he needs to consult with his boss. However, his boss is ‘away on business’ and it will be a few days or weeks before he can consult with him.
In truth, Yust is a narcoleptic drunk with important relatives, and can generally be found in one of the back rooms, either drinking, passed out, or having a nap. Xak is more competent then he lets on, so if sufficient bribes or physical threats are made, needed projects can actually be completed.
30.) Mistress Aelfwynn Sternlace, Dealer in Maps and Scrolls
“Of course we have the maps you require, sir. In fact, we have a recently updated map of the area, one that includes all the information of the older map and is quite a bit less costly.”
Mistress Aelfwynn is a matronly scribe and cartographer, a gracious lady who acts as an agent and broker for several of the scribes and scholars in her community. Characters dealing with her will discover that she has a talent for planning ahead: Aelfwynn will often have maps and information that her customers will find helpful, and if she doesn’t have what’s needed, she knows how to get it. Well informed and courteous, Aelfwynn stocks a well-chosen selection of maps and other informative documents, selling them to travelers, merchants, and members of the gentry. In the cramped workroom that doubles as her shop, she also encourages her visitors to munch on delicious cookies she bakes herself, so even those unable to find the perfect map or informative scroll get a pleasant snack.
Additional Ideas (1)
"Welcome, welcome children. How can old Humbert help you today? . . . Protection against fire-breathers, eh? That reminds me of the time young Faravold fought that dragon up the coast a bit, nasty business. Now where were we . . . ? Fire-breathing, yes, yes! Let me just go get a few extra things from the back . . . (many minutes later). Oh! Didn't know I had visitors today. . . . Who were you again?"
A retired wizard of some reknown, Old Humbert manages a small enchanting business that provides for his few needs and little more. He is extremely absentminded and has horrible short-term memory, a combination which ensures that his business will never be very profitable. Humbert will often miscast orders ("fire-breathing" instead of "protection from fire-breathing"), double-enchant something if he forgets that he has already done it, and even add in extra things that the customer hasn't asked (or payed) for. On some days, he is fortunate to be helped by his adolescent granddaughter, Elsie, who is fiercely protective of the old man. Any extra coin he does manage to scrape together usually goes into buying small gifts for her.