Fences and Dealers

On November 13, 2004, Posted by , In Campaign Workbook, With No Comments

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Upend an adventurer’s loot sack, and one is likely to find tumbling out not only a small cascade of coins but also tomes from a necromancer’s library, filigreed tableware, a handful of sapphires, and flasks of hobgoblin rotgut. How can a battered hero liquidate these valuables and gain the cash needed to pay for the regeneration of his severed shield arm?

While the financial transactions could occur “offstage,” roleplaying such encounters allows the DM to introduce new plot hooks and intriguing NPCs. This entry in the Campaign Workbook details five traders, both legal and illegal, who traffic in exotic curios, arms, gems, rare books, and foreign monies.

Saint Vorgan’s Museum of the Recondite

The curator of this repository of exotica is Malagron Donegal. Finding Malagron in the dim vaults of Saint Vorgaris can be challenging; he has been known to lie in a mummy’s sarcophagus for hours to “really appreciate the finality of the art.” A meeting with Malagron is a mini-adventure: the sarcophagus lid may be trapped (“The poison is still virulent after all these ages?”), a bulette skeleton may animate (“The last time I buy from a necromancer!”), or a map room depicting a miniature City of Brass may suddenly erupt in a roaring wall of fire (“Even a fool knows not to step in the Street of Burning Thaumaturgy!”).

Once the party secures safe audience with Malagron, he is eager to deal. His lust for oddments compels him to buy any objects save loose gems. He spends up to 10,000 gp per month, and if his indifferent attitude is improved to helpful, he pays a 5% finder’s fee above value. With the museum virtually deserted because of its dangerous exhibits, the source of Malagron’s wealth, like Saint Vorgan himself, is a mystery. Some whisper that Malagron’s true clientele are outsiders, others that he discovered a head-size diamond in the helmet of an old plate suit; and still others claim that he is the self-exiled prince of a distant land.

Malagron Donegal, Obsessed Curator

Male Human Expert 8: CR 7; hp 31; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; AC 13, touch 11, Hat-footed 12, Atk +5 (1d4-1/19-20, adamantine dagger); AL CN; SV Fort 42, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 8, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 18, Wis 8, Cha 12

Notable Skills; Appraise +18, Decipher Script +11, Knowledge (arcana) +15, Knowledge (architecture and engineering) +7, Knowledge (geography) +9, Knowledge (history) +18, Knowledge (religion) +11, Knowledge (the planes) +15, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +12, Use Magic Device +12.

Feats: Lightning Reflexes, Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Knowledge—his- tory), Toughness.

Possessions: Adamantine dagger, leather armor, catalog of the museums holdings indexed by room, aura, and year of acquisition.

The Verlakki Brothers

These itinerant halfling triplets park their mahogany box wagon in a city’s low quarter and keep an eye on the fastest escape route. Idriss specializes in arms deals, Aloysius in stolen gems and jewels, and Marcellus in purloined art and illegal magic. All three Verlakkis are abrasive and cruel. They dress in waistcoats and tophats, and they go out of their way to belittle any PC with a low Charisma score.

The Verlakki Brothers begin with an unfriendly attitude; if mollified to indiffer- ent, they deign to buy from the PCs. They can make purchases of up to 5,000 gp per month, but they never buy anything that will not fit inside their wagon. Trafficking with the wanted halflings is risky; there is a 30% chance that the city watch comes sniffing around the low quarter during a deal. In such a case, every PC must roll an opposed Hide check to avoid being spotted and arrested as a Verlakki accomplice.

Idriss, Aloysius, and Marcellus Verlakki, Cruel Fences

Male Halfling Rogue 10 (3): CR 10; hp 48; Init +9; Spd 20 ft; AC 20, touch 16, flat-footed 15; Atk +10/+5 melee (1d6+2/19-20, +2 long- sword) or +14/+9 ranged (1d6/19-20, masterwork light crossbow); SA sneak attack +5d6; SQ slippery mind; AL NE; SV Fort +7, Ref +15, Will +7; Str 10, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 9, Cha 10.

Notable Skills: Appraise +14, Bluff +13, Disguise +9, Forgery +12, Hide +16, Move Silently +10, Search +7, Sense Motive +12, Sleight of Hand +18.

Feats; Dodge, Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Rapid Reload.

Possessions: +2 longsword, +2 glamered leather armor, waistcoat of resistance +2, meerschaum.

The Belled Cat Gallery

Dravinia Ilesereva, a drow, runs this new art dealership. Intelligent and earnest, she wears modest subfusc, but underneath the floppy brim of her sunhat is a radiant face. Accustomed to prejudice from all sides, she is happy to deal with the PCs, gladly buying art objects and eclectic artifacts worth up to 5,000 gp per month.

An opposed Sense Motive check reveals that Dravinia lives in fear. The matriarch of the Illesereva clan has branded Dravinia an apostate of the Vault and put a bounty ‘on her head, If the PCs are ever able to convince the matriarch to forget Dravinia (perhaps by defeating two drow “retrieval” squads), then the expatriate drow can pro- vide the PCs with a map to the Underdark chasm where her grandfather hid his leg- endary chef d’oeuvre, a lapis lazuli mirror of mental prowess.

Dravinia llesereva, Persecuted Business Woman

Female Drow Bard 2: CR 3; hp 12; Init +1; Spd 30 ft: AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12; Atk +0 melee (1d4-1/19-20, dagger) or +2. ranged (1d4/19-20, hand crossbow); SA dancing lights, darkness, fiuerie fire; AL NG; SV Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +4; Str 8, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 17.

Notable Skills: Appraise +7, Blu +8, Diplomacy +12, Listen +8, Perform (string instruments) +8, Sense Motive +6, Spot +7, Use Magic Device +7.

Feats: Alertness.

Bard Spells Known (3/1, Base Save DC 13 + spell level): O—detect magic, ghost sound, mage hand, message, prestidigita- tion; 1st—charm person, identify.

Possessions: Dagger, hand crossbow, leather armor, lyre.

The Earl’s Wife

After two months of marriage, the Earl of Chirlanton was sufficiently irritated by his wife’s harangues (chiefly on the topic of his long hours at court) to order her handmaidens to find the young lady a hobby. After one look at the dashing paladin of Pelor who paid a visit at the handmaidens’ request, Eloise Winters, Lady Chirlanton, had found her hobby: Patroness of Adventurers.

Eloise has more gold than sense, and if the party contains a male with a Charisma greater than 13, she gladly pays 110% of an items value and purchases goods val- ued up to 15,000 gp per month. If the party has no such male, Eloise is still happy to deal with the PCs, although she pays only the standard value of the item.

The danger in dealing with Lady Chirlanton is her infantile covetousness. Eventually, Eloise hears of a fantastically powerful and beautifial itern (say, the Jacinth of Inestimable Beauty) and, accustomed to having whatever she wants, orders the PCs to fetch it for her. If the PCs decline, Eloise is utterly incapable of grasping why the PCs would not do her this favor after she has helped them so much, and she considers it a direct insult She uses her political connec- tions to harass the ingrates with thugs until they acquiesce (use the rogue stats on p. 123 of the Duncron Master’s Guide, Eloise sends four killers equal to the party’s level).

Eloise Winters, Lady Chirlanton, Childish Aristocrat

Female Human Aristocrat 2: CR 1; hp 16; Init +1; Spd 30 ft; AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10; Full Atk +1 melee (1d4~1, masterwork silver dagger); ALN; SV Fort +1, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 8, Dex 12, Con 13, Int 7, Wis 7, Cha 14.

Notable Skills: Appraise +1, Bluff +4, Diplomacy +7, Gather Information +4, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +1, Sense Motive +2.

Feats: Negotiator, Run.

Possessions: Masterwork silver dagger, fashionable tight-bodiced court dress, sequined diary with records of sponsored adventurers and their recovered treasure.

The Moneychanger’s Table

Outside the temple of Olidarnmara, the bald gnome Hugo Verdtubb keeps a table under an awning, He is very efficient and spare; his table has nothing on it but one logbook and two balances. A coffer of coins and a jeweler’s kit rest at his feet, Six hulking men-at-arms fill the rest of the space in Hugo’s shade.

Despite his veneration of the Laughing Rogue, Hugo deals true, He buys fine jow- dry and gems, cut or uncut, at full value, and foreign coins at full value less a 10 percent money-changing fee, Healso advances loans, collecting interest of 20 gp per week per 1,000 gp lent, Hugo maintains very close ties with the local Thieves’ Guild. If the PCs offer him goods pilfered in a non-union job, he may make a Gather Information check (DC 20) to discover that the PCs have been operating, outside the Guild’s aegis. The party can then expect a gang of goons to arrive within the hour to give them a physical demonstration of the benefits of Guild membership.

Hugo Verdtubb, Usurer and Gem Merchant

Male Gnome Expert 4: CR 3; hp 26; Init -1; Spd 20 ft.; AC 10, touch 10, flat-footed 10; Atk +3 melee (1d4~1/19-20, dagger); SA: dancing lights, ghost sound, pres- tidigitation, speak with burrowing animals; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +6; Str 8, Dex 9, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 12.

Notable Skills: Appraise +12, Bluff +8, Craft (alchemy) +4, Diplomacy +12, Gather Information +11, Hide +7, Listen +11, Profession (bookkeeper) +9, Sense Motive +9, Spot +9.

Feats; Skill Focus (Appraise), Skill Focus (Gather Information).

Possessions: Mauve leather armor, dag- ger, jeweler’s lens.

By Frank Brunner
Illustration by Attila Adorjany