A few weeks ago we went through, stall by stall, the Medieval Market map from Dramascape to illustrate how to use the upcoming Insta-NPCs #10: Caveat Emptor product. But I really didn’t do more than glance over the process, so I want to rectify that now.
In this example, we’ll use a traditional fantasy world with both monsters and men wandering free. I’ll just walk through all the steps with some dice to see what I end up with.
- Who? Monster
- Purpose? Buyer
- Product? Food – Hot
- Success? Total failure
- Transport? Caravan
- State of Mind? Guilty
- State of Completion? Not quite done
- Descriptor? Street
Let’s walk through this information and see what we can do.
We’re dealing with a Monster who’s attempting to purchase some hot food in the market. We could take this as a human being who has done some monstrous things (perhaps he’s set a village on fire, killed someone in cold blood, or likes causing pain in others). But instead, I’m going to approach it as though we have an Ogre wandering the market looking for dinner. Depending on the market, this could be something completely normal or totally out of place. In this case, I’ll say the market has seen his kind before and survived, so they’ll treat it with caution but not be overly alarmed.
His goal of finding a hot meal has so far been a complete failure, but he’s not done yet so he’s still holding out hope. Maybe it’s almost closing time and all the food vendors are out of their supplies for the day. Maybe none of the vendors have liked the look of this giant humanoid and have chosen not to sell to him. We’ll go with that one. That also goes to one explanation for why he feels guilty. He understands these folks not wanting to deal with something like himself – he’s big, mean-looking, and armed to the teeth. He’d be cautious too.
But he still has hope!
With the “caravan” angle, we discover that he got here as part of a caravan in the area. I’m guessing he was hired as muscle to help keep it safe and this is his night off, so he thought he’d get a hot meal instead of eating more cold rations. He grew up on the streets of a big city and understands how these places work as a hive of activity. He’d be surprised if word hadn’t spread that he was stalking the market in search of some trouble…
Using the Example
So now that we have this lovely specimen after a hot meal in the market, how might we go about using him?
I can come up with a few ideas:
- He might run into the party in a tavern who isn’t as picky about the clientele. If the PCs are particularly giving, he may tell them that his caravan is looking for a few more guards for the next leg of the journey if they’re looking for some work.
- He might get into a scuffle in the market when some intolerant customers or stall owners decide they don’t want his kind around here. The PCs might just happen to be in the vicinity and be able to help either side of the struggle.
- If the PCs are known to some of the vendors in the market, they may approach them to convince the ogre that their market isn’t the place he should be looking for a meal.
The ogre may turn out to be a friend or a foe depending on what side of the equation the PCs fall on, but that’s up to them. And this is just ONE NPC that I created in about 10 minutes.
If the PCs are visiting a market, I might go through and create a stall owner for each of the vendors as well as a few customers they may bump into. This provides not only a richer environment for the players to explore as their PCs, but might tease out a few plot points to explore as well.
Hopefully this gives a little more detail about how this product could be used to help in your game preparations. I have been using this particular process quite a bit in a recent campaign as well as using it to help populate a crazy market I’m working on for the Lost Age campaign.
Right now this product is aimed squarely at fantasy worlds, but with only a few revamped tables it could be used with a science fiction or even modern setting quite easily.
(Looking for the other examples? Check here.)
What do you think? Any questions? Comments?