This is the second in my series of Downtime Activities. Today I feature allies for a Mage Guild. Check out suggested Mage Guild rivals here
- The janitor Jon Greenlake (commoner/m/human/55 years old/unranked). Jon has been the mage guild’s janitor for 10 years, a position given to him by the head mage after Jon lost his left arm and right-hand fingers in an accident that may have been the result of poorly packed shipment of alchemy fire headed to the guild. Jon may take a an interest in a character who is kind to him.
Assets: Keys to every single room, including any sort of ‘forbidden’ areas. Not only can he offer access to any part of the guild to a friend, he can also retrieve items. In addition, he has overheard a fair share of gossip and ‘secret’ meetings during his cleaning duties.
- Erwel Fenwick (cult leader, but with any good alliance (change the spells as you see fit)/f/half-elf/70 years old/Owl). Erwel mainly hangs out in the Owl Restaurant scarfing down oysters while flipping through library books. However, she also loves tea and cookies and can be found in the coffee shop in the morning and mid-afternoons. She doesn’t enjoy traveling herself, but loves to hear adventuring stories.
Assets: As an Owl, Erwel can help her friends move up the rungs quickly. She often will ask younger guild members to help with her research by verifying information she reads in her books, or provide her with the ingredients for spells. She is on good terms with Gweneth Fireiron, and can use her influence to soften any animosity Gweneth may hold against a fellow guild member.
This is the start of a new series of posts I plan to do which focus on downtime activities. First up is suggested rivals for a Mage Guild:
- The head librarian Gweneth Fireiron (archmage/f/dwarf/300 years old/eagle) has been head librarian for the past 150 years, and part of the Mage’s Guild for the past 250 years, and doesn’t like new mages who think they can rise through the ranks quickly. It took her 75 years to reach eagle status, so she doesn’t see why anyone else has to be in such a rush.
- Goal: To keep things the way they have always been.
- Assets: As a voting Eagle and head librarian, Fireiron has great influence on who gets promoted to higher levels and who has access to the library (yes, a member’s rank entitles them to access, but sometimes certain areas might need cleaning or Gweneth might be out to lunch).
- Actions: Fireiron doesn’t have any kind of master plan, but she will oppose any PC who tries to rise too quickly and will need persuading to vote for them. If the PC annoys her, she may limit their access to the library or get other mages to vote against them.
- Gavin Frostfields (acolyte/m/human/17 years old/member) joined the Guild a few months ago as its youngest ever member. He’s always been good at everything he’s done, so he doesn’t know what it’s like to fail. He instantly resents anyone who criticizes him or gets in his way. If it weren’t for the fact he’s so good at magic, he would probably be kicked out. He’s determined to make it to Eagle in record time, and resents anyone who ‘shows him up.’
- Goal: To be the darling of the Guild
- Assets: Although only a Member, his grandfather, Harold Frostfields, owns a very profitable liquor wholesaler and is sponsoring him. His grandfather has also bought a small Inn in town, The Lonely Pelican, which he lets Gavin ‘run’ (in reality, Harold’s employee runs it). The Inn is very popular and well-run, making Gavin very popular.
- Actions: If Gavin thinks someone is getting more attention than him, he will try to sabotage them. Perhaps by buying off people who would otherwise help that person or sending bandits to make things difficult for the rival.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been busy preparing for a Curse of Strahd campaign so I haven’t been posting here as much. Then I realized I should be sharing the resources I made! So here are some random Vistanis. They are grouped into family units/wagons. The point of these NPCs is to allow diversity without getting bogged down in details. Vistani tend to be Chaotic Neutral.
The Dalcas. Wagon is painted purple with green flowers.
- Stanimir: 50 year old man with beard and light blue eyes. Father of Damia and Ratka. He works with Madam Eva to bring adventurers into Barovia, hoping they will somehow lift the Curse.
- Damia: 18 year old woman with feathers braided in her hair. She does not know if she believes her father that one day adventurers will break the Curse. She is fond of birds and can sing to them. She and her brother don’t get along.
- Ratka: 18 year old man and Damia’s twin. He has a pierced nose and dark, curly hair. He and his sister got along well until she told him she doesn’t believe the Curse can be lifted. He believes this to be blasphemy.
- Rosa: 50 year old wife to Stanimir. Good cook. Daughter of Pyotr Sala. Recently, she’s been riding in her father’s wagon as he is very old and needs more help.
The Funars. Wagon is painted in dark pink and yellow stripes.
- Bela: 26 year old woman. She is fat and loves jewelry. She even specializes in trading jewelry for the trope – usually setting up a small table when they are in lands outside Barovia. She and Lee got married at age 16 and have been in love ever since. They quickly (some say too quickly) had a baby.
- Lee: 28 year old man. He is very skinny, hates exercise, and doesn’t even like wine. He is very kind, though, and attentive to his children. Sometimes other Vistanti secretly refer to this couple as “The Prats,” but neither Bela nor Lee know this.
- Baby Karol: 6 month old boy, constantly drooling.
- Tara: 10 year old girl. She doesn’t show much interest in jewelry making and instead plays the flute. She’s unusually good and often warms up crowds with her sweet music.
Continue reading “Random Vistanis”
Wisdom Tree City has always existed, nestled on an island where two mighty rivers pour into the ocean. Every hundred years or so the Goddess Weeps, as the natives say. The two rivers swell, merge into one, and overrun the city. After they retreat, they leave behind a thick sand burying everything except the peak of the great magical library, The Wisdom Tree. The citizens return and rebuild. The library grows taller. Probably no one would bother settling here if it weren’t for its position of a great port, a natural magic aura, the library, and the mines.
The Wisdom Tree stands in the middle of the city, its roof so high it seems to scrape the sky. Underground, floor upon floor descends so deep that no one knows where it ends. Side passageways split off from the main tower and meander through the city’s sand-filled ruins like the roots of a tree. The library’s ancient magic prevents any mud from leaking through and keeps the air circulating at the perfect temperature.
Mine tunnels built by prospectors also twist through the ruins. Every miner hopes to find valuable artifacts from forgotten times, but few do. Most arrive in the city poorly equipped and many perish digging through the ruins. In the upper mine tunnels, petty thieves, transients, and the desperate take up residence in the relatively safety. More sinister criminals live in the mid-tunnels, planning heists and waiting to prey on lost miners. Only the bravest dare venture to the deepest levels where unknown monsters lurk in the dark, and the most valuable artifacts wait.
But by far the most popular attraction for common folk is the Aquatic Arena, a giant stadium built in the middle of the bay where teams compete in impressive water battles. No expense is spared. Warriors clash on top of exotic sea monsters captured from the Far Seas. Gnomes command huge whirling machinery, slicing through the choppy waves to tear apart their opponents. Wizards using the latest magical discoveries dart across the arena, easily passing from the sky to under the water, painting the battle with the bursts of spells. Continue reading “Wisdom Tree City”
A good ghost has a good background, but it can be hard to think up a background on a spot. Here is a list of backgrounds to help.
The Lost Lover: A young woman who ran off away with a sailor, only to be sacrificed by the crew to appease the sea gods when a storm hit.
The Rising star and Fans: A famous singer and his audience who died in a theater fire.
The Time Traveler: A wizard who wanted revenge on his father, but accidentally went back too far and committed the murder before he had been conceived.
The Accidental Tourists: Sightseers who died when their touring carriage accidentally entered a desert pocket dimension with no way out.
The Informer: A barmaid who got caught buying illegal drugs. She became an undercover informer for the City Guard to avoid punishment, but the drug gang found out and had her executed.
The Tortured: Not even after they shoved needles up her toenails or held her over burning coals would she tell them where she had hidden the Book of the Moon.
The Lost: A party goer who got drunk, entered the catacombs on a dare, and never found her way back out.
The Falconer: A woman who trained and piloted giant falcons, but was eaten by her own Red Eye. Continue reading “Ghost Origins”
Today’s inspiration is two variations of a mermaid with stats for Dungeon World and Pathfinder. One is inspired by the Amazon River Dolphin and the other my own invention, a small mermaid suited for life in streams and brooks.
A woman washes her clothes near the river when a splash of water catches her eye. She barely misses the sight of a pink tail disappearing back into the muddy waters. The washing board drops from her hand as she turns to run, but she slows to look over her shoulder and catch the eye of the handsome man now standing on the shore.
Making their home in deep rivers and lakes, rivfolk possess the most magical abilities of all aquatic peoples. At night, rivfolk can turn their tails into legs; rivmen use this ability primarily to seduce human women. Some even believe that there are no rivmaids, and that the rivmen depend on human women to continue their species. All rivfolk act as guardians of the river they live in and will drown those who seek to harm it. Continue reading “Aquatic Peoples of the Brook and River”
An adventure prompt for Halloween! This is slightly darker than I usually like to write, but it is Halloween. Hope you enjoy it and please let me know what you think in the comments.
The cold floor seeped through her dress, through her skin, through her muscles and came to rest in her bones. She waited for It to start again. The clawing, the screaming, and the pain. The door squeaked open, a figure slipped in.
“Hold out your arm.” Continue reading “Contessa Moldred’s Mad Winery”