Jason Sholtis made my week by drawing a just-perfect character sketch of Glamdalf (that's him above), one of many NPCs of escalating weirdness that appear in Fever-Dreaming Marlinko. It reminded me that I have been sitting on this list of “out-take” NPCs that didn't make it into the final draft.
Given that petty crime (especially small-scale grift) is a widespread, popular pastime in that strange little borderlands city, many of the following are likely to be in the annoying nuisance category of urban NPCs.
[Oh also I done got interviewed about the Hill Cantons by Jack. Check it out here.]
Roll a d10 (if you must)
1. Radko the Ruffler. 0-level Man-at-Arms. Leather Jack, tattered uniform surcoat, sabre. Approaches a Fighting Man and claims to have been a veteran in the Kozak Wars. Claims to be looking for honest work or a donation to get him through a hard time. If hired on, he will split at the first opportunity, stealing an item of value from the party.
2. Havol the Hooker. 0-level combatant. Padded, polearm. Hp 4. Despite the name Havol is not a prostitute but instead has gained his underworld nickname by using his long, hooked polearm to grab hang lines of clothes, spring open second-story shutters and commit other pole-related crimes.
3. Poor Tomas the Ubra-man. A second level mountebank. Hp 5. Feigns anxiety disorder claims that it prevents him from fulfilling seed money for a wilderness expedition and is now financially destitute. Carries an Ubra-stick, a white-painted staff that signifies a former patient/indentured servant of the Ubra work camp for the mentally ill. Will ask for specific amounts of alms money (5 gold and 2 silver), offering rumors and gossip (true and useful at first but increasingly more fanciful and far-fetched as he runs out of info). Will pretend to have a panic-induced heart attack if ever confronted.
4. Bedka the Bawdy Basket. First-level thief. Leather jack, hand axe. Hp 3. A matronly, rosy-cheeked pedlar of kitchen ware. She bribes servants to steal items of value from the townhouses of their patrons.
5. Petr, Prigger of Prancers. Second-level thief (stealth skill 4). Leather jack, lasso, sabre. Hp 10. A wee, bow-legged, skilled horse thief, Petr will approach the party either as means to off-load stolen horses (giving deep discounts of 40-50% off the listed horse price or as marks to be stolen from.
6. Janos the Jarkman. Forgerer of papers. He can knock off 200-400 gp worth of inducement fees (bribes) to Marlinko or contrada authorities by filing mountains of official-looking falsified paperwork. Takes a commission of 30% from any cash saved. He's backed by One Armed Jiri and any attempts to cheat or otherwise metaphorically fuck him will suffer retribution from his semi-criminal society.
7. Zela the Inflicted. 0-level woman-at-arms. Half plate (AC:5), spear, sword, large container of tallow soap. Hp 2. High strung, fidgety with deep black bags under her eyes, she will offer her services as a hireling. While earnest in trying to pull her weight, she will panic when asked to individually take on a task even half-dangerous. Discreetly soaping up her face, she will feign an epileptic seizure in such a case.
8. “Whipjack” Wahlo. 0-level man-at-arms. Studded leather. Trident. Hp 5. Broad-shouldered, black-skinned (literally) and barely speaking the local tongue, Wahlo is a shipwrecked sailor from the Scarlet Sultanate. He is quite anxious about his “papers” (forged by Janos above) and being picked up by the local authorities--and is sadly ignorant of the Overking's law granting free right of passage to distressed mariners. Manipulative PCs could wheedle him into serving at a pittance of the hireling rate. A patron however who informs of his legal rights and undue worry will gain his near-fanatical loyalty and gratitude.
9. “Upright Man” Uli. 3rd level thief. Leather, quarterstaff. Hp 15. Though dressed in a threadbare and patch-covered doublet, grey-haired Uli is almost stately in countenance. Uli has a finger in every small scam or theft below Jiri's interest. All on this list owe him a favor, the women owe their hearts and the petty criminals owe him grudging fealty. He may be persuaded to intercede in trouble with any listed here—for a fee.
10. Frazalina. Daughter of Fraza the curio dealer. Thin, spindly-necked and sharped-nosed, Frazalina is uncannily similar to her old man in both appearance and aspect, she is also freakishly honest—and a racist. She is likely to offer a commission for appropriating rare macguffins in local murderholes. She is in terrible company on this chart.