Many Strange and Random City Encounters
Busy street vendors in fantasy city

1. A bard is singing outside a high-end jeweler, and has attracted quite a crowd, including some of the customers and staff from the ship, as she is clearly very skilled. Unknown to those listening, the bard has been enslaved by magic and is functioning as a diversion for a group of thieves. Whilst everyone’s attention is on the bard at the front of the jewelers, the thieves are going to break into the store from the rear, subdue any present and make off with as much of the stock and raw materials as they can.

2. A battered-looking woman, with the demeanor of an experienced veteran, is standing outside a granary with a rat, presumably a pet, perched on her shoulder. The rat is used by the woman as part of her work, which is to remove the bodies of the recently dead from their graves, or anywhere else they can be found. The woman then sells these bodies to those who require such, and as a result does a fair amount of trade with necromancers, as well as some in more salubrious trades. The rat has led her to the granary, as it has discovered a body within the grain, that of a worker who fell in when drunk and suffocated. The dryness of the grain has resulted in the body lasting longer than normal before decaying.

3. A beggar is sitting outside a fletcher’s, accompanied by a rather ratty-looking dog. The beggar is asking all of those who pass for loose change but is having little success. In truth, what he is actually doing is scouting out his target, for the beggar is an assassin in disguise. The fletcher is a dwarf, who primarily works in crossbow bolts but is also skilled with arrows. However, the dwarf is not entirely truthful about who he is, for he isn’t just a fletcher but a noble on the run from a dwarven realm after a popular uprising overthrew the existing, and rather brutal, order. There has been a price on the dwarf’s head ever since, and the assassin plans to collect it.

4. A bizarre-looking funeral rite for an elf is being held outside an elven armorer. The armorer is a relation of the dead elf, a princess who was the oldest individual, elf or otherwise, living in the city, predating its founding. The princess, as part of the terms of the city’s settlement, moved into it when it was first founded and lived in it as a representative. The reason the rite seems a bizarre one is that there is extensive carousing, singing and dancing; the elves in question celebrate the dead person’s life, rather than mourn their death, which makes their funerals rather less solemn and rather more entertaining to participate in than might be expected, all whilst the deceased’s body is burnt on a funeral pyre.

5. A cultist, the sole survivor of her cult, is meeting with a sage at the sage’s residence. The sage was a friend of the leader of the cult and is grieving the loss of his friend and his friend’s followers, as the cultist has just given him the news. The cult itself was a peaceful one dedicated to knowledge of nature, the sage’s own speciality. The eradication of such a peaceful cult is a strange act, as they would not have seemed to be a threat to anyone. Unfortunately, the cult had stumbled across some knowledge that an evil spell user desired for her own research, and she wiped them out in order to obtain it.

6. A drover is in town and has sold all of the cattle he had brought to market. On the way out, he spied a gnomish jeweler and went inside, attracted by the window display. The man doesn’t have enough money to buy any of the jewelry, but he is extremely curious about the jeweler’s methods and is asking the gnome many questions. Although the gnome was initially happy to explain, the questioning is going on far too long for someone who isn’t going to buy, and it looks as if the jeweler will soon have one of his guards eject the drover from the premises.

7. A duelist wearing leather armor with a dirk and a narrow sword on his belt is standing outside a spice merchant, carefully watching those passing by. He has been hired to escort and protect an out-of-town merchant, who is currently inside the spice shop negotiating with the owner. The duelist’s employer is wealthy and has many enemies; he therefore is reluctant to go anywhere without a guard. The hired duelist looks quite capable of protecting his employer.

8. A female elf in green leathers and silks is entering the front door of a house, accompanied by a brownie. The elf is a wanderer, who roams the woodland realms to gather news as to what is happening. One such piece of news, told to the elf by a brownie who is accompanying her, has resulted in the elf returning to base, the house, to inform the others in her scattered organization as to what is happening. The brownie’s people have been attacked by an unknown force, with many killed or enslaved, and the elf is concerned that this is only the first of many such attacks. She wishes to know if there have been any others reported, and to warn the others of what might happen.

9. A figure may be briefly glimpsed climbing over a wall surrounding a shipyard. The figure is an assassin of reasonable experience, and his target is inside the yard. Said target is a warrior of no great renown as such, but with rather more renown as a master sailor. The target is now aged and has many years of experience at sea and may be contemplating retirement soon. His assassin doesn’t know why the old seadog is wanted dead, only that he is. The individual who hired the assassin maintained many cut-outs between themselves and their hired killer.

10. A fishwife is in town, visiting a row of shops along the side of the street. She is speaking to the owners of the different shops with two aims in mind. For those shops that sell food, she has samples of fish to show them, and is attempting to negotiate with suppliers of products she needs to get a reduced price. The woman isn’t having much luck, as the vendors are not showing much in the way if interest. It isn’t helped by the fact that her fish is now starting to smell quite pungently in the warm weather.

11. A gnome is slumped on the ground outside of a tavern, apparently passed out from drinking too much. He appears to be well past the point of noticing what is happening, because he is currently being stripped of all of his possessions and his clothes by an individual in the extravagant dress of one of the notorious tribes of travellers, whom many believe to be thieves anyway. Unless the thief is stopped, the gnome is going to have many problems when he wakes up, not least some local moral injunctions about appropriate attire when outside.

12. A griffon is landing in the grounds of a large manse, one that is a base of operations for a chapter an order of witch hunters, whose actions, and definition of what makes a witch, often make them unpopular. The griffon is a tamed steed and on its back is one of the witch hunters from 3 the order. The arriving witch hunter has a sealed message to be viewed only by the chapter head, and will not appreciate interference with his duties. The message is related to an organisation of spellusers that the order has determined – or decided – are witches. This organisation is eager to intercept the message, if they can.

13. A halfling is having an intense argument with the owner of a chandlery, waving some documents at the chandler as she does so, being unable to wave them in the taller human’s face. The halfling is saying that the papers show that the chandlery is hers. The chandler recently took ownership after the former owner, another halfling who was the halfling female’s father, died, apparently willing the shop to the human. The halfling protesting was away when her father died and is claiming that the documents prove that the shop should be hers, and that the human defrauded her of her inheritance. The halfling claimant looks set to take matters further and looks as if she is not someone to be trifled with.

14. A halfling is running around in terror outside a large dome that is used to host various events. One of the events held there is bullfighting, and one of the bulls has got loose. The bull substantially outweighs the halfling and has been tormented almost to the state of madness. Despite the halfling not having had anything to do with the bull’s torment, for some reason the beast has fixated on him and is trying to gore or trample the halfling.

15. A halfling wearing a gold chain around his neck, indicating he is an official representative of his land’s ruler, is negotiating with the owner of a beekeeper’s shop. The halfling-dominated homeland of the emissary is known for its food, and the halfling is negotiating with the intent of improving his homeland’s honey through the addition of a new strain of bees. The negotiations are interrupted when another person in the shop suddenly starts screaming and attacking everything in sight, yelling for them to get off him. The individual has just been stung by a bee, and is having a bizarre reaction that is causing him to hallucinate.

16. A half-orc in armour that bears a noble emblem is in a silk mercer’s, acting in a very paranoid way. He keeps looking around as if there is something troubling him, or as if he is hearing a sound. This is because the half-orc is. There is a peddler in the shop as well, who has been rendered both invisible and unable to speak by powerful magic. He is trying to get the halforc’s attention, thinking that the knight can help him. The half-orc, who has more than a few enemies, thinks that the peddler is some sort of attack from one of his enemies, and is getting increasingly paranoid as a result. He may start swinging wildly at the threat, which is liable to do no good to either the invisible peddler or the shop he is in, especially as the half-orc is a powerful warrior.

17. A human barbarian in furs jumps from the roof of a nearby tavern, sending passers- by, including at least one character, flying. Some of those affected may be injured but the barbarian, who is extremely drunk, is in good spirits and will offer to buy anyone affected a drink, the larger and stronger the better. It seems the barbarian is indulging in some post-combat rituals of praise to his deity, following success in battle, rituals that are far less dangerous in the wilderness. Despite the barbarian’s good spirits, he can still take offence; refusing a drink or castigating him on his thoughtless actions will be considered to be an insult to his war deity, and will be dealt with appropriately, and violently.

18. A large crow on a wall by the street is drawing a crowd of onlookers, not because of its size, which is unusually large for a normal crow, but because of its behavior. The crow is singing a popular tavern song, in a rather harsh way, and it is also attempting to dance along with the tune. The crow isn’t that good at either the singing or the dancing, but merely the fact 4 that it is attempting to do so is unusual. The thought amongst the onlookers is that magic is involved in some way; either the crow is innately magical or a spell user has cast an enchantment on it, although no purpose can be discerned. Other than that, the crow is drawing attention to itself and away from everywhere else.

19. A mage comes out of a house, stumbling as she does so and crashing into the characters as they pass, perhaps taking several of them to the ground. The mage apologizes profusely as she does so and tries dusting down anyone she may have knocked over. As she does this, she is secretly checking for magic items that the characters may possess, and they may later get a visit from some thieves seeking to relieve them of any such valuables. The mage works as a magic scout for a small group of thieves specializing in low-level stolen magic items.

20. A major bridge over the river suddenly shudders, knocking people off their feet. The shuddering gets worse, and a huge, worm-like creature erupts out of the ground, wrapping itself around the bridge, causing it to start to crumble, crushing some people on the bridge and dropping others into the river. The creature starts tightening its hold on the bridge in a manner that can be identified, with the proper knowledge, as having to do with mating. The creature has decided that the bridge is a female of his own kind. This is because someone has deliberately covered the bridge in pheromones of a female creature, presumably to cause this very attack.

21. A man dressed in forest leathers is coming down the street quite rapidly, looking over his shoulder as he does so. With him not watching where he is going, he collides with one or more characters, most likely sending everyone tumbling to the ground. As these hit land on the floor, a huge bat swoops down, only missing the runner because he is now prone. The bat will swoop around and will attempt an attack again on the now-prone man, and anyone who gets in its way. The man, a ranger, if asked and if the opportunity arises, will say the bat is not acting normally and he believes it is under magical control. He had been looking into some recent incidents of missing magical creatures in the wilderlands, which brought him to the city, and thinks he may have stumbled onto something.

22. A man in highly polished armour with a surcoat denoting one of the good-aligned faiths is passing the end of a side street where it joins one of the major routes. The man is accompanied by a train of a dozen followers, one of whom is carrying a coat of arms on a standard. The lead individual appears to be well known, as more than a few passers-by are stopping to watch. He is actually a paladin, but a fairly low-ranking one. He comes from a wealthy noble background and, although he doesn’t behave arrogantly or inappropriately, does know the value of good publicity, and ensures that all know who he is when he arrives in a town.

23. A man in the motley of a jester is arguing with another wearing leather armor and bearing a short sword outside a house. The first, who has several juggling pins in one hand, has his face hidden behind a painted mask, with only his eyes visible, and every piece of skin is covered by clothing. He hides his skin due to a disfiguring disease that causes problems. The other man is a thief, but one not a member of the city’s guild. The juggler is accusing the thief of having stolen his takings and the thief is demanding to see the face of his accuser, something the juggler is not willing to do, as he would certainly be shunned in such a case. Neither party really wants too much attention; the juggler, because of fear of being shunned and the thief because the guild would take a dim view of his presence.

24. A man in what looks like night clothes is attempting to get through a toll gate without paying. The guards on the gate are preventing him from passing through, but 5 the man is not responding to any of their demands for money, or anything else they say, and the guards are clearly starting to get annoyed. The man is a slaver who has been influenced magically by someone his business dealings offended. He isn’t responding to the guards because he’s actually asleep and sleepwalking. The slaver is unable to wake and the guards will shortly start using more force to deal with him.

25. A man seated at a table inside a tavern suddenly starts choking, seemingly on his drink. Unless someone helps him, it looks as if he may choke to death. However, not everything is as it seems. The man is a fence who recently sold some stolen goods that had significant sentimental value to the person they were stolen from. That individual confronted the fence on the matter, but he showed no interest in returning the goods. The fence is not actually choking; his drink has been poisoned by the wronged party. It only looks as if he is choking and, if he doesn’t get treatment for poison, rather than being helped to clear his airways, he will die.

26. A man wearing the stained clothing of a herdsman who has recently come to town is speaking rapidly to a guildsman about something. The herdsman is really pressing the other person, seeming to definitely want something sorting, and sorting quickly, and he keeps glancing over his shoulder as he is talking, as if he is watching out for someone. The herdsman was attacked shortly after arriving in town by a group of presumed thieves, who are now forcing him to take part in whatever plot they are up to. The herdsman doesn’t know what the thieves want, only that they want him to talk to the guildsman and keep him busy.

27. An apothecary is tending to the garden outside her shop that is the source of many of the less-expensive and more robust herbs she uses in her various concoctions. She is being spoken to by a man in robes and carrying a staff, although his appearance is that of a pilgrim rather than a mage. The robes and staff are both expensive- looking, of good quality and materials, and the supposed pilgrim is accompanied by a crowd of others, similarly, but less-expensively dressed. The pilgrim apparently has a certain level of fame, and he believes that this entitles him to the apothecary’s services and time at a discount. The apothecary does not, and is refusing to budge on her prices.

28. An aqueduct has collapsed, flooding several low-value houses that were beneath it. Though the houses have suffered quite a bit of damage from the water, there wasn’t enough to drown the occupants of the homes, who have been pulled out of the houses. However, everyone who was in the homes, and everyone exposed to the water since, is currently suffering from convulsions, suggesting that they have been exposed to more than simply water.

29. An armorer is standing by a sewer entrance, with a man in the well-worn equipment of a seasoned mercenary next to her. The armorer does not appear to be happy to be there but is complying with what the mercenary wants. In truth, the mercenary is no such thing. It is a polymorphed creature from the sewers, one of a number living there, and they need to armorer’s professional services. She is complying with this, because in order to ensure that she did, the mercenary-creature and its accomplices first kidnapped her family. If the armorer doesn’t do what they wish, her family will pay the price.

30. An elderly man in cheap, well patched robes that are clean despite their condition is using a staff as he walks down the road. He is accompanied by a young girl in similarly cheap but cared-for clothing. The man is a hermit, and he is making a trip into town, something he hasn’t done in decades, on behalf of the young girl. The girl’s caravan was attacked and all slain save her. She encountered the hermit as he was foraging in the woods, and he has brought her into town to see if the now-orphaned girl has any living relatives.

31. An official city inspector accompanied by a trained dog is searching the grounds of a small mansion, a building whose owner would appear to be well-to-do but not titled. The dog appears to have detected something, and the inspector is planning to confront the owner over contraband materials find on his property. However, the reason the contraband is there is because the inspector planted it, and he is planning to encourage the owner to bribe him to overlook the incident.

32. A number of people have gathered around a recently-excavated part of the city, where a number of buildings from previous incarnations of the settlement have been exposed. Lying on a pile of dirt is the bloody and broken body of a young man, barely even a boy, dressed in ragged clothes. An older man, with a staff that is splintered and bloodstained, appears to have beaten the younger one to death. The killer is proclaiming to the crowd that the boy was a thief who stole from him, then drew a knife when the man caught him. He states the killing was self-defence, although the beating seems too severe. As it happens, the supposed thief did not steal anything; his assailant lost his purse and then accused the boy, and was the first to use a weapon.

33. A peddler is begging outside a wellknown house of ill repute that caters to the wealthier end of the spectrum. The peddler appears to have suffered some serious injuries and, if asked, will claim that he was attacked by bandits outside the city, who crippled him and stole all his stock and equipment, reducing him to begging for a living. This isn’t true; the injuries are faked although the peddler is actually a peddler. He is also a spotter for a local gang who target some of the brothel’s wealthy users, either for a mugging or to steal from their homes. The gang do not make any attempt to disguise that they are targeting the brothel’s clients; the leader plans to force the current owner to have to sell up at a bargain price, once the connection becomes known. Once the leader has acquired the place, customers will be a lot safer, far safer than at any competitor.

34. A person is struggling in the waters of a decorative, but comparatively large and deep, pond located in the well-kept grounds of an expensive mansion. The individual is quite close to the edge of the pond, but appears to have no knowledge of how to survive, and may well drown if not helped. The person was walking around the pond when the edge gave way, dumping them into the water. This was not the accident it seems, as the edge was deliberately weakened to give way. However, the drowning individual is not the person who was supposed to fall victim to the trap; that was intended to be the elderly and infirm owner of the mansion.

35. A robed, shaven-headed woman who would appear to be a monk is outside a coppersmith, negotiating with the owner for some specific copper jewelry she needs. The monk is a lycanthrope, and the jewelry she is having made is intended to help her control her lycanthropic side. As she is talking, a man who would appear to have had a few drinks too many starts propositioning her. The man, a rake in town to get drunk and have fun, is on the verge of making a serious mistake, for if the monk loses control she will transform into a lycanthrope and more than likely rip his throat out.

36. A robed woman is slowly walking down the street with her eyes closed, yet she is avoiding all obstacles and people in her way. If approached, she does not respond to those speaking to her, as she is in a deep, possibly magically-induced, sleep, and is sleepwalking. The woman heads to a junction of two roads and makes her way to a puddle along the edge, in which something is bobbing. The puddle is an overflow from the sewer, and reeks of waste. The item floating appears to be covered in excrement, yet when the woman touches it, the excrement falls away, revealing a large, shining gem, which the woman plucks out 7 of the puddle. The gem is a peculiar, and somehow disturbing, virulent green colour, shot through with red streaks the colour of dried blood.

37. A scroll is blowing around along with other rubbish in a litter-strewn side street. If the scroll is examined, it is shown to be a spell scroll, one bearing a high-level spell. However, the scroll is also cursed, which is why it has been discarded. The spell on it is perfectly functional, but anyone in possession of the scroll will get accused of stealing items, items that are then discovered to be in the accused’s possession. The items either magically appear, as far as the accused is concerned, or they are ones they purchased legally, but noone else remembers them doing so.

38. A small crowd has started gathering in the street, all looking at something that is in the street. When the characters get closer, they can see a weapon has apparently been stuck into the road surface somehow. Even stranger, the weapon in question appears to be one belonging to one of the characters, although they never noticed it missing. In fact, it seems that they still have the weapon in question, but the one stuck into the ground is identical. Presumably, one of the two is a duplicate, but they will need to check to determine which one.

39. A solemn procession of elves is crossing at an intersection, with black banners flying above. The procession is a funereal one honouring a recently murdered member of their community, one in high standing. The deceased was not held in high standing by all, though, for he was a moneylender, and he died whilst attempting to collect on a debt from someone manifestly unwilling to pay. The dead elf’s relatives have offered a reward for the capture of the murderer.

40. A steersman is offering an unusual ship’s item for sale. The item is, according to the seller, a magical tiller that will help whoever uses it find the safest course for the vessel the tiller is attached to, no matter what the conditions might be. The steersman claims he is retiring, and that he wishes to sell the tiller and move inland, away from the sea. This is correct, but he is neglecting to tell the full truth. The tiller’s power comes from the spirit of a master sailor who was sacrificed and then trapped in the magical device. The spirit, at random times, comes out of the tiller and seeks someone to slay. The steersman is desperately trying to get rid of the cursed item.

41. As the characters exit a shop, one of them is hit by a passing man in expensive clothing that would appear to mark him as at least a wealthy merchant, if not a noble. By the looks of a signet ring bearing a heraldic mark, the man is in fact a noble. The noble does not apologise for his actions, nor does he say a single word. He will only stare at them if spoken to; it is only if he is grabbed that he will respond. In such a case, the man will state that the character has impinged his honour, and challenge them to a duel. However, the noble himself will not fight; under local rules he is allowed to choose a second, and he will hire the most skilful champion he can, especially if that champion is already a rival of the characters. For some reason, the noble has taken a dislike to the characters and wants to bring them down a peg or two.

42. A tattered-looking woman is sitting on the street in front of a number of mansions. She has a hat in front of her with some small coins in it, and if someone tries to talk to her, she indicates that she is mute. Sooner or later, the wealthy who live in the mansions will send their guards to move the apparent beggar on. The woman, however, is neither a beggar nor is she mute. She is a very skilled thief who is casing the various mansions with the intent to rob them. This is only one of a number of disguises she has worn to gather information on the area and the local security. When she is ready, a number of those wealthy owners will find themselves less wealthy than they were before.

43. A tough-looking barbarian is behaving 8 in a very atypical manner, as he stands in front of a woman dressed in the official regalia of a king’s herald. Surprisingly, the barbarian appears to be pleading with the herald, not something that one of his tribe tends to do. It seems that he has, somehow, made a grievous error and broken some of the local regulations, which the herald, as a representative of the king if not law enforcement, has made him aware of. This would not normally bother a barbarian, but the punishment will be to be locked away for several years, and he does not want to be trapped in the stone buildings of the land-bound for that long.

44. At the entrance to a bell tower that is built onto the side of an ornate temple is a robed cleric who is trying to negotiate with a brown-clad monk who is standing in the doorway. The cleric is a member of a generally- allied religion to the monk’s and he wishes to use the temple to proselytise his own religion from, for they lack a temple in the area. Despite the general alliance, the monk doesn’t appear to be that willing to consider this; it seems a bit too much like sacrilege to him and he is explaining to the cleric that his deity would not necessarily approve.

45. At the junction of a street and a small, dead-end road lined with the backs of warehouse, a man dressed in patched armor is urinating in the corner. The reek of alcohol coming from him suggests that the man is very drunk but his well-worn sword in a scabbard at his waist that is paired with an equally worn hand axe on the other side of the belt is stopping any of the passers-by from accosting him over what he is doing.

46. At the junction of where a smaller side street runs behind a row of businesses and the main road, two men are holding onto chains that are linked to a harness affixed to a giant fire beetle. The beetles are prized for their luminous glands, and this beetle’s glands were going to be harvested, but the men belong to a group who object to this practice and have decided to free the beetle before it was killed. Unfortunately, the beetle is incapable of telling that the men are helping it, and is about to break free of its restraints.

47. A weaver has rushed out of his shop in panic, pleading for help. A large force of goblins has suddenly erupted from a sewer exit leading into his cellar and, although the weaver has barred and locked the door, it will probably be only minutes before the goblins break through. Unless the city’s guardians arrive quickly, there will shortly be a significant number of goblins on the streets causing havoc. How the goblins came to be in the sewers, and why they have decided to attack isn’t known. It could be that they have been driven out of an underground home by a greater threat.

48. A wire drawer has been held up by an army procession that is taking up the street, with several hundred of the city’s military organizations marching past. The wire drawer appears to be growing a bit anxious about the amount of time he is having to wait before she can cross the street. Her apparent profession is a subterfuge, however, as she is a member of a shape-shifting ring of kidnappers that do occasionally kidnap people for money, but often for less salubrious reasons. She needs to return home for a potion that prevents her from shapeshifting unwillingly and is concerned that she may be about to shift into her true, more horrific, form in front of a large group of armed and trained people.

49. A woman dressed in battered leathers is whispering in the ear of a cruel-looking man who is running an ice shop. The air in the shop is chillier than the surroundings, even with the ice itself being kept insulated and underground. The woman is a bandit, one of a band, and has been sent into town to meet with the iceman, and is whispering a password to him. The bandits are thoroughly vile, slaughtering those they rob whenever possible, and who are working for the iceman, who is not what he seems. The man is cloaked under an illusion that 9 makes him appear to be human, but he’s actually a devil out to spread misery and destruction. Devils are often associated with fire, which helps with his disguise; he is one of the few associated with ice.

50. A woman in green leathers with the look of a ranger about her is standing on the corner of two streets close to the city’s gate. She is offering her services as a travel guide in the regions outside the city to passers-by, although it appears no-one has as yet taken her up on her offer. Most of the travelers are heading for the roads and those who are not look more experienced than the woman does.

51. A woman with the letter “U” branded on her forehead sits in the entrance of an alley. She is dirty, ill-fed and wearing ragged clothes and is being ignored by everyone who passes, because the letter “U” indicates she is Untouchable. The woman received the brand after being found guilty of a crime she was falsely accused of. Behind her, in the alley, is a secret entrance to a dungeon beneath the city’s streets. She hopes to use knowledge of this in some way to recover her reputation and regain her place in society. As yet, she is uncertain how, but feels that adventurers, especially those not native to her city, may be able to help.

52. A woman with the martial bearing of a cleric can be seen at the top of a windmill, hanging out through a window. The cleric is under the delusion that she can fly, and will soon plummet to her death unless stopped. This delusion is the result of the actions of a robed man at the bottom of the windmill, watching the cleric with others. Although he is hiding his feelings, the man, an illusionist, is highly entertained by the proceedings. The illusionist is a cruel man who enjoys causing the death or injury of others; in this case, the female cleric. She has been affected by a combination of drugs and the illusionist’s spells, and has lost touch with reality. This is a new combination the illusionist is attempting to see how it goes.

53. Bound with extensive magically- wrought chains is a winged sphinx. The sphinx is not making any sort of fuss about its bindings, acting strangely subdued. It is being transported along one of the wider streets of the city, where it will be taken to an auction and sold. What isn’t known to most is that the sphinx is only subdued through magic. There is a decorative collar around its neck that is keeping it biddable. Should the collar come free, or its magic be negated, the sphinx will rapidly escape and go on a rampage through the city.

54. Down a side street, a halfling wearing the tabard of a martial order is with an elf who is dressed in rags. They appear to be looking through the detritus in the alley for something. The elf, a knight from the same order as the halfling, has recently escaped from imprisonment with the help of the halfling, and they are looking for something that the elf hid in the alley before she was captured. The elf was investigating a slaving group and, when she realised that her cover was blown, hid some of the evidence she had discovered, so that it wouldn’t be lost when she was captured.

55. Fastened to a hitching post outside a tavern is a huge centipede. It is hitched in the same manner as a horse would be and, indeed, there is even a saddle on the back of the centipede. It is the mount of a smaller individual who is currently inside the tavern. Although the centipede appears quiescent, if not tame, passers-by are steering a wide berth and a few individuals decide that they will go and get a drink elsewhere. It seems only a matter of time before the centipede’s owner is called on to remove his steed, given the loss of custom and how people are avoiding it, and many do not want to be around when that happens.

56. Five people in the uniform of the city watch are standing in a rough semicircle about a man with the bearing and manners of a fighter. The fighter is at the edge of an overlook that stands above part of the city and has clearly got nowhere to go to. 10 His demeanor is of one significantly more experienced than the watchmen. They are here to arrest the fighter for selling stolen goods and are clearly nervous about his level of skill and have drawn their weapons. The situation has the potential to deteriorate dramatically, and it’s all based on a mistake, for the fighter is not actually the individual the watch is looking for; they’ve made a mistake, due to a rather vague description of their quarry, and are trying to arrest the wrong person.

57. Following an ancient tradition whose origin, and meaning, are both long-lost, the blind ruler of the city has chosen a random citizen outside a random location to share a meal with. The citizen is a rag picker, and a temporary awning has been set up outside an embroiderer, under which both the ruler and the rag picker are seated at a table, sharing a feast. Some rulers have attempted to end the custom, but these have tended to come to early ends, and now no-one is interested in presumably tempting fate again.

58. In a dark corner of a tavern a cleric is sitting at a table by herself, her face shadowed by her hood. When she lifts a flagon to have a drink, the light briefly catches her face, showing that it has been disfigured by a huge scar that cuts through one milky-coloured eye, crosses her nose and pulls the edge of her mouth down in a snarl.

59. In front of a coach house a woman dressed like a professional duellist is haranguing an older man who has an ornate chain marking him as the Master of the Guild of Wainwrights; the coach house is one of the guild’s properties. The Guildmaster is a corrupt individual, running a number of rackets, and the duellist has been hired by an individual who has fallen afoul of one of the Guildmaster’s rackets. Unable to seek any legal recourse, the wronged individual now wants to see the Guildmaster dead, and has resorted to a professional duellist in the hopes of provoking the Guildmaster into accepting a duel by recounting his crimes in public. The Guildmaster is unlikely to be provoked in such a way, and assassins are the next likely step for both parties.

60. In front of a large, expensive-looking residence, a beggar is begging passers-by for alms or healing. Most such are giving him a wide berth, for every inch of the beggar’s visible flesh is covered in pustulent, oozing sores, and a strong smell of rotting meat is emanating from him. People are unwilling to get too close, in fear of catching something. The beggar is not actually ill; the sores are makeup and the rotting smell comes from a piece of rotting meat hidden under his rags. He is actually working as a lookout for a gang of thieves currently robbing the house he is in front of; his appearance and smell are also helping ensure people avoid the place.

61. Inside a cartographer’s shop, a robed woman is speaking to the proprietor. She is claiming that she can aid the man in creating new maps, of lands and regions for which no true maps exist. Such a service would elevate the cartographer above all other mapmakers, as he would be able to offer a product that no-one else can. The woman states that her psychic powers enable to see these places in detail, and is demonstrating said powers to the shopkeeper. However, in truth, she is nothing of the sort, being simply an accomplished illusionist who uses her skill with phantasms to supposedly demonstrate powers she lacks, in order to con payments out of the unsuspecting.

62. Inside a noisy and crowded tavern, a famous gnomish bard, who was recently knighted for his musical skill, and who is extremely popular with the clientele has just finished one of his epic performances to massed applause. The gnome is now surfing around the tavern as the audience shows its appreciation.

How to play Dungeons and Dragons.

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