Nel, Temptress of the Tarn

“Come, traveller. You must be thirsty.”

This soft-faced fey creature watches over a large, clean lake. She smiles innocently at those who approach her domain. Nel has no desire to directly harm mortals. She instead encourages them to drink and bathe in the lake, where they might be transported to her mistress in the Green Realm.

fey creature in a pond

Nel once spent her days serving her mistress, an aspiring lesser fey lady. She was well regarded and respected among her kind, and one of her mistress’ favorites. Nel spent much of her time being doted on by lesser fey than herself.

Several decades ago, Nel’s rival Shara intentionally committed a grievous act against their mistress, framing Nel. The once favorite servitor could find no evidence to prove her innocence, and Nel knew better than to argue with her superior. She threw herself upon her mistress’ mercy and asked for a chance to prove her devotion. Shara had anticipated Nel’s destruction, but instead the mistress sent her favorite pet from her sight, banishing her to a lake in the mortal realm.

Before her banishment Nel had been on good terms with many creatures in the Green Realm. Her pleasant disposition made her easy to get along with, and she had used her position with her mistress to assist more than a few petitioners. During her time in prison in the Material Plane, Nel has been able to get word back to the Green Realm. She has called in a few favors and a one-way portal to her mistress’ court now exists at the bottom of the lake.

Nel spends her time on the mortal plane luring travellers who will appease her mistress into the lake, and pushing them through the portal. She is eager to return to her mistress and seek revenge against Shara, but dares not pass through the portal herself until she has sent 263 worthy mortals through first.

Nel does not risk endangering travel to the area by preying upon all who visit, and has let several satisfactory offerings go when the risk of exposure was too great. Nel uses whatever means necessary to draw her prey beneath the surface.

While Nel is homesick for a great many things, she misses the music more than anything else. Even when travelling alone, mortals who are able to entertain Nel for a time are not sacrificed to her mistress.

Pick up Nel (plus her sturgeon and snakeshead) and more NPCs like her, in 5e NPCs: Woodfolk and Wanderers, available now on DTRPG.

Pearls of Life

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

You may use one of the pearls from this necklace to have advantage on a single death saving throw. If you have already failed two death saving throws, you can instead use five pearls to automatically stabilize yourself. The string starts with 49 pearls in total; each pearl is a luminescent off-white until it is used, at which point its color darkens to a glossy black. When all of the pearls have been used, the string becomes a mundane necklace of black pearls worth 150 gp.

If a pearl is removed from the string, it turns black and no longer has any magical properties. If the string is broken, all remaining pearls turn black and cease to retain any magic benefit.

Veteran Knight

Your players have run afoul of the city guards, but when you pull up the stat block you realize it isn’t going to be as effective as you hoped.

We present to you, the veteran knight.

Veteran Knight

To be regarded a veteran, most knights have seen their fair share of war and atrocity. Outside of a wartime environment, many veteran knights become watch commanders or household trainers who teach younger members of the house in warfare and force of arms.

 

Find this stat block, and others like it, in Houses and Heraldry for 5e on DriveThruRPG.


Houses and Heraldry

old fashioned book with a house shield of a black elk on a green and white backgroundThis book sketches out ten noble houses for your campaign. Each house is laid out on one page; the top half contains the house name, its motto, a representation of their heraldic device as it would appear on a shield, and an information block detailing important personages, numbers of troops, and vassal houses. The lower portion provides enough detail about the interesting characters of the house to get your imagination going, but leaves plenty of room for you to add your own details. See a sample here.

Pick up your copy today on DriveThruRPG.

Why Taverns?

Why taverns? I posed this question in the foreword of the original version of Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear. Taverns are where we got our start, five years ago. We were so proud of our work at the time, though reviewing it shows how inexperienced we were and how much we’ve grown since then.

The past five years have seen an improvement in every aspect of what we do. The writing is sharper and more concise. The art is more skillfully executed, and more of it is produced in-house. The maps look great. The layouts improve every release.

We couldn’t have believed five years ago that our humble little release would be the stepping stone for working with other publishers.

If you’ve noticed a slowdown of Dire Rugrat releases, it’s due to just that fact. If you like what we do, you may be interested to know that Kelly has done work for Kobold Press, Playground Adventures, Flaming Crab Games, and other third-party publishers of D&D 5e materials. I’ve worked with Rogue Genius Games and others.

But… back to the question. Why taverns?

The local watering hole is a representation of the community as a whole, whether that community is a neighbourhood in a larger city or a tiny hamlet. Adventurers can go to the tavern, figure out what the locals are like and what problems they have, solve those problems (or make new ones), and return to the taphouse to collect payment before moving on… or not. I’m certain entire RPG campaigns could be set in a tavern, just dealing with the drama created by all those visiting adventurers!

If you downloaded the latest Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear because you received a notification of an updated version, thank you for your patronage these last five years. 

To those who are new to what Dire Rugrat does, welcome!

I’m excited to see what the next five years hold for us and our little company, and hope many of you reading this will come along for the ride. Regardless, put your feet up, pour yourself your favourite drink, and enjoy this little slice of our gaming reality.

We’re pleased to announce the anniversary edition of Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear. These new files include more original artwork, a revised colour map, and additional stat blocks for 5e and Pathfinder.

Ken Pawlik, September 2020

 

Pick up Your Copy Today

Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (5e)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (Pathfinder Compatible)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tangible Taverns: The Bull & The Bear (System Neutral)  

   

Our Crew Solution

A problem reared its head shortly after we began playing a pirate themed D&D 5th Edition game: there are a lot of NPCs in play when the crew of one ship boards another ship.

Assessing the Options

I looked at the limited rules about handling mobs in the DMG and disliked them. I then read a lot of advice on the subject, most of which boiled down to “avoid mass combat at all costs”, or “let the NPCs do their thing in the background while the PCs star in the important action.”

The advice didn’t work for me. I like situations where perhaps the PCs are struggling against their opposition while the friendly NPC crew have quickly mopped up the enemy crew and can help the PCs. Or the inverse where the crew is nearing defeat which forces the PCs to divert some or all of their efforts to save them. I could just decide these things as the GM, but that felt cheap as well.

Looking Elsewhere

Unable to find a solution in the core D&D 5e books, I looked at other solutions such as the minion monster rules in D&D 4e, which are workable but still require too much management and rolling at the table. I also looked at 13th Age which has excellent and elegant rules for mooks, and I almost adopted them until I found the entry for the Bar Brawl in the Creature Codex by Kobold Press (which is a fantastic monster resource and highly recommended by us rugrats). This third-party work gave a group of aggressive humanoids the swarm feature, allowing them to use their numbers to threaten the PCs and their crew while elegantly working within the 5e framework.

Creating the Crews

I took this idea and ran with it. The resulting crews and monster swarms worked well in play testing (aka: our campaign). We compiled them together, added some officers and captains to bedevil the PCs, and created some magical and mundane seafaring equipment.

The Seafaring Supplement contains nine crew stat blocks, including two sets of sea creatures. Challenges range from 2 to 10. From crews of undead to experienced marines, these stat blocks keep ship combat from becoming bogged down, while still bringing excitement to the combat. 

You can pick up the Seafaring Supplement on DriveThruRPG.


NAVAL MARINE TROOP

Little clenches the stomach of a pirate faster than the sight of a frigate carrying regiments of naval marines. These hardened soldiers are equally adept at fighting on land or the heaving deck of a ship. Naval marines are more heavily armed and armored than most sailors, and take a great deal of care ensuring their weapons and armor don’t succumb to the brine and spray. 

Tavern Shots: Gumption

You are a rockin’ GM.

You’ve nailed the voices, the descriptions, and general atmosphere.

Or maybe you haven’t.

Or you want a little inspiration tonight because it’s been a long day.

Check out our tavern shots and get a quite glimpse through the window at life inside our taverns.

Today We Explore Gumption 

Where: Middle of Nowhere

Located far away from just about anything, this strange little homestead is a haven for weary travellers who manage to stumble upon it. Originally made viable by a druid, this oasis in now home to a halfling and two adopted human children who work the land and help out those who pass through. With no nearby neighbours, some of them are a little starved for attention, while others are leery of strangers. 

If your PCs are wandering the barren lands of the Wasted Waste, the demon ravaged landscapes near the Worldwound, or another seemingly endless uninhabitable terrain, break up their travels with a stay at Gumption. 

Who: Faces of the Tavern

Harbrum

A friendly halfling who has lived here almost his whole life, Harbrum is happy to give visitors a good meal and a safe place to sleep for the night. He works hard and believes others should do the same. He is also remarkably knowledgeable about waterfowl, especially ducks

Bill

A young, hardworking adolescent, Bill aspires to be a brave, kindhearted adventurer in his adult years. He is eager to learn from competent travellers, but wary of those who seem cruel or menacing. He would make an excellent apprentice, if someone could convince him to leave the farm. 

Magenta

A talkative young girl, Magenta is more than competent in the kitchen and has a special way with animals, especially “Buck” the resident horse. She is eager for any information from outside of the valley and could be considered something of a gossip. She seems to know everything that happens in and around Gumption. 

“Buck”

Lost and abandoned after his caravan was attacked by bandits, Stanley found himself wandering the barren land around the valley. By chance he was taken in by the dryad who made the valley what it is today, and he hasn’t strayed far since, doing all he can to care for the land and the people who reside there peacefully.  This majestic horse is more than what he seems, a secret he shares with only other one resident of the valley.

What: Stuff For Your Players to Explore

Each of our taverns includes a table of rumours and a table of events, giving you quick ideas to feed to your players. From animals in labour, corpses found nearby, and a kidnapped child there is something for every PC to show off their skills with.

In the short piece below, we introduce a mysterious traveller. Just what does he have in store for the caretakers of Gumption? And can your PCs arrive in time to stop him? 

Pick up your copy of Gumption today.


A Shot of Gumption

“What are you doing, boy?” asked Harbrum, lifting his straw hat to wipe his brow.

The horse just stared at him, refusing to move from the hay bale.

“It’s time to go inside,” he said, turning from the horse. “The other animals are settled in. Am I putting you in the barn for the night?”

The horse moved from the hay bale and blocked the man’s path.

The sun was low in the sky and Magenta had already let Harbrum know they had a visitor. He didn’t like leaving her or Bill with strangers for too long and was eager to get up to the main house and greet them. He was also getting hungry.

“Come on, Buck. We’re done for the day,” he said sighing and trying to move around the horse.

The horse blocked his path once more and neighed insistently.

Harbrum sighed.

“What do you want, Buck?” he asked, his usually cheerful demeanor starting to fade.

The horse moved to the hay bale once more.

“There’s plenty of hay in the barn,” said Harbrum distracted. “Come along. You can have some there.”

The two of them stared at each other for several moments before Harbrum threw his hands up in the air.

“I’m going inside, Buck,” he said. “We’ve got company, and we can put the hay in the barn tomorrow.”

The horse neighed in protest and moved to block Harbrum’s path once more.

“I’m going to talk to Magenta,” said Harbrum, frustrated. “Maybe she’ll know what to do with you.”

The horse moved slightly to one side, allowing the halfling to pass.

Harbrum made his way over to the main building and went in the side door. The savory smell of a well-seasoned stew met his nostrils and a smile spread across his face.

“Smells delicious!” he exclaimed to the young girl who was stirring a pot over the fire.

“Thanks, Harbrum,” she smiled, wiping her hands on her apron.

Harbrum took in the man sitting at one of the hand-crafted wooden tables. The stranger looked tired, dirty, and in need of a good meal.

“He hasn’t been any trouble?” he asked Magenta quietly while washing his hands in the basin of warm water she’d put out for him.

“No, no,” she assured him, taking a small spoonful of stew from the pot.

He nodded.

“Oh, Buck seems unhappy about something. I’m not sure what though. Refuses to go into the barn, but didn’t want me to come up here either,” Harbrum said almost absently. The good smells were already easing his mind.

Magenta frowned slightly.

“Okay, I’ll be back in a moment,” she said, disappearing through the same door he’d entered.

Harbrum made his way to the table and the man looked over at him.

“Must be the owner of this place,” he said gruffly, surveying the halfling.

“Just the caretaker,” he responded. “Dinner should be ready here shortly. You’ve already got a room for the night, have you?”

“Ay, I do,” he nodded.

Harbrum smiled at the man, and moved back toward the cooking area.

Something about the man was off-putting to him, but he wasn’t certain exactly what.

“I don’t like him,” said a young boy quietly as Harbrum stirred the pot of stew.

Bill, who had just come in from fetching a pail of water from the well, began to pull bowls off one of the shelves for the stew.

Harbrum nodded as the side door opened once more and Magenta reappeared.

“It’s going to rain,” she said, looking at Harbrum and Bill.

“Not tonight,” said Bill shaking his head.

“Put the hay in the barn,” replied Magenta softly, taking a bowl from him and filling it with stew. “Trust me.”

Harbrum sighed and, surveying the guest once more, nodded at Bill to follow him back outside.

Bill frowned, but followed hesitantly.

A small smirk crossed the face of the man at the table as the side door swung shut.

Place this tavern in your game with Tangible Taverns: Gumption.

Available now on DriveThruRPG.

The Dagger of all Daggers

Our interest in writing RPG products stems from our love of playing RPGs. One of my favorite campaigns, and certainly our most epic one, is Way of the Wicked. Written by Gary McBride of Fire Mountain Games, this adventure path allows the PCs to be anything but good. (Specifically, it actually recommends they all be lawful evil.)

The Bull & The Bear coverSome years ago, we ran through this campaign, taking the time to explore the cities more than the adventure path may have intended, which is where the Bull and the Bear was born. The PCs began amassing a reasonable collection of taverns, some of which have been published by us since.

We enjoyed dropping a fair few 3rd party products into this PFRPG campaign, including the 101 New Skill Uses by Rite Publishing and Legendary VIII: Evil by Sam Hing and published by Purple Duck Games.

It was in the latter we pulled Black Spider – a magical weapon (and a then some). Though intended for use by the BBEG, it was allowed in our evil solo campaign. (I should note here this product received a poor review and indeed has some glaring oversights.)

This blade was legendary in the course of the campaign. One moment I still clearly remember was when many of the party had fallen, with only the rogue (myself) and our anti-paladin remaining. Both of us were near the death. The righteous paladin still stood before us, and with the blade knocked from my hand, and my companion drawing her last breath, I was sure we were done for. Then this diminutive construct unleashed its fury upon the virtuous knight, scuttle across the floor before actually puncturing through his calf (hello double nat 20!). Perhaps it stole a bit of the thunder from the characters, but it earned this weapon much favor from its master.

Very recently we decided to revisit a version of Way of the Wicked: an alternate reality with some minor and some glaring differences. All of the PCs are rogues. The valiant Mitrans in the country are unknowingly demon worshippers (those pesky demons and their deception filled long game!). Our PCs did not start in prison (which made sense, but if you haven’t played WotW as intended, give at least the first module a go – it’s amazing!).

Some things have stayed the same, and one such similarity is the presence of Black Spider. With the switch to 5th Edition as the framework (as well as some of those glaring oversights), we’ve had to adapt the blade. Here is our modified version below. Again, a big shout out to Purple Duck Games for creating an amazing (and overpowered!) collection of weapons, as well creating one of my favorite weapons to date.


BLACK SPIDER

Weapon (dagger), legendary (requires attunement by a creature that meets all the listed requirements)

Requirements. A creature that wishes to attune itself to Black Spider must meet the following criteria.

  • Any evil alignment.
  • Proficiency in Dexterity (Stealth) checks.
  • Sneak Attack feature.

Black Spider grows in power with the creature it is attuned to. When a creature attunes itself to Black Spider, it gains all of the benefits listed for a creature of its current level.

  • When you reach 2nd level, Black Spider gains a +1 bonus to attack and damage. The dagger maintains a telepathic bond with you, and regularly urges you to commit acts of violence.
  • When you reach 4th level, Black Spider can animate itself and act independently from you. When it animates, the barbs lining the blade twist and act as spidery legs. Black Spider maintains its telepathic bond with you and follows your instructions, unless it can cause more carnage by doing something else. Black Spider’s starting statistics are below.
  • When you reach 6th level, the telepathic bond between you and Black Spider allows you to see and hear everything occurring within 60 feet of the dagger as an action. This effect can be ended as a bonus action. While using this feature, you have disadvantage on ability checks, saving throws, and attack rolls until the start of your first turn after ending the effect.
  • When you reach 8th level, Black Spider can urge you to overcome certain conditions. If you fail a saving throw and become charmed, frightened, paralyzed, or stunned, you can use your reaction to reroll the saving throw. If a condition allows a new save to overcome it at the end of each of your turns, you have advantage on it. If you are unconscious, Black Spider can use a bonus action to deal 1 hit point of piercing damage to wake you. Black Spider Enhancement: Armor Class increases by +1 (natural armor), Hit Points increase by 7 (3d4), Dexterity increases by 2 (add +1 to Armor Class,stealth skill, and Stab action to hit and damage), Challenge increases to 2 (450 XP), Sneak Attack damage increases to 14 (4d6), Multiattack action is added adding one additional attack per round. Black Spider’s CR 2 version is below for your convenience.
  • When you reach 10th level, Black Spider’s bonus to attack and damage increases to +2. Black Spider Enhancement: Stab action to hit and damage increase by +1.
  • When you reach 12th level, attacks made with Black Spider score a critical hit on a roll of 19 or 20. Black Spider Enhancement: Hit points increase by 7 (3d4), Challenge increases to 3 (700 XP), Sneak Attack damage increases to 21 (6d6).
  • When you reach 14th level, when you make a sneak attack against a creature, you can gain half of the sneak attack damage as temporary hit points. Once this feature has been used, it can’t be used again until you have finished a short or long rest.
  • When you reach 16th level, if you have surprise when you make your first attack with Black Spider in an encounter, you deal maximum damage. Black Spider Enhancement: Hit Points increase by 7 (3d4), Challenge increases to 4 (1,100 XP), Sneak attack damage increases to 28 (8d6)
  • When you reach 18th level, Black Spider’s bonus to attack and damage increases to +3. Black Spider Enhancement: Stab action to hit and damage increase by +1
  • When you reach 20th level, if you are hidden from your target when you hit it with Black Spider, it must succeed at a Constitution saving throw with a DC equal to 8 plus your Dexterity modifier plus your proficiency bonus or die. Once you have used this feature, you must finish a long rest before you can use it again. Black Spider Enhancement: Proficiency bonus increases by +1 (affecting skills, and Stab action to hit), Hit Points increase by 7 (3d4), Dexterity increases by 2 (adding +1 to AC, Stealth skill, Stab action to hit and damage), Sneak Attack damage increases to 35 (10d6), Black Spider can make three attacks per turn with Multiattack.

Black Spider is both greedy and jealous. You have disadvantage if you make a melee attack with a weapon that is not Black Spider. This penalty does not apply if your attack is made with a weapon in your other hand when you are fighting with two weapons.

 

 

 


What’s the most memorable weapon you’ve used in your game?

flawed rose

Flawed Foes

Over the last year a bit we have been creating Flawed Foes. These NPCs may once have held great potential, alas, their flaws have created substantial hurdles.

5e NPCs: Flawed Foes cover

They are a fun, but flawed group of NPCs, and they have finally been collected into one of our 5e NPC collections.

You can find Flawed Foes on DriveThruRPG.

If you haven’t checked out the other offerings in this collection yet, what are you waiting for?

5e NPCs: Bullies and Brutes is a 35+ page book dedicated to colourful, unique, and competent NPCs that are (you guess it) bullies and brutes. You can check out Deloris, Human Business Mogul, here.

5e NPCs: Goblins! Goblins! Goblins! features 18 different goblins. There are over 35 pages of NPC content and while all of the characters in the book are a goblin of some sort, numerous racial variants, capabilities, motivations, and challenges (ranging from 1/2 to 12) mean your PCs will never look at goblins the same way again. You can meet Eakogs Clutternugget here.

And In Death They Live…

I was recently given the opportunity to contribute to Warlock, an ongoing publication by Kobold Press supported by their Patreons.

The person who reached out was Scott Gable, and I’ve worked with him in the past on this big project he’s been doing… not sure if you’ve heard of it… The Faerie Ring? (If you haven’t, you should check it out.)

At any rate, we’ve been a little behind on our projects here (though we were finally starting to progress on another NPC collection!), and I thought about trying to focus on them and saying no. The thing is I often really enjoy writing for other companies, and I find it to be so different than writing for my own.

So I said yes.

And the writing began.

Fast forward a bit and here we are!

Warlock Undead!

The topic is the Undead, with options including undead magic, a rogue subclass, the Ghoul Imperium Deserter background, some truly skin-crawling planar locales, a legendary villain, and a new PC race. This booklet’s esteemed sections and designers are:

Dry Lands: Plane of Undeath, by Wolfgang Baur

Order of the Ebon Star, by Kelly Pawlik

The Wendestal Devil, by Chris Harris

The Shade: Voices Beyond Death, by Dan Dillon

This 32 page PDF is available on the Kobold Press website, and if you are a Patreon (and why wouldn’t you be?) you probably already have a copy of it, so go check it out and let me know what you think.

Did you love the exploration of the plane of undeath? Are you getting ready to incorporate the darakhul defectors into your next game session? Were you haunted by the backstory of the vampiric monster?

We want to know (and so does Kobold Press, I’m sure, because reviews and feedback are awesome!).

flawed rose

Flawed Foe: Robert “Robbie” McGee

Some NPCs make excellent allies, others are debilitating nemeses, but some are just sad. In this series of posts we bring you Flawed Foes.  These NPCs may once have held great potential, alas, their flaws have created substantial hurdles.  Don’t let that stop you from enjoying some good old role-playing fun though!


“It is important to engage in one’s pleasures, is it not?”

Robert McGee was born to an average couple in an average city. His home was small, but still fairly average for commoners; he had a reasonably warm bed and enough clothing and food to get by. His parents worked long, hard days at their import shop, which sold a variety of strongly scented herbs, overly perfumed soaps and oils, and other exotic items. Robbie spent much of his time helping out at the family shop sorting and refilling spices, the smell of which embedded itself in his clothing and made his nostrils burn.

Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art © Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games

The family earned enough to get by, but it was no fortune. The McGee family ate a lot of grains flavoured with some of the herbs from the shop, as well as bread and what meat they could afford (which was often poorer cuts his mother marinated in herbs and liquid to mask the quality). Robbie and his parents worked well into the night each day and began again early the next morning. Hygiene was not a huge priority as finding time to visit the local bathhouse was difficult and costly. As a result, Robbie was teased mercilessly from a young age for his poor hygiene and strange odour. Children would chant “Stinky McGee” in his presence, and very few children ever played with the pungent adolescent.

The growing boy distanced himself those around him, assisting his parents or exploring the fields outside of town alone. Over the years Robbie learned how to turn his emotions off, deadening himself on the inside to the world around him. He passed more time than he would ever admit to his parents inspecting the carcasses of creatures he found, and even killing some wildlife, and once a stray dog, he happened upon. The cold distance with which he performed these acts is what would have troubled the McGee’s more than anything else, but the parents remained blissfully unaware of their son’s pastime.

When Robbie grew older he decided to leave town. Taking a supply of goods from the shop, the youngest McGee thought he might have some luck as a traveling merchant. He knew his parents would need him in the coming years, but Robbie wished to see life outside his hometown, and secretly also wondered if he might be able to move the business somewhere else. With his parents’ blessing, Robbie set out.

What Robbie came to find was that there was indeed a market for goods such as his family’s out on the road. In a very short time, Robbie sold the majority of what he had set off with, and, having noticed the eager faces of many potential patrons, had done so at a higher cost than his parents normally charged in the shop. The days were just as long, and time on the road perhaps less pleasant than in town, but Robbie enjoyed the solitary nature of it.

Pleased with his progress, his bags near empty of their goods, and his pockets laden with coin, Robbie found lodgings at a nearby inn and decided to treat himself. Rather than order the least expensive food items available, Robbie decided to savour his success with a strong glass of ale and a meat and cheese platter. The smoked meat was delicious in the way so many roasts of his youth had not been, but it was the cheese with its strong flavours and unusual texture that delighted Robbie.

After enjoying much of the tavern fare Robbie stepped outside to the back ally to relieve himself. Here he inadvertently found himself listening to the end of a negotiation between two parties. One, a well-dressed man with a hood pulled low, was bartering with the other, a poorly dressed half-orc with several knives at his belt. From what he could gather, the half-orc was trying to increase the rate of services he was offering, and the human was frustrated by this. At Robbie’s appearance the half-orc appraised him, scowled, and looked back to the human stating if he changed his mind, he knew where to find his services. The half-orc rounded the ally toward the main street and the human looked in Robbie’s direction. A brief conversation ensued where the human became frustrated with Robbie for interrupting his business deal. While not always the canniest of people when it comes to people’s emotions and motivations, Robbie quickly determined less than reputable dealings were transpiring in the ally. Robbie cared very little for anyone but his parents, but he was distantly curious, full of satisfaction from his job well done, and emboldened by the copious amounts of food and drink he celebrated with, and so somehow, he convinced the man he might be able to help. That evening Robbie walked away with the first job in his new career.

The execution was easy; he simply slipped into the house via a window, dispassionately murdered the woman, and left the scene. Robbie found his ability to feel so little for so many, to be so distant from everything around him, was a huge asset in this line of work. The fee was substantial, and the work even easier than travelling with a large volume of goods and speaking with people long enough to convince them to purchase said goods. Robbie wanted to return to his parents; he wanted to help them with their business. He also wanted to do this.

That night, after he returned to the inn, his blade wiped clean on some discarded clothing, Robbie felt ill. At first concerned he had been poisoned, and then perhaps cursed, and so the next morning Robbie made his way home. Travel was slow at first, but as the days passed and Robbie ate the rations procured some days prior, the pain began to subside.

Feeling intrigued with the possibilities of completing more jobs like the one he recently done, Robbie returned home with the funds he had received the goods he left with. His condition cleared up while he resumed living with his parents, dining on seasoned meat and vast quantities of rice and other grains. He told his parents of the success of travelling with the goods, and the three of them agreed that for as long as Robbie wished to, this would be a good business practice. Within a few days Robbie set off once again, travelling here and there and peddling his wares, but he also kept his ear out and made contact with a few less than savoury people in the various places he visited. Before long Robbie had built himself a reputation with the “right” people, and had begun a second business of sorts – a hired hitman.

All the while the traveling merchant found himself obsessed with cheese and other delicious milk products, seeking out more varietie s in each town he came across, and enjoying it with every meal he could. Along with his new-found love of cheese, Robbie discovered something else about himself: his body had trouble digesting the milk protein. The malodorous man, who was used to the foul looks of those around him, realized he hadn’t been poisoned that first night, not exactly at any rate: from what he could tell his new favorite food caused him minor gut pain, and the most flatulent of farts.

For some time now, Robbie has travelled from town to town, completing jobs for those need to simplify their lives or have messages sent and peddling his parent’s wares, all the while indulging in the fare that causes him (and those around him) such anguish.