5 Merchant's Guild Quest Hooks for Dungeons and Dragons
5 Merchant's Guild Quest Hooks for Dungeons & Dragons
A city’s merchant guilds provide a dizzying array of possibilities for adventure. Five examples of guild-related adventure hooks are provided here. These scenarios are open-ended and could lead to anything from a single encounter to an extended campaign.
1. Herbalists and Apothecaries Society
There has been a recent influx in demand for a popular concoction that makes those who drink it hallucinate visions of pure pleasure. The H&A Society has put out a call for adventurers who will procure a special ingredient for the mixture. The notice boards direct interested parties to speak with Xalvador Mistsplitter, an older human alchemist.
Xalvador welcomes any adventurer interested. He does request a signing of a Non-disclosure Agreement (NDA). This is to ensure he can protect the secret to the high-selling mixture. Once signed, Xalvador reveals the character's need to locate a faerie dragon and capture its euphoria breath in a collection of special vials. He isn’t too particular on the details of the acquisition, slaying, bribing, or making a deal. A character that succeeds on a DC 16 Intelligence (Arcana) check (grant advantage for fey backgrounds) knows that faerie dragons are invisible tricksters and tend to be found around Fey Crossings. Temporary rifts that connect the material plane to the FeyWild.
2. Dungsweeper Brotherhood
Brothers Bor and Fodel are a clever lot. Growing up as orphans they decided at a young age to work for themselves. They started picking up waste and trash in the streets and trying to find new uses for what most considered trash. It wasn’t long until Lady Turami, a noble aristocrat, began to take notice. With her aid, the two brothers founded the Dungsweeper Brotherhood. They are looking to expand their service into the waterways under the city. Dropping a call for adventurer’s on the notice boards that direct any fool willing to delve in dung to come to find Bor at their small cleaning shop called Dungsweeper Brotherhood.
Bor welcomes the characters, while not quite in his second decade, he’s lost his wide-eyed wonder for adventurers. He is quick to explain the situation. The Dungsweeper business is booming. They’ve been tasked with cleaning out the sewers. Unfortunately, the grime and sludge seem to have taken a life of their own. Quite literally. Several of his employees went missing down there. Other adventurers have attempted to deal with the vile living sludge, unfortunately only one has come back screaming about killer sewer sludge. So he continues to hire adventurers until they can clear out the area of black pudding so his team can get to cleaning up the city's sewer system.
3. Fishmonger and Hunter’s Lodge
Chai Coldwall is the leader of the Fishmonger and Hunter’s Lodge. The core of this group is to ensure enough food is coming into the city. Local laws require there be enough food to feed everyone, even the beggars. Now Chai and the members of the lodge have no problem with this, but it seems lately that the numbers coming in from the hunters and fisherman don’t match that which is being recorded and sent out. Chai believes that someone is skimming off with some of the meat, but isn’t sure who it is. He wants to hire adventurers to catch the person, unfortunately, he wants to keep this secret as best he can in order to ensure they don’t escape. His sister Lei, an expert thief, has been asked to investigate. Since she is well known in the area, she has instead placed coded messages in Thieves' Cant at inns, taverns, and other seedy dives.
The thieves’ cant indicates a job is available for any looking to identify the source of the missing product. Any interested parties should meet with Lei Coldwall at the docks just after sunset. The characters must go undercover at the Fishmonger and Hunter’s Lodge to discover who is pilfering food from the imports. After a long hard investigation, the truth is that the thief is just a wiley giant toad that uses its long tongue to snag fish from the open containers shortly after being counted.
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4. Textile Consortium
Winter is coming and the Textile Consortium is putting out its annual Fur Hunt notices. Borivik, the head of the promotions for the consortium, has put prices on the furs of a variety of creatures. The hunt will last three weeks and the value of the items drops each week by half. A character with leatherworker’s tools, weaver’s tools, the merchant background, or similar features gains an additional 25% of the offered prices. Interested parties should report to Barivik to learn the prices or the furs of particular interest. Borivik can be found in the consortium's main hall.
Borivik is happy to explain the rules in detail. The characters must hunt down beasts for their fur to be turned into armor and cold-weather clothing for the winter. The characters must succeed on Wisdom (Survival) checks to track and locate the targets. The value and the difficulty to track are equally tied to the value of the hunt.
Wolves, black bears and similar creatures are Medium DC and valued at a Low amount.
Saber-toothed tigers, giant elk and owlbear are a Hard DC and valued at a Moderate amount.
Wyvern, hellhound, nightmare, and mammoth are Very Hard DC and valued at a High amount.
5. Arcana Coalition
Kallista, a tiefling mage is responsible for training and equipping the new apprentices who arrive at the Arcana Coalition’s tower. This includes ensuring they have the necessary material components on hand for the young wizards to practice with. Kallista is extremely busy and insists on hiring outside adventurers to deal with the more mundane tasks of collecting the components. She offers just compensation depending on the material chosen. The notice board indicates that Interested parties merely need to speak the words “Kallista. I come as your humble servant and seek opportunities abound.” Upon doing so, a magic mouth appears and lists off the rewards and general locations where to find them.
The GM can choose any wide variety of material components such as phosphorus, brimstone, powdered iron, etc. But the magic mouth stresses the importance of bat guano, indicating it is a common component in many popular spells. A character that succeeds on a DC 14 Intelligence (Arcana) check (or has the fireball spell) knows this is a core material component. The characters must locate a dark, damp cavern that houses a large enough collection to harvest. On top of swarms of bats, ropers, and other dangerous critters. The caves that contain the most effective bat guano also contain clans of werebats.
These simple quest hooks tie to particular sets of merchant guilds and can help flesh out your world. While quest hooks include overarching details, you can weave your own stories within these different options. If you have characters that have skills or features that tie into any of these guild types, it's a great way to introduce fun connections and offer unique services for their trade skills. When picking up these quest hooks or when designing your own, always do your best to find a way to tie the often less used features a character has into them. I promise you players will love you for it.
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