Content of the article: "100 merchants. Ready to use ideas for your shops, stores and boutiques."
A bunch of merchant ideas, some are small things or purely flavour, some are hooks for quests large and small. Some are weird, some are funny, some are serious.
1) This dwarf merchant is the heir of a long family of merchants, but most relics of their past have been stolen, and they’re willing to pay any sum to get them back.
2) This Yuan-ti merchant arrived from a distant land, carrying unique wares. They are elusive about their past but never caused any problem, so the locals got used to them.
3) This gnome merchant lives with a very large family. Their kids run around the shop, the grannies sit in a corner making comments about the clients, the grandpas are playing cards outside.
4) This halfling merchant is looking to sell some very ancient items. They were stolen from a tomb, and the spirits in it are looking to get them back. But there is no need to tell that to the clients.
5) This elf merchant is clearly very inexperienced, easily offended and pompous. They took a bet that they could run a human store for a year without any experience, only thanks to their superior elven intelligence. It’s not going well.
6) This dwarf merchant is very tired and busy: all of their colleagues have been arrested after a bar brawl, and the only one left is running the store alone.
7) This tiefling merchant is regularly harassed by the locals, the store walls are covered in graffiti and the windows broken.
8) This tiefling merchant is feared by the locals, who accept the higher prices made at this shop without complaining.
9) This tiefling merchant has a hidden backroom where other tieflings and some warlocks gather to relax, eat and chat. A cosy bar for a few selected that have a hard time in the rest of town.
10) This aasimar merchant will judge any client, selling at a discount at the clients deemed worthy and at inflated prices for those judged to be wicked.
11) This aasimar merchant is paranoid about corruption and sin, and will share with the players a bunch of strange rumours and gossip about other people in town. Some of it may even be true.
12) This half-orc merchant has worked hard to build up a reputation in town and wants to keep it. Any attempt at illegal transactions will be refused, and the players reported to the guards. They will not buy stolen items, accept bribes, they won’t sell at all if they believe the players to be criminals.
13) This half-orc merchant doesn’t want to be a store owner, all they want is to get rid of their stuff and get enough money to be able to buy good gear and leave town.
14) This dragonborn merchant is clumsy and their tail keeps hitting clients by mistake.
15) This drow merchant is just looking for new markets and moved to the surface with no nefarious intentions. Os so they say. The locals were wary at first, but the large wallet of the drow changed their mind rapidly.
16) This merfolk merchant store has two ft of water covering the floor, fishes swim in it.
17) This elf merchant is offering to seel some ancient elven items, taken from old ruins. But everything needs to be very discrete, there are other elves looking for them, and they’re close.
18) This tabaxi merchant cares more about collecting interesting items than making money and loves to barter.
19) This firbolg merchant has a small shop in a very tranquil area of town. Almost all of the store profits are used to buy, protect and grow vulnerable areas of the forest.
20) This retired politician still has a lot of influence, and is often visited by powerful people seeking their advice.
21) This inexperienced merchant is very tired and seems about to break down and cry. They started working just yesterday: the previous owner, their father, died just the day before in mysterious circumstances. They were forced to take over suddenly, without even the time to mourn.
22) This inexperienced merchant is just stubborn and refuses to improve, and terrible at dealing with people too.
23) This inexperienced merchant just spent their life savings to buy the shop, but they’re clearly out of their league. The merchant partner is extremely pissed that they just threw so much money away and will nag the players while they shop.
24) This forgetful alchemist has a left a pot full of some substance on the fire and forgot about it. As the players do their shopping, they may or may not notice it and do something about it before it explodes.
25) This piratey merchant looks just like you’d expect a pirate: peg-leg, eyepatch, parrot on the shoulder. They try to sell a treasure map to the players. Real or fake? Who knows.
26) This overworked clerk is a newbie, they’re not very good at their job and keep misspeaking and stuttering, while their boss, the store owner, berates at them from a corner.
27) This mutated merchant was attacked by an evil sorcerer many years before, and was left with strange mutations.
28) This overly friendly merchant doesn’t understand personal space and will hug and shake hands and kiss all clients.
29) This unfortunate merchant lives nearby another shop that smells terribly, and the stink gets into the shop. Breathing is hard, eyes tear up and the throat burns.
30) This retired paladin is reminded of their own companions, when they see the players. The nostalgia is strong, and they offer tales, advice and even a discount if the players indulge it.
31) This retired ranger has a bunch of strange animals walking freely around the store, sleeping on top of wares, brushing against customers, licking them and munching on their pants.
32) This retired warlock is being blackmailed by local thugs, threatening to reveal their past to the townsfolk.
33) This retired adventurer owns a cursed weapon, hanging on a wall. Unable to get rid of it, the two have become sort of partners, over the years. The weapon is sentient, and it likes to mock, curse and heckle clients.
34) This retired rogue is being followed by their old gang. The players could notice strange people spying from the windows, hiding on the roof of the shop or spying on the entrance from the road.
35) This retired adventurer is being haunted by the ghosts of their former teammates, dead after a botched adventure many years prior.
36) This paladin of vengeance has created this shop as a front, hoping to attract somebody they want to kill. It’s a secret, but it’s obvious the shop owner doesn’t care about profit, they’re always distracted and nervous, and there are many rumours about them.
37) This retired cleric got tired and decided to run away from their own god and hide under a false identity. They are still wanted by the church.
38) This retired inquisitor is suspicious of every client, and often turns violent.
39) This retired bard had to lie low after offending an important noble. They are risking a lot, by running a store and putting themselves out in the open, but they want the money.
40) This retired mage uses their animal companion to pickpocket clients.
41) This fallen noble hates having to work to make a living, and loathes having to talk about money.
42) This boasting merchant promises to be able to order items much better than what the players are asking if they just wait a while. It may or may not be true.
43) This lying merchant promises to be able to order items much better than what the players are asking, but only if they pay half up-front. They intend to run away with the gold.
44) This wealthy merchant is ostentatious and tacky and will gift a few items to the players if they appear wealthy or high-born. The players will be kicked out of the store if they appear poor, dirty or to care for poor people.
45) This virtuous merchant will help the players with discounts or even free items if they appear poor or in trouble but will be hostile and rude if they appear wealthy or posh.
46) This fanatical merchant is covered in tattoos, and the store is filled with holy symbols and wards. If the players display any sign of the wrong religion, this merchant will be aggressive, jack up the prices, and could even throw them out.
47) This rational sceptic merchant will mock the players if they display religious symbols or to believe in any type of superstition or local legend, and try to convince them they are wrong.
48) This suspicious merchant is actually just pretending: the real merchant is tied up and wounded in the backroom, and thieves are robbing the store. This one is acting as the owner to keep clients busy and not attract attention. The players could notice something’s wrong form small signs or the smell of blood.
49) This politically involved merchant has a store covered in political paraphernalia: flags, coins, insignia, paintings, maybe even a statue. Pick one local political organization or cause and have the merchant be extremely involved in it. If the players seem to be of the same group, they’ll get a discount. If they start an argument, the shop owner is happy to yell at them.
50) This distraught merchant was recently robbed. 90% of the sore is visibly empty, some shelves still broken. They still need to sell what they can, to survive, but it’s obvious just looking at their store causes them great pain.
51) This dazed merchant is clearly on a number of different and powerful drugs. Someone with knowledge of medicine or alchemy could notice that some of the drugs are extremely rare and unusual.
52) This politically involved merchant is being targeted by angry locals. It’s not a popular political position, whatever it is, and the store is damaged and covered in graffiti. False rumours about this merchant are common in town.
53) This unfortunate merchant has a dumb name and will get very angry if the players even just appear to make fun of it or chuckle at any point.
54) This ambitious merchant wants to become the richest person in town, they’re saving up as much as possible and will look for any chance to make a profit.
55) This energetic merchant always wanted to be an adventurer but wasn’t cut for it. They’ll be really happy to see heroes in their store, ask questions and perhaps an autograph.
56) This delusional merchant believes to be able to defeat the players, they will look down on them, mocking and taunting them.
57) This scummy merchant will taunt and insult the players: they want to be hit and wounded, so they can call the guards, sue the players and get a lot of money from them.
58) This confused merchant is suffering from memory lapses and confusion. To the magically trained eye, it’s obvious they’re the victim of various spells, even if they don’t remember it.
59) This scared merchant is terrified of the players. They seem to have heard some terrible story about them. True or false, only you can tell.
60) This Elderly merchant is stubbornly refusing to get an apprentice, even tho it’s clear there isn’t much time left.
61) This elderly merchant is actively looking for someone to take over the store.
62) This elderly merchant had an apprentice, but they fell in with a bad crowd and haven’t shown up to work in a while. The merchant is getting really worried.
63) This puzzling merchant promises a free item to the players if they can solve a riddle.
64) This sickly merchant is forced to work even tho they’re clearly very unwell. Pale, sweating and shaking.
65) This new-age merchant has a store filled with crystals and herbs and loves talking about love, bliss and enlightenment.
66) This emotionless merchant seems closer to a robot than a person.
67) This mechanical merchant seems extremely lively and expressive, for a machine.
68) This oppressed merchant is regularly visited by the town guards, that demand protection money.
69) This nefarious merchant is looking for a very specific magical item currently in the possessions of the players and is willing to pay any sum for it.
70) This delusional merchant is convinced they can see the future and will give rambling and cryptic prophecies to the players that probably mean nothing.
71) This rickety merchant built its store on top of a building, hanging onto the void. The store creaks and wobbles, and seems on the verge of collapsing, but the merchant doesn’t seem worried.
72) This deep merchant has a well that connects directly to the Underdark, in the back of the store.
73) This mining merchant has a mine under their store. But they mined too deep and too greedily.
74) This patronaging merchant spends a lot of money to help local artists, even minor and lesser-known ones. They are losing a lot of money, to be able to keep doing it.
75) This patronaging merchant spends a lot of money to finance the most famous artists and is currently organizing a massive spectacle at the local theatre.
76) This swindler merchant has placed many items so that they are easy to knock over. The players must be very careful, or they’ll break something “valuable” and be asked to pay for it.
77) This distraught merchant is looking for a hero: the merchant daughter is kept prisoner in an isolated manor in the woods, where a dreadful beast lives among an army of possessed objects.
78) This correct merchant doesn’t like the idea of unregulated adventurers going around ignoring laws and doing what they want. Troublemakers, the lots of them.
79) This curious merchant is very interested in the heroes journey, asks their story and, if it’s interesting, wants to write a book about them.
80) This alchemist just opened this new store, everything is a bit messy. For every 4 potions the players buy here, 1 will be mislabelled.
81) This weapons merchant is very protective of their items, they will criticize the condition of the players' items and their form and posture.
82) This armors merchant wants to show off their wares, they will put on a set of armor and demand the players shoot at them with a crossbow, put it to the test. What could go wrong?
83) This unlikely merchant is the same race and has the same name as one of the players.
84) This alchemist often dumps expired potions and failed experiments in the river running behind the shop.
85) This doctor has a couple of bodies buried in the basement, botched operations.
86) This menagerie owner illegally sells some rare and nearly extinct animals in the store backroom.
87) This menagerie owner organizes illegal fights between animals below the store, drawing a sizeable crowd.
88) This chaos cultist merchant is using the store profits to finance a secret cult that gathers in the floor above the shop every Wednesday.
89) This haunted merchant has recently taken over the shop, but poltergeists live in it. Their effect is seen as soon as the players come inside.
90) This haunted merchant is being pestered by fairies pretending to be poltergeists, as a joke. Everybody thinks the shop is haunted. Their effect is seen as soon as the players come inside.
91) This friendly merchant holds a secret, illegal fighting ring in the back of the store.
92) This hard-ass merchant is always smoking a cigar, throwing smoke directly into their clients' faces.
93) This beard-hunter merchant really hates dwarves, and regularly assaults them to take their beards, keeping a macabre collection in the back of the store.
94) This retired adventurer has a bunch of trophies hanging from the walls of the shop. The severed heads of multiple monsters.
95) This halfling merchant was a half-orc, before dying and being reincarnated in this new body.
96) This esper merchant has powerful mental powers.
97) This miserly merchant lives in absolute poverty, wearing rags, eating little and saving as much as possible, accumulating a fortune hidden in the back of the store.
98) This extreme merchant loves dangerous activities and putting their lives at risk, with no safety measures or concerns for others.
99) This dragon in disguise loves pretending to be a regular merchant to meet people. If adventurers enter the shop, the dragon will surely want to investigate their motives and judge their character.
99.5) This weird guy in a green skinsuit is obsessed with fairies and spirites, and wants to become one himself.
100) This wonderous items merchant keeps every single item they sell inside a Bag Of Holding.
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