Adventure & Lair: Human Merchant

Trope inversion idea:

A rat has asked the party to clean out an infestation of human tavernkeeps. The city of Kobold Cave is strictly prohibitionist, due to the kobold's addictive personality and high metablosim: Even alcohol is catastrophic to them. Kobolds who build stills are harshly punished, but extraterritorial law is murky with regard to humans, and the Longtail Council is unwilling to risk the Count's wrath.

The kobolds will pay 200 gold per tavern removed.


The Cursed Tankard: On the outskirts of town, there's a crude shack, roughly 25'30, with unpatched holes in the walls and no floorboards, so it would be bare rock except for the accumulated dirt from foot traffic, sticky with fluids both distilled and bodily. There's a bar that consists of a board laid over three barrels. In back, the "still" consists of three rusty water troughs. It's becoming a local custom for the dishonored and depressed to actively drink themselves to shameful death here, a practice that the owner himself is engaged in. He's actually the bastard son of a local baron, determined to end his days in a depressing hole after his father refused to approve his marriage.


KINDNESS: PCs with social proficiencies can try to give some improvised therapy. He only wants to run the bar while he's mourning his lost love, so if you can just cheer his life up with a Academy Award-winning speech, he'll wander off to begin the first day of the rest of his life.

COMBAT: There's four 1st level fighters working as a security, a normal human alchemist tending the still who carries two flasks of acid that he'll throw in a fight, and five kobold regulars who will join battle with their patron. 

CRUELTY: He's already on the edge. Really mean PCs could try to convince him to kill himself instead of waiting for his liver to fail. Christ, why'd I write the dark option?

REUNION: PCs can also track down his father the baron and get him to change his mind about the marriage. This is actually pretty easy if they think to do it.


The Light at the End of the Tunnel: In the mining district, there's a well-made kobold dwelling, purchased a few years ago and turned into a mining shop. Although kobolds are natural miners and highly proficient at creating their own tools, human goods are trendy and canaries are currently the height of fashion, (although kobold noses are sensitive enough to render the canary useless) so the shop does a brisk trade in legal goods, and is filled with the sound of chirping birds. The owner is a huge man, only able to stand upright in a few places, almost comically out of proportion with his shop. He wears an Inquisitor's Hat festooned with strong-smelling candles that trip wax onto his shoulders, and is boisterous and gregarious but somewhat nervous. He began smuggling in strong drink as a coping mechanism after he became convinced that the ghosts of the canaries were haunting him. Later, he began selling his private stash in small doses, and does it in secret, as he is well aware of kobold law and custom. Has been looking for a medium to hire the ghost of a druid to help him with the animal ghosts that he believes haunt him.

COMBAT: He's a first level fighter, but otherwise fairly easy to murder. The main downside to combat is that he's actually fairly well liked in the community.

OPERATION SPOOKY COAT: Players can pretend to be a poltergeist and cause him to become afraid enough to leave town. Players might also pretend to or actually hire a druid to perform an exorcism, and convince him to give up drinking as part of keeping the house "spiritually pure."

OPERATION DRY WELL:  Since the LateotT's owner doesn't actually make booze, you can get him out of the game by cutting off his supply. His smuggler is an old friend who worries about him anyway, and can be convinced to stop selling fairly easily.

OPERATION MAGIC DOODAD: If your PCs possess Tyr's Evertipsy Tiara, (a circlet that bestows moderate drunkenness upon the wearer) they can sell it to him for 500 gold, thus removing his need to maintain an alcohol supply. (If your players do not possess Tyr's Evertipsy Tiara, consider amending your loot tables)


The Ogre's Unmentionable
The Ogre is the largest and most prosperous of the three illegal taverns, built along the same standards as any in the Empire: high ceilings, two stories, a roaring fireplace and large wooden tables. The apostrophe S is actually abbreviating "is." Do not mention the ogre. Never mention the ogre. Where most of kobold society is full of clanging, screeching, and noise of every kind, the Ogre is a place of near complete silence. Setting your drink down too loudly will garner looks of disapproval, and anyone speaking in a loud, clear voice is escorted out immediately; conversations must be conducted hushed and huddled in a corner. The bartender himself is a hardened criminal, a 5th level thief who was magically punished some years ago with sensitive ears, although he does not tell anyone this. In fact, he is utterly mute. He trades in a variety of illicit substances, although you'll have to know the correct gesture if you want to request one.
COMBAT: He also commands a dozen 1st level thieves, two assassins, and the ogre. Plus, he is fifth level. This is not an easy place to knock over.
COMPETITION: Players can insinuate that Gelb Konig (drug-smuggling kingpin) is planning on moving into town, and it would be unwise to be his rival.
COMPETETIVE OFFER: Someone in town wants to hire a thief for One Last Big Job. Simply convince the owner to stop being a sad, backwater moonshiner and start being an adventurer again. OPTIONAL: This might actually be Gelb as well. It'd be fun if, when the PCs inevitably wind up fighting the mob, the man they got a job ended up being sent to kill them.

These are great! It makes me want to run a monsters campaign.