Rival Parties: Presentation and Utility

Today's Grognardia post has a glimpse of the rival adventuring parties James is currently working on. He writes: "There will be nine different parties in total, each one at a different XP range, equating to roughly levels 1-9. I *may* (once other stuff is done) provide differently leveled versions of a few of the parties so that they can come back later and prove problems to the PCs, but I thought I should first provide a wide variety of parties."

In the comments at Grognardia, folks are talking about what they'd like to see in the presentation of these rivals in order to make them maximally useful in play. I wanted to continue that conversation here, where it'll stick around longer.

Here are some of the questions that tend to come up when I introduce a rival party in my campaign - are these things you'd also want published answers for?

1) What do they spend their money on? A sentence of description could tell me both how the PCs will know the rivals were there (e.g. do Thulian valuables start showing up at the local house of ill repute, or in the hands of mercenary captains?) and what schemes the rivals are pursuing, which could generate another source of conflict outside the dungeon.

2) Where do they hole up when they're not in the dungeon? These hideouts might be mentioned (or minimally detailed) in the Muntberg or Outside the Dungeon sections, but a reminder to look for this there - or a note that the rivals are nomads who might be wilderness random encounters - would help me use the NPC stats.



A brief sentence describing their physical appearance would be nice.

The other thing I noticed, in today’s post with a party, is listing thief skills. While certainly handy, it does take up a decent amount of space and the handiness will be determined by what system people are running it with. While I’m sure many people will be running the LL version with LL, I imagine many will be using other systems. So just saying T1 might be enough.