Bonus Content: Mister Shadow’s Phantasmagorian Emporium

Time for another installment of the Bonus Content series, where I post material I wrote for my own games for the benefit of anyone else who might want to take a look and borrow characters, stories, or mechanics. My usual disclaimer applies–this stuff is not polished to professional standards, and was never meant to be looked at by anyone but me in its original form. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t be posting it if I didn’t think it had value, so keep reading and judge for yourself!

This installment comes from a campaign I wanted to run for Changeling: the Lost, from White Wolf (and now Onyx Path). For those of you not familiar with the game, your PCs in Changeling are humans who have been abducted by the True Fae, inhuman faerie nobility, and warped into a fae beings themselves, before escaping and making their way back to the normal world. My campaign idea was that the PCs would start just as they had broken free, and have them hitch a ride aboard a traveling Goblin Market, serving the lesser fae who run the market as payment for their transport home. There’s a lot of places to look for an idea of what a Goblin Market is like, but my absolute favorite is in Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic. Read through the relevant sections of that, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of my goals in creating this stuff. What I’ve got here is character and story material only, with no additional rules, because the campaign planning never got that far. It’s still fairly hefty, so without further delay, here we go:

PROPRIETORS AND PERSONNEL OF MISTER SHADOW’S PHANTASMAGORIAN EMPORIUM

Mister Shadow

No one knows what Mister Shadow looks like. No one has seen him in person. Some claim he can’t be seen at all. But Mister Shadow is the unquestioned master of the Emporium. He claims a cut of all the other merchants’ profits, although some claim he has a shop of his own, known only to the most cunning…or, as some tales tell, the most desperate. Few gossip on these tales in the open, as Mister Shadow does not like being talked about.

Kindly Tom

The grizzled, leering hob known as Kindly Tom is the chief of the Emporium’s security, although he keeps a small wagon-shop of his own (mostly consisting of items confiscated from transgressors). He is never without a pair of vicious Blunderbores flanking him, and he loves to watch his guards at work—the more vicious, the better.

His face is lopsided, and tends to be twisted up in an unpleasantly smug grin. He wears an open vest with no shirt over his greenish-brown hide, but a thin tunic of invisibly woven spider’s silk protects him from attack by unruly customers.

Jack Shackle

A suave, always smiling hob, Jack Shackle seems to be the friendliest of the Emporium’s merchants. His looks are almost human, but for rows of glistening sharklike teeth and claw-like nails on his hands. Always dressed in the fine clothes from some past era or another, he cuts a smooth and dashing figure—all the better to lull his customers into a false sense of security.

Jack Shackle is the Emporium’s chief dealer in slaves, thralls, hedge beasts, and other captured beings. He has no empathy for his victims whatsoever, but he readily cries crocodile tears if he thinks it will earn him a better price—or trick the victim into showing up for a “special deal” outside the market’s protection.

The Brobdingnagian

A squat, sour-faced goblin standing about four feet high, the Brobdingnagian constantly claims that in any meaningful sense, he is actually enormous—enormously wealthy, enormously generous, enormously successful, and enormously handsome. And while he is far from handsome, and generous only relative to someone like Jack Shackle, he is one of the Emporium’s most successful merchants. His own shop is aboard the market’s largest wagon, a vehicle so big it has to be pulled by a team of smaller wagons (the smaller wagons aren’t pulled by anything—they’re there to do the pulling!) and he has hidden deals with a number of the Emporium’s lesser proprietors.

Success has made him somewhat more lenient than most goblins—though he values his strange wealth as much as any of the merchants, he is willing to take greater risks to achieve the highest rewards, which may include selling low early on to cement a long term client’s patronage.

Big Tom Guzzlegore

An ugly brute of a Gristlegrinder, the Changeling known alternately as “Big Tom” and “Guzzlegore” is not an actual member of the Emporium, but he travels with them nonetheless. He does odd jobs for various merchants, occasionally works security, and brings in the occasional treasure from the Hedge in exchange for transportation and boarding. He doesn’t divulge why he does this to anyone, but there are a great many rumors about it. Some say he works for Mister Shadow, spying on those who are convinced he has no subtlety in his Ogrish nature. Others claim he is trying to hide behind whatever Contracts protect the Emporium, as a refugee from some nameless horror.

The truth is much simpler and plainer than most would have it. Big Tom is lost. He can’t remember where he comes from, and he hopes the Emporium’s travels will eventually take him there. He will eagerly and desperately follow up on any information that might get him home—and wreak a terrible revenge on any who play him false.

Old Granny Wisdom

Old Granny Wisdom doesn’t have a stall, and she doesn’t sell merchandise. She travels on a rocking chair pulled by tomcats, and dispenses advice for hefty fees. No one has any idea where she keeps her proceeds, but some whisper her voluminous black cloak could hide more in it than any number of wagons.

Granny Wisdom’s advice is highly sought after by any who have heard her reputation, and it tends to be well-worth the seeking. It usually (but not always) lacks the double-edged nature of words from a Hob, but the prices she charges make many regret dealing with her, whatever the profits that may come of it.

Quaking Archibald

A tiny merchant, even smaller than the Brobdingnagian, the little gnome going by Archibald seems to live in perpetual fear. Barely over a foot and a half tall, most of which is his knobbly head, Archibald is perpetually towered over by everything in the market, and it scares him…which is why his stall is guarded by the two fiercest, most belligerent Blunderbores he could find. The towering brutes don’t make him any more comfortable, given their size, but they remove any particularly troublesome or frightening customers with relieving alacrity.

The key to dealing with Quaking Archibald is not to unsettle him any more than possible. The moment he gets too worked up, he squeaks to his guards, and the offender is hurled halfway across the Market, probably into something expensive.

Lon and Dron

Lon and Dron profess to be brothers, if such a term can be applied to Hobs, but they could not look or act more different. Lon is fat, short, and jowly, with a jovial manner and a thick, bushy mustache of fair golden hair, but a shiningly bald crown. Dron, on the other hand, is tall and lean, with angular, stark features, and long hair of drab black. His demeanor is melancholy in the extreme.

The brothers operate their wagon-stalls across from each other, with Long’s being a massive affair pulled by a team of winged horses, painted in garishly bright colors, and ornamented with all manner of jewels. A huge banner of cloth of gold advertises his wares as “Lies,” and these are kept in all manner of pots, bowls, jars and boxes of elaborate construction and make. Dron’s stall is a simple hand-drawn cart with the word “Truth” painted on its side in faded off-white letters. He has a few small boxes and bags in which to store his wares.

The Whisperer

A tall, whipcord-thin goblin hidden under a heavy cloak, the Whisperer prefers to deal in naught but abstractions and information. His beady red eyes peer out from under the hood of his cloak to appraise passerby, and any he judges as having an enticing air about them are invited over in a whisper. Those who do not hear his low call, he ignores, but some approach him to deal in his favored goods.

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About Jordan Goldfarb

I am a freelance writer working in the Role-Playing Game industry. My goal is to bring passion, creativity and intelligence to whatever I do, wherever I do it.
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