Random Level 3 Pastoral Encounter Difficulty: Normal (700 XP) Author: Orloff
SetupWhile traveling through the countryside, the player characters happen upon a merchant caravan en route to the nearest city. Should the characters approach the caravan, they notice a fairly standard entourage of caravan guards‒ three well-armed men flanking the wagons and a lone elf armed with a bow some paces ahead. If spoken to, any of the guards will shrug off the party's questions and refer them to their employer. The leader of the caravan is an energetic halfling who introduces himself as Fizmirth and instantly tries selling the players some of his wares. His self-proclaimed “strange and wondrous merchandise” contains items which the characters have never heard of, from potions of weasel's cunning to sneezing stones to scissors spears, all of dubious description but also at “severely discounted rates”. If the players request anything specific, Fizmirth claims to have just run out of that item, and he has no interest in purchasing or trading for anything of the PCs'. He says nothing about himself, and persists in turning the topic of conversation to business. If the characters purchase at least 500 gp worth of items from the merchant, he lets them depart in peace; if not, he continues to follow the characters, urging them not to pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy exciting and rare equipment. An Insight check opposing Fezmirth's Bluff (to which he receives a +5 bonus) reveals that his wares aren't anywhere near as wondrous as he claims, and the Sense Presence of Magic use of the Arcana skill (phb p. 181) reveals no magic in any of his items. In actuality, all of Fizmirth's goods are fakes; nothing he is carrying has more worth than the material from which it is made. Should the player characters accuse the merchant of being a con artist, attempt to escape without first making a purchase, or physically or verbally assault him, Fizmirth will shout for the guards, who will defend their employer to the death.
This encounter includes the following:
1 Halfling Thief (Level 2) Skirmisher XP 125- Fizmirth
1 Elf Archer (Level 2) Artillery XP 125
3 Human Guard (Level 3) Soldier XP 150
TacticsThe human guards wade into battle, marking as many enemies as possible so as to discourage attacks against their master. The elf archer snipes from a distance, focusing especially on supporting characters and using his Archer's Mobility as often as possible. Fizmirth himself stays somewhat distant from the action, preferably around the corner of the wagon for partial cover, and throws daggers at whomever looks the least armored. He tries to remain close enough to be able to attack anyone knocked prone by the guards, preferably using his Nimble Reaction. If three or more of his entourage fall in combat, he will attempt to run, possibly hiding in the tall grass surrounding the road (and receiving a +9 to his Stealth rolls). If caught, the merchant will beg for his life, and is willing to cut any kind of deal with the characters to ensure his survival.
RewardsAll of Fizmirth's “merchandise” is effectively worthless‒ piles of scrap metal, shoddily crafted weapons, false magic items, and the like‒ but the player characters can find 200 gp in loose change around the wagon which the halfling has conned from past victims and an additional 100 gp on Fizmirth's person. If Fizmirth survives the encounter, he will spend his remaining money to restart his enterprise, but will constantly scheme to get back at the characters for trying to ruin him.