Though the rain and thunder crash outside, the hearth is always warm at the Red Raven Inn.
Inside, several dozen cloaks dry by the fire while half a slaughtered calf turns over the flames. Bowls of fresh fruit line the tables, a bountiful season, and racks of drying jerky hang from the ceiling. The barmaids are welcoming and file as best they can through the thick crowd, the room quickly filling as adventurers look to pass the stormy night. Despite the cold outside the hearth is blazing, the company inviting, and as always the liquor is flowing.
Welcome back to the Red Raven Inn! Heroes and Villains alike call the Raven home when away from home. There is always a blade for hire, a bow up for competition, a shield ready to defend those in need, or a caster in search of knowledge and glory. You never know who you’ll meet at the tables of the Red Raven, nor what adventure lies ahead for those who visit the rain soaked tavern so many explorers and adventurers call home.
11) Aeda Foreman, Weapon Collector
Checking her reflection in the glistening steel of her sword Aeda smiles, savoring the quality of the craftsmanship. Some seek gold, others renown, but for Aeda it is always the allure of new weapons to add to her already impressive collection. Tossing her fiery hair, finally dry from the rains, she sheathes the blade, pulling another rusted weapon from her bag. Patiently, painstakingly, she lays out her tools and begins restoring the recovered treasure. Gladly telling the story of her latest find once more to all nearby who will listen, and a few who would rather not hear it again, Aeda is already lost in the joy of her latest find.
Aeda generally fights with her favorite longsword, supplementing with an assortment of exotic ranged daggers. She will gladly fight alongside anyone who promises a chance for new weapons for her personal armory, but expects first dibs when it comes to dividing the spoils. If treated well she fights loyally and furiously with proficiency in any weapon she wields. If treated poorly she will return to the Red Raven and spread word of how the other adventurers spurned her.
12) Vincent Church, Animal Handler
With a cool touch of his gloved palm Vincent whispers to his Dire Wolf, Calamity, hushing her snarl as another drunk patron passes nearby. Turning to the crowd with a pleasant smile he graciously accepts the drinks offered him, slipping a bit of the dried jerky from overhead down under the table to keep Calamity sated. Listening patiently Vincent offers another piece of advice to the weary local farmer, offering insight as to how best defend against the wild wolf packs harassing his property. Reaching into his satchel he offers a pouch of herbs that make Calamity snort, assuring that this will see the job done.
Vincent generally avoids direct conflict, but has a keen interest in helping anyone with animal troubles. He will resolve any local animal trouble with his knowledge and redirection before resorting to combat, but can handle himself well in a fight. He prefers to use his Longbow while Calamity stays by his side, dissuading melee attackers. He will slip away from a hard fight that turns against him, preferring not to lose his life when so many could still benefit from his aid.
13) Kimberly Reilly, Sadistic Sorcerer
Curling her fingers as the infernal magic bends within her, Kimberly grins sadistically as the small caged rodent shrieks on the table. The barmaids cringe in disgust, while others lean in keenly intrigued as she coolly details the amount of suffering this simple spell can inflict on another. With a final gesture and flash of crimson light the rodent squeals no more. Kimberly leans back in her chair, twirling a lock of raven hair with pale fingers. Thunder cracks and lightning flashes in her blue eyes. She’d be happy to showcase her skills to anyone else who shows interest, and might even be available for a private contract so long as there’s a promise of some more… fun, to be had.
Kimberly attacks head-on with infernal magic, torturing the minds and bodies of those within her range. She gains a great deal of satisfaction from making her enemies suffer, and will go out of her way to take the last enemy alive to ensure she has a plaything for later in the day. She will torture any prisoners mercilessly unless forced to stop, and will hold a grudge against any who does.
14) Vern Lott, Resilient Assassin
Vern stares into the fire, his mind a thousand miles and a dozen years away. As the cinders cackle and the rain drives in sheets, he just stares, unblinking, until a barmaid brings his meal. Jostled, he composes himself quickly and shakes his head, thanking the maiden with only a token injection of emotion into his voice. He lets the meal and drink sit nearby and returns to his staring. When the barmaid hesitates and asks if he is alright, he dryly replies; The just will be avenged, the innocent protected. The only “right” he knows is putting down those who harm others. He resumes his vigil, looking into the fire, his mind retracing the reports, his blade ready. His mind will not rest until all those who wrong the innocent burn within the flames, where they belong.
Vern will take on any job that brings a criminal or evil man to justice, and will not even ask for reward so long as it is agreed that the evildoer meets justice by Vern’s own blade. He prefers to use the shadows to gain advantage on his enemies, scout their positions, and then strike with heavy blows of swords and daggers. He is hearty and resilient, and will use smoke grenades and shadows to disengage when a fight turns against him, a spectre of justice to return another day rather than one to be vanquished.
15) Brock Williams, Beer-Basted Brawler
Pounding down another pint Brock roars, his muscles bulging as he hefts the bench overhead, a half dozen adventurers holding on desperately to keep balance. With a triumphant belch Brock drops the bench, breaking it in two under the weight of the patrons. Flexing for the maidens he scoops one onto his shoulder, encouraging her to pour another tankard straight down his throat. His blonde hair tied back, his bulging torso bronzed, Brock would be an image of the ideal man if he took better care of himself. His beer gut and wild hairs make him look more like the mad drunkard he can sometimes be, but there is a great deal of hero buried somewhere beneath the gallons of suds and hops.
Brock talks freely to anyone who joins him for a drink, if they can hold their own when drinking with him! He fights alongside those who provide a challenge only his brawn can meet, and tends to fight better when drunk. He doesn’t use weapons but is an expert at restraining others by physical force. He can snatch weapons from weaker hands, throw enemies with ease and only falters in his tasks when the drink dries up, and he goes off to seek stronger brews.
16) Lily Dawson, Aspiring Arcanist
Focusing all of her concentration, sweat dripping from her brow, Lily holds her breath as the last piece of the shattered vase falls into place. With a boisterous cheer the crowd celebrates the accomplishment with applause while Lily slumps exhausted into her seat. Beaming at all those around her she pulls out an ink-covered scroll from her rain soaked satchel and continues her notes. Though the chicken scratched parchment could only be deciphered by the one who wrote it Lily continues her scribbles, adding another piece to the ever evolving puzzle that arcane knowledge is. Tying her auburn hair back, a stray strand drifting before her eyes, she blows it aside and begins preparing her next spell.
Though Lily is very much still a novice and student she has an enthusiasm that is unmatched, and will aid anyone who can aid in her continued studies. She uses the spells she knows with great personal satisfaction but is a bit naive when it comes to tactics and battle. She will surrender to an enemy when he life is threatened, but otherwise will use her magic without yielding. Though not the most competent or strong caster she is one of unmatched potential.
17) Lloyd Young, Eldritch Knight for Hire
Kicking in the door Lloyd strides in, heaving a bound bandit captain over his shoulder. Throwing the soaked criminal onto a crowded table he raises a gauntlet high and declares drinks are on this gentleman tonight, tossing a purse of gold to the bartender. While the patrons cheer and slap his armored shoulder sending rain droplets flying, Lloyd waves to all nearby and makes his way to his normal booth. Settling in and thanking the bartender for his regular order, and for maintaining his room in his absence, he pours a pile of parchment onto the table. Sipping from his wine he focuses on the arcane scrolls, sorting them neatly into waiting cases. His hands move in careful gestures, practicing the scroll’s intricacies for future use.
Lloyd wears heavy armor, wields terrifying weapons and wears a belt stuffed with scrolls and potions. He makes no pretense, he is a mercenary first and foremost. He will fight for anyone who can afford his particular set of skills, and he always delivers. Lloyd does not back down from a fight and if it comes to it, for the right price, he will even switch sides. He isn’t a bad or a good man, he is a mercenary, and he follows the gold.
18) Tabitha Sawyer, Introverted Chronicler
Paying no mind to the boisterous crowd, Tabitha chews on the burnt piece of toast, staring intently at the pile of damp documents before her. The candlelight flickers against her thick-rimmed reading glasses, her dirty brown hair tied back in an unkempt braid. She could clearly use some more sleep and coldly answers anyone who disturbs her study. Breaking the point of her quill she bites her lip, fishing another from her overflowing bag of accessories. Mumbling to herself, but loud enough to be heard, Tabitha grumbles about the missing pieces of information, curses the rain smudged ink, and bemoans the incompetence of those who brought the now damaged parchments to her.
Tabitha is not a fighter but is a keen minded investigator. She carries a small knife for self defense which in truth is merely a letter opener. She is not a fighter, however, she knows about everyone and everything locally, and somehow has a third sense about the intentions of others. Tabitha is not a people person, is extremely awkward and introverted, but will give information to anyone who provides her with the answers she seeks.
19) Felicia Park, Glory Seeking Shootist
With a flash of powder and crack of thunder, accompanied by a melody of screams and cheers, Felicia’s pistol roars over the crowd. The vase balanced on the hearth shatters sending pieces flying, causing Lily Dawson to sigh with frustration. Paying no mind Felicia hoists her pistol before sheathing it in her bandolier. Stuffing her wild hair beneath a soaked and weather beaten cap, pulling the brim snug, she kicks her heavy boots back on the table while deeply inhaling the smoky air. Pulling out a small fragmentation grenade and drying the fuse between her fingers, she casually asks who would like to see something much more impressive?
Felicia is boisterous and loves the eyes of the crowd upon her exploits. She will fight so long as there is the promise of renown and puts herself in the thickest parts of the fighting. She wields blazing pistols and grenades, supplemented by a series of impressive kicks and backhanded blows. Her fighting is much more bark than bite, but she is nonetheless an effective combatant.
20) Bruce Rocha, Headstrong Crusader
Hanging his Shield on the wall to dry behind him Bruce sits by the window, reading a report from the nearby villages as he listens to the pattering rain. Tapping his finger he impatiently flicks the papers on the table, eager for the roads to dry. In the stables outside his thoroughbred mount, Bastion, shares his impatience. To many the rains are a blessing, to Bruce it is too often a hindrance in his pursuit of justice. Finally getting up to pace impatiently he stares out the window, praying for the rain to clear, the road to dry, and that there’s still enough time to meet the impending threats to the innocent head on.
Bruce is a noble by birth and fights with finesse and honor. He aids those who stand against raiders and bandits, or against any that threaten innocents, going as far as to hire other adventures with his family’s considerable wealth when he is outmatched. He attacks headlong in every encounter, riding on horseback when able, hoisting a heavy shield while driving his lance deep into enemy lines. Bruce will not retreat, will not yield, and even when given the option to stealth still is very tempted to strike his enemies openly and head on.
The Story Continues…
The rain finally clears with the brisk onset of dawn. As adventurers and explorers alike shoulder their gear and prepare to take to the roads once more the staff of the Red Raven begin the painstaking task of resetting the tavern in preparation for the coming night’s revelry. As some ride to glory, some for bounty, some for justice and others to new knowledge, the road rises to meet all who frequent the Red Raven. Which road will you take? It is a new day, and adventure calls!
Feel free to use these NPCs in your world and adventures! Perhaps they will be engaging asides for your journeys, the springboard for new stories, or even a new nemesis to be faced! The world is yours to shape, the journey yours to experience, and the friends and foes you make along the way yours to behold. Whatever path you take, your Heroes may always call the Red Raven home, and as always, remember the golden rule of all adventure stories:
To enjoy yourselves, and to have fun!
. . .
Originally published by Donald