Session 6 continued from here
Aha - high elf sorcerer
Charlie - human cleric of Zagyg
Erevan - high elf rogue
Rajabu - dwarf fighter
The heroes rode back to Anvilar in the coach that Lady Alba had commissioned to get them to her manor house. As they approached the city walls, they noticed crowds gathered at the gate. A crowd at the left of the gate was gathered around an execution site. Two souls had been hanged off the edge of the wall.
Rajabu's player wanted to stop the coach to question the onlookers, but Erevan's player reminded him of the coach driver. Simply asking the driver informed the players that these were spies from the city of Antochslow who had been convicted of stealing state secrets and executed. Aha's character was from Antochslow, and she actually had a covert purpose for being in Anvilar. This was just my way of turning the screws on her slightly.
Secondly, the adventurers noticed a large camp set up at the other end of the gate. Numerous warrior types in armor milled around between tents and campfires. This was the mercenary force that Eled, ruler of Anvilar, was building up.
My way of communicating more of the state of affairs in the game world in a natural way to the players.
Having passed through the gates of Anvilar, the group split up to spend some of their hard-earned bounty.
Having developed the city of Anvilar using broad strokes, I didn't have any details of shops and such written down anywhere, so this would all have to generated on the fly. I rely on inspiration from the dmmuse.com Tavern and Inn Generator for much of this. It spits out lists of random, mundane NPCs with personality and physical traits, and is just enough for me to riff off of. I generated a couple of armory shops using this method, and each resulted in a nice bit of short role playing.
In the first armory, Erevan inquired about a Displacer Beast Hide armor, but the merchant laughed and said they had only seen only a few examples of this in his entire career. He did, however, offer up the information about where the group might find Displacer Beasts. He informed the heroes that these beasts were relatively common on the neighboring Marver's Isle. Bring him the skins and he could have the armor fashioned.
A new fact about the campaign world, and a possible adventure hook, was thus established.
In the second armory, the merchant allowed Aha to examine a rare suit of blue dragon scale armor. She drooled over the gleaming blue scales, made from the same dragon type that fueled her sorcerous powers. The price tag was prohibitive for the party's current wealth level.
But I'm sure Aha's player will pay this merchant a visit when she has the 4,000 silver required for this suit. Yes, 4,000 silver. I use the silver standard in the campaign, so all gold values in the book are reduced down to silver. And, I rolled for the "honesty" level of this merchant on 2d6 and secretly scored a 12. The PCs had stumbled upon one of the most honest merchants in Anvilar! I had already deemed that this militant city would have a 10% discount on arms and armor, but this shop's discount was a full 20%.
To wrap up, I've learned how to streamline the shopping experience between adventures. I use random generators to help come up with details on the fly, and note the details down as they come into play. I try to keep the role-playing short and sweet, and use it as an opportunity to develop new facts about the game world and introduce a few minor potential plot hooks as well.
Session 6 to be continued