A Nation Of Shopkeepers
by Stephen Dedman
In almost every RPG, there comes a time when the PCs will go shopping for something they can't make themselves, be it sollerets or starships. And until the invention of Amazon.com and Warehouse 23, it was almost inevitable that they'd meet merchants. (Even after that date, would you trust your life to a space shuttle you'd bought on e-bay?)
With that in mind, here is a collection of merchant NPCs designed for use as contacts, enemies, allies, dependents, Illuminati dupes, hirelings, or random encounters. All are designed with a particular worldbook in mind, but require only minor changes to adapt for almost any setting from the invention of money to its abolition.
Bastian "Rocky" Rhodes, Pawnbroker
Bastian "Rocky" Rhodes grew up poor in Cassiopeia City, and became a pawnbroker and fence mainly through inertia -- he needed a job, and it was the only one available which required no qualifications. He showed an aptitude for the business, and bought the shop, The Crystal Sphere, when his boss retired.
When repressive martial law was declared in Cassiopeia City, Rocky hid as much of his now-illegal stock as he could, and handed the rest in before the amnesty ended. To his delight, Cassiopeains desperate to buy passage from the city were eager to accept bargain prices for their goods, and many soldiers (including military police) were willing to pay well for illegal goods. Though he's had to become very careful what he buys and sells, and to whom, Rocky has found that his business is actually bringing in more money -- enough that he's managed to buy a used Lemon Angel robot, Chika, as a shop assistant and sex toy. The main difference is that he's paying protection to the MPs instead of the Organization.
Rocky can fence gear that the PCs have stolen, sell them legal goods at a bargain price, or provide illegal weapons and other equipment at high cost. Most of his stock is LC 6, sold for 40-90% of list price (-1d×10) depending on condition. Roll LC or below on 1d, at -1 per 10lbs weight or $1,000 cost, to see if he has any less legal items in stock, then multiply the price by 6-LC.
Rocky can also serve as a Street Contact (connected, Streetwise-12, somewhat reliable), an Ally, or an Enemy. He may also be able to provide information on his customers' financial status, buying habits, or addictions -- for a price, of course.
Rocky is designed for a GURPS Space or Traveller adventure in a CR 6 (Total Control) setting, but the 25-point version would require only minor tweaking to fit into other times; pawnbrokers have been around since the Renaissance, if not before.
Bastian "Rocky" Rhodes, Pawnbroker (75 points)
ST 12 ; DX 10 ; IQ 12 ; HT 10 
Speed: 5.25 Move: 2 Dodge: 5 Parry: 5
Damage: Thrust 1d-1; Swing 1d+2.
Advantages: Contact: Police, Effective skill 18, available on 9 or less, Usually Reliable ; High Pain Threshold ; Lightning Calculator ; Reputation (+1, a man who can get you anything without asking questions, recognized on 7 or less) ; Wealth (Comfortable) . Cyberwear: Adjustable Heart with Steady setting ; Flesh Holster .
Disadvantages: Addiction (Neural Stimulator -- highly addictive, legal, $400/week in maintenance costs) [-10]; Code of Honor (Businessman's) [-5]; Fat [-10]; Gluttony [-5]; Greed [-15].
Quirks: Dislikes his first name [-1]; Enjoys watching sports for fat people (sumo, weightlifting, etc.) [-1]; Hates exercise [-1]; Staid [-1]; Wants to be a chef in his own restaurant [-1].
Skills: Accounting-10 [1/2]; Area Knowledge (City)-13 ; Armory/TL10 (Beam Weapons)-11 ; Beam Weapons/TL10 (Sonic)-13 ; Brawling-10 ; Computer Operation/TL10-11 [1/2]; Cooking-12 ; Detect Lies-13 ; Electronics Operation/TL10 (Security Systems)-13 ; Exoskeleton-10 ; Fast-Draw (Pistol)-9 [1/2]; Fast-Talk-14 ; First Aid-11 [1/2]; Holdout-11 ; Intimidation-12 ; Jeweler/TL10-9 [1/2]; Mechanic/TL10 (Robot)-12 ; Merchant-14 ; Savoir-Faire-11 [1/2]; Scrounging-12 ; Shortsword-10 ; Streetwise-12 ; Wrestling-10 .
Gear: Stunners, with Nauseator setting, and select switch for use as one-shot screamer; Sonic Stinger; Bioplas vest. Under counter, Machete with monowire edge; Laser Torch; Drug Analyzer; Smart Bandage; Privacy Field; Credcard cracker, and a Dumb Office Minicomputer (Complexity 4) with peripherals. Shop also contains a fitted ST 20 Exoskeleton, a Fire Extinguisher, Emergency Medkit, Basic Armoury and Electronic Tool Kits, and Rocky's "assistant" -- Chika, a Lemon Angel, who will defend her boss if attacked.
Appearance: Age 48; Brown skin, dark brown eyes, shaven head, black walrus mustache. 5'9", 240 lbs. (80 lbs encumbrance).
- 25-point version: Reduce ST to 11; Remove Cyberwear, Police contact, and High Pain Threshold; Reduce Detect Lies skill to 12.
- 100-point version: Add Danger Sense; Increase IQ and Mental skills by 1.
Chika, Rocky's "Partner" (233 points)
ST 12/10 ; DX 11 ; IQ 9 [-10]; HT 12/9 
Speed: 5.25 Move: 2 Dodge: 5 Parry: 5
Damage: Thrust 1d-1; Swing 1d+2.
Disadvantages: Dead Broke [-25]. Skills/Software: Accounting-20 ; Beam Weapons (Sonic)-13 ; Brawling-13 ; Computer Programming/TL10-17 ; Cooking-13 ; Datalink; Detect Lies-16 ; Domestic; Electronics/TL10 (Credcards)-17 ; Erotic Art-11 ; Forgery-15 ; Merchant-14 ; Sex Appeal-15 ; and Voiceprint Recognition.
Gear: Sonic stinger; Pocket aerosol (paralysis gas); Clothing belt over transparent bioplas bodysuit.
Appearance: Apparent age 23; dark brown skin, shoulder-length black hair, hazel eyes. 5'5" tall, 102.54 lbs.
Chika is a "Lemon Angel" Android Companion (p.RO119) who assists Rocky by cooking, cleaning, clerking, and cracking credcards.
Christina Nero, Investment Banker
Christy Nero acquired a taste for wealth and influence when she was still a cheerleader at high school, dating the son of a successful banker. She was soon fraternizing with corporate high-flyers not just for their generosity, but for what they could teach her about finance. Within a year of receiving her MBA, she was running the currency exchange section of a major bank. Soon after this, she met a wealthy lawyer whose clients included a major drug cartel, and began using the bank to launder the cartel's money. She now controls billions of dollars from various corporations, political parties and criminal syndicates, which she moves around a complex web of tax havens, dummy companies, and genuine investments.
Nero's short-term goal is to become a millionaire before she turns 30; her ultimate dream is to become incredibly rich and use her influence to turn the United States (and ultimately the world) into a plutocracy with herself as near the top as possible.
Christy Nero is always looking for projects to invest in, and may become a Patron (or, more probably, Secret Patron) bankrolling gunrunners, treasure-hunters, or Gadgeteers working on new weapons. She is only interested in transactions of at least $100,000.
Nero makes a dangerous Enemy, but is also a useful and usually reliable Street or Business (effective skill 18) Contact. Filthy Rich PCs may also have use for her money-laundering services.
In an Illuminated campaign, Christy Nero is a conspirator in the employ of the Gnomes of Zurich: whether or not she is aware of their existence, she is in perfect sympathy with their aims. In a Voodoo campaign, she may be one of the Snake People.
In a Deadlands campaign, Nero may be an investor in one of the railways, as well as acting as Patron to several Mad Scientists. In a Space campaign she may lend the PCs the money they need to buy expensive cyberware or a spaceship. Of course, if the PCs can't pay up on time, she may demand they smuggle drugs or illegal immigrants, or steal some business secrets.
The 400-point version of Nero is a criminal mastermind known as Silver Shadow. She uses her Elastic Skin and Mimicry advantages to gain information and access to valuables, or to frame the PCs or their friends if they frustrate her money-making schemes. Though she wears the best concealable armor available at her tech level, she prefers to leave combat to her hirelings.
Christina Nero (100 points)
ST 9 [-10]; DX 12 ; IQ 13 ; HT 12 
Speed: 6 Move: 6 Dodge: 6 Parry: 8
Damage: Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d-1.
Advantages: Alcohol Tolerance ; Attractive appearance ; Fashion Sense ; Lightning Calculator ; Status/1 ; Strong Will/1 ; Voice ; Wealth (Wealthy) .
Disadvantages: Fanaticism (self) [-15]; Greed [-15]; Megalomania [-10]. Quirks: Attentive; Fond of cocaine and other stimulants; Homophobe; Incompetence (Cooking); Technophile.
Skills: Acrobatics-10 ; Acting-13 ; Accounting-12 [1/2]; Administration-14 ; Carousing-11 [1/2]; Computer Operation/TL8-12 [1/2]; Dancing-10 [1/2]; Diplomacy-14 ; Driving/TL8 (Car)-10 ; Economics/TL8-13 ; Guns/TL8 (Pistol)-14 ; Judo-12 ; Law (Specialization: Tax law)-17 , (other)-11 ; Make-up/TL8-12 [1/2]; Merchant-16 ; Politics-13 [1/2]; Psychology-13 ; Research-13 ; Savoir-Faire-17 ; Sex-Appeal-15 ; Singing-14 [1/2]; Streetwise-12 .
Gear: Upper-class clothing; Porsche; Glock 17; palm-top computer; small apartment crammed with high-tech gadgets.
Appearance: 28 years old; fair complexion, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes; 5'4", 120 lbs.
- 150-point version (Patron): increase Wealth to Very Wealthy; +2 to IQ and IQ-based skills; +1 to HT and HT-based skills.
- 400-point version (Supers campaign): add Charisma/1 , Doesn't Sleep , Elastic Skin , High Technology/+1 , Immortality (Special Enhancement, can age in either direction at will) , Mimicry , and Pheromone Control  advantages, and Disguise-15  to 150 point version. TL8 version carries a Gauss Needler, TL9 version a Gauss Pistol or Blaster.
Matthew Alhazred, Bookseller
Matthew Alhazred was 15 when he inherited his uncle Mustafa's business, the Book Bazaar. An avid reader and bibliophile, he ignored his widowed mother's plea to sell the shop and maybe make enough to put himself through college; instead, he left school to work full-time in the shop.
Matt is not an enthusiastic salesman and detests any form of physical work, including cleaning (which he leaves to his mother), but he is not intellectually lazy: he reads almost every book he buys before he can bring himself to sell it. The small shop is also crammed with oddities that Mustafa bought over the years -- including some original Pickman paintings, some decidedly strange sculptures, and a few antique weapons.
Matthew prides himself on his knowledge of obscure facts and his ability to find out anything he doesn't know. He is designed mainly as a source of information for Horror, Cliffhangers, Voodoo or Cthulhupunk campaigns, but the shop may also be the favorite haunt of a copycat serial killer, or a meeting place for spies in an Espionage campaign. The 250-point version of Matthew calls himself Eibon; he may be a mostly harmless metavillain who specializes in stealing books, a nemesis of Nazis and other book-burners, or an eccentric super-spy on either side of the law. The 25-point version may be a PCs' dependent, a minor enemy, or an important witness who needs protection.
The Book Bazaar may be found largely unchanged (and probably unswept) in almost any era since printing was invented, and people like Matthew have probably worked there for all that time.
Matthew Alhazred (25 points)
ST 9 [-10]; DX 10 ; IQ 12 ; HT 9 [-10]
Speed: 4.75 Move: 4 Dodge: 4 Parry: n/a
Damage: Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d-1.
Advantages: Eidetic Memory ; Language Talent/1 ; Night Vision .
Disadvantages: Curiosity [-5]; Dependent (Mother, appears on 15 or less, 60 point character) ; Easy to Read [-10]; Insomniac [-10]; Laziness [-10]; Oblivious [-3]; Youth [-2].
Quirks: Anglophile [-1]; Atheist [-1]; Gay [-1]; Imaginative [-1]; Loves, and secretly writes, detective stories and science fiction [-1].
Skills: Accounting-10 [1/2]; Archaeology-10 [1/2]; Astronomy/TL6-10 [1/2]; Conspiracy Theory-13 ; Guns/TL6 (Pistol)-12 [1/2]; Forensics/TL6-10 [1/2]; History-11 ; Languages (English)-14 , (Arabic)-13 [1/2] (French)-13 [1/2], (Latin)-13 [1/2], (Spanish)-13 [1/2]; Linguistics-10 ; Literature-14 ; Merchant-11 ; Motorcycle/TL6-10 ; Occultism-13 ; Poisons-10 [1/2]; Research-13 ; Scrounging-12 [1/2]; Speed-Reading-12 ; Thanatology-11 ; Writing-11 [1/2].
Gear: Webley No. 1 revolver (under counter); old British motorcycle.
Appearance: 17 years old; olive complexion, short black hair and barely visible mustache, dark brown eyes; 5'8", 145 lbs.
- 100-point version: Increase IQ and all mental skills by 3, and add Versatile advantage.
- 100-point version (Illuminated campaign): increase IQ and all mental skills by one, and add Illuminated and Second Sight advantages.
- 250-point version (Supers campaign): to 100-point version, add Breath Holding/4; Insubstantiality (Enhancement: Can carry objects up to No Encumbrance, +10%) ; Invisibility (Enhancements: Visible at Will +10%, Can carry objects up to No Encumbrance, +10%) (Limitation: Can be Seen in Mirrors) ; and Penetrating Vision/1.
Mina Vladic, Body Modifier
Mina Vladic's parents were undertakers with Russian mafia connections and a huge collection of old horror movie discs. By the time Mina was eight, they decided that her intelligence and lack of squeamishness suited her to a career in medicine, and chose her classes and extra-curricular activities accordingly. Mina did well enough academically, but also loved to party, and in her final year she was caught stealing prescription software from the university hospital's pharmacy. Rather than return home and work in the family business, she took a job in a tattoo parlor. She soon realized that there was more money to be made implanting street tech than there was in piercing navels, and after making a deal with her parents and their connection, she was soon running her own business.
From the outside, The Body Eclectic seems to be an ordinary tattoo and piercing parlor (if unusually clean and very well-equipped), but Mina really specializes in black market biomods and cyberwear. Many of these are salvaged from bodies sent to her parents' funeral home, and her parents also help dispose of the small number of her clients who die on the operating table. She charges hospital rates for surgery, and her bargain-basement bionics (20% savings) may be unreliable or breakdown-prone (see p.UTT95), but she's utterly discreet, keeps no records, and usually gives her clients a free tattoo or piece of body jewelry to preserve her cover story.
Mina is also a good source of medical and/or illegal drugs, as well as a frequent user of them (Zen when working, and Sin after hours; see p.UT91). Rather than using anesthetics, she often operates on patients while they're still conscious because she likes inflicting pain; she then erases the memory with amnesiac drugs. When not in her shop, she's usually at a party or S&M club, only returning to her apartment in the mornings to sleep, shower and/or change her outfit.
As well as providing the PCs with implants and discreet medical care (for a price), Mina may be a Street Contact, or a dangerous Enemy.
While the 100-point version of Mina is specifically designed for a Cyberpunk, Cthulhupunk or later campaign, unregistered street doctors might be found almost in almost any era.
Mina Vladic (100 points)
ST 10/12 ; DX 11/12 ; IQ 13 ; HT 10 
Speed: 5.25 Move: 5 Dodge: 5 Parry: 6
Damage: Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d.
Advantages: Beautiful appearance (Off-the-shelf looks, -50%) . Biomods/Cyberwear: Bionic eyes with Acute Vision +1 , Microscopic Vision/2  and Retinaprint ; Two bionic hands (ST 12, DX 12) with micromanipulators ; Cyberhair, long ; Eros Plus .
Disadvantages: Compulsive Carousing [-5]; Impulsiveness [-10]; Insomnia [-10]; Sadist [-15].
Quirks: Broad-Minded [-1]; Doesn't drink wine [-1]; Intolerance (Morning people) [-1]; Mild claustrophilia and arachnophilia [-1]; Not interested in long-term relationships [-1].
Skills: Artist-10 [1/2]; Brawling-10 [1/2]; Carousing-10 ; Computer Operation/TL9-12 [1/2]; Detect Lies-10 [1/2]; Disguise/TL9-13 ; Electronics Operation/TL9 (Medical)-12 , (Security Systems)-12 ; Fast-Talk-13 ; Guns/TL9 (Needler)-14 [1/2]; Holdout-11 [1/2]; Judo-9 ; Knife-12 ; Merchant-14 ; Physician/TL9-12 ; Sex-Appeal-10 ; Streetwise-12 ; Surgery/TL9-13 ; Tattooing-13 .
Gear: Gauss Needler; Small knife with monowire edge; Medium arachnoweave bodysuit (black and skintight, with zips over each piercing); Nightshades; Doctor's Black Bag; Medscanner; Drug Analyzer; black overcoat; boots.
Appearance: 27 years old; beautiful neo-goth, with pale complexion, wazist-length black hair, black eyes, and multiple piercings; 5' 8", 125 lbs.
- 60-point version (Street Doc, any TL): remove all cyberwear and bodymods; reduce Carousing and Sex-Appeal skills by 1 point each; appearance becomes Attractive.
- 300-point version (vampire street doc): add Vampire package (pp.U82-83) to 60-point version.
Quentin Quinn, Traveling Salesman
Quentin Quinn is a "drummer," a salesman who travels the small towns of the old West with a catalog from a very large mail-order firm and a trunk full of samples of his merchandise. He loves traveling by rail or paddle-steamer and has an uncanny knack of turning up when trouble is about to strike, but always seems to have exactly the right item to save his skin.
When encountered, the soft-spoken Quinn may be carrying any combination of items from his catalog to deliver to mail-order customers or to show shopkeepers -- always including at least two Colt revolvers, one Bible, one deck of cards, a few corsets, and some boxes of ammunition in whatever caliber the PCs need. In a Deadlands campaign, he may also be carrying Gatling pistols, bulletproof vests, and other gadgets. When trouble strikes, he will attempt to sell his merchandise to the PCs, firmly maintaining it would be dishonest to give them away or even lend them out.
Quinn is a combination of Gizmo advantage and guardian angel, but he can also be a dependent or an ally -- or even an enemy, able to outfit a posse to track down lawbreaking PCs. He can also be used as a 1-point Business Contact.
With minor tweaking, Quinn might be selling items out of the trunk of his car in any 20th- or 21st-century campaign. He might even be a passenger on a starship, taking prototypes of TL11 equipment to merchants on other worlds.
Quentin Quinn [25 points]
ST 10 ; DX 10 ; IQ 11 ; HT 10 
Speed: 5 Move: 5 Dodge: 5 Parry: n/a
Damage: Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d.
Advantages: Charisma/1 ; Language Talent/1 ; Patron (Employer, appears on 6 or less) ; Rapid Healing ; Serendipity .
Disadvantages: Bad Sight (nearsighted, wears glasses) [-10]; Sense of Duty (Employer) [-10]; Skinny [-5]; Weirdness Magnet [-15].
Quirks: Always wears a derby [-1]; Loves opera [-1]; Mild phobia (snakes) [-1]; Sleepy drinker [-1]; Very polite, especially to women [-1].
Skills: Area Knowledge (North American railways)-11 ; Armory/TL5 (Rifles and Handguns)-10 ; Detect Lies-10 ; Diplomacy-10 ; First Aid/TL5-10 [1/2]; Gambling-12 ; Guns/TL5 (Pistol)-14 , (other)-10 [0}; Languages (English)-12 , (Comanche)-10 [1/2], (French)-10 [1/2], (Mandarin)-10 [1/2], (Spanish)-10 [1/2]; Merchant-13 ; Riding (Horse)-9 ; Savoir-Faire-11 ; Speed-Load (Revolver)-9 [1/2].
Gear: Colt Cloverleaf pistol; steel skullcap and breastplate under good suit, duster, and bowler hat; pocket knife; spare eyeglasses; travel trunk full of merchandise.
Appearance: 34 years old; tanned complexion, receding dark blond hair, hazel eyes behind wire-rimmed glasses; 5'9", 100 lbs.
- 100-point version: Increase IQ and Mental skills by one; add Cinematic Gadgeteer advantage and one Gizmo; increase Armoury skill to 16 and Riding to 10.
Robert Blackstone, Alchemist
Robert Blackstone's mother was a renowned magical healer, or a witch, depending on who you ask. He grew up fascinated by things magical, and both he and his mother were disappointed when he proved to have little or no magical aptitude. In a spirit of compromise, his mother apprenticed him to the local alchemist.
Robert has done his best to carry on his mother's business of providing healing to the small town where he was born -- herbal remedies and first aid to locals who can't afford elixirs, and powerful potions for those with more money and less patience. He makes an average income as an alchemist, and has never ventured more than ten miles away from his home. The 100-point version of Robert also provides magical healing and occasionally enchants items (and probably lives in a slightly larger town), but his personality is still the same.
Robert is expert in the creation of the following elixirs: Aesculapius, Agni, Argus, Atalanta, Chiron, Delphi, Ephialtes, Hydra, Janus, Morpheus, Orion, Poseidon and Prometheus.
Robert's main use in most campaigns will be to provide elixirs to the PCs before their adventures, and medical care to the survivors. He is too easy-going to make a worthwhile enemy, but he might be an ally or dependent, or even an unconnected street contact. He may also hire the PCs occasionally to obtain hard-to-get ingredients, such as scale of dragon.
Robert will require very few changes to fit into any setting where alchemy works, including GURPS Technomancer.
Robert Blackstone (25 points)
ST 10 ; DX 11 ; IQ 13 ; HT 9 [-10]
Speed: 5 Move: 5 Dodge: 5 Parry: 6
Damage: Thrust 1d-2; Swing 1d.
Advantages: Literate ; Reputation (skilled healer, honest merchant): +2 reaction, sometimes recognized, small group of people ; Resistant to Poison .
Disadvantages: Charitable [-15]; Curious [-5]; Overconfidence [-10]; Unfit [-5]; Workaholic [-5].
Quirks: Attentive [-1]; Considers making love potions beneath his dignity [-1]; Dislikes travel [-1]; Incompetence (Poetry) [-1]; Very fond of mushrooms [-1].
Skills: Alchemy/TL3-13 ; Astrology-10 ; Cooking-12 [1/2]; Crossbow-10 [1/2]; First Aid/TL3-13 ; Glassblowing-10 ; Herbalist-12 ; Knife-10 [1/2]; Merchant-12 ; Naturalist-11 ; Occultism-12 ; Pharmacy/TL3-10 ; Poisons-11 [1/2]; Research-13 ; Savoir-Faire-12 [1/2]; Staff-9 ; Streetwise-11 [1/2].
Gear: Staff, enchanted with Seek Plant spell; Small knife; Home workshop; Doctor's black bag; Reference library; 1 dose Aesculapius potion.
Appearance: 48 years old; pale complexion, bright blue eyes, white hair and beard and all his teeth; 5'6", 140 lbs. When in lab, wears lower-class tunic and pants, cloth gloves, and shoes, all stained with reagents.
- 100-point version: Increase HT to 11; Increase Alchemy to 14 and Staff to 11; add Longevity, Wealth (Comfortable), and Magery, Limited (Solitary Magery/2) advantages, and the following spells: Awaken-13 ; Beast-Soother-13 ; Cure Disease-14 ; Detect Magic-13 ; Enchant-14 ; Insect Control-13 ; Lend Health-13 ; Lend Strength-13 ; Major Healing-14 ; Minor Healing-14 ; Neutralize Poison-14 ; Recover Strength-13 ; Scroll-13 ; Sterilize-13 .
The Petrified Forester (Fantasy): When Robert Blackstone hears that a basilisk may be haunting a nearby wood, he offers $1,000 in silver or $2,000 in elixirs to the first person to bring in the corpse (parts of which are useful for concocting certain potions).
Unfortunately for the heroes, they won't be the only ones hoping to kill the monster and gain the reward -- and the basilisk is actually the familiar of a powerful and bad-tempered wizard.
Trained Wolves (Deadlands): The PCs are aboard a train when it's stopped by ties across the tracks, and robbed. Nothing unusual about that, perhaps -- except that some of the robbers are werewolves.
The only character on the train with any silver ammunition is Quentin Quinn; 50 rounds, $4 each, in .38 caliber (if the heroes don't have guns that fire that caliber, he also has four Colt Lightnings). The bullets are pre-sold and locked in his trunk, so the PCs will have to persuade him to sell them by using Fast-Talk, Intimidation, Sex-Appeal or a similar skill. Worse still, the trunk is locked in the express car, 20 carriages behind them, and the werewolves are already forcing their way in.
Protection (Horror): There's a new goon collecting protection on Matthew Alhazred's street, and Matthew thinks he may also be behind a few gruesome murders. He asks the PCs to follow the heavy -- who seems extremely strong, never opens his mouth very wide, and always wears sunglasses even though he only appears after dark.
The goon may be a dominated vampire, flesh golem, Snake Man (pp. VO101-102), or other monster. He delivers the money he collects to a wealthy banker (use stats for Christina Nero).
Bestseller (Supers/Illuminati): Silver Shadow (Christy Nero) hires Eibon (Matthew Alhazred) to steal a grimoire, supposedly written by Baron von Knigge, from a private collection. The PCs learn that the grimoire contains powerful divination and mind control spells, and must be sealed or destroyed -- but they're not the only ones trying to get it. Nero wants to sell it to the highest bidder, and doesn't care what the buyer wants it for.
Loan Star (Space): When smuggler Rani Diaz defaults on a loan from Christy Nero, skip-tracers fall over each other trying to collect the $.5M bounty, and Diaz goes to Mina Vladic's chop shop in Cassiopeia City for a new face.
By the time the PCs (also in Cassiopeia City) hear she's in town, Vladic is the only one who can identify Diaz, and she won't betray her friend and client. Rocky Rhodes offers to arm and equip the PCs for a share of the bounty, but can he be trusted? What sort of cyberwear did Diaz buy? And what happened to her ship?
Article publication date: August 13, 2004
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