'City Builder' Adventure Hooks

Michael O. Varhola

One of the most important projects we have currently got in the works at Skirmisher Publishing is development of a special "Platinum Edition" of our Platinum-bestselling universal sourcebook City Builder: A Guide to Designing Communities and, as part of that, we would like to add at least a couple of dozen new adventure hooks, particularly for locations described in the book that have only one associated with them. We have listed some of those places and the single hooks associated with them here to kick off the incubation of this expansion.  

Also, if you don't already have a copy of City Builder, there is no reason why you should not pick one up now! Everyone who already has the book will automatically get a copy of the Platinum Edition when we release it, so there is no reason to hold off on picking up this earnest, useful, and very popular manual. 


Carpentry: An especially skilled carpenter in the campaign area has been commissioned to create a cabinet or other piece of furniture that a powerful spellcaster intends to enchant into a magic item. The valuable wood provided by the wizard, however, has been stolen by thieves! Desperate, the master carpenter is willing to make a good deal with anyone able to track down the thieves and recover the stolen timber.

Clothier: The owner of a clothier patronized by some of the characters knows that cloth is one of the commodities that periodically goes missing during raids on merchant caravans and that it might turn up in the lairs of brigands or other creatures. With this in mind, he tells the characters that he will pay them a fair price (e.g., 50% of full market value) for any good bolts of cloth they are able to bring to him. The artisan might have purely commercial motives or may be acting covertly on behalf of his guild or even a multi-city merchant house to collect information that could help in suppressing a run of such attacks.

Jewelry Shop: For various reasons, a particular jeweler must personally deliver something to an important client. Although he would normally travel in disguise as the member of a caravan under such circumstances, he has reasons not to do so this time, and hires one or more characters to discreetly guard him on his journey.

Leatherworking Shop: While many traditional leatherworkers craft goods made from only one sort of hide, such as that obtained from cattle, those in some milieus — especially fantastic ones — might work with the skins of considerably more exotic creatures, such as crocodiles, rhinoceroses, and even dragons. Obtaining the hides of such creatures might form the basis of various adventures, for everything from mercenary adventurers working to obtain certain kinds of hides for leatherworking shops, to characters hunting down specific sorts of dangerous creatures as a rite of passage and subsequently having the skins made into gear for their personal use.

Sculptor: A sculptor under contract to a particular temple hires the party to find, quarry, and transport a wagonload of rare marble, destined to be used for the altar in a major new temple, in time for it to be sculpted and dedicated. During the expedition, the characters are harassed by a party affiliated with a cult opposed to the religion associated with the new temple and must also deal with a number of other hazards that arise to complicate their mission.  

Stonemason: Rumors have begun to spread through the grapevine that the local Stonemasons Guild — in conjunction, perhaps, with those in other areas — has begun to function as more of a secret society than would be usual for such an organization and to exert its influence into areas unrelated to its trade. Various interested parties might hire one or more skilled adventurers to investigate such a possibility by any means expedient.


Park: Not everyone believes that parks are an appropriate use of valuable land, and characters might find themselves opposing forces seeking to despoil or abolish a place of this sort. Alternately, characters who are especially depraved might direct or support efforts to plunder a park’s resources, have it legally re-designated for some other purpose, or otherwise harm it.


Brewer: A local ruler might outlaw, restrict, or levy onerous taxes on particular beverages, whereupon those drinkers determined to have their preferred tipple will pay well for defiant individuals to brew or supply it. Adventurers might have the task of intercepting shipments and finding brewhouses and stills, or might become smugglers, exercising their skills in stealth and trickery along with the unfamiliar complications of dealing with a heavily-laden wagon or boat. 
Tannery: Dragon dung is an excellent material for tanning certain difficult skins — concentrated, highly caustic, and available for the taking in deep deposits — but collecting it is not the safest of occupations. A tanner of exotic skins might therefore call upon a party of adventurers to return to the erstwhile lair of a slain Dragon to recover the materials necessary to properly process its hide. 

General Store: Adventurers in especially isolated frontier areas — especially those where not-particularly-benign rulers or cartels of traders hold sway — might find themselves having to buy much of what they need from “company stores” that charge extortionate rates for standard items. This might be the inevitable result of restricted supply or inflation caused by gold flowing in from nearby dungeon areas, but that is not likely to make it much more palatable. 
Academy: Adventurers are often experts in diverse fields of knowledge, both practical and esoteric, and those who are so inclined might potentially make ideal instructors. Having an academic patron can provide all sorts of benefits for certain sorts of adventurers, such as underwriting for their quests. Such patronage might also come with a price, however, such as an inability to adventure when classes are in session, the obligation to undertake onerous or uninteresting expeditions, or a requirement to deal or travel with incompetent, annoying, or overly-ambitious students. 
Cemetery/Graveyard: A wealthy and influential but infamously cruel man has died — perhaps as a result of actions taken by the characters  — and the party must help convey his body with proper respect to his family’s ancestral burying-ground and see him interred with appropriate honors in order to be absolutely sure his spirit will depart quietly and not haunt the countryside and perpetuate further evil. 
Audience Chamber: The characters stumble by chance across threads of a plot to destroy the audience chamber where a council of the greatest nobles of the region holds court, using a device that summons a ravenous devouring force from another dimension. The plotters intend to strike at a time when the majority of the group is expected to convene, such as a seasonal opening of the council’s deliberations or a royal address.