4. The Mercantile

Continuing my series about the town of Cross Tree, this week I am covering location #4, the mercantile. I will list the pertinent information about the store and its inhabitants. As previously mentioned, I will keep this as system neutral as possible. There won’t be any in-game stats provided. Instead, I will focus on what you would need to know, should your players opt to visit the mercantile.

The Mercantile

The mercantile is owned and run by Astolpho Fuchs and his wife Gina. The store is quite large for a settlement the size of Cross Tree. Characters with higher than average perception, will likely surmise that the place must survive due to the extra business brought in by travelers passing through.

Astolpho & Gina Fuchs

Astolpho Fuchs. Art by: Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art @ Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games. http://www.fatgoblingames.com

Astolpho is a fit man of roughly 50 years of age. He has black hair, with a neatly trimmed beard & mustache that is starting to show patches of gray. His clothing consists of a simple tunic, woolen breeches, and soft leather boots.

Gina is the same age as her husband, though she appears roughly 5 years younger. She has shoulder length flaxen hair and peaceful green eyes. A sturdy woman, Gina nearly matches Astolpho’s 6’ and it is clear that she is no stranger to manual labor. A simple linen dress in earthen tones would be her typical attire.

Gina Fuchs. Art by: Publisher’s Choice Quality Stock Art @ Rick Hershey / Fat Goblin Games. http://www.fatgoblingames.com

The pair came to Cross Tree 12 years ago. Having been through the area earlier, they came to “get away from it all” and create a new life in this tranquil setting.

Unbeknownst to the other inhabitants of the town, the couple are in hiding. Gina was the eldest daughter of a wealthy merchant family in a large city and Astolpho was a member of the thieves’ guild. Already madly in love when the guild decided to target Gina’s family, Astolpho couldn’t stand idly by.

The pair turned the tables on the criminal organization by tipping off the city watch. In the ensuing chaos, they plundered the guild’s coffers and rode off into the night. Knowing that they could never dare return home, the couple eloped and didn’t look back.

They spent years traveling but ultimately settled on Cross Tree as a destination. They have enough wealth to live their lives comfortably but the store allows them to blend in. As previously mentioned, the store is a bit too large for such a small settlement but Gina suggested that storing some of their wealth in excess goods rather than gold coins might be prudent.

1st Floor

The western side of the ground floor is open to the public and contains all of the common trade goods, crafting supplies, and tools that might be required by the citizens of Cross Tree. The items would all be priced in a typical manner to what the PCs would expect to find in a large city. This will probably stand out to some characters.

While arms and armor would really not be in great demand (save for perhaps arrows), the couple do stock quite an array of these items behind the counter. If the PCs inquire about items of this nature, there will be an 80% chance that they stock any common item that might be available based on the game system you are using.

I run a low fantasy game, where magic items are quite rare. That said, if you happen to have the type of campaign where PCs need a place to stock up on potions, scrolls, and the occasional magical armaments, I suppose you could add those to the stock on hand as well.

2nd Floor

The 2nd floor of the mercantile consists of Gina & Astolpho’s residence. While not generally accessible to the public, they may invite the PCs up here for counsel or to discuss future plans.

Plot Hooks & Encounters

As previously mentioned, the couple are on the run. Should anyone from their past find them, it could mean their end. They are rather guarded but if the couple gets to know the party, they may open up to them.

  • Parties stopping in Cross Tree along the way to somewhere else, may be provided information about their destination. Both have traveled extensively and willing to provided trusted PCs with tips about the workings of nearby larger cities.
  • Someone from the Thieves’ guild may come looking for the pair and they may need to enlist aid.
  • Astolpho may receive word that an acquaintance from his underworld days is in trouble. Unable to help himself, he may hire the party to assist.
  • Gina may approach the party and offer to hire them to transport some valuable merchandise to another settlement.
  • Possibly Astolpho chose to settle in Cross Tree because he had heard rumors of an ancient lost city hidden away within the depths of the forest. Legends claim that there are fabulous treasures there.

Closing Notes

That will conclude another post about the town of Cross Tree. Until I write again, good gaming!

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