Random Encounters
City Scenes, Part 4
By Skip Williams

Madame Phadra's Potions and Charms

Madame Phadra is a fixture in her middle-class neighborhood. She serves as the local wise woman. Phadra finds lost objects, offers herbal medicines, provides charms to protect the body and soul, and even sells the occasional (very) minor magic item. All in all, Madame Phadra's customers are a satisfied lot.

What her neighbors and customers do not know is that Madame Phadra has vanished recently (more about that later). Madame Phadra does business with anyone and two of her less savory customers are Keir and Stevan. This pair of small-time crooks usually put Madame Phadra's wares to less than good use. Upon finding Phadra's shop closed long past the usual opening time one morning, the pair picked the lock and let themselves in. Not satisfied simply to loot Phadra's stock, the two thieves decided to go into business for themselves, at least for a little while. The two have been selling Phadra's genuine wares to local customers. To newcomers, they peddle useless junk.

On a typical day, Keir stays in the shop, behind a locked door. When locals who know Phadra well come by, Keir poses as Klinda, Phadra's grandniece. "Klinda" declines to let anyone into the shop, but she offers to take the customer's order and fill it out of her great aunt's stock as best she can.

When strangers come to the door, Keir poses as Phadra herself and sells small items that he has treated with Nystul's magic aura spells. He sticks strictly to minor wondrous items and potions with market prices of 200 gp or less.

While Keir holds the fort at the shop, Stevan is out trying to drum up business. He plays the role of town crier, touting Phadra's wares up and down the streets. Stevan has nothing to sell himself, but he'll offer to guide interested buyers to the shop. If anyone doubts the value of what he is advertising, Stevan invites the doubter to ask anyone about the value of Phadra's work. As noted earlier, the townsfolk admire Phadra and recommend her wares; they're not sure what she is doing working with Stevan, but they have no doubts about Phadra.

So far, both ruses are working. Player characters are most likely to encounter Stevan, who does his best to lure them to the shop to buy some bogus magic. Stevan is none too bright, but fairly persuasive.

Keir: Male human rogue 4; CR 4; Medium humanoid; HD 4d6; hp 14; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 16; Base Atk +3; Grp +4; Atk or Full Atk +5 melee (1d4+1/19-20, masterwork dagger) or +6 ranged (1d6/x3, masterwork shortbow); SA sneak attack +2d6; SQ evasion, trapfinding, uncanny dodge; AL CN; SV Fort +1, Ref +6, Will +1; Str 12, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Appraise +7, Bluff +9, Diplomacy +3, Disable Device +7, Disguise +10, Forgery +3, Hide +10, Intimidate +5, Listen +6, Move Silently +10, Open Lock +9, Search +8, Spot +6, Use Magic Device +8; Deceitful, Persuasive, Stealthy.

Sneak Attack (Ex): Keir deals 2d6 extra points of damage on any successful attack against flat-footed or flanked targets, or against a target that has been denied its Dexterity bonus for any reason. This damage also applies to ranged attacks against targets up to 30 feet away. Creatures with concealment, creatures without discernible anatomies, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are all immune to sneak attacks. Keir may choose to deliver nonlethal damage with his sneak attack, but only when using a weapon designed for that purpose, such as a sap (blackjack).

Evasion (Ex): If Keir is exposed to any effect that normally allows him to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, he takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Trapfinding (Ex): Keir can find, disarm, or bypass traps with a DC of 20 or higher. He can use the Search skill to find, and the Disable Device skill to disarm, magic traps (DC 25 + the level of the spell used to create it). If his Disable Device check result exceeds the trap's DC by 10 or more, he discovers how to bypass the trap without triggering or disarming it.

Uncanny Dodge (Ex): Keir retains his Dexterity bonus to Armor Class even when flat-footed or targeted by an unseen foe (he still loses his Dexterity bonus if paralyzed or otherwise immobile).

Possessions:+1 studded leather armor, masterwork dagger, masterwork shortbow with 20 arrows, wand of Nystul's magic aura (23 charges), wand of charm person (45 charges), potion of sanctuary, potion of blur, potion of shield of faith, potion of cure light wounds.

Stevan: Male half-elf expert 2/rogue 2; CR 4; Medium humanoid; HD 4d6+4 plus 3; hp 21; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 12, flat-footed 13; Base Atk +2; Grp +3; Atk or Full Atk +4 melee (1d4+1/19-20, masterwork dagger) or +5 ranged (1d6, sling with masterwork sling bullet); SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ evasion, half-elf traits, trapfinding; AL CN; SV Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 12, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +5, Climb +6, Diplomacy +4, Disable Device +4, Escape Artist +7, Gather Information +2, Intimidate +2, Listen +8, Open Lock +6, Perform +5, Search +0, Sleight of Hand +9, Spot +3, Great Fortitude, Toughness.

Sneak Attack (Ex): Stevan deals 2d6 extra points of damage on any successful attack against flat-footed or flanked targets, or against a target that has been denied its Dexterity bonus for any reason. This damage also applies to ranged attacks against targets up to 30 feet away. Creatures with concealment, creatures without discernible anatomies, and creatures immune to extra damage from critical hits are all immune to sneak attacks. Stevan may choose to deliver nonlethal damage with his sneak attack, but only when using a weapon designed for that purpose, such as a sap (blackjack).

Evasion (Ex): If Stevan is exposed to any effect that normally allows him to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, he takes no damage with a successful saving throw.

Half-Elf Traits: Steven has immunity to magic sleep effects. For all effects related to race, he is considered an elf.

Trapfinding (Ex): Stevan can find, disarm, or bypass traps with a DC of 20 or higher. He can use the Search skill to find, and the Disable Device skill to disarm, magic traps (DC 25 + the level of the spell used to create it). If his Disable Device check result exceeds the trap's DC by 10 or more, he discovers how to bypass the trap without triggering or disarming it.

Possessions: Masterwork studded leather armor, masterwork dagger, sling with 20 masterwork bullets, cloak of resistance +1, potion of sanctuary, potion of blur, potion of shield of faith, potion of cure light wounds.

Bringing the Parts Together

Madame Phadra may have succumbed to an attack from the assassin jelly (see Part 3). If the PCs get into a fight, Oyin Horsetail, the ogre from Part 1, might intervene, most likely on the side of the two rogues. This might be because the rogues have befriended him, or perhaps the two rogues won part of (or all of) Oyin's employer's business, Goolstoc's transport (a freight company would make a great cover for a den of thieves or a thieves' guild).

Coming in Part 5 of City Scenes

Sometimes the world falls out from under you with no warning.

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