Sometimes you want to go where everybody has a name
Every GM knows the joke: The players ignore the NPC with the ! above their head and gravitate to the one person drinking alone at the tavern because (insert reason).
This lone drinker has no backstory, name, look, personality, or even reason for being there other than making sure the tavern isn’t empty.
So we present to you: A Pub Called Quest. Quest is a tavern where every NPC has a name, place in the pub, distinct look, personality, quirk, and even a quest. You can drop Quest into existence any time or place you want in your game. All quests stand alone, allowing players to do only one or complete them all in any order. Some have a few connections.
I want to thank my fellow Gollicking chums for contributing as well as making this both possible and fun: u/Mimir-ion, u/PaganUnicorn, u/M0rdenkainen, u/foofieboo, u/famoushippopotamus, u/zweefer, u/OrkishBlade, and u/brittommy
You can also find this on my itch.io page (for free): https://rexiconjesse.com/2019/05/14/a-pub-called-quest-a-tavern-where-every-npc-has-a-name-face-and-quest/
The Patrons at a Glance
Roverti Valanpulk: Middle-aged human bartender and owner of Quest.
“Tillie”: Friendly and busy human barmaid running around helping people.
Lord Albert-Frederik Middason (second of his name): Lordly bloke looking like he’s judging everyone in the joint.
Dizrah: Massive gnoll bouncer.
Simon Grimm: Charismatic regular who is loud.
Marla Primtor: Dwarven shopkeeper and regular at Quest.
Zin Thistleworn: A gnomish child cleaning Quest’s unique fireplace.
Darius: Hunchbacked ratfolk struggling to tend to the animals in the stable.
Gravrlst (or Grav Rolost. His speech is very slurred): Loud drunk trying to get people to sing a song he can’t remember.
Thunderfang Jones: Dragonborn drug user trying to get a fix.
Crunchy Mohab: Rock gnome with bagpipes who is either playing them or chatting with whomever he can.
Auke Inka: Sloppy drinker who works hard at not working.
Lucca Huntsman: Frustrated looking chef in a bloodstained apron.
Sym Skallywood: Reclusive human drinking alone.
Izzy: Teenage ratfolk sitting at a table with a bird who is singing to her.
Sir Albertus Quintifican: Human man who has never been there before trying to make eye contact with any tough-looking patrons.
Frega Lodges: Human woman reading tarot cards at a table.
Matyus Decker: Burly human with a thick mustache that laughs very loudly.
Name: Roverti Valanpulk
Location and role in the tavern: Roverti is found behind the counter serving drinks. Roverti is the owner and lead bartender of Quest.
Appearance: Roverti is a middle-aged human who towers above most of the patrons. Pulled back hair falls out of a worn, purple cap. Their brown eyes shine within a weathered, ruggedly handsome face. A loose apron, vibrant purple shirt, and black slacks mask their bulky form. While not visible behind the bar, Roverti does not wear shoes.
Quirk: They are constantly looking around. Perhaps a bit too much…
What’s their quest: Roverti has an air of malcontent about them. Their eyes dart around the room, noting each patron’s actions at that moment.
If engaged, Raverti tells the person they have grown tired of Quest. While the regulars are nice and the travelers always have great stories and wares, but now Raverti wants to be the one telling the stories instead of listening to them. Roverti offers to sell Quest to the party for an astoundingly low price so long as they buy it right now. Roverti says they have plenty of money saved up, and they want to go see the world.
The truth is debt collectors are coming to find the owner of Quest to either get their money or beat it out of them, whomever they are. And the debt collectors will be there later this night.
Name: Tilde “Tillie” Millings
Location in the tavern (and role): All over the place, as she serves food, cleans tables, and washed dishes.
Appearance: Tillie is in her late 20s and young looking. She has long, almost blonde hair tied in a rough functional braid. Her eyes are fiercely green that, regardless of her history and life, still manage to compliment her sympathetic smile. She has a small nose that is slightly crooked at the tip. Her clothes are basic, though she sews tassels and fancy buttons on her clothing whenever she finds some.
Quirk: Whenever she laughs out loud she makes the noise of a pig, after which she gets embarrassed. She is also too busy for love interests.
What’s their quest: She needs the party to travel to the nearest big town- which the party was headed anyway- and find her birth mother. Her birth mother stole the deed of the plot of land her father had built the mill on when she left him for a minor nobleman. You see, the problem is that the Lord who holds the land here is trying to stake a claim to her family’s land. Currently, he only tries to bully her father with overpriced taxes and petty fees, which her father can’t pay forever, but she fears her family mill will go up in smoke if the Lord grows inpatient.
Her birth mother might have ended up in the oldest business when the fling with the nobleman turned out to not be a nobleman and left her in debt and with little choice. The Lord also might have an ulterior motive, as he is trying to get to Tillie for denying him rather than taking the land of her father.
Name: Lord Albert-Frederik Middasson (The Second of his Name)
Location and role in the tavern: Regular patron of the Quest.
Appearance: Lordly riders outfit, complete with a short ornamental whip he never uses or unties. His hair is slick and combed backwards to cover a well hidden start of a bald spot. With forty years plus of experience he still manages to put his rings on the wrong fingers.
Quirk: Petty loser and highly competitive, even when his competitors are not aware they participated in a game. If he loses at his imaginary games he will be cruel to those around him and even seek revenge through his authoritarian power.
What’s their quest: He is in trouble with his family. They don’t approve of his active peasant participation. He however can’t get enough of the easy life here, which is spoiled by some thievery. He asks the party to investigate the disappearance of two of his rings, and he suspects several people, amongst them is Tillie and Dizrah, who he says have been making advances at him (not really). He claims all of the suspects he listed are having money problems. He pays 10% up front, already a significant sum, and says the rest is paid when evidence is found.
The pouch of gold he pays up front contains one of his rings, and depending on the result of the players investigations, he will try to corner them at the mill of Tillie’s father with a dozen soldiers in tow. The players may choose to betray an innocent family or try to talk/fight their way out.
Name: Dizrah “Just Dizrah”
Location and role in the tavern: As both barmaid and bouncer, Dizrah is most often found leaning against the side of the bar looking grumpy.
Appearance: Dizrah is large, even compared to other gnolls. Her short rough fur is a tawny brown with dark spots, and she has dark green eyes that only accentuate her perpetual glare. In reality she just has a natural scowl and only appears to be always angry. This still means only braver newcomers to the bar order drinks from her instead of the less intimidating Tillie.
Quirk: Her left ear tilts forwards and twitches when she is truly annoyed.
What’s their quest: Her cousin, “His name in unpronounceable, just call him ‘Griff.’” was meant to pick up a shipment of booze from the next town over. He’s several days late and she wants the party to see what’s taking him so long. (She’s secretly worried). Dizrah doesn’t particularly care about most of the booze, just the cask of Black Absinthe which is a traditional gnoll drink and is “bloody expensive”.
Turns out Griff encountered some bandits on the road. He’s unharmed and has just been sitting with them in their camp drinking all the booze he was meant to deliver. Luckily the precious Black Absinthe is untouched as none of the bandits have been brave enough to tap the alarmingly odorous barrel. There’s opportunity for the party to solve things non-violently as the bandits are all quite drunk and feeling pretty content at the moment.
Name: Simon Grimm
Location and role in the tavern: A regular whenever he’s in town, occasionally takes up stage time for street evangelism.
Appearance: A handsome and charismatic bard- whose parentage is irrelevant- in well-maintained traveling clothes.
Quirk: Simon’s personality is a 50/50 blend of smooth Southern preacher and Charles Manson. He preaches a non-theistic philosophy that defines Good and Wisdom as being equal parts Kindness, Honesty and Foresight. He claims to have come to this revelation as a result of his study of the goodly gods of the pantheon, drawing together their commonalities and abandoning their differences.
What’s their quest: Simon has a series of quests, all geared toward helping a group in need. The through line for all of the groups is that they traditionally worship other good gods, i.e. helping farmers who normally worship Pelor, knights who usually pay homage to Hieronious (insert your setting’s gods as needed).
There should always be elements of the DM’s characterization of Simon that lead to suspicion that his goals are nefarious. It’s an easy conclusion to draw that he wants to drive worshippers away from the gods of good. Make him a tiefling if you want to be on the nose about it. The twist at the end of it all is that he’s telling the truth, he genuinely just wants to fundamentally understand and then actively practice “good,” and his works help people in need.
Created by: u/M0rdenkainen
Name: Morla Primtor
Location and role in the tavern: She’s a local shopkeep (Scribe and Scroll) who is at this moment wandering around eavesdropping, especially on conversations about port travel and trade.
Appearance: Morla is a handsome woman, neatly trimmed beard, not overly squat, relatively undamaged skin and pressed clothes; one might even have a hard time recognizing her as a dwarf.
Quirk: She’s in the tavern, but she doesn’t drink, she is devoutly opposed to what she considers “deviant revelry.”
What’s their quest: Morla loathes adventures and adventurers. Her daughter, Dwayna, has “too much dwarf in her,” and Morla suspects she has run away on an adventure in spite of her civilized upbringing. Morla’s at Quest to try and find her daughter and bring her back to the Scribe and Scroll; which is where a sensible young lady should aspire to be. Stubborn and hesitant to enlist the assistance of filthy vagrant mercenaries, she is getting desperate to find her daughter, so she will accept help, if the adventurers offer her the right price. Basically a DM can add this quest to any existing one (just add Dwayna as someone who attempted before the party does) or they can make up a path where Dwayna has gone and what it’s going to take to get her to return or to get her mother to stop looking for her.
Created by: u/foofieboo
Name: Zin Thistleworn
Location and role in the tavern: Zin is cleaning the hand-sized holes and flutes connected to the fire that heat the building. She is the only person small enough to properly clean them, and she does whatever other odd jobs Roverti, Dizrah, or Tillie can give her to make a few coins.
Appearance: She is a rail thin, very young gnomish girl, standing only 14 inches tall. Her gaunt face accentuates her large eyes. She is covered in soot, masking her clothes and matting her hair.
Quirk: She likes to use big words, though she doesn’t always use the correct ones.
What’s their quest: Zin’s father is in prison. Zin usually gives her father food and some comfort items because the guards treat him horridly. However, the prison changed their rules and now she cannot visit him. She needs someone to get into the prison and give him a blanket (the nights are getting colder), a note from her (written in gnomish), a handful of dried flower petals (that have a powerful and pleasant smell), and a piece of white charcoal (because he loves to draw).
Zin is actually a pixie using illusion magic to appear as a young gnome, and she’s convinced the staff at Quest that she is a child. The man in prison is an archfey she is trying to rescue. The prison has too much iron in it for her to enter, and while the archfey is powerful, the amount of iron around him has neutralized his powers. If he gets the charcoal, he can draw a rune and use the petals as a beacon to allow Zin to open a portal and get him out. The prison guards do not know he is an archfey.
Created by: u/RexiconJesse
Location and role in the tavern: Darius is the stable person and can be found in the stable tending the horses and other mounts from patrons.
Appearance: Darius is a hefty ratfolk covered with shining white hair. While he is only 20, he has a severe hunch, and the peak of his hump is partially bald.
Quirk: None of the animals like him, and they make their displeasure obvious.
What’s their quest: Darius struggles to get the animals stabled and fed. A pack of mounts (horses, megaraptors, big cats, whatever the GM chooses) have escaped the stable and run off together into the wilderness. The owners of the mounts are asleep in Quest. Darious won’t be able to search for the mounts until his shift ends deep into the night. He pleads with any players who show interest in tracking and retrieving the runaway mounts. He cannot pay them with coin, but he does have information about a quest the party is currently pursuing.
Created by: u/RexiconJesse
Name: Gravrlst (or Grav Rolost. His speech is very slurred)
Location and role in the tavern: Gravrlst is at a table.
Appearance: Gravrlst is a middle-aged half elf with tall ears and what humans call a 3 day beard (or what dwarves call 5 o’clock shadow). The front of his shirt is wet from spilled ale.
Quirk: He keeps starting to sing the same song, getting lost and starting over after a few moments. He is also completely tanked.
What’s their quest: Gravlst is trying to get people to sing his favorite drinking song with him. The song is called “That one with the mermaid and there were some rocks somewhere? Or on the rocks maybe? It’s the catchy one. You’ve heard it.” However, he cannot remember anything after the first line. It’s driving him mad, and he promises a round on him if someone can finish the song.
Players with properly related knowledge-based checks or a history of sailing, as well as players who are heavy drinkers or musically inclined, may have heard of the song he’s trying to sing. Alternatively, players can use persuasion or deception to improvise a song and convince him that’s the one he meant. The players will have to write the whole song to do this.
Created by: u/RexiconJesse
Name: Thunderfang Jones
Location and role in the tavern: Drug User, usually hangs out near the bathrooms
Appearance: Thunderfang is a Red Dragonborn who is casually dressed in priests robes with a half-dozen holy symbols from various faiths adorning his garb.
Quirk: Collects “faiths” and has joined every cult he’s been able to find.
What’s their quest: To find “enlightenment”, one narcotic experience at a time. He is desperate to find a rare and powerful hallucinogen and is willing to pay top dollar for it.
Name: Crunchy Mohab
Location and role in the tavern: Bard, is either on stage or hanging around the most charismatic person in the tavern.
Appearance: Crunchy is a Rock Gnome, dressed in tattered leathers and mismatched boots. His instrument is a modified set of bagpipes, enchanted to produce electric guitar sounds, and amplified. A number of facial piercings and tattoos complete his unique appearance.
Quirk: Cannot stand the smell of tobacco or burning candles.
What’s their quest: Is searching for his lost brother, also a Bard, and is retracing his brother’s last-known-tour.
Name: Auke Inka
Location and role in the tavern: Patron – sitting at the bar drinking heavily.
Appearance: Auke is dressed as a commoner and is a bit disheveled. To even a casual observer, it is obvious Auke has been there for quite some time.
Quirk: Will work extremely hard at not working – always has a scheme.
What’s their quest: If engaged in conversation, Auke will discuss any number of topics, but will eventually mention a buried treasure. If pressed further, he will indicate a great fortune was entrusted to him by a wealthy merchant that has recently met his demise, thus leaving the entirety to himself. He plans to dig it up in two days time, but has to leave on business before that happens. He will give the party a general location in his backyard where it was buried “around 8 feet down.”
If the party investigates the location indicated, they will find pickaxes and shovels left out. If the party digs, they will find nothing. Here one of two things will happen: Either Auke returns and measures the hole, proclaiming it close enough for the pool he wanted installed, or later on the party may hear about how Auke tricked some people into digging his pool for him (possibly back at the tavern).
Name: Lucca Huntsman
Location and role in the tavern: As the cook, Lucca can be found in and out of the kitch. Appearance: Blood stained apron, long unkempt hair, filthy hands, generally a walking health code violation…
Quirk: Picks his nose.
What’s their quest: Lucca tells the party he has a problem with rats “in the food.” He wants to hire the party to kill as many large rats in the stables as they can. To prove the deed has been done, he insists they bring the bodies of each rat killed, and he will pay per corpse.
In reality, The Quest is about out of meat, and beef is too expensive. He was telling the truth when he said the rats were indeed “in the food,” because he’s going to use them to cook.
Name: Sym Skallywood
Location and role in the tavern: Sym is nursing a large tankard of ale alone. He is a little reluctant to speak with strangers.
Appearance: Sym is a short-but-handsome young man with sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. The unfocused gaze of his left eye drifts lazily toward the wall.
Quirk: Sym fidgets with the silver chain he wears around his neck.
What’s their quest: Sym carries with him a vial of a rare poison that causes any who ingests it to suffer from terrible dry-mouth and flux. If untreated, the person will be dead of dehydration within 4 hours. Sym was hired by, Willam Fold, an up-and-coming local merchant, to prepare the potion and make sure it ends up in the drink of the merchant’s rival. Sym is very concerned about a threat of blackmail from Mr Fold (secret: Fold is actually a half-devil), who has taken the ledger from Sym’s home workshop and lab and is holding it locked in a safe in his villa in the Garden District. Sym doesn’t have the stomach for killing, so if you would either travel across town to the Resolution Alehouse–he expects his mark will be there–you could do the poisoning, and Sym’s life can go back to normal. Alternatively, you could go break into Mr Fold’s villa and steal back Sym’s ledger. Sym is an expert in preparing curatives, and he promises he’d be able to spare a few handy potions from time to time, the kind that might help you out of some sticky situations.
Location and role in the tavern: Niece of Darius, found loitering around the common room.
Appearance: Izzy is a young ratfolk in her early teens. She has shiny coal black fur with a white spot on her nose.
Quirk: Animals seems to adore Izzy. A swallow is currently sitting on the table singing to her.
What’s their quest: Izzy wants to cheer up some of the inn’s more sulky staff, especially her uncle Darius. She has heard tales from explorers that there is a magical glade in a nearby wood where moonlight collects in shallow pools. Izzy is convinced that a few jars of moonlight on their nightstands could fix the mood of any person, no matter how petulant. She provides a box of heavy glass jars and a thick black wax to seal them.
Getting to the glade is not difficult, upon a little asking around or exploration. The party can find themselves there within a day’s hike. The difficulty lies in the fact that liquid moonlight causes a crippling feeling of nostalgia. Getting close to the pools without succumbing to weepy tears for years lost is a significant challenge, and once the jars are finally collected they affect anyone in close proximity with the same feelings. It will take a lot of willpower and a great many tissues before the party can get the moonlight to Izzy.
Name: Sir Albertus Quintifican
Location and role in the tavern: Central, trying to attract the attention of anyone who looks kind of tough. First-time patron.
Appearance: Albertus is a mid-20s human minor noble, and very well-off. He dapples himself with jewels and gold, his clothes are of the finest silks and linens with radiant dyes and intricate embroideries. The only thing plain about him is that he’s plainly out of place here.
Quirk: Tries to make eye contact with anyone tough-looking. As soon as eye contact is made, he’ll come to introduce himself and buy everyone drinks. He flashes his cash everywhere, is highly energetic, and seems to think everyone already likes him.
What’s their quest: Albertus’ best friend, Francois, is getting married. Naturally, Albertus wants to throw the biggest bachelor party ever. Francois has always had fancies of being an adventurer, so Albertus wants someone strong and simple to capture a terrible beastie (or several!) and bring it to his estate. Once there, the beast will be caged and kept weak.
The bachelor party will be a night of raucous merrymaking and debauchery, drinks flowing fast, a multitude of high-profile and notable guests, gambling, you name it… But the pièce de résistance is when Albertus will reveal the monster to Francois, who (undoubtedly very drunk) will be able to dispatch it and feel like a real hero! The players will be kept around to make sure it all goes smoothly and that Francois gets the killing blow.
After that, Francois will be feeling very confident and will probably challenge anyone and everyone to a duel. Depending how the players run with that, they may be invited to join in with the merrymaking or end up imprisoned for the murder of the young preppy noble.
Name: Frega Lodges
Location and role in the tavern: Frega is sitting in a corner table doing tarot readings for coin for a few rough-looking characters who are seated with her.
Appearance: Frega is a fat woman with kind eyes. Her dark hair is pulled back in a loose bun just above her sloping shoulders.
Quirk: Frega has a flair for the dramatic, to a fault.
What’s their quest: Frega is concerned about a dwarven girl named Dwayna, an enthusiastic and strong lass who wants adventure and to protect the commonfolk in these parts. She gave Dwayna a reading recently in which she revealed to her that she was the reincarnated soul of the ancient elvish hero Hedrallon the Dragonslayer. Dwayna was ecstatic and immediately began preparations to search for the tomb of Hedrallon. Local legends have told that Hedrallon is buried in a mausoleum in the shadow of Mount Deaftide on the far edge of the Longwood. Many have gone looking for Hedrallon’s resting place, and all who have returned were disappointed. If they find Dwayna, Frega promises to contact some friendly spirits to inquire where to find something for which one of the PCs is searching for.
Name: Matyus Decker
Location and role in the tavern: Matyus is seated at a long table, playing a dice game with several other patrons.
Appearance: Matyus has a boisterous laugh that erupts through is thick mustache. He wears an open shirt that displays his hairy and well-muscled chest.
Quirk: Matyus has more gold teeth than originals anymore.
What’s their quest: Matyus was a sailor on the pirate ship Backstab Betty, commanded by the dangerous and half-mad Captain Graysky. Matyus tells a wild tale: After plundering and sinking a spicer ship laden with gold and silver after it sailed from Whiteclyff, Graysky turned the ship northward and then deliberately smashed the Backstab Betty onto the rocks of the Seaspray Coast in the dead of night. For those few crew members who made it to land, Graysky and his first mate, a foreign barbarian named Markesh, were waiting, axes in hand to hew them as they crawled onto the stony shore. Matyus was able to swim and float in the shallows for a few miles in the darkness before heading into land. He feels he owes it to his fallen crewmates to retrieve some of that treasure, and he’d gladly split whatever they find in equal shares.
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Art is “Rowdy Crew” from Magic: The Gathering.