Vicious Venues01/21/2005

The Greenleaf Shop

The Greenleaf Shop is suitable for use with any D&D campaign.

The Greenleaf Shop keeps visitors guessing. It has a distinctive sign (a fresh-looking green leaf that seems literally to grow from the door), but it doesn't sell herbs. Its amazing window display offers a better clue to what customers might find inside: It features an ever-changing array of fine clothing and a pair of miniature knights locked in a perpetual joust.

Background for the DM

The Greenleaf Shop sells magic supplies and some minor magic items. The proprietor, Nimro Meadowspinner, has a penchant for frivolous items (such as toys, singing teakettles, and dancing cutlery) that hold little appeal for adventurers. Nevertheless, he does a steady business with customers who have money to spend and a taste for a little magic in their lives.

Nimro is a rarity, at least among his human neighbors. He's a chubby, elderly elf. At a mere 4 feet 7 inches tall, he weighs 145 pounds. However, his features are unmistakably elven; he has pointed ears, crystalline green eyes, and silvery hair. He also has fleshy jowls, a flabby body, and deft, but pudgy, fingers. He enjoys good food and wine, and he consumes plenty of both.

Nimro has a broad array of useful skills and a taste for whimsical magic. He'd rather sit and work at a craft than engage in more active pursuits such as hunting or adventuring. Soon after reaching adulthood, he came to feel that his fellow elves didn't fully appreciate his talents, so he headed for a human city. He believed his knack for magic and fine craftwork would allow him a good living among humans, and he was right. He has been very happy here, and he is known as a jolly soul.

The Greenleaf Shop is located on the fringes of the elven district in a major city, or perhaps in a village or small town with a fairly large elf population. His customers are a mixture of practical people looking for useful items (such as spell component pouches, quills, and minor potions) and well-heeled individuals who are drawn to Nimro's more fanciful wares.

The Setup

The PCs might stumble onto the Greenleaf Shop while replenishing their supplies between adventures, or something might draw their attention to the place:

  • The PCs are having a meal or taking a break at an inn when a chance remark sets the crockery in motion. Perhaps a mustard pot takes up a spoon and begins slathering condiments all over the tabletop, or someone's mug starts a ribald, drunken song. The display might draw some snide comments about "magical pranks" from fellow patrons. If the PCs question the staff (who are just as astonished as PCs), they discover that the magic tableware came from a pawnshop or estate sale. The buyers had no idea the stuff was magical.

    Nimro has been in business a long time, and some of his shorter-lived customers have left behind some of his wares without letting anyone know about their magical nature. The PCs have stumbled across some of Nimro's earliest work, when he wasn't too careful about the command words he assigned. If the PCs make an effort, they can track the items back to their creator, and Nimro might offer to buy them back for sentimental reasons.

  • A ruler or prominent citizen has been assassinated in a bizarre attack -- the attacker was a piece of clothing, furniture, or other household item. The PCs are called upon to investigate (perhaps because they know the victim, or just because they're hired for the job). Suspicion naturally falls upon Nimro and his performing utensils. Nimro, however, lacks the magical aptitude to make anything dangerous. The real assassin might have set out to frame Nimro, or perhaps the killer merely found inspiration at the Greenleaf Shop.

  • Nimro has vanished, and his neighbors hire the PCs to find out what happened to him. Perhaps the old elf merely left town in a hurry to pursue some errand, or perhaps an old rival has finally caught up to him. (Nimro's reason for leaving his elven brethren might have been more urgent than mere dissatisfaction with his lot in life.)

Visiting the Shop

The Greenleaf Shop is located in a stone building with the store on the ground floor and living space above. A first-time visitor might have a hard time deciding exactly what the place sells. The text below depicts the shop on a typical business day.

The stone building has a stout wooden door with what seems to be a living branch growing from it. A single green leaf, bright as spring, hangs from the branch. A big leaded glass window (none too clean) shows a display of crockery, clothing, and toys. The assortment of toys includes a pair of tiny knights, who seem to be conducting a joust. A small plaque under the leafy branch reads: "Magical curiosities sold here -- step right in."

When the store is closed, the window is shuttered and the plaque is gone from the door. The branch and leaf on the door look natural, but they're artificial. Nimro chose the decoration to remind him of his woodland home.

Inside, the shop seems dim, but it has a pleasant smell because of the herbs and rare woods that Nimro keeps on hand to scent the air. The shop consists of a single room lined with shelves on three sides. The fourth wall holds the door and the window. In the center is a small workshop where Nimro makes his wares. A waist-high counter forms a square around the workspace. Inside, Nimro has a small furnace, an anvil, and many tools for woodworking and metalworking. He also has laboratory equipment for making magic items.

Read or paraphrase the following when someone enters Nimro's shop.

"Well, well, well, hello there!" says an unusually pudgy elf. Dressed in a red suit with a white workman's apron over it, he sits behind a counter and is surrounded by tools and pieces of cutlery. "Come to find that perfect gift for someone? How about a nice singing teakettle? Mine do the latest songs. This one sings beautifully," he says, coming out from behind the counter and plucking a kettle from the shelf, "but it never seems to get the lyrics quite right. I could give it to you at half-price, though. Or maybe you'd like something to make your entertaining simpler? I have knives that cut meat and vegetables, pitchers that automatically keep glasses filled, and shakers that season food on request.

"How about a toy for that special child, or someone young at heart? Kids and adults alike love my jousting knights and battling dragons. The market is somewhat more limited for the miniature cat burglar, though. Kids sometimes use it to filch money from their parents' pouches, so I get a lot of returns on that item. Ho, ho, ho!" he laughs, his considerable girth vibrating with the sound.

"Maybe a nice new cloak?" he says, stepping around to a clothing rack. "My cloaks and accessories go with anything, you know. They match any garb, and you never have to worry about stains on them. Suits of clothing are available with the same features -- you can go from working clothes to evening wear without having to change.

"Or are you looking for something more practical? I have a small selection of adventuring gear for those who get their excitement from exploring deadly ruins and such. That sort of life isn't for me, though -- I prefer to use my talents to make others happy.

"Look around as much as you like, and feel free to ask questions. Gift wrapping and delivery is free with any purchase."

As noted above, Nimro sells practical items such as spell component pouches, tindertwigs, and everburning torches. He also sells potions, but only very minor ones (market-priced 50 gp or below). Nimro makes most, but not all, of the potions he sells.

The items that make the Greenleaf Shop memorable are the magic trinkets that Nimro designs and sells. Some of his more popular items are described below, but Nimro has dozens, if not hundreds, of similar items.

Nimro's Self-Propelled Objects: These little devices are generally of Diminutive or Fine size. They are cleverly articulated to allow movement and imbued with some mobility. They are not animated objects (such magic is beyond Nimro's wizardly power), but more like self-winding toys. Items in this category include dancing marionettes, marching toy soldiers, jousting toy knights, automatic mustard pots and sugar bowls, self-pouring pitchers, and the like. They are mindless and can perform only those tasks for which they are made, though a single object might be programmed to perform several different tasks, each activated by a command word. If commanded to act, a device keeps repeating the same action until commanded to stop. Anyone who knows the proper command word can operate the device, provided she is within 10 feet of the device. Most items function three times a day. A typical device has the following statistics:

Diminutive Object:Hardness 5; hp 5; AC 14, break DC 20.

A Diminutive device has a Strength score of 2, a Dexterity score of 10, and a land speed of 15.

Fine Object: Hardness 5; hp 2; AC 18, break DC 20.

A Fine device has a Strength score of 1, a Dexterity score of 10, and a land speed of 5.

A device cannot attack, but it can trigger traps and such, though its Strength score limits the amount of force it can exert (20 pounds for a Diminutive device, 10 pounds for a Fine device). A device can't be programmed to perform any task that requires a skill check with a DC higher than 10 or that requires a check using a skill that can't be used untrained.

Faint conjuration; CL 1st; Craft Wondrous Item, unseen servant, creator must have 5 ranks in an appropriate Craft skill; Price 950 gp cost to create 500 gp + 36 XP.

Nimro's Convertible Garb: These finely tailored items of apparel can change color on command, up to three times each day. In addition to changing color, the item can alter itself in some small way by becoming fuller or tighter, longer or shorter, or some similar change in size or shape, but no more than 1 foot longer or shorter. Each change lasts up to 50 minutes, or until the user commands another change.

An item can be commanded to clean itself or dry itself, also up to three times a day. A cleaned or dried item stays that way until it gets wet or dirty again.

Nimro designed these garments for the fashion conscious; however, a character who uses one of them in a disguise gets a +1 circumstance bonus on the Disguise check. In damp conditions, one of these items also grants a +1 circumstance bonus on Survival checks to resist severe weather.

Faint illusion; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, magic mouth, creator must have 5 ranks in the Craft (sewing) skill; Price 900 gp.

Nimro's Singing Receptacles: Nimro makes most of his singing receptacles from high quality ceramics. He favors mugs, teakettles, cookie jars, and other household items. Most of these items are programmed to recite a poem or sing a song in response to a specific condition up to three times a day. Nimro is most proud of his teakettles, which whistle when filled with boiling water and sing in tune when they whistle. A mug might sing when filled or upon being emptied.

All these items have a special sound box incorporated into the design, and the item's ability to "sing" is generated there. None of these items can respond to visible triggers or verbal commands; they can respond only to being handled, filled, emptied, or some other similar condition.

Faint illusion; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, magic mouth or ventriloquism, creator must have 5 ranks in the Craft (pottery) skill; price 650 gp, cost to create 350 gp plus 12 xp.

Creatures: Nimro is here during business hours with his raven familiar, Ula.

Nimro Meadowspinner: Male elf expert 5/wizard 5; CR 9; Mediumhumanoid; HD 5d6 plus 5d4; hp 31; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +5; Grp +4; Atk or Full Atk +8 melee (1d6-1/18-20, masterwork rapier) or +9 ranged (1d8/x3, masterwork longbow with +1 wounding arrows); SQ elf traits, familiar (raven), familiar benefits, low-light vision; AL NG; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +10; Str 8, Dex 15, Con 11, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Appraise +6 (+8 when related to carpentry, gems, metalwork, pottery, sewing, or toys), Concentration +8, Craft (carpentry) +11, Craft (gemcutting) +11, Craft (metalworking) +11, Craft (pottery) +11, Craft (sewing) +11, Craft (toymaking) +11, Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (local) +8, Listen +6, Profession (bookkeeper) +7, Search +5, Sense Motive +10, Spellcraft +8, Spot +6; Alertness[B], Brew Potion[B], Craft Wondrous Item, Dodge, Point Blank Shot, Scribe Scroll[B], Weapon Finesse.

Elf Traits: Nimro has immunity to magic sleep effects. If he merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door, he is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if he were actively looking for it.

Familiar: Nimro's familiar is a raven named Ula. The familiar uses the better of her own and Nimro's base save bonuses. The creature's abilities and characteristics are summarized below.

Ula: Female raven familiar; CR --; Tiny magical beast; HD 1/4 d8 (effectively 10d8); hp 1; Init +2; Spd 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (average); AC 17, touch 14, flat-footed 15; Base Atk +5; Grp -8; Atk or Full Atk +9 melee (1d2-5, claws); Space/Reach 2-1/2 ft./0 ft.; SQ improved evasion, low-light vision, speak Common, speak with master; AL NG; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +10; Str 1, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 6.

Skills and Feats: Concentration +8, Craft (carpentry) +7, Craft (gemcutting) +7, Craft (metalwork) +7, Craft (pottery) +7, Craft (sewing) +7, Craft (toymaking) +7, Diplomacy +6, Hide +10, Listen +3, Sense Motive +10, Spot +5; Weapon Finesse.

Improved Evasion (Ex): If Ula is exposed to any effect that normally allows her to attempt a Reflex saving throw for half damage, she takes no damage with a successful saving throw and half damage if the saving throw fails.

Speak Common (Su): Ula can speak Common.

Speak with Master (Ex): Ula can communicate verbally with Nimro. Other creatures do not understand the communication without magical help.

Familiar Benefits: Nimro gains special benefits from having a familiar. This creature grants Nimro a +3 bonus on Appraise checks (included in the above statistics).

Alertness (Ex): Ula grants her master Alertness as long as she is within 5 feet.

Deliver Touch Spells (Su): Ula can deliver touch spells for Nimro. If Nimro and Ula are in contact at the time Nimro casts a touch spell, he can designate Ula as the "toucher." Ula can then deliver the touch spell just as Nimro could. As usual, if Nimro casts another spell before the touch is delivered, the touch spell dissipates.

Empathic Link (Su): Nimro can communicate telepathically with his familiar at a distance of up to one mile. The master has the same connection to an item or a place that the familiar does.

Share Spells (Su): Nimro may have any spell he casts on himself also affect his familiar if the latter is within 5 feet at the time. He may also cast a spell a target of "You" on his familiar.

Wizard Spells Prepared (caster level 5th): 0 -- detect magic, mage hand, mending, prestidigitation; 1st -- expeditious retreat, magic missile (2), shield; 2nd -- bull's strength, scorching ray (+7 ranged touch), see invisibility; 3rd -- displacement, lightning bolt (DC 16).

Spellbook: as above plus 0 -- acid splash, arcane mark, daze, detect poison, disrupt undead, flare, ghost sound, light, message, open/close, ray of frost, read magic, resistance, touch of fatigue; 1st -- alarm, animate rope, comprehend languages, endure elements, disguise self, identify, magic weapon, unseen servant, ventriloquism; 2nd -- arcane lock, continual flame, detect thoughts, knock, locate object, magic mouth, protection from arrows; 3rd -- clairaudience/clairvoyance.

Possessions:Amulet of natural armor +1, bracers of armor +2, ring of protection +1, masterwork rapier, masterwork longbow with 3 +1 arrows of wounding and 17 arrows, wand of invisibility (23 charges), wand of light (14 charges), 2 pp, 6 gp, 30 sp.

About the Authors

Skip Williams keeps busy with freelance projects for several different game companies and was the Sage of Dragon Magazine for 18 years. Skip is a co-designer of the D&D 3rd Edition game and the chief architect of the Monster Manual. When not devising swift and cruel deaths for player characters, Skip putters in his kitchen or garden (rabbits and deer are not Skip's friends) or works on repairing and improving the century-old farmhouse that he shares with his wife, Penny, and a growing menagerie of pets.

Penny Williams joined the roleplaying game industry as Game Questions Expert for TSR, Inc. in the 1980s. Since then, she has served as RPGA Network Coordinator, PolyhedronNewszine editor, and Senior Editor and Coordinating Editor for the RPG R&D Department at Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Now a busy freelancer, Penny edits for several game companies and runs the online playtesting program for Wizards products. When not enhancing the cruelty of the deaths PCs will suffer at the hands of designers, Penny puts up jam, works jigsaw puzzles, and tutors students in math and science.

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