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Plothooks for trader campaigns

This article contains a series of plothooks for trader-related adventures to go along with the new release of Trade Lords. Enjoy! 

Make camp
House Troika, a dummy house under the command of House Vordon, seeks mercenaries to clear a mountain valley of monsters. The pay is good, the PCs may keep whatever of value they come across, and the mission seems straight forward - as long as no questions are asked. The PCs are provided with a map and instructions on where to report for their reward. House Troika wants to establish a training camp in the mountains, but this is not revealed to the PCs. However, the PCs eventually discover that they are being followed by another party of adventurers. This party has been hired by Talara Vordon to find out what House Troika and the PCs are up to.

The bet

An acquaintance of the PCs are invited to one of Temnya Shom´s lavish parties. When the acquaintance doesn´t return from the party, a concerned relative or business partner wants to hire the PCs to investigate. The PCs will somehow have to find out what has transpired in the late hours, possibly by sneaking into the Shom compound. Eventually they will come across the horrible truth, that their acquaintance lost a macabre bet to a halfling chief at the party, and was served as a midnight snack prepared by House Shom´s finest chefs.

A little bardic knowledge

Templars show up on the PCs´ doorstep and bring them in for questioning. A bard, known or unknown to the PCs, was caught smuggling illicit goods into the city. Under interrogation, the bard gave the templars one or more PC names, to which he were to deliver the illicit goods. After that the bard was pardoned by a senior templar. The PCs must somehow find a way to clear their names and find out what is going on. In the end, it turns out that everything was staged by an old rival of the PCs, who was looking to get back at them for an incident in the past.

The caravan master

A closed wagon caravan arrives in a city or at a trade outpost. The caravan master is never seen, but servants branded with a claw-like mark are spotted all over the place searching for volunteer caravan guards. There is something odd, though. All the people asked to serve are either down on their luck, very young, or otherwise not typical guards, such as potters and weavers. The truth of the matter is that the caravan master is a belgoi wilder, seeking new victims to drain of life energy. The servants are charmed, but if they don´t find any volunteers, they will instead become the belgoi´s next meal.

Spined cactus
A fledgling merchant house in Urik has become a thorn in House Stel´s side. The house is putting pressure on the margins of Stel´s weapons trade, and a senior agent decides to take disciplinary action. The PCs may be hired either to protect or burn down the lesser house´s warehouse, depending on whose side they become involved. The new house wants to hire additional protection, while House Stel needs somebody to do their dirty work.

Unequaled sharpness

A dwarven weaponsmith has set up shop in the high-end artisan´s quarter. He claims his weapons are the sharpest in the city. The weaponsmith proves his claim by lining up slaves and cutting them down with his weapons, but only for potential noble customers. A fresh slave supply is organized by a local templar who gains a share of the blacksmith´s cut. There is nothing illegal with this practice, but it is of questionable moral. When a crying woman pleads passersby to aid her brother, who stands to be beheaded simply because he happens to be working at a farm to pay off his debts, the PCs may become involved.

Elven goods
An elven or half-elven merchant sells the PCs an item that turns out to be stolen from a high ranking family member of one of the dynastic merchant houses. Agents of the house are on the lookout for anyone carrying this item, and will attempt to take it back from the PCs. If questioned, the merchant claims to know nothing, but he does indeed know the fencer he got it from, who in turn knows the thief who stole the item - and who he was working for.

Deadly game
An arena match has been rigged. An arena champion has been poisoned and surprisingly loses to his opponent, an unmerited challenger who entered the arena sponsored by a small merchant house. Only a few people betted against the champion, but stood to make a hefty profit. The new champion has now disappeared, and angry betters are pounding at the doors to the small house, after learning about the foul play. The house claims its innocense and offers a reward to those who can find out who is responsible and deliver proof that clears the house´s name. The PCs have several leads - the ones who betted on the unmerited gladiator, the gladiator himself, and whoever poisoned the former champion.