Beggars, petty thieves and vagabonds are a feature of most settlements bigger than a borderland hamlet. Most such folk give powerful—and probably violent—adventurers a wide berth. A few, though, may approach the PCs for some—probably nefarious—reason.
Use the table below, to generate the details of notable beggars and vagabonds the PCs encounter during their travels:
- Kaarlo Hirvonen (N male human): Emaciated and wearing over-sized ragged clothes Kaarlo is a pathetic sight. With unkempt curly brown hair and a mouth full of rotting teeth and bleeding gums he seems on the edge of physical collapse. Desperate to get off the streets, Kaalo will do anything short of murder to improve his lot.
- Uljas Aalto (CN old male human): Painfully thin, and with a perpetual look of bemused confusion on his face, Uljas often seems in a world of his own. Scraggly dirty blond hair barely covers his scalp and “interesting” skin lesions cover his right forearm. With a lifetime of living on the streets behind him Uljas is wary of authority figures, strangers and those that seem too friendly.
- Helmi Laitnen (N female human): New in town, Helmi is still looking for somewhere to call home. Driven forth from a nearby settlement after her arrival heralded an outbreak of plague, Helmi is bitter and angry. (Helmi is a carrier for a virulent form of plague, but is immune to the disease herself). Clad in voluminous, travel-stained robes, her sex is not immediately apparent, but the signs of ill-health—a grey parlour to her skin and lank, greasy hair are obvious.
- Jorma Ukkola (NE male human): Once servant to an affluent family, Jorma was cast out onto the streets after being accused of thievery. He is desperate for two things—revenge on the family who destroyed his reputation and livelihood and for a return to gainful employment. He latches onto one of the PCs and does all he can to ingratiate himself. Fastidious in his appearance, Jorma is as clean and tidy as his circumstances allow. Almost six and a half feet tall, he walks with a stoop.
- Jani Hujanen (LN old male human fighter 2): An ex-soldier, Jani was crippled in a borderland skirmish long ago. Now aged, this one-legged soldier cuts a dejected figure as he slowly hops through the streets with his makeshift crutch. Fiercely proud, but all too aware of his failing health, Jani is a leader of sorts among the street brethren. His grey eyes still sparkle with determination and his voice remains firm. Strength yet lurks within his frame, but he knows his time draws near.
- Ossi Auvienen (CN male human): Short and cursed with a speech impediment, Ossi is a lonely figure. He thus speaks little, but hears much. Never without his “backpack of holding” Ossi is often seen scavenging for food scraps and things to sell to the town’s various pawnbrokers and curio shops. He rarely gets a reasonable price. Ossi has known little but misery and struggle through his life and is resigned to his fate.
- Outi Eerola (CN middle-aged female human): Mad—and a little dangerous as a result—Outi wears the ragged remnants of many skirts and dresses patched together into her pride and joy—a voluminous dress of many layers. With terrible breath and few social graces, Outi is not a popular figure except among those who hear wisdom in her deranged ramblings. In middle-age, Outi is old beyond her years and already her hands suffer from terrible arthritis that has turned them into virtual claws.
- Veli (NE male human): Horribly disfigured by a childhood illness Veli was cast out into the streets by his family, when they realised they could no longer afford his care. Bitter and resentful, he is in near constant pain. With a shock of matted red hair and a disfigured, almost melted, face, Veli is hard to miss. He wears a cowled cloak and keeps to the settlement’s shadows and alleyways. Anyone using powerful magic to heal him gains a life-long, devoted servant. (A servant who none-the-less plots revenge against his family for their betrayal).
- Ulpa Rekunen (N female human): Thrown out by her husband when he discovered she had fallen pregnant by another man, guilt and grief dominate Ulpa’s life. Homeless, and alone, she could not care for her new-born baby who died a few weeks after its birth. Now despondent and without hope, Ulpa drifts through life waiting to die. Once attractive, grief and living on the streets have aged her beyond her years.
- Taneli Itkonen (N young male human magic-user 1): Not even ten-years-old, Taneli does not remember a time when he didn’t live on the street. He has no memory of his parents and was brought up by Jani Hujanen (see #5 above). Good with animals, a pack of small dogs, trained to do certain rudimentary tricks, often accompany him as he begs for food or coin. He does not know it, but a spark of greatness lurks within him; his mother was a powerful sorceress who fell in battle against a terrible demon and he has inherited some of her powers—powers which are starting to manifest themselves…
This article appears in 20 Things #26: Townsfolk & Villagers.
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