10 Folk to Encounter in a Sewer

Sewers are rarely devoid of intelligent denizens. The homeless often congregate amid the gloom and filth, while thieves, rogues and assassins use the tunnel network to move around undetected.

By Bradley K. McDevitt


While exploring the sewers, the PCs are likely to come across individuals going about their own business. Use the table below, to generate the details of such folk.

  1. Scrawny and clad in rags, Sakari is homeless and lives in the sewers. He scavenges amid the muck and the murk for things to sell to the scrap collectors and more desperate traders. A decent man, Sakari was once a man of note, but disastrous business decisions and a malevolent wife have consigned him to this horrible place. Pathetically grateful for any kindness the PCs offer him, Sakari is a useful ally—he has contacts among many of the beggars and sewermen.
  2. Recently beaten by two off-duty soldiers, Ergoth has retreated to the sewers to nurse his wounds and plot his revenge. A half-orc, he is at home in the dark and knows the surrounding tunnels well. Now an old man, hate consumes Ergoth. He takes what he can get and gives little—if anything—in return.
  3. A skilled cat burglar, Elena has taken to hiding her ill-gotten gains in the sewer until the heat does down. Blessed with no sense of smell, she doesn’t notice the stench. She wears dirty leather armour and keeps her hair tightly wound under a soft leather cap. She prefers to avoid combat and watches the PCs from afar. If they get close to one of her caches she emerges from the gloom to distract them.
  4. Morcaer hates his new job; however, trouble with a local merchant has meant this is the only position he could find. Clad in thick leather trousers and wearing a scarf drenched in cheap perfume wound around his face, to keep the stench stench at bay, he suddenly emerges from the gloom. Muttering to himself, he doesn’t notice the PCs until he literally bumps into them.
  5. An old-hand at working in the sewer, Ordgar knows the surrounding tunnels well and even knows where thieves and other undesirables congregate. Unshaven and grimy, Ordgar cuts an uncouth figure. A borderline alcoholic, drink features heavily in any conversation he has with the PCs.
  6. Saewyn doesn’t yet know she is a wererat. Last night she remembers staggering home from the tavern, but has no idea how she ended up in the sewers. She’s lost her favourite cloak and reeks of the sewer (clearly she fell in something while drunk). She has a dried cut on her forehead, and blood matts her short black hair. She has a pounding headache. Saewyn would love help getting out of the sewer and could become a reoccurring, but perhaps problematic, ally.
  7. Viljo suffers from leprosy and has retreated to the sewers to escape the abuse of the citizens . The disease has ravaged his body, and his face has particularly suffered; much of his nose has wasted away. Viljo is in tremendous pain and hasn’t eaten for two days. He is miserable and accepts any help offered. He knows the sewers well and will exchange his knowledge for food or healing.
  8. When the PCs encounter, Heimo—a weasel-faced, balding man—he is on the way to a secret rendezvous to discuss his next burglary. He is cagey about his reasons for being in the sewer and can’t wait to take his leave. If the PCs persist in questioning him, his persistent stutter manifests itself, making him look even more guilty of some nefarious doing.
  9. Saull has survived on—and under—the streets for five years, after his parents died in a horrible carting accident. Surviving on the charity of others and his wits, he has grown up cold and hard. Immediately sizing up the PCs, his goal is to get as much out of them as possible while giving as little as possible in return. He hams up his horrible circumstances and plays on the emotions of anyone who seems even vaguely sympathetic.
  10. In Kaari Ojanen the PCs have encountered one of the most dangerous sewer denizens. A vampire newly arrived in town, Kaari is scouting the sewers as both a hunting ground and means of escape should the sun’s accursed rays trap her away from home. She is not interested in fighting the PCs and instead masquerades as a servant sent into the sewer to search for her lady’s lost trinket. She spins a fanciful tale of her evil mistress, but flees if the PCs become suspicious. Unless given no choice, she does not use her vampiric powers in front of the PCs; she has only just arrived in town after fleeing her last home—she has no desire to move on again just yet.

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This article appears in 20 Things #13: Noisome Sewer. For more free 20 Things lists, check out our Free Resources page.

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2 thoughts on “10 Folk to Encounter in a Sewer

  1. Set a whole adventure in the sewers with a wererat beggar Lord set Ina sub-basement with many hidden side tunnels and traps. He even had a entrance to the underdark.