10 Merchants & Traders with Personality

Normally, when the PCs go shopping the “action” is handled “off stage”. The players simply note down their purchases and move on to more exciting things. Sometimes, though, they may seek a particularly rare or difficult-to-find item or encounter a notable merchant.


Use the table below, to generate the details of notable merchants and traders the PCs encounter during their travels. The entries below do not list an actual occupation for each NPC—the GM should use them in whatever shop, trade or circumstance required.

  1. Elena Itkonen (NE old female human): This old woman has a full head of carefully styled silvery hair and carries herself with dignity. A snob, she believes she is above many of the people she encounters on a daily basis and is—consequently—distant, but polite. Her husband has recently died and she is desperately lonely.
  2. Kaari Rantanen (NG female human): Clad in a loose black dress, this slender, brown-hair woman attracts much male attention. She is friendly, and loves dogs—but hates cats and the like.
  3. Usko Karppanen (LN old male human): This old, but fit, man with a splotchy purple birthmark on his face harbours dreams of youth and battles against old age’s insidious advance. He wears tight-fitting clothes and is evidently prosperous given their cut and quality. He harbours dreams of the adventuring life—but that is all they are; if given the opportunity to engage in an actual adventure he demurs (politely).
  4. Onni Keto (CN middle-aged male human): Middle-aged and podgy, Onni, has two young daughters and several failed marriages. Despite this, he is cheerful, if a little over-friendly. It doesn’t take long for him to try selling the PCs something. He has tightly cropped dirty brown hair and a beard. His good-humour is a cover for the aching loneliness filling his heart. He is also a frustrated painter and dreams of someday securing a wealthy patron.
  5. Jaska Outila (LN male human): Believing himself to be accomplished trader with an extensive network of suppliers and customers in the locality Jaska prides himself on his ability to get on with anyone. In truth, Jaska is popular because he is easy to haggle down—something he is beginning to realise. Slender with dark hair and green eyes he is always impeccably dressed.
  6. Pia Purho (N female human): Just starting out on her own, Pia aggressively courts as a customer anyone who seems to have coin. Although she is skilled at selling, her accounting and bookkeeping skills are weak, and she is losing money as a result. Wildly—perhaps irritatingly cheerful—she does not take no for an answer.
  7. Ulpa Tuomi (CE female human): Utterly without morals or scruples, Ulpa is a psychopath. She cares for no-one but herself and happily sells any old crap to her customers (assuming she won’t get caught). She pretends to work for a patron who lives in a distant city and directs any complaints to him. Ulpa is often on the move—to keep ahead of irate customers. She has luscious black hair and black piercing eyes and dresses in fine, if a little risqué, clothes.
  8. Valto Rintala (LN middle-aged male human): Short and dumpy, Valto enjoys the good life. A prosperous merchant, he now leads a small staff who do much of the actual work. Valto has grown lazy—and a little fat—and has forgotten what a proper day’s work feels like. Often found meeting clients for drinks or a meal, he is frequently encountered wearing slightly soiled clothes.
  9. Virpi Markku (LN female human): Inflexible and obsessed with perfection, Virpi, is not easy to get on with. For Virpi, the price is the price—haggling with her is pointless, and her wares’ quality is beyond reproach. She is tall but developing a middle-age spread which she artfully conceals with fine, loose-fitting robes.
  10. Usko Laitnen (LG old male human): Usko has a big heart and spends most of his profits on feeding the poor, helping orphans find new homes and so on. He would be quite wealthy if he did not spend his wealth so, something several of his own grown-up children resent immensely. He is popular in the locality and is not short of friends. He is suspicious of newcomers, though, for he has been swindled several times in the last few years. He walks with a cane and never without a hat—he went bald twenty years ago and is extremely self-conscious about his lack of hair.

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This article appears in 20 Things #26: Townsfolk & Villagers.

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