You’ve spent two sessions of wilderness hexcrawling to get your players to the entrance of the megadungeon. They’re one hex away, but they don’t exactly know that yet. Suddenly, your players choose to stop for a night at the inn instead of continuing immediately to the dungeon. Sure. You were expecting them to make camp, but you didn’t panic. You handled it by making up a name on the spot (“the Sword and Stein”) and you note that it is lucky they even have vacancies given how popular the trade route is at this time of year. You are about to breathe a sigh of relief that the unexpected diversion is nearly over when one of them asks you a question that screws it all up:
“Who do we see in the tavern?”
I’ve got your back though. Here’s 1d20 bar patrons to entertain your easily distracted players, fill out your NPC roster, and possibly even launch a few adventures themselves.
“Traveler” / Thief
“Pilgrim” / Deserter
Ragnus Fex, the Mighty
“Refugee” / Spy
“Dwarf expert” / Liar
Francis the Bard
- Bay Murden: A handsome human man with a glass eye. Honest and kind, this fur trapper knows a credible rumor about a roc nest nearby.
- Rowan Fern: Alcoholic, disinterested town watchman/guard. Thoroughly soused already. Knows the schedules and habits of half the townsfolk – the interesting half.
- Almira Barrow: Blackout drunk widow. Everyone knows her husband was killed by wolves while tending to his sheep. She slurs that it was lycanthropes.
- Kettering Peck: A shambling indigent with PTSD, begging for a coin for a drink. His loose lips admit he knows a thing or two about the layout of the closest dungeon; he will roughly sketch the first level the party has not yet visited if plied with booze.
- Erasmus Hearne: A charming young human male, with fanciful and exciting tales of exotic locations. However, he’s never actually been outside of his nearby home village – he stole his rare scarves and boots from a traveler recently.
- Sweet Jane: Hooker with a heart of gold. Recently came into possession of a rare artifact and fears reprisals from the gang members who left it behind.
- Little Ronal: A street urchin and orphaned beggar who claims to need the silver pieces to pay off an underworld debt.
- Edwick Chattervane: Visiting dignitary fusses and frets. Unimpressed with the establishment, and furious that the local nobility he has come to speak with did not provide superior accommodations, forcing him to rent a room in a commoner’s inn.
- Lora Whittle: A gambler from a distant port city. Down on her luck and nearly stranded in town, she seeks easy marks to make a quick buck off of. She possesses loaded dice and marked cards.
- Ford Hurring: Rattled miner with shaky hands. Uncharacteristically keeping to himself. Enough booze bought for him will persuade him to reveal that he stumbled upon a tunnel to a subterranean lair when at his nearby mining claim.
- Merrick: A stoic deserter, disguised as a humble pilgrim. His real identity can be sussed out by his straight-backed soldier’s posture, a poorly-hidden wrist tattoo identifying him as an expeditionary crusader, and his boots.
- Hezzar Blackpillar: Dwarven merchant caravaneer; knows the locations of common bandit ambushes, and will reveal them – for a price. Believes the pattern could even lead to the bandit lair.
- Ragnus Fex, the Mighty: Beloved local adventurer (Fighter 5) bursts through the door shortly after the player arrives, freshly returned from a journey up north and carrying rare furs and exotic trophies from his exploits. Booze is now free for the entire tavern all evening in celebration of his return; immediately add 1-4 more patrons from this list, do your thing, and then roll on your favorite carousing tables.
- Serge Armode: Local craftsman relaxing with his own jug of wine, blabbering on to any lady in earshot about how successful he is; why, he was even hired specially by a local aristocrat to build an unusual lockbox!
- Mona: Scarred woman in a dim corner with a coarse hood claims to be a refugee from orcish raids seeking to be left alone with her grief and liquor. She is actually a half-orc spy.
- Urvan Mott: Local man is glassy-eyed, deep in a bender. He is carousing to celebrate his upcoming marriage to a very wealthy woman, which he reveals is happening as soon as he kills her husband for her – the brother of the local ruler.
- Destrian Boore: Pompous, loudmouthed patron demands dwarven spirits, and will settle for “nothing less”. Claims to be an expert on dwarven culture, and even to know the location to a secret dwarven enclave. Everything he says is a lie.
- Francis the Bard: Hopelessly mediocre wannabe bard who poorly sings very detailed songs about a lost city of gold in the hills on the horizon. If asked, he will become shifty about the origin of the songs and claim they are pure fantasy based on a dream he had, and then leave quickly. If cornered, he will admit that he did dream them up, but only after finding clues near a boarded up mineshaft in the hills.
- Henry Order: An irate brewer of beers and wines has come in from his nearby fields to berate the tavern owner for switching suppliers and buying booze from his rival, who he claims is a literal demon who is sure to poison the libations sooner or later. He may be right?
- Brom Luther: Aged, tired-looking doctor. He eats in silence, alone, and regularly tears up and sniffles. He has recently learned that his oldest and dearest friend, the local noble, has taken gravely ill.
If you like these, and want to use them at your table, I have come prepared to make that easier on you. You can click the link below to get these as a PDF!