Staying at home this weekend, perhaps going out for an ice cream with the kids, so here's a d10 table with ten city encounters for your OSR game of choice, wether is Old-School Essentials, Labyrinth Lord, Sword & Wizardry, or any other clone of OE, B/X, or BECMI Dungeons and Dragons.
Use them to spice up your city sessions!
- False Money. Selling an especially valuable good, explorers are rewarded with ready money, but false (pyrite instead of gold, for example). They will probably find out when they try to pay for something to another merchant, who refuses their money and threatens to report them. The fake money in their possession may cause them trouble with the law and it's impossible to find anywhere the dishonest merchant (or he will deny everything and there will be no proof of purchase).
- Masquerade. Following a centuries-old tradition, the city is dedicated to theater and performances for a full lunar month every year. Shows in traditional masks, disguises and costume parades invade the streets, while scammers, thieves and conspirators use masks and costumes to carry on their shady dealings. People and guards know, but no one can stop this tradition, nor wants to.
- The Stairs to Atlantis. At a quay by the sea (or near a lake or under the ground) a large marble stair of great antiquity has recently been found. The steps continue into the water, far beyond the point any mortal can reach. Rumors say that they lead to a mythical sunken city, but nobody knows if it's true. Now they are patrolled by a newly formed brotherhood of men in black, ready to kill if someone begins to investigate.
- A Weird Book. A sneaky fellow offers the group a bizarre book for a bargain price. It is an apparently useless collection of grotesque illustrations, but the price is really low. If the group investigates its provenance, or looks for a good buyer, they might meet a small and mostly harmless, even if a bit creepy, secret company: they call themselves the Gardening Society, and are a bunch of retired adventurers and bored aristocrats. They are collectors of curios and lovers of mysteries and stories of adventures, and might be a useful resource of information about the weird rumors, places and creatures of the world.
- A Strange Thief. Mezzatacca, an old rascal, has trained monkeys to climb the outer walls of inns at night, enter through the windows or chimneys and steal purses and shiny objects. Hearing the monkey thief while sleeping is very difficult!
- Dead or Alive. “Wanted” posters appear: ”Evil Enchanter and Murderous Arsonist, Adramalis Bargol, called ‘The Black’, has escaped from the Castle’s Prisons and is Wanted, Dead or Alive - Reward: 2000 Gold Pieces”. A portrait completes the poster, and the guy looks exactly like the party’s rogue (or other random PC).
- Communication Masters. Elegantly written scrolls appear in the main plazas of the city: “Sir Horrast and His Most Intrepid Company, Defeaters of Dragons and Smiters of Evil, Are Here to Offer Their Services to All Those in Need of Brave Arms''. Sir Horrast, his party and their followers and attendants have just taken all the rooms of the most elegant inn in town. After a while, voices spread that the head of a dragon can be seen at the inn for 5 gold pieces; hired criers advertising the Intrepid Company can be heard during market days, and bards sing of their mighty deeds.
- Archery Tournament. The local authority has announced that an Archery Tournament will be held in a fortnight. Competitors must pay a 10 gold entry fee, and will only be allowed to use bows and arrows lent by the local fletchers and bowyers guild. The competition includes shooting at targets, hares, breaking pottery, burning scarecrows with fire arrows, and shoot-and-climb-the-wooden-wall (with a roped arrow). The prizes are: A platinum medal (worth 1000 gold), a gold chain (100 gold pieces), and a superb pig (15 mo).
- The Man Who Would Be King. After the death of the rightful king, in order to avoid the turmoils and revolutions of the past, a general armistice between the city’s factions has brought to an unprecedented decision: the man or woman (roll a die to determine the appropriate sex) who accomplishes a certain, heroic task for the city (GM choice) will become guardian and promised spouse of the infant scion of the old royal family, and obtain the throne.
- Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing. An old, disgraced and impoverished noble from a minor feud is seeking a bold and rich, young spouse: a successful adventurer would just be perfect! In exchange for conjugal duties (this is essential!) and a rich dowry (this is essential too!), the brave character that wins her “heart”, will get a feud and a small territory to rule.