The Cursed Vagabonds (3.5e Quest)/For DMs

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For DMs[edit]

Listed here is a bunch of information to help you get the game set up and how to go about setting up challenges for these cursed vagabonds. So, sit back and soak some of this up. It also won't really hurt the game if the players read this, since the DM is still plotting out everything. This really boils down to just a guideline. Break it at any time you want to deviate since you're the one running the game.

In order to keep the game going, make sure you know your group's pace. If you want a shorter game, be sure to push along in-game time to keep on schedule for how long you have to play for.

Setting Up Challenges[edit]

For a group of 1st level commoners with weak weapons and 4 hp, any opponent other than an unarmed commoner is a scary prospect to fight. Even against a commoner, a couple bad rolls in a row could mean brutal death.

The players might be extra bold at first, attempting to secure better gear and items as quickly as possible to ease the pressure of their horrible statistics. If if fails for them, offer other opportunities later. Player should be pro-active in their pursuits, but if not, feel free to toss a couple easy marks occasionally. Not everything has to be a great challenge.

You're encouraged to bait the players with tempting situations to see how they handle them. Allow the players to calculate and judge proper risk and reward, or at least the option to properly calculate, since they could fail a Spot check to notice something vital.

Expect to see some of them attempting coup-de-grace attacks or lobbing stones off a rooftop. They'll likely do all kinds of silly things that sound good at first, but after a failed roll, go downhill quickly. Then the panic sets in. Just remember, grisly deaths are likely to make a mess of one's clothes.

Also, if the vagabonds sneak into houses at night to wreck up the place, avoid mentioning any children. Ügar frowns upon killing children (docking tallies from vagabonds who do so, also reprimands). That's not really something we want to encourage. Though, it's still your game so do whatever.


You really don't need to look up stats for a basic commoner. Just look up whatever race and apply those modifiers. Commoners are ordinarily gonna have 4 hp and no other modifiers to their rolls. Don't even worry about their skills or feats if you don't want to. Specific kinds of commoners can get a few bonuses (the ol' DM's friend of +2 bonus as necessary works well here). Loggers, miners, longshoremen, coolies, thugs and goons are probably going to get some strength bonus, but might otherwise be normal commoners.

Warriors & Other NPC-Classed Opponents[edit]

These guys are a step up in difficulty, often with two or three HD. They usually have some gear on them, making them a target out of necessity to loot upon killing. A direct confrontation is unlikely, so expect those vagabonds to come up with tricks. If they keep using the same tricks over, spice up the situation a bit to add more drama. These are probably your city guards, who are going to be out on patrols at night and in the day. As the week goes on, if the killings are conspicuous, they'll be out in full force, perhaps even setting up traps, especially if they notice a pattern to the killings.

PC-Classed Opponents[edit]

These guys are likely to be avoided by the vagabonds unless they're feeling particularly daring. Any kind of well-armored or magically-inclined character can easily one-shot a cursed vagabond. PC-classed characters occasionally hang out in groups in bars and inns. Nobles also tend to employ them as necessary.

Special Challenges[edit]

These should be used sparingly, especially if the don't net the vagabonds any tallies. Guard dogs, ogre bodyguards, minotaur shock troops, watchmen on horseback and summoned monsters are all going to be intimidating for a cursed vagabond. If constantly beset by challenges beyond their capacity, the players may lose heart (and interest in the game).


As DM, you're going to go through a lot of NPCs very quickly, what with all the killing. You probably won't have to name that many of them, but they should still stand out in some way.

Here's a handy list of medieval occupations to browse through: Medieval Occupations


Coming up with names on the fly can be tricky and are likely to sound stupid or generic. Why break tradition with these names.

Quick Names:

1: Roll a d10 to determine the column.

2: Roll a d20 to determine the name.

Table: 100 Female NPC Names

01 Kala Tien 21 Drusilla Clovish 41 Mallisa Ante 61 Agnea Addams 81 Milda Linseed
02 Genna Heine 22 Hellen Norma 42 Micah Ruststoke 62 Mabel Oakbar 82 Magali Irmgard
03 Ila Harriet 23 Naomi Blackbrick 43 Cathryn Katharina 63 Deborah Seikkinen 83 Celina Applebuck
04 Adrienne Shim 24 Shayla Kum 44 Geneva Oberhelm 64 Ria Gallipeau 84 Yuriko Chen
05 Laree Kris 25 Priscilla Dawnfowl 45 Erinn Temple 65 Misty Zenobia 85 Fonda Imelda
06 Emeline Venita 26 Klara Jordan 46 Jolene Potash 66 Jettie Kortney 86 Danille Bigham
07 Selma Batwig 27 Barby Dayle 47 Ursula Anisha 67 Barbra Glassweight 87 Diana Painter
08 Shu Kary 28 Ja Drema 48 Eleanor Elida 68 Temeka Samira 88 Nicola Aiko
09 Mattie Massey 29 Garnett Kaycee 49 Myriam Stodge 69 Elwanda Fletcher 89 Sherrill Precious
10 Ramona Islander 30 Caryn Clarissa 50 Margette Conchita 70 Lorraine Aldmin 90 Jewell Rushing
11 Hortensia Avery 31 Lexie Lorretta 51 Alva Prieto 71 Lesia Zuzu 91 Arletha Grayrock
12 Viktorya Jade 32 Nelle Oxborn 52 Sherry Shoreman 72 Marcie Lady 92 Kirstin Tania
13 Jaimie Graciela 33 Corita Ulla 53 Sherlene Lizardwright 73 Swanda Mozelle 93 Ayaka Wando
14 Davinia Claycock 34 Babala Marisa 54 Lola Sharktooth 74 Rita Quinn 94 Senaida Dandria
15 Irma Hawk 35 Ceola Dalila 55 Elicia Sadie 75 Arminda Candice 95 Gael Brower
16 Xenia Marcela 36 Ella Merton 56 Reiko Lakesha 76 Gwynzel Shepherd 96 Eloise Parasol
17 Jaleesa Lavern 37 Kenna Meldar 57 Kaye Angelmen 77 Jasmin Christina 97 Coleen Taneka
18 Pippie Singleton 38 Ione Briner 58 Lenora Golda 78 Maki Faye 98 Bera Allram
19 Layla Emelda 39 Tristie Greenguard 59 Teevetti Vanin 79 Gabriella Galinna 99 Shannon Kilkoyne
20 Aimee Hahn 40 Crystal Pines 60 Gertrude Lissbeth 80 Emelia Stoutfish 00 Aurelien Devigne

Table: 100 Male NPC Names

01 Wynell Gussie 21 Bruno Fruchart 41 Anton Weaver 61 Ian Phelps 81 Aldo Rendon
02 Pavlo Gresser 22 Clement Gantier 42 Geraldo Landu 62 Luke Belltower 82 Buzz Dayswell
03 Chapman Valentine 23 Greogg Lennepec 43 Deon Floy 63 Byram Milton 83 Davis Carbone
04 Garris Edds 24 Charles Rosamond 44 Bram Helton 64 Smitty Mercer 84 Ronald Dalton
05 Bronson Keppler 25 Jorg Jompurs 45 Toraho Yahairo 65 Cuevas Gomez 85 Andrew Kincade
06 Dell Gudrun 26 Brogan Hahn 46 Cameron Belanger 66 Scott Shackers 86 Morth Bramford
07 Kron Greenbolt 27 Hugh Embers 47 Gregor Montoya 67 Kenneth Korter 87 Seamus Barrer
08 Jeremy Carlysle 28 Kabiru Nasiru 48 Haengwoo Lee 68 Taylor Deezee 88 Finn Fronk
09 Ray Rhoad 29 Dale Melvin 49 Ron Macklem 69 Jameson Erstwhiles 89 Kenneth Cromdor
10 Gary Barnyard 30 Muso Alli 50 Avokate Okocha 70 Bertram Whistler 90 Jannek Ovia
11 Gabriel Barragan 31 Alfredo Cortez 51 Josefa Toolyard 71 Wallace Easdon 91 Brick Poorstag
12 Gudrun Loida 32 Bryan Ferraro 52 Renfield Peckgray 72 Brant Wansley 92 Jory Gooi
13 Joaquim Branco 33 Demetrius Cockcroft 53 Colt Mander 73 Arthur Burgess 93 Sal Avalos
14 Clement Chabot 34 Guttersworth Bridger 54 Allen Tracy 74 Saul Barrister 94 Anthony Morrison
15 William Anderton 35 Todd Siegler 55 Jurado Shackler 75 David Harbin 95 Jacyard Colletto
16 Kilgore Donaldson 36 Rick Slugsmith 56 Pierre Hemond 76 Paul Beery 96 Armando Daza
17 Karl Nettie 37 Marc Ottor 57 Ouzdavu Cummuta 77 Myles Brasshand 97 Yolimar Maestre
18 Fabien Brasselet 38 Geoff Vickars 58 Damien Klaver 78 Barr Gordon 98 Wade Spiceman
19 Bours Palmer 39 Prince Igwe 59 Denndor Pritchens 79 Emil Wecker 99 Torry Schlein
20 Roman Marino 40 Guy Harrison 60 Edwin Crestport 80 Grant Burroway 00 Raul Soursop


NPCs should stand out from one another if they do any talking at all. Here's are some lists of character traits you can apply. Just roll a d% once or twice.

Table: 100 Character Traits
#1-25 #26-50 #51-75 #76-100
# Trait # Trait # Trait # Trait
1 Honest 26 Messy 51 Patriotic 76 Able
2 Light-hearted 27 Neat 52 Fun-loving 77 Quiet
3 Grim 28 Joyful 53 Popular 78 Curious
4 Obtuse 29 Strong 54 Successful 79 Reserved
5 Brave 30 Bright 55 Responsible 80 Pleasing
6 Conceited 31 Courageous 56 Lazy 81 Bossy
7 Mischievous 32 Serious 57 Wistful 82 Witty
8 Demanding 33 Morose 58 Helpful 83 Brash
9 Thoughtful 34 Humorous 59 Simple-minded 84 Tireless
10 Keen 35 Sorrowful 60 Humble 85 Energetic
11 Disagreeable 36 Frugal 61 Friendly 86 Cheerful
12 Simple 37 Formal 62 Terse 87 Nosey
13 Fancy 38 Relaxed 63 Adventurous 88 Impulsive
14 Plain 39 Edgy 64 Hard-working 89 Loyal
15 Excited 40 Fussy 65 Timid 90 Needy
16 Studious 41 Groomed 66 Daring 91 Depressed
17 Inventive 42 Gallant 67 Gregarious 92 Manic
18 Creative 43 Inconsiderate 68 Dainty 93 Standoffish
19 Thrilling 44 Selfish 69 Provocative 94 Brazen
20 Independent 45 Selfless 70 Pitiful 95 Reckless
21 Dopey 46 Self-confident 71 Haughty 96 Dazed
22 Compassionate 47 Respectful 72 Lovable 97 Candid
23 Gentle 48 Considerate 73 Prim 98 Wily
24 Proud 49 Imaginative 74 Proper 99 Impartial
25 Wild 50 Busy 75 Ambitious 100 Plucky


There are lots of locations within the primary location a DM chooses. First off, this game is intended to be played within the setting of a fairly large, cosmopolitan city. That doesn't mean it's dominated by humans, or culturally advanced, but it does mean there's likely a smattering of several races that get along without too much racism. It might be ruled by a monarchy or perhaps a college of wizards. The guard force might all be young draftees or it might be an elite force of golems or minotaurs or something scary that encourages the players to employ stealth tactics/distractions/lies to avoid getting caught.

Here are some general locations in and around the city to think about:

  • Churches
  • Stables
  • Guild Halls
  • Wizard Towers
  • Guard Outposts
  • Soldier Barracks
  • Castles
  • Lavish Gardens
  • Graveyards
  • Noble Mansions
  • Slaughterhouses
  • Shops
  • Bazars
  • Mills
  • Libraries
  • Wells
  • Courtyards
  • Alleyways
  • Docks
  • Dockhouses
  • Anchored Ships
  • Arenas
  • Abandoned Houses
  • Serf Shacks
  • Mines
  • Logging Camps
  • Town Squares
  • Slums
  • Laborer Houses
  • Brothels
  • Parks
  • Breweries
  • Town Halls
  • Nearby Farms
  • Sewers
  • Fountains
  • Trash Pits
  • Rookeries
  • Weavers
  • Dyers
  • Carpenters
  • Tanners
  • Potters
  • Cobblers
  • Smiths
  • Bakers
  • Butchers
  • Grocers
  • Money Exchangers
  • Armorers
  • Fletchers
  • Alchemists
  • Apothecaries
  • Healers
  • Fortune Tellers

Bar Name Generator Chart[edit]

Drinking establishments have always been a popular location in D&D as a social location where folk gather in close proximity publicly. Your city should have a few bars of varying clientele. Places on main streets are likely to be rowdier and more light-hearted while back-alley locations can be seedier, rougher or more subdued.

Quick and Easy:

1: Roll a d20 for each column.

2: Put it together: The + Prefix Adjective + Suffix Noun + Location Type

Examples: The Brooding Unicorn Saloon, The Sad Knight's Keep

Optionally: Pick out the parts you like and go with that.

Table: Easy Bar Name Generator
# Prefix Adjective Suffix Noun Location Type
1 Slippery Eel Inn
2 Frozen Boar Tavern
3 Golden Maiden Bar
4 Silver Oak Grotto
5 Grand Unicorn Saloon
6 Stout Lion Pub
7 Green Dragon Hotel
8 Shining Bull House
9 Royal Court Keep
10 Purple Goose Eatery
11 Red Horse Hole
12 Blue Griffin Nest
13 Black Tower Place
14 White Knight Pit
15 Whispering Serpent Bazaar
16 Brooding Barrel Cantina
17 Dancing Table Oasis
18 Ghostly Stone Hall
19 Sad Goat Stage
20 Marble King Enclave

Advancing The Plot[edit]

Just because the point of the game is to rack up a swath of murder-death-kills, doesn't mean that something particularly interesting can't be happening in the background. This is D&D and the players will likely still want to roleplay their vagabonds and look into intrigue (or at the least, pay attention) when something strange starts to happen. Now, it's up to the DM how much, if any, extra plot he wants to throw in, but here are some suggestions.

  • Ügar is some portentous omen of disaster. There are rumors going around that <Insert Horrible Catalyst Here> is gonna wipe out <Insert Name of City Here>. Perhaps a meteor, earthquake, volcano, tarrasque or other mega-horrible-bad-thing is going to hit, and oddly, this coincides with the deadline given by Ügar for the vagabonds.
  • A weird cult moved into town and began kidnapping people. Perhaps the vagabonds see this while skulking around at night. Perhaps even one of them is captured. Try not to feel bad for the sacrifices any vagabond is thrown into a cage with.
  • A street gang has recently been in a turf war with another street gang. Perhaps the vagabonds want to "help".
  • A beast was discovered to be lurking in the sewers and comes out at night. The guards have been unable to catch it.
  • Ügar ups the ante by making the vagabonds stronger, faster, better and tougher each day.
  • A seemingly unkillable warlord has parked his army outside of town, beckoning those within to send forth their worthy champions.
  • A blackmarket alchemist's fire deal goes south and crates of the stuff are found loaded up.
  • A sphere of annihilation slowly floats through town, wrecking up stuff it comes into contact with, like buildings. I wonder what would happen if a cursed vagabond touched it.
  • Every time the vagabonds come back after being killed, they appear more fiendish, even those who've been killing bad guys.
  • Ügar wants the vagabonds to kill so that all the slaughter brings him back to the material plane in physical form, and he uses the winner as his avatar.
  • Instead of raising them as who they were, Ügar instead reincarnates them (just without any Constitution- or level-loss stuff). At least there's no chance of coming back as a badger this time. Use the table below instead though, since it has only ECL 1 races on it.
Table: ECL 1 Reincarnations
d% Incarnation
01–03 Aroghin
04–06 Changeling
07–09 Deeka
10–12 Deep Dwarf
13–15 Hill Dwarf
16–18 Mountain Dwarf
19–20 Aquatic Elf
21–22 Drow Elf
23–24 Gray Elf
25–26 High Elf
27–28 Wild Elf
29–30 Wood Elf
31–34 Forest Gnome
35–38 Rock Gnome
39–41 Goblin
42–44 Orckin Goblin
45–49 Half-Elf
50–54 Half-Orc
55–57 Deep Halfling
58–60 Lightfoot Halfling
61–63 Tallfellow Halfling
64–72 Human
73–75 Kobold
76–79 Lizardfolk
80–83 Malaquian
84–87 Orc
88–89 Chicken Orc
90–91 Minotaurus
92–95 Spotted Gnoll
96–99 Yuan-ti
100 Other (DM's Choice)

Having Fun[edit]

With this sort of game, you diverge into "stuff you should generally avoid in a D&D game" territory. Since the players won't all be in one location and are competing against each other, that can be a mess to run, because at some point, players are just going to be sitting there not particularly invested in the goings on of someone else. DMs are encouraged to let other non-participating players make some rolls on his behalf. Obviously, this makes hiding certain rolls difficult (you know, because DMs like to fudge rolls at their own discretion behind screens), so they don't need to be made for every roll (or particularly important rolls). Players rolling for the DM also adds a sense of competition.

If the DM wants to increase the likelihood of the vagabonds running into each other while they're out, make the location of opportunity smaller. At the very least, they're more likely to run into the aftermath of their competitors. This sort of scattered PC game lends itself well to a play-by-post forum setup where players aren't actively sitting around a table waiting for their turn to come up and participate. This will additionally give DMs time to plot out more detail if his PCs are highly tactical in their approach, allowing them to make better decisions.

Additionally, it's up to the DM to be as entertaining as possible in this game. He should never waste an opportunity to add a little extra flair or description. NPCs can be talkative and say dumb things. Surroundings can be comical with little details out of place. Catching your gamers off guard will get them to stay tuned in and invested in the game. Be sure to include lots of sensory detail in your descriptions. Smells and sounds are just as important as sights when describing a location. Introducing a goat farmer who totes his goat-wife around on a leash that he argues with (in one-sided conversations) is much more entertaining than an old, bearded farmer fellow.

Who They Kill[edit]

Perhaps some cursed vagabond still feels a sense of justice he must abide by and decides to use his curse as a means of taking down a ruthless cult or street gang. On the other side, one of his compatriots decides just to kill indiscriminately in order to rack up kills. Maybe another decides to let a local church of war in on his secret and asks for their assistance. A good DM, like Ügar, rewards roleplaying too. Players shouldn't be punished for well-thought character choices. Let them play the character they want to play.

Redemption could be a strong motivating force for some characters who may feel that they squandered (or simply failed) when opportunity knocked for them in the past. This curse finally gives them a chance to make a difference in the world, but now they've only got a week.

Taking Mercy[edit]

He never announced himself as "Ügar The Fair and Just!" (unless you did announce him as that, in which case that's on you now). He just wants to be entertained (unless you give him other motivations). If someone falls behind in score (or dies perhaps a bit too frequently), Ügar isn't above handing out boons of his own, such as weapons, one-shot items or other advantages. Everyone should have fun, and feeling like you're still in the game can alleviate a lot of frustration, especially after a bout of bad dice luck.

Starting The Game[edit]

The game starts with the vagabonds gathered around the fire. Give the players a few minutes to acclimate themselves to the other vagabonds around the fire and their surroundings. At the first stroke of midnight, Ügar arrives and delivers his curse and speech (as you read earlier in: The Setup).

From here, the DM has to pace the days, track the players and their kills (as well as how much "time" they've used). Organization and a little preparation work will help here. Mostly, you'll just need some space to write and track things.

If your game starts running long (or looks like it's going to), Ügar can always push up the deadline as "cosmic forces have realigned" or whatever.

Finishing The Game[edit]

At midnight on the 7th day, the game ends. The vagabonds all drop dead where they stand and meet up with Ügar in some sort of afterlife plane of your description. Depending on how menacing you want Ügar to be, the location could range from a hovering obsidian chunk over a lake of endless churning lava where colossal worms breach and scream in the distance or a grassy valley dotted by boulders and golden trees all surrounded by monumentally-high cliff sides. It is here that Ügar passes his judgement (and you give denouement for the game).

Since the ultimate goal of this "quest" is to win, the DM can handle this in several ways… through the use of Ügar, Master of Plot. The gist is that the players should be rewarded for playing well, rather than how they ultimately place. "Winning" is just bragging rights rather than why everyone was playing. Do the players work together to take out their victims? Ügar honors cooperative spirit! Do they refuse to kill each other during a tie that came down to sudden death? Ügar awards noble vagabonds! Do the players work together the whole time only to be backstabbed by one player at the very end? Ügar awards this treachery… but also everyone else. There's some comedy to be had from the situation, so play with that when it comes to the end game. Feel free to have Ügar mock or jest with the vagabonds, as they are his entertainment. The more entertaining you make everything, the more likely everyone at the table is going to have fun.

Closing Words[edit]

The purpose of this game is to "take a break and stretch your legs" as it were, for D&D in general. Often times, during a long campaign, pressure or stagnancy can arise. This short game is designed to alleviate that feeling and make D&D feel fresh again in general. This goes for DMs too, who might just need a bit of a short break from heavily structured plot.

Also, as DM, feel free to use whatever silly tactics the PCs develop with their vagabonds for taking down tougher targets against their other characters later in another game.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please post them on the talk page of the main article to be addressed.