A bit of gold and a bit of gossip… In most urban settings the players will sooner or later go looking for rumours. Sometimes it has to do with their current mission, other times it may just be looking for something new to do – looking for that elusive plot hook they are sure you are planning on dangling in front of them.
But when they fail that Gather Information / Streetwise / Charisma roll, what do they get? If you are feeling really creative they get a false lead, but more likely they end up learning nothing of import and it is left at that (or as I typically play it “You get an earful about how George’s cousin has been seeing that no-good merchant’s son up in Elmstown and that no good will come of it what with the way that young lad has been ‘playing the field’ as they say, and anyways the last time he was in town he short-changed Joseph on that Irudian wine deal – three of the jars were cracked and the wine had soured and anyways who would pay that much for wine? The whole Irudian wine thing is a big scam that some merchants dreamed up to be able to sell that vinegar-piss at an inflated price. Like the time that Durham brought in all those Gheld short swords and sold them as exotic imports, not mentioning that the Gheld are a bloody goblin tribe and the swords are basically the lowest quality steel you could find East of the Black Ditch. Never been to the Black Ditch? It’s an interesting place if you happen to like getting your throat slit, I hear tell...”)
So I collect gossip now. Stuff that I can add to my scenes when someone goes Gathering Information without a real goal in mind, or when they are gathering specific information but fail their rolls. Sometimes the gossip is true, sometimes it is entirely made up, but like most gossip some part of it is probably grounded in truth and the rest has built up in the mind of the teller(s). I’ll post some new gossip to the site semi-regularly as my gossip notebook fills up. Expect it every week or two.
So the next time your players botch a Gather Information roll, pick up a d8 and roll on the following table for something interesting that they stumble upon. I’m trying to keep the gossip as setting-neutral as possible, while basing it on gossip I’ve overheard on public transit and sitting around at restaurants.
- Darrin has been cutting his meat with… less savoury cuts… over at the butcher shop. Don’t know exactly what he’s adding to the sausages, but word is it isn’t what he’s advertising.
- Young Jillian, daughter of that fop Gerard, has her eye on the grocer’s son. He gets to see her once a week when the groceries are delivered, but I hear she’s been sneaking out into less pleasant parts of town to meet him some nights.
- Madra had a baby last month but notice you never see it now. Some of her friends say it died at birth, but I hear she killed it herself because something was … wrong… with it.
- Marshal bought some rope last week, tied it up nice and pretty-like, and carries it around in his backpack all the time. That’s kind of creepy if you ask me.
- Don’t trust the stock over at Druane’s. He’s been buying weapons from some pretty shady sources and my cousin says they aren’t nearly the quality he claims.
- There’s something big living under or maybe even in that boarded up warehouse on Bay road – the one that burned in the fire last month. Rilley from that street gang out that way claimed that whatever it is ate a dog… and it’s owner.
- I don’t know why Miles always claims he’s stressed and tired. He hasn’t worked an honest day in his life, living off his parents’ money still. Although you have to admit it’s given him a lot of time to get good at his art.
- There’s a new guy who hangs out at the bar a lot, buying other people drinks more than himself. He doesn’t tip well. I figure he’s working undercover, looking for someone.