Just about scared the hell out of me when I saw who it was walking up the road toward us. It was the merchant, even though he was dead. Bill ran right up to him, crying. Bought the merchant all new clothes, a good meal, and a night’s stay in a fine hotel.
Bill drove him to the bus station the next day. The merchant smiled and shook his hand. I’ll be damned if Bill’s luck didn’t start to get better in just a few days.
The moral of the story, don’t fuck with the merchant.Andrew Miller, Soldier in the struggle against Darkness, and agent of The Manchester Foundation
The Merchant may appear male or female, and always appears as an indeterminately old person, at least seventy. It appears weather-worn, stooped, and leans upon a walking staff. It may carry its wares on its person, strapped to its back and hanging from belts and such. It may appear in a wagon, drawn by a donkey. It may have a stand by the road, a shop in town, etc. The Merchant will ask high, but not exorbitant, fees. It loves to haggle.
Always, it will have a miscellaneous assortment of items, mostly mundane, but often something the Investigators need. Sometimes, it will have a magical item which is quite potent, but have a serious drawback. Always, the object will provide a limited number of uses, before vanishing mysteriously, crumbling to dust, etc.
Examples of beneficial and detrimental effects may be: a magical attack (many Mythos entities are only harmed by magic) which also harms the user; magical defense which drains an ability score; knowledge of one event in the immediate future which must include a negative aspect; limited telepathy which must include thoughts negative enough to cause Sanity loss, and/or a strong desire to kill the one being telepathically scanned to prevent them doing something terrible. Individual Keepers are strongly encouraged to develop their own ideas.
Any Investigator who does sufficient harm or insult to The Merchant, in the eyes of the Keeper, will incur bad luck as described below. The Merchant appears no more than once a game month, usually longer.
Bad Luck: If the Keeper determines one or more Investigators have wronged The Merchant, they will lose 1D10 Luck each week, and be unable to make improvement checks until they make good with it. At this point, their Luck will again function as per the rules.
The Merchant, elderly purveyor of questionable goods
Damage Bonus: +1D4
Magic Points: 18
Attacks per round: 1
Fighting attacks: Walking staff, 25%, damage 1D6++1D4 Dodge 30%
Armor: None, but “killing” The Merchant causes it, and its merchandise, to immediately vanish. The offending Investigator(s) will suffer Bad Luck as above, and The Merchant will appear again at some point in the future.
Skills: None, or at the Keeper’s discretion
Sanity Loss: None initially, 1 when the Bad Luck effect becomes apparent (only to anyone under the effect), 1/1D4 when encountering The Merchant after it has been “killed.”
My name is CthulhuBob Lovely, I live in my childhood hometown of Columbus, Ohio, and have a son and two daughters. I help run MisCon, which occurs each year on Memorial Day Weekend in Missoula, Montana and help out at other shows.
In my younger years I had seen H.P. Lovecraft’s books in the collection of my older brother, Brian, who is also responsible for introducing me to Monty Python, Star Wars and many other things geek.
I began running and playing Dungeons and Dragons in 1977 at the age of 15, and Call of Cthulhu since its original publication in 1981.
I believe geekery and gaming can have positive effects on math, reading and writing, and social interaction skills, as well as family togetherness. I have three published stories online at