In less than 2 weeks I will be running the first half of a double-feature game of Changeling: the Lost. It is one of my favorite games set in the World of Darkness (now renamed as the Chronicles of Darkness) partly because of the Goblin Market.
The Goblin Market is a place, sometimes inside the Hedge, which borders the mortal world and Arcadia, and sometimes hidden in the mortal world out of sight. The point is, you can find all sort of weird things at the Goblin Market, and you can pay for it with even weirder things. That jewel that can tell you what others are thinking might cost you all your memories from first grade. That pencil that draws accurate map of an area might cost you your shadow.
Point is, you can get anything the GM wants to offer the PCs, but it always comes at a price. In terms of mechanics, the cost is represented with an XP cost or a cost in Glamour (the fairy power points of Changelings) but thematically it is presented as memories or mystical parts of yourselves.
As much fun as it is to create weird stuff that the PCs can buy at the Market, it can be just as fun to create the weird Goblin Merchants who sell that weird stuff. So here are 10 weird Merchants who are selling weird stuff from their weird stalls, to populate the weird Market in your weird game of Changeling.
- Viktor’s Secrets: “Step right up, get your enemy’s secrets!” Viktor hasn’t been in business for long and few believe he’ll be in business for much longer. Viktor deals in secrets and has an eye for the jucy ones (because he only has that one eye, that’s how he acquired that first secret he says). For payment, he’ll accept other secrets (not necessarily your own, but one you’ve been entrusted with) or something of value that he can trade other merchants with for secrets they’ve acquired. Dealing in secrets can be dangerous though, and it is only a matter of time before some shady customer doesn’t want their secret revealed.
- Grammy’s: Gram runs the Market’s food court and sells some amazing and tasty Goblin Fruits. Some will replenish your spirits, some your body, and some will keep you awake for a week with almost no sideaffects (other than sleeping for three days after). Gram sells these fruits at the cost of a cherished toy or a childhood memory, all to entertain her six dozen children.
- Arga’s Arms: Unlike most other Merchants of the Market, Arga is a Changeling. She fought her way out from her Keeper by raiding its armory. The weapons she still carried after her escape became her first stock. Arga sells weapons, but none of them appear as weapons when viewed by mortals. They are all glamoured to look as something unassuming, like a shiny rapier that looks like a radio antenna. These weapons can be bought at various prices, Arga is not to set a price but asks rather what is offered. She also accepts challenges to fight for her weapons, but she keeps the weapon of her opponent if they should lose.
- Bitterly’s Bottomless Bottle (and more): Bitterly sells bottles, canteens, water pouches and pretty much anything that is used to store liquid. These items always have some mystical property (this one changes any water poured into it into wine, or that one is always filled with water, or that one cannot have its liquid frozen or boiled) except for one, which the shop is named after. The bottomless bottle can never be filled because it has no bottom. It is also worthless and never bought, although Bitterly always offers it.
- Unfinished Works: The stall has a large sign hanging over it with the words “Unfinished Wor” written on it. The next letter, “k”, has been started but unfinished. It is run by a small Goblin called Iggy and it sells unfinished artwork. Paintings, musical compositions, novels, sculpures. All sort of creative work that someone has started but never finished. Iggy enjoys it all, until he gets bored with and sells it, often for another unfinished work.
- Melkorka’s Fancies: Want to razzle and dazzle your fellow Changelings at Court gatherings? Melkorka sells clothes but not just any clothes. A dress made from spider silk and decorated with the stars plucked from the pond. A jacket made from the leather from a griffin’s skin and mane for shoulder pads. For anyone else, these clothes look like rags, but to Changelings they look like riches. These clothes have a steep cost though, often paid with precious memories or exceptional skills, which is why many acquire spare to use as payment.
- Beasties & Fowls: The two brothers, Beasty and Fowl, sell Goblin pets, at various stages of training. Sure, some might be dangerous, but who wouldn’t take risks in order to take a stroll down central, riding their very own hippogriff? B&F sells all sorts of animals and essentials to care for said animals, but they have never intentionally sold an animal of intelligence, at least not in this Market (“but we might have something in their secret stock, if you’re interested to check back after hours”).
- Dreams & Nightmares Gallore: Tictoc is the Merchant who sells dreams and nightmares at this establishment. A highly skilled oneiromancer and potionmaker, Tictoc buys dreams or exchanges them, mixes them with a sleeping mixture, and sells them at increased rates. Anyone who drinks the mixture falls asleep in only few minutes and will start dreaming. Tictoc also sells dreams at purer state, without the sleeping mixture and at a lower cost. You must “drink” those dreams with an hour before going to sleep, but if you don’t fall asleep within the hour the dream is wasted.
- Bella’s Beautique: Bella wants you to feel better about the way you look. Don’t like your feet? Don’t approve of your hands? Not too keen of your hair? Not a fan of your pale skin? Don’t worry, Bella’s here to help. She’ll replace that ugly foot, those horrendous hands, that greasy hair, that passé skin, and she’ll do it with a smile. A very creepy, emotionless smile. It is a painful process, but beauty is pain.
- Ingvar’s Potion Shop: Some things are straight forward. You want to become stronger, more beautiful, better skilled, or faster. Better. Ingvar is a potionmaker who offers these sort of improvements. He is cheaper than you’d expect but there’s a reason for that. His magnificent potions wear off. It is a limited time offer. For some people that’s enough, and his strongest sell point is “don’t you want to try it before you settle for the permanent thing?” Of course, Ingvar also sells potions with the opposite effects, such as to make you weaker, slower, and easier to handle. He also sells darts.
- (BONUS) Rumpus’ Chest of Miscellanious Wares: Rumpus sells anything and everything that he’s has. And he has a lot of assorted stuff. Some are handy, like a shoe phone (or a phone shoe) that can make safe calls from the Hedge or even Arcadia, or a reflective mirror that allows you to see through walls that you put it up against. Rumpus also has some useless (and morbid) items though, such as the feather that sings the last song of a dying bird whenever someone whistles, or the doorknob that can open a door into a secret closet but the door has been lost for centuries. Rumpus has all manner of stuff, so that you can find all manner of stuff for sale at the Market.
And here we are, more than 10 Merchants and shops to fit in your Goblin Market. Now, a word of warning, I have not revealed all their secrets. Goblins are, after all, mischievous and never include the sideaffects on the label.