Saturday 16 June 2012

City State Encounter: Achmed & Co.

Pulp fantasy settings,
where everything
is black and white
Who: A trio of petty crooks, one a magic user, one a thief, and one a houri (from White Dwarf #13).

Where: City State of the Invincible Overlord, but any large city will do.

Possible Hooks: PCs may be victims of Achmed & Co.; or hired by a patron who was and who wants revenge; or they may be wanted after a job goes wrong; or they may simply meet and start hanging around with them, getting involved in their schemes, etc.


Achmed is a magic user by class, but a thief by nature. Until recently his main M.O. was running children's magic shows in market places and street corners using a wide range of cantrips. He and his beautiful assistant Helen would entertain the crowd while her brother Tom would prowl the parents, particularly fathers (and other males) who were distracted by Helen's particular charms picking the odd pocket but mostly, like his sister and his master, listening for gossip which would indicate possible rich pickings. Once a mark was selected, a plan would be hatched -- straight forward thievery, seduction, magical trickery or a combination of all three -- to separate them from whatever horded wealth the trio could winkle out of them.

The shows continue but recently Achmed's success has allowed him to make a new investment: a crystal ball. This, he hopes, will allow them to case their targets in greater detail and be that much surer of both the possible rewards and risks. Helen's attractions make it easy to keep males engaged long enough to get a good affinity for the ball.


Magic user, 15,000xp (4th level).
S:10 I:14 W:7 :C11 D:14 Ch:10 Cm:15, Chaotic Neutral, 32 years old.

Hp: 9, AC: 10, CL:0


  • Scroll of 5 cleric spells (levels 1-6)
  • Scroll of 4 magic spells (see below)
  • Potion of rainbow hues
  • Murlynds Spoon
  • Crystal ball
  • 1000gp

Spell Books


Useful: Clean, Flavour, Freshen, Gather, Spice, Wrap, Warm, Stitch, Polish, Dry, Sprout, Clean, Dampen, Colour

Reversed: Dirty, Untie
Legerdemain: Change, Distract
Person-affecting: Sneeze, Giggle, Yawn, Scratch, Blink
Personal: Bug, Gnats
Haunting: Tap, Creak, Whistle, Footfall

1st Level Spells

Affect Normal Fires, Enlarge, Feather Fall, Message, Read Magic, Shocking Grasp

2nd Level Spells

Locate Object, Stinking Cloud, Vocalise.

Scroll Spells

1st level: Message
3rd level: Fly, Water Breathing
4th level: Minor Globe of Invulnerability


When doing his magic shows, Achmed will have a full complement of 12 cantrips memorised, along with Locate Object and Stinking Cloud (in case an escape is needed).

When out on a job, as he often is with Tom, he will memorise the cantrips Distract, Sneeze, Creak, and Footfall. His normal set of first level spells is Feather Fall and Enlarge. His selection of 2nd level spells remains Locate Object and Stinking Cloud.

Only if he is expecting serious trouble will he resort to Enlarge, Shocking Grasp, and Vocalise (to allow silent casting from cover).

Achmed loves cantrips and could well be bought off with the offer of a couple of new ones.

Now available!
Achmed Action Figure!


Achmed hails from Tarantis direction and his swarthy complexion lends a small degree of exoticism to his act even in jaded Rhamshandron. He plays on this with lose and rich textiles, a turban, and even a
(costume paste) bejewelled scimitar tucked into a silken sash/belt. A matching but much more serious curved dagger (unsuitable for throwing) hangs below the sword and this is what Achmed will reach for if things go very badly wrong.

His beard and moustache complete the down-market vizier look, although things have been going well recently and the look is less down-market than it was 12 months ago.

The son of a sailor, Achmed can spin a tall tale based on his father's and may perhaps give out a clue to some island-based adventure if the PCs engage him in friendly conversation.

Tom (henchman)

Thief 7,500xp (4th level)
S: 13 I: 12 W: 11 C: 11 D: 15 Ch: 13 Cm:9, Neutral, 17 years old.
Hp: 11, AC: 3 (10+7), CL: 0


  • Bracers of defense AC4
  • 3 +3 darts (CL 3)
  • Ring of mind shielding
  • 3000gp

Skills (including UA bonuses for no armour)



Thin, pale, with sandy-coloured hair, and rather spotty, Tom followed his sister into a life of crime and has gradually begun to enjoy it as his success and training has improved his ability.

He eschews both armour and direct confrontation, preferring to work in the garb of an upper middle class young man of leisure and trust to his legs if things go bad. Like his master, this act has become more
convincing of late as funds have increased.

Currently content to wench and wander, Tom's main irritation in life is paying his Thieves' Guild dues which he resents. He has not found any friends in the guild and thus has no real weight with them should
he get into trouble with the law.


Houri 7,500xp (3rd level)
S: 9 I: 13 W: 10 C: 12 D: 13 Ch: 15 Cm:17 (fascinate 8-); Neutral evil; 21 years old
Hp:8; AC:10; CL: 0

Hide in shadows 20%


  • Potion of vitality
  • Poison potion
  • Ring of free action
  • Philter of beauty
  • Philter of love
  • 450gp



Detect charm
Kiss of sleeping


Transfer charm


Her professional dress is a strange combination of Amazon-Goth - long blonde hair combined with pale skin and heavy eye make-up. 5' tall, 36-25-35.

Off-duty she retains the hair but braids it. She has had some trouble from real amazons in the city but so far she's managed to avoid any real trouble.

She is tired of the small-time stuff and eager to hit some big scores now that Achmed has his crystal ball. Her powers, natural and magical, have left her with a very low opinion of men and her weakness may be knowing what to do with one who is able to resist her when she's firing on all cylinders.

A second weakness is her tendency to gloat over her conquests.
Achmed's previous assistant also
had some anger issues
(photo:Lois Olson)

Her brother Tom will defend her to death, but she may abandon him in a crisis.


The Houri is a good NPC class and suits the CSIO well. It was designed by Brian Asbury and if you search with his name online you should have no problem finding the details of the class. As a PC class it is not really recommended but, hey, whatever floats your boat.

Edit: this appears to be a legitimate link via Asbury's old pal Rory Mclean to a "free for non-profit use" and slightly updated version of the WD Houri.

These guys are a typical minor gang from my City State notes and may be individually or collectively encountered in bars or streets anywhere on the east side of the city, near the thieves' quarter and the merchant quarter.

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Lots of information here, maybe it could be paired down for quicker use?