What Do PCs Want?

I've recently been putting a bit of high-level thought into the Dolmenwood setting, asking myself whether there are any important things that are, thus far, entirely missing from the setting or from the campaign map. Writing up hex descriptions for Wormskin is very much a "zoomed in" task, where one's thought is on a small local region and a cluster of interesting landmarks within it. Working in that way, it's easy to lose track of the larger picture, so I wanted to zoom out and look at things more broadly.

One way of looking at this, I thought, would be to come up with a list of "things that adventurers want to do in a campaign world", and make sure all (or most) of those things can be found on the Dolmenwood map. To that end, I made a post on google+ to brainstorm the list. There was a great response and (as I'd suspected) a lot of ideas that I hadn't thought of myself.

In this post, I compile the results, divided into categories. The lists can be used by anyone setting up or developing a campaign world, as a means of making sure a set of common bases is covered. Of course, not all of these things will exist in every campaign setting. For example, in Dolmenwood, I don't envisage there being any easily available means of resurrection available to PCs.

Also, I'm sure the lists are not complete and could be extended in many different directions. Hopefully he most common things are covered, though.


Hired Help and Hench-Beasts
People and animals for hire / purchase.
  • Hirelings.
  • Torch-bearers / porters.
  • Mercenaries.
  • Sailors.
  • Dogs (war / guard / hunting / etc).
  • Mounts.
  • Guides.
  • Other specialists (assassins, spies, blacksmiths, alchemists, etc).
  • Engineers and building crew.
Where one can do specific activities for fun or profit.
  • Gambling dens.
  • Bars / pubs.
  • Exclusive clubs.
  • Ball rooms.
  • Bath houses.
  • Brothels.
  • Guilds / orders / colleges / secret societies to join.
Things for sale. (Standard equipment and arms are assumed and thus not mentioned in the list.)
  • Herbs (wolfsbane, garlic).
  • Potions.
  • Items that grant bonuses against special attacks (poison, disease, paralysis, energy drain, etc).
  • Alchemical / lab equipment for magic item creation.
  • Spell components (if used).
  • Enchanted armour or weapons.
  • Fancy clothing.
  • Gems / jewllery.
  • Customised clothes (sigils, insignias, etc).
  • Weapons and armour sized for small characters.
  • Weapons and armour of exceptional make (that grant bonuses).
  • Customised weapons and armour (engraved, insignias, etc).
  • Land for sale.
  • Booze / pipeweed / drugs.
  • Unusual equipment (telescopic poles, repeating crossbows, caltrops, etc).
  • Alchemical items (smoke bombs, acid, etc).
  • Poisons.

Information that is beyond the skills of player characters to easily achieve themselves. Often provided by sages, libraries, magic-users, witches, oracles, etc.

  • Teachers / trainers.
  • Patrons / quest givers.
  • New spells to learn.
  • Magic item identification.
  • Deciphering unknown languages.
  • Maps.
  • Knowledge about history.
  • Lore about specific people, places, items, beasts, etc.
  • How to overcome unusual effects.
  • Plant / fungus / monster identification.
  • Rumours.
  • True names.

Things that adventurers commonly want someone else to do for them.

  • Get a curse removed.
  • Get wounds healed.
  • Specialised healing (diseases, blindness, etc).
  • Resurrection.
  • Auguries and divination.
  • Get armour / weapons / other gear repaired.
  • Sell valuable items at a good price.
  • Sell highly unusual items.
  • Sell magic items.
  • Sell questionable loot without any questions asked.
  • Safely store money / treasure.
  • Money changing.
  • Get tattoos.
  • Teleportation.
  • Magical warding of a building / location.
  • Raise attributes / recover lost attribute points.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the brainstorming!


  1. Great stuff - can't wait to see what makes the cut for Dolmenwood!

  2. This is actually tremendously helpful for worldbuilding. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Some more ideas for you:

    Trade Goods
    Substances (metals, minerals, liquids, etc.)

    Bunkers/Vaults (ancient or relatively new)
    Ruins that are being restored
    Circles (they can be more than menhirs)
    Portals (esp those to other realms than the Fey)
    Places from other Planes that were transposed
    Ranches to buy mounts, pets and other
    Gardens (wealthy or basilisk statues)
    Bait Shops
    Hunting Lodges
    Museums/Zoos (they do not have to be in cities)
    Charter Services for the lakes
    Hunting Guides