Pet Shop - This isn’t just any pet shop. This pet shop sells only creatures of reptilian origin. Snakes, lizards, turtles, and monitors. Being related to his product, doesn’t phase the lizard-folk shop owner.
Wine Shop - Filled from wall to wall with wines from the ages. Some wines in the shop were created by great lords while others were made by orcs and goblins. The owner is a crotchety old man whose teeth have been stained by years of daily wine drinking.
Hat Shop - Top hat, bowler, beret, bonnet, and turban. This shop has them all. If you need something to cover your head, Miss Wemblmore the halfling has what you need.
Spice Shop - Spices have been an important part of society. These spices have all sorts of uses. Most pertain to flavoring foods, but some can be used medicinally and others magically. The shop keeper hails from far away lands and boasts stock representing her homelands.
Furniture Shop - If you are looking to furnish a hovel, home, manor, or castle, furniture is a must. Making sure that your home has the proper furniture starts with picking the lumber and hiring the proper carpenter.
Bone Shop - Entering a shop that sells bones can be a bit of a disturbing experience. Seeing the shopkeeper can be downright traumatizing. Goblin skulls, orc teeth, horse femurs, and tiefling jaws all find themselves in use in one way or another. Watch your back in the shop, no one knows where the shopkeep gets the human toes.
Fruit Shop - Delicious, juicy, and colorful, this fruit shop boasts all the local produce you would see in a market. In the back of the shop they stock special fruits only found from far away and magical lands. Fruit that comes from living breathing trees, fruit that sprouts wings and flies, fruit that drips with liquid magma when cut open. This shop has it all.
Adventurer Shop - A shop with a single book inside. Within the book is a list of names. Each name corresponds to an adventurer ready to go on a quest, for the right amount of coin. There is no shopkeep and the book mysteriously cannot be moved from its central pedestal.
Statue Shop - Each statue has been carefully and skillfully carved from dozens of materials ranging from wood to platinum. Perhaps a skilled artist could convince the shop owner of hosting his work in the shop to sell.
Seed Shop - If you want to start a farm, grow a tree, or observe the process of life, these seed will provide more than enough for your needs. Many seeds are of unknown origin and effect. Take a risk and reap the potential reward of your unknown crop.
Story Modes in Fighting Games that complement the already good gameplay with new and fun ideas thrown into the mix, making it feel like an overall different yet just as fun game that makes you feel rewarded, happy and with desire of replaying it:
Something that seems to happen all too often in my games is an unforeseen lull in the action or the story progression. Sometimes the best way to fix that is to come up with something on the fly to change things up. I struggle to come up with reasons after many times of this happening, so I created a roll table to mix things up in a random way. Whenever you get to a point in a session and have the thought “This is getting stale… something needs to change”, just roll on this table to throw a wrench into things.
Weather increases problems
The quest must be completed without killing anyone
An old ally is now working against them
A certain item must also be acquired
An ancient artifact is now involved
A main character involved in the quest, run into problems
A separate quest is created from the problem
Surrounding wildlife/villagers is beginning to change
Heavy migrations of creatures/people.
Another party/group/etc attempts to resolve the event, and is captured, and in need of rescuing.
Another party has begun searching for a McGuffin associated with the event, and the party is racing against them.
The location of the event has been moved or fortified, but this information is not disclosed to the PCs.
The reward for completion of the event has been lowered due to 3rd parties bidding on the job
A natural disaster has occurred, making completion of the event more difficult.
Local government gets involved, adding a layer of red tape to the event.
A red herring is introduced.
Prices for supplies for the adventure have gone up due to a decrease in supply, or increase in demand
The antagonist has gained in strength
The antagonist has had more time to prepare for the arrival of the PCs. Add or improve traps.
An important McGuffin has been sold, and must be tracked down before the quest can be completed.
Railroading is often frowned upon but it can also be a useful tool when players are getting too far off-track, or when they are taking too long to make a decision, or when the pacing of the session is at risk. Here are some sneaky and some less-then sneaky solutions to these problems:
The Speedrun Dilemma
The players are heading towards the endgame boss and haven’t explored the rest of your dungeon! The session is just starting and you need at least some filler before the climactic fight to maintain the game’s pacing.
Thankfully, you are the DM and have a map. The players do not. You just have that door they are about to open lead to another interesting part of the dungeon before heading to the boss. Have there be stairs leading up or down or add a turn left or right so it doesn’t interfere with nearby rooms the players have already explored.
I had to do this in my last session. The dungeon was a labyrinth (which is hard enough to DM with the players exploring every single dead end for secrets) and the players were about to find a secret passage right to the boss. Instead, I had it lead to a shrine elsewhere in the dungeon that they hadn’t explored, and then had a secret path in that shrine lead to the Minotaur high priest’s lair (he was the boss of this part of the dungeon). No one was the wiser and the pacing of the dungeon was maintained at a healthy level. The PCs got more info and foreshadowing to what they were about to face, as well.