OSR: 1d100 Burgher Grievances

In a pointcrawl or hexcrawl with cities in towns, you will run into a surprising number of burghers. They all have problems. Most of them aren't problems the PCs can solve.

The table can be used with a d100 roll, or a d10 roll on a particular topic, or (and this is my personal favourite), by picking an entry and rambling on and on and on, listing subsequent entries, looping, and changing the subject until the players beg you to stop. Burghers will often call in friends and neighbors to verify complaints, add detail, or offer complaints of their own.

Burghers will reveal their troubles to anyone they think might help.

If you want to see how the peasants feel, check out this table. Baronial complaints can be found on this table.

Rocío Espín Piñar

1d100 Burgher Grievances

These are dark times.
1 Bandits roam the hills, robbing and killing.
2 Mercenary armies circle our town like vultures.
3 Ancient compacts are ignored.
4 Our town is surrounded by diabolical rivals.
5 Monks stab abbots; nuns abandon their vows.
6 Men fight for gold instead of glory.
7 On the road, every bastard with a castle charges a toll.
8 In town, a new tax is invented every day.
9 The sons of shoemakers become tyrants.
10 Angels cover their eyes when they look upon the world.

I lead a troubled life.
11 Moneylenders plague me.
12 My head aches from doing sums and figures.
13 I spilt a whole pot of new ink last week. 
14 These candles smoke and splutter.
15 My dog shit in my new boots.
16 The cat produces new kits every week.
17 The chickens will not lay if a cloud passes over the sun.
18 Worms eat the timbers of my house.
19 Rain leaks through my roof.
20 And mice run through my hair at night.

And my family!
21 Obedience and fidelity! The young laugh at those virtues.
22 Will my daughter be dishonoured by a soldier or a student?
23 My son sleeps from dawn until dusk and drinks all night.
24 This new generation loves only soft and expensive things.
25 They fear hard work.
26 They love fatuous poetry.
27 My relatives eat like hogs whenever they visit.
28 When I visit them, they serve only bread and water.
29 I am constantly asked to find work for unworthy nephews.
30 Or husbands for cross-eyed and bow-legged nieces.

And though I cannot prove it...
31 The pork we get today is not as good as it once was.
32 My neighbors plot robberies.
33 Our parish priest keeps a dozen lovers.
34 The old woman three houses down is a witch.
35 Foreign spies infiltrate our government.
36 Heretics host midnight debauches.
37 Traitors to our town put slow poison in the wells.
38 Diabolical fiends sabotage our public buildings.
39 New laws are made to benefit only those who rule.
40 These are the last days of the world. 

41 Is it here? Have you seen it? Tell me! 
42 The plague carried off two of my brothers.
43 Last time it struck, the dead lay unburied for a week.
44 The summer fevers are terrible here.
45 Chills strike every winter.
46 Bad air causes disease, but who can afford perfume?
47 I have blood let once a fortnight during the summer.
48 Doctors hunger for gold like a leech hungers for blood.
49 We are being punished for our sins.
50 Well, not my sins obviously. The sins of the world.

51 Bread prices are stable.
52 But the loaves get smaller every year.
53 Soldiers steal crops from the fields.
54 Peasants can glean grain. It's the burghers that starve.
55 Peasants should eat grass or thorns!
56 A curse on all fat-bellied grasping peasants.
57 Three times three curses on lying grain merchants.
58 Ten thousand curses on those who hoard grain.
59 Other cities will not sell us grain during a famine.
60 Though of course we will not sell to them. The bastards.

61 Every new war means a new tax.
62 Paid soldiers move from town to town like locusts.
63 They spread disease.
64 They spread violence and disorder.
65 The knights of the old tales are like a forgotten dream.
66 Our militia captains are afraid of thunder.
67 Our cannons are as crooked as an old man's fingers.
68 Our gunpowder burns like damp straw.
69 Our pikes snap like reeds.
70 And for this, we are taxed and taxed again!

The town is on the brink of disaster...
71 Noble families feud openly in the streets.
72 The rulers are surrounded by fawning advisors.
73 They cannot make clear and wise decisions.
74 Instead, they dither and bicker.
75 They forget civic duty and seek personal glory.
76 Beggars appear in swarms.
77 Those who cannot find work turn to thievery.
78 Executions will not deter them.
79 We should use torture more frequently, with hot iron pincers.
80 Or roll thieves through the street in a barrel stuck with nails.

My work?
81 I am overworked and exhausted.
82 I barely make enough to pay my expenses.
83 Those higher in the guild do no work at all.
84 Those lower in the guild plot to throw me out.
85 My peers despise me for my honesty.
86 Our festivals are not as grand as they once were.
87 Our processions are mocked or forgotten.
88 New places are given to the sons of idle men.
89 While good craftsmen are fined, despised, and exiled.
90 But the alternative is unthinkable.

Nothing is as it seems.
91 Salt is mixed with sand.
92 Flour is mixed with chalk and sawdust.
93 Rotten fish is sold as fresh.
94 Dung is sold as pepper.
95 Lead passes for gold.
96 Pot-metal passes for lead.
97 Knights are worse than bandits.
98 Kings act like jesters.
99 Emperors fight like children.
100 But I suppose things could be worse.


  1. "But I suppose things could be worse", for instance, all of the previous 99 could be true at the same time!

    But that would just be over the top... I hope...

  2. I love these rant-grievance tables you write

  3. These tables are great to read, but they're even funnier to use. Or rather, to use as a springboard for a good old NPC rant.

  4. I love that table: Great job !
    I'd need to modify it a tiny bit, but it would make for a great resource for my "into the odd" campaign in London 1814 :) [into the odd meets Taboo]

    1. Ooh, very nice! Should also dovetail very nicely with the (more 1850-ish) Magical Industrial Revolution stuff.

  5. "Kings act like jesters.
    Emperors fight like children."
    How completely true.