The Lover’s Quarrel

by Gary Astleford
Editing: Marc Schmalz
Cover Design: Marc Schmalz & Christopher West
Cover Art: Clarence Harrison

The Lover’s Quarrel is a free publication offered in the promotion of Thieves’ Quarter: A City Quarters Sourcebook, a fantasy d20 System supplement from The Game Mechanics, Inc. It contains additional information on Serlic, an NPC detailed there.

The Thieves’ Quarter

The Old Quarter, known to most as the Thieves’ Quarter, is not a pretty place. The poor and disenfranchised drift in because they have no other place to go and become easy prey for the thugs and murderers who make the Old Quarter their home. This state of affairs forces people to learn quickly. Locals adapt or perish, becoming either a predator or a victim. Thus, the cycle of violence and degradation goes on.

Though the Old Quarter is officially part of the city of Liberty and under the rule of Prince Fiorelle, everyone knows that the Thieves’ Guild holds the true reins of power in this evil place. Part of every footpad’s haul, part of every prostitute’s pay, and part of every drug dealer’s profit goes to the Thieves’ Guild. Even part of the profits from the Old Quarter’s legitimate businesses goes to the Thieves’ Guild, their owners not wanting to watch them burn to the ground.

Most merchants in the Old Quarter accept this as an unpleasant fact of life. They don’t like it, but they have no other choice. Others embrace the patronage of the Thieves’ Guild.

The Lover’s Quarrel

A thick, heart-shaped wooden sign sits high above the doorway to the Lover’s Quarrel, one of many run-down shops lining the market’s northern edge in Liberty’s Old Quarter. The thick red paint of the shop’s weathered sign has faded to a pinkish hue, and a single quarrel, protruding at a jaunty angle, is embedded deeply into it. Pigeons are often found perched upon the quarrel, looming over the doorway like cooing sentinels, and they leave their characteristic spoor on the ground where one would expect to find a doormat or boot-scraper. Those customers brave enough to walk beneath the guardian birds find themselves in a well-kept shop which is dimly lit by small lamps and smoking tallow candles.

The store is small without being cramped, the walls lined with racks which hold quivers, unstrung bows, arrows, and quarrels of all lengths and types. The scents of lumber, paint, glue, and drying sinew mingle with that of the burning candles. Behind a narrow wooden counter, scratched and gouged from years of use, is a small work area, cluttered with tools, glass containers, and wood shavings. It is here that Serlic works his craft, making arrows and bolts for many of Liberty’s greatest marksmen. His shafts are considered some of the best in the city.

Serlic’s standard business hours are from ten o’clock in the morning until about an hour before dark. He has been known to open his doors to shadier parties after hours, and rumors abound as to Serlic’s relationship with the Thieves’ Guild. The Lover’s Quarrel seems to be largely ignored by the thugs and toughs of the Old Quarter, and many speculate that Serlic does custom work for some of the city’s most prominent rogues. Serlic isn’t talking, but no one can say if his silence is due to fear, loyalty, or a combination of the two.

Goods and Services

Although finely-made, the majority of Serlic’s merchandise is mundane, both in form and function. The average Bowman (or crossbowman) cannot afford to waste a week’s pay on a single piece of ammunition, and so Serlic spends a good deal of his time producing standard arrows and quarrels. For those with enough coin, Serlic has a wide selection of specialized arrows and bolts, from sheaf arrows to whistling signal arrows, and everything in-between.

The majority of Serlic’s arrow and quarrel tips are produced by a prominent local blacksmith, but the shafts, knocking, and fletching are all finished by Serlic himself. The feathers used at the Lover’s Quarrel for fletching are the best quality available, and are taken from the wings of white or gray geese. Each arrow and bolt is meticulously assembled, and the final product is always beautifully crested with Serlic’s mark and varnished.

Cresting is a method of painting multi-colored rings around the shafts of arrows. It acts as both a maker’s mark and helps to identify an individual type of missile while it is still in the quiver. Arrows made for nobles are often crested with their heraldic colors. This aids in identifying the shooter of an arrow that hits a target during a hunt or other contest. Customers with less distinguished bloodlines can have their arrows crested, too. Personalized cresting varies in cost depending on its complexity. The average cost is as little as 2 coppers per arrow, up to 5 silvers for intricate designs made with expensive or rare pigments.

Serlic also makes compound bows, sometimes taking over a year to complete the finer examples of his craft. While he relies on selling arrows to make ends meet, his work as a bowyer brings in a significant portion of his yearly income. His waiting list is long, but he has been known to accept gratuities in exchange for giving a customer higher priority. Most of the bows and crossbows sold in his shop are either imported or constructed by local merchants. Other archery and shooting supplies are sold at the Lover’s Quarrel, too. Thumb rings, bow and crossbow strings, arm guards, gloves, and quivers are all available.

Arrows and Bolts

The specialized arrows and bolts created by Serlic are his calling card amongst the archers and crossbowmen of Liberty and are suited for both military and civilian applications (such as hunting game or self-defense). The more extravagant products, such as adamantine-tipped arrows, are only available in limited quantities. Should a customer wish to purchase larger quantities of a specialized bolt or arrow, Serlic will need to negotiate a proper price, down-payment, and delivery schedule.

The listed costs are typical to the market in Liberty, though Serlic has been known to give discounts to anyone who orders large quantities.

Ammunition Type Arrow Cost Bolt Cost¹ Damage Modifier Range Type Special
Adamantine2 +60 gp +60 gp — — P +1 bonus to hit, ignores hardness below 20.
Alchemical Silver +2 gp +2 gp — — P -1 damage, Effective against lycanthropes, etc.
Armor-Piercing 1 gp 2 gp -1 — P +1 bonus to hit armored targets.
Barbed 1 gp 2 gp — — P Does 1d6 additional damage when removed.
Cold Iron 1 sp 2 sp — — P Effective against fey creatures, etc.
Darkwood2 +1 gp +1 gp — — P Weigh half as much as normal ammunition.
Flight, Lesser 1 sp 2 sp -1 +10 ft. P Light arrows designed for extreme range.
Leaf-Head/Sheaf 1 gp 2 gp +1 -25 ft. P Critical range of firing weapon is increased by 1.
Masterwork2 +6 gp +6 gp — — P +1 bonus to hit.
Normal 5 cp 1 sp — — P —
Sap 1 gp 2 gp +23 -25 ft. B A heavy, blunt arrow designed to stun targets.
Shrieking 2 gp 4 gp -1 — P -3 penalty to hit, can deafen targets.
Vial 2 gp 4 gp -3 -20 ft. B Can carry a small amount of liquid or powder.

Bolts for repeating crossbows cost double the listed price.
These types of arrows must be created as masterwork items, and this has been taken into account in regards to the listed prices.
The weapon deals nonlethal damage rather than lethal damage.
Adamantine: Ammunition with adamantine tips are considered to be masterwork items. When used to attack objects, they have a natural ability to bypass hardness. Adamantine arrows and bolts ignore hardness ratings that are less than 20 and grant a +1 bonus to hit. Any other type of arrow or bolt can be crafted of adamantine, but this increases the base cost by 60gp. For more information on adamantine, please consult chapter seven of the DMG.

Alchemical Silver: This is a normal arrow or bolt in all respects, except that silver has been alchemically bonded to the steel tip. On a successful attack, such an arrow or bolt inflicts -1 points of damage (minimum damage of 1 point). Arrows constructed of special materials, such as adamantine or cold iron, cannot be treated with alchemical silver. Treating an arrow or bolt with alchemical silver increases the base cost by 2gp. For more information on alchemical silver, please see chapter seven of the DMG.

Armor-Piercing: These arrows and bolts are equipped with a thin, bodkin-style tip. Armor-piercing ammunition conveys a +1 bonus to hit against armored targets and targets with a natural armor bonus but does -1 points of damage to all targets (minimum damage is 1 point).

Barbed: Armed with a barbed tip, these arrows and bolts are otherwise normal until they are removed from their target. A healer attempting to remove a barbed arrow or bolt must succeed at a Heal skill check (DC 15 + the amount of damage the arrow caused). If unsuccessful, removal of the arrow or bolt deals an additional 1d6 points of damage. The healer can take 10 on this role, but cannot take 20.

Cold Iron: Arrows and bolts with tips fashioned from cold iron are particularly effective against certain creatures, particularly fey. Making any other ammunition type into a cold iron version multiplies the base cost by 2. For more information on cold iron, see chapter seven of the DMG.

Darkwood: Arrows and bolts with shafts constructed of dark wood are lighter than normal, and are considered to be masterwork items. Bolts and arrows constructed of dark wood cost 1gp more each, but weigh half as much as normal bolts or arrows. For more information on dark wood, please see chapter seven of the DMG.

Flight, Lesser: Lesser flight arrows are less-expensive variations on the standard flight arrow. Constructed of light woods and metal alloys, the range bands of these arrows and bolts are increased by 10 feet, yet the damage inflicted by the arrow is reduced by -1. They are not considered to be masterwork items because of their cheaper construction.

Leaf-Head/Sheaf: Leaf-head (or sheaf) arrows and bolts are equipped with a heavy, broad-bladed point. Due to their weight, they reduce the range increment of any weapon firing them by 25 feet. The heavy tip adds +1 to any damage rolled, and the critical range of such ammunition is increased by one.

Masterwork: Masterwork arrows and bolts are so finely crafted that they grant a +1 circumstance bonus to hit. Making any other type of� projectile into a masterwork version increases the base cost by 6gp.

Normal: This is a standard arrow or bolt, with no special qualities.

Sap: The sap arrow is a heavier variation of the standard blunt arrow. It includes a thicker shaft and a heavier lead-filled tip. Because of the sturdier construction and heavy head, the ranges of sap arrows or bolts are reduced by twenty-five feet, while the nonlethal damage inflicted by a successful hit is increased by +2. For details on nonlethal damage, see chapter seven of the Player’s Handbook.

Shrieking: Shrieking arrows and bolts, like signaling arrows, generate a loud, piercing noise that increases as the projectile increases in velocity. Unlike signaling arrows, this shrieking can deafen and disorient targets. When fired, a shrieking arrow affects anyone within five feet of the arrow’s path. Anyone so affected must make a Fort save (DC 12) or be deafened for 1d4+1 rounds. If this saves results in a natural roll of “1,” the deafness lasts 1d4+1 hours. If used directly against targets like a standard arrow, shrieking arrows and bolts impose a -3 penalty on the to-hit roll and -1 penalty to the arrow or bolt’s damage. Shrieking arrows can also be used like regular signaling arrows. The effects of deafness can be found in chapter eight of the DMG.

Vial: A vial arrow or bolt consists of a normal wooden shaft that is tipped with a small glass vial. The vial can hold a single ounce of liquid or powder and is corked by the shaft of the arrow or bolt itself (which is tipped with a small, dense cork). The glass vial shatters upon impact, spreading its contents over the target. The heavy glass tip reduces the range increment of such an arrow or bolt by 20 feet, and damage is reduced by -3 points (minimum damage rolled is 1 point).

Common fillers for these vials include contact poisons, holy water, powdered irritants (ground pepper, etc.), oil, and paint. Acid-filled vials present a problem since an acid of any strength will eat away at the vial’s cork in moments.

Enchanted Items

The Lover’s Quarrel’s stock of enchanted items is limited to a few curiosities that have somehow found their way into Serlic’s possession. He keeps these items secreted away, on occasion using them himself, and only offering them to those customers who ask the right questions. Serlic’s own preference for using thumb rings when shooting has led to one or two enchanted examples winding up in his stock.

Quiver of True Strike

This deep gray quiver is made of fine calfskin, decorated with intricate silver embroidery, and can be fastened shut with a silver buckle and strap. It can cast true strike once per day as an arrow is drawn from it and the command phrase is spoken aloud.
Faint divination; CL: 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, true strike; Price: 360gp.

Thumb Ring of Accuracy

This thumb ring is carved from a piece of antique lacquered hardwood, polished to a high sheen and worn smooth from countless uses. Its use grants the wearer a +1 attack bonus when used to fire any short bow or longbow. When worn, the thumb ring counts against the wearer’s limit of two magical rings.
Moderate transmutation; CL: 12th; Craft Ring, cat’s grace; Price: 250gp.

Thumb Ring of Might

Constructed from a piece of bull’s horn, this thumb ring is carved with runes of strength and vigor. When worn by an archer and used to fire any short bow or longbow, it grants him a +1 damage bonus. When worn, the thumb ring counts against the wearer’s limit of two magical rings.
Moderate transmutation; CL 12th; Craft Ring, bull’s strength; Price: 250gp.


“You gonna look at that all day, or did paying for it cross your mind?”

Serlic is a middle-aged man with at least one elf in his ancestral woodpile. Tall and big-boned, he shows his human parentage more than his elven. He has a broad nose, green eyes, and black hair that is quickly going to gray at the temples. His skin is ruddy, likely due to the occasional nip from a small, steel flask that is filled with cheap, fragrant spirits. Though not unattractive, Serlic is difficult to like if one isn’t familiar with his acerbic manners and sarcastic attitude. He wears a dingy smock over his clothing when he works, but dresses plainly enough when away from the shop. His clothes are always a little wrinkled as if he’d slept in them.

Serlic: Male half-elf Exp 6; CR 7; medium humanoid; HD 6d6-5; hp 18; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (touch 12, flat-footed 10); Base Atk +4; Grp +4; Atk +4 melee (1d4/19-20, dagger) or +7 ranged (1d6, masterwork shortbow); Full Atk: +4 melee (1d4/19-20, dagger) or +7 ranged (1d6, masterwork shortbow); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; AL LN; SV Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 15, Con 8, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Appraise +11, Craft (bowmaking) +14, Diplomacy +12, Disable Device +6, Gather Information +12, Knowledge (local) +9, Listen +2, Profession (fletcher) +10, Search +3, Sense Motive +9, Speak Common, Speak Elven, Speak Orc, Spot +2, Survival +7, Use rope +6; Martial Weapon Proficiency (shortbow), Martial Weapon Proficiency (longbow), Skill Focus (Craft [bowmaking]).

Possessions: Masterwork tools (bowmaking, fletching), masterwork shortbow, dagger, steel hip flask filled with cheap whiskey, a quiver of true strike, thumb ring of accuracy, thumb ring of might, The Lover’s Quarrel, 298 GP in coins, 3,000 GP in the property.

Allies: Leode (Serlic’s apprentice).

Enemies: None.

Tactics: When pressed into combat, Serlic prefers to fight from range with his bow. He is seldom given that luxury in Liberty’s cramped alleys, and instead relies on his trusty dagger for self-defense.


“Might I help you with something, sir?”

Leode is a thirteen-year-old human girl, with tangled blond hair and a perpetually dirty, freckled complexion. She is always eerily mindful of her surroundings, and her chocolate brown eyes seem to take in every minute detail. Leode is commonly seen while dressed in her apprentice’s clothes, which consist of a brown leather apron, a stained white shirt which is several sizes too large, and a pair of breeches made from brown broadcloth. Her demeanor is one of brevity, and Leode can say more with a word and a pointed glance than most people can say in a page’s worth of dialogue.

Serlic found Leode on his doorstep two years ago, snatching coins and purses from unwary patrons as they came and went. His first impulse was to tan the girl’s hide, but something in her manner made him stay his hand. As dirty and unkempt as she was, he decided to instead take the wretched urchin in. Over time he came to enjoy her company, as well as the spare pair of hands that she would loan him when things in the Lover’s Quarrel got too busy.

It was only a matter of time before he asked her to be his apprentice. Perhaps Serlic saw a little bit of himself in the child, or maybe he loathed the thought of her future as one of the many whores who perpetually worked the streets and alleyways of the Old Quarter. Whatever his reasons, Leode has since become a fixture in his shop, sitting at a small table while she crests arrows, or running errands for Serlic across town.

Unbeknownst to Serlic, Leode is also an apprentice to one of the Thieves’ Guild’s snoops, assigned to work her way into Serlic’s good graces so that someone can keep a wary eye on him at all times. While Serlic has been a staunch ally to the Guild for many years, he often fills contracts for arrows and bolts with Liberty’s city guard. Leode pays close attention to Serlic’s conversations with these customers and reports anything out of the ordinary.

When she first took on the assignment of gaining Serlic’s trust, Leode figured him for just another mark. After two years of constant contact with the fellow, she’s not so sure. Although he has recently started to drink to excess, and his demeanor is rarely polite or friendly, Leode has developed an unwelcome affection for the old half-elf. These feelings have divided her loyalty between Serlic and her true master, and she has grown reluctant to pass along information to the Guild that might somehow incriminate him.

Leode: Female human Rog1; CR 1; Medium-size humanoid; HD 1d6; hp 6; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (touch 12, flat-footed 10); Base Atk +0; Grp -1; Atk -1 melee (1d4-1/19-20, dagger); Full Atk: -1 melee (1d4-1/19-20, dagger) or +2 ranged (1d4-1/19-20, dagger); Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft.; SA Sneak attack +1d6; SQ Trapfinding; AL CG; SV Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +2; Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Balance +4, Bluff +3, Craft (bowmaking) +3, Diplomacy +2, Disable Device +2, Escape Artist +4, Gather Information +7, Hide +4, Knowledge (local) +4, Listen +8, Move Silently +5, Open Lock +4, Profession (fletcher) +4, Search +4, Sense Motive +5, Sleight of Hand +5, Speak Common, Speak Orc, Spot +6, Tumble +3; Alertness, Investigator.

Possessions: Hidden dagger, 198 GP in coins, 700 GP in stolen goods stashed away in several locations.

Allies: None.

Enemies: None.

Tactics: Given the choice, Leode will flee from any violent confrontation. She is well aware that her martial skills are sorely lacking, and thus prefers to use strict discretion when choosing the battles that she will fight. On the rare occasion when she must fight, she prefers to remain unseen while she inserts her dagger between an opponent’s ribs.

Designation of Product Identity: The Game Mechanics company name and logos, the Thieves’ Quarter name and logo, the City Quarters name, all artwork, maps, trade dress, and graphic design elements; all characters, their names, likenesses, and descriptions; all organizations, fictional histories and historical events, plots, stories, storylines, and dialogue.

Designation of Open Game Content: Character and creature stat blocks, new arrow rules, and all new magic items. Note that Open Game Content is still copyrighted material, and any use of Open Game Content from this publication must be accompanied by the following: “The Lover’s Quarrel, Copyright 2004, The Game Mechanics, Inc.; Author: Gary Astleford.”


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System Reference Document Copyright 2000-2003, Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Rich Baker, Andy Collins, David Noonan, Rich Redman, Bruce R. Cordell, based on original material by E. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

Thieves’ Quarter: A City Quarters Sourcebook, Copyright 2004, The Game Mechanics, Inc.; Authors: JD Wiker and Chris West.

The Lover’s Quarrel, Copyright 2004, The Game Mechanics, Inc.; Author: Gary Astleford.