DnD Stores can be amazing with these simple tips

 50 silver Pieces is the response you get from the shopkeeper after asking for the price of a Great sword. You hear your friend barter 40 the next thing you know you have spent the whole session bartering for a good instead of getting to the action.  Stores in your dungeons and dragons game are very hard to get correct. They are super important as well, they can be main contributors to the social and exploration pillars. After having a lot of negative experiences with DND Stores I decided things needed to change. Here are my tips for making your DND Stores better.

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The Fundamental Problems with DND Stores

To start off I diagnosed the problems with DND Stores and added the solutions. There could be multiple reasons why the shops in your games are boring side stops that aren’t memorable. Most advice is that this is necessary, going to a shop won’t be as fun as slaying a dragon but to that, I say, Nay! Some of these problems may apply while others may not but if we act with the following knowledge in mind we can allow ourselves to create amazing scenes in our game.

There's Nothing to buy

How can you have a shop without a product? The sad truth is that there isn’t much to spend your gold on. Most players will start with their weapon of choice. Most things are cheap items that the players won’t spend much money on. One of the few things I can think of to buy is armor. Magic Items are expensive but it doesn’t make sense for every place to have magic items otherwise they lose their rarity. There are items such as alchemist’s fire that cost gold but it isn’t that useful in combat.  The solution that we need is that our shops need unique items. We don’t have to be afraid of the players buying multiple because we can limit the stock. This makes exploring shops include discovery as the players won’t just be expecting what is listed in the dungeon master’s guide. Something I struggled with was differentiating the Blacksmith in one city from another. One Blacksmith could forge weapons that deal fire damage and another Cold Damage. Differentiating the essential shops in your campaign makes things exciting instead of a chore.

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Shops are a side thing but they don't have to be.

One of the most influential pieces of advice I’ve ever been given is to move information around in your game. This flexibility allows you to put information in spots that make sense. The players could hear a rumor at the inn or the castle. Players will certainly not be inclined to go to a shop if it’s a pit stop. Making a shop the players express interest in relevant to the story can be key in getting all the players involved. It’s easy for a trip to the store to be boring for all the characters not interested in patronage. If you make a store like a mini-dungeon with NPC and secrets you can make it a place of interest for everyone. Nothing in DND has to be useless or boring. Think of the atmosphere of the different shops you go to. We don’t use our imagination enough because we have a preconception that shops are not important.

Shopkeepers are commonly played incorrectly

We often think of shopkeepers as nameless NPCs but doesn’t it make more sense for them to be important? The merchant class was heavily influential in many periods of history. They also have specialized knowledge of business and supply lines. Shopkeepers should be some of the most detailed NPCs in your campaign if you want your shops to be different from city to city. If you the Dungeon Master make your voice monotone it makes it like a menu in a video game. If you put on a performance, however, you are implying that the shopkeeper is special. Shady salesmen and a retired adventurer can sell the same item in very different ways. 

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Haggling is a common part of some cultures. In most cases, though it is not worth the time to haggle a couple of gold pieces. We want to be playing Dnd and it’s boring to watch your fellow player argue with the dm for 30 minutes over a health potion. Most shops should not allow Haggling. Here is a good list of reasons why Haggling isn’t allowed that will make sense to your players.

* The shopkeeper is part of a union that has set prices

The shopkeeper is just an employee and can’t set prices

The shopkeeper is selling at a loss already

The shopkeeper can’t change prices for accounting reasons.


Haggling can be fun in certain scenarios where the party doesn’t have enough gold pieces to buy what they want. In this case, it is a necessary step but if the players are rolling in the dough they shouldn’t be stingy.

The City itself has no Personality

Shops are landmarks of a city. If the city has no unique things about it, you don’t have a lot to work with. To illustrate my point if a city’s main source of food is cheese, a cheese store could be a huge attraction. Other places could cost more to represent this fact. A city near a volcano could have a plethora of different blacksmiths to go to. Shops should be a tool to make cities interesting. Designing a logical place makes things so much more interesting. When I made shops in my town, I thought about it like an MMO or a normal place. You should world build in terms of the campaign and make everything relevant.

What Dnd shops does your Town need

Enchantment shop

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Enchantments are really easy to implement because they take normal items and put a unique spin on them. You can be basic and give out a standard plus 1 weapon. You can be super creative with it as well, if you have a seafaring campaign maybe give out a water-breathing enchantment. An enchanter can be a super-promising NPC as well. If you are looking for inspiration check out the Artificer infusions. 

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  • No adventurer is complete without a trusty weapon and some sturdy armor. That’s where The Blacksmith’s Forge comes in. This shop is run by a master blacksmith who can craft anything from a simple dagger to a full suit of plate armor. Plus, they offer customizations so you can make your weapons and armor truly unique. Blacksmith shops can be similar to enchantments. They take weapons and upgrade them through sheer craftsmanship rather than magic. You can also sell unique weapons that don’t exist like a Mace or Boomerang. Stay tuned for our Homebrew weapons list for 5e.


Everyone Loves the Library. If the adventurers need to find a piece of information a library can be a great shop or dungeon. A librarian could be a highly valued member of society that commands great power due to arcane knowledge. A Library can also be more mundane and a place for characters to interact with the lore of the world. You get to choose which books they find and what lore to drop. Libraries can be great meeting places for other NPCs as well. I totally recommend adding a sectioned-off area that will completely hook your players.


Here is one for the Druid and Rangers. Here you can place your nature-loving shopkeeper. Something I specifically like about the Herbalist shop is it gives identity to the land. A special forest may come with special herbs that have immense healing power. A barren land could have very expensive herbs that serve strengthening purposes. Players could collect herbs and see if they are safe for consumption by asking the herbalist shopkeeper as well. Definitely one to look out for in your campaign.


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Cartographer's Guild

Maps should absolutely be a huge part of Dnd. It might be weird though that the players know the exact top-down layout of the cave. A Cartographer network that has relevant maps for adventurers is a wise investment of gold. You can also use the Cartographer to set the tone of the adventure. Are they broken adventurers who barely got away or are they successful and willing to share stories?  This is the best shop for making your world seem bigger than the place the adventurers start at.

Pet Emporium

Players absolutely love familiars. People absolutely love animals. Giving adventurers exotic pets is a genius idea to give players the customization they want. The prices can be super high as well, after all, its not easy to domesticate an Owlbear! A pet emporium is an absolutely memorable place, it will be like going to the pet shop as a kid all over again. Unfortunately, I would reserve this shop for smaller groups. Running multiple pets could become a burden on the dungeon master. If you have a big party then consider running one pet for the entire group.

Necromancer's Crypt

Everyone wants the forbidden fruit. Forbidden magic items are going to be very appealing to players. Dark and forbidden magic items will be irresistible. This shop specializes in selling rare magic items that potentially come with a sinister curse. Immense power could come with dangerous consequences.

Trinket Shop

I never thought Trinkets were that interesting. I am a changed man. In my friend’s homebrew campaign, towards the end, we went to a shop where there was a shop where the shopkeeper had a magical box. We were each allowed to buy one random trinket. I usually hate loot boxes but in DND with fake currency, they are a great nonpredatory idea.


In conclusion, to have an amazing shop you need to give it an identity. Preferably this identity will tie into the locations around it and preferably the entire adventure. Make sure not to cut corners on NPCs. Making the stores fleshed out is for those who want to go above and beyond. Don’t make shopping a waste of time. DND is supposed to be fun with friends. If you’d rather not put in this work, don’t feel afraid to skip shops altogether. Feel free to leave a comment if you have any other ideas. I’d love to hear them as this has been a situation I’ve been trying to remedy in my games! Thank you so much for reading and check out our other posts by hitting the button Below!

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