You walk into the shop that is size of a small keep. All around you are other "adventurers", some holding tickets with numbers on them, others hold what are obviously enchanted items. All around are gnomes running this way and that. In the back of store, past the "do not enter" signs, ropes and two of the largest ogres you have ever seen are more gnomes running all over, some with tickets in their hands, others carrying weapons of all sorts. Further back you see a hut run away on chicken lays chased by several more gnomes. Abruptly a stouter than usual dwarf approaches you. He is wearing silk pajamas, fuzzy slippers and on top of a mane of unruly black hair sits a purple fez with a gold tassel. He looks at you with through a monocle and after a few seconds laughs out loud. You are not sure, but you think he is laughing at you.
He holds out both hands to grasp yours and shakes so vigorously you feel your teeth will fall out.
"Welcome to Omar's!" he booms "Will ya be buying or selling today?"
Omar's is something of a long standing tradition in my games. It was something my DM used in his games and he got it from his DM, a cousin that taught him how to play from the LBBs. So there has been an Omar's in operation since the first days of the game.
Omar (and no one calls him "Crazy" to his face) is the ultimate adventurer shopping center. Starting characters go to get "Omar's Adventuring Kit" which includes everything a starting character needs (torches, rope, spikes, backpack...) for 50 GP. The contents vary from time to time (and depending on what system I am using at the time). The price is somewhat less than buying the items separate, and the characters and Omar know this. But Omar feels that the best customers are the ones that keep coming back.
Omar offers another service, the buying and selling of magic items. I don't have too many places like this in my world. Sure there are places where a magic item can be sold, but Omar's always offers the best deals, depending on the mood of management.
Omar's is also the largest warehouse of magical item in my world. Yet no one has ever tried to steal from him. It is rumored that the local thieves guild has a long standing agreement with Omar and they will not steal from him and there are the rumors of other things that Omar keeps in his warehouse.
So last night my boys wanted to play our Dragonslayers adventure, but I realized I had not finished calculating all their magic and treasure from the last adventure. So a quick trip to Omar's while they role play haggling their magic items for money or other items made for a fun little adventure AND a way for me to figure out what items they had.
Despite the name, Omar is not really crazy, nor is he the original Omar. The original Omar was more gruff and a hard nose merchant. This Omar, his son, takes more after his mother who happens to be the Xothia of the Rock; a sort of Dwarven witch that everyone fears but listens to anyway. So his style of dress is uncommon as are his manners. He does this to put customers off guard. Plus the reputation of being crazy is often worth more than extra guards and advertising. He hires only gnomes ("Dwarves are too greedy and want to be paid more. I can pay these guys in the magic items I don't want.") and he always gives deals to pretty women ("I am too kind to the ladies, it will be the ruin of me I know it.") of any race. In back he has an appraiser, a stern and serious elf named Kerin (a former Bard now semi-retired), If Omar can't identify the item in question (which rarely happens thanks to his Monocle of True Seeing) he will call out Kerin. The old, stern elf will peer at the itme through his similarly enchanted spectacles. He will then pronounce the value on the spot. Omar and Kerin often argue over Kerin's estimates. Kerin, who never lies, gives the true value for the item, Omar wants him to round it down, like to 20% of market value. Kerin never budges and Omar fumes. Kerin is also the store's accountant. He knows every copper that goes in or out and knows about every magic item in the place.
When not dealing with customers Omar walks around his warehouse singing dwarven opera at the top of his lungs.
Day and night Omar's shop is busy. Given that many of the item he deals with are likely stolen he pays heavy fines to both the city and the thieves' guild; but they are not as heavy as Omar lets one believe. He has made all sorts of deals knowing that his is a symbiotic relationship with both factions. They need his goods, he needs their protection. The mutual benefit has worked so well that the original Omar has retired and purchased his own island country where he sits on the beach all day.
Omar's also serves another great purpose; a source for rumors. I plan to have the characters over hear the details regarding their next adventure (which will be B3 Palace of the Silver Princess). While it is "off quest" I have GMPC in the group to provide some magical support and will claim that this in in her home town (which, in fact it is) and the characters will go to investigate.
So if you use Omar in your games drop me a message to let me know how it went!