Merchants are our friends. Potions, ammo, weapons, armour – they'll provide you with anything you could possibly need to get a hero's journey underway. Sure, they require payment in return for their services – but they're equally willing to buy any random trash you find just lying around in exchange instead. Two hundred rat corpses as payment for a magically imbued greatsword? What a steal!
Unfortunately for merchants, players are, notoriously, kind of mean. Some people like pickpocketing people for easy cash, or simply just to deposit a live grenade in their pockets, and some people just like going on genocidal rampages. Just don't go assuming all merchants are wimps, though.
10 Link’s Awakening
In Link’s Awakening, players might be tempted to steal items from the Town Tool Shop given how many rupees each item costs. Stealing isn't even hard, implying that the developers want you to try and turn Link into a shoplifter.
Doing so comes with a heavy cost however, as for the rest of the game almost every character in the game will instead refer to you as “THIEF”. This even includes the Wind Fish, who apparently heard of your exploits all the way at the top of Mt Tamaranch. Oh, and the Town Tool Shop shopkeeper will also instantly kill you the next time you enter their shop.
9 Enter the Gungeon
Bello, Enter the Gungeon’s mustachioed shopkeeper, is a stern yet welcoming man who is more than happy to sell you his wares regardless of how deep you venture into the gungeon. Even if you attack Bello, he’ll be nice enough to give you a couple of warnings before returning fire.
Attempting to attack or steal from Bello is a surefire way to destroy your run though, as he will refuse to serve you on every floor afterward. It's also a completely pointless endeavour considering he’s unkillable, so treat Bello and his beautiful moustache with some respect.
Shopkeepers in the original Spelunky are one of the most lethal enemies you can encounter, should you choose to upset them. Fast, highly damaging, and boasting a large reserve of health, it’s best to stay on their good side.
Spelunky 2 dials things up to 11 though. Should you anger the Shopkeeper’s Association by killing roughly 5 of their brethren, they’ll start setting up outposts in every level just to make the rest of your run a living hell. You thought one shopkeeper was bad? Try fighting four every level.
7 Dark Souls
Andre of Astora, Dark Souls’ loveable blacksmith, is an absolute tank. A lot of bosses in Dark Souls are large, monstrous brutes with unfathomable power, yet among Lordan’s populace, Andre’s muscular girth is unmatched.
Should you attempt to accost the otherwise pleasant Andre, he will swiftly enter full-WWE mode and drop kick you halfway across the map. Forgoing weaponry or magic of any kind, Andre will instead use his god-given guns to swiftly send you back to the nearest bonfire.
6 Crypt of the Necrodancer
Exactly why you’d want to attack Crypt of the Necrodancer’s melodically gifted shopkeeper is a mystery in itself, but, should you attempt to throw hands, steel yourself for an extremely difficult fight.
Not only does the shopkeeper do more damage than most of the bosses in the game, but his movement options exceed even that of the player themselves. There is no running away from this guy. Not only will he chase you down and beat (pun intended) you to a pulp, but he’ll also serenade you to death in the process.
5 Resident Evil 4
Resident Evil 4’s merchant is a bit of an enigma. Even though the merchant is a “ganado”, much like the majority of residents in the undisclosed Spanish town RE4 takes place in, he seems to completely retain both his sanity and humanity.
He’s also able to die only to come back to life shortly thereafter and travel long distances in the blink of an eye. Why exactly he uses his supernatural gifts to sell weaponry to a zombie hunter is never explained, but, given his excitement every time Leon purchases something, it’s best to assume he simply loves his profession.
4 Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
In all of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, attempting to steal from a Kelceon shopkeeper will trigger the hardest battle in the game. Deoxys, Jirachi, Mew, Celebi – mere child's play when compared to the might of Kelceon.
They have the maximum stats the game will allow, they move at double speed, and will infinitely respawn until you can get away. Beating one is also the only way to recruit Kelceon, so you best stock up on Evasion Orbs before pilfering their wares.
3 Nier: Automata
Emil, of Nier and Nier: Automata fame, is a sweet young man. Just an extremely chirpy, loveable stone head attached to a sales cart. If you’re enough of a monster to steal from Emil twice, your reward is an extremely grueling boss fight with a max-level boss.
If you’re strong enough to best Emil, you’ll get to pilfer his gear – but not before he makes you feel really, really bad about it by exasperatingly pondering the power the strong have over the weak, you heartless wretch.
Moonlighter, a cute little indie game developed by indie studio Digital Sun, takes the dangerous merchant trope and turns it up to 11. The protagonist Will finally allows players to live out their wildest fantasy of owning a small independent business and working 9-5.
Yet, although Will is a simple merchant by day, by night he spends his time trawling through dungeons and killing eldritch creatures so he can harvest their remains for profit. The fact he works for seven days a week on about two hours of sleep a day is enough to crown him the most badass merchant of all time.
Charon, Hades’ boatman/shopkeeper, is a man – if you can even call him that – of very few words. Neither friendly nor hostile, Charon will sell you items and upgrades simply to fuel his eternal desire to make bank; although what he spends the money on is a mystery.
If you’ve beaten Hades once, you’re sometimes offered the chance to pinch some of Charon’s money. Should you decide this is a good idea, you’re thrust into a cripplingly difficult secret boss fight that is painfully difficult should you attempt it in the early stages of a run. Worth it for that sweet discount, though.
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