GUILDS AND MAGIC ITEMS
What do old wizards do when they tire of adventuring, or get so injured or so cowardly that they cannot continue? Why, they open up a shop, of course, or become teachers for young wizards. (Back in the day I used to joke about Slumgullion’s School of Wizardry. I never made up a Slumgullion character–I got the name from wild stories that my father used to tell me when I was a kid.) The Wizards Guild and other Trollworld guilds always need wizards to enchant their merchandise and sell knick-knackery to the hoi polloi. (It remains to be established what the daily wage is for such jobs, and whether it pays better than be a cargo handler down on the Khazan docks or not.)
Virtually every city and town in Trollworld has offices of the various guilds available to the public. These guild offices all have guild shops. And these shops all sell items to the public, thus earning the vast sums of money it takes to keep such organizations going. There are even some guild shops in notable dungeons and trackless wastes. (Wherever the GM would like to establish such a place of business is a good place for it.) The Dwarf god Gristlegrim maintains such an establishment in the camp of the dwarven followers that always camp out beneath the floating fortress.) (The original Gristlegrim dungeon took the shape of a gigantic stone cube that drifted over the lands near the city of Khosht about a mile in the air. The first challenge was getting up to it. Various methods existed, including a rope ladder that dangled down all that distance and required 100 level 1 saving rolls on Strength to climb. That gave way to a magical elevator, and later to a hot air balloon as ways of getting in.)
(If all guilds have shops, does that mean that the Thieves Guild has one? How about the Beggars Guild? Are those two guilds combined? Logically, they would have shops. Not all robberies take money–sometimes the desperate thief just carries off stuff. Are these guild shops out in the open? If someone burgles your house and takes the silverware, can the citizen player (or npc) go to the local Thieves guild shop and buy it back? I’m not going to say, but it opens up whole new areas of out-of-dungeon play possibilities.)
WANDS AND STAVES (Yes, the plural of staff is staves not staffs.)
Wizards have many kinds of tools, usually designed to conserve kremm or to channel it more effectively. Let’s talk about a few of those items that are commonly available from the Wizards Guild.
Wizards may use a focusing device such as a staff, a wand, a ring, or the like to channel their thoughts and reduce the cost of a spell. A 1st level wizard reduces the spell cost by 1 point, 2nd level gets 2 points off, 3rd level gets 3 points off, and so forth. (I’ve said all this before. Cat-eyes is a L2 spell that normally costs 6 points of kremm to cost. Without a focus, a L2 wizard would spend 6 points of kremm to cast the spell on himself and be able to see in the dark. With a staff it would only cost him 4 points of kremm. A level 3 wizard with a staff would only spend 3 points. A level 10 wizard, with or without a focus would spend 1 point. It always costs at least one point to cast a spell.) Paragons and Specialist Mages can also use focusing devices, though Rogues cannot–they were never trained for it, and such training is one of the most difficult things that true wizards learn. Rogues cannot cast spells at higher levels, nor do they reduce the spell-casting costs when casting at lower levels. Rogues can learn the spells at higher levels as a higher level spell, which is then fixed in their memories. This inability to generalize and use spells efficiently is the main reason why most rogues know only a couple of spells–those that will be most useful to them. Since Rogues are really rogue wizards, it follows that a rogue could go to school and become a full wizard. I think it would take about ten years of training, although a talented rogue might do it as a crash course that would cut as much as 5 years off the training time. Children with magical talent usually start their training around age 6 or 8 and finish as young adults.
Here are some of the items that a wizard might buy at the Wizards Guild.
Staff Ordinaire (which incidentally is the lowest rank for members of Trollhalla. I just couldn’t resist the pun–Ken)
Cost: 100 G P (Don’t know why any self-respecting wizard would pay this when they can just go out and cut an oak branch or something and enchant it into a staff. However, the Wizards Guild staves do come with a guarantee, and iron bindings on both ends of the staff to keep them from splitting while delivering an extra punch in combat)
Description: A stout quarterstaff of oak, enchanted to reduce the cost of spell-casting in the manner described above. No sparkle, no jewels–just a stout chunk of wood suitable for leaning upon and for defending oneself. The staff ordinaire is a 2D6 weapon in combat and is the best bargain in the store for low level wizards.
Deluxe Staff (used this for higher ranking members of Trollhalla who paid the yearly Troll Tax to support Trollhalla Press publishing, and the Trollgod’s other vices. These people are greatly appreciated, plus they get lots of extra TVP (trollish victory points).
(Cost: 50,000 G P)
Description: The deluxe staff is really a demon bound into the form of a polished rod of metal, and tied to a specific Wizard. It is sentient, and it learns and remembers all spells cast through it. It is also indestructible to anything below 14th level magic. Deluxe staves have an INT attribute 1 point lower than the INT of the Wizard to whom it is tied. As that Wizard’s INT (attribute) increases or decreases, so does the staff’s. In the event that the Wizard is slain, and the staff passes into the keeping of another Wizard, the staff will retain the INT it had when its first master died. If the new master has an INT lower than that of the staff, the staff may seize control of the Wizard’s mind and use him or her as a kremm battery, behaving in what is generally a destructive and evil manner (as played by the GM–it is a demon, after all. Because of its indestructibility and extreme hardness, a deluxe staff gets 4D6 in combat. (Although wizards don’t usually think of themselves as melee fighters, staves may be enchanted with combat spells. Putting a Whammy spell on a deluxe staff would turn it into a 12D6 weapon, and that’s mighty potent. The hard part is getting enough money to afford to have a deluxe staff custom made for your character.)
Cost: 1D6 X 1000 G P (depending on the value of the jewel set on the end–somewhere in the T & T rules there is a table of jewel sizes and relative values, but the player may choose any jewel he wishes. If he wants a ruby on the end of his staff, he need merely state his desire, then roll 1D6, and purchase a huge ruby woth somewhere between 1 and 6 thousand gold pieces. Etc.
Description: A stout quarterstaff (as opposed to a flimsy staff made of some bendable wood like willow) of ebony enchanted to reduce the cost of spell-casting in exactly the same way as the staff ordinaire. At the end of the staff is a huge jewel (made by casting a Bigger is Better spell on a small jewel. The staff produces a rainbow shimmer effect when magic is cast through it–very impressive. (Actually, it would make more sense for the shimmer effect to be determined by the type of jewel used–diamond = rainblow, ruby = corruscating scarlet, emerald = glittering green, sapphire = blinding blue, and so forth–just something the Game Master or player can use to put a little more color into their adventures.)
Magic Wand (for those who don’t see themselves ever using the staff in hand to hand combat. Or if you want a magic wand that you could fight with, enchant a mace of some sort to serve as the focus. It would be quite a surprise to a foe to see what he thought was a low level fighter with a smashing weapon suddenly turn into a wizard casting deadly spells with it.)
Cost: 1D6 X 1000 G P (depending on the type of jewel set into it)
Description: A slim wand of polished ash wood (or any other wood if you have a favorite–the wood doesn’t matter–the enchantment does) set with a true jewel at the casting end. These wands reduce the cost of a spell by 1 point for each level of the spell below the caster’s level. For example: a 3rd level Wizard casting a 1st level TTYF through the Wand would pay only 1 point of WIZ–the spell cost being reduced by 3 due to the wand and an additonal 2 because he’s 2 levels higher than the spell. These wands also sparkle in order to fool the general public and look like the fake ones; prismatic effects tend to make the Wizard seem more impressive, and as we know well, an impressive appearance is quite valuable to a working Wizard.
Toy Magic Wand
Cost: 1D6 X 100 G P (depending on what kind of jewel it has)
Description: a slim wand of polished oak set with a glass (fake) jewel at the casting end. The wand has been enchanted to draw 1 WIZ point of energy and to sparkle when in use. That’s all it does–it doesn’t reduce the cost of any spell cast with it at all. It looks magical, but is just a toy. These wands are sold in the public part of the guild store and anyone can buy them. In fact, all kinds of magical toys and charms where actual magic involved is little or none are sold at the guilds with disclaimers that tell the customers these are replicas and not guaranteed to have any magical effects at all.
Most spells can be infused into potions. Any liquid base may be used: water, juice, milk, liquor, or even blood. Evil types really like to use blood as the basis for their potions. More civilizedd types prefer brandy while specialists prefer various herbal teas. The Wizards Guild sells two versions of their potions–one in sweetened water and on in brandy. The Thieves Guild just uses blood (but usually animal blood–fox blood, snake blood, crow blood are all thought to confer extra power on the potion). The Merchants Guild uses half a dozen varieties of booze and prices the potions according to how good the base is. The Healers Guild uses chicken soup as a basis for everything.
The formula for determining the cost of a potion is 100 times the number of spell points put into the potion times the level of the casting. No allowance is made for higher level wizards creating lower level potions and getting the spell down to a reduced cost. However, such things are done to increase the profit margin for the Guild. There is also a thriving black market in potions sold without benefit of Guild pricing policies. Guild potions are guaranteed to have their stated effect. Non-guid potions are striclly “Let the Buyer beware–they may be real bargains, or harmless, or deadly poison. Drinking unknown potions is a risky business.
The standard potion comes with only one dose. Drink or use the whole thing to get the rated effect. If you only use part of a potion, you will not cross the threshold necessary to activate the magic, and so, you wasted it. Potions may come in containers of differentd sizes–as small as a shot glass, or as large as a bucket. You still gotta drink it all, or splash it all on the target to get the desired effect.
Potions and Lotions are pretty much the same thing. Potions are taken internally, lotions externally.
Here are a few of the potions and lotions available in Khazan. There are many other kinds, as many as your imagination desires.
Bottle of Light (100 G P) Don’t drink this. Just shake it up and it will glow for 2 minutes. Of course, you need a transparent container and it only works once.
Admission Fluid (200 G P) Splash it on any lock, and the lock will fail for the next two minutes. It unlocks things, but it won’t move a deadbolt.
Trust Your Feelings Tea (1000 G P) Allows the drinker to do one free Omnipotent Eye spell.
Cateyes Potions (1200 G P) Allows the drinker to see well in low light conditions for up to 30 minutes.
Healing Potion (400 G P) One dose of the potion will heal one point of CON damage. It may be purchased in containers holding up to 10 doses at a time. Such bottles have marks on the side showing how much shold be drunk to obtain the desired result.
Perfect Remedy (4200 G P) Cures any disease including the common cold; does not restore CON points.
Universal Antidote (2800 G P) Stops the action of any poison; does not restore CON points.
Booster Juice (7200 G P) There are really 8 different flavors of this drink, one for each attribute. The drinker will double the chosen attribute for 50 minutes; after that he spends 50 minutes with the attribute halved.
I have just briefly talked about staves, wands, and potions. Much more could be said about all of these things, but this episode is too long already. Next time I will do a brief discussion of Other Magical Items.