Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rogues in the House-Learning Spells The Hard Way

Klavonius, a L2 rogue, had been adventuring with a L3 warrior, Globedwarf, in Deathtrap Equaliser (the updated version, T.E.R.R.O.R.) GM’d by the Trollgod. They had fought their way past a mean jade frog, seen off some strange monkeys who poked their heads out of a tunnel, giant spiders in the dark but Globedwarf’s CON was dangerously low at 3. If only Klavonius knew the Poor Baby spell…Klavonius didn’t much fancy completing the Dragon Trip without his companion.
Luck had not entirely deserted them. When their rings glowed next, Klavonius found himself in the middle of a strange town, Khazan (he and Globedwarf came from Khaboom). As he was carrying some 12,000 GPs worth of broken jade – the remains of the toad – he was (sensibly) worried about getting mugged in a strange town; he was not much more optimistic about finding a wizard he could trust to teach him the spells he wanted rather than turning him into a toad or suchlike. Klavonius assumed there must be a black market for learning spells and that the Wizard’s Guild did not enjoy a monopoly in Khazan so he set about to stay safe and to keep as much of his hard won loot as he could.
He decided to seek out a tavern with a good reputation run and frequented by humans as he trusted his chances with his own kindred best. For a few silver pieces he soon heard of the Blue Frog Tavern and reckoned its owner, the up-aptly named Lucky (he did not have all the limbs he was born with), might point him in the right direction for a little flattery and some handsome tipping. After getting past the tough-looking female centaur on the door, his hunch proved correct and Lucky got the centaur to introduce him to a sorry looking wizard, deep in his cups.
The wizard demanded a beer on seeing Klavonius, who said there would be many beers if he could learn some spells. After some negotiation and some threatening by the wizard, whose name was Maleficus, a beer was offered and deal struck. Maleficus insisted on downing his ale first and promptly asked for a second: Klavonius refused, pointing out that he wanted to learn the right spells not a bunch of ale-induced mumbo jumbo. It took Lucky sending the centaur over to stop Maleficus reneging on the deal but soon enough Klavonius’ head was spinning as he attempted to learn all the Level One spells.
The GM had Maleficus make a L1 SR on INT to concentrate hard enough to teach the spell and then the rogue had to do the same to learn each one – a one in nine chance of failure for each spell. Amazingly, no SR was missed and all the 7.5 L1 spells were under Klavonius’ belt, so to speak. Maleficus needed another drink by now and would have taken the money, paid his (large) tab and hit the high road had Lucky not kept an eye on proceedings.
When it came to the L2 spells, both Klavonius and Maleficus needed L2 INT SRs – no problem for the wizard but with the rogue needing a 10 roll each time. Fortune favoured the student no longer and he learned only Glue You and Unlucky Bees, missing out on the badly needed Poor Baby and the highly desired Hidey Hole.
Now it was time to pay up. Klavonius foresaw problems ahead as he did not have the price in gold. To forestall the wrath of Maleficus, he upped his offer half of the value of the jade he held – 6,000 GPS instead of 5,000 he assured the glowering Maleficus. Rage would surely have overcome the wizard had the centaur not issued a very stren warning about proper conduct in the Blue Frog Tavern so Klavonius went off down the road with Maleficus to see Potterman, a jeweller of the wizard’s acquaintance.
Klavonius predicted that Potterman would lowball him so he left the bartering to Maleficus. Potterman lamented that the jade was in pieces and offered a mere $8,000; Klavonius exchanged glances with the wizard and the latter informed Potterman that he had recently been having trouble with the Upsidaisy spell and felt he should practice it, raising up all of the gem merchants stock of precious, delicate trinkets, saying that it would be a shame if anything upset him and he lost concentration, thereby letting the stock fall and shatter. Potterman hastily upped his offer to 12,000 GPs but Maleficus was in his stride now and the stock wavered for a brief moment while Maleficus observed that he was still having trouble with the spell – the jeweller announced a final figure of 16,000 and, with a nod from Klavonius, Maleficus accepted grumpily and repositioned Potterman’s stock.
Potterman then declared that he did not keep that much gold on hand and instead could give diamonds and rubies, readily changed by the moneymen in the market. There was little choice but to take this but Maleficus made clear that should the gems prove to be worth any less he would return in ill humour. Potterman assured him he would have no reason so to do.
The moneychangers in the market were all escorted by guards sufficient to make Maleficus opt for straight dealing with no threats, veiled or otherwise. However, he stood firm against the exorbitant commission rate asked of 20% and soon settled at the standard cut of 10%. This commission he insisted Klavonius suffer in full, leaving him with 8,000 GPs instead of the original 5,000 – more than enough to clear his debts and drink himself into many stupors in the days ahead.
Klavonius was happy to have learnt so many spells, still be alive and have 6,400 GPs left to purchase Poor Baby and Hidey Hole at the Rogues’ Guild, who he understood asked 2,500 GPs for teaching L2 spells. He still feared this strange and unknown city so he rode his luck with the wizard one more time and politely requested safe conduct to the Rogues’ Guild building, suggesting this was not unreasonable since Maleficus had gained royally through their association. The wizard grinned evilly and told Klavonius that he should be careful what he wished for – blasting him there immediately with a Blow You To spell. Klavonius had certainly been tangling with one of the big boys!
There was a little more work ahead of Klavonius, exclaiming at how badly wizards got away with treating rogues in Khazan and getting a fellow named Percy to introduce him to Nacle the Leprechaun who finally taught him the two spells he wanted for a total of 5,000 GPs. Not bad – 1,600 GPs up, lots of APs and a bunch of spells!

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