Silver Consortium by liuhongmei


									Silver Consortium
After a brief wait, a youngish mage wearing a silver robe attends you. He doesn’t even identify himself and listens
to your offer with polite interest, then asks to examine the item. He casts a spell, and then addresses you. "The
Consortium is occasionally interested in purchasing rare and magical items recovered by adventurers. However, our
interests are fairly specific: tomes of lore, scrolls of rare spells, divination or related items, et cetera."
He concentrates silently on the item. "Generally the kinds of items we are interested in are more powerful than this,
or at least a bit more unusual. I'm sorry. We don't generally manufacture magic items for sale, either. You might try
Segemm's over in the Civic Center, on the northeast side of the cathedral square. I believe they buy magical rings.
Also, many independent crafters and tradesmen gather in the Trader's Market every Glitterday. Many of them will
agree to craft items in exchange for gold." (You think you detect a hint of distaste for the concept of creating items
for money.)
The Trader’s Market
You spend a few hours wandering around this bustling market, examining wares and asking questions. The goods on
sale today are mostly mundane items; there are a lot of wines, liquors, and other foodstuffs being sold. But you do
learn a lot about the trade in magical items here.
First of all you can buy any regular, masterwork or alchemical item at list price here, from a variety of merchants.
All potions are also available at list price, as are scrolls of any spell from the PHB that are level 2 or lower. You can
also get them to cast level 2 or lower spells for you at the book price. (These items can be purchased any day of the
week, not just Glitterday.)
Second, by asking around you determine that in fact there is a magic item market held Glitteday afternoon. There is
some buying, selling and trading of items under the supervision of priests of the Silver Consortium. They take a
commission (25%) on each item sold, or 15% cash fee on trades (each party pays 15% of the value of what he
receives in the trade). The Silver Consortium, with help from a couple of priests of Boccob, certify that items are
properly identified and make sure that no cursed items or items of obviously evil provenance are sold (ring of mind
shielding would be okay, book of vile darkness or assassin's dagger wouldn't be).
Since you'll be likely wanting to make deals quickly, while most of the buyers and sellers there aren't in any
particular hurry, you'll probably end up eating these tax costs most of the time. I'll let you have a diplomacy check to
convince the other party to share some of these costs.
Assuming that you don't succeed in the diplomacy check...on any given Glitterday:
    1.   You can find a fairly wide selection of items for sale at 125% book cost. Say a 50% chance for any specific
         item with a value of 10,000gp or less, and a 25% chance for any item with a value between 10,000gp and
         30,000gp, and a 10% chance for any item valued between 30,000gp and 40,000gp.
    2.   You can sell any item at 65% of book cost or trade them at 75% of book cost - if you can find someone
         interested in the particular item, which may not always be easy.
    3.   A high demand, particularly useful item will give you a good bonus on your diplomacy check to sell or
         trade; conversely, this will give you a penalty on your diplomacy check if you're the buyer.
Apparently some merchants and stores, including Segemm's, are granted special tax privileges by the Mayoress.
Those blessed with these privileges form a de-facto merchant elite. Each has different terms and agreements with the
city, some made generations ago, some bought (or extorted) more recently. The merchants try to keep the exact
terms of these grants secret both from customers and each other; they lose negotiating strength if their adversary
knows exactly what their costs are.
Some of the other merchants in this group that deal in magical items include Jala (Jala's Armory and
Weaponsmithy), Nib (Nib's Importers), Ulmyrios (Ulmyrios the Bowyer), and Clotho (Clotho's Clothes).
It seems obvious that there must be a black market in magic items for shifty types who want to dodge these taxes
and fees. But just as obviously the trader's market is not the place to find out about that. It'll take a full day plus a
successful Gather Information check to get a solid contact in the black market. Of course, when dealing with the
black market, in addition to possible trouble with the authorities you'll run the risk of getting ripped off or defrauded
by the people you deal with. Many people prefer to trade exclusively in the official market under the watch of the
Silver Consortium for this very reason, despite the expense.
Makers of magical items also come to the market on Glitterday. They operate under different terms, as their business
is considered artisanship rather than commerce. They contract to make magic items for order, and must only pay a
nominal annual fee to the Silver Consortium, the cost of which they spread across many sales. Generally, they're not
interested in trading for other items - they work for cash.
So essentially they will make magic items for book cost or close to book cost. You can assume that you can get any
item requiring a caster level of 5 or less crafted automatically and at book price - there are many people who can
make these things for you. Caster levels from 6 to 10 aren't going to be too difficult to find a maker, though at caster
level 9 and 10 you may have to wait up to a week for the crafter to fit you in to his schedule. Over caster level 11 is
possible but may cost higher than book price and will certainly take a while, since there aren't more than a handful
of magic item crafters of that power in the city and they are usually in high demand.
Magic items take 1 day per 1,000gp of value to craft, with a minimum of 1 day. So you can figure out how long it
will take to get something made, though some crafters may not be able to start right away, as mentioned above.
Once you've successfully made a deal with a particular crafter, you'll know how to reach him or her in the future
(and not have to wait for the Glitterday market in order to enter into a contract with him or her).
Magic Market
It's a fine, warm afternoon, and the streets are bustling as you head for the Trader's Market. As you pass through the
market’s archway, you can tell right away the market is different today. Instead of the calls of hawkers, laughter of
children, and barking of dogs, there's a whole lot of murmuring punctuated by occasional loud chanting. The air
smells of parchment, not fruit and flour. The crowd is a bit older; some appear distinguished and wealthy, while
others are decidedly seedier, and one or two manage to be a bit of both.
A couple of cavalrymen and archers of the Khorasan Guard stand watch by the entrance archway.
A woman with a shaved head in a robe covered with embroidered eyes of Boccob argues good-naturedly with a
middle-aged, potbellied gnome in a thick gray velvet shift. It's hard to imagine how he's not sweating like crazy in
the heat. Perhaps he's distracted by his ridiculous hat, which features a pair of hands clutching a faux bag of gold.
The bag of gold covers the top of the gnome's head both fore and aft; it looks like some weird hair.
A short human paladin of Heironeous leans against the wall behind the two priests looking extremely bored.
In addition to adventurers and mystical types, there are a surprising number of ordinary-looking farmers, hunters,
peddlers and workers circulating through the market. Some are just gawking, but many seem to be seeking spell
casters-for-hire. In fact the majority of business being done is of this variety.
Many non-magical but magic related items are for sale. Alchemical equipment, material component-quality gems,
extracts of exotic animals and plants, etc.
Bards wander through the crowd singing and creating minor illusions, extolling deeds of various far-off places and
the virtues of the heroes and heroines who performed them.
From bits of conversation here and there, you learn that last week’s magic market was really big because it fell on a
festival week. Apparently many crafters and item brokers came from out of town in addition to the usual local
suspects. The market is a bit quiet this week as many are still busy with commissions from last week, or counting
cash from last week’s sales. Festival-period markets are usually this way.
Also, you hear that the new Mayoress reduced the taxes and fees being charged at the market shortly after she came
into office. This has increased the traffic in the market a lot, but is hurting the established stores. Many merchants
are pushing to get the taxes raised again.
Some visited this establishment during your previous visit to Khorasan. It includes a large working forge with
several smiths pounding away, plus a rough showroom with wrought-iron weapon racks, a couple of well-worn
practice dummies and sawdust on the floor. A dwarf named Gimmian, clad in a leather apron and with a small snake
coiled around his shoulder, tends to customers. The place is named after Gimmian’s late wife.
The following items are in stock:
[DM's note: roll for 8 minor magic weapons and 8 minor magic armors. Prices are close to book but shifted around a
little semi-randomly.]
         +1 Greataxe (2,320)
         +1 Halfspear (2,301)
         +1 Bastard Sword (2,335)
         +2 Nunchaku (8,000)
         +1 Spell Storing Longsword (8,500)
         +1 Light Lance (2,306)
         +2 Dwarven Waraxe (8,330)
         +2 Handaxe (8,300)
         +1 Large wooden shield of Fortification (light) (4,500)
         +1 Large Steel Shield (1,170)
         +1 Studded Leather (1,175)
         +2 Full Plate (5,650)
         +1 Buckler (1,165)
         +1 Large Wood Shield (1,157)
         +1 Scalemail (1,200)
         +1 Bashing large steel shield (4,170)
Gimmian will take orders for custom enchanted weapons or armor, too. Orders require a 20% deposit. Any weapon
or armor type can be enchanted up to a total enchantment of +3. Besides the magicking fee, he places an additional
surcharge of 10% of the cost of the non-magical item to be enchanted. After all, he’d rather supply the masterwork
item as well, so if you bring your own, you’ll have to a pay a little for it. Consider it an “insult fee”. The following
special abilities can be added:
Armor: Arrow Deflection (+2), Bashing (+1), Blinding (+1), Shadow (+1), Silent Moves (+1), Slick (+1)
Weapons: Distance (+1), Flaming (+1), Frost (+1), Lawful (+2), Mighty Cleaving (+1), Returning (+1), Shock (+1),
Thundering (+2), Throwing (+1).
[DM's note: one 9th level cleric and one 9th level wizard work as enchanters in this shop. That's where the ability
list comes from.]
Gimmian will buy enchanted armor and weapons at 45-55% of list price, or 55-65% of list price in trade value.
Nib's Importers
This is an odd and eclectic little shop, full of hanging silks, rugs from all over Quandaria half unrolled on the floor,
brass and silver objects of western origin, carved scrimshaw and ivory from the Ribasan barbarians, stone Paetaen
totems with fierce animal faces, pearls and small gems. There is a small but well-appointed shrine to Garl
Glittergold in a prominent position. Two obsequious gnomes, who clam to be Nib's sons, wait on you.
The following minor items are for sale:
[DM's note: roll for 5 minor Wondrous and 4 minor rings]
         Dust of Appearance (x2) (2,100 each)
         Necklace of Fireballs (Type I - complete) (1,650)
         Candle of Truth (2,500)
         Horn of Fog (2,000)
         Robe of Useful Items (4,000gp, some items have been used. Remaining items: dagger, lantern x2, mirror,
         pole, rope, sack x2, 10 gems, silver coffer, wooden ladder, pair of war dogs, rowboat.)
            Ring of Animal Friendship (9,500)
            Ring of Mind Shielding (8,000)
            Ring of Warmth (2,100)
            Ring of Feather Fall (2,200)
They are generally interested in purchasing wondrous items and magic rings for 50-60% of list value in cash, or
+10% in trade.
Ulmyrios' shop is tucked away down an alley in the East End. He turns out to be a grim, bearded man with red hair -
probably from Oran Myl. He wears scratched-looking leathers and smells - to put it delicately - a bit woodsy. He
seems to be a man of few words and doesn't look like he enjoys haggling.
In stock:
[DM's note: roll for 4 minor ranged weapons, but note Ulmyrios's enchantment limits below.]
            +1 Arrows, Bolts, and Bullets, plentiful supply - (2,350 gp for 50)
            +2 Longbow (8,375)
            +1 Longbow (2,375)
            +1 Shock Shortbow (8,330)
            +1 Shock Mighty Composite (+4 Str bonus) Longbow (8,800)
Ulmyrios will buy magic bows and ammo at 60% book value in cash. He doesn't give extra for trade. He can make
magic bows to order, though he demands a full 50% cash deposit. He can enchant up to a +2 total enchantment, and
can add any special ability that requires a spell on the adept list of level 3 or below (he's an 8th level adept). Notably
this includes "shock" (requires lightning bolt).
Clotho's Clothes
It's quite easy to find Clotho's Clothes in the Gnome Quarter - Clotho has a number of brightly painted shops
overlooking the river, near the westernmost bridge over to the North End. Clotho's Clothes is sandwiched between
the pungent Clotho's Cheese House and Clotho's Taxidermy and Furrier. Unexpectedly, Clotho himself turns out to
be a halfling, though he obviously fits into the local community quite well. He dresses much like a gnome and barks
instructions to his gnomish assistants in their own language.
You can get all sorts of clothes, from the prosaic to the elegant, in this shop, which is surprisingly huge and includes
two basement stories. It seems that the various outposts in Clotho's mercantile empire are connected underground.
The prices are a bit on the expensive side. The following minor magical items are available:
[DM's note: I pretty much made this list up since there's no "Minor Magic Clothes" table.]
            Boots of Elvenkind (2,500 gp)
            Cloak of Charisma +2 (4,700 gp)
            Cloak of Resistance +1 (3 in stock) (1,125 gp)
            Glove of Storing (2 in stock) (2,800 gp)
            Heward's Handy Haversack (2,500 gp)
            Periapt of Proof against Poison (4,500 gp)
            Vest of Escape (2,300 gp)
Clotho says that he'll look at magic clothing items you might have for sale, but he admits he doesn't pay top coin for
them. He implies that he has some special sources for his goods and isn't too interested in extra suppliers. He also
buys jewelry, but primarily of the sort that can be worn - necklaces, earrings, bracelets, etc.
[DM's note: IMC there is a "gnome mafia" that runs most of the crime in Khorasan. Clotho is in tight with them, and
that's why his prices are a bit high (many customers are rich crime types who don't mind spending a little extra in
order to show off) and he has these mysterious supply sources.]
Betham's Books
[I created this largely as a contrast to the Silver Consortium, as a less straight laced, more freethinking place of
magical study. The PC wizard belongs to the Silver Consortium; I had him overhear Silver Consortium apprentices
gossiping about how an apprentice got caught by her master sneaking to Betham's Books and punished for her
transgression. I didn't have time to write up the nice full description for this place, but here are my unpolished
This place is run by a sage named Betham, who has created a kind of magic coffeehouse where all sorts of arcane
types can hang out, drink hot beverages and argue magic theory until the wee hours. Betham has a reference library
of various books you can browse for a fee (lets say that a 1 day pass is 50gp, you can also arrange longer term
membership if you want).
It’s obvious to you after a short time that there are a lot of magical treatises here that the Silver Consortium would
consider misguided or dangerous. Betham has a “free thinking” policy – no ideas cannot be discussed, no one is
turned away no matter how heretical they are.
You can buy scrolls here for list price... most spells up to 5th level will be available subject to my veto. Additionally
Betham sells some individual spells in a mini-spellbook format, suitable for copying. It seems he has some scribes
who churn these things out – they copy the spells over and over without really understanding the content. Anyway,
you can definitely get little mini-spellbooks of Fireball and Greater Magic Weapon if you wish. Cost is 200gp each
(Betham must have some cheap supply of spellbook writing materials!).

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