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Re: Magic Item creation: Notes D thru H. What? What???

I don't know about mountains.

The Last Dungeon sounds like a gas. Kind of like those campaigns in which
the strength of a god is dependent on the power of his followers. The idea
that a magic item you have in your hand is backed up by some temporal
stuff is extremely interesting. Doesn't fit in my campaign, but it's still
very cool. While I was reading the beginning, I was groaning. All those
hobbits, etc? Like the dungeons we had as teenagers, right? Nope, not even
close. There's a reason.

The players never solved the mystery. Only caught glimpses of parts of it.
They just couldn't think big enough.

For those of you just tuning in...

The world has primarily one large continent covering about 2/3 of the
longitude. It's actually formed of 2 plates that crash together on the
prim meridian. The larger is to the west, and goes from the subarctic in
the north to the high temperate in the south. The eastern plate is a bit
smaller, going from the high temperate to the edge of teh subtropic.
Because of the tectonic action, the mountains are quite high, and get
built up at about the same rate as they erode.

Civilization (well, what approximates our Western Civilization) originated
on the eastern plate. Those are the Old Countries. Places like Dran, etc.
Mostly a bunch of city-states that coalesce into minor empires for a
century or two before being torn down by their neighbors and decadence.
The closest anything gets to being wild are the plains to the immediate
east of the mountains. That's where the Red Orc tribes hold sway. When all
there is is a semi-arid steppe, no one is going to establish a city, even
with industrial magic.

The west is where the mystery lies. Desert nomads, dank swamps,
rain-forest jungles populated by nearly-forgotten civilizations. Histories
going back many millennia, but geography and decadence keeping any
organized force from taking over.

There's a narrow piece of land between the mountains and the sea on the
meridian. It's where the plates go from pushing each other up to pushing
each other down.

The Thorsz and his Council of Thirteen managed to found the city of
Ardonirane there 435 years ago. No one knows quite where they got the
money to hire the armies of architects, builders, craftsmen, laborers and
wizards needed to create a city from nothing. And certainly no one living
other than they were around at the founding. Yet they managed.

Their first effort was to build a wall from the escarpment at the end of
the mountain chain to the sea. And declare tariffs on all goods passing
from one side to the other. In fact, there were 2 great gates at opposing
ends of a lock of sorts going through the wall. Tariff paid going in,
tariff paid going out. At the wall was a walled court for traders to sell
in the growing city. Thus, selling good in Ardonirane cost less than to
sell on the other tectonic plate. And goods from the city paid only a
single tariff when exported. So Ardonirane began to grow rich.

You might think that some would just ship their good by sea and avoid the
city altogether. But as that sort of trade attempted to rise, pirates took
to the seas. Galleons seldom made it through. And this was even before the
Thorsz had a navy. There's still pirates, but the navy dorects all
shipping to the city in order to pay for the protection of their cargo.

The Thorsz keeps his fees reasonable, and his armed forces make reasonably
sure that honest merchants can move their goods. This means there's few
complaints. Or complainers.

As well, his armies, professional and mercenary alike, patrol the
mountains. His wizards are rumored to be able to intercept magical means
of moving goods, as well. At least, one can purchase the 'right' to move
goods and people magically. It's really just pre-paying the physical cargo
tariffs in advance.

As the city grew, it began to take shape. The escarpment was leveled off
and a palace built. No one quite knows how far back into the mountains it
goes. There's a sort of balcony at the southern edge, where the Thorsz
stands to make his official announcements. Just below it are the manors of
Highton, surrounded by tall stone walls, towers, and a single massive iron
gate. Living there is only for the rich. The Thorsz declared it his
private property, and all who live there rent their lands from him. As
well, when a lease changes hands, a portion of that sale goes into his
coffers. So far, no one has seen that he cares who lives in Highton, as
long as the rents are paid. There are a few rare manors which are not
occupied, left by those whose conditions changed and who could no longer
afford rent, waiting for someone's fortunes to grow enough.
Unsurprisingly, there's a tariff on goods and persons traveling through
the gates, just to keep out the riff-raff. This can be pre-paid in
advance, so that one's servants don't need to carry money to do their
master's duties.

Southward from Highton to the passage between the east and west edges of
the city like Midton. This is where the middle-class folks live.
Tradesmen, craftsmen, educators, clerks, etc. It's a pretty safe place,
and good if you can afford it. It's also where the traders court still
lies, though greatly expanded from the city's founding.

Then the passage. Many bridges cross this artery of world trade, patrolled
constantly, lest something enter or exit the city without paying the toll.

South of the passage is Loeton. The lower-class, but still respectable
part of town. South of this are the docks. And there's a smaller version
of the passage going north from the docks to meet the great passage just
west of the traders court, in case goods are being shipped to the city.

Both Midton and Loeton are bordered by the walls of the city proper. But
naturally, there's people outside the walls. The main areas are to the
west, as the Red Orcs on the plains to the east can be fierce.

North-west is Soldier's Round. This is a rather immense field, miles on a
side, where mercenary units stay, either waiting for a contract, or
assignment. To the south-west, south of the passage lies the Pitwash. A
rather low, dank, smelly place. Tanners, butchers and dyers are the honest
ones here, and much worse types.

There's a few salient points about the campaign.

The GM is not on anyone's side. The flavor is more Nehwon than
Middle-Earth. Stupidity hurts. Never count out temporal power.

The coinage system is based on 5 gram coins of 13 different metals. 200
coins to the kg. Metal arbitrage is nearly non-existant.Arbitrage on other
goods is.

Gems and jewelry are always a good way to carry value compactly. Gems have
a base value per carat, a size in carats, and flaws which have bot a size
and the amount per carat that they decrease the value per carat of size.
Mending spells will mend 1 carat of flaw. It is possible to re-cut gems
and have them be worth more if they have a severe flaw. Jewelry has a
craftsmanship value in addition to material value.

Industrial magic works. But like any industry, it requires capital. And
some magic seems to only be rumor, like item creation. On the other hand,
finely made weapons and armor, are fairly common, if expensive. And
enchanted weapons and armour are known. Both sorts of potions are quite

Guilds exist, but aren't worldwide, and are generally subject to whoever
is currently in power.

Neil Gilmore

> That's a mystery I would like to solve.
> Every case where I think I'm ahead of the curve, I get over the mountain
> to find Neil waiting there with a campfire and hot coffee.
> /salute
> David Michael Grouchy II
> ________________________________________
> From: tft-owner@brainiac.com <tft-owner@brainiac.com> on behalf of
> raito@raito.com <raito@raito.com>
> Sent: Friday, November 4, 2016 3:46 PM
> To: tft@brainiac.com
> Subject: Re: Magic Item creation: Notes D thru H.  What? What???
> In mine, in the area where most characters would be, the item market is so
> closed that about the only way to get one is to clandestinely establish a
> lab. Or nove essentially to a different country. There's a lot of odd
> politics going on, and the higher-ups want to keep their power.
> Gotta wonder how they managed to do that for 435 years, right?
> Neil Gilmore
> raito@raito.com
>> That is just my interpretation though. I may have gone too far.  In my
>> own
>> campaigns there is a close relationship between all enchantments (even a
>> +1 dagger) and the community that produces it.  I'll post a story of one
>> such session, among many, where I have "blown the players minds".  But
>> enough of my humble-brag.
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