Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Arduin Grimoire, part 4

When I started this cover to cover bit I promised myself that I wouldn't drag it out by talking about one page at a time.  However as I type this my Arduin Grimoire is across town.  What I have with me is a copy of page 27, the price list that I just happen to have lying around for no good reason.  So here I am, already goofing my plan up.

But there is some interesting stuff to discuss here.  The title of the price chart is MULTIVERSAL TRADING COMPANY PRICE LIST.  The Multiversal Trading Company has been mentioned once or twice in my World of Cinder campaign, mainly as the only outfit on the planet that will accept Dollars American (it came up).  Overall, the price list is not too different from what you'd expect in any fantasy game where you might need to buy a sword or a ship, with a few little differences.

All prices are random ranges.  A trident costs 10-15 gold sovereigns, for instance.  I like a little variability in little details like this, but I don't really want to have to roll for every dang item every time theparty goes shopping.  Also, you have to difgure out for yourself how to generate a price of from 30 to 85 gp to buy chainmail or 95 to 135 to buy leather barding or 375-1750gp to purchase a small sailboat.  It's the sort of thing where I would look at the chart, groan and just pick a number.

Poison and venom antidotes get their own section.  What's the difference between a poison and a venom from Hargrave's point of view?  I can't tell.  But it's cheaper to cure most venoms.  An antidote for a 1st through 3rd level poison costs 375gp.  The same level range venom cure is only 300gp.  I've seen other people assign poison a level, but I'm not sure what it means for Hargrave.  Maybe I'll find out in a later section.  Just below the antidotes is an entry for Doctor John's Salve, which costs a thousand bucks a pop.  Underneath is a vague note: "(heal heavy wounds)".

My favorite section is the miscellaneous stuff.  When I stumble across a new game this is one of the places I check to find out how seriously the author takes the ardures of adventure.  For an early text the Grimoire really delivers in this regard.  Not only can you get a 10' pole (leather-tipped, in fact), but the folks at Multiversal will also sell you a 15' oak blank (6" x 4") suitable for al sorts of dungeony nonsense.  Grappling hooks and crowbars are both priced for bronze, iron, steel, mithral and adamantine varieties, with the crowbars given a break percentage based upon metal content (30% for bronze to 1% for admantine).  Like the poison & venom section, I'm left wondering what Hargrave's rule for actually using crowbars was, i.e. if I want to crowbar open a chest or a door how does that affect my chances?  How long does it take?  I don't mind figuring this stuff out for myself, but the dude brought the subject up so I feel it's on him to explain.  You know what I mean?  Spikes for doors and such are only available in bronze, iron and steel, by the way.

In addition to rope (1gp for 50' or spider-silk at 200gp per foot), Hargrave will sell you a 30' rope ladder (10 gold pieces.  Backpacks comes in leather or cloth.  Boots and cloaks are price for regular type and fur-lined.  Holy water can be purchase in normal vials or in bulk.  Two items that clearly developed from some fun events at the table are the Iron Doorstop with Pull Handle and the Aerial Saddle.

But the best items on the list have got to be the artificial limbs and pirate-style hook-hands.  I wonder how many PCs ended up buying one or both after a bad run-in with the infamous Arduin crit chart?


  1. Anonymous8:43 AM

    Jeff, my understanding is that animals have venom. Otherwise it's poison (such as an assassin's poisoned knife).

    But I have no idea if that is what Hargrave was thinking.

  2. Anonymous9:26 AM

    I believe the formal distinction is that, as Geoffrey said, venom definitionally comes from an animal. Toxin may imply a plant origin (though current dictionaries I'm finding use it for either), whereas poison is more generic and can refer to such a substance regardless of origin. Hargrave was probably trying to distinguish between animal and plant-based.

  3. I love idea of random prices for things because only gas station owners collaborate to fix prices, but yeah, the weird, hard-to-generate prices kind of defeats the purpose.

    With respect to venom/poison, I have no idea what Hargrave might have meant, but Shimrod has the right of it. Generally, venom is insinuated whereas poison is ingested. So you can be bitten by a venomous snake or eat a poisonous mushroom. Animals can be poisonous, too, like Monarch Butterflies, to discourage predators from considering them to be a good source of dinner.

    Hargrave's more expensive poison antidotes may just reflect the greater likelihood that a character will be afflicted by an envenomed weapon, whereas it's a lot more work to go about poisoning someone, thus venom antidotes may be more common. Just my feeble attempt at rationalizing the rule.

  4. I'm left wondering what Hargrave's rule for actually using crowbars was, i.e. if I want to crowbar open a chest or a door how does that affect my chances? How long does it take? I don't mind figuring this stuff out for myself, but the dude brought the subject up so I feel it's on him to explain. You know what I mean?

    Yes, but in some ways I like the ambiguity. :D

  5. Hargrave basically published his gaming notebooks.

    I viewed the prices as being sort of "low to high" ranges, which you could use as a guideline for best deals or whatever, as oppose to "randomize for each price". But you could interpret Hargrave's notes, comments, and asides however you wanted.