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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Magic Shop Defenses ?

    So how does everyone protect and defend Ye Old Magic Shops?

    The typical magic shop in D&D is overloaded with magic goodies. The characters can get the idea of, 'lets just sack the magic shop instead of going to that dungeon'.

    My typical ways that I mix up a lot:

    1.There are no magic items in the shop. The shop is just a 'catalog store front' with scrolls of pictures of the magic items or illusions. When a sale(payed in advance) is made the items are brought from 'elsewhere'. Or the shop just has a hand full of cheap items, like a cup of warmth.

    2.The whole shop is inside an anti-magic field.

    3.The shop is located in a safe place, such as inside the wizard guild or the princes palace. So to raid the magic shop, you'd basically have to go to war with the whole kingdom.

    4.The shop has very heavy duty guards. Iron golems, demons, dragons or such.

    5.The shop is a lot like a 'bank vault' where you have to strip down before you enter. No one with weapons, active spells, spell components and such is allowed in the shop.


    so what does everyone else do?

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    The classic Epic Level Caster as the shopkeep, only had to learn this lesson once and nobody ever bothered to mess with a magic shop again.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    @WarrenZig
    So very much yes - it's the same with taverns, only in a tavern you'd just get a beating for misbehavior.

    Apart from that: the shopkeeper could have a big bunch of Spectral Hands active (preferably with nondetection on, if it's possible - it should if those would be let's say living spells). Now imagine all those nifty wands, rods and other activated magical gear as it all casualy points toward the interloper. The resulting salsa would not even be chunky.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    DM fiat alarms. Players try to mage-hand something away? Loud alarm suddenly sounds. I call it "DM fiat" because I don't necessarily plan out every little detail of every little building - i.e. exactly what are the wards and enchantments of protection.

    I find these alarms typically work.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Unspoken intimidation, mostly.

    Any shop that has a bunch of magic items has a close connection to at least one caster (probably several) powerful enough to make a bunch of magic items. That caster has a vested interest in making sure that this shop stays active and profitable. They won't be at all happy if they find that a bunch of two-bit adventurers have cleaned the place out. Do you know what happens when there's a level n caster who wants you punished? A level n caster who has time to prepare and who is intimately familiar with the items you're holding, which makes you trivially easy to find?

    Alternatively, in my games, most items are made by the githyanki. (The default fluff says that the lich-queen destroys any githyanki who makes it above 16th, right? So, do you know what githyanki do when they get close to that limit? They start crafting like mad, making anything and everything in a desperate attempt to burn enough XP to keep themselves below the magic number. That's where all these weird magic items came from. What, you think that a 16th level githyanki is just going to retire? Nonsense.) Githyanki are famous for their raiding parties anyway, so anyone who messes with a shop that has githyanki suppliers is probably going to be getting a visit from some githyanki pirates.

    The point is that anyone who has enough magic items to open a shop is either capable of protecting their goods or knows someone else who's powerful enough to do it for them. Sure, most such shops will have a few low-level wards and protections to keep your vanilla thugs away, but the real protection against adventurers and other powerful beings comes from the knowledge that magic items come from somewhere.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Adventurers.

    Assume for a moment that some (if not the majority) of items are made on commission. Why go to the time and expense of creating a magical item if it is just going to sit on a shelf gathering dust?

    Some patron finds out that there is a delay on the Cubic Gate they ordered because the store was robbed. They are not going to be happy. So they get together with their friends and track the offenders down.

    Not to mention the planar bound minions that will begin hounding the offending theives.

    Perhaps the greatest deterrent is a reputation (true or false) of dealing harshly with thieves. Lifelike stone statues in the store. Spellstiched undead minions created from the corpses of reputed thieves. Geased or Mark of Justice'd shop assistants that are working off their debt to the owner and inform every patron that they are there because they dared steal from the shoppe.

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    The way I've always handled them, the shops have low level stuff in stock and the proprietor acts as a fence/fixer/talismonger for the rest. He knows people. That's also the shop's primary defense... the owner knows people. you might make off with the bag of holding, four +1 weapons, and all the potions in stock, but you've pissed off someone who is on good terms with five 15th level casters. And now you have a bounty on your head.

    In my campaign, the best shop was Hakiim's Mercantile. Major transactions were brokered there every day. Gems, textiles, magic items, land, royal betrothals... anything, even stuff not quite legal. (Hakiim himself was a Chaotic Good epic level merchant (expert class) half celestial, so nothing morally reprehensible ever gets traded. His Noble Djinn backers wouldn't stand for it...)

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    Last edited by gbprime; 2010-12-12 at 04:54 PM.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    1.There are no magic items in the shop. The shop is just a 'catalog store front' with scrolls of pictures of the magic items or illusions. When a sale(payed in advance) is made the items are brought from 'elsewhere'. Or the shop just has a hand full of cheap items, like a cup of warmth.
    This one, mostly. Relatively cheap items are actually kept on the premises, but anything major is kept elsewhere and retrieved as required. In fact, not all the items advertised are owned directly by the store owner - they also act as an intermediary for people with items to sell.

    Also, many of the major item traders have dealings and contacts with each-other. If you smack one around, you might be able to get some stuff for free, but then you can enjoy being blacklisted everywhere else. Or worse, secretly given cursed items and poisoned potions.

    I don't often go in for the "epic level shopkeeper" thing. It's not impossible that there's a few rare individuals like that in the world, but having random shopkeepers or tavern owners be incredibly powerful just makes the setting feel like a farce. And for that matter, it makes any "save the kingdom" plot pretty pointless when Bob the Tavern Owner could go do it by himself in five minutes.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    I would:

    1. place a magical field that strips all weapons away from anyone who enters

    and

    2. Have 2 golems with magic resistance spells on them guarding both the doors and 2 more at the counter.
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  10. - Top - End - #10
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    Chilingsworth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    How about something like the modern solution to this problem, i.e. "I.D. tags?"

    It would work like this: Every item in the store is "locked" by an enchantment the store owner (and only the store owner) can dismiss. Then, if someone tries to use an item that hasn't been unlocked it fails to function (at best) or does something truly nasty. Also, in any case, the effect could cause an alarm and/or allow easy tracking.

    Edit: To make this effect harder to dispel, it could be created via a high caster level magic item (inherited by the shop owner and passed down from his/her family for gerenerations.) Also, I'm not in any way a dm, that's just how I'd protect my magic items.
    Last edited by Chilingsworth; 2010-12-12 at 06:33 PM.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Glyphs of Warding, Greater Glyphs of Warding and Elder Glyphs or Warding. Make the wards so if someone other then the shop owner picks an item from its position in the shop it summons a high level monster.
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  12. - Top - End - #12
    Troll in the Playground
     
    Chimera

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Similar to those above.

    Shop only has very cheap magic items like basic scrolls/potions in stock. Anything more expensive (eg: more than 2000gp market value) needs to be commissioned (meaning it has to be crafted from scratch, and so is not available to steal) or stored in an extraplanar vault which the players cannot access.

    Also, powerful backers with vested interests, who have the resources to make the rest of your lives a living hell if you disrupt their thriving trade.

  13. - Top - End - #13
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    Jack_Simth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    I tend to go with the 'it's a front' option.

    The shopkeeper takes your order (he writes it down) and your money, drops it in a carefully cursed portable hole (it lightly ejects anything in it one round after it's closed - he skips this step for anything that would cause problems with a Portable Hole, of course), and tosses it through a Ring Gate. At the other end of the Ring Gate, the cursed portable hole ejects all of it's contents. At the Hub, someone checks the order (from a distance, by way of an Unseen Servant / Golem), makes sure the coinage is right, puts the selection of items into the hole, closes it, and tosses it back through. Back at the store front, the merchant takes the item after it pops out, and takes it to the PC's. Sales work the same way, just in reverse (with a Wizard standing by with Analyze Dweomer, of course).

    If you kill the guy running the front... you get... one half of a ring gate, and a cursed portable hole. And you're likely to be blacklisted rather heavily, never able to make a purchase again.

    If you attempt to fire something through the Ring gate, you find out that it's mounted on the other end in such a way that you don't have line-of-effect to anything important.

    If you pass through the ring gate, you're jumping into an area that's prepared with all kinds of magical defenses and traps, with a high-level caster and a few of his golems sitting nearby to make life unpleasant for you in the regional hub (the front can be up to 100 miles from the regional hub... and if you carefully chain ring gates, putting pairs of them sandwiched together buried underground, you can get a rather arbitrary distance - but this is not recommended, as there's a nasty security flaw if you do that).

    Oh yes, and the guys running this? They really can't afford people attempting to beat up their front-men. If the front-men keep getting beaten up, then they're not going to be able to find anyone to play front-men anymore. So they come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who attacks one of the front men while the front man is on duty.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    essentially, a modified version of a handy haversack. All "real" magical items are stored in drawers, cabinets, etc. that are really Handy Haversacks, keyed to the owner. He can reach in, and pull out the item he thinks of.

    someone else reaches in, and the haversack-drawer gives them nothing.

    and the standard items listed above... threat of a huge guild of mages with ninja assassins after the thieves, anti-glamour counters, constant detect magic, etc..

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    1. All the magic items have arcane marks on them or 'serial numbers' that let the mage guild or whatnot individually track them. If you steal an item then they just use a crystal ball or whatever to scry on the stolen item and then direct people to retrieve it. Expect lots of adventurers and nasty people knowing exactly where you are at all times and hitting you when it least convenient.

    2. Liquid Pain extractors are commonly used to create the Liquid Pain that provides the XP component to make magic items (at least for those who don't just use up their normal experience points). Where do they get "volunteers" to provide the component? Magic Shop thieves! If you steal something worth X gp and Y xp then expect to spend at leas X/100 plus Y/2 days strapped to a table under a Symbol of Pain while tubes attached to your nether regions extract agony from your being.
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  16. - Top - End - #16
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    WhiteWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    I'm kind of lame and just use a social contract. "The store will function as a magic mart so long as you don't question the nature of the magic mart. Should you desire to drop into a more realistic MO, we can roleplay it out, but then the magic mart will cease to be as convenient."
    BEEP.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    An insurmountable waist-high counter.

    Foolish Adventurer: "I see many riches before me. Surely, if I could hop over this counter, all those wondrous trinkets would be mine."

    Shopkeeper: "Fool! I fear no theft, for my goods are guarded by my Insurmountable, Waist-High Counter! No man can overcome my unbreachable barrier!"

    Snarky Adventurer: "But how do you relieve yourself if there is no way to bypass the Insurmountable, Waist-High Counter?"

    Shopkeeper: "Relieve myself? Whatever for? I have not budged from my position since the establishing of this store."

    If it works for every JRPG, ever...
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    This is why you can't have magic shops.

    Magic items have to be made to order. The only thing the shop sells are potions and common scrolls. All other items are made by the wizard running the shop (or someone he knows) when you pay for it.

    Think about how much XP a magic item costs; consider the opportunity cost of keeping that XP tied up in an item collecting dust rather than utilized in an adventurer killing monsters. There's just no way.

    Any world that has a shop with +3 swords and bags of holding just sitting on the shelves is so utterly absurd that no player can dare complain when the DM says, "You can't rob this shop because the shopkeeper cast UnRobbable, an NCP only spell that only works for NPC magic shops." I mean, both situations - the custom spell and magic items collecting dust - are equally absurd.

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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
    Any world that has a shop with +3 swords and bags of holding just sitting on the shelves is so utterly absurd that no player can dare complain when the DM says, "You can't rob this shop because the shopkeeper cast UnRobbable, an NCP only spell that only works for NPC magic shops." I mean, both situations - the custom spell and magic items collecting dust - are equally absurd.
    Well, I imagine there's some shops in various planar metropolii that are basically traps for the adventurers and other things that would naturally be attracted to such things being casually displayed. Now what would be nasty enough to want to trap those sorts of things... Of course, these would likely move around so that they'd have been in a different place for year and years every other thursday.
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by WarrenZig View Post
    The classic Epic Level Caster as the shopkeep, only had to learn this lesson once and nobody ever bothered to mess with a magic shop again.
    Don't forget the mages kid is an epic level assassin, even if they do get something away they get hunted down like dogs
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  21. - Top - End - #21
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    Mercenary Pen's Avatar

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by FelixG View Post
    Don't forget the mages kid is an epic level assassin, even if they do get something away they get hunted down like dogs
    And his nephew is an Epic level bard, who will tell tales of your stupidity across every plane of existence...
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  22. - Top - End - #22
    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mercenary Pen View Post
    And his nephew is an Epic level bard, who will tell tales of your stupidity across every plane of existence...
    And his sister who is an epic level monk...who simply is the messenger girl due to her speed.

  23. - Top - End - #23
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    'Magic shops' exist at the convenience of players, by GM fiat. They are there for the sake of narrative to help the players along.

    In the game-world 'reality' there is no real reason for them to exist. Few shops in our own world stock $100,000,000 worth of items, with a target demographic which relies on vagabond millionaires wandering into town. There is certainly no reason for any but the most commonly demanded items to be sat there on shelves.

    Simply: Magic shops exist because the GM is giving PCs a break. Breaking into them is 'not cricket' in the same way as splitting the party constantly, and attacking NPCs during their boxed text. If players abuse that, then as GM I would remove all magic shops from the game world. This immediately makes life a lot more difficult and annoying for PCs, but if the players deliberately abuse something that broke narrative for their own sake, then they don't deserve it.

  24. - Top - End - #24
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    Jack_Simth's Avatar

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post
    Any world that has a shop with +3 swords and bags of holding just sitting on the shelves is so utterly absurd that no player can dare complain when the DM says, "You can't rob this shop because the shopkeeper cast UnRobbable, an NCP only spell that only works for NPC magic shops." I mean, both situations - the custom spell and magic items collecting dust - are equally absurd.
    A couple of things...

    They don't need to be sitting on the shelves to be readily accessible - D&D has Core magic items that permit things to be quite some distance away from where they're accessed.

    Someone engaging in trade need not necessarily be a crafter - especially if they've been at it for quite some time. The spice merchant doesn't grow spices, he just transports them. See, the magic shop also buys things - at 1/2 market value. What happens to things you sell to them? Why, they get analyzed, and then put into stock. Now, there's going to be a little loss in operating expenses, don't get me wrong... but if you've got an established Magic Mart Front Network, after a few millenia of business, it's totally possible you're going to have anything someone might want on-hand. After all, all those violent hobos raiding all those ancient storehouses from the people that actually took time to craft things (and then died of old age, or to a dragon) keep needing someplace to dump the stuff that isn't of direct use to them, or that they've outgrown.
    Of course, by the time I finish this post, it will already be obsolete. C'est la vie.

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kylarra View Post
    I'm kind of lame and just use a social contract. "The store will function as a magic mart so long as you don't question the nature of the magic mart. Should you desire to drop into a more realistic MO, we can roleplay it out, but then the magic mart will cease to be as convenient."
    This is exactly how I do it. No-one, ever, in my many many years of DMing, has tried to rob, flatten, or discombobulate ANY important town structure, institution or individual.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    I've had an adventure or two where the hook was "Somebody robbed the magic shop", and you and your group of adventurers were brought in to go find them, do nasty things to them, and bring back the goods. Generally with a "You can keep one item they stole" and a small GP reward.

    What happens if the PCs decide to keep ALL the items? Why, another squad of PCs is sent out...

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DruidGuy

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    In one of my games "magic stores" were basically ATMs/Fortune Telling booths that were "staffed" by permanently reduced undead kobolds. When you inserted money and asked for something, they used a custom sending item to ask the home office for it.

    Ten minutes later the item teleported into the box and the mini-kobold handed it to you. Sometimes one with a little more free will than the others would beg you to kill him. That last bit kept the players from using the magic mart too much.

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Are there items that emanate an AMF, like a rock or gem or something? You could keep that inside a panel on the wall with "in case of angry arcanist, break glass" or something. Shattering the glass would restore line of effect, allowing the AMF to flood out and fill the shop while the bruisers come in to remove the miscreant.

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    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    I imagine that magic marts, where they exist, deal in the buying and selling of already existing items, like antique shops, and that they only act as intermediaries for the commissioning of more specific items that need to be crafted. Depending on the market and the size of the shop it might commission a few very common relatively inexpensive magic items for selling on short notice. If they have a +3 equivalent magic sword on the shelf (or more likely in a vault guarded by a few golems and traps) it's because last year some adventurer looted it from some ancient dungeon, didn't have any use for it and sold it to the shopkeeper.
    Last edited by Ormur; 2010-12-13 at 11:30 AM.

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    Default Re: Magic Shop Defenses ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ormur View Post
    I imagine that magic marts, where they exist, deal in the buying and selling of already existing items, like antique shops, and that they only act as intermediaries for the commissioning of more specific items that need to be crafted. Depending on the market and the size of the shop it might commission a few very common relatively inexpensive magic items for selling on short notice. If they have a +3 equivalent magic sword on the shelf (or more likely in a vault guarded by a few golems and traps) it's because last year some adventurer looted it from some ancient dungeon, didn't have any use for it and sold it to the shopkeeper.
    Pretty much. If it's not a potion, scroll, or a basic +1 item, then the only reason it's in the shop is because the proprietor bought it from adventurers who looted it and sold it to him to help fund stuff they wanted made by his contacts.
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