Game of Taps: Answers to Jeff's Campaign Questions, Part 2

Note to self: read more than just the next question before I start to answer more of these questions.

Who is the richest person in the land?

The Vizier Regent of the First City of Men, Ur-Hadad, is widely regarded as the wealthiest single person in the world. Since the last Pascha of Ur-Hadad died a century ago, the office of the Vizier became Regent of the First City and, no longer bound by the oversight of a hereditary ruler, the Viziers have steadily increased their own influence over matters of state and trade; the city's bureaucracy now runs on a fine-tuned system of bribes and kickbacks, all of which toss at least a little bit of coin upwards, ultimately landing it in the coffers of Vizier. Every certified business transaction requires a city seal (and thus payment), every bill of goods requires verification (and thus a bribe), every police inquiry an "investigative fee" (more bribes), every official action of state an "investiture" (still more bribes) and so on. This system of institutional corruption assures a sort of oligarchic power structure that places the Vizier Regent squarely at the center of power, both temporal and financial, carefully arraying those below him against one another, supported by the merchant princes who actively bring trade to the city (and thus bring in new sources of income) who rest above the displaced nobility of the city who live off the remnants of their once-great estates.

Where can we go to get some magical healing?

Some minor healing magics may be available from local wise women or parish priests, but for the truly egregious wounds, there is no wiser place to look than the Temple District of Ur-Hadad. The Avenue of a Thousand Gods alone boasts no fewer than fifty temples with attending clerics of various pieties and the great gods who dutifully answer their prayers. The faithful are encouraged to make the pilgrimage to the Avenue to seek out their favored god's little corner of it; the unfaithful are encouraged to find the deity most sympathetic to their particular line of work and outlook (and alignment) who is actively looking for donations. In the wider world, temples can be found in every city and many towns across the world, though true clerics are few but often lead such holy sites. Some clerics of Chaos even maintain temples in the wilderness where they can carry out their nameless rites without interference, but they are least likely of all to offer any healing services.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

Other than the Temple District, should an adventurer require healing for an unusual malady, the faithless and foolish mingle with the well-travelled and the wise in the Great Bazaar's Arcade of the Opened Eye (commonly called simply "the Eye") where philosophers and physicians hold court beside alchemists and astrologers, prescribing cures and treatments for all sorts of physical and spiritual problems, each under the sign of an unlidden eye, reputedly representing an openness to all the world's truths and secrets. The truly learned, however, will quickly exit the Arcade and turn a quick corner down an old alley stinking of rot and spoiled wine. Here, they will find another shop, this one under a sign of a half-lidden eye, where Master Guang-Yuan Jo, greatest sage still living, searches for the answers to the central mysteries of universe and the bottom of successive bottles of cheap wine. It is said that there is no ailment or condition that Master Jo cannot correctly diagnose and treat, no matter how esoteric. It is also said that Master Jo was the last physician to Pascha Ubek VI, the second-to-last Pascha before that line went extinct, but was removed from that office when he poisoned the Pascha with quicksilver, a treatment that was supposed to provide immortality to the ruler. However mysterious his past may be, common practice suggests that arriving at Master Jo's doorstep without proper amounts of libations is a sure fire way to anger the ancient sage and likely a way to find yourself under the effects of an even more powerful curse than the one that brought you to Jo's door in the first place.

Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

Wielders of arcane energies are, by their very natures, a secretive, possessive and greedy lot. No wizard, given other options, would trade his magic knowledge to another; they are possessed of no "spirit of sharing." Instead, wizards and sorcerers wrest magical knowledge from the ether itself (read: supernatural patrons) or from ancient and forgotten texts. The only time one wizard will willingly impart any magical knowledge to another person is through an apprenticeship. Wizards are, however, terribly practical folk who might condescend to teach some noble's heir a few paltry cantrips at a vastly inflated sum should they find themselves in dire fiduciary need. They might even teach a spell or two to a low-born merchant should the price (and the need) be right.

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Boy, I feel like I've answered this already. Anyway, here we go:
Other than the prognosticators and prevaricators of the Arcade of the Opened Eye or even Master Jo himself, there are many well-educated and specialized fonts of knowledge across the First City. Every noble household retains at least a tutor for its heirs and most also pay for the services of an advisor. Consulting sages, scribes and accountants work for merchant houses on a contract-by-contract basis, usually taking up office near their most lucrative employers. Scholars of lesser reputation offer services to common freedmen (or even slaves) and, more notably, the criminal element of the First City.


  1. In reading about the sheer number of temples, I was reminded of a Glen Cook story, Petty Pewter Gods. In this story the temple district is one, long avenue. Depending upon the number of worshippers a god or pantheon can boast, the temples range from vast cathedral complexes to petty hovels. More importantly, there's only so much space on the avenue, so competition over the last (and least) available spaces is, in a word, fierce. In fact, the Hero of the story, Garrett, becomes embroiled with the gods because they need a human agent to help them cling tenaciously to the buttocks of the avenue (yes, Powdered Toast Man reference there). Once they're gone, well, they're gone for good. What happens to them then, who knows? Maybe they are consigned to the chaos of the Void, to be reborn as mortals, or perhaps they simply cease to be.

    What I like most about this concept is that it sort of forces interaction between gods and mortals (Read: Potential for patrons and for godly mischief), and strife between the gods themselves. This strife, though, is important in terms of status, which in this scheme is almost literally the lifeblood of the gods, where worship results in real-world impact on their place in the world.

    I'm sure you already have an idea how you might want to handle your temple district, but I figured I'd throw that out there. It's pretty juicy.

  2. While I had originally intended that the Avenue of a Thousand Gods was a bit of hyperbole, but I like the idea of shrines to nearly-forgotten or even dead gods. The title of that story you mention makes me think of a small armoire or closet filled with cubby holes like mail slots, each with its own tiny idol, sort of like a library for forgotten deities. I think that's totally making it in there, now.


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