Saturday, July 23, 2022

D&D Wandcraft: The Wand Stalker

Return to Wandcraft:

Part 1: Initiative, Deflecting, Disarming, Wands’ Natures
Part 2: Wand Allegiance, Improvement, Attitudes
Part 3: Pliability, Requirements, Preferences, Affinity
Part 4: Otherworldly Wands
Part 5: Wand Making, Setting up Shop, Fame and Fortune
Part 6: Wand Makers Character Class Abilities
Part 7. Wandcraft: Guilds & Brotherhoods

This creature fell victim to a magic jar spell centuries ago. The perpetrator is an ancient wand named Veneer of Aldor Blistimorio. She had reached self-awareness when her maker bestowed upon her a splinter of his soul. She became orphaned decades later when her evil owner died in a far-flung dungeon. Unsatisfied with her vulnerable shape, Veneer cast a magic jar spell upon Aldor’s ring. A doppelgänger named Sahāru Darkminstrel stumbled across the ring and promptly put it on, only for its mind to switch places with Veneer’s. Satisfied that she could still cast magic, Veneer learned to coexist with Sahāru’s living body. The vacuous wand and the ring holding Sahāru’s mind were carefully hidden, after which the host and its visitant spirit departed.
            The victim lived on for more than 100 years during which Veneer’s mind learned how to do what a doppelgänger does best. To fortify Sahāru’s body and prevent it from aging, Veneer endeavored to capture others of her kind and devour their enchantments. Each time Sahāru breaks a wand, it inhales its magic and becomes ever more powerful. Wand makers using their detect wand and eldritch perception abilities near the host would sense Veneer’s presence as a wand, even though her native device lies hidden in a far-away dungeon. It is the reason she secured an amulet preventing magical detection.

Sahāru of Veneer: AC –5 (unarmored), HD 30, MV 90’ (30’), AT 1 bite or +2 dagger of slicing, Dmg bite d12 + venom or see Equipment below, Save as MU22/19; Size M—Int 19, Cha 16 (in human-like form), ML 8, AL Chaotic Evil (OSR Chaotic). Age: 200+ years. Faith: None.
            Abilities: Shape-changing as a doppelgänger. Paralyzing venom (–3 penalty to saves; lasts 2d4 turns). Level 9 thieving skills (except backstab). Immune to mind-affecting magic. Detects wand and exerts eldritch perception as a wand maker level 22/19. Spellcasting up to 6 spells of any level per day cast as a level 22/19 wand maker (see From Apprentice Wand to Artifact in Pt. 2); double-casting one spell up to level 5 once per hour as a mercury wand (see Otherworldy Wands in Pt. 4). Telepathy 192 miles radius. Telekinesis at will cast as a MU14. When draining wand magic, the doppelgänger regenerates +3d6 hp per wand rating and permanently earns +1 HD per wand rating. While possessing Sahāru’s body, Veneer crosses a new experience threshold with every 5 new HD the host earns.
            Equipment: +2 dagger of slicing (kills with a critical hit unless the victim saves vs. Death in which case the dagger inflicts triple damage); amulet of protection against scrying and magical detection.

Aldor’s Wand: +5 wand. Length: 13 inches. Shape: Crooked (curvy handle). Texture: Organic (shifting swirls). Adornments: Pommel, tip, and an intersecting ring made of cinnabar. Core Components: Shard of a chimera’s goat horn; red dragon blood; a splinter of Aldor’s spirit. Material: Semi-solid mercury. Finish: Untreated. Pliability: +1 (Dexterity); Requirement: Inert for an hour after double-casting. Preference: Chaotic or shape-shifting spellcasters. Affinity: Illusion, metallic winding.
            With Veneer’s Mind: Intelligence 19, telepathy, telekinesis, detect wand, eldritch perception, autonomous spellcasting, double-casting (see Sahāru’s abilities, earlier).

Unintended Consequences: Aldor was a minion of the Blood Circle. His colleagues harvested his soul in a ritual after they found out he had passed. When they sensed a sliver was still missing, they searched for his wand, intending to release the remaining spirit fragment so their dark endeavor could be fully completed. They eventually found his remains long after his death, but not the wand or the ring. Another party is looking for the wand as well: the red dragon Eldur, whose blood had been used to enchant the device without his assent. Eldur, an ancient and far more powerful being now than he was when Aldor tricked him into sampling his blood, wishes to destroy the wand, and if aware of Veneer’s existence as Sahāru, would hunt down the doppelgänger as well. If unable to achieve his goals, Eldur may turn his wrath upon the whole of the Blood Circle. The vacuous wand ended up in the possession of Master Jarny Valdezar, a wand maker from the Star Shadow guild. He seeks to reunite Veneer and her native device, seeking Prestige from this achievement. The ring found its way to the left hand of Auria Liquescent, a telepathic sorceress who fell in love with the curious mind trapped inside. Thoroughly beguiled by his poetic and musical skills, she now searches for Sahāru Darkminstrel’s stolen body. The ring itself is one of delusion that delights in making its owner believe it holds a feather falling dweomer, the very reason Master Aldor Blistimorio died when he attempted to use it.

Monday, July 18, 2022

D&D Wandcraft: Guilds & Brotherhoods

Return to Wandcraft:

Part 1: Initiative, Deflecting, Disarming, Wands’ Natures
Part 2: Wand Allegiance, Improvement, Attitudes
Part 3: Pliability, Requirements, Preferences, Affinity
Part 4: Otherworldly Wands
Part 5: Character Class--Wand Making, Setting up Shop, Fame and Fortune
Part 6: Character Class--Wand Makers' Advancement and Special Abilities

Wizard Guild, unknown author or source
These organizations’ purpose is to protect their members and to promote their brand of wandcraft. Protection most often consists in keeping an eye on closed shops while their owners are away searching for samples and components. To promote the craft, they proffer guidance for wand makers seeking advancement (i.e. training to earn new experience levels). In the event of a dispute between wand makers or should a client submit a complaint, they act as arbitrators to enforce fairness and business integrity. Typically, members in good standing will have an advantage over non-members. Depending on its ideology, a guild may house and support long-time members no longer able to care for themselves due to old age or adventuring mishaps.
            The entry retainer is 100 gold when joining. Yearly membership dues often amount to 10% of shop profits, which entitles the organization to audit their books to ascertain correct amounts are disbursed. Members without a shop pay 10 gold monthly. This fee does not affect the experience wand makers earn. Dues are negotiable if members bequeath their wandcraft books to their guilds in the event of their deaths. Inherited books are kept at the headquarters’ library; members may consult these works on site. Failure to pay up or getting caught cheating results in banishment from the organization. Collected fees serve to pay for the organization’s quarters, its services, loans to members, and hired hands. Top members (i.e. founding members and those with the highest Prestige and seniority) split profits, if any. They elect a guild master for day-to-day business and conduct votes on important or controversial decisions.
            Although there could be rival organizations, wandcraft guilds are very few (not more than two or three active in each realm), and usually based in separate towns. Wand makers cannot operate in urban areas with more than 30,000 inhabitants without joining a guild. Their emissaries travel the land to address their business with members living away from their guilds’ headquarters. It isn’t uncommon for guilds to operate one or more skyships to help move emissaries and hired hands where they are needed. A guild’s influence on heads of state and local officials can be surmised based on the overall Prestige of its members. It may be stronger in some regions than others. Part of the profits can (and often are) paid as bribes where Prestige falls short in order to make sure local laws favor the guild’s interests.

The Star Shadow Guild
            This organization favors non-evil members (or non-Chaotic members in b/x or becmi terms). It operates under the auspices of a benevolent deity, especially one with a sphere of interest including magic, wizards, spellcasting, or the crafting of enchanted devices. It is known only among a few that the Star Shadow possesses an artifact. It transforms the guild’s Prestige into magical energy feeding its divine liege. The process does not affect members, since their Prestige already lies in the minds of the public. In return for this gift, the patron deity bestows a +15% bonus on earned experience to the faithful among the guild’s members. The Star Shadow counts several chaplains whose proselytizing efforts can be intrusive at times. It is said that the oldest founder has long since departed the Prime Plane, and may have attained immortality or perhaps godhood.

The Circle of Blood
            Its members are generally of a neutral or malevolent philosophy (non-Lawful members in b/x or becmi terms). As may be guessed, they favor a malevolent deity as their spiritual liege, possibly a monstrous being strong in dark magic. To remain in good standing among the cabal, trusted members participate to a black mass once yearly. These services are held secretly in various places in a realm, during which participants proffer an ounce of their blood, one at a time, and solemnly renew their undying oaths of obedience. The sanguine gifts are used in rituals at the cabal’s headquarters to summon a fallen prince of darkness. The process, if uninterrupted, may take decades or centuries, after which the summoned soul is bound to The One Wand, a legendary device able to bend to its evil will all other wands it encounters. In exchange for their offerings, members receive a +1hp bonus with every new level earned. Death is the only way out of the cabal. Betraying its secret will lead to an equally swift end. The souls of departed members (and ex-members) are harvested to enhance the cabal’s dark rituals.

The Free Company
            It beckons unscrupulous or discredited wand makers, spell hackers, fences, and anyone who didn’t fit in the other two guilds. The Free Company is generally associated with local thieves’ guilds. They charge whatever they think they can extort from members so long as they don’t go broke. There is no quitting the Free Company. Only death will sever that bond, which will soon follow for those who fail to pay up. The guild will however use its resources to move a fugitive out of town and set up shop elsewhere, under a different identity. The Free Company is a secret outfit that has been outlawed in many places. Its members wear small wand-shaped tattoos on their left forearms.

Click Here For: The Wand Stalker

Monday, July 11, 2022

D&D Character Class: the Wand Maker Pt. 2

The Wizard Room by sonjagatetodreamsart on Deviantart

            The character’s two best scores must be allocated to Intelligence and Charisma, in any order. Certain basic skills are mandatory: Woodworking (Int + Dex averaged, rounded down), Knowledge of Wands (Int), Knowledge of Woods (Int), Profession (shopkeeper, Int + Wis averaged, rounded down). At the first opportunity, the following skills should be learned: Bargaining (Cha), Persuasion (Cha), Spellcraft (Int), and Ancient History (Int).

            The wand maker is a magic-user specialty class. Two experience tracks are provided in its advancement table, one for D&D becmi (b/x, Classic, etc.) and the other for the AD&D Game, both 1st and 2nd Editions. Adjust as needed to adapt this material to later game versions. Crafting Ability determines how good a wand the maker can enchant. Conventional wands (such as wands of lightning bolts) and wands rated +4 require at least experience level 9 to enchant, as per both standard game mechanics.

Special Abilities
            Special abilities are sorted alphabetically below.

Analyze/Identify Wand: This ability requires an Intelligence check. A failed roll negates this ability until the following day. The targeted wand must be held in hand and closely examined for 1d4 rounds. If successful, the ability reveals a wand’s core components, the nature of its maker (demi-human, human, dragonkind, or some other race), whether it is bonded or subject to an active DRM, its rating, pliability, requirement, preference, affinity, resonance, command word (unless blocked by a DRM), wand name, and whether it is sentient.

Bind Soul: Wand makers may use a fraction of their own spirits as their personal wands’ core components. The soul-bound wand immediately becomes self-aware or it earns +1 to its Intelligence if it already was sentient. If the wand is ever destroyed, the wand maker immediately loses 1 experience level. For a fee, a wand maker may bind willing customers’ souls to their wands.

Detect Wand: The presence of any wand within a 30’ radius can be sensed. The ability requires a d8 roll under the wand’s rating +2 (or under the bsl it holds +2). In other words, powerful devices are easier to sense than weaker ones.
            For example: A wand maker enters a tavern; three other spellcasters are present—one with a +1 wand, the next with a wand of fireballs, and the third with a +4 wand. The d8 score is 5. The wand of fireballs (level 3 spells; 3+2 = 5) and the +4 device (4+2 = 6) are detected, but the +1 device isn’t (1+2 =3).
            If the roll succeeds, the wand maker locates the detected devices’ approximate positions. If analyze/identify or wand lore had been performed on them earlier or if they are listed in the maker’s book of wands, these devices are recognized as such. Extra attempts to perform active detections during the same day incur cumulative +1 penalties. A failure negates the ability until the next day. At the referee’s discretion, passive detection is possible but requires a d12 rather than a d8. Obstacles, such as walls or doors and containers add +2 penalties each to detection rolls.

Eldritch Perception: Like a forensic technician, a wand maker can detect whether wand magic was discharged within 30’. Actively seeking to detect wand magic requires an Intelligence check. Passive detections (rolled by the referee) incur a –4 penalty. Extra attempts to perform active detections during the same day incur cumulative –1 penalties. A failure negates the ability until the next day. Once triggered, the ability lasts 20mn x the wand master’s bsl (thus, the maximum duration is 20 x 9 = 180mn or 3 hours).
            Wand magic leaves residual traces lingering up to two hours per spell level, or [1 hour] x [(wand rating +1) x3), whichever is longest. Add up durations if multiple exchanges took place. For example: while dueling, one magic-user (a) cast a hold person spell using a +0 wand, (b) which another deflected using a +3 wand, and (c) subsequently disarmed the attacker; total lingering time: (a) 6 hours, (b) +12 hours, (c) +12 hours = 30 hours.
            Residual traces mark the body and clothes of anyone present at the time wand magic was cast. The discharge leaves a trail when spellcasters depart the affected area, which the wand maker can track. The wand maker can sense which trail is the strongest if more than one. Weather conditions have no effect on residual traces. The wand maker can also determine how many wands were involved and, if they come into full view, match wands with their residual traces, much like fingerprinting, so long as eldritch perception is active at the time. Each wand possesses a unique eldritch signature in addition to its resonance, which can be perceived as well (see Resonance in Part 3).
            Furthermore, the wand maker can match a “smoking wand” with its user and can sense whether anyone else they see was a target or a nearby witness present at the site of the discharge. Rolling separate attempts at different times to achieve any of the above is acceptable. The “scent” of detected wand magic is not forgotten between separate rolls. With a successful check, a wand maker can recognize a scent when running across it again years later. This ability came originally from CAL3 Alfdaín Ascendant.
            Dispel magic will wipe clean all residual traces within the spell's area of effect. This spell, however, does not affect trails extending beyond its limits, which remain visible provided people present at the time wand magic was discharged hadn't already left before the residual traces were dispelled. Obstacles blocking the wand maker's line of sight (such as doors and walls) may also conceal a trail lingering outside a dispelled area. Eldritch perception does not require light to reveal residual wand magic.  

Match Wand: The wand maker possesses the innate talent of finding the wand in stock, if any, best matching a client’s needs. If not in stock, the wand maker knows what wands should be good matches (material, shape, core components). Clients must be present for a wand maker to gauge what kind of people they are and what they seek. Clients usually want to try a wand (at least roll against its Pliability) in the storefront’s spellcasting space before completing their purchases. The wand maker must deactivate any embedded DRM and restore it after testing; a command word discreetly whispered is enough.

Rescind Bond: The wand maker eliminates a bond from a non-sentient device belonging to someone else. Rescission is performed despite an owner’s will, usually as the result of a legal court order against a convicted criminal. An unscrupulous wand maker could also perform the deed illegally, with the intent of reselling the stolen goods. The only trouble is that the wand most likely still bears its maker’s mark and name, which can’t be removed without destroying the wand. Authorities may order a confiscated wand to be sold at an auction for the benefit of a convict’s victims. Rescinding a sentient wand requires a Willpower check between the device and the wand maker.

Save Bonuses & Damage Reduction: These bonuses may or may not apply to all situations. Saving throw bonuses are not cumulative. Damage reduction can be further augmented when combined with spell effects such as protection from fire, or as the result of successful saving throws also calling for reduced damage.

Turn Wand: Once per encounter, the wand maker can repel wands somewhat like a cleric would turn undead. The ability requires a Wisdom check. If it succeeds, the offending device(s) within a 120’ radius cannot point toward the wand maker for the remainder of the encounter. The attribute check receives a penalty equal to the wand’s rating x2 or to the bsl it holds. For example: turning a +0 wand incurs no penalty, a +1 wand a –2 penalty, a wand of fireballs a –3, and so on. If the wand possesses telekinetic capabilities, it may try to flee unless its owner succeeds a Strength check.

Wand Immunity: If it were used to attack or put at risk its maker, a sentient wand’s Willpower would increase +2d8 and domination checks would be mandatory for each threat (see Wands with an Attitude, Pt. 2). NB: As a general rule, no wand, sentient or otherwise, can affect a creature whose spirit was used as a core component.

Wand Lore: This ability identifies a wand’s past and present owners as well as circumstances for their changing allegiances. The wand must be held in hand for 1d4+1 rounds. Lore can go back many years, as follows:
            [2d12 years] x [wand maker’s bsl] x [best rating wand maker ever crafted +1]
            For example: [Score 13] x [level 5 spell] x [+3 wand +1] = 260 years. If within the date range, the ability reveals when and where a wand was crafted as well as when, where, and how new owners took over. Roll only once per studied wand. The wand maker needs to earn another experience level before rolling again on the same wand.

Willpower: Wand makers receive a +2 Willpower bonus x their bsl. For example: a wand maker able to cast a Level 6 spell earns a +12 Willpower bonus (see Wands with an Attitude in Part 2).

Click Here for: Wand Makers’ Guilds & Brotherhoods

Monday, July 4, 2022

D&D Character Class: the Wand Maker Pt. 1

Return to Wandcraft:

Part 1: Initiative, Deflecting, Disarming, Wands’ Natures
Part 2: Wand Allegiance, Improvement, Attitudes
Part 3: Pliability, Requirements, Preferences, Affinities
Part 4: Otherworldly Wands

Art Credit: Magic Wands by Davesrightmind on Deviantart
Wand Makers

Wand makers focus on mastering wandcraft, studying the lore of wands, and producing them to be sold as a regular business that entails adventuring to secure components. They see their creations as their progeny. As much as possible, they keep track of their ultimate fates. For this, they maintain a book of wands listing details about their wares and other devices they come across. These curious tomes often feature additional page attachments inserted when space runs out about a particular entry, resulting in disorderly foldouts. For these specialists, reputation is key, and rivalry among the best can be fierce. Wand makers do not specialize in any school of magic, which might otherwise interfere with their abilities to craft certain devices. They do possess spellbooks and can both create magic scrolls and cast spells from them like any other magic-user. Multi-classing the wand maker is acceptable, just like any magic-user.

Tools of the Trade

Wand Making
          Wand makers cannot craft devices with which they are incompatible (see The Nature of Wands in Part 1). They can start enchanting wands rated “+0” as early as level 3. The odds of success are: (10 + [Best Spell Level x5] + [Int x2]) – ([Wand Rating +1] x5). “Best spell level” (abbrev. bsl) refers to the highest spell level the wand maker is able to cast. For example: a level 3 wand maker with 16 Int would have a 47% chance of success enchanting a “+0” wand. The advancement chart indicates what wand ratings can be enchanted at which experience levels (look for it in the next article). A small but important detail: wand makers are the only spellcasters able to enchant rated wands.

           Philosophy: Rated wands are inherently hard to enchant because they can improve and eventually reach self-awareness (see From Apprentice Wand to Artifact in Part 2). Wand makers cannot craft devices imbued with intelligence. A wand must therefore attain self-awareness on its own. The wand makers’ paradigm demands they allow “saplings to grow” and perhaps one day become artifacts, much like parents releasing their children to live their own lives. This feat is their source of personal pride and professional prestige.
            Tracing the pedigrees of ancient wands back to their makers is a way for the latter to be remembered well after they depart this world. For this reason, they document their wares’ descriptions in their wandcraft books. They append their records whenever they learn of their creations’ fates. Like unique swords, wands are often given names—a moniker plus the maker’s name, such as Firesoul of Koryphon, Phoenix of Eriandal the Elder, etc. Sentient wands always remember the names given to them despite not being self-aware at the time.
            Other Types of Magic Items: Provided they know the right spells, these specialists can create or recharge conventional wands (such as wands of fireball, wands of paralyzation, et al.) using established game rules. These wands are mindless vessels containing magic—they do not ever become self-aware. Wand makers cannot craft anything but wands and scrolls; the enchantment process for everything else, like staves, potions, armor, weapons, and other magic items, lies entirely outside their competence.
            Cost and Time: The cost of crafting a +0 wand is 500 gold, vs. 1,000 per “plus” rating thereafter. If all core components were acquired while adventuring, then halve these costs. How much markup the wand maker charges a client is entirely up to the player. Crafting a rated wand takes 8 days for a +0 device, +8 days per “plus” modifier thereafter. A +4 wand, therefore, takes 40 days to produce.

Setting Up Shop: During the wand makers’ early levels of experience, they embark on a life of adventuring to collect core components, cash, and earn some much-needed experience. At level 3 or later, they can start crafting wands between adventures to build up stock. Whenever they feel they have enough in reserve, they can open shop: either a place they rent, have purchased, or have built from the ground up. Some are even known for dwelling in wagons or small skyships, traveling from one small town to another, leaving when demand dries up or seasonal winds shift. The place of business only needs a storefront where clients might try out wands, a workshop and stockroom in the back, and living quarters. The cost of facilities should be covered in established game rules.
            Stocking up the Shelves: Naturally, wand makers have to possess core components and wood, bone, or ivory samples needed for their wares. This determines what wands they can craft. When adventuring outside settled areas, roll a Perception check (Wis) for each hour spent seeking wand-grade wood samples, suitable bones, or intact ivory material, such as a fallen beast’s tusks. Up to 1d4 can be found with each successful check. When not actively looking while exploring, the DM can roll a Passive Perception check once per day, with a –2 penalty to the rolls. Add a +2 bonus if a friendly druid is present in the party. When a sample is found, roll on the Original Enchanter table in Part 1. Use common sense with respect to climate (amaranth and agar, for example, only grow in warm regions). Solid and fluid core components are acquired during adventure encounters or if purchased from someone (see enchantment cost earlier). A successful magic-jar spell variant retains a small fraction of the target’s spirit inside a small container. The above explains why an adventuring wand maker’s kit might include 15-20 empty jars at the onset. Good record-keeping is indispensable here to maintain updated lists of collected samples, core components, and completed wands. The work continues from there, boxing wares, labeling them, and so on.
            Custom Orders: Wand makers typically focus on +0 and +1 wands because they are easiest to sell. Anything more potent involves Pliability, Preference, and Affinity which limit sales (see Flick Wendigrint’s Dictionary of Wand Woods and Other Materials in Part 3). For this reason, wand makers prefer getting prepaid orders for specific wands before crafting anything rated +2 or better. The higher the master crafter’s level is, the more often custom orders should materialize. Reputation is everything.
            Liabilities and Protections: There is a liability with running a place known for housing expensive magic items. Burglary while out adventuring is a risk. Professionals always mark their wands, not only because they are seen as unique works of art, but also to be able to recognize stolen property. A wand may also be protected by a Dweomer Regulated Mastery spell encrypted into the wand’s enchantment. It prevents the device from being used at all until its seller removes it to complete a sale (this idea came from CA2 Wings of Darkness, pp. 40). Guilds of spell hackers specialize in breaking protections on stolen magic items and on high-value spellware. A renowned wand maker would be well advised to mentor one or two apprentices on-site and pay for guards.

Dweomer Regulated Mastery (Abjuration)
            Magic-User Spell level 2
            Range: Touch
            Duration: Until Dismissed
            Effect: Prevents an enchantment from functioning
            This oddly named spell is cast on a magic item such as a wand or a scroll during its enchantment process. The effect is permanently encrypted in the magic item’s enchantment. The original creator can switch it off with a command word. When active, the DRM prevents the item’s magic from taking effect; it also blocks any attempt to obtain its command word by way of an identify/analyze spell. Dispelling its magic only suppresses the item’s enchantment for a short period of time, but it does not remove the encryption since it is effectively “baked in.”
            Finding a magic item with an active DRM suggests it was stolen. Spell hackers are often affiliated with a thieves’ guild. They resort to add-on enchantments to bypass DRMs. It is a crude, ad-hoc, and unreliable measure. Odds of the bypass failing (even roll) or the magic item malfunctioning (odd roll) are: [1d10% per week during which the item is used at least once] minus [5 x original hacker’s bsl]. Check each time the item is used. The bypass can be reinstated, usually for a stiff fee. If the magic item malfunctions, it is permanently ruined. Unscrupulous fences or shady wand makers occasionally sell hacked magic.
            Spells on a scroll bearing an active DRM appear as nonsensical gibberish. They can't be copied or cast from a protected scroll. Hacking takes 1d4 days x original enchanter’s bsl, often charged at the rate of 100gp per day. Magic-user/thieves (or magic-users with thieving skills) can start hacking spellware as early as level 3. If an initial hacking attempt fails, all future attempts against the targeted magic item or spell incur a –25% penalty.

Fame and Fortune: Selling wands can be lucrative. Wand makers also earn experience from any profit their sales generate (monthly sales amount minus business costs, such as rent, purchases, enchantments, wages, etc.). Aside from gold and experience, wand makers seek prestige since it affects their businesses. Each wand sold to a compatible client is worth 1 Prestige +1 per wand modifier, so a +4 wand earns its maker 5 Prestige. Reputation drives demand, as shown in the chart below. Selling a wand to a prominent character (a noble figure, city official, politician, guild master, rich merchant, etc.) yields a 1d4+1 Prestige bonus, or to a head of state a 2d6+3 Prestige bonus. A wand bonded with an epic hero or demigod earns its maker another 3d8+9 Prestige. These gains only count once per personality, and are valid provided the fact is publicly known. Hiring a bard for advertising purposes wouldn’t hurt in this respect—add +2 Prestige to all of the above.



Custom Orders


1 per fortnight



1 per week


d3 per fortnight

0-1 per month
(+2 or +3 wands)


d2 per week


d5 per fortnight

0-2 per month
(+2 to +4 wands)


d3 per week

Round up all fractions:
d2 = d4/2, d3 = d6/2, d5 = d10/2
0-1 (odd 1, even 0), 0-2 = d3–1

            Sales: The wand maker must make sure the prospective client is compatible with what’s in stock or what can be crafted. Then comes the role-playing aspect where prices, custom orders’ turnaround times, and other conditions are negotiated. Walk-ins don’t place orders—they purchase what’s in stock, usually +0 or +1 wands, or they head off to check a rival wand maker. Custom orders are for more potent devices. To determine what a walk-in or a custom order requires, roll 1d6:

  • For +0/+1 wands: 1-4. +0 wand, 5-6. +1 wand (or conventional wand with spells level 1-2).
  • For +2/+3 wands: 1-4. +2 wand, 5-6. +3 wand (or conventional wand with spells level 3-4).
  • For +2/+4 wands: 1-3. +2 wand, 4-5. +3 wand, 6. +4 wand (or wand with spells level 5+).
            Closing Shop: While the wand maker is out adventuring and the shop is closed, clients will seek competitors in the region. A shop loses 5 Prestige per full month during which it remains closed. Apprentices and henchmen do not conduct business in the wand maker’s absence.
            Competition: There is usually not more than one wand maker per 10,000 inhabitants within a 20-24 mile radius or not more than 3 in a city with 30,000+ residents. Naturally, demand for +0 wands should be higher for businesses located near a school of magic (treat as a +5 Prestige bonus). A large city offers the widest and most affluent customer base, but it also attracts competitors. The quality of the neighborhood is also critical (+/– 0-3 Prestige). The most prestigious wand maker is in the best bargaining position (+1 to Bargaining checks), while the lowest fellow on the totem pole may be forced to undercut rivals’ prices to stay in business or offer some other incentive (gold bonus for a referral leading to a sale, customer loyalty discounts on recharges for conventional wands, free miles on the local skyship, buy two and get 10% off the cheapest, allowing a buyer to trade in a second-hand wand when buying a new one, etc.). Upscale establishments resell trade-ins to smaller shops better suited for second-hand wares. Provincial towns are less affluent, but wand makers there have little or no competition.
            Fencing: Evidently getting implicated with selling stolen goods could result in a catastrophic Prestige loss. On the other hand, a low-life or disgraced wand maker operating in a slum can become notorious for fencing hacked goods, in which case a negative score might actually be a good thing from the local thieves’ guild's point of view.
            Hired Staff: A successful master crafter can hire less experienced wand makers to meet demand or to forage for wood samples and core components. A novice wand-making PC could start as an apprentice and earn experience as a salesperson. The master crafter and employed wand makers split Prestige evenly when the latter sell devices they crafted; the shop owner also retains a 10% cut on those sales. All Prestige is combined, however, as regards the overall frequencies of the shop’s walk-ins and custom orders. Employees eventually leave, taking with them their earned Prestige, in order to set up shop elsewhere (most likely another town). Monthly odds someone leaves are 1% per earned Prestige unless other incentives help retain employees (Bargaining and Persuasion skills are critical here, along with other arrangements, such as healing discounts at the local temple, profit sharing, pension plan, room and board, free tuition, etc.).

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