In honor of all the years I spent playing dungeon master on Saturday afternoons, I am posting pictures to keep the posting of D&D stuff on Saturdays as a tradition. I really am a bit too achy and ill to post any old orc and ogre stories today.
An author can’t resist portraying himself somewhere in his fiction. Even though the entire work of fiction is actually a map of the inside of the author’s self, there will be a character who is the self-portrait of the author buried somewhere within. It may be the first person narrator of the story. Or it may be a background character lurking at the periphery of the plot.
In the ongoing work of fiction that is my family D&D game, that me-character is the wizard in red, Eli Tragedy. Yes, bumbling, doddering, and constantly babbling Eli Tragedy, aged half-elf with a little more than half a wit, is basically me. His two apprentices, Bob and Mickey the Were-rat, are constantly at his side to open doors for him, set off booby traps stupidly before he gets there, and generally demonstrate the level of his teaching ability by their lazy incompetence and general inability to learn anything.
Now, lest you think I might really be exactly like this exaggeratedly foolish fool of a character armed with way too much magical ability and arcane knowledge to be safe wandering around freely in public, let me assure you, we are very different, Eli and I. He’s at least a centimeter taller than I am when he stands up straight. I have, however, aimed more than a few metaphorical fireballs at my own image in the hallway mirror. And I may have burned my own eyebrows off more than once. But Eli’s real purpose is mainly to poke fun at myself and create a few laughs, along with a few D&D style world-ending crisis-es, as when Mickey the Were-rat stole and misused Eli’s magic hat. Dang, those toe-dancing pink rhinoceroses with the nitroglycerin in their over-sized backpacks were heck to herd back into the King’s Royal Zoo!
But now, I am finally ready to admit it. Eli Tragedy is my alter ego. I like the color red. I am fond of random explosions and acts of inexplicable transformation. Eli Tragedy is me. And I promise, I won’t really blow the world up. It is only a role-playing game after all.
Every good Dungeons & Dragons game needs a quaint little magic shop to provide the appropriate magical boom-boom solution that isn’t obviously needed, but will prove essential to the adventure later.
For our game, where we had a choice of a number of screwy little magic shops that didn’t manage to blow themselves up, the main place of choice was Failin’s Arcanum Magickum Shoppe in Sharn. (Why “shop” has to be spelled “shoppe”, I’m really not certain. You have to spell things wrong to cast spells apparently.)
The shoppe is located in the Precarious District of Sharn, City of Towers. Visitors have been known to be crushed by falling parapet stones from above that may or may not have been wedged loose by a hobgoblin street gang. Failin himself is a rather morose individual with red hair and a connection to the Dragonmarked House Orien, the house whose magical dragonmarks allow the members of the house to do transportation magic. Failin was himself a talented geomancer, able to create items with bound earth elementals used for power and propulsion. He also collects items of great value from adventurers and commands impossibly high prices for them.
So, if you want to buy a Wand of Blinding Colors, a Bag of Holding, a Flaming Elf Skull of Timely Warnings, or a Deadly Drum of Druid Doom, he’s definitely your man and will only take twice the amount of everything you own in payment. If you want something more powerful or more arcane, you better be ready to slay a dragon for it and bring back the entire hoard as payment. Failin is rich in several different ways.
Working for Failin is his one and only servant, Gobbie. Gobbie is also a rare thing, a goblin you can trust. He was raised by dragonmarked humans and treated slightly better than the average goblin (who tend to be killed on sight by heroes).
Gobbie is also trained as a shield bearer, and carries a shield that is immune to dragon fire and most magical fire and ice. Failin rents Gobbie to adventurers for a high price, and Gobbie usually serves them just as faithfully as he serves his red-haired master.
And Failin’s shoppe is a place where you can find any number of magic users, wizards, warlocks, sorcerers, illusionists, thaumaturges, and other magicians. If you don’t mind risking a meeting with horrifying necromancers, you can find and talk to some of the most powerful people in all Eberron.