Secret Santicorn 2019: An Adventuring Economy

"It's time for the best part of Santicorn - making things!
Diaghilev requests the following gift:
Adventuring/tomb-robbing is a cash-rich, high-turnover profession. Those tend to spawn secondary industries. What are some interesting secondary industries that might spring up around a known hub for rich tomb-robbers? Aside from the obvious sorts of armorers and provisioners."

(Happy Santicorn! Be sure to check out who did my request, at Numbers Aren't Real!)

Ah, after eating an entire loaf of garlic bread and stewing in indie folk-pop, I have finally been struck by inspiration, Master Diaghilev. After doing some research into real life Secondary Industries, I find the through-line to be using the Primary Industry's produce as the base of the Secondary Industry. So, what is the main production of tomb robbing? Money is the obvious one, but it also doesn't push me in any particular creative direction, so fuck it. There is also a wealth of historical and academic material being exhumed (assumedly), so something Big Brain and smort could be an option. There's your average adventuring party needs, which would become more common as adventurers became a fixture of the economy. Hirelings, specialty tools, maybe a very specific form of healthcare?

I think that gives us the spark we need! And so, we begin.

The Adventuring Game

Thanks Pinterest

When a grave-robber who is dirt-caked and bleeding from the flank decides to settle with their loot in town, that town will one day become a city. Collecting adventurers like snow in a ball, as the wealth accumulates and builds this community, lots of people come to take some sliver of the pie. Here are just a few.

Hireling Guilds

Originally the term was derogatory, but somewhere along the line people just adopted it. The line of adventuring demands many lives and well-beings be sacrificed in the name of deeper levels. The most common structure is a rank system, based on the missions returned from, your reviews from actual minted adventurers, and your general aptitude for tasks. Higher ranks receive higher portions of the profits after the Guild's cut. Its a supremely competitive field, and hirelings die just as often to each other as to dungeons. Eugenics are practiced, if the society knows what that is. Think the No More Heroes assassin ranking system mixed with intern/mentorship programs.

d12Hireling QuirkGimmickDemeanorRank
1.Never makes eye contact.Hide in shadows, literally.Anxious.I
2.Constantly baring teeth.Acts like an animal, buck naked.Wild.II
3.Smug at all times.Faux gold and gems, finery.Bombastic.III
4.Disgustingly obese.Operates via telekinesis.Condescending.IV
5.Pulsating blood vessels.Voice carries for a mile.ANGRY.V
6.Too clingy.Can become a thought-form.Affectionate.VI
7.Doesn't speak the lingua franca.Can appear as any human.Confused.VII
8.Freezing cold.Undead costume, carries rotting meat.Morose.VIII
9.Does not emote.Artificial, save for heart and brain.Calculated.IX
10.Glittering smile.Can avoid sure death, once.Optimistic.X
11.Way younger than any other member.Strength of a Greek hero, but no combat prowess.Naive.XI
12.Sunglasses, whether era appropriate or not.Best sword-fighter in the guild.Overly Confident.XII

Identify, Archaeology and You

As mystical artifacts and remnants of bygone civilizations piled up, somebody realized there was more money to be made here than just the material worth showed. Now there are stalls all over that are just as talented at Academic Research and Library Use as they are at Barter. It's kind of odd not to try and up-sell to the bigger brained customers, with just a little bit of a tale. Of course, after all this time, people are wary of false history. IDs, qualifications and true honest-to-gods knowledge are standard affair. Most vendors will be a fine source of very specialized research. Imagine the salesman at the beginning of Disney's Aladdin combined with your glasses-wearing anime stereotype.

d6At this stall, you find...
1.Endless Marvel - A lithe, quiet cat person. Specializes in interpersonal histories and genealogy, favors trinkets and baubles with dramatic stories. Comes alive when reciting an item's tale.
2.Marosk - Wrinkly dwarf, like a Shar Pei. More of a physicist than a historian, has a mighty weapons collection. Currently working on the perfect siege engine.
3.Phineas Addington - Collector of the Ancient Empire. Specializes in that culture, but has a soft spot for architectural features. Fountains especially.
4.Florian - An artist, running a museum/auction house. Willing to put forth bizarre amounts of money up for authentic and undamaged pieces, but has equally bizarre standards.
5.Zander - Warm and kindly. Researching ancient lifestyles to improve conditions back home. Will happily take any practical artifacts like cutlery or furniture.
6.<3 - A masked figure completely concealed in cloth. Deals only in barter, and will not accept currency. Has a knack for magical objects.

Funerary Opulence

This maybe isn't so unusual, but when you have a wealth of people dying in their work, you gotta make good arrangements for their bodies. Depending on traditions, services cover many bases, and there is legal coverage for most obscure requests. Scattering ashes in otherwise private property, stringing the body up on a spire, hiding body parts in cabinets. Making light of death is one of many ways this society has coped with constant loss.

Extravagant Coffins are common, preservation of the corpse through magic slightly less so, and there are plenty of middlemen that scrape what cash they can get away with from the next-of-kin. Money is good.

With death so pervasive, you'll hear about some pretty bizarre cases. These are going on right now, if your players are interested in investigating.

Vandals, Necromancers, or Stranger?

Modest adventurer from a small housing district has recently passed away, and in their will requested their body be coated in iron and made into a gargoyle over the center of their home.

One week has passed, and the body is nowhere to be found. Due to the festival held in their honor, the locals have no idea whether the body was installed at all. The adventurer's survivors have placed a mighty bounty on the corpse-statue.

I Stab At Thee

A talented wizard was recently removed from their position at the university. This wizard put their life into one last working, and cursed the headmasters of their former work. Their days are numbered.

Wizard favors are supremely rare, and this may be the only opportunity you get to meet these headmasters without years of study. Alternatively, there will be quite a power vacuum to be filled...

Your Own Medicine

A nasty string of tomb-robberies went down in the Dead District, all valuables stripped. Obviously, no one with any sense would sell relics back to the people who made and owned them, so the culprits will likely be in hiding before fleeing for distant lands.

Will you bring them to justice for one of the highest crimes in this place, join with the robbers for a share of the profits, or simply watch as history changes hands?

1 comment:

  1. very neat stuff.

    I think there might be "adventurer's insurance". Basically, semi retired adventurers who are "pre-hired" to go fetch bodies of party members who are partially (or entirely) slain in the dungeon. This is an expensive service, because not only you have to pay for these guys, you also have to have funds set aside in advance for raise dead spells and whatnots.

    I really liked the list of researchers/identifiers, that could be used in many games.