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Month Index: November, 1994

From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Sat, 26 Nov 94 16:19 PST
Subject:  Re: Spelljammer Magitech
Here are a few more simple magical gadgets I think would be fairly common
in many Spelljammer campaigns.

Thrall collars.  Using a combination of Wizard Lock, magic mouth, and
one of Fire Trap, Explosive Runes, Glyph of Warding, a collar that
is locked onto a slave's neck and explodes if someone attempts to remove

A slave who is hiding can be easily found by a detect magic.  Also, the
magic mouth may give them away.  Further, if the collar is somehow removed
and the slave survives, the burn scaring around their neck may make it hard
for them to escape completely.

Explosive Bolts.  With an enchant item spell, and Explosive runes, it would
be fairly easy to create a one-charge explosive arrow, that detonates on
impact instead of upon unauthorized reading.  Imagine a small ships with
Invisibility 10' Radius 'decloaking' with ten crossbows set to go off as
one with these nasties on board.  At 6d4 +6 each, 8 hit equals ~170 hit
points, or 17 hull points of fire damage.

Granted it takes virtually forever to reload, but for a first strike
capability that doesn't weigh much or require much magical talent...

Anther idea:
Magic based currency:
The Wizard Mark.  Here is a currency that can only be created by a mage,
and can be verified only by a mage or cleric.  Except for the absurdly
expensive material component, 100gp worth of diamond dust this simple
_permanent_ spell could form the basis of a sound currency.  Perhaps
a diamond tipped stylus could accomplish the same feat without being
expended in use.

In addition to being made by magic, perhaps it is backed by magic, with
an exchange rate based on the purchase of magical services.  One Wizard
Piece could buy one days magical service, for example.  This idea comes
from an old Larry Niven book called _Flying Sorcerors_ where the whole
idea of currency came about from tokens representing a spell owed by the
village mage.

Perhaps different magical schools, conjurors, diviners etc... issue different
magical service currencies, with an exchange rate between them.  An
evening's entertainment with Spectral Force might cost the same as a mage
on stand by with a Fireball, Detect Lie or Tongues spell.

Imagine the guild service broker, "Why yes, we have a wide selection of
invoker spells today, Gandalf there is offering a discount 2 for 1 on
Remove Curse and Dispel Magics.  Curses and Polymorph others are up since
the new magical assault laws came out, but Merlin has a great new line of
magical practical jokes that comes just shy of them.  For household uses,
Morgana the witch has a nice selection of Light spells, and magical security,
including magical wards that only have to be renewed thrice a day.  In
personal protection we have both Armor and Illusionary Mail in stock.  Now,
how may we be of service?"

I imagine that 90% of all mages in a Spelljamming level universe are
middle class storefront level mages.  They rarely have more than one
combat spell memorized, or even known, and have more interest in creature
comforts than combating demons or high level magic.  7th level and higher
form the basis of the magical economy, with Spells like Enchant Item,
Magic Mirror-Message combo,   (oops, Enchant is a _6th_ level spell, I
was looking at Enchant Weapon, duh.)  and Polymorph Other, a cheap
supply of Hippogryphs.

Here is an idea for people looking for a nonstandard magic item.  Imagine a
resort area based around pools which restore lost _Constitution_.  After
a strenuous creation of a powerful magical item, mages relax here for a
week or a month until the Constitution loss from the Permanency Spell is
abated.  More permanent magical items could be produced in the lifetime of
a mage that way.  Perhaps the font requires a 14th level Priest to maintain,
and is quite expensive.

In a magic based economy, there must be enough work for the apprentice to
pay for and encourage continued devotion to the craft.  From scribe
work involving Copying spell books, to Wizard Marks and detect magics (a
cheap way to check to see if an item advertized as magical actually _is_,
short of wasting a charge, reading the scroll etc...) to industrial
uses like Mending, Levitation, Continual Light, to entertainment with
light shows and stage magic, to magical protections like Armor, Alarm,
Magic Mouth there will always be employment for the mage who isn't shy
about getting their hands dirty and charging below market rate.

Wizard Marks also make great Passports, licenses, and document verifiers.
Instead of just sealing a packet, a courier may have a wizard Wizard Lock
it, and have Explosive runes set to detonate if someone casts Knock on
the packet or cuts the lining.  Only an authorized customs agent could
open the passport to check the Wizard Mark.  Magical Comm crystals could
come equiped with all sorts of magical ID checks, especially ESP.

Devices to protect against Magical Scrying and ESP would sell very well,
and might be a standard con job.  After all, how do you prove that you
can't be found or probed?  Hire a mage to check?  Enter your partner, the
'licensed' diviner mage.

I'd like to hear your ideas for how magic is used everyday in a Spelljammer
level magic society!

Michael Sandy

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