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Grand Theft Arcana

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by Cheesecake, Apr 7, 2016.

  1. Cheesecake Savant

    Cheesecake
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    137
    You are the Barren Baron.

    At least, you are now. Your father was once the baron of the inaptly-named Autumn Hold. It seemed to be in perpetual winter, and whatever bounty that grew there was further plagued by bandits and unnatural beasts. Your neighbors were anything but neighborly, extorting your weak-willed father and his tenants. For decades, Autumn Hold's only source of income was its brothels and illegal scrolls and potions.

    You'd had it in your mind, as a young boy, to raise Autumn Hold from the cesspit of crime it was and is. Now, you think differently. Many other baronies, counties, and duchies find themselves ensnared in the same cesspit as Autumn Hold, and now potions-trafficking, spell-dealing and wizards-for-hire are the only ways for survival.

    Your father was a good-hearted man, driven to crime through desperation. He was found dead in his carriage, killed in a drive-by by your neighbor and nemesis, the Black Iron dwarf gang.

    Now it befalls you to keep you and yours from harm, whatever it takes.

    ----

    You are:
    A. The firstborn son, groomed to take over before you could walk. Your charm has gotten you out of many a sticky situation, from a 'misunderstanding' with an orc scrolldealer, to conning a halfling gang out of their shipment of illegal spellbooks. Your silver tongue can mend the deepest wounds, and start the bitterest wars.

    B. The secondborn son. Your elder brother, tragic and 'timely' his passing was, was the tongue of the trio of brothers. You were the brains. You had a knack for spells, at half the age when wizards develop their abilities. You gained a notorious rep for being the fastest spellslinger in the county, perhaps even the duchy. Your constant usage of magic, however, has gotten you a nasty need for mana potions, but it's a small price to pay for your magic.

    C. The lastborn son, the prodigal child, the black sheep. When you learned you would be left with nothing, that was when you decided you would rather be out with the commoners than with nobility. After all, the streets had more to offer than the court of your family. You made a reputation, as well as gold, as the leader of your own gang. When you were the only heir left, you realized the streets had groomed you into a worthier lord than your silver-tongued brother and the brainiac one.

    ----

    In your father's will, apart from the inheritance of land, wealth, and titles, he bequeathed to you:

    A. A military-grade spellbook, with devastating incantations and a wealth of magical knowledge.
    B. A wizard's hat with a very pointy tip. Reputed to have belonged to a powerful warlock, and is a very, very valuable collector's item.
    C. A rare and illegal crystal ball. It is imbued with powerful scrying magic, allowing you to look and listen to what others want to hide.
    D. A dragon's egg. According to the local legend of Autumn Hold, it's been in your family for a century. Perhaps it will hatch now?
    E. An unsigned contract, with a blank box for the target. A contract for the Black Knight, one of the most feared hitmen in the kingdom. It's reasonable your father never used it, but how he came to have a contract for the Black Knight is a mystery.
     
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  2. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    4,711
    The lastborn son seems to be the most intriguing of the three, though I like A as well. Kinda sick of dorky mages, so I'd prefer to avoid B. As for the second choice, C seems cool and the perfect tool for a budding crime boss who relies on his wits, but E is just really fucking great as well. Having Anton Chigurh on retainer is a whole lot more interesting to me in terms of narrative options and strategy than the spell book, which just seems so dull in comparison.

    CE > CC
     
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  3. hello friend Arcane

    hello friend
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2012
    Messages:
    5,264
    Location:
    I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
    same
     
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  4. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,802
    Location:
    Vicksburg
    I'll have to go with CC. Looking at everyone's hidden secrets is a tremendous power, one that I think should prove more powerful than getting a dragon to devour our foes or the magic to burn them to death. Though those are nice features too, obviously.
     
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  5. Random Word Arbiter Patron

    Random Word
    Joined:
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    320
    MCA Project: Eternity
  6. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    22,064
    B. C.

    The crystal ball is the most valuable item there, and a drug addict mage who killed his brother is quite vicious.
     
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  7. Cheesecake Savant

    Cheesecake
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    137
    A:
    B: Kz3r0, 1
    C: Esquilax, hello friend, Kipeci, Random Word, 4

    C. The lastborn son, the prodigal child, the black sheep.

    A:
    B:
    C: (Esquilax), Kipeci, Random Word, Kz3r0, 3(4)
    D:
    E: Esquilax, hello friend, 2

    C. A rare and illegal crystal ball.

    You loaf about in your courtroom, sniffing mana and sharing a joke with your gang, the Barren Fall. Since your ascension to baron, you replaced your father's old courtiers with your own gang, those you trusted, those fit to rule the streets, not the ballroom. Once, you had to hide your status as the gangleader from your lord father, but now that you are baron, you are free to rule both your peasants and gang openly.

    The King's justice, his King's Men, was already corrupt in Autumn Hold. Your father refused to pay his dues to them, which might have had a part to his demise. You on the other hand, wisely and willingly pay them monthly, to ensure only the Barren Fall rule in Autumn Hold, and that your shipments export and import without harassment. A few King's Men are even with you, sharing a potion or two and sniffing mana.

    For a week, you've sat in your throne, snuggled in luxurious silks and furs, without a care in the world. Until now.

    Your right hand, a half-orc named Gruust, bursts into your chamber. His already bestial face made even more fierce by his furious expression. "We broke," he says, matter-of-factly.

    You smirk, arching a brow. "Broke? My friend, I've inherited all of the wealth, now that those two pests are out of the way. I doubt we've reduced my family's fortune to coppers in a week."

    A shadow slips behind Gruust, a whimpering halfling called (to his dismay) Little Lil. "H-He's right, my lord. Our current operations, with the tithes the peasants make, can't catch up to the costs."

    "We need step up game," Gruust says, "focus activities. One big business. Not many puny operations."

    What a way to ruin the day. "Well, any ideas?"

    "Spell-dealing. Is good gold. Magic-missiles in demand, fireballs too." Gruust scratches his chin. "Also tighten grip on peasantry. Ask more for protection. Gambling too."

    "I-I suggest potion and mana trafficking. I'm this close to a breakthrough, I promise!" Little Lil and his legion of inbred brothers are your main source of mana. He's been promising you a signature potion that could potentially uplift Autumn Hold and the Barren Fall for months, and perhaps with some more funding, he could pull through.

    "Hey, baby, don't forget all the goodies we give you." Your half-elf girlfriend and your steward for all the brothels, Mage, tousles her hair. "Spells and ODing on mana means less customers. Us women of the night, we make new customers every nine months, you know?"

    The King's Men sergeant clears his throat. "The roads is awful dangerous, no? We King's Men, we protect all them carriages and caravans, with all their goods and gold. But we King's Men are only men. We can't help everyone, no?" He gives an unsettling smile with his rotten teeth. "Accidents happen."

    ----

    You decide to focus your funding on:

    A. Spell-dealing; arming gangs all around the kingdom and beyond, from the humble magic-missile, to military grade wands and even staves.
    B. Extortion; protection from who? Protection from you.
    C. Gambling; everyone has their vices.
    D. Mana; some vices are worse than others, and costlier.
    E. Brothels; who says you can't buy love?
    F. Banditry; if you're not bothered to make, then take.
     
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  8. Kipeci Magister

    Kipeci
    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,802
    Location:
    Vicksburg
    I like F > E.
     
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  9. Azira Arcane Patron

    Azira
    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2004
    Messages:
    7,800
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Codex 2012
    Littlefinger?

    E
     
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  10. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    4,711
    Cheesecake, are some of these avenues more lucrative than others? For example, I could definitely see how hitting caravans and selling dope would make more money than running a protection racket. On the other hand, it's far riskier, and for the crime boss who wants to appear legit and respectable, maybe brothels and casinos are a better avenue for that. However, I see our guy, having come up from the mean streets, to have a bit more thug in him than the other backgrounds. He's more Tony Montana than he is Vito Corleone (well, at least for now).

    To that end, I like slinging dope, armed robbery and running guns the best, in that order.

    C > F > A
     
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  11. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
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    4,711
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  12. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
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    Messages:
    8,746
    I passed this over since I've been busy, but I'm digging the fantasy crime scene! Count me in.
    Yeah, let's traffic weapons, Nicolas Cage style.
    A
    [​IMG]
     
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  13. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    10,652
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Nowadays I only show up on Codex for Overlord and tranny Baldur's Gate threads.

    But hey, the premise sounds nice. Might as well.

    E.

    Brothels and banditry appeal most to me. Why lower yourself to mana trafficing when you can do human one?
     
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  14. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
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    Because mana trafficking is lower profile, I assume. It's like drugs, everyone knows they're around, but as long as you don't overstep the unwritten rules, you're in the clear. Human trafficking can get a bit complicated.
     
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  15. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Eh. No one counts peasants.
     
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  16. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
    Joined:
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    8,746
    Yeah, and then someone higher than a peasant gets involved, or some peasants happen to wonder where their family went and band together, etc...
    I'm not saying that human trafficking is an unsound investment, but we just gotta keep in mind that, when directly meddling with human lives, people will fight back. Not worth the headache, in my opinion.
    And God help us if we somehow kidnap this universe's daughter of Liam Neeson.
     
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  17. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
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    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Liam Neeson got nothing on scrying ball! :outrage:
     
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  18. Esquilax Arcane

    Esquilax
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
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    4,711
    I don't want a low profile (well, within reason). I want to be a gangster who does gangster shit, rather than a guy who wants to go legit. More Avon Barksdale and less Stringer Bell. Obviously I don't want to be some maniac who pisses off to many of the wrong people and inevitably gets whacked for being too much of a loose cannon - like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas/Casino - but I would rather prefer to involve ourselves in outright illegal ventures rather than in "respectable" activities that you can paint as legitimate (i.e. gambling, brothels).

    Besides, we have a bit of free reign:

    Obviously, hitting caravans and smuggling illegal arms will piss off those not in our employ greatly, but the fact that we're in a position of status now at least means that we have more leeway to involve ourselves in operations that we otherwise wouldn't have been able to. And honestly, the idea of robbing our fellow baron's caravans with the help of our scrying orb from right under their noses while simultaneously telling them we'll hang those responsible for such a despicable act is just too deliciously evil to pass up.
     
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  19. Storyfag Arcane

    Storyfag
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2011
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    5,570
    Location:
    A Dark Place

    I'm sold. A.
     
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  20. Space Insect Arcane

    Space Insect
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    868
    Location:
    Shaggai
    E.
    Get some high class customers with our women and wine and they will spill their secrets like a drunk spills, well, secrets.
     
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  21. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Messages:
    14,583
    Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    B>C
     
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  22. Cheesecake Savant

    Cheesecake
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    137
    Counting votes!
     
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  23. Cheesecake Savant

    Cheesecake
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    Messages:
    137
    A: (Esquilax), Baltika9, Storyfag, 2(3)
    B: ERYFKRAD, 1
    C: Kz3r0, Esquilax, (ERYFKRAD), 2(3)
    D:
    E: (Kipeci), Azira, Nevill, Space Insect, 3(4)
    F: Kipeci, Gobblecock, (Esquilax), 2(3)

    E. Brothels; who says you can't buy love?

    "You're right, my love," you say, kissing Mage intimately. "I get to go free, yes?" you ask, with a wry smile.

    You task Little Lil with the withdrawing of gang and fief funds from other ventures and to pool them into Mage's conglomerate of brothels. She promises to increase profits by 10% at the end of the month.

    "A few of the girls could use those breast inflation incantations. Don't worry, my sweet, your trust isn't misplaced."

    You give your signature scowl, your 'business face'. "I hope not." You soften the warning with a kiss to her forehead.

    ----

    Your other ventures were not so pleased with you withdrawing your funding. The arms dealers, while fuming, are under control thanks to your right-hand, Gruust's, leadership. Little Lil's brothers are idiots, and Lil is too terrified to move against you. It is the King's Men who pose a threat. While you still pay dues to them, you placing your trust in a whore rather than them is, in their eyes, an insult. The mana dealers may rally as well. On the other hand, the peasantry is relieved that you've stopped supporting the racketeers.

    While suffering through the tedium of barony policies and governing, a haggard wench, bloodied and bruised, enters your court. "Milord! Milord, please! Some vandals are in me home, me brothel. They broke our furniture, they did. And they hurt me and me girls! Hopped on mana, they was! Please, milord, protect us!"

    "What did these criminals look like, woman?"

    She describes them, and when she's done you recognize them as your own gangmembers, insignia and all. Mana dealers.

    ----

    You follow the woman back to her brothel, with Gruust by your side. The two-story shack is an opera house of shattering glass and frantic screaming. The scent of mana grows stronger as you come near. A bluish smoke blows out of singed holes in the wall and doors; it seems magic-missiles were fired. Through a shattered window, shapeless lumps of wood and cloth litter the bloody floor. Curses, shouts, and screams come from upstairs, a violent melody.

    Gruust readies his wand, polished and primed. You ready yours as well. The woman, sobbing, hides behind a fallen table as a bang goes off.

    "Damn trigger-happy fools!" you curse. You give Gruust a nod and head upstairs.

    Down the hallway of the second floor, three Barren thugs have their wands pointed into a room, on each of their faces a manic, depraved smile. Their eyes shine bright blue, from dangerous amounts of mana. From within the room, comes screams of different voices.

    You decide to:

    A. Get their attention first, convince them as gang leader and baron to lay down their arms. It would not do to have infighting within the Barren Fall.
    B. Fire a non-lethal magic-missile and subdue them. These idiots might not listen to reason.
    C. Engage them. You and Gruust are two of the best shots in the gang. Try to subdue them but kill if necessary.
    D. Kill them. You can't cover their asses. Not after what they did to one of your girlfriend's businesses.
    E. Something else: ___

    Amadeus Autumn, Baron of Autumn Hold, Gangleader of the Barren Fall. Known as the Barren Baron.

    Fit for his age, and taller than most. His hair is the color of autumn leaves, his eyes as green as spring. His features are pale and sunken, like many users of mana.

    His skill with magic is remarkable, owing to the fact that he has never had formal training as his brothers had. He is a crack shot with a wand. He can hold his own in a tavern brawl. He is unskilled with swords, and being armored is uncomfortable for him.

    His lack of formal education means that he is unwise in the way of nobility, and of academics. However, he is a natural leader, and streetwise. He is a poor tactician, in matters of war, but quite the opposite in the ways of crime.

    ----

    His holdings are Autumn Hold and all its lands. The land is infamous for its sterility, and few crops grow there. The peasantry live off the rivers and lakes, as fishermen and fishmongers. Some live off the forests, daring to go where bandits and beasts lurk, harvesting wood for fire and woodcraft.

    On the whole, Autumn Hold is poor, with taxes of 20,000 gold pieces every month.

    His criminal ventures are Mage's conglomerate of brothels. Fishermen coming into the Hold from their villages spend their hard-earned coin for a warm night. His profits average 10,000 gold pieces every month.

    His total income is 30,000 gold pieces monthly.

    ----

    He owes the King 30% of his wealth, and pays 20% in protection money to the Queen. He pays 1,000 in bribes to the local King's Men.

    His dues are 9,000 to the King, 3,000 to the Queen, 1,000 to the local King's Men, and 1,000 in upkeep. His dues total 14,000 gold pieces every month.

    ----

    His treasury currently holds 1,000 gold pieces. In his personal belongings, he has his father's armor, his eldest brother's sword, his elder brother's wand, and a contraband crystal ball.
     
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  24. Nevill Arcane

    Nevill
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    10,652
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    NOBODY HURTS OUR WHORES!!

    C. Engage them. You and Gruust are two of the best shots in the gang. Try to subdue them but kill if necessary.

    Get them alive and them beat them senseless. Then beat them some more for good measure.
     
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