Monday, 21 July 2014

ἐμοιράσαντο, ἐμοιράσατο

The PCs have managed to get back to Emesa with their loot. In total they have:

130 silver coins
a pile of cheap jewellery (50SD for the lot)
a plain gold ring (50SD)
a silver knife with an ivory handle (350SD)
four bronze tripods (170SD each)
and a golden necklace, with a golden box containing an Orphic lamella (650SD)

Altogether it's worth 1910SD, which means the PCs have earned 1910xp as well (which makes 318xp each). But they won't necessarily manage to turn all their treasure into cash... or will they?

According to Katabasis' commerce rules, there is a maximum sale price for any single item. The price is determined by taking the average of the sellers CHA and EDU (INT), and consulting a chart. Nossis is best suited for this endeavour, having scores of 14 and 27, respectively. And, being who he is, Dicaearchos knows a guy, so they arrange a meeting in one of Emesa's less savoury klisea. It's such a nasty place that there should probably be a L1 SR on Fate (Luck) in order to avoid any problems. Dicaearchos makes that roll with ease.

They want to sell all the goods except for the Orphic amulet. Looking up Nossis' score of 20 on the table gives a maximum item sale price of 6000SD. So our charming hetaira sells everything at its full worth. Had Dicaearchos gone alone, his score of 10 would have meant that he couldn't get more than 60SD for any single item. The pair walk away with 1130SD (a lot of that is probably in gold drachmae, but even so it's not more than they can carry). Had Dicaearchos gone on his own, he'd only have come away with 400SD.

The party now have 1260SD to spend. The men do the manly thing and complete their ὅπλα (hopla, armour), buying all the pieces they lack. They would, of course, all like to become χαλκεοθώραξ (chalkeothorax, "with brazen breastplate"), but that would set them back 400SD per person -- more than they have right now. So they will have to make do. Eratosthenes buys a suit of heavy armour (120SD): scale armour with leather skirts and a pair of bronze greaves. He is now at least ἐυκνήμις (euknemis, "well-greaved"). Typhon does the same, and adds a helmet as well (150SD total) to finally become εὐκόρυθος (eukoruthos, "with beautiful helmet"). Nikias and Dicaearchos both buy impressively-plumed helms for themselves (30SD each), arguing over who is now the more εὐπήληξ (eupelex, "with fine helmet"). Astyanax needs a shield, so invests in an aspis (25SD). The others tease him that a Saian* must have his old one, found by a bush somewhere -- but this new one is no worse!

Whilst her friends are having an epic shopping session, Nossis goes across town and buys a magic staff (rhabdos). "Just like Circe used on Odysseus' men", swears the merchant, "when ῥάβδῳ πεπληγυῖα κατὰ συφεοῖσιν ἐέργνυ (having struck them with her staff, she confined them in the pig-sty [Hom. Od. 10.238])". A blatant lie of course. Circe would have had a deluxe staff, not a 100SD staff ordinaire.

Nossis also picks up 10 doses of real silphion (35SD each) whilst she's out, as the PCs are sure to need more healing when they return to the dungeon.

The PCs spend a total of 455SD on equipment, plus 350SD for the silphion. The rest of the treasure (another 455SD) is spent on food, lodging, and expiatory offerings at the temple of Zeus (Elgabal).

"O mighty Zeus... er, Baal! We humbly offer these sacrifices unto you. Please don't ask where we got the money for them"

οὕτω δὲ Μοῖρ᾽, ἅ τε πατρώιον
τῶνδ᾽ ἔχει τὸν εὔφρονα πότμον, θεόρτῳ σὺν ὄλβῳ
ἐπί τι καὶ πῆμ᾽ ἄγει παλιντράπελον ἄλλῳ χρόνῳ
-Pindar, Olympian Ode 2. 35-7

"For as Moira (Fate), who accords our mortal race their heritage of happy fortune, to their heaven-sent prosperity brings at another hour an opposite load of ill."

On my first reading of Katabasis, I confess to have skimmed over certain sections which  appeared to be standard T&T rules. In so doing, I missed the unusual nature of Fate (Luck), which varies from session to session. A character's starting Fate is generated by the usual 3d6 (TARO) roll, from which 10 is then subtracted; starting Fate can even be negative. At the beginning  of each game-session, 3d6 (TARO) are rolled and added to the characters base Fate value to determine their Fate for the game.

Amulets are very important. Depending on their value (in Silver Drachmae), an amulet provides both a bonus to the daily Fate roll and also assures a minimum value.

As an example Eratosthenes initially rolled a 13, so that gives him a base Fate of 3. He has a cheap (3SD) amulet, which gives him a +2 on his Fate rolls and assures his current Fate will never drop below 3 (not terribly comforting...). So, rolling 3d6 for the next phase of the adventure nets him a 10. The amulet raises this to 12. Adding to his starting value, he will descend once again into the dungeon with a Fate of 15. His combat adds are now (re-)determined using the current Fate value; STR 16, DEX 11, Fate 15 gives +7 total combat adds.

Dicaearchos is hanging onto the golden necklace with the Orphic lamella recovered from the dungeon. Its value of 650 drachmae gives him a +6 bonus with a minimum of 15.  He rolls a 14, +6 for the amulet, +5 for his base value: 25 Fate for the next session! He'll be doing better in combat too, with +14 total adds.

Astyanax, on the other hand, forgot to even buy an amulet. His base Fate is 1, and he only rolls a 7. His +1 from Strength is cancelled by the -1 from Fate, leaving him with no combat adds and a suspicion that the gods must hate him.

The rest of the party's final results, in brief:
Nikias: Fate 17, +21 adds
Nossis: Fate 15, +18 adds
Typhon: Fate 20, +21 adds

Next time, on a very special episode of Katabasis...

*The Archilochus reference in full:

“Ἀρχίλοχον τὸν ποιητὴν ἐν Λακεδαίμονι γενόμενον αὐτῦς ὥρας ἐδίωξαν, διότι ἐπέγνωσαν αὐτὸν πεποιηκότα ὡς κρεῖττόν ἐστιν ἀποβαλεῖν τὰ ὅπλα ἢ ἀποθανεῖν
    ἀσπίδι μὲν Σαΐων τις ἀγάλλεται, ἣν παρὰ θάμνῳ
    ἔντος ἀμώμητον κάλλιπον οὐκ ἐθέλων ·
    αὐτὸν δ᾽ ἔκ μ᾽ ἐσάωσα · τί μοι μέλει ἀσπὶς ἐκεινη ;
    ἐρρέτω · ἐξαῦτις κτήσομαι οὐ κακίω.”

-Plut. Lac. Inst.

“When the poet Archilochus visited Sparta he was driven out of the city at a moment's notice because they discovered that he had said in a poem that it was better to throw away one's arms than be slain:

    The shield I left because I must, poor blameless armament! beside a bush, gives joy now to some Saian,26 but myself I have saved. What care I for that shield? It shall go with a curse. I'll get me another e'en as good."

-Plutarch, Spartan Institutions

1 comment:

  1. (sing along)...

    "a-shopping we will go, a-shopping we will go; heigh ho the merry-o, a-shopping we will go."

    -- Jeff