Tuesday 12 September 2023

Hex Crawl 23 #240: A Useful Vendor on the Road

Ten hexes northwest, one north of Alakran.


Encounters along the tilted gargantuan paving stones of the ancient Road of Flowers are not always about swindles or robbery. Some of the people you meet can be useful. Such is the case with Sharyukin.

Sharyukin is a tall, slender man who dresses in silks and wears his hair up in an elaborate style, giving him a womanish look. His narrow eyes are steel-gray and he shades himself with a great green parasol. A vendor, his goods are all in and on a four-wheeled wooden cart, which is pushed diligently by a muscular, sun-baked, beetle-browed man who answers to "Turtak."

Sharyukin is a dabbler in the arcane, a hanger-on of wizards and witches, a sometimes fortune-teller and purveyor of dubious curses as well as relief from same (often as part of the same operation.) In short, he's a wozard-3 and Turtak, fighting with a wooden hammer and whip, is a barbarian-6.

Through luck, gods' grace, or some kind of astrological quirk, Sharyukin's cart will always hold the second-best thing to what the party needs. You might run into him when you need healing potions for the next adventure, and he offers you heroism or weapon resistance potions at the same price. Need torches, and he's got a little lamp with scented oil. Need armor, and he's got a fine shield.

His other trait is that in each city he visits, he knows exactly the right person to buy any curious or precious object. This, he never buys treasures in coin, but trades an object worth on to 1 1/2 times its worth for it, for he is sure to sell at 2 -3 times the book value. To this end he keeps treasures worth 2000, 1000, 500 and so forth gp. 

Finally, there are rumours of a curse that keeps robbers and thieves away from the cart. These happen to be  true; the cart contains an untouchable treasure, a gleaming black opal discreetly engraved with the old Urig characters for the Void. Touch it, and a wave of necrotic energies doing 20d6 damage erupts within a 20 foot radius, save (WIS DC16) for half damage.

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