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Limited collectors' editions of the works of Bargle the Infamousby Steven Miller
"Gentlebeings, take notice! Through special arrangement with Bargle the Infamous, renowned self-made archwizard, the BeB Magic Company presents the gift for the adventurer who has everything: Limited edition sets of the most popular magical rings and books to spring from his singular genius.
"Available now is _The Bargle Magical Ring Collection: Series One_ and _The Bargle Magical Ring Collection: Series Two._ Each set of five rings comes in a handsome, silk-lined oak box that complements any trophy chamber. Only 50 sets will be produced, at which point the secrets to their creation will be destroyed. Each ring is individually numbered, and the first 25 orders will receive a pamphlet penned by Bargle himself that describes the rings in detail.
"Also available are collector's editions of Bargle's best-selling self-help books. _Social Advancement Through the Selective Use of_ Charm_ and_ Disintegrate_ Spells, Bringing Out the Wizard in You: A Twelve Step Program,_ and _The Adventurer's Companion: The Do-It-Yourself Indestructible Spell Book,_ are all available in limited runs of 150. Each volume is autographed and hand-numbered by Bargle himself. As an additional bonus, the limited editions of _Bringing Out the Wizard in You_ and _The Adventurer's Companion_ contains spells that are being made available to the public for the first time!
"To order, or for additional information, contact your local _geased_ BeB Magic Company representative at the address on the bottom of this leaflet. Please allow six weeks to six months for delivery on the _Bargle Magical Ring Collections._ Books will be delivered in six to ten weeks. Rush deliveries, _teleported_ straight to your hometown in two weeks, are available for all items. Ask our local representative for details."
In the final days of 1010 AC, Bargle the Infamous left his post as magist to Baron Ludwig von Hendriks, taking with him the baronial treasury. The cunning wizard had long since seen the proverbial writing on the wall, and when Hendriks was defeated by forces of the Five Shires, Bargle took the opportunity to move on to bigger things. Shortly before the outbreak of the Great War that ravaged the Known World, Bargle had enjoyed some financial success by mass-producing self-help books on a magical printing press of his own design. Using the money stolen from the treasury, he founded the BeB Magic Company in Darokin City and hired several wizards as assistants to try the same approach with magic rings and rebound left-over copies of his books. His primary marketing hook was that all these items were "limited editions" that were valuable for that reason alone.
By early 1012 AC, BeB exploded onto the scene with an advertising blitz throughout eastern Brun. Known World or MYSTARA(TM) player characters can't help but encounter BeB Magic Company products and sales representatives.
If PCs seek out a BeB representative (or if one seeks them out - adventurers with bulging pockets attract them like flies to honey) he describes the Bargle limited editions in the most glowing of terms. He emphasises the novelty and uniqueness of these rare magical treasures. ("Even the Emperor of Thyatis doesn't own a Bargle ring!") If pressed by a pragmatic PC, he even tries to come up with practical uses for the rings, not always an easy feat. He never mentions flaws with the items, as he is often not even aware they exist. The books are self-selling . . . or not, depending on the PCs' disposition and sense of humour.
Prices are listed below, both for complete sets and individual rings. Unnumbered rings may be had individually, although only in extremely limited numbers, the salesman will claim, although this is untrue; Bargle has been making _rings of destruction_ for the Iron Ring for years. Rush deliveries cost 6,000 gp extra. It is therefore possible for the characters to encounter certain Bargle rings as part of a defeated villain's treasure.
_The Bargle Magical Ring Collection: Series One_ sells for 66,499 gp and _Series Two_ sells for 54,199 gp. ("You couldn't get it cheaper if you raided a treasure hoard!") However, as is true with all collectibles, price doesn't necessarily reflect utility.
Each ring has a serial number between 1-50 engraved on the inside, as well as other engravings as noted. If a PC purchases or otherwise acquires a complete set, each ring in that set will bear the same number. It also is possible for characters to encounter rings of any type with no marks at all - Bargle had made several before coming up with the gimmick of limited edition runs.
For purposes of dispelling, the rings from the _Bargle Magical Ring Collections_ range in effectiveness from 18th to 27th level (1d10+17). 18th level represents the least powerful of Bargle's assistants, 27th level is Bargle himself. Rings in a set were not necessarily enchanted by the same wizard, so the DM must roll individually for each. Special conditions are noted in the descriptions.
Invisible ring: This plain gold band is inscribed with the words "Invisible Ring." When worn, it becomes invisible. That's it, Sparky. The ring has no other function. _Dispel magic_ at any level makes the ring visible again (if you care). Cost: 1,000 gp.
Ring of destruction: This iron ring inflicts 1d6 points of magical damage per hour on the wearer until dead. Once death has occurred, the ring continues to inflict damage until the subject is at -20 hit points, at which time the corpse turns into a fine, chalky powder. Nothing short of a _wish_ can restore the individual to life if this occurs. A _dispel magic_ or _remove curse_ cast at any level is the only way to neutralise the _ring of destruction_ before the body becomes dust. Cost: 30,000 gp.
Ring of the eagle: Made from black onyx, this ring allows the wearer to _polymorph_ (as per the wizard spell, _polymorph self)_ into a black eagle, once per day for up to six hours. This item was originally commissioned by Baron von Hendriks (as the "Ring of Black Eagle".) He possesses the only one that will be found outside the collector's sets. Cost: 10,000 gp.
Ring of fashion: When commanded with the proper word ("snappy," as engraved on the inside of the ring,) this plain silver band replaces whatever the user is wearing with any desired outfit short of true armour. The clothes last until dispelled or the command word is uttered again, at which point the wearer's original garb returns. This device will not function if any type of armour is worn, and cannot produce any clothing that improves the wearer's armour class. Cost: 20,000 gp.
Note: One in six of the collector's edition _rings of fashion_ are faulty, due to their rushed production. Faulty rings have a 5% chance of dressing the user in a garish jester costume that lasts for 1d4 rounds. It then vanishes, leaving the wearer stark naked. Whatever clothes that were worn (including magical girdles, boots, cloaks, hats, etc.) are lost forever. Small pieces of jewellery, such as rings, are not affected. The faulty ring loses its enchantment after malfunctioning.
Ring of ideas: Made from tempered steel, the _ring of ideas_ enables the user to focus his mind (with a successful Intelligence check) and come up with an excellent idea (provided by the DM) relevant to the situation at hand. It has six uses. Cost: 8,000 gp.
Note: The _ring of ideas_ is the most unreliable of all items created by Bargle. Each time it is invoked, there is a 35% chance the user will be _confused_ and _feebleminded,_ as per the wizard spells. Only _cureall_ or _wish_ can reverse the effects.
Ring of circular curses: This ring is useable only by spell-casting characters. A single band looped twice and inscribed with "Power to Curse," it lets the wearer cast _curse_ 1d4 times per day. However, the curse will affect the caster as well as the target. Cost: 50,000 gp.
Ring of gender confusion: This gold ring, set with a large red stone is inscribed with "It's a Question of Self-Image." When it is put on, the wearer thinks his sex has been changed to the opposite. However, this is just a _delusion_ (as per the potion); those around the wearer will correctly claim that she is the same gender as always. The effected character will remain firm in his (her?) belief until subjected to a successful _dispel magic._ Cost: 10,000 gp.
Ring of impact: This brass ring gives +1 on the wearer's attack and damage rolls during hand-to-hand punching attacks. It also gives +1 to the target's knock-out check. (The optional hand-to-hand combat rules can be found on page 111 on the D&D(R) game's _Rules Cyclopaedia.)_ Cost: 15,000 gp.
Ring of kindness: This unadorned tin band causes the wearer to become kind-hearted to a fault. He will release prisoners, sell his property and give the money to a nearby orphanage or an unscrupulous character with a phoney tale of woe, and other acts of excessive kindness. A special version of _charm person,_ the ring's effect lasts 1d40 days minus the wearer's level, on a failed saving throw. The character is affected for 1d40 hours minus his level if the save is successful. _Dispel magic_ negates the effect. Upon recovery, the victim is likely to seek out whoever offered him that ring, hoping to take his losses out of the individual's hide. Cost: 5,000 gp.
Ring of languages: This platinum ring is engraved with the words "The Gift of Gab." The wearer can understand, read, write, and speak any language known by any creature within 60' of the ring. Cost: 5,000 gp.
Note: The limited edition variety of this ring also has a 10% chance of functioning as a _ring of truthfulness,_ due to the rushed process of creating them. This secondary function is undetectable by _analyse_ or _identify._
BeB touts Bargle's self-help books as the best-selling of their kind. This claim is true, as they are the only ones of their kind. No other mage would be brazen enough to put into writing how he rose from orphaned street urchin to powerful wizard without ever setting foot inside a magic school.
BeB salespeople point out the beautiful binding of the limited edition volumes, ("It's genuine synthetic dragon hide!") and mention the esteemed critics that commented on the 1004 AC mass-market editions.
Each book is 8"x11" and costs 150 gp. Page counts for individual volumes are given in the descriptions.
_Bringing Out the Wizard in You: A Twelve Step Program_ ("A masterpiece!" raved Otkel Shadowchaser of the _Alphatian Book Review): _ This 196-page book is part autobiography, part practical guide for working-class people trying to balance the day-to-day struggle of survival with magical studies. Using his own life-experiences as examples, Bargle provides an excellent series of stepping stones for the dedicated and talented peasant who's really a mage at heart.
Note: The limited edition of this book includes Bargle's first original spell, _interpret writings._ This 1st-level spell is a combination of _read magic_ and _read languages,_ and was created by Bargle soon after he stole his first magic primer at age 14. This less-than-successful reinvention of the wheel is only effective 50% of the time, whether cast on magical or non-magical script.
_Social Advancement Through the Selective Use of_ Charm_ and_ Disintegrate_ Spells_ ("The most significant work since Marl's `Enter the Purple Worm'," said A. Otto Erol of the _Glantrian Free Press): _ This 253-page book details how a mage might elevate himself from lowly hedge wizard to king and beyond. The author's preface states it is a philosophical work, intended to alert rulers to what a magist might be doing in the dark - not to inspire said magist to plot against his master. Nonetheless, this book was banned in Alphatia, Thyatis, and Wendar. On the other hand, in Glantri, Bargle was awarded an honorary degree from the Great School of Magic.
_The Adventurer's Companion: A Do-It-Yourself Indestructible Spell Book_ ("If I had known what I learned from this book, that fire elemental wouldn't have destroyed my spell book, and I'd still know how to cast _gelatinous cube to gello._ A must-have for all wizards and magic-using elves," said Alfric Tingard, editor-in-chief of _Ierendi Adventures Quarterly): _ This 60-page volume presents a series of anecdotal mishaps with spell books, and Bargle's research notes for a spell he's named steel spells. The purpose of this spell is to allow even wizards of limited power to turn spell books into small (one-inch diameter) virtually indestructible steel medallions. By uttering a command word, the medallion turns into a spell book and visa versa. Whereas the earlier editions of this book only provided readers with Bargle's research notes (thus requiring readers to come up with their versions of the spells,) the collector's edition provides the finished spell! ("As always, Bargle the Infamous is working for the betterment of wizards everywhere!")
Note: _steel spells_ is a 2nd-level spell that will indeed transform any spell book into a steel medallion (engraved with the symbol or words of the caster's choice.) A command word must be uttered to change the medallion to a book and back again. What isn't mentioned in _Adventurer's Companion,_ however, is that any _dispel magic_ attack, regardless of caster levels, will make the _steel spells_ enchantment irreversible. This, of course, is exceptionally inconvenient if the mage upon whom _dispel magic_ was cast happened to be wearing his transformed spell book around his neck. At DM's option, this flaw in the spell may be recognised by PCs who carefully read Bargle's research notes and make a successful Intelligence check.
Hopefully, DMs running magic-rich campaigns will find the BeB Magic Company a useful model for magic shops that carry anything but _girdles of giant strength_ - there's nothing like saddling the PC looking for a _ring of invisibility_ with an _invisible ring._ At the very least, there are one or two rings in this article that can shake up jaded players - and bring happy smiles to everyone's faces (or at least the DM's face).