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Threshold Black Marketby Irving Galvez from Threshold Magazine issue 22
From the diary of Titius Ciceron.
I decided to travel from the town of Verge to Threshold. Traveling on rainy days made my trip longer than normal. When I finally arrived, it was already night. The guards at the entrance asked me to hand over my dagger, as no weapons were permitted at the town and they advised me to be careful because the night could bring problems to people who were not used to it. I walked into the town in search of an inn where I could spend the night. I was hungry, and in dire need of a hot meal and a good beer. I approached two gentlemen who were at a corner and asked if they could recommend an inn. They told me I could go to the old quarter at the Silver Dragon Inn. As I walked away from them, I felt a blow to my head and fell to the ground.
The next day I woke up with the town guards, they told me they had found me unconscious lying in the street. I noticed immediately that I was missing my gold coins and my spellbook. Luckily, I always kept some money in my boots, but I needed to find my spellbook. Worried I asked the guards if anyone had given notice what had happened to me and told me that Boris Dubnov had found me on the ground. Boris was the owner of a Flower Shop “The Tulip” that was near the corner where I had been assaulted. I went to the store and asked for Boris. He immediately recognized me and asked me if I was well. I thanked him for helping and told him that they had stolen something of great value to me. I further explained the object that was stolen from me was something that couldn't be sold easily. I ask for his help to find a place where they could sell uncommon or semi-legal things. Boris quietly asked me to look for him in the afternoon, and that he would ask people about such a place. I left the store and went to the inn that was recommended by the people who assaulted me.
Caption: Map by Sean Robert Meaney
In the afternoon I returned to Boris and he invited me to take a meal with him in the Silver Dragon Inn. He then told me that there was a place on Fogor Isle where it was very likely that I could find what I was looking but was not a very safe place. He told me to go to the first bridge to Fogor Isle, and that before fully crossing the bridge, there should be a guy name Camillus the Beggar sitting on the ground against the railing. Boris added that I had to give him 20 gold coins, without saying anything. I thanked Boris, left the inn, and walked by the Main Road toward the bridge. When I saw the beggar, as explained I took out 20 gold coins and put them in Camillus' hand. He didn’t look at either the money nor at me. I waited nearby until there was no movement in the street and he approached and told me to cross the bridge and walk two blocks and turn right, at the end of the alley was the Dark Alley Tavern. He instructed me to enter and walk directly to Julianus Statius the tavern keeper. When in front of him, I had to ask for a blue beer.
Julianus stared at me, he told me the beer cost 20 gold coins and he served me an empty beer mug. At the bottom of the jar was a key, and with his eyes, he directed me to some curtains. He told me that after entering I had to leave the jar outside the door. I walked through the curtains, and I saw a long corridor with a door at the end. I took out the key, opened the door and left the beer mug with the key outside. I entered the room and closed the door behind me. The room had many mirrors on the walls and there was a written phrase that said, "The answer you are looking is not in the reflection of your mind." One by one I observed the mirrors in detail until finally, I saw that one did not show my reflection. I touched it with some trepidation and noticed that it was a door which was painted as if it were a mirror. I open the fake door and saw there were stairs that going down. Immediately as I entered the stairs i noticed a fetid stench, as these stairs led to the town sewers.
Entering the sewers, I saw that there were people walking towards the end of that duct, from another entrance. There was what looked like the entrance to a cave where people went in and out. I walked up there, and a hooded guard searched me for any kind of weapon. I entered the cave and I was amazed to see that there was a small market. They sold all sorts of things as strange creatures, parts of monsters and humanoids, spells and difficult to find potion components, different types of poisons, weapons, and armor evidently stolen. They also offered services for robbery, hired assassins, spies, extortionists, and sabotage. I asked a random person where I could find books, and he told me to go and see Mikhail Sarev in the corner next to the armor dealer. It took a while, yet when I found Mr. Sarev, the first thing I saw at his table was my spellbook. I asked him the price, but he told me I couldn’t afford that. A little mad I told him that the book was mine, that yesterday it was stolen from my possession. He repeated that I could not afford it and that he needed to recover some money. The only thing I had was an old family ring, that I knew it had some value. I removed it from my finger and offered the ring to him. He took a close look to it, nodded grumpily handing my spellbook back. Afraid of all the bad looking guys there, I rushed my way back out and almost sprinted all the way back to the inn.
The Dark Alley Tavern
[Map: Dark Alley tavern]
Caption: Made by Irving Galvez with The Calamus (http://www.trapstreetstudios.com/theCalamus/about)
This is one of the most infamous taverns in Threshold, if you aren’t known on Fogor Isle then it’s likely that you will disappear after entering the tavern never to be heard from again. This tavern is one of many hideouts for the Kingdom of Thieves. Many things stolen all over Karameikos end up here to be sold underneath the tavern.
The tavern has a particular memorable scent of old humid wood. It is a medium tavern with a bar and 6 big wooden tables. It has a restroom and an red curtain on one of the walls. Passing through the curtain leads to a short corridor with a single locked door at the end. This door opens to the Mirror Room which is the entrance to the Black Market.
Mikhail Sarev is the tavern keeper but also the keyholder to the mirror room. During daytime it isn’t that dangerous to enter and have some drinks, as it functions only as a tavern. Cheap meals and even cheaper beer are sold here. By night the Black Market is open to people that want to do business. Members of the Kingdom of Thieves patrol nearby streets and alleys near the tavern. Inside the tavern, they normally occupy one table to watch for incoming people. Asking Mikhail for the blue beer and giving the exact amount of coins means that person has already talked to Julianus. The number of coins changes every day, so giving the wrong amount of coins this spells doom, and it is not uncommon that someone will find your body by the sewers or at some part of the Fogor Isle waters.
The Mirror Room is the enigmatic entrance to the black market. The room is filled completely with mirrors from roof to floor. There is a single space on the walls where a fake mirror is painted, this is the door down to the sewers.
[Map: Black Market]
Caption: Made by Irving Galvez with The Calamus (http://www.trapstreetstudios.com/theCalamus/about)
Upon entering the sewers the corridor leads you to a passage north or south. Taking the south corridor takes you to the river between Fogor Isle and Main Threshold. Going north is the entrance to a stone carved cavern where the black market is. To enter the market guards search you and take all your weapons. When you finish your business on the market they return them to you.
Rules inside the Black Market.
1.- No weapon allowed.
2.- No thievery.
3.- Respect merchants.
4.- Only cash, gems or jewelry (no item exchange).
5.- No refunds, check what you are buying.
6.- No fighting inside the market.
7.- Obey the guards.
Punishment ranges from escorting people out of the market, being beaten by the guards or even killed depending on the rule broken and how it was broken.
What can be found in the black market?
-Exotic weapons and armor
-Exotic alchemist components
-Fake official documents
-Smuggler illegal goods
Personalities of the Black Market
Julianus the beggar
Thief level 5 Chaotic
He is a man of very short stature and about 40 years old. He has brown hair and a beard. He usually wears dirty torn clothes and smells bad. He doesn’t speak a lot and usually answers very sharply. He only has a dagger with him which he usually coats with poison (SV Poison or suffer 20 damage at 2/round, successful save only gives 8 damage at 1/round). In a conflict situation, he seeks to hide in the shadows and surprise attacking in the back. Every day he will be sitting on the first bridge towards Fogor Isle and he knows the exact amount of coins that must be delivered to Sarev in the tavern.
Fighter level 6 Chaotic
Sarev is a former town guard. After working for 20 years, he was fired for being found guilty of collaborating with criminals. They gave him the opportunity to work directly for them. Now retired, he works as a tavern keeper. He is a man of medium height and fat. He is 50 years old and is bald but wears a goatee and mustache. With his always grumpy face and bad attitude he attends to the people in the tavern. He is in charge of the key to the mirror room. If you don’t give him the exact number of coins, after order a blue mug of beer, he sends a signal to the guards who normally are nearby at a table. He is an expert in the bastard sword and will help the guards if he is needed.
Thief level 10 Chaotic
He is in charge of the black market overseeing all the operations inside and outside the market. He commands the guards of the area and monitors the operations within the market. He is a tall but thin man. He is very charismatic and is very skilled at persuading people. He has long black hair, and he is always armed with a sword (Master), and wears black leather armor +2. Although he is very polite he tends to finish any argument with bloodsheed. He is very orderly and does not allow mistakes. If someone makes a mistake, or breaks a rule, they do not live to have another chance.