Yahtzee Wrote a Book

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 16 Jun 2010 12:00
Op-Ed - RSS 2.0

     They'd certainly taken the message. Adventurers were everywhere. Loitering in the plaza chatting about nonsense, emerging from the shops wearing tacky multicolored armor fresh out of the wrapping. You could tell who had only just arrived, because their outfits were filthy with blood and gnoll guts.

     The gore-spattered new arrivals were all queuing up outside a building at the very point where the two northern branches of the Y intersected, a prime position where I'd expect to find a town hall. It was an unadorned building of well-polished black glass that seemed almost embarrassed by the elaborate fa├žades that rubbed its shoulders. The adventurers in the queue were clutching armfuls of dented gnoll equipment and clumps of foul-smelling offal. They would file into the main entrance and emerge moments later, relieved of their gnoll garbage and holding clinking bags of coins.

     I shrugged. I was new to the land, and there were no doubt a lot of weird local customs I was unaware of. Maybe gnoll offal was the primary ingredient of some popular local delicacy. I took a deep breath, shouldered my way back into the throng and, after a few more trips around the circle, managed to get onto the Street of Magic.

     I quickly found the kind of shop I was after: a pleasant little tailor's with garish star-patterned fabrics prominently featured in the window. Just outside the door stood an oily teenager in a smart, professional robe. His fixed smile looked like it was becoming painful.

     "Drelmere and sons, fine outfitters for the discerning magician!" he was shouting, his voice barely carrying over the hubbub. "Robes! Pointy hats! Beard grooming supplies! Yes, you sir, how can OH GOD HURRAAARRGLAB."

     I waited patiently for him to finish decorating the pavement with his stomach contents. "Sorry," he said, bent double and gulping. Impressively, he immediately continued his sales pitch from that position. "Looking for a new robe?"

     "Yes, this one's starting to whiff a bit."

     "Yes, I ... gathered that, sir." He took a few deep, groaning breaths into a star-patterned hanky and seemed to gather himself. "What sort of price range were you OH GOD YOUR EYES HURRAAARRGLAB."

     I tapped my now bile-sodden foot. "Shall I come back later?"

     "No!" he said very quickly, straightening up. "No, it's fine. We have a lovely selection of robes for a discerning ... person, from as little as 49 talans."

     "What's a talan?"

     He chuckled condescendingly. It would probably have been more effective without the sick all down his front. "The currency of Lolede, sir." When I didn't reply for a moment he added, "You need them to buy things."

     I resisted the urge to put on a show of searching my pockets, because I was afraid of what was currently living in them. "Excuse me a moment," I said. "I left my wallet in my carriage."

     I drifted back towards the village square, considering options. I didn't even know what a talan looked like. Most of the rural communities in Garethy got by on the barter system, and the closest thing to currency there was the turnip. And then, of course, as part of Dreadgrave's horde I'd gotten used to the "give us all your worldly goods or we'll set fire to you" system of economics.

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