The TriadCity Adventurer
TC Shopper's Guide, Part 1
Getting Started in the City
Month of Horses 24, Year of the Monkey 3
W hether you're a young adventurer getting your start five Dinars at a time or a high-roller with a few hundred thousand in the bank, one thing is for certain; you want your money to go as far as it possibly can. While there may be as many ways to make money as there are spider legs in the forest, when choosing where to buy your goods the choices are finite. In this guide I will set out a list of important items and the best places to acquire them, as well as lay out a few of the City's best-kept secrets for the experienced consumer. This article is mainly intended to offer direction to the newer visitors to the city, but experienced players may also find a tidbit or two for their enjoyment. Most of the recommendations here are "entry-level" suggestions. Better options than these exist, but at prices which keep them out of the reach of new arrivals. A future article may discuss "upgrading" one's equipment.
The first concept to understand about the city is that the sale pricing and return pricing policies vary primarily by Third. Goods of the exact same type may sell for dramatically less in the Northwest than they would in the South or the Northeast, with the prices in these latter two often reaching double what you would expect to pay in a NorthWest shop. Furthermore, when you are selling goods to a shopkeeper, if the store happens to buy the item you are selling (many stores do not buy even items which are on their normal sale list) you will get much better prices from NorthWest merchants than you would in the South or NorthEast. Northwest prices when buying new items are typically around 90% of the price that the merchant will ask for it. By contrast, in the NorthEast or South this ratio dips as low as 20%, and many merchants in these thirds simply do not buy items at all. Typically a shop only buys items appropriate to it. Thus, you can't sell running shoes at Justine's Jewellery, but you can sell them at Surefoot's shoes.
Thus, when shopping for a certain item, be certain to check the NorthWest first in order to potentially save yourself a bundle. However, do not be surprised to find that most high-end items, particularly electronic or computerized ones, are available only in the South, and that firearms and tobacco are sold exclusively in the NorthEast. Their array of specialized goods offered is what keeps shops in the South and NorthEast open despite their high prices - but do not be suckered by them by buying something which could have been had more cheaply in the NorthWest.
It is also rumoured (correctly) that NorthWest merchants often offer discounts to customers who have formally declared themselves to be servants of Luz by becoming Good. This writer prefers to believe that the discount, in his case, is due to his rugged good looks, but sadly the theory that alignment affects pricing in the NorthWest seems to hold for all Good citizens.
A note to new arrivals: You will see many items in the city variously made out of ruby, sapphire, cobalt, topaz, emerald, or amber. For instance, Topaz medallions or cobalt bracelets. These materials have special properties which enhance aspects of an individual's ability through their proximity. Simply put, each of these offers a beneficial effect specific to it. Topaz items increase physical strength, useful for fighting hand-to-hand and especially for carrying. Sapphire increases dexterity, useful for carrying many separate items and also in combat of all sorts. Cobalt increases one's constitution, extremely important for resting quickly and levelling up (more on this later). Ruby equipment is key to intelligence, useful when learning new things and impressing members of the opposite sex. Emerald is for wisdom, facilitating meditation and important to Healers and Malopaths, to name a few. Finally, amber increases Charisma, useful when attempting to lead a group of others and perhaps for more as well? Keep this in mind when making purchases, and be sure to choose the types of gear most useful to you.
Now down to items; These are some items which nearly anyone, quite regardless of their eventual Role, is likely to find helpful in day to day life. Having these will save you many headaches.
First, whether you're an entrepreneur or a spelunker, you will benefit from being able to carry many heavy objects at a time. The simplest way to achieve this is to become stronger and more nimble. If you want to increase your carrying capacity (not to mention combat effectiveness!) quickly and cheaply, there are two objects for you: bracers and running shoes.
Bracers support the forearms and reduce painful friction when carrying heavy loads - making it easier to hold as much as you need. Bracers come in both leather and studded leather varieties. Which one is best for you depends on whether or not you expect to have to defend yourself; studded leather bracers offer better defence, but are ever so slightly heavier than plain leather bracers, while also costing a bit more. By far the best shop providing bracers of both types is Allworthy's armour in the northwest, where the sale price is not only rock-bottom low, but the quality is reliably excellent.
That covers an easy way to boost weight carried and defence, but what about the number of items carried? An herbalist needs to be able to carry dozens of herb sachets and cannot place them in a bag or coat for convenience (this is why most herbalists are also accomplished jugglers and may supplement their income with street-corner performances), and more wealthy adventurers must be able to carry many bags, packs, or cloaks in order to keep track of their possessions. This requires a boost in dexterity. But buying precious sapphire items to increase agility is time-consuming and expensive, not to mention heavy if one does not spring for the LED gear; how can someone cheaply and efficiently increase their dexterity? Two words: Running Shoes. A pair of comfy running shoes improves dexterity about fives times as much as a simple "headband of heavy sapphire" - and does it at a fraction of the cost and weight. Surefoot's shoes in the NorthWest offers running shoes at ridiculously low prices which put them in reach of even the most penny-pinching shopper. Resist the temptation to buy tennis shoes or combat boots instead - while tennis shoes are cheaper, it's for a good reason. And while combat boots offer marginally better foot protection, it comes at the cost of half of the massive dexterity boost - which is a big part of defence in itself. A good set of footwear can make a trip across town with your arms full much more appealing and manageable.
Don't forget that when you are learning or levelling up, you want to get your intelligence as high as you can (when levelling up you need to strike a balance between intelligence and constitution) in order to maximize your potential. Ruby items are effective, but they are also clumsy and expensive. In order to get a good education, you need to be able to see the blackboard. This means glasses, or "specs". Gold-rimmed spectacles are available at Now See Here in the Gray plaza for a price which will probably not break your bankroll. Unless you are very pinched for funds, do not buy copper-rim spectacles first since they are much less efficient and will probably slow down your progression to gold-rims even more. If you must buy copper rims, look for them at Justine's Jewellery NorthWest for a very affordable solution. Feel free to choose the eyewear that suits your style, be it mirror shades or night-vision goggles, but when it comes to levelling and learning - never forget your specs.
Avoid buying rings of any sort in order to boost your strength early on, since a much better effect can be had with the light and wonderfully useful Ceremonial Rings of Thanks that you will find on the fingers of even the wealthiest adventurers. Rings of Thanks are not for sale anywhere - they are, in fact, free of charge, appearing every so often in a certain location. The source of the Rings of Thanks is generally considered a secret, but most experienced players will be happy to give you their set and acquire a new one later if you're new to the city. Rings of thanks are much sought after because in addition to boosting strength and making one seem charismatic, they weigh very little and also make the wearer feel energized and full of vigour. Acquire a set as soon as you can, and remember that you can only wear four rings at a time.
New adventurers are always getting tired, and usually far away from a handy bed or even a park bench. Those of you with frail constitutions may spend hours just regaining the strength to walk fifty paces. There are several ways to combat fatigue - increasing constitution, wearing rings of thanks, Ivory or ebony jewellery, or having a healer restore you to your feet in seconds (As of this writing healers almost never charge for their services, since they are always happy to practise their skills - use this to your advantage as well as theirs.). Through and through, however, by far the best method to fight fatigue are herbs. Herbalism is a versatile craft offering blends to achieve any effect; but by far the most popular and useful for day-to-day use are "rest" herbs. These multiply the rate at which one recovers from injury and fatigue. Herbs of this sort can be acquired in two ways: from the herbalist's shop on the second floor of the white plaza, where they are "stamped with the image of a bandaged arm", or from an Herbalist guild member, who can generally make vastly more powerful and long-lasting sachets for you, often for free (it is, however, considered good etiquette to provide to empty, unused sachets from Herb's shop at Cathedral station just outside the Herbalist Guild House). Before buying herbs, ask politely if there are any herbalists who could provide you with two rest sachets (two is the maximum amount of sachets used at once, and they will both be effective). Do not be impatient if the sachets seem to take a long time to make - they do. Herbalists require time, equipment, and relatively rare ingredients to make their sachets. Once you have two rest sachets, with a fair constitution you should be recovering a huge amount of energy and health even when not resting. The bandaged arm herbs sold at the Herbalist's shop each increase your resting speed by itself (i.e. One sachet worn doubles, two triples) while sachets made by Guild herbalists increase the rate of healing based on their level - a high level herbalist can increase your resting rate by a factor of 18 or more. Either way, the expense of buying (and replacing - herbs eventually "die" and simply stop working) is trivial compared to the amount of time and money made by not having to rest as long. Make herbs a priority and keep a few empty sachets with you - your herbalist will thank you!
You will also get hungry and thirsty. Neither of these is a serious problem if you are in the main streets of the city - fruit trees are abundant and offer delicious free food. Fountains are everywhere, though they say the best is the one on sanctuary island. But when travelling, you will need portable food and water. The best choices for food early on are loaves of bread and Danishes, since these are free and reduce hunger by a vast amount (though they also fill you up quickly). The table in the Gazebo NorthWest is kept stocked for your pleasure with delicious food (but let's pretend that you didn't hear it from me!). Another great and free food item is also found mainly in the NorthWest - breadfruit. This tasty fruit is filling and free, found on trees throughout the City, though especially near the classrooms in the second floor white plaza (It is suspected that Elaine's fondness for breadfruit and zucchini salad is responsible for the location of the breadfruit trees) If you have a bit of money to spare and you have some goodness in your heart, delicious elven waybread is sold for a pittance at the Trail Mix pavilion NorthWest, and is essentially the ultimate in lightweight, filling, healthy food. When it comes to drink, sanctuary fountain water is the best for travelling. The only problem is transporting it. The best solution per-Dinar is a canteen (or two), available for a very low price from the Grocer's store in the White Plaza. These handy containers hold many drinks while remaining lightweight (when empty) and durable. Particularly important when climbing lots of stairs or fighting for your life - nothing works up a thirst quite like those.
It is important to have a few versatile containers to hold your odds and ends. Even the most dextrous citizen with top-notch running shoes ends up with their arms full eventually. Here there are many options: Trench coats are always in style - if you are Neutral, a Grey coat works well, while Good citizens prefer white and Evil enjoy a stylish black. In addition to looking sharp, these coats have capacious pockets and hold many things for you. Robes can also achieve this effect, if you prefer that look. But most of the heavy lifting, if you'll pardon the pun, will be done by your bag or pack. Here you have several options and the proper choice for you depends on your style, your physical strength, and your needs. Most citizens get along with a nylon daypack (bought from Hold it Right there, Gray plaza or Black plaza second floor.), which not only frees your hands since it is worn on the back, but holds a good number of objects and weight comfortably. Those with more brawn may prefer a heavy-duty golf bag, which has a much better capacity while also being itself a bit heavier (and pricier) and those looking for the ultimate in containers look no further than large camping backpacks which sell for quite a bit but are the be-all end-all of pure capacity, and a popular choice among those fit citizens able to carry one when it is full.
Finally, you will want to assemble a suit of gear to be worn when gaining levels. This is incredibly important, because the benefits in terms of skill practices, energy, and health which are gained when levelling up are very highly dependent on your statistics at the exact moment you bow to the statue of the king - including boosts from items. Since in many cases, the boost from items can quintuple your normal amount, this is not to be overlooked. As of this writing, it is known that intelligence and constitution affect levelling up - intelligence allows longer and more through practising of one's skills, while being hardy and resilient means that your endurance, toughness, and energy will increase more quickly. The common way to increase these is via cobalt or ruby jewellery. Cobalt for toughness, ruby for Intelligence. Most elements of a set are available inexpensively from Justine's jewellery in the White Plaza. Belts and armbands can be acquired at Cleargirdle's shop and Allworthy's, respectively. When assembling a set, remember that you will need to be able to handle the weight of the set comfortably (the jewellery sold at Justine's is quite heavy), and keep in mind the limits on items of a given type: you can wear only four rings at once, only four bracelets at once, and only two amulets or pendants at once. Buy in consequence of this. The choice of whether to focus on ruby or cobalt is up to you, depending on your tastes, but be advised that ignoring one entirely will have very serious consequences if you later discover that you need more energy or new skills. Experienced players may be willing to lend you their "set" if you ask politely. Please be courteous and return it promptly when you are finished with it, and ask permission before wandering out of the lender's sight with any of their property. Most experienced citizens will be happy to help even a relative stranger if they seem friendly and mutually respectful - being courteous will not only make both parties feel better about the help, but may also win you a long-term friend.
In closing, I wish you the best of luck in the city. Making money can be tricky or daunting at first - so spending it shouldn't have to be. Once you feel comfortable in the city and begin to know the ins and outs, you will have Dinars to spare and many exciting options to spend them on. I might just see you in part two of this article, where I will review the major options for big purchases and investment. Just remember to shop around - a Dinar saved is a Dinar not fished out of the couch cushions!
If you enjoyed this guide and would care to spiff the author, please choose Dinars instead of experience.
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