Thanks for the comments! They are bringing back fond memories.
To start off I will comment on Tosa. It was a very high magic world where the common man might own a few magical items. Specifically +1 and +2 Arrows and daggers. This was due to the incursion of some very well-equipped armies that were destroyed by armies led by PCs.
One such army, of goblins in fact, wielded wicked little hatchets that looked very much like a butchers meat cleaver. Honed and magical to +3, millions of the cleaver wielding beasts came running out of a very deep hole and took 30 years to eradicate. Their cleavers became prized and recognizable butchers tools in a dozen worlds.
Detect Poison or Neutralize poison stones were considerably more difficult to create and were far more expensive. There was a whole scale of Continual Spells. By no means were the harder to create stones sold cheep. What the market can bear.
As for using these as torture devices, well, good items can always be abused. The useful dentists drill is a common tool for helping keep teeth healthy. But in the wrong hands they can be exceptional torture devices. (Anyone see Marathon Man lately? Not me) This is not a matter of the item being bad but the wielder of it having his own issues. However, Con Stones were often used inappropriately. Adventurers being the pranksters they are, it was not uncommon to find people juggling heat stones, or tossing them on their sleeping friends.
As for the list of varieties I only listed a couple. There were clean stones and they effectively did the same as a polish stone might have. There was a mend stone higher up the scale as well as both a lubricate, called Slick Stones, and a Binder called, of course, a Glue Stick. There was also a Fire Stone, used to start fires. Camp fires, pipes and candles, burning unsuspecting sentries
The thing was, as a training spell, these items were rarely created by mages in the fullness of their power. Usually it was some mage at the lowest levels creating them, and creating a lot of them, in the course of his studies.
Good point on the activation sequences. I forgot to include that.
The items were generally activated or deactivated by being tapped five times. I had also forgotten that there were a vast variety of utensils that were used in conjunction with them but most were generally like tea dips. A scissoring item that one would grab a small amount of tea with, then leave it in the tea cup to steep. These Grippers were ubiquitous on Tosa. One merely picked the stone up in the maw of the device and then dip it into whatever substance was being affected. No bar or kitchen was ever without them. Another manner of use was to mount the stone on thin, usually silver, rods and dip them into the item. Both Dip Sticks and Grippers came in many forms as a matter of style and fashion influencing function.
Now as for charcoal makers, well, there is always a brisk trade in charcoal pencils...
As for these items being cheep and getting something for nothing, I point out that these were mainly byproducts of magical training. Consider a world with a dozen schools like Hogwarts and every first year is busily making heat stones and chill stones They would start to pile up. Many mages would dispel piles of them casually, just to make their students start over. Some would be brought to the merchants in box full, ready for use. I dont remember the retail prices offhand, but I do remember the whole sale being 2 coppers a piece for the simple ones with silver and gold paid for the higher level ones.
Alexandria and the great merchant city of New Wall were clearing houses for the magic from dozens of worlds. We were young and out of the 40 or so people that played in them only a few of us ever took economics classes and we just rolled our eyes and laughed. Besides, all things exist in the Shadows of Amber, including unbalanced financial systems. Come see the violence inherent in the system!! Help! HELP! Im being repressed!!
As for controls on the items and who buys them, there were a few.
It was generally accepted that with the more use the item got, the faster they went dead. Like batteries. Some batteries run forever, some go dead in an evening. This was modified by the power level of the items creator. In the end it was not something we as players or GMs kept close watch on. Players had these domestic toys and they replaced them as needed. If one got attached to a particular stone and utensil, then one did what one needed to maintain it when it flutters out.
Usually one went to their buddy the mage and in the classic voice intoned the ritual phrase, Broke, fix it (Star Trek reference)
The items were fragile in a very high-powered magical world. World wide dispel magics occurred a couple times every century, totally wiping out a variety of low level ongoing effects, including Con Stones. Battles between mages almost always included a Dispel function of some kind, and there went the nearby stones. Mages practicing Dispel magic frequently eliminated all their masters supply of Con stones. This usually meant the master decided the student needed to practice his Continual Spells.
These stones had natural opposites. Cold /Heat, Fire/Ice, Boil/Freeze. If an activated stone of the opposite type contacted an active stone of its opposite, both went dead.
As for Salespersons and their figs, common people bought these items. Adventurers went to their mage buddy and said, Dude, whip me up a Chill Stone, this beer is warm as bathwater. Or, more often then not, made them themselves.
Thanks for the comments, Folks! Sorry for rambling on. Go to Comment
A reply to the comment about platter size. The units of measure are feet. The Meat Platter is 2 feet by 3 feet. These items are meant to feed a group. While obviously a extremely well equipped group would have several of these in the group, if not one carried by all the characters. One character would activate his set of plates for breakfast, another for lunch and another for dinner and even one for midnight snacks. Since the items were designed by reasonably aggressive retired mages of high power they further train the platters to provide meals appropriate to the time called upon or the desires of the activator. The function of allowing the wearer to summon an item from the pack lead to players leaving the top open and putting a thousand arrows inside. SO an archer could merely call an arrow to hand and fire. A wide variety of such uses were developed. The generally accepted interior size of the bag was 10x20x10.
Lop was an experiment of mine to see if an EXP leech could earn his keep by doing everything but kill things. He protested anyone who implied he was a servant, threatened to let them cook their own food and set up their own tents if he did not receive a fair cut of treasure. The other players put their feet down when i forced the players to bury the dead bugbear. I was ready to let them abandon him, as several players wanted to, and bury it himself and then go apologize to the other bugbears. It was a great game. However the next game they flatly refused to allow Lop to come. Thus his retirement and his entrance into the merchant world and Tosian politics.
As for bringing siege equipment, well, its a sneaky army that can bring a huge number of ballista in magical pack backs. The inclusion of siege equipment commemorates a group of players importing a huge numbers of ballista and catapults to an isolated but important siege. Go to Comment
I don't know about the changes in DnD but poor old LOP, (from some college class-Least Objectionable Person), was a character run in the mid 80.
The world of Tosa supported 4 regular GMs and a variety of occasional ones running sections of the world, and its nearby dimensions. It had its own violent culture with frequent visitations of Gods and devils, dread lords, undead kings, Amberites, unfettered druids, mercenary armies, wandering poets, ravers, thrice crowned bards, and Rose addicted time-traveling madmen. It was connected through a variety of manners to a dozen other gaming universes all which seemed to bleed over into each other by commerce, ravaging hoards, quests and other purposes. Hundreds of adventurers, frequent campaign revisions, multiple gaming systems, and 20 years of gaming.
The high level characters retired, took up various trades supporting the legions of new PCs, and the cycles went on. Sadly, the last games run in those worlds was in early 1997.
I comment on this because the Paradoxian Craft Hall has a lot of other items I plan to list and release into the wilds of the universes that visit this fine place. Go to Comment
A culture must hide its hands in the arm of their clothing as a sign of respect and peace. When approaching somebody you show them respect by crossing your arms and hiding the hands in the shirt sleeves. Nobody worries about hidden knives and such, it is the threat of magic that this custom was created to prevent.