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Condition: Normal
ID: 4154


August 2, 2007, 2:44 am

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Cuspi the Ironmonger


Why did you buy all those Iron Spikes?

The grimy ironmonger grimaced as he picked up the jar of noxious unguent he had purchased.  "You’re sure?" he asked.  "This stuff will make them buy?"

"Oh, yes," responded Dreckler, the Lust Mage.  "Once your wares have been anointed with my Unguent of Desire, no man will be able to resist them.  They will pay whatever you demand."

Cuspi wondered, as he scanned the cluttered back room of his smithy in the merchant quarter.  Could even magic help him sell the tons of rusty iron spikes and bric-a-brac that he had inherited?

Cuspi Tiner, the "Iron Man"
Cuspi Tiner is a generally unremarkable man.  He has an undistinguished jaw, shifty eyes, and thinning hair, which go well with his reedy voice, soot-stained clothes, and bad posture.  Most people that meet him get the impression that he’s a jackass, a self-centered toad of a man that they’d rather not deal with.

When Cuspi inherited his uncle’s smithy, his few friends figured that he’d run it into the ground in a matter of months.  It hadn’t done well in the best of times, and Cuspi was saddled with a ton of unappealing junk cluttering the place.  The shop was filled with heaps of badly-crafted iron goods and literally thousands of iron spikes, the legacy of a royal contract that had fallen through with his uncle’s demise.

In such a situation, many would have just sold the place, but not Cuspi.  He had met a mage that specialized in the magic of attraction:  This secretive man’s spells (illegal as they might be) would be the answer to his problems.

"I was just looking, but I’ve decided!  I’ll take 100 of your Iron Spikes!"

Soon, Cuspi was selling more iron spikes, pots, pans, and hinges than anyone else in the guild.  Visitors that merely brushed against his wares found themselves with an unaccountable desire to possess them.  Visions danced through their heads, dozens of ideas for how the sturdy iron items could be handy. 

"I dunno, I always wanted to build a trebuchet.  These spikes are just the ticket!"

The products of Cuspi’s smithy soon became strangely popular:  Unsure why they purchased them, people developed all sorts of odd rationalizations to explain their impulsive purchases.  Few suspected what had really happened, as the unguent smeared on the items was a rare and little-known recipe resistant to magical detection.  Normally such enchantments were far too costly to put on humble iron wares:  If Dreckler had suspected his experimental magical paste actually worked, he would have charged the ironmonger fifty times the price.

Prying Eyes
Despite his efforts to conceal the magical source of his prosperity, some of Cuspi’s competitors soon began investigating the suddenly-successful smithy.  Their apprentices prowl about, trying to discover just how Cuspi manages to make his rusty wares so popular.  Some are more wary than others, avoiding entering the shop itself since a few came back burdened with armloads of second-rate iron wares.

Cuspi is concerned now that his days as an ironmonger may soon come to a close.  If his rival ironmongers manage to find proof that he has been magically influencing his customers, he’ll be up on charges quicker than you could say, "Burn the Warlock".  He keeps his wealth hidden, packed up in a small chest, so that he could grab his valuables and be out of town with less than five minutes’ warning.

Cuspi only has a few ounces of his magical unguent left.  If he is forced to leave town suddenly, he is likely to leave it behind, along with incriminating papers that outline how he got it.  This won’t matter to him, as he plans to set himself up in another town, with some entirely unrelated business, and perhaps a new name.  In Cuspi’s imagination, he will soon be selling something people actually want without magical tricks played upon them; it’s just a matter of keeping his eyes open and ignoring a few inconvenient laws.

For the moment, Cuspi’s customers are just going to have to find uses for the thousands of iron spikes they’ve inadvertently purchased.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

August 2, 2007, 2:50
Of course, neither Cuspi nor Dreckler realize that the magical paste he used was made from a stolen recipe. If an additional complication is needed, ruthless assassins could pick up his trail, eager to eliminate anyone who has learned of their secret...

(See Unguent of Desire for more information.)
Voted manfred
August 2, 2007, 15:01
He's an okay shopkeeper (and darn right, somebody ought to use that magiq thingy for selling stuff). The connection to other subs makes him grow, plus I like that he's willing to flee at the first hint of trouble. Gotta love those principles! :)

Not dramatically special, he is still pretty good.
Voted Scrasamax
August 2, 2007, 15:46
And then the mayor of the town placed an order for 1,000 iron spikes, planned to fix the old bridge with 'em, and shore up the creaky water wheel, even planned to use them to make special darts for a game. Ran him broke, it did. Now all he has is a broken down house filled with iron spikes...
Voted valadaar
August 2, 2007, 20:35
I like this dude.

More Iron spike Madness!

Iron man, eh. That song has me thinking!
Voted epsilon
August 2, 2007, 20:52
If only Steptoe could have procured such goop :)
Nice one
Kuseru Satsujin
March 11, 2008, 19:12
Oddly enough, I like this idea, especially when I think about all the inadvertent uses the current buyers could come up with which actually hamper Cuspi's plans to skip town. Especially, if using Scramasax's idea, the mayor purchases a bunch of iron spikes to fix up the old bridge, thus denying Cuspi with an easy exit across the bridge while it is being repaired.
Voted RGTraynor
April 1, 2011, 16:35

Heh, this is pretty cool.  I can just see a wildeyed fellow dashing through the streets, loudly imploring his friends to get their iron spikes before THEY'RE ALL GONE!!!!


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: Kassil

How about a dragon how cheerfully rules over a kingdom; his people all know him for what he is, and dragons are looked upon as wise and benevolent creatures. Dragonslayers from other kingdoms coming to free it from 'tyranny' are likely to get beaten to death by peasants with cast iron skillets.

Ideas  ( NPCs ) | February 25, 2003 | View | UpVote 4xp

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