Crafting, Buying, and Selling Magic Items

Crafting enchanted items is a rare skill on Ektau, one generally only practiced by a few dozen expert ritualists located in the major cities of Tien Lung, Xian, Highgate and the former North Neck. All outside the Shogunate are members of the Academy of the Supernal Forge, an old Xianese arcanist order now existing only in tattered habit here on Ektau. In the days of the Empire, the Academy served as a clearinghouse for advanced magical research and the devising of some of the Empire's most impressive magical works. In the current day it serves only as evidence of the Mandarin's approval and oversight over a particular ritualist. All the members of the Academy are licensed to buy and sell permanently-enchanted items- and only members of the Academy are so licensed. In Xian, it is illegal to purchase or sell a permanently-enchanted object to or from anyone but a member of the Academy or a duly-appointed official of the state. Exemptions are occasionally granted in particular cases, but the bribery or service required to earn such is phenomenal. Even in the case of inheritances, the taxes on magical items passed down from forbears tend to be prohibitively high save for the most loyal and trustworthy families in Xian.

The Mandarin is perhaps justifiably concerned about the risk of powerful magical items falling into the hands of political rivals or rebellious forces, and it is only the exigencies of life on Ektau that have persuaded the city to permit it to go on in any form. The prices that the Academy charges are generally very high, but a special arrangement with the Adventurers' Guild allows Guild members to purchase items for only 140% of their creation cost. Sale prices are notoriously low, however, with the Academy offering only 20% of the creation cost for unwanted magical items.

Unsurprisingly, these rates rarely satisfy adventurers. Provided the trade is kept discreet, the Guild tends to turn a blind eye to sales and exchanges of magic items among licensed adventurers. It's understood that it's impossible to control the avaricious instincts of men and women mad enough to take up adventuring, and so PC adventurers can buy or sell items from each other at whatever rate they can get. Selling to third parties, however, is punished ruthlessly if it is discovered. More than one adventurer has found himself fined to penury after trying to fob off a magical blade on some careless young daifu's progeny who was willing to give twice the rate the Academy was offering. Few buyers with enough coin to afford powerful items will dare purchase from an illicit source, as the taxman's discovery of any unregistered items would result in forfeiture and fines. With the recent secession of the Shogunate, it's now possible to sell items freely in those tainted lands- at least, until the Shogun manages to get a grip on the general disorder and infighting there. Would-be magic item merchants are advised to consider carefully the consequences of selling magic items to a rebel province of Xian, should the Mandarin's men discover such perfidy.

It is possible for a trained ritualist to acquire a copy of the enchantment rites and formulae used by the Academy. So long as he restricts his work to creating items for himself or for other adventurers, he can expect to be left alone by the Ministries. While guidelines for creating any of the standard magical items found in the Player's Handbook are readily available, designing unique magical items is an expensive endeavor. The research alone generally costs at least as much as the item does to create, though once the design is fashioned the ritualist has an item that only he knows how to make. Permanent magical items can also be broken down into into assorted fragments and shards of refined magic through use of a disenchantment ritual. This quintessential powder is a sovereign reagent for all magical ceremonies, and can be used to imbue even ordinary objects with magical powers in the hands of a trained ritualist.

Most objects can be enchanted only once, and if a more powerful form of enchantment is desired a completely new ritual must be performed.

Temporary magical items can be bought and sold freely, though most such are trifles and talismans beneath the interest of any adventurer. The main exception lies in healing potions and ritual scrolls, which do occasionally attract interest. Most such items can be had for no less than 110% of their creation cost.

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