“Have you resorted to stealing my clothes?! [Thief], that’s too much. If you’re looking for DNA to test for my civilian ID, at least steal my cup or something. That would be marginally less weird.” They looked their would-be burglar up and down. “I mean, seriously, stealing hoodies makes it seem like you want to date me or something.”
"So, wait," said the thief, topping off the detective's wine glass. "You're saying that your stressful case is catching that hot shot cat burglar that everyone's talking about?"
The detective grimaced, but didn't change the subject. "Yep," they muttered into their Pinot and took a swig. "The celebrity criminal."
This was a triumph. This was their third date and the thief had spent the prior two carefully laying the emotional groundwork leading up to this moment. The detective, as a social partner, was affable and considerate - surprisingly funny even, in a dry, deadpan way - but rigidly guarded about their line of work. The thief had asked the normal questions about jobs and had been expertly deflected with self-deprecating jokes about spreadsheets and paperwork. The thief had been content to wait. The detective was a fundamentally honest person, and the thief trusted the truth would work its way to the surface soon enough.
"But that sounds exciting!" the thief prompted brightly. "I mean, daring heists executed by moonlight! It must be such a nice change from your run-of-the-mill crimes."
"Mostly it's just exhausting," sighed the detective, rubbing their temples. "This perp is such an asshole."
The thief blinked. "Excuse me?"
The detective shook their head, tried to force a smile. "I'm sorry. I've had too much wine. You were saying about your invitation to audition for the Bolshoi -?"
"Oh, forget about me," the thief said quickly. "Please, go on. You're clearly stressed about -"
"Do you know," the detective went on as if they'd never stopped, "the morning guy on Channel Seven had the nerve to call this a victimless crime?"
"Well, the insurance will pay for it," the thief started.
The detective slapped the table. The thief jumped. "What about the people?" the detective exclaimed. A few nearby heads turned in their direction. "Are people supposed to walk into museums and look at what, framed checks on the wall from Lloyds? And meanwhile, these masterworks disappear into the vaults of gangsters and petty criminals, never to be seen again. Because you can be sure," they added, jabbing a finger at the thief, "crooks that steal art have no love for it. They'll destroy it, every lick of paint, if there's the slightest risk to their own skins."
The detective took another deep swallow of red wine. They looked close to tears. The thief awkwardly patted their hand across the table. This was not at all what they'd expected on this little reconnaissance side mission. The detective caught their hand and squeezed it with a grateful look that wrenched something in the thief's upper chest area.
"Now those guys," the detective said thoughtfully. "The criminals with the vaults. Now that seems like a worthy target."
"I... huh?" The thief stared across the table. The detective looked back with those guileless, honest eyes.
"I'm just saying," they said, with the slightest drunken slur on their words. "Walking the art out of some budget-strapped public facility is one thing. But emptying out of one of those vaults, liberating all those works of art and returning them to their rightful place before the public..." The detective sighed dreamily. "Now that actually sounds like a daring, hot shot kind of heist."
There was a moment where neither moved, gazing at each other like the lovers they were pretending to be. Then the detective tugged their hand free, stood up with an apologetic smile. "But I'm definitely tipsy," they said. "Let me go splash some water on my face."
When the detective returned from the restroom, the thief was still at the table, watching the waiter clear the plates. By unspoken agreement, they didn't speak until she was well clear.
"So, hypothetically speaking," the thief said finally, running a finger theough a puddle on the tabletop. "How would one go about this vault heist of yours?"
The detective smiled again, nothing drunk or vague about it at all.
Any thoughts on how to run a feywild casino - run by a greedy archfey? I see my group wanting to swindle them or pull off a heist in this setting.
Heist: The Vale of Splendor
I have a "how to run a heist" system! check it out while planning this adventure for a great underlying structure.
Setup: It's said that on the far side of the mountains there's a place where your luck can turn, where fortunes can be lost and made, and destinies can be rewritten. Those that spoke these stories were likely speaking hypothetically, but since the feywild is a place where mortal stories come to life, it wasn't long before this fabled place manifested in the place of fables and mortals and fairykind have flocked to it ever since.
In the early days the Vale of splendor was morphic, conforming to the particular circumstance of each group of visitors. That was until a particular fey by the name of Hap inserted himself into the narrative as a sort of gatekeeper. Hap denied some access to the vale, and insisted that others engage him in various games, staking their own luck against the windfall they were about to receive.
Hap's power and stature grew along with his stolen fortunes, transforming the vale into a grand pleasure palace and gaming hall. There's only one group who value luck more than the fey, and that's thieves ( followed closely by sailors and people who climb mountains for fun), and the fate-crammed vaults of this self made fey lord could provide enough windfalls for what could be the most daring series of heists history has ever seen.
A con artist among the fey just so happens to gain knowledge of the party's infiltration and introduces himself as a potential ally. He's figured out how to counterfeit the lucky pennies the Casino uses as gaming tokens, meaning that the party won't have to stake any of their own fortune and can keep it while doing the heist. He just needs them to steal a particularly portentous object that's hidden among Hap's vaults.
Rather than just trying to score a lifetime of lucky draws and easy breaks, the party has heard rumors that there's one or two "heroic destinies" that've been stored away in Hap's vault, which may prove key to defeating some semi-mythic foes looming on the horizon. Obviously these are kept in a hardier sort of vault, so the party might want need to plan two concurrent heists if they want to be both heroic AND lucky.
Every casino has it's losers, but among the throngs of unlucky patrons and doomed debtors the party is approached by a cat-eyed beggar clad in scraps of fine fabric that barely fit his lean body. He claims to know the Vale, that he once had a place in it, but that his place along with his name was stolen by... something. Can the party risk offering charity in the middle of their infiltration? Is this beggar truly some miraculous source of information, or just another con job?
The valley path up to Hap's palace has been occupied by a thriving Goblin market, looking to cash in on all the suckers travelers attracted by the gambling hall. All manner of magical and ephemeral things can be found here, provided the party can agree to the equally intangible prices.
Challenges & Complications
Every place worth robbing has its security, and in the case of the vale, it's a goblin mercenary gang/troupe of acrobats called "The Odds". Any disturbance in the Vale's daily function will see these vicious brawlers cartwheeling/trapesing in to deal with the rabblerousers, likely causing a bit of a rabble themselves in the process. The leader of the Odds is a hobbish knifethrower by the name of Jim Splittergrin , who has unwavering accuracy with his weapons despite his habit of wearing a blindfold in combat. Splittergrin is a compulsive daredevil, and the party might be able to draw off the Vale’s security by suckering him into a bet that not even he can get out of.
Rather than cards or dice, most of the games in the Gambling houses are those of skill and strategy, more resembling of an arcade or carnival row than any mortal card parlor. The party could find themselves clustered around a fantastical clockwork pinball game, engaging in a match of speed Alice-chess, or throwing a ball at glimmering crystal bottles. All of these things are obviously rigged, and the party will have to be very careful if they decide to counter the house’s inbuilt advantage with a little cheating of their own.
Like any fey lord, Hap is an eccentric: presenting himself as a peg legged nobleman dressed in the hights of fashion, never without his plush fur cape or tophat, genteel manner undercut by his tendancy to pun off of his own name. “I’m what’s hip, I’m what’s HAPening” or “ That wouldn’t make me very HAPpy” for just a couple of examples. Unbeknownst to anyone, Hap is infact a transformed fey Rabbit (the tophat covers the ears that refuse to change no matter what form he takes) who came to the Veil in the first place after someone cut off his foot, motivating his desire to steal luck from others after his own was stolen from him.
Before he was simply the Cat eyed man, the begger met by the party was infact the Vale’s original guardian, Splendeamus, who was kidnapped by mortals some decades ago and had most of his essence drained away. Having recently escaped back into the feywild, He’s managed to find Hap’s missing foot, and wants to offer it back to the Archfey in exchange for a chance to regain what he lost. Because the rules of the feywild are both ironic and mostly nonsensical, Hap knows that if he willingly accepts the foot back, all he gained because of its lost may be forfot. Fearing that the cat-eyed man is attempting to usurp his petty kingdom, Hap has ordered the luck-fey beaten on sight and forbidden him from entering any threshold of the palace. Tricking Hap into accepting the Foot ( perhaps by wagering it as part of a grand bet and then intentionally folding) might just be enough to break the rabbits' grip on the vale once and for all.
Nikola Tesla Explaining How Guglielmo Marconi Copied His Wireless System
"Now, it is important to give you a clear idea of the differences between the apparatus I produced and the contemporary apparatus. I have selected just these diagrams to give you, in a few words, the exact differences between the system I have developed and the system illustrated below in this diagram, which is typical of the systems that had been used prior to my invention.
"This upper diagram is taken from my patents, and this lower drawing from a patent of Marconi which appeared in 1901. Certainly, it is proper to compare his arrangements with mine because they are used at the time when I brought out these principles.
"As you see, here in this figure on the right is my conductor connected to the ground and to the antenna, with absolutely no break in it. This other [in Marconi patent drawing] is a conductor connected to the antenna and the ground with a break in it. It cannot compare with mine because that break means resistance and diminution of the resonant rise. Furthermore, note the difference that I have here—the primary energy passing into a transformer—and that these two circuits are tuned. There is no primary or a transformer in this Marconi arrangement. It is a wasteful system to begin with.
"At the receiving end, as you see, I have again an antenna and a self-inductance in series with the ground and no break. He has a wire connected to the ground and to an antenna, a break or device of high, very high resistance with which it is absolutely impossible to obtain any practical results.
"My system is a system which can be perfectly attuned, and it will transmit to this antenna, here at the left, hundreds of thousands of times, millions of times, the energy which his device can transmit to his receiver.
"Furthermore, my system is a system which is exclusive, which can be tuned and rendered private; that of Marconi can not be tuned. Moreover, his transmitter generates electromagnetic waves a very high frequency, which are absorbed in the air and penetrate only a few miles, while mine produces current waves which pass to the opposite point of the glow with the greatest facility, and can affect instruments at any distance.
"If you take these two contemporaneous diagrams, and examine the subsequent developments, you will find that absolutely not a vestige of the apparatus of Marconi remains, and that in all the present systems there is nothing but my four-tuned circuits. Everybody is using them.
"Every wireless message that has ever been transmitted to any distance has been transmitted by this apparatus; there is no other way. Mr. Marconi came here when he announced that he had made a transmission across the Atlantic. I congratulated him. I said to my secretary, "I can not understand how Marconi could obtain these results. His apparatus cannot do this; he must use my apparatus." My secretary said, "How can Marconi use your apparatus when here is his statement that he had tried it and it did not work did not work?" But, when you examine the publications of a year later, you will note Marconi comes out with the statement that he had used these four circuits, and the only excuse that he has put up is that he did not know that these four circuits had to be attuned. That was his excuse. In the meantime, he had been using this apparatus. Every message that has ever been transmitted to any distance, by telegraph or telephone—wireless, has been by the use of these instrumentalities and no others."
(Nikola Tesla in a pre-hearing interview with his legal counsel in 1916 to protect his radio patents from Guglielmo Marconi. “Nikola Tesla On His Works With Alternating Currents and Their Application to Wireless Telegraphy, and Transmission of Power.” Twenty First Century Books, Breckenridge, Colorado, 2002.)
i learned that an elderly man gained the trust of a Belgian bank by bringing the workers chocolates. He was eventually given VIP access to the bank vault. In 2007, he stole $28 million worth of diamonds and vanished (x)
since you've done shopping stuff do you have any adventure ideas with a bazaar as a major set piece or setting?
Adventure: Cornering the Market
While out visiting their local caravan exchange or grand city bazaar, the party find their day of leisurely perusing wares and taking in the sights diverted when a band of marauders astride massive reptilian beasts begin a lighting fast assault on the market throwing everything into chaos.
This attack is best deployed after the party have already gone shopping once or twice, lulling them into a false sense of security while also letting them form an emotional attachment to the vendors. Likewise, have the group split up across the market, blocked off by screaming civilians and rampaging lizardbeasts, making it a pursuit/skill challenge to group up and pose any kind of resistance against these highly mobile foes.
No mere smash and grab raid, it becomes quite evident to a tactical eye that the marauders are in fact executing some complex sort of plan: with some riders distracting the authorities, some causing as much havoc as possible, and still others conducting a thorough search through the market for a specific something. Looting seems to be an afterthought to these brigands, though that won’t stop them from filling their saddlebags on the way out.
These beastriders belong to the Bkauhori, a band of desert dwellers who’s far off territory was raided by a party of adventurers looking to plunder “heathen” lands. These heartless fortuneseekers plundered one of the Bkauhori’s hidden temples, Killing a good number of the band’s defenders before they were through and making off with innumerable cultural relics and one VERY cursed idol. After weeks of tracking the party, the Bkauhori have discovered that they unloaded their ill gotten gain in this marketplace before traveling onwards, meaning that there’s a very good chance the idol is somewhere nearby.
Should the party fight them off, or should they be unable to find their prize before the settlement’s defenders rally, the Bkauhori will retreat back into the desert and leave a few agents behind to try again in more subtle ways. Possibly even recruiting the party in secret to help them heist the idol once they discover its location.
Carved from the horn of some dire beast and masterfully depicting a warrior wrestling with a pair of wolf of jackle like creatures, the idol has fallen into the hands of a wealthy dealer in ivory, who’s since taken the find back to his manse in the nicer part of the settlement. Little did he suspect, the twin fiends that were bound into the idol now stalk the shadows of his home, exploring and scheming ways to gain influence over him and his operation. Should the party leave the idol unattended, they may end up clashing with this bedeviled merchant some time down the line, as his ambitions have been bent and twisted towards criminal or occult ends.
The adventurers who started all this mess are known as the “scalebreakers”, and act as the scouts/outrunters/problemsolvers for a seldom seen warlord on the desert’s edge. The heroes can expect to clash with them on jobs with a high-payout, or atleast encounter their serpent entwined scale emblem graffitied on dungeon walls or in other places of interest.