Campaign of the Month: January 2013
DANgerous Kalamar 4
“Chances,” also called “The Book of Chances,” is a white or gray-covered book with thin pages of unremarkable writing. Exact art varies since each copy is an original, and the quality of the art varies widely. Typical representations depict people in risky situations, such as stealing from a king’s treasure room, fighting off air elementals from a crumbling ledge, or sailing a ship at full sail in blinding rain with reefs all around.
Like the god it represents, Chances covers many subjects, all of them linked to personal enjoyment. The only seeming connection is a hint of self-destruction. Dogma includes simple precepts: control is an illusion. Mortals cannot control fate. They can only enjoy the ride. Whether fighting, playing or in business, worshipers are urged to avoid methods that do not involve some element of risk. Few activities are specifically banned.
As with the artwork, the actual text varies from copy to copy. Some versions go beyond the aforementioned subjects to include primers on various games of chance and wagers. Still others contain tutorials on different methods of thievery. Rarer still, some Chances contain both.
Canons containing guides to betting games include rules, odds, variations, strategies and the like. A copy with this added material also serves as an instruction manual for starting anything from a back-alley game of bones to a full-blown house-backed gambling den. The games covered, however, are by no means ubiquitous. Rather, they are regional. Thus, a careful reader that makes an appropriate Knowledge (local) check (DC 10) can tell where a particular copy of Chances was likely to have originated, based on the games described within.
A copy of the Book of Chances that contains teachings on the art of thievery may contain any number of subtopics. These include everything ranging from picking pockets to setting traps (including specifics of the traps) to opening locks and all things in between. A slightly different type of chapter deals with one or more types of thievery. While each section of this type usually describes only one method of extracting wealth from others, occasionally two or even more appear. These discussions include the best practice and techniques in every imaginable situation such as cat burglary, con jobs, petty theft, pick-pocketing, swindles, highway robbery, piracy, and so on. Typical lessons include learning to excel at many types of thievery so that the student finds herself well positioned when luck and opportunity deign to smile upon her.
Chances appears in gambling houses, taverns and inns. It sells for 50 gp, double or triple that if it contains either or both of the additional topics (and further depending on how detailed and extensive the teachings are). Regardless, the price rarely remains constant as a seller typically offers a game of chance to reduce (or raise) the cost.