NPC Profile: Shandra Malth, Sage of Amedio Magic
Date: Sun, October 27, 2002
Topic: Rogue's Gallery

The Amedio Jungle, with its vast collection of Olman and Amedi ruins, is a veritable treasure chest of unique and mysterious magic items. When adventurers in the town of Luscanport on the Jeklea Coast are in need of information about their newfound treasures, this is the sage they pay a visit to.
Note: This article also contains a brief introduction to the town of Luscanport on the Amedio's Jeklea coast. For those interested in learning more about this town, the information is found in the comments attached at the end of the article.

Author: chatdemon

NPC Profile: Shandra Malth
By chatdemon (
(Used with permission. Do not repost or redistribute without the express permission of the author.)

This NPC is detailed here as a lead in to a series of new articles I'm working on detailing the magic of the people of the Amedio Jungle. As with the Suloise Gods articles, I'll use an NPC voice now and then to liven up the articles and better tie the material to the setting.

A credit is due to Gary Holian, whose Living Greyhawk Journal article 'The Kingdom of Keoland' provides much inspiration and information on this NPCs background in Gradsul.

Shandra Malth

Female Human (Oerid/Suel) Expert 12
Age: 27
Str 5
Dex 9
Con 11
Int 19 (18 base, +1 at level 4)
Wis 14
Cha 20 (18 base, +1 at level 8, +1 at level 12)

Alignment: Nuetral Good
Religion: Boccob, Wee Jas, Myrlund
Hit Points: 42
Armor Class: 12 (Enchanted Tatoo of Protection +2)
Damage Reduction: None
Spell Resistance: None
Attack Bonus: +6/+1
Attacks: Quarterstaff: +6/+1, dmg: 1d6-3
Skills: Alchemy 5, Appraise 15, Decipher Script 15, Gather Information 12, Knowledge (Arcana) 15, Knowledge (Religion) 3, Search 9, Spellcraft 15, Spot 7, Use Magic Device 15
Shandra's class skills are: Alchemy, Appraise, Decipher Script, Gather Information, Knowledge (Arcana), Knowledge (Religion), Search, Spellcraft, Spot, Use Magic Device

Languages: Common, Keolandish, Amedi, Olman, Ancient Suloise
Feats: Eiditic Memory (from Dungeons (Alderac Entertainment), +2 bonus on int checks to remember details), Skill Focus (Gather Information), Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Skill Focus (Use Magic Device), Jack of all trades (from Song & Silence)

History: Shandra was born in Gradsul on 17 Goodmonth, 565. She is the daughter of a small time pawnbroker (and fence) whose barmaid wife had passed on at the birth of their daughter. From the time she was old enough to do chores around her father's shop, she became fascinated with all the strange and wondrous items sailors would bring in when they needed a little hard coin to pay off debts or fund a drinking spree during shore leave. Shandra discovered early on that she had a knack for figuring out what inscriptions on items meant, or how eclectic devices functioned.
Eventually, Rudd's favor failed to shine on Shandra's father, and he was arrested by the city watch in 574 at the request of the Sea Mages (Gradsul's local guild of wizardry) when it came to their attention that he had recieved property stolen from one of their safehouses. During the short investigation that followed however, the Sea Mages became aware of Shandra's gift with enchanted items. Shandra's father was offered a choice, give his daughter over to the guild for tutelage, or face the rest of his life in the city dungeons. He is now a free man, peddling pickling sausages along the wharves of Gradsul and disavowing any knowledge of the Sea Mages, his daughter, or the activities of thieves in the city.
Shandra spent the next few years in the guildhouse and private estates of the Sea Mages, honing her talents, but unfortunately failing to grasp any of the lessons in actual spellcasting she was given. She learned bits of the Olman and Amedi languages from 'servants' of the mages, and when in 580 the guild wished to establish a presence in the newly founded town of Luscanport on the Jeklea coast of the Amedio Jungle, Shandra was one of the first picked to go. She is also one of the handful who decided to stay in the Amedio when the Greyhawk Wars and the activities of the Scarlet Brotherhood sidetracked Gradsul's interests in Luscanport and cut off a lot of the contact with the mainland. The constant flow of mysterious items and unique people and creatures through Luscanport (which has been accepted by the primitive locals as somewhat of an ally since the Scarlet Brotherhood invasions started and the natives realized that the Keoish hate them as much as the locals do themselves.) fascinates Shandra, and she has set up shop in a small villa on the edge of town where she offers her services as an appraiser, pawnbroker, and sage.
Little is known in town about Shandra's personal life or her past, but it is widely rumored that she is seen quite frequently in the company of a mysterious sorceror from one of the Olman tribes (though he is said to have elven blood) who visits town often to barter for supplies.

Appearance: Shandra is an extremely attractive woman, but much to the amusement of Luscanport's gossip mongers, she has taken an interest in the 'beautification' techniques of the Olman people, including tatooing, face painting, body piercing and minor scarification. Her consort is rumored to be skilled in the ancient Olman art of enchanted tattoing, and it's assumed that some of Shandra's inkings have mystical properties. She, like most others of the area, wears little more than a cloth bustier, short skirt and sandals to tolerate the heat and humidity.

Roleplaying Notes: Shandra is somewhat quiet and reserved, dealing only with adventurers when she is confident that they have unique items in need of her expertise. She tends to be a bit cryptic in her relating of information, and gets annoyed with spellcasters who mock or condescend her lack of spellcasting ability.

Items: As a dealer in items collected in the jungle and a member of the Sea Mages guild, Shandra can be assumed to have access to any items the DM deems appropriate. She is also skilled in the use of enchanted tatoos, and though she can't ink them herself, her consort has provided her with a useful selection. Enchanted tatoos will be detailed in a future installment of the Lore of the Amedio series here on Canonfire!

A brief note on how to use this NPC in a campaign:

I'm attaching my house rules for identifying magic items, which provide a little more role-playing intensive system than the usual 'cast the identify spell and be done with it' method. Since my new system requires a fair amount of research by the party, an NPC arcanologist like this can be invaluable.

Also, being a pawnbroker and representative of the Sea Mages guild, Shandra can be a useful contact for characters who wish to buy, sell or trade magic items if, like me, you don't have standard 'magic shops' in your game.

Each magic item and spell write up in my Magic of The Amedio series (coming very soon) will include a section called Shandra's Analysis, which is an example of the information on that item or spell she might provide to a party requesting (and paying for, I recommend her services cost the party at least 25 gold pieces per day they employ her services, possibly higher if you want, simply tell them she is busy and offering a high payment might get her to bump them to the front of the line) her aid.

Here's the associated house rules, feedback is welcome:

Insight and Identify and Analyze Dwoemer

In my quest to make magic items more unique and mysterious, I sought to limit the availability and/or effectiveness of the identify and analyze dwoemer spells. Rather than simply make the spells unavailable to the PC spellcasters, I devised the following method, which introduces a new "virtual component" for these two spells. The idea here is that to focus the magic needed to unlock the secrets of an item, the spellcaster must first have at least some understanding of the nature of an item. Insight into an item comes in many forms, a few of which are listed here as examples. Each bit of lore about an item grants the character a percentage of the insight needed to begin casting the spells to analyze or identify the item. Once the character has 100% insight, casting may begin. Casting may also begin before this point, but there is a percent chance of failure inversely related to the amount of insight gained. A few suggested points of insight, and their percent values are listed:

Name of the item: 20% Simply knowing an item's name may unlock trivial bits of lore about the item in the mind of a student of the arcane.

Who Created it? 10% Knowing who created the item, and a rough grasp of that person's personality can give valuable hints at what the item's properties might include.

What is/are the command word(s)? 20% (each) Knowing the phrases or procedures required to activate an item, coupled with a bit of trial and error, are one of the surest ways to figure out what it does.
History of the item (famous owners): 20% Sometimes, the legends and stories about an items history will virtually describe its powers to a student of arcane lore.

Characters wishing to understand an item begin looking for insight into it through the use of methods like bardic lore, knowledge skills, gather information skills, and roleplaying exchanges with sages and loremasters. I strongly suggest limiting the amount of insight that can be gained through the use of divination magic. This brings us right back to a simple, cast the spell, know the answer routine, which is what I am trying to prevent with this system. The system also rewards players who have invested in their knowledge and information skills, and gives the bards in the party a chance to shine.

A tally of the insight percentage is to be kept by the DM, since incorrect information causes a penalty to the insight check instead of a bonus. For example, A character knows two command words of a staff (+40%) but studied false data and has the item's name wrong (-20%), and was thus led to more incorrect information while researching the item's history (-20%). The player thinks his character has 80% insight, and thus an 80% chance of success with his identify spell, but in actuality has 0% total insight and therefore no chance of succesfully identifying the item. When the identify or analyze spell is cast, the DM makes the insight check on D%/D100. A failed, but close check might simply fail to provide any information on the item, but I suggest being devious and having really bad insight check failures provide completely false results on the identify or analyze check. Imagine the character's surprise when the wand he identified as a wand of cure light wounds is put to use and the whole party is subjected to a fireball! The joys of the evil DM! But anyway, the severity of the incorrect information is up to the DM.

Another benefit of this system is that sometimes the information gained researching the item may provide enough clues about an item that the player will decide that the casting of an identify spell is not needed. For example: A wand named Merciful Kiss that was crafted by the famed healer Nohmak of the One True Path that is reliably said to have healed the wounds of dozens of soldiers long ago at the battle of Emridy Meadows is almost certainly a Wand of Cure Light Wounds, and the player may decide that he doesn't want to waste a day's spell, or a 100 gp pearl, casting the identify spell to confirm that.
I have provided a new feat to aid the student of arcane lore in discerning the abilities of a magic item:

Artificer's Insight

You are skilled at puzzling out the effects of magic items through the bits of lore you gather on the item.

Prerequisites: at least one level in a spellcasting class, or 6 ranks in the Use Magic Device skill

Benefit: You gain +15% to insight checks made when you attempt to identify or analyze a spell. This stacks with all insight percentages you have accumulated through researching the item.

Special: This feat may be taken multiple times, with effects stacking.

Regarding Luscanport

Luscanport is one of my homebrew additions to the Amedio. It's a Keoish fort, trading post and small harbor on the Jeklea coast of the jungle, just a hair southeast of the Jungles northernmost 'hook' on the maps.

I'll be doing a more in depth write up of the town later in the Amedio Lore series, but here's a few brief notes for any who want to use the town.

The town now called Luscanport has existed for hundreds of years, possibly dating back to the glory days of the Olman Empire millenia ago. Originally settled by the peaceful Olman, Jungle Grugach and Sea Elf tribes of the northern Jungle as a trading post, the town was called Hondurexcaret (hon-do-ex-car-ette), meaning roughly little deep water, until the early 6th century CY, when buccaneers from the Sea Princes laid claim to the small, defensible harbor and renamed it Northport, given the fact that the town is the northernmost safe harbor on the Amedio Peninsula. The sea princes maintained peaceful, if not friendly, relations with the locals, agreeing to only raid and take slaves from nearby tribes that the locals considered enemies.

In the late 560's, with Duke Luschan or Gradsul (Keoland) focusing more on exploiting the wealth of the jungle and showing a strong interest in establishing permanent Keoish colonies there under his families rule, Keoish ships began appearing in Northport's harbor quite often, culminating in a vicious sea battle in late 572 that saw 4 Sea Princes ships sunk in the waters outside the harbor and most of the town burned when the Keoish troops stormed the shore. Duke Luschan formally claimed the town, renamed Luscanport in his honor by the Keoish captains, and the surrounding area for Keoland in the summer of 573, and established a small garrison on troops there, as well as a small dispatch of Keoish warships tasked with patrolling the nearby waters.

Also in 573, the Sea Mages, an arcane brotherhood headquartered in Gradsul and allied somewhat with Duke Luschan (see Gary Holian's Keoland Article in Living Greyhawk Journal issue #1, and his Sorcerous Soceities of the Flanaess article in Oerth Journal issue 3, available here on canonfire, for more information on the Sea Mages of Gradsul.), established a guildhall in the town housing nearly a dozen mages sworn to protect the Kingdom's interests in the area.

In 574, construction was begun on a large stone lighthouse on the rocky outcropping that shields the harbor from the open sea. Despite several attempts by local adversaries to halt the construction, the lighthouse was completed in the winter of 576, and its beacon shines to this day, signalling a safe harbor for enemies of the Scarlet Brotherhood who know to look for it.

With the coming of the Greyhawk Wars and the naval presence of the Scarlet Brotherhood in the area, the town was cut off from contact with the Kingdom, but has managed to remain orderly and civilized, with the handful of Sea Mages and Keoish soldiers who chose to remain rather than risk the voyage home or go off to fight the Scarlet Brothers acting as a makeshift government. The town has managed to become quite rich in the last 10 years, selling its weapons and modest shipbuilding and repair services to those opposing the the Scarlet Brothers in the jungle and surrounding waters, and acting as it always has a trading center for the people who live in the northern peninsula of the jungle.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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