The Drylands (Pathfinder)
It wasn’t easy running a racket in a country where everyone was a congenital do-gooder. This was a source of continual annoyance to Bruiser, who’d got into this line of work to make easy money. Still, there were always opportunities if you looked for them.
Bruiser’s crew had been picked up by a merchant named Pinagel and his apprentice for what was supposed to be a simple job. Deliver a load of mushrooms to a small but rich village in the middle of nowhere where they happen to be legal. By implication, they are illegal in most of the rest of the Mogogol Swampland.
What seemed like an easy job when they took it, turned into a series of slogs through stinking bogs, desperate battles with nosy border patrols, and a few near misses with ferocious swamp monsters.
Turns out, just because the Mogs have this whole ‘inbuilt’ altruism thing, the guards from the ‘civilized areas have no problem sticking a spear in you if you resisted their notion of policing for the greater good.
Which means the remote homesteads are where you have to go to move the more lucrative yet easily-came-by merchandise. According to everything Bruiser had picked up, these were hubs of what was as close to a criminal underground as existed in the Swamplands.
They approached the little village with caution. From the outside, it looked like any other settlement, only smaller. This was the first time the village had reached to the outside, so he didn’t know what he was going to find.
They met the Mogogol leader in one of the larger buildings. She greeted the travelers warmly and asked, “So, have you brought us the mushrooms? The legendary focus and stamina they give will surely help us restart the mines and get our crops planted for the season.”
“That’s lovely,” said Bruiser, “And if you’ll just provide the promised crystal we’ll leave them to you and be on our way.”
“Oh we don’t actually have any crystal. But have plenty of Chitreeds you can exchange at any of the larger settlements.”
“That wasn’t the deal,” said Bruiser. “You may not have gotten out in a while, but non-Mogs aren’t allowed to trade normal chits. This is why we asked for crystal up front.”
Bruiser made a call on the quality of the Mogogols he’d seen so far in the village.
“I can see two ways of making this work,” said Bruiser, “First, do you have any of the arcane marked chits that we can actually use.”
“I’m afraid not, but if you’d like to come back in a few months, we’d be happy to get them for you when we make our next big market run. We’re sorry for the inconvenience, but surely you can see that the positive effect these stimulants will have for our people will outweigh that.”
As Bruiser and his crew walked away from the burning village, sacks full of both mushrooms and what valuables they had dared to stay and salvage, he swore that was the last time he was going to deal with these crazy Mogs.