Arcane (Spelljammer Supplement)

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The Arcane appear as large, twelve-feet tall humanoids with gaunt, elongated features, blue skin, and large hands that have an extra knuckle on each of their six fingers.  Not much is known about the Arcane or their origin.  They seem to have numerous magical abilities, come and go as they please without using ships, and are extremely enigmatic.  All that is really known about them is that they are the primary dealers in helms, wild sails, and other magical tools that make space-faring possible.  Without the Arcane, there would be no space society.  They are aggressive merchants who ply their trade wherever possible.  Contacting them is usually fairly straight-forward, if a little slow.  On almost any space-faring settlement, you just spread word around the local grapevine that you are looking for an Arcane, and one of them will surface within a few days, even if the locals are sure there are none currently in the settlement, and no one saw him arrive.  The Arcane are usually quite cautious, however, and they deal in very valuable goods, so they rarely contact the seeking party directly.  More often, they will work through an intermediary to determine the needs of the client.  If the client does meet with the Arcane himself, he is almost always extremely well protected by both hired guards and magical protections.  They usually require payment up front, with the goods to be delivered shortly thereafter.  Since there has never been any record of an Arcane going back on a deal, such practices are commonly accepted even by the most cautious buyers.  Their merchandise is always delivered to the buyer as agreed, even if the delivery point is in another Sphere, and no one knows where it comes from.  On the down side, the Arcane are known to deal with almost anyone, human or mind flayer, elf or beholder, dwarf or neogi (although some say they won't actually work directly with the neogi but use the mind flayers as middlemen).  A few crusading nobles have tried to pressure the Arcane by banning them from a major settlement unless they agreed to stop selling their products to the "undesirables".  The Arcane simply stopped coming to those ports, and soon enough the ban would be lifted because Arcane equipment is the only way for most races to survive in space.  Other settlements have tried to impose a tax or tithe on the sale of Arcane goods, and again the Arcane simply withdrew until the settlement rescinded such measures.  As a result, the Arcane are viewed as a necessary evil by most governments and organizations.  The Arcane are truly a law unto themselves. There are also several tales and legends of daring adventurers, or stupid pirates, attempting to steal from or assault an Arcane.  According to these tales, when a person offends one Arcane, all of the Arcane seem to know about it, and they will never deal with that individual again, no matter where in the Known Spheres he goes.  It is said that the blacklisted character can restore himself to their good graces only by undertaking a major quest on their behalf.



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