Red Dragon Inn

Dreamweaver's Lair => Dragon Spine => Den of Iniquity => Topic started by: Gemethyst on March 12, 2012, 03:06:41 PM

Title: Tools of the Trade: Up The Craft!
Post by: Gemethyst on March 12, 2012, 03:06:41 PM
First rule is plain and simple. Never wear a cloak on a job. No future in it.  Rooftops have too many projections of varying sorts and sizes that seem overeager to grip onto your cloak just as you race across the roof or leap for a drainpipe.  Trust me, I have managed this a few times, and it is not a fun place to be.  

Once I was hooked on some bit of drainpipe way up high by a leather strap on my cloak. Try as I might, twist, turn, reach, strain, I had no foot or handholds to rescue myself with.  I was just dangling there.  I couldn?t exactly call out for help.  Not only was I in a very ambiguous position legally, but I was also a potentially tasty morsel for any  passing monster-types. Calling out would only advertise that.  That was in the days before I started using those newfangled cell phone thingies.  Only by the luckiest chance did my friend Mesteno happen along to untangle me.  As you can imagine, he will never let me live that down!

Then there are window frames, which seem to always have a sharp splinter of wood or something, ready to catch on a dragging cloak and yank you back. As if all that wasn?t enough, cloaks also make a great handle for someone to grab if they are pursuing you.

Line your job clothing with special fabrics. There are many shops and places throughout Rhydin that can keep you fairly warm, without a cloak, depending on how long you need to be outside in the winter weather.  We elves need a bit more of that, as we don?t tend to handle the cold as well as you humans.  Except ice elves, of course, but there is never any point in comparing ice elves to regular elves (If there even is such a thing anymore).  

Carry a small backpack, snugly fitted and up high on your shoulders, and keep your cloak in that. I like to keep a change of costume in there, as well, for those pesky times that you have to hide in plain sight because of some overly diligent member of the Watch, but more on that later, when I talk about disguises. For now, take my words of advice and use them or not, but in all things, Up the Craft! (A thieve?s cant term meaning ?Always improve your thieving skills!?)
Title: Re: Tools of the Trade: Up The Craft!
Post by: Gemethyst on August 16, 2014, 03:48:02 PM
So let us discuss the use of caltrops.  These little babies may seem like something that can safely be left out of your personal armament, but Gods, they can surely save your ass if you have them along.

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They vary in size, of course, but I like to have the really serious version. Each one is tipped by prongs that are very pointy and sharp, some inch or so in length.  The best ones are made from steel.  If you can't get steel, go for those made from cold iron, as these will be very good against any critters from Faerie and other places similar, if you happen to need that extra little protection.

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A handful of these guys dropped behind you as you flee the scene of the crime are very effective in slowing and even halting pursuit for juuuust long enough to allow you to hide in some promising location or to flee for your life.

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Oh, and never hide if they have some sort of scent marker creature along with them. Just FYI, man.  No future in it.

A nice, even dozen of the caltrops provide a fairly good coverage for getting at the feet of whomever it is that you want to slow down.  They will even pierce into the metal footwear of plate armor, if you've gotten the steel ones and the longer version of caltrop spines.  You will probably be able to outrun someone in plate armor, as long as you are not hampered by excess fat, shot in the leg, bleeding profusely, or blinded by flash powder.   But when the aforementioned conditions exist, caltrops can save your ass. Take it from me, a thief whose life has been saved many times by those sharp little contraptions of steel.

Just remember to carry them somewhere on your person in a pouch which you are unlikely to land upon if you take a tumble. You do not want to fall on that pouch, I guarantee.  

Alright, this little memo is done with.  Those of you who are still in training with your mentors work on this tactic. Box the watch, as we call it, by running past them with a plant who is shouting from behind the words "Thief!" or "Geeet him!". This will launch the Watch, as it were, and they will chase you.  Only do this if your mentor is with you, at least until you have perfected this little bit of the Craft.  Oh, and whatever you do, don't yell "Rape", because this will likely end with the Watch either ignoring you or making them become interested in you for an entirely different reason.  

As always, Up The Craft! (Insert visual of a fist pump here)
Title: Re: Tools of the Trade: Up The Craft!
Post by: Gemethyst on June 15, 2015, 06:19:18 PM
Today?s training memo is about that marvelous material known as shark skin.  This stuff is a vastly under-utilized  aid to thieves everywhere. I daresay it could be used by the non-thieving members of the community as well, but I am not here to help them, I am here to educate all of you fine members of the guild.
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The applications of this material are wide and varied, hindered only by whatever limits your imagination may be encumbered by.  The shark has skin that is easily bendable yet incredibly dense while also being lightweight, a very big plus for members of the Craft.  It is uniquely made in rows of sharp edged scales that closely resemble the actual teeth of the shark. These ?teeth?, if you will,  are interlocked with the one next to it, and all are set into a thick membrane that also provides exceptional advantages.

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Shark skin is nearly impervious to wear and tear, is so supple that it bends without creaking ?which most of you will agree just cannot be said of leather- and it is water repellent.  Water rolls right off of it. On a side note, because of this quality, it allows one to swim faster, if one were encased in a suit of the stuff.  

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I personally recommend that you get a hood of the stuff made, fitted snugly to the dimensions of the head and face, with a mask that can be pulled up when being incognito is desired.  It breathes well so that in the summer months it does not hold heat in, yet in the winter, the underlying membrane and water-repellent benefits cause a strong resistance to cold (windchill, especially) and keep one?s head  warm and dry.  

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A really marvelous bonus is that it gives the wearer the unexpected and excellent advantage of causing extreme confusion to any scent trackers, be they animal or person, as the scent of a marine dweller in the middle of town or wealthy merchant?s bedroom just does not make any sense at all to them.  Odor confusion is a handy tool!

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The best use of shark skin to my mind, friends, is using it on the soles of your footwear.  Certain merchants who sell contraband items have excellent soles of shark skin made up which can be easily affixed to your boots or whatever shoes you like to wear.  It makes it almost impossible to slip on any flooring you may encounter, whether it be stone, wood, dirt, grass, or virtually any substance at all, even marble.   When climbing walls and running over rooftops, this is a very nice enhancement, and when defending oneself with blade or fists, it gives one rock solid support.   I never leave home without it!

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Now admittedly, shark skin is expensive.  However, one can be falsely economical and wind up in the towers of the Watch, so take my advice and get some to line your footwear, at least. Think carefully what you spend your hard?earned booty on, fellow Craft-members.  Having sure footing and the other aforementioned benefits are well worth the gold.

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That is all for today.  Be sure to check with your mentors on the upcoming foray into the Tomb of Heralise set up for next month so that we know who is joining the romp.  Up the Craft!
Title: How to slay a biggun
Post by: Gemethyst on October 21, 2015, 03:09:21 PM
Greetings to the Guild and all its members.  In my position as Independent Consultant to the Guild, I have met many of you.   During these encounters it has been brought home to me that many who follow the Craft are not usually on the large side in physical body.   It would seem that shorter, leaner, and more compactly built bodies do better as thieves, with a lot of us being females.   This being the case, we often find ourselves being pitted against the unfortunately large, strong, brutish, and even beastly types in our endeavors, especially within the Watch.  Without the proper know-how on taking down a biggun this can lead to unfortunate outcomes.

Some of you may have noticed that I am not one of the larger practitioners of our Craft.  This being the case, many are the times where I have faced much larger foes and come out on top, as it were.   Thus I will share with you a few tips that have stood me in good stead.  

First of all, try to hide in shadows and move silently whenever such threats to continued living and freedom are present.  If at all possible create a distraction to aid your goal in getting clear without having to take on one of these larger foes.  Setting a fire can be very helpful here.  Using others as meat shields is entirely allowable, though this may be hampered by your scruples, as may the arson.  

However, if one has to commit to action, then it is best to get over heavy ground as lightly as possible.  Attack from behind, suddenly and fiercely (more on this in another memo), and hit low and hard, slicing just above and behind the knees, because as sure as he breathes, your big baddie has hamstrings to cut.  No bipedal creature created anywhere can walk without his tendons and ligaments in working order.  If he cannot stand, it gives you a very definite advantage towards winning the fight, aka incapacitating or killing him.  If he cannot stand, he cannot walk, in which case, he cannot chase you.  If he cannot walk, he cannot run, and so you in all likelihood get safely away.  

Here there is need for great caution.  Once you get him down on the ground (and he will end up there if you have truly hamstrung the poor bastich) be very careful to stay clear of his arms and hands, and any weapon of reach that he may be using.   If he gets hold of you and is stronger than you are, it will be very hard to get free of him, especially once he realizes you have just ruined his ability to walk forever, unless he has access to magical healing.  This realization does rather tend to send a foe into a real hissy fit of fury.  Avoid his reach at all costs!  No future in it, believe me.

After you have him at your mercy (or lack thereof) you can then deluge him with whatever ranged weaponry you happen to have at your disposal, be it arrows, throwing knives, stars, etc.  Guns work very well at these times, too, as do vials of acid thrown on the throat or face.  You may even be able to get in a good kick to his temple, thus rendering him unconscious, or kick in his ribcage, hopefully puncturing a lung, which will immediately occupy him with breathing (this is a good distraction on which I will expound in yet another memo).

Spend some time in the Library boning up on anatomy. Learn where the tendons and ligaments run inside the body structure of beings such as humans, elves, trolls, giants, etc.  I guarantee they will be very similar in most cases.  Go to the local morgue and study some cadavers.  Doing these things helps you to envision just where to sink your blades.  Practice on dummies, practice on cadavers, practice on your enemies.  Practice makes muscle memory engage and settle into the reflexes of body and brain, and this is the key to surviving when you don?t have time to think.  

Naturally there are times when this tactic will not work so well, or even at all.  If the foe is wearing plate armor or leather armor that is banded or studded, it is much more difficult, though still not impossible, to get your blade in there for a good slice.  The area behind the knee has to bend even when wearing such gear, and this being the case, it is literally a chink in the armor, as they say.  It takes much more skill, however, to hit this area on your enemy when it is thus protected when you are dashing out of shadow?s embrace with little time to fuss over aiming.   Precision aim is exactly what is required for success, however, and so take on this particular challenge only when you have no other choice.  

A final word on this subject: Aim for both knees.  One will suffice if it is all you can manage, for he will be seriously hampered in his attempts to end you.  It is best, though, to get both knees at the same time, for this truly will take down even the largest and strongest of your enemies and usually allow you to flee or to slay the biggun, however your conscience may dictate.  

Right then, back to work, you lot, and as always, Up the Craft!