On the nature of forgeries
This piece is intended as an informative document for use by traders of the Halls of Commerce. I have no illusions regarding that fact that this document will make its way into the hands of others outside the guild, eventually to be read by forgers as well as the traders that it is intended for. So I take this moment to commend the skill of many of these forgers who have so successfully turned a profit by duping the traders of Erdreja, for there is a nobility in all forms of profit – even profit from falsehood and lies.
The first thing to be aware of when examining an item that has been offered to you is the nature of forged items. They tend to have much promise about them, having often a highly attractive name and appearance. They may, at first glance, seem to have powers that are eminently saleable. Examples would be the ‘Beads of Chance’ which Yemeni purchased within the Casino at the Heartlands of 1103, or ‘The Bracelet of Lightning Strike’ which I obtained from a trader later that year. A more recent example would be ‘The Skeleton Key’ that was offered for sale at the Convocation of Guilds 1104.
All three of these items have been carefully named so as to suggest powers that would be desirable by many potential buyers. The Beads of Chance were said to improve ones odds whilst within the Casino. The Bracelet of Lightning Strike was obviously meant to appeal to warriors, the implication being that it granted the wearer improved sword-fighting ability. The Skeleton Key was said to be able to open any mundane lock.
In all three cases the items were not made available for testing by the buyer. No demonstration was made of their powers at all. So the seller had to rely upon their verbal sales ability alone, or else the gullibility or carelessness of the buyer.
As there are no clear powers of the item at the point of sale, the seller will usually claim that the powers need to be diagnosed by experts from the mages guild ((as there is no powers card)). A simple method of defeating such vendors is to offer to have such items diagnosed by the Bank. We are quite capable of discerning if a given item has any inherent powers and will perform this service free for any guild member.
Often fakes do detect as magical, albeit ‘Weakly Magical’. Do not think that just because it contains magic then therefore it is not a forgery. They will also certainly evaluate as having a value in gold. This is likely to be only a small value (1-5 gold).
Forgeries are seldom ever Weapons or Armour. This is due to the fact that it is probably harder to create a fake ‘Enchanted’ Blade than it is to create a real one. The notable exception to this are Spell tempered items. I have seen (and sold) a fake spell tempered sword at the Heartlands 1102. Obviously a fake spell tempered item would contribute nothing to any ritual that it was taken into.
It seems to be the case that the Scouts Guild use fake items to train/test their guild members in the skills of deception and sale. I remember Maple, a Gryphon of the Scouts (sadly slain shortly after) selling me a cup named the ‘Goblet of Kings’ at one of the Moots in 1103. She claimed that it gave the bearer resistance to poisons. I made it very clear to her that I was aware of it’s forged nature and that I was only purchasing it in order to aid her in her progress in Scout training. She seemed happy with this and perhaps she owed me a favour. Also, buy indicating that I had spotted the fake I was able to batter down her price to the bare minimum that she had been instructed to get for the item. This left me with a fake item that I could either sell on myself or else use to train/test members of the Halls of Commerce. ‘The Belt of Amberlee’ was also sold by a junior member of the Scouts guild.
Sometimes forgeries tend to hit the market in sets. In 1102 there was a batch of Dark Incantation items, including one called ‘Vampire’s Tooth’. This coincided with Dark Incantation emerging as a new force in the Heartlands. Whoever is behind the forgeries is obviously looking carefully at what might be of interest at the given point in time. The Beads of Chance were available just as the Casino first opened its doors. This coming year we may see several ‘Imperial’ items for example.
It should be noted that forged items can be sold absolutely legitimately. If you find yourself in possession of a fake, then you can simply sell it as a finely made example of whatever it is. Do not imply that it has magical powers (in fact state openly that it does not). And you will find that many people will wish to buy the item at a reasonable price. They make ideal wedding gifts, or can be used to lure thieves or bribe gate guards and other idiots.
It is my suggestion that the Guild compile a list of fake items that it hears of, or comes across, in its dealings. This list would be kept available at the Bank for inspection of all guild members. Also it should be made known amongst the guild’s traders which of us is skilled in detecting forgeries.