Groundbreaking – Mynd Theater v Mined Theater

“You want to have how many costume changes!?!? No, we don’t have anybody trained in that kind of dance! Did you say trained butterflies!?!? I am sorry, but you have lost your mind, nobody can put on a play like that … it would take an army of wizards!” Ryna laughed at the memory as she told the story to an investor sitting in a chair across the desk from her.

Randal here. I am gearing up to play Extinction Curse in a Play by Discord, so I have been pondering the concept of theatrics in a Pathfinder setting quite a bit. On our Discord server, FoeClan mentioned a Hat of Disguise in reference to acting, and it reminded me that there are a lot of handy items in the game that can go a long way toward outfitting a theatre/circus.

“Ok, you have managed to keep us interested. What do you plan to do with the money, if we decide to agree and invest in this theater?” asks one of the twin dwarves, she isn’t sure if it is Mauvel or Tauvel. “We understand you have negotiated to use the lower amphitheater and the building next to it? We will also like to see that contract” the other chimes in. Positive that she has buy in from both dwarves, Ryna leans forward and begins to outline her plans …

I considered doing a lot of math to figure out the costs of a theatre troupe, building rentals, pyrotechnics, etc. But then I realized that I just wasn’t in the mood … plus that is more of a James thing anyway. Following up with my last two pieces, I wanted to hit on the dynamic of having a low-cast “high-budget” show compared to a more traditional (and non-magical) setup.

“She is sending out invitations to a private play!?” Yuust, manager of Mynd Theater in Lakeside Proper, cries out. He slams the invitation onto his desk, knocking a few things over. Sound of surprise outside his door betray that his staff was eavesdropping as he spoke with his assistant. “Go get … Brather, and …” he snaps his fingers to try to remind himself “Gorve!” he exclaims, relieved that he remembered the name but annoyed that he was so flustered he couldn’t remember the name of the only dwarves actor in the basin. “Send them to Tar’Urzeft at once. They are to fin da way to involve themselves and send us anything they find!”

I really enjoyed the move The Prestige. I liken this scenario to that one. Somebody cannot handle that they aren’t the best anymore, and so they go out of their way to steal information and sabotage once they do.

“I saw you perform over at Mynd, it is a shame that you were let go. As you can see,” Ryna waves at the large room around them, containing all props and wardrobes, “this is a one woman show!” she watches their eyes for sincerity and says “If you are that hard up for work, I suppose I could use some extra hands with setup, breakdown, and organization, but I don’t have a need for actors here.”

Hirelings aren’t cheap when you aren’t an adventurer. Acquiring magic items that can be used by non-specialists is going to save a lot of money in the long run. That costs a *lot* of money, which requires a lot of startup, which requires assurances of profits … which is where the investors come in.

“Ok, so they are renting magic items from patrons of the theater. Using said items to inflate their quality. Artificially boosting buzz for the show by sending out exclusive invites. And this is working because they have a big name investor working with them? That’s it!?” Yuust swipes all the clutter from his desk onto the floor in rage. “How is she still in business? It has been a year! If you can’t get me secrets I can use here, then make sure her show doesn’t happen again!” he slams the door as he pushes Brather and Gorve out.

The premise is that she rents a magic item, making it a dominant part of her attire, bringing some prestige to the owner, thus allowing room to negotiate further usage, other items, or other patrons entirely. When not on stage, she has a trained crater making a copy of the time in question. My napkin math shows that the sweet spot for magical theater items is 2nd and 3rd level. Assuming an expert with a level equal to the item’s level, it seems to take either 54 days or 64 days to complete a magic item at have the street value.

Items perfect for stage usage are: dancing scarf (3rd), hand of the mage (2nd), hat of disguise (2nd), hat of the magi (3rd), persona mask (3rd), and ventriloquist’s ring (3rd). After two months of duplicating an item, the repertoire expands, allowing her to write a new script, target the richest, and up the price due to the newer, better, plot and production quality. All while canvasing those patrons for the next item to work into the routine.

Meanwhile, Yuust is pulling his hair out obsessing over this little upstart that is taking a slice of his pie. While they are in no way going out of business, those from outside the Caldera that are wealthy and traveled to Lakeside Proper to enjoy the theater have begun simply changing their destination to the dwarven keep.

“Why is she doing that?” Yuust mutters to himself. Eventually, he can no longer sit through this charade that Ryna calls a show. Standing up, he shouts “Imposter! This is not acting, this is all smoke and mirrors, magic and illusion. You disgrace the name of actors everywhere!” he triumphs, so sure of himself that he cannot see the pity in her eyes as he ruins his reputation in front of some of the wealthiest people in the Caldera. He also doesn’t see that he played right into her hands by ensuring that a spectacle occurred, proving that her shows were the place to be.


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Randal Meyer

As a lover of crunch (rules and numbers), Randal is always tinkering with rules options. His love of magic users has led him to always fuss with the mechanics of magic and magic items. Years of GMing on the fly have given him vast amounts of ideas and content from which to draw on for adventures (ideas, plots, NPCs). When not working, playing with his kids, bowling, or running a PF campaign, Randal is likely writing some new mobile web app (http://halfmugtavern.blog) to enhance the experience of playing Pathfinder!