In exchange for tokens, I could get potions, maps, equipment, special training in skills… and almost any other thing useful to an adventurer. “Isn’t this… really expensive?” I looked at a particular sort of healing potion. It was available for only two tokens.
Kantrilla nodded, “Those are mostly used by E rank or higher adventurers.”
“Hmm… doesn’t that mean the guild is losing a lot of money here?” Since they didn’t charge anything to participate, they could only lose money on the entire venture, even if it was almost free to make the prizes- and I doubted that.
“That’s right, they would. It’s probably for the same reason cheap inns and equipment are subsidized- to encourage low level adventurers. Without low level adventurers, nobody becomes high level… and without high level adventurers, all sorts of bad things happen.”
“Wait, inns are subsidized?”
“That’s right… otherwise low level adventurers would barely be able to support themselves. They’d have to throw themselves into danger every day without breaks just to break even.”
“Ugh… I feel slightly less proud of myself now.”
“Aww, don’t say that. Our party is advancing faster than most- and everyone has the same amount of help. It’s not like we’re getting special discounts that others aren’t.”
“Hmm, I guess so.” I hadn’t realized about the subsidies, but I supposed it made sense. That was also why some of the next tiers of equipment seemed so expensive- not only were the materials more rare and difficult to work, but people actually had to pay full price for them.
As I browsed around looking at what was for offer- and determining what I could actually get- I saw what the others were looking at as well. Kasner was looking at wands and staves, but also training for new spells. In fact, everyone was interested in training. I saw Alhorn considering a few different abilities- but he also stopped by shields and other gear.
“Come on, Socks!” Halette was looking at various collars and other accessories. This particular portion of the adventurer’s guild was one of the only places animals were allowed inside. While most animal companions were well behaved, hooves and claws weren’t good for carpets or even hardwood floors.
I had a handful of tokens, but it was hard to decide how to spend them. In the end, the only piece of equipment I got was a pair of boots of Sure Footing. They were designed and enchanted to prevent slipping and help the wearer keep their balance. There were many weapons that caught my eye, and I wanted them all- but I had just gotten a magical weapon. I figured it was a better investment to better myself, and thus I signed up for some training in various areas- how to fight without weapons, and various combat techniques to use against humanoids. I was already looking into getting the same things with money- but free was much better.
Kantrilla had over a dozen tokens… I didn’t see everything she got, but she got some new armor and paid for a few magical training sessions. Father Thomas had given her a good foundation in every sort of clerical magic, but she’d needed more practice before she could learn some more particular techniques. It was also possible that there were some spells he hadn’t learned or didn’t specialize in. He didn’t necessarily know everything… though I doubted that there would be many people who could surpass his ability to cure diseases. I shuddered to think what my life would be like if I were stuck at 10 base Strength.
Before we left, Kantrilla gathered everyone together. “I got something for everyone!” She held up a handful of amulets- and a collar. “Put them on!”
I thought I recognized the design, and my suspicions were confirmed when I put it on. I felt almost like I leveled up- except instead of suddenly getting a bit stronger it was something else for the first time. Well, I had received blessing spells too which was more appropriate. These amulets increased Toughness by 10 each- I confirmed that with the status window. “Oh, thank you very much Kantrilla. You didn’t have to spend anything on us.”
The amulets cost only a single token each. That made them the cheapest things- but besides Kantrilla the rest of us had only four or five tokens. She’d spent as much as we had total on other people- and almost half of her total. Everyone else was grateful as well. Socks went up to Kantrilla and licked her face… though I’m not sure if that was any different from her normal behavior. The amulets would make all of us a bit safer… and though that meant Kantrilla would have an easier time and wouldn’t need to heal us as much, she definitely got them because she was thinking about our safety.
10 Toughness wasn’t going to completely change everything, but it never hurt to have more. I imagined what it would be like to just wear a huge pile of such amulets. Besides looking like a rapper, I would be nearly invincible. Except, of course, that wouldn’t actually work. It wasn’t that it was impossible to get effects of multiple amulets, but there was a limit to everything. Having multiple of the same type of enchantment ran into diminishing returns very quickly. A second one of these amulets would only add another 5 Toughness- and each one after that would effectively be half as much, leading to four such amulets not even being twice as good as one. However, different types of enchantments would provide their full effect, up to the point the user could handle. This was similar to blessing spells, and after a certain point having more magic items was only negligible better or even actively worse. That increase with levels and such, but even rich people had to work on their base stats and couldn’t rely solely on magic items. For example, I could probably handle a total of +40-50 to my attributes from magic items. It was significant, but not enough to make up for being behind by anywhere from 30-100 in two or three regular Attributes from slacking off in training. That said, I still heard about a number of rich people buying their way to strength- at least some measure of it.