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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Need A Loan? Got a Soul? Lyster can help...

On the outer edge of the Merchant's Quarter, in a unassuming building across from Gadia Fing's Fine Foods cart (known to many in the area as the best place to grab a meat pie and cheddar wedge), there can be found one of only two pawnbrokers in Elbion.

Blafrian Yates, the head of Elbion's City Watch, has stated many times that his master likes to keep the number of pawnbrokers low, in order to lessen the amount of questioning required to solve a crime.

That's not to say that Lyster Platt, or the other pawnbroker in town, is a criminal, but oftentimes the true owner of an item is not so easily identified byt the shop keepers in question.

Lyster Plat : Pawnbroker to the Stars

Is a pawnbroker truly a merchant, or is he a mollusk?  It’s an age old question, but for the purpose of expediency we will consider him a seller of goods and place him squarely at the farthest point from the Merchants Quarter,  just a bit too close to the slums.  Strategically positioned on Needs & Wants lane, the name of Lyster’s shop is simply ‘Pawns’, with the universal symbol for pawn shops everywhere directly below, three golden balls hanging from the arms of a scale.

To describe Lyster Gold as a fat man is like describing a dragon as a large lizard.  Lyster has five chins, but three of them are hiding under the largest two.  That said, he’s very agile for a ‘person of size’, and to see him move amongst the shelves and displays of his overly large pawnshop placing new inventory and keeping the other items nice and tidy seems like a delicate dance.  Dressed in comfortable, loose-fitting leathers and a tunic, Lyster is often found sitting behind the solid oak counter of the pawnshop, which is so high as to put him several feet above his customers.  From this perch, he wheels and deals all day from a position of ‘power’.  It’s an old custom, and it works.  Customers are at a -15% with regard to all dealings in the pawnshop.

What about inventory?  What does this fellow stock in his pawnshop?  It’s a total crapshoot.  On any given day Lyster’s inventory can turn in an instant.  Anything that has value can be bought, sold, or even loaned against.  Frequent items in inventory are musical instruments, jewelry, books, fine dinnerware, some clothes items, armor and weapons...the list is almost inexhaustible.  

If you’ve arrived at Lyster’s door looking for a loan, his rates are very reasonable.  Assess the loan based on the item, and the value of the item over time.  Will the item be just as useful and valuable in 3 months (all loans are 90 days from the date placed)?  The best items for pawn are gems and jewelry, musical instruments, armor and weapons.  These items are easily assessed, and loans are usually 1/5th the assessed value.  The outright sale of these items is 1/3rd of assessed value.  Lyster does the assessing, and he’s very, VERY good at it, so arguing with him is an act in futility.  He’s well aware that no one WANTS to take a loan from a pawnbroker, and he exercises this leverage appropriately.

All items pawned will receive a corresponding chit for redemption, which is transferrable.  A notation will be made in Lyster’s large book of loans, which he will pull from a shelf dedicated to the volume, which is quite old and comprised of materials that are not easily identifiable (a wizard or alchemist might see that the cover is a draconic hide material, and that the pages are all vellum.  The book, pages, ink and pen used to write each loan is enchanted...more on this in a bit.)  Interest on loans is 5% compounded monthly, a very reasonable rate, and an initial loan fee is also tacked on to each loan, due at repayment.

Lyster, like many of Elbion’s residents, is not a native of the city in the mountains.  He’s actually not a human at all, but a gnome.  Wearing his enchanted ring of shape change, he has assumed the form of Lyster in order to blend into the community more easily, and conduct business without drawing attention to himself.  Loans written that are not redeemed recharge the ring, as the fine print clearly states, by taking a small piece of the loan-takers soul.  Those who default on loans will not notice as this chunk of life energy is yanked from them, but others around them may sense that they’ve become somewhat melancholy or listless.  

Lyster also uses these ‘bits’ of soul energy to craft magic items, his true vocation.   Some of the Arcanists of Elbion frequent Lyster’s Pawn Shop, and several know that he traffics in magical items however none of them know anything more.


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