In doing the accounting after the last foray, I noticed that one of the scrolls they recovered was Explosive Runes. That's not an ACK's spell, so I looked up the definition from ADD 1e. A mage has a 5% chance per level to notice the runes. Myrphines rolled a 54 -BOOM! The details were recorded in this letter to S. Cornelies Cethgi, the Publican (Tax Farmer) for Epirus Nova from his son Tertius.
Scodra, Illyria - Kal. Dec.
I am in Scodra at the request of Lactitus, the local king, to discuss trade opportunities. Despite being part of Illyrium, Scodra is separated from it's cities by rough mountains, while the plain opens to the south towards Epidamnus and Apollonia.
Rest assured that even in my absence our mercator, Fronieus, will have departed from Apollonia on the Pride of Corcyra no later than today. He has over 1500 amphora of dried fruit and fortified wines for Aqueleia. We should make a good profit from that trip, not just from the traders of Noricum but even from the Germans and perhaps the Sagitarii. For I have heard that traffic along the Amber Road is higher this year. I have even encountered a grim German here in Scodra!
From our point of view, Lactitius' most attractive product is a freshwater eel, from the large lake the city is situated upon. I have had it served several ways, the pickled was the most palatable. At most this will be a modest increase in the cargoes we send north. I suspect it might be more attractive in Syracuse and Utica where their firey dishes will mask it's rather greasy taste.
However, while visiting here I have come across not only an opportunity for profit, but also a chance to bedevil old G. Hirtus, who has the tax farm for Illyrium. The day of my arrival there was a terrible explosion and fire in an inn called the Unhappy Banker (no one in our family!) It turned out that some Corinthian (I thought Mummius Achaicus had sold all of them) mage had destroyed part of the building - and himself. Speaking with his companions, including the afore mentioned German, through one of their retainers who spoke excellent Latin, I discovered that they had recently returned from an expedition under Gentius' old castle, just outside of town. And that they had each brought out hundreds of gold and silver coins, even the retainers had been lavishly rewarded. Apparently, old Appius Claudius failed to bring home much of the treasure.
Here in lays the opportunity I have broached with Lactitius. He pays his taxes through G. Hirstus as part of the Illyrian tax farm. Hirstus does not know of the increased revenue and having based his tax gatherers in Issus and scattered through the mountains, only visits Scodra once a year to collect.
I am also attempting to place an agent with this group, I have sent to Hellieon in Epidamnus, he has a son who has come of age and has skills that would be useful to the German and his companions. Having an agent in the group will ensure that we do not miss levying the tax on any major treasure the group brings out. I'll offer his son 1% of the additional taxes as a reward.
Wanting to date the letter is what prompted me to develop the calendar page,which I have now made dynamic and added recurring events. The comment about Mummius Achaicus refers to the sack of Corinth in 146 BC, at the prompting of Roman mercantile interests. The picture is of the ruins of the Acrocorinth or fortress.