Art of the Deal
Autumn Magnitude 8
Performing the Ritual
This spell is an enchantment. A target may only be under one enchantment effect at a time.
The fleet provides an additional 120 rings of profit over the next season, in addition to normal production, but only if it engages in foreign trade.
The character who controls the target resource is under a roleplaying effect for at least ten minutes after the ritual is performed: they feel a strong sense of the worth of every item they possess, and of how much they would trade to acquire the items and attributes of others. They see all interactions in transactional terms, and are absolutely disinclined to engage in either altruistic or charitable action.
The effect lasts until the start of the next Profound Decisions Empire event. If the owner of the resource does not attend the next event, then the additional production provided by the resource is still added to that character's inventory. If the fleet does not engage in foreign trade during the next downtime, the ritual has no effect.
If the owner of the resource does not attend the next event, then the additional production provided by the resource is still added to that character's inventory.
This ritual can affect additional fleets as long as they are controlled by characters in the same band. Each additional fleet increases the magnitude by 6. The character who controls each fleet must be present throughout the ritual.
This ritual enchants the traders associated with a fleet resource, giving them an innate feel for deals and trade. As with Rivers of Gold and similar effects it serendipitously influences the likelihood that they will make profitable deals, and it grants supernatural insight into the shifts and trends of the markets through which they move. It is very subtle in its effect, but it means that a trader with a hold full of trade goods reaching the Asavean Archipelago or the Sarcophan Delves is assured not only of purchasing valuable goods of use to Imperial citizens but also returning with a hold groaning with obscure and exotic trade goods that will sell well on the docks, paradors, bazaars and markets of the Empire.
As with many such rituals, especially in the Realm of Autumn, the effect is more economical the more fleets it targets. Six crowns for four crystal mana is one thing; eighteen crowns for ten crystal mana is much more appealing. The true joy of this ritual for many Autumn ritualists is the knowledge that their magic is reaching half-way around the world. Through this ritual and others like it, their influence is felt in distant parts of the globe, without their ever having to leave their comfortable chairs in the Empire.
On occasion fleets enchanted by this ritual have returned to the Empire with exotic, unexpected trade goods whose value has far exceeded what was expected. There are whispered stories of rare trade goods, exotic narcotics, supernatural liquors, minor enchanted items and even (on one occasion) a ring of ilium found among the many fine items acquired by the traders whose ships were under the influence of this Autumn spell.
Mind you it is also worth noting that some of these "items" have brought nearly as much danger as they have presented opportunities for profit and influence, such as the time a Freeborn dromond returned with an exiled Jarmite princess hiding in a weirwood wardrobe, or when a Dawnish caravel returned from the Sarcophan Delves with a delicate golden ring stolen by tomb robbers whose unsleeping, undying guarding proceeded to pursue it to the Empire and cause havoc in Weirwater.
This ritual encourages profitable deals and exchanges, and enhances the natural interpersonal skills of a merchant or trader. The performance is often accompanied by coins and other precious items, especially those symbolic of foreign trade. In The Marches and The Brass Coast, coins taken from a previous venture's profit are often used as a way to 'prime' the enchantment and attract more wealth. The rune Pallas is often evoked, but so are subtle rune of plots and the serendipitous rune of chance, as well as the rune of discovery - chosen both for its connection to ships and to highlight the idea that the wealth this ritual offers is sought - it does not simply fall into the lap of the merchant. Symbols of Prosperity are also common, often with an invocation highlighting the rewards of hard work.
Foreign traders are a component of some rituals; Navarr ritualists often mix blood with that of a visitor to the Empire to symbolically encourage understanding between strangers; likewise, Varushkan ritualists might create an oath or promise between the target and a representative of a foreign land, and use that oath to strengthen the ritual. Stones from foreign seaports might be the target of the enchantment, then used for ballast on the flagship of the fleet, and flags or even sails woven by skilled ritualists might be enchanted and used to help the ship navigate treacherous waters both literal and metaphoric.