The Journal of Aldrick

Campaign: The Iron Circle

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Zen And The Art of Influence: Foundation
Before we can even think about building our power we need coin. Gold is the foundation of an empire. Without it you are stuck right where you are. Nowhere.

Odds are you are in the same position I used to be. Scraping by every day. Never knowing where the next meal is coming from. Don't worry man. You do not need to be some butchers apprenticed to build a bankroll.

However, the start is the worst part of our journey. You will do things that you will regret the rest of your life. You will hurt people that don't deserve it. You will do things that will earn you more enemies than you can keep track of.

That is the price you pay to have a different life than fate handed you, get through it.

To start building a foundation look around for the easy money.

Where I am from drunks littered the streets. It is not hard to lift a few coins off a human so drunk he has to crawl to get home. Practically free coins. Besides that loser likely beats his wife and kids when he gets home so you don't even have to feel bad about it.

Charity boxes are another easy target. Does not take long to get good at dropping one coin and picking up three from a collection plate. If you want the whole stash they usually lock it up in some far flung room, don't even bother puttin' it in a safe. You can always play up how bad off you are to and get some coin from the bleeding hearts that way. Whatever skill set you got, there is a way to get coin from charities.

Nothing wrong with being straight forward either. Lost track of how many times I cut the coin purse off a passing merchant. Everyone you meet out on the street has a few coins on them, it is up to you how you get those coins inside your own pocket.

The key is to hold on to what you take.

Don't be a loser and spend it all on pointless things. We are building up a war-chest. This discipline is what separates you and me from the rest of the cattle out there. They get their grubby hands on some coin and spend it on drink and fancy meals. We get some coin and starve.

Why?

Because you need a storefront.

I never robbed a house or knocked over a store because I never knew a fence I could trust. Having your own store allows you to BE the fence. You are not cutting out the middle man, you are taking his place. Let a few people know your willing to buy items with less-than-perfect records and now other hoodlums will bring you wares to sell for coppers on the silver.

If you have been diligently grabbing every coin you can and saving every coin you get then it is only a matter of time before you hit this leverage point. It is a big deal. Leverage is the key to everything. Leverage is how you are going to build wealth beyond measure and become the envy of every man you meet.

Congratulations, you are a player in the game now.

Now it is time to grow.
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Zen And The Art of Influence: Intro
You there. I know you, I used to be you. People walk all over you just because they can, don't they?

I know how that goes. Been small all my life, so small all the other gnomes called me names. You know what it feels like to be bullied about your size by a bunch of tiny people? Of course you do. There is only one reason you picked up this tome up and that is because you need respect.

Some sally tongued loser may say you merely want respect

I know the truth friend.

In this course I will teach you everything I know about building influence. Commanding respect. Having your voice heard and living the life of a high lord. If I can do it so can you.

Born a poor wretched nobody. My parents were nobodies. Hell my whole line of folk were a bunch of good for nothings. Once they died, they died. No one sung their tales. There was nothing to sing about. Not a good starting point to be sure. Can you relate?

Add to that the fact I am less than two feet tall and always been undersized for a gnome and you have the recipe for yet another born loser.

But we are not who we are born, we are who we choose to be and I chose to matter.

Right now I have five servants. Do you have any servants? I have a different home for summer, spring, fall and winter. That is right. Four homes, four of them. Do you even have one house right now? I have got two race horses, I have got a live in cook, I have got three lovely companions, and I have got enough gold coins to buy your life right now.

Not saying all this to brag, no sir. I need you to know what is possible if you put everything you are about to read to work. You can change your life.

Influence is power, power is money, money buys respect.

Now I want to be very clear here. When I started I had nothing, less than nothing. If I had two copper in my pocket for lunch - Germet Wilkins would beat me 'till I handed it over.

You don't be needing any coin to get started. Just the willingness to do what other will not. You have to decide here and now whether you are going to be another muck belly fool or the next lord on the rise.

So which is it?


P.S. Germet Wilkins is a beggar on the streets now. Someone went off and took his hands. Funny how life works out some times. Germet the handless beggar. Poor guy... Watching his face light up when I flipped a platinum piece in his little tin can one day while walking by... that is a moment I will cherish forever.
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Zen And The Art of Influence
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Not So Private Journal 7
Dear Unknowable Master,

I find my body in a cage again. What is this, the second time? The creatures I travel with seem a little perturbed by what happened. I suppose pushing a flesh thing off a boat is different than walking into your own home. Just wanted a sandwich after being away for so long. Seems wrong to lock away a living thing for that.

It pains me to remember that I was once one of these meat things.

You taught me to do what is required. Now I sit alone in a cell. No company will keep me.

These creatures are confusing. One life has value while another does not. They cheer me on as we rip the soul from one fleshy thing and seem enraged when we do so with another. Murdering a creature defending its home? Acceptable. Murdering a creature to further the goals of the team… unacceptable? For a place made of such simple dimensions this is surely a confusing boundary they have erected in their inferior minds

I know you sent me here for a reason. That reason continues to elude me. Right now it seems you are having a laugh. Have I been sent here for your entertainment?

In the silence of this cell I do have a frightening thought.

Perhaps they have a point. Somewhere in my mind is the memory of a simple morality. I can feel it. You said I would never be like them again. You made me better. The more time I spend in this existence the more I wonder how true that is.
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Not So Private Journal 6
Dear Unknowable Master,

The stars have stopped calling. I no longer hear their songs. What is happening? What is this weakness? What power could possibly interfere with our connection?

I am not prepared for what is to come.

Still, I walk into the void - trusting in your guidance.
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