The Right Components

Excerpts taken from Wizarding on a Budget, Chapter 6, Magic Items and You

Many aspiring wizards are intimidated by the cost of materials required for casting spells, but most of these materials can be purchased second hand, or gathered from nature and prepared in the lab. See Fig. 12.4 for a list of examples of components for first level wizard spells.

Edrick steadied himself on the lip of the dumpster, one hand holding the lid up, the other stretching down into the piles of rubbish below. He had already flung a scrap of white cloth, and the remains of a spool of silver thread out of the dumpster and onto the ground. 

As he rummaged further, he took a hesitant breath. Sometimes the smell of rotting food or rat droppings was so strong he would have to leap away from a dumpster or risk vomiting on the items he was searching for. He caught a slight hint of rotten egg smell, and smiled. 

A few more moments and his hand brushed against a small yellow lump about the size of his thumb. He hopped out of the dumpster to examine it in the light. It was definitely a piece of sulphur, large enough for two spells, if a wizard was being thrifty. He gathered the items on the ground and shoved them into his nearly full sack. Between that and the half-full vial of quicksilver Edrick would be able to have meat with dinner tonight.

As he straightened again, he noticed something poking out behind one of the barrels beside the dumpster. He shoved the barrel aside, and carefully lifted up the slender, smoothly polished length of wood. It made the hair on his hand and arm stand on end.

Another wise choice for wizards is to make contacts among the alchemists in the area, and offer services in exchange for the preparation of more complex powders or potions. Below are the current organizations that certify alchemists, along with their seals of approval. Beware unapproved alchemists, as their materials may not be high enough quality for use in spells.

“But only last week it was worth twice that much,” Edrick said. He frowned up at the black clad man with wooly eyebrows who was examining his take for the day. The man’s long, yellow stained fingers poked through the items.

“That was last week.” His voice was flat and unemotional. “Take it or leave it. Unless you have something else for me?”

Edrick clutched his not quite empty sack. “No, that’s all. And if you don’t want to pay fair for it, I’ll take it down to Vittorio. Maybe he’ll be in a better mood.” He opened his bag and swept all the items back into it, and hurried out the door. There were other alchemists in town, but few of them would even let him in the shop, and Inaam was the only one who handled quicksilver anymore, even if it did make him unpredictable.

Of course, the one magic item that should not be skimped on is a wizard’s wand. Though money can be saved by choosing a wand rather than a staff, there will come a point where a staff will be required. At first a wand is sufficient, and should always be tailor made and attuned to the wizard. Should a wand break or wear out, it should be destroyed rather than disposed of.

Edrick was all the way down the street before he noticed he was being followed. Inaam may be going mad, but his other skills were still sharp. Edrick broke into a run around the corner, and then ducked down the first alley he saw. Unfortunately, it was a dead end.

He looked above, hoping for a clothes line, or a deep window frame, but there was nothing in reach. He shoved his hand into the sack, trying to find the right object. Inaam appeared at the end of the alley. He had a round glass bottle in one hand and was tossing it into the air and catching it.

“There’s a good boy, dig deep into that sack and give me what you were hiding. Something worth my time. And I’ll think about not melting you into a puddle.”

Edrick’s hand closed on the wand, and he yanked it from the sack, sending his finds flying across the alley. Without a second thought, he swung the wand over his head and pointed it at Inaam.

“Kazaam!” Edrick shouted. The wand buzzed slightly in his hand, but nothing happened.

Inaam laughed. “Stop playing with that, boy, before you hurt yourself. Now hand it over.” He held the bottle up over his head. “Or I can just drop this bottle and watch your flesh melt from your bones.”

“Won’t that melt the wand too?” Edrick shook the wand a few times, slapping it against the palm of his hand. The end sparked a bit and then fizzled.

“Depends on the wand,” Inaam said with a shrug. “If it does it wasn’t worth so much after all.”

“Congelo!” Thundered a new voice from the end of the alley. Inaam stopped, completely still, the bottle hovering just above his hand.

“Ah, so you’re the one my wand found.” An older man stepped around the frozen form of Inaam. He was draped in long flowing robes decorated in garish stars and moons. 

“Uh, yeah, I guess I found your wand.” Edrick lowered his hand.

“That’s not what I said.” The wizard looked Edrick over. “Well, it’s not what I expected. But then it never is. How do you feel about an apprenticeship?”

Edrick looked down at the wand, and then back up at the wizard. “Fine, I guess. But do I have to wear the robes?”