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On SKT page 156, it says

the Zhentarim forged an alliance with Jarl Storvald. Storvald wants to find Artus Cimber. The Zhentarim will help him by giving him a droplet of the blood of Cimber.

How did they get this drop of blood? Why do they have it in their possession?

I'm probably missing something very obvious here, because it sounds very strange to me that they happen to have a droplet of blood of a random person on the continent.

In case they retrieved it from the NPC after learning that Storvald wanted him, then they also simply could have told him where he was, or captured him themselves.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I mean....the NPC in question is hardly just a "Random Person." He's both quite well known in underworld circles, and quite difficult to pin down. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 9, 2020 at 0:41

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It's not in the book, but...

In some cultures, here in the real world, there are lots of superstitious folks who will collect locks of hair and even items like nail clippings because they believe these items grant power over the person they came from.

Now imagine what it must be like in the D&D world where this is actually true.

For example, in Curse of Strahd, the sidebar on p. 29 explicitly says:

A secondary goal [of Strahd's spies] might be to acquire some physical object — a possession, an article of clothing, or even some part of a character’s body such as a lock of hair — that Strahd can use to improve the efficacy of his scrying spell.

I would also imagine there'd be a pretty active (and potentially lucrative) black market in personal items and actual bits of detritus from a person's body.

I would also think, especially among underworld/criminal/spy types, there might even be a requirement that you give up a personal item, lock of hair, drop of blood, or what have you, as insurance when you join certain types of organizations.

Basically, it's a form of insurance that your underworld boss could have someone spy on you whenever he wanted to (with -10 to your saving throw via the scrying spell)

So giving up a drop of blood to your underworld boss might just be business as usual. And if not, I can see underworld types arranging to acquire these things, even from non-minions, as a form of insurance or leverage.

That is pure speculation on my part. But the more I think about this, the more the I may incorporate this sort of trade into my campaign.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While this is pretty reasonable and a neat idea, it is completely unsupported. \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Jul 7, 2020 at 20:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair point, I edited my answer to fit your criteria to be both objective and subjective. \$\endgroup\$
    – Σ of eDπ
    Jul 7, 2020 at 21:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ To be honest, I think this is the only truthful answer one can give: It's not in the book. For that reason I'm also not going to downvote you, because I don't think you deserve that, even though NauthArch has a point that it isn't supported by anything. But you already knew that. I guess it's just something the writers of the module overlooked. \$\endgroup\$
    – Opifex
    Jul 8, 2020 at 18:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the answer would be improved by maybe elaborating a bit on the fact that it's not in the book (e.g. explaining where you looked for the info) before leading into your speculation. It may also be improved by citing other examples of similar things in the books supporting your theory - even if it's not explicitly stated about this particular NPC. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Sep 4, 2020 at 9:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Good feedback! I happen to be DMing CoS at the moment and came across a concrete example (so I added it) \$\endgroup\$
    – Σ of eDπ
    Sep 4, 2020 at 17:28

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