24 Simple Deceptions

To help you succeed in Business, Politics, and Love

These deceptions are drawn from the stories of Jack Vance, and in particular his Cugel series which is a continual swirl of minor and major deceit. Enough so that I decided to more closely study the stories, in order to systematize the deceptions and find the general patterns that could be drawn from them. The following analysis is the result of that work. I have taken the 24 patterns of deception found in Vance's work and codified them. I have then added extensive examples of how these deceptions are used in the modern world, and how you can use these deceptions to improve your life.

Note 1: Please do not try these at home. They are for humor/educational value only.
Note 2: These have massive spoilers for Vance's stories, so if you have not already read all of his books please do so before continuing forward.

Simple Deceptions

Take something worthless and claim that it has great value

Example: Cugel crafts false amulets out of base lead and tries to sell them.
“Enter, my friend, enter. How goes your trade?”
“In all candor, not too well,” said Cugel. “I am both perplexed and disappointed, for my talismans are not obviously useless.”

Example: Cugel and an innkeeper haggle over the price of a riding animal.
"This is the least I can do for you," said the innkeeper. "I will sell this beast at a nominal figure. Agreed, it lacks elegance, and in fact is a hybrid of dounge and felukhary. Still, it moves with an easy stride; it feeds upon inexpensive wastes, and is notorious for its stubborn loyalty."
Cugel moved politely away. "I appreciate your altruism, but for such a creature any price whatever is excessive. Notice the sores at the base of its tail, the eczema along its back, and, unless I am mistaken, it lacks an eye. Also, its odor is not all it might be."
"Trifles!" declared the innkeeper. "Do you want a dependable steed to carry you across the Plain of Standing Stones, or an adjunct to your vanity? The beast becomes your property for a mere thirty terces."
Cugel jumped back in shock. "When a fine Cambalese wheriot sells for twenty? My dear fellow, your generosity out-reaches my ability to pay!"
The innkeeper's face expressed only patience. "Here, in the middle of Tsombol Marsh, you will buy not even the smell of a dead wheriot."
"Let us discard euphemism," said Cugel. "Your price is an outrage."
For an instant the innkeeper's face lost its genial cast and he spoke in a grumbling voice: "Every person to whom I sell this steed takes the same advantage of my kindliness."
Cugel was puzzled by the remark. Nevertheless, sensing irresolution, he pressed his advantage. "In spite of a dozen misgivings, I offer a generous twelve terces!"
"Done!" cried the innkeeper almost before Cugel had finished speaking. "I repeat, you will discover this beast to be totally loyal, even beyond your expectations."

Example: Cugel accidentally causes the loss of a wagon wheel that was being repaired, and its owners demand payment
"Ten terces is the value of a new wheel," said the oldest brother. "Pay over that sum at once. Since I never threaten I will not mention the alternatives."
Cugel drew himself up. "I am not one to be impressed by bluster!"
"What of cudgels and pitchforks?"
Cugel took a step back and dropped a hand to his sword. "If blood runs along the road, it will be yours, not mine!"
The farmers stood back, collecting their wits. Cugel moderated his voice. "A wheel such as yours, damaged, broken, and worn almost through to the spokes, might fairly be valued at two terces. To demand more is unrealistic."
The oldest brother declared in grandiose tones: "We will compromise! I mentioned ten terces, you spoke of two. Subtracting two from ten leaves eight; therefore pay us eight terces and everyone will be satisfied."
Cugel still hesitated. "Somewhere I sense a fallacy. Eight terces is still too much! Remember, I acted from altruism! Must I pay for good deeds?"
"Is it a good deed to send our wheel whirling through the air? If this is your kindness, spare us anything worse."
Cugel rummaged among the crab-apples and brought out five terces. "I give up this money not to please you but to punish myself for trying to improve a group of primitive peasants."
There was another spate of bitter words, but at last the five terces were accepted, and Cugel departed. As soon as he had passed around the wagon he heard the brothers give vent to guffaws of coarse laughter.
The mermelants lay sprawled untidily in the dirt, probing the roadside weeds for sweet-grass with their long tongues. As Cugel passed, the lead animal spoke in a voice barely comprehensible through a mouthful of fodder. "Why are the lumpkins laughing?"
Cugel shrugged. "I helped them with magic and their wheel flew away, so I gave them five terces to stifle their outcries."
"Tricks, full and bold!" said the mermelant. "An hour ago they sent the boy to the farm for a new wheel. They were ready to roll the old wheel into the ditch when they saw you."

If there is something valuable that you want, claim that it is worthless as a way to bargain down the cost

Example: A merchant tries to sell a casket that may (or may not) be valuable.
And here — note this casket! It was found in a crypt near the site of old Kar-kod. It is yet sealed and who knows what wonder it may contain? My price is a modest twelve thousand terces.”
“Interesting,” murmured Iucounu. “The inscription — let me see.... Hmm. Yes, it is authentic. The casket contains calcined fish-bone, which was used throughout Grand Motholam as a purgative. It is worth perhaps ten or twelve terces as a curio. I own caskets eons older, dating back to the Age of Glow.”

Example: Iucounu wants to buy the artifact Spatterlight from Cugel, Cugel does not want to sell.
"I am dumbfounded by your generosity!" said Cugel. "What, may I ask, do you want in return?"
"Bah! Some trifle, perhaps, to symbolize the exchange. The kickshaw that you wear in your hat will suffice."
Cugel made a sign of regret.  “You ask the one thing that I hold dear.  That is the talisman I found near Shanglestone Strand. I have carried it through thick and thin, and now I could never give it up. It may even exert a magical influence."
"Nonsense!" snorted Iucounu. "I have a sensitive nose for magic. The ornament is as dull as stale beer."
"Its spark has cheered me through dreary hours; I could never give it up."

Claim you will perform a task or do work. Do not do it.

Example: Cugel has been hired to keep the divers warm and fed. He skips his duties and makes apologies and promises instead.
During the late afternoon, Cugel went out to the pond to assist the divers as they finished work for the day. First Malser emerged from the pond, hands like claws, then Yelleg. Cugel flushed away the slime with water piped from a stream, then Yelleg and Malser went to a shed to change clothes, their skin shriveled and lavender from the cold. Since Cugel had neglected to build a fire, their complaints were curtailed only by the chattering of their teeth.

"No matter! Yelleg and Malser are in need of their tea."
"All in good time," said Cugel. He climbed from the grave and went to the gardener's shed where he found Yelleg and Malser standing hunched and numb. Yelleg cried out: "Tea is one of the few free perquisites rendered by Twango! All day we grope through the freezing slime, anticipating the moment when we may drink tea and warm our shriveled skin at the fire!"
Malser chimed in: "There is neither tea nor fire! Weamish was more assiduous!"
"Be calm!" said Cugel. "I still have not mastered the routine."
Cugel set the fire alight and brewed tea; Yelleg and Malser grumbled further but Cugel promised better service in the future and the divers were appeased. They warmed themselves and drank tea, then once more ran down to the pond and plunged into the slime.
"No matter! Yelleg and Malser are in need of their tea."
"All in good time," said Cugel. He climbed from the grave and went to the gardener's shed where he found Yelleg and Malser standing hunched and numb. Yelleg cried out: "Tea is one of the few free perquisites rendered by Twango! All day we grope through the freezing slime, anticipating the moment when we may drink tea and warm our shriveled skin at the fire!"
Malser chimed in: "There is neither tea nor fire! Weamish was more assiduous!"
"Be calm!" said Cugel. "I still have not mastered the routine."
Cugel set the fire alight and brewed tea; Yelleg and Malser grumbled further but Cugel promised better service in the future and the divers were appeased. They warmed themselves and drank tea, then once more ran down to the pond and plunged into the slime.

Example: Cugel has been hired to guard the caravans goods. He does not do it.
"What is the meaning of this summons?" inquired Shimilko. "Why do, you regard me with such gravity?"
The Grand Thearch spoke in a deep voice: "Shimilko, the seventeen maidens conveyed by you from Symnathis to Lumarth have been examined, and I regret to say that of the seventeen, only two can be classified as virgins. The remaining fifteen have been sexually deflorated."
Shimilko could hardly speak for consternation. "Impossible!" he sputtered. "At Symnathis I undertook the most elaborate precautions. I can display three separate documents certifying the purity of each. There can be no doubt! You are in error!"
"We are not in error, Master Shimilko. Conditions are as we describe, and may easily be verified."
"'Impossible' and 'incredible’ are the only two words which come to mind," cried Shimilko. "Have you questioned the girls themselves?"
"Of course. They merely raise their eyes to the ceiling and whistle between their teeth. Shimilko, how do you explain this heinous outrage?"
"I am perplexed to the point of confusion! The girls embarked upon the journey as pure as the day they were born. This is fact! During each waking instant they never left my area of perception. This is also fact."
"And when you slept?"
"The implausibility is no less extreme. The teamsters invariably retired together in a group. I shared my wagon with the chief teamster and each of us will vouch for the other. Cugel meanwhile kept watch over the entire camp."
"A single guard suffices, even though the nocturnal hours are slow and dismal. Cugel, however, never complained."
"Cugel is evidently the culprit!"
Shimilko smilingly shook his head. "Cugel's duties left him no time for illicit activity."
"What if Cugel scamped his duties?"
Shimilko responded patiently: "Remember, each girl rested secure in her private cubicle with a door between herself and Cugel."
"Well then — what if Cugel opened this door and quietly entered the cubicle?"
Shimilko considered a dubious moment, and pulled at his silky beard. "In such a case, I suppose the matter might be possible."

Claim there will be a great reward for some task. Do not deliver the reward.

Example: At Vull, Cugel is tricked into imprisonment on a watch tower by promises of wealth
The hetman paused to reflect, and ticked off the points on his fingers. “First, he is provided a comfortable watch-tower, complete with cushions, an optical device whereby distant objects are made to seem close at hand, a brazier to provide heat and an ingenious communications system. Next, his food and drink are of the highest quality and provided free of charge, at his pleasure and to his order. Next, he is generally granted the subsidiary title ‘Guardian of the Public Repository,’ and to simplify matters he is invested with full title to, and powers of dispensation over, the total wealth of Vull. Fourth, he may select as his spouse that maiden who seems to him the most attractive. Fifthly, he is accorded the title of ‘Baron’ and must be saluted with profound respect”
“Indeed, indeed,” said Cugel. “The position appears worthy of consideration. What responsibilities are entailed?”
“They are as the nomenclature implies. The Watchman must keep watch, for this is one of the old-fashioned customs we observe. The duties are hardly onerous, but they must not be scamped, because that would signify farce, and we are serious folk, even in connection with our quaint traditions.”
Cugel stared at the sorry fare in shock, and decided to descend on the moment to set matters straight. He cleared his throat and called down for the ladder. No one appeared to hear him. He called more loudly. One or two of the folk looked up in mild curiosity, and passed on about their business. Cugel jerked angrily at the cord and hauled it over the pulley, but no heavy rope appeared nor a rope ladder. The light line was an endless loop, capable of supporting approximately the weight of a basket of food.
Cugel slumped on the cushions in despair. Everything was now clear. He had been fooled. He was a prisoner. How long had the previous Watchman remained at his post? Sixty years? The prospect was by no means cheerful.

Example: Cugel hires a gang of work-men, and then underpays them at the end of the job
Cugel drove the wagon and the gang of workers out of Cuirnif along the road to the mysterious hole, where he found all as before. He ordered trenches dug into the hillside; crating was installed, after which that block of soil surrounding and including the hole, the stump and the tentacle, was dragged up on the bed of the wagon.
In due course Cugel conveyed the block of soil, with the hole, stump and tentacle, back to Cuirnif. Along the way he purchased an old tarpaulin with which he concealed the hole, the better to magnify the eventual effect of his display.
At the site of the Grand Exposition Cugel slid his exhibit off the wagon and into the shelter of a pavilion, after which he paid off his men, to the dissatisfaction of those who had cultivated extravagant hopes.
Cugel refused to listen to complaints. "The pay is sufficient! If it were ten times as much, every last terce would still end up in the till at the 'Howling Dog'."
"One moment!" cried Iolo. You and I must arrive at an understanding!"
Cugel merely jumped up on the wagon and drove it back to the hostelry. Some of the men pursued him a few steps; others threw stones, without effect.

Claim great expertise or special knowledge as reason for payment.

Example: The Busciano who lead Cugel across the stream and through the forest.
He led them aboard the raft, cast off the rope, and poled across the river. The water seemed shallow, the pole never descending more than a foot or two. It seemed to Cugel that wading across would have been simplicity itself.
The Busiaco, observing, said, “The river swarms with glass reptiles, and an unwary man, stepping forth, is instantly attacked.”
“Indeed!” said Cugel, eying the river dubiously.
“Indeed. And now I must caution you as to the path. We will meet all manner of persuasions, but as you value your life, do not step aside from where I lead.”
 He plunged confidently off among the trees. Derwe Coreme followed, with Cugel coming in the rear. The trail was so faint that Cugel could not distinguish it from the untrodden forest, but the Busiaco never faltered. The sun, hanging low behind the trees, could be glimpsed only infrequently, and Cugel was never certain of the direction they traveled. So they proceeded, through sylvan solitudes where not so much as a bird-call could be heard.
Derwe Coreme, peering through the branches, uttered a sharp ejaculation. “There, fifty paces yonder, is the river and the raft!”
Cugel turned the Busiaco a dire look. “What of all this?”
The Busiaco nodded solemnly. “Those fifty paces lack the protection of magic. I would have been scamping my responsibility to convey us here by the direct route. And now—” He advanced to Derwe Coreme, took her arm, then turned back to Cugel. “You may cross the glade, whereupon I will instruct you as to which trail leads to the southern verge.” And he busied himself fixing a cord about Derwe Coreme's waist. She resisted with a fervor and was only subdued by a blow and a curse. “This is to prevent any sudden leaps or excursions,” the Busiaco told Cugel with a sly wink. “I am not too fleet of foot and when I wish the woman I do not care to pursue her here and there. But are you not in haste? The sun declines, and after dark the leucomorphs appear.”
“Well then, which of the trails leads to the southern verge?” Cugel asked in a frank manner.
“Cross the clearing and I will so inform you. Of course, if you distrust my instructions, you may make your own choice. But remember, I have vigorously exerted myself for a waspish, gaunt and anemic woman. As of now we are at quits.”
Cugel looked dubiously across the clearing, then to Derwe Coreme, who watched in sick dismay. Cugel spoke cheerfully. “Well, it seems to be for the best. The Mountains of Magnatz are notoriously dangerous. You are at least secure with this uncouth rogue.”
“No!” she screamed. “Let me free of this rope! He is a cheat; you have been duped! Cugel the Clever? Cugel the Fool!”

Example: Cugel pretends to be an experienced "Worminger" in order to get a berth on a ship.
Soldinck sat back in his chair. "That is bad news for all of us! Wormingers are hard to come by, especially Wormingers of quality!"
Bunderwal rose to his feet. "As newly-appointed supercargo of the Galante, allow me to make a recommendation. I propose that Cugel be hired to fill the vacant position."
Without enthusiasm Soldinck looked toward Cugel: "You have had experience in this line of work?"
"Not in recent years," said Cugel. "I will, however, consult with Wagmund in regard to modern trends."
"Very well; we cannot be too choosy, since the Galante sails in three days. Bunderwal, you will report at once to the ship. Cargo and supplies must be stowed, and properly! Wagmund, perhaps you will show Cugel your worms and explain their little quirks. Are there any questions? If not, all to their duties!. The Galante sails in three days!"
"Smartly now, Cugel!" called Lankwiler. "Use all your theorems! Old Drofo likes to see our coat-tails fluttering in the wind! Get into your straddles and mount one of your worms!"
"In all candour," said Cugel nervously, "I have forgotten many of my skills."
“Little skill is needed, said Lankwiler.  “Watch me! I jump on the beast, I throw the hood over its eye. I seize its knobs and the worm carries me where I wish to go. Watch! You will see!"
Lankwiler jumped out on one of the worms, ran along its length, jumped to another, and then another and at last straddled a worm with yellow knobs. He threw a hood over its eye and seized the knobs. The worm swung its flukes and carried him out the water-gate, which Drofo had opened, and across the water to the Galante.
Cugel gingerly sought to achieve the same result, but his worm, when finally he straddled it and grasped its knobs, promptly dived deep. Cugel, in despair, pulled back on the knobs and the worm rushed to the surface, flung itself fifteen feet into the air and sent Cugel flying across the pen.
Cugel struggled ashore. By the gate stood Drofo, his brooding gaze directed toward Cugel.

Pretend to be someone else in order to claim resources or mislead others

Example: There is a villager who has labored for 31 years in order to rewarded with a set of magical lenses. Cugel pretends to be the villager in order to take the lenses.
Cugel marched boldly up to the door of the hut Pitching his voice as low as possible, he called, “I am here, revered princes of Smolod: Squire Bubach Angh of Grodz, who for thirty-one years has heaped the choicest of delicacies into the Smolod larders. Now I appear, beseeching elevation to the estate of nobility.”
“As is your right,” said the Chief Elder. “But you seem a man different from that Bubach Angh who so long has served the princes of Smolod.”
“I have been transfigured — through grief at the passing of Prince Radkuth Vomin and through rapture at the prospect of elevation.”
“This is clear and understandable. Come, then — prepare yourself for the rites.”
“I am ready as of this instant,” said Cugel, “Indeed, if you will but tender me the magic cusps I will take them quietly aside and rejoice.”
The Chief Elder shook his head indulgently. “This is not in accord with the rites. To begin with you must stand naked here on the pavilion of this mighty castle, and the fairest of the fair will anoint you in aromatics. Then comes the invocation to Eddith Bran Maur. And then—”
“Revered,” stated Cugel, “allow me one boon. Before the ceremonies begin, fit me with the magic cusps so that I may understand the full portent of the ceremony.” The Chief Eider considered. “The request is unorthodox, but reasonable. Bring forth the cusps!”
There was a wait, during which Cugel stood first on one foot then the other. The minutes dragged; the garments and the false beard itched intolerably. And now at the outskirts of the village he saw the approach of several new figures, coming from the direction of Grodz. One was almost certainly Bubach Angh, while another seemed to have been shorn of his beard.
The Chief Elder appeared, holding in each hand a violet cusp. “Step forward!”
Cugel called loudly, “I am here, sir.”
“I now apply the potion which sanctifies the junction of magic cusp to right eye.”
At the back of the crowd Bubach Angh raised bis voice. “Holdl What transpires?”
Cugel turned, pointed. “What jackal is this that interrupts solemnities? Remove him: hence!”
“Indeed!” called the Chief Elder peremptorily. “You demean yourself and the dignity of the ceremony.” Bubach Angh crouched back, momentarily cowed. “In view of the interruption,” said Cugel, “I had as lief merely take custody of the magic cusps until these louts can properly be chastened.”
“No,” said the Chief Elder. “Such a procedure is impossible.” He shook drops of rancid fat in Cugel's right eye. But now the peasant of the shorn beard set up an outcry: “My hat! My blouse! My beard! Is there no justice?”
“Silence!” hissed the crowd. “This is a solemn occasion!”
“But I am Bu—”
Cugel called, “Insert the magic cusp, lord; let us ignore these louts.”

Example: Cugel is employed by Soldinck, and Fuscule is about to be offered Cugel's job. Cugel pretends to be Soldinck and visits Fuscule, in order to enrage Fuscule and prejudice him against Soldinck & company.
Cugel jumped up from the booth, hastened outdoors and waited in the shadow beside the club-house. Pulk and the serving-boy emerged and went off in different directions. Cugel ran after the boy and called him to a halt. "One moment! Soldinck has altered his plans. Here is a florin for your trouble."
"Thank you, sir." The boy turned back toward the clubhouse. 
"When you return to the club-house, tell Master Soldinck only that Fuscule will be along shortly."
"As you say, sir."
Cugel proceeded along the road at best speed, and in short order arrived at the house of Fuscule, hard beside a worm-pen built of stones piled out into the sea. At a work-bench, repairing a burnishing tool, stood Fuscule: a tall man, very thin, all elbows, knees and long spare shanks.
Cugel put on a haughty manner and approached. "You, my good fellow, I assume to be Fuscule?"
"What of it?" demanded Fuscule in a sour voice, barely looking up from his work. "Who are you?"
"You may call me Master Soldinck, of the ship Galante. I understand that you consider yourself a worminger of sorts."
Fuscule looked briefly up from his work. "Understand as you like."
"Come, fellow! Do not take that tone with me! I am a man of importance! I have come to buy your worm if you are willing to sell cheap."
Fuscule put down his tools and gave Cugel a stony inspection from under his veil. "Certainly I will sell my worm. No doubt you are in dire need, or you would not come to Lausicaa to buy a worm. My price, under the circumstances and in view of your gracious personality, is five thousand terces. Take it or leave it."
Cugel gave a rasping cry of outrage. "Only a villain could make such avaricious demands! I have traveled far across this dying world; never have I encountered such cruel rapacity! Fuscule, you are a larcenous scoundrel, and physically repulsive as well!"
Fuscule's stony grin shifted the fabric of his veil. "This sort of abuse will never persuade me to lower my prices."
"It is tragic, but I have no choice but to submit," lamented Cugel. "Fuscule, you drive a hard bargain!"
Fuscule shrugged. "I am not interested in your opinions. Where is the money? Pay it over, every terce in cold hard coin! Then take the worm and our transaction is complete."
"Patience!" said Cugel sternly. "Do you think I carry such sums on my person? I must fetch the money from the ship. Will you wait here?"
"Be quick! Though in all candour –" Fuscule gave voice to a harsh chuckle "— for five thousand terces I will wait an appreciable time."
Cugel picked up one of Fuscule's tools and carelessly tossed it into the worm-pen. In slack-jawed amazement Fuscule ran to look down after the tool. Stepping forward, Cugel pushed him into the water, then stood watching as Fuscule floundered about the pen. "That is punishment for your insolence," said Cugel. "Remember, I am Master Soldinck and an important person. I will be back in due course with the money."

Example: Cugel wants a ship to take him to Almery. A man notices this, and pretends to be an agents selling tickets to Almery.
During the conversation, the small portly man in the uniform had, emerged from the warehouse. He listened a moment to the conversation, then went at a brisk pace to the Avventura. He ran up the gangplank and disappeared into the cabin. Almost at once he returned down the gangplank where he halted a moment, then, ignoring Cugel, he returned at a placid and dignified gait into the warehouse.
Cugel proceeded to the Avventura, hoping at least to learn the itinerary proposed by Wiskich for his ship. At the foot of the gangplank a sign had been posted which Cugel read with great interest:

With long strides Cugel crossed the wharf and entered the warehouse. An office to the side was identified by an old sign: OFFICE OF TICKET AGENT
Cugel stepped into the office where, sitting behind a disreputable desk, he discovered the small portly man in the dark uniform, now making entries into a ledger.
The official looked up from his work. "Sir, your orders?"
"I wish to take passage aboard the Avventura for Almery. You may prepare me a ticket."
The agent turned a page in the ledger and squinted dubiously at a set of entries. "I am sorry to say that the voyage is fully booked. A pity .... Just a moment! There may be a cancellation! If so, you are in luck, as there will be no other voyage this year. . . . Let me see. Yes! The Hierarch Hopple has taken ill."
"Excellent! What is the fare?"
"The available billet is for first class accommodation and victualling, at two hundred terces."
"What?" cried Cugel in anguish. "That is an outrageous fee! I have but forty-five terces to my pouch, and not a groat more!"
The agent nodded placidly. "Again you are in luck. The Hierarch placed a deposit of one hundred and fifty terces upon the ticket, which sum has been forfeited. I see no reason why we should not add your forty-five terces to this amount and even though it totals to only one hundred and ninety-five, you shall have your ticket, and I will make certain book-keeping adjustments."
"That is most kind of you!" said Cugel. He brought the terces from his pouch, and paid them over to the agent, who returned him a slip of paper marked with characters strange to Cugel. "And here is your ticket."
Cugel reverently folded the ticket and placed it in his pouch. He said: "I hope that I may go aboard the ship at once, as now I lack the means to pay for either food or shelter elsewhere."
"I am sure that there will be no problem," said the ticket agent. "But if you will wait here a moment I will run over to the ship and say a word to the captain."
"That is good of you," said Cugel, and composed himself in a chair. The agent departed the office.
Ten minutes passed, then twenty minutes, and half an hour.
Cugel became restless and, going to the door, looked up and down the wharf, but the ticket agent was nowhere to be seen.
"Odd," said Cugel. He noticed that the sign which had hung by the Avventura's gangplank had disappeared. "Naturally!" Cugel told himself. "There is now a full complement of passengers, and no need for further advertisement."
As Cugel watched, a tall red-haired man with muscular arms and legs came unsteadily along the dock, apparently having taken a drop too many at the inn. He lurched up the Avventura's gang-plank and stumbled into the cabin.
"Ah!" said Cugel. "The explanation is clear. That is Captain Wiskich, and the agent has been awaiting his return. He will be coming down the gang-plank any moment now."
Another ten minutes passed. The sun was now sinking low into the estuary and a dark pink gloom had descended upon Port Perdusz.
The captain appeared on the deck to supervise the loading of supplies from a dray. Cugel decided to wait no longer. He adjusted his hat to a proper angle, strode across the avenue, up the gangplank and presented himself to Captain Wiskich. "Sir, I am Cugel, one of your first-class passengers."
"All my passengers are first-class!" declared Captain Wiskich. "You will find no pettifoggery aboard the Avventura!"
Cugel opened his mouth to stipulate the terms of his ticket, then closed it again; to remonstrate would seem an argument in favor of pettifoggery. He observed the provisions now being loaded aboard, which seemed of excellent quality. Cugel spoke approvingly: "The viands appear more than adequate. It would seem that you set a good table for your passengers!"
Captain Wiskich uttered a yelp of coarse laughter. "First things come first aboard the Avventura! The viands are choice indeed; they are for the table of myself and the crew. Passengers eat flat beans and semola, unless they pay a surcharge, for which they are allowed a supplement of kangol."
Cugel heaved a deep sigh. "May I ask the length of the passage between here and Almery?"
Captain Wiskich looked at Cugel in drunken wonder. "Almery? Why should anyone sail to Almery? First one mires his ship in a morass of foul-smelling weeds a hundred miles across. The weeds grow over the ship and multitudes of insects crawl aboard. Beyond is the Gulf of Swirls, then the Serene Sea, now bedeviled by pirates of the Jhardine Coast. Then, unless one detours far west around the Isles of Cloud, he must pass through the Seleune and a whole carnival of dangers."
Cugel became outraged. "Am I to understand that you are not sailing south to Almery?"
Captain Wiskich slapped his chest with a huge red hand. "I am a Dilk and know nothing of fear. Still, when Death enters the room by the door, I leave through the window. My ship will sail a placid course to Latticut, thence to Al-Halambar, thence to Witches Nose and The Three Sisters, and so back to Port Perdusz. If you wish to make the passage, pay me your fare and find a hammock in the hold."
"I have already bought my ticket!" stormed Cugel. "For the passage south to Almery, by way of Mahaze!"
"That pest-hole? Never. Let me see your ticket."
Cugel presented that document afforded him by the purported ticket-agent. Captain Wiskich looked at it first from one angle, then another. "I know nothing of this. I cannot even read it. Can you?"
"That is inconsequential. You must take me to Almery or return my money, to the sum of forty-five terces."
Captain Wiskich shook his head in wonder. "Port Perdusz is full of touts and swindlers; still, yours is a most imaginative and original scheme! But it falls short. Get off my ship at once."

Lay out an expensive or gaudy prize as bait for a trap

Example: Cugel is robbing the house of a magician, and is nearly finished. He then sees a complicated object of great charm behind a crystal pane of glass.
Here was an alcove Cugel had not previously noted. A soft light welled like water against the crystal pane, which separated alcove from hall. A niche to the rear displayed a complicated object of great charm.
The object was clearly of great value, and Cugel was pleased to find an aperture in the crystal pane. He stepped through, but two feet before him a second pane blocked his way, establishing an avenue which evidently led to the magic whirligig. Cugel proceeded confidently, only to be stopped by another pane which he had not seen until he bumped into it. Cugel retraced his steps and to his gratification found the doubtlessly correct entrance a few feet back. 
Cugel was still seeking egress when in due course Iucounu returned to his manse.

Example: Cugel is discussing with 4 wizards on how to trick Iucounu.
Cugel held up his hand. "Let us return to the propositions of pure logic. As I recall, Iucounu must not be allowed to seize the scale out of hand. What follows?"
"We have several dependent corollaries. To slow the quick grasp of his avarice, you must feign the submission of a cowed dog, a pose which Iucounu in his vanity will readily accept. Next we will need an article of confusion, to give us a range of options from which to choose. Tomorrow, therefore, Bazzard will duplicate the scale in fine gold, with a good red hypolite for the node. He will then cement the false scale to your cap in a bed of explosive diambroid."
"And I am to wear the cap?" asked Cugel.
"Of course! You will then have three strings to your bow. All will be destroyed if Iucounu tries even the least of his tricks. Or you can give Iucounu the cap itself, then go somewhat apart and wait for the blast. Or, if Iucounu discovers the diambroid, other avenues appear. For instance, you can temporize, then make play with the authentic scale."
Cugel rubbed his chin. "Propositions and corollaries to the side, I am not anxious to wear a charge of high explosive attached to my cap."

Pretend to be unaware or weak to draw a foe out

Example: Cugel has been awarded/stolen a magical lens that Bubach worked decades for. Now the two are kept in a village together until the matter is judged.
Bubach Angh turned away and spoke to the beardless peasant, who nodded and departed. Bubach Angh glowered at Cugel, then went to Radkuth Vomin's hut and sat on the heap of rubble before the door. Here he experimented with his new cusp, cautiously closing his right eye, opening the left to stare in wonder at the Over-world. Cugel thought to take advantage of his absorption and sauntered off toward the edge of town. Bubach Angh appeared not to notice. Ha! thought Cugel. It was to be so easy, then! Two more strides and he would be lost into the darkness!
Jauntily he stretched his long legs to take those two strides. A slight sound — a grunt, a scrape, a rustle of clothes — caused him to jerk aside; down swung a mattock blade, cutting the air where his head had been. In the faint glow cast by the Smolod lamps Cugel glimpsed the beardless peasant's vindictive countenance. Behind him Bubach Angh came loping, heavy head thrust forward like a bull. Cugel dodged, and ran with agility back into the heart of Smolod.

Example: There is an ongoing battle. Joaz wants his foes to attack into a jumble of rocks, where his defenders will be at the advantage. As a lure, he pretends that the women and children of his tribe have taken shelter in the rocks. (The Dragon Masters)
He looked over his shoulder at the tall white cliffs, wondering how closely he had estimated the position of the sacerdote's hall. And now he must act; the time had come. He signaled to a small boy, one of his own sons, who took a deep breath, hurled himself blindly away from the shelter of the rocks, ran helter-skelter out to the valley floor. A moment later his mother ran forth to snatch him up and dash back into the Tumbles.
"Done well," Joaz commended them. "Done well indeed." Cautiously he again looked forth through the rocks. The Basics were gazing intently in his direction.
For a long moment, while Joaz tingled with suspense, it seemed that they had ignored his play. They conferred, came to a decision, flicked the leathery buttocks of their mounts with their quirts. The creatures pranced sidewise, then loped north up the valley. The Trackers fell in behind, then came the Heavy Troopers moving at a humping quickstep. The Weaponeers followed with their three-wheeled mechanisms, and ponderously at the rear came the eight Giants. Across the fields of bellegarde and vetch, over vines, hedges, beds of berries and stands of oil-pod tramped the raiders, destroying with a certain morose satisfaction.
The Basics prudently halted before the Banbeck Jambles while the Trackers ran ahead like dogs, clambering over the first boulders, rearing high to test the air for odor, peering, listening, pointing, twittering doubtfully to each other. The Heavy Troopers moved in carefully, and their near presence spurred on the Trackers. Abandoning caution they bounded into the heart of the Jambles, emitting squeals of horrified consternation when a dozen Blue Horrors dropped among them. They clawed out heat guns, in their excitement burning friend and foe alike. With silken ferocity the Blue Horrors ripped them apart. Screaming for aid, kicking, flailing, thrashing, those who were able fled as precipitously as they had come. Only twelve from the original twenty-four regained the valley floor; and even as they did so, even as they cried out in relief at winning free from death, a squad of Long-horned Murderers burst out upon them, and these surviving Trackers were knocked down, gored, hacked.
The Heavy Troopers charged forward with hoarse calls of rage, aiming pistols, swinging swords, but the Murderers retreated to the shelter of the boulders.

Lay traps in your own or third party's knowledge

Example: Iucounu lays traps in his spellbooks by reversing key phrases
Days went by and Iucounu's trap, if such existed, remained unsprung, and Cugel at last came to believe that none existed.  During this time he applied himself to lucouuu's tomes and folios...
One or two of the work-books he found susceptible to his understanding. These he studied with great diligence, cramming syllable after wrenching syllable into his mind, where they rolled and pressed and distended his temples. Presently he was able to encompass a few of the most simple and primitive spells, certain of which be tested upon Iucounu: notably Lugwiler's Dismal Itch. But by and large Cugel was disappointed by what seemed a lack of innate competence. Accomplished magicians could encompass three or even four of the most powerful effectuants; for Cugel, attaining even a single spell was a task of extraordinary difficulty. One day, while applying a spatial transposition upon a satin cushion, he inverted certain of the pervulsions and was himself hurled backward into the vestibule.
He forced the two to walk to a flat area behind the manse, and stood them somewhat apart. “Fianosther, your doom is well-merited. For your deceit, avarice and odious mannerisms I now visit upon you the Spell of Forlorn Encystment!”
Fianosther wailed piteously, and collapsed to his knees. Cugel took no heed. Consulting the work-book, he encompassed the spell; then, pointing and naming Fianosther, he spoke the dreadful syllables.
But Fianosther, rather than sinking into the earth, crouched as before. Cugel hastily consulted the workbook and saw that in error he had transposed a pair of pervulsions, thereby reversing the quality of the spell. Indeed, even as he understood the mistake, to all sides there were small sounds, and previous victims across the eons were now erupted from a depth of forty-five miles, and discharged upon the surface. Here they lay, blinking in glazed astonishment; though a few lay rigid, too sluggish to react. Their garments had fallen to dust, though the more recently encysted still wore a rag or two. Presently all but the most dazed and rigid made tentative motions, feeling the air, groping at the sky, marveling at the sun.
Cugel uttered a harsh laugh. “I seem to have performed incorrectly. But no matter. I shall not do so a second time. Iucounu, your penalty shall be commensurate with your offense, no more, no less! You flung me willy-nilly to the northern wastes, to a land where the sun slants low across the south. I shall do the same for you. You inflicted me with Firx; I will inflict you with Fianosther. Together you may plod the tundras, penetrate the Great Erm, win past the Mountains of Magnatz. Do not plead; put forward no excuses: in this case I am obdurate. Stand quietly unless you-wish a further infliction of blue ruin!”
So now Cugel applied himself to the Agency of Far Despatch, and established the activating sounds carefully within his mind. “Prepare yourselves,” he called, “and farewell!”
With that he sang forth the spell, hesitating at only one pervulsion where uncertainty overcame him. But all was well. From on high carne a thud and a guttural outcry, as a coursing demon was halted in mid-flight.
“Appear, appear!” called Cugel. “The destination is as before: to the shore of the northern sea, where the cargo must be delivered alive and secure! Appear! Seize the designated persons and carry them in accordance with the command!”
A great flapping buffeted the air; a black shape with a hideous visage peered down. It lowered a talon; Cugel was lifted and carried off to the north, betrayed a second time by a misplaced pervulsion.
For a day and a night the demon dew, grumbling and moaning. Somewhat after dawn Cugel was cast down on a beach and the demon thundered off through the sky.
There was silence. To right and left spread the gray beach. Behind rose the foreshore with a few clumps of salt-grass and spinifex. A few yards up the beach lay the splintered cage in which once before Cugel had been delivered to this same spot. With head bowed and arms clasped around his knees, Cugel sat looking out across the sea.

Example: In order to ambush her pursuer, T'sais bribes a creature of the forest to direct him down the trapped path.
On one of these rocks Mazirian saw a tiny man-thing mounted on a dragon-fly. He had skin of a greenish cast; he wore a gauzy smock and carried a lance twice his own length.
Mazirian stopped. The Twk-man looked down stolidly.
"Have you seen a woman of my race passing by, Twk-man?"
"I have seen such a woman," responded the Twk-man after a moment of deliberation.
"Where may she be found?"
"What may I expect for the information?"
"Salt—as much as you can bear away."
The Twk-man flourished his lance. "Salt? No. Liane the Wayfarer provides the chieftain Dandanflores salt for all the tribe."
Mazirian could surmise the services for which the bandit-troubadour paid salt. The Twk-men, flying fast on their dragon-flies, saw all that happened in the forest
"A vial of oil from my telanxis blooms?"
"Good," said the Twk-man. "Show me the vial."
Mazirian did so.
"She left the trail at the lightning-blasted oak lying a little before you.
She made directly for the river valley, the shortest route to the lake."
Mazirian laid the vial beside the dragon-fly and went off toward the river oak. The Twk-man watched him go, then dismounted and lashed the vial to the underside of the dragon-fly, next to the skein of fine hair the woman had given him thus to direct Mazirian.

Give someone a tool to use that is inaccurate, or inefficient, or that has been sabotaged, setting them up for failure

Example: Rhialto is trying to find a lost law-book, the Perciplex. He has a tool, the pleurmalion, which shows the location of the Perciplex. Rhialto is should be close to finding the Perciplex when suddenly he loses its signal.
Osherl jumped down from the sky to the rug before the pavilion. He made a negative signal and Rhialto uttered a poignant cry. "Why have you not located the Perciplex?"
Osherl gave his fat shop-keeper's face a doleful shake. "The sky-spot is absorbed in the mists and cannot be seen. The pleurmalion is useless."
Rhialto snatched the device and sprang high through the air, into the clouds and out, to stand in the acrid vermilion radiance. He put the pleurmalion to his eye, but, as Osherl had asserted, the sky-spot no longer could be seen.
For a period Rhialto stood on the white expanse, casting a long pale blue shadow. With frowning attention he examined the pleurmalion, then again looked around the sky, to no avail.
Something was amiss. Staring thoughtfully off across the white cloud-waste, Rhialto pondered the conceivable cases. Had the Perciplex been moved? Perhaps the pleurmalion had lost its force?... Rhialto returned to the pavilion. 
"Osherl, who suggested to you that the projection of the Perciplex might be captured by the overcast?"
Osherl waved one of his hands in a debonair flourish. "To an astute intellect, so much is apparent."
"But you lack an astute intellect. Who provided this insight?"
"I learn from a multitude of sources," muttered Osherl. "I cannot annotate or codify each iota of information which comes my way."
"Let me imagine a sequence of events," said Rhialto. "Osherl, are you paying close attention?"
Osherl, standing disconsolate with hanging jowls and moist gaze, muttered: "Where is my choice?"
'Then consider these imagined events. You climb above the overcast where Sarsem greets you. A conversation ensues, in this fashion:
"Sarsem: 'What now, Osherl? What is your task?'
"Osherl: 'That stone-hearted Rhialto wants me to search about the sky for signs of the Perciplex, using this pleurmalion.'
"Sarsem: 'Indeed? Let me look. ... I see nothing.'
"Osherl: 'No? Most singular! What shall I tell Rhialto?'
"Sarsem: 'He is easily confused. Tell him that the image is trapped in the clouds. This pleurmalion is now worthless. Take it back.'
"Osherl: 'But this is a different pleurmalion from the one I gave you! It is only a trifle of ordinary glass!'
"Sarsem: 'What then? Both are now equally useless. Take it back and give it to that mooncalf Rhialto; he will never know the difference.'
"Osherl: 'Hm. Rhialto is a mooncalf, but a cunning mooncalf.'
"Sarsem: 'He is very troublesome to our friend Hache-Moncour, who has promised us so many indulgences. .. . My advice is this: by some subterfuge induce him to cancel your indenture; then leave him to cool his heels here in this dank and tiresome epoch.'
"Osherl: 'The concept has much to recommend it.'
"So saying, the two of you chuckled together, then you took leave of your crony and descended with the false pleurmalion and the news that the sky showed no projection, owing to the overcast."
Osherl cried out with quivering jowls: "Is this not plausible? You have no reason to believe either that the new pleurmalion is false, or that Sarsem's views are incorrect!"
"First of all: why did you not report your conversation with Sarsem?"
Osherl shrugged. "You failed to ask."
"Explain, if you will, why the sky-spot was clear and evident last night, through this self-same overcast?"
"I am mystified."
"Would you not say that either the Perciplex was moved or that the true pleurmalion was exchanged for a falsity?"
"I suppose that a case could be made along these lines."
"Precisely so. Osherl, the game is up! I here and now fine you three indenture points for faulty and faithless conduct." 

Example: Cugel notices that his fellow wormringer Lankwiler has stolen his best worm. Cugel then sabotages his second-best worm, so that when it is stolen Lankwiler will not be able to control the worm and will be lost in the ocean.
While Cugel and Lankwiler took their evening meal, Cugel spoke of his trials. "Amazing how quickly they take up a case of timp, or an impaction! All day I worked on the beast, and tonight I moved it inboard where I can tend it more conveniently."
"A sound idea," said Lankwiler. "At last I have cured one of my beasts, and the other shows signs of improvement. Have you heard? We are putting into Lausicaa, so that Madame Soldinck can dive into the Paphnissian waters and emerge a virgin."
"I will tell you something in absolute confidence," said Cugel. "The deck boy tells me that Drofo plans to hire a veteran worminger by the name of Pulk at Pompodouros."
Lankwiler chewed his lips. "Why should he do that? He already has two expert wormingers."
"I can hardly believe that he plans to discharge you or yet me," said Cugel. "Still, that would seem the only possibility."
Lankwiler frowned and finished his meal in silence.Cugel waited until Lankwiler went off for his evening nap, then stole down to the starboard sponson and cut deeply into the knobs of Lankwiler's sick beast; then, returning to his own sponson, he made a great show of attacking the timp.
From the corner of his eye he saw Drofo come to the rail, pause a moment, then continue on his way.
At midnight the baits were removed so that the worms might rest. The Galante floated quietly on the calm sea. The helmsman lashed the wheel; the deck boy drowsed under the great forward lantern where he was supposed to keep sharp lookout. Overhead glimmered those stars yet surviving including Achernar, Algol, Canopus and Cansaspara.
From his cranny crept Lankwiler. He slipped across the deck like a great black rat, and swung down to the starboard sponson. He undamped the sick worm and urged it from its traces.
The worm floated free. Lankwiler sat in the straddles and pulled at the knobs but the nerves had been severed and the signal caused only pain. The worm beat its flukes and surged away to the northwest, with Lankwiler sitting a-straddle and frantically tugging at the knobs.
In the morning Lankwiler's disappearance dominated all conversations. 

Pretend agreement while working the opposite

Example: Cugel has commandeered a ship to take him South. During the day the ship heads south over the ocean. At night while Cugel sleeps, the crew redirects the ship north so that it cancels out the progress of the day.
Cugel laughed once again. "Do you take me for a fool? On the instant the ship touched dock you would be bawling in all directions for the thief-takers. As before: steer south." Cugel went off to his lunch, leaving Madame Soldinck glowering at the escalabra.
On the morning of the next day Cugel felt the first intimation that something had gone askew at the edges of reality. Try as he might, the exact discrepancy, or slippage, or unconformity evaded his grasp. The ship functioned properly, although the worms, on half-bait, seemed a trifle sluggish, as if after a hard stint, and Cugel made a mental note to dose them with a tonic.
A covey of high clouds in the western sky presaged wind, which, if favorable, would further rest the worms. . . . Cugel frowned in perplexity. Drofo had made him aware as to variations in the ocean's color, texture and clarity. Now it seemed as if this were the identical ocean they had crossed the day before. Ridiculous, Cugel told himself; he must keep a grip upon his imagination.
Cugel gaped toward the island. Lausicaa? How could it be, unless magic were at work?
Cugel went in confusion to the escalabra; all seemed in order. Amazing! He had departed toward the south; now he returned from the north, and must change course or run aground upon the place from which he had started!
The light of sunset died. Cugel pondered the strange events of the voyage. To sail south all day and wake up the next morning in waters farther north than the starting point of the day before: this was an unnatural sequence. . . . What sensible explanation, other than magic, existed? An ocean swirl? A retrograde escalabra?
One conjecture followed another across Cugel's mind, each more unlikely than the last. At one especially preposterous notion he paused to voice a sardonic chuckle before rejecting it along with other more plausible theories. . . . He stopped short and returned to review the idea, since, oddly enough, the theory fitted precisely to all the facts.
Except in a single crucial aspect.
The theory rested on the premise that Cugel's mental capacity was of a low order. Cugel chuckled once again, but less comfortably, and presently he stopped chuckling.
The mysteries and paradoxes of the voyage were now illuminated. It seemed that Cugel's innate chivalry and sense of decency had been exploited and his easy trustfulness had been turned against him. But now the game would change!

Example: Nisbet the artisan sells column segments. Rather than crafting new segemnts, Cugel convinces him to steal segments from existing columns at night, and then re-sell the segments during the day.
Cugel tilted his head cautiously sidewise. "Are you ready for unorthodox procedures?"
With a bravado conferred partly by wine and partly by Dame Sequorce's rude handling of his beard, Nisbet declared: "I am a man to stop at nothing when circumstances cry out for deeds!"
"In that case, let us get to work," said Cugel. "The whole night lies before us! We shall demolish our problems once and for all! Bring lamps."
Despite his brave words Nisbet followed Cugel with hesitant steps. "Exactly what do you have in mind?"
Cugel refused to discuss his plan until they reached the columns. Here he signaled the laggard Nisbet to greater speed. "Time is of the essence! Bring the lamp to this first column."
"That is the column of Fidix."
"No matter. Put down the lamp, then touch the column with your amulet and kick it very gently: no more than a brush. First, let me secure the column with this .rope. . . . Good. Now, apply amulet and kick!"
Nisbet obeyed; the column momentarily became weightless, during which interval Cugel extricated the 'One' segment and pushed it aside. After a few seconds the magic dissipated and the column returned to its former position.
"Observe!" cried Cugel. "A segment which we shall renumber and sell to Dame Sequorce, and a fig for her nuisances!"
Nisbet uttered a protest: "Fidix will surely notice the deduction!"
Cugel smilingly shook his head. "Improbable. I have watched the men climbing their columns. They come out blinking and half asleep. They trouble to look at nothing but the state of the weather and the rungs of their ladders."
Nisbet pulled dubiously at his beard. "Tomorrow, when Fidix climbs his column, he will find himself unaccountably lower by a segment."
"That is why we must remove the 'One' from every column. So now to work! There are many segments to move."
With dawn lightening the sky Cugel and Nisbet towed the last of the segments to a hiding place behind a pile of rocks on the floor of the quarry. Nisbet now affected a tremulous joy. "For the first time a sufficiency of segments is conveniently to hand. Our lives shall now flow more smoothly. Cugel, you have a fine, and resourceful mind!"
"Today we must work as usual. Then, in the unlikely event that the subtractions are noticed, we shall merely disclaim all knowledge of the affair, or blame it on the Maots."
"Or we could claim that the weight of the columns had pushed the 'Ones' into the ground."
"True. Nisbet, we have done a good night's work!"

Create a duplicate of a valuable item to open up further possibilities

Example: Iucounu wants a violet lens which shows the world uplifted to a higher plane. Cugel has retrieved the lens, but he makes a replacement of it so that when the false lens is matched with a true lens the discord will disable his enemy.
"Then he opened his pouch and withdrew a small object wrapped carefully in soft cloth, the violet cusp which Iucounu wished as a match for the one already in his possession. He raised the cusp to his eye but stopped short: it would display the surroundings in an illusion so favorable that he might never wish to remove it. And now, as he contemplated the glossy surface, there entered his mind a program so ingenious, so theoretically effective and yet of such small hazard, that he instantly abandoned the search for a better.
Essentially, the scheme was simple. He would present himself to Iucounu and tender the cusp, or more accurately, a cusp of similar appearance. Iucounu would compare it with that which he already owned, in order to test the efficacy of the coupled pair, and inevitably look through both. The discord between the real and the false would jar his brain and render him helpless, whereupon Cugel could take such measures as seemed profitable."

Example: Cugel is discussing with 4 wizards on how to trick Iucounu.
Cugel held up his hand. "Let us return to the propositions of pure logic. As I recall, Iucounu must not be allowed to seize the scale out of hand. What follows?"
"We have several dependent corollaries. To slow the quick grasp of his avarice, you must feign the submission of a cowed dog, a pose which Iucounu in his vanity will readily accept. Next we will need an article of confusion, to give us a range of options from which to choose. 

Use Flattery when you are at need/a loss

Example: Cugel has been transported to a distant land that he is unfamiliar with.
"Sit.” The elder indicated a seat. “From your behavior I assumed that you were not only deaf and dumb, but also guilty of mental retardation. It is now clear, at least, that you hear and speak.”
“I profess rationality as well,” said Cugel. “As a traveler from afar, ignorant of your customs, I thought it best to watch quietly a few moments, lest in error I commit a solecism.”
“Ingenious but peculiar,” was the elder's comment “Still, your conduct offers no explicit contradiction to orthodoxy. May I inquire the urgency which brings you to Farwan?”
Cugel glanced at his ring; the crystal was dull and lifeless: TOTALITY was clearly elsewhere. “My homeland is uncultured; I travel that I may learn the modes and styles of more civilized folk.”

Match the customs of the locals

Example: Cugel humors a swamp-peasant. In return Cugel learns important information about the path ahead.
"— and in this regard, may I inquire your opinion of Cuirnif?"
"The folk are peculiar in many ways," said Erwig. "They preen themselves upon the gentility of their habits, yet they refuse to whitewash their hair, and they are slack in their religious observances. For instance, they make obeisance to Divine Wiulio with the right hand, not on the buttock, but on the abdomen, which we here consider a slipshod practice. What are your own views?"
"The rite should be conducted as you describe," said Cugel. "No other method carries weight."
Erwig refilled Cugel's glass. "I consider this an important endorsement of our views!"
"You have made a favorable impression upon me, and I will assist you across the Plain of Standing Stones, At the first opportunity take up a pebble the size of your fist and make the trigrammatic sign upon it. If you are attacked, hold high the pebble and cry out: 'Stand aside! I carry a sacred object!' At the first sarsen, deposit the stone and select another from the pile, again make the sign and carry it to the second sarsen, and so across the plain."
"So much is clear," said Cugel. "But perhaps you should show me the most powerful version of the sign, and thus refresh my memory."
Erwig scratched a mark in the dirt. "Simple, precise, correct! The folk of Cuirnif omit this loop and scrawl in every which direction."
"Slackness, once again!" said Cugel.
"So then, Cugel: farewell! The next time you pass be certain to halt at my hut! My crock of arrak has a loose stopper!"

Example: Cugel visits a strange time. He copies the customs of the locals, though imperfectly.
“I doubt nothing,” said Cugel. “In fact I admit to ignorance. But tell me more, for I may be forced to abide long in this region. For instance, what of the Winged Beings that reside in the cliff? What manner of creature are they?”
The elder pointed toward the sky. “If you had the eyes of a nocturnal titvit you might note a dark moon which reels around the earth, and which cannot be seen except when it casts its shadow upon the sun. The Winged Beings are denizens of this dark world and their ultimate nature is unknown. They serve,the Great God Yelisea in this fashion: whenever comes the time for man or woman to die, the Winged Beings are informed by a despairing signal from the dying person's norn. They thereupon descend upon the unfortunate and convey him to their caves, which in actuality constitute a magic opening into the blessed land Byssom.”
Cugel leaned back, black eyebrows raised in a somewhat quizzical arch. “Indeed, indeed,” he said, in a voice which the elder found insufficiently earnest.
“There can be no doubt as to the truth of the facts as I have stated them. Orthodoxy derives from this axiomatic foundation, and the two systems are mutually reinforcing: hence each is doubly validated.”
Cugel frowned. “The matter undoubtedly goes as you aver — but are the Winged Beings consistently accurate in their choice of victim?”
The elder rapped the table in annoyance. “The doctrine is irrefutable, for those whom the Winged Beings take never survive, even when they appear in the best of health. Admittedly the fall upon the rocks conduces toward death, but it is the mercy of Yelisea which sees fit to grant a speedy extinction, rather than the duration of a possibly agonizing canker. The system is wholly beneficent. The Winged Beings summon only the moribund, which are then thrust through the cliff into the blessed land Byssom. Occasionally a heretic argues otherwise and in this case — but I am sure that you share the orthodox view?”
“Wholeheartedly,” Cugel asserted. “The tenets of your belief are demonstrably accurate.”
During the middle hours he awoke to find Zhiaml Vraz departed from the chamber, a fact which in his drowsiness caused him no distress and he once more returned to sleep.
The sound of the door angrily flung ajar aroused him; he sat up on the couch to find the sun not yet arisen, and a deputation led by the elder regarding him with horror and disgust.
The elder pointed a long quivering finger through the gloom. “I thought to detect heretical opinion; now the fact is known! Notice: he sleeps with neither head-covering nor devotional salve on his chin. The girl Zhiaml Vraz reports that at no time in their congress did the villain call out for the approval of Yelisea!”
“Heresy beyond a doubt!” declared the others of the deputation.
“What else could be expected of an outlander?” asked the elder contemptuously. “Look! even now he refuses to make the sacred sign.”

Example: Cugel visits a strange dimension. He copies the ways of the locals.
A score of small luminous nodes swarmed around his head, and a soft voice addressed him by name. "Cugel, what a pleasure that you have come to visit us! What is your opinion of our pleasant land?"
Cugel looked about in wonder; how could a denizen of this place know his name? At a distance of ten yards he noticed a small hummock of plasm not unlike the monstrous bulk with the floating eye.
Luminous nodes circled his head and the voice sounded in his ears: "You are perplexed, but remember, here we do things differently. We transfer our thoughts in small modules; if you look closely you will see them speeding through the fluxion: dainty little animalcules eager to unload their weight of enlightenment. There! Notice! Directly before your eyes hovers an excellent example. It is a thought of your own regarding which you are dubious; hence it hesitates, and awaits your decision."
"What if I speak?" asked Cugel. "Will this not facilitate matters?"
"To the contrary! Sound is considered offensive and everyone deplores the slightest murmur."
"This is all very well," grumbled Cugel, "but —"
"Silence, please! Send forth animalcules only!"
Cugel dispatched a whole host of luminous purports: "I will do my best. Perhaps you can inform me how far this land extends?"

Claim great need/extenuating circumstances. Pregnancy, Bereaved, ill

Example: There is a caravan where the best vehicle has been overbooked. Cugel and the caravan leader are trying to decide who will get the coveted spots and who will have to make do with carriages.
During the discussion, Varmous whispered into Cugel's ear. "Ermaulde reveals that she is pregnant with child! She fears that, if subjected to the jolts and jars of the carriage, an untoward event might occur. There is no help for it: she must ride in cushioned ease aboard the Avventura."
"I agree, in all respects," said Cugel.
Ansk-Daveska brought out his concertina and played a merry tune. Ermaulde, despite Varmous' horrified expostulations, jumped to her feet and danced a spirited jig.
When Ermaulde had finished dancing, she took Varmous aside: "My symptoms were gas pains only; I should have reassured you but the matter slipped my mind."

Use excitement or Distraction to avert from an unfortunate line of questioning or thought

Example: A magical book is about to blacken Cugel's name in front of a dangerous Duke. Cugel redirects the conversation.
Duke Orbal gave a sniff of displeasure. "A final question! Who among the folk now residing in Cuirnif presents the greatest threat to the welfare of my realm?"
"I am a repository of information, not an oracle," stated the book. "However, I will remark that among those present stands a fox-faced vagabond with a crafty expression, whose habits would bring a blush to the cheeks of the Empress Noxon herself. His name —"
Cugel leapt forward and pointed across the plaza. "The robber! There he goes now! Summon the constables! Sound the gong!"
While everyone turned to look, Cugel slammed shut the book and dug his knuckles into the cover. The book grunted in annoyance.
Duke Orbal turned back with a frown of perplexity. "I saw no robber."
"In that case, I was surely mistaken. But yonder waits Iolo with his famous 'Bagful of Dreams'!"

Use Boredom to avert suspicion or as a moat around useful information

Example: Cugel and company are being intermittently spied on. They use boredom to drive away the spy.
"I am both uncertain and uneasy," said Cugel. "Iucounu covets 'Spatterlight': true! He will approach me and say: 'Ah, dear Cugel, how nice that you bring me 'Spatterlight'! Hand it over, or prepare for a joke!' So then: where is my recourse? My advantage is lost. When one deals with Iucounu, he must be prepared to jump nimbly from side to side. I have quick wits and agile feet, but are these enough?"
"Evidently not," said Vasker. "Still —"
A hissing noise made itself heard. Vasker at once imposed upon his voice the tremolo of fond recollection: "Yes, dear Iucounu! How strange, Cugel, that you should also number him among your friends!"
Noting Bazzard's secret sign, Cugel spoke in tones equally melodious. "He is known far and wide as an excellent fellow!"
"Just so! We have had our little differences, but is this not sometimes the way? Now, all is forgotten, on both sides, I am sure."
Bazzard spoke: "If you should chance to see him in Almery, please convey our very warmest regards!"
"I will not be seeing Iucounu," said Cugel. "I plan to retire to a snug little cabin beside the River Sune and perhaps learn a useful trade.'
"On the whole, this seems a sensible plan," said Archimbaust. "But come now, Bazzard, tell us more of the Exposition!"
"It was grandly conceived," said Bazzard. "No doubt as to that! Cugel displayed a remarkable hole, but Duke Orbal disallowed it on grounds of fugacity. Xallops showed a 'Compendium of Universal Knowledge' which impressed everyone. The cover depicted the Gnostic Emblem, in this fashion. . . ."
Taking up stylus and paper, Bazzard scribbled: Do not look now, but Iucounu's spy hangs above, in a wisp of smoke. "There, Cugel! Am I not correct?"
"Yes, in the main, although you have omitted several significant flourishes."
"My memory is not the best," said Bazzard. He crumpled the paper and threw it into the fire.
Vasker spoke. "Friend Cugel, perhaps you would enjoy a sip of dyssac, or might you prefer wine?"
"I will be happy with either," said Cugel.
"In that case, I will suggest the dyssac. We distill it ourselves from local herbs. Bazzard, if you will."
While Bazzard served the liquor, Cugel glanced as if casually around the chamber. High in the shadows he noticed a wisp of smoke from which peered a pair of small red eyes.
In a droning voice Vasker spoke of the Llaio fowl-run and the high price of feed. The spy at last became bored; the smoke slipped down the wall, into the chimney and was gone.

Enforce your terms to prevent deceptions.

Example: Iucounu places a supervisory creature inside of Cugel to make sure that Cugel carries out his orders.
He departed the chamber and after a moment returned with a covered glass bowl containing a small white creature, all claws, prongs, barbs and hooks, now squirming angrily. “This,” said Iucounu, “is my friend Firx, from the star Achernar, who is far wiser than he seems. Firx is annoyed at being separated from his comrade with whom he shares a vat in my work-room. He will assist you in the expeditious discharge of your duties.” Iucounu stepped close, deftly thrust the creature against Cugel's abdomen. It merged into his viscera, and took up a vigilant post clasped around Cugel's liver.
A few hundred yards to the west was the trace of an ancient sea-wall. Cugel thought to inspect it, but hardly moved three steps before Firx clamped prongs into his liver. Cugel, rolling up his eyes in agony, reversed his direction and set out along the shore to the east.

Example: Cugel is trapped by rat-folk and chained underground with other prisoners. The rat-folk will release a prisoner if the prisoner can lure in two other prisoners. Otherwise the prisoner will be eaten.
Cugel looked about in bewilderment. Nearby crouched Fabeln, regarding him with loathing mingled with malicious satisfaction. Cugel saw now that a metal band encircled Fabeln's neck, to which was connected a long metal chain. At the far end of the burrow huddled an old man with long white hair, likewise fitted with collar and chain. Even as Cugel looked about him, the rat-people clamped a collar to his own neck.
“Supervision is understandable,” agreed Cugel. “I request however that the chain and collar be removed from my neck. With a constraint so evident, even the most credulous will turn away.”
“There is something in what you say,” admitted the monitor. “But what is there to prevent you from taking to your heels?”
Cugel gave a somewhat labored laugh. “Do I seem one to betray a trust? Further, why should I do so, when I can easily procure tally after tally for my score?”
“We shall make certain adjustments.” A moment later a number of the rat-folk swarmed into the burrow. The collar was loosened from Cugel's neck, his right leg was seized and a silver pin driven through his ankle, to which, while Cugel called out in anguish, a chain was secured.
“The chain is now inconspicuous,” stated one of his captors. “You may now stand before the cave and attract passers-by as best you may.”

Sabotage someone who is in your way

Example: Cugel is setup to cut the beard off the ship owner, and is then sabotaged mid-way through the task
"Well then: do you have a better idea?"
"I do indeed! If you will glance to your left, you will see that both Chernitz and his friend are dozing. Notice how their beards jut out! Here is a swange for cutting kelp. Cut off one beard or the other, and I concede you victory."
Cugel looked askance toward the dozing men. "They are not soundly asleep. I challenge Destiny, yes, but I do not leap off cliffs."
"Very well," said Bunderwal. "Give me the swange. If I cut a beard, then you must allow me the victory."
The serving-boy brought fresh beer. Cugel drank a deep and thoughtful draught. He said in a subdued voice: "The feat is not as easy as it might appear. Suppose I decided upon Chernitz. He need only open his eyes and say: 'Cugel, why are you cutting my beard?' Whereupon, I would suffer whatever penalty the law of Saskervoy prescribes for this offense."
"The same applies to me," said Bunderwal. "But I have carried my thinking a step farther. Consider this: could either Chernitz or the other see your face, or my face, if the lights were out?"
"If the lights were out, the project becomes feasible," said Cugel.  Three steps across the floor, seizure of the beard, a strike of the swange, three steps back and the deed is done, and yonder I see the valve which controls the lucifer."
"This is my own thinking," said Bunderwal. "Well then: who will make the trial, you or I? The choice is yours."
The better to order his faculties, Cugel took a long draught of beer. "Let me feel the swange. ... It is adequately sharp. Well then, a job of this sort must be done while the mood is on one."
"I will control the lucifer valve," said Bunderwal. "As soon as the lights go out, leap to the business at hand."
"Wait," said Cugel. "I must select a beard. That of Chernitz is tempting, but the other projects at a better angle. Ah. . . . Very well; I am ready."
Bunderwal rose to his feet and sauntered to the valve. He looked toward Cugel and nodded.
Cugel prepared himself.
The lights went out. The room was dark but for the glimmer of firelight. Cugel strode on long legs across the floor, seized his chosen beard and skillfully wielded the swange. . . . For an instant the valve slipped in Bunderwal's grip, or perhaps a bubble of lucifer remained in the tubes. In any event, for a fraction of a second the lights flashed bright and the now beardless gentleman, staring up in startlement, kicked for a frozen instant eye to eye with Cugel. Then the lights once more went out, and the gentleman was left with the image of a dark long-nosed visage with lank black hair hanging from under a stylish hat.
The gentleman cried out in confusion: "Ho! Krasnark! Rascals and knaves are on us! Where is my beard?"
One of the serving boys, groping through the dark, turned the valve and light once more emanated from the lamps.
Krasnark, bandage askew, pushed forth to investigate the confusion. The beardless gentleman pointed to Cugel, now leaning back in his chair with mug in hand, as if somnolent. "There sits the rogue! I saw him as he cut my beard, grinning like a wolf!"
Cugel called out: "He is raving; pay no heed! I sat here steadfast as a rock while the beard was being cut.  This man the worse for drink."
"Not so! With both my eyes I saw you!"
Cugel spoke in long-suffering tones. "Why should I take your beard? Does it have value? Search me if you choose! You will find not a hair!"
Krasnark said in a puzzled voice: "Cugel's remarks are logical! Why, after all, should he cut your beard?"
The gentleman, now purple with rage, cried out: "Why should anyone cut my beard? Someone did so; look for yourself."
Krasnark shook his head and turned away. "It is beyond my imagination! Boy, bring Master Mercantides a mug of good Tatterblass at no charge, to soothe his nerves."
Cugel turned to Bunderwal. "The deed is done."
"The deed has been done, and well," said Bunderwal generously. "The victory is yours! Tomorrow at noon we shall go together to the offices of Soldinck and Mercantides, where I will recommend you for the post of supercargo."
"'Mercantides'," mused Cugel. "Was not that the name by which Krasnark addressed the gentleman whose beard I just cut?"
"Now that you mention it, I believe that he did so indeed," said Bunderwal.

Example: Hruska is taking the job of caravan guard that Cugel wants, so Cugel sends him on a boat ride
In the tavern the farewell party in honor of Huruska had already commenced. Cugel seated himself in a dark corner and presently attracted the attention of the perspiring Maier. Cugel produced ten terces. "I admit that I harbored ungrateful thoughts toward Huruska," he said. "Now I wish to express my good wishes — in absolute anonymity, however! Whenever Huruska starts upon a mug of ale, I want you to place a full mug before him, so that his evening will be incessantly merry. If he asks who has bought the drink you are only to reply: 'One of your friends wishes to pay you a compliment.' Is this clear?"
"Absolutely, and I will do as you command. It is a large-hearted gesture, which Huruska will appreciate."
The evening progressed. Huruska's friends sang jovial songs and proposed a dozen toasts, in all of which Huruska joined. As Cugel had required, whenever Huruska so much as started to drink from a mug, another was placed at his elbow, and Cugel marveled at the scope of Huruska's internal reservoirs.
At last Huruska was prompted to excuse himself from the company. He staggered out the back exit and made his way to that stone wall with a trough below, which had been placed for the convenience of the tavern's patrons.
As Huruska faced the wall Cugel stepped behind him and flung a fisherman's net over Huruska's head, then expertly dropped a noose around Huruska's burly shoulders, followed by other turns and ties. Huruska's bellows were drowned by the song at this moment being sung in his honor.
Cugel dragged the cursing hulk down the path to the dock, and rolled him over and into a punt. Untying the mooring line, Cugel pushed the punt out into the current of the river. "At the very least," Cugel told himself, "two parts of my prophecy are accurate; Huruska has been honored in the tavern and now is about to enjoy a voyage by water."
He returned to the tavern where Huruska's absence had at last been noticed. Maier expressed the opinion that, with an early departure in the offing, Huruska had prudently retired to bed, and all conceded that this was no doubt the case.
The next morning Cugel arose an hour before dawn. He took a quick breakfast, paid Maier his score, then went to where Shimilko ordered his caravan.
"I bring news from Huruska," said Cugel. "Owing to an unfortunate set of personal circumstances, he finds himself unable to make the journey, and has commended me to that post for which you had engaged him."

Take directly

Example: Iucounu tries to use magic to blast Cugel, in order to steal the artifact that Cugel carries. In this case it does not work due to an unexpected effect of the artifact.
Iucounu's ropy mouth twitched in a grimace. But at once he renewed his affability. "Cugel, I hereby invite you to visit me at Pergolo; surely you have not forgotten the amenities? Every night we will host a grand banquet, and I have discovered a new phase of magic, by which I recall remarkable persons from across the aeons. The entertainments are splendid at Pergolo!"
Cugel made a rueful gesture. "You sing siren songs of inducement! One taste of such glamour might shatter my resolve! I am not the rakehelly Cugel of old!"
Iucounu strove to keep his voice even. "This is becoming all too clear." Throwing himself back in his chair, he glowered morosely at Cugel's cap. Making a sudden impatient gesture, he muttered a spell of eleven syllables, so that the air between himself and Cugel twisted and thickened. The forces veered out toward Cugel and past, to rattle away in all directions, cutting russet and black streaks through the grass.
Iucounu stared with yellow eyes bulging, but Cugel paid no heed to the incident. He bade Iucounu a civil farewell and continued along the way.

Steal when you can get away with it, or to get away with it

Example: Cugel's workmate Lankwiler steals Cugel's well cared for beast and replaces it with his own worn-down beast.
It seemed that, at least until the Galante departed Lausicaa, he must work with vigor, and diminish his attentions to Soldinck’s daughters.
Cugel at once found his scrapers and removed all traces of gangue from his worms, then combed gills till they shone silver-pink.
Lankwiler meanwhile had inspected the advanced infestation of timp on his off-worm. During the night he painted the knobs of this worm blue and then, while Cugel drowsed, he drove his off-worm around the vessel and exchanged it for Cugel's excellent off-worm, which he clamped into place on his own side. He painted the knobs yellow and congratulated himself that he had avoided a tedious task.
In the morning Cugel was startled to discover the deterioration of his off-worm.
Drofo came past and called down to Cugel: "That infestation of timp is an abomination. Also, unless I am much mistaken, that swelling indicates a sever impaction which must be relieved at once."
Cugel, recalling the overheard conversation, went to work with a will. While towed underwater he plied reamer, drench-hoses and gant-hook, and after three hours exertion, dislodged the impaction. At once the worm lost something of its bilious color and strained for its bait with renewed zest.
When Cugel finally returned to the deck he heard Drofo call down to Lankwiler: "Your off-worm has improved noticeably! Keep up the good work!"
Cugel went to look down at Lankwiler's off-worm. . . Strange that overnight Lankwiler's impacted yellow beast with its crawling infestation of timp should become so notably sound, while, during the same interval, Cugel's healthy pink worm had suffered so profound a disaster!
Cugel pondered the circumstances with care. He climbed down on the sponson and scraped at the off-worm's knobs, to discover under the blue paint, the gleam of yellow.

Example: Cugel steals a ship in order to escape justice.
Captain Baunt turned to look around the bystanders. "I thought that I saw him a few minutes ago. . . . He seems to have slipped away."
For a fact, as soon as he had seen which way the wind was blowing, Cugel had taken himself in haste to the Galante. Madame Soldinck was in the cabin, acquainting her daughters with the events of the day. No one was on hand to interfere as Cugel ran here and there about the ship. He dropped the gang-plank, threw off the mooring-lines, pulled hoods from the worms and placed triple bait in the hoppers, then ran up to the quarter-deck and threw the wheel hard over.

Example: Cugel steals from the frenemy he met upon the road.
An hour passed. Cugel tried by various means to ease the grip of the tentacle, without success, nor could he draw his sword or bring 'Spatterlight' from his pouch.
At last he sat back and considered new approaches to the solution of his problem.
By dint of stretching and straining he obtained a twig, with which he dragged close a long dead branch, which allowed him to reach another of equal length. Tying the two together with a string from his pouch, he contrived a pole exactly long enough to reach Iolo's recumbent form.
Working with care Cugel drew Iolo's satchel across the ground, finally to within reach of his fingers. First he brought out Iolo's wallet, to find two hundred terces, which he transfered to his own purse; next the opal ear-bangle, which he dropped into the pocket of his shirt; then the bagful of dreams.
The satchel contained nothing more of value, save that portion of cold fowl which Iolo had reserved for his breakfast and the leather bottle of wine, both of which Cugel put aside for his own use. He returned the satchel to where he had found it, then separated the branches and tossed them aside. Lacking a better hiding place for the bagful of dreams, Cugel tied the string to the bag and lowered it into the mysterious hole. He ate the fowl and drank the wine, then made himself as comfortable as possible.

Threaten to get your way

Example: In order to command Cugel, Duke Orbal threatens him with being crushed to death inside a tube.
Duke Orbal raised his hand for silence. "I pronounce a decree to the effect that Cugel must immediately enter his exhibit in search of Iolo's properties, and likewise make a careful study of the environment, for the benefit of us all."
"Your Grace!" protested Cugel. "This is no simple matter! The tentacle almost fills the hole!"
"I see sufficient room for an agile man to slide past."
"Your Grace, to be candid, I do not care to enter the hole, by reason of extreme fear."
Duke Orbal again glanced up at the tubes which stood in a row along the skyline. He spoke over his shoulder to a burly man in a maroon and black uniform. "Which of the tubes is most suitable for use at this time?"
"The second tube from the right, your Grace, is only one-quarter occupied."
Cugel declared in a trembling voice: "I fear, but I have conquered my fear! I will seek Iolo's lost dreams!"
"Excellent," said Duke Orbal with a tight-lipped grin. "Please do not delay; my patience wears thin."

Example: Dame Sequorce badly wants the artisan Nisbet to finish his work for her. She resorts to threats.
An instant later a woman tall and portly, massive in arm and leg, with a bony jaw, a broken nose and coarse red hair, entered the room.
Nisbet laboriously heaved himself to his feet. "Dame Sequorce! I am surprised to see you here this time of night."
Dame Sequorce surveyed the table with disapproval. "Why are you not out shaping my segments which are long overdue?"
Nisbet spoke with cool hauteur: "Today Cugel and I attended to important business, and now, as is our habit, we dine. You may return in the morning."
Dame Sequorce paid no heed. "You take your morning meal far too late and your evening meal far too early, and you drink overmuch wine. Meanwhile my husband huddles well below the husbands of Dame Petish, Dame Haxel, Dame Croulsx and others. Since kindliness has no effect, I have decided to try a new tactic, for which I use the term 'fear'. In few words: if you do not gratify my needs in short order, I will bring my sisters here and perform a serious mischief."

Example: Cugel is being dragged into a hole by a tentacle. Iolo can save Cugel, but first he uses this as an opportunity to take Cugel's valuables.
"Kill the pelgrane!" panted Cugel. "Put the cord to its most urgent use!"
"You yourself valued this pelgrane at a hundred terces. The worth of the rope is ten terces."
"Very well," said Cugel through gritted teeth. "Ten terces for the rope, but I cannot pay a hundred terces for a dead pelgrane, since I carry only forty-five."
"So be it. Pay over the forty-five terces. What surety can you offer for the remainder?"
Cugel managed to toss over his purse of terces. He displayed the opal ear-bangle which Iolo promptly demanded, but which Cugel refused to relinquish until the tentacle had been tied to the stump
With poorgrace Iolo hacked the head off the pelgrane, then brought over the rope and secured the tentacle to the stump, thus easing the strain upon Cugel's leg.
"The ear-bangle, if you please!" said Iolo, and he poised his knife significantly near the rope.
Cugel tossed over the jewel. "There you have it: all my wealth. Now, please free me from this tentacle."
"I am a cautious man," said Iolo. "I must consider the matter from several perspectives." He set about making camp for the night.

Create a false threat to get your way

Example: Cugel threatens the destruction of the ship if his unwilling crew tries to harm him.
"Now I must deal, once and once only, with a somewhat macabre concept. Let us assume that someone aboard this ship — let us call her Zita, after the Goddess of Unknowable Things — let us assume that Zita has decided to remove Cugel from the realm of the living. She considers poison in his food, a knife in his gullet, a blow and a push so that Cugel falls into the sea."
"Genteel persons are not likely to consider such conduct," said Cugel. "Still, I have evolved a plan to reduce this likelihood to nothing. Deep in the forward hold I will install a destructive device, using a quantity of explosive, a candle, and a fuse. Every day I will unlock an impregnable iron-bound door and replace the candle. If I neglect to do so, the candle will burn down and ignite the wick. The explosive will blow a hole in the hull and the ship will sink like a stone. Madame Soldinck, you appear distrait; did you hear me properly?"

Example: Iucounu threatens Cugel in order to try and get Cugel's magical scale. At this point it is not clear how Iucounu can make good on the threat.
"I will be frank! Your deeds have long cried out for retribution, and as a man of conscience I am forced to act. Still, you need not aggravate my task."
"This is harsh language!" said Cugel. "You offered me a ride to Taun Tassel. I did not expect treachery."
Iucounu paid no heed. "I will now make my final request: give me the scale at once!"
"I can not oblige you," said Cugel. "Since that was your final request, we can now leave for Taun Tassel."

Poison your guest's food or drink

Example: Iucounu tries to poison Cugel in order to get the artifact Spatterlight.
Iucounu led the way into a hall panelled in fine dark mahogany, where he was greeted effusively by a small round animal with long fur, short legs and black button eyes. The creature bounded up and down and voiced a series of shrill barks. Iucounu patted the beast. "Well then, Ettis, how goes your world? Have they been feeding you enough suet? Good! I am glad to hear such happy tidings, since, other than Cugel, you are my only friend. Now then! To order! I must confer with Cugel."
Iucounu signaled Cugel to a chair at the table, and seated himself opposite. The animal ran back and forth barking, pausing only long enough to gnaw at Cugel's ankles.
A pair of young sylphs floated into the room with trays of silver which they set before Cugel and Iucounu, then drifted once more back the way they had come.
Iucounu rubbed his hands together. "As you know, Cugel, I serve only the best. The wine is Angelius from Quantique, and the biscuits are formed from the pollen of red clover blossom."
"Your judgment has always been exquisite," said Cugel.
"I am content only with the subtle and the refined," said Iucounu. He tasted the wine. "Matchless!" He drank again. "Heady, tart, with a hint of arrogance." He looked across the table at Cugel. "What is your opinion?"
Cugel shook his head in sad abnegation. "One taste of this elixir and I never again could tolerate ordinary drink." He dipped a biscuit into the wine and tendered it to Ettis, who again had paused to gnaw at his leg. "Ettis of course has a wider discrimination than I."
Iucounu jumped to his feet with a protest, but Ettis had already gulped down the morsel, thereupon to perform a curious contortion and fall down on its back, with feet raised stiffly into the air.
Cugel looked questioningly at Iucounu. "You have trained Ettis well in the 'dead dog' trick. He is a clever beast."
Iucounu slowly subsided into his chair. Two sylphs entered the chamber and carried Ettis away on a silver tray.

Example: Faucelme tries to poison Cugel in order to get the artifact Spatterlight.
A moment passed. Faucelme spoke in a voice of affability: "You must be fatigued and ready for your rest. First then: a taste of my aromatic bitters, which calm the stomach and refresh the nerves!"
Cugel tried to decline but Faucelme refused to listen. He brought out a small black bottle and two crystal cups. Into Cugel's cup he poured a half-inch of pale liquid. "This is my own distillation," said Faucelme. "See if it is to your taste."
A small moth fluttered close to Cugel's cup and instantly fell dead to the table.
Cugel rose to his feet. "I need no such tonic tonight," said Cugel. "Where shall I sleep?"

Oh? Still with us? Hmm, on further reflection I think that most of these deceptions could be better expressed as falsehoods. I know, ingenious to discover that a deception is a falsehood. As an example of this new paradigm:
  • Inflating/deflating value in order to bargain would be a falsehood of price
  • Promise work/reward would be just taking the concepts of "Work" and "Reward" and adding the idea of "falsehood" to them
  • Continuing through the rest of the list, you have False expertise, False identity, False threat, and so on.
Some of the above items don't fall under this pattern, but most of them do. And I think it is a bit cleaner; take a noun (price, identity, authority, food, a tool, a payment, a task) and combine it with the idea of falsehood to get the appropriate tactic. So the concept is fairly simple, though of course the application of the concept is as complex as the world itself.