It's Stack Saturday at Wyrd & Wonder, which isn't the most obvious inspiration for a blog post, but that's what makes it fun, right? I'd considered doing a post about how we should redefine fantasy's genres so they're actually easy to use and helpful to all but while I'm clearly not all there in the head, I'm not that mad.
Instead, I decided to ask myself "who'd make the best crew in fantasy for making a stack", and by stack, I mean a stack of money. A really big stack of money. The sort you can only get from an ultimate heist.
Couple of quick notes on selection -
Morals need to be flexible enough I can imagine them helping do something illegal where I keep lots of money, but not so flexible that they'd keep all of the money and me none. I'm trying not to rely too much on magic here, as picking nine mages would be boring, so everyone is on their non-magical skills but a good dose of magic is very useful too.
Finally, for the sake of variety, only one character an author.
Without further ado...
Li Kao (Bridge of Birds, Hughart)
I need a mastermind. A man who can predict everything, knows everything, and has seen everything. The fantasy genre has its fair share of swindlers, thieves, conmen and geniuses, but without delving into the world of immortal dickheads, it's impossible to find one more well rounded and experienced than Li Kao. And for an extremely old geezer, he can still handle himself, which is no small thing. There may be a slight flaw in his character but as a heist leader, there is none
Lord Vetinari (Discworld, Pratchett)
You can never have too many genius level thinkers but I'm now looking for someone to complement Li Kao. Someone with a gift for adapting to their circumstances, someone with a gift for face to face manipulation and psychology, who is deadly up close but rarely needs to be. That someone is Lord Vetinari - trained assassin, legendary tyrant, and rarely at a disadvantage.
Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade, Dickinson)
Another plotter. I know, I know. I'm beginning to worry too many cooks will spoil the broth here. However, I think Baru offers a few different strengths. What she sometimes lacks in psychological insight, she makes up for in sheer hard work and intelligence; she's definitely the woman I'd have in charge of research. She's also more than adept enough at field work and direct lying to pull off a few swindles, which is more than useful here.
Phedre no Delauney (Phedre's trilogy, Carey)
Time for some direct action. Not that Phedre can't plot a bit herself but that's not why she's here. She's here because there's next to nothing that fancies women she can't seduce and that's often extremely useful when pulling off a heist. Even when it doesn't come up, she's a half-decent spy and scholar; she'll never not pull her weight.
Conan the Barbarian (Conan the Barbarian, Howard)
The team can seduce those who are all about women, what about those who fancy men? Fantasy doesn't offer much, particularly if we want to cover all genders (although I suspect there are good choices I haven't read, and there's a great minor character from Hughart's work that'd work well), but Conan is written as being an extremely talented in that sphere. He's also a great compliment to any plans that involve a direct application of muscle and can sneak around pretty good too.
Merela Karn (The Wounded Kingdoms, Barker)
Time to ramp up the physicality. Merela is an extremely talented assassin; she can sneak in, walk in disguised, or just cut a hole to the target. I mean, doesn't that cover everything we want here? Bonus points for a very calm, friendly personality. There's a lot of potential for this show to go off the road, but Merela's diplomatic skills should help out there.
Bob (Dresden Files, Baker)
I've got a lot of good things here but what I want now is knowledge. Particularly magical knowledge, should it come up. They don't necessarily have to do anything physical, just give me all the knowledge. In which case, a straight up knowledge spirit like Bob is perfect. Bonus points for providing comic relief too.
Marta Childress (Sol's Harvest, Presley)
I need more muscle. I need someone with some great straight up, run in, beat them up, run out skills. Someone whose magically enhanced athleticism can let them reach places others can't. Some would go with Vin from Mistborn, but I prefer Marta, who's just as talented there and is a very talented spy to go with it.
Jimmy the Hand (Riftwar Cycle, Feist)
While talking specialists, I want a specialist thief. Someone with near supernatural levels of stealth, agility, and acrobatism. Someone who can get in and take the treasure no matter any lock in the way providing I can get everyone else out of the way. Jimmy's just that man. Well, boy.
There we go. That's my team. I can appreciate there'll be some raised eyebrows at no Locke Lamora, but my take is he's a great all-rounder who's maybe not needed with the others here. If you've got any other thoughts or objections, let me know!