A Zeitgeist Games, Inc. Production Credits
Executive Producer: Dustin Clingman Line Developer: Christopher Reed Editing: Dustin Clingman, Christopher Reed Writing and Design Team: Dave Arneson, Dustin Clingman, Ari Marmell, Christopher Reed, Jeff Quinn, Harley Stroh Cover Artwork: Allan Alegado Cover Design: Steve VanZandt Interior Artwork: Allan Alegado, Billy Wardlaw, Brad Parnell, Brent Chumley, Erik Roman, Fufu Frauenwahl, Gary Dupuis, Gill Pearce, Jeff Ward, Jesus & Javier Carmona Esteban, Ken Collins, Patrick McEvoy, Roxell Karr Graphic Designer: Dustin Clingman Proofreaders: Dustin Clingman, Christopher Reed Playtesters: Cristina Abuchaibe, Dustin Clingman, Ramon Guillen, Andrew Hubbard, Rick Rausch, Christopher Reed, Javier Rovirosa, and Philip “Ofﬁcial Crazy Man” Slama Special Thanks to: Christina Clingman, Marcus and Logan, Dawn Coakley, Jade, Julia, Amber, The Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor: The MMRPG Campaign Staff (Tim Barth, Joe Cirillo, Dawn Coakley, Sean Grifﬁths, Richard Iorio, Tad
Kilgore, Stewart Larsen) and the fans that help keep Blackmoor alive today. Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor: The Wizards’ Cabal is ©2005 Zeitgeist Games, Inc. Zeitgeist Games is a trademark of Zeitgeist Games, Inc. Based on the original Blackmoor setting, associated characters and places owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Used with permission, all rights reserved ©1975 Wizards Dedication: This book is dedicated to David C. Sutherland III (1949-2005). Rest In Peace.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: What Came Before
The Thonian Colonization The Mage Wars (815–900) End of the Wars Allies and Operatives An Imperial Offer The Law of the Cabal Skelfer’s Last Battle Imperial Relations The Fall of Ten, and Northern Independence
4 6 8 10 12 12 13 15 19
Spell Descriptions Speciﬁc Weapons Speciﬁc Armor and Shields Wondrous Items
74 78 78 79
Losing Focus: A Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor Adventure
Adventure Background Adventure Synopsis Introduction Conclusion
81 82 82 101
A Night in Maus Game Specific Information Table Listings
Table 4-1: The Cabal Magister Table 4-2: The Inquisition Hunter Table 4-3: The Inquisition Spy Table 4-4: The Profector Table 4-5: The Researcher Table 4-6: Research Beneﬁts Table 4-7: Familiar Improvement Table 4-8: Undead Creation Restrictions Table 4-9: Academic Specialization Table 4-10: The War Wizard Table 4-1: New Skill Designation Table 4-2: New Feats Table 5-1: Base Spell Points for Arcane Spellcasters Table 5-2: Bonus Spell Points for High Ability Scores Table 5-3: Spell Point Costs/Spellcraft DCs by Spell Foci Table 5-4: Metamagic Feat Modiﬁers Table 5-5: Cabalist Spell Foci Modiﬁers Table 5-6: Overcasting Effectiveness Table 5-7: Overcasting Strain Table 5-8: Cooperative Magic Number Effects Table 5-9: Spell Foci, Spellcaster Level, and Table 5-10: Spell Foci Material Qualities Table 5-11: Foci Quality Modiﬁers Table 5-12: Determining Shard Type Table 5-13: Determining Shard Type Table 5-14: Number of Spells in a Spell Shard Table 5-15: Shard Spell Levels and Values Table LF-1 The Thaumaturgy Table LF -2 The Belly Wash Tavern Table LF-3: Spellbinding Scripts Table LF-4: Skinny’s Wares 2
35 36 38 40 43 44 45 45 46 47 50 52 58 59 60 60 61 62 63 67 68 69 69 71 71 71 72 89 90 92 96
Chapter 2: Organization and Administration of the Present Day Wizards’ Cabal 22
Administration Laws of the Wizards’ Cabal Authority of the Arcane Warriors in Blackmoor The Stronghold of Ardenn Ard’s School of Wizardry The Primary School of Wizardry Chapter 3: Cabalist Characters 34 Cabal Magister Inquisition Hunter Inquisition Spy Profector Researcher War Wizard 22 25 27 28 32 33 34 35 38 40 42 46
Chapter 4: Skills & Feats
New Skills Feats
Chapter 5: Building a Better Cabal
Casting Spells Overcasting Ritual Magic Conducting Cooperative Magic Crafting an Arcane Spell Focus Spell Resonance Spell Shards Arcane Warrior Spells Bard Spells Ranger Spells Paladin Spells Sorcerer/Wizard Spells
58 62 63 67 68 70 71 73 73 73 73 73
Chapter 1: What Came Before
Being an account of the events, the luminaries and traitors, the victories and defeats, and the external forces that brought the Wizard’s Cabal into being, and shaped it into what it is today. Few organizations or institutions are as vital to the functioning, the history, even the very identity of the North as the Wizard’s Cabal. It is, in many ways, a government unto itself, a power that operates in conjunction with King Uther and local communities, rather than being subject to them. It has not always been thus, however, and to truly understand the Cabal and its place in society, one must understand how it obtained that place.
Early Magic in the North (pre-815 on the Blackmoorian Calendar)
Mystical energies inundate the entire region of the North. Arcane magic permeates the land, the air, even many of the creatures that live here. While some modern wizards might not care to acknowledge the fact, the use of that magic 3
was prevalent in the North long before the arrival of the ﬁrst “civilized” casters. Even before the formation of the Thonian Empire, let alone the colonization of Blackmoor’s surroundings, primitive nations of people dwelt in the region. Similar in some ways to the Peshwah or even the Afridhi, they were a tribal culture, worshipping strange spirits rather than familiar gods. Due to the region’s mystical emanations, a relatively large proportion of these tribesmen developed the power to wield magic naturally. Sorcerers lived in every family, and tribal elders watched for signs that a child was gifted with “the spirits’ touch,” as they called it. When a sorcerer ﬁrst manifests his abilities in the North, it is accompanied by a great explosion of power, and the tribes knew to send a child into the wild for a brief time as the signs dictated. Some did not survive the hazards of the wilderness, but those who returned were welcomed as emissaries from the spirits themselves. The tribes boasted wokan as well, the strange arcane casters who seem to share a bond with nature itself, and these they considered shamans and witch doctors.
Use of Gemstones amongst the Tribes
While the wizard Skelfer is credited with ﬁrst creating the “spell focus” through manipulation of the region’s gemstones and the mystical energies imbued within them evidence suggests that the early tribes were not wholly unaware of these gems’ properties. They had no comprehension of how to use them as foci but they knew that the addition of powdered gemstones to spells and magic items increased their power. In terms of game-mechanics these beneﬁts can be obtained by crushing a gem of the appropriate type for the spell being cast (see Table 3–3: Magically Conductive Materials on page 73 of Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor); the gem must have been mined in the North to have these properties. Including the powder as an additional material component while casting a spell of the appropriate school raises the spell’s effective caster level and the DC to save against it by 1. Similarly including this powder in the creation of single use items — such as potions or the ink of a scroll — provides the same beneﬁts. Of course doing so destroys the gem and no modern wizard would sacriﬁce a potential focus for a bonus to a single casting but this was the means by which the primitive tribes accessed the innate power of the North.
arrived in Blackmoor by the boatload. A brief war, perhaps an omen of the greater struggle to come, erupted on the outskirts of the new communities. On one side were the native sorcerers and wokan, who were woefully outmatched. On the other were Thonian wizards, as well as some sorcerers and wokan who had already begun assimilating to the new culture and wished to prove their loyalty. The struggle ended in a matter of months, with the native casters either slain, departing with their retreating countrymen, or fully assimilated. Some of the wizards took their reward in monies and goods and returned home, but many remained in the newly settled north. And slowly, as their lives calmed down, a few began to look into the nature of the land itself.
Perhaps the wisest of these mages was Kargas Dolunt, distantly related to the Thonian Imperial Family. Kargas was a peaceful man, who engaged in the war against the native sorcerers only as a means of acquiring money and land for his researches, and who preferred to ﬁght with nonlethal spells wherever possible. He came because he was interested in the land itself. He spent all his free time between engagements in contemplation, and when other wizards were only starting their studies into the nature of the North, Kargas was m a n y months ahead of them. It was Kargas, history records, who discovered that the land itself was rife with magic, that spellcasters could obtain great power in the North, and that the region itself was responsible for the plethora of sorcerers among the natives. (Many scholars scoffed at his claims that the Thonians would begin birthing sorcerers within a single
The Thonian Colonization
These tribes would not be left alone forever. Almost immediately after the founding of the Thonian Empire, colonists and military forces moved into the North to create a bastion of the Empire and the port city of Blackmoor. There was surprisingly little military conﬂict between the newcomers and the native tribes. The size and strength of the Thonian forces was unmistakable, and in the majority of cases, the tribes — nomadic or semi-nomadic as they were — simply moved farther out, in some cases setting sail across the Black Sea for lands unknown. Many of those who remained behind grew fascinated by Thonian villages, and eventually assimilated into the culture. Where conﬂict did arise, however, was between local sorcerers and wokan, and the newcomers. The purported emissaries of the spirits did not take kindly to being forced from their lands, and several Thonian villages and military patrols were laid waste by spells cast from afar, or summoned creatures clearly not native to these lands. The Thonians, of course, did what they had to do: They sent word back home, offering incentives such as land, riches, and political inﬂuence to powerful wizards who would travel north and assist in the colonization efforts. Some wizards had already arrived, with the initial colonists, but after the Emperor’s call went out, arcanists 4
Unfortunately (or perhaps not depending on one’s point of view) the methods Kargas developed for drawing power from the land were lost over the course of the Mage Wars. Legend tells that he was able to enhance his spells without increasing their difﬁculty — or in game terms to use the magic of the land to apply metamagic feats without increasing the spell slot required for casting. Even today some wizards study every scrap of information about Kargas and the other wizards of the time hoping to learn to duplicate his discoveries. None has succeeded but some believe that it was following in Kargas’ footsteps that Skelfer created the spell focus. generation, but an explosion of magical power that devastated a small ﬁshing village called Gryssburgh proved him right.) Kargas dubbed this power the Wild Magic, a name that would linger for many generations, and he developed techniques for drawing magic directly from the land itself to empower his spells. Kargas delightedly shared his breakthrough with his colleagues of the time, other wizards who shared his fascination with the nature of the North. Alas, wise as he was, Kargas did not foresee the results of his revelations. Almost immediately, news of the discovery spread from wizard to wizard (and to local sorcerers and wokan as well). Some were fascinated, sensing a new avenue for the study and exploration of magic. Some were disinterested, having their own goals and interests. But many grew covetous, realizing that if they did not act swiftly, others would stake claim to the land, and they would be prevented from harnessing its power. In the guise of study, claiming that they required privacy and materials from which to work, wizards began declaring portions of the North as their own. It was only a few at ﬁrst, and they claimed tracts of land on which no one lived. Their numbers grew swiftly, however, and the size of the land each wizard wanted grew as well. More wizards came out of seclusion, seeing what was happening and determined not to be left behind. Word of Kargas’ discovery reached the Thonian Empire, and more wizards traveled north. Some claimed land on their own, while others — weaker or more prudent — banded together in small factions, willing to share knowledge and power if it meant also sharing the burden of defense. Unpopulated land became sparse, as wizards and sorcerers claimed every last foot of territory. Soon casters began claiming populated areas as well. They did not demand the right to rule, nor attempt to eliminate local governments, at least not yet. Rather, they claimed jurisdiction purely over mystical matters, offering to serve as “protector” of the region against other, hostile wizards. Communities that welcomed 5
these arcane defenders prospered. Those local leaders who refused to share power were threatened, charmed, or even in a few rare cases simply disappeared entirely. These territories, initially only meant to be areas of research, swiftly became personal domains, and for one wizard or sorcerer to enter the domain of another uninvited led to reprisals. At ﬁrst, this retaliation took political and economic form. One wizard would convince the leader of his community to cease trading with the lands of an offending colleague, while another might summon inclement weather to ravage the crops of another’s territory. (Even wizards engaged in study must eat.) As transgressions grew more and more frequent, due to the loss of available land and the fact that every mage’s territory now abutted several others, the retribution grew ever more vicious as well. Finally, that retribution turned violent. Mages engaged in spell-duels, tossing globes of ﬁre and bolts of lightning while swooping through the air over populated areas. Further, these duels were so quick and vicious, when the militia ﬁnally arrived to put an end to the carnage, they found nothing but burned-out husks of villages, with no signs of those who had destroyed them. It was a half-elven (Cumasti) wizard named Raddan Goss who provided the spark that would ignite this conﬂict into a true war. Stymied in his quest to expand his territory, he wrested completed control of his lands from the local government, proclaiming himself Wizard King of what had been a semi-autonomous barony. Leading their armies into the ﬁeld, he assaulted the territory of a neighboring wizard, becoming the ﬁrst mage to use overt violence in this struggle for eldritch territory. Striking with surprise and overwhelming mystical force, he slew the small cadre of wizards who had claimed the neighboring lands and claimed them as his own. One of those who fell to his assault, however, was a dear friend of Surrinya Vadaley, a sorceress who governed her own territory many leagues away. When news of her companion’s death reached her, Surrinya ﬂew into a rage. Following Raddan’s example, she too claimed full governmental control of the territory that, to that point, she had simply used as a studying ground and protected from other mages. Unable to march her army across half the North to strike at Raddan directly, she instead invaded the territory of a wizard she knew to be a friend of Raddan’s, annexing the land and putting the wizard to the sword. Other wizards, seeing what had happened, were determined not to be left defenseless. Each attempted to become true ruler of his territory. Some failed, unable to shake the grip of a strong baron, governor, or mayor; others succeeded handily, becoming Wizard Kings like Raddan himself. Now with armies at their beck and call, territory moved against territory, repaying old slights, making preemptive attacks, or simply seeking to expand their domains. The Mage Wars had begun.
Once ignited, the ﬂame could not be put out. Wizard turned against wizard, territory against territory, in a conﬂict that soon covered the entire face of the North. Nor were wizards the only combatants, though they were certainly central to the war. Those few territories not yet ruled by spellcasters fought desperately to maintain their autonomy, often banding together with one another, or even aiding weaker wizards against stronger ones in exchange for treaties of nonaggression. Many of the beleaguered settlers sent pleas for aid to the Thonian Empire, but at least in the early years of the war, such missives were always intercepted and destroyed; not even the most stealthy courier could avoid the divination spells of the Wizard Kings, who had a vested interest in keeping Thonia uninvolved for as long as possible. From its beginnings as a free-for-all between scores of individual territories, the war evolved over the course of its ﬁrst few years. The weakest factions were swiftly obliterated, banded together, or swore fealty to stronger forces. Territories annexed other territories, expanding nearly to the size of small nations. By the ﬁfth year of the war, everyone involved knew that it was truly a struggle between four separate and distinct factions; other groups existed, including the scattered communities still ruled by non-spellcasters, but their involvement was peripheral, their inﬂuence minimal. One of those factions was led by Surrinya Vadaley. It consisted mostly of sorcerers, rather than wizards, and was particularly brutal in their methods. Lacking the discipline of trained wizards, they reveled in their power, and often resorted to force far in excess of what they required to obtain a particular objective. The other three consisted largely if not solely of wizards, and the largest of these was the Arcane Dominion of Raddai, named Kargas Dolunt was horriﬁed at the results of his efforts. He was a man of learning a man of study and — when possible — a man of peace. He was shattered in body and soul when the greatest discovery of his life led to nothing but violence misery and war. Witnesses claim that in the days following Surrinya’s retaliation against Raddan Kargas simply put down his books one day walked out of his home and was never seen again. Legend says however that Kargas never found rest. Wracked by guilt over what he had caused Kargas wanders the North still as a ghost mourning for the lives lost. Supposedly he appears now and again always to aid common folk menaced by a sorcerer wizard or other spellcaster as though he still seeks to make up for the suffering of the Mage Wars. 6
And What of Kargas?
The Mage Wars (815–900)
for the half-elven Wizard King Raddan who ruled it with an iron ﬁst. The Mage Wars never reached the point where a single winner could be declared, but should a researcher turn to any random year during the struggle, the odds are good he would ﬁnd Raddai nearer to victory than any of the others. Raddan was by far the most vicious of the Wizard Kings. He viewed enemy mages as nothing more than sources of power he had not yet claimed, and commoners as nothing more than beasts of burden he might expend like any other resource. It is a sad yet telling observation that even in those years when Raddan’s forces were clearly victorious, his populace suffered losses as great or greater than the other
The Brethren of Raddan
While Raddan did not survive the Mage Wars his horrid legacy unfortunately did. Throughout the years since some wizards have maintained the belief that their power affords them the right to rule that no non-wizard should hold power and that common men and women are little more than animals to be used as their betters see ﬁt. Some of these wizards are loners or belong to other factions or organizations but many of them band together. Calling themselves the Brethren of Raddan in honor of he from whom they draw inspiration they work constantly to overthrow King Uther and other rightful leaders — including on occasion even the Thonian Emperor — and to place themselves on the thrones of all the known world. Thankfully their numbers are few at any given time and the Wizard’s Cabal makes every effort to hunt them down. Yet never are they fully destroyed for some of their number yet reside within the Cabal itself.
three factions, so careless was he of the lives of his subjects.
The Bystanders, and Skelfer the White Mage
An informal ﬁfth faction of wizards existed during this time, deﬁned not by their allegiances but rather by their lack of involvement. Just as a few select casters refused to engage in the squabbling over territory that preceded the Mage Wars, so too did an even small number of them refuse to engage in the conﬂict itself. Fighting only to defend themselves, claiming no territory for their own, these Bystanders (as others called them)
continued to engage in whatever activities occupied them before the Mage Wars erupted. Some were slain, as they were considered easy targets by more aggressive mages who wished to expand their own domains. Others gave up and ﬂed the North, returning to more peaceful lands. But some few remained, and many of them continued the same efforts that had ignited the conﬂagration in the ﬁrst place: the study of the mystical energies permeating the North. One of these Bystanders was a wizard by the name of Skelfer Ard. Skelfer was not the most powerful Bystander, nor the most experienced. He was, however, perhaps most interested in learning about the land and its connection to Wild Magic, following in the footsteps of Kargas Dolunt, whom he greatly admired. Nor were his interests entirely academic; Skelfer knew that if he could somehow master the power over which everyone was ﬁghting, he might be able to bring the conﬂict to a halt. For a time, Skelfer pursued his studies in his hometown of Archlis, a ﬁshing community on the coast of the North Sea. As the Mage Wars raged, however, Skelfer became convinced that he would be unable to accomplish his goals if he remained at home. Not only might the town be threatened by his experiments, but his mere presence there made Archlis a target for Wizard Kings and other mages who might see him as a potential enemy, or a resource to be exploited. Thus, Skelfer retreated to a laboratory he kept in the Dragon Hills, many days travel from Archlis. There he spent years, hidden away from the ravages of the Mage Wars, carefully studying the land and experimenting with Wild Magic.
The War Continues
During Skelfer’s experiments, the Mage Wars continued unabated. Over the course of years, Raddan succeeded in expanding further still, utterly obliterating one of the other three factions, and doing substantial damage to the sorcerers’ faction. It is entirely possible that he might have obtained victory had the Thonian Empire not ﬁnally intervened in the year 889. For all their efforts at preventing messengers and cries for help from leaving the North, the Wizard Kings had known they could not forever prevent news of the war from reaching the Emperor. Traders traveled from lands to the south to Blackmoor and its surroundings on a regular basis, and the Empire would surely begin to realize that the cessation in the ﬂow of goods was more than the result of banditry and bad luck. Additionally, many of the wizards who ﬂed the North rather than ﬁght in the wars used mystical means of transporting themselves, preventing any possible interception by the Wizard Kings’ soldiers. The Thonian Empire, when they did learn the truth, was not about to tolerate a multi-faction civil war in one of its own territories, and they ﬁnally arrived in the North late in the summer of 889. They remained for less than three months. 7
While the Thonian Empire had its own war-wizards, none of them had anywhere near the experience in battling other mages as the Wizard Kings. They were hideously unprepared to deal with the sorts of attacks Raddan and the others launched against them, and proved unable to protect the Thonian soldiers from arcane assault. Fire rained from the sky, summoned creatures slew hundreds in their sleep, and late-summer blizzards severed supply lines. Bombarded by powerful magics and with winter months away, it became apparent almost immediately that the Empire couldn’t possibly maintain a military presence in the face of the Wizard King’s opposition without devoting the entire Thonian military to the effort — and maybe not even then. Formally, the Empire declared that pulling its soldiers back out of the North was a strategic move; they would let the factions wear each other down, and then move in to defeat the survivors. Unofﬁcially, it was a full retreat, and everyone knew it. The fate of the North was in the hands of the
mages alone — but at least the Thonian effort had distracted Raddan, allowing the other factions time to regroup.
Skelfer’s Discovery and the End of the Wars
Skelfer’s studies continued, slowly and steadily, as the years dragged by. He subjected the land and his surroundings to every Wild Magic experiment he could devise. He summoned creatures at different times of day, to determine if the celestial alignment altered planar gates. He cast the same spell under differing weather conditions or in different terrains around the Dragon Hills. Once, for over a month straight, he cast the same illusion every day at a different hour, and watched for tiny variations in the image. And most importantly, he experimented with various substances from the region, and how their presence or absence altered the effects of his spells. It was this last that led to Skelfer’s most famous discovery, the spell focus, in 886. By channeling magic through gemstones harvested in the magic-rich North, Skelfer was able to increase the power of his spells, to store them in the crystal without the need for books, even to cast them directly from the stones. He learned to pull the energies from his surroundings and into the gem; he learned which substances had an afﬁnity for which schools of magic. More important to Skelfer than the power offered by the focus, however, was what it implied about the nature of magic itself. While certain gems were more effective at channeling certain sorts of energy, the land’s energies could 8
be used to empower any spell, through any focus. It was this realization — that all spells, all schools, all magic seemed to have the same basic energies behind them — that led to Skelfer’s theory that all magic ﬂowed from the same wellspring. He spent years creating his Scale of Magical Energy, not merely organizing the known schools, but predicting the existence of others, theorizing even that the gods ultimately drew on the same sources as mortals. He renamed Wild Magic to White Magic, a magic that included in it all possible “colors” of the mystic spectrum. Armed with his new theories and, of more immediate value, his spell focus, Skelfer departed his Dragon Hills hideaway and returned to Archlis. Or at least to where Archlis had been. Skelfer discovered that his absence had not been sufﬁcient to protect his beloved hometown. Angered by his refusal to take sides, several mages of the sorcerers’ faction — now ruled by Ellierre Vadaley, daughter of Surrinya and even more vicious than her mother — grew angry at his “arrogance,” and determined to punish him for it. When Skelfer arrived on the coast of the North Sea, he found a burned-out ruin and a scattered band of survivors where his home once had been. And Skelfer, now the most powerful wizard alive who had refused to ﬁght, declared war. For war, of course, one needs soldiers, and Skelfer — now called the White Mage by his supporters — swiftly set about acquiring them. He scoured the North, approaching wizards who belonged to factions outside the main three,
or who had already been defeated and forced to serve their conquerors. He tracked down low-level mages a well, offering to train them in exchange for their assistance. Individually, none of these had nearly enough power to stand up to the main warring factions. In cooperation, and armed with Skelfer’s spell foci and many unique spells he had created during his experiments, they were a force to be reckoned with. They were, as of yet, still no match for even the weakest major faction (let alone the Arcane Dominion of Raddai, still ruled by the long-lived half-elf). But they were potent enough to do what the Thonian military wizards could not: to protect an army of non-casters from attack by the remaining Wizard Kings. Of course, after generations of war between wizards, few communities were willing to trust Skelfer sufﬁciently to unite behind him. In order to gain the trust of the commoners, Skelfer and his allies worked with local soldiers to develop a combination of mystic and martial techniques, methods for non-wizards to battle experienced spellcasters. This was the origin of the arcane warrior, and while Skelfer had only months to train potential candidates, his mastery of magic was so great that those months were enough. These arcane warriors were crudely trained by modern standards, but still more than effective. The trust Skelfer built with the beleaguered communities was a fragile thread, but it was enough. Skelfer now had an army behind him, a cadre of wizards with access to abilities no others had, and a growing force of arcane warriors never before seen by their enemies. For a full year, Skelfer’s forces battled against Raddan’s, for Skelfer knew that the Arcane Dominion was the most powerful adversary. The two remaining major factions, as well as the scattered unaligned groups, pulled back, watching to see how this new element would affect the wars. Even as the battles raged, however, Skelfer turned more and more of his attention to Ellierre’s sorcerers, concerned that they might prove the greater long-term threat, and still enraged by their attack on Archlis. Still, he remained committed to the destruction of Raddan, and it was Skelfer himself who ﬁnally slew the half-elven Wizard King in a made duel that lasted the better part of a day. Raddan, always concerned for his position, had never allowed any of his subordinates to approach him in power, and thus no one was prepared to take his place. The Arcane Dominion collapsed within days, unable to stand against Skelfer’s forces with its leader gone. Those wizards loyal to Raddan were slain, captured, or driven away; those who had been forced to serve immediately swore fealty to Skelfer. Skelfer prepared to turn his attention to the remaining factions, but there was ultimately no need. With the defeat of Raddan, and with nearly all his former territories rallying behind Skelfer, the others realized they could not hope to stand against the White Mage’s forces. On the condition 9
that they would not be executed for crimes against the population of the North, the leaders of the remaining factions surrendered to Skelfer early in 896. The Mage Wars were at an end — ofﬁcially. In reality, there was one conﬂict yet waiting to be fought, and its effects ripple into modern times more forcefully than those of the Mage Wars themselves.
Although the war was over, Skelfer and his allies felt that a menace still lurked within the ranks of the North’s arcanists, a danger so great it could dwarf the Mage Wars themselves if left unchecked. That threat was the growing population of sorcerers, those walking embodiments of the wildest aspects of the White Magic. Skelfer knew that the sorcerers could never be as rigidly disciplined as the wizards. A wizard must study for years, must earn his power; sorcerers develop it naturally, and often prove wildly destructive, even if unintentionally. A sorcerer could be literally anyone, anywhere, for while most were born with some mark of power — a dragon-shaped birthmark, milk-white eyes — such marks were easily hidden or overlooked by those who did not understand their signiﬁcance. Skelfer knew that if the wizards were ever to regain the trust of the populace, and to prevent other power-mad arcanists from rising and igniting the Mage Wars anew, the sorcerers had to be controlled. The White Mage ﬁrst approached the sorcerers openly, hoping to entice them to join with the wizards in ﬁnding a means of controlling their powers, and spotting new sorcerers before they might become a threat. Most refused to place themselves under another caster’s jurisdiction. Perhaps, in light of the recent wars, their mistrust is understandable, but Skelfer nevertheless could not let it pass. Too much, he believed, was riding on his ability to form a peaceful coexistence among mages, and between mages and the common folk. With a heavy heart, and knowing full well it might ignite the very war he sought to prevent, Skelfer set himself, and his allies and students, to the task of hunting down the North’s sorcerers. It was not his intent, in the beginning, to harm these innate workers of magic. He wished to convince them, by any means necessary, to submit to the authority of the council of mages that was growing from his former wartime faction. He wished to study their abilities, to understand how they could tap into magic untrained, to ﬁt them into his theories of a uniﬁed mystical source. He wished them to work alongside wizards, not as servants, but as equals, subject to the same laws and with access to the same opportunities. But ﬁrst he had to ﬁnd them, and to force them not to hare off on their own. Given how chaotic and individualistic most sorcerers of the North are, to say nothing of the
fact that many were still resentful over the results of the Mage Wars, this was far easier said than done. The sorcerers battled back, slaying many wizards (and innocent bystanders) in their struggles. Finally, after the ﬁrst year of attempting to capture the sorcerers proved ineffective, Skelfer reluctantly changed the Cabal’s mandate from imprisonment to elimination. Sorcerers were to be slain where encountered, their remains returned to the Cabal for study. To the outside world, particularly a populace who were coming to think of Skelfer as a folk hero, the task seemed easy enough. Over the course of four years, the White Mage and his allies hunted down most of the region’s sorcerers, with precious little overt conﬂict. In fact, the name “Skelfer’s Sojourn,” when used to refer to this period in history, implies the perception that the entire affair was practically a vacation. It’s a useful misconception, and one the Wizard’s Cabal cultures to this day, but it’s only partially accurate. In truth, the Sojourn required a great deal of effort and scheming on the part of the wizards, and those battles it did spark were vicious indeed.
Allies and Operatives
The force Skelfer ﬁelded against the sorcerers was threefold. The ﬁrst and most obvious were his fellow wizards, allies and students from the Mage Wars. The second were the inquisitors. Using the same techniques that allows him to swiftly develop and teach the arts of the arcane warrior, Skelfer now set about creating a skill set and mystical acumen that would allow those who mastered them to track down other practitioners of magic, to withstand or negate at least some of their spells, and to counter with both magic and martial prowess of their own. Many arcane warriors turned to this new profession, and within a matter of months, the inquisitors made their way through the North, seeking out sorcerers wherever they might hide. To this day, the inquisitors serve as part of the Cabal’s enforcement branch, conducting the Arcane Inquisition: a never-ending hunt for sorcerers and illegal users of magic. Skelfer’s third line of attack was the populace of the North itself. Using his newfound popularity, and that of his arcane warriors, Skelfer convinced the commoners that his cause was just, and as important to them as it was to him. Many sorcerers found themselves apprehended by wizards,
The Eldritch Underground
Just as the sorcerer gangs have continued to the present day so too have the efforts of a small but seemingly indestructible brotherhood devoted to the preservation of freedom for sorcerers. This so-called eldritch underground consists of sorcerers non-spellcasters and even a few sympathetic wizards scattered throughout all communities and governments of the North. They do not move against the Wizard’s Cabal directly for they are powerful enough neither to do the Cabal any serious harm nor to survive the inevitable counterattack should they make their true strengths known. Rather they offer fugitive sorcerers a place to hide false identities and hidden means of transportation to other parts of the Thonian Empire or even the lands beyond. Members of this underground claim that the Cabal performs horriﬁc experiments on slain and captured sorcerers to this very day. They dissect them subject them to all manner of gruesome tortures cast spells upon them and force them to cast spells in turn. The Cabal dismisses such claims as so much hogwash and has on more than one occasion allowed outsiders to witness their treatment of sorcerer prisoners. Still these rumors continue despite the Cabal’s best efforts to quash them. One particular sorcerer even invaded the Cabal’s main headquarters in Vestfold seeking to dispel the Cabal’s “illusions” and reveal the experiments for what they truly were. He accomplished nothing but word of his attempt only strengthened the belief of those who believed the rumors to begin with. It’s understandable then why some members of the underground act as they do. Unfortunately they make no distinction between the various fugitives it assists. They have no doubt aided in the escape of innocent victims who would otherwise have been beaten by sorcerer gangs or imprisoned by the Cabal but so too have they abetted the ﬂight of truly dangerous sorcerers who truly do pose a threat to all around them. To date the Wizard’s Cabal has made only half-hearted moves against the underground. Most of the wizards are not cruel-hearted people; they understand the fear in which sorcerers live and so long as the underground does not oppose the Cabal directly the Cabal should continue to focus the greater part of their efforts elsewhere. Still the patience of some wizards grows thin and should the underground interfere directly with the Cabal even once or should many more truly dangerous fugitives escape justice, it’s just possible that the underground will rise to the top of the Cabal’s list of priorities. 10
not due to divination spells or the like, but because some average citizen had spotted and reported them. Sorcerers swiftly become pariahs, even in many communities that once welcomed them. Some react to the growing hatred with anger and violence, destroying several small communities and killing members of the earliest sorcerer gangs. These events serve only to convince the populace that Skelfer was right all along, and anger against sorcerers grows exponentially. Sitting on the sidelines, at least for the moment, the majority of wokan decide either to leave civilized areas, returning to the wilderness in which they are most comfortable, or to assist Skelfer in his efforts at forming a united mages’ society and in hunting down rogue sorcerers. The wokan lack the unpredictability of the sorcerer, as well as the ability to cast spells spontaneously. Nevertheless, many of them fear that the wizards might someday turn against them as well, and thus seek to head off such an event by proving themselves loyal allies. Still, a small number of wokan have turned renegade aiding the sorcerers when and where they can ﬁnd them, determined not to let the power of the wizards grow unchecked. Their aid, while no doubt appreciated by the sorcerers as a whole, proves insufﬁcient to make any major difference. Over the span of four years, with so many powers allied against them, the sorcerers were simply outmatched and outmaneuvered. By the year 900, the overwhelming majority of sorcerers had either ﬂed the North, or been imprisoned or slain outright. Just as Skelfer personally slew Raddan at the end of the Mage Wars, so too did he engage Ellierre Vadaley in a one-on-one duel. It said by those who witnessed the epic struggle that Skelfer’s last word to the sorceress, before obliterating her in a spray of prismatic energies, was “Archlis.” It was, or so claimed those who knew him, the only death in which Skelfer ever took pleasure. Greatly saddened by the loss of so many lives, the White Mage, declared his efforts against the sorcerers to be largely at an end. While he and his allies continued to watch for these rogue spellcasters, they now turned the bulk of their attentions to other things. With no immediate dangers left to be subdued, Skelfer declared that the time had come for the mages of the North to begin charting the course of their future.
Alas wise as he was Skelfer once again failed to foresee the ultimate conclusion of his actions. Many people took his warnings about the dangerous sorcerers far more seriously than even the White Mage had intended. These folks driven by fear and a misplaced patriotism formed the ﬁrst of what are today referred to as “sorcerer gangs.” These roaming packs of vigilantes hunt down suspected sorcerers in their midst and with brutal and overwhelming violence subdue them. Some such gangs do what they can to take their prisoners alive clubbing them into unconsciousness manacling and gagging them and delivering them to the nearest arcane warrior. Unfortunately such care and effort has never been in great supply and grows even less so in the modern days. The majority of sorcerer gangs are little more than mobs and the result of an encounter with a sorcerer is almost always a sorcerer dead from beating or hanging or a number of broken bodies scattered across the earth by ﬁreballs and similar destructive spells. That the common folk were absolutely integral to the success of Skelfer’s Sojourn cannot be denied but neither is it deniable that the sorcerer gangs resulting from his efforts are more than any other single factor responsible for the antipathy between many of today’s sorcerers and the communities that birthed them. To make matters even worse the more violent gangs have been responsible for the death of more than one individual who was no sorcerer at all but merely mistaken for one due to any number of innocuous misunderstandings. In some communities local authorities have cracked down on sorcerer gang activity. While this does prevent unnecessary bloodshed it also sours relationships between the locals and the Wizard’s Cabal for most people assume that if their efforts against magic-users are thwarted it must be at the behest of other magic-users. At Skelfer’s call, the greatest mages of the North met for the ﬁrst time in Vestfold, near enough the area’s center of power — Blackmoor itself — yet far enough to be considered neutral ground. The meeting might charitably be called a disaster. None of the gathered mages could agree on what the organization should provide, let alone how to go about it. Many felt that training new wizards was a fantastic idea, enabling them to both share and control the mystical knowledge they had accumulated. Others felt that apprenticeships should be left to individual wizards, and that the conclave as a whole had no business deciding who should learn and who should not. Similarly, many of the wizards recognized the need for an overarching authority, some governmental body to whom wizards could turn in times of conﬂict, and who would be 11
The Founding and Growth of the Wizard’s Cabal (900–970)
That Skelfer intended to form the mages of the North into a single organization, designed to train new wizards and police the old, was no secret. What the White Mage kept hidden from his fellows is that he had little idea how to go about it. That such an organization was vital he had no doubt, but constructing it was a task beyond even his experiences.
responsible for bringing to heel any who stepped out of line. Others among them, due either to personal belief or lingering resentment from the Mage Wars, utterly refused to allow themselves be subject to the dictates of other mages. Law was the province of the Empire, and it was up to the Empire’s proxies and local rulers to enforce the law. (The fact that local authorities had already proven insufﬁcient for the task of reining in renegade mages was certainly not forgotten. Surely some of those who argued those did so because they wished to remain above the law, as they had always considered themselves.) Even amongst those wizards who were inclined to make the organization work, partisan struggles seemed to assure it could not. Old alliances and enmities from the wars reared their heads once more. Former faction-mates supported one another for positions of authority within the organization, determined that only those they could trust would hold power, and that their former enemies would never rise above them. Discussion turned to debate; debate to argument; argument to insults and screaming matches on the ﬂoor of the hall in which the meeting took place. On several occasions, only direct interference by Skelfer and his arcane warriors prevented spell duels from erupting then and there, and many of those thus thwarted departed with violence in their hearts. The Mage Wars seemed almost certain to erupt once again.
Almost immediately, word came down from on high: All wizards dwelling in the North were required, by Imperial decree, to subject themselves to the authority of Skelfer’s cabal of wizards. Some mages still refused, preferring to ﬂee the North or live as fugitives. Most, however, knew that struggling against both Skelfer and the Emperor was more trouble than it was worth. Rather than be subject to an organization over which they had no control, most mages returned to the negotiating table and agreed to put aside their differences and ﬁnd some means of working together.
The Law of the Cabal
Once the mages were back at the negotiation table, Skelfer laid down the law. No more would they bicker over who held authority over whom, or how much authority the cabal as a whole might wield. The Emperor himself had granted Skelfer complete authority over wizards, to govern and enforce as he saw ﬁt. The only question now, he declared, was whether the other mages would take their rightful place in the order, or allow it to proceed without them. The cabal, he decreed, would be governed by a council of its greatest and most experienced members. This council, in turn, would be chaired by a single high Spellwise; this leader would not hold ultimate authority, for the council could overrule him, but he would maintain order during meetings, and he would decide how to implement the policies of the council. For this ﬁrst generation, Skelfer himself would serve as high Spellwise, and he would appoint the members of the council from among the many wizards. From that point onward, however, the council would select its own members. Should a member die or retire, any council member could nominate a replacement, on whom the council as a whole would vote. Similarly, any council member might nominate a new high Spellwise, should the position come empty, with a vote of the council determining if that nominee should take the chair. This system has evolved through the years, into the current governing policies of the Cabal. The Cabal, Skelfer decreed, would evaluate all who wished to study wizardry, and would teach all who showed both potential and a willingness to follow the rules. Its experienced members would devote themselves to the advancement of wizardry, studying magic itself and constantly advancing their understanding of it. They would advise local nobles on matters mystical, and they would work together to hunt down and neutralize sorcerers and other rogue spellcasters. Any wizard to commit a crime would be brought before the council for justice, and that justice would be swift and sure. Finally, in the year 910, all was in readiness. The laws were written, buildings purchased, positions assigned. The Wizard’s Cabal formally announced the start of its ﬁrst
An Imperial Offer
It was at this time, as Skelfer and his allies debated what to do next, that an emissary arrived from the Thonian Emperor himself. In meetings behind closed doors, and guarded from scrying by layer upon layer of spells of misdirection, Skelfer received an offer from the mouthpiece of the Emperor. The Emperor would throw his entire weight behind this new organization, granting them full rights to train new wizards and, more importantly, to govern wizards under their own set of laws, exempt from enforcement by local nobles except where matters of treason were concerned. In exchange, the wizards would lend their full might toward aiding the Imperial military where necessary, and in hunting down enemies of the Empire. Skelfer was less than sanguine about accepting such an offer, as it would mean putting his wizards under someone else’s jurisdiction. After all, it was the Emperor himself who decided when a crime constituted treason, and who declared individuals (or entire nations) enemies of the state. So really, in asking the wizards’ aid in handling such concerns, was he not in effect conscripting the entire order? Nevertheless, the White Mage acquiesced. Concerned as he was about what might happen to his organization in the future, he was concerned still more that he might never succeed in forging it at all. 12
classes in wizardry, located where it had all started, in the city of Vestfold.
Public Perception and the Rise of Radiah Zurren
The Cabal’s “coming out” was not met with the public enthusiasm for which Skelfer and the others might have hoped. While many prospective students did indeed join the Cabal and begin their studies, the people of Vestfold — and elsewhere in the North, as news of the Cabal spread — grew ever-more concerned. They trusted Skelfer, at least to an extent, but the notion of organized wizards frightened them no less now than it had immediately after the Mage Wars. The people of the North had already seen what happens when wizards attempt to rule, and they weren’t anxious to risk it happening again. The Cabal attempted to prove their trustworthiness. The Spellwise, as the ﬁrst of Skelfer’s students were called, offered to serve the local barons as advisors and aids on all magical matters. They publicly and loudly declared that they existed to serve the Empire, not threaten its citizens. But even where the nobles were assured, the populace at large was not. Nor was all the public nervousness a natural occurrence. In several major communities, Vestfold included, surviving sorcerers and other members of the eldritch underground fanned the ﬂames of paranoia. They whispered of the wizards’ duplicitousness, arranged public demonstrations, even arranged magical “mishaps” on one or two occasions, designed to make the public fear allowing a large population of casters in their midst. At the same time, just as the Cabal needed him most to put a friendly face on things, Skelfer suddenly seemed to lose interest in the day-to-day governing of the organization. He appeared in public, and even in council meetings, less and less frequently. When he did appear, he seemed distracted, almost haunted, as though he had things of far greater import on his mind. Rumors reached the Cabal of Skelfer sightings in all lands across the North, and even beyond. He vanished for days at a time, then weeks, then months. To this day, nobody is certain what efforts might have occupied his time. Some suggest that it all simply got to be too much for him, that he couldn’t face yet another period of anti-mage hatred. The popular belief is that Skelfer’s age simply caught up with him, that he was ailing and growing ever sicker. Most who have studied him, however, believe that he had stumbled onto some great secret in his studies, perhaps something even more important than the spell focus itself. Yet because he was not dead, nor had he completely abandoned his duties, the council could not remove the White Mage from his position as high Spellwise and replace him with another. Arguments over how to handle the mounting crisis, and their absentee leader, ripped through
the council, preventing them from accomplishing anything on either front. They desperately needed guidance, and it simply wasn’t coming from Skelfer Ard. It came, instead, from one of his earliest students. Radiah Zurren, a human with a hint of elven blood, was in fact a blood relation of the hated Raddan. Disgusted by her great-uncle’s cruelty during the Mage Wars, Radiah was one of the ﬁrst low-level wizards to rally behind Skelfer’s call when he came out of seclusion. Further, she was one of the earliest to practice the arts of the arcane warrior, and was by this time known as one of its greatest masters. Radiah approached the council with a proposition: They would not merely train a new generation of wizards, but of arcane warriors as well. These mystic knights have proven remarkably popular with the populace, as well as effective in protecting them from rogue spellcasters and the strange creatures inhabiting the wilderness of the North. These arcane warriors, rather than wizards, would serve as the public face of the Cabal to the public. They would be emissaries, guardians, and bringers of justice. They would ﬁght for the commoners as strongly as they did for the Cabal. This, Radiah maintained, would certainly sway public perception of the Cabal in a more favorable direction. For a time, the council denied Radiah’s requests. While many of its members felt she was on the right track, others feared to follow her suggestions. They disliked the notion of letting someone other than a true wizard represent the Cabal to the public, and they disliked even more the notion of creating yet another faction within the Cabal, with whom they would have to share power and authority. Public perception worsened, however. In one recorded incident, a sorcerer gang attacked a known wizard. They claimed afterward that they believed him to be a sorcerer, but those who knew them maintained otherwise. In the face of this mounting problem, more and more of the council members came around to Radiah’s way of thinking. When Skelfer returned from one of his absences and threw in his weight behind Radiah’s idea as well, the deal was sealed. Most of the existent arcane warriors were dispatched into the communities of the North, while a few remained behind to train a new cadre, drawn from the Cabal’s new students. The arcane warriors were set up as a standing army. Each was assigned rank, based on his experience, and each was expected to follow the orders of his superiors. While promotion might be granted based on particularly brave or effective actions, as in any military order, only arcane warriors who had obtained a certain level of proﬁciency might become ofﬁcers. (In mechanical terms, no arcane warrior can be commissioned as an ofﬁcer before 7th level.) It worked like a charm. The arcane warriors gave the citizens a sense of security and protection the wizards themselves could not. They worked with standing militias and city watches, tracking down not only rogue casters but mundane criminals as well, when their duties permitted. They even located some of the sorcerer agitators and put 13
a stop to their efforts. In mere months, public perception of the Cabal improved notably, and over the course of a few years, the organization had grown into an acknowledged and accepted aspect of the government of the North.
Skelfer’s Last Battle
For all their success during these years of growth and gaining the public trust, not everything went well for the Wizard’s Cabal. It was during this time that they lost their best and brightest, the man who had, until recently, been their guiding star. As the arcane warriors moved out into society, they encountered several factions of the Eldritch Underground. One such encounter occurred in the swamps along the Misauga River, near the border of the Duchy of Ten. The arcane warriors, led by Radiah herself, had pursued a handful of renegades all the way from Kenville; when the sorcerers turned to ﬁght, they believed it to be the last act of a desperate few. It was actually an ambush. Having allied with a band of sorcerers dwelling in Ten, the renegades had a powerful band of spellcasting allies waiting near the border. The arcane warriors of the Cabal suddenly found themselves surrounded and outmatched. Radiah rallied her forces, and despite overwhelming odds, a combination of skill and brilliant tactics allowed them to escape the ambush with only 30 percent losses. They could not ﬂee far, however, and they knew the sorcerers would never permit them to leave. 14
Unable to contact the Cabal for aid on her own, Radiah instead set out with her best soldiers to capture one of the enemy sorcerers alive. Once done, she was able to mystically compel him to attempt to scry on Skelfer himself. As Radiah anticipated, Skelfer detected the attempt to observe him, and was able to trace it to its source. When the White Mage appeared before her, Radiah explained the situation, and requested he summon additional aid from the Cabal. He never had the chance, for it was then that the sorcerers set upon them. Skelfer fought alongside his student and her soldiers, and surely the gods themselves ﬂinched from his magics. Enormous globes of ﬁre rained from the sky, vaporizing entire portions of the swamp (and, of course, the sorcerers therein). Elementals rose from the waters and dragged sorcerers to watery graves. Waves of pure energy surrounded him, and all who entered into them fell dead. Yet even Skelfer was not mighty enough to take on the entire band of sorcerers by himself, so Radiah and her arcane warriors fought alongside him. Blades fell and spells ﬂashed, and though many Cabal warriors died that day, four sorcerers fell to every one of them. It was nearing the end of the battle when a vicious stroke of lightning ripped through the ranks of the arcane warriors and felled Radiah Zurren herself. What happened afterward is sketchy, at best, for all witnesses to the event were heavily occupied in their own
battles. According to some, however, Skelfer raced to the side of his fallen student, and placed his hands gently on her shoulders. He muttered under his breath, perhaps casting a spell, and simply rose and walked into the marsh mists. When the surviving warriors, heads bowed by grief even in their victory, approached their fallen leader, they found her sleeping peacefully, all traces of her wounds gone. None can say how the wizard Skelfer might have healed her, if that is what he did, for such powers are well beyond the province of even the mightiest mage. Nor can anyone ask him, for from that day, none ever saw the White Mage again. To reward Radiah’s service and sacriﬁce, as well as the fact that it was she who turned around public opinion of the Cabal, the newly elected high Spellwise immediately nominated her to take his former place on the council. The others approved with an overwhelming majority, making Radiah the ﬁrst arcane warrior to sit on that august body.
The Cabal knew that the Emperor could afford to follow up on few of his threats. The Cabal was too fully established to simply eliminate, for that would render the North’s wizards again subject to no law. Nor could he afford the losses it would require for a military victory against them. Nevertheless, the Cabal buckled down for hard times, knowing that the Emperor’s ire could make life exceptionally difﬁcult. All Imperial aid ceased. Soldiers on loan to the arcane warriors were recalled, and many of the Cabal’s own channels of information dried up. Still, they accomplished what they set out to do. It became clear, through all the lands, that the Cabal was not a political body of the Thonian Empire. In 932, the Wizard’s Cabal accepted more Tenian students into its ranks than in any two previous years combined. Despite the cessation of Imperial aid, the Cabal’s newfound respect in distant lands allowed it to continue its growth.
By 930, the Cabal had nearly become the massive arcane society it is today. Its members numbered in the hundreds, and arcane warriors appeared in nearly every city in the North. Yet the council members noticed an alarming dropoff in the number of new students traveling from other lands. While the majority had always been natives of the Blackmoor region, some always traveled from Thonia proper, or Ten, or even beyond in order to learn. Now those numbers were falling, and the councilors knew that if the Cabal’s next generation of mages was limited strictly to Northerners, they would ﬁnd it very difﬁcult to earn the trust of other regions. Part of the problem was, of course, the ongoing border skirmishes between Thonia and Ten, but this could account for only part of the problem. It became apparent, after substantial discussion and not a few divinations that the spellcasters of Ten had ceased to trust the Cabal ever since the battle in which Skelfer had disappeared. The majority of those slain were Tenian sorcerers, and the other arcanists of the duchy seemed unconvinced that the Cabal hadn’t intended that as a declaration of hostilities. Thus it was that when the Emperor sent word to the Cabal in 931, demanding that they render assistance in the growing conﬂict with Ten, the council refused. They must, they claimed, maintain their neutrality in matters of border conﬂicts, lest they cease to be a viable authority for wizards everywhere. The Emperor was furious. The Cabal received numerous missives demanding their cooperation, threatening them with sanctions and the loss of their recognized authority, accusing them of violating their agreement — which was actually true, to some extent — and even, at one point, threatening military action.
A Horrific Discovery
This breakdown in relations between the Cabal and the Empire lasted for a bit under four decades, until Thonia and the wizards realized they desperately needed one another. For it was in the year 970 that the ﬁrst Thonian explorers returned with word of a truly strange land, uncomfortably close by across a tributary of the Black Sea. A land called Coot, ruled by a truly alien being known only as the Egg. Divination magics revealed little about the Egg of Coot, save that it was a horriﬁcally dangerous, evil entity that fed on magic itself. Mortal spies learned even less, for few were able to penetrate Coot’s patrols and mystic defenses, and those who did invariably returned with no memory of the country at all. Some didn’t realize any time had passed at all. The Cabal and the Empire both panicked. The wizards suddenly found themselves facing a potential enemy that could counter a great many of their abilities, and looked upon them as a resource rather than a threat. The Empire had never before faced a foe about whom it could learn so little. It was highly unlikely that a land the size of Coot could ﬁeld a force large enough to threaten the entirety of Thonia, but they couldn’t be sure. In hopes of patching up the rift between them, and allying in the face of this new enemy, the Cabal sent emissaries to the Emperor, requesting that the two factions bury their past differences and work together. The Emperor agreed, even offering to restore Imperial sanction of the Cabal’s authority, but only if the Cabal would take responsibility for observing Coot itself. The Cabal agreed, and founded the small outpost of Wizard’s Watch. Ofﬁcially, this was a distant training ground, used for experiments and lessons too dangerous to conduct in the midst of populated areas. In truth, the Cabal used Wizard’s Watch to keep an eye on Coot through a combination of mystical and mundane means. It would serve this purpose until the founding of Coot’s Watch, farther up the coast, in 996. From that point onward, Wizard’s Watch 15
served only as a secondary guard post; its primary purpose became what the Cabal had always claimed it was: an isolated training ground. The Empire set up outposts along the coast as well, in hopes that they might somehow learn some information the Cabal had missed. While the Cabal and the Empire had ofﬁcially patched up their differences, many Imperial ofﬁcers disapproved of the alliance. These patrols, which should have worked in cooperation with Wizard’s Watch, instead competed with them, hoarding information so that they, not the wizards, might receive credit for anything learned. It would, as such pride often does, prove disastrous.
The Cabal in Modern History (970–the present day)
The Egg of Coot may have been the most frightening enemy to the Thonian Empire, but it was hardly the only one. For almost two decades, the Empire and the Cabal focused their attention almost entirely to the North. Border skirmishes erupted on occasion between the Blackmoor region and Ten, Peshwah traded with or raided the southern communities, and the Cabal hunted down the occasional renegade, but little of historical import occurred. Then, in 985, Uther Andahar was born. At the time, of course, nobody realized that this had any more signiﬁcance than any other noble birth. The Empire took a greater interest later that same year, when Baron Alvarez of Blackmoor was slain in a surprise attack by barbarians from the North. Clearly the Empire had devoted too much attention to watching Coot; its eyes had failed it elsewhere. For nine years, culminating in the famous rampage by the barbarian chief Marfeldt, the Empire fought a series of border skirmishes and raids with the northern tribes. And for nine years, relations between the Cabal and the Emperor once more deteriorated, for the Cabal refused to devote more than a cursory effort toward aiding Thonia against the raids. Over and over, the Emperor demanded their aid, and over and over they refused, insisting that Coot was the greater threat, and that they could not afford to divide their attentions for a threat the Imperial military could ultimately handle on its own. In 995, the Egg proved them right, though being right did them precious little good.
The First Invasion of Coot
With the Cabal and the Empire once more falling out over the issue of the barbarian raids, the soldiers patrolling the northern coast dropped all pretense of cooperating with the wizards in their observance of Coot. Thus, when a ﬂotilla of ships crested the waves in the summer of that year, moving swiftly against the wind, the sentinels dispatched word to every nearby military outpost, and to the Emperor himself, but not to the Cabal. The wizards might have detected the ships on their own, but they were layered with mystical pro16
tections, and they emerged from the eastern edge of Coot, making them invisible from Wizard’s Watch. Crewed by soldiers whose loyalty to the Egg was enhanced with enchantments, and commanded by direct servants of the Egg with a mastery of strange magics, the ships reached the shore with supernatural speed. Every one of the military messengers was intercepted and dispatched with relative ease. Had even a single wizard been part of the patrol, he might have been able to sent word, or teleport, to his colleagues. As it was, however, the ﬁrst invasion by the Egg of Coot landed on the shores near Blackmoor without any warning of their arrival. Not even the Egg, however, was capable of masking the march of an entire army across the ﬁelds of the North. Blackmoor’s military saw them coming, and sent out calls for aid in all directions before locking down the city for a prolonged siege. Unfortunately, Blackmoor’s defenses were designed around an assault by mundane forces, and the weapons of the Egg’s armies were anything but mundane. War-wizards, ﬁreball-hurling catapults, and teleportation magics allowed the advancing armies to shred Blackmoor’s defenses like so many cobwebs. In a matter of days, the city had suffered severe damage, and entire neighborhoods were razed to the ground. Running battles in the streets were constant; all citizens able to hold a pitchfork or a scythe stood alongside the baron’s soldiers, while those who could not huddled in their cellars and prayed for deliverance. It came in the form of a second advancing army, consisting of wizards, arcane warriors, and soldiers of the Thonian Empire. Despite their falling out, the Cabal and the Empire had never dismantled the protocols they developed upon ﬁrst discovering Coot. The instant the Cabal heard word of an invasion, their greatest wizards transported themselves to the heart of the Empire and placed a series of teleportation circles, while simultaneously dispatching their own forces to join with the soldiers who would soon be arriving. An army that would normally have required months to cross the intervening distance, and the Valley of the Ancients, instead arrived outside the shattered gates of Blackmoor in less than a week. After a series of intense battles and spell duels, the armies of the Egg were repulsed, driven back to their ships. Continuing their newly restored alliance, the Imperial solders and the Cabal worked together to aid the people of Blackmoor in rebuilding their city. Patrols along the coast were doubled, the sentinels told in no uncertain terms to cooperate fully with the Cabal, and the outpost of Coot’s Watch was built on the shore in a much more strategic location than Wizard’s Watch had been.
During the brief struggle against the Egg’s forces, a small cadre of wizards went rogue, abandoning the Cabal and declaring their own territories on the outskirts of the North in a faint echo of the days preceding the Mage Wars. Why they did, and why they chose this time, is unclear. Perhaps it was something they’d planned for a while, and this presented itself as their best opportunity. Or maybe they panicked at the realization that the Cabal might not be the greatest magical power in the region after all, and sought to remove themselves from the conﬂict. Had they merely ﬂed, it’s likely they would have been allowed to go, but their attempt to set themselves up as local lords, independent of Imperial and Cabal authority alike, could not go unanswered. Unfortunately, the Cabal could not address them immediately, occupied as they were with the invasion of Coot. And as it happened, they didn’t need to. Willem of the Heath, the so-called Blue Rider, was able to defeat and throw down these would-be Wizard Kings with the aid of a few companions in adventure, and without calling upon the Cabal at all. While the wizards were gratiﬁed that the problem had been dealt with, the incident convinced them that they were simply not large or powerful enough to meet multiple simultaneous threats. The council pondered the matter, and developed several procedures for toughening up the Cabal’s ﬁghting force. They ordered an increase in the size of training classes for arcane warriors. They ordered the wizards to include a wider variety of combat spells in the curriculum. But perhaps most signiﬁcantly, they decreed that from this point on, all graduates of their wizard classes would be given a spell focus by the Cabal itself. Up to this point, the Cabal was happy to assist wizards in developing and learning to use a focus, but the wizard itself had to provide his own. Now, despite the great cost to the Cabal, it was decided that they would provide them. To any individual wizard, the acquisition of a focus is a noteworthy, but relatively minor, increase in power. When every wizard’s power increased, however, the Cabal was suddenly a substantially more potent force.
Worse than the enemy’s numbers, however, were his tactics. The Egg’s armies landed at various points along the coast, and even as his orcs moved against Blackmoor, and his other soldiers against other coastal communities, his ﬂying battalions crossed the miles and struck directly at the Cabal’s establishments in Vestfold, Archlis, and other cities. They were insufﬁcient to destroy the Cabal, but they proved more than effective at forcing the wizards to ﬁght defensively. In essence, they prevented the Cabal from aiding in the defense of the North, allowing the Egg’s armies to advance opposed only by mundane soldiers. Without the aid of the Cabal, Blackmoor and other major cities fell to Coot’s armies. King Funk declared Castle Blackmoor his new capitol, and the city became the central point from which the Egg’s armies radiated out into the rest of the North.
Retreat and Regroup
Far from Blackmoor, the surviving Northern barons organized in secret, preparing a renewed offensive against the invading armies. Having survived the assaults against them, the Cabal allowed themselves to be “driven out” of their schools and laboratories, and then met with the barons in secret, hidden from the eyes of the Egg by protective magics. They knew they could not take on Coot’s armies alone, but they knew as well that they had additional allies. The dwarves of the Crystal Peaks, the Peshwah tribesmen of the south, even the Duchy of Ten had all suffered border attacks from the invaders, who had apparently grown overconﬁdent after their victories against the barons. The new allies began a campaign of harassment against Coot patrols and outposts, striking swiftly under the cover of protective and offensive spells, then retreating just as quickly into the wild. The invaders reacted as the barons and the Cabal had hoped they would: A portion of their forces spread out further still, seeking their enemy’s strongholds, while the rest gathered together into a few well-defended bastions. With the combined forces and the wizards of the Cabal, it was simplicity itself to wipe out the search parties one by one, leaving the Egg’s entrenched armies blind and deaf to anything happening beyond their walls. The Duchy of Ten withdrew from the alliance at this point, more concerned with protecting their own borders than freeing Blackmoor and other Thonian cities, but the remaining force was still large enough. With the Cabal’s aid, they struck at the invaders’ strongholds one by one, securing each and regrouping before moving on to the next.
The Second Invasion of Coot
In 997, Coot’s forces came again, and if the Cabal had used the ﬁrst invasion to learn new ways of countering the Egg, the Egg in turn had studied the struggle and developed new means of countering the Cabal. The army was enormous, many times the size of the ﬁrst. It consisted not merely of humans, but a nation of orcs loyal to King Funk I, in turn a loyal servant of the Egg. They were accompanied by constructs, summoned ﬁends, and more of the Egg’s alien spellcasters. They arrived in massive warships and on ﬂying platforms, swarming over the northern coast like ants on a picnic.
Treason in the Ranks
No less than the ﬁrst, the second invasion of Coot revealed that not every member of the Cabal could be fully trusted. A small cadre of mages, power-hungry or perhaps simply 17
Cabal council meetings, to honor the contributions of Petrus and, in more general terms, all wizards who have died in the service of the Cabal. Those few traitors who did not join the ill-fated assault realized that the Cabal was coming for them, and ﬂed the ﬁeld. They retreated to Coot, where they expected to be rewarded for their services. Rumor has it they were eaten.
The Cabal itself did not participate in the reclamation of Blackmoor, or the extermination of King Funk and the occupying orcs. Credit for that goes to a force of elves, working in alliance with the Northern Barons. The Cabal did, however, assist the armies of the Northern Barons and the Peshwah tribes in launching a series of assaults on the Egg’s forces in the south, preventing them from riding to Blackmoor’s defense. When the barons took Blackmoor back, it spelled the end of the Egg’s invasion, for Coot’s major supply lines ran through the city’s ports. Although it required many more months of “mopping up,” the second invasion of Coot ofﬁcially ended in 998. (It is important to note, however, that while the city itself was reclaimed, orcs and their monstrous allies continued to occupy the many levels of catacombs beneath the castle, rendering it unsafe for royal inhabitation. Not until 1007 was Castle Blackmoor deemed safe enough to once again become the seat of government for the region.)
cowardly, turned coat and offered their services to the Egg. They struck from within the ranks of the Cabal, destroying an entire patrol of arcane warriors, and then took their places amidst the ranks of Coot’s strange spellcasters. Betrayal begets betrayal, however, and not all who apparently turned from the Cabal truly did so. A wizard by the name of Petrus Galliar, upon learning what his companions planned, pretended to go along with them, but reported them to the Cabal at the ﬁrst opportunity. He was, alas, not in time to prevent the slaughter of those arcane warriors, but he was able to keep the council apprised of the traitors’ actions, and the plans of those soldiers with whom they worked. Several of the North’s military victories in those days can be attributed to Petrus’ intelligence. Eventually, however, the Egg’s generals realized they had an information leak, and began parceling out information strictly on a need-toknow basis. The Cabal determined that allowing its treasonous ex-members to live no longer served any purpose. Working through Petrus, they fed the traitors false information regarding a potent mystical discovery the Cabal was on the verge of cracking. Determined to stop them, and possibly steal this discovery for themselves, the majority of the traitors attacked what was supposed to be a lightly defended outpost, only to ﬁnd themselves facing a massed force of wizards and arcane warriors. They were slain to the last — but, alas, not before they realized that Petrus had betrayed them and slain him as well. To this day, an empty seat stands in a position of honor in all 18
The Afridhi Invasion
It seems that the gods do not intend for Blackmoor and the North to long remain free of conﬂict and carnage. Two years after the invasion of Coot, the western Afridhi barbarian tribes began their eastward march under their religious prophet Toska Rusa. The Northern Barons took note of this movement, informed by mundane spies and the divinations of the Cabal, but did not yet consider it a true threat. The Afridhi had hundreds of leagues, and several other nations, to cross before they could make to threaten the North. The barons and wizards shrugged, put a few more sentries on the western border, and returned to more immediate troubles. By 1005, the Afridhi had conquered the Vale, crossed the plain of Hak, and threatened the western borders of the Duchy of Ten. Their clan soldiers covered the land like a tide; Toska Rusa and her disciples wielded divine magics like none the North had ever seen. They hunkered down for the winter, but everyone in Ten, and beyond, knew that the siege would come with the ﬁrst spring thaw. Indeed it did, and the Afridhi struck hard. It would be unfair to the valiant efforts of the Tenian forces to say that the barbarians’ victory was easy, but with each assault, each push into the duchy, they retained just a bit more land, the
defenders a bit less. Blackmoor and the Wizard’s Cabal watched these events unfold through spy and spell, and grew concerned indeed. As the barbarian advance continued, Baron Uther of Blackmoor and the other Northern lords petitioned the Empire for permission to aid Ten in their struggle. When their reply arrived 1008, they found they had been rebuffed. Even as the Afridhi advanced, showing no willingness to coexist with others, Thonia insisted the North hold back while the Empire attempted to negotiate.
Insult to Injury
It was, of course, in the midst of this chaos, that the Egg of Coot struck for the third time. Unlike the previous two invasions, however, this one met with absolutely no success whatsoever. The Cabal, having learned from past mistakes, and set up an early warning system like no other. They did not rely solely on divining spells, for they had already learned the Egg could protect its soldiers from those, but on ﬂying scouts. Wizards and arcane warriors under the effects of ﬂy spells, and summoned or bound creatures from other planes, made constant patrols over the water, unlikely to be spotted but low enough to detect advancing ships. Additionally, Baron Uther had already assembled much of the military might of the North to ride to the aid of Ten, so certain had he been that the Empire would see the logic in his request. Thus, when the Cabal reported the advancing ships of Coot, the North’s forces were already massed. When the Egg’s soldiers landed, they were met by a forewarned army larger than their own, and led by Uther himself. While a few of Coot’s battalions made it past the defenders and conducted running battles for a period of several months, for all practical purposes the invasion was over almost before it began.
The Fall of Ten, and Northern Independence
In what is now known as the “Terror in Ten,” the Afridhi completed their conquest in 1013. Entire villages were sacriﬁced to the dark Afridhi god Zugzul. All temples to the Thonian gods were destroyed or defaced, and most of Ten’s population — with the exception of a few scattered resistance ﬁghters — pressed into service of Toska Rusa. Suddenly, Blackmoor had a vicious enemy sitting right on its border, something Uther and the others had desperately tried to prevent. When the Afridhi made their ﬁrst incursion into Blackmoor territory, it took the form of a lightning raid against the Barony of the Lakes. The baron was able to repulse the attack, as it seemed intended more to judge ﬁghting strength than to actually acquire land or resources, but he determined that warding off the Afridhi was not sufﬁcient. Against
the wishes of the Empire, but with the support of nearly every northern baron, he launched a counterstrike that destroyed an Afridhi border community. The Empire responded by sending a force to arrest him for treason, a force that was met at Booh by the armies of Uther and other barons. The Imperial troops were forced to withdraw, only to return months later in greater numbers and drive Uther and his loyalists completely out of Blackmoor city. This left the Wizard’s Cabal in something of a bind. They had long been in cooperation with the Northern Barons, ﬁnally developing a working relationship, and they had no idea if the new Imperial governors would be so accommodating. Further, the majority of the council agreed that the Afridhi were a threat that needed to be stopped, not just some irritable neighbor who might be bargained with. Thus, when Imperial forces moved into Blackmoor, the Cabal feigned friendship, all the while feeding information and strategies to Uther and his allies. When the Thonian military grew distracted with other matters — such as the siege on Bramwald by orcs led by Funk II, the last remnants of the Egg’s forces in the region — Uther returned to Blackmoor at the head of an army of loyal supporters. Working from within, the Cabal used spell and sabotage to cripple the Imperial forces’ ability to ﬁght. Uther had reclaimed Blackmoor without a drop of blood being shed. Standing once more at the forefront of the Northern Barons, and by this time completely unconcerned with the desires of the Empire, Uther led the combined forces of the North against the next Afridhi advance, meeting them in the infamous Battle of the Neck, by Lake Temperance. Cabal wizards and arcane warriors marched as part of that army. While Uther technically lost the Battle of the Neck, being forced into full retreat, it was a pyrrhic victory for the Afridhi at best. They lost over 10,000 soldiers in their “victory,” far more than Uther lost in defeat, and proved unable to advance any further. Fuming, the Afridhi retreated back into Ten. Uther and the Northern Barons had gone too far for the Empire ever to forgive them, and they knew it. Taking the bull by the horns, Uther declared himself King of the newly founded Kingdom of Blackmoor, a region fully independent from the Thonian Empire. This threw the Cabal’s council into an uproar. While they had agreed on the necessity of aiding Uther against the Afridhi, the notion of actually supporting secession was less popular. Debate raged in the council chambers for weeks, sometimes coming near to violence. The current high Spellwise, a woman by the name of Ursula Zov, ended the debate by arranging a meeting with Uther himself. She pledged the complete support of the Cabal, but only in exchange for certain concessions. First, the Cabal would maintain complete autonomy and rule over wizards, just as they had during Imperial rule. Second 19
and more importantly, however, they would have a hand in the governing of the land itself, a position equal to any of Uther’s barons. Uther agreed, though many historians believe it was an agreement based on fear, rather than any true desire to cooperate with the Cabal. When he formed the Regency Council to aid in the governing of Blackmoor, the Cabal was given a permanent seat at the table. Now assured of their place in the new order, enough of the council sided with Ursula, and they voted to support Uther’s secession. Most of those who opposed it agreed to abide by the vote, though a few departed the Cabal and joined the Imperial forces.
What followed was perhaps the third bloodiest period in the history of the Wizard’s Cabal, behind only the Mage Wars and the second invasion of Coot. In late 1015, the Cabal aided Uther’s armies in repelling a Thonian army dispatched to put down the “civil war.” It wasn’t one of the largest armies the Empire had ever ﬁelded, but it was certainly larger than the combined forces Uther could bring to bear. Without the aid of the Cabal, however, the Imperial armies had no choice but to make the entire march on foot and horseback. Few of their wizards were powerful enough to create teleportation circles as had been done in the past, and those they did create were swiftly dispelled by Cabal mages. Unfortunately for them, the land routes from Thonia proper to Blackmoor are few, treacherous, and predictable. After months of deprivation and many lives lost in the Valley of the Ancients, the armies emerged onto the plains of Blackmoor — where they were met by substantial portion of Uther’s armies, led by Baron Aleford, and a force of Cabal war wizards. Although still outnumbered, Aleford’s forces were fresh, mounted on rested warhorses, and supported by ﬂying wizards. The battle was ﬁerce, and Aleford himself lost his life in the struggle, but the Thonians were repulsed. The armies and the Cabal regrouped, just in time to battle some of the Egg’s forces at the battle of Glendower. Too small to qualify as a full invasion, the ﬂotilla that arrived from the north was nevertheless mighty enough that it required substantial martial and mystical efforts to defeat. What the Egg hoped to accomplish by this is unknown, but historians and tacticians believe it was a test, to determine how swiftly Blackmoor could martial its defenses against northern attack while still menaced by the Afridhi in the west and Thonia to the south. And in truth, Blackmoor alone probably could not have stood against so many foes, but by this time Uther had allied not merely with the Cabal, but also the dwarves of the Crystal Peaks and the Cumasti Elves, both of whom preferred dealing with Uther to any military governor the Empire was likely to assign. Within a year of the Thonian attack, the Afridhi moved on Blackmoor itself, attempting to bypass the intervening 20
lands by traveling on primitive but sturdy ships. The Wizard’s Cabal penetrated some of the magical defenses Toska Rusa had placed on her ships, sinking many. The remainder, while still carrying a sizable force of Afridhi warriors, were turned back by Uther’s armies on the shore and the outskirts of Blackmoor city. Not two years later, the Thonians came again, and this time the Emperor pulled no punches. The force marching on Blackmoor was not merely bigger than Uther’s own army, it wasn’t substantially smaller than the entire population of the North. Even after being winnowed down by the journey, the monsters, and the Valley of the Ancients, they still possessed sufﬁcient numbers to drown Blackmoor in a tide of steel. The Imperial generals knew they had won the battle before it started. That may be why they were unprepared for the battle that erupted before they reached Blackmoor proper.
With Friends Like These…
Uther and the Cabal are allies yes but it is not quite so harmonious a friendship as they would like the public to believe. Uther allows the Cabal the latitude he does at least in part because he fears them as well as the sorcerers who might roam free were the Cabal to cease functioning. There are some particularly conspiracy-minded historians who wonder if the revolt at Vestfold was exactly what it seemed to be. Why they ask would the sorcerers choose this city of all places to stage their rebellion? Surely they realized that taking over the Cabal’s center of power would bring down the wrath of the wizards like nothing else! Surely they did not believe the building empty of mystical secrets that might be used to overpower them! The choice of Vestfold simply makes no rational sense. Unless, as these few individuals argue it wasn’t a revolt at all but a test. Is it possible that Uther Andahar himself was behind the sorcerer revolt? Could he have put them up to it — perhaps with a promise of safety afterward — in order to test the Cabal’s resolve? He didn’t need to observe the wizards’ military abilities for he had seen that a dozen times over on the ﬁeld of battle. Perhaps he needed to see how they functioned when battling inside a major city that was overall not hostile to them. Perhaps he needed to know what sort of magical might it would take to beat the Cabal at their own game. (If this was the case of course all he learned was that the answer is “More than he could call upon.”) however that General Amvaras could easily have been assigned the job of policing Vestfold not merely as a show of solidarity but also to cover up any evidence of involvement on the part of the king. It’s not after all a secret that either Uther or the Cabal would want getting out. Unlikely? Very. But in the chaos that is the history of Blackmoor can anything be ruled out as impossible?
From the hidden mines of the dwarven nation erupted not merely dwarven soldiers, but the armies of Uther Andahar as well. Elven archers, their skills undimmed by the foreign terrain, rained death upon them from the high peaks. And of course, the wizards of the Cabal, who focused their most destructive spells not on the Thonians themselves, but on the mountains around them. Avalanches ﬂowed downward, burying thousands, eliminating entire valleys from the map, and separating the Imperial army into more manageable elements. The battle that followed — or more accurately, the many smaller battles — took weeks to conclude, and cost the lives of many thousands of men, elves, and dwarves alike. But when it was over, the surviving Imperial soldiers began the long march back to Thonia, and Uther remained self-proclaimed King of Blackmoor. Although Uther is most well known for this victory, much of the credit rightfully belongs to General Amvaras. A trained arcane warrior, he resigned his position within the Cabal (with the council’s blessing) not long after Uther declared independence, and accepted a commission in Blackmoor’s army. It was both a symbolic gesture, cementing the alliance between King and Cabal, and a tactical maneuver, so that one of Uther’s closest military advisors would know how best to integrate the wizards with the battleﬁeld soldiers. It was Amvaras who coordinated the defense at the Crystal Mountains, and who personally led many of the battalions who fought in those weeks. This would be the last time Thonia would attack Blackmoor directly. The defeat of this second, larger army convinced the Emperor that he would have to commit the entirety of the Imperial military to taking back a stretch of land that served no great purpose to the Empire anyway. Blackmoor would have to trade with Thonia to survive, so its ports would still remain viable channels of trade. They would cost more to use, yes, but certainly less than committing the entire Empire to a multi-year civil war. While the Emperor never formally recognized the existence of Blackmoor as a sovereign nation, Thonian policies from that point onward treated it as though it was. For their own part, Uther and the Cabal couldn’t have been happier with the outcome, as it enabled them to focus their efforts elsewhere. The Afridhi still raided across the border, though they had not yet attempted another full offensive. The forces of the Egg still menaced the coastlines, and occasionally appeared deeper in Blackmoor territory. And the Cabal still had its own speciﬁc problems to deal with.
The Vestfold Revolt
Not all the threats to the region came from without. In 1020, perhaps hoping to take advantage of the chaos, an underground cadre of sorcerers staged a revolt in the city of Vest-
fold. (Rumor links these sorcerers to the Eldritch Underground, but no connection has been proven.) Attacking with surprise, they caused severe damage to the Cabal’s Vestfold headquarters, and slew many of the wizards present at the time. They proceeded to take control of both the Cabal’s buildings and the meeting hall of the Regency Council, and declared Vestfold to be a safe haven for sorcerers, and a symbol of their ability to throw off the “tyrannical yoke” of the Cabal. It was not, perhaps, the wisest move they could have made. The entire weight of the Cabal fell upon Vestfold. Although they could not approach or attack openly, for fear that the sorcerers might use the citizens as hostages, the wizards had numerous secret ways into their conquered headquarters. They arrived by the dozens, through secret passages and concealed gates. The sorcerers, who believed they had mastered the structure’s arcane defenses, never anticipated an attack coming from within, rather than without. For two days, strange lights ﬂashes above and within the Cabal’s headquarters; shrieks and booms and a spine-chilling howls rang out through all hours of the day and night. When it ﬁnally ended, and the terriﬁed citizens of Vestfold emerged from their homes, they found a patrol of arcane warriors exiting the grounds, moving out into the city to ensure that no sorcerer had escaped. Though they had lost yet more of their own, the Cabal had prevailed. General Amvaras was assigned by Uther himself to police the newly paciﬁed city, in the name of King and Cabal both. The hero of the independence was a beloved ﬁgure, and his presence did much to make the populace feel secure, and to truly cement in their minds the realization that Uther and the Wizard’s Cabal were, now and forever, the staunchest of allies. 21
Chapter 2: Organization and Administration of the Present Day Wizards’ Cabal
The Modern Day
Even now, over a century after the Cabal’s founding, nothing is safe, nothing can be taken for granted. To the west, the Afridhi lurk in poor, dominated Ten, their greedy eyes turned on Blackmoor. The Egg of Coot watches from the North, as inscrutable and deadly as ever. To the south, Thonia stands as ever it has, and it would surely not mind the opportunity to reclaim Blackmoor once more. The elves struggle with one another over family divisions. The dwarves war constantly with orcs in their mountains, interacting less and less with the outside world. And always, renegade sorcerers walk the lands, nearly impossible to ﬁnd until they have already done their damage. It would appear, to even the most optimistic observer, that the future of the Wizards’ Cabal can be no easier, and no more peaceful, than its past. As the threats and challenges to the North continue to grow, so to has the Cabal’s ability to react and adjust to these very changes. This section will give an overview to the overall hierarchy and structure of the Cabal with an emphasis on the day to day machinations wielded to control magic in Blackmoor. convene. They frequently invite others to give counsel on matters until such time as they turn to internal deliberation and ultimately a decision on how the Cabal will act. Elections to this highly prestigious position are made for life and hence, considered very carefully. When a High Spellwise dies, it is the remaining Spellwise who decide whether to expand the ranks by electing new members to their group. In the history of the Wizards Cabal, no Spellwise has ever selected to share power by expanding the number of Spellwise. It seems as though there is a “last man standing” element among these most powerful of wizards. It is often not until all of the positions become completely vacant that a new group of ﬁve is selected.
Notable Administrators and Personalities of the Wizards Cabal
Ursula Zov, High Spellwise of War The youngest daughter of the thonian noble house of Zov in Blackmoor, Ursula Zov joined the Wizards’ Cabal at the tender age of 9. Ursula’s family had made a living ﬁnding rare herbs and minerals within the deadly swamps of Blackmoor. These herbs were in turn used by healers and clerics to remove disease and strengthen the sick and dying. More than once, the Zov remedies had cured an ailing noble. Their ability to ﬁnd the most potent herbs led them to many rewards of land by the Baron of Blackmoor. Noting her afﬁnity for magic, her father thought that arcane knowledge could strengthen the holdings of the house while at the same time protecting them from the hidden monstrosities of the northern swamps. When he brought her before a local mage for evaluation, it was recommended that she be taken to the Cabal for training. Her family bade her farewell and she set off to become the ﬁrst wizard in the family. Not being terribly familiar with a city such as Vestfold, Zov was a bit of a loner. She tried to continue growing herbs and plants for various remedies in lieu of building any form of a social life. In time she came out of her shell and began to master the art of swordplay. As a young girl, she was frequently teased by the male members of her class, though she refused to back down and often challenged them openly. She defeated many of them soundly and after a time, they refused to go any easier on her than they would a boy. This helped to toughen her resolve and made her an even better ﬁghter. After dealing more than a few thrashings to her 22
The Wizards’ Cabal is controlled by a group of administrators who oversee the day-to-day activities of the Cabal’s operation. Per Skelfer’s designation, the highest and most powerful positions within the entire organization are that of High Spellwise. The positions of the High Spellwise have the ultimate responsibility for keeping the Cabal’s status as a controlling and critical organization to the protection of Blackmoor as well as meeting the mission laid down by Skelfer himself. The largest portion of this oversight comes under the jurisdiction of one of many ministries within the Cabal. The most powerful and expansive ministries are the Ministry of War, The Ministry of Knowledge and The Ministry of the Mystical Arts. Each of these ministries is directly overseen by one of the High Spellwise and maintains an ofﬁce within the Tower of Mages at Ardenn. In previous administrations, the number of High Spellwise has ﬂuctuated from as few as one to as many as ﬁve. As a result of the recent and untimely assassinations of Kvale Dram and Celia Skiimae, the current group is composed of three individuals each of whom oversees a particular portion of the Cabal’s mission. When an issue requires the attention of the High Spellwise, each of them comes together to
This famous negotiation gave the Cabal autonomy in the most magical region of all lands and ensured that a close political relationship would allow for the mutual protection of both the Cabal and Blackmoor’s new King. Many believe that Uther feared the Cabal had grown too strong and had to be placated no matter the cost. Ironically, the Cabal had similar concerns about how the new King would deal with them. In the end, The Cabal retained its position and went on to support the Kingdom of Blackmoor in its ﬁrst battle against the Thonian Empire. For delivering this coup, Zov has garnered considerable credibility and loyalty amongst those she leads. Most recently Zov appointed her longtime friend and supporter, Kyoryl Maloune to the position of Profector General. Sildonis: High Spellwise of Knowledge As the renowned Wizards of the Woods, Sildonis has managed to survive a great many years on his pure knowledge and mastery of spells and potions. While his presence as a magic user in Blackmoor is well documented, very little is known of Sildonis’ past. Sildonis prefers to be mysterious and is really more annoyed by answering such nonsensical questions that he is often perceived as having a short temper. Often plainly dressed, this thonian prefers his privacy and tries to avoid attention. Not known to suffer fools, Sildonis is easily annoyed by those who ask too many questions, even his Cabal peers. This lack of availability has ostracized Sildonis in some ways from some of the factions within the Cabal. In his younger years, Sildonis became a close friend and companion of then Baron Andahar. His travels with Uther were well documented and earned him great respect and fame throughout the land. This friendship came full circle when Sildonis was appointed to the Cabal’s permanent seat on the Regency Council of Blackmoor by his friend, the King. Sildonis’ past centered on the defense of Blackmoor and the pursuit of magical perfection. These activities still drive him to this day. Since he recognizes the ongoing danger that Blackmoor ﬁnds itself in, Sildonis spends the majority of his time with the Regency Council, allowing his subordinates to execute his responsibilities. This lack of visibility has hurt Sildonis’ credibility to some degree with other Wizards and more notably, his fellow High Spellwise. Veda Sonrean, High Spellwise of the Mystical Arts Veda Sonrean is a white bearded thonian man. He is regal in his simplicity, a grandfatherly type of older gentleman who garners the respect of his students. Sonrean is an avid reader and can always be found carrying a few books and his companion cat “Mouser” everywhere he goes. 23
classmates, she garnered respect and was left alone. As her studies progressed, she quickly demonstrated her ability to lead was as strong as her will to ﬁght. She soon became a formidable opponent with both traditional weapons and spells. Upon graduation, Zov returned to perform her duty bound service to her own noble family at the request of her father. For the next year she used every spell in her power to assist and protect the family’s interest while longing to return to her new friends and a place she had come to call home. At the disappointment of her family, she returned to the Wizard’s Cabal to help teach and train new students when her appointed service was completed. She spent the next ﬁfteen years helping build up the ﬁghting strength of the arcane warriors while developing new tactics to combine sword and sorcery together in an effective combat style. Zov was elected to the position of High Spellwise in 1012 at the age of 36 making her the youngest person ever to sit in such an honored place. In a move that surprised none of her classmates. She immediately set the tone of her status and authority by negotiating an agreement with King Uther Andahar shortly after his split from the Thonian Empire.
Sonrean ﬁrst came to be recognized when he did his pioneering research on spell shards shortly after graduating from the Cabal. His efforts earned him a permanent status amongst the researchers and allowed him to discover a great many other magical secrets that are used to this day. While he feverishly searches for new and interesting research projects, Sonrean also enjoys teaching. He can be found on the campus teaching a regular lecture schedule. His insistence on being able to teach has continued to propagate his popularity amongst the student body and wizards throughout the land. He has also used his lecturing to discover the best and brightest mages for his research projects. This rarely tapped resource of young minds seems to be lost on the scores of ego driven wizards who desire fame and power unto themselves. Mengar Torerdyn, High Inquisitor of the Arcane Inquisition Mengar Torerdyn is a fanatic male half-elf with wild short red hair and a fevered look to all of his facial features. 24
Mengar has served in his position for the last ten years and is responsible for the record increase in captures and neutralization of the sorcerer bands that frequent the North. This of course comes as no surprise to his peers. In his younger days he was responsible for the largest number of sorcerer captures for a record ﬁve years in a row. In his time as High Inquisitor, Mengar has instituted a number of changes to protocol and more than doubled the number of Inquisitors who are actively searching for renegades. Mengar spent the majority of his youth within the Redwoods at Ringlo Hall. As a half-elf and the son of a Cumasti handmaiden, he was often teased by the cumasti children for his heritage. Mengar was frequently angered by his mistreatment and his lack of control over the things around him. When he turned twelve, he asked him mother if he could study magic. She agreed that someday he could attend a school of wizardry knowing full well that she could not afford the tuition. Mengar’s break came the very same day that his mother confessed that she could not send him to the school of wizardry. Saddened by the news, Mengar went on a hunt to ﬁnd a sorcerer at the tender age of fourteen. By sheer dumb luck Mengar happened upon an ambush set by two sorcerers who planned to rob two Cumasti nobles who had foolishly traveled alone through the woods. Clumsily, Mengar darted towards the sorcerers, knocking them both down into the road and exposing their plans. The nobles were able to dispatch them both without injury. In thanks for his help, Mengar’s education with the Cabal was sponsored by the two nobles who saw ﬁne promise in him. Later in life, his mother was slain in a brutal massacre by sorcerers who raided the home of her patron looking simply for gold. This act caused a notable change in Mengar’s personality and mental state. He became short tempered, cruel and some say outwardly villainous. His driven personality combined with this new pain has made him into a dark shadow of his former self. This is evident in his treatment of his subordinates. He tolerates no error and he has been known to use somewhat severe disciplinary action to maintain order in his quest for excellence. While he is respected and feared, very few call him a friend. Kyoryl Maloune, Profector General Kyoryl Maloune is an uncompromising thonian female with braided black hair, a ragged scar down the right side of her face, and a too-many-times broken nose. Her sheer strength and power has won her fame and respect amongst the arcane warriors. Kyoryl grew up on the cruel streets of Maus where one misstep could be the last. She quickly learned the ways of the street and was fortunate to be taught how to ﬁght at an early age. While running with various gangs in Maus, Kyoryl was able to earn a small amount of money as an adventurer or hired sword. Reinvesting a small portion of her earnings into
formal training, she learned to ﬁght from skilled warriors in the various dueling societies in the North. Kyoryl eventually made her way to Ardenn at the suggestion of a wizard named Stur Nigby. Nigby tried to convince her that she was more than a hired mercenary and could wield arcane power with the proper training. Kyoryl had never been to Vestfold, yet following the wizard’s advice she made her way west and found her calling. A natural talent at both spell and sword Kyoryl completed her training at the head of her class. Exploit after exploit has built her legend to a near epic status today. Very recently, her longtime friend and sparring partner Ursula Zov appointed her to the position of Profector General when her predecessor was assassinated. Still new on the job, Kyoryl is making easy work of her responsibilities based on reputation alone. Col, The Clockwork Inquisitor While the grim young High Thonian man known as the Clockwork Inquisitor is not the mightiest of the Cabal’s agents, he is certainly among the most feared. His epithet refers to both Col’s clockwork arm and his nearly inhuman determination and persistence. So long as he continues breath, Col remains a threat to those that oppose the will of the Cabal. Like many Inquisitors, Col is an orphan, trained in the Stormkiller Mountains under the stern eyes of Cabal Masters. Despite his mental and physical prowess, what impressed Col’s tutors most was his unquestioning loyalty. Col has never known any family other than the wizards; all he is, and all he has accomplished, he owes to the Cabal. Col’s left arm was lost early in his career. The Cabal’s replacement is a clockwork fusion of metal and magic that augments Col’s strength to inhuman levels. Col takes no pride in the arm, nor does he take pains to hide it. The limb is simply a tool, an extension of the Cabal, like Col himself. The inquisitor’s blade is named Dogsur-Kythae, dwarven for “footing made slick by the blood of one’s enemies.” The heavy-bladed shortsword was designed for the close-quarters ﬁghting common to dwarven mines and citadels, but has served Col admirably in back alleys and taverns across the North. Dogsur-Kythae has a faceted ruby capping its hilt; this gem serves as Col’s spell focus for both his wizard and inquisitor spells. Like most inquisitors, Col’s fencing style forgoes dramatic ﬂourish for cruel, deadly efﬁciency. Many a hired duelist has danced his way around Col, only to discover–all too late–that the inquisitor has no fear and little regard for wasted motion, and was simply waiting to end the duel with a single lethal strike. Recent events have forced Col to reconsider his dedication to the Cabal. His family’s dark legacy, unknown to the
inquisitor, has attracted the attention of dark forces. Nagging questions haunt the young man like circling wolves. Soon he will likely be forced to choose between loyalty to his Masters, and a life of uncertain freedom. Col is a quiet, grim man, with sharp blue eyes that contrast with his dark hair. He is often disheveled from time spent on the open road, and he carries a world-weariness unusual for one so young. This weariness vanishes when Col is hunting for a rogue sorcerer or wizard, erased by his passion and determination.
Laws of the Wizards’ Cabal
This section details the overall judicial structure and authorities that are both adjudicated and enforced by the Cabal.
The laws of the Cabal are outwardly similar to those of the Kingdom of Blackmoor with an obvious tilt towards the arcane arts. What may be the largest signiﬁcant variation between the normal Blackmoorian law and Cabal law centers on the transparency of the judicial process. 25
Excerpts from “The Magical Law” As scribed by Farhber Min
• The Wizards Cabal has the lawful right to govern arcane magic in the Kingdom of Blackmoor. This right includes the ability to draft and creae new laws as well as revisit and extend the existing law. • The Wizards Cabal has the lawful right to investigate, hold trial and ultimately pass judgement and sentencing against those who are found guilty of using magic in a manner that breaks the law.
A Few of the Basic Laws Governing the Use of Magic in Blackmoor
• Arcane magic may only be used by those who are formally trained and have been granted permission by the Cabal. • Magic is for the protection and improvement of society and may never be used for evil purposes or to subjugate the people of Blackmoor. • Magic should be practiced in a safe and controlled environment whenever possible. All arcane spellcasters are responsible for material damages that they cause and may be required to compensate a damaged party for their actions. • A Wizard must obtain permission if they wish to instruct pupils. • Those who assist or give refuge to magical criminals are themselves guilty of a crime against the Kingdom of Blackmoor. • Creation of magical items valuing 100 gold pieces must be approved by the Cabal. • Sorcerers are innately dangerous and must be confined to protect the populace. • Opposition to the Cabal and its lawful right to enforce law is punishable. • All law abiding spellcasters are expected to rise to the defense of the Kingdom of Blackmoor and her King.
Offenses against the crown are still publicly debated before a magistrate and witnesses. These offenses require substantial proof of wrongdoing. If guilt can be established against the accused a punishment shall be decided and executed in accordance with the laws of the King. By contrast, the Cabal identiﬁes cases that are spirited away to closed chamber hearings at its apparent whim. Numerous complaints have been levied against this tactic by the affected populace, but it has been allowed to continue for the time being. The outcomes of these secret trials often result in summary judgments in which punishment is immediately served against the accused. Cabal law is written in any one of its secret languages, but has never been completely translated to the common tongue. Many argue upon deaf ears as to how one can obey the law without being able to understand it. Many people believe that the law is not known so that the Cabal can change it at whim. At one point in time a studious commoner named Farhber Min obtained the Cabal’s permission to create a basic treatise written in common entitled “The Magical Law”. The Magical Law can be found in nearly every area of Blackmoor and has been translated into many languages as the Cabal enforces its laws on all residents who live within the borders of the Kingdom of Blackmoor. Most commoners and adventurers have been able to distill out the most obvious aspects from this basic tract and have been able to avoid the use of magic for destructive or evil purposes to avoid entanglements with the Cabal. Seemingly everyone is bound by the laws of the Cabal. Even the heads and children of noble families have been charged and found guilty of various magic related crimes. For their crimes many were exiled to the remote swamps of Blackmoor. Others were magically hobbled and disﬁgured then set free to roam the streets of Blackmoor serving a life sentence as a living example of what it means to cross the Cabal. These “trials” have led some to suggest that a conspiracy is afoot within the Cabal. The leadership of the Cabal does give deference to the will of the King in public and will obey pardons and other requests that come directly from Uther himself. While the Cabal has great latitude in the enforcement of their mission, they are still vulnerable and require Uther’s support to maintain control within the realm. For this reason, they continue to follow his commands. In recent history, the number of secret trials has increased dramatically. There are growing pockets of discontent amongst the smaller towns and villages for whom word of wrongdoing spreads quickly. Often new visits by Cabal leadership are met with crowds of protestors who claim wrongdoing at the hands of the Cabal legal system. Independent sorcerer bands often leave magical notices at different locations citing that the real crimes are committed behind the walls of the Cabal’s Vestfold compound, Ardenn.
Authority of the Arcane Warriors in Blackmoor
While there are a number of persistent elements that oppose the Cabal’s high level leadership from both within and beyond the borders of Blackmoor, the Arcane Warriors remain a beloved force within the kingdom. Excellent and honorable warriors, these ﬁghter mages retain the respect of the populous through even the most controversial and difﬁcult times. Every Arcane Warrior is required to uphold the Oath of Conduct. This Oath is one that each of them is bound to upon reaching the training threshold that they may be known as a member of the Arcane Warriors. Many feel that it is both the sincerity and clarity of this oath that endears them to the public and allows them to execute their sworn task. Within the Kingdom of Blackmoor (and beyond when given special dispensation) the Arcane Warriors are charged as the primary defense against the magical assault of Blackmoor and her citizens and allies. Given this mission, the Arcane Warriors are given additional discretion in enforcing the Cabal’s law. For the most part they try to work in conjunction with the local authorities to keep effective communication and to avoid any power struggles over jurisdiction. This duality of purpose has worked well, especially in larger cities where many magical leads might be lost without such a working relationship. As a result some Arcane Warriors have begun to take on more of a detective’s responsibilities in lieu of serving as a strict militia. Only two years ago a signiﬁcant crime ring had established itself within the city of Maus. This group had used various techniques to block scrying and other divinations in an effort to conceal their activities. It was the combined efforts of both the conventional authorities and the local Arcane Warriors that led to the ring being unraveled. These types of successes allow continued research and detective related activities to continue, but this sort of cooperation would be halted if it were ever to be become problematic for the Cabal’s political agenda. Arcane Warriors can be found garrisoned in towns with populations greater than ﬁve hundred. A great number of them are also set out into the wilds of Blackmoor on a perpetual patrol duty. This allows them to train as well as maintain a high visibility within the land.
Arcane Warriors who have written permission from their superior ofﬁcers may make arrests against those who have been accused of committing magically related crimes. Their requests are often heeded by local authorities when they wish to process charges against conventional criminals, but they have little speciﬁc authority to detain or arrest those individuals. Once an arrest has been made, the Arcane Warrior reports the situation to his immediate superiors and awaits further instructions. 27
Given this great latitude, Inquisitors have been granted full arresting authority within the Kingdom of Blackmoor. Because they are much more politically savvy, Inquisitors will not act improperly towards powerful individuals unless they can prove wrongdoing beyond a shadow of a doubt. No Inquisitor would ever want to diminish the inﬂuence of the Cabal by wrongly or aggressively pursuing a powerful noble or ofﬁcial unless he was positive that his actions would bear him out correctly.
The judicial process of the Wizards Cabal is often very secretive in nature, though much of its structure has been distilled through the years. The ofﬁcial process requires a judge (called a Magister) who has been appointed by the Cabal to sit in judgment as well as an ofﬁcial prosecutor and defense representation. There are no limits to the number of individuals who may be tried on a single given offense at a time though the accused are generally handled on a single case basis. In a fashion similar to the normal court process, the prosecutor presents his evidence to the court through material evidence and witness testimony while the defense attempts to convince the court of the innocence of the accused. This effort continues until all the evidence and testimony of both sides has been determined at which point, the Magister shall render a verdict and impose a punishment if one is warranted. While most cases are decided by a Magister, some may warrant a jury. A jury is composed of average citizens, wizards and others who can make a reasonable decision of guilt or innocence. Detractors say that these trials are merely grandstanding in an effort to show how the Cabal continues to protect the people of Blackmoor. The punishment phase of a trial centers on the three main types of punishment for magical crimes against Blackmoor. These punishments are: Death, permanent banishment or long term imprisonment. Generally, the individual who is charged may be offered some input on the matter once the punishment type has been decided. (Death by polymorph, banishment to a ﬁre plane, imprisonment in the dungeons of Castle Blackmoor, etc) Upon the completion of the punishment phase, the case is closed and the punishment is rendered. Only the intervention of the King or high administration ofﬁcial can change the outcome of such a trial.
Arcane Warriors may not kill a suspect unless it is in either self defense or in the defense of the public at large. They are forbidden to serve in judgment of a criminal outside the auspices of the Cabal. Those who have broken this mandate in the past have been punished severely for their error.
Authority of the Inquisitors
The role of the Inquisitors is to hunt and capture dangerous foes of the Cabal. These powerful agents are given great latitude in the execution of this task. While granted this wider authority, Inquisitors are generally disliked and seen as trouble by local townsfolk. They are often shunned or given less cooperation than their Arcane Warrior counterparts. Vigilant in their duty, an Inquisitor is not likely to squander time in pursuit. When an Inquisitor is outside a Cabal holding, he is on a mission and choices that lead him closer to completing his task are those he is most likely to act upon. An Inquisitor is given the full authority to subdue his target so long as civilians are not harmed in the process. Once an Inquisitor is attached to a matter, the manner in which the mission is completed matters little. Death is a satisfactory result, so long as the mission is complete and it doesn’t contradict the orders. 28
The Stronghold of Ardenn
Within the great walled city of Vestfold stands Ardenn, the Cabal’s largest and most active base of operations. A triumph of architectural design, Ardenn is particularly famous for its most visible feature, the Tower of Mages. Pointing skyward like a stone needle nearly three hundred feet into the air, the famous tower is visible from several miles outside of Vest-
The Oath of Conduct of the Arcane Warrior
I swear to remain loyal to the Wizard’s Cabal and to obey its laws and precepts in all things. I swear to abide by the orders of my superiors save when they stand contrary to the precepts of the Cabal. I swear to respect the laws of the common man to obey them as any citizen must and to violate them only when necessary to fulfill my duties to the Cabal. I swear to give all my effort and yes even my life to stand between the common man and those who would use magic for evil. I swear to destroy all who sully the image of magic in the eyes of the common man and who practice without the lawful writ of the Cabal. All these things I swear lest I be judged by my brethren and condemned to die as yet another common criminal swept under by the Cabal’s good justice. Magic is life. Life is magic. Let me live, let me die in the service of both.
fold and was built to symbolize the power the Cabal wields within Blackmoor and beyond. Ardenn is surrounded by a massive stone wall that keeps the majority of its features hidden from the view of outsiders. Its impressive gates are manned night and day keeping all who dwell inside safe from harm. Though the public is not often freely welcome within the gates of Ardenn, the amount of construction that continues within is very plain to see. Based solely on the amount of manpower and material that pass through the massive gates, it’s clear to see that Ardenn is under constant construction of one form or another. As the primary stronghold for the Wizards Cabal, Ardenn has grown more and more independent of Vestfold’s merchants and services. This was clearly by design. Nearly every aspect of life important to a wizard can be provided for within her walls with the only notable exception being the production of food, which still tends to come from trusted vendors. Students, professors, researchers and other Cabal administrators make their home in the dormitories and living quarters within Ardenn, though only the professors and administrators may maintain a permanent residence in Ardenn. Researchers and students are expected to pay for accommodations through tuition payments, grants or personal funds. 30
Some researchers of note are able to obtain research grants that cover such expense. Ardenn is also well defended and can readily muster a ready force of nearly one hundred arcane warriors at any time. The administrative needs to maintain a force of this size from feeding all the way to stabling of horses is indicative of the amount of organization contained within Ardenn. Visitors may ﬁnd lodging in the Visitor’s Hall just inside the walls. The Visitor’s Hall is a full tavern that is frequented by all manner of traveler and mage. Many wizards visit family here or meet to play intellectual games or debate philosophy. The Visitor’s Hall is the only place within Ardenn that ale and wine can be purchased. Cabal mandate strictly prohibits access to the school or research facilities to anyone who is inebriated. This rule was imposed after a few drunken wizards managed to summon up a demon who promptly slayed them outright, drank the remainder of their wine and proceeded to cause quite a bit of damage to the grounds until he was dismissed. After the Vestfold revolt, of 1020, the Cabal decided to better fortify its headquarters. Plans were laid and almost immediately construction began through both magical and conventional means. In those short years since the revolt,
Ardenn has been transformed into a compound and seems to be growing to become a large keep. When approaching the mighty gates of Ardenn, one cannot help but notice the heavily inscribed, thick iron gates that radiate a faint greenish glow. A closer inspection of the gate shows shards of a shiny black rock peppered throughout the iron. The heavy gate requires several men to be opened and is secured by a powerful clockwork mechanism that burrows deep into the ground and stone walls to brace it. During times of peace, the gate is generally opened unless the Cabal is performing a private ceremony or ritual. Those who should wish to enter must pass through the guards at the gates before being given entry. Just inside the gates, a team of eight iron golems stand ready to respond to any aggressive action. These golems are rumored to have various clockwork and magical modiﬁcations that allow them to detect magical energies as the alignment and class of each individual that passes through the gates. A farmer who had delivered grain within the walls of Ardenn claimed that he had heard the golems speaking to the guards as if they were suits of armor inhabited by enormous men. Those rumors ceased when the farmer disappeared one night and was not seen or heard from again. Ardenn is surrounded by thick walls that are constructed from the very same black stone hewn to construct Castle Blackmoor. These walls stretch to surround the buildings within Ardenn completely at a height of 20 feet and are broken by the occasional tower. These walls are rich with wards and other magical diagrams to both alert and defend the wizards and their knowledge within. (In game terms, both the gate and walls have a natural Spell Resistance of 32, not to mention any additional fortiﬁcation that the Cabal may put on them in the future.) The walls are guarded by the ﬁnest arcane warriors in the land who are given items and protective spells that allow them stand guard night and day. (These guards are given rings of sustenance as well as numerous items that offer constant protection spells to allow them to remain alert and well protected at all times. One of the purported invisible defenses of Ardenn are the secret passages and gates rumored to riddle the stronghold. This was one of the ways in which the revolt of 1020 was defeated and was considered an instrumental part of the success in retaking Ardenn. (In game terms, any wizard 5th level or higher has a 35% chance to know of a secret passage that can be used to enter or exit Ardenn. This percentage bonus increases by 5% for every level over 5th.) These passages can only be used by Cabal members. Breaking this secrecy is punishable by expulsion from the Cabal or worse.
sacred treasures and treatises on any given number of subjects. The arcane texts contain the complete recorded history of Blackmoor and the surrounding regions. The librarians have managed to copy if not collect these prizes by outright purchase or daring adventure. Each new student class at the Ard’s School of Wizardry is brought to view Skelfer’s journal in its original form. The ink and paper have been well preserved by a combination of conventional and magical means. While Skelfer’s handwriting has left something to be desired, the text can be read plainly and openly by any authorized member of the Wizards Cabal. (In game terms, any individual researching any arcane or history related inquiries in the library a +6 circumstance bonus to checks.) The library is very well protected by powerful wards and contingencies many of which are unseen on the surface.
At any give time, Ardenn is residence to the best and brightest mages and researchers to be found in all of Blackmoor. The research facilities are superior to any other organized efforts within the Kingdom. In some cases, wizards wait years to gain limited access to these rich laboratories. A full third of the wizards who reside at Ardenn actively research new ways to use magic for the betterment of the people (and the Cabal). The laboratories provided at these facilities are unsurpassed by any the Known World. The ﬁnest instruments and a seemingly unlimited amount of processed and raw material components make this an excellent location from which to found new theories and carry them through to maturation. For decades, the Cabal has been plagued by claims of secret and hidden laboratories where they experiment on sorcerers and other innate spellcasters. These accusations are frequently deﬂected as the ranting of arcane terrorists who seek to throw the North back into the ruin of the Mage Wars. No one has ever proved that these locations exist. In addition to the research laboratories, there are many other distinguished areas from which to study within the walls of Ardenn. A few of the more notable ones are listed here.
Ando Zodav was the ﬁrst wizard to study falling stars in an effort to discover potential magical properties within objects that fall from the heavens. His work was revolutionary and much of his research has continued beyond his death. The observatory holds decades worth of star charts and observations. Located high atop the Tower of Mages, the observatory is affronted an excellent view of both the heavens and Blackmoor allowing viewers to see nearly 20 miles in all directions surrounding Vestfold.
The primary draw to Ardenn is the elaborate library that the Cabal has managed to protect through since the inception. This incredible collection of tomes contains a great many
While contact with outsiders has often been discouraged by senior Cabalist teachers because of their unpredictable nature, many important facts and discoveries have been gained through questioning of those from other planes. The Summoning Sanctum is a well warded area but many wizards feel that its protections would not be able protect them should too powerful an outsider be called upon. Those looking to gain access must gain permission from a senior instructor.
Similar to the Topaz study, the Wayfarer’s chamber is dedicated to ampliﬁcation of certain conjuration spells. In the center of this large room is a great ruby dais standing one foot high. Floating rubies hover around the platform creating a red translucent wall that users may pass through. This chamber is capable of greatly extending the spell effects of teleport and travel (including planar and dimensional) based spells. (In game terms, teleport and travel based spells cast on the dais have an effective level of 5 levels higher than normal.) Usage of the Wayfarer’s Chamber is restricted to those who have express permission from the High Spellwise.
As its name suggests, this incredible room is composed almost completely of topaz. In reality, it is a large deposit of topaz that has been crafted into something like a modiﬁed spell focus. The purpose of the Topaz Study is to amplify spells from the divination school. Access to this room is restricted and the only frequent users are the High Spellwise. (In game terms, divination spells cast from the topaz study have an effective level of 4 levels higher and grant the caster a +4 circumstance bonus to caster checks to overcome spell resistance.)
Office of the High inquisitor
The ofﬁce of the High Inquisitor is in charge or investigating and detaining criminals who have broken the laws that the Cabal has been charged to uphold. This solemn building is rarely busy and the majority of activity seems to take place under cover of night. The High Inquisitor is responsible for holding those charged with commission or a magical crime. Those so charged are kept within the detention chambers that are known to emanate large antimagic ﬁelds throughout. At present time, the maximum capacity of the detention chambers is estimated at sixty.
Ard’s School of Wizardry
Skelfer’s school maintains the same rigorous standards as it did when Skelfer ﬁrst founded it. Students are expected to keep a grueling and nearly religious approach to the study of a great many magical tomes while at the same time, spending considerable hours practicing lessons in the labs. 32
The headmasters of the school constantly impress the responsibility that each graduate is charged with upon the student body never budging on their expectations. Should a student fail to make acceptable progress, they may be ousted from the school and permanently banned from the usage of spells. In the fall of each year, new eligible pupils (called Potentials) designate their interest in attending Ard’s school. Potentials are given both a written and physical examination to determine general intelligence and magical aptitude. Only a third of the applicants are ever formally accepted into each year’s class. Potentials that are not selected can retry to gain acceptance in the following fall. Each potential candidate for Ard’s School of Wizardry must pay a hefty tuition to cover the cost of such an education. The current price for tuition books and materials is just under one hundred gold pieces a month. Because of this steep fee, many of the attending students are children of nobility and status. Ard’s School does not however overlook raw talent. For every new class, the school grants a certain, open ended number of scholarships to cover the costs. Most often, independent wizards fund this scholarship to see that talented individuals are not prevented from learning about magic just because of monetary reasons.
Tower of Mages
The famous Tower of Mages serves as the center of administration. Within its chamber of held the highest ofﬁces of each ministry as well as a number of other research oriented spaces like the observatory and Wayfarer’s chamber. Known as the residence of the High Spellwise, the tower is well defended on each level providing an excellent defense to all who enter. Beyond typical administrative organizations, the Tower of Mages also has a large functioning assembly hall where nearly two hundred members of the Cabal can meet to discuss items of import. This hall is also used as the judicial chambers when a trial is warranted.
The Cabal’s Crafting Guild is responsible for the crafting of magical items. There is a ﬁne amount of coin to be had in item creation. The Guild members are provided with the ﬁnest materials from which to hew their craft. While pleased with the results of their efforts, the Cabal saw demand and revenue double after forming a relationship with the Merchant’s Guild. While lucrative for both parties, this partnership guarantees the Cabal a steady ﬂow of revenue. The Crafting Guild takes requests from Cabalist wizards, who have obtained approval. The demand required to ﬁll the Merchant Guild’s orders takes a considerable amount of time making custom efforts lower in priority. Should a wizard wish to complete an item on his own, the Crafting Guild will want to examine it for quality and accuracy. Should a wizard fail to bring his creations before the guild in a reasonable time period, she may ﬁnd herself penalized.
The Primary School of Wizardry
Originally, students were in their late teens or early adulthood, but in recent times the demand for younger education has caused the Ministry of Education to open a school to cater to children from the age of six to fourteen. This Primary School of Wizardry instructs everyday knowledge that children would learn under any other school in Blackmoor, but it also begins the instruction of magic in parallel to a basic education. It is not uncommon to see seven year olds tinkering with mage hand or other cantrips shortly after coming to the school.
The Ard Academy of Advanced Wizardry and Knowledge Arcane
The Ard Academy is the highest institution of magic in all of Blackmoor. Its graduates include all of the current High Spellwise as well as a great many ambassadors and high ranking ofﬁcials throughout Blackmoor. The Academy gives each student the latitude to express a particular school of interest, providing them with means and an appropriate course of study while in attendance. Should the wizard candidate properly demonstrate her mastery of magic and arcana at the infamous Final Examination (where wizards are pushed to their limits in the use of magic and knowledge for a wide variety of purposes), they are presented with a spell focus appropriate to her school and be granted the title of Wizard of the Cabal with all appropriate rights and privileges thereto.
Chapter 3: Cabalist Characters
Even though the Wizards’ Cabal is an insular organization, within those hallowed walls are many different specialties and ministries with their own goals and agendas. Some of these organizations follow the credo of the Cabal to the letter, while others are only loosely tied to the general moral code that binds these powerful arcanists together. Whether they are highly respected member of the Wizards’ Cabal or an agent of the Arcane Inquisition, the most recognizable heroes and villains of the Cabal have specialized in their abilities. These specializations became organizations early in the foundation of the Wizard’s Cabal, and now many students are able to join the ranks of these highly prestigious groups. Presented hereafter are six of the better-known groups within the Wizard’s Cabal. They are: the cabal magisters, Cabal wizards with enough arcane power to rival even the unaligned archmages and enigmatic mystic theurges; the inquisition hunters, men and women devoted to hunting down sorcerers and spawn of the Egg of Coot to safeguard the world; the inquisition spies, hidden and elusive ﬁgures that tread a shadowy path between the professions of secret police and informant; the profector, arcane detectives and leaders of Cabal armies; the researchers, members that further the goals of the Cabal through creation, experimentation, and study; and the war wizards, consummate battlehardened spellcasters that join together to defeat even the mightiest of the Cabal’s enemies. Cabal magisters are a rare breed of wizard or cabalist that remains devoted to their primary arcane class, rarely multiclassing. Though multiclassing is not unheard of, many of those devoted to following this path see training in another class as tainting the magister’s tradition. Currently, cabal magisters hold some of the highest seats in the Wizards’ Cabal. Sometimes magisters are elected to the position of High Spellwise. Rarely do these magisters look to gain grand political favor, even turning their backs on family obligations (especially true in the case of
With his discovery of the arcane spell focus (among many other successful experiments during his sojourn), Skelfer Ard returned to Archlis to ﬁnd it destroyed. This led him to bring an end to the Mage Wars. His own apprentices and research assistants had become powerful wizards in their own right, and they followed him onto the battleﬁeld. This is where the archmages of the North and Skelfer’s magisters met for the ﬁrst time. To this day, many of the long-lived archmages (those few that survived this encounter) walk with a limp or feel the familiar sting of old wounds on a cold morning. Where the archmages study the secrets of the arcane arts (known to them as high arcana), the magisters that follow Skelfer’s teaching (and that ultimately became the leaders and Spellwise of the Wizards’ Cabal) learned to tap into the vastness of the White Magic around them and distill its power into a quantiﬁed science. Cabal magisters still follow many of the ritualistic teachings of Skelfer (though they do not understand why they cannot breach the power barrier that the original magisters did). 34
Table 4-1:The Cabal Magister Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Base Attack Bonus +0 +1 +1 +2 +2 Fort Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 Ref Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 Will Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 Special Magister spellcasting Increased spells/day Ritual of Proﬁciency Increased spells/day Expert rituals
magisters that come from a noble bloodline), seeing the play of politics as a diversion from their magical studies. Hit Die: d4.
To qualify to become a cabal magister, a character must fulﬁll all the following criteria. Skills: Concentration 12 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 12 ranks, Spellcraft 12 ranks. Special: Ability to cast arcane spells using a spell focus. Special: A member in good standing of the Wizard’s Cabal.
The cabal magister’s class skills (and key ability for each skill) are: Concentration (Con), Craft (alchemy) (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Investigate* (Int), Knowledge (arcane) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), Research* (Int), and Spellcraft (Int). * Denotes a new skill found in Chapter 4. Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modiﬁer.
All of the following are class features of the cabal magister prestige class. Weapon and Armor Proﬁciency: Cabal magisters gain no additional weapon or armor proﬁciencies. Magister Spellcasting: Beginning at 1st level, the cabal magister counts all caster character levels and cabal magister levels together when determining his cabal magister’s caster level for arcane spells. This ability does not grant the additional spells, class abilities, etc. and only modiﬁes the character’s effective arcane caster level. Example–Renee, a High Thonian cleric 4/wizard 10/ cabal magister 2 would cast arcane spells as a 16th-level arcane spellcaster. However, if Renee were a rogue 4/wizard 10/cabal magister 2, he would only cast arcane spells as a 12th-level arcane caster. Increased Spells/Day: Beginning at 2nd level, the cabal magister increases the base number of arcane spells per day by one-half (round down) for one particular spell level of their choice (which is selected each day when mem-
orizing spells). This increase occurs before modiﬁcations for high Intelligence or other alterations are added in. At 4th level, the cabal magister again increases the number of arcane spells available per day for one particular spell level of their choice (which is selected each day when memorizing spells), this time to a total of twice what he would normally be able to cast before any additional modiﬁcations are added in (see above). Ritual of Proﬁciency (Sp): At 3rd level, the cabal magister can spend one full round action in concentration to create a ritual effect that begins on the next round. Lasting for a number of rounds equal to his cabal magister class levels, the ritual allows the cabal magister to confer a competence bonus equal to his cabal magister class levels plus +1d6 to a recipient touched on all skill checks. The cabal magister may choose to use this ability up to a number of times equal to his Intelligence modiﬁer per day (minimum of 1) on himself or on another willing recipient. If the recipient is unwilling to accept this gift, the ability fails automatically and counts against the cabal magister’s number of usages of this ability per day. This ability is considered to be a spell-like ability and requires a touch attack if the willing recipient is engaged in combat. Expert Rituals (Ex): At 5th level, if the cabal magister fails to cast a ritual spell (see Ceremonial Ritual Magic in Chapter 5) he is not affected by any ritual magic penalties for failure.
The acquisition of research subjects can sometimes prove to be a daunting task for the Arcane Inquisition. They must ﬁrst locate and then hunt down sorcerers and unusual creatures to perform their experiments upon. This task falls on the capable heads of the inquisition hunters. The best trackers and hunters the Cabal has to offer compete in yearly tournaments to win a place among these prestigious men and women. Not only are their physical and arcane powers tested during these tournaments, but so too are their loyalties to the Cabal and to the ideals of the Arcane Inquisition. Many of the most successful inquisition hunters have come from the ranks of the profectors (see later in this chapter). With their advanced combat techniques and arcane training, the inquisition hunter can be a great boost to any 35
adventuring party. Their primary role in any group is as the tracker, scout, and anti-sorcerer ﬁghter. They travel well with almost every class, except sorcerers (obviously) and wokan (whom they just don’t understand). Inquisition hunters are divided further into two groups: the Seekers and the Spellblades. The Seekers are a group of inquisition hunters that follow the Way of the Seeker, using a combination of ranged weapon prowess and arcane magic. The Spellblades are inquisition hunters that follow the Way of the Spellblade, combining potent magical abilities with the use of dual weapon ﬁghting techniques. All inquisition hunters fall into one of these two categories. While they are taught to hunt down sorcerers, the inquisition hunter is also taught to study an opponent and learn from them, this has led to the “contamination” of the few inquisition hunters that have either fallen in love with or joined sorcerers. These “contaminated” inquisition hunters are branded as traitors, having their names immediately struck from the Lists of Honor within the Arcane Inquisition, and become the target of many of their former brothers and sisters-in-arms. Special: There are rumors within the high echelons of the Arcane Inquisition of a small group of inquisition hunters that has been trained in the Way of the Table 4-2:The Inquisition Hunter Base Attack Bonus +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 Fort Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Ref Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Will Save Special +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3
Seeker, the Way of the Spellblade, and the ways of the assassin. The members of this group are fewer in number than even the High Spellwise (there are rumored to be only four members) and they are said to be so fanatically devoted to the High Spellwise of the Arcane Inquisition that they have assassinated many of his rivals. Even the ranking ofﬁcials in the Arcane Inquisition do not know if these rumors are true. Only the High Spellwise of the Arcane Inquisition may know of the truth to their existence. Hit Die: d8.
To qualify to become an inquisition hunter, a character must fulﬁll all the following criteria. Alignment: Any lawful alignment Skills: Investigation 6 ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 6 ranks, Sense Motive 6 ranks, Survival 8 ranks Feats: Track, and either Improved Two-Weapon Fighting or Manyshot (see below) Special: Ability to cast arcane spells using a spell focus. Special: A member in good standing of the Arcane Inquisition.
The inquisition hunter’s class skills (and key ability for each skill) are: Bluff (Cha), Concentration (Con), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Investigation* (Int), Knowledge (arcana) (Int), Knowledge (local) (Int), Knowledge (nature) (Int),
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Spells per Day – +1 level of existing arcane class – +1 level of existing arcane class – +1 level of existing arcane class – +1 level of existing arcane class –
Hunter bonus +1 Cabal combat style, swift tracker Hunter bonus +2, trackless step Crippling strike Improved cabal combat style Hunter bonus +3 Detect magic Cabal combat style mastery, hunter’s sense 36
+1 level of existing arcane class
Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Research* (Int), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Survival (Wis). * Denotes a new skill found in Chapter 4. Skill Points per Each Level: 4 + Int modiﬁer.
All of the following are class features of the inquisition hunter prestige class. Weapon and Armor Proﬁciency: Inquisition hunters are proﬁcient with all simple and martial weapons, light and medium armor, and all shields (except tower shields). Spells per Day: At every second level gained in the inquisition hunter class, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other beneﬁt a character of that class would have gained (hit points beyond those he receives from the prestige class, metamagic or item creation feats, etc.), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming an inquisition hunter, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day. Hunter Bonus (Ex): Beginning at 1st level, the inquisition hunter may designate an individual as a target, as an extended action. He spends 10 minutes concentrating on the target and thereafter gains a competence bonus on certain actions involving that particular target. The inquisition hunter does not need to know the target personally and may only know the target through actions or description. The inquisition hunter may not select a target while he or the target is in combat, and once he chooses a target he must wait 24 hours before choosing another. The inquisition hunter gains the hunter bonus as a competence bonus on attacks against that particular target, as well as when using the following skills directly against the target, or in tracking the target: Bluff, Gather Information, Investigate, Listen, Research, Search, Sense Motive, Spot, and Survival. The hunter bonus applies to a single individual and lasts until the inquisition hunter chooses a new target. The bonus is +1 at 1st-level, +2 at 4th-level, and +3 at 7thlevel. Cabal Combat Style (Ex): At 2nd level, the inquisition hunter must select one of two cabal combat styles to follow: Way of the Seeker or Way of the Spellblade. This choice affects the character’s class features but does not restrict his selection of feats or special abilities in any way. If the inquisition hunter selects Way of the Seeker, he must ﬁrst possess the Manyshot feat (see Requirements above). The character is immediately treated as having the Greater Manyshot feat, even if he does not have the prerequisites for the feat.
If the inquisition hunter selects Way of the Spellblade, he must ﬁrst possess the Improved Two-Weapon Fighting feat (see Requirements above). The character is immediately treated as having the Deﬂect Spell feat that may be used with an appropriate magical weapon, even if he does not have the prerequisites for the feat. The beneﬁts of the inquisition hunter’s chosen style apply only when he wears light or no armor. He loses all beneﬁts of his combat style when wearing medium or heavy armor. Swift Tracker (Ex): Beginning at 2nd level, an inquisition hunter can move at his normal speed while following tracks without taking the normal –5 penalty. He takes only a –10 penalty (instead of the normal –20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking. Trackless Step (Ex): Starting at 4th level, an inquisition hunter leaves no trail and cannot be tracked. He may choose to leave a trail if so desired. Crippling Strike (Ex): If an inquisition hunter can catch an opponent when it is unable to defend itself effectively from his attack, he can strike a vital spot with such precision that his blow weakens and hampers his opponent. In effect, the inquisition hunter deals 2 points of Strength damage in addition to normal weapon damage any time his target would be denied its Dexterity modiﬁer to AC (whether or not the target actually has a Dexterity bonus or not). Ability points lost to this type of damage return at a rate of 1 point per day for each point of Strength damage dealt. Improved Cabal Combat Style (Ex): At 6th level, the inquisition hunter’s abilities in his chosen combat style (Way of the Seeker or Way of the Spellblade) improve. If he chose Way of the Seeker as a 2nd-level inquisition hunter, he gains a +4 competence bonus to all Craft (bowmaker) skill checks and gains the Weapon Specialization for any one bow or crossbow of his choice, even if he does not have the prerequisites for the feat. If he chose Way of the Spellblade as a 2nd-level inquisition hunter, he gains a dodge bonus to AC equal to his Intelligence modiﬁer. The beneﬁts of the inquisition hunter’s chosen style apply only when he wears light or no armor. He loses all beneﬁts of his improved combat style when wearing medium or heavy armor. Detect Magic (Sp): At will, an inquisition hunter can use detect magic, as the spell. This ability only detects sources of arcane magic. Cabal Combat Style Mastery (Ex): At 10th level, the inquisition hunter’s abilities in his chosen combat style (Way of the Seeker or Way of the Spellblade) improve. If he chose Way of the Seeker as a 2nd-level inquisition hunter, he is now able to enchant his arrows with arcane touch attack spells. By enchanting the arrow with the spell, it effectively makes the arrow become a magical projectile (for purposes in which magical projectiles overcome 37
damage resistance). The inquisition hunter can enchant his ammunition the round before ﬁring it with any touch attack spell of a level less than or equal to his Intelligence modiﬁer. When the arrow strikes the opponent, it discharges the spell in addition to causing typical damage for the type of arrow used. This destroys the arrow, whether it hits its target or not. (Example–if a chill touch spell is placed into an arrow and ﬁred by a longbow at an orc, it would deal 1d8 points of damage from the arrow and then discharge the chill touch spell into the orc, destroying the arrow.) If he chose Way of the Spellblade as a 2nd-level inquisition hunter, he is now able to do a special combat maneuver that they know as arcana dervish. The inquisition hunter must spend one full round preparing to use this maneuver, during which time he may only defend himself (considered a full defensive action while preparing). On his turn, the next round, the inquisition hunter expends a total of 10 spell levels (in any combination) and performs a full attack action against his opponent (he may only move 5 feet and this allows for attacks of opportunity). The inquisition hunter makes a single attack roll; this single roll is counted as an attack against all opponents within 10 feet. For each successful strike, the inquisition hunter deals his typical weapon damage plus an additional 2d6 + Int modiﬁer points of typeless magical energy damage. If a critical hit is rolled, the energy damage is doubled. If the inquisition hunter is struck and fails a Concentration check during the preparatory round (DC equal to 10 + the damage dealt), does not have sufﬁcient spell levels to sacriﬁce, or fails to hit with his attack roll, he fails using this maneuver (which counts against his one use per day). The inquisition hunter may use this ability only once per day. The beneﬁts of the inquisition hunter’s chosen style apply only when he wears light or no armor. He loses all beneﬁts of his improved combat style when wearing medium or heavy armor. Table 4-3:The Inquisition Spy Base Attack Bonus +0 +1 +2 +3 +3 +4 +5 +6 +6 +7 Fort Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 Ref Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Will Save Special +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Informant
Hunter’s Sense (Su): At 10th level, the inquisition hunter gains the supernatural ability to know generally where his target is, if the target is in the general vicinity (500 foot-radius, centered on the inquisition hunter). This ability applies only to the target of the Hunter Bonus ability (see above) and does not reveal the target’s attitude, status, or the presence of others around the target. This is a supernatural ability, and spells, effects, and abilities that interfere with supernatural abilities foil this ability.
These advance members of the Arcane Inquisition come into a new area or an area known to have many magical dissidents (such as rogue wizards, sorcerers, Afridhi, and thralls of the Egg of Coot). They have learned to so completely integrate themselves into a new society that they are able to ferret out even the most private secrets within a town or city. As spies, the inquisition spy has no equal. Their spelllike abilities, knowledge of the area, and network of contacts and informants make it very difﬁcult for any individual or group to act with any secrecy in a town with one or more of them. Adventuring groups can capitalize on an inquisition spy’s abilities. Their cover stories and contacts can give any character group an advantage in city-based adventures, while their diplomatic and spell-like abilities give them a great advantage when dealing with hostile humanoids and intelligent monsters in the wilderness. Hit Die: d6.
To qualify to become an inquisition spy, a character must fulﬁll all of the following criteria.
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Spells per Day – +1 level of existing arcane class – +1 level of existing arcane class – +1 level of existing arcane class – +1 level of existing arcane class –
Feign alignment Rumor lore Resourceful contacts Traceless – Reputation Hat trick (1 Small item) Decoder
Hat trick (1 Medium item or 2 Small items) +1 level of existing arcane class 38
Skills: Bluff 6 ranks, Diplomacy 5 ranks, Disguise 6 ranks, Gather Information 6 ranks, Investigation 6 ranks, Knowledge (local) 5 ranks, Listen 5 ranks, Sense Motive 6 ranks. Feats: Extra Music and Foci Casting or Skill Focus (any skill listed above). Special: Ability to cast arcane spells using a spell focus. Special: Must be a member in good standing of the Arcane Inquisition.
The inquisition spy’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Bluff (Cha), Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Disguise (Cha), Forgery (Int), Gather Information (Cha), Hide (Dex), Intimidate (Cha), Investigation* (Int), Knowledge (arcana or local) (Int), Listen (Wis), Profession (Wis), Research* (Int), Sense Motive (Wis). * Denotes a new skill found in Chapter 4. Skill Points at Each Level: 6 + Int modiﬁer.
from the prestige class, metamagic or item creation feats, etc.), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming an inquisition spy, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day. Informant (Ex): The inquisition spy ﬁlters information constantly and remembers everything. Through regular contacts, gossip, bar room chats, and other situations, he has a deep knowledge of everyday things. The inquisition spy can make a Gather Information check on general or speciﬁc information very quickly, requiring half the time of a normal check. (Note: Normal Gather Information checks require 1d4+1 hours) Retries may be made under normal rules. Feign Alignment (Ex): The inquisition spy ﬁts in with whatever group he chooses to be with. At 2nd level, the inquisition spy can successfully emulate any alignment if he can make a DC 15 Diplomacy check. This beneﬁt lasts for one minute per inquisition spy class level before requiring another successful check. Should a check be failed the false alignment is revealed. Supernatural and spell-like abilities that determine or affect speciﬁc alignments are not affected by the feign alignment ability. Rumor Lore (Ex): At 3rd level, the inquisition spy is entrenched in the ebb and ﬂow of the local gossip and rumors. He may begin to add his inquisition spy class levels to all bardic knowledge checks. Additionally, he gains a +2 competence bonus to Gather Information checks. Resourceful Contacts (Ex): At 4th level, the inquisition spy is well established enough in social and political circles to be able to get the names and locations of individuals with particular abilities and talents. Even if away from his home region he can produce a contact with the needed resource. Make a level check, adding all inquisition spy levels and any levels of bard and/or noble. The difﬁculty of this task is based on how common the required abilities are: Common Skill (Handle Animal, Heal, Ride) Uncommon Skill (subgroups of other skills such as Knowledge (arcana) or Craft (alchemy)) Rare Skill (skills available for a particular class—Appraise, Forgery, Spellcraft, etc.) Speciﬁc Feat Class Feature (spellcasting, trapﬁnding, turn undead) Speciﬁc Combination of Skills, Feats, and Abilities (someone with Knowledge (history) and the ability to cast the augury spell) DC 10
DC 20 DC 25 DC 25 DC 25
All of the following are class features of the inquisition spy prestige class. Weapon and Armor Proﬁciency: Inquisition spies gain no additional weapon or armor proﬁciencies. Spells per Day: At every second level gained in the inquisition spy class, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other beneﬁt a character of that class would have gained (hit points beyond those he receives 39
Finding someone willing to perform activities secretly or illegally DC +10
A successful check indicates that if the individual is available, the inquisition spy knows about him. It does not guarantee the character contacted will be willing to perform the requested service—the party requesting the service must still negotiate for that person’s services. An unsuccessful check means that no such individual is immediately known or available to the inquisition spy. This does not negate trying again for a different skill, nor from trying to locate a skill resource through more traditional methods. Traceless (Ex): At 5th level, the inquisition spy knows how to hide his own tracks, and may, at his choice, move into “traceless” mode. All attempts to use the Track feat against the inquisition spy (though not allies) treat the ground as “ﬁrm” for purposes of success. In addition, the DC of any attempts to use Gather Information, Investigation, and Research are increased by the inquisition spy’s class levels on matters involving the inquisition spy. Reputation (Ex): At 7th level, the inquisition spy is so well considered that his reputation precedes him in his dealings with others. The inquisition spy gains a circumstance bonus equal to his class level when making skill checks that are directly involved with Gather Information and Diplomacy skills. Hat Trick (Su): At 8th level, the inquisition spy gains the supernatural ability to pull a speciﬁc non-magical item out of thin air. As a move action, the inquisition spy may cause any item currently in his possession (with a size no greater than Small) to disappear into an extra-dimensional space. The item becomes impossible to detect by any means. A detect magic spell will reveal a moderate magical aura around the hand that last held the item. As a move action, the inquisition spy can cause the item to reappear in his hand. The inquisition spy may only hide one item at a time in this fashion.
At 10th level, the inquisition spy may use this ability to hide a single object of up to Medium size or up to two objects of up to Small size (both of which may be retrieved individually). Decoder (Ex): At 9th level, the inquisition spy becomes a master linguist and at deciphering secret languages. To decipher a given language (including all verbal secret languages, such as Arcanthi, Druidic, Profectorrin, the secret language of nobles, etc.) the inquisition spy makes a Listen skill check (DC 20 for languages that share an alphabet of a language he knows, DC 25 for languages that do not share an alphabet of a language he knows, and DC 35 for all verbal secret languages). If the check is successful, the inquisition spy is able to understand one minute’s worth of overheard conversation. If the check fails, the inquisition spy was unable to decipher what was said. This ability does not allow the inquisition spy to decipher written languages he does not know or to understand non-verbal secret languages (such as afridhi combat whistles, peshwahan smoke signals, thieves’ cant, and sheet). Magical languages, the languages of outsiders, and other “supernatural” languages cannot be deciphered with this ability. Nor does this grant the inquisition spy the ability to speak the languages that he overhears.
The profector is a feared man by anyone’s estimation, especially for illegal spellcasters. These investigators have reached a pinnacle in their careers to be advanced to a leadership level within the Cabal’s secret police. A secret police that performs daily investigations in nearly every city within the Kingdom of Blackmoor, Duchy of Ten, and the Barony of Bramwald. The road to becoming a profector is difﬁcult and time consuming. Enemies are usually made along the route as the profector to be severs ties and opens new doors of op-
Table 4-4:The Profector Base Attack Bonus +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9 +10 Fort Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Ref Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 Will Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Spells per Day Special Emotionless Profector training Arcana sense, insatiable knowledge Discern lies, secret door detection No subdual penalty Arcana sense +2 Locate object Autopsy Arcana sense +4 Locate creature 40 1st +1 +1 – – +1 +1 – – +1 +1 2nd – +1 +1 – – +1 +1 – – +1 3rd – – +1 +1 – – +1 +1 – – 4th – – – +1 +1 – – +1 +1 –
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
portunities. It is because of these changing relationships that the profector becomes detached from social interaction and emotionless. Within a group, the profector is a champion of the law. The profector occasionally joins an adventuring party as an investigator, never letting anyone know of their true allegiance to the Wizards’ Cabal. They work well with paladins and other characters of lawful alignments, though they rarely willingly work with a rogue, sorcerer, or wokan for very long (usually just as long as needed, and then they arrest the other character in the name of the Cabal). Note: Their strict adherence to the laws of the Wizards’ Cabal will occasionally put them in conﬂict with the rest of the party. This conﬂict would cause any party to evaluate the profector’s involvement in decisions, though the profector’s investigative abilities are second to none and his insight into a variety of topics makes him a wellspring of knowledge and a valuable party member. Special: The profector is a one-man (or one-woman) judge, jury, and executioner. This handful of men and women (typically only one or two per barony or duchy) police even the secret police, the Arcane Inquisition, neutral archmages, and other larger power groups. Each profector enforcer reports directly to the Profector General of the Wizards’ Cabal and acts nearly autonomously, specializing in only one type of spellcaster or one power group. Hit Die: d8.
To qualify to become a profector, a character must fulﬁll all of the following criteria. Alignment: Lawful Neutral. Base Attack Bonus: +8. Skills: Gather Information 10 ranks, Investigation 10 ranks, Knowledge (any one) 10 ranks, Spellcraft 10 ranks. Feats: Investigator. Spellcasting: Must be able to cast arcane spells using a spell focus. Special: The profector must have served the Wizards’ Cabal for at least one year and still be in good standing with the Cabal.
All of the following are class features of the profector prestige class. Weapon and Armor Proﬁciency: Profectors are proﬁcient with all simple and martial weapons, all types of armor, and shields (except tower shields). Spells per Day: These are bonus arcane spells granted to the character. These bonus spells are added to the total number of arcane spells per day that the character can cast, as if gained by having a high attribute score. The character must already be able to cast spells from the level of the gained bonus to beneﬁt from those bonus spells. Emotionless (Ex): You are absolutely emotionless. You do not feel anger, hatred, love, fear, or any other emotion. The law is your only source of comfort and compassion for an enemy is weakness. This extraordinary ability is both a blessing and a curse in disguise. Because all profectors 41
The profector’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Intimidate (Cha), Investigation* (Int), Knowledge (all skills taken separately) (Int), Listen (Wis), Navigate* (Int), Profession (Wis), Ride (Dex), Search (Int), Sense Motive (Wis), Spellcraft (Int), Spot (Wis), and Use Rope (Dex). * Denotes a new skill found in Chapter 4. Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modiﬁer.
are uncompromising, they become immune to all emotionbased spells and spell-like effects. However, the profector character gains a –4 circumstance penalty to all Charismabased checks. Profector Training (Ex): At 2nd level, the profector gains a +2 insight bonus on all Gather Information, Investigate, Listen, Search, Sense Motive, and Spot checks. Insatiable Knowledge (Ex): At 3rd level, the profector’s nonstop investigation for facts and knowledge allows him special insight into one speciﬁc topic or area of expertise. Choose Investigate, one Knowledge skill, or Spellcraft as the profector’s area of expertise. From this point forward, the character gains an insight bonus equal to half (rounded down) his profector class level on all checks involving that skill. Arcana Sense (Ex): At 3rd level, the profector gains the ability to naturally detect and analyze spell resonance (see Spell Resonance in Chapter 5 for details about spell resonance). To detect a spell resonance, the profector makes a Spot check (DC equal to 10 + the spellcaster’s level + the spell’s level) per spell resonance in the area. Once the profector has detected a spell resonance, he may analyze the resonance by using Spellcraft with the following DCs (all information is cumulative from a single check). The profector may make only one Spellcraft check per spell resonance detected.
The profector gains a +2 bonus to the Spot and Spellcraft checks at 6th level, which increases to a +4 bonus at 9th level. Discern Lies (Sp): At 4th level, the profector can produce an effect identical to that of a discern lies spell cast by a wizard of his profector level. This ability is usable once per day. Secret Door Detection (Ex): At 4th level, any profector that merely passes within 5 feet of a secret or concealed door is entitled to a Search check to notice it as if he were actively looking for it. An elven profector gains a +2 insight bonus on any Search check made to ﬁnd a secret or concealed door. No Subdual Penalty (Ex): At 5th level, the profector can deal subdual damage with a weapon that deals normal damage without suffering a –4 penalty on the attack. Locate Object (Sp): At 7th level, the profector can produce an effect identical to that of a locate object spell cast by a wizard of his profector level. This ability is usable once per day. Autopsy (Su): At 8th level, the profector can determine the cause of death of any corpse he examines with a successful Investigate skill check (DC 25). Success indicates that he knows approximately what killed the subject, the size and approximate strength of the attacker, and any other information the GM wishes to impart. Performing an autopsy takes a minimum of eight hours DC Information Gained in a quiet undisturbed area using proper autopsy tools. The Identify if the spell cast was arcane time for completion of the autopsy can be reduced by one 15 + spell level or divine. hour for every 10 points over the base DC check. Locate Creature (Sp): At 10th level, the profector can Identify how long ago the spell was produce an effect identical to that of a locate creature spell 17 + spell level cast. cast by a wizard of his profector level. This ability is usable Identify the approximate power once per day. level of the spellcaster (low: 1st4th level caster, minor: 5th-8th Researcher level caster, medium: 9th-12th level caster, major: 13th-16th level caster, These distant occupational cousins to the loremaster use the full resource potential of the Wizards’ Cabal to delve 20 + power level high: 17th+ level caster). into the secrets of the universe. Each group within the reIdentify what school of magic the searcher prestige class specializes in a different aspect of the Wizards’ Cabal and works for a speciﬁc ofﬁce within 22 + spell level spell belongs to. that aspect. The artiﬁcer works for the Council of Artiﬁce Identify what sub-school (if any) the and Development, developing new magic items, reﬁned 25 + spell level spell belongs to. arcane spell foci, and other devices of arcane power. The inIdentify the spell. If the profector is quisition doctor comes from the Inquisitor’s Ofﬁce for Exfamiliar with the spell (has seen it perimentation, where they conduct magical and biological cast before or has it in his own spell testing on living subjects that exhibit unique spell-like abilirepertoire), he will also know the ties or cast magic through unconventional methods (such spell’s effects; if not, he understands as sorcerers) and on undead creatures. And ﬁnally, the academic researcher from the Ministry of Academia that de30 + spell level its basic effects. velops new spells, spellcasting techniques, and continues A failed spellcraft check by 5 or more means that you Skelfer’s research into the magical unknown. gather inaccurate information. Becoming a researcher (for whichever group the character wishes) has its own set of requirements and duties that 42
need to be performed. Researchers form the backbone of the Wizards’ Cabal and more than half of the entire Cabal is made up of researchers. If there were a competition to ﬁnd a “mad scientist” within the Cabal, the researchers would be hard fought to ﬁnd a close second. Researchers are the most useful of all Cabal prestige classes to a character party. They have insight into topics and are not averse to working with any class (even sorcerers). They are inquisitive and hoard knowledge for the sake of knowing the unknowable. They are most comfortable when in their libraries or laboratories, but they are excited with the prospect of conducting ﬁeld research and tests of their latest theories or contraptions. Hit Die: d4.
The player must also be a graduate of The Ard Academy of Advanced Wizardry and Knowledge Arcane and pass a series of three qualifying examinations to be accepted as a researcher.
The researcher’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Concentration (Con), Investigation* (Int), Knowledge (each skill taken separately) (Int), Profession (Wis), Research* (Int), and Spellcraft (Int). In addition, a researcher gains additional class skills, based on his area of research. Council of Artiﬁce and Development: Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), and Use Magic Device (Cha). Inquisitor’s Ofﬁce for Experimentation: Heal (Wis), Search (Int), and Sense Motive (Wis). Ministry of Academia: Decipher Script (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), and Gather Information (Cha). * Denotes a new skill found in Chapter 4. Skill Points at Each Level: 4 + Int modiﬁer.
To qualify to become a researcher, a character must fulﬁll all of the following criteria. Skills: Knowledge (arcana) 12 ranks, Research 12 ranks. Feats: Depending on the researcher’s area of interest, the character must have the following feats: Council of Artiﬁce and Development: Three item creation feats. Inquisitor’s Ofﬁce for Experimentation: Two of the following: Skill Focus (Research, Heal, Search or Sense Motive), Augment Summoning or Augment Undead*. Ministry of Academia: Two of the following: Attentive*, Studious* or Researcher*.
* Denotes a new feat found in Chapter 4.
All of the following are class features of the researcher prestige class. Weapon and Armor Proﬁciency: Researchers gain no additional weapon or armor proﬁciencies. Spells per Day: At every level gained in the researcher prestige class, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other beneﬁt a character of that class would have gained (hit points beyond those he receives from the prestige class, metamagic or item creation feats, etc.), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a researcher, he must decide to which class
Special: The character must be in good standing with the Wizard’s Cabal and a member for one or more years and both in possession of and ability to use an Initiate’s spell focus. Table 4-5:The Researcher Base Attack Bonus +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 Fort Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 Ref Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 Will Save Special +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Research
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Spells per Day +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class 43
Academic specialization, Special ability Research Special ability Research Special ability Research Special ability Research Special ability
he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day. Research: In their studies, a researcher gains an additional insight into researcher specialist category. At 1st level and every two levels higher than 1st (3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th) , the researcher choose one research topic from Table 4-6: Research Beneﬁts. His level plus Intelligence modiﬁer determines the total number of secrets she can choose from. He cannot gain the same research ability twice (unless otherwise noted). Artiﬁcer Research: The artiﬁcer (a specialist researcher from the Council of Artiﬁce and Development) gains bonus item creation feats every time he reaches a speciﬁc level in this class (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th). He need not meet the prerequisites of the item creation feat to gain it (only the level + Int modiﬁer restriction for the prestige class). Table 4-6: Research Beneﬁts Level + Int Artiﬁcer Modiﬁer Research 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Attune Spell Focus Craft Wondrous Item Craft Wand
These bonus item creation feats are in addition to the feats the character gains every three levels. Inquisition Doctor Research: The inquisition doctor (a specialist researcher from Inquisitor’s Ofﬁce of Experimentation) gains certain bonus feats and special abilities every time he reaches a speciﬁc level in this class (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th). To gain the bonus feats (Greater Spell Focus (necromancy), Improved Familiar, Necromantic Familiar, and Spell Focus (necromancy)), he need not meet the prerequisites of the feat (only the level + Int modiﬁer restriction for the prestige class). These bonus feats are in addition to the feats the character gains every three levels. The special abilities (familiar improvement, secret health and create undead) are described below. Academic Researcher Research: The academic researcher (a specialist researcher from the Ministry of AcaAcademic Researcher Research 1 bonus 1st-level spell slot 1 bonus 2nd-level spell slot 1 bonus 3rd-level spell slot 1 bonus 4th-level spell slot
Inquisition Doctor Research Improved Familiar Familiar improvement Spell Focus (necromancy)
Craft Magic Arms and Armor Secret Health Craft Spell Focus Craft Rod Craft Staff Forge Ring
Greater Spell Focus (necromancy) 1 bonus 5th-level spell slot Skill Focus (Heal) Necromantic Familiar Create undead 44 1 bonus 6th-level spell slot 1 bonus 7th-level spell slot 1 bonus 8th-level spell slot
demia) gains certain special abilities every time he reaches a speciﬁc level in this class (1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th). As long as the academic researcher meets the class level + Int modiﬁer criteria, he may choose any of these abilities as many times as he chooses. The bonus spell slots gained are as those gained by having a high Intelligence score (the academic researcher must be able to cast spells from the spell level slot he wishes to acquire). The bonus caster level allows the character to gain new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class and increases his effective caster level in that same class. Familiar Improvement: With this ability, inquisition doctor can grant his familiar any of the abilities listed on Table 4-7: Familiar Improvement (included on the table is the number of times any one of these improvements can be gained by the familiar). Secret Health: The inquisition doctor gains 3 bonus hit points. Create Undead (Sp): The inquisition doctor has such a handle of working with biological and magical experimentation on living subjects that he can create any undead he wishes, within the following restrictions listed on Table 4-8:Undead Creation Restrictions. The undead creature created can have a number of Hit Dice equal to maximum Hit Dice column show and can be of any type the inquisition doctor can create (example–a 10th level character can create a zombie). The inquisition doctor is in full control of this undead creation and it does not count against the number of undead creatures he can control. He cannot create another undead creature using this ability until the former creature has been destroyed or has been released by the inquisition doctor. Academic Specialization: At 2nd level, the researcher gains an insight bonus equal to half his class level to all Knowledge and Research checks (plus one other skill, see below) involving their area of expertise. Chose one of the areas of expertise listed on Table 4-9: Academic Specialization. Special Ability: Beginning at 2nd level (and again at 4th, 6th, 8th, and 10th levels), the researcher gains a new special ability. These special abilities are shared by all three specialty researcher classes. Unless otherwise speciﬁed in the ability descriptions below, the research can only gain an ability one time. Analytical Mind (Ex): A researcher who selects this special ability gains a +2 bonus on saving throws against spells and spell-like effects from the enchantment and illusion schools, since his research gives him a unique perspective on the world. Bonus Language: A researcher can choose to learn an additional language in place of one of the special abilities described here if desired. Energy Substitution (Su): Choose a type of energy: 45
Table 4-7: Familiar Improvement Improvement Max # of Effect Times Gained The familiar gains a +1 natural armor bonus. This bonus stacks with any existing natural armor. The special ability granted to the master by the familiar’s type (skill, save, or hit point bonus) is doubled. The familiar’s Intelligence score increases by 1. The master’s effective class level increases by one for purposes of determining a familiar’s abilities (such as, a 2nd level master would become a 3rd level master). All of the familiar’s skills receive a +1 insight bonus. The familiar receives an insight bonus to its spell resistance (if any) equal to its master’s researcher class levels.
Granted ability modiﬁer
Spell resistance modiﬁer
Table 4-8: Undead Creation Restrictions Inquisition Doctor Character Level 10th and below 10th to 11th 12th to 13th 14th to 15th 16th to 17th 18th to 19th 20th+ Maximum Hit Dice Of Created Undead Class level Class level + 1 Class level + 2 Class level + 3 Class level + 4 Class level + 5 Class level + 6
Undead Type Skeleton Zombie Ghoul Ghast Wight Mummy Mohrg
Table 4-9: Academic Specialization Artiﬁcer Area of Expertise Item creation Scroll use Related Skill Craft Decipher Script Inquisition Doctor Area of Expertise Biology Anatomy Related Skill Heal Search Sense Motive Academic Researcher Area of Expertise Scroll use Spell sharing Spell creation Related Skill Decipher Script Diplomacy Spellcraft
Magical item discovery Use Magic Device Sociology
acid, cold, electricity, ﬁre, or sonic, any time a researcher casts a spell with one of these energy descriptors he may change the energy type to the type chosen (as per the Energy Substitution metamagic feat). The researcher can take this special ability multiple times, each time picking another energy type from those above. Mental Fortitude (Ex): The researcher who selects this special ability gains a +2 to all Will saves. Metamagic Feat: A researcher can choose a metamagic feat in place of one of the special abilities described here if desired. Skill Mastery: The researcher who selects this special ability becomes so certain in the use of certain skills that he can use them reliably even under adverse conditions. Upon gaining this special ability, he chooses a number of class skills equal to his Intelligence modiﬁer. When making a skill check with one of these skills, he may take 10 even if stress and distractions would normally prevent him from doing so.
The Cabal’s war wizards are the masters of joining combat and magic. They have brought cooperative magic to new heights and use it very effectively on the battleﬁeld. Though they are all business when on the battleﬁeld or in the war room, war wizards have a notorious penchant for elaborate practical jokes (it gets boring sitting around the barracks waiting for a war). Joining the war wizards is not for the feint 46
of heart or the brash; the grueling process that leads to the acceptance of a candidate has killed more than one-quarter of its applicants (those that survive fondly recall this testing as “war college”). The war wizards are not called on often, though the few dire times they have been called upon in recent history they have swung victory from the jaws of defeat. These men and women are living weapons, extensions of arcane combat prowess that make their enemies pale. All war wizards wear the same uniform, whether as a part of their unit or when adventuring with a group of mixed classes. The uniform is a very recognizable red robe with stylish yellow and orange ﬂames licking up the arms. Around their necks they wear a medallion with two crossed lighting bolts superimposed over a raging bonﬁre and surrounded by nine interlocking swords, the insignia of all war wizards. The color of the medallion (red, blue, green, silver, or gold) determines the war wizard’s rank to others of this specialized class. In a group, the war wizard is most effective when there are other war wizards in the party (utilizing the full potential of cooperative magic). However, when left to their own devices, war wizards have shown a keen mind when planning raids and large scale battles. Their enhanced casting abilities make them feared opponents, and many intelligent creatures turn tail and ﬂee when they see the war wizard’s telltale insignia proudly displayed over their red robes. War wizards enjoy the company of the ﬁghting classes, especially arcane warriors. Bards (especially those belonging to the Cabal), rogues, and nobles are their favorite “partners in crime”
Table 4-10:The War Wizard Base Attack Bonus +0 +1 +2 +3 +3 +4 +5 +6 +6 +7 Fort Save +0 +0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 Ref Save +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Will Save Special +2 +3 +3 +4 +4 +5 +5 +6 +6 +7 Evocation resistance +1, war college, Weapon Focus Evasion Bonus feat Evocation resistance +2, Improved Evasion Bonus feat Evocation resistance +3, Improved Critical Bonus feat Evocation resistance +4, Ray Extension,
Level 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
Spells per Day +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class +1 level of existing class
when it comes to playing practical jokes, some of which may have damaging results. Hit Die: d4.
To qualify to become a war wizard, a character must fulﬁll all of the following criteria. Skills: Concentration 8 ranks, Spellcraft 8 ranks. Feats: Any three metamagic feats. Spellcasting: Able to cast 3rd-level arcane spells using an arcane spell focus. Special: The war wizard must have been a member in good standing with the Wizard’s Cabal for a minimum of six months. Special: The war wizard must ﬁrst undergo a series of trials and tests that last for nearly six months. The exact nature of these trials is left up to the GM, but they should include working as a part of a group of war wizard candidates and at least one mission where the character must clear out a known hostile creature nest single-handedly of an Encounter Level of at least equal to the character’s level.
The war wizard’s class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are: Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills taken separately) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int). Skill Points at Each Level: 2 + Int modiﬁer.
All of the following are class features of the war wizard prestige class.
Weapon and Armor Proﬁciency: War wizards are proﬁcient with all simple and martial weapons. However they gain no additional armor or shield proﬁciencies. Spells per Day: At every level gained in the war wizard prestige class, the character gains new spells per day as if he had also gained a level in an arcane spellcasting class he belonged to before adding the prestige class. He does not, however, gain any other beneﬁt a character of that class would have gained (hit points beyond those he receives from the prestige class, metamagic or item creation feats, etc.), except for an increased effective level of spellcasting. If the character had more than one arcane spellcasting class before becoming a war wizard, he must decide to which class he adds the new level for purposes of determining spells per day. Evocation Resistance (Ex): At 1st level, a war wizard receives a +1 insight bonus to saving throws and Concentration checks against all evocation spells and spell-like abilities. This bonus increases by an additional +1 every three levels thereafter (+2 at 4th level, +3 at 7th level, and +4 at 10th level). War College (Ex): A 1st-level war wizard can now be a part of a conjunction to cast cooperative magic, as if he has the Cooperative Magic feat (see Cooperative Magic in Chapter 5). Weapon Focus: At 1st level, the war wizard gains the Weapon Focus (ray) as a bonus feat. Evasion (Ex): At 2nd level, a war wizard can avoid even magical and unusual attacks with great agility. If he makes a successful Reﬂex saving throw against an attack that normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage. Evasion can be used only if the war wizard is wearing light armor or no armor. A helpless war wizard does not gain the beneﬁt of evasion. 47
Bonus Feat: At 3rd, 6th, and 9th level, a war wizard gains a bonus feat. At each such opportunity, he can choose a metamagic feat, a ﬁghter bonus feat, or Spell Mastery. The war wizard must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including caster level minimums. These bonus feats are in addition to the feat that a character of any class gets from advancing levels. The war wizard is not limited to the categories of metamagic feats, ﬁghter bonus feats, or Spell Mastery when choosing these feats. Improved Evasion (Ex): At 5th level, a war wizard gains the improved form of evasion. This ability works like evasion, except that while the war wizard still takes no damage on a successful Reﬂex saving throw against attacks henceforth he henceforth takes only half damage on a failed save. A helpless war wizard does not gain the beneﬁt of improved evasion. Improved Critical: An 8th-level war wizard gains Improved Critical (ray) as a bonus feat. He gains this feat, regardless of having any of the prerequisites. Ray Extension (Ex): At 10th level, the range of all ray spells a war wizard casts is doubled.
Chapter 4: Skills & Feats
The Wizards’ Cabal is on the cutting edge of magical research and experimentation. They have delved into the unknown and produced new sciences and abilities that have yet to be left undiscovered by many of the general populace of the North. This chapter discusses new uses for old skills, introduces three new skills, and twenty new feats, many of which are used predominately by the members of the Wizards’ Cabal. Skills The combination of the skill and magic systems in place for campaigns set in Blackmoor has turned up new uses for many standard skills. The Wizards’ Cabal utilizes the following new skill DCs to help further their understanding of arcane magic and the enemies around them. This section presents additional information that can be used with the skills found in the PHB.
Situation Recognize a speciﬁc spellcaster’s spell resonance (with detect magic) DC 25
Situation DC Varies (see Cabalist Magic in Chap 5)
Cast a cabalist spell
Change your spell resonance to match someone else’s*^ 30+ spell level Decipher a spell helix within a spell shard 20 + spell level
Situation Discovering a gem is an arcane spell focus* DC 25
* If the character also has 5 ranks in Craft (gemcutting) and/ or Spellcraft, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to this check.
Decipher a spell helix formulae within an arcane spell focus (requires 1 minute per spell level, min 1 minute) 25 + spell level Discovering a gem is an arcane spell focus1 25 Hide your spell resonance^ 20 + spell level 25 Identify an arcane spell focus#
Item Arcane spell focus Scroll paper Spellbook Craft Gemcutting Bookbinding Bookbinding DC 20 + (2 x minimum caster level*) 15 15
Master another spellcaster’s arcane 25 + highest spell’s spell focus (with Attune Spell Focus) level Prepare a spell from a borrowed arcane spell focus 20 + spell level Transfer spell to arcane spell focus (from other’s focus) 20 + spell level Transfer spell to arcane spell focus (from other’s spellbook) 15 + spell level
* If the character also has 5 ranks in Disguise, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to this check. ^ Also requires a successful Hide check. # If the character also has 5 ranks in Craft (gemcutting) and/or Spellcraft, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to this check. 1 If the character also has 5 ranks in Craft (gemcutting) and/or Spellcraft, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to this check.
* Minimum caster level is 1st for a novice’s focus, 6th for an initiate’s focus, 11th for a wizard’s focus, 16th for a magister’s focus, and 19th for a supreme focus. To craft an arcane spell focus, the craftsman must meet all requirements including feats and minimum caster levels.
Situation DC Change your spell resonance to match someone else’s*^ 30 + spell level Hide your spell resonance^ 20 + spell level * If the character also has 5 ranks in Disguise, he gains a +2 synergy bonus to this check. ^ Also requires a successful Spellcraft check.
Skills presented here extend the typical set of character skills found in the PHB and Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor hardcover campaign book. Though these skills are presented as a
Table 4-1: New Skill Designation Skill Investigation Navigate Research ArW Bbn Brd Clr Drd Ftr Mnk Nob Pal Rgr Rog Sor Wiz Wok Trained? cc cc C cc C cc cc cc C cc cc C cc C cc cc cc cc cc cc C cc cc C cc cc C cc C cc cc C cc cc cc cc cc cc C cc C cc Yes No Yes Key Ability Int Int Int
part of the Wizards’ Cabal, many other characters throughout Blackmoor have access to these new skills. Refer to Table 4-1: New Skill Designations for information on how each new skill can be used by the various player classes.
Circumstances Every day since event Scene is outdoors Scene is slightly disturbed Scene is moderately disturbed Scene is extremely disturbed
DC Modiﬁer +4 +5 +2 +4 +6
Investigation (Int; Trained Only)
You can witness the scene of a crime or other location and gather important information about the area to make an educated evaluation of the situation. Many noble houses and merchants employ professional investigators to look into important matters, though it is the Wizards’ Cabal that utilizes and augments these talented individuals with magical training and access to great store houses of information. Check: A character generally uses Search to discover clues and Investigation to analyze them. Analyze Clue: The character can make an Investigation check to apply knowledge to a clue. This function of the Investigation skill does not give the character clues where none existed before. It simply allows the character to extract extra information from a clue he or she has found. The base DC to analyze a clue is 15. It is modiﬁed by the time that has elapsed since the clue was left, and whether or not the scene was disturbed.
Collect Evidence: The character can collect and prepare evidentiary material. To collect a piece of evidence, make an Investigation check (DC 15). If the character succeeds, the evidence is usable. If the character fails, an analysis can be done, but the character takes a –5 penalty on any necessary check. If the character fails by 5 or more, an analysis simply cannot be done. On the other hand, if the character succeeds by 10 or more, he gains a +2 circumstance bonus on its checks to analyze the material. This function of the Investigation skill does not provide the character with evidentiary items. It simply allows the character to collect items he or she has found in a manner that best aids in their analysis later. Time: Analyzing a clue generally takes one minute. Collecting evidence generally takes 1d4 minutes per object. Retry: Generally, analyzing a clue again doesn’t add new insight unless another clue is introduced. Evidence collected cannot be recollected, unless there is more of it to take.
You can guide a boat, wagon train, or even dimensional magic to an exact location with skill and by using mundane equipment. The Wizards’ Cabal trains their messengers and spies extensively in skill of navigation. Once, this skill was only the province of sailors and pirates on the open seas. However, the Cabal has discovered that since the application of navigation to dimensional magic they have seen less disastrous results in miscasting or teleporting to the wrong location. They ﬁnd this skill to be an invaluable asset when conducting sorties against the Egg of Coot and the Afridhi, where pinpoint accuracy is not only an advantage, but also life-saving. 50
Check: Make a Navigate check when a character is trying to ﬁnd his way to a distant location without directions or other speciﬁc guidance. Generally, a character does not need to make a check to ﬁnd a local street or other common site, or to follow an accurate map. However, the character might make a check to wend his or her way through a dense forest or a labyrinth of underground tunnels. For movement over a great distance, make a Navigate check. The DC depends on the length of the trip. If the character succeeds, he or she moves via the best reasonable course toward his goal. If the character fails, he still reaches the goal, but it takes the character twice as long (the character loses time backtracking and correcting his path). If the character fails by more than 5, he travels the expected time, but only gets halfway to his destination, at which point the character becomes lost. A character may make a second Navigate check (DC 20) to regain his path. If the character succeeds, he continues on to his destination; the total time for the trip is twice the normal time. If the character fails, he loses half a day before the character can try again. The character keeps trying until he succeeds, losing half a day for each failure.
Length of Trip Short (a few hours) Moderate (a day or two) Long (up to a week) Extreme (more than a week)
DC 20 22 25 28
When faced with multiple choices, such as at a branch in a tunnel, a character can make a Navigate check (DC 20) to intuit the choice that takes the character toward a known destination. If unsuccessful, the character chooses the wrong path, but at the next juncture, with a successful check, the character realizes his mistake. A character cannot use this function of Navigate to ﬁnd a path to a site if the character has no idea where the site is located. The GM may choose to make the Navigate check for the character in secret, so he doesn’t know from the result whether the character is following the right or wrong path. A character can make a Navigate (DC 15) to determine his position in the world by checking the constellations or other natural landmarks. The character must have a clear view of the night sky to make this check. Time: A Navigate check is a full-round action.
Table 4-2: New Feats General Feats Arcana Resistance Attentive Augment Undead Builder Cooperative Magic Foci Casting Guide Rapid Metabolism Researcher Resonance Hound Resonance Sniffer Skill Specialization Steel Mind Studious Initial Feats Cabal Heritage Cabal Training Magical Heritage Item Creation Feats Attune Spell Focus Craft Spell Focus Metamagic Feats Repeat Spell Signature Spell Prerequisites Caster level 1st, Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks – Spell Focus (necromancy) – Caster level 3rd Bard level 1st – Con 13 – Resonance Sniffer, Track, Wis 15 Wis 13 Skill Focus, 10 ranks in selected skill Iron Will, base Will save +8 – Prerequisites Int 10 – Cha 10 Prerequisites Caster level 4th Caster level 6th Prerequisites 1 metamagic feat Caster level 3rd (the more obscure, the higher the DC) and what kind of information might be available depending on where the character is conducting his or her research. Information ranges from general to obscure. Given enough time (usually 1d4 hours) and a successful skill check, the character gets a general idea about a given topic. This assumes that no obvious reasons exist why such information would be unavailable, and that the character has a way to acquire any hidden information. The higher the check result, the better and more complete the information. If the character wants to discover a speciﬁc fact, date, map, or similar bit of information, add +5 to +15 to the DC. Time: A Research check takes 1d4 hours. Retry: Yes. 52
Research (Int; Trained Only)
Given enough time, you can gather information from a variety of esoteric sources to make an educated response about a given topic. Research is a heavily practiced skill for all types of spellcasters, however only the Wizards’ Cabal and the great colleges and academies of Blackmoor have brought this skill to the forefront of the adventuring world. This skill was once only the province of bookish librarians and the scribes and sages that chronicle the passing history of Blackmoor. Now, with the help of the Cabal, this skill is seeing more active use in the ﬁeld, as operatives are sent across the face of the known world to seek out hard to ﬁnd information and venerable secrets in ancient barrows and enemy strongholds. Check: Researching a topic takes time, skill, and some luck. The GM determines how obscure a particular topic is
The PHB presents a variety of feats that can be used as a baseline for characters. This chapter offers new feats and options intended for Wizards’ Cabal characters, though any character that meets the prerequisites can acquire these feats.
Special: You can gain Arcana Resistance multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take this feat, it applies to a new school of magic.
You pay closer attention to the details of an area and the mannerisms of people around you. Beneﬁt: You gain a +2 bonus on all Investigation and Sense Motive checks. Special: The Investigation skill cannot be used untrained.
Some feats are listed as “Initial” and may be taken only when the character begins play. They represent background and heritage, and as such cannot be gained after play begins.
ARCANA RESISTANCE [GENERAL]
Choose one school of magic; you have a higher resistance to spells from that school of magic. Prerequisites: Caster level 1st, Knowledge (arcana) 4 ranks. Beneﬁt: You gain a +2 bonus to all saving throws against spells and spell-like abilities of the chosen school of magic (such as Evocation, Illusion, or Necromancy). This resistance does not extend to extraordinary or supernatural abilities that may reproduce effects of spells from your chosen school.
ATTUNE SPELL FOCUS [ITEM CREATION]
You can make acquired arcane spell foci your own. Prerequisites: Caster level 4th. Beneﬁt: Make a Spellcraft check (DC 25 + the highest spell’s level in the target focus) when you acquire an arcane spell focus that was not speciﬁcally created for you. If successful, you are able to use this acquired spell focus as you use your own spell focus. If this check fails, you are not able to reattempt to master the secrets of this new arcane spell focus until you have gained another level.
AUGMENT UNDEAD [GENERAL]
Undead you create are more powerful than normal. Prerequisites: Spell Focus (necromancy). Beneﬁt: Each undead creature you create using animate dead, create undead, and create greater undead gains a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and a +2 enhancement bonus to Fortitude saves for the duration of the spell that created it.
vigor. You can cast this spell up to three times per day as a spell-like ability. Special: You may only take this feat as a 1st-level character.
CABAL TRAINING [INITIAL]
You have access to arcane skills due to your education from the Cabal. Beneﬁt: The character gains the following skills as permanent class skills: Concentration, Craft (alchemy), Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device. This feat does not in and of itself grant spellcasting ability. Special: You may only take this feat as a 1st-level character.
You are exceptionally good working with your hands. Beneﬁt: Pick two Craft skills. You get a +2 bonus on all checks with those skills. Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time you take this feat, it applies to a new set of Craft skills.
CABAL HERITAGE [INITIAL]
Your bloodline is infused with the magic of the Wizards’ Cabal causing you to have the ability to cast a few cantrips naturally. Prerequisite: Intelligence 11. Beneﬁt: You may select one of the following 0-level arcane spells: breeze, daze, detect magic, mage hand, or 54
COOPERATIVE MAGIC [GENERAL]
You have the ability to cast cooperative spells in a group. Prerequisite: Caster level 3rd. Beneﬁt: You are now allowed to take part in cooperative magic conjunctions as a casting member. For more information about casting cooperative magic and magic conjunctions, please refer to Cooperative Magic in Chapter 5.
CRAFT SPELL FOCUS [ITEM CREATION]
You can construct an arcane spell focus from proper materials. Prerequisites: Caster level 6th. Beneﬁt: You can create any arcane spell focus whose prerequisites you meet. Crafting a spell focus takes one day for each 1,000 gp in its base price. To craft a rod, you must spend 1/25 of its base price in XP and use up raw materials costing onehalf of its base price. Some arcane foci incur extra costs in material components or XP, as noted in their descriptions. These costs are in addition to those derived from the base price of the spell focus. Refer to the Spell Foci section in Chapter 5 for more information about crafting an arcane spell focus and what other abilities can be added into foci.
Beneﬁt: Choose two 0-level arcane spells from the wizard or sorcerer spell lists. You may cast each of these spells once per day. You are treated as a sorcerer for purposes of arcane spell failure chance when you are wearing armor. Special: You may only take this feat as a 1st-level character.
RAPID METABOLISM [GENERAL]
Your wounds heal rapidly. Prerequisite: Con 13. Beneﬁt: You naturally heal a number of hit points per day equal to the standard healing rate + double your Constitution bonus. You heal even if you do not rest. This healing replaces your normal natural healing. If someone with the Heal skill tends you successfully, you instead regain double the normal amount of hit points + double your Constitution bonus.
FOCI CASTING [GENERAL]
You can utilize and prepare spells from arcane spell foci as a wizard or arcane warrior does. Prerequisites: Bard level 1st. Beneﬁt: You are allowed to store and prepare spells by utilizing arcane spell foci, as a wizard does. You are allowed to prepare spells in advance by studying your spells for a minimum of one hour with your arcane focus. This uses up your spells per day slots (as given on the bard table in the PHB) just as a wizard uses his spells per day slots. This feat does not allow you to know more spells than you are allowed, or to cast more spells per day than you are allowed, though you can store your spells in your arcane spell focus and utilize all advantages of casting arcane magic with an arcane spell focus.
REPEAT SPELL [METAMAGIC]
A spell you just cast is recast. Prerequisites: Any other metamagic feat. Beneﬁt: A repeated spell is automatically cast again at the beginning of your next round of actions. No matter where you are, the secondary spell originates from the same location and affects the same area as the primary spell. If the repeated spell designates a target, the secondary spell retargets the same target if the target is within 30 feet of its original position; otherwise the secondary spell fails to go off. A repeated spell uses up a spell slot three levels higher than the spell’s actual level. Repeat Spell cannot be used on spells with a range of touch.
You have been trained how to properly research topics. Beneﬁt: You get a +2 bonus on all Investigation checks and Research checks.
You know how to wend your way through the wilderness. Beneﬁt: You get a +2 bonus on all Navigate checks and Survival checks.
RESONANCE HOUND [GENERAL]
You can track spellcasters by their unique spell resonance. Prerequisites: Wis 15, Resonance Sniffer, Track. Beneﬁt: You are able to track a spellcaster of a spell resonance scent you have smelled in the past. To track the spellcaster (or creature that used a spell-like ability) make a Survival check as if you were attempting to track the spell 55
MAGICAL HERITAGE [INITIAL]
You have magical ability in your background or you gained access to magic at a particularly young age. As a result, you have mastered some basic spellcasting. Prerequisite: Charisma 10.
resonance. You must make another Survival check each time the resonance becomes difﬁcult to follow. You move at half your normal speed (or at your normal speed with a –5 penalty on the check, or up to twice your normal speed with a –20 penalty on the check). The DC depends on the wind speed, as given on the table below. Several modiﬁers may apply to the Survival check, as given on the table below.
(Evocation, Necromancy, Transmutation, etc.). Once this information is attained, you can make a normal Spellcraft check to discover what kind of spell or spell-like ability was used.
SIGNATURE SPELL [METAMAGIC]
You can channel spell energy from a known spell to a spell you have mastered. Prerequisite: Caster level 3rd. Beneﬁt: You can channel stored spell energy into the spell chosen that was not prepared ahead of time. You can “lose” any prepared spell that is not a domain spell in order to cast the spell you have chosen as your Signature Spell of the same spell level or lower. For example, a wizard who has prepared identify (a 1st-level spell) may lose identify in order to cast his Signature Spell of magic missile (also a 1stlevel spell). Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Its effects do not stack. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new spell.
The character must roll an opposed Survival check against the target’s Hide The character must roll an opposed Survival check against the target’s Hide
check to hide its spell resonance.
check to change its spell resonance.
Condition Every 24 hours since the scent was picked up Tracked creature passes through an area of wild magic Tracked creature passes through an area of antimagic
Survival DC Modiﬁer +2 +10 +15
SKILL SPECIALIZATION [GENERAL]
You have become highly specialized in a skill that you previously had studied. Prerequisite: Skill Focus, 10 or more ranks in selected skill. Beneﬁt: You get a +6 bonus on all checks involving that skill. This beneﬁt replaces the +3 bonus from Skill Focus. Special: You may gain this feat multiple times. Each time you take the feat, it applies to a new skill.
Tracked creature attempts to hide its reso- Opposed nance check 1 Tracked creature attempts to change its Opposed resonance check 2 Tracked creature enters a center of civilization (such as a village or city) For every two spellcasters in one group being tracked +5 -1
STEEL MIND [GENERAL]
Your mind is a bastion against mental intrusion. Prerequisite: Iron Will, base Will save +8. Beneﬁt: You are not affected by spells or abilities that read your thoughts. Spells, such as detect thoughts, will automatically fail against you.
If you fail a Survival check, you may retry after 1 hour (outdoors) or 10 minutes (indoors) of searching. Special: This feat does not allow you to ﬁnd or follow the spell resonance made by a subject of a nondetection spell or effect.
RESONANCE SNIFFER [GENERAL]
You can “smell” the residue left by magic and recognize spells and spellcasters by this “scent”. Prerequisites: Wis 13. Beneﬁt: To you, locations where arcane spells have been cast are permeated with a unique smell. The rules governing spell resonance can be found in Chapter 5. Characters with the Scent ability (such as Westryn elves) can store the memory of this smell and recall it later when meeting spellcasters. By making a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell level + the caster level of the spell) you can recognize the relative caster level (1st to 4th level is low, 5th to 8th level is moderately low, 9th to 12th level is moderate, 13th to 16th level is moderately powerful, and higher than 17th level is powerful), and the school the spell comes from
Your research has granted you an insight into esoteric information. Beneﬁt: You get a +2 bonus on all Decipher Script checks and Research checks.
Chapter 5: Building a Better Cabal
The Wizards’ Cabal is not just a group of power-hungry wizards; from the lowest stable boy to the most powerful High Spellwise, they are explorers on the leading edge of the magical frontier and curious seekers of knowledge. This chapter discusses many of the Cabal’s new ﬁndings and accomplishments. The Wizards’ Cabal is interested in many other areas of study beyond those described here (especially the combination of divine and arcane magic and the recent discovery of spell-like mental powers). If a new series of rules from other campaign worlds or other sourcebooks has the opportunity of making their way into your Blackmoor campaign, this would be a good outlet for that information. However, discuss with the GM before introducing new rules into an established campaign to determine game balance, accessibility, and long-term effects the new rules may have on game play All Wizards’ Cabal characters who know how to utilize an arcane spell focus have the option of casting spells using the spell point system provided here. The ﬁrst step in determining the inner strength (spell points) of one of these spellcasters is based on the character’s level and class. The most common spell point casters are arcane warriors, Cabal bards, and wizards; however, a small handful of non-aligned bards and wizards, sorcerers, and wokan have also learned the secrets of casting arcane spells through an arcane spell focus, though this is a rare occurrence and is left up to the GM. Refer to Table 5-1: Base Spell Points for Arcane Spellcasters to determine the number of base starting spell points for the character. Though sorcerers and wokan do not generally cast spells using this spell point system, a few rare individuals have learned how and thus those character classes have been added to the above table. This section will not concentrate any further on these character classes, so apply any of the following rules below by using the examples given and working with the GM.
The Wizards’ Cabal has an unusual breed of arcane spellcaster. They formally study the ways of wizards and how to interpret written works and arcane spell foci, as all wizards in the Wizards’ Cabal do. Except, they use an inner battery of arcane power that they channel through the spell helixes within the arcane spell foci to create spell effects, whereas typical wizards use external repositories of arcane energy (material components and arcane writings) to fuel their spellcasting. Casting a spell in this fashion can be very taxing. He channels all of his concentration into a singular goal, summons the required energy, and skillfully channels that energy through his focus. This is physically and mentally demanding on the character and requires a great deal of fortitude on his part. This section discusses how to channel arcane energy (or spell points) into successfully cast arcane spells. We discuss the acquisition of spell points, how spell points are recovered, how characters cast their spells using Spellcraft checks, the spell point costs for spells, augmenting spells (applying metamagic feats in the spell point system), and overcasting (sacriﬁcing the character’s physical health for additional spell points). Base Spell Points
Bonus Spell Points
The ability that your spells depend on—your key spellcasting ability score as an arcane spellcaster—is either Intelligence (arcane warriors and wizards) or Charisma (bards and sorcerors). The modiﬁer for this ability is referred to as your key spellcasting ability modiﬁer. If your character’s key spellcasting ability score is 9 or lower, you cannot cast spells from that arcane spellcasting class. Just as a high Intelligence score grants bonus spells to a wizard and a high Wisdom score grants bonus spells to a cleric, characters that cast spells using spell points gain bonus spell points according to their key spellcasting ability score. Refer to Table 5-2: Bonus Spell Points for High Ability Scores.
Table 5-1: Base Spell Points for Arcane Spellcasters Arcane Warrior Bard Sorcerer Spell Spell Spell Spell Spell Spell Level Level Points Level Points Level Points 1st – – 0 2 1st 8 2nd – – 1st 3 1st 10 3rd – – 1st 4 1st 11 4th 1st 0* 2nd 5 2nd 18 5th 1st 0* 2nd 8 2nd 20 6th 1st 1 2nd 10 3rd 31 7th 1st 1 3rd 10 3rd 36 8th 2nd 1 3rd 15 4th 51 9th 2nd 1 3rd 18 4th 58 10th 2nd 3 4th 18 5th 77 11th 3rd 3 4th 25 5th 86 12th 3rd 6 4th 29 6th 109 13th 3rd 6 5th 29 6th 120 14th 4th 7 5th 39 7th 147 15th 4th 11 5th 45 7th 160 16th 4th 13 6th 47 8th 191 17th 4th 16 6th 61 8th 206 18th 4th 17 6th 71 9th 241 19th 4th 26 7th 82 9th 258 20th 4th 30 7th 88 9th 276
Wizard Spell Spell Level Points 1st 4 1st 6 2nd 8 2nd 11 3rd 14 3rd 19 4th 24 4th 31 5th 38 5th 47 6th 56 6th 67 7th 78 7th 91 8th 104 8th 119 9th 134 9th 151 9th 167 9th 184
Spell Level 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 3rd 3rd 4th 4th 5th 5th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th 6th
Wokan Spell Points 4 6 8 12 15 20 26 33 38 49 55 69 69 79 80 85 87 93 96 96
* The only spell points the arcane warrior gains at this level are bonus spell points from having a high Intelligence score. An arcane warrior withvout an Intelligence modiﬁer to his base spell points will not be able to cast spells yet. Spell Level: This column shows the maximum effective spell level the character can cast. Characters that are attempting to cast spells above this level is subject to the rules governing overcastting (see below). Spell Points: This is the base number of spell points for each arcane spellcaster base class that can be found in Blackmoor. Bonus spell points from having a high primary spellcasting ability score further modify this number.
To cast a spell, characters using the spell point system are required to have four things: sufﬁcient spellcasting proﬁciency, spell points, a successful Spellcraft check, and an arcane spell focus. To determine if a character is successful in casting a spell, follow these steps: Step 1–Determine the Character’s Spellcasting Proﬁciency: To determine the character’s spellcasting proﬁciency level (the maximum spell level the character can cast), refer to the Spell Level column on Table 5-1: Base Spell Points for Arcane Spellcasters. This determines the maximum spell level the character can cast. Metamagic feats that raise the effective spell level of spells must still be within the limit of the character’s spellcasting proﬁciency, or the character becomes subject to the rules governing overcasting (see below). Example–Fearengale is a 7th-level wizard. He is attempting to cast an enlarged ﬁreball. Referring to the Spell Level column on Table 5-1: Base Spell Points for Arcane Spellcasters, he discovers that he can cast up to a 4th-level 58
spell. This is just enough for his spell (ﬁreball is a 3rd-level spell + 1 spell level for the Enlarge Spell feat). Step 2–Determine the Spell’s Spell Points: Combine results from Table 5-1 and Table 5-2 to determine your base spell point pool. Characters use this pool of arcane energy in concert with their spell focus to create spell effects. Depending on the spell level you are attempting and the type of your arcane spell focus you will use a number of these spell points. Table 5-3: Spell Point Costs/Spellcraft DCs by Spell Foci show the base spell point cost at each spell level by arcane spell focus type. The base spell point cost can then be further adjusted by using metamagic feats (which the character chooses to use at the time of casting the spell, as a sorcerer does), and the type, distance, and material his arcane spell focus is made from. The ﬁnal number of spell points it takes to cast a spell is then tallied. Example–Fearengale has an 18 Intelligence score (giving him a total of 29 spell points) and a novice’s spell focus. He is attempting to cast an enlarged ﬁreball at a group of beastmen that are bearing down on his party. The player determines that the enlarged ﬁreball requires 4 spell
Table 5-2: Bonus Spell Points for High Ability Scores Ability Score 10-11 12-13 14-15 16-17 18-19 20-21 22-23 24-25 26-27 28-29 30-31 32-33 34-35 36-37 38-39 40-41 42-43 44-45 Etc. points (3 spell points for a 3rd-level spell + 1 spell point for the Enlarge Spell feat). Step 3–Determine the Spellcraft DC: In addition to spending spell points, characters are also required to make a successful Spellcraft check to cast their spells. The base Spellcraft DC for each spell level is given on Table 5-3: Spell Point Costs/Spellcraft DCs by Spell Foci. This base DC can be further modiﬁed by using metamagic feats and the particular attributes of his spell focus. The ﬁnal Spellcraft check DC is then calculated after adding in all of these variables and the player makes a skill check. If the Spellcraft check is a failure, the spellcasting attempt was a failure and the character spends one-half the total number of spell points it would have cost to cast the spell. Just as with attack rolls, there can be critical successes and failures with this kind of spellcasting. Rolling a natural 1 on a d20 always results in failure to cast the spell, as rolling a natural 20 on will always result in a success, no matter what the spell’s Spellcraft DC may be. However, rolling a critical success or a critical failure (determined the same way as determining critical hits for attack rolls, replacing Armor Class with the Spellcraft check’s DC) has additional modiﬁers. A critical failure means the character spends double the number of spell points he would have had to spend to cast the spell and gets no spell effect (he failed to cast, as if he had failed to succeed at a Concentration check (see below)). A critical success allows the character to spend only one-half the required spell point cost for the spell effect and the spell effect is more spectacular (in the case of damaging spells, the standard damage critical is x2). Example–Fearengale is casting his enlarged ﬁreball at the beastmen. He determines that he has a Spellcraft check DC 25 to successfully cast (DC 20 for a 3rd-level spell + 5 to the check DC for the Enlarge Spell feat). Step 4–Casting Through the Arcane Spell Focus: The character now knows how much the spell is going to cost in spell points and what DC he needs to beat with his Spellcraft check. All that is left to do is spend the points and roll the dice to force the raw magical energy from him, through his arcane spell focus, and create his spell effect. Depending on the type, distance from his focus, and the material the spell focus is made from may augment the cabalist’s spell point cost and/or the Spellcraft DC. Example–Fearengale is ready to cast his enlarged ﬁreball. He concentrates on the energy as it ﬂows through the spell helixes in his arcane spell focus (a novice’s focus made of diamond that he is holding in his hand). He spends his 4 59 Bonus Spell Points by Class Level 1 2 – – 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 3 – 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 4 – 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 5 – 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 6 – 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 7 – 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 8 – 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 9 – 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 11 12 – 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 – 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 – 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 13 – 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 14 – 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 15 – 8 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 – 8 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 – 9 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 18 – 9 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 17 19 – 10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 17 18 20 – 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14 15 15 16 16 17 17 18 18
10 10 11
10 10 11 11
10 10 11 11 12
10 10 11 11 12 12
10 10 11 11 12 12 13
10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13
10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14
10 10 11 11 12 12 13 13 14 14
Table 5-3: Spell Point Costs/Spellcraft DCs by Spell Foci Spell Point Cost/Spellcraft DC by Spell Level Focus Type Novice’s focus Initiate’s focus Wizard’s focus Magister’s focus Supreme focus 0 1/10 1/8 1/5 1/3 1/2 1 1/15 1/10 1/8 1/5 1/3 2 2/18 2/15 2/10 2/8 2/5 3 3/20 3/18 3/15 3/10 3/8 4 4/23 4/20 4/18 4/15 4/10 5 5/25 5/23 5/20 5/18 5/15 6 6/28 6/25 6/23 6/20 6/18 7 7/30 7/28 7/25 7/23 7/20 8 8/33 8/30 8/28 8/25 8/23 9 9/35 9/33 9/30 9/28 9/25
spell points and rolls a total of a 31 for his Spellcraft check (10 (ranks in Spellcraft) + 4 (Int modiﬁer) + 17 (die roll)). His enlarged ﬁreball successfully ﬂies free from him to strike at the group of beastmen, at which point he rolls damage for the ﬁreball and the beastmen attempt to make their DC 17 Reﬂex saves for half, normally.
As a character’s knowledge of arcana grows, he can learn to cast spells in ways slightly different from how the spells were originally designed or learned. Of course, casting a spell while using a metamagic feat is more expensive than casting the spell normally. Table 5-4: Metamagic Feat Modiﬁers Minimum Spell Spell Point Spellcraft Level Cost DC Available Modiﬁer Modiﬁer 1st 2nd 0 1st 1st See below 3rd 6th 4th 2nd 3rd 0 1st 1st 0 3rd +1 +2 +0 +1 +1 See below +3 +6 +4 +2 +3 +0 +1 +1 +0 +3 +5 +8 +0 +5 +5 See below +10 +18 +13 +8 +10 +0 +5 +5 +0 +10 60
Metamagic Feat Disguise Spell Empower Spell Energy Substitution Enlarge Spell Extend Spell Heighten Spell Maximize Spell Persistent Spell Quicken Spell Reach Spell Repeat Spell Signature Spell Silent Spell Still Spell Subdual Substitution Widen Spell
Characters choose spells as they cast them. They can choose when they cast their spells whether to apply their metamagic feats to improve them. As with other spellcasters, the improved spell uses up a higher-level spell slot (the metamagic spell must be equal to or lower than a spell level the character can typically cast or suffer from overcasting). But because the character has not prepared the spell in a metamagic form in advance, he must apply the metamagic feat on the spot. Therefore, additional conditions must be met for the character to cast his metamagic spells. Casting Time: A character must take more time to cast a metamagic spell (one enhanced by a metamagic feat) than he does to cast a regular spell. If the spell’s normal casting time is 1 standard action, casting a metamagic version is a full-round action for the character. For a spell with a longer casting time, it takes an extra full-round action to cast the spell above and beyond the normal casting time. Casting Cost: To use a metamagic feat, a character must pay an increased spell point cost and modify the spell’s Spellcraft DC as given on Table 5-4: Metamagic Feat Modiﬁers. Effects of Metamagic Feats on a Spell: In all ways, a metamagic spell operates at its original spell level, even though it costs additional spell points. The modiﬁcations to a spell made by a metamagic feat have only their noted effect on the spell. A character cannot use a metamagic feat to alter a spell being cast from a scroll, spell shard, or other device. Casting a spell modiﬁed by the Quicken Spell feat does not provoke attacks of opportunity. Some metamagic feats apply only to certain spells, as described in each speciﬁc feat entry.
Depending on the type of arcane spell focus, the distance the cabalist is away from his focus, and the material the focus is made from (for specialist cabalists) determines how the cabalist’s spell is modiﬁed. Table 5-5: Cabalist Spell Foci
Table 5-5: Cabalist Spell Foci Modiﬁers Spell Point Cost Arcane Spell Foci Situation Modiﬁer Distance From Focus Touch 1 foot to 5 feet 6 feet to 10 feet 11 feet to 15 feet 16 to 30 feet Greater than 30 feet Focus Material Amethyst (Enchantment) Diamond (Universal/All) Emerald (Evocation) Heliodor (Transmutation) Obsidian or schorl (Necromancy) Opal (Abjuration) Ruby (Conjuration) Topaz (Divination) Turquoise (Illusion) -1/+1 +0 -1/+1 -1/+1 -1/+1 -1/+1 -1/+1 -1/+1 -1/+1 -5/+5 +0 -5/+5 -5/+5 -5/+5 -5/+5 -5/+5 -5/+5 -5/+5 +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 N/A +0 +5 +8 +10 +13 N/A Spellcraft DC Modiﬁer
To cast a spell, you must concentrate. If something threatens to interrupt your concentration while you’re casting a spell, you must succeed on a Concentration check or lose the spell points without casting the spell. The more distracting the interruption and the higher the level of the spell that you are trying to cast, the higher the DC (higher-level spells require more control of the spell energies). Injury: Getting hurt or being affected by hostile spells while trying to cast a spell can break your concentration and ruin a spell. If you take damage while trying to cast a spell, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + points of damage taken + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast). The interrupting event strikes during casting if it occurs between when you start and when you complete casting a spell (for a spell with a casting time of 1 round or longer) or if it comes in response to your casting the spell (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the casting of the spell or a contingent attack from a readied action). If you are taking continuous damage half the damage is considered to take place while you are casting a spell. You must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast). If the last damage dealt was the last damage that the effect could deal then the damage is over, and it does not distract you. Repeated damage does not count as continuous damage. Spell: If you are affected by a spell while attempting to cast a spell of your own, you must make a Concentration check or lose the spell points for the spell you are casting. If the spell affecting you deals damage, the Concentration DC is 10 + points of damage + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast. If the spell interferes with you or distracts you in some other way, the Concentration DC is the spell’s save DC + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast. For a spell with no saving throw, it is the DC that the spell’s saving throw would have if a save were allowed. Grappling or Pinned: To cast a spell while grappling or pinned, you must make a Concentration check (DC 20 + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast) or lose the spell points and the spell. Vigorous Motion: If you are riding on a moving mount, taking a bouncy ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rough water, below decks in a storm-tossed ship, or simply being jostled in a similar fashion, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast) or lose the spell points and the spell. Violent Motion: If you are on a galloping horse, taking a very rough ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rapids or in a storm, on deck in a storm-tossed ship, or being tossed roughly about in a similar fashion, you must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast) or lose the spell points and the spell. 61
Modiﬁers below shows the spell point and Spellcraft check DC modiﬁers for a variety of situations. Distance From Focus: If a cabalist is greater than 30 feet from his focus when attempting to cast a spell, he not able to focus his spell points into the spell effect. Thusly, his spell fails with no expenditure of spell points. Focus Material: Only specialist cabalists need worry what kind of material their focus is made from. In the case of generalist cabalists, any arcane spell focus material provides a +0/+0 spell point/Spellcraft modiﬁer to their casting ability. However, specialists receive a –1/-5 spell point/Spellcraft bonus for spells cast from their school of specialty when using the appropriate focus. (Note: The minimum spell point cost is 1.) They also receive a +1/+5 spell point/ Spellcraft penalty to opposition schools when casting spells through their specialty focus. All other schools of magic are cast with a +0/+0 modiﬁer.
Violent Weather: If you are in a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet, the DC is 5 + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast. If you are in wind-driven hail, dust, or debris, the DC is 10 + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast. In either case, you lose the spell points and the spell if you fail the Concentration check. If the weather is caused by a spell, use the rules in the Spell subsection above. Casting Spells on the Defensive: If you want to cast a spell without provoking attacks of opportunity, you need to dodge and weave. You must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the spell you are attempting to cast)
to succeed. You lose the spell points without successfully casting if you fail. Entangled: If you want to cast a spell while entangled in a net or while affected by a spell with similar effects you must make a DC 15 Concentration check to cast the spell. You lose the spell points and the spell if you fail.
When a cabalist runs out of spell points, he is not necessarily unable to continue casting spells. Cabalists have been trained since their inception to have the ability to “overcast” (continue to cast spells even after all of their spell points have been expended). Consequences for overcasting
Table 5-6: Overcasttng Effectiveness Constitution Points Spent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ 1 Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 NE 2 Normal Normal Normal 1/2 1/2 1/2 NE NE NE Mishap 3 Normal 1/2 1/2 1/2 1/2 NE NE NE Mishap Mishap 62 d6 Result 4 1/2 1/2 NE NE NE NE Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap 5 1/2 1/2 NE NE NE Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap 6 1/2 NE Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap Mishap
Table 5-7: Overcasting Strain Constitution Points Spent 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10+ 1 NE NE NE NE Faint (1) Faint (2) Faint (3) Uncon (1) Uncon (2) Uncon (3) 2 NE NE Faint (1) Faint (2) Faint (3) Uncon (1) Uncon (2) Uncon (3) Feeble (1) Feeble (2) 3 NE Faint (2) Faint (3) Uncon (1) Uncon (2) Uncon (3) Feeble (1) Feeble (2) Feeble (3) Crippled (1) d6 Result 4 NE Uncon (1) Uncon (2) Uncon (3) Feeble (1) Feeble (2) Feeble (3) Crippled (2) Crippled (3) Crippled (4) 5 NE Uncon (2) Uncon (3) Feeble (1) Feeble (2) Feeble (3) Crippled (3) Crippled (4) Crippled (5) Death 6 Uncon (2) Uncon (3) Feeble (1) Feeble (2) Feeble (3) Crippled (4) Crippled (5) Crippled (6) Death Death
are severe and only the hardiest (or those in the worst peril) would ever consider overcasting. When times are dire, the cabalist may exceed his normal number of spell points by sacriﬁcing temporary points of his Constitution ability score. The cabalist converts 1 point of Constitution to 1 spell point, focusing this cannibalized energy through his arcane spell focus as he would normal spell points. However, he is not able to cast metamagic spells in this way (the strain of metamagic is too great a strain to overcast). In addition, the cabalist can never spend a total number of Constitution points that would be greater than his current total. A cabalist that reaches a temporary Constitution score of 0 immediately goes unconscious (refer to Constitution damage in the DMG for more information about this condition). Once the number of temporary Constitution points has been spent and the spell is cast (using the usual Spellcraft check), roll a d6 and consult Table 5-6: Overcasting Effectiveness. Once the spell has been resolved, roll another d6 and consult Table 5-7: Overcasting Strain to determine the physical effect the overcast spell has had on the cabalist. Overcasting effectiveness and overcasting strain results are cumulative. Constitution ability points lost to this type of damage return at a rate of 1 point per day for each point of Constitution spent.
Mishap: The cabalist becomes the target of the spell (no save). This could work out in the cabalist’s favor, though damaging spells or spells with no effectiveness against creatures of the cabalist’s type may play havoc with the cabalist and his party.
Overcasting Strain Results
Once you have a strain result, refer here for the description of the effect. NE: The cabalist suffers no adverse effects. Faint #: The cabalist faints and will recover in a number of rounds equal to the # given. Uncon #: The cabalist falls unconscious for a number of minutes equal to the # given. Feeble #: The cabalist is under the effects of a feeblemind spell for a number of minutes equal to the # given x 10. Crippled #: The cabalist permanently loses a number of Constitution points equal to the given in parentheses. These lost points cannot be recovered by any means short of a restoration, limited wish, miracle, or wish spell. Death: The cabalist is allowed a Fortitude save (DC equal to 10 + the number of Constitution points spent). If this save fails, the cabalist dies.
Overcasting Effectiveness Results
Once you have an effectiveness result, refer here for the description of the effect. Normal: The cabalist’s spell functions normally. 1/2: The cabalist’s spell functions at only one-half of his caster level. NE: The Constitution points have been spent, but the spell fails to take effect.
Rituals function like spells, except a character need not be a spellcaster to cast them. Anyone can cast a ritual simply by performing the correct ceremonial gestures and phrases. Rituals don’t use spell slots, so they don’t have to be prepared ahead of time, and there’s no limit on the number of times one can cast a ritual per day. Since they do not use up spell slots, rituals cannot be improved using metamagic feats. Finally, rituals generally have more powerful, farreaching effects than even 5th-level spells. 63
There is, of course, a catch. Rituals take much longer to cast than normal spells. Success with a ritual is never assured, and the consequences for failure can be dramatic. The most powerful rituals can require rituals involving multiple participants, strange or expensive material components, or other aspects that make them difﬁcult to cast.
The instructions for performing rituals are generally found in various obscure tomes. Such books are ﬁlled with “magic spells,” and most of them are utterly bogus. But hidden among the dross is the real stuff, and discerning whether a ritual found in a book will actually work is a matter for experts in arcana. Finding a set of instructions for a particular ritual requires a successful Research check with a DC equal to the Knowledge (arcana) DC for the ritual. Just learning of the existence of a particular ritual is an easier Research check, with a DC equal to the Knowledge (arcana) DC 5.
edge (arcana) check doesn’t mean that the entire ritual is a failure, just that the previous 10 minutes have been wasted. However, if you fail two Knowledge (arcana) checks in a row, the ritual immediately fails. The consequences for failure are detailed in the description of the speciﬁc ritual. Even if the ritual fails, material components and experience points are still lost and the backlash still takes effect. Ritual Components Most rituals require components including verbal, somatic, focus, and material components. In addition, some require secondary casters , cause some sort of backlash, or cost the caster some experience points.
Some rituals require multiple participants to cast successfully. These secondary casters (abbreviated SC) are indispensable to the success of the spell. No matter how many people are gathered in the dark room, chanting with candles, only one character is the primary caster who will make the relevant checks. Secondary casters cannot help the primary caster with the Aid Another rule, but their presence is required for certain aspects of the ritual nonetheless. If a ritual requires some other skill check, any of the secondary casters can make that check if desired. Even if you are not a required caster of the spell, you can step in and make the non-Knowledge check if you are better at the relevant skill than the actual caster. 64
Casting a Ritual
At its core, casting a ritual means having the required ritual components, then succeeding at a number of Knowledge (arcana) checks during the ritual’s casting time. Each ritual lists how many Knowledge (arcana) checks are required to cast the ritual successfully. Unless otherwise speciﬁed, the caster makes Knowledge (arcana) checks every 10 minutes. Failing a Knowl-
Some spells damage or drain the caster in some way. They have a backlash component (abbreviated B), generally damage, negative levels, or some other condition. The caster takes the backlash regardless of the success or failure of the spell.
These rituals are powerful and worth more than their fair share of gold and blood. Many agents to organizations that oppose the Cabal desperately wish to get control of many of these potent rituals. Discovery of any of these (or those designed by the GM) should be treated with excitement, awe, and more than enough trepidation to pale even the stoutest warrior’s cheeks.
Saves and Spell Resistance
If the ritual allows a save, the formula to calculate it is included in the spell’s description. For checks to overcome spell resistance, divide the ritual’s Knowledge (arcana) DC by 2 to get the effective caster level for the spell resistance check.
Abjuration Skill Check: Knowledge (arcana) DC 35, 10 successes Failure: Two consecutive failed skill checks Components: V, S, SC, XP Casting Time: 100 minutes (minimum) Range: Touch Target: Touched creature or object of 2,000 lb. or less Duration: Permanent Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless, see text) Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless) The subject becomes permanently immune to the following speciﬁc spells, effects, and spell-like abilities: entangle, hold, imprisonment, paralysis, petriﬁcation, sleep, slow, stunning, temporal stasis, and web. An unwilling target of this ritual is allowed a Will save (DC equals the caster’s level + Int modiﬁer + 15) to negate its effects. XP Cost: 10,000 XP. Secondary Casters: 10 required (not including the primary caster). Each secondary caster must also expend 2,000 XP each into the casting of this spell. Failure: Mirrorcast. The target of this spell instead becomes more susceptible to the spells, effects, and spelllike abilities listed above. All saves and spell resistance against these gains a –5 penalty, permanently.
Each ritual has its own consequences for failure (two failed skill checks in a row). In general, they can be divided into the following categories. Attack: A creature is called from elsewhere to battle the caster (and often any bystanders and secondary casters). The ritual’s description tells the GM what CR the creature should have, how it behaves, and how long it persists. Augment: The ritual was supposed to weaken or destroy its target, but it makes it more powerful instead. A damaging spell might heal its target or cause it to grow in size, for example. Damage: The simplest consequence of failure, damage is dealt to the caster or the target, depending on the ritual. Death: Someone—usually the caster or the target— dies. Depending on the ritual, a successful saving throw may avoid the effect of failure. Delusion: The caster believes the ritual had the desired effect, but in fact it had no effect or a very different one. Falsehood: Common with divinations, the ritual delivers false results to the caster, but the caster believes the results are true. Whenever a character attempts a ritual with a chance of falsehood failure, the GM should make the relevant die rolls in secret. Hostile Spell: The caster of the ritual is targeted by a harmful spell or ritual. The spell description speciﬁes the speciﬁc spell or ritual, save DC, and so on. Mirrorcast: The spell has the opposite effect of that intended. Reversal: The spell targets the caster, rather than the intended target of the ritual.
Nailed to the Sky
Conjuration [Teleportation] Skill Check: Knowledge (arcana) DC 33, 6 successes Failure: Two consecutive failed skill checks Components: V, S, XP Casting Time: 60 minutes (minimum) Range: 300 ft. Target: Creature or object weighing up to 1,000 lb. Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Will negates (see text) Spell Resistance: Yes Nailed to the sky actually places the target so far from the surface of the world and at such a speed that it keeps missing the surface as it falls back, so it enters an eternal orbit. Unless the target can magically ﬂy or has some other form of non-physical propulsion available, the target is stuck until someone or something rescues it. 65
Below are a few of the rituals that can be found in Blackmoor. Most of these rituals reside in dusty tomes hidden in the deepest recesses of the arcane and occult libraries of the Wizard’s Cabal. Skelfer Ard was said to have devised many of these rituals during his studies to discover the true sources of magic.
Even if the target can ﬂy, the surface is 2 to 4 hours away, assuming a ﬂy spell, which allows a maximum speed of 720 feet per round while descending. The target may not survive that long. Depending on the world where nailed to the sky is cast, conditions so far from its surface may be deadly. Deleterious effects include scorching heat, cold, and vacuum. Targets subject to these conditions take 2d6 points of damage each from heat or cold and 1d4 points of damage from the vacuum each round. The target immediately begins to suffocate. The target of this ritual is allowed a Will save (DC equals the caster’s level + Int modiﬁer + 15) to negate its effects. XP Cost: 1,000 XP. Failure: Reversal. The caster of the failed ritual becomes the target.
Rain of Fire
Evocation [Fire] Skill Check: Knowledge (arcana) DC 35, 6 successes Failure: Two consecutive failed skill checks Components: V, S. XP Casting Time: 60 minutes (minimum) Range: 0 ft. Area: 2-mile-radius emanation Duration: 20 hours Saving Throw: Reﬂex negates (see text) Spell Resistance: Yes This spell summons a swirling thunderstorm that rains ﬁre rather than raindrops down on the character and everything within a two-mile radius of him or her. Everything caught unprotected or unsheltered in the ﬂaming deluge takes 1 point of ﬁre damage each round. A successful Reﬂex save (DC equals the caster’s level + Int modiﬁer + 15) results in no damage, but the save must be repeated each round. Unless the ground is exceedingly damp, all vegetation is eventually blackened and destroyed, leaving behind a barren wasteland similar to the aftermath of a grass or forest ﬁre. The ﬁery storm is stationary and persists even if the caster leaves. XP Cost: 2,000 XP. Failure: Delusion. The caster sees the rain of ﬁre begin, however this is only a powerful illusion that affects only the caster (no save).
Conjuration, Necromancy Skill Check: Knowledge (arcana) DC 40, 6 successes and Heal DC 35, 1 success Failure: Two consecutive failed skill checks Components: V, S, SC, XP Casting Time: 70 minutes (minimum) Range: 0 ft. Area: 1,000-ft.-radius hemisphere Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Fortitude negates (see text) Spell Resistance: Yes When pestilence is successfully cast, a wave of illness radiates outward from the site of the ritual, instantly infecting every living thing in the area with the debilitating disease known as slimy doom. Within 24 hours, everything in the area begins to show signs of rot and decay. Each day that a victim fails a Fortitude save (DC equals the caster’s level + Int modiﬁer + 5 per secondary caster + 10), it takes 1d4 points of temporary Constitution damage. If the victim then fails a second save, 1 point of that damage is permanent drain. If the victim succeeds at the ﬁrst saving throw of the day on three consecutive days, he or she has recovered from the disease. This magical form of the disease is not contagious and will not spread beyond those initially infected. Fruits and vegetables infected with slimy doom are unﬁt for consumption, as are disease-ridden livestock. XP Cost: 10,000 XP. Secondary Casters: 2 required (not including the primary caster). Each secondary caster must also expend 2,000 XP each into the casting of this spell. Failure: Death. The primary and all secondary casters must make a Fortitude save (DC equals the primary caster’s level + the primary caster’s Int modiﬁer + 5 per secondary caster + 10). If this save fails, the caster dies. Nothing short of a wish or miracle spell will return the caster to life. 66
Spell magic is more effective when performed by a group. One of the obvious reasons is that all participants can infuse their power and prowess into the spell, empowering the spellcasting and allowing more powerful effects to take place. The war wizards of the Wizard’s Cabal, among a few other non-Cabal groups, practice cooperative magic, increasing their effective spellcasting power beyond the sum of the participant’s normal strength.
Cooperative Magic and Arcane Numbers
Numbers and mathematics are one of the cornerstones of both magic and science. In the physical world, one plus one always equals two and is a good way to quantify the universe around us. Numbers also play an important role in magic and help to set the rules for how magic operates within the environment, though the rules for magic are far more ﬂexible than those for science and can be bent to the will of the caster. Certain numbers have innate arcane magical power. Odd numbers (those that cannot be divided by 2) seem to have a relevance to magic, acting as conduits for magical energies to ﬂow into mortal vessels. Prime numbers (those numbers that are divisible only by themselves or by 1) seem
to hold even more strength. In working with magic, the most important numbers are called the Arcane Numbers. These numbers are: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13. The most powerful groups (called Greater Conjunctions) that wield cooperative magic are formed by three, seven, eleven, and thirteen spellcasters. While groups of ﬁve and nine (called Lesser Conjunctions) also hold an abundance of power, their overall power is diminished compared to those of Greater Conjunctions. The Cooperative Magic Number Effects table below provides the bonuses of both Greater and Lesser Conjunctions generated by groups of various sizes (see Casting a Cooperative Magic for enhancement descriptions).
Table 5-8: Cooperative Magic Number Effects Number Leader’s Maximum Cooperative of Effective Caster Magic Participants Level Enhancements 3 5 7 9 11 13 +2 +3 +6 +7 +10 +12 2 1 3 2 4 5
Conducting Cooperative Magic
Working as a group requires coordination and skill as well as power. Most cooperative magic is conducted by forming an inward facing circle called a conjunction. As a closed unit, the conjunction is used to focus and harmonize the power of each individual spellcaster. A member of the conjunction, usually the highest-level spellcaster, becomes the focal point and the Leader of the Conjunction. The basic steps in casting cooperative magic are not unlike regular spell magic. The only changes are the power contributions of the conjunction to the spellcasting process. Only characters with the Cooperative Magic feat or the War College class ability are allowed to take part in cooperative magic conjunctions. Three, ﬁve, and seven member conjunctions are led by the highest-level spellcaster, while conjunctions of nine, eleven, and thirteen members require the Leader of the Conjunction to both be the highest-level spellcaster and of a level at least equal to or greater than the total number of conjunction members + 1 (10th-level minimum for a nine member conjunction, 12th-level minimum for an eleven member conjunction, and 14th-level minimum for a thirteen member conjunction).
the Leader is attempting to cast (example–if the Leader has chosen ﬁreball as the spell he wishes to cast, then each member of the conjunction must sacriﬁce 3 total spell levels from their prepared spells for the day). After two full-round actions, the Leader casts the cooperative spell, augmenting it with any cooperative magic enhancements he wishes to add at the time of casting (see below).
Cooperative Magic Enhancements
At the time of casting, the Leader of a conjunction may choose to enhance the spell being cast by spending a number of Cooperative Magic Enhancement slots (as given in Table 5-7 above) on a given enhancement. Once an enhancement is chosen and the slots are spent, every spell cast will be enhanced in the same way until either the Leader dies or the conjunction stops focusing. Energy Substitution or Subdual Substitution (1 enhancement slot): By spending 1 enhancement slot, the Leader can add the Energy Substitution and/or Subdual Substitution metamagic feats to the spells cast by his conjunction (1 slot for each). Spell Save DC (1 enhancement slot): The Leader can add a +1 bonus per enhancement slot spent to the spell save’s DC up to a maximum of the number of members in his conjunction – 1 (+2 bonus for a 3 member conjunction, +4 bonus for a 5 member conjunction, etc.). Metamagic Feat (2 enhancement slots): By spending 2 enhancement slots, the Leader can add the Empower Spell, Maximize Spell, and/or Heighten Spell metamagic feats to the spells cast by his conjunction (2 slots for each). Rapid Casting (2 enhancement slots): By spending 2 enhancement slots, the Leader can reduce the casting time of his conjunction to 1 full-round action. Penetrating Spell (2 enhancement slots): The Leader can add a +1 bonus per 2 enhancement slots spent for the purposes of overcoming spell resistance with spells cast from his conjunction. Augment Damage (4 enhancement slots): By spending 4 enhancement slots, the Leader can improve the damage 67
Casting a Cooperative Magic Spell
All spellcasters in the conjunction must stand in the inward facing circle no more than 20 feet apart from each other, facing the Leader of the Conjunction who stands in the center. The Leader’s effective caster level for the spell being cast rises by the indicated amount as shown on Table 5-8: Cooperative Magic Number Effects. The Leader’s total effective spellcaster level can never exceed 30th-level, even if the bonus would push him higher (he is just not able to effectively control that much power alone). When spellcasting begins, the Leader chooses a prepared spell and focuses all of his energies on it, visualizing that he is gently weaving together strands of arcane power from each of the other conjunction members. Meanwhile, the rest of the conjunction members are required to release an amount of spell energy equal to the spell level of the spell
dice of all damaging spells by one die type (d4 becomes d6, Table 5-9: Spell Foci, Spellcaster Level, and d6 becomes d8, d8 becomes d10, etc.). Foci Cost
Spellcaster Placing spells with an arcane spell focus is not as difﬁcult as Level creating a focus from a basic gemstone. The Wizards’ Cabal trains all of its students the required ability to place their 1st-5th spells within their own arcane spell focus. They have been doing this for so long, that many of the senior wizards (those 6th-10th that own a minimum of a Wizard’s Focus) have nearly for-
Foci (max spell levels) Novice’s focus (100 spell levels) Initiate’s focus (300 spell levels)
Base GP Value1 500 gp 1,500 gp
gotten how to write in and prepare spells from spellbooks. Wizard’s focus 11th-15th (600 spell levels) 3,000 gp While most Cabal students come from well to do or wealthy families (sons and daughters of skilled craftsmen Magister’s focus and other middle class occupations), there are a few students 16th-18th (1,200 spell levels) 6,000 gp who come from poor families (general laborers, farmers, Supreme focus and other “lower class” occupations). This social stigma is 19th+ (1,800 spell levels) 9,000 gp supposed to be left at the door, since a talented wizard can 1 come from any socio-economic background, but it does bear The base gold piece value of the spell focus is assuming that the an inﬂuence on what kind of arcane spell foci are initially focus has been enchanted to accept spells, but is an empty vessel. available to the wizard character, since a hefty fee is usually required before training within the Cabal begins. be reused.) The caster level of the spell must be sufﬁcient to To place spells within an arcane spell focus, the characcast the spell in question and no higher then the character’s ter must have the spell available to cast (prepared if the charcaster level. acter must prepare spells; known otherwise), an arcane spell Placing spells within an arcane spell focus requires one focus, and must provide any material components costing hour plus the spell’s normal casting time. The arcane spell 1gp or more that the spell requires. If casting the spell would focus’s market value equals its base price plus its inherent reduce the character’s XP total, the character pays the cost value as a gem. upon beginning the placement of the spell within the arcane Note that an arcane spellcaster does not have to pay the spell focus. Likewise, material components are consumed cost in time when he gains spells for free from advancing when the character places the spell within the focus. (A focus used to place a spell within an arcane spell focus can a level in his chosen arcane spellcasting class (such as a wizard). He simply pays the spell’s normal material component costs and adds the new spells to his arcane spell focus as part of his ongoing arcane research.
Crafting an Arcane Spell Focus
An arcane spell focus can hold a certain number of spell levels, depending on its type and the quality of the materials it was constructed from. Table 5-9: Spell Foci, Spellcaster Level, and Foci Cost shows the average number of spell levels available in a given empty arcane spell focus. Consider all values given on this table to reﬂect that the foci given are made of average quality materials. Poor quality materials allow a total number of spell levels equal to onehalf of the averages given, while the best quality materials double the number of average spell levels available. Refer to Table 5-10: Spell Foci Material Qualities and Table 511: Foci Quality Modiﬁers to calculate the exact number of spell levels and the spell foci’s base cost. To construct a poor quality arcane spell focus (a common spell focus quality for the poorer families of Blackmoor who cannot afford better foci), the arcane spell focus must have a minimum value equal to 1 gp per level of the spell to be stored (a minimum of 50 spell levels must be able to be stored, to a maximum of 900 spell levels). The base price of 68
Table 5-10: Spell Foci Material Qualities Poor Quality Average Quality agate azurite coral hematite jet malachite quartz zircon amber aquamarine bloodstone carnelian citrine garnet jade jasper moonstone pearl tourmaline Best Quality amethyst black pearl diamond emerald heliodor jacinth obsidian opal ruby schorl topaz turquoise
base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half this base price. Crafting an arcane spell focus requires one day per 1,000 gp of the base price. Item Creation Feat Required: Craft Spell Focus.
Spell Formulae Helixes
When a spell is placed within an arcane spell focus, it becomes a formulae helix (much like when a spell is inscribed into a spellbook becomes a magical writing). When the character channels magic through his arcane spell focus, he is activating a desired helix and releasing its spell effect. The intricacy of the spell helix depends on the spell’s level. Lower level spells’ helixes take up less room within an arcane spell focus than those of a higher level would. The spell helix takes up a number of equivalent spell levels within the arcane spell focus equal to its spell level. In the case of 0-level spells, they always take up one spell level slot. An Appraise or Spellcraft check (DC 25) reveals that a particular gemstone is actually an arcane spell focus (characters with 5 ranks of Craft (gemcutter) and/or Spellcraft receive a +2 synergy bonus to this check). A detect magic spell cast on an arcane spell focus shows that it has spells locked within it. Though it requires an identify, an analyze dweomer, or an analyze focus spell to determine exactly what spells are within the arcane spell focus, and what class of focus it may be (arcane warrior, bard, cabalist, or wizard). Additional Spellcraft checks (DC 25 + the spell’s level) gives the person studying the arcane spell focus one spell that it contains for each successful check. When checking for spells in this manner, the spells are revealed from lowest to highest spell level, beginning with any 0-level spells that may be present. The order in which spells of the same level appear is left entirely up to the GM. Each of these checks requires the person studying the arcane spell focus 1 minute per spell level (minimum of 1 minute) to determine what spells are available. If a check fails, the person studying this arcane spell focus is not able to understand the spell helix formulae of that particular spell.
an arcane spell focus (not including the arcane spell focus’s inherent value as a gem) is equal to 1 gp per spell level x the caster level. You must spend 1/25 of the base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half this base price. To construct an average quality arcane spell focus (more than 90% of all arcane spell foci are made of average quality materials), the arcane spell focus must have a minimum value equal to 5 gp per level of the spell to be stored (a minimum of 100 spell levels must be able to be stored, to a maximum of 1,800 spell levels). The base price of an arcane spell focus (not including the arcane spell focus’s inherent value as a gem) is equal to 5 gp per spell level x the caster level. You must spend 1/25 of the base price in XP and use up raw materials costing half this base price. To construct a high quality arcane spell focus (these spell foci are rare and expensive, only those with connections to nobility or one of the Cabal’s spellwise have even the smallest chance of owning one), the arcane spell focus must have a minimum value equal to 10 gp per level of the spell to be stored (a minimum of 200 spell levels must be able to be stored, to a maximum of 3,600 spell levels). The base price of an arcane spell focus (not including the arcane spell focus’s inherent value as a gem) is equal to 10 gp per spell level x the caster level. You must spend 1/25 of the Table 5-11: Foci Quality Modiﬁers
Type of Spell Focus Material Quality Poor Average Best Base Cost per Spell Level 1 gp 5 gp 10 gp Novice’s Focus 50 100 200 Initiate’s Focus 150 300 600 Wizard’s Focus 300 600 1,200 Magister’s Focus 600 1,200 2,400 Supreme Focus 900 1,800 3,600
Spells Transferred from Another’s Spellbook or Arcane Spell Focus
An arcane caster can add spells to his arcane spell focus whenever he encounters one in a spellbook or another arcane spell focus. No matter what the spell’s source may be, the character needs to ﬁrst decipher the magical writing (for spellbooks) or spell helix formulae (for arcane spell foci). Next, he must spend a day studying the spell. At the end of the day, he must make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell’s level for spellbooks or DC 20 + spell’s level for arcane spell foci). A character that has specialized in a school of magic gains a +2 bonus on the Spellcraft check when transferring a spell from his specialty school. He cannot, however, ever learn spells from his prohibited schools. If the check succeeds, the character understands the spell and can transfer it into his arcane spell focus (as per the rules given at the beginning of the Spell Foci section). If the check fails, the character cannot understand the spell and therefore cannot transfer it into his arcane spell focus. He cannot attempt to transfer that spell again until he gains a new rank in Spellcraft.
Table 5-12: Spell Resonance Diameter Spell Level 0-level 1st or 2nd 3rd to 5th 6th or 7th 8th 9th Caster Level 1st-5th 6th-10th 11th-15th 16th-18th 19th+ Spell Range Personal Touch Close Medium Long Resonance Diameter +5 feet +10 feet +15 feet +30 feet +60 feet +120 feet
Whenever a spellcaster casts a spell, the spell leaves behind a unique signature that others may ﬁnd. This signature is called spell resonance. Spell resonance is as unique from one spellcaster to the next as a ﬁngerprint is different from one person to the next. Though, someone that trains under or apprentices to someone may have similarities within their spell resonance. Spell resonance can be discovered by means of certain class abilities (such as the profector’s arcana sense ability), by feats (such as the Resonance Sniffer feat), or by a combination of factors (such as casting detect magic and then making a DC 25 Knowledge (arcana) check). However, a spell’s resonance lasts for only a short period of time, after which the resonance fades and cannot be detected. In the case of spell magic (such as that cast by a wizard or cleric), a spell’s resonance lasts for a number of minutes equal to the caster’s level x the spell’s level x 10. In the case of spell-like effects (such as an erinyes’ charm monster spell-like ability), the spell resonance lasts for a number of minutes equal to the creature’s Hit Dice x the spell’s level x 5. Cantrips and orisons (or any other 0-level spell) can be detected for up to 1 minute after being cast, but the amount magic used to create the spell is so little that the resonance fades quickly. Spell resonance can be detected within a speciﬁed range, depending on the spell’s level, the spellcaster’s level, and the typical range of the spell. This area is centered on the location where the spellcaster was standing when he cast the spell (the spell’s origin, not the centered area of effect). Use the Table 5-12: Spell Resonance Diameter to determine the diameter of the spell resonance area. Example–If a 10th-level wizard casts a ﬁreball spell, the spell resonance would have an 85-foot diameter and would last for 300 minutes (or 5 hours). Whereas a 1st-level cleric casting a cure minor wounds spell would have a spell resonance with a 20-foot diameter that could be detected for up to one minute. Some extraordinarily skilled individuals cannot only detect and analyze spell resonance, but they can also use the 70
Crafting a Magical Focus Gem
Like crafting an arcane spell focus for use with spells, some gems may also be imbued with certain feats and magical properties similar to a spell focus. These items are called Focus Gems and are very rare. While it is difﬁcult to determine exactly what the raw material and base XP costs are for an item of this type, the equations for crafting rods and wondrous items can be used as a baseline comparison, base price equals 1/2 of the market value of the rod or wondrous item plus the arcane spell focus’s base price (not including its inherent value as a gem). If spells are involved in the prerequisites for making the focus gem, the creator must have prepared the spells to be cast but need not provide any material components or focuses the spells require, nor any XP costs inherent in a prerequisite spell incurred in the creation of the item. The act of working on the gem triggers the prepared spells, making them unavailable for casting during each day of the focus gem’s creation. (That is, those spell slots are expended from his currently prepared spells, just as if they had been cast.) Creating some focus gems (like a metamagic feat enhanced gem) may entail other prerequisites beyond or other than spellcasting. See the individual rod and wondrous item descriptions for other requirements. Crafting one of these magical arcane spell foci requires one day per 1,000 gp of the base price. Item Creation Feat Required: Craft Spell Focus and either Craft Rod or Craft Wondrous Item.
Table 5-13: Determining Shard Type Base GP Value Shard Type
Table 5-14: Number of Spells in a Spell Shard Shard Type Minor Shard Medium Shard Major Shard Number of Spells 1d2 1d3 1d4
Shard Size 1 inch diameter 1 1/2 inch diameter 2 inch diameter
1 - 25gp 26 - 75gp 76 - 150gp
Minor Shard Medium Shard Major Shard
The base gold piece value of the spell shard does not include the value of the spells contained within the spell shard.
resonance to track speciﬁc spellcasters. Refer to the Resonance Hound feat in Chapter 4 for more information about tracking spell resonance. There are rumors among the Arcane Inquisition that there are a few sorcerers, Afridhi, and agents of the Egg of Coot that can alter or entirely eliminate their spell resonance (the resonance is actually just hidden when casting certain spells, Hide and Spellcraft check, DC 20 + spell level). Recently, a cabalist near Maus began an investigation into a sorcerer gang with the ability to duplicate others’ spell resonance (Hide and Spellcraft check, DC 30 + spell level; characters with at least 5 ranks in Disguise gain a +2 synergy bonus to this check), effectively impersonating other spellcasters (a highly illegal and subversive act, in the Wizards’ Cabal’s eyes).
below). A character can decipher the spell helixes in a spell shard in advance so that he or she can proceed directly to the next step when the time comes to use the spell shard. Activate the Spell: Activating a spell shard requires the channeling of arcane energy through the spell helix within the spell shard. The character must be in physical contact with the spell shard. Activating a spell found within a spell shard requires no material components or focus. (The creator of the spell shard provided these when creating the arcane spell focus the shard has come from.) Note that some spells are effective only when cast on an item or items. In such a case, the spell shard user must provide the item when activating the spell. Activating the spell is subject to disruption just as casting a normally prepared spell would be. Using a spell shard is like casting a regular spell for purposes of arcane spell failure chance. To have any chance of activating the spell within the spell shard, the user must meet the following requirements:
A spell shard is a fragment of a shattered arcane spell focus that still contains one or more intact spell helixes. These helixes can be detected with a detect magic spell or with a successful Appraise or Spellcraft check (DC 25). Shards come in all shapes and sizes, though the larger shards usually contain either more spell helixes or higher-level spells than those that are smaller. The typical number of spells stored on each shard can be found on Table 5-14: Number of Spells in a Spell Shard The size of the shard is based on its base price (see Table 5-13: Determining Shard Type). A spell shard has AC 11, 2 hit points, hardness 1, and a break DC of 12. Once the number of spells in the shard is known., the base price for the spell shard can be determined on Table 515: Shard Spell Levels and Values
To activate a spell shard, a spellcaster must activate the spell helix within it. Doing so involves several steps and conditions. Deciphering the Helix: The spell helix in a spell shard must be deciphered before a character can use it or know exactly what spell it contains. This requires a successful Spellcraft check (DC 20 + spell level). Deciphering a spell shard to determine its contents does not activate its magic unless it is a cursed spell shard (see 71
Table 5-15: Shard Spell Levels and Values Minor 01-05 06-50 51-95 96-100 – – – –
Medium – 01-05 06-65 66-95 96-100 – – –
Major – – 01-05 06-50 51-70 71-85 86-95 95-100
Spell Level 0 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
Caster Level1 1st 1st 3rd 5th 7th 9th 11th 13th
Spell Value2 6.25 gp 12.5 gp 75 gp 187.5 gp 350 gp 562.5 gp 826 gp 1,135.5 gp
Spell Value3 6.25 gp 25 gp 100 gp 267.5 gp 500 gp 812.5 gp 1,200 gp –
Spell Value4 – 25 gp 100 gp 187.5 gp 350 gp – – –
These numbers assume that the creator is an arcane warrior, bard, cabalist, or wizard of minimum caster level. Spell shards with higher caster levels have been known to exist. 2 This is the additional gold piece value added per spell to the base gold piece value of the spell shard from Table 5-12, if the spell shard comes from the arcane spell focus of a wizard or cabalist. 3 This is the additional gold piece value added per spell to the base gold piece value of the spell shard from Table 5-12, if the spell shard comes from the arcane spell focus of a bard. 4 This is the additional gold piece value added per spell to the base gold piece value of the spell shard from Table 5-12, if the spell shard comes from the arcane spell focus of an arcane warrior. Caster level is half class level.
• The spell must be of the correct type. Arcane spellcasters (wizards, cabalists, arcane warriors, and bards) can only use spell shards from arcane spell foci that were created for use by their character class. • The user must have the spell on his or her class list. • The user must have the requisite ability score. If the user meets all the requirements noted above, and her caster level is at least equal to the spell’s caster level, she can automatically activate the spell without a check. If she meets all three requirements but her own caster level is lower than the spell shard spell’s caster level, then she has to make a caster level check (DC = spell shard spell’s caster level + 1) to cast the spell successfully. If she fails, she must make a DC 5 Wisdom check to avoid a mishap (see Shard Mishaps, below). Determine Effect: A spell successfully activated from a spell shard works exactly like a spell prepared and cast the normal way. Assume the spell shard spell’s caster level is always the minimum level required to cast the spell for the character who created the arcane spell focus the shard came from, unless the caster speciﬁcally desires otherwise. A spell cast from a shard can only be used one time just as a spell cast from a scroll. The spell helix for an activated spell disappears from within the spell shard and the structural integrity of the shard gives way crumbling to a small amount of worthless dust.
When a mishap occurs, the spell within the shard has a reversed or harmful effect. Possible mishaps are given below. • A surge of uncontrolled magical energy deals 1d6 points of damage per spell level to the spell shard user. • Spell strikes the spell shard user or an ally instead of the intended target, or a random target nearby if the spell shard user was the intended recipient. • Spell takes effect at some random location within spell range. • Spell’s effect on the target is contrary to the spell’s normal effect. • The spell shard user suffers some minor but bizarre effect related to the spell in some way. Most such effects should last only as long as the original spell’s duration, or 2d10 minutes for instantaneous spells.
Chapter 6: Spells and Magic Items
When the Wizards’ Cabal marches into battle, they do so with eldritch and arcane power on their side. Arcane warriors and general foot soldiers alike carry enspelled weaponry and armor, while wizards and magisters weave rare and deadly spells to gain superior control on the battleﬁeld. The Wizards’ Cabal is constantly researching new spells and types of magic, honing their craft into a ﬁnely wrought mechanism. Described in this chapter are spells created by the Wizards’ Cabal to help achieve uncontested victory in the face of the North’s harsh environment and harsher adversaries. This chapter also includes new magic items that have been crafted by the members of the Wizards’ Cabal. Combat Prescience: Gain a +2 insight bonus on attack rolls. Force Touch: Unarmed attack deals 3d6 force damage. Smoke Cloud: A billowing smoke cloud chokes and blinds all in its area.
3rd-Level Arcane Warrior Spells
Force Needles: Needles made of force energy deal 5d6 damage to target. Lightning Strike: Deal 3d6 electrical damage in a 30-ft. radius. Mindﬁre: Deal 5d4 ﬁre damage to all sentient living beings in a 20-ft. radius.
New Spell Components
The Wizard’s Cabal, and the few wizards and bards that have trained in the special usage of arcane spell foci, have access to certain spells that other arcane casters cannot begin to cast. These spells are denoted by the spell focus component requirement in the spell description (abbreviated SF). Spells that have the spell focus component require that the caster use an arcane spell focus (see the Spell Focus section in the previous chapter, or refer to Chapter 3 in Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor). Spell Lists These lists summarize the new spells presented in this book. Sorcerer/Wizard Spell Lists: Both level and schools of magic break up the spells in the sorcerer/wizard spell lists. A few abbreviations need to be recognized to be able to fully utilize these lists: Abjur (abjuration), Conj (conjuration), Div (divination), Ench (enchantment), Evoc (evocation), Illus (illusion), Necro (necromancy), Trans (transmutation), and Univ (universal school of magic). Many of the spells in this book are designed speciﬁcally for wizards only, these spells are denoted with (wizard only) after the brief spell list description.
4th-Level Arcane Warrior Spells
Natural Armor: Caster gains a +4 natural armor bonus to AC.
1st-Level Bard Spells Agile Movement: Move without provoking attacks of opportunity.
1st-Level Ranger Spells
Agile Movement: Move without provoking attacks of opportunity. Targeting Light: Bathe target in a nimbus of light.
1st-Level Paladin Spells
Valor: Gain a +1 morale bonus on saving throws.
0-Level Sorcerer/Wizard Spells (Cantrips)
Ench Distract: Cause target creature’s mind to wander. Trans Burst: Increase base speed by +10 feet. Vigor: Gain 3 temporary hit points. (Wizards only)
Arcane Warrior Spells
1st-Level Arcane Warrior Spells
Combat Precognition: Gain a +1 insight bonus to AC. Valor: Gain a +1 morale bonus on saving throws. Vigor: Gain 3 temporary hit points.
2nd-Level Arcane Warrior Spells
Airless Breath: Subject can breathe without air. Combat Focus: Gain a +4 insight bonus to initiative.
1st-Level Sorcerer/Wizard Spells
Evoc Targeting Light: Bathe target in a nimbus of light.
2nd-Level Sorcerer/Wizard Spells
Abjur Counter Missile: Intercept incoming missile attacks. (Wizards only) Evoc Heat Wave: Burst of heat deals 1d6 ﬁre damage/ level (max 5d6) to all within 10 feet. (Wizards only) Smoke Cloud: A billowing smoke cloud chokes and blinds all in its area. (Wizards only) Trans Airless Breath: Subject can breathe without air. (Wizards only)
The Wizards’ Cabal uses this spell almost strictly against aberrations created by the Egg of Coot and the few aberrations ﬁelded by the Afridhi occupying the Duchy of Ten. This spell is rarely discovered as a part of a random treasure trove and is jealously guarded by the Wizards’ Cabal. Non-Cabal wizards found in possession of this spell without prior authorization of the Cabal become hunted criminals until either the spell is removed from their repertoire or the wizard is “neutralized.”
Transformation Level: Brd 1, Rgr 1 Components: V Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: 1 round/level (D) You move across the battleﬁeld with supernatural agility and grace. You do not provoke attacks of opportunity when moving through threatened areas.
3rd-Level Sorcerer/Wizard Spells
Ench Evoc Multiply Missile: Create duplicate missiles. Aberrant Ribbon: Ribbon of light deals 1d4/level damage or 1d8/level aberrations and outsiders (max 10d4 or 10d8). (Wizards only) Probe Thoughts: Access target memories and experiences. (Wizards only) Heat Wave, Greater: Burst of heat deals 1d6 ﬁre damage/level (max 15d6) to all within 20 feet. (Wizards only)
5th-Level Sorcerer/Wizard Spells
Transmutation Level: Wiz 8 Components: V, S, SF, XP Casting Time: 1 standard round Range: Touch Target: One living creature Duration: Permanent Saving Throw: Fortitude negates (see below) Spell Resistance: Yes Upon a successful touch attack, the caster causes one touched living creature to permanently age to the maximum limit of their natural lifespan. A successful Fortitude save avoids the effects of this spell. An aged creature suffers the following penalties: -4 penalty to all Initiative checks -5 penalty to all attack and damage rolls -5 penalty to Armor Class -4 penalty to all Fortitude and Reﬂex saves Reduce base movement speeds by half (30 ft. becomes 15 ft., 20 ft. becomes 10 ft., etc.) for all movement types (climb, ﬂy, swim, etc.) Dragons and other creatures that become stronger from aging will become their new age category and gain the beneﬁts of that category, rather than the penalties described above. All other creatures receive the above penalties instead of the normal bonuses and penalties from aging (see the PHB for more information about age and aging effects).
8th-Level Sorcerer/Wizard Spells
Trans Aging: Age creature to maximum life expectancy. (Wizards only)
The spells hereafter are presented in alphabetical order (with the exception of those spells whose names begin with “greater” or “lesser”).
Evocation [Light] Level: Wiz 3 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Effect: Ray Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: None Spell Resistance: Yes A brilliant ribbon of pure white light leaps from your hand towards the target. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to strike a target. A creature struck by this ray of light takes 1d4 points of damage per two caster levels (maximum 10d4). However, a successfully struck aberration or outsider takes 1d8 points of damage per two caster levels (maximum 10d8). 74
This spell costs the caster 25 XP per year that the affected creature ages.
Enchantment Level: ArW 1 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: 1 hour/level (D) The caster gains a +1 insight bonus to Armor Class. If he or she is caught ﬂat-footed, this bonus to Armor Class does not apply.
Transmutation [Air] Level: ArW 2, Wiz 2 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Touch Target: Living creature touched Duration: 1 minute/level Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless) Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless) By means of this spell, the caster or one touched living creature can survive without breathing air. This includes breathing in environments that are ﬁlled with harmful gases (such as a smoke cloud spell) and even underwater. However, this only allows the recipient to breath in these environments and does not negate any damage caused by damaging breath weapons (example–a green dragon’s breath weapon would still damage the character, though the recipient would not have to worry about the heavily chlorinated air later on).
Enchantment Level: ArW 2 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: 1 minute/level (D) The caster gains a +2 insight bonus on his or her attack rolls for the duration of the spell.
Transmutation Level: Sor/Wiz 0 Components: V, S Casting Time: See text Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Target: One living creature Duration: 1 round The target increases his or her base speed by +10 feet on his or her next turn. The caster can cast this spell instantly on his or herself, gaining the beneﬁt of the speed increase in the same round. Casting the spell on you is a free action; if cast on another creature, the casting time is a standard action.
Abjuration Level: Wiz 2 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: See text Saving Throw: See text This spell is used to intercept incoming missile attacks. Upon casting this spell, an invisible defensive ﬁeld comes into being around the spell’s recipient. Whenever the recipient is the target of a missile attack (arrows, bolts, javelins, thrown spears, etc.) the ﬁeld activates and destroys the missile. Normal missiles receive no save, however enchanted missiles (+1 arrow, +1 ﬂaming bolt, etc.) receive a Fortitude save equal to the attacker’s base Fortitude save bonus + the enchanted missile’s effective magic bonus (see the DMG for more information about magic weapons and their effective magic bonus). The number of counter missiles available to the recipient is equal to 1 + 1 per two caster levels (maximum 5). When all counter missiles have been used, the ﬁeld dissipates.
Enchantment Level: ArW 2 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 minute Range: Personal Target: You Duration: 1 hour The caster gains a +4 insight bonus on his or her next initiative check, provided the caster makes that check before the duration expires.
Enchantment Level: Sor/Wiz 0 75
Components: V Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Target: One living creature Duration: Concentration, up to 1 minute/level (D) Saving Throw: Will negates Spell Resistance: Yes The caster causes the target’s mind to wander, distracting him or her. Subjects of this spell make all Listen, Spot, Search, and Sense Motive checks at a –1 penalty.
Evocation [Force] Level: ArW 3 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Target: One living creature Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Reﬂex half Spell Resistance: Yes The caster creates a ﬂurry of darts made of force energy that deal 5d6 points of damage to a single target within range.
Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: 10 ft. Effect: Burst of heat extending in a 10-ft.-radius from you Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Reﬂex half Spell Resistance: Yes When this spell is cast, a powerful burst of heat energy travels out to a 10-foot-radius distance from you in all directions (stopped only by physical barriers, such as stone ﬂoors, wooden ceilings, walls, etc.). All creatures within this affected area, except for you, take 1d6 points of ﬁre damage per caster level (maximum 5d6). The heat wave will not affect inanimate objects or cause combustible materials to catch ﬁre. War wizards are the primary casters of this spell. They use it to great effect on the battleﬁeld or when traveling alone in a cramped environment (such as within a ruined building or underground).
Heat Wave, Greater
Evocation [Fire] Level: Wiz 5 Range: 20 ft. Effect: Burst of heat extending in a 20-ft.-radius from you This spell functions like heat wave, except that it affects creatures within 20 feet of you and deals a maximum of 15d6 points of ﬁre damage to each one.
Transmutation [Force] Level: ArW 2 Components: V, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: See text Saving Throw: Reﬂex half Spell Resistance: Yes When cast, this spell temporari l y transforms the caster’s hand into a conduit of force energy that deals 3d6 + Strength modiﬁer points o f damage upon the ﬁrst successful unarmed attack against an opponent (if it is made before the end of the next round). The caster may choose to have this spell deal only nonlethal damage instead of lethal damage. I n a n imate objects cannot be damaged by this spell.
Evocation [Electricity] Level: ArW 3 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) Area: 30-ft. radius Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Reﬂex half Spell Resistance: Yes The caster deals 3d6 points of electricity damage to all creatures within the area he or she designates (the caster must be able to see the target area or a portion of it).
Evocation [Fire, Mind-Affecting] Level: ArW 3 Components: V, S, SF 76
Evocation [Fire] Level: Wiz 2
Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) Target: All intelligent living beings in a 20-ft.-radius spread Duration: Instantaneous Saving Throw: Will half Spell Resistance: Yes The caster generates ﬁre that deals 5d4 points of ﬁre damage to all intelligent living creatures within the area he or she designates (the caster must be able to see the target area or a portion of it). An “intelligent living creature” is considered to be any living creature (i.e.–not a construct, ooze, outsider, or undead) with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher.
This spell provides a +6 natural armor bonus to the caster’s Armor Class. Natural armor does not carry an armor penalty and does not reduce speed. This spell’s effect does not stack with other natural armor bonuses.
Divination [Mind-Affecting] Level: Wiz 5 Components: V, S, SF Casting Time: 1 minute Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Target: One living creature Duration: 1 minute/level Saving Throw: Fortitude negates Spell Resistance: Yes All the target’s memories and knowledge are accessible to the caster. The caster can learn the answer to one question per round, to the best of the target’s knowledge. The caster can also probe a sleeping target, though the target may make a Will save against the DC of the mind probe to wake after each question. Targets who do not wish to be probed can attempt to move beyond the spell’s range, unless somehow hindered. The caster poses the questions telepathically, and the answers to those questions are imparted directly to his or her mind. The caster and the target do not need to speak the same language, though less intelligent creatures may yield up only appropriate visual images in answer to the caster’s questions.
Enchantment Level: Sor/Wiz 3 Components: V, M Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Touch Target: Object touched Duration: See text Saving Throw: Fort negates (harmless) Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless) You temporarily enchant a single arrow, bolt, or sling stone to create multiples of it in ﬂight. During the next single attack after this spell is cast, the missile is ﬁred at a target. The missile then creates a mundane copy of itself just before it strikes the target. One additional missile is made for every 5 caster levels. These duplicates attack the same target. Duplicate missiles deal the same damage as a non-magical version of the missile ﬁred. Example–A 10th level wizard casts multiply missile on his archer companion’s arrow. The archer ﬁres that arrow at a charging beastman. In ﬂight the arrow creates two duplicates of itself. The archer rolls to hit for the arrows using his full ranged attack bonus. Each of these arrows deals normal damage (or if the enchanted missile ﬁred was a +1 ﬂaming arrow, the ﬁrst attack would be normal damage + ﬁre damage, and the second and third would be normal arrow damage).
Evocation [Air, Fire] Level: ArW 2, Wiz 2 Components: V, S Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) Area: 5-ft.-radius area/2 levels Duration: 1 round/level Saving Throw: Fortitude negates Spell Resistance: Yes The caster creates a cloud of billowing smoke that blinds and chokes all who are caught within it. Unless a successful Fortitude save is made, any creature caught in the smoke cloud will receive a –1 circumstance penalty to all attack and damage rolls as well as –2 circumstance penalty to AC as long as they remain within the area of effect. Spellcasters caught in the area of effect (and who fail the required Fortitude save) will also need to make a Concentration check every round that they remain within the smoke cloud and wish to cast a spell (Concentration check DC equals caster’s spell save DC + the level of the spell that is being cast). 77
Transmutation Level: ArW 4 Components: V, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: 10 minute/level
Evocation [Light] Level: Rgr 1, Sor/Wiz 1 Components: V Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) Targets: Creatures in a 10-ft.-radius Duration: 1 minute/level (D) Saving Throw: None Spell Resistance: Yes When cast, a light (color is of the caster’s choice) shines over all creatures in a 10-foot-radius area, illuminating them. This light grants a +1 circumstance bonus to all ranged attacks against these creatures for the duration of the spell. Creatures within the affected area may leave the area of effect at any time, since the affected area cannot move. The Arcane Inquisition and war wizards use this spell regularly against their chosen enemies, allowing archers, inquisition hunters, and war wizard conjunctions to target particularly deadly creatures, enemy generals, and other spellcasters with increased accuracy.
enemies. Victory or defeat can be occasionally be determined by the equipment that the members of the Cabal use. This section describes new magic items of various types that have been created by the Crafting Guild of the Wizards’ Cabal.
The following speciﬁc weapons are usually crafted beforehand with the exact qualities shown. Additional qualities may be added on a case-by-case basis, though they are rare and costly. Blast Stone: When used on a successfully struck target, this +1 sling bullet explodes with a burst of sound to cause an additional 1d8 points of sonic damage to all creatures within 10 feet of the struck target. Additionally, creatures within this 10-foot-radius that suffer this sonic damage must make a successful Fort save (DC 14, though stronger blast stones with a higher Fortitude save DC have been known to exist) to avoid being stunned for 1 round. Creatures that cannot hear can still be damaged by this sonic effect, though they cannot be stunned. Faint evocation; CL 4th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, sound burst; Price 400 gp each. Focus Blade: These +1 longswords can hold any one arcane spell focus in a special receptacle in the pommel. As long as the wielder holds the focus blade, he may use the arcane spell focus as if he were holding it directly in the palm of his hand. Placing or removing an arcane spell focus into the pommel’s chamber requires 5 minutes of work with special tools (these tools are a part of a standard thieves’ tool kit) and will provoke an attack of opportunity if performed during combat. Moderate transmutation; CL 9th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, fabricate; Price 3,400 gp.
Enchantment Level: ArW 1, Pal 1 Components: V, DF/SF Casting Time: See text Range: Personal Target: You Duration: Instantaneous The caster can immediately apply a +1 morale bonus on any one chosen saving throw. This spell can be cast as a free action allowing the caster to gain the +1 morale bonus on a saving throw in the same round.
Transmutation Level: ArW 1, Wiz 0 Components: S, SF Casting Time: 1 standard action Range: Personal Target: You Duration: 1 minute/level (D) The caster gains 3 temporary hit points for the duration of the spell.
Specific Armor and Shields
Armor for warriors and priests are commonplace in the North. However, the Wizards’ Cabal has also learned how to fashion speciﬁc types of armor that do not hamper the casting of arcane spells and issue these types of armor to some of their leading wizard ﬁeld agents. The following speciﬁc shields and suits of armor are usually crafted beforehand with the exact qualities shown. Additional qualities may be added on a case-by-case basis, though these magic armors and shields are rare and extremely costly. Arcanist’s Leather Armor: This suit of masterwork leather armor has been cut and thinned with special alchemical solutions to allow greater mobility when casting spells. This light armor grants a +2 armor bonus to AC, has a maximum Dexterity bonus of +8, an Armor Check Penalty of +0, and an Arcane Spell Failure chance of 0%. Speed while wearing arcanist’s leather armor is 30 feet for Medium creatures, or 20 feet for Small and weighs only 5 pounds. 78
When battling powerful foes like the minions of the Egg of Coot, sorcerer gangs, and the Afridhi, the Wizards’ Cabal needs to ﬁeld new equipment to stay one step ahead of their
No aura (nonmagical); Price 500 gp. Wizard’s Vests: These magical vests are crafted from exquisitely embroidered leather and cloth. Each of the four different kinds of wizard’s vests provides protection against different damage types. Black Wizard’s Vest: These black leather vests are embroidered with symbols for arrows, spears, and other puncturing weaponry with silver thread. These vests grant the wearer damage reduction 5/piercing. Brown Wizard’s Vest: These brown leather vests are embroidered with symbols of maces, ﬂails, and clubs with brass wire. These vests grant the wearer damage reduction 5/bludgeoning. Grey Wizard’s Vest: These grey velvet vests are covered with symbols of stars, moons, and other arcane markings done in silver and gold shavings that are attached by alchemical adhesives. These vests grant the wearer damage reduction 5/magic. Red Wizard’s Vest: These red velvet vests are embroidered with symbols of axes and swords in thread-of-gold. These vests grant the wearer damage reduction 5/slashing. Strong abjuration; CL 18th; Craft Magic Arms and Armor, stoneskin, wish; Price 58,000 gp.
Rings are highly prized magic items within the Wizards’ Cabal. In addition to the magic rings described in the DMG, the Cabal has also learned to fashion the following. Ring of Sight: These personalized gold and mithril rings come in many sizes and have unique reliefs etched into their facings. When worn, the ring of sight confers the ability to see in total darkness as if the wearer were the recipient of a wolf’s sight spell. Faint transmutation; CL 5th; Forge Ring, wolf’s sight; Price 6,000 gp. Ring of Truth: These plain-looking steel rings are worn by profectors and members of the Arcane Inquisition to determine the truthfulness of those speaking to them. The wearer of this ring becomes aware of anyone speaking a lie in his presence (as per the discern lie spell). The person who is lying must know the information spoken is false. Moderate divination; CL 7th; Forge Ring, discern lies; Price 8,000 gp.
There are as many new wondrous items in the Wizards’ Cabal as there are wizards to craft them. A few of the more common wondrous items are described below. Bracer of Wands: Within these enchanted leather bracers are three pockets that are large enough to hold a single wand each. The wearer of the bracer of wands is considered to be holding all three wands and can use any of these wands normally. Removing or adding a wand into one of the pockets is takes a partial action. If the bracer of
wands is destroyed, the wands it holds are also destroyed. Only one such bracer can be worn at any time (if more than one of these bracers are worn, they each act simply as receptacles that wands may be placed within and the wands will need to be removed individually to be used as normal). Moderate conjuration; CL 9th; Craft Wondrous Item, secret chest; Price 22,500 gp. Chains of Annulment: Developed by the Wizards’ Cabal and used by arcane warriors and Inquisitors for capturing renegade spellcasters, chains of annulment appear to be masterwork manacles covered in arcane runes. These manacles are specially enchanted to be harder and stronger than standard masterwork manacles (DC 32 to break, DC 35 to escape, hardness 15, hit points 15). Additionally, the chains of annulment generate a localized antimagic ﬁeld that affects only the prisoner bound by them, preventing any of his spells or magic items from functioning. Moderate abjuration; CL 11th; Craft Wondrous Item, antimagic ﬁeld; Price 56,050. Enhanced Focus: An enhanced focus is a standard spell focus—typically a gem, as per normal—with a single nonstandard spell attached. This can be any spell not normally found on the sorcerer/wizard spell list and can be anywhere from 0 to 3rd level. So long as the enhanced focus remains in the possession of the wizard to whom it is linked, that wizard may choose to memorize this spell as part of his daily spell repertoire and may cast it as though it were an arcane spell.
If the wizard ever loses this enhanced focus, he loses access to the nonstandard spell as well. For instance, if an enhanced focus has the 2nd-level druid spell barkskin attached, the wizard who owns the enhanced focus may prepare and cast barkskin as a 2nd-level arcane spell. A member of the class to which the spell normally belongs must participate in the creation of an enhanced focus. Weak aura of whichever school the attached spell belongs to; CL 5th; Craft Spell Focus, Craft Wondrous Item, and either Scribe Scroll or Craft Wand, whichever nonstandard spell is attached to the enhanced focus; Price: as per standard focus plus spell level squared times 1000 gp. False Focus: Developed by a renegade sorcerer some years back, the false focus is intended to fool observers into believing that a spellcaster is using a focus when in fact he is not. The false focus appears to be a gem, like a normal focus. Whenever the wielder of the false focus casts an arcane spell, the false focus generates the illusion of mystical energies ﬂowing through the caster, making it appear that he is drawing on the White Magic around him. Additionally, the false focus shows up as a standard focus to detect magic and identify spells, though higher-level divinations such as true seeing can detect its true nature. Greater False Focus: This item is just like a standard false focus, but it also adds +1 to the DC of spells of a speciﬁc school, as if the wielder had the Spell Focus feat. It stacks with both the Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus feats. As per standard focus; CL 3rd (or 5th for greater false focus); Craft Spell Focus, Craft Wondrous Item, magic aura, silent image, and appropriate Spell Focus feat (greater false focus only); Price 10,000 gp (or 13,000 gp for greater false focus). Kissing Mask: The kissing mask is a domino, or halfface mask, covering the eyes and forehead (and sometimes nose) of the wearer, but not the mouth. Three times per day, the wearer of the mask may charm another person (standard DC, as per the spell) by kissing the subject. Any attempt to do this in combat or against an unwilling subject requires an attack roll; this not only draws an attack of opportunity against the mask wearer, but the subject gains a +4 circumstance bonus on the attack of opportunity. The mask is most frequently used at aristocratic costume balls and on the Kissing Day holiday. Weak enchantment; CL 3rd; Craft Wondrous Item, charm person; Price 2,400 gp. Mask of Spell Eating: These adamantine full masks are placed on the heads of spellcasters who oppose or are captured by the Arcane Inquisition. The 80
mask of spell eating “eats” all the remaining memorized spells in a spellcaster’s mind and any unused spell points. After the mask has eaten these spells (or spell points), the mask cannot be removed until a caster of a higher level than the mask’s creator applies a remove curse spell. This only permits the mask to be removed and does not allow the spellcaster to regain the lost memorized spells (or spell points) and does not destroy the mask. Because the mask of spell eating only effects spellcasters that memorize spells, sorcerers and bards are safe from the effects of this mask, as are any spellcasters that do not need to prepare spells ahead of time or use spell points. Sorcerer gangs in Maus have captured a single mask of spell eating from a rogue Inquisition agent recently. They plan on studying the mask and its properties to duplicate the item to disrupt the Inquisition’s constant interference in their plans. Strong necromancy; CL 15th; Craft Wondrous Item, bestow curse; Price 60,000 gp. Quill of Dictation: This is a quill enchanted to copy down spoken words all by itself. While most quill owners use it to take dictation, some people hide them in rooms where meetings are taking place as a form of espionage. The quill can only be commanded to take down the words of a single individual, so such a record is never complete, but the quill can often copy enough information to be useful. A quill of dictation has the added beneﬁt of never running out of ink. A quill of dictation cannot be used to transcribe spells. Weak divination and transmutation; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, clairaudience/clairvoyance, mage hand; Price 1,200
A Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor Adventure Episode Six in Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor: The MMRPG Campaign
By Christopher Reed This adventure introduces new characters to Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor and the Wizards’ Cabal. It is designed for four to six characters of 1st to 2nd level. Though designed for characters of this caliber, the adventure can be easily adapted to challenge larger or smaller groups of equal or higher level. Boxed text is meant to be read aloud or paraphrased to the players. This adventure has the dual purpose of being Episode Six in the Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor: The MMRPG campaign. For more information on this campaign visit www.dablackmoor.com
Cyrpo Selan has been a loyally devoted student and servant of the Wizards’ Cabal for quite some time. This pudgy thonian has spent many difﬁcult years in training under the Wizards’ Cabal’s tutelage. His inability to maintain focus has kept him from graduating with his normal
class of students. His shortcomings were not from lack of effort or desire but rather a rare condition that he developed in his early teens. The condition, known as narcolepsy, is a disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations. For years, Cyrpo has battled the condition but it always seemed to affect him at the most inopportune times (such as the Wizards’ Cabal’s ﬁnal examinations of his magical skills). After some experimentation and advice from healers, he has learned to control his condition with the aid of alchemical solutions. Thankfully, the attacks subsided and allowed Cyrpo’s competence to ﬁnally reach his remarkable level of loyalty in the eyes of the Wizards’ Cabal. Ten days ago, Cyrpo graduated and was awarded his spell focus, which had been created from a high quality amethyst. Upon earning his spell focus, Cyrpo immediately paid to have a golden necklace crafted so that he could wear the item he had worked so hard to gain close to his heart. With the golden necklace complete, Cyrpo is now able to proudly walk amongst the streets of Blackmoor as a respected member of the Wizards’ Cabal. After a few days of well-deserved rest, the Cabal tasked Cyrpo with gaining information about a local thonian named Socryt Sasimeyer. The Cabal believes that Socryt has learned some exceedingly private and highly embarrassing information about one Magnineous Starzy, a local arcane warrior and member of the Wizards’ Cabal, and been using this knowledge to blackmail Magnineous into giving 81
him not only gold but sensitive material about the Wizards’ Cabal. Magnineous denies that this is the case, but several leads have indicated otherwise. It is well known by many of the locals that Socryt abhors the Wizards’ Cabal. This might be the case as it has been rumored that Socryt is either a sorcerer or has the potential abilities to become one. Eager to tackle his ﬁrst assignment, Cyrpo arose before the break of dawn to get an early start on locating Socryt, so that he could spy upon the possible sorcerer and gain any potentially useful information for the Wizards’ Cabal. With the morning light just cresting the horizon, Cyrpo made his way into the city streets to meander about exploring various shops, streets and alleyways in his search for Socryt. Merrily waltzing down a vacant alleyway, he spotted a local boy named Zoejee Zackerway rummaging through several piles of trash and debris that littered the area. Both Cyrpo and Zoejee were caught surprised by the other. On this day, Cyrpo had forgotten his medicine in the excitement of his task. Suddenly, Cyrpo started to have a hallucination of being assaulted by a group of petty thieves. Zoejee, a poor and homeless thonian boy, tried to assure Cyrpo that there were no such persons here. As Cyrpo’s panic continued, an uncontrollable sleep attack fell upon him causing the chubby thonian’s body to crumble to the ground like straw hut in the middle of a brutal storm. As Zoejee checked upon the collapsed Cyrpo, he began to grow nervous when Cyrpo would not awake. Perhaps, he thought, the man had been awfully sick and had just suddenly died. Many thoughts rapidly ﬂashed through Zoejee’s head. But then the young, needy boy’s keen eye fell upon a choice gem dangling from a beautiful golden necklace. As the boy’s empty stomach growled, he found himself reaching his hand out to remove the necklace from Cyrpo’s neck. After a quick look around to ensure no one was watching, he gently took the valuable necklace, which held Cyrpo’s spell focus, and quickly ran away. Unfortunately for Zoejee, he ran into a small group of thugs who bullied him into giving up the golden necklace that held Cyrpo’s stolen spell focus. These thugs, believing the necklace to be only a gem and not a spell focus, attempted to sell it to several local merchants, but each merchant adamantly refused to purchase it for fear of retribution from the Wizards’ Cabal. A short time later, Cyrpo awoke from his ill-timed sleep attack. With his screams of anguish, for having lost that which is most sacred to him, the heroes of this adventure are alerted to Cyrpo’s current problematic situation. As the adventure continues, Cyrpo’s spell focus passes from one unlawful person to another. Additionally, the hunt for information on Socryt Sasimeyer carries on.
In this adventure, the PCs start their adventures just after sunrise in the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn within the city of Vestfold, having arrived the previous night. Their day begins hearing the cries of Cyrpo Selan, who has just discovered that his spell focus has been stolen. After starting to converse with him, they discover that Cyrpo has a rare condition that causes him to have untimely sleep attacks and occasional hallucinations. With this information, the player character’s investigation should be directed towards a young boy that Cyrpo spotted before falling under his condition’s effects. Upon locating the homeless boy, Zoejee Zackerway, he conﬁrms that he took the spell focus but notes that it was taken from him by several thugs. The hunt continues with the PCs searching the market place for the thugs, only to discover that spell focus was taken yet again, by force, from them from a wizard. The PCs hunt down the rogue wizard retrieving the spell focus for Cyrpo, completing the ﬁrst part of the adventure. Having assisted Cyrpo, the players are thanked with a large feast in their honor. During the feast, Cyrpo asks for the players for assistance in hunting down Socryt Sasimeyer. A bit later during the banquet, the PCs are visited by Magnineous Starzy, a local arcane warrior who begs that they ensure that Socryt is killed. Magnineous’ reasoning for this request is that the rumors that Socryt has learned some exceedingly private and highly embarrassing information about him are indeed true. Magnineous wishes to hide this information and end Socryt’s hold over him. In the morning, the player are able to locate Socryt Sasimeyer’s hideout and either capture, as Cyrpo has requested, or kill, as Magnineous Starzy has requested, Socryt.
A waft of wind brushes past the window of the room you got at the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn. Having decided that, for whatever reason, you would try your hand as a life as an adventurer or hero, you traveled for several days to the city of Vestfold. The ﬁrst part of your adventure was to locate an available bed to rest your aching back and relieve your weight from your well-traveled feet. As the wind continues to sweep by the only window in your rented room, you can see the ﬁrst sunrays of the new day on the horizon. Already awake, there is no better time to ready yourselves for the start of adventures in a new day. Allow the characters to take any precautions they feel are appropriate, save for the purchasing of items within the city.
Encounter 1 — Down for the Count
Having pulled yourself out of bed and scarﬁng down a few bites of food into your belly, you make way into the streets of Vestfold. As you amble about the city looking for opportunity to gain a few coins for some work , you hear a bellow from someone who appears to be in great anguish. The sound appears to be coming from an alleyway ahead of you, perhaps only a few hundred feet away. At this point, see how each player responds. Those who rush forward arrive at the head of the alleyway before those who saunter forward nonchalantly. When the players arrive at the head of the alleyway, continue with the following: Looking down the alleyway for the cause of the anguishing cries, you see a Thonian man in his early twenties on his knees with clenched ﬁsts that he is shaking back and forth in a wild, frenzied manner. The dark skinned man with charcoal-colored hair is dressed in green robes and sitting about forty feet from the head of the alleyway. A trash-littered alleyway extends for at least another hundred feet or so behind him before it dead-ends. On both sides of the alleyway, at the far end, is a closed wooden door. As you gaze upon the man, he looks up at you with tears streaming from his eyes and begins to speak in a rushed and hysterical manner, “It has been stolen . . . my, my spell focus has been stolen.” The Thonian man is Cyrpo Selan, a member of the Wizards’ Cabal. He has recently graduated and been given his spell focus. It was created from a high-quality amethyst, by the Wizards’ Cabal. Cyrpo paid to have a golden necklace crafted so that he could wear it close to his heart. The golden necklace containing the spell focus has been stolen by a poor young homeless boy named Zoejee Zackerway. However, Cyrpo believes it was stolen by a group of petty thieves. The reason for this is that Cyrpo suffers from a condition known as narcolepsy, which is a disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable, though often brief, attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations. A DC 5 Diplomacy check is needed to calm Cyrpo down enough so that he can relate his story to the party. When this occurs, read or paraphrase, as appropriate, the following:
With great distress in not only his voice but his mannerisms, the man begins to franticly speak, “Well, I am Cyrpo Selan of the Wizards’ Cabal. I just recently passed the ﬁnal exams and received my spell focus just ten days ago. I had a beautiful golden necklace made to hold it so I could always keep it close to me. “Well, this morning I was going about my duties when I ran into a young thonian boy who startled me momentarily. Suddenly, I was jumped by a group of petty thieves who beat me until I went unconscious. They must have stolen my spell focus. I am not sure if the young boy was working with the thieves or not, but he was waving his hands around and trying to say something to me, but in all the commotion, I just could not understand him. “Without my spell focus, I am disgraced and can’t cast spells. My spell focus is my life and without it I am incomplete. I could even be thrown out of the Wizards’ Cabal for such incompetence. “Would you be willing to assist me in retrieving it?” Cyrpo does not know who the young thonian boy is, but describes him as being about nine years old and of average height with a thin frame. He believes the boy has dark skin and brownish hair but in all the confusion, he is not positive of these later facts. In regards to the thieves, Cyrpo does not know who they were or exactly how many attacked him, but believes there were at least three of them. He describes the petty thieves as being high thonian, all in their twenties with fair skin and blonde hair. He does not remember them saying anything to him, just quickly jumping him to take his spell focus. As Cyrpo provides the players with information so they can assist him in retrieving his spell focus, he suddenly has another quick hallucination of being watched by a single high thonian man at the end of the alleyway with similar features of the petty thieves who he believes attacked him. Have each player make a Spot check. No matter the result, they do not see the high thonian man, as he is simply not there. After a few seconds, he is abruptly overcome by another sleep attack and crumbles to the ground before the players. Two minutes pass before Cyrpo regains consciousness from his sleep attack. During the time he is unconscious, the players can make a DC 15 Heal check to determine that he is still alive. When he wakes up, he nervously excuses himself, rises to his feet and brushes the dirt off his green robes. If asked what happened, he notes that it must have been caused by the stress of the situation. The players may make an opposed Sense Motive check versus Cyrpo’s Bluff check to note that he is not providing the full story. If pressed on this fact, he will eventually note that he has a condition known as narcolepsy. Cyrpo will try to steer the conversation away from this topic, as he is slightly embarrassed 83
about it. He will remark that he has had little problems with it of late due to a combination of self-control and some alchemical medicines he has developed himself. If asked for payment, Cyrpo simply states that he only has a few gold coins plus a few meager possessions to his name, but would be willing to part with them in exchange for the return of his stolen spell focus. Cyrpo is reluctant to accompany the party during the search for his spell focus. He will comment that he will be of little assistance since is he unable to cast any spells until his spell focus is recovered and furthermore he is not skilled in the use of weapons. (Per Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor book, “to cast a spell using a spell focus, the wizards must be in close proximity to it.” Also, per Table 3-2 of Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor, if a spell focus is more than 15 feet away there is a 99% arcane spell failure chance.”) If the PCs are willing to meet Cyrpo at a predetermined location once they have retrieved his spell focus, Cyrpo will suggest the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn. If the players continue to press Cyrpo, they can convince him to join them with a DC 25 Diplomacy check, but under no circumstances will he lead the way. He also will tend towards the back of the group to ensure his own safety. The PCs should quickly come to understand the extreme importance of the spell focus to Cyrpo. They should also get the hint that the best way to retrieve Cyrpo’s spell focus for him would be to locate the young thonian boy that Cyrpo saw in the alleyway. While this might seem like an impossible task, the assistance of several of the locals in the following two encounters should be able to provide all the help the PCs need. Cyrpo Selan, male Thonian Wiz1: CR 1; Medium humanoid (human); HD 1d4+2; hp 6; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11, touch 11, ﬂat-footed 10; Base Atk +0; Grp +0; Atk/Full Atk +0 melee (1d4/19-20, dagger); SA spells; SQ narcolepsy, summon familiar; SV Fort +2, Ref +1, Will +4; AL LG. Str 10, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 12. Languages Spoken: Common, Dwarven, Elven (Cumasti) and Gnome. Skills and Feats: Concentration +4, Craft (alchemy) +4, Decipher Script +1, Knowledge (arcana) +4, Knowledge (history) +1, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +1, Profession (herbalist) +1, Spellcraft +4; Combat Casting, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (enchantment). Wizard Spells Prepared (3/2; caster level 1; save DC 13 + spell level): 0—daze, detect magic, detect poison, ray of dirt, read magic; 1st—charm person, hypnotism. Focus: 0—acid splash, arcane mark, breeze*, dancing lights, daze, detect magic, detect poison, disrupt undead, elemental globe (air)*, elemental globe (earth)*, elemental globe (ﬁre)*, elemental globe (metal)*, elemental globe (water)*, elemental globe (wood)*, ﬂare, ghost sound, light, mage hand, mending, message, open/close, prestidigitation, puff*, ray of dirt*, ray of dust*, ray of frost, read magic, re84
sistance, shrapnel*, touch of fatigue; 1st—charm person, detect secret door, hypnotism, mage armor, shield, sleep. Possessions: robes, dagger, 12 gp.
Encounter 2 — Side Doors
If the PCs knock at the locked wooden door (hardness 5, hp 10, Open Lock DC 20) on the right side at the end of the alleyway, there is no response. It is a backdoor into an apartment complex of low quality. The door can be broken down with a DC 13 Strength check. There are a few residents who can be found inside. If questioned they report hearing two sets of screams from a man but out of fear for their own personal safety, they did not go to investigate. If the players knock at the left door (hardness 5, hp 10, Open Lock DC 20) at the end of the alleyway, they are able to hear a click with a DC 5 Listen check and the door opens a moment later. The door opens and standing in the doorway is a rotund Thonian man of average height with a bushy black mustache and dark hair. Judging by the clothes he wears and the wondrous smells pouring forth from his shop, you would gather he is a baker. As you look at him, he begins to speak in a questioning voice, “Hey you are not Zoejee. Customers are supposed to come in from the front. Why have you come knocking at the side entrance?” The baker is Waldus Waterbee (male human (Thonian) Exp2, hp 12), a generous man who gives Zoejee Zackerway some bread and other baked items from time to time so the poor boy can keep his belly ﬁlled. If the PCs mention that they are looking for the boy, Waldus suspiciously asks why. Allow the players to make a DC 10 Sense Motive check to notice that Waldus is protective of Zoejee. Also, have the PCs make a DC 15 Diplomacy check to loosen up Waldus have him conﬁrm the fact that Zoejee is the young boy they are seeking. Waldus does not know where Zoejee lives, just that the young boy seems to be in need, which is why he gives him food from time to time. If informed that Zoejee might have stolen Cyrpo’s spell focus, Waldus states he cannot believe it but perhaps the young boy’s hardships have gone from bad to worse thus resulting in him making a mistake in judgment.
Encounter 3 — Pointing the Direction
Now having a bit of an adventure at hand, you make your way out of the alleyway in search of clues that might lead you to the recovery of Cyrpo’s spell focus. As you do so, a tall, bony, aging Thonian man with graying hair takes notice of your group, “Hey what’s all the commotion over there? First I hear screaming and now I see all these people swarming around the place like bees to honey.” The aging Thonian man, Bika Bortai (male human (Thonian) Com2, hp 10), heard Cyrpo Selan’s screams and wants to know what is going on. If given an explanation of the stolen spell focus, Bika shakes his head muttering how shameful some folks are and that they will do anything to earn a few pieces of gold. If asked about Zoejee Zackerway, Bika states he just saw a young boy running down the street a few minutes ago just moments before all the screaming started. He gladly points the direction young Zoejee headed off in. Bika Bortai lives in the apartment complex noted in the previous encounter and was just heading out to go to the market place to purchase a few groceries for himself.
Description: Howard Dlanod (male human (High Thonian) Com3, hp 18) is a tall young man with brown hair. He is relatively quiet, only speaking when spoken to or having something exceedingly important to say. He likes to smoke and becomes slightly more relaxed if offered a tobacco ﬁlled pipe. He currently works as a merchant’s assistant. Location: Howard is strolling around outside the Distinctive Depot. A DC 15 Spot check reveals that he is eying Mildred Swanson. A DC 20 Sense Motive check reveals that he seems to be interested in Mildred. Information: Howard remembers seeing the young boy Zoejee running down the street as if in a huge hurry. He did not pay much attention to it. The reason for this, which Howard will not reveal to the PCs, is that he was too engrossed with watching Mildred Swanson sweep the entranceway to the Distinctive Depot. Rumor: “Several members of the Wizards’ Cabal are actively searching for several sorcerers within our very city.”
Description: Dorothy Verbsky (female human
Encounter 4 — Looking for the Little (Thonian) Com2, hp 12) is a middle-aged woman with gray One hair that resembles a mop, which has been pulled up into a
Following the directions pointed out to you, you see there are a number of paths, streets or alleyways the young boy could have taken. Luckily, there seems to be a number of potential witnesses who might be able to provide you more information as to where the Thonian boy has run off to. The PCs have a number of different opportunities to gain information to locate the young Thonian boy, Zoejee. A variety of NPCs in the area are noted below.
Description: Mildred Swanson (female human (High Thonian) Com2, hp 12) is a sweet young gal with light blonde hair on the shorter side. She has a bad hip, which she received when she slipped and fell down a set of stairs that were slightly wet. She likes to recite little rhymes and sayings to help guide her through life. Mildred works at a small general store called the Distinctive Depot. Location: Mildred is currently outside the Distinctive Depot sweeping the entranceway with great skill. Information: If asked if she saw a young boy resembling Zoejee’s description this morning, she states, “City guard, city guard, don’t look at me, look at the little boy down that alleyway.” She then points out the alleyway she is referring to. Rumor: “An unclean place is an area that you should avoid, least you’ll end up in grave danger.”
bun. She likes to wear a lot of jewelry and has numerous rings on each hand plus several necklaces. She also likes to graciously pass out wondrous sweets, especially chocolates, to any children that she meets. She is vociferous and likes to be the center of attention whenever possible. Location: Dorothy is wandering aimlessly from shop to shop to spend some of the gold coins within her purse and chat with anyone willing to hear her stories. Information: Dorothy saw some poor little boy (Zoejee) running through the streets with something (spell focus) in his hands. She tried to offer his some candies but he surprisingly did not seem interested. After that she did not pay much attention to which route he headed off on. Rumor: “I have heard that several wealthy traveling merchants will be in town some time next week.”
Description: Arnold Nosliw (male human (Thonian) Ftr3, hp 25) is a middle-aged man with black hair with several gray hairs naturally mixed in. He has a large round belly, which contains a large scar across it that he received in battle from a nasty orc with an axe. He is not shameful of the scar but rather loquacious in explaining the story of how he received the wound. He also likes to tell the tale about how he was once a guard for the Great Svenny. The truth is, he was and still is a guard and even did some mercenary work, but never for the Great Svenny. The fact that he is 85
lying can be is revealed with a DC 15 Sense Motive check. He is currently a member of the local city watch. Location: Arnold is currently strolling the streets of Vestfold. Information: Arnold saw some boy running through the streets. Not sure why he was in such a hurry but kids do have so much energy. Rumor: “The city watch is looking for a few good men to join their ranks.”
aging woman but eventually informs them that they should chat with the others in the general area for more speciﬁc information on where Zoejee went. Rumor: “King Uther is really a doppelganger sent here by the Afridhi to gain control over the Wizards’ Cabal and their dwarven crafted spell focus.”
Encounter 5 — Well, We Found the Boy!
Having gained a promising lead on the possible home of the young Thonian boy, you proceed down the dirty, grungy alleyway. As you continue onward, the smell of excrement and urine assaults your nostrils, while globs of ﬁlth litter the ground. In some ways, it resembles the sewers of the large cities. Zoejee Zackerway (male human (Thonian) Rog1, hp 6) is a nine-year-old boy who is without a family and has been homeless for nearly a year now. He has managed to survive the last year by scrounging around in various alleyways and receiving handouts from generous folks, like the baker Waldus Waterbee. He is a thin boy of average height with dark skin and brownish hair. Zoejee lives in the backroom of a deserted store. He enters from the alleyway to avoid much attention. When the players begin to open the backdoor to the store, Zoejee attempts to hide amongst the trash within the room he calls home. PCs making a DC 10 Listen check hear Zoejee shufﬂing about in an attempt to hide. PCs making a DC 10 Spot check can easily see Zoejee hiding beneath several large sheets of crumbled paper. If the players were unsuccessful in both these checks, they can search the place. Allow players that are actively looking around the room to make a DC 10 Search check to locate Zoejee. If the PCs wish to search the rest of this building, they ﬁnd that it is quite dusty, contains numerous broken or smashed items and overall barren of anything of value. With a DC 10 Knowledge (architecture and engineering), the players can determine that the building is potentially dangerous to inhabit as parts of the ceiling could potentially collapse from a strong wind, a hard rainstorm or heavy weight placed upon it. (An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, you know only common knowledge (DC 10 or lower)). The room that Zoejee lives in contains several badly damaged pieces of furniture including a broken bed, two dressers and a chest. Inside the dressers are several soiled articles of clothing of various sizes neatly folded away. Many of the clothes are torn or contain small holes. Inside the unlocked chest are several pieces of toys and games, such as jacks, along with a well-polished masterwork dagger that holds a single small ruby on the pummel. The dagger is worth 402 gp. If any player character attempts to 86
Description: Wil (male human (Thonian) Exp3, hp 17) is man of average height and build with light brown hair. His skin is lighter then most Thonians. He comes across as being a bit grumpy and abrasive but generally he is a nice young fellow who just does not have the social skills that others do. He is currently unemployed and currently looking for work in whatever can assist him with paying the bills. He is a hard worker and exceptionally well organized. He is still a bit bitter about having lost one job to a group of “foreigners” who came to Vestfold and offered to work for half the price that Wil was. He offers his services to the party in exchange for payment. He is willing to do any respectable job that does not include adventuring work, as he feels it is much too dangerous. If asked what he could assist the PCs with, he suggests that he can carry their heavy belongings for them. Location: Wil is currently wandering the streets checking with various folks and businesses about the possibility of a job. Information: Wil noticed that the young boy Zoejee ran from an alleyway down the ways down the street with something in his hands down an alleyway past him. He is willing to show the players which one if they offer to pay him at least one silver piece for being their guide. Rumor: “There is a sorcerer’s lair hidden somewhere within this very city.”
Litly “Granny” Nadders
Description: Litly Nadders (female human (Thonian) Com5, hp 17), or as everyone calls her Granny, is a tall, slender aging woman with long gray hair. She hunches slightly and walks around almost like someone who uses a cane. She likes to sit by her window and watch all the activity going on in the streets of Vestfold. Location: Litly is currently sitting inside her small home, which resides just across the street from the small general store, the Distinctive Depot, and next to the run down apartment complex (noted in Encounter 2), sitting in her favorite chair watching all the commotion in the streets. Information: Litly can inform the PCs that she saw a young boy named Zoejee run by with something with a grayish reddish purple and gold tinge in his hands. He ran down the street and seemed to turn down an alleyway but couldn’t see as he ran too much out of her sight to tell. She will continue to chat with the PCs with idle chatter of an
take the dagger from the chest, Zoejee objects and starts to scream for help. This dagger is the only item he still owns that his father gave to him before he died and it holds great sentimental value to him. Zoejee has no idea of what the dagger is worth. He only willingly gives the dagger up as noted in the side plot: A Home for Zoejee. When Zoejee is ﬁnally found, he is quite fearful of the players. He is so scared that he cannot even force himself to run. Initially, he only answers questions by nodding his head up and down (yes) or side-to-side (no). A DC 15 Diplomacy check relaxes the boy enough that he will speak with the PCs. This check can be modiﬁed depending on the actions of the party members, such as those attempting to intimidate or scare the boy gain penalties to their check, while those attempting to give the boy a piece of candy or fruit gain bonuses to their check. When questioned about the spell focus, if he is not afraid to speak at this point in time, continue with the following:
The young boy Zoejee nervously looks up at you with his head still facing down. He shufﬂes his feat for a moment before beginning to softly speak, “While I was looking through the trash in the alleyway just outside the backdoor of the baker’s door, a fat man with green robes startled me. I guess he was startled too. Then he started shouting about being attacked by some petty thieves. But no one was around. So I started waving my hands to get his attention and let him know that no one else was around, but he wouldn’t listen to me. He just kept shouting! Then all of a sudden, he drops to the ground like he was dead. I goes over to him and try to check on him. But I can’t wake him. I try, I did try for a while longer but no good. I guess he dead. Then I see his pretty golden necklace with beautiful gem. I don’t know what made me do it, but I took it and ran. “I run for a while but several guys, thugs I guess, they see me. They circle me and tell me to give up the pretty necklace. I afraid they going to hurt me so I gives it to them and they let me run away as they laughed at me. I came back here to hide for a while.”
Side Plot: A Home for Zoejee
Some PCs may show concern for Zoejee being without a family and homeless. A potential side plot to locate a suitable home could be used, if desired. If Zoejee is asked about ﬁnding a new family and home, continue with the following Having been asked if about ﬁnding a new family and home, you think you might have seen a small twinkle is Zoejee’s eyes. An exceptionally small smile comes to his face as he nods and states, “Yes, I would very much like to have a safe place to go with a new family. I really miss mine but they are gone now.” With this tears start to stream from the young boy’s eyes down his face. The question now is: where should Zoejee go? As a nine-year old boy, he is much too young for a life as an adventurer. And while Cyrpo Selan can sympathize with the young boy’s plight, he is not in the position to take on this responsibility. Others might be considered, such as Magnineous Starzy, but the best candidate is the baker Waldus Waterbee. If the PCs take this route, a DC 10 Diplomacy check gets Waldus to agree. In this case, Zoejee gives the PC who came up with the idea a masterwork dagger that holds a single small ruby on the pummel. The dagger is worth 402 gp.
Encounter 6 — To the Market
Your search for Cyrpo’s spell focus continues and it is starting to look like this task might take much longer then original expected. From talking with the young homeless Thonian child Zoejee, you learned that the thugs who stole the spell focus you seek from him might have gone to the market to try and sell it. As you make your way there, you are intercepted by a tall, slim High Thonian man dressed in simple brown robes. As the PCs make their way to the market, they are intercepted by a High Thonian man named Wynard Crackderry (male human (High Thonian) Wiz4, hp 21) who is dressed in simple brown robes. He has long wavy blonde hair, a fair complexion and a dazzling smile. Wynard used to be a classmate of Cyrpo Selan when they were training with the Wizards’ Cabal. While Wynard certainly showed the ability to become a great wizard, his loyalty was always questionable. He was openly critical of the Cabal and a constant annoyance to his teachers. After numerous years of training, he was ultimately asked to leave without completing his formal training. Wynard blames others for his plight including Cyrpo, whose loyalty to the Wizards’ Cabal often caused Wynard trouble. Wynard will not reveal this fact to the party. If Cyrpo is not with the party at this point in time, Wynard mentions that he used to be a Cyrpo’s classmate of and that his own skills compared nothing to that of Cyrpo. He himself was unable to successfully pass all the exams to become a member of the Wizards’ Cabal. The PCs may make an opposed Sense Motive check versus Wynard’s Bluff check to note that his story is not entirely truthful. If pressed on this fact, Wynard notes that there were parts that he felt he did better then others including Cyrpo but unfortunately was not selected to be a member of the Wizards’ Cabal. If Cyrpo is with the party at this point in time, Wynard warmly greets Cyrpo and warmly asks him how he has been of late. This is all an act, as Wynard still feels much anger towards Cyrpo as stated above. A DC 20 Sense Motive check reveals the fact that there is animosity between the two. Eventually, Wynard asks the PCs what a group of adventuring types is doing wandering about the city. Wynard actually already knows the answer as he has already heard a few whispers that Cyrpo has had his spell focus stolen. Wynard would like nothing more to gain possession of it not only for his personal use but to show Cyrpo and the Wizards’ Cabal just how foolish they were to not make him a member of the Wizards’ Cabal. Upon completion of this encounter, Wynard luckily runs directly into the thugs who stole the spell focus from the young boy Zoejee. 88
If asked, Zoejee can inform the PCs that there were a total of four thugs. All of them were Thonian with black hair. If asked if they said anything, the young boy states that he remembers hearing one of them asking the others how much they thought they could get for the necklace at the market. This is a clue that the PCs should continue their search for the stolen spell focus by asking around at the market within the city. If asked to assist with locating the thus, Zoejee refuses out of fear. He would rather stay where he knows it is safe even with the player character’s assurances of safety. If any personal questions are directed towards Zoejee, such as where are your parents, he just shrugs, saying nothing on the subject. However, this is a potential minor side plot for the PCs to handle.
Encounter 7 — Search for the Thugs
The PCs can look for information on the thugs in a variety of places within the market. Visiting three shops in particular will aid the party in locating the thugs that took Cyrpo’s spell focus from Zoejee.
The Thaumaturgy is a small magical shop in the market in decent condition. The current owner of the establishment, Trickel “Tackledoom” Turnbottom (male gnome Brd3, hp 14) is a middle-aged gnome of average height with a large nose. He has a high forehead, fair hair, blue eyes and dark brown skin. Trickel had wandering about the various lands of Blackmoor for many years before deciding to settle down in the city of Vestfold. He then purchased the shop from a local family after the previous owner Xyloquomo died last year. (For more information on Xyloquomo, please refer to Socryt Sasimeyer’s Dairy in Encounter Nineteen). Currently, Trickel’s stock is quite small, and contains mainly potions, elixirs and solvents but he is willing to sell whatever he has to the party for a fair price. See Table LF1: The Thaumaturgy below for details on the present stock that can be found. Table LF-1 The Thaumaturgy Type Description Potion Aid Potion Remove Fear Potion Sanctuary Weapon +1 sickle mace (small sized) Wondrous Item Elixir of Hiding Wondrous Item Elixir of Sneaking Wondrous Item Elixir of Vision Wondrous Item Universal Solvent Cost 300 gp 50 gp 50 gp 4680 gp 250 gp 250 gp 250 gp 50 gp
Polished Paragons is an immaculately clean one story stone building in excellent repair. It is run by Grond Gorduhendo (male dwarf Exp5, hp 21), an aging dwarf with a large belly that is covered by his graying beard. His two sons, Grody (male dwarf Ftr4, hp 36) and Grongo (male dwarf Ftr4, hp 36), work as guards for the establishment. Grond has a number of gems of various types, sizes, cuts and quality for sale. If asked about the thugs, Grond conﬁrms that four rough looking Thonian men came into the Polished Paragons this morning looking to sell him a golden necklace which held a high quality amethyst. He quickly realized that it was a spell focus and informed the four men that he could not purchase the item from them despite its obvious worth. He admits the men seemed unhappy but they left without incident. If asked if he remembers anything else, Grond states he remembers them stating something about getting some food and drink at a local tavern.
Jewels and Gewgaws
Jewels and Gewgaws is a respectable one story wooden building in ﬁrst-rate repair. It is run by Aldona Adderway (female half-elf Exp4, 18), a middle-aged half-elf of average height with a slender build. She has long ﬂowing blonde hair and fair skin. She has two guards: Floquir (male half-elf Rng2, hp 13) and Tupill (male half-elf Ftr2, hp 16). Aldona has number of pieces of jewelry for sale and whatever she does not have, she is willing to have made, if necessary. If asked about the thugs, Aldona conﬁrms that four Thonian men came into the Jewels and Gewgaws this morning looking to sell her a golden necklace, which held a high quality amethyst. Upon inspection of the item, she discovered that it was a spell focus and informed the four men that she could not purchase the item from them despite its obvious worth. She admits the men were upset but they left without incident. If asked if she remembers anything else, Aldona states he remembers them stating they needed a “Belly Wash,” whatever that may be. A DC 10 Knowledge (local) reveals that the Belly Wash is a local tavern. (An untrained Knowledge check is simply an Intelligence check. Without actual training, you know only common knowledge (DC 10 or lower)).
If asked about the thugs, Trickel conﬁrms that four tall Thonian men came into his shop looking to sell what they thought was a magical necklace. (All humans seem tall to Trickel.) Upon examination of the necklace, he quickly realized that it was a spell focus and informed the four men that he could not purchase the item. He states the men were quite frustrated but they left without incident. If asked if he remembers anything else, Trickel states he remembers one of their number complaining, “we’ll never be able to sell this darn thing. First the Polished Paragons, then Jewels and Gewgaws and now this dump.” A DC 10 Knowledge (local) reveals that both the Polished Paragons and the Jewels and Gewgaws are local shops in the market. With the various pieces of information gained from the three stores noted above, the party should realize that their next step is to go to the Belly Wash Tavern.
Encounter 8 — Darn, Just You Thugs? (EL 3)
Following the lead you gained in the merchant’s market within the city of Vestfold, you make way to the Belly Wash Tavern. As you approach the establishment, you can see it is in disrepair. The wooden structure has several missing planks and many others are severely rotting away. Even, the front door only rests on one hinge. Dirt, mud and grime cover the ground leading up to the entrance. The Belly Wash Tavern is a two story wooden dive in pitiable repair. Many of the city’s shadier folk come here to socialize, gamble and set up illicit deals or transactions. At night, the establishment is usually chock-full, but during the current morning hour, the establishment is seemingly empty save the bartender, Rexx Ramble (male human (Thonian) Com4, hp 22), and a lone bouncer, Kudgum Konvorm (male dwarf Ftr5, hp 59). Rexx is a wiry man with dark skin and greasy black hair. He gazes about the room with half squinted eyes almost as if looking deep into one’s mind. Kudgum is a dreadfully gruff looking dwarf with a long scraggly black beard that has pieces of past meals encrusted within it. He is enormously broad shouldered even for a dwarf. He has the aura of 90
someone who does not want to be triﬂed with. The owner Niduut Manglic (male human (Thonian) Exp3, hp 14) is currently elsewhere within the city of Vestfold handling a variety of nondescript matters. A variety of goods are available at the Belly Wash Tavern. See the Table LF-2: The Belly Wash Tavern for details on what is currently available. Table LF -2 The Belly Wash Tavern Type Description Cost Drink Glass of Aqua 1 sp Vitae Drink Drink Drink Meal Meal Mug of Cheap Ale Mug of Dwarven Grog Pint of Beer Morning meal Afternoon meal 1 cp 2 cp 3 cp 1 sp 2 sp
Both Rexx and Kudgum have been paid a gold piece each by the thugs, who stole Cyrpo’s spell focus from Zoejee, to socialize, eat and drink unabated in the drinking area upstairs. Currently Rexx stands behind the bar awaiting other customers, while Kudgum stands guard at the
bottom of the stairs keeping unwanted folks from heading to the second ﬂoor. If the PCs attempt to head up the stairs to the second ﬂoor without bribing Kudgum, he asks them if he can assist them. If pressed, he informs them that they are restricted from going to the second ﬂoor. If they attempt to push on this fact, he warns them they should watch themselves before they get hurt. If they persist and attempt to go up stairs or attack Kudgum, the well-built dwarf will accost them until they have been soundly defeated. Kudgum, male Dwarf Ftr5: CR 5; Medium humanoid (dwarf); HD 5d10+25; hp 59; Init +2; Spd 20 ft.; AC 16, touch 12, ﬂat-footed 14; Base Atk +5; Grp +8; Atk/Full Atk +9 melee (1d10+3/x3, masterwork dwarven waraxe); SQ dwarven traits; SV Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +0; AL N.Str 16, Dex 14, Con 20, Int 8, Wis 8, Cha 6. Languages Spoken: Dwarven, Common. Skills and Feats: Intimidate +9; Cleave, Power Attack, Skill Focus (intimidate), Weapon Focus (dwarven waraxe), Weapon Specialization (dwarven waraxe). Possessions: masterwork chain shirt, masterwork dwarven waraxe, 1 gp, 2 sp, 3 cp. If either Rexx or Kudgum are questioned about the four thugs the PCs are searching for, they shrug stating that they have not seen them today. However, with a two gold piece bribe, Rexx quietly motions upstairs with a twist of his head and a ﬂick of his eyes. For another two gold piece bribe, Kudgum allows the players to head to the second ﬂoor without incident. Once upstairs, the players see four Thonian men resembling the description given to them by Zoejee and the various merchants in the market having a morning meal and drink. Upon seeing the party, they ask why they “are being so rudely interrupted for a pleasant morning meal.” If asked about a spell focus, the four Thonian men, or rather thugs inform the PCs that they have no idea what they are talking about. This is in fact true, as the four thugs have no idea that the high quality amethyst they stole from the homeless boy Zoejee was as such. If asked about a golden necklace with an amethyst, they inform the player characters that they are “barking up the wrong tree.” A DC 10 Sense Motive indicates that the thugs know something about the item in question. If the thugs are pressed further on the necklace that contains Cyrpo’s spell focus, they start to get forceful with the PCs telling them to shove off. Abeel, Aslu, Bellow, Mandle, male Thonian Rog1: CR 1; Medium humanoid (human); HD 1d6+2; hp 8 each; Init +8; Spd 30 ft.; AC 17, touch 14, ﬂat-footed 13; Base Atk +0; Grp +2; Atk/Full Atk +2 melee (1d6+2/19-20, short sword); SA sneak attack +1d6; SQ trap ﬁnding; SV Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +0; AL N. Str 14, Dex 18, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 8. Languages Spoken: Common.
Skills and Feats: Intimidate +4, Listen +4, Move Silently +8, Open Lock +8, Profession (stable hand) +4, Sleight of Hand +8, Spot +4, Tumble +8; Dodge, Improved Initiative. Possessions: studded leather armor, short sword, 4 gp, 3 sp, 1 cp. The PCs have a couple of options in gaining the information they seek. These include: bribing the four Thonian thugs with ﬁve gold pieces each (20 gp total), defeating them in combat, but keeping at least one alive or successfully using the Intimidate skill (DC 21) or Diplomacy skill (DC 25) with them. When any of these conditions are met, continue with the following: They then continue: When questioned, one of the thugs begins to speak with a drawl of some type, “Well, we four woke up early this morning, we did. We needed to gain a few more coins for our pouches, since they were starting to feel a bit light, not enough jingle in them, if you know what I mean. So we got ready and hit the streets, quite early I might add. We managed to “locate” a few, but while we were hiding in a back alleyway, a young boy came running in, he did. He had a pretty golden necklace with a nice gem on it; we were guessing it was worth a pretty coin. So we surrounded the poor lass, yes we did! But we never touched him or nothing, oh no. We just scared him and all, like bogeymen. Then told him to give up that nice jewelry he had, and it was nice. The boy was dressed poorly so we reckon it wasn’t his anyway, likely “located” it. The boy was so scared and frightened, he dropped it and ran like the wind; fast little fellow he was. So we pick up that nice trinket and go to the market we did, bright and early too I might add. So we try to sell the darn thing, but none of those merchants in the market want to buy it. They keep telling us it is nice but they can’t buy it. Never say why, perhaps it just too rich for their blood; you know too good for them.
So we keep looking but this feller, he come up to us and ask us and ask us what we be selling. So I tells him we have a nice charm that we are look’n to sell. He asks to look at it, so we do but don’t let him hold or touch it or nothing. Don’t want him running off with it. Well, he then just looks at us with this face. Then he pulls out a few hairs from a pouch he had and starts waving his arms around and muttering all these crazy words. We had no idea what the heck this guy was doing, just crazy if you ask me. Then he looks at us and says that we really should give him the necklace. I’m thinking he is crazy but one of the other boys looks at me and says that it isn’t such a bad idea. He be right, it wasn’t a bad idea, it was a horrible idea. Giving up such a nice piece of valuable jewelry up for nothing, yeah the guy wasn’t even going to pay us for the darn thing. 91
I tells the guy, no way, if you want the thing, you gonna have to pay for it. He seemed to enjoy me saying that as he smiled with a sorta evil grin and pulled out a rose petal and began waving his arms around muttering more mumbojumbo. Then all of a sudden, I feel a bit tired but I shrug it off, but my three friends, they get so tired, they just take a nap right there on the street. I’m not sure what that guy was doing but I didn’t like it. So I tell him I’m gonna betat him to a pulp if he try anything else. But he just look at me and asks for the necklace again. I tell him heck no way. And then he says that if I don’t, I won’t be as lucky as my friends. And I ask him what he means and he says that I can have it the easy way or the hard way. Well, I ﬁgure out that he must some powerful mage or something with him knocking out my three buds, so I tell him I’ll give him the necklace if he just leave us alone. So I gives it to him and he takes it and leaves. I not see him after that, it hasn’t been very long anyway, but I hope I never do again anyways. A DC 15 Sense Motive check indicates that “locate” in fact means “steal.” If asked, any one of the thugs can give a physical description of the wizard who took the focus-holding necklace from them. They describe the wizard as a tall, slim High Thonian man dressed in simple brown robes. He has long wavy blonde hair, a fair complexion and a dazzling smile. The wizard is in fact Wynard Crackderry. If asked, where he headed off to, they have no idea but recommend to the party that they might want to check with the bartender, Rexx Ramble, downstairs, as he is often a wealth of knowledge. If the PCs check with Rexx, he states he believes he might be able to assist them. A DC 15 Sense Motive indicates that he is looking for a couple of gold coins ﬁrst. Once bribed with at least two gold pieces, Rexx informs the players that he has heard of this gentleman. The gentleman, named Wynard Crackderry, is a rogue wizard. At one point in time he was training to become a member of the Wizards’ Cabal but was not accepted. However, he has continued to hone his skills as a wizard, always careful to keep out of the attention of the Wizards’ Cabal. He suggests they visit Spellbinding Scripts, a store that sells various writing supplies along with magical scrolls, if they wish to locate Wynard.
Spellbinding Scripts is a well-maintained and clean two-story store that sells various writing supplies, from quills to ink to an assortment of paper, plus magical scrolls. The store is owned and run by Nilrem Zrawad (male human (High Thonian) Wiz5, hp 16) a small, hoary man with white hair that has seemingly not been combed in many years. Guarding the establishment is a tall, muscular, but dimwitted half-orc named Vagandob (male half-orc Ftr4, hp 40). He has grayish skin tones and a large skull with a protruding forehead. Upon entering Spellbinding Scripts, the player characters are immediately greeting by Nilrem who questions their interest today. He continually tries to push to make a sale. He gives them a fair price but is a relentless salesman. Check Table LF-3: Spellbinding Scripts for available items for sale. Table LF-3: Spellbinding Scripts Type Description Arcane Scroll Breeze (1st level caster) Arcane Scroll Magic Dagger (3rd level caster) Arcane Scroll Puff (1st level caster) Arcane Scroll Ray of Dirt (1st level caster) Arcane Scroll Ray of Dust (1st level caster) Arcane Scroll Shrapnel (1st level caster) Divine Scroll Cure Light Wounds (1st level caster) Gear Case, map or scroll (leather) Gear Ink Gear Inkpen Gear Paper (sheet) Gear Parchment (sheet) Gear Sealing wax Cost 13 gp 25 gp 13 gp 13 gp 13 gp 13 gp 25 gp 1 gp 8 gp/1 oz. vial 1 sp 4 sp 2 sp 1 gp
When the PCs ask Nilrem about Wynard Crackderry, continue with the following: Questioning the small venerable owner of the Spellbinding Scripts about the rogue wizard Wynard Crackderry, he begins to ramble on, “So you are seeking knowledge. You know that a great deal of knowledge is written down in books, tomes, manuscripts, parchments and various other papers? Well, I might have that which you seek written down here somewhere. Are you interested in it for ten gold pieces?”
Encounter 9 — The Search Continues
Having located the thugs who stole Cyrpo’s spell focus from Zoejee, you learned that it was taken from them by a rogue wizard named Wynard Crackderry, whom you previously met earlier today. Now with the information bestowed upon you by the bartender at the Belly Wash Tavern, you make your way to Spellbinding Scripts. 92
Through good role-playing or a DC 20 Diplomacy skill, Nilrem can be talked down to selling the information the PCs seek for a mere ﬁve gold pieces. Once they have an agreement, Nilrem goes into the back of the store, writes a note on a plain white piece of paper with black ink, rolls it up and hands it to the paying player character. The note reads: “Wynard Crackderry goes to Spellbinding Scripts every other day at the crack of dawn. Expect him tomorrow morning.” After the PCs have made all their purchases and gotten all the information they seek from Nilrem, and start to leave the Spellbinding Scripts, continue with the next encounter.
Encounter 10 — There It Is (EL 3)
Having gotten the information you seek on Wynard Crackderry, you proceed to the front door of the to Spellbinding Scripts. Opening the door, you see a humanoid ﬁgure standing on the opposite side of the street. It almost looks like it is posing for you, as if to get your attention. At ﬁrst, you notice the ﬁgure wears simple brown robes and as your eyes scan from his feet upwards, you notice a beautiful golden necklace that holds a beautiful purple amethyst hanging around the neck of the creature. As your eyes continue upward, you see a familiar face, that of Wynard Crackderry. He smiles at you for a moment, his long wavy blond hair ﬂowing in the gentle breeze, his skin tan nicely in the day’s sun and a dazzling smile to top it all of. After a brief moment, he begins to speak, “Well, I see we have a group of bloodhounds snooping around in my personal affairs. This matter does not concern you. The matter is between Cyrpo and myself. So you have a choice, either pledge that you will not seek me or what I now possess, or fall to the power I know wield. Or perhaps, you can convince that fat lackadaisical goodiegoodie to bow before the one who has bested him this day. So what is it going to be kids? At this point, Wynard is almost madly insane with the excitement that he has recovered Cyrpo’s spell focus. He wishes to do so many things with it all at once: humiliate and disgrace Cyrpo in person, get Cyrpo kicked out of the Wizards’ Cabal, parade around the city dancing at his perceived superior wizardry skills. If the PCs show any aggressive action or any thoughts that they will not submit to his whim, Wynard starts to attack them via the use of enchantment spells. He focuses on the ﬁghters with his spells knowing they are most likely to succumb to his power. Due to his maddening state, Wynard does not submit under any condition. Even if the battle seems to be going
against him, he merely states that he giving them a ﬁghting chance. Wynard Crackderry, male High Thonian Wiz4 (Enchanter): CR 3; Medium humanoid (human); HD 4d4+8; hp 21; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 11, ﬂat-footed 14; Base Atk +2; Grp +1; Atk/Full Atk +1 melee (1d4-1/19-20, dagger); SA spells; SQ specialist, summon familiar; SV Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +6; AL N. Str 9, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 20, Wis 14, Cha 10. Languages Spoken: Common, Chale, Dwarven, Elven (Cumasti), Gnome, Goblin and Orc. Skills and Feats: Concentration +9, Craft (bookbinding) +12, Intimidate +3, Knowledge (arcana) +11, Knowledge (history) +6, Knowledge (local) +6, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +6, Profession (bookkeeper) +9, Spellcraft +15; Greater Spell Focus (enchantment), Scribe ScrollB, Skill FocusB (spellcraft), Spell Focus (enchantment). Wizard Spells Prepared (4/6/4; caster level 4; save DC 15 + spell level, enchantment DC 17 + spell level): 0—daze, detect magic, ray of dirt, read magic; 1st—charm person, expeditious retreat, hypnotism, mage armor (pre-cast), shield, sleep; 2nd—coyote’s dirge*, coyote’s dirge*, daze monster, eagle’s splendor. Spellbook: 0—acid splash, arcane mark, breeze*, dancing lights, daze, detect magic, detect poison, elemental globe (air)*, elemental globe (earth)*, elemental globe (ﬁre)*, elemental globe (metal)*, elemental globe (water)*, elemental globe (wood)*, ﬂare, light, mage hand, mending, message, open/close, prestidigitation, puff*, ray of dirt*, ray of dust*, ray of frost, read magic, resistance, shrapnel*; 1st—alarm, charm person, expeditious retreat, grease, hypnotism, mage armor, mount, shield, sleep, unseen servant; 2nd—coyote’s dirge*, daze monster, eagle’s splendor, touch of idiocy. Possessions: robes, dagger, pearl of power (1st level), wand of detect magic (50 charges), elixir of love, weasel familiar, spellbook, spell component pouch, spell components, Cyrpo’s spell focus, 3 pp, 5 gp, 9 sp, 5 cp. Once Wynard Crackderry has been defeated, the local city watch arrive to check out the situation. Once they see the spell focus around his neck, they know that it has been stolen and allow the party to remove it so it can be returned to its rightful owner, Cyrpo.
Encounter 11 — End of the Day
If Cyrpo went with the party to retrieve the spell focus, continue with the following: Having retrieved Cyrpo Selan’s spell focus from the insane Wynard Crackderry, you see his eyes start to ﬁll with tears of joy. As you place the focus into his hands, he breathes a deep sigh of relief. “Thank you my friends, I shall forever be in your debt. Please let me pay for your meal and room this evening.” 93
If Cyrpo did not go with the party to retrieve the spell focus, continue with the following: Having retrieved Cyrpo Selan’s spell focus from the insane Wynard Crackderry, you make your way back to where your adventure ﬁrst started the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn. The journey there is short and uneventful. As you enter the establishment, you see several patrons sitting about mulling over their food and drinks. As you peer about the room, you notice Cyrpo nervously sitting in the corner with a half full class in his hands that he has seemingly been nursing for several hours now. Upon seeing you, his eyes start to light up with hope. He pushes himself off the seat, standing up. As you show him you have successfully retrieved his spell focus, you see his eyes start to ﬁll with tears of joy. As you place his focus into his hands, he breathes a deep sigh of relief. “Thank you my friends, I shall forever be in your debt. Please let me pay for your meal and room this evening.” Cyrpo treats the party to a huge evening feast at the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn in thanks for their generous assistance on this day. He is greatly appreciative of the help they have provided him. During the middle of the feast, he calls all the party together to speak with them. While feasting upon a ﬁne meal at the Brown Bottle Tavern, Cyrpo Selan calls your party together once again. “Thanks again for aiding me today. If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, I would like to request your help tomorrow morning in locating a possible danger to not only our city but also potentially the entire Wizards’ Cabal. His name is Socryt Sasimeyer. He was the individual I was searching for yesterday. It is believe that he has been attempting to blackmail a member of the Wizards’ Cabal. I do not know the potentially damaging information, but even rumors of such are not good for the Wizards’ Cabal. Additionally, I have been informed by my superiors that Socryt abhors the Wizards’ Cabal and might do anything to discredit us. It has even been rumored the Socryt is either a sorcerer or has the potential abilities to become one. “Would you be willing to search out Socryt Sasimeyer, capture him and return him to the Wizards’ Cabal for questioning? My superiors inform me that if he is innocent that he will most certainly be set free but the various rumors have them greatly concerned. Cyrpo Selan informs the PCs that the Wizards’ Cabal is able to pay them each ﬁfty gold pieces for the capture of Socryt Sasimeyer. Cyrpo believes that Socryt is currently within the city, but has little to work with, only receiving one lead just yesterday from his superiors via written note. Otherwise, he has been wandering about the city trying to ﬁnd any potential leads. He gladly allows the PCs to read the note, if they desire. The contents of the note can be read on Player Handout #1: The Note. 94
Cyrpo informs them that due to another engagement he is unable to assist them on the mission tomorrow, but could do so the following day. He suggests they start their search in the morning without him. After the party have an opportunity to read the note and have accepted the mission to locate and capture Socryt Sasimeyer, Cyrpo turns his attention back to the feast at the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn. After about an hour more, he announces to the party that he must retire for the evening, thanks them again and leaves the establishment. Several minutes after Cyrpo leaves the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn, the PCs are approached by Magnineous Starzy, a local arcane warrior and member of the Wizards’ Cabal. Continue with the following: With Cyrpo Selan having just departed the feast he is paying for at the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn a few minutes ago, a well built and muscular High Thonian man of above average height approaches your table. He wears ﬁne, clean clothes that accent his good looks. The man, with blonde hair, bright blue eyes, a sharp angular face and a perfect smile, gazes at your group for a moment and then looks about the establishment for a brief moment. He then turns his attention back to your group and begins to speak in a hush tone, “Hello, my name is Magnineous Starzy, an arcane warrior and member of the Wizards’ Cabal. I was wondering if I could join you for a bit of time.” Magnineous (male human (High Thonian) ArW5, hp 33) waits for an invitation and approval to sit down at the table with the party. If asked to state his business ﬁrst, he responds that he can explain everything but would prefer to do so sitting down. If Magnineous is not invited to sit down, he states that he does not mean to be rude but must talk with the party and sits down. Once he starts to sit down, continue with the following: The High Thonian man starts to sit down at one of the chairs at your table. He then situates himself at the table for a moment and then quickly gazes about the room once again. He then leans toward the center of the table and begins to speak again in a hush tone, “I have heard that you are adventurers and working with or for Novice Cyrpo Selan of the Wizards’ Cabal. My sources tell me that you are assisting him with locating and potentially capturing a most malignant individual named Socryt Sasimeyer. From the information I have gathered, I strongly believe that this dangerous man is indeed a sorcerer who could be very troublesome in the future. Thus, why I must admit that this might sound quite harsh, I would ask that you ensure he is killed, if you should successfully locate him. Are you agreeable to his?”
Player Handout #1: The Note
To Novice Cyrpo Selan, My congratulations to you for finally passing the final examinations of the Wizards’ Cabal. One of our sources has learned that information on the individual you have been tasked to locate can be obtained from a halfling named Ligmy Loterman. You find him in or near Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store here in the city. Good Luck! Signed, Siggnafer Sillias
A DC 20 Sense Motive check by any player character reveals that Magnineous is holding something back in his story. Magnineous Starzy does believe that Socryt Sasimeyer is truly a danger to the city and the Wizards’ Cabal. However, he did not relate nor will he inform the PCs that Socryt is always blackmailing him with some highly embarrassing information the sorcerer discovered about him. Magnineous is a married man with a loyal wife, but he has not always been as such. With his role in the Wizards’ Cabal, he was able to convince his lovely and beautiful wife that he was merely working late. Magnineous had been previously tasked with following up on rumors heard through the grapevine that Socryt was a sorcerer and hiding this fact to avoid persecution especially from the Wizards’ Cabal. Instead of hiding Socryt decided he would ﬁnd out whatever information he could about Magnineous, perhaps using whatever “dirt” he learned to not only keep Magnineous from watching over him, but increase his wealth and gain secret information about the Wizards’ Cabal. Unfortunately for Magnineous, Socryt discovered that Magnineous was being unfaithful to his wife and in fact had several “girlfriends” within the city. So Socryt gained all that he sought from Magnineous. Instead of allowing others to learn of his shameful secret, informed his superiors at the Wizards’ Cabal that Socryt had discovered that he was attempting to gain information about the sorcerer and 95
thought it was best if another individual was assigned to the task, which was agreed upon. This is the reason that Cyrpo Selan has been tasked with locating Socryt. If asked about payment, Magnineous informs them that he can get them each a potion of mage armor for their troubles, if they can show proof that the task has been successfully completed. If the PCs accept, he thanks them and asks them to be discrete about their meeting. If the PCs do not accept, he thanks them and departs frustrated about his continued unfortunate situation. At this point, the player characters can spend the rest of the evening feasting and drinking at the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn.
Encounter 12 — Starting the Next Search
If the PCs have accepted the mission to locate and capture Socryt Sasimeyer and in the morning headed off to locate the only currently available lead, a halﬂing man named Ligmy Loterman, continue with the following:
Having been rewarded with a feast like you have never seen before the night before, you rise from a night of wellrested sleep at the Brown Bottle Tavern and Inn. Today, you have accepted the task of locating and capture a suspected sorcerer. The night before, you were given just one lead, to a halﬂing man named Ligmy Loterman, who you were to seek out at a local general store called the Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store, which you have been informed lies across town. Allow the PCs to take any precautions they desire before heading to Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store to speak with Ligmy Loterman.
The halﬂing, Vitigais Verdigo (male halﬂing Rog4, hp 22), runs the shop. He tries to sell the PCs a variety of currently available goods and gear. See Table LF-4 Skinny’s Wares for details on what is currently available in his store. Table LF-4: Skinny’s Wares Type Description Armor Masterwork studded leather (small and medium) Armor Masterwork leather (small only) Gear Acid (ﬂask) Gear Backpack Gear Bottle, wine, glass Gear Caltrops Gear Candle Gear Case, map or scroll (leather) Gear Crowbar Gear Flask (empty) Gear Grappling hook Gear Oil (1-pint ﬂask) Gear Piton Gear Rope, hempen (50 ft.) Gear Rope, silk (50 ft.) Gear Sack (empty) Gear Signal whistle Cost 175 gp 160 gp 10 gp 2 gp 2 gp 1 gp 1 cp 1 gp 2 gp 3 cp 1 gp 1 sp 1 sp 1 gp 10 gp 1 sp 8 sp
Encounter 13— Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store
Having readied yourself for a new day and ﬁlled your stomach with a wonderful morning meal of scrambled eggs and Blackmoorian ham, you make way to the follow up on the only lead currently available to you in your search for Socryt Sasimeyer, a suspected sorcerer. As you approach the general store, you see the twostory shop is in decent repair. A slender male halﬂing sits in a rocking chair on the front porch. His beady dark peer in your direction, as he continues to smoke upon a long slender pipe. As you approach, he removes the pipe from his month and begins to speak in a smooth pleasant voice, “Hello chaps, what can this halﬂing do for you ﬁne folk on this good day?” The halﬂing, Bilthoner Bilimil (male halﬂing Rog2, hp 12), is currently the eyes and ears for the Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store. This general store, which does have a variety of goods for sale, also has information for sale. Most of the store’s proﬁt is made off of the sale of information gathered. The store is owned and operated by members of Vestfold thieves’ guild, which is the best organized and, perhaps, strongest thieves’ guild in all of Blackmoor. This is one of their few slightly overt operations in the city of Vestfold. If the PCs mention the name Ligmy Loterman to Bilthoner, he cocks his head slightly and states that he believes they have business inside; he then resumes smoking his pipe and rocking in his chair. As the PCs continue with the following: Entering Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store, a highpitched bell starts to ring. It continues to jingle until you close the door behind you. As this occurs, a tall plumb male halﬂing with dark hair comes from the back of the store and warmly greets you, “Good day chaps, what can I do for thee? Is there anything in particular you are looking for? Perhaps a nice sturdy backpack or a good leather scroll case?”
When Ligmy Loterman’s name is mentioned, continue with the following: Mentioning Ligmy Loterman’s name, the owner immediately stops his sales pitch and requests for you to follow him. He leads you down a small hallway and motions for you to enter a backroom. Peering inside, you can tell it is a sitting room with eight chairs of various sizes. Sitting on one of them, a nice large cushion-ﬁlled chair is a nondescript halﬂing with plain black hair. The owner again motions for you to enter the room as he stands patiently in the hallway. The seated halﬂing is Ligmy Loterman (male halﬂing Rog4, hp 22). He is an expert at gaining information of all sorts. This ability has allowed him to become very well respected within the Vestfold thieves’ guild since the information has been useful in a number of ways including make a good deal of extra gold. The Wizards’ Cabal has already paid Ligmy for the information is about to pass onto the player characters. When asked about Socryt Sasimeyer, Ligmy states that all the various information he has collected indicate that he is a sorcerer and has been for a few years now. Ligmy also 96
notes that Socryt has been actively campaigning against the Wizards’ Cabal. He notes that if they wish to locate Socryt, they should go to the bookstore, Tomes, Texts and Manuscripts, and “persuade” the owner to allow them to speak with Socryt. Allow the PCs to make a DC 15 Sense Motive check to note that by “persuade,” Ligmy means bribe or sweet talk the owner. Once this information has been passed onto the party, Ligmy informs them that he is an exceedingly busy halﬂing and needs to get back to other pressing matters.
Encounter 14— Tomes, Texts and Manuscripts
When the player characters proceed to the bookstore Tomes, Texts and Manuscripts, read or paraphrase the following as appropriate: Leaving Skinny’s Shrouded Scrupulous Store behind you, you make way to Tome, Texts and Manuscripts. Your trek through the city is uneventful. As you approach, you see that the bookstore Tome, Texts and Manuscripts seems to be quite normal from its appearance on the outside. It is a strong wooden building in good condition with a large front double door with long brass door handles that seem to have been built for a giant or other large creature. Opening the large double doors, you see they lead into an entrance hallway that is covered with a spotlessly clean red rug. On the far side of the hallway is another set of double doors of equal size to the ones now behind you. Cracking open the second set of double doors, you see that it leads into a huge, warehouse-like room ﬁlled tightly with scores of bookcases ﬁlled with a variety of books, manuals, manuscripts, scrolls, texts and tomes of an assortment of topics, sizes and colors. In the middle of the room is a small clearing with a large light brown that lies on the ground before a sizeable wooden desk. A single door lies behind the wooden desk just off to your right. Behind the desk sits a bookish, highbrowed High Thonian man engrossed in a thick text he is reading. The tall, skinny man wears a clean, wrinkle free set of brown robes and soft leather boots. Upon noticing you, he silently nods in your direction. The High Thonian man, Eugenne Silverﬁsh (male human (High Thonian) Nob3, hp 14) is the owner of the bookstore Tomes, Texts and Manuscripts. He does not speak until addresses by the player characters. When he does speak, he does so in an almost whisper-like voice. If any player character starts to speak in a loud fashion, he says nothing but places his index ﬁnger to this lips asking for more hushed speaking inside his store. If asked about any of his books, he softly replies that he has books of various types and subject matter, but nothing illegal or controversial. He notes that he has taken great 97
care to catalogue each of them and can ﬁnd any book’s exact location within his bookstore within a minute or two. As the party can likely tell, Eugenne is a highly organized, perhaps even anal man, who likes his peace and quiet in an orderly way. If asked about Socryt Sasimeyer, he says nothing only brieﬂy glancing at the player characters. If asked about where Socryt might be, he glances heavily upon the door behind the desk, but says nothing. Eugenne is a good man, but about a month ago Socryt came to his bookstore. Socryt demanded the use of Eugenne’s basement uninterrupted and undisturbed whenever he pleased. Eugenne ﬁrst refused, so Socryt ﬁrst threatened to burn the entire bookstore down, but mustering all his bravery, the pusillanimous Eugenne held ﬁrm. Unfortunately, Eugenne’s wife, Willametta (female human (High Thonian) Nob2, hp 10), came into the bookstore at that time with their two children, Izza (female human (High Thonian) Nob1, hp 5) and Zrack (male human (High Thonian) Nob1, hp 6). After a pleasant but quick conversation Willametta left the bookstore with her children. At that point, Socryt changed his tactics and summoned in an unnatural creature and explained that if he did not get open, free and undisturbed access to Tomes, Texts and Manuscripts’ basement, he would hunt down and kill Eugenne’s family in the most painful way. With this threat, Eugenne grew gravely scared and agreed to allow Socryt to use the basement of the bookstore uncontested. Eugenne has not been in the basement since nor does he know that a secret door lies in his basement that leads to a small underground cave system. Socryt learned of this fact from his various studies, such as the hole leading into the garbage pit (Encounter 17), leading to his strong desire to use the basement of this particular bookstore. If Socryt is defeated, Eugenne thanks the party when they return from the basement into his shop. He agrees to assist the PCs in the future thus gaining his favor. The favor can be used to have Eugenne assist the PCs, when they visit the Tome, Texts and Manuscripts bookstore in the city of Vestfold, with researching information on any subject. This assistance grants them each a +2 circumstance bonus on any Knowledge check if they spend one full hour with Eugenne within his bookstore. When the PCs head to the basement, they see that a small layer of dust covers the ground. A DC 10 Search check reveals a set of booted tracks going from the stairs to a location on the left (west) wall. If they search the wall (or an elf player character passes by that area), have them make a DC 20 Search check to notice a secret door, which is not trapped nor locked. When the PCs proceed through the door continue with the next encounter.
Encounter 15— Lots of Rats (EL 2)
Opening the secret door, you found in the basement of the bookstore Tome, Texts and Manuscripts, you see that it leads to a handcrafted hallway about ten feet in width and extends beyond your line of sight to the right. The ceiling looms about ten feet above. The handcrafted hallway extends about one hundred before it leads into a small underground cave system. About sixty feet from the ﬁrst secret door on the right side of the hallway is a second secret door. This secret door is both locked and trapped. For further details on the secret door and the room that lies behind it, please refer to Encounter 19. When the players have determined their marching order and started to head down the ten foot wide hallway. A swarm of rats is currently sixty feet away from the lead player character and double moving towards at a speed of thirty feet per round towards the party. A DC 18 Listen check allows them to hear a horde of squeaking tiny creatures moving in their direction while a DC 30 Spot check allows player characters to sea a horde of about three hundred tiny rats moving in their direction. The ten-foot by ten-foot rat horde swarms the lead players attacking them with their diseaseridden bites potentially delivering ﬁlth fever to those who are unfortunate enough to be in their path. Rat Swarm: hp 13. See the MM: Chapter 1: Monsters A to Z: “Rat Swarm.” Once combat has ceased, the PCs are free to search about the area. A DC 26 Survival check with the Track feat, reveals a single set of booted tracks heading from the ﬁrst secret door into the wall about sixty feet from the ﬁrst secret door on the right side of the hallway. Socryt Sasimeyer made these tracks upon the hard ground yesterday, when he traveled down here to his lair (Encounter 19).
dried up when the source of water started to ﬂow elsewhere. At this point the players are free to look about for clues or tracks. A DC 10 Survival check reveals the tracks hundreds of tiny four legged animals with long tails wandering about aimlessly. These tracks were made by the rat swarm previously encountered. No other tracks can be found in this location. If the PCs head to the left, proceed with Encounter 17. If the PCs head to the right, proceed with Encounter 18.
Encounter 17— Garbage Pit (EL 4)
As you start to head down the left tunnel, which curves gently from left to right, the smell of compost and muck assaults your noses. The tunnel ranges from ten to ﬁfteen feet in width at all times, with the ceiling that varies from about ten to twelve feet above. If the PCs continue down this tunnel for about six hundred feet, it bends sharply to the left, opening up into a small grotto. The grotto is somewhat oval with the greatest length across being about ninety feet and the greatest width being about sixty feet. The ceiling hangs about twenty feet above. There is a small hole in the ceiling towards the back of the room that extends through about ﬁfteen feet of rock. A local merchant who manages the removal of garbage, trash and feces for the city of Vestfold has his workers use this hole as his dumping ground. An otyugh, who lives in this underground cave feeds off whatever is dumped through the hole by the merchant’s men. However, it never objects to a meal of fresh meat when the opportunity presents itself. The otyugh stays hidden in the garbage and compost that currently resides here. The PCs can, with an opposed Spot check against the otyugh’s Hide check, notice the hidden creature. If the PCs do not notice the creature, it allows them to move within tentacle reach (ﬁfteen feet) and then moves to strike at the PCs, gaining an extra action due to the surprise round. Otyugh: hp 36. See the MM: Chapter 1: Monsters A to Z: “Otyugh.” Once the otyugh is defeated, the PCs can search through all the garbage and muck. PCs making a DC 20 Search check discover a stone of alarm and a ring of clumsiness within all the trash. Have any player character that searches through the muck and trash make a DC 10 Reﬂex Save to avoid a pile of dung that has been dropped through the open hole in the ceiling above. Attempts to shout up to the men dumping trash down the small hole are futile, as the hole makes all noise sound like that of the otyugh. The hole is also too small for any player character to squeeze through even with the use of spell such as reduce person. 98
Encounter 16— A Choice of Paths
Having dispersed the hundreds of tiny rats that attempted to swarm your group, you proceed onward down the hallway. About one hundred feet from the secret door back to the bookstore Tome, Texts and Manuscripts’ basement, a handcrafted hallway leads into a small underground cave system, which at this point is only a natural extension of the hallway you are currently traversing. Heading onward, you notice that there are no stalagmites and stalactites here. Instead, you notice as you continue to head down the winding tunnel, that it sort of resembles a dried up stream. After a minute or so walking, you come to an intersection with two paths for you to travel down, one to the left and another to the right. A DC 15 Knowledge (dungeoneering) or Knowledge (nature) check reveals that this natural tunnel was a small underground river perhaps over a thousand years ago. It
There are no tunnels leading into this area save the one the PCs took to get here.
Encounter 18— Boxed In (EL 3)
Heading down the right tunnel, you quickly discover that it slightly bends and bows from side to side but with an occasional sharp turn. The tunnel is approximately ﬁfteen feet in width during its entire length, while the ceiling varies from roughly between fourteen and sixteen feet above. As the PCs travel down the tunnel, ensure to get the party’s marching order. As they round one of the occasional sharp turns about twelve hundred feet from the where the tunnel split, have the lead player character(s) make a DC 15 Spot check to notice a single gelatinous cube sitting stationary in the tunnel. Any player character who fails to notice the gelatinous cube walks into it is automatically engulfed. The gelatinous cube covers the entire width and height of the tunnel. In combat, the gelatinous cube uses it’s engulf special attack hoping to trap prey inside and feast upon the ﬂesh that succumb to its acid and/or paralysis attacks. Gelatinous Cube: hp 54. See the MM: Chapter 1: Monsters A to Z: “Ooze: Gelatinous Cube.” After defeating the gelatinous cube, if the PCs search the ooze’s inners, they discover half a dozen tiny rat skeletons plus numerous rocks and stones, but unfortunately nothing of value. The tunnel continues for another six hundred feet after the PCs encounter the gelatinous cube before it suddenly dead ends.
The room contains a number of items. In the far left corner of the room are several stacked timbered crates with three wooden barrels resting directly to the right of them. In the far right corner of the room is a makeshift bed made mainly out of yellowish straw. Resting along the right wall are several empty bookcases, a crude dresser and a small metal lockbox. Sitting in the middle of the room is a large circular table that tilts slightly to the right. Resting on the table is a single wine glass half ﬁlled with a dark red intoxicant along with a plate of poached eggs and grisly bacon. Next to all the food are ﬁve pieces of parchment, an inkpen plus a vial of black ink. Sitting in the lone chair behind the table dinner on all the ﬁne food is a striking High Thonian man dressed in a ruby red robe. He is rather tall and while not muscular does have a nice build to him. His blonde hair is highlighted with a tinge of red. Looking up at you, you can see a ﬁre, a rage in his eyes as if your mere presence has angered him to no end. His lips curl before he speaks, “I suppose that you are seeking Socryt Sasimeyer for whatever you believe to be a just cause. I could ramble on about how I have done nothing wrong, but I doubt you’d listen. You and that darn Wizards’ Cabal.” With this, he stands up, placing his hands on his waist, “I’ll give you one chance to depart and never return but after that consider yourself warned.” If the PCs do not depart, Socryt Sasimeyer casts grease upon as many PCs as possible. Next, he starts to cast summon monster II attempting to use the large circular table as a buffer between himself and the PCs. If captured, he refuses to speak further with the PCs. Socryt Sasimeyer, male High Thonian Sor4: CR 4; Medium humanoid (human); HD 4d4+8; hp 21; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 11, touch 11, ﬂat-footed 10; Base Atk +2; Grp +2; Atk/Full Atk +2 melee (1d6, staff); SA spells; SQ summon familiar; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +6; AL CN. Str 10, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 19. Languages Spoken: Common, Chale, and Goblin. Skills and Feats: Concentration +7, Gather Information +1, Knowledge (arcana) +5, Knowledge (history) +2, Knowledge (local) +2, Knowledge (nobility and royalty) +2, Spellcraft +1; Augmented Summoning, Skill FocusB (arcana), Spell Focus (conjuration). Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/4; caster level 4; save DC 14 + spell level, conjuration DC 17 + spell level): 0—acid splash, breeze*, detect magic, detect poison, light, read magic; 1st—grease, mage armor, summon monster I; 2nd— summon monster II. Possessions: robes, staff, cloak of resistance +1, brooch of shielding, rat familiar, copper key (to locked chest), 3 pp, 12 gp, 8 sp, 1 cp. 99
Encounter 19— The Object of the Inquisition (EL 2, EL 4 & EL 3)
The secret stone door (hardness 8, hp 15, Open Lock DC 20) is locked and trapped and requires a DC 20 Search check to locate. Elven PCs, both Cumasti and Westryn, are entitled to this Search check to notice the secret door as if they were actively looking for the door just by passing within ﬁve feet of it. The trap on the secret door is as follows: Burning Hands Trap: CR 2; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (burning hands, 1st-level wizard, 1d4 ﬁre, DC 11 Reﬂex save half damage); Search DC 26; Disable Device DC 26. Upon opening the door, continue with the following: Opening the secret door in the underground hallway, you see that it reveals a room about thirty feet in length across and sixty feet width across.
After defeating Socryt, the PCs are able to search the room. The timbered crates contain various foodstuffs, while two barrels contain water and the third a dark red wine. Inside the dressers are various articles of average quality clothing. The small metal lockbox (hardness 10, hp 30, Open Lock DC 20) is locked and trapped. Scorching Ray Trap: CR 3; magic device; proximity trigger (alarm); automatic reset; spell effect (scorching ray, 3rd-level wizard, 4d6 ﬁre, +1 ranged touch); Search DC 27; Disable Device DC 27. Note: Socryt placed both traps with the use of scrolls he purchased in the city. Inside the lockbox are two gems (worth 50 gp and 100 gp), two pouches with the ﬁrst one containing 55 gp and second one containing 50 sp, a scroll of breeze (1st level caster), a scroll of monster I (1st level caster), a scroll of monster II (3rd level caster) and Socryt Sasimeyer’s diary.
Socryt Sasimeyer’s Diary
Socryt’s diary is quite thick, containing three hundred and twenty pages of high quality ashen paper. It has a hard dark brown leather cover with no letters or markings upon the
outside of it. It appears that the great care has been given to the book over the years. If the PCs take the time to read through the contents of the diary, which takes about two hours, they can learn the following information: • The ﬁrst entry starts in early 1020, on Socryt Sasimeyer’s ﬁfteenth birthday. He writes that he has been gifted with this diary but more importantly just been informed by his father that he holds a great but secret power within him, which his father refers to as the ‘Blood of Sorcerers.’ • Socryt was born in 1005 within the city of Vestfold. • He had two loving parents and an older sister, who he looked up to. • His mother’s name was Illda. She ran the household but also made some extra income by cleaning the clothes of those who could afford such luxuries. She died naturally in 1028 at the age of forty-four. • His father’s name was Marksmur. He worked as a merchant’s assistant doing whatever work was needed or required of him. He was killed during the Wizards’ Cabal suppression of the sorcerer revolt in Vestfold in 1020 at the age of thirty-eight. • Socryt greatly respected his father and considered the ‘Blood of Sorcerers’ to be an honor, despite what others, such as the Wizards’ Cabal, felt. • Socryt deeply grieves the untimely death of his father and vows to seek revenge for such crimes. • His older sister’s name was/is Forlinn. She was/is three years older then Socryt and was, like Socryt, born in the city of Vestfold. She disappeared, at the age of eighteen, during the Wizards’ Cabal suppression of the sorcerer revolt in Vestfold in 1020 shortly after her and Socryt’s father was killed. She has not been seen or heard from since. It is unknown whether she is alive or dead at this point, but through the words of Socryt, he believes her to still be alive as he “just has a feeling about it.” • Several months after his father’s death and the disappearance of his sister Forlinn, a friend of his father, Xyloquomo, starts to visit him to counsel him to becoming a man. • Several months after ﬁrst meeting Xyloquomo, about a year after his father’s death, he learns that his father’s friend also has the ‘Blood of Sorcerers.’ From this point forward, Xyloquomo carefully and secretly teaches Socryt the art of being a sorcerer. As the lessons continue, Socryt writes that he is highly interested in the magical arts of summoning and creation. Xyloquomo has been extremely helpful in teaching him whatever he can in this area. • Shortly after Socryt’s seventeenth birthday, he becomes an apprentice to Xyloquomo, who owns a small magical shop, called The Thaumaturgy, in the market. • In late 1029, Xyloquomo dies of natural causes. With his family now all dead (or missing), Socryt is, for the ﬁrst time, forced to take full control of his own life. Xyloquomo’s shop is sold so that his family can live without fear of where
their next meal will come from, but he does leave Socryt a moderate amount of gold to assist him in the near future. • Socryt holds a variety of jobs in the few months, but keeps his focus on his magical studies. • A ﬁre burns within Socryt and he feels the urge to “destroy” the Wizards’ Cabal for their criminal treatment of sorcerers. • He has learned that the Wizards’ Cabal is now “keeping an eye” on him and is being followed by a man named Magnineous Starzy. • Late one evening, while aimlessly wandering the streets of Vestfold, Socryt sees a drunken Magnineous with one of his ‘lady friends.’ • After some additional snooping around, Socryt learns the whole dirty secret about Magnineous and his multiple affairs. • Socryt decides to “persuade” Magnineous to give him money and secrets about the Wizards’ Cabal. • Socryt learns of a possible small underground area below the city of Vestfold. Upon investigation, he learns that a local bookstore called Tomes, Texts and Manuscripts might hold the key to entry to this small secret underground area. • Socryt threatens the bookstore owner into allowing him access to the basement. • Socryt sets up a hideout in the underground area beneath the city of Vestfold. • The last entry is that Socryt notes that he has been informed by Magnineous that the Wizards’ Cabal is actively seeking him. He will need to “stay low” for a while. The diary, of course contains information that is quite useful to the Wizards’ Cabal. If the PCs decide to hand it over to them, Magnineous is shamefully kicked out of the order.
Socryt Sasimeyer is killed. Cyrpo Selan is saddened that the PCs killed Socryt Sasimeyer but agrees that this is a better end then having him on the loose. Magnineous Starzy is pleased by and gives them their payment (a potion of mage armor) as promised. He also attempts to purchase Socryt’s diary from the PCs to keep his secret safe and secure. He is willing to pay up to one hundred and eighty gold pieces for it. If the PCs turn in Socryt Sasimeyer’s diary into the Wizards’ Cabal, Magnineous is shamefully kicked out of the order. The PCs are unable to defeat Socryt Sasimeyer. Cyrpo Selan is disappointed that the PCs did not capture Socryt Sasimeyer, while Magnineous Starzy is saddened that he was not killed, as he fears his secret could get out sometime in the future. Socryt Sasimeyer leaves the city of Vestfold to ﬁnd another secret hiding place. Magnineous is able to keep his secret to just unconﬁrmed rumors and thus remain a member of the Wizards’ Cabal.
If you enjoyed this Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor Adventure, be sure to check out other adventures such as The Redwood Scar. For a more persistent storyline set in Blackmoor, try Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor: The MMRPG, featuring 16 free episodes for download and play at conventions or homeplay events. More information is available at www.dablackmoor.com UTHER ONCE AND ALWAYS!
The adventure has four possible outcomes: The PCs refuse to ﬁght Socryt Sasimeyer. Cyrpo Selan is saddened that the PCs did not capture Socryt Sasimeyer, while Magnineous Starzy is enraged that he was not killed, as he fears his secret could get out sometime in the future. Socryt Sasimeyer leaves the city of Vestfold to ﬁnd another secret hiding place. Magnineous is able to keep his secret to just unconﬁrmed rumors and thus remain a member of the Wizards’ Cabal. Socryt Sasimeyer is captured. Cyrpo Selan is pleased that the PCs were able to capture Socryt Sasimeyer, so that he could be turned into the Wizards’ Cabal for interrogation. Magnineous Starzy is saddened that Socryt was not killed, as he fears his secret will get out. If the PCs also turn in Socryt Sasimeyer’s diary into the Wizards’ Cabal, Magnineous is shamefully kicked out of the order. 101
A Night in Maus By Harley Stroh
A Night in Maus was originally devised as an experiment to see if an outstanding piece of ﬁction set in Blackmoor could be interwoven with an expanding array of game mechanics and rules. Blackmoorian ﬁction has been overlooked for far too long and it felt like the time was right to bring it to the masses. Originally, this work was made available in a serial styled format in which the story drew readers back time and time again to follow the exploits of Col, the Clockwork Inquisitor. This format allowed for incremental entry of characters, NPCs and new game mechanics into existing campaigns needing a quick side adventure. Many players and GMs have responded with great praise for this work and the effect it had on their home campaign. Harley Stroh was incredibly successful and this work is the end result of the experiment. Presented here for the ﬁrst time in print, please enjoy A Night in Maus.
The Shattered Tower rose against the night sky like a broken dagger thrust into the heart of the moon. Once the eldritch fastness of a powerful magus, now the dark tower stood in ruins. Its peak had been shorn off during the ﬁnal years of the Mage Wars, scattering granite blocks across the rocky hillside like a handfuls of dice, cast by the gods. Seven succeeding generations of thieves and brigands had picked over every stone and broken artifact, until the tower was no more than a stone husk, ignored by even the ﬁshermen living in its shadow. But had anyone been watching the tower this night, they would have seen a pair of darksome rogues roping down the wind-polished face, like droplets of blood running down the edge of a blade. Samul slowed his decent, sliding to a halt atop a wide granite sill. A chill autumn wind blew across the Northern Downs, chasing every cloud from the sky until the stars sparkled and shone like jewels on a bed
of velvet. His companion Reese followed shortly after, cursing the cold and darkness. “Bloody madness,” Reese muttered. “I looted this ruin when I was nine summers old. I don’t care how much we’ll be paid –– there’s not a pinched copper to be found now that I didn’t ﬁnd then.” “We all looted this tower,” Samul agreed. “Any child in seven leagues knows it like the back of his hand.” “Then why am I freezing my tips off here, when I ought to be warming them ‘fore a ﬁre, with an ale in one hand and me girl in the other?” “Of all the times we played in the tower,” Samul reasoned, “did we ever ﬁnd a single window or door that was shuttered?” “Don’t be daft,” Reese answered. “The wood all rotted out decades before our time.” Samul nodded over his shoulder, to the shuttered window beneath them. Reese nearly dropped his rope in astonishment. “But we’ve been all up and down the inside of the tower. How’d we miss it?” “We all played inside the tower. Nobody bothered searching the outside.” “But the tower’s an empty shell,” Reese marveled. “Where’s the window to?” “Exactly,” Samul said. “Where is the window to? Someplace you can’t get to from the inside.” He eased himself across the sill to a gargoyle and tied the rope off. The pair set to work. Samul sat atop the gargoyle, paying rope out to Reese, while the smaller rogue examined the window below. “Well,” Samul asked. “Can you open it?” “Ain’t a tumbler in the north country I can’t pick.” Reese pulled a thin poniard from an oiled leather sheath on his forearm and gently probed the hinges, lock and sill. A line of ancient wax was packed around the edges of the sill, binding the shutter closed. Reese
cautiously tested the wax with his poniard. Tiny blue runes ﬂared and died. “Speed it up,” Samul called out from his perch. “I can’t be holding you all night.” “There’s a seal,” Reese hissed back. “What’s there to be frightened of? Whoever laid the seal been dead for centuries.” “That’s what I’m worried about,” Reese muttered. Grimacing, he dug out the seal, bits of wax tumbling away into the darkness. There was a soft noise, like the sound of ice cracking, and the seal exploded with a brilliant blue ﬂash, lighting up the face of the tower as the terriﬁed thief pitched backwards off the sill. Blinded, Reese felt only the rush of air, his guts wrenching with fear, and then a bouncing jolt that tore at his waist. Reese’s eyes slowly cleared. He was spinning gently in the air, dangling from the rope anchored by Samul and the leering gargoyle. Swearing aloud, Reese pulled himself back up to the window. He had dropped his dagger in the fall; now the thief pulled another blade from his boot. Flushing with anger, he ignored caution and levered the shutters open. No explosions of ﬁre or blasts of thunder this time, just opaque darkness and the sour stench of stale air. Samul joined Reese at the sill. A single narrow shaft of moonlight lit a swatch of the chamber beyond, silhouetting the rogues like a pair of shadow puppets. “It’s impossible,” Reese whispered. Samul nodded, his bravado suddenly ﬂed. The rogue eased his way to the rug-covered ﬂoor, and he knelt to light a torch. After several tries, the brand caught. Samul held the torch high, breathless again. He was standing in a tomb, a dozen paces wide and twice as long. Dusty, worm-eaten tapestries covered the walls, depicting scenes of wizards battling dragons. Plates overﬂowing with gold, silver and platinum coins sat atop ivory pedestals carved in the shape of ﬂaring cobras. Scrolls, musty tomes, sheaves of vellum, and massive librams were arrayed on shelves and in stacks. And at the head of the room, atop an ornate mahogany chair, sat a leering skeleton. Reese slipped to his companion’s side, his eyes wide in amazement. “Touch nothing,” Samul cautioned and for once Reese agreed. Despite all his better judgment, Samul edged towards the skeleton, cautiously picking his way through the treasures.
Once upon a time the corpse had been arrayed as a king, but now its ﬁne robes hung in tatters. Jeweled rings dangled loosely around shrunken ﬁnger bones, wrought gold bracers lolled around dried skin stretched as tight as a drum, and its golden crown had slipped to one side. Samul held the dripping torch toward the leering skull, ignoring Reese’s hissing pleas. A brilliant silver chain hung around the skeleton’s neck, like drops of quicksilver frozen in time. Fastened to the chain was a perfectly faceted emerald the size of an egg. “The Star of Terra,” Samul whispered, his heartbeat drumming in his ears. “Just like the mage said.” The rogue edged around the skeleton, trying to get a better view of the gem. “Oh, you’re a beauty, ain’t you? None’s seen your kind since the Mage Wars. Cabal’s locked them all away, taken them for their own. Ain’t a shiner like you to be found,” Samul’s eyes burned with greed, “lessen they been hidden the last two hundred years.” “Samul-” Reese began. Before the rogue could ﬁnish, Samul reached forward, took the jewel in hand, and tore the amulet from around the neck of the skeleton. The skeleton collapsed, bones chattering to the ﬂoor. A low, throaty laugh ﬁlled the room, accompanied by a whistling northwind. The laughter grew, blurring into the sound of the raging wind and snufﬁng Samul’s torch. Reese was out the window in an instant, leaping from the sill to the gargoyle in a single desperate lunge. He caught the cold, granite spines and pulled himself up. The laughter grew louder, urging him on. The rogue cast the rope out into the air, and didn’t wait for it to touch the ground before starting down. Inside the tower Samul fumbled about, disoriented by the rush of darkness and the freezing wind. He tripped over a pedestal, tumbling to the ﬂoor amid the piles of treasure. The rush of the wind was deafening now, stealing the warmth from his limbs and icing the blood in his veins. His lungs stung with every breath. Samul scrambled for the window, slipping across the frost-scored ﬂoor. The wind grew even stronger, building to a raging scream. Samul caught the edge of the sill with numb ﬁngers. Blinded by ice, unable to feel his limbs, the rogue ﬂung himself out the window and into the clear night sky. Samul and Reese collided in the air, momentum swinging the pair away from the window. An instant
later a blast of white hoarfrost erupted from the tower, raining ice and snow into the night before transforming into a thousand white bats. Reese watched in amazement as the bats ﬂitted away, disappearing into the night sky. Samul clung to him, beard and eyebrows dripping with ice, teeth chattering, his body shaking uncontrollably. Clinging to the rope with all his strength, Reese eased their way down. The pair collapsed to the ground, whimpering with cold and fear. “Samul,” Reese whispered, looking to his shivering friend. “Did you get it?” The young Thonian cracked opened his frost-blackened ﬁst, revealing the emerald pendant. It sparkled in the gloom, catching the light of the moon. The rogues broke into exhausted laughter. “We’re rich men,” Samul gasped through frozen lungs. “The mage promised us a baron’s ransom for the Star. A ransom.” Reese nodded, unable to take his eyes from the gem. “Never again to slave and scrape under another man’s thumb. Never again.” Samul slowly regained his strength. Dawn was still hours away, but the pair had many leagues to travel. Reese helped the rogue to his feet, and together the pair hobbled into the brush where their horses were hidden. * * * * * The next morning a grim swordsman rode into the village. His horse was a dark charger bred for war, its ebon hide slick with perspiration despite the crisp morning air. The rider wore a hooded long cloak the color of dusk, and his shoulders slumped as if he had slept in the saddle. The ﬁshermen all looked to the ground as he passed, and their wives ceased their chatter, herding their children indoors. A heavy-bladed short sword hung from one hip, and an unstrung recurve bow and quiver were slung across his bedroll. But what frightened the villagers more than the mighty black horse and war-worn weapons, was the simple red mantle that shielded his eyes and marked the man as a sorcerer-hunter. Inquisitor. The word ﬂew through the town in hushed whispers and furtive signs. Inquisitors were the dark hand of the Wizard’s Cabal, lone assassins and executioners sent to enforce the Cabal’s will when every other avenue had
been exhausted. It was whispered that each inquisitor was the chosen of Hella, and that the Dark Queen rode in their shadow, bestowing death and destruction to all that crossed their path. A sweating alderman stumbled into the morning light, and took a stand in the center of the muddy track. A mob of thick-built ﬁshermen ﬁled in behind him, sharp gaffs and stout wooden pegs clenched tightly in their meaty ﬁsts. “Ho, rider!” the alderman called out, his mouth dry with false courage. “State your business and be on your way.” The horse stopped up and the rider pulled back his crimson mantle. His face was thin and hard, his eyes cold, like blued steel. Two days growth of stubble covered his cheeks, and his dark hair was uncut and matted, but he spoke with a low voice that rang with authority in the morning air. Girded in leather and dark chain, he had the lean, feral build of a starving wolf. “I am Col, emissary of the Wizard’s Cabal.” The alderman froze, jowls hanging in fear. “The Clockwork Inquisitor?” “The same.” The men shot glances at Col, each trying to catch a glimpse beneath his cloak. Even in this coastal backwater they had heard tales of the inquisitor who had sacriﬁced his arm for the Cabal. The speciﬁcs of the story varied with each telling, but they all agreed on one detail: that in place of the inquisitor’s arm was a whirling, clockwork artiﬁce, an unnatural fusion of metal and magic. Col shielded his eyes and nodded up the rocky hillside rounding the back of the village. “Where are the ruins men call the Shattered Tower?” “Not far from here,” the alderman pointed up a narrow, muddy track. “I will show you the way.” Remembering his audience, the alderman hitched up his rope belt over his considerable belly and bullied his way through throng. Col nudged his horse forward, and the crowd split to either side, their gazes turned down in submission. Col and the alderman made their way up the hillside. Behind them, the village shrank to a muddy mote, then vanished into the boding, gray landscape. As the pair climbed they passed massive granite blocks, half buried in the ground. Each was perfectly faceted, with hard edges and precise angles, except where the blocks had been split, cracked like cubes of salt. “Debris from the tower,” the alderman explained. “You can ﬁnd it scattered for miles.”
Col crouched to study a block’s polished face. “Some of these still bear runes.” The alderman dismissed Col’s concern with a laugh. “Curiosities for hedge mages at the university, nothing more. Like the tower.” Col looked up and the alderman felt a rush of fear pass over him. The inquisitor had made no move to threaten him, and yet his eyes bore the unmistakable hint of violence. “We are a village of simple ﬁshermen,” the alderman tried to explain, “not foolish arcanists. Tell me why you’ve come and perhaps I can aid you in your mission-” “The Cabal keeps its own council.” The alderman fell into chastised silence, and didn’t speak again until the pair had reached the base of the ruins. It was as the alderman had said. The Shattered Tower, or what was left of it, was a ruined husk. The wide base stood resolutely atop the cliff, looking down on the crashing surf of the Black Sea. The interior of the tower had been scoured by falling debris, ﬁlling the base with the same runic blocks that littered the hillside. Shreds of ﬂooring remained, garnished with ratty ropes hung by locals, but anything of value had been surely destroyed in the blast. Col started around the base of the tower, examining the ground as he went. “It may have been a place of power once,” the alderman said, “but now it’s a dried corps, as any fool could see.” Col ignored the alderman’s nervous prattle, and stilled himself. The realms of Blackmoor were drenched in magic, but with the proper training one could distinguish between the natural magic of the land, and the crafted spells of man. The inquisitor could sense remnants of eldritch wizardry nearby, calling to him softly. Col knelt and ran his ﬁngers through the blades of dried grass, coming up with bits of cracked beeswax. “Wax?” The alderman craned his head over Col’s shoulder. “Likely from candles left by children playing in the ruins -” Col held up his hand for silence. He rolled the bits between his ﬁngertips, pressing out slivers of iron ore. “An eldritch seal was placed near here.” The inquisitor looked up, spying a widow halfway up the ruined tower and directly above where he knelt. “There. Someone has disturbed the window.”
“But who would bother? Any fool could see there is nothing there. The tower is empty.” Col shook his head and continued the search. In minutes he found bits of rope and a long, narrow dagger. The alderman’s eyes went wide. Before now he had doubted Col’s mission, but now it seemed clear that something had taken place. “Do you think it is locals?” he asked, gripped with fear. “A poniard is made for gutting knights, not ﬁsh. I doubt it belongs to any of your people.” “But who then? The thief might have come from anywhere.” “This rope is woven with strands of spidersilk.” “Spider silk? The thief was a Peshwan?” “No. This rope is commissioned exclusively by Guild thieves.” Col stripped the poniard’s hilt, removing the black leather wrap. Six scores were beaten into the blade’s tang to form a star. “The bladesmith’s mark. This dagger was forged by Valdus of Maus.” Col stood up. “A Guild rope, and a rogue’s blade. Two signs pointing to Maus. That is where our thief hailed from, and that is where he has ﬂed.” Col called the horse to him. “Thank you for your time, alderman. The Cabal will look kindly on this.” “But sir!” the alderman interjected. “Tonight is Spirit Eve, when the dead rise to walk the land! Maus is several hours ride from here, and already the day grows short.” “Listen, friend, and learn wisdom,” Col said, and a hint of ﬂeeting melancholy passed over the inquisitor’s blue-steel eyes. “The will of the Cabal waits on no man, not even an inquisitor.” Col turned the charger hard and gave a kick. In moments the massive warhorse had carried the sorcerer-hunter out of sight. * * * * * Dusk came quickly to the City of Maus. Doors were bolted, windows barred, and neglected street lanterns sputtered and died. The heavy city gates, watched with vigilance every other night of the year, now hung open and unattended. But no army would dare invade this night, when the musty catacombs, tombs, and forgotten graves of Maus cracked open to release their grisly freight. Tonight the undead ruled the streets, alleys and byways of the North, and the living hid indoors, cloistered together to wait out the night.
“By the blood of Hersh, open!” Reese shouted, while Samul pounded on the inn door. The two had ridden hard all night and through the day, only arriving in the city as the autumn-red sun settled over the snow-crested Haven Peaks. By the time the pair arrived the sprawling city had already become a ghost town. Past the thick door, the rogues could hear dancing and laughter, but outside there was only the empty cobblestone streets and the hard north wind. The last rays of the sun winked behind the mountains, and the rogues renewed their efforts, shouting and beating on the thick wooden door. Bolts were drawn back and the door eased open, revealing several pairs of wary eyes. “Is they dead?” one queried. “No telling!” another answered, and they began to close the door. “No, we’re not dead, you imbeciles,” Samul grunted, kicking his boot between the door and the frame, “but you will be, ‘lessin you open the door.” Reese followed threat with substance, thrusting his dagger toward the frightened faces, forcing them away from the door. The rogues bullied themselves inside the rowdy inn and through the hot, stinking crowd. They ducked through a small door, leaving the smoky common room behind them. Reese and Samul padded to the end of the hall, down a narrow staircase and knocked twice on a cellar door. “Enter,” a pitched voice intoned. The rogues obeyed, ducking inside a low-ceilinged cellar that smelled of rock and wet earth. A hollow-eyed halfelf sat at a makeshift table, his features lit by a single black candle. “Join me, friends,” the half-elf whispered, gesturing to a pair of stools. The rogues tossed themselves down, pouring themselves mugs of beer from a clay pitcher. Both drank deeply, relaxing for the ﬁrst time in hours. “By Thanatos’ bloody arse,” Samul laughed, wiping foam from his beard. “Robbing a spectral tower on a full moon? You know how to pick ‘em, mage.” Reese nodded and sipped at his mug. “We aught to charge you double for hazard pay.” The half-elf afforded the rogues a half smile. “It was a necessary evil. Spirit Eve will cover our escape and stymie pursuit. Do you have the gem?” “Sure, sure,” Samul said, pouring himself another mug. “But who’s going to chase us? Forgotten tomb, lost horde. The perfect crime.”
“And yet you were followed,” a low voice said from the shadows by the door. The rogues spun. A tall ﬁgure slid from the shadows, tiger-like and grim. A cloak concealed his features, but nothing could disguise the half-orc’s size and unlikely grace. “An inquisitor, sent by the Wizard’s Cabal.” “Impossible,” Samul scoffed. “The loot’s been untouched for centuries. No one knew it was there.” “Nevertheless, someone did,” the half-orc hissed. Samul put down his mug and the room fell into silence. Reese eased himself away from the table, blade in his lap. “Well then,” Samul began, hesitantly, placing the gem atop the table. “We’ll just take our pay then and be out of your way-” Before he could ﬁnish Modocai stood and whispered a single word. Arcane power, held in check, ﬂooded the room, lighting up Samul with a blue ﬂash. The rogue gave a croaking cry, and when the light died, a green toad sat in his place. Reese lunged for the wizard, but before he could reach across the table, a blade hissed in the darkness. He fell to the ﬂoor, crying in pain. His side had been split open to his spine, spilling dark bile and bloody organs. He stared up at the half-orc in shocked awe, not believing anyone could move so quickly, then saw the signature curved steel blade. “Balebourne?” Reese gasped in disbelief. “Half Balebourne,” the swordsman corrected, pulling back his hood to reveal a noble yet brutally bestial visage. Reese’s eyes went wide with recognition. “Garrote.” He whispered the name and died. Modocai took the frog in his hand, studying his companion with new respect. “You’ve quite the reputation. Unusual for one of your kind.” “Rats can smell their own,” the half-orc shrugged, wiping the blood from his blade. “But what about the inquisitor?” “Your breeding betrays you, friend. No matter how much you bastards achieve, you always carry the fear of the wilds in your hearts,” Modocai said, stroking the frog. “How dangerous could one man be?” “My guild has dealt with this one before.” “Do tell,” Modocai said with mock fear. “I’m in the mood for a good ghost story.” “It was after the siege of Blackmoor Castle. My agents met with emissaries of the Cabal, but suspected they would double cross us. I demanded that the Cabal
offer one of their own as insurance against betrayal. It was Col, then a fresh-faced boy and not yet the Clockwork Inquisitor, who volunteered to remain behind.” “And?” Modocai asked. “Did the Cabal betray you?” “Of course they did,” Garrote answered, giving a devilish smile. “When word came back that they had turned on us, I cut off the young man’s sword arm, as a lesson to those who would betray the Merchant’s Guild.” Modocai clapped with delight. “And?” “I remember the look in his eyes when I took his arm. He knew.” “Knew what?” “That the Cabal planned to betray us. And still he chose to remain behind, and never once tried to break away. This one is law incarnate.” Modocai laughed aloud. “You mean idiocy incarnate.” “This Clockwork Inquisitor isn’t like you or I. Neither the threat of pain nor death has any hold over him; he has sold his soul to the Cabal, and nothing short of destruction can stop him.” “Enough stories,” Modocai snapped, unnerved by Garrote’s fear. “The investigator is still leagues from Maus, and no one –– not even this Clockwork Inquisitor of yours –– can travel after dark on this night.” Modocai hurled the frog against the ﬂoor, then stomped hard, crushing it with a wet pop. “Back to work,” the wizard ordered. “We still have much to accomplish.” Garrote obeyed silently, a frown ﬁxed on his face. He concealed the body of Reese behind a pile of ﬁre wood. Then the half-orc pried a heavy iron drain from the ﬂoor and helped Modocai into the tunnel below. Garrote followed, pulling the drain closed behind them. The candle on the table ﬁnally burned down to its base, snufﬁng out with a trail of blue smoke. As the sweet-smelling smoke drifted away, a transformation took place in the cellar. Reese’s body was covered by the illusion of ﬁrewood, the stink of blood became the smell of stale ale, and the iron drain vanished entirely, covered by the illusion of hard packed earth. In moments it was as if Garrote and Modocai had never existed. All that remained of the killers was the body of a single frog, crushed against the muddy ﬂoor.
Col reined the ebon charger to a stop, atop a seaside hill. They had ridden hard all day and even a magical steed needed rest. Col leaned forward and patted the impatient warhorse on its broad neck. Below them sprawled an overgrown graveyard. The neglected headstones stood at odd and unnatural angles among the tufts of dead grass. Further down the hill were half a dozen barrow mounds, reminders of the savage tribes that had once called this lonely stretch of coastline their home. Shadow stomped and snorted with impatience, its breath coming in billowing white clouds. The frosty air was already ﬁlled with the smell of freshly turned earth, heralding the coming of night. In less time than it would take to drink an ale, the hills would infested with the living dead. Col held the charger in place for a moment longer. To the west, across the Black Sea, the sun shimmered and sank toward the horizon over the Realm of the Egg. Peasants whispered that every night the Egg of Coot devoured the sun, and every dawn Odir cut the sun free, releasing it to continue on its course. Astronomers had disproved the stories years ago, but riding alone on the cold northern shores, looking over the icy whitecaps of the Black Sea, the tales seemed almost credible. Col gave Shadow a nudge and the horse resumed its impossible gait, devouring the miles towards Maus. “You were nearly too late, milord,” the innkeeper said, barring the door behind Col. “I dearly apologize for your steed though –– my stable has room for no more.” Col eased tack and saddlebags to the ﬂoor. “You need’nt worry. She runs with her own tonight.” The innkeeper looked askance but kept his questions to himself. Inquisitors were always a strange lot, and prying into Cabal business served no man. “You’ll be wanting a room then?” he asked, fearing the answer. Again, Col shook his head. “Just some wine and a quiet corner. I won’t be staying the the night.” The innkeeper scurried to obey, muttering wards against deviltry and the mysteries of wizards as he vanished into the bustling kitchen. The waystation’s smoke-stained common room was packed with travelers of every station. Drinking ﬂagons hammered on the rough tables in time to raucous war-dirges while dark-skinned, proud-eyed Peshwans
diced with even prouder High Thonian noble-sons. At the head of the room, a portly priest of Odir struggled for preeminence with a half-elven disciple of Tsartha. To one side an ale-sodden dwarf was defending the pride of his race by furiously drinking all challengers under the table. Sitting next to the smoking hearth, a scarred veteran told war stories with his pitted broadsword in hand, and all the while a pretty maid kept up the pretense of singing to ward off the walking dead. Col elbowed through the crowd and made his way to the darkest corner to be found. Upon catching sight of the crimson mantle, the revelers made space for the sorcerer-hunter and Col quickly found himself sitting alone. Many inquisitors rankled at the dread their order inspired, but Col had long grown accustomed to the dark stares and furtive whispers. He had excelled in the calling of the sorcerer-hunter; now he reaped the bitter harvest of those years. And what would he have with a family, or friends? They would only be chinks in the armor he had worked so hard to forge, either pawns for the Cabal or targets for his prey. The innkeeper brought Col a drinking-jack and a bottle of wine, refusing the inquisitor’s coins when the inquisitor tried to pay. It was like this wherever Col went: simultaneously envied and loathed by the people he fought to protect. Col retrieved an oiled rag from his saddlebags and removed his cloak, revealing the clockwork arm that stood in stead of ﬂesh and blood. He tested the prosthesis, joints clicking as gears whirled and spun. The pistons and geartrains were driven by magic, so the arm never slowed or tired, but like any mechanism, it needed to be kept up. Col went over the arm thoroughly, removing any hint of dirt or precipitation, until the clockworks gleamed in the ﬂickering torch light. The sorcerer-hunter began to polish and sharpen his short blade, pausing from time to time to sip the wine. Despite the best efforts of his stallion, he had missed his mark by a mere three leagues. And yet, those last nine miles to Maus would have been the most deadly. Entire armies had died on these shores; tonight they would wage war once more, but this time against the living. It frustrated Col to miss his mark by such a short distance, but in the end it would be an inconvenience, nothing more. Outside the waystation, the dead were awakening. They dragged their bony ﬁngertips over the walls, rattled the shutters and tested the doors. The revelers increased the volume of their celebrations, drowning
out the moans and sinister threats whispered through the walls. So long as the bars held and the bard kept up her playing, those inside would be safe. Those caught outside wouldn’t be so lucky. Until dawn, no door or gate in the entire North would open. Col watched the drinking and singing from his dark corner. It was the paradox of all inquisitors: the need to stand apart from those they protected. In the same way that inquisitors embraced and studied violence so that the common people would never have to, their calling also denied them the fruits of their works. An inquisitor fought so other northlanders could know peace, but no inquisitor ever died of natural causes. The sorcerer-hunter cleared his mind of the melancholy thoughts. Such were the domain of philosophers and sophists. On the frontier they amounted to little more than distractions, and were quickly eclipsed by needs far more pressing than peace of soul. The legions of dead scouring the lands outside were a testament to that. Col poured himself another jack of wine and laid the thick sword on his lap. It wouldn’t be long now. * * * * *
“The Star of Terra,” Mordocai whispered in reverence, holding the shining emerald high. The gem ﬂashes and sparkled with a brilliance all its own, shaming the dim light shed by the candles scattered about the room. “Well,” Garrote demanded, “does it hold what we seek?” “Patience, savage friend,” Mordocai said, dismissing the half-orc with a wave. “These things take time.” Garrote went back to the balcony. Several stories below, walking dead staggered through the dark cobbled streets, seeking the slow and foolish that had failed to ﬁnd shelter before sundown. Corpses of all states mingled together; pale urchins, spotted with plague pox, stumbled alongside skeletal warriors girded in rusting armor; lopheaded hanged-men darted from door to door, testing each with a rattle, while solemn High Thonians, still garbed in regal robes, marched alongside their brides in search of prey. The cold night air rang with low groans, punctuated by the horriﬁed screams of the dying.
“It has begun to snow,” Garrote noted. “Maybe it will keep down the stink.” Unsettled by his own morbid fascination, the half-orc stepped away from the balcony, closing the leaded glass doors. He saw with disgust that the wizard was still admiring the gem, seduced by its charm. “How powerful,” Garrote demanded, shocking Mordocai from his revere, “can a gem predating the Wizard’s Cabal even be?” “Therein is the true beauty of this jewel,” the wizard answered softly. “After Skelfer Ard discovered powerful gems could be used to wield and harness White Magic, it was still a decade before he brought the Mage Wars to an end. During that time he shared his secrets with select apprentices. Most fought by his side during the last years of the Mage Wars, but a few disciples struck out to study White Magic on their own. Xavier the Gray was one of those traitorous few.” “So the Shattered Tower wasn’t destroyed until the very end of the Mage Wars,” Garrote reasoned. “Precisely. Xavier had ten long years, more than enough time to acquire the Star of Terra and then imbue it with the sum of his power. In the coming years, Skelfer’s loyal disciples, what we call the Wizard’s Cabal, sought to acquire all the most powerful gems for themselves. “But Xavier’s tower had been destroyed, his life’s work presumed lost,” Mordocai concluded with a ﬂourish. “Thus we have the Star of Terra: an artifact torn through an inﬁnitesimally small window in time, ‘twixt the discovery of the spell foci and the tyrannical reign of the Wizard’s Cabal.” Mordocai held the gem close, and his voice fell to a whisper. “Who can say what eldritch might has been lost all these years, hoarded by the Cabal? Who can say what precious spells were wrought by a mage powerful enough to challenge Skelfer himself?” Mordocai’s eyes ﬂuttered shut in exultation. “Enough power, perhaps, to transform a practitioner of the Art into an archmage equal to the legends of yore.” Mordocai took a long, haggard breath. “Soon. Soon I shall know.” “All the better,” Garrote swore. “This accursed bauble stinks of wizards’ blood. Best to be done with it, and quickly.” “Friend savage, your kind will never appreciated the majesty of true arcane power.” Mordocai snuffed the candles one by one, then knelt on a bed of cushions, holding the glowing gem before him.
“Watch,” the wizard instructed, “and learn what it means to be a command the very fabric of the universe.” Mordocai peered deep into the gem and intoned a phrase in Draconic. The Star of Terra lifted from his hands, borne up under its own power. The glow inside the emerald began to pulse, softly at ﬁrst, then quickening, until it became a steady brilliance that illuminated the entire chamber. “Now,” Mordocai whispered, “to suffuse myself with the might of the ages.” The wizard offered himself up to the gem, repeating the spell like a mantra. The glow brightened until it dwarfed the noonday sun, but still the wizard refused to turn away. He renewed his efforts, his chants ﬁlling the room with the ancient, slithering tongue. Mordocai reached out to the gleaming, scintillating gem, and the gem reached out to him. Garrote took a step away, shielding his eyes from the blinding rays. Then the wizard began to scream. * * * * *
Col stood up, shouldered his cloak and pulled the crimson mantle down low over his eyes. “Master,” the innkeeper gasped, clutching his apron in fear. “Have we offended your lordship?” The inquisitor shook his head and tossed a handful of ﬂashing gold coins onto the table. “For your trouble,” Col said, fastening a clockwork ﬁst around the hilt of his sword. The crowd of drunken revelers watched in silence as the sorcerer-hunter faded and vanished. * * * * *
Mordocai was screaming in exalted agony, as if his soul were be ripped from his ragged throat. Which, Garrote mused, might not have been far from the truth. The wizard’s entire body was lit up like molten glass, light errupting from his very being. The half-orc had tortured many an unlucky soul in his tenure with the Guild. He had carefully removed entire swatches of skin, muscle, and bone, and used temple healers to keep the victims alive as their bodies were set to rot. None of his wards had ever wailed like this. Garrote wondered how long he should let the ar-
rogant mage suffer, and if it was possible to drown in the blood of one’s own shredded vocal cords. The half-orc’s dark mediations were broken when a second ﬂash lit the chamber. Garrote drew his blade and spun in a single motion. Through the glare of the gem he saw the telltale crimson hood of an inquisitor. Garrote snarled and spun back towards the dying wizard. He hit hard and fast, pulling the curved blade through the entire strike. The blade slid through Mordocai’s neck and spine, then broke free. The lifeless body of the wizard collapsed, gouting blood. The head spun twice then struck the ﬂoor, Mordocai’s eyes still tranﬁxed with a mix of wonder and agony. And then the room was plunged into darkness. * * * * *
Col entered the chamber, hood low, blade held before him. The same Cabalistic spell that hurled him across the miles would also produce a brilliant ﬂash that was sure to blind any onlookers, and Col was careful to make certain he didn’t share their fate. But the chamber he entered was already lit with blinding light. Col saw the towering frame of a halforc spin with the quickness of a tiger, a curved blade springing into the beast’s hands. The inquisitor had just enough time to recognize the savage visage before the half-orc turned back, cleaving the wizard’s head from his body in a single swift strike. Then darkness ﬂooded room, and it was the hunter who found himself blind. Col could have made a desperate dash for Garrote but that meant death. The half-orc could see in the darkness, while Col would be ﬁghting blind. The immediacy of this truth was reinforced by Garrote’s throaty laughter. “The Clockwork Inquisitor,” he said warmly. “I’d expected you sooner.” Col held his silence, trying to gauge the half-orc’s position as he moved through the room. He could call up a spell, but in the time it would take to whisper the words of eldritch power the half-orc would cut him in two. “Over here,” Garrote corrected with laugh. “I see the Cabal was good enough to replace your arm. The least they could do, really.” Col turned with the sounds of the voice. He could hear the half-orc circling around him, gradually drawing closer.
“I’ve always wondered,” Garrote’s voice came from behind. “Can you actually feel with a clockwork arm, or are they just good for hacking?” Col threw up his heavy sword in a desperate block. He felt the crash of Garrote’s katana against his shortsword and lashed out with a gloved ﬁst. The blow glanced off Garrote, snapping the half-orc back and spinning Col around. The laughter was replaced by a painful cough, and Garrote spit a mouthful of blood onto the chamber ﬂoor. “Good, inquisitor, good. Let’s make this a little more challenging, eh?” Col heard a whispered command word, and then nothing. He strained his ears, then realized that the half-orc had activated some arcane item that silenced his movements. Without a warning of his attack, there was no telling which direction the next blow would come from. Col backed away until he felt the wall behind. Fear and uncertainty ﬁlled his heart. A lesser man might have abandoned himself to fate, hacking and slashing blindly in the darkness, but the sorcerer-hunter forced the emotions down, refusing to give into panic. He ﬁxed his gaze on the faint light of the leaded-glass doors, then began to ease his way around the circumference of the chamber. Each step brought the threat of death at the balebourne blade. Col had crossed half the room when he spotted what he had been seeking: the dim silloutte of the half-orc against the glass doors, katana raised high with both hands. Col sprang, short sword hissing through the darkness before him. Garrote gave a shout of surprise and steel met steel, Col’s attack blocked by the half-orc’s blade. Garrote staggered backwards in alarm, slashing left and right, uncertain how his foe had managed to spot him. Col dropped low, and the blows passed harmlessly overhead. The sorcerer-hunter pressed his advantage, hissing an incantation. Mystic power sizzled through the air and Col’s sword ﬂooded the chamber with light. The sorcerer-hunter pointed the crackling blade towards the astonished half-orc. “Now,” Col said with grim satisfaction, “things get interesting.” “A fair ﬁght?” The bestial Garrote shook his head with a smile. He knelt to snatch up the Star of Terra then sprang through the glass doors to the balcony. The room was ﬁlled with crash of falling glass as
Garrote climbed atop the railing. “What you have to decide, Clockwork Inquisitor, is how badly you want this,” Garrote ﬂashed the faceted emerald, “and how badly you want to stay alive.” Col made a dash for the thief, but Garrote was faster. He leaped into the crisp air, and fell, clattering, to the slate rooftops below. An instant later the halforc was back on his feet, dashing along the rows of roofs. Col swore softly, mindful of the legions of walking dead that ﬁlled the darksome streets below. Then he took a breath, placed a single boot atop the railing, and vaulted into the Blackmoor night.
The rotting corpse staggered down the cobbled street, stopping to test each window and door. Its gray ﬂesh hung in peeling chunks, and its boots left a trail of muddy grave dirt. The zombie carried a rusted longsword and a battered wooden shield; it had been a warrior once, but this one would never defend the people of the frontier again. While it moved with the awkward, unnatural grace of a broken marionette, bitter red embers burned in its eye sockets, betraying sinister cunning lurking within. It had both inﬁnite patience and insatiable hunger, and moved with the deliberate certainty known only to the dead. This one wanted only one thing – to feast upon the living, and it could wait as long as necessary. Another hunter stalked those same shadows. Unlike the zombie, Col, didn’t have all night. Yet he hung motionless, clinging to the underside of the eave, a handy trick he had learned from the swarthy rogues of Booh. Three ghouls had passed in the last few minutes, all of them stalking warm blood. Col could kill any one of the walking dead, but the sounds of a heated battle would only bring more, wasting precious minutes that were better spent in pursuit. The zombie continued on its stumbling way. As soon as it had passed out of sight, the sorcerer-hunter swung back to down the street and resumed his hunt. Garrote paused in his ﬂight to lean against the mud and plaster wall, his breath coming in ragged gasps. The sellsword swallowed hard and ﬂexed his sword arm. He had cut down half a dozen zombies in as many minutes. None of them had come near to strik-
ing him – he was far too quick for that –- but the near constant battle had begun to wear at him. The halforc was a master of the Balebourne style, the art of killing an opponent with a single perfect strike, but he loathed conﬂicts that lasted longer than the ﬁrst deadly clash. Running battles where swordsmen wore each other down to exhaustion, waiting for one to stumble onto the other’s blade, were just so tedious. Garrote held up the ﬁst-sized emerald, admiring the way it caught the moonlight. His Masters would pay well, very well, for the focus. With the dupe of a wizard out of the way, all that stood between him and the completion of his mission was a handful dozen restless dead, and Thanatos help any man that got in his way. Garrote pushed off from the wall and loped away, keeping to the shadows. The cobbled streets and plaster-walled houses of Maus’ merchant quarter gave way to muddy ruts and derelict tenements. Garrote dodged down a dead-end alley, and pulled himself atop a rotting brick wall. Below him stretched the slums of Maus, laid out like a pale corpse beneath the cold light of the moon. The Shallows. Never was there were a more desolate wasteland of humanity. Here, amid the brickrimmed cesspools of ﬁlth and burned-out ruins, the pretty facade of civilization surrendered to an older, savage world. Here humans lived like rats, ﬁghting each other for spoiled scraps of food. Here life could be had for a handful of soiled coins. Here urchins ran in wild packs, death was quick and the rule of the Guild was absolute. The half-orc smiled, showing tusk. It was good to be home. Garrote dropped down the far side of the wall, and then spun, sensing danger. A pair of ghouls burst from the shadows, hurling themselves at the half-orc with fevered abandon. Garrote stuck quickly, cleaving the ﬁrst from shoulder to waist, but then the second corpse was on him, knocking Garrote backwards into the mud. The half-orc felt a frozen numbness explode through his veins and had just enough time to feel the stinking breath of the ghoul on his throat. Then he kicked hard with the last of his dying strength, sending the ghoul sprawling. The ghoul came to its feet with startling quickness, but this time the half-orc was ready. It was a lesson taught to every urchin weaned on the Shallow’s withered teat: you had one, and only one, chance to surprise your prey.
Snarling with barely checked fury, Garrote waved the ghoul forward. The unthinking beast sprang and Garrote’s katana cut a bloody red swath across the alleyway, spilling the ghoul to either side. Breathing hard, Garrote whipped the rotting ﬂuids from his blade. Exhaustion and overconﬁdence was making him sloppy, he thought with disgust, as he worked the cold from his limbs. It was time to ﬁnd a Guild safehouse and bring this foolish game to an end. Garrote started down the alley, then skidded to a halt. A dark ﬁgure sat crouched on the rooftop, a simple short blade glittering in the moonlight. “Col,” the half-orc grimaced, snapping his sword to the ready. “One chance,” the inquisitor whispered, his voice like leaves rustling over gravestones. “Surrender the focus and give yourself up.” “Try and take it,” Garrote taunted, “and the Cabal will need to replace another arm-” Before the half-orc could ﬁnish Col whispered a single phrase and a two searing blue bolts leaped from his palm, lighting up the alley. They struck Garrote full in the chest, sending his spinning him through a rotting wall. Col dropped to muddy the alley ﬂoor and started after the half-orc, wary of a trap. His eyes struggled out to make out shapes in the darkness, but the rogue was nowhere to be seen. The inquisitor’s metal hand ﬂexed impulsively. The half-orc could be anywhere in the rotting warehouse. Garrote was dangerous in a sword ﬁght, but absolutely deadly in an ambush. But what were Col’s options? He could surrender the chase and try to catch up to Garrote in the morning. The thought of failure grated on the inquisitor even more than his fear of an ambush. Tightening his grip on his sword, Col stepped cautiously over the broken wooden planks and into the darkness. Garrote ﬂitted through the shadows, trusting in his skills to conceal any noise he might make. The rotting building had once been a warehouse for the merchants that plied their seasonal trade along the North Sea, but it hadn’t seen any cargo in years. Cooing pigeons had taken roost in the rafters, and large patches of sky could be seen through the holes in the roof. He made his way to the darkest corner of the warehouse and pulled himself silently into the rafters. The half-orc rested his katana ﬂat against the beams so that
there was no risk of the blade reﬂecting in the moonlight, then drew a long, curved dagger from his boot. The blade had been blackened with poisonous grease, what the Guild called Slayer’s Oil, and it was well suited to its purpose. The blade reﬂected no light, and on the razor-sharp dagger, the slightest brush would bring death, swift and sure. The rogue watched Col move through the warehouse beneath him. Even the deepest black of night posed no challenge to Garrote’s dark vision. It was only a short matter of time until the half-blind inquisitor stumbled beneath him, and then – Garrote licked his tusks. This relentless inquisitor had harried him for too many years. He was like a rabid dog, sick with madness, and it was time to put the sorcerer-hunter down. Closer, Garrote thought, willing Col on. At last the inquisitor was directly beneath him. The half-orc tightened his grip on his blades, and let the hunter pass underneath him. Then, as silent as an owl in ﬂight, he dropped off the rafter, blades striking as one, a hail of steel, poison and death. Col’s shortsword shrieked through the darkness, striking aside Garrote’s katana. The inquisitor’s other hand caught Garrote’s wrist in an iron grip, turning aside the assassin’s blade. The half-orc crashed to the ﬂoor, roaring with fury. Col’s boot smashed down on Garrote’s off-hand, kicking the poisoned dagger away. Col paused in his assault, dropping back to the balls of his feet. Garrote was no good to him dead, but was beginning to wonder if any other outcome were possible. He should have stayed down, cowed by the pain. Instead the half-orc came back, more driven than ever, his blade cutting left and right with savage quickness. Col danced backwards, each move simple and efﬁcient. Garrote pressed his advantage, spinning, cutting and slashing as he advanced. A lesser swordsman might have been awed by the advancing wall of death, but years of monastic training and hard-won battles had taught Col a simple truth about combat: it wasn’t the quickest swordsman who won, but the one with the steel in the right place at the right time. Col fell back easily, taking note of Garrote’s tempo, then stepped into the dance of steel. The katana crashed against the inquisitor’s short sword, bringing the dance to a jarring stop. Col lashed out with his ﬁst, crushing Garrote nose with a wet snap. The half-orc never even tried to dodge the blow. Instead he caught Col by the chest, hoisting the inquis-
itor into the air like a rag doll. Col hung in the air for a moment, then Garrote hurled the inquisitor against the wall. He smashed through the other side, and fell, tumbling through the darkness. Col crashed to a stop at the base of the slope. His right side was numb and every breath brought spasms of shooting pain. The sorcerer-hunter craned a look over his shoulder – he was impaled atop the sharpened rods of a broken metal gate, hung up like a bleeding scarecrow. Col kicked his boots, trying to ﬁnd purchase in the icy mud, or the gate, or anything, but only succeeded in sending screaming lances of pain through his entire body. Col heard the half-orc’s deep laughter the rogue made his way out of the warehouse and down the muddy slope to stand before Garrote. “Now this is a pretty sight. The Butcher Street Almshouse,” Garrote said looking to the moldering ruins behind Col. “I remember this place. A mansion once, then a poorhouse used to keep urchins and orphans out of sight. High-borns hate to see anything so ugly as suffering children. There were at least eighty children living here –eighty ugly, pox-ridden souls– locked inside when the old girl burned to the ground.” Garrote smiled. “That’s a lot of ghouls and nasties. And with you bleeding all over their gate, I’m sure it won’t be long before they come looking for fresh meat.” The half-orc picked up Col’s fallen sword from the mud and examined the blade, turning it over in his hands. “Good dwarven steel. A bit heavy, and poorly balanced. And this?” Garrote ﬁngered the ruby at the base of the pommel. “Your spell focus, I’d wager. I think I’ll keep it as a memento of our evening.” Garrote ﬁngered a tusk. “When I was in the rafters, how did you know where I was hiding?” “Magic.” Col coughed blood and tried to force down the rolling waves of pain. “My Master taught me to sense magic.” “Impossible!” the half-orc scoffed. “Wards disguise all that I own.” “Except for one: you were carrying the gem.” Garrote laughed aloud. “Of course. And now,” the half-orc gave a mocking bow, “goodnight and goodbye.” Col listened to the half-orc pad away. Above him, the smoke of hearth ﬁres passed beneath the twinkling stars. Every inquisitor wondered what his death would be like. Of all the ways Col had considered, this would
be among the easier ones. The pain in his back had changed to an icy chill, his bleeding trickling to a stop. Col knew that soon that chill would spread through his entire body, and then not even dawn could save him. The inquisitor swung his legs savagely from side to side. The force tore at his back, ripping the wound open and causing the inquisitor to scream in agony. His blood fell in a steady stream down the bars of gate, steaming softly as they went. Col heard the sound of feet in the mud, and for a moment he wondered if Garrote had returned. Then he heard the hiss, not of living breath, but of undead hunger. Long, icy ﬁngers investigated Col, uncertain at ﬁrst and then with a growing fervor. An iron grip cinched around Col’s ankle. Before the ﬁend could take a bite, Col kicked hard with other boot, crushing the monster’s temple. The thing screamed, an unholy, ragged cry that rang through the night. Col hooked both legs around the back of the zombie’s head and sat up, wrenching himself off the fence. The zombie fell backwards and the pair struck the mud, limbs tangled. Col rolled up atop the zombie and rained blows down on its rotting face, his studded gloves mashing the thing’s skull into the icy mud. Col pulled himself off the corpse, his breath coming in tattered gasps. Kneeling in the mud, he pulled a strip off his cloak and used the rag to bind his wounds. He needed a real healer, but the bandage would help to slow the bleeding. Dragging himself to his feet, Col staggered off in the direction Garrote had ﬂed. The inquisitor’s trained eyes sought out the tell-tale signs: a droplet of drying blood, a heelprint in the icy mud, broken blades of frost-killed grass. The inquisitor didn’t have far to go. He found Garrote at the end of a dead-end alley, his back to a wall. The half-orc was bleeding from a dozen ragged wounds, and his blade was covered with gore and black ichor. Fallen corpses were scattered down the length of the alley, but still a mob of ghouls and zombies were converging on the thief, howling with fevered hunger. The half-orc’s desperate eyes searched the darkened alley, frantically searching for an escape. His eyes alighted on Col’s dark form. “Inquisitor!” Garrote shouted. The mob of undead broke in two, eyes ﬂaring red in the darkness. The rogue reared back and hurled the shortsword end over end through the night.
Col snatched the spinning blade from the air and waded into the ﬂood of charging undead. The sword was a mine ﬁghter’s weapon; it had been forged for vicious, close quarters combat. Its razor edge and heavy tang could cleave limbs and sever heads in situations where lighter, or longer, weapons would be worthless. The blood-hungry dwarf smiths had never imagined their masterwork would ﬁnd its way to the streets of Maus. But in the ﬁnal analysis, an alley ﬁlled with howling ghouls, and a mine shaft ﬂooded with snarling orcs might have been one and the same. The blood, chaos and the pain were one, and the blade sang with triumph. Col hewed a bloody line through the undead, striking every blow without an ounce of wasted motion. The ghouls and zombies ﬂung themselves at him with savage ferocity, broken teeth bared, soiled claws struggling for a purchase, but the hunter rode the wave of violence like a wolf turned loose among mongrel dogs. The inquisitor burst free of the mob and took his stand beside the half-orc. They had both slain their share and more, but the crash of battle had drawn even more undead. The half-orc’s breath came in quick gasps. “This isn’t a ﬁght we can win.” Col knew he was right. Already there were more undead than before; worse, the slow zombies were falling ﬁrst, giving way to quicker and deadlier ghouls and worse. “We have to go up.” Garrote shook his head up and cut down another zombie. “They’d tear us off the wall before we made the eaves.” “Then we’ll have to ﬁght –” Col stopped mid-sentence. The assault had been relentless, but now the zombies and ghouls paused, hanging just out of sword range. It was as if they were waiting, commanded by something more powerful than their insatiable hunger. The inquisitor’s squinted, but all he could make out was a darkness, deeper than the night sky. The icy air grew even colder and Col felt a chill brush his heart. “Go!” “Eh?” “Go!” Col ordered. He dropped to brace the halforc. Garrote didn’t need to be told again. He pushed off from Col’s shoulders as the inquisitor stood, vaulting to the eave. Garrote caught a beam and swung out of sight. The opaque darkness was closer now, and Col could make out a pair of eyes, burning gently like dying embers.
“Garrote!” Col shouted, knowing he would get no reply. Ripping himself away from the glowing eyes, he threw himself at the wall, plunging his sword through the rotting wooden planks. Pulling himself up on the pommel, Col lashed out with his clockwork arm, seizing the rafter with a strength born of metal and magic. Where a normal hand would have torn free, the clockwork grip held. Pinching the beam with but two ﬁngers and a thumb, Col wrenched himself toward the roof. Gasping with strain and the pain of freshly opened wounds, Col ﬂung his elbow and sword over the edge. Garrote was waiting for him, katana raised in the moonlight. “It’s a lesson I learned a long time ago,” Garrote said. “If you have the chance to kill a man, do it.” The blade arced through the night like a falling star. Col released his hold and kicked away from the wall. The katana buried itself into the roof and the inquisitor tumbled backwards through the air, crashing to the hard alley ﬂoor. The ghouls were on him in an instant. Cold, soiled hands swarmed over him, pinning his arms and legs, and sending a numbing chill through Col’s bones. His sword lay just inches beyond his reach, half-buried in the muddy mix of blood and ice. Past the snarling faces of the ghouls, the swirling darkness coalesced around the ﬁery embers. In moments a shadow-ﬁgure stood above him, wrapped in rotting rags the color of smoke and dark mail carved from ivory and bone. A skeletal hand reached from the robes to steal Col’s soul, then hesitated. “You.” The revenant’s voice could have been mistaken for the distant howl of the northwind. The icy hand traced the lines of Col’s lips, cheeks and brow. The inquisitor tried to scream, but only moaned, his entire body frozen from the ghouls’ deadly touch. “Which scion’s spawn are you?” the shadow demanded, waving the ghouls back. “I’m Col, inquisitor of the Wizard’s–” “No,” the revenant pressed the bones of its ﬁnger to Col’s lips. It seemed to consider for a moment, the ﬂickering embers burning into Col’s steel-blue eyes. “A bastard-childe, after all this time,” the creature declared, laughing. “The Lost Barons? Impossible. And yet–” The revenant rose away from Col and turned to confront the ghouls. “This one is already damned,”
it declared. “His cold ﬂesh is not for you. Find other prey this night.” The ghouls loped away, and the revenant turned back on Col, its hand wreathed in blue ﬂame. “Forget,” the revenant ordered, “and learn what it means to hunger.” It plunged a shadow-ﬁst into Col’s chest. Icy pain shot through the inquisitor, arching his spine in anguish. Col’s vision went red, before darkness and its sweet release swept over him. * * * * *
Col awoke in the alley. The supernatural numbing of the ghouls’ touch had been replaced by the natural chill of a late autumn night. He sat up slowly, head pounding, back wracked with pain. The fall, Col realized. He had lunged for the roof and then the half-orc had sent him sprawling. He must have cracked his head in the fall, but then what had happened to the ghouls and the swirling darkness? The inquisitor stood on shaky legs, dragging his sword behind him. The furious pounding in his head grew worse. Col leaned against the alley wall, trying to force the pain down. The noise in his head was a heartbeat, but not his own. Garrote? The inquisitor stilled his thoughts and listened. Yes, it did belong to the half-orc. But how? And how long had he been unconscious? The rogue should have long since vanished. Unless– Col smiled through the pain. It was still Spirit Eve. Every inn and hostelry in the North would be locked tight until dawn. The half-orc had been caught in a own trap of his own making. Once again the inquisitor started after the half-orc, following by the heartbeat echoing in his ears. * * * * *
“Only in Maus,” Garrote swore aloud. Every tavern he found had turned him away, refusing to unbolt the doors. Dodging undead, the half-orc had broken into a wine shop, taking a cask of wine and a loaf of bread he found behind the counter. Now he sat at the peak of a steep roof, warming himself by the heat of a chimney, waiting for dawn. “Only in Maus,” Garrote repeated, tearing a hunk of bread from the dried loaf and washing it down with a swallow of wine. Below him ghouls and nasties
wandered the street; Garrote was safe, hidden in the shadow of the chimney, so long as he kept quiet. Still the sight of the dead grated at his sensibilities, and as the wine had its way with him, he found himself longing to taunt the undead. What a night it had been, what with the dogged inquisitor, hordes of walking dead, and a gem belonging to a long dead mage. When dawn came, Garrote swore he would eat the largest meal of potatoes and ham he could ﬁnd, and sleep for a week. His masters in the Guild could wait for their pretty little bauble – “Garrote.” The half-orc scrambled to his feet. The cask of wine, forgotten, pitched off the edge of the roof and crashed against the hard stone cobbles, several stories below. “Col,” Garrote swore. The inquisitor – only the devils knew how he had found him – was standing at the end of the roof peak, sword in his off-hand, wind whipping at his long cloak. “Damn, inquisitor, you just don’t know when to stay down.” Garrote leveled his long katana at Col. “A dozen times you’ve escaped death tonight, and yet you cast away fate’s bounty like slop to hogs.” The inquisitor strode down the peak of the slate roof, not bothering to raise his weapon. “The something different about you,” Garrote mused. “Colder, as if that were possible.” The halforc shrugged and took up a ﬁghting stance. “You’ll be colder yet when I’m done.” “Give me the focus,” Col said, “or die.” “You can best me in a running battle, inquisitor,” Garrote conceded. “But no man alive in the North can beat me to ﬁrst blood. And friend, one strike’s all I’ll need.” Col came at Garrote, and the half-orc lashed out with a lightening-quick feint. Col blocked the ﬁrst, but was off balance for the half-orc’s second strike. He fell to the slate shingling, katana hissing overhead, and began sliding towards the edge. Col seized Garrote’s ankle with his metal ﬁst. Garrote yelped and lost his balance, sliding after the inquisitor. The rotting roof gave way beneath them, and pair fell crashing into the inn room below. They landed on a rough-sawn table, breaking it in two and scattering the drunken revelers. They both came up, blades in hand, slashing at each other as they
tumbled into the crowd. They broke apart, swords ﬂashing in the smoky torchlight, the crowd forming a circle around them. Both warriors were hurt and bleeding. Col’s back wounds had reopened, and the half-orc sported a long, shallow gash across his belly. Each warrior was exhausted, every last reserve of will long spent. Col fell back into a ﬁghting stance, his eyes dulled and blurred. “Cease!” Garrote shouted, backing away. “This is idiocy!” “Surrender yourself and the focus.” “I can’t do that,” Garrote protested. “Then we die,” Col answered dryly. “Have you no woman, no love?” Garrote demanded, backing over benches and tables. “No fat, sweaty wife with a mob of ugly children awaiting your return? Have you nothing to live for?” “Only this,” Col said, advancing on the half-orc, “ and the rule of the Cabal.” The half-orc stopped up short, regarding the inquisitor in disbelief. “I have committed every sin worthy of punishment,” Garrote whispered angrily. “I’ve bedded hundreds of whores between here and Ten, killed entire tribes of Afridhi in their sleep, stolen a king’s ransom from the Regent of the Mines, and lost it in the same night. I’ve pissed on the sacred groves of the Westryn Elves, slain ogre-lords atop the Kerman Peaks, spit in the face of barons and made love to their wives. And still I crave more.” Garrote regarded Col with disgust. “Life is wasted on you, inquisitor.” The half-orc reached inside his belt pouch and tossed the Star of Terra into the air. At the same moment the inn’s massive doors were wrenched open, revealing the ﬁrst rays of sunlight. The crowd erupted with cheers at the sign of day. The emerald spun in the air, ﬂashing brightly in the sunlight. Col caught it in his glove and looked back to the half-orc, but Garrote had already made his escape, vanishing into the wave of cheering revelers that ﬂooded the streets of Maus. Col watched in silence, his sword resting against the ground. The Star of Terra, set by the Cabal as bait for ambitious sorcerers, had been recovered. And yet, he felt anxious and empty, as if he had failed somehow. The inquisitor took a seat at a table in the corner of empty tavern. A barmaid began the herculean task of cleaning up after the night’s revels, collecting the spilled and broken mugs. Col took a small mug and a half-empty bottle of wine. “I’ll keep these.” “Suit yourself,” she said, wiping down the table. The barmaid hoisted a tray of mugs and dirty plates onto her shoulder and left for the kitchen. Col poured himself a glass, absently spinning the gem on the table before him. Mufﬂed sounds of revelry and celebration made their way into the inn, borne on the crisp morning air, but inquisitor remained where he was, mulling his wine, the gem, and the half-orc’s parting words.
Game Specific Information for A Night in Maus
What follows represents the game mechanic details associated with events, locations and characters found in A Night in Maus. Players and GMs can review this material to get a better insight not only to the character’s motivations, but also for ways to craft adventures from the story’s plotline.
welded the door shut. Explorers ﬁnding a way past the door will discover a staircase leading down into darkness. The dungeon below houses a series of death traps culminating in seven cells where the Gray Mage imprisoned his rivals. The Gray Mage is long dead, but his prisoners remain, trapped in stasis ﬁelds. They represent a veritable rogues’ gallery from Blackmoor’s dark age, ﬁends long presumed dead. If the stasis ﬁelds were disturbed and the villains released, it would herald a new age of chaos and bloody violence for the North.
The Shattered Tower
Lording over the rocky shores of the Black Sea, the Shattered Tower is a remnant of a bygone age. Xavier, the Gray Mage, built the tower to be his stronghold in the North, only to watch it be destroyed during the Mage Wars, the upper third of the tower shorn off and scattered across the rocky beach and nearby hillside. These massive granite blocks can still be found, bearing sigils and runes that are as crisp as the day they were hewn. Now the tower stands empty. Looters have picked the ruins over, carrying away any wealth that might have survived the tower's destruction. It is common for local boys and girls to prove their courage by slipping into the tower on moonlit nights. Unbeknownst to most, the legacy of the Gray Mage continues. First, while it is true that the material contents of the tower were destroyed, the tower's walls still hide gates permitting access to extra-planar spaces created by the Gray Mage. The Wizard's Cabal is aware of these demi-plane alcoves, though it has explored only a handful of them. At least two dozen such spaces exist, most accessible through either warded windows or secret doors hidden on the outside of the tower. Some of these chambers even connect to one another, making for a virtual tower in the absence of the real one. Exploring the ethereal remnants of the Shattered Tower would be an adventure worthy of doughty adventurers indeed, for who can say what ageless monsters and magics lurk inside? Secondly, the granite blocks that made up the tower, long presumed to be harmless curiosities, have begun to warp the villagers living near the ruins. Those effected exhibit physical deformities and the penchant for cruelty and xenophobia. This transformation is a slow process, taking place over multiple generations, but already a handful of small cults have sprung up in the hills. These cults are often limited to a single extended family, the eldest ruling the others with a tyrant's ﬁst. Dark rumors of human sacriﬁce and blood rituals have surfaced as far away as the city of Maus. The purpose of this transformation is unclear but the results are not. Within another two generations the villagers will manifest real signs of profane corruption: horns, stubby tails, hooves, powerful physiques, unexpected arcane talents, and a profound lust for evil. Finally, hidden at the base of the tower, beneath piles of shattered stone, slate, and rubble, is a round iron door, plated in lead and silver. The same force that shattered the tower also
The Order of the Inquisitor: By the Sword and the Spell
Few are called to life of the sorcerer-hunter. Serving as an inquisitor is a lonely existence fraught with danger, a life spent tracking down and apprehending those who would defy the will of the Cabal. And when an outlaw refuses to be brought to justice, an inquisitor is forced to be both judge and executioner. Many inquisitors carry heavy hearts, their spirits laden with the blood-soaked memories of those they have slain. Because of this, and because of the dangers renegade sorcerers can pose to friends and family, inquisitors nearly always work alone, forsaking ﬁlial ties and living under assumed names. They ply their deadly trade in the service of the Cabal and die as they lived: by the sword and the spell. Fully one half of all inquisitors begin their lives as orphans. Every year a team of Cabalistic wizards tour the orphanages and almshouses of the North, examining the thousands of dirty, feral children that ﬁnd themselves abandoned and alone. Those that show promise as wizards are accepted into the Cabal’s ranks; of these, the rare few that also demonstrate physical prowess are chosen to be trained as inquisitors. Orphans are ideal for this purpose because they have no ties outside of the Cabal, and no one to mourn their passing. The Cabal becomes their family, its will their law. These young boys and girls are taken deep in the Stormkiller mountains, to the fastness named Ravenguard. There the children are inducted into a monastic life where they train daily, honing their bodies, spirits and minds. In the life of an inquisitor, a single error is an invitation to death, so the Masters drill their charges without mercy. Those that fail to meet the impossibly high standards become the warriors and wizards that watch over Ravenguard’s young wards; those that pass the Masters' tests are inducted into the mysteries of the Inquisition. This ﬁnal ceremony is a dour, grim affair. Initiates are led to a dark grotto beneath Ravenguard, where they are given their ﬁnal lesson: that no inquisitor should be afraid to die –– by embracing death they gain the courage to succeed where all other fail. Each initiate inters their world possession in a dusty tomb. Then the orphan is given a new name chosen from a roster from fallen brothers and sisters, and the crimson mantle of the Inquisitor. From that day on, their every breath is beholden to the Cabal.
Using Inquisitors in your Game
With their high base attack bonus and levels in arcane spell casting, even the lowest level inquisitor can pose a formidable challenge to sorcerers and renegade wizards; higher level inquisitors are among the deadliest men and women in the North. GMs should use inquisitors with care, as even a helpful NPC inquisitor can quickly overshadow lower level PCs. Most inquisitors work alone, or with a few trusted henchmen. On rare occasions, ﬁve or more Inquisitors are called together to form a Dire Hunt. This is done only under the direct authority of the Cabal. A Hunt is granted access to the powerful artifacts and magical reserves of the Cabal, and is directly supported by a team of wizards and clerics drawn from the ranks of the Ravenguard. Dire Hunts have been called on only three occasions in the history of Blackmoor, each time to combat dread powers that threatened to consume the entire North.
Following are baseline statistics for three ranks of inquisitor NPCs: the Novitiate, a young inquisitor freshly inducted into the Cabal’s order; the Warder, an experienced and canny investigator; and the High Preceptor, a dreaded sorcererhunter, feared across the North. These statistics provide quick NPCs with a minimum amount of work. If a speciﬁc inquisitor will become a staple NPC in your game, use these statistics as a starting point. Novitiate, female human Ftr4/Wiz3/Inq1: CR 8; Medium Humanoid; HD 4d10+3d4+1d8+16; hp 60; Init +4; Spd 30ft.; AC 15, touch 10, ﬂat-footed 15; Atk +1 longsword +10 melee (1d8+6/19-20x2) or mighty composite longbow +6 ranged (1d8+3/x3); Full Atk +1 longsword +10/+5 melee (1d8+4/1920x2) or mighty composite longbow +6/+1 ranged (1d8+3/ x3); SQ arcane defense +1, detect magic, summon familiar, scribe scroll; AL LG; SV Fort +7, Ref +2, Will +9; Str 16, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 8. Skills and Feats: Climb +10, Concentration +7, Gather Information +3, Handle Animal +1, Intimidate +7, Knowledge (arcana) +7, Listen +3, Search +8, Spellcraft +7, Spot +4, Survival +4; Improved Initiative, Investigator, Iron Will, Power Attack, Track, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword). Possessions: Mighty composite longbow, 20 arrows, spell focus, bracers of armor +1, longsword +1, studded leather +1. Typical Wizard Spells Prepared (4/3/2; base DC = 12 + spell level): 0—daze, light, read magic, resistance; 1—charm person, mage armor, sleep; 2 ––detect thoughts, web. Typical Inquisitor Spells Prepared (2/1; base DC = 12 + spell level): 1—command, true strike; 2—blur. A typical novitiate is passionate about her duty to Blackmoor and her belief that by apprehending rogue sorcerers and renegade wizards, she is insuring the safety of the common man. Her faith in the righteousness of the Cabal
is unshakable, and she holds herself to the highest standards of Good and Law. She has undertaken a handful of missions for the Cabal and remains convinced that the few that ended in violence were anomalies. Dedicated, idealistic, and eager to serve the people of Blackmoor, she is ready to put her skills to the test in defense of the North. Warder, female human Ftr4/Wiz4/Inq4: CR 12; Medium Humanoid; HD 4d10+4d4+4d8+24; hp 82; Init +6; Spd 30ft.; AC 19, touch 12, ﬂat-footed 17; Atk +2 long sword +16 melee (1d8+7/19-20x2) or mighty composite longbow +12 ranged (1d8+3/x3); Full Atk +2 long sword +16/+11 melee (1d8+7/19-20x2) or mighty composite longbow +12/+7 ranged (1d8+3/x3); SQ Arcane defense +2, arcane reaver, detect magic, dampen magic, summon familiar, scribe scroll; AL LN; SV Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +12; Str 16, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 8. Skills and Feats: Climb +10, Concentration +7, Gather Information +4, Handle Animal +1, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Listen +3, Ride +7, Search +14, Spellcraft +8, Spot +4, Survival +12; Improved Initiative, Investigator, Iron Will, Parry Arrows, Power Attack, Track, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization. Possessions: Composite longbow, 20 arrows, spell focus, bracers of armor +1, longsword +2, ring of protection +1, studded leather +2. Typical Wizard Spells Prepared (4/4/3; base DC = 13 + spell level):0—daze, light, read magic, resistance; 1— charm person, mage armor, magic missile, sleep; 2 ––detect thoughts, melf’s acid arrow, web. Typical Inquisitor Spells Prepared (4/3/2; base DC = 13 + spell level):1—command, obscuring mist, magic weapon, true strike; 2—blur, cat’s grace, see invisibility; 3—hold person, minor globe of invulnerability. A typical warder has spent several years in the service of the Cabal, and it shows. She has ridden to the ends of the North, defeated renegade spellcasters of every race and power, and outlived most of her peers. She is merciless warrior and a powerful spellcaster, and there is nowhere a renegade can hide that she cannot ﬁnd him. Her face is gaunt, her skin leathern, and her eyes carry the stormy weight of one who has been to hell and back. She lost her idealistic naiveté years ago, but has come to understand if she does not put down wicked spellcasters with grim efﬁciency, innocents will suffer. She carries on, not because the Cabal’s rule is just and good, but because there is no better way of keeping peace on the savage frontier. High Preceptor, female human Ftr5/Wiz5/Inq7: CR 17; Medium Humanoid; HD 5d10+5d4+7d8+34; hp 118; Init +7; Spd 30ft.; AC 20, touch 13, ﬂat-footed 17; Atk +4 longsword +22 melee (1d8+9/19-20x2) or mighty composite longbow +17 ranged (1d8+3/x3); Full Atk +4 longsword +22/+17/+12 melee (1d8+9/19-20x2) or mighty composite longbow +17/+12/+7 ranged (1d8+3/x3); SQ Arcane defense +3, arcane invisibility, arcane reaver, detect magic, improved dampen magic, spell resistance 17, summon familiar, scribe scroll; AL LN(e); SV Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +13; Str 16, Dex
17, Con 14, Int 17, Wis 12, Cha 10. Skills and Feats: Climb +10, Concentration +15, Gather Information +8, Handle Animal +2, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (arcana) +16, Listen +3, Ride +8, Search +12, Spellcraft +16, Spot +4, Survival +12; Deﬂect Spell, Improved Initiative, Investigator, Iron Will, Parry Arrows, Power Attack, Track, Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization. Possessions: Amulet of natural armor +2, 10 arrows of slaying (arcane spellcasters), bracers of armor +4, mighty composite longbow, keen longsword +4 of spell storing, ring of spell turning, ring of protection +2, spell focus, wand of ﬁreballs (13 charges). Typical Wizard Spells Prepared (4/4/3/2; base DC = 13 + spell level): 0—daze, light, read magic, resistance; 1—charm person, mage armor, magic missile, sleep; 2––detect thoughts, melf’s acid arrow, web; 3––haste, ﬂy. Typical Inquisitor Spells Prepared (5/5/4/2; base DC = 13 + spell level):1—cause fear, command, obscuring mist, magic weapon, true strike; ; 2—bear’s endurance, blur, cat’s grace, see invisibility; 3—dispel magic, hold person, minor globe of invulnerability, spell immunity; 4––dimensional anchor, scrying. A high preceptor is one of the deadliest hunters to ever stalk the northlands. She has come full circle in her philosophy, believing in the absolute necessity of her work. She is convinced that the iron grip of the Wizard's Cabal is the only way to maintain peace and stability in the North, and will go to any ends to achieve it, even ignoring individual freedoms and liberties for the greater good. With immediate access to the eldritch resources of the Wizard’s Cabal and her own considerable store of magic items, she can acquire nearly any magic item (short of an artifact) in one week or less. Her importance to the Cabal means that she is rarely sent on missions, but when she does, she goes equipped with her prey speciﬁcally in mind. Grim, efﬁcient, deadly and direct, there is little that can stand in her way.
Game Specific information from A Night in Maus, Part Two
Spirit Eve in Maus
On the 14th of Eaiwe dead leaves rustle, planets fall into alignment in the southern night sky, the Negative Energy plane slides inexorably closer to the Prime, and the dead of Blackmoor walk the earth once more. Every community in the North celebrates Spirit Eve in its own way, but the citizens of Maus take special pains celebrating the Eve of the Dead, and for good reason: with its enormous population and long history, more dead rise here than anywhere else in the North. In the two weeks leading up to Spirit Eve, the entire city is abuzz with energy. Children and their mothers make sugarcandy skulls to place on the graves and memorials of dead ancestors. The tradition stems from a folk tale in which a young boy, caught abroad on Spirit Eve, encounters his dead father. In the story the boy sates his father’s hunger with a candy. Priests and undead-hunters are quick to note that the story is apocryphal; on Spirit Eve, the undead hunger only for the living. The eve of the 14th, the mighty city of Maus becomes a barren wasteland of empty streets and vacant byways. Taverns, inn and hostelries refuse to open their doors; even the Church of Odir closes its mighty bronze and gold sanctuary. Churches hold all night vigils for their ﬂocks, with priests conducting ceremonies that stretch until dawn. Inns and taverns hold all night vigils of another sort, often hiring a priest or bard to sing and pray through the night, luring customers with the promise of a night of safety and revelry. When priests are in short demand, gold-grubbing bards have been known to double or triple their performance rates on this night, and it is not uncommon for popular skalds to come out of retirement simply to perform on Spirit Eve. In the soul-weary slums known as the Shallows, the holy day takes on a sinister air. Without priests or bards to ward against the walking dead, the poor of the city have created rituals of their own. At dusk on Spirit Eve they don the hides and heads of animals. Then they howl, rut and drink through the night, believing that the undead will mistake them for animals and pass them by. Evil cults are quick to take advantage of this custom. With low-born dressed in grisly masquerade, undead stalking the alley ways, and the Guard unable to patrol the streets, black-robed occultists can commit their dark rites in the Shallows without fear of interruption. And if, in the morning, a few whores or beggars turn up missing, the people of Maus have learned to look the other way.
Candle of the Magi, Major/Minor: This candle resembles a small black beeswax candle shot through with threads of blue and silver. The candle can hold a single arcane spell with an area effect; when taper burns out, the spell is released, centered on the candle’s location. The caster need not provide any material components or focus, or pay an XP cost to cast the spell. The candle will burn for 1d12 rounds before snufﬁng out, and if the ﬂame is put out prematurely, the spell is lost and the candle rendered useless. A minor candle can hold any arcane spell with an area effect, up to 3rd level. A major candle can hold any arcane spell with an area effect, up to 6th level. A spellcaster can use a scroll to put a spell into the candle. Faint/Major evocation; CL 5th/8th; Craft Wondrous Item, imbue with spell ability;Price 2,000 gp/5,000 gp.
Wandering Monsters on Spirit Eve
Check for wandering monsters once every 10 minutes spent outside, or whenever the characters make a signiﬁcant amount of noise. Roll 1d6; an encounter occurs on a 1 or 2. If an
encounter is called for, roll 1d12 to determine the creature(s) encountered. Note that if ongoing combat draws additional undead, things can get ugly very quickly. Going abroad on Spirit Eve can turn into a challenge for even an experienced party.
Roll (1d12) 1 2 3-4 5-6 7-8 9-10 11 12
Result 1d4 wraiths 1d8 shadows 1d4+2 ghouls 1d8+4 zombies 1d4 wights 1d8+4 skeletons 1d4 mohrgs 1d4 vampire spawns
-1; Spd 30 ft.; Space/Reach 5 ft./5 ft; AC 11, touch 9, ﬂatfooted 11; Base Atk +1; Grp +2; Atk/Full Atk Slam +2 melee, (1d6+1) or club +2 melee (1d6+1); SA -; SQ Single actions only, damage reduction 5/slashing, darkvision 60 ft., undead traits; AL NE; SV Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3; Str 12, Dex 8, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 1. Skills and Feats: Toughness. Skeleton: CR 1/3; Medium Undead; HD 1d12; hp 6; Init +5; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 11, ﬂat-footed 14; Base Atk +0; Grp +1; Atk Scimitar +1 melee (1d6+1/18-20) or claw +1 melee (1d4+1); Full Atk Scimitar +1 melee (1d6+1/18-20) or 2 claws +1 melee (1d4+1); SA -; SQ Damage reduction 5/bludgeoning, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to cold, undead traits; AL NE; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 13, Con -, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 1. Skills and Feats: Improved Initiative. Wight: CR 3; Medium Undead; HD 4d12; hp 26; Init +1; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 11, ﬂat-footed 14; Base Atk +2; Grp +3; Atk/Full Atk Slam +3 melee (1d4+1 plus energy drain); SA Create spawn, energy drain; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., undead traits; AL LE; SV Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +5; Str 12, Dex 12, Con -, Int 11, Wis 13, Cha 15. Skills and Feats: Hide +8, Listen +7, Move Silently +16, Spot +7; Alertness, Blind-Fight. Skills: Wights have a +8 racial bonus on Move Silently checks. Mohrg: CR 8; Medium Undead; HD 14d12; hp 91; Init +9; Spd 30 ft.; AC 23, touch 14, ﬂat-footed 14; Base Atk +7; Grp +12; Atk Slam +12 melee (1d6+7) or tongue +12 melee touch (paralysis); Full Atk Slam +12 melee (1d6+7) and tongue +12 melee touch (paralysis); SA Improved grab, paralyzing touch, create spawn; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., undead traits; AL CE; SV Fort +4, Ref +10, Will +9; Str 21, Dex 19, Con -, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 10. Skills and Feats: Climb +13, Hide +21, Listen +11, Move Silently +21, Spot +15, Swim +9; Alertness, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reﬂexes, Mobility. Vampire Spawn: CR 4; Medium Undead; HD 4d12+3; hp 29; Init +6; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15, touch 12, ﬂat-footed 13; Base Atk +2; Grp +5; Atk/Full Atk Slam +5 melee (1d6+4 plus energy drain); SA Blood drain, domination, energy drain; SQ +2 turn resistance, damage reduction 5/silver, darkvision 60 ft., fast healing 2, gaseous form, resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, spider climb, undead traits; AL CE evil; SV Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +5; Str 16, Dex 14, Con -, Int 13, Wis 13, Cha 14. Skills and Feats: Bluff +6, Climb +8, Diplomacy +4, Hide +10, Jump +8, Listen +11, Move Silently +10, Search +8, Sense Motive +11, Spot +11; Alertness, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reﬂexes, Toughness. Skills: Vampire spawn have a +4 racial bonus on Bluff, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Sense Motive, and Spot checks. Vampire spawn are vulnerable to all attacks and effects that repel or slay vampires. For details, see the Vampire entry in the MM.
Wraith: CR 5; Medium Undead (Incorporeal); HD 5d12; hp 32; Init +7; Spd Fly 60 ft. (good); AC 15, touch 15, ﬂat-footed 12; Base Atk +2; Grp -; Atk/Full Atk Incorporeal touch +5 melee (1d4 plus 1d6 Constitution drain); SA Constitution drain, create spawn; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., daylight powerlessness, incorporeal traits, +2 turn resistance, undead traits, unnatural aura; AL LE; SV Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +6; Str -, Dex 16, Con -, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 15. Skills and Feats: Diplomacy +6, Hide +11, Intimidate +10, Listen +12, Search +10, Sense Motive +8, Spot +12, Survival +2 (+4 following tracks); Alertness, Blind-Fight, Combat Reﬂexes, Improved Initiative. Shadow: CR 3; Medium Undead (Incorporeal); HD 3d12; hp 19;Init +2; Spd Fly 40 ft. (good); AC 13, touch 13, ﬂatfooted 11; Base Atk +1; Grp -; Atk/Full Atk Incorporeal touch +3 melee (1d6 Str); SA Create spawn, strength damage; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., incorporeal traits, +2 turn resistance, undead traits; AL CE; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +4; Str -, Dex 14, Con -,Int 6, Wis 12, Cha 13 Skills and Feats: Hide +8*, Listen +7, Search +4, Spot +7; Alertness, Dodge. Skills: Shadows have a +2 racial bonus on Listen and Spot checks and a +4 racial bonus on Search checks. *A shadow gains a +4 racial bonus on Hide checks in areas of shadowy illumination. In brightly lit areas, it takes a -4 penalty on Hide checks. Ghoul: CR 1; Medium Undead; HD 2d12; hp 13; Init +2; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14, touch 12, ﬂat-footed 12; Base Atk +1; Grp +2; Atk Bite +2 melee (1d6+1 plus paralysis); Full Atk Bite +2 melee (1d6+1 plus paralysis) and 2 claws +0 melee (1d3 plus paralysis); SA Ghoul fever, paralysis; SQ Darkvision 60 ft., undead traits, +2 turn resistance; AL CE; SV Fort +0, Ref +2, Will +5;Str 13, Dex 15, Con -, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 12. Skills and Feats: Balance +6, Climb +5, Hide +6, Jump +5, Move Silently +6, Spot +7; Multiattack. Zombie: CR 1/2; Medium Undead; HD 2d12+3; hp 16; Init
Clockwork Prosthetics: Of Man and Machine
Artiﬁcial arms and legs represent the culmination of clockwork science. Even the simplest of limbs are unique works of art, and as such are never simply for sale. Certain High Thonian nobles may commission the creation of clockwork limbs, but even this relationship is closer to that of patron and master-artist, than customer and merchant. This rarity has contributed to the mystique surrounding clockwork limbs. Every night bards can be heard telling tales of clockwork warriors smashing down stone walls with their steel ﬁsts, enduring attacks from all sides, vaulting to the tops of high towers, and carrying off the ﬂaxen-haired princess. Likewise priests are quick to admonish any science that would give mere mortals the strength, quickness and endurance of gods. While clockwork limbs are truly miracles of science, they fall disappointingly short of their legends. University tinkers have found that the problem lies not with the limb, but with the muscle and bone to which it is attached. A limb is only one part of a complex physiological system; hips and shoulders must still anchor and support whatever feat the limb is attempting, and meat shreds long before metal. Some High Thonians visionaries have proposed solving the problem by replacing even more of the human skeleton with a metal frame. Their theories hold that a cohesive clockwork skeleton would be easier to build and maintain than a mishmash of limbs. To date, such theories remain just that, thoeries, and not even the most eccentric theorist has claimed to make experiments with clockwork skeletons. Outside of the university halls, such theories are regarded by the common man as either foolishness or blasphemy. To replace a limb lost in war is a service to mankind; to elect to replace a skeleton with metal is to challenge the widom of the Gods. The second solution to the problem of physiology is even more esoteric than the ﬁrst. Certain Cabal wizards have met with clockwork tinkers to discuss the possibility of merging clockwork science and magic. Theoretically every clockwork limb is already a masterwork item, and thus should readily take to magical enhancement. This offers a potential solution to the physical limitations of the both the clockworks and the human. The challenges created by this solution are no less difﬁcult than the ﬁrst. The number of clockwork tinkers talented and skillful enough to create clockwork limbs can be counted on one's hands, and none of these geniuses have the arcane knowledge required to create wondrous items. Finding a master-tinker and archmage willing to work together long enough to create an enchanted clockwork limb seems as doubtful as the odds of replacing an entire skeleton with mithril gears and adamantine springs.
little more than curiosities. Determined characters might win a limb as the gift from a noble patron, or even build one themselves. This second option is an exhaustive endeavor, requiring at least 10 ranks in both Knowledge: Engineering and Craft:Clockwork. Typically, the abilities of these limbs are limited to the realm of human potential. A clockwork limb has a Strength score ranging from 1 to 18; regardless of its rating, a limb can only function up to the ability of the wearer. The exception to this is any act in which the limb is isolated, e.g. pinching or crushing something in its grip. Magical limbs ignore these limitations, and are treated instead as wondrous items, obeying all the rules regarding their creation and use. If a limb were ever made that was backed with a reinforced skeletal-frame, it would also ignore these shortcomings. Such a framework has not yet been created, but High Thonian nobles are always pressing the boundaries of clockwork science. The rarity of clockwork limbs cannot be overstated. Magical clockwork limbs or body-replacements are unheard of, and should be treated with the same awe and respect as artifacts. GMs should include them in their game only with the greatest of care, and even then, only at high levels.
The Merchants’ Guild
Rogues rob with bow and steel, Kings with tax and royal seal. But Merchants are the worst, 'tis said, rob you with your daily bread. -childrens’ rhyme The vast majority of the business conducted by the Merchants’ Guild is mundane, legitimate and mind-numbingly dull. Ruled by a council of guild masters representing the interests of merchants in major cities across the north, the Guild spends most of its time monitoring trade, negotiating tariffs and taxes with representatives of the Regency Council, and otherwise insuring the smooth exchange of goods and services. But as cities grow on the frontier, so too grows the barons’ reliance on the Guild. The lands of the North are still too wild and unsettled to support large populations – the farmlands of the North simply cannot grow enough food to provide for their cities. The Merchants’ Guild makes up for this shortage by importing foodstuffs and manufactured goods, which are exchanged for raw materials harvested from the frontier. The North’s reliance on the Guild for peoples’ daily bread gives the merchants extraordinary bargaining power, and where power and greed walk hand in hand, corruption is sure to follow. As a group, the Guild isn’t evil, simply indifferent. The sharp-eyed scriveners and their well-fed Masters know that everything has a price. While some might accuse the Guild of cruelty, the truth is that the Guild is neither cruel nor kind. Every decision made by the Masters is held accountable
Using Clockwork Limbs in Your Game
Characters will ﬁnd it difﬁcult to acquire clockwork limbs. Since each limb is unique and ﬁtted for a speciﬁc individual, and are too intricate to retroﬁt, “looted” limbs amount to
by the bottom line; if an action is proﬁtable, they pursue it, heedless of ethical complications. With their deep coffers and massive treasuries, the Guild has enough coin to ﬁeld an army that would threaten any single baron, but the Guild’s machinations are too subtle and far reaching for such brute tactics. The true strength of the Guild lies in its mundane record keeping. Know what a man buys, and you know the man is a truth embraced by the Guild. Their scriveners keep meticulous records of everything bought and sold in the North. These records provide intimate knowledge about the hidden dealings of barons and kings. If one baron is secretly girding for war, the Guild knows. If another is coveting his neighbor’s reasources, the Guild knows. And if the two should go to war, the Guild will provide weapons and armor for both. In keeping with their philosophy of proﬁt above all, the Guild maintains a network of black markets, fences and ﬁxers that spans the entire North. Stolen goods, deadly poisons, dark artifacts, assassinations, and even slaves can all be had for the right price. The Guild is careful to keep a discreete distance from these operations, but the trail of soiled gold coins inevitably leads back to their coffers in Blackmoor and Maus. The Guild’s plans span whole decades. A ghetto-shark aims to make a quick proﬁt in a single night. The Guild aims to make continuous proﬁts over several lifetimes, by establishing deep roots and foundations that can endure any crisis (and even the dedicated efforts of do-gooding "adventurers"). After Marfeldt’s legendary looting of the Guild coffers thirty years ago, many have come to assume that the Guild lacks the power or will to pursue those who pray on them. Nothing is further from the truth. The Masters see annoying do-gooders and petty thieves as just another business expense; hiring an assassin is expensive work. So long as their losses are small, the Guild chooses to ignore them. But if, at any time, those losses grow too great, the Guild moves with the speed and ﬁnality of an executioner’s axe, calling in their best bounty hunters and assassins, and erasing all traces of those foolish enough to cross the Guild. Garrote the Halfblooded, Guild Assassin The half-orc called Garrote was born in the infamous slavepits of the Blackhand orcs, where he fought for every scrap of food and shred of respect. Forced to serve in the death-marked Ebon Company, Garrote distinguished himself simply by being the only survivor on seven separate missions. Rising through the ranks of the Ebons, Garrote proved a quick learner as well as a survivor. On the eve of his sixteenth birthday, Garrote stole into the slave master’s tent and strangled the ogre-lord in his sleep. Fleeing with the slave lord’s sword, Garrote swore that he would never call another creature master again. The half-orc wandered for several years, earning his keep as a sellsword, bounty-hunter, and reaver. The world has never shown Garrote any kindness, and he offers none in return. Presently Garrote sells his services to the Merchants' Guild, working as an intermediary between
upstanding Guild members and the less-savory citizens of the North’s underworld. In many ways, Garrote is typical of mid-rank Guild assassins. Talented, driven, and accustomed to high-stakes danger, these men and women live and die by the blade. Garrote is different from his peers in that he has no delusions about his place in the Guild heirarchy. He knows that the Guild will use him until he is no longer valuable, and then discard him like so much ghetto-trash. Garrote plans on taking the lion’s share and being gone long before then. Garrote, male half-orc Rog5/Ftr2/Asn2: CR 9; Medium Humanoid (half-orc); HD 5d6+2d10+2d6+9; hp 62; Init +7; Spd 30ft.; AC 17, touch 13, ﬂat-footed 14; Base Atk/grapple +6/+9; Atk +9 melee (1d10+5/17-20, +2 keen katana); Full Atk +9/+4 melee (1d10+5/17-20, +2 keen katana); SQ sneak attack +4d6, trapﬁnding, evasion, trap sense +1, uncanny dodge, death attack, poison use, +1 save vs. poison, improved uncanny dodge; AL LE; SV Fort +5, Ref +10, Will 0; Str 16, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 8, Cha 9. Skills and Feats: Appraise +6, Balance +8, Climb +9, Disguise +3, Hide +17, Intimidate +7, Jump +7, Listen +7, Move Silently +17, Search +10, Sense Motive +11, Sleight of Hand +8, Spot +7, Tumble +7; Combat Expertise, Exotic Weapon Proﬁciency, Improved Initiative, Quick Draw, Stealthy, Two-Weapon Fighting. Possessions: Reaper (+2 keen katana), +1 studded leather of stealth moves, thieves’ tools. Typical Assassin Spells Preapared (2; base DC = 12 + spell level): 1 –– sleep, true strike.
Game Specific information from A Night in Maus, Part Three
The Lost Noble Houses
In the long and violent history of the North, many noble families have risen like shining stars, only to vanish after a generation or three. It is impossible to say just how many noble lines have been lost before the march of the ages, but this much is known: though a family may be stripped of its fortunes and holdings, many are the wandering knighterrants laying claim to a house’s former glory. Some of these claimants might be pretenders to the throne, low-born warriors hoping to elevate their station, but others may be legitimate heirs, burning with the desire to reclaim their house’s lost glory. The Rule of Blood declares that not even a king can divest a family of their rights as nobles. A king can take away a family’s lands and wealth, which is often just as effective as taking away their noble rank. This practice this has created the Lost Houses, noble blood-lines with no recognized representatives. The reasons for a noble house’s demise are as varied as the houses themselves. Often, with no heir-apparent, a house simply dies out. On occasion, a power-hungry king strips a prominent baron of his rich lands, awarding them to toadying and simpering puppets. Other times tragedy strikes, and a house’s only heir is killed by disease, dies in war, or falls
before an orcish blade. And sometimes, a strong noble line is wiped out by a competing house, struck down by assassins, treachery and profane spells in a single night. From time to time a young scion will emerge, declaring herself to be the living descendent of a lost house. Each claim is thoroughly investigated by the regency, the high sages and crown-astrologers. In every case, the burden of proof rests upon the claimant, but if the claims prove to be true, the scion is awarded her rightful title and any lands or holdings that are her due. Often these lands have been lost to the wilds or absorbed by other noble houses, creating great strife amongst the established houses. For this reason, other noble houses will spare no cost attempting to establish reasonable doubt against claims, even going so far as sending assassins to do away with persistent scions. As is it said amongst the Slayers, “If a House has been lost once, it can be lost again.” What follows is a list of the more notable lost noble houses. This is by no means a complete list, nor the ﬁnal word on the matter. In a frontier as rugged and wild as the North, the codiﬁcation of noble genealogy is a subject best left to sages. Soderlen: The scions of House Soderlen, master magicians and sorcerers, disappeared in ﬁnal days of the Mage Wars. It is said that some clue to their demise still lurks in the spiderhaunted ruins of their mountain fastness. Osborg: The sole heir of House Osborg was stolen from his crib in the dark of winter. Exhaustive searches, mundane and magical, failed to locate the child; it was whispered that that the Emperor of Thonia bore an unrequited love for Lady Osborg and that his royal thieves stole the child in attempt to blackmail the lady into accepting his love. Mesina: House Mesina, commonly referred to as the Black House, bears a special place in the annals of history as the only noble house to have been eradicated in open war. A house of dread assassins, House Mesina was accused of collaborating with dark powers and even, it is said, the Egg of Coot. The other noble houses banded together and took up arms against the house. After a long and bloody siege, the last Mesina stronghold fell to the combined might of the Barons, who razed the citadel to ashes and salted the earth with the bodies of the dead. Berstad: Lady Berstad and her three sons vanished while traveling in the Duchy of Ten. No trace of them or their escort was ever found. Aris: House Aris was wiped out during the years of the Creeping Death, a peculiar magical plague that struck down only High Thonians, and left low-born untouched. The dedicated elders of House Aris were instrumental in defeating the plague, and it is feared that if the Creeping Death were to strike again, nothing would stand in its way. Kordgard: Lord Kordgard of the Iron Mask was banished to the dungeons of Castle Blackmoor, his lands and holdings divided amongst the other Barons. His crimes were never openly declared, and ––with the family scattered to the four winds–– it is doubtful they will ever come to light.
Tybir: Lord Tybir the White, Paladin-Mage of legend, disappeared during an assault against the Temple of the Frog. His family declared that that they would not rest until his fate was known, and sent generation after generation of heirs in search of their lost founder. The last of the line carried this dark legacy on to its end, and was devoured by the Great Dismal Swamp twenty years ago. Khores: It is said that the power-hungry lords of Khores sold their souls to demons and worse. Whether or not this is true, none can say, but it is known that the entire family vanished without a trace in a single night, leaving only a wailing babe. The Wizard’s Cabal took the child in their care, and the child has not been heard of since.
HIDDEN BLOODLINE [special] You are a member of one of the lost noble houses of Blackmoor. Prerequisite: Must have at least one High Thonian ancestor. Beneﬁt: +3 nobility points. Special: Hidden Bloodline can only be taken at character creation, and only becomes active after the character earns 1 level in noble, and petitions the Council of Barons to reinstate her family’s titles and ancestral holdings. (This alone should be a quest of enormous magnitude.) With the character’s bloodline once again recognized, she inherits all the dangers that comes with being an upstart young blood in a society of jealous, scheming, power-hungry true bloods.
ANCESTRAL REVENANT Medium-Size Undead (Incorporeal) Hit Dice: 8d12 (52 hit points) Initiative: +9 (+5 Dex , +4 improved initiative) Speed: 30 ft., ﬂy 60 ft. (good) AC: 19 (+5 Dex, +4 Deﬂection), touch 15, ﬂat-footed 14 Base Attack/Grapple: +6/Attack: Incorporeal touch +9 melee (1d10+3 plus 1d6 Constitution drain) Full Attack: Incorporeal touch +9/+4 melee (1d10+3 plus 1d6 Constitution drain) Space/Reach: 5ft. by 5 ft. Special Attacks: Constitution drain, create spawn Special Qualities: Undead traits, unnatural aura, daylight powerlessness, incorporeal, turn resistance, darkvision 60 ft., spell resistance 20 Saves: Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +6 Abilities: Str -, Dex 20, Con -, Int 14, Wis 14, Cha 18 Skills: Hide +13, Intimidate +12, Intuit Direction +6, Listen +12, Search +10, Sense Motive +8, Spot +12, Knowledge: Noblility + 10 Feats: Alertness, Combat Reﬂexes, Improved Initiative Environment: Any land or underground
Organization: Solitary, council (5-10) Treasure: None Challenge Rating: 8 Alignment: Usually lawful evil Advancement: By character class Sometimes mistaken for wraiths, ancestral revenants are the manifestations of wicked nobles that suffered violent deaths. Made up of darkness and whispy shadows, they can take form as they appeared immediately after death, garbed in tattered and soiled ﬁnery. Their eyes ﬂicker like dying embers, and ﬂare when they catch sight of their prey. Most undead cares little for the affairs of mankind, arising at dusk only to sate their endless hunger for the living. A revenant, however, still considers itself to be part of its noble house, and the urge to participate in intrigue and machinations can override its hunger. Revenants carry grudges from feuds and wars long since ended, and remain true to their old loyalties. Dark rumors whisper that some of the more successful houses are secretly ruled by ancestral revenants, the ancestors guiding their beloved houses from beyond the ages and from beyond the grave.
Ancestral revenants cling to unlife. They will not endanger themselves by heedlessly attacking a superior opponent. Otherwise they are implacable in combat, slaughtering foes as if to demonstrate their power over the living. The lust for violence can be interrupted if the revenant is confronted by one of noble blood. The revenants love to parlay with other nobles, simply because it makes them feel as if they were alive once more. Create Spawn(Su): Any humanoid slain by a revenant becomes a wraith in 1d4 rounds. Its body remains intact and i� them and remain enslaved until its death. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life. Constitution Drain(Su): Living creatures hit by a revenant’s incorporeal touch attack must succeed on a DC 14 Fortitude save or take 1d6 points of Constitution drain. The save DC is Charisma-based. On each such successful attack, the revenant gains 5 temporary hit points. Daylight Powerlessness(Ex): Revenants are utterly powerless in natural sunlight (not merely a daylight spell) and ﬂee from it. Unnatural Aura(Su): Animals, whether wild or domesticated, can sense the unnatural presence of a revenant at a distance of 30 feet. They will not willingly approach nearer than that and panic if forced to do so; they remain panicked as long as they are within that range.
Afridhi 3, 18, 19 Ando Zodav 31 Arcane Dominion of Raddai 6, 9 Arcane Inquisition 24, 34 Arcane Numbers 66 Arcane Warriors 27, 28 arcane warriors 10, 12, 14 Archlis 7, 17 Ard’s School of Wizardry 31 Ardenn 22, 27- 28, 30, 31
High Inquisitor 32
Inquisition Hunter 35 Inquisition Spy 38 Inquisitors 28 Investigation 50
Kargas 4-6 Kingdom of Blackmoor 19, 27, 28 King Funk 17, 18 Kvale Dram 22 Kyoryl Maloune 23, 24
Baron Aleford 20 Baron Alvarez 16 Battle of the Neck 19 Blackmoor 7, 16 Black Sea 4, 15 Booh 19 Bramwald 19 Bystanders 6
Shard Mishaps 72 Sildonis 23 Skelfer 5-9, 11, 14 Skelfer’s Sojourn 9, 10 Spellcraft 59 Spells 73 Spellwise 12, 22, 23 Spell Components 73 Spell Focus 59, 60, 68 Spell Point 59 spell point 58 Spell Points 57 Spell Shards 71 Stormkiller Mountains 25 Surrinya Vadaley 5-6
Mage Wars 5-7, 9, 11, 12, 20 Magical Law 27 Magister 28 Marfeldt 16 Maus 24, 27 Mengar Torerdyn 24 Merchant Guild 33 Metamagic Feats 60 Ministry of Knowledge 22 Ministry of the Mystical Arts 22 Ministry of War 22 Misauga River 14
Thonia 15 Thonian Empire 3, 7, 19, 23 Toska Rusa 20 Tower of Mages 22, 28, 31, 33
Ursula Zov 19, 22, 25 Uther Andahar 16, 23
Cabal Magister 34 Castle Blackmoor 31 Celia Skiimae 22 clockwork 25 Col 25 Cooperative Magic 66-67 Crystal Peaks 17
Valley of the Ancients 20 Veda Sonrean 23 Vestfold 10, 12, 17, 21, 22, 27, 30
Navigate 50 Northern Barons 18
War Wizard 46 White Mage 10, 12, 15 Wild Magic 7, 8 Wizard’s Cabal 11, 13, 19, 34, 66 Wizard’s Watch 15, 16 Wizard King 5, 6, 7, 9
Dogsur-Kythae 25 Dragon Hills 7-8 Duchy of Ten 14, 17, 40
Oath of Conduct 27 Overcasting 62
Peshwah 3, 16, 17 Petrus Galliar 17 Profector 40
Egg of Coot 15-16, 19, 22 Eldritch Underground 14, 21 Ellierre Vadaley 8
Raddan 7 Raddan Goss 5 Radiah Zurren 12-14 Regency Council 19 Research 52 Researcher 42 Ringlo Hall 24 Rituals 64
Failed Rituals 65 Feats 53 Focus Gem 70
General Amvaras 21 Glendower 20 Gryssburgh 5
Scale of Magical Energy 8 Secondary Casters 64
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The Dungeon Awaits!
All-new Jeff Dee cover art from Dungeon Crawl Classics #19: The Volcano Caves
Dungeon Crawl Classics: All new adventures just like you remember them
Remember the good old days, when adventures were underground, NPCs were there to be killed, and the finale of every dungeon was the dragon on the 20th level? Those days are back. Dungeon Crawl Classics don’t waste your time with long-winded speeches, weird campaign settings, or NPCs who aren’t meant to be killed. Each all-new adventure is 100% good, solid dungeon crawl, with the monsters you know, the traps you fear, and the secret doors you know are there somewhere. Look for the Dungeon Crawl Classics series at a game store near you!
Now available: Dungeon Crawl Classics #20: Shadows in Freeport! Find more information at www.goodman-games.com
Only Dungeon Crawl Classics feature the trademark blue maps inside the cover!
WANTED: HEROES FOR HIRE!
Join Dave Arneson’s Blackmoor: The MMRPG! The First Fantasy Campaign Returns and is making a call for the the bravest, most creative players to help tame the wilds of Blackmoor. Intense Challenges, Fantastic Adventures and a serious dedication to fun await you in the original campaign that started it all!
For more information visit: WWW.DABLACKMOOR.COM