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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Endgame, part 3: Mages, Magical Studies, and Masonry

Magic-Users vary a bit from the previous classes since they don't necessarily have a role in a larger political or religious institution when it comes to reaching name level and building a tower. I like to think that the local rulers turn a bit of a blind eye to wizards laying claim to some lonely hill and starting construction. In truth, there are a couple decent reasons when I think about it:

  1. Wizards aren't (generally) trying to rule over an area. They just want a place to work.
  2. I mentioned in an earlier post how magic in a BX setting is somewhat limited in nature, so it doesn't really do to irritate high level MUs unnecessarily.
  3. Do you really want them doing magical experiments right in the middle of town?
While the wizard's redoubt is traditionally dubbed a "tower," I'm sticking with the Tarnskeep 175K price tag for simplicity. Also, there are other costs a name level MU incurs that we'll get to in a minute. At 600000 xp to reach 11th level (that's right, 11th, not 9th), The MU should be able to afford the place.

First off, I'm going to quote a chunk of Cook Expert's text about name level MUs from X7 and then break it down a bit:
"Magic-users may add more spells to their spell books through spell research. At 9th level (Wizard) or above, magic-users may also create magical items. Both of these activities are explained under Magical Research (p. X51). Upon reaching 11th level, a magic-user may choose to build a tower, provided that money to pay for the construction is available. A magic-user who constructs a tower will gain 1-6 apprentices of levels 1-3."
Spell Research:

So while any level MU can do research, it can get pricey. Page X51 sets it at 1000gp per spell level with two weeks' research. The other party members might find waiting around for weeks at a time as the MU plows through books a bit dull. Sure they can have a town adventure, but then the MU's player is left out, and that's no fun for them. Better to be in a play mode where people are more settled and have the facilities to do proper research. You can still have adventures. How awesome would it be for the wizard to find out that in order to complete the formula, he has to find the lost scrolls of Kalb-Th'arr? Time to go collect your pals and go raid a lost temple!

Item Creation:

Name level wizards can actually craft magic items. This is a time-consuming and expensive process. Having a "lab" and a place to work seems like an obvious choice. The expense of some items is why I leave the price tag for the tower as high as I do. Since a wizard (probably) isn't commanding armies or raising temples, he is probably adding to his knowledge and his magical skills. Not every mage is going to sell magic items, but they might. They might focus on strengthening their own power, or their tower's defenses. In either case, it can get expensive. It can envision some wizards seeking patrons instead, like powerful fighter or local rulers and going the "Court Magician" route. After all, spell research and item creation gets pricey when, "There is always a 15% chance (at least) that magical research or production will fail. This check is made after the time and money are spent." (X51).


1d6 apprentices is not a huge following, but keep in mind some of these might be up to 3rd level MUs. While the idea is that they are there to study and learn from the wizard, not act as soldiers, they could certainly bolster the defense of the tower. Nothing prevents a wizard from hiring mercenaries, either! (I have a vague memory that one flavor of D&D or clone allowed for the idea that chaotic wizards might attract monsters into the lower halls of his tower, I couldn't find it. EDIT: It was in the Rules Cyclopedia) Apprentice MUs can act as errand runners, too. Perhaps allowing for a split-level campaign where recovering rare materials for the high-level mage is a task for the lower level (N)PCs.

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