Magic School Advice

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Arravis
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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by Arravis » Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:50 am

kitenerd wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:55 am
Some of these may be to complicated for parties to figure out without significant prompting, but they are all amazing.
Thanks for the positive comments!
I have run this adventure with three completely different groups and none of them have ever gotten stuck on any of the puzzles very long. They can easily ignore the "solutions" in each section, come up with their own creative solutions to the scenario or simply brute-force the puzzles if they get stuck. The players tend to know when they didn't get the official solution, especially when I have a massive booming voice yell out their grade on the "test" :P.

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kitenerd
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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by kitenerd » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:55 am

uhm... yeah... What Arravis said!

That is completely AWESOME. Some of these may be to complicated for parties to figure out without significant prompting, but they are all amazing. I REALLY like divination. Such a simple solution to a classic problem (Indiana Jones 'which cup?', Harry Potter 'which key?')

talk about the hive mind not just providing ideas but a fully formed ready to run module!

Arravis, i have bookmarked this to use in the future - great stuff
"Miniatures?, sure sign of a petty mind!" - 'The Women' 1939

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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by Arravis » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:13 pm

Ok, so hopefully you'll find this helpful...

Setup for my Campaign:
So normally I don't run "dungeons", I run outdoor and city encounters dealing with plot, politics, and people. I don't much care for old-school dungeons, especially the ones with puzzles and monsters that sit in a room twiddling their thumbs waiting for the PCs to show up. Anyway my players requested I run a classic-style one, but I wanted it to make some logical sense. My setup was that the dungeon was actually an abandoned Wizardry school that had gone into a magical "lockdown" due to an attack. Only the lowest level of the school was readily accessible and that had the most basic of protections. After a millennia of abandonment, a wizard-scholar had spent a couple of years weaving the schools protections with the graduation process of the initiate's floor. So as one completed the graduation tests (one for each school of magic), it would remove the protective magics in the floors above. Unfortunately the scholar passed away before he completed his work, but he left a few notes and clues for the PCs. Anyway, complicated as that might be, it gave me a puzzle-dungeon that made some sense to me :P. I don't have a great pic, but I'll include the one I have. So here goes...

All Doors are Arcane Locked unless the proper key is used.

1st Room Antechamber: As you enter through intricately carved wooden door, a large set of double doors dominates this room, flanked by benches, and the one wall and the floor have sigils in a strange language etched on its surface, chased in silver. The room is empty and dusty otherwise.
Writing: On the wall it reads “Calculation before action. Persistance before adversity. Wisdom before failure.” on the other floor it reads: “Still your mind and empathize with your opponent to gain understanding.”

1st Test & Class Room (Enchantment): Lit by a mildly glowing ceiling it is flanked by oaken doors with silver runes etched on them. At the center of the room stands a finely crafted bronze statue of a life-sized scantily robed tiefling girl, she hold her right hand out in a fist. At the edges of her bronze fist can be seen a key made out of fragile looking purple and white marble. On the floor, written in chalk, is the word “Enchantment” in draconic, there is also a drawn circle with an arrow pointing towards the statue.
Investigate/Perception: The statue is skillfully caste-forged, with all seams having been removed and it is clear that forcing the key from her hand would shatter the stone key. Additionally the door’s iron and silver lock seems to be of exceptional quality.
Solution: Casting a "Command" or "Charm" type spell on the statue will have her release the key. Unfortunately it will fall to the floor and shatter if they do not catch it or prepare for its fall. This key opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

2nd Room Antechamber This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “Know the weakness of those you seek to control, lest they turn upon you.”

2nd Test & Class Room (Evocation): Lit by a mildly glowing ceiling, it is flanked by small iron bound doors with silver runes etched on them. Its northern wall has a faded mural depicting an orange-robed woman with lightning flowing from her hands slaying armed gnomes inside a tunnel.
At its center is a green-white marble plinth with a small storage chest comprised of strange greenish-red scaled leather. On the floor, written in chalk, is the word “Evocation” in draconic, there is also a drawn arrow pointing towards the plinth.
Investigation/Perception: The chest as no seams, its as if the the skin grew around the chest inside of it. The skin on the chest feels warm to the touch, and moves slightly if handled. The plinth has flecks of of purple along with the green and white of the marble.
Arcana: The leather seems demonic in origin, it could be Hezrou or Glabrezu skin.
Solution: If the chest is subjected to acid, force, psychic, or radiant damage (of which the vast majority of demons are not resistant to), it is destroyed, revealing a copper key inside. This key opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

3rd Room Antechamber This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “That which cannot harm us, must bend to our will.”

3rd Test & Class Room (Necromancy):
Identical to the previous room, except for its mural on the eastern wall depicts a white-robed young woman speaking with a corpse in a tomb within a golden sarcophagus.
At the center of the room is a sharp-looking scalpel with a beige handle that is floating at eye level. On the floor, written in chalk, is the word “Necromancy” in draconic.
Investigation/Perception: The handle is made of bone and, oddly, the blade does not feel cold to the touch. If the scalpel is taken out of the room it disappears and reappears back in its original place.
Solution: If a PC cast False Life or gains magical temporary hits points and cuts themselves with the scalpel, it causes the blade to change to a bone key. This key opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

4th Room Antechamber: This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “Lies and facades are everywhere: use them or look past them.”

4th Test & Class Room (Illusion): The mural, on the left western wall, depicts a man in a green tunic creating a semi-transparent flying castle over a group of frightened orcs.
In the middle of this room is a bronze-legged, white-grey marble-topped semi-circular table, lastly, the entire eastern (right) wall of this chamber is a massive mirror. As you look at your reflections, each of you has a horrible deformity in the mirror, but is otherwise normal.
Deformities: (d8) 1: Oversized blood-filled left eye; 2: Two spindly useless arms on your back; 3: Mouth is missing, but appearing on your palm; 4: Massive boil on your neck oozing puss; 5: Stunted and blackened right arm; 6: Patches of thick hair throughout your body; 7: Mouth filled with rows of fangs; 8: Roll twice.
Investigation/Perception: A small bronze key is seen atop the table in the reflection.
If the table is taken out of the room it disappears and reappears back in its original place.
Solution: Casting Disguise Self or another illusion to reflect what the PC looks like allows the reflection-self to interact with the key. They may hurl it, place it on the real table, put it in their pocket, etc. Additionally, becoming invisible allows them to simply reach through the mirror and grab the key. This key opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

5th Room Antechamber This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “Before your first step, reveal the path through the maze.”

5th Test & Class Room (Divination): The mural on the southern wall of this room depicts a yellow-robed woman conversing with an angel and a demon, while in the distance an army gathers.
In the center of this room is a large white stone font filled with a clear liquid, additionally the door leading out of the room has hundreds of keyholes on its surface. Each keyhole is made of a different combination of materials, metals, stones, ivories, etc.
Investigation/Perception: The clear liquid has no odor.
Solution: The liquid is nothing but water. If a character places his hand in the water and feels around, they will feel the key. The key is made of glass and has the same refractive index as the water. Casting Detect Magic detects the key in the font (divination) and which locks are magical (around 50 of them, made up of a variety of schools, but only one is of the school of divination).Using this key on the divination lock opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

6th Room Antechamber: This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “Turn your enemy into your ally; turn adversity into advantage.”

6th Test & Class Room (Abjuration): The mural on western wall of this room shows a transparent dome over a fortress, while a city burns around it, a small figure in blue can be seen at the base of the protected fort.
Connected to the floor in the center of the room is a thick-walled two-foot-tall iron tube filled with a roaring fire. Mist comes off the door leading out of the chamber, as it and the keyhole are completely frozen over in inch-thick ice.
Investigation/Perception: A bronze key can be seen glittering at the bottom of the iron vat. The fire has no fuel source inside the vat.
Solution: Reaching into the tube will cause 3d6 points of fire damage. Causing d6 points of fire damage to the area around the keyhole will thaw it out. This puzzle can be easily brute-forced if the PCs are willing to take the damage, but the easiest way to deal with this is to cast the Absorb Elements spell.This key opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

7th Room Antechamber: This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “The world is ever-changing, so must you be.”

7th Test & Class Room (Transmutation): The mural on its western wall depicts a woman in a red coat transforming into a massive red dragon, that flies over an army of men bronze swords and spells at her.
The ceiling of this chamber is unusually high and at its center is a large round hole which is filled with gravity-defying water. “Floating” on the surface of this water are delicate glass orbs.
Investigation/Perception: One of the glass orbs has a silver key inside and a silver chain attached to it that goes into the water, wile the rest of the orbs are filled with blue-white crystals.The silver chain seems firmly attached to the “bottom” of the upside down pool.
Solution: The hole has a permanent Reverse Gravity effect. Disturbing the blue-white crystals will cause them to explode (d6 cold damage per globe), causing the key-globe to shatter and “sink” up to the top and the top of the water to turn to a sheet of ice. There are many spells and ways that can be used to carefully only grab the key-orb, be it Spiderclimb, Levitation, Fly, Polymorph with flight, Unseen Servant, etc. This key opens the door, which fills the classroom with desks and a podium.

8th Room Antechamber: This bare room has strange sigils etched into the floor, filled in silver.
Writing: “Those you can call upon for aid are an extension of your power and yourself.”

8th Test & Class Room (Conjuration): Only a portion of this room is accessible, its mural on the southern wall only showing a lake-side city of dusky-skinned people. The rest is blocked from view by a completely opaque curtain of shimmering multicolored lights blocks the rest of the room. Before the raindbow wall is a large black and grey marble pillar that reaches to the ceiling. At eye-level on the pillar, is a section of thick transparent quartz with a hollow center. At this center can be seen a small iron lever.
Investigation/Perception: A hair-thin line is cut into the stone of the pillar, forming a small palm sized square.
Arcana: The curtain of light is a Prismatic Wall.
Part 1 Solution: Casting Mage Hand or a similar spell within the chamber allows the PCs to pull the lever. Once the lever has been pulled the thin square opens up revealing an ancient leather pouch (filled with silver powder) and the Prismatic Wall disappears revealing the rest of the chamber.
Rest of the Chamber: The mural goes on to show a horde of demonic creatures rushing forward to fight a dwarven army, the horde is led by an old man in black robes, wielding a brightly glowing staff.
Etched into the floor of room, 2/3rds of the way in is a complex circular diagram that is filled in with silver. Within the diagram is a semi-transparent winged figure with large horns that seems to be made of shadow itself. Carved into the ground in front of the circle and the shadowy figure are more strange silver sigils. The room terminates in a massive set of grand double doors.
Writing:“This fiend is bound to tell one truth, and to take one action at your command. Be wise in your choices, for there is no mercy in mistakes.”
Investigation/Perception: There is no sign of a key and the creature seems completely insubstantial.
Arcana: The creature is a Shadow Demon that seems bound within a magic circle. The silver sigils of the magic circle on the ground are incomplete, the creature is sealed but its binding is not finished.
Detect Magic: The circle has an aura of Abjuration. The sigils have a flickering aura of Conjuration.
Solution: The silver powder can be used to repair the magic circle and complete the binding. If the Shadow Demon asked where the key is, the shadow demon will reply: “I am the key” if the repair has been completed. If the circle is repaired, the Shadow Demon need only be commanded to open the door, to do so.
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zenako
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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by zenako » Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:19 pm

kitenerd wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:40 pm
AnimeSensei wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:04 pm
j) Divine Magic (lumped into one class credit, because it's a wizard school and divine magic is for wimps)
My Dwarven Cleric drops 13d6 of Flame Strike on you - who is a wimp now?
Well my elven Ranger/Rogue laughs at the DC of that spell and easily evades the damage and chuckles...

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kitenerd
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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by kitenerd » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:40 pm

AnimeSensei wrote:
Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:04 pm
j) Divine Magic (lumped into one class credit, because it's a wizard school and divine magic is for wimps)
My Dwarven Cleric drops 13d6 of Flame Strike on you - who is a wimp now?
"Miniatures?, sure sign of a petty mind!" - 'The Women' 1939

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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by kitenerd » Wed Jun 05, 2019 1:39 pm

I realize you are looking for specific adventure hooks for each school = i haven't gotten that far in my thinking but i have some basic thoughts/ideas

Let them keep their weapons - assign each group a proctor and tell them they will be scored on each challenge - let them know that use of weapons and/or magic items will lower their score and creative solutions will raise it

score each party member separately - in the end total points equals a buy from the wizarding academy - for spell casters the buy could be the privilege of copying x number of spells from the library into their spellbook - for the barbarian it could be enchanting a weapon (the higher you score the better the enchantment) etc. - sorcerers could get rare familiars or a spell storing staff - other players could get various artifacts or amulets/phylacteries etc. - this way everyone gets something that makes THEM awesome

the proctor also serves to prevent catastrophe - when their clever idea fails and the TPK is imminent the teacher steps in, solves the problem and the whole group gets a zero for that particular challenge (or a few points for their creative effort)

because you are handing out the points - you have total control over how much you give out and can keep the reward from being overpowered - dangle the +3 shocking quarterstaff for a perfect score, but they only end up with a +1 mace because the proctor is a difficult grader - at the same time if the barbarian or druid really shines, then you can make sure that they get a slightly better reward that their fellows who hung back and stayed out of harms way while dithering about how to be effective

if your thought is to grant them all a temporary spell casting level (through some magical fiat) then reward them for how well they utilize their newfound skills - if they do very well perhaps they trade their boon for the right to keep their new level

this keep with the school theme and gives you a lot of control and ability to customize rewards and scoring to each characters abilities and talents
"Miniatures?, sure sign of a petty mind!" - 'The Women' 1939

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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by Rabbit Burner » Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:00 am

Poor misunderstood Brad or Bradley O'dour, old money from the effluent Quarter of Valoria.

The youngest of 5 With 3 elder brothers and a single older sister, Bradley starved of attention and bullied by his older brothers and forced into endless tea parties by his sister. Seen as the problem child by his parents who looking to avid any potential embarrassments looked to ship the unfortunate Bradley off to a boarding school, they were thinking maybe East Tip or Dusthurst, however Brad decided Wizarding school much to his parents disgust.....

Looked like Brad needed some fleshing out :)
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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by zenako » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:32 pm

Well if they "passed the class" and assuming you playing 5e, then something simple like making them proficient in any skill check related to the class they studied and passed. A nice perk, but not something that guarantees results.

If you are playing 3.5e, then you could award them a rank in the relevant area of knowledge or craft or profession and then they can make skill rolls for stuff related to that skill. For example, in my game, which has a very military bent for the characters, a few of them have profession Soldier and a few ranks in that, and that gives them a roll to spot things of military interest or figure out fortifications, etc. Allows them as characters to act on a portion of what the very experienced players probably already know from looking at the map.

IF someone went to class but did not ace the final for example, you could grant them a 1/2 rank, which then allows them a roll, but with only their innate bonus kicking in.

As for final exams and stuff, a lot depends on your players and if they like taking tests or passing puzzles and how they compare to the characters they are playing. Someone playing a barbarian dolt, who is in real life a mensa candidate might be able to easily solve a puzzle or test. Flip the coin however and someone playing a hyper intelligent wizard who in real life is just not a puzzle or test solve, might be frustrated that they cannot match their characters supposed skill. I like to try to not have stuff just rely on a random dice roll completely.

For example, an encounter with a elder water spirit was had. The group did her a service and she was willing to "bless" all those involved. If the party member made a suitable charisma based roll, she was very pleased and kissed the member who then gained a point in a stat (mostly randomly - rolled a d(x). For just meeting the roll roll a d6 and add 1 point to that stat (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA). If you did real well and impressed her, I rolled a d8 and then gave the the extra two rolls (7 and 8) were mapped to suitable prime stats for the characters class. (So for a wizard for example, an extra chance it was INT or CON.)

If the overall roll was lower and not worth a kiss but a peck on the cheek, then the boon was something less significant, like 1 time only summon a large water elemental for an hour, or something like that.

So if you plan on having a bunch of Role playing for the school of magic, just roll with the way that goes. If it ends up more Roll playing, then something driven by the dice.

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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by AnimeSensei » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:33 pm

Thanks for the advice! :D I only have a few days though; the session is this Friday.

Also I just though I should probably have some final exams at the end; how would you go about that? Bonuses on skill checks depending on how well or if they did the associated class's quest?
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Re: Magic School Advice

Post by zenako » Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:20 pm

With respect to magical weapons, etc while on campus. One way to handle that for weapons, wands, staves, rods, etc, is to have an enchantment (kind of like a Wizard Lock for a door) that keeps each weapon or dangerous item in its sheath or container, while on campus grounds. That once they leave campus for a 24 hour period the enchantment fades (to avoid being able to just run off the grounds for a round and returning). This constrains the weapons but leaves them with the players and under there control. Kind of like a peace bond, but with strong magics to keep them stashed.

As for small quests, depending how hard core Harry Potter fans you have, there are a whole bunch of small quests or adventures within those movies/books that would be perfect for a short quest or two. Perhaps modified to avoid being spoiled by someone who knows those books/movies. Think Yoda and Luke Skywalker. Another source for short quests are some of the cartoons or series like Avatar. (Gives you an excuse to research various anime for inspiration!)

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