Wandering Monsters — Mage’s Tower

This week, we continue our romp through iconic locales with a look at one of the most mysterious and mystifying places of all, the mage’s tower. Wizards and mages are a staple of high fantasy and a lot of the best mages had some kind of tower which they used as a home or a base of operations. From Merlin to Saruman, every great wizard had a tower, so let’s look at ours!

As always, many thanks to the Pyromancers dungeon painter tool for helping me create this week’s map.

Mage’s Tower

This small stone tower shows the sign of old age. Its weathered stone walls appear as if they could buckle under the tower’s weight at any time.

 

Click on the maps for full-size versions.

The mage’s tower might be found in a variety of locations. The most obvious locale is outside of a nearby village or town. Most mages are known recluses and a tower away from other people is not out of the ordinary. Alternatively, placing the tower within a town is not entirely unheard of either. A mage on retainer may need to remain close due to a government or noble decree. A mage tower might even serve as a part of a local university, allowing potential students and visitors free rein to visit during certain times of the day.

Tower Features

The tower rises to a height of 45 feet. The masonry walls are reinforced with abjuration magic, making them especially resistant to the elements. The hardness of the walls are increased by 10 and the walls’ hit points are doubled. The interior of the tower is lit by a number of continual flame spells which can be dimmed or put out completely with a command word

1. Ground Floor

A set of large wooden doors serve as the entrance to the tower. The ground floor is rarely used and serves mostly as a storage area. The various barrels, crates, and shelves hold a number of magical components and reagents as well as the food stores for the resident.

2. Study

This floor serves as a study for the resident mage. The walls are overflowing with tomes and books on various aspects of arcane and planar knowledge. Using these books provides a +4 bonus to Knowledge (arcana) and Knowledge (planes) checks. The worktable in the center of the room serves as a place for the resident mage to run experiments and magical tests

3. Bedroom

This massive bedroom fills the entirety of the floor. The fine bed in the center appears relatively unused, its linens and sheets still neatly made even with signs of life throughout the room. The messy desk is littered with arcane notes. A successful DC 22 Perception check to search through the desk turns up a key to the chest in the room. This chest holds the tower’s treasure. A ladder leads to a trap door that opens to the roof.

4. Rooftop

The tower’s roof is used for powerful rituals. The runes etched on to the rooftop empower arcane magic. Any arcane spells cast while on the roof are treated as if they were cast at 1 caster level higher. Additionally, the runes serve as a focus for more powerful spells and also serve as a magic circle against evil.

Encounters

The following encounters can take place here.

Encounter Challenge Rating Creatures Treasure
Veiled Mistress CR 7 SuccubusB1  
Ooze Onslaught CR 10 6 ochre jelliesB1  
Storm Mage CR 13 Advanced pyromaniac mageNPC  
This week’s Encounter Table makes use of Bestiary 1 and Monster Codex.

Veiled Mistress (CR 7)

The residents of the nearby village are quite taken by the elven sorcerer that lives in the tower. Recently, a number of visitors to the tower have found their lust insatiable, which for now only serves to surprise and please their partners. This serves as the first step towards the unrest and the eventual perverse twisting of the village by the veiled mistress of the tower. Actually a succubus in disguise, the demon revels in watching the befouling of the village. She constantly invites the villagers to visit the tower, planting dark thoughts into their mind to work her vile machinations. (Note: The succubus adds alter self to her at-will spell-like abilities.)

The succubus tends to relax in the study, reading dramatic tragedies and local history to serve as inspiration for her next steps. She remains in her elven disguise at all times. If the tower is assaulted, she does her best to talk down the attackers, subtly trying to weave in charm monster or suggestion when she can. If she can convince the attackers to stop, she invites them for tea in the study. She then moves to the ground floor and attempts to summon babau demons to her aid. While fighting, she tries her best to dominate the most weak-minded attacker. She abandons her plans and flees if reduced to fewer than 20 hit points.

Ooze Onslaught (CR 10)

Months ago, the resident arcanist began dabbling in the alchemical arts. This process was to lead to the creation of a homunculus and eventually, a philosopher’s stone. The arcanist’s inexperience and pride would be his downfall, however. Working with the remains of an ooze, the arcanist hoped to learn to replicate the ooze as a magical reagent to his work. Instead, the work revived the ochre jelly and it quickly multiplied. The aracanist was able to stop the alchemical reaction at work, but was quickly overwhelmed by the ochre jellies already created. The jellies are unable to escape thanks to the magical reinforcement of the tower and they now lie in wait for any unfortunate visitor to the tower.

The ochre jellies are spread throughout the tower, traveling up and down the structure seemingly at random. A trio of jellies sits on the ground floor and the remaining three are randomly distributed between the study and the bedroom. Any intruders to the tower immediately catch the attention of the jellies. They work to move towards the PCs. Their slow speed shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, but as the jellies are attacked and split, the tower can quickly fill with oozes.

Storm Mage (CR 13)

The resident wizard is usually left alone. Unless a situation calls upon his help, few attempt to even go near the tower. While he usually appreciates the gesture, the wizard has grown bored as of late. He has taken it upon himself to find the latest arcane challenge to keep himself occupied. An ancient tome with a focus on druidic magic he recently discovered gave him just the challenge he needed. After weeks of work, the wizard now believes he has everything necessary for a ritual to control the weather. He plans to summon forth violent storms, great winds, and other powerful events to test the limits of his control. The unfortunate destruction of the nearby village as a byproduct of his test is of no concern to the wizard.

When the PCs arrive at the tower, the wizard is already partially through the ritual. This creates a constant call lightning effect above the tower. This allows the wizard to call a bolt of lightning as a free action once per round. Not one to forgive an interruption, the wizard makes of fly and harries the PCs from afar with fireball and scorching ray. He is not above putting himself of the way of a fireball if it means he can hurt more of the attackers. The wizard fights to the death and the ritual immediately ends upon his demise.

That’s it for this week! If you use the mage tower in your game, let me know!  If you have any request for a future Wandering Monsters, please drop me a line at KnowDirection@hotmail.com.

Luis Loza

Luis Loza is a freelance writer from Lincoln, Nebraska. He has written for Paizo Inc, Legendary Games, Rogue Genius Games, and more third-party publishers. His hobbies include gaming both tabletop and video, making jokes, obsessing over time travel, taking naps with Hugo the cat, and walks with Heather the wife. He is eternally plagued with a hunger for tacos.

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