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I'm running the Rushlight Festival soon, and wanted to add a couple of events that would be more caster-friendly. Here's what I've come up with. Feel free to steal these; I hope your group enjoys them. Any feedback is welcome.
The Caster's Ball
Held on the first evening of the Rushlight festival, the Caster's Ball is an opportunity for the spellcasters to strut their stuff. It traditionally starts with a profligate use of magic by Master Phillipe Ortois, Pitax's court wizard, to create a dancing area.
Second, Move Earth to make the mud in the coliseum as smooth as possible.
Third, Transmute Mud to Rock to turn the grounds to stone.
Fourth, Stone Shape to smooth out any tiny imperfections in the sandstone surface, leaving a perfectly smooth, shiny dancing floor. (Cubic feet can cover quite a wide area if you're only smoothing tiny imperfections.)
During the Ball, the attendees all wear their finest evening wear. Pitax's finest tailors are on hand with a stock of extravagant clothing to assist anyone who neglected to bring their own. Then they spend the evening dancing to music supplied by musicians from Pitax's Academy of Grand Arts and snacking on a dazzling array of hor d'oeuvres. King Irovetti presides over the revelry from a throne at one side.
Periodically, Irovetti calls for a pause in the dancing for a demonstration. This is when the delegations get to show off their magical skill. The people crowd away from the center, leaving it open for a representative from one of the kingdoms to do their thing. Any kind of magical display goes, the showier the better! The only rules are 1) you cannot cause harm to the viewers, 2) the effect must be temporary or dismissible, so that dancing can resume afterwards, and 3) you cannot use magic items (scrolls, wands, potions, staves, etc). This is meant to be a display of the caster's own skill, not their budget.
Any participants make a Spellcraft check to judge how impressive their result was -- divide by 10 and round down to get their points. Casters may attempt one other skill check to enhance their results, subject to GM approval; the DC is 15, and a success grants 1 bonus point.
Here are contestants from each delegation:
32+, the nereid Evindra, who agrees to dance but spends the whole time pleading for release without being able to give directions to her prison.
28-31, a nymph named Galatea, who dwells in the Emberbough Forest to the southeast and is pleased to dance but scandalizes half the crowd with her blithe disregard for cultural norms regarding nudity.
26-27, the dryad Tiressia, who is immediately sickened and refuses to dance, begging to be sent back to her tree.
21-26, the nixie Melianse, who is extremely pleased to accept, but looks slightly ridiculous dancing with a man twice her height.
If his result is a 20 or lower, no one answers his call, and he is heartily embarrassed.
If he rolls a natural 20 on his Perform (Sing) check, you could really throw things for a loop and have Nyrissa show up, even though she exceeds the usual hit dice limit of the spell considerably. This would cause great consternation for King Irovetti. Nyrissa would agree to dance, and then dance Erasmus straight out of the world and back to Thousandbreaths -- there to make a pet of him for as long as he can hold her interest.
Erasmus offers a spectacular necklace of red gold set with emeralds as his payment (3,000 gp). He makes his Spellcraft check at +19, and makes a Perform (Dance) check at +32 for an extra point.
Her Spellcraft check is made at +15, and lacking any particularly relevant Perform skill, she makes a Charisma check at +6 to make the illusion especially convincing.
The Boulder Challenge
The gamesmaster places a small, spherical stone on a short plinth in the coliseum. It is smooth granite, weighs 30 pounds, and is 11 inches in diameter.
Towards the other end of the coliseum are three holes: a large one (5' diameter, 30 feet away), a medium one (3' diameter, 50 feet away), and a small one (1' diameter, 70 feet away). The three holes are in a straight line.
Contestants have 2 rounds to get the boulder into one of the holes. The big hole is worth 2 points, the medium is 3, and the small is 5. Contestants may make one skill check for a bonus point; this is DC 15 unless otherwise noted. If the contestant fails to get the sphere into one of the holes, no points are awarded.
The catch is that they are not allowed to touch the boulder with any portion of their bodies. Any other method is fair game.
Chantal makes an Intimidate check at +13 for a bonus point, looking really buff and scary when whacking the boulder.
Average result: 3 points.
If he fails the Handle Animal check, the confused ape picks up the sphere and tries to hand it to Kilbaskian, much to the amusement of the crowd. Kilbaskian's Handle Animal check counts for a bonus point if he passes it.
Average result: 0 points.
Average result: 0 points.
Lars spent the last night ransacking his brain, and has come up with a strategy: he is going to cast Carve Passage from a scroll he found in his master's gear, using it to carve a channel in the earth so that the sphere will tip over into it and roll into the first, largest hole. He has deciphered the scroll using Read Magic, but must make a DC 10 caster level check (with a +1 bonus) to successfully activate it. If he passes, he successfully gets the ball into the largest hole, or what's left of it, and the next contestant has to wait a good 15 minutes while the gamesmaster and his assistants repair the field with shovels.
If he fails to activate his scroll, give him a DC 5 Wisdom check at -1. If he passes, he can retry the activation on his second round, but takes a -2 penalty on his caster level check due to nerves. If he fails the Wisdom check, he suffers a mishap. The scroll bursts into flames, singeing his face, and the ground underneath him suddenly turns into a ten foot diameter pit, into which he falls, taking 1d6 damage.
Lars is too nervous to try anything fancy for bonus points. However, he gains a bonus point if he successfully activates the scroll on his first attempt.
Average result: 3 points.
Timsina makes a Profession (Soldier) check at +12 to shout orders at her hoplessly stupid minion for a bonus point.
Average result: 4 points.
Other possible solutions include Telekinesis, and Reach Spell with a suitable teleportation spell, or really whatever your players can dream up. Note that it is too heavy for Mage Hand or an Unseen Servant to move.
Hyram shouldn't have a problem with the boulder challenge - the hound archon is summoned not called - it doesn't get to argue orders, not if they are stupid, or even suicidal...
Also note that a normal man with a set of fireplace tongs can probably do the boulder challenge pretty easily.
Finally, if your PC's are the dirty trick type, post caster's ball might pretty much qualify as the optimal time to exterminate Phillipe Ortois...
Superb and utterly timely - I'm running the Rushlight Games for my group next week, but most of the characters are magic-based and I have been stuggling to find a spellcaster-based contest to include for them. I was going to use Spell Duelling from one of the core books (which would have been a logistical nightmare) but this is a far more elegant option and its flashy nature is more in keeping with Irovetti's whims.
What I might amend how points are scored. One 'judging' point will be awarded for every 5 made in the Spellcraft check and for every 10 made in the accompanying skill (so a contestant that gets a Spellcraft of 27 and Perform result of 23 would be judged for seven points), with up to two bonus points being awarded based on the flashy/innovative nature of the performance.
As per other events, once all the judging points are accrued the first-place winner gets four points for the tournament, 2 points go to second-place and 1 point for third-place.
Thank-you very much for this Tinalles =)
@pennywit: Sure, yoink away. A credit and a link would be nice.
@pad300: I don't see anything in the spell saying that summoned creatures must obey your commands. It says "If you can communicate with the creature, you can direct it not to attack, to attack particular enemies, or to perform other actions as you command." Being able to give it directions doesn't necessarily mean that it's got to obey.
Particularly since the school description of Conjuration in the Magic chapter explicitly says "Creatures you conjure usually — but not always — obey your commands." Emphasis added.
As for eliminating Phillipe Ortois, you're right, he would certainly be vulnerable at that point.
I think it's unlikely to happen in my campaign; it's so homebrew that it barely has any resemblance to a regular Kingmaker campaign at all. Just as a for instance, it's a solo campaign that split off from a Kingmaker campaign at the end of Book 1. I didn't use any of books 2, 3 or 4; instead the PC went off and had a very long adventure in Sevenarches. Now all the events of Books 5 and 6 are occurring more or less simultaneously, and the PC is only involved because she needs to gain Nyrissa's assistance with getting Count Ranalc to help fix Gralton, which has become coterminous with the Plane of Shadow. Largely as a result of the PC's actions before she kicked her vampire habit.
Yeah. It's been a long, winding path.
@llaletin Thanks! And score it however you please. I'll be interested to hear how it goes for you.