Rushlight Events: The Caster's Ball and the Boulder Challenge [Spoilers]


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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.

The full details of creating the dancing area:
First, Control Weather to cause torrential rain while the attendees watch from under cover of the pavilions in the area. Once the parade grounds have been soaked, he changes the weather back to clear.

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.)

Finally, multiple castings of Dancing Lights and Permanency to provide light for the evening.

All of this is made even more decadent by the fact that the entire thing will be undone afterwards, via Dispel Magic and Transmute Rock to Mud.

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:

Ponfar Sutaine, CN male halfling cleric of calistria 7, Pitax:
Uses Firewalker's Meditation to walk across a bed of hot coals (brought in on a floating disk courtesy of a colleague). The spell was pre-cast due to its one-hour casting time, which makes for a less impressive display, and so Ponfar attempts a Sleight of Hand check to juggle live coals to add some panache. Spellcraft +11, Sleight of Hand +10.

Erasmus Quidalion, NG male human bard 16, Touvette:
He plans to use Entice Fey to conjure a lady of the fey, and ask her to dance before the crowd, hoping for a bonus point based on his superb dancing. Unfortunately, the spell requires a Perform (Sing) check, and while he is a passable singer, it's not a guaranteed success. He casts the spell in front of the assembled crowd, taking 10 minutes to mark out arcane diagrams on the dance floor and singing of his longing for an eldritch dance partner. He opts not to use a magic circle to enclose the conjured fey, deeming it rude. The fey he gets depends on the result of a Perform (Sing) check made with a +15 modifier:

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.

Solira Penrose, CN female half-elf sorcess 14, Tymon:
Solira turns into a large bronze dragon using Form of the Dragon II and swoops over the crowd spouting bolts of electricity into the air well above their heads. Spellcraft +17, and a Fly check for dazzling aerobatics at +19.

Yegina Varudu, female human sorceress 12, Daggermark:
Yegina uses Major Image to create an illusion of planting a seed. It grows rapidly into an enormous rose bush, each of whose many blossoms open to release pixies of all the colors in the rainbow. The pixies launch themselves through the sky in elaborate synchronized patterns singing glorious choral works, until finally they all collide simultaneously at one point in the center. The resulting explosion transforms into a single enormous angel who pronounces benedictions of peace and fruitfulness on all present before launching herself skyward and dwindling into the distance. (As it approaches the outer range of the spell, Yegina simulates the angel's dwindling by making the image shrink in size until it winks out.)

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.

Hyram Velociter, LN male human wizard 7, Mivon:
An older gentleman with a calm, fairly dry demeanor, Hyram wheels out a chalkboard and spends ten minutes pretending to explain a fairly dry arcane concept, complete with diagrams. In actuality, he is casting Symbol of Laughter. A DC 27 Knowledge (Arcana) check is enough to figure out what he's doing, which imparts a +2 bonus on the save once he's done. A few of the crowd figure it out and start laughing early. Assume that most of the crowd fails their DC 19 save and spends 7 minutes howling uproariously. Hyram has a Spellcraft modifier of +20 (seven ranks, 3 class skill, 2 Magical Aptitude, 3 Skill Focus, 5 INT), but does not make any other checks.



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 Urena, female human ranger 10/barbarian 2, Daggermark:
Chantal is not a fancy caster-ish type, but she is great at hitting things, and so that's what she's going to do: pot it straight into one of the holes. She takes a +1 greatclub and spends her first round lining up her shot, for a +2 bonus on the attack. On the second round, she rages and uses Vital Strike to smack that sphere as hard as she can. She makes an attack roll at +19. The large hole has an AC of 25; the medium has an AC of 30; the small one has an AC of 35. Ironically, if she rolls a natural 20, the greatclub shatters and the sphere rolls off its plinth and comes to a stop 10 feet away.

Chantal makes an Intimidate check at +13 for a bonus point, looking really buff and scary when whacking the boulder.

Average result: 3 points.

Kilbaskian Ord, male human ranger 10, Touvette:
Kilbaskian uses Summon Nature's Ally III to call an ape to carry the stone to the hole for him. Casting the spell requires a full round action, and this is not a natural activity for the puzzled ape, so Kilbaskian must make a DC 25 Handle Animal check with a +12 bonus to push the animal into performing this trick for him. This is another full-round action, so he only gets one shot at it. If he gets 30 or higher, the ape snatches the boulder and runs to the smallest hole, smashing it into place and hooting with its arms in the air. On a 25-29, the ape walks over and puts it into the largest hole, then scratches itself while pondering the follies of humanity.

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.

Hyram Velociter, LN male human wizard 7, Mivon:
Hyram casts Summon Monster IV, calling a Hound Archon, and asks it to put the boulder in the smallest hole. The Hound Archon, however, was expecting to be summoned to fight the good fight against the forces of evil, not lug boulders around for the amusement of some mortals. He refuses to undertake the task unless Hyram makes a successful DC 25 Diplomacy check (+8 modifier). If he passes the Diplomacy check it counts for a bonus point.

Average result: 0 points.

Lars Ulven, NG young male half-elf wizard 1, Pitax:
The apprentice wizard Lars Ulven was never intended to represent Pitax in this competition. That job fell to his teacher, Master Phillipe Ortois, Pitax's court wizard. Sadly, his master overindulged in shellfish at the Caster's Ball which had been left out too long, and is being tended for a horrific case of the trots. Rather than let Pitax go without an entrant, Lars gamely volunteered to take his master's place.

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 Siraj, female human cleric of Gorum 12, Tymon:
Timsina casts Animate Objects on the boulder, making it a Tiny Object and spending its 1 construction point on the "faster" property. This gives it a move speed of 25 feet. Ordinarily this would be ample for the purpose if it "runs", but the soft dirt of the coliseum counts as difficult terrain for the heavy, perfectly smooth sphere. It spins up lots of dirt as it rolls erratically towards its goal. Timsina needs to make a Spellcraft check (DC 25, at +15). If she passes, she makes it to the 1' hole. Otherwise she is forced to take the 3' hole instead.

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.

I think this is very cool. +1

I like these. Wish I had thought of the Caster's Ball.

Thanks. ^_^

Hi. Over the coming weeks, I'm going to put together a Google Doc that updates the Rushlight Tournament with some modifications and ideas I had, then share it with this board. Do you mind if I yoink these and include them as potential events?

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.

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