Magical academies make fantastic focal points for campaigns. These schools give PCs a powerful patron to support their adventures. They provide quests and access to magical resources and arcane learning. The grounds serve as a base of operations, and a target for villainous machinations. And, they make excellent introductions to roleplaying for those familiar with a particular boy wizard.
Player options available in Tome of Heroes and Deep Magic give every class greater access to magic abilities. Now there’s even more reason to run this style of campaign using the resources in the Deep Magic 2 Kickstarter campaign.
Read closely for a peek at some of the new material inside!
If you’ve just arrived, catch up on the school’s founding, classes, and side quests in the archive.
After two grueling years, the PCs had better quaff a potion of heroism to make it to graduation.
Now that they have reached their third year at magic university, things get serious.
- Some students—especially those attending on scholarship—are expected to serve as teaching assistants. Long nights in the local taverns suddenly transmute into late nights grading papers and preparing syllabuses.
- However, by helping craft the next generation of Vistrovani’s mages, a PC might gain a student who looks up to them and who the PC can choose to mentor.
- The dean, Scholarch Paevel Cangenthistle, has taken a keen interest in one PC. Recent events have limited the academy’s ability to devise new spells. But even the dean must publish or perish, so he teaches the PC to cast variants of charm person, fireball, or raise dead (see Appendix E of Deep Magic). In return, the scholarch asks this student to engage in an independent study to devise a variant for a spell of their choosing.
- A visiting bard has brought a song spell to Vistrovani (see below) that puts the pyromancy and portal magic style practicioners in a tizzy. One of the library’s assistants, a halfling woman named Galanter, has been inexplicably helpful at breaking down the spell, despite her only apparent skill being shelving library books.
1st-Level Conjuration (Elemental, Pyromancy)
Casting Time: 1 bonus action
Range: 10 feet
Components: V, S, M (a shard of smoky-colored quartz)
You teleport to an unoccupied space you can see within range. Immediately after you teleport, a blast of fire appears in the space you previously occupied. Creatures within 5 feet of the space you left must make a Dexterity saving throw, taking 2d6 fire damage on a failed save or half as much on a successful one.
You may choose to have this spell not deal damage. If you do, no saving throws are required, and a cloud of smoke appears in a 5-foot radius sphere centered on the space you left. The area within the smoke is obscured, and the smoke lasts until the end of your next turn.
In their final year, students go out on field work with increasing frequency. With a solid grounding in magic, students are more likely to gain skills that can’t be taught in the classroom. And, due to damage suffered in last year’s draconic assault, the dormitories can’t hold the same number of students, and a student in the field doesn’t use a bed.
After spending much of the campaign creating your own mini-adventures, this is a great time to insert published materials for 7th or 8th level PCs in a more traditional stretch of the campaign. (You can use students from Masi Institute as competitors for these quests.)
- Students who study Shadow Magic may take the opportunity to explore the Shadow Realm. You could use higher level adventures from Tales from the Shadow or play through Courts of the Shadow Fey.
- For loosely connected one-shot adventures, Warlock Lairs: Into the Wild might be up your alley. One of the academy’s alumni might seek out students willing to test a werewolf serum and infiltrate a cult in The Wilding Call, or local authorities might seek apt pupils to stop a deranged mage from freeing a creature of unspeakable destructive power from stasis in the nearby wastelands in Race for the Shining Dawn.
- Tome of Beasts 3 Lairs sports a bounty of one shots for these character levels, including The Marvelous Machinations of the Margreve Millard. In this zany rural adventure, the PCs can combat a villain who experiments with new creatures as much as their professors experiment with new spells.
The Art of Crafting
As part of their downtime, advanced students can learn how to craft magic weapons and wondrous items. Skill in making these magical items can help the students with their other studies. This can provide them with funds to pay for new tomes—or even replacement robes, in the event that they leave their new flame tongue on the ironing board for too long.
- Wondrous Items. Having spent time brewing potions for pranks and profit, the PCs are introduced to the wing of the library containing the “cookbooks” for wondrous items. To get the necessary coin to begin crafting in earnest, the PCs must craft a hat of disguise for a local noble. (Nothing could possibly go wrong with this plan.)
- Weapons. There’s always a market for swords that strike true and pack an extra sting—be it fire, ice, lightning or thunder. The school doesn’t generally send students to collect components from extraplanar locations, so the PCs must gather them on their downtime.
After decades of searching, the virtuoso lich,Professor Sigra Furnyng, finally located her phylactery in the ruins of a Vistrovani building. After convincing the simple-minded Galanter to join her, the lich fled to her home in the northern wastes.
Shortly after arriving in the northern wastes, Sigra wishes Galanter’s feeblemind-edness away, revealing the archmagehidden behind the arcane impediment. Together, the two wizards plot revenge against the scholarch by wiping out groups of students to draw out the dean out of the school. After narrowly surviving an attempt on their lives in the field, the PCs prepare to retaliate against the vengeful wizards in an epic, climatic spell battle to the death (or re-death, as it may be).
Once the threat is eliminated, the PCs can decide how to address the necessary changes to the Vistrovani Conservatory of Magic to bring it into the modern era.
There’s a little over a week left in the Deep Magic 2 Kickstarter campaign and it’s still going strong. Don’t get left out!