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Every adventurer needs a base of operations, a place of safety where he can both take shelter from the outside world and concentrate his earthly power. Just as wizards have their towers, clerics and paladins their churches and temples and warriors their mighty fortresses of stone and iron, so to do sorcerers have their places of power.
1) Location - Before a sorcerer can build his fortress, he must figure out where he is going to put it. Sorcerers greatly value their privacy, so they most often choose out of the way locations, though they are by no means restricted to them. Since there is great advantage to be gained by building a fortress in locations where magical energies are concentrated, sorcerer’s fortresses are often located near or on elemental gateways, or in those places where the veils between dimensions are thinnest. Of course, the absolute best location for sorcerer’s new fortress is atop a well spring or changeling pool - these mystical nodes can transform a sorcerer’s home into a place of near mythical power.
2) Floor Plans - Before a sorcerer can begin implanting and awakening his fortress’ great powers, he must first give shape to its walls. No matter the final how strange and otherworldly the fortress’ final shape, it always begins with a vision and a blueprint.
3) Awaken Powers - Once the mundane tasks of design and construction are completed, the real fun can begin. The typical sorcerer’s fortress is packed floor to ceiling with arcane enhancements, some a natural by-product of its location and the materials used in its construction and some a result of the sorcerer’s own efforts. The number of powers which a sorcerer may awaken is limited by only three things; his imagination, his available cash and the size of his fortress.
4) Pay Associated Costs - After everything has been planned, it has to be paid for. The price of the fortress need not be paid in one, often enormous, lump sum of gold, but what is not paid for is not built - remember, too, that rooms which are dependant upon the existence of another structure (such as a summoning chamber built into the highest level of a fortified tower) can only be constructed after the first structure is complete. Also keep in mind that not all payments need to be made in gold; bartering favours or magical assistance in exchange for construction materials or labour is both genre appropriate and good fodder for adventures and role-playing interaction.
5) Attunement - When construction is finished, the sorcerer must attune himself to his new fortress. An attunement requires a full day of concentration, during which time the sorcerer may not leave the confines of his fortress, but no other effort. A sorcerer can be attuned to more than one fortress at a time, but no more than one sorcerer can be attuned to any single fortress.
Location, Location, Location
Before a sorcerer can build his fortress, he has to decide where to put it. A good location is critical, though what exactly constitutes a ‘good’ location becomes an interesting question when speaking of the tastes of those capable of flying unassisted or bursting mountains like grapes. Unlike the fortresses of those not blessed with great magical power, a sorcerer’s home can literally be built anywhere he can imagine. What follows are general guidelines and suggestions for some of the many possible locations for a sorcerer’s fortress.
Standard Urban or Rural Setting: Not every sorcerer needs or wants his fortress to be secreted away at the bottom of the ocean. Sometimes, it is preferable to set up comfortable shop in a idyll country village, or in the middle of a well patrolled and well tended countryside near a major city, or even within the walls of said major city. It is certainly cheaper - there is no building cost multiplier for constructing in a standard urban or rural environment, as the easy access to labour is counterbalanced by taxes and fees levied by guilds and the nobility - and it has other advantages as well, such as ready access to a work force and, later, to markets for supplies and the courts of local nobles and guilds for alliances and trade. Of course, even in a fantasy world nothing is perfect, so a sorcerer who chooses to make his home in or near civilized areas will have to deal with nosy neighbours, taxes and levies, bandits, overcrowding and the like.
Aerial: An aerial fortress is a testament to two things: its owners desire for privacy at all costs and his utmost faith in his own power as a sorcerer. Aerial fortresses are often built atop small islands of clouds or upon enormous upturned and ragged boulders, but they do not have to be and there are few things more awe inspiring than the site of a castle floating unsupported through the chill morning air. In addition to the obvious advantages of its commanding view and extremely isolated location, an aerial location is also a great boon to those sorcerers who cast spells involving air and weather and an equal bane to those who prefer elemental earth. Any spell which invokes elemental air or includes the electricity descriptor is cast at +1 caster level. Conversely, all spells which invoke elemental earth or include the acid descriptor are cast at -1 caster level.
Aquatic: An underwater fortress is another excellent option for those sorcerers who prefer, or require, the soothing currents of water for their well being. Most underwater fortresses are constructed or coral or stone mined from the ocean floor, but magic can easily preserve wood, whether it be water soaked boards torn from shipwrecks or husks of driftwood, and there are also underwater towers, mansions and fortresses made of silt, salt and even woven seaweed. Depending on his preference and physiology, an undersea fortress is either completely open to the waves, with its hallways and grand halls filled with soothing dark water lit by phosphorescent coral torches, or it is cut off from the sea by a great force field filled with magically recycled air.
An underwater fortress is an exceptionally good place to cast water spells. Any spell which invokes elemental water or includes the electricity descriptor is cast at +1 caster level. Conversely, all spells which invoke elemental fire or include the fire descriptor are cast at -1 caster level.
Arctic: Arctic wastelands are inhospitable, lonely and dangerous in the extreme, just the sort of place a privacy loving sorcerer would choose to put his tower. Whether carved into the side of a great glacier or formed from carefully mined and moulded blocks of snow or stone, a brooding arctic fortress is an imposing sight indeed.
Arctic fortresses are particularly prized by those sorcerers who’s spells generate and control cold. Any spell with the cold descriptor is cast at +1 caster level. Conversely, spells with the descriptor fire are cast at -1 caster level.
Elemental Plane: For the ultimate in privacy and security, you just cannot beat a fortress on an elemental plane. Far removed from the oftentimes-chaotic mortal plane, an elemental fortress is a place where a powerful sorcerer can retreat to plan his next adventure, recuperate or simply rest and enjoy the solitude.
The design of an extra-planar fortress depends heavily upon where it is located. Earth and fire fortresses tend to be made of brass or iron or basalt or obsidian, while fortresses on the plane of air or water are more often constructed of ice or cloudstuff or coral or spears of transparent crystal. In any case, spells which rely upon the elemental energy the plane produces are greatly enhanced when cast there, while other elemental spells are hampered by the plane’s hostile energy. Spells which use the appropriate elemental type and which draw upon the allied energy type (electricity for air, acid for earth, fire for fire, and cold for water) are cast at +2 caster levels; spells which draw upon those elements which are not in direct opposition to the first are cast at -1 caster level; and those spells of the opposing element and its associated energy are cast at -2 caster level.
Underground: There are vast caverns hidden beneath the surface of the earth and endless miles of dark tunnels which wind and curl through dirt and stone. Home to all manner of strange creatures and hostile, alien races, these underground areas are also home to more than a few sorcerer’s fortresses. Some of these fortresses are built directly into the rock walls of vaulted caverns, or placed inside immense stalactites or stalagmites, but others are simply walled villas or small fortified townhouses squatting in remote, little travelled lava tubes. In any case, a subterranean fortress is a good choice for those sorcerers who prefer endless night to the harsh light of day.
Spells which involve or invoke darkness are cast a +1 caster level in an underground fortress, while those which involve light of any sort are cast at -1 caster level.
While building a fortress is never cheap, the cost of constructing a personal sanctum in the midst of a city is as nothing compared to the price of building the same home in the midst of an arctic wasteland. Even with the presence of magic of the greatest sort, there are some things that simply require the expenditure of more money, more manpower and more effort. The table below lists the appropriate modifiers to costs for building in exotic and/or dangerous environments. Special circumstances - as determined by the Game Master - might increase or decrease these modifiers.
Elemental Plane x3
Fortress Granted Bonuses and Penalties to Caster Levels
The more exotic fortress locations listed above include bonuses to caster levels for certain types of spells. Without exception, these spell bonuses and penalties apply only to the sorcerer who is attuned to the fortress and only while he is within the boundaries of his fortress.
Nodes and Fortresses
The ultimate dream of many a sorcerer is to build his fortress atop a well spring or changeling pool, which are more properly known as nodes. Of course, since the power and usefulness of a node is well know, any sorcerer who wishes to do so must be ready, willing and able to defend it from all comers - and their will be many.
For the purposes of determining bonuses and penalties, those gained from a node stack with those gained from a fortress, but only if the sorcerer is attuned to both. An attuned fortress does not count against the total number of nodes a sorcerer may attune himself to.
Floor Plans - Parapets, Grand Halls and Summoning Chambers
When a sorcerer finally decides on a location, the true work is finally ready to begin. Before the first stone is laid or the first frame raised, he must first create a blueprint of the finished product. For the purposes of construction using this book, it is assumed that the sorcerer will be able to produce a detailed set of plans, whether by drawing them himself or by hiring a skilled architect to do it for him, but the player or Game Master need only produce a rough sketch (or even just a list of components) of the finished fortress.
The mundane locations which follow are taken from the sourcebooks the Quintessential Fighter and the Quintessential Wizard. Game Masters are encouraged to consult those books when overseeing the creation of a sorcerer’s fortress.
Remember the following when designing and paying for your fortress:
• All costs of hiring and feed workers have been folded into the prices listed for construction.
• The fortress requires one week of construction for every 2,000 gp. spent on construction. If the sorcerer wishes to increase his costs by 50%, he may reduce construction time to one week per 5,000 gp.
• All constructions may be built larger than their listed base size. Doubling any dimension doubles the cost of that construction. Tripling it will triple the cost. Such costs are cumulative - for example, a wall doubled to 60 ft. will cost 8,000 gp. If its width is also doubled, the final cost will be 16,000 gp. No dimension may be more than tripled in size.
• All constructions, regardless of materials used, are considered to have a hardness score of 8. This can be increased to 10 by doubling construction costs.
• All constructions are considered to have adequate doors and windows, as the player desires.
The tables presented are taken from the Quintessential Fighter and the Quintessential Wizard. The first gives general prices for elements most commonly found in large fortresses, the second contains information for individual components for towers or other small buildings and the last listings for specific rooms and modifications which might be included in your fortress or tower. The tables can be used separately, or lists 1 and 3 or 2 and 3 can be used in combination with one another, allowing you to create either a simple tower with all its rooms or a larger fortress which includes fully detailed special rooms and features.
Should you use the first table, the list of fortress components, your towers and buildings are assumed to have an appropriate number of standard rooms and corridors. Should you choose to place specialized components from the table of special rooms and modifications, the appropriate costs are added to the base price of the fortress component.
|Construction||Cost (in gp)||Height (in ft.)||Width (in ft.)||Length (in ft.)|
|Feature||Cost (in gp)|
|Rooms/Corridors (wood)||160/ 10 ft x 10 ft area|
|Rooms/Corridors (stone)||275/ 10 ft x 10 ft area|
|Doorway (interior or exterior, wood)||55|
|Doorway (interior or exterior, stone)||80|
|Reinforced walls (50% extra hit points)||55/ 10 ft length|
Special Rooms and Modifications
Ancestral Shrine: Sorcerers have an intuitive and unbreakable connection to their ancestors, from which they draw succor and receive advice which helps guide them along their life’s journey, until at last they stand in the great heavenly halls of their ancestors. An ancestral shrine is a specially prepared and sanctified chamber, usually located in the heart of the sorcerer’s fortress, which allows him to more easily commune with his ancestors and draw strength from them. An ancestral shrine grants two abilities: First, while within the shrine, the sorcerer casts all Divination spells at +1 caster level and second, he gains a +2 sacred or profane bonus (depending on the nature of his ancestry) to all
Knowledge (arcana, history) or Spellcraft skill checks made while within the confines of the shrine.
Arcane Airlock: An arcane lock is a simple doorway shaped hole in the wall, with a magical barrier that allows creatures and objects to pass through but keeps air on one side and water or other liquids on the other. Unlike a mechanical airlock, there is no need to wait for air or water to cycle through and those who wish to can simply walk in or out.
Awakened Fortress: An awakened fortress is perhaps the most rare and wondrous device a sorcerer could ever hope to possess. Infused with both his spirit and with the spirit of his ancestors, it will cradle him, protect him and comfort him whenever it is needed. A fortress built with this special ability has an effective Intelligence of 14, a Wisdom of 10 and a Charisma of 11. It gains 10 ranks in the following skill: Knowledge (arcana and history), Listen, Spot and Spellcraft. It can automatically open, close and lock or bar doors, windows and gates, affecting one such opening per standard action. An awakened fortress has a personality which blends the best and worst elements of the sorcerer’s own, as well as that of his ancestors. Though it has a mind of its own, an awakened fortress cannot be affected by mind affecting spells.
Bound Guardian: A bound guardian is simply a summon monster spell which has been set to activate when a specific condition is met. The creature can appear once per day, instantly appearing when the set condition is met. The creature instantly moves to attack those intruders it can see, staying put if it does not see or hear any enemies. Alternately, it can instead perform a default order, which must be no longer than 15 words long and can be no more complex than ‘Move from room to room, checking for intruders and threatening those you find.’
A bound guardian summon monster spell can only summon a specific creature, chosen at the time of the initial placement of the effect. The cost is equal to 500 gp x summon monster spell level x caster level. The creature is considered to be a summoned creature for duration and all other effects.
Embedded Reactives: Should he choose, a sorcerer can place chunks of reactive material within specific rooms of his fortress, allowing him to embed spells within it. If the sorcerer is within the room, he can channel his own spell energy, in the form of spell slots, through the embedded material, allowing him to cast the spell which is embedded within the reactive material. Only a maximum of 1 + the attuned sorcerer’s Charisma modifier in spell levels can be embedded within a room, but there is no effective limit to the number of spells which may be embedded within the fortress.
Focus Point: Focus points are pillars of crystal, stone and iron which have been attuned to the sorcerer and specially enchanted to allow him to cast his spells through them, affecting targets far from himself. A focus point can be placed anywhere within 1 mile of his fortress - he can cast any spell with a range other than Personal or Touch through the focus, but the casting time is doubled. Focus points can be attuned to cast spells of any level, with the maximum spell level which may be cast through it determined at the time of creation (the cost is equal to 5,000 gp x the maximum spell level). A sorcerer’s fortress can have a maximum number of focus points equal to his Charisma modifier.
Phantasmal Map: A phantasmal map is a specially prepared 5 ft x 5 ft block of marble which has been enchanted by powerful magic. By concentrating on the block for a full round, the attuned sorcerer can will it to show a three dimensional image, formed of a combination of flowing marble and illusion, of any 100 ft x 100 ft area within a radius of his Charisma modifier in miles around his fortress. The illusion sculpture is perfect in every detail, presenting a miniaturised version of every object and living thing within that area, down to blades of grass or streams of ants marching.
Node Portal: A node portal is a vortex of arcane energy which bends space to allow a sorcerer instantaneous access to any node which he is attuned to. It requires only an instant’s concentration to focus on the intended destination, then the sorcerer may step through the portal, arriving one round later. The portal remains open and invisible until the sorcerer steps back through it or chooses to dismiss it - only the sorcerer can see it freely, though spells which detect the presence of magic will reveal its location. Only the sorcerer attuned to the fortress may activate the portal, though he may carry up to his level x 20 pounds in passengers or gear with him, so long as they are in physical contact with him when he steps through the portal.
Pulse Door: A pulse door is a sturdy door which, having been specially prepared with eldritch symbols and spell energy, permits only the sorcerer attuned to the fortress to pass. While the sorcerer who is attuned to the fortress can pass through the door with just a gesture, no other being can gain entrance by nonmagical means. A pulse door is highly resistant to spells - before a knock spell can be used against it, the spellcaster must succeed at a caster level check against a DC equal to 10 + the attuned sorcerer’s caster level + his Charisma modifier. Any attempt to dispel or otherwise suppress the magic of the pulse door must be made against a DC equal to 11 + the attuned sorcerer’s caster level + his Charisma modifier.
Reverse Gravity Field: A reverse gravity field is a magical effect which can be placed within a fortress, causing all objects and people within the room to automatically, and perhaps catastrophically, reorient to a new centre of gravity. This gravity point can be placed anywhere within the room - from that point on, that spot is considered ‘down’, even if it is at the top corner of the ceiling.
Sealed Chamber: A sealed chamber is a private sanctum which has been warded with a combination of mystic runes and the sorcerer’s own soul energy. While secure within his sealed chamber, the sorcerer is protected from the prying eyes of the outside world - he is protected as by a nondetection spell and anyone attempting to use a magic item or spell to spy upon the room must succeed at a caster check against a set DC (as shown below) before he may attempt a Scry check.
|Caster Level Check DC||Cost (in gp)|
Spell Cannon: A spell cannon is a specially prepared device, which may or may not be shaped like a cannon or other siege weapon, which focuses and amplifies the attuned sorcerer’s power and allows him to release it as blasts of pure destructive energy. While spell cannons do not have the power of offensive spells, they can be very useful for those sorcerers who do not enjoy an arsenal of magical battle spells. Each spell level focused into the cannon translates into 1d6 points of damage (maximum 9d6), which can be fired as a line 5 ft wide x (100 ft x his Charisma modifier) long. A fortress can have no more than one spell cannon, which is usually mounted on a high tower which offers a commanding view of the surrounding area.
Spells: The sorcerer, or another caster, can place spell within the fortress to conceal it or improve its defences. Cost is as standard, with the sorcerer paying only the cost of components and experience points if he does the work himself.
Trap: Often times, a simple trap can do more to deter would be thieves than any spell. Multiply the trap’s CR by 100 gold to determine its cost.
Watchful Eyes: Watchful eyes are small scrying crystals imbedded at strategic vantage points within the fortress. They allow the attuned sorcerer to make Scry skill checks to view any room or area within his fortress. The DC to view the room is 15, with the skill check treated as a scrying focused on the room rather than on an individual. In addition, the sorcerer does not need a focus when using this ability, as he simply concentrates on the desired room to view it.
Special Rooms and Modifications
|Feature||Cost (in gp)|
|Arcane Airlock||5,000/ 5 ft wide doorway|
|Bound Guardian||Varies (see text)|
|Embedded Reactive||10,000 + 3,000 x spell level(s)|
|Focus Points||5,000 x spell level|
|Pulse Door||Cost of door + 3,000|
|Reverse Gravity Field||500/ 5 ft x 5ft area|
|Sealed Chamber||Varies (see text)|
|Secret or Trap door||Search DC x 20|
|Soundproofing (Increases Listen DC by 5)||40 per room|
|Spell Cannon||5,000 x spell level|
|Spells||Standard (see below)|
|Trap||CR x 100|