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The wizard’s forbidding, mysterious, and inaccessible tower has long been a standard idea in fantasy gaming. Many adventures centre on a raid against an evil wizard’s abode or an expedition to explore and loot the bizarre, highly magical ruins of an ancient archmage’s home. This chapter is meant for both players and Games Masters. For players, this section includes comprehensive rules for designing and building a wondrous, arcane lair. Though of little use down a dungeon, a wizard’s tower can be an enormously valuable asset during a long-term campaign. It is a safe haven in times of danger, a reliable place for a wizard to retreat to in the face of a determined enemy or great chaos. For wizards who commonly create new magic items, formulate spells, and commit other research, the tower is a laboratory stocked with a wide range of arcane tools. Any wizard with an extensive collection of spellbooks, magic items, and other treasures can rely on his tower as a safe keeping place for his accumulated wealth.
For Games Masters, this chapter provides ideas for designing the lairs of non-player character wizards, villains, and other spellcasters the characters may encounter. Adding a variety of weird magic, strange effects, and other unusual items to a wizard’s lair helps maintain a sense of wonder in the game. A tower of carved jade situated atop a drifting cloud makes for a unique, entertaining dungeon crawl. Use the features presented in this chapter, such as reversed gravity rooms and summoned creatures bound into the tower, to inject some variety and danger into your encounters.
Wizards’ towers are far more than simply a fortified structure occupied by a wizard. Through the use of arcane geometry, ley lines, the tides of magic, and other mystic forces, a wizard can build a structure that serves to amplify his arcane abilities and enhance his control over elemental, planar, and other forces. For example, a wizard who builds his tower on the slopes of an active volcano can design his home to serve as a mystic plinth that collects elemental fire energy. When he attempts to summon and bind fire creatures within his tower, the rich aura of such energy makes it easier to call powerful creatures and bind them to his service. The nature of a tower’s materials and its location grant its denizen several bonuses, modifiers, and special abilities.
A wizard’s tower is his home, sanctuary, research station, and fortress rolled into one. As befits their mastery of the arcane arts, most wizards construct towers that are imbued with a variety of powerful spells, enchantments, and charms. From a distance an archmage’s lonely tower may seem to be an exposed, vulnerable stronghold compared to the thick walls, soaring towers, and legions of men-at-arms of a fighter’s castle. However, wizards commonly design their towers to serve as conduits and foci for arcane energy. An attacking army finds bolts of lightning arcing from a tower’s walls to cleave through their ranks. Their catapults’ stones rebound from its flimsy-looking walls, and when they finally send soldiers forward to storm the front door they find demons, elementals, and other terrifying creatures awaiting them within its halls.
A wizard is as closely connected with his tower as he is with his familiar or his magical focus. Using the secrets of arcane geometry, the wizard or the tower’s architect creates a structure that attunes to its owner, channelling magical energy into him by soaking up and focusing the ambient arcane potential in the region surrounding the tower. In many ways, a tower serves more as a conduit or trap for magical energy than a home for its owner. In essence, the tower is a building-sized magical item. The shape and dimension of a structure determine its capacity to channel energy. The tower-shape, a single tall, square or circular structure, offers the best potential to fulfil its purpose. Thus, this is why wizards most commonly prefer a single, solitary tower to a full-blown castle or other fortress.
The wondrous features offered by a tower come at a steep price. Another reason that most wizards build only a solitary tower rather than a full-blown keep or castle is the great expense involved in erecting a structure infused with a wide range of enchantments. While wizards prefer not to admit it, economic concerns are often as much a consideration in their decisions as arcane ones.
New Feat: Arcane Geometry
Your knowledge of engineering, magic, and the planes combined allows you to design buildings capable of drawing on ambient magical energies. Rooms, walls, and doorways designed to the exacting specifications of arcane geometry grant the individual to whom the structure is attuned several benefits while he stands within it.
Prerequisites: Profession (engineer) 8+ ranks, Knowledge (arcana) 8+ ranks, Knowledge (the planes) 8+ ranks, spellcaster level 9th+
Benefit: You may design and build arcane towers as per the rules detailed in this chapter. If you have this feat yourself and so are able to design your tower yourself, you will not need to pay a designer or architect and so may reduce the cost of building the tower by 20%. When designing a tower, the geometrist must declare one person the tower’s owner or master and attune the place’s affects to that individual. Throughout this chapter, references to the tower’s owner or to the wizard attuned to the tower refer to this chosen person.
Normal: If you do not have this feat available (either by having it yourself, or by employing an architect who does have it) you may not build an arcane tower using the rules in this chapter, although you may still build a more mundane tower or other residence.
+Designing a Tower
There are several steps to building your own mystic abode. Resolve them each in the presented order.
1. Choose a Location: Wizards are notorious for their love of privacy and isolation. When it comes time to build a tower, an accomplished archmage may opt for a wide range of places to begin construction, ranging from something mundane, like the merchant quarter of a bustling city, to something a bit more exotic, such as a desolate plain on a wholly different plane of existence.
2. Design a Floor Plan: While wizards’ lairs incorporate a wide range of bizarre, magical features, they all begin with a simple, mundane structure built from wood or stone. Even a wizard needs a bedroom or a comfortable place to entertain visitors.
3. Add Exotic Features: After mapping out your tower, you may add magical effects to it, such as areas of folded space that allow you to fit a 20 ft. by 20 ft. room into a 100 square ft. area. When designing a tower, you have access to a wide range of bizarre magical effects that are not normally possible with prepared spells. In essence, you turn portions of your tower into magical items, using a unique blend of mystic architecture, runes of power, and arcane energy to produce a wondrous range of magical effects.
4. Calculate Total Cost and Time: After designing selecting your tower’s location, designing your floor plan, and selecting the magical effects you wish to add to it, determine the gold piece cost of its construction, the cost of any special components needed for magical effects or wondrous building materials, and the time necessary to complete the project. In addition, your Games Master may determine that your character must embark on a special adventure or quest in order to obtain materials necessary to complete your tower or win the services of elementals, archmages, and other powerful figures whose services you require.
1. Choose a Location
Your tower’s general location dictates many expenses related to its construction, from raw materials to labour costs. The increased costs incurred by choosing an exotic location for your tower, such as an undersea trench or an island in the midst of a lava flow, can be compensated for with increased privacy and defensive capabilities. It is much more difficult to storm a tower that stands perched atop a drifting cloud than to besiege one that stands in the midst of a forest. The construction cost modifier applies only to the expenses determined in step 2, designing you basic floor plan. The magical and exotic features added in other steps cost the same, no matter where your tower stands.
|Tower Location||Construction Cost Modifier|
Standard: Your tower stands in a forest, desert, or other mundane location. It may be near a prosperous city, in the centre of a tiny village, or hundreds of miles from the nearest settled lands. As a rule of thumb, your tower’s location counts as a standard one if you could build a wooden or stone structure there without any magical assistance. The one exception to this rule is if you build your tower in a city. In that case, building materials and labour are significantly cheaper.
Towers located in an otherwise mundane setting offer a wide range of options to their inhabitants. While they do not excel in any one particular area, unlike other towers they do not offer any significant penalties or barriers to using the full selection of options possible in a tower. Depending on the exact nature of a tower’s location, even a standard tower can offer a few benefits and defences not available to its more exotic cousins.
Aerial: Using a variety of powerful elemental magics, it is possible to erect a tower that floats high in the sky. Commonly, the wizards who opt for such a tower harness the power of elemental air to forge a cloud of thick, substantial vapours capable of supporting the weight of a large, stone structure. This aerial home has the advantage of appearing as nothing more than a typical cloud from below, though a sharp-eyed observer can note that the cloud never seems to move in the sky (unless the tower can also fly – see below). Aerial fortresses have several advantages over the typical wizard’s tower. They are inaccessible to anything that lacks the ability to fly, making it incredibly difficult for a wizard’s enemies to mass an army or other large force to besiege his home. More importantly, a cloud tower enjoys that benefit no matter what stretch of land it hovers over. A wizard could thus construct a relatively isolated, safe haven within a few miles of civilisation.
Aerial towers serve as powerful magnets for the elemental force of air. A wizard who owns and maintains an aerial tower can use that excess energy to boost his abilities to summon and bind creatures from the plane of elemental air.
Aquatic: Standing atop the ocean’s crashing waves, an aquatic tower is a fair compromise between the expense of the more exotic towers and the defensibility and isolation many wizards crave in a lair. Aquatic towers are built in a lake or ocean, usually within sight of the shoreline. The tower’s lower levels are beneath the water, while its upper storeys stand above the waves. Visitors normally arrive by boat, dropping anchor at a set of docks built at the tower’s base. Aquatic towers are susceptible to naval attacks, though the cost and logistics of raising a fleet discourage all but the most ardent attackers. Raids by wandering orc tribes, rampaging ogres, and other common threats are all but unheard of. In their place, such threats as marauding pirate ships, sahuagin, and other aquatic raiders threaten a tower. While more common in the deepest areas of the sea, these creatures still occasionally menace an aquatic lair. The primary advantage of an aquatic tower is that it offers isolation from land dwellers and poses a daunting target to enemies who lack the resources to take the seas.
Aquatic towers offer a mix of energy derived from elemental air and water. These towers stand at the point where those two forces meet, as the waves reach forth to the sky to scythe through the air, ushering in the great winds of hurricanes and cyclones that crash across the land. Both of these forces are opposed by elemental earth, which stands a steady, rigid sentinel before the continuous assault of waves and storms. Within the confines of an aquatic tower, those attuned to its arcane geometry gain skill in handling air and water elemental energies, but find their capacity for shaping earth magics sharply hampered.
Glacier: Nestled at the ends of the world, the great ice sheets of the tundra offer isolation for a wizard who feels at home in the frigid cold. Wizards raised in barbarian tribes and those who specialise in frost or ice magic prefer these homes, and many choose to carve the towers or fortresses from the very ice of the glacier, using their magic to strengthen such walls and render them as stout as the thickest stone barricades. A glacier tower offers isolation from the warmer civilised lands, but the creatures of the cold reaches of the world are amongst the most dangerous monsters encountered in the wild. Frost giants, remorhazes, and frost worms are natural predators in such environments, and all present daunting foes even for experienced, battle hardened wizards.
Glacial towers amplify and channel the forces of cold, ice, and elemental air. In the far reaches of the world, these towers boost their caretakers’ ability to summon and bind creatures of ice, air elementals, and similar creatures. Water elementals and creatures are repelled by the energy collected by a glacial tower, as the deepest cold offers only imprisonment and structure to the fluid creatures of water. Thus, within the bounds of a glacial tower a wizard’s ability to work with such forces is severely hampered.
Fire Tower: The ultimate in forbidding terrain, a nice, steady stream of molten rock presents an impassable obstacle to all but the most powerful enemies or creatures from the elemental plane of fire. While these locations are quite rare, a clear spot in the midst of an active volcano provides both isolation and an excellent defensive screen against would-be attackers. Wizards who choose such a location employ magical wards to keep their homes clear of rising tides of liquid rock. Towers built near volcanoes offer both isolation and excellent defensive cover. Wizards who work with flames and heat, particular those who specialise in fire magic, prefer this location for their abode.
The daring wizard who raises a tower so close to a deadly zone of fire and rock quickly becomes invigorated with the forces of elemental fire. Using the energy collected by his tower, the wizard can summon efreeti, azers, and fire elementals with relative ease, calling and binding creatures whose powers dwarf those exhibited by creatures summoned by a wizard of similar ability who has yet to construct a tower. Fire spells burn hotter, brighter, and longer when the tower’s master uses them within his domain. Of course, water creatures find such environments uncomfortable and are repulsed by the arcane energies of a fire tower, making it almost impossible to summon or contact such creatures from this domain.
Planar: The ultimate isolated fortress, a castle built on an entirely different plane of existence is completely inaccessible to all but the most powerful of a wizard’s enemies. Even then, such foes must discover where in the multiverse such a tower stands. The planar options cover towers built on the astral or ethereal planes. Those constructed on planes with environments similar to the wizard’s home world should use the other locations presented here. While on a different plane relative to the wizard’s plane of origins, the guidelines presented here apply to that tower in the context of its location. Planar strongholds are proof against most attacks, yet like glacier towers they stand in environments populated by creatures normally far more powerful than those encountered in the typical wooded or mountainous wilderness. The strange, otherworldly creatures of the planes are powerful enough to threaten even the most experienced wizard.
Planar towers exist at the crossroads of the multiverse. From this position, these structures collect a wide range of elemental energies, sponging up whatever power happens to flow through the astral or ethereal at a given moment. Wizards who work with the elements find their spells waxing and waning with this flow. Those that traffic primarily with creatures of the outer planes, such as demons or celestials, find it much easier to contact and bind them from a planar tower. As this fortress stands a step closer to the outer planes, the wizard need not expend quite as much energy to obtain the same level of success as on the prime plane.
Subterranean: For the wizard looking for a cheap, defensible lair, a series of chambers carved from the earth offers a nice compromise between cost and utility. As an added bonus, many adventuring wizards have at one point in their careers cleared a dungeon of monsters, leaving behind a complex of halls and chambers ready to be converted into a secure lair at minimal cost. The primary hazard in using an empty dungeon as living space is the threat of monsters, adventurers, and other opportunists seeking to sack and loot the place. Once rumours of a dungeon circulate, the defeat of its inhabitants and the rise of a more respectable inhabitant do little to guarantee that greedy adventurers stop seeking the place. An overeager band of explorers could easily mistake an otherwise harmless wizard for an enemy who must be destroyed and his treasures looted. In addition, most dungeons are connected to caverns deep beneath the earth by several lengthy tunnels.
Standing within the earth but lacking the perfect geometry of a traditional wizard’s tower, subterranean lairs offer some enhanced abilities when casting spells related to the earth. However, these energies are poorly focused and not as great as those offered by an underworld tower. What the subterranean “tower” offers in cost and ease of use it makes up for with its rather limited mystic potential. The exception to this rule lies in necromantic magic. Subterranean lairs dug from the soil of a graveyard or other burial ground offer a few benefits to a wizard who uses the dreaded magic of death. Such lairs focus on and collect the sickly powers of rot, disease, and death and channel them into their master.
Undersea: While the idea of erecting a tower on the floor of the ocean may seem ludicrous, a powerful archmage can command the economic and arcane might necessary to erect such a wonder. Typically, towers built beneath the waves are erected on land, carried by ship to the construction site, and then assembled beneath the waves by work teams of locathah, sea elves, merfolk, or other friendly ocean-dwellers. Undersea towers are incredibly expensive, but for a wizard who demands isolation or is deeply connected to the sea, such an abode is the ultimate wizard’s tower. Normally, these structures are designed to maintain airy environments within their walls, but some wizards who have adapted to life underwater flood their homes and dwell within them, content to allow their magic to sustain them. This option removes the threat of a collapse or other catastrophe from destroying the tower’s contents, and also makes it more difficult for air breathers to storm the structure.
Undersea towers offer a variety of advantages to mages who dwell within them and attune themselves to their structure. Summoning creatures of elemental water is much easier from within the confines of an undersea tower, as the conduits that form between the structure and the elemental plane make travel between the two much easier. Of course, the watery environment of the sea repels fire elementals, making it difficult to summon fire creatures or otherwise contact their elemental plane.
Underworld: In the heart of the earth lie many gigantic, sprawling caverns. In some of these great vaults stand complete kingdoms of underdark races, with multiple cities, towns, and other settlements scattered across their bounds. Epic wars rage, kingdoms rise and fall, and an entire history is written without notice from the world above. The creatures of the deepest realms are amongst the most fearsome and dangerous in the world. Drow priestesses and derro warlords jealously guard their territory. Yet, despite these dangers, some wizards choose to build their lairs in this underworld environment. Many strange, magical radiations seethe in the underworld’s depths, making it an ideal place for research, magic item creation, and summoning creatures.
Standing in the midst of the earth, underworld towers provide easier access to the elemental plane of earth. The mystic energies and arcane potential of the great caverns allows a wizard to attune his spells to elemental earth, granting him the ability to summon powerful earth creatures and bind them to his will. In addition, the earth magics make it much easier to enchant metal items, such as weapons and armour. Many underworld races, such as drow and derro, commonly used magic items because of this. Wizards who are drawn to earth magic or who seek to forge powerful enchanted items commonly establish their towers in the deep earth caverns.
Urban: A stretch of land in the midst of a city may seem the worst place for a mage to erect his tower. Privacy is largely impossible in a densely populated area, and thieves, bandits, and meddling government officials all stand as possible threats or inconveniences to a wizard’s research and other work. However, wizards who choose to establish a base within a city gain several advantages compared to their brethren who lair in isolated regions. Cities offer a wide range of services and market goods, particular in those settlements that lie along critical trade routes, allowing wizards to simply buy, rather than seek and gather, spell components and rare materials necessary for rituals. A tower situated within a city collects and distils a unique flavour of magic, one rooted in social interactions and relationships between people. Thus, wizards who specialise in or prefer spells from the enchantment school erect towers within large towns and cities.
An urban tower serves as a focus for enchantment magic. The whirl of society around it produces a unique ambient energy that the tower collects and holds for the wizard attuned to its mystic geometry. Magic items fuelled by spells such as charm person benefit from the influence of an urban tower. These structures provide no special benefits or hindrances for wizards who seek to deal with creatures and beings from other planes, though most cities have strict laws against summoning demons and elementals within the town walls. Of course, the city fathers must first catch a wizard in the act of summoning before they can prosecute him.
2. Design a Floor Plan
Once you have selected a location for your tower, you must now design the tower’s layout. The following table summarises the architectural features available in a tower and their cost. The price listed on the construction costs table must be multiplied by your tower location’s construction cost modifier. This represents the difficulty in transporting materials and hiring craftsmen willing and able to work in exotic locations. At your Games Master’s option, you can eliminate or reduce this multiplier by recruiting creatures adapted to your tower’s location and uncovering or creating materials specifically adapted to your tower’s location.
The costs presented here represent the base price for building the standard brick, mortar, and wood dwelling. When a wizard decides to erect a wondrous tower, such as one that stands in the middle of a fiery lake of molten rock, the cost multiplier serves to represent the increased difficulty and expense of such an endeavour with an abstract rule. However, to add more flavour and challenge to the process of building a tower, your Games Master may require you to uncover some specific materials or allies.
Standard: Building a normal, stone or wooden tower requires only that you either own the plot of land on which you plan to build, gain the permission of the area’s ruler, or simply risk the chance of settling, unwelcomed, on someone else’s doorstep. The prices listed for the tower’s feature cover the materials and labour necessary for construction. Optionally, your Games Master may charge more if you erect your tower in an isolated area or in one that lacks the manpower or materials you need. As a rule of thumb, if a region cannot supply 25 or more workers and lacks stone, wood, or other common building materials, increase all prices by 50%. This extra charge covers the costs of importing materials and attracting workers.
Aerial: Any flying creatures may help in the construction of an aerial tower, while air elementals can aid in the creation of the solid cloud or other floating construct that serves to carry the tower. A work team of 25 Medium-size flying creatures or 10 Large or greater-size creatures and 5 air elementals of any size are required to produce an aerial tower. Recruiting twice the number of workers reduces this tower’s construction cost modifier by one. You must have command of these workers for at least one-third of the tower’s total construction time. If the wizard or one of his allies is capable of using the spell gate or a similar effect on a daily basis to open a passage to the elemental plane of air, reduce the construction cost modifier by an additional one. Access to that aerial realm allows the easy recruitment of air elementals and the collection of the light but durable material necessary to construct the tower’s floating foundation. This cloud-like foundation extends 20 ft. in all directions around the tower’s base. Creatures of Huge size or smaller may walk on it without falling through. Others plummet to the surface.
Aquatic: Building an aquatic tower requires the aid of a ship and creatures capable of breathing water. You must have access to a dozen such creatures for four hours a day for half of the time necessary to complete the tower. During this time, the workers lay the foundation and prepare the lower levels of your tower. These workers may either breathe water due to their natural abilities or from a spell or other magical effect. The construction cost modifier covers the ship and materials needed to build the underwater foundation, but you must either recruit your underwater workers or somehow acquire magic to sustain a work team beneath water. Aquatic towers may include an airlock for easy access to the sea or lake floor.
Fire Tower: Constructing a tower on the slopes of an active volcano is hazardous work, to say the least. This tower’s construction cost modifier covers the expenses of buying materials and tools capable of withstanding the heat of this environment. However, human, dwarf, or other labourers are normally not capable of working in such an environment or are unwilling to do so. You must recruit a work crew of at least 20 intelligent creatures capable of performing manual labour whose creature type has the fire descriptor listed in its creature type. For example, fire elementals or azers would fulfil this requirement. You may also utilise workers who are either immune to fire damage or have fire resistance 5 or higher. Note that if you possess the magical means to grant workers immunity or resistance to fire damage, they may fulfil this requirement if you are capable of granting them such protection for 8 hours a day, each day of construction.
Glacier: A tower perched atop or glacier (or one carved from ice, see Exotic Materials, below) requires the services of craftsmen and labourers who can function in the bitter cold. The tower’s construction cost modifier takes into account the difficulty in recruiting workers and carrying materials to the far reaches of a glacial or tundra area. A portion of the work necessary to complete this tower involves tunnelling through ice to build the tower’s foundation. If you gain the services of 3 or more fire elementals of any size each day, decrease the tower’s total cost by 10%.
Planar: Obviously, you need to have easy access to an extra-planar location to build a tower there. You must be able to ferry your workers to and from the construction site each day. In addition, the price of the tower includes fees for soldiers and wizards hired to defend the workers. In the alien realms of the ethereal and astral planes, workers from the prime plane feel uncomfortable in this alien environment if they do not have proper protection. Planar towers have several critical factors that distinguish them from structures built on the prime plane. Traits such as gravity and building materials operate much differently on other planes than they do on the astral or ethereal. See Designing Planar Towers below for more details.
Subterranean: Consisting of little more than a dungeon or other underground rooms, subterranean lairs require no additional or special construction considerations.
Undersea: Constructing a tower beneath the sea requires workers who can function under water and either have access to building materials harvested from the sea or a ship that can transport bricks, stone, and metal from the coast. You must recruit at least 25 creatures either capable of breathing underwater or who have access to magic that allows them to operate beneath the waves for 8 hours each day. You recruit these creatures or provide them with spells and items that allow them to work on the seabed. The work and expenses required for these tasks are not included in the construction cost modifier for an undersea tower. In addition, you must decide if your tower is filled with air or water. If you chose the former option, you must use airlocks for all doors leading into the tower from the exterior. If you fill the tower with water, decrease the construction cost modifier by 1 before using it to multiply your expenses.
Underworld: The expenses necessary to build an underworld tower revolve primarily around recruiting and paying workers native to the area, such as deep dwarf craftsmen and svirfneblin labourers. If you attempt to import workers and materials from the surface world, increase your underworld tower’s construction cost modifier by 1. Obviously, there is plenty of rock and similar building materials in the underworld, but if for some reason you chose to build a wooden tower, you must arrange for delivery of all such materials from the surface.
Urban: While building a tower within a city offers easy access to cheap raw materials and labour, you may encounter problems with the government. For each week of construction, you must make a Diplomacy check (DC 15) or incur additional taxes, bribes, and other fees totalling 1d6 x 100 gp. Furthermore, you must purchase or otherwise gain control of a plot of land before you may begin construction. As a rule of thumb, a 50-ft.-by-50-ft. plot of land costs at least 1000 gp within a city’s walls. Your Games Master may increase or decrease this price, depending on the size of the city, its population, and the neighbourhood in which you wish to build.
The costs listed above are slightly higher than those normally charged for mundane construction. A wizard’s tower must be built to perfection according to the tenets of arcane geometry. Only with a perfect melding of mystic angles, ley lines, and other factors can a tower channel the magical energies necessary to power its special qualities.
|Rooms/Corridors (wood)||160 gp/10 ft.-by-10 ft. area|
|Rooms/Corridors (stone)||275 gp/10 ft.-by-10 ft. area|
|Airlock, arcane||5000 gp/5 ft.wide doorway|
|Airlock, mechanical||1000 gp/ 5 ft.-by-5 ft. area (not multiplied)|
|Arrow Slit/Murder Hole||5 gp|
|Doorway (interior or exterior, wooden)||55 gp|
|Doorway (interior or exterior, stone)||80 gp|
|Reinforced Walls (50% extra hit points)||55 gp/ 10 ft. length|
|Secret Door or Trap Door||Search DC times 20 gp|
|Soundproofing (increases Listen DC by 5 for those outside of the room)||40 gp per room|
|Spells||As per standard casting cost|
|Trap||CR x 100 gp|
|Tunnel||150 gp (per 5 ft. x 5 ft. x 10 ft. cube)|
In most cases, rooms or chambers are assumed to be around 10’ high, and costs should be altered accordingly if you wish to have unusually high or low ceilings.
Rooms: Both of these categories cover additions made to an existing structure or modifications made inside of one. They also cover the cost of building a wholly new dwelling. The costs listed assume your dwelling has ceilings 10 ft. tall. You may increase this height by 5 ft. for every 25% you increase the price. If you reduce the height to 5 ft., reduce the cost of construction by 25%.
Airlock, arcane: This is a simple doorway-shaped hole in the wall, with a magical barrier that allows passage of creatures and objects but keeps the water on one side and the air on the other. Passing from one medium to the other can be somewhat disconcerting, but the barrier presents no more of an obstacle than would diving into or climbing out of a pool. Unlike a mechanical airlock, there is no need to wait for an arcane airlock to cycle through one medium to the other – one can simply walk in or out. As with any other doorway, an arcane airlock can be fitted with any kind of door, portcullis or similar without affecting its magical properties.
Airlock, mechanical: This small, steel chamber allows you to move from one medium, such as water, to another, such as air. Using a mechanical airlock, you could install a door at the base of an aquatic tower without worrying about flooding the bottom-most levels. Note that the cost of a mechanical airlock is never affected by a tower’s construction cost modifier. It takes 5 rounds for a mechanical airlock to cycle through a medium.
Arrow Slit/Murder Holes: These are small openings through which you may fire missile weapons or cast spells. They grant 90% cover to anyone standing behind them. Arrow slits are opened in a wall, while murder holes are installed in the floor.
Doorway: The price to open a doorway and install a door in the interior or exterior of tower.
Gate/Portcullis: An iron grill that may be installed within a door to improve its effectiveness.
Reinforced Walls: These walls are thicker than standard ones and can take more punishment.
Secret Door or Trap Door: The price for a hidden portal is determined by the Search DC needed to find it. As a rule of thumb, you cannot purchase a secret door with a Search DC above 25.
Soundproofing: You may install padding within or on the walls of single room, making it difficult for sound to enter or escape it. The Listen DC for any sound that passes through such a wall increases by 10.
Spells: Illusionists and other wizards can cast spells upon your lair to conceal its presence or improve its defences. Pay the standard cost for such services. Of course, you can always cast spells yourself, paying only the cost of components and xp as normal.
Trap: A few traps help deter would-be thieves and create obstacles for any attackers. Multiply the trap’s CR by 100 to determine its gp cost.
Tunnel: You may expand a building’s cellar or make additions to subterranean lair by tunnelling into the rock. If your hideout is below ground, you must dig out new rooms and corridors in order to expand it by purchasing this option to create larger, open areas.
Wizard’s towers are far more than simply a collection of bedrooms, kitchens, and other mundane chambers that happen to serve as a wizard’s living quarters. Drawing on the magical potential of a wizard’s tower, these rooms offer special abilities and enchantments. If a room has a price list “as per room” build a normal room then add the special features for the chamber at the listed price.
|Arcane Garden||400 gp/10 ft.-by-10 ft. area|
|Binding Chamber||10,000 gp for a 20 ft.-by-20 ft. room|
|Blast Chamber||15,000 gp/10 ft.-by-10 ft. area|
|Library||As per room, plus special effects below|
|Scrying Chamber||As per room, plus 1,000 gp|
|Sealed Chamber||15,000 gp/10 ft.-by-10 ft. area|
|Workshop||As per room, plus 8,000 gp|
Arcane Garden: Many wizards dabble in alchemy, botany, and other areas of research that involve the study or use of herbs and plants. A garden is much more than a simple plot of earth. In towers carved from ice or perched atop a floating cloud, this chamber is a miniature ecosystem that allows a wizard to grow a wide range of plants despite his lair’s otherwise inhospitable environment. Arcane gardens are very popular with alchemists, hedge mages, and other spellcasters who make their homes in otherwise lifeless regions, such as the polar north on in the midst of a lava field. The room’s magical patterns and mystic arrangement allow plants to flourish here despite a lack of sunlight, thought the floor must be covered with at least 1 foot of thick, loamy soil. Any plant capable of physically fitting into this room may grow here as normal.
Binding Chamber: Any wizard who wishes to dabble in summoning and controlling powerful creatures of the outer planes needs a binding chamber within his tower. This room is designed to safely imprison a demon, elemental, or other outsider. It includes a pentagram inlaid upon the floor in mithral. Any creature attempting to break this diagram must destroy a portion of the metal that forms it. The mithral is a quarter-inch thick and has hardness 15 and 7 hit points. Depending on the nature of the wizard’s tower, the arcane caster attuned to the structure’s arcane geometry gains bonuses and penalties to his efforts to call and bind creatures. If the summoned creature’s type matches or includes the name or descriptor listed in the table, the caster gains benefits or penalties to his use of spells such as greater planar binding. A single binding chamber may only be used to hold one creature at a time.
Summoning Advantage: When using this tower’s binding chamber, the wizard attuned to the tower increases his save DC by 4 and gains a +2 bonus to his caster level check to defeat his target’s spell resistance when casting the following spells: binding, greater planar binding, lesser planar binding, and magic circle. The Charisma check DC to break free of the trap used in conjunction with lesser planar binding or greater planar binding increases by 5, as per using a diagram to capture a summoned creature with a combination of magic circle and dimensional anchor. The mystic energy trapped by the tower’s arcane geometry enhances its master’s ability to trap and bind summoned creatures whose types match the energy collected by the tower.
Minor Summoning Advantage: As per summoning advantage, above, except the save DC increase by 2 and
the wizard gains a +1 bonus to his caster level check to beat a creature’s spell resistance. The modifier to the Charisma check to break free of a lesser or greater planar binding trap increases by 5, as that feature is a function of the mithral diagram inscribed in the binding chamber. Some towers collect energy that is somewhat useful in summoning and commanding creatures of the elemental or outer planes.
Summoning Weakness: When using this tower’s binding chamber, the wizard attuned to the tower decreases his save DC by 4 and suffers a -2 penalty to his caster level check to defeat his target’s spell resistance when casting the following spells: binding, greater planar binding, lesser planar binding, and magic circle. The Charisma check DC to break free of the trap used in conjunction with lesser planar binding or greater planar binding increases by 5, as per using a diagram to capture a summoned creature with a combination of magic circle and dimensional anchor. Summoned creatures of the listed type find the energy collected and amplified by the tower to be repellent. They seek to avoid it at all cost. This energy disrupts the caster’s ability to establish a link to some elemental planes and interferes with the spells normally used to call and command powerful creatures.
|Tower Location||Summoning Advantage||Minor Summoning Advantage||Summoning Weakness|
|Planar||None||All elementals and outsiders||None|
Blast Chamber: Constructed of thick stone, iron, and other durable materials, the blast chamber is a safe haven wherein a wizard can test powerful, destructive magics such as delayed blast fireball in a safe, controlled environment. Blast chambers absorb all damage from area of effect spells, even if such a spell would normally extend its area of effect outside of the room’s area. These chambers are particularly popular with evokers and other wizards who prefer destructive spells to more subtle magic such as enchantments. The blast chamber’s walls are soaked with magical energy directed and channelled by this room’s arcane geometry. The room’s inner walls are protected from a variety of elemental effects. They gain the benefits of a protection from elements spell cast by a 5th-level wizard against 2 energy types of your choice. Note that the chamber provides no special protection for creatures within its area, nor does it repel damage inflicted from outside the room. The magical field that strengthens the walls faces inward.
Library: A secure location to store tomes of spells, books of lore, and librams detailing a variety of subjects is a common feature of wizardly abodes. At its most basic level, a library is merely storage space for books. Shelves and cases line its walls, while a desk or table may sit in the middle of the room for use during research or as simply a comfortable place to sit while reading. The accomplished mage adds a few special, useful features to his library.
Pest Control: Moths, mice, and other tiny creatures are a bibliophile’s bane. These tiny, annoying creatures have a frustrating tendency to feast upon paper, tear it into shreds for bedding, and otherwise mindlessly spoil valuable tomes. With the proper runes carved into a library’s walls, a library may be protected by a variety of charms and wards that drive off scavengers, vermin, and other pests. These wards take on a wide variety of forms. Some summon tiny air elementals that scatter bugs and mice, while others create illusory predators that scare off anything interested in feasting on a mage’s hard-earned literary collection. A library with this feature does not suffer any risk of vermin mishaps. Animals or vermin with 1/2 HD or fewer must make a Will save (DC 15) to enter the place unless the library’s owner specifically allows the creature entrance. Adding pest control to a library costs 500 gp.
Water Blessing: Second only to bookworms and other horrors, fire can quickly reduce decades’ worth of research and accumulated knowledge to a pile of ash. By tapping into the power of elemental water, a wizard can produce an ambient field of moisture that snuff out flames before they can do any real damage. A library that includes a water blessing provides fire resistance 10 to all books and furniture kept with the room. Only tomes kept within bookcases or chests installed in the room at the time of the water blessing’s creation enjoy this protection. Features and furniture added at a later date must have the appropriate runes carved and magic imbued into them. Scribing the runes and planning out the arcane geometry needed to create a water blessing costs 1000 gp.
Scrying Chamber: This room includes a mundane crystal ball, tarot cards, and other tools used for divination. The chamber’s walls are honeycombed with mystic patterns and sigils that channel the tower’s ambient energy in such a manner as to boost its owner’s abilities to communicate with other planes. Furthermore, the room functions as a focus for divination magic. The tower’s owner gains a +10 circumstance bonus to all Scry checks made within this chamber.
Scrying Advantage: The wizard’s tower is closely aligned with the planar energies needed to contact the listed realm. The DC necessary to avoid ability score damage is reduced by 5 when communicating with that plane.
Minor Scrying Advantage: The tower’s ambient energy improves its owner’s ability to communicate with creatures on alien planes of existence. When casting contact other plane within this chamber, subtract 2 from the Intelligence check DC necessary to avoid Intelligence and Charisma damage.
Scrying Weakness: When using the spell contact other plane to speak with a creature from the listed elemental plane, the caster suffers a mystic backlash as his tower’s magical aura comes into conflict with that of the plane he seeks to contact. Increase the Intelligence check DC to avoid ability score damage by 5.
|Tower Location||Scrying Advantage||Minor Scrying Advantage||Scrying Weakness|
|Planar||None||All elemental and outer planes||None|
|Subterranean, Graveyard||Negative plane||None||None|
Sealed Chamber: Lined with lead, guarded with wards, and inscribed with a series of protective runes, the sealed chamber provides a safe haven for wizards concerned by the potential for enemies to use divination magic to spy upon their research, meetings, and other activities. The sealed chamber offers several layer of protection, depending on the price of the protections used to seal it from outside observers. Using the fundamentals of arcane geometry, the sealed chamber is designed to ward off divination magics and similar effects used to spy on areas from a distance. Anyone attempting to use a spell or magic item to peer into this chamber must make a caster level check for his spell to function, as per the spell nondetection. If this check succeeds, the caster must then make any Scry checks as normal.
|Caster Level Check DC||Cost|
Workshop: This chamber includes a forge, bellows, masterwork artisan’s tools, alchemist’s equipment, workbenches, and other items normally used in the production of magic items and alchemical mixtures. Anyone using this workshop gains a +2 competence bonus to all Alchemy and Craft checks. In addition, when creating magic items the master of the tower gains a 10% discount on the gp and xp cost of producing the item if one or more of the prerequisite spells are from the school or have a descriptor listed with the tower type in the table below.
|Tower Location||Item Advantage|
|Subterranean, Graveyard||Necromancy, evil|
3. Special Effects
The arcane power that ebbs and flows through a tower’s structure enables a clever mystic architect to create several powerful, magical effects that grant the tower wondrous features. Flying towers, structures that move on long, stone legs, reverse gravity areas, and permanent portals to other planes are all possible with enough cash and the services of a master of the of arcane geometry. The following special effects either apply to the entire tower or to a single room.
Tower Special Effects
|Attuned areas||500 gp/5 ft.-by-5 ft. area|
|Bound guardians||See description|
|Flying tower||250,000 gp|
|Folded space||1,000 gp/5 ft.-by-5 ft. area|
|Magic portal||See description|
|Password door||Cost of door + 2,000 gp|
|Reverse gravity field||500 gp/5 ft.-by-5 ft. area|
|Sentient tower||250,000 gp|
|Walking tower||125,000 gp|
|Watchful eyes||10,000 gp|
Alarm: A brick, wooden slat, or other piece of the tower’s structure may be enchanted as per a stone of alarm. This mystic beacon may be placed anywhere in the tower, and there is no limit to the total number of alarms that may be installed in a tower.
Attuned Areas: Using the principles of arcane geometry, a tower’s designer can make it easier to use certain types of magic spells in certain rooms, one or more floors, or the entire structure’s interior. When designing an attuned area, choose a descriptor or school of magic from the following list: necromancy, acid, cold, electricity, fire, and sonic. Spells of the type or school selected gain the benefits of the Empower Spell metamagic feat. The caster need not memorise a modified version of the spell. He gains the feat’s benefits for free. The caster must be standing within the attuned area to gain this effect. The spell may target an object or person outside of the attuned area.
Bound Guardians: A bound guardian is essentially a summon monster spell set to activate when a particular condition is met. This condition must involve the movement or modification of the tower’s physical structure, such as a door opening, a creature moving past a certain point, or an alarm activating. This guardian may appear once per day and it immediately appears in the tower once the triggering condition is met. The creature always arrives in the same spot, chosen by the tower’s designer. The creature immediately moves to attack intruders, though if it cannot see or otherwise sense an opponent it stays in place, waiting for an opponent to present itself. A creature may be given default orders, such as “move through this door and stand guard at the top of the stairs” which it performs if no target presents itself. This order may be no more than 15 words long.
Select which version of summon monster to which the bound guardian feature corresponds. Choose the specific creatures summoned and the caster level of the spell. The cost of this feature equals 500 gp x the summon monster spell’s level x its caster level. Treat the guardian as a creature summoned by the appropriate spell for purposes of the duration it remains within the tower and all other effects.
Flying Tower: Using powerful elemental magics, a wizard can grant his tower the ability to fly. The tower is by no means a sprightly vehicle, but a mobile base offers far more flexibility and utility to a wizard. Only a tower built with a standard or aerial location may gain this special effect. The tower moves at a speed of 30 ft. per round and counts as a clumsy flyer. Aerial towers may remain aloft continuously, while standard ones may spend a maximum of 8 hours a day aloft. Standard and aerial towers may land on any flat, stable surface large enough to accommodate the tower’s bulk. Both kinds of tower are controlled from golden thrones, altars, or similar features mounted somewhere within their rooms. Normally, wizards prefer to mount this pilot’s seat in a chamber with plenty of windows looking outward. If for whatever reason a tower crashes or falls over, its pilot must make a Dexterity check (DC 20) to right it and return to the air. Of course, this may prove tricky if the control seat is now on the ceiling, relative to the tower’s position post-crash. A flying tower left without a pilot hovers in place or continues at its current course and speed.
Folded Space: While from the outside a tower with this special effect may appear to be merely a 10 ft.-by-10 ft. structure, within it contains great halls over 50 ft. in length. A tower’s mystic architecture allows it to fold space within some of its rooms, creating rooms that should be too large to fit within the structure’s confines. Any cubic areas of folded space may be inserted into the tower rooms, allowing them to grow larger without modifying the tower’s physical layout. From the outside, a room appears to be little more than a closet, but those walking into it find the room from the inside is a ballroom, a sprawling workshop, or other large area. Wizards forced to build small towers due to limited space commonly use this effect.
Magic Portal: One of the more expensive but useful tower features, powerful or rich wizards create
permanent gates between their abodes and places across the world they frequently visit. Creating a passage in this manner is a time-consuming and expensive proposition. The portal must be forged from gold, mithral, adamantine, or another expensive material. The portal can either work one-way or allow for round trips. One-way portals are much easier to construct, as they require only a mystic focus and enchanted door built within the tower. Two-way portals require such items to be constructed at both the tower and the destination spot. A creature on the working end of a portal may look through it to observe its destination area. A portal costs 1,000 gp for every mile it transports its users. Double the cost for a two-way portal.
Password Door: Using a combination of the spells arcane lock and magic mouth, a password door speaks a short riddle of up to 25 words to anyone who attempts to open it. Those who reply with the correct answer may open the door normally, and it remains unlocked for 10 minutes. Otherwise, treat the door as if it were under the effect of an arcane lock spell. Optionally, the door may have its riddle inscribed on its face or may have no hint at all to its password.
Pools: A small vortex to the elemental and para-elemental planes can keep a basin or pool full of an otherwise expensive or exotic fluid. Pools of acid, alchemist’s fire, lantern oil, liquor, and other materials are all possible with this tower feature. The pools yield 6 flasks of usable liquid per day and replenish themselves at dawn. The price of a pool depends on its contents.
|Alchemist’s Fire||1,500 gp|
|Green Slime||3,500 gp|
|Holy Water||1,000 gp|
|Lantern Oil||1,000 gp|
Reverse Gravity Field: A reverse gravity field works on similar principles to the effects used to produce folded space. The gravity field in the room is altered, causing items to fall in a direction other than down. A guest walking into a reverse gravity room may fall up to the ceiling or across a room towards the far wall. Wizards primarily use these areas to befuddle intruders, particularly in conjunction with pit traps positioned in the ceiling of dead-end corridors and false closets. A small group of mages has developed an entire form of performance art that revolves around throwing an item through several areas of altered gravity, giving the object a graceful, twirling path of flight as it “falls” up, sideways, down, and around.
Sentient Tower: The most powerful enchantments available to arcane geometrists grant a structure a modicum of human intelligence. A structure built with this special effect gains an Intelligence of 14, Wisdom of 10, and Charisma of 11. It gains 10 ranks in the following skills: Knowledge (arcana), Listen, Spot, and Spellcraft. The tower may now automatically open, close, and lock or bar doors, windows, and gates, affecting one such opening with a standard action. Its senses allow it to peer into and listen in on the tower. Treat this ability as if the tower were a normal human standing on a single 5 ft.-by-5 ft. space of its choice in the tower. The tower may shift its observation position with a standard action. If the tower has flight or mobility, the tower may control its own speed and direction. Tower personalities run towards the matronly or paternal, depending on their gender. Thus far, arcane geometrists have not yet developed methods to craft the tower’s persona. These sentient spirits have a strong connection to elemental forces, and most mirror the environment surrounding the tower. For example, a sentient urban tower is chatty, gossipy, and interested in the doings of visitors. One built on the shores of a lake of fiery is energetic, aggressive, and easily angered. Despite their seeming independence, a tower’s personality obeys the commands of the tower’s master without question.
Walking Tower: A walking tower features giant wheels, mechanical legs, or some other form of locomotion that allows it to walk, roll, or otherwise travel across land. This ability may be purchased for standard, fire, glacier, undersea, underworld, and urban towers. Note that if the tower leaves the environment that grants it special abilities, such as a fire tower moving away from the volcano or lava flow from which it draws fire energy, it loses those characteristics until it returns to its home environment. Walking towers are ponderous, clumsy walkers. They have a speed of 15 ft. and may run, take double moves, and so on as normal. A walking tower is piloted from a central throne or control panel, usually situated near several windows to give the pilot a clear view of the surrounding terrain. If a tower loses its pilot while in motion, it continues at its current speed and direction until it either crashes or another pilot takes control. If a walking tower somehow falls over or otherwise loses its footing, the pilot must make a Dexterity check (DC 20) to successfully guide the structure back to its feet or on to its wheels.
Watchful Eyes: A series of small, glass globes set throughout the tower allows the structure’s owner to use his Scry skill to peek into any room so long as he stands within the tower’s walls. The DC to view a room is 15. Treat this skill check as a use of the spell scrying focused against a particular room rather than a specific individual. In addition, the wizard does not need a focus in order to use this scrying ability. He merely concentrates on his tower and mentally peers into the room. Note that the wizard looks into the room with his own sight, though the spells normally usable with scrying work with this tower feature.
4. Compute Total Cost and Time
Before adding together the cost of your tower’s features, multiply the cost of the mundane layout designed in step 2 by the tower’s construction cost modifier. Then, add in the price of the special features and other items added to the tower. Finally, subtract the discount you receive, if any, for the Arcane Geometry feat.
It takes one week of work for every 2000 gp your tower costs. This time frame assumes that you wish to abstract such factors as Craft checks, how many craftsmen work on the job, their skill, and so on. This system assumes 80 works with 5 ranks in an appropriate Craft skill take 20 on their check. You may wish to roll individually for the works, as a group, adjust the rate for the number of craftsmen, and so forth. Consult with your Games Master as to which method you should use. Note that going with a more detailed system may bog down the process and turn it from a background event into one that takes up significant time. If the central event in the campaign is the tower’s construction then a detailed accounting of the construction process makes sense. Otherwise, go with the abstract method.