Beginning Magick from Brother Moloch 969Full description
Beginning Magick from Brother Moloch 969
OD - Mage - The Dark Ages - The Sorcerer's Crusade
Descrição: fantasy rpg
Sorcerer Revised for oWoDFull description
Usar las dos versiones de Sorcerer para Mage es la mejor recomendación que yo podría darles
Usar las dos versiones de Sorcerer para Mage es la mejor recomendación que yo podría darlesDescripción completa
The Sorcerer Ray Brown Herbie Hancock Bass
working on the bookDescrição completa
Summer 1981 (Issue 11) of Sorcerer's Apprentice. Includes articles on Arduin and Cthulhu - for Tunnels & Trolls.Full description
Mage the Dark Ages: The Sorcerer's Crusade Companion. 1999 White Wolf Games.Descrição completa
Practical strategies for the magical artsDescription complète
Full Score only.Full description
Practical strategies for the magical artsFull description
by james wallis
The Right-Handed Sorcerer an adventure for a group of any level with at least one sorcerer Introduction ‘The Right-Handed Sorcerer’ is a short scenario that can be slotted into any campaign, and may serve as a jumping-off point for a new series of adventures. It is not set in any specific location in the Lands of Legend, but it does play on the early life of one of the members of the group, specifically a sorcerer. If your players have mapped out the early lives of their characters then you can refer to these and bring in characters known to them; if they have not then this adventure may start that process. It’s not designed for new players, or as an introduction to Dragon Warriors or role-playing generally. Because it involves more deduction than combat, and is left deliberately open-ended, it is suitable for any level of player.
Starting the Story To begin ‘The Right-Handed Sorcerer’, the playercharacters should have come across an ancient item, device or artefact bearing a mysterious, unreadable yet unquestionably important inscription. They may discover this in the burial-vault of a long-dead
tyrant, take it from the corpse of a magic-wielding outlaw they have been paid to eliminate, or have been sold it for a few copper coins by a peasant who ploughed it up in their field. It may or may not detect as magic. Its exact nature is unimportant: it is what the film director Alfred Hitchcock called a ‘macguffin’: an object that appears interesting in its own right but exists only to drive the plot forward. Make up something that fits the style and powerlevel of your own campaign. As they are discussing the inscription and failing any rolls to translate it—it is written in an ancient language that none of the PCs can speak or write— take the player of a sorcerer to one side. Tell him that although he cannot understand it himself, he is sure that the man who taught him the arts of sorcery, Magister Lingam, would know. (For the sake of convenience we will refer to the former-apprentice-PC-sorcerer as ‘the alumnus’ for the rest of the adventure.) The old scholar is a master of dead languages and maintains an extensive library of scrolls and codices written in what felt like hundreds of ancient scripts. What’s more the Magister lives only a few days’ travel from here, and it is traditional for apprentices to return to their masters from time to time, as a courtesy and to share news, information and gossip
Dragon Warriors about the latest alterations in sorcerous circles—and, if they are still learning the arts of sorcery, to gain more knowledge of spells and enchantments. It shouldn’t take much for the alumnus to persuade the others to come with him, particularly if you give them no other obvious openings for adventure at this point.
My Master’s House It is likely that as they travel the other PCs will ask the alumnus about his former master. Give him Handout 1, at the end of the adventure, which summarises everything he knows on the subject. Magister Lingam’s house sits in open country about a mile from a large trade-road. It is a fortified manor-house, clearly some centuries old though it is hard to divine the building’s original style or purpose. A two-metre-high stone curtain-wall encloses a small collection of buildings. A couple of acres of land in front of the wall is being used to grow wheat, oats and root vegetables, five cows graze on land being left fallow, and a number of untidy apple, pear and plum trees form a shady orchard along the south side of the wall. A marshy mere half a mile away provides fresh fish. The wooden gate on the outer wall looks new, and heavy. This place would not withstand an organised military attack for more than a few minutes, but its defences are enough to dissuade outlaws or raiders—or pitchfork-wielding villagers whipped into righteous fury about the ungodliness of sorcerers by a firebrand preacher. Inside the wall are, in clockwise order, a stable containing the Magister’s horse and two donkeys; a pigsty with five contented pigs; the manse itself; and a long single-storey building used for storage and servants’ quarters. Chickens scratch in the yard and doves coo in a dovecote atop the servants’ quarters. The manse itself is an L-shaped three-storey building, built of local stone. The windows overlooking the courtyard are large, but those facing outside the wall are smaller and with heavy shutters. The wall that runs along the outside of the roof is crenellated, providing cover for archers and other missile-wielders should the place ever be attacked. Although only the alumnus will know the internal layout at this stage, the ground floor of the manse contains the large rooms for eating, cooking, teaching and receiving visitors. The first floor is Magister
Lingam’s sleeping quarters, as well as well-appointed rooms where visitors stay. The second floor is where the apprentices sleep and study: the under-twelves share a dormitory, and the older students each have a small room to themselves. Udolphus (see below) also has a room on this floor. There are two flights of stairs between the floors. Magister Lingam’s study and library are in the cellar, down a third set of stone stairs behind a door in the main hall. No map is provided of the manse, because the PCs will not need to know the exact layout of the manse or the contents of each room. Should they attempt to ransack the place or steal anything, you can bring down the wrath of the Magister upon them, or distract them with an inconvenient raid by local outlaws, tempted by the stories of riches hidden in the building. No matter how hard the PCs search the house, they will never find the Magister’s secret treasure. Whether it even exists is left to the Gamesmaster. Similarly, no game-stats are provided for the Magister. He is as powerful as the GM needs him to be.
The Household The Magister’s household consists of nine people beyond himself. They are:
Udolphus Udolphus, the Magister’s personal secretary, is a competent sorcerer in his own right but lacks flair. He is one of the Magister’s former pupils who stayed on to assist the Magister, some thirty years ago. He is now in his mid-40s, his hair grey and lanky. He is tall and cadaverous, with a slow speech that belies the speed of his thoughts. Udolphus is the only person whose opinions the Magister listens to, but he would never contradict or criticise his master. His real skill is for alchemy, in which he instructs the apprentices. He has a stone-built shed outside the Manse’s walls where he conducts his work: every so often strange smells exude from here. Udolphus can brew up the potions listed in the Dragon Warriors rulebook if requested, but will take at least a week for each one, and he will expect payment. If you prefer to deny your PCs these items, Udolphus may conveniently run out of reagents.
AF 0 Movement 10m (20m) Reflexes 8 stealth 14 perception 6 evasion 3
Innes the housekeeper and Goodwife Mary the cook Innes and Mary are married, and have served the Magister for decades—the alumnus remembers them, and their strict rules about behaviour in the manse. Innes functions as a butler, footman and fetcher, doing any manual labour that he cannot delegate to Rosamunde or Grover. Mary leaves the kitchen only to sleep and is intensely protective of her domain and everything in it.
Rosamunde, the maid A simple lass in her early 20s, Rosamunde does all the jobs around the manse that Innes and Mary consider beneath them. They bully her mercilessly but she shrugs it off with her broad shoulders. She wakes early to clean the grates, and is usually the last member of the household to go to bed. Rosamunde is often found catching a quick nap in closets and corners, which has earned her an unjustified reputation for being lazy.
Grover, the farm-hand Grover tends to the cows, pigs and chickens, nets fish from the mere, dictates the sowing and harvesting of the crops and oversees the apprentices in the routine of farm-life: each of them is expected to do two hours of work in the fields every day, and more during sowing and harvest. Grover is bluff and taciturn, with no interest in magic. He lives with his wife and four children in the village two miles away. Of those who frequent the manse, he is the only one with any weapon skills, being equivalent to a second-rank barbarian with a bow and quarterstaff. Male, 1st rank
AF 0 Movement 10m (20m) Reflexes 8 stealth 12 perception 4 evasion 3
Apprentices The Magister’s current apprentices are: Jemima, aged 14, from a family of herbalists and spice-merchants in Clyster: her parents have been selling rare plants to wizards for decades, and a customer recognised the girl’s innate abilities. Jemima is plain in looks but exceptional in talent. Ariadne, aged 11, a street-child from Ongus (a former student of Mistress Marta who she felt showed unusual talent for the magical arts—see p. 38 of the book Friends or Foes.) Ariadne is a very pretty girl, but that carries no weight in the Magister’s house. Barnabus, aged 9, the son of a sorcerer in the south of Ellesland (himself another of Sigismund and the alumnus’s former classmates, now living as a councilman in the town of Ongus.) Barnabus is consistently unkind to Ariadne, calling her ‘beggar-girl’ and ‘street-child’. This makes her cry. Perdu, aged 8. Perdu arrived at the gates of the manse on the vernal equinox last year, alone, on foot, filthy and exhausted. He is a quiet boy: questions about his parents are met with the answer “Dead”, his home “Gone”. Nevertheless he is a gifted and diligent student. None of the apprentices have yet reached the ability of a first-rank Sorcerer. Jemima has 2 magic points and can cast one first-level spell a day. Ariadne has only learned Image, Moonglow and Portal, and can cast one of them once a day. Barnabus and Perdu can each cast Moonglow once during the course of the adventure. If you need game-ratings for them, sample stats for children of different ages are given in Friends or Foes.
Arrival As the player-characters arrive at the manse they are greeted by Udolphus, who runs out to meet them before they can enter the gate. The alumnus will recognise him immediately: older, greyer, but essentially unchanged. “Well met,” the Magister’s secretary says, out of breath from his unaccustomed run. “You have made good time. We only sent out the messages at dawn yesterday.” It transpires that the day before Udolphus sent out messages to all the Magister’s former pupils, using the doves—a communication system that is
Dragon Warriors a little slow but surprisingly reliable, if the doves have been bred by the finest sorcerer in the country. Hearing of the truth behind the party’s arrival, he refuses to believe it is mere coincidence. “Our lord in heaven above has guided your footsteps at our time of greatest trouble,” he says. “The Magister is in dire need of your help. Come with me.” He leads them not into the manse but to a low stone building a few hundred metres outside the walls. Inside it is dark and smells of sulphur and burnt metals. Dark jars line the shelves on the walls, and the room is kept uncomfortably hot by a lit kiln in against one wall. The alumnus has been in here before: it is Udolphus’s alchemical workshop. Udolphus appears nervous, looking around to check for eavesdroppers, and will not say another word until the door is closed and firmly bolted. What has happened to the Magister, one of the PCs is sure to ask. Udolphus leans close, as if afraid of being overheard. “He has gone mad,” he says.
The Story So Far Yesterday morning, Udolphus heard the Magister wake before dawn, as is his usual practice, and make his way downstairs to his study in the cellar. (The wooden stairs of the old house make a great deal of noise.) About an hour later, shortly before the rest of the household usually rose, he heard his master running through the house and laughing hysterically. He would rush up one flight of stairs, along the upper hallway and down the other stairs, then through the downstairs rooms to the first flight, around and around, filling the air with mad cries. (As you tell this part of the story, pass a note to the alumnus. It should read: “The Magister has always walked slowly, with a stick. The idea of him running up and down stairs is bizarre.”) The apprentices were woken by the cacophony and one of them, Barnabus, came out to the landing to see what the commotion was. The Magister swept into him and knocked him away, down the stairs, breaking his arm. The old mage did not stop, but rushed away without looking back. Udolphus saw this from where he stood at the door of his room. Udolphus was able to evacuate the apprentices into the servants’ quarters, outside the manse, and returned to the building to try to calm his master. He has been unable to do so. At first the Magis-
ter simply rushed past him, or into him, as if he was not there. Once or twice he stopped to stare at Udolphus, and shouted long sentences at him in a language the secretary did not understand. The last time Udolphus tried to stop the Magister in his rampage, in the underground study, the old man began to hurl books at him—”with considerable force,” the secretary says, showing a heavy bruise on his shoulder—and he retreated to wait for assistance to arrive.
Questions the PCs may have Udolphus will be able to answer all the following questions easily. What research was the Magister doing? “He has no great work at present—he had recently finished a commission from the Convocation of Tamor, looking into the origins and derivations of High Cabbandari. I believe he was solving some minor translations. He had mentioned such labours at supper a few nights ago.” Was anyone else up at that time? “The household was abed. Though now you ask I believe Rosamunde was around, on her morning duties.” Could anyone have been in the study with him? Could someone have sneaked into the manse? “The apprentices know better than to venture down to the Magister’s sanctum. The servants were all abed, save Rosamunde. There was nobody else in the house. The door was bolted, and Grover shuts the main gate at dusk, on his way back to the village. You—” he nods at the alumnus “—you remember the sigils set into the walls and windows that bar entry to any sorcerous creature. Nothing comes in without the Magister’s knowledge and permission.” The sigils set beneath every doorway and window are what are keeping the Reflexion trapped inside the house. The PCs may be able to work that out, and surmise that it is a creature of magic. If they do not ask Udolphus this question, you may want to pass them the information about the sigils later—an apprentice could mention it, or the alumnus could remember it, or a wooden doorstep could become dislodged, revealing the symbols carved into the stone beneath.
Dragon Warriors Has the Magister any enemies? “Asking if a sorcerer has enemies is like asking if a dog has fleas—if he has none now, then there are many waiting to take up position. But we know of none who have threatened him of late. He is an old man, great in learning but of little activity. There may be some who still regard him as dangerous, but you would have to ask why they thought so.” Have there been any visitors recently? “A man from Kurland came with a parchment four days ago, but stayed less than an hour. Sigismund, the former apprentice—you remember Sigismund,” with a nod to the alumnus, “and his entourage visited before the last half-moon and stayed two nights.” If the PCs ask what happened to the parchment from Kurland, Udolphus will shrug and say he imagines that the Magister took it to his study. They can search for it, but won’t find it—and at any rate it’s no more than a red herring, designed to draw them down to the study. As for Sigismund’s visit, read on. What’s the situation? “The Magister roams the house, screeching, lashing out at any who approach him, as if looking for something. Scarcely a stick of furniture remains. Sometimes he retreats to his study, where he tears pages from his books and scatters them around the room. He will not eat, drink or sleep, and attacks those who block his endeavours. The apprentices and the servants are terrified.” What Rosamunde saw “You’d have to ask her, but I don’t know what sense you’d get. The poor girl was half frighted out of her wits—the half that isn’t simple already.” From here the PCs will probably want to follow one of a few courses of action: they will want to talk to Barnabus or Rosamunde, or they will want to enter the manse to see for themselves what is going on. Barnabus is lying in a makeshift bed in the servants’ quarters, his arm bandaged. He is in great pain, exhausted from crying, and only occasionally coherent. Most questions will be answered with sobs, but on one thing he is adamant: the man who broke his arm wasn’t the Magister. He can’t say who it was, or how he knows, but he refuses to be budged on the point.
Rosamunde is not around the manse. It transpires she has gone down to the village, where there is a young man she likes. She was cleaning the grates the previous morning, and heard the Magister descend the stairs to enter his study. The house was quiet and she remembers hearing the Magister’s voice coming from downstairs from time to time, muttering to himself—not unusual. Then there was a curious sound, a big shout, and then a grating sound, like something heavy being dragged across a stone floor. A minute or so later she heard footsteps running up the stairs, and saw the Magister running up to the first floor. She ducked into the dining room—servants know their place around the Magister—and the next thing she heard was Barnabus’s cry of pain.
Inside the Manse If the player-characters venture inside the manse, they will find the house is a wreck. Furniture has been upturned and broken, tapestries torn from the walls, cloths shredded, plates and bowls smashed into smithereens that crunch underfoot. From an upper floor come the sounds of breaking wood and tearing cloth. It looks as if a pack of animals has run wild in here. If the PCs wait where they are, in the main hallway, then in a few minutes the ‘Magister’ will rush down the staircase, past them, and through the doorway into the dining room beyond. It will pause a moment to thoughtfully heave the remains of a chair through one of the windows, and then hurtles on into the kitchen. The ‘Magister’ will rush past anyone in the house as if they weren’t there. If its path is blocked, it will stop for an instant, survey the obstacle with its head on its side, and then attempt to smash it out of the way (see its stats on p. 8). The PCs can attempt to subdue it—this will require characters with a minimum combined 40 points of Strength all making successful Agility rolls against a difficulty of 14 in the same round. Udolphus will not help; Grover, if present, will. If the attempt is unsuccessful the ‘Magister’ will break free, leap to its feet, deal a single blow to the character closest to its right hand (if you aren’t using miniature figures then roll randomly) and rush away again.
Following the Magister The ‘Magister’ will continue to rush through the house: a complete circuit takes it between three and thirty minutes. It does not stop to eat, drink or rest. Every couple of hours, instead of going from the hallway into the dining room it changes path and heads down into the subterranean study, where it will tear papers in a parody of sholarly research for half an hour, before resuming its rotation within the manse. If the PCs make any undue noise inside the manse, it will draw the attention of the ‘Magister’ who will appear in 5-10 rounds. After a cursory glance it will ignore them unless they are actively blocking its path or trying to attack it, or if they are interfering in any way with the papers or the mirror in the study, or if someone is casting a spell or using magic in its presence. If only one or two people are present it will attack them and try to drive them away; if there are more than that it will flee.
The Magister’s Study The Magister’s study is not part of the circular route through the manse that the ‘Magister’ has been following. Instead it makes regular contemplative stops here every couple of hours. It appears to be almost scared of the study and is reluctant to enter, but does not want anyone else to be in here either. The study is a round stone-lined room, with a sooty ceiling about eight feet high. A semicircle of the room is lined with shelves containing books, papers, scroll-cases, and odd items bearing inscriptions—possibly magical, probably not—in almost every language ever known to the Lands of Legend. Three oil lamps are mounted on the remaining semicircle of wall, well away from anything precious or flammable. Normally Rosamunde refills the lamps and trims the wicks first thing each morning; at present they are empty. A long table lies across the middle of the room, covered in bits of paper. There is a single straightbacked chair, upholstered in leather. Apart from the shelves, that’s it for furniture. Against the bare wall, between two of the oil lamps, is leaned what looks like a slab of metal. This is the mirror (see p. 7), turned to face the wall by the ‘Magister’ so he did not have to risk being reflected in it.
When the ‘Magister’ is in here it leafs through the books and papers—a deal more roughly than such valuable tomes deserve, and torn scraps of pages scatter the floor—and toys with the trinkets and artefacts that were stacked on the shelves, including the cane the Magister usually used to walk and which now lies discarded in the middle of the floor. The alumnus will know that the Magister’s cane is in fact his wand (see the Dragon Warriors rulebook, p. 32), and it is most peculiar for him to leave it here like this. It will not approach within five feet of the mirror, even while it is turned to face the wall. If the mirror is turned back or moved then the ‘Magister’ will go berserk when it realises, tearing the bookcases from the walls and smashing them and the furniture to matchwood. It will not attack the mirror, or do anything that might damage it.
A note on books Books are a rare and valuable resource in the Dragon Warriors world. They must be copied by hand, a time-consuming process that sometimes introduces errors. The major repository for books are abbeys and monasteries, which means that most of the books that exist are on the subject of religion. Books are almost never available for sale: they are exchanged for copies of other books, or for enormous favours done, or as marks of loyalty or allegiance. Only the rich and powerful have anything resembling a personal library, and to see more than ten books in one place is very unusual. This may seem odd, but being able to read in the Lands of Legend is a rare privilege, and to actively seek out knowledge is regarded by most as somewhere between eccentric and potentially heretical. All this is to say that the Magister’s library is a collection of tomes large and small, scrolls, codices, strange arrangements of folded parchment, thin sheets of lead with symbols etched into them, wooden tablets with waxed wooden surfaces, and other stranger records. It totals just over forty books, a third of which have been copied in the Magister’s own hand. The amount of knowledge this represents is, for the Middle Ages, breath-taking.
Among the Papers Searching the study will unearth the following interesting documents. Anyone searching can roll
Dragon Warriors d100 (percentile dice) once every ten minutes, and if they score under their Intelligence they’ve found something of note: The Magister’s translation notes. However, being a linguistic genius, Magister Lingam has not done anything as straightforward as translating the inscription into Elleslandic. Instead he has—after a page of notes in a tiny, crabbed handwriting—translated it into Bacchile, and then worked backwards to create a phonetic version of the original inscription (again in Bacchile) that can be read aloud. Anyone in the party who can read Bacchile must make an Intelligence roll against a difficulty of 18 to work out what this is and how to perform the correct pronunciation. Letter from Sigismund ‘Dear Magister, I find I shall be travelling near to your manse at the end of Harel-monath [or any another month; see Dragon Warriors p. 188) and would wish to renew our friendship with a visit. I shall bring with me a gift, a curious artefact of sorcery that I was sold on my voyage last year, with a motto in a script that has defied the wit of all to whom I have shown it. I have a suspicion of what it might be but seek your insight on its true provenance and nature. Should you succeed in unlocking its mysteries, you are most welcome to keep the result—with my sincerest regards. Sigismund’ Ivory tablet A thin ivory tablet about twenty centimetres wide and maybe five high. Set into it in flakes of lapis lazuli are symbols of an ancient and unreadable language. However, the symbols are definitely from the same alphabet as the characters carved into the rim of the mirror. (The PCs will only realise this if they have examined the mirror—they almost certainly have, but sometimes PCs do strange things.) The tablet can be used to attract the attention of the ‘Magister’: if shown the item it will attempt to snatch it from the bearer. The inscription itself is not magical or even useful, but it is the first thing in the house that the ‘Magister’ has recognised as being from its own culture, and that alone makes it alluring. To anyone other than a linguistic expert or scholar of ancient empires the tablet is a curio worth a handful of florins. To someone who knows what it is, it is worth 50 crowns.
What Really Happened Two weeks ago another of the Magister’s old pupils, a contemporary of the alumnus’s named Sigismund, spent a night at the manse with his former tutor. He claimed to be in the employ of a rich merchant to the south, predicting the best weather for voyages and trade-missions—choose a place the PCs have passed through within the last few months, so that with a little research they can later discover this is untrue. In fact he serves a master whose aims are dark and misanthropic. The removal of Magister Lingam is part of their unpleasant scheme. (The exact nature of their plans and the identity of Sigismund’s new master are left up to the GM if they wish to extend the plot-threads from this adventure.) Sigismund brought a gift for his old tutor: an ancient mirror of polished metal, tall and narrow. It is almost two metres high and a centimetre thick, of ancient and ornate design, so heavy it takes someone with 15 strength to lift it. It has an inscription in an unknown language beaten into its rim. The mirror appears to be completely normal: only the untarnished brilliance of its reflective surface gives away its enchanted nature. Sigismund knew full well what the mirror was: a cursed remnant of a long-dead civilisation, and a weapon of the most sinister form of assassination. He also knew that his curious former master would translate the inscription, and activate its powers. This is exactly what has happened.
The Mirror and Its Secrets If the inscription around the mirror’s metal rim is read out loud, it will activate the device. The person who is reflected in the mirror at that moment will be switched with the being that inhabits the strange netherworld of the reflected space. This is a bizarre creature, the product of an ancient sorcery. Those who have read about it—they are few, and none of them believe it still exists save Sigismund and his master—call it a mirror-demon, or a Reflexion. The Reflexion has no form of its own, but automatically takes on the appearance and manners of the person it has replaced. This happens in the blink of an eye; it is impossible to know immediately that the switch has happened. Instead, it will appear as if the person standing in front of the mirror has become possessed.
Dragon Warriors There is one way to tell that something has occurred, and it is not immediately apparent. The Reflexion is a mirror-duplicate of the original, so if the original wore a brooch on the right side of her hair then the Reflexion will wear one to the left; and if the original was left-handed then the Reflexion will be right-handed. All sorcerers in the Lands of Legend are, of course, left-handed. The mirror appears to be completely normal, reflecting whatever appears in it. The only exception is if the Reflexion stands in front of it. The reflected image will be that of the Magister, making desperate gestures indicating that he is trapped inside. If the inscription is read again, the Reflexion and the mirror’s prisoner will switch places. The mirror and the Reflexion are part of the same entity, and require each other’s presence to operate. If the inscription is read while the Reflexion is not reflected in the mirror’s surface then nothing will happen. The mirror-demon does not take on the mind or mental powers of the person it has replaced. It retains its own identity and its instructions. When
it was created, the old records say, it was a weapon of destruction, with orders to kill everyone it found and then return to the mirror. However it has been trapped in the ur-space of the reflected world since the last time the mirror was used, several thousand years ago, and it has gone completely mad. What does insanity look like in a mind that was never human in the first place? It looks inexplicable, and terrifying, and often violent. The fact that it appears to have happened to an old and trusted friend makes it even more disturbing.
The Reflexion and Its Behaviour The following points will help you to roleplay the Reflexion: • It seeks desperately for a way out. The fact that it is now trapped in another place, within the
Reflexion The Reflexion is a product of ancient sorcery, created to assassinate a single target and replace him with a duplicate. Whether this replacement was intended to take the place of the original in the long term or simply until the assassin had made good his escape is unclear. It may very well be unique. The Reflexion has no form of its own, taking the shape of the person who replaces it in the ur-space inside the mirror, but in a mirror-reversal. It has a symbiotic relationship with the mirror in which it is usually imprisoned. The existence of the mirror gives it life and power, and it cannot exist more than ten miles from the mirror. Although it (usually) appears to be human, it does not need to eat, drink, sleep or even breathe. Its physical form is extremely strong and quick, as if it was partly immune to the laws of physics. However, though it is formed of magic, the Reflexion cannot use sorcery or spells. It does have one unique attack that lets it employ its sorcerous nature: if it strikes a successful blow against an opponent, it can channel some of the fabric of its being into additional damage. That is to say, it can turn its own health points into damage points, at will. One
health point becomes 1d4 damage points inflicted on the target, up to a maximum of five health points per blow. It will only use this if absolutely necessary. It can also use the same power to break through or destroy inanimate objects. It speaks only one language: its own long-dead tongue. Its sorcerous nature makes it immune to any spells or magical items that could allow it to communicate clearly in a modern language, though it is a very fast learner. If the PCs can calm it and are patient enough, they may be able to communicate with it--initially using gestures, pictograms and facial expressions, and later with words. It is normally very intelligent and quick-witted, though its wits are dulled by madness and the millennia it has spent inside the mirror. Sorcerous being, 8th-rank equivalent attack 24 defence 9 magical attack – magical defence 8 Health points 24 Magic points –
Dragon Warriors boundaries of the manse, has driven it to further distraction. If it is allowed to escape across the sigils that imprison it, it will run away across the fields on all fours, shrieking as it goes. However, it cannot travel more than five miles from the mirror. • It was designed as a tool of assassination: to destroy all the occupants of a location, in the guise of a known person, so survivors would report that the lord (or master, abbot, prefect, or whoever) had gone mad and slaughtered everyone. However, its insanity has superseded that part of its programming, at least for the moment. • It speaks only in the tongue of its masters, a longdead language. It cannot understand anything said or written in another language. Therefore, although it finds itself surrounded by a cornucopia of knowledge, the only words it can understand are the words that would imprison it back inside the mirror. It is therefore very frustrated. • It has none of Magister Lingam’s sorcery, but has magical powers of its own (see p. 8). • It would rather die than return to the imprisonment of the mirror.
Escaping the Mirror The mirror’s operation is not as simple as just reciting the incantation. First of all, the mirror will only operate with the presence of the Reflexion, either to transport it back into its prison, or to let it out. Secondly, it will transpose its occupant with anyone who is currently reflected in it when the incantation is recited. This means two things: 1. More than one person can be trapped in the mirror at a time; and 2. It is possible to recite the incantation while not standing directly in front of the mirror, thus causing someone else to be trapped inside it. If you are seeing a possible way to return the Reflexion to its prison and free the Magister, you are on the right track. The Reflexion does not know the incantation. It can read the ancient script on the mirror, but will not do so out loud, no matter how it is tortured. It would prefer to die. The mirror can be destroyed. It is made of metal and therefore will not shatter, but any blow that causes more than 3 damage will dent it. Unfortu-
nately this will also do the same amount of damage to whoever is trapped inside, be it the Magister or the Reflexion. If the mirror takes more than 20 points of damage then it will crack (or, if being hit with a sharp object, be holed), If a real person is trapped inside the mirror at that moment then the metal will suddenly bulge and swell, as the physical body returns to this dimension, but still trapped inside the mirror. Whether they are dead or not depends on how much damage they took inside, and how long they remain encased in metal. If the Reflexion is still alive then it will begin to fade as its energies dissipate: in an hour it will completely disappear. If the Reflexion is killed, the mirror’s enchantment is broken and begins to fade. The formerly brilliant surface begins to tarnish and darken, and in twenty minutes the ancient artefact will be no more than polished metal. However, during this time it will continue to operate as designed, if the Reflexion’s corpse is placed in front of it. And where is the Magister? He is trapped inside the mirror, in the space formerly occupied by the mirror-demon. Anyone trapped here is in a duplicate of the space reflected in the mirror. They can dimly see the world outside, as if through a mist or a sea-clouded glass. If there is nothing to be reflected—if the mirror is placed facing a wall, or left in the dark—then they are trapped, unable to move. Existence in the mirror-world requires no food or drink to sustain it. No magic works here.
Fighting the Reflexion It is possible that the player-characters will work out something of the Reflexion’s nature and come up with a way to communicate with it. They may enter a dialogue with it, learn of its torment, and devise a scheme to free it, earning the gratitude of an immortal being of sorcery. However, it’s more likely that they’ll try to fight it and kill it. if they insist, let them go ahead. It is the Middle Ages, after all, and finesse and logical deduction are in short supply. The Reflexion is aware of its own strength, and knows that it can overpower most men in a few instants. However it is wary of groups, and will try to flee from any armed bands of more than three people. it will also try to escape any combat if it is reduced to less than 50% of its Health Points.
How to Play the Adventure ‘The Right-Handed Sorcerer’ is an open adventure. The clues to solve the mystery and rescue the Magister are all present but there is no single path through them: players must work it out for themselves instead of being led to the answer by the GM. The usual route through the adventure goes something like this: • The PCs arrive and hear the background. They question witnesses and venture into the house, to see what’s happening. They have a first encounter with the Reflexion, and it does not go well. • They discover the study and the mirror. • They do further research, and learn where the mirror came from. • They investigate the study and the mirror, and discover the documents. • At some point they have a physical altercation with the Reflexion, and probably come off worse. • They formulate theories about what is going on, and try to act on them. They may be successful, in which case the Magister owes them a large favour, or not, in which case stories may spread through the magical community about the sorcerer who killed his former master.
Impasse If the PCs are at a loss to understand what is going on, but refuse to engage the Reflexion in either discourse or combat, instead letting it rampage around the house, then there are various things you can throw into the mix to make their lives easier: • While a PC is in the study and the mirror is turned outwards (the mirror can be moved anywhere in the house, of course), the Reflexion passes in front of it for a moment and the PC (Perception check against whatever difficulty seems reasonable) notices that its reflection does not match it. It’s the same person, but not in the same pose. • Either in response to a question or statement about Sigismund from one of the PCs, or spontaneously (if things are getting really sticky), the apprentice Ariadne mentions that during his visit Sigismund took her to one side, said that he was looking for an apprentice of his own, that the Magister was old and accident-prone, and
if something bad should happen to him in the near future then Sigismund would be happy to take her under his wing. She says she got a very unpleasant feeling from the whole discussion. • Another former apprentice turns up, summoned by Udolphus’s doves. See ‘The Explanation’ for how this could run. • The Reflexion works out that there are sigils buried under the doorsteps and windowsills, uses an innimate object to smash them, and escapes. Following its programming, it destroys the nearby village. This doesn’t make the problem easier, in fact it escalates it. Have fun! • You may want to rule that the Reflexion is able to pick up smatterings of the PCs’ language from overhearing them, and can start to communicate with them. It will still resist returning to the mirror—which gives the PCs an interesting ethical dilemma: are they willing to entrap an intelligent being for eternity, who through no fault of its own is the key to freeing someone else?
The Explanation It is possible that the player-characters will make a complete pig’s ear of this adventure. They may kill the Reflexion, allow the mirror to tarnish without activating the inscription, and never find the true Magister—or even suspect that the being they killed was not him. In this case you owe them an explanation, if only to convince them to try harder next time. In this case, as they are preparing to leave, another of the Magister’s former pupils arrives, summoned by Udolphus’s doves. He brings disturbing news: he has heard that Sigismund has embraced the dark arts, and with a patron is planning to become the pre-eminent sorcerer in this part of the world, prior to a power-grab by his master. To this end Sigismund has found an ancient artefact that (so the former pupil has heard) will destroy the Magister by trapping his soul within it. He only hopes he is not too late to prevent a tragedy.... Alternatively, if and when the PCs catch up with Sigismund in a future adventure, he can monologue an explanation of what really happened, and use it as an illustration of the fact that he is far cleverer than they are, and they are idiots to think they can stand against him—for ultimately it was they who killed the Magister, not him. 10
Appendix 1: Background This is what the alumnus will be able to tell the other characters about Magister Lingam and Sigismund.
The Magister The Magister Lingam, also known as the Saviour of Otleigh, is a respected figure in sorcerous circles. He gained his title and much of his reputation at the Siege of Otleigh, where he used his powers to repair a breach in the castle’s walls and protected the young Duke Edmund from a hail of enemy arrows. The Duke subsequently employed him as an advisor for some years, before giving him the smallholding where he now lives, ‘for the furtherance of his studies and the teaching of others.’ Nobody knows how old the Magister is. He was described as old at the Siege of Otleigh, and that was forty years ago, and Duke Edmund died of old age in his bed six winters back. His hair is white, his face as lined and worn as a piece of wave-worn timber, and he walks with a cane, but there is not a man alive who remembers a time when he did not. The Magister is retired from active sorcery these days, but teaches the arts of magic to a small selection of apprentices who are sent to him by former pupils and other adepts of the magical arts who have spotted their potential. He tutors these children from the age of seven to sixteen, when they can return to their homes, find a new master or set out to follow the paths of magic for themselves. Pupils who fail to live up to his standards—about a third of them—are sent home. He has between three and six apprentices at any time. Magister Lingam is a man of great learning and wisdom, when he chooses to show it. In company he is often intolerant and short-tempered, particularly with his pupils. He has an enquiring mind and will often break off from conversation to follow a train of thought, sometimes for minutes at a time. He lacks any sense of humour—you remember one apprentice, Sigismund, a contemporary of yours, telling a tale that he had traded it to the Devil in exchange for sorcerous powers, but you have no proof of this. The Magister is an acknowledged expert in the languages of days past. In his study area in the cellar below the house are ancient books that may be the last copies in the world, and artefacts of which none but he know the purpose. People travel half-
way around the world to consult him on these matters, or to have him translate archaic manuscripts or engraved tablets. It is said that the gold he takes as his fee for this work is all stored somewhere within his manse, which makes it an occasional target for thieves and opportunists.
Sigismund You never liked Sigismund. Three or four years older than you, he was unquestionably gifted in sorcerous matters, but combined those gifts with a manner than ranged from supercilious to cruel. He lorded it over the junior apprentices and the servants. He never spoke of his parents, but he was rich—by the standards of apprentices anyway—and used that wealth as a form of leverage to prove his superiority when his talents were not enough, buying the affections of local girls and the loyalty of local toughs to settle quarrels with the other students that had initially gone against him. There were rumours he was the son of a senior bishop, who had stolen his father’s wealth and run away, but that was never known for sure. And he was handsome, and he knew it. There was that incident with the ducklings and the cat he starved—ah, but why dig up the past?
(GM: Once the alumnus has told the other PCs what he remembers of Sigismund, you can cast doubt on his objectivity by having Udolphus and the servants remind the alumnus how badly Sigismund used to pick on him, bullying him mercilessly in the years they were studying together. This gives both characters more interest and depth, and makes the situation less clear-cut.)