Zarditar's University of Magic (3.5e Campaign Setting)
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Zarditar's University of Magic
City of Zarditar
There is chaos in the large city Zarditar. One of the 8 pillars of the magical dome has collapsed. When a tower close to 100 meter high collapses it will always have a big impact on any city but this was a special pillar. At the foot of this pillar was the gate to west Paninta one of the most fertile parts of the Artedan Empire. With this road blocked food will be a lot more expensive in and around the city but that was not the biggest problem. Till 15 years ago Zarditar was the Capital of the Empire but the royal court was moved to the more sunny and warm Islands of Paninta. With the court a lot of influential families and the royal legion made this move too. Shiny weather and a park like landscape pulled a lot of people from the gloomy buildings of capital. But now the gate became blocked by many meters of stone and without the crystal on top of that tower the gate will certainly not function as normal.
Ages ago a group of powerful wizards carefully scouted the best spot for Zarditar. They traveled through many of the worlds known to them and used their measurement equipment to find the spot with the best magical substance. Nobody was surprised that the world of Varfellon was found to be the best spot. It was a world with many grand forests overflowing with fey and those creatures always had a cunning sense for magical power. One thing was disappointing though. The best spot was in the northern arctic regions of the world and deep within a huge mountain range.
With enough wizards at hand every problem seems to have a solution so they constructed a huge magical dome supported by 8 towers. Glowing crystals in these towers maintain it's balance and even feed the portals at their base with enough power to permanently open big portals to the important parts of the empire. The dome protects the city against the harsh weather outside and the portals made city a wealthy trade center. The portals were all protected by fortresses that for the most part lie outside the city.
All was well and after founding a university to their liking the wizards went on with their own interests. For a long time the Artedan empire dominated all the worlds where it was connected to. They didn't really need the help from wizards. They had controllers for the portals and trade within the empire and with other countries was always easy with the use of the portals. Stone buildings were not a luxury in Zarditar and one portal was used to mine for any other materials they needed. Many people wanted to live in the capital with the famous 'Market of Worlds' often working some time in the mines were riches were for the grab. Sometimes things went a bit wrong, like with a pillaging umber-hulk, but never too bad.
Trouble on the Campus
Many of the noble families send their brighter children to the Zarditar university. They were happy to pay the large entrance fee to gain some magical power inside their family. They didn't want to rely on contacts with the established wizards of the empire and those wizards were glad to be free from the constant requests for petty problems.
But those children were not interested in the science but only in the power. The strive of the families divided the pupils and were also felt by the staff. Special appointed professors who spend most of their time spying on the pupils and only wanting to educate children connected to befriended houses. This poisoned the atmosphere into a pool of hatred and distrust. The staff and the headmaster 'Darnor Goldbrewer' of the university tried their best with countless efforts to better the situation. They created different departments where groups of houses could work independent of others only to create closed bastions unwilling to educate each other pupils. One day the bubble did burst. A lot of children woke up on the doorstep of their parent homes without a clue how they got there. The headmaster official resined from his job and wandered off muttering against those fools and the mighty gates of the university closed.
The next days there were constant noises and lights coming out of the large university buildings. Pale blue flashes filled the night skies till after a week everything went dead. No one dared to enter the buildings anymore but tales of the magical wonders of the university still flourish in the city bars. The time of official magical education ended and from that moment on the mighty noble families hold their knowledge to themselves.
war with Tilfadin
The portal to the more southern regions of the world Varfellon give access to a rich lowland. At first this portal was only used as an access to the seas and oceans of this word. Hunters for the strange creatures and minerals on this word used this portal as a starting point to adventures. People in search for contact with the fey folk could wander off into the woods to return with strange stories or to be never heart off again. But people are never content with the current situation. They build more houses and farms eating off more of the forest and started farming the rich grounds. Most of the fey people were totally unconcerned of those fragile people but the court of the Eladrin of Tilfadin was relative close to the portal and within 50 years the early settlements turned into permanent villages.
It was not until a strong winter that a Eladrin party that escorted a noble crossed a woodcutters plant of the village of Nightingale. They saw people cutting down trees for more firewood to burn. The humans didn't notice the lesser spirits slumbering in those trees and cut together with their homes. Enraged by this unintended cruelty they slew the lumberjacks and deprived the village of much needed warmth. Word about the problems came to the ears of the military who send a small division to Nightingale. The soldiers inspected the lumber camp without getting a clear picture of what happened there. But they noticed the problematic situation of the village and restarted the wood cutting. A Tilfadin scout who inspected the spot send word about soldiers finishing the work of the lumberjacks and not much later a single soldier returned with tales of horror from the forests. Eladrin warriors charged into the camp and bolts of lightning struck the unaware soldiers.
After that the people of Nightingale panicked and tried to flee to safer and warmer places through the raging winter storms. Only the strongest people survived the journey and their tales fueled this incident towards a full war. The moment the weather allowed for it the legion poured out of the portal to build a encampment near the ruins of Nightingale. Their long bow units were a good defense against the relative small assaults of Eladrin as long as they cleared enough forest for clear sight. The Eladrin were bewildered by this reaction. Till then they never encountered such a massive scale woodcutting and ruthless military efficiency. Even the higher forest spirits couldn't do a thing about it, they were still recuperating from a unbelievable strong winter and now took a deep wound. Some of them tried to react only to be easily burned by the soldiers.
Not long after this event there was a counsel at the high queens court. Titania the undisputed ruler of Varfellon had to answer to the many requests for help in this strange struggle with those no so puny humans. But she was wise enough to not heed their talks of war and chose their defensive strategy against a offensive one. The fairy kingdom can always retract from the normal reality and only be accessible for begins with fey kinship or spiritual bonds with them. Together with many of the natural spirits they took refuge against the things to come. The Eladrin instead chose for the offensive and risked their bond with the fairy court. They created a huge army of soldiers together with many woodland creatures and descended on the army like a fire. They had lost many soldiers in the earlier skirmishes and now chose the same tactics as their enemies. They used every power open to them to repel these humans and lost a part of their soul in it.
Within the next year the human army had lost many fights and endured many magical assaults. Their nightmares blended with their daily struggles and step by step they were forced nearer to the portal. Even the fortress there was almost overrun what directly threatened the hart of the empire itself. It was then that the portal technicians came up with a old manual on the offensive use of the portal itself. The crystal on the tower glows blue when the portal is active and is dimmed when it is closed. But the next days it glowed with a dark red fire. The Tilfadin army was blown from the face of Varfellon with an infernal blaze. The Empire won this strike but alienated the remaining Eladrin and the fey kingdom forever.
Moving the court
Since the war the city lost some of it's luster. Prince Nathan together with many veterans in the army had fought a losing war. The gray buildings of Zarditar no longer held a promising future for them but only memory's they wanted to forget and the certainty of a world that no longer welcomed humans. The gardens of Paninta were a much more welcome place than the cold gray of Zarditar, the hunts in the icy mountains outside the dome or the dark green forests of the southern regions.
Not long after the demise of the old emperor Farodas and the crowning of the new emperor 'Nathan the third' the orders were given to greatly expand the country domain of their family. The new palace was build with only the finest white marble and with large windows letting the sun into the ballrooms. Everybody cheered at the opening celebration and the future looked brighter than ever. The grapes grew here in abundance and the festivities could last long after the sun went down in the cooling evening air.
But now that world of pleasure was cut off from the empire leaving only a few islands inside a fast ocean as the only land for Nathan to rule.
When the first builders started cleaning the rubble around the portal to Paninta they encountered words written on the stones above the portal. In fiery writing it showed 'One year' but everybody could read that in their own language. The next day the text was magically altered into '364 days'.
Adventures around the city
Many eyes are now turned to the university. People need protection and for protection they need more power than they currently have. Would it be possible to reopen those doors and find what secrets it holds. One thing is certain, in the last days of the university a real battle was fought with no clear winner. It was rumored that 'Darnor Goldbrewer' the old headmaster was still often at the court with counsel for the emperor. But a few years before the war he suddenly stopped his visits.
Inside the huge gates still lives a man named Ferdinand. He holds a couple of dogs that run free across the campus terrain. When asked he tells people that he is the librarian there but nobody has seen a single book in his hands. The university closed many years ago and even before that there only seems to have been only a single head librarian all the time since the founding. Could this still be one of the old staff members not willing to abandon his post long after this post has lost it's meaning.
For some time now people living near the graveyard were able to see apparitions during the night. But recently this is getting much worse. Many people had encounters with deceased family members who should be resting in peace. There are a lot of mausoleums on this graveyards that hold the graves of many rich and powerful people. There is a small temple near the yard occupied with a priest of the raven queen. Normally handy for a sermon for the dead but now more busy keeping those dead inside their graves. He really needs help on the job and perhaps some dead don't need those artifacts anymore that were buried besides them.
Many official institutes moved together with the court to Paninta but not every institute is official. The comprehensive spy network that always comes with empires never saw a good reason to abandon the twisted streets of Zarditar. The roads to other states were the shortest from here and most of the business still was done in the markets here. Now there is a real problem for this network and the first is lack of comprehensive orders from the top. Many of them welcome the lack of clear vision only to be filled with their own private agenda's.
The tower that collapsed had two functions. Power the gate and stabilizing the dome. With one pillar gone the dome fails to totally protect the city. It is possible now to enter or leave the dome around this part of the city. There always was a fortress with a gate to the outside world and many houses of nobles had their own tunnels but now hungry beats or worse could come inside and hunt for food. There is still the local guard regiment under lord 'Torgal' but they are far too busy to guard such a large breach in the city defenses. To aggravate the problem cold pole winds now have a chance of blowing where they were cut off for a long time. Under the wrong wind directions large volumes of snow and ice can be blown into the area around the city. There are some villages inside the dome that produced food. But farmers now ofter hear the distant howling of polar wolves in the night.
There are a couple of hunters around who are willing to show their hunting trophies and even could be found willing to lead hunting parties again, inside or outside the city outer borders.
There are 6 portals but 8 towers. One tower is behind the now empty royal castle and one behind the university. Only the main buildings block sight on where the portals should have been. The crystal above the university is pale but the one above the palace recently glows blue again.
City of Rarnon
In the first years of the city there was another city Rarnor build relatively close to it. It was popular with the wizards as a more quiet place. They founded a capital but never wanted to live with that many people as direct neighbors. But 50 years later contact with that place came to a halt. Now the roads to that city are forgotten and many arctic animals make the journey dangerous. On the planes north of the mountains now only roam small groups of Mammoth and near the sea you can easily spot polar bears.
That city could still hold the magical devices that were used to build Zarditar. But there was a reason why the contact was broken. What could be more powerful than those magicians or did the magicians lose all their interest in contact suddenly.
This much north there is not that much chance to encounter troops of orcs. But once they learn from a city in peril with many riches they could be easily tempted to try their luck. A few individual orcs don't stand much chance against the wilderness around the city but an organized clan could manage that quite easily. By the way the remnant's of the broken tower reveal some broken orcish bodies together with the remnants of crates that are burned from inside out.
Who did that magical trickery on the closed portal and what is supposed to happen on the last day. Before that time most people would love to repair the tower to a state that the eighth crystal can take it's function in the globe again. But what will the portal show the next time it opens.
World specific rules
Learning of new powers
It is only very slow to learn new class powers in this world without either a teacher that knows that skill or a book that hold it's knowledge. Normally it will cost 2 times the level of the power in days. There is a good reason for players to be interested in that big library of the university. Learning a power with a teacher or book costs one plus half it's level in days.
Summon a magical or outer-planar creature in a ritual of two days. The ritual has the level of the creature minus two. Material to the liking of the creature need to be used in the ritual.
The specific creature is not under control of the summoner but he has a +2 favorable bonus to reactions of the summoned creature.
This will not mean that the specific player has any direct control over the newly created NPC. All NPC's will still be played by the game master but they will be reluctant combatants unless otherwise convinced by the players. Everybody in the group can use minor actions to ask something of them but they won't be willing to do everything asked when that would go against their nature or sense of self protection.
This ritual can also be used to create undead beings or golems though they need special materials to construct them.
A book or known name of the creature gives both a +2 ritual to the summoning level.
In class for all classes: choose2 crafting options (only there the +5 applies).
- Smithing (str) weapons, plate armor, heavy shields, gauntlets. Tools smithing
- Building (str) houses, mines. Tools smithing
- Armorer/Tailorer (dex) light/medium armor, bracers, gloves, light shields, boots. Tools mechanic
- Mechanic (dex) traps, locks. Tools mechanic
- Alchemist (dex) potion, explosives. Tools mechanic
- Sculpting (wis) golems, create undead. Tools smithing
- Cook (wis) potions, poisons. No tools
- Technical writing (int) magical books, rituals, skill training books. No tools
- Teacher (int) No tools
- Animal handling (cha) horses, dogs. No tools
- Creative writing (cha) romans, plays. No tools
Base crafting DC: 10+base item price/10+half level item
Repair crafting: 5+base item price/10+half level item
Time needed in days: base item price/10+half level item
A craft roll under needed skill is half more time needed
A craft roll -5 is loss of base materials
Basic materials: 20% normal item cost
Magical items need to be of enough quality to be enchanted.
|Type of crafting for tools is listed with the crafts.|
base equipment costs 10gp
|lvl 1: +1
lvl 6: +2
lvl 11: +3
|lvl 16: +4
lvl 21: +5
lvl 25: +6
|Enhancement: Craft skill|
Setting specific creatures
Lvl 1 Crawling_Arm_(4e_Creature)
Lvl 11 Mammoth_(4e_Creature)
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