Topic: newb magic questions

I'm playing the Tower of the Stargazer and I'm finding it difficult for Calcidius to do anything.  It would seem that as long as the adventurers are earlier in the Initiative order then they can easily stop him from casting any spells at all.

I'm playing with spell casters having to declare an intent to cast (and the spell) at the start of a round, before initiative order is rolled.  This makes it particularly hard for a wizard to cast unless they have others to protect them or they are out of range of their opponents.  But it seems like the way magic is meant to be handled by the referee.

How do you make lone magicians formidable? or is this a natural weakness for magicians?

Re: newb magic questions

My way around that problem was to determine that a high level magic user like Calcidius is intelligent enough to have contingency plans in place, like a Wand of Magic Missile with about 5 charges on it tucked into his belt. A single level 13 Magic Missile should be enough to intimidate a lower level party. Should outright kill at LEAST one character.

I've never had to use it though.. the one time I've run it so far, the PCs found all the treasure in the basement first, THEN found Calcidius, and used the logic that if he had THAT MUCH treasure, he must be REALLY high level, so they hired a mason to brick over the entrance to his room.

Re: newb magic questions

Calcidius would be very alert for any chance to break free from his prison. If the players unintentionally release him, then he should probably receive a surprise round. If they are all prepared to jump him when the barrier is broken, then let the contests 1d6 roll determine whether they stop him or he kills them all.


Re: newb magic questions

Great advice.  Thanks.  I like the idea of a surprise wand or perhaps a prepared spell would make things interesting.

Re: newb magic questions

My plan was to have him run to the elevator if things started to get hairy, if there was no elevator there he'd featherfall down the shaft and come back all polymorphy.
Never happened in the end, the players let him out and left promptly. He's still after their Halfling for mocking him, luckily the Halfling wasn't there that session.

Re: newb magic questions

The best effect I've seen for protecting yourself as a wizard is not broadcasting yourself as a wizard.  A specialist doesn't go around town advertising that they are a pick-pocket and burglar because they want people to not notice them doing what they do!  Similarly a wizard should really play being a mundane "fill in the blank" until they have the right opportunity to bring a spell to the ready.  After all, what is the difference between a crazy old codger that mumbles gibberish and speaks with his hands and someone casting a spell?  You don't really know until the purple ray shoots out and turns your friend into a frog!