Ideas for Test of High Sorcery



Feb 10, 2004 12:35:40
I'm trying to develop a wizard's test. I already have a couple of starter ideas, but I'm at a loss about other tests.

One of the tests, will be to test the wizard's overconfidence and/or pride. How I am going to go about this I'm not sure, but I have a few ideas. Basically if the wizard fails to overcome (swallow) his pride it will result in death. This is probably going to be the "life lesson" situation for this particular character.

In another test, I'm going to make him choose to sacrifice between something and magic. Probably this will be to sacrifice something of himself in order to gain higher power/understanding... I haven't decided on this completely either. I'm having trouble thinking of a good scenario here as well.

I'm going to also throw in some pretty standard combat encounters. Probably some opponent magic users, so the wizard will have to resort to using a wide variety of magics in order to overcome these situations. These situations will be good for making him utilize all or most of the spells in his spellbook.

The part I'm having trouble with, besides the lack of concrete scenarios, is how I set up the choosing of the robes. I want this to be subtle, and perhaps gradual throughout the test. I will take note of each decision and action that is made. I would rather do this, than have only one situation in which the choice is made.

Although here is one idea that came up with that may work: Perhaps this can be one of many, or standalone: It's tricky but it may work. Here is the situation:

There will be a npc, one that either the player cares a lot about, or knows or respects. Perhaps like his master...someone that is held in high regard by the pc. More importantly, this npc will posess something that the PC wants dearly. LIke a powerful magic item or a powerful book etc. etc. This player will know about the artifact beforehand.

This will provide the mechanism to temp the PC, in the decision he's about to make.

The PC will see the npc doing some atrocious deed, like murder or some form of horrible cruelty. The player must choose what to do, and what he does will decide what color of robe he leans toward.

He can choose to stop the act immediately, and save the victim. The only way to do this is to attack immediately in some way. If he chooses to save the victim, the artifact will be destroyed during the struggle. I think this decision will lean toward white robes. He will have to fight a more powerful wizard, and risk death for the victim, as well as forfeit the artifact in the fight. In doing so, the wizard will avoid certain "consequences" listed below. (I may have to come up with another reward perhaps for this course of action..I haven't thought of a good one yet).

If the pc doesn't try to save the victim in any way, the result will be either red or black. Basically if the victim dies without PC intervention or at least an attempt the white robes are forfeit.

The npc, after killing the victim, will then plea for the PC to not turn him in and/or not to kill him. In turn he will perhaps offer the artifact as a bribe to let him go. The choices the PC makes from here on shouldn't be too hard to evaluate. The PC has already forfeited the white robes by not trying to intervene.

The actions aren't hard to figure out, but the consequences of the action are more difficult, and hard to balance.

I was thinking perhaps if the pc doesn't help the victim, or even lets the npc go free (black robe) the npc will betray the pc and thus frame the PC for the crime. Forcing the PC to avoid capture/death by combat from guards, etc.. Essentially a punishment for choice of black robe.

Along with this, the pc will also be forever haunted by the ghost of the victim. Perhaps throughout his life he will encounter various forms of being haunted by this victim's spirit. He could have nightmares for the rest of his life, preventing him from sleeping and gaining the necessary rest for him to memorize his spells on occasion.

Basically, the magical artifact is forever tainted with this curse, or rather the wizard himself is forever cursed because of his choice in the test. SInce he chose to gain magical power instead of helping innocent victim, the wizard suffers this curse of being haunted, or even sought out by avengers of the victim.

This could apply to red/black robe. But perhaps the choice could determine the severity of the curse. This gives me, the DM flexibility to alter the consequences of the action. With a red robe, perhaps the curse isn't as severe. Perhaps he only suffers minor consequences, with lack of power of the artifact or lesser hassle of being haunted.

With the black robe, the PC can suffer severe consequences because of the greed for power. The PC would constantly have nightmares and struggle with avengers/ghosts and other vengeful spirits throughout his life.

For a red robe, it's something in-between; the conditions are, that the player will have made some decision, that results in some kind of justice for the evil act. Ex: PC may decide to turn in his master to the authorities, or even attack the npc after the deed is done. Or something along those lines, some in-between action. Thus not saving the victim, but dispensing justice of his own and getting the artifact. Basically anything that falls in between saving the victim and letting the npc get away completely free.

This decision also gains the curse, or a less-severe version of it, if he happens to make an attempt to gain the artifact as opposed to helping etc. etc.

This "curse" could be good motivation for future quests of all sorts, and gives me a good platform for future adventures and quests....

In summary, the choices of the robes and their consequences are as follows:

White: risk death at first, sacrifice good for magic, gain white robes, and doesn't get cursed but perhaps gains some other reward.

Black: player doesn't intervene or even helps, gains black robes, and even lets the npc go free without question or helps. Player gains magical power(Item), but gets betrayed by npc and must avoid capture or being killed by guards etc. and is forever haunted, and hunted.

Red: victim dies, gain the magic item and power, and recieves the curse. Perhaps either magic item ins't as powerful as what it would normally be as a black robe or curse isn't as severe... I'm shooting for some kind of in-between balance.

May take a little more fine-tuning, but I think it will work.

Other than that, what are some thoughts of yours, and some other good ideas for pieces of a test? I'd like to hear them all, as well as feedback on this idea.

I'd still like some more things to incorporate into the test.

Most likely, the party members will accomodate the wizard on *some* of the pieces.

Some of them will be for the wizard alone, like the one above. Others can be present for some other pieces perhaps, if they choose to go with him at the beginning. They will have that option, but they will risk their death just like the wizard does.

So what are some other ideas that other people have had, or other ideas that have really worked well in the past?? Thanks in advance!


Feb 10, 2004 13:08:24
I think giving an artifact to a player for passing the test is a little excessive, especially considering the rarity of such items. Perhaps if when the wizard went to get tested, they were told that their test involves retrieving an item from an evil (something or other). Have this person not, in fact, be evil - a free willed dragonspawn who cannot communicate, for example, and depending on how that was handled, you can give them a suitable reward - whatever colour robes.

Remember - the test is their to determine whether someone is suitable to join the Orders of High Sorcery, not to punish someone for their choices. Don't punish someone for choosing the black robes any more than you would punish them for being white or red. Punish them for being stupid, by all means, but that involves killing them.


Feb 10, 2004 13:59:10
good point. I guess what I'm aiming at is some sort of 'sacrifice" that they have to make for magic. I was going off some ideas that I've read on previous threads, in which the test-taker was involved in some sort of choice, or some sort of sacrifice they would have to make in order to pursue magic.

Making punishments is a bad way to go, but I do need some sort of consequence or threat, at least at the time of the test in order to make the encounter difficult, if not deadly. Going by the book, it recommends having encounter levels of that of the wizard or higher in order to reflect the difficulty of the test.

So instead of a long term curse I need some sortof immediate threatening situation perhaps?

And, it was an improper use of the word "artifact", of course. I guess magical "artifacts" are quite rare and indeed powerful, which is not what I have in mind. Mostly I was thinking of some kind of magical item, going by the DLCS on it's worth. Although something of this nature may or may not be a good 'temptation' device that I was going to rely on.

Basically I was wanting to face the PC with a choice, or choices that would determine his robe color, with the pursuing of magic as kind of the catalyst or motivator.

Which brings me to another question..... a character's alignment: What if the PC goes against his own said alignment while taking the test? Usually when a player behaves unlike his alignment there has to be some sort of in-game consequence.

Like a good aligned player turning to black robes? I am considering making this an exception to the a one-time opportunity to choose alignment. But of course, other classes don't have this luxury and I'm concerned on how that would go over..


Feb 18, 2004 10:02:13
hmm..surely someone out there has some past experiences with taking and/or creating a test of high sorcery? I could definetely use the help, I haven't read all the DL novels so I'm kind of at a loss as to how to create one of these tests.....