The heart of all arcane studies in Rakore – and in all the free world – is Lok Magius: the Fortress of Magic. The Mages' Academy (as it is more commonly known) serves as a library, laboratory, training ground, and general purpose institution geared towards teaching magic in all its forms. Access to Lok Magius is restricted, and only select people are allowed to even make the long journey up Mount Rilan to visit the Mages' Academy.
Founded in 1321 Avard by Mistress Brin of Vridara, the academy has grown from a collection of individual and unique towers, to a true fortress. In 1316, when Chief Ulrich Graniteshoulders declared himself King of all Rakore, he foresaw the need for an institution of higher learning, dedicated to mages. Funds were set aside, but a site was not found until 1320, when King Feldspar Graniteshoulders granted the Baron-and-the-Bishop Dwarfendale the lands surrounding Mount Rilan. Dwarfendale's own fortress would guard the road leading to the Mages' Academy, and the site for Lok Magius was carefully surveyed. A temporary set of towers, and an amphitheater, were crafted across from the pinnacle of rock that would become all of Lok Magius. The towers – varied in construction method, as well as height and function – served as the Mages' Academy, while construction of Lok Magius went on under the supervision of the Baron-and-the-Bishop. The facilities were completed in late 1328 Avard, and opened for use in early 1329 Avard. The 'temporary towers' were destroyed during the siege of Lok Magius during the War of the Four Winds.
The academy's defense is built around extremely stout and solid walls, and the myriad constructs that students build or help build. The academy itself is on the edge of a cliff, with a 300 foot drop surrounding it on three sides, and a stout bridge 50 feet long to get to it. The armory holds an arsenal of wands and scrolls available for use, and the permanent guard is always on standby for Inquisitors or arcane summonings gone wrong.
During the War of the Four Winds, when Lok Magius was under assault from all directions, and the Betrayer had nearly killed the king, things looked grim for the Mages' Academy. And then the libraries were sacked from within, and many of the most powerful and most valuable of books were stolen. The Betrayer is thought to have master-minded the loss of much of the library, but no one knows for certain. Many within the academy wonder just who did it, why, and where the books might be. Others spend their waking hours or off hours trying to find the books, and the hunt is lead by the mage known as Norion, and occasionally aided by the academy's instructor of necromancy, Nalfein. Despite the near loss of Lok Magius, it was the mages who saved the academy – and all of Rakore. One of them found references to an ancient power, a way to convert living flesh to pure energy. The sacrificial spell and other arcane powers preserved the mountain, and the country.
Classification: Small Town
Population: 1, 500 (1,000+ mages of varying races, 50 cooks, 10 groundskeepers, 50 cleaning staff, 1 steward, 15 stable personnel, 1 head butler, 1 stable master, 15 smiths, 300 guards, 1 guard captain, 30 guard sergeants, 3 guard lieutenants, 12 clerics and healers).
Spending Limitations: 250,000 silver maximum.
Economy: The Mages' Academy is partially funded from the Rakoran treasury, from Gideon Enterprises, and from the personal funds of the Baron-and-the-Bishop Dwarfendale. The academy does generate some of its own cash flow, from adventuring mages, the contributions of its tenants, and from selling magical items to approved customers.
Rulership: Lok Magius is run by Master Aegan Smithdanovich, a Vridaran ice mage and the ArchiMagus of Rakore. Master Aegan is also a feudal Thane to the Baron-and-the-Bishop Dwarfendale. When present at the academy, Master Aegan has considerable authority as an instructor, a feudal lord, and one who can shatter stone with extreme cold.
The former ArchiMagus, Mistress Brin retired not long after the War of the Four Winds.
Alignment: The Mage Academy is an institution, dedicated to higher learning and the studies of magic. As such, it is a Lawful Neutral alignment.
Defense: The positioning of Lok Magius on a pinnacle on the east side of the mountain makes it unassailable by any conventional army. A small stone bridge connects the mountain road to the fortress' pinnacle, with a pair of golems and a pair of sentries on the mountain's side of the bridge. The fortress itself is composed of three separate, walled enclosures, that slowly rise up to the top of the pinnacle some 80 feet higher than the bridge. Each of the three walls is sturdily built, with nearly 50 feet between each wall. The outer wall is 20 feet high and 10 feet thick. Between the outer and middle walls lies the gardens, orchards, and gathering grounds. The middle wall is 50 feet high and 20 feet thick; the middle wall has barracks inside the towers, with armories built into the towers. Between the middle and inner walls lie the barracks, kitchens, living quarters, and stables of the fortress. The inner wall is 100 feet tall and 50 feet thick; the inner wall is also honey-combed with corridors, apartments, and living quarters. Inside the inner walls lies the mass of towers and buildings that make up the academy, including an amphitheater, the wells, cisterns, armory, and more, adding up to about 4 acres of well-trimmed, grown-in area.
The armory is protected by an iron golem and a half-a-dozen guards, and stores scrolls that 'burn to bare rock', wands of arcane fire, scrolls that animate undead legions, enchanted ammunition and weapons, and several artifacts.
The gates in the walls are off-set, with murder holes where the road goes through the walls. The walls and towers have ballistae and light ballistae, as well as storage facilities for longbow arrows, ballistae bolts, and even crossbows with ammunition. Many of the projectiles are upgraded with alchemist's fire, in addition to the murder holes full of pots of alchemist's fire.
The Mages' Academy has 300 dedicated guards divided among 9 platoons, with 1/3 of the guards on duty, 1/3 on call, and 1/3 off at any given moment. The guards are broken down into platoons, with a sergeant leading each platoon, and a leftenant leading three platoons, with three platoons on duty during each shift. The Captain of the Guard is a battle-hardened veteran of the War of the Undead and the War of the Four Winds, and appreciates mages and magical tactics.
One of the trainers of the guard is an elven bladesinger known as Elestrion, who is willing to teach anyone the art, so long as their hearts and minds are open to learn.
Captain of the Guard Errol Helmbreaker: He is a slate male of 5'8“ and 190lbs, wearing formidable dwarf-made plate, as well as several rings and an amulet that all make him hard to harm. He bears a greatsword so sharp that it once cut through two ogres in full plate, in one blow. His secondary weapon is a composite longbow that took a roc-hawke down. Errol wears boots with a winged motif on them that allow him to fly, gauntlets that give him incredible strength, and has on his belt potions enough to make many mages weep in envy. And under all the magical items is a battle-hardened, grim-face, never-smiling professional whose one and only vice is combat, combat, and more combat.
An eclectic collection of golems guards the academy, as well, from golem swarms to stone golems, shield golems to iron golems. The most common are the shield guardians, of which there are probably close to seventy.
A myriad of spells protects the academy, as well, from glyphs of warding to explosive runes. The mages and clerics of Lok Magius routinely refresh the spells. The inner facilities are protected from teleportations and the like, save for a special teleportation circle linked to the Silver Gauntlet in the town of Rilan.
'Mage' is a general descriptor for all of those that use the arcane powers. Since the founding of the academy, a number of new rankings have been created to describe the mages within the Rakoran ranking systems. Each ranking receives a specially-made, arcane-infused ring that serves as a signet of the kingdom's designated mages. A circle of arcanists and higher-ranking mages gathers once a year to determine the status of mages that petition for rank, though the king, the archimagus, and the King's Advisor on the Arcane have the authority to grant certain titles on their own. Mages that are not graduates of Lok Magius are often tested by a circle of mages and awarded an equivalent title based off of their skills.
Initiate is a title given to mages that have completed a year of training at Lok Magius. The training includes philosophy, ethics, and other areas of study considered essential to well-balanced, sane, and moral mages.
Aetherist is a title given to mages that receive additional, personalized training beneath a master usually of arcanist ranking. They often travel about the land, learning in person many of the teachings given as fact during their Initiate training. The title of Aetherist is often awarded upon completion of their second year.
Thaumaturgist is a title given to mages that have added or found at least one new item or spell to the general body of knowledge of the arcane. They are also vouch-safed by the clergy and senior mages at Lok Magius. They often specialize in specific fields of the arcane.
Arcanist is a title bestowed upon mages that have added significantly to the body of knowledge of the arcane, or proven themselves exceptionally gifted in both research and field work. The title is not bestowed lightly, and few individuals are considered skilled enough to be awarded the title. Only those of arcanist or higher ranks can sit on a 'circle of mages', which consists of at least a dozen such individuals gathered together in one body.
Magus is a title earned by the most powerful, the most learned, and the most successful of mages. The title can only be given by the ArchiMagus, the King, or the King's Advisor on the Arcane.
ArchiMagus is the title given to the second most senior mage in Rakore, by the king himself. The ArchiMagus is responsible for Lok Magius, and for coordinating the efforts of the mages in Rakore, as well as the search for additional mages elsewhere in the world. The current ArchiMagus is Aegan of Vridara. The former (and only other) ArchiMagus is Brin of Vridara, retired.
The only temple in all the fortress is a general chapel, tentatively dedicated to Agincoth, the Goddess of Magic. Several people question whether she actually died or not, during the Storm Wars, and several debates have arisen over the topic. Regardless, the dozen or so general healers and clerics are led by the elven cleric Lilliana Ravenwind.
Lilliana Ravenwind: She is a sylvan elf of five feet and 85 pounds, with a long and wicked scar going through one eye and down her face. Her hair is raven black, and both eyes are a luminous blue-gray. Lilliana is a dynamic elf maid that enjoys learning about magic, and fiercely protects 'her' mages. Under her white cotton robes, she wears enchanted mithral – and has at her disposal quite a few golems that some believe are powered by the divine, rather than the arcane. Lilliana speaks Elven and Common, and saw considerable combat during the War of the Four Winds, healing as many mages as she could despite the terrors that went on around her. Lilliana had a vision, during one of the battles – and now believes quite firmly in Agincoth, seeing Brigain as Her servant in the grand scheme of things. Most think she went quite mad when she received her scar, but some few have come to realize that with her scarred eye, she not only sees – but occasionally sees Destinies.
The Bad Brew (tavern): Deep in the basement of the main tower lies The Bad Brew. It has several tables for familiars, which routinely engage in discussions about their owners. It also serves what can only nominally be described as ale, as well as special wines and rott-gutt. The privvies have been considerably enchanted by a number of apprentices, and even a few drunken arch mages; patrons are advised to use them with caution. The bar keep is a human known as Camariel Tone.
The bar keep is a sprightly woman named Camariel Tone (whose sister sails for Gideon Enterprises), who delights in displays of magic and drinking with her patrons.
Camariel Tone: A medium-sized woman with brown hair and brown eyes, Camariel has a sister that sails for Gideon Enterprises. She delights in displays of magic, and enjoys drinking with her patrons; despite her average appearance, she can drink most anyone but a dwarf under the table. She brews her own beers and makes her own wines, and does both quite well. Because of her position and working around inebriated mages, she wears a ring on one finger that protects her from most magics. Camariel has a sharp eye, and can often spot trouble brewing before it happens.
The Hoard: Lok Magius is perhaps the one place in all the world that magical items can be freely bought and sold. The Hoard is run by a huge barbarian from the Tarsis Forest, known as Magus Thedlar Doomar. Thedlar towers over most people at six feet and six inches, and dresses in sleeveless shirts and loose-fitting pants. A massive girdle and thick boots complete his barbaric appearance, which Thedlar uses to his advantage. Though he gives people the impression that he is a simple barbarian, he is anything but – for he is a powerful sorcerer with the blood of demons roaring through his veins. Inside the well-guarded Hoard, one can purchase many of the magical items created by Lok Magius, as well sell or identify stranger items. Thedlar likes to haggle, usually charging twice the list price for items, before eventually 'settling' on the list price. Good hagglers get a discount! Items that cost more than 250,000sp, or custom-made items, are available only for those individuals that have accomplished some task for Lok Magius, Rakore, Gideon Enterprises, the Baron-and-the-Bishop, or for similar actions.
Cooks: The lead cook is Theanna Ho, a Sholin woman as large as her kitchen staff. Theanna fears no man and nothing, brandishing a huge wooden spoon like a scepter and a mace, while drawing smiles from her staff and gasps from her patrons.
Grounds: Kendemon is the lead groundskeeper, and head of the local druids. A sylvan elf with many years on him, Kendemon is a quiet, gentle spirit, whose staff both respect and fear him. One Seeker that snuck into Lok Magius was eaten by Kendemon's favorite tree.
Laboratories: The custodian of the extensive laboratories is Danaka, a Toomaran woman with a passion for teaching and glassmaking.
Libraries: The Head Librarian is Magus Selera an Hakiel, an older Al Fahiman woman. Selera quizzes anyone who enters the library, and if they fail to answer whatever question she poses, the Lore Master bars them from entry for a day. Example questions include:
Stables: Standenar is both the farrier and the stable master for Lok Magius. An older Toomaran man, he enjoys high quality barding and horse-items – particularly magical ones.
Staff & Steward: The steward is Krevlikair Arthmodine, a Vridaran-trained servant of the highest caliber. When his last client was slain by the Inquisition in Trevitt, Krevlikair calmly boarded the next ship west to serve the mages that fight the Inquisition. He is the soul of discretion, and rumored to be telepathic, compelling the staff to do their duties with arched eyebrows and coughs.