This is one of my favorite set pieces. Every time I run a campaign in the Dalifan area, I hope the players will stumble across the Home of Merdran. While the old wizard would be a great boon to them, I’ve never been able to work him in as a vital campaign element. He’s just to powerful an asset to give them for free.
The home is built with the porch and front door facing a pond high on the face of Mount Durn, on the side almost opposite Dalifan. From there, he keeps an eye on the abandoned manor from which the devil of the Rotating Labyrinth had been released.
Merdran spends much of his time in his library, two stories high and partly buried in the mountain slope at the back of the home. The library is extensive with books floor to ceiling and a sliding ladder. He keeps a fair sized summoning circle on one side which he uses to call upon devils for knowledge or to summon elemental scouts. Next to his desk he keeps a magical globe that is the most faithful representation of Trethal in existence. He has constructed it with the help of the god Plieser and his scrying. It also tracks powerful figures with pricks of light. More detailed maps of important regions fill the shelves behind the globe.
On his desk are mostly tools for the study of magic:
- Quill of Arcane Knowledge-This semi-intelligent writing utensil has a low intelligence, but high levels in Arcane Knowledge and Magical Intuition. It can speak to point out errors and aide in writing spells.
- Steran’s Translation Stone-Though Merdran knows many languages, he sometimes uses this gift from a college companion to translate languages he doesn’t know. It works by making the language appear to be in the common tongue when passed over it.
- Rewritable Spell Scrolls-At an increased cost, spells can be written on these scrolls and stored for later rather than cast. They are reusable. While this method of casting is slower and more expensive, Merdran uses them for testing long spells that would be tiring to cast or hard to memorize, at least while experimenting.
- Merdran’s Study Companions-Statues of a frog and an owl carved in Merdran’s youth as an apprentice in college. They now serve as bookends for the tomes he keeps on his desk. He has, with Plieser’s help, enchanted them with speech, intelligence, and knowledge of magic. They sometimes suggest spell compositions, but mostly help him keep track of his books. They also warn him of intruders should he fall asleep at his desk.
- Dagger of Vigor-An ornate, +3 Dagger that brings its wielder to full wakefulness upon touch. Merdran keeps it on the edge of his desk.
His bedroom (accessible directly from the library through a hidden door or through the front) is mostly neglected, though he tries to get back there to feed the fish and empty his mug, at least. Still there are useful resources kept there:
- Mug of Eternity-An enchanted mug on Merdran’s bedside table that produces a pint of water with the rising of the sun each day. It will overflow if not emptied, which happens all to frequently, warping the table more each year.
- Lamp of Presence-A lamp on the bedside table that lights up when the room is entered and does not go out until a head rests on the pillow.
- Potion Making Station-Merdran keeps potion ingredients and several potions on his desk, though he doesn’t dabble much anymore. It’s mostly the basics: eye of newt, rabbit’s feet and ears, bat wing, grasshopper legs, etc. Some of the potions are useless, or worse, malignant.
He also keeps a story book on his bedroom desk (among other discarded books and scraps of paper) that contains accounts of some of the oldest legends of Trethal.
While Merdran’s kitchen, dining area, and food stores are perfectly mundane, some of his favorite magical toys reside on the porch overlooking the pond. Most obvious is the Veary Scope, a large and heavy telescope designed by Veary, one of Merdran’s school companions. The Veary Scope has a number of settings, each allowing it to see a different thing, including enchantments, magical activity, particular elements, life, the undead, infrared, ultraviolet, good, evil, and so forth. It is also a very good astronomical telescope.
Also on the porch is a small podium at which Merdran stands to scry. It is littered with interesting toys:
- Papers of the Globe-Magical parchement whereon Merdran can implement changes to the magical globe in the library. He writes on the paper in a code he invented to convey the information. Repeated errors or misuse of the papers awakens the Small Defender.
- Small Defender-A small granite statuette of a winged gargoyle. It comes to life in reaction the papers of the globe being misused or removed from the podium, as well as meddling with the pond. It is capable of swift flight, takes damage as if made of granite (because it is) and attacks with a small sword counting as a +4 dagger with +10 To-Hit and Anticipation X. It accepts sincere apologies, but abhors evil.
- Orb of Imperviosity-A small sphere that shields the podium from wind, rain, snow, and sun in a 6 foot radius.
Merdran is a level 31 Enchanter, having spent a brief time as an Illusionist, but mostly as a Magic-user. However, much of his experience has been turned to study and learning. He is not particularly powerful as a battle mage given his level. Still, he is among the mightiest and most knowledgeable wizards in Trethal.
What did you think of this little building? Let us know in the comments below.