1354 DR Blackstaff Tower Faction
“A spell uncast that might have been put to good benefit is as useless as a spell wastefully cast.”
A network of former and current apprentices of Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun, and those the Blackstaff values as allies and friends.
A new but surprisingly influential group, Blackstaff trains his apprentices to do more than wield magic. He inculcates in them with his own philosophy: that mages ought to be using magic as a common tool, but also to protect those without the Art from those who have it. As such, Blackstaff's apprentices (current and former) very frequently present themselves in opposition to those who use their magic to take advantage of common or non-magical folk.
Goals and Philosophy
Overall, the goals and philosophy of the Blackstaff are simple: see that magic does not become the sole province of the powerful and rich, ensure its proliferation throughout the world, and act against those who would use slavery to enslave, tyrannize, or kill others.
Blackstaff's apprentices are expected, above all things, to do the following:
- To further the proliferation of arcane magic into the hands of those without access to it.
- To protect those without magic from those mages who would take advantage of them.
- To assist Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun in his goals and aims.
By and large, Blackstaff's apprentices tend to their studies and engage in exploration and experimentation intended to further their understanding of arcane lore. As they are often deeply involved in such things, they are also in positions to note when mages and others use their magic tyrannically or to take advantage of others, and often to take steps to stop them.
Quests undertaken by agents of the Blackstaff might include the following:
- Investigate magicians rumored or feared to be using their magic to others' detriment.
- Uncover lost magical secrets in ruins or the lairs of monsters.
- Assist other magicians in their endeavors toward acquiring magical lore.
Apprentices of Blackstaff Tower in good standing might receive the following benefits:
- Friends at the Tower: Rank 1+. Even those who are not active apprentices know they can find friends willing to aid them in some capacity at Blackstaff Tower. They can usually find a wizard or other arcane spellcaster willing to cast most wizard spells of up to 2nd level with ease, and at no cost (unless the spell has a cost).
- Friend of the Blackstaff: Rank 1+. Though it doesn't mean free and ready access to powerful spellcasting on your behalf, your friendship with Khelben does ensure his willingness to hear you out and to possibly leverage his influence in your favor.
- Tower Accommodations: Rank 3+. Full-time apprentices are given quarters and meals equivalent to Modest Lifestyle, but it comes with the expectation of a great deal of hands-on learning and apprentices' tasks around the Tower as well.
- Apprentice's Library: Rank 3+. You have a fine library suitable for most of the magical research you might need. This library is considered of Good Quality for Lore (Arcane), Formula, and Schema research actions, and Modest Quality for Lore (History) research actions. It also has the following bonuses:
- Extra-planar Lore: Gain a +5% to all Arcane Research involving the planes, and a 5% to all Formula and Schema Research involving magics that transport one through the planes.
- Elvish Sorcery Lore: Gain a +8% to all Arcane and History Research involving elven magic, and a +5% to Formula and Schema Research involving rare elven spells and magic items.
- Abjuration Lore: Gain a +4% to Formula Research for any abjuration spell.
- Staves Lore: Gain a +10% to Arcane Research involving magical staves, and a +10% to Formula and Schema Research involving staves in some capacity.
- Signature Magic: Rank 3+. In addition to gaining access to the Blackstaff Apprentice Feat, you may also learn any of the Blackstaff's signature spells as part of normal level advancement or research.
- Affinity for the Tower: Rank 5+. Your continued affinity for the magical power of Blackstaff Tower means that you can continue to be attuned to the Tower's magic without it consuming one of your normal magic item attunements. If you also have the Blackstaff Apprentice Feat, you can "bundle" attunement with a magical staff into this free attunement slot as well.
- Tower Message: Rank 6+ Your attunement to the tower grants you additional magic. While you are in the Tower, you are considered to have the message spell prepared. You can cast this cantrip and have it reach any occupant of Blackstaff Tower. You even have the option of choosing to allow all attuned occupants to hear the message at the same time.
- The Master's Library: Rank 7+. Khelben's most trusted assistants have access to his personal library, a vast repository located somewhere in the Tower (its exact location an oft-gossiped about topic by younger apprentices). This library is considered of Legendary quality for Lore (Arcane) and Formula research actions, and of Impressive Quality for Lore (History), Lore (Religion), and Schema research actions. It also doubles the miscellaneous bonuses of the Apprentice's Library.
- The Blackstaff: Rank 10. Khelben sits at the pinnacle of this organization, with incredible magical power and influence at his beck and call, and a small network of students - both former and current - willing to lend him help.
Blackstaff Apprentice (Feat)
Prerequisite: Wizard levels • Blackstaff Tower Faction (Rank 3+)
You have trained as an apprentice of Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun. His skill in magic is regarded Realms-wide, and many well-known mages learned their Art at his tower in the city of Waterdeep.
- You gain proficiency in one of the following skills: Arcana, History or Religion.
- You may "store" a spell you can prepare as a wizard into a staff focus you own; this spell may not be higher in level than your Intelligence bonus.
- For all intents and purposes, this spell is considered to be a spell you have prepared for as long as you are in physical contact with your staff.
- You may change out the spell contained in the staff during a short rest.
- You have a +1 bonus to AC while you wield a staff in (at least) one hand.
- You can "bundle" your attunement to Blackstaff Tower into attunement with a magical staff. Being attuned to both the Tower and the staff count as just a single "attunement."
- Khelben "Blackstaff" Arunsun: Archmage of Waterdeep (Rank 10). The master of the Tower is an archmage of immense magical power and political influence.
The Tower Apprentices
- Evendur Husteem: The Noble Abjurer (Rank 4). x
- Ahmadar: The Dwarven Necromancer (Rank 3). A former thief-taker and regular at the Crawling Spider where his mother worked at the time, Ahmadar is one of the first of the dwarven people of the modern age to develop the ability to wield and control arcane magic. Shortly after discovering his ability, the Blackstaff approached him and invited him to become one of his apprentices. Since then he has traveled from Waterdeep to Silverymoon, into Undermountain and Skullport and spent the winter months at Citadel Adbar where he and his mother were recognized as the heirs of Clan Darkfell.
- Demisante: The Unicorn Girl (Rank 3). A half-elf, worshipper of Lurue, and former thief, Khelben took Demisante in as an apprentice at the urging of Ahmadar. She has blossomed after a year or so of house arrest, and is now quite excited to continue her learning.
- Danilo Thann: The Gadfly (Rank 3). Fourteen and precocious beyond all reason, Danilo is Khelben's nephew. Thus far, though, he has shown only minimal interest in the Art - he finds carousing and song to be far more to his taste, although he has demonstrated some basic bardic magic.
- Aleena Paladinstar: The Paladin's Daughter (Rank 2). The daughter of Lord Piergeiron Paladinson of Waterdeep, Aleena is a tall young woman with a very promising future as a wizard ahead of her.
- Honibar Deros: The Novice (Rank 1). The newest of the apprentices, Honibar does not yet have quarters at the Tower. He was referred by someone Khelben trusts a great deal, but is still proving himself.
Allies of the Tower
- Glim: x (Rank x). x
- Ciro Melshimber: x (Rank x). x
Former Apprentices & Agents
- Malchor Harpell: The Longsaddle Mage (Rank 9). One of Khelben's most trusted apprentices and dearest friends, Malchor is a member of the Harpell family of Longsaddle, though he dwells in a tower in Neverwinter Wood. Though he departed formal apprenticeship with Khelben in 1339 DR, he is still an occasional visitor to this day.
- Savengriff: Crazed Venturer (Rank 8). A skilled adventurer wizard originally of the Company of Crazed Venturers. He now wanders the North, some say as an agent of the Harpers. He departed the Tower in 1344 DR.
- Maliantor: "Blackstaff's Eyes" (Rank 8). A secretive and battle-worthy wizardess who left the Tower in 1351 DR, Maliantor is generally agreed to be one of Khelben's main active agents.
- Ilistar Maeringuld: (Rank 7). A Tethyrian wizard who left the Tower in 1342 DR, Ilistar continues to remain in contact with Khelben.
- Nain Keenwhistler: (Rank 7). A former member of the Company of Crazed Venturers and apprentice of Khelben's. Nain has been killed and resurrected many times during his time as an adventurer, but has retired to his tower, Naingate, in the Sea Ward of Waterdeep.
- Kiirma Blackmane: Wanderer (Rank 2). A former apprentice who remains on good terms with Khelben, Kiirma is a half-elven rogue/wizard, known to be in Amn of recent. She departed the Tower in 1349 DR.
- Achemel Zalath: Almraiven Guildmage (Rank 1). Though he departed in 1352 DR, Achemel carried away many good lessons which stood him in good stead. He has risen to a noteworthy position in the Guild Arcane of Almraiven.
- Dran Wands: Noble Dilettante (Rank 2). A cousin of Khelben's and member of the Wands noble family, Dran often interacts with Khelben on his family's behalf. He departed apprenticeship at the tower in 1353 DR.
- Aelandelia Swiftleaf: Weaver Enchantress (Rank 1). Another apprentice who departed in 1353 DR, Aelandelia maintains cordial but distant interactions with Khelben and his Tower, though many of its appentices are still her friends. She is an enchantress who is part of the Weavers' Guild of Waterdeep.