Tuesday, February 9, 2016

O! Master, my master!

In the 10th Age, wizards need masters. Those wizards who don't have them are generally from the now-defunct Orvean Academy or the College of Wizardry of Dorlan. The College is a separate beast, but even on its grounds individual masters take control of the training of entire groups of students. The experience of every apprentice is different; many masters are cruel or cold, looking upon their apprentices as wayward children who will one day grow up to supplant them. Some are kindly and loving. But a master is like a parent: they choose you, you don't choose them.

There's always the option for a DM to make a master with a custom approach, and that is probably recommended. However, I love tables and so does the internet. I'll probably wind up using these for a while and altering them again. Without further ado: the 10th Age Random Master Generator.

01-70     Same gender as the apprentice
71-00     Opposite gender from the apprentice

01-60    Same alignment as the apprentice
61-00    Use the random alignment chart below!

Random Alignment
01-25    Neutral Evil
26-35    Chaotic Evil
36-45    Lawful Evil
46-56    Chaotic Good
57-76    Neutral Good
77-87    Lawful Good
88-90    True Neutral
91-95    Lawful Neutral
96-00    Chaotic Neutral (look out!)

Major Personality Traits (1 roll)
1. Paranoiac. Your master does not trust any other mages. He wards his spellbooks, constructs golems to guard his tower, places powerful spells upon his doors, and does other sneaky things. He may watch you by clairvoyance. It is unlikely that he trusts you not to grow powerful enough to kill him. It is very unlikely that he will teach you spells beyond the third level.

2. Wronged. Your master was once in a falling out or a great duel with another wizard. He bears a grudge against this mage. Talking about his rival will make him angry and animated, and much of his energy is expended in trying to find ways to best him. This includes the hoarding of magical items and overprotectiveness of his apprentice. Also, beware: the other wizard may target you as a way to get to your master!

3. Mystic. Your master is a strange man, inclined to naval-gazing and bouts of mystic insight. He is obsessed with the immaterial world and often seems reclusive or withdrawn. There is a fair chance that any time you approach your master, he will be too concerned with some minor trivium of philosophy, theology, or arcanology to respond to you. His spell list will be strange and bizarre, focusing on non-combat magic.

4. War Wizard. Your master is a bastion of combative spells, and often finds himself embroiled in the conflicts of local folk. His spell list is heavy on things like lightning bolt and fireball, and he is well known in the region. You may be the target of adventurers trying to prove their worth and your master will be gone for long stretches, fighting in distant wars.

5. Stormcrow. Your master is a herald of bad news and grim advice. He is hated locally (and maybe hated internationally) by rulers for the way in which he normally appears just before the onset of trouble. He is intensely interested in the goings-on of every nation nearby and constantly inserts himself into their politics. He may send you out to "right wrongs" or to avert disasters that he foresees.

6. Sickly. Your master is beset either by the onset of many small illnesses or by one great illness that will not leave him. He coughs up blood, spends a good deal of time stricken down by sickness, and generally finds himself confined to his home. He is hesitant to travel abroad and spends a good deal of time researching ways to cure himself.

7. Boastful. Your master is too free with his boasts, and thinks of himself as more potent than he truly is. This means he is frequently getting into pissing matches with local lords, other wizards, adventurers, etc. Adventurers abroad know of him, and generally find you unpleasant because of your association with him. However, it is possible to use this boastfulness to your advantage; all and sundry are likely to know that he is powerful enough to defend you if the need arises.

8. Cowardly. Your master is a coward. He rarely ventures outside of his tower without warding, guarding, and summoning spells at his command. He often wastes his funds on groups of mercenaries to protect him when he travels. He will be unwilling to aid you in any of your endeavors that might endanger him. His spell list is light on combat spells but heavy on illusions.

9. Cursed. Your master is the subject of a powerful curse, whether bestowed upon him by a demon, a djinn, or some other extraplanar creature. He is afraid of incurring the thing's might again, and thus his spell list is heavy in magic that deals with other planes, and he is knowledgable about them... however, he will often require strange and exotic ingredients from you, or dispatch you to the far ends of Arunia to search for secrets.

10. Melancholic. Your master is depressive. He is easily discouraged, and finds himself confined to his tower for long stretches. Rousing him from his depression can be a task in and of itself, and he rarely musters the energy to aid you.

11. Labyrinth-Builder. Your master has a desire to build and test labyrinths and dungeons, to populate them with creatures, and to fill them with traps. He is often to be found expanding the dangerous wilds around his tower, and spends much of his money to hire up engineers and stonemasons to continue constructing his elaborate traps.

12. Recluse. Your master despises the big cities and most visitors. He lives out in the wilds, and guards his privacy greedily. Once you leave him, it will be difficult to return. His magic is mostly focused on esoteric ends: spells that interact with nature, stargazing, divining, etc. He may be a powerful war-wizard as well, but either way he is not free in sharing his magic.

13. Parental. Your master looks after you like an absentee parent. He is likely to provide you with help whenever he can. He may create magical items for you, or rush to your aid if you're in trouble. However, he will absolutely not let you use his library nor will he teach you new spells; he believes that you must come to these things on your own, in time.

14. Abusive. Your master is a classical abuser. He treats you horribly, almost like a slave, and sends you out to do his bidding in the world. He values your life lowly, but will teach you new magic for free up to a point.

15. Manic Obsessive. Your master is sometimes prone to bouts of manic energy, focusing all of his thoughts and works on a single project until it is complete. You cannot sway him from his goals, which may be incomprehensible and generally do not include you. He is often too busy to interact with you.

16. Planeswalker. Your master is adept at traveling between planes. He often leaves for long stretches of time without telling you. He may return mysteriously with little warning. His magic is strange and powerful, but of a ken that he rarely shares with you. He may allow you to inherit his tower when he finally decides that the planes are his true home.

17. Pedantic. Your master is a historian or semiotician, and very proud of the fact. He is persnickety and precise, deeply invested in making certain every little detail is right. He may criticize you on the smallest misstep and is generally very withholding with his praise. It is difficult to do well in his eyes, though his rewards for satisfying his high bar are generally quite high.

18. Hardwisdom. Your master believes the best lesson is the harshest. He has shut you out from his tower and refuses to speak with you or give you aid until you are mighty enough to be his peer. You may never see him again.

19. Grandfatherly. Your master is aged and crotchety. He expects complete loyalty and devotion, but is also harsh and kind in turns. He allows you use of his library, teaches you spells when it suits him, and generally asks for your assistance in his projects.

20. Explosive. Your master is extremely angry and volatile. He may lash out at you at any time. When he isn't dangerous, he is generally quite nice. He sees himself as reasonable and fair in every way.

Minor Traits (1d6 rolls)
1. One-eyed.
2. Hunchback.
3. Libidinous.
4. Drooler.
5. Limper.
6. Fidgety.
7. Dandy.
8. Noble.
9. Grasper.
10. Otherworldly.
11. Fearsome.
12. Wall-eyed.
13. Badly Disfigured.
14. Masked.
15. Truenamed.
16. Beleaguered.
17. Victimized.
18. Wealthy.
19. Official Position.
20. Part of an Order.

Magical Research Interests (1d4-1, minimum 1)
1. Arcanology
2. School of Magic (random)
3. Astrology
4. Planology
5. Demonology
6. Any Sage Knowledge

There may be more to come in the future, such as a table of wizardly backgrounds.


  1. This is great stuff! Thank you! Useful for making some fun NPCs too. Could you expand on why Wizards have apprentices in 10th age? Some of these chaps seem pretty antisocial. Are they really worth the risk / inconvenience just to have someone to help out around the tower? Or is there a social pressure to develop your own Tradition like a rabbinic school?

    1. Indeed! The decision to train an apprentice is one of the most harrowing in a 10th Age wizard's life. The pressure comes both from the traditional social urge (all wizards today were trained by masters) as well as from a semi-parental leaning. Wizards in general do not procreate--having children and significant others would be dangerous to them, and those who do choose to do so put their families at significant risk.

      Further, wizards tend to be an arrogant bunch, and relationships with "mere mortals," no matter how well-intentioned, generally do not persist.

      This leaves wizards with only one option on passing on their knowledge, research, and Art. The desire to have an apprentice to inherit one's legacy is in direct conflict with the desire to live forever... but most wizards recognize at a certain age that if they are ever going to teach a student, they must do so long before they entire the final declining years of senility in their lives. Thus, they expose themselves to the danger that the apprentice will be overly greedy and attempt to take the tower and library before their time.

  2. This is great stuff! Thank you! Useful for making some fun NPCs too. Could you expand on why Wizards have apprentices in 10th age? Some of these chaps seem pretty antisocial. Are they really worth the risk / inconvenience just to have someone to help out around the tower? Or is there a social pressure to develop your own Tradition like a rabbinic school?

  3. This is really cool. Thanks for sharing this, Josh.

  4. Nicely done. Useful in D&D type games and in many others as well.

    Also the master/apprentice tradition is a big part of my own gaming worlds so I'll get extra use from it.

  5. Thanks guys. More charts and tables to come, with any hope.