The House of Ancient Stone is a large building, standing nearly thirty feet tall, and capped with a dome half again as tall. The rough hewn stone seems like it has actually grown up out of the rocky earth rather than having been built by the hands of men. Inside, the building is 72 feet wide. The outer wall is lined with store rooms, supply closets and the other basic necessities of daily life. THe open center serves as a stable for horses, and the other livestock of the school.
There is a stout wooden ceiling that seperates the building into two floors. The second floor is the chambers of the handful of students and consors who are apprenticed or otherwise employed by the school. The center is open to the very apex of the great dome. Strange murals and statues linger on the ceiling and on the columns that hold the structure aloft. All through the building is a strong sense of antiquity.
Via a secret door, one can gain access to the subterranean level of the House of Ancient Stone. Beneath the veil of the earth lie things that should not be, the magically preserved corpses of great monsters, a library of arcane and divine magic, and a catacomb of the bodies of former magi of the school. Each body has been specially preserved by rituals of magic and mummification. Deeper still lies the great cistern that supplies the House with its water.
Nearly 1200 years ago Balthus Algolmel decided that he wanted to pass on his legacy of sorcery through a special school. His health failing him, he wandered for nearly a decade, often times spending months at a time resting from the disease that eluded any magical attempt at healing. Finally he found the location. The valley was broad and deep, and there was a store of water beneath the earth. It was isolated, and would not draw great numbers of people to shelter under it’s eaves.
He drew nigh to the ruins of fallen Amakar, a city built on tenets of sorcery, yet laid low by their arrogance. He ordered his minions, hired and summoned, to move the stones. From the palaces and towers of the Princes of Amakar he built his school. He stocked the library with their books and his own. He ordered rare creatures to be preserved for study and identification. Within a scope of 2 years, the House of Ancient Stone was built.
On his deathbed he blessed the structure with his magic, and gave his first student the task of performing the task of mummifying his body after death. The first two centuries of the school were a meager affair. Few knew of the place, and its resources were thin. The next five hundred years were a time of tumultuous growth. For the first time, the House was full.
By its 700th year, the House had to turn away students who had traveled often hundreds of mile to apply for apprenticeship. World events changed so that by the 1000th year, the house was once again half empty. Things have been running thin, but in the last few decades membership has been steadily increasing again.
The House of Ancient Stone is unique in that fewer than half of the administrators are human. Balthus still on occassion walks the halls of his school, mainly at night. His desire to see the school succed prevented him from moving on after he died, and thus he wanders the hallways as a ghost. Some students consider a chance meeting with Balthus to be a auspicious event worthy of celebrating. The other staff includes a bound demon, several elementals serving both as teachers and as ambassadors from the elemental courts. Last and certainly not least is a well spoken unicorn well versed in the arts of abjuration, conjuration and healing magics.
Fewer than a score of magi graduate from the House of Ancient Stone on any given year. Most continue their studies for a year or three before moving out of the School. During this time they often serve as assistants to the resident magi, or as tutors to their former classmates. These magi who graduate are often given a wide berth, as they recognize no kingdom or nation as their own. They remain neutral in such affairs, yet their mastery of potent magics and the lore of the Old World make them sought after as advisors, viziers, and leaders.
The majority of Alumni are cunning and strong people, inclined to changing reality to suit their wills. As such they are strongly opposed to the Civic Order of Upright Magi and other groups who would presume authority over all magi. A good number are considered ‘evil’ by the outside world, but this is evil only in terms of human compassion. The School has no patience for those who would worship demons, or conspire to destroy creation.
Graduation Day - A group of newly graduated Magi decide to demonstrate their powers in a vulgar way. They cause the general damage of a mad wizard by summoning rampaging monsters, bewitching and transmuting the locals, and other things of high power vandalism.
A Bad Seed - A mage who has long been opposed to the PCs approaches them with an offer of truce until a third party can be defeated. Both the evil mage and the third party (general plan to destroy the world type) graduated from the House of Ancient Stone and the ‘evil’ magi doesnt want the world to be destroyed, and the name of the school to be drug through the mud.
The Skulls - The PCs discover than there is a conspiracy in the government with several key members having graduated from the House of Ancient Stone. What is their sinister plan, and can the PCs stop it?