Workshop Codename: Stewart

So, for the life of me, I cannot remember who on Twitter it was who prompted Stewart. To preface this you must know that the concept was achieving undead status (probably lichedom) in order to complete an ever-growing list of unfinished projects. The idea resonated with me on a personal level. Both as someone who likes to play mages and someone who has an increasingly large list of projects in the works. I could easily picture a lich of a less nefarious nature, sequestered away and working on projects. Let’s talk about the man only known as….Stewart.

Some Time Ago

Picture this: a wizard sitting in a large study full of desks, chairs, and tables. Each of these is covered in books, notes, and other trinkets. The wizard works furiously over one of the tables, runs to the shelves, grabs a tome, and …. stops. He drops the tome to the floor as his head shoots up with a look of sudden revelation. Running over to a different table he takes furious notes before slowing and mumbling to himself about a partially disassembled device sitting in a plush velvet chair nearby, covered in parchments.

This is Stewart….something. It has been too long since this is what his workshop looked like. So long that the rest of his name and title has been lost along with half of the projects he happened to be working on in that moment. It does not matter. Titles were for those who needed a label to imply power. A powerful wizard, Stewart was without such needs. But he did still talk to folk sometimes and a name is helpful for that.

Stewart is the mage who could have been top of his class. He is the sorcerer who could destroy a city on a whim. The wizard could lead a country or bring one to ruin. If only he had the time and commitment. Instead he toiled the hours away working on “projects” that he never seemed to finish. In fact Stewart has never finished.

Another Kind Of Lich

Most liches are made so that they might live forever, to discover ever more power. Schemes withing schemes working in the background of centuries so that they can do what they want, how they want, and when they want. Stewart held no such megalomania, no malevolent dreams, no need to hold power over others. He simply wanted more time.

Image from Lawful Indifferent’s The Good Lich’s Story

Stewart is a lich that most people leave alone. Imagine a lone mage with a lone tower, out in the middle of nowhere. His power inspires fear in most people and keep kingdoms, rulers, tax collectors, and most others away from his door step except when in dire need. Most are unable to get the lich’s attention and most trying to never return. This propagates the fear but has nothing to do with Stewart’s direct action. Instead it is Stewart’s tower that holds the danger and the curiosity of visitors that ends them long before he can even learn they’re visiting

A Dungeon Itself

Stewart’s tower would be a classic Gygaxian dungeon unto itself simply due to the manner in which the mage himself lives. Bigger on the inside, as these things are, there is room after room and level after level full of all the strange things a lich might have. Golems, alchemical labs, other constructs, bound fiends, massive magical devices, shelves of tomes, and so much more. That’s the fun of Stewart.

No one knows how old he his but he has been working on projects for as long as anyone can remember and his tower only grows to accommodate these unfinished ideas. I imagine rooms set in stasis so that he might pick up a project right where he left off without worry of degradation. A pit fiend locked in a room because it was never unsummoned because Stewart forgot about the other questions he needed answered long ago. Colonies of strange creatures that escaped experiment or visitation generations ago, inhabiting whole levels. The only constant in this dungeon is that Stewart is somewhere, everything is dangerous, and he never finished anything himself. At least anything he did finish never saw purpose applied to it.

Rooms You Might Stumble Upon

d10 Room In Stewart’S Tower
1 A magical tornado just forming and beginning to throw papers around locked in stasis to be dealt with later.
2 A complex alchemical process running through countless pipes of glass, still working but at a crawl.
3 Parts from a dozen suits of armor, each animated but nothing put together properly.
4 An entire room of objects that are mimics that are tame but eager to be fed.
5 A portion of the Astral Sea with a long chain attached to the threshold dangling into the distance.
6 A mushroom farm that has not been cared for but is still growing, poor books.
7 A homunculus sitting on a chair in the corner who asks is time-out is over yet.
8 A glass-walled room with a enormous giant ant farm behind the glass.
9 A library in disarray, a bouncing ball moving at high speed around the room without end.
10 Completely empty 20 foot by 20 foot by 20 foot room.

I can only imagine this being a hot spot for adventurers. Powerful people seeking the lich’s audience but not wanting to risk the visit themselves. Others looking for relics that Stewart would never know was missing. Treasure throughout the tower for the taking. So long as you can survive…

Oh and if you do meet Stewart. One of the most absent minded, distracted, almost helpful NPCs you could wish for!

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