The fair of Adurath boasts a many contests of skill and strength. The most famous is the Arcane Challenge?.
The Arcane Challenge
The Arcane Challenge has been held here for at least 20 years, and has become wildly popular among the attendees. The challenge, held on the first day of their fair, consists of three rounds. Each is based primarily on speed, although the three observing judges have the power to award discretionary bonus points for style and finesse. Magic items are allowed, but rarely earn points for style. No one may to cast spells on or in any way affect the other contestants or their actions. Anyone seen doing so is immediately disqualified and fined 100 gp for the town coffers.
In the first round, each contestant must destroy a huge boulder rolled down from the hills. Each boulder measures 12 feet across.
In the second round, a peacock feather is placed atop a 100-foot-tall wooden tower erected just for the fair. The tower is just wide enough for one person to stand atop it. The winner of this round is the contestant to retrieve the feather and bring it to a judge first.
The third round consists of a metal needle hidden within a haystack. All the contestants have their own haystack and needle to find. The first contestant to find his or her needle wins the round.
Each round is worth 10 points for first place, 6 points for second place, and 2 points for third place, although round two has only a first place (only one contestant can get the feather). Up to 3 points per round might be awarded for style.
The prize is a special magical trophy statuette of a wizard that is animated (as a Tiny object) to move as if casting a spell, and a fully charged wand of detect magic.
The Arcane Challenge has drawn two powerful mages in addition to the local Stallis Silvereyes. Stallis hopes to blast the boulder with lightning bolts in round one (her weakest event), use a teleport spell in round two (levitating down from the tower after she has the feather), and in round three hopes to find the needle with her secret weapon: a rod of metal and mineral detection.
Evran the Master Enchanter, a 10th-level human wizard, plans to deal with round one by summoning thoqquas to destroy the stone. He plans to use a fly spell to reach the top of the tower in round two, and a gust of wind to help with round three.
Vanorunca is a 12th-level gnomish sorcerer. She will use a pair of disintegrate spells in round one, a fly spell in round two, and a locate object spell in round three. (As a side note, Vanorunca is a descendant of Harseth the Neverlost, and would not like it at all if she learned that anyone had found his tomb and planned to plunder it.)
Running the Contest
If the PCs get involved in the Arcane Challenge, each round is held one hour apart. Roll initiative for each wizard or sorcerer involved (Stallis has a +1 bonus, Evran a +2 bonus, and Vanorunca has a +6 bonus). The NPCs cast the spells listed above. The PC(s) can cast whatever spells or use whatever items he or she desires. If there is no PC influence in the contest, Vanorunca wins.