19 May 2012

NPC Profiles: The D&D Animated Series: Presto the Magician

It is important to bear in mind that magical forces that brought the "gang" to Mystara, along with the extremely potent incantations of their "totem" items give the heroes their abilities. Class and level are assigned to make sense of saving throws, hit points, and so on, but in some ways, these guys just don't fit into the game as proper examples of their class. It's best to just treat them as unique creatures and not worry too much about tweaking them to adhere completely to the rules.

"Presto" the Magician

7th Lvl Magic User , Lawful
Str 11
Dex 9
Con 13
Int 17
Wis 15
Cha 12

AC 6
HP 24

Aside from his green Wizard's Robe +3 (acts as a Ring of Protection +3 for AC and Saves) and the Hat of Many Spells, Presto carries the usual rations, supplies and gear for a magic user type adventurer, except a spellbook. His totem item, the Hat of Many Spells, grants him all the abilities of a 7th level magic user, and also enables him to 'mimic' normal spellcasting, but he has yet to actual acquire a spellbook and learn any spells to cast traditionally.

Although he is a magic user while trapped in Mystara, Presto's spellcasting ability is somewhat limited by the fact that he was not trained in an academy or apprenticeship, like most members of his class are. He has the normal allotment of spells per day, but until he gains a spellbook, and can master the essential spell Read Magic to begin expanding his magical arsenal, his selection of spells is "limited" essentially to the abilities of the Hat (see the item description below). Although the Hat's powers are effectively unlimited, its use is risky and not certain to succeed, so any PC magic user, elf or wicca that can teach him more about spells and magic in Mystara will earn a strong friend and ally.

In the real world, Albert is the typical geek. Short and scrawny, he's also more than a bit clumsy and a total failure at most athletic activities. He is a smart kid though, and has a huge imagination, most of which is occupied by his fascination with magic. Real world stage magic, that is. He's never really gotten good at it, but his constant pestering of his friends to help try out his latest card trick or sleight of hand illusion has earned him the teasing nickname "Presto". Whether he realized the negative connotation or not, he's embraced the name, and only rarely refers to himself as Albert anymore.

His interests made Presto the natural choice for the magic user role in the party, and its one he revels in, though he's a bit frustrated because he sees all around what magic can accomplish in Mystara, but he has yet to really master the basics and start learning "the really neat stuff!" He's not quite as clingy and dependent on the others as he leads on, in fact he actually kisses up to Hank and the girls because he doesn't really know that they like him for who he is, not just because he goes along with whatever they want. Presto and Eric get on each other's nerves, and although he genuinely likes the kid, Presto sometimes forgets that Bobby is so much younger, and gets frustrated with the lack of a shared perspective.

As mentioned above, Presto's biggest goal, aside from getting home (or, maybe even surpassing that? He is the most likely to actually enjoy a life in Mystara if he can become a competent magician.) is learning the basics of magic use, so that he can start using the spells he sees and hears about without subjecting himself to the whims of the Hat of Many Spells. He'll try and buddy up with any non-hostile magic using PCs to accomplish this, unless the rest of the gang strongly advises against it.

The Hat of Many Spells (Totem of the "Magician" (Magic User); Minor Artifact)

The Hat of Many Spells is a large green hat, crafted in the usual tall pointy style wizards are famous for. When carried by a normal human or demi-human (0 level, no class), the Griffon Shield imparts the HP, Saving Throws, Spellcasting and Combat Abilities of a 7th level Magic User. This boon does not apply to classed characters, and does not include actual knowledge of any particular spells, these must still be learned in the normal fashion.

In addition, the Hat may be used to mimic spells. The user simply takes the hat off and holds it in one hand, while waving his other hand above it and chanting a simple rhyme to let the Hat know which spell is desired. The resulting magical energy then bursts forth from the Hat, but with wildly varying outcomes.

In a free form campaign attempting to stay true to the exact tone of the Animated Series, the DM should carefully consider the exact wording of what the user requested from the Hat, and twist it slightly, in a good natured way, to determine the result:

If Presto tries to call forth "light" from the Hat, he might end up holding an ornate desk lamp in his hand, with nowhere to plug it in, of course.

If he asks for "something to save us from these dang rats" during combat, the Hat might serve up a large platter of roast beef sandwiches, which could be used to distract the rats, allowing the party to escape.

You get the point. I realize though that this is pretty arbitrary and requires a lot of quick thinking and "winging it" from a DM. To allow a more traditional treatment of the Hat as a magic item, I've attached the following document, a pdf file containing a d100/percentile roll system for determining the outcome of attempting to cast a spell from the Hat.

Thanks to blog founder and co-author Rich "chatdemon" Trickey 
for work on finishing the pdf and included material.

As always, anyone stealing the Hat of Many Spells, or harming or killing Presto to possess it will instantly draw the enmity of his remaining companions (and the Dungeon Master, who will indirectly aid them in avenging their comrade) as well as the ire of Venger (who will be detailed in a separate post here soon). It's not apparent to the heroes, but Venger fears the totems, not necessarily their owners, as a threat to his and Tiamat's power. New owners, potentially much more aware of their world and more of a threat to Venger and his evil mistress, will only alarm him more.


  1. Hi there,

    I wanted to use the hat for a campaign I'm doing in a couple of weeks. I too had thought of doing a percentile roll for outcome and would love to see your pdf but itsno longer available. Could you post a link to the pdf please?

  2. I reactivated the link to the pdf for Presto's Hat.


    Let me know if you have any further trouble.


Thanks for your comments!