Approximately seventy years ago, Orestian, a mage of great prominence, retired to continue his study of heat, fire, and other related spells. He announced his retirement at the 23rd Festival of Fire (commemorating his defeat of a pair of green dragons which were ravaging the countryside) and further announced he would select an apprentice at the 25th Festival of Fire. He promised that his apprentice would return in to choose another apprentice at the Festival of Fire five years subsequent. This process was to continue – every five years, his apprentice would announce the new apprentice at the Festival of Fire – and in the event of his death, instead of announcing the new apprentice, his old apprentice would announce his death. He did this for several reasons - he wished for his legacy to remain alive in the world through his apprentices, he wished to have "new blood" every so often to offer a fresh view on his research, and he knew he would need apprentices to perform various household duties. He used mighty magics to raise a keep on the rim of a volcano, knowing full well that the location in and of itself would help discourage frivolous seekers of information (it also provided a wonderful setting to study fire magic). He spent a year searching for someone suitable to be his first apprentice, and settled on an attractive 19-year old woman (he of course wanted some companionship – which would include the role of consort – in his retirement). She announced the apprenticeship of another beautiful woman – this one twenty years old – five years later. After two more female apprentices, his apprentice was announced as a male (the old sage had found a consort from one of the outer planes by this time) and the apprentices were roughly evenly split between male and female from that time.
The local rulers (as well as certain other powerful individuals and organizations) have on occasion sent groups to ask the sage questions and glean advice over the intervening seventy years. In the first year, they sent three expeditions. Two turned back from the volcano, but the third returned with a map to the keep. The requests for aid became more infrequent over the years, as the rulers more or less forgot about the resources the sage had (which suited him just fine) and the last request for aid was sent eight years ago by his third apprentice (who still resided in the town). She perished of old age about two years ago.
For 3rd - 5th level characters