Thursday, 20 September 2012

Ser Coranth School for the Furtherance of Knowledge and Wisardry

Following my idea the other day, here's what I've piled together so far.
First of all, apologies to Patrick Rothfuss for some of the more blatant plagiarism homage. It is well meaning, I'm sure you'll understand. As I'm working this, it's becoming a little less Rothfuss - there's a Goblin warren beneath the school, so it's going a bit J.K. Rowling. I'm still working on the Houses (because obviously there should be Houses AND Colleges).
Next up, adapting some FATE rules for this. Thinking Dresden Files RPG would be reasonably easy, substituting a few skills here and there, and casting more or less intact.

What I will say is, every character has some form of personal aid or focus to their magic. Whether it's a wands, a ring, a glass orb, or a pentacle necklace. Without the focus, magic isn't possible (without some kind of ability/stunt). These focuses needn't be unique, but are of great sentimental value to the practitioner.

It should also be noted that the school caters for a full panoply of students, and so there are students who have no magickal aptitude whatsoever, for whom the classes in linguistics, tactics and history prepare them for diplomatic careers, or for whom mathematics and engineering leads to architecture.

Ser Coranth School for the Furtherance of Knowledge and Wisardry

Ser Coranth was a noble born slightly over a thousand years ago, and used a portion of his large fortune to establish a great school, that the world as a whole might benefit. He built it at the borders of his own country, as well as those of two others.
Over time, the school has grown to the size of a small town, surrounded by quarters of servants and merchants and innkeepers, whilst at the same time growing itself in the pursuit of new, forgotten, and esoteric knowledge. Its name refers to the long held belief that Magickal aptitude is founded upon deep wisdom.

The school boasts a handful of colleges, almost as many faculties, an overall population in the thousands, and sits upon land bequeathed it by all the surrounding nations, prior to their entry into the Commonwealth.
These comprise the area upon which the school is built, some forested area that disappears over the northern borders

Tuition at the school is set annually, following exams and a personal interview with the Chancellor’s Council. New students forego the exams and take extended interviews.
Tuition usually tops out at fifty Guilders a year, but is influenced by perceived ability of the student and a knowledge of how much a student can afford to pay (a great many nobles send their children to the school after all).

Beneath the Chancellor and the Deans of the Faculties sit the various Masters of a particular subject. It is they who teach the various classes.
Also of note are the Provosts of the various colleges, the Wardens (the enforcers of the various Rules, Laws and Codified Statutes of the School), as well as the servant class that has grown up around the school.

Example ranks/persons:
Dean of the Faculty of History
Dean of the Faculty of Magick
Dean of the Faculty of Natural Philosophy
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Dean of the Faculty of Languages

Provost of Bannermouth College
Provost of Coranth College
Provost of Carrefour College

Provost of Polettus College

Master of Early Imperial Literature
Master of Late Imperial Tactics
Master of Mathematics
Master of Pre-causal Effect
Master of True Names

Head Warden
Wardens of the School

Head Groundskeeper
Head Steward

Some locations within the school and surrounding area:
Chambers - Home to the Masters
Grand Hearth - a large hall adjacent to Chambers, used for functions
Commons - a group of several buildings of bunkhouses and small dining halls
The Quint - a five-sided open square in the centre of the School
Towers - the tall towers of the school can be seen from miles around
The Undercroft - a storage area/cellar
The Overcroft - located directly above the Undercroft, also for storage
Flagstones Market - the largest market in the school
Goblin Market - a market for finding interesting magical gewgaws, ingredients and formulas
Gardens - a botanical garden
The Rookery - A stack of nests dating back hundreds of generations, on the roofs of Commons
Limns - Where new manuscripts are transcribed and illuminated
Twixt - A frequently used alleyway running between the Towers
Ministry - The Ministry of the Assembly. The Assembly maintains a presence to keep a watchful eye on things, headed by the Minister

Ideas of classes:
Advanced Enchantment
Abjuration and Wards (Early Imperial through Modern Commonwealth)
Basic Retrotheometry
Basic Potioncrafting
Comparative Anthropology
Geometry of Magick
Introduction to Medical Applications of Herbs
Languages of the Goblin People
Legal Statutes on Augury and the Ethics of Precognition
Pattern Resonance
Precognitive Dissonance Theory

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Schools of thought

I've talked before about my desire to run a game centred around a school of magic, but I spent a long bus journey today thinking more on the subject, so here's what I have so far.

Taking careful aim with the FATE rules, adapting them slightly from Dresden Files (for now), and borrowing heavily from various fictional styles of magic (taken from Patrick Rothfuss, DnD, Harry Potter and Pratchett), I think I've got some ideas down.

The school of magic should be a bit of a sprawl, like in Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle. It's basically a small town, what with the various inns, taverns and stores sprawled around it. Hogsmead in Harry Potter combined with Diagon Alley would also give a good idea of what I'm aiming at.
The school should have an odd name for itself, giving the students an education in 'Magick and Wisardry'.
Different parts of the school should stand out, but also be unique. The part called Towers would have high towers, the Undercroft is under the school, the Quint is what happens to a Quad when you give it five sides.

For kicks, there should be a mind-boggling bureaucracy to the place. The Chancellor is the head of the school, and the Deans are in charge of various faculties. But the Provosts are in charge of the various colleges. I'm debating adding Houses to the mix too.
The teachers are referred to as Masters, and live in Chambers. The students live in various places, from the various college holdings to a communal bunkhouse for first years to any of the various inns and taverns about the place.

One of the good parts of university is all the societies you can join. There has to be an Explorers Society, dedicated to finding all the hidden spots of the place ("Have you seen the Chancellor's Secret Garden? It's hidden on the Roof of Chambers. Good apples, but it's a devil to get to. I had to climb all the way up from Downbelow, somewhere near Scrapes. And I nearly got caught twice by those chancers from Bradley college.")
The Explorers Society should also be invite only, and hard to get into.

The various kinds of magic on show include Naming, Sympathy, Inscription/Enchanting (Sygaldry?) and Potion-making. But it's a school of 'Wisardy', so maybe classes in Theology and Comparative Philosophy and History too.

I'm going to keep working away at it for now, and see where it'll get me.

Monday, 3 September 2012


One of my favourite ideas for D&D 3.5 was having the adventurers interact with ghosts.

The Ghostwalk book spawned a short series of adventures within a campaign, where the players find themselves waking up in a ghostworld filled with extinct animals and peoples, and trying to escape back to their lives.

I'd love to try that again with a new game. Have the players do a few short sessions then suddenly come up against a nasty big bad guy. With a swing of his sword, he fells each of them.
But then they wake up in the world inside the sword.

Partly inspired by the sword Dragnipur in the Malazan Book of the Fallen (which I've written about before), and partly by a Daedric quest in Skyrim, the characters would have to advance within the sword, find a way to break out, and then avenge themselves and any friends they might make whilst imprisoned.
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