Scholae Magicae Story Seed Ideas Wanted

Tremere aren't boogey men, they're just pragmatic. There's a difference, and any politically savvy Ars players will know it when they see it.

But you're right that it's overdone. Who else could get in on this... Oh, I know! You could have Flambeau and Tytalus magi trying to influence the Order to become more martial by strongly encouraging the teaching of martial skills to students. Plus, with the apprentices not hating each other for their Gifts, you'll see something of a similar student social structure to what happens in today's middle and high schools. You know what would cause possibly the most Order-shaking of stories? If the students, in trying to be cool and edgy for each other (holy yay, friends and girls!) took advantage of their lack of difficulty learning other Supernatural Abilities and got tried to get in contact with and learn from an Infernal agent...

Or, to make it all a big scare without actually having that possibly school-ending calamity, perhaps a Faerie in the role of an Infernal agent; the school was fortunate enough that a Faerie decided to pull some vitality out of a story where the students learn their lesson not to call demons, rather than an actual demon showing up.

As for religions, keep in mind the Order isn't quite normal when it comes to religion, and unlike most of Europe's population, there are actually a very significant number of Hermetic magi who are either pagan or don't want anything to do with any religion. Perhaps the Christian magi who might send their children get upset at the predominantly Greek pagan worshiping staff there, who have a tendency to rub some of their beliefs off on their students. Or maybe most of the teachers there aren't strongly affiliated with any religions, but one of the academics teachers tries to push Christian Theology on the students and learning apprentices in the hopes that they'll convert.

As for your questions on a game to join... I'm currently hosting one, that hasn't gotten any interest yet... Though it may or may not actually take off, because the premise clearly isn't very popular.

Stealing the Future is about a Hermetic school, it is currently on hiatus and I'm trying to bring it back.
I made some changes to how summae and teaching works, because summae are too powerful (and cheap). My feeling is that teaching, as laid out in virtues like Magister in Artibus and Baccalaureus, necessitates extremely high teaching scores an/or Good Teacher. Teaching Hermetic Arts one to many results in an immediate loss of 6 SQ for that teacher, too.

The Tremere are trying very hard to shake off the older elements of their nature and status and while the writers are doing a really good job,its not perfect yet. Well, I guess for me that is who basically learned about Ars Magica from the whole Mage and Dark Ages of the World of Darkness. Anyway, I basically am trying very hard to not make them go bad and stuff. hehe

Your idea about Flambeau and Tytalus is a good one. What I especially like about it is that it unites two different Houses together, so in their process of being all destabilizing they actually create more of a push towards unity. Its a sort of juxtaposition that I kind of really like.

I do like the idea of what would happen when the students find themselves learning about different and unique supernatural abilities. It would revolutionze the Order and the bringing of foreign magic into a much more common use.

I don't so much like the idea of it actually being an infernal agent, but I LOVE the idea of it being a faerie who has taken upon himself the task of creating a story in which people learn how freaken bad it is to summon demons. Its really cool, nifty and a potential awesome story design. I really think that is such an awesome campaign arc for a group of students in the school. It would be especially cool if the story is repeated every few years by the faerie so that multiple students get the message of the infernal is bad. ITs a lot of energy to be gaining and I totally think the school would benefit from the presence of operation of such a 'friendly' faerie.

Your point on religion is an interesting one and has a lot of potential saga stories. The whole figuring out how the magi of the tribunal, with their patrons and their historical magical traditions, and the other pagon-y things they have deal with the fact that the area is not that far from Rome and Constantinople. The more social elements of having differing religions all in one location would be kind of interesting, especially if somebody was interested in basically combining the elements into a new 'heresy' that unites magic and religion and empowers the Order. (I am firmly of the saga decision that magic and the Gift and using magic is not a Sin and that the Divine doesn't actually care, its how you use magic that matters not that you have magic so I see no inherent difficulty in combining Hermetic magic and divine practitioners into one belief). But yeah, there is a lot of interesting story ideas (like you mention) that could come from the old and the new and the super new and the different all competiting to win the hearts and minds of the next generation. And really whatever standard becomes the standard of the school will have a lot of ability to in the future make itself the standard in the mainstay of the Hermetic Order.

Really, this can be applied to anything - eventually the students of the school will become the majority of the Houses, whether this is soon or hundreds of years from now. What this means is that given time and school education the traditions and cultural standards of the graduates of the school will come to change the Order and how its organizes and operates. And while I don't believe the Order is naive, I am giving the school and its founders and its students a sort of PC power that makes it so their plans are potentially quite successful even though some really powerful older magi might stop it. But this is just some personal likes. hehe

On your game, is it posted in the forums. I'm not saying I'm interested but I wouldn't object to looking up the information you have posted on it. :slight_smile:

Oh really that is pretty interesting, I will have to look it up to see about its design. If its public that is. :slight_smile:

At a basic glance I agree that teaching need some sort of reworking and you have some interesting ideas there. I focused more on not being so limiting to what is learned and how its learned but yeah if a person has a high enough score than a lot of experience can be gotten pretty quickly.

Oh, and by the way what is SQ an abbreviation for? Its probably something simple and common and I am just having a brain freeze. hehe

My game is posted in the subforum "GMs looking for players," like all PbPs that try to recruit. Also, SQ stands for the Source Quality, which is how much experience you get from something before applying penalties from, say, a Might score. For example, a Quality 22 summa has a base SQ of 22, though this might be modified if the person reading it has an Affinity in the skill the book is about or has the Book Learned Virtue.

Glad you liked the story seeds I suggested.

Ah I see. Will go over and look at it. :slight_smile:

And of course SQ stands for Source Quality, I knew it was something that I totally should know especially considering how much rereading of the Teaching rules I have done, lol.

And yeah those ideas are thought provoking which I really like as it gives me ideas. hehe

Stealing the Future is a PbP game here on Atlas.
The House Rules thread illustrates the changes I made to summae and tractatus. Here is where I discussed the rationale. I also started a thread called Breaking Summae here in the Ars magica forum. Summae become textbooks and their bonuses for reading are greatly reduced without the aid of a teacher. With the aid of the teacher the summa's full SQ is added to the teachers' source quality.

Hermetic Instruction is a new Arcane Ability that functions as teaching, and with it they can teach more than one student at a time, it replaces teaching in determining the SQ for teaching, but works exactly like it. I divided the day up into 6 periods and runs like a modern school term. Each teacher gernates their Sq and divides by 6 and that's how much they teach in a school year. My goal was to complete a period of apprenticeship in 7 years, too.

Those are very interesting changes, though I have to read over them more before I feel I can comment. I do say I agree with the whole nature of education needing to be changed in Ars Magica.

I completely agree with you on the creation of an Arcane Ability, and in fact I created my own version of Instruction a little while ago while designing my school of magic a little more. Allowing a student into six classes per unit of time (season) is an interesting way to go about it, though is there a particular reason you choose six?

I think creating an alternate rule system that allows indivduals to learn in mechanical Ars Magica terms like one might in real life - multiple classes and subjects being learned at once - while also letting teachers do more than just teach in a single season is something both useful and interesting.

I really do like you ideas and suggestions and will have to look them up to a little more depth. .

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned it yet but there's already a canon school of magic, the Scholomance in the Transylvanian Tribunal book. You may want to check this book for ideas to see how they did it.

If your designing your school as a covenant two virtues that will really help you are Unnatural Law and Greater Immunity. I would have the Unnatural Law grant anybody under a certain age magic resistance and have the Greater Immunity eliminate the negative social effects of the Gift. This should greatly ease student relations.

Also, nothing says that Latin, Hermetic Lore, Arts Liberales, and other Academic Abilities have to be taught by wizard, they could just as easily be taught by a mundane teacher (who won't be terrified of his students because of the Greater Immunity (the Gift) virtue).

Also, you might want to consider what virtues and abilities would be taught there as well. Considering what Enchanting music could do, this school's marching band could really rock! :smiley:

Also I agree with the others that this could only really work in a Tribunal with a high degree of cooperation such as Thebes or Transylvania.

The Scholomance in Transylvanian Tribunal was really interesting when I read over it, and is defintely a great starting point suggestion. The whole mystical school in a foreboding castle up in the impentrable mist-covered mountains is really really interesting. The thing that separates my idea is that there is really only one or two Gifted students in the school, while the rest are mundane individuals. That said, I totally could see this school becoming either a competitor or an ally of the Scholae Magicae upon its eventual development, a Tremere version and stuff.

While those two covenant features are interesting, it kind of seems a little out of left field that the place might have them. The magic resistance thing is really cool, it allows for the students of the school to be protected by bad magic thanks to the natural resistance given to all in the school by its aura. I very much have to look into that I think.

I do agree that mundane individuals would be a good source of learning for more basic subjects, at least at first. Such tasks might be farmed out to Order allies or such individuals.

Oh yeah such things like Enchanting Music are very materials that eventually would help to make the school something amazing. The ability to not have to worry about one's Art scores to learn other supernatural virtues would totally allow certain random effects to become more common within the Order. Some to create power and some to create entertainment.

I am trying not to get ahead of myself. If I let myself go creatively then before I blink I will describe classes, and teachers, and the daily schedules, and what virtues are learned and when. All for my own fun but well, without much use in terms of a saga that would never actually happen. hehe

But yeah the idea of say Enchanting Music becoming taught to those who want to be in the band is really cool.

I'm not so sure about another feature though it is an interesting direction to take it - it could also work to help explain why the site was chosen. Which could help matters make sense.

Scholomance is for companions and not for Magi. The Gift is the problem that must be overcome. You can not have students fighting each other all the time. JL had an advancement in the Aegis which allowed the negative effects of the Gift to be negated.

What the Order really needs is Charm School. As in good social skills and habits, not little enchanted devices.

The initial suspicion of the Gift is generally negative, but it can be overcome. Behave well, flatter the mundane, have table manners, present a small gift, offer or obey hospitality rules, and otherwise be an apparently right and proper person and a lot or all of the penalties can be overcome.

I have seen SGs firmly committed to the idea that no matter what the mage does the mundanes he encounters are driven to assault, but that's going a bit far. With effort (and character skills and good roleplaying) the mechanical social penalties can be overcome.

That makes sense. And really the order would need some place to assist in my he education of those allied to the aorder who are not Gifted.

The whole social penalty thing between those with the Gift is not something I really like, though its jot essential as for most Hermetic sagas the Parma Magica blocks it. But removing it is essential for schools which is why I made it a major breakthrough that modifies the Opening of the Arts.



I agree that teaching magi such skills would come on very much handy. It would make them act like nobles in social grace ways rather then uncouth peasants. This makes sense to me sue to how educated magi are and in what social circles they most often roam.

I was always planning on having my Scholae Magicae teach such skills. I think they come in handy.

I am not going to enter in the details of what kind of breakthrough would be necessary to achieve this feat: as SG you need this for your saga, so it happened.

What I would point out is several important aspects:

Why would a magus/covenant/house do that ?

  • by RAW, there is little benefit for a magus to train several apprentices at once. Unless magus have a high leadership (rare at most), they can only benefit from one apprentice at a time. So you need to find a motivation from magi to dedicated time to train several apprentices. The token rewards are a good example of one motivation.

Other motivations:

  • a group of magi needs to undertake some major lab research requiring near impossible labtot to achieve by normal means. They all will learn the leadership skill to coordinate four or five apprentices at a time (with a net gain of +5 to +8 per apprentice considering a Int of +2, TM of +3 and possible affinity/puissant/other appropriate virtue. Which project would require such kind of resources needs to be determined. Considering that the apprentice can easily learn additional supernatural abilities, probably some Hermetic breakthrough to integrate missing bits to Bonisagus theory, or some old mercurian rituals.
  • a house wants to tilt the balance of power by having with the next 30 years 50 more members. Which house ? Why this need of political power ? Once we set aside the usual suspects (Tremere, Flambeau, possibly Tytalus - although I don't see how they could coordinate such effort), maybe Criamons needs a lot of enlightened people to fulfil a prophecy, maybe Quaesitoris sees the need for a tighter control of the Order following many minor breaches of the Code threatening the whole system. Depending on the purpose, this Academy of Arts could be quite secretive until the first generation of magi comes out.
  • at the scale of the Order, the decision was taken at a Grand Tribunal that any child with gift should be trained in the Arts. Again what is behind this decision ? Needs to bolster the number of magi in view of a foreseen needs (danger threatening Mythic Europe - Black plague, invasion from the East) ? Because it was decided that mages should be more present in mundane life, hence needs to be more numerous (which is in itself a drastic change from the Code) ? Because it was noticed that there was more and more hedge wizards and child born with the gift and without proper training, they create more mayhem and attract too much attention to the supernatural, so for the greater good, it is better to train as much as it is possible (but why is there such increases in gifted child ? and would there be enough resources - vis - to support all those news mages). Is it part of a strategy to move "en masse" in Novgorod and beyond to tap into those rich lands ?

How is handle the House membership ?
Is it set by the magus who found the apprentice ? Then would it be possible that other teachers try to influence promising apprentices to request changing house ? (that could lead to some interesting stories for apprentice/master). It is a big change from the traditional ways of training apprentice. Usually, the apprentice will spend probably 95% of his time with his master, leaving very little room for outsider influence to bare any impact. But now, the apprentice will be able to chat with other students, "compare note" (for example the Tytalus way of training apprentice is specifically hard), exchange opinion and if daring, challenge his master or seek out "adoption" by another house/master. So far, there is little rules in the Code about what is acceptable and unacceptable to inflict on a apprentice (in fact, the master has right of life and death), but once rumor start to spread on how one magus treats his apprentice, political opponents might see a weakness, an opportunity. It would probably be a Pralix or a Trianoma magus who would first draft "Rights of the Apprentice".

How is structure the apprenticeship in the school ?
As it was mentioned by Talos, there is a whole set of skills who do not need to be taught by magi: Language, Lore, Hermetic history and code, even Magical theory.
It would make sense that the first few year of study would be dedicated solely to this base, with little need for a magi to intervene (yet, magi with Strong Teacher or simply with genuine interest in education are more than welcome to give those classes). After a few years (number to be defined, typically keeping them busy at least 2 seasons, if not 3 per years), once they passed the basic exam (requiring 4 in Latin, 2 in Magical theory, 1 in Artes Liberales, 1 in prof: Scribe and possibly 1 in Hermetic Law - enough to learn magic from books), they are open to the Arts. The rating of the exam determine which magus will open the Arts, and at the same which one (or more) Supernatural ability will be granted. So there is a fierce competition between student to have the best ranking and the opportunity to be taught several supernatural abilities (or even chose the once they are interested in, instead of having it impose on them).
At this stage, they are no more called "Apprentices", they are Student of the Arts (this title just show that their Arts have been open, but they are still not considered magus). In game term, you have to decide if it grants them the equivalent of Baccalaureus (without the Academic reputation).
It could be that only at this stage, they are assigned to a House and magus. Here again, plenty opportunity for roleplay: maybe the supernatural abilities that a student want is only taught by a magus of a given house or bad reputation (for this year) so they have to "choose" to flunk their exams to have a more appropriate teacher next year, or they have to convince another magus to take them (one which is not supposed to pick up an apprentice yet - maybe trading favours, vows or promise to give them their sigil for X years), or they decide to bite the bullet and endure a master that they not want to have the opportunity to pick up their chosen ability (was it worth it ? would the student comes to regret his choice ? does he become completely change by his experience).
This second phase of their apprenticeship last longer than the first phase (if you want to keep the 15 years training period, then it is easy to compute, but it can be shorter considering the intensive training that is cramed in the first few years since there is no time in lab). Alternatively, this second phase last the full 15 years, resulting in magi slightly older at the end of their cursus, but with higher skill level, and being able to assist magus in their lab activity straight from the beginning. This style of working does still require a magus per apprentice for the Art study.

Alternatively, the second phase is still done mostly in classes (let's say two seasons a year), and the two other seasons, the student work on his supernatural abilities (how many XP ?) with a master and maybe one labseason at the service of a master or for the school (considering their base skill, they can work in the library as copyist, but if they are skilled, they will work in a lab and get exposure points - another incentive for the best students). Assuming the "rule" of one season per Art, after close to 8 years, they can graduate. Considering that these are classes with many students, it would be fair to consider that at this stage, no Arts can have more than 15 xp assigned (otherwise, it would be difficult to explain how two students attending the same class end up one with a score of 0 and the other with a score of 10), with a total of possibly 60-90 xp to assign in Arts only, and another 30-40 in other skills.

Considering that the Baccalaureus took 3 years, plus another 8 years of Arts studying (and supernatural abilities).
At this stage, they graduate from the Academy of Arts, but they still need to spend several years with a master to specialise (and gets Arts with more than 15 XP). This could be at this stage that they enter officially a House (whether the student has a say on this choice is up to discussion). It could be another 5 years ? They will get the remaining XP.

This cursus could have several pro and cons:

  • for the master, he gets a fully trained, quite competent student from the start to assist him in his work.
  • it is a shorter time commitment for the master (which might suits those with busy agenda, or those not wanting to have a lasting relationship or close to Twilight)
  • the new magi will be slightly older, but have more XP, be a bit more "standardised" (no more new magus with only two Arts with score)
  • new magi start already with a reputation, a network of friends, enemies, favors or debts, which presents lots of ooportunity for RP and background
  • new magi might be more difficult to "model" by their master since it is no more 15 years of seclusion (appropriate for any form of indoctrination).

Overall, this new generation of magi should be more competent (have more XP), not necessarily in the Arts, but in all the other skills. If only for the simple reason that since one teacher will teach to many students at a time, it makes sense to hire the best teacher possible (Good teacher, high Comm, good skills). The cost of such teacher might be too high to a one-to-one education, but spreading the cost over 15 students makes it very cost effective - so even reluctant mundane, but excellent teacher could be convinced to teach some strange students.
So the total XP would be 80 xp for the initial training (apprentice), then 75 xp for Arts (no more than 15 in a single Art) and another 75 for other skills as Student of the Arts, and finally another 70 or so XP for their specialisation years with a magi (for a total of 300 xp, basically 240 + equivalent of baccalaureus virtue). Virtues like strong parens would instead reflect a diligent student who was spending more time in the library or getting extra classes/lab exposure for merit (or favors), any other virtues granting XP would be extra training done by the student during his "free seasons".
I would say, this would be the minimum to make this kind of Academy of Arts worth investing in. Depending on your background, you might decide that it requires a minor virtue to benefit from this training, or on contrary a magus can have a minor flaw "Trained the Ancient Ways", so he won't have the extra 60 xp, but instead he has no constrains on where to spread his xp (and can be the "Two Arts" magus).

Obviously, the fact that Supernatural abilities can be trained as part of the cursus will lead to powerful magi able to supplement hermetic weakness (or shortfall) with those abilities. It is also reasonable to assume than within one or two generations several supernatural abilities will be integrated into the Magic Theory.

This post is really interesting for ideas for future adventures :astonished:

Another point dawn to me: the power of number.

If we assumed a school or a University running like the modern ones, there will be one class for each year.
If there is only 10 students per class, it means that (baring unfortunate accident), the Academy will produce ten mages a year and will have on site anything between 100 to 150 students of different ages.

Thus the following points:

  • It is a small town that need to care for child (5 years onwards) to teenagers to young adults (with all the shenanigans that such population can create multiply by their magical abilities);
  • It also needs to care for many professors mundane or not and their families, so I would guestimate the total population anywhere between a 1'000 to 2'000 people depending on how much magic is used for day-to-day job (be mindful of warping).
  • With such a numerous population, it is close to impossible to ensure that there is no spy, infiltrator, fae or even demon/angel: so many story potential...
  • After 20 years, that's no less than 200 new mages the Academy would have "released". One sixth of the current Order. That's more than enough to completely change the population of several tribunals, changing the political balance, the pressure for new covenants, competition for virtus sources. If some teachers are influencing subtly their pupils (without spell, just by presenting facts and ideas under a certain light), ingratiating the trusts of dozens new mages, those teachers could yield an important political power, possibly going across the Houses (IRL, I am working in a international corporation and I witness everyday how the connection made during university year can impact a career if a top manager belong to a given University);
  • Of course, such large community needs food, books, ink, lab components... enough to have craftsmen of all flavours and colours settling in, with a guaranteed supply of customers and more or less full protection against the usual war/famine (but with occasional supernatural disruption): it won't take long that such business position are actively sought after, with rivalry, competition and all kind of guild politics (not in the Academy itself, but nearby town).
  • Finally, as studious as those apprentice can be, they also need to have fun... think local pubs (or more for the more mature students or their teacher), theatres, alcohol and less legal substances - maybe even a Faerie court settling in one block of the Academy;
  • Maybe magi and their apprentices are more or less religious, but all those folks supporting the Academy will likely be Christian or believer of some sorts. Sooner or later, they will need a church/synagogue/stone circle of some sorts. How the head of the Academy will manage that ? Do they impose a single religion (possibly a revival of some Mercury cult) ? How will they manage different religions ? What will they do when Divine (or other) Aura starts to pop ? Religion is often seen as a political tool, but for a lot of people, it is a way of life, a moral guide, and if magi only allows people without religion they might end up with a lot of dubious moral behaviour (and trying to find a skilled teacher in academic abilities AND atheist could be near impossible).

Okay, that's about it. I will try to refrain from posting more walls of text (sorry, this topic really tickle my creativity).

Ezechiel, oh my lord, your posts are awesome and amazing and I want to analyze it all and comment on everything. I might miss something but don't consider it because I don't wnat to talk about that topic, its because of sooo much awesome goodness.

Everything about this is awesome and I really look forward to hearing your thoughts on these points and related topics. I think it has so much potential for not just a fun saga but also a creative inspirational thread of discussion. Its just so very fun!

+Why would a magus/covenant/house do this? ++

While all those motivations work my focal player npc (a magus by the name of Nikolas Kalligas) had a little more altrusitic motivation in his decision to create a school of magic. He felt it as a calling, that the benefits in the long term outweighed the somewhat reduction in power in the shortterm.

This said I totally would think that the motivations you mentioned would be perfect for some of additional founders of the school. Well, maybe not the House or Order at least at school founding as I am not sure that I want either a House or the Grand Tribunal to be involved in the actual founding and control of said school of magic.

The idea of wanting to create some very powerful ritual or magical item or other major lab project as a point is a really cool idea. It gives an additional long term goal for the school. The whole purpose of this could be quite varied, but I like the idea of working to integrate something missing in Bonisagus theory or bring over some old mercurian ritual. The potentials of this are manifold, more than I totally could come up with right this second. A random idea would be something ward based or permanent rituals or modified aegis of the hearth or bring over certain ritual effects from pre-Hermetic magical systems.

Having one of the Houses be a secret patron of the school is an interesting one, one that I would have no issue with as long as it doesn't go with the path that everybody would see as the norm. For example, I don't want it to be Tremere as everybody would think its Tremere, and that is no fun. My main dude (and if this were to ever become something more saga-based than just thought ideas he would take a bit of a back seat in a way) is Bonisagus so I could see that House being something related to it. Who would ever suspect House Bonisagus. His Uncle (though not master) is Jerbiton, so that is a House that could be involved. Heck, House Mercere is interesting and so his the idea of having the Quaestires be involved.

Heck, maybe changing it so that its not a House (or its a House plus something else), maybe a magical creature or even something Divine (I don't want faerie, I'd rather the school not be faerie based in past) having a reason to be behind the school being founded. It could be an interesting dynamic and a change of how things work.

Though, the idea that the school founders and their allies work to a high level to pave the way to enhance the political situation of the school so that by Grand Tribunal the school could get some Order-wide support for its operations. I do like the idea that the ramifications of the school have on the whole Order is much greater than what it seems like it owuld be at first glance. At first, magi are all like "oh, it just trains people so I don't have to, great more time to study and work magic" and then later on its, 'hundreds of new magi without certain ties but Order loyalty going places that we never thought to go before' and things change.

The thought of the Order not realizing all the ramifications till it was too late is a nifty one, as are making ramifications that basically even we (as designers) didn't think of. Its very cool.

++ House to handle the House membership? ++

These are very very interesting questions, and I am not even sure of them.

I don't think its a first come first served sort of thing, or even finders keepers. Maybe even more ritual or trying to match the student with the best mentor.

An interesting thing might to be make it so just like apprentices are called Students in the school the masters are called Mentors. The lingustic difference might be a basis in effecting how things work and the way things go.

The points you make about students talking to each other is an interesting one. Their will be exchanges of information and what masters do and stuff. This would make the tortue of say House Tytalus somethign a lot harder to accomplish in the new day and age.

It also might effect how the Houses gain people and what status they might have in the future. Some might rise and grow while others might not be so successful.

The interesting note of the True Lineages, Societies, and Mystery Cult based Houses means how students can become members varies. Technically there is no Hermetic limit on how many apprentices a master might have, so it is possible fo ra single master to take more than one apprentice. Most don't due to training limits, but schooling takes that away.

In all honestly, while many ideas for the school's organization and design have come to me, the way the twelve Houses interact with the the school is one of those that I constantly move back and forth on how.

I mean do students choose a House at the begining, in the middle, at the end, after graduation. Which Houses allow such membership, and how. These questions I do not know, and would love thoughts.

++ School Structure ++

In terms of year length I am moving between 7 years (which not only is time between Tribunal but also the time of university learning) or 14 years (which is the current time of Hermetic apprenticeship in the Theban Tribunal, of which the school is located in.

I get how and why people are suggessting that mundane things be learned first before magical things. But I don't think its that fun. I mean, you go to a school of magic to learn about magical things, why should you have to wait a few years before magic becomes accessible.

From a saga standpoint, if this became a saga and characters created included students than they wouldn't learn magical things till a few years into the game. That is not really fun. So I kind of want magic and mundane things taught at the same time.

But everybody is right when they say that its not really super necessary that magi teach the mundane subjects. Though I do hestitate to let a lot of mundanes in, especially when it comes to living in a high Aura (which on a tiny tangent technically effects the Redcaps of House Mercere, they are not magi and thus do not ignore the effects of warping from living in high aura) and the social effects of the Gift. The later can be bypassed in various ways, but the former causes magical virtues to crop up given a long enough time.

I like the idea of Student of the Arts, it has a nifty ring to it and has a lot of potential. Also, since they learn the Artes Liberalis it technically covers that as well, hehe.

You make some really interesting organizational points for how schooling and education are done. I will say that one doesn't have to learn a supernatural ability at the same time as their arts are opened. For this reason courses can exist that basically grant their enrolled students the Virtue upon passing it at the end of the semester or year.

I like the idea of competition, of exams, of testing in one way or another - but I would never want to penalize students for learning particular bit sof magic. If the school offers it then it should be freely offered, it shouldn't come with a bit of bad reputation or anything like that.

Using the term 'cursus' is really cool and awesome and I love it - it brings the ancient world to the modern hermetic in a good way. Totally going to apply it to the school system.

So many options, so many many options. Your points are all thought provoking and interesting and have so much potential.

Upon graduating from the school I don't know whether they are considered magi or if they need some more training. I kind of wnat them to become full members of the Hermetic Order, but I am not sure of the best ideas.

A very 'simple' way of organizing the school work might be in this idea I list below (obviously other options are possible and I eagerly look forward to reading them if you have any): Roll of Years

XPs given are for each year.

Year One and Year Two
SCHOOLING: 6 classes
-Mythic Scholastics: 6 XP
-Natural Scholastics: 6 XP
-Methodologies: 6 XP
-Elementalism: 6 XP
-Naturalism: 6 XP
-Mentalism: 6 XP
SPELLS: 6 XP on spells.
PRACTICE: 6 XP in Latin.
EXPOSURE: 6 XP, may use anywhere.
ADVENTURE: 0/5-10 XP (varies based on events)

Year Three to Year Six
SCHOOLING: 5 classes
-Mythic Scholastics: 6 XP
-Natural Scholastics: 6 XP
-Arcane Courses (pick 2): 6 XP each
-Auxiliary Courses (pick 2): 6 XP each
SPELLS: 15 XP on spells.
PRACTICE: 6 XP in Latin.
EXPOSURE: 6 XP, may use anywhere.
ADVENTURE: 0/5-10 XP (varies based on events)

Year Seven
SCHOOLING: 6 classes
-Mythic Scholastics: 6 XP
-Mundane Scholastics: 6 XP
-Arcane & Auxiliary Courses (pick 3): 6 XP
-Enchanting Course: XP Special
SPELLS: 20 XP on spells.
PRACTICE: 6 XP in Latin. 5 XP Parma Magica.
EXPOSURE: 6 XP, may use anywhere.
ADVENTURE: 0/5-10 XP (varies based on events)


Core Curiculum: These two courses are mandatory for all students for all seven years of their time within the Scholar Magicae. As one moves up in year than the classes themselves get smaller in student body and more specialized in topic covered.
*Mythic Scholastics: This quite varied course covers the past and present and teaches all about the whys and hows of the magical world and the Order of Hermes. (Code of Hermes, Hermetic Lore, Magic Lore, Faerie Lore, [Area] Lore)
*Natural Scholastics: This multifaceted course covers the core studies of what scholars consider necessary for a proper education, both the senior Artes Liberalis and the junior Philosophae. Aspected class periods also cover the topics related to natural Alchemy and Herbalism. (Aretes Liberalis, Philosophae, [Area] Lore, Mythic Alchemy, Mythic Herbalism, various learned formula)

Arcane Courses: These four central courses cover the basics of Hermetic Magic.
*Methodologies: This course seeks to provide an understanding of the essential manipulations that Hermetic magic can perform. (Creo, Muto, Perdo, Rego, Intellego)
*Elementalism: This course works to provide an understanduing of the raw elemental forces that make up the world. (Aquam, Auram, Ignem, Terram, Vim, Mythic Alchemy)
*Naturalism: This course seeks to grant students an understanding of the magics revolving around life in all its forms. (Animal, Corpus, Herbam, Vim, Mythic Herbalism)
*Mentalism: This subject covers the more immaterial phenomena that can be manipulated by Hermetic magic. (Imaginem, Mentem, Vim)

Auxilary Courses: Within this category are the various additional course subjects that a student of the Scholae Magicae may take. Some examples, can be expanded at will.
+ Hemetic Subjects
*Magic Theory: Studying the theoretical depths that make Hermetic Magic so powerful as well as methods needed to manipulate and alter magic. (Hermetic Magic Theory, Finesse, Concentration, Penetration)
*The Realms: How the four supernatural realms of existence interact and effect the universe and the mundane world. (Magic Lore, Faerie Lore, Divine Lore, Infernal Lore)
*Arithmancy: This course teaches the magic of numbers, which can be used to empower and enhance various other spellcasting attemps. (Hermetic Numerology Virtue, Hermetic Geometry Virtue, Hermetic Architecture Virtue)
+ Supernatural Subjects
*(Supernatural Ability): A number of classes each of which center around a Supernatural Ability. Students must have or be able to quickly get the related ability.
*Runic Studies: Learning the history and power behind the magic of runes. (Rune Lore)
*Astronomy: Learning the movements of the heavens to determine the most effective times to perform magical operations. (Celestial Magic Virtue)
*Divination: This courses teaches the highly falliable and not completely reliable field of Hermetic Divination. (Divination & Augury Supernatural Virtue)
*Theurgy: This course deals with the names of spirits and how to invoke such names in magic. (Name of Power Virtue, Invocation Magic Virtue, Hermetic Theurgy Virtue, Hermetic Synthemata Virtue)
*Oneiromancy: This highly advanced course teaches the magic of dreams. (Dream Magic Virtue)
*Unlocking the Soulbeast: This advanced course teaches the magus how to unlock his spirit beast, enabling natural ability to take on his allied beast's physical form. (Shapeshifting)
+ Mundane Subjects
*Artifice: A course teaching how to inbue magical energy into objects. Though related to Enchanting, this class mostly covers the lesser types of magic items. (Craft[Type])
*Etiquette: Learning all about proper behaviors when walking through halls of power, be it mundane, supernatural, or Hermetic. (Etiquette, Intrigue, Leadership)
*Law: The legal codes of the world, mostly magical but also mundane as it applies to areas with a lot of magi. (Code of Hermes, Civil & Canon Law, Common Law)
*Weaponry: This class trains its students in the arts of combat, mostly those with weaponry. (Bow, Brawl, Great Weapon, Single Weapon, Thrown Weapon)
*Physical Fitness: Training the physical body so that it is as fit and healthy as possible. (Athletics, Survival, Stealth, Swim)
*Care of Magical Creatures: This teaches about magical creatures, their behaviors, wants, needs and societies. (Animal Handling, Ride, Hunt, Survival)
*Healing: Learning the arts to heal the body, mind, and spirit of oneself and others. (Chirgury, Medicine, Medical Magic)

Graduation Course: This is the mandatory course required for graduation.
*Enchanting: This Year Seven mandatory class teaches the fine art of creating enchanted items, of various types. Success in this class sees the student creating a unique and personalized magic item. (Enchanting)

Ceremonial Course: This is a specialized course that is only taught to students who have successfully passed all exams and who have been approved for gauntlet.
*Unlocking Parma: This subjects teaches the Parma Magicae, the final element all Hermetic magi need to fully take their place as a member of the Order of Hermes. (Parma Magicae)

My thinking is three seasons of work each year, with a fourth free season. Students take courses an may put XP gained in various abilities or arts taught within them. I do like the idea of minimums and maximums, to establish balances and boundaries.

My idea is that just like a magus can teach more than one student, a student can learn from more than one subject at a time. Maybe something like 8 is the maximum, with 6 being the standard for most.

I could totally see the school having 'graduate' programs for those students who want to learn more about particular topics. These would be highly restricted in slots and contain certain requirements and minimums.

I like the year that upon graduation from the school the student must spend something like a year or two working for a magus. Its an interesting idea with some potential of bridging the gap between the older members and the new up and coming magi.

I am honestly fine with granting graduates of the school more total XP than equally aged individuals. I would basically rate it as all PCs in such a saga would have to be from the school, or come from masters who are a little more powerful than normal. I really like the idea that future generations are more powerful than the predecessors, just like the magus of the Hermetic Order can do stuff now that the founders didn't really dream of.

I do not think a school of magic would allow any student to graduate without at least a minimum level in each Art.

Your point about strong parens being used to reflect diligent students is an interesting one, and one I like. Other such virtues would reflect tutoring and assisting and stuff, which is a nifty way to go about doing it.

The idea of a Flaw entitled 'Trained in the Ancient Ways" is really cool and has a lot of fun as a story element.

And yeah, I agree with you on supernatural abilities. I think it would be cool to see an Order with various supernatural abilities being seen as standard. And then, given time, such abilities would be integrated into the Art. Probably through the assistance of those from the school of magic that taught the related classes for years.

++ Numbers ++

Yes, I very much see organizing the school in the way we do it now, with a class per year. And yes, that means if there are between 10 and 20 students per year, and between 7 and 14 years then that means student populations eventually ranging between 70-140 and 140-280, of course I could see eventually classes going bigger (maybe between 50 to 100 students, but that is the far far far far far future, hehe).

So yes, as you say they must all be accomodated. And since this is a boarding school every aspect of their life must have something worked out.

Plus, I totally see minor Gifted (as in children) being reered in the school before their studies begin, since who better to care for orphan Gifted than other Gifted (at least in the school).

I will say this, I am heavily going with the idea that the covenfolk are of a magical species of humanoid animals. Why, well why not. I think the additional stories such beings could add to the school make it interesting. Non-magical humans would include rich noble sons who made deals with the school, teachers of various additional skills, redcaps and their allies, and various minor supporting humans, including as you suggest families of magi who live there full time.

The whole idea of such a mass influc of magi into the Order at large with a common sense of identity and a need to show themselves is going to radically change the face of the Order and of Hermetic politics. And its going to be glorious. hehe

For the rest of your comments I can only really say YES!. The ideas put forward are perfect story seeds. Perfect ideas that could be used to increase adventure, story, plot, saga fun, and make the place more enjoyable. The idea of a faerie that comes in and tells a story of how bad it is to summon demons, is really cool. The idea of magical beasts that live in hidden corners doing magical beast things is nifty. The presence of random warped creatures, plants, or items as the school develops and gains power is awesome.

So many nifty nifty ideas. So many.

  • Covenant Design +

PS. So my idea of where the school is that its located on Candia (Crete) in the Theban Tribunal. Its located deep within a pass within the Apollon Gorge in an area where four ravine like passes flow into a massive open space that sees a massive stoneship looking mountain rise from the ravine floor. The school is located on the surface of the stoneship isle, with five bridges linking to the sides of the ravines, with the rest of the school carved from the interior of the mountains. Magic is abundant so the Stoneship is Aura 6, with the rest of the covenant Aura 5, magic of course. Entrance is from the ground level of the valley, with a winding tunnel carved through stoneship. The area on the cliff surface is bordered by a short stone wall, within is covenant, outside is the island's territory. This area contains orchards, forests, plains, and other such areas - some of which is farmed for food and resources and sold to the nearby towns or given to the covenant directly.

This is suitably epic and legendary, but is also realistic in some ways. The combination is something I really like.


The post by you above is aweosme and amazing and I am so glad that you did it. I'm thankful for everyone's comment, all are thought provoking, but seeing the wall of text, as you put it, is just simply awesome and has pushed my love of this concept back into overdrive.

I would love to create a saga around these ideas, or just a campaign setting document that could potentially be used.

I've toyed around with (and almost created) a school of magic within the bounds of the existing rules-set without any breakthroughs.

A school of magic sponsored by someone like House Tremere that is aimed not at apprentices but at freshly gauntlet'd magi opens up all sorts of interesting story possibilities, both as teachers and students. The political clout a school like that can generate from the fostered relationships within a class alone (old boys' networks) create some huge repercussions in a relatively short amount of time.

It's not quite a school for kids, but when your students typically range from 20-30 years of age it takes on a feeling much more like a traditional university.

You don't get Harry Potter, but you do get something not a million miles off it - and one that slips into the traditional Hermetic framework very easily.

As for why someone would do something like this: the political ramifications alone of having a sizeable body of magi from multiple houses who owe you favours, who have a network of friends you created and who have spent at least 3 years learning much of their political views from your people...

Never mind the access to future skilled lab assistants, networks of tutors, contributing authors, friends and allies for wizard's war...

It's like building a very un-secret society. Heck, you could even do initiations for your students...

And it is immune to the predations of boni-snatching.

Just so you know, the fanzine Hermes' Portal No.1 has a description of a Hermetic University, the Studium Hermae. It has some very interesting ideas, especially why each House would or would not create one and a system for group teaching. Granted, it is ARM 4, but it still has some pertinent ideas.

Another one to look at is the Redhurst Academy of Magic, a pdf for D&D D20. Again, not so much for the rules but the way the school is organized, especially the curriculum and magical sports (no quidditch, but it does have spellflag).

This is a very interesting project and I hope you continue to refine your ideas.

One thing that I did was that a Grand Tribunal ratified the school as having the rights of Bonisagus. Meaning that they could acquire apprentices for the school, and most importantly that they couldn't be Boni-snatched away from the school. The primary reason for establishing the school in my saga was the stagnation of the Order had resulted in fewer magi wanting to take apprentices, combined with an overall increase in population generally and the population of Gifted children generally. Anecdotes started getting shared about children being kidnapped, which happened all the time with the Order, but the numbers of children kidnapped didn't add up to the numbers of children becoming apprentices in the Order. So someone is taking apprentices away from the Order...

Kid Gloves

There are a lot of great and interesting story plot lines that could happen when one considers adult already magi indivdiuals coming together for a higher education. Instead of being young you have people who are already developed, capable, and decided on certain things.

I especially like it cause it represents magi wanting to learn more about magic, not just on their own but in a group collective level. That sort of need to become greater is highly interesting and has the potential for a lot of saga.

I actually had the idea that not only does the school teach the standard Hermetic Apprentice levels but that there is a specialized graduate program that those older and more focused can join. But I could also see the birth of other schooling systems in the Hermetic world to teach graduates in more advanced styles of magic.

Your ideas of course could easily be brought over to a school that teaches both younger and older students. I mean the existence of school 'secrets', oaths, or promises could be interesting. Having the ability to shape entire generations to look at certain things in certain ways have a lot of power. Ones classmates and yearmates and schoolmates all provide connections, friendships, and even enemies that will shape and effect one's life.

Its got so many great potentials and story plot hooks and interesting elements that could be saga worthy.



Totally looking up the Hermes Portla No. 1 cause its an awesome suggesstion. It made some interesting suggestions that kind of prove to me I was over thinking some elements of its organization.

One of the things that it established was that each students get a professor act serves as the defacto master as far as the Order is concerned. But that said person can be changed near the end if the student wants to choose a different House to join. I hadn't thought of it this way, its so much simpler than what I was doing. Without actually copying it I have taken some inspiration from it to help the organization of the school.

I went on Amazon and just bought a copy of the Redhurst Academy, cause I am that type of person. I will have to look it up but from the reviews it looks if not perfect a highly interesting and useful source of ideas and information.

So thanks for the ideas, I appreciate it. And thanks for the kind words, I am having a lot of fun thinking stuff up, which is always a good thing. hehe


Jonathan Link

That is a really really interesting idea. I might implement something similar, though not so much exactly at the founding. Basically, I consider the school to be born around 1220 and the first Grand Tribunal is not till 1232. This gives the school maybe an entire graduating class (so about 7 years) to prove itself useful and successfull before the meeting. Which of course is going to be highly political and cutthroat and could make or break the schools attempt.

I figure that with the Bonisagus ability to claim apprentices and security from being claimed the school would be required to share its developments to the wider Hermetic world. I doubt it would be required to be free, but I could see them being required to provide the lab texts for what they have created.

Your idea of events being stagnation of the Order, fewer want to take apprentices, but at the same time more people with the Gift being found is an interesting one. I totally like the idea of more people with the Gift being found, much more than the number of Hermetic magi would be able to teach on a one-by-one basis. I might actually combine it with the minor breakthrough in the Magi of Hermes to make Longevity Portions not cause sterility. The side effect would be more children with the Gift being born, making ti harder for parents to train their kids if they wnated to keep up with their magical ability.

The whole someone is taking the Gifted away is an interesting dark adventure plot. I am not sure I want their to be a bad enemy in my own potential saga, but it is a very interesting and potentially unifying purpose.


School Divisons

I wonder if establishing internal divisions based on Tribes or Clans or some other word might be interesting. Universities in this time period have Nations and Hospices (also called Colleges) that people of like nationality or the like combine in. I don't know if it would make sense to basically sort incoming students into say maybe five units which represent where they live, take classes, and stuff.

Also, I wonder what sort of Hermetic Magic could be used to actually sort students into the applicable Houses. Any thoughts on this? :slight_smile: