Sunday, April 3, 2011

[From a to Z in Kalamar] College of Magic

Our 'C' word is the College of Magic, in the Principality of Pekal.

In most fantasy worlds, there are (for lack of a better world) universities. Sometimes they teach all and sundry, and sometimes they are the guardians of knowledge, hoarding the arcane mysteries. Kingdoms of Kalamar is no different.The college in Bet Rogala teaches all the arcane mysteries, but they keep close tabs on everyone practising the mystic arts. Unregistered magic users can expect to be treated roughly, since the college have close ties to the political power in the Principality.

So, how come there are such a site of learning? Quite a few of the pioneers of our hobby met in wargaming clubs at university, like the founder of GDW and Dave Arneson and Dave Wesley to just name a few. I hardly think that it the reason for the common theme of wizard schools, though. Thinking back to some of the classics of fantasy literature I find few if any magic schools neither. Maybe there's something obvious here that I'm overlooking.

Why would you have a college of magic in your game, though? If there's something that have the potential to wreck the best laid plans of evil wizards and other baddies, that must surely be inventive players shuffling the cards of fate by magic. To be able to control what spells, and magical research a player will be able to access you will have a lot more control of your campaign.

Then there is the school of magic as a font of adventure. It's kind of obvious these days, post Harry Potter, what kind of adventure you could have at a school of magic.

Have anyone ever heard of such a campaign idea before Harry Potter? Oddly enough, I have not.

Taken to its extreme, here we see the birth of Ars Magica, a game which I have empirically come to understand just don't work for me. With that I conclude that in my games I think the college of magic is something as simple as my way to control the purses and power of my players.
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