Going to College

Ok, this may make me look dumb, but I dunno how mage college is supposed to work.

I get that it’s possible to set up a sanctum and have students and apprentices. I also get that there’s this “went to wizard school” proficiency that suggests a bigger structure to the mage world. I just don’t know what that is intended to look like, and fit into the demographics and all that.

I imagine it as being something midway between sanctum and hideout. By building large libraries and lab spaces, you can attract a bunch of mages and alchemists and students. You can assign them to magic research (maybe) and special component harvesting.

The college would have a spell library which contained the spell formulae known to that college. Access requires that members not share it with outsiders, etc. Because the library has a finite set of spells, the ones you can learn from it are limited, but possibly being a Collegiate wizard gives you more choice when levelling up than the student of a lone wolf.

To maintain membership in the college requires some “tax” on adventuring income, but you can make use of the library/lab/etc and have improved availability of arcane spellcasting.

With organization comes politics. Senior mage’s (above some level) are either Collegiate or not. These colleges are in competition with each other for resources and manpower. They could be modelled much like a senate, with numbers of mages, factions and interests.

A thing I am not clear on is the demographics of mages seems to make it hard to have many “high level” mages working together in a city.

Any thoughts?

Alright, a new thought on this… a “college” is a guild of mages. The Secrets chapter tells you how many mages are in a city, which is half the number of thieves. Logically, the size of all mage guilds in a city should be half the size of the Thieves guild(s). 7.5% of these are 3rd level or above, and max level can be the same as for thieves guilds.

Assume the 3rd+ level guys are the main power centers… use the senatorial procedure to divide them up into factions. The number of “leading senators” can be the number of high level guild mages, who can then be clustered into “factions” which are the colleges.

In addition, you need… Any mage above 5th level may train apprentices. The duration of training is Nd6 months, where N=10-teacher level, minimum 1. The maximum number of apprentices and normal men studying under a mage is:
9th+ level: 6 apprentices, 12 normal men
8th level: 3 apprentices, 6 normal men
7th level: 2 apprentices, 3 normal men
6th level: 1 apprentice, 2 normal men
5th level: 0 apprentices, 1 normal man

Following up on this, look at Adamas. 10,000 families means 200 mages according to the starting cities demographics.

If we follow the example of criminal guilds, this means there would be about 365 people in the mage guild economy of Adamas.

About 165 of these are lvl 0… Alchemists, students and other helpers.

About 128 of these will be 1st level, distributed among the various arcane classes.

About 46 will be 2nd level, and about 27 will be level 3+.

Following the demographic projection given here (64% at each progressive level), this means about 17 of the 27 are actually 3rd level. This leaves 10 arcane casters above the “Apprentice tier”.

Considering these the leaders as if they were senators, we have 1d4 leaders, each with 2d3 high level mages in their “college”. Stat the leaders out, and create their repertoires. Add 2d3 1st level spells and 1d3 2nd level spells for each leader (I just made this up). This plus the repertoire of the leader is the full complement of spells possessed by the college.

Once this is done, there will be spells known to only one college, spells known to several, and spells unknown and unaviable in that city.

Collegiate Wizardry lets you know the leaders and spell lists, the politics of this, etc. It only makes sense, though, if it gets created.

I like this idea a lot. Wizards are in a funny position in ACKS - in order to do their domain thing (magic research), they need stuff available primarily from advanced civilizations (books) and stuff available primarily from wilderness (monster parts). The necessity of books (and apprentices) does indicate some distinct advantages to city-centralized guilds over ACKS’ default “tower in the middle of nowhere with a dungeon”.


Alchemists, students and other helpers.


At a glance, I like what you’ve done here. It seems interesting and workable. Maybe even the beginnings of some sort of “guild” generation methodology? (Hmmm, was there something similar on the forum – maybe mercenary guilds or some such?)

I agree “lore” skills are only useful to players to the extent the Judge grounds them in the campaign world, i.e. the Judge must “know” what there is to know before telling a player. Then, spells and formulas are a special sort of knowledge that directly lead to power. Considering ACKS demographics, as you do above, can lead to verisimilitude in the campaign setting, especially with something like spells. But some Judges may prefer to “wing” it. I’ve done both, and anything that helps with either approach can be useful.

Agreed! There is definitely a push/pull thing going on, and I suspect a mage with a large team of igors and apprentices, as you might find in a guild, would benefit substantially.

Add things like a monster hunt hijink (or maybe an alchemical monster processing job, and a well-oiled machine might result.

A strange feature of “winging it” to me is a very strange feature of mages… they start with an extremely valuable treasure, in the form of a spellbook containing their repertoire, at level one. The death of a mage immediately enriches the whole party in a very strange way, given some conversations we’ve seen here.

Mages are also, generally, eager to share spells, in contradiction to the usual default.

I’m starting to feel that, in order to make that stuff really “work” that web of obligations should be there. Maybe the mage’s spellbook is held by his master, constraining the Apprentice to close-by activities until/unless he pays for it or makes his own copy. Maybe trade in spells yield immediate plot consequences as different mage factions react. I dunno, but I like the idea of it, and of tying the characters into a web of obligations.

I think organization rules are a place acks could use some attention, absolutely. From merc guilds to trading companies, churches, etc. Each campaign may be a law unto itself, but each man cannot be.

[quote="DrPete"] Each campaign may be a law unto itself, but each man cannot be. [/quote]

Challenge accepted.