Schools of Magic
Schools of Magic are collections of magical forces grouped together to accomodate the mastering process. Each School has five degrees, much like college degrees: Graduate, Professional, Master, Instructor, Superior. Mages begin training for their Graduate degree at sixteen, a process taking two years. Subsequent degrees require twice the time of the previous. For example, a Superior mage will complete their degree at seventy-eight. Though it doesn’t take thirty-two years to complete the requisite coursework, the time-restraint works to prevents a substantial generational overlap in Instructor and Superior mages.
Typical mages will double-up on Graduate degrees during the last-half of high school, then start one desired Professional degree at eighteen and another at twenty. By the time these mages enter the workforce at twenty-five, they will have two Professional degrees and possibly a third Graduate degree. Over-achievers can complete three Professional degrees around twenty-six.
Mages of Master and higher can opt to add the School’s name to the end of their full name, though only one School at any give time. Children born to Master-plus mages will have the School’s name added permanently, regardless if they choose a different School to master. School-born mages have natural abilities in the specific School such they have power roughly equal to half a degree higher than a mage solely trained in the same School. For instance, BJ‘s mother has a Masters in Holy, but her father is a School-born Serious Instructor. So while BJ has innate abilities for Serious and Holy, Serious is attached to her name because her father outranked his wife.
Deals with elemental manipulations and animal control. Primal contained most of the spells that people think of when they regards magic: fireballs and such. Animal control is rather difficult and requires intense training. Of the various Schools, Primal has the most spells and potions, numbering in the thousands.
Recently, Elemental mages have rallied support for a new School based solely on elemental manipulation.
Holy have one spell and potion: Heal. The effect is a cure-all for every kind of non-magical ailment. The downside is that creating even a weak version will kill moderate-level mages. The negative effects can be mitigated when multiple mages work together, but even a team of five medical mages can cast the spell only ten times a day. This limitation forces medical mages to study mundane cures much as regular doctors do. A typical medical mage will have attended medical school in the real world.
By far the most difficult modern School. Anyone who openly studies Curs’t is watched closely by the Mage Council as the only purpose of curses is to do harm to others. Most of these mages become Instructors such to preserve the knowledge, particularly the ability to counter curses. If a mage displays behavior indicative of malevolence, they are imprisoned. In prison they are cursed, removing their magical abilities, an ironic fate.
Curs’t is the only School with a sub-school that deals with countering curses. Medical mages are required to study Curs’t to at least the Graduate level.
Spirits roam the Earth, unseen by most, even mages. Spirits can interact with people at their whim, but only mages born with the ability to freely interact with spirits choose this path. No mage that wasn’t born with “Sight” has ever completed any degree in this School. Spirit has no potions, as bottling a conjured spirit is considered cruel. Most summonings are controlled via pacts made with the spirit with terms as unique as the two parties.
Much as the name implied, the School focuses on the mind. Psychic mages are masterful trick magicians. They can communicate across long-distances, but their most powerful ability is remote spell-casting, where they cast a spell from another School at some distance from their body. The most powerful Psychic mages can enter the dreams of others and interact with the environment therein.
Serious offers no concrete spells or potions. Rather, students of Serious focus on mixing spells together to create new effects. For example, combining a fire and ice spell to create steam. A Primal mage can cast a fire and ice spell– even simultaneously– to recreate the effect. But a Serious mage simply creates the steam from one spell. Besides this ability, Serious mages are adept at maximizing potion potency, creating some of the most effective potions known.
Despite being the youngest School– formed in the late 1700s– Serious quickly became the dominant School in the Mage Council. The School is notably for being completely lineal with all of the leadership descending from the founder. Despite many well-known attempts for outsiders to wrest leadership from the school-borns, no mage has been able to compete with the innate talent.
The School is not without its black marks. In recent history, a non-lineal Serious mage turned assassin remote-casted a poison directly inside a Mage Counselor’s heart from over a mile away. A feat even lineal Serious mages would have considered impossible for numerous reasons because of the multiple-mastery the spell required: Psychic, Curs’t, Alchemy, and Serious.
Incantare is a School of enchantment. Though the word incantare is Latin for “sing,” and the School is often referred to as the “arts degree” of magic, Incantare has some of the most effective spells in magic. The stigma lies in the fact those spells generally require dance or musical instruments. Unlike popular, non-mage opinion, Incantare do not have permanent enchantments as seen in video games or fiction. All spells are line of sight or earshot in nature, thus Incantare have no potions.
Research into digital encoding of earshot spells has offered some results, though like potions, the digital spell is only effective if used before the caster’s next period of unconsciousness– planned or otherwise.
Alchemy isn’t a School per se, since it focuses solely on maximizing potion potency. The Serious founder was a Superior Alchemy mage, thus his family’s innate ability to mix potions. Beyond the alchemic benefits, Alchemy provides one very important spell: Transference. This spell allows one mage to pass “ownership” of a potion to another, thereby extending the duration of the potion. The process is two-way, the new owner adds their magic to the potion while the original caster removes their own. It’s a slow, tedious process easily corrupted.
The creation of this spell is a popular story told often as a lullaby. A young girl was poisoned by a spirit-infected, highly-poisonous snake. Her parents were both medical Alchemist and knew that it would take many days to remove the toxins. So through sheer will and love, they kept the potion alive by trading the potion during the time it took to cure their daughter.
An extinct form of magic that disappeared before the modern School system, the first evidence of these mages places them nearly twenty thousand years in the past, long before language existed. It was named, Ananta– sanskrit for “endless”– by a professor who discovered Ananta mages could extend their own life into the hundreds of years. The ability to self-cast exists nowhere in modern magic and the School is found only in history classes.
These mages were hunted to extinction after it was determined living longer than one-hundred-fifty years led, without exception, to insanity. Extremely powerful mages suffering insanity were a problem for all. This decision lead sparked a civil war that led to the Dark Ages.