Templore Campaign Setting
The Dorlyn Academy of Higher Learning
“Knowledge is the lantern of the mind inside the darkness of ignorance.” ~Academy motto
Located roughly a mile south-west of the town of Dorlyn in the kingdom of Valece, this house of arcane learning is one of the few of its kind to exist in Templore. For a fee, those who seek to gain knowledge of arcane magics may enroll in the school and attend classes, lectures, and practical lessons in their chosen fields of magical study. This information is freely taught to any who gain admittance into the academy, regardless of age, race, or gender, and the school teaches its students to use magic safely, responsibly, and for the benefit of life in Templore.
In 1304 p.r. the wizard Saire was granted honorary knighthood by King Percival II for aiding him in the defense of his country against the encroaching ogre warlord Uma The Furious. Saire used the land he obtained to erect a hold, which he named Dorlyn in honor of his daughter. The first constructed building in Dorlyn was the mage’s tower, which stands today as the oldest building in the region. As is often the case, the hold grew over many years, and a settlement rose on its borders. In his twilight years, when Saire was growing old and seeking to pass his knowledge on to an apprentice, he held a contest of wits at his home. A small group of curious people arrived and spent the following days in a battle of intellect with the wizard, many resigning within the first few hours. By the end, only four participants remained, and the quartet were so evenly matched that the old man could not decide which one to choose. After much deliberation, Saire decided against his initial plan and accepted all four as his pupils.
When Saire passed away in 1332, his four pupils wished to honor their teacher for his deeds. His only daughter married away, the mage’s hold would have been reclaimed by the king. His students, however, petitioned for ownership of the land to convert the keep and its grounds into an academy, and their pleas were met with success. Thus, these four men and women became the first teachers of the newly-dubbed Dorlyn Academy of Higher Learning.
The school and its accompanying town have expanded considerably in the time since. The original tower has been converted into the Chancellor’s private quarters, and the myriad of adjoining buildings have been turned into laboratories, lecture halls, and housing for the students. Much of the town’s local trade is stimulated by the academy, as the school exports some rather expensive and exotic goods. An annual fair is held to showcase the school and its accomplishments, and to attract new alumni.
Presently, the school is one of the only places of freely-taught arcane magic in Templore. Valece, being a magic-tolerant nation, considers Dorlyn to be one of its greatest amenities. Magic is treated as a gift, one that may be used for the enrichment and enlightenment of all life. Even the issues of race are not held in contempt at the academy; students are accepted on their acumen alone, and faculty displaying prejudicial qualities are disbarred from teaching. This leaves the academy in a rather unique position in the world, and is the cause of as much controversy as praise.
Entering the Academy
Teaching arcane lore to even the most receptive of students is a lengthy and expensive task, and therefore becoming accepted into the academy is a rather stringent process.
To apply as a student to the academy, one must receive a sponsorship from a current member of the faculty. Upon receiving this sponsorship, the prospecting student undergoes a personal interview at the behest of a panel of the faculty members. The panel then votes in secret; a single vote against the applicant results in a rejection. Following this, the applicant is given a number of entrance examinations to measure his academic prowess. He is tested in a number of fields, including literacy, familiarity with philosophy, sciences and mathematics. Finally, he is given a physical inspection to ensure that he is in good health.
Once all of these prerequisites are met, the applicant arranges the terms of his tuition fees. These fees typically range from 1200 to 1500 GP annually. Tuition is used to pay for the cost of books, boarding at the campus, laboratory materials, and faculty salaries, but does not cover spell components, damage caused by the student in his research, or taxes.
During his first year at the school, the student is placed on a probationary period. During this time, the student’s academic performance and behavior is monitored closely and evaluated. If the student is not performing adequately in the opinion of the faculty, a panel meets in secret to discuss his dismissal from the academy. Except in the most extreme of circumstances, students dismissed from the academy are not eligible for re-application. Any tuition or other finances paid to the academy are non-refundable.
When a pupil is accepted into the school, they are encouraged to take part in the yearly Induction Ceremony and Feast, held on the first night of every new semester to welcome new students. This event is meant to give each student a chance to meet their fellow schoolmates, and familiarize themselves with the customs of the academy and its teachers, as well as to reacquaint returning members. A tour of the campus is held after hours. Regardless of whether they attend the ceremony, all students are required to take an oath of good faith before their peers, and to repeat the school motto.
Semesters at the school begin on the first day of Lesus, and end on the final day of Gadorr. Except under special circumstances, students are not permitted to leave school grounds during the semester. Special assignments, such as field work, are an exception to this, as well as short breaks (typically no longer than 14 days) allotted throughout the year to visit family. Students who become absent without permission could face fines or expulsion.
Students attend classes, lectures, and symposia held 4-6 times every spoke. This makes up the bulk of the student’s learning, supplemented with several meetings with their tutors for personal tutelage. In keeping with the tradition of the academy, every semester the Chancellor selects a small group (usually 3-5) of particularly promising students to teach personally.
There are three grades the students are sorted into: neophyte, initiate, and apprentice. Neophytes are students who are learning their first cantrips, and are taught by the school’s lesser mentors. At the initiate level, field work becomes more common. Those who advance to the apprentice level begin tutelage under the Chancellor, and are allowed to work in the laboratory, assisting their teachers with research and experiments. It is at this stage that the student begins learning spellwork from the spheres of magical influence.
Once an apprentice has learned all of the required cantrips and has proven capable of using magic from at least one sphere, he is eligible for graduation. A graduation ceremony is held at the end of every year to honor those who have completed their studies.
The graduate’s time at the school does not end there, however. All graduates are required to attend the school for two more semesters as a tutor. If at the end of this period he has shown mastery of spellwork from at least three of the spheres of magic, he becomes qualified to enlist as a member of the teaching faculty.
Virtually all forms of arcane magic are taught at the Dorlyn Academy of Higher Learning. All major spheres of magic are a part of the syllabus, except for mind-affecting enchantment and necromancy, due to the controversial nature of these two types of magic. Academic advisors, knowledgeable on those subjects, are employed by the academy in case there is need of them, but they are strictly forbidden from teaching their knowledge to students. Much of the early learning students undertake are preparatory in nature. Subjects such as math, linguistics, astrology, and social studies are not inherantly magical, but form the basic principals that students will base their magical framework around.
Most students are taught as those who have no latent magical ability – that is, their mastery of the arcane is learned, and does not come about as being from an innate magical source. Those who have magic in their blood, as it is often said, who can manifest magical abilities without the need for study, are also taught special courses at the school, so they may better understand and harness their gifts. A select path of study on magic used in conjunction with physical combat is also offered, and many war-mages enlisted by the kingdom have been taught at the academy.
Magical correspondences, such as those used in the form of material components and foci, are an integral part of the learning process. Many of the annual field trips and outings planned by the professors are done to collect and examine components, and teach pupils how to forage for their own. Many basic components can be purchased from the school apothecary in the meantime.
Alchemy is also part of the curriculum, although only rudimentary. A presence of ruthless alchemical guilds have stunted the academy’s ability to teach the subject, yet the professor of alchemy is an invaluable asset to the school nonetheless.
Archmage Armes Tresmegestus (Cathartan human male, Wiz 12) is the current Chancellor and headmaster of the academy. He has served the academy for nearly ten years, having graduated with honors some twenty years prior, and tutoring countless students in between. Though his long hair is still mostly coal-black, his temples have begun showing the grey of his advancing age. His cool blue eyes are adept at seeing the true nature of his students. He is most often dressed in the robes of his office, carrying a staff and sporting an enchanted diadem.
Professor of Abjuration: Helmo Gaben, Drachmordian human male (Wiz 6)
If not for his height, Helmo may be mistaken for a dwarf, with his heavy frame and thick beard. Combining the spheres of Protection and Fate, the school of Abjuration focuses on defensive and preventative magics, which Helmo endorses as one of the most practical uses of arcane power. A
Professor of Conjuration: Erman Botts, human male (Lindish)(Wiz [Conjurer] 5)
Professor of Divination: Krinia Lucano, human female (Cathartan) (Wiz [Diviner] 5)
Professor of Evocation: Noddhiger Froud, dwarf male (Wiz [Evoker 6])
Professor of Illusion: Hricio Eathsils, gnome male (Wiz [Illusionist] 7])
Professor of Transmutation: Corina Sorensen, elf female (Wiz [Transmuter] 5)
Professor of Universal Magic: Piersym Faxe, human male (Corite) (Wiz 6)
Professor of Alchemy: Arlast Morvela, human male (Sargosan) (Alc 5)
Enchantment and Necromancy are not openly taught in the academy; however, there are advisors who are employed by the school in case their expertise are needed. These advisors are Roya LeMour (Valecian human male) and Bravi Gugosi (Linovan human male), respectively.
The castle which forms the bulk of the campus is situated on the summit of a tall hill overlooking a large lake. Many smaller buildings and edifices dot the grounds, and the outlying countryside rolls smoothly into a low meadow before being choked by dense forests. The keep can easily be seen from the city, and the rooftops of the city are visible behind the trees while looking down from the hill.
The campus holds a number of elements and secrets meant to test the mettle of students, including a hedge maze littered with magical tricks and traps. A number of objects, such as statues and topiary, have been enchanted for various purposes. The school itself is laden with a few hidden chambers and passageways, some of which are even forgotten or unknown to the faculty.
Houses, Societies, and Social Life
While the four creators of the school agreed that magical knowledge should be cherished and taught to those who are willing to learn, they each had differing ideals and philosophies regarding this knowledge. To foster good will and sportsmanship between their students, these mages each established a house, a secret order which promoted the ideals of its founder. When a student showed qualities favored by these houses, they were left subtle clues by the mages on where to find their lodges: secret rooms or buildings on campus where the house members could meet in privacy and discuss the finer aspects of magic and life. These four houses were known as House Akasha, House Sanguis, House Libra, and House Occultus.
House Akasha was founded on the belief that magic, alchemy, and philosophy are all intrinsically linked, and that when used together, may lead one to personal enlightenment. The mage Aril was the head of this house, and he perhaps had the most in common with Boheman, and the goals of the school. Students chosen for Akasha house are often intellectual, introspective, and curious about the world and people around them.
House Sanguis belonged to the only student of Boheman to have magic born into him. His sorcerous powers emerged from his bloodline, rather than through study, and Boheman faced many challenges in teaching him. Ravis The Bastard, as he was called, was a half-elven man. His powers were great, but after being ostracized and alienated from others all his life, he sought only to gain importance through power. He agreed to founding the school so that others like himself would find a haven to escape to, so that they may avoid the struggles he experienced. House Sanguis fosters this ideal, teaching emphasis on personal power and self-reliance found through magic. Sanguis house initiates tend to be prideful, courageous, outgoing, and shrewd.
House Libra, appointed by the scholar Temmen, is focused on the acquisition, study, and keeping of all knowledge. Said to be the most studious and wise of the houses, Libra students are well-versed in ancient lore, magical and otherwise, and have a somewhat unfair penchant for being introverted.
House Occultus is a mysterious, secretive house. Founded by the spellcaster Cronen, who believed that magic is an enigma that may only be solved by those with the cunning to brave the shadows of ignorance. While this may seem at odds with the academy’s goals of bringing magic to a greater amount of people, Cronen assessed that only those worthy enough would be able to succeed. Occultus house is shrouded in secrecy, and has the fewest members of the four houses. The students of Occultus
are typically loners, and do not often work together or associate with others outside of their house lodge, which is obviously the most-well hidden of the four.
Today, these houses survive as secret societies within the school. Great care is taken to ensure that uneducated students would have no inkling of their existence, and only those favored by the members of the houses are ever made aware of them. Gaining membership in a house is a difficult task, and each house has separate requirements that must be met before the location of their lodge is revealed. One professor is elected as Head of the Household for each house every semester, typically by the previous Head. The professors, of course, are as secretive of the houses and their lodges as the students, often more so. While the houses often compete against one another in various ways throughout the year, ultimately it is all in good nature, and a student or professor has never allowed their allegiance with their house to interfere with their studies or reputation on campus.
A number of other clubs and societies exist at the academy as well. Students often form their own groups, either out of study, general interest, or with some goal in mind.