PDA

View Full Version : 1001 Courses at a Fantasy University



Beleriphon
2018-06-21, 03:17 PM
So I'm my setting has a fantasy university, in the model of 15th century Oxford, or maybe Bologna. I have a name, Caedwalla, which I dug up using an Anglo-Saxon name generator until I found one I liked. I'm personally leaning towards an Anglo-Saxon/English vibe, maybe hints of Norman conquest stuff. I'm not doing a ton of information for it, but so far it is considered the premier magical institute in the world and has recently (about a century ago) expanded into other areas of study beyond being a research institute into nature of magic. Stuff like law, medicine, an what not. Link to relevant stuff: https://pegbarrow.obsidianportal.com/wikis/caedwalla.

Caedwalla is a university. One might call it THE university if they were being hyperbolic. Begardless it is the preeminent school of the learned within a thousand miles of Pegbarrow. The school started as a forum to teach aspiring wizards how not to blow themselves up with magic, as well as a place to try to impart a modicum of moral standards to magic users. Caedwalla still has the greatest magical education curriculum in the known world, however over the last three centuries since its inception the university has expanded to cover a wider range of subjects such as art, astronomy, literature, natural philosophy, medicine, metaphysics, and even theatre. As such the university also has a well regarded bardic college, both for those that want to weave magic into their music and those that simply want to learn the skills of a storyteller, musician and author.

Effectively I want some help getting lecture names, since there aren't courses and exams in the modern sense. You go for x number of years, and take an exam at the end of it with an established master. If you pass, you move on to working at attaining Master status yourself, if you fail try again next year. I want this to be the place where the magical version of Copernicus or Issac Newton would study.

I'm not going use anything that goes into Harry Potter style, because Harry Potter is as much a model of British private school education as it is a school to learn magic. If you can come up with some fun course names based on a 15th century university, either making fun of or based on that would be great. I know at its core the university was derived from Aristotelian philosophies.

For fun I'll do it as a counting thread, so far I have:

1) Metaphysics of Language of the Planes
2) Rhetorical Arguments with Outsiders
3) Anatomy of Extra-Planar Humanoids
4) The Greater Effects: Fire or Ice

Andor13
2018-06-21, 03:46 PM
Here's an interesting (and very brief) history of Oxford (http://www.localhistories.org/oxuni.html) you can mine for ideas. According to this during the 15th century subjects taught were grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.

It's worth noting that things at the time tended to work by lectures, not classes in the way we think of them. You'ld also have guest lecturers.
"Are you going the Magister Gimli's lecture on the use of runes in enchanting silver?"
"Haven't you heard? Lord Paladin Guysworth is speaking at Fainsbury hall about the perils of necromancy, should be excellent if he doesn't spit young Gerard for his questionable fashion choices."
"Should be excellent if he does, let's go."

Beleriphon
2018-06-21, 04:02 PM
Here's an interesting (and very brief) history of Oxford (http://www.localhistories.org/oxuni.html) you can mine for ideas. According to this during the 15th century subjects taught were grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.

It's worth noting that things at the time tended to work by lectures, not classes in the way we think of them. You'ld also have guest lecturers.
"Are you going the Magister Gimli's lecture on the use of runes in enchanting silver?"
"Haven't you heard? Lord Paladin Guysworth is speaking at Fainsbury hall about the perils of necromancy, should be excellent if he doesn't spit young Gerard for his questionable fashion choices."
"Should be excellent if he does, let's go."

I knew that for the most part. From what I've gathered thus far lecturers leaned toward reading a book to the assembled class, who maybe took notes, and interjected their own commentary on book in question as they went along. So I guess for fun I'm looking to get a list of possible lecture topics.

Jay R
2018-06-21, 06:40 PM
Here's an interesting (and very brief) history of Oxford (http://www.localhistories.org/oxuni.html) you can mine for ideas. According to this during the 15th century subjects taught were grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.

Yes, those are the seven liberal arts. They are split into the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music).

I would probably keep them as the seven mundane liberal arts, and try to set up seven mystical liberal arts, three divine and four arcane (or vice versa)

JeenLeen
2018-06-21, 10:08 PM
Given the history posted, I could see a few lectures as required for all students, at least those who have a magical focus. Maybe even mundanes are required to take them as part of the legacy of the university.
Ethics of Magic -- goes over general ethical theory, cosmology of Good/Evil/other forces, and standards of morality held by the university
Introduction to Metaphysics -- a fundamental understanding of why and how magic works, requiring no actual magical practice (though magic-users likely have an edge, or perhaps a disadvantage if they need to relearn to fit the Master's interpretation)
Introduction to Outsiders and the Divine -- an overview of the Gods, their history and interaction with mankind, and basic understanding of divine magic. Also goes into planar entities like elementals and warnings against messing with infernal beings
Standards of Trivium -- an basic overview of grammar, rhetoric, and logic and showing competence. Students who focus on those individual lectures can avoid this course, but this is required even for those with a focus elsewhere who avoid the more mundane lectures. After all, the university can't have students not understand basic communication.

You might like to look at the university structure in Rothfuss' Kingkiller Chronicle.

Andor13
2018-06-21, 10:43 PM
Yes, those are the seven liberal arts. They are split into the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, logic) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music).

I would probably keep them as the seven mundane liberal arts, and try to set up seven mystical liberal arts, three divine and four arcane (or vice versa)

I think you're missing an opportunity if you regard them as mundane arts. Music is certainly a magical practice for bards, and is prominent in a lot of fantasy, I would honestly expect it to be a major part of any large (meaning multi-participant) magical ritual, to aid with timing if nothing else. Grammar and rhetoric are probably important for any verbal caster and form the core of a truenamers studies. Logic is a high value course if you plan to bargain with any infernals. Geometry is important at the very least for magic circles, and broadens into geomancy with any Chinese influence. Astronomy and Astrology had not split yet in the 1500s and astrological horology would certainly have been a facet of study at the time, also often considered a means of insight into the divine.

I would think it would be more fun to mix them up.

Lecture ideas:
The use of Madrigals in the charming of monsters: Soothing the savage beast.
Grammar and illusion, the import of structured language on Phantasms.
Rhetorical tricks for getting the most from a Geas.
The Logic of the Divine, bargaining with gated angels.
Astronomy and Rebirth: A method for determining the efficacy of a Raise Dead spell by means of a horoscope with discourse on common pitfalls.
Perils of Planar teleportation, theory and methods of drawing a True circle in a curved space.
Logistics of frequently cast spells, a round table discussion of determining proper quantities of supplies for the common spell pouch. How to determine of you have enough guano to cast fireball, but not so much as to ruin your date. Recommended for freshmen.

Jay R
2018-06-22, 11:45 AM
I think you're missing an opportunity if you regard them as mundane arts.

Only if you think that different fields of study don't interact.

Yes, of course music is crucial for bards and enchanters, just as statistics is crucial for sociologists and economists. But they are still separate fields, and statistics is part of mathematics, not sociology.

Similarly, the mundane arts are the ones that don't need magic.

Originally, the Trivium are the arts needed for any field of study. The Quadrivium are the four arts of numbers. And they still would be. They would be the basis for magical learning, as they are ultimately the basis for all learning.

VoxRationis
2018-06-22, 12:51 PM
Don't Eat My Brain: Humanoid Cultural Hegemony and the Othering of Illithid Bodies
Professor Ulith
TR 12:30-1:30
Anderson Hall Basement

This course examines the cultural viewpoints of humanoid cultures with regards to illithids and their vilification through portrayal of illithid biology as alien and threatening.

CW: Use of racial slurs such as "m*** f*****" will be found in some of the studied source material.

Cealocanth
2018-06-22, 11:05 PM
Introduction to High Elven Mystic Archaeology - A multi-part lecture that contains an analysis and overview on how the combined use of archaeological, divination, and anthropological techniques can help to reveal ancient and lost magical artifacts and techniques, with a focus on High Elf history.

Advanced Sacred Geometry - A math-intensive engineering course focused on developing the skills required to craft magical circles, sigils, and seals.

Introduction to Cosmology - A lecture and reading intensive course that broadly outlines and fleshes out the known history of the multiverse, along with a study of the different interpretations found in different fields of magic and different cultures.

Equivalence and Mana Balancing - This is the foot-in-the-door lecture for the Alchemy degree, as it outlines the basic mathematics of the Laws of Equivalent Echange and how to calculate how much goes into a system and how much comes out using provided equations.

Modern Triton Literature - This class probably has no more than a few dedicated attendees. It is an in-depth analysis of choice volumes of literature stemming from the various Triton cultures of the world. It mostly involves reading transcripts of stone and coral tablets. A minimum of 3 years in Aquan is required as a prerequisite.

Celestial, Diabolical, and Abyssal Macroeconomics - An elective course involving a lecture, independant study, and an off-campus summer session in the student's choice of a holy/unholy alternate plane. This focuses on the study of the soul trade in the heavens and the hells.

Far Realm Anti-Biology - A combined lecture and laboratory course designed around the study of the biology, or rather the lack thereof, of various far realm organisms. There is a resident Beholder on campus but most students don't get past the part where the gibbering mouther is placed under a microscope.

Far Realm Anti-Organism Care and Safety - Oddly not a prerequisite for Far Realm Anti-Biology, this class focuses on how to survive exposure to Far Realm creatures and how to care for them. It's a one credit hour lecture, so nobody shows up to this.

Rofltrollcopter
2018-06-23, 10:28 AM
There could be a department of Applied Archaeology, explicitly devoted to using those strange items that adventurers dig out of ancient ruins and the like.

Grog Logs
2018-06-23, 11:52 AM
There are a lot of great ideas here. I recently started DM'ing a new campaign that used a similar idea but with a twist. Namely, prestigious fantasy universities exist in that world; but the PCs will not be attending that university. Instead, they will be attending the local community college - taking tonal cues from Community (TV series) and Wolverine and the X-Men (2011 (https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/marveldatabase/images/1/15/Jean_Grey_School_for_Higher_Learning_class_list.jp g/revision/latest?cb=20120126190331) comic (https://i.imgur.com/veIy0vd.jpg)).

We here at Greenfield Technical Institute like to think of our school more as your secondary home than as a secondary learning institute. Other places focus on only accepting the best of the best. We focus on the rest. We’re a hands (and tentacles) on learning center where what you learn in the field is as important as what you learn in the classroom. We hope that you join us and realize that Greenfield Tech is as much of a family as an institution.

Their school mascot is "The Victorious Flumphs." The rival school's mascot is The Shoosuvas (https://vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/forgottenrealms/images/c/cb/Shoosuva-5e.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20171010225359)

Oh, and I'm not the Dungeon Master...I'm the Dean Master ;)

101: Trees Make Me Happy
103: Advanced Basket Weaving and Juggling
202: Nature Will Destroy You

101: If It's Not Nailed Down
110: Back in My Day
303: History is Written by the Victors(ious Flumphs)


101: Cultural Studies – Getting
120: Intersectionality of Your Opponents with Blades
201: Comparative Religions and Alignments

101: Clockwork Toys for Fun and Profit
102: Time Management for Building Your Own Contraptions
201: Innovations and Patents to Further Your Side Projects
406: Building Your Empire


101: Staying Alive with Healing Spells
102: Death and Resurrection
202: Is Breathing Underwater for You?
210: Our Corpses, Ourselves


101: Punching Things in the Face: Literally
102: Weapons are All Sticks
103: Hitting Things with Pointy Sticks from a Distance
110: Hitting Things with Pointy Sticks in the Dark
120: Resources Management with a specialty in Bossing
201: Hitting Things Like Really, Really Hard



Taught by Joy (https://db4sgowjqfwig.cloudfront.net/campaigns/147874/assets/710973/mortuu.jpg?1489354604), aka "The Joy of Reading and Learning"

101: The Quasit-Imp Guide to Beginner's Magic
105: Organization, Paper Allocation, and Redistribution – Why Layers are Better Than Circles
110: Deep Speech: Communicating with the Beyond
302: Do You Want to Build a Golem♬ ?
-Co-taught with the Music Appreciation and Composition Department
-Early lesson: "How to Find a Manual of Golems"
404: Traversing the Planes and Crossing the Streams



Taught by Hinemas "Hymns" Boldslayer (https://pics.me.me/flawed-character-concepts-minotaur-bard-i-got-a-fever-and-22622221.png)

101: Poetry: The Foundation of Songs
104: Ki Enhancement to Improve your Poetry
110: Who Needs Proficiency to Sing and Play?: Expressing Your Inner Song
112: Gaining Proficiency in Musical Expression to Avoid Being Murdered
302: Do You Want to Build a Golem♬ ?
-See Library Sciences Department for details
308: Advanced Plahflahflahflah
-Prerequisites: at least five appendages


101: Pain Scale (https://pics.me.me/improved-pain-scale-it-might-be-an-itch-i-just-3079728.png)and Communication Skills
201: Elite Loot and Magic Items
212: The Stars are Aligned and Other Omens
404: I Know When (and Where) You are Sleeping…and What You are Dreaming About


101: Paying with Your Soul and Other Repayment Plans

BeerMug Paladin
2018-06-24, 03:26 AM
Divination Forensics: A lecture on how to correctly identify evil twins from other planes, times or shapeshifters. Also, how to correctly rule out mind-control, illusions, mind parasites (and other trickery) as a misdirecting circumstance in which the given crime was committed. Provides little assistance in dealing with such threats in an active sense.

Anarcanic Engineering Marvels: Fantastic structures throughout the world classically believed to be constructed using magical methods. Contains modern theory on rarely used construction techniques and demonstrates how many could have been constructed using non-magical means.

Achronistic Historical Economics: An economic treatise on why unarguably better technology is always in the hands of lone kook inventors. Why such devices are never adapted into common use despite repeated invention throughout ancient history all the way into the modern era.

Stagecraft Magic: Modern magical techniques for dazzling audiences during plays and operas. Includes details on intricate pyrotechnic displays, appearance modification tricks and scenic vistas.

Magic Stagecraft: How to make it look like you're using magic when you're really not. How such things are useful for confounding powerful spellcasters in battles of wits.

King of Nowhere
2018-06-24, 10:22 AM
Do not forget the book "1000 arcane secrets that will drive you mad. MAD!"

noob
2018-06-24, 11:34 AM
Do not forget the book "1000 arcane secrets that will drive you mad. MAD!"
It is a thread about courses and not books.

Theorical Gomeering: a course with engineering, gnomes and a quickly expanding cloud of debris at the place where the planet was.

PiperThePaladin
2018-06-24, 12:37 PM
This may not be quite the tone you're after, but my setting has a university of wizardry, and each course that you take teaches you one spell. So a first-year's course list might look something like:

Conjuration 103: Mage Hand
Evocation 102: Shocking Grasp
Evocation 1007: Magic Missile

Picking your arcane tradition is like picking your major, and you graduate as anywhere from a 1st to 3rd level wizard, depending on how good you are.

I like the emphasis this gives on exactly how smart a wizard who is figuring out 6th level spells must be. The names above obviously don't fit with the 15th century Oxford though. Maybe something like:

Remote Conjurational Anatomy (Mage Hand)
Tactile Arcane Conductivity and Magnetism (Shocking Grasp)
Remote Force Vectors (Magic Missile)

VoxRationis
2018-06-24, 01:43 PM
@PiperThePaladin: I rather like that idea.

AceOfFools
2018-06-25, 10:53 AM
Moral Justifications for Zombies: an examination of when it is and is not appropriate to animate the dead.

VincentTakeda
2018-06-25, 11:48 AM
Introduction to applied phlebotinum.

Material components: proper storage and care.

Divination master course - breaking the 4th wall.

A study on Infernal contract negotions, with an advanced class in wish subversion mitigation.

Crafting on the road for fun and profit!

Enchanter ethics

Teaching your old familiar new tricks!

Intro to grooming cantrips (also for fun and profit!)