To follow up from my last post on doing school-based campaigns, I present a few examples of materials from our Libri Vidicos campaign, beginning with materials given to first year students and then contrasting that next post with the materials given to the players recently as they entered the third year. Below was their welcome to the school and list of classes when they first began the campaign.
A Welcome and Instruction to Incoming Students
Now that you have accepted entry into the Libri Vidicos, you must prepare yourself for your first term. Transport will be arranged for you. You will receive a notice detailing the time and place where you must be in order to meet our representative. If you are not there your chance will have passed and memory of this will also leave you.
You must pack the following:
At least three shirts; three pairs of pants, trousers or modest dresses; one pair of shoes; one pair of boots; one belt; appropriate lacing and undergarments. Dress for modest seasons. Winter garments will be provided to you as well as a house cloak and jacket. You will be gone for some time, and while there will be opportunities to purchase some goods, you should pack to the best of what little common sense you may have. The school does have a seamstress, cobbler and such who can make repairs as are necessary. However, you do not want to place yourself at the mercy of their schedule and as such I suggest everyone bring a sewing kit or somesuch thing.
You must bring one hat. It should be a good hat—stout, clean and presentable. Shoddy or poorly maintained hats are unacceptable.
The following four books are required and will be provided to you with the cost coming from your stipend and deposit. You may bring your own copies so as to avoid this charge. Note that editions with lewd illustrations will be confiscated.
• Odovore's History of the Ancient World, Volume I—The Early Makistaanus.
• Fortiger's translation of the Makistaanus, Book One: Flaemish Ascendant
• Chereloft's Gentleman's Guide to Rhetoric and Right Speaking
• Book One of the Alginiad, Introductory Calculations and Proofs
You may bring a dueling blade with you. It will be given over to the Armsmaster upon your arrival and may only be used in the appropriate courses. Hidden weapons, spring blades, volters of any kind, blowguns, katars, hand crossbows, slingshots, poisoned needles, bows, warhammers, books cut out and weighted with the intent of causing bodily injury, hand axes, artificial claws, Godkicking boots, and any other weapon or device of lethality no mentioned before this are not to be brought. If they are discovered, they will be confiscated and perhaps used upon your person.
Magical items of utility may be brought and kept. Magic items intended to harm another person either deliberately or through inaction will be confiscated. Magic items created for the sole purpose of cheating on examinations are also not approved. Each year we enjoy finding and confiscating said items and selling them to third parties to pay for tea cozies in the instructor's lounge.
You may bring food. It is highly recommended that such food be of a non-perishable nature. You will be allowed up to one care package from home every sixty days. Food stuffs which can generally be considered noxious or be classified as a weapon will be taken away.
I have been advised by certain parties to state that if you are currently used to a comfortable life we highly recommend you bring your own pillows, blanket and sheets. Myself, I find complaints upon the subject spurious and a waste of my time.
You may bring what you can carry in a modest steamer truck and one largish pack. You can stuff what you want in your pockets as well, I don't care. Keep in mind that you will be required to carry your baggage yourself at some points. Pack accordingly. Advanced Robots, Slave Demons, Ghostly Servants, and the like are not permitted. So are butlers and the like. Ladies may wish to impose on the kindness and chivalry of their fellow students, but I wouldn't bank on it.
By this time you have undoubtedly selected the three people who will know about your time at the Libri Vidicos. You have had them sign the document of binding so that you can spill your story to them. Remind them that they cannot speak of the Libri Vidicos directly to others not so bound. Remind them that we've have years to perfect this binding. Remind them that this year we've added new and inventive curses for those who attempt to remove the spell. If one of the three people you've chosen has already attempted this, then you need to select a better class of friends.
Joining the Libri Vidicos is an honor and a great opportunity. You have accepted that challenge and agree to be bound by our rules. Should you violate those rules or this trust, you will be returned to your home with little or no memory of your grand and glorious time at the school. Additionally you will be charged a fee for the expense of sending you back.
The course list for incoming first-year students at the Libri Vidicos as prepared by the Grandmaster (with the consultation of appropriate instructors as their schedule and temperament permitted.)
BASIC CLASS LIST
Each incoming first year student will be required to take five basic courses. This schedule will be maintained without exception.
Classical Civilization from the Dawn of Time
If we are to avoid the mistakes of the past, it is necessary that students understand what those mistakes were. Then students can come up with entirely new realms of error and misjudgment to call their own. This course will begin with the details of the earliest pre-civilizations working forward to examine the culture, developments and legacies of the Golden Age of Makistani civilization.
Students will be expected to learn and be able to translate classical passages, quote from the expert orators, and be able to tell the difference between various forms of architecture. If anything else manages to penetrate the minds of first-years students, the instructor will consider himself lucky.
Numbers present a way of reading and organizing the world, and hence have a philosophy of their own. This course will present the basics of numbers theory, demonstrate the recognition of sets, showcase the beauty of proofs, and illuminate the mysteries of the concept of infinity. However you will be tested and evaluated on your ability to basic sums in your head.
Bearing, Decorum and Grace
Many of you have already had extensive training in these matters, some of you have had less so (to put the case charitably). It is the intention of this class to create students who do not embarrass us in the outside world. It also lays the groundwork for future courses on diplomacy, politics, and the gentle arts. Keep that in mind should you decide that this would be a class you could take less than seriously.
Swordsmanship for Everyone
Every student will be drilled with the use of a blade in one form or another. If you have never held a weapon before, you will learn to use a sword. If you have trained with another weapon previously, you will learn to use a sword. If you have trained with a sword before, you will really learn to use a sword. If you wish to learn more in the combat arts, proficiency in this course is required. Again, and it is worth pointing out since each semester there are some who do not catch this the first time it is said—all students, male or female will learn to use a sword.
Introduction to the Dark World
The world is an uncertain place filled with potential threats. This course considers those.
First year students may select one elective. Students may apply for an overload course, but such overloads must be approved by both instructors and the Master of Students. Certain courses, because of their requirements, may not be taken as or with an overload.
Thaumatology and Basic Magical Theory
All though wishing to eventually learn and develop skills in the arcane arts should take this elective. A minimal talent with magic is expected for all incoming students. This class focuses on basic principal common to all casting styles, addresses the history of magic and considers the evolution of forms. The instructor stresses that all students will be expected to be able to control their talents and dangerous outbursts will not be tolerated.
Art and Aesthetics
The course covers the basic techniques of art and how they have changed over the generations. The intent is to allow a student to comment with some knowledge on art, be able to recognize notable masters, and be able to sniff out amateur charlatans. In addition the course will have a craft component, examining the more complex practices involved with the creation of paints, pigments, and the preparation of surfaces.
Mechanical Principles and Creative Engineering
The delights of science, engineering and the construction of wonderful toys! Who can resist the allure of this new and wonderful age. This class will include many splendid things. There were those who once scoffed at those who practiced these arts and called us mad, but we will show them!
Animal Husbandry, Survival and Mastery of the Outdoors
While the advent of mechanical forms of transportation has raised the relative safety of travel, there will be times when one will have to live off of the land. This course focuses on those and the tactics necessary for various climes. Students will have to go outside the walls and boundaries of the school and must obey the orders of the instructor or risk horrific consequences. On the plus side, you get to ride ponies.
Introduction to Alchemy
Due to certain incidents last year, this course has been withdrawn from first-year students.
Astrology, Astronomy and the Motions of the Spheres
This course examines how celestial mechanics influence or can serve as a measure for present events. In addition, the course will look at how well these techniques measure up against other conventional auguries, oracles, and prophecies. A scientific and analytical approach will be used throughout the course so scoffing will not be acceptable.
Domestic Caretaking and Culinary Mastery
Perhaps the most overlooked of skills, yet one which can place a person in the highest esteem. These arts compliment other social abilities in a way that will certainly draw attention to you both home and here at the school. Students will be allowed to take their culinary creations back to their Houses earning you incredible social capital or undying wrath, depending on your skill.
Makistani Philsophy I: Analysis and the Dissection of Reality
Much of the foundation of modern thought and knowledge arises out of the developments of the ancient Makistani. In fact, many of the most important scholarly works make reference to these ideas. A truly learned man has a grasp of these concepts, knows the arguments and counter-arguments and see how these might be applied to everyday life. Note that this course does not include an ethical component, except in the form of self-justification theory.
The Subtle Arts of Dexterity
There are time when it would be good for a student to have a certain grace and deftness with physical activities. Say, for performing stage magic or being able to hide holiday presents. One could imagine that these skills could be applied to more nefarious ends, but that seems quite outside our intent, doesn't it?
Literatures and Letters of the East
See the "Art and Aesthetics" course but replace illustrative arts with literary ones. Eventually students have to take a form of this so you might as well get it over with now, shouldn't you? It should be noted that the publication of a school "news-sheet" is strictly forbidden and so—called journalists are apt to find certain accidents, like the unblocking of one's hat, to mysteriously occur. I'm just saying.
Students may, upon demonstrating a unique skill, seek out an instructor to offer a tutorial as an elective course. This is common in the case of students with a musical aptitude or who wish a long course in physical education. Other such tutorials will be met by the strictest judgment, given that you are still just first-year students.
By way of contrast, I'd like to present the course listing for Year Three. By this point tracks for the students have been established and also the school administration has changed, shifting the tone of the listing a little bit. One of the goals-- and one which succeeded was to make the choice of classes difficult for the players, with many attractive options.
WELCOME TO YEAR THREE
Students who have made it to their third year find themselves in a difficult position. They have a certain amount of skill, but perhaps not the wisdom entirely to use it. This year will see students having to make difficult decisions, not least of which is the choice of which of the five Schools to devote themselves to. Year Three has one of the highest drop rates for students, so failure remains a possibility. A number of changes have also taken place in the academic and practical structures of Libri Vidicos. We trust third year students will be able to cope and help along incoming students.
This year a renewed focus on study and academics has necessitated certain shifts in focus. As a result, students will be allowed a total of eight academic courses, including any apprenticeships and independent studies. Three of those have been chosen for you, two must come from your School and Track, while three remain in your hands to choose each semester.
As a new measure, students from second through fourth year will additionally have to select a Service Component. These are duties and tasks in which the student will assist in the day to day affairs of Libri Vidicos. While some may object to these new requirements, we feel these will help develop you as a well-rounded person.
- Kitchen Duties
- Laboratory and Workshop Cleaning
- Serving Duties
- Animal Husbandry
- Watch Duty
- Laundry Services
- Library Assistance
- Departmental Assistance
- Event Assistance and Training Ground Upkeep
- General Cleaning
- Detention Oversight*
- Hall Monitors*
Other services may be allotted or permitted based on the recommendation of instructors.
Please note that with the arrival of our guests from other schools, students will be required to maintain a strict curfew and dress. Please wear your house uniforms and colors at all times except when granted special event dispensation.
Classes marked as "reslisted" have carried over from Year Two for availability. Classes marked with (*) last for a single semester, while all others last a full year.
All third year students will take the following core courses as part of their study. Additionally, students will also choose a single School Seminar which will take place during the fourth period.
Ethics: Students will consider what is the right thing to do. This question will be considered in a variety of situations, with special attention to historical and philosophical precedents. Various codes established through history will be examined and looked at in terms of their evolution and development.
Understanding the Races: This course will examine the cultural and social attitudes of the various races of the continent, with a reflection on the historical forces which have shaped their outlook. We will consider the question of natural inclinations and destiny as well as the inevitability of conflict. Second semester will examine the major cultural trends and forces within the human nations and parallels with the development of non-humans.
Continued Studies in the Dark World: The Undead: Students will be taught the various forms of the Undead and the many and varied threats they pose to the world. The role of necromancers and the Aetheric will be examined as well as the current thinking in methods of elimination.
SCHOOL OF STEEL
The School of Steel still provides two approaches for those wishing to pursue a career involving warfare. The Headmaster recommend students pursue the first track, the Path of the Officer, as it provides a broad range of skills and greater future opportunities to bring honor to oneself and Libri Vidicos as a whole. Should that not prove to be interesting for students, we respectfully recommend choosing another School from among the six. The Path of Warrior, it should be noted, remains for the present as an available track, serving as it does for those who wash out of the Path of the Officer.
School Seminar: Introduction to Logistics and War: A course covering the basics of how modern warfare functions. We examine the necessities of such conflicts, how these can be circumvented and methods for assessing the opposition. On a practical scale we will look at the realities of war within various diverse nations. Scales of conflict and how these relate to one another will be addressed.
Leadership and Virtue (Officer): By examining the philosophies and decisions of historical leaders, we attempt to gain insight into decision making. At the ground level we consider how leaders can affect and motivate their troops, whatever those may be. We consider the ethical dimension involved with difficult choices and how to establish and manage one's moral set.
Deader than You: The Combatant's Art (Warrior): This course looks at the most important way to stay alive, avoiding combat. Then it considers options once combat has become unavoidable. Finally it discusses how to kill other people most efficiently.
Tools of Warfare*: A look at the machines and engines of contemporary warfare. Students will be taught maintenance and repair for all such tools from simple weapons to steam machines.
The Life of the Watch*: The life of a guard, whether over a person, a neighborhood, a city or a nation, is never easy. This course presents an outline of such a life and the challenges such duties present. Gaining trust, evaluating threats, and negotiating responsibilities will be covered.
Fighting Styles of the Continent: A history and overview of the various combat styles currently in vogue. The course will teach recognition, countering and the ability to note new variants and forms.
A History of Warfare* (Relisted) Examining the records of the great battles of history-- and the contradictions between various accounts, students will come to understand the difficulties and dangers inherit in large-scale warfare. By the end of the course students will understand the difference between strategy and tactics, how to read an OOB, and learn how to spin post battle narrations to the best effect.
Magic and Steel: Students will learn to use magic in concert with conventional fighting techniques. Admission by approval only.
Also Advanced Dueling and various weapon courses remain available.
SCHOOL OF MAGIC
The School of Magic offers two Paths for those which demonstrated magical talent. The Path of the Practicist focuses on the application of magical talent to a variety of tasks. From engineering, to diplomacy, to art, to warfare, to travel, the Practicist will study how magic may serve as a complementary skill to one's other talents. Training focuses on a breadth of ability and the art of being situationally responsive. The Path of the Magus, on the other hand, focuses on magic to the exclusivity of anything else. Students will learn how to eat, sleep, and breathe magic which will undoubtedly provide them with colorful if narrow prospects in the future.
School Seminar: Assessments of the Life of the Mage: Students will examine what it means to wield the power of magic. Reference to contemporary events within the world of mages will be considered. Laws and rules covering the use of mage will be addressed as well as the ethical implications for the use of such powers.
Magic and its Practical Applications (Practicist): Magic can be put to many uses, some of them grand and mighty. This course does not cover those. Instead it looks at how magic has been integrated by many wizards into the fabric of society itself. Fundamental principles for the interaction with other arts will be covered as well as how magic can better lives.
Experimentation and Safety (Magi): Students will study the principles of establishing their own arcane workshop, as well as the code of conduct for sharing space with other mages. Defensive forms will be stressed and the mean to analyze and existing location will be covered. Students will be required to pass a thorough test of their thaumatological knowledge in order to receive satisfactory marks in this course.
Students in the School of Magic will also be required to serve an apprenticeship working with a senior level instructor. This does not substitute for other service requirements.
Mentalism, Mesmerism and the Mind*: An examination of the difficult arts of engaging with the will of another beings. There will be some discussion of the ethical questions as well. Students will restrict themselves to specified areas for practice in this course.
Magical Dueling: Advanced students may take this course only with the approval of the instructor.
Transformations and You*: From enhancements to shape-shifting, polymorphs to doppelganging, this course looks at all of the possible uses of transformative spells, beginning with the inanimate and working up to the animate.
Cataloging the Unseen World: An introduction to the taxonomy and classification of all spirits and beings subject to the powers of summoning, control and banishment. Special attention will be given to the last of these.
Introduction to Alchemy: Students will study the physical, chemical and magical principles involved in the creation of alchemical concoctions and preparation. Due to past events, all students wishing to take this course will be required to present a waiver.
Astrology, Astronomy and the Motions of the Spheres* (Relisted) This course examines how celestial mechanics influence or can serve as a measure for present events. In addition, the course will look at how well these techniques measure up against other conventional auguries, oracles, and prophecies. A scientific and analytical approach will be used throughout the course so scoffing will not be acceptable.
Principles of Symbology* (Relisted) Students will look at the various notation schemes used historically and presently. Application of those schemes to contemporary casting styles will be considered. Course work will also focus on practical application of permanency, cross-styles communication, and handling obscure concepts.
Wands, Staves and Rods: The Magicians Toolbox* (Relisted) Some call them crutches, others call them lifesavers-- we will examine the making and use of supplementary items for spellcasting. Note-- students must bring their own wand or device with them to the class. Please see the Quartermaster of Twilight for supplies.
SCHOOL OF KNOWLEDGES
The Governing Council has decided to merge the School of Practical Arts into the School of Knowledges for the sake of efficiency and symmetry. Accordingly, three Paths exist for this School. The Path of the Scholar presents students with a basic grounding in the principles of scholarship and allows them to select a particular field or set of fields. The Path of the Scientist focuses likewise on the arts of science, physics, chemistry, and especially mathematics. It also includes more practical applications and endeavors. Finally the Path of the Engineer deals with those who build gadgets and like geegaws.
Engineers may chose an appropriate apprenticeship, while other members of the School of Knowledges may wish to select an independent study as well.
School Seminar: Research and Notation Methodologies: Students will learn how best to conduct research and the best methods for presenting said research both to colleagues and an ungrateful public. Special attention will be given to
Survey of the Liberal Arts (Scholar): A year-long course providing an outline of the fields of scholarship currently available. Will look at the basic history of those fields and the major thinkers. Contemporary developments will only be given a cursory examination.
Survey of the Scientific Arts (Scientist): Perhaps you would actually like gainful employment and a career upon departing Libri Vidicos, then this should be your choice as opposed to the Liberal Arts courses above. Consider this, we managed to get this description in here after the Headmaster proofed these documents.
Fabrication (Engineer): How to make things.
Telling Stories*: This course looks at history as a body of tales and stories, and considers how different tellers have told the same tale. The contradictions therein show us showing about who wins in the war of history versus truth.
Calculation Engines: Use and Abuse: A study of the principles of calculation and analytical engines-- how they can be applied and how they can be built.
Cartography and Map-Making*: This course examines how maps are made. On the one hand we look at survey and the strict means of measure, on the other we consider the impact of cultures and agendas on the making of maps. Students will be able to create their own excellent maps by the end of the course.
Theoretical Mechanics*: The study of forces and energies and their application to a variety of fields, especially architecture, building and transport.
Gumdrop for a Gasket*: A consideration of the necessity of substitution in the carrying out of projects.
Highest Math*: A look at hypothetical, dimensional and counter-factual forms of mathematical thinking.
Ancient Languages (Relisted): Nothing impresses more than a strong mastery of older texts and poetry. Alternately, it could be a potential tragedy if you couldn't read that ancient Donaen “Keep Out” sign.
Modern Literature* (Relisted): An examination of literature from the lowest to the highest: from poetics to smut, from epic to pulp action-- we examine the trends, styles and techniques currently “all the rage.” We will also consider how to make a fast buck from the mercurial tastes of the public.
Metal Working* (Relisted): Students will learn and practice the basic techniques of working with metals-- from delicate handiwork to forging. Second semester will introduce students to working with amalgams and magical metals.
Power: Muscle, Steam and Mana* (Relisted) Engines and devices are for nothing without the energies to power them. Seize that power! Master the ancient secrets that have evaded the wise ones through the ages! They call me a fool, but they'll rue the day!!!
SCHOOL OF DIPLOMACY
The School of Diplomacy offers two paths. The first, the Path of Diplomacy trains young minds for a future within government, as ambassadors, contractual officers, heads of houses and masters of their own destiny. It combines the ability to master social arts with a knowledge of where to best apply one's skills. The Path of the Merchant likewise trains students for a particular role, but that of the financier, banker or investor. It considers the economics and solidly practical concerns of such a life with the ability to serve as an advisor to others.
School Seminar: Presentation and Advice: Defining Desires: All it takes is a small word here or there and the course of history can be changed. The diplomat must know when to judge the moment right and how best to present those words to a potentially hostile audience.
Negotiation and Disputation (Diplomat): Considers the nitty-gritty of coming to an accommodation and managing to reconcile disparate persons and groups. Hypothetical situations and alternative scenarios will be explored through the course of this course.
How the World Works (Merchant): We present a reading of history, current affairs and future events from an economic perspective. This alternate reading of events allows a clearer focus on the best way to approach difficult situations.
A History of Lies*: This course presents a look at conspiracies and secret societies, both in myth and reality. We look for the signs and shadows that hint at successful conspiracies and examine how unsuccessful ones failed or were revealed.
A Survey of Religious Beliefs*: A comprehensive survey of religious belief across the continent, human and non-human. The implications for dealing with persons steeped in such traditions will be considered.
Entertaining*: A look at how best to entertain guest, questions of manners and excess as well as the management of small talk and guest balance.
Household and Estate Management*: This course looks at the structures of the household and how those can translate up in scale. The names and roles of various staff members will be considered, maintaining accounts, hiring practices and day to day affairs in perspective.
Genealogy and the Noble Class*: A look at the specific titles of nobility across the continent. Heraldry, nomenclature, and quick identification will be stressed. The ability to remember relations within a dense group of persons will be tested and required.
Entering a Room*: This course considers how to analyze the social dynamics of situations, what tell-tale clues one can gather as to who hates whom, who hides their desires, and who does not belong. Conversely, it will also teach students how to conceal or shift those signs in their own person.
People and Places of the World (Relisted): A comprehensive survey. Do I need to say more?
Contemporary Political Structures (Relisted): This course considers who holds power and why. We look at rules of succession, the voice of the people, rules of nobility, political movements, and how change occurs. Most importantly we look at who really holds the power and how they manage to get it.
Economics and Accountancy* (Relisted): From the smallest level to the greatest, money or likewise commodities drive people. We look at the virtues and vices of mercantilism, how value is assigned, the new orders of compacts, and how trade is managed and measured. We also examine the mathematical tools best used for analyzing the flow of trade, locating fat pocketbooks, and acquiring treasure.
SCHOOL OF PURPOSES
The School of Purposes continues to handle those areas which fall between the cracks of the other four schools. Currently, the School offers two tracks. The Path of the Artist which attempts to support those desiring to improve their creative skills to a high degree, be it in painting, music or performance. The Path of Necessity serves as a catch-all for students unable to survive in another path or unwilling to make a choice for their future.
School Seminar: Getting By: Surviving Without Very Much: The School of Purposes means often having to go through lean times. This course considers how one can make it through such times without betraying one's principles too much.
Independent Workshop (Artist) Students will be allowed to study and work within their chosen field of performance, until the tutelage of an expert. Students will be expected to produce a significant portfolio of work for review by the end of the year.
The Life of the Adventurer (Necessity) This course will look at what being an adventurer means, the percentage of successful adventurers and how best to manage the social stigma attached to this role.
Ciphers and Codes*: JKLhkl RETGUIV SDFW-09 UIOUR77
Driving and Piloting*: By the end of this course, students will be able to drive a variety of machines and sail powered ships, as well as pilot a number of aircraft. Attention will be given to navigation and crewing.
Craft of the Agent: A look at the romantic figure of the spy and the actual realities of such a path. We will look at how nations have used such tools in the past and what measures can be taken to stop them.
Composition: A course of the musically inclined, it covers harmony, rhythm and composing both for the small and large scale ensemble. This course is highly recommended for those wishing to make something of themselves in the world of musical performance.
Paints, Dyes and Pigments*: Secrets of these arts will be revealed only to a select few. Lessons taught here may not be passed on without permission.
Culinary Arts: Meats of the World: An exploration of the centerpiece of most feasts. The second half of the course will consider combining said meats with the correct side-dishes.
Forensic Investigation and Legal Niceties*: A consideration of how crimes can be solved using modern and magical techniques.
The Art of Escape*: (description not found)
How Not to Be Seen (Relisted)* Please don't take this class if we have to explain that to you.
History of Crime (Relisted)* We study the methods and events of the rich lives of famous thieves, con men, and generally questionable figures. This course features special attention to the overlooked details which resulted in the less skilled being caught.
Mastering the Outdoors (Relisted)* Prepare to engage in the rough and tumble romantic world of eating pinecones to keep yourself alive. It is not enough to know how to survive in difficult and dangerous environments, the true master learns the art of turning his surroundings to his advantage, making places dangerous to those who would harm him, and creating his own kingdom. Students will learn advanced tactics in wood and field craft culminating in a rigorous final exam to the death.