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Author Topic: Functioning of Ximax Academy  (Read 6702 times)
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Rayne (Alýr)
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« on: 25 January 2010, 11:44:00 »

In response to recent discussion, I thought perhaps we might begin throwing around some ideas concerning the functioning of Ximax. Find discussion questions below.

For ease, make sure you use the labels ("Funding," "Levels," "Teaching") so we can better organize discussions!


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Funding: Where could Ximax’s funding come from? (Tuition, Trade good [i.e. enchanted items], etc)


Admissions: Is entry based on application? Money? Magical talent?
Might there be “Seekers” who journey through Santharia when they feel concentrations of magical energy amass in a certain location, an bring the source of them back to the school?


Levels: Please check here and here for prior level discussions.
1) What level would a mage be at when they start at Ximax?
2) How long would it take the average (human) magi to progress in the levels?
3) What sort of masteries would each level require before progressing to the next?
4) What names might there be for these levels? (Consider words like novice, neophyte, apprentice, spellsmith, sorcerer, etc. for general levels, and maybe we can even brainstorm elemental-specific terms like wind-weaver or fire-starter or something?)
5) What sort of robes would each level/sphere wear?
6) What would be the responsibilities of each level? (Do we want one to be a conscription level?)

First Sphere
Level One:
Level Two:
Level Three:

Second Sphere
Level Four:
Level Five:
Level Six:

Third Sphere
Level Seven:
Level Eight:
Level Nine:

Arch-Sphere
Level Ten:
Level Eleven:
Level Twelve: [Chosen?]


Magic Education: How would magic generally be taught? Do we want to make any specifications about when (morning/evening), class sizes, structure of courses, pedagogical methods, etc?


Non-Magic Education: How much of this do we want to allow into students education? Namely, how well-rounded should they be? What subjects would they be required to take, and which might just be electives? Should each mage, in addition to his/her own element, be required to have a “specialization” in something like Herbalism, Astronomy, Foreign Culture, etc?


Graduation: How do graduations take place, and when? Should their be a graduation at every level, or after every third level? Or are there even graduations?


Governance: Is there a Academy Council? Who is allowed into the Academy Council? This would probably be the individuals who would be allowed into the Shield Dome, so should this only be Archmagi? Or would there be others allowed?


Teaching: At what level do mages begin to teach? Who teaches? How are teachers in other towers chosen, and what kinds of methods are generally employed?


Anything else?
« Last Edit: 26 January 2010, 01:31:05 by Rayne Avalotus » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: 25 January 2010, 18:34:48 »

Admissions: Is entry based on application? Money? Magical talent?
Might there be “Seekers” who journey through Santharia when they feel concentrations of magical energy amass in a certain location, an bring the source of them back to the school?

Applications would probably herald the most ease; a student would need to enroll, and their academic merit would discern their suitability for entry to studying there. As for the method of application, I'd say that money would play a large part, but students that excelled in their enrollment tests and applications would likely have some sort of scholarship set in place to allow them to pay off the debt as they make money.

As for the idea of "Seekers", I for one am very against it. The Ringwraiths in Lord of the Rings were kind of cool, despite their cliché, but they were corrupted by the ring's own power, so it made sense for them to be attuned to its wavelength, shall we say. As with the Jedi in Star Wars, most of them spend their lives attuning themselves to the very wavelength of The Force.

Magic, on the other hand, is generally erratic, and given how different the powers are, would be hard to attune to. There would be too many different wavelengths, if you'll allow that terminology. No, I think Santharia would be fine without "Seekers" of that sort.

I'd imagine that there would be High Level Mages (Level 7 to 8, perhaps?) that might travel the country and visit towns and villages and find out, through simple aptitude tests, whether any of the teenagers there possessed a will that was strong enough to become any stronger. Other than that, they might just spread the word; they'd stay with wealthier families, influential people, et cetera. They'd be something close to missionaries, I suppose, but they'd be preaching studies and things along those lines. I imagine that they'd be more likely to take children that had high marks in school, if they attended.

Funding: Where could Ximax’s funding come from? (Tuition, Trade good [i.e. enchanted items], etc)

Well, in Midkemia, the world built by Raymond E. Feist (and a lot of others, to my knowledge), there's a school/community of mages called Stardock, and they're, like, the strongest force on Triagia (the continent they're on). So, I imagine that Ximax would be something along those lines... Ximax would be both outside and inside political influence, and would be able to just threaten to blow something up, like Stardock threatened. They stopped a war with that, if I recall correctly.

Regardless of jokes about terrorist mages, tuition would be the most steady source of income, and I guess that they'd be sponsored by governments that wanted an alchemist in their courts and that sort of thing. Something like a "buy a mage's service" sort of thing.
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« Reply #2 on: 26 January 2010, 01:09:50 »

I haven't given much thought to most of these yet, so I won't say much, for now. 

Admissions: Gifted are almost certainly brought back to the Academy to be taught whenever they are identified.  Uncontrolled or insufficiently controlled magic can be dangerous.  Identification, I think, is probably mostly non-magical, through investigating rumours or reports of unusual occurrences.  That sounds like the sort of thing you would probably want a mage (or priest) around when investigating anyway.  In other cases, I suspect wealth and influence are probably very important. 

Funding: Well, tuition fees are probably an important source.  Another one I can think of is the promise of service to the Santhran, should it ever be needed.  That's a little close to conscription, but it's more feudal, I think, and not necessarily military.  Threatening to blow stuff up certainly won't work.  The Academy is powerful, but not so much that it won't get crushed really quickly if it ever tries that.  The incident you mentioned involved stopping a fight between Centoraurian and Caltherian forces who were both trying to buy horses at Horth.  Given that Ximax was part of Centorauria then, it probably didn't require too much threats. 

Conscription:
Well, the only advantage I see in conscripting the students rather than simply requiring that the Academy's magi help defend Ximax if it is ever attacked is to get them some military training.  I don't think military training is really needed for magi though. 

The main use I can think of for magi is as a sort of artillery, which pretty much just involves conjuring up a fireball or something and throwing it at whatever they are asked to aim for.  I don't think that sort of thing requires much training that isn't already done in normal magic classes.  There might be more complicated uses, such as maybe turning an area of ground muddy to hinder the movements of enemy troops, but I think that's still pretty much the same concept. 

I think such things are all that the majority of the magi are suitable for in a military situation anyway (assuming that the higher the level, the fewer magi it has, so that most magi are of the lower levels).  Their relative lack of power needed for such things can be worked around with the Joining of Wills technique, which I think I've only seen in the rather old Magic of Caelereth entry, but seems to work fine with Ximaxian magic.  I doubt they are any more effective in normal combat than mundane troops. 

High level magi probably are more effective though, if trained for it.  Hmm.  Perhaps magi of those levels would be required to spend a certain amount of time each week (perhaps a few hours to a day) or so training with the militia?  I haven't been able to find out how the militia of medieval cities worked, but given the term 'militia', I think they are probably not standing militaries, but rather called up only when needed, so this might work better than conscripting the magi for a number of years.  Maybe they would be an elite unit of the militia or something.  On the other hand, if you're going to train high level magi for combat, you should probably make sure they won't turn those skills on you...

Quote
Is there a Guild Council? Who is allowed into the Guild Council?
Um, aren't guilds a city thing rather than a school thing? 

This post turned out much to be longer than I expected.   buck
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« Reply #3 on: 26 January 2010, 01:56:57 »

Quote
I haven't given much thought to most of these yet, so I won't say much, for now.

Quote
This post turned out much to be longer than I expected.

lol That usually happens to me whenever I say: "What follows is a brief exposition of my thoughts on this matter"
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« Reply #4 on: 26 January 2010, 02:06:09 »

Admissions
I've been thinking about the idea of those who search through Santharia looking for the magically gifted. This would not be like the Ringwraiths in Lord of the Rings. These would not be individuals with a search and destroy mentality, nor even a search and kidnap mentality. Instead, this would be a group of individuals who would search for those magically gifted individuals who, if left alone, might cause havoc in their area (imagine a kid running around setting things on fire).

Individuals of this sort may be a reason for some funding from the various provinces who pay to keep the chaos of magic out of their otherwise peaceful lives. As was noted before in Emvay's discussion, most people are suspicious of magic.

As for how these children would be found, I imagine part of it would come from rumors and whatnot. However, I would not doubt some of it would come from magical sensitivity. Magic is not as erratic as it seems. All magic casts arise through manipulation of Xeua, the links that connect all things in the universe. Apart from the Conservation of Voice, I imagine there are other effects from these link manipulations.

Because of the interconnectedness of Xeua, I imagine that all changes in Xeua would ripple through the Dream. There are subtle links between things. When lightning starts a fire in a forest, rarely does the fire stay in one place: it spreads. Often times being around someone who is calm makes you feel calm. Effects carry and reverberate. Those with high magical sensitivities would be able to feel these ripples through the surface of the Dream: and some, perhaps, may even be able to read if their effects seem "natural" or magically-created.

Of course, this is all theory. [Does anyone else hear that voice telling me to revise the Xeua entry?  rolleyes]


Funding:
The general perspective toward magic makes me hesitant to believe that most people wealthy enough to afford higher education would want their child becoming a mage. After all, there is a great deal of distrust for magic in Santharia. Based on what I recall about medieval rich families: usually the first son of a noble family is trained as the heir of the estate; the second son generally goes into the military; the third son typically enters the religious establishment. I don't think magic would be considered as an option.

For this reason, I am more tempted to have Academy funding deriving primarily from "donations" from the state. And, as you mentioned, Mina, from conscription and military service.

I'm not certain about military training--though Fox had mentioned one of the levels being a battlemage. I don't know if military training is really that necessary, and wouldn't really extend too far outside of the bounds of general magic education. As I see it, it wouldn't necessarily matter the level of the mage, because most leaders wouldn't really know the difference anyway. The entire conscription system is simply a way of "giving back" to the community (so to speak), but it's all a facade, for the most part. Think of it as the beginning of bureaucracy and state-school politics!

I would imagine that, if we had a conscription system, students would be required to serve some time between levels 4 and 6. After level 7, we start to get into the scholars and teachers that the school needs to function.


Changed Guild Council to Academy Council. @_@ Sorry! My mistake.
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« Reply #5 on: 26 January 2010, 07:26:41 »

I apologize if these questions have already been answered in other forums:

Do all magic users (humans, elves, dwarves and Volkek-Oshra Orcs)  on the contintent of Sarvonia have to be trained in the Ximax Academy (like StarWars and HarryPotter) to be legitimate or "legal" magic users? If the answer is yes I imagine there must be some sort of magic police to control rogue magic users.   Or is it logical/legitimate for  a master to train an apprentice outside of the academy? 

Is there a governing body that punishes those who use dangerous, illegal, or dark magic? How formal and controlled is magic-use intended to be?

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« Reply #6 on: 26 January 2010, 11:18:24 »

I really like the idea of battlemagi (war wizards?  grin ) for the Academy. Of course, the Academy already has the Fire Daughters and the Elite Guard. I would say those two groups constitute the war aspect of magic. Not all magi are trained to wield their element in situations of battle. Some focus on scholarly work, spiritual aspects, healing and teaching. The concepts of how to cast a fireball are taught in the classes, to be sure, but not every magi will pursue a career involving such a thing. I think if magi choose to develop their battle magic skills, they can work with the Elite Guard and Fire Daughters for a time. I do believe that the Academy will have enemies and a special group of magi would be needed to root out nefarious cults, necromancers, rogue magi or criminals who threaten the Academy or its members.
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« Reply #7 on: 26 January 2010, 21:36:11 »

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the Academy will have enemies and a special group of magi would be needed to root out nefarious cults, necromancers, rogue magi or criminals who threaten the Academy or its members.

In other words, more work for the Fire Daughters! lol
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« Reply #8 on: 27 January 2010, 00:40:45 »

@Seeker

So far the Academy had no monopol for training mages. So a trained mage could well have his apprentice. But as in RL, the possibilities in the academy are far bigger than if you have just one teacher. I think dwarves might want to do the early teaching themselves anyway. (?)
Santharia is too big that a monopol of training mages could help up, I'll think.

That applies to Santharia only though, Northern Sarvonia is an entirely extra thing. (think at the dimensions!).

Rogue mages will be persecuted as any other criminal , though there the "police" or whatever force enforces the law might need magical help.

There is a wide range of non-Ximax magic also, not just the Divine, but the Wild Magic (Fox's area of interest), which is not seen as evil (only in some cases)
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« Reply #9 on: 10 April 2010, 22:10:38 »

Hi everyone.

What kind of tests would someone have to pass in order to gain entry to the academy? Also, could someone leave their family with, let's say, 50 san, and join the academy? In other words, how much is it to join the academy?

I apologise if these have already been answered (I don't think they have).

Thanks,

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« Reply #10 on: 12 April 2010, 20:47:14 »

Just on the admissions, only a small number of people are Gifted so roving searchers may not work too well (ie, people who aren't trained don't have magic talent to attract potential trainers) but if magic is more a manifestation of the Will (cp. Eddings - The Belgariad &c.) then searchers for people with the potential to have a Will so strong it affects the real world are logical.

On the "rogue magi" front, as Talia said there are too many people for Ximax to be the only magical body, especially considering how multi-racial Santharia is - elves, for example, are trained in their forests, and no-one claims they are "unlicensed".

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« Reply #11 on: 07 August 2010, 02:55:53 »


I can see the military wanting to drill with mages even if they won't always have access to mages. At least they would want to be told how to work with mages. Lots of mages suddenly drilling with the military would probably be interpreted politically as readying for war.

If I were a mage, I wouldn't want to involve myself with the military. I'd spend my time in one of the towers, trying to come up with spells that would have my name on them. Or I'd try to learn more spells, to become more powerful. Drilling with the military? Leave that to young male mages who want military careers.

———————————————————————————————————

About names for mage ranks…

A neophyte is a person who has just joined an occult community. A novice is someone who has joined a monastery, but the word novice can be used of other "joinees" as well. Possibly, a neophyte would be a higher rank than a novice, with a test or initiation passing between the ranks, making the novice something less than a member of the group. Other people in the learning stages could be called apprentices, journeymen, initiates, ipsissimus/ipsissima (possibly also a title for a powerful mage, in other doctrines of Earth), students, probationers, disciples or pupils. If they were all very young, perhaps children would do.

High ranks among mages would probably be the hardest to determine the names for. The head of Ximax could be called anything, from King to chancellor to consul to Archon. But of course, Archmage would be the obvious choice. Unless archamages are like archbishops, being more in number. Other possibilities could be Mage Lords/Ladies, Grand Mages, Great Masters/Mistresses, First Wizard/Witch/Sorcerer/Sorceress/whatever, Chosen, Numinists, Exalted, Keepers, Guardians, Transcendents, Ascendants.

Middle ranks among mages could either be named after an occult ranking system, after what they are doing with their magic, their academical capacities or about anything else that comes to mind. Perhaps it would be easiest just to call them mages, though. Examples of what could fit here are:

Occult ranks: Adept, magus/maga/mage, magister/magistra, magister/magistra templi, priest/priestess (perhaps far fetched in this case), practicus, philosophus, diminus liminus, adeptus minor, adeptus major, adeptus exemptus, ipsissimus.

Purpose/what they do: Hierophant (interpreter of mysteries and mysterious principles), thaumature/thaumaturgist (miracle worker; uses divine magic), theurgist (summoner of angels), enchanter/enchantress, charmer, evoker (summoner), invoker (summoner), summoner, elementalist (elementals or elements), symbolist (symbols), theorist (theory), witch doctor (various), shaman (visits a spirit world, various), indoctrinator (teacher), spellbinder, spiritist (deals with spirits), channeler (uses some other force than one's own magic), demonologist (demons, angelologist (angels), hexer (hexes)… (list goes on forever)

Academical capabilities: Professor, lecturer, supervisor, teacher, specialist, doctor, master, engineer, expert and so on.

Mancers: Take any greek prefix and add -mancer.

Other: Keeper, Seeker, sympath (sympathy with objects = magic), weaver (weaving magic), compellor (compels), fury (probably good in a fight) etc, you get the idea.

———————————————————————————————————

The idea of the magic community being obsessed with levels may not be so good. After all, is a good administrator always a more powerful mage than a bad one? And do powerful mages really involve themselves in the administration of Ximax, or are they out in the field, working?

Level of magic skill determining the status among mages is a great way to create tension in a fantasy book, and it makes sense if you can decide what personality a mage is going to have beforehand. But not all researchers care for politics.

Using more than ten titles for different levels of mages also makes it harder to remember what the titles mean. A few, general, ranks of power would be less of a mouthful. But I still put the names here, in case.
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« Reply #12 on: 07 August 2010, 19:50:04 »

Not actually a magic expert, but here are some of my thoughts.

Funding

Tuition Ximax of course charges large fees for tuition of its mages (although exceptions may be made for Gifted who are to dangereous to be left untrained).

Magic Items Mages can make many useful items, such as the false coin detectors in the Santharian Currency entry. Perhaps also on the same principle a form of "metal detector" for paranoid nobles, to prevent people from sneaking daggers into their inner halls?

Employment Permenant employees at Ximax could be hired out as private tutors, court mages and other things. Perhaps (see Non-Magic Education) they could also teach sons of important people mathematics and other mundane subjects.

Admissions

Application This would probably be the main method. People can apply to join, but perhaps some form of screening so that unsuitable candidates cannot waste the Acadamy's time. A fee for this may let the Acadamy profit from these failed candidates as well?

Discovery A form of "Seekers" would maybe work in searching for Gifted, but not for most people, I believe. Magic is usually learned not inherited.

Levels

1) I presume that they would have had no training and so "Level 0", as it were.
2) I think there is something on this in the magic entry, is there not? I know there is something here about it, on the RP board, which is (after lv3) that it takes a number of years equal to the level to train to that level (for humans; other races the same relative time)
3) I think that this has been addressed better than I can do in one of the topics you linked to
4) On names I think that as with 3) I cannot add very much. However, as an interim measure, I would propose that to get rid of the "videogamey" feel of "level", perhaps before you have all the "proper" names and as generic terms as well you could use the word "Tier", thus "First Tier Mage" &c. and also "Tier One" (interchangeable, or slightly different nuance?)
5) Robes: A different colour for each School (Red-Fire;Brown-Earth;Blue-Water;Green?Pale green?-Air) and then (and these are guesses) White-Xeua Black/Purple-Ecua
Then, say, plain at Sphere 1, silk edging at Sphere 2, silk at Sphere 3 and silk with gold/silver braiding at the eges for the "Arch Sphere". Then perhaps one, two or three studs to represent the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Tier in each Sphere.
6) I couldn't say, I think that the links you provided are more capable of dealing with this. Perhaps those above Tier 6 could teach classes, or even Sphere 2 magi could teach Sphere 1 principles? Other than teaching, I don't know.

Education

Perhaps Magical in the mornings and non-Magical in the evenings? Non-Magical could include Mathematics, perhaps Styrash, Theregrim, some Geography and perhaps for more advanced students Politics &c. For magic, classes of 10-15, non-magic classes of about 20-25?

Graduation

From my reading, you "graduate" at Tier 6, but perhaps there could be a "Passing" at all sphere changes (reaching Tier One included as well, maybe?), and a "Turning" or "Moving" at each Tier? At a "Passing" one would receive new robes and at "Turning" or "Moving" a new stud. Then perhaps a demonstration to the crowd that you are worthy (or maybe that could be before?). This would be harder and more complex up the levels, of course. Graduations each year? Quarter? Half-year? Twice per year sounds about right.

Governance

Acadamy Council This could be made up of the Archmgi of each Tower, plus a select few others with priviliged positions. Appointment would be by the Tower, with perhaps a minimum ability (after all, most administration is not done by the Archmage, but by his staff, yes?) level. A nominee could of course refuse the honour. Or the Tower presents a list to the Council (of need one short) of 5 or 6 candidates and the Council chooses one.

Teaching

My idea is along these lines (roughly):

Tiers 1-3 are like school - reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic mixed with basic magical skills. Taught in classes of about 10-15 (magic) and 20-25 (non-magic). Maybe older pupils teach new students. At least 9 years, from 12-21 at the youngest
Tiers 4-9 are like Uni. Tiers 4-6 are "Undergraduates", taught in study groups of no more than ten and often five, and with lectures and practical work. More emphasis on individual study. Some teaching (maybe) At least 15 years, from 21-36 at the youngest. Tiers 7-9 are "Postgraduates", studying High Magical Theory, delicate nuance and also teaching most classes. "Learn" not by being taught but by discussion and original work, although  higher level magi have 2 or 3 pupils from the lower end. At least 24 years to Tier 9, from 36 to 60 (note - my extrapolation).
Tiers 10 and 11 are the creme de la creme, the Archmagi and most powerful wizards in the world (except maybe the elves?). They may teach the most gifted (small "g") "postgrads" - ie, Tier 9 - on a one to one basis, and also do some lectures for the more expert magi. Tier 11 may be reserved for the Archmagi, or may be the pool from which Archmagi are chosen. Perhaps all Tier 11 Magi are on the Acadamy Council (see above)
Tier 12 is Chosen, is it not? Not included, then. If not chosen, then Tier 11 take Tier 10 duties, Tier 10 may teach Tier 8 or lecture. And Tier 12 assumes Tier 11 duties.

Well, that was longer than intended. Voila.
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« Reply #13 on: 08 August 2010, 03:13:15 »

Really, we should have a larger discussion on this subject before anything is decided permanently.
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Kalína Dalá'isyrás
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« Reply #14 on: 08 August 2010, 03:22:22 »

I am afraid, one may wish to wait for Rayne to return, as Ximax is a bit like her baby. And anything regarding it, she should be involved. :)
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