University of Magical Arts
Across the whole of the Flanaess, the rich and the humble alike dream of sending their children to Greyhawk’s prestigious University of Magical Arts. Rightly considered the finest training institution of the arcane arts on the continent, the university accepts applicants based on merit and potential magical aptitude, paying little heed to such meaningless trifles as social class, race, or familial connections. Both wizards and sorcerers are accepted, though many of the more traditional instructors favor wizardly hopefuls, finding it easier to confer magical teachings through rote study of arcane formulae than to guide a would-be sorcerer through the process of tapping her inherent potential for magic through far less tangible means.
The university is situated within a massive pyramid that many scholars consider one of the greatest architectural marvels of the modern Flanaess. Each of the structures three sides is exactly 222 feet long and 181 feet high. Its sheer sides and pointed crown are visible from many places in the district, and even from high locations in other parts of the city.
But the drama doesn’t stop there. As one approaches the college at street level, he faces a long, featureless wall – one section of the triangular courtyard wall. Since the gate is not here, one might tum the corner to the next, and then the third wall. But there is no gate.
No doors, windows, or marks of any kind mark the pyramid’s six-foot-high, featureless wall.
Entry to the College of Magic (another common nickname in the city) is by invitation only. Apprentices, arriving to begin their studies, announce themselves at a prearranged spot and are whisked by tutors armed with magical means to bypass the pyramid’s many protections. Often, they do not emerge again for one or two years.
Unlike many other universities, the College of Magic does not often keep students for three or four years in a row. It is far more likely that a student will study here for one, or perhaps two years, and then embark on the road to adventure for a while. After the student has earned some money and learned a little about the real world, he might come back to spend a year at the college before going on the road again.
Some of the students in the higher levels of the temple are quite old.
The pyramid features an immense underground auditorium and nine floors, each representing a specific level of arcane magical study. Initiates learn cantrips and low spells on the main floor, and as they progress in study, students move on to higher floors and more rigorous curricula and tutors. The floors get smaller and smaller as they approach the pyramid’s zenith. A mess hall takes up a large portion of the ground floor, as do dozens of small dormitories for the use of students in their first through fifth year of study. More experienced students and instructors are expected to keep quarters in the city proper, or on some demi-plane parallel to the university’s metaphysical axis.
Though instructors and senior students pass in and out of the university with regularity, the youngest and rawest applicants do not leave the pyramid for at least two years after their initial visit. During that time, the would-be arcanists study the fundamentals of magical theory. Graduates of this strict regimen, during which no spells are actually taught, liken the process to a test of endurance—a weeding out of dilettantes and those who lack the discipline required to channel arcane magic appropriately. The college expels students only under the most dire circumstances (theft of a magical treasure from the vaults, destroying university lore, and murder top the short list of exile offenses). Nearly every student who leaves the university does so by her own volition (the longest apprenticeship on record was that of Bandul the Keen, an indolent lout who dithered at the lowest levels of the college for 27 years before accepting a position as a minor functionary in Hardby’s unremarkable guild). If an apprentice leaves the university for any reason, she may never return to it unless she does so as an accomplished mage.
Students reaching the end of their apprenticeship (gaining a first level in either the wizard or sorcerer class) are encouraged to leave the school and “explore the world” (read: roam about violating ancient tombs and vanquishing monsters with magic). Such encouragement has led some of the more staunch magical guilds and institutions of the Flanaess to coin the term “Greyhawk Method” to signify an intellectual pursuit tainted by commercial or foolhardy concerns. Such paragons decry the university as a training ground for base mercenaries, which many professors view as a kind of unintentional endorsement.
The university’s principal, the canny Kieren Jalucian, faces the daunting task of keeping order in an edifice teeming with miscast spells and often extremely self-interested students and faculty. Jalucian tolerates no serious conflict among his staff or students, encouraging antagonists to solve their differences in non-lethal mage duels in an auditorium-like chamber in the university’s understructure. The institution officially excludes no one on the basis of alignment, though Jalucian personally has little tolerance for openly evil members of his staff, a practice that has led to some serious difficulties with the new Senior Tutor. The Principal keeps personal rooms at the apex of the pyramid, where he can sometimes be found in the company of his paramour, Jallarzi Salavarian of the Circle of Eight. Rumors tell that Kieren was invited to join that august order after the destruction of Otiluke and Tenser, but that he refused due to his duties as master of the Guild of Wizardry (on top of his position with the university). Now that he has passed on his role in the guild to another, it may only be a matter of time before he opts to join Bigby, Otto, and the others. That is, if Mordenkainen, who has openly derided Jalucian as a “hopeless idealist,” will have him.
Until the end of 591 CY, the university’s Senior Tutor was an ancient, decrepit wizard by the name of Tobin Potriades. In Patchwall of that year, his body finally gave out, and he died peacefully in his sleep. The archmage’s most tenacious political opponent, Abrazaldin Hosk (NE male human Wizard L20) was only too happy to move into Potriades’s ostentatious chambers in the pyramid’s top floor, which he had coveted for more than 40 years. Though he appears to be approaching 50, Hosk claims to be more than 100 years old, a refugee from Dorakaa who fled when the rise of luz turned the former Ferrondian regional capital into a living nightmare. The archmage’s hatred of luz is one of the few reasons he is trusted by the other instructors at all, as Hosk makes few attempts to disguise the fact that he is interested in making himself more powerful regardless of the philosophical ramifications of his actions. Worse, he seems determined to pass on his work ethic to his students. Jalucian and other highly placed tutors manage to stave off most corruption by ensuring that Hosk receives mostly students who proved themselves to be debased or unbalanced long before coming to the university.
The position of Master of Ceremonies was written into the founding charter of the Free City’s Guild of Wizardry and University by Zagig the Archmage. Holders of this position (which normally pass from father to son) have a duty to ensure that the correct ceremonies and rituals are observed. This position is currently held by Ephraim Blackrod. Over the years many have questioned the necessity and economy of the post o Master of Ceremonies. Revisionists in the Guild argue that such ridiculous nonsense is worthless in today’s modern age of magical science. Yet Ephraim still remains in office. The truth is that the post was delineated clearly in Zagig’s founding charter, and no one can be sure that the Master of Ceremonies does not play a crucial part in preserving the powerful magics wrought in the construction of the building.
Admission to the college requires the sponsorship of another wizard, approval by a board of tutors, and an initial admission fee of 100 gp. Older wizards often foot the bill, gaining the apprentice’s services for the length of his or her initial studies. Training fees for more experienced arcanists vary, and sometimes involve quests of magical lore retrieval rather than cash transactions.
Members of all the common races can be found in the university, though by far the bulk of students come from Greyhawk or the surrounding region (the tutors tend to favor “home grown” magical talent during the approval of potential apprentices).