Officially, the Arcane Academy protects and promotes arcane learning and the use of magic for the benefit of civilized people throughout the known world. Its members are the entire arcane community, drawn from all the humanoid races throughout the known world, bound together by the rules of TheDiscipline.

Unofficially, the Arcane Academy retains an invisible leash on every person of substantial influence everywhere, from the loftiest monarch to the most secretive underworld boss. If someone breaks an Academy taboo or threatens an important balance of power, a representative will simply advise that the conduct cease. Those who ignore the Academy's warnings will be denied access to Academy services, and perhaps find their fortunes suddenly and inexplicably reversed.

Not everyone who works for the Academy is an arcanist. The Academy employs many mundane people as teachers, bureaucrats, guards, stewards, and spies. Although it is the largest organization in existence that crosses borders, it prefers to keep a modest profile everwhere except in the major mundane cities and in the fabled City Of Towers, Khum-Khari. The Academy attempts to operate within the boundaries of the law wherever it has chapters, but as a price for establishing a chapter the host country must allow the Academy to prevail in all cases of Arcane discipline.

The Academy's Role in the World

The Academy was founded by Mosyph and later enlarged by his grandson the Golden Emperor. As the empire crumbled, it was the Academy that preserved civilization and held chaos in check.

According to the Academy, the world is under constant threat from extra-planar creatures. The Academy is the only line of defense against the demons that seek to wreak havoc in the world. The Veil is part of that defense.


The Academy is led by the twelve magi of the Arcane Council, who each serve until retirement, disability, or death. The council members hold the title of Mage Lord, and manage all magical affairs. They decide all the weighty matters and sit in judgement of any who violate The Discipline. They pick one of their number to be the Chancellor. The Chancellor is given powers to propose measures and carry out the council's will, but does not vote. The balance of powers between the Chancellor and the Mage Lords fluctuates over time.

The Chancellor appoints Vice-Chancellors to head the various arms of the Academy beauracracy. The educational apparatus, regulation and enforcement, diplomatic corps, and general services branches each has their own Vice-Chancellor.

When one of the council retires, dies, or becomes incapacitated a Synod of Mages is called. All arcanists holding the rank of Mage are invited to nominate, debate, and choose by vote a new Mage Lord. It isn't unusual for two or three Lords to retire at roughly the same time. By forcing the election of more than one Lord at a time, a diversity of viewpoints is almost guaranteed.

To hold the rank of Mage an arcanist must be in good standing with the Academy and be able to use 5th-circle spells. The Synod of Mages used to be limited to the first thousand who answered the call, and was named "The Synod of One Thousand Mages". These days, the quota is seldom reached.

Choosing new Lords is a tricky and delicate business. Each seat at the council table has some arcane aspect or school of magic associated with it. Subsequently, not any mage can fill any chair. A mage with the appropriate experience and specializations needs be chosen. In fact, some of the councilroom chairs are the very ones that the legendary Mage Lords of the Second Empire sat upon while debating the issues of their day. It has long been speculated that each office comes with its own unique store of magical lore and secrets.


Education, training, and experience count for more than the circumstances of one's birth. Magical aptitude tends to run in families, but the low birth rate among arcanists means recruitment runs to all cultures and all levels of society. Only one-third of supplicants come from arcane households.

Children who show innate magical abilities (sorcerers) are left with little choice but to join the Academy, as the academy does not tolerate arcane magic outside its control.


Arcanists are both born and made. They must be gifted with a useable mind, but only training and practice can forge talent into skill. Most arcanists come to the Academy's attention through their local general practicioner (GP) as especially bright children with a knack for arcane lore. As soon as such children have mastered the necessary basics of language and numbers, they are encouraged to make the journey to the Khum-Khari, become supplicants, and train to become arcanists. An especially promising child may be aggresively courted.

The formal portion of magical education lasts as long as it takes for the supplicant to successfully learn and cast their first cantrips, usually two years. They receive their first assignment soon after, usually as an assitant to a general practicioner who will further their education and life experiences. Apprenticeship always lasts for three years, and is the price for their magical education. At the end of three years they may choose to find employment with the Academy or strike out on their own, provided they keep to TheDiscipline.

General Practicioners

To most people, the face of the Academy is their general practicioner who heads the local chapter. In remote areas an Academy chapter may be nothing more than a one-room schoolhouse with living quarters above it for the Arcanist and an assistant or apprentice and their books. These two people will provide Academy services to the surrounding towns and farms, sometimes for many miles around. In a more populated setting the GP may have a sizeable staff, a mundane administrative assistant, and a small campus of several buildings.

GPs provide education to all who wish it, charging only what a student's family can afford. They give arcane assistance to local authorities, and report on any unusual political or arcane events. If required, they may pursue specific matters of particular interest to their regional supervisor. If they require help in some important matter, they may be able to draw on the larger resources of the Academy.

In most places the General Practicioner and his assistants are valued members of their community, a combination of scholar, teacher, diplomat, confidant, and magical enforcer. Most Arcanists' first assignments are as GP assistants, a role which impresses upon their young minds the important purpose of the Academy and the responsibilities they will eventually assume. Most young arcanists dream of more prestigious roles in big cities, but some of the most experienced arcanists are general practicioners living on the edge of the wild lands, guarding civilization from magical incursion.

State Functionaries / Ambassadors

The Academy has interests throughout the known world and has a keen interest in maintaining good relations everywhere possible. Abasadors are direct representatives of the Council who smooth over differences, prevent wars, negotiate for access to valuable assets, and make deals. They are to be found only in large cities, nestled close to the power structure there.

Ambassadorships are allways prestigious posts, although some are more prestigious than others.

Council Enforcers

Enforcers take over where ambassadors fail. They vigorously enact the will of the Academy as communicated by the Council. Simple enforcement tasks can be handled by mere assistants, while more difficult tasks may be executed by large parties led by a top-level aracanist. Orders are always written, including terms of compensation (which may include non-cash renumeration like access to new spells). Some written orders may in fact be magical items that cast Lesser Geas on whomever reads them.

Some sample enforcer tasks

. recover a wayward spellbook
. investigate ancient ruins, looking for magic items and forgotten spells
. track down and capture a sorcerer operating outside of The Discipline
. procure rare spell components to be used in Academy rituals
. find and kill a mysterious necromancer

Mundane Spies

Spies are almost never arcanists. They are carefully placed rogues, civil servants, spouses, or anyone else in a position to know things without using magic. Typical for spies, they seldom do what they do for money. Usually there is an ulterior motive for their actions, such as revenge, a chance to betray someone powerful, addiction, or a personal loyalty to their arcanist handler.

Administrators And Bureaucrats

Administrators are frequently mundanes with a knack for organization, and take care of the logistical and bureaucratic aspects of the Academy. An arcanist who hopes to rise to the top ranks of the Academy will seek out an administrative position with a high-ranking official at some point in his career because it offers an opportunity to view the inner workings of power and influence.

Teachers, Researchers And Scholars

The educational arm of the Academy employs mundanes and arcanists as full-time teachers, researchers, librarians, etc. within the Khum-Khari. Many arcanists choose to teach because they see it as an easy life, while others teach to stay close to the fortress of arcane lore that is the Academy library. A few actually enjoy teaching and are good at it.

A few members pursue scholatic studies exclusively. They don't care as much for the application of magic as they do for its lore. They haunt the libraries and collections deep under the Khum-Khari, pale walking vessels of specialized lore.


Most arcanists spend at least part of their careers working for themselves or for other independent wizards. Anyone can pursue their fortunes as long as they don't break the Academy rules. Wizards run their own businesses, often making potions or magical items for the general public (all properly licensed and registered, of course).


Being a member of the Academy isn't just about rules and responsibilities -- it comes with some nice benefits too.


"Arcanist" is a highly respected title, not least because people fear what wizards can do. Wizards are also wealthy by commoner standards, and are welcome visitors in most houses of the rich and powerful.

A wizard who can cast 5th level spells and is in good standing with the Academy are given the rank and insignia (staff) of Mage. This is not only a public acknowlegement of their achievements, but a warning to those who would cross them.

Spell Access

Spell access is easy and cheap. Cantrips and first level spells are free to copy, provided they are in the library. Second through Fifth level spells cost only 10gp/level each to copy. Although that may sound expensive to a commoner, for an Arcanist it is cheap.

Practically any arcane spell (5th level and below) that has ever been created and isn't expressly forbidden by the Academy can be found in the Great Library. The smaller campuses don't have such an extensive selection, but contain all of the standard useful spells.

Easy Money

In any large city there is never a shortage of work for an arcanist looking to make some gold performing enchantments for the rich, the vain, and the lazy, especially if she can craft magical arms/armor, rings, or wonderous items. The standard fee for simple spellcasting in most towns (not including special materials) is:

Spell Level
1gp x caster level
5gp x 1/2 caster level
10gp x 1/2 caster level
35gp x 1/2 caster level
40gp x 1/2 caster level

Unsanctioned Magic

Arcane casters who operate outside The Discipline are actively hunted by the Academy. When caught they are punished. Mild or inadvertent offenses carry a fine or censure as penalty. Especially recalcitrant mages may be imprisoned or, in extreme cases, have their tongues or hands amputated. The very worst punishment of all is the Gibbac poison, which does not harm the body but permanently damages the mind. It is administered in small doses until the desired effect is achieved.

Divine Magic

So-called "divine" magic is extraordinarily rare. In places where religion is openly practiced, divine casters are grudgingly tolerated. However, the Academy has a long policy of discouraging religion in general within the Principalities, and in these areas divine casters are treated like sorcerers: join the Academy or suffer the consequences.

The further away from the Principalities one goes, the more common religion becomes and the less the Academy can do. In Aspera, for example, religion has the direct support of the state, which makes the occasional "favored" cleric untouchable unless the Academy wants to anger the entire country.

If the Council really doesn't like a particular cleric, it isn't beyond labeling their order a "cult" and pursuing him like any other unlicensed arcanist.

Forbidden Spells

Spells that create undead or attempt to contact other planes of existence are strictly forbidden, as is any magical artifact that performs those functions.

Laypeople are not allowed to possess any magical item triggered by spell-completion (scrolls, wands, rods, etc..)

Spells that do not commonly work (spells above 5th level) are available in the Great Library for study and reference, but are not allowed outside campus grounds without express permission of the council. Consequently, almost all great works of magic (spells above 5th level cast by groups of Magi) are performed in the Khum-Khari.

Any spells for creating or bolstering undead are forbidden, which puts many necromancy spells out-of-bounds. Direct-damage spells of third level and higher are more lightly controlled, but written permission from some Academy authority is still required to access them.