[MISC] The School Sourcebook

Drew Nilium pwerdna at gmail.com
Fri May 7 22:29:05 PDT 2021

On 6/24/20 1:11 AM, Dave Van Domelen wrote:
> 			 Sourcebook: The School
>   		  copyright 2020 by Dave Van Domelen
> 		  A Sources of Magic Information File

Yaaaaaaay! <3

>       The climate is kept moderate via magical means, with most of the winter
> months meaning only that a sweater is preferred when outside, and summer is
> merely pleasantly warm even if the weather outside the grounds is sweltering.
> An exception to this is that there is usually snow during the weeks before
> and after the winter holiday break (and during, for the benefit of the
> handful of students who don't return home for whatever reason).

Awwwww, lovely. <3

>       The School grounds constitute one of the most powerful magical artifacts
> in existence, having been added to and improved upon by Wizards and Magical
> Girls over the centuries.

Hmmmmm, yes. Such an interesting binary. X3

>       Even if someone can overcome the mental diversion spells, there are also
> physical diversion spells (a drone flying straight at the school would turn
> aside while its compass and GPS told it was going straight, and eventually
> would get back on course on the other side),

Ohhhh, nicenicenice.

> The diversion spells also
> redirect unwanted rain or snow to the surrounding ground, and groundskeepers
> sometimes need to deal with suspicious snowbanks.

Oh, makes sense. X3

> The location being used in "Welcome To The School" was one such
> reused site, and the breach may have been caused in part by insufficient care
> in recycling.

Also makes sense! :>

>       There is serious consideration being given to change the ritual so that
> The School's location is underground, but preparing a large enough cavity in
> advance is still not something they can hide well enough for their liking.

Hmmmmm yeah. X3;

>       The staff who keep things running are a mix of mundanes and magicals.
> Sometimes, when a mundane stumbles onto the secret of magic, they're offered
> a job at The School instead of having their memories altered.  Sometimes
> mundanes with useful skills are recruited, as happens with faculty.

Ooooooh. Very nice, very neat. :>

> During normal relocations, students and most
> mundane employees are off-campus, but the total number of people on campus
> barely drops due to the temporary presence of a great number of Wizards who
> manage the move.

Oh that'd be an interesting job to be brought in on.

> Students and their parents are
> enspelled to not give away the existence or location of the school, as part
> of the protective warding.  Instead, they talk about a mundane academy that
> is just starting and doesn't have much publicity, which is why no one has
> heard of it.  Once a student can maintain their own wards, it is up to them
> whether to trust their loved ones with that information, but sometimes it is
> necessary to fix their errors in judgement.

That sure is a creepy way to put it. o3o;;;

> In the rare case that this is not feasible, they start
> taking regular classes at The School immediately, but don't get sorted into a
> Prima color until September.  This doesn't happen often enough that there's
> an established nickname for pre-Prima students, and faculty prefer to not
> create a label for these students, as they suspect it might become an
> insult.

That's a good idea. X3

>       The School primarily deals with students from English-speaking
> countries.  Originally it was just North America and England, with Latin
> American students expected to learn English.  But with the ease of teleportal
> transit, the split has become more cultural.  The School is 90% or more
> students from the U.S. and Canada (and some U.S. territories), but some
> English students still prefer it over the European equivalent, and an
> increasing number of students who speak English as a second language come to
> The School due to its prestige.

Oooo, I was wondering about that.

>       There are several other schools, including a European one that assumes
> multilingual students, a Chinese school very steeped in Taoist traditions,
> and a growing Spanish-language school.  There are much smaller academies
> catering to smaller demographics or philosophies, and some talk of merging
> some of the smaller ones into a "real" school with sufficient resources for
> something comparable to The School's campus.  (These schools remain unnamed
> for now, to allow any other writers to flesh out the setting.)

Very nice! :>

> But in recent decades there's been a
> lot of controversy about whether this should be kept platonic (oddly, the
> battle lines are not strictly young vs. old faculty).  It can be difficult
> enough convincing parents to send their girls to a school for magic, without
> purely NON-magical concerns about parental views on sexuality.  All boarding
> schools have this issue, of course, but the strong emphasis on love makes it
> a bit more faught for The School.  Especially when the girls come home for
> holidays sporting magically dyed hair and a significantly changed personality
> thanks to the lessons they've learned.

An excellent point. X3

>       The Advanced squads are a more recent invention (late 20th Century),
> prior to that those who graduated from Tertia would leave The School and
> either switch to a mundane school or simply not finish their education.  But
> with increating gender parity in higher education, there was a push to give
> magically advanced students a reason to finish out their high school degrees
> at The School and also provide them with more specialized magical training.
> There was discussion of calling them Quartas, but the individual team name
> idea won out.

Oooooo, very good detail.

> The uniforms are crafted by specialists who come to
> campus at the start of the year, but are bonded to the student's aura and
> cannot be permanently taken away without permission...they will always
> reappear when summoned.

oooooooh. Fascinating. But does the magic power reshape them to the owner's 
liking over time?

> =One popular area of study in Advanced squads is greater flexibility
> in the appearance and even function of their uniforms.  Miss Vermillion
> specialized in this skill, and can modify her uniform for hostile
> environments, to look like formal clothing, or even to manifest underneath
> rather than instead of mundane clothing.

Ooooo, nicenice.

>       There's currently no consensus what label to give women who have
> inherited magical powers but are adults, which is a bit awkward given that
> most of the magical faculty fall into this category aside from a handful of
> Wizards.  For a long time, women with inherited magic were called Witches,
> but that term has fallen out of favor.  "Magical Girl" itself rose to
> popularity in the 1940s, although it took decades to percolate out to mundane
> pop culture.  A few of the faculty seek to reclaim the Witch title, others
> are fine being called Magical Girls even into their senior citizen years.

A very relevant tie-in to how gendered things work.

>       However, sometimes despite all the love and support and guidance, a
> Magical Girl cannot overcome the darkness in her own heart and embrace the
> magical virtues needed to master her powers.  It takes more than dedication
> and smarts to master inherited magic, it's a matter of inner strength.  These
> failures aren't limited to just "evil Magical Girls," they also include the
> broken-hearted, the cynical, and so forth.  The older a student is when
> enrolling, the more likely it is that they will be unable to overcome their
> own emotional baggage, and this is definitely a concern in Mark Gray's
> situation.

Ahhhhhh, yes. And I'm sure this ties into various axes of oppression.

>       The remedy to such expulsion cases depends on the specific reasons.  In
> the mildest cases, where the student just can't cope with their powers and
> honestly wants to be normal again, it is possible with their consent to enact
> a ritual that seals their powers away entirely.  (It was suggested that this
> be done to Mark Gray without his consent, rather than revealing The School to
> him.)  In principal this can be reversed later, but rarely without exacting a
> significant spiritual toll.

Ooooooh, interesting. That makes sense, and a character who experienced this 
would be interesting...

> If a Magical Girl turns
> evil after graduation or managed to hide it until after graduation, a
> priority is placed on capturing them and performing this procedure with any
> modifications needed to account for their post-graduation life.  However,
> it's getting harder to fake this sort of altered past, even with the help of
> some mundane academies and local government officials that are partially in
> on the secret, and there's talk of reviving the long abandoned magical prison
> colony that was shut down in 1927.

Hmmmmm, I see >:/

>       For as long as anyone can remember, inherited magic has been linked to
> colors.  It's one of the few points of agreement among those who claim direct
> knowledge of pre-calamity days, in fact.  However, currently the only solid
> point of agreement among magical researchers is that color helps focus
> inherited magic. 

Makes sense - emotional associations and all.

> Two American or Chinese or African "Blue"
> Magical Girls may be working from significantly different assumptions from
> each other, and if you compare an American to a Chinese Magical Girl there
> may not be any points of similarity.

Excellent. <3

> At most, you get a sort of
> self-fulfilling prophecy, where a girl feels they need to conform to the lore
> about their color.  For instance, once of the traditional associations of
> blue in the lore accepted at The School is "the brainy one," and Karen not
> only feels she has to live up to that, she's frustrated that Yoriko doesn't.


> Interestingly, this viewpoint has strengthened the long-held student lore
> that switching colors is bad luck.  Modernists insist it's not a matter of
> bad luck in the mystical sense (which does exist), but rather that having to
> change her focus can throw a student off her game and lead to impeded
> progress.

Oooooh, yeah.

>       One of the responsibilities of the art teacher, whether they're mundane
> or magical, is to help students interpret their colors.

Oooooh! Love it, very fun. :>

>       For reasons no one can agree on, five colors tend to correlate with the
> best links to the magical wellspring: red, yellow, blue, green, and pink.

Heeheeheehee. I mean, other than the obvious meta-reference, those are famously 
the ones cultures tend to start out with, other than pink, which has those 
powerful femininty vibes.

> When attempted on a single person, the
> results are wildly unpredictable, but shades of gray do sometimes happen when
> it is attempted on singletons...the art teacher wasn't just making a joke in
> Mark Gray's case.


> While technically no one ever gets a "pure" color, they try to avoid giving
> hard to remember or pronounce colors to the Primas.  If only one of them is
> particularly reddish, they get to be PrimaRed even if they're technically
> Scarlet or Geranium.

Heeheehee. :> Yeah, you'd wanna give them that stuff.

>       When ranking up, colors often change at least slightly.  For instance,
> if Karen graduates to Secunda while Yoriko is still at that level, the next
> year's Attunement won't leave them both as "Blue".  One or both will at least
> get to be a more subtle shade of blue, like Navy or Sapphire, and Karen will
> be quite put out if she doesn't get to be Blue.  Sometimes, however, there's
> a more radical change, such as a PrimaGreen becoming SecundaSunshine.
> Traditionalists claim that this reflects personal growth, modernists see it
> as evidence that the ritual is at least somewhat random, even if it usually
> keeps everyone fairly consistent.


> To establish
> an esprit de corps, they are allowed to pick their own team name, with some
> limited veto power from the faculty (which was codified after a team in the
> 1980s wanted a name that was pretty obscene).  Usually they play into the
> popular media view of magical girls, with names like Smile or Shimmer or
> Heavenly.  Every so often you get a more rebellious team, such as 2014's Team
> Gun.  They got a very close eye on their progress.


>       Post-graduation teams often pick their own colors based on what feels
> right, but some request "official" Attunement from The School once they form
> their team.  While the written and unwritten rules of the magic community
> require that they work in secret in their fight against evil, enough of the
> teams have been spotted that not all memories could be altered and the
> concept of Magical Girl teams percolated into popular culture.

Ah yes, the Masquerade tie-in.

> As noted above, he couldn't
> be Attuned solo, either.  Some on the faculty were also uncertain how well
> the ritual will even work with an adult...there's not many examples of Primas
> over age 14, but at least a few of them are suspected to have glitched the
> ritual in some fashion.  To avoid all of these problems, the modernists were
> given their way for now, just arbitrarily picking the never-assigned "Gray"
> for now.  They have most of the year to study his connection to the
> wellspring and determine if he should be part of the Secunda Attunement next
> year.

Hmmmm, yes, very interesting.

>       Yeah, I can't help but build worlds, and it did bother me as a
> professional educator that I left so much unsaid in "Welcome To The School."

Hell yeah. :3

>       For the more mundane aspects of The School, I drew upon my year of
> teaching at a small women's college (Cottey College) to inform things like
> campus size, faculty size, living arrangements, etc.

Noice! :>

Drew "getting schooled" Nilium

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