Magical Industrial Revolution is designed to support many different game types. The most obvious, and the most playtested, is dropping Endon into a generic fantasy setting and letting generic fantasy PCs interact with its moving (and exploding) parts.
Since most of my usual players were involved in test games, I'll need to run a different sort of game to make use of MIR. I'd also like to use bits from other books and blogs (Electric Bastionland's background/item tables, Goodberry Monthly's Wizard City material).
Nothing in this post is canonical, just as nothing in MIR is canonical. Everything changes.
You are students at Loxdon College. You're not nessesarily a Wizard; more politicians in Endon can handle a broadsword than one might expect. You could be the paid bodyguard or servant of a student.
Loxdon College grudgingly allows women to attend, provided they fill out additional paperwork and follow obscure restrictions. Interestingly, the ancient College Charters make no provision for slug-people, phase-shifted entities, obligate polymorphs, or anyone else that might wish to check off [other] on a form. The general standard is the "beard test"; if it can grow a beard, it counts as male. This famously lead to Hamish Philostratus enrolling a mossy boulder as a student while shouting "Behold, a Man!". Some women carry false beards on campus to deter sticklers. Others carry wands of disintegrate, which tends to be a better deterrent.
You level up every Season, provided you pass your exams and survive the term.
You pass classes by completing and Extra Credit Projects.
Each Season, students select a Major. For Wizards, this determines spells. For other classes, this might just be helpful background information.
Students also roll 2 Courses off the d100 table of Courses. (Optional: A PC can elect to take a Course another PC is taking or roll.) Lecturers offer courses at their discretion. PCs cannot take the same Course twice (unless they failed the first time).
At the start of the Season, students roll to see if they are currently passing their Major and their 2 Courses. Passing requires a grade of 51%. Passing with Distinction requires a grade of 80% or higher.
A grade is determined by: [The PC's Intelligence score] + [the Course's Difficulty score] + [some listed dice].
A student's Major is Int+35+1d4! (1d4 exploding, on a 4 roll an additional 1d4).
E.g. "Lyric Poetry in Ancient Gronk", which everyone agrees is a dead easy Course, is Int+40+1d20. You'd have to be as thick as two short planks not to pass.
E.g. "Higher Thaumic Field Theory", which nobody fully understands except the lecturer, and even then only when they've had their special medicine, is Int+20+2d8.
If a PC is currently passing their Major or a Course, they don't need to worry.
If they are failing, there always extra credits available for dangerous activities, dungeon delves, looted treasure, and experimental work. Test new innovations. Track down escaped monsters, addled undergraduates, absent-minded professors, and students in arrears. Loxdon College wants to produce competent students... just not necessarily very many of them.
At the end of the Season, students roll grades for their Major and 2 Courses again (adding any bonuses for extra credit work). They can choose to take the new grade or keep the old one.
Once each Season, a PC can say "They Really Really Tried" for a +10 bonus to a Course or their Major.
If a PC fails one or more Courses, they don't level up that Season.
If a PC fails all their courses, they are put on Academic Probation, and must pass all their Courses next season or be expelled. Expelled students are forever barred from calling themselves wizards (or lawyers, etc.). Ancient law also says the Chancellor can lop two fingers off an expelled student. It's rare for students to be expelled; they either die while trying to improve their grades or quit.
Tuition at Loxdon College is 15gp per Season. Membership in a Hall or Academy (mandatory) is another 15-30gp per Season. Education is expensive.
This system is still in playtesting, and may be altered.
|Month||Month (Real)||Month (Fictional)||Activity|
|7||July||Hadria||Roll Grades Again|
|1d100||Courses at Loxdon College||Difficulty||Lecturer|
|1||Potion Miscibility Studies||Int+30+1d20||Prof. Barns|
|4||Principal Underground Rivers||Int+40+3d6||Prof. Wosgrab|
|5||Lost Islands and Continents||Int+25+3d10|
|6||Disagreeable Masonry and Columns||Int+40+1d10|
|7||Pendulum Harmonics||Int+25+3d8||Prof. Ziler|
|8||Tension in Unmoderated Solids||Int+30+3d6|
|9||Compression of Unusual Liquids||Int+35+2d6|
|10||Uses of Sieves and Filters||Int+30+2d20|
|11||Foundations of Endon||Int+30+3d6||Prof. Runcible (MIR pg. 12)|
|12||History of the Fifty-Six Years' War||Int+30+3d6|
|13||Dynasties of the Upper Rogat River||Int+40+1d20|
|14||Architecture Through The Ages||Int+30+2d20|
|15||Nomads and their Uncouth Ways||Int+25+3d10|
|16||Failed Parliamentary Reforms||Int+30+2d10|
|17||A History of Endonian Statuary||Int+40+1d10||Prof. Optott|
|19||Sites of Ancient Magic||Int+25+3d8|
|20||Standing and Recumbent Stones||Int+30+3d6|
|21||The Intelligence of Enchantments||Int+30+3d6||Prof. Carmot (MIR pg. 90)|
|22||Practical Golem Logic||Int+25+3d10|
|23||Nebulous Mathematical Analysis||Int+35+2d6|
|24||Recent Runes||Int+30+3d6||Prof. Turnspit|
|25||Things That Should and Should Not Be||Int+30+1d10|
|28||Meditations on Immortality||Int+35+2d6|
|30||Translating Inhuman Utterances||Int+35+3d6|
|31||History of Embalming||Int+40+1d10||Prof. Esilibum|
|32||So-Called "Ghosts" and Other Frauds||Int+40+1d6|
|33||Origin of Textiles||Int+40+3d6|
|34||Practical Haruspexy and Taxidermy||Int+40+1d10|
|36||Selected Fish Studies||Int+40+2d6||Prof. Theric|
|39||Truly Disgusting Anatomy||Int+30+2d8|
|40||Dredging and Dissection||Int+30+1d20|
|41||Lesser Ferns and Greater Ferns||Int+40+2d6||Prof. Chamberstoat|
|43||Properties of Various Hardwoods||Int+40+1d20|
|44||Fundamentals of Alchemical Assays||Int+30+3d6||Prof. Glass|
|45||The Properties of Obscure Crystals||Int+30+2d6|
|47||Overview of Approved Alchemical Theories||Int+20+2d10|
|48||Recursive Introduction to Philosophy||Int+40+2d6||Prof. Scalimoss|
|49||Introductory Recursive Philosophy||Int+20+1d20|
|50||Proof by Lightning Induction||Int+30+4d6|
|51||The Migration of Ley Lines||Int+30+2d20||Prof. Gortz|
|52||Phenomena of the Upper Air||Int+30+3d6|
|53||Lodestones and Ferric Properties||Int+30+2d10|
|56||A Sanitized History of Necromancy||Int+40+1d20||Prof. Horton|
|58||Advanced Indices||Int+30+1d10||Prof. Nostrocalcine|
|61||Higher Thaumic Field Theory||Int+20+2d8||Prof. Revelston|
|63||Repairing Thaumic Manifolds||Int+35+3d6|
|65||Unusual Cartography||Int+40+1d10||Prof. Fogel|
|66||The Lives of Beetles||Int+35+3d6|
|67||Induction and Interpretation of Dreams||Int+40+2d8||Prof. Scrute|
|68||Rangement of the Senses||Int+30+2d6|
|70||Conjunctions of Celestial Bodies||Int+25+3d8|
|71||Inks and Unguents||Int+40+2d6||Prof. Ganderblast|
|74||Speculative Herbology||Int+35+2d6||Prof. Morlund|
|75||Tinctures and Extracts||Int+40+1d20|
|76||Retrograde Inheritance Studies||Int+30+1d10|
|77||Approved Culinary Dark Arts||Int+30+1d20|
|78||Error Correction and Documentation||Int+30+3d6||Prof. Hextangle|
|79||Residual Thaumic Trace Theory||Int+30+1d10|
|80||Synthesis and Countersynthesis||Int+30+1d20|
|81||Dissecting Humourous References||Int+40+1d20||Prof. Nudgon|
|82||Contemptible Modern Literature||Int+40+1d10|
|83||Lyric Poetry in Ancient Gronk||Int+40+1d20|
|84||Tragic Poets of Early Endon||Int+40+2d8|
|86||Boundaries and Wards||Int+30+3d6||Prof. Aster|
|87||Detection of Undetectable Signals||Int+20+3d6|
|88||Intermediate Rift Stabilization||Int+30+1d10|
|89||Musical Theory of the Spheres||Int+30+3d6|
|91||People Who Have Wronged Me||Int+40+2d6||Prof. Loam|
|93||Introductory Cipher Theory||Int+20+1d20|
|95||The Acts of the Eleven Tyrants||Int+35+2d6||Prof. Hark|
|96||Military History of Endon||Int+40+1d6|
|97||Gunpowder Improvement Studies||Int+30+2d6|
|98||Emotional Control of Small Animals||Int+40+1d10||Prof. Jariclave|
|99||Training Through Moderate Torture||Int+30+2d20|
|100||History of Poisons||Int+30+3d6|
Loxdon College is not, when the game starts, the chaotic heap of history and magic that you might expect. It's not Goodberry Monthly's Wizard City, The Unseen Unversity, Hogwarts, Castle Heterodyne, etc. It doesn't have basements full of secrets, floating buildings, hallways that lead into the past... or if it does, it doesn't have too many of them. It is a fairly normal and down-to-earth place... at first.
As the game's Tempo increases, Loxdon College will change, but it will also change because of the PCs. The PCs are the ones who will found the Order of the Ebony Chalice, open a portal to the moon in a broom closet, fund a new building, destroy and old one, and alter the very fabric of academic reality. They're the founders of a new tradition! They're the ones who future generations of students will name cautiously and with reverence.
Or maybe not. We'll see how it goes.
History of Loxdon College
When Endon was just a trading post on a river ... boiled him alive, but not before ... the First Founders ... a group of itinerant turnip-sellers ... believed in education by proximity to knowledge .... the Eightfold Duel and Cogfallow Night ... full of spiders ... and then the Great Reform ... first woman to successfully assassinate a Warden ... the Alchemists were, as usual, terribly sorry ...
Loxdon College has 1,000 students and, at present, 4 areas of study.
-History / Literature / Politics
Given the popularity of Wizardry in Endon, assume half (500) of the students are studying Magic. In a four-year degree, assume 40% (200) are first-year students. Magical education is very dangerous and magical industry is very lucrative. Assume just over half survive to the second year (125), that leaves 75 third year, 50 fourth year students, and 50 post-graduates.
Each of the 10 Academies and Halls (see below) boasts around 100 students, unevenly distributed. Some contain as few as 10, some as many as 200.
Magical education is a dubious art. Shaping a student's brain to accumulate magical energy and store spells is not an exact science; the general theory is that proximity to other wizards and magical books will eventually produce the correct thaumic soul adjustments, turning a spotty and indolent student into a proper wizard. Some students (and some professors) seek an easier path, using powerful equipment, ancient rituals, or sheer terror to rapidly create wizards or instantly transfer knowledge. It rarely works.
Ranks and Roles
The head of Loxdon College. In most hierarchical organizations, power accumulates at the top. At Loxdon College, no one is entirely sure where power accumulates, but it's not in the Chancellor. Their job is to hold dinners, perform ceremonies, assist the Monarch when they encounter a headache-inducing problem, and placate various factions. Since no faction can ever (it seems) accumulate more than a 10% stake in Loxdon College, the Chancellor's job is both tedious and simple.
The person in charge of money. Students (in theory) pay tuition, sometimes ruinously calculated. Staff (in theory) draw salaries, petition for grants, demand new buildings, and pay for equipment. Endon (in theory) throws handfuls of tax revenue at Loxdon College. In practice, nobody is entirely sure how Loxdon College's finances operate, least of all the Bursar.
Deans oversee a Field of Study. Traditionally, this included History, Law, Literature, Medicine, and Magic, though Magic's proliferation has lead to a nebulous assortment of Deans, as each Chancellor attempts to impose some sort of order on Loxdon College.
Each time a Dean of Magic is required, roll 1d4 for the number of Deans, then assign each Dean a school of magic (MIR pp. 75-76).
Each Hall and Academy is overseen by a Warden. The name was not chosen idly. Wardens have enormous powers within their building and very little outside of it.
Those who take up the difficult task of educating the ignorant, the indifferent, and the willfully obtuse. Lecturers have very little power, but are also immune to most consequences. They straddle the boundary between the Middle and Upper class. They are held to a certain standard of behavior, yet everyone accepts a degree of eccentricity. Lecturers in magic can call themselves Mage, Archmage, Magos, Interrogator, etc. Powerful wizards title themselves.
Academic wizards too lowly to earn a position as a Lecturer, too blighted or dedicated to seek a lucrative position in Magical Industry, or too foolish to leave. Every serious researcher has a gaggle of Postgraduates willing to do their bidding. Ignore the patched robes, haunted eyes, and inkstained fingers; your average Postgraduate Wizard totes enough spellpower to knock a building off its foundations. Vaporizing a few undergraduates only results in paperwork. Postgraduates serve as Proctors during examinations.
Halls and Academies
In theory, Halls offer rooms and meals, while Academies offer rooms, meals, and some level of academic support, from tutors to dedicated lecturers. Loxdon College itself hosts most lecturers, workshops, laboritories, and examination halls.
1. The Academy Chronometric
Open To: All
Casual Uniform: White clock dial worn above the heart.
Formal Uniform: All white robes, sundial hat.
All students must swear, on a lump of primordial rock, to study "Tyme and Alle Its Workes", though the diligence or nature of this study is left unstated. Some see it as a quaint and meaningless ritual and treat the Academy Chronometric as any other hall. Others, openly or in secret, follow the Academy's original purpose. Paradoxes, time-copies, and casual madness are rife. Students are encouraged to keep lead-sealed journals.
2. Academy of Reformed Witchcraft
Open To: Women
Casual Uniform: Black conical hat.
Formal Uniform: Black conical hat, reinforced bodice with pockets, cloak, heels.
Several decades ago, a small number of magically-inclined women threatened to create a rival magic university in Endon. Loxdon College hastily absorbed the school, initiating the College's decline or signalling the start of a new era, depending on who you ask. Some citizens think the "Reformed" in the Academy's name is a joke made in poor taste. Rumours of Dread Necromancy, Moral Perversion, and other crimes with capital letters abound, assisted in no small measure by the Academy's younger scholars. Secret investigations and surprise audits have uncovered nothing of any real importance.
3. Delmott Academy
Open To: All
Casual Uniform: Brown tie, curled brown shoes.
Formal Unifrom: Brown tie, black cloak with red lining, curled brown boots with bows.
Originally founded as an Academy for law students, Delmott boasts quiet rooms, a profundal wine cellar, and the second-largest library of non-magical books on campus. Spellcasting within the Academy is forbidden, so it is only popular with academic wizards, those seeking a safe and insulated haven, and wizards who prefer stealth to spectacle.
4. Foster Hall
Open To: Women
Casual Uniform: Lace cravat.
Formal Uniform: White conical hat, lace shawl.
Initially advertised a hall for women studying medicine, Foster Hall adapted to the rising tide of magical interest by building a splendid new pentangle. It hasn't worked; most of the rooms are empty. Rumours of cursed stones, invasive scrying enchantments, and comically strict rules keep most prospective students away.
5. Goldplate Academy
Open To: All
Casual Uniform: Black scarf with silver stars, worn around the neck or as a sash.
Formal Uniform: Black cloak with silver stars.
A den of alchemists and dreamers. Goldplate's most celebrated tradition is the Admissions Rant, where prospective students try to convince current members to permit their enrollment. Bribery, catering, and magical displays are encouraged, but if all else fails, the student body looks for a solid five minutes of frothing and gesticulation. Rotten fruit, fake rules, and (in an emergency), the Warden's disintegration ray are used to dissuade casual applicants. Women are permitted to join, but typically face a more hostile crowd during the Admissions Rant.
6. Longaxe Hall
Open To: Men
Casual Uniform: Red feather in hat. (Informally, a black eye and some scorch marks).
Formal Uniform: Blunt silver polearm, iron torc, red plumes.
A dueling club given legitimacy by age and real estate, Longaxe Hall has a dreadful reputation. By ancient decree of the Monarch, a member of Longaxe Hall cannot be charged with Murder or Violence against another member, provided the act takes place within the Hall. The stones are scorched and pitted. Students fortify dormitories, launch raids on academic rivals, and test the limits of Endon's laws. There is no place to gain better training in practical battle-magic. Women are not permitted to openly join, but anyone crazy enough to wear a false beard is acceptable.
7. Nedalward Hall
Open To: All
Casual Uniform: Red and yellow tie, cuffs.
Formal Uniform: Red and yellow checkered cloak, rowan staff.
Inclined towards radicalism, experimentalism, and drinking, Nedalward Hall is fertile ground for secret societies and student plots. Nedalward holds a monthly memorial service for students lost to mishaps, accidents, or duels. The Hall's main building is perpetually under construction. Legend says if it is ever completed, Endon College will vanish into the fog.
8. Mamseltrough Academy
Open To: All
Casual Uniform: Gold and red lozenge brooch.
Formal Uniform: Gold and red cloak, blue leather shoes.
The cheapest Academy at the College, Mamseltrough takes pride in its cold running water, its sturdy beds (no lice, some termites), and its sporting tradition. Students are expected to take up boxing, Whackit, rowing, full-contact chess, or any other sport to maintain their position at the Academy.
9. Scrutcher Hall
Open To: Men
Casual Uniform: Purple tie, usually thin and with a family's crest on a silver pin.
Formal Uniform: Purple silk robe, white circular fur hat.
The oldest hall, and the most reactionary. Relatively few members are Wizards. Most are destined for careers in politics, and spend their time gambling, participating in team sports, smoking, and eating enormous dinners. They have the best buildings, the finest wine, and the most secrets. No one is admitted without society connections, a good name, and a substantial donation.
10. Some Saints Hall
Open To: All
Casual Uniform: Blue tie with narrow white stripes.
Formal Uniform: White wig, blue and white zig-zag robes.
Endon is not particularly religious. As Loxdon College expanded, a small temple was deconsecrated and converted into a student residence. The irreverent nickname "Some Saints" stuck. The Hall's most notable feature, aside from its excellent dinners, is its Warden. The exiled Lamassu Gilgath II, cursed to only tread on deconsecrated ground, has seen generations of students pass through the Hall. Gilgath II cannot distinguish individual students, but can detect lies with frightening specificity and deliver immediate punishment.
|W. Cade Gall |
Clubs and Societies
Loxdon College doesn't have a Students' Union, a Student Newspaper, or even a half-decent secret society. The PCs can invent them.
The Ergot Club
Gambling, drinking, and knife-fighting. Prospective members have to pass three challenges, usually involving theft or mischief.
The Hidden Arena
Monster fights in a buried amphitheater. The faculty know about it and sometimes place bets, but submitting their own monsters is considered unfair to the students.
The Most Worshipful Shudderers
A fake religion (or so they claim) with fake rituals, fake robes, fake secret meetings, and fake prophecies. A good excuse to dress up and denounce people.
The Young Gumperts & The Young Bogs
The Gumperts stand for Endon Values, Harsh Penalties, and The Good Old Days. Their colour is green. The Bogs stand for Lower Taxes, Endon Prosperity, and More Wars. Their colour is blue.
Members of prosperous old familes are expected to toe the party line, associate with their future allies in Parliament, and politely shun the incomprehensible politics of the other side. The two clubs tend to attract stuffy and boring students who enjoy the company of other stuffy and boring students. Both have plenty of memmbers, but almost no one turns up to meetings unless food is provided.