“Hello, Mrs. Harkness. Please, have a seat,” the tall, gaunt woman gestured to the comfortable chair in front of her. “I’m Dean Margolies, and I’m basically the principal here at Spenser,” she smiled. “I understand you’re applying for the position of Registrar here at the Academy?”
“Harmony Harkness,” smiled the pretty young woman happily. “I’m so pleased to meet you,” she gushed. “Um, yes, I would love to work here. This campus is so beautiful! Oh, experience, um… I’ve worked at registration offices at two major universities, and at a few community colleges.”
“I see,” smiled the Dean. She could tell the young woman was nervous, and couldn’t decide if she wanted to set her at ease or see her explode. “I’m more interested in your criminal record, Mrs. Harkness.”
“What?” The young woman’s face fell, and it was all the Dean could do not to laugh out loud. “That’s all in the past, really. I’ll never do it again! It was just a little fire,” she said sadly.
“But why did you do it in the first place?” The Dean leaned back in her chair. She was starting to like this young woman.
“Um… well….” Unknown or unnoticed by her, the Dean’s influence was starting to work on her, sapping her resolve. “He cheated on me!” Harmony burst out. “That filthy lying bastard cheated on me!”
“So you burned down an entire office building?” smiled the Dean. “That seems excessive.”
“It wasn’t,” said Harmony sharply. “It wasn’t just one girl! It was all of them! All those horrible little tramps in his office! I’m sure of it! And I don’t care anyway, he was mine, and if I can’t have him, then no one can!” Suddenly, Harmony realized what she was doing. “Oh! Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said quickly, forcing herself to stay calm. “I’m really sorry… I guess I don’t get the job, huh?”
The Dean shrugged. “I can’t see why not. You have all the experience we need, and I think you’d make a wonderful addition to our team. After all,” she said with a soft laugh, “I’m not planning to cheat on you, Mrs. Harkness.”
Student Handbook (excerpts)
- All students should fill out the preliminary Student Intake Form (currently testing)
- Your RA is responsible for your safety on your floor; the House Captain is responsible for the safety and security of the entire House. House Leaders have the right to enforce any command necessary to fulfill their duties.
- There is no school uniform, however, students are required to wear clothing to class. Certain instructors may have more rigorous demands regarding attire, and any student expecting to pass such a class is required to fulfill the instructor’s requests.
- The academic year is divided into two five month long semesters, with the months of December and June as vacations. The academy operations on a rolling enrollment schedule that allows new students to enter the academy as late as one month after the semester begins without any detriment to a student’s academic achievement.
- Students are encouraged to attend Saturday or Sunday services at St. Cyprian’s Cathedral, however, it is not a requirement.
- Merits and/or Demerits may be given to a student or to a House by a teacher or administrator.
- o Merits can be traded for special privileges not otherwise accorded, such as hosting a special event. Merits can also be exchanged to erase Demerits, depending on how many Demerits need to be removed.
- Demerits indicate that a student is no longer in good standing. Accumulating five Individual Demerits indicates that a student needs special attention, and will result in a student being moved out of normal classes and into the Remedial Track. Accumulating ten Individual Demerits will result in a student being considered for expulsion.
- House Demerits fade over time, depending on how many the House has accumulated for that month and whether any House Merits were earned during the same time period.
Why am I here?
Because you’re a witch. You have magical Power, and if you don’t learn to control it properly, it will kill you, and probably all the people around you.
Please note: ‘wizard’ is not the term for a male witch. A wizard is a totally different class of magic-user altogether. Any student with the Power is a witch, regardless of gender.
Every character has the following seven Stats:
NOUS: Intellect. Wisdom. Understanding. Brainy bits. This score shows how much mental ability you have compared to the people around you.
SARX: Body. Strength. Constitution. Bouncy bits. This score shows how much physical prowess you have compared to the people around you.
OIKIA: Family. Relationship with parents. Why is this a stat? Because this is a game. While it’s up to you to decide what kind of family you have, this stat determines how they will interfere with your daily life. This stat can fluctuate during the school year, but can never go higher than your initial roll.
TYCHE: Luck. Oh don’t even pretend you don’t know what this is and how it affects your life as a teenager. This stat may unexpectedly influence your attempts to do things.
KALLOS: Beauty. This stat, vital for survival among modern teenagers, determines how other shallow teenagers in your society regard you initially. High Kallos will let you get away with a lot of things, but overuse will lead to people regarding you as shallow and petty.
PSUCHE: Soul. This stat, vital for sanity among modern teenagers, determines how less shallow teenagers in your society regard you on further acquaintance. A good-looking guy with low soul will have lots of ‘friends’ but no one to really talk to. A plain girl with a lot of soul is the one that everyone is secretly jealous of because she’s been in a stable relationship with the quarterback for the entire year. This stat requires continual and increasing contact to have any effect on your social life. Someone you’ve only spoken to once or twice will be more influenced by your Kallos than by your Psuche, unless you go out of your way to be charming or interesting. Just because you have a large amount of Psuche does not counteract the perception of your actions unless you actively try to do so.
MAGOS: Magic. This stat measures your ability to control your Power.
To create your character, roll eight times, once for each Stat, discarding the lowest roll. You can place the stats as you deem appropriate, and if you have a 1 somewhere, you can move points from another stat to raise it provided that a) you are not moving more than six points total and b) no stat is less than 2. If this is impossible, you must reroll all seven Stats again.
Keep in mind that Stats are relative. A first year with a 6 KALLOS might be just as pretty as a third year with the same Stat, but the third year will know how to use it better, and the third year will have more fans by virtue of familiarity. Stats are also contested – they exist only to guide conflict and/or cooperation.
The average of all your Stats (round to the nearest whole number) is your ZOE. This Stat indicates how much damage (mental, spiritual, or physical) you can take before falling unconscious. Because you are a witch, any damage to your ZOE is healed once you’ve had a good night’s sleep. Or a good day’s sleep. It doesn’t matter where or when, just so long as you sleep long enough to hit the REM state, your ZOE will be replenished. However, if your ZOE is completely wiped out, you will have to go to the Infirmary or the Hospital to recover.
When you turned thirteen, you started to show your Power. Most witches start with flying (accidentally), but every witch has their own personal set of cantrips – small expressions of power that increase over time. Each cantrip must be related to your stats, and your stat score determines how many cantrips you have. You can create one cantrip for every two points that you have in a stat. Alternately, instead of creating the full number of cantrips, you can also make one cantrip more powerful than normal, but only if the stat is higher than 5. Such cantrips should be labeled as ‘Empowered’ on your character sheet.
For instance, flying is a cantrip of Sarx (body), but you can specify how you fly – do you ride a broom? Or do you just fly yourself around? As you grow older, your control over this cantrip will increase. Perhaps you first started with a broom, now you fly and have two attendant spirits of the air that follow you during your travels; flying around by yourself might grow into the ability to teleport. For now, just make up the basic cantrips that your teenaged witch has learned. At a minimum, you should have at least one travel power, one attack power, one defensive power, and one hex that you use on people who annoy you. Remember, you’re a teenager.
Every cantrip must have either a verbal (word or phrase) or somatic (gesture) component for casting. It can be something as simple as holding out your hand, or whispering “Rutabaga.” They do not need to be unique to each cantrip, but they must be clearly noted on your character record. The Academy encourages subtle, simple gestures and whispered words for cantrips. No student would be permitted to continue using a cantrip that requires the caster to dance the hornpipe before the cantrip will take effect.
Using a cantrip is simple, however, constant use of the Power tends to drain the user. The more often you use the Power in a short amount of time, the more tired you get, although certain spells are more draining than others. If you continue casting spells after the Power starts to drain your life energy, each attempt has a chance of making you exhausted, requiring two hours of rest. If you fail to resist the Power drain, each failure will add half an hour to the required recovery time and make casting progressively more difficult (+1 difficulty), until casting becomes completely impossible and you pass out. Connecting with a soul mate will reset the difficulty, and continuous physical contact with a soul mate will decrease your recovery time by half.
Unlike wards, which are a type of ritual, shields are a type of cantrip. Unlike cantrips, all shields are the same in effect – they repulse attacks, either magical or physical, and protect from damage. Shields must be maintained – while it is very simple to maintain a personal shield, keeping up a shield around companions requires concentration and focus. Concentration means that the caster cannot cast any other spells. If a caster drops shields to cast a spell, they can recast the shield immediately. If a caster’s concentration is broken by an attack, they must wait at least one minute before recasting. A companion is someone that you know personally – one cannot shield total strangers. You must have at least exchanged names and shared a meal with someone in order to be considered a companion.
Shields replace an existing cantrip, as shields must be taught. No one can use shields or wards without having some training. There are three levels of shields. For a first level shield, when the cantrip is activated, you must specify whether it is defending against magical or physical attacks. In order to change the type of shield, you would have to deactivate it and cast it again. A first level shield can be maintained for one hour around the caster, or for a few minutes around your companions. Once a student has begun training in shields and wards, they can create this level of shield. This level of shield requires about a minute to cast, and if the caster’s concentration is broken, all shields fall.
For a second level shield, when the cantrip is activated, it will defend against magical and physical attacks at the same time. It can be maintained around the caster for hours and around companions for a short time (generally, half an hour). In order to raise this level of shield, a caster needs about two minutes to prepare and if their concentration is broken, shields around their companions always fall but their personal shields have a chance to stay up. In order to upgrade your cantrip to a second level shield, you must have completed a full year of training in shields and wards.
After three full years of training in shields and wards, you can upgrade to the third level of shields, which will defend against magical and physical attacks at the same time, surround the caster whenever the caster is conscious, and can be maintained around companions for as long as the caster is willing to concentrate. Third level shields require three minutes to prepare, and do not automatically fall if the caster’s concentration is broken. Restoring third level shields after losing concentration takes half the time to prepare, but the caster must wait at least a minute after they fall to raise shields again.
Once a student has had more than one year of training in shields, they can choose which level of shield to cast. If a student chooses to give up two cantrips to shields, they can have two different shields active at the same time – usually, a third level shield on their person, and first level shields for their companions.
In order to get past a shield, an attacker must either break the caster’s concentration or deal enough damage in one single attack to knock the caster completely unconscious, if the blow had actually landed (deal more unmitigated damage than the caster has ZOE). This will break through the shield, and leave the caster unharmed but possibly stunned. Shields can either be personal (for combat) or covering a specific area (like a ward, but against attacks only). A personal shield always surrounds the entire body, from head to toe. An area shield must be given shape by the caster, and must be a closed polygon. There are no weak points in a magic shield.
As part of your character, you must decide which side (Dark or Light) you are on, and in which House you live in while on campus. Successfully completing your House Ritual allows you to upgrade or alter one cantrip.
North Prince Michael House ( Warriors )
East Pistias Sophia House ( Sophitians )
South Rose Red House ( Thornbirds )
West Sunward House ( Lightbringers )
The Academy prides itself on having highly qualified teachers for every subject that any student wishes to take. The Academy requires that every student at least 6 daily courses – the minimum educational requirements for the Board of Regents, as well as an appropriate course on witchcraft. The schedule permits a student to take up to ten courses without compromising their other classes, as well as a weekly course that meets on Saturdays. A course on “The Study and Practice of Magic” is required every semester, and your class assignment is automatically chosen for you (note that unless you are applying to one of the Consortium schools such as Columbia University, the title of this class is always changed to something innocuous for your official transcript). Other than that, you may select your courses as you wish.
Note that activities such as Theatre and Orchestra count as a course, although they do not meet every day.