Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The School Campaign: Examples from Libri Vidicos I

So in my last post I talked about the benefits of the school-based campaign. I thought I would present a few examples of materials from our Libri Vidicos campaign, beginning with materials given to first year students and then contrasting that next post with the materials given to the players recently as they entered the third year. Below was their welcome to the school and list of classes when they first began the campaign (about two and a half years ago in real time)

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A Welcome and Instruction to Incoming Students

Now that you have accepted entry into the Libri Vidicos, you must prepare yourself for your first term. Transport will be arranged for you. You will receive a notice detailing the time and place where you must be in order to meet our representative. If you are not there your chance will have passed and memory of this will also leave you.

You must pack the following:

At least three shirts; three pairs of pants, trousers or modest dresses; one pair of shoes; one pair of boots; one belt; appropriate lacing and undergarments. Dress for modest seasons. Winter garments will be provided to you as well as a house cloak and jacket. You will be gone for some time, and while there will be opportunities to purchase some goods, you should pack to the best of what little common sense you may have. The school does have a seamstress, cobbler and such who can make repairs as are necessary. However, you do not want to place yourself at the mercy of their schedule and as such I suggest everyone bring a sewing kit or somesuch thing.

You must bring one hat. It should be a good hat—stout, clean and presentable. Shoddy or poorly maintained hats are unacceptable.

The following four books are required and will be provided to you with the cost coming from your stipend and deposit. You may bring your own copies so as to avoid this charge. Note that editions with lewd illustrations will be confiscated.

Odovore's History of the Ancient World, Volume I—The Early Makistaanus.
Fortiger's translation of the Makistaanus, Book One: Flaemish Ascendant
Chereloft's Gentleman's Guide to Rhetoric and Right Speaking
Book One of the Alginiad, Introductory Calculations and Proofs


You may bring a dueling blade with you. It will be given over to the Armsmaster upon your arrival and may only be used in the appropriate courses. Hidden weapons, spring blades, volters of any kind, blowguns, katars, hand crossbows, slingshots, poisoned needles, bows, warhammers, books cut out and weighted with the intent of causing bodily injury, hand axes, artificial claws, Godkicking boots, and any other weapon or device of lethality no mentioned before this are not to be brought. If they are discovered, they will be confiscated and perhaps used upon your person.

Magical items of utility may be brought and kept. Magic items intended to harm another person either deliberately or through inaction will be confiscated. Magic items created for the sole purpose of cheating on examinations are also not approved. Each year we enjoy finding and confiscating said items and selling them to third parties to pay for tea cozies in the instructor's lounge.

You may bring food. It is highly recommended that such food be of a non-perishable nature. You will be allowed up to one care package from home every sixty days. Food stuffs which can generally be considered noxious or be classified as a weapon will be taken away.

I have been advised by certain parties to state that if you are currently used to a comfortable life we highly recommend you bring your own pillows, blanket and sheets. Myself, I find complaints upon the subject spurious and a waste of my time.
You may bring what you can carry in a modest steamer truck and one largish pack. You can stuff what you want in your pockets as well, I don't care. Keep in mind that you will be required to carry your baggage yourself at some points. Pack accordingly. Advanced Robots, Slave Demons, Ghostly Servants, and the like are not permitted. So are butlers and the like. Ladies may wish to impose on the kindness and chivalry of their fellow students, but I wouldn't bank on it.

By this time you have undoubtedly selected the three people who will know about your time at the Libri Vidicos. You have had them sign the document of binding so that you can spill your story to them. Remind them that they cannot speak of the Libri Vidicos directly to others not so bound. Remind them that we've have years to perfect this binding. Remind them that this year we've added new and inventive curses for those who attempt to remove the spell. If one of the three people you've chosen has already attempted this, then you need to select a better class of friends.

Joining the Libri Vidicos is an honor and a great opportunity. You have accepted that challenge and agree to be bound by our rules. Should you violate those rules or this trust, you will be returned to your home with little or no memory of your grand and glorious time at the school. Additionally you will be charged a fee for the expense of sending you back.

The course list for incoming first-year students at the Libri Vidicos as prepared by the Grandmaster (with the consultation of appropriate instructors as their schedule and temperament permitted.)

BASIC CLASS LIST
Each incoming first year student will be required to take five basic courses. This schedule will be maintained without exception.

Classical Civilization from the Dawn of Time
If we are to avoid the mistakes of the past, it is necessary that students understand what those mistakes were. Then students can come up with entirely new realms of error and misjudgment to call their own. This course will begin with the details of the earliest pre-civilizations working forward to examine the culture, developments and legacies of the Golden Age of Makistani civilization. Students will be expected to learn and be able to translate classical passages, quote from the expert orators, and be able to tell the difference between various forms of architecture. If anything else manages to penetrate the minds of first-years students, the instructor will consider himself lucky.

Numerical Philosophy
Numbers present a way of reading and organizing the world, and hence have a philosophy of their own. This course will present the basics of numbers theory, demonstrate the recognition of sets, showcase the beauty of proofs, and illuminate the mysteries of the concept of infinity. However you will be tested and evaluated on your ability to basic sums in your head.

Bearing, Decorum and Grace
Many of you have already had extensive training in these matters, some of you have had less so (to put the case charitably). It is the intention of this class to create students who do not embarrass us in the outside world. It also lays the groundwork for future courses on diplomacy, politics, and the gentle arts. Keep that in mind should you decide that this would be a class you could take less than seriously.

Swordsmanship for Everyone
Every student will be drilled with the use of a blade in one form or another. If you have never held a weapon before, you will learn to use a sword. If you have trained with another weapon previously, you will learn to use a sword. If you have trained with a sword before, you will really learn to use a sword. If you wish to learn more in the combat arts, proficiency in this course is required. Again, and it is worth pointing out since each semester there are some who do not catch this the first time it is said—all students, male or female will learn to use a sword.

Introduction to the Dark World
The world is an uncertain place filled with potential threats. This course considers those.

ELECTIVES
First year students may select one elective. Students may apply for an overload course, but such overloads must be approved by both instructors and the Master of Students. Certain courses, because of their requirements, may not be taken as or with an overload.

Thaumatology and Basic Magical Theory
All though wishing to eventually learn and develop skills in the arcane arts should take this elective. A minimal talent with magic is expected for all incoming students. This class focuses on basic principal common to all casting styles, addresses the history of magic and considers the evolution of forms. The instructor stresses that all students will be expected to be able to control their talents and dangerous outbursts will not be tolerated.

Art and Aesthetics
The course covers the basic techniques of art and how they have changed over the generations. The intent is to allow a student to comment with some knowledge on art, be able to recognize notable masters, and be able to sniff out amateur charlatans. In addition the course will have a craft component, examining the more complex practices involved with the creation of paints, pigments, and the preparation of surfaces.

Mechanical Principles and Creative Engineering
The delights of science, engineering and the construction of wonderful toys! Who can resist the allure of this new and wonderful age. This class will include many splendid things. There were those who once scoffed at those who practiced these arts and called us mad, but we will show them!

Animal Husbandry, Survival and Mastery of the Outdoors
While the advent of mechanical forms of transportation has raised the relative safety of travel, there will be times when one will have to live off of the land. This course focuses on those and the tactics necessary for various climes. Students will have to go outside the walls and boundaries of the school and must obey the orders of the instructor or risk horrific consequences. On the plus side, you get to ride ponies.

Introduction to Alchemy
Due to certain incidents last year, this course has been withdrawn from first-year students.

Astrology, Astronomy and the Motions of the Spheres
This course examines how celestial mechanics influence or can serve as a measure for present events. In addition, the course will look at how well these techniques measure up against other conventional auguries, oracles, and prophecies. A scientific and analytical approach will be used throughout the course so scoffing will not be acceptable.

Domestic Caretaking and Culinary Mastery
Perhaps the most overlooked of skills, yet one which can place a person in the highest esteem. These arts compliment other social abilities in a way that will certainly draw attention to you both home and here at the school. Students will be allowed to take their culinary creations back to their Houses earning you incredible social capital or undying wrath, depending on your skill.

Makistani Philsophy I: Analysis and the Dissection of Reality
Much of the foundation of modern thought and knowledge arises out of the developments of the ancient Makistani. In fact, many of the most important scholarly works make reference to these ideas. A truly learned man has a grasp of these concepts, knows the arguments and counter-arguments and see how these might be applied to everyday life. Note that this course does not include an ethical component, except in the form of self-justification theory.

The Subtle Arts of Dexterity
There are time when it would be good for a student to have a certain grace and deftness with physical activities. Say, for performing stage magic or being able to hide holiday presents. One could imagine that these skills could be applied to more nefarious ends, but that seems quite outside our intent, doesn't it?

Literatures and Letters of the East
See the "Art and Aesthetics" course but replace illustrative arts with literary ones. Eventually students have to take a form of this so you might as well get it over with now, shouldn't you? It should be noted that the publication of a school "news-sheet" is strictly forbidden and so—called journalists are apt to find certain accidents, like the unblocking of one's hat, to mysteriously occur. I'm just saying.

Other
Students may, upon demonstrating a unique skill, seek out an instructor to offer a tutorial as an elective course. This is common in the case of students with a musical aptitude or who wish a long course in physical education. Other such tutorials will be met by the strictest judgment, given that you are still just first-year students.

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Next time Year Three Classes and then some miscellaneous materials.