How much DOES a Mage know?

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Rob Holden

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Mar 5, 1991, 12:03:05 PM3/5/91
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>I'm not entirely certain I agree with your description of what goes into a
>mage's training - in particular, I think that many mages might have very little
>knowledge of the world outside of their area of magical expertise. Depending
>on what type of magic they practice, this could mean that they have almost no
>knowledge of outside stuff.

I would tend to disagree with this statement as it doesn't take into
consideration just WHO is teaching these young apprentices. I submit that
BEFORE one can become an intructor at a magic academy, he MUST have field
experience, and some of this experience WILL make it's way down the ladder
to these would-be mages. Thus a very experienced mage who wishes to retire
from adventuring, can put a high price on that experience, particularly if
he desire to become an instructor. (as a mage, I cannot think of a more
"cushy" job) This experience will also make a very good selling point to
the mentors/sponsors of a would-be mage. After all, if you were sponsoring
someone, would you send him to Waldo's Wonderful School of Magic, where
virtually none of the instructors' have any field experience, or would you
send him to Balcorian's Academy of the Arts, where 4 out of every 5 instru-
tors are retired adventurers of 7th level or above?

Now this is not to say that *every* mage attends magic school, and I'm
not saying that *every* magic school has field qualified instructors.
There are bound to be some "wild-talent" mages running around, but even
those mages, if they wish to progress, are going to need to learn to read,
write, and hang out at the occasional library, and in doing so, will
improve their education. Remember, mages don't receive their magic from
the gods like clerics. They are more like scientists with an unlimited
power source that THEY must figure out how to tap, and knowledge is the key.

Rob


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Doug Bonar

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Mar 5, 1991, 6:24:59 PM3/5/91
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In article <1991Mar5.1...@oz.plymouth.edu> pyr...@oz.plymouth.edu (Rob Holden) writes:

>
> I would tend to disagree with this statement as it doesn't take into
> consideration just WHO is teaching these young apprentices. I submit that
> BEFORE one can become an intructor at a magic academy, he MUST have field
> experience, and some of this experience WILL make it's way down the ladder
> to these would-be mages. Thus a very experienced mage who wishes to retire
> from adventuring, can put a high price on that experience, particularly if
> he desire to become an instructor. (as a mage, I cannot think of a more
> "cushy" job) This experience will also make a very good selling point to
> the mentors/sponsors of a would-be mage. After all, if you were sponsoring
> someone, would you send him to Waldo's Wonderful School of Magic, where
> virtually none of the instructors' have any field experience, or would you
> send him to Balcorian's Academy of the Arts, where 4 out of every 5 instru-
> tors are retired adventurers of 7th level or above?
>

> Rob
>

But, by looking at the present university situation, it
seems like things might not work out like you want them to. It
appears to me that many people go to school and are educated for
their proffesion by people with limited "real world" experience.
I would imagine that is the situation in a magical college as
well. The instructors would be mostly academic types, mages
who have never done "field work", but have a love for and
understanding of the theoretical aspects of magic. (Of course
there would be a few who are retired from adventuring, but I
would imagine that most who progressed far as adventurers don't
have the academic temperment.) Also, again looking at the parallel
with the academic world, it seems that theoretical reputation
would be the factor in where any aspiring mage would want to go
or was sent.
On more general grounds, I would tend to think of any
D&D mage as a non-academic. He makes his living by actively
seeking dangerous situations. Sure, it could be that he learns
a lot, but I think he is more the lone, unaccepted scientist
with a strange new theory. (I'm sure people will respond with
how their mages are not; they've played mages who were very
academic, they just always got into these jams and had to act
to get out. Oh well.) I think the scholars at any D&D college
of magic would be best represented by rather low level mages
who are also sages specializing in magical knowledge and
philosophy. Perhaps some special adjustments so that they can
play around with the more powerful areas of magic, but not
just ultra-high levels.

Doug
bo...@math.rutgers.edu

Martin Preston

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Mar 6, 1991, 8:02:21 AM3/6/91
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Surely the main thing a Mage has over a commoner is his/her
ability to read & write. In learning such erudite lore he or she
will have had to spend time isolated from the real world.

However any Mage with an ounce of sense could happily work as a
clerk/scribe...something a peasant couldn't manage.

Martin

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Ian Brown

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Mar 7, 1991, 2:01:36 PM3/7/91
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In article <1991Mar5.1...@oz.plymouth.edu> pyr...@oz.plymouth.edu (Rob Holden) writes:
>
>>[this stuff is mine ...]

>>I'm not entirely certain I agree with your description of what goes into a
>>mage's training - in particular, I think that many mages might have very
>>little knowledge of the world outside of their area of magical expertise.
>> Depending on what type of magic they practice, this could mean that they
>>have almost no knowledge of outside stuff.

> I would tend to disagree with this statement as it doesn't take into
> consideration just WHO is teaching these young apprentices. I submit that
> BEFORE one can become an intructor at a magic academy, he MUST have field
> experience, and some of this experience WILL make it's way down the ladder
> to these would-be mages.

Two points: 1) many of the apprentices would be taught by mages because those
mages needed a helper, not in an academy - this may not make a difference in
practical terms, 2) exactly what 'field experience' is depends on the magic
being performed.

For reference, this is a brief description of the magic system I use (since it
is my own system, I can't just say using AD&D rules):

Magic comes in two basic types: active and passive. Active magics are those
that have external effects, passive types are observation in nature. Active
magics include: Sorcery (converts magical energy to real energy in some form -
many, if not most, combat spells fall into this category), Illusionism (effects
the senses - actually it is a form of mind-control), Transformation (changes
the nature of something - Alchemy and Healing are sub-classes of this type of
magic), Wizardry (allows communication with other planes and allows for the
summoning/control of creatures from those planes, Necromancy - control of the
dead - is a form of Wizardry, as is Elemental Magic). Passive magics include
Detection, Divination, and Precognition (the last using being an untrainable
form occuring naturally in some people).

A mage can learn more than one type of magic, and combining magical forms is
possible. The average Wizard almost has to have Sorcery - protection spells
are a form of Sorcery - converting magical energy into an energy absorption
field of some sort. Now a Wizard, for example, might have very little
knowledge of the world on which he/she resides - why learn more about the world
around you if you can gain more by knowing about other planes existance?

One of the characters in one of my PBeM games is a Sorceror who prefers to
spend his time exploring the limits of Sorceric magic by experiment to
actually using it in the field (in a sense, the current adventure is his first
real chance to use his knowledge in a practical way.) Being from a wealthy
background, he probably has somewhat more knowledge of the world around (plus
the fact that he attends meetings at Sorceric colleges in nearby countries
gives him some knowledge of the outside world), but in general, his knowledge
is very specific to his magic.

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