Circle of Amassed Arcana
|Circle of Amassed Arcana|
|Location:||Guvner's Mile, Lady's Ward|
The Circle of Amassed Arcana (CoAA, or simply "The Circle" is a well-established, ivy league school of wizardry in Sigil. Located in what was originally a massive library and research campus, it is the second largest school of arcane magic in Sigil (by enrollment). However, The Circle is the oldest and most prestigious arcane college in Sigil and arguably the multiverse. The institution was originally founded ages ago in a city called Thebestys, which a canny cutter can find in the Outlands, in Thoth's Realm.
Typically only those students with the best prospects have a chance of being admitted to The Circle. However, like most things in the planes, money and power talks, and the prestigious families still tend to earn reoccurring admittance. Particularly since the fees can be upwards of 10,000 gp/year and scholarships and patrons are few and far between.
The courses of study available at the school for Wizards are many and varied, though most are initially organized in the traditional fashion - by the eight magic schools (e.g., Abjuration, Divination, and Necromancy). Students may then choose upper level courses that become more specialized within a certain school (e.g., "Advanced Enchanting", "Building Arcane Defense Systems", and "The Art of the Buff"). Or they could choose to broaden their skills (e.g., "Advanced Brewmastery", "Golems and Gears: a Guide to Automation", and "Seeing Through: Invisibility and You").
Although The Circle is primarily a school for gifted, young magic students, there are also graduate programs, seminars, and apprentice-ships available for wizards of all ages.
Finally, the extensive library of the college is always open to former students (if they are up on their dues), visiting professors, and guest lecturers.
From the outside, the institution's resembles a walled fortress more than a school. The sprawling complex of over 50 different buildings is enclosed by a stone wall over 40 feet tall and several feet thick. The unique nature of the campus is evident even in the walls surround it. Completely impervious to seemingly any destructive force, they can't even be physically touched.
As one of the premiere magical academies in the multiverse, The CoAA spares almost no expense and is essentially a self-sufficient home away from home for any that are lucky enough to stay here. The campus includes:
- Dormitories for the teachers and students and an inn for visitors.
- Several buildings dedicated to teaching, including eight individual buildings for each of the eight schools of magic.
- Extensive libraries and laboratories.
- Practice yards, exercise grounds, gardens, a greenhouse, and a lake.
- Auditoriums, meeting rooms, dining halls, and a gymnasium.
- A general store, discount magical store, and food storehouse.
- 1. Skall Blackvane School of Necromancy - This is where most classes in the necromnatic arts are held. This school is the furthest of them all from the Public Square, but it still has easy access to the campus graveyard. This is not so that the students can make use of the corpses there but so the necromancers of the school can instead protect the revered remains of the school's honored dead.
- 2. Thalan Fencer School of Transmutation - Here students are schooled in the arts of transmutation. The building overlooks Lake Lethe—the only body of water on campus—in which our students often get to practice spells involving shaping water or even breathing it. Contrary to popular legend, the waters of the lake are filled only with live fish, not their animated corpses.
- 7. Ronan Barrister School of Divination - This is where most classes delving into the arts of divination are held. Because of this some students who don’t have classes here avoid the building, fearing that someone might pry into their private lives without their permission. Since such actions are punishable by failure of any related class, there is little threat of this actually happening though.
- 13. The Library of the Keeper - The Library at the CoAA is unquestionably the finest collection of arcane spells, scrolls, and research materials ever assembled. Funded by massive private grants from donors within the St. Dumas family, the main hall of the library features a gigantic statue of the robed Keeper of Secrets, carved in breathtaking detail. Librarian Lexandri does an amazing job keeping everything in order and procuring new spells. His ambition is to have a copy of every spell ever created, building on the efforts of the generations of head librarians before him. Students and staff are allowed free access to the library. Guests of any other sort must apply with Lexandri for permission to even enter the building. Those who attempt to bypass this restriction are ejected immediately and may be forbidden from ever entering the campus again, much less the library. Students spend a great deal of time studying in the library. A quiet atmosphere is enforced here, and sitting in the presence of so many recorded spells seems to have an inspirational effect upon many aspiring wizards. It’s also a chance for them to rub shoulders with some of the most powerful wizards from across the planes.
- 23. Nystul Bradley School of Illusion - Classes concerning the arts involved in illusions are held here. However, it can be difficult to be sure, with a group of illusionists running the place. Even the location of the building seems to shift up and down the right wall from time to time. Isolated from the other buildings in the school as it is, the place is like a magician on a stage, giving itself enough distance between itself and its audience.
- 24. Kandallar Labs - This unassuming building is located on the far left of the campus, well away from any living quarters. A formal garden separates it from the nearby Conjuration & and Enchantment Schools, and a paved walk stretches between it and the Evocation School. It squats in the shadow of the Leftwatch, and the guards therein are known to steal glances down toward the labs as they are to be gazing out at the streets of Sigil. The reputation the Kandallar Laboratories have around campus is well deserved. First and foremost, it is where the leading-edge theories in arcane manipulations are tested. The facilities here are among the finest anywhere in the Planes, and there is no better place in which to test out potentially hazardous spellcraft. However, when you are standing on the edge of what’s known, things don’t always go the way you might expect. The labs have an average of one serious disaster per year. These are rarely fatal, and in those few cases, normally only to the casters involved. After the Abyssal Gate Error some 600 years ago, strong magics were put into effect to prevent any further problems and to protect the rest of the campus. Each room, for instance, is fortified with permanent magic circles against evil and chaos, and there are strict rules about casting other appropriate protective abjurations when necessary. The outer walls of the building are several feet thick and reinforced with both metal and magic. The walls of each of the rooms are made of permanent walls of force, as well, preventing any problems in one room from spreading to the next. Each student takes at least one class in the labs every semester. First-year classes are held first thing in the morning, and classes for older students are held progressively later in the day. Graduate students and staff have exclusive use of the laboratories in the evening and night hours, although underclassmen may act as their assistants when properly supervised. The only entrance into the tower of the Leftwatch from the ground is directly through the main floor of the labs. Guards can reach the tower itself through the wall walks reaching from the tower in the Blackvane School and the Moon Tower. However the access through the labs is not so the guards can get into the tower. It’s so they can get from the tower into the labs. Drills are regularly run with the guards to ensure fast response times in cases of disaster. Average response time is under one minute, sometimes far less. As an added security measure, one staff member must be on duty in the labs whenever they are being used. Also, the ring to the communications center in the main offices (see #33) must be kept uncovered. When students need a bit more room for their experiments, they sometimes adjourn to the roof of the building. The reinforced surfaces of the outer walls here bear the scorch marks of thousands of lightning bolts and the like cast against them. Strict safety protocols are adhered to here as well, and a high railing around the roof’s outer edge ensures that no one accidentally wanders off. Visiting wizards are sometimes granted access to the labs for their own research. The fees vary and are negotiated directly with the Dean. However, all spells tested or created in the labs must be shared with the school. Copies of these are made and kept on hand in the Library of the Keeper (see #13). The same policy applies to any potions, alchemical concoctions, or other magical items fashioned here. This is just one more way that the CoAA ensures that it is always on the cutting edge of arcane research.
- 25. Cort B. Thornblood School of Evocation - Both wizards and those uninitiated in the arcane arts consider evocation to be the flashiest and most directly dangerous of the schools of magic. The students who study here are instructed in the use of power as raw as magic can make it. They are also given the wisdom to use it well. The fact that the Thornblood school stands so close to the Kandallar Laboratories (see #24) is no coincidence. If there is trouble in the labs, the wizards needed first on the scene hail from the Evocation school. On the whole, they are some of the best prepared to deal with the widest variety of potential problems in the most devastating and final fashion.
- 32. Tashandra Zagyg School of Enchantment - It seems appropriate that the Zagyg School of Enchantment is tucked between the Evocation School (see #25) and the school offices (see #33). When the administrators in the offices need help, they often turn to either one school or the other. Where diplomacy fails, force may rule the day, and vice versa. The charms of enchantment are taught to students here.
- 33. School Offices - The school’s administrative office are held in this unassuming building that connects several of the campus buildings together. Geographically and metaphorically, it is the crossroads of the campus, a place where students and staff mix regularly and meet to determine both their own fates and that of the school. In addition to their actual places of work, just about every junior member of the administration has an office here, as do a number of the senior staff, and meetings are held here on a regular basis. This is where the business of the school gets taken care of.
- 37. St. Dumas School of Conjuration - Located along the left wall, the St. Dumas School is tucked between the Kandallar Labs (see #31), the Zagyg School (see #32), and the Mordenkain School (see #39). Students here learn the arts of conjuration under the tutelage of the administration. Classes are often held in the gardens between the school building and the labs, as many of the creatures the students conjure up in the course of their studies find this green area to be a more comforting place than the inside of any classroom.
- 39. Sert Mordenkain School of Abjuration - The Mordenkain School was recently relocated to this new building after spending many centuries in the slightly nearer building, which is now the Oldtower Dorm (see #40). As one of the oldest buildings on campus, the Abjuration School was in drastic need of an expanded workspace. It's said that Dwarves from the prime of Faerun worked this new structure deftly between the Oldtower Dorm and the St. Dumas Conjuration School. They masterfully matched the original architecture so well that it’s almost impossible for an uneducated eye to know which is the newer building. The arts of abjuration are studied in this newly renovated building.
- 51. The Gold Goblin - One of the best known inns, at least in the Lady's Ward, the Gold Goblin caters to visitors within the walls of the CoAA. Named for the eight-foot tall goblin statue just outside its entrance, a night at the Gold Goblin is something of a badge of honor among the rich and famous of the city. Although the prices of the rooms, food, and entertainment reflect this fact, innkeeper and former CoAA graduate Saul Vankaskerkin, makes everyone's stay worth the price. An entertainer by nature, Saul hires the best performers, often supplements his decor with magic, and is known to throw at least one monthly themed gambling tournament the likes of which rival even nearby Fortune's Wheel. Since this establishment primarily caters to outsiders either visiting the school or hoping for a glimpse of its wonders, one rarely sees CoAA students inside the goblin. However, on occasion upper-level students are granted dispensations (by lottery of course) to visit some of Saul's themed events.
While The Circle may have one of the most advanced arcane security systems in the multiverse, this is only a backup for the real thing - guards. Every guard can cast at least a few basic spells and carries at least a wand of some sort to aid in the protection of the campus. Security at magic school is unsurprisingly magic-heavy, and it's been long accepted that any magical effect that a would-be intruder might use - invisibility, polymorph, and the like - is essentially useless for trying to infiltrate the institution. No one knows how to protect against magic better than those who teach it.
It's a given that out-of-the-ordinary things are going to happen at a magic school. However, you'd never know it by walking by. While festivals and similar are noticeable from without the walls, other things one might expect to see at an institution of spell-slinging are noticeably absent. Individuals flying about, fell winged beasts of various types; none of these are ever seen, leading many to surmise that some fancy illusory screen protects the school itself. Other berks with both feat on the ground'll say that maybe since the wizards are so canny, they're smart enough to go do all their flying and beat-mastering outside of Sigil. Whatever the case, the airspace around the Circle is always clear and treated as a no-fly zone for mephits, fiends, and well, anyone and anything.
Rumors have it that the Circle's best defense is it's unique nature. While Sigil is an ever-changing, organic city, The Circle and the buildings immediately surrounding it seem to be pretty permanent fixtures, even more so that your headquarters for the factions and such. Supposedly the Campus itself completely disappeared during one particularly intense bloodwar flareup in Sigil some 600 years ago, but there's not much to support that story today, unless you're looking for, say, newspaper clippings, personal diaries, accounts from really old elves, and the like.
Each and every major room is equipped with a modified sending stone for the purposes of sending either verbal or nonverbal messages, depending on your level of security access.
- Mikail Gasparov - Dean
- Toknar - Emeritus Faculty and occasional guest lecturer
- Marie and Mikela Zilargo - Currently ZInt protected twin daughter's of owner of Zilargo's Cargo