Campaign of the Month: May 2008
Not everyone can become a mage. The ability to manipulate magical energy is an innate trait. Every year, the Academy tests all children between the ages of 5 and 8 to see if they can use magic. The test is simple; The children merely have to hold a small crystal orb for a few moments. If they can learn magic the orb will glow. Those few who can learn magic are immediately taken to the Academy for training.
These children are put through a long and rigorous course of study. They are taught to read and write, not just in the common language, but also in the archaic variants found in many spellbooks. They are taught the principles of magic. They don’t begin to learn their first spells until they have studied for several years. They are rarely, if ever, allowed to leave the Academy grounds.
Training at the Academy is not restricted to books and mental exercises. Students are taught how to defend themselves and are expected to stay physically fit.
Through their training, these future mages leave their families behind. They are indoctirnated into the ways of the Mages and learn that the Academy and the other Mages are their only family. Some Mages, particularly those who came from noble families, reconnect with their parents after their graduation, but this is rare.
Once someone enters training to be a mage, there is almost no way out. The Academy will only allow a student to leave if they can prove that they are fully in control of their abilities. They must also convince the Mages that they will not use their magical abilities or do anything to the detriment of the Academy. As you might expect, this is almost impossible. Once you enter the Academy, you are part of the Academy until you die.