The world has many famous schools. Some are sought out by scholars from far-off lands because they are the only place to learn certain things. Others are great libraries in obscure locations that must be quested after. Others are larger organizations that seek particular Knowledge. Most of these schools & groups give respect to Ioun, Goddess of Knowledge… though a few may have other Knowledge-based deities that they claim as their own. Of course, there are a great many schools not listed here… these are just the ones famous enough to have maybe been mentioned in some bar you’ve been in at some point.
NOTE: Some of these are also cross-listed on the GROUPS, Religion, and/or various location pages.
The Academy of Shapers and Binders… It claims to be the best school for summoning and binding magicians in the world (though folks at St. Ignatius’ refute that claim). This school is located in the south-eastern region of Thay. Students from this academy can not only summon creatures from many realms, but can shape the energies around these summoned creatures to make them stronger, faster, imbued with elemental energies, or otherwise “enhanced”.
Alexandrian School of Matrix Magic… Located in the capital city of Alexandria, Ionia, this school teaches the magical theories of the archmagus Malachi Johnson. Of course, the archmage has been in seclusion for many years, but this school is run by the first generation of his students, each of whom studied directly under the archmage. They primarily teach contagion magics, especially the hyper-thaumaturgic theories behind the Matrix of Stability, which somehow magically converts raw chaos into stasis magic. There are also a good many classes on clever and non-traditional usage of spells and rituals, quelled mostly from the many stories of the adventures of the Wheels of Progress.
Arch Magirium… a displaced eladrin magic academy that landed in the Outlands during the fall of Myth Drannor. Currently an out-of-the-way spot of reasonable tranquility and academic study. Students, faculty, and the population of the small town around the academy are almost entirely composed of Eladrin and Githyanki (the latter of whom struck a mutual support deal with the faculty soon after the school arrived in this empty place). Technically Lady Artania Silverlight (whom the party met in Waterdeep) is an honorary Headmaster of the school, because she trained under and was honored by the ghost of the last headmaster to serve the school in Myth Drannor (the one who teleported it away, in fact). However, the school also has an acting headmaster in the Outlands (who knows nothing of Artania), an Eladrin wizardess named Shey’la Soulriver (“Master Soulriver” to her students). The Magirium’s study program involves “field work” in the Prime Material Plane, where students will take a thesis topic and research it in the normal world. Students are encouraged to join up with “adventuring groups” while doing their research, as a lifetime in the relatively protected and enclosed Magirium does not really prepare you with social or survival skills outside the school. Students of the Arch Magirium you’ve met include Karath and Roy.
Azazalean Warlock Academy… Located in Nueva Turotha, this school focuses on the study of various pacts of warlockery, with special focus on infernal and storm pacts. Since the founders were said to have drawn energy from the Dukes of Hell themselves, this school is sometimes referred to as “Duke” instead of the longer full name. Their mascot is the Blue Devil, an infernal-looking blue creature who throws lightning bolts.
The Culinary Institute… Located in the predominately Halfling nation of Farmville. Known far and wide as the greatest cooking school in the world, the Culinary Institute benefits from having fresh crops of just about every plant you could think about cooking with, as well as most every edible animal kept in large quantities. It is said that competitions between master chefs at this Institute reach epic proportions, with combatants facing off cooking dishes with secret ingredients in a specially-prepared arena known as Kitchen Stadium. Ale’ Cuisine!
Cyroptrix Academy… Located in Coventry. Regarded by many as the most refined school of military theory in the Alliance, Cyroptrix Academy has produced many of the generals who now command the armies of the other nations in the Alliance. It’s the D&D equivalent of West Point. Their mascot is the Invincible Soldier.
Del Ray’s Academy of Music and Craft Located in the Sankh Kingdom. This is a bard school where criminals from the Sankh Kingdom are often sent for rehabilitation in the arts. The headmaster, the satyr Del Ray, is a charismatic and wealthy patron of the arts who makes many public donations to charitable organizations and law enforcement groups. He claims his close ties with the local police are what help him to rehabilitate many of the students he gets. As a school, Del Ray’s isn’t known as “the best” in any particular category, but then again finding quality teachers to work with convicts can’t be an easy task, so at least they maintain a reasonable level of competency.
The Enclave of Dust… This is a very small sect of Iounic scholars who have taken as their sacred task the cataloging of dead religions. Their head is an ancient Eladrin named Sazed. Many members are ritualists who will seek out old religious artifacts to magically (or psionically) divine the history of the object and the god it was devoted to. This group does not have any widely-known libraries of their own, but they are possessed of very peculiar memory-enhancing magics. Each “Keeper” in the Enclave has listened to and memorized an oral history of every dead god the group knows of, so that as long as one of them survives, so will this Knowledge. f course, many have also written tomes of this information, too… but books are transient things in the scope of eternity.
Gnometech Correspondence School of Applied Engineering… The folks at Gnometech (in Kislev) have created something truly unique: a school you do not have to attend. There is no hard data on how successful their correspondence program is, though, and Gnometech has downplayed any rumors of students exploding. They hold fast to their creed that “if you follow all the directions exactly, and account for all possible variables, nothing should go wrong.” Failsafes for their courses are sold separately. Their mascot is a construct called “Base Model”, who often has other attachments depending on the sport and/or opponent.
Hippocratic Homestead & Society of Life… The human Hippocrates was the founder of the Society of Life, an international and multi-faith group dedicated to the idea of healing. His mansion in northern Borovia is the headquarters for that organization. Originally an Iounic Librarian, Hippocrates saw many wounded as a result of Borovia’s battle-laden history, and decided that it was his job to collect every piece of Knowledge on how to heal injuries. If you are looking for lore on curing any disease or treating any ailment, this will be where you will find it. While other Houses of Life exist to further the organization’s aims in other nations, the Hippocratic Homestead in Borovia is the best place to find any text every written on the subject of treating injuries, diseases, and other ailments.
Hishim’s Dessertarium… In Waterdeep, there is only one name in chocolatiers: Sweetness Hishim. In addition to creating some of the most intricate and complex chocolate creations herself, she has also set up a culinary finishing school that is the last word in dessert-making. Gourmands from her school create desserts for the rulers of many nations.
Mestiza’s Menagerie… The famous tiefling warlock (and current Magister) Mestiza Ferana is famous for many of her adventures with the Wheels of Progress… but she is perhaps better-known these days for her menagerie, located in the southern Cinderscar Valley. It is perhaps the best place to learn about exotic species of aberrants, demons, wild fey beasties, and other dangerous critters. Mestiza is a feypact binder warlock, and spent much of her time subduing, capturing, and otherwise bending various creatures to her will. Now she has a sort of monstrous zoo where aspiring students can come to learn about them in a more save environment than their natural habitats. When her students compete against other groups (which isn’t often), their mascot is Leashy, a magical leash surrounded by a binding circle.
Nerath Tech… Located in Pax Humana, this is one of the two largest schools dedicated to the history of ancient Nerath and the various glories of the human race. Though they have a higher population of renounced half-humans (half-elves & half-orcs who’ve renounced their “lesser halves”) than their rivals NU (see below), the students of NT excel at monster-slaying, construction magics, architecture, and teleportation magics. Their mascot is the Raging Slayer.
Nerath University… Located in Pax Humana, this is one of the two largest schools dedicated to the history of ancient Nerath and the various glories of the human race. Boasting a student body that is almost entirely 100% human (with barely 1% being renounced half-humans), NU has excellent programs in Evocation, Dragon-slaying, and Barrier Magics. Their mascot is the Shining Human.
New Bahama Academy of Darkslayers… Located in the almost entirely dragonborn city of New Bahama, this school teaches the best ways to kill evil spellcasters and the creatures they create/summon, with a focus on necromancers and infernal-pact warlocks. Not surprisingly, this is an extension of the millennia-old hatred that many dragonborn hold towards tieflings… but they don’t come right out and say it. Of course, many of the evil spellcasters in their textbooks happen to be tieflings, but that could just be mere happenstance, right? Students and faculty from the Academy of Darkslayers have also been known to cause quite a lot of problems to the forces of Thay, and there are said to be many ancient texts on demon-slaying in the academy’s libraries. Their mascot is Arnd, the hero of old Arkhosia (see stories about him on the Bard’s Tale page).
Lady Azalea’s School for Proper Young Girls… Lady Azalea Moonbow, famous for being one of the founders of the Harpers, is an elderly elven woman who runs this finishing school for the daughters of Elven nobility in Waterdeep. It is rumored that she teaches the girls more than just dancing and doilies, though, as many of her students have been seen with slender elven bows on their shoulders. Scout knows (thanks to his adventures with sleeping poison) that she is also one of the secret Lords of Waterdeep, and that her girls do covert missions for her to further the goals of the city. The school’s mascot appears on their crest, the outline of a perfect female form in the moonlight (not unlike depictions of Ellistrae).
Saint Ignatius’ School of Summoners… One of the better-known schools for the study of summoning and binding magics. Located 15 miles north of Epyon, in the Sankh Kingdom. This school differs significantly in approach from its chief rival, ASB (see above). In keeping with the generally peaceful nature of the Sankh Kingdom, this school teaches that summoned creatures should be treated with respect, and that there are sacred bonds between a summoner and his creatures [Fill in appropriate Pokemon philosophy here]. They shun the idea of forcing creatures to do your will (like they teach at ASB), but would rather invite entities into a mutually beneficial arrangement. They teach binders that both summoner and summonee are “bound” by the contract they agree to, together. Their mascot is a dragonling, as St. Ignatius himself was said to have forged a cooperative bond with his familiar, who later grew to be a full dragon who remained his friend. Sankhian graduates of St. I’s often take positions in the border guardposts along the Verge Wilderness, keeping the dark creatures there from entering their beloved homeland. Their mascot is the Summonin’ Saint.
Society of Walking Bones… Among necromancers, there are many ways to gain your skills: Apprenticing to a master (living or dead), dealing with some dark entity, wandering through the Shadowfell, opening books and reading at random… but in the past fifty years a particular method has gained popularity: mail-order lessons. There is a thaumaturgical address in Thay that has been widely distributed throughout the lands. A mage who wishes to learn the basic skills of necromancy need only perform a Page Sending ritual (a fairly common lvl 2 ritual) with that magical address at the top, and send an oath dedicating oneself to completing the course. One must also spend an extra 500 GP in residuum while casting the ritual… which presumably gets transferred to the headmaster of this “school”. Lessons will be delivered by shadow servant on a monthly basis after that. Of course, there are rumors that folks who don’t complete the course are eaten by awful things from the darkness… but those are just rumors. When you complete the course, you get a laminated card marking you as a member. Needless to say, this is not one of the Ioun-centric educational groups out there.
The Star League… A collection of philosophers, warlocks, mystics, and others who seek answers in the stars. Their main observatories are located in what has become a small city/collective in the far north of Kislev, away from the smoke of all the mines & factories, next to a wide open frontier that leads to the Great Barrier Mountains. Though there is a smaller church to Sehanine in the Star League’s collective, it is also perhaps the only place where cults of specific star deities have managed to survive, or at least be catalogued and respected. Not surprisingly, Ioun also has a number of devotees among the Star League.
The Swan Tower… The greatest library in the world, and therefore the greatest temple to Ioun, is actually simultaneously located in the Prime Material Plane and the Astral Sea. In this world, it is located atop an earth mote, called Kerath-Ald, that is usually found floating above the Great Planes area far south of Ionia. It is known as the Swan Tower, and it houses the greatest tomes and minds in the world. The connection to the Astral Sea allows scholars who have passed on to offer Knowledge from the Final Library, the Iounic version of heaven. Though the rules of life and death forbid the transfer of too much Knowledge from beyond the grave, there have been a number of Great Scholars who have offered their Knowledge to the Tower before passing on. These individuals have, essentially, magical replicas of themselves present in the tower. Those Scholars, called the Pillars of Ioun, are the seven individuals who created each of the original types of Ioun Stones. Visits to and the opportunity to study at the Swan Tower are reserved for those who truly value Knowledge, though occasionally those who find significant lost tomes or discover great new Knowledge are invited there to present their findings in the Hall of Enlightenment, the great amphitheater of the Swan Tower.
Tanathriel… When most people hear “Elven wizardry”, they think of Eladrin. The high elves certainly do produce the majority of arcane scholars in the elvish ranks. However, there is one place, deep in the Feywild, where their cousins the Elves are masters of wizardry. That place is called Tanathriel, the Castle of Dreams, and it is said that to look upon it can drive a man mad. Hidden deep in one of the most magically charming portions of the feywild, called the “Penumbral Lands”, the wizards of Tanathriel focus on sticking to the elven ideas of connection to the forest, while resisting the many illusory magicks of the fey land around them. Tanathriel wizards learn techniques to shield their minds from illusions and charms, so that even in the face of the strongest illusions and charms the Feywild can offer, they are able to keep their wits about them and practice magic. Also, the naturally maddening nature of the Penumbral Lands has protected Tanathriel from assault by Fomorians and other horrors of the Feywild. It is said that the Castle of Dreams itself was made manifest from the dream of a dying primordial as the various planes were being separated. For this reason, even the teachers and students at Tanathriel will not look directly at the fortress as they approach, instead going through their mentally strengthening practices to steel themselves against the insidious magic of the region. It is even said that sometimes the dreams of students at Tanathriel can act like summoned creatures, and the idea of “Dream Summoning” in this region has created a whole new school of magic that only functions in the Feywild. They don’t really participate in inter-school competitions, but their mascot (insofar as they have one) is the essence of dream itself.
Thellas Magirium… A school for enchanters and those who wish to study the effects of the Feywild on other magics, located in the Feywild, near the portal to Altair. One of the top Enchantment schools in Ionia and the surrounding regions. Their mascot is the Fleeting Idea.
Ultimate Anvil School of Metalworking… Located in Tethyr, near the artifact for which it is named. UA is known for its mostly dwarven faculty and the exceptional items its graduates create. They teach all sorts of metal-working, from weapons & armor to buildings and statuary. They also have arcane-minded staff who can work rare and “difficult” metals, such as what you’d find inside a fallen star or in a vein of pure lava in the Elemental Chaos. There’s also a small group here looking into trying to recreate warforged, but so far they’ve not met with success (though the physical forms are perfect, which has lead to a small trade in “upgraded parts” for the few warforged who visit there). Their mascot is Annie the Anvil.