Subtitle: “The validity of a visual analog scale in determining social utility and demonstrating social status in Hermetic Orders”
Unlike modern colleges the Biblioteca is a way of life, more like a cloister or monastery than a twentieth century earth university. You never graduate as such, and many particularly esoterically inclined bookworms live out their lives within its halls and libraries. While occasionally Masters leave the Biblioteca to pursue field expeditions, or to study some specialized schools of magic at other institutions, most students who leave are never allowed to return. Geared towards a lifetime of study and research, the Biblioteca lacks any clear sign of progress or completion as we know it. There are no Bachelors, or PhD’s or post-docs, and Master means something rather different. There is no clear difference between faculty and students. Lacking this the Biblioteca would be a sorry mass of social confusion without a clear method of determining the rigid and precise pecking order. To correct this problem, The Biblioteca has one major precept that rules polite society:
Real magicians wear pointy hats.
The hat is a Royal Blue velveteen right circular cone 31.41 cm in altitude, emblazoned with various mystic symbols (roughtly 3.155 cm in diameter) in either silver or gold.
At the bottom rim of each hat 1/2 inch from the bottom is a series of narrow silk bands, one band for each 3 years the mage was associated with the Biblioteca. The band is silver for each triad as a student/researcher, gold if the wearer taught for three years. Original tradition only applied rings as each triad was completed; more recently however, the practice of putting ‘partial rings’ on has become more common, particularly with respect to teaching years. Every 21 years the narrow rings are replaced with a triple-wide gold band, and the narrow ring count is restarted, above the wide band.
In addition to the longevity rings, there is one symbol for each College or School of Magic that the wearer studied at the Biblioteca. The symbol is surrounded by “rays” of silk in the same color as the symbol, one for each spell known of that school (however it is customary to only add the rays in groups of three). Likewise there is a “halo” around each symbol for each spell invented by the wearer within that school. The symbol is either gold silk if the student brought any spell of that school to true mastery (skill 20+) and silver silk otherwise. The student’s declared major college always appears on the front center of the hat.
From time to time as a token of great honor, some Mages entitled to wear the hat are granted a tassel, a white tassel for a major endowment or other largess to The Biblioteca, silver for great works for the benefit of humanity, gold for great achievment in the study or advancement of magic. Typically these tassels are awarded posthumously. In one rare case the Mage Bleyn was awarded both a silver and a gold tassel, some 20 years after his death. The one tassel commonly awarded to living mages rather than dead ones is the black tassel, which denotes dismissal from the Biblioteca in extreme disgrace. Such is the prestige of The Biblioteca that Mages so marked still wear their caps proudly.
The King of Landsrue is, as a courtesy, granted the right to wear a cap when visiting the grounds of the Biblioteca whether he has studied there or not. If, as is typical, the King is not a Mage, he is given one gold symbol foremost, a crown. On those odd occasions that a King does happen to know a spell or two, he is also given the appropriate symbols but always in gold without regard to his actual skill.
An unofficial custom exists that Colleges studied while on sabbatical away from the Biblioteca, are displayed in white silk, without rays or halos, and are always added along the back seam of the cone. It is rumoured that some dissidents no longer with the Biblioteca place their white symbols anywhere on the hat, where at a distance they could be mistaken for normal silver ones.
The royal blue dye used in making the caps comes from the Biblioteca’s own alchemy labs, and is of a unique shade that has yet to be exactly duplicated elsewhere. Some say that there is an additional highlight color mixed into the dye that, when the nap is rubbed the wrong way, can only be seen by Mages. Most mages have them enchanted shortly after receiving them, to aid durability, though replacements can be ordered if they are lost or destroyed.
The symbols for the colleges are:
|WATER||Parallel Wavy Lines||ANIMAL||Hooded Cobra|
|MIND CONTROL||Unequal Armed “X”||NECROMANCY||Skull|
|MOVEMENT||Hollow Disc (Wheel)||ALCHEMY||Flask|
Background adapted from the original by S. John Ross, creator of the Blue Room, and used with permission.