Founded nearly 75 years ago, the Nevish College of Magical Studies (simply called “Nevishes” for short) was founded by Bindly Nevish, an illusionist who grew tired of teaching apprentices one at a time. Far too often, apprentices would only last a few months under his tutelage and choose to abandon their studies. This meant Nevish had to then find another apprentice and start all over again, which was a lengthy process under the best of circumstances. Finally he decided that it was time to establish a curriculum.
In the first few months, it was merely Nevish and a couple of his successful apprentices who taught classes a few days a week. But it didn’t take long for other wizards to see the wisdom of his plan. He wasn’t the only one who had also faced troubles keeping and training apprentices. Eventually the school grew to have more students and faculty than they could fit into Nevish’s tower, so they expanded. The current facility has grown over the years, but has remained the same at the core. Occasionally there are lab mishaps that require extensive remodeling afterwards, and those opportunities for expansion are always greeted cheerfully.
The first thing to be established was an entrance exam. Nevish didn’t want to waste time on those students not talented in magic or with limited intelligence, so he devised a three step test. Always a fan of word play and practical jokes, Nevish turned “spindle, fold, and mutilate” into “dismantle, fae, and mutilate.”
- Step 1: Take a random magic item from the selection on a table and take it apart. Most manage to avoid the tricky items, but occasionally some enterprising student will lack a certain amount of manual dexterity and accidentally blow one up while dismantling it. Inevitably there’s one of these every couple of years and all those potential students standing in the audience lose their eyebrows in the process.
- Step 2: Face an angry fae and survive one full minute. This test is only faculty-observed, which has maintained an air of secrecy about the test results. Most potential students walk out under their own power when their minute is up, but few actually care to discuss it afterwards.
- Step 3: Face the Doomsday Machine alone. This horrific device lies between the student and the door, complete with spinning blades, smashing hammers, and other deadly contraptions. Most students manage to realize quickly that walking around the machine to the door is the best approach, and the school disavows any knowledge of those students who choose to go right down the middle. Inevitably they would have failed their classes anyway.
Once accepted into the college, students have access to the best teachers around. Not only do students get expert instruction and hands-on experience, their teachers understand that career wizards are often misunderstood by non-wizards (Nevish coined the term “nizards“). However, good wizards never lack for adventuring opportunities with parties who may have found the lack of magical advice limiting or detrimental during former quests and can often be found magic-izing mundane tasks improving productivity in the strangest of places.
Nevishes patented coursework and lab combination provides students many opportunities to fail gracefully or spectacularly behind closed doors so they don’t fall on their faces in the real world. Initially there are a few basic courses they need to pass before they get into the really
challenging topics, but by providing a solid foundation, students are more likely to survive those more challenging courses.
All students start in Professor Eco‘s class to learn the basics: Wizardry 101. In 101, students learn basic spellcraft, philosophy, and even a few simple spells. For extra credit, students can try creating their own spells after the Professor knows they can handle themselves. And at the end of the course, students get to show off to their peers, proving not only that they can cast some of the tried and true spells in their repertoire, but that they can create their own simple spells to improve their everyday lives through the use of magic.
Ultimately that’s the goal here at Nevishes. We want each student to leave each course knowing a bit more, feeling more confident, and ready to take on the next course in the curriculum…