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Dark School of Magecraft

by Håvard

When Master Terari contacted King Stefan Karameikos about setting up a school of arcane learning within the young kingdom, King Stefan's hopes rose. For a long time, Karameikos had been a backwater realm when it came to magical knowledge and the country's most famous mages had always been enemies of the king rather than his allies. Master Terari brought with him a host of Alphatian wizards, who were in need of a new home with the destruction of Alphatia. King Stefan hoped this would strengthen his reign. However, things did not go quite as planned.

The School of Magecraft did become a centre of magical knowledge. However, it attracted mages of both good and evil dispositions. One figure who ought to have caught King Stefan's attention was wizard known only as The Masked One. His disfigured face hidden behind a wooden mask, the Masked One, soon gained respect among his fellow wizards. Wizards care more about power than looks anyway, so the newcomer's odd appearance and demeanour didn't seem to be a problem. The Masked One also turned out to be well spoken and many came to seem him as a leader.

The true leader of the School was of course Master Terari, headmaster of the school, and Minister of Magic. Then some unsettling news reached Master Terari. An expedition to investigate the rumours behind the so-called Hollow World returned with a message suggesting that Alphatia might not be as utterly destroyed as Terari feared. This reawakened some of the ancient wizard's old dreams. A glow appeared in his eyes, that had not been seen in years. Soon after, Terari disappeared. There was need for a new headmaster of the school. The Wizards looked to The Masked One.

Who is the Masked One?
The Masked One is none other than Sverdlov, Bargle’s old apprentice. More about his background can be learned from the short story, Masked One Unmasked, which I wrote years ago. Once in power at the school, Sverdlov will begin to fill important positions with people he can trust. People who will serve his interests rather than those of King Stefan. Sverdlov is still connected to Bargle. Old evils die hard in Karameikos.

Why a Dark School?
Personally I feel that WotI resolved too many of the Known World's problematic situations and left too few conflicts for new generations of PCs to deal with. If Bargle and the Black Eagle are gone, and Alfheim elves settle in the Dymrak Woods, where can the PCs find foes to challenge them? Also, we already have the Great School of Magic in Glantri. Does Karameikos really need an institution that is so much alike the one we already have? If Karameikos gets a school of magic, it should be different from what we already have in the setting. Also, it allowed me to reintroduce Sverdlov and throw out some ideas for what Bargle has been up to.