He's A Magic Man, She's A Magic Man!

Friday, October 4, 2019

When considering the best organizations to showcase in the upcoming Lost Omens Character Guide, we asked ourselves who the most iconic figures in our setting were—or should be. Case in point: the Magaambya. Founded by the legendary Old Mage Jatembe, credited with bringing back magic as the Inner Sea region knows it after the destruction of Earthfall, the Magaambya is the oldest magic school in the Inner Sea and possibly on Golarion. The parallel in prestige to real world institutions like Oxford and Cambridge, the Magaambya surely stood as one of the premier organizations in the Age of Lost Omens campaign setting.

The icon of the Magaambya, a ten-pointed blue star ringed with green leaves.

Illustration by Rogier van de Beek

Except, like many things in the Mwangi Expanse, that was truer in theory than in reality. While factions such as the Pathfinder Society would travel into Garund quite often, it seemed that the Magaambya was skimping on its travel budget, and members of the arcane college weren’t often seen in official Paizo products. One of our goals in the Lost Omens Character Guide was to firmly define the current presence and goals of the Magaambya. In addition to their heavy presence in the Mwangi Expanse, the Magaambya has begun setting up satellite colleges to the north—after the explosion (many times literal) of arcane events and anomalies that have occurred in Avistan, from the closure of the Worldwound to the appearance of New Thassilon to the destruction caused by the Whispering Tyrant, the scholars of the south have decided it’s about time they go see what on earth is happening up there!

A robed female wizard in an ornate golden animal mask.

Illustration by Sergio Cosmai

Joining the Magaambya is simply a matter of finding a teacher to sponsor you into the school, but you don’t count as a full-fledged member just from the get-go. Initiates first have to complete a Perquisite: a period of public service. Unlike the teachings of Nethys, the Magaambya doesn’t believe that magic is worth studying just for the sake of being magic. It’s what the magician intends to do with their power that’s important, and the Magaambya believes that those who can cast magic should use it to aid other people. The Perquisite is thus a means to earn the right to study at the Magaambya, but also the Magaambya’s most important lesson. Public service and a willing sponsor are still much easier entrance requirements than other prestigious colleges, who can often discriminate on the grounds of class, ancestry, or wealth. The Magaambya has a startling array of peoples among its students, including many ancestries that have unsavory reputations in other places: anadi, catfolk, gnolls, and iruxi can be found openly studying on the grounds, and even prospectives from Usaro, Mzali, or the Sargavan people—as many Mwangi call the colonists who recently ruled Vidrian—can find a warm welcome, if their intentions are good.

A male human with a purple coat and wooden animal mask hanging around his neck closely examines an intricately crafted artifact.

Illustration by Mikhail Palamarchuk

The Magaambya is founded in the teachings of Old Mage Jatembe—most critically, that all magic is magic, regardless of the source. Distinctions such as divine, primal, arcane, and occult are all simply distractions from this truth. Of course, this distinction is easier said than practiced, as the Magaambya well knows. The Magaambya’s signature spellcasting is known as “halcyon magic,” a tradition that combines both arcane and primal magic when casting spells (seen in action in this recent piece of fiction by Tim Pratt and described in the Lost Omens Character Guide). Characters who take the halcyon speaker archetype represent those mages who have mastered halcyon magic and, at higher levels, can even learn to cast multiple halcyon spells at once.

Halcyon Spells. Through hard study, Magaambyans can meld arcane and primal spellcasting. Halcyon spells are spells from the arcane or primal spell list. You don’t gain new halcyon spells via the normal means you typically use to gain spells; instead, you gain new halcyon spells and new spell levels of halcyon spells only through feats. Halcyon spells are prepared or cast just like other spells granted by your class; for example, a wizard who gained halcyon spells would add them to their spell list and their spellbook, while a sorcerer would add them to their spell list and their spell repertoire. If you have more than one arcane or primal spellcasting class, you add halcyon spells to all such classes. Each time you cast a halcyon spell, decide whether it is an arcane or primal spell. You can’t heighten a halcyon spell beyond your maximum spell level of halcyon spell, even if you have higher-level spell slots, and you can’t select a halcyon spell as a signature spell. Each time you gain a level and learn new spells, and each time you gain a halcyon feat, you can swap out one of your old halcyon spells for a different halcyon spell of the same level; this is in addition to any swapping from your class, such as via a sorcerer’s spell repertoire class feature. You can also swap out halcyon spells by retraining during downtime. If you have a spellbook, when you swap out a halcyon spell, you lose the spell from your spellbook entirely.
Halcyon Speaker Dedication, Feat 6. Uncommon, Archetype, Dedication. Prerequisites: Magaambyan Attendant Dedication, member of the Magaambya of conversant rank. You devote much of your study to halcyon magic. You gain access to two common Halcyon cantrips and two common 1st-level halcyon spells. In addition to being able to cast your halcyon spells via your arcane or primal spell slots, you also gain a 1st-level halcyon spell slot. You can use your halcyon spell slots to spontaneously cast your halcyon spells. Special: You cannot select another dedication feat until you have gained two other feats from the halcyon speaker archetype. Halcyon magic has been practiced by the Magaambya for a long time, but the researchers and staff at the university aren’t content to rest on their laurels. The Magaambya has plenty of teachers to pass down their current traditions, but also continue researching ways that other traditions of magic might be combined: arcane magic pulsing with the power of the divine, or occult secrets locked away in ancient, primal monuments.

Halcyon magic has been practiced by the Magaambya for a long time, but the researchers and staff at the university aren’t content to rest on their laurels. The Magaambya has plenty of teachers to pass down their current traditions, but also continue researching ways that other traditions of magic might be combined: arcane magic pulsing with the power of the divine, or occult secrets locked away in ancient, primal monuments.

A catfolk spellcaster in brightly-colored robes weaves together hands glowing with magical yellow energy.

Illustration by Mary Jane Pajaron

Characters that complete their Perquisite gain the rank of Attendant, which allows them to begin advancement in Magaambyan fields of learning such as halcyon magic. Attendants are also expected to choose what branch of the Magaambya—specialized faculties within the school—the student wishes to pursue. Magaambyan attendants have five branches to choose from, representing their commitment to one of the school’s five specialized faculties. Pursuing work within that branch offers on-the-job training that can grant a student unique abilities. A Cascade Bearer, who focuses on advancing magical theory, can use her extensive studies to warp her magic on the fly, such as extending great effort to apply a minor metamagic she has not mastered to a spell. Tempest-Sun Mages, who exist to protect the Magaambya and its allies, can channel some of their offensive magic into a magical barrier to defend themselves. Characters that join with one of the five branches can represent their focus via the Magaambyan attendant archetype.

Magaambyan Attendant Dedication, Feat 2. Uncommon, Archetype, Dedication. Prerequisites: trained in Arcana or Nature, member of the Magaambya of attendant rank. You devote much of your study to halcyon magic. You gain the ability to cast a single arcane or primal cantrip of your choice, (as is normal for cantrips, it is heightened to a spell level equal to half your level, rounded up). If you weren’t already, you become trained in that tradition’s spell DCs and spell attack rolls, with Intelligence as your spellcasting ability if you choose arcane or Wisdom as your spellcasting ability if you choose primal. Regardless of whether you choose an arcane or primal cantrip, you also either become trained in Arcana or Nature, or an expert in one of those skills in which you were already trained. When you gain this feat, choose to affiliate with the Cascade Bearers, Emerald Boughs, Rain–Scribes, Tempest-Sun Mages, or Uzunjati. This grants you additional feats available to only that branch. Special: You cannot select another dedication feat other than Halcyon Speaker Dedication until you have gained two other feats from the Magaambyan Attendant or halcyon speaker archetype.
Rain-Scribe Mobility, Feat 10. Archetype. Prerequisites: Magaambyan Attendant Dedication, Rain-Scribes affiliation. You surround yourself in a mantle of Rain-Scribe magic and Stride twice; difficult terrain does not reduce your Speed, even if the difficult terrain has been manipulated by magic. Your magic clears the difficult terrain in each square you entered; until your next turn, those squares aren’t difficult terrain for any creature walking through them (or are normal difficult terrain if they were previously greater difficult terrain).
An elderly man in dark robes decorated with animal imagery holds a gnarled staff in one hand and a wooden elephant mask in the other.

Illustration by Mikhail Palamarchuk

In addition, Attendants gain the right to create a Magaambyan mask and have it recognized by the other faculty and students. These masks can be unnerving and difficult to explain to outsiders—while they begin as simple wood, continual use is meant to leave an “imprint” of the wearer’s true face, etched into the mask by the student’s soul and magical power. The mask serves as a focus and guide for the Attendant’s magic, as well as a connection between the Attendant’s body and spiritual self. Masks are not considered mandatory, however, and some people find these masks too unsettling to use… especially the ones that move and speak on their own!

Mask Familiar, Feat 4. Archetype. Prerequisites: Magaambyan Attendant Dedication. Your mask takes on a personality of its own, allowing it to serve as your familiar. Though you can still wear it as a mask, you can detach it from your face to grant it a bodily form of colored light that allows it to move around; usually, this is a miniature form of the animal the mask represents. Detaching or reattaching the familiar to transform it is a two-action activity. Even in mask form, the familiar can move around on its master’s face and speaks in a distinct voice (if it can talk). It is easily recognized as more than a simple mask unless the familiar succeeds at a Deception check to Impersonate a mask. Other than its appearance and the fact that it can be worn, it functions as other familiars. Your mask familiar has access to the mask freeze familiar ability.

As you can see, the Magaambya truly embodies a dedication to the gathering of knowledge, and greater yet, a dedication to change the world for the better with said knowledge. Members of the Magaambya travel all over the world to both build on this knowledge and apply their skills, magical or otherwise, to improving the world wherever they go. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in playing, make sure to check out the Lost Omens Character Guide when it releases on October 16th and read Andrew Mullen’s great work on the Magaambya. If you’re interested in traveling the world, but are maybe less magically inclined or you just prefer to explore for the thrill of seeing the world, you should tune in next week for our blog focusing on the famous (or infamous) Pathfinder Society!

Eleanor Ferron
Developer

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Tags: Lost Omens Character Guide Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Pathfinder Second Edition
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Will Magaambya only offer options for Wizards or can Sorcerers find some sort of guidance in the form of Feats and class options to learn from that hallowed institution?


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Gisher wrote:
Lucas Yew wrote:
Were catfolk to be in this book too?
I believe they are coming in the Advanced Player's Guide. We might see them in the playtest later this month.

Yes, catfolk are mentioned as one of the ancestries to be introduced in the Advanced Player's Guide.

However, I would be pleasantly shocked if they show up in the playtest. In the past, playtests for books like this tested the new classes and nothing else.


Berselius wrote:
Will Magaambya only offer options for Wizards or can Sorcerers find some sort of guidance in the form of Feats and class options to learn from that hallowed institution?

The feats as listed don't have any class requirement, even fighters could go train there and pick up a few spells.

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