Sendrellar is the most potent site of magical congruences on Torar. It is here that one of the shards of Creation fell and begot magic into the world. Originally, the site was surrounded by an arcane "bubble" of power, within which magic was nearly as ever-present as air itself, and wherein arcanists could practice their craft without exhaustion of spells.
During the Culling, the Magitek War finally erupted, which had been brewing underneath the world's notice for years prior. The gnomes of Upher assaulted the magical city with every piece of technology they could muster, and the mages defended themselves. The result was the destruction of Sendrellar, collapsing huge sections of the large city into the deep darkness of the underdark. This left plateaus with the crumbling remains of once magnificent structures amidst bottomless chasms and pits.
Beneath Sendrellar there had been layers and layers of dungeons wherein the scholars had imprisoned beasts and creatures that threatened the world, mostly ones from other planes. The destruction of the magical city had broken open many of the upper levels of these dungeons, letting powerful creatures free to roam the magically charged ruins.
Since that time, the Sendrellar Academy of Arcane Sciences has been reopened under Headmaster Absulcon, and includes sub-schools for all forms of arcana, including a Bard's College, an Obvservatory for astromancers, and a Tower of Storms for stormlords. Even wilders such as sorcerers are able to gain education here. It exists on some of the largest remaining plateaus of stable ground, and uses a combination of reclaimed and repaired buildings alongside new magically constructed ones as the school grounds. Floating chunks of ruins, magically charged from the devastation of centuries passed, still meander around the ruins and the school.
Venir, once known as the Enemy, no longer a god but not dead, partnered with Absulcon and Lilyth, also not dead, to form Aincrad, the floating testing ground above Sendrellar. Many of the most dangerously unstable pieces of the ruins were used in its formation, as well as the remnants of the Sendrellar Dungeons and their inhabitants, leaving the remainder of the ruins largely stable and monster-free.
Along with Absulcon and his students, living in the ruins of Sendrellar are the avarta people, which have laid claim... with Absulcon's blessing... to large sections of the northernmost parts of the ruins. Using their innate magical talents, they have crafted a society of light and beauty among the plateaus.
"Magic is not for the timid." - Sendrellan motto.
The graduates of Sendrellar have their hands in almost every political decision made in the world. Their influence is widespread and, at times, intrusive. But no matter how little love a monarch or ruler has for Sendrellar or magic in general, the Sendrellan wield an astonishing amount of global political power. Thankfully, the morals of the Archmage guide the decisions and actions of those who are taught there, ensuring that they help to nudge the results of decisions both great and small as he sees fit to realize his goal. Unbeknownst to anyone but himself, Absulcon's true goals are to ensure the world follows the proper path through time, to make sure that the world survives and thrives. To avoid further tragedies like the Era of Darkening and the Culling.
Graduates of Sendrellar carry a plain silver ring that fits on the pinky finger that has an engraved "S" etched onto the front. Students of Sendrellar wear a bronze ring instead, but still gain the respect afforded to the school. Because of the tremendous power, political and magical, that the Sendrellan wield, they have to police themselves. In order to make sure that both students and graduates behave, the Archmage has a specific group of highly powerful mages known as the Disciplinary Committee that keeps order in the school and tracks down rogue mages. The highest ranking police-type official in each city or castle that employs a Sendrellan graduate is given a small oblong stone that allows them to contact the Disciplinary Committee mentally in case their services are needed. A Disciplinarian, which is what members of the Disciplinary Committee are called, drags any offending arcane spellcasters back to Sendrellar to face the judgement of the Archmage, or perhaps more frightening, the Head Disciplinarian. For this reason if none else, nearly every ruler wants to have a Sendrellan mage in his or her court, as otherwise dealing with rogue mages can be a deadly proposition.
Sendrellar is the most prestigious and comprehensive academy for aspiring arcanists. It is very challenging to join, requiring both a written test (Knowledge (arcana) DC 15) and an aptitude test (consisting of three riddling puzzles). Sendrellar costs 2000 gp per semester (semesters are 6 months long each) and teaches students of all ages and walks of life. Particularly promising students may be offered financial aid by the school.
Sendrellar doesn't just wait for applicants to come to it though. The Archmage has several talent scouts going from tiny thorpe to tiny thorpe as well as combing through big cities for prospective mages, sorcerers, stormlords, bards, and others that might benefit from instruction at Sendrellar.
One clear and immediately obvious benefit is access to the mage class. All mages are taught at Sendrellar at some point in their careers. Sendrellar also has the resources; financial, material, and personnel-wise; to be of tremendous benefit to nearly anyone. In addition to these benefits, Sendrellar offers a number of post-graduate studies. Those who have graduated to become official Sendrellan mages, sorcerers, or the like are welcome to stay and take part in the post-graduate study program listed below. Any mage wishing to become a high mage must complete this extra course of study. Each lesson must be learned in order (a student cannot learn lesson 2 before learning lesson 1). Each lesson has a cost in XP that must be spent to learn the lesson, a minimum level that a student must be in order to learn the lesson, and a specific amount of time that the courses to learn that lesson require during which time the student must be present for at least 4 hours at least 2 days a week.
Lesson 1 - Basic StudiesEdit
Time: 2 weeks.
Benefit: Magic always begins with books, and to most mages the library is more like a second home. Sendrellar has a strict curriculum of studies that covers everything from potion-making to curse identification. This first series covers magic uses and how to differentiate spells and their colors. A character with basic studies gains a +1 circumstance bonus to Spellcraft checks.
Lesson 2 - Foreign LanguagesEdit
Time: 1 month.
Benefit: Other cultures have their fair share of knowledge and magic, and communication studies are considered important so that aspiring mages can learn about them. This lesson is more traditional than anything else, since the Translators Club has made incredible headway in magically translating texts. However, Sendrellar has not dropped this lesson since they feel it is always better to read a text in its native tongue. As part of this lesson, a character learns to speak and read a new language, adding a bonus language to his list of languages known.
Lesson 3 - Intermediate StudiesEdit
Time: 6 weeks.
Benefit: The second part in a student's curriculum is an in-depth study of arcane traditions, magical mysteries, and ancient prophecies and lettering. A character that has completed intermediate studies gains a +1 circumstance bonus to Knowledge (arcana) checks.
Lesson 4 - The Mechanics of MagicEdit
Time: 3 months.
Benefit: A must-have for any mage wanting to wear something more protective than a nightgown, and the final lesson during a post-grad student's freshman year, the mechanics of magic delves deep into the realm of somatic components in spellcasting. A Sendrellan mage learns how the physical world affects the ability of a mage to wield and control magic. It is actually a very boring study since it involves a lot of physical exercises. However, the benefit of repeating these motions is an increased chance of success in spellcasting when hampered. A character with this technique reduces the chance of spell failure while wearing any armor by 10%.
Lesson 5 - Defensive Spell CombatEdit
Time: 6 months.
Benefit: Sendrellar is not a combative school, but that does not mean its students are unprepared for battle. This lesson, as the name implies, covers the important topic of fighting defensively with magic. Defensive combat is probably the most popular lesson taught since it requires a lot of hands-on application. The professors train a young pupil to focus attention more on the casting of a spell than on worrying about outside interference. It is rather hard to cast a sleep spell when a very angry and drunk fighter is charging you. Characters that learn this technique receive a +2 circumstance bonus on Concentration checks made to cast defensively. Once a post-grad student learns this lesson, he graduates from freshman to sophomore.
Lesson 6 - Advanced StudiesEdit
Time: 6 months.
Benefit: One of the final parts of the student's education is a series of discussions on learning, reason, and magic. These are comprised mostly of philosophical lectures about the ethical use of magic, but the knowledge gained can be applied to practically all aspects of life. A character who learns this technique gains a +1 unnamed bonus to all Intelligence-based skill checks.
Lesson 7 - Spell WringingEdit
Time: 6 months.
Benefit: Many spells require special words, certain items, and even physical motions to cast. These components are seen as necessary for the proper casting of a spell, but this is not always true. With a little time, creativity, and a greater understanding of magic, a spellcaster can live without a component every now and then. A character who knows the spell wringing technique can ignore one component (verbal, somatic, or material) when casting a spell. This technique can be used three times per day, and only one component per spell can be ignored. Material components that have any cost over 5 gp can never be ignored using this technique. Once a post-grad student learns this lesson, he graduates from sophomore to junior.
Lesson 8 - Metamagic MasteryEdit
Time: 6 months.
Benefit: The Sendrellan have spent years studying the phenomena that are represented by the various metamagic feats. These abilities are a great aid to spellcasters and are an important field of study. Much to everyone's surprise, the greatest pioneer in this narrow field was a dwarf by the name of Nikolai Scratch who uncovered the secrets of metamagic mastery. His theories remain a topic of great debate even today, but the applications are undeniable. Three times per day, a character with this technique can ignore the costs required to cast a spell through a metamagic feat. This means that he can prepare or cast a spell without suffering a penalty to the spell’s effective level. The caster must strain to do this, however, and he must make a Spellcraft check (DC 10 + 5 per level of spell increased by the feat normally) or the attempt fails and is still considered expended.
Lesson 9 - Expert Spell KnowledgeEdit
Time: 6 months.
Benefit: After the advanced classes, a post-grad student moves beyond the application of magic to the spells themselves. This lesson broadens the student’s knowledge and improves his ability to learn and remember spells. A character with expert spell knowledge learns one extra spell from each spell level that he can cast. Mages and other spellbook-based casters have these spells copied into their spellbook, while sorcerers and other spellpoint-based casters add one extra spell per spell level to their spells known repertoire. When a post-grad student completes this lesson, he graduates from junior to senior.
Lesson 10 - Spellcasting MasteryEdit
Time: 1 year.
Benefit: The final lesson in the Sendrellan post-graduate studies course is the knowledge of how to expand the magical potential of a mage to new heights. Supposedly given to the school by some great celestial being in the elder days, the technique of spellcasting mastery demands long hours of study and a strong mind. A character who knows this technique can cast one additional spell per spell level per day.