Arcane Colleges of Altdorf - Help me reconcile

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RancidWalrus
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:28 am

For as long as I can remember, I have been under the impression that the Arcane Colleges of Altdorf are the only place in the Empire that you can legally learn to use magic.

Supported by passages such as...

To legally cast magic in the Empire, a Human must follow the Articles of Imperial Magic and belong to one of the Eight Colleges of Magic in Altdorf (WFRP 4e Core Rulebook pp.60).

...in Altdorf, the location of all the Arcane Colleges since Magnus' dispensation... (Sigmar's Heirs (WFRP 2e) pp. 25).

...Thus were the Colleges of Magic established in the City of Altdorf... (The Empire, WFB 8e army book pp.12, 18)

..Magnus announced that Altdorf would house the new Orders of Magic (Realms of Sorcery (WFRP 2e) pp.28)

They are the Wizards of the Imperial Colleges of Magic, and they alone amongst the practitioners or arcane spellcraft are sanctioned by Imperial decree and the ult of Sigmar (Realms of Sorcery (WFRP 2e) pp.51)


I'm sure there are others, but you get the idea - perhaps few explicitly state it, but it certainly seems to be at least implied.

So I was a bit surprised (and excited!) when I read the following:

Because of Middenheim’s reputation for tolerance towards magic users, there is a steady stream of would-be apprentices calling at the Guild, but few are admitted. Those that do get in receive training in Wizardry that is second only to the Colleges of Altdorf (Middenheim cotww pp.46).


Contradictions in fantasy works is hardly unexpected, especially in those repeatedly revised and grown over decades, but what I am interested in hearing is...

A: What is the simplest and easiest way to reconcile these seemingly at odds statements?

B: What interesting twists or changes can you think of that do the same job?

C: Are there any other documented magical institutions within the Empire that I don't know about?

D: Have you added any extra magical colleges or guilds etc into your games set in the Empire?

Discuss!!
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Hyarion
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:56 am

A. Institutionally, they are located in Altdorf, but they have other satellite outposts in Middenheim (and elsewhere) to take in Apprentices and at least prevent them from killing themselves (or getting lynched).
One appropriate analogy would be foreign colonies. London has always been the seat of the British Empire, but the Monarch does maintain a presence in Scotland and Wales. And India/Canada/USA/Others have been colonies as well. Another analogy might be how some real life colleges and universities can have flagship campuses and then have other lesser institutions. As one example, consider Duke University as the parental head and then Duke University Law School and the Duke University School of Medicine. All students (undergrad and post-bachelor's degree enrolees) are "Duke students" but nobody would call those in a medical residency in the same program as those studying for the legal bar.

B. The College of Death might maintain a facility near Altdorf for political influence and to keep a finger on the pulse of the Empire's politics. But given the clear and ever-present threat of Sylvania, they may maintain a ring of fortresses around Sylvania as they mount a watchful crusade against the restless dead. Several colleges might jointly maintain a facility in Tilea, Brettonia, or Kislev to draw more potential apprentices.

C. Documented? Not that I can recall off the top of my head, but that depends in large part on how canonical you take some other sources to be. All of the 1e books? Personally, I don't. All of the WFB Army/Campaign books? Some folks do, some folks don't.

D. Yes. One easy one I've used in the past would be a special section of the Imperial Army Academy where Wizards who have finished their apprenticeship learn weapons and unit-level tactics to take their place as Battle Wizards.
I hold the glaive of Law against the Earth.
Zisse
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Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:14 pm

1E's Realms of Sorcery lists a few minor colleges. That includes battle magic colleges in Middenheim (the guild from PbtT), Talabheim and Nuln.
It also describes a few other ones, Öbelstein in Ostland Einzelheit in Talabecland, the Ancient Library in Carroburg, Baron Hendryks College in Marienburg, the College of Noble Sorcery in Altdorf (my favorite due to the great name of the headmaster) and some others.
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Orin J.
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The colleges are the only place were you can be lisanced to use magic throughout the empire, but various nobles have the authority to permit a magic user to operate in their lands. These permits.....wouldn't be AS effective at protecting you from witch hunters, but it would allow for smaller schools backed by whatever noble families can afford it and want to not be forced to accept altdorfers in their court (so most of the ones able to afford it!)
RancidWalrus
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:28 am

The 'campus' model was the assumption I went with also, seems the neatest and simplest explanation.

Thanks @Zisse, I've never read 1e Realm of Sorcery, so hadn't heard of any of those. Now I'm curious to see if any of the others get a reprint like the Middenheim guild.

Thankyou all for you answers, enlightening!
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