All kind of people have a reason come here, from the low peasant seeking the answer to a prophecy, up to the villain that needs to complete his research. Amongst the colleges, there may be one or two small Evil ones, that give its students secret access to those dark sorcery books (naturally they are not _that_ secret, because everyone knows sooner or later in this nest of gossip).
I can well imagine The College Of True Philosophy, the building a large black cube, where all have spartan living conditions and no decorations line the walls...
As for the Senior Masters, do they need to eat at all? Maybe not. The dinner is more a set time to meet, so they do not forget everything in their intense research, and a kind of assurance for others they are fine (well, if someone does not leave his room for a few years, that's a bit suspicious... ).
This could be a way for retiring certain character: if they are master sages in their field of study, they may be offered a chance to continue working on it... forever. This of course means they have to stay here.
The University is easy to transplant into most settings. For some is another option open:
Due to some catastrophic reasons (magical are fine), the city or only the University were destroyed. Legends yet speak of the wisdom hidden there, and of what could one find.
From this point of view, it is a complex of diverse buildings, with strange magical beasts (and plants and...), traps and dangerous knowledge, and much to loot. The Senior Masters still continue to meet, and may be quite a surprise for those searching the ruins.
... OK, that would be simply another kind of a dungeon, even if somewhat knowledge-oriented. Still, the Seniors stay, and some may seek their help or even want to study under them! May be an option for parties that love both combat and research.
"Ummm, guys? My master sent me for a scroll down into the library..."
"Oh my... what will try to eat us today?" Go to Comment
It is a place of secrets. Such a university would be a spawning ground of fraternity, cabals, and secret societies.
There are a number of departments in the university that are not what they seem to be. The engineering department has a core class group of masonry, which serves as a cover for forbiden magical education and a secretive fraturnity. There were be a number of these odd core groups spread throughout the universitites.
Crown and Country: It is a semi-secret group of Elites, who choose a small handful of elites who go the school for a given year. Those who are selected are expected to the "movers"/ "shakers"/ "people who control world". In addition to the psychological boost being selected by the organization, the secret web of contacts, connections, and favors, allow its members to be extremely effective in the political arena.
Crimson Star: This alumni organization has the goal to assure the high reputation of the instituion and to make sure that every member finds a place in the world equal to the stature of the institution. The alumni use their contacts and influences to make sure that graduates find excellent positions in the outside world and that any fame they garner, is magnified. This organization is not adverse to discrediting/ destroying/ and even killing those that are perceived as a threat to the institution. They will also manipulate events and the laws so alumni and students get credit for things they may or may not have done.
The Ochre Goblet. This is a secret organization with the expressed goal of using "unusual methods" to achieve academic success. They talk a lot, but achieve very little. This group is not as discrete as they could be, so anyone investigating "unusual events" and "oddities" at the university would find this group. The group was created centuries ago by the senior staff. If it used as a cover story... a secret group that can be supressed or blamed, should anything unusual occur. It is also used to recruit new special members of the university. Those that have an aptitude for the unusual or ferretting out the truth are often invited into more secretive orders and schools of the university. Go to Comment
Just to make it clear that the two links I have put in the "Great Library" section (to the glow lights and the withered hand) link to submissions by Moonhunter and Ephemeralstability respectively. I can remove these links if either of you object. Go to Comment
I tried not to be too specific about the colleges as a lot of them are named after gods specific to my campaign. A few non-god suggestions: Wenlock, Sedgwick, Atavus, Hobson (named after founders); Duke's, King's, Queen's (named after the duke/king/queen); Victory (founded after a famous victory); Servants' (originally founded for servants but now a full college), Priests' (originally (or still) a priest training college). Go to Comment
Wow, thanks for the extensions Manfred! I'm glad I've still got a few not very developed colleges which I can use to plop your ideas on to (such as the College of True Philosophy).
I also like the destroyed university - if it was destroyed by a magical catastrope, then the population and animals could have been bizarrely warped in to weird new forms (some intelligent and some unintelligent. As you say, the Senior Masters would still be there, unaffected and a new type of community headed by them could have grown up in the ruins. As for the dungeon aspect of the library: it sounds great: a dungeon hack in a building lined with thousands of books of magic, all there for the taking: providing you can understand them and that the magical accident that occurred hasn't warped them. If I ever leap a millenium in to the future in my roleplay world I will definitely use this. Go to Comment
Wonderful. The university of Vienna could have become something like this if the Habsburg Reich had lasted longer! I happen to be studying there, and truly, many strange figures creep along the corridors, and who knows what happens in the forgotten cellars and laboratories... 5/5 Go to Comment
Interesting that a place which is intended as a font of knowledge still guards so many secrets. I'm seeing a rivalry here between this university and an organization from my world. Will think on it more. Go to Comment
Obiviously there is an opportunity for Players to know the secrets from noble (there is a big chance of that), so this is a risk for Mr. Smith, so they send an another group to kill the entire caravan, and if the characters try to save this situation...
that will hard work to persuade a REAL government officers, that they are innocent...
Another twist perhaps. Have another set of kidnappers beat the players to it. These kidnappers are a third entity actually after the defense secrets in hopes of bribing the enemy, the kingdom, or both. Go to Comment