Many types of magical spells exist. All spells fall into different “colleges” according to their subject matter.

Spells related by their subject matter – e.g., fire, healing, or mind control – belong to the same college. The basic spells of a college are prerequisites for the more advanced ones. Some spells fall into more than one college. For instance, Earth to Air is both an Earth and an Air spell. This is only important when counting prerequisites. Most wizards specialize in only a few colleges. This is the most efficient way to learn advanced magic. However, a mage may learn spells from as many colleges as they wish, and no colleges are unavailable to a mage because of learning a different college. Note that the Necromancy college is the only college that in and of itself carries a negative connotation, although some spells are viewed as more acceptable. Some individual spells may also have negative connotations despite the college being well received; a prime example is the Gate college and summoning demons. Some spells are not entirely predictable in regards to social acceptance. In some places, a resurrection spell would be deemed miraculous and welcomed by more than just the previously deceased and their family. In some cultures, however, there are beliefs on what happens to a person after death, and cheating them of this right when it was their time to go is seen as most foul necromantic magic, even worse than animating their dead corpse.

In all cases except spell prerequisites, colleges should be seen as groupings and guidelines, not as limiting factors to spell choices. A mage looking to find their path in their magical career should develop a plan that is based on spell paths and long-term objectives rather than spell colleges.



GURPS High Fantasy Belrathius