Dean of the Lyceum
The Lyceum was established during the reign of Empress Aenea on an island east of Siroc. It is a centre of arcane learning in the Empire, and the Dean of the Lyceum maintains sumptuous apartments here. Approach to the island is carefully controlled by the inhabitants, and the most promising magicians are invited to study or teach there. When not pursuing research for the Dean, the masters of the Lyceum dedicate themselves to their own pursuits in comfort and security.
In practice, many members of the Lyceum do not live in the physical college itself, rather they participate in research through exchanges of letters for which they receive a small stipend from the college. There are (for example) Varushkan masters of the Lyceum who spend most of their lives with their cabal, Urizen masters of the Lyceum who rarely leave their dreaming spires, and Freeborn and Navarr masters who make a great deal of use of Call Winged Messenger to send the results of their researches to their colleagues at the Lyceum while maintaining their mendicant lifestyles.
The Dean oversees the Lyceum, and directs the progress of Imperial ritual research. While the Lyceum is often seen as the foremost centre of magical research, there is some rivalry with similar institutions elsewhere in the Empire and beyond.
While the Dean has the final say in the research agenda of the Lyceum, it is common for other magicians to approach her and suggest areas which might benefit one or other of the orders, Imperial Nations or other interest groups in the Empire. Historically some Deans have taken a scholastic approach to their position while others have used it to enrich themselves.
Guiding the magicians of the Lyceum
The Lyceum is a centre of magical learning where ritual magicians from across the Empire come to study, debate, discuss and pursue arcane mastery. In return for maintaining a good standard of living, these magicians are expected to perform ritual research and study for the betterment of the Empire. The Dean is responsible for setting the direction that research takes.
The Dean can direct research towards formalizing a new ritual so that it can be mastered. The ritual must already exist in the form of an arcane projection, but there is no requirement to select one they have personally commissioned. It is important to note that creating a new formulaic ritual is an art not a precise science - the final ritual may differ from the spontaneous magic described in the arcane projection. The Lyceum can work on formalising one ritual at a time, and the research may take anywhere from a season to several years depending on the complexity and the resources available. The amount of time it takes to complete research into a ritual depends on the magnitude of that ritual. It requires at least three months (one season) for every twenty ranks of magnitude the final ritual will have. If research is not completed, the Lyceum keeps notes on their work so far, and may resume it at a later date from where it was left off.
At the completion, the Dean receives a ritual text suitable for use in mastering the ritual. The Dean may keep the knowledge of the ritual restricted to themselves and their allies, or through a Declaration of Imperial Lore the Conclave can have that ritual added to the wider body of Imperial Lore, making it available to any ritual magician in the Empire.
If the Declaration of Imperial Lore passes, the Conclave must raise the ten Thrones required to pay for the work involved. A motion requesting funding from the Imperial Senate is often put forward, if there are good relations between the two houses.
Arbiter of Imperial Lore
Once per summit, the Dean of the Lyceum can raise either a Declaration of Imperial Lore or Declaration of Interdiction to the agenda of a Conclave session without spending crystal mana. They follow all other rules and guidelines for submitting an article for the Conclave agenda (it must be in advance, with the assistance of a civil servant, and they are responsible for any presentation).
Apartments at the Lyceum
The Dean has fine apartments at the heart of the Lyceum itself. These luxurious chambers have been built and rebuilt by the finest architects the Empire has to offer and allow the Dean (and their family if desired) to live a rich lifestyle marked by fine food, access to luxuries and exposure to cultural excellence from across the Empire.
The appointment, replacement or removal of a the Dean is made by the declaration of candidacy as part of the agenda of a Conclave session. A candidate can be presented for the post of Dean only once a season.
The Dean cannot be revoked by the Imperial Synod. The Dean serves until another magician takes the title, or another Dean is appointed in the Conclave. When a Dean loses their title, research on their projects ends although it is not unknown for a Dean to return to ealier projects of interest and have them completed in their name.
- The enigmatic Varushkan calabist, Simargl, the Empty One of the the Circle of Zulgan-Tash served as Dean in the years following the death of Empress Britta. A powerful master of Night magic, Simargl traditionally wore a great hood that concealed his features and was known for his acerbic humour - which some complained was indistinguishable from rudeness.
- Eudaemon of Halcyon Spire in Urizen became Dean in Winter 378YE, and immediately began work on an ambitious magical project.
The Dean selects the arcane projection they wish to formulate by e-mail to Profound Decisions (firstname.lastname@example.org) prior to the next event. The final magnitude of the ritual text is not guaranteed to be the same as that of the arcane projection.