Today's post is about Magic-Users who attended and graduated from an Academy of Magic. Like yesterday, I'm going to try to save description that isn't related to the mechanical until later; hopefully this will result in a shorter post than yesterday.
A Graduate of one of the Academies of Magic leaves his Alma Mater with a Book of First Level Spells in hand. This book contains all the first level spells that are known to the faculty at the Academy. When sufficient funds are raised, the Magic-User is allowed to buy the Book of Second Level Spells, the Book of Third Level Spells, and so forth; similar to modern university textbooks, these texts are over-priced. They are also basically huge scrolls, so the Magic-User must copy them over into his own spell book in order to be able to memorize them. (The Academies and which spells they have in their spell books are generated using this method.)
Sadly, the Academies of Magic are not solely dedicated to the understanding and use of magic; byzantine politics distract professors and students find it difficult to compete with each other for enough attention and training to fully grasp the principles of magic in a deep, exhaustive way. Because of this relatively more shallow understanding of magic, compared to apprentices of independent Magic-Users, graduates from Academies of Magic might not be able to master a spell upon first casting Read Magic upon it. Each time a graduate tries to learn a new spell, the player must roll at or below the graduate's Intelligence score or the graduate will not be able to master the spell; the graduate may not attempt to learn the spell again until a new level is gained, at which point another Intelligence check is allowed to determine whether the graduate's increased skill, knowledge and understanding have made the spell accessible to the graduate. Note that the graduate will normally roll on every spell in a Book of N Level Spells after buying it. Possession of these texts do not automatically constitute being able to use every spell within; in fact, it's unlikely.
Alumni of an Academy of Magic may pay (100 gp/hour or fraction thereof) to have "office hours" with a professor, who, so far as mechanics are concerned, may be treated as a sage but isn't limited to only serving that function; politics, role-playing, advice-giving and so forth are encouraged. If PCs bring a question or problem, along with new information of some sort, to a professor who specializes in a field related to the question or problem, there is a 1/6 chance that the professor will do the research for free out of gratitude and to encourage the PCs to bring further new information to him.
Each academy specializes in certain types of spells and magic and so graduates from each academy are able to cast certain spells more effectively than others. These will be detailed in future posts about the specific academies.
Each Academy of Magic has an extensive library which is open to all alumni free of cost. Graduates may freely research here, but they must still expend resources as normal when researching spells, since material components are used when figuring out spells. The precise value, and the mechanical benefits, of each academy vary and will be detailed in the future.
Graduates of an Academy of Magic are used to approaching magic in a workmanlike, methodical way that matches better with conducting rituals than the more thorough approach of independent Magic-Users. Still, their less complete understanding of magic keeps them from truly excelling with rituals; like independent Magic-Users, graduates of an Academy of Magic may cast rituals of one third their caster level (with the same component and time costs as well).