Curse of the Crimson Throne
Perched atop Citadel Hill and surrounded by high black marble walls, the Acadamae stands apart from the rest of Korvosa, its doors closed to the public except during the annual breaching Festival. Internationally prestigious, the Acadamae attracts students from across the Inner Sea.
The Acadamae was founded 230 years ago by the Immortal Lord Volshyenek Ornelos, an unnaturally long-lived nobleman from Cheliax. It was under his leadership that the Acadamae developed into a first-rate institution of arcane study, until he was slain a century ago while defending the Hall of Summoning from a group of powerful devils. The Acadamae continues to be overseen by House Ornelos, with the aged Toff Ornelos currently serving as Headmaster.
The Acadamae teaches all eight schools of magic, but its primary focus lies in conjuration. The summoning and binding of devils, as well as the worship of Asmodeus, is tolerated within its walls.
This has had the side-effect of unleashing a blight of imps upon the city, as the scheming fiends often break free from the control of weaker-minded students. It’s all part of the Acadamae’s “sink-or-swim” approach to instruction—the school will accept any student who can pay, but it graduates only those who survive.
The school is practically a city unto itself, isolated from the larger community by its high walls. Access is restricted to students, staff, and those with explicit permission to enter the grounds—under pain of death.
Below is a short overview of key sites within the Acadamae walls.
- Hall of Summoning: The primary building of the Acadamae and one of the largest structures in all of Varisia, it is the center for conjuration studies.
- Hall of Seeing: The school’s center for auguries and divination, entry is gained through a pair of doors displaying giant harrow cards, which read the past and future of the last person to touch the door.
- Ornelos Hall: The oldest building at the Acadamae, it serves as the primary administrative building for the school.
- Hall of Induction: Known as the Cube, this building of iron is a center for evocation studies.
- Hall of Wards: The best-guarded structure in Korvosa, the Hall of Wards is a nondescript building which serves as the goal of contestants in the Breaching Festival (see below).
- Hall of Lies: The ever-shifting school of illusion magic changes its appearance every day.
- Hall of Shaping: A hodgepodge of styles and materials, it is the school of transmutation.
- Hall of Charms: The center for enchantment studies at the Acadamae.
- Hall of Whispers: The dread school of necromancy is avoided by other inhabitants of the Acadamae.
- Staff Quarters: The senior staff of the Acadamae maintain their opulent residences here.
- Halls of Crafting: These fairly new buildings are directed toward the crafting of items of power or utility.
- Student Quarters: Acadamae students have barrack-like dormitories housed in the thick, imposing outer walls of the school.
Every year the Acadamae opens its gates to the city to host the Breaching Festival, where the most skilled infiltrators are invited to enter the magically guarded Hall of Wards or die trying. Testing their luck against the university’s strongest defenses, competitors pull out all the stops to vie for a chance at a fortune in gold and magical treasure. Every year without a victor, the prize for success grows—and it has been more than 150 years since the last prize was won.
For the Breaching Festival of AR 4708, Headmaster Toff Ornelos bent the rules to allow the Crimson Blades to compete as a group.