Jul 10, 2020 6:27 AM
Isabella Swan is a high school student who gets struck by a motor vehicle
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Have a moderately hefty course catalog!

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"Bella was previously homeschooled by a teacher of questionable orthodoxy," Haroun adds.  "I think one of her priorities is probably going to be a high-speed refresher course for all the basics, aimed at somebody who's competent at spellcasting but might have gotten, er, someone's personal views on the theory behind the casting.  She doesn't need to be argued out of anything, she just needs to be made acquainted with the mainstream viewpoint and is happy to hear about that.  Do we have anything like that for her?"

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"Oh, good heavens.  Not in the standard catalog.  I'd recommend a double-Upgraded relationship with Associate Professor Idhem, I believe she has space for personal tutoring and she should be competent for a rapid review of basics."

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"That sounds good to me," says Bella, paging through the courses and reading their names as fast as she can.

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"Thoughts on combat classes?  You need a class on conventional swordplay at some point, but I don't know if it's your priority for your next sessions."

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"Uh, I wonder if I could get that on the side, squeeze in a lesson or two when I have time and practice on my own instead of doing a whole class?"

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A slight frown.  "Perhaps you could find an elite student to briefly tutor you in swordplay during off-hours," says the woman, in a tone that makes it very clear that Bella would be much wiser to take proper lessons instead.  "I do not believe any of our registered instructors would be willing to take an Upgraded or double-Upgraded student for a combat-critical course without an appropriate time commitment."

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"I'm not in a specific hurry to learn fencing, if student tutoring doesn't get me anywhere I can pick up a proper class later."

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Haroun is puzzled until he remembers that Bella's world works differently from his.  "Well, sorry to state the obvious, but as I'm sure you already know, of course, if you're willing to spend the money, you can make much faster progress in acquiring Skills, using a tutor with both high levels of that Skill and advanced Teaching Skills, compared to trying to level the Skill on your own," Haroun says.

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"- right. Uh, let's see how much other coursework I'm piling on."

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The course catalog is organized in two halves; the first half lists courses by number, showing lengthy descriptions of a very wide range of learnable Skill packages and knowledges.  The second half is sequences of courses for particular tiered-Skill hierarchies and Class specs, accompanied by terse sentences summarizing what's in each numbered course, with a full course description findable by flipping back to the numbered courses and full descriptions.  Very often, of course, the terse sentence is something like "『Cold Magic』Lv 2 -> Lv 4".

Cowcorn is broadly a magic-focused academy, but Bella will find that it also teaches a wide variety of Skills and knowledges that people in Earth would have been left to helplessly pick up on their own: there are classes on how to find a job in an unfamiliar city, how to negotiate your starting salary, or how to handle a wide range of unpleasant social circumstances that commonly crop up in Adventurer teams.

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How often and for how long do these meet?

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Haroun's world does not have a concept of "semesters", possibly because once you get to tier-2 Teaching Skills it is a proposterous thought that everything you want to teach takes a fixed amount of time.  Classes are generally focused around producing a level-up in particular Skills or Skill packages, or preparing for another class that wants you to know something or have practiced something in preparation for a Skillup.  This rarely takes longer than a month, and some classes are as short as three days.  There's likewise no concept of keeping a full schedule in order to assemble 120 academic credits in order to get a bachelor's degree so that you can work as a secretary somewhere that has decided to demand bachelor's degrees.  You just need to perform repeated optimization problems in order to figure out which new classes you're going to start this week, such that, when you finish them, next week's scheduling problem will be manageable!  Thankfully there's a Skill for that.  Also, somewhere behind the scenes, there's a Machine Elf Thing with a by now completely insane operator, which helps time all the courses such that the student body's individual optimization problems will be mostly fairly solvable.

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...gosh. Okay. She gets out one of her new notebooks and starts marking out a prospective first month of classes. Some of the social stuff would be useful and she will sprinkle in some of those for acclimation purposes, and given everything will fit in a sword class in after all, but mostly piles on introductory magic.

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Haroun looks over her shoulder.  "Spellcraft-wise, I think you'll mostly want to run through things with Associate Professor Idhem first," he mentions.  "Most of these classes are aimed at people who don't have nearly your facility with incantations and are trying to acquire the understanding they require for that facility.  Crafting classes... hm, not sure how you do at those, but that seems much more like a thing where the standard introductory classes would make sense for you?"

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"I'm also happy to help you accomplish your goals, or help you figure out what they are," mentions the elite student advisor.

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"I appreciate that, Haroun just has more context. Uh, I think those'd be more standard, yeah, though I don't see a near term need for me to be doing, uh, smithing - what did you have in mind there, enchanting stuff? Glass and jewelry would be fun but I want to focus on useful... tailoring isn't that expensive to hire out..." She looks for more crafting stuff in the coursebook.

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The paths section has, for example, an entire Class pathway that leads up to crafting extremely-high-powered enchanted-alchemical consumable magical arrows for use by mithrilplate adventurers to one-shot younger dragons.  In the numbered section there are courses that teach tier-2 crafting spells that can help raise fortress walls in days if not quite overnight, providing you have Earth Magic and Fire Magic and Water Magic as prerequisites, and MP of at least 200.  Checking the earliest prerequisites of long pathways will reveal that a lot of things start with Runic reading and inscription; but it's not clear if Bella can just read Runes and write them down again.  She has a feeling she might be able to do that, based on how writing Lictic worked out for her.  If she wants to create powerful items, she should also probably take at least the basic smithing classes; lots of things rely on being able to put metal into the shape you want it to be.

Bella will probably still have to overcome some degree of culture shock about how long it's supposed to take her to learn basic smithery... namely, on the order of a month, assuming she doesn't pay for Upgraded versions of anything.  There are Teachers here and students get Skills, and the entire economy is based on how far that lets people get along the pathway of personally building an entire television set from scratch in a world that has not started making standardized screws.

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"What's the course dropping policy?"

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The main policy is "no refunds"?  There's no concept of getting a poor grade.  There are no grades.  There are only Skillups.  If a student wants to not show up at a class, what are they going to do, force her there at swordpoint?  One supposes it would be courteous to tell any Professors with an Upgraded relationship if you're not planning to show up for class anymore.

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What an enlightened policy. She'll throw in a runes class to her prospective schedule.

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"If you're interested in spending money to save time, I would recommend an Upgraded class with Professor Nehalem instead," says the elite student advisor.  "That will let you finish in roughly half the time, which will simplify -" followed by some coursework rearrangement that sounds eerie coming from a human instead of a computer.  At the end of it Bella has closer to 3 weeks of classes instead of a month, if she's willing to spend an extra 2 gold.

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Hmmm, Bella doesn't actually want to spend money to save time on Runes because it might be she needs to spend only thirty seconds on Runes, but the rest of the rearrangement appeals and it's within her means. She is persuaded.

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