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During the Renaissance, Italy, Germany, and Great Britain took the first steps towards establishing archeology as a science. By the times of the Age of Enlightenment, those interested in the field (particularly in Britain) began to realize that among the relics discovered in ancient burial mounds and ruined temples to lost gods were a surprising number of still-potent magical artifacts. These researchers began to refine and focus their interests more and more on the particular study of ancient magic. No longer purely motivated by academic interest, many hoped to uncover forgotten secrets which could be incorporated into their own magical studies or applied by society at large. Led by a John Banister, after his death, the remaining founding members formally named the school in his honor.
Organization and StyleEdit
While all of the magical traditions are interested in lost lore and hidden books of knowledge, members of the Banister School take this to an extreme. They often multiclass as Tactician/Rogues or even Tactician/Rangers to supplement their skills (and, frankly, enhance their survivability). Every Banisterite's dream is to be discover a new ruin with spade and lantern in hand, covered in dust or mud while dodging elaborate traps and temple guardians. Derogatorily referred to as “spelunkers” or “cave-divers” by more bookish mages, they prefer “delvers.”
Generally, any knowledge found is the property of the school, while magical items such as staffs or wands are handled on a more case-by-case basis. That said, the Banister School is more open with its knowledge than many others, at least within its own walls – little knowledge is arbitrarily denied to lower-ranking members. Usually, if a member is not allowed access to any particular book, it is because of a real risk to their safety (physical or mental), or to the safety of those around them, rather than simply to restrict certain learning to the old-timers. While this certainly makes the delvers progressive relative to most other traditions, they hoard their knowledge as tightly as any of them, and non-members are treated no better by Banisterites than by any other mages.
The many different sources of Banisterite lore has led to an eclectic magical style, and indeed, no common conventions can be observed across the school as a whole. While they can appear to be typical British academics in formal settings (even those not of British origin), this is far from universal. Some have even been known to "go native," adopting the magical fetishes or ecstatic dancing rituals of their particular region of study.
The symbol of the Banister School is a crossed staff and torch.
Outside of Great Britain, the Banister School is most active anywhere with famous or interesting ruins to explore. Central America, China, Egypt, Greece, India, and Italy are all major field sites, though recruiting offices are sometimes found far from a potential site. In other occasions, a potential student successfully making the journey to the school's location is considered part of the application process itself.
Relations with Other TraditionsEdit
Banisterites sometimes clash with members of Suukya' Taawa over what the latter organization views as desecration of the dead, though the two groups have also been known to work together to preserve ancient art and artifacts against the threats of industrialization. The school's focus on the magic of the past clashes theoretically with al Mushtamir's emphasis on future capabilities and innovation, but the groups rarely conflict in actual practice. Delvers often find themselves racing against Collegium agents to be the first to a newly discovered ruin or artifact, and combat between the two in such situations is not unheard of.