Agrippa Court

Agrippa Court at Imperial Magischola of Massachusetts Bay has a rich tradition that reverberates through history and to our modern, active, scholarly endeavors. Agrippa is the Court that seeks the hidden truth, who abides by its own rules and accomplishes great works for all of Magimundi! Whatever your passion, your Courtmates will fuel it, and challenge you to constantly improve. You are entering a grand tradition that has brought forth great wizarding rulers and advisors. Here you will learn the duality in all things and be valued, tested, and improved like nowhere else. Many Agrippa members are strong-willed, rational, confident, and persuasive. Agrippa has held the Court Cup more often than any other Court, a testament to its members’ prowess, competitiveness, and occasional ruthlessness in their quest for glory and esteem.

Mascot: Basilisk

A basilisk is a magical creature with the head of a bird and the body of a toad, serpent, or lizard.  They may have zero, two, or four legs. Different subspecies of basilisk have different types of heads, including raptors, waterfowl, and songbirds. The “Imperial Basilisk” is a North American variant of the classical basilisk, which is of European origin. It has no legs, and is a chimera of an osprey and a northeast timber rattlesnake, with a tufted feathered rattle at the tip of its tail and a large mitre that expands when it is angered or otherwise aroused. The Court quotes Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem with the lines: “Be thou like the imperial basilisk, Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!” as support for its values.

Element: Earth

Colors: Copper and Green (verdigris); Agrippans wear a copper tie.

Motto: “Impero et terra versat” (I command; the earth turns.)

Symbols: crossed wands or swords, scrolls of law

Attributes: Strong-willed, proud, rational, confident, persuasive, dual-natured, interested in the esoteric and occult.

Namesake: Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim

14 September 1486 – 18 February 1535

Agrippa was “a German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian, and occult writer.” Well, that’s how he is known to the mundanes in their own historical documentation. Those aretrue enough, but tell only part of the story. Agrippa was a brilliant wizard who died long before his time. His family was among the nobility in the Habsburg Empire, who were well aware of the magical communities in Europe and held a wary peace with them. In fact, the von Nettesheims were a mixed-heritage family and part of the Rabenkreis, a specialized and secret network of sorcerer spies in European politics, ensuring the continued non-interference by mundanes into magical society. They posed as a mundane family, and their estate had enough land and influence to allow them to practice magic safely. Young Heinrich was raised with all of the knowledge of the noble life, but also had a series of wizard tutors, even before his magic manifested at age 7. As a teenager, he studied a wide array of mundane subjects at the University of Cologne, with intense magical tutoring sessions between semesters.

Agrippa was fascinated by both the magical and mundane worlds, and he began to apply the lessons he learned from one into the other. From the mundane, he learned tactics and philosophy and applied them to magical combat. From the magical, he learned about astromancy and alchemy. As he learned about occult legends and texts, he became convinced that there was a far larger overlap in his studies than either mundane or magical societies would dare admit. He wanted to continue his studies, but duty to his family called; Agrippa led a Reichsexekution against a member of the Imperial Estate who broke the peace within the Holy Roman Empire, and provided valuable information to the Rabenkreis.

Finally, in 1509 he was able to return through a patronage from Margaret of Austria and taught in France at the University of Dôle. His writings about femininity through the lens of kabbalism helped earn him a doctorate in theological studies. However, this would begin his reputation by some mundanes as a heretic (who knew nothing of the actual magic he possessed). From 1510 for a decade, he studied in Germany and then Italy, continuing his writings publicly in the mundane occult, and privately among magical circles about astromancy and phantasmology and magical tactics.

The more he studied, the less he found the separation of the mundane world and magic necessary.  At great personal risk, he defended a woman accused of witchcraft, testing the boundaries of his protection as a Rabenkreis in the Holy Roman Empire. He continued public works on the occult to the extent allowed by magical and mundane societies, while writing treatises about the value of mundane medicine, legal systems, and philosophy to magical society. His studies took a toll on his body, and he wound up contracting several diseases which combined prevented a full cure. He died in 1535 in Grenoble, accomplished within both the magical and mundane as a writer, healer, philosopher, legal expert, tactician, and loving patriarch of his large family. This broadly-studied genius would become an inspiration to H. P. Steinkraft, who founded the Imperial Court in Agrippa’s name. His mastery of so many different fields and novel combinations and applications of them became the cornerstone of Agrippa Court’s values.

Founder: Vitruvius Henry Peter Steinkraft (Vitruvius H. P. Steinkraft), born August 19, 1619 in a shoreline estate on Casco Bay, died August 20, 1890 (presumed) as that manor was swallowed into a 60 ft. crater. Familiar: Maine coon (cat). “Truvy” is the current feline Court companion, pampered by Court members and given extraordinary range across campus.

“Destruction and order, both essential, and the wise knows when for each.” -V.H.P.S.

Vitruvius Henry Peter Steinkraft, Agrippa Court’s founder, was a brilliant wizard able to apply his immense knowledge and skill to make major advances for the Magimundi. Steinkraft was one of the four wizards brought to Imperial in 1658 by soon-to-be second Chancellor Peregrine Myles Brewster in order to prove to the Imperial Praestantes that a less insular approach was needed to advance the Magischola. Each of the four were required to perform a great feat of magic to prove themselves and their areas of study to the Praestantes. Steinkraft, using his mastery of phantasmology and martial tactics, uncovered and banished a powerful Corruptor that had been plaguing the campus and interfering with its Chancellor. Not only was he successful, but his efforts created the literal and figurative foundations for much of the school; he created and oversaw the expansion of the Imperial Crypts, a large network of underground tunnels, and the final resting place of wizards of renown and repute who are connected to the school, to Destiny Province, or to high level positions in the Magimundi. An Unsoiled of mixed-race parents, Steinkraft always respected duality and saw value in the meeting of ideas and powers. His father was a Penobscot Nation shaman, and his mother an immigrant wizard from Europe. Both were powerful and deeply connected with their fields and history of study, with his father as leader of the Wôbi Gizos (wah-bee ghee-zohs) loup garoux.

In his time as a professor at Imperial, Vitruvius provided great clout to both Agrippa and the school as a whole for his direct contributions in spell creation and theory, as well as for his wider work in the legal structures of the Magimundi. Over his tenure, he taught classes in astromancy, defensive magic, artificery, and founded the study of architectural magic. As a confidant and advisor of Herodotus Forsythe for Destiny Province, Steinkraft helped design the documents and establish the precedents for the initial coalition between Solaris and Destiny, followed by the addition of Baja, Thunderbird, and finally Mishipeshu. Vitruvius served as a legal scholar, a strategic military thinker, and a paragon of how power could be used to create a stability. Steinkraft’s end came suddenly, when he and his family simply vanished on August 20, 1890. More succinctly, a sixty-foot deep crater was discovered where his estate, Steinkraft Manor, had stood on the seacoast of Destiny in the eastern areas of Casco Bay.

Primary paths of study: magical law, administration, jurisprudence, ethics, magical warfare, relic and artifact research

Specializations of magic: Mind magic, curses and cursebreaking, combat, astromancy/divination, artifacts (crystals + metallurgy in particular), spatial / architectural magic

Primary professions: Marshal, judge, business owner, special agent / assassin, cursebreaker, magical architect, crypt cleanser, archivist, curator, duelist, spellcrafter

Values: Duality, passion, hidden truths. Agrippans dislike the lukewarm and the uncommitted. There exists conflict in all things, and each thing finds separate balance elsewhere. They respect philosophical debate and intellectual inquiry, not for its own sake, but to uncover knowledge and nuance. Agrippans are able to accept rivals and people opposed to them as part of the natural process.

Meaning of the Court colors of Copper + Green: Artifice (copper) in opposition to and in conjunction with Nature (green). Some Court members practice magical body modification / augmentation.

Vitruvius chose Agrippa as the namesake for the Court he founded because Agrippa was a personal inspiration, a great polymath, and master of many forms of knowledge. While Agrippa’s accomplishments in the mundane arts would be enough for the admiration of wizards, he was also a wizard who explored phantasmology, as well as magics of the earth and minerals. His incorporation of early mundane earth sciences and magic led to theories and practices that opened many exciting possibilities. Agrippa opened doors, and Steinkraft stepped through them.

As a member of Court Agrippa, you’ll connect with a long line of powerful and influential wizards, either in positions of authority themselves or the advisers, influencers, and thought leaders of those nominally in charge. Agrippa is the most selective of the Courts, and its graduates tend to take up positions in the Magimundi bureaucracy, working in law, administration, and the management of investments. During your time in Agrippa, you’ll engage in debate and collaboration (and competition) with your fellow Courtmates, who take the acquisition of the Court Cup very seriously. Since the Court Cup Competition was instituted in 1663, Agrippa has held the cup 152 times, more than any other Court. Agrippans enjoy debate and are unafraid to spend hours articulating the semantic points of spellwork or the edification of ethics. There is no arrival at truth without conflict, and thus through the conflict of opposing ideas, the truth can be discovered and established. Agrippans respect directness and openness, even as they are cautious with outsiders, with whom they use a much more measured tone and language.

Some would criticize Agrippa for having an attitude of obsession; it is true that many Agrippans, once deeply down a course, have a hard time coming up for air. One cannot dither about in indecision all day (if that suits you, you should be in Ptolemy), and it falls upon the bold and the strong to take a stand, make a ruling, and then enforce it. What others refer to as “amoralism” we more accurately note is the study of all forms of ethics in order to be well-rounded and to understand all perspectives. Agrippans hold themselves to internal standards, as the highest criticism they endure is their own.

To this day, Agrippa Court is the keeper of the Imperial Crypts. Court members proudly take on the important duty of maintaining and protecting the crypts, including keeping foolhardy students from the more dangerous areas, preserving its historical artifacts, and continuing to analyze its sublime magical properties. Agrippans are responsible for the annual (nigh continual) updating of any crypt charts, as its structure is known to change from year to year without notice.

Some also would criticize Agrippa for its slightly more common appearance of necromancers and phantasmologists within its ranks. While Agrippa openly studies the theories and histories of these practices, it never encourages them. Every house has a bad seed, of course!

To our mundane-borns: Agrippa Court does not discriminate against mundane-born mages. It’s also important to note that Agrippa Court, while the second-to-last of the four to admit mundane-born mages, took up debate about the topic well before the other Courts. We have always given it serious consideration, but it was deemed unwise for many centuries, after extended and thorough debate. Nowadays, more safety measures and integration programs are in place that make Imperial a healthier and safer environment for those who don’t have the benefit of Magimundi history or prior magical essence in their bloodlines.

Views on other houses:

  • Ptolemy: We respect their desire to act, however their obsession on being first is silly; it’s clearly much better to be the best than first.
  • Callimachus: We respect their desire to emphasize the individual, however their obsession with shiny new theory is frustratingly unproductive and often pedantic.
  • Paracelsus: We respect their desire for experiments, but tire of their endless indecision. They seem a little boring; we prefer discussion, but then decisions and action.

House ghost: I. Galatro

I. Galatro (born 1493) is the spirit of a former stoneclad. In 1751, I. Galatro voluntarily became a stoneclad to serve Imperial well beyond their already long life. They served in its defense, its rituals, and its historical preservation. In 1902, I. Galatro’s body failed in a battle on campus during the Quelling of the Apostates of Auron, but their spirit persevered. The ghost is known to show up both as their human form and their stoneclad form, depending on the type of interaction required.

Additional Info:

“The Other Agrippa” / Agrippa Alterna: A subset of Agrippa members revere the ancient Roman Agrippa, a naval master who defeated Marc Antony and built the aqueducts of Rome for Caesar Augustus. They have a rich tradition of believing that the ancient Roman Agrippa is the true inspiration for Vitruvius. Spirited debates over which Agrippa inspired Steinkraft show no signs of abating, despite nearly 400 years of conflict. Some suspect Agrippa Alterna members of just being contrary for contrary’s sake, but none dispute the martial and managerial prowess of Roman Agrippa, concluding that the homage to both is perfectly probable. Agrippa Alterna members host a model naval battle on the Imperial lake each year, usually accompanied by large amounts of Dionysian Elixir.

Families commonly in Agrippa Court: Forsythe, Sockbeson, Chavaree, Schoenewolf, Zeiss, de la Valtrie, Hasselbacher.

Notable Alumni:

  • M. Taggart: Destiny Justice and Professor of Magical Jurisprudence at New World Magischola
  • T. Kane: Professor of Magical Theory & Ethics of the Arcane at New World Magischola
  • Montgomery McBride: Arch Justice of Mishipeshu Province
  • Mortimer Hayes: founder of Foresight Enterprises
  • Castanada Flaig: founder of Flaig Footwear
  • Bertram Forsythe: current acting Arch-Justice of Destiny Province and longtime administrator for Herodotus and the Forsythe estates.
  • H. Forsythe, heir apparent after Bertram.
  • A. Fitzroy: Magimundi dueling champion
  • Renate Von Rickenstein: ambassador to European confluxes

About Agrippa Founder Vitruvius Henry Peter Steinkraft

Much of the history of Court Agrippa’s founder outside of public record was lost when Steinkraft and his two adult children vanished August 20, 1890. More precisely, the history was lost when a sixty-foot deep crater was discovered where his estate, Steinkraft Manor, had stood on the seacoast of Destiny, in the eastern rocky islands of Casco Bay. One child, Maxwell, never married, and the other, Victoria, never produced an offspring, thus ending the Steinkraft lineage. The loss was felt through the Magimundi, as a great deal of Vitruvius’ and his family’s secrets were kept in Steinkraft Manor, and are presumed lost forever. In the mid-20th century, the land was finally acquired by Foresight Enterprises, and excavation was done on the property. Some catacombs were found, but the collapsed state left only a few less important ritual and meditation chambers intact, according to Foresight’s official report to Destiny Marshal’s services. The ground was filled in, and a memorial and ley-line energy tap now stands on the property.

Vitruvius was the single son of a Penobscot healer and shaman, Nolke Sanôba (Nohl-kuh San-aw-bah), and his life-partner Elsabeth Steinkraft, a wizard from Austria/Prussia who had arrived with Henry Hudson. Like their son Vitruvius, both were souls caught between the forces of two worlds. Nolke Sanôba chose to keep his life private to those outside his family and loup garoux community. He was known to keep to his traditional magic and beliefs, but much of the knowledge passed along to the Steinkraft family was lost with their estate..

Elsabeth had, by contrast, fallen out of favor with European wizarding society for being too vocal about her magical practices, which overlapped with dark magics, necromancy, and phantasmology (a branch of extra-planar studies that includes summoning, binding, and dealing with spirits, Corruptors, and chaos, including Phythyros, “The Whisper Realm”). She was always known as fair-minded and never cruel, using her magic for good, or at least not for undeserved ills. Still, her beliefs were deemed too esoteric and dangerous by some, while being labeled too progressive by others. Yet her true reasons, both in her studies and for departing for the New World, were only discovered after the disappearance of Steinkraft Manor. Bertram Forsythe revealed posthumously that Ms. Steinkraft had lycanthropy, and wished it to be public after her death. Elsabeth became infected during her second year of magilyceum, reportedly by Wolfgang of Habsburg. Wolfgang was a notorious werewolf and phantasmologist from the area’s ruling family who was under their protection despite his wanton and rampant violence. Lycanthropy was a death sentence for many, or at least meant a life of shame and ignominy. Elsabeth rejected these sentences and though she was careful not to make herself a target, she sought to embrace her lycan identity and manage the adverse symptoms. With the aid of obscure phantasmology, she was able to put herself in an astral-torpor during her lunar changes, leaving a transformed physical body with no animation or spark of life in our physical reality, instead taking the bestial spirit to another plane. She deemed this practice too dangerous for any other being, and kept no record of whatever technique or ritual she used.

After infecting Elsabeth, Wolfgang continued his monthly rampages. A particularly violent evening in which Wolfgang slaughtered an entire mundane village caused the Habsburg family to realize that the benefits of covering for his actions were outweighed by the negative. In consort with the Guardians of that magical conflux, they tortured and interrogated him, and forced him to give the names of other lycans. Elsabeth was named, and was about to be arrested or killed by the magical community. The Habsburgs had one last bit of compassion for Wolfgang, and got him passage to the New World on Henry Hudson’s ship the Halve Maen rather than have him executed. Horrified that he would spread his violence unabated on a new continent and without options for her own safety and livelihood, Elsabeth stowed away on the Halve Maen with the purpose of confronting Wolfgang and establishing a new life for herself.  

Without the constant disdainful watching of Old World Society, Elsabeth located and dispatched Wolfgang of Habsburg within two months, cornering him in a granite outcropping east of the Connecticut River near the White Mountains. The climax was a violent magical duel. The full moon rose, and the melee continued in their bestial forms. They wrestled without a clear victor, wounds healing too quickly for death’s reach. Curiously coordinated and intelligent wolves had emerged from the woods during the battle, and while not explicitly taking sides, they had triangulated their positions to Elsabeth’s advantage. Elsabeth, able to hold tenuous connections to her human, tactical mind, outmaneuvered Wolfgang, and he was crushed by a landslide of granite boulders immediately after he took a fall.

Elsabeth lived a solitary life of study along the Northeast coast, until she met her future husband, Nolke Sanôba, a shaman of the Penobscot nation. Sanôba provided knowledge of local cryptids and alchemical ingredients, and Elsabeth assisted with the new and strange illnesses brought by early settlers; they shared esoteric and arcane knowledge with each other and found the ways they wielded magical energy to be more alike than different, despite Sanôba not using a wand. On top of their intellectual and emotional connections, they were drawn to each other on a primal level, a pheromonal one, each of them scenting something familiar in the other. Their romance was inevitable, powerful, and lasting.

Vitruvius was born into this loving family with dual heritages, those of the old world and the new. Steinkraft wrote that he learned immense amounts from both of his parents: knowledge of naturalism and crystal and metallurgical properties of the earth mixed with rituals, hexes and cursebreaking. On his father’s side, Vitruvius was encouraged and nurtured by an extended family of Penobscot as well as his father’s Wôbi Gizos loup garoux. While Wôbi Gizos elders forbid the induction of Vitruvius into their tradition, he was permitted to learn the traditions and rituals of the moon pact. He formed his own group of loup garoux, the 10,000 Lakes Lodge.

From his mother, he was inspired with perseverance and respect for academic study and self-betterment. She taught him traditional ways of astromancy and cursebreaking, but also her expertise in phantasmology and artificery. She also shared her knowledge of lycanthropy, and her deeply held view that a lycan is only as bad as their inability to shield the danger from the innocent. Vitruvius did not attend primaschola or Imperial Magischola; he was considered an outsider by Chancellor Leodegrance’s standards due to his Penobscot father and non-English mother. He was educated by his parents and by the Penobscot shamans. He was a prodigy and invented novel ideas of combining seemingly unrelated magics. Whole new fields of wand combat and tactics arose from his teachings and writings over the two and half centuries he lived.

Long before he was a brilliant strategist for Provincial leaders, Steinkraft proved himself in his trial for the founding of Imperial’s courts. Called upon by the distinguished professor Peregrine Myles Brewster, who had taken it upon himself to reform Imperial Magischola’s faculty, Steinkraft succeeded in besting the great Corruptor who tormented Imperial, known as “The Voice of the Serpent.”

To accomplish his magical deed and prove himself to the Praestantes, Steinkraft first employed his dedication to history and research, and learned the Corruptor’s true nature (a Shade Corruptor of lies and deceit) and name, allowing him to issue a formal challenge. Second, Steinkraft demonstrated the mastery of his own mind and sanity by battling the Corruptor in a shared pocket reality, protecting mind and soul with elaborate hexes and shields, while unraveling the curses and traps laid by the fiend. Third, he designed and set in motion the creation of The Vermillion Granite Chamber, a hexagonal room now a part of the Imperial Crypts. Vitruvius used the mind-battle as a distraction so that the chamber could take form without the knowledge of the Corruptor. When the battle had ended, The Voice of the Serpent and Steinkraft were trapped inside the Vermillion Granite Chamber. Vitruvius had planned a single exit, which sealed itself after he was free.

No one is sure of the fate of this powerful Corruptor. It may have been sent to an alternate timeline, or perhaps it was returned to its original plane. Some believe it is still trapped in the Imperial Crypts, waiting for its inevitable day of release. While Steinkraft eschewed hero-worship, a cult Faber Daimonis formed against his wishes, celebrating his power over Corruptors. This cult remains active, though small in number. Additionally, since no one knows the fate of his heirs, some modern Magimundi Unsoiled families, particularly the Sockbeson and Chavaree, claim lineage to Vitruvius. Whether it is legitimate is a topic of debate, something Agrippans relish.

When the time came to test Vitruvius, no one could stand up to his cunning and capabilities. Some were jealous and wanted to steal his family’s secrets. One such envious group was the Cult of the Curved Wand, which had gained popularity with wizards hunting wendigo for sport and using their horns as wand shafts. Interested in Steinkraft’s vast, guarded knowledge of phantasmology, and undeterred by his reputation as a strategist, they planned a raid on the Casco Bay estate to take whatever artifacts, grimoires, and scrolls they could find. Their coordinated attempt on Steinkraft’s life and that of his parents was masterfully foiled as Vitruvius outmatched them in dueling, taking down five of their senior members. The Cult disbanded for lack of remaining leadership, and was formally renounced by Destiny leader Herodotus Forsythe.

The population of lycans steadily grew in Destiny Province throughout the 18th century, despite increased efforts to stem it. Classified as a “European problem,” Provincial officials were flummoxed as to how it had followed them to North America. With Steinkraft’s suggestion and facilitation, Herodotus Forsythe begrudgingly made an alliance with the Wôbi Gizos loup garoux who agreed to help Destiny Marshals control the lycan population, protect the magical citizens, and shield the chaos from the mundanes. In this last mission they were less successful, and a werewolf panic erupted in mundane New Hampshire in the early 19th century. Measures to quarantine or otherwise contain the lycans failed at every turn, and the Great Werewolf Epidemic of 1841 arrived at Casco Bay in Destiny where Steinkraft’s family resided. At that point, the expansion of quarantined areas stopped, and the tide reversed. Trophies of heads, claws and tails of lycans were reported by the few who were permitted to visit the estate. Through political cunning, Steinkraft convinced the Council of Five, a fairly new body itself, to challenge the London magical conflux, who had been displacing its lycans to Canada for a century. In an extraordinary recognition of the Magmundi’s might and legitimacy, the Europeans agreed to stop sending their lycans and other prisoners to the “New World,” a pact negotiated largely by Steinkraft’s hand. In addition to his diplomatic prowess, Vitruvius personally led lycan raids north of the St. Lawrence River. Within mere weeks, the remaining contingent of warring lycans chose to either go into hiding or sign an agreement of containment, enacting safety measures that must be taken immediately prior to each full moon. Organized packs of werewolves have not been seen in Destiny to this day. Eventually, the idea of “responsible lycanthropy,” begun by Elsabeth Steinkraft, became the prevailing ideology.

During his tenure at Imperial, Vitruvius maintained close personal and political ties with many of the Magimundi elite, who later became the Council of Five. He was encouraged by his colleague, Herodotus Forsythe. Steinkraft, as a man of brilliance and extraordinary talent, found a mutually beneficial arrangement in this service. He was fundamental in the development of magical combat as an artform in the Magimundi; likewise, he was a co-creator of many of the early laws, justice practices, and legal framework still in use today. This included being one of the primary authors of the Provincial Concordat, which set forth the relationship between the Provinces of North America and established the Council of Five to intervene in inter-Provincial matters and affairs of utmost importance. His work into animated constructs as guardians and soldiers also was pioneering.