Each of the five provinces of North America has a main wizard primary school or Primaschola. Students primarily attend the school in their home province, but sometimes students transfer to other schools. Each primary school is governed by that Province’s Bureau of Magical Education, and by various elected and appointed officials. Differences do exist among them in terms of curriculum, culture, and interpretation of magic. Today, we are releasing information about Mishipeshu Province, in the midwest US and Canada.

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Mishipeshu Province (Midwest):

A large and sparsely populated province, Mishipeshu extends as far south as the mundane city of Dallas and as far north as the rugged islands of the Nunavut province in Canada. The south eastern border follows the western edge of the Ozark mountains to the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The province borders Lakes Michigan and Superior on the east and extends west to the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountain range. Mishipeshu province takes its name from the powerful magical creature of the same name, the underwater panther or great lynx, which has the body of a large feline, the horns of a deer or bison, upright scales on its back and a long serpentine tail. In Ojibwe magical legend, the Mishipeshu is pitted against the Thunderbird, and this rivalry extends to mages and wizards of these two neighboring provinces.

The scattered population is considered one of the desirable features of Mishipeshu, particularly for Wizards who crave a level of privacy that is simply impossible in crowded areas of the Magimundi that share space with the Mundane world.  Mishipeshu’s wide open spaces make it the best Province for projects of considerable size, be it hatching and rearing a dragon’s brood, or constructing an artifact colossus. In addition to wild magical creatures, Magical Agriculture thrives in this province, from the mass production of food worthy of a wizard’s palate to the carefully cultivated ingredients for the Magimundi’s most popular and powerful potions. This includes both flora and fauna, so it is not uncommon to see great fields of skullcap, dogbane or astragalus, copses of slippery elm and quaking aspen, or large farms raising magical creatures for food or items of use in artificery and other magical arts.

It’s a hard Province, and its Marshals, Fonctionnaires, Magisters, and Justices are hardened folk too. The adult Magimundi in Mishipeshu Province are for the most part a no-nonsense sort, and cast a skeptical glance at innovation, especially for what is seen as “no good reason,” i.e. for art or pure joy at creativity. Magic should be useful, and one of the ways it is most useful is in making everyday life easier and enriching the pockets of enterprising wizards with Leeuwendaalders. There’s a harsh survival of the fittest mentality among Mishipeshu Magimundi, many of whom often appear cynical, jaded, or even bitter to outsiders. This comes from a particularly dry sense of humor, and a general disdain for too much whimsy and frivolity.

In the Mishipeshu Province, the Primaschola for young mages is the Great Plains School of Magical Arts. Centrally located in the province in what is known to Mundanes as Nebraska, the school is disguised as a large group of grain silos rising from the prairie, visible for miles around. But inside, the school appears as a medieval castle, with stone walls and floors, and great turrets for magical defense.

The school was over 200 years in the making, beginning with the land being set aside and protected with magical enchantments by French-Canadian explorer Jean Nicolet, a coureur de bois and compatriot of New World Magischola founder Étienne Brûlé. Nicolet was a flamboyant wizard who favored brightly colored cloaks and packed two wands that looked like pistols.

A hundred years later, Pierre Antoine and Paul Mallet, two French-speaking wizards born in Montreal heavily explored the Great Plains and located Nicolet’s secret location. They established a small school there, in cooperation with shamans from the Jiwere (Otoe) and Nutachi (Missouria) tribes. The original building has been lost to time, but magical residue remains.

Roughly a century later, Shaumonekusse, an Otoe tribal mage and Omaha founder William D. Brown collaborated to magically raise the first tower of the school in 1837, a single silo stretching skyward. Additional towers were added as the Province flourished in the 19th century, though not without conflict between the native wizards and the European settlers continuing to enter the area. Magimundi Treaties with tribal mages were far better than the Mundane treatment of native tribes, but the relationship was often still one of mutual distrust and occasional violence. The cooperation to create and maintain the Primaschola was seen as a pathway to more sustainable partnerships, which continue into modern times. Today, the Great Plains school culture reflects the Province’s values, in particular the elevation of “grit” as the most valuable student attribute. Violence is looked at as a necessary aspect of survival and soft-hearted students can be ostracized. Great Plains does not have a specific rite of passage for its students. It is commonly joked that surviving until graduation is considered ‘rite of passage’ enough on its own.

Each start of term, students travel to Great Plains by entering an underground cavern on foot and divining the way to the school through a complicated series of twisted passageways.  Light sources, both magical and mundane eventually darken during the journey, which remains frustratingly inconsistent for each student making the trek. It is agreed upon anecdotally that each student will only encounter the Duwende, the tiny iridescent fae creature, once they have become completely and hopelessly lost within the dark passages. Only when the student has given in to the darkness and confusion, will the Duwende will then guide the student to the cave’s exit.  It’s additionally reported that during the dark portion of the trek, very distinctive whispers of self reflection will suddenly come over the student. Some find this aspect of the experience to be far more troublesome than merely being lost in a dark cave. Students often carry an offering of copper, on the chance they encounter a Mishipeshu itself. A small fraction of students over the years have entered the cave system, never to emerge again.

Students at Great Plains participate in one of four silos which have a vocational or technical education designation that do not require further education at Magischola. However, many graduates further their education, especially if they are heir to a fortune in Leeuwendaalders.

The four silos of Great Plains are: Addams, Ducharme, Secord, and Pontiac.

  • Addams Silo is named for the Wizard Jane Addams, and students there seek to discover how magic can best be used to minister to others, focusing on becoming a teacher’s or healer’s assistant, working in Scholae or Hospitals.
  • Students in Secord Silo study public safety and service, and graduates may serve as firefighters, emergency technicians, or other positions responsible for the cleanup of magical accidents or keeping the wizard world sanitary and safe.
  • In Ducharme Silo, graduates specialize in the repair of magical objects and magical infrastructure, such as wands and artifacts, but also the Fumarole Network, Lava Tube Lazenby, magical buildings and equipment, and means of transport such as brooms, magic carpets, Chilicothe (the magical equivalent of a pickup truck), and teleportcullises.
  • In Pontiac Silo, students train to assist Justices, Magisters, Alcade and Fonctionnaires in magical administration and banking.

Although the prevailing culture among adult Magimundi in Mishipeshu is one of pragmatism and grit, student mages at Great Plains are among the most notoriously mischievous. Students work hard and play harder, and this is generally tolerated as socially acceptable among youth. Magical renditions of tornadoes, UFO sightings, unusual disturbances in weather patterns, swarms of insects, bats or toads — all of these are examples of elaborate pranks Great Plains mages have pulled just prior to their graduation ceremonies. One particularly notorious prankster clan made mayhem at the Nebraska State Fair of 2005, hexing all the pies for the pie-eating contest, cursing the cars in the Demolition Derby, and, by means that have not been discovered by cursebreakers, somehow the pranksters caused all the bulls in the rodeo to adopt small unit tactics to escape their pens. Some locals to this day believe they saw a finalist pig sprout wings and fly away, never to be seen again. There were a lot of Muta Memoria charms being cast that day.

Great Plains officials as well as Mishipeshu Marshals are kept busy ensuring young mages do not muck too harshly with Mundanes and risk exposing magic. Many see the merry pranking of Great Plains students as a sort of last vestige of hilarity before one takes one’s place upholding practicality, utilitarianism, and chain of command and don’t want to punish students too harshly. Others have forgotten the fun they once had and see the pranking as embarrassing and immature, advocating for strict and draconian measures to squelch even a hint of mirth as a waste of time when students should be focusing on studies. A smaller but noticeable group of Wizards, upon graduation from Magischola, find that their perspectives on the Magimundi are incompatible with their home province and never return to Mishipeshu.

Current Headmaster Aeron Adlar runs the tightest of ships at Great Plains. Students report to mandatory calisthenics each morning and they also learn martial arts, yoga, and the wielding of energy to create magical defensive shields and to increase the power of physical blows. Great Plains students have a strong sense of honor and respect for those who have trained their bodies and minds into temples or weapons, and it is unsurprising that Mishipeshu Wizards tend to vehemently uphold the Edicts of the Council of Five and see being a Marshal as the highest calling among wizards. The pranking at Great Plains appears to be seen as a flirtation with the other side of the law and a type of training for devious thinking that can then be honed for use in what is considered the honest living of Marshaldom. To be able to think like a criminal is the fastest way to then intercept a criminal.

Speaking of criminals, Mishipeshu Province is home to the Avernus Prison, located within the Yellowstone Caldera. The Caldera itself extends into Thunderbird Province, but the prison is on the Mishipeshu side. Notorious Wizards and mages who have crossed the line in their magical use, or who have had the misfortune of not being able to command enough Leeuwendaalders to influence Justices, are housed in Avernus, where the noxious fumes and layers of curses make escape nearly impossible. No one has ever been successful since the Chupacabra have been added as the prison guards. These creatures are immune to the vapors and are able to drain the sanity and the magical energy of wizards through their blood draining bite.  Repeated exposure to the Chupacabra bite is alleged to permanently diminish the victim’s ability to cast spells. The Chupacabra are trained by Hudson Unlimited, a military-industrial company with the exclusive contract granted by the Council of Five to supply Avernus with its deadly guards, as well as Marshals with their regulation wands and other combat gear.

Much to the embarrassment of the Province, a persistent piece of questionable lore continues to emerge about magical power to be gained from practicing cannibalism, which occasionally is brought to light when one or more of the students transforms into a Wendigo.  While it appears that any person could potentially become Wendigo, what with the first symptoms being a persistent recurring nightmare, those that practice cannibalism become especially vulnerable.  The afflicted person becomes gaunt and emaciated, and experiences a permanent hunger for human flesh.  With each person consumed, the Wendigo gains considerable mass and height, but retains the emaciated appearance.  As part of the object lesson about being too hungry for power, students of Great Plains are conscripted into a hunt to slay their former classmates who have succumbed.  Modern examinations from Wizards speculate that the affliction is a result of an ethereal parasite that searches for young, immoderate wizards, and that if caught quickly enough with early symptoms, intervention can save the student before the transformation occurs.

The Province is also home to a special form of magical transportation. They can travel by Inunnguaq, or

An Inunnguaq in Mishipeshu

stone sculptures that represent a human that dot the landscape primarily in the north of the Province.  Originating in Inuit Culture, Inunnguaq are signposts that were built to make the way easier and safer for those who followed. When traveling, mages must use the proper incantation, throw a handful of enchanted alfalfa seeds so that they rain back down upon them, stand before the Inunnguaq in imitation of its form, turning thrice counterclockwise and imagining one’s destination. An improvising Wizard can construct their own Inunnguaq as a means of personal transport from any particular position. However, the structure remains behind, which can confuse later travelers. The overpopulation of Inunnguaq led to an edict calling for the dismantling of errant Inunnguaq by province officials to monitor their “invasion.” Many in the Magimundi adhere to the Inuit belief that once an Inunnguaq is built, one who destroys it will be cursed with bad luck and a shortened life. Inunnguaq dismantlings are seen as problematic and cleanup efforts often met with protests.
Optional Cliques: Objectivists, Artifact Weapon Enthusiasts, Battle Royale Enthusiasts, Iconoclast/Nonconformists, Misfit Dreamers, Stoics, Party Animals

About Maury Brown

After working as a marketing and communications executive for a Fortune 500 company, Maury Brown moved to the education sector, where she has more than 15 years experience designing curriculum, delivering and assessing instruction, and conducting research on engagement and learning with students in elementary school through graduate school. A diverse writer of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction with degrees in literature and creative writing from the University of Virginia, she is finishing her PhD in Rhetoric & Cultural Studies, researching larps as participatory design and interactive storytelling. She has been involved in role-playing games since the early 1990s.