Jul
20
2019

Location Seed: The Academy of Saint Philomena.

The Academy of Saint Philomena

Location: Poughkeepsie, New York

Founded: 1791

Faculty: 400

Students: 1200, grades 9 to 12

Student to Teacher Ratio: 3:1

Colors: Purple and Green

Motto: Rectam aculeos 

This private boarding school is not where They train the nation’s mundane elite; nor is where they train the next generation of Illuminati wonder-workers.  To the dismay of new students, there are no mystic portals or labs full of ultra-tech gadgetry at the Academy of Saint Philomena (a resolutely secular institution, despite the name).  The students there take no classes on wizardry or theurgy or Mad Science or any of the rest of the dangerous, but often useful, incongruities currently being kept from the Masses. No, St. Phillie is where students learn how to keep the people with those incongruities firmly in check.

It’s very simple, truly: people with unusual powers cannot be allowed to actually run things.  It’s not even their fault! There’s just something about knowing magic, or being able to make a blaster out of a toaster, that also causes people with those abilities from being able to run, well, anything more complicated than a carpool.  The people with powers are usually the first to admit it, even — and so it’s necessary to create cadres of aggressively normal (if not outright mundane) leaders.  

So at St. Phillie they teach things like how to translate what your gadgeteers are saying into English, how to write reasonably mutually-beneficial pacts with extraplanar entities, the best ways to instantly knock out a rampaging psychic vampire, and general leadership techniques.  The program is naturally very intense, which is why selection criteria are ridiculously high and the student to teacher ratio is so low. Once you’re in St. Phillie, you’re there for the duration. And you will graduate.

There is a definite ‘type’ to a St. Phillie alumnus.  Primarily, they make good decisions. For some, it’s because they’re smart (although you can be rejected from St. Phillie for being too smart), but others are intuitive, and not a few are just plain flat-out lucky.  Second, graduating from the Academy of Saint Philomena requires a good general grounding in pretty much everything; they are generalists par excellence, with an almost reflexive ability to pick up the basics of a new field of study or practical endeavour with almost unseemly haste.  It takes quite a lot to surprise an alumnus of St. Phillie.

But, most importantly: when you meet a St. Phillie alumnus: if you have esoteric abilities, be rest assured that he or she will have called to mind the best way to neutralize people of your sort before he or she has finished shaking your hand.  They’re not automatically experts in how to control people like you, of course. But give them a week or so of regular contact, and they will be. Note that this doesn’t mean that a St. Phillie alumnus will dislike people with power.  The exact opposite, really.  But the people who set up the Academy considered the Masses to be sheep, and those with power to be wolves; so they first recruited some of the wolves to be sheepdogs — and then they trained up some of the sheep, and set them the task of keeping the dogs under control.  So now everybody’s safely watching everybody else, and it all works out if nobody does anything stupid.

Naturally, it can still get messy right quick if somebody does something stupid, but at least this way the effects are mostly localized.

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