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Literature / Impractical Magic

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Impractical Magic is a Web Serial Novel published in 2020 by three authors using the pseudonyms SBB, Oberon,and Nalta. Each writes a main character in the Magic School Istima, (AKA The Six Court Academy). The three viewpoint characters, Yam Hist of the Ken Seekers, Fen Calton, and Lyssana Terasu, each join a different court with a different magic system and it's own culture. Godhood is considered a reasonable career path, corporate espionage between students and teachers is encouraged, and students trying to become healers are prone to causing serious accidents so they can get extra practice.

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Cal is a Loveable Rogue impersonating a wealthy young noblewoman she found dead when attempting to burglarize a room. She only hopes to rob the rich mages blind and maybe pick up a trick or two before she inevitably has to skip town. Lyssana was born with the wrong kind of abilities and was exiled to a faraway island of Elemental Magic users. She has been called back by her wealthy family and placed in Istima for a purpose she has yet to learn. Yam is a minority species of nomads whose culture values truth and community above all else. He has decided that the only way to restore his family's honor is to become indistinguishable from a god and retroactively make his father a prophet instead of a lying cult leader. But they need to find out what can set them apart from the competition in the world of Apaernore's most famous school of magic.

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The banner of the website says, "Welcome to Istima, the Six Court Academy, where reality is a suggestion, magic is king, and knowledge is currency. Study, survive, and hold your secrets close."


"Impractical Magic" contains examples of:

  • Alchemy Is Magic: Potions created by the Summer Court are often mundane in nature, but truly magical potions are rare and extremely powerful.

  • Back-Alley Doctor: Hotspur Row (AKA Blood Ally) is where students training to be healers let injured customers come to them for practice

  • Boarding School: Istima is a Magic School.

  • Chemistry Can Do Anything: Most potions aren't magical. Depending on price, a stamina potion in a shop can be anything from concentrated amounts of caffeine to psychoactive stimulants like amphetamines.

  • Disproportionate Retribution: Jaxton's reaction to Rathana refusing his request. Yam also has a temper issue that led to him steal from a racist ferryman who refused him service and said a Len would pee in his barge (in an act of superior spite Yam sneaks in and does just that after grabbing enough money to hire a better ferryman).

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  • Elemental Powers: The entire Winter Court teachers the use of elemental magic

  • Fantastic Racism: The Len being discriminated against is a reoccurring theme in Yam's chapters. Yam also discriminated against non-Len by calling them barbaric and assume they do not have 'Virtue' when they just do not follow his cultural ideals.

  • Functional Magic: The way each Courts Magic is explained in the series and follows it's own rules.

  • Instant Runes: The Spring Courts magic summons floating runes and Geometric Diagrams.

  • Language of Magic: The Autumn and Summer court each use a language of magic. The Summer Court uses a strict written language that causes whatever is written/drawn to happen exactly as the runes describe. Much like a programming language. The Autumn court uses spoken languages and dialects that have more complex rules and room for interpretation.

  • Lampshade Hanging: The main characters all notice odd and seemingly illogical things about Istima and call them out. Particularly Yam who is compulsively honest. Though some might describe it as compulsively rude.

  • Loveable Rogue: Cal is a thief who starts showing her heart of gold as she makes friends with her fellow classmates

  • Magic Is Mental: Though each court has it's own magic the Spring Court and Night Court in particular use magic that is based on their minds and focus.

  • Magic Librarian: the book keeper is a ghost and a librarian who uses magic to do his job despite some semantic debate about his position title.

  • Mundane Utility: From lights, to elevators, to stoves, most modern conveniences in the city are created and powered by the magic of artificing.

  • Noble Bigot: Jaxton is a complete noble bigot and is seen engage is Fantastic Racism against the Len.

  • Punished for Sympathy: Yam tries to help Jaxton, who is a Noble Bigot and becomes the victim of Fantastic Racism

  • Training the Gift of Magic: In the world of Apaernore you are born with a magical reserve that can be increased by various means. Some are also born with natural abilities bordering on superpowers.

  • Wizarding School: Istima is a magic academy.


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