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.
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.
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).
- 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.