Borusa – the City of Scholars

24 July, 2009

For those that seek to learn, there are few better place to visit than:

Borusa, the City of Scholars

Even before the Sundering, Borusa was famous for libraries and booksellers, wizard-sages and scholars. While many, though not all, of the finest Borusan wizards perished in the Sundering, the study of magic in the city has never again reached the dizzying heights it had in the distant past, and -magically at least- it still lives on those former glories.

Library TowersThe city is notable for its heavily fortified library-towers, each belonging to a different group of scholars. The feuds, alliances, rivalries and deals between the various scholarly groups are the heart of city’s politics. While very little blood is spilt in these conflicts, reputations are made or savaged, knowledge is stolen and shifts in alliances may rest on a single page of occult information. Each of the tower-libraries has it own society of wizards, often specializing in very narrow branches of magic, these scholar-wizards usually take the lead in organizing expeditions beyond the city seeking knowledge and, occasionally, wealth.

The climate of Borusa is dry and clear, perfect for maintaining books, scrolls and other forms of written knowledge. The lands around the city grow some grains and a variety of other plants that can be processed into paper of various sorts. Much of the food and all of the luxuries needed by the city are imported with Borusan scholars trading their hard won knowledge for such.

If one seeks knowledge, one comes to Borusa. The open air markets are thick with booksellers and philosophers. Lively debates (and the occasional fistfight) are a common occurrence on street corners and in taverns. Visiting scholars and wizards vie for access to the tower-libraries as they pursue their particular form of enlightenment. It is a boisterous city, outside of the enforced silence of the library-towers, full of intellectual energy and ambition.

Borusa (named after  the Gallifreyan Lord Chancellor from Doctor Who) is a place for information to be gathered, traded and (occasionally) stolen.  It can also be used as a mirror -or parody- of higher education and academics in general.  It has been fun to play up all of the street philosophers on the occasions when it has been visited in my campaigns.

Notes: Image Medieval Bologna, engraved and designed by Toni Pecoraro 2012, and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

One comment

  1. I’ve got to admit, right now, I’m thinking of Ephebe, on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

    Mind you, Ephebian philosophy ranges from the intensely enquiring (“I’m, mean, wha’s it all about, really? HIC“) to the curious belligerent (“Who are looking at, pal?”) at the drop of a bottle of retsina!

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