D&D 5E Strixhaven's Quandrix College of Numeromancy

We've recently seen previews of the Prismari and Silverquill colleges over at Screenrant and Polygon respectively. Now Mashable shares a look at the third of the five colleges, Quandrix, the numerology college (presumably Lorehold and Witherbloom are yet to appear!)

quandrix.jpg


WotC's Amanda Hamon points out that Strixhaven is in the 'opposite direction' to the tone and thematic elements of Harry Potter, citing the movies Pitch Perfect and 10 Things I Hate About You as influences.

Check out the article on Mashable for a ton more info!

 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey





They're all The Worst Witch rip offs - which goes back to 74.
Alternatively, A Wizard of Earthsea, which did get some grumblings that Rowling took too much liberty in copying, and that was 1968.

Edit: I should note, not merely the copying, but for Le Guin herself, the problem was Rowling being credited with originality in her tale, when it has a lot of both high- and low-level similarities to AWoE other than the "set on Earth" aspect. She didn't mind Rowling writing a story that bore such resemblance to hers, what she did mind was the implication that no works prior to Harry Potter had done things of this kind, erasing her own work.
 
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Rowling and Murphy both got the idea from Enid Blyton - Mallory Towers (1946). Read it, the similarities are obvious, down to the characters.

Le Guin was writing on another continent in a genre that Rowling at least admitted hating. Neither Rowling nor Murphy had read her books - probably never even heard of her until later. Likewise, Le Guin is unlikely to have been influenced by Blyton because of the "other continent" thing*. She wrote on a similar theme for a very simple reason: the theme is BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS.

Likewise, British critics would be unfamiliar with US writers, particularly writers in a genre they looked down their nose at. It's only in modern times that books have freely travelled across the Atlantic. I remember having to seek out specialist booksellers to find imported US fantasy as late as the early 90s.


*It's also worth mentioning that some of the "cruelty" Le Guin mentioned in HP is also in Mallory Towers - if Le Guin had ever read Mallory Towers she would have referred to that.
 
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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Rowling and Murphy both got the idea from Enid Blyton - Mallory Towers (1946). Read it, the similarities are obvious, down to the characters.

Le Guin was writing on another continent in a genre that Rowling at least admitted hating. Neither Rowling nor Murphy had read her books - probably never even heard of her until later. Likewise, Le Guin is unlikely to have been influenced by Blyton because of the "other continent" thing*. She wrote on a similar theme for a very simple reason: the theme is BLINDINGLY OBVIOUS.

Likewise, British critics would be unfamiliar with US writers, particularly writers in a genre they looked down their nose at. It's only in modern times that books have freely travelled across the Atlantic. I remember having to seek out specialist booksellers to find imported US fantasy as late as the early 90s.


*It's also worth mentioning that some of the "cruelty" Le Guin mentioned in HP is also in Mallory Towers - if Le Guin had ever read Mallory Towers she would have referred to that.
On that note, Strixhaven is very much not channeling the British boarding school vibe, but American undergraduate collegiate tropes. The card designers didn't even realize how specifically American a lot of the College experiences they described actually were until the cards came out in Europe and players there experienced culture shock!
 



Laurefindel

Legend
Wizards & Druids, primarily.
pfff, druids don't do maths!

Stonehenge contractor : "hey Bob-the-druid, where do you want that last stone in your stone circle again?"
Bob-the-druid: "its a nine-stone ring dude, so 40 degrees arc from center and 140 degrees from the two neighbouring stones. The ancestrors-star gotta be right above it at equinox. So lets see, 36.5 degrees elevation in march, center is 18'3" from the stone.... lets assume a 5'10" observer... That makes it 19'1" tall from the ground up. That's 5.88 meters for you. Make at least three readings with the water-pressure level to make it perfectly straight"
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
pfff, druids don't do maths!

Stonehenge contractor : "hey Bob-the-druid, where do you want that last stone in your stone circle again?"
Bob-the-druid: "its a nine-stone ring dude, so 40 degrees arc from center and 140 degrees from the two neighbouring stones. The ancestrors-star gotta be right above it at equinox. So lets see, 36.5 degrees elevation in march, center is 18'3" from the stone.... lets assume a 5'10" observer... That makes it 19'1" tall from the ground up. That's 5.88 meters for you. Make at least three readings with the water-pressure level to make it perfectly straight"
In Strixhaven, they have Goth Druids & Math Druids. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.
 

pfff, druids don't do maths!
Well, the idea is that Quandrix represents control over reality, as opposed to the focuses of the other colleges. Do you control reality--existence--by understanding it, or by physically maniuplating it? Wizards do the former, Druids do the latter, but each influences the other. It's hard to make theories that can actually achieve something if you completely ignore practical applications, and the purpose of theory in most cases is to explain and control things. Conversely, it's hard to really have a grip on the physical situation if you have no idea (or only intuitive pre-ideas about) its underlying structure and mechanisms--if you can't explain why certain actions lead to certain results, you'll easily be blindsided by unexpected situations.

Quandrix represents the intersection between physics and mathematics. It's the place where experimentalists invent new theory to be able to talk cogently about their results (like when Paul Dirac made up the initially-ridiculous, but necessary, Dirac delta function in order to normalize his equations, which only took on well-defined properties after it inspired Laurent Schwartz to develop the theory of distributions). It's also where theoreticians develop new theories that only later are discovered to be concretely useful (as when Riemann developed non-Euclidean geometries, which turn out to be essential for Einsteinian relativity).

In this sense, druids are the physicists and wizards are the mathematicians. But sometimes you get wizards who are a bit more practical and druids who are driving at deep underlying wisdom rather than physically practical results.
 

Bolares

Hero
Well, the idea is that Quandrix represents control over reality, as opposed to the focuses of the other colleges. Do you control reality--existence--by understanding it, or by physically maniuplating it? Wizards do the former, Druids do the latter, but each influences the other. It's hard to make theories that can actually achieve something if you completely ignore practical applications, and the purpose of theory in most cases is to explain and control things. Conversely, it's hard to really have a grip on the physical situation if you have no idea (or only intuitive pre-ideas about) its underlying structure and mechanisms--if you can't explain why certain actions lead to certain results, you'll easily be blindsided by unexpected situations.

Quandrix represents the intersection between physics and mathematics. It's the place where experimentalists invent new theory to be able to talk cogently about their results (like when Paul Dirac made up the initially-ridiculous, but necessary, Dirac delta function in order to normalize his equations, which only took on well-defined properties after it inspired Laurent Schwartz to develop the theory of distributions). It's also where theoreticians develop new theories that only later are discovered to be concretely useful (as when Riemann developed non-Euclidean geometries, which turn out to be essential for Einsteinian relativity).

In this sense, druids are the physicists and wizards are the mathematicians. But sometimes you get wizards who are a bit more practical and druids who are driving at deep underlying wisdom rather than physically practical results.
They also make fractals, lots and lots of fractals :p
 

They also make fractals, lots and lots of fractals :p
Yep! Which is honestly a really nice touch, because fractals nicely cover both sides. You have the "rigid self-replication" type of fractal that covers the bright-line patterns of the Blue side of Quandrix, and the "messy blob"/"coastline of Britain" type of fractal that covers the naturalistic Green side. Nature is built out of patterns, but those patterns may not be clean and neat.
 

Tsuga C

Adventurer
On that note, Strixhaven is very much not channeling the British boarding school vibe, but American undergraduate collegiate tropes. The card designers didn't even realize how specifically American a lot of the College experiences they described actually were until the cards came out in Europe and players there experienced culture shock!
If time isn't too pressing, might you offer us one or two examples of said culture shock, please?
 

Bolares

Hero
If time isn't too pressing, might you offer us one or two examples of said culture shock, please?
I don't have the link to it with me, but Mark Rosewater, Magic's lead designer has a blog, where he answers players questions. One question asked about the reception of the Stryxhaven set, and Mark said one of their faults was making Stryxhaven's college tropes too american, and players abroad were not resonating as well with some of the references in the cards...
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
Such as....?
Stuff like how classes are structured, subcukture stereotypes, etc. From Rosewater:

"The set treated American schools too much as the norm."

"Another interesting piece of feedback came from many non-American players. Because this setting played upon real-world resonance, it shone a light on the fact that there's a lot of differences between how schools function in different countries..."

 

On that note, Strixhaven is very much not channeling the British boarding school vibe, but American undergraduate collegiate tropes. The card designers didn't even realize how specifically American a lot of the College experiences they described actually were until the cards came out in Europe and players there experienced culture shock!
I've seen enough US TV and movies to be familiar with those tropes!

Enough to notice that Le Guin's wizard school has a distinctly American vibe.
 

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