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Where does the game take place?

The primary setting for the game is the school Pelham Place, and the surrounding town of Pelham Hills.

The town is much like any other town in the US. Technology is the same as modern day, there are fast food joints and a movie theater and a mall. If you can find it in the mundane world, it’s probably a part of the sprawling space that Pelham Hills has carved out of rural Western Massachusetts.

How do people get around?

Pelham Hills is located thirty minutes from Springfield, MA, ninety minutes from Albany, NY, about about two hours from Boston, MA. Students over the age of 16 are able to have a car on campus. Busses are available from campus into town, and there is a Greyhound bus station in town for travel to other Northeast areas by public transportation.

Students in the junior or senior year of high school are able to leave campus for a weekend pass, as long as they do not leave before class ends on Friday, and return by 8pm on Sunday evening. Evening passes are also available, leaving after class ends and returning by 10pm on weekdays, or midnight on weekends. Students must sign out from their dormitories before leaving campus, or be subject to punishment upon return. Passes are available for longer upon request from the administration.

Students doing post-graduate work have free entrance and exit and may leave the campus when they wish, but they are responsible for any responsibilities they may miss by being absent.

What does the campus of Pelham Place look like?

[click to enlarge map]

Pelham Place is set right into the lightly rolling hills of Pelham Hills, central to the town. While it is a gated school, the gates are set far enough back from the living and class areas to give an illusion of completely open freedom while on campus. The children are not aware of being as protected as they are.

The map above shows the campus in detail, and it is much like any other school campus, except for being more spread out and larger to account for the large number of students who attend and live on campus.

The lower school children attend all classes except for Magic & Metaphysics in the Grieco Building, which is immediately across from their dormitory. The middle school classes are almost entirely within the attached Shrier Building, although some middle school children take classes with the upper school classes in the appropriate buildings. Advanced students are permitted to take classes up to two years ahead of their own class year, if they are capable of keeping up and maintaining a B average at minimum, so it is not unusual for seventh grade students to be in ninth grade classes.

The home economics kitchens and lab are an exception, being housed in the Shrier building, but used by both the Middle School students and Higher School students for courses.

Math, computers, and technology are taught in the Burroughs Building, which is attached to the Seren Building where science is taught. Shop classes are taught in an annex at the front of the Seren Building, where a garage houses space for an autoshop.

Xavier Hall, where all forms of art, including movement and music are taught, is attached to the Pelham Theater, one of the newest additions to campus (not including near constant work to improve and expand the dormitories). Pelham Theater was donated by the town to celebrate the new millenium and the school held the first production in the theater (instead of the gym) in December of 2001.

Burdock Hall houses the subjects of History, Language, Psychology, and Sociology. It is separated from Terpsair Hall (where Magic & Metaphysics are taught) by a large greenhouse.

The lower school classes have a small gym in their own building for physical education, but the middle school and upper school classes travel to the Tanner Gymnasium and Aquatics Center for their classes. There are also multiple outdoor fields, and a set of tennis courts, available for use.

There is no library on campus, but there is a shuttle available to take students into town to the library, and twice-weekly trips are scheduled for students in kindergarten through tenth grade. Also, students and staff/faculty may request books through the computerized system, and those books will be checked out to that person’s card and delivered to campus. Deliveries are brought over on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4pm.

When are the school buildings open and available?

The lower school building closes promptly at four pm, and the middle school at five pm. Neither is available during the evening for study. Buildings where upper school courses are taught close generally at 9pm, but some rooms are available later for projects and study.

Please note that any events which are taking place after curfew require obtaining a pass beforehand.

Burroughs Building
The computer laboratory is open from 6am to 2am. It is staffed by students in grades 11 and above, including post-graduates, who’d like to earn a little extra money helping out.

The technology classroom labs are available for students to work on projects until 11pm.

Seren Building
All classroom science labs are open until 11pm for practical study.

Autoshop and metal shop are open after 6pm by arrangement with the instructor.

Xavier Hall
Rehearsal halls are open by appointment/scheduling, but groups may only request to use the building until midnight, and then only by special pass.

Pelham Theater
Is open during class hours, or by scheduled rehearsal times for upcoming shows or performances.

The greenhouse maintains a list of authorized students who are allowed access to the building after 6pm, until 11pm. Anyone not on this list must get a pass, or be accompanied by someone who is on the list. List members may only bring one guest.

Tanner Gymnasium & Aquatics Center
The gym and pool are open from 5am until 11pm, and require sign-in at the front desk for all those using the facilities. The weight room is only for those in seventh grade and above. The pool is only open to students under the age of 16 between the hours of 7am and 9pm, when a lifeguard is on-duty.

What are the dorms like?

There are five dorm buildings, for children in the lower school through post-graduate students. In all dormitories, the bottom floor is beneath ground level, open to the earth for those nymphs who require a connection to water, earth, and plants. In most dormitories, the stream that runs through campus runs right through the dorm building, on that lowest level, providing a place of sanctuary for the water nymphs in the house. Each house also has one tree growing in and through the house, for the wood nymphs.

The largest is Grant Hall, which is the dormitory for the lower school. Children are housed in long dormitory rooms with up to a dozen children per room. Each child has his/her own space, with a bed (upper or lower bunk), dresser, cabinet, and space to store their own private items. There are several gathering areas within the building, including play areas, as it is recognized that play is an important part of how the children are raised. The building is co-ed by room. On each floor there is a small studio apartment where the floor mother (or father) lives. This adult on the floor is usually a post-graduate student who teaches in the lower school.

The middle school dormitory, Matteson Hall, is next door to Grant. For these grades, the students have four children per room, with two bunk beds and plenty of space for storage. The rooms are organized into two wings, one for girls and one for boys. Common rooms on the lower floors are for everyone. In Matteson Hall, there are a total of four studio apartments for post-graduate students working with the middle school.

The upper school has two dormitories: Baxter Hall and Webster Hall. All water nymphs are required to be housed in Webster, as it is the only upper school dormitory with the facilities they require. In the upper school, rooms are made for either 2 or 3 people, and the buildings are once again co-ed by room. However, there are strict rules for how the boys and girls may mix, including that doors must remain open any time there is a person of another gender visiting a room. There are two studio apartments in each upper school dormitory for post-graduate students working with the upper school. Peter Watson is a house parent in Baxter Hall, and KC Moreau is a house parent in Webster Hall.

The final building is the smallest, Mason Hall, which contains a dozen small apartments available for post-graduate students. The smallest apartments are studios, and the largest is a four bedroom flat on the top floor of the dormitory. These are apartments much like one might find anywhere in Pelham Hills, but with the convenience of being on campus. Residents of these apartments are expected to make their own arrangements to ensure they have roommates if needed.

Not all students live on campus. Undergraduates may live in the town of Pelham Hills with their family and take the bus to school. Post-graduate students often find houses or apartments in the town.

What are the curfews for students?

All lower school children must be in their dormitories by 8pm, and lights out at 8:30 for children through third grade, and 9:00pm for fourth and fifth grade.

All middle school children must be in their dormitories by 9pm, with lights out by 10pm.

All upper school children must be in their dormitories by 10pm, with lights out by 11pm.

There are no curfews for post-graduate students.

Passes to break curfew are available for certain activities or trips which may require being out late. These must be requested in advance from the Administration and the student or activity should be sponsored by a staff member.

How are roommates assigned?

In the younger years, roommates are assigned simply by age; the groupings within one room are so large that there is no specific process.

In the middle schools, when the rooms go down to two or three students per room, there is a lottery process for roommates. Students request their top three choices for roommates, and selections are made based on those choices. It is possible to go through sixth through twelfth grade with the same roommate. It is also possible to change roommates every year.

How are the class years split?

There are three undergraduate levels of classes:
- Pre-K through fifth grade are in the lower school.
- Sixth through eight grade are in the middle school.
- Ninth through twelfth grade are in the upper school.

Everyone who has graduated from high school is considered to be post-graduate and an adult living or attending school on campus. It is possible that post-graduate students may mix with juniors and above in high school for some classes, if they are continuing to work on their magical abilities, due to a late start, or a desire to refine ability.

When do students start at the school?

Children around the country are watched, and students are generally brought in either for pre-kindergarten or kindergarten to the school. Students will often attend the same school from four years old through graduation from high school.

There are cases where a student may arrive at a school in the later years.

In some cases, a family chooses to move to a new town, and the student transfers. In the case of a boarding only student, they may choose to transfer after middle school to another location.

There are also cases where a student may not show the markers of their Old Race abilities until later in life; this most often happens with the less physical races, such as Deathwalkers, or Dreamwalkers, or some of the Witches. These students usually are schooled in the mainstream until discovery, then brought to one of the specialized schools after their abilities show. While this does happen, it is rare, and there are usually no more than one or two late bloomers per class year per school.

Where do students come from?

The students for Pelham Place are generally drawn from the Northeast states. However, any family which chooses to move to join their child at school may pick any location to move to, so some families may choose to move across country to Pelham Hills so their child may attend Pelham Place. Students may also choose to outright transfer to another school, if accepted, after they complete middle school.

What is the school year calendar?

Pelham Place runs on a trimester system, with fall (Sept-Nov), winter (Jan-Mar) and spring (Apr-June) trimesters. There is a month-long break for the month of December, and a two month summer break in July & August. There is a one week break between the winter and spring trimesters. The schedule for the 2010-2011 year is listed below.

During the breaks, the school is open for those students who are unable to return home for the break. For the December and spring breaks, students may stay in their regular dorm room, and extra staff will be brought in as needed to cover responsibilities for adults in the dorms.

All students are expected to vacate their dorm rooms for summer break; storage is provided for those requiring it for their things. Students who remain on campus during summer break are rehoused to consolidate between houses and floors, to allow for a minimal house parent staffing.

Move-in for boarding students
Classes begin for first trimester
Classes end for first trimester
First trimester finals for middle & upper schools
Second trimester classes begin
Second trimester classes end
Second trimester finals for middle & upper schools
Spring break
Third trimester classes begin
Third trimester classes end
Third trimester finals for middle & upper schools

What classes are offered?

For undergraduate students, they are all expected to complete the same education they would receive at any mainstream school. There are multiple track levels, from those which allow for students who need some extra help with a subject, to Advanced Placement or Honors level classes in the upper school.

In addition, there are regularly scheduled classes to work on control and understanding of magical abilities and race attributes. Ages are often mixed in these classes, as students may be at different levels of control, or may have expertise in different aspects of their racial abilities.

Many students remain at Pelham Place after graduation to continue their work with their racial abilities, or to help instruct. For these students, arrangements have been made with local colleges so that courses taken at the colleges are good for credit at Pelham Place as well. Teaching hours spent at Pelham are good towards a degree in education at local schools.

[NOTE: for game purposes a specific class schedule is not being defined. For purposes of player characters, choose which classes (and which levels) they’d be taking and note that for yourself; you are trusted to network with other players to figure out who’s in your class. Some handwaving will work just fine here.]

What sports are available?

Pelham Place maintains intramural teams for most typical sports, including (but not limited to) swimming, basketball, football, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, gymnastics, track & field, volleyball, and martial arts (tae kwon do, karate, and aikido). These teams compete primarily with other Pelham Place teams. And of course, there are cheerleader squads for each of the schools which cheer for the team sports.

They do compete against schools from the surrounding areas but do not belong to any of the leagues for purposes of standings or championships. The reasoning is that certain of the special abilities of the students may give them an unfair advantage in a sporting competition (for example, a giant on the basketball court). However, despite lacking league standing, the school does maintain meticulous records, awards and banquets, and everything they can to ensure that the students get the most out of their organized sports experience.

[For game purposes, the moderator is certain she forgot to include certain sports. If you’re not sure if it’s available at the school, just ask, and I’ll update.]

Does Pelham Place have clubs?

Oh, most definitely. The clubs tend to be specific to the different schools, so that the students socialize with other children their own age. There are two clubs which are notably different: the ski club, and the drama club.

The ski club encompasses all ages, and the elder children are expected to help with the younger children on field trips. The drama club likewise encompasses all ages, although there are often separate productions for the different age groups. But the elder children play adults in the younger children’s productions, and the younger children are welcome to audition for parts in the elder children’s shows.

Any club that could be found at a typical mainstream school can be found at Pelham Place. Chess club, gardening club, weights club, art club, etc. There is a science olympiad club, a mathletes club, and a robotics competition club, all of which compete in the mundane events against mundane schools; being of the Old Races doesn’t confer any special intelligence abilities, so they are not barred from those competitions.

[For game purposes, the moderator is certain she forgot to include certain clubs. If you’re not sure if it’s available at the school, just ask, and I’ll update.]

Who are the administrators for the school?
Much of the administrative staff are mundanes, in place since the school began, although some positions have been filled by early graduates.

Dean of the School: Miss Evelyn Waters
Evelyn Waters has held this position since the school opened on her 30th birthday, back in 1980. She is strong-minded and has a firm hand for discipline, although fair.

Dean of Admissions: Mr. John Harrison
John Harrison has been in this position since 1992, and has a small staff working under him. They are responsible for meeting parents, speaking to families about whether they will relocate or send their children, and arranging for financial matters.

Lower School Principal: Mrs. Shannon Beaurogard
Shannon Beaurogard is a widower who came to the school in 1985 and has made it her life’s work and obsession since her husband’s death in 2004. While she shows her years, she is still fair and the children adore her. She runs the lower school with iron fists wrapped in cotton candy gloves, and she keeps excellent discipline among the younger students.

Middle School Principal: Mr. Samuel Ellison
Sam Ellison is the young, hip principal, although the hip may well be in his own mind as he is well into his forties and it appears to be more of a mid-life crisis. He has only been with the school since 2002, and is well known for being a bit more lenient with the kids in his school. He encourages creativity and working out their own problems, but he will interfere quickly with anything dangerous. He is often seen working on his 1965 bright red Mustang ragtop.

Upper School Principal: Ms. Cheryl Finch
Cheryl is one of those women who believes that the truth is meant to be free. She’s openly lesbian, living in Pelham Hills with her partner of the last twenty years. She encourages students to speak their minds, and has a strict no-tolerance policy on bullying. She is likely to give passes which bend the rules if students ask ahead of time, but she is very strict with punishments for those who break the rules first and seek forgiveness later.

Dean of Post-Graduate Work & Research: Mr. Donald McEvoy
Don McEvoy is young, compared to others in the administration. At the age of thirty-four, he is of an age with many of the instructors at the school, and his gregarious attitude names him more friend than boss.

[Note that instructors are not named here, as those are positions available for player characters. Players may also choose to take a position among the administration, working for any of the characters named here.]

What about rules & punishments?

Some of the rules have already been mentioned, but these are the ones dealing with Old Race talents in particular.

There are Old Race talents, such as the Sidhe control of Faerie, or the ability of some Seers to read minds and change thoughts, which impact other people. It is forbidden to use Old Race talents against another individual, whether that individual be student or faculty/staff. Behaviour is under review by the administrative staff, who are human, and punishments are meted out based upon the infringement.

There are other things which are forbidden at the school, including student/teacher relationships, etc. In general, assume that if it is something you need to negotiate with a player, or if it is forbidden at most schools or for that age group, it will be against the rules of the school and subject to penalty if caught.

Do the various schools around the country interact?

There are now several schools for the Old Races, scattered throughout the country. They do interact, via correspondence courses, online or video courses, and occasionally through visits. It is possible to do an exchange for a year to another school if there is a particular professor a student would like to work with.

Are pets allowed on campus?

Students over the age of twelve are allowed to keep fish, hamsters, mice, small reptiles and other caged pets. Any student found releasing their pet to wander wild will have their pet privileges revoked.

Larger pets such as cats, dogs, etc. are not allowed in the dormitories. There is a kennel on campus where dogs and cats may be kept, but it is not recommended. Some students keep horses at a local stable off campus, where the Equestrian Club meets.

* The school for Pelham Place, including pictures and maps, is based on Emma Willard School, in Troy, NY.

Last updated October 2, 2010


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