My new campaign centers in this nation. Something we must always think about in our games is how magic is treated in the region, and i'm caught in such thoughts now.
Since Keoland was calling the shots there once, it seems natural their magical repression and controlling view would pop up in the Littlemark. However, Furyondy's conquest in the Short War could change things a little. I don't remember how magic is treated in Furyondy. Maybe Bissel's in some sort of "middleground" between the magical views of it's surrounding kingdoms?
Although Bissel has Keoish origins it was a province of Furyondy after the Small War for about 4 decades before it was declared independent. During that time the government was replaced by Furyondian sympathists who likely tempered the views on magic as you mentioned. Bissel was a long way from Keoland/Niole Dra so it also depends on whether or not the reasons Keoland was distrustful of magic was relevant to the commonfolk of Bissel? I can't remember off hand but wasn't the distrust of the arcane a throw back to Vecna?
In 580CY (I think) was the Necromancer Insurrection led by Evard [LGG p.33, DRAG#241 p.76, Vale of the Mage, p.83]. This would definitely have impacted the nation's views on spellcasters.
If you use the Living Greyhawk material about Bissel then I believe that arcane spellcasters are rare and that there is a single state-controlled mages' guild (Guild of the Arcane Path).
It's also worth considering that many of the spellcasters may have died along with the rest of the population defending the nation against Ket.
Bissel was a long way from Keoland/Niole Dra so it also depends on whether or not the reasons Keoland was distrustful of magic was relevant to the commonfolk of Bissel? I can't remember off hand but wasn't the distrust of the arcane a throw back to Vecna?
Vecna as well as the Twin Cataclysms. The Neheli, Rhola, and the Silent Ones sought to limit access to arcane power that humans were not wise enough to wield safely or justly (EDIT: and to protect the interests of the ruling houses, of course].
With the Baklunish pressing in from the west and later the Witch-Queen from the north, I suspect that Bissel would have been pragmatic in its endorsement of magic. At the very least, there should have been no prohibitions against its use in Bissel by the time Tavish II went on his expansionist drive into Ket (though some restrictions may have been in effect, e.g., encouraging wizards to form state-recognized guilds, like the Sea Mages of Gradsul).
Last edited by TwiceBorn on Sun Apr 03, 2022 5:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
I chose Bissel as the homeland of my favorite 3e character, a pureblooded Suloise sorceress named Quintessa of House Neheli, but that was mainly because of LIVING GREYHAWK™ being that I'm from New England; granted, in her backstory her family sent her off to Greyhawk's "University of Magical Arts" — largely due to what was happening throughout the 580s CY — and I don't think she's been back since…
After playing through Ghosts of Saltmarsh I've taken a greater interest in the Sheldomar, including piecing together a wizard of the Silent Ones as a backup if something would have happened to my cleric of Wenta.
EDIT: So I did a quick search through Vale of the Mage and noticed this of one of the characters:
"Nyeru Darkspring is the only son of a wealthy Bissel alchemist. He studied under one of Bissel's most accomplished mages, a friend of the family who had been purchasing components from the Darksprings for many years. However, Nyeru wanted to learn spells that would enable him to control dead creatures, something his tutor abhorred. Frustrated, Nyeru left Bissel and journeyed to the Great Kingdom, where he found wizards who would teach him what he wanted. The mage vowed to return to Bissel one day and show off his great magical might."
(I also noticed a descriptionless item called "Bissel Bon-Bons." 😏 Might have to add that to Quintessa's equipment list…
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