Category:Schools of Sorcery
Sorcery is a powerful and world-shaping force, not the purview of any single type of spirit or Exalt. It appeared under mysterious circumstances in the wake of the Primordial War, it has no god in Yu-shan, and even the Primordials Gaia and Autochthon left no explanations for its nature. Some have compared it to the will-workings of the Primordials which forged Creation, others to the shifting tides of the Wyld... but nothing in Creation shouts out the truth of its nature.
That has not stopped many through the millenia from trying to discover that truth, to not only create new spells but to explain the very workings of sorcery, and thus the nature of Creation. Those who have grasped some truth or found support for some theory that can prove its own merits and withstand the counterarguments of their rivals, these become the Schools of Sorcery, worldviews for understanding Creation, paradigms for the practice of the sorcerous art.
While several developments (most prominently the symbols and language of the Silurian School) have allowed different schools to understand each others' spells, Sorcerous Schools are ultimately incompatible views of how Creation and sorcery function, and are often diametrically opposed. Sorcery and sorcerers have immense flexibility, but the mindset and beliefs of a School have an impact on the spells a sorcerer will want to learn, and those they will have great difficulty grasping.
The differences in fundamental understanding between the various Schools meant that during the First Age, even the extensive Book of Three Circles could be difficult to study, for while it used the system of Mystical Symbols devised by Silur as a common language, the commentary and extrapolation on each spell could not be so universally conveyed. It has not been until the Age of Sorrows that one sorcerer has come close to truly understanding all the spells of the Book, for as as part of her drive to grasp the magics of Adamant Circle Sorcery, the Lunar Exalted sorceress Raksi has (through her Charm Thousand-Head Insights) become the first Exalt to possess more than one Absorption Charm.
While it is not hard to pretend at the worldview of a school in a basic sense, with zealous rote devotion or unenthusiastic passing interest, at their heart the Schools represent theories of what is True. To not only understand this truth, but to internalize it so that every thought and every perception is based upon that truth, rather than the lies and illusions which dominate much of the thought in Creation, is to effect a fundamental change upon an individual.
Much as the Sorcery Charms are universal, representing an individual's awakening to the power and expression of Sorcery, Absorption Charms are universal, representing their fundamental understanding of sorcery, a change in worldview, with permanent effects that both allow a would-be sorcerer to reach for the power spellcraft, and reflect upon their mundane actions.
The general rules for the Sorcerous Absorption Charm are universal (as is the need such a Charm be learned simultaneous with Terrestrial Circle Sorcery), but each School will have a specific variant of the Charm, with its own Ability requirement and effects.
As an Absorption is a worldview, and a worldview is the foundation of Sorcery, it is rare indeed for a sorcerer to change their School. However, though rare, it is not unknown for a sorcerer to experience crisis and epiphany which causes them to reconsider their foundations. This is a very significant shift, not to be taken lightly: the sorcerer loses their Absorption AND any Sorcery Charms. They must then adopt a new Absorption, and learn any Sorcery Charms again, going through any required steps and sacrifices. This shift does not inherently make a sorcerer forget their Spells, but not all spells are compatible with the approaches of all Schools: the Storyteller and player ought cooperate to determine what can be retained, what can be replaced with compatible alternatives, and what must be lost outright.