CoW 25: Professor Percival Brunet, Headmaster

Earlier this year, I was asked to be head of the College of Wizardry for its 25th run. I ‘ve written about loving CoW12 as a Junior, frothed about CoW18 as janitor and talked about the role of Janitor itself. I’ve been a larper as player and crew member for ages, and this is a special responsibility. A couple of folk asked me “What’s your vision?, a question I must admit I wasn’t expecting.

So I’ve written this.

“Graduation is a time for endings and new beginnings. Those of you in your Senior year will – we trust – be leaving us this weekend. You will – I hope – have fond memories of your time at Czocha. Perhaps not of your Seniors’ challenges this weekend, but of the rest of your time. You might be thinking of your next step, your future career, or your relationships here. Some of you will have found fast friendships, friendships that will last a lifetime. Others will leave college flings behind. Sophomores may choose to compete for the role of Prefect of their House. Any not standing, and all Juniors, will be those who do the selection.”

Professor Percival Brunet, Headmaster, Czocha college of wizardry

I’m extraordinarily fond of College of Wizardry. I’ve met amazing larpers there, learned so much about larp, and have such stories to tell. Which is why I larp. For me, College of Wizardry (CoW) games are not so much about magic, or magical creatures, but about relationships, and how they change in college. The films I watched before I went in were Mean Girls, The Craft and Dead Poets Society and the characters I met were some of those characters. Which sounds a bit serious. Then again, you are dressed up pretending to be wizards. It’s massive fun.

I was extraordinarily proud to be asked to be Head, and I’m hugely looking forward to working with the new CoW producers. Most College of Wizardry events are about beginnings; this one will be about endings. The theme is Graduation. The Seniors are leaving. The Sophomores are stepping up. Juniors are working out where they’ll fit next year. There’s an absurd amount of stories to tell. Some are darker – you might call it trauma-gowning. Some are joyful – your characters are finding their feet, and growing into themselves. It’s up to you.

Mr Collins, Janitor, CoW 18, with the house cup. (Photo by Kamil Wędzicha)

Like every College of Wizardry, there’s Lessons, House Points and a Leavers’ Ball. Lessons are still places where player-students and player-staff make magic together, in classes for the 5 paths of study. House Points are still the currency of victory as the 5 Houses compete. All player-students are members of a House; some will choose to play for points, and some to play to lose them. (I remember one student from my turn as Janitor at CoW18 who showed up so much they were marked “again” in the Book of Points.) For some characters, the Leavers’ Ball might be their first date with a partner-for-life, for others it’ll be a bittersweet last dance with their partner-for-college. (For those like me, the Leavers’ Ball will be an irrelevance, because your character Doesn’t Do That. It’s up to you.)

In this College of Wizardry, there’s also Graduation and Prefect Selection. Each Senior will face a final challenge. The idea is: the drama of final exams, without the stress, in your House group, not on your own. There’ll be a Graduation Ceremony, players can pretty much choose their outcome if they want to or let the organisers know if they want to be truly tested. Sophomores can sometimes feel a little left out at CoW; not this one. They can choose to run for Prefect, however their House decides they do that, or to help someone else, and they’ll still have their Junior mentee to guide through College life. Juniors will be starting their journey with the help of their mentor; maybe supporting their chosen Sophomore to become Prefect, maybe supporting a Senior through the challenge. Most importantly, they’ll be growing their own friendships, rivalries and magical knowledge as their first year ends.

One more thing…

“I have one last announcement to make. As some of you will know, I also have an ending. I am retiring, and my successor will be found here this weekend.  It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be Head of this venerable institution, and I wish all of those who seek the Headship the very best of luck.”

Professor Percival Brunet, Headmaster, Czocha college of wizardry
House Faust, CoW 12, fabulous folk who taught me more about larp than I’d learned in any weekend ever. (Photo by Defy Gravity Photography)

I said CoW25 is about endings, and something that’s never ended at a CoW before is the Headship. This means that, as well as their usual teaching, Professors might want to run for head in a genuine competition run by the Kaszteltan. To add to that, Professors from outside will be visiting Czocha, to run for the position of Head themselves, to help teach, and to help with Senior challenges. It’s a whole new role, and a whole new opportunity for creativity, in collaboration with the CoW organiser team.

So that’s it. A College of Wizardry about endings, with new challenges for everyone, and a new Headmaster at the Leavers’ Ball. With the drama of exams without the stress of failing, unless you want to sign up to that, and a genuine competition to become Prefect or Head if you want it.

I hope you join me there. It’s going to be magic.

(Tickets are here: )

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