CoW 25: Juniors

Magical Defense lesson, my Junior year, CoW12. Credit to Cryssie Jade / Defy Gravity Photography. 

Every College of Wizardry is magical. It’s a larp about life in a magical college, about that particular college experience. It’s in a castle, so the backdrop is magical. The people are magical. Everything your character studies is magical.

If you’ve not done College of Wizardry before, it starts with Casting. You’ll choose whether to be given a character to portray or write your own. You’ll choose your favourite House, Path, and Club. Your House is your team for the House Cup, and all the House Points you earn are for them. Your Path is the sort of witchard you’re expecting to be, and the lessons you’ll be in. Your Club are the folk you share interests with. That might sound a lot, but it’s all detailed here; https://witchards.com/czocha/ and it’s what sets you up to have a magical time.

 You also choose what year you want to play. Junior, Sophomore, or Senior. (That’s first year, second year or third year if you’re a Brit.) 

At CoW 25, the Juniors have nearly done their first year at Czocha. They ’re already in Houses, they know their Path, they’ve probably joined a Club. They’ve done some lessons, although they don’t know it all. The year isn’t quite over yet, though. They’ve got a stack of stuff to do before school’s out for the summer. Four big things alongside the relationships, rivalries, and dreams, your character will bring to the event. 

Lessons

As a Junior, you’ll get 12 lessons and they’re the backbone of your time at Czocha. Depending on your path, you’ll study 6 from: Alchemy, Arithmancy, Beastology, Conflux Studies, Herbology, Invocation, Magical Defence, Magical Theory, Mind Magic, Ritual Magic, Runic Magic and Technomancy. (You don’t have to go to lessons. I think I skipped at least one when I played a Junior, and went to study Ritual Magic instead.) It’s very much up to the Professor exactly how a lesson works, but the best ones for me were as far away from lectures as you can imagine. Everyone talking, everyone involved, everyone active. It’s College, not school, after all. I doubt I ever took a note, but I got totally into it, asked questions, answered questions, did practical magic, the lot. It’s a combination of making it up, and following the professor’s lead. Obviously, you can also show your rivals up, play the swot, goof about at the back. Every college trope you can imagine. Lessons can be an absolute blast, and if they aren’t, skip’em. Tell’em I said so.

Junior year confirmations

Professor Percival Brunet. His hat.

It’s the end of your first year, and you gotta pass. But let’s not even think about written exams. This CoW has a great way of confirming you’ve passed. It’s really simple. Get three professors to sign you off. That’s it. Sounds a bit tricky, maybe? Well, there’s one or two Professors attached to your House, the House Monitors, and they won’t let you fail unless you actively want them to. That’s one. My character is a proper lovely fellow, and they’ll sign anyone through. (There’s a story from my real life here.) You’re bound to find one of your lessons is just perfect for you, and that professor is bound to sign you off. ( Unless, of course, you want to make it harder by playing up, goofing out in class, whatever. ) Easy, then. The really clever bit – you have a Mentor. A sophomore whose responsibility it is to help you pass. You will not be alone in this. A very excellent roleplayer I know felt – I think – a little alone at Czocha. Your Mentor has a specific task to help you with, and you’re guaranteed to have company, whether you arrive here alone or with friends. 

Kasztelan’s Gauntlet 

The Kasztelan is half-Janitor, half-spirit of the castle, and at the end of the year they challenge the Juniors. It’s House vs House, with House Points for the successful. I won’t tell you what the challenges will be, but there’ll be items to find around the castle, creatures to meet, and magical ability to show. (And performing magic is what you’ll learn in Lessons, so you’ll have practice.) It’s part scavenger hunt, part puzzle solving, part roleplayed performance. There’s a whole load of variation here, and no matter what, you’ll have something to offer your team and your House. Every House has a personality and there’s more here: https://witchards.com/czocha/houses/ 

Club Challenges

Like many a college, Czocha has clubs and societies. Arts, pranksters, sportsters, duellists and more. At the end of term, they show off, perform something special. A Memorable Deed. Kinds like the Hacks at MIT, for some: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacks_at_the_Massachusetts_Institute_of_Technology, maybe? There’ll be a vote for Most Memorable Memorable Deed during the Ball, and an announcement at the end of the event. What ends up being done here is down to the players. Performance, jape, moment in a match, move in a duel… Pull the stunt of your college life.

And on top of all that…

There’s the Leavers’ Ball – will a date be important to you, or will you ignore the whole thing? Choosing the Headmaster – whoever they are, they’ll be in charge for the rest of your time at Czocha. Helping Seniors with their trials – will you bother? Does your character even like any of them? Fireball Dragon – the college sport, will you play or disdainfully ignore it? Will you form a rivalry that can only be settled by a Magical Duel? Stalk the corridors, the envy of the rest of your year? Break the rules and get away with it?  Break the rules and get caught? Gossip at mealtimes? Be talked about? All the stuff you can imagine, from every college movie and magical film you’ve ever seen.

That’s the Junior experience. It’s where I’d go if I’d never been to a CoW before. And if I had – there’s so much new here, it’s a different thing altogether. And if you want in, tickets are here: https://witchards.com/marketplace/tickets/25th-classic-college-of-wizardry/

PS. My real life.

When I was a cocky 17-yr old, I applied to college. Showed up at my first choice, got turned down. Next day, two other colleges offered me an interview. Four academics firing questions. One handed me a box with a butterfly in it (Or a moth? I was never very good at insects) and asked why there was a v-shaped cut in its wing. I started talking about avoiding predators, mating behaviour, and whatever came into my head. A fortnight or so later, they offered me a place. Three *years* later, I’d scraped a 2:2. (If you’re not a Brit, that’s a pass, but it’s not a good pass.) There were three in my college in my year in my subject. I asked the tutor who’d accepted us why they did so. He looked at me, and said “Well, I took Martin because I thought he’d do very well. And I took you and Clare for light relief.”

Clare ended up with a Phd from work at London Zoo, so she did very well despite his prediction. I hope the light relief of having me about too was worth it. His name was Dr Peter Brunet. I figured Percival was more wizardy, but my character is named after him. Lovely man, changed my life.

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