I’ve played staff once at CoW, and I absolutely loved it. It’s precisely my style of play: play to lift, I suspect it’s called now. You’re helping make other folks’ experience magical, as much as you are making your own, and it’s glorious. When I played staff at CoW18, I was inspired by the BBC TV show Porterhouse Blue. As Janitor, I was channeling David Jason’s Scullion just as hard as I could. That particular establishment is nowhere near as diverse as I’d want the CoW25 staff room to be, but that was my personal tone, right there. Making the CoW25 staff room shine will be down to the players in staff roles, and I am right here for that. I’ve said before that Head of School Brunet is going to be a sweetie; and that absolutely extends to how he’ll treat the staff in-game, and how I intend to work off-game. I want light and shade, I want professors students will turn to, and those they turn to avoid. I want professors with clear favourites in the student body, and those who treat everyone the same. Essentially – I want the teacher archetypes from every College film in existence. All at once. And larger than life. And afterwards, off-game, whatever the staffroom’s internal strifes and squabbles in-game, I want us to sit down and toast a fabulous run of CoW, where we made students’ time magical.
The role of professor
I’ve never played a professor, but golly I’ve seen some amazing work. There’s one thing you’ll be responsible for as professor, and a bunch of other stuff you can do if they want. Perhaps most importantly: you’ll set the tone. It’s down to you, players of the professors. As I’ve said, my Head is going to be a sweetie. Last year before retirement, memories to make and a last graduating year to bid a fond farewell. What the rest of the staff will be like is down to the players. I am so looking forward to what you bring.
You’ll definitely be running lessons
Lessons are the backbone of the college day, and it’s the professors that deliver them. Others have written better than I ever could about how to do it well. Many hands wrote this magnificent series which you should take a look at. Essentially – you need to run half a dozen or so 45 minute lessons. What you don’t have to do is lecture for 45 minutes. First up, it’s a load of prep, and secondly… Well, the best lessons are the ones where the students do the talking, the dialogue, the magic. Or they are in my experience anyway. My favourite moment was a ritual magic lesson where myself and another student simply went through our ritual materials, my most magical experience someone else’s ghostly possession at the top of the castle tower. Czocha has seen hundreds of lessons taught over the years by dozens of professors. There’s a wealth of material to draw from, and we have your back if you need help, but this is also an opportunity to deliver the new definitive lesson.
You might opt in to…. Running a club.
There’ll be plenty of space to exercise your characters’ enthusiasms with students who share them. Outside of lessons, you might want to take a hand in organising a club for duellists, or keeping an eye on the pranksters, the performers, or the Fireball Dragon players. This isn’t new; professors have been helping students explore what interests them out of class for ages. At CoW25, club challenges are the Sophomores’ chance to show their mettle.
You might opt in to… Replacing the Head.
Czocha has never had a Head stand down before. It redoubles the theme of endings, and the competition to replace my character is something new for CoW. The successful candidate might be one of the current Czocha staff, or maybe a Visiting Professor, but by the end of this CoW; there’ll be a new Head of School. I am really looking forward to this, and I hope some of the many fine folk I’ve loved playing alongside will be tempted to Czocha for this new experience.
You might opt in to… Helping with graduation trials.
Graduation trials are down to the organisers. There’ll be some crew roles involved, and they’ll run them out. However, you might want your background or contacts or family to be an important part of a trial. Do drop us a line if you want a more part of the Seniors’ defining experience of this CoW.
You might opt in to… Being a House Monitor
There’s two Monitors per House. They’re the staff members who the students from each house turn to first. Whether you’re helpful or not is down to you. When I was a Junior in Faust my Monitor was terrifying.
You might be an Assistant or Visiting Professor…
If that seems like a lot, then maybe sign up as an Assistant Professor. You could help out another’s lessons, maybe lead on one? It’s a neat way of splitting the responsibility, and roleplaying as a pair. You might also take some other role – school counsellor, head healer, or somesuch – and make that the core of your game.
A unique spin on professoring at CoW25 is the Visiting Professor. This would be ideal for a player who just doesn’t want to get involved in pre-play. There’s the idea of a Prof who has arrived for this weekend, knows no-one, and is simply here to aim at the new Head role. That kind of character might also be offering Seniors jobs elsewhere, or be involved deeply in a Graduation Trial. Or there’s the Visiting Professor who’s been called in recently to replace a longstanding member of the Czocha community who has met a Mysterious End. There’s only a few Visiting Professor spots, and every one involves working closely with the organisers on your background, but I think it’s a fascinating opportunity for something new.
One last thing…
As well as a pack of professors, someone will be Kasztelan. They’ll have the Janitor’s old responsibilities of keeping the Book of Points, and the Safety of the School. I absolutely loved being Janitor, I made friends forever simply by being grumpy and stomping round the school just slowly enough to not-catch those players who didn’t want to be caught. There’s a bit about how I did it here. They’ll also have the Gauntlet to run; a challenge for Juniors. The organisers will help there, as will I. What this new role will be like in play I have no idea. I am looking forward to running the school with them as my right hand.