Please direct any correspondence about this guide, the College of Wizardry events or the Witchard Society to [email protected].
Join the world of magic
College of Wizardry is a live action roleplaying game set in a world just like ours, except for one thing – magic is real. People with magical powers, commonly known as witchards, live among us, hidden from the mundane society. In Europe they have organized themselves into societies called Confluxes, each with their own culture and laws. Some families value old blood and honour the ancient traditions, while others embrace the possibilities of combining magic with modern life or advocate for equality for mundaneborn witchards.
Some things don’t change though, whether you’re magical or mundane – young minds need schooling. This is why we welcome you to one of the finest institutions of the witchard society: Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Become a witchard
During the larp you will take on the role of one of the people living and studying at Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The education takes three years, which means you can play a Junior, a Sophomore or a Senior. Each student belongs to one of Czocha’s five houses: Libussa, Durentius, Faust, Molin and Sendivogius. Each House is a community where you find friends, support and guidance, and while the Juniors arrive without a House, they will be sorted during the game. Your character will also be assigned a path that determines which subjects you’ll take, and the five paths are Guardian, Curse Breaker, Artificer, Cryptozoologist and Healer. Some players also portray the professors and other Staff members of the school. You can read more about different kinds of characters in the Character Types section, and about Houses and Paths under the section called Czocha College.
Before the larp, you will be assigned a prewritten character with personal history and ideas for what to do during the game. You have the option to modify your character and expand on their background in cooperation with the organizers. You will also be able to connect with other participants in advance and find friends, rivals and other relations for your character. You are free to prepare as much or as little as you like – the most important thing is that your character is fun to play for you. You can read more in the Character Creation section.
Go on adventures
College of Wizardry tells the story of the first three days of a new school year. There are lessons in many different subjects, club activities, making potions, magical duels, sorting of the Juniors and much more. You can meet magical creatures, explore the school and solve mysteries. Finally, the game ends on Saturday night with a Grand Opening Ball where the House points are counted and the Czocha Trophy awarded to the winning House. You will also meet many new people and make friends for life.
College of Wizardry is a sandbox larp, which means that while there is a general structure to the game, none of it is mandatory. Attending classes and other activities will provide you with a lot of things to do, but you’re also free to bring in your own stories and adventures. We aim for a collaborative playstyle where everyone is free to choose the kind of experience they’re most interested in. There are some rules to the game, but you will be taught everything you need to know in the briefings on site. If you want to have a look in advance, you can find the rules in the section Rules of the Larp and guidance on how to play the larp in the section Playing Style.
Live in a magical castle
Czocha Castle is a beautiful 14th century castle in southwestern Poland that nowadays operates as a hotel. This means that during the event you will sleep in the castle, and all the meals are provided for you. The castle has all the usual commodities of a hotel, such as bedsheets and towels, and we are able to accommodate for many different needs, be it a quiet room or a special diet. There are also rumours about moving bookshelves hiding secret passageways! You can read more about accommodation in the section Czocha Castle.
The larp tells the story of the first three days of the new school year at Czocha College. Playing goes on continuously from Thursday evening to Saturday evening, though there are a few hours each night with no plots going on, so everyone can get some sleep.
Thursday, before the larp starts
After arriving at the castle you will have time to find your rooms, pick up your robes and ties and get settled. The event starts with a short welcome speech, after which you will be divided into groups for briefings. There you will learn everything you need to know about the castle and practicalities, rules and game mechanics, emotional safety and spellcasting.
After the briefings there is a Path workshop where you will meet your closest classmates and talk about what studying together is going to be like. Lastly, depending on your year, you have another workshop with your House or the other Juniors. Meanwhile, Staff members have their own workshops. After the workshops there is free time to get into costume and prepare for the larp to start.
The larp starts with an introduction speech by the Head of School. The Juniors are welcomed to the school and older students encouraged to find out which of the newcomers would be the best fit for their House. After the welcome dinner the Juniors get a tour around the school while the Houses and the Staff have their first meetings of the year. After that there’s a lot of mingling between the students, catching up after the holidays and getting to know the new students.
It’s time to get back to work. The day starts with the first classes of the new school year, and some students work hard while others concentrate on fun and pranks. Many of the clubs also have their first meetings of the year. Everyone tries to keep their eyes on the Juniors and convince their Prefects that their favourites are the right ones for the House. On Friday evening the Juniors are sorted into Houses, they are assigned their Sophomore mentors and initiation rituals are going on all around the school.
The classes continue and the Juniors are getting used to their new Houses with Sophomores’ and Seniors’ guidance. Slowly everyone starts turning their minds towards the Grand Opening Ball, and those who are still missing a ball date might turn to their House matchmakers for help. After the school day and dinner the school quiets down for a while as everyone prepares for the party.
Finally, the much awaited Grand Opening Ball starts, and everyone arrives in the Knights’ Hall to dance and enjoy the night. This is when conflicts burst out, secret rituals are conducted and love is in the air. The studious ones might still scramble for last House points before the Book of Points closes for the night. At the end of the night the results are announced, losing speeches held, and lastly, the Czocha Trophy is awarded for the first time this school year to the new winning House and received with a winning speech. The larp ends with the singing of the school hymn.
After the game there is an optional structured debriefing to process your experiences, and the afterparty continues late into the night.
Before the event you will receive the full schedule with more events such as club meetings, extracurricular lessons and the sorting. Details may vary slightly from run to run, but this is approximately what you can expect to happen.
Player buses arrive from Berlin
Briefings: Castle, rules and game mechanics, emotional safety, spellcasting
Free time to get into costume
The larp begins
House meetings, Staff meeting, Junior tour
The Grand Opening Ball
Losing and winning speeches
The larp ends
Player buses leave
One of the cornerstones of larping is the divide between ingame, things happening inside the story, and offgame (also out of game), things happening in real life. For example, ingame you might despise one of your classmates, while offgame this person is actually your best friend.
Everything in the larp will be made as realistic and immersive as possible to help you stay in character at all times. To produce this 360° reality there is of course a lot of work behind the scenes, so if you see something offgame such as mundane electronics or boxes full of scenography, simply ignore it. Staying in character also means we ask you not to check the messages on your phone or talk about real life things in ingame areas, as this breaks the immersion for other people.
The larp goes on around the clock from Thursday evening to Saturday night with no breaks in between, though there will be no major scenes between 02:00 and 07:00 so everyone can get some sleep. If you ever need to take a break from your character, there are offgame areas you can go to. This way we are all keeping the story alive together.
We are a large group of people in an old, beautiful castle. Always follow these rules and take care of yourself, the people around you as well as the location.
- The castle has many dark corridors, narrow aisles and steep staircases. Don’t run, and watch your step!
- The castle is very old and many things in it are expensive. Don’t do anything that might damage the castle. If something breaks, let the organizers know immediately.
- If you go out in the dark, always take a light source with you.
- Don’t use candles or open fire anywhere without explicit permission from the organizers.
- Don’t use anything that can damage castle floors or is hard to clean up. This includes ink, fake blood and glitter.
We want to create a safe and welcoming environment for you to experience the world of magic and to try out new things. All events and interactions are opt-in, which means you can always choose whether you participate or not. If you as a player are uncomfortable with any situation, you can do something different or leave without having to give an explanation. To support this, there is a set of special phrases and hand signals you will learn in the workshops. It is also always allowed to step out of character for a while and discuss how to improve the situation with your co-players. The players are more important than the story!
If you need to take a break at any time, feel overwhelmed or just want someone to talk to, you’re free to visit the organizer room for some friendly faces, an energizing snack or a quiet corner to sit down for a while. There will also be an Emotional Wellbeing Officer available throughout the event, with whom to process your experience and feelings, and to find solutions if you’re having a hard time playing for any reason. For many people, College of Wizardry can be an emotional and intense experience, but there will always be support available if you need it.
There are many school rules at Czocha College, and most of them are fun for pranksters and troublemakers to break. Some, however, are NOT to be broken. The following rules apply both ingame and offgame, and must always be followed.
- Wands are never stolen. If you find a lost wand, bring it to Lost & Found.
- You can’t enter the common room of another House without an invitation.
- No cheating in the game of House points by altering the Book of Points or the points counter.
The rest of the rules are purely ingame, and following them depends on your character. Breaking them might get you point deductions or detention, but it might also lead to fun adventures!
- The curfew is at midnight. Students caught outside their own room or their common room without a hall pass will be punished.
- Robes and ties must be worn at all times during school hours.
- Secret passages are off limits to students.
- Juniors are not allowed in the Dark Forest.
- Students are forbidden to use combat magic or other dangerous spells unsupervised.
Casting spells happens simply by waving your wand and saying a magical-sounding word. There are no spell lists or specific gestures for you to memorize: if you make it look and sound like a spell, it is a spell. If the spell isn’t self-explanatory, it’s also a good idea to accompany it with an in-character explanation of what you’re trying to do: “I shall turn you to stone. Petrifio!”
The target always gets to choose how to interpret the effect of the spell. It might work as the spellcaster intended, only work for a little while, or not work at all. Sometimes it might even have a totally unexpected effect! You will learn how this works in practice in the pre-game workshops.
A magical duel is a competition in which two witchards take turns casting spells at each other. When your opponent casts an attacking spell, you can either take the hit, block, dodge, counter or otherwise react to it, and then cast your own spell. You are not allowed to cast the same spell twice, so if you can’t think of any new spells, you lose.
“Laugh it up fool! Gigglo!”
“Hahaha! Normalis! Ahh, that’s better. Now, fall asleep! Dormirium!”
“What?! Eh, nooo. Zzzzzzzz.”
There are no rules for how much damage you do or how many spells you can take, as the point is to create interesting scenes and drama. For this, it is often a good idea to have a quick out of game chat with your opponent about how you would like your duel to go. Also, remember that the Staff will always win a duel against a student, unless they specifically choose not to. In any case, make it grand and fun to watch!
You might come across all kinds of potions and magical liquids. In general most potions will be safe to drink, but please still exercise caution. Don’t drink anything in the Alchemy class without the Professor’s permission.
If you create your own potions, only use ingredients that are safe to drink. Also label your bottles properly, so that other people are also able to act out the effects of the potions. Please be careful of drinking potions if you’re unsure of their contents, especially if you have allergies. It’s always allowed to just fake drinking for any reason. Safety comes first!
Artifacts, runes and other kinds of magic
All enchanted items and other sources of magic follow the same principle. The creator of the item, rune or spell is in charge of conveying what they want it to do, and the target decides the actual effect. So, if you give your classmate a protective charm, make sure they know what it is supposed to do, and then it is up to the wearer whether it works or not. It might even have some totally unexpected effect–you’re still only students after all!
Fighting, Injury and Death
Sometimes a bit of fighting or getting hurt can be a great source of drama. Physical brawls are rare in the Witchard Society, since they’re considered uncivilized and mundane. Magic duels, on the other hand, are a popular way to settle disputes! Either way, just make sure you leave your opponent time to react and make it look cool rather than realistic.
When it comes to injuries, you have full control over what happens to you. If you get hit by an aggressive spell, you decide how badly hurt you are. Like in any spellcasting, the target always decides what happens. Getting hurt can make for a great story though, and recovering happens quickly–find a Healer student and ask for their help! After a dramatic fight you can also visit the makeup team to give you some bruises or a nasty scar.
Death is not a central part of the larp, and your character can’t die unless you as a player decide so. No matter how dire the situation, you can always choose to get severely hurt and create play out of it until you are healed. Plots involving death are generally discouraged, as they are very hard to make opt-in and may trigger painful memories for other players. Therefore, if you wish to play on death, talk about it carefully with the organizers and your co-players in advance.
Supporting Characters, also known as Non-Player Characters or NPCs, are short-term characters meant to improve your playing experience. College of Wizardry has a dedicated helper team playing various roles throughout the event. They can be castle goblins taking care of the school, magical creatures in the Dark Forest, famous witchards teaching extra classes or mysterious strangers in the tavern. However, engaging with them is optional, so you can always choose not to interact with them if you don’t want to.
Each run of College of Wizardry will have a unique cast of predetermined Supporting Characters with their own plotlines you can get involved in. You will also be able to request your own scenes related to these characters in advance. For example, if one of the Supporting Characters is a visiting Fireball Dragon recruiter looking for new talents and your character is really good at Fireball, you can submit a request for them to reach out to your character and talk about career opportunities. You can also submit requests during the game, if you’d like one of the Supporting Characters to appear again for another scene.
You are also allowed to request one-off characters for single scenes, but as we have a limited amount of time and helpers, we will prioritise requests by Staff members and Prefects for their class and House related scenes. In some cases it may also be possible to use your idea for a single scene in a longer plotline. You can also request for your character to receive letters from their family members and other people outside of the school.
Spirits of Czocha
These Supporting Characters in easily recognizable brown robes are spirits bound to serve the castle, and they are an easy way for the organizers to move around the castle and do all kinds of practical tasks without standing out. Spirits of Czocha are immune to all magic, cannot be communicated with and cannot be moved physically. Sometimes they might also stand in a doorway, which means the area beyond can’t be used right now. If you see a Spirit of Czocha in a brown robe, simply ignore it and let it do its job.
To capture all the magical people and experiences at Czocha, we have a dedicated photography and video team. Horseradish Studio and their colleagues of professional cinematographers, sound engineers and art photographers have world-leading expertise in embedding in immersive experiences. By participating you agree to being photographed and filmed, and during the event there will be group photos taken of all the Houses. During the ball you also have an opportunity for a personal portrait. The photographers are very discreet and wear witchard clothing to blend in, so you can simply ignore them entirely. They are prohibited from documenting any sensitive or private moments, and you’re always allowed to ask them to leave the situation.
This also means that during the event you don’t need to take photos of your own. Please don’t use cell phones, cameras or other mundane devices in public areas, as this breaks the immersion for other players.
In the mundane society, the reality is as it is in our world. Some countries have reached a reasonably high level of equality, while in others marginalized identities have it extremely rough. Witchard Society is different though: magical ability can surface in anyone, and that makes everyone equal regardless of their looks, body, sexuality, gender, beliefs or ethnicity. The thought of a non-male Head of School being any less skilled than a male one is considered ridiculous, and there are numerous well-known and powerful witchards of colour. No one will raise an eyebrow at two young men going to the Grand Opening Ball together, and genderqueer and transgender individuals are common and wholly accepted.
Of course, this does not mean there is no inequality or bullying in the witchard world. Magical lineage means a lot, and many old hexborn families will always look down on mundaneborns. There is also a lot of prejudice and fear around those infected with lycanthropy, and being outed as a werewolf will certainly get you disgusted looks from many. However, mundane concepts such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, body shaming, ageism or ableism have no place in the magical society, and the mundanes are often considered quite barbaric for having such a limited world view. Czocha has a Europe-centric outlook and cultural background, but it is an international school, and Witchard Society is far more varied and complex than what is encapsulated at the castle.
We want College of Wizardry to be a magical experience for all genders, identities and backgrounds, and therefore we ask that you do not play on any real world prejudices. We encourage playing on dark and difficult themes, but within the context of a magic school. You are also free to play any gender or identity you want as long as you do it respectfully, and all characters are written as gender-neutral.
We take great pride in the growing diversity of our community and production team, and College of Wizardry is expressly in support of human rights and freedoms. We oppose any infringements on these rights, and engage in freedom of speech for personal expression, as well as take action in opposition of any persecution of “non-normative” groups.
The event is not political or religious, but we respect your right to your beliefs and convictions. To be clear, we stand with and actively strive to educate ourselves about equality and marginalised groups, including but not limited to feminism, people of color and LGBTQIA. We do not accept racists, neo-nazis or people active in hate speech or xenophobic transgressions. We reserve the right to deny them access to our events.
Czocha is located in the southwestern corner of Poland, close to the borders of Germany and Czech Republic. To make your traveling easier, we will organize player buses from Tegel and Schönefeld airports in Berlin. The trip takes about 3-4 hours. The buses leave for Czocha on Thursday morning, arriving before the briefings and workshops start, and return to Berlin on Sunday morning. Tickets to the buses can be bought separately, and the exact schedule can be found in the ticket shop.
Other nearby cities to fly to are for example Wrocław and Prague, and from there you can get to the castle by carpooling or train. You can look for travel companions in the larp’s Facebook group. The closest train station is in Lubań, and a taxi from there to the castle takes about 20 minutes.
Players sleep mostly in 3-5 person rooms. A few single and double rooms are reserved for participants with specific health or accessibility needs. You can either choose to sleep in an ingame room, where you will be staying with people in the same House or Year as you, or an offgame room that will not be a part of the playing area.
We will ask for your needs and preferences in advance via a Player Form, and the sleeping arrangements will be published a few days before the event in order to accommodate for possible last minute changes. After that it’s perfectly alright to switch roommates (as long as everyone involved agrees), but please inform the organizers if you do so.
Each House also has a common room; your home away from home. They can only be entered by members of that House, or those invited by a House member. This is both to make sure the Prefects and other students staying there have a better chance at getting some sleep, but also to ensure that any prank involving a House common room needs to involve at least one insider.
Czocha serves three hot meals every day, with long tables set up in the dining halls. All meals are buffet style, so you can simply take what you prefer from the tables. The kitchen provides vegetarian and vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free dishes, and is attentive to allergies. If you have a special diet of allergy, please mention it when you fill out your Player Form and we will do our best to accommodate you.
The castle also has a tavern serving all kinds of enchanted drinks, open after the classes are over for the day. It’s a place to relax, hang out with friends, do homework and enjoy a glass of your favourite alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage. The tavern accepts both Euro and Polish Złoty, cash only. Please note that being visibly drunk is not tolerated at the event, and tavern Staff will refuse to sell alcohol to people who have had a bit too much.
Every participant in College of Wizardry has a character, the witchard persona they will portray at the larp. Before the event you will be asked for your preferences for Year, House, Path and club of your character, and you can also apply to play a Staff member or a Prefect. The organizers will then assign the characters in a way that maintains a balance between different character groups. This means that you might not get your top choice in everything, but we’ll try to prioritise things that are the most important to you.
Alongside your Year, House, Path and club you will also receive a character sheet that includes more information about the person you’re going to become at the larp. This is everything you need to play the larp, but you are also allowed to make changes to your character or even rewrite it completely. All edits must be submitted to the character coordinators for approval, and they will check they are in line with the overall vision and existing lore. They can also offer feedback and ideas for how to improve your character. You are free to add or change as much as you want, as the point of the character sheet is just to give you ideas for who you would like to be at the larp.
The character sheet consists of the following parts:
- Description. This is your character’s personal history, telling you where the character comes from and how they became the person they are today.
- Light and dark. Each character has a positive and negative side. The conflict between these creates a good starting point for a meaningful inner conflict for the character and gives you options for where to take their story.
- Questions. What more is there except what’s written on your character sheet? These questions will help you to think a bit deeper and create more history and personality for your character.
- Ideas for what to do. Suggestions for things to actually do during the larp. Do you want to cause trouble, solve a mystery or maybe defeat your enemy in a duel? If you can’t decide by yourself, these are a good starting point.
- Ideas for relations. Examples of interesting relationships your character could have. You can look for such people either before the larp in the Facebook groups or during the workshops on site.
Relations between the characters are created by the players. Before the game there will be many groups on Facebook for different character groups such as Juniors, Curse Breakers, House Sendivogius or Dueling Club, where you can meet your fellow players in advance. Your own groups are the people you will spend the most time with during the larp, so they are your best chance to find friends from your former school, heated rivalries, or a crush you would like to take to the opening party. In addition, you will receive access to Czochabook, an in-character social media for witchards, where you can post as your character and get to know the other characters before the larp. All additional character development and relation-making is purely optional, but it can greatly enrich your experience. If you don’t want to plan anything beforehand, there will be time for finding relations during the workshops before the larp starts.
Remember that there is no wrong way to play out your witchard persona. Each character sheet is just a base on top of which you will build a unique person, and only you know how they think and act. It’s always alright to take your character in a new direction, even during the larp, if you find out the current one doesn’t work out for you. Your character is your own, and we hope you have fun with it!
People at Czocha are as varied as can be, but the character you’re cast as can have a big impact on your experience at the larp. In particular, your Year decides your main social group: Sophomores and Seniors already belong to a House, while the Juniors are sorted on the second day of the school year. Alternatively, if you’d like to have more of a say in what happens in the larp, you can also play a Prefect or a Staff member.
You can read more about Houses, Paths and clubs in the section Czocha College.
The new ones at the school, Juniors, need to find their place in a new environment. Most have just finished their basic magical education, and are now excited to see the world of Czocha with all its possibilities. There are lots of rules to learn, places to explore and friends to make, as it’s a fresh start for everyone. Some want to make a good impression in class and gain the favour of the Professors, others want to impress the older students by participating in the craziest dares. Most importantly, everyone wants to find out which house they would like to belong to, as it will be a huge part of their life at Czocha.
Each Junior will go through the Sorting to find out which House will be their home for the next three years. Their first task is to get to know the Houses, talk to as many people as possible and make sure they make the right impression on the right people. Prefects are of course the ones making the final choice, but the opinions of their Sophomores and Seniors also carry a lot of weight and a recommendation from one of them might be the key to your dream House. On Friday the sorting interviews are held, and one by one the Juniors go meet the Prefects. The interview will be short, and its contents are a well-guarded secret. So, while you can try to affect your sorting, ultimately the choice is not yours, and you might even end up somewhere you didn’t expect at all. It’s nothing to worry about though, as any House will welcome you as their own and become your new family.
Play a Junior if you want to:
- Enter Czocha being inexperienced, wide-eyed and open to options
- Learn only very little of the world lore beforehand
- Go through the Sorting and have your House chosen for you
Sophomores are starting their second year at Czocha. They are no longer the new kids, and they’re bursting to use their new authority and freedom. Finally they have new Juniors to act as role models for, and for the first time they are allowed to enter the Dark Forest on their own. Of course it’s not all fun and games, and soon the new, more challenging classes will show you that you still have a lot to learn. Sophomores are in the middle of the school in many ways: they’re not quite as clueless as the Juniors, but they also haven’t been around as long as the Seniors.
Sophomores love to test the new Juniors in various ways to find out which ones would be the best fit for their house, and try to influence the Prefects to get the ones they want. The choices mean a lot to them, because each Sophomore will become a mentor to one of their newly chosen housemates. How are they going to guide and mold them? Will they help them with homework or show them all the secret passages? It’s also time to step up and take more charge in your clubs and other social groups. Your second year is the perfect time to start making a name for yourself, test your limits and make sure everyone in the school knows who you are.
Play a Sophomore if you want to:
- Belong to a House from the beginning, but still be on the inexperienced side
- Have a lot of freedom to explore and rebel
- Become a mentor to a freshly sorted Junior
For Seniors, it’s their third and last school year, the time to leave their mark on history. They’re at the top of the school hierarchy and proud of it, ready to put cocky underclassmen in their place. They are nearing the end of their studies, but there is still an entire year before they’re fully ready to leave the school and to start a career in their respective fields. Some might have a clear vision of what they want to do in the future, others are still struggling to find their calling. The points game can also get heated as the Seniors want to ensure its their House that holds the Trophy for the entire school year before they graduate.
Being a Senior is not only about power, but also about responsibility. It’s your job to make sure that your Prefects find the best possible Juniors and the newcomers learn what it means to be a member of your House. Traditions must be passed on. You will shape the culture of your House, and often you’ll be the first one your Prefects will turn to when they need a task taken care of. You have the chance to set a precedent for those who come after you, whether as a rule-abiding model student or a scoundrel of epic proportions. What kind of a legacy will you leave behind?
Play a Senior if you want to:
- Be at the end of your studies
- Have a lot of knowledge on how the school and the world works
- Take up responsibility in your House
Each of the five houses is led by two Prefects. They’re Seniors chosen for the job for their exceptional qualities, each determined to prove their House is the best. They are the force pulling the House together and supporting its members through thick and thin, listening to their troubles and making sure everyone has things to do. They’re the students with the most power, but also with the most responsibilities.
- Figureheads of the house. Prefects are visible and memorable representatives of the house and reflect its values, each in their own way. They organize house meetings, divide tasks and ensure everyone feels included. They also take the House points game very seriously, and will go to great lengths to make sure their house wins the Czocha Trophy.
- Sorting. The Prefects have the honour and duty to decide which Junior goes to which house. They keep their eyes open and get information from their housemates, and on Friday they organize the sorting interviews and then sort the Juniors one by one. Of course, everyone is out to ensure they get the best, most suitable Juniors, and the competition can get fierce. After the sorting they also conduct the initiation rituals with the help of their House members.
- Curfew patrols. Students are not allowed to wander outside after curfew, and it’s the Prefects who patrol the halls and find any troublemakers who are out without a proper hall pass. This is the time when the Prefects are truly feared – no one wants to get caught!
- Winning and losing speeches. When the Grand Opening Ball ends, it’s time to announce the winners of the Czocha Trophy. The Prefects of each of the four losing houses will hold a losing speech, and finally, the winning house holds a winning speech. The speeches are short, memorable and raise the house spirit one last time before the game ends.
Playing a Prefect requires active planning and coordination before the larp with your house, other Prefects and Staff members. You’re in charge of the house culture, traditions and many other things. You can plan events, rituals, pranks, songs or anything else you want in order to make your House look like its members and set you apart from the others. It can be busy and chaotic at times, as everyone looks up to you and seeks your help, but you can always rely on your co-Prefect, the rest of the Prefect team and your House members. The organizers will also always be available to help you both before and during the game.
Play a Prefect if you want to:
- Lead your house, sort the Juniors and take responsibility
- Plan, coordinate and make decisions before the larp
- Be a playmaker other students will look up to
Professors and other Staff members are the backbone of the larp. With the leadership of the Head of School, they teach various magical subjects, organize extracurricular activities, and guide students to become extraordinary witchards. They are at the top of the school hierarchy, both loved and feared by the student body. Some of them act as Monitors for different Houses and Paths, being their closest contact to go to in case of trouble. They also have the power to give and take House points, so staying on their good side is crucial – they can assist you in a number of areas, but disrespect a Professor, and you might end up in detention! As Staff, you will have a big impact on the larp content and what kind of experiences the students will have, but also your own stories and relations to explore.
Staff players form a close-knit team that coordinates all kinds of matters related to running the school in the months leading up to the larp. They discuss the overall mood and vision, school rules, lesson plans, and much more. They can also plan extra activities and plotlines if they so wish. Playing Staff means being a playmaker and having more responsibilities than an average player, but help and support from the organizers is always available.
Play Staff if you want to:
- Play an adult character in a position of authority
- Plan, coordinate and make decisions before the larp
- Run classes and other activities for students
Head of School
Headmistress, Headmaster, occasionally Headmastress or Headmystery. The Head of School leads the Staff, makes announcements from the balcony and has a lot of say in how the school is run. How they want to play the game is highly up to the individual, but they’re ultimately in charge of everything that happens in their school. Because of their active role in the planning and Staff coordination, they’re chosen in advance of the general casting.
Often the Head’s right hand and a memorable figure at school, the Janitor’s main task is being in charge of the Book of Points. They make sure the other Staff members record the points properly and update the points counters to reflect the current situation. Juniors get a tour around the castle from the Janitor and are their responsibility until they’re sorted.
Each Professor teaches a total of six 45-minute classes over two days in their specific subject. The contents of the classes are entirely up to you: there are lots of existing ideas to draw from, but you can also bring in something entirely new. Furthermore, Professors work in cooperation with the helper team, and will generally be prioritised when requesting props and non-player characters for their lessons.
Assistant Professors fulfill many different functions, and while they have the least status among staff, they also have the least set responsibilities. Sometimes they’re freshly graduated teacher’s assistants, sometimes invited experts holding extra classes on their specific subject. Because of the varying nature of the job, Assistant Professors can sometimes be replaced by other optional Staff positions such as Guardian, School Counselor or Librarian.
At College of Wizardry you will receive a pre-written character sheet containing the background and personality of the person you will portray at the larp. This is all you need in order to participate, but if you want, you can also modify and expand the character to your liking or write your own from scratch. All edits have to be accepted by the organizers, but as long as you stay within the limits of the lore, you have a ton of possibilities. Developing an interesting character that works well in a cooperative game like this can be challenging though, but these guidelines will help you in the process.
Pay attention to the setting
Each edition of College of Wizardry has its own vision and themes, and figuring out where your character fits in within those themes is a good starting point. For example, if the Head of School puts heavy emphasis on magical bloodlines and hierarchies, think about where your character stands. Are they a hexborn from a long, prestigious family line, an outspoken mundaneborn activist or a mixborn balancing between both worlds? Sometimes the best ideas are quite simple – if your concept is too far out there, you may have trouble not only conveying your vision to others but also having them engage with it. Fitting your character to the overall vision ensures you’re all playing the same game.
Also remember your place in the school hierarchy – even if your Junior character is an exceptional duellist, they’ll probably still lose to any Sophomore or Senior. Staff members, of course, are above all the students in both skill and authority. Use this hierarchy to your advantage, and find younger students to mentor, older students to admire and professors you particularly want to learn from.
Leave space for conflicts and growth
Students of Czocha are still young adults, looking for their place in the world. Think about what they’re good at, but also what they’re bad at. What do they want to achieve, what kind of challenges do they need to overcome? Are their parents pressuring them to take over their family business and marry someone suitable, but their dream is to become a Fireball Dragon star? Are they a scaredy-cat trying to get rid of their fears, so that they join the Guardian Order after graduation? Some conflicts are internal, some with other people or society, but all of them can offer a motivation for your character and help them grow.
When creating your character’s background, it’s tempting to add a bit too much. You don’t have to be a mysterious orphan adopted by a rich and powerful family who’s also a duelling champion, top student and secretly a werewolf. What makes the most memorable characters stand out in any story are their rich personalities and human flaws, not their supernatural traits. They are interesting because of their passion for the things they care about, the struggles they have to face and their relatable weaknesses. What is the story you want to tell with this character?
Villains need friends too
We know school life is not always only about friendships and homework. Czocha can also have its bullies, filthy rich elitists and arrogant jerks. Sometimes it can be a lot of fun to play a character like this, but it also comes with challenges. Bad guys still exist within the context of the school, with their own struggles, goals and weaknesses. A villain with a complex personality, perhaps even redeeming qualities, is so much more enjoyable to play and interact with than someone who just wants to see the world burn. Consent is also extremely important with any sort of negative play: don’t target anyone you’re not sure is okay with it.
Playing an unlikable character also puts you at risk of being left on your own, if you don’t plan for it in advance. Make sure you still have friends or allies you can count on, since being faced with constant contempt can be very tiring to play in the long run. The same goes for quiet or antisocial characters: it’s no fun brooding all alone, so make sure you have friends who want to drag you on adventures with them. Regardless of whether you’re playing a protagonist, an antagonist, or someone on the grey spectrum of morality, make sure your character isn’t alone with their cause, story, or internal struggles.
You’re not telling your character’s story alone, and other people’s characters can be a great inspiration. When other players start introducing their character concepts, look for possible relation hooks: maybe someone needs a sibling, a rival or a love interest? Think about what kind of relations you seek, and what can you offer others: Do you owe someone a favour? Does someone know your secret? Do you want to have a secret crush or a fiery rivalry on the Fireball Dragon pitch? Prioritise characters from the same Year, House, Path or club as yours, as those are the people you will most naturally spend time with. The castle is large, and bumping into someone by accident can be hard. Whatever you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to reach out to others – we’re all here to create stories together.
There are many different kinds of larps and larping cultures, each with their own official and unspoken rules. This section explains how to play College of Wizardry and how to aim for the best possible experience together.
Cooperation, not competition
College of Wizardry is based on the Nordic Larp tradition, in which the focus is on drama and co-creation. This is not a game to be won, but instead we all aim to support each other, share the spotlight and create great adventures together. Sometimes it’s absolutely worth it to lose a duel or botch an assignment in class–overcoming challenges makes for even better stories!
College of Wizardry is a sandbox larp, which means the school is just a framework within which you can create your own stories. There is no grand overarching plotline or a dramatic final battle, but instead countless personal stories co-created by everybody. Go to classes, attend clubs and extra lessons, get to know new people, get involved! You can freely explore different parts of the game and leave out those you’re not interested in. It’s actually impossible to experience it all at once anyway, so don’t be afraid of missing out on something!
Everything at Czocha works on the opt in principle, which means you’re free to choose what you want to participate in. Clubs and other activities–and even lessons–are there for you as a suggested schedule, but you are never obligated to attend any of them. If you as a player don’t want to do something, you don’t have to, even if the order comes from a Prefect or a Staff member. Opt in also means that your own plots should invite others, but not demand their attention. Choose the kind of adventure that suits you the best, and let the others do the same.
Fantastic before plausible
At Czocha, the experiences and magic come first, even if it sometimes means stretching the believable reality a little. If you as a Professor walk around after curfew and meet ten students on their way to the Dark Forest to do a ritual, never send them packing back to the castle. Join them and give them extra points if they achieve their goal, or give them a stern yelling, tell them they absolutely shouldn’t go to this one especially mysterious spot, and send them on their merry way. Our goal is to tell great stories together.
Play each other up
Sometimes your character is very different from your normal self or has skills you as a player don’t have. However, with the help of your co-players you can make anything come true. Play in a way that emphasizes the traits and abilities of other characters, and they will do the same to you. Ask the bookworm for help with homework, scurry out of the bully’s way, cheer for the Fireball Dragon star of your house. You should especially respect the Staff and the Prefects – they have the power at school and should be treated accordingly.
Communicate and ask for help
While we usually aim to keep up the immersion at all times, sometimes it is also wise to step out of game and talk with your co-player about how you want to continue. Especially if you’re playing intense themes such as romance or violence, it’s important to respect the boundaries of everyone involved and make sure you’re aiming for a similar story. “Offgame, how do you want to play this?” is always a valid and wise question. You can also always visit the organizer room for guidance if you don’t know what to do – we’re here to help.
Actions have consequences
We want Czocha to be a believable world and a functional school where your character’s choices carry weight. Good deeds will naturally be rewarded, but no matter how skilled or influential your character is, they will also have to face the punishments for their wrongdoings. If you create a situation that breaks the ingame rules (such as breaking the law or venturing into the Dark Forest), you automatically opt in for consequences, dealt at the discretion of your superiors: Prefects, Staff or even the Head of School. So, if you want to play a troublemaker, be prepared for what happens if you get caught!
If it doesn’t work, change it
Sometimes the character you chose to play turns out to be less enjoyable than you thought or you feel like a plotline has come to a dead-end. In that situation it’s always allowed to change things up. Maybe your character can get enchanted to act differently or receive help from an NPC? At College of Wizardry, playability comes before plausibility and you’re always encouraged to steer towards the kind of game you enjoy. Once again, ask your co-players or organizers for help and you will surely find answers!
All students of Czocha are loaned a black school robe with coloured stripes according to the Year of your character: white for Juniors, red for Sophomores and gold for Seniors. They are loose-fitting and come in the following sizes: S, M, L, XL and XXL, with the XXL being big enough for mostly anyone. You will also be provided a House tie in your House colour: purple for Libussa, orange for Durentius, blue for Faust, green for Molin and red for Sendivogius. Juniors will receive their ties after being sorted into Houses. Robes and ties are mandatory to wear during the school day, from the beginning of the first class until the after-school announcements, but it’s also common to keep them on for the entire day. After all, it also helps Staff to recognize which Year and House you are in. The Staff itself, of course, has no such limitations. They wear whatever they please whenever they please.
Other than that, witchards dress in any imaginable and unimaginable way, mixing styles from times and cultures past, present and yet to be. Hexborns in particular often tend to dress a bit old-fashioned, and many students at Czocha wouldn’t look out of place in a high-class boarding school. You can’t go wrong with a nice shirt and vest. Others scoff at such ostentation and instead sport bright colours and flowing fabrics. Obviously mundane clothes such as rock’n’roll t-shirts are generally frowned upon, but then again a mundaneborn activist might still wear them as a deliberate fashion choice. There is also no such thing as masculine or feminine wardrobe – you wear whatever feels right to you. To top it all off, any outfit can be complemented with accessories such as a fancy hat or a scarf in your House colours.
If you want, you can also bring a more festive outfit for the Grand Opening Ball. There is no dress code, and on the ball night you can see everything from everyday wear to glamorous gowns and suits. Some just change into a fancier shirt or put on a fun party dress, some come in their school robes, and some get creative in various ways. In any case, don’t stress about what to wear, it’s the party itself that counts!
- A bed to sleep in with pillow, blanket and linens.
- Three meals each day.
- Robe and House tie to borrow.
What you have to bring
- Your wand. Without it, most magic will be impossible!
- Warm clothes and layers, as the castle can be cold at times. Some classes are held outdoors and excursions to the forest and lake are common.
- Good walking shoes. The castle has a lot of stairs, and the ground is sometimes uneven outside. If you want to bring nicer shoes, save them for the ball!
- Pens, quills, notebooks etc. for taking notes during classes, and a school bag to carry them in. Note that ink bottles are not allowed at the castle.
- Personal hygiene supplies and other necessities (medicine, toothbrush, shampoo).
- Passport, if you’re traveling internationally, and other travel documents.
- Polish Złoty or Euro for the tavern. In cash, preferably small coins.
Optional things that may be nice to have
- Fancy clothing for the Grand Opening Ball.
- Scarves, mittens, socks, night gowns. More warm clothes for day and night.
- Hats! Hats are fashionable in Witchard Society.
- Drinking bottle and a personal cup, glass or goblet for the tavern.
- Potion bottles, magical items, and other mystical things for class.
- Decorations and personal knick-knacks for the House Common Room. You can of course also decorate your own room, but it’s more interesting to decorate the spaces where a lot of the action will take place.
- Sleeping mask and earplugs, if you’re a light sleeper. The castle has thin walls.
- Snacks and drinks, if you feel like you might need extra energy between meals.
- Lantern or other magical light source. If nothing else, a flashlight works too.
- Watch, pocket watch or other timepiece that is not your cell phone.
- Power adapter, if you don’t use European standard equipment.
Magic is real in our world. A witchard is someone capable of such magic, from spells and incantations to making magical potions and artefacts. It is also a gender neutral term for witches, wizards and other spellcasters. In everyday speech, the ability to do magic is called hexblood, even though it doesn’t actually have anything to do with your blood. While it is much more probable for a witchard child to be born to witchard parents, hexblood can surface in anyone regardless of your background. The opposite is also possible, and sometimes witchard parents give birth to a dud, a child with no magical ability at all.
What makes hexblood awaken in a person has baffled magical researchers for centuries, but the only thing certain is that there will always be somewhat of a divide between the hexborn and the mundaneborn. Hexism, the ideology that a long magical lineage defines your value as a witchard, is still quite common in many confluxes despite the rise of many pro-mundaneborn initiatives. In addition, there are of course those born to one magical and one mundane parent, and the experiences of mixborn children can vary wildly depending on how strict the local secrecy and anti-mundane laws are.
Witchard society is governed by magical communities known as confluxes, hidden in plain sight and on the fringes of the mundane world. The European Confluxes are incredibly varied and multi-faceted, and while some function as a rather typical democracy, many have far more exotic and strange systems governing the witchards who make their living there. Czocha itself, with the small community in and around the castle, is a conflux. All students are considered members of Czocha Conflux during their stay, and all who graduate (as well as all Staff) become lifetime honorary alumni members.
While the confluxes are self-governing and set their own rules, a vast majority are bound by the Traditions, a collection of common laws protecting the secrecy and functionality of the witchard society. These are enforced by the Guardian Order, reaching across the entire Europe. For this reason, the one symbol that can be said to represent the European Confluxes are the crossed keys–the symbol of the Guardian Order.
Your House is your home and your family. Kind of like a version of a mundane sorority or fraternity, but coed. This is where you rest between classes, find friends and get help with homework. To incentivise students (and possibly to keep magical pranks at a minimum), the actions of the individual students give or deduct points from their House. They’re a highly valued commodity, as in the end House Points will determine which one wins the Czocha Trophy!
The Houses and the students in them are typically easily recognisable by their colours and symbols as well as their House songs and chants echoing through the courtyard. Each House has their own House tie, and in general the students like to sport their House colours in all imaginable places. The Houses are overseen by a Staff member or two acting as House Monitors, often alumni from that House in the years past. Other than that, each House sets their own customs, hierarchies and ways of doing things.
Czocha was founded by powerful witchards from different parts of Central Europe. Over the years, the Houses have become a living personality of sorts, born out of the values and ideas of their respective Founders. These have become the creed of the House, a theme and guiding principles proudly upheld (and debated) by its student members and alumni professors. Each House tends to gather a group of likeminded people, but how exactly the House values are interpreted and implemented changes from generation to generation.
Of course, not all students are model examples of their Houses. They have all been chosen by their former Prefects, and that choice might have been affected by anything, even just a personal whim. However, only in extreme cases would anyone even consider changing Houses–it simply doesn’t happen. On the contrary, fitting in should be seen as a challenge, and many a great witchard has started their story by finding their place in a House that initially didn’t seem to be the right one. Houses always take care of their own, and even the odd ones out will eventually come to find that this is where they belonged all along.
Values: Creativity, Daring, Foresight
Symbol: Silver Lion
Colors: Purple & White
Influenced by Czech culture
House Libussa is proud to be the House of the Founder of Czocha, the famous Libussa herself. More a legend than a human even while she was alive, Libussa was known for her rebellious nature and strong will to change the status quo. She brought a revolution with her wherever she went, refusing to see anyone stuck in their old ways. Students sorted in her House still follow her teachings and consider them to be the true creed of Czocha College. Other Houses might boast the deeds of their own Founders, but Libussans know that their own was the first – and that this is their castle.
A certain mischievousness and a sense of wonder are the hallmarks of any good Libussan student, and the House has a predisposition towards gathering a truly unique bunch of individuals every year. It was always said Libussa’s students would rather do things in new and interesting ways than learn how to do them like others did – something that turned out to be both a curse and a blessing. After all, some paths are so well-trodden that it can be hard to stand out and be original. Libussans crave something truly new, something that has not been done before, which always pushes them to be more and more creative and unorthodox in their use of magic. Libussa was also said to be a great seer, and Libussans usually care greatly about their own futures and all the opportunities that are still untapped out there.
The symbol of House Libussa is the Bohemian Lion – the coat of arms of the Czech people, but also a symbol of daring, courage, and power. The roots of the House lie in Czech culture, and it shows – indeed, its Founder had a big part in the creation of said culture. It is said that every Czech is a musician, and many kinds of artists, adventurers and great personalities often find their home in Libussa. It could be said that Libussans fit the modern use of “Bohemians” quite well. But most of all, they take immense pride in doing things in ways that others can only shake their heads at – sometimes in disbelief, but also envy.
Values: Valour, Diligence, Audacity
Colors: Orange & Brown
Influenced by Silesian culture
The origins of Durentius, the second of the Czocha Founders, are shrouded in mystery. There are numerous stories and legends about their true identity, but they are all in agreement that they were a master of magical creatures, a true revolutionary in the field of Cryptozoology creating many kinds of hybrid beasts and bending even demons to their will. Durentius was an unstoppable force, always giving everything they had, and hard work and strong conviction are still trademarks of any Durentian.
The members of House Durentius are known as productive, outspoken and energetic. They’re the stragglers, the odd ones out, the tenacious underdogs who never give in and never surrender. The Durentians are perhaps seen as misfits and intense, but they are a nation unto themselves, each and every one of them. To be a Durentian is to have bloodied knuckles and to be in the thick of it, all the time, every time. Diligence and valour define life in House Durentius, because if you bother doing something, it must be done all the way. Durentians are not just great students, but striving to be the best there ever was. Not just troublemakers, but epic pranksters for professors to remember in their nightmares years to come.
The House symbol is the magically modified rooster Durentius rode all the way to the moon and back again. Whether the legend refers to the real moon or a symbolic counterpart is still being discussed – even internally in the House. While other students make jokes about the Durentius Rooster, most of the House students are amazingly proud of their symbol, referring to it whenever it’s possible. It’s a great symbol of the Durentians and their Founder, after all – who else would be audacious enough to ride a common rooster to the moon?
Values: Knowledge, Power, Ambition
Colors: Blue & Gold
Founder: Johann & Johanna von Faust
Influenced by German culture
The famous Doctor Johann Georg von Faust was a mystery to everyone. He created one of the great grimoires of magic and was known as a tireless and dedicated witchard, always in pursuit of knowledge. In Czocha, however, it is a well-known secret that “Faust” was actually two people, the twins Johann and Johanna von Faust. Together they shared the role of “Georg”, and to this day it is unclear which of the famed deeds should be attributed to Johann and which to Johanna. Even those who know the truth of the twins’ existence only refer to them as one unit, Faust.
Every being and every idea exists because somebody believes that it should not cease. At least, that was a cornerstone of Faust’s philosophy, and the same idea still drives the Faustian students at Czocha. The true reason behind Faust’s power is said to have been a deep and true understanding of the nature of this world: if you truly know the inner workings of something, you can also bend it to you will. To Faustians it is obvious that they need to understand not only the world, but also their own strengths and weaknesses, in order to follow in their Founder’s footsteps. Faustians admire productivity and efficiency–sometimes even to the point of ruthlessness. While those individuals tend to strongly color the outsiders’ view of Faust, that is certainly not the whole truth: the House has also produced numerous wise and gentle leaders and respected researchers. Faustians know that there are many different kinds of power, and many different ways to achieve it.
The Faust family was of German descent – some people specify it further and say that they were specifically of Prussian descent, although that is somewhat more contentious. It is certainly not a surprise to anyone that the German spirit suffuses the House, however. The symbol of House Faust is a dragon, inspired by the Dragon of Wawel that Faust allegedly flew several times. Until 1521, the dragon is said to have lived at the nearby castle of Rajsko, on the other side of the lake. No one knows what happened to it, or what may make it reappear.
Values: Community, Curiosity, Tradition
Colors: Green & Bronze
Founder: Abraham Molin
Influenced by Ashkenazi culture
Molinians follow the way of the legendary Abraham Molin, a true visionary behind modern-day Arithmancy and Technomancy. They dedicated their life to research, and many fields of magic such as golemcrafting and numerology would be very little without Molin’s groundbreaking work centuries ago. They left behind numerous obscure theories and deciphered writings, many of which remain mysteries to this day. Even how they died isn’t quite certain: some legends claim that the house symbol, Molin’s Golem, is actually Molin himself, or that his spirit still lives within the stones of the castle.
Molin tends to change a lot from year to year, as each generation of students have their own interpretation of Molin’s legacy. These new traditions are added to books kept in the Molin Common Room, even if they directly contradict the writings of prior Molinians. In older times, Molin tended to be a House that kept to itself, but in recent years its focus has shifted to fostering community within the school at large. Molinians believe firmly in questioning everything, letting their curiosity carry them to new and complex understandings of the world. Every number is a riddle, every letter is a question, and every moment is an opportunity to invent something new.
Abraham Molin was from an Ashkenazi Jewish background, though like many Jewish mystics they did not think of themselves as religious. While most Molinian students do not personally identify as Jewish, many Molinian rituals still use visual and symbolic elements of Ashkenazic culture. Jewish members of House Molin delight in opportunities to host events like Shabbat dinners and teach the rest of the school about their culture and heritage.
Values: Courage, Honour, Diplomacy
Symbol: White Phoenix
Colors: Red & Silver
Founder: Michał Sędziwój
Influenced by Polish culture
The famed Polish alchemist Michał Sędziwój, also known as Sendivogius, was the last of the Founders of Czocha. He arrived when all the others had gone and revived the school back into its former glory. He chose a phoenix as the symbol of his House – after all, with his guidance Czocha truly rose from the ashes. As a nobleman with a big personality and a lauded academic, his work truly took the witchard society huge leaps forward, and his vigour to change the world still lives on in the Sendivogians of today.
The legacy of Sendivogius later formed the identity of his house. Courage, honour and diplomacy are necessary for any witchard dealing with the great powers in this world–some magical and some not. In the beginning the pupils of Sendivogius also gravitated towards disciplines that could be used in the mundane world. Saber fighting, horse riding and court etiquette were seen as just as important as knowing how to levitate. Some of this ideology still perseveres, especially among the House members from upper-class Polish families. Inspired by their Founder, the House has also had multiple skilled alchemists over the years, and trying out Sendivogian potions and other magical concoctions can be quite an experience.
On the other hand, the ideology of phoenixes and rebirth is deeply rooted in the House culture: Sendivogians have a flair for the dramatic and the heroic, the new and exciting. They also believe in new beginnings and second chances, and no matter what you have done in life, among them you will find a place to try again and become a better version of yourself. Being a Sendivogian means being proud of what you are, always trying again and again until you succeed. This often makes Sendivogius a mixed bunch, with both valiant knights and reckless rebels supporting each other in their quest for greatness.
When you enroll in Czocha College, you will choose a Path that decides your specialization in studies. Each Path has something to offer to the prospective walker, and they can be considered majors of a sort – the Path your character chooses is undoubtedly going to leave a permanent mark on their future career opportunities.
Guardians study mostly classes suitable for officers of the Guardian Order, but also for other professions and occupations that require prowess in magical combat or understanding the structures of Witchard Society. Some do indeed end up upholding the Traditions, while others might become politicians and bureaucrats, or something completely different. Guardians study Magical Defence, Conflux Studies, Mind Magic, Magical Theory, Beastology and Technomancy.
Healers are taught the ways of the body and the mind in equal measure. They will learn to diagnose and treat various magical diseases and injuries. As a Healer one will learn to safely interact with foul curses, poisons, and concoctions. Skilled Healers are highly sought after in many areas of Witchard Society. Healers study Alchemy, Herbology, Beastology, Mind Magic, Ritual Magic and Magical Defence.
Artificers learn building, repairing and analyzing enchanted objects and fantastical contraptions. They know why magical amulets, artifacts and golems work the way they do, and how to make them better. They deal in the realm of brass, metal, transformation and creation. As it’s quite a broad field, most magical objects that Witchards use come from professional Artificers. Artificers study Technomancy, Arithmancy, Magical Theory, Conflux Studies, Runic Magic and Magical Defence.
Curse Breakers get to know the ways of old enchantments and hexes. Some are most at home in some forgotten tomb, prowling the depths for yet more secrets to unearth, others might work in examining and disassembling illegally cursed items. A skilled Curse Breaker is capable of creating, undoing and bypassing all kinds of magical defenses. Curse Breakers study Runic Magic, Ritual Magic, Arithmancy, Magical Theory, Invocation and Conflux Studies.
Cryptozoologists focus on the study of magical beasts, plants and spirits, and their many wondrous habits and abilities. They have a penchant for the truly dangerous and exotic–though there are more than a few with an analytical bent. Cryptozoologists find employment in all ways that deal with magical beasts, be it care, conservation or containment. Cryptozoologists study Beastology, Invocation, Herbology, Alchemy, Mind Magic and Ritual Magic.
There are currently 12 subjects in the basic curriculum of Czocha College, and which of them you study depends on your path. Every now and then a new class is introduced, as a Professor of special note joins the faculty, or if a Head of School pushes a certain magical pedagogy. It is however rare that any of the traditional subjects are missing from the curriculum. For the last few hundred years these have been the following.
Students learn how to mix potions and magical elixirs. These range from disease-removing liquids and concentration-boosters to poisonous concoctions and bizarre elixirs that enhance the brewer.
Students learn how to use and read magic numbers. Substudies include Numerology, Geomancy and other mathematics-based divining techniques that both show and shape the future, past, and present.
Students learn how to deal with and care for magical creatures and beasts, both benign and dangerous. This can be anything from learning how to communicate with treefolk to hands-on-training in how to calm down enraged minotaurs.
Students learn about the European Confluxes and the rest of the magical world in all of its mystery and complexity. It’s a mix of history, social studies and ethics class, and often a seat of spirited debate.
Students learn how to identify, cultivate and use magical plants for arcane purposes. Some of these are extremely powerful and dangerous, and the field trips into the Dark Forest are seldom uneventful.
Students learn how to find, understand and deal with beings and energies from the beyond. This subject touches on everything from exorcism of ghosts and summoning of minor spirits to learning how to deal with fae entities.
Students learn how to defend against magical attacks, sharpening their skills in magic duels. The idea is to train in a safe environment, but often the word “safe” is put in quotation marks for these classes.
Students learn about both the researched phenomena and the newest controversial theories on how and magic actually works. After all, the true mastery of any magical art requires understanding of the processes behind it.
Students learn how to use magic to affect the mental processes of both themselves and others. Reading and influencing feelings, Memory charms, and spells influencing feelings and mental abilities are among those commonly taught.
Students learn how to use the power of rituals to produce powerful magic. Teaching is often structured around practical rites and getting an understanding of the great variance in rites.
Students learn to use the power of runes and written patterns of words and symbols to produce a variety of different magical results. Education in Runic Magic often focuses both on the practical application of runes and the theory of their use.
Students learn about the ways magic and technology can be combined. In the past this subject was known as “enchantment” and concerned itself mainly with the imbuing of objects with magical energies.
Every year, the students of Czocha collect House points to win the Czocha Trophy, the symbol of the most skilled and powerful of the five Houses. This tradition goes all the way back to the original not-always-friendly competition between the students of Libussa and Durentius around a thousand years ago. The Trophy is awarded three times a year: After the first two days of school, after the midterms, and at the end of the school year. The first two days are especially critical, as they establish the pecking order for the year. The House currently holding the Trophy is known as “The First House”, and it gives the House members an upper hand in things like seating, special assignments, respect from the teachers and general bragging rights.
The current First House, before the competition starts anew, will be announced during the briefings before the event starts, and in advance on social media.
Points are given by Staff members, and while some professors might seem to favour a specific House or be otherwise unfair, out of game the Staff team is doing their best to ensure the points are awarded fairly. There is always an element of luck and chance to it though, so if the end result feels odd, it’s not because we didn’t all try to make it as fair as possible. After all, as the winner won’t be announced until the very last minute, it’s the competition itself that matters!
The Janitor is the one in charge of keeping the Book of Points updated. The book is usually located in the Teachers’ Lounge and is off-limits to students. It is out of game forbidden to tamper with the points, as it disrupts the work of the Staff players. Sneaking in to take a look is possible of course – just don’t get caught!
- Academic excellence
- Upholding your House values
- Bravery and resourcefulness in difficult situations
- Compassion, teamwork, helpfulness
- Clubs and other extracurricular activities
- Being late for class
- Disrespecting Staff members
- Going to forbidden areas such as the Dark Forest (Juniors only) or the secret passages
- Bad behaviour, bullying
- Using dangerous spells without Staff supervision
Each character belongs to one of the school clubs. They’re a place to find like-minded individuals, learn new things and show off your character’s skills. Most clubs have one or two meetings during the larp, and some might also have ongoing plotlines or organize larger events like performances or competitions. In addition to the clubs, many students love playing Fireball Dragon and belong to their House team, anxiously waiting for the first tournament of the year.
The clubs can be lead by Staff, students or non-player characters, and their exact contents are defined by what the players are interested in. If you’re interested in planning or leading a club, you can present your ideas when you fill out the Player Form. The club leaders will then collaborate with the organizers in advance to plan club meetings and activities for the larp.
Dueling is said to be the high art of spellcasting, and professional dueling is a widely popular sport in the magical world. The Dueling Club of Czocha is almost as old as the school, founded centuries ago, even before House Sendivogius. It’s an institution rooted in ritual and honor that teaches both the grand gestures and fine details of wand magic, and its members carry themselves with appropriate dignity. They say that any witchard can best an opponent with an onslaught of spells, but the trick is to win with style and composure. Dueling Club is very particular about etiquette, and it’s not uncommon to enjoy a cup of tea alongside a duel. Critics mockingly say the club is for dating rather than wand fighting, and to be honest, that’s not far from the truth. Good manners and spellcasting skills can very well be just the thing to make an impression, and many members have found their future partner in the club.
Dueling Club organizes practice sessions filled with pleasantries and social codes. Sometimes they practice new spells all together, sometimes they test each other’s abilities in practice matches. It’s also common for the club members to settle any disputes between them with a public duel – in front of as many people as possible, of course. When the club really wants to show off their skill and superiority, they might even put on a grand tournament or a gala event where everyone at school is allowed to participate. After all, an excellent performance in such an event might pave your way to eventually become a professional duelist.
Horse Without Wings is a uniquely Czochan phenomenon and a gathering of some of the most eccentric minds at the school. The club of all things creative of Czocha College, the name of this venerable society is a reference to the punchline of an old joke that nobody can remember. This is where all kinds of outrageous artists and talented souls gather to present new revolutionary ideas, find collaborators and plan new artistic endeavors that will take the school by storm. Do you remember the time they decorated the opening ball with glowing butterflies or the year they produced a whole series of fictional stories about the school and its people? Whatever this club does is sure to go down in history.
The members of Horse Without Wings perform, create and love sharing their art with the rest of the world, and their presence truly makes the school life more colourful. Their club activities vary from year to year depending on what the students happen to be passionate about: some run the school choir, some set up a newspaper, some organize waltz classes in preparation for the opening ball. Do you want to arrange a poetry reading or a performance piece? The stage is yours!
Witchards Against Non-hexborn Discrimination started as a coalition of smaller witchard justice groups fighting hexism, anti-werewolf sentiment, and discrimination against duds born to hexborn families. Over time W.A.N.D. has become the nexus of progressive student politics at Czocha College, and its members keep the banner flying high against the inequalities pervading witchard society. W.A.N.D. attracts all sorts of firebrands and magic activists from anti-hexists to those opposing cruelty towards magical creatures. Pro-werewolf activists, dud activists and dozens of other tendencies exist under the umbrella of W.A.N.D., and while the goals of the group might seem unfocused, the truth is that strength comes from diversity, and together they are stronger than apart.
W.A.N.D. members meet up to discuss ongoing issues and to find solutions. They make posters, flyers and badges to advertise their agenda, create petitions to overturn discriminatory school rules and organize debates to draw attention to their viewpoints. If needed, they might even turn to rallies, demonstrations, sit-ins or boycotts in order to get their point across. They also have a never-ending feud with A.R.M., a club that simply by existing represents everything they fight against. They will gladly use any chance to take A.R.M. members down a notch whenever they can, and show there’s so much more to life than being born into a high-class family line.
The name of Alliance for Reclaiming Magic stems from 1800s, when radical measures were needed to oppose the sudden rise of mundaneborn rights. While the club is still the main opponent of W.A.N.D., nowadays these students don’t see a reason to fight with those ruffians – they already have it all. A.R.M. is a society for the offspring of the rich and influential hexborn families spanning centuries to mingle and find like-minded company. Nowhere is it said that the club is only for the old-blooded and hexist, but for some reason only those with proper lineage and politics get invited. On top of that, many of the old hexborn Staff members are alumni of the club, which gives the current members a lot of leeway and favouritism. Not all of them might even notice though, they simply think this is their natural place in the world. The club doesn’t have a single mundaneborn member, though there is also no sensible reason why any of them would want to join. Even if a mixborn or a new blood hexborn somehow makes it in, they’re going to have a rough time proving they really belong.
A.R.M. members are very proud of their long family histories and enjoy letting the entire school know that they’re the ones you want to be friends with. They might eat lunch privately or organize fancy parties where it’s very clear who’s welcome and who isn’t. They also want to stay in power, which is why they generally oppose all kinds of pro-mundaneborn, pro-werewolf and other overly liberal movements. Some more radical branches also remain, ready to campaign for hexist supremacy. Many members engage in heated debates with W.A.N.D. or find other ways to show the superiority of ancient hexborn lineage. If anything threatens their place at the top, they are determined to put the upstarts back in their place.
There are mysteries to be solved at Czocha, and this bunch is determined to solve them all by any means necessary. Ancient Order of Mischief is home to adventurers, truth-seekers and conspiracy theorists, each with their own pressing questions they must find answers to. They have a reputation for being troublemakers, but their aim is not to do harm – sometimes you just need to stretch some boundaries in order to find what you need. Discussions about banning the club have been had several times over the years, but somehow they always manage to talk themselves out of trouble. After all, they’re not doing anything illegal, they’re just a bit too curious for their own good. Members of the Order are always walking the fine line between abiding by the rules and ending up in detention, and they’re proud of it – after all, what’s more rewarding than the exasperated look of “Oh no, not them again” on a Professor’s face?
At the beginning of the new school year, the Order is once again faced with a new conundrum. They gather evidence, host nightly excursions to look for clues and try fishing information out of classmates and Professors. The club likes to meet in secret and send coded messages, because you never know when a Professor has finally had enough of “this utter nonsense”. It’s better to stay low, but these brave students won’t let such hindrances prevent them from doing whatever it takes. After all, it’s a matter of pride to solve the first mystery of the year before the Czocha Trophy has even been awarded.
Fireball Dragon is the most popular sport of the European Confluxes. The non-initiated might call it “slightly more complicated dodgeball”, but in truth it’s so much more than that: a beautiful game full of tactics and teamwork. Almost every Conflux has its own Fireball League, and Czocha is no exception. The best players at school are followed by admiring looks and longing sighs wherever they go. Many might dream of becoming professional Fireball stars after graduation, but the competition is tough and only the absolute best can make it.
Fireball Dragon is usually played on both school days: first tryouts to scout for promising Junior talents and to recap the rules for those who haven’t played for a while, and the school tournament on the next day. It is one of the best occasions to show House spirit, and everyone gathers outside to cheer for their own team. Each House team needs a minimum of five members. The best Houses are also awarded points for their outstanding performance on the Fireball field.
The full Fireball Dragon ruleset can be found in the Lorebook.
Not all clubs of Czocha convene in broad daylight. Some of them are specifically centered around the forbidden and dangerous, and getting caught as a member will definitely get you in trouble. They have been disbanded many times in the course of history, but each time some of the members linger and quietly start recruiting again. All details about the clubs and their members are well-guarded secrets, and in order to join you must have the right connections or be very, very lucky.
The Iron Covenant is one of the oldest organisations in the world, and unlike most ancient orders they care very little for blood status or lineage. They focus their intentions on the most talented and gifted among witchards, and seek out those with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The Covenant’s history is shrouded in mists of lies and layers of deception, and even individual chapter leaders rarely know the true origins of the organisation. It has been the Covenants singular mission through the ages to uncover the mysteries of our world and unlock its hidden knowledge.
Members of the Iron Covenant believe that there is no such thing as Dark or Light magic, only the right and the wrong way to use it. While it is true that some of the worst horrors ever unleashed upon witchard society was because of the actions of the Covenant, it is also equally true that the organisation has kept the world from toppling into chaos on more than one occasion. In many ways the Iron Covenant view themselves as the finger on the scales, keeping everything in perfect balance, at any cost.
There are many reasons to join the Covenant, but the members are united by their wish to plumb the depths of magical knowledge, their will to wield the power of truly remarkable and dark forces and their belief that mutual protection from those forces is preferable to working as a lone wolf. Sometimes that belief is not enough, however, and members have been known to disappear without a trace after going in too deep.
While each chapter operates with almost full autonomy and independence the Covenant is ruled by a group known only as The Artisans. Occasionally they will make demands or requests of individual chapters. One would do well to heed their requests.
The creation of Fight Club was a backlash against the prim and proper Dueling Club. Not everyone was willing to go through all the bowing and rituals and have their fighting limited by countless rules. No, these students wanted to get immediately into action and push their limits no matter the cost. Fight Club has no rules, and every dirty trick in the book is allowed – when you’re faced against dark forces in real life or work as a Guardian in the field, you won’t have time for a cup of tea. Some people join the club to find an outlet for some internal aggression, while others do it because they want a relatively safe place to practice real combat magic without being coddled by the teachers. Some might just enjoy the thrill of doing something that’s so clearly against the school rules.
The club has no fancy titles or formal hierarchies, and generally the one to organize the meeting is the one to say what’s the agenda of the night this time. One on one? All out brawl? Something more creative? Of course, the same person is also the one in charge of making sure they don’t get caught. Fight Club usually meets after curfew, as it’s much more exciting that way and teaches people to stay on their toes. Next day they might discreetly approach their Healer friends for help, because everything still hurts. Is this really the best way to learn? Nobody knows, but for the club members it’s a way of life.
The grand name lures many ambitious witchards to join The Eternal. The stuffy, near sleepwalking reality causes most of them to leave early. Most students (and Staff) agree that this is nothing more than a study group for very dedicated students and alumni professors. Tales tell of decorating cakes and a myriad of teapots. And yes, the dress code is night wear (pyjamas or gown), sleeping cap and scarf. It is Czocha’s smallest club. Not only because of the dry readings from magic theory books, but also because to get to a meeting you need to decode the most intricate puzzles and magically encrypted clues. Few bother to jump through the hoops.
Some rumours tell of far more exotic concoctions than tea, and altogether more fringe ceremonies than book circles after midnight (when all Juniors are fast asleep). Then again, that’s probably just the book worms and library rats spinning their rep at school.
Version 3.0. Edited by Laura Sirola and Christopher Sandberg, with Simon Brind, John Shockley and Iryt, and the entire College of Wizardry team. Thanks for the help by Karolina Fairfax, Robin Steen, Liselle Anqeligue Krog Awwal, Lisa Julia Wolfrum, Thomas Mertz and Brent Rombouts.
This version of this book is inspired by the 2016 “design document” (edited by Edin Sumar) and further edits by Ben Books Schwartz and others.
Photo credits Nadina Dobrowolska and colleagues at Horseradish Studio, and individually Przemysław Jendroska, Maciek Nitka, Iulian Dinu, Adam Jędrysik, Christina Molbech, Petr Luba, Kamil Wędzicha, Kaja Skorzyńska, Aleksander Krzystyniak, John-Paul Bichard, Liselle Awwal, Abi Laurel, Toivo Voll, Zuzanna Marzec, Dagmara Kunecka, Jeremy Caldwell, Christopher Sandberg, Defy Gravity and more. And a special thanks to Lisa Wolfrum and Wolfrum Graphics, and Brent Rombouts and Nicole Sochor–for incredible visuals video graphics, digital art and the web work of Katrine Kavli. And Lars Bundvad for fantastic art. Thanks Freja Gyldenstøm for her writing. And wands up for the loyalty of Lead Producer Robin Steen, and to Iryt and the entire team. Crests Tia Carolina Ihalainen, Justine Jones and others. Hymn, lyrics by Rikke Munchkin Sørensen. In addition the “Save College of Wizardry!” Indiegogo fundraiser campaign was done by the community and The company P founder Sandberg. A very special thank you to Liselle Awwal of LiselleMade for being the spokesperson and heart of this initiative! Thank you again Martin and Rob, and Simon Brind, Martine Svanevik, Sagalinn Leo Tangen and Halfdan Keller Justesen from Avalon Larp Studio, Michael and Ashley from Imagine Nation Collective. And to Toshi (Dollfille) for joining the magic. A special thank you to Martin Nielsen (Alibier) for his generosity. Thanks also for the invaluable advice and guidance by Johanna Koljonen (Participation Design Agency), Petter Karlsson (Prolog, LarpFund), and to many more for lending their ear and support. Also a special thanks to Agata Świstak, Aleksandra Hedere Ososińska, Freja Gyldenstrøm, Charles Bo Nielsen, Dominik Dracan Dembinski and Karsten Dombrowski, for their help in understanding some of the early history. To Jaakko Stenros and Markus Montola for their research. And to all the people of the Nibelungen community and Nimmerland.
The non-profit larp organisation Liveform is attached to maintain a current Credits List of all official donors and supporters, creatives, staff, volunteers and participants. College of Wizardry was originally created by Dziobak Larp Studios, formed by members from Rollespilsfabrikken and Liveform, and other creatives and volunteers. All witchards owe never-ending gratitude to Zamek Czocha, the first three thousand witchards, and Agata Świstak, Aleksandra Hedere Ososińska, Freja Gyldenstrøm, Charles Bo Nielsen, Dominik Dracan Dembinski and Karsten Dombrowski, Philipp Jacobius and Claus Raasted for starting this dream.
Witchard Society, College of Wizardry, Czocha College for Witchards and this Handbook with all its content, is the property of College of Wizardry, The company P, © 2019, all rights reserved.