What is Bothwell School of Witchcraft

The School

Game Structure

Practical Information 

How to Make Magic

Preparing for the LARP

History of Bothwell School of Witchcraft


What is Bothwell School of Witchcraft?

Join the World of Magic

Bothwell School of Witchcraft is a live action roleplaying game [LARP] for 105 players 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. They have organised themselves into societies called Confluxes, each with their own culture and laws. During this game you will play either a student or faculty member at the British magical university called Bothwell School of Witchcraft, one of the most famous academic institutions across the witcharding world, for better or worse. 

At the School

The magical university plays host to three years of students in their first experience of formal magical education, the doctoral SchWiz programme, the academic faculty, and even a gaggle of its own Garden Gnomes! As well as being a member of a house and year group/faculty, your character will also have the opportunity to be part of a number of different extracurricular clubs, secret societies, or movements that will enrich their school experience, help determine their friends, foes, and romances for the year, show their true callings and motivations, and ultimately fuel their decisions.

Before the LARP, you will be assigned to a faculty teaching position or a student year group, and also a House if you’re a Second or Third Year. You are encouraged to write your character yourself within the themes of the game, and work with organisers to potentially tie parts of your character’s backstory to introduce more plot into the game, and enhance your experience as a player. If you do not want to write your own character and would prefer to be provided with one, or help to collaborate on a character, that option is also available by getting in touch with the organisers. Please see more in Characters and Casting.

You will also be able to connect with other participants in advance and find friends, rivals, study buddies, and other relations for your character. You are free to prepare as much or as little as you like with other players in terms of your character – the most important thing is that your character is fun and meaningful to play for you. Please read more in the Playing Styles section.

Whilst character pregame is completely optional for this game, there is a level of preparation required before the game starts for Faculty, Heads of School, and Prefects that also may involve coordinating with your fellow players in order to create lessons, House spirit, a planned curriculum, and thematic plans. If you have played a game produced by Witchards before you may be aware of some of these pre-planning commitments. Please read more in Preparing for the LARP.

The Game

The game tells the story of the first three days of a new term at Bothwell, including First Years being sorted and initiated into their Houses, Faculty introducing the new curriculum of the term, students promoting their beloved extra-curricular societies, and all hoping this semester will go off without a hitch, unlike last year’s…

Each game will have a setting and theme to inspire your character and give something new and fresh to each event. Every game has a different title and focus: in previous years we’ve had Equinox Rising, and The Golden Age of Magic, for example, and the next game will be High Summer Celebrations in summer 2024. We aim to not have overarching, not opt out-able plot though, so you won’t find scripted scenes or big, whole-school involvement rituals – at least not planned by us anyway! We will use the theme to create side-quests, plot hooks, and ways to tie your character into the school and world in a personal way.

The House Shield

The four houses compete for the Bothwell shield through accruing house points. House points are gained in a number of ways, such as academic or sporting excellence, bravery, volunteering, compassion and teamwork. Points can also be deducted for things like breaking the rules, poor work, and bullying. Prefects and rising stars that lead their house to victory are held in high regard. At the end of the weekend, the House Shield is presented to the House performing best at the end of the start-of-term weekend. The competition is taken very seriously. Not by all, of course, but by enough  that sometimes lines are crossed that perhaps shouldn’t have been. Pranks are commonplace, intrigues are rife, and doing something to get one of the  other Houses in trouble is considered perfectly alright. Since the Staff are perfectly aware of what’s going on, it’s very seldom that students are actually expelled for doing things that are out of line – as long as it’s “only” other students who suffer, and no-one dies. 

How to Play

Bothwell School of Witchcraft is primarily a sandbox game, which means that whilst there is a general structure to the game with organiser-introduced events and plot, none of it is mandatory – this story is told by the players. Attending lessons and other activities will provide you with a lot of things to do and is the reason for your character to be attending, though you’re also free to bring in your own stories and adventures. Afterall, most of the structured lessons and clubs will be planned and run by players anyway! We aim for a collaborative playstyle where everyone is free to choose the kind of experience they’re most interested in, and the environment is there for unexpected play opportunities to unfold. 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 main rules in the section Practical Information and guidance on how to play the LARP in the section Preparing for the LARP.

The School

The Heads of School

By who and how Bothwell is governed has changed for BSoW6 – students and staff are led by THREE Heads of School who embody the archetype roles that are required to efficiently run the school as a Triumvirate: The Face, The Administrator, and The Enforcer. For each game of BSoW, we will open a casting form ahead of the ticket release for anyone who wishes to be cast as one of the Heads of School. Working with two other players to share the load of leading both in and off game, you’ll be part of a management team who will work with the organisers and story teams to create the vision for the game, come up with plot hooks to provide play opportunities and story arcs, and co-create with teaching faculty players to provide a holistic and consistent syllabus for student characters. 

The Face: Some examples of character titles/roles that encapsulates The Face are: Keeper of the Keys, Steward of Bothwell, Head Mistress, Professor-in-Chief, Viscount of Bothwell.

The Administrator: Some examples of character titles/roles that encapsulates The Administrator are: SchWiz Coordinator, Head Examiner, School Nurse, School Counsellor, School Secretary.

The Enforcer: Some examples of character titles/roles that encapsulates The Enforcer are: Groundskeeper, Head Guardian, Janitor, Head of Operations, Admissions Liaison.

You’re still a player though! Whilst this playable position has off-game structure and responsibilities involved in it, you and your character still have absolute agency in the game to play how, upon whatever, and with whomever, you’d like to with organic roleplay and perhaps a few surprises for you too! The Heads of School will be fully supported by the organisers, and we will work with them to create the theme for the run, support instilling story arcs and plot hooks, and provide resources in order to realise their player vision, just as we will with all players.

The Faculty

As diverse as the students they reign over, faculty members come from all walks of magical life. From the ancient hexborn Professor of Practical Magic to recently graduated temp Herbology professor, they all have their own motivations and ambitions. Some are benign caregivers who want to see their students grow and excel. Others might put their personal agendas before their vocations. After all, what is one more unfortunate student disintegration if it means acquiring a vial of phoenix tears for one’s own private experiments?

The faculty set the tone of academic life at Bothwell, and are to a very large extent responsible for the success and safety of the aspiring witchards placed in their care. House Monitors advise and guide the members of a specific House, often the one they themselves were once members of. Club or Society Monitors are the same but for extra-curricular past-times, and Dissertation Mentors assist SchWiz students in essay-writing, dance-rehearsals, incantation recital, or whatever media their research presentation takes.

Within the scope of teaching, professors are also responsible for assisting any SchWiz student in their research if that area of study falls into the subject the professor teaches – SchWiz students researching your area of expertise will also be available to help you in lessons in a capacity befitting their role, such as assisting in teaching, leading sections of coursework, holding an extra-curricular for your students in your subject, or tidying and cleaning all your lesson resources. After all, student labour is free labour.

Players cast into faculty positions will be asked to meet together ahead of the game, and with the production team, to plan a cohesive curriculum, and create character relations and plot hooks for students to latch onto during lessons and extra-curriculars. Faculty will make scene requests to the organisers for their lessons in the run-up to the event and get first priority for resources in those lessons. The organisers will effectively communicate with you to ensure we’re stocked with the people and equipment you may need, work out compromises where needed, and effectively plan in advance so you’re not paying out of pocket for items we can reasonably provide or gain access to when we know what you’ll want.

We also want to use this opportunity to encourage newer or less confident players to take game-making roles that they’d like to play, but perhaps don’t feel comfortable doing alone. If you’re not super confident or experienced in playing central and visible characters who are responsible for creating play for others but you’d like to teach and think working with another player would give you that little push to step out of your comfort zone and into the world of playing positions of power, there’s now that option on the casting form! Please indicate as so and and if you’re suitable for the casting, we’ll pair you up with a more confident player so you can gain those skills, play the character you want, and be supported through the magical journey.

The SchWiz’z

Affectionately shortened to SchWiz’z, there are a handful of students at Bothwell studying for their Scholar of Wizardry title – the highest level of educational accolade in formal academia. A SchWiz is awarded to the best and brightest Witchards after they complete a rigorous research programme in their area of expertise to better the witching world with their findings. SchWiz students will have already completed a minimum of their regular 3-year programme of study at a Bothwell or another magical school, and may have attended other institutions as well to have furthered their knowledge before proceeding to enrol on this prestigious degree. Having the SchWiz letters after your name, especially awarded from the Bothwell School of Witchcraft Gold Ribbon programme, is the true mark of a magical intellectual. The mundane world has their own version of this programme which they call a PhD, or Doctorate.

The very selective academic path only offers a few places on the programme each academic year, and on the condition of excellent grades from the selected students’ previous school. SchWiz students will have pitched their research focus to the examining board and been accepted on the basis of this research’s magical relevance, potential for advancements, and historical importance. On top of being able to tap into some of the world’s best magical minds in the teaching faculty of Bothwell, SchWiz’z will have access to all of the institute’s resources and magic. To supplement their course, SchWiz students must assist the Professor of their area of study in lesson prepping, teaching assistance, other research, and extra-curricular activities for 1-3 year students. They will also be preparing a dissertation on their research, which will be monitored and assisted with by their Thesis Mentor – in the Bothwell curriculum, research theses can be submitted via written essay, recorded viva voce, presented address, or performed demonstration.

Players of SchWiz characters have the opportunity to play a student but with additional in and off game agency. You’ll be working with at least two members of the faculty who will be the subject Professor of your area of study and the Thesis Mentor. You’ll be able to straddle the line between student and faculty, helping to teach, guide, and maybe even reprimand! A SchWiz character is great for those players who’d like to play the next chapter in their student character’s academic life, those who’d like to play in a game-making position but work better when not working alone in a lesson setting, and for those enjoy a very focused plotline, following one thread maximally.

The Third Years

As Third Years, you will be the most senior students in the school. First Years want your favour and Second Years can’ wait to be you. They will help to plan initiations for the new First Years along with the House Prefects. They will oversee the Second Years in their mentorship of the First Years, using their own experience guiding from their own now-Second Year mentees. They will also decide how they will spend their final year at Bothwell School of Witchcraft and leave their mark; create a secret club, gain fame at any cost, or perhaps they just want to keep their head down and prepare for those final exams! And what on earth will you do after you graduate…?

The Second Years

Entering your second year means no-longer having to be escorted around the castle grounds! However, with great power comes great responsibility and second years are tasked with mentoring the first-year students in their house. Mentoring First Years may mean making sure they live up to the codes and standards of the House or it may mean luring them astray into trouble. As a Second Year, there is also the prospect of becoming Prefect of your House the following year. This may mean it’s necessary to become chummy with the  professors, or gain support amongst the first years to help you vie for power. 

The First Years

As a first year, you will not have been sorted into a house yet, and this is done upon arrival at the school. It is up to you to decide how you manage your House relationships in-game. Having friends in other houses may be useful when taking on some of the  castle’s secrets. Perhaps it’s important to make friends with the third years to get that position on the house fireball dragon team! Or perhaps your character doesn’t like how things are done and rebels against the prefects. It’s all up to you. First years are finding their place and their role in the school and becoming  a first year is all about defining who they want to be. If first years wish to leave the castle they must be escorted by a more senior student or a professor. (Reminder; as with all the in-game rules, your character may wish to  not follow them.)

The Prefects

Two Prefects will lead each House and you have a huge role in defining what  your House spirit will be like. It will also be your responsibility to lead First Year initiations into the House, and give either a losing or winning speech at the opening of term’s House Shield ceremony. It’s important to make sure that as a Prefect you are inclusive, decisive and be memorable. It is one of your central functions to be a playmaker, keeping fellow students engaged and active is one of your tasks. You should also do whatever it takes to inspire students to win the School Shield at all costs.

This is all in-character of course, and out of character your responsibility is to include everyone playing in your house in creating the spirit and camaraderie of the House. This may include having House meetings before the game to get to know each other and build relations, writing songs or chants together, coming up with a house token for members to wear, or even delegating tasks out for characters to play with IC, like ball date coordinators or Fireball Dragon captain, etc. The organisers are here to help, and once cast we will meet with the Prefects to give you a low down on any practical information, as well as getting your vision for how you’ll be leading that particular game’s House themes – this way other players can know what sort of vibe the Houses have ahead of making their final casting choices, giving them informed knowledge about the kind of game they’ll be experiencing.

The Houses

The houses at the Bothwell School of Witchcraft are named for some of the protectors of the school early in its conception. Each a revolutionary within the witcharding world, they defended the castle while it was still a sanctuary for young witchards and helped to fight injustices against their kind. 

Though these founders were known for their many great deeds, none of them were perfect! Echoing this, the traits of each house have a fluidity to them. One year Boyeswick might be known for their loyalty, passion and headstrong attitudes, the very next might have a reputation for their adventurousness, bravery and impetuous habits. Out of game, it will be the prefects who decide on the primary, secondary and tertiary traits of their houses to enable them to tailor the atmosphere of the house to their liking! 

House Boyeswick

Colours: Navy Blue, Gold 

Motto: Fortis (Brave) 

Common Traits: Loyal, Brave, Passionate, Adventurous, Headstrong, Impetuous

Hailing from the forests of what is now the modern day Northern Ireland, this house was named for Geoffry Boyeswick, known on the battlefield as simply ‘boye’. More comfortable in the form of an Irish wolfhound, Boyeswick was quick to act against those who threatened the sanctuary. Despite efforts to conceal his talents he became notorious in the stories of witch hunters as a fearsome dog with magical abilities. Fighting more directly on the front line, Boyeswick was an impressive warrior who used the cover of the battlefield to take down the witch hunters along with anyone who got in their way. Though not the most academic of their colleagues, Boyeswick’s connection to magic was as natural as breathing, their instinctual understanding going unchallenged. Some scholars even speculate that Boyeswick was a descendant of some of the Tuatha Dé

Members of House Boyeswick are chosen for their bravery, loyalty, passion and adventurous spirit. They are fiercely dedicated and will go to great lengths to defend their friends even if they have not thought through the consequences. The colours for House Boyeswick are a deep blue and gold, representing his loyalty and the horizon. 

House MacNewthorn

Colours: Crimson, Silver
Motto: Furtivus (Clandestine)
Common Traits: Ambitious, Creative, Hard Workers, Secretive, Calculated, Manipulative

The charms that disguise the castle are meant to keep out all trespassers, magical or not. The only way to enter the castle grounds was to use a closely guarded secret code. Montague MacNewthorn, however, turned up alone at the gates of the castle, entered freely and made his way directly into the founder of the school, Francis Stewart’s, study. To this day, it is not known how he found the location and penetrated the powerful magic but the many conflicting stories of his origin may hold the answer. Along with the other founders he fought against those who would threaten the sanctuary however, MacNewthorn held the position of chief spy. Many within the sanctuary didn’t trust Montague. He blended in almost too well with mundanes and his unusually efficient and novel style of spellcasting raised many an eyebrow. Whenever questioned about his true origins, there was always a different story. Though, one common element was a small house by a Scottish Loch…

Members of House MacNewthorn are often known for reliably achieving what is asked of them. More than a few members of the house lead creative clubs within the school and do whatever they can to assure their successes. Unlike those in house Boyeswick, the consequences of a MacNewthorn’s actions are rarely unforeseen.

To represent the high ambition and silver tongue of Montague, the House colours are crimson and silver.

House Tabwen

Colours: Purple, Gold 

Motto: Callidus (Cunning) 

Common Traits: Cunning, Charming, Sympathetic, Vengeful, Prideful, Supportive

Olwenna Tabwen was clearly a powerful witchard from a young age. While still a child her parents abandoned her deep in the woods of Cymru beside a lake for fear that she’d be lynched by the townsfolk, who were already suspicious of the strange happenings around Olwenna. There are many legends still today about “The Girl on Llyn y Fan Fach” or “The Lady on the Lake ” though none hold the complete truth of Tabwen’s experiences. It was through the whispers of spirits of the land that Tabwen came to know of Francis Stewart’s goals far before anyone else. She was the first ally that Stewart recruited and, as such, Tabwen’s ferocity and cunning ensured important allies were safeguarded. In the form of a black cat, she was the personal bodyguard to royalty, giving her a high position in court and council to the King and Queen. Though, as time marched onwards, Tabwen’s raw magical might was perceivable on sight by even the mundanes.

Members of House Tabwen can be quite relaxed about life (and the rules) and their innate ability to tell what someone’s thinking can make them a fine companion. Much like their founder, emotions tend to flow within them like the ripples on the surface of a lake.

The colours of House Tabwen, purple and gold, characterise Olwenna’s high regard with the crown using the colours associated with royalty.

House Wisenforth

Colours: Emerald Green, Silver

Motto: Sapiens (Wise) 

Common Traits: Wise, Optimistic, Strategic, Generous, Diplomatic, Fixated

The founder, Brianne Wisenforth, was a much older witch who, before the Bothwell Sanctuary, spent her days in the vast forests of Nottingham as a healer. As Brianne watched the witch trials spread throughout the land, she sought to create an Alliance of British Confluxes in the hopes that, by coming together, witchard-kind could weather this storm together. With little familial reputation in the country, she knew that it would take more than her ideals and magical prowess to convince some of the stubborn traditionalists to agree to come together. Never giving up hope, Wisenforth continued to try. By a stroke of luck, though some may call it destiny, Francis Stewart in the form of a fox just so happened to follow rumours of witches right to a conflux Wisenforth was visiting. 

This chance encounter enabled the pair to come together to work towards their common goals – Wisenforth had joined forces with the sanctuary. 

Using the form of an owl, Wisenforth gave counsel to the allies of the sanctuary and flew messages between camps. She was a skilled diplomat; often her soothing words would help keep feuding generals on the same side. Her sound reasoning and strategy was crucial in many of the sanctuary’s victories. 

Wisenforths are known for their sharp wit and cool temperaments. While a keen intellect is often associated with cynicism, Wisenforths are generally optimistic and generous; their friends feel warmed by their company. The emerald green and silver house colours embody Brianne’s healing background and affinity with the forests.

The Lessons

Every student gets the opportunity to take part in all of the lessons offered by the faculty, much like in a UK secondary school. Whether you’re a first, second, or third year, you’ll experience each class during the event, as well as getting the opportunity to play sports, have down time to catch up with homework, take part in an after-class club, or get up to mischief with your friends! 


In Alchemy, students learn how to mix potions, brew elixirs, and learn about the magical properties of natural and non-natural ingredients. These can range from disease-removing salves and concentration-boosting breakfast smoothies, to poisonous concoctions and tasty but deadly tonics.


In Beastology, students learn how to identify, care for, and defend themselves from magical creatures and humanoids. This can be anything from hands-on-training in how to calm enraged minotaurs to learning how to seduce kelpies back into the water. Non-human Witchards have historically and unfairly been lumped in with Magical Beasts in outdated teaching practices, which the current administration does not tolerate – all sentient magical Witchards are equal in the sanctuary of Bothwell.


In Herbology, students learn how to identify and use magical flora for arcane purposes. From healing magic all the way to defensive magic, natural magical plantlife is often necessary as ritual components and alchemical ingredients. Keep your wits about you though: Not all plant life is docile and easily wrangled…

History, Politics, & Ethics

This lesson is filled with vital knowledge on the geography, politics, economics, sociology and ethics behind the magical world. Whilst usually the more classroom-based of the lessons, H.P.E can cover anything from international conflux relations, debating on the ethical treatment of Gnomes and their trade unions, learning about the cultures & confluxes of non-human magical Witchards, to practising for your Full UK Broomstick License.

Magic Crafte

Using one’s own fair hands to delicately craft an object of magic is a skill honed through practise, dexterity, attention to detail, and finesse. Or sometimes you blow something up by accident and create a new magical element. Either way, in these lessons students will be harnessing the more practical sides of magic and always getting their hands, robes, and brains messy! From wand-making to artefact building, magical trace detectors to protective runes creation, and chronomancy blockers to the transfiguration of mundane artefacts, each student is in for a practical lesson that’s sure to see them animating the inanimate.

Occultism & Invocation

A controversial subject that plunges into the depths of other planes to explore all things otherworldly.Whether it’s summoning infernal creatures to study and re-banish, invoking celestial powers to enhance healing magic, listening to the crashing waves of the Abyss, studying the history of the Occult, or harnessing the knowledge of spirits no longer walking this earth, you’re sure to learn that not all things in this world can be explained.

Practical Magic

Practical Magic teaches students the magic fundamentals. It can encompass basic domestic charms, transfiguration spells needed to help gain an entry-level position within the Guardianship, and the basics of harnessing nature’s magic when you’re stuck without your wand. The curriculum for this subject has been known to include physical education of well-known magical sports, combat and duelling practice, mock ethics trials, and ritual-based team work exercises to boost students’ knowledge of forestry or farming, to home economics or how to be Pits Patrolmen. Doing just what it says on the tin, Practical Magic helps training witches practise the basics and become fully rounded members of magical society.

Prophetic Magic

Delving into the spiritual art of foresight, Prophetic Magic prepares students for their future by teaching them the many ways one can harness their internal Seer to predict magical outcomes. Whilst it is a subject that divides witcharding society about its validity as a reliable magical art, one thing is for certain: what happens in these lessons you’ll never see coming!

Protection Against the Bound Arts

Affectionately abbreviated to PABA, in this lesson students learn how to defend themselves and others against magical attacks, threats, and sometimes even from those they trust, with an emphasis on the Bound Arts. Over the course of their studies, students will learn about the many different types of perilous situations a witch might find themselves in, including banishing necromantically raised opponents, building up resistance to mind magic manipulation, practising formal duelling, strategising wartime logistics, or building protective sanctuaries from chronomancy. The idea is to train in a safe environment, but often the word “safe” is put in quotation marks for these classes.


Known by many as the art of ‘Wonder Working’, Thaumaturgy encompasses the many sciences of spellcraft to create magic where there once was none, and use material components to augment a witches’ natural magic. By using runes, rituals, technology, or even mundane objects, a master Thaumaturge can command the weather, teleport at will, and make fire dance at their fingertips with nought but a pocket watch and glint in their eye. Whilst the use of a wand augments and channels all Witchards’ magic, Thaumaturgy is a branch of magic that, uniquely, can be completed without a wand, and thrives in experimentation and creativity in finding the best materials as vehicles for magical innovation.

Clubs & Societies

Most lessons have a Club associated with them, where Professors and an entourage of subject enthusiasts lead midnight seances, twilight crocus-picking for the potion stores, or duelling practice which normally doesn’t adhere to the international duelling code. You’ll find there’s usually a sizable amount of secret activities too: either student-led shenanigans away from prying eyes, a meeting of like-minded individuals to discuss less than academic affairs, or even a gathering of people involved in an official but controversial society, meeting secretly as their particular proclivities wouldn’t exactly be sanctioned within the school walls… Even if you don’t take part in a formal after-school club, you’ll find that talking to a lonely ghost or the grumpy gardener may reveal a hint or task to perform to fill your evenings with wonder. That’s if the natural drama of boarding school hasn’t already kept you busy! Successful missions or performances in a club may result in house points, though being found out of bounds after curfew on an adventure will surely lose them! Either way, after-lesson frivolity with faculty, friends, or a frightening, furry beast will provide an unforgettable experience in your first days of term at Bothwell.

You can make your own club or society to form at Bothwell, either new this year or a long-running one. There are some established ones in Witchards lore as well, so please rifle through to see if anything takes your fancy, or ask us for inspiration if you’d like. You may already have an idea for a fun evening student club or a sports society, or secret organisation that you think will elevate play – let us know how we can facilitate it! We can add it onto the in-game schedule if we know about it, and add it into faculty announcements too so the whole school can hear about it. Remember to make some posters, and advertise ahead of the game too so players can plan for attending.

Don’t feel obliged to make a club though – there will be plenty to do and clubs organised by other students and staff for you to just attend if organising isn’t your thing. Timetable clashes are a real thing, especially with such busy timetables IC and OC, so don’t be too disappointed if something else cool is happening at the same time as your thing or something you wanted to go to – not everything is attend-able in this larp, and it’s sort of designed that way.

Game Structure

Playing goes on continuously from Thursday afternoon to Saturday night, though there are areas of the grounds that are off-game where no play will happen so everyone can sleep and opt out of playing. See more in Practical Information.

Thursday: Before the Game Starts

After arriving at the school you will have time to find your rooms, receive your name badge and robe, and meet with other players. The event starts with a short welcome and housekeeping speech from the organisers, after which you will be divided into groups for briefings. In these you will learn everything you need to know about the game, practicalities, rules and game mechanics, emotional safety, and the use of magic.

After the briefings there are three workshops:

  1. House workshops where you will meet everyone in your House to discuss your game together, House spirit, and any internal relations and drama.
  2. Faculty & Year Group workshops for similar purposes.
  3. Prefect workshop for the 8 prefects to attend. We will also hold space for an optional meet & greet workshop at the same time as the prefect meeting for players to meet those not in their year group or House but who may have compatible and interesting characters and storylines, players they may not have necessarily encountered organically in- game!

After briefings and workshops there is free time to get into costume and prepare for the game to start.

Thursday In-game

The game starts with an introduction speech by the three Heads of School, followed by dinner. Following this there is the Sorting of the First Years, House Initiations, Clubs & Societies meetings, and free time for everyone to enjoy the first night of term.


It’s time to get to work. Lessons begin and last for the day, with the opportunity for sports and inter-House competitions scheduled in, and Clubs & Society meetings in the evening. Who knows what else may be lurking in the dark after dinner…


Lessons continue, and at the end of the academic day every student in years 1-3 will have experienced each lesson once. Before dinner, the House Fireball tournament takes place, as well as other activities like club meetings, or pre-ball shenanigans. 

Finally, the much awaited Opening Ball starts, and everyone arrives in their evening wear to dance, socialise, and enjoy the night. This is when conflicts may climax, secret rituals and deals are conducted, and maybe even love is in the air. Also, SchWiz students will defend their thesis proposal and present their initial findings on their subject-specific research project. At the end of the night the results of the points game are announced and the Bothwell Shield is awarded to the winning House, with all prefects giving a speech. The game ends with closing words from the Heads of Schools.

After the LARP

After time out, the rest of the night is yours to socialise, relax, unwind, unpack with your fellow players, crew, and organisers – we envisage the afterparty continuing late into the night! The tavern will remain open for a few hours, though players are encouraged to be aware of their emotions when drinking after an intense game. Note that the volunteers will also be ‘off the clock’ so there will not be a dedicated person for player care as we’ll no longer be in-game – by all means find an organiser though if you do need something. On Sunday morning, there will be optional structured debriefing to process your experiences. Breakfast will be provided as normal that morning, and accommodation will need to be vacated by 10:00. After the debrief, which will be finished by midday, the volunteers & crew will continue the pack-down process, and it will be time for players to say their goodbyes and head home.

Example Schedule

Before the event you will receive the full practical schedule for the event, as well as the in-game timetable of presentations. Details may vary slightly from run to run, but this is approximately what you can expect to happen:

12:00Players start to arrive on site. Signing in, finding rooms, settling down, unpacking
14:00Welcome speech. Briefings: Location, rules and game mechanics, emotional safety, spell-casting. Workshops: Houses, Year Groups, Prefects, Meet & Greet
17:00Free time to get into costume
18:30LARP time in & dinner
20:00Sorting, House initiations, tour of the school, clubs & societies
17:00-19:00Free time/clubs & societies
20:00Evening activities
12:00-14:00Lunch break
17:00-18:00Sports/free time/clubs & societies
20:30The Opening Ball 
22:45The House Shield awarded
23:00LARP time out
23:30After party
10:30Cool down workshop
12:30Players start to leave

Practical Information

General Information

One of the cornerstones of LARPing is the divide between in-game, things happening inside the story, and off-game (also called out of game), things happening in real life. For example, in-game you might despise one of your classmates, while off-game the person playing that character is actually your best friend.

Everything in the game will be made as realistic and as immersive as we can possibly make it to help you stay in character and it feel as authentic as possible. To produce this 360° reality there is of course a lot of work behind the scenes, so if you see something off-game such as mundane electronics or boxes full of scenography, simply ignore it. Staying in character also means we ask you not to use your phone or talk about real life things in in-game areas, as this breaks the immersion for other people who are trying to play.

The LARP continues non-stop from time in on Thursday afternoon to time out on Saturday night to give players the freedom to play at any time, though there will be no programmed or organiser-assisted scenes between 02:00 and 08:00 so everyone can get some sleep, and no pre-organised plot-relevant scenes after midnight. If you ever need to take a break from your character there are off-game areas you can go to, including a designated off-game room with wash and toilet facilities, the inside of all accommodation cottages, and a small section outside in the grounds. This way we are all keeping the story alive together.

There is no stealing of wands. A wand is what a Witchard uses to channel and manifest their magic – they cannot cast magic without it! The taking of another character’s wand is not allowed, in or off game.

During the briefings before the game, you will be shown the fire escape plan, have any location safety explained, and will be introduced to location staff who will be able to help you.

Who is this Larp for?

  • This larp is for adults over 18 years old only.
  • Both new larpers and seasoned larpers alike: Bothwell has no stats or spells to remember, uses few and easy-to-remember mechanics, and has a mixture of thematic tones to cater to a wide variety of gameplay tastes, including beginners who are dipping their toes into what they like in roleplaying. Complimenting the low-rule, plug-in-and-play style, we also have high character immersion, structured gameplay, and we encourage high-concept, high-stakes plot.
  • Appeals to both nordic and sandbox play styles, with obvious British larping influence of characterisation, expressive costuming, and “actions means consequences.”
  • 105 players – 3 Heads of School, 10 Professors, 8 SchWiz’z, and approximately 20 First Years, 32 Second Years, & 32 Third Years (8 of whom are Prefects)

Practical Safety

We are a large group of people in an old, beautiful, and in-use boarding school. Always follow these rules and take care of yourself, the people around you, and the location:

  • The school itself is quite old, but has a lot of equipment and modern technologies – many things in it are expensive, including the building. Don’t do anything that could damage property that isn’t ours. If something breaks or is damaged, please let the organisers know immediately so we can fix it.
  • 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 organisers.
  • Don’t bring anything that can damage floors or is hard to clean up. This includes ink, fake blood, and glitter.

Player Care

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 in an offgame area. 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 organiser room for some friendly faces, an energising snack or a quiet corner to sit down for a while. There will also be at least one volunteer dedicated to Player Care available throughout the event who can help you process your experience and feelings, and to help you find solutions if you’re having a hard time playing for any reason. The two organisers are also available at any time for player care. Please note that crew and player care volunteer/s are not present in a professional capacity to give counselling or mental health advice – they are a support system to help players get the most out of their experience and discuss their feelings and emotions in a safe, warm, and confidential environment. For many people, LARP can be an emotional and intense experience, and there will always be support available if you need it.

If you are a player who usually requires a dedicated support system or feels as though the level of player care they would need to fully participate in the game would be above the level we’re able to provide, then please contact us. Ideally before purchasing a ticket, but at any time – things and people change. There are a few ways we can still welcome you safely to the event, so let us know so we can work with you to facilitate what you need.

Supporting Characters 

Supporting Characters, also known as Non-Player Characters [NPCs], are short-term characters meant to improve your experience, played by volunteers. There will be a dedicated volunteer and crew team playing various roles throughout the event. They may be university custodians taking care of the grounds, magical creatures hidden behind trees, famous travelling academics, or mysterious strangers in the tavern. Engaging with them is optional, so you can always choose not to interact with them if you don’t want to.

Each run of Bothwell School of Witchcraft will have a unique cast of predetermined Supporting Characters with their own plot-lines you can choose to get involved in, as well as volunteers able to fill in the role of someone you want to see at the game – you will be able to request your own scenes that may require assistance from a volunteer playing a one-off character as well as a supporting character. You can also submit requests during the game, if you’d like one of the supporting characters to appear again for another scene if you’ve started a relationship.

Volunteers will also be playing ‘Garden Gnomes’, faerie creatures who are part of the fabric of the university as they own the land, are invested in its upkeep, honour the education of magical peoples, and use their unique magic to help protect the castle from ill-will – we’re on their land by their graces. Practically, the Gnomes are there to help organisers with physical tasks such as setting up rooms, cleaning, moving furniture, serving players, assisting in lessons, and being messengers between the organiser team, players, crew, and volunteers in an immersive way. Players can and should interact with them! Have your secrets spread around the castle, get assigned a hilarious side quest between lessons, or join them in their unique and secretive rituals –  though they are there to do a job, so please let them if they’re in a hurry or carrying equipment.

As we have a limited amount of time and helpers, we will prioritise requests made within the submission period for scene request forms ahead of the game. In some cases it may be possible to use your idea for a single scene into a longer plot line, or use an existing supporting character in the game instead of featuring a new one-off one. You can also request for your character to receive letters from their family members and other people outside of the conference.

Spirits of Bothwell

These Supporting Characters are easily recognisable in brown robes: they are spirits bound to serve the manor. In a practical sense, they are an easy way for the organisers and volunteers to move around the castle to do all kinds of practical tasks without standing out. Spirits of Bothwell 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 Bothwell in a brown robe, simply ignore it and let it do its job.


To capture all the magical people and experiences at Bothwell, we have a dedicated photography and video team for the purposes of documenting the experience for players, and for future marketing purposes. By participating you agree to being photographed and filmed, and during the event there will be formal group photos taken of all the Houses, the Faculty, and the Prefects. The photographers are either very discreet and wear Spirit of Bothwell robes so you can simply ignore them entirely, or they will be play a Supporting Character that you can engage with fully whilst taking their shots! You’re always allowed to ask them to leave a situation that’s private, and on the flip-side you can always let them know a cool thing is about to happen so they can be ready to shoot it!

This also means that during the event you don’t need to take photos of your own. Please don’t use mobile phones, cameras or other mundane devices in in-game areas, as this breaks the immersion for other players. If you’d like a photo, ask!

Equality and Inclusivity

In the mundane (non-magical) society, the reality is as it is in our world: some countries have reached a reasonably high level of equality, while in others marginalised 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 Opening Ball together, or a winning duellist using a mobility aid, and genderqueer and transgender individuals are common and wholly accepted without question.

Of course, this does not mean there is no inequality or bullying in the witchard world. Magical lineage means a lot to some, and many old hexborn families will always look down on mundaneborns. There can also be prejudice and fear around those infected with lycanthropy, and being outed as a werewolf will certainly get you disgusted looks from some. However, mundane concepts such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, body shaming, ageism, or ableism have no place in the magical society. Mundanes are often considered quite barbaric for having such a limited world view, and Bothwell’s inhabitants are far more progressive than the mundane population.

We want Bothwell School of Witchcraft to be a magical experience for people of 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 contexts of academia, coming-of-age angst, and character arc drama. You are also free to play any gender or identity you want as long as you do it respectfully and in good faith. No pre-written characters are assigned a gender by the author.

We take great pride in the growing diversity of our community and production teams, and Witchards 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 to any persecution of “non-normative” groups.

This 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, anti-fascism, people of colour, those persecuted by war, and LGBTQIA+. We do not accept racists, neo-nazis, religious oppressors, or people active in hate speech or xenophobic transgressions – we reserve the right to deny them access to our events. Please see the Witchards Code of Conduct and Ts&Cs on our website.

Abbotsholme School

Bothwell is played at Abbotsholme School which is located outside the small town of Uttoxeter, on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border, United Kingdom. By train the trip takes roughly two hours from Manchester airport or 2.5 hours from Central London. By car, the school is 2.5-3 hours from London airports, and under 1.5 hours from Manchester airport. The closest train station is Uttoxeter and is approximately 15 minutes away by car/taxi. The larger local town of Stafford is well, and better, connected by train to major cities across the UK, as well as via National Rail/MegaBus coaches. You can look for travel companions in the participants’ Facebook group and carpool/journey together. There is car parking available at the site, though this isn’t limitless. If you’re planning on driving, please let the organisers know so we can allocate a car parking space to you, and please consider offering any spare seats to fellow Witchards to help with space, travel nerves, and the environment! We hope to be able to offer a convenient bus transport option for Witchards travelling to the event as well, from either London or Stafford – more info on this availability and tickets for it per each event.

Please note that the location is smoke-free, and therefore participants wishing to smoke must do so off-grounds. Clear instructions will be given onsite as to where smokers must go, and the use of any recreational drugs on or off site during the event is strictly prohibited by hiring and licensing laws.


Bothwell is for 18+ players only. People who are breastfeeding are welcome, along with their goblin of course, though we can not provide childcare. Goblins shouldn’t enter gameplay, and we can work with you ahead of time to make appropriate accommodation allocations, and a schedule for you that is fulfilling and practical. And by goblin we affectionately mean your child.

English is the spoken language of the event, both in game and off game, though there may be organisers, crew, and volunteers who are able to communicate in other languages: at each game we will provide a list of languages that can be used, and with whom, for the purposes of clarity of translation off-game, for emotional support, and in cases of emergencies.

If you require a carer or service animal to accompany you to the event in order for you to play, please get in touch with us ahead of buying a ticket and we will accommodate this with you where possible. For the 6th game of Bothwell, High Summer Celebrations, we are now unable to host service animals within the school due to other players’ health implications. If you are usually accompanied by a service animal and think that, with some accommodations, you could still come to Bothwell, we’d love to hear from you and work with you to make that happen.

The organiser room and ‘backstage’ areas are all on ground floor. There are ground floor, no-step rooms available in the accommodation provision which will be reserved for those who ask for them. The grounds are mainly grass, stone pathways, with some gravel paths in the grounds as well. All rooms in the building have light fixtures, including the hallways. 

We will be conducting a further site visit in the coming months with specific accessibility questions as a priority – we will update here when we know things like specific numbers of stairs in each case, reachability of door handles, how many rooms are upstairs, and other questions of the like.

If you have any questions, concerns, or accessibility requirements about the location or the game then please get in touch – there are hopefully many ways we can welcome you to play with us and put in the right accessibility provisions for everybody to enjoy a safe and stress-free game.

Rooms & Sleeping

Players sleep mostly in 1-3 person rooms in an accommodation block within the main building of the school. There are some accessible single and double room cottages close by within the school grounds reserved for participants who require them. All accommodation is off-game. Further afield in the grounds of the school there is additional accommodation if needed, in more small cottages.

All rooms in the main accommodation block have the same floor size per person regardless of number of beds.

We will ask for your needs and preferences in advance via the casting forms, and the sleeping arrangements will be published 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 organisers if you do so for safety purposes.


Food will be provided every day in The Dining Hall. Meals will be provided on Thursday afternoon and evening, three meals on Friday & Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. We can cater for all dietary requirements. If you have any allergies or need to tell us anything else regarding food, please mention it when you fill out your Player Form and we will do our best to accommodate you and make this a safe place for you to be. Abbotsholme will be providing all of our meals, and has recently been awarded 5 stars by the local council for its food services, and has been recognised by the local MP and put forward for a parliamentary food award – this is in recognition of their dedication to local and organic produce, low carbon footprint farming, and ethical farm to fork food processes. 


The school also has a tavern serving soft and alcoholic drinks. It’s a place to relax, socialise, do some light reading, have fun, and enjoy a glass of your favourite beverage. The tavern will be open in the evenings, and accepts card payments and Pound Sterling cash only. Please note that being drunk is not tolerated, and organisers will remove you from the event if you become so. This is an 18+ event, which is the legal alcohol consumption age in the UK, though you may be required to show ID if the game is audited by licensors. Staff have the right to refuse service. The tavern is run and managed by the location’s staff, and therefore Bothwell organisers do not take any profits from the bar or manage stock availability.

Packing List

We provide:

  • A bed, with a pillow, blanket and linens.
  • Meals each day – lunch & dinner on Thursday, 3 meals on Friday & Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday.
  • Character name & pronoun badge.
  • A robe and house tie.

What you have to bring:

  • Your wand. Without it, most magic will be impossible!
  • Warm clothes and layers included in your costuming, as the UK weather is anything but predictable! Some classes, clubs, or adventures may be held outdoors (weather permitting!) and wonderfully brisk ‘turns about the lawn’ are common.
  • Your own towel for showering.
  • Personal hygiene supplies and other necessities (medicine, toothbrush, shampoo.)
  • Good walking shoes. The school does have stairs, and the grounds are sometimes uneven outside. If you want to bring nicer shoes, save them for the ball!
  • Pens, quills, notebooks etc. for taking notes during lessons, and a bag to carry them in. Please note that ink bottles are not allowed at the game.
  • Passport, if you’re travelling internationally, and other travel documents like insurance and tourism visas, etc.
  • Pound Sterling for the tavern – as the location staff are responsible for running the bar, we can’t promise to have the facility to accept cards, although the UK is essentially contactless. Note that pound sterling is the only currency accepted in the UK, which includes Bank of England sterling, & Scottish and Northern Irish pounds.

Optional things that may be nice to have:

  • Fancy clothing for the Opening Ball.
  • Hats! Hats are very fashionable in Witchard Society.
  • Water bottle and a personal cup, glass, or goblet for the tavern.
  • Potion bottles, magical items, and other mystical things.
  • Any props or decorations you may want for your common room, extra-curricular club, or personal plot line
  • Sleeping mask and earplugs, if you’re a light sleeper. Most accommodation is shared.
  • Snacks and drinks, if you feel like you might need extra energy between meals.
  • Lantern, torch, or other magical light source.
  • Watch, pocket watch or other timepiece that is not your mobile phone for telling time.
  • Power adapter, if you don’t use UK standard equipment.

How to Make Magic


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 memorise: 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!” There are no stats involved in spell-casting, anyone of any background or stature can cast any level of spell – after all, everyone there is an academic professional of some sort with extensive magical know-how! The target of a spell always gets to choose how to interpret the effect of the spell cast at them. It might work just as the spell-caster intended, only work for a little while, do something completely unintentional, or fail to work at all. You will learn how this works in practice in the pre-game workshops.he pre-game workshops.


A magical duel is a competition in which two witchards take turns casting spells at each other. Whilst this game is not a combat larp, there may be two characters who just can’t find another way to solve their differences, so must prove their worth in the magical back and forth of spell-casting! 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! Amuso!”

“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. The point is to make a good story and roleplay an exciting scene, so it’s totally ok to lose in a duel! It can be a good idea to have a quick off game chat with your opponent about how you would like your duel to go, if applicable. In any case, make it grand and fun to watch!


You will come across all kinds of potions and magical liquids. In general most potions will be safe to drink, but please still exercise caution. All potions should be labelled with its off-game ingredients so people can make informed choices. If you create your own potions, only use ingredients that are safe to drink and label your bottles properly so that other people are 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!

Artefacts 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 someone 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 – after all, Bothwell students are exactly that = students!

Fighting 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 uncivilised and mundane, though it does happen. Magic duels, on the other hand, are a much more 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 spell-casting, the target always decides what happens. Getting hurt can make for a great story though, and recovering happens quickly in the magical world. After a dramatic fight you could also even visit the volunteer team to help give you some make-up bruises or a nasty scar.

As this game is centred around magic, academia, secrets and school/university life, death is not a theme of the LARP. Your character can’t die unless you as a player decide so, and 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 highly discouraged, as they are not thematic with the game we’re playing, are very unlikely and therefore quite immersion-breaking, 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 organisers and your co-players in advance.

Preparing for the LARP

Characters and Casting

Every participant in Bothwell School of Witchcraft has a character, the witchard persona they will portray at the game. Before the event you will be asked for your preferences for which type of student, and in which House, you’d like to play via a ranking system and we’ll endeavour to give you one of your top 3 choices. You’ll also be asked what kind of character type you envisage playing, for example you might want to play an academic achiever, a technomancy expert, an under-achieving chancer, a villain, or an activist. A small description of the types of characters you’d be interested in playing will help us to cast you properly into the right House, and alongside players whose ideas complement yours.

Once cast, you’ll be able complete your full character write-up using the template character sheet we’ll send out, or ask for a pre-written character from the organiser team. All characters will be reviewed by organisers to ensure thematic clarity, they are in line with the overall vision and existing lore, and don’t include themes that are against our inclusivity policy or deemed problematic. They may also offer feedback and ideas for how to improve your character before you settle on a final character sheet.

The character sheet template consists of the following parts:

  • Background – This is your character’s personal history, telling you where the character comes from and how they became the person they are today.
  • Ambitions and Setbacks – 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. What motivates your character to do well? How do they deal with criticism and rivalry? What are your character’s ambitions for the school term, and for the wider magical world? Do they have secrets from their past or negative personality traits that could cause tension or conflict with others? Use these sides of your character to help guide how you might react to certain situations, and how they’re motivated outside of their society.
  • Ideas for Relations – Examples of interesting relationships your character could have. You can look for such people either before the event in the Facebook groups or during the workshops on site.

Relations between the characters are created by the players, either before or during the game. Some potential relations may be suggested by the organisers based on the character you write, but ultimately who you interact with and choose to tell stories with is up to you. Before the game there will be groups on Facebook for both your House and Year Group you’re cast into, as well as a main participants group for everyone coming to the event where you can meet your fellow players in advance. There will also be a Looking For Relations page, where you’ll be invited to show off your character and what sort of play you’re looking for so that others can come in with some suggestions of relations they may want with you. Equally it’s a place for you to seek out that maternal figure you want to complain to, that academic rival from an opposing House to scowl at, or a love interest to blush at and ask to the Opening Ball. All additional character development and relation-making is purely optional, but it can greatly enrich your experience.

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 during your pregame and game, and only you know how they think and act. It’s always alright to take your character in a new direction during the LARP if you find out what you’d planned isn’t working out for you. Your character is your own, and we hope you have fun with it!

If you don’t want to plan any interpersonal relationships with other players/characters before the event, there will be time for finding relations during the workshops before the game starts.

Character Creation

For Bothwell School of Witchcraft you can absolutely write your own character! You can fill in our template sheet with the background and personality of the person you will portray at the game. All characters have to be accepted by the organisers in order to make sure they’re in the right vein & themes of the game and to identify any additions or retractions that need to be made for playability. 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, so the guidelines below will help you in the process. If you don’t want to write your own character from scratch and would like help from the organiser team with ideas where to start, or even a whole character written for you, please indicate as such during the casting process, and we will work with you to create a character you’ll enjoy playing.

 – Pay attention to the setting

The main themes of the game of Bothwell are academia, the possibilities of magic, school spirit, professional rivalry, secrets, and personal conflict & resolution. Figuring out where your character fits in within those themes is a good starting point. Are they excited to be at school or hate all the stuffy rules and traditions? Are they looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones, or are they apprehensive about starting this school year with a summer secret? 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. The most realistic and immersive characters are just like us, but magical! Fitting your character to the overall vision ensures you’re all playing the same game. The organisers will be on hand before and during the game to help you make your character fit into the world, and be enjoyable and exciting for you to play.

For Bothwell 6: High Summer Celebrations, there will be the added focus on British faeriefolk mythology, using the inspiration of regional sprites, pixies, faeries, and more to drive plot hooks, character interactions, and the school curriculum.

– Non-human Witchards 

Humans are not the only race with magic in the world of Witchards. In this world, other sentient magical races live alongside humans, both harmoniously and not, and specialities in magic portray themselves differently with everyone. Werewolves, Vampires, Faeriefolk, Merpeople, Fauns & Satyrs, Ghosts, and more all exist in the lore. The encyclopaedia and lore in Witchards is undergoing a rewrite and clarification process at the moment so we can’t direct you anywhere right now to read up on the specific canon of these races right now, but we will when we can. The world is also fluid though: whilst we’ll have a version of events, if role-played and explained properly, there’s no reason why a character of one species can’t act against the grain of what is usual.

Your character at Bothwell is magic, most likely a student, and the majority of characters will be Human. Each event though is different, and has different themes and focuses, which may leave room for characters that are influenced by, have ancestry of, or are part/full-blood of a different race of magical Witchard. If you have an idea to play a different race besides Human, get in touch with the organisers via email or in the character sheet where we will reach out to you, and we can see how we make that happen! We need to ensure the character doesn’t break canon lore, fits with the theme and spirit of the game, doesn’t hold more power or importance than other characters, and is also sensitively written to not have parallels to real life racial minorities or encourage play around real life racial differences. It’s not a no! This is a magical world with magical creatures, and we want you to have fun, tell the story you’re inspired by, and the opportunity to play all manner of fantastical coolness! We just need to make sure it’s exactly that, and not immersion-breaking.

– Leave space for conflicts and growth

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, an award-winning herbalist, 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? And how much can you leave up to the organic magic of unscripted roleplay to find out the journey your character will go on.

– Villains need friends too

Naturally, being a school of students and faculty from the far reaches of the world’s confluxes, Bothwell is no stranger to conflict. Between blood line purists, arrogant professors, student activists, and romantic squabbles due to notorious casanovas, there’s bound to be in-game dramas and characters who naturally scream ‘villain of the piece.’ It can be a lot of fun to play a character like this, but it also comes with challenges. Bad witchards still exist within the context of their conflux, their society delegation, and the conference that they’ve been invited to. They will have 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.

– Co-create

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, a study buddy, 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 get into a professor’s good books for extra credit, or want to get revenge for scorn from last year? Whatever you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to reach out to others – we’re all here to create stories together.

Playing Styles

There are many different kinds of LARPs and LARPing cultures, each with their own official and unspoken rules. This section explains how to play Bothwell School of Witchcraft, and how to aim for the best possible experience together.

– Cooperation, not competition

Witchard Society games are based on the Nordic Larp tradition, in which the focus is on drama and co-creation, and Bothwell is no different. 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 Give the worst possible answer in class – overcoming challenges makes for even better stories!

– Sandbox

Bothwell is mostly a sandbox LARP, which means the university and the game structure are a framework within which you can create your own stories. There is no grand overarching essential plot line or a dramatic final battle, but instead countless personal stories co-created by everybody within a theme. Go to lessons, attend extra-curricular clubs and secret midnight societies, 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. Everything has been built to provide you as many opportunities as possible for the game you want to play, and to give a more 360º take on how we roleplay magic and witchards – It’s actually impossible to experience it all at once anyway though, so don’t be afraid of missing out on something!

– Opt in

Everything at Witchard Society games works on the opt in principle, which means you’re free to choose what you want to participate in. Evening social meetings and other activities–and even the scheduled lessons – are there for you as a suggested structure, 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 it’s something you’d previously agreed/organised to do. 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 Bothwell School of Witchcraft, the experiences and magic come first, even if it sometimes means stretching the believable reality a little. If your character vehemently disagrees with dissection as a staunch activist is then present in a beastology lesson that centres on an autopsy to discover the cause of death, don’t stop everyone else from joining in that activity. Perhaps instead look over their shoulders, tut, and write in your journal all the things that are wrong with the practise, or exclaim your disgust and join in a different activity, or allow yourself to be brought into the fold by another student who can show you new ways to approach the moral dilemma. Our goal is to tell great stories together, and not halt play for other characters.

– Play each other up

Sometimes your character is very different from your normal self or has skills you as a player don’t have. With the help of your co-players and crew, however, you can make anything come true! Play in a way that emphasises the traits and abilities of other characters, and they will do the same to you. Ask the bookworm for help with your academic paper, be intimidated by the big, bad bully, applaud the singer performing at the tavern. We want the game to be immersive, and for all players to have their characters be perceived and interacted with as authentically as possible, and for everyone to be able to be the hero of their own story – plus it’s just good manners and sportsmanship!

– 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 the game and talk with your co-player about how you want to continue. Especially if you’re playing intense themes such as romance or anger, it’s important to respect the boundaries of everyone involved and make sure you’re aiming for a similar story. “Off-game, how do you want to play this?” is always a valid and wise question. You can also always visit the organiser room for guidance if you don’t know what to do – we’re here to help.

– Actions have consequences

We want Bothwell to be a believable world and school where your character’s choices carry weight. Good deeds and magical excellence will naturally be rewarded but, no matter how skilled or influential your character is, they should expect to be called out for their transgressions. If you create a situation or play a character that causes tensions with other characters in-game, you might find yourself at the dangerous end of a wand or being dressed down for your unacceptable behaviour at such an exclusive Tea Party at The Herbology Professor’s quarters. There will be mechanics that can help players both escalate and de-escalate situations they may have found themselves in or chose to be in, and if you find a tension you’ve created isn’t working for you anymore there is room in the game for you to be able to plausibly back-peddle for the safety of yourself and others: 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? 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 organisers for help and you will surely find answers!


Witchards dress in any imaginable and unimaginable way, mixing styles from times and cultures past, present, and yet to be. As well as your robes and tie , your character may choose to wear overalls if you’re a herbology-buff planning on getting stuck in with hands-on dirty work, a cute dress with dragon print to advertise your family’s taming business, a traditional shirt and bottoms, or really just anything that best presents your character’s personality that is comfortable, practical, and exciting.

Obviously mundane clothes such as rock’n’roll t-shirts are generally frowned upon, but then again a mundaneborn 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 using the colours associated with your magical society or House.

If you want, you can also bring a more festive outfit for the Opening Ball. Whilst most opt for glamorous evening attire, there is no formal dress code, and on the ball night you can see everything from everyday wear to fabulous gowns and suits. Some just change into a fancier shirt or put on a fun party dress, some come in deliberate dress-down, and some get creative in other various ways. In any case, don’t stress about what to wear, it’s the culmination of a weekend’s hard work, so it’s the party itself that counts!

This is a ‘larp from the ankle up’ event – meaning that comfortable and safe shoes take priority over aesthetics. If someone has shoes that perhaps don’t look like they fit with the theme of the rest of an ensemble, then you can’t see that difference – we assume costuming is from the ankle upwards.

We do not kit-shame at Bothwell events. Everyone has different aesthetic styles, interpretations of a theme, perceptions of what they think a Witchard looks like, and budgets. Whilst a good costume can make players feel more immersed into their character, and can help other players identify what sort of character you’re playing, roleplay is what is important. We don’t comment negatively on what another player is wearing, and do not assume a player’s or a character’s gender based on costuming presentation.

There are photographs of previous Witchard events on our website you can look through for inspiration, and other players will be more than happy to share advice & pictures, and answer any questions! As always, please get in touch with us if you’d like some advice, or also have any practical questions regarding suitability and appropriateness of specific costuming choices.

History of Bothwell School of Witchcraft

Witchard Society

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 all magical sentient 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.

Bothwell – The school and sanctuary

For centuries, Bothwell School of Witchcraft has been a home to magical study.  They say it was built into impossible dimensions, no one was sure quite how many rooms there really were! Rumours spread that some classrooms were only accessible through the secret entrances hidden around Bothwell, or through other magical portals. Fables suggested that within the college bounds a door might open where no door existed before. Records show that some rooms were used for teaching and experimentation, others for feasting, socialising, or quiet contemplation.   It was a place steeped in history, mystery, and secrets, especially because it was forever changing location, appearance, layout!

Bothwell School of Witchcraft was initially founded as The Bothwell Sanctuary in the early 1600s by the presumed-dead hermit, and former 5th Earl of Bothwell, Francis Stewart, alongside the Gnomes, who called the sanctuary grounds home. Together, they sought to save as many people from the persecution of the witch trials as possible, a noble task with a foolish scale. 

This quest would prove challenging for anyone to undertake as those who were gifted often hid their talents or wouldn’t dare speak of their abilities in public. Francis was forced to use stories and rumours to seek out those accused of witchcraft before the angry mobs did. He transfigured himself into the form of his familiar, a fox, in order to hide himself from the public.

Francis taught all those at the sanctuary to use their magical abilities, using the knowledge he had gained himself while studying the art over the years. He also provided them with a home in the castle where they could be themselves, secure from the King’s elite witch hunters, who often used crude magic themselves to trick those with magical abilities into revealing themselves. After just a few years, many of his students developed their own specialisms in magic and devoted themselves to their chosen arts, developing original spells and literary works. 

Using their combined talent and power, Stewart and his colleagues managed to develop The Seeing Stones, whose purpose was to reveal those with magical ability. The Seeing Stones made it much easier to sweep the country and rescue those fearing prosecution under the reign of James I. Francis Stewart then turned the sanctuary into the Bothwell School of Witchcraft, inducting those of age into his school each year, and teaching them to hone their magical abilities. From there the school grew into a centre of magical excellence and forever a safe haven for magic folk.

Witchards Debut Game 22-25/08/24 – The Team 

Lead Producers – Pändi Baldwin & Andrew Russell

Logistics Organiser & Player Handbook – Pändi Baldwin

Lore & Character Writers – Andrew Russell & Marieke Swinkels

Scenography & Storage – Mandala Studios

Volunteer Coordinator – Gina Moriarty

Original Content and Organisation – Rogue Events

Thank You Credits – College of Wizardry Team, Americo Congo, Tayler Wilson, Timo Vink, Isa Stegehuis, Miku Sivaro, Simon Brind, Thomas Mertz, Christopher Sandberg, Jake Cyriax, Westley Williams, & Hannes Mallezie.