I’ve swam with sharks, jumped out of planes, zip lined over alligators and flown a plane (just to name a few things), but nothing can even come close to the best experience I’ve ever had in my life so far – College of Wizardry.
For anyone who hasn’t read my previous posts about this, College of Wizardry is a 3 day event in a castle in Poland, where you live as your wizard character during your time there.
As you can tell I’ve been excited for this since I bought my ticket last July, but what actually happened was so much better than I could ever of dreamed of.
As someone who is on the very introverted/anti social side of life, it was a big step for me travelling to another country to meet nearly 150 people from over the world to take part in my first ever LARP (live action role play).
The night before the event a large group of us met in Berlin for dinner. Straight away the conversation was easy me, something I’ve not experienced before. It was so refreshing to come across people who had similar interests; not something I’m used to in my little village in the north east of Scotland.
On the morning of the bus (with a slight hangover), the excitement could be felt by everyone! Half way through the 4 hour trip the bus lost a tyre which resulted in around 80 witches and wizards standing outside whilst it was changed. This didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, instead people used the time to practice the house songs, go scavenging for wands or to get to know their new class mates/colleagues for the weekend.
We arrived at Czocha Castle in Poland, and it was more beautiful than it looked in the pictures. I couldn’t believe I’d be living here for the next three evenings.
After our introductions to LARP and College of Wizardry, it was time to say bye to Laura Lawson for the next three days and become Professor Rowan Ripley. I slightly “bat shit crazy”, vampire only using the college for her personal gain.
In our first staff meeting we were advised a consultant was coming to view our classes and would like to have a one on one meeting with us. Uh oh! He was going to figure me out.
Later that evening I attended an A.R.M (Alliance for Reclaiming Magic) meeting. Where a group of us signed a petition to make sure werewolf students would take silver potion. Apart from that it seemed to be a room of villains (perfect), many of us covered in “werewolf” fur and very hexist (anti pure blood magic), I was happy to have another professor in the group as to not be the only “insane one”.
I was pretty tired so decided to call it a night after that an prepare for my first full day.
A Ghost playing the piano in the library
On the first morning of my first class, I was proper shi*ting myself! I had only taken on the professor role a few weeks ago and was really nervous about my class plan. It could certainly show, as everything I had planned for the lesson ended up only taking 10 minutes! I had to think on my feet quickly, and told the students to go find a necklace to summon the first vampire which was lost in the college. Whilst they headed out I ran to find a goblin to hide it! Instead of coming back in 15 minutes with the necklace as I had planned, the students came back 30 minutes later without it. I let them know how useless they all were and to head onto their next class. (Later to find out they hid the necklace from their insane professor and dealt with it so I couldn’t summon the first vampire). I have to thank everyone for that, as it gave the class something to do.
I had 2nd and 3rd period free and was panicking with what to do for my classes in the afternoon as the morning went so badly. To get a break from everything I decided to start speaking to one of the castle goblins.
I have no idea how we got onto the subject but the goblin brought up the goblin war! I loved the story so decided my afternoon students should learn about the lives of goblins and be able to ask them any questions they would like. We learned about the dead goblin, Bob, who’s head lives in the library, how they like to eat cats covered in cookies, and how they now fight the dust.
With classes now over for the day I felt I needed a much deserved drink in the tavern, where I was concerned about the safety for the bar staff after realising one of them had been locked in a coffin in there by their owner.
That day I’d started to regret taking on the professor role and pre planning on playing a super dark character as I certainly wasn’t pulling it off. But as we were advised at the beginning, if you weren’t feeling your character, you could change it. So instead of being pure evil I decided to just go for for insane.
Whilst enjoying a few drinks in the tavern I came across a werewolf hunter. They originally told me they wouldn’t hurt a student werewolf. After a little persuasion I believe I managed to change some minds. I also opened up a letter I’d received via goblin mail earlier that day which was an invite to meet someone on the stairs so they could confess their “fiery feelings”, as a vampire this wasn’t a meeting I was going to attend!
Later outside screaming was heard. Some werewolf/witch hunters started to attack the students. Playing someone evil I actually had a little internal dilemma of which side I wanted to fight on. I stepped over to pull my wand out on one of the students when the hunter pulled a gun out on my head, “everyone stay where you are or I shoot”, where I replied with “I’m already dead” .
The fight continued for a while, with people on both side getting hurt.
After they hunters were lead off the school grounds by the headmistress I returned to enjoy a few drinks where some certain students were looking for a hall pass. I knew fine well they were up to something a professor wouldn’t approve of, but no questions were asked and I provide them an “extra curricular activity” pass.
As students had to be back in their rooms for 12am unless they had a hall pass, I decided to take a group out to the forbidden forest “owl watching”. We took a quick detour by the dungeon where we heard something going on but decided to continue on our owl hunt.
The moment we opened the gate to the forbidden forest we were attacked by two creatures. One, which will to this day be known as the dildo monster! With it being dark, and many hours spent in the tavern, the spikes down it’s back looked so very rude, that we came up with some many wonderful spells including “breakadildio”. The fight kept going on, a student was hurt and they wanted to run. Being the great professor I was I threatened to remove house points for anyone who left, and offered to give house points if someone would chop its head off. But no… they wouldn’t harm anything. Then professor Jax came along and dealt with the situation whilst we all returned to the castle.
Jax had a word with me to find out why my dad had attacked Lexi Cortez (a student) a few weeks ago. I promised I’d send word to my super crazy sister to find out what information I could, then headed off to my bed.
Saturdays class involved having an injured werewolf brought into class. As I couldn’t pull off as evil as I had planned, I still continued to call it “IT” instead of he/she, and asked the students if they were sure they wanted to save it. Unfortunately both classes decided they did. Where were the evil students hiding?!!! Professor West joined in as we were discussing what had just happened and told the class he thought all werewolves had equal rights. “One werewolf has the same right as another werewolf. The right to be experimented on”. I struggled to contain my laughter. As he left many of the students said they wouldn’t be going back to the alchemy cellar again.
In our afternoon staff meeting I was advised that the consultant from our class yesterday had been found dead with bite marks in his neck. Well I had been framed for murder! My only suspicion was Professor Mackenzie who in his report had “few nice things to say about Rowan Ripley”. My class review had also disappeared from the report list. Framing me nicely!
During lunch I watched some fireball being played. This was the final game to find out who would win the tournament.
I’d received a letter back from my sister Echo about Lexi, so sent a screamer to have her come see me with professor Jax. Turns out Lexi was my cousin and my dad was trying to kill her to keep her out of the family money. To make sure it was correct we had a student (Loki) perform a test to see if it was true. It was. Whilst she wasn’t happy about finding out who her father was, we’d both made a new member of the family.
In the afternoon I had a shared class with Professor Wraithwood. A Minotaur came storming into the class room and attacked one of the goblins, and one of the werewolf students. The students decided it was injured and continued to heal it.
In our afternoon staff meeting, my report had turned up from the consultant, where I was described as “fucking insane” (This made me proud). It was decided I was to be suspended during the murder investigation. At that point I decided it was acceptable to start sending out hexes to the other professors and students. Something I certainly enjoyed doing!
My suspension was announced at the evening speeches as well as one of the professors having his magic removed for a year, and some students being punished and one expelled. Then it was time to get ready for the ball.
I turned up dateless ready to enter the hall. It turned out I had been invited, but my letter was in invisible ink. The students entered first, followed by the staff, where we were greeted with champagne and enjoyed the first dance.
During the ball, we went for our professional photos in the staff room. The conversation in character was great the whole time. Professor West had sore legs, so we discussed the possibility of golum legs, or just looking for someone else’s to steal.
Then it was time to announce the house cup. Fifth place, Sendivogius. As they took their turn to make their speech, they announced that they actually came in sixth place. House Goblin had taken fifth place. The whole place erupted with claps and laughter. I was super happy about this announcement as I’d been awarding the goblins house points all weekend.
The houses went through their speeches, up until the winning house, Libussa. Then the school song was sung by everyone.
It was time for the announcement we were all dreading “The Larp is over”.
I stayed up til 4.30am that morning getting to know everyone I’d been playing with over the weekend. Hugging people I’d been fighting with, getting to know the non player characters, and getting to know people’s real names (oh and drinking way too much).
To someone who wasn’t there, reading the above may sound totally insane. But I really can’t explain in words how much this event meant to me. It was so refreshing to spend time with people I could relate too. Many of us introverts who needed something like this. I’ve met so many amazing people from all over the world.
I didn’t take many photos as I enjoyed actually getting away from technology for a few days, but professional photos will follow.
As someone who isn’t an emotional person on a day to day basis I think it took til this morning for it to kick in how sad I was about leaving. As soon as I sat down at my desk this morning at work I wanted to cry. We were all warned this would happen.
Our of everything I’ve done, in all countries I’ve visited, this is the best thing I’ve done in my life ever. It took me some time to get into character, and feel comfortable not being myself, but after some time It became second nature.
And to get over how sad I felt today, I went and booked a trip back for this November! I feel this time I’ll be a lot more confident, and know how to come up with more stories to play with.
If you want to live in a magical castle for a weekend, with many amazing people from over the world, head over to www.cowlarp.com to book your ticket.