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Everywhere you look, it seems that nerd culture is on the rise from a source of mockery, to down right cool. It’s a bit strange for those of us who have been geeky since they day we were born. However, in my now confident adult years I’ve decided to embrace this rise in nerd power and rather than be the grumpy old woman who shakes her fist and says, “I was a nerd before it was cool,” I now live the life I should have in my later teen years, openly and proudly. So, here I am at the ripe old age of 29, and I just booked a trip to Poland, to attend the College of Wizardry (CoW) live action role play (LARP). That’s right, I moved into a castle for 4 days and lived the life of a witch named Soelle.

This is the second post in this series and it covers off-game during the LARP (so me writing as myself, and not my character during Thurs-Sun) ***If you missed the introduction to Wandering Chocobo goes to College of Wizardry (CoW) live action role play (LARP) you’ll want to click here for part one, which covers character selection, the background of the CoW world, what a LARP is, costume design and my nerves and insecurities.

This post may contain some terms unfamiliar to you. However for this post, it’s important to know that within this magical LARP there are 5 houses, Sendivogius (my house), Faust, Molin, Libussa and Durentius. There are different career paths (I’m an Artificer or someone who deals with modern technology) and 3 different school years, Juniors, Sophomores (that’s me!) and Seniors. There is a house cup, which the houses compete for by earning points. CoW is a nordic LARP and can be best envisioned as a live action theater or murder mystery where you interact with others to create dramatic story lines. There are players, like me, and non-playable characters, like ghosts that you can interact with. Basically, I moved into a castle for four days and to live out the life of a “normal witch” attending college. This is set in a castle college in Poland, in a magic world with witches, wizards, vampires and werewolves.

Czocha College of Wizardry Castle Poland Wandering Chocobo

The Trip to Berlin

Feeling more confident than ever, I had a character, I had a suit case full of awesome outfits, and beer (for a club meeting called the basement beer brigade), it was time to head to Berlin! I decided to arrive a few days early, in order to explore the hipster side of Berlin, and also to make it to a pre-LARP meet up. I assumed this would help put my nerves at ease. Unfortunately, for a lot of us, the Berlin airports were shut down for two days, due to strikes. On top of that there was a massive snow storm on the east coast of the U.S. A lot of people, including myself and I only live in Munich, had a very difficult time getting to Berlin. My flight was canceled and I ended up on a 10 hour train journey. Our off-game facebook chat was filled with terror. Would we all make it to Czocha to begin the school year? Thankfully, I gave myself extra time, but some people were flying in from the U.S. the same day as the bus to Czocha departed and were cutting it close, or dealing with jet lag.

Wandering Chocobo in Berlin

For those of us that got to Berlin a few days early, we enjoyed a fantastic meet-up at a brewery in Berlin. I met my off and in-game friends Dennis and both Lauras as well as 25 other new friends. We got along swimmingly, minus some language barriers, but I knew from the start, these were my type of people. I was able to wear a weird outfit to dinner and fit right in. I could talk openly about anything and it was like the ultimate no-judgement zone. I’m sure anyone looking at us from the outside would have though we were a bit odd, but to each other we were beautiful and normal. This feeling would continue and grow through the entire week. Most of us left dinner early to get a good night sleep. We had a bus to Poland to make early in the morning. We were told there was no waiting, for anyone. However, some stayed behind drinking and it showed on the bus the next day. 😛

Bus from Berlin To Czocha Poland

I decided to treat myself to a taxi, since my suitcase was heavier than a griffin. I was traveling from the heart of Berlin to Berlin Tegel Airport. It was here I would be meeting up with the entire group taking the bus. I tried in my broken German to share the story of my upcoming LARP adventure with my cab driver. Slowly, over time the classical music in the taxi got louder and louder in his attempt to drown me out haha. Eventually, we settled on a topic he enjoyed, music. He dropped me off in an area full of busses, unsure of which one might be mine, he got out and went off to talk to the other bus drivers when a beautiful coach pulled up with with a flying witch logo adorning the side. This was my coach to Czocha, I knew it! I excitedly got out and greeted the familiar faces from last night and met some new ones. I chose a seat near the back next to Laura (Professor Ripley) from Completing My Bucket List, Dennis (Ewan), Micha (my prefect Advant), Cathering (Kara) and a few others.

Bus from Berlin College of Wizardry Wandering Chocobo

The bus was filled with excited chatter as we began to roll down the highway. I had not met the group sitting in front of me and we began to talk. They were a group from Sweden and they were all co-workers at a gaming store. They were lovely people and first time LARPers as well. We shared our fears and excitement until we were stopped by a loud “POP!” Suddenly, the end of my bus dropped and we looked behind and saw a tire rolling down the autobahn away from us. Our driver pulled over and got out. I could tell by the look on his face that it wasn’t good. But, he got back in the bus and kept freakin driving… We all began to wonder what was happening. Duh-thunk Duh-thunk… the bus goes. Finally, after several miles, we pull off, “Well that can’t have been good for the wheel,” I say.

College of Wizardry Bus to Berlin Wandering Chocobo

We joked that this session of CoW, CoW11, was cursed, with airport strikes, bad weather, blown out tires… what else could possibly go wrong? We were told that half of us would go into the second bus and the other half would wait for another bus to come from Berlin, as we were already an hour away at this point. Starting to worry that we might not make the grand opening feast, we all exit the bus and gather round in a circle, like penguins, finding comfort. We decideded to make the best of this and learn some of the Czocha College hymns. Mind you, some of us are in full blown Witch/Wizard LARP gear, I’m talking about hats, wands, the works! We began to learn the main hymn of the college song and our voices rise into the air, just the German Polizei show up. What a sight we must have been, a group of people singing about witchcraft on the side of the road in strange costumes. Nonetheless, they decided to help us and sooner than later we had a spare tire on and we were back on the road to Poland! No extra busses needed!

College of Wizardry Thursday Day 1

Orientation and Rules of the Game

An hour later, our bus finally pulls into the Czocha Castle. It doesn’t look like much from the outside and we’re all tired and worn out. Energy levels are low. We drag our heavy beer laden suitcases down a cobble stone road. The excitement begins to build and as we turn the corner and the magic set in. The emotions running through us as we crossed the bridge into our new home for four days were indescribable. Some of us were crying, some of us were laughing, but we were each having our own special moment with Czocha. This castle in all it’s glory is as close to a picturesque castle as you can get. A beautiful bridge led us to a grand entrance laid with brick work. The castle seemed to fold into layers upon layers, secret bridges connected hidden stone doorways, red tiled roofs grew higher until it peaked as a perfect tower. Getting into character will be much easier with this to call home, I thought!

Czocha College of Wizardry Poland LARP Wandering Chocobo

The feelings of happiness are quickly squashed by that of anxiety and panic. As I am lugging all my bags through the entrance, staff begin herding us like the castle cats. I don’t blame them, we’re more than an hour past schedule and we have a LARP to start. Within a matter or minutes, I have my house tie, red for Sendivogius, and my robe, lined in red for my Sophomore year. I then begin searching for my name tag among a sea of other names. Soelle Baldovini…. Soelle… Soelle… Ah there she is. “Be back down in 5 minutes,” I am told, “No time to get into character, just get downstairs for orientation!” I lug my beer laden suitcase up the stairs, very slowly. I search for a castle goblin I can force to take my bags up, no luck. It takes me the full five minutes. As I do, people are running around like goblins with their heads cut off, it is utter chaos.

College of Wizardry Knights Hall defy Gravity

Knights Hall

When I make it back down, I’m sweating and I am told to go to the entrance hall to meet with the other Artificers, those studying the same subjects in school as me. Only now am I able to catch my breath and orient myself. I look around at my other classmates. I am not the only one sweating and a total hot mess. We exchange words of excitement, stress and eagerness. We begin a rotation of several different orientations. These are to help us understand game mechanics, what we can do, what we can’t do and safety procedures. For game mechanics, we learn how to cast spells. We must be direct in our spell. If I want to make someone fall asleep I would say, “Fallasleepio” and advance toward my opponent. The defender can cast a defensive spell like, “deflectio” while crossing their arms. It is always up to the victim to decide what the spell does. This provides a safety feature in the game, if I don’t want my character to wind up asleep I can have the spell miss or I can deflect.

Another orientation session was about mental and health precautions. We were told that at any point if we were emotionally overwhelmed being another character, or needed someone to talk to, or help with our game we could come to the staff room, where there was chocolate, tea, pillows and someone to talk to. They also gave us the run down on sexual advances and that no means no and maybe even means no. Sometimes in character flirting is hard to decipher and it’s important to remain safe.

We learned about the NPC, or non-playable characters, such as the castle goblins, ghost and forest demons. These are technically staff members that are here to enhance our play. You can ask the goblins for a secret and they may tell you some dirt they heard about a professor, this will open up an entire quest or story line you can follow.

College of Wizardry 11 defy Gravity Fairy NPC

NPC fairy

This was my first opportunity to meet the other Artificers. We got to know each other and had time to build some relationships. I was already known as a bit of a trouble maker and attracted the attention of a Junior, Johnathan, who was looking to get into the Ancient Order of Mischief.

We then re-grouped and divided into houses and were told to find our common room. I knew most of my house from meeting on Google hangouts prior to the LARP, but there were definitely some new faces! One of our poor prefects was suffering from terrible jetlag while we did character introductions and discussed our tactics for winning the house cup. I’m not going to lie, the energy in our house was pretty dead. We were all hungry, tired and most of us were first time LARPers, including myself. Some awkward silences hung around as we tried to motivate ourselves and failed. Nonetheless we stumbled through introductions and survived long enough to make it to dinner! Our prefect, Willow was growing something suspicious in the bathtub. She was incubating exotic mermaid eggs. We were not allowed to ask any questions….

sendivogius Pride College of Wizardry Wandering Chocobo

Sendivogius Pride!

With the orientation out of the way, we were ready to get into character and start the grand opening banquet! We ran to our rooms to change into character and costume, from this moment on I was no longer Susanna, I was Soelle. We gathered as excited students in the main hall to hear the headmistress speak. Curfew was at midnight, off-game sleep starts at 2am and no Juniors allowed in the dark forest! Welcome to Czocha for another year of fun, magic and mystery!

Headmistress Hemolock giving announcements College of Wizardry Defy Gravity

Headmistress Hemlock and other professors, giving announcements.

The Strange Gathering in the Tower

I was a bit overwhelmed, as 100 or so people dispersed to play a game it was utter chaos. It was nearly 9pm and I had an Ancient Order of Mischief meeting scheduled at midnight and until then, I wasn’t sure what to do. So, I figured the best thing to do was to join the Juniors for a castle tour. Even though I was technically a first year, this was my first time at Czocha. That’s part of the role playing, you have to act like you’ve already been here a year if you’re a second year! It was a bit hard to grasp. On our tour, I found tons of secret hiding places, trap doors, spiral staircases, dungeons and much more! But as I was on this tour I realized that events were happening all around me. There was a duel happening between my housemate, Cordelia Duke, a hexist snob, and a homely Junior who was possibly after her betrothed. Everywhere I looked things were happening! Werewolves were appearing, ghosts were floating, duels were happening and secrets were being told. I was a bit hesitant to join in as I wasn’t sure what to join in or how. I just sort of wandered about with some of my house mates, but we quickly realized that you didn’t need an invite to join or to have pre-planned anything you just sort of showed up and interacted like you were supposed to be there!

College of Wizardry student werewolf Defy Gravity

Werewolf student that appeared the first evening.

I remember that I needed to bring to potion to a game of potion roulette and luck was on my side, as my roommate was a potion master. I handed her my two vial and asked her to whip up something good. I named one “dirty little secret” and gave the second to a housemate my good friend Nanna/Payton, she named it “love to your left.” Midnight was drawing near and that meant curfew and that it was almost time to make our way to Museum on one of the lower levels for our Ancient order of mischief. As I was on my way down there with a few Juniors and housemates in tow, we heard a rumor from our President that the meeting would be delayed by 30 minutes. I was unsure of what to do and feeling like the entire group was waiting for me to make a call, when a goblin stumbled down the stone stairs leading up to the tower. It told me, that if I wanted to live I should not go into the tower. Well, if there was anything I had learned at this point it was to follow the little seeds planted by NPCs. So what else would I do, but go into the tower!

Czocha castle in Poland. College of Wizardry 11 Toivo Voll

Stairway up to the Tower

Crooked stairs wound up and around, turning from narrow brick stairs to wide uneven wood stairs and then to a narrow, unsafe looking ladder. I erupted into a darkly lit small tower room. Professor Mackenzie, the Ritual Magic professor, stopped to look at me. I couldn’t help but thinking that I interrupted a secret meeting. I used my trouble making character as a crutch and sat down, loudly.

“Is everyone here, supposed to be here?” the Professor asks, looking at me.
I snicker and nod.
“Does everyone have their paperwork?”
I snicker and nod, while I am thinking, oh no, I don’t have the paperwork. A small nerdy Junior sitting next to me, named Jules, gives me a piece of paper, “don’t worry I have extras,” he whispers.
I would come to rely on this little nerd as the school days progressed. He would always be there, eager to write essays for extra credit or do everyone’s homework.

I see Maddy, the president of the Ancient Order of Mischief, her eyes glittering from across the room, and I realize that this secret meeting was the reason we were delayed. The Professor continues to ramble about a very cryptic research project he is conducting. I sit, wondering if I was supposed to know what he is talking about or if he is just a crackpot. He wanted everyone to conduct magical research and meet him again, tomorrow, after midnight to uncover our findings. My character laughs, extra studious homework? Yeah right. I’ll just get the nerd to do double the experiments for me. Before we leave the professor hands out Hall Passes, for being out after curfew. I treat this like gold. There is no reason listed on the pass so now I can use this on any night for sneaking about.

The Ancient Order of Mischief and Potion Roulette

Maddy and I make our way down to the museum, where our Ancient Order meeting is happening. We arrive to very few people in the room. A little disappointed, we heard that not everyone got wind of the time change and showed up at midnight. A cranky prefect, probably Advant, found everyone and kicked them out. We began to place our potions on the middle table, some were small and glittery, others large and menacing. Our numbers slowly grew, as those who left before began to reattempt to break curfew and sneak down to join us. Pretty soon there were 15 or more potions on the table. I was giddy with excitement as Maddy asked how many Juniors we had. The Juniors were to undergo an initiation into the Ancient Order, and we handed them all names of players in the game. Before the weekend was over they had to perform a prank on said person. They were given prominent professors, prefects and students. Some of the looks on their face were that of joy, some of them had a mischievous grin and others were of pure terror. Oh, the joys of initiation!

Potion Roulette College of Wizardry Wandering Chocobo

Potion Roulette After Curfew

Now, it was time for potion roulette. One by one we choose a bottle or vial. It was up to the drinker to choose the result of the potion, but the names gave us hints. Within no-time we had someone acting as a different zoo animal every minute, someone who was seeing flocks of birds attacking them, people spilling their deepest and darkest secrets, people falling in love or into euphoria and I was on my hands and knees mewing and acting like a kitten. The potion acted as long as we wanted or little as we wanted, but at the end of the game, all spells were reversed. We all tiptoed back through a hauntingly quiet castle. I stumbled into bed around 2am, the last of my room mates to make it back. I was somehow pleased with this, a full and successful day!

College of Wizardry Friday Day 2

College Classes and Losing Points

I woke up, excited to start my first full day of classes. I had my notebook and book bag with my schedule. Most of my classes were arduous and indoors, ah the path of an Artificer. I happily connected with my housemates, and friends over coffee in the morning before heading to my first class, Ritual Magic, with that strange professor from last night in the tower. Oh my god, he just continued to ramble on and on, even thought my character was making every effort to stop him.

Soelle fidgeted and sighed and distracted the other students. Her housemate, Payton, played a long with this as her trouble making sidekick. However, I wanted the teacher to interact with me more, RP and discipline me, or chew me out for being a terrible student. Nothing…. This pattern continued through to Invocation and Conflux Studies. Conflux studies was the equivalent of government and the professor was played by John, someone I got along with well pre-game. However, his character was a right old hag. At the age of 80 she was the grumpiest professor around. I was almost scared to piss her off in class for fear of losing house points. In fact, I was amazed that I hadn’t lost any, yet.

College of Wizardry ritual magic defy gravity

Ritual Magic Class

Mind Magic was after lunch and it was the first time I was really able to feel like I was LARPing with magic. I paired up with another house mate and we were to alter each others emotions and minds. I would cast “Joyexia” and if their mind was “open” they would become joyous, but if my mind wasn’t focused it would have no effect. This took team work RPing as we went back and forth acting and reacting to the different spells. At one point Ewan, an empath, became so overjoyed at the same time I did and we began singing and dancing together around the room in pure joy! The professor, a particularly tough woman, dispelled us and we received a bit of a reprimand for not focusing enough.

College of Wizardry Goblin hex Defy Gravity

Stray hexes falling on goblins.

The next class was Technomancy, where we played with and learned about Mundane technology. The teacher handed out house points like candy and I received a few! My character was particularly good at this subject being an Artificer and she enjoyed the subject. Another fellow Artificer from Libussa, who was a troublemaker as well, was giving me strange gestures after class and before I knew what was happening we were leaving through a secret door! We were outside on a covered bridge and as we followed the bridge we re-entered the castle. We found ourselves in an odd room, one that was filled with bathtubs, toilets and sinks. I had flashbacks to when Harry was in the Prefect’s bathroom. “What was this place?” My cohort and I wondered when we heard voices, the voices of the headmistress and other professors! “RUN” we both screamed and ran back the way we came. We tried the door we came from, it locked from the outside. We had nowhere to go as the headmistress spotted the color of our ties and removed 2 points from Libussa and two points from Sendi. Unfortunately, the professor that caught me was the Mind Magic professor and the head of House Sendi she began to lecture me. Susanna was ashamed that I lost points and got in trouble, while my character was laughing in the professors face. An inner battle began to rage between myself and my character. It was so natural for me to apologize to authority, but my character couldn’t give a fuuuuu. As the professors left, we realized that we were still stuck in the outdoor bridge. We couldn’t get back in and the teachers wouldn’t let us though the teachers lounge. Class was about to start and we were stuck. We looked below into a lower courtyard and saw a fellow student, his head wrapped in a turban.

“You know the professor lounge is that way.”
“yeah, we know, dude. We already lost points, and can’t get out of here.”
“yeah, it’s a trap.”
“Duh, we know that now.”
“Do you need help?” he asks.
“No, can you just leave us up here to single handedly lose all the points for our house?”
“Well, ok then,”
“No, wait! Please help us!”
He came to our rescue and opened the door from inside the castle and we slipped past the professor just as students were coming in for class. We had under 3 minutes to get to our next class. We giggled and parted ways.

I skipped my last class, Arthimancy for Alchemy. I was hoping for actual chemical and a chemistry set up, but I realize that is a liability with a bunch of LARPers, so we LARPed the shit out of food dye, water and beakers. We created a memory serum that upon drinking would recall vivid memories from the past and tell the truth about them. People began to test their potions and truthful memories came spilling out.

College of Wizardry alchemy Defy Gravity

Alchemy Professor West in the Alchemy Lab.

The bad and the Ugly

All in all, I was amazed at our teachers’ abilities to bullshit their way through magical subjects. They were all truly professionals in their field of study and asking them any question would result in a solid answer. It was all SO real. Though, I was a bit bored sitting through classes, most of my classes were lecture style and other than Mind Magic and Alchemy it was like attending a dry university lecture. I wasn’t really feeling my character during the day and I wasn’t sure how to express her in these classes, without actually feeling rude to those playing the professor and other students. I figured that maybe the professors didn’t play along because they wanted to get through their class material, so maybe a rude student wasn’t ideal? I felt a bit lost and was starting to re-think my character.

College of Wizardry house points Defy Gravity

House Point System. Sendi, losing since 92′

A reading of house points revealed that our house, Sendi was in last place. It was no surprise. Our house so far didn’t really have team spirit. All the other houses seemed SO into the LARP, they had their chants, pom poms and seemingly experienced LARPers. Our house couldn’t get a chant right to save our lives and most of us were first time LARPers, CoWers or those struggling to find their character. This did not help my feeling of being lost. I should have gone into the staff room for advice, chocolate and hugs, but instead I sort of wandered, hoping another magical event would open up for play. It didn’t.

The Tavern

College of Wizardry the tavern defy gravity

Bonding with my House Mates at the Tavern.

After dinner, I decided to go to the tavern for a drink. Oh the tavern was just LOVELY. I immediately felt better and this was where myself and my character belonged, in a cozy authentic tavern setting. The bartenders weren’t your normal kind, they were non-playable characters whom had mysterious stories of being enslaved by a mistress to serve us. Just chatting with them, opened up new stories and adventures. I found my housemates and over some drinks, we bonded. We decided that even without any real solid house pride we were all amazing misfits. Faust had the prideful and powerful, Durentius had the boisterous jocks, Libussa had the creatives and we just had lovable misfits who couldn’t get our act together to rack up house points or to save our lives. We bonded through this feeling and soon my spirits were uplifted. Werewolf hunters entered the bar, NPCs as well. They were trying to get information out of us students as to who the werewolves at Czocha were. The talk in the bar was enticing and magical. I bonded with my house mates, Emma, Catherine and Johnan. Johnan was from France and spoke virtually no English. I was impressed he was surviving this LARP and his ability to still have fun with very little understanding of what was happening. I could tell that him and Catherine had a bit of a spark, but since Catherine had already decided to ask a goblin to the Ball, Johnan asked me! I was flattered to have a date for the ball the next night!

Tavern workers College of Wizardry Defy Gravity

Tavern workers who work for their mistress MoA

The Sorting

While I was at the tavern, the Juniors were undergoing a series of questions and tests to see what house they should be sorted in to. This was conducted by the prefects of each house. I had only made a real connection with a few Juniors, the nerd, Jules, the trouble loving Artificer, Jonathan, and the bad ass Guardian, Marcy. When it came time to announce who was in our house, we got all three of them, plus some amazing additions! Our house was feeling even more alive. These Juniors really saved the game for our house. Their excitement for being added into our house was contagious. They fit into our house of misfits just perfectly!

Junior Sorting College of Wizardry defy Gravity

Junior Sorting

We had to initiate our Juniors, so in true Sendi style we rented out the tavern. This might have been because our other house professor Jax, who arrived at the castle a day late was a known alcoholic. He showed up to our event boozed and covered in blood. We wondered why he may have been late. We all got a drink, thanks to the prefects and sat around for our Junior initiation. Spirits were high, as Willow brought out a bowl of mermaid eggs… Each Junior was blindfolded with their new red tie and stuck their hands in the bowl of mermaid eggs. Their faces twisted with disgust. One-by-one the pulled out a vial and they were gifted with a potion to help them in their game, unicorn snot, mermaid tears…and many other magical substances. We cheered as they received their gifts and the merry-making continued into the night. Other houses joined us in the tavern and for once they were a bit jealous of us! I mean, we did have our initiation in the bar! Faust, on the other hand was branding their Juniors with the equivalent of a dark mark.

College of Wizardry junior initiation Defy Gravity

Adding out new Juniors!

Saving Balo’s Soul

The hour of 11 was drawing near. I had a demon to summon with Balo, Ewan and Maddy. I stupidly realized that I hadn’t been to the forest yet. The hour of 11 came and went, while I looked for the forest. Finally, I found it, a door in one of the court yards led to the forest. By the time I arrived the demon had just been summoned. A circle of my friends stood around him. Light shone on his handsome red face and horns. He was a smooth talker, this one. He would get in your face and promise you the world, if only for the price of your tasty soul. It took everything we had to resist his charm. However, he was here to bargain with Balo. He stole her soul weeks ago, when poor Balo thought she was signing a contract to sing soul music. He made her offers and she refused. We bargained and bantered with this charismatic demon for nearly an hour in an intense RP scene. Finally, Balo agreed that in three years she would deliver this demon 3 tasty souls in return for her soul now. Balo was stressed, for the next three years she would bare the burden of choosing three souls to pass off to the demon. My character only hoped it would not be her!

Czocha castle in Poland. College of Wizardry Photo Cred: Toivo Voll

Czocha castle in Poland. College of Wizardry 11.

The Dildo Monster

Upon returning to the castle, I saw the tower light on. The basement beer brigade, I shouted! I hurried up to the castle to get my beer I hauled all the way from freakin Munich, when I ran into Professor Ripley, the Vampire. She wanted to go owl hunting and was asking for students to join her. Hmm… Some of my fellow house mates were with her. I decided to take her up on the offer and miss the beer meeting in the tower. This was when I learned not to have your heart set on any one event, at Czocha there is always so much going on that being flexible is usually what creates your best game play.

College of Wizardry NPC demons

Behind the scenes look at the monsters that come out at night!

Back into the forest we went, past curfew and in the pitch dark. I hoped the demon I summoned was already back in his own dimension. We cautiously stepped into the pitch dark wooded night. We heard grunting from the blackness and no sooner than we left the castle grounds two monsters emerged. One had an ugly red horned face, not like our charming demon we summed. His legs hairy and beastly. The other had a skull for a face, his flesh was ripped and his bulging green chest was menacing. He turned. His bones were exposed and there upon his back were giant spikes. Professor Ripley, to this day swears by her most favorite blood type that they were dildos. This was the dildo monster from hell. My classmates and I quickly began drawing runes and casting spells to ward them off, but they were stronger than any beast we fought during the day. Nothing seemed to hurt them, we only angered them. We tried everything. We decided that now might be a good time to run back to the safety of the castle when Ripley threatened to revoke 10 points EACH if we ran. That sick vampire professor was using us for her own amusement. We tried stronger spells, but nothing worked. Out of nowhere, Professor Jax, the rugged drunk professor, showed up to save the day. My heart beat faster, there was something about his heroic rescue that got my blood pumping! He managed to vanquish the beasts as we ran back to the castle. As we were returning a group of Faustians emerged from the dungeon. We all looked at each other and decided that we were all up to no good out at 1am, so we better not say anything. However we wondered what they were doing down there. Rumor had it they were doing illegal school activities, so our house decided to investigate the next day.

College of Wizardry Saturday Day 3

Changing my Classes

I was told that if at any point I wasn’t enjoying my game, to change it. So, I decided to skip all my lecture classes and find other classes to attend. I decided to attend Professor Ripley’s class. A vampire teacher should be interesting. We started our lesson and soon after a goblin walked in through a secret passage with a WEREWOLF. A full grown transformed wolf in our castle! It was hurt and this began a debate over whether we should kill the creature or help it. With a werewolf student in our class, not many people argued to kill it, but emotions were running high. We had the head healer in our class and he decided to try and heal it. It had been hurt with silver and this was no easy task. Some students had their wands out and tensed every time the wolf stirred or whimpered. With some of the healing working, we cast a levitating spell and decided to lock it in the dungeon until it could transform back into human and we could identify it. We wondered if this wolf was a student, or a friend of a student’s who had been hurt by the hunters in the tavern the night before. Many questions left unanswered until we could talk to the human.

College of Wizardry werewolf healing defy gravity

Healing the Werewolf

Next, I crashed in on a Junior Beastiology class. All my Sendi Juniors were there! We learned about identifying dragons and signed up for barn duty. I picked the most dangerous one, feeding medicine to a cranky blind creature.

College of Wizardry combat Defy Gravity

Magical defense/combat

Since I enjoyed Mind Magic yesterday I went again today. Our professor used a goblin to test mind magic and I was unsure of how I felt about this mistreatment. Today we learned about defending against mind magic. My partner was a new vampire student. Somehow my magic misfired and caused him to go into a ravenous hunger fit, craving blood. I had to stand guard over him, with my wand out ready to stun if he attacked students while we fetched him something to bite into (an orange).

Lunch announcements revealed that we now had a House Goblin to compete with. The Goblins were trying to win house points and the cup. Sendi was barely beating the new house of Goblins. Unfortunately, they were cute and we were not, so they were quickly catching up.

“There’s no way you guys can lose to the goblins!” Mocks from other houses were directed at us. The Sendi’s laughed, we weren’t too sure.

College of Wizardry goblin and cat

Goblin catching a “cat to eat.” How did we lose to them?

My afternoon class was the most fun! I attended a Runic Magic class. We joined with the herbology class for a field trip into the forest. Our professor took all he Sophomore wands, including mine and told us that we would have to find a tree in the forest willing to give us wood to make a temporary wand. The senior Runic Magic class had to defend, with runes only, us as we searched for new wands. Two beasts emerged, a minotaur and werewolf, and they began to draw runes of safety. I searched for a wand. It had to be long, straight and not water logged. Once I found one I had to transfer my magic to it. The Seniors were doing an amazing job warding off the beasts and someone even lured one into a friendly rune and it was now helping us against the werewolf. Finally, with wands in hands the Sophomores were able to cast defensive spells and return the beasts to the forest.

Runic Magic College of Wizardry 11 defy Gravity

Runic Magic in the forest.


All morning my housemate, and captain of the Fireball team, had been begging everyone to join the Fireball team. We don’t play Quidditch in this world, we play Fireball. It’s like a complicated game of dodgeball with fire, and slightly different rules. Being an athletic person in my daily life, I figured I was probably one of the better chances our house had at winning the tournament. My character however, was too cool to play. I left my house hanging and showed up right before our first game, just after lunch, ready to play! I had never played before and totally winged it. Our first game was against Dureuntis, the jock house. At one point during the game we ended up with shirtless players and all sorts of ruckus from their team. The Sendi team was good for having never played together, Jules, the nerd was our Fireball blocker and played very well. We had great chemistry and he saved my life more than once. Mercy, the guardian, Corentin, the captain, Johnan, the Frenchman and Johnathan, the Artificer, made up our team. We lost by two points, by we gave them a run for their money! Sadly our next game was lost by two points as well to Molin. After the game though they said we were one of the toughest games they played. So, we didn’t win a million points for the house cup, but we sure had a blast!

College of Wizardry Fireball Wandering Chocobo

I’m the most amazing Fireball player and Jules is the best Fireball blocker person!

Extra Credit and Our Last Attempt to Not Lose to House Goblin

With the end of the school day, it was free time until the grand ball and the announcement of who won the house cup. The Sendi house decided to make one last effort to win. We were told that we could get points by writing extra essays, so Nerd Jules, wrote us lots of essays on friendship and magic, but we were still losing. We decided that if we all went to our Mind Magic Professor’s extra session she might award us points. We showed up late, she was pissed. House Goblin was now winning. We decided to just lose with epic style and go out with a bang!

The Ball

I was so excited for the ball! I set up a make up and hair station in the hallway outside our room. I also had lots of booze! All the girls came over for glitter, make up and curled hair. I poured them cocktails and we all dolled up! The Goblin, who was Kara’s date arrived just in time with a tinsel scarf and a ballon, instead of traditional flowers. They were just so cute! We all lined up in pairs of two, me with my date, and we walked into the hall for the start of the ball! My French partner made fun of me for not knowing how to dance, good thing my character raised her self and was supposed to be uncivilized!

My house mate, Kara/Catherine and I attending the ball!

At 10pm we learned that we epically lost the house cup. Faust who had been wining the entire game, dropped almost all their points, as they were caught summoning demons on school grounds and they had a student expelled! One of my prefects, Willow, had been turned into a Fey and in order to get her back we sacrificed our house points to the Goblin house, who in turn gave up something to the Fey. I was shocked at all the drama that had been happening at school. For the past two days straight I was so engrossed in my story line that on the last day I heard about everything that happened. Students almost died, our werewolf student was almost arrested, my prefect as a Fey… ! Anyway, we epically lost the house cup and laughed it off as our legacy to remember. The house that lost to the goblins.

The ball music was boring and waltzing is not my thing, so we all bailed and went to the tavern to end with a bang!

College of Wizardry Werewolf Hunter Defy Gravity

The werewolf hunters that hung out at the bar.

College of Wizardry – The End /h3>

At midnight, like Cinderella and her pumpkin carriage, the LARP ended. I had a seriously hard time adjusting to people who had been bullies the entire game that were suddenly complimenting me on my make up. The adjustment of knowing people before game and then meeting their character in game was just as weird as meeting a character in game and then talking to them after the game. It was a total mind fuck, to be honest and I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. I treaded lightly with caution, but soon the party atmosphere took over and everyone was friends again.

College of Wizardry free time Defy Gravity

Goodbye Czoca 🙁

The bar was open until 4am and it wasn’t until 3am I passed out, only to wake up hung over and in a rush to pack. I didn’t get to say goodbye to enough people as I was hurried on to a bus headed back to Berlin. The bus this time was more quiet. Some people sat in their own thoughts, reflecting on the experience. Others were exhausted and slept. There was lots of crying though, as we said goodbye to Czocha, our beloved home and to this experienced that changed our lives!

What was your most memorable experience of CoW 11 or, is this on your bucket list?

A special thanks to Cryssie of Defy Gravity Photography and to Toivo Voll of Shadow Fantasyfor allowing me to share some of their photos from College of Wizardry 11. All photos not credited are owned by Wandering Chocobo.

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Ever wonder what it's like to live in a castle for four days and make believe you're a witch or wizard? Find out in part two of Wandering Chocobo goes to Czocha castle for College of Wizardry LARP.