Who can attend New World Magischola?
New World Magischola is open to all participants who are age 18 by the date of the event. There is no upper age limit and we have players of all ages. Participants will play college students, or school faculty and staff. For younger players in middle and high school, Magischola Prep is available.
What if I’ve never larped before?
This larp is designed for you! We have designed this game to be easy-to-learn and open to everyone. This larp does not use complicated conflict resolution systems, character build points, or experience levels. Instead it focuses on relationships, immersion, and story. There is no physical combat in this game. Spell-casting mechanics and play techniques will be taught in workshops prior to the game, and each player will have access to a character coach to help you flesh out the character concept you are given by the organizers. There are also no minimum costuming requirements. Everything you need to play will be provided (except for your wand, as detailed above). You’ll also be part of player groups to help you prepare prior to the event.
How are characters created?
Players will be asked for their preferences for year, house/court, and major, and organizers will do their best to give players their choices. You will receive a character concept with a character last name, first initial, former school, year, path, house, and heritage. It will also include a basic backstory, some questions about motivation for the player to consider, and some suggestions for goals and relationships. Players will also have access to character coaches, who will help them build on this character concept to take ownership of it and to turn it into their own fully formed character. Major changes to the character need to be cleared with the organizers to ensure that another person’s game is not affected. Characters are not based on attributes, skills, levels, or categories, and there are no points or builds to use or exhaust.
Can I be a professor?
This is a very common question! If we said “yes!” to everyone who wanted to be a professor, we would have a game full of professors and very few students to take their classes. A separate process for interviewing and selecting professors will be held among the people who have purchased tickets for each run. Professors play a very important role as playmakers and playgivers in the game, and they will be working closely with the organizers to develop magical curricula and to understand the expectations of this game design and style. We will post more information about applying to be a professor after the tickets for each event are sold. In short, the more players in the game, the more professors are needed, so a game with 80 players has far fewer professors than one with 160.
When will we receive characters?
Players who purchase tickets to the events will receive their character concepts and coaches in April. We will have channels through Facebook set up so players can meet other players whose characters are in the same house/court, path, former school, year, and other groups such as heritage or clubs.
Can I write my own character?
You have a lot of flexibility with adapting the character concept you are given, so we do ask you to use that as a starting point in general. Characters created from the ground up may be approved by the character coach and organizers on a case-by-case basis. We need enough characters in each year, house, major, and heritage status, for example, and many characters have specific relationships or plot elements that affect the larger game for everyone. This is a new type of larp style for many players from North America, and we recognize that this character creation process is different from what you may be used to. We have planned a lot of communication prior to the event and on-site workshops that everyone partakes in to help you learn how this game is played, and create relationships with other characters and players.
Can I be a character from the Harry Potter fiction?
This is a magical school set in the current modern year in North America, with new characters and new plots. The Harry Potter fiction is inspirational, but none of our fiction or content will include that intellectual property.
Can I still get my pick of the houses/courts if I’m playing as a 1st year?
Like players of any year, you do get some say! First years “apply” to houses and courts, and can make their preferences known to the leaders of the house or court. Your character makes it clear why they would be a good fit during orientation and has a chance to demonstrate their loyalty and worth. The leadership gets together and “drafts” first-year students into the houses (and off-game we have oversight of this to try to accommodate preferences). But every 1st year student has to have a house and the numbers need to balance. There may also be an in-game character reason for certain outcomes so we can’t say that every 1st year will get the house they want (the same as 2nd and 3rd years when characters are distributed).
If you are playing in a second semester event, all players will begin the game already belonging to a house or court. We do our best to accommodate everyone’s personal preferences while maintaining an overall balance for the game.
What kind of costuming should I bring?
To play in this game, you need a wand. We’ll provide you with a robe and tie so that your character is in uniform. Hats are traditionally the student choice to express fashion sense, but keep in mind that our game takes place in a warm climate in June and July. You can be as mundane or as wizard-y as you like. There is a formal dance at the event Saturday, where the uniform is suspended, so your character can be free to wear whatever they choose, which is another costume opportunity. Professors wear whatever they want: robes, jeans, tweed, pajamas, matched, clashing, practical, ridiculous, and no one would dare suggest they look anything but absolutely smashing.
Where can I get wands?
Anywhere you want! Feel free to purchase your wand from vendors (etsy is a good place), or to craft your own! Because wands are so individual, we are not providing them along with your student robe and tie. One of our partners is also offering custom leather wand holsters, which you can find in our Merchandise Store.
The person affected by a spell decides what happens?
Yes, always, though it is generally considered good game play to give at least some reaction, even if it’s as simple as a disapproving glance. This game style is built off of collaborative game play and story building, so working together to make great scenes and experiences with your fellow players is highly encouraged.
How do they know what they are supposed to do?
They aren’t “supposed” to do anything. It’s your responsibility to effectively communicate what the effect is you are trying for, usually by dramatic exposition before you cast. “Try my stunning spell! *Kazammobop!*” If they want to perform the spell effect that you intended, they will.
Can we also use a spell with a known effect?
At this game, many people will understand the pseudo-Latin lexicon of a certain popular fiction. However, you cannot assume that they will, or that the spell will have the intended effect. It is also quite common for people to mishear what was stated when wrapped up in the moment. We are advocating for responsibly communicating, not for making everybody memorize a list of spells and effects. If someone doesn’t understand your intended effect of your spell, that’s not their fault. Just go with it.
How can I ambush someone with a spell if I have to communicate it first?
You can’t. That’s the intended design. Communication is key for this type of game, so it’s important to be facing your fellow player so you both can clearly see what’s happening.
How can I make someone do something that they don’t want to do?
You can’t. That’s the intended design. As always, the recipient of the spell always determines what it does to them if anything. This rules also applies to any potions, hexes or other wizarding tomfoolery that you may encounter during your time at wizard school.
Okay, I get that spells sometimes don’t work, but if someone is going to say that my spell didn’t work on them, they should at least tell me why, right?
Nope. Also, they didn’t “say” that it didn’t work. It just didn’t work. Explanations may or may not be forthcoming. You may have to provide the explanation yourself. Here are some examples:
- a recipient could deflect the spell using a defensive maneuver, e.g. matrix dodge.
- a recipient may have a reason that the spell would not take effect, such as knowing the countercurse or being in possession of a charmed object that negates the spell
- the spell could also have minimal effect – akin to being glanced with a sword, or
- an unintended effect such as a Tarantallegra causing judo kicks instead of dancing.
Perhaps the spell didn’t work because of a lack of skill on the part of the casting wizard, maybe a mispronunciation, magical interference, or whatever explanation you concoct. The lack of predetermination of spell effects opens up possibilities for surprises and improvisational play. It really is fun.
But that makes it seem like I don’t have any leverage to get someone to accept the effects of my spells.
Exactly. You do not.
Won’t this lead to chaos?
Generally, it works out pretty great! This system is about making a collaborative, fun experience for everyone, including having some interesting things happen to your character! As such, while it can be counter intuitive for the character, people generally choose to perform the intended effect of spells cast on them, or at least have some reaction. Since the characters can’t be killed and the person whom the spell is cast on has complete controll on how long it lasts or what it does, there’s no inherent risk of going along with having a spell cast on you.
The characters can’t be killed?
Right, but you can choose to die if you like. Since the characters can’t be killed, there’s much less risk involved with allowing someone’s spell to affect you. People are curious, they want to see where things will go, so they usually accept the intended effect as best they can. In the case of duels-
Are there any exceptions to the “defender decides” rule? What about the effects of rituals, or magical artifacts, or potions?
The thing to keep in mind is that, be it a potion, an artifact, or an elaborate ritual with over a hundred participants, the person who is affected by the magic decides what happens.
There is one nuance. Generally, a student’s spell will always fail on a professor (and why would you cast a spell on your professor, anyway?). Generally, a professor’s spell will always succeed on a student.
Couldn’t that be abused?
If a person cast as a professor abuses their spellcasting privileges, 1. We’ll be really disappointed. 2. We’ll have failed at casting the right person to be a professor. 3. We need to know right away to intervene. All that said, based on precedent from College of Wizardry, Professors have never abused their spellcasting privileges. Likewise if someone abused the defender’s privileges to be persistently disruptive or abusive, we’d want to know right away so that we can intervene. Again, we have never seen that happen under this system.
Okay, so I can’t kill anybody. Can I at least do non-lethal effects like turning them to stone?
A technically non-lethal spell effect that ends someone’s game experience is a kill-equivalent move as far as we are concerned. Likewise the defender has control over the duration of a spell effect as part of the “defender decides rule”. If you cast an effect that makes someone freeze in place, and then try to declare the effect is permanent or lasts for hours, they can decide to end the effect right then, or someone else can offer a counter-spell to release them.
Can I at least stun someone and take their wand?
Nope. Since being wandless makes someone basically powerless at magical college, no one can take anyone else’s wand away. Accidentally dropped wands must be returned to the owner immediately. If you find a lost wand, please bring it to the organizer room right away. If you lose a wand, come to the organizers. If your wand has not been found, we will give you a replacement to borrow.
Will there be photography or filming of the event?
We plan to have a photographer on site at all of our events. We then release the edited photo collection for our players to view and to share with your friends and family. It is possible we may have a videographer on site during the event as well. We use this footage for our marketing materials and website. Players will be asked to sign a photography release form.
Can I vlog or make my own documentation during the event?
You have permission to film yourself, and others that consent to participating in your documentation, with the understanding that it will be done so in a way that’s not disruptive to others’ experience. You may not record film or take photographs during any part of the event where you may accidentally photograph or film unwilling individuals — such as in classrooms during class, or during our graduation or house drafting ceremonies. You may take photos or record film in your room if your roommate is ok with it. Always check with everyone that may be involved with the film or pictures if they agree to be included.
How often will be in our dormitory rooms?
Realistically? Between midnight and 7 a.m. There are ingame activities until 1:00 a.m. and gameplay resumes at 8:00 a.m. Nearly all game interactions will be in the common rooms, classrooms, and on campus. Dorm rooms are “off-game” by default and are designed to be an off-character sanctuary space. You will be moving between classes, extracurricular activities, meals, and excursions most of the time.
Is it possible to get a room to myself?
Yes. One of the package upgrades to your ticket is a single occupancy upgrade.
I have a particular roommate I want to stay with. Can you put us together?
Both parties should indicate they want to stay with the other person on their survey, and must include their friend’s email. If both do not indicate the other person, the match may not be made (we have to be sure *both* parties agree to the rooming arrangement).
Can I be a roommate with someone who isn’t in the same house or court as me?
Yes! Rooms are considered off-game by default. Our participants’ comfort with their roommate exceeds any wish to try to keep roommates within a house or court. Also, many 1st year students will have their room assignments before they have a house anyway.
Can we switch roommates once the room assignments are out?
Any time there are logistical changes, it takes a lot of time and manual labor. We hope you will respond to the requests for roommate preference when we distribute them, so that the initial assignments are as accurate as possible. That said, changes are inevitable, and we will do our best to make it work so that everyone’s happy.
Can my room be an in-character area?
Rooms are out of character by default, but if occupants agree, this can be changed as needed. 1:00 am to 7:00 am is considered sleep time, however, when the game is not currently going, to allow everyone to get some rest. There are no night mods or ambushes in this game. Please get your rest.
Do I have to room with someone of a different gender?
On the survey you will get to identify your gender and to state if you would prefer to room with, or have a suite with others of the same gender as you, or if that doesn’t matter to you.
Can I decorate my room?
Yes, but respect the facilities, and keep in mind the rules (such as no open flames, no hot pots), etc. You may attach things to the wall, but please use the adhesive putty and not tape. Check with your roommate or suitemates before applying decoration to shared areas.
I have a medical reason to room with someone. Can you accommodate that?
Yes. Please indicate that in the “Is there anything else we should know?” field on the survey.
I need an ADA compliant room and a place to store or charge my accessibility device. Can you accommodate that?
The dormitory is ADA-compliant and has an elevator. Certain rooms are designated accessibility rooms.
What if I have problems with my roommate at the game?
While we hope that you are able to work these situations out, there are a limited number of alternate rooms that you could be switched to if you prefer. These may be in the NPC area, depending on availability.
I have accessibility requirements for attendance, can I use my wheelchair / bring my service animal?
Yes! Our facilities are wheelchair accessible. Service animals are welcome, but the site does require that the animal be clearly marked as such. (Wearing the standard vests is sufficient. Costuming the service animal is welcome as long as the costume doesn’t obscure the vest.) If you have a specific accessibility need, be sure to contact the organizers and we will work with you.