What system do you use to resolve combat?
There is no physical combat in this game. There are also no hit points or combat arbitration mechanics like rock, paper, scissors. If you choose to get involved in a magical duel (and it is possible to have a fantastic time without drawing your wand for anything other than to cool down your coffee), then casting a spell on someone else follows the same system as used in College of Wizardry. The caster faces their opponent (no spells can be cast at someone’s back, or around corners, etc.) points their wand, and says some words that describe the spell they are casting (“May your mind become muddled and your sight blurred! Confusio!” For example). The defender decides the outcome of the spell on them. Maybe the spell missed? Maybe they deflected it? Maybe it just fizzled out and didn’t work at all, or maybe it cause some other random reaction. The recipient always decides.
You can check out our Youtube Playlist called WYSIWYG Larp Roleplay Spellcasting and Magical Effects for College of Wizardry and New World Magischola which features a number of video demonstrations on how to use magic while playing.
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-
This system supports duels?
It does. In the case of duels, they tend to go one of two ways.
Way number one: the duelists take turns being the aggressor with spell casting, and improvise their reactions to the spells in each case until a winner emerges. The only rule is that you cannot cast the same spell twice in a row; doing so in a duel means that it would fail, and usually signal the duel’s end, but since that iterated “to win a duel you must memorize as many spells and their effects as possible” we are a bit critical of that. What players decide to agree to about how a duel is run should fit the spirit of the system though.
Way number two: the players collaborate off game on the duel and the outcome, going so far as to create a loose script if they want. They then perform it. This allows for no misunderstandings, and a certain degree of dramatic performance that an improvised duel might not have.
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.