by Karina Montgomery
Oh, my dear Potterheads. Have you not yet heard of the College of Wizardry in Poland? It’s a once in a lifetime chance to spend a long weekend in a beautiful Polish castle, live action role-playing as students getting their post-graduate wizarding education. Wait, did I lose you at LARP? Live-Action Role Play is just what it sounds like – think playing D&D, but you are the miniature figure striding confidently across the chamber. You’re in character all the time, both for your fellow attendees’ enjoyment and for the full immersion. Go peek but come back: cowlarp.com.
The 113 or so participants (supervised by 24 staff and 25 NPCs) are sorted into one of five houses, one of three class years, and one of five paths of study, or you might be a ghost, a visiting reporter, or another character. You get texts, a robe, a wand, and the chance to enact the life you dreamed when you plowed through your millionth reread of J.K. Rowling’s epic adventure. You’ll take lessons, and the school has clubs, meals, and Common Rooms to foster interactions. Your characters are pre-written, in terms of a skeleton to base your character on, but all relationships are built by the players. Did you come from non-wizarding parentage but get sorted as a Sophomore in House Durentius? Or are you hoping to keep your Half-Blood status a secret as you yearn for the heart of the oblivious Sendivogius senior in your Geomancy class? There’s plenty to do – visit the forest, go to classes, grab a beer at the tavern, join or spy on secret societies, and attend the ball. And learn spells of course.
The College of Wizardry (CoW) is an immersion in the concepts of the world that Rowling created, but this is its own world and universe. Warner Brothers is kindly allowing the CoW to produce its April LARP unchanged, but they are no longer allowed to be an unauthorized fan creation. Future College of Wizardry LARPs will take place not in that trademarked universe, but in one of their own devising. A lot of the experience will be the same as in the original CoW LARP depicted on their site, but there will be no mention of Muggles, no Quiddtich, and no Hogwarts in their fiction. I’m sure if you wore your Ravenclaw scarf you wouldn’t be escorted from the premises, but just know that this is not a licensed event – which I think would make it feel more real.
Once you’re there, it’s only a couple hundred pounds sterling for an all-inclusive adventure – but getting there from the U.S. is a trick! Roughly equidistant from Prague, Dresden, and Wroclaw, Czocha Castle in Lesna, Poland is a destination in its own right. Imagine the feeling of sleeping in a true 800 year-old castle on a lake (giant squids not guaranteed) in the heart of a rich and ancient forest, misty mountains, and that’s before you add the wizards!
Will you be in House Faust, House Molin, House Sendivogius, House Durentius, or House Libussa? Dinner Thursday evening kicks off the LARP so the Staff and Prefects can get a sense of their charges so they may be sorted Friday evening. By Saturday evening, the first House Cup will be awarded and conflicts and romances between houses and individuals come to their fruition. Sunday, share breakfast with your fellow players and you’re on your way back home after only three nights! If you want to stay at the castle before the LARP, arrangements can be made, as it is a functioning hotel.
So, you’re drooling now, right? If not, check out the 18 minute documentary produced by Cosmic Joke or just the 1:40 teaser which is enough to make you want to sell your couch to buy a plane ticket.
The April 2015 session sold out in seconds, of course. The classes are small but the desire is huge. So why let the loyal readers of Krypton Radio know now? Is it just to torment you about something you can’t participate in? No – because you can!
There is an IndieGogo campaign launching February 28, 2015 (6am Pacific time) to do one or as many as three sessions in November 2015. They only need to raise $50,000, which, considering the depth and breadth of this undertaking, is miraculous.
You’ll want to check out the campaign page for more details, but you can get support prizes for donations as low as $10 all the way up to basically buying the position of Headmaster.
Stretch goals include making a book, a documentary, hosting more sessions, maybe even buying their own castle! So, while Warner Brothers doesn’t want this to be a Potter tie-in, let’s rally the Potterverse together to help this wonderful and creative experience continue to exist. Use #cowlarp if you want to help spread the word.
– 30 –