This weekend I attended New World Magischola, a larp set in the same universe as College of Wizardry (Czocha). Just as with CoW, it’s a Nordic Style Larp. For more info on larps and nordic larp in particular, check out my post about College of Wizardry
Also here’s NWM’s official page, their next event will be Yule.
After being bitten with the larp bug, I’d heard from several attendees of CoW11 that NWM would be running this summer. I looked it up, but found myself not wanting to pay the higher price, easily a hundred more than CoW, perhaps even a bit higher. So I applied for a scholarship, and waited. I knew that if I didn’t get one, I wouldn’t go.
But as luck would have it, I did earn a scholarship, and so I started making plans.
Once again, I was unable to convince my fiancee she might have a good time, so while she flew off to visit family in Idaho, I’d be attending myself.
This year, NWM was held at the College of William and Mary (unlike last summer when it was held at the University of Richmond. An adventure itself, so I’ve heard). As I live up in Southern Maryland, all I had to do was drive, a novel idea compared to flying across an ocean and taking a several hour bus ride.
Thursday morning, in torrential rain, I started my drive down. In a rental car no less, as I’m having trouble getting the new tags for my car. After panicking over having enough for the tolls, I set off. It actually ended up taking more like three hours, with traffic and getting lost, but finally I arrived at William and Mary, a little bit after check in had started.
We were staying at an older dorm, and…okay, let me get this right of the way. It’s not a castle, it’s not Czocha, and I knew it never was going to be. But even so, William and Mary have a lot of amazing buildings etc. This was not one of them. The mattresses were cracked and broken, the bathrooms had no plugs in them.
I knew the food was going to be plain old college food, something I almost never ate myself, as I only had one quarter I had a meal plan, not being a freshman when I attended an actual school. But even knowing that, the food was not great. The staff was incredibly lazy, half the food stations that should have been open weren’t. It’s a good thing food to us was just a neccesity.
Now follows a bunch of things I struggled with, didn’t like, etc. Let me say before I go into any of that: I don’t regret attending. Had I known certain things, I might have chosen not to, or to do things differently. But despite problems, I don’t regret this larp. Being Tallis Brayboy allowed me to experience things I haven’t gotten to before.
Problem One: I didn’t realize that over half the people doing this second semester larp would choose to play their same character, who had all been at a previous run together. Especially the staff, I was literally the only new one. Which meant all the other faculty had connections and history that while I could invent, didn’t exist. I also had this problem with my students. Students who might have come to me for problems as a teacher, went to all the other teachers they already knew.
Problem Two: This was the final run. That means everyone was exhausted. The NPCS and crew did an amazing job, really! But I could tell everyone was burnt out, overworked, ready to be done. It’s no fault of anyone, but if I came to NWM, which does so many runs right in a row, I’d choose to go to one of the earlier ones.
Problem Three: The plots. There was too much happening. A lot got lost, a lot got convoluted, and with so many player originated plots, the big plots done by the NPCS weren’t really necessary.
The good things:
- The players. Even if sometimes I wished more of them had chosen to include me, the creativity and spontaneity of everyone always amazes me.
- Getting to be a teacher. I loved getting to actually be a teacher, and have people listen to me, “learn”from me, and let me bullshit things like they were fact. Thank you all who improvised with the lessons and exams, and hopefully let me guide you
- The little things. Exchanging worried glances with my fellow faculty about Snodgrass. Giving side eye about Virginia Isle and hoping someone would notice. Crying by myself for real in the faculty lounge when I got a letter about how to bring my mother back from the dead.
- The people who DID interact with me. Just the fact that people came to my ritual and my ghost lesson at ALL means the world to me. I loved the small necromantic ritual we had, it felt very intimate. And all the other little moments when people spoke to me, called me professor, etc.
Ultimately, would I go again??
I…don’t know. Perhaps. If I knew a ton of people weren’t going to all know each other, I’d be way more likely to. If the venue was different and a bit nicer, I’d be much more inclined. I’d love to attend a softer run, where everyone agrees before hand its honestly just school and building relationships, no big plots, rituals or anything.
I ended up leaving early because I couldn’t handle the stress of dealing with parties, feeling left out, people being drunk. If I’d gotten to party in character I might have been more inclined. But that’s something I struggle with all the time, not just with NWM.
This review has been a mixed thing, and I hope that reflects my feelings. I had very low moments, I had very high moments.
Most importantly, Tallis Brayboy did teach me things about myself. Tallis is inside me, just like Diana was. Tallis allows me to be authoritative, in control, smart, a little bit snide, and loyal to my family.
Tallis, you are more than the island your family keeps afloat and more than your past.