Transcribed by Katie Hynes and Marissa Osman
Eric Scull: I don’t know what order to go in or who wants to talk first, but if everyone could introduce themselves by what they’re going to be doing at Albion, and also your real-life name as well as [your] character name. If that’s a spoiler, don’t spoil.
Belle Decker: Hi, I’m Belle. I’m going to be the House head of Ignus, and my character’s name is going to be Professor Bedelia. And this is Mar. [gestures to the person sitting next to her]
Mar Warner: Hi, hello! I am actually going to be a student - I don’t believe that’s spoiling - for House Caelum. I am part of a very famous family. Zephyrus, right?
Eric: Yes! Oh, are you my younger [sibling]?
Mar: Oh my goodness, yeah. That’s me. Hi. I can’t believe I didn’t recognize you. My nose is just always in a book. My bad.
Eric: Understood. Totally fine.
Mar: It’s so good to see you.
Eric: Somebody has to do our family proud.
Mar: It’s going to be me.
Eric: Alright, geez. I can feel the sibling rivalry already.
Mar: Me too. I can’t wait to explore more.
Eric: Nice to meet you both.
Morgan Schreiber: Hi, my name is Morgan Schreiber, and my character is going to be Cloelia MontClare, the head of House Solum.
Eric: Oh, okay, very cool. If all goes according to plan, that’s going to be my House. So you’re my House head!
Eric: Very excited about that. Solum speaks to me the most.
Morgan: Nice. Well, we’ve got some fun classes planned.
Eric: Very cool. Nice to meet you, Morgan.
Morgan: You too.
Dylan Schaefer: I am Dylan Schaefer. Nice to see you, Eric. I will be playing Arturo Caspian, who is the second master underneath the headmaster. [He] was the headmaster but was demoted to second master because of politicking. And he is not affiliated with a House, technically, as second master, but he is an Undas.
Allen Turner: Hi, Eric. I am Allen Turner, and I will be playing Thelonius Anh, who is the headmaster.
Eric: Very nice to meet you, Allen. Thank you.
Allen: It’s great to be here. I just wanted to say I’m also not affiliated with the House, but I am an ex-Ignus person.
Eric: Okay, there [are] good dynamics there.
Molly Southgate: Hi there, I’m Molly Southgate. I will be playing Prudence Balladan, who is the head of House Undas.
Eric: Hello, Prudence, hello Molly. I hear you’re also- [hesitates] Are you telling people that you’re a vampire?
Molly: Yes. This is very exciting. I get to play [with] vampire stuff. [It’s] why she’s allowed to be a professor despite actually being only 14.
Eric: Here’s a question, and it’s an out-of-character question, but have you seen Kirsten Dunst in Interview with [the] Vampire?
Molly: I have not yet, but it’s on my watchlist. Netflix recommended it [to] me before.
Eric: No pressure on that, but it’s what I thought of on paper for seeing a wise-beyond-her-years-type young vampiress. But that’s the least I’ll say. I don’t want to influence any character choices you’re making except to say that I love that movie. Well, fantastic. So, what would you guys say you are personally looking most forward to with this season - term - of Albion? Let’s start with the returning staff, so anybody who’s done this before. Is there anybody who hasn’t done this before, and this is their first year teaching at Albion?
Dylan: I think almost everybody is new. Technically I’m not. I made an appearance for 10 minutes in the first Albion last year. Arturo crashed the party right at the very end. Arturo is high up in the Magisterium. Arturo’s father is actually the only human to ever sit on the Magisterium Council. So he came in at the end [and] the Magisterium was all pissed off because the students were into some hijinks. [During] the conclusion, or the halfway between that game and the next game, it was announced that the Magisterium took over the school and that Arturo was the new headmaster. And then there were many delays in the game happening, as I’m sure is obvious, and the story has changed a bit just due to the amount of time that’s passed. So Arturo has been unceremoniously demoted before being able to actually be the headmaster, so that’s Arturo’s story.
Eric: I hope he doesn’t resent the man who’s currently in the gig.
Dylan: Uh- That that will play out during the game.
Allen: It’s going to be fun. And in relation to that, I’m looking forward to... Thelonius is a character who was, in ages past, part of the school. He was a rabble-rouser, a troublemaker, [and] nearly got kicked out multiple times. So now, to have this person who was such a troublemaker to be suddenly put in charge makes for a very nonstandard headmaster of a school of magic. So [I’m looking forward to] just playing with that and making an odd headmaster. It’ll be a lot of fun.
Eric: I love that storyline a little bit. That’s neat to see [you] be forced to respect a title that you might not have actually respected when you were on the other end of it. That’s [really] fun.
Belle: I’m looking very much forward to the ball.
[Audio cuts out]
Eric: Oh, Belle, I think we lost you there for a second. Does anybody else hear her?
Dylan: Her sound went away.
Eric: Belle and Mar, I’m terribly sorry. I think if you can try muting and unmuting... Oh, you’re back!
Belle and Mar: Sorry!
Belle: Our internet went out.
Eric: Is the ball the same as the circus? Is that what’s happening?
Belle: I don’t know.
Tiffany Keane Schaefer: I wouldn’t say it’s a circus. It’s based [on] Lupercalia, which is a very Ignus holiday. So there is some circustry and theater that Bedelia is definitely going to be running for us. That’s the Saturday night fancy event. [It’s] like our Yule Ball equivalent.
Eric: Got it. The reason I confused it [is that] I was on the Wix site looking up the history of Mary Azar, who it says was a circus performer. So that’s my mistake. [There’s been] a lot of information in a little bit of time; my apologies. The ball is going to be great. Balls always are. I think everybody is really into it, so I think that’s a wonderful thing.
Mar: I’m really looking forward to just spending time with my twins, even though maybe we won’t be on the best of terms since they may or may not be picking Caelum. They should be, but it’s fine; it is what it is. But I’m looking forward to that.
Eric: Yeah, I think we’re all scattered to the four corners as far as Houses, and I don’t have a defense for myself yet, but that’ll be a really interesting dynamic for sure. This will be my first prolonged role-playing experience, so I’m looking very forward to that. [I] partly did a D&D campaign a few years ago [and] had fun with that, and I do a lot of cosplays at conventions and things, but this is above and beyond, next-level stuff for me. I’m really looking forward to just creating together and experiencing others’ creations happening in real-time. I’m super stoked.
Belle: Our first LARP (Live Action Role Play) was The Chronicles, but [Mar and I are] both improvisers, so it was definitely very exciting to do a three-day improv show, essentially. That was really awesome.
Mar: I think we’re a bit more prepared going in this time around. A little less nervous, too, really. [We’re] just so excited.
Eric: I don’t believe I’ve heard from Morgan or Molly.
Molly: Oh, um, well, I wish I could say I’m just most excited for everything. It’s just going to be so great to be LARPing again.
Eric: You can. That’s [an] acceptable answer. This is not a quiz.
Molly: [laughs] But the thing I think I’m most excited for, especially, is getting to teach. Specifically my dark arts class. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Eric: Oh, yeah! Well, unfortunately, I understand it’s only available to members of your House.
Molly: No, that one is for everybody.
Eric: Oh, okay. So that’s not the necromancy one?
Molly: Yeah, the necromancy one is only for Undas. But the rest of them I have no control over.
Eric: Well, I look forward to catching your class, then. Tiffany, if I haven’t signed up for that class, get me in there, please!
Molly: It’s going to be real fun.
Morgan: I am pretty new to the LARP realm, so I’m excited to experience it and see how it goes. I’m also really excited about my character and getting to play Cloelia and explore that.
Eric: I’m blown away by this idea of going and getting educated and having my new friends - and all of you - be the teachers of this thing, teachers of knowledge, instructors of arcane knowledge, and stuff that I wouldn’t catch anywhere else. I’m thrilled to see what you’ve come up [with]. And thank you in advance for all of the efforts that you’re putting in all the time. I’m sure it will be rewarding [seeing] everyone’s faces and their jaws hitting the floor when you’re actually there. But for now, I can already tell that it’s going to be special because of the clear passion that’s evident. So thank you in advance for all the rehearsing that you’re doing to make this possible. Especially in dark times, troubled times. Which [is] a perfect setting for a fantasy thing. But in reality, it’s very hard to make time for fun and play. I think that’s one of the coolest things to be looking forward to for me [at] Albion, is having some safe play in an otherwise very troubled beginning [to] winter. That’s super cool. One other thing. Did you guys want to talk about what the rehearsal process has been like for you? How frequently are you meeting? What have been some surprises? How intricate do the rehearsals get? Are you talking about coming up with lines of dialogue that are going to work for the story? Or [do] you already know what the big climax is going to be? Acting it out, that stuff.
Belle: I don’t want to spoil anything, but we meet a few times a week. We’ve been on Zoom for now, but we’re mostly just getting to know our characters and doing rehearsals where you’re figuring out who your character talks to what your character likes, but now we’re getting more into building the story in the schedule. That’s not something we can reveal yet. But it’s a lot of fun. The rehearsals, I would say, are definitely some of my favorite parts of the story-building and just help us learn more about the world because everything is really created in Tiffany’s and Dylan’s minds. It’s exciting to get a piece of that and figure out what’s going to happen.
Dylan: Hey, leave my mind out of this! I’m not the one who created this thing.
Belle: Tiffany is our genius mastermind.
Mar: Very much so, yeah.
Dylan: Yeah. I think between all of us, probably, [Molly and I] are the two who’ve been NPCs the most out of everybody here. I’m the only one who’s been in any Albion before, even though I was only in there for 10 minutes. But Molly and I were both NPCs in all four chapters of the first Chronicles of the Realm storyline, which was [from] 2017 to 2019. There are four chapters in there, and the rehearsal process has really changed massively since then. It started off with just an idea of, “Hey, why don’t we do a LARP?” And people were like, “Oh okay, what is that?” Tiffany said, “Well, we don’t know. We’re just going to do it.” And now it’s really been boiled down to... I don’t want to say “a science,” but we really have a good structure in terms of starting out and saying, “Okay, this is who your character is. We’re going to spend this number of rehearsals developing you as a character. Then we’re going to talk lore, and we’re going to learn all about the world and the lore. And then we’re going to get into building a schedule and constructing the narrative.” And then it all sort of wraps up with going through and making sure we’ve built a good story for all of the players, and that’s sort of the last piece of it where we get to know all the players. Tiffany brings all of the knowledge she has with all the meetings she’s done with the players to the group, and we sort of sit down and figure out what sort of story we’re going to build for everyone and make sure that everybody has their own special arc that they get to go on. And really, I think, obviously, the game is the most fun. But the most fun leading up to the game is getting to the venue the day early and setting everything up. Hanging out with everybody and figuring out where exactly things are going to be and how everything is going to look and seeing it all come together that night and then going to sleep. Just a handful of you in this big empty castle, and then it’s like waking up Christmas morning. Only it’s like Christmas, but all the presents are lots of fun people doing a LARP with you.
Eric: I love everything about that. That sounds like a pretty [censored] staff party the day before.
Dylan: That and we’re probably going to Texas Roadhouse the night before too. So, I also look forward…
Eric: Oh, that’s already set, and you guys already planned that. Like, “Yeah, we have to.” Is there one nearby in Racine? Is that why?
Eric: Is it the only thing around?
Dylan: I mean, there’s some stuff around there, but you know, we went to the Texas Roadhouse actually, for the first time, last game for The Chronicles this past October, and we had a good time. So, I wouldn’t be surprised if we ended up there again.
Eric: Yeah, it’s reliable. You know it’s a good time. Is it DeKoven [pronounces "de-KOH-ven"] Center or DeKoven [pronounces "de-KOO-ven"] Center?
Dylan: DeKoven [pronounces "de-KOH-ven"].
Eric: DeKoven [pronounces "de-KOH-ven"], we’re guessing? based on Tiffany’s face.
Dylan: No, no, definitely DeKoven [pronounces "de-KOH-ven"].
Eric: Okay, DeKoven [pronounces "de-KOH-ven"]. Okay, cool.
Tiffany: I have heard both, but I think it is DeKoven [pronounces “de-KOH-ven”].
Eric: Okay, cool. Awesome. And then Molly. Any comments on the rehearsal process for you?
Molly: Yeah, I’m actually just adding on to what Dylan was just saying since I’ve been in a lot of these rehearsals before. It’s been really interesting to see the transition to Zoom. And this is almost like a more - this is not quite the right wording - but a more evolved version of the rehearsal process, from what I’ve seen before. And so it’s a lot of fun to be put back into this world and discovering how things are working in this new setting and learning new things about a whole new type of LARP with Albion.
Eric: That’s fantastic. Oh, quick, what is everyone’s favorite incantation? Magical incantation?
Allen: Oh, wait. I had something that went away. [laughs] What’s for breakfast?
Eric: Awesome! I think that that usually precedes knowledge being delivered to you. It’s a great way to summon knowledge. What’s for breakfast? And food.
Tiffany: If I could intervene a little bit, maybe a favorite type of magic. Because not everything is spoken, so that might free up a little bit for our NPCs.
Eric: Okay, I’ll re-ask the question. Great suggestion. What is everyone’s favorite type of magic outside of the game in general? What type of magic do you find yourselves enjoying the most or being enthralled by.
Allen: For me, I’m thinking about especially when I play video games, and there’s magic involved. I love things that give me [the ability to] summons. Pets and things I can pull into the world and use to manage space in the situation.
Eric: I like them a lot.
Allen: I’m a Scion. I’m one of those bad people.
Belle: My favorite kind of magic is laughter.
Belle: The joy of laughing and sharing a joke with a few friends and just sparking joy.
Mar: I agree with that. Man, she took the words out of my mouth, honestly.
Morgan: I think elemental magic is really cool. There you go.
Eric: The stuff you [have] got to dig into a dusty old book to read about, right?
Morgan: Right, yeah. Some of it’s basic, easy stuff. And then it also can be really big, powerful spells and very back to basics.
Dylan: I think my favorite kind of magic is the magic of science.
Eric: It’s not not magic.
Dylan: I just saw Mar totally roll her eyes at me. [laughs]
Mar: Think you’re seeing things again, Dylan. Sorry.
Eric: Uh, one thing I’ll comment on the magic of science being magical. I’m about halfway through reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, the book. And what I’ve found… and that’s a great book, it’s very long, but I’m halfway through the audiobook, and I stopped doing road trips, so I haven’t picked it up again. But the more that science is involved, the more that scientific things like telescopes are involved, the more you can magic them. So there ends up being this wonderful thing whereas technology heats up, there’s more exponential growth for both factors for magic and science. And magic can inspire you to learn, do more science, and science can inspire you to do more magic, so I think that’s pretty neat stuff, to be honest.
Allen: It actually reminds me of when I was younger. One of my favorite role-playing games was this old White Wolf game called Mage: The Awakening, Mage: Ascension. And in that, science was magic. Their big idea was that magic just came down to belief systems, and the more you got, more people to believe in the parts of the thing that became the de facto reality of the world. And so the science is just the magic that people manage to trick everyone into believing; that’s the one that works. And so now we all believe in science when it’s still magic.
Eric: I like that a lot. That also reminds me. I think it’s an Arthur C. Clarke quote that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” to a lesser advanced wow. That blows my mind. If we see, I don’t know, just airplanes even, how do they stay up? Science, but it depends on who you ask, where they’re from, how long ago. Well, cool, I won’t keep you guys too much longer. I think I’m basically just going to do a quick shout-out to Albion. The dates it is and where it’s located. That’s why I was asking about DeKovan, and then I’ll let you guys all go, but I really appreciate all your time. Thank you so very much, and I’m really looking forward to it.
Tiffany: Molly, do you want to say what your favorite magic is really quick?
Molly: I was going to say anything to do with the natural world and any magic that has to do with nature I love. I’ve always personally [liked] Herbology and learning about that stuff.
Eric: Oh cool, I get it soft spot for that as well. Hufflepuff here. But yeah, good stuff. I am here with the staff of Albion School of Sorcery, and I am very excited to attend term February 3rd to February 6th of 2022 at the DeKoven Center in Racine, Wisconsin. A four-day LARP, live-action role-play, with these amazing people you see before you and more. I’m excited to be reporting on MuggleNet.