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A Harry situation

Muggles and the wizarding world are at war.

A financial war, that is. The College of William & Mary is suing the company Learn Larp LLC, claiming it owes nearly $70,000 for hosting “New World Magischola” – a four-weekend wizarding school camp – on the college’s campus two years ago.

Based in Charlottesville, Learn Larp promotes “the power of role-playing as co-created participatory experiences that build empathy, collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking and awareness,” according to their website.

In English? They host live action role-playing events (LARP) in which participants portray characters through physical interactions, usually outfitted in costumes and props. It’s like if a game of Dungeons & Dragons came to life, but not in a terrifying “Stranger Things” way. Though those events exist too, much to a LARPer’s delight.

New World Magischola is a Harry Potter-esque adventure marketed as an “all-inclusive weekend wizard school vacation.” A $695 ticket buys guests – er, students – three nights’ stay, eight meals, a wizard or witch robe and a house tie.

It’s a role-playing experience muggles will Dumble-adore.

Guests can opt to attend classes such as Divination and Magical Creature Care, or simply potter around the grounds all day. But beware – missing a class can result in losing house points, which puts you at risk of losing the house cup, a failure that plays no significance to your life come Monday morning.

Learn Larp was founded by Maury Brown and Ben Morrow, seasoned LARPers with extensive backgrounds in education and role-playing games. Neither could be reached for comment by press time.

The suit alleges the wizarding school rented beds, linens and rooms and purchased food and “dance beverages” for four weeks from the college for $110,396.20.

Between June 2017 and August 2018, Learn Larp paid the college $46,900, the suit said. But that doesn’t make up for the other $70,000 debt and nearly $20,000 in attorneys’ fees.

It’s a Harry situation for Learn Larp. And unless they can work up some magic, it’s not looking like their debt is going to disappear. In fact, it’s only going to grow. According to the suit, their fees will accumulate at an annual 6% interest rate as of Aug. 25, 2018.

Perhaps the college can end its witch hunt at Gen Con 2019, the largest gathering of tabletop gamers in North America held in Indianapolis from Aug. 1 to 4. Rumor has it non-magic folk from New World Magischola will be there debuting “Warlocked,” a wizard escape room, according to a Facebook event.

— Maura Mazurowski