Here are some more ways to flesh out a Harry Potter – Mystic College inspired campaign…
Join in – The players need to be involved in order for this campaign to work, they need find reasons for their characters to be involved. As a Gamemaster you will need to link events, enemies and quests into their goals and backgrounds.
Lessons – You can spout some world lore, creature rumours or magic teachings as a way of roleplaying lessons. Then the characters get to make some rolls or cast some spells to see how they do.
Feel free to have the teachers ask the characters questions, giving the players a chance to roleplay what their character knows (or thinks they know).
More than just study – There are social clubs (chess, football and hiking) that characters joined and had twice yearly contests, excursions & celebrations with.
Because we were regularly jumping forward in time we could have recurring yearly festivals as familiar event. As they got older they got hired to escort younger/new students on their excursions.
I mapped out a basic calendar to keep track of recurring events –
- Winter – New topics, Chess Contest, Festival, Birthday of contact.
- Spring – Quest, Hiking Excursion, Festival 2, Midyear exams.
- Summer – Birthday of a PC, Festival 3, Side trek or Class project, Football Finals.
- Fall – Side trek or Class project, Festival 4, End of year exams, Holiday/Project wrap up.
Not just the school – the story needs to be about heroes not just the school, so you need recurring locations like family homes, taverns & shops outside of the school to visit from time to time. Likewise as they age they can hear rumours about adventure location 1, 2 and 3 that they can investigate (and maybe run away from until later).
How to stop them wandering off and not coming back – Mentors who sent them on the quest give them one use teleport home items. Their parents paid for their tuition and expect them to finish. The further they go from the college the nastier monsters are.
Theme for Chapter – You may want to inject a theme for each chapter, so in one of their lessons they learn about Demons, then during the quest or sidetrek they come up against a demonic cult, and one of the religious festivals mentions that deity fighting demons.
More than what you see – the college can have a bunch of secrets and magical features, or it can be an ordinary college but the library & lectures give information about fantastic creatures, items and places.
Maybe the gardens are linked to the feywild, maybe the college also serves as neutral ground for psychic war negotiations, maybe the fire realm is increasing its hold on the area and the college tries to hide its secret sponsor?
Friendly competitions – If you want more non-lethal events to keep the tone light, another college or two can visit in chapter 2 and 4 for a friendly contest. This contest can be as simple as cabre tossing and a marathon, or as complex as seven duals of martial arts.