All great stories rise out of conflict and, as anyone who wasn’t homeschooled knows, school is full of conflict. This means you can have plenty of adventure without even having to break out the man-eating doll-spiders or bands of killer non-copyright infringing smurf-like micro-demons.
Students Vs Staff
The teachers are, obviously, in positions of authority and that puts them in immediate opposite with students who would rather build paper aeroplanes, sleep, text, smoke, get high, get drunk or cop a feel off each other behind the bike sheds. Some teachers are always worse than others however and certain teachers are set up to be the character’s arch nemesi.
Miss Encephela is an obvious choice, Mr Punch likes to hide away and she’s a hideous, octopoid bitch. She hates children and will go out of her way to come up with cruel and unusual punishments.
Madame Gorget also makes for a nasty and troublesome teacher who is ready to dish out punishments, usually after shouting at the student in a variety of incomprehensible languages, Like Miss Encephela she has a horrific edge which adds tension to her tirades.
Mr McBastard is less sinister and more angry, which makes him good for shouting and/or headbutting people. Given that corporal punishment is still applied in magical schools, he can be scarier than his conventional appearance might suggest.
Mr Noot on the other hand is a complete walkover and can be thoroughly bullied by the students with virtual impunity. As a victim he makes a good comedic punching bag compared to the nastier teachers.
Clique Vs Clique
As well as the specific cliques mentioned in prior articles there are always broad cliques based on academic accomplishment, popularity, fashion and music choices, remedial education status, sexiness, sexuality and just about any division you care to think of. Kids hatred and cruelty to each other is boundless and a rich source of bitter conflict that can last for years and scar for a lifetime, all without anyone getting killed!
School Vs School
Occasionally some teachers, educators or governments get funny ideas about ‘encouraging competition’ and try to get schools to play games against each other or engage in competitions. Cantrip Comprehensive tends to suck at Bigpitch and private schools do so very much love to ‘stick it to the oils’ but they’re willing to be underhanded more than the more privileged and there’s more than one thing they can compete at. Brutality can make up for a lot.
Staff Vs Staff
Teachers often clash over what they think is fair and over educational ideology. Some hate kids, some love them. Some believe in a soft approach, some a hard approach. Some like to punish, others to reward. Some like to threaten, others like to inspire. Canny students can latch on to a favourite teacher in a favourite subject and set the staff against each other, getting away with murder in the crossfire.
School Vs Town
The town is deeply suspicious of the school and the odd people that go there. It might be a Comprehensive but it doesn’t take in people from the local area. What’s all that about then eh? Plus the kids who go there seem to think they’re better than everyone else, which is bound to get someone’s back up. While the local shops are happy to take their money the local youths – and others – have their eye open for trouble, or the opportunity to cause it.
School Vs Government
Schools are subject to a lot of examination and scrutiny and every time the wind changes so does educational policy. It’s no different for magical schools and inspectors, interfering PTA groups and government secretaries are likely to turn up and put the school’s funding or existence under question from time to time. Students and staff will have to club together to keep these evil forces of bureaucracy out of their business.