Thursday, November 18, 2010
Want a Harry Potter RPG? Look no further - Remember Your Wand!
Remember Your Wand
RYW is a re-skinning of the game Remember Tomorrow. You'll notice that some aspects of RT are carried over to RYW while others have changed to fit the setting. The game structure of controller is unchanged. Each player still creates a PC to hold and a Faction to share. What I have done here is take the structure of RT's mechanics and removed its cyberpunk flavor in favor of a setting set in the world of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series. That being said, my ideal was to place the setting in a more mature version of Rowling's world. My imagination was always captured by the adults in Harry's world. The Ministry of Magic is fascinating, and what about Aurors? Also awesome. Imagine a cadre of wizards hunting down the dragon from the Goblet of Fire or trying to run security outside Hogwarts while Death Eaters are trying to break in. These are the kinds of stories I'd love to see - so why not play them?
Below here is just a big list of recommendations, but Rowling's world has a lot of depth and I encourage you to include whatever you want beyond what I have below. I consider RYW just a good starting point.
While RT offers a huge amount of freedom for creating a setting, I can find this to be a little daunting when starting out. So the first thing you'll want to do when starting a new game of RYW is agree on the time period the story will begin in. I've identified three periods that anyone familiar with Harry Potter should have some concepts to pull from.
Voldemort's Rise: This is the time period starting when Tom Riddle first attends Hogwarts and ends when he officially declares himself as Lord Voldemort. Hagrid is young and Dumbeldore is younger and still making his full mark on the wizarding world. Choosing this time period gives you the most freedom as it's not incredibly filled out, but it also gives the least amount of tools to play with.
Voldemort's Reign: This is the time period starting with Voldemort's terror reign officially launching and ends with the death of Lilly and James Potter and Voldemort's first defeat. The Order of Phoenix as well as the Death Eaters are big players and fully-formed at this time. It's a time of war in the wizarding community, and no one doubts how powerful Voldemort is. It is a time of great fear.
Voldemort's Ressurection: This is the time period starting with Harry Potter attending Hogwarts and finishes with the final defeat of Voldemort. Lots of stuff happens in this time period, and any Harry Potter fan can draw upon lots of source material to create PC's, factions, and story hooks.
After Voldemort: This is the time period after the books and to eternity. Really is just captures the time between the end of the Deathly Hollows and the epilogue. If you want to play a game after long Voldemort's death, this is a good place to start so you can develop new heroes and villains for your own game.
Of course you can play in a different time period, but I believe establishing this before the game begins should establish for all the players which characters and events are open for incorporating into their game.
While the RT identities could be incorporated into RYW, I've renamed some and added in others. Roll a d10 and count down the list to see what identity your character has.
2 - ShopKeep: Everyone needs to get their supplies from somewhere, and you always try to be the one to provide them. Whether you own and manage a fine shop in Diagon Alley or maybe you keep your wares in a cloak of holding and wear your store where ever you go. If you're the latter, you're often referred to as a Closet.
3 - Professor: All great wizards must learn their spells from someone else - you. Some teachers are employed at one of the great schools whille others work one-on-one with the richest of the rich young wizards and wiches as private tutors. Such private tutors have so much knowledge of spellcraft or a related field they're often referred to as a Codex.
4 - Student: Whether at a school for witchcraft and wizardry or working on post-graduate studies to create new and strange spells and potions, most wizards can be considered students in one way or another. When an older wizard apprentices with a master student to gain his or her own mastery in a specific area, they are often referred to as Disciple.
5 - Eccentric: Some wizards are just out on the edge of wizard society. Whether a pariah or a werewolf trying to keep a low profile, a wizard who earns the title of eccentric is a rare, odd individual indeed. Some eccentrics believe the current Ministry is an incredibly poor form of government. While they don't want to kill and replace in a bloody coup, they do vie for change. These wizards are instead referred to as Radicals.
6 - Labor: How come in a society where everyone can conjure their own food and set dishes to wash themselves all on their own you still have to pick up the trash in the hallways or drive the night bus? Some jobs just can't be replaced by magical coercion of the mundane - and that's where you step in. Of course some people like are harboring some spite towards the upper class wizardry. If this is you, then you're known as a Broomstick - used to clean, but able to fly if given the chance.
7 - Nomad: It's easy to never settle in one spot when you can conjure everything you need from the tip of your wand. Some wizards don't have a place of residence (not that this stops an owl from finding them) and wander the land looking for adventure... or something else. Some are on an eternal quest so personal they could never share it's purpose to anyone. These wizards are known specifically as Pilgrims.
8 - Spell Crafter: Spells come from somewhere, and while a wizard may create the random spell here and there, a Spell Crafter spends his or her entire life focusing on expanding the powers of their fellow wizards. Some Spell Crafters focus specifically on creating new potions they can enhance with special one-time use spells. These wizards are known as Potion Masters.
9 - Mover: You move behind the scenes. Often you're an employee of the Ministry of Magic or secretly working as a member of the Order of the Phoenix to position your friends into a more advantageous spot. Sometimes movers are working to break up the status quo. These wizards are known as Shakers instead.
10 - Personality: Even the wizarding world has celebrities, and they come from as many disperate avenues as the world of muggles. Some come from being fantastic seekers in quidditch while others are famous authors. Some personalities are particularly effective at dueling other wizards and have gained fame as a result. These wizards are appropriately referred to as Duelists.
Motivations remain the same as those found on page 10 of RT.
Below I've provided some sample names for you to pull from. I've done my best to just make some good-sounding ones up without just taking names like Severin, Remus, and Malfoy.
Female First Name
Obviously we'll have to re-evaluate the gear avaliable to wizards. It's assumed that all PC's have a wand (unless you don't want them to - totally up to you and your fellows). Each PC should get three pieces of gear in addition to their wand. I've decided to exclude brand names for the purposes of RYW, but feel free to add a name from above to personalize the type of potion or magical item you have (Mallick's Amortentia or Felina's Deluminator for example). Potions have a special effect - when used, they are removed from a character's inventory. They can be used just as a positive condition - essentially characters in RYW may start the game with two PCons - as long as one is a potion. PC's are limited to one potion in their inventory at all times.
Potions (source is HPL: Encyclopedia of Potions)
1 - Amortentia - love potion.
2 - Babbling Beverage - when consumed, the person can only speak gibberish.
3 - Fire Protection Potion - protects user from fire and its effects.
4 - Garroting Gas - gas that knocks people unconscious.
5 - Hate Potion - reveals the worst faults and habits of a target person to the drinker.
6 - Instant Darkness Powder - When thrown into the air, turns the immediate area pitch black so that common light spells and fire magic will not work in the area of effect, although a Hand of Glory will.
7 - Memory Potion - increases the user's ability to remember everything that happens in the scene.
8 - Draught of Peace - soothes the troubled soul of the user.
9 - Swelling Solution - causes the first thing it touches to grow - immensely.
10 - Veritaserum - Powerful truth serum that causes the drinker to be incapable of telling a lie.
Magical Items (drawn from HPL: Magical Items and Devices)
2 - Invisibility Cloak - when covering the wearer, makes them invisible. Can still make sound though...
3 - Deluminator - with a click, this small device removes all light from an area. A second click sends it all back out.
4 - Foe-Glass - a mirror-like device. It shows the users enemies that become more distinct the closer they are.
5 - Hand of Glory - a withered hand which, when a candle is inserted into it, gives light only to the holder.
6 - Omnioculars - device that looks like binoculars but act like a recorder and can play back images.
7 - Probity Probe - device that looks like a long, thin wand - can detect spells of concealment and hidden magic objects.
8 - Remembrall - marble with clear smoke. When held, it will turn to red smoke if the holder is forgetting to do something.
9 - Pocket Watch - it may have several unique properties it was designed to specifically measure - decide when you pick it what extra property it measures.
10 - Extendable Ears - devices that are attached to the ear and used to eavesdrop on conversations nearby.
Factions in RYW are built the same way as those in RT. I've altered the types to reflect those in the Harry Potter world, but you'll notice some definite overlap.
2 - Academic: all of the great schools tend to form very tight cliques amongst their teachers. Fiercely loyal, they usually want to expand their student base to expand their influence in the wizarding world.
3 - Media: even in the muggle world the media is a force for illusions and misdirection. Put some magic behind the goals of the media and you have a potentially dangerous enemy.
4 - Ministry: the Ministry is full of shadowy operatives and wand pushers - and sometimes it's hard to tell the two apart. Plans within plans spanding decades, the Ministry is a formidable foe.
5 - Secret Society: some follow the teachings of Voldemort while others take Dumbeldore's lead. There are other secret societies out there - onces we guarantee you haven't heard of (but will).
6 - Spell Slinger: some wizards pride themselves on their independent and their freedom. Never willing to submit to the will of another, these men and women can be incredibly dangerous and unpredictable.
7 - Dragon: rarely acting as a group, a lone dragon can be a kingpin with his own mafia working for him or her made up of wizards, goblins, and worse. A dragon almost never speaks for himself letting his mouthpiece do the work for him.
8 - Auror: Hunters of dark wizards and enforcers of the Ministry's law, why would dark wizard-hunters be hunting you?
9 - Purebloods: specifically those who claim to have not a single drop of muggle blood in their bloodline. Often arrogant and racist, if you aren't a pureblood, you are simply mudblood.
10 - Broom Gang: Hooligans both young and old take to the skies risking discovery of muggles. They don't care though - they have the power, so why not enjoy it?
Great Wizarding Families like the Malfoys, Blacks, and Potters.
Muggle Witch Hunters (optional)
A group of alumni from Hogwarts matching their hourse (Slytherin, Ravenclaw, etc.)
The Order of the Phoenix
There you have it! Additional gear options may include charms and magical beasts, which I may address in the future, but I believe this is quite a the playable re-skinning for RT! If anyone gives this a try, I would love to hear how it goes!