5: Design the Game Mechanics More Skills & Sample Characters
General Common Skills
Athletics: The character's ability to run, climb, jump, catch, throw, and do other basic physical action. It alternates with Broomstick when playing Quidditch, but can be replaced by Muggle Sports for specific acts related to "football" or "cricket".
Brawl: The character's general ability to fight, bare-handed or with small weapons. This is a distinctly non-optimal means of combat unless she has a high Size (or her opponent is equally small).
Deceive: The ability to convincingly lie. It is also the character's ability to disguise herself without resorting to magic.
Gossip: The character's ability to both cull through rumors to find the truth, question people without them realizing they are being questioned and to create rumors to change public perception.
Influence: The character's ability to be likeable and, as important, to convince people to do what she wants. For older characters, this includes Seduction.
Intimidate: The character's ability to scare people into doing what she wants. This skill covers both raw threats and subtle pressures.
Mischief: The character's ability sneak about, filch small items and otherwise do things she oughtn't and not get caught. This does not include picking magical locks (which requires magic) or defeating muggle security (which is Muggle Mischief or, well, magic) .
Notice: The character's ability to correctly interpret things he sees, hears, smells, etc. This is not just sensory acuity, but the ability to separate out what matters from what doesn't.
Research: The character's ability to find and pull together various pieces of information into an accurate whole. This is the skill of "Hitting the Books" rather than spur of the moment deduction (which is left as an exercise to the player).
Common Wild Card: The character has some other muggle skill, defined by the player with support from the GM.
Character Creation Example 1
Jasmine Fontaine (rolled, 16 points)
For the first sample character I'll use the random roll system. My six rolls are 12, 9, 8, 7, 5 & 5. Looking at the PC column on the chart of page 2 we find stats of 5, 4, 3, 3, 2 & 2. Those are some impressive stats, but the player isn’t sure she wants to be quite that noticeable. Let's build a ravenclaw and have her be just a little quirky to offset that. I'll set the stats as follows: Ambition 3, Bravery 4, Fortitude 2, Intellect 5, Agility 3, Size 2
Looking over the Advantages and Disadvantages list I quickly add Over-Focused (Fortitude). That drops her Fortitude to a 1 and we now have a genius who has real problems staying focused or on task. Her genius makes her stand out but no one is grooming her for great things; they’re more exasperated by her, which is what the player wants. She uses this disadvantage to pick up a Familiar, which she defines as a ‘ghostling ferret’, a ferret that can turn intangible for brief spurts, so she has a pet that mirrors her personality.
I want to add another advantage because I have the idea that Jasmine is the daughter of travelling theater types and has been all around the world. I create the new advantage of Well-Travelled which gives her +3 on Wizard Culture and Muggle Studies. To offset this I flip through the disadvantage list and add Magically Inept on Divination – the idea is that Jasmine has picked up bits and pieces of divination (such as rune casting, auspex, dream interpretation and so on) all over the world and they’re all jumbled together in her head. She constantly tries to read people’s futures but ends up just making stuff up.
Now her skills: As a half breed world traveler of theater blood she can spend 3 points in Muggle Skills so she takes 2 points in Muggle Mischief and 1 in Muggle Technology; having helped with her father’s escapology she can pick a lock or two. (This is in addition to her 3 point Muggle Studies bonus for being well travelled). Being well travelled she’s probably flown a broomstick a bit and picked up a little more Defense Against the Dark Arts than your average first year, so we’ll toss a point into each of those. The remaining 10 points get split between Athletics, Mischief, Deceive and the Wild Card skill of Theater to cover her background of being on the stage.
Stats: Ambition 3, Bravery 4, Fortitude 1, Intellect 5, Agility 3, Size 2
Advantages: Well-Travelled (+3 Wizard Culture, Muggle Studes), Familiar (Ghostling Ferret, Willow)
Disadvantages: Overly Focused (-1 Fortitude), Magically Inept (-3 Divination)
Skills: Muggle Mischief +2, Muggle Studies +3, Muggle Technology +1,Broomstick +1, DADA +1, Athletics +2, Mischief +3, Deceive +3 and Theater +2
Character Creation Example 2
Sky Walker (built, 10 points)
Despite the teasing Sky gets over his name, he is too old to have been named after the young Jedi - instead his shady parents named him after Sky Masterson from Guys & Dolls. Sky grew up amongst the rougher sorts and always planned that football would be his way out. Little did he know that his ticket out had been written on the day of his birth at in the Hogwarts Book! Once he gets to the school and learns that football is passe, Sky will stick to the plan in a modified form - expect to see him with a borrowed broomstick on the Quidditch pitch practicing day and night. He'll get on the house team as a second year or die trying!
Sky is both physically sound and never gives up. With 10 points to spend I'll give him an Agility of 4 (costing 4 points, he has 6 left), a Fortitude of 3 (costing 2 points, he has 4 left), a Bravery of 3 (costing 2 points, he has 2 left) , along with 2 Ambition and Intellect (each costing 1 point for a total of 10). As a point build character I can set his size anywhere from 1 to 3, and I give him the max of 3 - he's big for his age, but not huge. With Fortitude as his highest quality Sky is sorted into Hufflepuff.
When it comes to Advantages, Athletic Aptitude is the obvious choice for Sky. His disadvantage is that he's Poor - his parents barely have Muggle funds, never mind wizarding ones, and much as it chafes him to be on the Hogwarts dole that's where he stands.
As a Muggle-Born Sky can take up to 6 points in Muggle skills. 3 go into Muggle Sports, 2 into Muggle Studies, and 1 into Muggle technology - Sky knows how to ride a motorcycle. That leaves 9 points for Common skills. He takes 4 points in Athletics, 2 points in Mischief, 1 into Brawl and 2 into Intimidate. He's not much of a talker, but he has an impressive glower & some early skill at fighting picked up in a rough childhood.
I see Sky as alternating between a bit of comic relief and stalwart ally if the characters are in physical danger. He is very much a fish out of water, but is determined to learn to swim, or at least fly.
Stats: Ambition 2, Bravery 3, Fortitude 3, Intellect 2, Agility 4, Size 3
Advantages: Athletic Aptitude
Skills: Muggle Sports +3, Muggle Studies +2, Muggle Tech +1 (Motorcycle), Athletics +4, Brawl +1, Intimidate +2, Mischief +2
Textual First Years at arrival
Harry Potter (rolled, 15 pts)
Stats: Ambition 4, Bravery 5, Fortitude 3, Intellect 2, Agility 3, Size 2.
Advantages: Famous ("boy who lived"), Magical Aptitude (Broomstick +6), Perfect Wand, Teacher's Pet (Albus Dumbledore), Magical Widget (invisibility cloak) Player Generated Advantage - Parselmouth.
Disadvantages: Orphan, Famous, Professor Enmity (Snape), Enemy x3 (Draco Malfoy, Lord Voldemort).
Skills (raised by Muggles): Muggle Studies +2, Muggle Sports +1, Broomstick +6, Athletics +3, Mischief +4, Deceive +3, Notice +2.
Hermione Granger (built, 10 points)
Stats: Ambition 2, Bravery 3, Fortitude 2, Intellect 5, Agility 2, Size 2
Advantages: Mis-sorted (Gryffindor, +1 Bravery), Magical Aptitude (Magic History +6).
Disadvantages: Artless (Ambition counts as 0), Unflattering Feature (Teeth).
Skills (Muggle born): Muggle Studies +3, Potions +1, Magic History +6, Herbology +1, DADA +1, Research +6, Notice +3
Ron Weasley (built, 10 points)
Stats: Ambition 3, Bravery 4, Fortitude 2, Intellect 2, Agility 3, Size 3
Advantages: Large Family
Skills (Pureblood): Broomstick +2, Wizard Culture +2, Athletics +2, Mischief +2, Deceive +2, Brawl +1, Common Wild Card - Chess +4
Neville Longbottom (rolled, 9 points)
Stats: Ambition 2, Bravery 3, Fortitude 3, Intellect 3, Agility 2, Size 2
Advantages: Magical Aptitude (Herbology +6)
Disadvantages: Insecurity (Bravery is a 1).
Skills (Pureblood): DADA +1, Magic History +3 Herbology +8, Perceive +3, Research +3, Wizard Culture +3