8: …and the Monster of Amristar Introduction
The remainder of the month is a detailed adventure for the first year of adventure at Hogwarts. This is based on actual play, so I’m going to quickly detail the original PCs key points and trust that a clever GM will be able to update the scenario to deal with the variation between characters
Daisy and Jasmine Fontaine: the older (5th year prefect) and younger (first year) daughters of the wizarding theatrical couple “the fabulous Fontaines” (their mother is a muggle actress, singer and escape artist, their father is a wizard version of the same), Daisy and Jasmine have travelled the world but are educated in jolly old England. Daisy has a professor enmity with Trelawney, Jasmine has a special pet (a ghostling ferret, which can turn intangible). Both are Ravenclaws.
Castor and Pollux Dee: the twin sons of a pureblood Slytherin family that never served You-Know-Who, their father is now one of the judges on trying the captured death eaters, and earning some ire from his housemates for handing down guilty verdicts. Castor is a Ravenclaw and an accomplished liar with an interest in Dramaturgy and a deficiency in herbology. Pollux is a Hufflpuff with a Grymalkin (a cat that can mimic other cat’s attributes such as size and weight) as a pet and an interest in Magical History.
Juliette Moore is a Pureblood whose mother recently died and his being raised by her now overprotective father. She has a magical aptitude for music and a student enmity in Peri Undulata, a Slytherine first year. She is a Ravenclaw
A group of adventurous first year students (aided and abetted by a Prefect) discover a that two old allies of Grindelwald intend to perform a ceremony at Hogwarts that will extend one of their lives and keep him hidden - the other one has already done so, and could be anyone at the school! The ceremony involves replacing, perhaps evicting, the soul due to inhabit the body of their Muggle Studies teacher's impending child, due at the end of the term. An innocent soul is at stake!
Professor Chrysalis Briar, the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, has a short-but-impressive stint as an Auror, having spent much of the last year tracking down the agents of You-Know-Who. She is 38 years old, a half blood, and was taught at home by her father, Ward. She was an incredibly precocious student, but had no desire to attend Hogwarts if it meant leaving her widowed father. During the rise of He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named she was neutral, but when her father was killed she handily dispatched the Death Eaters responsible. This was shortly before the Potter Incident, but based on her taking a side at the end she quickly joined the Aurors and, in the last year, has shown a real gift for tracking down magical fugitives. At the start of this term she decided to offer her services as a teacher instead, saying that while she has the skills to do the job, her heart just isn't in it - the best thing she could do is pass along the skills
This is all a significant deception: Reginald Slaughter was a British Wizard living in the Raj for many years who, in the years after the Great War, grew disgusted by the "lesser" people clamoring for independence from British Wizards (even as he infiltrated and stole magic from Hundi covens). At a Sikh magical ritual in 1919 he arranged for a magical assault and confunded British Indian Army troops into attacking. While his spin on events originally had him praised by many British as averting a magical & social uprising, the Wizengamot's investigation of the event brought the truth to light - he had knowingly precipitated a pointless massacre.
Slaughter managed to escape to the continent, where he avoided capture for years, eventually becoming an ally of Grindelwald. Reg was a key member of Grindelwald's inner circle, confounding muggles and pushing towards both racial purity and the preeminence of European magical traditions. When Gridelwald fell to Dumbledore in 1945 Slaughter found that the authorities were on his heels. So Slaughter dug into Hindu arts he had learned decades earlier and performed an Evicticus Auras - a twisted dark magic based on the reincarnation ideas of Phowa to become a yangsi - evicting a soul from a body at birth rather than just jumping to the head of the queue. He awoke as an infant girl and Jaidayl Kettleburn burst in seconds too late, finding Slaughter's body dead in a run-down Newcastle flat.
Slaughter had little choice but to lay low in his new life, content that he'd escaped justice. As time went on he knew that he could not attend Hogwarts - it wasn't Kettleburn but a fear of the Sorting Hat, which would almost certainly recognize him. Hence convincing his pliable father to teach him at home. With his new status as an Auror he was able to wrangle his way back into Hogwarts, where he hoped to hide in plain sight, perhaps even tweak Kettleburn's nose a bit. Imagine his dismay then when he is contacted in his dreams by another Grindlewald ally, Olaf Woden.
Woden, a skilled diviner & onieromancer who turned Death Eater, divined that Slaughter was still alive and in a position to help him, but doesn’t know the extent of Reg's disguise. Blackmail followed, with Woden threat-ening to expose Reg's aliveness if he didn't help Woden hide. The pair scheduled to meet in Knockturn Alley the week before the term starts to thrash things out, and Reg will arrive wearing a Reality Cloak - which makes whatever it's draped over appear as it truly is, used for mitigating transfiguration curses - so Woden won't see his body.
The PCs, naturally, will blunder into this meeting, overhearing just enough to learn the names involved and that Woden wants Slaughter's help in evading the authorities - and possibly on other great dark arts. Olaf will spot the PCs before they can learn more and attack them with a blasting spell. In the confusion Slaughter ditches the cloak so that Chrysalis can save the PCs from the mad Death Eater. Woden will escape. They will learn on the train to Hogwarts that was caught.
In the opening banquet the PCs will learn that the Muggle Studies Prof, Rosemary Orelena-Plantagenet-Tollemach-Tollemach, got married over the summer to a Muggle professor, John Plain, PhD. Dr. Plain is a guest lecturer this year, preparing a class for Muggle parents and spouses who enter the wizarding world. As Daisy is entering her first Muggle Studies class of the year she will overhear Sybil Trelawney saying she wants to be the first to congratulate Mrs. Plain on the upcoming blessed event - Sybil has predicted the child-birth you see. That's Woden's target body.
In the first week of classes, the PCs learn that Bellatrix Lestrange helped Woden escape.
Those who saw Woden dream about him - If they research his history they will learn that he is an Onero-mancer and capable of magically effecting dreams. Briar will craft each of them rings that will act as barriers to his invasions, with other hidden measures for Briar's protection - she will know where they are, for instance.
In session two at least two of the PCs - likely Juliet & Daisy, playing music atop the astronomy tower - will overhear another conversation between Slaughter & Woden, who will have sneaked on to the grounds. This is Slaughter saying that he will be willing to help Woden escape the same way he did, but nothing more. However, the timing won't be right until the end of the term. Again, a hint about the target.
Further research about Woden - once they go back far enough - will give a picture of Reginald Slaughter, placing a name to the face. But where could he be hiding - he's supposed to be at the school?
The PCs will be involved in capturing a beast in the library, actually a 4th year Animagus attempt. Madam Pomfrey will drape the afflicted PC with a Reality Cloak so she can communicate with the poor soul, and the PCs will get to see the cloak in action & hear about what it does. That will clear up the issue of where he's hiding - he no longer looks like that, and in a very permanent way. Prof. Lippershey will design a complex dispelling that will return the PC to normal.
I do want to arrange for at least some PC to get detention in Session 2, to be served in session 3. They'll be relegated to Professor Kettleburn's care, and he will set them to capturing the Kobolds that are threatening herbology greenhouses. It's nasty, dirty work - made worse by the Kobold's nasty demeanor & Kettleburn's rigid insistence that they be treated with respect, as they were introduced here by wizards just after the War and are therefore a wizarding responsibility. He preaches when he does it. It gets old. In this search the PCs will find a trail outside the area they're supposed to be working, which leads to a pit with a half dozen dead kobolds - their blood is an ingredient for Evicticus Auras.
If they tell Prof. Kettleburn about this he will be very upset, shoo them away, and get very interested in the sudden parallels to Slaughter's death. If they research Kobold blood they'll learn limited things - that Kobolds are creatures that debase what they touch, and their blood is used to convert gold or iron to dross - but that their blood is also used for foul dark arts that corrupt or to overwrite the pure with the foul.
The PCs will have to find some method - I don't know what - for locating the ceremony when it happens. They'll find Olaf & Slaughter and will hopefully be able to interrupt the ceremony and save the day with Kettleburn as backup (or see Kettleburn disrupt the ceremony only to be felled by the combined dark wizards, and the PCs have to save the day). In any event they will save the day and young Peter Plain will draw his first breath with a fresh soul.