Edit/Update:The finished version of the game is live!
You can download the entire thing for free here
. I also made the game a website
, featuring the complete game rules and special PC & GM packs for easy printing.
HUGE thanks to all of you who helped me out with feedback on this project. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I couldn't have done it without you!
Original post below:
Hi folks! I wanted to share what I've been working on of late: A Harry Potter tabletop RPG, designed with the Apocalypse Engine.
The entire game, in its current rough-draft beta form, is here for your perusal:
This was a bit of an impulse project – I was talking about Harry Potter with one of my regular gaming groups and we were all shocked to discover that there’s never been an official Harry Potter RPG. And then someone suggested we should make our own, and, well, here we are.
Now, I’m aware that there are a few Potterverse RPGs floating around out there. However, I found that most of them were either too caught up in minutia (course credits, monetary systems, character inventory) or too beholden to D&D-like systems with detailed rules about skills, spell effects, and combat & movement. None of these things feel
like a Harry Potter story. Harry Potter stories are about waving wands to make fantastical things happen, using your wits to solve mysteries, bravely facing danger, sneaking around & finding out what the adults don’t want you to know, and standing with your friends against the darkness.
There is also at least one other Harry Potter PbtA game that I’m aware of, but I wanted to try doing it my way. I’m hoping I can take some lessons from this for future PbtA projects.
The main design “hook” of this game, as I see it, is that each character stat (and the relationship stat) represents one of the virtues of the four Hogwarts houses. So everything in the game revolves around the concepts of Bravery, Intellect, Cunning, and Loyalty. There’s also an independent stat for Magic, because in the books & films you can be a skilled witch or wizard regardless of your House affiliation.
So that’s the set up. I have four goals for this project:
1. The game should be simple enough that anyone can pick it up and start playing with no prep, including kids as young as 10.
2. The game should create stories that feel like the Harry Potter books and movies – tonally, thematically, and structurally.
3. The game should include all the stuff that Harry Potter fans love about the world – wands and fake Latin and Houses and Quidditch and patronuses and so on.
4. The game should be pretty tightly focused on students at a magical boarding school (even if there’s a lot of other stuff going on in the broader setting).
I’m happy to talk about how I attempted to fulfill those goals in more detail, if people are interested.
My specific questions are:
- How well does the current design fulfill my project goals and what can I do to make it fulfill them better?
- Is there anything important missing from the game, either mechanically, explanatorily, or setting-wise?
- Is there anything extraneous in the game?
- Do the moves make sense? Are they explained well?
- How is the short how-to-play explanation at the end? Do you feel like you could run the game based off of it?
That said, any kind of feedback or critique would be greatly appreciated.
I’ve run one playtest of this so far, which is what the how-to-play writeup is based on. I’ll post a follow-up in this thread with a summary of that session, for anyone who’s interested.
Thanks for taking the time to read & look!