Participation (Chapter 5)
Game participation includes attending regular game sessions, but it also includes writing assignments completed between sessions. Through this writing system, players can earn additional Curriculum points, Pool points, additional Traits, and other benefits. Writing contributions take the form of preliminary background writing, occasional “homework” assignments, and game summaries for the Adventure Log.
One Participation point is earned for every three regular writing assignments completed. Some assignments, those designated “extra credit,” are worth a whole Participation point on their own. Each point allows the player to select one of the following benefits:
AP (or Remedial) Studies: You get one free discretionary Curriculum point to put in any Class you are enrolled in for the current year or a prior year. Remember that no Class can get more than five Curriculum points for a particular year.
It Builds Character: Gain a one-point Positive Trait. Alternately, remove a one-point Negative Trait. You can only choose this Participation option once on a particular character.
Midnight Research: You are familiar with a potion, spell, magical creature, or magical plant before learning it in school. Choose a Subject that you would not otherwise have access to because it is only taught in later years or is taught in an elective Class that you are not taking. If you choose the Subject that is more than two years higher than your current year, or is for a Class you are not enrolled in, you only have “exposure” to the Subject until you get within two years of it. Whenever you learn the chosen Subject later in the campaign (through the normal course of play), you can choose a new Midnight Research Subject to replace the original with using the above guidelines.
Practiced Resilience: Add one point to one of your Pools. No combination of increases and Conditions can raise a Pool rating above 20. If you have raised a Pool to its maximum through use of Practiced Resilience, and you later increase that Pool by increasing the appropriate Resistance Attribute or by other means, you can reassign any excess points gained through Practiced Resilience to one of your other Pools.
Miscellaneous: Sometimes you and the Storyguide can work out other game benefits to use Curriculum points on. This allows you to develop unique aspects of your character not already covered by these rules. Such things will frequently cost you more than one point. Becoming an animagus is a prime example of a benefit not covered by the rules, one which would cost quite a few Curriculum points and which would be developed later in your years at Hogwarts.
Homework assignments are set writing contributions designed to provide additional story information about your character. Homework assignments grant Participation rewards and constitute a major aspect of gameplay.
Homework assignments should be one to three pages typed, unless otherwise noted in the assignment’s particular description. Too short risks missing the point of the assignment; too long may obscure it. Remember that the purpose of such writing is to expose details about your character, enriching the game world for all players.
To “turn in” your assignments publically, simply add the text in the publicly accessible portions of your Obsidian Portal character page. Use a prominent headline to separate each writing assignment. If you wish to keep a writing assignment private, click the “Add Player Secret” option and post your answers in the new text box that only you and the Storyguide can access.
The Storyguide will keep a list of all homework assigned to date. Following are some example assignments.
Background (Extra Credit): Answer the following questions. Their purpose is to make you think about aspects of your character that you may have overlooked. These details help you build a whole, believable character for the game.
• What is your character’s full name? Nickname or other names?
• How would you describe what your character looks like? Is she tall, short, or average height? What about size? Is she average, thin, plump? Eye color? Hair color? What sorts of clothes does she wear in the muggle world? Does she have any particular affectations he or she wears at Hogwarts, things like a hair bow, necklace, etc.?
• Where in Britain does your character come from? Is she an exchange student from another land?
• Who are your character’s parents? What are their jobs? Is there anything special about them? How do you interact? Are they muggles or did the magical talent skip a generation or two?
• Does your character have brothers and/or sisters? If so, how many? Are they younger or older? Are they also magical? If so, are they at Hogwarts and what year are they in?
• What other relationships does your character have? Are there other relatives in her life? Who are her friends? Are they mundane or magical? What do they know about your character’s life? Does your character have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
• What are your character’s hobbies? Does he or she like sports? Who are her favorite quidditch teams? Does your character like to play other games like Exploding Snap or Wizard’s Chess?
• What are your character habits and mannerisms? What is her style of dress? What foods does she like?
• How does your character feel about the magical world? About the mundane world? How does she feel about being a witch or wizard? Why is your character a member of the House he or she is in?
• What is your character’s greatest secret?
Vignette (Extra Credit): Write about three to five pages describing the events that led up to your arrival at King’s Cross Station. Your Vignette should touch on the core concepts and motivations for your character. Remember that this is your introduction, the beginning of your character’s story. Put serious effort into this assignment because it begins your story.
Mirror of Erised: Dumbledore has determined that you are a witch or wizard with great potential. In order to better understand your inner virtues, and thus your potential impact on the wizarding world, the headmaster has arranged for you to encounter the Mirror of Erised while he observes from an invisible vantage point. Describe what you see within the mirror, what your character desires most and why.
Letter Home: Write a letter home to your family (or whoever is at home). This has two purposes. The first is to show how your character is reacting to his or her first few days at Hogwarts. The second—and more important—purpose is to illustrate one or more of the characters at home (family members, etc.) and your relationship with them.
Winter Break: Describe what you did on your break between first and second terms. Did you meet up with friends from Hogwarts? Visit family? Your off-time activities can be very revealing of the character’s personality.
Game Recap: One of the players should write a summary of game events after each game, to be posted under the “Adventure Log” tab of the Obsidian Portal page. Players should exchange game notes and decide amongst themselves who will write the game recap each game, taking turns to do so.