Witchcraft & Wizardry: Custom Rules For Tales From The Loop!

November 14, 2018 by crew

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I have been running PnP RPGs for about six years now; writing the storylines from scratch and having some ridiculous adventures with my players, but there has been one setting that I have been wanting to explore in RPG format for pretty much the whole time: Hogwarts!

TFTL-W&W-Cover-Image

Having done the vast majority of my GMing in the Dark Heresy RPG for Warhammer 40,000, I had entertained the possibility of modifying that game to the Harry Potter setting, but the themes and systems are not really compatible. I had looked at Pathfinder for the same possibility; again to no avail.

It wasn't until earlier this year when I was introduced to Free League Publishing's Tales From the Loop. With its themes of friendship, storytelling, and young people investigating weird happenings, after my second session of playing it, I thought "have I finally found it?". Answer? Probably.

Entering A Wizarding World

After having run a few sessions (including one where everyone made their own wands!) I can share with you my process for converting the game mechanics from Tales From the Loop to work in the Harry Potter universe. For more information on how Tales From the Loop works, see HERE in Lance's first article on the game.

Potterverse Sheets #1

Character creation is almost identical to the base game, and the character archetypes from the rulebook can still work well, though instead of a "Favourite Song" a Kid has their unique Wand, and instead of the Muggle "Iconic Items" from the base game, they may think of an appropriate item, such as a Sneakoscope, a Lucky Galleon, a Pair of Spectrespecs etc.

The Kids will probably be sorted into different Houses, so they will need a Hangout spot to meet up. This acts like the Hideout from the base game. A Kid's "Anchor" may be a parent or other family member, though they will probably only be contactable via owl post.

Other suitable "Anchors" may include Teachers or other Hogwarts staff, their Head of House, a Prefect (though they may leave school at some point) or even a Ghost (this may take some explanation, however...).The Blood Status (whether they are Pure-Blood, Muggle-Born or Half-Blood) should be decided at character creation, and while this has no statistical property, it may influence how other characters perceive them.

Potterverse Wands

An aspect to character creation that most will find important is determining a characters Hogwarts House. You may choose to sort your characters into the same House, though if you want to split them up you can let your players simply choose their own House, or if you role-play the Sorting ceremony and keep it a surprise from your players (as I did) you can use the Kids highest Skills to determine their House...

  • Hufflepuff – Tinker, Empathise, Move
  • Ravenclaw – Calculate, Comprehend, Program
  • Gryffindor – Lead, Charm, Force
  • Slytherin – Investigate, Contact, Sneak

Tales From the Loop puts a lot of emphasis on technology and has no magic system, so when using any spells that require a roll I assigned the different types of spell to different skills:

  • Transfiguration – Program
  • Charm – Tinker
  • Jinx – Move
  • Hex – Calculate
  • Curse – Lead
  • Healing – Empathise
  • Counter – Calculate

While some of those skills seem a bit arbitrary, I thought about the underlying processes of the spell types, such as Transfiguration is basically reprogramming a physical object, and Charm is changing the properties of an object and so on.

Crafting Your Wand

If you take your players to Diagon Alley before they get to Hogwarts, a trip to Ollivanders is essential. A witch or wizards wand is unique to them and is said to choose its owner at least as much as its owner chooses it. Below is a table to determine the properties of each Students wand. Either think of a six-figure number or roll a d10 six times and record the relevant result in each category to generate a wand.

Wand Chart - Tales From The Loop

If you want to give your players a little boost, you can have them add +1 dice when performing any actions that their wand is "Best For".

When To Set Your Adventures?

My particular time setting for my players was 1992, one year below Harry at Hogwarts, which meant I could incorporate events that my players knew, but from a different perspective. For example, when my players were shopping in Flourish & Blotts, Professor Lockheart announces his post at Hogwarts, or during their Sorting ceremony they hear a muffled crash, as Harry and Ron crash the Ford Anglia into the Whomping Willow.

lancescharactermain

The possibilities are diverse, and if you don't want to stick to the established timeline, nothing is stopping you from setting it in a different time period or maybe even going across the pond to Ilvermorny.

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) and I hope this has inspired you to play some Witchcraft & Wizardry!

Thanks to @atherled for the write-up!

Let us know if you'll be giving this version of Tales From The Loop a go yourself!

"...nothing is stopping you from setting it in a different time period or maybe even going across the pond to Ilvermorny"

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"...if you role-play the Sorting ceremony and keep it a surprise from your players (as I did) you can use the Kids highest Skills to determine their House!"

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