Harry Potter RPG

I’ve just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. First of all, really fun book and very quick read even compared to the other works in the series (since it’s a play). Getting back into the world of Harry Potter inspired me to dig out an adaptation of the Cortex rules for the setting that I wrote a while ago and to polish them up. Now I’m passing the results on ti you!

Setting Fundamentals

When making this adaptation I’ve tried to accomplish a few things. First of all I wanted the abilities and (especially) spells of the characters to be fluid and adaptable on the fly, hence the Cortex system. This is not a Vancian world and there’s no “oh, shoot, I have protection against ghosts but not protection against vampires.” Sometimes that happens but it’s a narrative conceit and I was hoping to show both adaptability and pushing limits to try something you haven’t quite mastered.


Secondly, I wanted the system to scale up and down easily, which is something else I think Cortex does well. A first-year Hogwarts student might be totally outclassed by a werewolf pack but they should be able to do something since school-aged children are kind of a mainstay of the series. Oops… “spoilers,” I guess.

Lastly, I really wanted there to be good options for abilities and characters beyond the spell-casting bunch and I think I’ve hit that well too. After all, the series is all about witches and wizards but there are also half-giants and  centaurs and house elves and all sorts of folks. On top of that, some of those same witches and wizards are half-Veela or infected werewolves or metamorphs or any number of other things. That’s all in here too.

The System

If you’re familiar with the Cortex system you should be off and running. If you aren’t, there’s a short primer but you should really get one of the books from Margaret Weis Productions. Basically, I pulled the Skills and Attributes from the Cortex Plus Hacker’s Guide, the Power Sets from Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and the health and combat mechanics from the Firefly Roleplaying Game. You don’t need all of these to make use of what’s here but having one of them will really clear things up.

Harry Potter RPG Rules

Sample Characters

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