GURPS Harry Potter
Copyright © 2002 By Thomas Barnes
Part 4 of 5
[Editor's Note: This article was so long and so well written, that we decided to break it up into five parts. All five have been completed, and you'll see the last section in May.]
Chapter 7 - Alchemy and Potions
Most of the Elixirs from GURPS Magic and Grimoire are available. In the world of Harry Potter, alchemical preparations can be brewed much more cheaply than the listed prices in GURPS Magic. Prices might be more in line with the rules for Industrial Alchemy on GURPS Technomancer p. 48.
Time to Brew Elixirs: Basic alchemical preparations might take as little as an hour to prepare the ingredients and another hour to brew the elixir. Divide the time required to brew most elixirs by 5.
Cost of Ingredients: Simple elixirs can be brewed much more cheaply than the rules in GURPS Magic would suggest. Basic ingredients might cost as little as $5.00. More powerful and/or dangerous elixirs take longer to brew and cost much more money. Divide the cost of elixir ingredients by 10.
At Hogwarts, rare, dangerous and expensive ingredients are locked away in the elixir master’s office. A roll vs. Fast-Talk or a suitable distraction followed by a quick Stealth roll is required to acquire such goods illicitly. Older students can just buy what they need at Dervish and Banges.
Final Price of Elixirs: Because elixirs can be made more quickly, and presumably can be made in larger batches, the GM should feel free to reduce the final price of elixirs accordingly, quartering the price for most elixirs and dividing the price by 10 for extremely common or cheap ones. Rare and/or dangerous elixirs do not drop in price, especially if they are restricted or illegal.
Forms of Elixirs: While the “default” form for most elixirs is the Potion form, elixirs can be made into any other form - pastille, powder or unguent. Candies that have spell-like effects can be treated as alchemical pastilles.
Modified Potions Summary Table
The following table gives a summary of the various elixirs and their availability in the world of Harry Potter. Production times, material costs and prices are all greatly reduced.
Belch Powder: This is a simple alchemical preparation. When slipped into a person’s food or drink, it makes them belch loudly and frequently for 1d minutes. The victim gets a roll vs. HT to resist. This might be embarrassing in some situations, but Belch Powder is mostly used as a schoolboy prank. ½ day to make, $1 in ingredients, $3 final cost.
Boils Potion: This elixir makes anyone who ingests or touches it break out in boils, as if the Boils spell had been cast on him. It is countered by the Remove Blemish or Minor Healing spells or by the Deflating Draft or Janus elixirs. Effects last for 1 hour. ½ day to make, $10 in ingredients, $25 final cost. This potion has very few legitimate applications, although it is taught as an introductory alchemical exercise.
Burn Ointment: This elixir usually appears as an orange paste. It has the same effect as the Cure Burns spell. 2 days to make, $50 in ingredients, $120 final cost.
Cleaning Solution: This elixir is typically either made into a powder or a potion. It is not ingested. Instead, it is sprinkled or poured onto the area that the user wishes to clean. Once applied, it acts as if the Clean spell had been cast on the object. ½ day to make, $2 in ingredients, $5 final cost. Mrs. Skour’s All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover is the best known brand of this elixir.
Cleansing Solution: This elixir cleans out wounds, killing bacteria and removing dead tissue and foreign objects while leaving healthy tissue intact. It is usually made into a potion which is purple and produces smoke on contact with the wound. 1 day to make, $25 in ingredients, $50 final cost.
Confusing Concoction: If ingested, this elixir makes the subject act as if the Confusion spell had been cast on him. The subject gets a roll vs. IQ to resist; otherwise he is affected for 3d minutes. ½ day to make, $25 in ingredients, $50 final cost.
Deflating Draft: This elixir reduces swelling caused by spells, disease or injury. It cancels the Swelling Solution elixir and spells such as Engorgement. 1day to make, $50 in ingredients, $100 final cost.
Draught of the Living Death: This is a powerful sleeping draught. Its effects are identical to those of the Epimenides elixir described on p. M101.
Defusing Potion: This elixir is available as a potion. It keeps objects placed in it from exploding. This ruins mundane explosives such as gunpowder. It also destroys “one shot” magic items that use fire or force to do damage. Other magic items that use fire or force will not work as long as they are covered with the potion, but work normally once it is removed. A “dose” is about a gallon of liquid - enough to completely immerse several pounds of conventional explosive or a large magic item. 1 week to make, $100 in ingredients, $450 final cost. This potion is vital to the American wizarding game of Quodpot.
Dung bombs: These are magical stink bombs, usually made in pastille form. When they strike a hard surface, they activate, filling a 1 hex radius area with a foul smell for 1d minutes. Anyone in the area of effect must roll vs. Will to stay. People outside of the area of effect but in the same immediate area must roll vs. Will+2. Each additional dung bombs give -1 to Will rolls. 1 day to make, $2 in ingredients, final cost $5. They are also called Stink Pellets.
Growth Solution: This elixir makes a living creature grow. If it is immature, the elixir makes it age towards maturity, at a rate of 1 year per dose. If the subject is already mature, it makes them grow in size, as if the Enlarge spell had been cast on them. Maturing effects are permanent, growth lasts for 1 hour. Each does counts as one “level” of growth, to a maximum of 3 levels. 1 week to make, -1 to skill, $200 in ingredients, $500 final cost.
Hair Straightener: Applied as an unguent or a potion, this elixir makes the user’s hair straighten, lie flat and otherwise behave. Effects last for 1 day, but it takes 10 minutes to rub the elixir into the hair. ½ day to make, $1 in ingredients, $5 final cost.
Lycanthropy Potion: This rare, new elixir lessens the curse of lycanthropy. When a werewolf drinks this potion before he transforms into wolf form, he does not turn into a ravening beast when he transforms. Instead, he keeps his human mind and personality, allowing him to function as normally as he can while in wolf form. 2 weeks to make, -2 to skill, $250 in ingredients, $1,000 final cost.
Mandrake Restorative Draught: This elixir counteracts all forms of petrifaction and paralysis, whether caused by spells, injury or disease. It takes 1 day to make and is at -1 to skill. It requires $100 in ingredients, plus chopped magical mandrakes. It takes at least 6 months to grow magical mandrakes from seedlings, plus the attendant risks while harvesting them. If the mage can’t grow or find his own mandrake, add a further $1,000 to the cost of the spell, if the GM rules that mandrake root is available at all. The final cost is $3,000.
Pepperup Potion: This elixir is commonly made into a potion. When consumed, it cures colds and other minor respiratory illnesses, but extremely peppery and has the magical side effect of making smoke emerge from the subject’s mouth for several hours thereafter. 1 day to make, $10 in ingredients, $20 final cost.
Pet Tonic: This is a common veterinary remedy. The elixir is usually made into a potion, although pastilles are almost as common. When administered to an animal, it gives the beast +1 to HT, and generally improves the creature’s mood, behavior and physical conformation. It has no effect on transformed animagi or werewolves. Different variants of this elixir are specialized for different types of creatures, e.g., rat tonic, owl tonic, etc. These give +2 to effective HT. It takes 1 day to produce the elixir and $2 in ingredients. The final cost is $5.
Polyjuice Potion: This elixir is usually made into a potion. When consumed, it turns the drinker into an exact duplicate of another person for 1 hour. In their new form, the subject gets all of the duplicated person’s physical attributes, advantages and disadvantages. Their mental attributes, advantages, disadvantages and skills remain unchanged. Physical skills are modified by the subject’s new form. The effects of the potion last for 1 hour, at the end of that time, the subject gradually regains their own form over a period of 1d minutes.
To be effective, this elixir requires that the subject add a bit of skin, hair, blood, or other body part from the person to be imitated to the potion just before it is consumed. This elixir will not turn people into animals. If the subject mistakenly adds an animal hair to the potion, he turns into a humanoid version of that animal with the outward physical characteristics of the animal (e.g., fur, ears, eyes, tail), but none of the advantages or disadvantages. This humanoid form is permanent unless removed by magic. It takes 4 weeks to brew the potion, -2 to skill, $100 in ingredients, $500 final cost. Use of this elixir is regulated by the Ministry of Magic. It is illegal to imitate another person with the intent to commit fraud or any other crime.
Shrinking Solution: This elixir is the opposite of the Growth Solution. It is usually produced in Potion form. When it is consumed, the first three doses shrink the subject as if the Shrink Other spell had been cast on them, to a maximum of 3 levels of Shrinking. Then, it begins to make the subject younger, at the rate of 1 year per dose, until the subject has been reduced to a newborn baby. Subsequent doses have no further effect. This elixir cancels the Growth solution, as well as spells that make the subject grow, such as Enlarge. The effects last for 1 hour. ½ day to make, $50 in ingredients, $100 final cost.
Skele-Gro: This elixir is usually made into a potion. When consumed, it allows the subject to regrows missing or damaged bones, as if the regrow bones spell had been cast on him. 2 weeks to make, -1 to skill, $100 in ingredients, $400 final cost.
Swelling Solution: This elixir is usually made as a potion. If it is applied or splashed on the subject’s body, it makes the body parts it touched grow to gigantic size as if the Engorge spell had been cast on them. Again, the subject is allowed a HT roll to resist, but at -2 per dose. The effects last for 2d hours. ½ day to make, $50 in ingredients, $100 final cost. This elixir has few polite, practical applications. Deliberate use of this elixir on an unwilling subject can be considered a crime.
Veritaserum: This elixir is an alchemical “truth serum.” When it is ingested, the subject must roll vs. IQ at -2 per dose consumed or tell the complete truth in response to any question put to him. The effects last for 1 hour. 4 weeks to make, -4 to skill, $500 in ingredients, $5,000 final cost.
Chapter 8 - Diagon Alley: Wizarding Equipment
Cost of Magic Items: As a rule of thumb, an “off the shelf” magic item costs 1 galleon for every 50 points of energy required to enchant it. At wholesale costs, an item costs 1 galleon per 100 points of energy required, not including the cost of physical components and profit. Assume that material components add 25% to the final cost of the item and that overhead, profit, etc. account for the last 25%.
Books and Communication
Books ($3.00 and up): Wizards thrive on books, and even the poorest wizard is likely to have a number of books lying about. Books are available on any topic from Gardening to the Dark Arts. As might be expected, spell books and books about magic and magical creatures are quite popular. Unlike mundane books, wizarding books tend to be fancy, with hard covers, gilded leather bindings and lovely illustrations. Photographs and pictures are wizard pictures, all enchanted with the Moving Pictures spell. In spite of all these embellishments, wizarding books are about as cheap as mundane books. The smallest and cheapest are about $3.00 new. Popular, large, lavishly-illustrated and/or technical volumes tend to be more expensive, sometimes costing several hundred dollars.
For Hogwarts students, assume that it costs several hundred dollars per student to buy all the necessary books for the term. Second-hand books are, of course, much cheaper, ranging from ¼ to ¾ the cover price, depending on the condition of the book and the demand for it. Standard Hogwarts texts for first year students include:
Dozens more books are mentioned in the novels. For example, GMs who want to add a bit of color can mention Gilderoy Lockhart’s latest book signing, although skeptical characters will notice that his books are overpriced and short on detail.
Daily Prophet (5 knuts or $.10): This is the daily wizarding newspaper for the U.K. (and possibly Ireland as well). Coverage is spotty, ranging from accurate, useful reportage of the issues of the day to sensational tabloid-style journalism. Typically, it gets the outline of important events correct but completely misses (or misstates) the details. Intelligent readers learn to read between the lines. It seems to be smaller and thinner than mundane newspapers, which perhaps explains its low price.
Howler ($2.00): This is a bright red letter delivered by owl post. They are greatly feared by Hogwarts students. See the Diatribe spell for more information about Howlers.
Owl Post ($.50 and up): The owl post in Britain seems to be partially a state-run affair and partially a privately-run system. Anyone with a number of owls could presumably set himself up as a post office, and anyone with an owl can send and receive mail without resorting to the public owl post, but enough wizards don’t have owls that a public owl post system continues.
Owl post serves the same function that email, parcel post and the telephone networks do in the mundane world, except that the speed of communication depends on the speed at which an owl can fly. Given long distances and poor weather conditions, it could take weeks for an owl post message to be delivered and for the sender to receive a reply. Normally, however, owl post is fast and reliable, with messages taking no more than a few days to be received.
The cost of the owl post depends on the size of the letter or package to be delivered and the distance it needs to travel. Presumably, an owl message to a far-flung part of the earth would be extremely expensive and would take several weeks. As a rule of thumb, is the same general costs as for mundane postage. A letter would cost about $.50 if sent locally, or $1.00 and up if it is sent overseas. Packages cost $1.00 or more to send. While post owls are tough, dedicated, fast-flying birds, they will not willingly allow themselves to be overloaded and will refuse to carry an overweight package.
Wizard Radio ($50): A wizarding radio presumably looks like an old-fashioned cathedral style radio, or possibly an old-fashioned radio with a Bakelite case from the 1930’s to 1050’s. In any case, it allows characters to receive wizarding radio programs. Wizarding radio tends towards music programs, possibly with some news, drama and quiz shows thrown in. Presumably the Ministry of Magic, like the mundane U.K. government taxes sales of wizard radios to provide funding for public programming.
Clothing and Protective Gear
Wizarding clothing is somewhat similar to mundane clothing, but robes are acceptable everyday wear. Students at Hogwarts are required to wear robes over their clothing.
Cloak, Winter ($40): A lined, hooded cloak made of wool or similar material for winter wear. It gives PD1, DR 1.
Dragon-Hide Gloves ($100): These gauntlets protect the wearer’s hands and lower arms. They have PD3, DR4, but are as light and flexible as regular leather.
Hat ($20 to $150+): Wizards and witches hats are traditionally pointed and may or may not have a brim, depending on the wearer’s personal preference. The cost depends on the style and material. A cheap, “ordinary wizard’s hat” suitable for semi-formal wear at Hogwarts costs $20.
Quiddich Uniform ($200): This is a light, padded outfit with padded leather forearm and shin guards. It is typically worn under robes. It weighs 5 lbs. and provides PD 0, DR1 for the body, upper arms and thighs, and PD1, DR2 for the forearms and lower legs.
Robes, Ordinary ($20): These are ordinary wizards robes for casual wear, sport or school.
Robes, Dress ($80+): These are fancy wizard’s robes for formal occasions, typically made from heavier and/or more expensive material, such as silk, velvet and/or brocade.
Second-Hand Clothing (1/2 cost): Characters can save money by buying second-hand goods. Hand-me-downs are, of course, free.
Candy and Sweets (1 knut to 10 sickles $0.01 to $4.50): Wizarding candy comes in a wide variety of shapes and flavors. The more expensive candies are enchanted and interact with the consumer in interesting (not to say dangerous) ways. Unlike normal candy, wizarding candy is at least somewhat nutritious and doesn’t rot the teeth! If the character is familiar with a particular type of joke candy, he gets a roll vs. IQ to detect the candy’s power before he eats it. Types of candies mentioned in the books include:
Acid Pops: These normal-seeming lollipops will burn a hole in the consumer’s tongue, doing 1 point of damage and temporarily giving him the equivalent of the Stuttering disadvantage until the damage is healed.
Bernie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans: Jelly beans with wildly random flavors.
Blood Pops: Bright red lollipops with a blood flavor.
Butterbeer: This is a rich, filling, delicious non-alcoholic drink sold in bottles.
Canary Creams (7 sickles): These are an invention of Fred and George Weasley, so they aren’t likely to be on the market yet (but look for them at Honeydukes any time now). They look like small custard cream tarts, but temporarily turn the person who eats them into a giant canary. After a minute, the subject’s feathers fall off and they return to normal.
Cauldron Cakes: This is a sort of (presumably sweet) wizard pastry. It is, presumably a fairly nutritious, filling snack.
Chocoballs: Chocolate-covered strawberry mousse filled with clotted cream.
Chocolate: There are many flavors and types of chocolate available. In addition to being a tasty treat, a piece of chocolate can act as a restorative after an injury or psychic shock. If administered by a character with Magery and Occultism-12+, a piece of chocolate gives +1 to Will rolls to recover from Fright Checks or other forms of psychic shock and +1 to HT rolls to recover from injury.
Chocolate Frogs: These are small chocolate candies in the shape of a frog. Their main attraction (other than the chocolate) is the fact that each frog has an animated trading card of a famous wizard in the package.
Cockroach Cluster: This is a joke candy. Presumably, it is chocolate over crunchy cockroaches. Monty Python fans will doubtless know what to avoid . . .
Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum: This looks like normal bubble gum, but it allows the consumer to blow blue bubbles that float around for about half an hour.
Fizzing Whizzbees: These are balls of sherbet that don’t melt and don’t squash easily until they are popped into the consumer’s mouth. When eaten, they levitate the consumer a few inches off the ground for 1d x 10 seconds.
Fudge Flies: Wizarding sweets, presumably in the shape of flies and made of fudge..
Hiccup Sweets: These candies make the consumer hiccup, as if the Hiccups spell had been cast on him.
Ice Mice: These candies make the consumer’s teeth chatter and squeak, just as if they were very small, very cold mice.
Jelly Slugs: A candy presumably similar to mundane Gummi Worms, but in the shape of slugs. It is possible that they move around like real slugs would.
Licorice Wand: Presumably licorice in the shape of a wizard’s wand. It is never specified if you can use it as a real wand. If the GM allows this, presumably it gives at least -2 to skill, if not more.
Pear Drops: Presumably small, round hard candies with the shape and flavor of a pear.
Pepper Imps: These spicy candies make the consumer smoke at the mouth. For the duration of the spell, he can blow smoke from his mouth as if the Smoke Rings spell had been cast on him.
Peppermint Humbugs: Presumably peppermint candies in the shape of an insect.
Peppermint Toads: Toad-shaped peppermints that hop in the consumer’s stomach.
Pumpkin Fizz: A tasty, bright orange, fizzy drink, presumably with a pumpkin flavor.
Pumpkin Juice: A tasty, bright orange fruit drink, presumably flavored with pumpkin
Sugar Quills: These look like ordinary writing quills, but they are made out of sugar. Students like them because they can easily smuggle them into class and suck on them while looking like they’re fidgeting with their pens.
Ton-Tongue Toffees: These are another of Fred and George Weasley’s jokes. They look like ordinary toffees, but they are enchanted with the Engorgement charm. When a person eats the toffee, his tongue immediately, rapidly enlarges reaching an enormous weight and size before the spell ends and it shrinks back to normal. Ton-Tongue Toffees are not on the market (yet).
Toothflossing Stringmints: This peculiar candy looks like long, sweet, mint-flavored string. It flosses your teeth automatically as you eat it, presumably making it popular as an after-dinner mint.
Whizzing Worms: Candy in the shape of worms. Presumably these look like Gummi Worms, but are magical in some way.
Cribbage’s Wizarding Crackers: This is a sort of wizarding snack food.
Foe-Glass ($5,000): This magic item looks like a large, ornate mirror. When attuned to the user, it will detect foes. The closer the foe is to the user and the more dangerous they are to him, the clearer their image will appear in the mirror. Vague threats or distant foes appear as faint shadows. Immediate threats to the user appear clearly in the mirror’s “foreground.” Prerequisites: Sense Foes, Mind Reading, Secret, Enchant. Energy Cost to Create: 1,000 points.
Gilly Weed ($100): This is a magic aquatic herb that grows wild in the Mediterranean and possibly in other warm seas. When a “dose” of gillyweed is ingested, it gives the subject the Gills and Amphibious advantages for 1 hour.
Invisibility Cloak ($5,000): This is the standard invisibility cloak as described under the magic item for the Invisibility spell on p. M58. Its high price comes not only from the cost to create the item, but also for the rare Diricawl fur required to make the cloak.
Multi-Dimensional Trunk ($2,000+): From the outside, this item looks like a trunk with two or more keyholes set where a key to open the lid of the trunk would be. On the inside, the trunk is actually a complex, multi-dimensional space. Each keyhole makes a different extra-dimensional space appear. When a key turned in a particular lock and the lid is lifted, the appropriate extradimensional space appears. A trunk with two or more keys. Each key opens a different extra-dimensional compartment. The cost of the item and its weight depends on the size of the container, the number of extradimensional spaces and their capacity. At a minimum a small trunk with just two spaces will cost $2,000, larger, more elaborate trunks can cost considerably more. See the Hideaway spell for more details.
Secrecy Sensor ($1,500): This item looks vaguely like an elaborate TV aerial. It vibrates and produces sparks like Jacob’s ladder when it detects secrecy and/or lies in the user’s immediate area. The user can “calibrate” the sensor so that it is more or less sensitive. For example, so that it doesn’t respond to the ordinary level of secrecy or lying found in an office or school. When properly calibrated, it acts as an Area version of the Sense Foes, Detect Lies spell. Energy Cost to Create: 500 points.
Sneakoscope ($5 to $20): This simple magic device looks like a clear glass ball and acts as a limited version of the Sense Foes spell. When it detects a hostile or untrustworthy person, it, flashes red and whistles. Unfortunately, it does not detect which people are untrustworthy or the degree to which they intend to harm the user. For example, a sneakoscope would flash and whistle just as vigorously if it detected a person who wanted to put beetles in the user’s soup as it would if it detected someone who wanted to kill him. Cheap version of the sneakoscope are sold as novelty items. They cost as little as $5, but give up to -4 to effective skill. Good quality sneakoscopes are larger and cost more. Prerequisites: Sense Foes. Energy Cost to Create: 50 points.
Levitating Candle ($3): This item has a limited version of the Levitation spell cast on it. It looks like a normal taper, but on a command word it hovers where the user wishes. When another command is spoken, it drops to the ground and and/or goes out. Energy Cost To Create: 10 points.
Omnoculars ($80): See the Slow-Motion Vision spell.
Magic Pocket Knife ($350): This is a pocket knife with a number of spells cast on it. Treat it as a small knife, but it is also enchanted with the Lockmaster and the Untie spells so it can unlock any (normal) lock or untie any (non-magical) knot.
Putter-Outer ($50): See the Extinguish Light spell for more information about this item. Putter-Outers typically look like normal cigarette lighters.
Quick-Quotes Quill ($250): See the Shorthand spell for more information about this item.
Rememberall ($150): This item looks like a glass ball, the size of a large marble, filled with white smoke. The smoke turns red to tell you that there is something you have forgotten to do. It acts as a combination of an appointment calendar and memory aid. It searches the subject's mind and flashes if there is a task that the subject is supposed to do or a fact that he has forgotten. This gives him an extra IQ roll to recall the task. Prerequisites: Recall, Mind-Reading, Alarm. Energy Cost to Create: 250
Revealer ($25): See the Reveal Text spell for more details about this item.
Sartorial Mirror ($250): This large, ornate magic mirror has limited personality and intelligence and can speak to anyone who looks into its face. If asked (and sometimes if not) it will comment on the user’s appearance and make useful comments about the user’s grooming and fashion sense. Prerequisite: Personality, Bestow Advantage. Energy Cost to Create: 500 points.
Self-Cleaning Dishes ($25 each): This is a variant of the Clean spell. When the plate is empty, after a set amount of time or after a word of command, any food or food residue on the plate vanishes, leaving the plate clean. Energy Cost to Create: 50 points.
Tent House ($250+): From the outside, this item appears to be a normal tent. On the inside, it opens into an extradimensional space. The details of the internal space are determined by the mage when the spell is cast. The cost varies, from $250 to a small pup-tent that opens into a space the size of an efficiency apartment to thousands of dollars for elaborate pavilions that open into mansion-like spaces. Mages commonly use other spells to make the tents appear to be fancy fabric buildings, complete with turrets, balconies, multiple stories and the like. These add thousands of dollars to the price.
Time Turner ($10,000+): This powerful magic item appears to be a small hourglass on a long chain. Each turn of the glass turns back time by one hour for the user. The chain is long enough for two people to “wear” it and once, allowing two people to go back into time together.
While the characters are sent back in time, they cannot be seen by anyone who could see both their past and current selves at the same time. They also cannot do anything that would disrupt the flow of time or make later events impossible, including changing events that have already taken place or communicating with their “former” selves. If these conditions are violated, the characters might destroy themselves, hurl themselves into an alternate future or get stuck in a permanent time loop.
These items are very rare and are closely controlled by the Ministry of Magic. The MoM keeps a few of these on hand for use by its agents or to especially needy wizards of unimpeachable moral character. At the very least, a character who wishes to use a Time Turner must have a Good Reputation (either with Hogwarts faculty and/or the MoM) and the written recommendation of a MoM employee of Administrative Rank 4 or better.
Wand ($40 or less): A custom-made wand that is properly attuned to the character costs 7 galleons. Second-hand wands don’t give the wizard the bonus for being properly attuned but cost only half as much. Found, stolen or hand-me-down wands are free, but have the same effects as a second-hand wand.
Wizard’s Clock ($250): This item looks like a large, old-fashioned grandfather clock. It doesn’t tell time, but does notify members of the household where each member of the family is. Each family member is indicated by a separate hand on the clock face. The different locations are written around the edge of the face where the numbers would be on a normal clock and include common destinations such as “At Work,” “Home,” “Shopping,,” “Out,” and so forth. Prerequisites: Seeker. Energy Cost to Create: 500 points.
Dancing Toys ($1-5): This sort of toy covers all manner of small toys, buttons, figurines and the like that speak, move or act in a fairly predictable pattern. The exact details are up to the GM, but items mentioned in the novels range from miniature flying brooms to animated figures of famous quiddich players to nose-biting teacups. See the Minor Animation spell for more information.
Exploding Snap Cards ($3): This looks like a relatively ordinary deck of playing cards. But, under certain circumstances, they will “blow up” with a flash of light and a loud “pop” scattering the cards about. Typically, the cards “explode” when someone wins or loses a game. At a word of command, the cards will regroup and shuffle themselves. Energy Cost to Create: 25 points.
Dr. Filibuster No-Heat Wet-Start Fireworks ($2 each): These are waterproof magic fireworks. They go off without needing heat or fire, either on the user’s mental command or when they hit a hard surface. They explode with a loud noise and then whiz about producing showers smokeless, heatless red and gold stars that last for about half an hour. If they hit a person, they do no damage, but might Mentally Stun the victim for a turn if he wasn’t expecting them. If thrown into liquid or light, loose material they splash it about in a 1 hex radius.
Frog-Spawn Soap ($1): This item looks like an ordinary bar of soap, but when it is wetted or immersed in water, it turns into a realistic-looking clutch of frog eggs. Squeamish people might have to make a Fright Check when they realize they are washing with slimy frog eggs.
Gobstones ($3+): Gobstones is a wizarding game rather like marbles, but the stones are enchanted so they squirt a nasty-scented liquid in the other player’s face when he loses a point. Energy Cost to Create: 25 points.
Self-Shuffling Playing Cards ($5): Wizarding playing cards which shuffle themselves.
Switching Wand ($40): This novelty wand looks like a normal (but unattuned) wand, but after 1d uses, it changes into a rubber rat, rubber chicken or some other harmless gag item. After 1d hours in the new form, it reverts to wand form again. Energy Cost to Create: 100.
Talking Button ($1-$5): These items look like ordinary slogan buttons or rosette, but they produce some sort of flashing message or a short message, either on a fixed pattern or a random schedule. They wear out after 2d weeks of use. Energy Cost to Create: 25 points.
Quiddich Balls ($250): This is a sturdy case containing a set of four regulation quiddich balls: two bludgers, a quaffle and a snitch. When the case is opened, they will fly out an behave as described under the Sport (Quiddich) skill. Energy Cost to Create: 100 points.
Wizard Holiday Cracker ($25 each): This item looks identical to an ordinary holiday cracker, such as are sold in the UK during the holiday season. The mundane versions are a cardboard tube wrapped in colorful paper or foil. When a tab on the inside of the tube is pulled, a small bit of friction explosive creates a loud “crack.” The tube also contains a tissue paper crown, a joke or riddle printed on a slip of paper and a tiny, cheap plastic toy.
The wizarding version is much more impressive. When the tab is pulled, the cracker explodes with a noise like a cannon, producing a large puff of smoke. The cracker itself breaks open, revealing a hat in any number of bizarre styles, an amusing magical toy (or a small animal) and a piece of paper with a joke or bit of wizard wisdom written on it. They are popular during Christmas celebrations at Hogwarts school and in more prosperous wizarding households. Living creature and hats produced by this spell last for 2d hours before vanishing. The toys and slips of paper are permanent. Energy Cost to Create: 100 points.
Wizard Chessmen ($50): This is a set of animated chessmen with personalities and limited Game (Chess) skill suitable for playing Wizards Chess. They can speak and move realistically, but only on the chessboard. Many sets (especially old, experienced ones) have the obnoxious habit of giving the players advice or making unwanted comments on the course of the game.
Flying Carpet ($1,000+): Flying carpets are rare among wizards in the UK and are currently illegal under Ministry of Magic law. They vary in price from $1,000 for a small single-seater carpet to thousands of dollars for a large family-sized carpet. For more details about the mechanics of enchanting flying carpets, see GURPS Arabian Nights or Technomancer. A wizard who wants to start the game with a flying carpet must take either an Unusual Background or a Secret (-5 points) to explain why he has an illegal magic item.
Broomstick ($500+): Flying broomsticks are a very popular mode of transport among wizards, not least because the sport of quiddich is played on broomsticks. Broom prices vary widely depending on the model, from $500 for a fairly slow, stable utilitarian model, to of thousands of dollars for the latest, fastest and most maneuverable racing brooms. Wizards argue the merits of various models of brooms the way that muggles talk about cars. Older, second-hand brooms are considerably cheaper and can provide reliable transportation, but aren’t particularly fast or impressive. On the other hand, a wizard with the latest racing broom is making a fashion statement in the same way that a muggle with a sports car is doing.
Brooms become increasingly unstable at high altitudes. In general, the older and/or cheaper the model, the lower and slower it goes, the less stable it is, and the harder it is to turn.
Old, slow, reliable brooms include the Cleansweep and the Silver Arrow. Newer and faster brooms, suitable for amateur level Quiddich are the Cleansweep 7, Comet 260 and the Nimbus 2000, in increasing order of performance and price. Professional-level quiddich brooms are the Nimbus 2001 and the Firebolt. Current, the Firebolt is the best on the market. It can accelerate from 0 to 150 mph in 10 seconds and incorporates magic braking and maneuverability spells with an aerodynamic and well-balanced body.
By comparison, the Silver Arrow (first produced in the 1920s) has a top speed of about 70 mph and the Nimbus 1000 (first produced in late 1960s) has a top speed of about 100 mph and is capable of turning on its own axis.
Floo Powder ($1 per dose): Floo powder is a magical preparation that activates a fireplace attached to the Floo Network. To use floo powder, the mage creates a flame (normal or magical) in a fireplace hooked into the floo network. He then casts a handful of powder into the flames. The flames immediately become heatless and bright green, allowing the mage to step into the fire unharmed. Once in the fire, he loudly speaks his intended destination. The floo network immediately teleports him to his destination. If the mage does not speak clearly or gives a confusing destination, the floo network might not work, or it might transport him to the wrong location.
If the mage just sticks his head into a fire in which floo powder has been cast, his disembodied face will appear in the fireplace he designates. He can see, talk, hear, eat and otherwise interact with the environment in his new location. While his head is elsewhere, he cannot see area around his body, although he can still hear, but at -2 to Hearing rolls.
To hook a particular hearth into the floo network, a mage from the Ministry of Magic must cast a variant of the Create Gate spell. To disconnect a hearth from the network, a mage must successfully cast the Dispel Magic spell. Connecting a hearth to the network costs $50, plus a monthly service charge. Disconnecting a hearth from the network costs nothing.
Portkey ($100+): A portkey is a “one-shot” version of the Mass Teleport spell. See the Create Portkey spell for more information.
Typically, portkeys are used when it is necessary for large numbers of wizards to transfer to a specific location at a set time while remaining inconspicuous. One mage enchants the portkey with sufficient power to allow a known number of people plus their baggage to be teleported. Then he or his agent places the portkey in a preset location. When the time for the portkey's spell to trigger is near, the wizards who wish to teleport as a group all grasp the portkey, which transports them and their equipment to the preset location.
The cost of a portkey depends on the distance and weight to be teleported. Typically, the cost of attending a wizarding event includes the cost of the portkey to and from the event.
Flying Vehicles (Variable): Some wizards experiment with flying vehicles, but these are rare since the Ministry of Magic strictly limits the enchantment of muggle artifacts. Sirius Black had a flying motorcycle (which Hagrid rode to deliver Harry Potter to the Dursleys), and Arthur Weasley had a flying car. In the latter case, the car was a unique, experimental magic item. Flying vehicles are rare and expensive. Add the cost of the mundane vehicle, plus the cost of any enchantments.
The Knight Bus ($5-$7): The Knight Bus is a virulently-purple triple-decker bus that can teleport to any location in the British Isles. Spells make it invisible and inaudible to muggles as it roars through the night. In addition, the Knight Bus magically warps space around it so that it doesn’t collide with other vehicles or objects. Wizards can hail the bus by sticking out their wand while standing by the curbside.
Inside the bus there are curtained windows, candles in scones on the walls and brass beds so the riders can attempt to sleep, though not everyone can do so, since the ride is rough. Cost is 11 sickles for the ride itself, 13 with hot chocolate, or 15 for chocolate, a hot water bottle and a toothbrush.
Stan Shunpike, the conductor, is young, pimply and garrulous. Ernie Prang, the driver, is ancient and less talkative, although he can keep up his end of a conversation.
Magic Items of Power and Note
These are magic items that play an important role in the novels. They are included only for the sake of completeness, characters will probably not get a chance to use or interact with these items unless the GM is recreating the events of the books.
Bezoar: A stone taken from the stomach of a goat and then enchanted. If it is dipped into a container of liquid, a bezoar will counteract the majority of poisons, as if the Purify Food or Purify Water spell had been cast. If ground up and eaten, it acts as the Cure Poison spell, but of course, this destroys the stone.
Goblet of Fire: This item looks like a wooden cup. When activated, it casts the Selection spell to choose the contestants in the Triwizard tournament. It has the Selection and Geas spells on it. See the Selection spell for more details.
Hand of Glory: This item is the enchanted, mummified severed hand of a hanged thief (or alternately, a murderer). When a candle is placed in the hand, it gives light to the person holding the hand as if the Magelight spell had been cast. A quintessential Dark Magic item.
Marauder's Map: This is a magical map of Hogwarts school and its grounds. On first inspection, it appears to be an old piece of blank parchment. When a command word is spoken (“I solemnly swear I am up to no good.”) the map reveals a highly accurate (if not necessarily complete) map of Hogwarts, including three secret passages from Hogwarts to the village of Hogsmeade unknown to Argus Filch and the rest of the faculty and staff. Best of all, it shows the location of everyone in Hogwarts school, either showing them as small figures or as moving dots, as the user desires. Each figure is named by their real name, regardless of disguises or other types of concealment, so somebody with the map will know the approximate location of even hidden or invisible creatures.
When a second command word is spoken (“Mischief managed!”) the map goes blank. When someone attempts to make the map reveal itself using the wrong password, words appear on the map insulting the person, based on the map’s assessment of the person’s personality and appearance. This item incorporates at least half a dozen spells, plus a high level of Area Knowledge (Hogwarts school). It is presumably the culminating achievement of the school careers of Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs, the creators of the maps, perhaps produced at the end of their 6th or 7th years.
Pensieve: This item looks like an elaborate stone basin. Inside the bowl is a silvery liquid. Anyone who looks into this mist will see the owner’s memories. The purpose of the pensieve is to hold the owner’s memories. By touching the pensieve and then spinning the finger of his other hand (or his wand) against his head, the user can pull memories from his head and transfer them to the pensieve. Transferred memories look like silvery cotton wool pulled from the owner's ears. The user still “remembers” the stored memories, but the details of the scene are held by the Pensieve. In effect, it gives the owner the second level of Eidetic Memory, but only to recall scenes or information, and only when he gazes into the pensieve.
Philosopher’s Stone: This, the “holy grail” of alchemy, was discovered by Albus Dumbledore and Nicolas Flamel. In addition to turning lead into gold, it also allows the user to create a potion of immortality. It was destroyed at the end of the first book.
Tom Riddle’s Diary: This is a heavily enchanted, interactive diary with the Personality, Interactive Picture and Soul Sucker enchantments on it, among others. It was destroyed at the end of the second book.
I'd like to make a comment about this article.
This page has been visited times.