Subjects (Chapter 9)
Most Classes have specific topics to learn; spells, potions, techniques for the care of specific animals, qualities and uses of specific plants, etc. These are called Subjects. See Chapter 4 for a list of Subjects taught in each Class.
You cannot utilize a particular Subject without at least one lesson. That is, you can’t try to cast a spell, brew a potion, or properly harvest a plant, unless you have some exposure to the required techniques. If a particular Subject is listed for your current year in a Class you are enrolled in, you are sufficiently “exposed” to it to attempt it at a slight disadvantage. In this case, do not add an Attribute to rolls for that Subject. If a particular Subject is listed for a Class you are enrolled in, and it is from an earlier year, you have been “trained” in the Subject and can make rolls for it as normal.
Sometimes you can get exposure to a Subject ahead of schedule. For example, Hermione used a book from the restricted section of the library to brew a Polyjuice potion in her second year. If you get significant access to a Subject ahead of your current year (the Storyguide agrees you have enough knowledge to attempt it on your own), make a note of it on the back of your character sheet. Such advanced exposure should be very limited, only allowed when it is critical to the story.
Be aware that some Classes do not teach different Subjects per se. This is true of all the minor Classes but it also applies to Ancient Runes, Astronomy, History of Magic, and Muggle Studies.
Subject outcomes fall into one of three categories, those that inflict standard Conditions, those with no rules (free-form effects), and those with specific rules given here.
Optional Rule (Detailed Lessons): This optional rule allows the Storyguide to make the content of lessons more important. Under this rule, you do not get exposure to a Subject until your professor teaches that particular lesson during play. This requires more bookkeeping; you have to track which Subjects you have encountered each year on the back of your character sheet. The Storyguide can still choose to provide some exposure through lessons, and periodically assign exposure abstractly for the Subjects that are not taught during play.
A number of effects simply apply one of the standard Conditions described in the chapter above. These are the easiest effects to adjudicate because the Conditions are already described.
A number of spells in this game have no rules governing their outcomes. The Storyguide must adjudicate their outcomes based upon what makes for a good story.
Most free-form effects do not significantly affect Skirmishes or other opposed contests. Yet players will consistently find creative ways to make innocuous effects into powerful weapons. For example, Ronald Weasley used a simple levitating charm to wield a mountain troll’s own club against it, and to devastating effect.
In such circumstances, the Storyguide should employ testing parameters by analogizing to other tasks. For example, Ronald’s attack on the mountain troll may have run identically to an attempt to attack the troll physically, substituting Persuasion + Charms in the place of Strength.
Sometimes a free-form effect should generate a Condition, something not described in the chapter above. In such cases, the Storyguide should write out the Condition, including any stress rating associated, and make this information known to the effected player. Writing these on three-by-five cards ahead of time is helpful if the Storyguide anticipates the use of such effects.
Rules for antidotes and healing spells (under a variety of names) are somewhat free-form. Antidotes usually require a magic roll better than the Effect Level of the toxin, and some will only affect certain types (or intensities) of poison. When it comes to restoring Health points, successful application of magic healing restores points equal to the Subject level, plus an additional Health point for every three points by which the magic roll exceeds the difficulty number.
Following is a list of Subjects whose effects require specific rules mechanics. These are common effects with important mechanics that players should be able to anticipate and rely upon. Check the Curriculum chapter to determine which Class and year each Subject belongs to. If a Subject is not listed here, it must be handled free-form or as a Condition effect.
Apparition (Transfiguration): Apparition is a single Subject that imitates a combination of Human Target, Conjuring Effect, and Vanishing Effect. It allows the user to disappear from one place and reappear in another. Apparition is taught in a separate series of lessons but it uses the Curriculum points you have in Transfiguration. You do not have to be enrolled in Transfiguration during sixth year to take apparition lessons. Absent some special measures, exposure to this Subject in sixth year requires a Wealth rating of at least “Average.” Otherwise, a student will have to wait until seventh year for exposure.
Beautification Potion: This increases the user’s Appearance by 2 points.
Disarming Charm: When successfully cast, the target loses his or her wand. This usually takes an entire turn to recover. A caster who rolls Doubles catches her opponent’s wand, making recovery that much more difficult.
Disillusionment Charm: When attempting to hide from someone, use this spell’s result in the place of a Dexterity roll (normally opposed by an Observation roll).
Effect, Animation (Transfiguration): You animate what was once inanimate. The target can move about slowly and acts with some semblance of intelligence, about that of a dog, for the duration of the spell. It can respond to simple commands.
Effect, Complex Metamorph (Transfiguration): A variation of the simple metamorph effect, this allows greater degrees of alteration. For example, you can change multiple features of the target, and the changes can be quite dramatic. The Storyguide will determine when a spell requires this Subject or the simple metamorph effect Subject.
Effect, Conjure (Transfiguration): This calls something into being, either drawing things from their known locations elsewhere in the world, or drawing from non-being, a theoretical realm containing all vanished things. It is the opposite of the vanishing effect.
Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration describes the restrictions on conjuration; you cannot fungible commodities, nor can you get food. Such things can be conjured temporarily, but will disappear after a short time and cannot be made to last longer with the Permanency Subject. (Even digested food disappears, any nutritional value evaporating with it.)
Calling something into being from a specific place is called “summoning.” This is a way to get around Gamp’s Law; you can even summon crafted items like cooked food or (valuable) worked metal if you know where the raw ingredients are and have the knowledge needed to prepare them in a mundane fashion.
Effect, Merge (Transfiguration): A version of switching, you cause two targets to become one, selecting exactly which of each target’s original features exist in the new, composite creation.
Effect, Multiple (Transfiguration): This allows you to simultaneously apply two or more transfiguration effects to a target with a single spell. Each effect applied beyond the first requires the expenditure of a point of Essence.
Effect, Mix Characteristics (Transfiguration): In this version of switching, the caster may mix-and-match characteristics. The two targets do not have to swap the same features. For example, one target can take the sharp teeth of the other, while the other gets wings like the first.
Effect, Petrification (Transfiguration): Note that this dark magic is not taught at Hogwarts but it is considered a seventh-year Subject for those who know it.
Effect, Resize (Transfiguration): This effect doubles or halves the size of the target. By spending a point of Essence during casting, the caster may instead triple the size of the target or reduce it to one-third its original size. This magic is similar to, but distinct from, engorgement charms.
Effect, Simple Metamorph (Transfiguration): You change one minor feature of the target, like changing its color or modifying its shape slightly. Turning matchsticks into needles is a simple effect; it changes one object into a similarly-shaped object composed of another material.
Effect, Switch (Transfiguration): Switching swaps a physical feature from of two targets with that of the other. The two targets must both be the same target type, unless the multiple targets Subject is used. Switching differs from straight transfiguration in that the change in one of the pair is dependent on the change in the other.
Effect, Twin (Transfiguration): You create a duplicate of the target, alike in every detail. The duplicate is normally inanimate.
Effect, Untransfiguration (Transfiguration): This spell reverses a transfiguration that you or someone else invoked. To attempt this, you only need exposure to one of the target Subjects used in the original spell (if more than one). You can affect your own transfigurations without much difficulty but your magic roll must exceed the transfiguration’s Effect Level if you wish to reverse someone else’s spell.
Effect, Vanishing (Transfiguration): The invocation evanesco causes a target to go into non-being, becoming non-existent for the effect’s duration. It is the opposite of the conjuration effect.
Everlasting Elixirs: This is not a potion, per se. Once a student has mastered this Subject, the duration of all of her potions, even those advanced through Astronomy, are doubled.
Felix Felicis: The user is immune to Stress Rolls and has a Roll Advantage on every roll for the potion’s duration. The Storyguide should narrate additional effects that indicate intense good fortune.
Fortune Telling: Fortune telling is not spell-casting in the regular sense. The diviner chooses a person, place, or thing to tell the fortune of and a medium in which to read signs. The diviner calls upon her intuition to interpret these signs. A student can attempt once per month to find the fortune of a particular person, place, or thing. Often, readings stray to topics that are of particular relevance to the reader.
The difficulty for fortune telling is not based on Subject years. Fortune telling uses an Empathy + Divination roll. The result determines how specific the reading gets. A result of 27+ indicates only a vague, enigmatic sense of major events, nothing that determinate. A 30+ reveals more details, but the revelation remains cryptic. A 33+ allows the fortuneteller to read minor events that may be of great importance to the student or subject, though the identities of those involved in the events remains hidden. At 38+ shows precise identities of persons, factions, and places involved. With a 41+, the fortuneteller sees not only precise details of the event divined, but also how these might trigger other important events, and it gives a sense of the original event’s vulnerability to change.
Girding Potion: This increases the user’s Toughness by 2 points.
Invigorating Draught: This increases the user’s Vitality by 2 points.
Magic Integrity Charm: You can use the Magic Integrity Charm, finite incantatem, to bolster or weaken a magical effect. Take ten minutes to make the appropriate magical calculations and make a Vitality + Arithmancy roll. If the result of a bolstering attempt is higher than the target’s Effect Level, your roll result replaces the target’s Effect Level. If a weakening attempt is higher than the target’s Effect Level, subtract the excess from the target’s Effect Level. If the new Effect Level is lower than the difficulty number needed to create the target magic in the first place (or zero, if there magic has no roll to enact), the target effect ends.
Magic Revealing Charm: The magic revealing charm, popularly known as Scarpin’s Revelaspell, will confirm the presence of magic and in some cases allow you to identify it. Make an Observation + Arithmancy roll. Success shows the presence of magic. If the roll is equal to or higher than the Effect Level, you get a general sense of what the magic effect does. In the case of potion, you also identify its ingredients. If you are fully trained in the Subject that is the target of this charm, you identify it fully, including its common name and exact effects.
Memory Potion: This increases the user’s Memory by 2 points.
Permanency (Transfiguration): This makes your transfiguration long-lasting (half a year, by default); it allows for greater extension of duration through the Astronomy mechanics.
Restoration Potion: This potion reverses the effect of transfigurations. Your magic roll must exceed the transfiguration’s Effect Level to be successful.
Shield Charm: This charm can be used to make an opponent’s magical roll into a Defended Roll. It can be used to protect others if the user is delaying (see the Difficulty Numbers section and Initiative section, above). Shield charms use Empathy as their second Attribute for target difficulty purposes. Shield charms only last long enough to reflect one attack.
Shield Charm, Greater: Invoking protego duo creates a very potent version of the shield charm, one that causes attacks to rebound. If an incoming magical attack is foiled with the greater shield charm, its effect is rebounded on the caster. Use the greater shield charm’s roll result or the original caster’s roll result, whichever is lower, to determine if the reflected spell affects the new target. This spell cannot be used to protect others, only the caster.
Shield Charm, Small-Area: This creates a zone allowing anyone within to use the caster’s Empathy when making forcing a Defended Roll against incoming magic. This works automatically, even when the target is unaware of the spell, even providing some against hidden attacks and scrying. A small-area shield charm lasts one hour per Curriculum point in Astronomy.
Strengthening Solution: This increases the user’s Strength by 2 points.
Supersensory Charm: This charm allows the caster to use his magical roll in the place of mundane Observation rolls. It also negates any stress conditions or other difficulties resulting from blindness or hidden attacks.
Target (Transfiguration): Transfiguration target Subjects come in several varieties, including Animal, Object, Fire, Plant, Monster, Cross-Species (for converting one target type to another), Human, and Multiple (for more than one target). Without exposure to the correct target Subject(s), you cannot affect your target with any transfiguration attempts. All transfigurations use at least one target Subject and at least one effect Subject. The general difficulty of any attempt is based on the highest Subject level invoked.
Wit-Sharpening Potion: This increases the user’s Wits by 2 points.