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Harry Potter and the Story of GUMSHOE, Part Three

Harry finally enters the Wizarding world properly in this installment, and we meet what can be considered our other two player characters.

Chapter Six: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

Harry informs his Uncle Vernon that he needs to go to King's Cross Station for his train to Hogwarts. The Express leaves from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at exactly 11:00. Of course, Vernon scoffs at the name of the platform, and Harry is concerned.

When he arrives at King's Cross, he sees that there is no Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, at least to Muggle eyes. Luckily, he encounters a large family of redheads loaded down with trunks much like his own. These are the Weasleys, and the youngest son is named Ron. Maybe the GM wanted to expand the game after starting as a one-on-one, or maybe she just had an interesting idea for pacing that kept the other players sitting around for a few sessions, but Ron is pretty clearly a fellow PC.

After some getting-to-know-you between Harry and Ron, including the introduction of Ron's pet rat Scabbers (keep an eye on him), the sweets cart comes by. Harry, half-starved all his life, blows a lot of silver on candy, which he happily shares with Ron. This actually leads to a clue. Inside the Chocolate Frogs are collectible cards featuring famous witches and wizards, and Harry pulls the Albus Dumbledore card. The card mentions "his work on alchemy with his partner, Nicholas Flamel."

So, what ability do we use to represent "I have a pocket full of money, and that gets me information"? Well, Trail of Cthulhu actually has just such an ability: Credit Rating. Harry has a rather high rating in this ability, as we saw from his Gringotts vault piled high with gold. Ron, on the other hand, has no (or at least very low) Credit Rating.

While the boys eat their sweets, we meet another boy (Neville Longbottom) who's looking for his escaped toad. Later, a girl comes by who is helping him search. This is Hermione Granger, who will become our third player character in chapter ten, but for now she's just a marginally annoying but potentially useful NPC. Here, she dumps a bit of exposition about how famous Harry is, then leaves.

Harry asks Ron about his older brothers, and this prompts Ron to mention the break-in at Gringotts' high-security vaults. This could be considered a use of an ability like Trivia, but we'll shortly see that it's actually a more useful ability that Ron has and Harry (and later Hermione) does not.

The otherwise pleasant train ride is soon interrupted by Draco Malfoy and his goons, Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy belittles Ron and offers to be Harry's friend instead, but Harry turns him down. He's gotten the right read on Malfoy from this and their earlier meeting at Diagon Alley. Malfoy, Crabbe, and Goyle are ready to fight Ron and Harry right there on the train, but Scabbers steps in and bites Goyle on the finger. This drives the thugs off, so we could call this a spend of Ron's Intimidation to forestall an actual conflict.

When they're gone, Ron tells Harry a bit about Malfoy's family, how they worked for Voldemort but then claimed they'd been brainwashed. This showcases the ability we mentioned earlier. Ron simply knows a lot of things about the Wizarding world that Harry couldn't possibly know, having been raised by Muggles. We'll call this ability Wizarding Society, and we'll see Ron use it at various points through the books.

Running Tally

So what do we know about our PCs so far? Here's the abilities we've seen them use.

Harry

Assess Honesty (Interpersonal)
Credit Rating (Interpersonal)
Notice (Technical)
Oral History (Interpersonal)
Parseltongue (special Investigative ability)
Reassurance (Interpersonal, spent 1 point)

Ron

Intimidation (Interpersonal, spent 1 point)
Wizarding Society

We also see from Ron's grubby, hand-me-down everything that he has a very low Credit Rating.

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