Harry Potter and the Story of GUMSHOE, Part Six

Chapter Twelve: The Mirror of Erised

This chapter is all about pipe clues. The GM is laying out a lot of information that will be useful before the adventure is through but which doesn't make a whole lot of sense out of context. She is also playing a pacing game by withholding information despite the characters using appropriate abilities in what seems to be the right scenes.

Harry tries to get the truth about Nicholas Flamel out of Hagrid, but the man won’t talk. This may seem like Harry failed to gain a clue. The truth is that the GM doesn’t want it to be that easy and simply isn’t making the clue available at this time. No matter what ability Harry’s player tries, he won’t get any information out of Hagrid.

“Ron also started teaching Harry wizard chess.” This will be important later, and it is being established here as a feature of Ron’s Wizarding Society ability.

Hagrid gives Harry a wooden flute for Christmas. This too will be important during the climax of the adventure, and the GM is laying pipe now so it will all work out later.

The more important gift in the long run is a cloak that turns the wearer invisible. An anonymous note informs Harry that the cloak belonged to Harry’s father. Harry very soon puts the cloak to good use. Hoping to find information on Nicholas Flamel, he heads to the library’s Restricted Section.

Let’s take a moment to discuss how the cloak might work mechanically in GUMSHOE. We’ll say that Harry has a decent rating in Sneaking from tiptoeing around the Dursleys all these years. The cloak (taking a cue from a similar item in TimeWatch) gives a persistent +3 bonus on Sneaking tests. This bonus can be negated by certain magical senses, but for the most part, it will let you pass unnoticed by all but the most perceptive.

Unfortunately, the GM is still playing hard to get with the clue about Nicholas Flamel, so she springs a surprise on Harry’s player. In the Restricted Section, Harry stumbles on a screaming book that draws Mr. Filch and Professor Snape. Harry Flees, but in so doing, he discovers a storage room and a large magic mirror.

The mirror shows the viewer their deepest desire: Harry sees generations of his family smiling at him, while Ron sees himself respected and lauded as Quidditch Captain and Head Boy. On his third night in front of the mirror, Harry is surprised by Professor Dumbledore, who explains its function and tells Harry that it will be moved to spare anyone else falling under its spell.

This whole sequence, indeed the whole chapter, is nothing but an elaborate pipe clue that will pay off at the end of the book. Harry needs to know how the mirror works but also how dangerous it could be in both the right and the wrong hands.

Ability Tally


Drive: “Saving People Thing”
Investigative Abilities: Assess Honesty, Credit Rating, Curse-Scarred*, Notice, Oral History, Parseltongue*, Reassurance (spent 1 point)
* special Investigative ability
General Abilities: Athletics, Fleeing, decent Flying (especially for a first year), Sneaking, Stability, Wand Magic


Drive: Follower
Investigative Abilities: low Credit Rating, Intimidation (spent 1 point), Wizarding Society (includes wizard chess)
General Abilities: Athletics, Fleeing, Sneaking, Stability, Wand Magic


Investigative Abilities: Notice
General Abilities: Fleeing, Stability, Wand Magic

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