Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ravenclaw. The New Slytherin.

One of the most important features in a Harry Potter based role playing game, whether the canons are there or not, is that all originals have to be sorted into one of four houses. Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw or Slytherin. These houses often dictate what a character will be like because they each represent different personality traits. This creates an interesting culture for all characters involved. This system puts everything out in the open. All attitudes, prejudices and family histories are pretty much on display once a dorm assignment has been declared.

I've been surveying Harry Potter rpgs and here is a breakdown of what really goes on once someone decides which House they will stow their crap in:

Perception of each House:
Gryffindor
: Noble & Brave
Hufflepuff: Smart & Friendly
Ravenclaw: Strong & Mysterious
Slytherin: Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil, Evil! Evil. Evil? Yes, evil.

How an author describes their character:
Gryffindor
: "stands up for what’s right," "speaks up for herself," or "tells it like it is"
Hufflepuff: "nice to everyone," "very smart," or "a little bit on the shy side"
Ravenclaw: "stands up for herself," "won’t take any shit from anyone," or "mysterious"
Slytherin: "evil," "not nice at all," "grumpy," "bitchy," or "wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley"

How they play their character (a.k.a. the crushing reality):
Gryffindor
: like a smarmy git who does nothing wrong
Hufflepuff: like a dull nerd who does bland and dull nerdy things in ways that are bland
Ravenclaw: like a Slytherin oughtta be played
Slytherin: like a constant victim who does everything wrong

How do they treat members of other houses:
Gryffindor: with an unspoken superiority
Hufflepuff: with dull, bland, nerdy friendliness
Ravenclaw: with an unspoken superiority
Slytherin: with vile contempt and bitter hatred

How do they treat members of their own house:
Gryffindor
: with an unspoken acknowledgment that they rule, they are cool and others drool
Hufflepuff: with dull, bland, nerdy friendliness
Ravenclaw: with an unspoken acknowledgment that they rule, they are cool and others drool
Slytherin: with vile contempt and bitter hatred

Types of storylines they give themselves:
Gryffindor: They show their courage and tout their limitless bravery until you want to puke.
Hufflepuff: They remain dull and bland in groups of pale, boring nerds like themselves and do safe, mundane things.
Ravenclaw: They have sinister, evil plots going everywhere. They can mess with everyone and get away with it.
Slytherin: They have sinister, evil plots that whimper and die because everyone knows their up to something.

Blood Types and Family Life:
Gryffindor: Half Blood, brought up as a muggle
Hufflepuff: Half Blood, brought up as a muggle
Ravenclaw: Half Blood, brought up as a muggle, well versed in Dark Arts
Slytherin: Pure Blood, children of Death Eaters, well versed in Dark Arts

Family Income:
Gryffindor: Middle Class
Hufflepuff: Lower Middle Class
Ravenclaw: Lower Middle Class
Slytherin: INSANELY WEALTHY

How do they dress outside of the school uniform:
Gryffindor: Casual. Jeans. T-Shirt.
Hufflepuff: Skirts. Khakis. Pocket Protectors.
Ravenclaw: Casual. Alternative.
Slytherin: Black. Leather. Emo. Goth. Dominatrix.

How do they act in class:
Gryffindor: Ambivalent because they know they will do well.
Hufflepuff: Attentive and work hard to learn and will do well.
Ravenclaw: They know better than the teacher and will do well.
Slytherin: They know better than the teacher and will show off how awesome they are.

Classes they excel in:
Gryffindor: All, effortlessly.
Hufflepuff: All, with much study.
Ravenclaw: Defense Against Dark Arts
Slytherin: Defence Against Dark Arts

Classes they hate:
Gryffindor: Divination
Hufflepuff: Divination
Ravenclaw: Divination
Slytherin: Divination

House Points:
Gryffindor
: Fighting for the Top Spot
Hufflepuff: Usually in the Top Spot
Ravenclaw: Third Place
Slytherin: Last Place

Quidditch Pride:
Gryffindor
: Love the game.
Hufflepuff: Best at the game.
Ravenclaw: Could care less about the game.
Slytherin: Can’t hold a team together because all members are busy brooding.

Final Analysis:
Gryffindor
: Walk around like they own the place and they do.
Hufflepuff: Dull, bland and nerdy. Pale too. But will kick ass in Quidditch.
Ravenclaw: The new Slytherins.
Slytherin: Festering in impotent rage. Or becoming an Anti-Slytherin.


The Emergence of the Anti-Slytherin

Too much Slytherin is a bad thing. As the Harry Potter series grinds to a halt in July with the final book, it’s becoming painfully obvious to most Slytherin authors that Slytherins need to change gears fast or just gvie up and become Ravenclaws.

The anti-Slytherins are still victims but aren’t filled with as much hatred for themselves and others. They want to escape the bad ways of their anscestors and are rebuilding their reputations after the whole Death Eater snafu. They are kinder, gentler Slytherins who are well-adjusted and graciously accept all characters from all houses and every background. They may dress alternative but underneath that crusty Avril Lavigne exteriorior, they are dull, bland, nerdy and should have been sorted into Hufflepuff.

In Conclusion

There is no such thing as an original plot. There is no way around these stereotypes but some deviation now and then might be nice. A good mod should shake up the stereotypes dealt to each type of student. Throw in boggarts and trolls once in a while so students don't have to rely on their boring, predictable personalities to generate a stories. This avoids ruts and encourages longevity in a role playing game.
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Also, co-ed naked Quidditch. Just consider it, won't you?

3 comments:

Birdie said...

Why on earth would Hufflepuff ever win at Quiddich?

PM said...

Since Hufflepuffs are so bland and timid, they have nothing to put all their energy into but Quiddich!

Anonymous said...

No...