MSN Groups was just full of fail-games. Some of the worst games I’ve ever played in come from those years, and I table-topped in middle school. When none of us knew what the fuck we were doing.
This is the story of one of those games and I thought of it today when the stack of books in my closet fell over and Order of the Phoenix landed on top of the pile.
Back when MSN Groups was the “default” place to go to for online role playing and about a third of the groups were dedicated to Harry Potter rpgs I rolled up a First Year Hogwarts student named Nick Andros.
Not only did I use the (then) official stat sheet from the WB Harry Potter Forums (remember that thing? it existed for like 2 years and the only way you get to it was buy a HP Year 1 DVD and put it in your computer) I wrote up an entire back story for Nick.
Hand written 5 pages, typed 2.5 pages, family history and everything. He came from a family of USA witches and wizards who specialized in making wands out of the American trees and critters but the magic skipped a couple generations. When it came back his family had emigrated to England after WW2. Nick was using his Great-Grandfather’s wand, since they had so little left except ‘Grandpa’s trunk up in the attic’, but there was also something else about Nick… Nick was deaf and mute.
Yes, I blatantly ripped off the character from Steven Kings The Stand.
I was able to play Nick for about two weeks before the mods realized that Nick never shouted spells, used his wand to write in the air, had amazing handwriting with quills and they finally bothered to read the character profile.
Oh did the shit hit the fan.
He can’t be in Hogwarts if he can’t speak. You HAVE to be able to say the spells. They put up a poll and everything if Nick should be allowed to stay. I tried to argue that hey, it’s fucking magic and if you bothered to read the posts I go into all kinds of detail of how he’s concentrating, it’s hard for him, he’s actually studying the books. Nope, can’t do it. If he can’t speak the words he can’t be in Hogwarts. Either rewrite him or leave. I left. The group didn’t last much longer. It ended up dying after a couple more months.
And then, about three years later, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was published.
Snape: “What is the advantage of a nonverbal spell?”
Hermione: “Your adversary has no warning about what kind of magic you are about to perform, which gives you a split-second advantage.”
So… not only was Nick doing Sixth Year level magic as a First Year student, he had an unfair advantage.
I hope each and every one of those dick mods and each and every one who voted Nick out of the game thought of Nick when they read that and every time they see the cover art.