It started late, as first sessions often do. The GMs couldn't get their printer working, and that meant that finalising our spell lists took quite a bit of time and we all had to re-write our character sheets by hand. The system they put together is pretty simple: Attribute + Ability + Modifiers + Card Draw. Spells, of course, all have cheesy latinesque names. At the moment, the Intelligence Attribute and the Charms Ability seem kind of overpowered, but time will tell.
Anyway, there we were in King's Cross Station. Most had no issue getting to Track 9 3/4, but there were a few problems. My character, for example, little Geoffrey Pettigrew from Walthamstow, was Muggle-Born (and in for a few surprises), so I had no real experience with magic or magical protections. getoffended was playing Gavyn, a Yank, complete with BDUs, a Boston Red Sox hat, and a solid dose of surliness. My guess is his parents are divorced, and whichever parent raised him is a Muggle. Pat (a GM) commented that no one would recognize his hat, to which I responded "No one on this side of the station, but they recently broke a very powerful curse. Everyone at Track 9 3/4 will recognize that hat."
Once onboard, I wandered the train, looking for a quiet corner to avoid trouble in, ending up in one of the front cars with KAM (Will) and Mildred (Amber). Mildred was very talkative and kept things going. KAM and I would talk about technology and she'd get this "deer-in-headlights" look in her eyes. She'd talk about magic and we'd give her wild-eyed stares. We did a little showing-off magically, but Mildred wouldn't do anything until we got to the school (seems there's some kid of rule about not doing magic outside of school), and only if KAM didn't join Slytherin. It seems that all Sytherins are evil, and since Mildred's family was from a long line of Hufflepuffs, she'd have nothing to do with KAM if he joined Slytherin. I had him pegged as a Ravenclaw, given how he kept his nose in that silly book the whole time and told us he read "in order to find questions".
Then, an older woman came in with a trolley full of candy and KAM and Mildred bought some. I didn't want to make it too obvious I hadn't been in the Magical World before (I bet the only thing they like less than a Mudblood is one who has no idea what magic is like at all), so I didn't buy any, but I did have a few pieces of theirs. Then, some full-of-himself lout named James Potter was causing a big ruckus picking on a little blonde First Year. Eventually, the train stopped and we were led to our boats to cross the lake to the castle. Professor Hagrid had us all stand to honor the tomb of Albus Dumbledore. It was amusing to hear Corvyn (Andy) and Ravyn (Shannon) arguing about how to keep their boat from sinking. Corvyn was a Half-Giant.
We lined up and listened to the Sorting Hat sing its song. It called us all up, one by one, and sorted us into its Houses. Just as I'd hoped, I got placed in Gryffindor. Just as I suspected, KAM got placed in Ravenclaw. Each house was represented among the PCs, though Ravenclaw was a tad popular. Dinner consisted of pumpkin juice, chicken pot pie, and macaroni and cheese. Dessert was pumpkin pasties (yum!) and treacle tart (wow!). Dinner consisted mostly of Mildred scowling at Gavyn for joining Slytherin, and Gavyn alternately complaining about the lack of internet access and incredulously wondering how he'd ever manage to be evil enough to meet Mildred's expectations.
Classes began the next day, and we started with Care of Magical Creatures with Professor Hagrid. An infestation of garden gnomes had made its way into the Herbology Department's gardening area, and our job was to find them all, drag them out of their burrows, and then fling them into the Forbidden Forest. The first one I found bit me and ran off, but the half-giant Corvyn (Ravenclaw. Duh.) managed to chase it down. Mildred was very reluctant to participate at all. She wanted to find a way to not have to take this class. The easiest way to get her to move about the lawn was to tell her there was a Gnome behind her. She'd then immediately leap forward and run several feet before realizing she was getting closer to the other gnomes, and then freeze.
I was chasing a wayward gnome when I accidentally stepped in a large dung heap of unknown origin. In attempting to clean off my shoe, Gavyn and I touched the fetid, stinking substance and soon were struck blind. Hagrid led us off to Madam Pomfrey, to try and cure us of our illness. And I only tripped once! She tried a sensory potion, which only really helped me hear the ant infestation in the magical mosses cabinet. She tried to enlist the aid of Professor XXX, the head of Slytherin, but she scoffed and instead went to go investigate and clean up the mess. Fortunately, the next potion, which tasted kind of like water, but powdery, did the trick, and we were able to catch up to our friends just in time for Potions Class.
We were making a Fortifying Potion to help ease us into Hogwarts' climate (and ensure we had no excuses for missing Potions Class). We were lucky that no one grabbed any of the whomping acorns, but unfortunately Ravyn and I put in not enough beetle blood, and a little too much beetle. Even more unfortunately, the Professor had us hand our Potions to the person to our right, which meant that, while I got the upset stomach I deserved, Mildred ended up puking up my potion into her cauldron. Ravenclaw was docked a point when KAM spoke out of turn, but he earned it back with his well-crafted potion. Slytherin was docked a point because of Gavyn's surliness.
At lunch, we discussed the fact that we were all getting along together across House lines, and this might annoy some others. We thought it was pretty silly for people to object to 3 Ravenclaws, a Gryffindor, a Hufflepuff, and a Slytherin to hang out, given how we have all our classes together, so we decided to stick up for each other. Lunch was followed by a bit of an altercation with that James Potter kid. It seems he had been picking on Ravyn in addition to Scorpius Malfoy, and we had had it with his shenanigans. Gavyn and Corvyn stood up to him with the rest of us as backup, and words were said.
We slept our way through our next class (Muggle Studies with Professor Thomas), and then on to Defense Against the Dark Arts, with Professor Lovegood. It seems an infestation of Crumple-Horned Snorkacks had made its way into the Owlery, and this was obviously unacceptable. We couldn't really figure out how this had anything to do with the Dark Arts, but we could easily tell that this had something to do with her family, as it was her father who had proved they existed in the first place. We needed to find a way to get them out of the owlery without getting zorched, so we went to the library. I found out her father runs a (not entirely reputable) newspaper called the Quibbler. At the library, I snatched the issues of the Quibbler detailing the discovery of the snorkack.
It turns out that they are the favored prey of salamanders. Their wings beat a thousand times a second, which builds up a static charge that collects in organs above its shoulders. Salamanders' flaming secretions depend on the properties of these organs to survive. Now, it would be pretty foolish to release salamanders into our owlery, but fire snails have similiar properties to salamanders, only at much lower temperatures, so they should still scare off the snorkacks without immolationg our owls. We grabbed our dragonhide gloves to collect the snails, and I only stepped on one once!
Dinner that night began with a most distressing announcement - The Sorting Hat had been stolen!
And that's only the part I can admit to publicly!
So, in short:
•Spells - Latiny
•British Schoolchildren - Cheeky
•Wizarding Candy - Sugary
•Sorting Hat Prop - Floppy
•Pumpkin Juice - Tasty
•Pumpkin Pasties and Treacle Tart - Yummy
•Garden Gnome Props - Fluffy
•Cauldron Props - Nifty
•Potions Ingredients - Variety (pixie stick powder, soda, strawberry candies, wax vials)
•Game - Plenty (of fun)