Why is there no Harry Potter RPG?

harry_potterHarry Potter has been a great success. Author  Joanne K. Rowling created a series of books that has rekindled the love for books in many children and even a lot of adults. Each Harry Potter book was an instant bestseller and the movies were huge cinema box office hits. But there still is no Harry Potter roleplaying game.

That’s really a shame, since in my opinion such a game could be a good way to introduce Harry Potter fans of all ages to the roleplaying hobby. There’s already a very detailed setting with various interesting places, its own culture, monsters, fantasy sports, etc., so you won’t have to create a lot of background to fill in the gaps in the background. Naturally players would be most interested in playing the young wizards attending Hogwarts or another school for wizards and witches. 

I haven’t read the books (I have only watched the movies), so I don’t know how the story about Harry and his friends ends, but I am pretty sure there’s still a lot of conflict and mystery in the world of “Harry Potter” even after the end of the series. So, why hasn’t anyone tried to get a license for a Harry Potter RPG? Do the publishers think the fans of the series are not interested in roleplaying or is perhaps J.K. Rowling herself against using her world in roleplaying games?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

17 thoughts on “Why is there no Harry Potter RPG?”

  1. As I understand it, J.K. Rowling doesn't want there to be an RPG due to the fact that she doesn't want people messing with her world, and she's got at tight reign over her property. She doesn't want anyone else coming out with HP books.

    That's just what I've heard, though.

    <abbr><abbr>Dice Monkeys last blog post..My Son: Adventurer</abbr></abbr>

  2. I'm not a fan of the HP books but I can see how it would make a really good RPG and a good gateway game for younger people to get into the hobby. However if what Dice Monkey says is true then it probably won't happen unless someone adapted a current game (would Witchcraft work?).

    <abbr><abbr>Scott Ms last blog post..Saturday is Worldwide D&D Game Day</abbr></abbr>

  3. The HP IP is incredibly tightly controlled to protect its value: Thus they are very quick to jump on anyone violating the IP – Much like Lucas Arts, they make WotC's protection look downright friendly. I think the main reason is that the cost of the licensing probably is probably prohibitive, especially given the very small sales numbers of even successful RPGs – financially it probably would be a loser for most larger companies (or viewed as too risky) and small publishers can't afford to even get into the game.

    I have no idea what Green Ronin is paying for JRR Martin's Song of Ice & Fire license, but I'll bet it's taking a huge bite out of their profits and severely limits their publication freedom, both in terms of the pace at which they publish and what kinds of supplements they can produce.

    <abbr><abbr>MJ Harnishs last blog post..Review: Wilderness of Mirrors</abbr></abbr>

  4. @MJ: I don't think that the Song of Ice & Fire license is really limiting Green Ronin. Even Guardians of Order was able to pay for the license back in the day, but perhaps it was one of the factors that lead to its demise.

    But I think a well-marketed HP RPG could earn a lot of money. Like the Star Wars license it's like printing money.

    @Scott: If you are interested in running a homebrew HP game, you could probably a lot of games. I am no expert on the Witchcraft rules, but this could work.

    Our fellow blogger Vulcan Stev has already statted out a few major characters using the Savage Worlds rules.

  5. Because there'd be too many godmod DMPCs running around, save or dies would be too easy to use, reducto is just broken, and it's too hard to actually win major fights with magic as opposed to getting saved by the randomness of the universe.

    I would play it.

    <abbr><abbr>Wyatts last blog post..Character Archetype Terms You Never Heard Of</abbr></abbr>

  6. There are online HP and HP-style RP communities, and LARPers.

    I suspect that the majority of the HP fanbase is more interested in straight RP then then rules and combat.

    Not to mention, horrendous writing and need for universal appeal would probably result in an end product which was dumbed down and generally awful.

    <abbr><abbr>Hammers last blog post..The State of the Art</abbr></abbr>

  7. A very good question. Thanks for the link luv in the comments. That article came out before I actually joined the network.

    My gut feeling is that Ms. Rowling is asking to much for the RP license. There are quite a few online and PBP games out there. Would a HPrpg sell? Shoot my nephews brought HP Clue to open game night last night. So it would sell I just don't that it would sell enough to offset whatever the licensing costs would be unless it was brought to market using an established system.

    <abbr><abbr>Vulcan Stevs last blog post..Gaming in the Universe of…. Inkheart</abbr></abbr>

  8. What? There is too a Harry Potter RPG.

    GURPS + Harry Potter books + GM imagination = Harry Potter RPG!

  9. As Dice Monkey said above, Rowling has stated she does not want such a game to be made. She is uber-protective of her IP and does not want to relinquish such control over it. Hasn't stopped people from doing homebrews, though. For d20 you can find Redhurst, and Jared Sorensen also designed one though I don't have a link for it right now.

    <abbr><abbr>Daniel M. Perez, The Gamer Travelers last blog post..RPG Blog Carnival: St. Patrick’s Day – Round-up</abbr></abbr>

  10. I remember reading an post recently in my reader where the author noted this exact thing—and then described how huge online communities of HP fans are running rampant through chat rooms and online forums, roleplaying freely amongst themselves with no need for to-hit rolls, magic spell descriptions or Barter checks.

    The article noted that this fundamental disconnect between the published RPG community and HP fans (who could be seen as the future of the hobby) may well doom the industry. They don't want—and would likely have no use for—a published HP RPG, even if Rowling would consent to have one created.

    <abbr><abbr>PatrickWRs last blog post..Fully formed characters springing forth from the brow of Zeus</abbr></abbr>

  11. There is a Harry Potter RPG…
    Has nobody played Prisoner of Azkaban for GBA?
    It's a turnbased JRPG, similar to Final Fantasy style.
    It's pretty awesome too. Shame that they haven't made a console HP RPG though…

    1. Not necessarily. If you don't know much about pen & paper RPGs why not look around, check out a few of my posts? Everyone is welcome here!

  12. only noticed that this isn’t a video game RPG you guys are talking about after seeing the comment above. But then again there isn’t any real HP RPG video games either, I mean open world ones such as Elder Scrolls ,Gothic and others. I do remember the Gameboy series but thats still different. The current HP games are only spinoffs from the movie. An open world HP video game RPG would be great ,the HP universe is quite huge.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.