Harry Potter - mechanics for quidditch?


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I'm writing (yet another) HP RPG because the style of game I want to play with my friends is not supported by the three I could find. I'll throw it up here when it reaches a 1st draft stage, but today I have some questions about what to do about quidditch.

I don't want to just ignore it because quidditch is important to the story itself, though in the books it diminishes every year. Quidditch is also important because the points directly go into the house cup, which I want to keep because it makes a nice goal/game mechanic. However, with the pacing I want, two sessions per game year, split at Christmas, there would be 1 or 2 quidditch matches per session. Quidditch can't take up the entire play session, but if a player is interested in joining the team I need to provide some way for them to actually participate in a game. It's also made difficult because not every PC would be participating. I think 10 real-time minutes per match is the max reasonable time to spend. Broomstix has a pretty good method where each character makes some rolls that affect the outcome without playing out the entire game.

Question: how do I simulate a quidditch match in a way that feels like the players have a contribution, but limit the number of rolls, time spent, and not have a ton of stats? Ideally, I would just use an ability score or have one additional stat for quidditch.

I actually developed a round-based quidditch rule set. I think it would be fun and engaging to play, if the probabilities were worked out, but it has two problems: 1) the game would take ~30 minutes to play. 2) there are 14 players and only 1-5 PCs participating, so the GM would be making 80% of the rolls - BORING. Perhaps using the rules below would work, but have all 7 players on one team be PC controlled, and another team GM controlled.

Here is my ruleset - "Nimble" is like DEX. Have yet to playtest it, but how I imagine it going is like this: beaters, on their turn, have a reasonable chance of causing another player to lose their next turn. But there are only two beaters to 8 targets (3 chasers + 1 seeker on each team, whether to attack or defend). Thus, beaters have a little bit of interesting play because they have to decide some strategy on who to target. Chasers: if doing nothing else, either dodge if you have to or try and steal the quaffle. If your team is in possession, you can bet bludgers are coming to the one carrying the quaffle and so you have to decide whether to spend a turn dodging or pass, take the bludger to the face, and lose two turns. The quaffle must be moved into scoring position before a score attempt can be made, so the enemy gets 2 rounds to stop your scoring. In general, a scoring roll has a 50% chance of success. Keeper - do nothing on your turn and only roll when a scoring attempt is made. Seeker - on your turn, either dodge or make a roll for the snitch. This snitch roll mechanic is what I took from Broomstix because I thought it was a great idea. Its a high DC roll, and every time you miss you get another +1 on your next roll. So there is some expectation value for the number of rolls to catch the snitch, and the other team can delay that by constantly sending bludgers (but then its easier for them to make regular scores).

Quidditch Rules (somewhat adapted from Broomstix)
Quidditch is played in rounds. Players take one action per round. Turn order is decided randomly and alternates one from Team 1 – one from Team 2. The pitch is divided into two halves. Chasers must first carry the quaffle into their opponent’s half pitch before they can attempt to score.

1 Keeper
2 Beaters
3 Chasers
1 Seeker

  • If a bludger is coming, they must either
    • Dodge: take no other action, and % chance to drop the quaffle (Nimble DC 7 to not drop the quaffle)
    • Pass (give another chaser a chance to score, but lose your next two turns for recovery).
  • Try to score (Nimble check against opposing team’s Keeper), only allowed if in the correct half-pitch.
  • Pass (gives +1 to the other Chaser’s Nimble check to score). Cannot pass to the opposite half-pitch.
  • Carry quaffle to opposite half-pitch, or travel to opposite half-pitch.
  • Steal quaffle (if you are in the correct half-pitch, next time the quaffle is passed, roll opposed Nimble with -2 against the thrower to intercept)

  • The beater never has to dodge bludgers.
  • Nimble check to hit the bludgers.
    • 7+ one bludger is deflected (choose one Chaser or Seeker to be protected on their next turn)
    • 10+ both bludgers deflected (choose two Chasers or a Chaser and Seeker to be protected on their next turn)
    • Natural 12: Both bludgers deflected, and send one bludger towards an enemy team member who must dodge and lose their next turn).

  • If a seeker is occupied by a bludger, they must expend the round dodging it or be knocked off their broom.
  • Nimble check to find and catch the snitch
    • Failure: take +1 to your next snitch roll (cumulative)
    • 10+ you see the snitch, +1 to your roll to catch it, on the next turn only. If you have to dodge a bludger, this bonus is lost.
    • 13+ catch the snitch for 150 points and end the game.

  • Does not get a turn. Instead, make a Nimble check whenever the quaffle may score. This is opposed to the chaser’s roll.

10 points per score.
The game ends when the Snitch is caught, for 150 points.
Highest score wins.

If someone knows of another HP sourcebook, I would love to look at it too. The three I've read through are:
"The Harry Potter RPG Core Rule Book" - too many DnD-like skills and attributes for my purposes, I'm making a simpler game
"The Dueling Wizard" - this is a Dungeon World character sheet, which could probably work, but the limited spell selection makes it awkward because every character is a witch/wizard
"Broomstix" - I could make this work and just add my story supplement


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One mistake you are making is that the game has to be symmetrically between player and non-player characters. Rather the actions of the players can be more complicated and only control one character and the non-playing characters all reduced down to few dice rolls- their behavior is that of group or groups.
For me it doesn't seem fun for Quidditch not have a broomstick control/personal emotions stat which describes how well you can go in the direction that you really want to.

Given what Quidditch is like, you could just reduce the game to behaviour of Zitch(that sentient ball) and the seekers with the other characters focused on helping or restricting the seekers.


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One mistake you are making is that the game has to be symmetrically between player and non-player characters.
Yes. The question is: Should one PC play as in the books? Should several PCs play as a team? Should they play against one another? Also there should be something about cheating and manipulation.

Seeker rolls Flying + Perception, highest wins.
If it's a tie, the other players get to roll.
That is certainly a faithful adaptation. #useaclock



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Thanks for the input everybody. Still not having any great ideas. I'm now thinking along the lines of a quidditch minigame that could be played by the players - something totally different than usual RP rolls. This would only work if everyone was physically present and into it, but if it was <10 minutes then if at least one player was interested, it could be played between that player and the GM. Even if that player is not controlling any PC on the quidditch team. If no one is interested in playing the mini game, include a mechanic for single rolls thrown by the players.


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I think you have to choose the game to be either focused on (A) good guys versus bad guys like the movies so that all players need to be in same house- they don't have to be the good guys but a team needs to be in the same house and then by cannon they have to be on the team (Quidditch is a way to let off steam) or (B) they are school kids at a magic school and any sort of evil to be stopped is in the background and then they can be in different houses and play on different teams or be in crowd (Quidditch is part of the player cooperation/conflict). Quidditch the actual game (as against Quidditch the greater social force) is never terribly important.


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My first inclination is to use a sort of proximity-to-snitch mechanic as the primary guideline (think range bands, though this would be range/perception), where the game ends when one team gets the snitch, and you have two tracks (one per seeker) that can be interfered with by various players. Then there's also the goal scoring side, which is basically just "other". Players would then essentially decide which side they're helping/harming, with 4 options:
1) Help seeker
2) Interfere with opposing seeker
3) Play offense (scoring)
4) Play defense (not getting scored on).

The seeker is relatively uninteresting here, but everyone else has 4 options, and whether they're a player or not they could get pulled in for the team. Then you just do secret simultaneous reveal or something.


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If someone knows of another HP sourcebook, I would love to look at it too.
d20radio did a Harry Potter theme for Genesys:
Harry Potter Genesys Theme

Might not be super useful if you're not familiar with the Genesys Mechanics.

There is a sidebar in there about Quidditch that recommends running it as series of opposed tasks.

If the match was not plot relevant, I would just have the players involved make one roll and then narrate their own highlight reel based on that.


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If you want to create an entire second tier of game for quidditch go one way, if you don't go another. I can only venture how I would run it.

It comes down to:

... The game only ends when the Golden Snitch is caught, or at the agreement of both team Captains. ... The winner of the game is the team with the most points, regardless of who caught the Golden Snitch. A regular goal is worth 10 points, the Snitch is worth 150.

So each active game phase make both sides Seekers (or substitute Seekers) make opposed very difficult to near impossible perception rolls, then riding, then catch rolls. If catching the Snitch will result in a loss (as per rules) the Seeker must make a tactics roll to realise and let it escape (lower difficulty to catch next phase). Crit rolls in riding indicate incapacitating the opposing Seeker in some way.

Chasers team captains or substitute captains makes an opposed Sport or tactics roll VS other team captain with each injured chaser on their team increasing their difficulty. Success gives each chaser a riding/scoring bonus or lower difficulty.

Each chaser gets an opportunity to score with riding/attackscore roll. If a graduated success system perhaps to determine how many points they scored that phase. Chasers who Crit take out an opposing chaser in the tussle.

Every role may substitute their role action for a deliberate riding/attack or foul play vs a player on another team (beaters get a bonus). This is an opposed roll and the loser is out the match (again unsure how this effects play as in cannon players get detention for fouls but no-one seems to bat an eye when Slythrin uses strong arm tactics).

Successes are then "gobbled" by the keepers defence roll provided a player is covering the role of keeper or leaves another role to become substitute keeper.

Beaters must make an evasion roll then an attack roll (to both avoid the bludgers themselves, protect their teammates and then to control / direct bludgers) . Directing them acts like an attack (opposed) vs the opponent and successful bludgers attack takes the chosen player out of the game. If all a teams beaters are out of action each phase every player on that team must make a defensive roll vs bludgers.

Each phase make all these rolls and then based on the outcome describe the action (as it is all happening at once). As essencial players become injured the team can be switched around to cover all roles (except beaters). I am unfamiliar if the game has injury time or official substitutes (*update - so it seems is the author but it appears that there are no reserves brought on for injuries) but both should be dealt with between phases. A team reduced to no active players loses regardless of Snitch rolls.

I would have one 'interference roll' and table for a random even to effect play or only use interference plot management.

Its a vague framework and rough around the edges but something like that... I can't see a way of making it simpler and every team member having a 'part' to play.
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Maybe if everyone has a part to play it becomes needlessly complex. This game has to be played once or twice per session and not dominate over the real RP. How about each team can make 7 rolls, one for each quidditch character, and these can be divided amongst the players arbitrarily. Then the GM makes up a final score and narrates the action based on the rolls. This would have to be done in such a way that the result wouldn't rest entirely on the seekers' rolls, which would be lame.

I will try and work out some mechanics. I tried a simple [chasers rolls] x N - [enemies beaters + keepers rolls] x M and that is unworkable - there is no way to get it to have a reasonable range of results (0-300 with 100 being the expectation value). I think this could work because the players would get invested in the quidditch PCs through the rolls, and you can easily spin it into a narrative about an amazing keeper or the fumbling chasers or great chasers that just couldn't get through the defenses.
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