You have been accepted to Smitherton Academy, the finest school for the study and practice of magic in this or any realm. Your placement is confirmed, tuition paid, and you are all set to begin matriculating with our elite student body this fall.
There’s only one problem:
You have no magical ability.
That’s right. Whether through clerical error or cosmic joke, you were mistakenly admitted to Smitherton despite your utter lack of magical gifts. But you’re determined to make the most of it. And that means one thing: Not Getting Caught.
If your teachers or classmates find out, you know you’re out of here. So do your best, be on your guard, and if you’re lucky you might just make it to graduation.
After all, how hard could it be?
“You’re (Not) A Wizard” is a tabletop roleplaying game for 3-6 players, ages 8 and up. It is intended for one-shot adventures, but could be stretched to short campaigns of a few sessions. Most of you will play as students who have been admitted to a magical school by mistake. It is up to you to bluff, trick, and scheme your way through and avoid detection. Should you fail, you’ll face expulsion and you’re determined to stick around.
The game is based on the Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) game system. However, this zine contains everything you’ll need to play and no experience with the PbtA system or roleplaying games in general is required. All of the mechanics are simple and geared towards putting the characters and the story first. It is easy to learn and ready for you and your playgroup to jump right in!
As you design the student you’ll play, you will choose one of six playbooks for your character. These will inform who they are and why they want to stay at magic school (other than the obvious…who wouldn’t?!). These options are:
The Legacy – your whole family is magically gifted and you’re trying to carry on the tradition
The Stagehand – stage magic is in your blood. Whether your parents are a performing duo or the showmanship goes back further, you are determined to find some real magic to spice up the act
The Straight-A Student – school is school and you won’t settle for being less than top of the class
The Determined – innate powers or not, you’re going to find a way to make magic work for you
The Were-Touched – You’ve been bitten by a werewolf or similar supernatural creature and now you’re looking for the means of removing (or at least controlling) your curse
The Protector – If it were just you, you’d have been out of here on day one. But you’ve found others like you and you’re not about to let them face this place alone.
One player will take on the role of the DM (Dean of Magics). It will be your job to run the game, present obstacles, and guide the narrative. “You’re (Not) A Wizard” includes a whole section just for you, with options for the challenges the characters could face, suggestions for the overall structure of the game, and tables of options for the setting.
It will be important to familiarize yourself with this section before the game, but “You’re (Not) A Wizard” does not require any advanced preparation. Let the characters guide the story!
Most of all, this game is about the hijinx that you can get into as you navigate an outrageous situation! Lean into the absurd, err on the side of fun, and find the true magic within!