How magical pets, the magic animal roleplay written on a single double-sided sheet? Here are some gameplay impressions!

In this period, we are returning to talk about the world of Harry Potter, due to the release of the latest film by Fantastic animals. For those who do not want to finance the franchise, but are fond of the worldbuilding of the Wizarding World, it is not easy to find role-playing games that can reproduce the feeling of attending Hogwarts.
However, in the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to try an interesting role-playing game that stages a “Hogwartsian” setting, leaving however a very wide possibility of customization of the world and, above all, remaining completely disconnected from the JK Rowling franchise.
I'm talking about magical pets (which you can find Thu), a role-playing game one page created by Curious Cat Games.
In this article we will briefly see how it works, what kind of stories I've seen being created and some cute initiatives from CuriousCat Games.

An example of Magical Pets: the frog who secretly studies magic. Source: profundeza.
An example of magical pets: the frog who secretly studies magic. Source: depth.

What is it about? magical pets

As a title, magical pets is a role-playing game where you play gods magical little animals. More precisely, each player plays the pet of a student or teacher of a school of magic.
Since your owners and mistresses are always busy attending classes, you have plenty of time to walk around the castle unsupervised. During these hours, you can talk to the other magical animals of the castle and dedicate yourself to your adventures.
However, your owners and mistresses believe that you are "normal" pets. So, you will have to be careful not to get caught!

In magical pets those who play will therefore experience the adventures of a group of magical animals. The tone of the game is pretty light and will tend to focus on small adventurines and with a certain dose of irony.
Your problems will generally be tailored to your size: small problems for small animals. The annual talent show for pets, the delicious smells that come from the kitchens, the school ghosts that always want to caress you, in short.
Or, your problems may be more far-reaching, but they will typically have a component ironic. You may need to stop a war between magical species ... by stopping a horde of dungeon rats from getting hold of a fossilized pudding! Or, you have to stop a bored demon who wants to check the fate basket to close the school.

The Character Number slot in Magical Pets
The character number slot in magical pets

How is the game system of magical pets?

As said above, magical pets it's a role-playing game one page. This means that all of its rules are contained on the front and back of an A4 sheet.
This sheet therefore constitutes both the character sheet and the regulation that the master needs.

A number between two natures

The system magical pets is that of another RPG one page, Namely Lasers & Feelings. Basically, each character will feature a Number ranging by 2 to 5. The shorter it is, the more adept the pet will be at doing "pet things": interacting with humans, being cute, and doing physical things. The higher the number, the more skilled the pet will be at doing magical stuff: casting spells, learning about magic and dealing with the supernatural in general.
In short, each character will be in a situation of tension between his two natures: being magical and being a pet.

Each character must roll a d6 when he does something risky; he can add more d6s if he is helped or if he is trained or experienced. If he's doing "pet stuff", he'll have to roll over his number. If he's doing magical things, he'll have to roll below his number.
Each die that gives a positive result (higher than the Number for pet things, lower than for magical things) constitutes a success. With success, you succeed in the enterprise, but with complications; with two successes he fully succeeds; finally, with three successes there is a critic.
If the number appears among the results, then you are successful and you get more information about the situation, since you have managed to balance the two natures of the character.

What is on the sheet?

On the sheet you will find:

  • The fillable slot in which the character number is entered;
  • The questions to ask those who play to outline the school of magic;
  • The questions to ask those who play to better delineate the characters and their ties;
  • Adventure tips for facilitators.
CuriousCat Games has made other animal RPGs, such as Rodents with Guitars!
CuriousCat Games has made other animal RPGs, such as Rodents with Guitars!

An example of a one-shot

For my part, I tried magical pets in the context of a three-hour one-shot, with three players / trici.
In the first hour, we did the game set-up, creating the characters, their bonds and the school of magic. By following the sections of the sheet step by step and answering all the questions it asks, we were able to create interesting characters, each with a heartfelt and unique relationship towards their owner or owner.

The characters that were brought into play were: one kitsune who foresaw the future for the master jock (but secretly huge otaku), an elderly woman owl who ran the clandestine school pet bar, and a hybrid owl-dragon with a mistress who had taken the annual magic pet talent show very seriously.
Their adventure consisted of sabotage two other pets at the talent show: a magical fox with homicidal delusions and a goofy poodle. The goal was achieved through a clandestine magical ritual, an unscheduled invasion of dust cats, and the summoning of a swarm of Dyson vacuum cleaners.

Le community copy for people in difficulty

The author of magical pets (who is a non-binary person, who however uses the feminine), has developed an interesting initiative to allow even those in difficulty to be able to play this title.
In fact, every copy that is purchased at full price on also finances one community copy. community copy are free copies of magical pets, which can be requested from the author via a private message on Twitter or e-mail. The community copy are meant for people in financial difficulty, and especially for transgender, queer, non-binary, disabled, black, indigenous and / or colored people (BIPOC, black, indigenous and people of colour).

The problems of having a cat as a familiar. Source: Ra.
The problems of having a cat as a familiar. Source: Ra.

Some final thoughts on magical pets

Personally, I have found magical pets particularly fun and it made me spend an evening in which I was bursting with laughter.
The game offers many ideas for adventure and the initial set of questions allows you to delineate the characters and the world very well. The system is very agile and light, very quick to learn and probably also excellent for use with children.

Like all RPGs one page, also magical pets it relies heavily on the inventiveness of those who facilitate and those who play. In magical pets it is essential to be very proactive and imaginative, as the game can only offer a limited amount of character creation and adventure ideas.
In general, I believe that magical pets both great for one one-shot fast and with zero preparation. It could also lend itself well to two or three sessions, so as to better explore the characters. However, it is certainly difficult to carry on longer campaigns, also because it does not involve leveling up.