I'm just a guy who likes the Potterverse. So, thing the first: if anyone sees a story they think I'll really like (based on my favorites), feel free to PM me. I prefer long-form completed stories, though, so that's a pretty high bar right there. :)
Thing the second... Challenges!
WORM CHALLENGE: "Stranger? Nah!"
Some character, whether it be an SI, an alt-power!Taylor, or something else, has a pair of powers. One is blatantly obvious. A blaster, changer, or breaker power probably. Nothing subtle or easily hidden like thinker, master, brute, or striker. Laser blasts, turning into a tornado, something like that. The second power is a stranger power. It doesn't hide the character, but rather where the other power comes from or possibly the power itself. Laser blasts might look like they were shot by someone else's eyes, any shapeshifting isn't visible, etc. It could work by altering sensory data (sight, sound, etc), altering memories, bending space, whatever. If it actually hides the power's effect entirely (e.g. laser blasts are invisible until impact), then there should be some sort of inherent weakness, such as the stranger power doesn't work on electronics, or there's a humming effect coming from the true source, or something like that. I just think it might be interesting to see the juxtaposition of a power similar to Purity and something that hides the power or its usage rather than just hiding the person. The personality of this character should reflect the power (or vice versa): very flamboyant by nature, but hiding that fact for some reason. This fits canon Taylor pretty well, but it could work with other characters as well.
HARRY POTTER CHALLENGE: "No leaks, No BWL"
Voldemort is paranoid about death, and anything that might threaten his life. Dumbledore loves secrets. So why does EVERYONE know what happened in Godric's Hollow on Halloween 1981? Imagine that both of these powerful wizards actually acted in character. There would be no leaks of information, and no legend of the Boy-Who-Lived. Who knows what, exactly?
1) Snape knows that there was a prophecy in early 1981 (say, February) about an upcoming birth of a child who could kill Voldemort, and he passed that on. Snape wasn't Voldemort's only information source, and it's several months until anything happens, so he has no way of knowing that it was his information that caused anyone's death.
2) Lucius, under orders from Voldemort, copies a page out of the Registry of Magical Births at the Ministry in early August of 1981. This page has several dozen names and dates on it.
3) The Death Eaters are asked, in September of 1981, about any properties or persons they know of hidden under a Fidelius Charm. Peter Pettigrew, currying favor, gives up the Potters. He doesn't know who else did similar things.
From this Voldemort targets the Longbottoms and Potters. They have been hiding under Fidelius since Feb 1981, so nobody even knows that they had kids except close friends. Voldemort goes, alone and in secret, to Godric's Hollow and kills James and Lily, leaving Harry alive, a hole in the bedroom wall, his wand, and no body. No dark mark, no indication he was ever there. Instead of sending bumbling Hagrid, Dumbledore personally arrives at the house, cleans up all signs of violence (including the corpses), fixes the wall, and takes Harry. What then? Some questions:
1) What happens with Peter, Sirius, and Remus? As far as they're concerned, their friends have disappeared AGAIN, this time more completely. Does Sirius figure out that they were betrayed, and go after Peter, and go to prison? Or does he go nuts trying to find them?
2) What happens to the Death Eaters? After their powerful, charismatic leader's disappearance, are they led by the fanatical Bellatrix until the organization falls apart? Or do they factionalize and turn upon one another?
3) Where is Snape? He never even knew Lily was pregnant. Does he ever go to Dumbledore to ask about the Potters, or is he just another Death Eater in prison or dead? He's 21 years old, a potion's master with a dark mark and a reputation for the Dark Arts. What happens to him?
4) The Longbottoms know about the prophecy, obviously, and that the Potters are "gone", but their Fidelius is still up with Harry inheriting the secret from James Potter. How different would Neville be if raised under Fidelius by his parents, knowing that his life may be in danger, and going to Hogwarts with a well-fitted wand?
5) Where is Harry? Does Dumbledore go the Dursley route, thus protecting Harry but also risking loss of information? Or does he raise Harry himself, possibly giving up a position or two to have the time? He's the ONLY one other than Voldemort with all the pieces, knowing that he may need Harry in the future. Would he risk placing Harry with someone unreliable, like Sirius (godfather), or with the Longbottoms (Alice is his godmother)? Possibly someone strict like McGonagall?
-- NO Severitus
-- Nobody knows how or even if Voldemort died, or that there's any such thing as the Boy-Who-Lived
-- Ron annoys the hell out of Harry upon first meeting, until Harry's rescued by a conversation with someone who becomes his best friend. Neville, Hermione, Daphne, anyone but Ron
-- Ginny isn't crushing on Harry, since he's essentially a nobody. The Twins don't exempt him from pranks, except possibly if they find out that he's the Son of Prongs.
-- Neville is a stronger, more confident character
Thing the third: please anyone PM me if you can figure out the answer to this question: If the Elder Wand transfers owners so easily that Harry becomes the owner when he disarms Draco when Draco wasn't even wielding it (or carrying it, as far as I remember), how does Voldemort NOT become the owner when he outright KILLS Harry? Why, in the battle later on, is Harry still the master of the wand?
Thing the fourth: A whiny reader (Umanso) unable to comprehend an intro blurb went crying to the admins that the below game description is "not a story" and should not be allowed. While he's correct that it's not a story, the entry was clearly marked as a game description inspired by Harry Potter. In the interests of mindlessly obeying rules in order to appease crybabies, I've moved this to my profile instead of a separate entry. Anyone interested in using this in a story (Potter or otherwise) is more than welcome to. Please just let me know if you do.
Raid: the game
A game of Raid is a magic-only clan war simulation. It is a game of scouting and maneuver as much as combat. This is suitable for use as a computer FPS, possibly a boardgame, or in any fantasy-style world where magic is common enough that 40 mages might easily get together for a game. It could also be played by real-world humans by slightly changing the rules to accommodate the lack of magic. This started out as an idea for a game that was more interesting than Harry Potter's Quiddich, so the ideas herein easily translate to the Potterverse.
Start of rules *
Each team begins with five structures (one citadel and four bunkers) and 20 people (10 raiders and 10 thumpers):
Citadel: worth 15 points to whichever team holds it for at least three minutes at game's end
Bunkers (4): worth 5 points each when destroyed (cannot be captured by enemies), arranged in a diamond formation around their citadel with the point facing the enemy citadel
Raiders (10): worth 1 point each, marked by arm cuffs in the team's colors
Thumpers (10): worth 2 points each, marked by a chest band in the team's colors
The game is played in wooded and/or hilly areas, with no direct line-of-sight between enemy structures, but at least partial line-of-sight between allied structures. It is over when the first team loses either all its players or all its structures. Note: it is possible to end a game by one of these methods and still be behind on points. If a team wins, but is behind on points, it counts as a Pyrrhic victory and their effective score is halved for tournament standings.
One player on each team is the chief, and the chief is worth five extra points if defeated. The chief can be either a Raider or a Thumper, but the high value makes him a priority target if he's found vulnerable. Off the field, he sets up practices, arranges the chain of command, etc. On the field, he's the starting captain, and the captaincy passes down the chain of command as players are eliminated. Since this is magic, even if the next in line doesn't see the current captain defeated, he'll know by a chime and a tabard appearing on him that he's now captain.
At any time a team's current captain may trade 2 Thumpers for 1 Raider, or vice versa. He may also eject one Thumper/Raider, and convert another of the same type to the opposite (i.e. if a team doesn't have alternates, one player may switch roles if another is ejected). This can be done before the game begins in order to surprise the opposing team. Ejected players immediately leave the field (teleport?) and new ones appear in the citadel.
A Raider is a distance fighter, shooting powerful blasts out of one hand while having a small "target" shield with the other. If not shielding, a Raider can fire faster, and if not firing can shield better. Since Raiders are the primary damage-dealers on a team, it's largely pointless to have them in full defense unless badly outnumbered. Up to three Raiders at a time on a team may be converted by their captain to Flyers. At this point, they use one hand to maintain their flight (spell, carpet, broom, whatever) and can use the other to either attack or defend, albeit at the weaker rate. They are much faster than ground-bound players, but can only rise to 20 feet in height. Used as scouts or flankers, they tend to be easy to take out, even weaker than Raiders despite their mobility. At any time the captain may convert Flyers back to Raiders at no cost.
A Thumper is a shield fighter. They use both hands for defense, one for a more powerful target shield than the Raiders have, and the other for a full-body aura-shield. They also wear armor that can take 2-3 hits depending on their strength. A single Raider can defeat a Thumper, but it will take a fair amount of time. Two- or three-on-one is far better. Thumpers are most often used to protect Raiders or occupied bunkers, but at close range (5 feet or so) can use their shields as weapons doing ~2/3 the damage a Raider would do. A Thumper-rush is thus possible. Any Thumper inside a structure automatically converts to a Defender. Defenders may use any combination of Thumper shields (one, both, or neither) AND Raider attacks, including even doing two Raider-style attacks at once (each hand). Defenders are worth 5 points if defeated rather than the 2 that Thumpers are worth, so it's a strategic decision when to defend and when to leave a structure.
Bunkers are hard targets. When unoccupied or occupied in defensive mode, they take a lot of work to destroy. Three to five Raiders or even more Thumpers are required to do so in a reasonable amount of time. However, a bunker occupied by a Defender can convert in one second to an assault bunker. Upon initiation of conversion, the bunker's defensive enchantments disappear, thus making that second of conversion a very vulnerable period, but a second later the Defender's attacks are vastly enhanced. Better range, better accuracy, and more power. Bunkers are placed such that an assault bunker at long range can protect its two adjacent bunkers, and all bunkers can at medium range protect their citadel. It takes two seconds to convert an assault bunker back to defensive mode. At the start, the assault nature vanishes, but it takes two seconds for the defensive enchantments to rise AND for the enchantments to release the Defender. It usually takes another second or two for a Defender to leave the bunker and revert to a Thumper. This can be preferable because of the point disparity between the two. Any Defender in a defensive-mode bunker is slowly healed and replenished magically, so it is a viable strategy to rotate tired Thumpers through back-area bunkers. There is no way to replenish tired Raiders except resting them.
Defenders in the citadel do not gain any benefits to their attacks except a ten-foot height advantage, but both their armor and shields are vastly increased and they get cover from the indestructible citadel walls. Unlike bunkers, Raiders may also enter a citadel for cover and elevated position, but gain no special abilities by doing so. Citadel windows are large enough for even a large armored Thumper to enter if it's not actively defended. A citadel remains under the control of its existing occupants until they are all defeated, at which time it immediately becomes property of the first force to enter it (including an invading force that just defeated its last defenders). Any team holding a citadel for at least the three minutes preceding the end of the game gets 15 points, and it's possible for one team to have both citadels.
End of rules *
A "perfect" game is one where the losing team converted all of their Raiders to Thumpers who became Defenders, the winning team occupied the losers' citadel at least three minutes before the end of the game, destroyed three bunkers and all but one Defender (including the chief), and then either destroyed the last bunker or defeated the last Defender. That would result in 30 points for occupying both citadels, 20 points for destroying all the bunkers, and 14*5=70 points for defeating all but the last opposing player as Defenders plus five for the chief. Alternately it could be 15*5 Defenders but lose the 5 points for the last bunker. Either way, 125 points is the maximum. A more realistic game would see all opposing Raiders defeated (10 points), 4 opposing Thumpers defeated (8 points), four bunkers destroyed (20 points), and six Defenders defeated (30 points) plus the occupation of one citadel (15 points) and 5 points for the chief, for a total of 88 points.
As can be seen, a wide variety of strategies are possible, and scouting out the opposing team with Raiders or Flyers is very important. Suckering an opposing force into a fight between two assault bunkers is a great way to thin out enemy ranks. An assault bunker protected by a couple of Thumpers and Raiders is a formidable force, but also a loss of mobile units. Attacking on the opposite side of such a force is the best bet.
Assault bunkers are the most powerful units in the game, but should be protected by a Thumper or two because they're both immobile and far more fragile than defensive bunkers. Next in line are Raiders that are not defending, followed by Flyers, defending Raiders, citadel Defenders, defensive bunker Defenders, and Thumpers. Thumpers are almost a requirement to protect mobile Raiders, because Raider shields are weak and agility can't protect against two or three opposing Raiders. That said, they tend to be slower than Raiders on their own. A hit-and-run strategy could also work.
A very aggressive game could be over in a matter of minutes, but a cagey, defensive dance could take hours.