Harry Potter the Video Game: Exploited
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the characters of his universe, I just play in that sandbox for fun and without pay or any form of remuneration other than reviews and private messages; which are fortunately non-taxable.
AN: If you were stuck in a video game, would you make it as difficult as possible if your life was on the line? Hell no! You would exploit that sucker for all that it was worth. Game mechanics were meant to be milked for every advantage you can get. Grind those skills, power-level that bugger and explore every nook and cranny for secrets that could help you survive and kick the ever loving piss out of your enemies. Just like Conan or Genghis khan said, you goal is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters. Anyway, I'm sure there is a corollary for Harry Potter and his quest for success somewhere in there. This may be a one-shot, it may be something more someday, but I wanted to get it out of my head and onto paper. Be warned that there is foul language used in this story, and I don't know about any relationships in the future. Either way, this is totally written for fun. I hope you enjoy it. Cheers!
AN: 10/13/13 Beta-read by Vandenbz
'Thoughts are in italics'
"Things Said, or Things Written"
Chapter: 1 Game Over
Standing in the clearing in the middle of the Forbidden Forest, Death Eaters gathered about, and Voldemort's killing curse flying right for Harry's noggin, Harry closed his eyes and hoped for the best.
The curse hit, and Harry's world went black.
That is, until the giant green glowing letters of GAME OVER flashed in front of him as if on a giant movie screen.
And to add insult to injury, a poorly programmed 8-bit computer graphic of a destroyed Hogwarts castle was illuminated by lightning flashing in the background as flocks of pixilated ravens circled the crumbling ruins of the place Harry had called home. And all that time, the words GAME OVER continued to dominate the middle of Harry's awareness.
Harry found himself standing at the base of what appeared to be a movie screen, or a large flat version of the Hogwart's ceiling, but with the words GAME OVER displayed in front of him where now additional words began to be portrayed in front of his quickly paling complexion.
"GAME OVER, sorry, it appears you did not save your game, would you like to start a new game?" Read the words on the screen.
Harry was completely flummoxed.
Speechless – for all of fifteen minutes, and then Harry let loose a string of expletives so foul that they would have singed Hagrid's hairy ears and even caused the Dark Lord Voldemort to cry out "Language!"
Harry's long spew of cursing finally ended with one more decidedly nasty and detailed expletive.
"Merlin's saggy crab infested nutsack! My life was a bloody video game! And a badlyprogrammed one at that!" Harry cried out into the darkness above him and shook his fists at whatever unseen fate or divinity had decided to mock him and his pain.
Spitting profanities and kicking imaginary rocks while flailing his fists like he was fighting unseen aggressors, Harry let loose with more expletives as the futility of his life was presented to him via a giant video game screen.
"Fucking fuck you fucking fucks for fucking with my fucking fucked up fuck of a life! A Video Game!? Really?!" His teenaged voice cracked at the last statement, kind of ruining the sense of righteous indignation as he continued to curse at the darkness around him. Harry wasn't one to normally curse in life, but considering that he was dead he figured he could make an exception just this once.
The enormity of the situation hit Harry like a ton of bricks, and he eventually stopped thrashing around and just stared at the screen with its message. There was no continuing, there was no going back, his life as he knew it was over. A part of him didn't know whether to be happy or sad given the fact that he had given up and figured he was dead one way or the other when he headed into the forest.
Still, to have it blatantly shoved in his face felt a bit wrong if not raw.
The screen changed, obviously tired of waiting for an answer and suddenly a happy tune filled with lots of melodic chiming theme music and "Do, do do, DO Dooo, do, do, dee do dee do" began to play as the main menu for the video game that was Harry's life, popped up.
"The Adventures of Harry Potter" Read across the top of the screen in large letters, with a lightning bolt as part of the P in Potter. A column of other all capitalized words were below in large bold letters.
NEW GAME, CONTINUE, LOAD A SAVED GAME, OPTIONS
The words were displayed one above the other, yet Continue and Load a Saved Game were both grayed out, whereas New Game and Options were both lit up and available.
Harry blinked, and looked around him, yet the unmoving darkness around him remained in its constant state while the annoying theme music to his life continued to repeat like some cheap midi file of canned electronic music.
With a huff, Harry plopped himself down on the black invisible like surface he seemed to be standing on. Sitting at first, and then sprawled out on his back in a huff, Harry flipped two fingers in a V towards the sky.
"Screw you! I won't do it." Harry petulantly cursed, glaring up into the unfathomable depths of shadow.
And still no answer was given.
And still the stupid music repeated, over, and over, and over again.
Finally Harry couldn't stand it anymore, the monotony getting to him.
"BAAAAAAH!" Harry screamed in rage and threw a temper tantrum, thrashing his feet and hands against the unseen surface beneath his prone figure; like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the grocer's aisle because he couldn't get his super sugar-bomb-teeth-rot cereal. Well he threw a temper tantrum, but in a more adult and brooding way that seems to be popular in angsty teen dramas, though Harry didn't have any of the cuteness of a toddler, and really it's just kind of embarrassing when a young adult does that kind of thing.
Harry sat up and glared at the screen.
"Fine, we will play things your way, but if you think I'm going to like it or do things the exact same way as the last time, then you are sadly mistaken." Harry growled. "No way am I starting this over without knowing what options I have."
With Harry's statement of "options" the Options menu button flashed and a new menu popped up with several new opportunities.
DIFFICULTY, CONTROLS, CHEAT CODES, RETURN TO MAIN MENU
"Screw you game, if you think I'm going to play it by your rules, you're wrong! Cheat codes." Harry ordered, and the cheat menu popped up.
The only problem was that the cheat menu was blank. A whole screen of: ?, ?, ?,... continued in a list down the page, and a notice written in red letters that "cheat codes can only be unlocked by exploring the world and collecting enough golden snitches from throughout the levels."
Harry blinked, and then silently thrust his hand straight up over his head, two fingers straight up in a V and the rest clutched in a fist that was going white with the force he was using to clench said fist.
"Back to Options, and Difficulty." Harry growled through his teeth and lowered his hand.
"Difficulty level: HARD" Was highlighted at the top.
Below that were several other sections, which had a whole lot of the word "NO" highlighted next to them, and only two "YES".
TUTORIAL HINTS was highlighted as "NO," MINI-MAP was highlighted as "NO," AUTOSAVE was highlighted as "NO," HIS MOTHER'S EYES was highlighted as "NO," while "PERMA-DEATH" was highlighted as "YES" along with "BOUND MAGIC" also being marked with a "YES."
Harry blinked, and then blinked again, and then looked upwards with an angry glare and insulting gesture thrust at the sky with both hands, "Screw… You." Harry drawled out slowly.
"Tutorial hints Yes, mini-map Yes, autosave Yes, perma-death No, bound magic No," Harry ordered petulantly as those were pretty obvious based on their statements, or at least seemed helpful to turn on. That left him with the less than helpful descriptor that was left.
"And what the hell is His Mother's Eyes?" Harry groused; the previously checked boxes changing on all except for his mother's eyes, where a help box popped up with a question mark in it.
The box clearly stated, "Harry Potter looks just like his father, but has his mother's eyes. His mother had 20/20 vision, but his father didn't. Would you like to make the game more difficult and make Harry blind without his glasses yet have the rest of his vision genetics come from his mother? Yes, or No?"
"Thestral Shit! Really? Really?! You had to go and fuck with me some more? And why didn't anybody ever think of the fact that if I get my eye shape and color from my mother, then why don't I have her vision? God wizards are blind to common sense, and apparently I was too. Yes I want my mother's eyes." Harry ended with a shout that saw spittle fly from his mouth and disappear across the dark surface under his feet.
The help box disappeared and now HIS MOTHER'S EYES was clicked Yes.
"Difficulty level, Easy." Harry commanded, only for a help box to pop up.
"Easy difficulty level is only available after beating Normal, Hard, or Insane difficulty campaigns, would you like to try Insane difficulty?" The not helpful at all 'help box' read from its place on the screen.
Harry clenched his nails into the palms of his fists as he crossed his arms and glared at the screen, "Oh, now I know you are just fucking with me. Normal mode you bloody wanker."
The menu changed the difficulty level to show Normal difficulty now, so at least some things were looking to be going in the right direction, even if it was turning out that Harry's life was one big cosmic joke.
"Before we start the so called game, wanker, back to Options menu and let me see this Controls section." Harry huffed, arms still crossed in front of his chest and foot tapping in unspent silent rage.
"CONTROLS" the screen read in large letters, before giving simple instructions below it.
"At any point you can initiate any of these functions by merely making a command:
Inventory, you can access the full range of Harry's possessions at any time via the Inventory command. A listing of the money you acquire, Galleons or Pounds, can be found and accessed via the inventory menu.
Camera View, by using the Camera View command you can change the game from first person to third person view.
Map, you can access a version of the Marauders' Map of the region you are in via the Map command, though it will only show the areas you have explored and the individuals you have acquainted yourself with. All other areas unexplored areas will be fogged out.
Library, At any time you can access your quest journal, list of spells, or any books or materials you have read by using the Library command.
Crafting, creating potions, working runes and enchantments, farming, and cooking can all be accomplished by activating the Crafting menu.
Special Powers, throughout your game you may earn powers, perks or even curses that you can activate via the Special Powers menu or by calling out the name of the special power. Some powers, perks, curses etc. are always active or will only activate in particular circumstances.
Stats, at any time you can access your Character Statistics by using the Stats command. This lets you see your base attributes, health, magic supply, etc."
Harry just shook his head in disgust, "And you didn't think it would have been helpful for me to know this shite before when I was apparently living out my life?" Harry asked hypothetically, not expecting an answer and not receiving one anyway.
Harry stared at the screen for a few more minutes, silent thoughts running through his head as it was all a bit overwhelming that he had lived, died, and then discovered that it was all some sort of big game.
Still, he thought to himself, Harry Potter didn't give up, and Harry Potter didn't surrender; he was going to conveniently ignore the part where he had willingly walked into the Forbidden Forest and basically asked Voldemort to Avada Kedavra him in the face.
Finally, after an indeterminate amount of time of standing in the dark, the happy melodramatic music playing on repeat in the background, Harry finally ordered the screen back to the Main Menu.
"Ok you bastards, start a New Game." Harry ordered, and then the screen flashed, and Harry's world went black.
Harry was helpless as he looked on as if a narrator was playing out the life that he was born into. His parents joined the Order of the Phoenix, they fought beside adults that Harry recognized from his previous life, and Harry even saw his parents stand in battle against the Death Eaters and Voldemort himself, and live to tell about it three times.
Images and montages flew before Harry's eyes. His birth and early life as an infant were shown to him as if he was outside a window viewing into a house. His parents, clearly in love with each other and the infant Harry, cradled him together at their house in Godric's Hollow. Then the image changed to show James Potter and Lily Potter joined by their three friends Sirius Black, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew; all of them smiling and cooing around the newborn Harry Potter.
Harry attempted to speak, attempted to shout out about the coming actions of the traitor, but in his formless void as a visitor, he was only able to look in, he was helpless.
Pictures flew by quickly, almost too fast for his subconscious to take in as his parents met with Dumbledore and went into hiding, the casting of the Fidelius Charm by Dumbledore with Sirius as the secret keeper. The house seemed to wink out of existence before Dumbledore disappeared with a pop, only for Lily Potter, the smartest witch of her age, to take out her wand and point at the missing house and tap Sirius on the nose before then totransfer the secret over to Peter Pettigrew.
And then it was that night, and Harry Potter was forced to watch as his parents were slaughtered and his Mother blessed him and sacrificed her life as a part of a ritual that would save Harry's life from the Killing Curse; but apparently on Hard mode the sacrifice only worked once given the AK that had led Harry to witnessing this scene again.
Brief flashes of a motorcycle ride through the sky, a whiskered face smiling large on the screen before Harry's vision, and then, darkness.
A pounding on the door woke Harry up, causing him to become aware of his surroundings.
First thing of note was, Harry was small.
"Stats." Harry commanded, only to get a message saying, "Current level: ruddy little bugger, go through the tutorial and first missions before gaining any information."
Growling to himself, Harry pulled himself up to a sitting position.
Looking around, Harry recognized his surroundings immediately; he was in his cupboard under the stairs at Number 4 Privet Drive.
"Bloody hell." Harry mumbled to himself as he rubbed his eyes, only to realize that he could see perfectly and was not wearing any glasses.
This brought the first smile to Harry's face since he had decided to go visit Voldemort and the Death Eaters in the forest.
The smile lasted for all of three seconds, for that was how long it took before the door to the cupboard was thrown open. Vernon Dursley's meaty hand reached in and forcibly dragged Harry out of his cupboard by Harry's overly large T-shirt.
"Come on boy, enough lazing about. It's time for you to get up and make breakfast. And don't make me say it a second time." The large oafish man stated before settling Harry on his feet none too gently. And cuffing Harry on the back of the head.
Harry felt the jarring sensation twinge up his legs from Vernon dropping him, and it hurt a bit, followed by the cuff to the back of the head that set the room spinning briefly, but not enough that Harry would complain.
"Dee-Do" A chiming sound seemed to tinkle in Harry's ear as a bubble of text popped up in Harry's vision, along with a row of hearts along the bottom of Harry's vision. Out of the ten hearts Harry had, only two and a half of them were flashing red, the rest were greyed out as if Harry had taken some damage or wasn't even close to fully healed. The text bubble that popped up in front of Harry seemed to suggest the same, and Harry smiled through the pain as he noticed Vernon waddle off seemingly unaware of the text bubble that Harry could clearly see.
"You've been hurt." The text bubble helpfully supplied details that were obvious to Harry, but such was the way of tutorial menus usually. The text bubble then began to scroll upwards and went into more detail. "In your current malnourished and injured state you need food, healing potions, or spells to get back to your full health. Hearts are damaged or gained in quarters, and the average human can take a lot of damage if they are fully healed. Due to your upbringing, that state of health is a long way off. Head to the kitchen for your first cooking crafting quest where you can learn about preparing food." With that, the text bubble disappeared after Harry finished reading it. The few red and multiple grey hearts continued to stay in the bottom of his vision.
"Well that was helpful." Harry mumbled sarcastically to himself; not liking the fact that even the tutorial seemed to be insulting his state of being, even if it was true.
"What was that boy?" Vernon's voice issued out of the kitchen.
"Nothing. Coming Uncle." Harry hurriedly answered. There wasn't much else Harry could do in his situation given that he weighed roughly equivalent to Vernon Dursley's left calf and only came up to the obese man's waist. Besides the chance of accidental magic, Harry was all sorts of out of luck, but he was hopeful that it would change soon.
Harry moved into the kitchen and noticed a glowing exclamation point hanging in the air above the kitchen stove. Looking incredulously at his aunt, cousin and uncle who were all seated at the table, either they couldn't see the exclamation point or they were too dumb to notice. The jury was still out on that question, and probably would be for some time.
Shrugging to himself, Harry made his way over to the stove and stepped up onto the footstool that was situated so he could reach all the burner space. The moment Harry stepped on the foot stool, the crafting/cooking module popped up in front of him with a list of available ingredients and food to be prepared and the mission parameters for how much food he was supposed to make. A mini-game of sorts was set out on the stove which included: stirring, flipping, ingredients and tools by which to make the food. Out of the corner of Harry's eye he noticed that the world around him seemed to freeze as his aunt, uncle and cousin were seemingly frozen in time.
And that's when the tutorial popped up with some interesting information, and Harry's Slytherin side came to the forefront of his mind.
"Help with cooking: For this crafting mission you are supposed to make five servings of perfect bacon, ten waffles, ten pieces of toast, one pot of tea, one pot of coffee, and one carafe of orange juice. Because your crafting cooking skill is only Novice level, you may burn or partially ruin the food several times before making a perfect serving. Ruined food may still be consumed for partial health regeneration, but only perfect food will complete the mission and perfect food causes you to regain hearts more quickly. All perfect food will help you advance your cooking skills at least one point per perfect serving. Ruined food will only advance your skill half as much as a perfect serving of the food recipe would. You may retain food in your inventory indefinitely without worrying about it spoiling or going cold/tepid. Some foods offer additional benefits or negatives when imbibing, such as coffee which adds a temporary bonus to your stamina but may stunt your ability to gain points to your Athletics growth for a period of time. Due to this mission being your first crafting experience, you may make as many attempts at cooking as you like until you meet the mission requirements; you have unlimited ingredients and food supplies with which to make your meal. Future crafting cooking missions will have limited ingredients to make the required portions, the reward for failure being a frying-pan blow to the head while success gives you experience points and possibly rewards. Increasing your crafting level makes perfect successes easier to achieve. Some crafting recipes require a specific crafting skill level to be already achieved. Additional recipes can be learned by reading the right skill or crafting books or from a skill trainer. Good luck!"
Harry looked at the words floating helpfully in front of him, and blinked. Then he blinked again. And then an evil smile formed on his lips.
Harry Potter had a wicked idea. What would happen if he purposefully burned or ruined as much food as he could? What would happen if he just tediously burned every waffle, over crisped the bacon and purposefully ruined the food? Why, then he could stock his inventory full of ruined food and never go hungry again!
And thus Harry Potter was introduced to the idea of video game exploits and skill grinding in the first moments of controlling his new life.
What seemed like a good 24 hours of monotonous cooking to Harry seemed to pass in no time at all to the outside world. The room around Harry appeared just as it had when he began, and it was still that first morning's breakfast to the rest of the world. And yet, Harry had just finished crafting his one thousandth ruined waffle. He turned and called out "Inventory!"
A floating magically expanded chest seemed to materialize in the air in front of Harry and he smirked as he put the ruined and slightly misshapen waffle on top of the stack of other similarly ruined waffles that were piled up in stacks of one hundred waffles each; a seeming limit to any stack of items in his inventory yet each stack only took up one space in the inventory. Next to the stack of waffles were stacks of blackened bacon, several stacks of pitchers of slightly green looking orange juice and another section of even more stacks of blackened toast. In the bottom of Harry's vision ten red glowing hearts shined back at Harry as he had already eaten his fill of his ruined food. A rosy glow shone from Harry's cheeks and he looked less skeletal than he had when he had woken up that morning. Additionally, by this point it was actually getting difficult for Harry to burn the toast or the bacon, and making a bad waffle actually took more skill than making a perfect one. Alas, such was the problem one had when they had crafted until their skill level rose time and time again until it couldn't rise any more.
Harry had been introduced to how to grind skills, and it really was a grind as it was incredibly boring. Still, all of those hours of weeding the lawn or polishing Uncle Vernon's car in his previous life had held Harry in good stead in that mind-numbing boredom wasn't something Harry couldn't deal with. Still, the mini game had gotten easier and easier as Harry's Cooking skill had gone up point by point, which was slowed by the fact that he was only making ruined food. Harry had also learned that cooking waffles or bacon actually provided more skill points than just toasting bread or squeezing oranges; though making tea definitely took some skill even if it was mostly a glorified form of boiling water. Ultimately Harry's cooking crafting skill had topped out to where he couldn't gain any more levels, a "Ding" and glowing light surrounding him with a sudden breeze told him he now rated as a "Master Chef" level even if Harry's repertoire of recipes was decidedly limited.
Harry smiled to himself, "Not bad to go from Novice to Master Chef all in the process of making one breakfast." With that, Harry commanded his inventory to close, and the floating chest that was his inventory system disappeared without a sound.
Harry cracked his neck and turned to look at the Dursleys, noting that they sat still as stone or as if they had been paralyzed by a basilisk. The morning sun still filtered down through the semi-cloudy English sky and in through the glass doors that were next to the kitchen table, and everything stayed just as it had been when Harry started this crafting mission. The work had been boring, but it was sure rewarding to Harry. And now he didn't have to worry about the Dursley's starving him as he had stocked up on loads of food; even if it was of the ruined or slightly burned variety.
With an off tune whistle Harry got back to work making the actual meal that the quest commanded, and in almost no time at all, Master Chef Harry Potter had the required stacks of waffles, servings of bacon, toast, orange juice and tea all ready for his family.
"Ding!" A sound chimed in the air above Harry's head as the words "Quest completed, + 25 Experience" flashed before Harry's eyes, as the crafting mode shut off and the world began to move once again around Harry.
"Hurry up with that food, boy." Vernon grouched.
Harry just smiled and silently served the food, his aunt giving Harry two pieces of toast to be Harry's breakfast. Harry just smiled and nodded as he backed away.
"Your list of choresison the fridge, now go outside and work, I don't want you inside when the women from my book club arrive." His Aunt Petunia commanded.
And Harry responded with a "Yes Ma'am" while turning and calling out "Inventory" under his breath. The trunk appeared and dutifully followed Harry to the refrigerator as Harry stored his two pieces of perfect toast in a new slot.
The inventory trunk disappeared silently again, Harry grabbed his list of chores and ran out the front door; his uncle yelling not to run in the hall, but Harry ignored the man on his way to freedom and the great outdoors.
Upon stepping out the front doors to Number 4 Privet Drive, a number of things flashed before Harry.
First, the words "Auto-save" flashed in the middle of Harry's vision, making him smile as at least this time he wouldn't have to start from scratch if he somehow died.
Second, in the bottom right corner of his vision a bar appeared that was a full green color the whole way across. In the top right corner of his vision a circle with a compass point of N for north appeared with a line drawing of the front yard of the Dursley's house, a sketch of the interior walls of the house, and three white dots that seemed to be sitting in the kitchen area of the house.
"Dee-Do" Chimed in Harry's ear again, the sound that Harry was beginning to associate withwhenever a tutorial message popped up.
"So you want to go on an adventure?" The tutorial was labeled, before explaining that the green bar in the bottom right corner was Harry's stamina that would go up or down given how much exercise he did. The tutorial message was helpful in stating that if Harry exercised more or completed quests that relied on physical activity he could gain more stamina, use it less, or be able increase the range of physical capabilities he was able to do. Harry wasn't too happy about what he read next though.
"Welcome to normal mode. In normal mode, Harry Potter is a malnourished little wanker, so you start out with less stamina then normal children your age. Your stats are as follows:
CURRENT EXP: 25 EXP NEEDED For NEXT LEVEL:1000
Cooking: Master Chef
"Good luck!" The tutorial finished flippantly.
Harry stopped his reading to glare up at the sky and flip it a two fingered salute in return before going back to reading the tutorial hints. Apparently somebody was having a laugh at his expense, but as it didn't seem he could do anything about it, he would just deal with the lot he had been handed.
"Mini-Map" the tutorial helpfully supplied regarding the circle in Harry's vision. It went on to explain that the white dots were people or creatures that Harry could interact with, and it stated that red dots constituted enemies that Harry should watch out for in his "piddly weak state." At that last statement, Harry again made an insulting gesture regarding the unseen observer in the sky's mother.
Harry stepped off the front stoop of his house and headed for the first exclamation point, a new tutorial message bubbled up in front of Harry and informed him of the next exploit he was going to take advantage of.
Ok, so it merely stated, "Missions, you may take quests and missions in whatever order you like. You cannot proceed in the story without completing certain missions, and other side missions will become unavailable to you if you progress the story too fast, so enjoy exploring."
"Map" Harry called out, and a floating image of the Marauder's Map popped up in front of him, showing the Dursley's house, the front street for about a block in either direction, and several glowing yellow exclamation points that Harry could look at right in front of Harry surrounding the Dursley's house. However there were several silver colored missions marked at other places in the bit of the neighborhood that Harry could currently see.
"The Kneazles in the bag" read one mission near Ms. Figg's house, next to another mission that read "Nine Lives" and "Herding Cats."
"That Delinquent Boy" read another quest mark near a neighbor's house down the way along with "We're Making Whoopie" in the back of a different neighbor's house and "A Hero's First Save" at the end of the block and just before the greyed out area of the map.
And then surrounding the Dursley house were several chore based quests that corresponded with the list that had been on the refrigerator. Still, it was the greyed out areas of the map that drew Harry's eyes.
And with that, and another conniving Slytherin smirk on his face, Harry decided he had plenty of time to shirk his chores and go exploring.
He was going to make the best of his life. There was a whole world to explore, and this time, Harry was going to exploit it for everything he could.
AN: And just an idea for a story that I've had for a while and had to get out. Sure the video game Harry or Naruto stories are fun, but really, if it was your life that was on the line wouldn't you use every exploit, cheat, or underhanded tactic you could find in order to live and prosper? Why would anybody want to make it harder than it already was? Go wild I say! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! Ahem, sorry, that's just my opinion. So this may be a one shot, or it may be something I continue at a later date. Hope you enjoyed it, let me know