Harry Potter and the Natural 20
By Sir Poley
Fanfiction.net, 2012


Harry Potter and the Natural 20 is a Harry Potter/Dungeons & Dragons fanfic -- a re-writing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with the addition of a new character. It is likely to be entertaining for anyone who likes Harry Potter and has at least a passing understanding of D&D.

Milo is a munchkin -- a D&D character tricked out to level up, get loot, and, whenever possible, abuse the rules in creative ways. He and his party are just about to face the boss in a fairly standard dungeon quest when Milo is suddenly transported to... somewhere different. He is suddenly fighting unfairly powerful wizards with none of the expected limitations of the class, and, perhaps even more inexplicably, winning. After escaping from the coven of Death Eaters he stumbles, badly wounded, into Hogsmead, and is shortly delivered to Hogwarts just days before the start of the school year -- and as it happens, this will also be the year that Harry Potter starts at Hogwarts.

Milo quickly recognizes Harry, Ron, and Hermione as PCs, and joins them in the Quest that is Hogwarts. It is immediately apparent that moving into the Harry Potter universe has not changed any of the rules that Milo lives by -- Milo, and Milo only, follows all of the conventions of Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, including being able to preform magic without a wand, healing at an astounding rate as long as he can get eight hours of sleep, leveling up, and many other oddities. On the other hand, none of the magic in this new universe will work for him -- wands, potions, brooms... all useless.

My description does not begin to do the story justice... It is hilarious. I usually do not laugh out loud when reading, but it is almost impossible not to when confronted with the confusion caused by conflicting rules sets. I have read comparatively few fanfics of any sort, but this is certainly head and shoulders above most of what I've read. On the downside, it is rather unpolished -- primarily, admittedly, in the number of typos, but also in the lack of editing and the general writing style. It also glorifies in being silly in the best possible way.

All in all, an excellent read, as long as you are willing to ignore the lack of proofreading and focus just on the story. I would recommend this for anyone who likes any two of humorous fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons, and Harry Potter. If you like all three, well, go read already!

Harry Potter and the Natural 20 is sometimes referred to as rationalist fiction, primarily because Milo is a munchkin of some talent. Moreover, this is above all a tale of culture shock -- or perhaps, ontological shock -- which is a very rationalist thing to ponder upon. However, the more famous Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a much more polished work and much more rationalist in tone.

The series is continued with Harry Potter and the Confirmed Critical and Harry Potter and the Save-or-Die, which is currently unfinished. You can, and should, read them here.

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