Being a new member can be a bit daunting or overwhelming at times, so we've made this detailed step-by-step guide for getting started once you've decided to join us here at HAU. Staff and members understand there's often a "settling in" period, which new members are still getting the hang of things, so don't worry. We're always here to help out or answer any questions you may have.
Read the Site & RPG Rules. Then The Basics, which explains our overall plot, information about your character, and how HAU works. While you can make an account prior to this, doing so means you're agreeing to these rules and guidelines so we strongly recommend reading them first.
2: Account Creation
Create an account. You can do this by clicking the "Register" button in the menu below the main banner. You'll be asked for a working/validated email, username, password, etc. Though not required, we encourage using your character's first name as your username as it makes tagging etc so much easier.
3: Character Creation
Creating your character is done via a simple form in the Enrolment area or the menu below the main banner. In the Character Application section, it may seem as if nothing is there - just give the form a moment to load. Once it's loaded, you can fill it in and submit. All the information you need will be in the form.
If you're unsure what sort of character to make, you can base some of their personality off yourself or keep things simple with their backstory. It's your character's journey over time that will help shape them, and you're permitted to update your info once at the end of each RPG year. If still in doubt, check the Character Profiles section for a list of approved characters so you have an idea of what's accepted. Stickied/pinned ones are the mains of our staff members. Also check the "what sort of characters can I make" heading in the FAQ.
We recommend at least having an idea of what your character is like before starting the form, and also saving a personal copy just in case. If you're unfamiliar with Harry Potter or new to roleplaying, it's easiest to start as a first year so you can learn alongside your character. If you prefer adult characters, then starting as a 5th year is the fastest way to that - though comes with a pledge of activeness.
4: Application Process
Admin Lena usually reviews every new application within 24 hours, though it's likely to be much sooner. You'll receive a PM regarding its progress or approval. It's rare that an application is outright denied. If it can't be approved in its current state, you'll receive a list of edits needed or errors to correct. There's always an open discussion regarding this. Once your character is approved, their profile will be set up by the Admin - receiving your "unsorted" colour, and any relevant details from your application will be put into place. Your character bio will also be shown on site for others to read. All of this is done before you receive your approval PM, so there's no added waiting on your part.
5: House Sorting & Getting a Wand
You'll now have access to the next form, which determines your character's wand and which house/s they're most suited for. It can be found in the Enrolment section or via the menu below the main banner. Same as the Character Application, the House Sorting & Wand section may take a moment to load its form. Once it's loaded, fill it in an submit.
This process is based on a custom point system and, despite some attempts in the past, it cannot be rigged. We don't follow house stereotypes - picking the "smart" options won't guarantee you Ravenclaw, or "dark" ones Slytherin, etc. Often a question has more than one house connected to it. This form was carefully created using real psychology, and various canon methods, to ensure accuracy. In over 10+ years of HAU (original run and relaunch) it's never been wrong.
If your character scores highest (within a 2-point margin) for more than one house, you will get to choose between them. The Sorting Hat takes your character's choices and personal values/goals into account.
6: Sorting Ceremony RP
Once again, Admin Lena will process your Sorting & Wand form within 24 hours though likely sooner. You'll receive a PM stating which wand you received, and clearing you to proceed to the Sorting Ceremony section on the main page. Make sure to read the ceremony Guide before creating a sorting thread.
7: Face Claim, Choosing a Dorm, & More
Your sorting is only concluded once your character has sat at their newly-declared house table. Then it will be archived and you'll receive a PM, as well as your house colours, which finalises your application process. The PM contains information and links for what comes next: your character's avatar, choosing their dormitory bed, changing the site's layout, and joining Discord (if you choose to or haven't already).
You'll have received your starting Galleons and house points.
8: Additional Reading
Read the Features & Progress information, which includes various features your character can partake in - as well as getting pets, a broomstick, how grades and spells work, etc. It can be a lot to go through, but once you know this stuff things are much easier, and it's important information to help make the most of your character's journey.
9: Where to Start Roleplaying
You're ready to jump into the RP! So, where to start? Check the "RPG Chart", which is the middle column of the table on the main page. It'll tell you the current time, weather, if any meals or classes are taking place, and so on. This is your go-to for picking a RP location.
If there's a meal, head there. If your character has a class, you can join in as if they've been there all along. If you have free time right away, then it's entirely up to you how to spend it. If it's night, most of your house will be gathered in the common room. If you're unsure where to start or looking for someone to RP with, we recommend asking in Discord.
If you have any other questions or are lost, please let us know in our Need Help? section or, preferably, in our active Discord.