Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today is Harn Day

Currently new Harn material is produced on a semi-regular basis. About once a quarter Harnquest subscribers get charged $25 by Columbia Games and receive a new packet of Harn material. In terms of dollars per page count Harn is expensive. However the quality of the material is outstanding.

In the past (1990s) Harn material was good but since the inauguration of the Harnquest format it gotten better. The earlier Harn material was a through description various locales and entities in Harn. It was very dry despite it's quality.

When they inaugurated the Harnquest several of the older articles were slated for expansion. In addition to the dry description of the locale you now got description of the people involved. This little change has made these articles far more useful. Plus the illustration of these folk are all down to earth. Hardly a Elmore style heroic pose in the bunch and a whole bunch you wouldn't want to be caught in a alley with.

In past year they have started new article formats, the first is a geography description of a region of Harn like a mountain range. While not as people oriented as the locale articles they are very useful if an adventuring party is moving through the area.

Another is a trail article. This article takes an important road or trail and follows it from beginning to end. The first one they did was the Silver Way from Kaldor to the Dwarven Kingdom of Azadmere. Very useful for referees who have parties going along the trail.

Another are bestiary articles, in two or four pages they give you everything you about harnic beasts. Even mundane creatures like cats and dogs have interesting articles about them. The cat include the great cats of Harn and the dog include the various wolf species.

So Today is Harn Day and here what I got

First this packet is the beginning of the revision of the Kingdom of Rethem. This is one of the western kingdoms of Harn and is is the "evil" realm. Mainly because much of the kingdom is in the hands of the Orders of the Church of Agrik (Lawful Evil) and the Church Morgath (Undead )

Important to the history and politics of Rethem are the Kubora barbarians and this article focuses on them.

Each packet comes with a map detailing one of the square grid regions of Harn. While Harn is overlaid with a hex grid of 5 leagues (12.5 miles) per hex it also has a square grid running from A to N west to east, and 1 to 10 north to south. Each of the these maps are contour maps and shows every manor and settlement on Harn.

In this package we get the map for J4 which completes the grid encompassing the Kingdom of Kaldor. It not related to the other articles but finishes up the work on Kaldor done in the previous series of Harnquests.

Next we get two articles on a Agrikan Order the Order of Mameka and their associated fighting order the Warriors of Mameka. Both of these are excellent articles detailing the personalities of the orders, their history, and structures. We get some rules for Harnmaster that showcases their unique rituals.

The reasons for the different orders the Church of Agrik has never been detailed in the core Harn products before. Here we learn that the Mamekas are actually originated as a heretical sect of Agrik obsessed with the finding a lost cairn. If found it is said the lost cairn can be used to trigger the final conflict between Agrik and his rival the goddess Larani (Lawful Good) and bring on his victory. It happens that they believe the lost cairn is somewhere in Peran to the north of Rethem. This is one of the origins of the centuries old conflict between the Rethemi and the Kubora.

Then we move on to a expansion of the Kubora article from Harn Barbarians. Here we get a breakdown of the individual tribes and some of the Kubora personal ties. Plus we get a few interesting bits about various Kubora customs and lore.

Next is a short bestiary article on Tavedogs. Thing of them as a treant looking orangutans living in a pacific northwest style forest. They are about ogre size (1 1/2 the size of a man) and have a mean left hook with claws. They are sentient although not tool users. It expands the list of the known Harnic beast which is nice.

Next are two geography articles.

The first is about Peran the home of the Kubora and Urdu tribe. It breaks Peran into it's different regions and give you a lot of useful bits to use if a party adventures there. I like the Hand of Crador myself. It is a limestone karst region and it's central feature is a cluster of limestone pillars. It looks like somebody thrusting their hand out from the earth. The region has a eerie feel about it, along with several legends about an evil that dwells there. The fact the numerous streams combine into a large marsh doesn't help.

The second is about the Afarezirs a island chain off to the northeast of Harn. It also doubles as a articles on one of the more isolated Kuboran tribes the Nolgind. It is pretty interesting detailing maritime life in a northern climate.

Overall I feel like I got my money's worth and look forward to seeing the other Rethem articles.

For non-Harn fans these article will be broken out and sold individually. I recommend the Mameka articles. They will be useful generating ideas and personalities involving LE religions in your campaign. The two geography articles can serves as useful templates for similar regions in your campaign. The Kubora expansion can give a sense of how different tribes and clans in a barbarian nation can interact. Athough the Tavedog article is good to have if you referee Harn it has limited utility for other systems.


John B said...

I am a fan of Harnmaster, the game system for the Harn campaign setting but I have never been a fan of the world itself. All the Harn products I've seen are really grade A material and I have several friends that have a lot of Harn supplements, the maps are particularly awesome.

Unknown said...

For what it's worth I would describe Agrik as Neutral Evil, if you are going by the old AD&D alignment schema. Naveh is LE, Morgath CE, Larani LG, Peoni NG, Siem CG, Ilvir CN, Save K'Nor LN, and both Sarajin and Halea NN, in my estimation.

For what it's worth...


Anonymous said...

Interesting, for what its worth I loved Harn (not as thrilled with ivania). I played a house ruled version of RuneQuest in Harn and gave Harnmaster a try, but never got into it and went back to RuneQuest.