Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's Harn Day!

I got the latest installment of Harn Subscription the first part of the long awaited Kingdom of Rethem, 2nd Edition.

Over the past decade, Columbia Games and the Harn Team have been updating the various kingdom articles, making them far more useful than the original. Mainly by including description of the various personalities involved in the ruling of the kingdom and it's society. So far they have done Evael, Kanday, Kaldor, and now Rethem.

This focus also make these kingdom articles useful for non-harnic campaign by detailing an interesting cast of NPCs and their relationship. The older kingdoms were very much encyclopedic in their content which limited their use as a harn supplement. The first half of Rethem doesn't disappoint in this regard. In it we learn that Rethem's queen has Elisabeth Bathory in her. She is dealing with the priests of the Morgath the god of the undead. Whose religion is not outlawed in Rethm. We learn who is backing Chafin III the King of Rethem. It is a pleasant surprise that his origins as the king of the "evil" kingdom of Harn is one familiar to most fantasy roleplayers who wind up as rulers. He was an adventurer and when his predcessor, Chafin II, died he and his fellow adventurers eliminated his cousins and gained the throne.

A typical Harn installment is 40 to 50 pages of material and because Rethem is 80 pages long they broke it up in two parts. The first half is the general overview, history, and details on who who in the government. Because Rethem is on the verge of civil war there is considerable detail on the military line-up of Rethem. Normally this is nothing special but the authors go into detail about the various mercenary companies which something not normally covered. I got some ideas for my own Majestic Wilderlands from reading this section.

One thing about using Harn is that the population is low and the scale of the military is definitely one where adventurers can make a difference. Large forces are numbered in the hundreds not thousands.

This installment came with a binder for Rethem which is an orange cover compared to the purple of Kaldor and the green of Kanday. I am looking forward to the second half which also have two regional maps. Along with material on the various settlements of Harn including details on the lords and notable inhabitants.

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