Sunday, February 19, 2023

Harnworld in Hardback Kickstarter


I have been a fan of Harn, both the setting and the Harnmaster rules, for a long time. Ever since I encountered the original Harn setting folio at Games Unlimited in Pittsburgh PA. 

Columbia Games just announced their latest Kickstarter, HarnWorld: Medieval Fantasy RPG Setting Hardback.  This hardback will contain the following Harn articles: Harnworld, the Harndex, Ketheria, Lythia, and Cities and Towns as well as the physical map of Harn and PDFs of the above.


Harn has been continuously published since 1983. Harn is a fantasy medieval setting that located on an island the size of Madagascar. Harn is divided into several distinct realms including one dominated by the elves and another dominated by dwarves. Some realms like Kaldor are feudal realms, some are merchant republics with vague echoes of Rome like the Thardic Republic. There is an "evil" kingdom, Rethem. And there are Vikings in Orbaal. 

I recommend downloading the Harnworld preview from DriveThruRPG. Columbia Games cleverly made a version of their map with an overview of the setting. 

In addition there is my own summary of Harn, All about Harn


As I mentioned in previous posts, Harn is a premium-priced product line. One thing that warrants its price, is the consistent quality of its releases since 1983. Not only they are of good quality, everything released for Harn remains compatible with the initial release in 1983. There are not many other RPGs settings that make the same claim. 

Another quality of Harn is its ability to be used with other settings especially those made for Dungeons and Dragons. While Harn emphasizes the medieval over fantasy it still originates from the same wellspring of fantasy that Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax drew from for DnD. This makes it very easy to incorporate Harn as part of another setting or more commonly to use parts of Harn in another setting. The individual entries of Harnworld and Harndex articles are useful for fleshing regions of your setting if you don't opt to run Harn itself. 

So what are you getting for your $69.

Harnworld and Harndex

The original version of Harn was a folio containing two staple bound letter sized books; Harnview and Harndex. 

The hardback has newest version of both; Harnworld and the updated Harndex. Harnworld is an overview of the setting and in 58 pages describes it's history, gives an overview of feudal life, cultures, and religions, along with a few useful aides like prices, incomes, and weather generation. Basically everything mention in the summary earlier but fleshed out in more detail.

Harndex is a 152 pages index containing one or paragraph entries on geography, economics, religions, cultures, realms, rulers, and points of interest. 

Here are some examples.


Kethira is the name of the planet on which Harn is located. This ten page article give an overview of its geography and other physical details including a star chart of Harn's night sky. And yes those square show the possible regional maps to cover the entire planet. Although only a dozen regions have been fleshed out to date.


This 32 page article describes the continent that Harn is part of. Unlike Kethira is also describes the various cultures and religions found on the continent. Half of the article, 16 pages, is similar to the Harndex, an index of geographical and cultural entries describing the continent.

Wrapping it up.

There are only a few RPG that I have consistently used for over forty years and Harn is one of them. Not everybody is a fan of the product line's loose leaf format, and now having the core Harnworld material in a single hardback hopefully makes it more accessible for everyone.

Finally, I can't stress enough how well Harn is written. While the product line (and community) does go down to the Nth level of detail each level is written in a terse format giving just enough at that level of detail. The additional material fleshes out what in the core Harnworld articles but it is not required reading.