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Matters of Dungeons & The Specter of Green Violence - Another Ecology of the Goblin For Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 20:21
Lady of Hat's art rendition of the classic Dungeons & Dragons style goblin.  Lets hit one of the green spots in Dungeons & Dragons, the lowly dungeon dwellers the goblins. There's supposedly a bunch of prejudices associated with the little green chaotic murder machines as well. Again I've been hearing this since the dawn of time & gaming. This goblin plagued blog entry is gonna depend upon Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Print Edition of Tales Update

The Splintered Realm - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 17:49
A copy of the print rules is on its way to me! Once I get a chance to proof it one last time, I'll update the files on Drivethrurpg and put it live for sale. Probably about two weeks...

Here's the wrap-around cover, as a proof of life.

More LULU Trouble

The Splintered Realm - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 13:09
Oh snap. Since I expect you want the good news before the bad news, I'll do that.

The good news: Lulu is up! It works. I can login, and I solved the problem of why my pdf files were not uploading. I can now proceed with a layout for Tales.

The bad news: I have to make a list. There's a lot of bad news.

1. Almost all of my old files have broken covers. Either (A) the covers have not finished porting over yet, and Lulu is still getting things up to speed (crosses fingers); or (B) the covers are not compatible with the new Lulu system, and I have to re-do them. Which sucks. So, I'm going to wait and see.

2. Lulu will not let me create a saddle-stitched book at 52 pages. Yes, it's divisible by 4, but that's not enough for Lulu. I created a dummy version where I cut 4 pages, and was able to create a saddle-stitched print edition. I am at a crossroads. I could (A) reduce the campaign setting information to a one-page overview (get rid of encounter tables) and cut the three tombs adventure - to get to 48. It's a solution I could live with. Or, I could (B) add 12 pages of content. I am leaning towards A, because I could see the campaign setting being its own setting book with significant expansion, and the three tombs could then be ported to that book as one of a series of adventures in the Splintered Realm. That's actually a workable solution to me. But, it means less game in the end. But 48 pages makes my heart happier, and sounds like a model I can replicate for the next book (the campaign guide). I see two more books right now: the Vault of the D'Ro and the Campaign Setting. If my target for each is 48 pages, I see a lot of possibility for both projects. I could always just put the three brothers up as a free adventure, or as the first in a series of free pdfs to support the game... or I don't know what. But it could easily be 'out there' without it being in the core rulebook.

The Place of the Skull

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 11:11
By Mark Hess Self published LotFP

A Sci-Fantasy adventure for old school gaming. A princess has been kidnapped, the players must save her by infiltrating a strange fortress of unknown origin. Weird tech, mutants, and evil swords abound.

This eighteen page adventure uses five digest pages to describe thirteen rooms. A little sci-fi, borrows from Conan and He-Man (and probably others) and uses a minimal format … although a decent one that concentrates on the right things. Still, a little light on the encounters for  my tastes.

So, kings daughter has been kidnapped by Skull face. King brings out platter of rubies and throws them at party, saying that riches mean nothing next to the love of your daughter. Oh, and she’s a warrior princess virgin, so in addition to Conan and He-Man we’ve got some She-Ra stuff going on also. And probably more. There’s the Fun Guy, who has fungo growing from his head. It’s got some sci-fi elements to it, broken computers, a couple of plasma rifles and so forth. And also magical elements, like the Doomsword, which turns you chaotic and melts your face off so you can be the next Skill Face. It’s over the silly line for me. A little too on the nose with cultural references. Instead of allusion it’s direct reference after direct reference. Maybe as a silly con one shot but, as always, comedy and references are tough in adventures. Placed in directly, there’s no buy in and the game suffers. Referenced tangentially, they allow the DM and players to refer to those memories and the expanded meaning that they refer to.

There;s not much to this, just eighteen pages overall and just thirteen rooms over about five digest sized pages. That keeps the descriptions terse, all right! “The cave entrance branches to the right and left, only to meet on the other side. A hewn hallway leads to a set of stone double doors. The doors may be pushed open.” The hewn part is good, nice imagery of a hewn tunnel, I think, even if the right/left just repeats the map data and doors opening are doors opening. The throne room has “A large chamber with a wicked looking throne of shaped stone. The throne and the raised dias it sits on are surrounded by an anti-magic field.” That’s it. Large is a boring word. Wicked is a conclusion, but would be used ok if  the throne stones were described as jagged or something like that. But, basically, this is all there is to the rooms. A kind of abstracted description with a little bit of iconic imagery referenced and not much beyond that. There’s just not much here to work with. MAYBE one thing per room, a little abstracted at that. You can see where the designer wants to take it but it never reaches any potential.  There’s just not much here. It’s almost like an outline rather than an adventure.

This is $2 at DriveThru. There’s no level range given, but the preview is six pages and shows you the first four rooms, and the lead in information. So, decent preview, EVEN IF THE LEVEL RANGE IS NO WHERE PRESENT ANYWHERE.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: Fourth World Re-Read

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 04/29/2020 - 11:00
I have not read the entirety of Jack Kirby's run on his so-called "Fourth World" titles at DC in the 1970s (Forever People, Mister Miracle,  and New Gods, and ok, it starts in Jimmy Olsen, but I'm not reading that) since the black and white collections of 1999, so I seemed like the right time.

These titles were supposedly an attempt to write a new mythology for the modern age, an idea Kirby had had at Marvel, but never got to execute. The titles are interrelated but not strongly interlinked (not unlike Morrison's Seven Soldiers over 30 years later). Last night I read Mister Miracle #3 and 4 both published in 1971.

Mister Miracle tells the story of Scott Free, a man form another world, who befriends, and then assumes the stage persona of an aging escape artist known as Mister Miracle. While Free's athletic and escape abilities are impressive, he accomplishes most of his escapes by using advanced alien technology. Scott Free is being hunted by agents of the planet Apokolips. So far, we've seen their human, organized crime agents, Intergang, and the monstrous orphanage matron, Granny Goodness.

Issue #3 introduces us to Doctor Bedlam. Bedlam is a being of pure thought, and very malign thought at that. His psychic assault upon Mister Miracle and his assistant, Oberon, is almost Satanic (or maybe Outer God-like) in intensity--only Free's "Mother Box" device protects them.

Bedlam draws Free into a trap in an office building. After a confrontation with what is essentially an android body possessed by Bedlam, Free must make his way through 50 floors of people turned into violent suffers of psychosis by Bedlam's "paranoia pills."

Bedlam is a great concept, particularly within the Apokolipsian pantheon, who all are some sort of aspect of oppression. His name comes from the nickname of Bethlehem Royal Hospital, which at one time represented the most frightening and dehumanizing aspects of mental asylums. Bedlam seems a personification of the snakepit asylum. He is almost literal madness in human form, or rather in the form of a number of faceless automata--suggesting the evil of systems, not individual actors.

Free's escape through 50 stories is likewise a great story conceit that would work well today. The choice of a single office building and an urban setting as opposed to some sort of small town or even city street, seems to suggest the deleterious effects mental effects of corporate employment, or maybe the paranoia induced by office politics. It's not hard to see Kirby's experiences at Marvel as informing these choices.

As good as it all is, Kirby seems to have a dilemma as to how to deal with the amazing feats of his super-escape artist. The "trick" of the last three of Mister Miracle's daring escapes are related to Oberon as he and Scott make dinner and all involve the use of one really versatile device. Oberon's response seems to sort of lampshade the shakiness of it all:

The other weak spot is a couple of panels of Big Barda (who is introduced this issue). Perhaps is was the inker (Vince Colletta) that let him down, but I suspect being a one man band essentially on some many titles just sometimes led to him being rushed.

A walk through Harnmaster - Combat Part 1

Bat in the Attic - Tue, 04/28/2020 - 22:45
CombatThis is a 26 page article

First off if you have trouble following any of this I strongly recommend downloading and reading Bill Gant's Harnmaster Combat vs D20 Combat Essay.

Scale and ComponentsHarnamaster supports miniatures and this section has the author's recommendation on what scale to use. Namely 1 inch = 5 feet, that you use 25 mm miniatures, and a hexgrid is preferred. It also goes on to say that if you don't use a hexgrid then just multiply all references to hexes by five to get the number of feet.

Combat ProfileExplains the combat profile portion of the character sheet and its most import elements

  • Endurance: The ability to tolerate and recover from physical ordeal. It is the average of Strength, Stamina, and Will.
  • Move: The number of hexes a character can move in 10 seconds (a round). It equal to the character's agility so a human can move up to 50 feet in a 10 second round.
  • Dodge: An automatic skill that opens at Agility x 5. This can be improved as a skill.
  • Load: The information is repeated from Characters. Basically the weight the character carries divided by Endurance.
  • Encumbrance Penalty: see above

WeaponsHarnmaster has a variety of choices for weapons. It not exhaustive like GURPS Martial Arts and focuses on the medieval along with some selections from the Roman Era.

Each weapon is rated for the following: A - Attacking skill bonus; D- Defending skill bonus; WT - Weight; WQ - Weapon Quality; Impact Values (B/E/P) - Bonus to impact for Blunt, Edge, and Point; Then Price in d (silver pennies);

ArmourNext combat discusses Armor. Just as weapons have impact bonuses for different aspects (Blunt, Edge, Point) Different types of Armor defends better against various weapons aspects plus there is a rating for resisting fire.

While tersely written, it is a fiddly part of Harnmaster/ Like many of the other fiddly parts it is front loaded onto the character sheet before play.

Armor nuancesHarnmaster is at the high end for the number of hit locations. You buy armor in pieces and layers of armor stack on top of each other. Eventually the weight will radically degrade your combat capabilities but for most characters there is a sweet spot of protection for what they can carry.

For example you don't just wear a Chain Hauberk you also wear a Quilt Gambeson. This give the extra padding especially for blunt attack to resist injury.

If you get the boxed set you will also get a GM Screen that has a chart listing the totals for common combinations of armor layers.

The good news if you armor your character like you see an medieval illustration you will be just as protected in-game as in real life.

There an optional rule to damage armor if the character suffers a high impact injury. The high impact creates or tears a hole in the armor. It fiddly and I have never used it as it involves an extra roll in future rounds.

MovementThis section explains movement. Basically a walk is half move, a jog is a full move, running is double move, and sprinting is triple move. The primary mechanical effect is how much fatigue you gain while moving. It doesn't come up often in combat as sprinting causes 1 FL per 1 minute (6 rounds) of sprinting.

Engagement ZonesLike some other RPG, active characters exert a zone of control. Harnmaster sets this at five feet around the character. The effect is that if you are engaged you can only move one hex per round (any direction). If you were not engaged before moving next to the opponent you must stop movement. Engagement Zones can overlap and a single character can be engaged with up to six opponents.

There is an optional rule allowing the Engagement Zone to be extended to 10 feet for long reach weapons.

Another optional rule is the reaction zone. The reaction zone extends as far as the character can move. If an opponent starts outside of the character's reaction zone then the opponent must stop if they move into it. If the opponent starts within another character's reaction they can move normal. The point of the rule is to give the character a change to intercept somebody if they move within their move range.

Combat SequenceHarnmaster uses 10 second combat rounds.

The character with the highest initiative goes first. If two character are tied then go with the higher skill base, any further ties resolved with a 1d10 or 1d6 roll.

You can do one action: Res, Pass, Free Move (up to running or move x2) , Engage (half move and optionally attack), Charge (full move and must attack), Disenage (move 1 hex, and do a half move), Rise, Grope (using anything with DEX), Melee Attack, Missile Attack (Load or Fire for a crossbow, Load/Ready & Fire for everything else), Grapple Attack, Esoteric Attack (magic or psionics).

There are optional rules for

  • Surprise
  • Engage Initiative: when engaging first time both roll initiative, if the defender has a higher success they can perform an attack
  • Combat Fatigue: Two variants for suffering Fatigue during combat. I recommend #2 each character suffer 1 Fatigue for every 5 minutes (30 rounds) of combat.

Previous post is Skills, Next post is Combat Part 2
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Half A Can of Whoop Ass - Another Ecology of the Half Orc For Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 04/28/2020 - 20:17
Ever since I was a kid I've had to deal with the ins & outs of the ;real world; vs  'table top world of original Dungeons & Dragons. Everything from the Satanic panic to the full on nose sticking fun of folks delving into the 'true' meaning of Dungeons & Dragons. The game I love in all of its editions & incarnations has endured despite the attempts to the contrary. Which brings meNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Gary Gygax’s Dungeon Building Spells (and the Ones He Should Have Made)

DM David - Tue, 04/28/2020 - 11:15

Since 1975, every single player of a wizard or magic user has read the Magic Mouth spell, and then chosen to skip it. Prove me wrong.* Who wants to use a 2nd-level spell to put a message on a wall when a piece of chalk works as well? While Magic Mouth never gets used by players, Glyph of Warding only ever gets misused. Recently, I saw a player use glyphs to manufacture explosive arrows. He overlooked the sentence that says that a glyph breaks if it moves more than 10 feet. That limitation exists now because players of earlier editions dreamed up the same stunt. Without the exploit, no player prepares glyph. Judging from the spell lists in the Monster Manual and Volo’s Guide to Monsters, non-player characters shun these spells too.

Why does the Player’s Handbook include spells that players virtually never use? Part of the appeal of these spells comes from nostalgia. Both date from the 70s. Mainly though, the spells appeal to the game’s dungeon architects and dungeon masters. For example, magic mouths and glyphs of warding appear in at least three of the Dungeons & Dragons hardcover adventures.

Compared to chalk, Magic Mouth offers more portentous way to deliver a message. Glyph of Warding adds a common magical trap. The spells weave useful magical effects into both the lore and the rules of the game. They give DMs ready-made tricks for their dungeons. Players enjoy recognizing these familiar bits of spellcraft mixed with the fantastic.

The game’s original Players Handbook includes even more spells aimed at dungeon architects instead of players.

At level 5, Distance Distortion made a corridor appear either twice as long or half as long as its actual length. D&D’s co-creator Gary Gygax loved to confound dungeon mappers. I imagine a party of lost players at Gary’s table, growing sore, and insisting that Gary described something wrong. Gary laughs slyly, opens the Player’s Handbook, and points to page 80.

At level 6, Permanent Illusion appealed to a few players, but dungeon masters gained a way to trick or terrify characters and to disguise pits. The spell evolved into fifth edition’s Programmed Illusion.

At level 8, Glassteel made glass or crystal as strong as steel. A few players dreamed of transparent weapons and armor, but I suspect Gary Gygax mostly sought a way to add durable windows to his tricky dungeon rooms. Between the scientific flavor of a name torn from sci-fi and they way walls of force did the same job better, dungeon builders never embraced glassteel.

To last, a few of these dungeon builder spells needed the help of the 8th-level Permanency spell. In fifth edition, Magic Mouth lasts until dispelled, but originally that same duration required an 8th-level spell and a lost point of Constitution. If I were a mad mage building a dungeon, I would opt for painted signs instead.

Permanency helped dungeon architects extend spells like Wall of Fire, Gust of Wind, Wall of Force, and many others. Edition 3.5 featured the best realization of Permanency.

As I look back on the spells for dungeon makers, I see a missed opportunity. D&D could benefit from more spells that filled gaps in the toolkit of Keraptis, Halaster, Galap-Dreidel, and all the game’s other dungeon builders.

The architect of the Tomb of Horrors, Acererak, creates dungeons to trap the souls of heroes, but he faces a problem: Before adventurers die, they keep wrecking stuff. In Return to the Tomb of Horrors and Tomb of Annihilation, Acererak recruits unliving maintenance crews to repair damage for the next party of doomed adventurers arrives. Now imagine an infomercial featuring an exasperated archlich saying, “There has to be a better way!”

Spirit of Remaking

6th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Components: V,S,M (a jewelled hammer worth 500 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Until Dispelled
Save: None

You touch an object or section of construction of large size or smaller. If the target suffers damage, the spell repairs the damage. If the target includes mechanisms, the spell returns these mechanisms to their original state. So for example, traps can be reset.

This spell repairs at the pace of a skilled laborer. The spell will not function while its target is observed.

In Tomb of Annihilation, Acererak uses adamantine parts held together with Soverign Glue to prevent adventurers from breaking his magical puzzles and traps rather than engaging with them. Can you imagine the building expense? Every dungeon builder needs some way to keep adventurers from simply cutting the Gordian Knot.

Ward of Sequestration

6th-level abjuration
Casting Time: 1 hour
Range: Touch
Components: V,S,M (a powder composed of diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire dust worth at least 500 gp, which the spell consumes)
Duration: Until Dispelled

You cause a Large-sized or smaller object to be warded so that if it’s damaged or manipulated in certain ways, then it vanishes to an extra-dimensional space, safe from harm. You set the ways that manipulating the object will cause it to disappear. Also, you can set how long the object will remain in the extra-dimensional space. For example, it could remain sequestered just a minute or 1,000 years. If the object is built into a larger construction such as a wall or door, then when the target disappears, it’s replaced with stone, metal, or similar materials that blend with the surrounding construction. If the replacement materials are removed from the construction, then they disintegrate.

In the early days of D&D, many DMs suffered a common embarrassment: Players would dare to enter some dungeon sealed for millenia, and find it stocked with living creatures who somehow survived the ages in their monster hotel rooms. Some smart-assed player would start asking quetions, and soon the whole group starts mocking the absurdity of the DM’s creation.

To avoid ridicule, DMs learned to fill their vaults with undead, constructs, and elementals, but that leaves so many fine monsters unavailable.

Temporal Prison

8th-level transmutation
Casting Time: 1 action
Range/Area: 60 ft (20 ft)
Components: V,S,M (an hourglass)
Duration: Until Dispelled or Triggered
Save: None

You attempt to imprison creatures in spaces where time slows to a near standstill. Creatures within 20 feet of a point you choose within range are affected in ascending order of their current hit points. The spell affects up to 175 total hit points. Subtract each creature’s hit points from the total before moving on to the creature with the next lowest hit points. A creature’s hit points must be equal to or less than the remaining total for that creature to be affected.

Inside a temporal prison, a blink of an eye can take hours. This slowing of time means that imprisoned creatures do not grow older and their body functions virtually cease. These prisons take a crystaline shape that envelops each creature. To the touch, the prisons feel solid and glassy. Bright light that passes through the prisons appears dim and dim light cannot penetrate. The prisons provide total cover to the creatures inside. Moving the prisons by any means other than teleportation breaks the spell

You can decide on triggers that cause the spell to end. The condition can be anything you choose, but it must occur or be visible within 120 feet of the target. The most common trigger is approaching within a certain distance. You can further refine the trigger so the spell ends only under certain circumstances or according to physical characteristics (such as height or weight), creature kind (for example, the ward could be set to affect aberrations or drow), or alignment. You can also set conditions for creatures that don’t end the spell, such as those who say a certain password.

At Higher Levels. When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 9th level, add an additional 75 hit points to the total number of hit points affected.

*My friend John P. Jones plays a character who casts Magic Mouth on his arrows so they deliver a mix of messages and terrified screams when they hit. John plays a bard and you know how they are. My outrageous generalizations about wizard players stands. John’s trick works because Magic Mouth now lasts until dispelled. John can prepare arrows in advance and still adventure with all his spell slots.

Related: 5 Reasons Someone Might Build a Dungeon Filled With Clues, Tests, and Riddles

The Dungeons & Dragons spells Gary Gygax never meant for players

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blood for Bacon - Another Ecology of the Orc For Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 23:32
Much of what follows in my wake is taken from the Wiki entry on orcsEver since I was growing up going up in the Seventies I've been hearing about how 'orcs are racist' & how its wrong to paint them as merely evil's cogs & parts that act as a mechanism for slaughter of PC's & the forces that commit genocide on campaign settings. To which I say, "bull shite". Orcs have been with the grand game Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A walk through Harnmaster - Skills

Bat in the Attic - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 23:00
SkillsThis is a 24 page article.

In a nutshell skills are checked with a d100 rolled low. If you roll equal to or less than your skill level +/- modifiers then you succeeded. If you roll a 0 or 5 on the last die it is a critical result. Most resolution tables list four entries: Critical Failure, Failure, Success, and Critical Success.

Skill BaseWhat your skill level starts out at is based on your Skill Base. The Skill Base is an average of three attributes. This is one of the more fiddly bits of Harnmaster but like much of the other fiddly bits it is frontloaded when you create the character.

Once you calculate your skill base you add in a modifier for your sunsign.

For example the skill base for Stealth is an average of Agility, Hearing, and Will. So a character with an Agility of 12, Hearing of 15, and a Will of 9 will have a skill base of 12 (12+15+9 = 36 /3 = 12). If the character had the Hirin (Eagle), Tareal (Pentacle), or Tai (Lantern Bearer) sunsign they would get a +2 bonus for a SB of 14. Note that fractions are rounded to the nearest whole number. So a total of 35 would round to 12 (11.6667) but a total of 34 would round to 11 (11.3333).

Rob's Comment
I recommend using a printout made form a spreadsheet of triple values. A list of totals and their calculated skill base. Like the one I made for my campaign that your can download from here.

Using Skill Base
When you open a skill there is a opening mastery level modifiers under the Opening Mastery Level or OML column. So when the character starts out with stealth their initial skill level is SB x3. So using my example with a SB of 12 the character would have a Mastery Level (skill level or ML) of 36%.

When you go through character generation, the skills you get often have a higher OML. Using the Hunter Trapper from the previous post. We see the Hunter/Trapper opens stealth at SB x4 not SB x3. The above character with a SB of 12 would start out with a ML of 48%, 56% if the character had one of the three sunsigns that influences Stealth due to the SB of 14.

Note that any skill in all caps are default skills. 
The other role Skill Base plays is that it determines your max skill level (100 + SB), and higher SB makes improving skills easier.
Mastery Level (ML)Harnmaster calls skill level, Mastery Level. Unfortunately they opt for a bit of jargon.
  • OML: Opening Mastery Level, The multiplier used to determine the initial Mastery Level when the character obtains a skill.
  • EML: Effective Mastery Level, Your mastery level plus or minus any modifiers. This is what you roll against.

Your minimum EML is always 5%, your maximum EML is always 95%
Skill Index (SI)This is your Mastery Level divided by 10 (rounded down). This is used in several mechanics where you are able to do more with a higher SI. They don't give a spot for it on your character sheet as it is always the first number of your Mastery Level.
SpecialtiesAn optional rule to allow for more fine grained skills. Some skills you can have specialties and improve them separately. You can start taking specialties at ML 40+. The advantage is that you can improve a specialty twice as fast as the broad skill. An example is Musician and different instrument. Or Swords and the different sword types. I recommend using this rule. And for @TristramEvans the specialties for Lovecraft are specifically noted at the GM's discretion.
Skill TableI showed you a slice of the skill table above. It is divided into Physical, Communication, Religion, Combat, and Craft & Lore. The Craft & Lore is the longest list.
Each skill has its Name, the Skill Base attributes, Sunsign modifiers, OML, and suggested specialities.
Skill TestingHere the rules talk about how to have player test their character skills. A marginal success is rolling equal to or less than your Effective Mastery Level. Otherwise it is a marginal failure. Any roll ending in a 0 or 5 is a critical result.
Opposed Skill ChecksHarnmaster looks at relative success, Marginal Success versus Critical Failure for example. The higher success level wins with Critical Success being the highest. If both character roll the same success level then it is either a tie, or who ever rolls the lowest wins if a tie is not relevant. In practice using this is straight forward and fast with no math involved.
The Universal PenaltyCharacter get injured, or get tired, Harnmaster folds these conditions into the Universal Penalty.
The Universal Penalty that is a number from 0 to X. It applies in one of two ways.
You add the number to any save you have to roll with d6s versus one of your attributesYou multiply 5 and it reduces your EML that you roll against.
For example a Universal Penalty of 5 means that your skill levels are reduced by -25%, and your add +5 to any xd6 rolls versus your attributes.
The Universal Penalty is made up of the following.
Injury PenaltyEvery injury that the character suffer is rated from 1 to 5. Adding together all your injuries gives you your character's injury penalty.
Fatigue PenaltyIf your character exerted themselves strenuously for 5 minutes or more then they add one Fatigue level. Casting spells or using Psionics also adds Fatigue level.
Your Universal Penalty is the sum of your Injury Penalty and Fatigue Penalty.
Physical PenaltyFor physical activities like combat, climbing, or stealth. You also have to add in your Encumbrance Penalty. This total is the Physical Penalty.
The Enumberance Penalty is calculated by adding up the weight of everything you are carrying and dividing it by the character's endurance. So if the character carrying 60 lbs and their endurance is 15 then their EP is 4.
Rob's CommentEncumbrance is generally considered fiddly in most systems and this no different. However it easier than most as it is handled by dividing the weight carried by encumbrance. It fits with the gritty medieval theme of Harnmaster. Finally it why the high combat skills of characters with military skills is important. The high mastery levels represents in part the training they got with having gear on.
If you don't want to account for every item in encumbrance then just total up the weapons and armor/clothing worn and tack on 10 or 20 lbs for gear.
Skill DevelopmentWhen a character gets a development roll you roll 1d100 + Skill Base. If it exceeds your Mastery Level then the ML goes up by one. Up by 2 if it is a specialty.
Skill Development RollsCharacters get Skill Development rolls for
  • Study/Practice, HM assume that throughout a month Character practice and study their skills. There is an optional to increase this if the character has high Will
  • Employment and Instruction, bonuses are given for job related skills and for being taught by somebody with a higher ML.
  • Stressful/Bonus Experience, the referee can award bonus development rolls after adventures that test the character's skills. The author encourage to give these out for failures as well as successes.
All of this part of a subsystem using Skill Maintenance Points. It sounds fiddly but it only one page and what it amounts to is that character get three development rolls a month, one roll for 40 hours of work, or 10 hours of instruction. There is an optional rule where you have to use SMPs to maintain skills you HAVEN'T used. But I never used that option.
Rob's CommentI like this a lot. GURPS has some of this but Harnmaster's take is far cleaner and easier to use provided you don't use Skill Maintenance. I have a house rule that you double your gain if you roll a critical on your development roll. (2 for broad skills, 4 for specialties). I like that you automatically get 3 rolls a month which helps greatly with players feeling free to poke and muddle around. Otherwise they feel like they need to get into scrapes in order to advance all the time.
The SkillsPages 8 to 19 are the descriptions of the skills and their mechanics. A lot of stuff in these pages so I will highlight a couple.
JumpingJumping is an example of a skill using the Critical Failure to Critical Success scale. The numbers present the percentage of the character's height that they are able to jump.
StealthExample of a description only skill.
Stealth is tested when a character attempts to move without being detected. It can only be applied in situations where an observer would not automatically see the sneaker. The attempt presumes reasonable cover and/or poor light. EML is modified for distance to the target, available cover, etc. Rolling any failure indicates detection, although with MF it may be reasonable to test Awareness of potential observers.
Languages and ScriptsThe description for both are several paragraphs. When we get to treasure you will see that not only knowing a language matters but the script in which it written matters as well. Luckily since this focuses on Harn there isn't an overwhelming number of choices although the author does touches briefly on the rest of the world.
Craft/Lore SkillsMost of these skills can only opened after a period of training with a teacher following the instruction rules in skill development. In some way this section along with combat are the heart and soul of a Harn character. There is a fair amount of terse detail packed in here.
Combat SkillsCombat skills are easy to get, you can open them after just one combat with a relevant weapon. However after ML 70 you can only improve them through bonus development rolls gained in actual combat.
InitiativeThis skill can only be improved through bonus development rolls gained as a result of combat. This skill typically not roll but used to determine the order of initiative.
Value Enhancement
Product QualityThese three section give general mechanics for using the Craft/Lore skills focusing on items and good that you can make with these skills. It one page.
Attribute TestingThis section get into the different ways you can use your attributes. It is two pages and covers the basic in the usual detailed but terse Harn style.
Example LiftingNormal, healthy characters can lift Strength × 10 pounds, at least briefly, with little or no difficulty. When attempting to lift heavier loads, the table (below) is consulted. The table assumes loads can be conveniently gripped with both hands/arms. Awkward loads are more difficult. Lifting tests are subject to Physical Penalty

It is possible to successfully lift a weight and then find it too heavy to hold. Once a load is lifted, an immediate Carrying Test is required.
Mental ConflictI haven't used this section much. However in two pages it give a system to resolves things like psionic attacks, possession, ethereal conflicts, and control of a magical artifact. It simplified compared to Harn combat with a single table resolving attack and defense. While different things can happen the immediate result of mental conflict is gaining fatigue levels and perhaps passing out.

That it for skills, next is the big one COMBAT!Previous post is Characters, Next Post is Combat Part 1

Follow UpsStarting WealthCharles ask a question about starting wealth. On Character 17 there is this table
But there no mechanics associated with the table. Instead the section is a series of guidelines outlining things like Family Weath, Clothling & Possessions, Weapon & Armour, etc. 
The oversight here is that the original release of Harn had three things: the map, Harnview book, and the Harndex book. In Harnview there was a section called the Pre-game. It has some of the family and social class tables and information found in the first section of character but it also goes onto explain that the referee should run a mini-sessions to flesh out the character's background with the player. This was in the 1st edition of Harnmaster but the specifics was spread out among the product line in later editions and printings. 
The table above along with the income values for various occupations work with that idea. If the character was realtively successful in the Pre-game then a value from the Rich column would be warranted. If the character pre-game was neither good or bad, then use the Average column. If the pre-game didn't go so good then Poor column should be used. 
For a more specific method, Harnmaster 1st edition recommed 1d3 month of wages from the character's occupation plus some clothing, tools, weapons, etc based on their estrangment, social class, and occupation. 
For example in a recent Harn campaign I ran, two of the players were part of the Aleath City Guard. So they had quilt gambeson, spears, and daggers from their service. As well as some coins that the players used in part ot augment their equipment.

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Holmes Ref: Rolling up an Adventurer

Zenopus Archives - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 20:46

Another Holmes Ref sheet - actually a two-parter this time!

Rolling Up An Adventurer Ref. Sheet (click here to download)

The first page is shown above and gather together the six standard abilities and modifiers, as appearing in Holmes and also including the expansions I posted a few years back (...has it really been that long?).

To make things more interesting I've included six alternate old school options for generating ability scores. 

The first, which I've termed The Bullpen, reflects the habit of early Lake Geneva players of rolling up multiple characters until they got one they liked, naturally with high stats. This was eventually immortalized in the AD&D DMG as Method IV of character generation, where 12 sets of 3d6 stats are rolled up and one is picked. A variation on this practice was also seen in Alarums & Excursions #2 (July 1975), where a character generation sheet (link goes to Playing at the World) suggested rolling three sets of stats for one character, or five sets of stats for two characters. I've added a restriction I've seen suggested occasionally (here or here, for example) that the extras are to be saved as replacement characters.

The Arnesonian method was mentioned here on ODD74 by Dave Arneson himself in 2008. That's right, Dave was a member of the forum and made over a 170 posts in 2008 and 2009 before he passed away.

The Gygaxian method comes from Method I of the AD&D DMG and Gygax's houserules for running OD&D games in the '00s.

The Holmesian method comes from Holmes early A&E article, "Warrior-for-Hire". It was intended for NPC men-at-arms, but there's no reason it couldn't be generalized it to PCs.

The Ivesian method was detailed by Wesley D. Ives in Alarums & Excursions #14 (August 1976), stated to be used in his Homlas campaign.

What I've termed the Swansonian method is simply an additional roll for a bonus ability for a character rolled up RAW. The first version of this kind of table by Mark Swanson was featured in the very first issue of Alarums & Excursions in mid-1975. It was presented by Lee Gold as Mark Swanson's Special Abilities, and was popular enough with A&E contributors to become known as "Swanson Abilities" by other A&E contributers. See the character generation sheet at Playing at the World linked above for an example of such a use. Jon also discusses the "Swanson Abilities" in his commentary in that post, which was the first to bring it to my attention. The Complete Warlock in 1978 included a variation on these, called "Table of Special Abilities", but includes more defects than bonuses. Gygax eventually developed a version of these called Knacks for his Lejendary Adventures RPG in the late 90s.

Swanson's original list was actually two lists, one for clerics/fighters and one for magic-users. I've instead made a single table for all characters with 50 entries, some inspired by Swanson's list but many others simply brainstormed while perusing Holmes Basic. See the screenshot below.

If you note any typos in either page, please let me know below in the comments and I will eventually correct and repost the sheets.

As with the previous new sheet (the Equipment Reference Sheet), these will eventually be incorporated into a new version of Holmes Ref. The various existing Holmes Ref sheets and compilations can be found here.

Update 4/29: Revised version posted at the same link. Correct typos found by myself and others and clarifies some wording in places. Screenshots still reflect the original version, so check the pdf if you note a typo in the screenshot.

Click on the image for a larger view
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Beneath the Remains

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 11:11
By D.S. Meyers Oldegrave Adventure Company OSR Levels 1-2

What will the characters sacrifice to save the Western Wood?

Soooo … yeah.

This 54 page digest adventure details about forty locations outside and in two small fifteen-ish room dungeons. Weird bullet format and a strange … forced? Nature to it, along with some abstracted detail, make this one a miss for me.

While staying in the town an old guy shows up in a wagon, shot by goblin arrows. His kids have been kidnapped, so the party traces them back to a fey circle and then a rose petal path to a glade. The fey queen says he was abusive and they killed him and are keeping the kids. Oh, by the way, could you go clean out a bunch of undead from some ruins nearby? I’ll give you The Gift of the Forest if you do. (Amulet of +5 CHA vs Fey/woodland.) The ruins are about eleven locations, with two mini-dungeons of about fifteen locations each. One of them has this artifact. A PC has to willingly give up their life to destroy it. If they bring it back to the fey queen then she kills them all for doing so and not destroying the artifact that she has never mentioned before. So …. Yeah. Obviously more than one thing wrong there. The overall vibe is a good one, enhanced by the old timey public-domain art selected. Well, good up until the point the fey queen sends you off. Then it’s just a boring old slog. The entire tone and style of the adventure changes. It was better BEFORE the dungeon stuff started.

The encounters for the ruins and two dungeons are trying to be useful to the DM. basically, each encounter has, like, three bullet points and then some stats and maybe a small section on treasure. There might be another small section explaining something or some development in some of the rooms. GL02-Hall reads “*3 goblin skeletons approach from the bend in the hallway. * Close quarters fighting.” Well, ok. I guess maybe that’s define in OSE? GL04-Kitchen. Big Chef Goblin Skeleton and 2 other goblin skeletons. Timer for ceiling collapse as the chef swings cleavers aimlessly hitting walls. Uh …. This is minimalism, or just a hair beyond it. And minimalism is No Bueno. I can roll on the monster charts in the 1E DMG and do minimalism. 

The timer, mentioned above, is one example of them in this adventure and there are a few others. They seem … weird. I guess maybe the goblin chef one is ok. You can at least see him hitting the walls and I guess, somehow, you know they will collapse? But in another place the timer is just used to have some raven fly through a window in a few rounds. What’s the point of that? Suspense? I mean, the party doesn’t have any choice over it.

And, then, there’s the issue. The party has no choice. Not with the kidnapped kids. Not with the quest pretext. Not with the artifact that makes you have to kill yourself to destory it. Not with the fey queen who kills you if you dare bring it back to her, presumably wiser, guidance. Or with the ravens and maybe the chef. Interactivity is important in an RPG. Without it there’s this false sense of mission. You know you have no impact so you don’t buy in, or, worse, buy in to your character instead.

The town has sixteen locations. A few sentences each. None of them really doing much with the locations. They don’t overstay, except in the way that no content overstays. They just don’t really matter in any way. 

Other details are abstracted. You can’t really talk to the kidnapped kids, or, lat least, the guidance on running them doesn’t exist. Likewise a fairy shows you the way to the undead ruins … a fairy with no name, description, personality or anything other than “ a fairy,” This is not assisting the DM. Is the party really unlikely to talk to the fairy?

GL01, the first room in the first dungeon is missing. It’s on the map but just isn’t in the text. 

Look, I get what the designer is trying to do. But the bullets are just minimalism instead of interesting detail. A bullet that says “They attack when the party enters the room.” isn’t adding value. I applaud the attempt at being easy to scan, but I also want the content behind the scanning. It had an interesting thing going on with the fey queen and her no solution parley. But then it turned in to standard old minimal dungeoncrawl.

This is $4 at DriveThru. The preview is seven pages and shows you several rooms. In fact, it’s mostly the first few rooms. So, great preview! I encourage folks to take a look at it and review the format used. It’s not a bad layout, it’s just the content that is lacking.

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Harnessing the Power of Grayskull

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 11:00

My recent posts about the world of Masters of the Universe, had me thinking about how I would run a MOTU type game. Given the multiple canons, it's a matter of choosing and refining. This is what I've got:

Mineternia Plus. As I've discussed previously, the earlier minicomics included with the toys, before Prince Adam and before the Filmation cartoon (what fans call Mineternia or the "Savage Canon") place the action in a post-apocalyptic, science fantasy world with something of the aesthetic of 80s barbarian films, mixed with that of 70s barbarian comics. There have been a number of cool or interesting additions to MOTU since, and the world detailed in only a few abbreviated storybooks in a toyline is pretty barebones, so this canon would only be the jumping off point.

Sword & Sandal. MOTU has the mostly austere terrain and musclebound heroes of 80s barbarian films, but the world seems to call for a bit more "PG" approach, so I think another sort of musclebound hero genre is a good reference, the peplum film. Protagonists would largely be wondering do-gooders, like the Herculeses, Goliaths, Macistes, and Ursuses of these films.

A Sufficiently Advanced Technology... MOTU is science fantasy, but its tech (particularly if you discount the cartoon and some toy boxart) seems to be one-off rather than mass produced stuff. Even if we allow it's all salvage from ancient caches, it shouldn't be down to each individual with unique tech like it seems to be. I think MOTU technology is more like magic items (maybe it even runs off magic after a fashion). Individuals can only "attune" to so many items at a time.

More Henchmen, More Underbosses. The MOTU of the comics and the cartoons that follow winds up working like a superhero comics, where Skeletor and his cronies are defeated, but allowed to escape to fight another day--or in the cartoons occasionally put in jail! In keeping with a more fantasy fiction vibe, more henchmen would die. To give name villains more of a chance, Skeletor should be at something of a remove, and even his traditional underlings should command gangs. Taking out a name villain should generally be something of an accomplishment.

If you could only have one Poll

Two Hour Wargames - Mon, 04/27/2020 - 02:09

Vote here!

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Poll - If you could only have one

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 04/26/2020 - 19:47

              Sci Fi?
                                                   Or something else?
Vote here!
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Goodbye Bryan - You'll be missed, Vampifan.

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 04/26/2020 - 19:17
One of the major influences in THW. 

Bryan was always there to bounce ideas off of and a great person as well. Rest in piece brother.

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Review & Commentary The Expanded 20-Level Core Four Classes By James Mishler, & Jodi Moran-Mishler For Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 04/26/2020 - 17:07
"The Expanded 20-Level Core Four Classes provides a new, expanded version of each of the four core Labyrinth Lord classes, for use with Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord. In the vein of the original concept of the “companion rules” to the original BX series, this gives players something to look forward to at higher levels – indeed, at every level! In addition to the core class Needles
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LULU No Like Me

The Splintered Realm - Sun, 04/26/2020 - 15:08
I was in the middle of trying to format the print edition of Tales of the Splintered Realm the other night, when Lulu decided it needed 'about 2 hours' for a system update.

Two days later, I cannot log in, I get error messages when I ask for password help, and only one of my print books is live. I'm assuming that something went horribly askew at their end, and that they are still trying to get their full system up to speed. I think I have a print edition formatted and ready to go - Lulu REALLY did not like the fonts I was using - and I hope to be able to get a preview copy ordered by the middle of next week. Once I have a print copy in hand and can confirm that it looks good to my eyes, I'll be putting it live for the world.

Hope you are enjoying playing around with the new system.

Misconceptions About Sword & Sorcery Relevant to Gaming

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 04/26/2020 - 14:00

I had in mind maybe to write a post about the elements of the fantasy subgenre Sword & Sorcery that might be useful to think about it trying to capture that feel in gaming, but after noticing there are a number of blog/forum posts on that topic, I thought the most original thing I could do in point out where I believe they go wrong, or at least overstate things. This contains slight spoilers for a bunch of stories 30 or more years old.

Magic is Inherently Corrupting. I think this belief comes from the fact that most sorcerers/wizards that show up in Sword & Sorcery are evil, but the textual evidence evidence that magical power is more corrupting than regular old power is slim. Howard's The Hour of the Dragon features good magic-users in the form of priests of Asura (maybe they are clerics?) and a witch. Gray Mouser's original mentor Glavas Rho in "The Unholy Grail" is a "good" wizard. Pelias in "The Scarlet Citadel" and Fafhrd's and Gray Mouser's mentors Sheelba and Ningauble are at least helpful and not obviously evil.

Heroes Are Amoral. While many a Sword & Sorcery hero engages in the sort of larceny and possibly murder that D&D characters are known for and some would be aptly termed anti-heroes (Karl Edward Wagner's Kane might at times be a villain protagonist), most aren't sociopaths--or at least they are less so than a lot of D&D characters. In "Two Suns Setting," Kane not only doesn't double cross Dwassllir, but he doesn't even take the treasure when it wouldn't have mattered. He even tries to save one of his subordinates who's in anaphylactic shock in Bloodstone. Conan saves more than one damsel in distress and seems to care for the people of Aquilonia when he's its king.

The Stakes Are Small. In general, S&S isn't about the epic, but this is not always the case. The Hour of the Dragon is about the fate of kingdoms, and suggests the entire world may be imperiled if Xaltotun succeeds in resurrecting Acheron. Kane is often out to conquer the world. Imaro's saga has some epic tendencies.

The Gods Are Uncaring or Evil. Most gods showing up in person in Sword & Sorcery tend to, well, monsters--but certainly not all. In the Conan stories neither Mitra or Asura are certainly not evil, and Mitra even makes an appearance in "Black Colossus." The gods in a number of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser stories seem over-involved, if anything.

A Walk through Harnmaster - Characters

Bat in the Attic - Sun, 04/26/2020 - 13:45
CharactersThis is a 30 page article detailing how to generate characters

Generating CharactersThe steps for making a Harnmaster Character are

  1. GM tells the players which optional rules are in play for this game.
  2. Generate Birth, Appearance, Physical, and Personality attributes.
  3. Determine Parent Occupation. You may accept this occupation for your own or seek a new career.
  4. Determine Automatic, Occupational, Family, and Optional skills.
  5. Determine Equipment & Funds.
  6. Determine Contacts.
  7. Veterans (optional). The last step is to allow the players or referee to make experienced characters otherwise they are starting out around age 18 to 22.

Character ProfilesA short section explaining the Harnmaster character sheet (called a profile) and how to minimize the need to copy the information to a new sheet.

Birth AttributesDetails the circumstances the characters are born into. You either pick them or roll them randomly. They include in order
  • Species: Human, Sindarin (elf), Khuzdal (dwarf), Other (GM Discretion)
  • Sex
  • Birthdate and Sunsign (Harnic Zodiac)
  • Birthplace, either pick or use the charts in Harnworld.
  • Culture: Imperial (Tharda), Feudal, Viking (Orbaalese), Tribal, Sindarin, or Khuzan.
  • Social Class: Slave, Serf, Unguilded, Guilded, or Noble
So a fiddly bit of Harnmaster is the sunsign. Your character will have one of 24 possibilities. Either a single sunsign or a be born on a cusp and benefit from two sunsigns. The sunsign modify the starting level of certain skills. Once character gen is done it rarely comes up. I always used it something unique to Harnmaster, add flavor, and because it is only dealt with during Character Gen or getting a new skill.
Now the biggie Social Class. Most character will be from a Feudal culture and that means they will likely start off as Serfs if random rolls are used. Luckily this section is either choice or 1d100. The first few times with Harnmaster it will be fun to come up with various explanation of why your character is adventuring despite being born a serf. But it gets repetitive.

Family DevelopmentThis section develops the character's immediate family. Which could be important, just flavor or not a factor at all. It mostly focuses on the character relationship and is not a family/clan generator.
You roll for
  • Sibling Rank: Eldest to 6th Child.
  • Parental Relationship: Offspring, Fostered, Adopted, Bastard, Orphan
  • Estrangement: A 1d100 roll to see how good your relationship is with the clan or extended family.
  • Clanhead: How closely you are related to the head of the family/clan.
  • Appearance Attributes:
  • Here you generate by species some of the physical attributes of the character.
  • Height
  • Frame
  • Weight: Calculated
  • Comeliness: 3d6 roll

As an option you can roll Complexion, Hair Color, and Eye Color
Physical AttributesHarn uses 3d6 for attributes. It has more attributes but only some of are what is called a key attribute. These are attribute used most often in the rest of the system.
Rob's CommentWhat I have done is a straight 3d6 roll for non key attributes. But because of the importance of keyed attributes I have players roll 4d6 drop the lowest die. Do this seven times and arrange among the keyed attributes.
The physical attributes are
  • Strength: Key
  • Stamina: Key
  • Dexterity: Key
  • Agility: Key
  • Eyesight
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Voice

MedicalHere you can roll 1d100 to see what medical condition the players can have. A sample of the table is below. The rules are vague whether the roll is optional or not. There is a 30% change (71+) that the character will have no medical traits, and a 5% they will have multiple traits (66-70)
Rob's CommentI strongly recommend making this roll optional and using the optional rule in the sidebar that gives the players a reward a two points to be place in a attribute if they risk a roll on this table. The feel of gambling with the character's fate adds to the char gen process.

Personality Attributes
  • Intelligence: Key
  • Aura: Key
  • Will: Key
  • Morality: Diabolical to Exemplary
  • Aura is the character connection to the supernatural.

PyscheLike Medical this these are mental disorder the character can have.

Like Medical I recommend using the optional rule that rewards the player with attributes points if they opt to make rolls on this table. This has other optional rules to pick from as well. Again there is a 30% change of no disorders, and 5% chance of multiple disorders.

DietyA short list and explanation of the Harnic Deities and their suggested Morality ranges.
Also explains Piety Points which rolled using 5d6. Piety points measure a character standing with their deity. All players can use them to pray for divine intervention, and they are important to priests if using Harn Religion.

OccupationThis section serves two purposes, for character generation and for making NPCs. It list a set of different occupations and the skills associated with them. It comprehensive for a medieval setting and also includes monthly and yearly wage information.

For character generation the point of the section is generate the character's parent occupation. Then the player can roll (or pick) the occupation they apprentice in. Listed for the occupation is the number of years of service before the character gets all the skill listed for that occupation. For example a Hunter/Trapper requires 5 years. Character start training at age 14. The parent roll also determine if the character was born into an urban environment.

Assignment of SkillsStarting Harn Character get skills from the following.
  • Automatic Skills: Everybody has these
  • Occupational Skills: The skill listed under the occupation that the character trained for.
  • Family Skills: The character gets to add the first skill in the parent's occupation and one other skill in their occupation list. They don't start as high as the occupation skills
  • Optional Skills: The player gets 5 picks, they can be put all one new skill or spread among 5 new skills.
  • Psionic Talent: As an option the character can be born with a psionic talent. The referee is also has the option of rolling secret latent talents for the player.
I will get into how skill works in the next post.

Equipment and FundsNext we get into Equipment and Funds. Basically listing how much wealth the character start out with. Unless the character is a noble it is pretty small. A lot of Harn characters in my campaigns started with little more than a clothes, a leather vest, spear, dagger, and a helmet.

Friends and EnemiesThis section is about generating contacts among families and allies. As well as how to call on them for favors. This is often vital for characters trying to get themselves established and looking for adventure.

VeteransThis section explains how to continue character generation to produce an experienced character. Basically each year after the character finishes training give option points which can be used to improve or add skills.

AgingThis section explains about aging if the campaigns progresses along far enough.Character DesignThis section explains the point based method of character creation. All Key attributes are set to 8 and you spend 30 character point to make them whatever you want.
As an option you can add 20 more cp and include the other elements of character generation.

ClericsThis contains the rules for creating clerics of various Harnic Religions. However keep in mind the rules for divine magic is found in Harn Religion. This section also explains Ritual Invocations which are divine abilities usable by the clerics.

Shek-P'varThis section explains how to create a mage in the service of the Shek Pvar. There are six convocations of magic corresponding to the Harnic elements of Air, Fire, Metal, Earth, Water, Mind. Along with the seventh neutral convocation. Sun sign is a factor in how good a mage is with a convocation. Like clerics you need Harnmaster Magic for the explanation of the magic system.

Military CareersThis covers the various military occupations as well as provide a fair amount detail on military life. It is a great option for adventurers. Where clerics and mages get two pages each, this section get four pages full of military detail and char gen info.
Previous post was Introduction. Next Post is Skills.
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