Fair Thee Well, harnlist.com

October 30, 2009

I have owned the domain name “harnlist.com” for a very long time now.  I purchased the domain from a UK (actually, Scottish) company called Easyspace way back in the previous century…or maybe it was early this century. No matter, suffice to say it was years and years ago. Days and days and more days, even!

Unfortunately, a couple of years later—around about the time I purchased a heap of new domains from them—they underwent an ownership change. They suddenly became very expensive, and very hard to work with. Overnight, it became incredibly easy to transfer a domain name from another hosting service to them, but impossibly difficult and incredibly expensive to transfer domains away from them (eg, it took me three hours to just find the page which allowed transfers away from them, and then it started to get difficult).

I have let lapse a number of domains I had with them, and transferred the three domains I really wanted to keep (including Lythia.com) away from them to my current hosting service and registrar (Dreamhost). I still gag at the cost! Should I ever want to, transfers away from Dreamhost are free, and easy to do. So why does Easyspace make it so hard? I don’t know, and I no longer care (although I suspect greed plays a big part).

But one domain that I didn’t bring across, and which is now in a “redemption” period is “harnlist.com”. This was always just the domain name for the website which supported the HârnList (ie, the email distribution list) itself, but the information it once held has long since been ported to Lythia.com. The mailing list itself was always “harnlist@lythia.com”. I don’t know why I thought I might need the domain, frankly, but I bought it and kept it going for many years. And now it’s time to let it go…

Fly free, little domain name! Keep clear of domain squatters and spamvertisers…if you can.

In other words, people, don’t go to this domain anymore, because I don’t own it or control it. And at a cost of £99, I’m not going to redeem it, either.

The Philosophy of Pvârism

October 21, 2009

One of the things I miss now that Robin has left us are the long conversations we had about the world of Hârn and all its wonderful and intricate details. One of the most vivid of those conversations ocurred when I asked him why there was a restriction on the importation of technology in Mèlderýn. While this led to a long and involved discussion that crossed many boundaries, the part I’m going to discuss here is what I recall he told me about Pvârism, the philosophy at the heart of things.

Before I continue, I have to warn you that I am operating from my memory of the conversation, and my own personal interpretation of what Robin told me…or that I remember that Robin told me (which you’ll appreciate may not be the same thing). So, my memory might be faulty, or my interpretation, or both. Or neither! Your mileage may vary, as they say.

— • • • —

What is the Pvâric Philosophy? From Hârndex, it is “essentially a way of perceiving Kelestia (the cosmic all) in terms of key elemental principles”. In HârnMaster Gold, The Shèk-Pvâr, Robin states in part “…it is more a  style of enlightenment that must be embraced by the whole being.”

But what does that all mean??

Adhering to the Pvâric Philosophy and learning to manipulate the elemental principles (that is, casting spells) is a method of improving one’s self. It has exactly the same goal as alchemy and religion; a means of achieving enlightenment, or moving one’s soul (for want of a better term) to the next higher plane of existence. In other words, obtaining eternal life. On Earth, Buddhism has a similar goal; enlightenment, achievement of nirvana. Heck, Christianity, Judaism and Islam all have Heaven or Paradise (eternal life) as a basic tenet.

As an aside; the primary difference between Earthly religions and philosophies and Pvârism is that the former all allow one to learn from the lessons of others (indeed many use parables as a teaching tool), while the latter requires you to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.

Learning to cast spells is not the goal of a shèk-pvâr. In fact, thinking that way is dangerously close to being heretical; power for the sake of power. That goes against the Shèk-Pvâr Code. No, learning to cast spells is merely a step on the path. The goal of a true shèk-pvâr is to understand and manipulate the fundamental elements of nature so as to achieve enlightenment. And with enlightenment comes eternal life, or so goes the thinking.

So there you have it. Priests, alchemists and shèk-pvâr all have the same purpose, struggle to achieve the same goal. They just do it in different ways.

  • Priests try to achieve piety so they gain the favour of a higher power, and thus be granted eternal life.
  • Alchemists attempt to understand and manipulate physical properties of matter so they can construct the elixir of life (ie, the Philosopher’s Stone) and thus gain eternal life.
  • Shèk-pvâr attempt to understand and manipulate the fundamental elemental forces of the cosmic all so they can create and cast the ultimate incantation and thus gain eternal life.

For me, this made the whole idea of the shèk-pvâr real. It meant that they are struggling in isolation, each man or women bending all their effort into understanding something that is inherently beyond normal understanding as we know it. It screams of utter devotion, of a mindset and outlook that is totally different to the ordinary Hârnic dweller. It also implies failure, greed, avarice, subtle bending of the rules, desperation,and all the base human emotions as these highly individualistic people try to force their minds into different paths to gain just a little bit more understanding. Which makes for more fodder for gaming, of course.

And once in perhaps a millennium, a shèk-pvâr disappears from his study leaving no trace. Did he just walk out, disillusioned and empty? Was he abducted? Was he obliterated by a rival? Did a casting go horribly wrong? Or did he achieve enlightenment? The rest of his chantry will probably never know.

And so the shèk-pvâr’s struggle to understand continues…

— • • • —

Feel free to leave a comment about the article or about how you play mages.

Kaldoran Hundreds

October 15, 2009

This 4pp PDF is a look at the hundreds within each of the Kaldoran shires. It provides some information (some gleaned from official material, but most of it invented) on their administrative arrangements, especially the forest hundreds, about which there is no information at all. This module has been around for quite a while, but is only now being put into a more accessible form because of the enthusiasm of Daniel Bell, so much of the credit for this version rightfully belongs to him.

by Monte Bohna

Kaldor Hundreds Download


Ilviran Temple — Shiran

October 15, 2009

This small (2pp) PDF contains floorplans of the Ilviran temple in Shiran with a very brief description of all rooms.

by Lars Richter

Ilviran Temple - Shiran Download