Welcome to the HârnFAQ, a fan-maintained list of all the questions that are commonly asked by people new to Hârn.

Purpose of HârnFAQ

This Frequently Asked Questions list is intended to answer many of the most common questions about Hârn and HârnMaster. Some of these questions are very general, but others ask specific details about the world of Hârn or the rules of HârnMaster. Many of these questions have been raised multiple times on the HârnList, a Hârn fan mailing list. Many have been raised and discussed again, at length, on the HârnForum, a web-based discussion forum. Hopefully, this FAQ will help answer common questions so that people can concentrate on answering more complex, or new, questions.

The HârnFAQ is not an official publication of N. Robin Crossby, Kelestia Productions, or Columbia Games Inc, and thus cannot be considered to contain “official” answers to these questions. However, every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these answers. See also “Where do I send corrections and additions?“.


This FAQ was primarily the work of Steve McDonald who, for many years was the HârnList’s Admin. To him goes the greatest thanks. Others who have helped Steve and myself, and who we jointly thank for their suggestions and input to this FAQ include:

  • N. Robin Crossby
  • J.M. Davidson
  • Dave Debien
  • Travis Doom
  • Rebecca Downey
  • Roger A. Lighty
  • John Sgammato
  • Frank Bohnsack

Where do I send corrections and additions?

This FAQ was compiled by Steve McDonald, but is now being maintained by Peter Leitch (‘Leitchy’). If you have a correction or comment on any of the contents, or if you have a question or especially an answer that you think should be included, you can contact Leitchy on the address listed here.

Definitions and Abbreviations

Like all groups, a common lingo or jargon has evolved over the years. Find out what everyone’s talking about.

1. What are all these abbreviations?

Messages on the HârnList and HârnForum frequently contain abbreviations. Here are some abbreviations peculiar to Hârn fans:

  • CGI: Columbia Games, Inc. (see 7. What is Columbia Games and Kelestia Productions?)
  • KP: Kelestia Productions (see 7. What is Columbia Games and Kelestia Productions?)
  • NRC: N. Robin Crossby (see 6. Who is N. Robin Crossby?)
  • HMI: HârnMaster 1st ed. (see 4. What is HârnMaster?)
  • HMII: HârnMaster 2nd ed. (see 4. What is HârnMaster?)
  • HMC: HârnMaster Core (2nd ed. core rules); sometimes refers to all second edition HârnMaster rules (see 4. What is HârnMaster?)
  • HM3: HârnMaster 3rd Edition (now at version 3.01).
  • HMg: HârnMaster Gold, also HMgold (see 5. What is HârnMaster Gold?)
  • HMgPE: HârnMaster Gold Player Edition (see 5. What is HârnMaster Gold?)
  • HMgGME: HârnMaster Gold Gamemaster Edition (see 5. What is HârnMaster Gold?)
  • HMM: HârnMaster Magic (see 4. What is HârnMaster?)
  • HMR: HârnMaster Religion (2nd ed. rules) (see 4. What is HârnMaster?)
  • NBS: Nasty, Brutish, and Short; a module about Gargun (also called NB&S)
  • HW: HârnWorld (see 3. What is HârnWorld?)
  • EH: Encyclopedia Hârnica (see 13. What is Encyclopedia Hârnica?)
  • HL: HârnLore (see 16. What is HârnLore?)
  • SP: Shek-Pvar, either the guild or it’s members, or the module by that name containing revised magic rules
  • COE: Council of Eleven (see the Melderyn module)
  • HRT: Hârn Religion Team (see 18. What is the Hârn Religion Team?)
  • EHG: European HârnMaster Guild (see 23. What is the European HârnMaster Guild?)
  • CHMP: Campaign Cartographer 2 – Hârn Mapping Project
  • IMC: “In my campaign”
  • YCMV: “Your campaign may vary”
  • IRL: “In Real Life”
  • p-Harn: an individual’s own personal version of Hârn.

Many other abbreviations are common on the Internet, including:

  • IMHO: “In my humble opinion”
  • YMMV: “Your mileage may vary”
  • AFAIK: “As far as I know”
  • IIRC: “If I recall correctly”
  • AFAIK: “As Far As I Know”

2. What is Hârn?

Hârn is an island on an imaginary world called Kethira. This island and world are the setting for a fantasy role-playing game. The proper spelling of Hârn has a carat (^) over the ‘a’; in LaTeX it would be spelled H\^arn. Sometimes the word Hârn is used by players to refer to the entire world of Kethira, or at least those parts that have been described in official and fan-developed publications.

3. What is HârnWorld?

HârnWorld is the name of the game product which describes the environment, culture, and history of Hârn. The term is also sometimes used to refer to the entire world of Kethira or to the body of published material which describes it (as opposed to material about rules). HârnWorld is designed to be largely independent of gaming system, and focuses on description, background, detailed environment, and wonderful maps. HârnWorld was created and originally written by N. Robin Crossby [qv] and published by Columbia Games Inc [qv].

4. What is HârnMaster?

HârnMaster is a set of gaming rules specifically designed and published for Hârn by Columbia Games. The first edition rules were published as a single book. Subsequent editions published by CGI split these up into several sections, each published separately. The sections will be the Core rules, Magic, Religion, and Bestiary. To date, the Rules, Magic, and Religion have been published, while the Bestiary is being gradually published as a series of additions to the HârnQuest line. The sections of the second edition were all three-hole punched heavy cardstock with full color, and the Core rules came with a binder. The third edition of the main rules has been released, introducing new material, expanding some sections, and streamlining others. The existing Magic and Religion rules are for use with HM3 (as is is called). This edition uses heavy paper instead of cardstock, and black & white illustrations only, no colour, although it is still loose leaf. There is a Player’s Edition of the HM3 rules, but this is merely a truncated set of the main rules, and includes a copy of the existing HârnPlayer volume.

5. What is HârnMaster Gold? How do I get it?

HârnMaster Gold is N. Robin Crossby’s own version of the HârnMaster rules. It is different from both HM1, HMC, and HM3 but fairly compatible with all. There was a previous version that was self-published in 1999, but now that there has been a split between N. Robin Crossby and Columbia Games Inc, Robin has published HârnMaster Gold Players and GM Editions on his own website. You’ll find these, and more, products at http://www.kelestia.com.

6. Who is N. Robin Crossby?

N. Robin Crossby (he went by his second name, Robin and is often referred to as NRC) is the original creator of Hârn and author of many of the published Hârn materials. His website and eShop, selling PDF copies of material, is http://www.kelestia.com. Unfortunately, Robin passed away on July 23, 2008 as a result of liposarcoma (fat-cell cancer). His works are now owned by his estate. With the help of Ken Snellings and Jeremy Baker, Kelestia Productions are still publishing new material. Please go visit them.

7. What is Columbia Games and Kelestia Productions?

Columbia Games Inc.

Columbia Games Inc (CGI) was the primary publisher of Hârnic material in book form. They had a license from N. Robin Crossby to publish this material, although this was officially revoked by Robin in July 2003. However, due to the nature of the issues surrounding this, there is an outstanding dispute, and CGI is still publishing new and expanded material, now mostly online. Grant Dalgliesh is the main contact at the company for Hârn products. Their web site is http://www.columbiagames.com. They may be also contacted at the address below.

Columbia Games, Inc.
POB 1600
Blaine, WA 98231

Canada/USA: 1-800/636-3631
Other Countries: 360/366-2228

Kelestia Productions

When N. Robin Crossby decided to terminate the contract with CGI in 2002, it began a legal dispute that is still unresolved. It also meant Robin started his own company, Kelestia Productions (KP) and began publishing his own material from his website, http://www.kelestia.com. Unfortunately, a few years after, Robin became ill and passed away in 2008. But his estate came to an agreement with a few dedicated fans (see 6. above), and KP is still a going concern, publishing several high quality products, all of it new material, every year. They can be contacted through their website.

8. What is Auran?

Auran was a computer gaming company, now owned by N3V Games Pty. Ltd. They had an exclusive license to producing Hârn material in electronic form, but this fell through in early 2002. They now produce simulation games. Their website is http://www.auran.com.

9. What is the HârnList?

The HârnList is an electronic mail forum for discussing anything related to Hârn. It is run by a list server process on the Lýthia.com list server. To subscribe, go to http://lists.lythia.com/listinfo.cgi/Hârnlist-lythia.com, fill out the form by providing your email address and a password, and clicking the “Subscribe” button. You will receive a confirmation email; simply click the REPLY button on your email client, and send it back to the HârnList. You should also look at the HârnList Support web site for more details. However it is very rarely used anymore and could be considered defunct. The community has shifted to the Harnforum (see next item below)

10. What is the HârnForum?

The HârnForum is a site containing a web-based bulletin board, or forum software, for discussion of anything relating to Hârn. To become a member, go to http://www.lythia.com/forum and click on the Register button. The HârnForum has taken over from the HârnList as the primary means for Hârn fans (Hârniacs) to communicate with one another.

11. What is the HârnPage?

The HârnPage was a Web site dedicated to HârnWorld and HârnMaster and hosted on the columbia Games Inc website. It contained numerous articles, pictures, and weblinks created by the fans of Hârn, including some from the author, N. Robin Crossby. It no longer exists.

12. What is HârnLine?

The HârnLine used to be an electronic bulletin board (bbs) dedicated to Hârn. It was run by Rob Duff from a 286 PC in Burnaby, North Vancouver, BC. Some of the oldest material on the HârnPage was originally posted to the HârnLine.

13. What is the Duffleboard?

The Duffleboard is another name used for the HârnLine. The bbs was based on a machine called duffleboard, along with another unrelated bbs. Hârn fans on the HârnLine sometimes used the term duffleboard to refer to the HârnLine.

14. What is Encyclopedia Hârnica?

Originally, Encyclopedia Hârnica referred specifically to the first publications of Hârn material, which were titled Encyclopedia Hârnica 1 through 16. These publications were written in a modular format which had originated in Cities of Hârn, with each article having separate page numbering. This was intended to allow the articles to be hole-punched and placed in a notebook in an arbitrary order. Later, Columbia Games switched to publishing kingdom modules and other types of collections, but retained the modular format of the articles in most publications. Now the term Encyclopedia Hârnica is sometimes used to refer to the entire body of published Hârn articles. Almost all of the material found in the original Encyclopedia Hârnica series has been republished in later modules (see also Has everything in the original EH modules been republished? in the Questions About Articles section).

15. What is Hârndex?

Hârndex is one of the two books sold together as HârnWorld. It contains an encyclopedic listing of many titles, organizations, locations, and important pieces of knowledge about the island of Hârn and it’s inhabitants. See also What are the differences between 1st and 2nd edition HârnWorld? in the Questions About Articles section.

16. What is BattleLust?

BattleLust is a system for miniatures war gaming in the Hârn environment and published by Columbia Games Inc. It is designed to work on a scale of one figure per character, though some players have successfully run it using one figure per five characters. BattleLust is compatible with the HârnMaster rules, and it is possible to use them in combination, BattleLust for the masses of fighters and HârnMaster for special characters (especially those with esoteric abilities).

17. What is HârnLore?

HârnLore was an official Hârn magazine put out by Columbia Games for several years. It contained short adventures, new optional rules, publication updates from Columbia Games, and notes from Robin Crossby. Unfortunately, it was subject to long publication delays and few subscriptions, and was discontinued. HârnLore had only eleven issues. Issues 10 and 11 included full color inserts. As with all other out of print books from Columbia Games, photocopies of issues of HârnLore can be purchased; contact Columbia Games for prices. HârnLore publications have given way to CGI’s HârnQuest series.

18. What is Var-Hyvrak magazine?

Var-Hyvrak was a Hârn fanzine published in the German language by Lantern Productions, similar in concept to HârnLore. Seven issues came out before it was discontinued. Most of the material was written for the magazine, while some articles were translations from Encyclopedia Hârnica, Hârnlore, Hârnpage and Hârnline. Most of the articles are not available in English. A webpage had been created, where a few of the articles have been converted to Adobe PDF format and were available for download (http://www.edepol.de/vh), however the website has disappeared.

19. What is the Hârn Religion Team?

The HRT was a collaborative project inspired by a discussion on the HârnList about the nature of Hârnic religions. A number of interesting ideas for expanding the backgrounds of the various religions were proposed, which inspired people to create a team to write up and organize new material on the Gods of Hârn to complement the published articles. Some of this material has since been included in HârnMaster Religion. The project has ceased, and all the material is now available from Lýthia.com.

20. What is Hârnic Tarot? How do I get it?

Hârnic Tarot is an article written by NRC about the use of cartomancy (divination using a deck of cards) on Hârn and specifically on the 72 cards which comprise the Genin Deck of tarot-like cards. Robin has published this article independantly, and it was available from Hyperbooks (http://www.hyperbooks.com/). Unfortunately, it is currently sold out and unavailable. This should not be confused with the P’varic Tarot by Mike Kavanagh, which is available on the HârnPage at http://www.columbiagames.com/HarnPage/harnmaster/tarotpvaric.html. Mike invented his own deck of tarot cards for Hârn, independant of Robin’s work.

21. What is On Divinity? How do I get it?

Like the Hârnic Tarot, Robin has published an article called On Divinity which describes his ideas about the nature of polytheistic gods and divine intervention in a game world. The article is written with many references to Hârn, but is very generic and can be applied to any game world. On Divinity is available from Kelestia Productions (http://www.kelestia.com/).

22. What is Harshlands?

Harshlands is a MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) based on Hârn. A MUD is essentially an interactive text-based computer game where many people can simultaneously explore and interact with each other in an environment which is described to the player as he goes along. To play in a MUD, you usually need a MUD client program, which are widely available, although simple ‘telnet’ will suffice. The URL to access Harshlands is: http://harshlands.net/wordpress/. There is a Harshlands discussion board on Lythia.com’s HârnForum.

23. What is the European HârnMaster Guild?

The EHG was a group of Hârnic fans in Europe. They communicated about European conventions and organized group projects but it has disappeared.

24. What is a Hârnic War Ferret?

Some years ago, a discussion on the HârnList about dangerous animals brought up ferrets. In a later discussion—which was already quite silly—people started referring to trained war ferrets. Since then, the Hârnic War Ferret has become the epitome of silly topics on the HârnList. Occasionally, when a discussion starts to turn silly, someone will bring up the ‘dreaded Hârnic War Ferret’. Fortunately for our collective sanities, the topic usually disintegrates soon after that. It’s the Hârnic version of Godwin’s Law, or television’s jumping the shark.

25. What is Canon?

“Canon” refers to the body of Hârn material, including both Hârnmaster rules and Hârnworld environment, that has been officially published by CGI or Kelestia. The term is used to distinguish such material from fan-written and produced material, which is often referred to as “fanon”. Please note since the split between CGI and N. Robin Crossby, there has come to be an understanding by fans that there is a tacit, unspoken and unwritten understanding between the two companies that CGI will only publish canon material in those geographic areas that had already been released at the time of the split. They have subsequently released new expanded versions of many of these areas. KP, on the other hand, publishes new canon material for everywhere else, beginning with Western Lythia. Note, the ‘unspoken understanding’ between GCI and KP is only speculation. While it seems to be supported by observed behaviour of the two companies, it is subject to change without notice.

Questions about Hârn Articles

1. Is there a list of the Hârn articles published?

No. While there used to be such a list, it wasn’t maintained and fell out of sync with publications from CGI and especially Kelestia Productions. The list has been removed. However, both the CGI and Kelestia websites can be easily searched.

2. What are the differences between 1st and 2nd edition HârnWorld?

There are a number of small differences between the first and second editions of HârnWorld, but no one has written up a comprehensive list of the differences yet. Some of the original Hârndex listings were dropped or modified, particularly the short biographies of important persons. The price listings scattered through the Hârndex were compiled and modified into a single price index in the main HârnWorld book. The maps in the original Lythia module were shrunk by 50% in both dimensions when incorporated into the second edition HârnWorld. If you have a good list of the differences, please send it to the author of this FAQ.

3. What are the differences between 1st and 2nd edition HârnMaster?

Here is a brief summary of the most important changes so far between second and first edition HârnMaster (HM3 is merely an extension and or/refinement of HM2):

  • Character pre-game generation and some appearance characteristics are not included in HMII (but could be added trivially).
  • HMII has an optional rule for creating characters on a point system.
  • The Touch and Speed attributes are removed, and Stamina is added.
  • Endurance is now the average of Strength, Will, and Stamina.
  • Players are now encouraged to select professions from a short list; the full table of professions is still available.
  • Monthly skill development rolls are combined with an optional skill decline rule using Skill Maintenance Points (SMP’s).
  • Fatigue, Injury, and Encumbrance are now counted in Levels, each of which is approximately equivalent to 5 Points in HMI.
  • Since combat produces one Fatigue Level every 5 minutes, (longer than most battles), bookkeeping during combat is easier.
  • Injury Levels are determined directly from the combat table, instead of requiring a separate die roll as in HMI.
  • Weapon Attack and Defence Class is combined with Attack and Defence ML’s, eliminating two table lookups in combat.
  • Each Convocation is now a skill with a separate Mastery Level (CML) and SB. Known spells are cast at CML-(spell level * 5), rather than being separate skills. HMII has an optional rule for spells as skills as in HMI.
  • There are no special SB penalties for secondary, tertiary, and diametric Convocations.
  • Spell research, learning a new Convocation, and becoming a Gray Mage are all changed to fit the new Convocational model.
  • Initial CML depends on your Chantry’s quality rating.
  • All spells cost the same amount of fatigue to cast, based on success level. CS: 0 FL, MS: 1 FL, MF: 1 FL, CF: 2+ FL.
  • CML development depends on Skill Maintenance Points. Research, study, and *stressful* spell casting gives extra SMP’s.
  • Divine Grace—characters with Piety Points greater than their Ritual ML are in Divine Grace which gives certain benefits. Dying without Divine Grace causes problems in the Afterlife.
  • Optional rule that Piety Points can be used in prayer to directly alter EML on any single skill roll.
  • Ritual ML for each deity uses different attributes and sunsigns.
  • RML may only be increased by learning invocations, reading Holy Tomes, and stressful invocations.
  • Cleric starting skills are adjusted.
  • Starting clerics begin with Piety Points equal to WILx5.
  • Ritual Invocations are no longer tied to Circles of Command.
  • Invocations may be learned by anyone in the right circumstances.
  • Ritual Invocations are no longer separate skills, though each must be learned separately. ML equals RML – (Circle x 5). An optional rule reverts to the HMI rule of separate skills.
  • Ritual Invocations do not require Piety Point expenditure, though it helps. An optional rule sets Piety Point costs dependant on success level.
  • Rules describing ethereals is expanded and clarified.
  • New rules regarding the afterlife and fate of a character’s soul.
  • The various church articles are tighter, with some new material.
  • Each church is given unique Ritual Invocations.
  • New rules for tribal religions.

4. How does HârnMaster Gold differ from HârnMaster I, II or 3rd Edition?

Check out N. Robin Crossby’s website where he sells HârnMaster Gold for the answers to this and many other questions about HM Gold: http://www.kelestia.com.

5. Has everything in the original EH modules been republished?

No, there are several articles from the original Encyclopedia Hârnica modules which have not been republished. Here is a list of the EH articles which were dropped or changed in later publications. See also: Where can I find out of print articles? below.

Astrology I and II [EH7 and 8]
A small portion of this two-part article was included in HârnWorld, but most was dropped.
Chybisa, Azadmere, and Evael heraldry [EH11]
The color plate containing the arms of the leading nobles of Chybisa, and Azadmere has never been republished. However, the arms of Evael were reprinted in the second edition of Evael, published in 2001.
Kaldor [various]
Most of the material about the kingdom was revised and republished in the Kaldor kingdom module, but the detailed sub-kingdom maps were dropped and the sub-infeudation tables combined the unfortified villages with their respective manors.
Prices [EH5]
The material from this table was modified and republished in HârnWorld and HârnMaster I.

There are plans to reprint all unavailable articles in the future as part of the HârnQuest line.

6. Where can I find out of print articles?

Columbia Games will sell photocopies of all out-of-print (OOP) Hârn material they have published. These are sold at the original prices and include color maps. Contact Grant for sales information. Sometimes the original materials may be found in auctions and sales, both on-line and at game-stores or auction houses. Checking out the online auction sites may be useful. However, they are gradually bringing all OOP material back into circulation with additional information.

7. What is the difference between Cities of Hârn and Son of Cities?

Son of Cities was originally published as an extension to the Cities of Hârn book. It contained additional pages which could be added to the end of the seven city articles in Cities of Hârn, mostly additional details of specific buildings. Later, the Cities of Hârn and Son of Cities books were sold together under the name Cities of Hârn. The Cities of Hârn material is undergoing revision and expansion (possibly doubling in size), but the publication format and dates have not been set.

Questions About the Setting

The points below answer some of the most common questions about the HârnWorld setting.

1. Why doesn’t Hârn have root crops?

The short statement in HârnWorld that Hârn does not have root crops has puzzled many fans. It appears to have been an error. Potatoes and several other root crops were unknown in the middle ages on Earth, and so were deliberately kept out of descriptions of Hârn. Somehow, this decision was accidentally expanded to become the statement that “root crops” were unknown on Hârn. So now some GM’s go strictly by that statement (with the understanding that Hârn is not the same as Earth), and others simply interpret “root crops” to mean those roots (principally tubers) which were unknown in medieval Europe. Overall it is a pretty insignificant issue, though it has caused extensive discussion in the past.

2. What are those symbols on the maps?

The symbols using in maps and floorplans of Hârn material can be found on a floorplan key and a map key that have been published in several modules, including Cities of Hârn and several kingdom modules. The map key, including the atlas and interior keys, has been scanned and converted to PDF, and is available from Lythia.com (click here to download) with the kind permission of Columbia Games Inc.

In particular, on the kingdom and regional maps, the red circles and squares are towns and villages of various sizes. Black-filled triangles with the point up are mountain peaks. Hollow triangles with the point down are special “Points of interest” — Gargun lairs, Earthmaster sites, caves, and other interesting places.

There are some symbols which are not explained anywhere. These are small circles or squares surrounding a letter. These appear on some of the kingdom maps. A circle or square surrounding an ‘r’ indicates a ruin. The square means it was fortified, i.e. a ruined manor, while the circle was usually an unfortified village. Other letters indicate tribal moots, tribal villages, or other tribal gathering places. The letter is the initial of the relevant tribe, e.g. ‘p’ for the Pagaelin augur lodges.

3. What is that unlabeled “Point of Interest” near Mt. Niphel?

The Hârn Regional Map marks a “point of interest” symbol in the Rayesha Mountains between Mt. Niphel and Mt. Eben, but does not label it with a name. There has been frequent speculation about what it is intended to be. Proposals have included: the lost Sindarin city of Alarienel, the legendary Earthmaster city Lahr-Darin (which is sometimes associated with Mt. Niphel), some other undiscovered Earthmaster site, an unknown Gargun tribe, a magical confluence, and so on.

As near as can be determined at this point, the mark is merely a printing error. However, gamemasters are encouraged to use the unmarked site as inspiration for whatever their imagination can invent.

Questions About HârnMaster Rules

There are many questions about the various rules systems and versions.

1. How do I use HârnWorld with GURPS/RuneQuest/whatever?

Some Gamemasters have said that RuneQuest can be used with Hârn with little change except the visibility of magic. A freeware rpg system called DCS has conversion notes for Hârn. A search will reveal a number of threads on the HârnForum that discuss various alternate rules systems. If you have pointers to other conversions, please notify the author of this FAQ.

2. How do I handle area effect damage? (explosions, heat/cold)?

Robin Crossby wrote an article in 1990 for the HârnLine suggesting some rules for handling area effect damage in HârnMaster I. Unfortunately, those rules are no longer available. While the rules are designed for HârnMaster I, they could easily be used with HârnMaster Gold or modified to work with HârnMaster II or 3rd Edition. If you contact Kelestia Productions, they may make these old rules available once more.

3. How do I convert old spells to the new system (HMI to HMM)

Most of the missing spells from the Spell Tomes have already been converted to the HârnMaster Magic system. There is a collection of spell lists available for download on Lythia.com.

Here is a rough guide for converting other spells to the HârnMaster Magic rules; a more complete guide would be a welcome addition to this FAQ:

  • Switch SI to CSI, ML to CML, etc.
  • Bonus effects should should start at CML’s of even multiples of 5, e.g. change ML71+ to CML70+.
  • Range is usually touch or CSI hexes, or possibly CSI [other unit] as appropriate.
  • Time to cast should be changed to ‘X – CSI’ seconds, minutes, hours, or whatever appropriate (usually seconds), where X is one of 5, 15, 25, 35, etc.
  • All other units (such as area affected) should be changed to multiples of CSI units.
  • Drop fatigue requirements — HMM has spell fatigue determined entirely by success level.
  • Injury points or fatigue points inflicted should be divided by 5 to convert into injury or fatigue levels.
  • Attribute rolls should be d100 vs. a multiple of the attribute, e.g. Hrg x 3 or End x 5.
  • HMM does not have multi-level spells; rework such spells to be low level spells with penalties depending on the level of the effect it is working against.
  • Common spells should be changed to Neutral.
  • Some spell effects, particularly those affecting power requirements of artifacts, need to be significantly changed or just dropped to match the new rules about spell fatigue.
  • Examine the finished converted spell and evaluate whether the spell level should be changed because of the conversion changes.

4. How does a character open a new skill in HârnMaster 3rd Edition?

Some skills (such as Cooking, Swimming, Lovecraft, or any Combat Skill) explicitly state that they are automatically opened at OML when the skill is attempted for the first time. Language skills can be automatically opened after constant exposure to it for a month. There are no explicit rules for opening most other skills. It is reasonable to assume that the amount of time it takes to teach these skills will vary from a month to many months, depending on the difficulty of the skill. Certain obscure lore skills and difficult craft skills take the longest to learn (that is, to open at OML). Teaching requires a teacher of decent skill and access to the tools or texts as appropriate. Self-teaching is possible with access to the tools or texts and lots of experimentation, but will take much longer (at least three to five times as long). However, the tools, texts, and techniques of many crafts and lores are held as guild secrets, so self-teaching the most difficult skills may take many years and may not be possible at all without access to secret information.

5. Where are the rules for mounted combat?

HârnMaster I, HârnMaster 3rd Edition and HârnMaster Gold Player Edition all include rules for mounted combat. Such rules did not appear in HârnMaster II.

6. How does magic work, in (21th century) scientific terms?

In short, the official rules do not contain any justification for the physics of magic on Hârn. It is not truly necessary to have such a justification in a fantasy role-playing game, as long as the magic rules are internally consistent. However, some players and gamemasters feel more comfortable or find it interesting to develop rational theories of the physics of magic. The HârnForum contains a couple of expositions on the subject. More are always welcome.

7. How does a PC create artifacts using HârnMaster Magic?

In the HârnMaster I and Shek P’var module rules, one could make a minor artifact simply by casting ‘Store’ on it and storing a spell. This is not possible in HârnMaster Magic; ‘Store’ is now a major artifact spell only. In order to create a minor artifact, one must use a spell which can store itself. ‘Focus’ is one such spell. Similarly, major artifacts must contain spells which are designed to be installed in a major artifact. Here are some basic tenets of artifact creation:

  • If a magical artifact exists, there is a spell or spells which corresponds to its power(s).
  • If a spell description does not say it can be installed by itself in an artifact, then it cannot.
  • If a spell exists, a version of the spell can be made which can be installed in an artifact (though it may have significant restrictions).
  • A major artifact by definition contains multiple spell effects, a minor artifact contains only one.
  • A major artifact requires some kind of ego or will to manage its multiple spell effects.
  • If the enchantment is performed while the object is being created, the enchantment is permanent; otherwise it is indefinite.
  • Many artifacts described in the HârnMaster 3rd Edition Treasures article require spells which have not been described in HârnMaster Magic. These spells should be designed by GM’s or players who are interested.

To meet the fifth tenet above, most major artifacts are created with ‘False Soul’ or ‘Esten’s Mirror’. Discussion has suggested the possibility of a spell which binds an existing spirit to an artifact for the same purpose, and other spells could also be invented. After the ego or will has been bound to the artifact, other spells can be emplaced in the artifact, up to the limit of its WIL or EGO. Each emplaced spell must be one which is explicitly described as a major artifact power, including how many point of EGO it fills up. ‘Store’ is one such power, and it is unusual in that it enables other (non-artifact) spells to be temporarily stored in the artifact. Some have suggested that any spell which is a minor artifact power should logically also be a major artifact power, but the rules do not say so. If the GM decides this is the case he or she will have to judge how many EGO points the spell takes, since the minor artifact powers in the published material do not include this information.

One final word. Several people have noted that there are no examples in the published material of an artifact with permanently activated powers, except for those powers which enhance or modify attributes of the artifact’s material. All other powers can only be activated for a limited time, and often consume a limited number of spell charges. It is probably best to continue this tradition in newly designed artifacts; permanently activated powers are extremely powerful.

8. Is there a list of Errata for HârnMaster?

A list of errata for HârnMaster 3rd Edition can be found on Lýthia.com, and this has now been incorporated into the latest version of the product (version 3.01). Neither HârnMaster Magic nor HârnMaster Religion include any errata. Errata for previous versions of HârnMaster do not exist, as the products have been superceded. Errata for HârnMaster Gold can be found at the Kelestia Productions website.

9. Are there any rules for two-weapon combat?

There are no official rules for fighting with two weapons at once. One reason is that this style of combat is very unlike medieval combat. However, several people have developed their own house rules for two-weapon combat. If you have a pointer to some decent rules, feel free to contact the author of this FAQ.

10. Are there any rules for martial arts for Hârn?

HârnMaster Gold includes some rules for martial arts styles and some examples. A number of people have created their own house rules for martial arts styles for Hârn. Unfortunately, all the sites the house rules were published on seem to have disappeared. If you have a pointer to some decent rules, feel free to contact the author of this FAQ.

11. Is there a way to improve attributes for a HârnMaster character?

In the standard rules, there is no normal way to improve the basic attributes (Strength, Dexterity, etc.) for characters after they have been created. There are some spells and potions which can affect stats temporarily and potentially permanently, and GM’s can create new spells and potions.

Miscellaneous Questions

1. When will (Trierzon/Azeryan/other module) come out?

Columbia Games has been plagued for most of it’s life with major production delays. There are a number of reasons. First, the authors and editors are all sticklers for details. Most of the material goes through numerous revisions and wholesale changes before being published. Second, Columbia Games has a small staff, and they publish several products besides Hârn. Production of other products often causes delays in Hârn material simply because they don’t have the manpower to do too many things at once. Third, Columbia Games has a small budget. Printers require money up-front, so bad sales on one product can cause delays on printing the next one, as they have to wait to collect enough money for the print run. This is improving, however, as more people join autoship.

Due to the unresolved legal dispute between CGI and Robin’s estate and the ‘unspoken understanding’ between CGI and KP, both these modules are expected to be published by KP…eventually. They are both very large regions and require an enormous committment of time and effort to produce. They will probably consist of a regional overview module with comprehensive, but brief, information and be followed by regional and local modules that greatly expand on that material. This would be consistent with the practice first started by HarnWorld/HarnDex, which was followed by Kingdom of Kaldor, and then followed by Tashal.

2. Could Hârn be put on a DVD ROM?

The HârnList has discussed this several times and determined that, while the list members would love to see all the Hârn articles on one CD ROM, it would not be a sufficiently interesting product to generate profit for the company. As much as its fans love the products, all companies are run by profits. To organize, index and scan all the articles on Hârn into a DVD ROM would take a lot of time and money. The other problem is copyright. If all the articles were in an electronic format the publisher could not assure its authors and artists that their works would not be copied without their permission. In this case it’s not just a question of losing profits to illegal copies – but infringment on the artist/author in that their works could be used in ways they had not originally forseen nor given permission for. Besides, the rise of the Internet means the material is now mostly available for purchase online through authorised outlets like DriveThruRPG.com and RPGNow.com, or in the case of KP’s products, exclusively through their website.

3. Why are the holes in HMC punched for 8.5×11 paper instead of A4?

It is not easy to get A4 paper or notebooks in North America. Since that is where Hârn is published and where a majority of the Hârn customers are, HârnMaster 3rd Edition and it companion books are being published for American-style notebooks. While it would be possible for the printer to put in more holes to accomodate A4 notebooks and other styles of notebooks, some of the holes would overlap and it would significantly weaken the holes against tearing.

4. How can we (especially Europeans) get 3-ring notebooks?

People have suggested that US military bases or US corporations in non-North American countries might be good sources of US three-ring notebooks. Also, apparently some European stores do stock them. They could also be ordered from the US though that would be more expensive. Three ring binders can even be purchased from Columbia Games, along with full-color inserts for HârnMaster.

5. What copyright laws apply to the Hârn material?

Copyright assures that the author, or artist, or copyright holder retains some control over their works. Each country has its own set of laws on the subject, though the Berne Convention established a standard for signatory nations (including the US). Copyright protects a published work for a certain amount of time, even if the author dies. The following guidelines may help, but are nowhere near complete. Do not assume this information is definitive! For a definitive answer about a copyright question, ask a lawyer.

Quoting a very short section from a published work (so long as you list where you got it and who owns the copyright) is OK. Photocopying a table, character sheet, or any sheet that has the phrase “Permission to Photocopy” at the bottom to give out to your players/friends is OK. Photocopying a book (or chapter, or even page) so you don’t have to buy a copy is NOT. Scanning in the cover art of a module to include in a review (so long as you list where you got it and who owns the copyright) is OK. Scanning in art work from published material so you can liven up your own web site/articles is NOT. Use common sense when copying, scanning, or photocoping from published works. For more details on copyright in the United States check out the following web sites:

6. Should HârnPage submissions be in HTML, WORD, Excel, etc.?

The HârnPage and most of the fan web pages will accept anything. If you have specific questions, you should ask the person maintaining the web site. However, for the sake of the fans who might be interested in your submission, it is strongly recommended that the format of submissions be both as simple and as portable as possible. Here are a few guidelines you can follow.

The most portable format of all is plain ascii text. Any computer and any program for displaying, formatting, or printing text can work with plain ASCII. Another good choice is HTML. But avoid fancy formatting features which may not work with all browsers. Postscript is easily handled by Mac’s and UNIX systems, and ghostscript is available for reading postscript on Windows machines but this isn’t ideal. Word is a poor choice because of incompatibilities between versions and the difficulty of translating it on UNIX systems. RTF is also a bad choice because of several incompatible versions.

But the best choice of all is PDF; the Acrobat Reader is available for free for all types of machines, and PDF maintains the format of the article as you want it. There are any number of free PDF creation programs available for all platforms

As for compression, gzip is pretty universal. DOS zip, Mac Stuffit, and UNIX compress are much less portable. And if the file isn’t huge, don’t bother compressing it; uncompressed is the most portable of all.

There is no standard interchange format for spreadsheets, so you are on your own with those. If it is simply a table without calculation columns, a text output (ASCII) with tab separators is extremely portable. However, Microsoft Excel (xls) format is understand by most spreadsheet products and can usually be read natively or at least imported.

One final note. It has been deemed inappropriate to discuss the proper formats for web page submissions on the HârnList. It is a subject best dealt with between the page manager and the submitter.

7. Where can I find out about a future Hârn product?

  1. Go to the their web site for all the current news and product listings from Columbia Games Inc.
  2. Go to the their web site for all the current news and products from Kelestia Productions.

8. How do I submit material to Kelestia Productions or Columbia Games?

  1. Write to Jeremy Baker at Kelestia Productions.
  2. Write to Grant Dalgliesh at Columbia Games.

9. How do I submit material to the HârnPage?

The HârnPage no longer exists and neither do the submission guidelines. You can still submit your fan-written material to Lythia.com if you wish. You can find guidelines here.

10. What do I need to get started in a Hârn campaign?

Here is a summary of the most common answer to this question:

A game system
Use one you like, or one of the versions of HârnMaster if you want a system built explicitly for Hârn.
For a complete overview of the world and culture.
A kingdom module
Kaldor is most frequently recommended.
An adventure idea
Use your imagination, or get Dead of Winter, 100 Bushels of Rye or Staff of Fanon, or use one of the short adventures in Araka-Kalai or Nasty, Brutish, and Short.

Some things which might be useful, but are not critical:

Cities of Hârn, Castles of Hârn, or Castles of Orbaal
If you want players to go to a town described in those books.
To give your players info about Hârnic society without giving away too many secrets.
Gods of Hârn or HârnMaster Religion
Details on the gods and churches.
Shek-P’var or HârnMaster Magic
Details on magic and its practitioners.

And finally, browse Lýthia.com (and other websites) for ideas and files written by other Hârn fans!

[Last edited April 2013]

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