Magic items in Harn

Discuss Other RPG Rules Systems or role playing worlds. It doesn't even have to be Hârn-related. Anything goes...d20 (D&D3E), RuneQuest, MERP, GURPS, RoleMaster, Chivalry & Sorcery...even Shadowrun.

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PlastikTom
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Magic items in Harn

#1 Post by PlastikTom » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:27 am

For those D&D 5e, Pathfinder, etc. GMs...

How do you handle magic item availability? At what point do you introduce that +1 longsword, or Cloak of Protection? Or do they even exist? Are all magic items historical artifacts to be discovered in lore and only obtained after a year-long quest?

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#2 Post by Jason_e_Snyder » Wed Aug 30, 2017 5:06 am

Look into the black company setting book by green ronin, they have some great ideas for better crafted weapons/items etc...non-magical.
Magical stuff, for me, is very rare...legend type stuff

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#3 Post by PlastikTom » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:34 am

Thanks for the tip! I'll look into it.

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#4 Post by PlastikTom » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:16 am

I wonder if someone has summarized (or table-ized) the part of the sourcebook you mentioned. It would be nice to read through some of the ideas without paying $30-45 for the book.

By the way, I just found this post on the Paizo forum, which has some interesting ideas as well:

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2i724?Maste ... t-x2-or-x3

Good stuff, it gets the gears rolling. :)

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#5 Post by Leitchy » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:04 am

Harn is not so much a low magic setting as it is a RARE magic setting. Although...having said that people often make it both low and rare...

My personal take on magic in Harn is that the majority of magical items are sitting is Shek P'var vaults all over the island, because there's this thing about apprentices and journeymen shek p'var presenting some kind of item as part of their petition to move up to the next rank. Now, the vast majority of these will be really minor stuff; cups that turn poisoned fluids a vivid colour, or daggers that don't rust, or buckets that self-fill with clean water. But some of them will be swords that bust into flame, armour that cannot be pierced by arrows and so forth.

That's my logic for magical items being rare on Harn, but there's no reason you can't have magical items. I'd make just them very custom to your campaign so that there aren't any chances they'll over-match the setting. The knight with a flaming sword would be a being of terror for most peasants. And this kind of goes against the Shek P'var code, so the sword maker (almost certainly a Jmorvian smith, or perhaps a Jmorvian smith and a Peleahn enchanter) might be in trouble with the White Hand.

In one of my Harn campaigns there was one magic item. A ring of invisibility that only worked for 10 minutes at a time, once a day. With it, the heroes took a fortified and prepared city...by themselves. :)

One single part time magical item. :) It's all in how you run your games, I guess.
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Re: Magic items in Harn

#6 Post by WarFlail » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:09 am

Permanent magical items are rare in my campaign. I'm more generous with consumable, temporary or charge-limited ones, though.

I have Masterwork and Greater Masterwork arms and armour as nonmagical alternatives to the magical ones.

As an aside, you can buy Green Ronin's publications from DriveThruRPG a lot cheaper than directly from Green Ronin's website. I purchased The Book of the Righteous that way the other day, for some ideas on divine domains for the God's of Hârn. Book of the Righteous is a really good resource, by the way!



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Re: Magic items in Harn

#7 Post by Eder » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:41 am

Leitchy wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:04 am
The knight with a flaming sword would be a being of terror for most peasants. And this kind of goes against the Shek P'var code, so the sword maker (almost certainly a Jmorvian smith, or perhaps a Jmorvian smith and a Peleahn enchanter) might be in trouble with the White Hand.
Forgive me for asking, but ... why? Would it be "bringing the scorn of K'vikir upon the other Shek P'var" (I fail to see how, unless the knight boasts about how he got it from Shenava X)? Or would it be "making for the Shek P'var a place above K'vikir" (again, I fail to see how)?

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#8 Post by pfstrack » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:41 am

Eder wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:41 am
Forgive me for asking, but ... why? Would it be "bringing the scorn of K'vikir upon the other Shek P'var" (I fail to see how, unless the knight boasts about how he got it from Shenava X)? Or would it be "making for the Shek P'var a place above K'vikir" (again, I fail to see how)?
The mage is putting themselves above mundane weaponcrafters. Arguably they are violating the Pvaric Code.

There is a lot of wiggle room and ambiguity in the code. The amount of leeway a mage gets often depends on how blatant their magic is. Creating obviously magical weapons would make it more likely the White Hand would come after the mage if something goes wrong.

If nothing else, blatant magic makes it easier for the White Hand to find out what you did in the first place.

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#9 Post by Krazma » Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:30 pm

pfstrack wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:41 am
The mage is putting themselves above mundane weaponcrafters. Arguably they are violating the Pvaric Code.
While you are free to use whatever interpretation you choose, I don't see it that way at all. The first commandment of the Pvaric Code says "Bring not the scorn of Kvikir upon thy brothers, nor make with thine art a place for thyself above them." That's a commandment to not give mages a bad name, and to not use magic to achieve power over the masses (call it the Lothrim addendum). If you are a Jmorvi weaponcrafter, or a Lyahvi jeweler, it doesn't mean you can't employ magic in your chosen trade. You can be a phenomenal weaponcrafter, just don't do it in a way that draws scorn on mages as a whole, or use your magic to take over the kingdom.

So, a flaming sword, while certainly over the top and obvious, isn't -- by itself -- a violation of the Pvaric Code.

As for the White Hand, remember that they are the investigative arm of the GoAL, not specifically the Shek-Pvar. The GoAL encompasses a lot besides just mages. In fact, many members of the White Hand are not mages at all.

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#10 Post by Peter the skald » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:06 pm

Indeed a flaming sword per se is fine.

However, if you got a lot of business from folk because of the flaming sword and got richer than other metalsmiths that could not make one....that is a clear violation.

So, you would have to keep the magic secret (hard with a flaming sword); anonymous; or refuse engorged demand arising from it (not make any more for starters). So flaming swords are unique; from mystery smiths.....or from dead or imprisoned ones 😄 Ergo....rare.
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Re: Magic items in Harn

#11 Post by Peter the skald » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:08 pm

Oh and from renegade jmorvi weaponcrafters....just had an idea for an NPC!!!
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Re: Magic items in Harn

#12 Post by pfstrack » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:16 pm

Krazma wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 12:30 pm
While you are free to use whatever interpretation you choose, I don't see it that way at all. The first commandment of the Pvaric Code says "Bring not the scorn of Kvikir upon thy brothers, nor make with thine art a place for thyself above them." That's a commandment to not give mages a bad name, and to not use magic to achieve power over the masses (call it the Lothrim addendum). If you are a Jmorvi weaponcrafter, or a Lyahvi jeweler, it doesn't mean you can't employ magic in your chosen trade. You can be a phenomenal weaponcrafter, just don't do it in a way that draws scorn on mages as a whole, or use your magic to take over the kingdom.

So, a flaming sword, while certainly over the top and obvious, isn't -- by itself -- a violation of the Pvaric Code.
I don't actually disagree with what you said. A flaming sword, by itself, isn't a violation of the code. However, if anything goes wrong with that flaming sword, then the fact that it is obviously magical makes it much more likely that any problems will "bring the scorn of the Kvikir" on mages. And there is enough ambiguity of Pvaric Code that the White Hand could choose to censure the mage if something goes wrong.

If the mage gave the flaming sword to a heroic knight who used it to fight off a Gargun swarm, the Hand would just let it slide. If the sword was given to a lord who used it to oppress his peasants and slaughter his enemies unjustly, the Hand is more likely to get involved.

If the mage crafted a supernaturally sharp but not obviously magical sword, then even if the sword was misused, the Hand is unlikely to get involved, because the misuse of the sword won't draw negative attention to mages. For that matter, it is much less likely the Hand will find out about it in the first place, since the Hand isn't omniscient (despite their carefully cultivated reputation).

I think there is good reason why the portrayal of mages in Harn generally has them keeping their magical talents either secret or used in "nonviolent" ways, at least when in public. It is the best way to protect mages from society at large, and mages will have a low tolerance for those whose blantant use of magic may stir up trouble for the rest of them.

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#13 Post by Peter the skald » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:27 pm

A knight abusing a magic sword is NOT a violation of the Pvaric code by the maker. It is the knight bringing scorn upon mages, not the mage. The mage should disown himself from the actions to help clarity, but even if not it is a dangerous day for pvarists if their actions are judged by end users of their items. 😃

A mage who willingly supplies stuff to a likely or known abuser is a different kettle of fish. 😅
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Re: Magic items in Harn

#14 Post by Targan » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:01 pm

I'm surprised at how few weapons or pieces of armour are mentioned in canon as being magical (or believed to be magical) and in actual use by well-known heroic personages.
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Re: Magic items in Harn

#15 Post by MDMann » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:08 pm

I think that's about right. Most items aren't obvious. If you have one why advertise? Those we know about are mostly missing or stolen. Which makes sense, since they'd be prime targets horse thievery.
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Re: Magic items in Harn

#16 Post by estar » Thu Aug 31, 2017 5:59 am

I recommend the Loremasters Guild for Adventures in Middle Earth as a good source for Low Fantasy style magic items for Harn. AiME has useful magic items but they are not flashy at all.

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#17 Post by DeCoucy » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:55 am

" If the sword was given to a lord who used it to oppress his peasants and slaughter his enemies unjustly, the Hand is more likely to get involved. "

Why would helping the legitimately recognised authorities uphold the social order be seen as problematic by anyone (obviously peasants don't count)? Oppressing peasants is essential to a civilised society. Next thing you know someone will be suggesting some sort of republican governance nonsense like in Tharda...

Actually semi-serious about this. From a within-milieu perspective a mage providing tools to a local feudal overlord - even a bad one - is neither putting themselves above the kvikir (they just empowered the local kvikir leader) nor bringing scorn upon the shek pvar (staunch upholders of the feudal structure).

To return to the subject of the original post, I would imagine Harn is actually fairly rich in magical items. If you accept the Harnmaster rules as providing setting information, making an enchanted item is [b]much [/b]easier in Harn than in vanilla D&D. However, these will tend to be:

- unique rather than generic as they are mostly made be shek pvar either as part of the process of graduating to Shenava or to address a specific need that the shek pvar in question has (remembering that blasting orcs is not a high priority for a cloistered academic whose main goal is to better understand the nature of, say, the concept of entropy)
- locked up in chantry vaults for a large number of items - particularly the most potent
- and largely useless in practical terms. I see nothing in the code of the shek pvar even remotely suggesting that mages should abstain from making and selling magical items to the nobility and wealthier guilded types. Obviously they need to get funding for the chantry from somewhere, and the more time one spends working the less time one has for study. However, if you create and sell the ultimate bazooka of doom to the local lord, he or his colleagues are likely to visit you and want a lot more of these things and may not take "no" for an answer. For this reason, I suspect most magical items in circulation are more in the nature of sophisticated magical toys that can attract a high price, but are not so attractive to the powers that be that they're going to interrupt your contemplation of the nature of silence.

Also remember there are probably quite a lot of Khuzan and Sindarin weapons, armour, and tools floating round Harn dating back to the days of the Codominion (and still traded to some degree by the Khuzdul).

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#18 Post by waltscie » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:38 am

I've been running a 5e campaign set in Harn since Fall 2014 and I've been using the DMG guidelines on granting magic items due to rarity. My PCs have just gotten to 11th level and only now am I starting to introduce very rare items. Most of the party are still carrying the +1 weapons they scored several levels ago.

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P.S. I helped develop and write Adventures in Middle-Earth and I heartily agree that if you're truly going for a low-magic feel then they're great books for that!

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#19 Post by Rothesay » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:44 am

I allow for mundane weapons to have better impacts as well. For every two levels of added WQ the weapon gains a +1 impact. I note it this way - (+1) - to distinguish from magical weaponry. Most Khuzan weapons have at least this much. 8)

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Re: Magic items in Harn

#20 Post by rdelorme10 » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:42 am

Considering the Shek P'Var requirement to gift a magic item to become a master and often to gain access to a new conclave; I assume that a number of items would be made every decade and many are passed around for generations. But would the average person even recognize a magic item?

My Shek P'Var is a "weapon smith" it is not difficult to incorporate a "minor enchantments" on a weapon that greatly improve them. But to 99.9% of the clients that weapons are just superior quality. Thus there maybe a lot of "magic items" with out the players even realizing that the item is enchanted. The sword is well made and does not break: Fine steel blade and I just fail to mention the "Ward of Akana" which is a great spell to improve one reputation as a bladesmith.

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