Saturday, June 19, 2010

Encyclopedia Harnica--First Impressions

Last October Some of you may remember I looted a massive treasure horde of Old School stuff from a clueless comic book store owner for pennies on the dollar of what they were worth.  I've been going through it slowly, mostly as Shitterial---as in material read when taking a shit. Not to imply thats its shitty reading material, just the opposite in fact.  I save the best stuff for when taking a dump.

Anyhow, I just recently broke out the Encyclopedia Harnica stuff from the list linked to above. I never heard of Harn, either the system or the world, until I found this stuff.  My first impressions upon looking through the 5 booklets are that the maps are outstanding.  Not only are they incredibly detailed, they are realistic.  From castles, to towns, to buuildings and outdoor areas, they all make sense.  The layouts all fit together.  They seem to be designed by someone who understands how medieval villages/towns/castles actually operated.  Best of all, they're generic enough to be used for any game. Consider them stolen.

The next thing that strikes me is the level of detail in the actual world. You can tell that based on what you're reading, the whole thing was thought-out over a lot of years.  It reminds me of Tolkien in level of detail, or, from what I've heard of it, the Empire of the Petal Throne setting.  He even breaks down the economics of the areas, in terms of arable land, and production values.  While harder to copy and paste into your own campaign than the fantastic maps, above, I think they can definitely be used for inspiration. 

From what I understand, Harnmaster was a game ruleset, and the Encyclopedia Harnica detailed a setting. I just have the setting stuff.  Has anyone based a longstanding campaign in the lands detailed in the Encyclopedia Harnica?  How did it go?


  1. To the best of my knowledge, Hârn the setting came first, as a product intended to be used with D&D or any FRPG. HârnMaster (the game system) showed up later as a natural outgrowth of the setting designer's interest in greater realism.

  2. > They seem to be designed by someone who understands how medieval villages/towns/castles actually operated.

    That is apt description of Harn.


  4. Harn naturally lends itself to a more gritty realistic campaign. You also tend to play and meet only other human cultures. The elves and dwarves are rare and live in isolated communities.

    I ran a RuneQuest on Harn campaign (with magic mostly removed)for a few years and then we switched to Harnmaster for a year. I found Harnmaster too slow for my liking. The group's combat with a single Nolah took an entire session.


  5. The following site may be of interest:


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