Remembering Robin

On 23 July 2008, N Robin Crossby, the creator of Hârn, HârnMaster and the universe of Keléstia, passed on to Yàsháin.

Robin had been suffering from liposarcoma or fat-cell-cancer in his bowel that was discovered in January 2006. He underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy, and was briefly in remission in 2007. Robin is survived by his wife Sharon, his three daughters, his three siblings, his father and many friends all over the world.

All of us will miss him dearly. We will miss his wit and humour, his brilliance, his particular perspective on the worlds, his (sometimes maddening) attention to detail, his song, his love of his creation and his dedication to his vision.

Robin began to create the world of Hârn over three decades ago, and brought it to the public in 1983. Over the years he worked with many people to bring his vision to fruition. His chief love was map making, and his maps of Hârn and other places are renowned. Robin was a perfectionist, and constantly strove to reach the unobtainable - the perfection of his vision. He was never satisfied with his own work, always striving to improve it, to come closer to his vision.

His goal was to make Kèthîra, the world of Hârn, as real a place as he could for his friends and fans all over the world. Many people shared and continue to share his love of Hârn and thus part of his vision.

Robin was the Creator of Hârn, and the founder of Keléstia Productions. He can't and won't be replaced, but his legacy will live on. Robin made it clear that it was his desire for Keléstia Productions to continue working towards perfecting our reflection of his vision. Those of us who have been working with him these last few years plan to honour that wish as best as we are able.

"Kua hinga te Totara" - "A great Totara has fallen".

"The stars of the heaven are dimmed; darkness is over all.
Our treasured bird has flown; the giant tree of the forest
that sheltered the birds and the small has fallen to the earth.
The midpost of the house has snapped asunder;
the chill wind blows through the afflicted home.
Our friend is gone; borne away on the canoe of Fate.
He passes along the viewless path by which so many have gone before".

Jeremy Baker
Project Director,
Keléstia Productions

Fástred's picture

Farewell Robin

Robin... I'll miss you greatly, my good friend.

May you long walk the misty forests of Hârn, and all across Keléstia....


Robin's picture

Living In Interesting Times and Then Moving On

The Harnmaster has returned home. He wanders now the roads of old Harn, reviewing his handiwork.

My name is Silmariel. I am a half Sindarin demigod who resided once in the mountain fortress of Taur Unque. I have not been to Harn in a long while, but in my youth I spend much time there,challenging the unchallengable and creating the impossible, all under the careful, and some sadistic, eye of the Master. In those days, it was a place of magic and mythicl beasts, elves and dwarves and all manner of non human beings, where the unachievable and some times the unthinkable, could be achieved with a roll of the dice.

So if, as you travel, you encounter an ageless bard, his red brown hair and beard moving gently in the breeze, an old lute strung across his back and clutching fondly a well loved oak staff with a celtic dragon engraved upon it, say a heart felt hello. If, however, you see a glint of humour in those hazel eyes, beware. You are in for an adventure.

Fástred's picture

We will watch for him

We will watch for him, and when we see him, we will smile, though our hearts may be heavy.

Fástred na Beréma,
Rówanti na Sávè-k’nôr

GronkGroks's picture

Shall we find him... Meldyrn or the Shava Forest perhaps? I think he might like those best.
Or shall we find him farther afield, wandering in Lythia and discovering new places...

If my luck holds, (which it usually does not) I too shall pass to that Misty Isle that we have come to know and love, (when my time has come, younglings!!! No sooner.) I shall endevour to find the Red Haired Bard with the round belly and ask him how he like his creation.

And ask him for any hints, of course.

aka The Ancient One.

Elton's picture

A Sad Day

This is both a sad day (for us) and a happy day (for him). Good for him that Robin has passed away. Suffering from cancer isn't something most of us wants.

Neil's picture

Ken So sorry to hear


So sorry to hear this.

Is there any way for me to pass on my condolences direct to Robin's



talkitron's picture

Many condolences

I am very sad to see such a lion of the RPG movement pass away. Robin's

contributions will be sorely missed.

Knight's picture

Sigh. . .

"Cattle die and kinsmen die,
thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never, I ween, will die, --
fair fame of one who has earned."

Although his inspiration and creativity will be sorely missed by his fans, Robin will indeed live on in his works, and in the hearts and minds of those who knew him best.

My condolences to his family and close friends.

Shane Dopson
Shane Dopson's picture

I had been quite a hard-core

I had been quite a hard-core fan of Harn (and related materials) for some time and well... a fan of Robin's writing and maps. Then to be invited to join a game run by him... was just very cool... and to get a play test credit for one of his publications! -well...
Robin was only slightly more than a friendly acquaintance to me lately, but I very much enjoyed the late-nights we spent as a small group in his "sanctum".

Anyway, I thank you Robin for the opportunity to bounce around Kelestia, have a beer and get to know you better.

Where ever you are, Cheers!

Shane Dopson
Korvel et Elis

SJ (not verified)
SJ's picture

Robin Crossby

Harn is a wonderful piece of work. I did not know Robin personally -
I think I only met him a single time, at a convention, and you know
how those are - but I admired what he did.

-Steve Jackson

GronkGroks's picture

Eulogy for Robyn

Kethira gleams in the way that Tolkien's Middle-Earth gleamed,
with a magic and realism that only the truly inspired things obtain.
Robins's brilliance in creating a place that his fans have come to love
will accompany him where ever he may go.

May the Sindarin of the Shava Forest welcome him,
May the Earthmaster(s) of antiquity rejoice,
May the Khuzul of Azadmere hold in reverence
May the Shek-Pvar of Melderyn be in awe,

For Robin has brought life to them all.

The Ancient One

AndyStaples's picture

In memorium

Robin and I never met face to face, though we emailed and chatted regularly for several years.

His vision has been my passion for more than two decades now. Harn is, without doubt, the finest collaborative fantasy world yet published. Robin was always open to new suggestions and ideas, which he gleefully worked into his vision of Harn, yet was always clear that each person's Harn was their own.

Farewell, Robin. Your imagination will continue to fuel mine. The gift you gave me is treasured as much now as it was in the beginning - perhaps more.

George Kelln
George Kelln's picture

Farewell Robin

I am glad that I had the opportunity to play Harn, HarnMaster, and participate in bringing to life Robin's vision. I am truly sorry hear of his death and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I hope that his last days on this planet were joyful and painless as possible and I want to resonate the words of others, the HarnMaster has return to Yashain.

Thank you Robin, the product of your imagination has entertained me and my friends for the past three decades and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Thank you
George Kelln

adelia's picture

Robin, my old friend

There have been many eloquent tributes to Robin on this site. I have read them all several times and it gladdens me to know that his legacy has such import. It has been many years since I have been adventuring. In the 60's Robin created Enoria, which, I am pleased to note, has many similarities to the maps of Harn. In those days, we were a close-knit group and we spent many, many nights and wee-hours exploring, plundering, monster-slaying and adventuring.
Outside the game, Robin was simply our friend. He was our group's resident musician. We sang folk music, songs of peace and love, Simon & Garfunkel especially, over and over, until his poor mother screeched at us to stop. Robin was always a quiet and thoughful presence, but quite often, his comments belied a subtle wit that always took you by surprise. He was a true flower child, with long curls, British accent and vegetarian values (although not necessarily healthy - homemade greasy french fries were his favorite). Our group planned to buy a deserted mining town in the northern part of the B.C. coast and build our own utopia. Robin was a designer even then.
I know many of you have heard Robin speak of our friend Brad and his impact on all of us. I wonder if Robin knew that he truly was as influential and important. Robin was a creative genius. His breadth of knowledge in so many areas was astounding and he always had a just-slightly-different point of view that made you think.
I am proud to say Robin was my friend and to have spent so much time with him in his last few weeks. We talked, laughed, remembered and cried. He even sang Simon & Garfunkel again, with what little breath he had left. He spoke often, and lovingly, of Harn and the members of Kelestia.
Robin was a gift to me, our group of friends, his family and you. Thank you all for giving him the gift of appreciating his passion and allowing his life's work to have meaning. I have no doubt that he will be awaiting our arrival. And, knowing Robin, I also have no doubt that there will be tricks ahead. Many blessings, Adelia

Marduk23's picture


Add my voice to those wishing to pass condolences to family. I'd also ask that you thank them for sharing Robin with us all - it was (and is) greatly appreciated.

Brimstone's picture

Very sad news.

Brimstone's picture
Submitted by Brimstone on Wed, 2008/07/23 - 21:24.

Very sad news.

I will remember Robin most from my single brief encounter with him at a gaming convention in San Jose California. He was very light hearted funny. I asked about book recommendations and he suggested Riddle Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip.

I will also always remember the look on his face when talking about the "Ignore" matrix on the HarnMaster combat charts. I think I stupidily suggested you can have the option to "Ignore" a weapon strike, but in exchange your next strike on the foe would be an "Ignore". He had a pretty baffled look on his face, but he still explained the rules in a warm and kind manner.

Thanks Robin for all the great works you created. My heart goes out to your family.

jeddak's picture

Sad News

Sad news
jeddak's picture
Submitted by jeddak on Wed, 2008/07/23 - 21:28.

The world has lost one of its brighter lights, and a true RPG innovator. Very sorry to hear the news.

Dan Bell
Dan Bell's picture

RIP Robin

RIP Robin, my thoughts and prayers are with your family, your close friends and all us Harnics everywhere. May you find serenity beyond the pale of life.
-Dan Bell

Sigurd's picture

My thoughts are with his family and friends

I am grateful for his writing and imagination.

My thoughts are however, with his real family and close friends who have lost him from their lives. Think kindly on the dreamers that speak of him in the terms of their dream. We can not know his family's loss or the real suffering he went through with his illness. For your very personal sorrows I have compassion and sympathy. I do not know the 'right' thing to say but I would say it.

Outsiders all of us, he touched so many with his dreams.

My condolences.

Bo Vandenberg

GronkGroks's picture

A wish for Robin's family and friends....

...that you remember the good times and forget the bad, life is too short to carry sorrow longer than necessary.

Robin reached out to many people and filled their lives with joy and amazement. He will be long remembered for his intelligence and humor.

I shall lift a Flagon of Ale to his memory tonight and invite his many admirers to lift one as well.
Wish him God-Speed to his personal hereafter and hope it holds half the wonder of his fabled Harn.

John Danzer
The Ancient One...
...a Gronk who Groks

Marduk23's picture


/joins in flagon lifting

(pouring it right now)

To a life well spent.

So few affect so many, so well. I've been GM'ing and World-Creating for 25 years now (still a baby to some, I know), and for the past 12 I've been fortunate enough to have Robin as a role-model. My work, and gaming group(s) have benefited greatly from it.

Although it sounds pithy to say it, a very peculiar bard just appeared in my game-world. Gods help the players that may stumble across him. :-)

Stephen Schuh

Maneus's picture

Rest in peace Robin

I first came across Harn many years ago in a gaming store in Brisbane Australia and soon after myself and others started a Harn campaign that lasted for many years.

Some years later I met Robin in Vancouver and then soon after Robin made the first of many visits to Australia to work on Harn material with myself and others at Auran.

Robin made his final visit to Australia late last year and we toured around the local area as he revisited the areas he had come to love.

For me Robin was an inspiration. Without doubt the most creative and brilliant mind I have come across and I always enjoyed every moment spent with him listening to him tell me all about 'his world'.

When I said goodbye to him last year I knew it would be the last time we would meet and yet he still smiled and said to me 'I will see you again'.

Goodbye my friend, I hope to see you again.

Greg Lane

BrianM's picture

Comments from the HârnForum

Comments from the HârnForum ...

I first met Robin at HârnCon I in 2003. I remember being a bit star struck when he first arrived at the venue, but that quickly passed after our first conversation, which revealed the depth of his intelligence bundled with a tremendous wit.

After the con, I asked the HârnList if anyone had a spare copy of the Fyvria booklet to complete my collection, and Robin offered one of his for the price of a beer at his favourite pub. At that meeting he gleefully showed me a first cut of the HMGPE. He was like a happy child proudly displaying a favourite project from school.

Robin invited me to join Rob Duff in a game he was running at his home, and the Legion of the Doomed was formed. We were later joined by Shane Dopson, and many a fine Friday evening was spent in Robin's "inner sanctum", drinking beer, looking at maps and previewing projects, and discussing all things Hârn (and doing a little roleplayng at times). It is these evenings I will cherish most in my memories of Robin.

It was a privilege to have known him personally, and I am confident that Robin's legacy will continue with every word we write, every map we create, and every game we share in his world.

Brian McNeilly

rduff's picture

I still miss Robin

I first met Robin in 1976 when I was invited to play Russian Civil War by a mutual friend. When the host of the game moved away to start graduate school, Robin invited me to join him in playing a game he invented. For the next 30 years, hardly a week went by without me doing something with Robin.

We have drunk a lot of beer together, travelled to many places, talked late into the night, and played countless games.

Robin got married, had children (not necessarily in that order.) I became "Uncle" Rob to the children. I regularly socialize with his family, and love them dearly.

I miss him, he was a huge part of my life.

Rob Duff
Langly, BC

Ken's picture

Thinking about you Robin.

Thinking about you Robin.

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