HârnMaster Preview 1

The next edition of the HârnMaster role-playing game system has entered the final stages of review and art direction. Over the next several months, we would like to share our intent behind its design, discuss specific rules, and unveil its new layout and artwork.

Design Goals

While Keléstia Productions' variety of game and world modules offers a great deal of flexibility, it can be difficult for players to know where to start. The primary goal with the new edition is to present the HârnMaster book as our obvious introduction to gaming in the world of Kèthîra. This requires it most importantly to be a unified product, where all the rules are found in the same volume -- character generation, skills, combat, magic, miracles, beasts -- instead of requiring gamers to cobble them together across several publications. We also intend to tie more closely together the game with the world, not only in the HârnMaster title, but also in future adventure and world region offerings.

While recast more clearly and completely, HârnMaster will also provide broader coverage of several game details. This includes rules for elements that received inadequate treatment in HM Gold, such as shamanism, astrology, runecrafting, tarotry, and alchemy. Moreover, several concepts that N. Robin Crossby had only begun to outline have been developed into specific rules, especially his approach to the interesting challenge of how to incorporate into gameplay the dozens of religions expressed in cultures throughout the entire world. Finally, we're taking the opportunity granted by a new edition to introduce both mechanics that streamline some aspects of gameplay and others that expand HârnMaster in terms of realism and usability.

While the Misty Isle will remain an ideal place to start gaming in the world of Kèthîra, the new HârnMaster will also travel beyond its shores, a journey N. Robin Crossby himself had long ago embarked on. It was carried forward by Keléstia Production's monumental Venârivè publication over ten years ago and, now, continues into the new edition of HârnMaster.

Preview 1: The Mastery Test

HârnMaster remains a skill- and d100-based system. The first preview covers two pages that introduce the game's core mechanic: the Mastery test. It explains how regular skill tests, opposed tests, attribute tests, and -- a new concept -- skill value tests work. A few terms and acronyms might seem cryptic at this point but will be explained in upcoming previews.

Those who downloaded the free Venârivè Poetic Map by Marc Grunert will notice certain elements of it in the design of this same two-page spread.

As an additional peek to this first preview, we share two pages from the Bestiary chapter, a dramatic highlight of the art by Juha Makkonen.

Both documents can be downloaded from the Free Stuff --> Previews section or right here:
Skill System preview, Dragon Entry preview