Hârn: Back in the saddle

It’s been a long time since I ran a Hârn game, but at last the drought is ended.

Hârn is a setting I adore. I named this website after it (which may not be apparent to those who just read the blog – the main site is the Penultimate HarnPage). I’m pretty keen on the HârnMaster rules system as well – I’ve played most incarnations of it since 1987, but have played the HârnMaster Gold edition from Kelestia Productions since it came out.

It isn’t that I haven’t wanted to play in the setting for the last few years, but moving to a new country can crimp your gaming style. It took a while to find other gamers, and I couldn’t convince them to try Hârn, so we played Hero System or variations of 3.5 – both also systems I enjoy – as one-offs or short campaigns.

But folowing the first Middle East Comic Con last year, the Gulf gaming scene has really taken off. Thanks to the efforts of a few bold gamers who set up some gaming tables, our little gaming group discovered we weren’t the only ones. The Gulf Roleplaying Community is behind a tabletop renaissance in the Arabian Gulf.

And now, at last, I have players who want to play in Hârn. A couple of nights ago we created characters for a campaign I’ve designed to fit the transient nature of Middle Eastern life, and the hectic (and often incompatible) nature of working shifts.

Rather than the open-ended style of campaign I’ve run before, Agents of the Crown is designed to run around a series of short missions. I’m back in my old stomping ground of Káldôr, and the players will be royal agents, troubleshooters working on behalf of the king’s private secretary. In theory, this will allow for players to play a session or two, and drop out and rejoin as their schedule allows. It’s also likely to mean that I use HârnMaster’s rules for character development during down time for the first time.

Gaming in the Middle East also means I’m making small changes to my Hârn. We’re a multicultural set of people, and I’m activiely looking for ways to make Hârn – in some ways a traditional fantasy medieval England analogue – more multicultural too. I don’t think it’s enough simply to allow players to play characters from other parts of the world. My Hârn has to become more multicultural too.

I’ve always had a black character in my version of Hârn, Sergeant Mbunte of the Army of the Oselmarch, a mercenary who decided to settle in Káldôr after falling in love with a local woman. But now I’m playing with ideas to add more. It’s easy enough for the port towns and transient populations – merchants and their factors can come from almost anywhere – so I’m simply having more settle for longer.

I’m looking forward to this game.

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