It’s been a long time since I ran a HÃ¢rn game, but at last the drought is ended.
HÃ¢rn 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 HÃ¢rnMaster rules system as well – I’ve played most incarnations of it since 1987, but have played the HÃ¢rnMaster 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 HÃ¢rn, so we played Hero System or variations of 3.5 – both also systems I enjoy – as one-offs or short campaigns.
But following 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 HÃ¢rn. 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 KÃ¡ldÃ´r, 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 HÃ¢rnMaster’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 HÃ¢rn. We’re a multicultural set of people, and I’m activiely looking for ways to make HÃ¢rn – 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 HÃ¢rn has to become more multicultural too.
I’ve always had a black character in my version of HÃ¢rn, Sergeant Mbunte of the Army of the Oselmarch, a mercenary who decided to settle in KÃ¡ldÃ´r 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.