Freebie: HARP Lite

HARPA friend of mine is an avid fan of ICE’s classic roleplaying game Rolemaster. I still have some very fond memories of our Rolemaster campaigns set into his homebrew world Ebur. When ICE announced HARP he preordered it and when it finally came out we tried it out as soon as possible. And it felt much like Rolemaster but more modern, more streamlined.

Rolemaster (especially in its later editions) can be mindboggling. If you like math-heavy and crunchy systems with a lot of tables (including very cool critical hit tables) Rolemaster is the perfect game system for you. But everyone else should have a look at HARP.

In my opinion HARP is Rolemaster done right. It still has the old-school feel of Rolemaster but is much less crunchy. And the best thing is that there’s actually a free preview version of HARP available. The 89-page PDF includes everything you need to play, including rules for character creation, combat and even a set of monsters. 

By the way, my fellow blogger Zachary posted about HARP today, too, so check out his blog while you’re at it.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

4 thoughts on “Freebie: HARP Lite”

  1. I have always loved Rolemaster, but back when I played in my early teens, it was always the game where the GM told me what dice to roll, and then did his interpretive dance of table checking and cross-checking to tell me what it meant and what had just happened. For years after that I spent my time trying to mash various pieces of the rules (Spell Law mostly) into my D&D games to recapture the awesome I found in RM without alienating other gamers who had reactions from pure seething hatred to mere indifference to my suggestions that we should play RM.

    Even so, just thinking about those days of playing RM still gives me that tingling 'gamer' feeling in my extremities (second only to memories of that summer at sleep-away camp where I absorbed the scent and contents of the 1st edition AD&D main books and Unearthed the Arcana in a rulebook I had never seen, without playing one game in 8 weeks there).

    Late last year, in a fit of desperation (when 3.5 was ticking me off more and more and 4e had been tried by our group and rejected roundly), I ran across mentions of HARP out in the badlands of the Interweb and after picking over the various reviews and sifting through the Lite ruleset, I determined that HARP might actually be a revision of the RM rules I loved that I could actually convince my group to try when I get back to running my homebrew campaign world. I picked up a full scratch-n-dent set of the hardcovers at a hefty discount from ICE (as far as I could see there were some scratches in the glossy covers and a dented spine on the Cyradon book they included).

    So far I am really liking it and I plan on using it when I start my next campaign. And 'Cthulhu' as the security word 'to prove you're a person' seems… bizarre.

  2. Can you give me some details on the Cryadon setting? I think my friend ordered it, too, but I am not sure if I ever had the chance to leaf it through.

    And about that "Cthulhu" business: I used names of roleplaying games for my Captcha. Where other blogs use d6, d20, etc. I use "Mutants", "Masterminds", "Dungeons", "Dragons", "Cthulhu" and some more. It's perhaps a bit bizarre … but I like it!

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