HARP Read Through – Adventuring

The adventuring chapter starts with an overview of skill resolution and when you should or shouldn’t roll a skill tests. It the goes on to describe the typical skill test types, all or nothing, percentage, bonus and resisance roll. The last is what we would consider an opposed test.

I will cover bonus and resistance rolls in a second.

HARP uses the phrase Target Number a lot more than I am used to in other Rolemaster games. I think this is a good thing as Target Number is pretty much a normal phrase in so many games that adopting it would make HARP a little bit more approachable. I don’t think one phrase in isolation will make much difference but when one phrase becomes one of many such minor accommodations I think they do add up and make the rule book easier to digest for people coming from other games.

We are used to a target number of 101 or 111 but in Rolemaster resistance rolls can have all sorts of target numbers.

So for percentage skill tests you roll, add your skill, deduct any penalties and basically round down to the nearest 10 and that is your progress. So a real example imagine you are climbing a cliff face in a raging storm which is Sheer Folly (-80). You roll a 67  add your climbing skill of 45 gives 112 minus the 80 difficulty leave 32. This leaves 32 which is 30% completed.

HARP has very neatly removed a frequently used table with this simple mechanic. Any result below zero is a fail and there are rules/consequences for that.

Bonus skill rolls are when you can use a complimentary skill. You roll your skill roll and then if you get over 100 then you get a bonus to the primary skill when you roll it. If you get below 101 then you get a penalty. Again there is a really simple formula to the bonuses so you do not really need the table.

Resistance Roll skills are for opposed skill tests. So you roll your skill as normal and the result on the table is the target number that the opposing character has to beat to win the contest. So this is what you would use for stalk vs perception as an example.

The Resistance Roll column is also used for attacking spells or what we would recognise as base spell (BAR) rolls. The idea that the casters casting roll  becomes the resistance roll target number of course is now part of RMU but it started here. The difference being that it was all neatly parsed into round numbers from 65 at the low end to a whopping 260 if your spell casting roll total 301+! Resist that spell if you can!

Utility spells get their own column. Depending on the roll effects such as range or duration can be doubled or tripled on an amazing spell casting roll.

All the skill based fumbles are compressed into a single page table including the classic moving maneuver fail of “You stumble over an unseen imaginary dead turtle.”. That is what you get if you fail you MM and then roll an 01.

Attacking Objects

My favourite rule is the attacking objects rule. This is incredibly simple. So it is a Percentage skill roll using double the characters strength bonus or a suitable skill to make the skill roll. The other half of the equation is the difficulty factor. There is a single table of example materials and their difficulty factors. So it is routine to smash a glass window, extremely hard to break manacles but only a medium difficulty to smash a packing crate.

This rule is going to make it into my RMU house rules as it is so simple. If people want to do this sort of thing in time critical situations then this mechanic works perfectly!

The end of the skills section covers throwing things and what happens when they miss including rules of hand grenades or Slatar’s Bombs as they are called. How to handle anything for which there is no obvious skill, so called unusual actions.

We now get a bit of a GM’s adventuring instruction manual. How to handle things like light sources, how much they illuminate and how far characters can see with different talents. It also covers things like fighting in water or undergrowth. I particularly like the treatment of invisibility with perception roll modifiers if the invisible person walks across a dirty floor or it is raining and all that sort of thing.

There are falling rules with the distance fallen specifying the critcal severity rather than an attack table for falls. There are rules for different types of traps. Most of these rules specify difficulties for the related skill rolls. So there is a difficulty for spotting the trap, deactivating the trap and so on. It is a bit of a whirlwind tour of how flexible the skill system is in HARP and seems quite impressive, at least to me.

Just to give you an idea of how broad this second half of the adventuring chapter is here is part of the contents listing (the numbers is the page number) …

Using an Untrained Skill 73
Using The Maneuver Table 73
All-or-Nothing Maneuvers 74
Stat-Based Maneuvers 74
Percentage Results 74
Bonus Results 74
Skill vs. Skill 75
Modifying Maneuver Rolls 75
Resistance Rolls (RR) 76
Resolution Methods 76
Spell Casting 77
Casting Utility Spells 77
Casting Attack Spells 77
Elemental Attack Spells 77
Fumbles 77
Attacking An Object 79
Grenade-like Attacks 80
Unusual Actions & Maneuvers 80
Light & Vision 81
Light Sources 81
Special Combat Conditions 82
Invisibility 82
Limited Visibility 82
Fighting “Blind” 83
Occupational Hazards 83
Falling Damage 83
Traps 84
Sample Mechanical Traps 84
Magical Traps 84
Asphyxiation and Holding Breath 85
Watery Hazards 85
Drowning 85
Quick Sand 85
Starvation & Thirst 86
Heat 86
Cold 86
Other Dangers 86
Injury, Healing, & Death 87
Non-Magical Healing 88
Concussion Hits and Stat Loss 88
Other Damage 88
Magical Healing 88
Death 88

You have got to be impressed with the breadth of the hazards covered and the brevity of the rules.

So that is the Adventuring chapter. Next time We will cover Combat, everyone’s favourite!

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