As you’re here, I know you’re familiar with Rolemaster, and I’m here to tell you about HARP. HARP stands for High Adventure Role Playing, and while it shares many things with RM it is its own game.
Currently, HARP has six books available: Fantasy, SF, SF Xtreme, College of Magics, Martial Law, and Folkways. You can run fantasy games with just the core book if you want to, but for science fiction you really need both SF and SF Xtreme.
HARP Similarities to RM
- d100/percentile dice based with open ending
- Modular: the mentioned expansion books for fantasy
- Brutal and amusing critical hits and fumbles
HARP Differences from RM
- Eight stats instead of ten.
- Your attack roll is your critical roll, reducing dice rolling.
- Critical tables are by damage type rather than by weapon, reducing the amount of time it takes to look up a critical result. They also top out at rolls of 120, instant death criticals, so it is much easier to top the charts.
- Rather than learning a spell list associated with their profession, casters can alter their spells during casting. This comes with an increased casting time, power point cost, and an increasing casting penalty the more scaling options the caster wants to use. Each spell is learned as a skill that the caster must have enough ranks for number of power points used in the spell for all scaling options. Characters will have to take casting penalties into account to scale their spells to cast while wearing armor.
- To create a mixed race/species or genetically adapted character, the player must purchase the Genetic Adaptation talent once or twice, one Greater Blood Talent, or exactly two Lesser Blood Talents.
- Choosing a character’s culture gives adolescent skills and is a great starting point for character backgrounds.
If you’re a fan of RM and sometimes want something lighter, give HARP a spin. Or if you’re interested in RM but it seems too daunting, give HARP a go.