HARP: The World of Tarn

The World of Tarn

HARP House Rules

Following are the House Rules we are currently using in my campaign.

1) Magic Items

The current way to use the magic tables is broken in our opinion. Yes, you can use common sense and that is what we're doing... but why not fix the table so it works instead. In the first game the 4 Level 1 adventurers fought 10 Goblins. I followed the rules and rolled ONCE on the POOR Magic Items column. I got a 27 for Armor. I then rolled on the Armor table and got a 63 for Dragonskin Armor... the best armor there is... with a group of Goblins. Common sense allowed me to NOT give them that and instead just use the jist of the item instead making some +10 Plate armor that got the +10 from the magical claws of a Dragon on the shoulder plates. A simple fix that Tim discussed over IRC was to give a percentage chance to actually get the rolls on the magic item chart. I think this works well. For example say for POOR Magic Item column rolls you roll percentile first and the chance is based on the level of the creature. Using the Goblin example, say you got a 5% chance per two levels (rounded up) to see if you get the POOR Magic Item column roll. With the Goblins I'd have had to roll 01-05 (or 96-00) just to get the roll to see if they had a magic item. I think this works very well. Also, perhaps it is a 5% per level on the NORMAL Magic Items, and is automatic or 10% per level on the RICH Magic Item column.

2) Martial Arts Table

This is table is sooooooooooooooooo very broken. I've heard explanations that Martial Arts use nerve strikes and that is why they are so much more deadly. But... WHO CARES!!! It isn't fair to have that table so out of whack with the rest of the crit tables. The Monk can train Martial Arts and his style the same as weapons fighter can, and they should not be rewarded just for picking that class. Right now we are HALVING every number we see on the table and it has balanced the Monk to our Warrior Mage in combat. They both can handle the same number and type of foes and fair equally well... and that is after HALVING all damage. I really can't believe more folks haven't mentioned this yet, but it is VERY, VERY broken. The numbers for Hits, Stun, and Negatives are MUCH TOO HIGH.

3) Damage Wrapping

Okay, we decided after the game today that we don't really like the damage wrapping. All of us were getting bored hearing the same stuff all the time. One player has never liked any kind of damage wrapping on RM tables. One player doesn't like the fact that they end up doing 99 Puncture crits all the time. And one player just doesn't like wrapping... I'm not sure why. So, we're changing. Personally (and one of the other players) I liked the damage wrapping as we were doing which was per the optional rule but subtracting 99 instead, but I guess I do agree it was boring always being the same. So, here is we are going to handle damage wrapping next week:

  • Make attack roll on d100 open-ended
  • Add/subtract all OB/DB and combat modifiers (not weapon size)
  • If result is 100 or less, apply size mod, read crit (able to get an 80/90/100/110/120 if the mods all add up to those numbers)
  • If result is 101 or higher, divide in order to get results 100 or less. So, if you have 200, divide by two, apply size mod (say medium and no change) read the 100 result (in this case) and HALVE any times to death, DOUBLE any hits/bleeders/stuns/negs. If you have 201 for example then divide 201 by three, apply size mod and read the 66 crit (always ROUND AWAY FROM the nearest crit if you have a fraction) TRIPLE the hits/bleeders/stuns/negs.

We feel this will allow folks to read different parts of the charts as opposed to always reading the 91-99 section. We've seen 99 puncture sooooo many times in the past three sessions from our Elven Rogue Long Bow using character, he is SICK of seeing the same result... which we can just cou de grace the creature afterwards while he is knocked out.

4) Half BMR and Action

I'm also allowing characters to take half their BMR and make an action. The main thing to remember here is that they cannot gain a flank/back OB modifier because of their move unless the creature is more interested in attacking another player instead of the moving/attacking player. Example would be a creature has two players on them, one player is a nasty looking Fighter with a big axe and the other a small Harper with a dagger. The creature will probably concentrate on the Fighter and would allow the Harper to step around him and flank him for additional damage. But had the Fighter not been there, the creature would have just turned to face the Harper while the Harper was making his Half BMR move. This may not be perfectly realistic for Long Bowmen as I've read in another thread they should stand with their feet planted, but I don't think it'll matter so much. Best thing that could happen is for a person to have Blazing speed and be able to step out 5" from behind a wall, fire, and step back 5" to regain their hard cover. I still don't think it is that broken, cause I'd let the other player hold their action till they saw the person step out, then the other player could release their held action before the player made their bow attack. I think that works out nicely. :)

5) Stuns get a Stamina RR

This is totally optional based on what the players and GMs want I would think. But we added it to the game yesterday, and it did make combat even more fun. In our first game LOTS of Creatures and Players ended up Stunned... A LOT. The fights were mostly waiting around for your stun to wear off. Not fun. So, after reading a couple of ideas in yesterday's game we would allow folks to make a Stamia RR on their turn to see if they could remove stun or not. If they were able to remove all stun I was also allowing them act that round. For next weeks game I'm going to change that a bit so where the players can make a Stamina RR at the moment the stun is applied to them and see if they can shrug it off. This will allow them to still be stunned even if they roll very well, as they still may be recovering from previous stun when they didn't have a chance to tighten their muscles to avoid the stun. We just wrote in our new "# of Rnds Stun Removed/added" column in the middle of 9.1 Maneuver Table on p. 62. Also, if the person has trained in the Stamina RR skill, they'll need to make that skill check first to add that to their # of ranks to their Stamina RR to shrug off the stun. Also, I'm allowing the players to CHOOSE to make stamina RR to avoid the stun. Another option would be to make it a normal part of being stunned.


Rounds of Stun

< -51

9 Rnds Added

-50 -31

8 Rnds Added

-30 -10

7 Rnds Added

-10 -1

6 Rnds Added


5 Rnds Added


4 Rnds Added


3 Rnds Added


2 Rnds Added


1 Rnd Added


No Change


1 Rnd Less


2 Rnds Less


3 Rnds Less


4 Rnds Less


5 Rnds Less


6 Rnds Less


7 Rnds Less

6) Base Init

We're using the AVERAGE of QU and IN instead of ADDING them together. Even with the FASTEST Clas V Demon's, the PCs are generally still going first. BUT, at least this way, there is a chance that the monsters will not be at the end of combat and thus stunned senseless and able to attack a PC every once in a while.

7) Initiative System

In order to further increase the speed of combat we've implemented a single init roll per combat init system. I'm also using an Index card based combat record for PCs and NPCs. The basic idea is this:

  • Everyone fills out their mini-Character Sheet (Combat Record) ahead of time for the GM. I also fill them out for the NPCs before the game. If you'd like to use what we're using they'll be available here.
  • At the start of combat everyone rolls initiative and tells me what their "normal" init will be throughout the combat. This will take into account if they are "normally" going to be fighting with two weapons (+5) or with a two handed weapon (-5) and other modifiers. I write this number down in the upper left corner of the card and roll INDIVIDUAL inits for each of the NPC combatants as well and place those in order too.
  • I have a "New Round" card to keep track of when a new rounds starts, how many total rounds there have been, and to remind folks to adjust any "round counts" ... also folks should declare what they're doing at this point, though in general I only require that if it is something different than they "normally" do. This also lets me adjust their cards if their init changes because of something (Down 50% of their HPs, Switching from Two-Hand weapon to One-Hand, etc.)

8) No Deliberate Actions

I don't like the players being able to get the extra +20 during a 2 second round. When more could happen in a round I could buy it a little bit, now the only advantage to "holding" an action is that you can make it happen at a specific time. So I allow folks to say things like: "If the monster begins to swing at Boris, then I'm going to shoot him. If he doesn't then I'm going to shoot monster #2 right before he goes." This of course would be if the character had beat the two monster's init rolls, which unless you are doing the Initiative modifications (Init = QU+IN/2 instead of QU+IN) that I'm doing... I can almost guarantee that they beat the monster's init.

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