I had always heard that HarnMaster was a difficult game and had steered clear thinking back to my Rolemaster days. After seeing so many cool maps by Harn fans, rule extensions, homebrew addins and looking over the combat tables at the Columbia site I thought I should maybe take deeper look. I decided to take the $20 plunge, and am I ever glad I did. What a brilliant RPG System and World.
Harnmaster offers a rich environment and character creation that fleshes out entire histories and personas that are true to life. This is a skills based system that uses d100 for resolution, and does so in an elegant manner. Harnmaster is a realistic system that not only makes sense, it works right out of the box. At first I was like, "What? No Hit Points?" Believe me, once you use Injury Levels you'll never go back to HP's again.
Character creation takes a bit of time, but once completed everything you’ll need for play is front-loaded and recorded on the character sheet making lookup for task/skill/combat resolution a seldom used necessity. Making multiples of fives critical successes and failures is just one example of HarnMaster’s approach to simplifying the resolution system and allowing more time for role-playing instead of roll-playing. Even though HarnMaster is in its 3rd edition, you'll find plenty of fan material from all editions that work flawlessly. Being able to tack on your own homebrew with ease makes it even better.
If you are looking for a realistic system and world you need look no further. HarnMaster is a gem that I wish I’d found years ago...
[5 of 5 Stars!]