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HârnMaster Barbarians

A Review by R. A. Downey

Edited by Suzanne Campbell for The Guild Companion

 

"The deep forests of Hârn are home to eighteen tribal nations. The homeland of each tribal nation is indicated on the Tribal Nations map.
"Although civilized Hârnians look down on them as backward, most tribesmen have more freedom and leisure time than manorial peasants. However, much of that spare time must be spent sharpening spears and fletching arrows because the tribal wilderness is a more dangerous place than the manor.
"Barbarians: An overview of tribal culture, economics and religion. A guide to character generation for tribal characters is also included.
"Tribal Nations: A separate 4-6 page article for each of the eighteen tribal nations. Each article includes a tribal map, occupations, weapons and armor, history, culture and specific shaman rituals."

- Back cover blurb.

HârnMaster Barbarians | Contents | Appearance | Conclusions | Additional

Contents

The 96-page book is a new publication by Columbia Games Ltd. Written to work with HârnMaster Core (HMC), it contains system generic information detailing the History, Way of Life, Religion and present relations of the 18 tribal nations on the island of Hârn. There is roughly 4-6 pages dedicated to each of the tribal nations, with the exception of the Kabloqui tribe, which only takes up two pages.

Barbarians Section

The Barbarians Section introduces the reader to the way of life for a barbarian in some detail. It also includes two new skills for HMC: Hunting and Trapping. The book briefly explains tribal religions. There is one page on tribal shamans, which expands and corrects the two pages on shamanism in HârnMaster Religions. The article dealing specifically with shamans is the same in both books. The Barbarians Section also has three pages of rituals and one page on how to run tribal campaigns. Following the style begun with HârnMaster Religions, there are also two pages on how to generate a Barbarian character using HMC. This section appears to draw on previously published texts as inspiration to produce wholly new text. Tribal Invocations include:

  • Band of Brothers (piety transfer)
  • Initiation (initiates a child)
  • Spirit Blessing (bestows piety)
  • Pair Bonding (marriage)
  • True Name (learns the true name)
  • Spirit Release (death ritual)
  • Sign of the Spirit (presence)
  • Spirit Balm (healing)
  • Spirit Walking (ethereal)
  • Spirit Bonding (bonding a spirit)
  • Curse (curse)
  • Sprit Call (summon sprit)
  • Banish Spirit/Disease (exorcism)
  • Spirit Marking (blesses an artifact)
  • Soul Death (loss of piety)

The Adaenum

The Adaenum article originally appeared in the Kanday Kingdom Module (#5012). The original article was two pages in length. New information includes: Adaenum Occupations, Weapons, a brief article on the "Vulna" and the "Dalaga", and a page of invocations:

  • Wisdom of Ahone (insight)
  • Seal's Blessing (euphoria)
  • Crab's Blessing (weapon bonus)
  • Olna's Way (add piety)
  • Puffin's Blessing (maritime skill bonus)
  • Embrace of Adsih (fertility)
  • Wisdom of the Waves (divination)

The Anoa

The Anoa, originally 2 pages long, it appeared in the Orbaal Kingdom Module (#5008). New information includes: a list of Anoa occupations and weapons, a note on the Anoa-Taelda conflict, the green Demons, Anoa and the Ivashu, the Lodge of a Thousand Souls and a page of invocations:

  • Succor of the Spruce (fasting)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Ivashu Song (call Ivashu)
  • Eyes of the K'orr (see through an idol)
  • Shield of K'orr (armor bonus)
  • Way of the Hunter (weapon bonus)
  • Swiftblade (weapon bonus)
  • Ivashu Bargaining (communicate with Ivashu)
  • Bellow of the Aklash (nauseating breath)
  • Withering (age rapidly)

The Bujoc

This article originally appeared in Encyclopedia 11 (#6011) and its text is available off the Columbia Games HârnPage web site. New information includes: occupations, weapons, a brief note on the Chindra Gargun and the Bujoc Language, Hunting Bujoc Style, Fletharane (an herb), Defilers of the Land, Travel in Bujoc territory, a list of Bujoc totems and a page of invocations:

  • Communion with the sea (insight)
  • Commune with Elders (see ethereals)
  • Beastfriend (Calls a friendly beast)
  • Bounty of the Kapatti (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Harmony of the Sha (disinclination to fight)
  • Spirit of the Totem (bonus to divine intervention)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Sweet Life (healing)
  • Vessel of the Spirit (medium talent)

The Chelni

The Chelni article, originally two pages in length, appeared in the Kaldor Kingdom Module (#5006). New information includes: The Chelni Occupations and weapons, a brief note on Elkall-Anuz (a site of ruins), the Chelni Horse (a unique breed of horse) and a page of invocations:

  • Spirit of the Horse (speak with horse spirits)
  • Warrior's Aid (increase will)
  • Armour (armor bonus)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Swiftblade (combat bonus)
  • The Hosk Dance (morale check)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • True Blade (blade bonus)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)

The Chemak

The Chymak article, originally two pages in length, appeared in the Melderyn Kingdom Module (#5013). New information includes: Chymak occupations, Weapons, a note on the Cult of the Shrouded Walker and a page of invocations:

  • Marog's Insight (insight)
  • Touch of Thrub (ecstasy)
  • Eye of the Deep (see into deep waters)
  • Eder's Blessing (maritime skill bonus)
  • Claws of Bavagatha (weapon bonus)
  • Friend of the Deep (calls friendly aquatic creature)
  • Spirit of the Totem (divine intervention bonus)
  • Shell of the Bavaghata (store one invocation)
  • Search for the Shrouded Walker (find a lost individual)

The Equani

The Equani article, originally two pages in length, appeared in the Rethem Kingdom Module (#5010). New information includes: The Equani occupations and weapons, notes on the Equani-Ymodi and Equani-Urdu conflicts, a brief note on wife-swapping, Kiraz and a page of invocations:

  • Craven Heart (Morale check)
  • Banish Sickness (heals disease)
  • Beastfriend (call a friendly beast)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Aka Hajar (reduce pain)
  • Swiftblade (combat skill bonus)
  • Skin of the Shevrach (armor bonus)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)

The Gozyda

The Gozyda article originally appeared in the Thardic Republic Kingdom Module (#5009). The article was originally two pages in length. The new information includes a Gozyda occupations list, weapon list, How to Embarrass a General, Missionary Information and a page of invocations.

  • Fasting (fasting)
  • Feast of the Victor (burial ritual)
  • BeastFriend (call a friendly animal)
  • Voice of Darkness (will check)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • True Blade (weapon bonus)
  • Way of the Fisherman (maritime skill bonus)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Swiftblade (combat bonus)
  • False Age (ages rapidly)
  • Lingering Death (infects an open wound)

The Hodiri

The Hodiri article, originally two pages in length, appeared in the Melderyn Kingdom Module (#5013). New information includes: Hodiri Occupations, weapons, a brief note on Travel in Hodiri Territory and Hodiri Gur (a special cart). The Hodiri do not have any invocations listed.

The Kabloqui

The Kabloqui is a new article two pages in length.  The article follows the same format as all the others in this book, but has no ritual invocations listed.

The Kamaki

The Kamaki article originally appeared in the Kanday Kingdom Module (#5012). The original article was two pages in length. New information includes: Occupations, weapons, a sidebar article on "the Place of Loss" and a page of invocations:

  • Touch of Mala-Kar (euphoria)
  • Guidance of Shadet-Etu (moral insight)
  • Blessing of the Waves (maritime skill bonus)
  • Friend of the Deep (befriend aquatic creature)
  • True Blade (weapon bonus)
  • Perception of Retek-Sut (sensory bonus)
  • Turtle's Shell (armor bonus)
  • Spirit of the Totem (bonus towards divine invocation)
  • Call of the Tre'Clut Tu-ek (disinclination to fight)

The Kath

The Kath, originally 2 page article, appeared in the Kaldor Kingdom Module (#5006). New information includes: Kath occupations, weapons, a list of Kath totems, a note about Kath Shaman and a page of Kath invocations:

  • Silent Passage (walk/climb silently)
  • Spirit Eye (enhances vision)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Spirit of the Water (endurance bonus)
  • Peace of the Spirits (disinclination to fight)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Shield of Narl (armor bonus)
  • Spirit of the Totem (divine intervention bonus)
  • Spiritskin (shape change)
  • Beastman (change form)

The Kubora

The Kubora article was originally four pages in length and appeared in the Rethem Kingdom Module (#5010). New information includes: Kubora Occupations and weapons, sidebar articles on: Death and Burial Practices, Shuntul, The Ugly Kuboran, Kemlar the Guide, Heneryn the Golden and Crador the Blind (three beings of their pantheon), Kuboran Warfare, Travel in Peran and a page of invocations:

  • Swiftblade (Combat bonus)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)
  • Beastman (shift form)
  • Peace of the Goddess (disinclination to fight)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Beastfriend (calls a friendly animal)
  • Curse of the Crador (nightmares)
  • True Blade (weapon bonus)
  • Craven Heart (morale check)
  • Crador's Riddle (skill bonus)

The Pagaelin

The Pagaelin article, originally four pages in length, appeared in the Encyclopedia Hârnica 9 (#6009). New information includes: Pagaelin occupations and weapons, a sidebar note on Pagaelin Honor, the Burzyn Raid, the Osel Massacre, Travel in Pagaelin Territory and a page of invocations:

  • Walk of the Cat (stealth)
  • Sleep of the Watchful (awareness bonus)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Swiftblade (combat bonus)
  • Touch of the Walker (pain)
  • Peace of the Augur (disinclination to fight)
  • The Walker's Whisper (suggestion)
  • Visit to Nosa Olab (nightmares)
  • Teeth of Yarlac (weapon bonus)

The Solori

The Solori article was originally two pages in length and appeared in the Melderyn Kingdom Module (#5013). New information includes: Solori Occupations and weapons, a brief note on the Solori Language, a description of an herb (Gaethipa, poison), a sidebar article on the "Beetle of life and death" and "Solori Tenacity" and a page of new invocations:

  • Prayer to the Ancient Ones (communicate with an ancestor)
  • Prance of the Deer (increase mobility)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Matsum's Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Peace of the Ancestors (disinclination to fight)
  • Song of Mercy (healing)
  • Defense (increased endurance, defense bonus)
  • Swiftblade (combat bonus)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)
  • Summon Ancestor (invocation)

The Taelda

The Taelda, originally 2 pages long, appeared in the Orbaal Kingdom Module (#5008). New information includes: Taelda occupations and weapons, a note on the Anoa-Taelda Conflict, and language, Norton keep and a page of invocations:

  • Insight of Alwynn (insight)
  • Beastfriend (calls a friendly beast)
  • Alynn's Honey (healing)
  • Cothllyn's peace (disinclination to fight)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Alynn's Aid (skill bonus)
  • Library of the Ancients (protects a clay tablet)
  • Presence of Alwynn (illumination increase)
  • Tree Meld (merge into a tree)

The Tulwyn

The Tulwyn article, originally four pages in length, appeared in the Kaldor Kingdom Module (#5008). New information includes: Tulwyn Occupations, weapons, Sovereign Tribes, The tale of Shauna, The Turenkemri, Tulwyn Shamans and a page of invocations:

  • Craven Heart (morale check)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)
  • Ward of Kekamar (armor bonus)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • Swiftblade (combat skill bonus)
  • Listening to Kekamar (fasting/speak with Elementals)
  • Spear of the Winds (winds spirit summoning)
  • Presence of Kekamar (wind control)

The Urdu

The Urdu article was originally two pages in length and appeared in the Rethem Kingdom Module (#5010). New information includes; Urdu Occupations, Weapons, and sidebar articles entitled "Equani-Urdu Conflict, Frunir (a game) and a page of invocations:

  • Insight of the Guide (insight)
  • Beastfriend (Call a friendly beast)
  • Craven Heart (morale check)
  • Peace of the Spirits (disinclination to fight)
  • True Blade (weapon bonus)
  • Kemlar's Shield (armor bonus)
  • Ancestor Voice (communicate with an ancestor)
  • Way of the Fisherman (maritime skill bonus)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • Beastman (shift form)

The Ymodi

The Ymodi article, originally two pages in length, appeared in the Orbaal Kingdom Module (#5008). New information includes; Ymodi occupations, weapons, a brief note on the Equani-Ymodi conflict, a list of Ymodi totems and a page of invocations:

  • Wajok's Blessing (swimming bonus)
  • Spirit of the totem (divine intervention bonus)
  • Way of the Hunter (wilderness skill bonus)
  • True Arrow (arrow bonus)
  • True Blade (weapon bonus)
  • Craven Heart (morale check)
  • Hide of the Stone Beast (armor bonus)
  • Swiftblade (combat bonus)
  • Way of the Warrior (battle frenzy)
  • Wajok's Wrath (Weben River flow's swifter)

HârnMaster Barbarians | Contents | Appearance | Conclusions | Additional

Appearance

HârnMaster Barbarians comes as 94 standard U.S. letter-sized pages, three hole punched. The paper is card stock and the cover is a wrap-around piece of color card stock

Almost all the art within the publication appears to be new. The maps are all redrawn in strong detail making it far easier to locate each of the tribal ranges in relation to the island itself. The pages are in the HMC style, with a right hand side small column for additional data and a larger left side column for the main flow of text.

HârnMaster Barbarians | Contents | Appearance | Conclusions | Additional

Conclusions

So, you have waded through the content and appearance explanations - hoping for a detailed explanation of what the book really contains. Well then, here is the rating you have all been waiting for:

Pros | Cons | In Conclusion

The Pros:

  • HârnMaster Barbarians appears, at first glance, to be a repeat of previously published articles. Indeed, all but two articles have appeared elsewhere, but with Columbia Games virtually out of stock of all its older publications, the average role-playing enthusiast would be hard pressed to find them. In addition, the articles were carefully edited and, in some cases, rewritten to remove older errors and omissions in the text.
  • The maps are all new and easier to use than those in the original articles. Included with each map is a small drawing of the island of Hârn, with the location of the tribal map highlighted. This change, along with symbols marking Gargun colonies, encampments, fortifications and other tribal locations, provide more information from which the game master can draw.
  • The new information provides more depth and detail for the tribes, making it easier to consistently portray the differences between the tribes.
  • Having all the tribal information in one binder makes it more accessible than having a variety of articles scattered across 12 publications.

Pros | Cons | In Conclusion

The Cons:

  • The book is three hole punched for American style paper. This makes it an awkward purchase for anyone without access to the appropriate binder (which it does not ship with).
  • The formatting increases the number of pages to portray the information. In some places it is difficult to discern if the information is new, rewritten or just a repeat from the previous version of the product.
  • Without the hexagonal overlay, which is common on other Hârnic maps, it is difficult to judge distances, even though there is a small scale available on each map. The map key is more poetic than realistic. The main map on Barbarians 3, showing the tribal nations, is a larger repeat of the map shown on the back cover.

Pros | Cons | In Conclusion

In Conclusion

HârnMaster Barbarians replaces a lot of out of print information. It strives to add new content, new layout and new graphics, all to attract new buyers. For those few Hârniacs out there who already have almost everything Columbia Games ever produced, the value of owning this new book is, indeed, questionable.

I purchased the book primarily out of curiosity. As a fan of Eric Hotz's art, the book is a worthwhile addition to my ever-growing Hârnpile. I like the new format as I find it easier to read both long-term and at a glance. The new pieces of information, while small, add detail and help me better flesh out the tribes I wish to use in my campaigns.

While the book does have its problems, Columbia Games are trying to reproduce older publications without just re-releasing them. It may not be immediately obvious to those Hârniacs looking for all new information, but the company, writers and editors put a lot of work to turn a series of good articles into a great HârnWorld reference book, even though the book claims to be an HârnMaster reference.

I would give it a three out of a possible four stars for its good content, ease of reading, ease of use and nice appearance.

 

By N. Robin Crossby, Tom Dalgliesh, Ed Kin and Jamie Revell. Editors: Grant Dalgliesh, Penny Dalgliesh, John Sgammato and Cal Stengel. Maps, Plans and Cover Art: Eric Hotz. Contributors: John Frazer, Terry Simpson, Greg Willaby. Copyright © 1984, 2000, N. Robin Crossby and Columbia Games, Inc. POB 3457 Blaine, WA 98231, USA. http://www.columbiagames.com Product #4761 Price $29.95. 96 pages. Homepage: http://www.columbiagames.com/nCGI/Products/Harnworld/4761Barbarians/4761Barbarians.html

 

Pros | Cons | In Conclusion
HârnMaster Barbarians
| Contents | Appearance | Conclusions | Additional

Additional

If you are interested in more information about HârnMaster tribes, the following may be of interest.

Sources | Unofficial Errata

Sources of Information for Tribes of Hârn

http://members.aol.com/ttrotsky/tribal/ the Hârn Religion's Team (HRT) web-site for tribal religions. This unofficial site contains a lot of information, broken down by tribe, and expands on the information in the HârnMaster Barbarians.

http://www.columbiagames.com/HarnPage/harnworld/cultures.html this page has links to

  • The original Bujoc article from Encyclopedia Hârnica 9.
  • The original Pagaelin article from Encyclopedia Hârnica 11.
  • The Numec of Hepekeria (character rules) by Bill Gant
  • Social Developments on Hârn by PB Kubora expansion articles by Brian Smaller
  • Gypsy by Brian Smaller

Sources | Unofficial Errata

Unofficial Errata

The following was taken from various HârnList discussions on the topic. It should not be taken as an official list of errors or omissions.

Special thanks to Jamie Revell, Al Lowe, James Watson, Klaus Ole Kristiansen, Keven Knight and Ed Reppert. They, in their Hârnlist conversations, came up with all the following questions and their answers. My part was only that of an editor, shortening and correcting where I could.

  1. The Kabloqui article is only 2 pages in length. This contradicts the back-cover, which promises 4 to 6 pages of information per tribe.
  2. The table on Tribal Religion 1 (from HM Religion) is superseded in other respects, it correctly lists which tribes cannot receive divine intervention - Bujoc, Chelni, Gozyda, Hodiri, Kath (i.e. the ones that don't worship gods). Instead these tribes receive the power for their invocations either from a totem, spirit or even, perhaps, an internal force. Each tribe sees it slightly differently and thus the title of "invocation" is perhaps misleading. In relation to rules, they all function in the same manner. The social and religious differences however, provide more depth and meaning for a GM to make use of.
  3. There is an error on Barbarians 14, in the sidebar under "Female Skills", where it says that Chelni and Hodiri women add Riding/3 to their skills. This is wrong as, if you go to Chelni 3, under "TRIBAL ORGANIZATION" 2nd paragraph, 2nd sentence:" Women are homemakers; they do not participate in hunting, and riding horses is taboo."
  4. The rule of thumb for calculating tribal population breakdown is 50% male. The usual figure given by Military Historians, is about 20% of the total tribal population will be men in the prime fighting years (ages 15 to 35). 20% are women of all ages. The remaining 30% are male children too young to fight or male elders. (James Watson)
  5. There is an error in the population figures for the Hodiri nation. If tribal sizes range from 60 to 300, then the maximum (assuming each tribe had 300 members * 82 tribes =) 24,600 not 25,000. Either there are more than 82 tribes, or the total number of tribesmen is less than 24,600. (Klaus Ole Kristiansen) An elegant solution is to say there are at least 82 tribes with as few as 60 and as many as 300 known to civilized Hârn. The total population of the Hodiri nation, however, is estimated by most scholars to be around 25,000.
  6. The map on Pagaelin lists the Kald River as the River Thard.
  7. The map on Pagaelin 1 labels the lake next to Ilmen Marsh "Lake Arain". It is actually Tontury (sp?) Lake.
  8. Joke Ritual Invocation: Call of the North (III)

    When invoked by a shaman of the Ontario tribe, it enhances one hockey skill (skating, hockey stick, unarmed) by +10 with MS (+30 with CS). The bonus, at the shaman's option, is applied to one skill of his choice.

    CF: results in a permanent ML reduction of 1d6 points to the designated skill.

    Time: 15-RSI seconds
    Range: Self/Touch
    Ritual: Prayer/Sacrifice
    Duration: 1d6 periods

Sources | Unofficial Errata
HârnMaster Barbarians | Contents | Appearance | Conclusions | Additional

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