A Sneak Peek at HARP Subterfuge

Copyright Until publication, the author wishes his or her identity to remain secret. © 2018

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

"The Nightblade is a stealth professional whose spells make him a master of movement, distractions, disguise, and poison."

HARP Fantasy include three “archetype” professions—Thief, Rogue, and Ranger—that have Subterfuge as a favored skill category. Thieves, Rogues, and Rangers succeed by being skill-focused, as opposed to Fighters or Mages that emphasize combat and magic respectively. HARP Folkways introduced three additional professions that rely to varying degrees on Subterfuge skills: the Hunter, the Scoundrel, and the Seeker. HARP Subterfuge also introduces three new subterfuge professions: the Ninja, the Nightblade, and the Beguiler.

In this section, we will show you how to envision and design your ideal character using one of the archetype professions, including:

  • assigning initial stat values to benefit/maximize your roleplaying goals, and
  • planning early skill and talent development (levels 1 through 5 or so)

In addition, this chapter will also help you determine if you should add an additional profession to your character, how race, culture, and social class intersect with subterfuge, and how to round out your character with a background, outlook, and motivation.

Note, if you are considering learning spells or multi-classing with a spell-using profession, talk to your Gamemaster to determine the availability of magic in the game setting. This will help ensure you and your GM have the same expectations regarding magic.

Summary of Subterfuge Professions

Thieves start with 6 free subterfuge skill ranks and are specialists of Subterfuge activities. As we will see in this book, thieves can vary somewhat in their focus and approach to adventuring, but what they all have in common is a foundation of deception and manipulation.

Rogues begin with 3 free subterfuge skill ranks and are considered the “jack-of-all-trades” profession. Compared to thieves, they give up Influence as as favored skill category in exchange for both Outdoor and Mystical Arts. Having 7 of the 10 skill categories as Favored allows the player to pick and choose the emphasis and direction for their Rogue. Do you want to focus on combat? Have at it. Are you interested in learning some spells? Go right ahead. The Rogue profession is very flexible.

Rangers are allotted 2 starting subterfuge skill ranks. We include Rangers in our discussions because many of their activities require stealth and they benefit from ambush and sniping, as well. This book presents three variations (what we term Callings) of the Ranger profession—Bounty Hunter, Scout, and Wayfarer—that may better fit your desired role playing style. These are not new professions but rather specific ways to develop a Ranger that can help you meet your role-playing preferences.

The Hunter from HARP Folkways serves as a non-spell using variant of Ranger. They trade the Ranger’s Mystical Arts favored skill category for Athletics (i.e. Acrobatics, Climbing, Contortions).

The Scoundrel is a variant of the Thief that emphasizes influence over combat and over well-roundedness. Scoundrels receive high levels of initial skill ranks in Influence and Subterfuge. They also trade the Thief’s Athletics favored category for Artistic (i.e. Acting, Mimicry, Storytelling, etc) and completely lose Combat as a favored category. As such, scoundrels may only be appropriate for a style of role playing or adventuring that does not overly emphasize combat encounters.

The Seeker functions nearly exactly as a Thief but with the added experience of operating well outdoors. Seekers have the same six favored skill categories the Thief profession but also gain Outdoor as a favored skill category. In addition, the Seeker’s professional abilities allow for broader application of skill bonuses than the Thief. They can apply the bonus to any Outdoor, Influence, or Subterfuge skill. In some way, the Seeker is a mashup of Rogue, Thief, and Ranger (without the spell casting ability).

The Ninja is a new profession detailed below. In essence, Ninjas are martial arts assassin specializing in stealth, ambush, and exotic weapons.

The Nightblade is another new profession, based on the original Rolemaster concept. The Nightblade is a stealth professional whose spells make him a master of movement, distractions, disguise, and poison.

Finally, the Beguiler is a brand-new, spell-using profession. Beguilers are specialist in invading and manipulating the minds of others. Their spell sphere suggests a distant connection to Harpers, but clearly ones with little sense of morality (more on that later!).