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

"Thieves, Rogues, and Rangers succeed by being skill-focused, as opposed to Fighters or Mages that emphasize combat and magic respectively."

To begin, let us look at the required and optional steps to create a character in HARP. “Essential” steps are required for gameplay and must be completed to start your adventure. If you don’t want to read every thing and just want to start playing, just do these essential steps and you will be ready. “Helpful” steps will allow you to better guide your character’s actions and development, but you can easily add these aspects later as you learn more about them. The sooner you do, however, the more your character will match your role-playing vision and personality. “Deeper ” steps are for those who want to stretch themselves as role-players.

Building Your Character — The HARP Fantasy rule book provides the essential guidelines for creating your character. But as the gaming system expands, it can be helpful to see how the additional ideas fit into character creation and how they will help the player role-play. The following table lists the main character creation steps, the necessity level for creating your character, in what source book you will find the details, and this author’s notes. “Necessity” has three levels:

Essential — You will need to complete this step before starting your adventure.

Helpful — You can start adventuring without making this decision, but you may have more fun and purpose if you do.

Deeper — If you want to understand your character on a deeper level, these guidelines can help.

Topic Necessity Source Note
Choose a Profession Essential HARP Fantasy, Folkways, HARP Subterfuge Read descriptions of each profession, especially the professional abilities. Review “Callings” if the standard Thief or Rogue isn’t exactly what you envision. Note what stats are useful.
Decide on a Calling Helpful HARP Subterfuge Best chosen at character creation to help guide your skill and talent development. Can help you allocate your development points more effectively.
Generate Stats Essential HARP Fantasy Pick stats that will help maximize your preferred skills. See the “Stats vs Skills” table in Chp 3 of HARP Subterfuge.
Choose a race Essential HARP Fantasy & Folkways Choose a race that fits your role-playing goals, one that gives you the best stat bonus for your profession, or one that give you special abilities you like (e.g. Darkvision).
Choose a culture Essential HARP Fantasy & Folkways Pick a culture that reflects your role-playing goals or one that includes Adolescent Skill Ranks most advantageous to your profession’s skills. If you do not choose a culture at character creation, you miss out on FREE adolescent skill ranks.
Buy Skills and Talents, and extra Fate Points Essential HARP Fantasy, Martial Law, Folkways, HARP Subterfuge Make sure you buy at least one rank in any skill you think you might use. Don’t forget about extra Fate points or boosting stats (more on this later).
Purchase equipment, including a Special Starting Item Essential HARP Fantasy, HARP Subterfuge, Martial Law Be prepared for your adventure!
Decide on a general motive Helpful Martial Law Motives help establish your character’s personality. They are not necessary to start, but can help you have more fun.
Assign a social class Helpful Martial Law Choosing a social class isn’t essential, but doing so may grant you more starting gold or help shape your motives.
Choose an Attitude/Outlook Helpful Martial Law Determining your outlook and attitude further defines your character’s personality. This is more descriptive than just, “I’m evil.”
Determine your “Uncrossable Line” (Ethics) Deeper HARP Subterfuge This is an extension of your character’s motives, outlook and attitude. It can help the player determine how their character might respond to certain situations.
Determine your typical moral disengagement mechanism (Morality) Deeper HARP Subterfuge This is an extension of your character’s motives, outlook and attitude. It can help the player determine how their character might justify their actions or choose to act.
Complete your character’s personality assessment. Deeper HARP Subterfuge This is an form that summarizes your character’s strengths, abilities, preferred methods, and more.

The Subterfuge Professions

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.