Revisiting HARP

Today I’ve been indulging myself in revisiting the HARP core rules. My longest and fondest campaign memories derive from our high school Rolemaster gaming back in the 1980s. When I discovered HARP, way back around 2011 when the current edition was released, I was impressed by the streamlined nature of the game based on that classic. Ever since, I’ve been itching to give the game a decent try out.

Having recently enjoyed a great discussion about solo roleplaying with the ever-creative Jon from Tale of The Manticore, I was feeling inspired to start something. I’ve been wanting to build a religiously-inspired character for a game with those kinds of themes, and so I began reading with that idea in mind.

One of the things that I appreciate about HARP is the flexibility of the character creation rules. You build an adventurer based on familiar fantasy Professions such as Clerics and Rogues, but you can customise your skills and talents to a high degree. In practical terms, as with Rolemaster, any character can learn most things… even if at an increased cost if it’s not part of your professional expertise.

Being able to design my Cleric character and customise him freely was refreshing after so much time recently mucking around with classic D&D and clones. I also enjoyed being able to build a 20-spell list from a wide range of choices and give my adventurer divine powers appropriate to my vision. All in all, it was a pleasant couple of hours and I feel drawn in to digging further.

This is perhaps the best aspect of solo roleplaying, in that you can indulge your interests without recourse to any other player. It draws me towards a creative edge that I might otherwise avoid. It also gives games I might not otherwise find support for playing some time out in the light.

The combination of encouragement from Jon to begin and simply keep playing solo alongside the creative inspiration that arose today from building an interesting character has me imagining something very different than I expected. Adding a few random elements to the solo process has been rich and so I think it’s likely I’ll be rolling some dice again during this long bank holiday weekend.

It feels good to dust off games we never quite around to properly play.

Game on!

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