HârnMaster Rules Versions
HârnMaster is unusual in that it has a divergent set of
There are legal issues involved here which I will not comment on.
Below I simply outline differences between the editions. The
differences cited below were collected from various comments on
mailing lists, and I have not checked them completely.
- First Edition (HM1) was written by Robin Crossby and published
by Columbia Games in 1986.
- Second Edition / "HârnMaster Core" (HMC) was
published by Columbia Games in 1996.
- "HârnMaster Gold" rules (HMG) was independently
published by Robin Crossby in 1999.
- Third Edition (HM3) was published by Columbia Games
Here is a brief summary of the most important changes so far between
second and first edition HârnMaster:
- Character pre-game generation and some appearance
characteristics are not included in HMC (but could be added
- HMC has an optional rule for creating characters on a point
- The Touch and Speed attributes are removed, and Stamina is
- Endurance is now the average of Strength, Will, and
- Players are now encouraged to select professions from a short
list; the full table of professions is still available.
- Monthly skill development rolls are combined with an optional
skill decline rule using Skill Maintenance Points (SMP's).
- Fatigue, Injury, and Encumbrance are now counted in Levels,
each of which is approximately equivalent to 5 Points in
- Since combat produces one Fatigue Level every 5 minutes,
(longer than most battles), bookkeeping during combat is
- Injury Levels are determined directly from the combat table,
instead of requiring a separate die roll as in HM1.
- Weapon Attack and Defence Class is combined with Attack and
Defence ML's, eliminating two table lookups in combat.
- Each Convocation is now a skill with a separate Mastery Level
(CML) and SB. Known spells are cast at CML-(spell level * 5),
rather than being separate skills. HMC has an optional rule for
spells as skills as in HM1.
- There are no special SB penalties for secondary, tertiary, and
- Spell research, learning a new Convocation, and becoming a Gray
Mage are all changed to fit the new Convocational model.
- Initial CML depends on your Chantry's quality rating.
- All spells cost the same amount of fatigue to cast, based on
success level. CS: 0 FL, MS: 1 FL, MF: 1 FL, CF: 2+ FL.
- CML development depends on Skill Maintenance Points. Research,
study, and *stressful* spell casting gives extra SMP's.
- Divine Grace--characters with Piety Points greater than their
Ritual ML are in Divine Grace which gives certain
benefits. Dying without Divine Grace causes problems in the
- Optional rule that Piety Points can be used in prayer to
directly alter EML on any single skill roll.
- Ritual ML for each deity uses different attributes and
- RML may only be increased by learning invocations, reading Holy
Tomes, and stressful invocations.
- Cleric starting skills are adjusted.
- Starting clerics begin with Piety Points equal to WILx5.
- Ritual Invocations are no longer tied to Circles of Command.
- Invocations may be learned by anyone in the right circumstances.
- Ritual Invocations are no longer separate skills, though each
must be learned separately. ML equals RML - (Circle x 5). An
optional rule reverts to the HM1 rule of separate skills.
- Ritual Invocations do not require Piety Point expenditure,
though it helps. An optional rule sets Piety Point costs
dependant on success level.
- Rules describing ethereals is expanded and clarified.
- New rules regarding the afterlife and fate of a character's
- The various church articles are tighter, with some new
- Each church is given unique Ritual Invocations.
- New rules for tribal religions.
HârnMaster Gold is an edition of the game self-published by the
original author (Robin Crossby). It is a more complex system than
HMC, essentially a revision of the original rules adding in more
options and covering more situations. It retains more compatibility
with the original (HM1) rules. Changes from HM1 to HMG include:
- A chart for attribute modifiers for non humanoid
characters (e.g. various Ivashu, Asiri, Dryads, Centaurim,
Ilme, Yelgri, characters with partly-divine parentage,
- Expanded optional rules for character generation,
making it a bit more customizable, as well as a point-based
system for character creation and rules for creating older,
more experienced characters
- Detailed rules for family development -- parents,
siblings twins/triplets, marriage ages, expanded reasons for
parental non-residence, sibling health and location/activity
tables that give far more detail and sense to fleshing out a
family than HM1 gave.
- Revised medical charts, classifying disorders into
two categories: common and rare
- Detailed rules on fertility, conception, pregnancy,
childbirth and infant mortality (and you thought combat was
deadly!), and even hereditary traits.
- Rules for aging and decline of older characters
- More basic abilities represented through skills
(e.g. Condition, Dodge, Mobility, Spirit) as opposed to
contant multiples of a basic attribute
- Rules for "cheap skills" (that can be opened at a
higher level in the pregame than in the course of play)
- Variant rules for an 'absolute quality' system of
determining the quality of an object other than the normal
"Value Enhancement" chart
- Rules for "following in the family footsteps"
(e.g. if you're dad's a jewelcrafter, you'll start w/a higher
OML in all professional skills than you would if you were
just apprenticed to one when dad was a farmer or
- New combat options like "Press" (i.e. trying to force
your opponent back, or down)
- Separate combat charts for different situations
(e.g. footmen attacking mounted, mounted attacking foot,
mounted attacking mounted, etc.) likely to produce different
kinds of results.
- A wholly new system of missle combat, that makes it
much more dangerous -- and increased the value of shields
by a great deal!
- More detailed and revised rules for Mounted Combat,
including rules for jousting.
- All sorts of optional/advanced combat rules: various
options for weapon damage and armour damage, much more
elaborate rules for unarmed combat -- including info on
specific styles and techniques, giving examples of how such
might be invented by the GM.
- Detailed rules for weaponcrafting and armor making,
far more elaborate than anything found in HM1, guaranteed to
produce unique weapons.
- New rules for dealing with heavy and light weapons,
finally working in a way to bring in a strength advantage to
damage/impact, while still preversing principles of weapon
distinctiveness. For example, if you've got an STR of 18,
you're going to be able to use a battleaxe that does a lot
more damage than someone with an STR of 8, but that won't be
the case if you're just using a dagger.
- Radically revised shock/injury/healing rules, due to
the fact that Condition is now a skill.
- More detailed religion/ethereal rules -- although
current HM:Religion rules are now even more thorough than
these -- but they should be wholly compatible.
- More details on talent dormancy/episodes (similar to
those found in HMC).
- Rules for generating unusual and unique "minor
talents" like Animal Empathy, Aural Affinity, Gift of Tongues
Memories of Past Lives, etc.