HARNManager is an application that should help the game master to manage his player group and all the material that he needs for an exciting campaign. It is intended to support the HarnMaster RPG rules in the world of Harn.
This game is published by Comlumbis Games Inc (Harnmaster V3.0) or Kelestia Productions (HarnMaster Gold). The current implementation focuses on the HarnMaster Gold branch of the rules but preparations have been made to adapt it also to the HarnMaster Vx. It is from the fantasy branch of RPGs and has as a background the fantasy world of "Harn". It is perhaps not one of the most known systems but those who know and love it are very busy and there are a lot of wonderful websites out there which also supply scenarios, locations and other stuff to use freely. (see Lythia as a starting point)
Way back in the 80s when I bought a new Computer (an Atari ST!!!) I wanted to learn the programming language C. So the best way to learn a language is to use it (same as with human laguages). So what should I implement? Some years before I found Harn in a local game shop and liked it. When some years later the role playing game Harnmaster was released I got very exited. At least a very detailed RPG which is nearly a simulation. But this had a price to pay: the rules were quite complex and needed a lot of bookkeeping and calculation. So I decided to write a program which should help me to manage my gaming sessions. At first it started as a tool to keep book about the items/attributes/skills each character has. And then it grew: If I have allready the skills and the items why not doing combat for me? Why not create NPCs for me? Why not print the players a printout of there character? Why not keep track of the game time and random encounters? I even met Tom Dalglish from Columbia Games on a fair in Germany and told him of my tool (I still have his bussines card somewhere!).
But at that time computers don't were a mass market product and I had other things to do. So some years later I switched to a PC with Windows and I had to learn C++ / MFC and so on. And of course I started all over to write my tool for the Windows PC. But I never reached the mass of features I had for the Atari version. I even did not use it for gamemastering. But now I had kind of habit: Everytime I had to learn a new computer language or system I started do write my Harn management tool.
Christmas 2001/2002 I started to program it in C# with .NET. I got along pretty fast but stopped to work on it in february. In November Colubia Games announced the 3rd edition of there rules. I got quite excited and and so I continued with my program (which is still based on the first edition rules as I like them more than the second edition. Still don't know about the third one). Actually it needs perhaps one man month more work until it is in a version to give it away.
In winter 2003/2004 I decided to switch to the HarnMaster Gold 2.1 rules set another point was that I had some ideas how to improve the user interface. At little later the first discussion about a game master tool started on the Harn Forum and some of the discussion also went into the remake.
In May 2004 I decided to take the parts which I have migrated to HMG and reworked and make it available to the community. So having recieved no testing I did this to get some input about the functionality and the user interface. So if you download it and play around with it please keep in mind that it is only an evaluation version which is not stable enough to risk its use in a game session. You can find the download here
As I mentioned: the intention to write the program is more focused on learning .NET and to test new software architecture ideas. One of the ideas I had in mind was a generic architecture and frame so that I can write AddOns without redoing other modules. Up to now it worked quite well but I still have to expand the basic frame for some features.
An other focus was the usability. It should be easy, intuitivly and fast to use.
The third main point was flexibility: Role playing never follows strict rules. Players are human beings and tend to have there own mind (they realy dare!) :-) So they use ways nobody has foreseen. The program should not force the game master to follow the rules to the letter. He should have the possibility not only to enter special situation modifiers but also to even change the sequence of actions.
Another problem with putting it up on this web page (despite it is not "finished" yet) is the legal issue. I do not want to release modules which base mainly on the written rules from Kelestia / Columbia Games. Not only because they could sue me for their copyright but also I want to urge you to buy the rules yourself. Most of the modules are provided without data. So you can use the mechanisms but you must enter the data form the Kelestia / Columbia Games Products by your own. Nevertheless I think there is enough left which I can dare to share and which could assist you as a game master.
This sample picture should give you a short impression about the user interface. But don't take it for granted as I will quite likely change it as the program evolves:
|%||A measure of completeness. But it ist still possible to give away a module below 90% when it has enough features so that it makes sense.|
|as needed||Theoretically it has all in it which is needed. So it will only change if another module requires it.|
|planned||Concepts and ideas for this module exist and perhaps will be implemented some day|
|idea||Currently only idea but could be developed and would make sense to have it|
|Workbench||as needed||public||This is 'only' computer related stuff. Here is the generic framework I developed and the interfaces to make module plug-in technology work. Also included are useful controls (sidebar, touch bar, ...) which I use in the other modules.|
|Basics||as needed||public||Here are all basic elements of the environment defined. Campaign management, environment, random weather/encounter, game time, ...|
|Items||80 %||public||All the datastoring, property dialogs, databases for the items. All (rule version independent) items of the game were devided in several types like food, simple things, containers, ... Each with its special attributes.|
|Skills||as needed||public||The same as with items. Here is only the data handling stuff. No implementation how to use the skills beside a simple skill test.|
|Characters||as needed||public||The datahandling stuff for characters. Saving/Loading, changing attributes, skills, items and wounds. Again here is the most basic handling of characters. all rule version specific things are not included|
|HM Gold||60 %||public||Here are all topics which are specific to the Gold version of the rules. Weapons and Armor which differ very much are included together with the wound/helaing stuff.|
|HM Classic||possible||public||This would be the sister module to HM Gold which contains the Harn Master V3 version of the rule specific topics. Also an adaption module for Version 1 or 2 could be made. But I myself will concentrate on the Gold version.|
|Combat (Gold/V3/...)||60 %||private||The first private module which I will keep to myself. Here is a kind of wizard to guide you step by step through the combat procedure. This module will also be highly rule version dependent.|
|Magic (Gold/V3/...)||planned||private||The same as combat but for casting spells.|
|Religion||planned||private||Again same as combat but doing religios acts. Perhaps I will include psionics here.|
|Psionics (Gold/V3/...)||not planned||private||As I do not like psychic abilities in my version of the world of Harn I do not intend to include support into my manager.|
|Action1 ..||planned||public / protected||Several modules will cover the use of special actions in the combat like wizard manner. Examples are hunting, swimming, climbing, ... Because some of these rules are invented/published by harn fans on their own I could make these parts public.|
|Mapper||60 %||public||A very useful tool to manage journeys through the country. You can import a scanned map and define locations and groups on this map. You define the kind of movement of the groups and enter their waypoints and when you progress the game time (via the toolbar) then the groups are moved on the map acording to the terrain and weather. An alert is raised if they reach their destination, an random encounter happens or they enter a location. As you have to supply the maps by yourself I can make it public. Only regional maps are finished yet. I work on the interior maps a bit more because I intend to use them for combat also.|
|Rooms||50 %||public||An other (simple) data management module. You can prepare the rooms of your campaign. I use it to prepare shops of the local city or I store the relevant NPCs for intended or random encounters here.|
|NPCWizard||idea||public?||A kind of tool to generate NPCs on the fly by selecting some key elements (profession/race/...).|
|CharacterGenerator||idea||public?||Something like the one above but with the full detail of the rule system. There are already some nice tools for this kind of work out there. Perhaps I could use one of them if it produces a XML output I can convert.|
|ShopWizard||idea||public||Need a weaponcrafters shop? Enter the rating (quality/price/specialities) of the weaponcrafter and you get a room filled with NPCs and customized items to buy. OK its a dream, I know.|
|Encyclopedia||as needed||public||In Harn you have to keep a lot of information in mind. So why not create some kind of database to store the names and background of the NPCs your player characters stumbled about. Or pictures and info about certain locations. This tool will only store and search the data and has no data from Columbia Games / Kelestia with it. So it would be available for the public.|
|Remote Player Client||idea||(public)||A not so a crazy idea nowadays. Why not give players access to their character via LAN and supply them with their own PC at the gaming table? It would save the game master some time, could provide the player with graphics and maps (even perhaps 3D graphics like 'Web of the Widdow'). But currently I think it would more distract the players then help to create a tighter athmosphere.|
|Get Microsofts .NET runtime from their web site|
|As this is a .NET program you need .NET V1.1 installed on your machine. Use the linke above to get the setup for the .NET runtime (comparable to the java runtime) from Microsoft. All modules needed for the current Harn Manager Gold implementation. Simply unpack and run the setup.|