Review – HARP Fantasy Loot22 December, 2016
HARP Fantasy Loot is more than just lists of treasure, it has some good world building advice folded in and a very complete set of magic item creation rules. It should be indispensable for a HARP GM and those of others systems can probably find a goodly amount of material as well but obviously the rule heavy parts would be of much less use.
HARP Fantasy Loot by Jonathan Cassie and published by Iron Crown Enterprises presents rules and advice for loot and treasure for the High Adventure Role Playing (HARP) system. The layout is clean with sparse but good illustrations. It begins with a short introduction and then moves into a look at what can be defined as loot beyond the obvious treasures, things such as information, items of sentimental value, trade goods and more are all potential loot. This section provides useful advice and good things to keep in mind for a GM.
Next it moves into Loot in the Wilderness, which discusses both loot placement and what sorts of treasure the common monsters of the HARP are likely to have. Some of this is tied specifically to the HARP view of certain creatures (say hobgoblins) but the general sweep of the discussion is still a good guide to the things that should be considered when placing treasure. Two example ruins show how to weave these creatures linked threads together in a setting that character might wish to explore (and loot). Then, Loot in the Big City, which talks more about cities than loot but is a solid reference section all the same covering types of cities: core and periphery, human and other. But indeed some loot can be found in a variety of city markets, though more through trade than seizure.
We then move onto Fabrication & Materials, this section is intimately tied to the HARP system, detailing the rules of creating magic items in the system. The sorts of materials, plant, animal, mineral and even more unusual things (such as hearts of fire) that can be combined to create magic items, and what they can be applied to and how much magic they provide, is carefully detailed. A nice selection of charts provide the costs to create a wide variety of effects which are paid for the components used to create them, providing the basics of a fascinating if clunky system. It then moves onto specific types of items: Potions define the steps needed to make potions, or other consumables, of two general types which provide many different potential potions. Runes are next, which are the scrolls of the HARP system, and are easy and useful items, there is a subset, Crystal Runes, inscribed on gems which are reusable within certain limits. Crafting Talismans covers charms, fetishes and talismans, which all fill the niche of a basic defense or enhancement item and differ in duration, weeks for charms to permanent talismans. Creating high magic items and intelligent items wraps up the fairly comprehensive fabrication section.
The short Now What? Chapter deals (briefly) with debased currency but mostly with what happens when magic items go wonky with some tables to help out the GM when such happen.
The last third of so of the book is random treasure tables and a general overview on the various kinds of loot that can be found, from coins to cultural artifacts. Then in moves to an adventure favorite sort of loot, magic, with many magic item lists and descriptions of the unusual ones, most of which come with some implied world building and a few of which are jokey or punny, so be warned. But overall a wide selection of interesting items that, while statted for HARP, could be easily adapted to other settings.
The book ends with an index, which is always helpful.
For a GM of HARP, this book is likely to be invaluable. For those who play other systems, there is still a lot of good material here but perhaps not enough to justify its purchase.
Disclosure: I received my copy of this product for free from the publisher for the purpose of this review and the link is an affiliate link, meaning that I will receive a small payment if you make a purchase using it.