Sunday, October 25, 2009

Harrow Readings

Harrow readings are an important thread of continuity across the campaign. They pose a challenge in converting to 4th Edition, however.

In 3.5, alignment adhered to a 3x3 grid (Lawful-Neutral-Chaotic along one axis, and Good-Neutral-Evil along the other). Harrow was designed to take advantage of this. 4e removes or renames a pretty significant chunk of that alignment spectrum. This is not an insurmountable obstacle.

John Marron over Tales from the Three Rings Tavern gave this conversion project a shot before he moved onto the Legacy of Fire adventure path, and he posted his thoughts on the Harrow deck in this post. I like his first suggestion on how to handle Harrow: ironically, the best solution to the problem of converting Harrow is to simply not convert it. Run it as presented in the "rules" of Harrow. The idea of alignment isn't something that the characters themselves really ought to be familiar with anyway, as it's a largely metagame concept. Ignore the fact that some alignments are missing, and simply perform the Harrow reading as it instructs. If there's any need to determine exactly what alignment a given character would be under the old 9-alignment system, make an educated guess based on what you know of that character. This may come up, for instance, when the PCs discover the cards left hidden for them by Zellara summoning them to her home. The PCs probably have no idea why they received that particular card, so there's really no cause for concern about guessing or randomly selecting the card that is supposed to match their alignment.

There are other aspects of Harrow aside from the readings themselves. PCs also receive Harrow Points during each adventure.

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