Harper

Those Who Harp, or Harpers as they are better known, are a loose-knit band of brave souls who oppose the forces of evil at every opportunity. Whether their actions center on the dark plots of the Zhentarim or on the expansionist plans of a power-hungry king, the Harpers risk their lives (and ofttimes sacrifice them) for the greater good of the people. Despite their activities, however, the life of a Harper is not always played out on the stage of battle.

Base Class Statistics:

  • Ability Requirements: Str 12, Dex 13, Wis 14
  • Alignments: Non-Evil (LG, LN, NG, TN, CG, CN)
  • Experience Chart: Warrior
  • Hit Dice: d10
    • Maximum Hit Dice: 9d10
    • Additional Hit Points: +3 per level beyond 9th
  • Attack: Warrior
  • Saves:
    • Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Warrior
    • Rods/Staves/Wands: as Warrior
    • Petrification/Polymorph: as Warrior
    • Breath Weapon: as Warrior
    • Spell: as Warrior
  • Proficiencies:
    • Weapons, Initial: 4
    • Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 3 levels
    • Non-Weapon, Initial: 3
    • Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 3 levels
    • Bonus Proficiencies: Ancient History, Literacy, Sign Language (harpspeak)
  • Allowed Weapons: Any
  • Allowed Armor: Any

Class Features:

All warriors gain the ability to make more than one melee attack per round as they rise in level. At 7th level, they can make 3 attacks every 2 rounds. At 13th level and up, they can make 2 attacks per round.

When engaged with large numbers of weak enemies (less than 1 HD each), the warrior gains double his normal number of attacks per round (including doubling attacks with off-hand weapons). Starting at 11th level, this applies to any foe with 10 fewer HD than the warrior’s levels (so a 12th level warrior can do this against 2HD creatures).

Those who have made the decision to commit their lives to Those Who Harp must agree to abide by the Code of the Harpers. While this reference is not intended to cover every aspect of Harper conduct, the central points are:

  • Harpers work against evil wherever they find it, always mindful of the consequences of their actions.
  • All beings should walk free of fear, with the right to live their lives as they wish.
  • Laws are good so long as they are just and those who enforce them are lenient and understanding.
  • No extreme is good; there must be a balance in all things.
  • Pride never rules the deeds of a true Harper—No task is too menial, no assignment too routine.
  • Harpers police their own; traitors to the harp must die.
  • History provides the light by which a Harper can see the future stretched out before him.

Harpers must never knowingly perform an evil act. If they do, they are immediately stripped of all special abilities and become normal fighters. Only a properly worded Wish that negates their evil act, or a suitable quest can restore their status as Harpers. Harpers under magical control who perform an evil act must atone for their actions. Such atonement could take the form of an NPC priest casting atonement, or it could be as simple as slaying the one responsible for the control.

At 1st level, a Harper does not have her Harper’s’ pin. In fact, many initiates to the organization begin by undertaking a quest or journey for Those Who Harp. She may be followed by a veteran Harper who watches her, observing how she handles the tasks before her and coming to her aid if she gets in over her head. There is no set level at which a pin is given to an initiate; once a newcomer has proven her worth and good intentions to her companion Harper, she may be rewarded by receiving the pin at a special ceremony attended by other Harpers, usually at 2nd or 3rd level.

At 5th level, the Harper gains the ability to pass without trace (as the spell) once per day. Many consider this gift to be a blessing from one of the many powers who sanction the actions of Those Who Harp. For every three levels attained thereafter, the Harper can affect one additional creature (two creatures at levels 8-10, three at levels 11-13, etc.).

All Harpers begin with the following special abilities, detailed below. This table assumes that the character striving to be a Harper has trained for it most of her young life. If a player’s pre-existing human character decides to become a Harper (by the Dual-Class rules), the DM is totally within reason to make that character spend time training with another thief, ranger, or Harper in an effort to learn these core abilities before entering the Harper subclass.

Harper Level Hide in Shadows Move Silently Identify Rune Sign Language
1 10% 15% 10%
2 14% 20% 15%
3 18% 25% 20%
4 23% 30% 25%
5 28% 37% 31%
6 33% 44% 37% 15%
7 38% 50% 43% 20%
8 44% 60% 49% 25%
9 50% 65% 55% 30%
10 56% 71% 63% 37%
11 62% 75% 71% 44%
12 68% 80% 79% 51%
13 74% 85% 87% 58%
14 81% 90% 95% 65%
15 88% 95% 95% 75%
16 95% 95% 95% 85%
17+ 95% 95% 95% 95%

Hide in Shadows and Move Silently: These Harper abilities work identically as those of the Thief class. Like the thieve’s’ hide and move abilities, their effectiveness is modified by the Harper’s race, Dexterity, and Armor.

Identify Rune: This ability is used primarily to determine the meaning of a particular rune left behind by a fellow Harper, but can also be used to identify other runes, including magical glyphs and symbols created by spells and the runes used by Runecasters.

Since most Harpers leave signs as to which trail is safe or the location of a hidden cache of items, the ability to correctly identify the rune is important. This ability can be used in many ways. It can identify a rune that the character has never seen before—-there is no “Harper Academy” that teaches all the accepted symbols, but there are similarities in how the symbols are formed as well as used. Once a PC has learned a certain rune, there is no need to check each time that rune is found.

A successful identify rune check can also inform the Harper as to who left the rune. This can only be accomplished if the author of the rune has his own distinctive mark, of course. Such a check is never 100% certain, of course, but many Harpers who mark the trails and roads work in a set geographic area, and many mages and runecasters have their own unique styles.

A successful check also tells whether the rune is true or not. Although many Harpers draw an extra “dot” in the symbol to indicate that it is false, they can leave marks of their own meant to confuse others who learn Harpers’ marks. A successful check (with possible DM modifiers) indicates that the Harper sees a flaw with the symbol. “It looks as though this rune has been altered to appear as if it was false, when it is, in fact, true.”

Sign Language: All Harpers are trained in a’ silent language of gestures and expressions, known as Harpspeak. They gain the sign language non-weapon proficiency for free at 1st level. Each piece of harpspeak builds on the action before it. A wink followed by a frown might indicate “"something is wrong—-go outside”" while a frown followed by a wink might indicate ““prepare for battle.”” Bits and pieces of this silent conversation cannot be discerned with any degree of certainty by anyone without knowledge of harpspeak.

Starting at 6th level, a Harper begins to recognize and interpret other forms of sign language, such as that used by the drow or the ‘clan signs’ used by various Spy organizations. A percentile check allows the Harper to recognize and understand the basic meaning of any signal or conversation that he can see. There is no middle ground; a Harper either catches the “knowing wink” between a pair of foes or else the “speech” is missed altogether.

A Harper who fails to catch the communication by rolling 96% or higher has totally misread the missive. The signs might not be comprehensible (“"Roll my sister through the mud pits?”"), be missing some important information (““Disable those guards”” could be interpreted as an attack signal when the message was “"Wait silently until I disable those guards.”"), or be totally catastrophic, such as an indication to kill someone when the real meaning was “"That wizard is our friend."” Again, this mis-communication only occurs on disastrous rolls.

A skilled Harper can also make a percentile check to conceal his own communication when using Harpspeak. On a successful check, observers to not notice the silent communication going on. This check must be made each time the Harper attempts to send a message, and only applies to the sender. Other Harpers (even those below 6th level) automatically recognize the use of Harpspeak, even when the attempt is being concealed in this way—though they must still make a Sign Language proficiency check to understand the message.

There are two means by which a Harper attracts followers. The first is by the construction of a stronghold, while the second deals with a more active role in the Harper organization.

A Harper of 10th level who constructs a stronghold has decided to maintain a base of operations. While many Harpers applaud such a move, many others quickly point out the dangers of setting up a permanent camp. Zhentarim and Red Wizard forces have been quick to attack any Harper strongholds ever erected. By knowing the location of a permanent Harper base, agents of these dark forces can watch the activities of anyone that has contact with the ruler of this stronghold. Still, there are those who, for one reason or another, advertise their presence to the various dark forces they have opposed over the years. Once a stronghold has been built, the Harper attracts followers as a Fighter of her level would.

In addition to those, she also receives an extra unit of elite troops. All of these followers may see a lot of action if the Harpers’ enemies attempt to destroy the stronghold. Harpers who do not build a stronghold still attract other creatures with goals similar to their own. These followers are aware of the Harper’s status, and they form an elite core of bodyguards and operatives from which the Harper can draw. At 10th level, the Harper attracts 2d6 followers. Roll percentile dice and consult the table below.

Roll (d100) Elite Follower
1-10 5th-level harper (human)
11-17 4th-level ranger (half-elf)
18-25 4th-level bard (elf)
26-35 5th-level thief (human)
36-37 Pegasus†
38-42 4th-level illusionist (human)
43-45 4th-level illusionist/thief (gnome)
46-65 3rd-level fighter (human)
66-71 5th-level priest (any race)
72-73 Werebear/weretiger†
74-79 5th-level wizard (human)
80-83 5th-level paladin (human)
84-85 Wood Giant†
86-90 7th-level bard (any race)
91 6th-level diviner (human)
92-94 3rd-level fighter/wizard/thief (elf)
95-96 6th-level priest (any race)
97-98 Dragon†
99 Infiltration Attempt†
00 Spectral Harpist†

† If this result has already been generated, roll again on this table.

Dragons: This is always a metallic dragon of juvenile age (26-50 years old) that has heard of the Harper’s deeds and is intrigued enough to want to associate with the Harper on a limited basis. This dragon is not at the Harper’s beck and call, but comes and goes as it pleases. In any event, the dragon departs when it becomes an adult (101 years). Regardless of any friendship with the Harpers, few dragons ever leave their lairs once they are established or place them where others, including friendly Harpers, could easily get to them.

Infiltration Attempt: Sometimes tales of a Harper’s exploits spread farther than expected. In this instance, enemies of the Harpers (the Red Wizards, Zhentarim, etc.) attempt to plant a spy into the PC’s camp. Such traitorous “followers” are extraordinarily difficult to uncover and could be the driving force behind many adventures.

Spectral Harpist: The spectral harpist is an undead creature-—formerly a Master Harper—-who was killed while serving the Harpers. His duty unfulfilled, the harpist roams the land trying to complete its mission. Through fate or other powers, his path crosses with that of the PC. In order to complete its mission, the harpist needs the assistance of the PC. If the Harper aids the harpist, the undead spirit agrees to stay and aid the Harper for a set period of time, generally no more than a year or two. Once this time has expired, the spectral harpist finally finds peace. These creatures are detailed in The Code of the Harpers.

Harper

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