The Harper Scouts

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The Harper Scouts

Post  Hacatsu on Mon Aug 04, 2014 6:12 pm



The Harpers

The Harpers are a semi-secret organization dedicated to promoting good, preserving history (including art and music of old) and maintaining a balance between civilization and nature by keeping kingdoms small and the destruction of plant life to a minimum.

Those who are Harpers are led by a council of seven High Harpers, who are responsible for most of the group's long-term plans and goals. High Harpers are elected through the means of secret ballots among the other High Harpers, with the criteria being long time service and extreme discretion in the implementation of their plans.

Most members are either good/neutral-aligned rangers or bards, though many wizards and druids are also their willing allies.

Many gods support the organization of the Harpers, this can cause tensions between individual clerics of different faiths but never between deities or between the society as a whole and deities. Powerful individuals support the Harpers, but equally powerful forces oppose them.

The Harper code.


  • Harpers work against villainy and wickedness wherever they find it, but they work ever mindful of the consequences of what they do.

  • All beings should walk free of fear, with the right to live their lives as they wish.

  • The rule of law aids peace and fosters freedom, so long as the laws are just and those who enforce them lenient and understanding.

  • No extreme is good. For freedom to flourish, all must be in balance: the powers of realms, the reaches of the cities and the wilderlands into each other, and the influence of one being over another.

  • Whatever it takes, a Harper will do. Pride never rules the deeds of a true Harper.

  • Freedom is a multiversal right, though Harpers can spare themselves less freedom than those they work to protect when the need presents itself.

  • Harpers police their own. A Harper who hears the call of personal power can no longer hear the sweet song of the harp. A Harper who seizes power, and holds it above all else, is a traitor to the harp. Traitors must die for freedom to live.

  • Without a past, no being can appreciate what they have, and where they may be going.


This is a citation from a character explaining what is to be a Harper.

"A Harper holds peaceful sharing of the lands above all other goals."
···
"By sharing, we mean all the races living in and under the land, where each prefers to live, trading together where desire and need stir them to, and respecting each other's holds and ways—without the daily bloodletting that all too often holds sway in the Realms today."
···
"True, we must fight, it seems often enough to keep our swords and our tempers both sharp enough. Yet, know ye; all of us fight when we must, or die. Moreover, ye only hear of blades drawn and death and spells hurled, and never know of the many, many times that a quiet word or a skillful deal has turned enemies aside from each other, forced a way clear where none was before, or distracted foes from the eager task of tearing each other's throats out. That is the true Harper way: subtle and quiet, behind the shouting. Trust and wisdom, and outfoxing others is what we deal in."


— Mirt the Moneylender in Crown of Fire, pp173-174

The Harper Agent/ Harper Scout

A Harper agent (also known as a Harper scout) is a member of the semi-secret organization known as the Harpers, and members are scattered all across Faerûn. These individuals are dedicated to battling evil, discovering and preserving forgotten lore, and maintaining the balance between nature and civilization. Harper agents are the "field agents" of the Harper organization, acting directly to gather intelligence and eliminate threats to the greater good. Equally adept at operating alone or in small groups, agents display a versatility that few others can match. Bards are the most common candidates for the Harper agent prestige class but they are by no means the only qualified characters. Rangers, rogues, sorcerers, and wizards all possess the diversity of skill and ability necessary to become Harper agents, as are druids and monks. Barbarians, fighters and paladins rarely become Harper agents because they lack the subtlety for the work.

To become a field agent, one does not need to take this prestige class, although most have at least one level in it. The candidate must also be sponsored by a member in good standing of the Harpers and win approval from the High Harpers. They must as well be especially alert, good at persuading people and have knowledge about the people and places of an area while having some basic skill at surviving in the wild.

Abilities


  • Harper Knowledge
    Harper scouts have a knack for picking up odd and eclectic bits of lore.

  • Favored Enemy
    Scouts have the ability to fight members of organizations that the Harpers oppose with exceptional zeal.

  • Craft Harper Item
    This ability allows Harper scouts to craft magic musical instruments.




These informations were taken from the Forgotten Realms Wiki, I editted it a bit, excluding a few informations that I judged unecessary (at least for now).
Here are the links

http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Harper_agent
and
http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Harpers

Sorry if I'm being bashfull on this, I just think that the Harper Scout is an amazing class that brings up lots of RP possibilities and innovations Smile

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Elgate on Mon Aug 04, 2014 8:48 pm

Harpers in Aceria/this plane.

As far as lore goes, there is no such thing as the Harpers as an organisation in this plane. However, as people occasionally fall through from other planes, perhaps a harper scout or two was among them.


Organisation:
Those who are Harpers are led by a council of seven High Harpers, who are responsible for most of the group's long-term plans and goals. High Harpers are elected through the means of secret ballots among the other High Harpers, with the criteria being long time service and extreme discretion in the implementation of their plans.

In likely hood we do not have enough for this current system to work. If Harpers fell through from Faerun, they may begin to gather and guide like minded folk, but it'd be in smaller, disconnected groups to the one in Faerun. It all depends how succesfully they managed to set themselves up, if at all.


Support:
Powerful individuals support the Harpers, but equally powerful forces oppose them.

Who in this plane would support these fellows?
The Druid Circle might, but the druids seem rather disorganised themselves to give much more support.
The Wilderness runners, although quiet now days, would certainly find a kindred purpose in these harpers- infact the wildnerness runners are almost the arg-reg equivalents of the Harpers.
The Fey? Maybe. Who knows with that lot.
The Cholla? They hate piracy and theivery, and they love seeking information. But do they like sharing secrets? Would they appreaciate these 'liberals' potentially challenging their control over the realm in the name of freedom?
The Shak Tolun wouldn't like them. Nor would the curst vampyres.
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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  GM_ODA on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:35 pm

Friends,
This is a topic that deserves some discussion, so please weigh in here and give us YOUR thoughts on the matter.

Where NWN is concerned, CLASSES are precious and limited in quantity so I am wanting to use them very very carefully. I am trying to avoid/eliminate overlapping CLASSES to 'make room' for more diverse and useful CLASSES.

CLASSES I am considering eliminating include Champion of Torm (overlaps with Paladin/Blackguard, and Cleric), Purple Dragon Knight (a FR specific thing and very sounding like a GUILD), and lastly Harper Scout (does it really merit a CLASS or is there better ways of handling it such as a GUILD?). NOTE that when NWN was made it did not support GUILDS - this is a new aspect of the game added after the fact by the community.

I'm not seeing anything unique, feat wise, to the Harper Scout CLASS atm, so I'm not sure it really justifies being a CLASS. Described as a group of mostly bards and wizards, GUILD perfectly describes the HS. Because we can customize our GUILDS extensively, and allow controls over lower ranking members by higher ranking members to some extent by means of our GUILD SYSTEM this may be a perfect match here. The HS as I see it is a very political organization (correct me if I miss my mark here), who mostly work covertly.

I would be very interested in having a such a group active on our world, but would it be best to have actual HS come to our world from FR and start their own branch of the HS here? Or would it be better to make a 'homegrown' HS from scratch here in our world?

From what I can see/read it seems the allure of the HS is in the covert action, secret society aspects; deep pockets and a shadow organization to call upon - all of this smells of GUILD to me. Is there anything about HS that really requires a CLASS? or is it possible we can extract the best parts of HS to create a new GUILD here in Dohral?

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Hacatsu on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:18 pm

This may be an ignorant comparison but ... Just as the druids "ranks" are defined by their levels, aswell as the challenges in the circle, the HS could use their 5 levels to represent their rank inside the HS organization aswell.

And as the HS are just five levels (they do not have epic levels), maybe leveling could be only allowed further than one (after you have been admitted in the guild that is) with authorization from higher ranks, much like a promotion.

Note that I'm parting from the idea of having the HS thrown into the world as the guild.

I think it would be nice to have the class because it gives more of that feeling of immersion, and some skills that would give the PC what it takes to be an "scout", it improves it's versatility.

Inside the guild, the ranks could be from the leveling of the character, being level one the basic Harper Scout, the field agent, after that, his/her would be promoted and granted more influence and autonomy inside the guild, and he becomes more secretive, and at level 5 he/she becomes one of the High Harpers.

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Elgate on Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:54 am

To become a field agent, one does not need to take this prestige class, although most have at least one level in it.

Actually, it looks like you don't need the class to have the organisation or be part of the organisation.

Seeing as ODA has been planning other possible, more unique classes (such as psion possibly), we could give this up as a class, but keep as a possible introduced faction. But then again, we could also make a completely new secret organisation of the same ilk that is more based on Argentum Regio lore and not Faerun.

To be honest a lot of people question the point of the NwN harper scout class. It seems it was added for the mere sake of it, or for SoU plot only.
-you can only take five levels and the 'unique' feats are simple saving throw bonuses (which you could easily get by say, adding the bonuses to an item which is given to people who advance in the organisation).


-The class skills are basically the bards skills but LESS.

Harper's get:
Appraise, bluff, craft armor, craft trap, craft weapon, discipline, heal, hide, listen, lore, move silently, persuade, pick pocket, tumble.

Bards get:
Appraise, bluff, concentration, craft armor, craft trap, craft weapon, discipline, heal, hide, listen, lore, move silently, parry, perform, persuade, pick pocket, spellcraft, taunt, tumble, use magic device.




Honestly- I don't think we need to spend a class slot on harpers scout.


Whever on not harpers scout still exists as an organisation, ehh....
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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Hacatsu on Mon Aug 11, 2014 11:47 am

Meh ... Whatever then

*shrugs and throws the idea on the thrash*

Let's just keep with the Wilderness Runners, basically the same thing anyway, right?

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  GM_ODA on Mon Aug 11, 2014 1:40 pm

Friend Hacatsu,
I really like the 'spy' vibe you get with HS - but I'm just not sold on using a class for it. Guilds work best to manage what is described and gives the members of that organization much more freedom to level in their unique classes (HS class overlaps wizzy, sorc and bard a bit).

I think the GUILD is the right route - either the Wilderness Runners or your own original creation - with a purpose similar to your vision of the HS. It even gives you more freedom in customizing the organization to your needs and the campaign.

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Animayhem on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:15 pm

Is not an aspect of Harpers were that they can make potions and such?

Sorta of blend of bard and rogue?

Other worlds have them and they blend well.
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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Shar on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:39 pm

My thoughts.

Champion of torm could be easily repourposed to fit this game world with nothing more than a name change to fit our lore. The others are indeed very world specific...

COT - This could be remade to fit One of two deity's as far as i can see the Elvin light one (whom i cannot pronounce) and the one Ardrastia served.


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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Animayhem on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:42 pm

Hacatsu wrote:Meh ... Whatever then

*shrugs and throws the idea on the thrash*

Let's just keep with the Wilderness Runners, basically the same thing anyway, right?

Harpers could be part of them and would fit in with harper lore if I remember correctly.

The Arcane Masters have done some minor restructing. So maybe the wilderness runners could use a facelift too.

Adrastia followed Finishi
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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  GM_ODA on Mon Aug 11, 2014 3:52 pm

The problems I see with the COT which lead me to have proposed removing are thus:

Paladin is a CORE CLASS so it cannot be mucked with much if at all. BLACKGUARD is a PRESTIGE CLASS but is essentially 'anti-paladin' to offset the other. COT overlaps, it makes 'every god have the equal of paladins' and that dilutes the value of the Paladin, more it makes the BLACKGUARD superfluous too. By leaving the strong rivalry between the BLACKGUARD & PALADIN I find very valuable in the campaign in general, while making a Paladin for every god I find to be perhaps a step too far.

CLERICS in game are one step down the ladder from FIGHTERS in terms of armor and combat capability, in effect making every order its own elite warriors... unlike the original D&D later versions allow even HUMANS to multiclass, so any clerical order is likely to have some among their number who take levels in FIGHTER or other WARRIOR class. Though each clerical order could in addition keep actual WARRIOR classes associated with their order based on religious fervor; these need not be actual Paladins nor Blackguards but could include them if the alignments match up. There seems to be a slight disparity in having Paladin be a CORE CLASS and Blackguards being a PRESTIGE CLASS; you will never encounter a lv 40 Blackguard, but I think this bias is in-built to give Good some small advantage (Blackguards are not really shorted here as they are more interesting by dint of having levels in other classes that very from Blackguard to Blackguard).

There are other ways too, to allow other dieties to have warrior based orders of zealots; GUILDS dedicated to the god - with items to grant members of particular levels various powers suited to the diety and the order. This method would give a great deal more individuality to these zealot orders, while not spending CLASS slots (NWN has so few). More, to handle it this way means that we only need to develop those orders we find useful (e.g. for plots or for PC support on request). Feel free to substitute the word 'cult' for 'guild' in these cases.

There is a reason why the Paladin and Finshi are so closely associated and why Paladins are 'special' - Finshi's birth story is a clue. He was born on the world's final battlefield, without mother or father, he was risen from the blood of all the heroes fallen. They, the Paladins, they earnestly hope that theirs is among the blood of brave souls that will one day bear the great Finshi. It is also the prophesy - the battlefield over which Finshi rises, will mark the end of the world as he and his Legions of Glory take their vengeance.

====

The PDK is purely a FR thing and has no place here so it is toast.

====

The HS we discussed elsewhere in this thread - they sound more like a GUILD of varied class PCs with a common goal. I want to be careful not to confuse new PLAYERS - this world is not the FR, so I tend to favor "Wilderness Runners" or any other guild name to "Harper Scout".

====

Was it Hacatsu and I who were musing over the plethora of choices available to replace these classes we're removing? The choice will be hard to make - but I really want to have classes that are sufficiently different to all the others to make it worthwhile adding. PSIONICIST (unknown or generic type atm not yet determined) is one such class. The other two? *shrugs* Choices choices choices.

Let's make those choices with open deliberation such as this where we can each fully air our thoughts and share what lore we have on the topic with others. As noted, my FR lore is light at best, so this thread was intended to have you FR-lore-heavies fill me in a bit in case there was some essential point regarding the HS that I was not sufficiently grasping. I do think a GUILD is the best way to re-create a pseudo-medieval-spy-organization such as the HS, and do it in a way that makes it fit our world as well as the HS fits FR (e.g. work out to some extent who are the secret patrons of the organization, the motives, etc.).

Spy stuff is fun fodder for adventures. Hence I want to explore this, but in a way that fits the world.

Hacatsu, if that was you that was chatting with me and we shared the link for the classes - do you have that link by any chance? That huge list of classes for D&D?

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Hacatsu on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:16 pm

No I don't think it was me ODA ... But, perhaps I know which huge list you're talking about ... Here's the link

http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/3.5e_Prestige_Classes

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  GM_ODA on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:36 pm

Spot on! That's the link! Are you sure you were not party to that discussion in chatbox a few weeks back? Excellent list though. Some number of those are too similar to stuff we have in NWN already but some of them are going to be sufficiently unique to make gaming here a really amazing experience. Our task is to select just those TWO, that are the right match to make our world SHINE. Hence these have to have some serious discussion - I'm sure many will be "thrown out there" to be discussed. Which are YOUR TWO FAVORITES (everyone)?

Lets hear from you on your choices - and lets all discuss those candidates some to weigh the pros/cons of each. Sooooo many. *gasps and squeals*  SHINEY!

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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Elgate on Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:02 am

By the way the  http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/3.5e_Prestige_Classes is a list of 'Homebrew' User submitted prestige classes and as such I'm a bit skeptical of them. Homebrew can work nicely for making things for your own campaign, but can easily be over powered, ill thought out or impracticable for other campaigns.

http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Classes

Here is the standard classes, prestige classes and 'Epic' prestige classes. They even have a few base classes NwN doesn't.

DnD Tools has a very indepth database on the classes- but has over a 1000 classes taken from all 3.0 and 3.5 source books. That's a -lot- to shift through, but it could be possible to filter out the one from sources such as oriental adventures, or greyhawk/eberron/faerun specific.

http://dndtools.eu/classes/
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Re: The Harper Scouts

Post  Elgate on Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:32 am

There's the Psion, that seems to be the overall, basic 'mental' class, and a few other classes that seem psionic with added flairs:

Psion:
A seeker after psionic secrets; a master of the mind and the thoughts of others.
The striking fist or flashing sword pales beside a psion’s focused stare. Psionic powers arise from a regimen of strict mental discipline developed over months and years of self- scrutiny and subconscious discovery. Those who overcome their personal demons, fears, and other pitfalls of intense self-reflection learn to call upon an internal reservoir of psionic power.
Psions depend on a continual study of their own minds to discover an ever wider range of mental powers. They meditate on memories and the nature of memory itself, debate with their own fragment personalities, and delve into the dark recesses of their minds’ convoluted corridors. “Know thyself” is not just a saying for a psion—it’s the road to power.
A psion’s powers make him a good addition to any party. Psions take on differing roles within a party, based on the discipline each one selects. For example, seers (specialists in clairsentience) serve to guide parties in difficult spots, while shapers (psions who have chosen metacreativity as their discipline) vastly upgrade the party’s options in a fight.


Psychic Warrior:
One who turns the mind’s potential to the warrior’s art is known as a psychic warrior. Where psions devote themselves wholly to the development of mind-engendered abilities, psychic warriors give emphasis to the development of the body. With mental and physical energy working in union, the psychic warrior strives toward martial perfection.
The sword, axe, and bow are physical tools that psychic warriors embrace along with their psionic abilities. Well trained in both physical and psionic matters, the psychic warrior is a formidable adversary.
The defining trait of the psychic warrior is his ability to supplement his physical attacks with psionic feats and powers. A combination of strength, martial skill, and psionic ability allows the psychic warrior to match and sometimes surpass a normal fighter of equal experience. As the psychic warrior gains experience and power, his fighting skills and psionic abilities grow in concert.


Soulknife:
A soulknife recognizes his own mind as the most beautiful—and the most deadly—thing in all creation. With this understanding and through extended practice, a soulknife learns to forge his mental strength into a shimmering blade of semisolid psychic energy.
Each soulknife’s personal blade, referred to as a mind blade, differs in color and shape according to his personality, mental strength, and even mood. Although no two mind blades look alike, all share the same lethal qualities. Because soulknives turn the power of their minds to such weaponry, they are notorious for their violence.
More than any other psionic class, the soulknife fights with psionic power directly in both melee and ranged combat. Strength, combat prowess, and psionic talent allow the soulknife to claim equal footing—at least—with any other combat-oriented class on the field of battle.

There is also a 'Soulbow' class with much the same idea.

Wilder:
The psion draws his psionic ability from strict mental discipline and intellectual development. Not so the wilder—for her, raw emotion is the source of psionic power. Emotion-triggered psionic ability is not a science, but a passion. The zeal with which the wilder pursues the use of her psionic ability is so extreme that she can occasionally trigger a surge of power far beyond her normal capabilities. But with this ability comes a price: By exceeding her limits, the wilder may injure herself with psychic feedback.
Wilders are passionate about their powers, often pushing themselves to their utter limits with their wild surges. However, they are not blind to the risks of the wild surge and the limited number of powers they can call upon. Thus, they develop their skills and fighting ability as best they can, honing themselves to be useful in all situations.

These could possibly be achieved through psion multiclassing, so I'm not as interested in these (unless people feel we should focus on one of these 'psion subclasses' as psion is too vague or hard to script)

I'm taking a look through a few other 'base' classes in hope they'll be a bit different, but most seem to be variations on the classics.



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