It’s a very natural thing for us human beings to explore using what we already like as leads. I loved Cambodia: so wifey and I are planning a trip to Isaan, in Thailand, where there are more Khmer temples. Likewise, I’m sure a lot of gamers find out about other products through similarities or comparisons with things they already like. So what RPGs would I compare Hari Ragat to?
Here’s a list of other FRPG’s and campaigns that could act as ‘springboards’ into Hari Ragat:
1) Pendragon – the big one. Pendragon is about noble knights questing for glory. Hari Ragat is about Orang Dakila noble heroes questing for Renown. Also like Pendragon, the choice of character ‘classes’ is pretty narrow, but there’s a lot of scope for making your character different. Social growth over time is also emphasized: your character can fall in love, court for a spouse, marry, attract followers, even become a ruler.
2) Pagan Shore – the tribal, Iron Age Irish society presented in Pagan Shore, a Pendragon supplement, has strong parallels to Hari Ragat’s social milieu. If I had the Pendragon supplement for Vikings and Saxons I could probably draw parallels to that too. The seafaring raider culture of Hari Ragat is also very comparable to the Vikings.
3) Legend of the Five Rings – this RPG based on a fantasy version of Japan grounds characters very strongly in the society of the milieu. L5R society is stratified, and character roles are dependent on their place in society. As in Hari Ragat, the core game of L5R is based around the noble martial caste. Ancestors also play a large part in defining a character in Hari Ragat.
4) Tekumel – the Tekumel setting has a loyal following because of its lovingly detailed, very exotic culture that takes a lot of influences from South and Southeast Asia, which are also my sources for Hari Ragat. Society in Hari Ragat however is not as rigid as in Tekumel, and the default campaign starts you as full members of a community rather than as outsiders who’ve just arrived. I’ve done a longer comparison in a previous post.
5) Trojan War: Roleplaying in the Age of Homeric Adventure – this is a book in Green Ronin’s Mythic Vistas line that offers a D20 treatment for creating Trojan War era heroes. Epic combats, interfering gods, heroes of divine descent, lots of mythic creatures to fight. Imagine something like this ported to tropical Southeast Asia :-)
6) Suwarnabumi - also a fantasy Southeast Asia-based milieu, created for the True20 system. Its world is also mostly islands, most of it under the rule of a maritime empire. (This is actually similar to a supplement I plan to produce for Hari Ragat, detailing the time of the Nayyalinga Serpent Kings).
7) Glorantha – hm, this is the second Gregory Stafford opus I’m listing as inspiration. There’s a trend here … :-) The culture of the Heortling tribes of Dragon Pass is quite similar to that in Hari Ragat. The Hero Wars version has very good mechanics for integrating a new character into a home community.
There’s also the potential for every character to have some bit of augmentative personal magic in Hari Ragat, through mystical tattoos. Unlike Glorantha, Hari Ragat focuses more closely on a specific part of its world, the Janggalan Islands.
8) Agon – this indie RPG by John Harper is also set in the age of Greek myth, and focuses on quests like that of Jason and the Argonauts. It feels very much like the Clash of the Titans movie, and that’s a good thing in my book. Agon lets heroes be of divine descent, and features lots of battles with mythic monsters. GMs are given the tools to create unique mythic monsters – something I also did, specially with the Raksasa giants.
9) Any Viking RPG – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, the simplest way to describe Hari Ragat is ‘a game of Southeast Asian Vikings.’ That says it all, really – the emphasis on fighting heroes, the glory-obsessed culture, the voyaging, a home milieu that’s surrounded by other, more urbanized nations that you can trade with or pillage.