Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Some Goodies Courtesy of HackMaster Basic

A couple of my fellow bloggers have been waxing enthusiastic over the Earl Otus cover that has been released for the upcoming (June 30, as of this writing) HackMaster Basic, a sort of redaction of the also-upcoming (November/December timeframe, so they say) HackMaster 5E intended to allow folks to jump in to the HackMaster game without having to absorb three or more books, and for under $20. Worthwhile goals all around, I'd say.

Much as I like the cover art, the announcement got me reading through some of the Kenzer forums on what, exactly, the new version of HackMaster (specifically, HackMaster Basic) would be like. The designer has been giving out all kinds of very specific tidbits, which is fantastic from a customer satisfaction standpoint. Some companies could learn from their example.

I've said before that, much as I like it, I don't view HackMaster as a game I'd actually play as written, but rather as a toolkit that I can (and do) raid for ideas. Since 4E was pretty near 100% compatible with my game of choice (AD&D 1E), that seemed the way to go. And indeed, I've gleaned two ideas from the upcoming version that I will be implementing in my own game effective immediately:

1) Magic-users are not limited to the spells they choose to memorize. It is *easier* for them to cast the spells that they spend time memorizing, but it is not *impossible* to cast other spells in their spell books. Doing so costs them two "memorized" spells, of the same level, their choice.

2) Clerical spells such as bless, cure light wounds, chant, etc. are less effective if cast on persons who do not share the same faith as the cleric. I'll go through the clerical spell list and figure out which have half effectiveness for non-believers and which are doublly effective for believers.

Both of these will be tested in our next game session. I'll report back on how they work in the field.

I should say, though, that the new HackMaster version seems like one helluva game. I was going to buy HMB anyway for ideas (even though the system is less compatible with AD&D than the old version was), but now I might be tempted to play it as written. It really sounds like they're doing what WotC attempted to do with 4E; fix all the problems with the previous version, without changing its fundamental character.

4 comments:

Scott said...

That "spontaneous casting" variant for Magic-Users seems pretty elegant and workable.

Restless said...

I've been checking out the thread (82 pages! Yikes!) and I'm sort of intrigued by them doing away with armor class and using an opposed roll system for combat and saves. In a way, it's a tiny bit siege engine-ish, but it makes sense and gets people more involved in combat rather than just waiting to get clocked by a club for the rest of the round after they make their attacks.

E.G.Palmer said...

I'll be very interested to hear what you think of Hackmaster Basic when you get it. I have most of the product Kenzer put out for HM4E and I see it the same way you do. Full of good ideas, and very hard to run by the book. Hackmaster is AD&D out drinking Jagermeister with the gang.

Matthew James Stanham said...

That first one sounds similar to the 2e Player's Option: Spells & Magic "Free Magick" concept, where you could prepare two slots to cast any one slot spell. The chief difference being that the slots had to be kept free [i.e. no memorised spell].

I probably will not buy into Hack Master 5e, but I am tempted.