Hackmaster Will Next be able to do HackMaster?




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    Will Next be able to do HackMaster?

    So HackMaster began as a parody of AD&D 1e in the Knights of the Dinner Table comic strip, and then was published as a legitimate game.

    From what I hear it's sort of like 1e turned up to 11 in the sense of making the point of play more explicitly to win (and the player - DM relationship more explicitly confrontational), and challenging the PC's status as heroic protagonists even further than 1e does compared to modern editions.

    The DM screen is called the Gamemaster's Shield and protects them from thrown pencils and dice. It has a heroic looking character at the front, and then when you want to intimidate the players you open a flap showing the same character getting impaled by a Lizardman spear. The player's screen thing looks like a crenellated castle wall with a little drawbridge to roll your dice through so they're in the open and no-one accuses you of cheating.

    The players are encouraged to min-max by getting access to more powerful characters in exchange for relatively innocuous and fluffy-sounding drawbacks like "alcoholic". The GM is then given tools and advice to mercilessly punish the players for their drawbacks. The alcoholic character has to pass a check to avoid getting drunk whenever booze is around, so of course the PCs pass through a wine cellar on their way to the boss battle and the alcoholic gets loaded which makes them much worse in combat. Which absolutely does reflect how you're supposed to run 1e Paladins.

    I'm running 1e at the moment, and I certainly can see how it could be played in this way. I can see where it's coming from as a parody. It's not entirely unfair at all. I actually think 1e does become more fun if you embrace this style to some extent. I suspect the "HackMaster style" could serve as a more distilled, coherent image of 1e play, exaggerated for clarity and effect.

    Do you think Next is actually going to present this as a viable and legitimate playstyle? So not just ALLOW it, but talk about it and facilitate it?

    I think it should, but I REALLY wonder how it possibly can, because it just feels so at odds with the current edition's basic assumptions about the player - DM dynamic and the PCs' "story rights" if you will.

    PS
    Anybody who does play HackMaster, please chime in with your experiences.

 

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    Original Hackmaster is 1E with added rules, charts, and humor. If 5E works with 1E it should work with HM.
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    I actually thought Hackmaster was like 1e combined with Rolemaster.

    Which amusingly enough, so was 3e (since that - Rolemaster - is where Monte Cook came from and I think it showed in his design of 3e. Not so much the charts, but the feel.

    But what I didn't like it shared with 4e - hit point inflation. Monsters and characters just have a lot more, which results in slower combats and more dice rolling. And things like spell level being the same as character level (though in RM, it went all the way up to 50th level)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    Do you think Next is actually going to present this as a viable and legitimate playstyle? So not just ALLOW it, but talk about it and facilitate it?
    I would not expect D&D Next to actively facilitate it, no. At least, not soon.

    They only get to present so many books, some finite number of pages, to the market. They have to pick and choose what they address. I would not expect them to reach out to a game created by some other company as one of their first choices.

  • #5
    I owned some Hackmaster versions of old-school TSR adventures, but haven't played.

    I advocate that D&D Next make a D&D Comedy genre book (described at my website here) which includes the various WotC-based Hackmaster settings as Campaign Models: GreyHack, Hack Wurld of Mystaros, Roblinloft, etc. Such a book would include an ultra-gonzo "Hackmaster Next" rules module.

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    I don't really mean mechanically, but the "feel" of hackmaster, particularly concerning the confrontational nature of the DM - player relationship (I get that it's humorous, but it's not completely a joke).

    It's just a good example to me of how broad D&D truly is. HackMaster says it's the DMs job to intimidate and punish the players, 4e says it's the DM's job to make the players the protagonists of a fantasy epic.

    How could you possibly write DM advice text to cover both of those styles? It's madness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    I don't really mean mechanically, but the "feel" of hackmaster, particularly concerning the confrontational nature of the DM - player relationship (I get that it's humorous, but it's not completely a joke).

    It's just a good example to me of how broad D&D truly is. HackMaster says it's the DMs job to intimidate and punish the players, 4e says it's the DM's job to make the players the protagonists of a fantasy epic.

    How could you possibly write DM advice text to cover both of those styles? It's madness.
    I can see it....of course, maybe I'm mad.

    All it requires is rewriting the "contract" telling the DM what's "fair". So double encounter budgets, raise all the DCs, and load the dungeon with wily traps.

    Mixing the "Hack" module with the "4e" modules could make for an interesting game.

  • #8
    I'm imagining that, to do it properly, you'd need a very strict "budget" for adventures. That the contract, as you say, requires the DM to adhere to it. Then, if he is successful in killing the PCs, it's because of his skill and cleverness, not because he used too-powerful enemies.

    As another tactic, you could be very specific about "the realm of Kartakass is a CR 7 domain" and then if the PCs enter it's their own decision. You did warn them, after all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Libramarian View Post
    It's just a good example to me of how broad D&D truly is. HackMaster says it's the DMs job to intimidate and punish the players,
    Incorrect, it's the HackMaster GM's job to intimidate and challenge the players. Punish them if they are stupid. Smart players get rewarded...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greylond View Post
    Smart players get rewarded...
    I thought it was that smart players wrest rewards from the GM's cold, heartless, unwilling grasp...
    Last edited by Umbran; Thursday, 12th April, 2012 at 04:55 PM.

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