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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffonwing View Post
    The history of HM was definitely full-on parody and over-the-top humor, but then, it had to be, based upon the requirements of WOTC. With Wizards out of the picture, and with Kenzer creating this game from the ground up, the spoofing parody was tossed. However, they did keep the Garyspeak, and some of the humor stayed; after all, gaming is suppose to be fun.
    Really? WotC required KenzerCo to release a parody retroclone of AD&D? KenzerCo wasn't allowed to come up with their own system? KenzerCo made the decision to license AD&D IP and rules elements, they didn't have to. I'll buy that WotC might have said, "Sure we'll license that to you, if you play it as a parody." But somehow, considering where the name and idea of "HackMaster" comes from, I don't see this idea or "requirement" coming from WotC. And regardless, it was KenzerCo's decision to license AD&D as opposed to coming up with their own system.

    And why not? It was the golden age of the d20 boom and it made perfect sense to me that KenzerCo wanted to offer something different than another d20 supplement (like their Kingdoms of Kalamar offerings at the time). A loving and fully playable parody of (arguably) the best RPG ever? Perfect!

    Quote Originally Posted by GeoFFields View Post
    As far as the parody element, does it really matter? HM4e was admittedly parodied from AD&D, but it was a strong and solid system behind all of that.
    IMO, HackMaster didn't suffer from being a parody game. As others have pointed out, it was pretty much AD&D with all the rules, and the parody was well done and done with love. You could have stripped out all of the parody, and been left with a very playable retroclone of AD&D.
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  • #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dire Bare View Post
    Really? WotC required KenzerCo to release a parody retroclone of AD&D? KenzerCo wasn't allowed to come up with their own system? KenzerCo made the decision to license AD&D IP and rules elements, they didn't have to. I'll buy that WotC might have said, "Sure we'll license that to you, if you play it as a parody." But somehow, considering where the name and idea of "HackMaster" comes from, I don't see this idea or "requirement" coming from WotC. And regardless, it was KenzerCo's decision to license AD&D as opposed to coming up with their own system.

    And why not? It was the golden age of the d20 boom and it made perfect sense to me that KenzerCo wanted to offer something different than another d20 supplement (like their Kingdoms of Kalamar offerings at the time). A loving and fully playable parody of (arguably) the best RPG ever? Perfect!
    .
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that Hackmaster was the end result of a legal scuffle between TSR/WOTC (not sure which it was at the time) due to the release of the Dragon CD archive, which contained KotDT comic strips....which hadn't been cleared for reprint rights. Dave Kenzer got Hackmaster out of the bargain, years prior to the OGL/d20 license.

    My memory is fuzzy, so I hope someone better informed corrects any errors I've made....

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  • #63
    Yes HM was a parody on the surface. Yes WotC made that a requirement of the license (and enforced it -- the approval process was quite strigent in fact).

    Didn't stop us from putting a fun, playable game beneath that veneer for those who took the time to pick up and play that game. And thousands did. I don't mind the 'joke game' stigma of HM4e -- it certainly didn't adversely impact sales.

    Reason there are hundreds of different RPG systems on the market is simple -- different strokes for different folks. End of the day it's all subjective. Pick a game and play.

    Personally I embrace the fact HM4e (old edition) was a parody of AD&D -- that was the entire point for that particular edition. But 'parody' doesn't automaticaly mean 'joke game' or unplayable. As many folks who played HM4e already know. HackMaster NEW edition...? Yeah - different animal.
    Last edited by Jolly_Blackburn; Thursday, 16th August, 2012 at 03:20 AM.
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  • #64
    lol. DIsgusting? My God, we've been exposed.
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  • #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by 13garth13 View Post
    Actually, I'm pretty sure that Hackmaster was the end result of a legal scuffle between TSR/WOTC (not sure which it was at the time) due to the release of the Dragon CD archive, which contained KotDT comic strips....which hadn't been cleared for reprint rights. Dave Kenzer got Hackmaster out of the bargain, years prior to the OGL/d20 license.

    My memory is fuzzy, so I hope someone better informed corrects any errors I've made....

    Cheers,
    Colin
    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Blackburn View Post
    Yes HM was a parody on the surface. Yes WotC made that a requirement of the license (and enforced it -- the approval process was quite strigent in fact).
    The Knights of the Dinner Table comics that were originally published in the print Dragon Magazine, WotC republished them in the electronic archive of the magazine, without permission. Not a malicious act, WotC thought they had the rights, as the electronic archive was an exact reproduction (albeit some crappy scanning) of the print magazines, but turns out they did not have the rights they thought they had. (there were other publishers and artists affected, but it's KenzerCo that is relevant to the discussion)

    Not sure if KenzerCo sued or if simply a settlement was reached, but WotC couldn't undo what they had done . . . so KenzerCo got some sweet licensing deals in exchange. They got to publish a d20 version of their Kalamar setting with the D&D logo nice and pretty on the front covers, and they got the license to create a retroclone of AD&D (not that we used the word "retroclone" back then, I think HackMaster might have been the first!)

    As Mr. Blackburn points out above, the AD&D license was allowed as a parody game, which fit well with what HackMaster was in the comics, a parody of AD&D (mostly, also a parody of fantasy RPGs in general, but mostly AD&D). On the outside, it seemed KenzerCo made a very smart move with the two licenses, although only someone on the inside could tell us if the move was ultimately profitable and worthwhile for them. But they were not "required" to take the license, they could have designed a standalone HackMaster instead of creating the AD&D parody we got. But, in taking the license, it was agreed that the game would be a parody.

    And again, I'm glad they did. I never got to play the "original" HackMaster, but friends did and loved it, and I read through some of the books and was impressed, and I thought the parody modules were hilarious (yet, again, completely playable).

    I assume that the license was not to infinity, and has expired. I imagine that KenzerCo could have revamped HackMaster, leaving it a parody retroclone of AD&D, as there are so many other retroclones out there. But perhaps not, as the game was so closely tied to the license and the AD&D IP.

    They choose to keep the brand, but with a completely new game system that stands apart from D&D, and apparently it's a very good game and has some very pleased and loyal fans. It's no longer a complete parody, but apparently still has some parody/humor elements in the "fluff" (I'm thinking the Gary Jackson stuff mentioned upthread).

    Personally, I find it an odd choice to drastically rework a brand rather than starting fresh . . . but perhaps the resulting confusion amongst some gamers is worth it to keep the capital of the brand, of HackMaster. But still, I don't think that anyone, designers or fans, should be all that surprised if the game retains the perception of parody long after leaving the "old" game rules behind.

    EDIT: I'll add that I assume that, as most jokes, the parody element had gone a bit stale after a time (not due to poor design, just simply the humor becoming an "old joke"), and that many fans played the game quite seriously as a retroclone of AD&D and jettisoning the parody.
    Last edited by Dire Bare; Thursday, 16th August, 2012 at 03:34 AM.
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  • #66
    well... that's the popular internet version anyway. 2 parts truth. 1 part speculation.

    But it's not important enough for me to delve into those waters. Water under the bridge. I'll simply point out that the DVD situation was pointed out to TSR several times before it was released. Those warnings were ignored for whatever reason by their lawyers.

    Our license was for six years I believe -- we knew going in there was an expiry date. For us (the designers) the game was always serious/gritty. The humor was there of course -- but we played HM like many of our fans did -- like your typical AD&D campaign.

    So HM New Edition didn't require any much of a mindset change. We simply stripped away some of the 'silly' that was forced on the game began rebuilding. Again I don't mind some folks think it's a joke game. Our core audience 'gets it' and they've been pretty good about spreading the word. We're content to win over new players -- one at time if need be.

    And no -- not surprised at all some people still confuse HM New Edition with HM 4e. I'm cool with it. Happy to answer questions for those interested enough to learn more. But I don't have any particular problem with anyone who isn't interested either. Just how it goes.
    Last edited by Jolly_Blackburn; Thursday, 16th August, 2012 at 04:37 AM.
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  • #67
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    There really isn't any parody in the current HackMaster. Some Garyspeak, yes....but I wouldn't call it parody.....

    ...and by Garyspeak, I mean Gary Jackson.
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  • #68
    Just wanted to add that despite the backstory to how the HM/AD&D license came about we had a very good relatioship with WOTC. Besides HM we were doing the D&D comic D&D branded campaign setting material (Kingdoms of Kalamar) etc. Which meant LOTS of conversations/meetings to move product through the review process. Hardest part of it all as I recall was the fact there seemed to be a constant turn over in employees on WOTC's end and we found ourselves dealing with new faces (some of which handled the process differently).

    I can recall only a few products that were troublesome as far as getting them approved. Greyhack being one of them. We ended up abandoning that one because the approval process was taking too long and the license was nearing its end.

    Otherwise they did a great job working with us on approving product.
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  • #69
    Quote Originally Posted by Dire Bare View Post
    IMO, HackMaster didn't suffer from being a parody game. As others have pointed out, it was pretty much AD&D with all the rules, and the parody was well done and done with love. You could have stripped out all of the parody, and been left with a very playable retroclone of AD&D.
    I agree 100%. The parody got a LOT of people to pick up the game. We were using the tagline "Who says "Old School" is dead afterall and going after those who felt disenfranchised by the changes in D&D 3e. The parody covers of the original 1E books pushed buttons.

    Once the bait was taken it was hoped the reader would discover the fully playable game within. Personally I think it worked out extremely well.

    The "It's just a 'joke game'" line only became annoying because those tossing it about back in the day seemed to be implying it wasn't a game meant to be played. Which of course wasn't true. So it tends ruffle some folk's feathers when it tossed into a discussion and often gets the desired knee jerk reaction .
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  • #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jolly_Blackburn View Post
    The "It's just a 'joke game'" line only became annoying because those tossing it about back in the day seemed to be implying it wasn't a game meant to be played. Which of course wasn't true. So it tends ruffle some folk's feathers when it tossed into a discussion and often gets the desired knee jerk reaction .
    A friend of mine actually said he preferred HackMaster be a joke game and not a real RPG.
    He's missing out.
    Out to lunch

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