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Thread: HACKMASTER Basic - for free!
Wednesday, 15th August, 2012, 11:59 PM #61
Superhero (Lvl 15)
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!
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Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 02:59 AM #62
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
My memory is fuzzy, so I hope someone better informed corrects any errors I've made....
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 03:05 AM #63
Scout (Lvl 6)
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.
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 03:16 AM #64
Scout (Lvl 6)
lol. DIsgusting? My God, we've been exposed.
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 03:28 AM #65
Superhero (Lvl 15)
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.
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 04:28 AM #66
Scout (Lvl 6)
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.
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 04:33 AM #67
Novice (Lvl 1)
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.
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 01:17 PM #68
Scout (Lvl 6)
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.
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 01:25 PM #69
Scout (Lvl 6)
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 .
Thursday, 16th August, 2012, 01:41 PM #70
Gallant (Lvl 3)