Thursday, October 15, 2009

HackMaster Basic Bits

[I wrote this long ago and forgot about it till now.]

After a more thorough reading here's more review of HackMaster Basic. Bits of rules I missed in my first quick HackMaster Basic review. Extractable mechanics and ideas that might be useful beyond a HackMaster game.


When using the quick character creation rules there are no build points, thank Crom! So, to simulate the build points a player might have spent there is this little chart for ability adjustment based on class
Fighter +1 Str, +1 Con Thief +2 Dex Cleric +2 Wis Mage +2 Int
Combine with roll 3d6 in order, may swap one stat with another, max stat is 18. That hits my sweet spot of healing modern gamers of their "optimal build" mental condition while recognizing that some players come to the table with a particular archetype in mind. Forcing someone to play an Int 5 MU or a thief when they hate that role is not being "old school", it's being a jack ass.

Hit Points
Staring hit points are (Con Score + fixed racial amount + class based hit die). The racial amount is 10hp humans and dwarves 5hp for the two wuss races, 1/2lings and elves. Those hitpoints are very high compared to most D&D and d20. Remember 4th ed HackMaster had a hit point kicker, 20hp I think. The system is also overall deals higher damage. Finally, critically is the Threshold of Pain rules were if you read the awesome KoDT comic combat example you'll see are often what takes down an opponents rather than reaching 0 hit points.

I like the addition of race to equation and how it boosts starting hitpoints. I'd consider using that with normal non-Threshold of Pain games. Also, just thought about races altering class hit die EX: Hu fighter has d10 hit die, 1/2 is one smaller d8 and orc is one larger d12. But that is consfusing exactly what hitpoints are.

Classes get a new hit die every other level. On even number levels players reroll their previous hit die roll taking either roll or 1/2 the die size (whichever is largest). This means that the previous hit die roll result must be recorded, meh. And also hitpoints tend to avg or above. No glass jaws wusses in HackMaster. Interesting variation on the OD&D interpretation that all hit dice are rerolled each level and new result is used if higher than existing hit points. I think I like that system better than HackMaster's. I like the slower hitpoint progression though.

In quick char gen each class is given a fixed set of profeciences and skills + a couple class appropriate skills rolled from a table. If I were to use feats, talents, profecincies, skills and the like this is how to handle them for new characters. You could get as fine grained and complex as you want say offensive fighter, defensive fighter, swashbuckling fighter. The key is to minimize choices, complexity and time needed to start playing. I've totally bought into the idea that after 10min a new character needs to be complete enough to play with.

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