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Archive for the ‘Hackmaster’ Category

I never really thought I’d say this.  After all the point of any RPG is that you get to escape reality for a while.  The rules are immaterial, so long as you can get into your character and vanish for a while slaying dragons or zombies, or what have you.

Been there, done that sums up my feelings pretty well.  Never mind it’s been the 800 pound gorilla for the last 10 years, there’s just nothing new about it.  Last night, at our latest game session, we decided that as a backup game (should we really not want to play in the Gasoline Punk game I described last time; or if we should run out of plotted adventure, and the GM needs time to plan…) we’d play other games.  We have two now, on tap for when we want to do something different.  The first is going to be Palladium Fantasy RPG.  I’ll run that on occasion, and I’ve already got some good ideas for a plot.  I just need to get my prep work out of the way.    The second is going to be D&D, in Planescape.

This is how I came to realize that I’d done it all.  The GM said that anything goes.  We can use anything out of any of the books we want.  Of course, we have to stick to first level, but otherwise.  I spent the last several hours of last night and several more this morning trying to decide what I wanted to play.  Affter all, anything goes.  That doesn’t happen too often.  The problem is, I’ve played all of those character types.  I’ve learned how they work, what their limitations are.  None of them do exactly what I want them to do, especially in light of a limited number of sessions remaining.

As I flipped from book to book (both from WoTC and third party sources), I just couldn’t get involved in the process.  I mean I still remember the rules, I still could build a character from scratch, blindfolded.  But I just don’t care.  This is why I was getting out of d20 before D&D 4th came around.  This is the first time I’ve looked back, and it just doesn’t do it for me.  I’ll build something, especially since it’s just a back-up plan, but I really don’t see me getting much enjoyment out of it.

And no, I didn’t adopt 4th edition.  In fact, I went sideways, and adopted Pathfinder.  But even that isn’t right for me.  I could go down the list of reasons why I dislike 4E, but the last thing I want is an edition war here in my private little corner of the web.  (Though have you heard about the newest twist on 4E rules?  Collectible trading cards to give your characters one-time boosts in-game…Can you tell which company is in charge of the system now?)

In the end, Dungeons and Dragons isn’t working for me.  I prefer something more old-school.  That’s why I sank so much money into Rolemaster Standard System.  It’s why my main game is Hackmaster (4th edition, not 5th).  I’d play 2nd edition, if there were anyone around willing to do so.

At least with those other systems, I haven’t explored all of the possibilities.

Feel free to comment on this post.  I’d love to hear from you.  Even if it’s so you can gush about all of the uber-leet cool fun you are having with D&D these days.  I’m not saying any one edition is bad, just that I don’t want to play.  But a story is a story, and if you’ve had fun, share it with us!

Maybe within the next week, I’ll post about my favorite RPG moments.  It could be fun!  See ya around!

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In about half an hour, our weekly RPG session starts.  This will be session 4 of our Hero 6th edition game entitled “gasoline punk.”  Basically, take a lot of elements from anime (including a heavy amount from “Wild Arms”), and set it on a planet that is mostly desert.  It’s the remains of an old colony long since cut off from the original founding culture.  It’s a western, with sci-fi elements.

I play a gunslinger, name of Jonah.  My sidekick is a young pilot.  Both of us are on the run from the Galbadian Empire, a collection of robber barons who picture themselves as rulers of the desert.  To paraphrase another sci-fi western “there’s some disagreement on that.”

We were hired to escort a scientist and his project to a place of safety where he could do research into an artifact left behind by the Mu, the worlds version of Native Americans.  Uniquely, Jonah is able to help with that a bit, having spent a lot of time among the Mu.  He understands some of their mysticism, and can even invoke a healing ritual, given enough time.  Of course, there’s the old flame from Jonah’s past who was also hired to go with them to retrieve an artifact from an ancient Mu temple.  Perhaps not too surprisingly, she turned on us, robbed us, took the artifact, and sealed us in the tomb to die.  We got out, and are looking for a bit of retribution.

Later, we’re going to be using GURPS because the GM is wanting to do something based somewhat on the Otherland series by Tad Williams.  So it looks like we’ll be doing a little post-cyberpunk adventuring.  Of course, I don’t care much for GURPS (or Hero for that matter), but like always, it’s either play what everyone else wants or don’t play.

Then of course, next week we return to Hackmaster.  The PC’s have decided that the dungeon is too tough for them, so I’ve been plotting a new story.  Don’t want to say too much here, but it involves the potential for some bad people to tear down the barriers between the planes of existence and “return the world to it’s natural state.”  Should be fun.

In the meantime, I’m also back to sketching out a new RPG system.  I’ve repeatedly tried, of course, to write my own rules, but in trying to be generic and universal, I always flounder after a bit.  This time, I have a goal in mind:  Instead of generic and universal, I’m aiming for cinematic action, a set of rules that can handle what I feel steampunk and pulp action should feel like.  The difference is that I don’t want to just copy someone else’s work, and I do want to consider how to add in other types of genre’s (even if the core isn’t written directly for it).

I’m calling it the “3D System”, which kind of tells you a little about the mechanics.  But it uses several different die types, and every roll is an opposed roll instead of just against a set difficulty.  Should make one on one duels a bit more interesting.  This way, even someone with a low skill might succeed, but the odds are against it.  Being a 3dice system, the result will still follow a bell curve, but you never know.  Damage in melee is a factor of how strong you are, and the better you beat his defense, the more damage you do.  Instead of just doubling damage when you roll a natural 20 (for example), the critical hits go up in severity based on how much damage you manage to score.

Right now, I’m still trying things out, and taking notes.  Soon, I’ll start on the actual first draft and maybe set up a time to do a preliminary playtest.  I might even share a few tidbits here with you.

Until next time…

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The last time I wrote, I said I was having trouble deciding which system to run aside from Rolemaster.  Well, one of my players had a copy of the Hackmaster Player’s Handbook and Gamemaster Guide that he was willing to sell me.  He wasn’t getting any use out of them, they were just taking up shelf space.

My son, of course, wanted to play Hackmaster from that moment.  So much so that he wouldn’t entertain any of the other possibilities.  So no Rifts, no Palladium Fantasy, no Star Frontiers, nothing else.  So I decided I’d at least run a one-shot and see how everyone liked it.

So Wednesday comes around, and by this point I’ve already helped my boy make his character (Dwarf Fighter: named of Clay Anvilbinder).  I pay for the books, and he hands them over.  then we go on and play in the other game we play in between my sessions, which is a western-sci-fi-indiana jones-pulp adventure on a desert planet.  But the adventure there ends early.  In looking for something else to do, I agree that it’s time to make another character for Hackmaster.  We end up with a Thug Halfling Thief.

There’s still an hour or two left for the evening, so we start Hackmaster.  Remember, I only just got the books that day (all I know for sure is it is based on 1E AD&D, so I’m winging it rules-wise), and all I have are a few pages from the beginning of a module I found online that I printed ‘just in case.’  Enough to make a start on something if it came down to it.  I was not really prepared.

But they wanted to give it a go.  So I read the introductory text, described the first room of the dungeon and away we went.

The first real encounter they have is with a pair of snarky “magic mouth” spells designed to frighten away intruders.  These Magic Mouths follow them down the hallway, making all kinds of racket, and making it obvious that there will be no way to get rid of them without a fight.  Further, all of this noise is sure to bring other denizens of the dungeon down on them.  Of course, I was totally unprepared, so I missed the part where it says they can’t be damaged except by magic.  So we had a rollicking good time fighting these two wise-cracking defensive spells.

A ROLLICKING good time.  I don’t pull out the old-fashioned words unless I mean them.  Even though we didn’t really know the rules, and I spent much of the time page-flipping looking for the ones I needed, things flowed smoothly, and the battle proceeded apace  We laughed for the rest of the evening like we’ve never laughed during a session before.

Coming Wednesday, I get to run more of the dungeon crawl.  There’s also a good chance we’ll be bringing in a new player.  (Partly to help round out our 2 PC group, and partly because the Hero GM is moving to Indiana in the middle of the summer.  Playing an RPG with just two people can be done, but it just doesn’t seem as fun.)

Now I just need to get started on a campaign of my own so that when we are done with this module, I have something else to throw at them.  So…what next?

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