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Gaming => RPG Reviews => Topic started by: EvilGinger on 10 November 2012, 05:07:09

Title: Hackmaster RPG
Post by: EvilGinger on 10 November 2012, 05:07:09
It may have become apparent that I have become something of a fan of these rules since I was offered a free copy of Hackmaster basic PDF by DRIVE THROUGH RPG which I would incidentally recommend for PDF copies of practically any thing out of print.

The game comes in two flavours  Basic which covers up to 5th level and is a full game with every thing in it you need to play except a starting scenario but these are available via down load should you not be able to improvise,  & the full version which covers up to 20th level but is as yet lacking the Game masters book.

I will address Basic first as its the one I have had my hands on the longest & which I have actually managed to inflict on victims players.

It covers every thing you would expect of an old school D&D style game four core character classes Fighter, Magic user, Thief, Cleric. as well as four character races Elves Dwarves Humans and Halflings. it also includes every thing else  you would need to play the game. Rules on character advancement, player gear and equipment a selection of monsters to get you started a brief but throught guide to encounter creation & the truly amazing chapter on dice. Every thing  exempt for an adventure however one of those & a couple of shorter encounters can be downloaded from the Publishers website as can the index for the book.

The game uses a combination of d20 & d100 based mechanics systems with d20 being for combat & d100 for skill resolution both systems are well thought through and appear to work as intended as far as I have yet been able to test them out. Combat is however rather bloody & despite starting characters having hit point totals that look like those of starting D&D 4e ones that all damage uses an exploding dice roll mechanic means that characters can go down easily. Armour & shields work by reducing the number of damage points you sustain & can actually make you easier to hit. Surprise is harsh & combat sequencing which uses a derivative of the rolling strike rank with no round structure imposed over the top fighters are your best combatants with Thieves & clerics being significantly less capable though Thieves under the right circumstances can be almost as good.

The Rules on Magic have all the features one would expect from this style of game,  spell books spell memorization etc, but with a number of  nice twists such as being able to cast spells you have not memorised, ability to alter spells by increasing the spell point cost of spells & each in game religion having its own spell list.

All adds up to a rather gity moderate to low fantasy style game where the characters are expected to rise from the common heard to become true hero's in the end. Truly epic.... (

adventure (

Character sheet

& the index file is attached here as I couldn't find the link well it is 4am in the morning so don't expect miracles....

The PDF can be downloaded for free but its well worth investing in the hard copy & its not at all pricey


Title: Re: Hackmaster RPG
Post by: EvilGinger on 11 November 2012, 05:57:51
HackMaster the full game.

Exists so far as just two of the core rule books

HackMaster Players guide....

A solid tome with really lovely production values takes the concepts laid out in the basic version and expands on it with more character races, gnomes half elves half orcs and half hobgoblins as well as the  murderous surface dwelling fallen elves the Grel,  More character classes Ranger, Rogue, Barbarian more in game religions for clerics expanded sections on gear spells a couple of advanced fighter options Knight & Paladin. Rules on character advancement up to level 20 expanded magic rule more Talents for all classes including class & character race specific ones & probably much more but I have note delved into this trove enough to find it yet. 

Hakopedia of Beasts....


A solid tome with really lovely production values again it contains rather fewer creature listings than you might expect but it covers each in considerable detail allowing a GM to fit each into his campaign in a way where it seems to be a natural fit not something cast in the players paths as something to fight & kill ten move on. The monsters included cover the whole range of challenges as far as I can see especially given the viciousness of the combat system  & each feels unique even those like goblins orcs etc which we have met before in so many other systems.

An appendix covers rules for leaders of monster groups further allowing the GM for whom this book is intended to shape their encounters to properly challenge the players.

Game Masters Guide....

This is not out yet but I am eager to see it & have mine on Preorder with Spirit Games...