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 Post subject: Q&A
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:52 am 

Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:58 pm
Posts: 7861
Introduction to Hackmaster
Hackmaster 4th Ed was produced by Kenzerco under license from WotC. At the time WotC were heavily into launching their AD&D 3rd Ed (d20) system and, IMHO, thought that 2nd Ed was dead and they could make some money by licensing 2nd Ed. To cover themselves though they only granted the license as a parody. So Hackmaster was produced to be the successor to 2nd Ed that people (who hated d20/3rd Ed system) wanted. It was loosely parodied on KoDT , so lots of everything: new classes, kits, races, spell, equipment as expected. All new stuff: penetrating dice, critical hits, IG Honour system, alignment charting. That’s it, really. Everything from 2nd Ed and made more so. Sortof like AD&D 2.75Ed. Oh, and there never was a HM 1st, 2nd or 3rd Ed.

The campaign here is intended as an introduction for players new to the system and is set in a subtropical region of’ Gaweese Wurld’, the published campaign setting. GM will help as required for character generation, but all aspects of this are under player control (choice).

Main piece of advice would be ’if in doubt, ask.’ Seriously.
Players are invited to ask any sensible questions. That way if something crops up, it's the player's fault for not asking. :)

What type of Infravision is used in ASIGO?
Infravision employed is like low light vision with a one round changeover between infravision & normal eyesight (and the same back). You can't read a scroll without a light source.

What do coins weigh?
Rules as written gives 10 coins weigh 1lb. I think that's too much. |Houserule is 50 coins = 1lb.

How does encumbrance factor affect an item?
What you can carry (including weight of armour worn) is covered under STR table (PHB p16). Encumbrance is PHB p121-2. In the equipment section armour is listed a non-buly, fairly bulky or bulky. Magical armour is 1 category lower. Fairly reduces base movement to 3/4 (so 12" => 9"). Bulky reduces movement to 2/3 (so 12" => 8"). Weigh/encumberance and armour bulkiness do not stack. The worse category is used for movement.

Can I buy 'Masterwork' items?
No. 'Masterwork' is not a term used in HM. But the quality of workmanship range can be: 'Worthless', 'Poor', 'Shoddy', 'Average' (PHB standard), 'Decent', 'Superior', 'Extraordinary'.
A character may evaluate a weapon with either Specialisation in a weapon, or weaponsmithing skill for any weapon. I house-rule it also that if proficient and not under stress (combat) that a natural 20 on the first to hit with a weapon can give an indication of workmanship.

Do magic weapons shed light?
Magic weapons that shed light do so only after the character has confirmed that they are magical weapons. If a character 'claims' a weapon (or item) then they get the xp and a summary of the base properties of the item, including any baneful effects if it's cursed which usually only show up at an inconvenient time.

Can I use Cantrips?
An apprentice mage can accumulate up to 2xINT cantrips (which the player can choose trom the PHB.)
Cantrips have their own spell book which is similar to a normal spell book except it may contain up to 36 cantrips in it (but no higher level spells.)
Each cantrip occupies 1d6-1 spellbook pages.
Cantrips must be memorised, each taking a mere 5 minutes of study each after 4 hour (or longer) sleep.
Cantrips can be cast two per round: 1st on Initiative segment 1 (same as all spells where the spell components are ready, delayed by 1d4 segments for components otherwise which can be modified by DEX but minimum 1); and the 2nd cantrip can be cast 1d4 segments later (which includes spell components and is not modified by DEX).
Most mages burn their cantrip spell book upon graduation as there's a risk that one's Honour takes a dent if anyone sees you casting them, e.g. "oh! he's only an apprentice!"

How many cantrips could my mage start with?
RAW allow a character to start with four cantrips in lieu of a 1st level spell.
Your GM thinks this metagamey with no logical basis. The RAW are unclear on cantrips spell slots. House-ruling it:
1) A starting mage may choose to retain her cantrip book but incurring a risk to her honour thereafter and a trifling debt of 1000GP (effectively for the second spell book).
2) In place of a given 1st level spell a mage can memorise four cantrips of which she may cast 2 and so on. E.g. use of a third level spell slot would allow 12 cantrips to be memorized and 6 of which cast.

How does having a pegleg effect my character? (condensed)
A character generated with the 'Amputee, Leg' flaw, which gives 15BP, get the Pegleg proficiency for free (and +25% on STR).
The 3" movement reduction is negated by Pegleg proficiency.
Peg leg gives a max speed of x1.5 normal movement and you're screwed for walking on ice.
The character can still make the combat manoeuvre 'Charge' although the GM may apply additional penalties due to terrain.
Pegleg does not affect Dex-based AC if you have the pegleg skill in the appropriate leg.

My character has gained a free skill during character generation but doesn't have the prerequisites. What do I do?
Free skills gained during character creation automatically gain any prerequisite skills at 50%.

What is Honour in Hackmaster?
Honour runs at the heart of Hackmaster - it is a measure of the deeds accomplished by the individual (and sometimes his bloodline) as well as those he associates with. It is about respect and how others view you. This is measured by an Honour value (which can vary from 1 to several hundred) and is known as 'Base Honour' (aka 'Actual Honour').
The Honour value for a given character level indicates whether the character is in Dishonour, Average, Great or Too Much Honour:
[Char Level] / Dishonourable / Average Honour / Great Honour/ Too Much Honour
[1] / <6 / 6-16 / 17-20 / >20
[2] / <9 / 9-24 / 25-30 / >30
[3] / <12 / 12-32 / 33-40 / >40, and so forth.

What effect does Honour have?
Bonuses accrue if in Great Honour; penalties if in Dishonour.
Characters in the 'Great Honour window' gain +1 bonus to ALL die rolls (after all other adjustments), gain +5%xp and training in new or existing skills costs 10% less than normal. Additionally such a character is awarded one 'mulligan', aka free re-roll, per gaming session (or per Chapter for PBEM).
Characters in 'Dishonour' suffer -1 penalty to ALL die rolls (after all other adjustments), lose -10%xp and training in new or existing skills costs 10% more than normal. Additionally such a character will be more likely to attract (and be attacked by) wandering monsters, publicly rejected by barkeepers etc

What is an Honour die? And what does it apply to?
An Honour die is a concrete measure of a character's Honour (for a given character level.) . It varies with both Base Honour value and character level. For example:
[Char Level] / Great Honour / Optimum Honour Die size
[1] / 17-20 / 1d4
[2] / 25-30 / 1d6
[3] / 33-40 / 1d6+1, and so forth.
The further a character drifts from the 'Great Honour window', the smaller the Honour die size becomes. (Maximum Honour die size is 1d20, minimum is 1).

What is the difference between Actual, Base and Temporal Honour?
Temporal Honour has no effect during a game session and is merely houskeeping for Honour, (loosely similar to xp). Over the course of a game session a character may accrue any number of Temporal Honour points. At the end of the session, the character's Temporal Honour total is divided by 4, and the integer added to his previous Base Honour, then becoming his Base Honour for the following session.

When is an Honour Die rolled?
An Honour die is used to improve Fractional Ability Scores when going up levels, to improve skills and increase the likelihood that training is successful, to make Honour Checks e.g. as the result of failing an Alignment Audit, to resolve Honour Duals, to establish the packing order within a group or to sway critical outcomes e.g. by Burning Honour or making an Honour Purge.

What is ‘Burning Honour’?
When it is a character’s turn to act, she may choose to Burn Honour to sway the outcome of a critical action. This is done by declaring the intention to Burn an amount of Honour before making a roll to determine the outcome of a critical action. The character’s Base Honour is then immediately reduced by the stated amount and for every 10 points of Honour burnt one roll of the Honour die applicable before burning is rolled with and used as a modifier to the critical action. Fractions of 10 Honour are dealt with proportionately. For example, Joe Platemail 3rd (Fighter Level 1, Honour 20) decides that it is imperative that he makes one particular saving throw versus Death Magic (TN: 15) and burns 13 points of honour, immediately reducing his Base Honour from 20 to 7 dropping him from Great Honour to Average Honour status. This gives him 1.3 Honour Dice to roll with his usual d20 for the saving throw:, so:
{[d20: 10+1 (GH)] +[first Hon. die d4: 2+1(GH)]+0.3x[second Hon. die d4: 3+1(GH)]}
={[ 11]+[3]+0.3x[4]} = 15 which is just sufficient for him to make the saving throw.

What is an 'Honour Purge'?
An Honour Purge can be performed once per character level by a character that is in the Great Honour window. This immediately reduces the character’s Honour by 90% and can be used:
a) for that character to avoid one action or event that would have caused the character’s death or
b) guarantee the success of his next action with the caveat that the action is possible (1% chance minimum).

What are Mastery Dice?
Each skill has an Ability Score and a Mastery Die associated with it, e.g. Gaming (Int, d6)
"One roll of the Mastery DICE" means one roll of the Mastery DIE (associated with the particular skill) and one roll of the character's current Honor die.
When a skill is acquired, it has a starting value of the relevant stat plus one roll of the mastery dice.
So for a character with Int 17 and Honour die 1d4, initial skill value = 17+1d6+1d4 modified thereafter for penetration dice and Honour.
Assuming the character is in Normal Honour, then if 1d6=6 and 1d4=3, the d6 penetrates to an additional 1d6-1. If the 1d6-1=3-1=2, then Gaming skill is 17+6+2+3=28%
One course of successful training will give one additional roll of the Master Dice, assuming the Hon Die is still 1d4, then if d6=5 and 1d4=1, the Ganing skill increases to 28+5+1=34%.
In other words, the Ability score is only ever added once.

What are Penetration Dice?
Die penetration is only used for ability increases due to leveling, critical severity level, damage, magical healing, skill mastery level and the Honour die when used for one of these things. It occurs when the given die roll is a maximum, in which case the die is rolled again, 1 subtracted from the result and then added to the previous die result(s). Repeated die penetration is possible. Additionally crossbow damage dice penetrate on either the maximum or 1 less than maximum die result' this also applies to crossbow damage penetration dice.

What's the difference between 'Learning Ability' and 'Chance to Improve skill' ?
A roll against 'Learning Ability' (controlled by INT) is used whenever a character studies to lean new skill or improve an existing skill. (Great Honour and Opportunist talent apply). This does not apply to skills gained in character creation (nor to ones granted 'for free' during the BBI training when increasing character level).
The 'Chance to Improve skill' (controlled by WIS) is used whenever a character uses a skill. If the unmodified skill roll is less than that value, then the charactr has improved the skill, recorded as a 'tick' against the skill on the character sheet. The ticks may be used is two ways: either two ticks converted to 1% which can be added to the skill value immediately or saved until next formal training in the skill when they are converted as one tick to 1% and added to the skill value. The number of ticks that can be applied to a skill before subsequent formal training in the skill is limited by its Mastery dice size*. For example, a Mastery dice size of 1d6 means that up to 6 ticks can be converted (2:1 = +3%) prior to, and furthermore up to 6 ticks can be saved for use at (1:1 = +6%) the next formal training in the skill.
*Mastery dice size can be found in the excellent freeware summary: ""

How do HM Fatigue rules work?
A character may start to get tired after 0.5xCON rounds of combat (round down).
This is increased to: 0.75xCON rounds if the Endurance skill is possessed, CON rounds if the Endurance skill is possessed, or 1.5xCON rounds for both the skill & Talent.
So for CON 10.57, Fatigue checks must be made every round after 5 round of combat, increased to 7 rounds for the Endurance skill, 10 rounds for the Endurance Talent and 15 rounds for both.
The Fatigue check is made by rolling d20 against the Fatigue Factor (FF); GH and Lucky g20 apply. Success is a result ≤ FF which means no change for that round but checks continue until combat ends (or until the character becomes completely disabled if that occurs first).
FF = Round_Down((WIS+CON)/2). So for the same character having WIS 10.36, FF = Round_Down((10.36+10.57)/2) = Round_Down(10.46)=10
Failure means the immediate loss of 1 point of STR and 1 point of DEX. If either DEX or STR reach 0, the character falls unconscious.
Complete rest for one round negates the fatigue (but not STR or DEX loss) of one round of combat. Two rounds of light activity negates the fatigue of one round of combat.
Complete rest for a further Turn (10 rounds) recovers 1 point of STR loss and 1 point of DEX loss. Light activity for 1 Turn recovers 1 point of STR then 1 point of DEX after a further Turn of light activity.

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