Home > Hackmaster, RPG > Mastering the Hack, part 3

Mastering the Hack, part 3

Time to select a class for my elven hero. The ability scores show clearly a prospecting career as a thief so lets pay those 25 building points it takes for an elf to start as a thief. Before I get into details of thief, let’s have a brief look on the other three classes.

Fighter is a classic master of martial arts. They get free armor proficiencies and weapon proficiencies for half a PB cost. They also have the cheapest cost to specialize in weapons. What struck me odd was that fighter does not seem to get free weapon proficiencies even for the simple weapons (as thief does for example). Fighter’s only skill bonuses are on appraising armor and weapons. As this is Hackmaster Basic the fighter class is pretty basic and straight forward. I’m looking forward to see if fighters get some more variety in the upcoming Advanced Hackmaster rules.

Mage is the classic user of magic, wizard or spellslinger. Their area of special knowledge is of course arcane magic and spell casting. Hackmaster Basic system uses kind of hybrid model between Vancian spell slot magic and spell point magic seen in games like Rolemaster. Mage can memorize spells every morning for their normal Spell point cost and cast ‘unmemorized’ spells for double price. Spell points can also be burned to augment spells to cause more damage or alter their duration or range etc. Very nifty. Spell levels also equal experience levels. Second level Mage can cast up to second level spells. There are also apprentice and journeyman level spells below the actual first spell level. They have very minor but some interesting effects. I will return to magic (both arcane and divine) later in their own posts with more detail. Mages have a very limited choice of armor proficiencies available and learning weapon proficiencies is very pricey for them. Mage gets skill bonus in Arcane lore as is befitting.

Cleric is his religion’s representative and has a power to channel the miracles of his deity. Divine magic uses Vancian spell slot magic only. Clerics gain one spell from each spell level a day and they have to pray for it beforehand. High wisdom score grants some bonus spells from the lower spell levels but a cleric can pray for a same spell twice with the bonus slot. The HMB book describes five different religions from the 43(!) available in the Kingdoms of Kalamar setting and Clerics get some specific skills according to their church. Their weapon and armor proficiencies are also church dependent. One nice detail is that cleric’s healing spells work a little better on the anointed followers of the church. All clerics gain skill bonus on religious skills.

Now let’s get to work with my elf and make him a thief. He gets a -1 initiative modifier on the first level and thieves also use one (or more) step smaller die to roll initiative after reaching second level. As my character is an elf he gets one step smaller initiative die from his race also but it will not stack with thief class bonus. He also has a backstab attack with small weapons like knives or daggers. Backstab has a chance to make much more damage than normal damage as it’s damage dice penetrate more easily. Penetrating dice means they get rerolled with their maximum result and the new roll -1 is added to the result of the first die. Thief can also use backstab damage when hitting a fleeing opponent. There is also bonus to bypass damage reduction for a thief attacking behind his victim. Thief is also good defending himself getting near perfect defense more easily and cause more damage with counter-blows. These will get more detail when I’ll get to combat section, so don’t worry if they sound mysterious terms at this point. Thief is also an efficient (and cold-blooded) butcher and can Coup de Grâce helpless victims in just a few seconds.

Thief can use simple weapons and learn better weapons with different costs. They cannot wear medium or heavy armors. Thieves have a nice array of different class skills to use and they get them started for free. When advancing in levels they also get a free advancement for four of these ten core class skills and a little bonus for each advance roll for them. Thieves are also experts in finding secret doors.

Thieves got also a special Luck ability the other classes don’t have. They get 20+level luck points that can be used to alter the die roll results by one for each luck point used. They can alter the enemy attack rolls. The luck point tally resets every time the thief gets a new level. So if a thief has still 7 luck points left when he gains the second level, his luck point total ‘resets’ to 22 (20 + 2 for level 2).

So there are lots of details to tinker with when I get to steps about purchasing skills talents and proficiencies. This step of the character building also includes choosing an alignment but that will take another post to think about…


Categories: Hackmaster, RPG
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