May 2, 2006


Contrary to popular rumors, I do still play HackMaster. The blog has been a bit dead lately for a couple of reasons. It doesn’t help much that I’ve separated the blog into 3 blogs now and so any individual blog gets only a third of my blog attention.

I’m hoping to make a few changes to help correct this oversight. I will allow some members of my group to blog here, and in fact I will be encouraging it in the form of XP….some of the roleplay XP will be awarded based on posting in character. Also, if a PC wants to funnel XP to a protégé, they have to provide for an accounting. We’ll see how well that goes…..

Since my last pathetic post I’ve playing in a couple of tournaments, GMd another, and have been setting things up for some upcoming conventions.

Carolyn and I went to Genghis Con again this year…..third year in a row. They moved it back to the old digs in Denver, but we decided to stay at the Marriot pretty much across the street. I got to work in a few business trips enroute and we prefer to stay at the Marriot. Carolyn was sick so her involvement wasn’t as much as planned. Joe Tolman stepped in and helped me run the third installment of “Little Outhouse on the Prairie”. That went well and much abuse was suffered by the PCs. Unfortunately for me, my table was mostly pregens and the only two that didn’t succumb to my evil plan were actually home characters.

The next day Carolyn felt a little better and we played in “Chutes and Splatters” which Joe (and I think Bethany) Tolman wrote. I wasn’t too happy with a couple of features in that adventure, which in retrospect meant he did a good job. I hadn’t felt that kind of sense of urgency in some time. My table won and we fell just short of completing the adventure because the rest of the party actually listened to my character. Normally that’s a good thing, but a couple of them knew better…….I think that maybe I blurred the line a bit between PC and player and they were listening to “me”.

There was a Gronde Mondre Arena set up for Sunday, but Carolyn and I couldn’t participate as we had an early flight out and we wanted to hook up with some Denver friends for lunch.

After the extended work/pleasure trip, life returned to normal and unfortunately that means no HackMaster! Things have started looking a bit better when Joe mentioned a program called Fantasy Grounds ( for online play. I had been nosing around a bit for something to use for online games and tournaments since I wasn’t very happy with the D&D Chat and the even-worse mIRC. Joe and I checked out Fantasy Grounds and it was like a light bulb went off. This program is relatively easy to use and tweak and in no time we were discussing how to purchase the program. Evidently there is a big discount available to groups who purchase the program. We managed to get enough people together to drop the price to about $10 per player and $20 per GM.

Of course there’s been tons of bitching and whining by some folks who bought the program. Some think that for $10 they should get the world handed to them on a platter. Some others didn’t bother to read the user manual and ran into some difficulties. Of course I think the user’s manual should be a bit more complete and some things that will break up the game aren’t mentioned. It’s one of those programs with far too many undocumented features and it seems more stable the more you use it…..probably because as you tweak the program, those tweaks need to be shared with the players. The GM is in total control and his program pretty much tells everyone else what to do… far I’ve totally overhauled the dice expressions to include a ton of custom dice, to include special pictures and fonts for the dice results. It might not seem like much, but getting the weighting right on a 1d4-2 is important in HackMaster, especially if you then are adding a bonus. A 1d4-2 with a +2 bonus is not the same as a 1d4. The former would give you results of 3,3,3,4 while the latter gives you a 1,2,3,4….

Anyway, we’ve had a few online games with Joe’s Troubles Inc and most of that group of players has been added to the “Boise Incident” Instigators roster. I start up my new campaign in a couple of weeks. In Joe’s group Carolyn and I are playing our very first HackMaster PCs, a husband and wife duo of Elara and Waydol Glendarn. Elara is an elven Cleric (6th level) and Waydol is a long bow specialist (2nd level).

Carolyn and I did also participate in an online tournament run by a GM in Colorado whose name escapes me. That’s the problem with “knowing” people from online. His handle is usually Leif, I believe his real name is Eric, and he’s the GM of a group called the Hackbunnies. I wasn’t real enthusiastic about playing in a chat tournament using mIRC, but Carolyn and I both had fun, so we might be doing it again this month. She played an eleven Fighter/Thief while I played “Big Guy”, my half-ogre Fighter. I ended up self-leveling from that tournament, so I now have a third level PC….one of which I fully expected to get killed off long before now.

That’s what’s happened recently….we have CONduit 2006 ( looming on the horizon and we will be going to Origins! ( Much fun will be had, but not enough time to recover since we have Fandemonium coming in August. The level of Hack is rising!......

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