UbiquitousRat's Roleplaying Dreams

UbiquitousRat's Roleplaying Dreams: July 2012

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

HackMaster: Character Generation

Having messed around a bit with the earlier release of HackMaster Basic, I was delighted last week to finally receive my copy of the HackMaster Player's Handbook. This morning I have been exploring character generation and wanted to share my two-penneth on why this is a cracking game.

Before we start, however, a caveat: HackMaster is NOT a joke game! We need to make it very clear that this article is about the new HackMaster. This is a serious fantasy RPG with some really positive innovations that, frankly, make the current generation of D&D editions look a bit crap. 

Gentle reader... take a deeper look before you discount the new HackMaster.
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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Putting Prep to the Test

Image courtesy of Sigma Books, used without permission.
A couple of weeks ago I posted my encouragement for any GM to read "Never Unprepared", the very useful guide about getting your prep done. This little book has transformed my hobby in big ways over the last month, reinvigorating my own confidence in my ability to run a game for my friends... even with a 80-hour a week teaching career. If you didn't catch that article then you can read it -->here<--.

This week I want to pick up on developments within my own hobby as I have successfully begun to build a new setting for a forthcoming fantasy campaign with the Friday Night Roleplay group. In short, it has been an amazing week of progress, fueled by the tips in Never Unprepared, and has taught me a thing or two about what I enjoy about being a GM.

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Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Unpacking HackMaster 5th

There was a knock at the door and the postie delivered a package that I've been waiting for since before Christmas. Today I received my copy of the HackMaster 5th.

Rather than write a lengthy review I thought that I'd just share some pictures.
You can read my fumbling comments from when I read the rules earlier in the year if you like what you see.

Here goes...

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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Do You Roleplay Or Skirmish?

Having long been fascinated by the relationship between tabletop miniature skirmish games and roleplaying, it was good to return to the subject last night. 

One of our regular players climbed back into the GM chair to run us through some Gamma World. The game was fun, light-hearted and a fresh reminder of what it felt like to play D&D 4e last year. It was also, for me, the very definition of a skirmish game.


Roleplaying, as I understand it, has its roots in tabletop miniatures gaming. Dungeons & Dragons arose from a set of rules called Chainmail and was a move away from the general big armies wargaming towards individual-level skirmishing. 

As an old-time tabletop miniatures fan, I was quickly drawn into roleplaying due to the focus on skirmish-level combat combined with a sense of ongoing story. 

As roleplaying games have developed over time, incorporating more and more people with a desire to roleplay (read: act, tell stories, play in role), games have developed with less tactical-combat focus and looser overall rules. But it's not all been in that direction... especially in the arena of fantasy roleplaying.
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Saturday, 14 July 2012

Never Unprepared

This is a seriously useful book for any GM. Never Unprepared is exactly what it says on the cover: "The complete Game Master's guide to session prep".

Desperately Needed Help

If you read my last post then you are aware of the pain that both myself and the group I game with have been suffering through.

As it turns out I got my diagnosis completely wrong.

This book told me why.
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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Butterfly Madness

The worst of it is that, right now, we've hit a period of not gaming. Pressures at work have meant that I've had to cancel two weeks of Traveller gaming with the lads at school. On top of that, due to the predatory nature of shift working on attendance, the Friday Night Roleplay group has also failed to play for a month. Oh, and the GM (me) is also totally wracked with butterflies.


I've spoken about the Butterfly Madness before but never really fully explored what it means. I'm not talking about time travel or the effect of treading on small lifeforms either. This is a matter of the over-active imagination and a total lack of focus in my hobby.

If it's shiny then I am likely to want to look at it. Flitting from one RPG system to another, exploring rules and settings, my average week is a trip through fantasy and science-fiction worlds aplenty. It's a constant flow of interest and absorption which fuels my passion for gaming. It also kills my ability to stick at anything for very long.

If you get the Butterfly Madness then you are going to exhibit the following behaviours:

  • Short bursts of intense enthusiasm for a particular gaming idea
  • Fevered periods of prep for a game in that setting or system
  • Emotional highs if you can get even a short session of play
  • Disappointment when it either doesn't get played or doesn't meet expectations
  • Attraction to another idea, often inspired by something "cool" that you spotted
  • Repeat...
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