It’s one of the most unusual origins in RPG history: In 2001, armed with an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons license from Wizards of the Coast, Kenzer and Company released HackMaster “4th Edition” — a playable parody of the AD&D 1e/2e rules that captured the spirit of the game seen in the long-running Knights of the Dinner Table comic strip by Jolly R. Blackburn. (There were no prior editions; “4th” was part of the spoof). HackMaster won that year’s Origins Award for Game of the Year.
Unpredictably, HackMaster evolved into a full-fledged, serious (well, semi-serious) RPG, spawning over 40 add-ons, supplements, and game aids. In 2011, as the original license was expiring, Kenzer started a long transition to a new version of HM. Having elided most of the parody aspects of 4E, HackMaster‘s lavish “Fifth Edition” has earned respect from Old School gamers everywhere. The new game mechanics, written from scratch, incorporate the honor, skills, and Count-up systems from Kenzer’s 2007 Old West RPG Aces & Eights. (We presented A&8 in our October 2015 Aces & Eights Bundle.) And HackMaster got a new setting: the Kingdom of Kalamar, made popular in a long line of Kenzer supplements from the D20 boom.
Our HackMaster Bundle presented all three massive HackMaster Fifth Edition core books — the Player’s Handbook with the rules system, the GameMaster’s Handbook with additional rules and extensive advice, and the monumental Hacklopedia of Beasts monster manual. We also include the Frandor’s Keep setting and several adventures and supplements. Together they provide everything you need for a complete campaign using this remarkable Old School game.
Our Player’s Collection included four titles (retail value $47) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
- HackMaster 5E Player’s Handbook (retail price $40): The complete, current 400-page Fifth Edition rulebook. Includes the free HackMaster Basic introductory rulebook.
- Zealot’s Guide Books 1-2 (total retail $7): These two short supplements present new clerical orders and dozens of spells.
- HackMaster Player Resources: As a convenience to our customers, we’ve gathered many free HackMaster downloads from the Kenzer and Company website: charts and play aids, reference sheets, and more.
- HackMaster 5E GameMaster’s Guide (retail $40): This 370-page tome has rules, NPCs, treasure tables, and advice for every situation.
- Hacklopedia of Beasts 5E (retail $40): The massive, lavishly produced monster book that launched the HackMaster 5E project.
- Frandor’s Keep (retail $15): A lonely military outpost on the creature-infested borderlands — an ideal sandbox to start an adventuring career.
- NEW! In the Realm of the Elm King (retail $5): An ideal introductory adventure, a search for missing children outside a small village near Frandor’s Keep.
- NEWER! Legacy of the Elm King (retail $5): A free-standing follow-up to In the Realm of the Elm King.
- Hackmaster GM Resources: More free downloads from the Kenzer website — adventures that help the HM GameMaster. There’s even an Android app to track combat!