Diary of a Gamer: Midweek Edition

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Normally I only do my Diary of a Gamer articles once a week. This week I was doing a little tweaking of my new Hackmaster Basic Character, Gorman MacGregor, and it afforded me an excellent opportunity to talk about Weapon Specialization in Hackmaster Basic.

Specialization in HMB is far different than in the previous edition or in any edition of Dungeons and Dragons. For starters, any class can specialize, only the costs are different. When purchasing a specialization the player must choose one of the four aspects of the weapon; attack, damage, speed, or defense. A character must progress evenly though the four aspects, that is to say that if one purchases a +1 to attack he cannot buy a +2 to attack until all other aspects are at +1. Additionally the cost of specializing goes up incrementally. For example, the fighter pays 5BP to increase his specialization in one area (20 for all four areas). Once he has purchased all aspects at +1 he can move on to +2, but a +2 bonus costs the base BP cost (5BP for fighters) times the bonus of the weapon. So in our example a fighter purchasing a +2 bonus would cost 5BP x 2 = 10BP. Following that formula a +3 bonus would cost 15BP and a +4 bonus 20BP.

As for probably guessed a Fighter's 5BP price tag is the cheapest for any of HMB's four character classes. The Thief pays the second least with a base BP cost of 7, next is the cleric with 8, and most is the mage who pays a whopping 10BP base cost for specialization. So those of you shocked and appalled that a mage can specialize at all should remember that just to get a +1 bonus in all areas of a weapon it would cost them 40BP, and a staggering 80BP for all their second tier bonuses! So even though it is an option for the mage, specialization is a much more realistic option for the fighter class.

And that brings us back to my fighter. Gorman just picked up some extra BP (15 to be exact) for the backstory I submitted to the GM. I now need to decide how to spend them. My character is extremely weak on skills, and I like it that way. I'd rather spend my BP on weapon specialization! So far Gorman has a +1 in all aspects of the Battleaxe. He also has a spear, but no specialization in it thus far. So I can spend the 10BP to a +2 in one of the four aspects of the battleaxe, or I can begin to specialize in the spear. With 15BP I can buy a +1 in three out of four aspects of the spear.

Given the way my group has formed though, Gorman is the only front line fighter. Because of that I don't think I'll be using the spear anywhere near as much as I'll use Battleaxe. So that's it, I'm spending my BP on the Battleaxe. The only decision I have to make now is which of the four to go with. I'm going to eliminate damage first. Obviously damage is important, but Gorman is already getting a +5 to damage. That is good enough for now. I'm going to eliminate speed next. My weapon speed right now is 10 (the Battleaxe normally has a speed of 12 but I'm getting bonus from specialization and a talent I bought) and that isn't too bad. I'm ok with that too for now. That only leaves Defense, and Attack bonus.

Now we have only played one game session thus far, but during that session I would have loved to have a +1 in either of those. I think the real tipping factor again is the fact that I am playing the group's only fighter. For that reason it seems very important that I don't go down and that I draw and maintain the attention of the bulk of the melee opponents. So it looks like it is going to be defense. The remaining 5BP I am going to bank and will spend when I level up.

So there you are. I'll let you know how my decision worked out in my next segment. Wish me luck!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at Tuesday, July 21, 2009 and is filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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