another exercise in overinflated expectations. In some ways it was similar to my first viewing of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen where my expectations, based on the Comic which is awesome, were far too high to be realistic.
The reality of the situtation is that, though the adventure is the first HMB adventure to cost money (White Palette Ivory Horns was the first published HMB adventure, but is it free.), it was only released in PDF. If Kenzer had more faith that Elm King was going to be an instant classic I'm sure they would have opted to distribute it traditionally.
Just so we are clear this isn't a review where I slam Elm King, it isn't a bad adventure. My expectations, probably because this is the first HMB module that I have purchased, was that it would be amazing, which it isn't. It is nothing more or less than a pretty standard low level adventure. It won't be the most memorable your group will run, but it appears to be a well balanced that will present your players with a challenge and save you a lot of time. Whenever running a new system for the first time it is often difficult to gage what will be a challenge for a group vs what will be overwhelming. If you are new to Hackmaster Basic you could do a lot worse than to run Elm King for your players and use it to get a feel for the system prior to creating your own adventures.
I came across a PDF of Hackmaster Basic's Combat Exaple chapter online. I didn't even realize that Kenzerco was hosting this on their website. For those who don't know, the Combat example chapter is a sort of Demo for HMB's combat system as told throught a narrative featuring the Knights of the Dinner table. It is both funny and entertainning while at the same time giving an excellent example of the fluid combat offered in HMB.
For those of you who haven't picked up the book and are on the fence about it you should check it out here, I think you'll like what you find.
Do I personally think that if you purchase the book you should get the PDF copy for free? Sure! But that isn't very capitalist, nor very likely so head on over and pick up for PDF copy today!
Kenzerco has released a new Hackmaster Basic adventure, In the Realm of the Elm King. Here is the description straight from the horse's mouth:
Well I fell asleep on the couch, woke up to get a drink and now can't get back to sleep. Yay. While I'm up I thought I'd work on my new coastal map a little bit. Take a look at my progress below. Similar style to the last one I did.
As a side note my group Pathfinder game is tomorrow. All the players collaborated on a group backstory project that I think worked out very well. I'll let you guys know how the GM liked it and how the first game back was.
After a long layoffs in which I employed my Photoshop time making Shields for my Caliburn game I briefly returned to map making with this little map I did while watching the Jets beat the Chargers yesterday. Overall there is a lot I like about this map, and as always there are a few things about it that bug me.
Here it is. Let me kow what you think.
Judging by the emails I've gotten a few people are curious as to where the Diary of a Gamer section went. Yes, my group has been playing our Pathfinder game, but to be honest it hasn't been going very well. This week the group took drastic measures to improve our weekly gaming experience by doing something I have never been too fond of, hitting the reset button.
Basically we have completed started over. Same campaign concept, same well designed very detailed setting, but a different set of characters, and hopefully a different outcome as well. I'm actually really excited about the reset, and the new characters. I'm hoping to do a diary of a gamer this week to detail last night game session where we designed our characters and even got a bit of play in.
Finally finished the shields for the 15 Kings of Caliburn. First the old versions...
Posted by Labyrinthian
Let the celebrations begin!
Posted by Labyrinthian
As some of you have already noticed, we are experiencing some technical difficulties. We apologize, and are working to correct the problem... just as soon as we figure out what it is.
Thank you for your patience!
I have been giving weapons and armor a great deal of thought latley. Specifically I have been thinking of new ways to make weapons stand out from one another. You'll remember that I discussed the issue in length here, but now I am considering more how to create a mechanic to respresent item quality without giving combat bonuses as a result and I think I have an idea.
Quality Rating - Quality Ratings are a measure of both the quality of craftsmenship and the quality of the materials that go into a weapon or piece of armor. The Rating becomes inportant in any situation where the the item is about to break, whether it be because of critical fumble or any similar mishap. This rating would give the item a save against breaking, the better the item, the better the rating, the less likely it is to break. Using the Hackmaster skill system this rating would essentially be a percentage. The percentage would be the Weaponsmith or Armorsmiths skill total modified by the quality of the materials he is working with. A sword made by Hattori Hanzō using Adamantine would have a score of like 130 (100 for his skill +30 for the Adamantine) making all but unbreakable. However, some situations would result in a penalty to the roll. For example; Hanzō was walking through a mountain path to deliver his new blade to a great warrior on the other side. On his way he was buried by a great avalanche. Though he is killed his masterly crafted sword is not necessarily destroyed. It’s rating is 130 but it suffers a -50 for a massive bolder falling on it. The GM rolls a d100 to see if it is destroyed. 130 - 50 = 80, so If the GM rolls a 1-80 he knows that the sword survives even the avalanche that killed its creator!
For an added level of variance I am having the craftmanship quality rating be based on the average of the craftsman skill AND his skill roll when creating the item. So Hanzo has 100 in weaponsmithing and rolls a 50 on his skill check. That would be mean the swords rating would be 75 (105 with the +30 bonus from the adamantine as above). This is just an idea... not sure I need the extra level of complexity, but it is worth considering.
Overall I like the quality rating. I may need to flesh it out a bit more, but I definetly think I'll be using it in my upcoming Hackmaster game.
Redid some more of the shields. First have a look at the original versions....
As I mentioned yesterday I'm resuming work on my Caliburn game. For those of you unfamiliar with it I'll save you some time digging through the archive and give a basic explanation.
Essentially the game takes on the Western continent of a world called Lothian. This western continent is known as Caliburn and until recently was ruled by a wise and benevolent king who united all the land and brought peace after centuries of war. Shortly before the opening of the campaign the King is killed in battle fighting one of his cousins who was once one of his closest allies. In the wake of the rebellion and the death of the King the once united Kingdom shatters into many smaller kingdoms much as it was prior to his rise to power. This is the world in which the characters find themselves.
The main influence for the game is the Arthurian legend, specifically the computer game Spirit of Excalibur which I loved when I was a kid. The King who united the land is my King Arthur equivalent, his cousin who rebelled is my Mordred figure, and there are parallels to other characters like Lancelot and Merlin as well. However, most of the major figures are gone by the time the game begins. Caliburn is sort of a land for the taking, waiting for a new strong figure to emerge to take the Kings place.
The more I worked on the game previously the more divorced it became from the Arthurian Legend. Looking through the Basic version of the game that I made for my group's camping trip in September I see strong influences from GRRM's ASIF, Tolkien's LoTR, and since Religion plays a large role in the setting there are also very strong influences from real world religions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism.
My work on Caliburn Basic was fairly comprehensive, far more so than it needed to be given the fact that the game was only meant to be played over the long weekend while camping. The Basic game is my jumping off point, my rough draft for the final Advanced Caliburn game. As you might have guessed Advanced Caliburn is meant to be an Advanced Hackmaster game. Since Advanced Hackmaster is not out yet (nor has Kenzerco announced a date for its publication) I can only work on the "fluff" of the game, the setting, not the mechanics.
To that end I did some work this morning on shields. Heraldry plays a very important role in Caliburn, it is a land of Knights and Kings after all. For the Basic version I used this free design software to create the shields of the various Kings and Knights of the land. For a free Java program it is great, and fast which was important as I was working on a limited schedule. The first shields I created were of the King and his two cousins (Mordred and Lancelot parallels). Because their families were the three most powerful in Caliburn prior to the King uniting the land I wanted their to be a simplicity and straight forwardness about them. These banners would have been universally recognized and carried such a reputation as to make decoration and other such fanfare totally unnecessary.
Plain, basic, straightforward, simple, and almost primal. The charges for each are popular symbols of heraldry and say something about the families. The Dragon for wisdom and power, the Wolf for cunning, and the Lion for bravery. Many of the other Kings and Knights had shields done for them as well, most had animal or mythical creature charges that similarly represented their nature in some way. All were created using the same program mentioned above, though had a field (the background of the shield) that was more complex than the ones to see to the left.
For the advanced game I wanted something a bit grander than the generic shields I used for the basic one. So I set out using Photoshop to create something a bit more involved and complex. Compared to the few seconds it took to created the basic shields those created for the advanced one took forever. I was, however, pleased with the end result which can be seen below.
I apologize for my slight hiatus as of late. The wedding was this past weekend and things have been crazy kinds of busy. The wedding itself was great! Almost all of my and my wife's (wow, weird!) family and friends were in attendance. Table 10 was made up entirely of my Gaming group and their significant others. It really made me think how far things have come. As shortly as a year or two ago I still hadn't told my then girlfriend that I gamed at all. My group seemed to think that 10 years was a long time to break the news about something like that, but I'd like to think I was just pacing myself.
I should be able to get back to a normal schedule (or as normal as things get around here) soon enough. I plan on resuming work on my Caliburn game soon so you'll likely see more information on that in the near future.
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