Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mini Review - Dusk of the Dead (Hackmaster)

I'm a bit undecided about the relatively new Hackmaster Basic.  The system as presented is certainly viable, but with only the first 5 levels of character advancement covered, the scope of the game is fairly limited.  Then there is the problem of limited adventures and such for the system.

The latest adventure for Hackmaster is Dusk of the Dead, for characters of levels 5-7.  As Hackmaster Basic only covers up to level 5, does this mean that Hackmaster Advanced is just around the corner?  I don't know.

Dusk of the Dead is made to work as a followup to Frandor's Keep, so it can easily be dropped into the setting presented there or used on it's own.  Still, it works best with Frandor's Keep.

DotD doesn't have bookmarks, which probably aren't too useful in a short piece like this, but it does have hyperlinks.  Some, admittedly, are links back to the Kenzerco website, but most of them are aids to navigate the adventure.  I love me some hyperlinks, and I think they are well done for the most part.  Heck, even the maps have hyperlinks back to the room descriptions.

The maps are excellent BTW.  Nice use of B&W line drawings.

As for the adventure itself, it looks like a fun adventure for a Halloween themed nite of gaming.  Still, I suspect it might be a tough for a party on the low end of the 5-7 level range.  As Hackmaster Basic only goes to level 5, the whole party will be on the low end at this point.  Any news on when Hackmaster Advanced is coming out?

From the blurb:

"The long hours on the road have left you yearning for a good night’s rest at your favorite way station. Decent food, a clean bed and live entertainment have never sounded so good – especially so with those storm clouds looming on the horizon, mounting winds and periodic raindrops heralding some fouler weather to come. The warm glow of a fire and a hot meal will be welcome, but where is the wait staff?”

Dusk of the Dead is a new HackMaster adventure featuring a variety of challenges designed for four to six 5th to 7th level player characters.

Detailing a haunted location off the beaten path, Dusk of the Dead may be used by itself as a stand-alone one-shot adventure or easily placed anywhere in the wilderness of an ongoing campaign. Located in the wilderness near Frandor’s Keep, just off the Borderland Road, Dusk of the Dead may also be employed as a follow-on for characters completing the Frandor’s Keep mini-campaign and/or as an add-on or segue into the Mines of Chaos series of adventures. The adventure contains a myriad of hooks and ideas for introducing players to the scenario as well as follow-on integration for on-going play with Frandor’s Keep, the local towns of Vew and Sabden, as well as direct connections to the City-State of P’Bapar.

Like all Kenzer and Company products, Dusk of the Dead was designed with you in mind. The PDF is designed both for traditional use on a PC or to print out on your own as well as being optimized for tablet use with internal hyperlinks that allow you to tap on a map and jump right to the description or to follow other internal references direct to the relevant page! We prepare all the details so you can spend less time flipping pages (real or virtually) and more time gaming. Gamemastering has never been so easy or so much fun!

Dusk of the Dead also features maps and illustrations by Knights of the Dinner Table's favorite cartographer Craig Zipse!


  1. Levels 6-10 are covered in KODT issues.

    Also the Players Handbook is currently on "alpha" version, if you preorder it you can access the current PDF. The Players Handbook cover leves 1-20, plus including additional character classes and races.

  2. I stopped reading KotDT a few months back. The story wasn't moving, and I actually read it for the story, go figure.

    So, basically, it's a module for levels that aren't officially released yet... certainly not published in a place a regular gamer would find them.

    It's not like I can go on RPGNow and purchase the necessary products to fill the gaps, and there is no mention as to where to find them in the module itself.

    Kinda silly if you ask me.

  3. Well, I think it has been released more like a "halloween special" for those following the development of the new Hackmaster, and will be usable soon with the official release of the Players Handbook.

    But yes, looks silly to have it on RPGNow... just selling it in their own webstore looks more coherent, but I suppose they publish on RPGNow everything, so...

  4. Well, not everything, as Frandor's Keep isn't available there...

    Dusk of the Dead looks to be a lot of fun to run or play in, I just think KenzerCo should have pointed the masses in the proper direction as to where to get the additional material, or at least explain how a module for levels 5-7 is available for a system that, as currently officially released, only goes to level 5.

  5. The level info for Levels 6 to 10 is in KODT and the HackJournals. It's not like the info is hard to find. Also, being in the HJ and KODT it is as "Official" as it gets until supercede by the release of the PHB. There are several groups around that have been playing using those rules. I'm involved in a game that has characters in a broad range of 5th through 9th right now. I like the adventure and I'm going to be running it as a Halloween themed Demo on the 29th in my local game store.

  6. Not everyone looking to play hackmaster picks up the journals. all kenzerco needed to do was mention the relevant HMJ along with the RPGNow listing of the module and they could have added to their sales.

    as i said in the post, the module looks pretty cool, i just think kenzerco dropped the ball a bit for those that don't pick up every hackmaster release

  7. True but if you are looking to play HM above 5th level it makes since to check the same company's gaming magazine/comic. Just like if you wanted to look for additional rules for D&D in the mid to late '70s it was expected that you'd be looking at Dragon Magazine. Plus, drop by the K&Co forums and just ask... ;)


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