B.A. (Boris Alphonzo not Bad Attitude or Bozo as his schoolmates
called him) Felton is a devoted GameMaster, loyal to his group
and the game known as HackMaster. In his 30s, he still lives
with his mom, but this has given him the time to perfect his craft.
To make money, he drags himself away from his game designs to
work the graveyard shift at the local Pizza-Go-Go.
In his early years, B.A. played a Gnome thief named Tar Markvar,
a character fate frowned on, whose wit outshone his wisdom to
the day of his death.
B.A.'s college career of anthropology and history study didn't
last long; he dropped out to pursue his dream of being a game
designer. He spent his life savings of $6000 into developing and
producing his first independent game, DAWG: the Role-Playing Game.
Unfortunately, the game failed and bombed; B.A. believes to this
day that the game didn't sell due to a negative review in WatchDog
Gamer magazine (run by Nitro Fergueson). This was too much for
B.A., who suffered a nervous breakdown and gave up gaming. A few
years later, the sound of rolling dice called to him once more
- he began gaming again and founded the Knights of the Dinner
Table. At their peak, the KODT boasted a membership of 26; in
the following years, membership has fluctuated and now stands
at a steady five.
B.A. has always tried to push the envelope in both features,
description and imagination. The first adventure he ran as a GM
was "The Hordes of Dark Devastation." Swiftly moving
from pre-generated shelf adventures to his own adaptations and
creations, he inflicted, er
ran his first home-brewed adventure
"It's A Rocky Road To Frankenstein's Castle" - the HackMaster
adaptation of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", while
Bob and Brian were the only Knights. His innovations didn't stop
there - successfully mixing incompatible systems, employing the
most intense game aids or taking his group into the 21st Century
with GM aids and player systems are samples of B.A.'s dedication.
Granted, not every one of his experiments is a complete success;
sometimes the role of a GM must fly in the face of available facts.
But his hard work, his innovations, his time at the HackMaster
Academy and his willingness to spread the joy of HackMaster
to new players or new GameMasters give proof of B.A.'s caring,
love and dedication to the phenomena that are Gary Jackson's HackMaster
and the KODT.
It hasn't always been easy for B.A.; his great work isn't always
appreciated - or without dangerous incident either. Although B.A.
has had some glorious moments, one of the darkest moments - for
himself and for the Knights - was the day he chose to quit when
fellow/competing GM Earl Slackmozer moved into the county and
cheated to win the respect that was rightfully B.A.'s; and yet
in the end, B.A. and the Knights won through. With a slice of
pizza in one hand and the notes for his adventure with a home-brewed
system, B.A. keeps the thoroughly well deserved title... of GameMaster
of the Knights of the Dinner Table.
The preferred system for B.A. and the Knights is Gary Jackson's®
HackMaster®, with its derivative supplements, SpaceHack!®
Bob Herzog is one of the world's last true gamers, a living embodiment
of Gary Jackson's rallying cry, "The game must go on!"
Still living with his parents and watching soaps, Bob's devotion
to the game is unflagging and unquestionable; even when his temper
and sharp tongue lose him several jobs, regardless of societal,
peer or parental pressure, no sacrifice or hardship is too great
for Bob and the game.
Bob's role-playing adventures away from the table are further testament.
Rope burns, a $500 dentist bill, and a temporary makeover are just
entrees. Bob's crowning glory was the nationally publicized Fergueson's
Folly - a boy scout troop's eight day foray into the steam tunnels
of Muncie led by none other than the Lord of Steam, Nitro Fergueson.
In that week, Bob looked death in the face and lived to tell the
tale, leaving a big piece of himself in those sewer tunnels.
Great Hack'n'Slasher that Bob is, his strengths do not lie in GameMastering
or adventure writing, as evidenced by his earlier attempts after
watching The Wizard of Oz and once mapping a dungeon after the design
of his own house.
Bob's most touching quirk is his devotion to those blessed tools
of the role-player, his dice. Bob's dice collection is one of the
largest known in Muncie, especially his pride and joy, the lucky
ten-sider. His attachment to his favorite polyhedron was most evident
when it was lost at a local convention; Bob's "Have you seen
this die" poster campaign became an unavoidable feature of
nearly every vertical surface at the Ball State Campus. But Bob's
dice fetish goes beyond mere love; when Nitro dared touch Bob's
dice, Bob lost it and quote "went medieval on Nitro's ass"
Bob's devotion to the game was most evident in what may have been
the second darkest age of the KODT - the day Bob's dad (an adjuster
for Hoe And Harness Farmer's Insurance) saw a 60 Minutes Special
on HackMaster, searched Bob's room and found Bob's HackMaster
manuals. On that day, Bob's dad forced him to get a real job and
banned Bob from gaming.
A comrade had fallen and the Knights had to play for Bob who could
not. For weeks, the Knights played with a succession of substitutes,
including the Gamer Temp Corps's Ty Ferfel, the young and unsociable
Newt Forager and a succession of other... erm... players. In the
end, it was only quick thinking on Bob's part that allowed him to
return to the Table. Unfortunately, the tightly stretched web of
far-fetched lies and damning deceit was torn when Dave was spotted
alive and well by Bob's dad. In the end, all the precautions came
to naught and Bob's dad discovered Bob's game again. A deal was
made - if Bob could maintain a steady job following in his father's
footsteps as an adjuster for H&H Farmer's Insurance, Bob could
continue the game. Although this has damaged his dream of becoming
a professional role-player, it has also strengthened Bob's intense
need to hack and slash.
Bob's most famous and favorite character is the one and only Knuckles
the Sixth, King of the Wall Climbers. Knuckles is a dwarven thief/fighter
with a braided beard, brandishing a crossbow or axe, wearing studded
leather armor, a hooded cape and a ring on the middle finger of
his left hand. Knuckles' back is tattooed with arcane symbols, imprinted
on his flesh by the hand of (Brian's mage) Teflon Billy, making
Knuckles one of Teflon Billy's two walking, talking emergency spellbooks.
Although the opportunity doesn't come up often, Knuckles is also
a gourmet chef (with a 75% proficiency in gourmet food preparation).
It takes a moment to notice his left leg - instead of a leg of
flesh and blood, it appears to be a wooden leg, made of fine blood-wood,
adorned with ivory inlays and gilded with pure gold. Knuckles was
unjustly sentenced to losing his left leg (hacked off at the knee)
as punishment for the murder of a beggar in Lord Gilead's city of
Fangaerie. Before they left the city, the party's torchbearer Knobby
Foot found the legendary Wooden Leg of Dwarven Pirate Sturm Pyre
at the Fangaerie Bazaar and gave it as a gift to Knuckles.
Knuckles' favorite steed is Mike the Dwarven Warhorse, successor
to Door Stop. Bob/Knuckles values Mike very highly - not only as
a companion or beast of burden, but also as an effective lethal
weapon. Bob's/Knuckles' second favorite weapon is his Axe of Doom.
The Axe is second only to his favorite weapon - found by Shadow
Pete in the Halls of the Mountain Mage, the Crossbow of Doom has
been handed down to Knuckles and is his constant companion of chaos
which he uses with various bolts, including the Bolt of Torment,
+6 Bolt of Despair, +8 Bolt of Devastation, Bolt of Reaving, Bolt
of Thrashing and the Bolt of Skewering.
When the Knights made the switch to being sponsored by Kenzer and
Company, Bob and Dave nearly didn't make it - the brass were considering
losing the Dangerous Duo and replacing them with a pair of power-gamers.
In the end, an impassioned plea by B.A. and Sara saved them from
grisly fates as temps in the Gamer Temp Corps or as miniature painters.
From humble beginnings, Dave Bozwell has embraced role-playing
with a passion, empathy, and loyalty worthy of awards, rarely matched
in the many worlds of HackMaster.
As a welcome break from his Ball State University courses of cultural
anthropology and dance theory, Dave was introduced to role-playing
by Bob Herzog in the days when B.A., Bob, Johnny Kizinski and Brian
were the only Knights of the Dinner Table. In his rebel years, Dave
was the sort of guy who'd paint the words "IN THE NADS"
on the side of a water tower and risk his "life" saving
a Paintball-War Buddy, paving the way for the on-the-edge, bored-with-tiny-details,
true-blooded, hungry-for-victory Hack'n'Slasher that he was destined
His introduction to the subtleties and intricacies of HackMaster
was an historic, solemn moment. A few early RPG life experiences
prepared Dave for the rigors of RPG life ahead; most notably, playing
in Nitro Fergueson's "Trial By Ordeal" LARP and the accidental
target-end testing of Weird Pete's experimental gasoline-powered
For a long time, HackMaster was "just a game" to Dave,
much like Paintball, Risque, or Nintendo. He'd play one session
with the Knights and miss another two... until that fateful hour
when Dave and his adventuring human fighter El Ravager discovered
one of the powerful relics of the HackMaster TeraVerse...
the HackMaster +12. HackMaster +12 A major relic of the HackMaster
TeraVerse, the HackMaster +12 wielded by El Ravager (a.k.a. Dave
Bozwell) is one of the only four known to exist on Garweeze Wurld.
Made of pure Dwarven steel, a HackMaster +12 is forged in the belly
of Blind Luvia, tempered in a vat of the blood of a fearsome Swack-Iron
Dragon. The mystic runes of warning and power on the blade are etched
by the fifty most skilled and blessed blind Dwarven craftsmen of
Garweeze Wurld; the blade is then polished with the chest hair of
Thor himself. The eldritch Death Rune imprinted on the hilt is the
earthly manifestation of a powerful spell; cast upon a victim, it
steals their soul and banishes them from the world of the living
forever. Twinned with the necromantic power of Vlad'neer of Robinloft
in the form of the Pommel Stone of Vlad'neer, this fantastic weapon
becomes the most fearsome, unstoppable force for swift and deadly
justice in the HackMaster TeraVerse, a mighty HackMaster +15
(Batteries not included). Dave's attachment to his HackMaster +12
is almost like no other - when faced with the possibility of finding
the Pommel Stone of Vlad'neer (see above), Dave's response was a
simple and profound expression of joy. The only other time Dave
has ever expressed such astonishment was when the Knights played
an April Fool's joke on Dave, making him think that his HackMaster
+12 had been destroyed by a curse.
Since becoming such a devoted player Dave has, of course, tried
his hand at being a GameMaster. His success can be summed up very
The only element of the HackMaster TeraVerse that Dave could
love as much as his HackMaster +12 was his faithful mount. Not his
good steed the horse Clover-Flax, his equine companion - but Clover-Flax's
predecessor, Chelsie. Chelsie began life as a cow peacefully munching
grass in a field near a palace/castle of an evil lord. It was Dave/El
Ravager's finely honed instincts that led to the discovery of this
seemingly innocuous cow's incredible properties. Even though Dave/El
Ravager took the best care he could of the bovine she ran away,
taking the to-hit bonus Dave was sure she gave El Ravager with her.
Dave's most famous character is, of course, El Ravager the HackMaster
+12-wielding human Fighter. It bears mentioning that El Ravager's
back is tattooed with arcane symbols, imprinted on his flesh by
the hand of (Brian's mage) Teflon Billy, making El Ravager one of
Teflon Billy's two walking, talking emergency spellbooks.
Sara Felton is the exception that proves the rule. Where the rest
of the Knights Of the Dinner Table are the fire, heart and soul,
Sara is the cooler, wiser head of the group, the perfect foil to
their impetuousness - a consummate professional in the business
Moving from Wisconsin to Muncie, the hometown of her cousin B.A.
Felton, Sara was invited to join the Knights. The wealth of experience
she brought to the Table was more than anyone expected - role-playing
for ten years, regional champion of the Wisconsin Gary Jackson Role-Playing
Tourney for four years running and attending the HackMaster
camp in 1992 (spending ten days in grueling study of demi-human
Sara even stretches her skills into the role of GameMaster with
ease, her latest triumph being to convince a bunch of sexist Hack'N'Slash
maniacs to put aside their usual characters for a night and play
female characters, warming her up for an upcoming GaryCon tournament.
Sara is quite the perfectionist; for her, the art of HackMaster
and role-playing is more of a science to be carefully and properly
executed, whether in the playing, GameMastering, or even tasks such
as mere mapping. Her role-playing is technically near perfect, with
her ability to either suppress or use her personal feelings to enhance
her role-playing. She has earned her respect - not only from the
people who live in the many worlds of HackMaster, but even
from the most impossible taskmasters of the game - the Knights Of
the Dinner Table.
Sara has reflexes that would scare a striking cobra. Those instant
reflexes, however, are generally used for only one thing around
the table. The second someone makes a sexist comment, Sara's hand
is tightly gripped on his or her shirt, pulling him or her into
range of the fist she has cocked and ready to launch into the face
of the offender.
Unless a sexist comment has been made, Sara maintains her cool at
all times. Sure, she regrets the loss of her favorite character
Zayre the Barbarian, but she keeps the perspective that Zayre was
just a fictional construct defined by numbers on paper. A cool,
calm professional, Sara is ready to move on to bigger and better
game sessions with her expertise in the game that is HackMaster.
Brian van Hoose
The almost perfect phrase to describe Brian van Hoose is "idiot
savant" - minus the idiot bit. A young lifetime of devotion
to his computer hobby has instilled in Brian the precision required
to make him what he is today - a walking, talking, nearly perfect,
unstoppable, organic HackMaster machine, living and breathing
Brian's early computer hobby developed into running his own Internet
connected BBS, a hobby that helps support him. His other means of
financial support comes from the - again, very precise - hobby/business
of miniatures, painting and selling. Mindful of the economics of
the situation, a van Hoose painted miniature comes in three styles
of increasing quality and price: Slop-N-Go, Table-Top and Museum
Qualities. Other hobbies include his beloved Fantasy and Science
Fiction TV shows and novels (note the Babylon 5 mural painted on
his van or his Green Lantern T-shirt). Then again, he also claims
to have been abducted by aliens. Which way the therefores go on
that one, nobody is sure.
His personal life obviously reflects the flaw points that balance
his otherwise precise life-style. Outside the Knights, personal
expression is one of Brian's weaker points. Brian himself is a quiet,
withdrawn man, apparently barely capable of stringing three words
together into a clear sentence. For that matter, Brian also - in
spite of a decent tenor singing voice - appears to be so unnerved
by the idea of having to sing he breaks out in hives. Brian's Armor
of Reticence, however, has its weaknesses. Once shattered, the resultant
explosion is terrifying - and usually leads to the table being picked
up and flipped over in a mad rush of blind rage. Brian is also quick
to defend himself - when B.A.'s 82 year old grandfather had a flashback
and attacked Brian "the Japanese sniper", Brian defended
himself admirably... or at least it was fairly admirable until Pappy
Felton crawled from the room and Battle-Rage Brian dragged him back
in by the ankles. And all the gawds in all the heavens help you
if you mention something like Alexis to him now (Alexis was his
His home would be declared a biohazard if ever inspected by the
appropriate health authorities - scary, furry green things growing
in the refrigerator, dust that scares asthmatics into fits and a
bizarrely adhesive substance on the floor of the bathroom. Best
not to ask.
Brian's devotion to and mastery of HackMaster is unparalleled,
possibly superior to any other single person in the history of HackMaster.
Owner of what is probably the most complete collection of HackMaster
manuals, articles and supplements outside the offices of Hard8,
the purpose of the manuals in Brian's case is simply to provide
proof for others - Brian himself is an living, breathing encyclopædia,
a repository for virtually every rule, line, table or piece of HackMaster
information there is, down to the footnotes and page numbers, letter
perfect. His calculations of remaining hit points, ratios, percentages,
probabilities, experience or saving point values, body weights and
statistics put Seymour Cray to shame.
In recent history, Brian has never been seen to act as a GameMaster.
In spite of his astonishing HackMaster ability, his Third
Place Award in the Saginaw RPG Tourney of 1978 and the fact that
he himself introduced B.A. to HackMaster, Brian underwent
a terrible trauma at GaryCon'89, some terrible, mysterious event
that caused him to actually give up role-playing for almost a year.
Fortunately for the institution of role-playing, Brian recovered
and went from strength to strength from there - except for the fact
that Brian never acts as a GM anymore.
Brian's training is, of course, supplemented by his attendance
at the 1987 and 1993 HackMaster camp (at which he attended
the same ten-day demi-human culture classes and was awarded a badge
for his Orc-speak prowess. His other great service to the world
of HackMaster was his proposal of the Gamer Achievement Awards,
a concept he is now developing with the help of Bob and Dave. Brian
proposed the GAA to the Gary Jackson Academy of Role-Playing, designed
to be worn beneath convention nametags and at other formal gaming
But Brian's phenomenal mastery of HackMaster isn't the only
feature that makes him a terrifyingly good player - the other factors
are his ruthlessness, tactical cunning and his ability to exploit
any shoddy rule.
Examples of Brian's frightening cunning include the times he:
o Killed the Vampire lord Vardania armed only with a wooden stake,
sacrificing himself to save his comrades - whilst being a first-level
o Saved the entire crew of the HackCruiser Warmonger from untimely
death at the hands of space-pirates with his knowledge of mass-transporter
systems and explosives
o Saved the party from being slaves of Rot Gut the Swack-Iron Dragon
by tricking it into polymorphing into a dung beetle
o Tricked B.A. into running a HackMaster game when the party
should have been playing SpaceHack
o Took over the entire town of Muskeegie in CattlePunk
o Rescued the entire party from imprisonment and execution with
his Teleportation ring
o Created the Warmonger Science Officer
Brian's characters have included:
o Crimson Lotus, Black Lotus & Benny the Mage in the ongoing
KODT HackMaster adventures
o Shotgun Billy and Big Jim Murdock in CattlePunk
o The Leader of the Green Empire of Asia in Risque
o The Warmonger's Science Officer in SpaceHack
o Nigel Molenski in HackNoia
o A Caped Crusader in Heroes And Zeroes
Johnny "Lucky" Kizinski was one of the original founding
members of the Knights of the Dinner Table Gaming Club. He was highly
respected by the other members for his gaming style and dedication
to the game. He is mostly remembered, however, for his incredible
luck with the dice and his uncanny habit of coming up with the right
results at the right time. Mention his name around just about any
gaming table in Muncie, Indiana and you're likely to hear the sad
refrain, "the boy could play!"
Johnny's story has an unhappy ending however. One night during
a power session of CattlePunk, his luck ran out. He fumbled consecutively
FIVE times, failed four saving throws, and missed twelve to-hits
over the course of the evening. As a result four high-level player
characters met their demise.
Johnny's unlucky streak haunted him in the weeks that followed
and he eventually lost interest in the game and hung up his dice
bag. He moved out of state and now manages a Big Juices in Wisconsin.