HackMaster GameMaster's Guide
Greetings Esteemed Colleague!
We’ve been waiting for you. In the HackMaster equation, you are the most important variable. Why? Because the GameMaster is the backbone of the game. Without you the game is incomplete, a narrative without a storyteller to dramatize the tale, a camera without a director behind the lens, a brilliant score without a conductor. And so on.
This tome is the long awaited HackMaster GameMaster’s Guide. This book is an indispensable weapon in your arsenal; a must for those with a desire to take up the GM’s Shield and referee HackMaster. All things HackMaster are made
possible by the secrets contained herein.
As a HackMaster GM you bear an enormous weight and responsibility on your shoulders: judging and running combat, interpreting the actions of your players, creating adventures, world building, assigning experience, keeping track of Honor, and so on. And that’s just at the game. Before the game, you are preparing the adventure for the next session(s) and working on your campaign. For many, you also have to get ready to host the game itself, and sadly, most of you fork out your hard-earned cash for the game books and accessories in order to play the game. In addition, you must constantly work at mastering the rules of the game and honing your skills. Like the captain of a ship at sea, you must constantly strive to maintain your game. Clearly, the role of GameMaster is a daunting job by anyone’s standards.
But chances are that if you have felt compelled to answer the call, you have the right spirit, drive and determination to rise to the challenge. And fear not! For you are not being sent into the fray unarmed. Armed with this book you are a formidable individual with whom all must reckon. You will gird up your loins, don the armor of confidence that comes with knowing that you are a cut above the run-of-the-mill gamer and proclaim, “The GameMaster is always right!”
As GM, you will be called upon to be the game moderator, judge, jury, oft executioner and even supreme god of your milieu. However, you and the players have an unwritten contract. You cannot use your lopsided power to cause blue lightning bolts to crash from the sky and slay any who displease you, and they will play within the context of their characters’ knowledge and not unduly disrupt the game (see Rule 0 and Rule 1 in the HackMaster Player’s Handbook, page 9). Remember at all times that this is your game…YOUR game. Not mine and certainly not your players’, though they share a part in it to be sure. You need to run your game as YOU see fit. You are required to be fair and impartial, but also firm. If you give in to every player whim, however unlikely based on the scenario, they will quickly lose interest in your game and move on to other more challenging endeavors. Remember that players will challenge you and always push for something extra – they’re just trying to survive and thrive. This is OK. In fact, you should derive great pleasure from their labors and occasionally even reward them for their efforts. But you are intelligent enough to know that a level head and prudence is required. Never let them bully you into making a decision that makes no sense given the circumstances, or to bend the rules in a way that is always in their favor. Remember, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander! The trick is to remain consistent.
Never forget this: you bought this book, you put in the time and effort to run this game and you are brave enough to step out of the shadows and run it in front of everyone involved. Without you, there’d be no game tonight and everyone would be home alone watching Game of Thrones. You are all friends, all equals. But tonight, on this night, during this game, you are more equal than others and your vote is the only one that tallies.
David S. Kenzer