Tuesday, November 15, 2022
Monday, November 14, 2022
I've had the PDF for the first edition of The Black Hack for quite some time but only recently got around to reading it. I found that I like it for several reasons.
First, I can pretty much hold all of the rules in my head. Since I got back into RPGs about two decades ago I discovered that I prefer rules-lite games. As a working parent who was perennially tired I just did not have the brain power to expend on complicated games. Now I'm old and just plain tired and still don't. And besides, it turns out my favorite games are rules-lite.
Second, it is familiar. Two of my favorite games are B/X and White Box: FMAG. The Black Hack is based on the Original Edition and so is very close to these games. Same attributes, same spells, same monsters and similar adventuring style. So you know what you're going to get and what you're supposed to do.
Third, it is pick up and play. TBH is excellent for one shots. Characters can be generated quickly and you can be off and running. You don't have to spend a lot of time prepping if you don't want too.It's my understanding that it can be used for campaigns also but I haven't played more than a couple of sessions so I don't know this personally.
And fourth, support and adventures. In the years since the first edition was published many adventures and supplements have been published. Often these are free or very low priced. This makes it easy to keep playing if you like the game. The supplements range from new classes and ways to add in races to full-blown games based on TBH. What's more, I understand that the modules and adventures from the original games are easily compatible too. So you can pull out any of the your old TSR modules, or new OSR stuff for that matter, and run it with TBH.
Another thing I like about TBH is what people have done with it. Not just the adventures and supplements but the full games people have created using it. TBH has an OGL and is open content, what ever all of that means. I've never really understood it except that it means people can use it to make other games using the material under certain conditions. And people have created many, many different variations in many different genres. Some are a few pages long like TBH's 20 pages to others that are over 200 pages.
For example, I haven't played straight The Black Hack. I have run my son through three or four programmed solo adventures using Bluehack. Bluehack is an expanded (to a whopping 26 pages) version of TBH which fills in some of the gaps in the sparse TBH and is modified to feel more like Holmes Basic, which was the RPG that started it all for me. In fact it was created by the same person who created Holmes' clone Blueholme.
There are many fantasy hacks that take it in different directions. There are several D&D versions including Red Hack and Heroes & Monsters. There are at least three sword & sorcery versions. I have two, Black Sword Hack and Swords Against the Shroud, and will get the third version, By this Axe I Hack, soon. There is also a Tolkien version that incorporates some features from The One Ring called There and Hack Again.
There are also various science fiction versions ranging from spacefaring to post-apocalypse. This includes serious to full on Gamma World gonzo in the form of Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, which is a big, beautiful full color book that I would like to have some day.
I could go on but suffice it to say that the full range is covered. Anime, cyberpunk, noir, modern, pirates, supers and even dinosaurs. You name it, it's probably out there.
Now there is one last thing I like about The Black Hack. It gives me the urge to create. Not just that. It actually makes me feel like I could be successful in these creative endeavors. None of the variations of TBH that I have read are exactly how I want them to be. I know what I want to change and clarify, add and subtract. The thing is, the chassis that this game provides is so simple yet so sturdy and I understand it from a lifetime of gaming that I know I could do it. I just need to sit down and do it. Write my perfect version of this game to suit my personal tastes and quirks.
I think I've just set myself a goal. Dammit.
Thursday, November 10, 2022
|Art by Alan Gutierrez|
So, planetary generation would need to be modified in several areas.
- Tech Level Cap (TL 10)
- Starport Type
- Planetary Atmospheres
Here is what the World Generation Checklist would look like.
- Determine world occurrence (1D for 4, 5, 6 is standard).
- Check system contents table for details of world.
- Check for gas giant.
- Name world.
- Generate universal planetary profile for world.
- Planetary size: 2D-2.
- Planetary atmosphere: 2D-7 +size. Ignore Tainted designation (unless GM has special circumstances in mind). If planetary size is 0, the atmosphere must be 0.
- Planetary hydrographics: 2D-7 +size. If planetary size is 0, then hydrographics must be 0; if atmosphere is 0. 1, or A+, then apply a DM of -4.
- Population: 2D-2. No population if atmosphere 0-3, A+
- Government: Roll d6, 1-3 Balkanized. Roll D3+1 for # of major political units. Governments can be roll for or determined by GM. If not balkanized 2D-7+population as usual.
- Law level : 2D-7+government.
- Technological Level : 1 D+DMs from tech level table. Ignore starport modifiers. TL8 cap unless referee decides otherwise.
- Determine starport type. See tables below.
- Determine naval base as appropriate.
- Determine scout base as appropriate.
- Decide if travel zone coded.
- Establish communications routes.
- Note trade classifications based on universal planetary profile.
- Note statistics for reference.
|Spaceport Type||Spaceport Type|
|TL 7-8||TL 9-10|