"In 2001, armed with an Advanced Dungeons & Dragons license from Wizards of the Coast, Kenzer and Company released HackMaster "4th Edition" -- a not-quite-parody of the AD&D 1e/2e rules that captured the spirit of the game seen in the long-running Knights of the Dinner Table comic strip by Jolly R. Blackburn. (There were no prior editions; "4th" was part of the spoof). HackMaster won that year's Origins Award for Game of the Year.
Through one of the more unusual paths in RPG history, HackMaster evolved into a full-fledged, full-featured RPG, spawning over 40 add-ons, supplements, and game aids. In 2011, as the original license was expiring, Kenzer started a long transition to a new version of HM. This "fifth edition" removes most of the parody aspects. The new game mechanics, written from scratch, incorporate the Honor, Skills, and Count-up systems from Kenzer's 2007 Old West RPG Aces & Eights. (We presented A&8 in our October 2015 Aces & Eights Bundle.) And HackMaster got a new setting: the Kingdom of Kalamar, made popular in a long line of Kenzer supplements from the D20 boom.
This new offer presents all three massive HackMaster Fifth Edition core books -- the Player's Handbook with the rules system, the GameMaster's Handbook with additional rules and extensive advice, and the monumental Hacklopedia of Beasts monster manual. We also include the Frandor's Keep setting and several adventures and supplements. Together they provide everything you need for a complete campaign using this remarkable Old School game.
We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders. (By publisher request, the DriveThruRPG versions of these files are inobtrusively watermarked.)
Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, Reading is Fundamental.
The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$142. Customers who pay just $12.95 get all four titles in our Player's Collection (retail value $47) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:
- HackMaster 5E Player's Handbook (retail price $40): The complete, current 400-page Fifth Edition rulebook. Includes the free HackMaster Basic introductory rulebook.
- Zealot's Guide Books 1-2 (total retail $7): These two short supplements present new clerical orders and dozens of spells.
- HackMaster Player Resources: As a convenience to our customers, we've gathered many free HackMaster downloads from the Kenzer and Company website: charts and play aids, reference sheets, and more.
- HackMaster 5E GameMaster's Guide (retail $40): This 370-page tome has rules, NPCs, treasure tables, and advice for every situation.
- Hacklopedia of Beasts 5E (retail $40): The massive, lavishly produced monster book that launched the HackMaster 5E project.
- Frandor's Keep (retail $15): A lonely military outpost on the creature-infested borderlands -- an ideal sandbox to start an adventuring career.
- Hackmaster GM Resources: More free downloads from the Kenzer website -- these help the HM GameMaster.
I'll be honest, I wouldn't want to touch this with a 10 foot pole, it just isn't a genre that interests me any more, but if you like this sort of thing you're getting a lot of material for the money. But as usual I should stress that I could have all this as freebies if I wanted it - in this case I don't, but it has to bias my perception of the offer.