I’ve collected feedback, and I do want to say thanks to the 1000+ people who have downloaded or bought the game. Thank you for your generosity, your love of gaming, and your support of the Basic Hack.
The July update is now available at RPGNow.
It’s a small update, but it corrects some typos, missing periods, and slight layout issues. I definitely have a few more things to work on along those lines, so look for a future update which makes the layout a little cleaner (or more interesting).
The rule fix is that wizards and clerics now can only cast a number of spells each day equal to their maximum hit points. In addition, I cleaned up and simplified the Rest section which added confusion to the spell casting rules. Now, a rest can either provide full HP back, half HP, or no HP, depending on the difficulty and unpredictability of a party’s evening.
I also added a sentence or two.
Long term, I am still working on the teachable character sheet, but I am also thinking about completely changing the defense roll aspect when it is the monster’s turn to attack. In this route, your Defense roll would not go against Dexterity, making it the most important stat of the game, but a new stat that is a combination of armor + hit points + any other bonuses. This would make things both more difficult for heroes and interesting for everyone else. A Warrior would still have a clear edge, but spells and special abilities could really help other classes too. We’ll see how it shakes out.
I’ve sort of been living under a hole or something, because the Black Hack and White Hack (and other variants) have basically been unknown to me. These are sort of old school versions of D&D, harkening back to some of the original fantasy games. Nostalgia is a powerful force, but some of the simplicity and wonkiness of those classic games are fun.
These new versions often add changes to keep the simplicity and streamline the game. I dig it. It means you have tons of resources that you can easily modify to work from all the variations of D&D, but you can also get playing quick and easy.
Black Hack is the chief among these.
It’s my kind of D&D-clone, using a familiar core and then going nuts in a bid for simplicity and speed. I love it. In fact, last night, I started a fantasy campaign with my kids using an even more stripped down version which I call the Basic Hack.
Here’s how it works:
- Use your six core attributes and roll under to succeed. (I like the Black Hack’s attribute generation technique to keep things balanced.)
- Pick a class. Fighters are good at fighting. Clerics can heal and turn undead. Wizards are good at casting spells. Rogues are good at sneaking and stealing.
- Pick a race. Elves can see in the dark. Dwarves can find secret doors. Humans get a +1 to an attribute of choice. (You can easily switch this up or add more complexity.)
- Hit points are standard. I gave the fighter 10 and the wizard 4. (Might want to give them more in the future.)
- For class or race features, I give them advantage on the roll per 5th Edition. Fighters always get to roll two D20s when attacking for instance.
- I’d give wizards and clerics two starting spells they can cast once per day. In a bid for simplicity, don’t worry about levels. Our wizard got sleep and magic arrow (aka magic missile). I’d give a cleric heal wounds and remove curse. The key is to pick spells that will have an impact in the story right away to make all the characters feel useful.
- Weapon damage can be standard. I like armor as written in the Black Hack to keep things simple. (Plus, teaching your kids math is a bonus.)
- No experience points, no levels. As the characters advance, give them magical items, extra hit points, new spells, or a new ability. Or let them raise another attribute.
I’ll be writing this up in a couple of pages to post on RPGNow this weekend sometime.