Saturday, June 16, 2012


A post on the Kenzer and Company forums yesterday* got me thinking about writing...specifically, why it's so tempting to "Hack" an existing adventure.

I get the nostalgia factor. It's fun to think about repeating a great adventure. For me, that's the HackMaster 4e Tournament at CONduit 16, when our little group of mercenaries saw the dragon in the cavern and realized we had to fight and probably die to save the day.

Fourth edition HackMaster included "hacked" or officially converted versions of a few popular Dungeons and Dragons modules. Kenzer and Company had permission from Wizards of the Coast to make these adventures. They rewrote the adventures with new twists. Using past knowledge was a good way to get killed. Fans had a great time reliving their favorite old dungeon crawls. I wasn't one of those, since I had never played the originals, but I had an amusing run with "The Temple of Existential Evil"--so much that I kept the old blog so I can look at it now and then.

Now we have a new edition of HackMaster and fans are asking for converted versions of those same adventures so they can go through them...again.

And I get it. The previous edition existed in part because of that "remember when" vibe. That's okay...except Kenzer and Company no longer has permission to use any of those modules. No matter how much fans beg, it isn't going to happen. It's done. It's over. They've moved on. 

I have a copy of the Temple of Existential Evil. If I want to, I can find comparable monsters and run it with the new HackMaster rules. I suspect it would be easier than some of the forum members want to make it. I could do this at home, on my own, and it's okay because I already bought the book. The adventure is right there. GM's write original adventures all the time--any experienced GM should be able to recreate this adventure from that book. I don't need a team of designers to do that for me.

As much as I understand it...another part of me says: why? I read about groups on the forums that appear locked in a pattern beginning in Frandor's Keep and moving on to the old modules like they are following the dreaded "plot railroad." If the group wants to do that, go for it. However, I have this other super crazy idea I'm going to throw out here: Take what you learned in the past and write the next iconic adventure!

It will be more work. It will take time--maybe even the same amount of time spent waiting for someone else to "hack" an old adventure. Meanwhile, new evil temples will be discovered. Monsters encountered. Treasure procured. This is what I think the HackMaster GM's should be working on. Instead of staying in the past, write the adventures we will look back on with the same "remember when" feeling.

*It was yesterday...a week ago. This is how long it takes me to get a post up. ^^