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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Andy R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2022 12:15:44

Picked it up a couple weeks ago and am now running a game on a Monday over the internet. It is exactly what the doctor ordered - straightfoward rules, capturing the feel of old school B/X D&D but with enough modern elements to make it distinct. Also undead spacemen.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
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The Black Hack
by James B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2022 03:32:26

A neat RPG that combines a streamlined version of the original D&D game with ideas from the 5th Edition rules (such advantage/disadvantage and rests). Basically, the results of every action - your attacks, your defense, effectiveness of spells, etc. - are determined by a "test", where you try to roll under the relevant ability score on a d20. There are other interesting ideas in here as well, such as abstract distances and time measurements; simple initiative where success places you before the monster's turn, and failure after it; and a "usage die" to track uses of equipment. The booklet also provides simplified conversions of many iconic D&D spells and monsters for the Black Hack rules, to make it easy to get started, and a much-appreciated example of play at the end.

There are some tiny issues, however. The rules, while very readable, could stand to be a little better organized. And a few details among the sample spells and monsters aren't really explained, such as the 11 and 12 Hit Dice monsters in a game that's supposed to cap at 10 Hit Dice. (Also, the game clearly draws on the 3.5 and 5.1 System Reference Documents, but doesn't credit either in the Open Game License text at the end.) However, none of these hiccups take away the appeal of this ruleset. The Black Hack is for anyone who wants something that feels like classic D&D, but is much easier to run than any of the various editions. (Originally posted on Goodreads)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Ivan H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/19/2021 19:05:52

Fantastic, streamlined, simple and hackable. The artwork, the design, everything encourages you to pick up RPG and just play. I love this one to bits.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
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Dungeon Master's Little Black Book
by Adam D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/26/2021 17:10:25

This is a nice collection of random tables. Some are a bit silly (What's on the end of the stick?), some are useful in a pinch (quick NPCs and hirelings), some are useful and I hadn't thought of before (The skeletons are commanded to...), and some are mehhh (coins on a corpse). There are some clever ideas that I plan on using in my sessions. I'm quite satisfied with my purchase, as it gave me some ideas that I had never thought of before.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Black Hack - Classic Monsters
by Sam C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/17/2020 05:10:36

An irritating book to use.

First off, the lovely art is gone, as are the quirky spins on monsters, so if you're expecting a product as high quality as TBH2e you might be dissapointed. There's no flavour, simply pre-adapted stats for common foes, which admittedly are useful for running old modules if you don't have the time or inclination. It's not, however, a flawless book for that purpose either.

The monsters sometimes have confusing abilities such as the Blink Dog requiring you to reroll initiative partway through a round without explaining what happens to creatures (even the ones on its side) that haven't gone yet. To my knowledge blink dogs either use their teleportstion to attack from unexpected angles or otherwise to retreat after attacking, based on the edition they appear in, so I have no idea where this confusing initiative rerolling ability comes from.

Perhaps most infuriating for me is the fact the double whammy of enemies not obeying TBH's damage rules, and only having average damage listed. Firstly, TBH allows GMs to know a monster's damage by it's hit dice, HD1 monsters roll a d4, HD4 monsters roll a d10 etc. Average damage has always been given after this in parentheses, however the author of this book assumes that all GMs will default instead to average damage and doesn't list the die used, but worst of all the damage often doesn't line up to the HD rule.

The aforementioned blink dogs are HD4 creatures and yet do 4 (average) damage, when a HD4 monster should roll a d10 and deal average 5 (given TBH's rounding down fractions). In another example a HD7 black dragon deals 10 (avg) damage, when it should be rolling 2d8 and averaging 8. For the GM who likes to roll damage it is so infuriating to not know which dice to roll since these monsters don't work the same way from one to the next.

The real icing on the cake is that at the back of the book there's a section on adapting your own monsters which includes the HD-to-damage table from TBH and tells you to use it to determine how much damage a given monster makes.

For a book that promises to take the effort out of converting classic monsters for use in The Black Hack, it manages to do 75% of the work leaving you to figure out how much damage a monster should really be doing, or else use average damage on each and every attack. The fact that some abilites are downright confusing and others are instead just dull, lacking TBH's flair and charm means this is a book I'd recommend if you're a)really lazy and b) are fine with running monsters verbatim without anything to spark your imagination.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack - Classic Monsters
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Creator Reply:
Thank you for the review. Just to clarify your points about damage. The damage values for monsters are presented in exactly the same way as they are in the monsters included in the TBH2e main rules. The conversion rules do include the Damage by HD table as you say, along with a note to say that attack damage can be increased or decreased depending on the type of attack. It seemed reasonable to reduce the blink dog damage and increase the black dragon damage given the nature of their respective attacks.
The Black Hack Second Edition
by Davide C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2020 15:57:15

My go-to OSR game out there, it has just the right feel for me, and works just as well with more serious or sillier tones. I defeinitely got more than I bargained for, but in a good way.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by E. S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/30/2020 03:45:29

Backed on KS for a PDF copy, THEN bought the dead tree version: this is how much I love this game. I like to think of it as “my” Fifth Edition, because it keeps everything I liked about BECMI (my first iteration of D&D) and import just enough of the streamlined mechanics cool kids love so much these days.

Seriously, Advantage/Disadvantage is convenient, the Encumbrance rules are simplified but still matter, and yet you also have those beautiful random generators for dungeons, wilderness, encounters that I had in my old booklets.

I think some people who criticize TBH2e here slightly mischaracterize it: it is not a retroclone of anything, and it is debatable if it is even strictly speaking OSR. Yes, it is more survivable. Yes, it has playbooks for chargen like a PbtA game. But still gives you the old D&D gonzo, random, resource scarcity experience. Bravo.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack - Classic Monsters
by Matt C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/28/2020 21:41:35

It is fine, and it does what it says on the tin: it takes the old classic D&D monsters and converts them. However, recall the art of the monsters in the BH2e book? Recall how kinda fun & funky the take on them was? The tables? The little bits of what they might be carrying...the flavor? None of that is here. It is a book of stats. Which is fine and utilitarian, but kinda of a bore for $5...



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack - Classic Monsters
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Baldemar G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/03/2020 07:47:49

Still as relevant in 2020 as the day it came out. This OSR is a classic among the hacking community. Many OSR systems have been created based on this ruleset. This book has tons of applicable GM advice, monsters, and optional rules. The amount of add-ons for TBH is also amazing. I purchased The Unearthed Hack as well, I recommend you do the same to use it as an "expansion pack"



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
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The Black Hack - Classic Monsters
by colin t. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2020 16:12:56

This has been the missing piece for me. I've been running Black Hack 2 games 3 times a week for 6 months now. The most tedious part was converting monsters. NOT because it was hard, but I'm lazy and and I am low om prep and long on improv.

This does almost all the heavy lifting for me, and Appendix D Conversion guidelines define something I was winging before and make it very easy to stat out encounter tables that came with the adventure or existing monster book.

Used it at the table once this week already. Again tonight and again on Thursday.

This is probably a decent buy for anyone starting out with Black Hack directly. Having to look up monster descriptions elsewhere might be annoying.

This a must-buy for people like me, D&D 2E kids who grew up and want a lighter but familiar game like BH2, and proably already have tons of old school Monster books around. I have Appendix D printed on one sheet and I put a copy in each of my hardback D&D and AD&D rulebooks, which are now off the shelf again.

Great work.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by EDWARD J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2020 07:41:51

I have pushed 3.5e, 5e, and several retro-clones on my firends. They now ask for The Black Hack by name. Every group I introduce to this game has a common response: that was FUN!

This is a game to be played. For my taste, many other rules systems are more interesting to read and think about and many other books are much nicer to hold and look at. But no other game in this space has produced such a positive response from my players.

I would wholeheartedly recommed these rules to anyone interested in "D&D" without reservations.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack Second Edition
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Stephen G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/25/2020 09:40:46

So I like the system! I really really do but it's got some MAJOR flaws with it. After about 1 and a half campaigns that I've run now, I've had issues that both infuriate me and my players. First off, combat is swift and EASY!! First level can be a bit of a challenge if you're unlucky with rolls, otherwise there is hardly any threat of death if your character has armor. The armor system is novel, makes sense, and gives armor purpose but it is severely over powered. Each piece has an armor value of 1-3 i think, each value can deflect 100% of damage at the expense of 1 value. 100%!!!!! Warriors can have up to 4 at lvl 1, that means they can take 4 straight hits before taking damage!!! Speaking of warriors, they can attack a number of times equal to their HD!! At lvl 3-4, they are knocking out combat encounters by the second turn, First turn if your party has 2 warriors! Virtually every other class is useless, for combat anyways, as the warrior will out do even the wizards in damage ever... single... turn! The other classes are only useful in RP scenarios.

I like the monsters! They're easy to make and adjust to whatever level you need them to be. Though their skills are not consistent with the rules. For example there are monster attacks that call for DEX saves when the system says to roll on STR for close combat. Well this is close combat and now my players are wondering why I'm making them roll for DEX. It's inconsistent and my players are constantly confused.

The only thing consistent about this system is the damage players do. Warriors will always do 1d6 per hit, Clerics will always hit 1d6, thieves hit for 1d6, and wizards hit for 1d4. It never changes no matter what weapon they carry which kind of makes weapons cosmetic only (there is unarmed damage but whatever).

I know I'm complaining about combat and OSR games aren't supposed to be all about combat, but I could do nothing to make the players feel threatened by combat and combat turned into their easy way out of any situation. It's that laughably mundane and easy for them. Sadly I may be moving on to another system, and I suggest you all do the same, or go back to the first edition. I'm sorry but this system lacks any sort of longevity.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Black Hack
by stephen g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/26/2020 11:15:36

This was my first step into the world of OSR and something other than D&D and pathfinder. This system is what taught me how to actually have fun, how TTRPG are meant to be played, and that simplicity can add more depth to your campaign than any 300 page rulebook ever could. My players who come from a long background of pathfinder and 3.5 absolutely hated this system as it does lack character complexity. This system is made for people who love to roleplay and not like to be bogged down by complex mechanics that can interpreted in a multitude of ways or constant page flipping. No, you spend 10 min creating a character, boom you're playing. Simple tests of skills and a little imagination can help narrate a quick fast paced, adventure filled dungeon crawl in half the time. Combat is smooth and quick while also being extremely easy to manage. Again though, some imagination is required as combat can be a little stale after a few rounds just swinging and dodging. Magic is simple and straightforward as well. If the limited spells bore you, adding more balanced spells is super easy. Finally, not to mention the plethora of excellent and cheap 3rd party material, you'll never be bored of this system.

This system is highly recommended for GMs and players who are easily exhausted by the more complex modern systems and just want a game to tell a fun story together.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Savage Worlds A5 Character Sheet
by Ryan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/29/2020 23:16:09

Got exactly what I was expecting. Great character sheets.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Savage Worlds A5 Character Sheet
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The Black Hack Second Edition
by Jonathon D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/15/2019 16:49:51

Fun very simple RPG. The core of the rules are about 30 pages with a bunch of fun tables taking up the bulk of the book such as random dungeons, NPCs and a bestiary of monster stats.

I used it with a group whose primarily only played D&D 5e. We were able to character creation, rules explanations and start playing in about a half hour.

Since the rules are so so simple and sparse, it leaves a lot of on the fly decisions for the GM. My players complained about a lot of stuff before the game started but once they got into the game they had no problems with it. They were just used to playing 5e superheroes and not used to having a character with 2 hit points and (in their eyes) low attributes.

Another problem/feature (depending how you look at it) with the sparse rules is that there is a lot of stuff not included, but the author even says that this is meant to be "hacked" to add stuff in. For example, I wanted there to be a better ranged combatant so I created a ranger class that (I think) is balanced in about a half hour.

The layout of the book is great. A character can have everything including the rules for their abilities on the front and back of a sheet. All topics seem to be laid out so that you don't have to flip pages. For example, a topic may start on the left page but will wrap up on the bottom of the right page.

I love the art work and even if the game was atrocious I'd have given it a free star just for the logo.

I definitely recommend the game and hope to play it again. If you have friends you want to introduce to tabletop RPGs, but think they might be overwhelmed by D&D, give this a shot.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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