HackMaster Gameplay – Monsters



Every creature detailed in HackMaster Basic has been fully researched by our crack team of dedicated field scholars, and none are to be taken lightly. Even the most (seemingly) innocuous creature can be an effective challenge for the players, if utilized by a GM of clever and cunning mind – as I’m sure you are or you wouldn’t be reading this book. The following text explains how to interpret the monster listings contained herein.


Alignment: This is the typical alignment for the creature. Unintelligent monsters have no alignment at all; they behave purely on instinct.

Initiative: This number is added to any Initiative die roll. Quick and nimble monsters receive a bonus (negative numbers reduce their reaction time) while slow-witted or ponderous creatures are usually saddled with a penalty.

Speed: This statistic reveals how much time (in seconds) must pass before the creature can attack again after its last strike. For creatures with varied attack routines (e.g. the griffyn has a Speed 3 and lists 2@ 2d4p; 4d8p as damage), the attacks occur in sequence.

For instance, a griffyn makes its first attack for 2d4p potential damage on its Initiative die result. Three seconds later it again attacks for 2d4p potential damage and three more seconds later it attacks again, this time for 4d8p potential damage.

Reach: This lets you know at what distance the creature can strike. Reach is important because the unsurprised individual or monster with superior reach gets the opportunity to strike first.

As a GM, if you need to quickly calculate reach in feet, you can generally treat short as 2 feet, medium as 3 feet and long as 5 feet or if the monster carries a weapon, use its reach instead. If the latter is applicable, this information is annotated in the monster’s statistics.?

Attack: Monsters add this value to their d20p attack roll when striking an opponent. They also add this number to their d20p roll when making saving throws (e.g., when attempting to resist the effects of a magical spell).

Damage: This value lists the damage a creature inflicts when it successfully lands a blow. For humanoid creatures wielding a weapon, the figure corresponds to the most likely weapon they are likely to employ. The creature’s Strength score has been incorporated into this value.

Special Attack: Certain creatures have attacks that have ancillary effects other than Hit Point damage. These are listed here.

Weaknesses: Some creatures have unique or situational weaknesses that may affect an encounter. These are summarized in this block.

Defense: Monsters add this value to their d20p defense roll when defending against an opponent. Note that monsters listed with “Shield Use” as a special defense only receive a d20p-4 defense die when not employing a shield.

Special Defense: Certain creatures have defenses that have ancillary benefits other than a defense bonus. These are listed here.

Damage Reduction: Whether gained through body armor, an exoskeleton, bulk, the supernatural or sheer orneriness, this is the number by which the GM should reduce the damage of any successful hit inflicted upon the monster (a hit may be reduced to zero effective damage). Humanoids are listed with their most commonly worn armor incorporated into this figure.

Hit Points: Each creature possesses a range of Hit Points.

Threshold of Pain (ToP) Save: When struck by a single blow exceeding 40% of its maximum Hit Points, a creature must roll this figure or below on a d20 to avoid the debilitating effects of a grievous wound. Creatures with a value of “n/a” need never make a Threshold of Pain save.

For example, an orc with 28 Hit Points needs to make a Threshold of Pain save whenever it suffers 12 points of damage from a single hit (28 x 40% = 11.2, round up because 11 is insufficient to force a ToP save). Because orcs have a Damage Reduction value of 3, the actual blow must be for 15 or more points of damage. Thus if this orc is struck by a longsword for 15 points of damage (suffering 12 points of damage), it must then attempt a ToP save. The orc must roll 6 or below on a d20 or be rendered temporarily incapacitated. Refer to Chapter Nine: Combat for full rule mechanics in the context of melee.

Will Factor: This statistic is only listed for undead creatures. It is a both a measure of their ability to resist the will of clerics and an indication of the fortitude of their special attacks.

Size: This category summarizes the creature’s physical mass and height (or length). Smaller creatures are far more susceptible to knock-backs resulting from massive blows (regardless of whether or not the blow bypasses the monster’s “damage reduction’ statistic to cause damage).

Move: This is the creature’s jogging speed (as a point of comparison, a human’s move is 10 feet/second). Monsters can run or sprint with a proportional speed increase just as humans.

EPV: This is the number of Experience Points that should be awarded for defeating the monster.