I think Kenzer and Company has a couple of great games in HackMaster and Aces & Eights. So with the publication of some long-awaited new products on the horizon, I asked Kenzer’s Mark Plemmons to update us on what the company has in store:

Purple Pawn: First off, I know that Kenzer just released a preview for an upcoming HackMaster adventure module. What would you say is the most exciting thing about Frandor’s Keep?

First of all, let me say that Frandor’s Keep is combination campaign setting and adventure for the HackMaster Basic system.  It’s a new take on our previous HackMaster 4th edition supplement “Little Keep on the Borderlands”, but we’re looking at it 10 years later, after an orc invasion that was eventually repelled and the Keep rebuilt.  Personally, I think one of the most exciting things is that the “adventure” part of the book is not just one linear adventure from Point A to Point B.  Instead, the adventures consist of lots of non-linear “adventure opportunities” of different lengths and types (short, medium and long; dungeon, wilderness and city).  This is also tied in with the rumors and information section, which provides over 100 different pieces of dialogue that the PCs might learn or overhear from the many Non-Player Characters in the area.  Depending on what clues they follow up on, they might end up in one of several adventure opportunities.

Purple Pawn: After Frandor’s Keep, what’s in store for HackMaster? When can we expect new rule books to support play beyond HackMaster Basic?

In the near future, we’ve also got some more PDF adventure releases lined up, but this summer starts our three big Advanced HackMaster releases: the Hacklopedia, the Player’s Guide and the GameMaster’s Guide.  We’re really going all out on these, with hardcover bindings and a great design style inside.  These three Advanced HackMaster books will cover at least levels 1-20, so you won’ t need to buy HackMaster Basic (levels 1-5) to play Advanced HackMaster.  Of course, HMb will still come in very  handy for new players who want to get a taste of the game without buying the Advanced materials.  After Advanced, we plan to release more HackMaster supplements such as class books, more adventures and a GameMaster’s shield, among others.

Purple Pawn: Will there be additional Kalamar releases for HackMaster?

Absolutely.  You can expect to see a re-release of the Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign setting for the new system; this will also be another jaw-dropping hardcover at least on the quality level of the Aces & Eights and the Advanced HackMaster hardcovers, yet different.

Purple Pawn: Regarding Aces & Eights, we’ve been waiting for the Shootist’s Guide for a while; will we actually see it next month?

I certainly hope so!  Barring any shipping delays, the Shootist’s Guide is still scheduled for a late February release.

Purple Pawn: In fact, Kenzer has quite a few Aces & Eights products planned for the next few months. What are they?

We’ve got four new Aces & Eights products coming out:

There’s the Shootist’s Guide that you mentioned earlier.  That contains lots of new Target Silhouettes (animals, bandits, men on horseback, hostage situations, and so forth) to be used with the Aces & Eights “Shot Clock” transparency, as well as a new Shot Clock transparency for big game hunting.  It also includes new rules on mounts, hunting and lots of wild animals.

We’ve also got an adventure set almost entirely on a train, called “Trouble on the Sequoyah Star.”  It’s got a lot of intrigue and comes with several NPC factions and play options for either home or tournament play, with anywhere from 2 to 18 players.  It’s also got several props included, like train tickets and large maps of each train car (designed for miniatures use).

Then there’s two “Judas Crossing” products.  Judas Crossing is a town in the Shattered Frontier, and its two products are the town setting itself, and a new Rustlers & Townsfolk supplement (an NPC folio with over 100 fully detailed NPCs, each on their own three-hole-punched page for use alone or in combination with the previous Rustlers & Townsfolk supplement).

I think everyone’s really going to enjoy them.

It looks like the next few months are going to be busy ones. I know there’s been some pent-up demand for Aces & Eights expansions, as well as interest in seeing where the advanced books take the new HackMaster RPG. Keep your eye on Purple Pawn for further updates.