Time for another new little retroclone. This time it’s Black Hack. This is probably the lightest set of rules that I’ve seen in a long time. The whole PDF clocks in at 19 pages.
Black Hack uses a very simple roll under system. Roll a d20 and get less than the applicable attribute score. There are modifiers based on class, equipment, and such. But that’s it in a nutshell. This is also a game that they players do most of the rolling. A PC attacks then roll an attack. When the monsters attack, the characters roll to avoid. A character’s damage in combat is based on their class but two handed weapons do get a damage bonus. In general, a monster’s damage is determined by the monster’s hit dice. Armor acts like extra Hit Points for an encounter (If I’m reading the rules correctly.) Like attack and skill rolls, saving throws are based on rolling under the right attribute. As characters advance, their attribute scores can go up but it’s rolled for which is kind of neat. It also borrows the Advantage/Disadvantage system from 5th Edition.
The absolute neatest thing is the way consumables are handled. Things like arrows, food, torches ect. Each is assigned a die type (d4, d6, d8, d10 …), when you use roll the die if it’s a 1-2 then you’ve used some up and go down a die step. If it’s a d4 then it means you’re out.
The basics are covered in the book. You’ve got the four basic classes, the most common spells, and a basic list of monsters. All that’s crammed into this little PDF. I’ll go ahead and say this, because someone is bound to say something. It’s art free. No pictures at all. You have to rely on the words and your imagination.
Black Hack would make a great game for an experienced GM to use as an introductory game for new players or kids. It’s a game that’s pretty easy to hack any concepts you would happen to like into another game. After all, it is called Black Hack. And it would be nearly effortless to run an adventure from just any OSR game.
For just $2, it’s a pretty good investment. Go check it out on RPGNow.