Hackmaster is a parody game. It’s supposed to be fun and funny. Crazy stuff will happen.
The GM is the universe and I will do my best to articulate what you see or feel (temperature-wise). However, I won’t tell you what your character feels (emotionally) or does unless it is as a result of something uncontrollable (like a sneezing fit or the result of a spell). Time to practice some roleplaying. Find your motivations, do some off the wall things.
I will not protect you from your mistakes. If you forget to find traps, I will let them find you if they are there. If you fumble, I will let you spear yourself. If you aren’t an accurate dagger thrower and you try to throw a dagger into melee, you may hit a party member. The dice will fall where they may. There are mechanics for this stuff. However, I will also let you bend the rules to save your butt or your party member’s. Epic things happen when you’re trying to protect your comrades. Even if it’s iffy, make a case, go for it. What’s the worse thing that could happen?
Think outside the box. I’m negotiable in most situations. When I present a situation with unknowns like an unidentified monster or statue, have a look at your sheet and see if there’s something semi-related that you could use to identify it. People would learn things from different fields, there will be very few single tracks to information or success. Be creative and you get experience points, loot, and you get to kick some monster butt.
The party is like your family. They will protect you when you’re vulnerable. They will find you a cleric with “Cure Disease” after a dungeon crawl or pay for your resurrection after you charge the dragon. You need to coordinate with them a little. Trying to kill party members is not acceptable; it isn’t natural. Your party will also need you to be useful. Try not to create an interesting but totally useless character. First level characters won’t be a superhero, but try to have potential.
Stuff happens and I totally get that. Anyone who cannot attend will be kept in a PC bag of holding. No care or feeding will be required. The only downside is that your character will not be available to help out the party while you’re gone and your character will receive no experience points while a player is not in control of the character. If you need to leave early or late, you can leave your character in the custody of another player in the group.