Part One - Getting Started
First things first. If you haven't done so already, you need to buy the HackMaster Basic rulebook. You can go down to your Friendly Local Gaming Store and demand a copy or you can purchase it online from the Kenzer & Company website. I will wait here while you get it...
...Ok. Now that you have the book we can take a look at it. Despite the word 'Basic' in the title, you can probably see from just a cursory read that this is not exactly a 'rules lite' affair. Real RPGs need rules. But don't despair. Learning to create a character and play the game is lots of fun and you won't even have to purchase a subscription to some fancy online character creation tool. If you do want some electronic help, however, you can head over to the Kenzer website and download several handy tidbits, including a character sheet, Quick-Start Rules reference sheet and an index.
My advice for learning the rules is to first scan Chapter One to get the basics of character creation down. After you have read that, have a look at the next five chapters to get a complete picture of how to create a character. If you have any questions at that point, head over to the Kenzer forums. The kind people there would glad to help you.
After you have given the character creation rules the once over, it's time to sit down and create your first character. I will cover that in Part Two.