Monday, May 7, 2012

Digging Deeper and Adjusting My Focus - A Re-Read of the ACKS Rules

There's a handful of things that stick out to me, especially as I go through the spell and magic item sections.

There really is a dearth healing spells in ACKS.  No Cure Critical Wounds, no Heal - it does make a deadly game system even more deadly, especially at the higher levels.  The best you get is the 4th level Cure Serious Wounds spell, which heals 2d6 +1 point per caster level.  Admittedly, that isn't all that bad.  Still, I see no reason why Cure Light Wounds couldn't heal 1d6 +1 half the caster's level.  This wouldn't even change the result of the roll until 4th level (as the base CLW spell heals 1d6+1).  Consider this a possible pending house rule.

The Sleep spell as per the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook gives is an area of effect of 3" diameter (15' radius).  "All creatures to be affect by the sleep spell must be within the 3" diameter circle).  I always assumed (possibly wrong but who knows) that the caster didn't have direct control over who the spell affected.  If PCs were present in the AOE, we determined randomly if they were dropped by the spell.  ACKS clears things up quite a big, by allowing the caster to affect one target or target a group of creature.  A group by this definition would usually exclude the other PCs.  This was something I had to read twice in game to make sure I was reading it right, and to doubly make sure I didn't default to my AD&D baseline.

Continual Light is not forever in ACKS, it's more like indefinite.  The caster can maintain one continual light spell per level of experience indefinitely without need for concentration.  No "every corner is lit by a conical light spell" in the cities in ACKS.  Guess I won't be playing an Eberron Campaign with these rules (not that I planned to).

The monster section is.  Yep, it simply is.  It's boring.  Alright, maybe not boring, but certainly uninspiring.  Then again, I have so many OSR games, and most of them have pretty uninspiring monster sections too.  However, I do have my Tome of Horrors Complete for Swords & Wizardry.  Much nicer selection to draw upon, complete with possible hooks and encounters.

The magic item section is cribbed fairly straight from the OGL.  How do I know?  It talks about Arcane Spell Scrolls holding spells of up to 9th level and Divine Spell Scrolls holding spells of up to 7th level.  In ACKS, Arcane Casters top of at 6th level spells, and Divine Casters top off with 5th level spells.

A similar dropping of the ball occurs during the mention of racial languages.  They include halflings in the mix, but there are no halfling PCs in the game.  They are there as NPCs, as a sort of human / dwarves mongrel racial hybrid, but you can't play them.  I actually thought they weren't even going to be in the monster section, so this bit caught me by surprise.

Swords and Armor don't go above a +3 bonus, which is quite in balance with a game that tops off at 14th level.  I very much like the Scavenging Treasures tables, as it puts some nice flavor to the non-magical stuff the players like to loot to make a few coins off of later.

Alright, all for now.  I need to add some more updates to the campaign's Obsidian Portal site.


  1. as I recall, 1" = 10' indoors, 30' (10 yards) outdoors.

    Also, spells in the OGL go up to 9th level for clerics and druids (divine... but only 4th level for rangers and paladins).

    I didn't read the section carefully (I'm playing a fighter and was pressed for time), but I believe the tables go up to sixth level for wizards and fifth for clerics, but it says it is possible to learn higher-level spells (rituals or the like, I expect).

    However, given the possibility that our wizard might invent the Halfling language so we have a language nobody else speaks (on account of 'no halflings'), it could be just an editing error... but since the text doesn't exist in the OGL, it may not be.

  2. From what I understand, unless a kickstarter supporter hit the level of "create your own race" there would be no halflings in the game.

    I forgot the OGL went to 9 for Divine - my baseline is still AD&D in my mind ;)

  3. Ritual Spells go up to 9th level. See page 119 in the PDF.

  4. Is your ACKS campaign public on Obsidian Portal?

  5. Ian, I think so, but I'm not 100% sure. Not too much up yet, but we are working on it.

    Currently called Adventurer Conqueror King or Die!, the title is subject to change without prior notice ;)

  6. Thanks. I would like to follow it there. I enjoy your blogs. I am a 40 something gamer who has been a cop for several years.

  7. Ah, a fellow member of the largest Big Boy's Club in the world (where we get to play with the Big Boy Toys ;)

    Hmm, we might be one member short of an All Law Enforcement Virtual Gaming Group (I know a retrired Corrections Officer that also is a gamer online)


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