Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Are Your Proficient With Your ACKS?

Some of the proficiencies in the Adventurer Conqueror King System RPG are damn near impossible to pull off successfully as written.

Acrobatics requires a roll of 20+ to successfully tumble in combat, which would infer the +2 mentioned earlier in the proficiency description applies to this roll to, making it effectively a roll of 18+ on a D20. Why even bother?

Knowledge checks succeed on a roll of 11+, bu the PC is consider an expert in his or her field? An expert is only successful 50% of the time?

How about the healing skill? If the PC takes the skill twice, on a roll of 18+ he can neutralize poison, cure disease or cure light woulds. 15% chance, and it takes two skill points to even have a chance.

Did I mention that you don't get to add an ability modifier to the proficiency rules as written? That was probably the first thing I houseruled into the ACKS system, and it hasn't broken anything yet.

I simply ask the player the first time a proficiency is used that requires a proficiency check "what ability do you think would apply to that skill?" They explain their answer and if I agree, we make a note of it and the ability score bonus carries on for that skill whenever it may crop up. If I don't agree, we discuss it until we find an answer that does, even if that answer is "no bonus".

From my perspective, making the proficiencies more usable makes them more relevant and makes the game by extension that much more fun.


  1. This doesn't seem to be that big a problem, actually. Acrobatics doesn't let you use the +2 to the throw (that's for saves only) but it does reduce the throw number by 1 per level; a 5th level character would need a 15+.

    The knowledge check might be steep, but I'm going to stay with the rules on healing. Having the proficiency is the only way to also utilize the herbs in the equipment chapter (that usually add +2 to the throw), and although you can hire a healer and save a proficiency slot, those specialists are expensive, comparatively.

    Adding the ability score to the throw is fine, but if I were to change anything, I'd add some fraction of the character level to the throw, or reduce the throw number by the same amount. Experience trumps talent and such.

  2. I think it's entirely appropriate to have a very difficult roll for a simple proficiency to be able to mimic 3rd and 4th level spells.

    It's also probably pretty realistic for a society that hasn't even developed germ theory.

    It might not be worth the slots to a PC, but the proficiencies are there for NPCs too.

  3. Yeah, we haven't had any problems running it just as written. It is a bit odd that personal ability has no effect on skill usage, and some of the DCs are pretty high, but overall I think people have been pretty happy so far (especially the one guy who took Mimicry rather than something more immediately useful, and managed to spook a whole warband of goblins with very convincing gryphon noises...).

    As for knowledge and expertness, I believe there was omission in the entry. First, truly being an expert only occurs when you take it twice in one subject, and mastery when taken thrice. Extrapolating from most of ACKS' other proficiencies, it seems that each additional time Knowledge is taken in the same subject, it should provide +4 to the roll, for 7+ and 3+ for experts and masters respectively. This is in keeping with the Craft rules, for example. So I've penciled that +4 clause into my copy...


Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

Blogs of Inspiration & Erudition