Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

ACKS POD books from DriveThruRPG finally arrived

I finally got my order of Adventurer, Conqueror, King System (ACKS) books by Autarch from DriveThruRPG today. The COVID-19 pandemic has really delayed their POD printing and shipping, so I was quite some time waiting.

The books I got were:

  • Adventurer Conqueror King System

  • ACKS Player's Companion

  • Heroic Fantasy Handbook

  • Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu

  • Axioms Compendium 1-8

  • ACKS Domains at War - Battles

  • Lairs & Encounters

  • Capital of the Borderlands (revised edition)

  • Eyrie of the Dread Eye

  • Ruined City of Cyfandir

  • Secrets of the Nethercity

  • The Sinister Stone of Sakkara

I had already received, some weeks ago, one book from that order:

  • Auran Empire Primer

I got these because I'm planing on running some ACKS adventures, possibly leading up to the ACKS version of Dwimmermount. I got a request from one of my players to try a megadungeon, and after looking at the ones I had I decided to try out Dwimmermount. I have both the Labyrinth Lord and ACKS versions (I backed the kickstarter for Dwimmermount), but have never played ACKS before. I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it. However, I didn't want to run a new system at the same time as trying to run my first megadungeon, so I thought I'd get some of the published ACKS adventures and run one of them first, to get myself and my players used to the system.

While waiting for this order to come in I've been rereading the ACKS core rulebook, as I already had a copy of that and the ACKS Player's Companion. I admit that I found reading “Chapter 4: Proficiencies” and “Chapter 5: Spells” slow going. The proficiencies are sometimes like feats and sometimes like skills and have a lot of details that need to be read carefully. The spells also have to be read carefully, to see how they differ from the versions of D&D I've run before. I expect that I'll be going much faster now that I'm through those chapters, though there may be some slogging during “Chapter 8: Monsters”.

All in all, I'm liking what I'm reading. I think that the things that ACKS adds give it a lot more depth without increasing its complexity to AD&D 1E or D&D 3.5E levels. I think the players will appreciate the increased options for their characters and I'll appreciate the additional support for things like economic background and domain play.

Since I got my order I've scanned quickly over the books I got. They all seem interesting and useful. I'm now reading The Sinister Stone of Sakkara in parallel with the core rulebook, thinking that it will be the best introduction to the game for myself as Judge (that's ACKS's term for Dungeon Master) and my players. It is a setup somewhat like “Keep on the Borderland” with a military fort with an associated village and a stronghold of evil nearby. By default It is set on the Auran Empire's Borderlands province, which has some interesting setting details, but once would easily place it anywhere in ones own campaign. One thing about it that has impressed me is the background information it supplies on workings of the fort “Türos Tem”, which, without becoming tedious, goes down to the amount of hay on hand to feed the the horses of the fort's cavalry soldiers and how long it will last and how much it cost. Some people would say “who would need that information?” because they run campaigns that concentrate on wild adventure and don't sweat the background details, but I've found in the past that having that detail can inspire ideas for more wild adventure, and it fits into ACKS's additional support for domain play and economic underpinnings.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to playing ACKS. Now I just have to figure out a Virtual Table Top (VTT) to use.

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