Just curious about others’ experiences with this.
I’ve been reading a lot of Old English and Norse lit lately, and also thinking about creating my own game world which is modeled on those settings.
Then my heart sinks a little bit when I realize that a lot of the typical fantasy RPG elements - magic, magic everywhere! - don’t fit in such a setting.
I mean, sure, there’s magic in “Beowulf” and in the sagas, but it’s much rarer than in many RPGs. No one’s getting a brace of potions or wands, for example.
But I’m really interested to try out the ACKS economy. I’m thinking how cool it would be to play a character who actually undertakes ‘merchant ventures’ - just like you read about in the Icelandic sagas, in which a Viking sets up a homestead and does some long-distance trading in addition to his sea-reaving.
Dumping a ton of magical gear, spells, and monsters into that setting feels wrong. So I was wondering, has anyone done a low-magic ACKS campaign, and if so, how does it work out?
there are eventual plans to publish “ACKs, heroic fantasy” with exactly this kind of setting in mind. Unfortunately, by all accounts there is at least 1 kickstarter project in line ahead of it.
Heroic Fantasy Companion and Mercenary Liberator Tyrant are two different things.
In the Upcoming Products thread, Alex described the Heroic Fantasy Companion as optional rules for gaming in lower-magic worlds like Hyboria and Middle Earth; new combat and healing mechanics, rules for heroic codes and heroic funerals, magical corruption, pinnacles of good (Rivendell), 50+ new spells inspired by heroic fantasy fiction (e.g. Summon Giant Eagle, Sunder Structure).
Fabio Milito Pagliara summarized Heroic Fantasy Companion related forum posts here: http://www.autarch.co/forums/general-discussion/heroic-companion-compilation
Kiero talks about Mercenary Liberator Tyrant here: http://www.autarch.co/forums/general-discussion/should-i-be-turning-my-historical-hack-supplement
I believe ACKS provides an excellent base for a lower magic game, but I’m biased
I do remember those posts of Kiero’s; will have to check them out again. It seems that he did a lot of tinkering with the system himself - something I’d like to avoid, since a) I have a weird ‘thing’ for doing things by the book, and b) I just don’t have the experience/system mastery to undertake a big series of changes.
At any rate, it’s good to hear this can be a good system for implementing some lower magic fun. (Note I don’t want zero magic, but rare magic.)
I wonder what it is that makes ACKS good for this sort of thing, as opposed to other OSR games?
as long as you buy his book, that’s the book you’re doing it by :3
As for a more serious answer: Alex took into account, even in the core game, what it means to have magic available, and had to create economic reasons why there wasn’t a healing potion shop on every corner and a resurrection center in every hospital. The end result is that if magic is prohibitively expensive, most late antiquity to medieval societies would behave pretty similarly to how they did before, with possibly a little allocated to gaining access to magic.
Sooner the better for the Companion.
As has already been mentioned, Mercenary, Liberator, Tyrant is basically no-magic (no monsters, non-humans or dungeons, either). The only “magic” is prophecy.
I did indeed rewrite whole sections of the rules to accommodate a straight historical setting (though some things needed no changes at all - economics just needed a multiplier to rebase the currency).
So it’s probably not a good fit for what you’re looking for.
Ah, Kiero! I’ve read your posts with interest.
While a thorough re-tweak is, as you say, not what I’m looking for at the moment, I’m curious - what, in your opinion, were the ‘must-change’ rules when it came to preparing MLT for the historical setting? I imagine I will end up making some changes of my own, and it’d be good to hear from someone who’s delved into the system.
Yeah, I’ve been re-reading the rulebook - probably the Secrets chapter - and admiring how even something as ubiquitous in RPGs as healing potions is made out to seem rare and expensive. So it may be that ‘low magic’ is already somewhat baked into the rules…
In some ways the final game is actually still higher-magic than it would be if I had written it as a truly clean slate without regard to the D&D legacy or commercial sentiment. I am a fan of historical, legendary, and literary fantasy, all of which tends to be lower magic than contemporary flavors of D&D.
Part of me wants to make the Heroic Companion rules the “official” rules for Auran Empire! I will certainly make sure they are compatible.
The easiest way would probably be to link the pages with my rules changes on - I listed a narrative in italics under each one explaining why I changes what I did. It’s only two pages, going chapter-by-chapter (with page references):
In some ways the final game is actually *still* higher-magic than it would be if I had written it as a truly clean slate without regard to the D&D legacy or commercial sentiment. I am a fan of historical, legendary, and literary fantasy, all of which tends to be lower magic than contemporary flavors of D&D. Part of me wants to make the Heroic Companion rules the "official" rules for Auran Empire! I will certainly make sure they are compatible.
I like this idea!