ACKS in Amherth

Anyone running ACKS in the Chronicles of Amherth setting from Small Niche Games? I’m considering it, but Amherth has some core assumptions about rulers and high-level characters that differ from those in ACKS.

From the main Chronicles of Amherth PDF:
“Amherth is scaled for low- to mid-level play. Only rarely will the PCs encounter an NPC of 9th level or higher. Temples, castles, fiefs, and even kingdoms may be ruled by low- or even 0-level humans who wield great social influence and power.”

I guess this means a lot of the character stats in products like Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay have to be beefed up to be in accordance with the assumptions of ACKS.


One of ACKS’ default assumptions is that “political power is personal power” and vice versa. This blog post explains the reasoning behind the notion:

In TV Tropes terms, ACKS assumes that Authority Equals Asskicking and Asskicking Equals Authority.

You can attempt to run a game where these rules don’t hold, but you’ll need to revise the demographics, campaign XP, and many other rules. It’s a lot of work!

I run several games using the Amherth setting and so far have not come across any major issues. My feelings on the mismatch of power, etc. is that if the PCs can survive long enough to reach levels where they could affect things, they should be affecting things. Not all of Amherth is mapped out in any great detail and I used the Duchy of Dolmvay/Great Valnwall area as my ‘map of the known world’ and set up everything beyond the Three Kings of Old Mountains as wilderness, ready to be explored and exploited.

The Duke of Dolmvay will be more than happy to have some powerful vassels pushing over the mountains and with the threat of the Xanne Empire a constant problem, it wouldn’t hurt to have someone covering his back. The Adventurer’s Guild gives a lot of scope for play and the tithe is a handy way to siphon off a little of the PC slush fund. I can heartily recommend the setting as a great start for either regular play using the Labyrinth Lord modules set in it or as a sandbox world ready to have the borders expanded.