Draft Rules–Feedback solicited
PLAYING WITH ADVANCED CHARACTERS
Because of the many options that ACKS offers for high-level play, some Judges may wish to begin their campaigns with the player characters already at an advanced level of experience. The following guidelines are suggested for campaigns where the players begin the game with advanced characters.
Advanced characters may begin as adventurers (4th-6th level characters); conquerors (7th-10th level characters); or kings (11th or higher level characters). Adventurer tier is suitable for adventure-oriented campaigns with experienced players who don’t need to learn the game by starting at 1st level. Conqueror tier is appropriate for campaigns focused on the establishing and expanding new domains. King tier is appropriate for campaigns where the characters manage realms and fight wars.
Ability Scores and Hit Points
To generate ability scores for adventurers, roll 3d6 in order five times then choose one of the five sets of rolls as the character’s ability scores. Conquerors roll as above, but may re-roll any one ability score and use the new roll if desired. Kings roll as above, but may re-roll any two ability scores and use the new rolls if desired.
Staring Experience Points
All advanced characters in the campaign begin with a fixed number of experience points, applied to whichever class they choose. Adventurers begin with 20,000XP. This will put elven spellswords at 4th level, thieves at 6th level, and most other characters at 5th level.
Conquerors begin with 300,00XP. This will put elven spellswords at 8th level, clerics and thieves at 10th level and most other classes at 9th level.
Kings begin with 600,000XP. Most racial character classes will be at or near maximum level. Mages will be 11th level, clerics will be 13th level, and most other classes will be 12th level.
Class and Level
Advanced characters can choose any class they qualify for. They begin at a level determined by their starting experience points. Advanced characters get maximum hit points for their first level and roll normally for their remaining hit dice.
Proficiencies and Spells Known
All advanced characters being play knowing any proficiencies they qualify for based on their class, level, and Intelligence score.
Mages, elven nightblades, and elven spellswords begin play with spellbooks holding the maximum number of spells they can know. Adventurers should roll randomly to determine which spells they know. Conquerors may choose ½ the spells and roll randomly for the remainder. Kings may choose which spells they know.
All advanced characters begin with a fixed amount of starting wealth. Adventurers begin with 16,000gp. Conquerors begin with 240,000gp. Kings begin with 815,000gp. Starting wealth can be spent to:
• Purchase equipment from Chapter 3, such as weapons, armor, ships, mounts, etc.;
• Establish libraries, workshops, laboratories, or mortuaries, as described in Chapter 5;
• Purchase precious materials or special components, as described in Chapter 5;
• Build castles, hideouts, sanctums, or other strongholds described in Chapter 5;
• Purchase merchandise at its base price, as described in Chapter 5; or
• Roll for magic items, as described below.
• Recruit hirelings, as described below.
Any remaining starting wealth can be converted into coin, gems, or jewels, as desired.
Advanced characters may trade some of their starting wealth in exchange for rolls for magic items. Each of the five trades below can only be made once by adventurer or conqueror tier characters. King tier characters can make each trade twice (funds permitting).
• Trade 1,000gp for a 15% chance of two magic items of a random type.
• Trade 3,000gp for a 25% chance for a weapon or armor, a 25% chance for a potion, and a 10% chance for a miscellaneous magic item.
• Trade 10,000gp for a 50% chance for four randomly determined magic items, one random potion, and one random scroll.
• Trade 30,000gp for 1d4 random potions, 1d4 random scrolls, and a 50% chance for six randomly determined magic items.
• Trade 100,000gp for 2d4 random potions, 2d4 random scrolls, and a 75% chance for each of the following: 1d3 swords, 1d3 miscellaneous weapons, 1d3 wands/staffs/rods, 1d3 rings, and 1d3 miscellaneous magic items.
The actual magic items can be randomly determined or chosen by the Judge. Characters capable of magic research may substitute magic item formulas for actual magic items at a 2:1 ratio. For instance, 1d4 random potions could be traded in for 2d4 potion formulas.
Advanced characters may begin with hirelings, including henchmen, specialists, and mercenaries.
The advanced character may have as many henchmen as desired, subject to the limits of their Charisma score. The henchman can be of any desired class or level, but the advanced character must spend gp equal to the henchman’s experience points. The henchman’s equipment and magic items must be provided by the advanced character.
Advanced characters may also begin play with specialists and mercenaries in his employ. For each specialist or mercenary, the advanced character must spend gp equal to six month’s wages for the hirelings. This represents past costs incurred in having the hireling on retainer.
Conqueror tier characters of 9th level or greater that use their starting wealth to build a stronghold begin play with a domain. Create the domain as if the character’s stronghold had just been completed, rolling for starting land value, peasant families, and followers. If the character builds a hideout, his syndicate will have the standard number of followers (2d6 1st level characters of his own class, plus an additional 1d6 per level the syndicate boss has advanced past 9th). If the character builds a sanctum, he will have the standard number of apprentices and normal men (1d6 and 2d6 respectively). Any dungeons built by conqueror level characters begin empty.
King tier characters that use their starting wealth to build a stronghold will begin play with a realm. The realm will include a personal domain and several vassal realms. The king tier character’s personal domain will have the maximum number of families permitted given the size of his stronghold. The king tier character’s realm will include a number of vassal realms equal to the character’s number of henchmen. Each vassal realm should normally be the equivalent of a duchy (as defined in Constructing the Campaign Setting, in this chapter), but the Judge can alter this if he desires a grander or narrower scope.
King tier thieves, assassins, and elven nightblades who build a hideout begin with a syndicate of the maximum size permitted for their location and hideout. If they have thief, assassin, or nightblade henchman of 9th level or higher, they may build a hideout for these henchman and establish a criminal guild. Syndicates within the guild will have 2d6 members each.
King tier mages who build a sanctum begin with 6 3rd level mage apprentices and 12 normal men. If they build a dungeon, it should be populated until full.
The Judge may determine the starting location of any strongholds, domains, and realms, or allow the characters to select locations on the regional map.
Draft Rules–Feedback solicited
King tier would also be a great way to cooperatively world build a campagin before starting at a lower level, players can get their “war on” as bran the builder, or maegor the cruel before starting out as arya stark for example. Having the DM enlist the aid of the other players can help take the strain off his shoulders in preparing the campaign, as well as help the players feel invested in it’s creation and help with immersion–“don’t be daft! everyone in the realm knows why the dutchy of nine has it’s capital in such-and such city, because feondyr the fey burned the old capital down in the year 730.”
You could even run the past and the future simultaneously…Exploring and shaping the history of the world as the low level pc move out beyond the dungeon. .
But also run different tiers simultaneously. A player may control both the king as well as the 1st level henchman of the king’s 8th champion who’s dungeon crawling. They can be in all tiers at once.
and you could have two or three groups each running characters at different tiers in the same campaign, their actions/adventures affecting each other. This could be a way to run a pbp/Google+ across different time zones.
I added the following to the final section of these rules:
ADVENTURERS, CONQUERORS, AND KINGS
A Judge who wishes to embrace every facet of the Adventurer Conqueror King System can allow the players to act at all tiers simultaneously. In such a campaign, each player has one king tier character – a powerful archmage, mighty warlord, or similar persona. Each king in turn has one or more henchmen at the conqueror tier of play. These conqueror tier characters in turn have adventurer tier characters as their own henchmen. In such a campaign, the players will be simultaneously running one or more kingdoms, ruling the duchies and baronies in the kingdoms, and playing the adventuring parties that assist these rulers in dealing with the local threats of monsters and chaotic forces. Depending on the group’s preferences, each session they can focus on a different tier of play, or they can shift between tiers within one game session.