Any thoughts about using ACKS with RPGPundit’s Dark Albion setting? I’d be interested in ideas about what classes would work well, and ideas about how to reconcile the price lists between the games.
I note that I have not played Dark Albion and do not know anything about it.
In my opinion, the price lists are perhaps the least important part of ACKS economics. You can simply change them as you desire to suit the needs of your campaign setting and nothing will go wrong.
Perhaps there’s a cultural taboo against making battle axes and so the price for battle axes is 50 gp. Nothing will break if you do this. Battle axes will, of course, be less common, but that’s the goal in this case.
The thing to do when changing the prices is to remember to check the new price of items against the availability by market class table and give it a sanity check. If your prices indicate that it’s impossible to buy a weapon in anything but a Class 1 market, either weapons are very rare in your world, or you should probably consider reducing some prices.
(The availability by market class table is much more fundamental than the actual prices, and I’d recommend against just changing it willy-nilly, it needs actual thought put into it.)
Had this in my basket on Lulu for a week or so now, along with Yoon Suin (sic?) and Deep Carbon Observatory, trying to decide whether or not to commit. Dark Albion looks very good, and, based on the reviews (and the Pundit’s own thread on his forum), seems like it would be a very good fit for an ACKS campaign. I suspect the demographics might not even be so far off (unlike other fantasy campaigns) due to its historical basis. I’d be very interested in hearing the experiences of any ACKS players who own it.
Yoon-Suin is definitely worth it. It’s brilliant, and probably the most gameable setting book I’ve ever read. It also has a region (The Hundred Kingdoms) that is ripe for ACKS portrayal.
Thanks for the tip!
chiming in to also recommend Yoon-suin. The only thing to watch out for, that I’ve seen so far, is they use descending AC without really saying so anywhere in the beginning of the book. Everything else seems usable with ACKs.
I was also eyeing Deep Carbon Observatory but couldn’t really get a good bead on what it’s schtick is. Can you say anything about what drew you to consider it?
Mostly the raw number of unconditional recommendations by other OSR gamers, several, in particular, whose tastes I’ve found align with mine.
same. I’ve been pretty pleased with most of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess products I’ve been buying, and most of the people who made/bought those are saying DCO is good too. Was just curious if there was something more specific that was pulling you to it. Thanks for confirming though
If you haven’t read Bryce’s review, it might help:
Actually, I read Bryce’s review, and I’m not sure it did help. I suppose if you know his review style, maybe?
I will say that one of the…“complaints” is too strong a word, but…one of the criticisms of Deep Carbon Observatory is that the design is closer to folk art than traditional module, and it takes a bit of work for the DM to run it. You’ll spend time going through, working out map details, flow, and just what the heck is going on. Whether that’s an artifact of the amateur design, or an intentional choice so as to make it something to be simply bought and read, I don’t know.
I will say I haven’t had a chance to actually use a lot of the LOTFP and LOTFP-adjacent modules yet, but as I read through them I generally have two thoughts: “Wow, that’s a crazy cool idea i bet i could steal wholesale for another game” and “Wow, I would probably go a lot easier on the PCs because otherwise I have no idea how they wouldn’t die instantly”
So i realize this thread is mainly about Dark Albion, but I was more interested in Deep Carbon Observatory and it was pretty cheap to get the Print+PDF
Here’s my basic review, having read the first three or so chapters:
This is like the polar opposite of Sinister Stone of Sakkara, but not necessarily in a bad way. That being said, if you consider modules done in the vein of SSoS to be the ideal, you might hate Deep Carbon Observatory.
All the maps are imprecise, rough sketches, as are the character and monster sketches. There is no pre-amble, you are dropped immediately into what is happening when the PCs appear on the scene with the reason they chose to come left up entirely to the DM. Where sinister stone of sakkara has very detailed, exhaustive entries written in a neutral tone, DCO has vague but evocative short bursts of text that are worded to imply there’s more going on even when it’s telling you secrets the PCs don’t know. It makes for very exciting reading that really does feel like it’s filling your DM brain with ideas, but it definitely leaves out some details that will have to be made on your own.
I have to say the map of the drowned/flooded lands was particularly disappointing. I’m fine with impressionistic, abstract maps, which are the norm for anything written by Zak S, but his bizarre maps at least clearly demark points A, B, C or rooms 12, 13, etc. This map looks like a pencil sketch, which is fine except that the numbered regions are REALLY hard to make out from the sketched details. There’s also text descriptions of how the water covers the land that, with just a little bit of cross-hatching or even color, could have portrayed the various depths of water and the points at which hills finally rise out of the depths.
Overall, I’m definitely going to read more because I like the flavoring of the text and I’m not offended by the somewhat amatuer artstyle other than wishing it was a little more functional. I think modules like this with very prosaic entries are a good complement to books like SSoS which are explicit and thorough, but I could easily see a book like DCO leaving somebody who wasn’t expecting such short blocks of game text to absolutely hate the book.
Hope that helps!
I just realized I have a copy of Dark Albion sitting here, but I haven’t had time to do more than flip through it. So no deep insight yet.
Looking at equipment lists real quick: weapon and armor prices are different enough there’s no obvious single conversion rate, but that may be an artifact of ACKS sticking with the legacy gold standard(?). Livestock and food prices pretty clearly give a rate of 1 ACKS gp equalling 1 Dark Albion silver shilling.
My stock answer to currency conversions is to just use ACKS price lists whole. The big hang up I see here is armor costs, especially for plate: cheap in ACKS, plausibly expensive in DA. Might be a good time to up armor costs if you otherwise use ACKS.
For classes, just taking the DA list seriously, core plus barbarian and done. Skin Spellswords as Cymri and Vaultguards as Scots, but not even all the campaign classes. I’d assume Venturers, Assassins and Warlocks are features of the world as well, but if they’re your starting party you risk getting away from the knights, villeins and churchmen theme.
Re: DCO, I recommend it, but it’s hard to spell out why, except to say it’s a truly original product. As far as what it is, it’s an adventure with an overland component plus dungeon without being a railroad. It’s grim, it’s dangerous for the PCs, and its even got a possibility of putting your game world on an Armageddon countdown, but it manages all that without being a nega-dungeon or Raggi screw-job.
It’s fair to say the art was a higher priority than layout, but that’s a point in favor of the art.
Bryce of ten foot pole pans most of what he reviews, so any positive recommendation at all carries weight, much less actually gushing over it.
I’ll also plus one Yoon-Suin. Original and good, and on my wish list to run or play in some day.
While we’re talking other products, has anyone ACKSified Qelong yet? I’ve been giving it some thought but don’t want to reinvent the wheel.
Thanks! The biggest complaint about it I’ve seen is just how much work is still requires the DM to do, and that seems to jive with what you’re seeing.
It was only after I read through part of DCO that I realized it wasn’t technically part of the Lamentations of the Flame Princess family, because it was mostly being recommended by other people who really like LotFP stuff. They make great idea fodder and they’re very evocotive, but the more of them I read, the more I think the term “Raggi screw-job” is a fair summary of how impossibly mean some of those modules are
I also really enjoyed Qelong. I hadn’t considered ACKsifying it, but it seems like it has a better chance of surviving the conversion in a satisfying manner than something like “Death Frost Doom” or “Better Than Any Man”.