First Game--reflections

Finally started our first ACKS campaign after six months of prep and finishing our Savage Worlds game. I’ve had a few observations:

  1. It did take a long time to get the characters together. Using both the core book and the PC and my own custom classes, it was a lot to choose from. Proficiencies slowed things down more than anything else.

  2. I,as a judge, really liked the “roll 5 guys, turn in 2, play 1, use 2 as back-ups” scheme. It kept anyone from playing a doomed character he didn’t want, and still allowed us to roll 3d6 in order.

  3. The “drop a score 2 points to raise a Prime by 1” made it relatively easy to get a fighter with an 18 strength.

  4. Fighters with 18 strength really kick ass. I started everyone with 3000xp, since we’ve done the first level D&d thing so many times now that we didn’t feel the need. So, our 18-stength level 2 fighter was really wading through orcs, goblins and kobolds like butter with his 2 cleaves.

  5. You really have to think to be a low level wizard. We had an elf enchanter, level 2, and a Nobiran wonder-worker, level 1, and they had a tough time participating. Mostly because you can’t shoot missiles into melee. They both had darts, but really didn’t have much opportunity to use them. They wanted to use staffs from the 2nd rank (as the mystic was using his spear), but that’s no dice. I had plenty of ideas for them, but it’s not my job to think for them.

  6. I wish I had put down some more rules about character creation to suit my Judge style. A pair of them have Lizardmen gladiators as back-up characters, and one has an Anti-paladin. I just don’t know how the Lizardmen are going to fit into the campaign well, and I dislike chaotic characters. But, I had decided anything goes, so I’m stuck with it.

  7. Initiative worked more smoothly than I had feared. I was a little worried that individual initiative with a lot of bonuses added in would get cumbersome to keep track of without a strong visual key (like Savage World’s playing cards). But, in practice those fears proved totally baseless and everything was smooth.

I’m sure initiative is fine in smaller conflicts, but we’ve found anything with more than ten actors involved needs an Excel sheet to keep it all straight.

The overwhelming majority of battles in my campaign have involved more than 10 actors (the PCs don’t travel anywhere, it seems, in groups of less than 20). In the largest battle, the PCs’ side numbered 76 and the enemy numbered 120. I have had no issues keeping track of ACKS initiative, as written. I use the “countdown” method which Alex has described elsewhere to keep things organized.

I have the big issue of the handling time/overhead involved in changing the initiative number for the various participants each and every round. With an Excel sheet it takes hardly any time at all, if we’d had to do that manually for the eighty-odd people involved in our largest skirmish to date, that would have been painful.

I usually just roll once for NPCs/Monsters and then ask who is faster me, letting them do their turn, then I do my stuff, then the rest of the group can act.

I still found no downside from this approach and its really quick and needs no tracking.

I split the enemy into rough groups (big bad is one group, mooks another, the Hobgoblin sergeants a third). Then I use countdown inititive. Any six plus? Any sixes? Fives? Fours? etc.

It’s fast, it adds a bit of tension as players have to pay attention or miss their call, and it shifts the responsibilty of keeping track of initiative to the players. I love it.

The one weak spot is that the players often forget to declare magic. I try to keep an eye out for them, but I often forget as well… :slight_smile:

I must admit, this is one area where playing online is better than live. On Roll20, my players have a macro that rolls initiative for them and their henchmen, then they just drag the results to the turn order track. Quick and easy.