Gnomish infravision

This is incredibly useful

note: I’ll add the +25xp for a skill suggestion in the Player’s Companion

a) question on point 6? the cost for elf 4 isn’t 2500?

b) let’s try to build the elf as written and factoring in the longevity

attunement to nature (1)
Elf tongues (1)
keen eyes (1)
Connection to nature (1)
animal friendship (1)

  1. 5
  2. 5-1=4
  3. 4x40=160-> 150 (and not 125???) I am doing something wrong…

maybe some of this power are worth less than 1?

attunement to nature (0,5) since it works only outdoor and don’t give bonus to search doors or hear noise
Elf tongues (1)
keen eyes (0,5) again because it’s less than half of the alertness power
Connection to nature (1)
animal friendship (0,5) as indicated in the rules pg.93

  1. 3,5
  2. 3,5-1=2,5
  3. 2,5x40=100-> 100 (and not 125???) I am doing something wrong…

ok I’ll add in the longevity power (Elves will call it Oak body?)

Longevity (1)

  1. 4,5
  2. 4,5-1=3,5
  3. 3,5x40=140-> 150 (and not 125???) I am doing something wrong…

ok… at this point since both attunement and keen eyes are less than half of the alertness power, I decide that both of them add up to 0,5

  1. 4
  2. 4-1=3
  3. 3x40=120-> 125 NAILED IT (or so I hope!)

so Elf 0 should be

attunement to nature (0,25)
Elf tongues (1)
keen eyes (0,25)
Connection to nature (1)
animal friendship (0,5) as indicated in the rules pg.93
Longevity (1)

So, this is a terrible case of thread necromancy - my apologies - but something which seems to be ignored in these calculations (re: Elf) is the ability to cast arcane spells while wearing armor (I believe gnomes have this as well) and yet it is not factored into the racial cost. This is a huge advantage over humans but always seems to be almost, handwaved off as “just a thing.”

I’m wondering how to reconcile that as I’m working on adapting a few races into my new campaign and this was the best discussion I found on the topic.


Personally, I viewed that as a matter of proficiency, rather than anything else.

I’d certainly let a human class with (say) Fighting 1, Arcane 3 cast in armor they were proficient with.

That’s probably the cleanest way to handle it, and I’ve done that with some light-armor classes myself.

You’ve purchased the ability to cast in armor by spending the build points on Fighting Value.

yeah, when it isn’t possible to spend proficiencies or, in other systems, feats to gain access to stronger forms of armor, it’s easy enough to just ignore arcane spell failure from armor entirely.

More generally, ACKS denies you access to all class abilities while wearing armor you aren’t proficient with. A blade-dancer can’t cast spells in Plate Armor, any more than a mage can.

I get where you are coming from but I find that - and the other answers brought up here - to be a perfectly reasonable solution. But it doesn’t really seem to fit for me.

Otherwise, why call it out specifically for elves, gnomes, and zaharans and not for say, Nobirans or Thrassians?

Ultimately, this divide seems to be an ability related to inclusion in that race and it seems to change a fundamental divide in the game-thinking when you can simply add “I cast spells and wear armor” to any human class build. Admittedly, any human caster that can wear armor cannot have full mage casting, which is a huge disadvantage over the standard mage, but it still seems as if this advantage is inherent by the need to point it out for some races vs. others. This would lead me to believe, say, that a Thrassian spellcaster could NOT cast spells in any armor they were proficient with. Otherwise, why call it out as a benefit of those other races?

To me, that’s a world-building conceit, just as “Dwarves may never allocate build points to the Arcane category.” If dwarven wizards make sense in your world, just change the rule there. It doesn’t need to affect the XP value of Dwarf.

Similarly, if you want Thrassian mages to cast in armor, let them. Otherwise have any Thrassian fighter-mage class you make trade off their armor proficiency for other custom powers.

You do bring up a good point… in that it also seems that dwarven inability to allocate build points to Arcane also doesn’t seem to have any effect on the calculation of the racial XP costs but is a significant, noteworthy deviation from baseline. I would say it “should” affect the XP value of the Dwarf.

Again, each of these things is specifically called out for a reason - the fact that they do not affect XP values doesn’t seem like a world-building conceit but rather a question worth addressing.

To each their own, but I’m not as interested in just waving stuff off when everything else seems so tightly packaged in terms of making a logical, usable, and consistent rules set.

ACKS does not use the typical D&D “choose your race then choose your class” system specifically in an effort to make each race feel different in more ways than just the baseline racial abilities.

I see quirks like these as an effort to encourage that. As an example, I am building classes for an upcoming game where Orcs (well, orc-blooded at least) are a prominent race reasonably-well integrated into civilization. I wanted to add Orc Shamans and Orc Barbarians, but also wanted them to feel different from their human counterparts. One way I achieved this was to add a note stating that “Orcblooded classes always increase their effective Fighting Value to at least 3” and making Orc 1-4 stack with Fighting Value. This in turn left further repercussions (as the Shaman now had additional weapon and armor choices, etc.) and I’m pretty happy with the results.

When I get around to writing the “Orcblooded Warlock” class, it’s going to be interesting, because I don’t want them casting in armor. In turn, the class won’t need any points in Thievery to get its custom powers, and can potentially take Arcane 4 instead of 3.

I get that, and I certainly think you are right, as far as it goes.

Ultimately, we are maybe talking about different things. I see the fact that the class descriptions for Spellswords and Nightblades and Tricksters specifically pointing out the “unlike (human) mages…” as indicative that thus is a class power… just a racial class power as opposed to a class-class power. Thus seems reinforced by the inclusion of that note in their custom class building information. Does that make zense?

It does make sense! I read that section slightly differently, but there’s nothing wrong with classifying that ability as a 0-point custom power (as it apparently is intended to be) and giving it to those races/classes where it makes sense in your own world.

Given that classes without the ability can trade off their armor use for other defensive abilities (flesh-runes, blade-dancing, etc.), or utility powers, it should be fine.

I generally agree with the consensus here that it’s simply a proficiency thing. I consider the specific callouts as fluff text or a specific contrast to the Mage class.

Recall that it says “Unlike (human) mages…”, which to my reading is referring specifically to the Mage class available to humans, which cannot cast spells while wearing armor.

Note that the Venturer, for example, is a human character capable of casting spells while wearing armor. (Actually reading Venturer, I’m not 100% sure of this, but I assume they can because it doesn’t say that they can’t.)

" it also seems that dwarven inability to allocate build points to Arcane also doesn’t seem to have any effect on the calculation of the racial XP costs but is a significant, noteworthy deviation from baseline. I would say it “should” affect the XP value of the Dwarf."

Should that really affect the XP value for Dwarf, though? Should playing a fightery dwarf cost more XP because some other dwarf could hypothetically be a wizard? XP-to-level should charge you for the abilities you actually get, rather than what some other class that happens to be the same race could have gotten. If the concern is that the dwarf save bonuses are too good when you apply them to the Arcane base saves, that’s one thing, but the sensible solution to that is “change dwarf save bonuses if using the Arcane save progression”, rather than “penalize all dwarves everywhere by raising the XP cost.” Similar approaches ought to apply for pretty much all other sources of dwarf+arcane mechanical incompatibility (assuming there are in fact any, and that it’s not purely a flavor restriction).

I appreciate this perspective. This makes sense to me. I hadn’t really thought about the fact that you could, in effect, trade off your ability to wear armor and replace it with other abilities which achieve similar results.

It still seems odd to me that such a large advantage as wearing any armor while being an arcane caster is held to such a high extreme for human mages, specifically called out as an ability for some races, and ignored for others.

That said, I’m comfortable with approaching it as you suggest in your last post. This is a pretty good way to think about it and really, since I don’t use Zaharans, the only race it really makes a difference to is classes built from the Elven base (as they can add Arcane and Elf to get full casting more easily) but this also reflects the (seemingly intended) “elves have magic cause they’re elves” design.

Thanks for the conversation, This has been helpful.

Sorry for bringing this one back again but I've been reading through it as I work on a couple of new custom races for an upcoming game. 

#7 in Alex's explanatory post is confusing to me (even after the discussion above).

If the race’s racial value does not mimic a class (such as dwarf), divide the Racial Value XP cost at Value 4 by the cost for dwarf 4 (1,400) and multiply the result by 10,000 for 2 class types and 30,000 for 2 class types. This is the additional cost per level after 8.

What is the difference between "...10,000 for 2 class types" and "...30,000 for 2 class types?"

Those seem to be saying the same thing but have different values attached. I'm sure I'm just missing something but I'm not sure what. What is the standard for determing if you use the divide by 10,000 or divide by 30,000?


I always interpreted that as multiply by 10,000 for two save progressions that match class-types that should be "favored" for the race, and multiply by 30,000 for the rest.

For dwarves, they use 30,000 for cleric and thief progressions, but 10,000 for fighter progressions.

Which is weird, because it gives the appearance that actual dwarves favor the mage progression even though they can't have Arcane, but hey, I didn't write it :)

[in my Shadows of Numilvara game, I do allow dwarven Archivists, which cast arcane, and they get the 10,000 progression because of this]

Oh... I think I get it now... It's the Judge determining that the class will get 2 progressions that advance at 10,000 and 2 progressions that advance at 30,000. Which creates a sort-of "favored classes" idea.

Thank you... that makes sense now. See, I assumed it was referring to something already existing and that's what confused me.

Wow. Appreciate that.

Hi, I'm here to necro this thread again, becasue I have a question for Alex.

When you wrote: "Add 1 if the class has racial value powers at 1+ that are not available to humans." What did you have in mind? Stuff like scaly skin, attack routines and flight or anything that isn't avaible as a proficiency?

[quote="Tywyll"] The lizardmen have it too. I'm not that bothered though... I gave it back to elves and dwarves so... *shrug*. [/quote]


Same here!