I am new to the whole ACKS thing, and I am really liking what I am seeing. I am very excited to be able to provide feedback for the Player’s Companion now. I want to say up front that my comments on this forum are going to be critical, but that is just because I am only pointing out the places that I think there is room for improvement. The ACKS system is terrific, the designers should be very proud, and the PC shows lots and lots of promise. Please read all my criticisms in the most charitable light; They come from a place of respect.
The first concern that I have about the PC has to do with paladins. It appears that they actually require fewer experience points for each level than do fighters, but seem to have a large number of advantages over them. It looks to me that the balancing mechanism is meant to be the d6 hit die, but I don’t feel that this is enough.
A fighter will, on average, have one hit point per level more than the paladin. He also can change his alignment without penalty (I don’t think this is considered in the xp math for the paladin, nor should it be. A player who wants to play a paladin is someone who WANTS to play a Lawful character, so the requirement to do so is no penalty at all in practice).
The paladin, by contrast, has the following advantages over the fighter:
-Aura of Protection (+1 AC/saves against evil creatures)
-Immunity to all diseases
-Unlimited Detect Evil
-Lay on Hands
(Holy Fervor and Battlefield Prowess are pretty much a wash. Battlefield Prowess is slightly better because of the lack of a religion requirement, but I don’t see that difference coming up much in actual play. Paladins will almost always be leading their coreligionists into battle.)
I wonder if the class creation system doesn’t overvalue the difference between a d6 and a d8 for hit dice. I don’t think an average difference of 1 hit point per level is enough on its own to make the fighter more powerful than the paladin despite the latter’s various advantages, but the xp math does seem to think so. Just eyeballing it, the fact that paladins require fewer xp to level than do fighters seems a bit silly. If anything, I’d like to see paladins need a bit more to level than do fighters.
Possible Fixes: 1) Add some mildly difficult to meet stat requirements to the paladin.
- Decrease the experience value of slightly different hit dice sizes.
Of these options, I think I’d like to see some stat requirements on paladins (it is kind of an old school tradition anyway, though I don’t recommend anything as draconian as AD&D’s CHA 17 requirement!) and some sort of kludge to put paladins at slightly higher xp-to-level relative to fighters.
(note that pretty much everything in this post applies to anti-paladins too, though I haven’t read them quite as closely yet)
Thanks very much for your indulging this feedback! I’ll have more as I read and play with the other classes in more depth.