New to ACKS and the forum. I got ACKS recomendated to me on the rpg.net-forum, and have just finished reading. I will probably import the whole economic system and the spell repertoire to my planned B/X-campaign.
I really like the attempt to make a B/X-type of world a place that would actually function… Enough farmers to support the strongholds inhabitants, functioning trade etc.
Some questions after reading:
There is both divine and arcane casters in almost every little village, but low level. The divine ones are clerics, taking care of the populace, minor healing and so on. But the arcane lvl 1 and 2 casters, what do they do when there is no adventurers buying their services? What [i]can[/i] a low-level Mage do in a small hamlet that is not related to dungeon-exploring types of magic?
There is a division of land into civilized areas, borderlands and wilderness. In civilized hexes I guess there are no random encounters, and in the wilderness there are tables. But what about the borderlands? What constitutes the borderlands? Is there a sharp line, one hex civilized and the next wilderness? Or are there some sort of nicer encounter-tables to be found in some module for areas just close to the civilized lands? The wilderness-tables are quite nasty, dragons and 2d8 griffons behind every tree. Tough to have that 3 miles out for the lvl 0 farmer in the civilized hex…
Is there any cost specified for identifying potions? One could hire an alchemist for a month and identify lot’s of potions, but if you only have one or two? Or one magical sword?
Cleave. It’s an interesting rule, but might get unbalanced… As I understand, all humanoids can use it? But I guess that dragons and the like are not supposed to Cleave? Or is it all monsters? What about an owl bear that already have lots of attacks? How are people using it?
1. It will depend on his spell selection. He might entertain with various prestidigitations and illusions - this is more-or-less what Gandalf seems to have done! He might help locate missing objects or translate scrolls. He might clear out an infestation of rats with a sleep spell, or assist in hunting beasts with magic missile. Perhaps his unseen servant is useful. He may be valued for his proficiencies or knowledge. Or maybe the peasants are terrified of him, and he lives off of their "gifts"; or perhaps he has charmed the local village bailiff. Or maybe he is an advisor to the bailiff. Or perhaps he knows some various peasant-useful spells that aren't in the rules because no PC would ever take them.
2. In civilzed hexes you roll for encounters once per month. In borderlands hexes you roll for encounters once per week. In wilderness hexes you roll per encounters once per day per hex. Depending how much detail you seek, you may wish to pick up Axioms Issues 3. It has a complete system for generating random encounters for domains based on their type and position.
3. You could hire an alchemist for a day and have him identify all of your potions. Identifying a magic sword is a type of magic research and much more costly.
4. Cleave and the Fighter Damage bonus rule are two of the most important rules in ACKS. I would say, and I think that most ACKS judges would agree, that they are not unbalancing at all, but rather they correct an *imbalance* in B/X-style rules. Bluntly, without Cleave and Fighter Damage bonuses, fighter types are underpowered when compared to spellcasters. To answer your specific question, all monsters may cleave! Monsters like giants and dragons are very nasty in ACKS when confronting low-hp foes. If a monster has multiple attacks, it can cleave off of any attack that kills a foe. Its total number of cleaves is still limited to its HD, however.
EXAMPLE: An 8 HD dragon attacks with a claw/claw/bite routine. On its first claw attack, it kills a goblin. It cleaves with that claw, but misses. It now makes its second claw attack. It kills a second goblin, and now cleaves with its second claw. It kills a third goblin, and cleaves with the second claw again. It kills a fourth goblin, and now cleaves again. It misses. Now it makes its bite attack. It kills a fifth goblin, and now cleaves with the bite. It kills a goblin, and cleaves again with the bite. It kills a seventh goblin, and cleaves again with the bite. It kills an eight goblin, and cleaves again with the bite. It kills a ninth goblin. It has now cleaved 8 times, so it cannot continue to cleave.