Hello everyone. This is my first post, and I just wanted to thank everyone for their work on ACKS and on all the house rules that have made my life as a DM considerably easier. About two years ago I came up with an idea for a campaign I wanted to play with my normal players. A campaign heavy in theme, but with magic that was more limited than traditional fantasy games. The world is Karethor, and it is a savage realm, something more akin to the worlds seen in the Conan, Red Sonja, and Beastmaster films. Those films so impacted me that I genuinely wanted to capture the world and yes the flavor of sword and sandal.
Warnings: Emotional Triggers
This campaign is a fantasy campaign based on a bronze age setting. As such, fantasy violence, slavery, and gender inequality are all significant parts of the game.
Originally I attempted to use the Conan d20 rules, but these seemed far too complicated for such a simple world. Correction: the world is not simple, the world is interestingly complex, which is why I wanted the rules to be fairly simple. Then I looked at Iron Heroes. It captured the theme considerably well, but it totally removed feasible spellcasting, and introduced far too many classes and rules that were too complicated for the campaign. Next came Pathfinder - but that started losing the theme again, and then D&D 5E. I began to realize very sadly that these new rulesets captured high fantasy, high magic campaigns far better than any lower magic/ancient fantasy setting that I would have preferred. So, dejected, I shelved the project completely and began working on something for 5E. The Dragonlords of Aedenne will have to wait since I discovered ACKS.
The Campaign as it now stands
ACKS seems to be the perfect rule system for this bronze/early classical age campaign: It is a period when much of the planet is wilderness, shining city states and roaming warbands attempt to carve out what they can from the darkness. At least one empire in the past has fallen. And in the west, where the silver cities are uniting under a single banner, a new empire is emerging. But for the most part, this is a world of savage warriors, strange and relatively rare magics, and a potential death awaiting at every corner. It is a world I have fallen in love with and had gone into some despair when I could find no rule system to faithfully represent its demeanor.
The Common Classes as they now stand
Most of the classes from the ACKS rulebook are allowed, with the exception of demihumans. There are no demihumans on Karethor, with the exception of beastmen. Clerics are somewhat rarer than normal, so to represent that I indicate that Clerics must have trained at one of the cities for considerable years, and must have a Wisdom score of 12. So that leaves magic firmly in the hands of the Spiritspeakers, Wizards, and Sorceresses.
Spiritspeakers are either Shamans or Warlocks (from the Player's Companion), while Wizards are the classic Mage from the rulebook, though much of their magic relies on ceremonies, ancient rites, and rare components, and of course (my favorite) is the Sorceress. And interestingly enough, the Witch (from the Player's Companion) fills the role easily. And as any readers may have noted, the Sorceress is a class requiring a certain gender. I can explain some about the philosophy behind that. Wizardry is typically only trained to males, but Sorcery requires something of the natural life-giving power within the human female.
Again, this is to fit the ideals of a world in the bronze age/early classical age, and a variety of tropes within that ideal, as well as the ideas of mysterious powers belonging to schools separated by gender. This was a very big part of the western classical age.
It feels right, for this campaign, to do it this way, and it can make things interesting for Sorceresses when they engage in their secret blood feud battles with other covens or schools of Sorceresses.
In my campaign, I do have a male player as a Sorceress. And so far it's going well. We seem to be aware as a whole group that many of the themes of a fantasy early classical age would be fairly different/archaic/old fashioned when compared to the statutes that our modern society lives by.
In any event, I hope to be able to post more here in the future about the campaign as it unfolds.