One of the occasional...I won't call it a complaint, per se, but rather a point of concern...in ACKS is the relatively cheap armor. It's not terribly unlikely for a fighter to end up in plate and shield at first level, which is fine for many campaigns, but not all. For campaigns where heavy armor should be more rare, a variant to armor cost: the cost of armor is equal to its bonus squared times 10 gp. So, hide costs 10, leather costs 40, ring costs 90, up to 360 gp for plate armor. Note that this does make fighters and other front-line warriors a hell of a lot less survivable at low level, and makes equipping armies much more expensive. It also makes shields huge (you can get AC 6 with plate at 360, or AC 6 with lamellar and shield for 260). Equipping henchmen now becomes a significant cost, and there are cases where looting the armor from a slain opponent actually makes sense - plate is now worth 60 gold per stone of weight, the same value as monster parts.
I miss the minor progression curve for fighters of 3rd ed where you had to get enough money, usually 2nd or 3rd level, to buy plate armor. That being said, I think there are some playtest documents that adequately address this. Guns of War introduces renaissance era armor that is generally more expensive but weighs less than 1 stone per AC, as well as steel fullplate which gives a conditional 8AC except against a selection of weapons effective against it. Similarly, the Heroic companion playtest document had suggestions for "Masterwork" armor that partially closed the gap between regular weapons/armor and magical armor in both effects and cost. Might want to give those a look if you have access to either (and you SHOULD have access to GoW cause you backed L&E, riiiiight?)
Another past argument. Alex defended the costs by actual historical cost of full garnitures recorded in England; if anything, given ACKS' internal economic model, light armors should be cheaper, not heavy armors more expensive.
But yes, this rubs me a little wrong. How much of a solution would it be to cut starting funds in half? :)
You could enforce equipment availability by market class. Starting in a Class V or VI would only have one set of hide and a shield or a 25% or 10% chance of every other type of armor.
First adventure is surviving the overland trip to a larger market. It's like a DCC-style character funnel, but at the end you're rewarded with the ability to buy extra gear.
An economic funnel. Sounds very ACKSy.
Not sure if any of you have played it this way, but from experience it really significantly reduces PC survivability at low levels; it impacts not just Fighters, but Clerics, Spellswords, and Vaultguards, too, all of whom can wear plate (and Assassins and Craftpriests in ACKS). Labyrinth Lord suffers from this, with plate costing 450gp, and even chain being 70gp, and the effect is quite noticeable.
There's also a pretty good thread around here that discusses the non-linear nature of improving AC. The reverse is also true, of course, and forcing ACs down has an inverse and disproportionate impact. Having at least one Character with enough money to buy plate armor at 1st Level hugely increases the chances of the entire party surviving. Combat without at least one "tank" (meaning a character with AC 6+) is just extremely deadly in Basic-type D&D, and even moreso in ACKS when many 1HD monsters can Cleave.
None of this is to say one shouldn't do it; I just wanted to mention the impact. I know, I know! I am such a Debbie Downer.
i think if i were to try and implement a similar experience, I might either use the masterwork rules or the guns of war advanced armors as something for armored fighters to aspire to prior to being able to get magical armor.