This will be the first game of ACKS I've GMed; being me, I prefer jumping into the deep end and doing all the hard stuff first, so rather than use any planned adventures of any sort, I wrote my own in its entirety, apart from what is present in ACKS, the player's guide, and Axioms. I've detailed the creation process in my blog. While the game hasn't even started yet, I wanted to start a thread ahead of time, because it's fun showing off stuff I made.
The adventure will take place on the continent of Mor-Thir, an island roughly 1450 miles east to west, and 1250 miles north to south. Though the northernmost edge lies just inside the arctic circle, the southern edge behaves like an equatorial desert. Mor-Thir contains sprawling plains, huge forests, enormous mountain ranges, towering cliffs, cursed wasteland, blighted swamps, and even a mysterious jungle. Which, if you think about it too hard, seems improbable, but such is the effect of magic. The jungle, especially, is not entirely natural.
This world, unlike many others, is devolving into wildness, rather than building order out of chaos. The First Age was that of the Elves, full of peace and learning, a time of harmony with nature and fellow beings. The Second Age, that of Man, was a time of industry and expansion, during which the entirety of the continent was settled by human, elf, and dwarf. But, their greed brought about the Third Age - the Age of the Beastmen, a chaotic and bloody (though relatively short) age. Play begins in 6637, about 1500 years into the Fourth Age, the Age of the Fae (each age lasts roughly 2000 years, give or take). The world is a wild, untamed place, and the Faerie-folk are bent on making it even wilder, even while mankind strives to resettle their old lands. The wild magic of nature flows freely, and the wildest of wild things are beginning to awaken.
The walled kingdom of Mareten sheltered men, elves, and other demi-humans through the terror of the beastmen; apart from a few desert city-states and scattered northern tribes, few humans or elves survived in the wilderness. Having lived with humans for thousands of years, the surviving decedents of the True Elves are but shallow imitations of what they once were; as far as anyone knows, the old cities of the Elves are dead and overgrown. The once-united dwarves were separated, becoming the Hill Dwarves of the Wild Plains, the Mountain Dwarves of the Northern Mountains, and the Deep Dwarves of the... well, no one is really sure. The gnomes, of course, hid behind illusion and mischief in the forest. At the end of the beastmen's reign, humans and demi-humans alike returned to the wild world and began again, founding the Kingdom of Mejasta and numerous cities and city-states.
Along with all the normal human and demi-human classes in ACKS and the Guide, I've added a number of custom classes:
- Airwalkers, human archers with flight ability
- Ectomancers, fear and illusion-based divine spellcasters
- Skinscribes, human mages who tattoo their spells on their bodies, and cast by tracing symbols rather than speech
- Spies, charming masters of disguise
- White Mages, healers that use a mage's studious magic and spell progression to cast divine spells
- Dwarven Sappers, magical siege engineers
- Gnomish Beastmasters, tough gnomes with animal henchmen
- Thrassian Assassins, sneaky, lightly-armored, natural-weapons-only killers
- Wolfweres, shape-changing animals
- Plus several classes based on a new type of magic, Librarian
- Gnomish Librarians, student of all things magical
- human Librarian Guards, emphatic "hushers"
- Elven Polydoctorates, able to cast divine, arcane, and librarian magic
Yes, it's a lot of classes, but variety is the spice of life and re-rolling characters, and I have spreadsheets, so it's all ok.
This being the Age of the Fae, faeries are plentiful outside the Wall (the Great Wall of Mareten, that is - an enormous magical construction). While there are the usual nymphs, dryads, sprites, faeries, and so forth, I've also added: Sylphs, essentially Elves, but with the faerie-folk dislike of iron and requirements for honesty (at least after being asked three times); brownies, itty-bitty gnome-like creatures with a love of shoe-mending; and of course leprechauns, nasty, greedy, leaping creatures that want to steal your gold after slitting your throat in the night.
Our first meeting will be on the 3rd of September, and I will document the adventures and misadventures of my players here, and on my blog. Comments are welcome!