Monster book

In the stat block thread, mbeacom asked "Speaking of monsters, are they plans for a monster book, or even a conversion of a book? I was thinking of buying Tome of Horrors Complete for Swords and Wizardry and just converting on the fly or as necessary."


What would y'all like to see? 


Maybe to structure it a little more, would you buy (in PDF or in print)

- a conversion of an existing book like Tome of Horrors

- an ACKS book of generic new monsters

- a book focused on a few generic monsters, including domain rules and custom classes

- a book focused on monsters in a specific campaign setting, like the Auran Empire

- a book about monster-making, like the Random Esoteric Generator, that is as much how-to and design theory as it is stats


What would be of most utility to me is a book monster specific to the Auran setting with a section about monster making (like the Random Esoteric Creature Generator). I’d also like to see a section on converting monsters from other systems that use the OGL to ACKS, perhaps with examples. It is likely that most ACKS Judges are experienced and could figure out how to convert monsters on their own. However, there may be some ideas that the Autarch team has about monsters that I haven’t considered before and could be thought provoking.

If I had a wish spell, it would be for and ACKS specific converstion of Tome of Horrors Complete. It would include some ecology information on the more important monsters relative to the Auran setting. I like the work that Troll Lords has done with Castles and Crusades. Their monster books have a majority of existing monsters from previous versions of the game, with some new ones that are specific to their implied setting of Aihrde. The Tome of Horrors Complete would just be a nice big compiliation but perhaps more than many people want or need with something like 800 pages. I am about to back the hardback S&W version to compliment my PDF, but would wait for an ACKS conversion if one was on the horizon. If you released an ACKS conversion of the Tome of Horrors complete, even if all you did was a basic conversion of the stat blocks and didn’t touch the descriptive text at all, I would buy it today.


I’d like to see a monster book that, first of all, contained plenty of generic AND ALSO some unique monsters (like the 1E AD&D MM). I would not mind campaign-specific monsters so long as they are easily inserted into a homebrew campaign as well.

I’d like to see a discussion on how to change such existing monsters as well as how to create new ones from scratch.

I’d like to see rules for building random monster encounter tables and a discussion about how to place monsters in a campaign world.

I like print over PDF.

I think the book should be Auran themed, but include all of the monsters that are in the Auran setting. So if you have orcs, dragons, medusae and trolls in the setting, they should be in the monster book, detailed with a focus on how they relate to the Auran world. What I have trouble with using monster books is when all of the generic monsters are in one book and all of the setting-specific monsters are in another. I usually end up using one or the other because I get tired of flipping through multiple books in-game trying to remember which monster was where. In addition, I will generally page through a single book looking for ideas (unless it’s a module telling me where to look).

My two cents.

I think you should focus on what has worked so far and makes ACKS release Special and an Event rather than ape the generic bloat of other games companies. Play to your strengths. I’d like to see:

  • a Judges Guide that has monster making rules alongside lair and domain building.

  • Setting-specific monsters should be in a setting Gazetter - along with any custom classes. I think that adds value to each book as I want the Auran Empire Gazetter to have the AE-specific monsters in it rather than buy a seperate AE Monster Tome. If you’re discussing niche, migration patterns or domain stuff it makes sense to have them in the book that has regional maps in.

(to clarify - when I wrote about possible lair and domain stuff in a Judges Guide this may be an expansion/refinement of existant rules (maybe due to stuff that becomes emergent in play) rather than just repeating things from the core rules)

There are plenty of old-school monster books out there. An ACKS monster book should have ACKS-specific stuff in it - monster domains, monster economics, domains and realms within a megadungeon. Things like that.

There are a lot of old-school monster books, yes - I’d like to see an Auran-themed book with plenty of new beasts in it.

I want a ton of monsters in a monster book, and with Autarch I’d expect to see a pretty amazing monster builder with it. I could also see perhaps monster/class hybrid building, for those goblin shamans and skeleton warrior anti-paladins. I could see spell-lists for monster-specific divine casters and witchdoctors and perhaps some charts for monster summonings. I would also like to see tons of charts for leveled monster encounters based on geography and climate (I also wouldn’t mind seeing day and night city-based wandering monster charts for surprises in sewers, urban streets, and rural townships), as well as wandering monster charts and monster-related events for the three types of domains.

I’d like to see monster information put firmly in the context of the Adventurer-Conqueror-King journey. The domain level play segment of the game is one of ACKS selling points, so as well as wanting the monster generator, monster-class creation system, etc… I’d like to see how you’d suggest approaching Domains ruled by Monstrous creatures or something like that, perhaps rules for building monster led domains.

I’m not so fussed about trying to shoehorn in something like a Challenge Rating though, I think that goes a little against the OSR feel.

A crowd-sourced element to the monster list (like the S&W Monster Book) would be fun.

I’d like to see more rules for beastmen/chaotic domains/strongholds and step-by-step system for creating monsters (like the creature generator) with a focus on monster cultures/ecologies.

This above comment. Monster making/generator + unique Auran empire monsters. I wouldn’t use the Auran monsters necessarily, but I would use the inspiration for “custom designing” my own monsters. I think themed monsters are way more interesting - I get tired of goblins and orcs - and would like to see monster-slaying friendly campaign settings with unique twists. The generator information would be invaluable.

I would say I think a monster would really benefit ACKS because it seems there’s a slight power curve difference between ACKS and even say LL, and having the properly converted ACs of beasties on the page in front of me would be nice.

If an ACKS monster book was created, I wouldn’t want yet another volume of the same old D&D monsters. Firstly, I’d prefer new monsters. Secondly, having spent a lot of time over the years looking at the original myths and legends behind many D&D monsters, most of the original myth versions are nastier, more horrific, and just plain cooler than the often bizarre spins D&D put on them.


my preference would be to not have too many pages for the same monster (so no ecology articales) - 1 or 2 pages at most per monster with stats, description and small smaple lair perhaps is enough. some nice innovations of monster information is the hackmaster monster book where you can see how footprints look or other such things that can identify a creature without actually seeing it (sounds, habits like stacking skulls on spears to mark terrain, etc).