Proficiency questions for new player

Just as background, ACKS core was written for a broad OSR audience, some of whom demonstrate their OSR -ness by despising anything that smells like a skill system. Therefore, ACKS core walks the difficult path of Proficiencies being presented as optional (with a light hand).

As time has passed, it seems people who like ACKS like Proficiencies, and there are numerous posts on the forum asking for more detail and explanation on Proficiencies and related throws.

Still, there are many who tweak Proficiencies and throws to their tastes, such as d6 rolls, ability checks, etc. “Every campaign is a law unto itself …”

I think the Autarchs have way too much cool stuff in the pipeline to seriously contemplate a 2nd edition. However, I dream of a glorious 10th Anniversary Deluxe edition – largely the same as ACKS core, but with a wealth of clarifying sidebars and cross-references. And a few key bits from D@W, maybe. And an integrated Auran Campaign primer. And a Judge’s Screen, darn it.

You had me at "glorious 10th Anniversary Deluxe edition."


I get an "access denied" message trying that link.  Perhaps they've vaporized my account for being a troublemaker.    I'll try at home - maybe it's this phone that is the problem.


Weird, I'd drop support (email in the footer) a note about the downloads section.  I thought it was public for all forum folks.

Shut Up And Take My Silver Talents!

Can't get the file on my home PC either - sent question to support.

That particular file is locked to original Kickstarter backers of ACKS. 

That being said, the Judge's Screen by Beragon at the bottom of the page is very much the same content, and has many of the adventuring proficiency rolls.


man, you'd think after all this time those reference files could be safely opened up to the public.

There's honestly not a lot in there that either hasn't been done better elsewhere or has been obsoleted.

It would be worth a lot of ducats if it had the spell points for each spell and build options used for each class in the fancy-schmancy sidebars.

It's the glorious 10th Anniversary Detect Invisible edition!

This is from the Judges Screen on the download page:

Task Throw
Forcing Open a door 18+ (+/-4 per point of STR mod.)
Detect a Secret Door 18+ (Elves 14+)
Listening at a Door 18+ (Demi-humans 14+)
Spotting a Trap 18+ (Dwarves 14+)

If I want to improve Detect Secret Door, I would need to be able to get the Alertness Proficiency (which some classes like Cleric can not).

If I want to get better at Spotting a Trap, I would need to be able to get the Trap Finding Proficiency (which only the "thief" types can get).

So...if I make a fighter for example, there is no way for him to ever get better at finding traps.

Also, my Thief can get a little better by taking the Trap Finding - getting a +2 - otherwise they would improve in it as they level up.     

I guess I would question why others could never get better at finding traps - though I suppose "class protection" is part of the history of this type of game.

In any case, I hope I'm starting to get the Proficiency stuff.




Class niche protection is ultimately the answer. However, Spot Trap, Listen at Door, and similar aren't learned Proficiencies. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they aren't really Proficiencies at all, and probably shouldn't be called out as such. These were what I was thinking of when I mentioned the Craftpriest's bonus not applying to all Proficiencies.

This may be Exhibit A of how Proficiencies’ optionality in the rules created unintended confusion. Yes, if you’re not using Proficiencies, all adventurers have these abilities. If you are using Proficiencies, all adventurers have these abilities via their free Adventuring proficiency.

[From elsewhere on the forum.]

The standard tasks that use Adventuring proficiency are:

  • Listening for noises 18+
  • Searching for traps 18+
  • Bashing open doors 18+
  • Searching for secret doors 18+
  • Avoiding getting lost in the wilderness (varies)
  • Evading wilderness encounters (varies)
  • Swimming (varies)

Adventuring proficiency also covers a variety of activities that can be performed without a throw:

  • Riding a horse in normal conditions
  • Handling common animals
  • Setting a camp
  • Lighting a fire
  • Cooking simple meals
  • Cleaning and maintaining weapons and armor
  • Appraising treasure

I believe dwarven attention to detail would apply to the above tasks involving the throw mechanic.

Maybe allowing Adventuring to be "purchased" more than once would eliminate the "my Fighter can never get better at this" issue.

Meh. I think the ultimate reason for not allowing improvement in them is niche protection for Thief type classes. I missed that they are actually gained from Adventuring, although spotting traps and secret doors makes sense. I'd certainly question hear noise, though, as that's the same chance for pretty much anything to hear noise (see Surprise and Sneaking). There are other things on that list that have identical odds for anyone (i.e., monster, NPC, etc.), whether or not they have Adventuring.

Also, I think the main purpose of Adventuring is simply to remove any arguments over all the standard things that adventurers try and do (Swim the river? Well, do you have swimming? Tie up the Goblin? Well, do you have rope use? Make dinner? Well, do you have cooking? Climb out the window? Well, do you have defenestration?).

I've been accused of being of being a grognard about this stuff (actually, Alex calling me "more Orthodox than the Pope" is something I wear as a badge of honour), so consider that context with what I'm about to say. I'll also preface with every campaign is a law unto itself, so, fill yer boots! In any case, I feel like a lot of fixes like this actually tend to do more to break the game than to fix any actual problem. I think that's a lot of what drove the development of 3.x; many small changes to fix things where people said, "Well, that's stupid!" The trouble was that a lot of things were how they were for gameplay reasons. The same is true here. Why can't you improve these tasks? Because of gameplay. Class niche protection. The trouble with over-specialization. The arguments for changing it often boil down to: it's not realistic. But of course, neither is the vast majority of the game, to a greater or lesser extent.

Do I think allowing PCs to take Adventuring as a Proficiency multiple times will actually "break" the game? No, not really. But I don't think it will make the balance (for lack of a better word) of the game better, either. Complaints about the uselessness of the Thief Class have been a thing for a looong time. This does not help that situation. At the very least, I would make it a Class Proficiency. Allowing the improvement from attention to detail of the Craftpriest has less long term impact, as it's once, but consider that it means a 1st Level Craftpriest has the same chances to Hear Noise as a 4th Level Thief, and the same chances to Find Traps as a 7th Level Thief. Does that matter? To a Thief, the answer is probably, "Yes."

I know you’re not suggesting that we get rid of thieves and replace them with taking Adventuring multiple times… but now I kind of want to do that. Assassin is everything my thiefy players ever wanted.

(I intend no offense and apologize if this comes off strangely; I basically failed to sleep last night and things are weird today)

there's a reason thief became rogue in later editions: skill monkey isn't nearly as compelling a niche as hitting stuff, being heavily armored, or casting spells, so the focus shifted to sneak attack and thus they shared the "hitting stuff" niche with fighters.

In ACKs there's a strong case to players sticking to only having thieves as henchmen, and if hijinks is that important to you, just make sure you play as an assassin or elven nightblade.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again here: the biggest thing the Thief suffers from is poor Judgement of Thief abilities. I've obviously had the experience myself and with people I know in real life, but I've also seen enough people online attest to the same thing to convince me that it's the single biggest problem with the Thief as a Class.

The 3.x model of skill-monkey obviates the need for a Thief by eliminating the niche protection for the Thief while simultaneously building in an implicit requirement for ultra-specialization because of how the skill system works. It as an extremely poor example of how to work a Thief-type Class.

When you say "poor judgement of thief abilities" do you mean like the game master adjuticating what happens based on what the thief says they do? or soemthing different?

More Orthodox than the Pope?! Duly noted :wink: