First off, just wanted to say nice work. From what I have seen thus far, ACKS is a really, really good system. I’m late to the party and reading PDFs from my computer is not something I’m especially good at (I tend to skip around a lot and miss stuff) but after a quick look over I have a few questions.
Only Humans, dwaves and elves as PCs, no halflings, gnomes etc. since they are in the monster section so I know they exist in the game, will they be added in future products or are they to remain only as “monsters”?
Unless I missed it, I didn’t see where thieves and such got any adjustments to their skills for high dexterity scores,(i.e. no +3 to open locks for a thief with an 18 dexterity) is this right?
With all the options, especially when those of the players companion are added in, how time consuming is it to make high level NPCs? (something that absolutely killed 3E for me)
A quick scan over the monster section, and with a few exceptions, it appeared to be pretty standard (and rather bland) are there plans for monsters new/unique to ACKS?
Gnomes will appear as PCs in the Player’s Companion. It is unlikely that Halflings will appear as PCs unless one of our patrons on Player’s Companion requests it.
Thieves do not get an adjustment to their thief skills from dexterity, no. Some Judges apply this as a house rule.
It’s not very time consuming at all. I have run my Auran Empire campaign from level 1 to 14 in ACKS and level 1 to 16 in D&D 3.5 and the prep time for ACKS is only a small fraction of the prep time for D&D 3.5.
There will be some monsters unique to the Auran Empire in the Auran Empire Campaign Setting, such as bizarre crossbreeds and abominations. That said, I don’t think ACKS will ever be the fantasy RPG with the largest or most unique bestiary. It’s not our focus in the way it is a focus for, e.g., Carcosa.
I think the innovation that ACKS brings to monsters is the idea of wandering lairs. My understanding is there will be a lair supplement coming at some point with a number of lairs that can be dropped into any campaign. Another nice touch that sets the ACKS monsters apart from similar bestiaries (e.g., B/X) is separate dungeon and wilderness info for number encountered, along with organizational details (troop, tribe, nest, etc).
OSRIC (and AD&D 1st ed) had “lair probability”, which is basically the same idea. Also, I’m quite sure that 3rd edition included different organizational details. The differentiation of dungeon and wilderness in regards to numbers is unique, though.
I suppose ACKS need not have a separate bestiary with full of new monsters - there are plenty of them available. Any monster appeared from OD&D to AD&D and their clones is easily convertible. Also, making up stats on the fly needs a minute at top.
Tome of Horrors Sword & Wizardry edition converts trivially to ACKS. Just saying.
(I’m actually drooling a bit at the Hacklopedia of Beasts, but that would be a lot harder to convert – but it has so much cool stuff! Footprints! Ecology notes!)