Some of my players are currently recruiting in an elven settlement, so I wanted to either hammer out some rules that are undefined or unclear, or possibly brainstorm some ways to handle things.
First, for henchmen found at level 1 and above, I’ve been making up my own tables based on the assumption that the table for generating NPC parties represented a typical human settlement. From there, I make up my own for what seems right for the area. I’ve had one alternate human table (to add paladins and variant bladedancers in a religious city) and one dwarven city.
This is what I have for elves:
3 Dwarven Vaultgard
6 Elven Enchanter
7 Elven Enchanter
11 Elven Ranger
12 Elven Ranger
14 Elven Courtier
15 Eleven Courtier
My one concern is that this makes access to arcane magic substantially more likely than in other settlements, but elven spellsword seems the closest to a “default” elf class short of making up an elf 0 class that’s basically a fighter (doesn’t sound very fun). Ranger would be close, but of course you wouldn’t expect them to be appearing in droves like fighters.
Next problem: the number of “normal men”. I’ve read elsewhere that there’s not really a “normal men” 0th level version for elves and dwarves. I’m fine with using the entry for elves or dwarves as their default if that’s what is assumed (I can’t remember exactly which threads this was discussed in). My one issue is determining what a “normal elf” turns into when it gains 100xp. Again, the default seems to be spellsword, based on the half of the spellsword that is a fighter, but that makes it substantially easier to turn into a spellsword than a human into a mage, and if it’s that easy, could I not just as reasonably have some “normal elves” turn into elven enchanters? This conundrum is equal parts making up a system and interpreting existing rules, so any suggestions are welcome, not necessarily just from Alex.
The weird thing about Elf 0 → Elf 4 is that there’s no difference in their 0-level - since 0 level can’t cast spells.
What might be interesting is going a level down, and finding the distributions of elves or dwarves or whatever that are Racial 0->4. That then informs what they turn into depending on the racial classes available in the campaign to be built off of that racial value.
Elf 0 : Ranger
Elf 1 : Courtier
Elf 2 : Enchanter, Nightblade
Elf 3 : ?
Elf 4 : Spellsword
One might be able to back-calculate the occurrence of these based on the relative occurrence of the “model” class - so Elf Rangers appear as commonly as Fighters, and as such so do Elf 0 elves, all the way up to Spellswords/Elf 4 as common as Mages. (enchanters and nightblades as common as thieves, then that subset of Elf 2 split between the relative occurrence of thieves and mages to get the correct split?)
Can either make something up for Elf 3, or if your campaign has no Elf 3 classes, no elves are born that way.
And the rest of the distribution is taken up by the monster-entry-Elves, who never advance to a class.
Should hold for the rest of the races save Thrassians, as it ought to be obvious what their racial level is, since it’s all externally-facing.
At least in my mind, Elven spellswords are not intended to be the default elf. They are supposed to be rare. They were included in the ACKS core rules because they are a beloved and popular class with a long history dating back to OD&D.
so, say you were hypothetically making an alternate campaign world where the 4 “core” classes were replaced with racial equivalents.
Dwarf is fairly easy. Fighter, Cleric, Thief, Mage becomes Vaultguard, Craftpriest, Delver, Machinist. It’s not perfect, but at least the machinist cares about int and completes the thief kit.
Elf it’s less clear… would it be Ranger, Courtier, Nightblade, Enchanter? That’s still quite a bit of magic.
I suppose from a magic rarity standpoint, elven courtier makes the most sense, but they’re not as good of fighters, and since they’re described as a kind of nobility, I imagined them being somewhat uncommon.
So there’s room for a default Elf for when they hit 100 xp. Admittedly there’s the Ranger, but I don’t think I like making that too common either. I like defining elves by magicality rather than by everyone being Legolas.
Maybe a half caster in Arcane? Fighting 2, Hit Die 1, Arcane 1, Elf 1. That risks stepping on the Spellswords toes, so maybe take the option for full spellcasting pushed back to level 6.
Or you could kind of gnomify it with Thievery 1 for Prestidigitation, Arcane Dabbling, [something else], then Fighting 2, Hit Die 1, Elf 1 (and again, consider pushing full casting back to 8th).
I like the second option, of Fighting 2, Hit Die 1, Thievery 1, Elf 1. The proficiencies I see as fitting the concept of “non-powerful caster elf warrior” are Arcane Dabbling, Read and Cast Magic From Arcane Scrolls, Illusion Resistance, Magical Music, Mystic Aura, Prestidigitation, and Sensing Power. In my campaign, I’d probably say they should have Arcane Dabbling and Read and Cast Magic From Arcane Scrolls, then pick the third from the remaining abilities.
Thanks, I forgot about scrolls. I’d probably use that, Prestidigitation and Arcane Dabbling. Although then it seems like they ought to get something back when they do start their caster progression, which gives scroll use anyway. Maybe scribe scrolls, brew potions and research spells immediately at 8th, as a 5th level wizard? Or slot in something else entirely.
I’m not a fan of giving out Mystic Aura right in a classes standard ability list to begin with. It seems like it should be somewhat uncommon. (Yes, this does mean I don’t care for the Elven Enchanter either.) It especially seems odd for all veteran “default” elves to have it (or at least it carries some implications for world-building). I’d rather leave it in the proficiency list and let people opt in.
Hey, my campaign works under the same assumption!
Thats why my elves default to the Nightblade class: Deep down they are all snobbish, sneaky and murderous people.
Most of them live in swamps or spooky forests where they rule from conquered and overgrown fortresses, busy with infighting and their bloated bureaucracy.