I created a historical hack of ACKS, which I called Mercenary, Liberator, Tyrant a while back, which has seen some actual play with my group. I'm now about to use it again for a play-by-post game set slightly earlier than the default 300BC, but a lot is still valid.
Thing is looking over what I've done after time away from it, I realise I've changed a lot. None of the first six chapters are without alterations, some pretty significant (such as deleting Chapter 5, barring about five spells relating to Proficiencies). I've altered chargen, changed the XP balance of the classes, removed loads of classes and added some new ones, altered weapon stats, shifted the economic base to the silver standard, the list goes on. About the only thing recognisably core-ACKS are the Proficiencies, which are definitely not optional here.
So the question is this: would there be any value into turning this into a proper supplement for ACKS? Would people be interested in that sort of thing? I'm imagining a sort of reference work that assumes you own the corebook, rather than a complete and separate, standalone book in its own right. Covering at least two "junctures" - the Greco-Persian Wars and the Hellenistic era. It might also include a new antagonists section (with various human antagonist-types) and perhaps even a canned adventure appropriate to the period. Plus commentaries on what Greek and other ethnic identities mean in the period, the role of religion and so on.
I for one would definitely be interested in reading such a thing!
Alex has talked about the Heroic Fantasy book elsewhere; I think having another option for something that can be used to bring a Homeric feel to the proceedings would be awesome.
I sure would be interested!
I would read it. Might be a good cheat sheet for how to write up my Warrior, Founder, Chief! idea.
I wasn’t expecting such a positive response, thanks everyone!
I’m going to need to give this some thought. Will a reference type format work, where I’m describing what’s different and what’s changed from ACKS, or would this be easier to use if I reproduced the altered things in full? As in effectively wrote a standalone product?
If I did produce something standalone (perhaps using the SRD), what copyright/legalities do I need to address? Does the SRD have some sort of open license on it?
The SRD that’s in the works and the book itself are all under the OGL; in general the only thing you have to worry about is proper names and such from the Auran Empire, those are Autarch’s.
If I was to make a recommmendation, I wouldn’t reproduce the entire thing; just what’s changed; much like ‘campaign setting’ style books already do.
Classes chapter: with classes you should allow, plus changes, plus the two custom classes
Equipment chapter: I’d recommend applying the changes you’ve made to the tables and reproducing all the tables in their entirety; converting on the fly during play would be a chore for someone new to the changes.
…and the rest of them should be fine as “here’s what’s different”. I’d figure most people already have a “here’s what’s different” document of their own; so I don’t know it’s that much of a stretch.
You’ve got a few ideas in here that are dovetailing with Alex’s in the Heroic Fantasy product, and he’s got a few in HF that may fit in nicely with yours - expanded masterwork crafting, for example, as well as natural healing rates and what it means to be at half-HP.
That’s workable, I can do that. Thanks.
Given I’ve changed the existing classes (Bard has no magic, for example), and the saves, and XP progression, I should probably reprint the classes in full, along with the new ones.
As others have noted, virtually everything related to ACKS is released under the OGL.
Given that we were releasing a retro-edition based on an adaption (LL) of a second edition (BX) of a game (OD&D) it seemed like we probably ought to be open to the idea of others making derivative works!
Do I need to be considering artwork and all those sorts of things for this supplement?
Are you wanting to sell it as a product? If so, it’d certainly help.
If not, it depends on how you want to present it, or how much work you’re wanting to put in it.
I think you’ve got a distinct advantage in there’s probably innumerable representations of art and objects from that age in the public domain, so even if it’s a free product you’re only out the time searching about the 'net for a few bits you can scatter around the document.
Like koewn suggests, I think you can get away with public domain or free stock images for this kind of project. They’re not a big deal, but I think judicious use of images (say, something old Call of Cthulhu style, like small silhouettes of hoplites, or whatever) could help present the style of the setting.
For instance, Mazes & Minotaurs has very “effective” art, even if it’s nothing special. It conveys both the setting and the “alternative OD&D” meta-story of the game.
I’m assuming Proficiencies are OGL too, then? They seem to be the most obviously new/not-derived part to me.
Yep! Any/all mechanics are automatically OGL, as I understand it. (essentially anything that interacts with the “core d20 system”).
Names of proficiencies may not be; so “Black Lore of Zahar” would just be Black Lore (you don’t use that one anyway).
True enough, I’ve cut out about half of them because they’re magic-oriented, that one included.
I don’t know if I’d want to sell it, to be honest. I’ve never even attempted it in the past, everything I’ve put together was always free for anyone who wanted to make use of it. I don’t know if there’s enough of a market for a historical spin on old-school D&D out there.