So, how's the Player's Companion?

I’ve recently bought the ACKS core book and was thinking about purchasing the Player’s Companion.

I’ve read the amazon reviews, and I’m already pretty sure I’ll get it. But I’m especially interested in some of the new content - especially the barbarian class, and generally the class-creation system. How awesome is this stuff?

Any hype much appreciated! :smiley:

It’s extremely awesome, a must buy for the ACKs enthusiast.

The Barbarian is not as different from the fighter as the two classes are in later editions, but the major tropes (less armor, more rage, better at surviving getting stabbed) are there.

Class creation is super cool, but despite being in the “player’s companion” should probably be reserved for DMs. it’s very easy, especially if you get deep into power swapping, to make some crazy and overly strong classes.

I am, at this very moment, using the spell design rules in the Player’s Companion to rewrite the Psychometabolism powers from the 2E Complete Psionics Handbook.

If the Player’s Companion had nothing other than the class creation and spell creation rules, it would still be a must-buy for me.

Personally, I feel less compelled to use the custom creation rules. However, my players have gotten a lot of use out of it; one of my players loves Paladins, and since we just migrated from 3.5E D&D, it’s wonderful for him to have a Paladin that’s on par with other classes.

Yeah, I felt it was a much better DM supplement than player supplement. I’m still not sure the XP tradeoff for dropping plate on fighter-types is worth a proficiency; this is part of why we almost never have Barbarians (also they don’t get any more rage than fighters…? They are sneakier, though. More Conan, less Khorne). Paladin’s nice, though. Not all of the classes are amazing, but Dwarven Fury, Thrassian Gladiator, and Zaharan Ruinguard are stand-outs.

I have had some good fun with class design, but I sometimes feel spell design is a little limiting.

Can post link to blog review when I get home from work.

It’s awesome. I’m not even using all of it, yet, but I’d recommend it even for portions of the book. Definitely more of a DM’s book, though.

Don’t forget the fast-play character generation templates!

Cool. I rarely get to actually play, and when I do I’m usually doing 1-on-1 sessions with me & my wife, so I like books with stuff I can linger over and turn around in my mind during downtime. A player’s supplement with plenty of stuff for a DM sounds great, since I’m usually sort of both (running an NPC while GMing).

the templates are easily the part I use the most. All henchman above level 0 I make using one of the templates.

The Companion is HIGHLY recommended. The best three bits the class design rules (you can build any D&D class you want, also any race you want, the rules are simply wonderful for a Judge out to create unique races/classes for his/her campaign), the magical experimentation rules (cool and/or horrible things happen when you take chances with magical research) and the spell design rules (which are great, and would be VERY handy for a Mage PC, but ALSO for the Judge). Just for these three bits its worth at least twice its price.

I’d say a ‘must have’ if you’re planning on running an ACKS campaign.

For players, the classes are well-designed and really expand the scope of the game. The character class templates are FANTASTIC, and give your imagination a real kick in the pants by just looking through them and seeing all the different ways you can tweak the classes with proficiencies. Also, there are tons of new spells which are very useful, flavorful, and fill out the functional but streamlined ACKS Core rulebook spell lists.

The class and spell creation rules are invaluable. Even if you don’t follow the rules to the letter, they give you an invaluable framework with which to balance your character class ideas and spells, or at least get a real sense of where your favorite classes and spells fit into a ‘balanced’ D&D-type game. I have never seen a better system for designing either in an OSR gamebook, hands down.

Crunchy, crunchy goodness mixed with some real awesome flavor. If you’re into ACKS, I can’t possibly imagine how you would be disappointed by adding the Player’s Companion to your collection.

This is definitely worth getting. The “Companion” part of its title is spot on. If you like variety in class options, it’s a must buy. There are many new spells as well.

Did buy. Would buy again.

I live, breathe, and die the Player’s Companion. My love for it is like my love for a beautiful woman.

Chaste and discrete. What?

I want you to write product reviews for all my products. That is all.

Hm. I was hoping for a bit more hype.


In seriousness, I have made several classes, most* of which feel balanced, and several spells, all of which fit right into the game. We’ve used the templates extensively, we’ve used the new spells and the new classes which were built for the book, and my players can’t wait to be high enough level for the extensive and detailed magical experimentation rules.

I have no gripe with the player’s companion, and it has cemented ACKS as the game I want to run and play. I’ve run easily 50 sessions of ACKS, and couldn’t imagine playing without the things in this book.

  • Mixing fighter attack advancement and backstab in the position of a more martial elf nightblade with no spell advancement has made an overpowering class IMC.

Awesome. That’s great to hear. :slight_smile:

50 sessions - wow, I don’t think I’ve played 50 sessions of any rpg, and I’ve been into the things for over 15 years!

That custom class you mention sounds, IIRC, like the ACKS core Assassin - they get fighter’s attack and backstab, right?

I have a terrible habit of wanting to run new games, and ACKS has somehow kept me hooked to it. I run a game for the same folks every Wednesday and Sunday, and we’ve slowly whittled down the game to 11 people playing 26 characters off and on.

The custom class is basically an elf assassin, yes, but there are a couple of assassins who for some reason don’t feel as twinked out as this elf class. It may be the player, or the combination of magic items he’s got, which in fairness is tailor-made to make my life a living hell.

“I have made several classes, most* of which feel balanced”

Good to hear! I haven’t done any full-on class designs yet, but, while converting characters from our old campaign, I was able to easily use Player’s Companion to tweak the Dwarven Vaultguard a bit to accomodate a player who had been running something along the lines of a dwarf ranger. (He’s all about crossbows and woodsmanship.)

We’re playing in an offshoot of Sine Nomine’s Red Tide setting and I expect I’ll eventually be giving the class and spell design systems a good workout when I start converting stuff from Crimson Pandect. (Seven variant magic-user classes, six of which have unique spell lists and class abilities.)