Hello! Here’s some random questions for our patrons.
- Blade Dancers:
The original version of Blade Dancers had them in lighter armor with a variant of the swashbuckler proficiency to help make up the difference in AC. The current version has them in plate armor. I personally like the idea of lighter armored fighters but there’s been a backlash against them as well. Which do you prefer?
- GM Information section:
You’ll have noted that the GM Information section is largely OGL material rather than ACKS material. What would you most like to see included there? Here’s some of our internal ideas:
a) info on the Auran Empire [world map, nations, timeline]
b) info on the Borderlands region of the Auran Empire [borderlands hexmap, list of areas of interest]
c) Wilderness random encounters table
d) Wilderness stocking rules
e) Sandbox creation approaches
f) Demographic info of the sort discussed under “Demographics of Heroism”
- Other Playable Races:
For future supplements, we’re considering opening up the demi-human races beyond Dwarves and Elves. That said, I want to avoid “halfling-kender-annoying-small-people” and “uber-4e-super-races”. What races would you, as our patrons, like to see? Among the internal suggestions for playable races are Centaurs, Lizard-men, and Gnomes. (Note that the Reincarnation spell has rules for playing any monster as a PC).
- Other Classes:
The ACKS Player Supplement (TBD) has rules for creating new classes that mathematically balance quite well against the existing classes. I’m interested in learning what class archetypes you’d like to see us cover in the future. Barbarian? Druid? What else?
B,C,D & E please
I like the approach in the B/X Expert book, where there was brief map of the border region, and general information about the larger world. I would rather pages be devoted to Judges Guild style wilderness tables, then descriptions and maps (as lovely as they may be) of kingdoms the PCs will not be ever visiting. The Gazetteers approach is great.
What I would like though, is a page, or side bar in this section with specific factorids about the larger kingdom. The kind of details that can pepper the NPCs dialog in the tavern.
Expanding on my earlier thought, the setting details for the empire (history, maps, personages, etc) is best saved for the Gazeteer. For the core book focusing on a small region that is on the ‘Threshold’ of the wilderness has more relevance. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need details from the larger world, just a different type. Some details I would like to see in the core book might include:
Current events - Whose the local ruler? What do people think about him. What was the last stronghold rules - style event that folks are still talking about? What recent laws or taxes may be causing strife?
Have there been any wars in the last 50 years? Would there be any ex-soldiers with war stories to tell? Who were they fighting?
Heroes - are there any heroes of the realm whose fame has spread this far into the sticks?
Bugaboos - who do the local mothers use to scare their kids into eating their vegetables. yes this is a world with animated skeletons and goblins around every corner, but who is their Voldemort?
Coinage - What coins are typically used in the area. Where are the minted, and whose faces are on them. (So when the party returns with a sack of ancient gold coins from the crypts of the lizard lords, what will the local inn keeper think?)
Big City - Where is the city the local girls dream of escaping to, and meeting their prince? (The reality is it is probably a lot different of course…)
Also who do they look down on? What town or region do they think is a beneath them, and is the butt of their jokes?
General Gossip - Did you hear that the Duke’s mother no longer goes out in daylight? A bunch of bizarre rumors that is probably hokum, but just might be the seed for an adventure…
Stuff like that is much more useful at the beginning of a campaign, especially if I know that it is pulled from a fully detailed setting, and what the PCs will be encountering later in the campaign and will not become contradicted and have to be retconned.
Regarding blade-dancers-- It was nothing related to the changes between 13 and 16 or to balance concerns at all. It actually was because the art-work for our bladedancer on the cover uses a lighter armor style, which reminded my wife (who played the first-ever bladedancer in my campaigns) that she preferred the light armored version. So then I thought I’d ask the group. It’s essentially an aesthetic question.
Regarding elf height-- I actually didn’t intend for elves to be seen as short! The rules list them as being on average 5’6" – that’s only 1" less tall than the median height for males in 21st century America. That’s not short at all! For whatever reason, people are very comfortable playing a human fighter who is 6’4" (even though median human male height is 5’7") but somehow they think an elf can’t be 6’. It goes to a basic human tendency to assume that everyone who is “different” is different in the same way. In short, we don’t need a separate high elven race to have tall elves.
Regarding various classes - thanks for the feedback. Rules for creating your own classes will be included.
Sounds to me like you guys are set on a Gazetteer or similar book, so I’d do a brief intro to either the Empire or the Borderlands (like the old Expert pieces on the Known World) and save the details for the Gaz.
I’d like to see C, D, and F developed in the rules. Demographics and economics is one of the ‘competitive advantages’ in ACKS vs other clones, so play to the strengths. I like how it’s taking D&D to its logical conclusions.
I get that you want to stay away from 4E races and classes, but calling things Blade-Dancers and Craft-Priests and Night-Blades isn’t helping. (I’ll either get over it, or use a Sharpie).
I like the idea of Lizard Men (or even better, Serpent People) as a race. I like the Lovecraftian flavor to things and some of the ideas in ‘Realms of Crawling Chaos’ get away from the standard Tolkien fare - Deep One hybrids and Sub-Humans and whatnot (a little darker tone than the ACKS default setting, but might be useful examples for the player supplement).
Really looking forward to the mass combat rules - I was glad to see Auran is like late Rome - I’d love to see the ability to model legions vs the barbarians (humanoid or otherwise) in a D&D setting.
Beedo, good feedback.
For what it’s worth, I was calling certain classes in my campaigns “nightblades” and “bladedancers” back in 2005 – long before 4e came out! I have the e-files to prove it…
If it’s a purely aesthetic choice, and it’s already on the cover art, I’d say stay with the lighter armored version.
1.) I like the lightly armoured bladedancer.
3.) Orcs/half Orcs have always been my favourite races. To be honest, initally, I was disapointed that they were not included. I like Veketshian’s idea of plain touched races.
Seanwills I like your Dwarven herbwyfe idea. Not sure it works with my idea of a dwarf class, seems more elven to me. That said I would play something like that.
‘Demographics and economics is one of the ‘competitive advantages’ in ACKS vs other clones, so play to the strengths’
I think Beedo’s advice is important because some people will prefer to use their own setting - so showing how you apply the demographics/economics to the Border area in the Auran Empire - would still be interesting and instructive - whereas loads of specific setting detail wouldn’t be - save that for the gazetter.
Sounds like the lightly armored bladedancer is a clear favorite. I’ll update accordingly.
Great suggestions on the classes, races, and GM information.
The idea of data on passing long period of time is great, but I don’t think I can include it in GM Information – that could be a whole sub-project in itself! ACKS Epic…
Another question regarding the setting- will the information be locked in time, (like in Harn where all published materials are tied to a specific year) or will the setting evolve gradual progress and new events and chances to the world be revealed, like Forgotten Realms?
Regarding the timeline of the setting – the current material I’ve written is built around a particular time period, so I suppose it’s more Harn-like. I think the evolving storylines generally should be left to the GMs. One thing we’ve discussed internally is doing different gazetteers at different time periods, representing the most “adventure worthy” era for that gazetteer. Or perhaps offering some discussion of how the setting might differ at different timelines.
re: Timeline: One of the things I like is a clear sense of what would happen, but for the PC involvement, without necessarily being “here is the timeline.” The problem with a classic “and what happened in the next year is…” approach is that it makes it very difficult to keep using new material if an actual campaign doesn’t match the presumed history of the published gameworld. But to my mind, settings, especially sandboxes, should be dynamic. (Gaz 1, Karameikos, is actually pretty close to a perfect example of this. We know that civil war against the Black Eagle Barony is likely in the near future; we can make educated guesses about the Archduke’s progression towards a royal title, and about which of his children might be designated heirs (and might be possible spouses for PCs or something similar). But all of that is a matter of what people are thinking, planning, and plotting, and the PCs might derail it or become the heroes in it.)
In terms of what I’m looking for in the GM section, it’s basically entirely items c-f. The reason I backed this project, and what I’m looking for, is help in running sandbox-y worlds with opportunities for the PCs to get involved in domain level play. Advice and tools on sandbox creation are thus the heart of what I’m looking for. Demographic analyses and thought is part of the value that you guys are adding to that sandbox creation–what level should that baron over there be? How common are mad 9th level necromancers with their own sanctums stocked with monsters? When you kill the local mad wizard, is the next one three miles down the road? Two counties over? In the next duchy? Across the great ocean? And of course, wilderness stocking advice and wilderness encounter tables (and wilderness encounter table design advice) then help run the wilderness part of the sandbox.
Also, to the extent that you have tools or advice for the GM-facing side of the domain/hideout/sanctum part of the game, that would be great.