So I've been able to talk a group of my girlfriend's friends and her into playing an ACKS game tomorrow. I was curious if there are any quick adventure modules (official, blog, 3pp, any really) that are out that I can use for a low prep game of four players? I already have Sinister Stone, but looking for something a bit quicker. Thanks for any help!
You can pick up almost any adventurer written for some form of D&D published between like 1975 and 2005 and run it with ACKS with minimal difficulty. Not much of it is specifically for ACKS, but that is not super relevant because conversion is easy, even when done on the fly.
In particular, googling "one page dungeons" will get you a huge number of compactly described dungeons that work well for low-prep games and one-shots. I quite like "Goblin Gully" by Dyson Logos, for example. But you have literally hundreds of options.
"one page dungeons" are a gold mine.
other cool options are the keep in the borderlands and the caverns of thracia
In fact, I think Sinister Stone mentions a few One Page Dungeons in it that Alex himself used.
I quite like "Ancient Academy" as a good one-page dungeon that's atmospheric, easy to fit into any setting, and quick to run.
I'm fond of the U trilogy (Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, Danger at Dunwater, The Final Enemy). The level ranges for them are 1-3, 1-4, and 3-5. My favorite description of U1 comes from Ken Dunmead, who called it the "Scooby Doo episode of D&D modules."
For TSR modules, level one adventures in relatively generic settings (so no Planescape or Spelljammer) include:
Any B-series module except B10 Night's Dark Terror (which is 2-4)
C3 The Lost Island of Castanamir
DDA3 Eye of Traldar and DDA4 Dymrak Dread
Any N-series module except N2 Forest Oracle (which is 2-4 and regularly ends up on lists of the worst TSR modules). I particularly recommend N4 Treasure Hunt, one of the earliest (possibly the earliest?) 0-level funnels.
T1 Village of Hommlet
U1 and U2
UK5 Eye of the Serpent (a very mediocre railroad, not recommended)
I've run Dyson's Delve in ACKS and had fun, and I think it meets your criteria. Low- or no-prep, stats are close enough to use as is except for converting AC. It's multi-level, so they won't clear it in one session, but each individual level is tightly bounded and has two vertical routes, which I think makes for a fun change from the sprawling horizontal levels many dungeons have. The party might dare to go down a flight of stairs in the first session!
Yukiomo's right that you can run almost anything old or osr and convert on the fly. My one hang up starting out was AC; the first session with an adventure from another ruleset it's faster in play for me to write in ACKS values than stop to think what I'm converting from. After that I do it on the fly.
In any event, I'm curious what you run with and how it goes!
So I got a bit lucky and the game was moved to Wednesday. I've decided to run a sandbox survival game in a fantasy area akin to the Caribbean. But thanks to the options above, I can retool the adventures to fit the setting. I'm mostly now just concocting rules for surviving out in intense heat. Thanks again for all of the help!
The AD&D Arabian Adventures book had rules for that which should be adaptable.
I have a PDF of my current home campaign if you'd like it. Its a small sized sandbox that can keep a party busy from level 1 to 5.
The stat blocks are stipped down so I could sell it as a system neutral module, but it was built around acks, so the treasure and difficulty should generally work out.
Here's my home version with the market classes and modifiers added.
Thanks I'll check it out. I started running a bit ago and this will definitely help me get some stuff off the ground.
A seperate question. Is there a way to improve the Reaction I've rolled for the monster after the fact? My players and I come from a heavy 3.5e background with Diplomacy rolls and were wondering if there was a Charisma roll to improve relations.
there's unofficial house rules for having a more complex, iterative set of relations: http://autarch.co/comment/14722#comment-14722
that being said: I would strongly encourage you to avoid the 3.x era trend of gamification of reaction rolls before you've tried the traditional way. First you should try to use the reaction roll as a general indicator of how the other side STARTS, and let the player's behevior intuitively drive the ongoing opinion. Even with these more advanced rules there are situations that can fall into the cracks and, honestly, having used them, they can sometimes make interactions feel a little too mechanical and limited.
Personally, I allow a new reaction roll if the situation has changed significantly.
Say, for example, you meet some adventurers out in the field and they’re hostile; the PCs decide not to kill them and instead back away as the NPCs threaten them with death and dismemberment should the PCs dare to claim-jump their dungeon.
Later, the same adventurers are met up in town; this being a significantly different circumstance, I’d give them a new reaction roll (with a bonus or penalty based on prior interactions; in this example, if the PCs had backed off being polite and wishing them good luck with the dungeon, probably about a +1).
That said, I wouldn’t allow PCs to get past the fact that in the field, hostile was rolled. Those adventurers are going to be hostile until you significantly change the circumstances and encounter them again. (Which is not to say that there is no non-combat solution! It’s just more expensive to bribe someone who hates you.)
I'll give it a try, but it'll be a hard sell. While one player is quite the thespian, the other two are harder to pull out of their shell. They generally feel flustered when put on the spot for more social encounters, but I don't want to have them overshadowed by the third player every time they want to talk to someone.
If I may offer still more unsolicited advice: that sounds more like a playstyle issue than a rules issue.
Think about it this way: you don't ask a player to lift a weight to demonstrate that their character is strong. Similarly, you shouldn't ask a player that doesn't enjoy the spotlight to have to act in character. Give them the ability to generally describe how their character is trying to act in the 3rd person. "Bob the paladin is being overly humble and supplicating in order to try and coax mercy out of the dragon."
There's a difference between being the center of attention and describing what your character does. your players more comfortable with 1st person RP might be looking for an opportunity to be the center of attention, which is fine, but roleplaying encounters don't have to exist solely to scratch their itch.