Starting Poor

By default, characters rarely truly feel like bite of starvation nipping at their toes. A character with 100 gold that spends it on adventuring gear is at some level, a lunatic. Characters should start out poor, with barely 2 coppers to rub together, one step from ruin. Why else would you go into that tomb?

Starting Poor

At character creation, character starting gold is determined with a simple 3d6 gp roll, instead of 3d6x10 gp.

To compensate, in addition to the adventuring proficiency, starting characters get four starting proficiencies, modified by age category and intelligence.

A character may not select the same proficiency more than once with the base proficiencies. Bonus proficiencies for intelligence or advanced age may be used to select a proficiency a second time, but no more than that for starting adventurers… someone that skilled in an alternative trade does not need this life.

Characters roll starting age as described in the ACKS rules. They may choose to “age up” their characters to gain additional general proficiencies, if they wish.

Youth: -1 proficiency
Adult: +0 proficiencies
Middle Aged: +1 proficiency
Old: +2 Proficiencies
Ancient: +3 Proficiencies

This is in addition to any stat penalties.

A character may spend some proficiencies on proficiencies which earn income. The character begins with additional starting funds equal to one week’s employment for one proficiency.

Arcane spellcasters who begin with no spellbook begin with no Arcane Repertoire. It is assumed to have been lost. They may add spells from any spellbooks they find to construct a repertoire.

Divine spellcasters with no holy symbol, similarly, are unable to cast divine spells or turn undead.

What do you think…?

I think a party created under these rules will almost certainly die in the first dungeon they enter. I can see why people who want a genuinely brutal experience might see the appeal, but IMO, ACKS does not have a problem with being too easy at low levels. 

[quote="DrPete"] What do you think...? [/quote]

I'd use it for a DCC-style character funnel.  Say you keep your 3 or 5 sets of stats (depending on group size) and the whole mob of peasants runs into the dungeon to make their fortune or die.

For regular play, starting gp doesn't bother me.  I figure starting equipment was accrued over time, it's not literally all purchased the day before even if that's how the players interact with it.

Very brutal, and I agree with Dave R that it would work to specifically emulate a DCC-type funnel. I can't think of another circumstance where I would subject my players to that. Now, please don't hurt my character in your game for saying that!


Aww, I wouldn’t take it out on you… :slight_smile:

I saw a similar starting condition in the Lesserton & Mor supplement for lab lord, and was thinking about how it would adapt.

I think the idea in that setting is that characters are sort of thief-y types doing things that aren’t straight up combat-based… trading with ruin dwellers, scavenging in the ruins of a city where they might reasonably be able to escape from danger, etc.

I agree that they’d be toast in a dungeon, but they might be able to do a city-based thief campaign this way, no?

I think that is unnecessarily harsh on mages. It’s bad enough having no armor, few hit points, and little access to weapons; having no spells is flat out cruel - suicidal, even. Clerics, to a lesser extent, because they at least have some armor and weapons, are a little better off, especially since they can’t cast at first level anyway. On the other hand, a Thrassian has armor and claw/bite; they could take on a first level dungeon with not a cent to their name. Starting that poor pretty much guarantees everyone is going to be a fighter…

(Sorry, double post)

Hrmmm… how about tweaking it so mage’s can “use” a spellbook, but cannot take it out of their master’s sanctum until they pay for it? They maintain their spells, but they can’t do their study hour if they leave town.

That makes more sense. Part of the trouble I've had with mages is that their spells can be expensive; if they find a spellbook, they still have to pay to copy the spell into their own book, which costs time and money.

However, I've had an alternate thought; a lot of the proficiencies are job-related - Laborer, Profession, Alchemy, Engineering, and so on. Perhaps characters start with no money but that which they make from their profession, say, two months worth, saved up over a year or so. Fighters and brute-force types will tend toward basic laborer rates, just a couple gold coins, while the mages and clerics as Judge or Alchemist make 10 or more gp; jobs which require more training pay much better. Starting with a month or two of pay makes sense - the adventurer wants to be more than a paper-pusher or bick-layer, so saves up so cash to buy a sword or a spellbook.