The ONE thing I don't like in ACKS

It's gratifying to hear that folks would be interested in that.

One of the things we've been bandying about is the idea of a quarterly e-zine (working title "Axioms") where we could publish lots of content updates. For example, recommended magic components for item creation, new classes, new monsters, that sort of thing. 

The Auran Empire setting and Lairs & Encounters book will also have some stuff like that.


uh. e-zine. autarch-driven? fan-driven? both? perhaps i can/will contribute, although i fear you have to check my grammar/wording before publishing :wink: as an alternative, i can send you some articles in german…ha

I’d be interested in contributing to, proofreading, or reading such a zine.

An e-zine is a great idea! The current fair of OSR e-zines are nice, but something ACKS specific would be cool. I have a couple ideas for contributions and would certainly be interested in reading it.

+1 to a Quarterly e-Zine! (ACKses & Allies? :))

Alex will have to have a Q&A column called “ACKS Me A Question”.

Perfect. You win!

Maybe there could be a classifieds section called Love ACKtually.

It would need to be “Love ACKSually,” which is almost phonetically identical, and preserves the full acronym.

I’d also love to see an Appendix/extra chapters/stretch goal 32 page booklet/etc added to the Auren empire book giving us a modified setting. I think that and a ‘default’ setting together would be awesome.

The dungeon thing struck me on my first leaf through the rules too. If lawful mages abhor monsters why would they want to attract them home? Monsters can’t be ultimately important to magic because they were created by magic (I think).

And how stupid are mosters to make their way overland, at great danger to themselves, to just take up residence in a slaughterhouse? Generation after generation?

This part of the story really didn’t seem to make sense in an otherwise great set of rules. Well, what I’ve read of them.

One other thing, spell scrolls. Why would a mage make one?


Not all monsters were created by mages and they were probably used earlier in magical research. Now, the artificial abominations are far more common than the rare natural magic creatures (like dragons). Still, not ALL mages proactively construct dungeons, some rely on existing sources of monster parts, but it is less convenient.

As for why the monsters inhabit dungeons, it turns out that hiding deep in a dungeon is significantly safer than inhabiting an above ground community for beastmen (at least in any region where humans/demi-humans are in the majority). Even though adventuring parties will occasionally delve into a dark dungeon for treasure (slaughtering everything they can), an above-ground lair has to worry about entire human armies attacking in addition to adventurers. Furthermore, if you can see in the dark and your human foes can’t, you have an advantage in the dark caves.

As for spell scrolls, it gives a caster the ability to cast a spell above his level, outside his current repertoire, and beyond his spells per day. It is a useful, yet expensive, way to get make sure you have a specific spell when you need it, even if you don’t want to use up a repertoire slot.

But why would monsters go into spell casters dungeons when they should realise what is going to happen to them?

This part of the setting just doesn’t make sense to me. Still, it isn’t a big complaint, and the concept could be easily dropped.

Re the scrolls I hadn’t read enough about magic to realise they would allow you to cast spells of a higher level. And being able to use spells not in your repertoire is a good point. So scrolls do make sense.

First of all, there is little if any clear visual difference between a caster’s dungeon and any other dungeon (or a dungeon that was a caster’s dungeon before said caster died). This is especially true when the monster in question cannot read any signs written in common.

Secondly, adventurers normally take on dungeons because of the loot within, regardless of the availability of mage fetch quests. Furthermore mages do not research all the time and generally frown upon unauthorized adventurers (whether independent or working for rival mages) coming in and raiding the mage’s dungeon (though enforcement is fairly lax for practical purposes, many low-level adventurers do not want to risk annoying a powerful mage.

Lastly, mages seldom ask adventurers to completely clean out or destroy their dungeon, something that might happen a little more often with dungeons seen as public safety hazards instead of expensive investments.

All-in-all, there is little that makes a caster dungeon any more dangerous than any other dungeon similarly close to tasty humans. The occasional fetch quest is balanced out by the single mage monopoly. Furthermore, any hole in the ground is safer for a beastman than the surface and sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.

Scroll copying is pretty sweet, yeah. The main trick is that you need a sample or formula beforehand to make one above your level or outside of your repertoire. But under the magic item availability rules, scrolls are about the most common type of item for sale, and it’s not unusual to be able to pick up a big “ace in the hole” scroll like Death Spell, Cloudkill, or Disintegrate in any given month in a class IV market (restore life and limb and remove curse are both excellent scrolls up through the mid-levels too). And then once you’ve got it, you can try to copy it before you end up in a situation where you need to use it, or just hold it in reserve.

I once had a party that found a scroll of wish, and they were greatly conflicted over what to do with it. They really wanted to copy it, but the limiting factor turned out to be appropriate monster parts - genies and dragons both object mightily to having their tongues and hearts dried, ground, and used for ink.

That goes double for me!