The Pricing of Magic Items in ACKS

Hello! I posted an update to the ACKS blog that might be of interest.



A great read! However, there’s one statement I’d like to disagree with: “… whereas ACKS is an overall suboptimal choice for that brand of fantasy.”

I believe ACKS is a fine choice for what I’ll call “classic” play, which may be easier to define by campaign worlds than systems, for example, the Known World or Greyhawk. Further, I believe any system which can be used for the Known World or Greyhawk can be used for Eberron. Consider that the latter is designed for up to 20th level wizards, while the former is designed for up to 28th level and 36th level magic-users, respectively. However, in actual play, I’ve never known PCs to reach those rarefied levels, making high-level characters more “background” than play consideration. Finally, Eberron has “built-in” explanations for increased frequency of low-level magic and similar assumptions about high-level magic being more common in past epochs. Add the class construction and race examples from the Player’s Companion, and any enterprising Judge could run an ACKS Eberron campaign. (I’m not running such a campaign, but later this week I’ll be posting the first of my “tinman” custom race and classes, which I’m sure will remind some of the warforged.)

I believe the Auran Empire is a cool campaign that I’m looking forward to learning more about from future products, but I suggest Autarch be cautious of elevating the Auran Empire from the default ACKS campaign world to the only ACKS campaign world (or campaign world “mold”). ACKS can be so much more!

Take care,


Hi Charles! Thank you for the kind words on the game, as always.

I certainly think ACKS can handle Forgotten Realms, Known World, Greyhawk, or even Dark Sun, and I think the order in which we've worked on supplements makes it clear our priority is to empower Judges rather than enforce an "official" campaign. When I reference "campaign setting" in that article, I mean the implicit campaign setting that underlies ALL of ACKS - ACKS assumes that magic items aren't economic goods, as much as it assumes that, e.g., adventurers become kings.

It's for that reason ACKS isn't firing on all cylinders when it comes to running Eberron-like setting. It's not just a matter of magic item frequency on the treasure charts, but what magic item frequency implies about the economics of the setting. ACKS's presumptive economic model would need serious overhaul in a pseudo-industrial revolution setting. Now, it may be that ACKS' other virtues (custom character classes, magic research, etc) are such that a Judge might want to run "ACKS Eberron" anyway, but it's not going to work as well as it does for settings that better line up with its implicit assumptions.

I'll edit my post a bit to make it clear I'm referencing an implicit campaign setting...