I recall a number of blog posts from when ACKS first came out about how the to-hit and AC subsystem didn’t work very well. My group figured out a way to streamline its use and have adopted this modification as standard, so I figured it fit best in houserules.
Sounds familiar. This is the way i use it if i (as GM) want to “hide” a monster’s AC. After a couple of rounds/encounters with the same monster, the player’s usually figure out AC (longer if there are additional adjustments because of magic or whatever) and switch to “the AC to AT-value” method.
Yes, the fastest way to run ACKS is to pre-calculate the target numbers for most rolls, modifying them by any attribute or magic bonuses, rather than applying those to the die roll. Then the player can see immediately what his target value is, and if there's a hidden penalty ("how dangerous is this trap? what's the monster's AC?") he can just say "I hit by 5" or "made my throw by 3" or whatever.
That said I have never thought the criticism against ACKS's to hit system is fair. It is trivially simple - you have number to hit an unarmored target, and then if the target has armor its harder to hit them. I personally think most of the upset over the system is due to lingering bad feeling over THAC0 and a sense that since 3E "fixed THAC0" therefore any other system is bad. But I have taught people who've never played D&D before all threee of the different systems (ACKS, THAC0, and 3E) and ACKS is the one that new players can most easily grok.
Anyway, when I was writing ACKS, I came up with three different formulations of the AC rules and tested them in front of readers. I went with the one that most people found easiest to grasp. I'm curious what those of you on these forums think.
Armor Class: Well-armored or highly dexterous targets are harder to hit than lightly-armored or sluggish ones. The target’s Armor Class is added to the attack throw value necessary to hit it.
Armor Class: Well-armored or highly dexterous targets are harder to hit than lightly-armored or sluggish ones. The target’s Armor Class is subtracted from your attack throw.
Armor Class: Well-armored or highly dexterous targets are harder to hit than lightly-armored or sluggish ones. You must beat your target value by the target’s Armor Class in order to hit it.
Ah, interesting! Yeah, we’re basically just using formulation 3 instead of formulation 2.
It seemed pretty natural to me because, coming from the reverse AC game, I always asked the players ‘What AC do you hit’ and they checked the ‘To-Hit’ chart on their sheet and I knew if they hit the creature without having to tell them what they needed ahead of time.
Now, the procedure is ‘what did you need to hit and what did you roll.’ If what they need + the monster’s AC = the roll, then viola. The only way it would be simpler is if those numbers where written down on the sheet in the old style way, bypassing the ‘what did you need’ question.
Hmm. I was going to make a custom character sheet anyways, so I’ll put that on there…
I did it like the OP for awhile but the players seemed to stumble with the subtraction and ‘effect concept’. So I’ve just reverted to turning the numbers into roll high and added 10 to AC. Easy peasy.
There’s a new B-X style character sheet with a To-Hit bar in the downloads section if that helps.
Ah, we’re all coming off a Traveller campaign last semester, so effect is something all of my current players grok pretty well. Going to add a new player this Sunday, though; we’ll see how they do.
Thank You. I like. Can you make a formfillable version? That would be awesome.
When I get a chance, sure. I want to see how well it holds up in play and then make corrections first, though.