Vague Musings on Some New Product Ideas...

Based on the success of Domains at War, I have two ideas I wanted to bounce off our community.

Idea #1. “Auran Empire at War.” The idea is to take the D@W rules and abstract them to one tier higher to create a grand-strategic game at the scale of, e.g. Conquest of Nerath or Napoleon in Europe or ATTACK.

Idea #2: “Dungeons at War”. Tactical combat rules taking the D@W facing/march/hustle/charge/withdraw/ready rules and applying them to ACKS-level dungeoncrawls for use with minis and grids.

I’m not 100% sure what #2 is. Can you give a more in-depth example?

something along the line of warhammer quest, hero quest or dungeons & dragons 4e board game?

count me then interrested in #2 BUT please finish lair-book and auran setting first before dividing your resources and spread them thin even more - or - worse - burn out and loose creativeness / will.

Number 2 might not be the best. ACKS has an advantage in speed compared to 3.x systems because it lacks some of the complex interactions of this sort of combat system. Sure, I like to fully exploit readied actions and the like, but they can really slow down a game that allows (even encourages) players to have multiple henchmen in addition to their main character. I would at least prioritize the lair book/bestiary before messing with the now-functional combat system.

I want my custom abominations! :smiley:

Exactly, yes.

I shall try not to burn myself out. Being the Roy Battie of game design would be an ignoble fate.

Thanks for the feedback!

(Lots of love for the lair book, interesting)

I do hope the lair book has some fun for both the players and the Judge to get excited about. More monsters is fun for the Judge, but more detailed rules for transformations and maybe even some new mounts wouldn’t go amiss.

If #2 is going to be some sort of boardgame along the lines of Dungeon! or Castle Ravenloft or Heroica, then I don’t have much to say - check the market for those things I guess. WotC seems to be going OK with them.

I already use a bunch of ACKS/BX-ish conventions in Heroica with my kids, actually. (Hear Noise checks for the monsters and reaction rolls)

If it’s an alternative combat system for ACKS proper, then it’s a bit superfluous given all that is already in the surrogate mother of ACKS, the 3.5 SRD (as opposed to the biological mother, BX). Whomever wants that is probably more than capable of pulling it back in.

I heard somebody say custom abominations above. If the Lair Book is going to do for monsters, lairs and monster-making what the domain rules did for…domains, and the PC did for classes/spells/research, well for Crom’s sake get that book the hell out on the market.

Finish that triple threat! Well, actually, quadruple with D@W.

I like the #1 idea - I play Attack! (I’m so glad to see someone else mention that game outside the usual places, I wasn’t sure how deep that one penetrated - it’s like a free-form Axis and Allies and I lurve it) and War of the Ring (I’d flirted with using D@W:B as WoR’s battle resolution system, not sure I want to slow down WoR any more than it goes) and I’d totally buy that game. I dunno how well wargames that aren’t historical or large-IP based go these days, marketwise.

You’ve still got the Domains At War:In The Navy! project too, don’t forget :wink:

(naval rules can be adapted to airship rules and then I think with the Automaton rules from the ACKS:PC, and Gunpowder, you’ll have Steampunk covered, not that I want it, but I bet you can flood out that niche if you wanted)

I’m not that keen on #2.

Personally I would love to have an economic book with expanded domain rules and and economy rules.


What do you feel is missing?

I’d definitely be more interested in Auran Empire at War, and that’s coming from someome who owns and plays the likes of Warhammer Quest, HeroQuest, Advanced Heroquest, Descent, etc. As for AE@W, are there potential RPG campaign tie-ins or hooks with such a game?

I have far more interest in several other RPG projects/products before anything like that. Judges screen (I’m aware of the downloads, but the idea of a physical version with panels illustrated by Michael C. Hayes turns my crank), modules, Auran Empire Campaign setting, the Lairs book (especially if it includes some of the great tips from the forums for populating/clearing hexes for domain play), and possibly even some kind of Judges book.

For that I was thinking of something that (among other things) consolidates many of the examples of system tinkering you’ve presented here on the forums, something along the lines of, “Here are ways to tinker with the system and what can happen when you do…” as well as advice on dos and don’ts within the context of ACKS.

For me that’s because of how useful it could be at the table. I also have no desire for it to have any content focused on players. That would be a bit like trying to include toys for players in modules - not a good combo. I don’t want a player reading the Lairs book when I am potentially pulling adventure stuff out of it during a session.

From conversations I've had with Alex, I think that DUNGEONS AT WAR would be at least as useful for RPG campaigns as Domains at War - maybe more so because many campaigns don't include mass combat (in part because it hasn't been supported) while most have dungeons (in part because they are so well supported at the individual PC scale). 

One way to think of it would be a hijink system for dungeons. Sometimes the party wants to go and assassinate an enemy ruler, so you play it out as part of the usual RPG focus. Sometimes you just want to see if the attempt succeeded or failed, so you send a henchman and use a hijink to see what happens.

Likewise, sometimes the party wants to clear out an orc village as part of clearing out their domain. At some point in the campaign it will make sense for them to do this themselves, so you play it out on the RPG scale. When it's not a central focus of play, though, you can hire mercenaries to do it for you and use D@W to see what happens.

I reckon that it arises equally often that the players have access to a dungeon and want its treasure, but don't want to make it a central focus of play. The goal of DUNGEONS AT WAR would be to likewise create a fast-playing, fun-in-its-own-right game that could be used to "zoom out" and generate outcomes that would be similar to what you'd get if you played the entire dungeoncrawl at the 1:1 scale.


… So basically more consolidated and official-looking book forms of what Alex does every day on the forums at the drop of a hat. :stuck_out_tongue:

ok, from Alex’s description I wasn’t sure if that was what was being referred to. I would ABSOLUTELY love to see a system like this. I can imagine it being incredibly useful, because it seems really unlikely that a party of freshly level 9 kingdom builders are going to want to have to muck around with clearing out every single lair and dungeon in their domain. Yes, I think this would be incredibly useful.

Okay, that is a bit more interesting. I thought it was just make normal-scale acks combat more complex like more modern D&D systems (possibly robbing some of ACKS’s retro feel and smoothness). But if it is a way to run dungeons quickly, like a hijinks for non-scoundrels, it seems like it could have a good niche. It could be a good way to use henchmen at the conquerer/king level. Plus, during “down time” (i.e. the mage wants to craft an item or research a spell) this gives the fighter-types something to do that doesn’t require full combat while the scoundrel is off on a hijink. Also, if a player is absent a session, this gives them something to do so they don’t fall behind the rest of the party.

Still, I’m not sure if this needs a full book or not. It really depends on the depth. Knowing Alex, we can expect a lot of depth, but maybe there should be a book that just generally expands a significant chunk of the campaigns section of the rules. Maybe make projects that various different classes can do with the same book-keeping effort of hijinks, spell research, or arbitrage trading. Quick bodyguard/security or bounty-hunting gigs for the fighter-types, small-time dungeon bashing for any character with a few extra mercs (think 3+ level fighter with some mercs knocking over a small kobold den out of boredom while the mage is studying), temp research assistant jobs for a mage (this could be either boring or terrifying depending on luck), and other interesting ways to spend time.

Between mortal wounds recovery, tampering with mortality results, magical research, stronghold building, unit training, commissioning equipment, spell switching, and hijinks, there are plenty of times when a large portion of the party will feel they have to sit on their hands.

Another interesting idea I had: since the magic item market is such that it is difficult to sell for a good price, could there be a mechanic for finding items that adventurers are trying to sell anyway in order to get a good deal? It would have to be a fairly large market, the items should be pretty random, of uncertain origin, and questionable safety (I think a random table that features “stolen”, “not-actually-magical”, and “cursed” prominently), but heck sometimes a group doesn’t even want to deal with spending the funds to identify that magical dagger when they can get a grand or two immediately.

Yea, when it’s described like that that’s a whole bunch more interesting.

If it’s meant to be focused on the “clearing of adventure sites”, that’s a perfect tie in to D@W for the Lairs book if it’s not that much text.

I agree with Nerdnumber1 in that it’d be great for henchmen and henchmen’s henchmen - when you’re in the deep end-game, and you get done with your domain actions, you can throw down a few Dngn@W turns on various things your mid-low-level henchmen can be doing without spending the brain power/care level that you would if you ran them in the real game.

Alex, Tavis, you guys are flying extremely close to having a large set of subsystems revolving around the actual table-top game that could be handled by a well-designed client/server support program.

Think a heavily modified Civilization/Freeciv (Did anyone else play the Warlords PC games? Those too) where the world has been loaded in, the domains set up, adventure sites placed. That’d support D@W:C, D@W:B+Naval, Dngn@W when you don’t want to table-top it…support Roll20 as a plug-in or something and you’ve got pure win.

I could see it now: A great evil is coming. A dread lich necromancer descends on the land The cleric casting a miracle ritual (literally praying for a miracle in the most literal and proactive sense of the word), while the mage and his apprentices are readying the tools needed to fight this foe. Meanwhile the fighter is directing his navy to blockade the lich’s human allies. The explorer conducts guerrilla attacks to slow down the main force. The rogue clears out the dungeons that serve as forward strongholds to the enemy. When the final conflict comes, the groups efforts pay off. Scarabs of protection blunt the lich’s deadliest spells, the miracle turns the tide of the battle against the dread lich, and potions and holy weapons of law vanquish the lich. Now, there is the matter of the phylactery. Luckily, the thief was able to pin down the location of the lich’s most guarded stronghold.

. ~
Yes, actually.
:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (pbbbbbt!)

In all seriousness, that is, in no small part, what I mean. Personally, I’m all about dead tree, and I do not want ot have to dig through an online forum for this kind of info. Moreover, I’ve been online for a long time, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s the impermanence of online information.

Think of it as high praise for the quality (and quantity) of the information Alex drops on us here.

If this is, in fact, what Alex meant, it certainly sounds much more promising/useful. A lot of the time it’s fun to play out the hench’s independant actions in a seperate session, but where that’s not desireable I could this being great.