While ACKS remains my top pick for retro D&D gaming, Flatland Games’ ‘Beyond the Wall’ is a close second, especially in the realm of character and town generation.
I recently picked up their latest release, ‘Further Afield,’ and discovered a very slick sandbox generation system that I think would play very well in setting up an ACKS campaign. The conceit is that world building is a combined effort between the GM and the players, with players saying what their characters have heard of or visited in the surrounding region, and the DM using that character’s skills to determine how accurate their knowledge or recollection is before generating the map. Ultimately, it seems like a way to make sure the players get to search for the things they want to search for and engages them in the setting in ways that a 1d20 rumor table never could, all while leaving just enough fog of war in the control of the DM to keep the hexploration mysterious.
AND, while I was debating whether it was okay to plug another company’s game on this site, I caught an ACKS namedrop in the ‘Building a Home’ section where they call out Adventurer Conqueror King System as providing an interesting and thorough domain management system (if that’s your thing).
I’d started a kid’s game a while back and I folded/spindled their chargen playbooks to produce characters for ACKS.
It went really well; the kids were really into it. This was before Further Afield but there was enough conversation during chargen that they modified the sandbox we were playing in at the start just by weight of their good ideas about the shared history of their characters.
Although the Bard ended up with a 23 CHA by result of really odd rolls and myself forgetting BTW had a cap on scores because of that reason…
I’ve since purchased FA but haven’t had a chance to sit and digest it.
Somewhere there’s a combination of ACKS, BtW, and Sine Nomine’s efforts that builds up to a “push button, receive campaign world” machine.
Thanks for the heads up on these! I’d never heard of these and this is something relevant to my interests.
For a long time I’ve been interest in the idea of players getting a hand in worldbuilding. I’ve gotten several interesting games like Microscope, but they tend to either be games of their own or not necessarily condusive to making a world that would be fun to romp through with old-school character stat-blocks.
Hah, I love it! I’ve slowly accrued all those books as well, I really need to sit down and start reading them, finding the best ideas to plunder. I already used “Scarlet Heroes” to run a solo adventure for one of my ACKs players when nobody else was available.
I pledged for Scarlet Heroes (Crawford/Sine Nomine does awesome work!), but after running some small ACKS sessions with only two players, I was left wondering whether ACKS really needs such a “solution.” There’ve been points in our present campaign where single players are a virtual party unto themselves (Henchmen, Familiars, Mercenaries, wardogs or other trained animals…). This largely solves the “what do I do with only 1 player?” problem.
Yeah, prior to going down to one PC, that group was at 2, including someone who started higher level and so could hire better henchman who could themselves take on henchmen. One PC though, especially a 1st level PC, still felt a little weak. You are correct, though, in that it’s more of a solution for versions of D&D that aren’t as explicit about the importance of henchmen.