Adventurer Conqueror King v20

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Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Adventurer Conqueror King v20

Hello everyone,
Today we will be releasing v20 of ACKS. This is the latest public release since v17.
v20 is a major update so please download it!! If you've been reading the v17 Rules Addenda thread, you'll have already seen many of the changes, but there are others worth noting.
The most important update is a top-to-bottom overhaul of how cities, towns, and villages work. The prior version of the rules focused exclusively on managing rural domains, with cities as essentially "side effects" of rural growth. Many of you have, however, expressed a desire to run city-state oriented domains, to establish cities, and so on. We listened! In v20 of the rules, you can now establish urban settlements in your domains, and then grow those settlements over time with urban investment. Since settlements are now assumed to be directly managed by rulers, they are worth more GP; that required some adjustments to some of the income assumptions for very high level rulers. Everything should now work correctly and compatibly.
The second major update is in Section 10. Up until now, Section 10 was just OGL content from Labyrinth Lord. The new Section 10 focuses on creating a campaign setting, starting region, starting city, and dungeons compatible with ACKS. Some of the material that was previously in Section 7 (such as developing demand modifiers or statting out NPC domains) has been moved to Section 10. I hope you find that material is useful and accessible.
The third major update is an adjustment to how domains grow. Ahstronghorse pointed out that the domains in ACKS were set up to enjoy very rapid growth. This was intentional, to allow PCs to experience growth in their domains, but it does not scale correctly when applied to NPCs. This has been corrected.
The fourth major update has been in the area of hideouts and hijinks. We made some changes to terminology (hideout=stronghold; syndicate=domain; thieves' guild=realm). We added a new type of specialist, called Ruffians, which are low level NPC thieves that can be hired for hijinks and to round out a syndicate or guild. And we added some rules for quickly calculating the revenue of large thieves' guilds for those who don't like to roll dice each month.
There are dozens of other minor updates, most created in response to backer requests:
*Availability of equipment by market class
*Buying and selling magic items
*Character aging
*Peasant interaction with sanctum's dungeons
*Ability to get monstrous retainers
*Ability to get retainers of greater HD than the PC
*0th level NPC experience point advancement
*And more!

Charlatan
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War Contributor
Joined: 2011-08-08 15:20

Oh, I'm excited to see this. I'm writing up some rules for piracy and hideouts, and this sounds like exactly the metaphor I'm trying to use.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

It's up and available!

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

As I'm not the brightest of chaps, the new Section 10 is a godsend, good work :)

Duskreign
Joined: 2011-08-10 17:22

Section 10 is excellent stuff!

Bargle
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:39

pg. 91 mercenaries and hirelings.
Class I has 7d100 light foot mercenaries available and 3d100 0-level retainers.
#1: mercenary morale isn't effected by players charisma, only their training?
#2: say I hire 1 heavy foot to accompany me to a dungeon and I also hire a 0-level retainer. heavy foot: (comes with shield, sword, spear, chainmail) and is paid 12gp per day. retainer: I buy the above equipment for 63gp and he is gets % of profit.
#3 morale: Why is there a morale table (pg. 92) for retainers, but it doesn't appear to be applicable to a man-at-arms even though you mention that riches and success will increase the morale of mercenaries.
#4 dungeons: you say in the begining that mercenaries won't adventure into dungeons, but then later you say if they are hired for dungeon expiditions they get paids per day instead of per month. Do they still get paid on a monthly basis for a hex crawl, or is that not considered a campaign? Is a campaign a war? Does that require a certain amount of other troops for them to feel secure enough to take only monthly pay?
#5. Ok. Say I have an average charisma. I hire 4 retainers (spending a boat load of money finding them and equiping them (question: why would I retain a sellsword who didn't own his own sword...) and I also hire 4 heavy foot mercenaries. What's the difference? Didn't Domains of War change to allow troops to level up? So, if my 4 heavy foot can get to 1st level, why do I need to spend the money on retainers? How is their morale different? Can't I just turn one of the heavy foot into a retainer in the dungeon once all my hirelings die horrible deaths?
I'm sure I'm not getting something.
Let's look at the LLB's. In the LLB they make no distinction between retainer and mercenary and morale is separate from loyalty. Morale is secret as is loyalty. The only difference is that retainers have levels (1+) and mercenaries are 0-level and therefore your number of retainers are limited by your charisma.
So, If I were in ACKs using the LLB, I would hire 4 retainers (1st level fighters perhaps equiped as heavy foot) by advertising. The DM would roll 2d6 for each and that is their morale (The player doesn't know if who he's hiring is a coward or fearless until the first battle!)
Their morale is then adjusted by their loyalty on a 3d6 (3 = abandon at first opportunity, 18 = +3 morale, 19+ never check morale).
Jon Snow's retainer, the fat boy tarly is afraid of everything there is in the world, afraid of heights, of the dark etc. He has a morale of 2. Yet, he has a loyalty of 19. He will fight to the death for jon snow.
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I now hire 4 men at arms (heavy foot). Paying them 12gp per day. The DM determines their morale (rolling 2d6) and also determines their loyalty. They are 0-level, whereas tarly is suppose to be 1st level (though actually tarly is receiving training as a maester/sage).

Aldarron
Joined: 2011-08-02 21:17

Ditto what Cooper said. I'm wondering about those things too. On point number #4 the per day instead of per month is interesting and I'm not quite sure how it works, either, but I thought you might find it useful to know what the intention was for OD&D via Arnesons edit of the 3LBB's - "Players must pay living expenses and wages for themselves and hirelings. Costs in the Underworld are assesed on a weekly basis, but
in the Upper Land the same cost applies on a month~y basis."

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

The Stocking the Dungeon subheading in Section 10 references a Dungeon Wandering Monster table which I think is missing.

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

Re: Cooper's point #4:
I like the idea that you pay hirelings substantially more per unit of time to go into a dungeon. In my experience, players go through the process of hiring henchmen for an adventure, which is non-trivial, and then find it laughable how little they cost. In the Glantri game henchmen often request a share of treasure, which leads to some undesirable emergent behaviors. I think that paying them relatively more upfront helps make them seem valuable and neither meatshields who can be expended for pennies nor potential loss centers who are best killed before they claim their share.
The other thing I've found helpful in addressing hireling abuse is the idea of weregild - it makes sense that zero-level dudes are eager to work for cheap, but since they don't want to die either they bargain for a price to be paid their next of kin for their funeral, to support their familes, etc. I really liked how, in one of the ACKS games I played in Durham, we paid for a servant to tend the henchmen we'd gotten crippled. I think it'd be great if we specified that a standard element in most hirelings' contracts is that the employers promise to provide this kind of life insurance/death benefit beforehand - if for no other reason that it'll make for interesting roleplaying if the PCs don't keep their word!

Bargle
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:39

I like the rules that attempt to head off emergent play of murdering retainers after an adventure (although the chart showing only 1d4 available men should make scarcity of replacements force players to safeguard npcs), but am I mistaken that there is no mechanical difference in the rules between mercenary and retainer? What's the difference (beside upfront cost) between a 0 level mercenary and 0 level retainer? I don't see the rule of morale or loyalty being different, other than retainers morale is adjusted by charisma and mercenary isnt
(which is a bit odd actually), have I misunderstood DoW that allows 0-level mercenaries to go up in levels? If so, why and how am I limited to 4 retainers why say, might be 5th level, but I can command just as many, if not hundreds more 5th level mercenaries who are loyal and willing to adventure for a daily fee.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Hey Bargle!
1: mercenary morale isn't effected by players charisma, only their training?
Correct.
#2: say I hire 1 heavy foot to accompany me to a dungeon and I also hire a 0-level retainer. heavy foot: (comes with shield, sword, spear, chainmail) and is paid 12gp per day. retainer: I buy the above equipment for 63gp and he is gets % of profit.
Much of the confusion is being caused because mercenaries aren't supposed to accompany you into dungeons.
#3 morale: Why is there a morale table (pg. 92) for retainers, but it doesn't appear to be applicable to a man-at-arms even though you mention that riches and success will increase the morale of mercenaries.
It seemed harder to codify for mercenaries because they might be used in various ways, so we left it to GM discretion.
#4 dungeons: you say in the begining that mercenaries won't adventure into dungeons, but then later you say if they are hired for dungeon expiditions they get paids per day instead of per month. Do they still get paid on a monthly basis for a hex crawl, or is that not considered a campaign? Is a campaign a war? Does that require a certain amount of other troops for them to feel secure enough to take only monthly pay?
This is my fault for the confusion. Mercenaries are not supposed to accompany you into a dungeon. There is some legacy text from other OGL rule sets in places and this is one of them.
#5. Ok. Say I have an average charisma. I hire 4 retainers (spending a boat load of money finding them and equiping them (question: why would I retain a sellsword who didn't own his own sword...) and I also hire 4 heavy foot mercenaries. What's the difference? Didn't Domains of War change to allow troops to level up? So, if my 4 heavy foot can get to 1st level, why do I need to spend the money on retainers? How is their morale different? Can't I just turn one of the heavy foot into a retainer in the dungeon once all my hirelings die horrible deaths?
Again, I am sorry for all this confusion.
A retainer is intended to be a sidekick or henchman. By definition, a retainer is a character who trusts you enough to risk their life adventuring with you. The player will generally be able to control the retainer as if it were a second PC, except in rare cases where loyalty checks are required. It's a close personal relationship. Maybe we ought re-name "retainer" to be "henchman" to make this clear.
A retainer very well may own his own equipment, but there's an expectation that you're providing equipment because that's what you do for your sidekicks. [Analogy: Pharmaceutical sales reps own their own automobiles, but they still expect to get a company car as part of their job.] As GM, if the PC wanted to recruit only retainers who had their own gear, I'd probably impose a -2 penalty on recruitment.
A mercenary is simply a sellsword. He'll guard, garrison, and fight in wars, but he isn't a right-hand man. He may level up and become an experienced mercenary but he is still a mercenary.
You could certainly make a mercenary into a retainer down the road, yes. You'd avoid the challenge of having to find him, but you'd still need to roll to recruit him.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Continuing on from the above, the classic Keep on the Borderlands men-at-arms would, in ACKS terms, when hired by 1st level PCs, be Retainers. PCs with average Charisma could have up to 4 such men-at-arms each, more than sufficient for low-level adventuring.
Based on the feedback above, a few thoughts spring to mind:
1. Perhaps Retainers expect to be paid a wage AND a share of treasure.
2. Perhaps Retainers ought to come with equipment commensurate with their level as a default, and the character can gain a recruitment bonus if he offers equipment. This would be a major aid to low-level PCs.

Bargle
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:39

It would seem odd then that a dwarf PC could never lead a dwarf army into moria...or that in an outdoor adventure I can hire 20 3rd level fighters to attack a tribe of orcs, but only 4 will enter the castle/cave. Or that I can't take an army to menzoberranzan, because it's underground. How much does a 3rd level mercenary cost for example? Acks doesn't say. Does DoW? I can't hire a single retainer above 4th level, but btb I can hire an army of 6th level fighters if I've got the cash and as long as they don't have to fight in a castle or dungeon?

Charlatan
Adventurer Conqueror King ContributorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerDomains At War Contributor
Joined: 2011-08-08 15:20

Regarding those DoW rules, I think we should also bear in mind that:
1) The wages your army demands will change a great deal as the soldiers accrue levels, and
2) At some point, without a reasonable command structure in place, your leveled-up soldiery will no longer be interested in soldiering for wages
I don't think there needs to be codified rules for it, but the notion of level in ACKS doesn't really match up to the idea of an army of mid-level soldiers.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Bargle, I think you are, perhaps, asking me to hard-code things that should be left to the GM. Would 20 mercenaries be willing to assault an orc tribe of 150? Probably not. Would 2000 mercenaries be willing to assault Moria? Probably. Somewhere between "military campaign" and "adventure" a line gets crossed. But I don't know if that's something I should try to make into a fixed mechanic. Because where ever I draw the line it'll have an arbitrary element to it.
As far as leveled soldiers, where are all these leveled soldiers coming from? Btb you can't hire any soldiers except 0th level ones. The fact that the soldiers could, in theory, level, doesn't mean that they have, or will ever.
In 100+ sessions of play, we never got a single unit of soldiers to even 1st level despite fighting an entire civil war in the Auran Empire.

Bargle
Joined: 2011-07-21 00:39

I'm not trying to be a hard ass. It's just that I read different hard coded rules for mercenaries and retainers but can't figure out how they are different mechanically.
If an army can't really level up (as you are implying) why not just enable mercenaries to go from normal man, to elite (+1 to hp attack etc) and leave levels to heroes? As it stands you are creating verisimilitude based on not yet realized character decisions (I want to hire this guy, but if he's going to be my friend he won't have armor, if he's not he will...and will take less money).
In a class 6 city how are there 4 mercenaries and 4 retainers? All are 0 level yet by acks rules...im still not sure of the difference. Again, I'm not asking to hard code anything (I think) I just want a non "gamey" reason why a mercenary is deathly affraid of caves and a retainer isn't. Im just really confused by a separation of npcs with zero rules separating them other than mercenaries are immune to charismatic leadership.
I mean it's obvious that if i have 3 retainers and 1 mercenary that when the time comes to go into the dungeon and i offer the guy a share of the gold, instantly he becomes a retainer (of dubious loyalty? Or is loyalty automatic?). So im at a loss as to why there are different rules for this. I know what the 0d&d rules are and find them logical, but this section of acks leaves me at a loss as acks has stripped the only difference between henchmen and hireling from the game; levels.
In 0d&d I can only have 4 henchmen because henchmen had levels and are powerful (a black knight and 3 ogres perhaps) hirelings? 1000 goblins no problem, but only 4 heroic henchmen. In acks for some reason, im limited to 4 retainers of 0 level, but can hire 1000 other 0 level guys as well.
I want to understand ACKs system of retainers and mercenaries.

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

I want to advocate for having hirelings expect a share of the treasure, and for having them expect weregild/funeral expenses/disability insurance payouts. In my experience, the former leads to henchmen being mistreated in a way that's not fun and almost mandatory; the latter makes mistreating them an option that won't always come up at all.