Taking the ACKs to our roots

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sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39
Taking the ACKs to our roots
My gaming crew started our ACKs campaign last night after Acks-izing a setting I used in a late-80's Dragon Warriors campaign - I like the clarity tables such as 'spell availability by market type' brings. It's good having a framework to improvise from rather than just winging it wildly. The players used the character templates and we found the ACKS take on throws, AC, proficiencies etc. really easy to implement. Will use this thread to post any queries that come up. Nike
Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Sean, that's awesome! Please let us know how it goes.

Duskreign
Joined: 2011-08-10 17:22

Hope Sean doesn't mind me posting, but our ACKS (Venice circa 1490) campaign is exceedingly fun and has been a real hit. We've used hirelings, and hijinks (allowed at lower levels) and are about to get into our first mercantile adventure. These rules have added so much to the game - oh and the tampering with mortality chart has been a hit too!

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

'our ACKS (Venice circa 1490) campaign' - good idea for a versatile setting.
The 1st thing that struck me about our setting was that as the biggest human settlement is a town, the level of spell availability is low, so the PC casters have a good opportunity to stand out from the crowd - with all the consequences that brings - mwa ha hah

Duskreign
Joined: 2011-08-10 17:22

Sean,
I had some hesitation for the campaign as it is based almost entirely within cities, with the occasional foray into smaller locales. This gave the PCs access to a lot of things that smaller towns normally don't provide. But so far it has been a blast, and I have been able to properly balance the "extras" that the PCs have due to being within large cities with political intrigue that pits them on one side or another. It's been great fun.
The other beautiful thing about the campaign is the real world references I can pull from. Some are trivial, others much more meaningful. I've made use of famous people, dead famous people (next session the PCs will come across the grave of Marco Polo), and others. Did you know that the Roman and Italic fonts were created in Venice about this time? Yep, and that was something that obviously has little impact on the game but is a nice source of info for the setting.
I've also been able to use other inspirational sources as Assassins Creed which gives me some visual illustrations I can show players for NPCS.
For some reason, with all the material, the change from multiple gods to just one god, the historical material, and of course the fantastic ACKS system this has created the 'perfect storm' of a campaign so far. Everyone is thoroughly enjoying it!

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

Duskreign, sounds like a really great campaign! I hope that the mercantile system works well for you in managing Venetian merchant princes...

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

Imagine if the PCs found Dante's lost manuscript (Commune with Demons spell?) in some catacombs that some diabolist is after.
The human-centred setting we're using is the Orkney Islands (where half my family hail from) during the 10th Century before the forced imposition of Christianity by Olav I of Norway. These group of islands just north of Scotland were used as a raiding base by Vikings. We're not sticking closely to the history though. I see the Orkneys as disputed Isles, playing Scotland and Norway off against each other. The players rolled up 2 Fighters, a Cleric and a Bard, and have joined a longship's crew. Their aim is to get their own ship and make their fortune/gain great glory.
The fantastic comes in due to the lore of the islands concerning the un-human inhabitants of Orkney, such as the Trow (undead trolls) that only come out at night. In the Orkneys there is no night during summer - just a long twilight, whereas in winter there is 18 hours of darkness. We started the campaign in springtime, where the Trow are only ghostly in twilight, by winter they'll be a corporeal threat with full use of their powers. There are sea monsters all year round :)
When we first used this setting in the 80's we just used the island maps and had the PCs plundering burial mounds and battling Fin-Folk (Sea Devils off Doctor Who), with the Islands akin to Mos Eisley/Casablanca, with rival longships at dock. There were other lost islands dotted around that could only be accessed through making a pact with the Fin-Folk to be guided through the mists.

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

I'm not detailing it too much in case they decide to sail elsewhere at the first chance they get.

Duskreign
Joined: 2011-08-10 17:22

sean - Imagine if the PCs found Dante's lost manuscript (Commune with Demons spell?) in some catacombs that some diabolist is after.
I LIKE it!
I very much like the premise you have for your campaign. Particularly, the idea of the coming winter (with the extended dark hours) being a foreshadow of dire events to come. Sounds like a great campaign!

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

Both of these campaigns sound great.
I find it very interesting that they are both based on the real world, as compared to Generic Fantasy Worlds. It makes sense, of course, that those who enjoy real-world history would like ACKS!

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

Duskreign, how's the campaign going ?
We wrapped up ours a couple of weeks back, with none of the original characters left :)

Mr. Fox
Joined: 2011-12-05 15:13

@sean wills - I am one of Duskreign's players so I can tell you from "our" side of the Judge's screen how things are going.
In a word, fantastic. It has become my favorite campaign of all time, full stop. As a player I really have the sense that I am helping to create the world my character is inhabiting, not just following a story line. I'll let Duskreign point out some of the cooler plot highlights.
What I'm finding is that ACKS provides a good framework for the game, and just fades into the background while we play the game. D&D 4e, by contrast, seems to always be in focus as each and every situation and action has a mechanic that must be accounted for. Even simple roleplaying requires rolls (diplomacy, bluff, insight) right up to a full blown skill challenge. It seems much easier with ACKS to just let the story develop and make rolls only when needed.