Auran Empire Campaign Setting & Heroic Fantasy Handbook

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The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Auran Empire Campaign Setting & Heroic Fantasy Handbook


By now you will have had a chance to plumb the secrets of the Heroic Fantasy Handbook. The question I bring to you now is: Would you prefer to see the Auran Empire presented using ACKS Core, or ACKS Heroic Fantasy classes, spells, and rules?

In its earliest incarnation (pre-dating ACKS and using a heavily modified version of Runequest), the Auran Empire setting had a feel and flavor that was more akin to that presented in the Heroic Fantasy Handbook - the Tower of Knowledge was staffed by something more like Loremasters, the Temple of the Blade's bladedancers were akin to something more like Warmistresses, and so on. 

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts. 


koewn's picture
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Joined: 2012-07-17 20:11

As far as I'm concerned, the bulk of the HFH is now my default ruleset, so I wouldn't be at all dissapointed to find the AECS adopting it.

But, it's your world - you present it the best way you feel you should.

Joined: 2017-05-12 02:19

The Heroic Fantasy Handbook sounds more like an add-on to the ACKs core than the base of the system itself.  So having it use Heroic Fantasy would feel a little disjointed (and potentially required) given Auran Empire is presented as the default setting for ACKs core (as opposed to an addon to the core mechanics).

That said, minor notes could bridge the gap (provided word count allows), so for example they could be listed more as something like "the temple Bladedancers (Warmistresses) ..." or "The Tower of Knowledge's Mages (Loremasters) ..." when given class inclinations and maybe an appendix with the actual stats for either form (presuming stats are provided).  Though the reverse could work too.

I'm not really sure how the difference would impact spell variances for the gods between the two magic systems.

Either way I'd make do, so I guess it depends on which set of mechanics you really want to feel is the better default for the setting.

Aryxymaraki's picture
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This may be the least realistic option, but my gut instinct is to include both.

Perhaps the Tower of Knowledge is staffed by Loremasters, but Mages do still exist, while rare, for example. (As opposed to Nobiran Wizards, mages are normal humans with exceptional learning and talent. Perhaps the apprentices that flunk mage training become loremasters, which is a totally random thought.)

I do feel like the Auran Empire as a whole fits well into the HFH setting conceits, but I also feel like having a setting built around the HFH would significantly detract from its ability to be used for more standard D&D play, most notably in terms of the magic systems, which is why my gut inclination is some kind of compromise.

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Joined: 2012-02-22 22:34

I'd love to see it done for Heroic Fantasy and I think your preference is to make it a Heroic Fantasy product, but you would seriously cut down demand for the setting if you choose HC over Core, I'd think. It'd be nice as a stretch goal - a full chapter on it as Heroic Fantasy or a several page appendix.

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Joined: 2012-02-26 22:57

It's hard for me to give an opinion without seeing an example of how the setting would change, but I lean towards keeping it core for reasons others have already stated. Would it be difficult to have the setting incorporate both? For example, if death is meant to be final in the campaign setting, and reincarnate, restore life and limb, regenerate, and ressurection as written in core would ruin that concept, can you still have clerics but make those specific spells off limits or make them much more difficult to cast?

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Joined: 2013-10-07 06:44

I prefer core.

The main reason is I don't understand how ceremonialist casters can stand up to standard casters in combat, and I prefer a human-centered campaign. Maybe this is less of a problem when using eldritch spell lists because they are not as powerful in combat as core spells, I don't know.

Apart from that, I do like the feel of HFH. And I will buy it regardless.

Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

As much as I like the Heroic Fantasy Handbook, declaring that it's the ruleset used by Auran Empire campaign setting would be a big change. The Auran Empire is mentioned throughout the core rules, the Player's Companion, Lairs and Encounters, and Domains at War; a number of campaigns using the core rules already use the Auran Empire as their campaign setting; most existing examples of the non-HFH rules reference the Auran Empire campaign setting in some way... Suddenly saying "The Auran empire campaign setting actutally uses a bunch of different rules and assumptions to the ones you've seen it using previously" is kind of a big deal.

Now, if you were to repackage the Heroic Fantasy Handbook as "ACKS Second Edition," then I'd happily accept any changes you make to the rules and setting. But I'd probably keep playing first edition for most campaigns, because I'm a grognard and things were better in the old days...   :)

More seriously, you did mention somewhere (maybe in a comment on the kickstarter page) that you were considering making the campaign setting for Heroic Fantasy companion an earlier age of the Auran Empire campaign setting - and I'd be fine with that, too; A lot can change in a few centuries.

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Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

I'm inclined to agree with the majority here and prefer ACKs core as the default assumption.

Would it be possible for Heroic Fantasy to represent a period of time later or earlier in the timeline than the default assumption? perhaps magical knowledge continues to erode alongside civilization as the empire continues to decline, and people lose the secrets of casting magic without corruption or ceremony.  If ACKs is roughly mimicing the world circa 400AD, perhaps HF could be closer to "800" or "900AD".