Custom Classes and Class Tweaks

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Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36
Custom Classes and Class Tweaks

So, I probably won't be running ACKS for at least a couple years. But that gives me lots of time to do pre-campaign prep.

Working from ACKS Core and the Players' Companion, the only classes I'm not planning on using are the Nobiran, Ruinguard and Thrassian. At this stage, the PC Venturer is being replaced with the v3 Venturer.

Most classes will remain as printed, although I will need to replace Bribery wherever it appears in proficiency lists (I'm not remotely happy with it as a proficiency, rather than something you do).

Anyway, feel free to throw any feedback at me.

 

ELVEN RANGER

The biggest change I'm planning to an existing class is to up the Elven Ranger to Elf 1. I moved back and forward on this for some time. I like the class as written, and it certainly stands on it's own as perfectly playable, but I also like the idea of magic being something that all elves of consequence can do. I considered stealing the divine-based Ranger found here:

http://wanderinggamist.blogspot.com/2015/08/midnight-acks-elven-ranger.html

And I think that's an excellent class. However, in the end, I decided to leave all elves as Arcane.

This drops the max level to 12, increases base XP to 2,900. Quiet Casting was added to the proficieny list. Since I'm using the enhanced Arcane progressions, they end up with a decent spell selection at higher levels, so they're getting a decent extra punch for the  XP.

In calculating the new XP progression, I also noted that the existing Ranger appears to have an incorrect progression. They advance at 150,000 per level after level 8. However, as best I can tell, this should be 120k (Fighter) + 50k (Elf) = 170k. 

GNOMES

I like gnomes. They're a bit of dwarf and a bit of elf, tough little critters in a small package, with a fondness for nature. Some of them can be annoying pranksters, and some of them have small-man syndrome, but for the most part they're pleasant and reliable, just not to be messed with.

I've removed Infravision and replaced it with:

  • +2 to all saves
  • +1 to AC (increasing at 7th and 13th for classes limited to leather)
  • Sensititivy to Rock and Stone

Other than the racial change (and the improved Arcane progression that applies to all partial arcane classes), the Gnome Trickster remains as printed.

However, these guys need more than one class. Who patrols their vales and meadows? Who fights back kobolds in the deeps? Who marches to war?

Gnome Bulwark

While I see no need for the halfling class, I do like the idea of a short, tough, heavily armoured warrior packing a serious punch, ala the BX halfling. A plate-wearing, dual-warhammer-wielding, tough as nails gnome titan NPC from an old Hackmaster game also played into my thoughts on this class. I think the bulwark is different enough from the vaultguard to justify his existence as a PC Option.

I've seen a general preference on these boards for gnomes to stick to lighter fighter archetypes. This guy isn't for those poeple.

  • Fighting 2, HD 1, Thief 1, Gnome 0
  • Max Level: 13
  • Prime Req: CON
  • Required: INT 9
  • Base XP 1,950
  • Armour: Any
  • Weapons: Any other than  long bows and melee weapons designed exclusively for two-handed use
  • Fighting Styles: Any

Gnome Bulwarks are excellent marksmen. They gain a +1 to hit with crossbows and arbalests. When using a crossbow, they are limited to a maximum of three cleaves, instead of the usual limit of two (as much as anything, this is nod to the BX halfling, but seems to be in keeping with the ACKS assumption that gnomes like crossbows).

Bulwarks are amongs the most selfless and courageous of all gnomes, willing to stand face-to-face with nearly any foe if necessary to defend their brethren. They are unaffected by all magical and natural fear effects.

Third Ability: I had Speak with Animals pencilled in here, but I've decided that's boring. I'm undecided on what I'm going to replace it with. One possiblity is a +1 to hit vs goblins and kobolds, plus some additional 1/2 point (or weak 1 point) benefit.

And all basic Gnome abilities, of course.

Proficiences: Alertness, Ambushing, Berserkergang, Beast Friendship, Blind Fighting, Caving, Combat Trickery (Disarm, Incapacitate), Command, Craft, Endurance, Fighting Style, Gambling, Goblin-Slaying, Land Surveying, Leadership, Mapping, Manual of Arms, Military Strategy, Mountaineering, Navigation, Passing Without Trace, Precise Shooting, Seige Engineering, Skirmishing, Sniping, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus

 

Gnomish Warden

However, I have no problem with less in-your-face, brute force gnomes. The warden is the gnomish equivalent to the Ranger. Deeply attuned to nature, with access to natural magics as a result.

  • Fighting 1b, HD 1, Thief 1, Cleric 1, Gnome 2
  • Max Level: 11
  • Prime Req: CON and WIS
  • Required: INT 9
  • Base XP 2,525
  • Armour: Leather
  • Weapons: Any one-handed weapon, any ranged weapon other than longbow.
  • Fighting styles: Weapon and shield, weapon in each hand.

I'm giving them Difficult to Spot, Tracking and Ambushing and Naturalism (Three skills from Thief 1, plus trading in turn undead).

The clerical spell list is being stolen from the divine elven ranger linked earlier.

1: Cure Light Wounds, Delay Disease, Pass Without Trace*, Predict Weather, Salving Rest
2: Augury, Chameleon, Charm Animal, Delay Poison, Silent Step
3: Cure Disease, Eyes of the Eagle, Glyph of Warding, Locate Object, Remove Curse
4: Cure Serious Wounds, Divination, Neutralize Poison, Speak with Plants, Summon Animals

*Pass Without Trace will probably need to be swapped out with something else, as it's duplicating the passless tracing proficiency.

Proficiencies: Alertness, Beast Friendship, Blind Fighting, Caving, Combat Reflexes, Combat Trickery (Disarm, Incapacitate), Craft, Endurance, Eavesdropping, Fighting Style, Gambling, Goblin-Slaying, Healing, Land-Surveying, Mapping, Mimicry, Quiet Magic, Mountaineering, Navigation, Passing Without Trace, Precise Shooting, Running, Sensing Power, Skirmishing, Sniping, Survival, Swashbuckling, Trapping, Weapon Finesse, Weapon Focus.

Passable fighting and HD, plenty of gnomish racial powers, a pretty decent Arcane progression and some clerical spells down the road. All for a pretty cheap XP value.

Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

Ok, here are my semi-final Gnome Warden and Gnome Bulwark prettified and pdfed:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Jv-fgAdqKVvj2PS3PEatZCk2LP6j97w/view?u...

Changes from first post:

Bulwark

Ended up going with Detect Traps as the final special ability. Removed Ambush and Sniping from proficiency list, tinkered a litle with some other proficiencies. For anyone wondering, the Vallatorian/Vallator titles are invented words, derived from vallation, an archaic term for rampart.

Warden

Naturalism was replaced with Friend of Bird and Beast. The +1 to reaction rolls (instead of +2) is based on my houserule that all proficiencies adjusting reaction rolls only give +1.Tinkered with proficiencies, adjusted the spell list a little.

golan2072
Patreon SupporterBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu AuthorPlayer's Companion BackerDwimmermount BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

I like that! I find gnomes more palatable than halflings. Halflings seem to me to be very Tolkien-specific and out of place in sword & sorcery-inspired settings. Gnomes, on the other hand, are mainstays of European folklore.

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

Since you're using the alternate progression for Arcane, have you considered also an alternate progression for the Divine spells of the Gnome Warden?

The Axioms 7 article gives enough formulas to calculate one.

Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

I gave some thought to adjusting the clerical progression, using the arcane adjustments as a guideline (basically, using the arcane effective caster level, and then just plugging in the appropriate spells per level based on that). It ended up giving them quite a few spells in total, and I wasn't sure whether or not it was actually necessary.

However, the limited selection of five divine spells of each level puts some pretty hefty constraints on their power, so I might go take a look at the Axioms you mention and crunch the numbers and see what results I get.

Edit: Ah, that's the same Axioms where altered arcane progressions are found, so you're talking about reverse engineering the spell values from the tables and going from there. I thought you were pointing me towards some precalculated values for divine spells. I will give the matter further thought, regardless.

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

Autarch haven't provided pre-calculated values for anything other than Arcane, but since this is the house-rules forum, I'll provide you the table I calculated myself, using their guidelines.

1 2 3 4 5 lvl

- - - - - 0

1 - - - - 2

1 - - - - 2

2 - - - - 3

2 - - - - 3

2 2 - - - 5

2 2 1 - - 5

2 2 1 1 - 6

2 2 1 1 1 6

3 2 2 1 1 7

3 2 2 2 1 7

3 3 2 2 1 8

3 3 3 2 1 8

3 3 3 2 2 9

This is calculated purely on the maths, while the Axioms 7 Arcane tables have had some manual tweaking.

For example, it's a rounding artefact to get a spell at level 2, if that rounded down, that wouldn't happen until level level 3.

Similarly, getting the first level 3 spell at caster level 5, and first level 5 spell at caster level 6 is a case where the caster level has rounded down, and the spell allocation has rounded up. If you want to preserve the "minimum caster level to obtain spells of a level" that is built-in to the magic item creation system you could tweak that. (The Axioms 7 tables already break that convention).

If you want to know the details of how this was derived, that's another whole post on it's own.'

if you used this, your Gnome would get level 5 spells, so would need 5 of those added to the class spell-list.

An un-related question - when your Gnome classes reach level 9, what types of strongholds can they build?

Aryxymaraki
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For example, it's a rounding artefact to get a spell at level 2, if that rounded down, that wouldn't happen until level level 3.

Similarly, getting the first level 3 spell at caster level 5, and first level 5 spell at caster level 6 is a case where the caster level has rounded down, and the spell allocation has rounded up. If you want to preserve the "minimum caster level to obtain spells of a level" that is built-in to the magic item creation system you could tweak that. (The Axioms 7 tables already break that convention).


-Clusterking

I'm going to come back to this later and check, but if I recall correctly, that was due to a typo in the Arcane 2 values.

Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

There's definitely an error or two in the Axioms tables (certain levels where a lower arcane value gives objectively superior outcomes), which I manually tweaked. As I recall, shifting new spell levels to odd numbered caster levels as normal was the major step in correcting that.

I had another look at basing divine 1 on the same level advancement as Arcane 2, and it actually passes the eye test (eg, divine 1 gets a single third and fourth at the same point at which divine 2 has two of each, which is a fair example of "half as powerful" ).

Gnome vaults for both gnomes.

GMJoe
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Joined: 2013-01-04 12:56

1 2 3 4 5 lvl

- - - - - 0

1 - - - - 2

1 - - - - 2

2 - - - - 3

2 - - - - 3

2 2 - - - 5

2 2 1 - - 5

2 2 1 1 - 6

2 2 1 1 1 6

3 2 2 1 1 7

3 2 2 2 1 7

3 3 2 2 1 8

3 3 3 2 1 8

3 3 3 2 2 9


-Clusterking

I'm confused by the levels column in this table. It seems to show some levels twice, and other levels not at all?

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

 

1 2 3 4 5 lvl

 

- - - - - 0

1 - - - - 2

1 - - - - 2

2 - - - - 3

2 - - - - 3

2 2 - - - 5

2 2 1 - - 5

2 2 1 1 - 6

2 2 1 1 1 6

3 2 2 1 1 7

3 2 2 2 1 7

3 3 2 2 1 8

3 3 3 2 1 8

3 3 3 2 2 9


-Clusterking

 

I'm confused by the levels column in this table. It seems to show some levels twice, and other levels not at all?


-GMJoe

That's the caster level, since it's non-uniform for alternate progressions. Each line is a class level from 1 to 14, which could have been included as a column on the left.

Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

Interesting. Just using the Arcane 2 level progression and then using the spells per day for a cleric of that level isn't greatly disimilar. It starts a little slower, finishes a little more powerful.

Level Spell Level Caster
Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 - - - - - 0
2 - - - - - 1
3 1 - - - - 2
4 1 - - - - 2
5 2 - - - - 3
6 2 1 - - - 4
7 2 2 - - - 5
8 2 2 1 1 - 6
9 2 2 2 1 1 7
10 3 3 2 2 1 8
11 3 3 2 2 1 8
12 3 3 3 2 2 9
13 3 3 3 2 2 9
14 4 4 3 3 2 10
Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

Interesting. Just using the Arcane 2 level progression and then using the spells per day for a cleric of that level isn't greatly disimilar. It starts a little slower, finishes a little more powerful.

Level Spell Level Caster
Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1 - - - - - 0
2 - - - - - 1
3 1 - - - - 2
4 1 - - - - 2
5 2 - - - - 3
6 2 1 - - - 4
7 2 2 - - - 5
8 2 2 1 1 - 6
9 2 2 2 1 1 7
10 3 3 2 2 1 8
11 3 3 2 2 1 8
12 3 3 3 2 2 9
13 3 3 3 2 2 9
14 4 4 3 3 2 10


-Sable Wyvern

Level 7 is under-powered, but that can't be helped since the level above that, gains both level 3 and 4 spells that can't be gained earlier.

Level 10 is over-powered, and duplicates level 11, since they are both caster level 8.

You could fix that by level-smoothing level 10. Delay gaining either the level 1, 2 or 4 spell until level 11 to interpolate between 9 and 11.

Level 12 similar problem and fix to level 10, but doesn't matter for the Gnomish Warden.

Aryxymaraki
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Found my spreadsheet.  The correct Arcane 2 revised values for levels 8-14 are this.  Levels 1-7 are correct in Axioms; I made a typo while transcribing from spreadsheet to document and we didn't catch it in time.

https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/427979095436034048/562102897803...

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06

Found my spreadsheet.  The correct Arcane 2 revised values for levels 8-14 are this.  Levels 1-7 are correct in Axioms; I made a typo while transcribing from spreadsheet to document and we didn't catch it in time.

https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/427979095436034048/562102897803...


-Aryxymaraki

Quite a missed opportunity when Axioms 1-8 were republished later as the Axioms Compendium; with all the errors intact.

Is there some ACKS formal error-reporting system to correct for reprints or digital copies?

Chimera_Prime
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Joined: 2018-04-10 02:50

Thanks for posting the gnome classes, they look really good. Having also used gnomes in my game I found they are quite popular with players. I too like that they are part way between the two mainstays and yet somehow come out very dirrerent.

Clusterking
Clusterking's picture
Joined: 2018-01-14 21:06
Divine 1 alternate
Level 1 2 3 4 5 Cst lvl
1 - - - - - 0
2 1 - - - - 2
3 1 - - - - 2
4 2 - - - - 3
5 2 - - - - 3
6 2 2 - - - 5
7 2 2 - - - 5
8 2 2 1 1 6
9 2 2 1 1 6
10 3 2 2 1 1 7
11 3 2 2 2 1 7
12 3 3 2 2 1 8
13 3 3 3 2 1 8
14 3 3 3 2 2 9

Another go, this one without the early caster-levels for the first spell of each level.

It tracks pretty closely to the Spell-point budget, except the levels before the first 3rd and 4th spells, for reasons mentioned previously.

Getting that first spell at level 2 is the same as Divine 2, so doesn't seem like half power. But Axioms 1 said for 1/2 level to round .5 up for all but level 1, and this is level 2.

That could be hand-tweaked to have caster level 1 for level 2, and similarly caster level 4 for level 5 - removes those caster-level jumps.

Aryxymaraki
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Quite a missed opportunity when Axioms 1-8 were republished later as the Axioms Compendium; with all the errors intact.


-Clusterking

I'll take full responsibility for the missed opportunity, because honestly, I had forgotten that the error existed when the Compendium was being assembled, so I didn't remind or ask anyone to include the correct numbers.

Chimera_Prime
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2018-04-10 02:50

I created some half divine (divine 1) options for one of my class builds.

My spreadsheet is here, I used option 3 in the sheet as I didn't want divine 1 to have access to level 5 spells.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fqiWSFyB6shZ1REk4sRuBEQuVc_0mY2CgCJwsSioLhY

I used it for this class here:

https://shatteredvale.blogspot.com/2019/10/bronze-chevalier.html?m=0

 

Chimera_Prime
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu ContributorACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Contributor
Joined: 2018-04-10 02:50

I created some half divine (divine 1) options for one of my class builds.

My spreadsheet is here, I used option 3 in the sheet as I didn't want divine 1 to have access to level 5 spells.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fqiWSFyB6shZ1REk4sRuBEQuVc_0mY2CgCJwsSioLhY

I used it for this class here:

https://shatteredvale.blogspot.com/2019/10/bronze-chevalier.html?m=0

 

Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

Thanks to a range of input, I've adjusted the Divine progression and updated the pdf link above with a new version.

The progression I ended up going with is:

Level Spell Level Caster
Level
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1           0
2           0
3 1         1
4 1         2
5 2         3
6 2 2       4
7 2 2 1     5
8 2 2 1 1   6
9 2 2 1 1 1 7
10 3 2 2 1 1 8
11 3 2 2 2 1 8
12 3 3 3 2 1 9
13 4 3 3 2 1 9
14 4 4 3 3 1 10
Sable Wyvern
Joined: 2019-10-21 23:36

Because templates are awesome, here are some for my gnomes:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1I_04Zy-uXa2aalLK-xorfCIBXVnPKtQ-/view?u...