Barbarian Conqueror King (Dinosaurs & Sorcery ACKS)

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golan2072
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Barbarian Conqueror King (Dinosaurs & Sorcery ACKS)

I ahve too many ideas running around my mind. Of course, I am still sticking to ACKS: Dark Project. But Would teh following work well with ACKS?

I have a rough setting idea in mind - a wet, tropical sword and sorcery setting with a strong focus on reptiles (dinosaurs, lizardmen, yuan-ti), insects, cthulhu-type "Outer Gods", city-states, a lot of abberations and less "typical" D&D-fantasy tropes (no Elves and Dwarves - just Men, Lizard-Men, Deep Ones and their kin and Serpent-Men-Blooded Men). Maybe some technology. Maybe aliens and high technology.

Dinosaurs and their kin (as well as insects) replace mammals (except for humans, that is) both as wild beasts and domesticated enemies. Dinosaur Riders! Triceratops egg omletes! Random encounter with a T-Rex!

Maybe even Men came millennia ago in a colony starship, crashed and lost most of their technology and forced into medieval barbarity by the crash-landing.

Think Carcosa but with more orthodox magic (and D&D-type magic items), a bit more hope, a bit less weirdness, somewhat less randomness - and more urban (city-states rather than villages) and technologically advanced.

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

I love this idea! I converted elements of Carcosa over to ACKS for use during a foray to the moon in our long-running Auran Empire campaign (long story...)

You could create custom races, custom classes, and custom spells for the setting using the Player's Companion rules. To play up the "wierdness" of magic, you could require that *all* magic research be experimentation, so that mages inevitably begin to acquire weird mutations, strange signatures, and so on.

Tavis
Joined: 2011-07-01 15:40

I think dinosaurs make a great opponent in ACKS - being stupid means they can be outwitted by smart Adventurers who have an old-school relationship of trust with a Judge flexible enough to make rulings based on the imagined situation, and being huge piles of hit dice means they can challenge Kings. Wizards riding charmed dinosaurs are a fearsome foe, perhaps best handled by ruining your own dinosaur-ranching economy by sending the herds stampeding at the enemy...

There's been a lot of discussion in the OSR about the awesomeness of dinosaurs in the B/X legacy. The first links that come to mind:

- about situational rulings, http://rolesrules.blogspot.com/2013/01/boring-combat-4-how-boring-are-hi...

- house rules for climbing up dinosaurs to stab them in the eye, http://rolesrules.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/the-climbing-on-bandwagon.html

golan2072
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OK, ACKS it is! A side-project between ACKS: The Dark Project hijinks...

golan2072
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Let's look at the ACKS monster list and see what fits here:

Ankheg
Ant, Giant
Basilisk
Bee, Giant Killer
Beetle, Giant
Black Pudding
Caecilian
Caracass Scavenger
Centipede, Giant
Crab, Giant
Crocodile
Doppleganger (note sure it'll fit well)
Dragon Turtle
Elemental
Fish, Giant
Fly, Giant Carnivorous
Gelatinous Cube
Ghoul
Golem (especially Flesh)
Gray Ooze
Green Slime
Herd Animals (representing small to medium dinosaurs)
Invisible Stalker
Leech, Giant
Lizardman
Lizard, Giant
Locust, Cavern
Men
Morlock
Mummy (usually of a Lizardman)
Ochre Jelly
Octopus, Giant
Pterodactyl (needs house-rules for riding)
Purple Worm
Remorhaz
Rhagodessa, Giant
Rot Grub
Rust Monster (maybe?)
Scorpion, Giant
Sea Serpent
Shadow
Shark
Shrieker
Skeleton
Skittering Maw
Snake
Spectre (usually representing powerful spirits summoned by Lizardman Shamans)
Spider, Giant
Squid, Giant
Statue, Animated
Stegosaurus (might need a slight deflation of HD)
Stirge
Swarm (Insect or small reptile - maybe even a snake swarm?)
Toad, Giant
Triceratops (possibly trainable as a massive draft animal)
Tyrannosaurus Rex (needs a significant HD deflation, way too many HD for an animal of it size; most whales have less HD)
Wraith (another spirit for Lizardman Shamans to summon)
Yellow Mold
Zombie

Let's look at the D20 SRD (http://www.d20srd.org/) monster list and see what fits here:

Aboleth and Aboleth Mage
Allip (another spirit for Lizardman Shamans to summon)
Aranea
Assassin Vine
Behir
Chaos Beast (isn't that a Shoggoth?)
Choker
Chuul
Cloaker
Couatl (now THAT's what high-level Lizardman Shamans summon)
Darkmantle
Destrachan
Digester
Dinosaur, Deinonychus
Dinosaur, Elasmosaurus
Dinosaur, Megaraptor
Ethereal Filcher
Ethereal Marauder
Ettercap
Formian
Frost Worm
Fungus, Violet Fungus
Gibbering Mouther (another Shoggoth candidate!)
Grick
Homunculus (needs house-rules for creation)
Kraken
Mimic (actually a cursed chest)
Mohrg
Mummy Lord
Naga
Otyugh
Phantom Fungus
Phase Spider
Phasm (Shoggoth?)
Roper
Shadow, Greater
Shambling Mound
Shield Guardian (reskinned into Security Robot)
Shocker Lizard
Skum
Spider Eater
Tendriculos
(i)Thoqqua
Yrthak
Lizard, Monitor

Monsters that need adding as house-rules:

Alamosaurus
Ankylosaurus
Avatar of K'tulu
Cacodemon
Carnotaurus (possibly ridable)
Charonosaurus
Dagon
Dark Young
Deep Ones
Edmontosaurus (probably ridable)
Frog, Giant
Lizard, Komodo Dragon
Lizard, Megalania
Lizard, Mosasaurus
Lizard Brute (think of a a dim-witted Lizardman the size of an ogre or hill-giant)
Lizard Brute, Greater (regenerates like a Troll)
Magyarosaurus (possibly ridable)
Plant, Carnivorous
Plesiosaurs
Pyroraptor (maybe a replacement for rats?)
Serpentman, Hybrid
Serpentman, Degenerate
Serpentman, Undead Sorceror
Servitour of K'Tulu
Shoggoth
Toadmen
Torosaurus (possibly trainable as a draft animal and/or raised for meat and eggs)
Troodon (SMART! maybe a common pet and/or guard animal)
Wasp, Giant, Parasitic

golan2072
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A few more monsters to the houserule list:

Brain Lasher
Cockroach, Balroach (even bigger than a Giant Cockroach)
Cockroach, Giant
Ghast
Mi-Go

golan2072
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I'm not sure about how the campaign area would look; on one hand, dinosaurs go well with warm, shallow seas and tropical islands, on the other hand they go well with a Pangaea. I'm thinking of a compromise of a huge landmass occupying two thirds of the campaign map and an island-ridden shallow sea occupying the other third...

golan2072
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This is what I was told about this on the Dragonsfoot forums:

"On another note, ACKS is great but I think you should be careful with it when it comes to numbers. My impression is that it's really based on a strong, specific assumption that the campaign world is more or less your Ye Standarde D&De Olde Worlde with a generally medieval technology and social level and with a single barrel of ale costing a gold coin (or whatever the case may be, you're familiar with the Solid Gold Bedrock 3' Under trope).

If you're trying to do a sword& sorcery world where man is trying to carve out a narrow niche in a primeval universe of swamps and dinosaurs, many of those numbers and assumptions might no longer make sense. Items might only be available in much larger population centres than indicated in ACKS, if at all. Prices, incomes and everything built on those would probably be also very different. And, in fact, I'm not quite sure if the basic assumption of a feudal society is applicable."

http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=59729&p=1325710#p...

What do you think about that?

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

Here's my thoughts:

1. The commenter is correct that ACKS is based on assumptions of labor productivity, food price, and so on, that are based in the historical pre-industrial world. To the extent that a campaign setting widely varies from the historical pre-industrial world, ACKS needs to be modified.

2. Whether you use ACKS or another system, if you want the trade/realm type rules we offer, you will have to answer basic questions like "how much money does a peasant earn" "what items are available in a city" and "how much does a horse cost". f you want the setting to be coherent, you have to make assumptions and build from them. The virtue of starting with ACKS is that you are starting from a functioning set of assumptions and can tweak them. If you start with other systems, they are generally less coherent.

3. The problem with "An Echo Resounding" lies at the interface between its realm mechanics and the underlying game's mechanics. For instance, if you find a dragon hoard, and want to convert that into "+4 Wealth" the system doesn't provide a clear interface to do so. It's left to the Judge to decide. The reason ACKS is built on a hardcore set of assumptions is specifically to be able to answer questions like "how much is a dragon's hoard worth relative to the income of the local duke". 

4. The assumptions in ACKS are probably more robust than the commenter suggests. If your standard is the rate of change of the modern era, the most surprising thing about human history 10,000 BC - to 1400 AD is how slow the progress of technology is. ACKS can model 1000 BC, 0 BC, and 1000 AD with respectable efficacy. As long as your "Dark Sun"-ish world is closer to a pre-industrial world, ACKS will work well. I think ACKS would have more trouble with, e.g. Eberron. 

 

Thomas Weigel
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Joined: 2012-06-20 11:57

ACKS has an economy which is self-consistent and scalable to different levels. You can skin that however you want, if your goal is to have an interesting end-game that mixes well with the early-game.

ACKS also puts a number of the initial assumptions under your complete control. For example:

Athas: multiply the cost of metal goods by x100, and use the centralized settlement pattern (2 rows) on p. 231. This—without any further work by you!—makes certain items harder to get in smaller towns, and produces large city-states while stripping urban population from the more difficult to sustain villages and towns.

Can you make it more complicated? Yes, but you don't need to, if your goal is a plausible and flavorful setting with a fun end-game to match the early- and mid-games.

The post arguing against ACKS seems to imply that you ought to run a proper and correct economic simulation—for a setting for which there is no historical antecedent!—or give up. I think that's ridiculous.

(I also think that An Echo solves the "some GM calls required" problem by saying, "Okay, now everything is a GM call, but we've made things simple and bland so the GM calls are easier to make.")

jedavis
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Hmmm... I've been tossing around the idea of converting the Wilderlands of High Fantasy (OD&D version) to ACKS, and the centralized settlement pattern is just the right tool, methinks.

golan2072
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Thanks for the input - I'm sticking with ACKS!

My setting has a lot in common with the Mesopotamian (or Levantine) city-states of the Ancient World, as well as the Mesoamerican city-states (especially when Lizardmen are concerned. If ACKS can model these, it can model my setting well enough.

Think Athas with jungles and swamps instead of deserts and with more common metals.

golan2072
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Talked this over with my fiancée. Turns out she bought my sales pitch and wants to play this kind of weird sword and sorcery now, and ACKS: Dark Project later!

And out first game is set to our anniversary, geeky couple that we are. So I have to have the basic campaign stuff, adventure and miniatures ready before March the 22nd!

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

That's awesome! Does she have a character rolled up?
 

golan2072
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Not yet, she's still thinking about what to play, I'll give her the ACKS book and the Companion to thumb through today :)

golan2072
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I'm thinking about using the ancient Levant, Egypt and Mesopotamia as inspiration to the Human city-states of this setting (while the more civilizaed of the Lizardmen will have Mesoamerican inspiration). This does fit very well with sword and sorcery. Both sword&sandal and sword&sorcery go hand-in-hand with this ancient world of city-states, commerce, vengeful gods and towering ziggurats.

This setting's equivalent of ACKS' Zahar would be an Egyptian-style kingdom with pyramids, undead and huge opulence coupled with enormous stagnation. Now all that remains of them are tombs to loot, guarded by undead!

The setting's history goes roughly like this:

First were the Serpentmen, who worshipped terrible Cthonic gods. They made the Lizardmen as slaves by crossing their own blood with that of giant lizards. Then the Lizardmen, led by a messiah of a new, Lawful goddess, rebelled, smashed their old rulers, and built a sprawling civilization in the tropical south.

But then came Men, from across the sky, and their arrival upon a shooting star shattered the Lizardmen Empire. Men also arrived in bad shape, and, at first, regressed to savage nomadism, sometimes used as slaves or mercenaries by the Lizardmen city-states which rose after of the Great Cataclysm. But some Lizardmen and many men, without the guidance of the old Lizard Empire's Matriarch, turned back to the Serpentmen's dead gods, and their bloody rituals.

Out of the chaos then rose the great Empire of Man, upon the River of the Desert, worshipping Chaotic gods from beyond the grave and investing their resources in their immortal dead kings much more than in their living subjects. But the empire, after a millennium, eventually stagnated and fell back into barbarism, leaving behind ruined temple-yards and ancient tombs filled with gold and peril.

Finally, in the more temperate North, beyond the Great Desert and its River, tribes once subjugated by the Empire of Man won their freedom, establishing their city-states. Some worship the Lawful gods of Man, while others pay homage to the blood-soaked idols of the long-dead Lizardmen.

golan2072
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Let's start naming stuff:

Human name for the Lizardman tropical region (south third of the map): Punt
Old Human empire: Sakkara
Human City-States: Irem (in the desert), Yimara, Khishron, Zarnas (only remaining city in Sakkara)
Lizardman City-States: Cibola (Human name for the richest city), Tollan (ruined old capital), City of the Sunken Moon (Chaotic! Beware), City of the Crescent Sun

Lawful Gods:
Anat: Goddess of Love and War (followed by Blade-Dancers)
Ashera: Mother Goddess; Goddess of Nature, Birth and Fertility
Eshmun: God of Medicine, Herbs and Healing
Hadad: God of Rains, Storms, Lightning and Agriculture
Ixchala: Lizardman quasi-monotheistic goddess of birth, death and rebirth
Khasis: God of Craftmen
Nikkal: Goddess of Agriculture
Shalim: God of Dawn and Dusk
Shapashu: Sun Goddess
Yam: God of Seas and Rivers
Yarkhibol: Moon God

Neutral Gods:
Mawat: God of Death

Chtonic Gods:
Atlach-Nacha: Chaotic God of Spiders
Bokrug: Chaotic god of Lizards
Cthugha AKA Moloch: Chaotic god of Fire; Lizardmen call him Xiutecutli
Dagon: Chaotic god of Fish and Fish-Men
Hastur: Chaotic god of Sorcery
K'tulu: Chaotic god of Oceans and Rains; Lizardmen call him Kutlaloc
Shubbniggurath: Chaotic Fertility/Nature goddess; Lizardmen call her Tocia
Yig: Chaotic Father of Serpents; chief god of the Serpentmen; Lizardmen call him Mexcoatl
Yogsothoth: Chaotic god of Knowledge; Lizardmen call him Xolotal

golan2072
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History in four paragraphs:

First were the Serpentmen, who worshipped terrible Cthonic gods. Their empire was forged in eons before the dawn of history and lasted for millennia. In search for slaves, they bred themselves with giant lizards to produce the hardy Lizardmen, and, for ages, lorded over the Lizardmen masses while constantly honing their blasphemous sorcery. But then, millennia before our time, the great goddess Ixchala revealed herself to a Lizardwoman known only as the Prophetess. With her Lawful divine inspiration, the Prophetess roused the Lizardmen masses in rebellion, shattering their chains of old and overthrowing their masters into oblivion. Freedom was won; and the great Lizard Empire arouse in the jungles, with the Matriarch ruling it with an iron fist from the top of the Great Pyramid in fabled Tollan.

But then came Men, from across the sky, and their arrival upon a shooting star shattered the Lizard Empire. Men also arrived in disarray, and, at first, regressed to savage nomadism, sometimes used as slaves or mercenaries by the Lizardmen city-states which arose from the ashes of the Great Cataclysm. But some Lizardmen and many men, without the guidance of the old Lizard Empire's Matriarch, turned back to the dead gods of the Serpentmen, and their bloody rituals.

Out of the chaos then rose Sakkara, the great Empire of Man. It grew upon the River of the Desert, worshipping Chaotic gods from beyond the grave and investing their resources in their immortal dead kings much more than in their living subjects. But even great Sakkara, after three thousand years, eventually stagnated and fell back into barbarism, leaving behind ruined temple-yards and ancient tombs filled with gold and peril, as well as the dying city of Zarnas, where the immortal Last Pharaoh rules, in name only, over his ruined empire.

When Sakkara fell, its former vassals to the North, beyond the Great Desert and its River, won their freedom, establishing the new City-States, a mere shadow of Sakkara's old glory. Some worship the Lawful Gods of Man, while others pay homage to the blood-soaked idols of the long-dead Serpentmen. Meanwhile, the ancient Lizardmen Cities of the tropical South squabble and scheme, some worshipping the Lawful Ixchala, others following the dark Cthonic path of the Serpentmen gods of old.

golan2072
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Updated List:

Lawful Human Gods:
Anat: Goddess of Love and War* (followed by Blade-Dancers)
Ashera: Mother Goddess; Goddess of Nature, Birth and Fertility; El-Elyon's consort
El-Elyon: Father of the Gods; God of Mankind and Civilization; Ashera's husband
Eshmun: God of Medicine, Herbs and Healing
Hadad: God of Rains, Storms, Lightning and Agriculture
Ishtar: Goddess of Love
Khasis: God of Craftmen
Nikkal: Goddess of Agriculture
Shalim: God of Dawn and Dusk
Shapashu: Sun Goddess
Yarkhibol: Moon God

Lawful Lizardman Goddess:
Ixchala: Lizardman quasi-monotheistic goddess of lizards, dinosaurs, birth, death and rebirth

Neutral Gods:
Mawat: God of Death and Judgement
Yam: God of Seas and Rivers; also God of Judges

Chtonic Gods:
Atlach-Nacha: Chaotic God of Spiders
Bokrug: Chaotic god of Lizards
Moloch AKA Cthugha: Chaotic god of Fire and Wealth; Lizardmen call him Xiutecutli
Dagon: Chaotic god of Fish and Fish-Men
Hastur: Chaotic god of Sorcery and Undeath
Rahab AKA K'tulu: Chaotic god of Oceans and Rains; Lizardmen call him Kutlaloc
Shubbniggurath: Chaotic Fertility/Nature goddess; Lizardmen call her Tocia
Yig: Chaotic Father of Serpents; chief god of the Serpentmen; Lizardmen call him Mexcoatl
Yogsothoth: Chaotic god of Knowledge; Lizardmen call him Xolotal

golan2072
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Some initial thoughts on classes in this setting:

Allowed Classes:
Anti-Paladin
Assassin
Barbarian
Bard
Bladedancer (follows Anat)
Explorer
Cleric
Fighter
Lizardman Gladiator (AKA Thrassian Gladiator)
Mage
Mystic
Paladin
Priestess
Sakkaran Ruinguard (AKA Zaharan Ruinguard BUt with an Egyptian flavour)
Shaman
Thief
Venturer
Warlock
Witch

Disallowed Classes:
Dwarven Craftpriest (no Dwarves in this setting)
Dwarven Delver (no Dwarves in this setting)
Dwarven Fury (no Dwarves in this setting)
Dwarven Machinist (no Dwarves in this setting)
Dwarven Vaultguard (no Dwarves in this setting)
Elven Courtier (no Elves in this setting)
Elven Enchanter (no Elves in this setting)
Elven Nightblade (no Elves in this setting)
Elven Ranger (no Elves in this setting)
Elven Spellsword (no Elves in this setting)
Gnomish Trickster (no Gnomes in this setting)
Nobiran Wonderworker (no Nobirans in this setting)

New Classes:
Lizardman Hunter
Lizardman Priest
Lizardman Warrior
Lizardman Witch-Doctor

golan2072
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Here is my blog post about Lizardmen in this setting:
http://spacecockroach.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/lizardmen-in-barbarian-conq...

golan2072
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Areas on the map:
Enyom (rocky badlands to the northwest)
Punt (fertile Lizardman lands in the south)
Mala (jungles southeast of the Lizardman lands)
Kanahu (civilized Human lands in the north)
Sakkara (dead desert empire in the middle)
Queddar (deeper desert away from the Desert River)

Languages:
Kinhan, spoken in Kanahu, uses the Lower Sakkaran alphabet
Common Sakkaran, still spoken in Sakkara, has alphabetic writing
Ancient Sakkaran, used by necromancers and Sakkaran nobles, uses hiroglyphs
Queddari, spoken by nomads on Queddar, uses the Lower Sakkaran alphabet
Lizardman, spoken in Punt and by most Lizardmen, uses pictographs
Serpentine, once used by the Serpentmen and now rare, uses pictographs
Chaos-Tongue, used by various Beastmen & cultists, has no written equivalent

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

This setting sounds awesome! I love sword and sorcery. I love humanocentric settings with hideous ancient races and lost technology. You also clearly draw inspiration from the Mesapotamian myths I do.

 

 

golan2072
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Thanks!

The specific myth I draw upon is the Levantine myth - which is related to the Mesopotamian myth, of course.

Oh, and Sakkara, this setting equivalent of Zahar, is Egyptian-inspired - complete with an obssession with death and afterlife (and undeath) and a lot of tombs to loot (with undead guardians and traps).

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

Given that your setting is based on Levantine myth and your handle is Golan, can I safely guess you live in Israel somewhere?...

golan2072
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Yes, I do, in Rehovot (20 minutes by train from Tel-Aviv).

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

Ah, cool! As an undergraduate I studied military history with a lot of work on the Arab-Israeli Wars. My senior project was a wargame to assess what would happen if Israel abandoned the Golan Heights and was invaded. I've always wanted to get out and see the land for real, but haven't quite managed to do so...

 

Blackwarder
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What did your war game turned out?

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

We ran three different scenarios. 

1. If Israel maintained the Golan Heights, Syria had no practical means of winning a war, even if it resorted to WMD.

2. If Israel abandoned the Golan Heights, it would still beat Syria in a war, but it would suffer terrible civilian casualties from the initial assault, and heavy losses retaking the Golan against an entrenched defender.

3. If Israel and Syria agreed to turn the Golan into a DMZ, the speed of modern combat and the small geographic distances involved would still lead to a grim outcome for Israel if Syria attacked, with heavy civilian casualties and hard fighting.

We concluded that Israel needed to maintain the Golan Heights for its strategic defense.

The game I used in college eventually turned into Modern Spearhead: http://www.modernspearhead.net/ 

 

 

golan2072
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As someone interested in history (and probably archaeology), you should definitely visit Israel. So many archaeological and historical sites to visit, dating from the Stone Age to modern times. Even better, you might want to combine this with a tour of Jordan and Egypt (political situation permitting, of course) as well for more archaeology. Or send in some of the ACKS artists for some inspiration.

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

I'd love to. It's on my list of things to do! Egypt as well. When I was a child I lived in Algeria and we toured all around these regions; there are photos of me on a camel outside the Great Pyramids at age 3. Sadly I remember nothing of it.

Both Chris Hagerty (cartographer) and Ryan Browning (artist) drew great inspiration from Near Eastern history.

golan2072
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I'm thinking about adding some "normal" Earth animals to my Human areas, especially domesticated beasts and some pests (cats, dogs, mice, rats, sheep, goats, cattle and horses). They probably came with the Humans when they "fell upon a shooting star". Native fauna of this world is reptilian and/or insectile, though... And almost all predators, except for cats and feral dogs are reptilian or insectile.

golan2072
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I have decided, for the sake of flavour - no mammals except for Humans and Cats, There rest were killed when the Shooting Star crashed...

golan2072
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Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

Here is the Lizardman Hunter class I made using the Companion:

http://spacecockroach.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/barbarian-conqueror-king-li...

golan2072
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Here is the Campaign map for Barbarian Conqueror King:
http://spacecockroach.blogspot.co.il/2013/02/barbarian-conqueror-king-ca...

golan2072
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Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14
golan2072
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Let's do some basic math for Barbarian Conqueror King.

Population density is realtively low, at 50 people per square mile (5,000 families per 24-mile hex), similar to Roman levels and far lower than Greek or Medival French levels. While some areas are richer than others, I'll use this average for the sake of simplicity.

All realms are city-states and thus considered "advanced" and urban, though in fact they are not very much technically advanced. They also have a centralized settlement pattern. This means that I always go down one row in Urban Population and down one row in Largest Settlement.

Harat has 8 hexes and a total population of 40,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by Hardun, the Gladiator-King (who also happens to be a lizardman, more on that later). It has an urban population of 8,000 families, 4,000 of them in Harat itself, which is a proper City and a Class-III market. It is also moderately rich, with an average land revenue of 6gp.

Yimara has 9 hexes and a total population of 45,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the corrupt King Balrazar. It has an urban population of 9,000 families, 5,000 of them in Yimara itself, which is a Large City and a Class-II market. It is also a rich realm with highly fertile farmland, with an average land revenue of 8gp.

Khishrom has 9 hexes and a total population of 45,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the even-handed King Adyan. It has an urban population of 9,000 families, 4,000 of them in Khishrom itself, which is a City and a Class-III market. It is also relatively rich, with an average land revenue of 7gp, mostly from mining.

Irem has 10 hexes and a total population of 50,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the Merchant-Prince Argum. It has an urban population of 10,000 families, 4,500 of them in Irem itself, which is a City and a Class-III market. It is also realtively poor, mostly desert and grazing land, with an average land revenue of 4gp.

Zarnas has 9 hexes and a total population of 45,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the Eternal Pharaoh Pilsar IV from his seclusion in the Great Pyramid. It has an urban population of 9,500 families, 4,000 of them in half-dead Zarnas itself, which is a City and a Class-III market. It is also quite rich with an average land revenue of 8gp.

The City of the Crescent Sun has 11 hexes and a total population of 55,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the Lizard-Queen Xelana. It has an urban population of 11,000 families, 5,500 of them in The City of the Crescent Sun itself, which is a Large City and a Class-II market. It is also avarage economically, with an average land revenue of 6gp.

The (Chaotic) City of the Sunken Moon has 7 hexes and a total population of 35,000 families. While it is a "Duchy" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the mad Lizard-Sorceress Manatxu. It has an urban population of 7,000 families, 3,500 of them in The City of the Sunken Moon itself, which is a proper City and a Class-III market. It is also moderately rich, with an average land revenue of 7gp.

Cibola has 18 hexes, divided into three districts ("Duchies"), and a total population of 90,000 families. While it is a "Principality" in ACKS terms it is ruled by the High Priestess of Ixchala, Nalana. It has an urban population of 18,000 families, 9,000 of them in Cibola itself, which is a Large City and a Class-II market. It is also fabolously rich, with an average land revenue of 9gp.

2097
Joined: 2012-09-23 13:25

Dinosaurs and their kin (as well as insects) replace mammals (except for humans, that is) both as wild beasts and domesticated enemies. Dinosaur Riders! Triceratops egg omletes! Random encounter with a T-Rex!

Great minds think alike! I’ve been cooking on exactly this for a while (I worked with pen & paper though, hope I can find my books).

I’ve definitely gone with tropical utopia, I’ve drawn a world map that I’ve zoomed in and zoomed in (I used the Hexbooks from Albatross Press).
It’s just the local place that’s tropical, not necessarily the whole world.
The name of the continent is Selte'azda, which means in the local language “Dwelling of the Terrible Ones”.

The time line is that first, dinos lived there.
Then, just a hundred or two hundred years ago, humans came along and quickly settled along the coast line — so right off the bat we have a strip of civilization with wilderness to the west and oceans with weird islands to the east.
Then a few decades ago weird things started leaking in a la The House on the Borderland (the old novel, not B2).

I’ve changed the alignments from lawful v. chaotic to instead be alignments with one or the other of the two clashing dimensions — humans, plants, dinosaurs from this vs demons and orcs (in the style of HotB) from the other.

There are ancient ruins and buildings in two ways—perhaps some old dinosaur civilizations, but also that ruins and buildings have warped over from across the Border.
As for technology, the only things I’ve got for sure is that I want to put some flickering bulbsand fluerencent tubes in some of the dungeons, and have some tile floors and busted-up radiators there. I imagine that cross the Border there is access to all worlds and technologies.

I’ve got my economy more or less done (again, it’s in a paper book), what I miss is dinosaur stats (I have GURPS Dinosaurs but I couldn’t convert them easily since I only have a little experience with the well-known family of games that ACKS belong to) and also lairs for all types of monsters.

Maybe what would be most helpful for me would be a small flowchart on how to make lairs for the ACKS book’s monsters .

It was hard to map out the realm and understand the economy chapter in ACKS. I wish it had been more of a step-by-step instruction—but I did understand it finally so now that part is done.

James C. Bennett
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Joined: 2012-01-17 20:17

I put together stats for the dinosaurs listed below for my campaign. I'd happily post them if someone can suggest a decent format for them. They are currently just rows on a spreadsheet, which isn't ideal for posting to a forum.

Dinosaur, Ankylosaurus (huge)
Dinosaur, Dimetrodon (medium)
Dinosaur, Dromeosaur ('raptor; medium)
Dinosaur, Huge Hadrosaur
Dinosaur, Large Hadrosaur
Dinosaur, Pachycephalosaurus (large)
Dinosaur, Pleisiosaur (huge)
Dinosaur, Pterodactyl, Gargantuan
Dinosaur, Pterodactyl, Huge
Dinosaur, Pterodactyl, Large
Dinosaur, Sauropod (gargantuan)
Dinosaur, Stegosaurus (huge)
Dinosaur, Struthiomimus (medium)
Dinosaur, Triceratops (huge)
Dinosaur, Tyrannosaur (huge)
Dinosaur, Tyrannosaur (gargantuan)

golan2072
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2097, your setting sounds fun!

If you're looking for Dinosaur stats, I'm thinking about writing my own Sword & Sorcery Bestiary for ACKS (and maybe also S&W:WB and BFRPG). This will include a good number of dinosaurs as well as Chulhu-type weirds and serpentine stuff.

2097
Joined: 2012-09-23 13:25

I do love the dinos ♥

golan2072
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Now that I have a Campaign Map and Basic Demographics for my Barbarian Conqueror King setting, it's time to determine the basic characteristics of the great monarchs, despots and sorcerer-kings of the setting. Note, however, that since this setting is composed of relatively small islands of civilization - City States - within hostile wilderness, most rulers are rather low-level in comparison to more civilized campaign settings.

Also note that the barbaric lands of Enyom, Queddar and Mala lack high-level rulers; the highest-level characters are typically tribal chiefs or sheiks, and lack the personal power of the civilized rulers of much larger realms. If and when a high-level character will arise from these wild regions, chances are that he or she will unite the tribes under him or her and be a major power to be reckoned with - and, perhaps, a scourge of Civilization.

Harat is ruled by Hardun, sometimes called "King Hardun", a Lawful level 10 Lizardman Gladiator (AKA Thrassian Gladiator).

Yimara is ruled by King Balrazar, a Neutral level 11 Fighter.

Khishrom is ruled by King Adyan, a Lawful level 10 Fighter.

Irem is ruled by the Merchant-Prince Argum, a Neutral level 10 Venturer.

Zarnas is ruled by the undead Eternal Pharaoh Pilsar IV, a Chaotic level 10 Sakkaran Ruinguard turned into an intelligent undead creature three centuries ago.

The City of the Crescent Sun is ruled by Lizard-Queen Xelana, a Lawful level 10 Lizardman Warrior.

The City of the Sunken Moon is ruled by Lizard-Sorceress Manatxu, a Chaotic level 10 Lizardman Witch-Doctor.

Cibola is ruled by High Priestess Nalana, a Lawful level 12 Lizardman Priest(ess).

golan2072
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In my Barbarian Conqueror King setting, the only playable non-human species are Lizardmen. With strong fighting (and predatory) instincts, a "level 0" Lizardman - anything from a dinosaur herder or coffee farmer to caravan guard or common Lizard-mercenary - fights and saves as a 1HD creature, i.e. as a Level 1 Fighter. Level 0 Lizardmen, however, are not trained in armour use (as they do possess good natural armour), and if they don any kind of armour except for shields (which they can use), they fight and save as Level 0 Humans.

If they gain Level 1, they may normally choose between Lizardman Hunter (the Hunter's skills grow from a Lizardman's predatory instincts) and Lizardman warrior (then gain the warrior's totemic abilities - based on common Lizardman beliefs). To become Gladiators, they must have been specially bred and trained for that from birth; to become Priests Witch Doctors they need to become acolytes or apprentices of the appropriate class.

Young (up to the age of 10-12), old and infirm Lizardmen, on the other hand, are non-combatants, have 1d4 HP and fight and save as Level 0 Humans.

golan2072
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Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

Now on to the languages and naming systems of Barbarian Conqueror King.

Most people in Kanahu speak Kanahi, which replace the "common" language in this setting. It has a written alphabetic system, an innovation which was adopted by the neighbouring lands of Enyom and Queddar and even by the commoners of old Sakkara, as it is far easier to learn and use than the High Sakkaran hieroglyph system. In "metagame" terms, this is similar to Semitic languages, so most place (and person) names should sound Semitic (or at least fitting to the Bronze Age Levant).

The people of Enyom speak the Enyomi tongue, which is closely related to Kanahi; anyone who knows Kanahi can understand simple sentences said in Enyomi on a proficiency roll of 11+ (Intelligence bonus applies) and the other way around. Enyomi uses the Kanahi alphabet. In "metagame" terms, Enyomi names should also be vaguely Mesopotamic.

The humans of Quedar speak Quedari, which is more distantly related to Kanahi and Enyomi and uses the Kanahi alphabet. anyone who knows Kanahi or Enyomi can understand simple sentences said in Quedari on a proficiency roll of 18+ (Intelligence bonus applies) and the other way around. In "metagame" terms, Quedari names should sound vaguely Arabic.

The Gecko-Men of Queddar speak their own language, which sounds like a combination of chirps and clicks. It uses a strange variant of the Sakkaran hieroglyphs for its religious texts, and a variant of the Kanahi alphabet for secular writings.

Sakkara has two languages - High Sakkaran and Low Sakkaran. High Sakkaran is the language of priests, royalty and sorcerers, and many sorcerers in other Human lands use this as well. It uses very complex hieroglyphs, which are difficult to master. Low Sakkaran is spoken by most Sakkaran commoners, and uses the Kanahi alphabet. In "metagame" terms, names in both tongues should sound vaguely Egyptian.

The Lizardmen of Punt, as well as its small Human population, use three languages - the Red Tongue (spoken by priestesses), Green Tongue (used by most Lizardmen) and Blue Tongue (spoken by sorcerers). All three share the same hieroglyph system. In "metagame" terms, Lizardmen names should sound vaguely Mesoamerican.

The Men and Lizardmen of Mala speak Malan, a language distantly related to the Green Tongue. This language has no written equivalent, though the few literate Malans speak and write in the Green Tongue of their neighbours.

golan2072
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Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

There are two more languages in this setting: Serpentine, which was once used by the Serpentmen and now rare (uses pictographs); and Chaos-Tongue, which is used by various Beastmen & cultists (has no written equivalent).

LyricAsylum
Joined: 2013-05-19 01:26

This is probably redundant, and I really didn't read every post fully, but I would definitely consider the following sources.

1) The Isle of Dread. The Kopru even have the Cthuloid appearance, and much can be made of that in your cosmology.

2) An excellent series of Dungeon Magazine articles circa 3E D&D, set around creating a new prehistoric setting. There are Elves and such in this setting, but you can easily concentrate on the velociraptor druids and such. In particular, there are no spells for creating or purifying food and water, since survival is a major aspect of the setting.

3) Speaking of survival, the 4E Dark Sun setting is another harsh setting with some potentially quasi-prehistoric aspects.

4) "Thrills and Chills," an old article from Dragon #68. It's really an ice age article, but it has some pointers, like Dwarves being the only race to work metal, and visions of cave halflings dancing in your head.

5) Primal Codex. Well worth the price if you can still find it.

golan2072
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Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

Thanks for the recommendations. the Kopru will definitely fit in.

golan2072
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Here is a list of the Chaotic/Chthonic Gods with all their names across cultures:

http://spacecockroach.blogspot.co.il/2013/07/gods-of-chaos.html

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

This campaign sounding sounds really great! We obviously drew from many of the same inspirations, although I think Auran Empire is set about 1,000 years after your own favored time frame.

golan2072
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Joined: 2012-01-14 14:14

Many thanks!

I think that growing up in what used to be Canaan (3,000 or so years ago) and studying the Old Testament (in its original Hebrew*) at school had a profound impact on my Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age preferences...

* Parts of the Old Testament, especially the Book of Judges and Samuel I and II, has a certain sword & sorcery feel to them... As do other pieces of Ancient Near East myth, such as Gilgamesh.

The Dark
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Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

Unpointed Hebrew makes my eyes cross.

(As a theology major, I took both Greek and Hebrew, but can't read either of them fluently now)

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