Astonishing ACKS – Mages & Specialists

UPDATE (04-Dec-16): I’ve added the Vivimancer as a counterpoint to the Necromancer and to introduce Hyperborean Biotechnology.

Hyperborean IllusionistHere are house rules to adapt AS&SH Magicians and subclasses to ACKS.


The Mage is the archetypal sorcerer. High-level Mages are the most powerful and versatile of all arcane spellcasters.

There are two changes to the base ACKS Mage class:

Fighting Styles: Remove two-handed weapon style. (Mages can only inflict 1d4 damage with a staff.)

Overcasting: Mages can cast extra spells beyond those they are normally allotted each day. However, an Overcasting Success throw is required for each attempt – and there is a chance of Arcane Calamity on a failed roll. Additional overcasting is possible, but each subsequent attempt requires successively higher throws to succeed. (Note that overcast spells must still be selected from the character’s spell repertoire.) The Overcasting Success throw is reset after 8 hours of uninterrupted rest. Overcasting rules are fully described in Axioms Issue 1.


Arcane specialists sacrifice raw spellcasting ability (use my Arcane 3 progression) in return for quicker advancement and special powers.

  • Pyromancer: The Pyromancer is a specialist wizard who masters fire through arcane studies and pacts made with forces elemental, dæmonic, or otherworldly.
  • Cryomancer: The Cryomancer is a specialist wizard who masters the control of snow, ice, and arctic winds.
  • Illusionist: The Illusionist is a mage who specializes in illusions, phantasms, hypnosis, and other effects that distort or modify perceptions.
  • Enchanter: The Enchanter is a subtle specialist who deals in charms and enchantments.
  • Necromancer: Necromancers are specialist mages who contact, summon, and control the dead.
  • Vivimancer: Vivimancers are specialist mages who study the arcane manipulation of biological life.

(Refer to the individual class descriptions for special abilities.)

Signature Spells:

As they gain experience, each specialist gains spells related to their area of expertise. Here are some notes on signature spells:

  • Different specialists learn different signature spells, but once selected by a character the choice is irrevocable.
  • These can be cast as innate powers at the character’s effective caster level, each usable 1/day and taking 1 round to cast.
  • Signature spells are added to the specialist’s arcane repertoire for free (without using a ‘slot’) once the character can cast spells of that level. (This means that a specialist can never ‘lose’ a signature spell, even if deprived of their spellbook for an extended period.)

Each signature spell is guarded as secret lore for its respective specialist class. Many such spells are unique to a particular class, but those which also appear on the ‘standard’ arcane spell list represent secrets that have been stolen by outsiders. Specialists are required to keep their own signature spells hidden from other spellcasters.

(Note that specialist can also select signature spells of their discipline for their repertoire as they advance in level. In fact, this is encouraged.)

Hyperborea HR


About K-Slacker

Gamer and 5th-level magic-user.
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11 Responses to Astonishing ACKS – Mages & Specialists

  1. K-Slacker says:

    The ACKS Warlock class is pretty badass, but it shares the name with the AS&SH fighter/magic-user Warlock. So let’s call it “Diabolist” instead and make some minor changes… Grant “Ancient Pacts” at 2nd (instead of “Dark Arts”) and “Forbidden Spells” is gained at 12th lvl (instead of 14th).

    (Update: I’ve added a human fighter/magic-user Warlock class, similar to the Hyperborean Spellsword, but without the racial restriction and unarmoured.)

  2. K-Slacker says:

    Based on recent playtesting, I’ve updated the specialist mage classes. Signature Spells are available earlier and are all usable 1/day. The standard Mage now receives Overcasting as an exclusive class ability.

    I’ve also dumped the Diabolist and made significant changes to the Warlock and Spellfilch classes.

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