Draining Characters of their Hard-Earned Gold

I’ve been running some low-level games for my kids lately. They’re really keen on knowing what they can buy with their ill-gotten loot. This came up as well in my previous Sakkara game, and I figured I should highlight “interesting things that you can buy for 1000gp or less”.

This post provides guidelines for revised armour costs, high-quality arms & armour, potions & quacksalves, and alchemical items in my Hyperborea.

In most cases, the standard Equipment Availability by Market Class still applies (ACKS Core Rules, p.40), so you’ll need to go to Khromarium to buy the good stuff.

Hyperborea HR

Revised Armour Costs

Heavy armour is rare in my Hyperborea campaign and much more expensive than the ACKS standard. Acquiring plate mail will be a significant achievement for low-level Fighters.

Below is a revised table for armour costs in Astonishing ACKS. (The armour descriptions are examples for an area with Skandik influence.) Since most of my starting adventures take place near a Class V market (like Türas Tem), I’ve included a column for whether such gear is available there.

Cost Armour
Weight Avail?
(Class V)
Light Armour:
  Soft Leather 10gp +1 1 st.
  Quilted Gambeson 10gp +1 1 st.
  Leather Jerkin 20gp +2 2 st.
  Sea Leather * 40gp +2 2 st. 50%
Medium Armour:
  Studded Leather 30gp +3 3 st.
  Ring Mail 35gp +3 3 st. 60%
  Chain Byrnie 50gp +3 3 st. 30%
  Chain Hauberk 75gp +4 4 st. 20%
  Breastplate 125gp +4 4 st. 10%
Heavy Armour:
  Double Chain 150gp +5 5 st. 10%
  Plate & Chain 200gp +5 5 st.
  Kimmerian Plate 400gp +6 6 st.
  Shield 10gp +1 1 st.

* Characters in Sea Leather can swim without penalty and the armour is not damaged by salt water.

“Availability” indicates the chance that a particular item is in stock in a Class V market – I’ve tweaked some of these from the RAW to suit my own purposes. Items that are not available can be commissioned from local armoursmiths. Allow 1 day per 5gp value for fabrication (e.g., chain mail would take 15 days).

Since heavy armour is so expensive in my campaign, I usually allow characters to have captured gear “resized” by an armoursmith at the costs given in the ACKS Core Rules; e.g., 60gp (and 12 days) to have a suit of Kimmerian Plate re-sized to fit a new wearer.

Hyperborea HR

High-Quality Arms & Armour

Characters can also purchase or commission high-quality arms & armour if they are sufficiently wealthy.

Mastercraft Weapon: +1 to hit. Cost: Double base weapon cost + 80gp.
Mastercraft Weapon: +1 to damage. Cost: Double base weapon cost + 80gp.
Masterpiece Weapon: +1 to hit and damage. Cost: 5× base weapon cost + 800gp.

Mastercraft Armour: +1 to AC. Cost: Base armour cost + 600gp.
Mastercraft Armour: -1 encumbrance. Cost: Base armour cost + 600gp.
Masterpiece Armour: +1 to AC and -1 encumbrance. Cost: Double base armour cost + 6000gp.

A non-magical masterpiece sword, for example, would cost 850gp and provide +1 to hit and damage. However, it cannot affect creatures immune to non-magical weapons, and does not receive a bonus to saving throws versus various effects.

High-quality gear will often be forged of unusual metals (such as orichalcum or hepatizon) and have a distinctive appearance. Some materials deserve special note:

Cold Iron Weapon: This iron, mined deep underground and said to be effective against demons, is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties. Cost: Double base weapon cost + 80gp.

Silver, Alchemical: A complex process involving metallurgy and alchemy can bond silver to a weapon made of steel so that it bypasses the damage reduction of creatures such as lycanthropes. Cost: Double base weapon cost + 80gp.

The above items require collaboration with a skilled alchemist to produce. Silver-tipped arrows and bolts, and silver daggers, are more common and available at the listed rates; see ACKS p.41.

Hyperborea HR

Potions & Quacksalves

The Axioms supplement Of Mischief and Mountebanks introduced quacksalves, while Potions, Lotions, and Other Commotions provide rules for cantrip potions. I’ve bumped up the effectiveness of healing salves, and provide the following options to drain PCs of their wealth:

Healing Salve: These enchanted linements are based on camphor, wormwood, and oil. If rubbed on a wound, it heals the creature of 1d3 points of damage. Any given creature can only benefit from a healing salve once per day. Cost: 100gp.

Cantrip Quacksalves: Commonly brewed by Mountebanks, these are similar to potions but of much lower cost and far more dubious efficacy. Quack healing salves are particularly popular among adventurers, restoring 1d3hp – when they work. Most cantrip quacksalves will be effective on a throw of 13+ (rolled when item is used or consumed). Cost: 10gp.

Quacksalve Potions: These quacksalves mimic 1st-lvl potions, such as potions of climbing or healing. They will be effective on a throw of 15+ (rolled when item is used or consumed). Cost: 50gp.

Potion of Healing: True potions of healing are available from reputable sources, if you have the coin. Imbibing this potion will heal 1d6+1 points of damage or will cure paralysis. Cost: 500gp.

Antitoxin: Drinking a vial of antitoxin allows the character to re-roll a failed saving throw versus Poison and take the best result. Cost: 250gp.

Purgative: The quacksalve equivalent of antitoxin, this grotesque mixture of ingredients is used to cleanse the system of a patient. It will act as antitoxin on a throw of 13+ (rolled when it is consumed). Cost: 25gp.

These concoctions will typically be available from village witches and traveling Mountebanks.

Hyperborea HR

Alchemical Items

In my games military oil is much less effective; dealing only 1d4 points of damage, or 1d2 points on a splash. I added alchemist’s fire, then decided to make other alchemical items available too:

Acid: You can throw a flask of acid as a splash weapon. A direct hit deals 1d6 points of acid damage. Every creature within 5 feet of the point where the acid hits takes 1 point of acid damage from the splash. Cost: 20gp.

Alchemical Glue: This glue is stored as two flasks of syrupy liquid. When mixed together and allowed to cure, they form a strong bond. The glue is sufficient to coat 1 square foot of surface (such as a doorjamb or treasure chest). The glue is tacky after 1 minute and fully cured after 1 hour. Pulling apart a glued surface (at least 1 square foot) requires an Open Doors check. Cost: 20gp.

Alchemist’s Fire: This sticky, adhesive fluid ignites when exposed to air. In game terms, treat it as an oil flask (ACKS Core Rules, p.103). Cost: 25gp.

Flash Powder: This coarse grey powder ignites and burns almost instantly if exposed to flame, significant friction, or even a simple force such as throwing it against a floor (an attack action). Creatures within the 10-foot-radius burst are blinded for 1 round (saving throw versus Petrifaction resists). Cost: 50gp.

Smokestick: This alchemically treated wooden stick instantly creates thick, opaque smoke when ignited. The smoke fills a 10-foot cube (treat the effect as a wall of smoke spell, except that a moderate or stronger wind dissipates the smoke in 1 round). The stick is consumed after 1 round, and the smoke dissipates naturally. Cost: 20gp.

Stink Oil: This glass container of foul-smelling oil shatters easily upon impact. Any creature directly hit will be nauseated (as per troglodyte stench) for 1d4+1 rounds, while those hit by the splash will be nauseated for 1 round. (Saving throw versus Poison resists.) The smell may also attract wandering monsters. Cost: 15gp.

Other alchemical items may be available at the referee’s discretion. (I would consider alchemical solvent, alkali salts, rusting powder, sneezing powder, and maybe a few others.)

Hyperborea HR


About K-Slacker

Gamer and referee for online gameblogs.
This entry was posted in Astonishing ACKS, Campaign Setting, House Rules and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Draining Characters of their Hard-Earned Gold

  1. Charles Myers says:

    An excellent compilation of equipment and rules! How do your characters playing Fighting classes react to the increased cost of heavy armor? Do they adjust with Swashbuckling and Fighting Style(weapon and shield), save their gp, or lean away from “basic” Fighting classes?

    • K-Slacker says:

      It didn’t really impact them past 1st level – the biggest constraint was travel time to a larger market, not the cost itself.

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