ACKS House Rules

As an inveterate tinkerer, I’ve developed a ton of house rules for ACKS over time. Here are the substantial ones collected in a single page, with ‘minor’ tweaks included below in the comments. (Custom classes have their own summary page.)

Arcane Spell Progressions: I’ve tweaked the arcane spell progressions somewhat:

(XP costs have also been tweaked for Arcane 1/2/3 Values.)

Divine Spell Progressions: I’ve also adjusted the divine spell progressions, getting rid of that weird ‘bump’ at 6th level for clerics:

Divine Spell Repertoire: Divine casters in my campaigns have a limited spell repertoire. The base number of spells in a divine caster’s repertoire is equal to the number of spells he can cast per day at each spell level, modified by the caster’s Wisdom bonus. A divine caster can change his spell repertoire (for free) when he prays each day, swapping for other selections from his class list.

Thievery Skills: The Thievery Skills table (ACKS Core Rules p.23) is revised as follows:

Thievery Skills (Revised)

There are adjustments to a few non-Thief proficiencies as well:

Other Skills (Revised)

(In addition, I’m adopting the Wandering Gamist’s Hijinks House Rule. You can read my post where I discuss these changes.)

Missile Attacks into Melee: When shooting into melee, the character can either shoot wildly (roll normally to hit, target is determined randomly by referee) or – if the target is at short range – take an aimed shot. Aiming allows the attacker to select his target, but the attack throw is made with a a -4 penalty. If a natural 1 is rolled on the attack throw, the shot hits an unintended target (selected by the referee).

The Precise Shooting proficiency is revised as follows:

Precise Shooting: This proficiency reduces the missile attack penalty against opponents engaged in melee by 2. In addition, the character will not hit unintended targets when taking an aimed shot at short range, even on a roll of natural 1. Selecting this proficiency a second time eliminates the missile attack penalty entirely.

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8 Responses to ACKS House Rules

  1. K-Slacker says:

    Fighter Trade-Offs (Custom Classes)

    Fighter Trade-Offs for custom classes are only 125XP instead of 150XP (see ACKS Player’s Companion, p.79).

    Why would I make such a fiddly change?

    I didn’t like how the Barbarian (from ACKS Player’s Companion) needed more experience to level than a Mage: 2600XP vs 2500XP base to reach 2nd level. My preference would be to “bound” all the playable human classes between 1250XP (Thief) and 2500XP (Mage).

    With a Fighter Trade-Off costing 125XP, the base experience requirement for Barbarians drops to 2500XP – which is the same as the Mage class.

    This also decreases slightly the base XP for a number of Fighter subclasses, which I’ve included in my Astonishing ACKS Class Summary.

  2. K-Slacker says:

    Arcane Spell House Rules:

    Freezing Hands: As per burning hands, except cold.
    Sleep: Permits a save vs. spells.
    Summon Berserkers: Roll berserker hit points normally.
    Charm Animal: Creatures with 5+ HD get a save vs. spells.
    Ice Teeth: As per earth’s teeth, except cold.
    Cone of Cold: Is a 4th-lvl Arcane Spell (instead of 5th).

  3. K-Slacker says:

    I’m adding this based on the draft ACKS Heroic Companion rules:

    A character’s Wisdom bonus or penalty applies to all saving throws. (Not just saves vs. spells or magic items.)

    And here’s one based on a comment from the forums:

    A character’s Strength bonus or penalty also applies to hurled missile weapons, such as javelins and hand axes. (But not to projectile weapons.)

  4. K-Slacker says:

    Fiddly Encumbrance Rule: Here’s an obscure one from D@W that is discussed on the forums. I’ve extrapolated the encumbrance thresholds for for lower STR characters as well:

      STR 3 (-3): 4/6/8/17
      STR 4-5 (-2): 4/7/9/18
      STR 6-8 (-1): 5/7/9/19
      STR 9-12 (+0): 5/7/10/20
      STR 13-15 (+1): 5/8/10/21
      STR 16-17 (+2): 5/8/11/22
      STR 18 (+3): 6/9/11/23

    Where each value is the max weight in stones for a given movement rate (120’/90’/60’/30′).

  5. K-Slacker says:

    Wakefulness and Unarmed Fighting are added to the General Proficiency List. (I don’t have elves in my Hyperborea, and wanted to make a “Night Watchman” henchman. And more street brawlers are always a good thing.)

    In addition to granting fluency, the Language proficiency increases the character’s literacy level by one ‘step’. (from Illiterate to Semi-Literate, or Semi-Literate to Literate. Or a low-INT character can select the proficiency to gain full literacy instead of a new language.)

  6. K-Slacker says:

    Characters wielding Advanced-Tech Weapons (such as Shock Whips and Laser Pistols) may suffer penalties to their Attack Throws:

    • Classes with the “Mage” Attack Throw progression have -4 penalty.
    • Classes with the “Cleric/Thief” progression have a -2 penalty.
    • Classes with the “Fighter” progression have no penalty.
  7. K-Slacker says:

    Assassins wearing armour heavier than leather are restricted to ×2 damage on a successful Backstab.

    (This is just like the Ambushing proficiency. The Core ACKS RAW do not permit Backstab attacks at all in armour heavier than leather.)

  8. K-Slacker says:

    Okay; this is super fiddly, but I’m adjusting the costs on the Spell Availability by Market table on p.54 of the ACKS Core Rules. This is to reflect my changes to the Divine Spell Progression tables and different rounding assumptions:

    Arcane 4 Spell Costs: (Mage)
      1st-lvl: 5gp (MC VI)
      2nd-lvl: 20gp (MC V)
      3rd-lvl: 80gp (MC IV)
      4th-lvl: 320gp (MC III)
      5th-lvl: 1800gp (MC II)
      6th-lvl: 6100gp (MC I)

    Divine 2 Spell Costs: (Cleric, Shaman)
      1st-lvl: 10gp (MC VI)
      2nd-lvl: 40gp (MC V)
      3rd-lvl: 160gp (MC IV)
      4th-lvl: 320gp (MC III)
      5th-lvl: 640gp (MC II)

    Divine 4 Spell Costs: (Cultist, Priestess, Witch)
      1st-lvl: 5gp (MC VI)
      2nd-lvl: 20gp (MC V)
      3rd-lvl: 80gp (MC IV)
      4th-lvl: 275gp (MC III)
      5th-lvl: 500gp (MC II)

    (These values are derived from a post on the Autarch forums.)

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