Ivgah, Ghoul-Blooded Necromancer

(I statted up a Necromancer antagonist for my current adventure, but don’t think I’ll end up using him. So I’m posting Ivgah here instead, showcasing my Necromancer custom class and Hyperborean Ghouls.)

Ivgah the Ghoul-Blooded

Character: Ivgah, 8th-lvl Ghoul-Blooded Necromancer
Stats: STR:9 (+0), INT:15 (+1), WIS:12 (+0), DEX:13 (+1), CON:11 (+0), CHR:5 (-2)
Saves: Petrification&Paralysis:11, Poison&Death:11, Blast&Breath:13, Staffs&Wands:9, Spells:10
Combat: AC:5, HD:8d4 (24hp), Initiative +1 (+2 spellcasting), Base Atk 8+, Movement:120′ (40′)
Attacks: Dagger (6+,1d4+2); Dagger (thrown) (5+,1d4+2)
Class Features: Cast Arcane Spells (Caster lvl 6th/necromancy 8th), Black Lore of Ix (control undead as 4th-lvl cleric, targets -2 to save vs. death), Inexorable (immune to fear), Dark Soul, Signature Spells, Magical Research (necromancy)
Proficiencies: Ghoulish Blood (infravision 15′), Battle Magic, Collegiate Wizardry, Intimidation, Theology
Equipment: Glowing dagger (+2), defensive bracers (AC 4), black tunic and pants, leather belt, leather gloves, high boots
Encumbrance: 1 stone; MV 120′ (40′) [encumbrance thresholds 5/8/10/20]
Other Gear: Flesh-bound spellbook (containing all spells in repertoire), 5 violet sapphires (100gp each), 4 elixers of longevity, iron box (steel vial containing gelatanous cube matter, vial of powdered mammoth bone, mummified bat wings)
Arcane Spells: Signature Spells (each 1/day) – Choking Grip, Ray of Enfeeblement, Dismember, Animate Dead
  1st-lvl (4/day) – Animate Carrion, Choking Grip, Darkness, Detect Undead, Protection from Chaos, Shocking Grasp
  2nd-lvl (3/day) – Deathless Minion, Forest of Bones, Necromantic Potence, Ray of Enfeeblement, Uncanny Gyration
  3rd-lvl (2/day) – Dismember, Lightning Bolt, Slow, Speak with Dead
Actions: Open Doors (18+), Detect Secret Doors (18+), Hear Noise (18+), Find Traps (18+)
Languages: Common, Ixian, Pnathic [Literate]

Hyperborea HR

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Shazun Zhuu, Hyperborean Noble

(I’ve run several Astonishing ACKS sessions online since my last adventure logs; here’s a recent addition to the party – a Hyperborean Noble restored from hibernation.)

Shazun ZhuuA young scion of a lesser Hyperborean noble house, Shazun Zhuu showed sufficient promise as a courtier and fleshcrafter to advance in station. In time, she became a liaison on a secret research project for her family…

…Or at least, that’s what she remembers. Days ago, Shazun was released from centuries of suspended hibernation by a motley crew of degenerate sub-men who refer to themselves as “Murderhobos”. Using her skills and wiles, she has managed to survive thus far in this strange new world.

Now, reading through her personal spellbook, Shazun has come across passages that she cannot recall writing but scribed in her own hand. The last entry reads:

“Despite the ministrations of the Fleshcrafters, I succumb to the Green Death. I am spawning a clone using the most recent pre-infection sample. Hopefully in rebirth I can forestall the Fall of Zhuu.”

Character: Shazun Zhuu, 5th-lvl Hyperborean Noble (Clone)
Stats: STR:13 (+1), INT:15 (+1), WIS:14 (+1), DEX:14 (+1), CON:13 (+1), CHR:15 (+1)
Saves: Petrification&Paralysis:10, Poison&Death:10, Blast&Breath:13, Staffs&Wands:11, Spells:12
Combat: AC:4, HD:5d6+5 (26hp), Initiative +1, Base Atk 8+, Movement:120′ (40′), Morale:??
Attacks: Dagger (6+,1d4+1); Dagger (thrown) (7+,1d4+1)
Racial Powers: Ancient Pacts, Uncanny Senses, Overcasting, Longevity, Hyperborean Tongues, Inhumanity (-1)
Class Features: Cast Arcane Spells (Caster lvl 3rd), Classical Weapons Training (+1 Atk in melee), Inspire Courage (allies gain +1 Atk/dmg/morale)
Proficiencies: Diplomacy, Eldritch Aura (as Mystic Aura), Magical Engineering, Sensing Power, Knowledge (Hyperborean lore ×2), Knowledge (genetics)
Equipment: Noble’s dagger (with Zhuu crest), Hyperboran environmental suit (AC 2), fabristeel doublet (+1 AC), Hyperborean signet ring (House of Zhuu), flesh-bound spellbook (contains repertoire spells plus Mutate Breed and Accelerated Metabolism)
Encumbrance: 2½ stone; MV 120′ (40′) [encumbrance thresholds 5/8/10/21]
Arcane Spells: Overcasting capability as per Axioms Issue 1
  1st-lvl (2/day) – Charm Person, Flesh Shape, Unseen Servant
  2nd-lvl (1/day) – Clone Plant or Animal, Minimus Replication
Actions: Open Doors (14+), Detect Secret Doors (8+/14+), Hear Noise (18+), Find Traps (18+)
Languages: Hellenic, Hyperborean, Atlantean, R’leyhian, Pnathic [Literate, 1 empty slot]
Experience: 19,600 XP (+5% bonus)
Next level: 39,200 XP req’d for 6th

Hyperborea HR

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Operation Unfathomable

Operation UnfathomableSo I got to run a session of Operation Unfathomable over Christmas. It was with a group of Pathfinder players in Edmonton who wanted to try the “old-school”. And I wanted to try the tournament version of Operation Unfathomable (from Knockspell #5), supplemented with the backer draft of the Kickstarter product. It ended up being a bit of a gong show – which, of course, was entirely the point.

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ACKS Vivimancer


Vivimancer Illustration Copyright 2014 Cadanse D., from the Complete Vivimancer

Continuing with yesterday’s biotech theme, I’m presenting an ACKSified version of the Vivimancer from Theorems & Thaumaturgy and the Complete Vivimancer.

Vivimancers (also known as fleshcrafters) are mages who study the arcane manipulation of biological life. They typically evince the qualities of cold, scientific inquiry and ruthless dedication; seeking, through their studies and experiments, to dominate the processes of life, twisting them to their own ends.

From Theorems & Thaumaturgy:

The Vivimancer takes inspiration from the opening story of The Dying Earth by Jack Vance. There we meet Turjan of Mir as he struggles to master the forgotten principles of life that will enable him to produce intelligent beings from his vats.

The ACKS class is built on my Specialist Mage chassis, with my favourite Vivimancer spell choices available as signature spells. In my campaign, Ophidians and Hyperboreans are the true masters of vivimancy, with human Vivimancers understanding only a fraction of the Ancient secrets.


Because of its extreme weirdness, the Vivimancer is really intended as more of an NPC class. Also, I would need to tweak some of the spells in play to reflect ACKS rules.

Hyperborea HR

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Hyperborean Biotechnology

engineer_armour_helmetI’m still on an Alien/Prometheus kick and am really digging the Hyperboreans as Promethean Engineers thing.

I’m thinking of playing up Hyperborean Biotechnology in my game. I’ve got a draft put together for an ACKS Vivimancer class, based on the supplements from Necrotic Gnome. It also gives me a chance to finally tie in some stuff from the 3e-era Chaositech sourcebook, which I’ve been meaning to use for over a decade now.

But let’s start with something easy, like armour…

Hyperborea HR

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Hyperboreans as Promethean Engineers

I did my very first Astonishing ACKS post over three-and-a-half years ago on the topic of Hyperborean Custom Classes.

HyperboreansAt the time, I had in my mind an image of the race from the Dark Horse Conan comics; specifically the Hyperboreans first shown in “Ashes and Dust” (depicted at left).

They were tall, gaunt, and pale – but looked sufficiently inhuman to be “weird”. They also fit well with the pointy-headed Melnibonean armour styles suggested by early Moorcock covers and the AS&SH artwork. (Not to mention early Warhammer High Elf imagery.)

Lately, however, I’ve been having second thoughts. What if the Hyperboreans look like the Engineers from Prometheus?


Hyperborea HR

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Sightless Serpent – NPCs

(We’ve started our next Astonishing ACKS adventure; I’ll post some of the NPCs here to help the players keep track of things…)

reimarReimar the Red (Scout): The Keltic scout is some 60 years of age, missing a hand, toothless, and blind in one eye. He wears a soiled red sash around his neck. Reimar discovered the lair of the Sightless Serpent in the Lug Wasteland and there recovered several valuable sapphires (subsequently spent on revelry). For a share of further gems, he will lead a party to the site.

basilisk_croppedThe Sightless Serpent: The Sightless Serpent is an 8-legged, 14-foot long unique basilisk; a garish and bloated monstrosity. There are no eyes in its massive skull; only deep empty sockets remain. When angered or disturbed, the creature weeps faceted pyramidal sapphires (each worth 100gp). Before it was slain by the Murderhobos, the Sightless Serpent lived within a limestone tor in the swampy Lug Wastes.

nill_rhultosNill Rhultos (Sage): A registered member of the Sage’s Guild of Khromarium, old Nill specializes in Hyperborean artefacts and lore. He charges the standard rate of 125gp per week for research and study and sometimes buys rare items if they interest him. He is known to operate discreetly and has friendly relations with both the Xathoqquan Orthodoxy and the Thieves’ Guild.

Blind SmithThe Blind Smith: This pale Kimmerian now dwells in the Khromarium slums. Although bereft of regular vision, he can “see” the enchantment in magic armour, allowing him to modify or repair such items. Furthermore, he is hopelessly addicted to black lotus, which in the past you have used to buy his services.

Lord of SecretsThe Lord of Secrets: This mysterious sorcerer acts as the agent of Zhao Shah (Sorcerer-King of the Valusian Remnant) in Khromarium. You suspect that he is a Serpent-Man Hybrid, or that he disguises himself using magic. He helped arrange your passage to the Serpent Isles and in return requested transport of some valuable cargo to his master. You have not attempted to contact him since your return to Khromarium.

Hyperborea HR

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