Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ACKS report - Adventurer Conquer King

So check it out - I signed up for the ACKS kickstarter and have had the chance to read the rules a couple of times.  Here to bring back some news from the sidelines.

I signed up because I was intrigued by the prospect of a D&D rules set that followed in Mentzer's footsteps and tried to improve on the Dominion economics, ruler ship and demographics rules from the old Companion set.  Ever notice how you can pinpoint someone's formative RPG years through their writings, discussions, and "go-to" set of rules?  The ACKS team has one foot in Mentzer and Moldvay's classic D&D, one foot in D&D 3rd.

The economics stuff seems well-thought out and usable at the table - it includes rules for castle building (along with hideouts for thieves, towers and dungeons for wizards, temples for clerics, and the demi-human equivalents), settling the wilds, growing the kingdom, taxes, revenue, army building, and trade.  As a world builder and someone who thinks too much about this kind of stuff already, I love it.  There were some problems with the old Companion economics (such that there have been a few attempts - either by Bruce Heard in Dragon or the old Mystara gang at Vaults of Pandius) to fix them.  I plan on sitting down with Greyhawk and Sterich and applying them to my current campaign as a trial run to get a sense on how well they work in practice.

Point is - if you play campaign style D&D and expect to reach high levels, the campaign rules will be super useful.  I expect I'll have them at the table regardless of system - 1E, classic, retro, whatever.

I'll save discussion of the classes and rules for another time - I'm hoping to drop in on an ACKS play test at Gencon and get the chance to see it in action.

I was a bit skeptical that a retro clone would get sufficient support as a kickstarter fund-raiser, but the project blew through the target goal in like 2 weeks (ie, the books will be funded) and now they're looking to co-publish the mass combat rules at the same time, which should get funded shortly as well.  I'm a bit surprised more folks in the OSR aren't talking about it.  Backed by the publisher of the Escapist, it's an entrant to the OSR world that comes backed by some muscle.   I'll post a longer thought about it, but we could be seeing the start of a new model - large online media property and publisher publishes games on the side but can leverage a new model for reaching gamers, beyond word-of-mouth or the book  shelf at Borders.

The Adventurer Conqueror King site
The ACKS Kickstarter