Sunday, July 28, 2013

Why do I like ACKS?

I don't hate domain play, but it's not my focus by a long shot. And let's not kid ourselves ACKS's forte is in domain play. Its AC system is... decidedly wonky. I've gotten used to it, but it took some doing. I don't care at all about realistic simulation-- for god's sake my second favorite edition of D&D is 4e (and 3.5 remains my least favorite)!

So what is it? What draws me to ACKS?

Is it the little tweaks? Things like the system of cleaving present in it, or the mage's repertoire and magical research stuff, the hijinks, the d20-based thief skills, or the list of poisons in the GM chapter? Is it Domains of War (which I've only got the free version of), which makes for a fun, effective battle minigame with more for tactics than the BECMI War Machine?

Partly, yeah.

Is it the proficiencies system, which does one of the best jobs of scratching the itch for feats and skills that my WOTC days imbued in me?

That's definitely a factor.

But I think I know what the number one reason is.

It's the classes. I'm absolutely a class slut. The more the merrier, in my book. And ACKS, between itself and the Player's companion, contains pretty much all my favorites. It has my favorite OSR ranger, my favorite bard anywhere, and a solid assassin, and that's just in the core book. The only one missing is the Warlord, and between the proficiencies available to the fighter and Thomas Weigel's excellent Aristocrat class, I'm more than taken care of. And should the mood strike me for a class that isn't already around, the Player's Companion explained the Autarchs' math well enough that it's the work of half an hour to bring my new class into the world. Ultimately that's the biggest factor in my choice.


ProfessorOats said...

I've seen you mention 3.5 and 4E quite a few times, so it's got me wondering: have you played 3.0 at all? It's not perfect, but if you stick to core rulebooks you've got new school done right. Plus, some of the variants in the DMG (changes through limitations, saves with different abilities) can really spice things up!

Rachel Ghoul said...

I have. In fact I started gaming about a year and a half before 3.5 came out. I find some of what it offers compelling, but I'm dissuaded from playing it by virtue of the fact that even keeping strictly to the core fixes very few of my issues with 3.5, and has a few stumbling blocks and incongruities of its own that I don't feel completely right about.

David Larkins said...

I'm only passingly familiar with ACKS, but I'm always on the lookout for an old school D&D clone that can handle custom classes and magic systems. (My setting of choice, Uresia, is pretty idiosyncratic in that regard.) Looking at summaries online, I'm liking the Player's Companion class-building guide; does it do a similar job with dynamic magic? In other words, how flexible is the ACKS magic system if I use the Player's Companion?

Rachel Ghoul said...

The spell-building guidelines for it aren't quite as robust as the class building ones, but they're pretty solid. It'll cover the majority (80-90%) of spells you're likely to want to make, but those last 10-20% are something you'll just have to eyeball.