Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Adventurer. Conqueror, King Now Available in PDF

The Adventurer, Conqueror, King System is now available in PDF for $9.99. For those of you unfamiliar with this game, it's an old school fantasy roleplaying game designed by Alexander Macris, Tavis Allison, and Greg Tito. What makes ACKS unique is that it makes good on D&D's largely unfulfilled promise to take characters from lowly insignificance to the heights of power. There are rules for building castles, establishing and ruling domains (as well as wizard's sanctums and thieves guilds), and trading -- just about anything a high-level, power-hungry fantasy character might be interested in pursuing. Adventurer, Conqueror, King is a very cleverly designed game whose rules are quite compatible with most retro-clones, particularly Labyrinth Lord, making it extremely valuable to any player or referee looking to add any of its rules to their existing campaigns. This is good stuff and well worth a look.

44 comments:

  1. Um...is this a review or an advertisement or what? How do you know it's "very cleverly designed" and "extremely valuable"?

    Have you even read it?

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    1. Yes, I've read it. I've had an advance copy of it for several months now.

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    2. What's wrong with it being an "announcement"?

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  2. @ Jingleberry- *sniff sniff* Smells like a Troll to me.

    I've been excited about ACKS for a bit now! I am looking forward to incorporating there shit into my hack! Thanks for bringing me the good news! I shall buy this in the AM!

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  3. Right around the time 5e was announced, I posted somewhere on the interwwwebz, "I need another fantasy RPG like I need another hole in my head."

    Tavis popped right in and said he'd meet me with a hardback copy of ACKS and a trepanning drill at GaryCon IV.

    Needless to say, I purchased this PDF immediately upon seeing it's release announcement on The Mule Abides.

    I hope Tavis receives a record of said transaction by March.....

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  4. Buy It!

    OK, it's not so much my thing but I've got to support my friend Tavis as he really put his heart and soul into it, he has a way of making D&D sound fun to me (which is no easy task) and is just an all around awesome fellow.

    Congrats on ACKS Tavis!

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  5. This looks really good. The name is kinda goofy though. On the other hand, it sounds like AXE, which is good. Maybe somebody should make a game called Adventures in Xylophone Esoterica.

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  6. Thanks all!
    @Lum, the ACKS compatibility logo is in the shape of an axe, to try to make it more metal, but yeah names are hard especially when you collaborate mostly by email and thus don't have a lot of opportunities to say ideas aloud.
    @Barking Alien, the bulk of the heart and soul was my collaborators Alex Macris and Ryan Browning and Greg Tito, also especially as we moved from design to production Carrie Keymel and Greg Lincoln; my role was typically "this is awesome I will tell people about it", sometimes "this would be more awesome if..."
    @Rich, I always carry trepanning equipment, should I wait until the end of Gary Con in case things go wrong?
    @wrathofzombie, hope you dig it, share the results of your hack!
    @James, I originally advocated for the serial comma to make it A,C,K but was told this made it sound like a law firm: Stabbem, Lootem, and Flee. However you have the right to put commas anywhere you like until we fix the spelling of your name.

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    1. Stabem, Lootem, and Flee: The Murder Hobo Years

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    2. Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, attorneys at law.

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  7. Sounds just like my cup of tea. Sold!

    [I'll find out exactly how good it is in another 20 minutes or so...]

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    1. Very nicely done. Well written, good layout and illustrations, and quality detail work. Was quite amused by the stated "purpose" of dungeons – which is as good a reason as any to build them. [My players built their dungeons to hide stuff in them, as a rule.]

      The domain creation system looks nicely done and just the right combination of detail and happenstance with the dynamic lairing, although I'd have to actually play with the economics system to fully judge this.

      Probably one of the best OD&D clones around. You may use your trepanning chisel with pride, sir!

      [The only thing I kept thinking was that it would be nice to fully close the circle and have 1st to 3rd level characters have an explicit mentor of the Conqueror level, that being the individual who taught them their class.]

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  8. If I already have the Rules Cyclopedia or Dark Dungeons, what does ACK have as a unique selling point compared to the realm management rules found there?

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    1. If I already have the Rules Cyclopedia or Dark Dungeons, what does ACK have as a unique selling point compared to the realm management rules found there?

      For starters, ACKS has actual rules for realm management beyond how much gold you get in tax revenue. :) More specifically, what I like about ACKS is that, in addition to details on very basic stuff (like building strongholds, attracting followers, etc.) that you can find in other versions, it also includes information that's dependent on the type of domain a character has founded. So there's stuff about how a cleric's domain differs from a fighter's, as well as what demihuman ones are like, how a thieves guild operates, what a wizard does in his realm, etc. It's both broader and deeper than the stuff in the Mentzer-derived games but without being unduly complicated. I like it a lot since it hits just the right level of detail without being onerous.

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    2. Very cool. Thanks for the answer.

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  9. Currently playing in an ACKS West Marches-style game, and I have to say that at lower levels the system is also quite expansive and enjoyable. It uses a saving-throw style mechanic (on a d20) for skill systems (like the Thief's) and has a flexible but moderately-sized proficiency list. A number of unique classes also make their debut, such as the Dwarven Craftpriest and the Cleric-like Bladedancer. If you like a rules-light system that still provides a lot of options for character-building, this is it.

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    1. Where are y'all playing, @Anathema, and do you have an open table or room for more players? I'd love to direct folks who want to try it out your way, hook you up with a game store looking to do the Preview Nights program, etc.

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    2. We are in Louisville, and operate an ongoing wiki and forum that classifies all of the information available about the world and the people playing in it. Just search 'Louisville D&D' if you're in the area!

      Tavis, thanks to you and your team for enabling us to have such a wonderful gaming experience!

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    3. Unless Anathemata is playing in a totally different West Marches style Louisville game... I am pretty sure this is the game we're running at http://louisvillednd.com (Who are you Anathemata?)

      We're already in the works to set up a Preview Night at the Louisville Game Shop. Feel free to check out our website for more details. We've been playing the heck out of ACKS and loving every minute of it.

      Mike

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  10. @Tavis: A game called Stab 'em, Loot 'em & Flee I would buy in a heart-beat!

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    1. Sounds like the medieval forerunners of Dewey, Cheatham & Howe.

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    2. S,L&F is clearly Stupid and Retro. @Rich's addition of the Pretentious subtitle set off by a colon - "Stabem, Lootem, and Flee: The Murder Hobo Years" - completes the trifecta and makes it the perfect RPG. Following the White Wolf model it will be metaplot-heavy, and instead of preserving your humanity you'll try to maintain balance: do you become so focused on stabbing that you forget to loot, or so accomplished at looting that you become too fat to flee? And yeah @Mark S,L&F is a retro-clone of the Lake Woebegone RPG.

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    3. S,L&F will be an ACKS Retroclone to be released 10 years from now, which uses the core system, without the domain-building stuff. And people will say "legend has it, that the name came from one of the original creators, back when there was the internet!"

      Just a prediction.

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  11. OK, somebody get that inevitable detailed review up pronto! ;-)

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  12. Another vote for a review here.

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  13. I need to pick this up. I've got my own take on domain-level play coming out in a week or so, and it sounds like ACK did things up in a very different way. It seems like it'd be well worth the inspection.

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  14. This looks really interesting. I'm currently running "Barbarians of Lemuria" but I think I might mine this for cool ideas.

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  15. I picked this up after reading James' post above, and I'm seriously impressed. The art and layout alone are really top-notch. Looking forward to a more detailed analysis at some point, James! (Assuming one is in the works :)

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  16. the cover is cool. we definetely need a review.

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  17. I'm totally sold. More stuff for _My D&D_ Tool-box.

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  18. Sold, reading it now and enjoying it.

    I can always use more stuff for my high level AD&D campaign.

    Also, I love the title. Adventurer, Conquerer, King tracks with Conan's career well enough that I wonder if the title was picked with everyone's favorite frowner in mind.

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  19. Yes, Conan was the inspiration for the title. Specifically it was derived from the 1967-1973 series of anthologies published as "Conan the Adventurer", "Conan the Conqueror", and so on.

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  20. Is this available in print somewhere too?

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  21. Yes, you can order it in print from shop.gamesalute.com. It'll be in game stores in about 4 weeks. The $10 PDF gives you a $10 coupon to buy the hardcover.

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  22. Overall nice, but I am really disappointed by the lack of a mass combat system. I mean, the Companion set's mass combat system takes a few pages only, something similar should have been done. The domain rules without such a system are almost meaningless.
    And having a complete system in one book has huge appeal. I bought the pdf, but due to this fact I won't bother with the hardcover. I hope this will be corrected in a second edition (and btw, I spotted some typos scattered in the text.)

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    1. Antonio, if you want to share those typos at http://autarch.co/forum/topic/typos we'll fix them for the next edition!

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  23. I've had my GenCon Beta softcover since mid 2011. it is a really nice system (and Tavis is an excellent DM - thought I'd throw that out there, having experienced it first hand).

    I just started to give a deeper look of ACKS on my blog after post a quick overview on thurday. There is alot of game in ACKS.

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  24. Antonio,
    We opted not to go the route used by the War Machine in Companion set. Instead we wrote a separate campaign and battle supplement called Domains at War. It's already written and was available to backers of the game during Kickstarter. We'll be publishing it as a separate PDF shortly.

    Domains at War was simply too large to include in the rules - it's got rules for raising armies, campaigns, sacking cities, siege warfare, and an entire miniature battle game.
    We simply couldn't include that in a core book that was already 300 pages.

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  25. ACKS looks wonderful. Bought it and haven't managed to go all the way through it yet. Really like the Secrets chapter, and it is clearly modeled on the Moldvay rules, but also does its own thing. I think, like the Moldvay rules and the 1st ed DMG, there is a lot of content there.

    One niggling point, which also seems wrong to me in Moldvay. A monster with a morale rating of -6 will not flee if a 12 is rolled.

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  26. @Alexander,
    I had suspected as much. Still, it's a pity not have at least a very simple system in the core book. Not everyone is interested in a whole book devoted just to mass combat (me included.)

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  27. I picked this up a few days ago, and the things I like the most, in no particular order: (*) A reason for the existance of dungeons. (*) There is a Chaotic Order of Species, and from the looks of it, a single species from which all beatmen (orcs, gnolls, etc) are ultimately dirived. (*) Probably the best explanation ever to describe the Mage's limitations on spell casting (repertoire).

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    1. I am trying to suggest this as a rules-set to use with my regular group to play in a game based on the Legacy Of Fire AP from Paizo. Yes, I realize that APs are not "old school" but given my schedule and GMing nature, I work much better when driving from a set of prepared materials. And there's a lot I liked on first look of these rules (so much so that I chose it over Labyrinth Lord, which was my original thinking for an OSR set). On paper, anyway, I like:

      - The flexibility of spell repertoires -- a sensible and coherent answer to the avoid the tedium of "OK, it's morning, pick your spell lists for the day".

      - A scout/ranger class that's not called a ranger.

      - Proficiencies instead of Feats and Skills - I imagine that it will take me some time to adapt to a completely skill-less system, but I'm hoping that the proficiency system will lead to better, lighter, more improvisational play and less complexity than having to manage the well built but heavy-weight Feat system built into new-school rules.

      - 0 HP means you're out of combat, and we don't know how bad until someone comes to check on you with a first aid kit. This sounds really elegant on paper, and I like how it manages to capture the idea of knockouts instead of kills, and the flavour of lasting wounds and variable healing time (a la Warhammer).

      I haven't got the game to the table, yet, but I'm hopeful that this will get our group re-invigorated after a couple abortive game attempts...

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