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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Commentary & Review Of Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Rpg System Adventure AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara For Your Old School Campaign


"Over a millennium ago, when the borderlands were in the dark grip of the Zaharan Empire, the empire’s sorcerer-priests erected a profane temple to house the terrible artifact known as the Stone of Sakkara. Using the Stone, the sorcerer-priests could birth monsters and abominations with frightening ease and magically command the loyalty of chaotic creatures. The Stone brought its evil masters great power throughout the fell empire. "

Clocking in at eighty pages AX1 The Sinister Stone of Sakkara is an introductory adventure for the Adventurer,Conqueror, King system hearkening back to classic TSR era B/X adventures such as Keep of The Borderlands. By that  I mean that it takes all of the existing ACK's products within the Autarch lines and puts them into play as a homage to adventures of a bygone era. The idea of the lone Auran/Roman style keep on an Ancient Egyptian/Mesopotamian border that they have conquered is used as the backdrop for a very well thought out adventure. Here the action is centered on the factions of the dungeon & the PC's must deal with the fall out of the evil that slumbers here.  There is a bit of everything in this adventure as its meant to do exactly what the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rule book lays out. That is to explore, deal with, get hired, hex crawl, fight, battle, & play while getting an entire feel for the ACK's system with both the players and the dungeon master cutting their teeth on the  The Sinister Stone of Sakkara .


Everything has a pseudo Lovecraftinan sword & sorcery vibe mixed in with the Auran empire setting. Monsters & encounters have that late night Saturday matinee mixed with a Mountain Dew war game feel. There are actual motivations, as well as reasons why the PC's are here in this part of Türos Tem the place  is presented as the stronghold of a realm controlled by a high-level NPC, with its maps, buildings, population, revenues, costs, and morale score all detailed and provided. This makes modifying and adding it into your own home game campaigns a snap. Many of your standard ACK's humanoids are present but there are far more sinister things lurking as lots of slimes, molds, jellies, fungus, & worse crawl through the AX1.


If the players are stupid & make poor decisions their going to have their PC's killed in no time flat, this is a great module but parts of it can be very unforgiving as the writing and design is very tight. Its well done and easily modified but you're going to have to think on your feet. Yes your PC's might end up with their own domain but they might end up a victim of the very evils that they're investigating or being killed by one of the multiple factions of this realm. Action is fast, reactive, and the plot moves along. There is a sense and story to the history of the region that echoes bits of  Robert Howard, Michael Moorcock, with a blend of Caesar and Rome thrown into the blender of this module.


NPC's function as movers, shakers, possible patrons, or flat out enenmies of the PC's & the ambitions that they bring to the region & your table. This is a place of sand,blood, evil, & flat out mayhem. Expect no quarter if crossing the wrong person or their hidden agendas. The powers that use this region do so with intent and guile. This is because the whole adventure of AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara  is a guide as well as adventure intended to take the PC's through the whole of the ACK's system in miniature.

Once again we've got that classic collapsing empires of earth’s Late Antiquity (250 – 750 AD) as the mirror of the age of Auran that AX1 is set.  A turbulent era in which ancient glories were drowned in a torrent of violence & murder. So this is a perfect place for the PC's to make their mark as they come to explore the dungeons & environs of The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. I was somewhat shocked by how underpowered the NPC's are in this adventure, well not really. This adventure's NPC's reminded me of Dark Albion's 'anyone can be killed' in the Rose War attitude. Because there's also an almost boom town/end of empires set of circumstance that surrounds the setting of the Sinister Stone of Sakkara. This is so that the PC's can not only make their mark but possibly take over the local domain if their very lucky.

Illustration of gnoll diplomacy, requested by Jeff Binder

Certain things about this adventure stand out such as the fact that it integrates & plays around with Adventurer,Conqueror, King's Domains of War. The aspects of military & trade details is fitted in seamlessly within the adventure but its a weird fit in some respects unless of course you're used to war games being a part of your old school systems. The aspect of the war game as a part of the dungeon crawl hearkens back to the old school roots of OD&D when empire building was part and parcel of the gaming experience. Many independent companies kept this style of table top adventure going even as AD&D took another twist. AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara builds upon & to some degree advances this concept on paper. How? By making the players take their PC's center stage or dying in the attempt. Even the description has this conceit built right in, "AX1 includes a two-level dungeon filled with chthonic horror along with a friendly stronghold from which your adventurers can explore the region."


Illustration of a raven spying on Lady Valerian and Hometri Socolo, requested by Florian Hübner

AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara isn't Dwimmermount & for that I'm thankful. Even though I'm an experienced dungeon master there are several systems that Adventurer, Conqueror,King brings to the table that I need a bit of hand holding with. There is also the fact that introducing new players to this system is an added stress but reading through AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara the experience doesn't seem so bad. I really like the Character Motivations table, which adds an interesting twist to the 'reason a PC is this way' and the motive for adventure. 


The motives  for the adventure in part are the war bands of beast men looting, sacking, pillaging throughout the countryside to gather sacrifices to power the Stone’s birthing pools again. Local farms and hamlets have been laid low and destroyed.
This sets up everything for the PC's to get into the deep end of this adventure & perhaps become entangled in the adventure's plot and weird horror that echoes through out. All in all I did enjoy looking through & reading 
AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. I think its a four out of five for the style, utility of use at the table, an economical use of writing and some fine gaming designing in the old school traditions.

All in all I think that X1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara does a fantastic job of presenting not only a great quality introductory adventure for Adventurer,Conqueror, King. But a great set up for a possible domain and base for the PC's all the while bringing the high quality Autarach standards we've come to expect.

YOU CAN GRAB  AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara here!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A Review Of Adventurer, Conqueror, King's Lairs & Encounters book For Use With Your Old School Campaigns

There are times when I need to know facts about monsters such as background, where the monster is dwelling, how long the horror has been in its location, the social background of the beast, are there others of its species within a certain number of square miles, & more. All of this material sometimes needs to be joined together in a concise & coherent way. Well that's where Adventurer Conqueror King System: Lairs & Encounters comes in. This book breaks down all of these details & more. This book continues the high caliber standard set by the other Autarch titles. The physical book isn't out quite yet but the pdf sells for around ten dollars. Everything in this book is geared toward creating monsters that can deal with PC's on an even footing & then come back for more.


Some of the highlights of this include the following:
  • More than 135 ready-to-play monstrous lairs - that's at least one lair listing for every possible monster lair mentioned in the Adventurer Conqueror King System. The lair listings are designed to be used both as domain and adventure plot points that can be shaped to the adventures that DM wants to run.
  • New subsystems for sandbox play, including rules for populating 6-mile hexes with lairs based on the terrain and extent of settlements in the region, and rules for searching for lairs in the wilderness factoring in terrain density, aerial reconnaissance, splitting up to cover more ground (never split the party!), and these are one of my favorite bits of Lairs & Encounters.
  • Additional mechanics for monsters, including ability scores for monsters, proficiencies for monsters, and young monsters. This takes the monster from simple hazard & a quick encounter to a fully fleshed out NPC. This ties in with the Taming & Training rules which hits & then paves the way for fully fleshed out pets. The system ups the anty for  taming and training monsters, complete system details  on the lifespan, roles, tricks, trained and untrained value, supply cost, training period, and the trainability modifier of every monster in the game.  All of this means simply that monsters, animals, pets, even live stock have a fair market value. Another addition to the dungeon that gives players even more trimmings to add to the PC in, out of, and as a part of the dungeon.
  • These are pretty well done a complete system for creating your own unique monsters.now we bring our same rigorous attention to details, customization, hacking of  traditional D&D style monsters for the dungeon and the wilderness as well as urban materials. 
There are samples throughout the book presenting the types of details on monsters that I haven't seen since the days of the 'ecology of' Dragon magazine articles. There are samples of monster lairs and the details that go with them. There are lots of uses for all of this material and I have to say that it back ties into the Adventurer, Conqueror, King main rule book. This is a welcome and wise decision to the DM who wants to bring the monster goodness to their tables. 
Here's a good example of the level of detail that I'm talking about that appears in the Lairs & Encounters book:"
MEN, BRIGANDS  
A fortified camp, with barracks, tents, and a large command pavilion, surrounded by a log palisade, is home to renegade mercenaries from the Company of the Black Thorn. They survive by raiding towns and robbing caravans and travelers. 
Cartography by Simon Forster
Cartography by Simon Forster
There are 100 Brigands (AC 3, Move 120’, HD 1, hp 5 each, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg by weapon, Save F1, ML +1, AL C) equipped with leather armor, shield, sword, and shortbow, and another 100 mounted Brigands (AC 5, Move 120’, HD 1, hp 5 each, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg by weapon, Save F1, ML 0, AL C) with chain mail, shield, sword, and riding horses.
They are led by Inthorn, their captain (AC 7, Move 60’, F9, hp 45, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg by weapon +6, Save F9, ML 0, AL L/C), equipped with spear +2, sword +2, plate armor, shield, and a plate-barded medium warhorse. He wears a red-plumed bronze helm of alignment change, which has turned him chaotic and led to his band going rogue, as well as a dragon-hide sword belt studded with hematite (900gp) and a wrought gold necklace set with thorn-shaped hematite (1,200gp).
Inthorn keeps a war-chest of 7,000gp, which is about one month’s operating expenses for the band. In a small locked coffer, trapped with a poison needle, he keeps 7 bloodstones (50gp each), 5 amethysts (100gp each), 6 amber (100gp each), 3 topaz (500gp each), and 1 sapphire (1000gp each). He keeps 3 wrought gold goblets (700gp), a gold decanter (800gp), and gold bowl (500gp) in the command tent.
Inthorn has 4 lieutenants (AC 6, Move 60’, F5, hp 25 each, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg by weapon +2, Save F5, ML 0), 5 sergeants (AC 6, Move 60’, F4, hp 20 each, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg by weapon +2, Save F4, ML 0, AL C), and 10 corporals (AC 6, F2, hp 10 each, Move 60’, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg by weapon +1, Save F2, ML 0, AL C), all equipped with plate armor, sword, lance, and warhorse.
Accompanying the mercenaries-turned-brigands is Dairin, a powerful chaotic wizard (AC 0, Move 120’, M11, hp 22, #AT 1 weapon or spell, Dmg by weapon or spell, Save M11, ML 0, AL C). Dairin wears elven cloak and boots and carries a wand of enemy detection (20 charges) and a scroll of cloudkill and conjure elemental. His spellbook has the following spells: burning hands, charm person, detect magic, magic missile, shield, sleep; detect invisibility, invisibility, knock, mirror image, web; dispel magic, fireball, fly, invisibility 10’ radius, protection from normal missiles; conjure elemental, cloudkill; death spell
Inthorn’s new lover is Olyma, a priestess of Nasga (AC 8, Move 90’, C8, hp 28, #AT 1 weapon or spell, Dmg by weapon or spell, Save C8, ML 0, AL C). Olyma is equipped with polished black plate armor +1, a whip, a spiked mace, a shield, an unholy symbol (a silver statuette of a bat-winged woman with a whip), and a potion of poison. She wears a pair of engraved silver armlets (600gp each) and a platinum tiara set with a ruby (1,300gp)." Needless to say that this sort of work is scattered across the board in Lairs & Encounters. This makes Lairs & Encounters a monster path book, that is not simply a source book but a source book that creates within its wake a way of detailing a monster as much as the setting within the context of an adventure or campaign.


Where ACK's is designed expressly for the purpose of providing interesting domain-level play, putting the "game" back into the endgame; Lairs & Encounters takes the domain level game applies that concept into the background of the monster. This means that the concept of the monster becomes two things one it becomes the competition, the horror, the mythological concept and antithesis to the PC's within their domains. The second thing it does is makes the animal or being that is being used within a game as much of a resource as any of the other natural game elements to be exploited by the DM. It means that those within your domains are going to be far more eager to seek the protection of those more powerful than themselves.
This gives a whole other aspect to monsters as protection, rulers, etc. within those hexes that parties seem to continue to crawl through.

Another thing about Lairs & Encounters that's the 'encounter' part there is the gravity  of history in many of the encounters that are created within this book. Many plug into the 'official' ACK's setting but they can easily be applied to your own campaigns for example:"
SKELETON
The ground here is torn up by the remains of nine ancient Zaharan scythed chariots, broken and partially covered by webs, dust, and sand. Here and there the jagged blades stick up from the scattered chariot wheels. Each character passing through or searching the area has a 1 in 6 chance of stepping on one of these partly-buried blades and suffering 1d3 points of damage. 18 skeletons (AC 2, Move 120’, HD 1*, hp 4 each, #AT 1 weapon, Dmg 1d6, Save F1, ML N/A, AL C), with rusted mail and jagged, broken scimitars, litter the ancient battlefield in clusters near the chariots. They will rise to attack if blood is shed. "  This is something to keep in mind when designing your own encounters and this book has the tools, guidelines, and more to help you out with that.



Something else to keep in mind is that Lairs & Encounters plugs into Domains at War, ACKS' expansion focusing on mass combat and how it relates to all other aspects of the game, from monsters in domain management to mercenary wages to mercantile supply and demand all centered around the aspects of the monster. By popular demand, they have distilled just the mass combat system itself to an ~8 page kernel which they are planning to add as an expansion but Lairs & Encounters slides right into the backside of this material. That means that all of those battle grounds, war fields, places of violence, ancient war sights and more have the real potential to turn into adventure locations unto themselves. This is something to keep in mind when running games after a party has passed through hex '5671' and they're entirely done with looting the bodies and the bandits, mercenaries are dead. Their foes can rise again to cause problems for the locals and you might have to back to clean up your messes.
There are several reasons to really get into
Adventurer Conqueror King System: Lairs & Encounters: 
  • When you want a really well thought out lair for an adventure or hex crawl that not only blends into the setting but enhances the adventure material adding in another layer of adventure 
  • Sometimes competition is good & monsters can add an entirely unforeseen complication for those domain owners. Monsters domains can also be a readily made domain for PC's to take over(Lairs & Encounters can make that process very wily and interesting as well). 
  • Fast set up and lots of prefab encounters that can be dragged and dropped into your own adventure enviroments to serve as bridge gaps when you've got fifteen minutes before your players arrive and nothing written. 
  • Expanded war game ties for domains of war that make those war games an actual part of the adventure with monstrous tie ins. 
  • This book can be used to enhance, expand, and blow life into the factions and background of existing or classic modules to give new twists on modules or adventures that parties have already played through. Take Keep of The Borderland and suddenly it becomes more then a simple introduction adventure, it becomes an introduction to factional warfare with monsters surrounding a tiny island of humanity in the wilderness on the border of war! Drag & drop in some of the encounters and the entire tone of the adventure changes!
  Adventurer Conqueror King System: Lairs & Encounters is a very useful book with lots of utility at the table the mechanics to create balanced new monsters, new spell powers, and other enhancements for foes itself is worth the price of admission because it can be applied for any OSR retroclone game with B/X D&D at its heart. Is it worth the ten dollar price of admission? Well in a word yes if you're used to creating your own adventures with in the confines of your campaign world and you want a book with the right tools for the job. Adventurer Conqueror King System: Lairs & Encounters ties directly back into the Adventurer, Conqueror, King main rule book making this one very thought out monster & encounters  book.
Do I think its worth the money for this book? In a word yes! Go buy it and will I be using it!

GRAB THE
LAIRS & ENCOUNTERS BOOK
FOR ADVENTURER,CONQUEROR, KING FROM HERE 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Review & Commentary On Guns of War From Autarch For Adventurer,Conqueror,King Rpg System, Lamentations of the Flame Princess Rpg, & Your Old School Campaigns

So I've been gone a good portion of the day & how this review came about is a bit tangled. I've been rummaging around the a great many Adventurer, Conqueror, King titles for the better of a year now. Yes, I have friends of mine who feed my OSR habit quite regularly & I've been off the ranch for a long time now. This means I review what I want when I want as well as how I want. Still there are titles that I don't have access to so I hit up Alexander Macris with an email. Well the gentleman is a very busy guy and all, so I don't like bothering him. At least that's what I thought.
Wham two nights later I had a bunch of titles from the ACK's line up sitting in my inbox!? Among them was 'Guns of War', yeah great another 'fire arms' set of rules rattled through my head at about two A.M. Then I was zipping through G+ & came across this Lamentations of the Flame Princess play through.
Wait?! There's a whole supplement on black powder weaponry that could be used with both ACK's & Lamentations?  Given my obsession of  wheel lock weaponry & my love of all things Lamentations colour me interested folks.


So what does 'Guns of War' bring to the table? Well its a supplement that brings the timeline for ACK's up to the age of black powder weaponry not simply for the humans but most of the major races of the Adventurer,Conqueror, King & Lamentations of the Flame Princess. This adds an entirely new dimension to these OSR games themselves. This brings that setting dynamic into a new light entirely.


"Guns of War brings you all the rules you need to add the gunpowder, firearms, and artillery of the Age of Pike and Shot into your fantasy role-playing game. This century-and-a-half period was an age of war more terrible than any that had come before, as the technology of battle changed more rapidly than it had in any time in the preceding 3,500 years of human history. It was also an age of apparent anachronism made real, as plate-clad knights battled rifle-armed soldiery, field artillery fired on pikeman, and swords hung alongside pistols on the belts of cavalry.

Guns of War is designed for use with Autarch’s Domains at War (D@W) rules for military campaigns and battles. You will also need a copy of Adventurer Conqueror King System (ACKS), Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LOFTP), or a similar D20-based fantasy role-playing game to use this book."

But is it worth getting into? Well from a dollar stand point my answer is 'yes' it adds whole new aesthetic to these games and it could be used with Dark Albion as well because its going to change events across the board in broad gun powder clouded strokes. The age of powder & shot becomes an entirely new set of dynamics & history stalking changes to the set up of games. This means that the material has a has a vaguely 13th-15th century feel to it in equal measure. Guns of War manages to do all of this in fifty eight pages of jammed black powder packed book. Does this really make a difference in the dungeon? Not really when your wearing twelve hand grenades packed with black powder called the 'twelve apostles'. Because your going to be facing down things like this Ifreet  in some God forsaken megadungeon.


Guns of War does the job of taking ACK's from the dungeon into other realms of adventure into things like the a fantasy age of piracy, full on full city siege warfare with cannons, mixing up with the forces of darkness with powder, and much more. I make this book sound like one of the essentials for ACK's don't I? Well that's because technically in my estimation it is!
When you have chain mail clad warriors fighting with pistols & swords then you've got a different mix of a game setting happening.


Guns of War presents its material concise and well laid out details with the rules, tables, & descriptions being very easy to read as well as the content  presented in a way that's easy on the eyes. The artwork is public domain with an eye towards the real world history whist keeping the book grounded in the ACK's setting (sort of). Because it moves the technological time table up there is a sense that Guns of War has at its core the OSR with an eye towards taking systems to the next level or at the very least the next time period. This book has lots of potential because of its use in ACKS Domains at War but that's a blog entry for another time. What it also means is that I can now run Lamentations of the Flame Princess rpg materials within the ACK's system quite well. Things are not seamless but they work quite well so that suddenly that mini wall of Lamentations of the Flame Princes books has lots of potential in the ACK's system. This is another mark of the ulitity of the ACK's material at the gaming table. All in all I really enjoyed Guns of War so much so that I called the print shop today to get myself a copy of this pdf spiral bound. I give it four out of five because not only was I pleasantly surprised by Guns of War.

GRAB
  'Guns of War' From
Autarch Right HERE

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Adventurer Conqueror King System: Player's Companion By Alexander Macris

Yeah, I've been around the table top rpg hobby for a long while now at forty seven years old & I've seen my fair share of 'character guides' & companions. But then Adventurer, Conqueror, King shows up with its B/X leanings, proficiency system, and customization factor then more. So there are always books that are touted as essential out in the table top market but then you've got the Player's Companion for the Adventurer Conqueror King RPG. So what the hell is so essential in this book? Right off the top it features:"
16 new character classes to expand your  campaigns, including the anti-paladin, barbarian, dwarven fury, dwarven machinist, dwarven delver, elven courtier, elven enchanter, elven ranger, gnomish trickster, mystic, paladin, shaman, Thrassian gladiator, warlock, witch, and Zaharan ruinguard." One of the strengths of ACK's is how the PC classes fold into the campaign setting material.




 Everything in the sixteen new character classes ties in with the Auran Empire material and the implied setting set up from the character section of the main Adventuerer,Conqueror, King rpg rule book. This is a round about way of insuring the dungeon master & his players are going to be engaged in the world setting of the book but with enough room for customization. This is one of the differences between a second tier & generation OSR product or  more 'modern' rpg systems. The amount of crunch helps to keep things wide open for player choice.  This trickles down into the '238 character generation templates with pre-selected proficiencies, spells, and equipment options to create archetypes such as the Aristocrat Bard, Buccaneer Thief, Gladiator Fighter, or Runecaster Shaman' These PC materials wrap character creation into essentially a kit like structure that actually works similar too but distinct from the old Skills & Powers second edition set up.You choose one of the "archtypes" to cut down on character preparation time to get up & playing as soon as possible.
This section actually works & ties back into the Antiquity style of the Auran Empire. But it can be just as easily used with a straight up Sword & Sorcery style campaign setting of one's own design. Even magic system which adds new spells can easily be ported over to a sword & sorcery setting especially with dweomers such as dismemberearth's teethand trance, as well as ritual spells including cataclysmplaguetemporal stasis, and undead legion.



Do you have a favorite OSR PC class? Well there's a really nice DYI character customize class built section too. And additional domain rules that tie back into both the existing ACK's rules book & the Player's Companion;"
A point-based customized class system that lets you create the perfect blend of fighting, thievery, divine, and magical power. The custom class creation rules are 100% backwards compatible with every class in the ACKS core rules and all of the classes in the Player's Companion." Once again there's more justification for dungeons & adventure locations to exist as the NPC can and will grow along with their PC counterparts;"
Additional equipment and proficiencies to provide options for character classes new and old, plus prices for building traps to defend your stronghold".


There is an an emphasis on the political and kingdom building aspects as intended right from the main ACK's rule book which continues straight though the The Adventurer Conqueror King System: Player's Companion. This is something  that makes it useful for the creation of both PC's & NPC's a welcome change of pace from many other rule books. All in all this well rounded approach to ACK's by the Player's Companion makes this one of the essential ACK's purchases. Its well put together, has a no nonsense approach to its subject matter and the sheer volume of material makes The Adventurer, Conqueror, King:Player's Companion a must have for any player or ACK's dungeon master. Clocking in at about thirty five dollars the hard cover has some really nice value for the dollar.
You Can Purchase The Player's Companion In Hard Back Here
Essentially all you need to run a complete campaign is the ACK's rule book & the ACK's Player's Companion
The Adventurer Conqueror King System: Player's Companion is on my short list of books to get in hardback for 2016 at some point.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Auran Empire Primer By Alexander Macris For The Adventurer, Conqueror, King RPG System

I went into the Auran Empire Primer with open eyes not expecting that much, this is the implied & now fully fleshed out OSR setting for the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg system. The whole setting implies not so much the usual Sword & Sorcery of D&D but  Late Antiquity, around 250 - 750 AD."Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from classical antiquity to the Middle Ages in mainland Europe, the Mediterranean world, and the Middle East. " . This is the time period that saw the Roman Empire split in two, with the western half eventually dying while the eastern half of the empire continuing until 1453.Auran isn't the Roman Empire, there are some really interesting marked differences right off the bat. The fact that Auran is an empire with its cracks beginning to really taking its toll on many fronts means that there are lots of places for adventurers to make a difference. The setting is close to a Constantinople of the era of Antiquity in many respects including a reaming cross section of peoples, religions,and weirdness of a world on the edge. This is a place of forbidden black magic, the blackest magic that cracks peoples souls & beastmen capable of rending an empire in half.



This book presents in twenty five pages an overview of places, things, religions, cultures, and other elements that we've heard in other ACK's products such as ACKS Player's Companion, The Sinister Stone of Sakkara, &  Axioms digital magazine. That's pretty much only half of the material though.
What this book actually is a showcase of the elements from Adventurer, Conqueror, King & a kit for creating your own world if you want to look past the usual set pieces & system place holders which one finds in other OSR games. This system has a good grounding in real world as its inspiration & that to me seems to make a solid difference;"The ancient civilizations that precede the campaign’s era have realworld
cultural analogues as well. The ancient Argollëan elven civilization resembles a sort of Proto-Helleno-Celtic culture; imagine if the Danaans of Ancient Greece and the Danaans of Ancient Ireland
were actually the same people, part of a single, more advanced civilization. The ancient Thrassian civilization is inspired by Sumerian civilization with an Aztec aesthetic, while the subsequent Zaharan civilization is inspired by pre-Hellenistic Akkadian civilization with some Egyptian flavoring. The early Auran “Empyrean era” civilization draws on elements of the Minoans, Mycenaeans, and Sea Peoples, with extensive Heroic Age Greco-Roman (Illiad, Aeneid) inspirations."  This is a case of heavy is the head that wears the crown and that head just might be your PC, if their very lucky & the players might think outside the box. 



If your really lucky this just might be your character.

So what does the Auran Empire Primer bring to the table that's different then say Greyhawk or some other old school rpg setting book? Not much & that's fine with me! Let me explain here, the book presents a brief bite sized overview of the Auran world setting & it does it with a nice level of presentation along with some really well done artwork, cartography, and ideas. The overview is brief, to the point, and gives me exactly the level of detail that I want without overwhelming me with lots of filler BS that I don't need. In other words this is a place that I want to set adventures in.Its not a world that is so on fire that I as a DM don't have room or a elbow space to set up my own political or world events in. This is often one of the problems that I've had with other RPG products, the world events are happening right now! There's no time to get to know anything or do great deeds, your characters have to be heroes now! Well they do but in a system such as Adventurer, Conqueror, King they're going to need to build PC in roads into the world. This book helps to fill in the colour and setting material that you need.
Did I mention that the book sells for only two dollars and fifty cents? All in all I think that the
Auran Empire Primer does a really killer job of presenting the world of the empire and its very well done product.

GRAB IT OVER HERE

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Time To Dust Off Ancient & Accursed Terra With The Adventurer,Conqueror, King, Rpg With A Twist

The black season is upon Ancient Terra once more the shadows grow long & the monsters hunger from the shadows!


Beyond the demon haunted  Borea Winds there are other worlds such as Thule, Atlantis, and many other  places where the settlers from Old Earth came from thousands of years ago. This is a world of insanity, intrigue, monster haunted woods, and dungeons vast as well as deep inhabited by monsters. It was here that the battles of Ragnarok were fought & the gods died.


This is a world of terrible secrets, horrid legacies, vast ruin haunted plains. Man hides in his walled city states guarded by the forces of the Terra current & ancient technologies he hardly understands anymore.

"We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

HP Lovecraft 'The Call of Cthulhu'



Ancient & accursed Terra is a world in need of heroes as the seasons of blackness engulf this world.  Lo did the wars of the serpent men & the K’n-yan peoples turned the land into a blasted waste. Many peoples were made strange & frightening by the energies unleashed by these two powers.
But those days are long past and only now are men emerging from the darkness and the long silence that followed in the wake of the sinking of Atlantis,Mu, & places whose names have passed into legend. But their survivals even now plot to retake this world from the darkness beyond the poles where the Elder Things and the Great race once seeded the interior world.Mankind sends adventurers of its races into the dark places to plunder ancient ruins, learn the secrets of those who were once masters and to take the relics, artifacts, and treasures they left behind. 
And even what they  left behind is still guarded by monsters and sometimes far stranger things. The survivors & dangerous inhabitants of the civilizations of those who came before wait & plot in dark places for your blood. Not gun, nor magic, nor even the bravest hero can keep these at bay.
And that's where you come in! Just beyond the fire light something howls for your blood is your sword hand or spell  ready for that monster?


So what's the deal here? Well I've gotten approved for a local game shop for a campaign down in my home town. Since I've been itching for the better part of a year to run Adventurer, Conqueror, King. This is the perfect opportunity to use the Astonishing ACK's material that I've been seeing for the better part of three years. Now I've just the time, the full setting as well as the venue to try this wonderful old school retro system with! This world will also be using parts of other OSR material including Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Are you interested in joining in an exciting, challenging sword & sorcery world with deadly monsters, incredible magic, weird relics, ancient technologies, webs of intrigue where you just might make your fortunes & leave your mark on history!

Welcome to Ancient & Accursed Terra An Astonishing ACK's setting!
Coming Soon!

We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. H. P. Lovecraft
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_p_lovecraft.html
We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. H. P. Lovecraft
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/h_p_lovecraft.html

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Judge's Guild Thoughts & Dave Arneson Appreciation Day Homage

So it's Dave Arneson appreciation day and to tell you the truth I've been pretty conflicted about putting fingers to keypad. Blackmoor means a lot to me and Mr.Arneson still to this day doesn't get the amount of recognition that he deserves. So here are some of my thoughts & opinions about this gentleman game designer and wargamer.

 


I'm trying to first think about when I heard about Dave Arneson. It was through Judge's Guild's Guide to the City State (1976), this was the real deal perhaps one of the greatest fantasy cities that came out or at least that's how it appeared to me when my father's friend from the RAF told me about it. Blackmoor came into my life in upstate New York from the Judge's Guild. I was six at the time and it was all about Kiss, Radio Shack, the Spiderman television show, etc.,etc. It wasn't until a year later that I played or watched my first game of original Dungeons & Dragons. I have very mixed emotions about this because its sort of like writing about something that has always been a part of my life. Arneson, Bledsaw, Gygax, were names that were as familiar to me as my uncles or cousins. Gary Gygax gave us Greyhawk but my hat has always hung in Blackmoor. I lost at least a dozen characters in Tegal Manor, two hundred and forty rooms of haunted house horror as a dungeon crawl. Areson gave my dungeon master the perfect setting to put this haunted hall of horror and gonzoness.


Its only recently that I've acquired a fine scan of this book and come to appreciate its brilliance at what it does. A tight, tense, and well put together urban setting with lots of potential and its been beloved by fans for years. Dave Arneson was very, very, good at what he did and was a damn good game designer way, way, ahead of his time in lots of ways. We lost Dave at sixty one back in 2009 & by God I wish I had taken the time to get to know the man more. I've written extensively about my debt to Judge's Guild but not Mr.Arneson. For me these games are not simply about wargaming or another game of D&D, these games instantly forge friendships between people that last twenty years or more. There's very little that can replace the feeling of getting together with friends and family slinging some dice and breaking the hold of an evil overlord, vile villain or slaying a monster. There are three things that come to mind when the name Dave Arneson is spoken ; one that's its alright to mix in science fantasy & fantasy elements together, two that play is key to the interaction of PC's and cooperation rules the day in parties of adventurers and the three the world of Blackmoor. A setting of free wheeling almost any can happen and probably will. I love the Blackmoor setting with its science fantasy roots and inclusion. The Temple of the Frog was and is a great adventure; it remains a favorite.



Personally I think that sixty one was way too soon of an age to be taken from us but we have little to say in such matters. I wish Dave Areson could have seen the rise of games such as Dungeon Crawl Classics and Lamentations of the Flame Princess as well as other clones that not only use but reveal in the gonzoness of play that he used so frequently. But alas all we have now are the memories, stories, and debt that we owe to Mr. Arneson. So I raise a glass to your memory sir and a life well played. May you find your place at the table of those who have passed and sling some dice with other greats. Thanks for all of the wonderful games and adventures, the halls of Blackmoor resound with your greatness and echo with your creation. Salute to you sir.