The Meaning of Higher Levels

Alex wrote an excellent blog post about levels in ACKS and what they mean/where they sit in the distribution of power.  You can read it and it’s copious examples here.

Done?  Good.  Now, it’s fits brilliantly with ACKS and B/X assuming a world in which 14 is the absolute limit.

But what if it isn’t?

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I’ve always loved psionics.  Yes, they were a terrible mess.  Yes, we almost never used the psionic combat matrix back in 1E.  Yes, the psionics in 2E were also a mess and left characters that were either terribly weak or terribly powerful, depending on the kind of game you ran… but there was still something about them that made them ‘shine’.

Maybe it was the idea of a power outside of your leveling arc that appealed, or the Dark Sun idea of everyone with strange powers that really lit my adolescent mind on fire.  I don’t know.  When I ran my campaign world, I integrated psionics into it, had a powerful NPC psionic end up marrying one of the main PCs and bearing his child (an even more powerful psionic).  The NPC in turn, as a kind gesture, performed psychic surgery on another PC and awoke a truly potent Wild Talent… who later killed her husband in part with the powers he gave her.

Yeah, it got nuts.

So, finding a psionic system (that works) is a big deal for me.  I want to add psionics to ACKS but it has to meet several criteria.

One, mostly balanced.

Two, wild talents (systems that only create a psychic class don’t fill the role for me).

Three, psionic class (systems that lack a purely dedicated psionic don’t work either).

Four, psionic combat that works with the rest of the system.

Yeah…not easy.

However, I’ve been looking at some options.  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

[House Rules-Monster]Shadow Savant

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Dark Savants in Talislanta.    In the first edition book, there were almost no details about them making them even more mysterious.  There was very little about them except these cool pics:

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House Rules-Sundered Empires Part 3

Dual Classing

This particular set of house rules (untested yet) will undoubtedly be controversial.  I know a lot of people in the advanced circles have strong feelings about dual-classing, and it doesn’t even exist in B/X.  But it existed (and made a huge campaign impact) in my first campaign, so its important to me that players have this as an option.

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House Rules-Sundered Empires Part 2

I knew when I started the House Rules post that the house rule would be something like a living document with periodic updates.  Well here are a few I forgot/just came up with!

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Level Limits

I’ve never met a player of old school games that did not have an opinion on Level Limits.  Some people love them.  Others, such as myself, hate them.  Very few people are apathetic towards them.

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House Rules-Sundered Empires Part 1

Everyone has their own house rules.  Everyone tweaks and modifies games to suit their own interests.  Here are mine (well, most of them…and mostly the ones I can think of right now).

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[House Rules]Modified Turning

I love undead.  They are about the primary ‘guilt free’ villain in my setting.  They don’t need an ecology to explain why they are in some cesspool of evil.  And they scare the crap out of PCs thanks to their numerous horrific abilities.

However, while I’m happy for clerics to have power over undead, I’m not super satisfied by the Turning mechanics.  They worked for the time they were written for, but I think the arguments in modern games for how Turning does not interact well with the standard combat mechanics is spot on.  I’d love to figure out a way to alter it to make it work, but I’m not sure I can do that easily.

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[Rules Clarifications]Fighting Side by Side

Ok, a niggling question for one of my players has been how many people can fight side by side in a 10′ corridor.  Later editions would tell you 2, but what about Old School?

Thankfully, Alex from Autarch Games (the man himself) has answered that very question for me!

“3 creatures with one-handed weapons or any piercing/stabbing weapons can fight side-by-side in a 10′ corridor. If the creatures are wielding two-handed weapons, then only 2 creatures can fight side by side.

In practice, you can end up with, e.g., 2 fighters in the front row with great axes, with a second rank of 3 spearmen. They might face off against 3 enemies with short swords with a second rank of 3 pikes. Etc.”

Thanks Alex!