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ACKS Domains at War: The Complete Set
by John-Matthew D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/17/2014 14:48:09
Autarch has created a lens with D@W. This finely crafted piece allows you to view mass combat within your game. It is up to you to focus the lens, choosing when to pull back and see the whole of a war campaign and when to zoom into a single battle. The rules of D@W work seamlessly, allowing a group to flow back and forth between both rule sets as the story of the game and their interest demands.

While you can buy the D@W books separately, if you have even the slightest interest in Battles, I would highly recommend buying the Complete Set. This set comes with Campaigns, Battles, the battlemap PDF (which I printed out and looks gorgeous), and a token set.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ACKS Domains at War: The Complete Set
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ACKS Domains at War - Campaigns
by John-Matthew D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/10/2014 12:24:28
There is a lot crammed into the 105 pages of this PDF. D@W: Campaigns is a great supplement for people who want mass combat added into their game but still want it abstracted into in an evening of play.

ACKS books are well thought out, and there is a high level of interplay between all the moving pieces of the rules. D@W is no different. So much of the structure of D@W ties back into the ACKS rules about economics and domains. So when you get this, I would advise reading through it at least twice. Once to get a wide view of the Campaigns system and a second to dig deeply into each section. D@W provides cross-references to the other ACKS books where they apply, which is very helpful.

If you are looking for a rule set for a d20 game that abstracts mass combat in a fun, simple way, while still providing players influential choices, check out D@W. I wrote an in-depth review of Campaigns at: http://originsofadarkgod.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/domains-at-
-war-campaigns/

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ACKS Domains at War - Campaigns
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by William M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/01/2013 18:48:03
Anyone familiar with original D&D or any of its more recent clones will naturally know the gist of the system from the start, there are a few surprises within this tome however. It uses an ascending AC system that is a little different than usual. Proficiencies offer a grab bag of skill and feat like abilities that don't weight the game down (plus they are optional). There is a hard cap on character level at 14. Demi-human classes may have a lower cap, but it is less of a handicap when its only a handful of levels at most. High level play is VERY much meant to be about lords and their domains, of which every class has its own unique take.

If I were to ask for more out of ACKS it would be that it included an example domain to get you playing as soon as possible. That and maybe a little dungeon module.

All in all, if you enjoy OSR style gaming there isn't any reason not to give ACKS a look over for ten bucks. If you like enjoy it, the pdf has a coupon for those ten bucks off of the hard back if you just have to have it in good old dead tree. I'm definitely considering it myself.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurer Conqueror King System
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by Victor J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/18/2013 03:47:31
Captures the feeling of earlier games and presents it well for a modern audience. Well-written, nicely laid out, and with artwork perfect for the tone. Highly recommended.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by Roger R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/05/2013 16:34:50
Really well thought out, internally consistent. Brings an element of realism and verisimilitude that's lacking in some of the other more fantastical settings. I like it.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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ACKS Domains at War: Free Starter Edition
by vince k. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/01/2013 14:16:48
I mainly bought this to supplement my rules for random war results, and it was useful for that application. I would like to try to play it as a system in itself, but I will have to make rules for acquiring soldiers before that can happen.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
ACKS Domains at War: Free Starter Edition
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ACKS Domains at War: Free Starter Edition
by Jacob S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/26/2013 12:10:04
A friend of mine and I were discussing a campaign idea using large scale armies days before this popped up on DriveThru, so when I saw what it was I figured it was probably along the lines of what I was looking for. It looks like it will make for a great system for full army warfare.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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ACKS Domains at War: Free Starter Edition
by Jeffrey B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2013 22:36:02
An excellent introduction to mass combat battles. Clear, understandable, and usable, even to someone who hasn't done much miniature wargaming, like me. Its baseline uses the Adventurer Conqueror King system, but it can be used by almost any OSR or d20 system that wants to incorporate mass combat into their campaigns. The starter edition makes me look forward to the full Domains at War product, which is due to be released sometime later this year.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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ACKS Player's Companion
by Timothy B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/07/2013 07:24:10
So the long awaited Adventurer Conqueror King System Player's Companion is now out in PDF. I don't know know if it is out in stores yet at all or if people that supported it on Kickstarter have their physical copies, but it is up on here on DriveThruRPG.

Now full disclosure time. I did provide some support for the witch class. I was able to look at an early copy of the witch and provide some feedback since it had been based on some work I had done for d20. I shared a copy of my spells research notes and some material that would be part of my own Witch Book.
Neither group was looking for cross-compatibility except int he broadest terms. We did though develop from similar source materials and there is a bit of cohesion between the two classes. To be clear though, I didn't actually write anything for this. The authors had their ideas in a pretty solid form when they talked to me.

That being said let me proceed. ACKS Player's Companion reads like an "Unearthed Arcana" or even a Player's Handbook 2 for the ACKS set. In many ways it is very similar to the Complete B/X Adventurer that came out last year.
There are a number of authors that were brought to together to author the various sections. Sometime you can tell, other times not. This is not a big deal to me except for maybe there are some redundancies in various classes.

Chapter 2 covers all the new classes. We get: Anti-Paladin, Barbarian, Dwarven Delver, Dwarven Fury, Dwarven Machinist, Elven Courtier, Elven Enchanter, Elven Ranger, Gnomish Trickster, Mystic, Nobiran Wonderworker, Paladin, Priestess, Shaman, Thrassian Gladiator, Venturer, Warlock, Witch, and Zaharan Ruinguard. Not a bad list at all. That takes up about 44 pages of the book's 160.

The classes vary a bit. I liked most of them to be honest. The new feature of ACK:PC are the templates (Chapter 3), so all the new classes also have these templates. They define starting proficiencies and equipment.

At first I expected to hate the new racial classes but they provide a nice bit of background that goes beyond just crunch and fluff. In particular the Elven Enchanter and Elven Ranger add something interesting to the game. Sure, you could do this in AD&D in 1978, but here it has a bit of different feel. In fact I reminded of the old Dragon article back in the mid 80s about the Elven Cavalier. Sure it was something you could do on your own, but the article and this book give you something a bit more. The Gnomish Trickster could be reskinned if you are like me and miss the Halflings. The Mystic is a suitable Monk replacement in the vein of the old D&D Rules Cyclopedia. There are few ACKS unique race-classes too. We also get a Priestess, Warlock and Witch. Those I'll deal with later.

Chapter 3 introduces Templates. These are part role-playing tips and part mechanical. If you remember the old 2nd Ed Kits these remind me of those, or the Backgrounds in newer games. Several are presented for all classes, new and old. Each character gets Proficiencies and Starting Equipment. It's a really fun idea.

Chapter 4 is an interesting one. It is a custom class creation tool. I have not seen how it compares with similar systems I have seen on the net or in Dragon. I know that the classes in this book were "Verified" with it, so it at least has ACKS internal consistency.

Chapter 5 is Spells. There is a section on magic experimentation and mishaps. Really fun stuff to be honest. Also a section on creating new spells. This is from the same school of thought on the Class Creation. in theory you should be able to check on any spell in the book and get the same numbers.
This followed by the Spell lists. Spells are listed by type and level then the descriptions are alphabetical by name. There is about 38 pages of spells here.

Chapter 6 covers Supplemental Rules. Things like Aging and various equipment.
There is a hyperlinked index and two more for spells and powers.

Utility for other Old School Games
Well the classes can be ported over outright for the most part. The Proficiencies and Templates are a nice addition to any game even if you ignore the mechanics and use them only as role-playing guides.
I am not sure if the Class Creation guidelines will work outside of ACKS or not. My feeling is that they will with some tweaking. Same with the Spells sections. Chapter 6 should be fine for any game.

Witches, Warlocks & Priestesses
The witch is why I picked this book up. The other classes (like the Anti-Paladin and Paladin) also deserve a lot of attention, but the witch is what I am most interested in.
There are three (four if we throw in the shaman, or even five if we count the Elven Enchanter) classes that fit the witch archetype. The Priestess is a female cleric dedicated to what we normally call Mystery Religions. They honor a Goddess for example. Now in other games this would just be another type of cleric, or a cleric with role-playing notes. To me it actually seems weaker than the regular cleric. The Warlock is stereotypical "Evil" warlock and that works well here really. But the real utility for me is when you compare the Warlock to the Witch.
The Warlock is an arcane caster and the Witch is a divine one. So depending on what sort of archetype you want to build you can choose a witch or a warlock. This is a dichotomy that I have also used in the past and it works out well. You can even rule in your games that witches and warlocks were once one class that split or two classes with similar methods or not even related at all.
Witches are most similar to my own. Witches in ACKS:PC also have Traditions. The Traditions here are Antiquarian (a classic witch), Chthonic (dedicated to dark gods), Sylvan (woodland and faerie) and Voudon (voodoo or even Shaman-like). You can adapt these traditions to work with my book or my trads to work with ACKS. I should post a conversion guide between the traditions sometime.
Spells of course a completely cross compatible.

The Book Itself
The layout is top notch and this is a good looking book. It will be attractive as all heck in dead tree format, but the PDF is no lesser product. The index is hyperlinked to pages and it is fully bookmarked.
The art is great and I especially enjoyed the "character" art of Chapter 2. The art changes by Chapter 5 to some commercially available art, which is not a bad thing, but the style is different for the later half of the book.

Who Should Buy this Book?
For the first audience, players and game masters of ACKS, this is a no-brainer, you should get this. There is enough here to make this purchase worthwhile even if you only use parts of it.
If you are a fan of B/X clones and top your games off at level 14 then this is also a good buy. Also the class creation and spell creation engines are worth the price if you like to experiment with your games.
If you play other retro-clones or other versions of the Grand Old Game, then there are still some things here you will find useful.
At 10 bucks for the PDF this is a pretty good deal.

I have more detail on this book at my blog as well.
http://timbrannan.blogspot.com/2013/02/review-acks-playe-
rs-companion.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
ACKS Player's Companion
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by john h. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/03/2013 07:55:06
I really loved this game,
He's part of the reason i turned an OSR game now. Maybe the system is not revolutionnary but it's easy to grasp with few interesting things, like the way the proficiencies are working, that add a lot to the game.
It's really oriented to the later part of the game, with high level character being lords of a domain and a really good economic building system.
I think it's a very good retroclone game that worth the try

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurer Conqueror King System
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by Christopher C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/02/2012 08:55:12
Well put together and designed, but I still have and use all my first edition AD&D books, so there was really nothing new or revolutionary about this game system. Basically, it's more accessible than the original books, which is good, but if you are already playing AD&D (1e) or a clone that you are happy with then this is not a must buy. However, it's well written and there are some good charts and stuff in the back for the 'late game' when the characters are no longer your typical adventurers looking to make it big. I think my disappointment is because of all the great things I've heard about this system said stuff like "I'll never go back to any other system!" and "It's what RPGs were always meant to be!" and when looking through it there was nothing new to me.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by Michael B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/03/2012 13:50:22
Adventurer Conqueror King System or ACKS as it's becoming known is one of those pleasant surprises you always hope for when you download a PDF, (in particular a new ruleset) from RPGNow. The key to this system is present in it's title. The design is such that you begin your characters life as a budding Adventurer, seeking fame, fortune and the like. As you gain those, you graduate on to what might be called a conqueror as you begin to tame and settle borderlands or even conquer existing domains. This leads to a growth phase where much of the game revolves (or rather, CAN revolve) around building a mighty kingdom.

But what does all this mean? Well, to put it simply, Alex Macris and crew have done a wonderful job of adapting Labyrinth Lord to a game where dungeon craws slowly get replaced with something of a SimCity/Civilization ruleset. And, to my pleasant surprise, it seems to work really well.

The game has support for 14 levels and honestly I'd say that's all you need. It has about a dozen classes, include the 4 core classes and some interesting non-core. Most align nicely with what you'd expect but a couple are interesting takes on iconic fantasy archetypes. For example, the Blade Dancer, a female human cleric type class has a lot of interesting potential. Yes, I did say that correctly. Race, (in this case, human) and even gender can be tied to class. This means a bit of class bloat potential (elven cleric/dwarven cleric/human cleric/being 3 classes etc) but it also means that they can have a singularly simple and elegant proficiency system that allows each class to customize their character. The foundation of this is having 2 proficiency pools. You get a class pool of proficiencies (skills and feats) and a general pool. There is a lot of overlap between the two. So lets say you want to play a fighter who also likes to perform. Rather than being forced to play a Bard, you can take the Perform proficiency because it exists in both the Bard class proficiency pool as well as the General Proficiency pool. You get to choose several proficiencies, some from each pool at various points in your career. This allows you to double down on your class by taking class proficiencies, even from the General pool or to be a jack of all trades by taking as many non-class proficiencies as your heart desires.

Summary: If you want to start slowly with a serious world building ruleset where total domination is the ultimate goal, this is the place to do it. You'll get 5-8 levels of more or less comfortable Labyrinth Lord style gameplay (including VERY simply conversion of LL modules and content) and then move into the medieval equivalent of Civilization the RPG at your own pace, or not at all if the LL spin off seem appropriate. The really nice part is that the end game varies greatly based on class. If you are a fighter type, you'll want to start a domain and take over towns and cities and tax the goods traded within your borders. If you're a cleric type, you'll want to start a church and build a massive congregation which will grant you increasing power from your deity. If you're an Explorer (think: Ranger) you'll want to build a Wilderness Outpost and tame the borderlands to increase the size of a Kingdom. Elves build Fastnesses, Dwarves - Vaults, Thieves and Assassins - Hideouts and Guilds. The potential here is immense. I can only imagine the bedlam that might ensue as a Cleric starts trying to build a church in the same town where an Assassin is attempting to build his hideout. The opportunity for epic gamesmanship unlike we're used to in typical fantasy RPGs is staggering.

They're currently developing an Advanced Compendium (as of 5/4/12). It looks to include quite a few new classes and a couple of new races along with over 100 new templates, which is the ACKS way of delivering rapid character design and customization. Want your Fighter to be like Lancelot? There's probably a template for that. It will auto-assign the proficiencies so that you get the feel without having to read every single one and compare them. BUT if you're a munchkin who just loves doing that, the system supports you nicely as well.

My hat is off to Alex, Greg and Tavis.

Also of note: After ordering the PDF, I decided to grab a hardcopy as well. There is a discount on the hardcopy with a coupon code found in the PDF, making the PDF essentially FREE! That's a great deal right there. Lastly, the forums, while not overly abundant with traffic, are quite friendly and the principals frequent them almost daily so if you are one who likes to engage directly with the designers, this system is perfect for you.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by Dominique C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2012 04:05:04
I bought AKCS mostly out of curiosity. It's before all an "OSR" game (i.e. old school renaissance rpg), a simulacrum of the basic/classic older D&D rpg. Where Labyrinth Lord is a "clone" intent on reproducing basic old D&D faithfully, AKCS is a simulacrum, meaning it's that old game but with more modern, streamlined game mechanics, and differences.

The main difference is that AKCS uses the same mechanic as saving throws for combat and skill checks (and others things). I must say it works very well, and is a welcome simplification. That is, for each class level there is a target number that a character must equal or exceed with a d20 roll (to which he adds his bonuses and the target's ascending AC) to hit his opponent. I like this very much.

There is 12 classes, including of course the core Fighter, Thief, Mage and Cleric. Elves and dwarves get two classes each. Well, I am a little dubious about the dwarf classes, that provide even less abilities than they did in the original D&D, and are thus very much alike a Fighter and Cleric. There is also 4 variant classes derived from the core: Assassin, Bard, Bladedancer and Explorer. Here also, these classes are rather bland. Bladedancer for example is very much a cleric with little difference. Explorer replaces the Halfling class from BD&D. However, the good point is that classes can be customized with adding proficiencies, that are derived from 2e NWP and 3e Feats.

Then, unlike all the clones and simulacrums I have read before, AKCS provide extensive rules for castle and dominion management, ritual magic, and much more. All these pages are really a good addition that will be useful to players and GMs IMO. I won't detail them here, since I only flipped through these pages so far, but I am glad to see them included.

Lastly about art: it must be noted that AKCS is lavishly illustrated, which enliven the whole work and makes it pleasant to read.

If I were to run or play in a Classic-Basic D&D game, AKCS is the iteration I would want to use without a doubt.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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