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Eyrie of the Dread Eye
by Edward H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/16/2019 15:55:02

I've been following the Hack and Slash blog for about seven years now, and been running an occasional ACKS campaign for nearly as long. So this module was something of a no-brainer, an attempt to see how a well-regarded RPG theorist would approach the actual creation of a higher-level module designed specifically for a specific enhanced-retro rules system.

Overall the module is a quality produce which pushes ACKS a bit farther in the 'weird fantasy' direction than it's been before. This is a fairly obvious tribute to the classic Zeb Cook module "Dwellers of the Forbidden City", in the same way that the earlier ACKS module AX1 was a tribute to "Keep on the Borderlands". (If Autarch is reading these reviews, maybe this is the right time to put in a request for a tribute module for a hexcrawl like X1...) As might be inferred from the inspiration, this is a product that should appeal to anyone who loves classic-era TSR modules.

I'd guess that this could be used for something like 4-8 sessions of play, depending on length and how thorough your players are. I'd rank the difficulty as "hard", at least relative to the skill and experience of my own group -- but veterans of the old school might relish a little more challenge, and find this material to be par for the course. I think I'm less likely to play it as written, and more likely to use as a template for designing my own similar mid-level adventures.

There are a few minor editing issues that will probably be corrected in the next update (if they haven't been already). There are still numerous references to "p. XX" in the Core rules, which need to be filled in. (A search of the pdf turned up 5 instances). There are also a few references to an alien wizard called "the Collector" who rules "the Ik" which seems to be never described in the rules. There's a reference to finding more information in the monsters section on "page 47", but neither the Ik nor the Collector appear there in the initial release. I'm not going to make any deductions for these kind of editing issues, on the assumption that they will naturally be cleaned up over time.

I'd also appreciate it if new monsters could be introduced in the same way as in other ACKS products, with a small box that indicates their types. (Are genetically modified white apes "animals" or "humanoids"? Pretty important for knowing what spells to use against them!)

Here are a few other issues (spoiler warning) that one should appreciate before purchasing and running this module:

  1. Courtney Campbell loves traps and tricks, especially deadly ones that go well beyond the usual "hit point tax" variety. One of the very first rooms encountered is a structurally unstable chamber that amounts to "rocks fall, you die". In fact, it's designed to only collapse once pretty much the entire party is inside. If your players aren't accustomed to playing close attention to descriptive text clues, it can easily result in a TPK during the very first session. With my own group, I think this kind of dungeon is better suited for a short-term higher-level experience, not as part of a longer campaign starting from first level that has already seen the investment of dozens of play hours. Warn your players to have back-up characters prepared, just in case!

  2. There are a few R-rated elements of the adventure, or at any rate, elements that can move in that direction. For example, there's one place where guardians can be bypassed by (in effect) having a big messy group-sex orgy just before encountering them, due to their distinctive religious taboos. There are other ways around the encounter, but it's worth thinking through those options in advance and trying to figure out which of your players will be gung-ho for bukkake -- and which of them will be downright horrified by the ones who will be gung-ho!

  3. The adventure introduces an ever-present outdoor menace of wyverns, in order to make life miserable for the players. This is actually a great idea as a tension-builder and to force players to conserve resources for the trip home, but it should also give you an idea of the level of difficulty represented by a module intended for "4 to 6" adventurers of "6th to 8th" level. You're going to have very frequent random encounters with monsters that you can't evade and that can kill you instantly with poison, just in the course of carting treasure back to town. I'd probably lists this as "for 4 to 6 adventurers and a bunch of their meatshield henchmen", just for clarity.

  4. I'm definitely in favor of this kind of adventure overall, but it's a little more "gonzo" than some of the previous releases from Autarch, and should be appreciated as a sort of surreal nightmare of Lovecraftian weirdness that stands in contrast to the more mundane orcs and goblins that the default ACKS setting implies. It's going to feel like a departure from vanilla-flavored ACKS. It also has an obvious transition zone where the normal outdoor encounters end and the body-horror encounters begin, so you don't have to worry so much about the madness leaking out to infest the rest of your campaign world. (Unless you really WANT it to....)


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eyrie of the Dread Eye
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by David D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/11/2019 10:48:12

Excellent OSR system with a strong focus on 'high level play' meaning political play where you become kings, archmages, high priests, merchant princes, and crime lords.

If you want to be able to constantly play the 'game of thrones' with many factions and types of faction this game is for you. Huge variety, and many tables to help randomly generate or simulate political and economic changes in your world.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurer Conqueror King System
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Eyrie of the Dread Eye
by Mike M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2019 23:27:04

The adventure is excellently written with the GM (Judge) in mind.

Some examples:

  • NPCs section has just enough description to easily convey how an NPC could be played, without providing so much detail as to overwhelm, followed by proper statblocks for each (why is this missing in so many other adventures?).
  • Obscure rules that might otherwise require referring to rulebooks are put in a place where they can be easily accessed in the description, saving the judge a potential distraction during session.
  • Random encounters are detailed, including tactics and tidbits about each creature's motivations (just enough info) for the judge to provide context.

It really is the little conveniences that make this adventure a pleasure to read. The author, Courtney Campbell (of Hack n Slash blog fame) does a masterful job succinctly and conveniently presenting just enough information to get a location right, for immediate presentation to my players without having to translate anything in my head.

If I had one complaint, it would be that the maps themselves aren't colorized, but that is a relatively minor gripe, as they're very detailed.

For $5 you can't go wrong with this mid-level OSR adventure for ACKS, as an added bonus, it should be very easy to tie in to the rest of the Auran Empire Borderlands region, if you have any of the other AX adventures, or the Auran Empire primer. It isn't assumed that you'll do so, however, and it should be easily addable to your own sandbox.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eyrie of the Dread Eye
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Eyrie of the Dread Eye
by Bastien P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2019 16:51:01

A most excellent tribute to the classic I1: Dwellers of the Forbidden City. Deadly environmental hazards, multiple rival factions to ally with or oppose, weird monsters galore, all done in classic Courtney Campbell style. If you need an adventure for your mid-level D&D/OSR group, this one is definitely worth the look.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Eyrie of the Dread Eye
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/05/2019 16:25:27

A high quality product with excellent art and a really interesting adventure location. It's not the typical dungeon crawl. There are some inovative locations and mechanics to go with them.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined City of Cyfandir
by A customer [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/24/2019 18:21:10

This is excellent product detailing the city and inhabitants. The maps are well drawn and the random building contents table add a surprising level of flavour to an already excellent product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Ruined City of Cyfandir
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The Sinister Stone of Sakkara 5E
by Michael D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/04/2019 03:06:20

this review is based on the pdf and is written from a perspective of a DM who exclusively plays on line

Its a standard intro adventure set in in the Roman style fort and the surrounding wilderness, this isn't your usual pseudo medieval setting

The adventure has been converted from another fantasy roleplaying system and a good job appears to have been done. the plot is simplistic and unoriginal and heavily tied in to the back ground the other fantasy rpg, saving that I'm sure it would be enjoyable for players. The adventure is clearly laid out and easy to read however all bar one of the maps are in black and white and are unusable with out extensive work to use on Roll20/fantasy grounds. I like to see separate map files with room numbers and secret doors removed for online play, however there are several good illustrations that are useful to show to players , some are even in colour!



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Sinister Stone of Sakkara 5E
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Guns of War
by David K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/13/2018 09:51:29

Brings ACK from the Age of Antiquity to the Age of Reason in terms of weapons and warfare.

Reason I did not give it five stars was I wished it would have provided some updates to the ACK classes.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Guns of War
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by christopher b. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2018 16:40:55

The reviewer is writing this review using his own personally bought copy of the product

Adventurer Conqueror King System (or ACKS) came into existence back in 2011. It was right at the height of the OSR's first big boom, where most of the products went from PDF only affairs to offering more traditional dead tree format. While there have been literally well over a hundred different variations of old D&D rules, you would be deceiving yourself to think once you have seen one you have seen them all.

ACKS did not come on to my radar until much later through a Bundle of Holding offer. At the time I was playing 5E and Swords and Wizardry. Swords and Wizardry will always be near and dear to my heart, but I found myself wanting something with a little more teeth. Something that really took the old idea of character progression into something other than just more advanced murder hobo adventures. Sure as a DM I have control over the world my players are in and all the intricacies available therein. But having a mechanics system in place to handle the heavy lifting sure is nice.

I was looking through my DrivethruRPG library and what pops up but this package from Bundle of Holding I purchased a year and a half ago. I began skimming the product and was kind of shocked at what I was seeing. I had assumed (boy never a good thing to do) that it was another B/X clone. Not a bad thing mind you, but not exactly what I was looking for. What I found was something else.

Becoming an Adventurer

First of all, let's discuss or define what a B/X game looks like in comparison to more modern renditions of Dungeons and Dragons. B/X typically only took you to level 14. Levels 1-3 were the basic level of the game chiefly revolving around dungeon crawls. Levels 4-14 were focused on the exploration of wilderness environments, and once characters reached level 9, the idea of ruling a small domain with many servants or followers to assist you. Race and class were one in the same with only humans actually selecting a class type and the others being relegated to racially stereotypical pursuits.

Humans

ACKS keeps the same level scheme of 1-14 but changes several other aspects up quite a bit. First of all, ACKS provides many classes in the core book beyond the standard affair. Humans have the options of being Fighters, Mages, Clerics, Thieves, Assasins, Bards, Bladedancers (clerics that are slightly more functional at fighting and mobility at the cost of wearing certain armor types), and Explorers (rangers of a sort more focused on actual outdoor survival without the spell component).

Non-Humans

Nonhumans instead of being one singular class are divided up into different aspects of their society. Elves can choose from Elven Nightblades (think sorcerer/assassin) or Elven Spellsword (fighter/mage combo). Dwarves have Dwarven Vault guards (typical iconic dwarf), and Dwarven Craft priest (combine cleric and fighter together without the hefty restrictions of a paladin).

No halflings appear in this rulebook (though do not worry they do appear later in another product) and nonhumans do still get restricted on level gain, though this is less of an issue with ACKS leveling system ending at 14 for human classes.

Optimization in droves

ACKS utilizes a proficiency system. While this is not a new idea, the way it is utilized is both efficient and really changes ACKS from being just another retroclone restating the same tired ideas. Within ACKS, Proficiencies fall somewhere in between feats and skills. Couple this with the use of templates and you can really make a customized version of whatever class you decide on that further individualizes without having to make yet another class.

Proficiencies are unique to certain class types. There are of course shared proficiencies, but by and large, this is more within a template (something I will go into more detail about on the Players Companion review). This makes a sword and board fighter operate differently from say a 2 handed fighter. The Mercenary template for instance: you throw in 2 proficiencies, Combat reflexes and Manual of Arms and a customized equipment package flavored to the more iconic mercenary role and voila your fighter is instead a professional soldier for hire.

Magic by the numbers

Magic in ACKS will be both familiar and unique compared to other OSR systems. I realize that is a fairly vague statement. So in most d20 systems wizards have a pool of spells in their spellbook. ACKS is no different in this. Where the differences come in is how those spells are utilized. Normally arcane spellcasters are restricted to only using those spells they have memorized unless we are talking about 3.X era Sorcerers. The problem with Sorcerers is that not everyone wants a spellcaster that does not have to "pay" in the traditional sense for their power. What this did is set what some looked at as an unfair imbalance to the more traditional mindset of spellcasting based around Vancian rules.

ACKS, however, says any spell in your repertoire can be used provided you have the spell slot left to cast it. This might seem like a minor change but in effect what it does is make the magic-user more flexible. Now the spellcaster can safely go into dungeons knowing that not only do they have offensive magic usable but also all those oft unused utility spells that could potentially make or break an encounter. I was skeptical at first until I saw this in practice. It worked very well and was in no way overpowering. The limitation of so many spells cast per day keeps it railed in while giving the benefit of far more utility.

ACKS has little touches inserted all over the place to individualize itself. The author encourages folks playing spellcasters to add little signatures that are aesthetic in name but really help to flavor their caster individually. The example that is given in the book is of a necromancer character that whenever he casts magic missile the magic manifests as a shard of a bone. It is a simple nonmechanical storytelling the device that still helps to further the idea of not relying on a hard mechanic to define your character.

Fantasy economy done right

One of the surprises and delights of Adventurer Conqueror King System is the extensive study of 4th-8th-century history that the authors have done. A great deal of analysis has gone on to properly represent from a socioeconomic point of view the very real financial and labor challenges living in that era would have produced. Your first introduction to this is the equipment section, in which equipment availability by market size, as well as pricing conventions based upon supply and demand. This is not done in a time-consuming fashion. Everything is lined up in easy to follow tables that very quickly let the Judge scan for the market type based on domain size. In a clear manner, this tells the Judge how to price objects, if they are available, and if not if it is possible to get the product in and how long it will take.

A lot of folks hear the word tables, and that turns them off thinking this is going to be a game where they have to nonstop consult table after table. I am here to tell you, the information is oriented in a fashion in which it's easy to find in a time of need without disrupting gameplay for long periods of time. Later when the rulebook begins discussing domain management and creation, the game offers meticulous detail about acreage, production of resources based on peasant morale, population, and natural sustainability. A desert offers different financial and logistical differences than an overgrown forested region. All of this is presented in a fashion that a Judge can find and use with ease.

This land is my land

It was always the intent of Dungeons and Dragons B/X era gaming to guide players from lowly dungeon delver to wilderness explorer, to notable and important heroic figure and eventually to ruler. While a system to do this has been included in just about every iteration of D&D since B/X days, only in the BECMI rendition is the concept actually given real depth in the core rules. Yes, supplements have been offered in one fashion or another, but a supplement makes it more of an optional thing than an actual feature or focus of the game.

ACKS chooses to instead really dial in this oft-neglected aspect of gaming. Sure your adventurers will dive into pits of despair. But around 3rd to 4th level they spread their wings and begin to focus on exploring the wilderness surrounding them. As tales of their heroics spread, so does their notoriety. The movers and shakers of the land begin to take notice, and with this also comes those who will seek the players out.

However, this is just where the fun begins. In order to create a stronghold or a domain, the players must first clear or "conquer" the surrounding hexes from their chosen build site. This is the only way they can hope to attract not just followers, but peasants and commerce to come to their domain. The costs in labor, time, pedigree of hireling required (engineers for instance) is laid out in digestible bits that neither overwhelm nor undersell the reader.

Once the project is complete and the domain established now the mechanics of actually running a realm come into play. With such an eye for historical accuracy and logical population disbursement (you won't find a town of 50,000 people in a medieval desert setting where it would have been impossible to sustain it) you can easily weight the requirements of maintaining and growing your kingdom.

Creation defined

A lot of products shy away from the idea of letting players construct or build things. Specifically, most of this kind of detail did not become available until the 3.x era of gaming, and even then as an afterthought or option without the true details needed to fully convey this process. ACKS however does not shy from tackling this topic.

Complete rules are given for creating magic items, researching and creating new spells, building magical constructs, and necromantic minions and more. What is more interesting is that it also gives rules on how to infuse this into the domain aspect. A mage might have a few apprentices, which instead of just being fluff actually serve the purpose of advancing the mages personal goals and acquisition of power. This is done through harvesting ingredients, researching spells, writing scrolls or a myriad of other various functions. Your retainers, hirelings, and followers are more than mere torch wielders and trap finders.

This idea that a player can create items worthy of the magic item index is not new, but rarely has it been portrayed in the common sense fashion that it is in ACKS. Once again all of this is presented in an easy to follow fashion that is modular, use it or don't use it at your leisure. If you want the total ACKS experience use it, but if you just want it to be basic, the game runs fine without it.

Summary of my thoughts on ACKS

ACKS is not a retroclone as much as it is a reinforcement of the B/X foundation, then a layered approach of adding complexity to this style of gameplay. All this is presented in a very modular format. Meaning you can easily remove this aspect if you dislike it as a gamemaster without breaking anything. I think that is important to folks who look for flexibility in a system. It can be as complex or as clean a B/X inspired game as you want it to be. The foundation has been refined to perfection so that other aspects of ACKS can sit comfortably atop it.

The core rulebook follows a very predictable pattern in how it presents information. Chapters roll into one another in a common sense placement. You can tell time and understanding of gaming has clearly helped the author to conceive a functional layout. Every chapter progresses on the groundwork of the chapter before it in a clear and concise pattern.

The author has constantly worked towards individualizing the product. Attack Throws or To hit numbers are neither the Thac0 system nor the ascending system as it is used in 3.x products. It falls right in the middle still following an ascending pattern and more common sense approach of simply needing to add the respective armor class to a base roll to figure out the number needed. Unarmored foes start as Armor Class 0, and armor increases positively from there.

The artwork is superb with gorgeous color cover art and amazing interior Black & White illustrations. The author's tone is easy to follow and even subject matter that would have put me to sleep in other games is presented in a fashion to keep the reader interested. Most of this is done by using constant examples to make the idea shown click.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Adventurer Conqueror King System
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Heroic Fantasy Handbook
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/17/2018 19:40:39

Sometimes its not the genre but the way that a book presents the material. In this case The Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch tries its best to heal a nagging ulcer that has existed in the table top role playing game fantasy book fandom since the early days. That is the divide between the fans of High fantasy vs Low fantasy. There's also a similar divide between modern Dark Fantasy fans & pure pulp magazine fans. The sub divisions of hobbies & fandom also spills over in to Sword & Planet vs Heroic Fantasy books & so forth. All of this B.S. spilled over into the Appendix N of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide back in '79. Basically its a way for others to turn their nose up at other people who are using the themes, ideas,etc. of any of the above to play adventures, campaigns, & games where the themes & elements of High Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Sword & Planet, Dark Fantasy, Pulp are used & mixed with gusto! Others haven't been playing their own campaigns 'the right way'. Personally I think all of these definitions & divisions are manure! The Heroic Fantasy Handbook From Autarch takes the ideals of all of the above & boils them into a stew that focuses the lens of Heroic Fantasy in a set of actually playable & usable guidelines for the Adventurers, Conqueror, King retroclone system.

How does "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" do this? Well, let's look at the actual definition of Heroic Fantasy from L. Sprague de Camp's introduction to the 1967 Ace edition of Conan (Robert E. Howard), p. 13.

""Heroic fantasy" is the name I have given to a subgenre of fiction, otherwise called the "sword-and-sorcery" story. It is a story of action and adventure laid in a more or less imaginary world, where magic works and where modern science and technology have not yet been discovered. The setting may (as in the Conan stories) be this Earth as it is conceived to have been long ago, or as it will be in the remote future, or it may be another planet or another dimension. Such a story conbines [sic] the color and dash of the historical costume romance with the atavistic supernatural thrills of the weird, occult, or ghost story. When well done, it provides the purest fun of fiction of any kind. It is escape fiction wherein one escapes clear out of the real world into one where all men are strong, all women beautiful, all life adventurous, and all problems simple, and nobody even mentions the income tax or the dropout problem or socialized medicine."

"The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" does this by giving the players options that are patterned after the stories, novels, etc. of the subgenre itself while keeping the basics patterns & ideas that are found in the ACK's handbook in tact whist adding a set of 16 new character classes inspired by the archetypes of material. This isn't a quick coat of paint & bunch of OGL revamps but a loving & well thought out inspiration of material. "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is well laid out & easy on the eye with a professional care toward its magick systems & PC options. This is a two hundred & twenty four page monster of a book with magics that reflect & heighten the ideals of the material presented in the the Adventurers, Conqueror, King retroclone system. The eldritch magic system is a marriage of the magicks of Conan's Mythos with the temptations of hinted at in C.S. Lewis's Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe along side the weirdness of Tolkien. And all of this echos back to the world of ACK's.

The ceremonial magicks of "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" give the magician a far more reaching & subtle mechanism for game play enabling players to give a heavy hand during play on monsters, rulers, and other enemies. This magick turns the wizard in question into a power to be reckoned with not only in life but in economics & during adventures. There's more weirdness here with the implementation of spellsinging which is directly related to ACK's elves & it works to give the Elven enchanters more arcane muscle which they sorely need. There are over a hundred & fifty five spells here & this doesn't mean that "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is another padded 'splat book'. "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" is designed as an add on book for characters looking to be flesh out for play in a more complete campaign setting. There's lots of options here and all of them are actually usable. This isn't a bull crap book trying to take your money. This is a book for adding more dimension to your ACK's characters & NPC's. This book is as much for the dungeon master as its for the players. Was the "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" worth the wait? Yes it was! This is a five out of five book and no I'm not kidding. This is the book that I wish I had when I started my ACK's & OSR campaigns. Why because it works at what it does and that's kick ass & take names! Why do I say this? Because if you want to run a down & dirty campaign with all of the elements of ACK's Sword & Sorcery mixed with a healthy dose of Tolkein then this is the book for you! If you want to run a straight up balls to the walls Sword & Planet campaign then your going to want the ACK's rule book & Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. But you'll want "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook"to bring the thunder & lightning to the whole campaign affair. While not necessary the ACKS Player's Companionhas several kick ass NPC options that can still kick the crap out the player's PC's such as the Anti paladin, dwarven fury, & a few others to put those Heroic types down! Sorry but I'm going to give the "The Heroic Fantasy Handbook" a five out of five because its just that good!

Eric Fabiaschi Swords & Stitchery Want more OSR original content & more for this and other OSR games? Subscribe now to https://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Heroic Fantasy Handbook
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Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu
by Eric F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/11/2018 17:53:35

Over the course of a couple of days I've been doing a lot of hard thinking about old school systems & Pulp Era campaigns. I've also been doing revamps & rewrites on much of the current Pulp Era campaign. To that end I began to look into Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu . This book is right in my wheel house leaning close to the edge of both Sword & Planet with a huge foot hold in the Sword & Sorcery end of the prehistoric ocean. Alexander Macris & Omer Joel,are no strangers to the science fantasy genre & this book proves it. So what is the book & setting like? Well imagine if the creators of Buck Rogers & Flash Gordon got together with H.P. Lovecraft & Robert Howard to create an episode of Seventies Battle Star Galactica set on a lost planet. This planet would be Kanahu. Forget Eternia, Kanahu is a place where He Man or Thundarr would feel right at home. The world of Kanahu used to be a Grey outpost work & there is a lot of their artifacts still hanging around because human slaves were toiling away & mining the planet for valuable materials. The Greys are on the wane but the alien slave races including humans are on their way back! You've seen this plot & what not a thousand times but this is Bak baby! Swords & barbarians are everywhere. Whole setting is geared for gonzo Eighties action! And the Greys are still taking slaves for the mines so your old school characters better watch out. The world of Kanahu has lots of racial classes suited for the setting that deal the players into the vibe & science fantasy groove of Kanahu setting. "A set of 15 new character classes from the world of Kanahu, including the scurrying roach-like bugman, the dreaded cultist, the inhuman deep one hybrid, the mighty dragon incarnate, the stealthy geckoman stalker, the savagely sorcerous lizardman witch-doctor, and the mysterious alien Nephil. " There are these & more with lizard men & insect bugmen taking center stage as the former servants of the Serpent men & Greys respectively. Kanahu is a world in deep trouble with the forces of Chaos having raged across it in ages past and now the science fantasy races are having to deal with centuries of fallout. Robots, cybernetic horrors, and worse lay in wait for players whilst worse Lovecraftian horrors from across the Outer Darkness crawls up from the depths of the planet once held in check by the Greys. This is a world where dungeon dwellers & ruin seekers are going to feel right at home & the consequences can be devastating to the players. The world of Kanahu has plasma weaponry in its artifact tables and their rather nasty. The writing is excellent as well as the layout & formatting which is easy on the eyes. There is a lot going on in Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu meaning that much of the science fantasy setting material adapts itself to both Sword & Sorcery as well as Science Fantasy role playing. The theme running through Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu is one of both tool kit & planetary sandbox. There are lots of options presented & placed on the table here. These themes are packed & paced into the book which complements & expands upon what's been presented in the Heroic Fantasy Handbook. While its not necessary to have the ACK's the Heroic Fantasy Handbook on hand I can see why the dungeon master & players would want it on hand. The ideas present in the book are highlighted with skill packages,proficiencies ,and other PC kits geared around through out the whole affair of Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. This adds into the sandbox nature of Kanahu as a setting for PC's to explore & get lost in on their way to getting killed in one of the planet's innumerable dungeons.
So let's talk about the expansions of ACK's with new takes on existing monsters such as the nasty versions of shambling mounds, terror birds, even the humble toadmen get a Lovecraft make over and its not a pretty one. These monsters all have ties to a variation of Lovecraftian Chaos & its something that PC's should avoid at all costs. This ties back into the revamp of the spells of Kanahu whose magick had a hand in the downfall of the planet. Seriously, there are some nasty business in these spells that you don't want PC's using. All together I'm rather pleased on the whole with the magic section because it really captures the flavor of what the writers & designers were going for. But how does one use Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu? This is the exact sort of setting book/science fantasy tool kit that I wish I had some months ago. For OSR science fantasy OSR games this is a God sent, no really. Take out the science fantasy planetary sandbox setting with lots of detail and your left with a tool kit perfectly suited for creating all kinds of extra solar system goodness. There are numerous hooks, tags & adventure fodder for doing exactly that built right into the back bone of Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu. There's already enough maps, ruins, etc. in the book to keep a group of players going for at least a year or more. But with a bit of clever slight of hand a DM could keep a group of players in his or her own setting going for years! I give Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu a five out of five for a really well thought out system and ACK's base for creating & maintaining a Sword & Planet, Sword & Sorcery or Dark Fantasy campaign. In my opinion grab this one! Eric Fabiaschi Sword & Stitchery blog Want more OSR content & original old school gaming stuff? Subscribe to http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu
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Axioms Yearly Subscription
by Joseph H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/02/2017 19:17:11

Beware! Axioms has stopped updating. No new issues have been released since March of 2017, which for a supposedly-quarterly magazine is pretty damning.

The artlcles in Axioms are interesting and provide fascinating options to anyone running a campaign using the Adventurer Conquerer King System, but spending money on future issues that don't actually eventuate is a waste. Buy the back issues, instead.



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Dwimmermount Dungeon Tracker
by Jake P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2017 09:23:59

I'm currently 7 sessions in to a Dwimmermount campaign. While the dungeon itself is remarkable, I would say the same of Barrowmaze, in which I've also run a campaign. What has set this experience apart is the Dungeon Tracker. I have a copy printed and laminated, and I keep behind my screen the two sheets appropriate to the level that the characters are exploring. Being laminated, I'm able to use wet erase markers to easily make notes and track time while having all of the most necessary details of the level right in front of me.

While I still keep a copy of Dwimmermount open on a small table to my side so that I have access to detailed room descriptions, the Dungeon Tracker seriously reduces the amount of page flipping I have to do during a game. That has translated into a tighter game and a more enjoyable experience for the entire table. The Tracker has also allowed me to keep my notes on the dungeon much better organized. With Barrowmaze, my copy of the book was littered with Post-It Notes, one per room that the PCs had explored, on which I had written what PCs had taken and defeated, what was left behind, and what may have moved in afterwards. Using the Dungeon Tracker with Dwimmermount, I can do a better job of maintaining a living dungeon environment while spending less time doing so.

I don't know how much value the Dungeon Tracker would have in purely electronic format, but printed, laminated, and perhaps bound using coil stock, I've encountered few game aids that come close to providing this much utility. For a referee running a game in Dwimmermount, or for anyone interested in tools for helping games play as easily as possible, I'd give this a very strong recommendation.



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Axioms Issue 1
by Jarrod M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/02/2017 12:12:58

I had a more detailed review, but DTRPG decided to let me timeout while writing up so you'll have to settle for the cliffs notes version.

Note: I am a subscribed to Autarch's Patreon, and got this issue as part of my ongoing support.

Beyond Arcane and Divine: These work best with the ACKs Player's companion rules, where you can combine new modifiers with the rules for making new spells. That being said, any B/X style D&D can use these rules along with the numbers that arcane and divine casters have to put existing spells at new levels. (For Example: if you make a magic source with healing at x2 when divine has it at x1, you can put cure light wounds as a level 2 spell).

The Shades of Magic: unlike other attempts at corruption systems I have seen, this breaks down an all-encompasing way to place all existing spells into either black, gray, or white magic. It provides a nicely balanced corruption table, and includes ways to further modify the system in pursuit of Howardian and Lovecraftian play.

Introducing the Wizard: this is an arcane spellcaster subject to shaded magic with several variants reminiscent of the wizards from Lord of The Rings. Because of the added abilities canceling out shaded magic, these variants are balanced with the core ACKs mage and therefore with any magic-user in a B/X system.

The Art of Arcanogenesis: this will make the most sense to people who have read the other kinds of Magical Research descrbied in Core ACKs, but the rules are so detailed that even someone unfamiliar should be able to follow along. This is about creating new monstrosities whole cloth. the example included is a non-copyright-infringing version of a certain eye-stalked floating orb.

Overcasting: this brings systems for getting to cast more spells in a day, like those in Dungeon Crawl Classics, to ACKs



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Axioms Issue 1
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
by Jarrod M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/23/2016 10:56:39

This game was my introduction to the OSR, but it's much more than that.

Adventurer Conqueror King not only gives you an updated and clever reconfiguring of the original B/X Dungeons & Dragons rules, it delivers on the promise of high level play.

So many D&D games make reference to "gaining a stronghold and followers" at level 9, but they offer no interpretation of what that means, what that would be like. It's often relegated to story dressing, and doesn't get the attention that, say, combat does. ACKs fills in this sorely needed gap in a way that is largely compatible with most fantasy medieval games.

They say that what you give experience for in an RPG determines the kind of play you encourage. In this way, ACKs encourages ruling kingdoms, engaging in magical research, founding religions, running a thieves guild, or embarking on mercantile ventures as well as it does things like killing foes and stealing their treasure. Not only this, but it encourages doing these things boldly: timid rulers satisfied with their holds won't gain XP, but ambitious conquerors who expand their realm will.

Of course, these rules alone are worth the price of entry, and are easily ported to your game of choice, as the economic ideas underpinning the XP rewards are consistent enough to survive translation as long as you properly anchor to common worths. But the actual rules for playing adventurers are good too. You get a servicable expansion of available classes that simultaneously preserves the feel of "race as class" while giving people playing demihumans more options than usual.

And as if that wasn't enough: this system is well supported. If you find that you like this, you will be amazed at the supplements available that can further expand your games into anything you've ever wanted to run.



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