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Adventurer Conqueror King System
Publisher: Autarch
by David Y. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 06/26/2021 16:48:40

I consider this 2 things at once. It's a stand-alone rules system that's heavily inspired by B/X rules, and it's also a giant pile of rules for downtime, high level adventuring (you're a king with a keep now, etc), running campaigns, extra proficiencies, henchmen/hireling/experts hiring, etc. So I'll write two separate reviews here:

High level play, campaigns, stronghelds, NPCs, etc SOLID 5 stars. One of the best sourcebooks I've ever seen. Straightforward and useful. Many products say "here's the price of a tower for your keep" but this gives you entire frameworks for actually gaming as somebody who has a stronghold. Many products have some simple stuff about hiring experts, this one goes into lots of excellent detail. Tons of proficiencies, getting lost, foraging, wilderness rules, special maneuvers, sea combat, drowning, crimes and punishment, trading, plant toxins, etc. This section is absolutely worth the price of admission and I recommend the book for this. I see this book as all these wonderful things to drop into my campaign with my rules system.

Stand-alone B/X-inspired rules system 2 stars. Basically trash. It's as if people took OD&D and make a couple completely arbitrary changes that make it less compatible and more mathy without any actual gain. Don't buy the book for this, buy the book for the stuff in the previous section which is fantastic.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Thanks for the review. Glad you found the high-level play sections to be of such value! Sad to hear you found the system to be trash.

You mentioned that a lot of changes from BX seemed completely arbitrary. I wanted to respond quickly to note that virtually all of the changes I made were pursuant to the focus on domain-level play. I didn't do a good job of explaining that in the rules (it's on the ACKS blog). Here are some examples:

- In BX, high-level fighters never gain any bonus to damage or additional attacks. In ACKS, fighter get a damage bonus by level and can cleave anytime they kill an enemy, up to their level. This combo make fighters exponentially more powerful in melee combat as they level. That becomes very important in Domains at War (the mass combat supplement), where it enables solo fighters to be threats to massed formations of troops. In BX, high level fighters are irrelevant on the battlefield.

- In BX, fireball has a 20' radius. In ACKS, fireball has a 20' diameter (10' radius). In Domains at War, troops organize into 60' x 40' formations of 120 troops (2400 square feet). The change to the radius of fireball (from 20' radius to 10' radius) reduces the area of effect from 1,256 square feet to 314 square feet, which is the difference between 1/2 and 1/8 of a company being destroyed by a fireball. On first read, it seems like an arbitrary change, but that one small change is the difference between pitched battles feeling like modern warfare or classical warfare.

- In BX, various actions are resolved with d20, d6, or d100. In ACKS, all actions are resolved with d20. My thought was that because I was adding so many extra sub-systems for war, politics, thieves, magic research, etc., I needed to have a unified resolution mechanic or it would become mind-boggingly confusing. I ran BX for years with d% thieves and d6 listen/door/secret door checks, so I didn't make the change arbitrarily.

Thanks again for the review.
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Adventurer Conqueror King System
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