Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Specialist Wizard (ACKS Class)

Specialist wizards! Always fun!

This starts vacation season, so I'm throwing you, dear readers, an incredibly cheap filler post while I'm on holiday. Do please forgive me.

Did you know there's a specialist wizard hidden inside every Mage in the ACKS Core book?

That's right! Let's find it:

From the Mage description, page 19, ACKS Core:

They may only fight with quarterstaffs, clubs, daggers, and darts. They are unable to use shields, fight with two weapons, or wear any kind of armor.
From the "Fighting 0" description in the ACKS PC:

It may fight with only one of the following two selections from among the fighting styles: two weapons or two-handed weapons. The class may not perform cleaves. 
EXAMPLE: The standard mage was built with Fighting Value 0. A mage cannot wear armor and may only use quarterstaffs, clubs, daggers, and darts. A mage can fight with two-handed weapons (e.g., staffs).
The mage can fight with two handed weapons, but the only one he's proficient with is the staff. It's been errata'd that a staff can be used one-handed for 1d4 damage.

What hungry acolyte willing to risk his or her immortal soul for the unlimited power of the arcane is going to worry about an extra point of damage when debasing themselves with the rigors of physical combat? None that I know.

Let's trade that in for a custom power! Thanks to the ACKS-PC, we've got plenty of choices. How many? Too many - in fact, only a few of them are really compelling:
  • 1 custom power at 1st level
  • 1 power at 2nd, 1 at 12th
  • 1 power at 3rd, another at 11th
  • 1 custom power at 4th, another at 10th.
  • Somewhere around 50+ other permutations, which maybe one day I'll write a script to enumerate. I took a stab at it and found out you can really backload a class into getting a pile of proficiencies at 13th and 14th.
I'm inclined to work with 4th and 10th - research and minor items kick in at 5th, and then there's the stronghold and major items at 9th, and ritual spells/constructs/crossbreeds at 11th. 4th and 10th fits in all that nicely.

And there we go, with some examples splitting things up via the 3E/PF schools of magic.

There's a whole mess of design space floating around the Mastery of Charms and Illusions / Elementalism / Black Lore of Zahar custom powers/proficiencies that could be filled in with something that aligns up correctly with ACKSPC's custom spell creation categories, so you could be a Blast specialist or a Summoning specialist.

Maybe later.


  1. Looks solid. May steal. One difficulty I foresee, though, is that a lot of those are things that folks often take as their 1st-level picks; how do you handle "I wanted to be a necromancer, so I took Black Lore at 1st, and now I just hit 4th" ?

  2. I am going to make up a list of several options to expand this list. For example, the various Detect and Sensing proficiencies are good options for the Divination specialist. I also see powers like Beast Friendship belonging to a nature mage. Having a list of powers that one might take in place of the ones Koewn started would give you the flexibility you're looking for.


  3. Indeed - the main issue with this as presented is the dearth of options. In fact, the Mage gets a General proficiency at 5 and 9, and a Class proficiency at 6th, so there's no reason an above-average INT Mage can't already have everything on the lists I presented.

    There's probably many solutions, the easiest being "have more proficiencies to choose from", and probably force the choice of a class proficiency for those slots - somewhat reflecting the paternal d20's Wizard metamagic feat slots every 5 levels.

    Another option, if you've got a campaign world that has strong "wizard school" type organizations is to have a subset of proficiencies that are typed as "College Wizard" proficiencies that can only be taken in those two slots - give your mages the option of joining a school or not, and if not, those mages can only fill the extra slots with regular proficiencies.