Sunday, December 25, 2016

Resolutions & New Ventures

Greetings of the season, and further well wishes and such.

I'm upgrading my home server today with discarded components from work; ~4 year old motherboard+CPU in place of ~9 year old motherboard+CPU; quite a leap, all things considered. Across the hall, children immerse themselves in loot, and my wife is doing some genealogy work. All in all, a Christmas well spent, so far.

Other priorities than you, dear reader, keep my iridescent cloud of fluttering ideas from alighting on my keyboard to entertain you, I apologize for the long absence.

One would assume this time of year I'd be declaring with some recklessness a promise of a change in the year to come, especially as evidenced from the title of the post. Instead, I'll coyly turn that title around into two threads of holiday filler - this leopard's spots are far too finely distributed to change alignment now.

New Venture(r)s

The 1-1-2 build, Fighting 1, HD 1, Thievery 2, exudes a bit of every-man adventurer, a mid-weight combatant who rounds out their capabilities with extra skills.

This relates, practically, to two existing classes, and one homebrew class.

The first is the Bard - done well in ACKS; it encapsulates more than other versions the spirit of the "gaming version" of the bard without going too woo-woo on the "magic of music" corner of the cliche.

The second, then, is the Venturer. It may be the most ACKSy of classes, tapping into the mercantile rules as it's niche, but has an additive spellcasting ability later on. My take on it is an experienced merchant who picks up a hobby in arcane casting after curiously poking through various books as they pass through his possession - a neat thing, but possibly overspecific (or, if I had my druthers, there'd be a way for any character to apprentice herself to a mage (or hire as a tutor) later in life)

The third, the homebrew class, the Diplomat. That type fills another niche in ACKS - the well-formed system around which henchmen and hirelings are practically and effectively employed.

I kinda like classes with branches - the Witch in the Player's Companion being one example. I bet I can turn these three ideas into a single class. So I did, and this is what I'll utilize as a Venturer class:

WeaponsBroad, (i),(v)Narrow (ii),(iv)Broad, (i),(v)
Fighting Styles2WF, 2HW2WF, 2HW2HW, WS
1Perform1Mercantile Network1Leadership
2Inspire Courage2Expert Bargainer2Diplomacy
3Loremastery3Hear Noise3Hiring Network
4Arcane Dabbling4Read Languages4Inspire Courage
5aRead Languages6(A)Avoid Getting Lost
5bR/C Arcane Scrolls

So - three classes here, all using the same build and XP progression, which means they are one class with 3 suboptions - which I'll call my new Venturer, all three reliant on CHA as a prime req. (The bard didn't technically need the DEX requirement, a far as I can tell.) Level titles will remain a challenge.

The Merchant subclass takes the ACKSPC's Venturer's spot, and has the benefit of matching up to the description of Man, Merchant in the monster listings - wearing chain and carrying crossbows and daggers, by virtue of taking the Cleric's Fighting 1a and dropping plate. plus reworking the Narrow weapon selection however you'd like.

The Patrician subclass is my contribution to the "social class"; and a fine callback to the Romanesque origins of the Auran Empire in name. A capable fighter, and a leader of men; the Hiring Network, for those who didn't read the Diplomat link, gives the Venturer "one class higher" power for hiring people.

I'm marginally confident that's probably only a half-a-power, in which case the patrician would deserve something like...something bland, a +1 to surprise or initiative I guess. Not a lot of choice there, and figuring up something useful is outside the scope of this post.

One more thing: in Domains At War, what's the difference between a Veteran unit of Fighters, Explorers, Bards, Merchants, or Patricians?

Nothing. They have the same stats - same attack throws, same HD (and therefore UHP), and can largely be equipped the same, ignoring for the moment armor restrictions. (I suppose there's argument for the UHP if one takes 1d8 to be a full HD and 1d6 to be .75 HD, but, I can excuse myself from splitting that particular hair as it is the holiday season - I know I've seen reference to veteran units containing Explorers somewhere...)

Given this, then, there are 5 classes that any given 0-level can level into without much issue - the lugs become Fighters, the sportos become Explorers, the unit's smartass is the Bard, the quartermaster becomes a Merchant, and the sergeant becomes the Patrician.

Well sorted.


There is no better hallmark of a house rule than a pointless statistic renaming, so I feel I should have one.

Consider Wisdom, very much the most vague statistic in terms of definition. A prime requisite for Clerics...and?

Well, in ACKS at least, there's:

  • the Righteous Turning proficiency, which adds your WIS mod to the Turn Undead throw
  • Saving throws versus spells or magic items.
  • Throw to see through a disguise.
  • Modifier to Tampering With Mortality rolls
  • Lamias drain WIS - at WIS 3, the character is completely obedient to the Lamia.
  • Contributes to Strategic Ability alongside INT
...and something else I may be missing as well. Plus, recently, it was opined on the Autarch board that perhaps Wisdom should modify all saving throws.

The disguise bit is the only reference to Wisdom that does not express in some way the concept of willpower - easily fixed or ignored.

Thus, for the feel of the thing, I'm renaming Wisdom to Resolve

Clerics require high Resolve. A high resolve gives you a bonus to all saving throws. A lamia drains your resolve in order to dominate you. Your resolve - sheer will to succeed and survive - modifies both Tampering With Mortality rolls and Strategic Ability.

Much more flavor there, and I think that entry on a sheet tells more of a story about the character's general composition than does Wisdom.

Besides, the best clerics are the foolhardy ones - so resolute in the favor and power of their gods that they'll overreach in hilarious fashion. Let's not dilute the fun that could be had with the introspection or circumspection granted by actual wisdom.