Friday, August 31, 2012

Women of the North

“Let me get this straight. Where you come from, there are wintery witches, maidens of snow and ice, winged women warriors and women who turn into swans? You think maybe you’ve been out in the cold a little too long?”
A barmaid to a traveler from the north

Following on the Winter Witch Tradition and the most infamous of winter witches, I present two new temple selections for the templar and an additional totem animal to use with the beastlord or the Player’s Companion shaman.

Temple Weapons Special Abilities Proficiency List
Snow Maiden dagger, dart, hand axe, ice axe (battle axe), javelin, pick (war hammer), short sword, sling, sword, whip 1st level: resistant to cold, 5th level: icy darts ( as fiery darts but cold-based) once per 8 hours; each use takes 1 round, 9th level: add 1st – pass without trace, 2nd – obscuring cloud, slipperiness, 3rd – freezing rain to class spell list Ambushing, Combat Trickery (disarm, knock down), Precise Shooting
Valkyrie battle axe, great axe, hand axe, javelin, short sword, shortbow, spear, sword, two-handed sword, war hammer 1st level: aura of protection, 7th level: summon berserkers once per hour; each use takes 1 turn, 10th level: winged flight once per day; each use takes 1 round, 13th level: summon winged steed once per day; each use takes 1 turn, 14th level: call dragon once per week; each use takes 1 turn Precise Shooting, Running, Swashbuckling, Weapon Finesse

Totem Animal
Key Ability
Totem Benefit
Mystic Aura
Move 300’ fly, HD 1, AC1, #AT 1, Dmg 1d4

Baba Yaga

Following are Adventurer Conqueror King System statistics for Baba Yaga, the Queen of Witches.

Baba Yaga

female Kindred 

14th level Witch (Winter Witch Tradition)
Age: 62

Age category: middle aged

Strength: 14 +1
Intelligence: 18 +3
Wisdom: 18 +3
Dexterity: 15 +1
Constitution: 16 +2
Charisma: 18 +3

AC 11, hp 59, Base Attack Throw 6+, Save as Cleric 14, +5 bonus to all saving throws

staff - Attack Throw 4+, 1d6+2 or 2d6+2(1 charge) or 2d6+2, age 10 years, most creatures save versus death or die(2 charges) or 2d6+2, age 10 years, most creatures save versus death or die, save versus staffs or withered(3 charges)

+1 surprise, +1 initiative, immune to disease, immune to paralysis, resistant to cold, spell secrets (7d2+7 frost damage), mastery of charms and transmogrifications, witch spells 9/8/8/8/6

bonus spells: 1st – pass without trace, 2nd – floating disc, message, obscuring cloud, shield, slipperiness, 3rd – freezing rain, magic missile, ogre power, water walking, whispering wind, 4th – dimension door, skinchange, 5th – control wind, giant strength, wall of ice

known rituals: 6th
longevity*, regeneration*, seven-league stride, 7th control weather, mass seven-league stride, temporal stasis

+7 to reaction rolls to influence or intimidate

-1 penalty to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of humans and demi-humans,
+1 bonus to the reactions, loyalty, and morale of kindred

Apostasy (C)
Apostasy (C)
Collegiate Wizardry (G)
Diplomacy (G)
Disguise (G)
Elementalism(water) (C)
Intimidation (G)
Kindred Bloodline (C)
Mimicry (G)
Naturalism (G)
Seduction (G)

Speaks 4 languages, literate

Detect Secret Door: 14+, 18+ casual observation
Find Traps: 18+
Hear Noise: 14+
Open Door: 14+

Equipment: The Queen of Witches will be equipped with most anything she might choose (up to 1,000,000gp or so), accumulated over her life time, including several prepared rituals. Her exact equipment will depend on the circumstances and the campaign in which she appears.

Sample items included in the statistics above include an Amulet of Alertness*, a Belt of Divine Blessing and Health*, Bracers of Armor AC 7, a Broom of Passing Without Trace*, a Cauldron of Flying (as a Flying Carpet), a Cloak of Protection +3, a Staff of Withering and a Torc of Mystic Aura*.

* as the proficiency

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Winter Witch Tradition

A chill wind blows from the north, the chill wind of the winter witch. The following is a new Tradition for the Player's Companion Witch class.

Bonus Spells: 1st – Pass Without Trace, 2nd – Obscuring Cloud, Slipperiness, 3rd – Freezing Rain

1st level:  Winter witches are resistant to cold. Minor cold (such as exposure to winter weather in inadequate clothing) is ignored by the witch. Against more significant cold (such as the breath of a White Dragon), the witch gains a bonus of +2 on saving throws, and all damage from such attacks is reduced by -1 point per die of damage rolled. Any cold attacks will still inflict at least 1 point of damage per die rolled, however.

3rd level:  The spell signature of a winter witch often involves a damp chill in the air or the appearance of frost. Beginning at 3rd level, a winter witch’s spell secrets allow her to enhance her signature frost effects dramatically. When the winter witch casts cause fear, choking grip, hold person (on a single person only) or bestow curse, the target is dealt 1d2 hit points of frost damage per 2 levels of the witch with no save. The target may save against the primary effect of the spell normally.

5th level: Winter witches are witches first and foremost, feared for their mastery of charms and transmogrifications. When the witch casts charm spells (such as charm person) or transmogrification spells (such as polymorph other), the spell effects are calculated as if she were two class levels higher than her actual level of experience. Targets of her charm and transmogrification spells suffer a -2 penalty to their saving throw.

7th level: The four spells listed below are added to the winter witch’s class spell list at the designated spell levels: 3rd – Water Walking, 4th – Skinchange, 5th – Control Wind, Wall of Ice

New Spell

Freezing Rain
Arcane 3, Divine 3 (Winter Witch)
Range: 120’
Duration: 1 round per level

When this spell is cast, a 20' diameter sphere of freezing rain blocks all line of sight and causes the ground in the area to become icy. Any individual moving or even standing in the affected area must make a proficiency throw of 11+ each round or fall down. The freezing rain extinguishes torches and small fires.

New Ritual Spell

Control Weather

Monday, August 13, 2012

Proficiencies 101: Skills

This post is the seventh in a series of posts that will take a closer look at proficiencies in the Adventurer Conqueror King system main rulebook.

In my first post in this series, I defined several proficiency categories for analysis and discussion.  I mentioned that I would delve into each category in a future post, and this post will delve into proficiencies I categorize as skills.  A skill is a specific type of proficiency that requires a successful throw to benefit from.  Such benefits are unrelated to other functions in the game, such as combat or casting a spell.

In a nutshell, the Adventurer Conqueror King system approach to skills is: With a proficiency throw of 11+, Success.  Additionally, when a proficiency can be selected more than once, then the proficiency throw value required for success is reduced by 4 each time the proficiency is selected.  That’s it (or nearly so).  Very simple.  Or perhaps simple enough, given that some argue passionately that skills are unnecessary burdens on the Judge’s discretion.

In the Adventurer Conqueror King system main rulebook, there are 26 proficiencies that include a skill benefit.  Ten of these are crafts, discussed in my fourth post on proficiencies: alchemy, animal husbandry, art, craft, engineering, healing, knowledge, labor, performance and profession.  Three other crafts do not specify a skill benefit in the rulebook, but a Judge might easily choose to do so: manual of arms, navigation and seafaring.  With a proficiency throw of 11+, a character might be able to tell a cataphract from a hobelar, identify a constellation in the night sky or recall just the right knot for the job.

The adventuring proficiency is uniquely very much defined by the Judge.  The rulebook states "All player characters are assumed to have Adventuring for purposes of the proficiency throws of standard adventuring tasks."  This proficiency represents knowledge common to all adventurers, which may vary by campaign world and Judge.

One skill uniquely scales: loremastery (scaling is discussed in my fifth post on proficiencies).  Loremastery is not unlike the knowledge proficiencies, but represents more of a breadth of knowledge rather than a specific knowledge.

There are seven “pure” skill proficiencies: caving, collegiate wizardry, disguise, mapping, mimicry, naturalism and tracking.  These proficiencies provide a skill benefit and nothing else.  Tracking uniquely specifies a number of potential modifiers to the standard proficiency throw of 11+.

Finally, there are seven proficiencies that provide a skill benefit plus other benefits.  Dwarven brewing, land surveying, magical engineering and military strategy provide a skill benefit and a bonus to another type of action – a craft bonus, a hide bonus, a magic research bonus and a mass combat initiative bonus, respectively.  Contortionism and theology provide a skill benefit and an ability, and beast friendship provides a skill benefit, an ability and a bonus to reaction rolls.

This concludes this week’s post in my Proficiencies series.  I plan to post in this series irregularly until it finishes.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Wizard

“I am servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Ud√Ľn. Go back to the shadow! You cannot pass.”

The Fellowship of the Ring, 1954

Prime Requisite: INT
Requirements: None
Hit Dice: 1d4
Maximum Level: 14

The origin of the colleges of wizardry is lost in the mists of time. However, the colleges of Artifice, Fellowship, Lore and Nature are believed to be the oldest of the colleges. Graduates of these colleges are known for their white, grey, blue and brown robes, respectively.

At first level, wizards hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. Like mages, they advance in attack throws and saving throws by two points every six levels of experience. Wizards are limited to fighting with the weapons taught by their college. All wizards are trained by a college of wizardry, defined by the focus and philosophy of its instructors. Judges are encouraged to create colleges specific to their campaign setting. Otherwise, when a wizard is created, select a college for the character from the Wizard Colleges table below. Write down the allowed weapons and special abilities of the college. Each college teaches the use of a selection of weapons for self-defense, three or more special abilities at 1st level or later, and four proficiency selections which are added to the Wizard Proficiency List as potential class proficiency choices. All wizards are unable to use shields, fight with two weapons, use a weapon two-handed or wear any kind of armor.

Wizard Colleges

Special Abilities
Proficiency List
dagger, dart, staff, whip
1st level: Sensing Power, 2nd level: Battle Magic, 4th level: dispel magic, once per day; each use takes 1 round, 10th level: Magical Engineering, 14th level: Magical Engineering
Bargaining, Bribery, Command, Siege Engineering
club, dagger, dart, staff
1st level: may inspire courage as a bard, 2nd level: Bright Lore (see below), 4th level: protection from evil, sustained, once per day; each use takes 1 round, 10th level: may wield short swords, swords and two-handed swords, 14th level: add bless, prayer, death ward and dispel evil to class spell list
Command, Contemplation, Divine Blessing, Leadership
dagger, dart, sling, staff
1st level: Loremastery, 2nd level: read languages, at will; each use takes 1 turn, 4th level: locate object, once per 8 hours; each use takes 1 round, 10th level: Soothsaying, 14th level: add speak with animals, speak with dead, tongues and true seeing to class spell list
Mapping, Navigation, Riding, Seafaring
club, dagger, sling, staff
1st level: Beast Friendship, 2nd level: speak with animals at will, 4th level: skinchange, once per day; each use takes 1 round, 10th level: may wield shortbows, short swords and spears, 14th level: skinchange one additional time per day
Animal Husbandry, Contemplation, Divine Health, Survival

Wizards learn and cast arcane spells as mages of two thirds their class level. The number and levels of spells the wizard can use in a single day is summarized on the Wizard Spell Progression table. Like a mage, the wizard’s spell selection is limited to the spells in his repertoire. A wizard’s repertoire can include a number of spells up to the number and level of spells listed for his level, increased by his Intelligence bonus.

A wizard college may allow a wizard to add spells to his class spell list that are ordinarily divine spells. The wizard can then add these spells to his repertoire following the usual procedure (see Adding New Spells to the Repertoire in Chapter 5 of ACKS). Except for being arcane, these spells are identical to their divine counterparts. If a copy of these spells is found or placed on a scroll, the scroll will be useable only by divine casters who have the spell on their class list, or by wizards who have the spell on their class list. (Other wizards or mages could not use the scroll or cast the spell because it is not on their class spell list.)

Among wizards of all colleges, the staff is both a symbol of wizardry and the weapon of choice for self-defense. Beginning at 6th level, a wizard may use his staff two-handed for increased damage. Experienced wizards are known to resolve their differences using arcane duels, during which they channel the raw energy of magic into their melee weapons. Beginning at 8th level, a wizard may empower his melee weapon with wizard striking. When the wizard successfully strikes a target with a melee attack, he can expend one of his daily spell slots to increase the damage. Damage is increased depending upon the level of the spell slot expended, as follows: 1st - 1d3, 2nd - 1d6, 3rd - 2d4, 4th - 2d6 or 5th - 2d8.

At 7th level, the wizard may begin to research spells, scribe magical scrolls, and brew potions, as if he were a mage of 5th level. Upon reaching 13th level, the wizard gains the ability to create magic items such as weapons, rings, and staffs as a mage of 9th level. Due to his wizardly research acumen, he may conduct spell research and learn and cast ritual arcane spells of great power as a mage of 11th level. A wizard can use any magic items usable by mages.

At 9th level, a wizard can build or claim a sanctum, often a great tower. When the wizard establishes his sanctum, 1d6 apprentices of 1st-3rd level plus 2d6 normal men seeking to become wizards will serve him. Their intelligence scores will be above average, but many will become discouraged from the rigorous mental training and quit after 1d6 months. While in the wizard’s service, apprentices must be provided food and lodging, but need not be paid wages. If the wizard builds a dungeon beneath or near his tower, monsters will start to arrive to dwell within, followed shortly by adventurers seeking to fight them. Additional rules for sanctum are detailed in the Campaign chapter of the ACKS Rulebook.

Wizard Proficiency List (24 + 4 = 28): Alchemy, Battle Magic, Collegiate Wizardry, Craft, Diplomacy, Elementalism, Elven Bloodline, Engineering, Familiar, Healing, Illusion Resistance, Knowledge, Language, Magical Engineering, Mystic Aura, Naturalism, Quiet Magic, Performance, Prestidigitation, Profession, Sensing Power, Transmogrification, Soothsaying, Unflappable Casting

Hit Dice
Special Abilities









May use a weapon (i.e. staff) two-handed

Magic research (minor)

Wizard striking


Master, 10th lvl


Master, 11th lvl


Master, 12th lvl


Master, 13th lvl
Magic research
Grand Master

*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored

New Proficiency

Bright Lore

The character can turn undead as a cleric of one half his class level. Also, the two spells listed below are added to his class spell list at the designated spell level:
1st level: remove fear*, salving rest

Custom Class Build Information

Hit Dice


Eliminate one fighting style

XP Calculation: 0 + 0 + 200 + 0 + 1875 = 2075 at 2nd level