Thursday, July 30, 2015

ACKS Ability Scores

For a campaign rule I am developing, I wanted to identify the ability score most likely to be given short shrift by a player when creating an ACKS character.  I had a notion based on play experience, but I thought I’d specifically survey the rules (as written) to see where each ability score comes into play.  Having done this, I thought I’d share my results below.  The only things I’ve excluded are which ability scores are requisites for what classes, and the related experience adjustment.  Page references are to ACKS core, Player’s Companion (PC) or Domains at War: Campaigns (D@W:C).  Domains at War: Battles does not include any references not in Campaigns.

o  melee attack throws and damage rolls
o  Open Doors throws (including breaking manacles, PC p. 152)
o  maximum encumbrance
o  break through web spell

o  General proficiencies
o  languages
o  literacy (INT 9+)
o  arcane spell repertoire (including starting arcane spells)
o  magic research throws
o  maximum number of magic research assistants
o  arcane ritual spells known
o  crossbreed/undead special abilities
o  in conjunction with Familiar, Familiar's Intelligence
o  shaman totem animal's Intelligence (halved)
o  charm person new saving throw

o  Officer Strategic Ability (D@W:C p. 20)

o  saving throws caused by spells or magic items
o  Tampering with Mortality roll
o  divine ritual spells known
o  see through Disguise
o  in conjunction with Righteous Turning, turning throw and number of HD turned

o  Officer Strategic Ability (D@W:C p. 20)

o  missile weapon attack throws
o  Armor Class
o  Initiative
o  dungeon chase saving throw versus Paralysis (p. 100)
o  in conjunction with Weapon Finesse, one-handed melee weapon attack throws

o  hit points (up to 9th level)
o  rounds running before exhaustion (p. 101)
o  Mortal Wounds roll
o  Death from Old Age (p. 249)
o  in conjunction with Endurance, force march additional day(s)

o  reaction rolls (a variety of applications in the rules, including the Crime and Punishment table, p. 138, and the Results of Interrogation table, D@W:C p. 62)
o  maximum number of henchmen
o  morale
o  domain morale

o  Officer Leadership Ability (D@W:C p. 20)
o  Officer Morale Modifier (D@W:C p. 20; also see Assassination hijink, D@W:C p. 63)

Combining the survey above with my play experience, I perceive the following.  Charisma may be at least the second most important ability score for every character class.  Intelligence is so critical to a mage (or similar class), the mage should likely sacrifice every other ability score for Intelligence (if that rule, p. 17, is being used).  Strength is similarly important to a cleaving class, however, the character who aspires to survive and lead on the battlefield needs every other ability score point.

As an aside, additional spells involving other ability scores in reasonable ways, similarly to charm person and web are interesting to think about.

What ability score do you believe is most likely to be given short shrift by a player when creating an ACKS character?  I’m not revealing my choice at this time (although I’m happy my choice dovetails nicely with the campaign rule I’m developing).

What campaign rules related to using ability scores in play do you use?

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