Monday, June 23, 2014

[ACKS] Deadstone- Dwarven Undead

My ACKS campaign is heavily based on Telluria/Dwimmermount, so my dwarves are born of stone and return to stone. Still, more traditional dwarves might become stony undead in certain areas or due to certain strange rituals of the Chaotic gray dwarves...

Lair: 17+ (20%)
Dungeon: Throng (3d4) / Boneyard (3d10)
Wilderness: Horde (3d10) / Boneyard (3d10)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 90' (30')
Burrow: 10' (3')
AC: 4
Hit Dice: 2*
Attacks: 1 (slam or bite)
Damage: 1d8
Save: D2
Morale: +4
TT: None
XP: 29
Deadstone are the reanimated undead remains of dwarves. Reanimation causes their corpses to revert slightly from hard stone, turning them into great clots of foul-smelling grave earth clinging lumpily to cracked stone bones.  Slow and resilient, deadstones loathe living beings on some instinctive level, and seek to destroy them, smashing with stony fists or tearing with wide, blunt teeth. Deadstones are much more resilient than human skeletons or zombies, reducing damage taken from nonmagical attacks by 1 per die. Deadstones can sense living things within 60', and will burrow through all but the hardest stone in attempts to access them directly. Like most undead, deadstones are immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells. They may be turned as ghouls.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

(ACKS) Wisp

A version of the venerable will-o-wisp that fits my setting and desired power level a bit better, and adds some flavor text.

Lair: Never
Dungeon: Solitary (1)
Wilderness: Solitary (1)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: -
Fly: 180' (60')
AC:   7
Hit Dice:  4**
Attacks:  1
Damage: 2d6 energy drain
Save: F4
Morale: 0
TT: None
XP: 190

Wisps are a strange creature which may be from another world. They are dangerous, as they are sentient, cruel, and seek fleshly bodies to inhabit.They appears as small globes of intense light, in a variety of hues. They are so cold that they cause a thick fog to form around them in a 120' radius. Wisps are easily mistaken for lanterns from a distance.  When a wisp slays a humanoid creature of near-human size or less, it enters the body through the ear or nose and takes up a sort of half-life within the corpse. The dead creature is then treated as a wight while the wisp inhabits it. Outside of a humanoid host,wisps can only be struck by magical weapons. Cold damage heals wisps for the same amount of damage they would normally take.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


The following is the intro blurb I used for my larp, Lexicon. If all goes well, I will put this together as an ACKS campaign setting over the course of time, with most of it's modifications and house rules appearing in this blog.


Once, long ago, the legends tell us that the world was a rigid place, and paths never wandered. There were things called "seas", and "continents", and nations had borders which could be easily measured. In those dawn times, the inhuman folk of Stygia, the First City, were magicians, artificers, and warriors without peer. They grew wise in the ways of civilization, and spread across the globe with spell and sword, until soon the world was united in Empire.

Through their sorcerous arts, the Stygians learned the words of power which the First God had used in his forgings of all things: The Lexicon. With their flawed understanding, driven by whispers in their dreams, they sought to use the words as they willed, and wonders and horrors alike were loosed by their sorcerer-tyrants. In the end, their hubris grew to be as peerless as their art, and they sought to enslave the First God to their will. Finally, the First God saw the sorcerers for what they had become, and those who were yet loyal to their world and creator went to war with the prideful people of the obsidian towers of the City.

In their battles, the First God was slain, and his essence shattered. His death caused a Breaking, a mournful sundering of the world which forever destroyed maps and easy travel, as the world collapsed along its bindings into "Shards"- places of power. These fell away from each other as the bonds of magic which had kept them locked became loose and winding. The Maker's death also allowed the ancient enemy, the Nightmare, to be finally able to creep into the world.

An entity without form, possessed of a malevolent intellect beyond the ken of mortals, the Nightmare was all the consumption and chaos the Maker had kept from his fledgling world. Limited before to mere whispers in the dreams of the sorcerers, the Nightmare was now free to bring its full power into Creation. Wild magic, undead, and monsters never before dreamed of soon plagued the world. Whole shards were destroyed or corrupted, and it seemed the world would soon perish. Finally, new gods rose from mortalkind to hold back the tide of darkness, and re-establish order and prosperity.

The gods taught the art of Geomancy to the races, anew way of traveling between the broken lands. They also taught a "safe' form of magic, Wizardry, which used a lesser version of the Lexicon. The old spells, sigils, and creatures of the Stygians were hidden away behind trapped tombs and forgotten ley lines, and the new gods swore to never allow mortals to gain the powers of the old sorcerers. From the center of the new Worldweb rose a godly city, called Tykoria after its founder. Future kings (and later, emperors) of Tykoria expanded from these roots, and the world was again to come under the rule of a single nation, the Second Empire.

Alas, not even the gods are all-knowing, for the Nightmare had found a way into the very center of the Weave, and once again an Emperor heard the whispers in his dreams and fell sway to dark promises. Tykoria became a place of tyranny and injustice, a new Stygia. Desperation drove the good folk who were left to revolt, and bloody battle again enveloped the earth. The forces of light prevailed again, but the cost was great. The world was diminished yet again, and many things once again were re-ordered or lost.

Four hundred dark years have passed, and new nations have risen from the ashes. The greatest of these nations is Galicia, forged of six countries two hundred years ago. However, two decades of civil war, crusade, and misrule have resulted in an unstable, fractured realm. Galicia is now rife with intrigue and mistrust, and many of her shards have broken away through civil war to form her greatest enemy, Trencian.

It is a time for heroes, a time for bravery and exploration. Ruined cities and broken tombs, arcane secrets and forgotten truths await those who would seek them. The Nightmare's power lurks just in the next shard... or riding in the head of someone you know and trust. The gods yet walk the earth, bloodied but unbroken.

Would you take up the call of the hero? A bold scholar, Thane Tergard Loren, seeks adventurers and settlers to inhabit and explore the environs of a fallen Tykorian outpost, Swampgate. Riches and rewards are promised, as well as lands and prestige. It is a time for new legends to be told.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

[ACKS LEXICON] Barghast Race

I ran a successful LARP for 7 years, called Lexicon, subtitled "A Game of Exploration and Discovery in a Broken World of Intrigue and Intolerance." It was a game of gods, men, and monsters, set in a world physically destroyed by the plummeting corpse of it's creator deity a millenia ago. The little nations and tribes of the world were forced to bend ley-lines to their will to physically draw lands together through what basically amounted to the Ether for travel and trade.

The players were a few dozen poorly equipped adventurers settled in a little place in the middle of nowhere and wound up being incredibly important on the world stage. I liked to describe the setting and feel as "You play D&D characters in a Warhammer setting, fighting to prevent the world from turning back into Exalted."

So, mid-level powered folks in a grim, unhappy world of ruin. The world that came before was more magically advanced, but it too was a flawed place, where the actions of an evil Empire led to it's own destruction, the lessening of the world, and the entrance of the Nightmare (Chaos) physically into the world.

I got the worm today to try to put together some stuff from that campaign a la ACKS. This will be my first entry on that topic- one of the races, the beastmen known as Barghasts. (No relation to D&D barghests or to the Malazan pseudohumans, of course...) It turned out over the course of the LARP campaign that there was a lot going on in their history beyond "primitive cannibal folk", and perhaps if this Lex fire stays lit, I will get to the Stygian Empire, Barza, Whitewalker, and the Barukasta.

For now, I am just presenting the Racial Values for ACKS. I will probably build a class or two later on for them.

Barghast Racial Values (PDF)

In addition to Barghasts, there were harpies, dryads, goat-men called Ibix, spiderfolk, humans and elves- a few things to look forward to, perhaps?

Monday, May 5, 2014

[ACKS] Bugbears

Sorry about the lack of posts recently. I've been too busy working and actually running ACKS to really write about it :)

We've monkeyed about a bit with some proficiencies, and I am in the process of adding a few bits from Lamentations of the Flame Princess to the game (mostly, the way Specialists work vs. the way Thieves work.) My party has collected 2 (or 3, depending on who you ask) cards from the Deck of Many Things of this world, and having reached between 4th and 6th level after many, many biweekly sessions, are beginning to slowly become players in the political atmosphere. Granted that many of the more vocal ones are horribly Chaotic, and "player" can mean "guy who flips the chess board." So far they've stayed under the radar, and the Powers that Be think they are playing by the rules.

I don't actually like having too many different types of goblinoids/beastkin. However, my adventurers are coming up on spots where they may begin intersecting with the workings of the other planets (this is a Dwimmermount campaign, so a modified Areon and a modified Kythirea are accessible.) Thus I needed some things to make their encounters with aliens more unique. Thus, the Red Elves of Areon are accompanied by their own Brute Squad, bugbears who I have modified slightly to be more deadly... They're faster, have better morale, and have a nasty surprise in the form of the Ambushing proficiency. These bugbears have come a long way from the barghest worshipping goblins of my campaign world, Talis, and would not even recognize kinship with their terrestrial ancestral stock.

In Lair: 16+ (25%)
Dungeon: Gang (2d4) / Lair (1 warband)
Wilderness: Warband (1d4 gangs) / Village (1d10 warbands)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 4 (leather, +1 Dexterity, +1 natural)
Hit Dice: 3+1*
Attacks: 1 (by weapon, 8+)
Damage: 2d4 or by weapon +1
Save: F3
Morale: +3
TT: L (per warband)
XP: 100

Bugbears are the descendants of Eldritch tinkerings on hobgoblin and goblin bloodlines, with the intent to make a troop with all the strength and strategy of a hobgoblin, and the stealth and low cunning of a goblin. In this case, Eldritch tinkering was wildly successful, breeding a race of nearly silent, hulking goblinoids with a penchant for murder and the skills and patience to carry the deed out.

Bugbears are both monstrously strong, receiving a +1 to damage when they employ weapons, and deceptively stealthy, causing their foes to suffer a -1 penalty to surprise rolls. Bugbears tend to go armed with garrottes, massive two handed weapons, nets, and many-edged throwing knives, striking from the shadows and melting back into darkness. A bugbear attacking from surprise receives a +4 bonus to hit, and deals double damage on their successful strike. Bugbears do have a grasp of tactics, and can and will fight intelligently with any weapon. Those under the heel of Eldritch masters are often outfitted with banded armor, tower shields, and spears in parody of the ancient panoply of the foes of elfkind. Bugbears have an arsonist's love of fire, and will devise unusual and horrible uses for military oil, azoth, or any other combustible.

Each bugbear gang will be led by a champion with AC5, 4+1 Hit Dice, 25 hit points, and a +2 bonus to damage rolls from strength. Each bugbear warband will be led by a sub-chieftain with AC6, 5+1 Hit Dice, 29 hit points, and a +3 bonus to damage

On the Red Planet, any semblance of "bugbear culture", shamans, or witch doctors were brutally and systematically wiped out centuries ago, but stray populations do exist where such creatures have once again flourished. A free bugbear lair or village will be led by a chieftain with AC7, 7+2 Hit Dice, 37 hit points, and a +4 bonus to damage rolls. As long as the chieftain is alive, the bugbears will gain a +1 to morale rolls. A bugbear village has a 75% chance of a shaman being present, and a 50% chance of a witch doctor. A shaman is equivalent to a sub-chieftain statistically, but has Clerical abilities at level 1d6. A witch doctor is equivalent to a champion statistically, but has Mage abilities at level 1d4. Bugbear lairs and villages will have females and young equal to 50% of the number of males each. Female bugbears fight as hobgoblins, while young bugbears fight as kobolds.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Dire Corbies

% In Lair: 16+
Dungeon: Hunt (1d6)/Flock(1d8 Hunts)
Wilderness: Hunt (1d6)/Flock(1d8 Hunts)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 3
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 2 claws (9+)
Damage: 1d4/1d4
Save: F2
Morale: +4
XP: 20

The favored mortal children of Pazuzu, dire corbies are bipedal, wingless crows about the size of an elf. Dwelling deep underground and in the darkest forests, dire corbies are a threat and nuisance to many dwarfholds and elf fastnesses.
Dire corbies are almost silent, surprising on a roll of 1-3 on a d6, and have excellent hearing and sight, being surprised only on a roll of 1. Dire corbies can and do speak, a whistling, croaking language unique to themselves. Usually, one or two corbies in a hunt will know another language, usually Infernal, Elvish, or Common.

Each dire corby hunt is led by a champion with AC 4, HD 3, and +1 to damage from strength. A dire corby flock is led by a chieftain with AC 4, HD 4+1, and +2 to damage from strength. Dire corby flocks have a 50% chance of also possessing a demoniac, with the stats of a champion, plus 1d4 cleric levels.

Koschei, the Deathless, Demon King of Frost Giants

% In Lair: 0%
Dungeon: Special
Wilderness: Special
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 12
Hit Dice: 15****
Attacks: 2 (hammer, 1+)
Damage: 6d8/6d8, plus ice rime and deafness (see below)
Save: F14
Morale: N/A (Fearless)
TT: R (amongst his followers, see below)
XP: 6,600

Koschei is demon king of the frost giants. There are few demon lords more inimical to the mortal world than he, the Deathless, the Smiling Man, Eyetaker.

Koschei appears as a horribly emaciated, scarred, and disfigured frost giant, hairless but for his thick eyebrows and a long, plaited goatee of sickly yellow. His deepset eyes are piercing and incredibly beautiful, and his perfect smile is set in a face which is otherwise dour and hideous. Koschei wears nothing but a ragged and filthy kilt of hairy scalps, sewn together raggedly with locks of hair from the womenfolk he and his giants have taken, and a thick necklace of rotting cord and preserved eyes, other trophies of his many kills. Regardless of a lack of armor, Koschei's skin and bones are as hard as the strongest dragonscale, and he is immune to nonmagical weapons. Magical weapons deal half damage to Koschei, unless they have some manner of fire ability, or are +3 enchantment or better.

Koschei bears a massive hammer composed of black, reeking ice, which functions as a +3 warhammer. When Koschei successfully strikes his foe, his opponent must save vs. Blast or suffer 2d8 extra damage from ice and be paralyzed for 1d4 rounds. His opponent must also save vs. Death or be deafened permanently..

Within 50' feet of Koschei, the air is so cold that those not specially resistant to such an environment will suffer 1d6 points of damage per round. Within 50' of that, the air is still uncomfortable.

Koschei can cast spells as a 12th level magic-user. He can cast cause serious wounds, charm monster, darkness and dispel magic at will.

Three times per day he can summon 1d4 frost giants or 1 large, adult dragon.

Koschei is nomadic rarely found alone. At any given point, he will be served by 1d100 mortal slaves, usually bearing such goods and treasure as are necessary for the campsite of a great king. At least 2d6 frost giants will be keeping the great lord company, and a like amount of ogres. 2d20 human (mostly Menhirrim) berserkers straggle along with the great lord, magically given resistance to cold in return for their eternal loyalty- and at least one of their eyes. These berserkers are often heavily tattooed with blue and white ink.

Koschei is mortal- after a fashion- but slaying him permanently is exceeding difficult. Koschei's soul, shrivelled thing that it is, lies within a green glass heart which is locked away within an iron trunk, which he has hidden away in an unknown location. This heart must be broken, or Koschei will be reborn 2d6 days after his death. How this heart might be broken is left to the discretion of the Judge.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

[ACKS Monster] Malgakim

In the eastern lands of Rhule, small groups of humanoids who call themselves the Malgaks, or Malgakim, can be found working as mercenaries and blacksmiths. The Malgakim are human-sized and humanoid, clad in all-swaddling robes and armor, and wearing elaborate all-concealing face masks, similar to Japanese mempo. Typically, these masks and armors are composed of copper, bronze, brass, and iron, layers and welded into art objects. 

The Malgakim go armed with great iron staves, maces, hammers, and other heavy bludgeons. They are happy to make spears, swords, and other blades for their customers, but do not seem to use such items amongst themselves.

Rarely do their patrons see the Malgakim without their armor and robes, but those who have indicate that the Malgakim are inhuman in form and substance- composed of loose, yellow-white flesh, with watery, pupil-less eyes and lipless, toothless mouths. 

Where the Malgakim came from is a mystery, but the greybeards say that in ages past, when the Ancients had business with the stars, the Malgakim came to trade in magic and steel, and those few remaining are their legacy. The Malgakim are, for the most part, Chaotic, but there are some few who are Neutral and deal more favorably with Man. 

Malgakim, themselves, do not use arcane magic, but have strange powers over metal and its workings. With a thought, they can heat metal to forge-hot, dealing 1d3 damage plus AC bonus per round to a target wearing armor, or force a foe to drop their weapon or suffer 1d4 damage. They can also warp metal to uselessness, such as portculli or restraints. 

The Malgakim claim to have aligned themselves in ages past with a force from beyond Talis which has no name, but has taught certain elder Malgakim smiths how to drag the spirit of the willing dead from beyond and suffuse a weapon with it. Indeed, it is considered a great honor amonst the Malgakim to be selected for "rebirth" in the form of a well-wrought weapon. Greater still is to be placed within a construct body, to guide and guard the Malgakim race for all time.

% In Lair: 25%
Dungeon: Forge (1d4)/Family (1d8)
Wilderness: Family (1d8)/Clan (1d4 families)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 6
Hit Dice: 2+2*
Attacks: 1 (hammer)
Damage: 1d12
Save: F2
Morale: +1
TT: D, plus 5% cumulative chance per Malgakim of 1 sword or 1 miscellaneous weapon

XP: 47