ACKS Demand Modifiers

Demand modifiers in ACKS take some getting used to. There are 31 flavors of market good and four environmental modifiers (market age, source of water, biome, and terrain steepness), cross-listed on a Wall-of-Text table. As a side note, that table should really, really be alphabetized. Yeesh.

For each flavor, you roll 1d3–1d3, then work your way across the table applying the individual modifiers. You do this for every market! When you are done, you begin pairwise comparisons between markets, starting with the largest by population and working your way down until you are either finished or blind.

So as a first pass at something simpler but still workable, I boiled those down into ten flavors, and re-worked the Wall-of-Text table into a sub-listing under each flavor of only the relevant modifiers for that flavor. Some flavors (like Alcohol) still have all four modifiers, but others have fewer.

While this does not entirely eliminate complexity, it does reduce the combinatorial aspect from 124 to 34, and thirds the pair-wise comparisons that must be made. It also makes the sheer number of modifiers easier to fit on a single sheet of paper in a vertical list—just being able to see the whole list at once was helpful for me.

Fermented fire water of all kinds. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. +0.5 for under 20 years, –0.5 otherwise.
Water Source. –0.5 for a significant nearby source of water.
Biome. +1 for rainforest, savannah, desert, steppes, taiga, and tundra.
Terrain. –0.5 for hills and mountains.

Typical loads:

Beer, 10 barrels. 80 stone, 100 gold.
Wine, 1 barrel. 16 stone, 200 gold.

Animals, Farmed
Pigs, goats, horses, cattle, sheep, jerky, leather, wool, and other animal products. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. +0.5 for under 20 years and over 2,000 years, –0.5 otherwise.
Biome. +1 rainforest, desert, taiga, and tundra, –1 for scrub, grassland, and forest.
Terrain. +0.5 for hills, +1 for mountains.

 Typical loads:

Hens or rabbits, 200. 100 stone, 60 gold.
Sheep, 30. 180 stone, 60 gold.
Pigs or goats, 20. 240 stone, 60 gold.
Cattle, 5. 250 stone, 50 gold.
Horses or yaks, 2. 300 stone, 80 gold.
Warhorses, 2. 400 stone, 500 gold.
Elephant, 1. 1,000 stone, 1,500 gold. Requires 4× as much fodder.

Jerky, 10 barrels. 80 stone, 200 gold.
Wool, 20 rolls. 80 stone, 200 gold.
Ivory, 1 tusk. 8 stone, 800 gold.
Silk, 5 rolls. 20 stone, 2,000 gold.

Animals, Fished
Preserved fish, lamp oil, perfumes, and other fish products. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. +0.5 if under 20 years or over 2,000 years old. –0.5 otherwise.
Water Source. –0.5 for a nearby significant water source.
Biome. +1 for desert, +0.5 for savannah, steppe, grassland, and –0.5 for rainforest, scrub, forest, taiga.
Terrain. +0.5 for plains and mountains.

 Typical loads:

Pickled fish, 10 barrels. 80 stone, 50 gold.
Lamp oil, 5 jars. 30 stone, 100 gold.
Ambergris or perfumes, 1 jar. 6 stone, 800 gold.

Animals, Hunted
Hides and furs, ivory, monster parts. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. –0.5 if under 100 years, +0.5 if over 1,000 years, +1.5 if over 2,000 years.

Typical loads:

Furs, 10 bundles. 30 stone, 150 gold.
Rare furs, 1 bundle. 5 stone, 500 gold.
Monster parts, 1 crate of bits. 5 stone, 300 gold.
Ivory, 1 tusk. 8 stone, 800 gold.

Coffee and Tea
Just that. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. –1 if under 20 years, –0.5 if under 100 years, +0.5 if over 1,000 years, and +1 if over 2,000 years.
Biome. –1 for rainforest, –0.5 for savannah or desert, +0.5 for forest, +1 for taiga or tundra.
Terrain. –0.5 for hills or mountains.

Typical loads:

Coffee or tea, 2 bags. 10 stone, 150 gold.

Armor, weapons, tools, pottery, ceramics, glassware, rare books, textiles, and the like. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. +1 for under 20 years, +0.5 for under 100 years, –0.5 for over 1,000 years, –1 for over 2,000 years.
Water Source. –0.5 for any nearby significant water source.
Biome. +1 for rainforest or savannah, +0.5 for desert, steppe, taiga, or tundra, –0.5 for scrub or forest.
Terrain. –0.5 for hills.

Typical loads:

Textiles, 4 bags. 20 stone, 100 gold.
Pottery, 2 crates. 10 stone, 200 gold.
Tools, 1 crate. 10 stone, 200 gold.
Armor or weapons, 1 crate. 10 stone, 225 gold.
Dyes, 5 jars. 25 stone, 250 gold.
Glassware, 2 crates. 10 stone,  400 gold.
Fine porcelain, 2 crates. 10 stone, 1,000 gold.
Rare books, 1 box. 3 stone, 1,000 gold.

Grain, vegetables, cotton, pigments and dyes, and spices. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. +0.5 if over 1,000 years, +1 if over 2,000 years.
Water Source. –0.5 for a river.
Biome. –0.5 for rainforest, scrub, or grasslands, +0.5 for desert, +1 for taiga or tundra.
Terrain. –0.5 for plains, +0.5 for mountains.

Typical loads:

Grain or vegetables, 20 bags. 80 stone, 10 gold.
Cotton, 20 rolls. 80 stone, 200 gold.
Pigments, 5 jars. 25 stone, 250 gold.
Spices, 1 jar. 1 stone, 800 gold.

Metal ores, building stone, and gems. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. –1.5 if under 20 years, –0.5 if under 100 years, +0.5 if over 1,000 years, +1 if over 2,000 years.
Biome. –0.5 for rainforest, desert, scrub, taiga, or tundra.
Terrain. –0.5 for hills or mountains.

Typical loads:

Common metals, 200 ingots. 100 stone, 200 gold.
Precious metals, 2 ingots. 4 stone, 600 gold.
Semi-precious stones, 1 box. 1 stone, 1,000 gold.
Gems, 1 box. 1 stone, 3,000 gold.
Common building stone, 10 slabs. 2,000 stone, 1,000 gold.
Rare building stone, 1 slab. 200 stone, 1,000 gold.


Just that. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. –1 if under 20 years, –0.5 if under 100 years, +0.5 if over 1,000 years, +1 if over 2,000 years.
Water Source. –0.5 for any nearby significant source of water.
Biome. +1 for a desert, –0.5 for desert or steppe.
Terrain. –0.5 for plains.

Typical loads:

Salt, 150 bricks. 80 stone, 100 gold.

Woods, both common and rare. Demand is 1d3–1d3, plus the following modifiers:

Market Age. –1.5 if under 20 years, –0.5 if under 100 years, +1 if over 1,000 years, +2 if over 2,000 years.
Biome. –1 for rainforest, forest, and taiga, +0.5 for stepp and grasslands, +1 for desert and tundra.
Terrain. –0.5 for plains, +0.5 for mountains.

Typical loads:

Common wood, 5 cords. 80 stone, 50 gold.
Rare woods, 1 cord. 16 stone, 500 gold.

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ACKS Setting-Specific Classes—Aristocrats and Diplomats

I haven’t actually built these two classes out, as I’m not intending to allow PCs to take them. But as a rough sketch …

Aristocrats are combat-hardened nobility, equally at home on the battlefield and at a fancy dinner. They are functionally fighters whose prime requisites are STR and CHA, who start with Diplomacy and the bard’s Inspire Courage ability, and gain Leadership later (and can take Leadership separately as well). At ninth level, aristocrats can construct a stronghold, just like fighters.

Diplomats are the rest of the nobility. They are built as thieves whose prime requisite is CHA, but the only thief skills they possess are Move Silently, Hide in Shadows, and Backstab; they start with Diplomacy, Intimidation, and Seduction, and gain Loremastery, Dabble in the Arcane, and Leadership later (and can take Leadership separately as well). At ninth level, diplomats can construct a stronghold, just like fighters.

Both classes generally have significant cash. Aristocrats receive a monthly stipend of 1d3×60 gold per month (equivalent to a 10% stipend from a March owned by the family) and diplomats 1d3×30 gold per month (5%). Both start with 10× this amount at 1st level for starting gear. This stipend does not contribute to XP.

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Eíre Deities, revised


A cleric is an individual of unsurpassed faith who connects to a particular god as a mutually beneficial relationship for the god, cleric, and community—an intermediary.

From a god’s point of view, the cleric’s primary purpose is to build congregations. The congregation generates divine force, a portion of which goes to the god, another portion of which goes to empowering the cleric’s spells, and a final portion of which is available to the cleric for magical research, reduced stronghold construction costs, and the like.

From a congregation’s point of view, the cleric’s primary purpose is to provide miracles, explain subtle distinctions of faith and wisdom, and connect the congregation to a higher purpose.

Note that gods do not need to expend their own primal energy to empower cleric spells; cleric’s class abilities are empowered by the connection they make between god and congregation, and this is all handled invisibly by the ACKS demographics rules.


Primal is a measurement of divine power, expressed throughout this manuscript in gold-piece equivalents. Primal can substitute for the gold-piece value of special components and precious materials used in divine magical research, but it can also do a lot more.

Eíre (including the physical, planetary manifestation and its surrounding heavenly sphere; their connections to the elemental planes of existence; and the divine plane of existence in which all of these things exists) produces 100 million primal per month, all of which goes to Oceana (the greater power of Eíre).

Oceana used this primal to shape the continents, fill the oceans and sky, place stars in the heavenly sphere, and otherwise spruce the raw physical manifestation up a bit; and then began spoon-feeding small amounts of primal into raw life force to manifest life, then shaped that into forms (mostly elemental bacteria) that tapped into more universal forces and produced primal themselves—a form of cosmic gardening. Over time, Oceana has managed to turn what was a relatively dumpy little plane into a lovely little garden world producing 250 million primal per month, of which she continues to re-invest 50 million per month into the root life force of Eíre.

Humans and other sapient creatures are a higher-order entity in this primal ecology. They do not produce primal themselves, but they do process the life force in their environment and, through the mechanism of faith, distill it into a form usable by still-higher-order entities … the gods.

Any entity who possesses primal already can accumulate further primal by persuading others to worship them. The faithful and steady worship of five humans produces 1 primal per month usable by a divine entity. This primal is ephemeral and is lost if not put to use immediately, such as divine magical research.

The ephemeral primal can be stored with some effort, but the process is inefficient, converting each full 100 ephemeral primal into 1 permanent primal. Permanent primal has a key advantage, however, in that every full 10 permanent primal owned by a divine entity produces 1 ephemeral primal per month.

(A divine entity with at least 1,000 ephemeral primal per month who expends all excess  toward permanent primal could double their ephemeral primal in a century, although in practice it takes much, much longer.)

There is no difference between permanent and ephemeral primal other than permanent primal’s ability to generate ephemeral primal.


Immortals are sapient individuals with the barest brush of primal connection. This costs 1,000 primal per month. This usually means the immortal is sponsored by a more powerful divine entity.

An immortal possesses a limited palette of divine abilities:

  • Ageless. Aging slows to one-tenth normal (longer even than the elf-blooded), and there are no penalties for old age.
  • Resistance. Grants a +1 bonus on all saving throws.

An immortal can also expend primal to cast clerical spells. This grants the ability to cast cleric spells, with a cost based on the level of the spell:

1st. 0.25 + 0.125 per effective caster level.
. 1 + 0.5 per effective caster level.
3rd. 4 + 2 per effective caster level.
4th. 16 + 8 per effective caster level.
5th. 64 + 32 per effective caster level.

An immortal who is a cleric may expend primal on divine magical research (constructs, rituals, and the like); a non-clerical immortal can produce the effects of that research, but this costs 5× as much and takes 5× as long, due to a lack of knowledge and finesse.


Godlings can flatten a small army or city block, but are nonetheless the bottom rung of the gods. This costs 30,000 primal per month.

Godlings possess a number of abilities:

  • Unaging. Godlings do not age at all. They will live forever, barring violence.
  • Resistance. Grants a +2 bonus on all saving throws. In addition, the godling is immune to disease and poison; does not require food, water, air, or sleep; and regenerates 1 hit point per round per three Hit Dice.
  • Godsight. This grants true seeing, detect alignment, and detect magic constantly, and godsight cannot be fooled by mortal illusions. godsight can detect divine power in others.
  • Telepathy. The divine entity can read surface thoughts and communicate telepathically with any creature possessing even a rudimentary mind within sight. Language is no barrier. When communicating with another divine entity or a cleric who derives spells from the godling, range is only sight the first time; thereafter, range with that entity or cleric is limitless. (Note: most divine entities do not talk directly to their clerics—they have better things to do with their time—but they do hear petitions.)

Godlings can expend primal for clerical abilities in the same fashion as immortals, but they do not suffer the 5× multiplier for research. In addition, godlings can expend primal for more powerful divine abilities:

Smite. A single smite deals divine damage to a single individual. The base cost is 5 primal for 1d6 of damage, doubled for each +1d6 (so 5d6 costs 80 primal). This can affect any individual the god can see or touch, even through magical agencies such as clairvoyance. Smiting is an attack, but does not require an attack throw, and does not allow a saving throw.

Shield. A god can expend primal to prevent damage (even from a smite) to the god or anyone within sight of the god. This is reflexive and instantaneous—if the god wishes to protect someone, they are protected. This costs 2 primal to prevent 5 damage, with each +5 damage doubling the cost (preventing 30 damage costs 64 primal).

Plane Shift. A god can teleport instantaneously to any familiar location, including any planes of existence directly connected to the current one. This costs 50 primal.

Sphere of Influence. A god can maintain a sphere of influence. A tiny sphere (“frogs”) costs 1,000 primal per month to maintain; a small sphere (“reptiles and amphibians”) costs 10,000; a medium sphere (“animals”) costs 100,000; and a large sphere (“nature”) costs 1 million.

This basic maintenance cost allows the god to shape or move up to 100 stone of common solid (earth, clay), 200 stone of common liquid (water, blood), 1,000 cubic yards of common gas (clouds, wind), or 500 cubic yards of common energy (daylight, “morale”). Where abstract energies (motion, morale, and the like) are concerned, they can be used to provide a +1 bonus to appropriate tasks within their area of effect. Physical energies (fire, lightning, cold) and flung solids can deal up to 3d6 damage. Range is always “within sight.”

Unless the sphere is living things, the affected material cannot be moved inside living creatures. Shaping always requires concentration. Uncommon materials (iron, poison gas, fire) divide weight or volume by 10; rare materials (fine steel, gems, lightning) divide it by 100 … or 1,000 for extremely rare items.

Creating an item divides weight or volume by 10, requires 10 minutes of concentration, and lasts for up to one day before vanishing again (energies dissipate at their normal rate). A permanent item divides weight or volume by 1,000 instead.

In addition, the god can always sense the presence of things which fall into the sphere’s category, and analyze them in perfect detail.

A god can increase control temporarily. This costs 1/1000 the base monthly cost of primal to increase weight, volume, bonus, or damage by +100% for one hour.

Celestial Home. A god can expend primal to maintain an extraplanar sub-reality. Calculate the cost in gold to construct a stronghold of the same approximate size and luxury, and expend 1/10 as much primal per month to maintain it. For example, a sub-reality the size of a small round tower, with no automatic furnishings, would cost 1,500 primal per month.

Within the “walls” of this sub-reality, the godling has complete and utter control of the reality itself. In addition, the sub-reality provides pseudo-primal equal to 1% of its monthly cost which can be expended every round, but only for effects which remain within the sub-reality.

Most gods, when warring with each other, expend energy from outside the sub-reality to collapse it, rather than try to take on the god on a home turf. (Collapsing a celestial home costs primal equal to twice the amount required to maintain it.)

Lesser Power

The majority of proper deities are lesser powers, possessed of vast quantities of divine power, a celestial portfolio, and the ability to deal with mortals independently without worrying overly much about other gods. A lesser power can curse a city, flatten most armies, reshape terrain, and so on. This costs 150,000 primal per month.

A lesser power is identical to a godling (above), with the following changes and additions:

  • Resistance. The bonus to saves increases to +3.

A lesser power’s spheres of influence cost the same as a godling’s, but multiply range, volume, and weight by ×100.


Powers are typically rule a pantheon of lesser powers, drawing upon their divine force in much the same way as a king taxes dukes. A power can expend much of their resources to flatten an entire city, raise a mountain range, curse and entire species, or similar … and is held back from expending those resources primarily by fear of other powers. Being a power costs 500,000 primal per month.

A power is identical to a lesser power, with the following changes:

  • Resistance. The bonus to saves increases to +4.

A power’s spheres of influence cost the same as a godling’s, but multiply range, volume, and weight by ×10,000.

Greater Power—Oceana

Eíre has only one greater power: Oceana. Other worlds are said to have more.

A greater power controls reality directly. They are (mostly) not modeled in game mechanics, because a single greater power can flatten an army of powers without significant exertion.

Oceana owns Eíre and controls its primary divine force, but does not appear to be interested in much about the world, even among the powers! (Some say this is fortunate.) She is commonly portrayed as distant, aloof, and uncaring, and most theologies teach that she was an elemental goddess of the plane of water, raised up by ocean to rule Eíre.

If numbers are needed, the world provides Oceana with 250 million gold equivalents per month. She then expends roughly 50 million per month maintaining the life force of the world … and that life force is what congregations expend toward their favored gods.

The  are well beyond even the greater powers. They operate beyond the scale of even the gods, and are said to be responsible for the creation of entire worlds … and even the greater powers that rule those worlds. They are not modeled in the game system, because they create and alter and destroy entire worlds without exceptional effort.

The usual line-up is said to be:

anima. Life force, souls, vitality.
change. Entropy, motion, time.
death. The mysteries of what lies after death.
earth. The elemental plane of earth.
nature. Beasts and plants, wild places, biological processes, health.
ocean. The elemental plane of water.
order. Thought, civilization, organizing principles.
passion. Emotion, inspiration, art.
sky. The elemental plane of air.
void. All-consuming, that-which-destroys.

The entity void is presumed to be locked away … or not exist at all. Some mystery cults believe that void will eventually escape and end all things. Others believe that death is actually void. Although philosophers like to set void as Chaos and order as Law, Law and Chaos are meaningless at the sú level.

Some mystery cults also believe in , a syncretist, still-higher power that guides and directs the sú. There is little evidence of this, however.

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Eíre NPC—Lady Melancholy

Outside the Summer Empire, Lady Melancholy is probably the most powerful human in the known world (the cleric who rules Orifai may be a match, and in certain ways any actual ruler of a kingdom is more powerful thanks to their extended resources). The following exercise explores what that looks like, so that I can keep other high-level NPCs at or below.

Lady Melancholy is an illusionist-14, and a tiny elfin woman of 137 years.

She has a familiar (Joy, giant hawk) with Beast Friendship, who maintains a small battalion of leveled giant hawk henches, armed with  plate barding and silvered claws—and Joy herself is armed with enchanted versions of same. While the giant hawks are not as powerful as Melancholy’s fire hawks, they are more subtle (they don’t glow, for starters) and don’t require a rider. Most of her other henches rule the various duchies of Principality One for her.

Melancholy achieved illusionist-14 during the reign of Queen Laura II (King Friederich II’s father’s formidable aunt), working her way up from Marquess (at 9th level) to Lady of a Principality, to the Lady of Principality One (and 14th level) by the time the Queen died. Upon the Queen’s death, the primogen nephew feared Lady Melancholy too much to directly oppose her continued rule of the Principality, and after his death, both King Adalbert and King Friederich II have treated her continued position in their courts as a matter of pride.

She has ruled the Principality for 103 years, and many expect her to rule for another century as well.

STR 4, DEX 10, CON 18, INT 14, WIS 9, CHA 17.

Proficiencies (3C, 7G +4G from age): Art (Illusion) x3, Collegiate Wizardry, Diplomacy, Elven Bloodline, Familiar, Leadership, Magical Engineering, Military Strategy, Profession (Judge) x3, and Theology. Familiar Proficiencies: Animal Husbandry x3, Animal Training (Hawks), Beast Friendship, Endurance, Mapping, Military Strategy x3, Navigation, Sensing Power, Soothsaying, and Tracking.

Items of Power. Ring of Wishes (2), Bracers of Armor (AC 4) + Ring of Protection (+2), Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals, Crystal Ball w/ESP, Eyes of the Eagle, and Dagger +1. Too many scrolls and potions to list. She also possesses a platinum circlet in which she has placed the ritual spells limited wish (×3), prismatic sphere (×1), and prismatic spray (×2). And a number of magic items she lends to her military.

Sanctum. Melancholy’s sanctum is worth several million gold, and is ridiculously well-furnished at this point. Every decade or so, she adds a new tower, wall, wing, courtyard, or similar; and numerous areas of the fortress are enchanted, permanently dweomered, coated in illusions, connected to the illusory shadow plane, and the like. Her magical library, workship, and laboratory are worth approximately a quarter-million gold each, and she has bought or constructed numerous constructs, magic items, and unique treasures. She avoids artifacts whenever possible, however, and refuses to construct or own an active dungeon. She has a fairly constant stream of apprentices, whom she “graduates” when they achieve sixth level to explore further on their own, and the Veiled Guild (illusionists) has their headquarters with its own ridiculously high-quality library and workshops within the walls of her sanctum. The sanctum employs nearly 500 people, and combined with those people living around the sanctum, qualifies as a Class V village.

In addition to the garrison she maintains for the safety of her lands (much of which is provided by the duchies), Melancholy has one hench who is not a duke or duchess:

Sir Captain Cait ó Ainníleas of Goblin March
Lawful Fighter-8; STR 7 (18 with gauntlets), DEX 17, CON 10, INT 16, WIS 7, CHA 13. HP 42, AC 7. Proficiencies (+1G age) Command, Animal Training x2 (Hawks, Fire Hawks), Fighting Style (missile weapons), Leadership, Manual of Arms ×2, Military Strategy ×3, Riding (Fire Hawk), Weapon Focus (bows & crossbows). Gauntlets of Ogre Power + Girdle of Giant Strength, “Giant” Composite Bow +2 (attack throw 5, +5 to hit, 2d6+5, 4d6+5 on natural 20), Two-Handed Sword +1 (attack throw 5, +4 to hit, 2d10+4), Plate +1.

Sir Cait commands 100 fire-hawk-mounted cataphract cavalry (trained by Cait), five henches (cleric/Brigit 7, fighter 6, aristocrat 5, mage 5, and mage 5), ten sergeants (fighters of level 1–3), five exotic animal trainers (trained by Cait), armorer journeymen and apprentices for the cleric hench (who is the primary armorer), and extended staff to maintain the fire hawk nursery, quarters, and so on. Melancholy pays 25,000 gold per month to cover the expense.

The fire hawks are the crossbred creation of Melancholy’s, although much of the thought that went into them originated with Sir Cait.

Fire Hawks
: Neutral.
Movement: 120′ (40′) and fly 450′ (150′).
Armor Class: 7.
Hit Dice: 8**.
Attacks: 2 (talons).
Damage: 2d4/2d4 (half of this is fire-based damage; add +1d4 fire when hitting cold-based creatures).
Save: F4.
Morale: +4.
Treasure Type: None.
XP: 1,600.
Dive Attack: A giant hawk can make a dive attack with its talons, dealing double damage. If a giant hawk hits a creature smaller than itself with both its talons, the giant hawk grabs the creature struck unless it makes a saving throw versus Paralysis. Grabbed creatures of human size or less may be carried off. Fire hawks can carry 30 stone without encumbrance, or up to 60 stone at half movement.
Immunities: Non-magical weapons.

 Melancholy cross-bred giant hawks with fire elementals, and the result is an immense, glowing bird, whose talons glow red and whose eyes burn. They breed true only with themselves, and Melancholy expended significant resources producing enough of them to form a viable population. Their eggs are handled by special caretakers, and their riders are carefully trained.

Taming a fire hawk requires raising them from birth—adult fire hawks cannot be tamed—and takes one year (3,000 gold for 1–6 eggs). Once tamed, they can be taught tricks at a cost of 180 gold per trick (1d4 weeks, cost covers 1–6 fire hawks). Only a rare few have the exact match of temperament and talent to become trained for combat—combat training costs 7,000 gold per fire hawk and takes two years. Fire hawks usually live for 30 years, of which roughly 20 years is useful in combat. A fire hawk costs 50 gold per month in livestock consumed.

Two of Melancholy’s constructs, called obelisk daughters, are also noteworthy. Designing the obelisk daughters cost 134,000 gold and 22 weeks (she failed the first time: research 16+, with a +5 from INT, magical engineering, and library). Enchanting both constructs, she used up a pair of wishes to ensure success, with a final cost of 67,000 gold and 11 weeks each … and when they were done, destroyed the formulary as a gift to Mòr (“art should be unique”).

Obelisk Daughters (Òra and Mòira)
: Lawful.
Movement: 120′ (40′), fly 300′ (100′).
Armor Class: 8.
Hit Dice: 16*******.
Attacks: 4 (4 fists).
Damage: 2d6/2d6/2d6/2d6.
Save: F8.
Morale: N/A.
Treasure Type: Special (two black opals, fine clothing and wig).
XP:  11,100.
Immunities: Disease, poison, gases; charm, sleep, fear, hold, paralysis, and polymorph effects; and fire. Obelisk daughters can also see invisible.
Regeneration: Obelisk daughters regenerate 3 hit points per round. They cannot regenerate damage dealt by acid attacks or weapons coated in powdered gem stones (minimum 500 gold worth of gems).
Immense Strength: Each obelisk daughter is as strong as a hill giant (attacks already include this). This allows the daughter to throw rocks up to 200 ft. for 3d6 damage, and grants a +16 bonus to force open doors. They can carry up to 25 stone without being encumbered. They can wield one-handed melee weapons, dealing doubled dice of damage (usually 2d4 or 2d6), but usually don’t.

The now long-dead sculptor Mòr ó Ainníleas, working from memories of a near-death experience, sculpted black marble into two human-sized, nude “angels,” each with four arms, feathered wings, and black opal eyes. Originally designed to replace a portion of a slender (non-weight-bearing) pillar, each has a flat-topped head.

However, when he presented them to his patroness Melancholy, she instead enchanted them as constructs. Her personal tailor dresses them in fine silks, jewelry, and wigs to match the seasons, and it is rare that she is not accompanied by at least one of them.

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ACKS Eíre—Thick as Thieves

There are two major criminal guilds in the Broken Mountain kingdom: The Guild of Whispers (as they style themselves) and the Black Guard (assassins who work for the King).

The Black Guard is a small order of assassins who serve the King as assassins. They have 360 members (160 level-0 apprentices, 124 level-1, 49 level-2, 16 level-3, 7 level-4, 2 level-5, and 1 level-6). Not all of them are actually Black Guards—many are thieves, illusionists, and the like. The Black Guard is essentially a rounding error in the Guild of Whispers’ membership, although the king’s resources make them significantly more powerful than this indicates.

The Guild of Whispers is a massive organization, consisting of almost 150,000 individuals spread through every city and worthwhile town of Broken Mountain. Of these, 65,000 are level-0, 50,000 are level-1, 20,000 are level-2, 6,650 are level-3, 2,650 are level-4, 1,000 are level-5, 333 are level-6, 125 are level-7, 50 are level-8, 17 are level-9, 6 are level-10, 2 are level-11, and one (Princess Gretchen) is level-12.

Rather than use the default ACKS numbers, the above are based on the assumption that 20% of all leveled characters are “Hideout classes” (i.e., thieves and the like), and are numbered accordingly. Broken Mountain has an unusually centralized criminal element, although the sub-guilds of individual cities are very independent, which results in most of them answering—eventually—to Princess Gretchen.

The Guild of Whispers is broken into eight Hands, most run by a level-10 thief answering to Gretchen.

  • Hand of Salt. Runs crime in Cane. Main emphasis on smuggling, with a strong showing in gambling and prostitution. Second largest! Run by a level-11 thief.
  • Hand of Silver. Runs crime in Broken Mountain. The second-smallest Hand, and focuses mostly on keeping crime below the radar of the King. Run by a level-11 thief.
  • Hand of Silk. Runs crime in Principalities Three and Four. Main emphasis on overland smuggling and—oddly enough—aristocratic espionage. Third largest.
  • Hand of Shadows. The eyes and ears and mouth of the Guild, both gathering information for the guild’s use, and propagating rumors where needed. Found throughout the kingdom, and the main Hand in which beggars and petty thieves can be found. The largest Hand.
  • Hand of Blood. Regardless of region, if it involves murder for pay, alchemical and herbal poisons, or enforcing the Guild’s Code, it involves the Hand of Blood. The smallest Hand.
  • Hand of Stone. Runs crime in Principality Five. Main emphasis is on “protection” for the many mines of the principality.
  • Hand of Cloth. The portion of the Guild of Whispers that the King is directly aware of—the Hand of Cloth acts as a liaison to the Oath-Takers.
  • Hand of Oak. Runs crime in Principality Two. No real emphasis, although looting ancient ruins has begun to turn significantly profitable.

In addition to the hideout population, however, there are also a number of diplomats who have strong relations with the Guild of Whispers, although not all of them. The most skilled is Countess Rawn (level-10); most other diplomats in the pocket of the Guild are level 8 or lower.

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ACKS Eíre—Starting Maps

Constructing the Campaign Setting

I prefer a 36-mile hex over the 24-mile hex, because certain math and mapping tasks are easier. To assist me in that, I put together a hex map that scales smoothly at 6x increments: 6x Hex Map.

It provides one giant hex, 36 medium hexes (which have number labels), and 1,296 small hexes (which covers the preferred ACKS map size, but radially symmetrical rather than rectangular). To “zoom in,” print off a new hex map page, choose a medium-sized hex, and write its number label in the upper right “Parent Hex” spot.

This map is free for personal use—if you want commercial use, drop me a line and we’ll talk.

Eíre Campaign Map - Black Sea Peninsula

Black Sea Peninsula

Here’s my ACKS “campaign map” at 36-mile hex scale, focused on political boundaries and coast:

(I also have an incomplete 216-mile hex scale map, which shows the kingdoms past Bells of Dawn and the Summer Empire, but for ACKS, that’s “out of scope” right now and a bit too incomplete.)

Note that I’m missing four Class III cities in Broken Mountain (for Principalities Two, Three, Four, and Five) because I haven’t mapped them yet. There should also be at least two sizable cities in the visible portion of Bells of Dawn, one at the border to Broken Mountain, and another a bit lower down. Since the campaign won’t be in those for a while, though, I’m not sweating it.

Also not shown are the implied mountains which run from the northwestern tip of the peninsula to the southwest (the southern border of Broken Mountain runs up against and partially into the mountains). Everything on the map that isn’t Broken Mountain, Bells of Dawn, or ocean, is wilderness.

Principality One of Broken Mountain

And here’s the regional map, again, scrubbed a bit. This shows smaller urban areas, and has a start on some of the points of interest (two major lakes the players know about). The political divisions are Duchies—note that the Duchy of Snake River is not shown as separate from the Duchy of Goblinwood on this map, although it actually is a separate duchy.

The river flowing north out of Broken Mountain (city) is Snake River, and is the biggest trade line in Broken Mountain (the second largest follows the northern border of All-Road, into Principality Four, and goes toward Bells of Dawn).

Broken Mountain has the following numbers of high-level individuals:

  • 14.
    • King Deiderich Fuchsbach II of Broken Mountain. Aristocrat. Principality One, Duchy of Goblinwood and Broken Mountain as a whole.
    • Lady Melancholy of Court of Light. Illusionist. Principality One.
  • 13.
    • Sir Ciara ó Súilleabháin of Cane. Diplomat. Principality One, Duchy of Snake River.
    • Lord Seamus ó Caellaighe of Cane. Aristocrat. Principality Two.
    • Lady Ainnir ó Ainníleas of Cane. Fighter. Principality Five.
  • 12.
    • Duke Brennan ó Ainníleas of Storm Mountain. Aristocrat. Principality One, Duchy of Sorrows Lake.
    • Princess Gretchen Fuchsbach of Broken Mountain. Thief. (No rulership, but lives in Principality One.)
    • Lord Aodh ó Ainníleas of Storm Mountain. Aristocrat. Principality Four.
    • Princess Ada Fuchsbach of Broken Mountain. Cleric (Night). Principality Four, Duchy of Mountain Lake.
  • 11.
    • Governor Haral of Cane. Fighter. Principality One, Duchy of Snake River, Cane.
    • Governess Mòr ó Baoghill of Sorrows Lake. Cleric (Oath). Principality One, Duchy of Goblinwood, Broken Mountain.
    • Duke Lucas Schäfer of Broken Mountain. Aristocrat. Principality One, Duchy of West Valley.
    • Plus 8 others.
  • 10.
    • Duchess Hanna Fuchsbach of Bellpath. Aristocrat. Principality One, Duchy of All-Road.
    • Duke Taraghlan ó Baoghill of Sorrows Lake. Diplomat. Principality One, Duchy of Olivia.
    • Duke Taog ó Ainníleas of Storm Mountain. Cleric (Dunatis). Principality One, Duchy of Grim Bowl.
    • Countess Rawn the Elegant of Cottonmouth Way. Diplomat. Principality One, Duchy of Goblinwood, Black Marble Mountainside County.
    • Governor Eadan ó Cleireigh of Blue Field. Aristocrat. Principality One, Duchy of All-Road, Bellpath.
    • Governess Sofie Schäfer of Broken Mountain. Cleric (Glitter). Principality One, Duchy of Snake River, West Lake.
    • Prince Jonas Fuchsbach of Broken Mountain. Diplomat. Principality Three.
    • Plus 24 others.
  • 9.
    • Princess Gisella Fuchsbach of Broken Mountain. Diplomat. (No rulership, but lives in Principality One.)
    • Governess Una ó Baoghill of Sorrows Lake. Diplomat. Principality One, Duchy of Olivia, Olive Grove.
    • Governor Paul Fuchsbach of Broken Mountain. Aristocrat. Principality One, Duchy of Snake River, Snakebit.
    • Plus 88 others.

Principality One has 214 thousand families; as the capitol principality, however, it possesses a larger percentage of the kingdom’s high-level individuals: 2×14 (all), 1×13 (33%), 2×12 (50%), 3×11 (27%), 6×10 (19%), 25×9 (27%).

The cities of Principality One are:

  • Cane. 20,000 families. Class I. Duchy of Snake River (approx. 32,000 families, most of them urban). Located on the Snake River coast, directly between Principalities Two and Three, Cane is the major trade hub of Broken Mountain, and the largest city in the kingdom. Administrated by Governor Haral.
  • Broken Mountain. 4,280 families. Class III. Duchy of Goblinwood, Broken Hills County. Excluding Cane, the largest city in Principality One, and the capitol of the kingdom. Technically ruled by King Freiderich, administrated by Governess Mòr.
  • Black Rock Bend. 1,142 families. Class IV. Duchy of Goblinwood, Black Marble Mountainside County. Excluding Broken Mountain, the largest city in the duchy. The central hub for the marble trade. Ruled directly by Countess Rawn.
  • Bellpath. 986 families. Class IV. Duchy of All-Road, Three Corners County. The largest urban center in All-Road. Acts as a gateway for Bells of Dawn trade, with fees that go toward the maintenance of the All-Road itself.  Administrated by Governor Eadan.
  • West Lake. 686 families. Class IV. A trade stop along Snake River, fed largely by West Valley duhcy villages and crafters but technically part of the Snake River duchy. Administrated by Governess Sofie.
  • Olive Grove. 680 families. Class IV. A sizable but backwater town of consolidated olive merchants. Administrated by Governess Una.
  • Snakebit. 636 families. Class IV. A small township consisting of an inordinate number of ship repair and construction shops … Snakebit is founded on the worst part of Snake River. Administrated by Governor Paul.
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ACKS Setting-Specific Class—Oath-Taker (Cleric)

There are no generic clerics in Eíre, but there are numerous diety-specific clerics, one of which is the oath-taker. Oath-takers serve Oath, the leader of the Broken Mountain pantheon.

Prime Requisite: WIS and DEX.
Requirements: None.
Hit Dice: 1d4.
Maximum Level: 14.
Attack/Save: +½ per level.
Saves as Cleric.
Armor: Leather or lighter.
Shield: No.
Weapons: Bows and one-handed melee weapons. Can dual-wield.

Oath-takers can fight with the bow (Oath’s chosen weapon) or any one-handed weapon. They cannot cast spells or use their special abilities while wearing armor heavier than leather or using a shield.

With any bow, an oath-taker gains a +1 attack bonus at every odd-numbered level after first (so 3rd, 5th, 7th, etc.). Within short range with a bow, the oath-taker can ambush an opponent as for the Ambushing proficiency.

An oath-taker who takes the Ambushing proficiency can use it for all usable weapons … but with a bow, does backstab damage as a thief of the same level instead.

Oath-takers can turn undead and cast divine spells as a cleric of their level.

Oath-takers cannot lie for any reason. However, they can also “take oath.” To take oath, the subject must swear on Oath’s name to speak the truth, while the oath-taker places a hand on the subject. If the subject tells a lie, the oath-taker knows immediately and the magical effect ends. Speaking the truth (or even remaining silent) has no effect. An oath-taker can take oath once per day per level; each oath-taking can last for up to an hour.

Note that in most urban centers, taking oath is a service worth 5 silver pieces per use; a full-time oath-taker can make roughly 15 gold per month per daily use.

Oath-takers receive a +2 bonus on all reaction rolls due to their reputation for honesty, and status within the clerical orders.

Oath-takers also train in the following thief skills, to better follow in the steps of Oath: Climb Walls, Hear Noise, Hide in Shadows, and Move Silently. They can use these skills as a thief of their level.

At ninth level, an oath-taker can construct a temple stronghold.

Oath-Taker Proficiencies. Acrobatics, Alertness, Ambushing, Apostasy, Arcane Dabbling, Battle Magic, Cat Burglary, Command, Contemplation, Diplomacy, Divine Blessing, Familiar (serpent, raven, or toad), Fighting Style (Missile Weapon), Healing, Illusion  Resistance, Knowledge, Language, Leadership, Lip Reading, Lore Mastery, Military Strategy, Profession, Prophecy, Righteous Turning, Skulking, Swashbuckling, Theology, and Weapon Focus (Bows).

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