Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Finally on the ACKS Bandwagon
In my own defense, I had already been disappointed by Dungeon Crawl Classics and, most bitterly, by Crypts & Things. I thought DCC was nothing but some nifty cosmetic hacks on a basic clone chassis. C&T is, in my opinion, misleading, to put it kindly. If they want to charge for their background and setting, fine, go for it. To take someone else's work, work that is freely available, and modify with someone else's free house rules, and have the audacity to call it yours and charge money for something they gave freely is reprehensible.
It was with those jaded eyes I viewed the release of ACKS. My apprehension was aggravated by the fact that one of the main selling points are the domain-type rules. Specifically, that ACKS returns the domain management end-game to fantasy gaming. That always sat a little odd to me. This is ostensibly an OSR title, and every OSR player worth his dice knows that the domain management end-game is part-and-parcel of any iteration of D&D from the LBBs through AD&D 1E and all points between. So, based on that thin exposure and hastily formed opinion, I avoided ACKS like the disappointment I was sure it would be.
I am very pleased to report that I was wrong. I finally broke down and picked up the PDF after reading a play report about a cleric getting his hand hacked off. Hmmm, thought I. A couple of Duck-Duck-Go clicks later and I learned that there is a critical hit system that comes into play when a character's HP are gone. That put me in mind of the excellent way WFRP 1E handles criticals, which is still my all-time favorite. After seeing that, it was all over but the crying.
I'll be reading this over the next few days. I'll definitely be posting my impressions, probably as I read, so they'll come in multiple parts. I'll try to make sure I see them all through and not leave it hanging. For now, though, I just wanted to let everyone know, I'm one of the cool kids now.