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Ant Wu

How do people here feel about so-called "Paizo" principles of design?

Namely, they view customization as king, as an inherent good which is necessarily for the hobby. These principles aren't widespread, because Paizo hasn't really inspired an entire school of designers in the same way that Storygame principles have, or OSR principles have.

But you can see this in some of how Shadow of the Demon Lord was designed, you can see this in how Paizo designed Starfinder, and of course Pathfinder remains the second best-selling tabletop RPG, so it still definitely has a fanbase which admires these principles.

Paizo principles also involve other ideas, such as the idea that the GM can't be trusted in terms of challenge design (which is why there are so many DCs for checks, so much nominal "balancing math" for encounters, etc). It looks and feels different in implementation, but those principles actually share philosophical similarities to how GM-less storygames create genres and stories via the mechanics because they want to take those powers a bit out of the GM's hands, out of the GM's perhaps "arbitrary" control.

So. They are a set of principles, even if not as influential necessarily among indie designers. How do people feel about those principles?

Hello there everyone! I'm relatively new, and like a lot of folks here I'm making my own game.

Sadly, I'll be the first to admit I'm basically making a D&D-inspired fantasy heartbreaker - it's more a game to fulfill the little tweaks I want in my gaming experience rather than something universal. Nonetheless, I hope that over the next year I can get a few folks interested.

As is typical with heartbreakers, even if the final system isn't necessarily a groundbreaking achievement, some of the discoveries or fun mechanical quirks along the way can be shared, stolen, and disseminated by everybody.

A quick example of some jokey 'Perks' that the game will have:

Hidden Depth of Character
You gain 3 additional aptitude points, which do not need to be assigned at the moment. You can assign them on the adventure. You may also spend an aptitude point to know a language, as it comes up.

Snake Eater
A lifetime of poor decisions has miraculously resulted in your immunity to poison. You are immune to the poisoned condition, and when subjected to poison damage, you ignore all of the listed effects and instead heal 1 HP in response.

Your mule-like stubbornness is legendary, serving you well in everything from facing your mother to facing dragonbreath. You gain a +1 Stubbornness bonus to all saving throws.

Vitruvian Proportions
Calculate the average ability score of your party’s members, not including your own ability scores. Change every ability score on your character sheet to that average score.

Heya. Stumbled upon an old Hill Cantons Post (circa 2011) about the Domain Game being implemented in a lighter fashion than ACKS but a less storygame fashion than An Echo Resounding.

Continued research seems to indicate that this project (Borderlands) either slowed or was cancelled.

Was curious if drafts of the work were accessible for playtesting ever, as someone who is looking to join an ACKS game as a player, with a GM who is exasperated with the granularity of the ACKS rules for domain management.

Particularly interested in this section:

Chp 2. Introducing Domain-Level Play into a Standard Campaign
The Epic Campaign Time Scale
What Level to Introduce?
The Adventure Season
The Campaign Season
Domain Turn Cycles
Player Choice
Month turn, Season turn, Annual turn
Standing Orders
Intervention Points (downshifting into immediate game time)
Structuring Domain Play In and Around Regular Sessions
Housekeeping Session or Sub-Session
Second-Party Sessions
One-on-One or Solo Sessions
Using Inter-Session Time

Though obviously interested in the project as a whole too.

Has anyone here played Into the Odd of <>?

I'm curious about how the "auto-hit" part of the game has affected your gameplay, compared to more traditional D&D-esque games. Without AC, the combat is going to be faster...once you've played without AC, do you find that you want to keep AC? Do you find that you want it, still?

For folks who enjoy playing quirky classes, do you have any favorites outside of the standard fighter/rogue/magic-user/cleric?

I found the Anatomist for Lamentations to be great fun, and I found the Dungeon Crawl Classics Halfling to also be a lot of fun with their ability to rub luck off on others.

What are your selections? Weird fantasy is fine, I'm mostly looking for mechanic packages which are fun to play for you. Minimalist is okay, but perhaps you can already tell from my two examples (Anatomist & Halfling) that I like something with a bit of a twist to it.

Also, if you've got any system which does one of the four classics in a way you really like, let me know as well. It's like a cocktail - even if everyone's heard of the Manhattan, if one Manhattan recipe is a bit special, I want to hear about it too.

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My Dragon Empire is diving into the biopunk aspect a bit, and sometimes I take a break from gaming to just properly write about it.

Here is an excerpt about the birth of a warbeast. The Crusader uses warbeasts in his never-ending cycle of hatred against demons, extracting ichor from his victims to make more warbeasts. In my setting, he's a very notable scientist and power-player in the plots I run...even though I do run a sandbox and currently my players have opted to pick a fight with the Prince of Shadows instead.

Thoughts and comments are appreciated!

For those who think the Dragon Empire is hard to reskin...let this story be a sample of just how rich the reskinning experience can be. Let your imagination run wild. :)

If the Prince of Shadows met Strahd in Barovia and saw the opportunity to get a new henchman (Strahd is such a bag of insecurities and ever so hungry for power, after all - easy mark) how would the Prince go about:

1) Getting Strahd to play nice (I think stealing Tatyana's soul is a bit too gauche for the Prince, though it's a good last resort)

2) Leaving Barovia to go back to the Dragon Empire - the Dark Powers and Strahd's control over his cursed domain shouldn't be trivialized...but this is the ultimate knave we're talking about. He should have a way out, right?

Just an interesting Icon development I'm considering in-game.

The party has revealed, intentionally and unintentionally, a lot of what the Prince of Shadows has been up to, and the majority of his activities have looked treasonous, if not outright world-threatening.

After this is reported to Glitterhaegen (where the party currently is) and the news is carried back to Axis, I think the Emperor is going to cede the Prince's territory of Shadow Port over to the High Druid and her people as a gesture of goodwill towards her - she's been on good behavior recently. Let her grow a forest straight into and through the city, rending it and turning it back into forest rather than to try to salvage the city and bring it back under this thumb.

Rather a forest with a known element of radical environmentalism than a city filled with plots he can't fathom.

Hello, I'm a newbie to ACK, coming fresh from the conventions of D&D 5E. I was curious about what people felt about The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. On the one hand, reviews online seem to suggest it does a very good job of teaching a new GM to the ACK System the ways of integrating campaign expectations (hirelings, domain-level play) into an adventure.

On the other hand, the adventure itself doesn't have any particularly standout moments that I've seen highlighted in any review, and the one actual play report I found was an unfinished one after a lot of the party was decimated.

As a result, I'm left a bit conflicted. Sinister Stone is undoubtedly a steal for the art and content, but as someone who at least is accustomed to GMing, even if I've never done it for this system, I'm not sure how to feel about Stone. Should I just give freely-making-up-things a shot and learn as I go, or is Stone a pretty important learning crutch that gives new GMs insights otherwise hard to glean?

Looking to see if folks new to ACKS learned through their own stories or through this module. Any thoughts are helpful :)

Question: has anyone made any hex-crawl variants or wilderness exploration variants of the Dragon Empire, or run a West Marches style game in it?

If so, I'd appreciate any resources/advice/random thoughts that folks may have.

If not...ditto, though I understand it may be less substantive.
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