ACKS Space Setting Thus Far

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A collection of random things posted on Google Plus:

An item for the ACKS spacefaring campaign:

Patchcloth: When combat pokes holes in a ship, it begins to lose air. In Pythagorian space, the air escapes quickly, but not with enough pressure to throw sailors out into the aether. When the crew has enough time to work on repairs, the first order of business is covering these holes.

Pathcloth is stored as rolled bundles of cloth measuring about 20 feet high and at least 200 feet in length. The cloth is densely woven and fairly sturdy. It is cut to fit any holes.


For spacefaring in ACKS, I figure Thieves have class specific proficiencies that allow for greater maneuverability and/or tactical speed. Other classes can stack the general proficiencies to become better at evasive maneuvers and things like that, but the "rogues" of the world can eek out that extra speed/dexterity to do impossible stuff.

The pilot uses a "wheel" to drive the ship. This is a device with three handles attached to a sphere. One handle affects the pitch, the second the yaw, the third the roll of the ship. Each handle is twisted clockwise or counter-clockwise to affect the ship.

This device can come with a ship, but master pilots always bring their own.

Ship Construction

1. Build a regular boat - carrack, nao, Galley, etc.
2. Attach a device that makes the ship air tight:
- This device is basically a permanent Mend spell. The effect is to close any gaps in the ship, especially the really small ones. If someone forgets a plank, the device will not work. It doesn't stay with the finished ship, it is only used in construction and the final step of repairs at a repair dock.
3. Attach the engine. Again, this is the thing that makes the ship travel a million miles a day at cruising speed.
4. Attach the air system.
- This device is basically a Create Air engine multiplied in effect for up to 128 people that operates once an hour.
5. Attach the weapon systems.

Using my own interpretation of the Magic Item creation system for a Spelljammer helm:

Cost: 125,000 gp

The standard prices in 2e were 100,000 gp for a minor helm. 250,000 for a major helm.

The effects used to calculate this are strictly to move an object approximately 1 million miles in a day. It is a permanent effect usable once a day. The spell level used is calculated based on the number of times the Fly spell has its effect doubled to reach a million miles in a 24 hour period.

Of course, anyone with the formula can crank these out at half price...

Class Templates

In my setting based on Pythagorean ideas - anyone of Neutral alignment will be treated as Chaotic by a Pythagorean.

The Pythgorean template can be applied to the basic classes cleric, magic-user and fighter. Alignment must be Lawful. Provides bonuses to general and class proficiencies based on their "enlightenment" through Pythagorean knowledge.

For example, the magic-user, knowing that all things are composed of numbers, could get bonuses to alchemy, Summoning spells and/or item creation.


From Pythagoras, the center of the universe (a la the solar system) is the Hearth of the Gods. Being a link to the gods' dwelling place, it is comprised of the most important element, fire.

My antibiotics-addled mind: The Hearth is an entrance to the outer planes.

Pythagoras wasn't much different from other Greek philosophers in assigning four elements to the universe.

My antibiotics-addled mind: So there really are Inner planes (Fire, Air, Water, Earth)

Pythagoras assigned the platonic solids to each of the elements. Tetrahedron (d4) - Fire. Octahedron (d8) - Air. Icosahedron (d20) - Water. Cube (d6) - Earth.

My antibiotics-addled mind: Plane of fire is a pyramid.

My antibiotics-addled mind: Each face of plane of fire borders another plane. One face connects to the solar system (and thus to the other planets rotating around it). Another face connects to plane of Air. The triangular face on the border between two planes is the same size. The same is true on a third face that borders the plane of Water. The last face borders a cube. The length of a side of the pyramid is the same as the length of a side of the cube. This means a small triangle-shaped piece of the plane of Fire does not touch the plane of Earth.

Pythagoras assigned the d12 (name escapes me) as the shape of the universe.

My antibiotics-addled mind: The above mentioned combination of planes is all contained in a dodecahedron. Where faces of dodecahedrons connect, there is an alternate universe.

The path to the Outer Planes lies in the center of the plane of Fire.

An ACKS spacefaring setting

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I love Adventurer, Conqueror, King. It is a great system that feels old enough for me, yet has lots of fiddly stuff including an economics system. I have enjoyed reading it for several days now.

Some time ago, I wrote about Tiezerekan, my take on fantasy in space. With the ACKS system, it seems like everything is there to flesh out this world further. I've started with a few ideas on Google Plus, but I wanted to begin posting here as well.

Since the universe is largely based on Pythagorean ideas, I wanted to start with a brief snippet about the settings central figure, Ogan Zetvar.

Ogan Zetvar's story has become more legend than fact. It is believed that he was once human and either ascended to godhood or was murdered by the gods. While he was alive, he attracted a fair number of worshipers. It is known that he began his school when he was 50 years of age. It is believed that he left his homeworld at the age of 17 and traveled the stars for over 30 years.

Various planets have stories about his teachings and strange form of magic. Common elements throughout the Ogan stories are:

  1. The spontaneous creation of some kind of animal.
  2. Discourses of the nature of numbers.
  3. Critics accusing him of atheism.
  4. One or more mathematical proofs.
  5. The teaching of an internally-sourced form of divine magic.

The last element, divine magic that did not require devotion to any particular god, is what appears to have angered the gods. Despite his death/disappearance, the unique form of magic credited to him flourishes on all known planets.

The setting is going to be renamed, once I get more written about it.

How the Worlds Tie Together

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This is post 199. More about the history of this site in the next post.

For now, this is about how the various worlds of Andras tie together. In some ways, this is sparked by Vincent Florio's post about mixing Sci-Fi with Fantasy. Where it differs, however, deals with how the rules for various settings can work together.

Lorica is about mechs and/or tanks and Tiezerekan is about space fantasy. A far future setting has some elements in common with space fantasy, namely interplanetary travel. More than that, both setting rely on creating various ships and other craft to accomplish goals. Lorica has many classes of mechs, air ships and the colossal drop ships. Tiezerekan has many classes of space craft to explore, conduct trade, transport and fight in wars.

The idea behind Andras is to provide one system to make craft for both worlds. While it may require some amount of abstraction, I really didn't want a lot of hand-waving to be part of the process. I want something straight-forward with lots of options that doesn't bog down players that just want to get started.

More than that, I want a system that also connects with Dweneyarda. High fantasy vessel making? Sure. Sooner or later, you may want to create naval vessels. When the system is complete, I also hope that the rules can incorporate generation of medieval-ish artillery, golems, and other magical creations.

Let's start with making mechs/tanks for Lorica as a part of this walk-through, we will re-create the Loanza light mech:

  1. Choose a power source.The Loanza uses a fusion engine with a power rating of 1300. It has a mass value of 12. (This is important later)
  2. Choose Shields, Armor, Weapons, and special attachments.Everything has a mass and power usage score. Both of these scores affect the amount of drain on the power source. There are trade-offs that make the game interesting.In Lorica, Shields directly benefit Armor Class, making a mech more difficult to hit. The more powerful the shields, the more power required. Shields do not weigh much, but because of the high power requirements, too much shielding can leave little power for weapons and movement.The Loanza uses Rating 6 shields providing an AC bonus of 6. The power drain is a relatively low 31 points and the mass is 2. These numbers are important later.

    Armor uses no power, but has a high mass. In Lorica, Armor provides the Hull points. One point of armor costs 1 point of mass. The Loanza has a lighter amount of armor, 60 units of armor costing 60 mass points.

    The pilot is a special attachment. The space for the pilot costs 3 power points and 3 mass points. Another special attachment could allow space to carry infantry, but that won't be used for the Loanza.

    Weapons have varying values for mass and power. Lasers use a lot of power, but have the greatest range. Missiles costs very little power, but have limited range. Slug thrower do great amounts of damage, but are quite massive.

    The Loanza has the following weapon systems:

    Weapons Range Power Mass Damage
    Form III Laser
    20 10 4 8+1d8
    125mm Slug
    15 6 47 28+1d12
    SR Missiles(12) 6 2 15 1d12 x 6
  3. Now for the math to calculate the movement rate and the Hull points. Optionally, the rough size can be calculated as well as the total cost.Here's what we have so far:
    power mass cost
    Engine 1300
    12 650000
    Shields 6 31 2 30000
    Armor 60
    60 3000
    Pilot 1 3 3 300
    Special Att 0 0 0 0

    Form III 10 4 72000

    125mm 6 47 218000

    SR(12) 2 15 30000

    52 143 1003300 8

    First we'll calculate the movement rating:
    Start with the Engine Rating (1300) and subtract the total power points for the shields, weapons and other components. In this case, all systems drain 52 power points. 1300 - 52 = 1248.

    Now divide the subtotal by the total mass points dropping any remainder. The total mass points for the Loanza is 143. 1248/143 rounds down to 8. A movement rate of 8 means that the vehicle can move 8 hexes per round.

    Now to calculate the Hull points:
    In Lorica, one unit of armor provide 12 Hull points. It is assumed that the armor is a futuristic alloy. 60 times 12 equals 720 Hull points.

    For estimated size, I use a unit of volume I call a ton. It is 1000 cubic feet or a 10' x 10' x 10' cube. One mass point equals one ton. Since the Loanza has 143 total mass points, it is 143 tons in size. This is 143,000 cubic feet. It is about the size of an oil tanker.

  4. With these numbers, provide a good description of the vessel.

How could something like this apply to Tiezerakan or Dweneyarda?

Tiezerkan vessel would use similar engines. Keep in mind that a 1300 rated engine in one world is not necessarily equivalent to a 1300 rated engine in another. In Tiezerkan, vessels are moving at speeds hundreds or thousands of times faster than tanks. However, to keep the math simple, there no need to create a master table of engines, use the same ones. For crossover, simply come up with a conversion rate.

Weapons in different settings will vary in damage. A GM may decide that weapons do absolute damage. For example, a 17th century cannons may only do 1d4 Hull points of damage as opposed to the large values of damage for Lorica weapons. Tiezerakan weapons may be a factor of 10 or 100 times more damaging than Lorica.

A GM may also decide that weapons do relative damage. A 17th century cannon may do 1d10 Hull Points of damage in a fantasy setting, but very little if brought into another. Again, if you do crossover, create a conversion factor.

You may decide to assign different numbers of Hull points per one unit of armor depending on the material. Steel may be 8 Hull points per unit of armor, for example. Wood may be 6 Hull points per unit of armor. A GM could define as few or as many materials as desired.

Special attachments vary considerably. Mechs do not need living quarters or galleys, but interstellar vessels do. Some settings may not have energy shields like Lorica. In each setting, special attachments are better defined.

Lastly, a ton may not be the same in every setting. In some settings, a ton may be a 5' x 5' x 5' cube or 125 cubic feet. In others, it may be thousands of cubic feet. Like engines, relative values help to simply things. I have not found a need to do this, using this system, I have re-created a 16th century Portugese Nau with close to real-life values.

After post 200, some more concrete examples of this system in other settings.