Tyche's Favourites/Chargen

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Chapter 2: Characters

Ability scores (p16)

No 3d6 in order. Instead we use the following scheme, which generates an array: Roll 1d6+12, 2d6+6 twice and 3d6 four times. Drop the lowest result from these seven rolls.

You may choose to use either your array, or that of anyone else at the table. Once you have your array, you may arrange them however you like.

Design note: My group aren't wildly keen on random rolls, but 3d6 in order is the worst sort of random, giving no choice whatsoever over what character you play. We don't do "work out what you have from the rolls", we come up with a concept then build a character. The players are happy to use this skewed sort of random, but with the proviso that they can allocate to taste. Furthermore, restricting everyone to whatever they personally roll creates unnecessary rancor, the solution to this was to treat everyone's rolls as an array, freely available for anyone else to use. Thus no one can luck out and get a "good roll", nor suck with a "bad roll".

I'll probably use a weaker one, without the 1d6+12 for henchmen, and straight 3d6, allocate at will for hirelings.

Hit points (p18)

Maximum hit points at 1st level, average (ie half HD) for every level thereafter.

Classes (p18)

Choose a class from the following options: Assassin, Bard, Diplomat, Expert, Explorer, Fighter, Warlord.

Some classes have been altered to equalise XP (because XP will not be tracked using points). The following changes are applied to those classes:

  • Assassin: Add Skirmishing Proficiency as class power.
  • Bard: Add Performance (Rhetoric) and one additional Performance Proficiency as class powers, may wear medium armour and use shields.
  • Fighter: Add one additional Class Proficiency.

There are three new classes, which are detailed on the New Classes page.

All characters start at 5th level, and have 8,000dr with which to purchase equipment, mounts and pack animals and so on. Henchmen start with equipment appropriate to their station, with the PCs paying for anything additional. Hirelings must be paid for by the PCs.

As 5th level characters, they will have an expected standard of living of dr/month. If they wish to establish some investments to begin to cover this, any money invested has a return of 3% per month for relatively secure investments, and d10%-d4% for riskier investments (which may make a loss).

Design note: Obviously without magic half of the standard classes make no sense. There were also some gaps, thus the addition of the two new classes. There was also a small job of equalising the XP of all the classes, to facilitate dropping XP tracking altogether, in favour of an alternative method of levelling.

This is a game intended to start with the PCs as experienced, capable people, thus we just go straight to 5th level and skip the early incompetence. It also means they're at the stage of gathering their own individual retinues, which is perfect for this game. Four people wandering about unattended would look like vagabonds or bandits, not potential players in the great political games of the age.

I'm not yet sure about starting wealth in terms of monthly incomes that make sense.

Chapter 3: Equipment

Coins and Money (p39)

All economies are based on the silver standard. Halve all values quoted (or alternatively multiply all quoted gold piece values by 5) to arrive at a roughly accurate value in silver drachmae for all goods, services and living costs.

In ancient Greece, these were the main currencies:
8 chalkoi = 1 obolus
6 oboloi = 1 drachma
100 drachmae = 1 mina (or mnai)
60 minae = 1 Athenian Talent

1 Athenian talent is about 60lb of silver. In ACKS, there are 100 coins per pound, so 1 Athenian talent is 6000 coins. There are (100 x 60) 6,000 drachma per Athenian talent. Gold is worth ten times as much as silver (it was as much as 27 times as much, but the glut of Persian gold in the market has devalued it).

The only gold coins in wide circulation at this time are Persian gold darics, which are about four times the size of a silver drachma. Thus each one is worth 40 drachmae. Gold staters are twice the size of a silver drachma (thus are worth 20 each), and are beginning to be minted.

Standard of living – Income and investments

Assume that any investment of a lump sum generates on average a 3% monthly return. This assumes something relatively low risk like land, providing a steady stream of rents and a share of harvests. For riskier investments random return is d10%-d4%.

Design note: Conversion of money to the silver standard and period-appropriate coinage, based on discussion with Alex Macris.

Armour (p41)

The following items are removed from the table on p41: Chain Barding and Plate Barding.

The table is reworked as follows:

AC Armour Cost
1 Hides, linen corselet, bronze pectoral 50dr
2 Leather, quilted linen 100dr
3 Lamellar/scale corselet 150dr
4 Celtic mail 400dr
5 Full lamellar/scale, hoplite panoply 250dr
6 Hoplite panoply with thigh and arm plates 300dr
+1 Greaves and metal helm for lighter armour 25dr

Greaves and a metal helm can be added to anything lighter than mail and count as two Items in calculating Encumbrance.

Design note: Rejigging the armour to fit what was available in the period. Mail was not common at all outside of a handful of rich Keltoi warlords and possibly some wealthy Etruscans.


Shields are amended as follows:

Item Defense Bonus Athletics Penalty Cost Enc
Cloak-wrapped forearm +1AC vs one-handed melee
Buckler +1AC vs melee and thrown 5dr Item
Small shield +1AC vs melee and thrown, 2AC vs missiles 10dr 1 stone
Medium shield +2AC vs melee and thrown, 3 AC vs missiles -1 50dr 2 stone
Large shield +3AC vs melee and thrown, 5AC vs missiles -2 100dr 3 stone

The Persian cheires functions as a buckler.

In mass combat, small/medium shields give +1AC and large shields +2AC. When closing up, in addition to the usual +2AC in melee and +4AC vs missiles, troops uniformly armed with an aspis get an additional +1AC.

Design note: This is a major change from the flat +1AC shields usually give. In this period the shield was much more important than armour as a pieces defensive equipment. Traditional notions of Greek honour were attached to retaining your shield. Lots of warriors had little more than a shield, armour being both expensive and fatiguing to wear for long periods (heat especially). Bigger shields like the bronze-faced Greek aspis covered a warrior from eye to knee with a mobile barrier, making them all but immune to arrows and slings from the front. In close formation these gave coverage to the man to the left as well as their wielder. D&D is based in a lot of medieval assumptions, and in that period armour was more important and shields almost disposable. Thus shields aren't very effective where in antiquity they were.

Weapons (p41)

The following items are removed from the table: Arbalest, Morning Star, Silver Dagger, Two-handed Sword, Warhammer.

The following items are amended: Sling – damage 1d6.

Design note: Minor changes, removing weapons that didn't exist and increasing the damage of the sling, which was a much deadlier weapon than D&D implies. If a stone is used rather than a cast bullet, use the old damage/range stats.

Encumbrance (p48)

Increase (or decrease) Encumbrance values by the lower of a character’s Strength or Constitution.

Design note: I wanted to give stronger, fitter characters a boost here, but making it the lower of the two stops it becoming a free-for-all where having high Strength is a no-brainer for a warrior-type and having decent Constitution matters as well. Even with this change, you don't get full, unencumbered movement in the heaviest armour with Str 18 and Con 18.

Mercenary Troop Types (p52)

The following table replaces that on p52:

Unit Drachmae/month Availability
Light Infantry (javelins, dagger, small shield) 30
Slingers (sling, dagger, buckler) 30
Archers (shortbow, dagger) 30 As Bowmen
Medium Infantry (javelins, spear/shortsword, leather, medium shield) 45 As Bowmen
Heavy Infantry (pike/spear, shortsword, leather, small/large shield) 60
Elite Archers (composite bow, shortsword, leather, buckler) 75 As Longbowmen
Light Cavalry (lance/javelins, sword, medium shield, light warhorse) 150
Horse Archers (composite bow, shortsword, hide, light warhorse) 225
Medium Cavalry (lance/javelins, sword, leather, medium shield, medium warhorse) 225
Heavy Cavalry (lance, sword, hoplite armour, medium shield, medium warhorse) 300
Cataphract Cavalry (lance, sword, composite bow, full scale, scale barded heavy warhorse) 375

Unless otherwise specified, Availability is the same as their equivalent type in the book.

Design note: Mine is a much simpler table than the standard, since there's only humans. But I also needed to augment for the period and its assumptions about arms and armour. There's a much more detailed version for mass combat here.

Chapter 4: Proficiencies

Starting Proficiencies (p56)

The Adventuring Proficiency is renamed Seasoned Campaigner. Characters start with two General and one Class Proficiency.

Gaining Proficiencies

All characters use the same progression, gaining a General Proficiency every even-numbered level, and one from the Class Proficiency list every odd-numbered level.

Languages: All characters start with their native tongue and koine Greek for free. If they are already a native Greek speaker, they get their native dialect and another language of their choice.

Available languages are: Arabian, Aramaic, Armenian, Dacian, Egyptian, Etruscan, Greek, Illyrian, Keltic, Latin, Libyan, Lydian, Nubian, Persian, Phrygian, Phoenician, Scythian, Thracian.

Phoenician and Aramaic are similar, as are Thracian and Phrygian.

Alteration: Alertness

The character's base proficiency throw for Hear Noise becomes 14+ and improves by one point every level.

Alteration: Climbing

The character can climb cliffs, branchless trees, walls, and other sheer surfaces, without climbing aids. In addition, his base proficiency throw for Climb Walls is 6+.

Alteration: Dungeon Bashing - renamed Brawn Over Brains

The character is hardened to heavy lifting and physical labor. He receives a +4 bonus on throws to open doors and similar acts of brute strength.

Alteration: Healing

Instead of healing an additional 1d3 damage a day, Healing doubles the natural rate of 1/2 level per day. The cure light wounds and cure moderate wounds properties can be used only when treating Mortal Wounds, and applied to a patient undergoing longer-term care once per week.

Alteration: Riding

Characters with the Riding Proficiency get a +2 bonus to any Reflex saves against being involuntarily unhorsed.

Alteration: Skirmishing

When performing a fighting withdrawal, you may move backwards up to 3/4 combat move, rather than 1/2. When performing a full retreat, you retain your shield bonus and do not trigger a simultaneous reaction from anyone engaged with you.

Design Note: given the changes I've made to defensive movement, Skirmishing as it stood no longer did anything. Here it now makes someone more mobile in combat.

Alteration: Skulking

The character excels at moving furtively and finding concealment. His base proficiency throw for Sneak is now 14+ improving by one point every level. His penalty to moving silently while wearing armour is reduced by 2 points. He may also move at 1/2 standard combat move without penalty. If he moves greater than ½ speed, he take a -5 penalty to the proficiency throw. If he runs, he take a -10 penalty.

Alteration: Weapon Focus

Rather than just giving double damage on a roll of 20, Weapon Focus also gives +1 damage to any successful attack.

Design Note: As it stands, Weapon Focus feels a little weak and is merely a speedbump necessary for expanded Manual of Arms. This makes it a little more tempting, and more in line with expectations around what this level of specialisation should produce.

New Proficiency: Disable Device

The character is skilled at disabling locks, traps and other devices. This requires a base proficiency throw of 18+ modified by their Dexterity adjustment, which improves by one point every level. With the aid of thieves’ tools, the character may pick mechanical locks. He may only try to pick a particular lock once, and if he fails, he may not try the same lock again until he reaches a higher experience level. The GM may apply bonuses or penalties to the roll, depending on the complexity of the lock.

Through careful inspection and probing, the character may find hidden traps and then attempt to disable or discharge the trap harmlessly. He may only try to find or remove a trap once in any given area. The GM may apply bonuses or penalties to the roll, depending on the complexity of the trap. If the character fails, he may not try again until he reaches a higher experience level. Note that these are separate skills, for a character must find a trap before he can remove it.

New Proficiency: Pankration

This covers the Greek style of unarmed combat, which is also integrated into armed combat at higher levels of training. If taken once, it functions as Combat Trickery (Wrestling) and also gives Combat Trickery (Force Back, Incapacitate and Knock Down) with unarmed attacks only.

Taken a second time the character may do lethal damage with unarmed attacks and may damage targets in metal armour. Kick attacks suffer only a -1 penalty to hit.

New Proficiency: Pick Pockets

The character may relieve an unaware target of items on their person such as pouches, jewelry, small items in pockets and so on. This requires a base proficiency throw of 14+, modified by Dexterity, which improves by one point every level. There is also a -1 penalty on the proficiency throw per each level the character is lower than the victim. A throw that is less than half the target value means that the intended target notices the thieving attempt. The GM will then make a reaction roll with a -3 penalty to determine the intended victim’s reaction. It may also be used for sleight of hand tricks suitable for impressing the guillible and to palm and conceal small items. When performing sleight of hand in front of an audience, the character may also apply your Charisma adjustment to the roll.

Remove the following Proficiencies: Apostasy, Arcane Dabbling, Battle Magic, Black Lore of Zahar, Collegiate Wizardry, Contemplation, Divine Blessing, Divine Health, Eavesdropping, Elementalism, Elven Bloodline, Familiar, Goblin-Slaying, Illusion Resistance, Laying on Hands, Magical Engineering, Magical Music, Martial Training, Mystic Aura, Quiet Magic, Righteous Turning, Sensing Evil, Sensing Power, Transmogrification, Unflappable Casting.

Design note: I wanted a lot more differentiation between characters than is assumed, especially with the absence of magic and non-human species. The easy way to do this was to simply give everyone more Proficiencies. I also needed to be specific about languages. The retention of the prophecy-related Proficiencies is intentional. It's not magic, but it's entirely genre-appropriate and prophecies can have a way of becoming self-fulfilling.

Chapter 5: Spells

Remove this chapter in its entirety.

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