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Treasure

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Along with fame and derring-do, treasure is one of the primary motivations of adventuring parties. Money is not only used to purchase new weapons, equipment, and strongholds; each gold piece worth of coins, gems, and jewelry brought safely back to civilization gives the character 1 experience point (as described, Earning Experience from Adventures. In most campaigns, experience from treasure recovered from dungeons or the wilderness will be the main source of character level advancement.

Magic items are the other, even more alluring element of treasure hoards. While characters are not awarded experience points for recovering and keeping magic items, they are highly sought-after nonetheless, as they grant bonuses and special abilities that can give parties a survival edge when they venture into ever more dangerous locations and face mightier monsters.

Contents

Random Treasure Generation

Treasure will usually be found in the lairs of monsters. Each monster entry in Chapter 8, Monsters, designates whether or not that type of monster has the possibility of treasure. Those that do are given a Treasure Type (TT), which indicates what kinds and quantities of treasure a monster might have.

The Treasure Types are lettered from A to R, with TT A yielding the smallest hoards and TT R the largest. To randomly generate a monster’s treasure, the Judge finds the row on the Treasure Type table that corresponds to the monster’s TT. For each column on the row, the Judge rolls the appropriate dice to determine whether the specified treasure is present, and if so, in what quantity. When the dice indicate that gems, jewelry, or magic items are present, the specific treasures found in these categories are then determined using sub-tables provided after the Treasure Types table. If the presence of magic items is indicated, but no specific type is indicated, the type is determined by rolling on the Random Magic Type table. Judges wishing to create more diverse and interesting treasures may then combine the treasure generated into lots and use the Special Treasures table, as described below.

The Treasure Type table is designed to place a total amount of treasure in any given lair or dungeon equal to four times the XP value of the monsters in the area. Thus, on average, the amount of treasure assigned to a monster by its Treasure Type equals four times its XP. However, there is a correction factor that compensates for encounters with monsters that have no treasure by assigning other types of monsters more treasure. For example, in a dungeon level 2 stocked with the default random monster tables, over half the encounters will be with monsters like zombies and giant bats that do not carry treasure. The remaining dungeon level 2 monsters that do carry treasure therefore have been assigned treasure worth eight times their XP value. In this way, the overall gp to XP ratio within that set of monsters remains approximately 4:1.

In addition to their quantitative rank, the Treasure Types are further sub-divided into three categories, representing the method by which the monsters have accumulated the treasure: by hoarding, by raiding, or incidentally. Hoarding monsters are typically intelligent enough to appreciate the value of wealth, and powerful enough to gain and defend substantial amounts of it. Hoarder Treasure Types (B, D, H, N, Q, R) feature a roughly equal mix of coins and other valuables, and typically yield values far in excess of their weight (usually 10 stone or less).

Raiding monsters are intelligent creatures who gather treasure by stealing it from those weaker than themselves. Raiders are often the minions of more powerful monster who claim the most precious items for themselves, so Raider Treasure Types (E, G, J, L, O) are mostly bulky hoards (typically 20 stone) of low value coin and goods.

Monsters with incidental treasure accumulate wealth accidentally, e.g. by bringing dead adventurers back to the lair to feed their young. Though they may lack the intelligence to recognize things of value, they may be attracted to shiny objects which they gather as best they can with their claws or jaws. The Incidental Treasure Types (A, C, F, I, K, M, P) are usually only a few stone in weight and are the most variable type of treasure, with some rolls on these tables yielding fantastic bounty while as many others produce nothing at all.

A dungeon with a variety of monsters will thus tend to have a wide assortment of interesting treasures, ranging from precious regalia to bulky low value coin.

Unless otherwise noted, randomly generated treasures are found only in the monster’s lair. If the monster entry specifies that a creature carries individual treasure either instead of or in addition to its lair treasure, these individual treasures may be found even if the monster is encountered when wandering outside its lair.

Planned Treasure Generation

The Judge is never required to roll for treasure, and there will be many cases where random treasure generation is not the best method to employ. Treasure should be placed by hand, or random treasures amended, whenever necessary given the Judge’s plans for his campaign and adventures. Important treasures should always be placed by the Judge deliberately; for example, a magic item crafted by a major antagonist should be tailored to the antagonist’s personality and role in the campaign.

When creating a dungeon or other adventure area, one easy way to generate treasure is to calculate the sum of all XP from monsters in the area, and then choose a Treasure Type whose average value is close to four times this sum. If the category of this treasure table (hoarder, raider, or incidental) does not seem appropriate to the area, the Judge should instead choose a Treasure Type from the appropriate category that has the closest average value. The Judge should then randomly generate treasure for the area using the selected table. Because probabilities are involved, the result may not match the desired value. If the outcome is too much treasure, the Judge can add more monsters or remove some treasure. If too little treasure results, the Judge can make up the difference with special treasures placed by hand. It is also fine to go with high or low results; over time, the law of averages will assert itself.

Example: An underground crypt has been stocked with 20 skeletons (13 XP each), 1 wight (110 XP), 4 giant vampire bats (20 XP each) and 7 pit vipers (40 XP each), for a total of 730 XP. The crypt treasure should be around four times that total (4 x 730), or 2,920gp. This is close to the 3,250gp average value of Treasure Type I. Treasure Type I is an incidental type treasure, which seems appropriate for the crypt’s burial goods. Using row I on the Treasure Type table, the Judge rolls 2,000 silver pieces and 5 pieces of jewelry, and places some of this treasure in the coffins guarded by the undead and the rest on the corpse of a bandit at the bottom of a pit trap.

It is always up to the Judge to decide how much treasure he wishes to allow into the campaign. The amount of treasure allowed in the campaign will directly control the speed at which the adventurers level, as well as their overall power and capabilities. The Judge should not allow the dice to trump good sense or ruin careful dungeon design.

Treasure Type Table

TypeAvg. Value1000s of Copper1000s of Silver1000s of Electrum1000s of Gold1000s of PlatinumGemsJewelryMagic Items
A Incidental275gpNone30% 1d4NoneNoneNone30% 1d4 ornamentals30% 1d4 trinkets1% any 1
B Hoarder500gpNone80% 1d6NoneNoneNone70% 1d4 ornamentals30% 1d4 trinkets5% any 2
C Incidental700gpNoneNone15% 1d4NoneNone40% 1d6 gems30% 1d6 trinkets5% any 1
D Hoarder1,000gpNone80% 1d620% 1d4NoneNone80% 1d6 ornamentals70% 1d4 trinkets15% any 2
E Raider1,250gp80% 2d207% 3d6NoneNoneNone60% 1d4 ornamentals40% 1d4 trinkets15% 1 sword, weapon or armor; 15% 1 potion; 5% any 1
F Incidental1,500gpNone30% 1d4None15% 1d4None40% 1d6 gems30% 1d4 jewelry7% any 1
G Raider2,000gp70% 2d2070% 3d650% 1d4NoneNone50% 1d6 ornamentals50% 1d6 trinkets25% 1 sword, weapon or armor; 25% 1 potion; 10% any 1
H Hoarder2,500gpNone25% 1d670% 1d6NoneNone80% 1d6 gems80% 1d6 trinkets25% any 3 + 1 potion + 1 scroll
I Incidental3,250gpNone25% 1d4None25% 1d6None50% 2d4 gems40% 1d8 jewelry20% any 1
J Raider4,000gp50% 3d670% 2d2070% 1d8NoneNone50% 1d6 gems50% 1d8 trinkets50% 1 sword, weapon or armor; 45% 1 potion; 20% any 1
K Incidental5,000gpNoneNone30% 1d425% 1d6None25% 1d4 brilliants50% 1d4 jewelry40% any 1
L Raider6,000gp40% 3d660% 2d1075% 3d6NoneNone60% 1d6 gems40% 1d4 jewelry75% 1 sword, weapon or armor; 75% 1 potion; 30% any 1
M Incidental8,000gpNoneNone25% 1d4None15% 1d430% 1d6 brilliants50% 1d6 jewelry30% any 2
N Hoarder9,000gpNone60% 1d860% 2d480% 1d6None80% 1d8 gems80% 1d8 jewelry50% any 4 +1 potion + 1 scroll
O Raider12,000gp30% 3d650% 3d660% 3d660% 2d6None30% 1d4 brilliants60% 1d4 jewelry75% 1 sword, weapon or armor; 75% 2 potions; 50% any 2
P Incidental17,000gpNoneNoneNone30% 1d430% 1d440% 1d4 brilliants30% 1d4 regalia40% any 3
Q Hoarder22,000gpNoneNone50% 1d880% 2d640% 1d460% 1d6 brilliants80% 1d4 jewelry1d4 potions; 1d4 scrolls; 50% any 6
R Hoarder45,000gpNoneNone50% 1d660% 1d680% 1d870% 1d4 brilliants60% 1d4 regalia2d4 potions; 2d4 scrolls; 75% 1d3 of each category (swords, armor, miscellaneous weapon, wand/staff/rod, miscellaneous item, ring)

Gems

When gems are found, the Judge may roll to determine their value in gold pieces on the Gem Value table. All gems may be assigned the same value, they may be given individual values, or they may be divided up into groups and given different values. The average value of gems is 200gp per stone.

Gems appearing in a treasure hoard may be specified to be ornamentals or brilliants. Ornamentals have a value between 10 – 50gp (average 30), and may be randomly generated by rolling 2d20 on the chart below. Brilliants are between 500 – 10,000gp (average 4,000), and are generated by rolling 1d100 + 80. The Treasure Type table uses the most valuable gems to minimize the number of rolls on the gem sub-table for Judges who are randomizing each separately; those who wish a hoard consisting of more lower value gems may convert each brilliant to 11 gems, and each gem to 7 ornamentals.

Example: The Judge’s results for TT Q indicate that 3 brilliants are present in a hoard. Seeing that their average value is 5,000gp each, the Judge could actually place this 15,000gp in gems as one 10,000gp flawless blue diamond, three 1,000gp rubies, four 250gp pearls, and ten 10gp quartz crystals, or any other combination desired.

Gem Value

RollValue (gp)Type
2d20avg. 30Ornamental
d100avg. 200Gem
d100+80avg. 4,000Brilliant
01-1010Azurite, hematite, malachite, obsidian, quartz
11-2525Agate, lapis lazuli, tiger eye, turquoise
26-4050Bloodstone, crystal, citrine, jasper, moonstone, onyx
41-5575Carnelian, chalcedony, sardonyx, zircon
56-70100Amber, amethyst, coral, jade, jet, tourmaline
71-80250Garnet, pearl, spinel
81-90500Aquamarine, alexandrite, topaz
91-95750Opal, star ruby, star sapphire, sunset amethyst, imperial topaz
96-1001,000Black sapphire, diamond, emerald, jacinth, ruby
101-1101,500Amber with preserved extinct creatures, whorled nephrite jade
111-1252,000Black pearl, baroque pearl, crystal geode
126-1454,000Facet cut imperial topaz, flawless diamond
146-1656,000Facet cut star sapphire or star ruby
166-1758,000Flawless facet cut diamond, emerald, jacinth or ruby
176-18010,000Flawless facet cut black sapphire or blue diamond

Jewelry

Jewelry can vary in value in a similar manner to gems. The Jewelry Value table can be rolled on to determine the value of each individual piece of jewelry. The average value of jewelry is 1,000gp per piece.

Jewelry appearing in a treasure hoard may be specified to be trinkets or regalia. Trinkets have values of 2-800gp (average 225), and are generated using 2d20 on the chart below. Regalia values range from 1,000-80,000gp (average 12,000) and can be generated using 1d100 + 80. The treasure charts give jewelry treasures using the most valuable unit of jewelry for the convenience of randomizing each one separately; Judges wishing to use average values to generate a larger quantity of jewelry may convert each piece of regalia to 12 pieces of jewelry, each of which may be in turn converted to four trinkets.

Jewelry Value

RollValue (gp)Type
2d20avg. 225Trinkets
d100avg. 1,000Jewelry
d100+80avg. 11,000Regalia
01-102d20Bone, scrimshaw, beast parts
11-252d10x10Glass, shells, or wrought copper, brass, or bronze
26-402d4x100Fine wood, porcelain, or wrought silver
41-702d6x100Alabaster, chryselephantine, ivory, or wrought gold
71-803d6x100Carved jade or wrought platinum
81-951d4x1,000Wrought orichalcum, silver studded with turquoise, moonstone, or opal
96-1002d4x1,000Silver studded with jet, amber, or pearl
101-1253d4x1,000Gold studded with topaz, jacinth, ruby
126-1452d8x1,000Platinum studded with diamond, sapphire, emerald
146-1553d6x1,000Electrum or silver pendant with pearls and star rubies
156-1652d20x1,000Gold or platinum with diamonds and sapphires
166-1751d4x10,000Gold encrusted with flawless facet cut diamonds
176-1801d8x10,000Platinum encrusted with flawless black sapphires or blue diamonds

Special Treasures

Not all treasure should be coin, gems, and jewelry. Ancient cities might hold terracotta pottery or rare dyes and pigments. The tombs of ancient kings might have trinkets of carved ivory. Goblin raiders might have captured spices, silk, or rare furs. These items are called special treasures.

Judges should note that many of the items appearing as special treasures are designed to be congruent with the types of merchandise appearing on the Merchandise table in Mercantile Ventures. Players who are not interested in using the arbitrage trading system described in that chapter to maximize the return they achieve from selling special treasures are under no obligation to do so. The value listed for the special treasure is its base value as a trade good, and in general it can be sold for that amount without further thought. However, the Judge is within his rights to decide that a special treasure sells for less, or cannot be sold at all, in a market where the demand for that type of merchandise is low. And players may be inspired to pursue mercantile ventures after observing a merchants’ barely-disguised glee when they sell a special treasure for its base value in a market where demand is high!

To include special treasures in a hoard, first calculate the treasure normally and divide it into lots: 1 piece of jewelry, 1 gem, or 1,000 coins is a lot. Then roll on the table below for each lot of coin, gems, and jewelry and substitute the special treasure rolled for that lot of coin, gems, or jewelry.

Example: A Type L treasure is rolled consisting of 4,000cp; 3,000sp; and 4 pieces of jewelry. This yields 4 lots of copper, 3 lots of silver, and 4 lots of jewelry. Rolling for the copper lots, the Judge gets a “2”, “9”, “16”, and “15”. Three copper lots stay as coin, while one is replaced by 1d3 barrels of preserved meat. Rolling for the silver lots, the Judge gets a “7”, “10”, and “20”, and replaces one of the three lots with 1d3 sacks of loose tea. Further rolls indicate that 2 pieces of jewelry become rich fur capes. The Judge makes further sub-rolls, and the final treasure is 3,000cp; 2,000sp; 1 barrel of preserved meat (10gp, 16 stone); 2 sacks of loose tea (75gp, 5 stone each); 2 pieces of jewelry worth 1,100gp each; and 2 rich fur capes worth 700gp and 1,300gp respectively.

Roll 1d20 per 1,000cp:

d20Treasure
11d3 rugs or tapestries, worth 5gp each (2d6 stone per rug)
21d3 barrels of preserved fish, worth 5gp each (8 stone each)
31d3 tenths of a cord of hardwood log, worth 5gp each (8 stone each)
41d3 barrels of beer, worth 10gp each (8 stone each)
52d6 bricks of salt, worth 7sp each (1/2 stone each)
62d4 gallons of lamp oil, worth 2gp each (1/2 stone each)
71d3 rolls of cloth, worth 10gp each (4 stone each)
83d6 ingots of common metals, worth 1gp each (1/2 stone each)
9-201,000 copper pieces

Roll 1d20 per 1,000sp:

d20Treasure
11d100 animal horns worth 2gp each (1 stone per 5 horns)
22d4 jars of lamp oil, worth 20gp each (6 stone per jar)
32d20 bottles of fine wine, worth 5gp each (1 stone per 5 bottles)
43d6 rolls of garishly dyed cloth, worth 10gp each (4 stone each)
51d3 jars of dyes and pigments, worth 50gp each (5 stone each)
61d3 crates of terra-cotta pottery, worth 100gp each (5 stone each)
71d3 bags of loose tea, worth 75gp each (5 stone each)
82d6 bundles of fur pelts (such as bear, beaver, or fox), worth 15gp each (3 stone per bundle)
9-201,000 silver pieces

Roll 1d10 per 1,000ep:

d10Treasure
11d4 barrels of fine spirits or liquor, worth 200gp each (16 stone each)
21d3 crates of armor and weapons, worth 225gp each (10 stone each)
31d4 crates of glassware, worth 200gp each (5 stone each)
41d3 crates of monster parts, worth 300gp each (5 stone each)
5-101,000 electrum pieces

Roll 1d20 per 1,000gp:

d20Treasure
11d3 bundles of rare fur pelts (such as ermine, mink, or sable), worth 500gp each (5 stone each)
21d3 jars of spices, worth 800gp each (1 stone each)
31d10x50 monster feathers, worth 1d6gp per feather (1 stone per 25 feathers)
41d100 monster horns worth, 1d10 HD x 1d4+1gp/HD (1 stone per 20 HD)
51d6 monster carcasses, worth 1d10 HD x 1d10x10gp/HD (1 stone per HD)
61d4 crates of fine porcelain, worth 500gp each (2 stone each)
72d20 pieces of ivory, worth 1d100gp per piece (1 stone per 100gp value)
81d3 rolls of silk, worth 400gp each (4 stone each)
9-201,000 gold pieces

Roll 1d10 per 1,000pp:

d10Treasure
15d10 rare books, worth 150gp each(1 stone per 2 books)
21d3 ornamental jars of rare spices, worth 2,500gp each (4 stone each)
35d20 typical fur capes, worth 100gp each (1 stone each)
44d8 ingots of precious metals, worth 300gp each (2 stone each)
5-101,000 platinum pieces

Roll 1d8 per ornamental:

d8Treasure
11d12 silver arrows, each worth 5gp
21d6 pouches of belladonna or wolfsbane, each worth 10gp
31d4 pouches of saffron, each worth 15gp
4-81 ornamental

Roll 1d8 per gem:

d8Treasure
11d3 sets of engraved teeth, each worth 2d6x10gp (1 stone per 100 sets)
21d10 sticks of rare incense, each worth 5d6gp (1 stone per 100 sticks)
3d3 vials of rare perfume, each worth 1d6x25gp per vial ( stone per 100 vials)
4-81 gem or 2d6 ornamentals

Roll 1d8 per brilliant:

d8Treasure
12d20 jade carvings of heroes, monsters, and gods, each worth 200gp
21d8 opal cameo portraits and intaglio erotic tableaux, each worth 800gp
31d6 amethyst cylinder seals depicting religious scenes, each worth 1,200gp
4-81 brilliant or 4d8 gems

Roll 1d8 per trinket:

d8Treasure
12d6 glass eyes, lenses, or prisms, each worth 1d6x10gp
21d4 silver holy/unholy symbols, each worth 2d8x10gp
33d6 bone fetishes and figurines, each worth 2d20gp
4-81 trinket

Roll 1d8 per piece of jewelry:

d8Treasure
11 rich fur cape, worth 4d6x100gp (1 stone)
21 rich fur coat, worth 1d6x1000gp (1 stone)
31d3 statuettes, worth 1d10x100gp (1 stone per 1d3 statuettes)
4-81 piece of jewelry

Roll 1d8 per regalia:

d8Treasure
12d10 alabaster and jet game pieces with jeweled eyes, worth 3d6x100gp each
21d4 platinum reliquaries with crystal panes, worth 1d8x1000gp each
31d8 carved ivory netsuke and figurines, worth 1d4x1000 each
4-81 regalia or 4d8 pieces of jewelry

Scavenging Treasure

Poor or low level adventurers may be so desperate for treasure that they scavenge weapons, armor, or other equipment rotting in dungeons, littering old battlefields, or equipping slain foes. These items are almost universally in bad repair. Roll 1d20 on the following tables to determine the condition and value of any equipment scavenged. Effects are cumulative.

Bladed Weapons

d20CategoryEffectValue
1-2Serviceable100%
3-6Blade dented-1 damage-20%
7-10Blade rusty-1 damage-20%
11-14Off balance-1 to attacks-20%
15-16Loose hilt/haft-1 to initiative-20%
17-18Shoddy constructionbreaks-20%
19-20Roll again twice

Blunt Weapons

d20CategoryEffectValue
1-2Serviceable100%
3-6Soft head-1 damage-20%
7-10Wobbly head-1 damage-20%
11-14Off balance-1 to attacks-20%
15-16Wobbly head-1 to initiative-20%
17-18Shoddy constructionbreaks-20%
19-20Roll again twice

Armor and Equipment

d20CategoryEffectValue
1-2Serviceable100%
3-6Broken straps+1 stone encumbrance-20%
7-10Rattles if movedCannot move silently-20%
11-14Rotting-1 Armor Class / breaks-20%
15-16Makeshift work-1 Armor Class / breaks-20%
17-18Torn / rippedBreaks-20%
19-20Roll again twice

Damage penalties cannot reduce weapon damage to less than 1 point. Armor Class or attack throw penalties cannot be worse than -5. Weapons and equipment susceptible to breaks will be destroyed if the character rolls an unmodified 1 when using the item.

Example: Marcus scavenges a sword from an ancient battlefield. He rolls a 19, and must roll twice more. He rolls a 7 and 15. The sword has a rusty blade and loose hilt, and imposes penalties of -1 damage and -1 initiative. Its value is reduced 40%, to 6gp, when he tries to sell it.

Identifying and Using Magic Items

Most magic items are not labeled, so characters will not know the exact properties of magic items except through research or trial and error (e.g. sipping a potion, using a sword in combat, etc.) Sages and other characters proficient in Magical Engineering or Loremastery can identify common or famous magical items simply through their knowledge of such things. Potions may be identified by sipping them, or by consulting an alchemist. Otherwise, an arcane spellcaster of 9th level or greater can identify a magic item using Magic Research.

In order to use a magic item, a character must follow any procedures indicated in the item’s description. Some magic items are always in effect, but others may require special actions or concentration. Some magic items have limited uses, called “charges.” When items have charges, each charge can be spent for one instance of magical effect. A character will not know how many charges an item has unless he identified the item with Magic Research. When the charges are all spent the item becomes useless and non-magical.

Magic Item Tables

Random Magic Type

Roll d100Magic Type
01-20Potions
21-25Rings
26-56Scrolls
57-61Rods, Staffs, and Wands
62-66Miscellaneous Magic
67-87Swords
88-92Miscellaneous Weapon
93-100Armor

Potions

Roll d100Potion
01-03Animal Control
04-06Clairaudience
07-09Clairvoyance
10-12Climbing
13-17Delusion
18-20Diminution
21-23Dragon Control
24-26ESP
27-28Extra-Healing
29-31Fire Resistance
32-36Flying
37-40Gaseous Form
41-43Giant Control
44-47Giant Strength
48-50Growth
51-54Healing
55-58Heroism
59-61Human Control
62-64Invisibility
65-66Invulnerability
67-69Levitation
70-71Longevity
72-73Oil of Sharpness
74-75Oil of Slipperiness
76-78Philter of Love
79-81Plant Control
82-83Poison
84-85Polymorph
86-88Speed
89-90Super-Heroism
91-93Sweet Water
94-95Treasure Finding
96-97Undead Control
98-100Water Breathing

Rings

Roll d100Ring
01-04Command Animal
05-09Command Human
10-15Command Plant
16-25Delusion
26-27Djinni Calling
28-38Fire Resistance
39-49Invisibility
50-70Protection
71-72Regeneration
73-74Spell Storing
75-79Spell Turning
80-81Telekinesis
82-87Water Walking
88-94Weakness
95-97Wishes
98-100X-Ray Vision

Scrolls

Roll d100Scroll
01-05Cursed
06-15Ward against Elementals
16-25Ward against Lycanthropes
26-30Ward against Magic
31-40Ward against Undead
41-55Spells (1)*
56-66Spells (2)*
67-69Spells (3)*
70-72Spells (4)*
73-74Spells (5)*
75Spells (6)*
76Spells (7)*
77-80Treasure Map (to 1d4x1000gp)
81-85Treasure Map (to 5d6x1000gp)
86-87Treasure Map (to 6d6x1000gp)
88-89Treasure Map (to 5d6x1000gp, 5d6 gems)
90-91Treasure Map (to 1d6 gems, 2d10 jewelry)
92-93Treasure Map (to 1 magic item)
94-95Treasure Map (to 2 magic items)
96Treasure Map (to 3 magic items, no weapons)
97Treasure Map (to 3 magic items, 1 potion)
98Treasure Map (to 3 mag. it., 1 potion, 1 scroll)
99Treasure Map (to 5d6x1000gp, 1 magic item)
100Treasure Map (to 5d6 gems, 2 magic items)

*Roll 1d4; 1-3, Arcane; 4, Divine. The number in parentheses is the number of spells on the scroll. Determine the spell level and specific spells randomly.

Rods, Staffs, and Wands

Roll d100Type
01-06Rod of Cancellation
07-08Rod of Resurrection [D]
09-10Staff of Commanding [D]
11-20Staff of Healing [D]
21-22Staff of Power [A]
23-26Staff of Striking [D]
27-28Staff of Withering [D]
29Staff of Wizardry [A]
30-36Staff of the Serpent [D]
37-40Wand of Cold
41-45Wand of Detecting Enemies
46-50Wand of Detecting Magic
51-55Wand of Detecting Metals
56-60Wand of Detecting Secret Doors
61-64Wand of Detecting Traps
65-69Wand of Device Negation
70-74Wand of Fear
75-79Wand of Fire Balls
80-84Wand of Illusion
85-88Wand of Lightning Bolts
89-93Wand of Magic Missiles
94-96Wand of Paralyzation
97-100Wand of Polymorphing

Swords

Roll d100Item
01-39Sword +1
40-44Sword +1, +2 versus lycanthropes
45-49Sword +1, +2 versus spell casters
50-53Sword +1, +3 versus undead
54-57Sword +1, +3 versus dragons
58-62Sword +1, +3 versus regenerating monsters
63-67Sword +1, +3 versus summoned creatures
68-75Sword +1, light 30′ radius
76-80Sword +1, Flame Tongue
81Sword +1, Life Drinker
82-84Sword +1, locate objects
85Sword +1, Luck Blade
86-89Sword +2
90-91Sword +2, charm person
92-94Sword +3
95Sword +3, Frost Brand
96Sword +3, Vorpal
97-98Sword -1 (cursed)
99-100Sword -2 (cursed)

Miscellaneous Magic Items

Roll d100Item
01-02Amulet versus Crystal Balls and ESP
03Apparatus of the Crab
04-05Bag of Devouring
06-10Bag of Holding
11Boat, Folding
12-14Boots of Levitation
15-17Boots of Speed
18-20Boots of Traveling and Springing
21Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals
22-23Bracers of Armor
24Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals
25-26Brooch of Shielding
27-29Broom of Flying
30Censer of Controlling Air Elementals
31Chime of Opening
32-33Cloak of Protection
34-36Crystal Ball
37-38Crystal Ball with Clairaudience
39Crystal Ball with ESP
40Cube of Force
41Cube of Frost Resistance
42-43Decanter of Endless Water
44-45Displacer Cloak
46Drums of Panic
47-49Dust of Appearance
50-52Dust of Disappearance
53Efreeti Bottle
54-57Elven Cloak
58-61Elven Boots
62Eyes of Charming
63-64Eyes of the Eagle
65-67Eyes of Petrification
68-71Flying Carpet
72-74Gauntlets of Ogre Power
75-77Girdle of Giant Strength
78-80Helm of Alignment Changing
81-84Helm of Comprehending Languages
85Helm of Telepathy
86Helm of Teleportation
87Horn of Blasting
88-90Medallion of ESP
91-92Medallion of ESP (90′)
93Mirror of Life Trapping
94Mirror of Opposition
95Necklace of Adaptation
96-97Rope of Climbing
98-99Scarab of Protection
100Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals

Miscellaneous Weapons

Roll d100Weapon
01-10Arrows +1 (quantity 2d6)
11-12Arrows +1 (quantity 3d10)
13-18Arrows +2 (quantity 1d6)
19-21Arrows +3 (quantity 1d4)
22Arrow +3, Slaying Arrow
23-31Axe +1
32-34Axe +2
35-41Bow +1
42-51Crossbow Bolts +1 (quantity 2d6)
52-53Crossbow Bolts +1 (quantity 3d10)
54-60Crossbow Bolts +2 (quantity 1d6)
61-63Crossbow Bolts +3 (quantity 1d4)
64-68Dagger +1
69Dagger +2, +3 versus beastmen
70-75Sling +1
76-82Spear +1
83-86Spear +2
87Spear +3
88-94War Hammer +1
95-99War Hammer +2
100War Hammer +2, Dwarven Thrower

Armor

Roll d100Type
01-15Armor +1
16-25Armor +1 and Shield +1
26-27Armor +1 and Shield +2
28Armor +1 and Shield +3
29-32Armor +2
33-35Armor +2 and Shield +1
36-38Armor +2 and Shield +2
39Armor +2 and Shield +3
40Armor +3
41Armor +3 and Shield +1
42Armor +3 and Shield +2
43Armor +3 and Shield +3
44-63Shield +1
64-73Shield +2
74-79Shield +3
80-82Armor -1 (cursed)
83-85Armor -2 (cursed)
86Armor -1 (cursed) and Shield +1
87Armor -2 (cursed) and Shield +1
88-90Armor AC 0 (cursed)
91-94Shield -1 (cursed)
95-97Shield -2 (cursed)
98-100Shield AC 0 (cursed)

Magic Item Descriptions

Potions

Although potions can be found in a variety of types of containers, including glass, ceramic, or metal flasks, most contain only one dose that imbues their potion’s particular effects for one individual. Most potions bear no label and require a small amount to be sampled in order to attempt to identify the potion type. This is not without error, however, because potions of the same type may differ in their aroma or taste depending on how they were made.

Drinking a potion takes one round. Potions take effect in the same round as their consumption, and last for 1d6+6 turns. This general principle is superseded where the specific potion description indicates otherwise. If a character drinks a potion while another potion is in effect, the character will be sickened and unable to take any actions for 3 turns (30 minutes); neither potion will have any other affect.

Animal Control: This potions grants the drinker the ability to control up to 3d6 Hit Dice of normal or giant animals within 60′ as if using a charm monster spell. Humans, demi-humans, humanoids, and fantastic creatures such as griffons or wyverns cannot be controlled by this potion. The drinker may decide which individual creatures out of a mixed group are to be affected first; excess Hit Dice of effect are ignored. At least one creature will always be affected. Intelligent animals may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Staffs, but unintelligent animals receive no saving throw. Unintelligent animals will be completely under the drinker’s control. Intelligent animals can be given orders, subject to the normal limitations of charm effects. When the control ends, unintelligent animals will be afraid and leave the area if they can. Intelligent animals will be hostile. Clairaudience: This potion grants the drinker the ability to hear up to 60′ by means of the ears of a creature in the area, functioning similarly to the spell clairvoyance. A lead barrier between the drinker and the creature will block the effect.

Clairvoyance: This potion grants the drinker the ability to see up to 60′ by means of the eyes of a creature in the area, as the spell of the same name. A lead barrier between the drinker and the creature will block the effect.

Climbing: The drinker gains the ability to climb sheer surfaces without the aid of any equipment. A proficiency throw of 2+ on 1d20 is required per 100′ of climbing, at least once per climb.

Delusion: This potion is aptly named, for it convinces the drinker that the potion is of another type. If more than one person tastes this potion, there is a 90% chance they all will believe the potion to be of the same type. For example, a potion of clairaudience might convince the drinker there are sounds in the distance that do not truly exist.

Diminution: This potion shrinks the imbiber and everything he carries to 6 inches tall. If the character remains motionless, he can avoid being spotted with a proficiency throw of 3+ on 1d20. The character can only attack creatures smaller than 1′ for normal damage; larger opponents take only 1 hp from any hit. This potion will cancel a potion of growth without ill effect.

Dragon Control: This potion grants the drinker the power to control one dragon within 60′ as if using a charm monster spell. The dragon may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Staffs. A controlled dragon will do whatever is commanded of it, subject to the normal limits of charm monster (e.g. it will not harm itself). A controlled dragon will be hostile when the control ends.

ESP: This potion grants the imbiber a spell-like ability the equivalent of the arcane spell ESP. The drinker may “hear” the thoughts (if any) of a creature within 60′ by concentrating for one full turn in one direction. The ESP may penetrate up to 2 feet of rock, but a lead barrier between the drinker and the creature will block the effect.

Extra-Healing: Imbibing the full dose of this potion will heal 3d6+3 points of damage. Unlike most other potions, this potion can be imbibed in three separate, equal portions for the benefit of 1d6+1 hit points of healing per one-third of the potion.

Fire Resistance: The imbiber of this potion is impervious to all forms of ordinary flame. Further, this potion grants a bonus of +2 saving throws versus fire attacks, and reduces damage from magical or dragon fire by -1 per die of damage, to a minimum of 1 point per die.

Flying: This potion grants the imbiber a spell-like ability equivalent to the arcane spell fly. The drinker may fly at up to 120′ per round for the duration of the spell.

Gaseous Form: The creature who quaffs this potion takes on the form of a translucent cloud of gas. Anything the user is carrying or wearing immediately falls to the floor. While in gaseous form, a creature cannot attack, but it can move at 30 feet per round and can flow below doors and other small spaces that are not sealed airtight. A gaseous creature has an AC of 11, and is immune to non-magical weapons.

Giant Control: When imbibed, the drinker is able to control one giant within 60′ as if using a charm monster spell. The giant may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Staffs. The controlled giant will do whatever is commanded of it, subject to the normal limits of charm monster. A controlled giant will be hostile when the control ends.

Giant Strength: The imbiber of this potion temporarily becomes as strong as a hill giant. The wearer attacks as an 8 HD monster or as his own class and level, whichever is better, and the character inflicts double normal damage with his attacks. The character also can throw rocks at opponents to a distance of 200′ for 3d6 points of damage and gains a +16 bonus to force open doors. The strength bonuses of this potion may not be combined with any other magical effects that influence strength, but it does stack with the character’s normal bonus or penalty from Strength – a weak character who drinks this potion has the strength of a weak giant, while a very strong character would gain the strength of a very strong giant!

Growth: The imbiber of this potion doubles in size. Strength increases proportionately, so that all damage dealt is doubled and the character gains a +16 bonus to force open doors. (A giant who drinks a growth potion is very fearsome…)

Healing: Like the divine spell cure light wounds, imbibing this potion will heal 1d6+1 points of damage or will cure paralysis.

Heroism: Only an assassin, dwarven vaultguard, elven spellsword, explorer, or fighter may use this potion. Extra levels and their accompanied benefits to combat are temporarily granted to the imbiber, determined by his experience level as shown in the table below. Note that extra hit points granted due to the level increase are subtracted first when the character is wounded.

Imbiber LevelLevels Granted
04 (Fighter)
1-33
4-72
8-101
11+0

Human Control: Once this potion is quaffed, the drinker is able to control up to 3d6 Hit Dice of humans, demi-humans, and humanoids within 60′ as if using a charm monster spell (normal men count as 1/2 Hit Die each). The targets may resist the effect with a successful saving throw versus Staffs. The controlled creatures will do whatever is commanded of them, subject to the normal limits of charm monster. and the controlled creatures will be hostile when the control ends.

Invisibility: When this potion is quaffed, the drinker is bestowed with the spell-like ability of invisibility. When the character becomes invisible, all the items carried and worn by that character also become invisible. Items become visible once again when they leave the character’s possession. This potion can be consumed in 1/6 increments, in which case the invisibility granted lasts 1 turn per dose. Any combat action removes the invisibility, such that a new dose must be consumed.

Invulnerability: An invulnerability potion gives the drinker +2 to all saving throws and Armor Class. However, if a potion of invulnerability is quaffed more than once per week, the potion has the opposite effect, causing a penalty of -2 to saving throws and Armor Class!

Levitation: When this potion is quaffed, the drinker is bestowed with the spell-like ability of levitation. The drinker may move up or down 20′ per round without any support. The potion does not enable the drinker to move horizontally, but the user could levitate to a ceiling and move sideways by using his hands at 60′ per round.

Longevity: This potion makes the drinker 10 years younger. This restored youth is possible not only for natural aging, but also for aging from magic or creature effects. Age cannot be reduced below 15 (or mid-adolescence for creatures other than humans). There is some small danger however, since each time a potion of longevity is consumed there is a cumulative 1% probability that all previous age reversals from potions of this type will be negated, raising the character’s age to the age he would be without the effects of the potions.

Oil of Sharpness: This potion resembles the dark oil used to clean arms and armor. When applied to the blade of an edged or pointed weapon, it temporarily enhances it to the equivalent of a magic weapon +1. Weapons that are already enchanted gain an additional +1 while oiled. If drunk, the oil serves only to give the imbiber flatulence for several hours. A single vial contains enough to coat 20 arrows, 2 one-handed weapons, or one two-handed weapon. The oil will evaporate 8 hours after it is applied.

Oil of Slipperiness: This oil is applied to the character much the same way as oil of sharpness is applied to weapons. Any character so coated cannot be restrained or grabbed, wrapped in the grip of constrictor snakes, or otherwise subject to any other grasping attacks, including binding ropes, chains, or cuffs, magical or otherwise. Simply put, nothing can get a grip on a character coated in this oil. Further, objects can be coated with the oil. A signle vial contains enough to coat 20 arrows, 2 one-handed weapons, one two-handed weapon, or one 10′ x 10′ patch of floor. Any object subject to the spell is virtually impossible to grasp, and characters must make an attack throw versus Armor Class 10 each round to grab or maintain their grip on such objects. If a floor is coated, any individual moving or even standing on the floor must make a proficiency throw of 20+ each round or fall down. The effects of the oil last 8 hours, but the oil can be cleaned off early with liquid containing alcohol, such as whiskey, wine, or stout beer.

Philter of Love: The imbiber of this potion becomes charmed by the next creature he lays eyes upon. Furthermore, if the creature is of similar racial stock and belongs to the drinker’s preferred sex, the drinker will become deeply enamored with it. The charm aspect of this potion lasts for 6+1d6 turns, but only dispel magic will make the drinker cease to be enamored by a member of a preferred sex.

Plant Control: The imbiber of a potion of plant control is able to control plants or plant-like creatures (including fungi and molds) within an area of 30′ x 30′ to a range of 60′. Intelligent plant-like creatures may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Staffs, but unintelligent plants receive no saving throw. The controlled plants will obey the user’s will, and even if the plant is not normally mobile, the potion grants the ability to make the plants move. For instance, vines can be controlled to twist, writhe, and wrap around targets in the area. Intelligent plant-like creatures can be given orders, subject to the normal limitations of charm monster, but will be hostile when the control ends.

Poison: Poison always appears like a normal magic potion, but if any amount is ingested, even a sip, the imbiber must save versus Poison or die. Poison is also fatal if applied to open wounds. A poison potion can be used to envenom twenty missiles (arrows, bolts, or darts) or one melee weapon. See the Poisons section in Chapter 10 for more information on using poison.

Polymorph (self): This potion grants its imbiber the ability to polymorph himself into a new form. Apart from its duration, it is otherwise identical to the arcane spell of the same name.

Speed: This potion grants the character who drinks it the ability to move twice as fast and make double the normal number of attacks per round. This heightened ability does not come without cost, for the strain it puts on the imbiber’s body ages him by 1 year permanently (dwarves age 2 years, while elves age 5 years).

Super-Heroism: Only assassins, dwarven vaultguards, elven spellswords, explorers, and fighters may use this potion. Extra levels and their accompanied benefits to combat are temporarily granted to the imbiber, determined by his or her experience level as shown in the table below. In all other respects this potion is identical to heroism.

Imbiber LevelLevels Granted
06 (Fighter)
1-35
4-74
8-103
11-122

Sweet Water: This sweet-tasting liquid can be used to cleanse water (including turning saltwater into fresh water) or otherwise transform poisons, acid, and other non-potables into drinkable liquid. Further, sweet water will destroy other potions. For most liquids, this potion will affect up to 100,000 feet cubed. However, only 1,000 feet cubed of acid can be neutralized. The effects of sweet water are permanent, and once treated, liquid will resist spoilage or contamination for 5d4 rounds. After this time it can be contaminated once again.

Treasure Finding: The imbiber of this potion may, by concentrating for one turn, sense the direction and distance of the most valuable treasure within 360′. In order to be detected, the total value of the treasure must meet or exceed a value of 50gp. No physical barrier will impede detection, with the exception of some magical wards or lead.

Undead Control: Normally, undead are immune to charm effects. However, when this potion is quaffed, the drinker is able to control up to 3d6 Hit Dice of undead of 4 HD or fewer, or one undead creature of more than 4 HD, as if using a charm monster spell. Intelligent undead may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Spells, but unintelligent undead receive no saving throw. Unintelligent undead will be completely under the drinker’s control and will obey the user’s will entirely. Intelligent undead can be given orders, subject to the normal limitations of charm monster. Controlled undead will be hostile when the control ends. The undead will be hostile when the control ends.

Water Breathing: The imbiber of this potion is granted the ability to breathe in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water at any depth, as the arcane spell of the same name. The potion lasts for 4 hours.

Rings

All magical rings are usable by any character class. They must be worn on a digit of the hands only (fingers or thumb). It is only possible to wear two magical rings; if more than two are worn all of the rings do not function.

Command Animal: The wearer of this ring may command giant and/or normal-sized animals within 60′. Animals totaling 6 Hit Dice can be commanded Humans, demi-humans, humanoids, and fantastic creatures are not affected. Intelligent animals may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Wands, but unintelligent animals receive no saving throw. The animals will respond to the caster’s will and do whatever is commanded of them. The effect lasts so long as concentration is maintained, and the wearer can take no other actions while concentrating. Once control ends, the animals will not be well disposed to the ring wearer, and any reaction rolls suffer a penalty of -1. The ring may be used once per turn.

Command Human: This ring grants the wearer the ability to command humans, demi-humans, and/or humanoids up to 60′ away. Humans totaling 6 Hit Dice can be commanded (0th level humans are treated as half of a Hit Die for this calculation). The targets may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Wands. The commanded creatures will respond to the caster’s will and do whatever is commanded of them.The effect lasts so long as concentration is maintained, and the user can take no other actions while concentrating. Once control ends, commanded creatures will not be well disposed to the ring wearer, and any reaction rolls suffer a penalty of -1. The ring may be used once per turn.

Command Plant: The ring wearer can control plants and plant-like creatures within a 10′ x 10′ area up to 60′ away. Intelligent plant-like creatures may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Staffs, but unintelligent plants receive no saving throw. The controlled plants will obey the user’s will, and even if the plant is not normally mobile, the potion grants the ability to make the plants move. The effect lasts so long as concentration is maintained, and the wearer can take no other actions while concentrating. Intelligent plants will be hostile when the control ends. The ring may be used once per turn.

Delusion: This cursed ring convinces the wearer that the ring is of another type. The Judge could decide randomly which kind of ring the wear believes this ring to be, or one might be chosen.

Djinni Calling: This powerful ring can be used once per week to summon a djinni. The djinni will serve and obey the character that summoned it, regardless of whether he is wearing the ring. The djinni will serve for up to one day at a time before returning to its plane of existence. If the djinni is ever slain, the ring is worthless.

Fire Resistance: The ring wearer is impervious to all forms of ordinary flame. Further, the ring grants a bonus of +2 saving throws versus fire attacks, and reduces damage from magical or dragon fire by -1 per die of damage, to a minimum of 1 point per die.

Invisibility: Once each turn, this ring grants the wearer the ability to become invisible, as the spell invisibility.

Protection: This ring has several different power levels. For each “+”, the ring will increase the wearer’s AC by this amount, and grant the wearer this bonus to all saving throws. For example, if a character with an AC of 0 is wearing a ring of protection +2, his AC becomes 2 and all saving throws are rolled with a +2 bonus. When a ring of protection is found, roll on the table below to determine which kind.

Roll d100Bonus
01-80+1
81-91+2
92+2, 5′ radius
93-99+3
100+3, 5′ radius

Where a radius is given, all creatures within the radius of the ring gain its bonus to saving throws. Only the wearer of the ring gains the ring’s bonus to Armor Class.

Regeneration: This ring grants the wearer the ability to regenerate 1 hp per round. The ring will also regenerate body parts lost to injury. Small pieces, like fingers, take 1 day to grow back. Larger pieces, such as a limb, may take 1 week to grow back. Only damage taken while the character was wearing the ring can be regenerated. Further, the ring is powerless to regenerate damage caused by acid or fire, and the ring will not function if the wearer’s hit points drop to 0 or less.

Spell Storing: When this ring is found, it will contain 1d6 arcane or divine spells of any level, selected or determined randomly by the Judge. When a character puts the ring on, he automatically gains the knowledge of which spells are already stored, and may cast them as if a spellcaster of the minimum level required to cast the spell. The ring’s spells may be recharged by having a spellcaster cast the replacement spells directly at the ring, but the ring will hold only the spells it had when found – the exact spells may not be changed. The ring does not absorb spells cast at its wearer.

Spell Turning: This ring reflects 2d6 spells back against their casters, leaving the wearer unaffected by the spell. Only spells are affected, not monster powers or magical effects which aren’t spells. Once the maximum number of spells is reached, the ring becomes useless.

Telekinesis: This ring grants the wearer the ability to move up to 20 stone (200lb) of weight with his mind, as the spell telekinesis. However, there is no limited duration when using the ring.

Water Walking: Any character wearing this ring can walk on water as if it were solid, dry land.

Weakness: This is a cursed ring, and once put on it can be removed only with a remove curse spell. Over the course of 6 rounds, the wearer’s STR drops to 3 and all attacks and damage are rolled with a penalty of -3 (minimum of 1 point of damage is dealt).

Wishes: A variable number of wishes (1d4) are granted to the wearer of this ring. The wishes function as the ritual spell of the same name, and can be used at any time. Once the wishes are used the ring becomes non-magical.

X-Ray Vision: One time per turn, the wearer of this ring can see through a stone wall and up to 30′. The wearer may see 60′ if looking through wood and other low-density material. A 10′ squared area (100 square feet) can be visually examined each turn, and any secret doors, hidden recesses, or traps will be evident. This activity takes full concentration. Lead or gold will block x-ray vision.

Scrolls

Most scrolls are pieces of parchment, imbued with the magical writings of a spell or other magical effect. These writings are potent in that they simply require the pronunciation of their words to release their power. Scrolls are usually written in obscure or dead languages. The Judge may choose the language in which the scroll is written, or roll on the table below.

A character must be able to read the language in which the scroll is written in order to use the scroll. An arcane spellcaster can use read languages to be able to use a scroll in an unfamiliar language. Some scrolls can be used by any character that can read them, while other scrolls have additional restrictions on their use beyond being able to read the language. These will be discussed below.

Roll 1d100Language
01-20Old Common
21-30Common
31-50Draconic
51-70Dwarven
71-90Elven
91-100Ancient

Scroll of Spells

A scroll of spells will be found with 1 to 7 spells written on it. About 3/4 of all spell scrolls contain spells from the arcane spell list, and the remaining contain spells drawn from the divine spell lists. Characters can only cast a spell from a scroll if the spell is on their class list. A spell may be cast even if it is not normally usable by a spellcaster of the reader’s level. These spells are cast as if from a spell caster of the minimum level required to cast the spell. Once a spell is cast from a scroll, the magical writing for that spell disappears.

When determining the contents of a scroll of spells, roll first to determine the type of spells by class, then roll to determine the spell level of each spell.

Scroll Type

Roll d4Type
1-3Arcane
4Divine

Arcane Spell Level

Roll d100Spell Level
01-251
26-502
51-703
71-854
86-955
96-976
987
998
1009

Divine Spell Level

Roll d100Spell Level
01-251
26-502
51-703
71-854
86-955
96-986
99-1007

Cursed Scroll

A cursed scroll inflicts a horrible curse upon the reader. The Judge has considerable flexibility in determining the effects of the curse. A curse may only be removed with the spell remove curse. The Judge might also allow the curse to be lifted if the character performs a special quest. Some possible curses are provided below, but any similar curse might be used instead.

Roll d6Effect
1The victim loses a random magic item.
2One random ability score suffers a -4 penalty.
3The victim may not gain new experience.
4The victim’s level is reduced by 1.
5The victim is polymorphed, as polymorph other, into a small animal.
6The victim is rendered blind.

Scrolls of Warding

A scroll of warding can be used by any character that can read it. When the magical words of warding are read aloud, the words disappear from the page and the reader is surrounded by a 10′ radius area of protection against the type of creature indicated by the scroll. This area of protection is centered on the reader, and moves wherever he moves. This protective barrier stops the creature type from entering, but not from attacking with missile weapons or spells. The circle of protection will last until the reader dismisses it, or if anyone within the circle attempts to melee with a creature of the type protected against.

Ward against Elementals: A ward against elementals scroll wards against all elementals for 2 turns, subject to the rules governing warding scrolls.

Ward against Lycanthropes: For 6 turns, a ward against lycanthropes scroll wards against all lycanthrope forms. The protective barrier can repel a certain number of lycanthropes, based on their number of HD. If the lycanthropes have 3 or fewer Hit Dice, 1d10 of their number will be repelled. If they have 4 or 5 HD, 1d8 of their number will be repelled. If the lycanthropes have 6 HD or above, then 1d4 of their number are repelled.

Ward against Magic: A barrier is created against all spells and spell-like effects from magical items or monsters. This barrier remains for 1d4 turns, during which time no spells or spell-like effects may enter or leave the protected area. This effect cannot be dispelled or otherwise removed except through a wish.

Ward against Undead: For 6 turns, a ward against undead scroll wards against all forms of undead. The protective barrier can repel a certain number of undead, based on their number of HD. If they have 3 or fewer Hit Dice, 2d12 of their number will be repelled. If they have 4 or 5 HD, 2d6 of their number will be repelled. If the undead have 6 HD or above, then 1d6 of their number are repelled.

Treasure Maps: A treasure map can be used by any character that can read it. Treasure maps vary considerably in the value of treasure they lead to. In all cases, the Judge will construct the map and the treasure it leads to ahead of time. The map might lead to a treasure within the dungeon the characters find the map, or the map may lead to another, sometimes remote, location. The difficulty of attaining the treasure should be proportional to its value. There may be traps, riddles, or other challenges. The map itself may be in an unusual language, or enchanted or encrypted such that it requires read languages to decipher.

Rods, Staffs, and Wands

Rods are sometimes usable by any class, but many are restricted to use by certain classes only. Wands are only usable by arcane spellcasters such as mages or elven spellswords. A staff may be usable by either arcane or divine spellcasters, depending on the kind of staff. When a class-restricted item is described, the name of the item will be followed by either “D” if it is usable by a divine spellcaster, “A” if it is usable by arcane spellcasters, and “AD” if usable by both.

Each of these magic items generally uses a “charge” when its effect is triggered, and each item has a limited number of charges. When found, a rod will contain 2d6 charges, a staff will contain 3d10 charges, and a wand will contain 2d10 charges. Exceptions will be noted in specific item descriptions. Physically, these three types of magic items differ primarily in size. Wands are small and thin, being about 18 inches long. A staff is much larger, being 6′ long and generally has a 2″ diameter. Rods are somewhere in-between these two kinds of items, being about 3′ long.

Rod of Cancellation: This item is highly feared by those who value their magic items, for with but one touch of this rod, a magic item permanently loses all of its power and becomes an ordinary item. When attempting to strike an item on an opponent, treat the attack as if it needs to hit an AC of 0. The Judge, depending on the circumstances, may adjust this value. This rod is usable once and may not be recharged.

Rod of Resurrection [D]: A cleric or other divine spellcaster of any level may use this rod one time per day to raise beings from the dead as the resurrection ritual spell. The caster using this rod does not need to rest after expending charges from the rod. Different kinds of characters may be resurrected, and each type requires a different number of charges. When all charges from the rod are used, it crumbles into dust.

ChargesCharacter Type
2Cleric or Bladedancer
4Dwarf (any)
7Elf (any)
3Fighter or Explorer
4Mage or Bard
4Thief or Assassin

Staff of Commanding [D]: This staff may be used to command plants, animals, and humans in the same manner as the rings command animal, command human, and command plant. Each use requires one charge.

Staff of Healing [D]: This staff does not employ charges. It heals any creature touched 1d6+1 hit points. The staff can only be used one time per creature per day, but may heal an unlimited number of creatures in a day.

Staff of Power [A]: This powerful staff has several abilities. First, it can be used to cast the spells cone of cold, lightning bolt, and fireball (each dealing 8d6 points of damage). In addition, the staff may be used to cast continual light and telekinesis (with a weight limit of 25 stone). Finally, this staff can also be used with the same effect as a staff of striking.

Staff of Striking [D]: This staff strikes as a staff +1. With the expenditure of one charge and a successful attack roll, this staff can be used to strike an opponent for 2d6+1 points of damage.

Staff of Withering [D]: This staff functions as a staff +1 that deals 2d6+1 points of damage when a charge is used. By using 2 charges and successfully striking an opponent, the staff ages a victim by 10 years. If three charges are spent in this attack, one of the victim’s limbs will shrivel into a mummified, useless member (saving throw versus Staffs is allowed). The aging effect will automatically kill most creatures that have a short lifespan. Also note that effects of spent charges are cumulative, such that if 3 charges are used, the victim will not only receive damage, but he will be aged and have a withered limb.

Staff of Wizardry [A]: This staff has all the powers of a staff of power. In addition, the staff may be used to cast the spells conjure elementals, invisibility, passwall, and web. The staff can also be used to create a whirlwind (identical to that created by a djinni) and can be used as a wand of paralyzation. Each of these abilities requires one charge. The staff may also be broken for a final blow. The results of a final blow depend on the number of charges in the staff. For each charge, 8 points of damage are dealt in a grand fireball to all monsters and characters (even the owner of the staff) within 30′. The staff is then broken and useless.

Staff of the Serpent [D]: This staff does not employ charges. It strikes as a staff +1. The user can command the staff to grow to become a giant constrictor snake and constrict around a victim (AC 4, HD 3, hp 20, MV 20′). The command for the staff to become a snake is uttered as it strikes a victim. The victim must succeed in a saving throw versus Paralysis or be held immobile by the constricting snake for 1d4 turns, or until the owner commands the snake to release him. The serpent returns to the owner and returns to staff form after it has constricted around an opponent. If the snake form is slain, it will not return to staff form and the staff is destroyed. When the snake returns to staff form, all damage it has sustained in combat is automatically healed.

Wand of Cold: A chilling cone 60′ long and 30′ wide at the terminal end is discharged from this wand. Any beings within the cone of cold will suffer 6d6 points of damage unless they succeed in a saving throw versus Blast, which reduces damage to half. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Detecting Enemies: This wand makes any enemies of the wielder that are within 60′, whether invisible or hidden, become surrounded by a fiery red aura for up to 6 turns. An enemy is any creature with intent to harm the wielder. Only the wielder can see the aura. This effect requires one charge.

Wand of Detecting Magic: This wand makes any magic item within 20′ become surrounded by a faint yellow aura for up to 2 turns. Only the wielder can see the aura. This effect requires one charge.

Wand of Detecting Metals: After expending one charge, the wand will point in the direction of any concentration of metal that weighs 10 stone or more if it is within 60′, for up to 6 turns. The wand wielder is intuitively aware of the kind of metal detected, but a coating of lead will block the detection of other types of metals. This effect requires one charge.

Wand of Detecting Secret Doors: This wand will make any and all secret doors within 30′ become surrounded by a blue glowing aura for up to 3 turns. Only the wielder can see the aura. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Detecting Traps: This wand makes any and all traps within 30′ become surrounded by a blue glowing aura for one round. Only the wielder can see the aura. This effect requires one charge.

Wand of Negation: The wielder of this wand may choose a wand, rod, or staff wielded by an opponent, and render it powerless for 1 round. The item is powerless on the same round the wand of negation is used. Therefore, the action to use this wand must be announced prior to determining initiative. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Fear: This wand can discharge a cone 60′ long and 30′ wide at the terminal end. Any being within the cone will become fearful and flee for 30 rounds at running speed unless they succeed on a saving throw versus Wands. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Fire Balls: This wand can discharge a fireball, as the spell. It deals 6d6 points of damage unless the victim(s) succeed in a saving throw versus Blast, which reduces damage to half. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Illusion: The wielder of this wand can create the effects of the spell phantasmal force. Refer to this spell for the effects and concentration requirements. While concentrating on an illusory effect, the wielder can move at half movement, but if he is successfully struck in combat all concentration is lost and the illusion instantly fades away. Attempts to disbelieve the effects of this wand are resolved with a saving throw versus Wands.

Wand of Lightning Bolts: This wand can discharge a lightning bolt, as the spell. It deals 6d6 points of damage unless the victim(s) succeed in a saving throw versus Blasts, which reduces damage to half. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Magic Missiles: This wand fires one or two magic missiles (user’s choice) per round, as the arcane spell of the same name. The missiles inflict 1d6+1 points of damage each, and always strike. Each individual missile fired expends one charge.

Wand of Paralyzation: This wand can discharge a cone 60′ long and 30′ wide at the terminal end. Any beings within the cone will become paralyzed for 6 turns unless they succeed in a saving throw versus Paralysis. One charge is expended per usage.

Wand of Polymorphing: This wand can produce the effects of the spells polymorph others or polymorph self, as determined by the wielder. The recipient is granted a saving throw versus Wands, and success negates the effect. A willing target can forgo a saving throw. One charge is expended per usage.

Miscellaneous Magic Items

Amulet versus Crystal Balls and ESP: This amulet protects the wearer from being spied on by crystal balls or any type of ESP. The character attempting to spy upon the wearer will know he is being magically protected. The amulet’s magical protection against also prevents a crystal ball from spying on the items the character is wearing and his present location.

Apparatus of the Crab: This item appears to be a large, sealed iron barrel, but it has a secret catch that opens a hatch in one end. Anyone who crawls inside finds ten levers. The device has the following characteristics: hp 200; Move 30′ forward, 60′ backward; AC 0; #AT 2 pinchers; Dmg 2d6. When attacking with the pinchers, the attack throws required are the same as the operator’s, and if a hit is scored, there is a chance that both pinchers strike, for a total of 4d6 points of damage (roll of 1-5 on 1d20).

LeverLever Function
1Extend/retract legs and tail
2Uncover/cover forward porthole
3Uncover/cover side portholes
4Extend/retract pincers and feelers
5Snap pincers
6Move forward/backward
7Turn left/right
8Open “eyes” with continual light inside/close “eyes”
9Rise/sink in water (levitate)
10Open/close hatch

Two characters of human size can fit inside. The device can function in water up to 900 feet deep. It holds enough air for a crew of two to survive 1d4+1 hours (twice as long for a single occupant). When activated, the apparatus looks something like a giant lobster.

Bag of Devouring: This magical bag is the size of a small sack. It opens into a nondimensional space, seemingly identical to that of a bag of holding. After 6+1d4 turns, all items placed in this bag vanish and are permanently lost. The bag must be fully closed for this effect to take place.

Bag of Holding: This appears to be a common small sack. The bag of holding opens into a nondimensional space. Its inside is larger than its outside dimensions. It is large enough to fit an object that is 10’x5’x3′. Regardless of what is put into the bag, it weighs a maximum of 6 stone but holds up to 100 stone (1,000lb).

Boat, Folding: A folding boat looks like a small wooden box-about 12″ long, 6″ wide, and 6″ deep. It can be used to store items like any other box. If a command word is given, however, the box unfolds itself to form a boat 10′ long, 4′ wide, and 2′ in depth. A second command word causes it to unfold to a ship 24′ long, 8′ wide, and 6′ deep. Any objects formerly stored in the box now rest inside the boat or ship. In its smaller form, the boat has one pair of oars, an anchor, a mast, and a lateen sail. In its larger form, the boat has a deck, single rowing seats, five sets of oars, a steering oar, an anchor, a deck cabin, and a mast with a square sail. The boat can hold four people comfortably, while the ship carries fifteen with ease. A third word of command causes the boat or ship to fold itself into a box once again. The necessary command words may be present, either visible or invisible, etched into the box. Alternatively, the command words may need to be sought through an NPC or a small quest.

Boots of Levitation: On command, these leather boots allow the wearer to levitate as if he had cast the spell levitate on himself. The duration is indefinite.

Boots of Speed: These boots allow the wearer to move 240′ per turn for up to 12 hours. The wearer is exhausted after this activity, and is required to rest for a full day.

Boots of Traveling and Springing: While these boots are worn, the wearer need not rest if engaged in ordinary movement. Further, he may spring up to 10′ high, and to a distance of 30′. A character equipped with this item gains a +10 bonus on Acrobatics throws.

Bowl of Commanding Water Elementals: This bowl may be used to summon and control one water elemental per day, as the spell conjure elemental. The user must ready the magic item and conduct rituals that take 1 turn prior to the summoning. The summoning itself takes but 1 round. Once an elemental is summoned, the conjurer is required to continue concentration in order to give commands.

Bracers of Armor: These items appear to be wrist or arm guards. They grant the wearer an AC as though he were wearing armor. Both bracers must be worn for the magic to be effective, and no other armor may be worn with the bracers (magical or non-magical). Dexterity modifiers do apply. The protection offered by the bracers can be combined with other magical effects that alter AC, such as a ring of protection or cloak of protection. Roll on the table below to determine which kind of bracers are found.

Roll d100AC Granted
01-061
07-162
17-363
37-514
52-715
72-866
87-1007

Some of these (5%) will be cursed, actually lowering the wearer’s AC to 0, regardless of DEX modifiers or magical means of lowering AC. It will not be realized that the bracers are cursed until the wearer enters combat. These bracers may only be removed with the spell remove curse.

Brazier of Commanding Fire Elementals: This brazier may be used to summon and control one fire elemental per day as the spell conjure elemental. The user must ready the magic item and conduct rituals that take 1 turn prior to the summoning. The summoning itself takes but 1 round. Once an elemental is summoned, the conjurer is required to continue concentration in order to give commands.

Brooch of Shielding: This appears to be a piece of silver or gold jewelry used to fasten a cloak or cape. In addition to this mundane task, it can absorb magic missiles of the sort generated by spell or spell-like effect. A brooch can absorb up to 101 points of damage from magic missiles before it melts and becomes useless.

Broom of Flying: This magical broom of legend can fly with one riderat a movement rate of 240′ per, or with two riders at a movement rate of 180′ per turn.

Censer of Controlling Air Elementals: This censer may be used to summon and control one air elemental per day as the spell conjure elemental. The user must ready the magic item and conduct rituals that take 1 turn prior to the summoning. The summoning itself takes but 1 round. Once an elemental is summoned, the conjurer is required to continue concentration in order to give commands.

Chime of Opening: A chime of opening is a hollow orichalcum tube about 1 foot long. When struck, it sends forth magical vibrations that cause locks, lids, doors, valves, and portals to open. The device functions against normal bars, shackles, chains, bolts, and so on. A chime of opening also automatically dispels a hold portal spell or even a wizard lock cast by an arcane caster of lower than 9th level. The chime must be pointed at the item or gate to be loosed or opened (which must be visible and known to the user). The chime is then struck, a clear tone rings forth, and in 1 round the target lock is unlocked, the shackle is loosed, the secret door is opened, or the lid of the chest is lifted. Each sounding only opens one form of locking, so if a chest is chained, padlocked, locked, and wizard locked, it takes four uses of a chime of opening to get it open. A silence spell negates the power of the chime. Each use requires a charge, and when found a chime will contains 2d4x10 charges. When emptied of charges, the chime cracks and becomes useless.

Cloak of Protection: This magical cloak appears to be an ordinary brown cloth or leather cloak. The cloak functions much like a ring of protection, offering a bonus to the wearer’s AC and all saving throws. These bonuses are cumulative if the cloak is worn with a ring of protection.

Roll d100Bonus
01-80+1
81-91+2
92-100+3

Crystal Ball: Any arcane spellcaster may use this coveted magic item to see images of distant creatures, objects, or places. The more familiar the user is with the creature, object or place viewed, the clearer the images will be. Each viewing can last for up to 1 turn, and the crystal ball may be used 3 times per day. The user of the crystal ball is unable to communicate to or cast spells at what he views.

Crystal Ball with Clairaudience: This kind of crystal ball has all of the properties of the ordinary one, but also grants the user the ability to hear noise and conversations through the ball.

Crystal Ball with ESP: This kind of crystal ball has all of the properties of the ordinary one, but also grants the user to ability to hear the thoughts of any one creature being observed, as per the spell ESP.

Cube of Force: This device is about 3/4 inch across and can be made of ivory, bone, or any hard mineral. It enables its possessor to put up a special wall of force 10′ on a side around his person. This cubic screen moves with the character and is impervious to the attack forms mentioned on the table below. The cube has 36 charges, which are renewed each day. The possessor presses one face of the cube to activate a particular type of screen or to deactivate the device. Each effect costs a certain number of charges to maintain for every turn (or portion of a turn) it is in operation. Also, when an effect is active, the possessor’s speed is limited to the maximum value given on the table.

Spells that affect the integrity of the screen also drain extra charges. These spells (given in the list below) cannot be cast into or out of the cube:

CubeFaceCharge Cost Per TurnMaximum SpeedEffect
1110′Keeps out gases, wind, etc.
2280′Keeps out nonliving matter
3360′Keeps out living matter
4440′Keeps out magic
5630′Keeps out all things
60As normalDeactivates
Attack FormExtra Charges
Horn of blasting6
Wall of fire2
Passwall3
Disintegrate6
Lightning bolt4
Lava, other hot fires2
Magical fire4
Phase Door5

Cube of Frost Resistance: This cube is activated or deactivated by pressing one side. When activated, it creates a cube-shaped area 10′ on a side centered on the possessor (or on the cube itself, if the item is later placed on a surface). The temperature within this area is always at least 65^0F. The field absorbs all cold-based attacks. However, if the field is subjected to more than 50 points of cold damage in 1 turn (from one or multiple attacks), it collapses into its portable form and cannot be reactivated for 1 hour. If the field absorbs more than 100 points of cold damage in a turn, the cube is destroyed.

Decanter of Endless Water: If the stopper is removed from this ordinary-looking flask and a command word spoken, an amount of fresh or salt water pours out. Separate command words determine the type, as well as the volume and velocity. The water continues pouring out until the command word is spoken to stop it.

“Stream” pours out 1 gallon per round.

“Fountain” produces a 5′ long stream at 5 gallons per round.

“Geyser” produces a 20′ long, 1′ wide stream at 30 gallons per round.

The geyser effect causes considerable backpressure, requiring the holder to be on stable ground and braced to avoid being knocked down. The force of the geyser kills small creatures of 1/2 HD or less and knocks down man-sized creatures unless they make a saving throw versus Paralysis. Creatures larger than man-sized are immune to the geyser.

Displacer Cloak: This item appears to be a normal cloak, but when worn by a character its magical properties distort and warp light waves. All opponents suffer a -2 penalty on attack throws against the wearer of the cloak. In addition, the wearer receives a bonus of +2 on all saving throws.

Drums of Panic: These drums are kettle drums (hemispheres about 1-1/2 feet in diameter on stands). They come in pairs and are unremarkable in appearance. If both of the pair are sounded, all creatures within 240′ feet (with the exception of those within a 10′ radius safe zone around the drums) will become fearful and flee for 30 rounds at running speed. A saving throw versus Wands is allowed to resist the effect.

Dust of Appearance: This fine powder appears to be a very fine, very light metallic dust. A single handful of this substance flung into the air coats all objects within a 10′ radius, making them visible even if they are invisible. The dust likewise negates the effects of mirror image, cloak of displacement, and elven cloaks. If the dust is blown through a tube it covers an area in the shape of a cone 20′ long and 15′ wide at its terminal end. The dust’s effect lasts for 2d10 turns. Dust of appearance is typically stored in small silk packets or hollow bone tubes, and 5d10 of these tubes or packets will be found at a time.

Dust of Disappearance: This dust looks just like dust of appearance and is typically stored in the same manner. A creature or object touched by it becomes invisible. Normal vision can’t see dusted creatures or objects, nor can they be detected by magical means, including detect invisible. Dust of appearance, however, does reveal people and objects made invisible by dust of disappearance. The invisibility bestowed by the dust lasts for 2d10 turns, and the invisibility is not dispelled if the enchanted character makes attacks.

Efreeti Bottle: This item is typically fashioned of brass or bronze, with a lead stopper bearing special seals. The bottle can be opened once per day. When opened, the efreeti imprisoned within issues from the bottle instantly, and loyally serves the character for up to 101 days (or until the efreeti’s death), doing as the owner of the bottle commands. After the 101 days of service, the efreeti leaves to its home in the City of Brass, and the efreeti bottle becomes an ordinary, non-magical bottle.

Elven Cloak: This light, iridescent cloak is made by the magical and nimble hands of the elves. It allows the wearer to blend into his surroundings to the point of becoming nearly invisible. The cloak adds a +8 bonus to any proficiency throws to hide in shadows. Characters wearing elven cloaks can always hide in shadows with a throw of at least 12+.

Elven Boots: These fine leather boots are made with the magical craftsmanship of the elves. Commonly used by elven nightblades, they add a +8 bonus to any proficiency throws to move silently. Characters wearing elven boots can always move silently with a throw of at least 12+.

Eyes of Charming: These two crystal lenses fit over the user’s eyes. The wearer is able to use charm person (one target per round) merely by meeting a target’s gaze. Those failing a saving throw versus Spells are charmed as per the spell. If the wearer has both lenses, there is a penalty of -2 to the saving throw. If the wearer has only one lens, the saving throw is made with a bonus of +2.

Eyes of the Eagle: These items are made of special crystal and fit over the eyes of the wearer. These lenses allow the wearer to see 100 times further than normal. The wearer’s improved vision reduces his penalty for missile attacks at medium range to -1 and at long range to -2. Wearing only one of the pair causes a character to become dizzy and, in effect, stunned for 1 round. Thereafter, the wearer can use the single lens without being stunned so long as he covers his other eye.

Eyes of Petrification: These items are made of special crystal and fit over the eyes of the wearer. When a being places the eyes on, he is instantly petrified, as if subjected to a flesh to stone spell, with no saving throw. About 1/4 (01-25 on d100) of these eyes allow the wearer to use a petrification gaze attack. Both lenses must be worn for the magic to be effective, and the victim is allowed a saving throw versus Petrification to resist the effect.

Note that no magical eyes may be combined for multiple effects.

Flying Carpet: A flying carpet is enchanted to fly by command, with passengers. If 1 passenger is carried, the carpet may move up to 300′ per turn. If two or three passengers are carried, this is reduced to 240′ or 180′ per turn, respectively. No more than three human-sized passengers, or a total of 60 stone, may be carried.

Gauntlets of Ogre Power: These gauntlets are made of tough leather, with iron studs running across the back of the hands and fingers. They grant the wearer the great strength of 18, granting all of the benefits to attack throws and damage rolls that this strength score confers. The wearer may punch with these gloves, inflicting 1d4 points of damage. These gauntlets further allow the wearer to transport an extra 10 stone. Both gauntlets must be worn for the magic to be effective.

Girdle of Giant Strength: A girdle of giant strength confers the great strength of a hill giant to the wearer. The wearer attacks as an 8 HD monster or as his own class and level, whichever is better, and the character inflicts double normal damage with his attacks. The character also can throw rocks at opponents to a distance of 200′ for 3d6 points of damage and gains a +16 bonus to force open doors. The benefits of the girdle stack with the character’s bonus or penalty from his Strength. A weak character who wears the girdle has the strength of a weak giant, while a very strong character gains the strength of a very strong giant!

Helm of Alignment Changing: This ornate helmet instantly changes the alignment of the being that places it on. The change is random. The helmet cannot be removed except by the spell remove curse. The wearer will not desire for the helmet to be removed, but once it has been taken off, he reverts back to his original alignment.

Helm of Comprehending Languages: Appearing as a normal helmet, a helm of comprehending languages grants its wearer the ability to understand the spoken words of any creature, and to read text in any language or any magical writing. Note that understanding a magical text does not necessarily imply spell use unless the magic is usable by the character’s class and level.

Helm of Telepathy: The wearer can read the thoughts of any creature within 90′ at will. Furthermore, he can send a telepathic message to anyone whose surface thoughts he is reading (allowing two-way communication). Use of this helm requires full concentration of the wearer, who may not move or take any action.

Helm of Teleportation: This item will not function until a teleport spell is cast upon it. Afterwards, it may be used to teleport as often as desired, up to a maximum of once per turn. The user may try to teleport another creature by touching it; an unwilling creature may resist the effect with a saving throw versus Staffs. Once the helm is used to transport an unwilling creature, it will cease to function until recharged with another teleport spell.

Horn of Blasting: This horn appears to be a normal trumpet. When the instrument is played, once per turn it deals 2d6 points of damage to creatures within a cone 100′ long and 20′ wide at its termination point. The horn causes creatures to be deafened for 2d6 rounds (a saving throw versus Blast negates the deafening). Other objects may take damage in other ways, at the Judge’s discretion. For example, a small hut might be completely leveled with a blast from the horn, but a portion of stone wall 10′ wide might take three or four horn blasts. The horn may be blown once per turn.

Medallion of ESP: This appears to be a normal pendant disk hung from a neck chain. The medallion allows the wearer to read the thoughts of others, as per the arcane spell ESP. The wearer can read the thoughts of any creature within 30′ after concentrating for one round. The wearer may move at half speed, but is unable to cast spells or attack while concentrating. There is a 1 in 6 chance (roll 1 on 1d6) that, unknown to the user of the medallion, his thoughts are heard by all beings within 30′ instead of the usual effect. The creature whose mind is read may make a saving throw versus Staffs to negate the effect if it suspects it is being spied on.

Medallion of ESP (90′): This medallion functions as a medallion of ESP, but has a range to 90′ rather than 30′.

Mirror of Life Trapping: This crystal device is usually about 4 feet square and framed in metal or wood. A mirror of life trapping has twenty nonspatial extradimensional compartments within it. Any human-sized or smaller creature that looks into the device must make a saving throw versus Staffs or be trapped within the mirror in one of the cells. When all cells are full, the mirror does not trap any more beings. When a creature is trapped, it is taken bodily into the mirror along with all its clothing and equipment. Creatures trapped within the mirror do not age, breathe, or eat, and are completely powerless. Anyone may call the reflection of any creature trapped within to its surface and engage the powerless prisoner in conversation. If the mirror is broken, all victims currently trapped in it are freed.

Mirror of Opposition: This item resembles a normal mirror about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide. If a creature is reflected in the mirror’s surface, an exact duplicate of that creature comes into being. This opposite immediately and relentlessly attacks the original. The duplicate has all the possessions and powers of its original (including magic). Upon the defeat or destruction of either the duplicate or the original, the duplicate and its items disappear completely.

Necklace of Adaptation: This necklace is a heavy chain with a platinum medallion. The magic of the necklace wraps the wearer in a shell of fresh air, making him immune to all harmful vapors and gases. The bubble can enable the wearer to survive in an environment without air for 1 week.

Rope of Climbing: A 50-foot-long rope of climbing is no thicker than a wand, but it is strong enough to support 100 stone (1,000lb). Upon command, the rope snakes forward, upward, downward, or in any other direction at 10′ per round, attaching itself securely wherever its owner desires. It can unfasten itself and return in the same manner. A creature must hold one end of the rope when its magic is invoked.

Scarab of Protection: This device appears to be a silver medallion in the shape of a beetle. The scarab’s possessor gains immunity to any curse and finger of death spells or effects, regardless of the source. Upon absorbing 2d6 such attacks, the scarab turns to powder and is destroyed.

Stone of Controlling Earth Elementals: This small stone may be used to summon and control one earth elemental per day as the spell conjure elemental. The user must ready the magic item and conduct rituals that take 1 turn prior to the summoning. The summoning itself takes but 1 round. Once an elemental is summoned, the conjurer is required to continue concentration in order to give commands.

Weapons, Armor, and Swords

Magical weapons and armor follow the same class restrictions as all normal weapons and armor. Magic items will have a “+” value, or if cursed they will have a “-” negative value. When an item has a plus, such as a dagger +1, this means that rolls to hit and damage rolls receive a +1 bonus. Armor with a plus will improve the AC by the amount specified. For example, leather armor +1 would improve AC to 3 rather than 2.

Cursed items have the opposite effect, incurring penalties based on the negative value provided. Cursed items, once possessed by a character, can only be disposed of with a dispel evil or remove curse spell. The owner of a cursed item will not believe the item is cursed, and will resist efforts to get rid of the item until one of these spells is cast. Furthermore, the possessor of a cursed weapon will prefer to use this weapon in combat above any other weapon.

Magical armor of the non-cursed variety is lighter and less cumbersome than other armor. Refer to the table below for magical armor weights and for rolling up the kind of armor found by a party. For each additional +1 after the first, reduce the weight by an additional stone, to a minimum of 0.

Roll d100Armor TypeUnmodified ACMagic Weight (stone)
01-05Hide Armor10
06-30Leather Armor21
31-35Ring Mail32
36-40Scale Armor32
41-65Chain Mail43
66-70Banded Plate54
71-75Lamellar Armor54
76-100Plate Armor65

Swords

Other powers beyond having a “+” to their attacks and damage sometimes apply to swords and other weapons. They also may have more than one bonus listed, where the first bonus applies to all attacks and damage, and the second applies only to an exclusive group of creatures. Some of these are detailed below, and others listed in the treasure tables are self-explanatory. Other weapons have powers that the wielder is able to command. These weapons are detailed below.

Sword +1, flame tongue: This sword is +2 against regenerating or avian monsters and +3 against undead or plant-like monsters. When the wielder utters a command, the sword becomes engulfed in flame. The flames provide the same amount of light as a torch, and can be used to ignite anything flammable.

Sword +1, life drinker: This sword drains a Hit Die or a life level from any target struck if the wielder utters a command. This sword has 1d4+4 charges, and each use of this ability drains one charge. Once the charges have been used, the sword performs as a normal sword +1.

Sword +1, locate objects: The wielder may locate objects as the arcane spell one time each day, to a range of 120′.

Sword +1, luck blade: This sword grants its possessor a +1 bonus on all saving throws. In addition, a luck blade will contain 1d4+1 wishes. When the last wish is used, the sword remains a sword +1 and still grants the +1 saving throw bonus.

Sword +2, charm person: In addition to functioning as a sword +1, this sword grants the wielder the ability to charm person, as the arcane spell, 3 times in a week.

Sword +3, frost brand: The frost brand is a sword +6 against monsters that live in a hot environment or use a fire-based attack. The sword sheds light as a torch when the temperature drops below 0^0F. At such times it cannot be concealed when drawn, nor can its light be shut off. Its wielder is protected from fire in the same manner as wearing a ring of fire resistance. A frost brand extinguishes all non-magical fires in a 10′ area when touched to a flame.

Sword +3, vorpal: The legendary vorpal sword is the sharpest weapon known to man. On a natural attack throw of 20, the wielder of a vorpal blade will decapitate any creature struck, unless it succeeds in a saving throw versus Death. Even if the target makes its saving throw, the vorpal blade will inflict double normal damage to it. (Creatures without a head, such as oozes, cannot be decapitated, but still take double damage on a natural attack throw of 20.)

Other Magic Weapons

War Hammer +2, Dwarven Thrower: In the hands of a creature other than a dwarf, this is an ordinary war hammer +2. Wielded by a dwarf, the war hammer gains an additional +1 bonus (for a total bonus of +3) and can be hurled with a 60′ range. When hurled, it deals triple damage against giant humanoids, and double damage against any other target. It unerringly returns to the dwarf’s hand after being thrown.

Arrow +3, Slaying Arrow: This arrow +3 is keyed to a particular type of creature. If it strikes such a creature, the target instantly dies, with no saving throw. Against any other target the arrow functions as an arrow +3. These arrows are often adorned with decorations that imply the creature they can slay. To determine the type of creature the arrow is keyed to, roll on the table below. The Judge may add to this list, or choose an appropriate creature type for the situation.

Roll 1d20Type
1Avians*
2Beastmen
3Clerics
4Dragons
5Dwarves
6Elementals
7Elves
8Fighters
9Giants
10Giant animals
11Golems
12Mages
13Mammals*
14Plant-like monsters
15Regenerating monsters
16Reptiles*
17Sea creatures*
18Thieves
19Undead
20Vermin*

*Including normal and giant creatures of this type, but not sentient creatures

Sentient Weapons

Particularly powerful magical weapons are sometimes thinking and intelligent entities, known as sentient weapons. These weapons have motivations of their own, and may or may not be hostile to their wielder. The Judge plays the personalities of these items in the same manner as an NPC.

A sword has a percentage chance to be sentient equal to its highest magical bonus x2. Other magic weapons have a percentage chance equal to their highest magical bonus. If the weapon is a life drinker, luck blade, vorpal blade, or dwarven thrower, the chance of intelligence is doubled.

Example: The highest bonus of a sword +1, +2 versus spellcasters is 2, giving it a (2 x2%) 4% chance to be sentient. The highest bonus of a dwarven thrower is 3, giving it a (3 x 1% x 2) 6% chance to be sentient. The highest bonus of a vorpal sword +3 is 3, giving it a (3 x 2% x 2) 12% chance to be sentient.

If a weapon is sentient, determine its Intelligence, Alignment, Ego, Willpower, and Powers using the rules below.

Intelligence and Languages

The first step to creating a sentient weapon is to roll for its Intelligence. The Intelligence ability score will determine how many additional powers the sword possesses. Consult the table below.

Roll 1d6INTDetection PowersSpell-like PowersCommunication
1710Empathy
2820Empathy
3930Empathy
41030Speech
51130Speech, Read Languages
61231Speech, Read Languages

When a sword communicates through empathy, no actual words are exchanged between it and its wielder, but the wielder becomes intuitively aware of the powers the sword possesses and how these can be employed. A sword capable of speech actually produces an audible voice and speaks to those around it. Sentient weapons capable of read languages do so as the arcane spell, but the ability is always active.

In addition to knowing the language of its maker, sentient weapons will understand an additional number of languages to be determined below.

Roll 1d20Languages Known
01-101
11-142
15-173
184
195
20Roll twice and combine, ignoring this result

Alignment

Every sentient weapon will have an alignment. This alignment is undetectable until the sword is touched. A character may only wield a sword that shares the same alignment, and if he attempts to handle a sword of a different alignment he will suffer damage each round. The severity of the damage is related to the degree of difference of alignment. For each degree of difference, the character will suffer 1d6 points of damage. For example, a chaotic sword will inflict 1d6 hp damage to a neutral character; it will inflict 2d6 hp damage to a lawful character. For this reason, a neutral sword will only ever inflict 1d6 points of damage. Roll on the chart below to determine a sentient weapon’s alignment.

Roll d100Sword Alignment
01-10Chaotic
11-30Neutral
31-100Lawful

Ego and Willpower

Sentient weapons have an Ego rating from 1-12 (roll 1d12). This rating represents the overall strength of character that the sword has. In addition, sentient weapons have a base willpower rating equal to the sum of its INT and EGO. A bonus of +1 is added to this rating for each spell-like power the sword possesses. Spell-like powers are discussed below.

A sentient weapon may mentally wrestle for dominance with its wielder, depending on the sword’s personality and desires. Under certain situations, the Judge will need to make an influence check. This may be made in the following situations:

  1. The wielder first touches the sword
  2. The sword’s motivation comes into play
  3. A character of a differing alignment touches the sword
  4. Another magical sword is found
  5. A character has lost 50% of his hp

When an influence check is called for, the willpower of the sword and the willpower of the character are compared, and the highest score wins the test. A character’s willpower is determined by summing his WIS and STR. The character can add an additional +1 to his Willpower for each level of experience beyond 8. The character subtracts 1d4 from this total if he is wounded but has more than or equal to 50% of his hp. If he has less than 50% of his hp, 2d4 is subtracted from willpower. The sword receives a bonus of 1d10 to its willpower if its alignment is not the same as the character’s.

If the character loses, then he loses control of his actions for an amount of time determined by the Judge. The sword will force the character to perform a task, such as disposing of or ignoring magic items if a second magical sword is found. Other actions include compelling the wielder into combat or surrender with a nearby foe, or making the character perform another action that serves the desires and goals of the sword. Usually, the duration of control will only be for several rounds until the task is completed.

Sentient Weapon Motivations

Sentient weapons have a 5% probability of having a particular motivation (roll 01-05 on d00). These motivations involve the destruction of particular races, monster types, or alignments. If a sword has a motivation, raise its INT and EGO each to 12.

Roll on the table below to determine a sentient weapon’s motivation. Alternatively, the Judge may choose an opponent type based on differing characteristics (all reptiles, beings of a certain religion, etc.).

Roll 1d10Destroy Opponent Type…
1Judge’s choice
2Beastmen
3Constructs
4Fantastic Creatures
5Giant Humanoids
6Humans & Demi-humans
7Summoned Creatures
8Oozes & Vermin
9Undead
10Opposed alignment (lawful if chaotic, chaotic if lawful, either if neutral

When a sentient weapon is used to attack an opponent that fits its motivation, a special power is used against the opponent. These powers are determined by the alignment of the sword. A chaotic sword will energy drain an opponent of the appropriate type by one level per point of magical bonus. A lawful sword will strike an opponent of the appropriate type for one extra damage die per point of magical bonus. A neutral sword will grants the sword wielder a bonus to Armor Class and saving throws equals to its magical bonus when combating an appropriate opponent.

Example: Blackguard is a chaotic +3 vorpal two-handed sword with a motivation to destroy lawful opponents. It energy drains 3 levels from any lawful opponent it strikes.

Powers

Sentient weapons can have two kinds of additional powers: detection powers and spell-like powers. The sword wielder must be holding the sword to activate and maintain any of its powers, and no more than one power can be active at once.

Detection powers allow the sword to detect any of a number of possible items or inclinations. All detection powers are identical to either wands or spells of the same type, and all the same rules apply. Each of a sword’s detection powers may be used up to 3 times per day. Spell-like powers mimic spells or have effects similar to those of spells. All spell-like powers may only be used 3 times total in one day. To determine powers, roll on the Detection Powers table and ignore identical results if required to roll more than once. The same holds true if required to roll on the Spell-like Powers table.

Detection Powers

Roll d100DetectAdditional Details
01-10EnemiesAs the wand
11-20EvilAs the spell
21-30GoodAs the spell
31-45MagicAs the spell
46-60MetalsAs the wand
61-70Invisible or hiddenAs the spell
71-80Secret doorsAs the wand
81-90TrapsAs the spell
91-95Roll two times
96-100Spell-like Power (1)

Spell-like Powers

Roll d100PowerAdditional Details
01-10ClairaudienceAs clairvoyance, below, but audible instead of visual
11-20ClairvoyanceAs the spell
21-25Double damageSee below*
26-35ESPAs the spell
36-40FlyAs the spell, for 9 turns
41-45RegenerateSee below**
46-50LevitateAs the spell, for 15 turns
51-57Phant. ForceAs the spell
58-67TelekinesisAs a ring of telekinesis
68-77TelepathyAs a helm of telepathy
78-86TeleportationAs the spell
87-96X-Ray VisionAs a ring of x-ray vision
97-99Roll twice
00Roll three times

*Damage is doubled for 1d10 rounds. This table result can be combined if rolled more than once. If rolled twice, damage is x4, if rolled three times, damage is x6. This effect does not influence the attack throw. **The sword will regenerate the wielder’s hit points at rate of 1 hp per round while held, to a maximum of 15 hit points. This table result can be combined if rolled more than once. If rolled twice, up to 30 hp may be healed, if rolled three times, up to 45 hp may be healed. Note that the rate of healing does not change.

Buying and Selling Magic Items

In any campaign, adventurers will seek to buy and sell magic items. ACKS assumes that the market for magic items is illiquid and inefficient. Most magic items found by adventurers were created long ago, and are of dubious origin and uncertain ownership history, which drives their price down. The majority of magic items created during the campaign are assumed to be for mage’s personal use and research, or commissioned pieces created for exceptionally wealthy patrons. The Magic Item Transactions by Market Class table governs buying and selling magic items.

Magic Item Transactions by Market Class

PriceClass IClass IIClass IIIClass IVClass VClass VI
1gp or less1,700585260653010
2gp-10gp1003015511
11-100gp1552125%10%
101-1,000gp72125%10%5%
1,001-10,000gp2125%10%5%1%
10,001gp or more10%5%2%NANANA

Selling Magic Items

Adventurers can sell magic items they have made for twice the base cost to make the item. (Magic items made from a formula or sample can thus command a great margin!) Adventurers can sell identified magic items found, discovered, looted, or otherwise acquired for the base cost to make the item. The difference in selling price reflects the difference in value between an item of known make and authenticity and an item of dubious origin and uncertain ownership history.

In order to sell one or more magic items, the adventurer must be in a market of sufficient size. The number of potential buyers for magic items in a month will be determined by the price of the items and the market class within which they are sold.

Example: Using a formula, Quintus and his assistants made 4 scrolls of fireball (base cost 1,500gp) at a cost of 750gp each. Quintus has a henchman take these to sell them in a Class III market. There is a 25% chance of a buyer for one scroll each month, at a price of 3,000gp each. Quintus also asks his henchman to sell a sword +2 (base cost 15,000gp) he found in an evil crypt. The sword +2 will sell for 15,000gp. There is a 25% chance of a buyer for the sword each month. After four months, Quintus’ henchman returns with 2,700gp – 12,000gp for the scrolls and 15,000gp for the sword.

Buying Magic Items

Adventurers can buy magic items for twice the base cost to make the item. In order to buy magic items, the adventurer must be in a market of sufficient size. The number of potential sellers of magic items in a month will be determined by the price of the items and the market class within which they are sold. Magic items are generally available only in small quantities, even in large markets.

Example: Marcus is about to set out on an adventure from his home base. He decides to buy potions of healing (base cost 500gp). Stopping by the local Temple of the Sun god, he finds one potion for sale for 1,000gp. Later, Marcus travels to the awe-inspiring capital of the empire (Class I market). There he can buy 7 potions of healing for 1,000gp each, and even 2 potions of extra-healing (base cost 2,000gp) for 4,000gp each.

Commissioning Magic Items

On occasion, adventurers may commission powerful spellcasters to create magic items on their behalf. Spellcasters powerful enough to create magic items for hire can only be found in Class I markets, or through adventures.

The advantage to commissioning a magic item is that the item can be made exactly to the adventurer’s specification. The disadvantages are cost and time. The base cost and time required to create a magic item is listed on the Magic Item Creation table in Chapter 7 under Magic Research. The adventurer commissioning the item will be responsible up front for paying the base cost and the cost of any precious materials, and for providing any required special components. If the spellcaster successfully completes the item, the adventurer will then be charged an additional fee equal to 7,000gp per month, or twice the base cost, whichever is greater.

Example: Marcus hires a mage to create a suit of plate armor +3 (base cost 35,000gp, base time 8 months). After describing the elaborate appearance he demands, Marcus pays 35,000gp. He also pays for 30,000gp worth of precious materials to be used in the items construction, to help ensure its successful creation (and to make it look spectacular). Finally, he delivers the special component, the iron hides of 25 gorgons, to the mage. When the mage completes the armor 8 months later, Marcus pays him an additional 70,000gp (twice the base cost). Marcus has spent 135,000gp on his armor, enough to build a keep.

Chapter 10: Secrets

The Judge has many responsibilities. Among these are to help explain, teach, and enforce the rules; to rule on “grey areas” not covered by the rules; to control the flow of information between the world and the players; to play the adversaries which confront the adventurers during play; and to choose or create the setting and adventures for play. This chapter focuses on how to construct settings and adventures that make use of the unique mechanics of ACKS.

Constructing the Campaign Setting

Judges running campaigns with the Adventurer Conqueror King System can either use a setting offered for the system, convert another campaign setting to ACKS, or create their own campaign setting. Making a campaign setting from scratch can be the most fun, if time is available to do so. The following section outlines the game mechanics of how to design or convert a campaign setting compatible with ACKS.

Mapping the Setting

The first step in constructing a campaign setting for ACKS is to create one or more maps of the regions where the player characters will adventure, conquer, and rule. ACKS assumes that the campaigns setting will be mapped using hex graph paper with 24-mile and 6-mile hexes. If the Judge is converting an existing fictional or real-world setting, he can use the setting’s map if it is already on correctly scaled hex paper or draw a new version.

If the Judge is creating a new campaign setting, he will need to create his own maps. When mapping the setting, the Judge should create two maps, one regional map representing the adventurers’ starting area and one campaign map representing the lands around it. The Judge does not need to chart the entire planet, however. Adventurers will spend most of their early careers moving between a town or village and only one or a few dungeons within several hundred miles. The Authors own campaign setting is about the size of our world’s Mediterranean region, and has been more than sufficient for even very high level characters.

A standard sheet of hex graph paper, 30 hexes wide and 40 hexes long, covers an area 1,200 hexes total. When creating the recommended two maps, one sheet of hex paper should be used with 24-mile hexes for the campaign map, while a second sheet should be used with 6-mile hexes for the regional map.

When creating his setting’s map(s), the Judge must consider many questions. Where are the shorelines? Is this area part of a continental land mass, or a series of islands? Next, he must decide on the climate and terrain. Is the climate temperate or tropical? Is the region mountainous, hilly, or flat? With these basic considerations made, mapping can begin. The Judge should take particular care to note the location of mountains, rivers, lakes, seas, and other types of terrain or features that can serve as trade routes or barriers.

Developing the Realms

Once the Judge has converted or created maps for his setting, the next step is to begin to develop the realms that will populate the maps. The two tables below create realms compatible with the ACKS domain mechanics. The Realms by Type table shows a number of different types of realms, ranging from lowly baronies to huge empires. For each type of realm, the table provides the realm’s population, the number of individual domains in the realm, and the size of the realm in square miles, 6-mile hexes, and 24-mile hexes. (Note that this data corresponds with the tiers shown in Titles of Nobility table in the Strongholds and Domains rules in Chapter 7). The Political Divisions of Realms table shows how many vassal realms of each type exist within a larger realm. If desired, each of these vassal realm can also be created using the Realms by Type table.

If the Judge is converting an existing fictional or real-world setting, he can guide this process using the any available information about the size of the setting’s realms (in square miles) and/or the population of the setting’s realms.

If the Judge is developing the realms for a setting of his own devising, he will have to construct the realms based on the maps he has created and his own imagination. Using the recommended two maps, the large-scale 24-mile hex campaign map should encompass a huge empire or several kingdoms, while the smaller scale 6-mile hex regional map should constitute a robust principality of about 18,000 square miles (600 hexes), leaving 50% of the map available as unsettled, wild land.

To assign appropriate populations to domains of a given size, a useful guideline is to assume an average population density of around 50 people per square mile, roughly equivalent to the ancient world during the Roman era. That represents 300 families per 6-mile hex, or 5,000 families per 24-mile hex.

Realms by Type

Type of RealmRealm Population (families)Realm DomainsRealm Size (sq. miles)Realm Size (6-mile hexes)Realm Size (24-mile hexes)
Empire1.5M – 11.6M+5,461-55,987143,000-1,175,000+4,600-38,000+286-2,350+
Kingdom364K – 2,000K1,365-9,33136,000-200,0001,150-6,30071-391
Principality87K – 322K341-1,5558,775-32,500280-1,05018-65
Duchy20,000 – 52,00085-2592,000-5,50067-1724-11
County4,600 – 8,50021-43475-87515-301-2
March960 – 1,2805-796-1283-4Less than 1
Barony120-200112-201Less than 1

Political Divisions of Realms

Type of RealmEmpiresKingdomsPrincipalitiesDuchiesCountiesMarchesBaronies
Empire14-616-3664-216256-1,2961,024-7,7764,096-46,656
Kingdom14-616-3664-216256-1,2961,024-7,776
Principality14-616-3664-216256-1,296
Duchy14-616-3664-216
County14-616-36
March14-6
Barony1

Example: On the Judge’s campaign map, he has drawn a vast nation covering 1,130 24-mile hexes. This qualifies it as an “empire”. At the suggested 5,000 families per 24-mile hex, the empire has a population of 5.6 million families. Following the Political Divisions of Realms table, the Judge decides the empire is divided into 5 “exarchates” (kingdoms), each controlling 1.1 million families and spanning 226 24-mile hexes (113,000,000 square miles). He divides each exarchate into 6 “prefectures” (principalities), each controlling 183,000 families and spanning 37 24-mile hexes (18,500 square miles). He decides that he will further develop one of these prefectures as the starting region for the adventurers. His regional map should therefore assign the prefecture about 600 6-mile hexes of settled land (approximately 18,500 miles).

The Revenue by Realm Type table below shows the size of the personal domain of various tiers of nobility, their monthly income from domains, and their monthly income from urban settlements. The Revenue by Realm Type table assumes that at each tier of nobility, the nobles have 4-6 vassals of the next tier below them, who each hold a vassal realm, as per the Political Division of Realms. The Judge can use this chart to quickly decide the income and holdings of NPCs or vassals in a realm based on their size, population, or other factors. He can also use it to determine the value of very large player character realms by quickly selecting values for their vassal realms rather than creating them all.

Revenue by Realm Type

Type of RealmRuler’s Personal Domain (families)Ruler’s Stronghold Value (gp)Realm Population (families)Domain Income/Month (in gp)Urban Income /Month (in gp)
Empire12,500720,000+1.5M – 11.6M+250,000-425,000+135,000-700,000+
Kingdom12,500480,000364K – 2,000K120,000-171,00017,500-112,000
Principality7,500360,00087K – 322K50,000-66,0003,450-15,000
Duchy1,500115,00020,000 – 52,00014,500-20,000800-2,000
County78070,0004,600 – 8,5005,600-6,6000
March32045,000960 – 1,2802,000-2,7000
Barony16022,500120-200450-7500

Example: The Judge needs to determine the realm of Lazar, an NPC Exarch of a southern Imperial province. He has already decided that the Southern province has a population of 3,000,000, which equates to 600,000 families. Reviewing the Realms by Type table, he sees this is about 30% of the maximum size of a Kingdom. Exactly 30% of 7,776 is 2,332.8; he decides that the Southern province will consist of 2,300 domains. On the Revenue by Realm Type table, he estimates that Exarch Lazar should earn about 140,000gp per month from his domains and another 25,000gp per month from various urban settlements.

Adjusting Population Density

As noted above, ACKS generally assumes an average population density of around 50 people per square mile. This is roughly equivalent to the ancient world during the Roman era. The size of the realm can be increased if the Judge wants a world with a lower population density is lower. Conversely the size of the realm can be decreased if the Judge wants a world with a higher population density.

Historical Era/RegionAverage Population DensityFamilies per 6-mile HexFamilies per 24-mile Hex
Medieval England40 people / square mile2504,000
Ancient Rome50 people / square mile3005,000
Classic Greece80 people / square mile5008,000
Holy Roman Empire90 people / square mile5509,000
Medieval France105 people / square mile65010,000

Note that hexes which have no settled inhabitants and which are not garrisoned do not affect its size or population density for these purposes. Many countries in an ACKS setting might claim vast tracts of land, but they don’t really control it for game purposes.

Example: The Judge wants to create the realm of Albion, a fantasy version of 12th century medieval England. 12th century England had a population of about 2,000,000 spread across 50,000 square miles. The population of 2 million translates to 400,000 families in ACKS terms. Medieval England had a population density of only 40 people per square mile. That translates to 250 families per 6-mile hex or 4,000 families per 24-mile hex. The Judge’s realm of Albion should therefore be 1,600 6-mile hexes or 80 24-mile hexes. A regional map of Albion can be easily drawn using 2 contiguous sheets of hex paper using 6-mile hexes, while still leaving room for wilderness and rival kingdoms.

Placing Villages, Towns, and Cities

Once the Judge has developed one or more realms within his campaign setting, his next step should be to determine the number and location of major urban settlements within the realm(s). The Villages, Towns, and Cities of the Realm table shows the overall urban population based on the number of peasant families present in any given realm (or portion thereof). It also shows the largest settlement that will exist in any given realm. The largest settlement should generally be placed on a body of water or cross-roads in or near the most populous domain of the realm.

The Villages, Towns, and Cities Placement table can be used in conjunction with the Political Divisions of the Realm table to develop the complete urban demographics of a realm. Starting with the largest vassal ream and working downward, find the largest settlement for each vassal realm on the Villages, Towns, and Cities of the Realm table and place this settlement on the map somewhere within its appropriate realm. Urban settlements should generally be placed on rivers, lakes, coastlines and roads. After all cities, towns, and villages are placed, the remainder of the population is assumed to live in isolated homesteads and hamlets. When placing urban settlements on the map, the Judge can safely ignore Class IV and smaller settlements on the 24-mile campaign map, and Class VI settlements on the 6-mile hex regional map.

The monthly revenue of various urban settlements has already been factored into the values listed on the Revenue by Realm Type table.

Villages, Towns, and Cities Placement

Realm/Domain Population (families)Urban Population (families)Largest Settlement (families)Monthly IncomeMarket Class
3,749-374-Hamlets (74-)Class VI*
3,750-4,999375-499Small Village (75-99)18-24gpClass VI
5,000-7,999500-799Village (100-159)25-39gpClass VI
8,000-12,499800-1,249Village (160-249)40-60gpClass VI
12,500-22,4991,250-2,249Large village (250-449)150-264gpClass V
22,500-31,2492,500-3,124Small town (450-624)265-369gpClass V
31,250-62,4993,125-6,249Large town (625-1,249)370-739gpClass IV
62,500-124,9996,250-12,499Small city (1,250-2,499)740-1,474gpClass IV
125,000-249,99912,500-24,999City (2,500-4,999)1,475-2,950gpClass III
250,000-499,99925,000-49,999Large city (5,000-9,999)4,700-9,399gpClass II
500,000-749,99950,000-74,999Large city (10,000-14,999)9,400-14,099gpClass II
750,000-1,999,99975,000-199,999Large city (15,000-19,999)14,100-18,800gpClass II
2,000,000-3,999,999200,000-399,999Metropolis (20,000-39,999)25,800-51,599gpClass I
4,000,000+400,000+Metropolis (40,000+)51,600gp+Class I

*A Class VI market will exist at the domain’s stronghold only.

Example: Exarch Lazar’s realm, the exarchate of the South, consists of 2,300 domains with a total population of 600,000 peasant families (3,000,000 people). According to the Villages, Towns, and Cities Placement table, it has an urban population of 60,000 families and one large city of 12,000 families. His realm is divided up into 5 vassal realms, each ruled by a prefect with a population of 117,500 peasant families. Each prefect’s vassal realm has one small city of 2,350 families. Each prefect’s realm is divided between 4 palatines, each with about 27,500 peasant families. Each palatine’s vassal realm has one small town of 550 families. Each palatine’s realm is divided between 6 legates, each with about 4,333 peasant families. Each legate’s vassal realm has one small village of 90 families. Each legate’s realm is divided between 5 tribunes, each with about 700 peasant families. The tribune’s realms, and their subordinate castellans’ realms, have nothing larger than isolated homesteads and small hamlets. Thus the South has one large city (12,000 families), 5 small cities (2,350 families each, or 11,750 total), 20 small towns (550 families each, or 11,000), and 120 small villages (90 families each, or 10,800). This accounts for a total urban population of 45,500 families, or 7.5% of the total population. The remaining 14,500 urban families live in small hamlets sprinkled around the realm’s domains.

Adjusting Urban Demographics

ACKS generally assumes that around 10% of the population lives in urban communities and that around 20% of the realm’s urban population lives in its largest settlement. However, these numbers can vary widely depending on many factors, such as the age of the realm’s civilization, the division of the labor in the realm, and the extent of trade with other realms. The following table can be used to adjust a realm’s urban demographics.

Desired Urban DemographicsColumn Shift
Advanced, urban realm1-2 rows downward on Urban Population
Agrarian, pastoral realm1-2 rows upward on Urban Population
Centralized settlement pattern1-2 rows downward on Largest Settlement
Dispersed settlement pattern1-2 rows upward on Largest Settlement

If the Judge increases the size of the Largest Settlement, it will generally mean that the other urban communities must be adjusted in size in the opposite direction, and will be smaller. The converse is of course also true; a smaller central settlement will mean that the other urban communities must be larger.

Example: The Judge wants to create the realm of Achea, a city-state ruled by a powerful overlord. He has determined that Achea has a population of 40,000 families (200,000 people), controlling about 5,000 square miles (making it a large duchy in ACKS.) With a peasant population of 40,000 families, Achea would normally have an urban population of about 4,000 families, while the largest settlement would normally be a town of around 800 families. However, Achea is an advanced urban realm, so the Judge shifts downward 2 rows on the Urban Population column, and gives Achea an urban population of 20,000 families (50% of its total). An urban population of 20,000 families would normally mean the largest urban settlement is a Large City of about 4,000 families. Since Achea is a city state, the Judge shifts 2 rows downward on the Largest Settlement column and gives Achea a single Large City of 10,000 families (Class II). Knowing that the other urban communities should be proportionately smaller, the Judge assumes the remaining 10,000 urban families are spread throughout 20 small towns. 25% of the population lives in the city, another 25% in the towns, and the remaining half live in rural domains. 5,000 square miles is about 156 6-mile hexes. He draws Achea as a city in the center of a circular realm, 7 hexes in radius, sprinkling its villages around the city.

Generating Demand Modifiers

After placing cities, towns, and villages into the campaign setting, the Judge should next determine the demand modifiers for the various markets on the map. The demand modifiers for the markets can be assigned at his discretion to reflect a desired pattern of trade routes and commerce for his setting, or can be randomly generated using the following rules if the Judge wishes to have a mechanical method for doing so. These rules should also be used to generate demand modifiers for the adventurers’ domains.

1. Randomly Determine Base Demand Modifiers

Roll 1d3-1d3 for each type of merchandise, giving a range of -2 to +2 for the market.

2. Apply Environmental Adjustments

Adjust the base demand modifiers for each type of merchandise based on the domain’s environment, including its age, water source (if any), climate, and elevation. Simply consult the Environmental Adjustments to Demand table, below, and apply all relevant modifiers for the market. Drop any fractions remaining after all modifiers have been applied.

Example: The Judge is designing a domain beyond the borders of the Southern Province. The domain is located on a hilly section of sylvan woods (deciduous forest, hills) near the Mirmen River (river bank). It has never been settled before, so its age is 0. Beginning with Grain, he starts generating his new domain’s demand modifiers. He rolls 1d3-1d3 for Grain and gets a score of -1. This is then modified by an additional -1 (0 years old), -1 (river bank), and – 1/2 (deciduous forest), for a total of -3 1/2 . Dropping the fraction, he notes that his domain has a demand modifier of -3 for Grain. This process is repeated for each other type of merchandise.

3. Apply Domain-specific Adjustments

As noted under Strongholds and Domains, each domain has land revenue of 3gp per 9gp, reflecting whether some lands are rich in farm produce, timber, furs, stone, or even minerals. Others have barren, infertile soil with limited natural resources. These factors will affect the demand modifiers of the domain’s market. Domains with limited resources have a higher demand for goods and must pay more for them.

Domain Land

Domain Land RevenueDemand Modifiers
3gp+1 Demand Modifier to 6 merchandise types, -1 Demand modifier to 1 merchandise type
4gp+1 Demand Modifier to 4 merchandise types, -1 Demand modifier to 1 merchandise type
5gp+1 Demand Modifier to 2 merchandise types, -1 Demand Modifier to 1 merchandise type
6gp+1 Demand Modifier to 1 merchandise type, -1 Demand modifier to 1 merchandise type
7gp-1 Demand Modifier to 2 merchandise types, +1 Demand Modifier to 1 merchandise type
8gp-1 Demand Modifier to 4 merchandise types, +1 Demand Modifier to 1 merchandise type
9gp-1 Demand Modifier to 6 merchandise types, +1 Demand Modifier to 1 merchandise type

The specific types of merchandise affected can be determined randomly or selected to reflect the history and culture of the campaign setting. A domain in a pseudo-Chinese culture might have negative demand modifiers for porcelain and silk, but a positive demand modifier for mounts, while a domain in a pseudo-Viking culture might have a negative demand modifier for furs and fish, but a positive demand modifier for silk.

Example: The new domain has land revenue of 8gp, so the Judge must roll for four negative demand modifiers and one positive Demand modifier. He decides to randomly generate the domain-specific adjustments, starting with the negative modifiers. Rolling on the Common Merchandise table, he rolls a 94, directing him to the Precious Merchandise table. He rolls a 39, so his domain has a -1 demand modifier on precious metals. The Judge decides that that there are gold mines in the hills nearby. He repeats this process for the other three negative and one positive demand modifiers.

4. Apply Racial Adjustments

The demi-human races are noted for their production of certain merchandise, and their demand for others.

RaceDemand Modifiers
Dwarf-2 Demand Modifier to beer/ale, common metals, tools, armor/weapons, rare metals, semi-precious stones, and gems +2 Demand Modifier to grain/vegetables, common wood, oil, hides/furs, rare furs, rare woods, and ivory
Elf-2 Demand Modifier to common wood, dyes/pigments, cloth, glassware, and porcelain +2 Demand Modifier to grain/vegetables, tea/coffee, rare books, silk, semi-precious stones, and gems

5. Determine Trade Routes

Markets may enjoy a regular exchange of goods with other markets along a trade route. For a trade route to exist, two criteria must be met. First, the markets must be connected by a road, trail, or navigable waterway. Second, both markets must be within each other’s range of trade, as listed on the Range of Trade table.

Market ClassRange of Trade (Road)Range of Trade (Water)
Class VI24 miles ( 4 hexes)48 miles ( 8 hexes)
Class V48 miles ( 8 hexes)96 miles (16 hexes)
Class IV72 miles (12 hexes)120 miles (20 hexes)
Class III96 miles (18 hexes)240 miles (40 hexes)
Class II144 miles (24 hexes)360 miles (60 hexes)
Class I168 miles (28 hexes)480 miles (80 hexes)

Example: A castle (Class VI) is located along a road 24 miles from a large town (Class IV) and 96 miles from a city (Class III). The large town and the city are 72 miles apart. A trade route exists between the castle and the large town, and between the large town and the city, but not between the castle and the city, as the 96 mile distance is greater than the castle’s range of trade.

When a trade route connects two markets, the smaller market has all of its demand modifiers shifted by 2 points closer to the larger market’s demand modifiers (or set equal to the larger market’s demand modifiers if separated by less than 2 points). If the two markets connected by the trade route are of equal size, each shifts each of its demand modifiers by 1 point closer to the other market’s demand modifiers.

Demand ModifierCyfaraunSamos (original)Samos (trade route)
Wood, common-3-2-3
Hides, furs-3-1-3
Metals, common-2-3-2
Grain+1-20
Spices+10+1
Silk+10+1

When shifting demand modifiers for a region, start with the largest market and work outward to its direct trade routes, and then from there to the next markets, and so on.

Example: A Class IV city in the Southern province, and a Class V town down the road about 48 miles away share a trade route. The Class IV city will therefore shift all of the Class V town’s demand modifiers by 2 points closer to its own, as shown on the table below. The trade route has equalized much of the demand in the two markets.

Environmental Adjustments to Demand

AgeWater SourceClimateElevation
Merchandise0-20 Years21-100 years101-1,000 years1,001-2,000 years2,001+ yearsSea CoastLake ShoreRiver BankRainforestSavannaDesertSteppeScrubGrasslandsDeciduous ForestTaigaTundraPlainsHillsMountains
Grain, vegetables-1-10+2+300-10+1/2+1+1/2-1/2-1-1/2+1/2+1-1/20+1/2
Fish, preserved+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2+1/2-1-1/2-1/20+1/2+1+1/20+1/2-1/2000+1/2+1
Wood, common-1-1/20+1+2000-10+1+1/20+1/2-1-1+1-1/20+1/2
Animals+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2+1/200-1/2+1-1/2+1-10-1/2-10+1/200+1/2
Salt-1-1/20+1/2+1-1/2-1/2-1/2+10-1/2-1/200000-1/200
Beer, ale+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/20-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1+1+1-1/20-1/2+1+1-1/2-1/2-1/2
Oil, lamp+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/20-1/20-1/2-1/20+1/2+1/2-1+10-10+1/2-1/20
Textiles-1-1/20+1/2+100-1/2+1+1/2+1+1/20-1/2-1-1+1/2-1/2-1/20
Hides, furs-1-1/20+1/2+100000000-1/20-1/2-1/2-1/200
Tea or coffee-1-1/20+1/2+1-1/200-1-1/2-1/2000+1/2+1+10-1/2-1/2
Metals, common-1-1/20+1/2+1000-1/200000+1/20-1/2+1/2-1/2-1/2
Meats, preserved+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2+1/2000+10+1-10-1/2-10-1/2-1/200
Cloth-1-1/20+1/2+100-1-1/20+1/20-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1-1/2-1/20
Wine, spirits+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/20-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1+1/2+1-1+1-1/2+1/2+1+1/2-1/2-1/2
Pottery+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1-1/2-1/2-1/200000-1/20
Tools+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1+1+1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1-1/2-1/20
Armor, weapons+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1+1+1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1-1/2-1/20
Dye & pigments+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2-1/20-1/20000+1+10-1/20
Glassware+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1-1/20-1/200+1+10-1/20
Mounts+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/20000+1+1/2-1/2-1-1/2-10+1/21-1+1/2+1
Monster parts-1-1/20+1/2+1000-1/2-1/2-1/2000-1/20000-1
Wood, rare-1 1/2-1/20+1+2000-10+1+1/20+1/2-1-1+1-1/20+1/2
Furs, rare-1-1/20+1+200000000-1/2-1/2-1/2-10-1/2-1/2
Metals, precious-1 1/2-1/20+1/2+1 1/2000-1/20-1/20000000-1/2-1/2
Ivory-1-1/20+1+2000-1-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1/2+1/2+1/200+1/2+1
Spices+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2+1000-1-1/2000+1/2+1+1+1-1/2+1/2+1
Porcelain, fine+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1-1/2-1/2-1/200000-1/20
Books, rare+1+1/20-1/2-1-1/2-1/2-1/2+1+1+1+100-1/2+1+10-1/20
Silk+1/2-1/2-1/2-1/2+1000-1-1/2+1/2+1/2-1/2+1-1/2+1+10-1/20
Semipr. stones-1 1/2-1/20+1/2+2000-1/20-1/20-1/200-1/200-1/2-1/2
Gems-1 1/2-1/20+1/2+2000-1/20-1/20-1/200-1/200-1/2-1/2

Assign NPC Rulers

At this point, the Judge will have a map of his campaign setting, divided into a series of realms, each with its own cities, towns, and villages, each with demand modifiers and trade routes. The next step is to begin to populate the setting with an appropriate number of high-level NPC rulers. The Demographics of Leveled Characters table shows the approximate frequency of leveled characters per person and the likely realm such a character might control. The Maximum NPC Population by Realm Type table shows the maximum number of characters of each level that are likely to exist in a realm of the given population.

The Judge does not need to assign every domain in his setting an NPC ruler in advance or calculate exactly where every NPC is located. It’s sufficient if the Judge determines the NPC ruler for the each of the highest-tier realms of his overall campaign setting, and the NPC rulers of the largest realms, cities and towns on his regional map.

Demographics of Leveled Characters

LevelFrequencyPossible Realm
11 in 20Extended Family
21 in 50Hamlet
31 in 150Small barony
41 in 375Barony or village
51 in 1,000Small march or large village
61 in 3,000March or large town
71 in 8,000County or city
81 in 20,000Large county or city
91 in 60,000Duchy or large city
101 in 160,000Small principality or metropolis
111 in 450,000Principality
121 in 1,200,000Small kingdom
131 in 3,250,000Kingdom
141 in 10,000,000Empire

Maximum NPC Population by Realm Type

NPC LevelEmpire (28,000,000)Kingdom (6,000,000)Principality (1,050,000)Duchy (180,000)County (32,750)March (5,600)Barony (800)
11,576,471337,81559,11810,1341,84431545
2573,262122,84221,4973,68567111516
3208,45944,6707,8171,340244426
475,80316,2442,84348789152
527,5655,9071,0341773261
610,0242,148376641220
73,64578113723410
81,325284509200
9482103183100
101753871000
11641420000
1223510000
138200000
143100000

Constructing the Region

During the course of constructing the setting, the Judge should have created a regional map on a piece of hex graph paper, 30 hexes by 40 hexes, each representing a 6-mile wide hex (32 square miles). This will create a region of approximately 38,000 square miles. To put that into historical terms, that’s a region about the size of Greece and ,f history is any guide, is large enough to justify a distinct civilization with its own gods, heroes, and epic adventures.

Within that map, the Judge should place around 45 static points of interest. One-third of these should represent the settlements, towns and castles of the humans and demi-humans, while the other two-thirds (30) should be dungeons (including lairs or special areas). Of the 30 dungeons, we recommend 3 large dungeons each designed for about 6-10 sessions of play; 10 dungeons designed for 1-2 sessions of play; and 17 small “lair” dungeons designed for a half-session of play, i.e. 1-3 encounters. Each point of interest in the regional map should initially receive one paragraph of description.

For the dungeons and mega-dungeons, the Judge should just describe the dungeon briefly, to be fleshed out later, but for the small lairs, he can cover everything he’ll need to use it in play.

Example: Hex #28 Lair of the Chimera – A copse of giant acacia trees rises from the steppes here, and many wild sheep, gazelle, and other animals graze on the shrubbery and fruit and water at the nearby pond. They are preyed on by a pack of 2 Chimeras that live in a sinkhole near the oasis. In the sinkhole, amidst bones of dead, are a leather satchel with 15 amethysts (100gp each) and 1 small diamond (1,000gp) and 2 torn sacks of gold (1,200gp total).

Dynamic Lairs

At this point, the regional map should have a density of about one point of interest every 6 hexes (36 miles), putting them roughly 2 days apart at historical travel speeds. With (30 x 40) 1,200 hexes on the regional map, the vast majority of the region will be empty of points of interest. The rest of the regional map will be filled randomly during play with dynamic lairs. A dynamic lair is a small dungeon or lair, created in advance like a point of interest, which includes 1-3 encounters. However, these dynamic lairs are not placed on the regional map unless and until they are discovered in play through a wilderness encounter throw (described later) that results in a lair encounter. A sample dynamic lair is below.

Example: Manticores – % In Lair 20%. An ancient cistern has collapsed here, creating a sinkhole, 300′ wide and 120′ deep. The remnants of the fluted columns that once supported the cistern are visible, like jagged teeth rising up from the waterline, and small metal objects glitter below the water. The abandoned cistern is the lair of 4 Manticores. 6,000gp in Archaic coinage is scattered across the floor of the cistern, which is used as a lure by the creatures.

In the example above, if the party encountered manticores randomly as wandering monsters, there would be a 20% chance they actually discovered the pre-created manticore lair in the ancient cistern. When discovered, the Judge would write down the hex number where it is to be found on the regional map in case the party returns to the area. From the adventurer’s point of view, they cannot tell the difference between the pre-placed points of interest and dynamic lairs. Wherever they go on the regional map, there will be a mix of wandering encounters, dynamic lairs, and dungeons to be discovered. On the Judge’s actual regional map, though, there will be a lot of empty hexes with unusually high clusters of dynamic lairs that happen to be along the routes the adventurers have traveled. This method ensures that wherever the adventurers travel within the region, they will always find interesting places and encounters.

The Judge should create at least one dynamic lair for each major monster in his setting. Since each lair is unique and can only be discovered once, very common creatures such as orcs should get 2-3 dynamic lairs for each. The ACKS Lairs and Encounters supplement, available separately from Autarch, will provide a dynamic lair for all monsters in the ACKS core rules.

Balancing the Challenge

Over the course of a campaign of ACKS, the adventurers will advance from weak-kneed apprentices to mighty heroes and lords. The Judge should take into account the reality of level advancement when creating his regional map.

The easiest way to address level advancement is to design the regional map as a “borderlands” environment. A borderlands provides a built-in structure to explain the gradient of challenges the party faces. To build a borderlands, first place a string of border forts, towns, or other settlements running along one axis of the map, about 1/2 of the way in. To the rear of the border forts, place the region’s largest town or settlement. Beyond the border forts is the wilderness where the majority of the dungeons and lairs will lie. The Judge should place these such that the deeper the players travel into the wilderness, the more dangerous it becomes. A few areas of higher-than-normal danger can be placed close to the border but in geographically isolated places; for instance, an evil fortress high up on a mountain, or a very deep underground river.

Finally, place one low-level mega-dungeon close to the border, one mid-level mega-dungeon a moderate distance away, and one murderously hard mega-dungeon on the far side of the map. Build the dynamic lairs and wandering encounters such that they are at a mid range of difficulty (5th-9th level range).

The result of this structure is that early on in the campaign, the party will adventure near the border settlements. They cannot safely confront the dangerous wandering encounters of the wilderness (which will be several levels higher than them) so they will tend to travel from border settlement to border settlement, assisting each settlement in clearing out whatever threats are nearby. Then when they reach the middle levels of experience, they will begin to go into the wilderness, knowing they can handle any wandering encounters they run into. Again, they may work from border settlement to border settlement, but this time in widening circles of exploration into the wilderness. As their power peaks, they will begin conducting forays deeper in the wilderness, far beyond the border. At this time they will often begin capturing or building strongholds to use as a staging point for deeper forays into harder challenges, or to begin to exert their power over the region. The occasional high-level areas close to the border (like the castle on the mountain) serve as a reminder of the evil that lurks beyond, and also as a nice taste of what they can expect when they are ready to go deep.

Constructing the Starting City

When the Judge has finished constructing the region, he will have placed settlements at many locations on the map. The next step is to pick one of these as the group’s starting city. Details can be worked out for surrounding cities later, when the need requires.

The starting city should generally be a border town with a low level dungeon situated somewhere nearby. The population, demand modifiers, and ruler of the starting city should have already been selected in previous steps, but now the Judge must flesh these out into a description of the city. The starting city should have its tribune, lord mayor, sheriff, or other authority figured given a name, title, level, and class. It should have one or more churches for prominent religions, a thieves’ guild, and a city militia that is appropriate in size and power to the size of the settlement.

The Starting Cities table, below, can help the Judge construct a starting city that is compatible with ACKS. On the Minimum Ruler Level category, the standard value is for an independent city, while the parenthetical value is for a settlement within an appropriately sized realm (see Placing Villages, Towns, and Cities).

Starting Cities

Settlement PopulationSettlement TypeMinimum Ruler LevelMarket Class# of Fighters# of Thieves# of Clerics# of Mages
74-Hamlet2 (6)6-3-3-2-
75-99Small village2 (7)Class VI12663
100-249Village3 (8)Class VI16884
250-449Large village4 (8)Class V40202010
450-624Small town5 (9)Class V72363618
625-1,240Large town6 (9)Class IV100505025
1,250-2,499Small city7 (10)Class IV20010010050
2,500-4,999City8 (10)Class III400200200100
5,000-19,999Large city9 (12)Class II800400400200
20,000+Metropolis10 (14)Class I3,200+1,600+1,600+800+

Determine Criminal Guilds

Given the unsavory nature of many adventurers, the thieves’ guild and other criminal organizations within the starting city should be developed in detail. The Starting City Criminal Guilds table can guide the Judge in constructing a criminal guild compatible with ACKS.

Starting City Criminal Guilds

Market ClassTotal MembershipHighest Boss LevelMonthly Syndicate Revenue (gp)Monthly Guild Revenue (gp)
Class VI163 (5)1,500
Class V424 (7)3,3504,850
Class IV1005 (7)7,35012,250
Class III3756 (10)22,00035,000
Class II7507 (12)40,00075,000
Class I3,0008 (14)100,000175,000

Total Membership shows the total membership of the starting city’s criminal guild(s) relative to its market class. 45% of the members of any criminal guild will be 0th level ruffians, 35% will be 1st level characters of appropriate classes (thieves, assassins, nightblades, etc.), 12.5% will be 2nd level, and 7.5% will be 3rd level or higher.

Highest Boss Level is the expected level of the most powerful boss in the starting city. When determining the level of the guild’s boss, the standard value is for an independent city, while the parenthetical value is for a settlement within an appropriately sized realm (which most are).

Monthly Syndicate Revenue is how much gold the boss’s syndicate in the starting city generates per month. Monthly Guild Revenue shows how much gold the boss’s criminal guild generates, factoring in syndicates run by underbosses in other cities, towns, and villages. If the starting city is isolated or highly independent, its syndicate may not be part of a larger guild (Judge’s discretion)

The Starting City Criminal Guilds table assumes that the settlement’s criminals have been consolidated into a single guild managed directly by one boss. If desired, the Judge may split a settlement’s criminals into multiple competing or complimentary guilds. For example, a Class I metropolis might have 3 competing thieves’ guilds with 750 members each and a separate assassins’ guild of 750 members. Where this is done, highest boss level, monthly syndicate revenue, and monthly guild revenue should be based on the guild membership of each guild, rather than the market class of the settlement.

Example: There is a Class IV settlement, meaning it should have 100 members in its criminal guilds. The Judge decides it has 2 thieves’ guild of 42 members and one assassins’ guild of 16 members. He decides the first thieves’ guild is led by Nicodos (7th level Thief) and the other by Syrena (7th level Thief), both earning 3,3,350gp per month. The assassin’s guild is run by Rollio (5th level Assassin), earning 1,500gp per month.

Adventure Hooks

While some adventurers will happily explore any hole in the ground that glints of gold, others want a motive for delving into a dungeon or wilderness. The Judge can use the starting city as a place to learn rumors or legends about adventuring opportunities, or to find clues about the mysteries of the region. The following general scenario themes are good places to start in developing motives for the characters to go adventuring.

Exploration is a common hook adventures. Characters might want to explore an area they have heard about from rumors or legends, or they might be hired by a high-level NPC. Sometimes the purpose of exploration is simply to chart a previously unknown place, or to clear an area of danger.

Fighting evil is another possible hook. Characters might be hired to destroy monsters that have overrun a location, or to eliminate a powerful evil that has developed. They might be hired to remove evil monsters that have taken over a holy place.

Magical doorways are another good adventure hook. A magical doorway, or portal, can lead to new and unique locations, or even new worlds or times. Characters will sometimes encounter magical portals in dungeons, which could lead to new areas of a dungeon, to riches, or even certain death!

Rescue missions can be to free wrongly imprisoned victims, help prisoners escape from slavers, or rescue captives from cannibalistic monsters. The characters may be hired to rescue others, or may have personal motivations.

Quests are usually undertaken at the request of a powerful or rich patron, like a merchant or king. A quest might be to find a legendary item or return something that has been stolen.

Constructing the Dungeons

During the course of constructing his campaign’s starting region, the Judge will have placed about 30 different dungeons of varying size on his regional map. The Judge should not feel obliged to create all the dungeons himself. In fact, doing so is an enormous time sink. The most experienced Judges generally gather dozens of adventures, lairs, and encounters from magazines, websites, and commercial products and adapt them to their setting, focusing on personally creating just a few special areas.

The following section outlines how to create a dungeon, and different considerations to keep things interesting.

Selecting Dungeon Type

First, the Judge must choose the type of dungeon he is creating. Many dungeons are underground complexes of hallways and chambers. But dungeons can also twisting natural caverns, catacombs, tombs, crumbling towers, huge temples, unbreakable castles, ruined cities, or any other structure imaginable. To randomly determine the dungeon’s type, roll 1d20 on the Dungeon Type table.

After the dungeon type is determined, the Judge must draw a map of the location. Square graph paper should be used. The assumed scale for ACKS is that each square on the graph paper equal 10′. If the Judge is using a large play mat with grids on it for using figurines, the map should be drawn at a scale of 1″ equals 5′. This provides an appropriate scale for use with typical 25 mm scaled figurines. The map itself should be drawn to suit the type of dungeon, such as twisting tunnels in a cavern, endless rooms in a dank dungeon, or hallways and rooms in a ruined castle.

RollDungeon Type
1Abandoned mine
2Barrow mound
3Catacombs
4Cliff city
5Crumbling castle
6Giant burrow
7Giant insect hive
8Humanoid warren
9Maze
10Monster lair
11Natural caverns
12Prison
13Ruined manor
14Sewers
15Sunken city
16Temple
17Tomb
18Tower
19Underground river
20Wizard’s dungeon

Stocking the Dungeon

After the map for the location has been drawn, the Judge must stock the dungeon with dangerous monsters, traps, and treasure. The Judge can choose where to place these, or roll randomly on the Dungeon Stocking table.

Roll on the Dungeon Stocking table once for each room on each level of the dungeon. Each roll may result in either an empty room, a monster encounter, a trap, or a unique dungeon feature. Record the results for each dungeon level separately. Each set of results indicates what will be found on that level of the dungeon. Then assign each result to a specific room according to the interaction between the logic of the dungeon and the nature of the result, following the guidelines below.

Example: The Judge has mapped a single level dungeon with fifteen rooms. He rolls on the Dungeon Stocking table fifteen times. He gets four “empty” results, eight “monster” results, two “trap” results, and one “unique” result. His next step will be to place these results onto his dungeon map in a logical (or at least entertaining) manner.

Dungeon Stocking

Roll d100ContentsTreasure
01-30Empty15%
31-60MonsterIf Lair
61-75Trap30%
76-100UniqueAs Needed

Placing Monsters

For each “monster” result obtained on the above table, the Judge must choose or roll for a monster encounter appropriate for the dungeon level it appears on. The Wandering Monster tables, below, can be used for this purpose. The Judge should begin by rolling on the Dungeon Wandering Monster Level to determine which table to consult. The Judge should then consult the Random Monsters by Level table to determine the specific monster and the number appearing.

Example: The Judge obtained eight “monster” results on the Dungeon Stocking table. He decides to roll randomly to determine the specific monsters. Since this is a single level dungeon, he rolls eight times on the Dungeon Wandering Monster Level table for Dungeon Level 1. The dice indicate that seven of the monster encounters will be of Monster Level 1, and one will be of Monster Level 2. Rolling on the Monster Level 1 sub-table, his results are 8, 11, 3, 1, 1, 1, 1, resulting in 4 encounters with 2d4 goblins each; 1 encounter with 1d12 morlocks; 1 encounter with 3d6 giant rats; and 1 encounter with 1d10 stirges. Rolling once on the Monster Level 2 sub-table, his result is an 8, indicating an encounter with 1d6 pit vipers.

Next, the Judge must assign each monster encounter to a room in the dungeon level. Monsters generated from a lower-level table might be placed near stairs or other inter-level passages connecting them to their natural level, or surrounding the lair of an intelligent monster from the current dungeon level which employs the lower-level monsters as guards. Intelligent monsters from higher-level tables might be placed in hidden or inaccessible areas, while unintelligent powerful monsters might have a whole dungeon area to themselves, shunned by other creatures.

When placing monsters the Judge should consult the monster entries in Chapter 8 to determine if the monsters are in a lair. Monsters with lairs will have treasure, as detailed below in Assigning Treasure. For most creatures, such as giant rats or centipedes, the Judge can simply check against the monster’s % In Lair to see whether the monsters have a lair in the dungeon or are just temporarily holing up. If monsters are in their lair, the Judge can add additional encounters with the same type of monster nearby in order to scale up the number of creatures to the full lair amount, if desired.

Example: The Judge consults the monster entries to find the % In Lair for giant rats (10%), stirges (40%) and pit vipers (none). He rolls for % In Lair for the rats and stirges, and determines that the stirges are in a lair. A lair of stirges can be as many as 3d12, but he decides to stick with one encounter of 1d10 stirges so as not to overwhelm the dungeon with stirges.

Some types of monsters have lairs composed of a variable number of encounter groups. For example, goblins are encountered in gangs (encounter groups) of 2d4, and a goblin lair is composed of 3d6 gangs. If the stocking procedure has generated multiple encounters with a particular type of organized monster, then the dungeon should be assumed to hold a lair of that type of monster. One room in the dungeon should be chosen as the lair, and one of the monster encounters assigned to it. The other encounters rolled for that monster type should be placed nearby to form watch points, barracks, or splinter colonies. The various rooms should then be reinforced with any leaders, champions, or other creatures indicated by the monster entry. If space permits, the Judge can also add additional groups in other nearby rooms, up to the maximum number of groups that can be encountered for a lair.

Example: Because the Judge rolled four encounters with goblin gangs, the dungeon holds a goblin lair. The Judge chooses a remote room in the rear of the dungeon as the lair, and places one goblin gang there. Nearby he places several guard posts with the other three gangs. He adds a champion to each gang, as instructed by the monster entry. The entry also states that a lair will have a chieftain, sub-chieftain, females, and young, so he adds those creatures to the lair room.

Sometimes the stocking procedure results in only one encounter with a monster that normally lairs in organized groups. Such isolated parties will not normally have lair treasure, unless the monster entry indicates that the number of groups appearing in the lair can equal one; in this case, the lone group may be the survivors of a larger tribe, or a splinter faction absconding with a portion of their former brethren’s treasure. Otherwise, the Judge has two options. He can roll additional groups to form a lair of the size indicated by the monster entry, or he can decide that the group on this level is simply an isolated party temporarily holing-up in the dungeon.

Example: The Judge rolled one encounter with a gang of morlocks. Morlock lairs consist of 1d8 gangs. The Judge therefore has three options. He can choose to have these morlocks constitute a small lair of one gang; he can choose to add additional gangs; or he can decide that the morlocks are an isolated group and not part of a lair. He opts for the latter.

Placing Traps

Traps include deadfalls, spiked pits, poisoned needles in door handles, and other obstacles intended to harm, capture, or delay dungeon explorers. When placing traps, the Judge should consider the location of lairs, chokepoints, key intersections, and other factors. Unless the dungeon is a “fun house” made by some mad mage, traps should be placed with a purpose, such as protecting an area, interdicting a passage, raising an alarm, and so on.

There are many possibilities for what kind of traps to place in a dungeon. All traps have specific triggers, whether they be opening a door or walking over a particular area. Every time an adventurer takes an action that could trigger a trap, the Judge should roll 1d6. A result of 1-2 indicates that the trap springs. Once triggered, a trap has a specific effect depending on its type. Some traps may offer a saving throw to reduce or avoid their effects, or may only damage the characters on a successful attack throw. The traps below are classic examples suitable for 1st through 3rd level dungeons. More challenging dungeons should have deadlier traps.

Arrow Trap: When triggered, an arrow fires from a hidden location, attacking one adventurer as a 1st level fighter for 1d6+1 damage.

Bricks from Ceiling: When triggered, bricks fall from the ceiling. Each adventurer in a 10′ radius must make a saving throw versus Blast or suffer 2d6 points of damage.

Camouflaged Pit Trap: When triggered, a pit opens beneath the feet of all adventurers in a 10′ x 10′ square. Adventurers who fall down the pit take 1d6 points of damage per 10′ fallen. Pits should generally be 10′ deep per dungeon level.

Poison Dart Trap: When triggered, a dart fires from a hidden location, attacking one adventurer as a 1st level fighter for 1d4+1 damage. If the adventurer is hit, he must save versus Poison or die.

Poison Needle Trap: When triggered, a small needle pops out of a lock. The adventurer who triggered the trap must save versus Poison or die.

Portcullis Trap: When triggered, a portcullis falls suddenly downward. The adventurer who triggered the trap must make a save versus Blast or suffer 3d6 points of damage. The way will then be blocked, and party members may be separated.

Rolling Rock Trap: When triggered, a rock rolls out from a hidden location. All adventurers in the room or hallway must save versus Blast or suffer 2d6 points of damage.

Scything Blade Trap: When triggered, a scything blade swings out from a hidden location. All adventurers in a 10′ line must save versus Blast or suffer 1d8 damage.

Spiked Pit Trap: As a camouflaged pit trap, but adventurers also fall on 1d4 spikes, each dealing 1d6 points of damage in addition to falling damage.

Unique Encounters

Unique encounters are special encounters or special areas that stand out from encounters in most other rooms, such as talking statues, pits with slides down to other rooms or dungeon levels, magical illusions, scrying pools, teleporting doorways, and mysterious fountains whose water confers beneficial or baleful effects. The Judge should think out each unique encounter carefully. The special effects of unique encounters might be known to some of the dungeon inhabitants and used for their own ends. One reward of figuring out the trick of a unique encounter could be that adventurers can likewise benefit, for example by sending charmed creatures through a teleporter to cause havoc, using a slide to gain access to a hidden area of the dungeon, or evading pursuit by hiding behind an illusory wall.

Not all unique rooms involve monsters, but the when the Judge chooses to do so, he can select from a variety of monsters which are well suited for creating tricks and surprises. The Unique Monsters table lists monsters appropriate for unique rooms on each level. Some of these creatures, like skeletons, golems, and animated statue, can be plausibly employed to power mechanisms like elevator cages and roundabouts, as well as acting as guardians for those who might interfere with their workings. Enchanted monsters like invisible stalkers, elementals, djinni, and efreeti are frequently bound to a room with instructions to perform some task, the purpose of which may have long since become meaningless. Those who can free them from this servitude may gain great rewards. Deceptive monsters such as rot grubs, ochre jelly, and doppelgangers may create tricky situations by acting on their own initiative, for example by infesting what appears to be a haul of treasure and merchandise or taking up residence in a seemingly empty room. Those who construct dungeons may also find these creatures useful in preparing a surprise for intruders. A pit trap is an ordinary dungeon stocking result, but a pit trap filled with a gelatinous cube or a rust monster is deserving of the “unique” appellation.

Unique Monsters

Dungeon LevelMonsters
1Rot grub, spitting cobra, skeleton
2Green slime, wood golem, yellow mold
3Gelatinous cube, gray ooze, animated statue (iron, crystal), doppelganger, shadow
4Animated statue (stone), ochre jelly, rust monster
5Golem (bone), invisible stalker, mummy
6Golem (amber, bronze), black pudding, djinni, efreeti, elemental

Assigning Treasure

After all monsters, traps, and unique features have been placed in the dungeon, the Judge should assign treasure to the various rooms.

Monsters will have treasure if they are in their lair. Empty and trap rooms will have treasure 15% and 30% of the time respectively. If treasure is present, the treasure should be determined based on the Treasure Type of the monster encountered, or from the Unprotected Treasure table for treasures that appear in conjunction with empty or trap rooms.

Unprotected Treasure

1d6 Roll for Treasure Type

Dungeon Level123456
1ABCDEF
2CDEFGH
3EFGHIJ
4GHIJKL
5IJKLMN
6MNOPQR

Treasure placed in monster lairs should make sense in the context of the monster. For instance, an owl bear’s treasure might be just a pile of loose coin and goods intermixed with the bones of past victims, while a goblin band’s treasure might be kept in a locked chest hidden by the goblin chief, with the key kept on his person.

When unprotected treasure is indicated in a room, it should seldom be lying about and easily seen. Generally, this kind of treasure has been hidden, possibly by monsters or NPCs who may or may not still be present and aware of its location. The treasure will usually be buried, hidden in a secret recess, or otherwise disguised, and the Judge should place it in rooms with these features.

Treasure placed in rooms with traps could be hidden, or it could be placed on the corpses of previous victims of the trap. This paradoxically alerts characters to the danger posed by the trap while encouraging them to get close enough to its hazards to loot the corpses of those who were not thus alerted, or thought they would be able to avoid its effects. To kill adventurers with unexpected traps is a hollow pleasure for the Judge; to kill them with traps they decided to trigger, despite every warning of the lethal risks, is deeply satisfying.

Treasure should be placed in rooms with unique encounters as needed. Sometimes this will be necessary to round out the ratio of wealth to experience points on the level, as described below. An obvious treasure may also be needed to tempt adventurers into engaging with a room’s unique feature. Always suspecting a trick of some kind, dungeon explorers are typically wary of stepping into rooms with lifelike statuary, checkerboard floors, or arcane glyphs. Placing treasure on the other side of such hazards may encourage further exploration, especially if the treasure is not an obvious lure which raises suspicion in its own right.

As a final stage of treasure placement, the Judge should sum up the treasure placed on the level and compare it to the total number of experience points available from monsters on the level. The ideal ratio is 4gp worth of treasure for every 1 XP from monsters. The random monster charts are designed to yield this result on average, but as the action of probability does not always yield average results, the Judge may need to adjust the result. When too little treasure appears, the Judge may wish to remove some monsters or add more treasure; doing the opposite will help address an overbalance that produces too much treasure. More details are provided in Chapter 9, Planned Treasure Generation.

Finishing the Dungeon Design

The Judge should take care to describe rooms and passageways as they fit the environment. How do areas smell? What do they look like? What creatures live here, and what evidence do they leave behind? The Judge should add enough description to keep players interested in the dungeon, but should not go so far that the description is too deep and becomes tiresome. One option is to fully describe only a small proportion of the rooms in a dungeon. These rooms would include rooms with special or unique encounters. The remaining rooms, while they may have monsters and treasure, can be similar to one another in description. Unimportant random details can be made up during actual game play. However, anything significant which is made up on the spot must be written down to maintain consistency if the characters return to the same room.

In addition, a multi-level dungeon used for extensive play should be considered a “living” place. The Judge should keep track of how the player characters alter the environment, and how resident monsters may change in number, type, or behavior in response. A mega-dungeon will evolve through time just as the characters will by adventuring there.

Wandering Monsters

Monsters often live in the tunnels, caves, and chambers of dungeons, or lair in the treetops, natural caves, and warrens of the wilderness. However, monsters do not only stay where they live. They also wander, hunt, and explore, both underground and in the wild. Indeed, some monsters never stop moving long enough to make a lair at all. Such creatures are called wandering monsters, and they can represent a dire threat to adventures.

The Judge should check for wandering monsters periodically during the course of an adventure by making an encounter throw. The frequency of encounter throws and the required target value will vary depending on the adventurer’s activities and location. If an encounter throw results in a wandering monster, the Judge will then consult the Wandering Monster tables to determine what has been encountered, and then adjudicate the encounter using the Encounter rules from Chapter 6.

Wandering Monsters in the Dungeon

When the characters are in a dungeon, the Judge should make an encounter throw every 2 turns. An encounter throw of 6+ on 1d6 indicates that a wandering monster is encountered. The Judge should modify the die roll if the characters are being exceptionally loud or stealthy, traversing a highly inhabited or desolate area, and so on. When an encounter is indicated, roll on the Wandering Monster table appropriate to the dungeon level the creatures are encountered on.

When a dungeon wandering monster encounter occurs, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Find the row of the Dungeon Wandering Monster Level table that shows the dungeon level on which the monster has been encountered. Roll 1d12 and read across to find the column specifying which Random Monster table will be used to generate the monster. Roll 1d12 on the resulting Random Monster by Level table to determine the type of creature encountered.
  2. Roll the appropriate number encountered for the creature to determine how many are present. Increase or decrease this roll by one-half for each step of difference between the dungeon level and the Random Monster table used (round down). For example, consulting Random Monster table #3 might indicate 1d6 wights. A roll of 5 would result in 1 wight if this encounter takes place on level 1; 2 on level 2; 5 on level 3; 7 on level 4; or 10 on level 5.
  3. Roll 2d6 x 10 to determine the encounter distance in feet separating the characters and monster(s) at the point when the characters may become aware of the monster, unless factors such as light source, dungeon geometry, etc. take precedence. The Judge should take into account the dungeon layout and known placement of other monsters to determine the direction from which the wandering monsters are approaching.

Roll for surprise and reactions as described in Chapter 6, Dungeon Encounters. Modify the reaction roll by the difference between the Random Monster table used and the dungeon level of the encounter. For instance, if the wights from table 3 are encountered on level 5, they have a -2 penalty to reaction rolls; if encountered on level 1, they have a +2 bonus to reaction rolls. The numerical superiority of monsters traveling deeper into the dungeon makes them more likely to attack. On the other hand, powerful monsters wandering on an upper level are more inclined to view the party as tools than threats.

Dungeon Wandering Monster Level

Dungeon Level123456
11-910-1112
21-34-910-1112
312-34-910-1112
412-34-910-1112
512-34-910-12
612-34-12

Wandering Monster Table Guidelines

Dungeon LevelParty LevelMonster XP Value
111-15
22-320-47
34-550-150
46-7175-475
58-9500-1,140
610+1,200+

Random Monsters by Level

RollMonster Level 1Monster Level 2Monster Level 3Monster Level 4Monster Level 5Monster Level 6
1Goblin (2d4)Gnoll (1d6)Bugbear (2d4)Lycanthrope, Werebear (1d4)Ettin (1d2)Cyclops (1)
2Kobold (4d4)Hobgoblin (1d6)Lycanthrope, Werewolf (1d6)Lycanthrope, Weretiger (1d4)Giant, Hill (1d4)Giant, Cloud (1d2)
3Morlock (1d12)Lizardman (2d4)Ogre (1d6)Minotaur (1d6)Giant, Stone (1d2)Purple Worm (1d2)
4Orc (2d4)Troglodyte (1d8)Throghrin (1d6)Boar, Giant (1d4)Troll (1d8)Demon Boar (1d4)
5Beetle, Fire (1d8)Bat, Giant (1d10)Ant, Giant (2d4)Owl Bear (1d4)Ankheg (1d6)Dragon (20 HD) (1)
6Centipede, Giant (2d4)Fly, Giant Carnivorous (1d8)Lizard, Draco (1d3)Phase Tiger (1d4)Caecilian (1d3)Hydra (12 HD) (1)
7Ferret, Giant (1d8)Locust, Cavern (1d10)Scorpion, Giant (1d6)Rhagodessa, Giant (1d4)Basilisk (1d6)Gorgon (1d2)
8Rat, Giant (3d6)Snake, Pit Viper (1d8)Wolf, Dire (1d4)Snake, Giant Python (1d3)Hell Hound, Greater (2d4)Lamia (1)
9Men, Brigand (2d4)Ghoul (1d6)Carcass Scavenger (1d3)Cockatrice (1d4)Salamander, Flame (1d4+1)Remorhaz (15 HD) (1)
10Skeleton (3d4)Men, Berserker (1d6)Gargoyle (1d6)Medusa (1d3)Spectre (1d4)Skittering Maw (1)
11Stirge (1d10)Zombie (2d4)Wight (1d6)Wraith (1d4)Wyvern (1d2)Vampire (9 HD) (1d4)
12NPC Party (Lvl 1) (1d4+2)NPC Party (Lvl 2) (1d4+2)NPC Party (Lvl 4) (1d4+2)NPC Party (Lvl 5) (1d4+2)NPC Party (Lvl 8) (1d4+3)NPC Party (Lvl 14) (1d4+3)

Creating Dungeon Wandering Monster Tables

Enterprising Judges may wish to design their own wandering monster tables. The sample tables below reflect some principles which may be useful in creating your own tables to reflect the overall mix of creatures in your campaign or the unique designs of specific dungeons.

The first consideration in dungeon design is providing a mix of challenges. Some monsters band together in groups and might be negotiated with if adventurers speak their language. Their organization means that they often set up patrols and call for reinforcements, but also that their internal rivalries and feuds with outsiders can be exploited. In ACKS, such monsters are typically beastmen, and they generally occupy entries 1-4 of each wandering monster table. Entries 5-8 are animals, vermin, and other creatures which might be mindless or act on instinct. Such monsters fill a role in the dungeon ecology, and also provide scope for adventurers to use spells like speak with animals or gambits like delaying pursuit by dropping sacks of meat.

The final category – usually entries 9-12 on each wandering monster table – are men and monsters, who often exploit or prey upon the other monsters on the level. This category of monsters is less communal and more independent than beastmen, and more intelligent and/or more supernatural than vermin. Dealing with men and monsters allows adventurers to use their unique solutions to problems, from turning undead to avoiding a petrifying gaze. The last entry in this category is always reserved for NPC parties, who may be rival adventurers from civilized lands or potent emissaries from monstrous domains; these encounters are especially challenging because NPC parties tend to have goals, capabilities, and ruthless priorities similar to those of the player characters.

An equally important consideration in designing a dungeon level is placing an appropriate and varied assortment of treasure. Fortunately, having a varied mix of monster roles tends to also ensure a good diversity in treasure. Beastmen tend to be raiders, with sizable but relatively low-level hoards extorted from weaker creatures or received in payment for serving stronger ones. Vermin often have incidental treasure, as many might be attracted to shiny objects or have an ecology that involves gathering the corpses of creatures that do carry wealth. And most hoarders – organized or strong creatures powerful enough to gain and defend the highest-value, lowest-bulk treasure – occupy the men and monsters role. For further information on treasure categories, see Random Treasure Generation in Chapter 9.

The last, and perhaps most important, factor in creating a wandering monster table is choosing monsters whose capabilities are appropriate to the dungeon level. The Wandering Monster Table Guidelines table indicates the criteria used to design the sample encounter tables above. It is recommended that Judges creating a new table follow these guidelines for selecting most or all of its monsters. While it is certainly desirable for adventurers to face both stronger and weaker monsters, the Dungeon Wandering Monster Level table consulted when rolling for each encounter will do much to ensure that this is the case. Adventurers will often do the rest, by seeking out depths too dangerous for them or slumming in the shallows which offer little challenge (and little reward). Having random tables that are appropriate to each level thus allows chance, and the equally random factor of player choice, to determine which level’s table comes into play.

Wandering Monsters in the Wilderness

When the characters in the wilderness, the Judge should make an encounter throw once per day if they are stationary or in settled terrain. Otherwise, the Judge should make an encounter throw each time the adventurers enter a new 6-mile hex. The chance of encountering a wandering monster in the wilderness varies depending on the type of terrain. To check for wandering monsters, throw 1d6 and consult the Encounter Frequency by Terrain table.

Encounter Frequency by Terrain

TerrainEncounter Throw
City, Grasslands, Scrub, or Settled6+
Aerial, Hills, Ocean, Woods, or River5+
Barren, Desert, Jungle, Mountains, or Swamp4+

When a wilderness wandering monster encounter occurs, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Roll 1d8 on the appropriate column of the Wilderness Encounters by Terrain table and consult the resulting sub-table.
  2. Roll 1d12 on the resulting sub-table to determine the type of creature encountered.
  3. Find the encountered creature’s entry in the Monster chapter and roll against its % In Lair to determine whether the creature is in its lair. If the creature is in its lair, a dynamic lair can be used (if one is available).
  4. Otherwise, roll the appropriate number encountered for the creature to determine how many are present.
  5. If the encounter is in the creature’s lair, roll against the creature’s Treasure Type.
  6. Roll on the Wilderness Encounter Distance table (see Wilderness Encounters in Chapter 6) to determine how many yards away the characters are from the creature(s) at the start of the encounter. If the creature is in its lair, the encounter distance is the distance to the lair. If the creature is outside its lair, the encounter distance is the distance to the creature.
  7. Roll for surprise, initiative, and reaction as described in Chapter 6, Wilderness Encounters.

Wilderness Encounters by Terrain

RollClear, Grass, ScrubWoodsRiverSwampMountains, Hills
1MenMenMenMenMen
2FlyerFlyerFlyerFlyerFlyer
3HumanoidHumanoidHumanoidHumanoidHumanoid
4AnimalInsectInsectSwimmerUnusual
5AnimalUnusualSwimmerUndeadAnimal
6UnusualAnimalSwimmerUndeadHumanoid
7DragonAnimalAnimalInsectDragon
8InsectDragonDragonDragonFlyer
RollBarren, DesertInhabitedCityOceanJungle
1MenMenMenMenMen
2FlyerFlyerUndeadFlyerFlyer
3HumanoidHumanoidHumanoidSwimmerInsect
4HumanoidMenMenSwimmerInsect
5AnimalMenMenSwimmerHumanoid
6DragonInsectMenSwimmerAnimal
7UndeadAnimalMenSwimmerAnimal
8UnusualDragonMenDragonDragon

Wilderness Encounters: Men

RollClear, Grass, ScrubWoodsRiverSwampBarrens, Mountains, Hills
1BrigandBrigandBrigandBrigandBrigand
2NobleThief*Thief*Thief*Thief*
3Mage*NPC Party*NPC Party*NPC Party*NPC Party*
4Fighter*MerchantMerchantNPC Party*Venturer*
5Thief*BerserkerBuccaneerMerchantBerserker
6Cleric*BrigandBuccaneerCleric*NPC Party*
7NomadCleric*Cleric*Venturer*Cleric*
8Thief*Mage*Mage*BerserkerMage*
9NPC Party*Fighter*Fighter*Fighter*Fighter*
10MerchantThief*MerchantMage*Brigand
11BerserkerBrigandBuccaneerNPC Party*NPC Party*
12Venturer*NPC Party*NPC Party*Thief*Barbarian*
RollDesertInhabitedCityOceanJungle
1NomadThief*Thief*BuccaneerBrigand
2NomadVenturer*Venturer*PirateVenturer*
3NPC Party*NPC PartyNPC PartyMerchantThief*
4MerchantNPC PartyNPC PartyNPC Party*NPC Party*
5NomadMerchantMerchantPirateCleric*
6NomadFighter*Fighter*MerchantFighter*
7Cleric*Thief*MerchantMerchantMedium
8Mage*Fighter*Fighter*MerchantBerserker
9Fighter*Mage*Mage*BuccaneerBrigand
10NobleCleric*Cleric*PirateBarbarian*
11NomadCleric*Cleric*MerchantNPC Party*
12NomadNobleNoblePirateBrigand

*Determine characteristics using the rules for NPC Parties.

Wilderness Encounters: Humanoid

RollClear, Grass, ScrubWoodsRiverSwampHills, Mountains
1BugbearBugbearBugbearGnollDwarf
2ElfCyclopsElfGoblinGiant, Cloud
3GnollDryadGnollHobgoblinGiant, Frost
4GoblinElfHobgoblinLizard ManGiant, Hill
5HalflingGiant, HillLizard ManLizard ManGiant, Stone
6HobgoblinGnollLizard ManLizard ManGiant, Storm
7KoboldGoblinNaiadNaiadGoblin
8OgreHobgoblinNaiadOgreKobold
9OrcOgreOgreOrcOgre
10PixieOrcOrcTroglodyteOrc
11ThroghrinPixieSpriteTrollTroglodyte
12TrollTrollTrollTrollTroll
RollBarrensDesertCityInhabitedJungle
1BugbearBugbearDoppelgangerDoppelgangerBugbear
2Giant, HillGnollDwarfDwarfCyclops
3GoblinGiant, FireElfElfElf
4GnollHobgoblinGnomeGnomeGiant, Fire
5HobgoblinHobgoblinHalflingGoblinGiant, Hill
6HobgoblinMinotaurPixieHalflingGnoll
7OgreOgreSpriteKoboldGoblin
8OgreOgreWerebearOgreLizard Man
9OrcOrcWereboarOrcOgre
10OrcOrcWereratPixieOrc
11ThroghrinTrollWeretigerSpriteTroglodyte
12TrollTrollWerewolfWereratTroll

Wilderness Encounters: Animal

RollClear, Grass, ScrubWoodsRiverHillsMountains
1Herd Animal (Antelope)Herd Animal (Antelope)Herd Animal (Antelope)Herd Animal (Antelope)Herd Animal (Antelope)
2Boar*Bat*Bear, BlackBear, GrizzlyBear, Cave
3Cat, LionBear, GrizzlyBoar*Boar*Cat, Mountain Lion
4Cat, PantherBoar*Cat, PantherCat, Mountain LionEagle*
5ElephantCat, PantherCrab, GiantEagle*Herd Animal (Goat)
6Hawk*Hawk*Crocodile*Hawk*Hawk*
7Horse, LightOwl*Leech, GiantHorse, LightMule (Donkey)
8Lizard, TuataraSnake, Pit ViperPiranha, GiantHerd Animal (Sheep)Baboon, Rock
9Mule (Donkey)Spider, Black WidowRat*Snake, Pit ViperSnake, Pit Viper
10Snake, Pit ViperUnicornShrew, GiantOwl*Snake, Giant Rattler
11Snake, Giant RattlerWolfSwanWolfWolf
12Weasel, GiantWolf, DireToad, GiantWolf, DireWolf, Dire
RollBarrensDesertInhabitedJunglePrehistoric
1Herd Animal (Antelope)Herd Animal (Antelope)GoatHerd Animal (Antelope)Bear, Cave
2Bear, CaveHerd Animal (Antelope)Boar*Boar*Cat, Sabre-Tooth Tiger
3Cat, Mountain LionCamelDogCat, PantherCrocodile, Giant
4Eagle*CamelFerret, GiantLizard, DracoMastodon
5Goat, WildCat, LionHawk*Lizard, GeckoPteranodon
6Hawk*Hawk*Horse, LightLizard, HornedRhino, Woolly
7Rock BaboonLizard, GeckoMule (Donkey)MonkeySnake, Python
8Snake, Pit ViperLizard, TuataraRat*Shrew, GiantStegosaurus
9Snake, Giant RattlerSnake, Giant RattlerSnake, Pit ViperSnake, Pit ViperTitanothere
10Spider, CrabWolf (Wild Dog)Herd Animal (Sheep)Snake, PythonTriceratops
11Wolf, DireWolf, DireWeasel, GiantSnake, Spitting CobraTyrannosaurus Rex
12VultureVultureWolfSpider, CrabWolf, Dire

*Roll 1d6: 1-4 Normal or Swarm, 5-6 Giant

Wilderness Encounters: Flyer

RollBarrensDesertMountainsWoodsOther
1CockatriceChimeraSwarm, BatBat, GiantCockatrice
2GargoyleCockatriceChimeraSwarm, BatFly, Giant Carnivorous
3GriffonGargoyleCockatriceCockatriceGargoyle
4HarpyGriffonGargoyleGriffonGriffon
5Hawk, GiantHawk, GiantGriffonHawk, GiantHawk, Giant
6HippogriffLammasuHarpyHippogriffHippogriff
7LammasuManticoreHawk, GiantPegasusBee, Killer Giant
8ManticorePterodactylHippogriffOwl, GiantPegasus
9PegasusRoc, SmallManticorePixiePixie
10Roc, SmallSphinxPegasusRoc, SmallRoc, Small
11StirgeWyvernRoc*SpriteSprite
12WyvernVultureWyvernStirgeStirge

*Roll 1d6: 1-3 Small, 4-5 Large, 6 Giant

Wilderness Encounters: Swimmer

RollRiver, LakeOceanSwamp
1Crab, GiantDragon TurtleCrab, Giant
2CrocodileHydra, SeaCrocodile
3CrocodileMermanCrocodile, Large
4Crocodile, LargeOctopus, GiantCrocodile, Giant
5Fish, CatfishSea DragonFish, Catfish
6Fish, PiranhaSea SerpentInsect Swarm
7Fish, SturgeonShark*Insect Swarm
8Leech, GiantShark*Leech, Giant
9Lizard ManSkittering MawLeech, Giant
10MermanSnake, SeaLizard Man
11NaiadSquid, GiantLizard Man
12Skittering MawWhaleSkittering Maw

*Roll 1d6: 1-2 Bull Shark, 3-4 Mako Shark, 5-6 Great White Shark

Wilderness Encounters: Other

RollDragonInsectUndeadUnusual
1BasiliskBeetle, FireGhoulBasilisk
2CaecilianBeetle, Giant BombardierGhoulBlink Dog
3ChimeraBeetle, TigerMummyCentaur
4Dragon*Carcass ScavengerMummyGorgon
5Dragon*Centipede, GiantSkeletonHellhound
6SphinxAnt, GiantSkeletonLycanthrope
7Hydra/Sea HydraFly, Giant CarnivorousSpectreMedusa
8LamiaKiller BeeWightPhase Tiger
9Purple WormRhagodessaWraithRust Monster
10Snake, PythonScorpion, GiantVampireSkittering Maw
11SalamanderSpider, Black WidowZombieTreant
12WyvernSpider, CrabZombieApe, White

*Always Black in Swamp, Blue in Mountains, Brown in Desert, Green in Woods, Red in Barrens, Sea in Oceans/Rivers/Lake. Otherwise roll 1d10: 1 Black, 2 Blue, 3 Brown, 4 Green, 5 Metallic, 6 Red, 7 Sea, 8 White, 9 Wyrm, 10 Judge’s Choice.

NPC Parties

Wandering monsters may sometimes include parties of NPC adventures out seeking their own fortunes. To determine the composition of an NPC adventuring party, follow the procedure below, or make them up as needed.

Begin by establishing the number encountered by rolling 1d4+2. Then roll 3d6 on the table below to determine a class for each NPC:

RollNPC Class
3-4Elven Nightblade
5Elven Spellsword
6Explorer
7Bladedancer
8Cleric
9-11Fighter
12Thief
13Mage
14Assassin
15Bard
16Dwarven Vaultguard
17-18Dwarven Craftpriest
RollNPC Alignment
1-2Lawful
3-5Neutral
6Chaotic
RollNPC Level
1Base level -2 (min. 1)
2Base level -1 (min. 1)
3-4Base level
5Base level +1
6Base level +2

Once classes are established, roll 1d6 to randomly determine the alignment of the party. All NPCs will either be of this alignment, or within one step of it. For example, a Lawful party may have Lawful and Neutral adventurers.

LevelTreasure Type
1B x1/4
2B x1/2
3B x1/2
4B
5D x1/2
6D
7H
8J
9J x2
10N
11O
12N x2
13Q
14R

Each NPC party will have a base level, which is the average for the party as a whole. When NPCs are encountered in a dungeon, their base level will be determined by the dungeon level they are encountered on, as shown on the Random Monsters by Level tables. When NPCs are encountered in a wilderness, their base level should be based on the maximum level of the nearest dungeon. When NPCs are encountered in a settlement, their base level is 7, less the settlement’s market class. Once the base level of the party is determined, roll 1d6 on the NPC Level table to determine the level of each NPCs in the party.

If desired, the Judge can replace one or more of the NPCs present with 2 NPCs of the same class but two levels lower. These characters would be henchmen of the higher level characters present in the NPC party.

Example: An NPC party of three characters with a base level of 9 is generated. It includes a 9th level fighter, a 9th level cleric, and an 8th level thief. The Judge decides to replace the 9th level cleric with two 7th level clerics, and decides these are the fighter’s henchmen.

NPCs will carry mundane weapons, armor, and equipment appropriate to their class, level, and terrain. When in the wilderness, they will have a 10% chance of having mounts for each level of experience. NPCs will also carry treasure and magic items. Use the table to the right to determine the treasure carried by each NPC based on his level. However, do not roll against the Treasure Type for magic items. Instead, for each category of item (potion, sword, etc.) the NPC can use, there is a 5% chance per level of the NPC that he possesses a useful item of that category.

Example: To determine a 9th level NPC fighter’s treasure, the Judge rolls against Treasure Type J for coins, gems, and jewelry. Instead of rolling on TT J for magic items, however, there is a flat 45% chance (5% per level) in each category of item that the NPC has a useful item.

Additional Rules for Judges

The following rules cover a variety of circumstances that may arise when a Judge runs a session or campaign of ACKS.

Aging and Death

If the Judge intends to run his campaign over the course of game years, adventurers may grow old and die, so tracking character age becomes relevant. The Character Starting Age table gives a range of starting ages by character class.

Character Starting Age

ClassStarting AgeClassStarting Age
Assassin17+1d6Elven Nightblade75+5d4
Bard14+1d8Elven Spellsword75+5d4
Bladedancer17+1d6Explorer17+1d6
Cleric17+1d6Fighter15+1d8
Dwarven Craftpriest25+2d8Mage17+3d6
Dwarven Vaultguard23+3d4Thief15+1d8

The Character Aging table shows the lifespan of the human, demi-human, and humanoid races, broken into five age categories (Youth, Adult, Middle Aged, Old, and Ancient). Elves, being ageless, never progress past adult.

Character Aging

RaceYouthAdultMiddle AgedOldAncient
Beastman12-1516-3031-4546-6061-75
Dwarf15-2526-5051-7576-115116-150
Elf15-5051-200
Gnome15-2526-6263-9596-135136-175
Human13-1718-3536-5556-7576-95
Halfling14-2122-4243-6566-9596-125

At each stage, progressively adjust the character’s ability scores as noted on the Ability Score Adjustments by Age table. For characters generated at an already advanced age, the cumulative ability score adjustments appropriate to the character’s age can be used. Ability score adjustments from aging cannot reduce an ability score below a class minimum, and in no case lower than 3.

Ability Score Adjustments by Age

Age CategoryProgressive Ability Score AdjustmentsCumulative Ability Score Adjustments
Youth-2 STR, -2 INT, -2 WIS-2 STR, -2 INT, -2 WIS
Adult+2 STR, +2 INT, +2 WISNo adjustments
Middle Aged-2 STR, -2 DEX, -2 CON-2 STR, -2 DEX, -2 CON
Old-2 STR, -2 DEX, -2 CON, -2 CHA-4 STR, -4 DEX, -4 CON, -2 CHA
Ancient-2 STR, -2 DEX, -2 CON, -2 CHA-6 STR, -6 DEX, -6 CON, -4 CHA

Death from Old Age

Character may die of old age, though this is a rare fate for adventurers! Death from old age is resolved with a saving throw versus Death. Characters must save within 1d12 months of reaching the following ages:

  • Racial minimum Old age + character’s Constitution
  • Racial minimum Ancient age + character’s Constitution
  • Racial maximum listed age, and each year thereafter

Restore life and limb does not raise characters who have died from old age.

Example: Marcus has CON 18 as an adult. By the time he reaches the Old age category (56), his CON is reduced to 14. He must save versus Death when he reaches (56+14) age 70. He succeeds, so he will not perish due to natural causes just yet. When he reaches the Ancient age category (76), his CON is down to 12. He must save versus Death when he reaches (76+12) age 88. He succeeds again. When Marcus reaches age 95, and each year thereafter, he will have to save versus Death again.

Poisons

As detailed in the Monsters chapter, many monsters have deadly natural poisons. If the Judge permits, other characters or monsters may use poison. Poisons can be acquired from three sources: monster venoms, plant toxins, or magical poisons. At the Judge’s discretion, certain markets may also sell monster venoms, plant toxins, and magical poisons, so gp costs are listed below for each type of poison.

Monster Venoms

Characters with Naturalism proficiency can identify venomous monsters and distinguish their different poisons with a successful proficiency throw of 11+. Extracting venom from a slain monster requires 1 day and a successful Animal Husbandry proficiency throw of 11+. If the character’s proficiency throw to extract venom is an unmodified 1, he has accidentally gotten scratched by a fang or stinger. The character must immediately save versus Poison, as if hit by the monster.

Once extracted, monster venoms can be applied to weapons. Each monster yields one dose of its venom. A dose is enough venom to treat twenty missiles (arrows, bolts, or darts) or one melee weapon. Note that venoms applied to missiles and melee weapons are not as effective as they are when coming from the monster itself. Venomous monsters penetrate their prey’s skin with hollow fangs or tubular stingers, then use muscles attached to their venom reservoirs to forcibly squirt venom deep within the target’s body tissue. In comparison, a sword or arrow is simply a less effective mechanism for delivering poison.

The Monster Venoms table shows the market cost, onset time, save modifier, and effects of monster venoms when applied to missiles and melee weapons.

Monster Venoms

Monster VenomsCost / DoseOnset TimeSave Mod.Effect on Failed Save
Giant Centipede50gp1 turn+2Sickness 1d10 days*
Spitting Cobra100gp1 turn+21d6 damage
Giant Crab Spider100gp1d10 turns+41d10 damage
Pit Viper200gp1d10 turns+21d10 damage
Giant Killer Bee250gp1 turn+21d10 damage
Carcass Scavenger250gp1 turn+2Paralysis 2d4 turns
Sea Snake275gp1d10 turns+24d4 damage
Giant Black Widow300gp1d6 turns+24d4 damage
Giant Rattlesnake300gp1d10 turns+22d10 damage
Giant Tarantula350gp1d6 turns+22d10 damage
Giant Scorpion400gp1 turn+22d10 damage
Rockfish500gp1 round+14d6 damage
Wyvern700gp1 round+16d6 damage
Purple Worm1,500gpInstantDeath
Dragon Blood1,500gpInstantDeath

*Sickened characters move at 1/2 speed and cannot fight or perform other actions.

Plant Toxins

Characters with Naturalism proficiency can search for a fresh specimen of poisonous plants each week. A successful proficiency throw against the target value for the plant (listed on the Plant Toxins table below) gathers enough fresh plant to extract one dose of toxin. Dried belladonna and wolfsbane can be easily found in most markets, but are more difficult to extract useful toxin from.

Extracting the toxin from the raw plant takes 1 week per plant and requires a successful Alchemy proficiency throw of 14+ for fresh plants and 17+ for dried plants. If either the proficiency throw to gather the plant, or to extract the plant toxin, is an unmodified 1, the character has accidentally exposed himself to the toxin. The character must immediately save versus Poison or suffer its effects.

Each plant yields one dose of its toxin. Some plant toxins can be used to treat weapons. For these toxins, a dose is enough to treat twenty missiles (arrows, bolts, or darts) or one melee weapon. Other toxins can be used to poison food or drink. In this case, one dose is enough to poison one meal or drink. Extracted plant toxins generally cannot be detected by smell or taste. The Plant Toxins table shows the market cost, onset time, save modifier of the various plant toxins.

Plant Toxins

Plant ToxinsNaturalism ThrowCost / DoseOnset TimeSave Mod.Effect on Failed Save
Belladonna11+350gp1 turn (injury), 1d3 turns (ingestion)+22d8 damage and confusion 1d4 turns
Curare20+1,500gpInstant (injury)2d12 damage and paralysis 2d4 turns
Foxglove14+275gp1d6 turns (ingestion)-32d8 damage and confusion 1d4 turns
Hellebore8+225gp1 turn (injury), 1d3 turns (ingestion)+21d6 damage and sickness 1d10 days*
Hemlock8+225gp2d4 turns (ingestion)+42d12 damage and sickness 1d10 days*
Henbane8+350gp1 turn (injury), 1d6 turns (ingestion)+21d6 damage and feeblemind 1d4 hours
Wolfsbane11+350gp1 turn (injury), 2d4 turns (ingestion)+22d8 damage and paralysis 2d4 turns
Yew4+200gp1 hour (injury), 1d6 hours (ingestion)+41d10 damage

*Sickened characters move at 1/2 speed and cannot fight or perform other actions.

Magical Poisons

Magical poisons are created using the rules for magic research in Chapter 7. The most common magical poison is a poison potion, created using the 4th level reversed divine spell poison. A single poison potion can treat twenty missiles (arrows, bolts, or darts) or one melee weapon. A weapon treated with magical poison kills instantly unless the victim makes a successful saving throw versus Poison. Magical poison is also fatal if ingested.

Use of Poison

Once applied, poison evaporates quickly, diminishing its effectiveness. On the first day, it will do full damage, on the second day half damage, and by the third it will be gone. Partially evaporated deadly poisons allow the victim a +2 bonus on his saving throw after the first day, and +4 after the second. Each hit with a melee weapon is equivalent to a day’s evaporation, e.g. the poison will do half damage on its second hit and then be gone.

Using poisoned weapons is not without risk. Whenever a character’s attack throw with a poisoned weapon is an unmodified 1, he has accidentally pricked himself. He must immediately save versus Poison or suffer its effects.

Slavery

Slavery was an all too common feature in ancient societies. Slaves might be indentured debtors, convicted criminals, or prisoners of war. The abundant supply of slave labor was a major component to most ancient economies, and the mass enslavement of defeated peoples was justified as more merciful than the alternative of slaughtering them. Should the Judge wish to incorporate slavery into his campaign, the following rules will apply.

Types of Slaves

Slaves are divided into 5 types: Slave laborers, slave soldiers, household slaves, pleasure slaves, and professional slaves.

Slave laborers do manual work, usually of the most unpleasant sort, such as farming on plantations, mining ore, or building pyramids. Slave laborers can be bought in markets at a cost of 40gp each. Slave laborers are generally able-bodied males captured in war or slaving expeditions. Individually, slave laborers can be used for any labor-related tasks. They cost 2gp each per month in upkeep and have morale scores of -4. When used on a domain, treat every 5 slave laborers as equivalent to one peasant family for all purposes. If a domain’s population consists of 25% or more slave laborers, its domain morale is decreased by 1. If a domain’s population consists of 50% or more slave laborers, its domain morale is decreased by 2. If the domain is 100% slave labor, domain morale is decreased by 4. Historical examples include the helots of Sparta and the plantation slaves of Rome.

Slave soldiers are usually either born into slavery or enslaved in early childhood so they can be indoctrinated with loyalty to their ruler or owner. Historical examples include the Persian ghulam, Egyptian mamelukes, and Turkish janissaries. In realms where they exist (Judge’s discretion), slave soldiers can be bought in markets at a variable cost depending on their race, training and equipment, as noted on the Slave Troop Type table.

Slave Troop Type

(Gp Cost per Slave)

Slave Troop TypeManDwarfElfGoblinOrc
Militia (spear)40
Light Infantry (3 javelins, short sword, shield, leather armor)21531585185
Heavy Infantry (spear, sword, shield, banded plate armor)415650800285
Slingers (sling, short sword, shield, leather armor)18585
Bowman (short bow, short sword, leather armor)27565085175
Crossbowmen (arbalest, short sword, chainmail)600750415
Longbowmen (long bow, sword, chainmail)6501,400
Light Cavalry (3 javelins, sword, shield, leather armor, light warhorse)1,1502,150
Mounted Crossbowman (crossbow, short sword, chainmail, mule)1,575
Horse Archers (composite bow, scimitar, leather armor, light warhorse)1,7003,200
Medium Cavalry (lance, sword, shield, lamellar, medium warhorse)1,800
Heavy Cavalry (lance, sword, shield, plate armor, chain barded medium warhorse)2,500
Cataphract Cavalry (composite bow, sword, shield, plate, chain barded medium warhorse)3,1255,250
Beast Riders (spear, short sword, shield, leather or scale armor, dire wolf or giant boar)1,200

Slave soldiers enslaved as children have the same morale scores as normal mercenaries of their type. Slave soldiers enslaved as adults have morale scores of -4 (and are a very bad idea). All slave soldiers cost 3gp per month in upkeep. Supplemental pay, better food, access to women, and so on can increase morale.

Household slaves perform domestic chores such as cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc. Household slaves tend to live and work for their owners for long periods of time, and can be fairly loyal if treated well. Historical examples include Greek and Roman household slaves. Household slaves can be bought in markets at a cost of 100gp each, and cost 3gp per month in upkeep.

Pleasure slaves are young and attractive slaves specially trained in the arts of seduction, performance, and pleasure. Historical examples include the Greek hetaera (courtesan) and Ottoman odalisque (harem slaves). Pleasure slaves usually have 1 or more ranks in Seduction, Performance (dance), or Labor (massage). Pleasure slaves can be bought in markets at a cost of 100gp to 1,000gp, depending on age, beauty, and level of training. Truly exceptional pleasure slaves can command virtually unlimited prices. All pleasure slaves cost 12gp per month in upkeep.

Professional slaves are trained experts such as scribes, tutors, or accountants. In general, the cost of a professional slave is equal to 33 times a free professional’s wages per month, less 36gp. For example, a master blacksmith earns 40gp per month. Purchasing a master blacksmith slave would cost 1,284gp. All professional slaves cost 3gp per month in upkeep.

Household slaves, pleasure slaves, and professional slaves all have base morale scores of -2. Better working conditions, kind treatment, gifts, or extended liberties can increase morale (Judge’s discretion).

Sinkholes of Evil

Some campaigns feature places that are corrupted by the energies of the Nether Darkness. In ACKS these are known as sinkholes of evil. Profane powers and undead creatures are stronger there, while the divine and the living are weakened. Sinkholes of evil can develop anywhere that death and decay predominate. Sinkholes of evil can be shadowed, blighted, or forsaken. The table below summarizes the effects of the various types of sinkholes of evil.

Sinkholes of Evil

EffectShadowedBlightedForsaken
Corpse Reanimation10%/1d12 months20%/1d4 days80%/1d4 rounds
Reversed/necromantic spell effects+2 class levels+2 class levels+2 class level
Lawful divine spell effectsNo EffectNo Effect-2 class levels
Turning UndeadNo Effect-4 class levelsForbidden
Necromancy magic research+1 bonus+2 bonus+3 bonus
Undead in SinkholeNo EffectNo Effect+2 attack, save, damage, AC
Animating UndeadNo EffectNo Effect+2 hp/HD, 2x normal HD created
Blood sacrificeYesYesYes

Shadowed Sinkholes

Shadowed sinkholes develop from two sources of corruption: Chaotic altars (such as those in evil shrines, temples, or churches) and places of death (such as cemeteries, catacombs, and battlegrounds).

Chaotic altars create shadowed sinkholes as soon as they are erected. The size of the shadowed sinkhole around the altar will be 100 square feet per 100gp spent on the altar. For instance, a 10,000gp altar would create a 100′ x 100′ shadowed sinkhole around the altar. At the Judge’s discretion, meeting the gp value of the altar might require special components or blood sacrifices (as described in Chapter 7 under Magical Research) instead of standard treasure.

Places of death create shadowed sinkholes naturally over time. The annual percentage chance of such an area becoming shadowed is equal to number of dead interred in the area divided by the area’s size in square feet, rounded up. For instance, a small 50′ x 50′ cemetery with 25 graves has a 1% chance of becoming shadowed each year. An enormous cemetery such as the real-world Wadi Al Salam (5 million dead across 64 million square feet) has an 8% chance of becoming shadowed each year. Once the shadowed sinkhole develops, the size of the shadowed sinkhole will be 100 square feet per 20 dead interred in the place. However, a sinkhole of evil will not develop if the dead are cremated by a Lawful divine spellcaster, or if one or more shrine(s) to Lawful powers are erected on the site. The Lawful shrine(s) must have a gp value of at least 5gp per dead interred in order to prevent the area from becoming shadowed.

Corpses in shadowed sinkholes have a 10% chance to return as undead in 1d12 months unless their bodies are burned. Chaotic spellcasters who cast reversed (evil) divine spells or necromantic spells (such as animate dead or death spell) in a shadowed sinkhole calculate the spell effects as if the casters were two class levels higher than their actual level of experience. Characters performing necromancy (described in Chapter 7) in a shadowed sinkhole gain a +1 bonus to their magic research throws. A shadowed sinkhole can also be used for blood sacrifice (described in Chapter 7).

Blighted Sinkholes

When a chaotic altar stands on a shadowed place of death, a blighted sinkhole develops. The blighted sinkhole will extend only within those regions that are shadowed by both the altar and the place of death. An area affected by one, but not both, sources of corruption is merely shadowed.

Corpses in blighted sinkholes have a 20% chance to return as undead in 1d4 days unless their bodies are burned. Chaotic spellcasters who cast reversed (evil) divine spells or necromantic spells in a blighted sinkhole calculate the spell effects as if the casters were two class levels higher than their actual level of experience. Divine spellcasters of lawful alignment turn undead as if four class levels lower. Characters performing necromancy in a blighted sinkhole gain a +2 bonus to their magic research throws. A blighted sinkhole can be used for blood sacrifice.

Forsaken Sinkholes

A blighted area might, through some awful juxtaposition of the planes or terrible ritual magic, become forsaken. Forsaken sinkholes are pits of darkness where the vilest creatures and foulest magic are found. Such places are very rare (Judge’s discretion).

Corpses in forsaken areas have an 80% chance to return as undead in 1d4 rounds unless their bodies are burned. Chaotic spellcasters who cast reversed (evil) divine spells or necromantic spells in a forsaken sinkhole calculate the spell effects as if the casters were two class levels higher than their actual level of experience. Lawful divine spellcasters cast spells as if they were two class levels lower for purposes of spell effects, and may not turn undead. Any undead in forsaken areas gain a +2 bonus to attack throws, saving throws, damage rolls, and AC. Characters performing necromancy (described in Chapter 7) in a blighted sinkhole gain a +3 bonus to their magic research throws. Any undead created in forsaken areas gain a permanent +2 hit point per Hit Die, and animate dead spells cast in forsaken sinkholes create twice the normal number of Hit Dice of undead. A forsaken sinkhole can be used for blood sacrifice.

Cleansing Sinkholes

A bless spell will temporarily decrease the effect of a sinkhole within a 100′ diameter area for the duration of the spell. While subject to bless, the affected area is cleansed if shadowed; shadowed if blighted; and blighted if forsaken. A vial of holy water can be sprinkled on a 10′ diameter area with the same effect as a bless spell.

To permanently cleanse a sinkhole of evil, the source of corruption must be removed. If the sinkhole is being generated by a chaotic altar, the altar must be destroyed. A chaotic altar can be destroyed magically, with dispel evil; or destroyed physically by smashing it and then either pouring holy water or casting bless on the broken remains. This will remove the sinkhole created by the altar.

If the sinkhole is generated by a place of death, the sinkhole can be instantly cleansed with dispel evil. However, the area will eventually become shadowed again over time. To permanently cleanse a sinkhole created by a place of death, a Lawful divine spellcaster must cremate the dead interred therein, or erect a shrine to the Lawful powers of appropriate value.

Cleansing a blighted sinkhole, with a chaotic altar standing on a place of death, requires that both sources of corruption be dealt with separately.

A forsaken sinkhole can only be cleansed by ritual magic. As such areas develop very rarely, the magic to cleanse them is almost always forgotten in between each such occurrence, and must be researched anew by the forces of Law.

Transformations

In some circumstances, e.g. infection with lycanthropy, magical crossbreeding, or necromantic ritual, an adventurer may be transformed into an intelligent monster. With the Judge’s permission, the player may continue to play his character in its new form. The Judge must determine the character’s new alignment based on the context of the transformation; generally transformed characters will adopt the alignment of their new form, unless they are exceptionally strong willed or purposeful. The transformed character gains all the abilities associated with its new monstrous form, including forms of movement and speeds, natural armor, natural attacks, extraordinary abilities, and the like. If the monster’s Hit Dice are below the character’s former class level, its Hit Dice should be increased to the character’s former class level. A character transformed into a monster may increase in HD through adventuring. It requires 3,000xp plus 500xp per special ability (*) for a 1 HD monster to advance to 2 HD. The amount of XP required doubles with each HD (round values greater than 20,000xp to the nearest 1,000).

In most circumstances, the transformed character loses all his class abilities. At the Judge’s discretion, spellcasters transformed into intelligent monsters may retain their spellcasting abilities. If so, divine spellcasting counts as one special ability (*) and arcane spellcasting counts as two special abilities (**). As his Hit Dice increase, the transformed character’s spellcasting abilities will increase based on his prior class’s progression, subject to the class’s maximum level.

Example: Quintus, a 7th level mage, is the victim of a necromantic ritual that transforms him into a mummy. He gains the mummy’s movement, armor class, attacks, damage, and special abilities, including mummy rot, immunities, and fearsome aura. A mummy has only 5+1 HD, which is below Quintus’s class level. Therefore his Hit Dice are raised to 7. The Judge rules that Quintus retains his arcane spellcasting abilities. This counts as two special abilities. A mummy’s powers are considered one special ability (), so Quintus is considered to have three special abilities total, or 7 HD**. The Judge counts the XP progression for advancement (2 HD at 4,500, 3 HD at 9,000, 4 HD at 18,000, 5 HD at 36,000, 6 HD at 72,000, 7 HD at 144,000, 8 HD at 288,000). Quintus will need 288,000 to reach level 8.

Playing with Advanced Characters

Because of the many options that ACKS offers for high-level play, some Judges may wish to begin their campaigns with the player characters already at an advanced level of experience. The following guidelines are suggested for campaigns where the players begin the game with advanced characters.

Tiers

Advanced characters may begin as adventurers (4th-6th level characters); conquerors (7th-10th level characters); or kings (11th or higher level characters). Adventurer tier is suitable for action and exploration oriented campaigns with experienced players who don’t need to learn the game by starting at 1st level. Conqueror tier is appropriate for campaigns focused on establishing and expanding new domains. King tier is appropriate for campaigns where the characters manage vast realms and fight wars.

Ability Scores and Hit Points

To generate ability scores for adventurers, roll 3d6 in order five times, then choose one of the five sets of rolls as the character’s ability scores. Conquerors roll as above, but may re-roll any one ability score and use the new roll if desired. Kings roll as above, but may re-roll any two ability scores and use the new rolls if desired.

Starting Experience Points

All advanced characters in the campaign begin with a fixed number of experience points, applied to whichever class they choose. Adventurers begin with 20,000XP. This will put elven spellswords at 4th level, thieves at 6th level, and most other characters at 5th level.

Conquerors begin with 310,00XP. This will put elven spellswords at 8th level, clerics and thieves at 10th level and most other classes at 9th level.

Kings begin with 620,000XP. Most racial character classes will be at or near maximum level. Mages will be 11th level, clerics and thieves will be 13th level, and most other classes will be 12th level.

Class and Level

Advanced characters can choose any class they qualify for. They begin at a level determined by their starting experience points. Advanced characters get maximum hit points for their first level and roll normally for their remaining Hit Dice.

Proficiencies and Spells Repertoire

All advanced characters being play knowing any proficiencies they qualify for based on their class, level, and Intelligence score.

Mages, elven nightblades, and elven spellswords begin play with the maximum number of spells in their repertoire. Adventurers should roll randomly to determine which spells are in their repertoire. Conquerors may choose 1/2 the spells and roll randomly for the remainder. Kings may choose which spells are in their repertoire.

Starting Wealth

All advanced characters begin with a fixed amount of starting wealth. Adventurers begin with 16,000gp. Conquerors begin with 240,000gp. Kings begin with 815,000gp. Starting wealth can be spent to:

Any remaining starting wealth can be converted into coin, gems, or jewels, as desired.

Magic Items

  • Advanced characters may trade some of their starting wealth in exchange for rolls for magic items. Each of the five trades below can only be made once by adventurers or conquerors. Kings can make each trade twice (funds permitting).
  • Trade 1,000gp for a 15% chance of two magic items of a random type.
  • Trade 3,000gp for a 25% chance for a weapon or armor, a 25% chance for a potion, and a 10% chance for a miscellaneous magic item.
  • Trade 10,000gp for a 50% chance for four randomly determined magic items, one random potion, and one random scroll.
  • Trade 30,000gp for 1d4 random potions, 1d4 random scrolls, and a 50% chance for six randomly determined magic items.
  • Trade 100,000gp for 2d4 random potions, 2d4 random scrolls, and a 75% chance for each of the following: 1d3 swords, 1d3 armor, 1d3 miscellaneous weapons, 1d3 wands/staffs/rods, 1d3 rings, and 1d3 miscellaneous magic items.

The actual magic items can be randomly determined or chosen by the Judge. Re-roll cursed items. Characters capable of magic research may substitute magic item formulas for actual magic items at a 2:1 ratio. For instance, 1d4 random potions could be traded in for 2d4 potion formulas.

Recruiting Hirelings

Advanced characters may begin with hirelings, including henchmen, specialists, and mercenaries.

The advanced character may have as many henchmen as desired, subject to the limits of their Charisma score. The henchman can be of any desired class or level, but the advanced character must spend gp equal to the henchman’s experience points. The henchman’s equipment and magic items must be provided by the advanced character.

Advanced characters may also begin play with specialists and mercenaries in his employ. For each specialist or mercenary, the advanced character must spend gp equal to six month’s wages for the hirelings. This represents past costs incurred in having the hireling on retainer.

Domains

Conqueror tier characters of 9th level or greater that use their starting wealth to build a stronghold begin play with a domain. Create the domain as if the character’s stronghold had just been completed, rolling for starting land value, peasant families, and followers. If the character builds a hideout, his syndicate will have the standard number of followers (2d6 1st level characters of his own class, plus an additional 1d6 per level the syndicate boss has advanced past 9th). If the character builds a sanctum, he will have the standard number of apprentices and normal men (1d6 and 2d6 respectively). Any dungeons built by conqueror level characters begin empty.

King tier characters that use their starting wealth to build a stronghold will begin play with a realm. The realm will include a personal domain and several vassal realms. The king tier character’s personal domain will have the maximum number of families permitted given the size of his stronghold. The king tier character’s realm will include a number of vassal realms equal to the character’s number of henchmen. Each vassal realm should normally be the equivalent of a duchy (as defined in Constructing the Campaign Setting, in this chapter), but the Judge can alter this if he desires a grander or narrower scope.

King tier thieves, assassins, and elven nightblades who build a hideout begin with a syndicate of the maximum size permitted for their location and hideout. If they have thief, assassin, or nightblade henchmen of 9th level or higher, they may build a hideout for these henchman and establish a criminal guild. Syndicates within the guild will have 2d6 members each.

King tier mages who build a sanctum begin with 6 3rd level mage apprentices and 12 normal men. If they build a dungeon, it should be populated until full.

The Judge may determine the starting location of any strongholds, domains, and realms, or allow the characters to select locations on the regional map.

Adventurers, Conquerors, and Kings

A Judge who wishes to embrace every facet of the Adventurer Conqueror King System can allow the players to act at all tiers simultaneously. In such a campaign, each player has one king tier character – a powerful archmage, mighty warlord, or similar persona. Each king in turn has one or more henchmen at the conqueror tier of play. These conqueror tier characters in turn have adventurer tier characters as their own henchmen. In such a campaign, the players will be simultaneously running one or more kingdoms, ruling the duchies and baronies in the kingdoms, and playing the adventuring parties that assist these rulers in dealing with the local threats of monsters and chaotic forces. Depending on the group’s preferences, each session they can focus on a different tier of play, or they can shift between tiers within one game session.

Recommended Reading for Judges

Anderson, Poul. The Broken Sword; Three Hearts and Three Lions; The High Crusade; The Merman’s Children.

Baker, Kage. Anvil of the World and its sequels.

Bakker, R. Scott. “The Prince of Nothing” trilogy; “The Aspect-Emperor” trilogy.

Brust, Steven. “The Book of Jhereg” series.

Chabon, Michael. Gentlemen of the Road.

Cook, Glen. “The Black Company” series; “An Empire Unacquainted with Defeat” series; “Tyranny of the Night” series.

Erikson, Steven. “Malazan Book of the Fallen” series.

Fox, Robin Lane. Alexander the Great.

Gemmell, David. “The Drenai Saga” series; “The Rigante” series.

Heaney, Seamus, transl. Beowulf: A New Translation.

Homer and Hammon, Martin, transl. The Iliad: A New Prose Translation.

Howard, Madeline. “The Rune of Unmaking” series.

Howard, Robert E. “Conan” series.

Jones, J.V. “Sword of Shadow” series.

Kay, Guy Gavriel. “Sarantine Mosaic” series; The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Last Light of the Sun, Tigana, Under Heaven.

LeGuin, Ursula. “Earthsea Cycle”.

Leiber, Fritz. “Fafhrd and Grey Mouser” series.

Lovecraft, H.P. “Mythos” novels and stories.

Lynch, Scott. “The Gentlemen Bastard” series.

Martin, George R.R. “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

Moon, Elizabeth. The Deed of Paksenarrion.

Moorcock, Michael. “Elric” series; “Hawkmoon” series.

Polybius. The Rise of the Roman Empire.

Pressfield, Steven. Gates of Fire.

Renault, Mary. Fire from Heaven, Funeral Games, The Last of the Wine, The Persian Boy.

Tolkien, J.R.R. “The Lord of the Rings” series; The Silmarillion; The Children of Hurin

Vance, Jack. “Dying Earth” stories.

Williams, Tad. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn.