Introduction and Character Creation

Having decided on ACKS as my system of choice, I went to work coming developing and building a campaign world, then scrapping it and starting over, then repeating the process several more times. When I finally had something I liked, I sent an invitation to my players along with the following teaser:

You are the latest batch of young crusaders who have volunteered to sail south across the Atlantean Sea to join the armies who, for the last two decades, have been fightinging to liberate the people of the Unholy Lands from their demon-worshiping Chaotic overlords. You have come from all corners of Valgenheim – the mighty kingdom of Brynmark in the west, the mercantile island principality of Fortenza in the east, and the barbarian realms of Ygrenheim in the north. A month ago, you gathered in the holy city of Dusengard and set sail.

Two weeks later, you landed in the dark, ancient city of Zulakur, center of the Crusader Kingdoms. You were quickly recruited into the the army of Sir Ethelred mag Albern, and prepared to march east to wage war on Saaratum and the vile ghoul-priests said to rule there.

Mag Albern’s route took you south east, through the Kuzgun Dunes, which your local guides insisted were accursed. You are inclined to agree with them, as the march has been beset by all manner of disasters. It culminated in a great sandstorm which separated you from the rest of the army (such as was left after all the desertion). You have been wandering lost in the desert for days. Your supplies have completely run out – you will begin dying of starvation and thrist if you do not find food and water today – and you have just stumbled across ancient ruins buried in the sand.

As you may have guessed, I decided to start the campaign with Tom Moldvay’s fantastic module, B4 – The Lost City. We held our first session yesterday, and began by rolling up characters. This took longer than I had expected, but I shouldn’t have been surprised: it was a new system that no one was familiar with, and at least one of the players arrived pretty much directly from ComicCon. After several hours, we had the following cast of crusaders:

Catechist Dunstan, a hammer-wielding cleric from the quasi-British kingdom of Brynmark;

Walther mag Sunfred, a dexterous Brynmarker explorer;

Mercedes di Portia, a strong yet feminine assassin from the swashbuckling hispanotalian principality of Fortenza;

Spinello di Lombabasso, a seductive Fortenzan bard who “looks like he stepped off the cover of a romance novel,” and who has a 9 STR, but 12+ in every other stat;

Thjolstoff the Beardless (UPDATE: fixed his name; it was not Thjorolf), a mighty barbarian of clan Darkskull from the frozen mountains of Ygrenheim in the north, who dropped all the rest of his other stats to 9 to get an 18 STR and 16 CON.

 An Atlantean stormtrooper (a demi-human archer-mage custom class; I will post details about the Atlanteans later) with her demonic Atlantean familiar, who looks like a foot-tall evil clown and resents his obligation to teach her magic. The stormtrooper is a local from Zulakur who joined the crusade in appreciation of being liberated from the Zul and their child-sacrificing cult of Moloch. Alas, I forget her name; preoccupied with learning how to run a new system, I forgot to record any of the PCs names, and had to create this list from post-game-day-hangover fogged memory. UPDATE: The Stormtrooper’s name is Aisha Alendi.

Since The Lost City starts with the party far from any known home-base, I assigned each of the PCs a 0th level henchman – one of the common soldiers in Mag Albern’s army who latched on to a veteran when things started to go wrong – to serve as a back up character. These we generated using the Average Joe/Jane array (12, 11, 11, 10, 10, 9; arranged to taste) and a variation on Telecanter’s Hireling Spur, which I will post later.

Catechist Dunstan is travelling with Simbra-Nar, an Atlantean light infantryman from Brynmark.

Walther is being followed by a 13-year-old Fortenzan boy named Pablo, a dilligent archer who happens to be skilled at mapping.

Mercedes is accompanied by her sister Eva, an archer and healer.

Spinello’s henchman is an emaciated Ygren light infantryman whose name eludes me. UPDATE: His name is Odgrim Silverbeast.

Thjorolf is travelling with his cousin Hjordur, a Ygren light infantryman who is missing his left hand.

The stormtrooper is followed by Peg-Legged Dunstan, a disloyal Brynmarker light infantryman who was a bricklayer in civilian life.

The henchmen were outfitted with standard arms and equipment packages I created for this campaign, and which I will publish in a later post. The published templates don’t really fit the campaign world I have in mind, and they seemed pretty time-consuming to create, so I went with equipment packages instead.

The party finally assembled, they delved headlong into adventure…

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2 Responses to Introduction and Character Creation

  1. Glad I looked at this site. Some good stuff here 🙂

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