Subjective Feedback on L&E

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Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10
Subjective Feedback on L&E

​This thread is for....

  • A list of lairs that you'd most like to see maps for
  • A list of lairs that you'd most like to see illustrations for
  • Comments on your favorite mechanics, lairs, and monsters
moorcrys
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion ContributorDwimmermount ContributorDomains At War ContributorSinister Stone of Sakkara ContributorLairs And Encounters Contributor
Joined: 2012-02-22 22:34

I've only gotten one really good pass through the document. It's incredibly impressive and does for Monsters exactly what the Player's Companion does for PCs and Domains of War does for large scale combat and domain-level play. It's fantastic.

The monster adjustment rules are great. The training and monster part rules are amazing as well and fully detailed - my eyes were crossing a little by the time I got to them so I need to go back through them. They seem like something that will really bear fruit when the Judge goes through it carefully as players become interested in exploring that side of things. 

Lairs:

Shadow Lair: I'm having a little bit of a tough time wrapping my head around the Shadow lair. Does the calendar stone allude to the the fact that the sphere is there? Are the shadows inside the sphere or have they been released and are nearby the stone? Can they go back and forth into the nether darkness sphere at will? What possible benefit is there to actually being within the sphere? It seems really cool but I'm just a little confused by the writing as to actually what this whole thing is.

Salamander (Frost): Really cool lair. Love it. Wouldn't mind seeing it.

Minotaurs: I'm wondering if their lair should be a little more thematically appropriate to them mythically and in a way that will allow them track their foes. I like their situation, the totem with the captives (it's creepy and gross), but the fact that they were hanging out in tents was a bit odd to me. Should they be in a dungeon (which the Core rulebook says they prefer) or some sort of area where it's difficult for trespassers to figure out how to get away from them but they know the best ways to get to trespassers? 

Lamia: Another really cool lair. Wouldn't mind seeing it.

Hell Hound, Greater: Cool. Wouldn't mind seeing it.

In terms of Lairs (and I think you're doing this and it's awesome), I want to see real variety in the maps - a great mix of different environments so that I can pull the lair maps for other things if I need them. The more the merrier.

---

Monsters (New)

I love them. They're interesting and they're deepening the lore and style of the 'default' world of ACKS. A bit heavy on the undead but undead are incredibly cool so what can I say? I love that some really neat old favoritees are being brough into the ACKS world and made uniquely ACKS-ey - the Arane from Isle of Dread for instance, the Child of Nasga (hah, almost autocorrected into Child of Nascar), the geniekind, the sorcerous sphere. The only monster I really miss from ACKS still (only because it's a personal favorite) is an ACKS verson of the mind flayer. And the new, high level stuff is awesome and frightening - the draugr, for instance, with the Haugbui.

I only have a question with the Dire Beastmen. One thing that I think ACKS does amazingly well and prides itself on (with some suspension of disbelief obviously) is grounding mechanics into something that feels believable in terms of world building. With humanoids that powerful and that seem to be breeding so successfully ("now their numbers have grown vast..."), I wonder why they haven't overtaken the game world. I always feel as though there needs to be something with humanoid creatures so overwhelmingly strong compared to a human troop and that breed relatively easily that keeps them from just overrunning every human settlement. Do they breed slowly so it takes a long time to replenish their numbers? Do they prefer to war against and kill each other like hobgoblins and orcs which keeps their focus relatively inward and their numbers down? Do they need a powerful priest, sorcerer, or some other magical or divine wellspring to keep them alive, focused, or breeding? I'm always wary introducing 4+ hit die humanoids into a campaign world unless I can rationalize (however shakily) why they don't run the show. I can, of course, do that myself or never use them, but I was wondering if that sort of thing strikes anyone else in the same way?

In terms of Illustrations - any illustrations that can be made for and and all of the cool monsters in the back can only help. One of my favorite things has always been to look at the art of monsters to inspire me in bringing them into a game. You bring such fantastic artists to do stuff for ACKS - getting some of these really cool monsters on the page will really spark the imagination for a product like this.

Kudus, Alex, this is really good stuff.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I've only gotten one really good pass through the document. It's incredibly impressive and does for Monsters exactly what the Player's Companion does for PCs and Domains of War does for large scale combat and domain-level play. It's fantastic.

Thanks! That's very high praise.

Shadow Lair: I'm having a little bit of a tough time wrapping my head around the Shadow lair. Does the calendar stone allude to the the fact that the sphere is there? Are the shadows inside the sphere or have they been released and are nearby the stone? Can they go back and forth into the nether darkness sphere at will? What possible benefit is there to actually being within the sphere? It seems really cool but I'm just a little confused by the writing as to actually what this whole thing is.

It had a very specific explanation in the Auran Empire setting but I thought it might be better to keep it more general in the text. I clarify those answers though in a revision.

Minotaurs: I'm wondering if their lair should be a little more thematically appropriate to them mythically and in a way that will allow them track their foes. I like their situation, the totem with the captives (it's creepy and gross), but the fact that they were hanging out in tents was a bit odd to me. Should they be in a dungeon (which the Core rulebook says they prefer) or some sort of area where it's difficult for trespassers to figure out how to get away from them but they know the best ways to get to trespassers? 

There is an ongoing challenge in the book to balance the desire to provide "exemplary" lairs that tie into the creature's mythic themes (e.g. a labyrinth for the minotaur) and the desire to provide naturalistic lairs that fit into a world and the desire to offer something fresh. With the minotaurs, since they are more beastmen-thugs in ACKS than mythic-Greek-monsters, I went with something more naturalistic.

I love them. They're interesting and they're deepening the lore and style of the 'default' world of ACKS. A bit heavy on the undead but undead are incredibly cool so what can I say? I love that some really neat old favoritees are being brough into the ACKS world and made uniquely ACKS-ey - the Arane from Isle of Dread for instance, the Child of Nasga (hah, almost autocorrected into Child of Nascar), the geniekind, the sorcerous sphere. The only monster I really miss from ACKS still (only because it's a personal favorite) is an ACKS verson of the mind flayer. And the new, high level stuff is awesome and frightening - the draugr, for instance, with the Haugbui.

The Khepri is the ACKS version of the mind flayer! You'll see it soon.

I only have a question with the Dire Beastmen. One thing that I think ACKS does amazingly well and prides itself on (with some suspension of disbelief obviously) is grounding mechanics into something that feels believable in terms of world building. With humanoids that powerful and that seem to be breeding so successfully ("now their numbers have grown vast..."), I wonder why they haven't overtaken the game world. I always feel as though there needs to be something with humanoid creatures so overwhelmingly strong compared to a human troop and that breed relatively easily that keeps them from just overrunning every human settlement. Do they breed slowly so it takes a long time to replenish their numbers? Do they prefer to war against and kill each other like hobgoblins and orcs which keeps their focus relatively inward and their numbers down? Do they need a powerful priest, sorcerer, or some other magical or divine wellspring to keep them alive, focused, or breeding? I'm always wary introducing 4+ hit die humanoids into a campaign world unless I can rationalize (however shakily) why they don't run the show. I can, of course, do that myself or never use them, but I was wondering if that sort of thing strikes anyone else in the same way?

This is a great point. In the Auran Empire campaign setting, the dire beastmen were the creations of a Zaharan sorcerer-king who had survived the great war a thousand years prior and been slowly plotting his revenge. They took him centuries to breed and when the campaign began existed only in small numbers. The longer the campaign went on, the more he had. The culmination of that campaign is his invasion of the Empire with his dire beastman army... As with the shadows, above, I made them more generic, and in doing so my write-up pretty much implies they just have families and breed like regular beastmen. I'll adjust. 

Thanks for the awesome feedback!

The Dark
Sinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

I like the inclusion of some monsters from non-European folklore (the Arab desert ghoul, the Leyak of Bali, the Indian Rakshasa and Yali). Given the presence of the Yali, I'm somewhat surprised the Makara (elephant's head, fish's body) didn't make it in.

I'm amused that the Elemental Genies have survived. In the origin material, marid and ifrit are basically interchangeable. Marid (semitic root m-r-d) loosely translates to "rebellious," but AD&D took the three names (jinn, ifrit, and marid) and made them air, fire, and water genies (I have no clue where they got dao for the earth genie).

The golem ACs seem low. A solid iron statue has the same AC as a human in plate armor? It's just a feeling, but given the magic weapon requirement, they're going to be either untouchable or extremely easy to hit.

The White Wa...err, Hoarflesh are going to be really deadly against unprepared villages if their frost aura counts as "slain by a Hoarflesh" for purposes of being created. 1d4 damage stands a fair chance of dropping a 0-level, and it's unclear whether that damage stacks if you're next to multiple undead or if "anyone slain" means claws only or includes the aura.

Given that terrestrial cephalopods are known to communicate and are tool users, I'd consider the kraken ("cephalopod intelligence to its animal extreme") to be at least borderline intelligent.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

I like the inclusion of some monsters from non-European folklore (the Arab desert ghoul, the Leyak of Bali, the Indian Rakshasa and Yali). Given the presence of the Yali, I'm somewhat surprised the Makara (elephant's head, fish's body) didn't make it in.

The Leyak, Yali, and Rakshasa are the work of Colin Chapman. He's an expert in a lot of the world mythologies that I'm less familiar with.

I'm amused that the Elemental Genies have survived. In the origin material, marid and ifrit are basically interchangeable. Marid (semitic root m-r-d) loosely translates to "rebellious," but AD&D took the three names (jinn, ifrit, and marid) and made them air, fire, and water genies (I have no clue where they got dao for the earth genie).

Indeed. I..I mean The Logos... likes symmetry, and I already had air and fire genies as legacies of B/X, so it followed logically that there would be earth and water genies. I did re-write their powers to run in parallel with those of my existing genies. 

The golem ACs seem low. A solid iron statue has the same AC as a human in plate armor? It's just a feeling, but given the magic weapon requirement, they're going to be either untouchable or extremely easy to hit.

You are totally right. I didn't even follow my own AC rules from the monster creation system. I'm going to chock this up to designer error and fix that.

The White Wa...err, Hoarflesh are going to be really deadly against unprepared villages if their frost aura counts as "slain by a Hoarflesh" for purposes of being created. 1d4 damage stands a fair chance of dropping a 0-level, and it's unclear whether that damage stacks if you're next to multiple undead or if "anyone slain" means claws only or includes the aura.

The damage doesn't stack, but "anyone slain" does include their aura. I'll adjust to clarify.

Given that terrestrial cephalopods are known to communicate and are tool users, I'd consider the kraken ("cephalopod intelligence to its animal extreme") to be at least borderline intelligent.

OK, that settles it. I've been wrestling with whether to make them sapient or not and I think I'll push them to sapient for this reason.

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

I'm absolutely delighted by the Khepri. It is to the classic mind flayer what Flashpoint is to normal DC. 

I also really enjoy the disembodied heart that skitters around on its veins, or as I've taken to calling it, the spaghetti spider. I'm definitely going to have a lich who has their own heart as a pet, and uses it for all the standard villainous cat-stroking tropes.

jedavis
Patreon SupporterPlayer's Companion BackerDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara Backer
Joined: 2012-03-08 01:21

I really like that the rust monsters eat bog iron. It just makes so much sense!

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

I've finally gotten around to a slightly more thorough reading of L&E.

I really like the (crunchy fluff?) thrown into the lairs. It's never JUST a thug guarding a bridge, it's a thug that's only working for the evil overlord because he's trying to fund his kid for wizard school and if the party has a Mage PC they can negate the tension by offering to take the kid as a henchman. Even the ape lair has a little backstory and some poison growing nearby as a bonus for anybody with naturalism. 

I also enjoy the complete list of names for every monster's juvenile form. BABY CUBES ARE BOXES. Also, Tim the Enchanter being rescued by "Lacey" in an example of the rare double reference

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

It delights me to no end that these little references and fluffy elements have brought you joy!!

Warrior-Priest
Patreon SupporterSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Contributor
Joined: 2015-04-28 08:43

I am very pleased with the production. I didn't find anything really outstanding that takes away from the quality of work and the new tool box for judges to use. I really appreciate the matrix for monster creation and tweaking. In all with the player companion and L&E all that is left from my point of view is the ACKS development for in depth magic item / artifact construction... ( which could be addressed in Axioms). In summary I am very pleased, and consider my money well invested in backing these projects... I really sincerely want to see the ACKS system developed to its fullest potential. 

 

 

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

I'm curious, what needs do you have that the current system does not meet?
 

Weron
Sinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-10-07 06:44

I love the book, but find the name a bit off. My impression is that the encounters in the book are all about encountering monsters in their lair. In my opinion the name could just as well have been Lairs & Monsters.

Now, this is related to my pet peevee about the ACKS main book wilderness encounter section. I created a separate thread about that: http://www.autarch.co/forums/general-forums/general-discussion/acks-main...

Warrior-Priest
Patreon SupporterSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Contributor
Joined: 2015-04-28 08:43

 

I'm curious, what needs do you have that the current system does not meet?
 


-susan_brindle

Susan... I would like to see an opiotnal matrix constuction enginefor magic item creation... that remains true to the ACKS principlas already visible in custom characters, monster builds etc... I think the authors have done excellent work in maintian the balance of the game through their crative solutions to giving not only the players but judges tools to expand and develop their own sandboxs while staying true the ACKs methodology. Example being the optional magic systems engine rolled out in  Axioms was right up my alley with my desire to convert Stormbringer RPG to the ACKS style of play. I hope that answers your question.