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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Zaharan Darklord

Thanks very much to all of you who supported the ACKS kickstarter. Here is one of the rewards. From the designer: "It's a powerful class that oozes flavor and will likely see a lot of use in play." Here is an excerpt from how the Darklord class is translated into game terms. I am told the artwork will be suitably awesome and will post it when it is ready.

Zaharan Darklord
And those who perceived his shadow spreading over the world called him the Dark Lord and named him the Enemy; and he gathered under his government all the evil things that remained on earth or beneath it, and the Orcs were at his command and multiplied like flies.” 
– Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age, The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien)
Prime Requisite: INT, CHA
Requirements: INT 9, WIS 9, CHA 9
Hit Dice: 1d4
Maximum Level: 11

From time to time, a Zaharan arises whose cruelty, ruthlessness, and lust for power are remarkable even for one of their dark race. Such a being is called a darklord, and he brings doom and woe to all who cross him. If left unchecked by Lawful heroes, a rising darklord will inevitably unite the vile minions of Chaos and usher in an era of war, ruin, and darkness.
Though they prefer to allow minions to fight for them, darklords are nevertheless formidable combatants. At first level, darklords hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. Thereafter they advance in attack and saving throws by two points every four levels of experience (i.e., the same as clerics). Darklords can fight with battle axes, crossbows, great axes, maces, morning stars, and swords, often decorating their weapons with vile runes, bloody spikes, serrated edges, and other sinister decorations. Darklords can wear any armor up to and including plate (and can cast spells while so armored), and can fight with a weapon in each hand or with a two-handed weapon, but cannot use shields.
Like the Zaharan sorcerer, the darklord possesses the ability to learn and cast eldritch spells. The number and levels of spells the darklord can use in a single day are listed on the Darklord Spell Progression table. A darklord’s spell selection is limited to the spells in his repertoire. A darklord’s repertoire can include a number of spells up to the number and level of spells listed for his level, increased by his Intelligence bonus. All darklords can use any magic items usable by mages or clerics. More information on casting eldritch spells, and individual spell descriptions, can be found in the Magic chapter (p. XX).
However, the paramount power of the darklord is his ability to dominate beastmen. By calling upon his implacable will and magical strength, the darklord can command the vile minions of Chaos to do his bidding. The darklord must be visible to the beastmen and be able to speak a language they understand in order to dominate them. The potency of this ability is determined by level.
On the Dominate Beastmen table, there will be a dash, an “A”, an “X”, or a number corresponding to the Hit Dice of the beastman and the level of the darklord. A dash means that the darklord has not attained a high enough level to dominate beastmen of that HD. A number indicates that the player must roll that number or higher on 1d20 in order to dominate the beastmen. If the beastmen are already friendly to the darklord, he gains a +2 bonus to the throw. If the throw succeeds, the darklord dominates 2d6 total Hit Dice of beastmen for 1 turn per level of experience. An “A” (“automatic”) means that the darklord automatically dominates 2d6 total Hit Dice of beastmen for 1 turn per level. An “X” (“extended”) means that the darklord automatically dominates 2d6 total Hit Dice of beastmen for 1 day per level. At least one beastman will always be dominated, as appropriate, on a successful domination throw. If beastmen of mixed HD are present when the darklord attempts to dominate them, the weakest beastmen will be dominated first. When the darklord’s domination ends, the beastmen will flee from his presence for 10 rounds, following the best and fastest means available to them. If they cannot flee, they cower in terror, taking no actions and suffering a -2 penalty to AC.
EXAMPLE: Theophanous, a 5th level darklord, confronts a gang of five orcs (1 HD) accompanied by an orc champion (1+1 HD) from the Blood Eye tribe, accompanied by an ogre (4+1 HD). On his initiative, he attempts to dominate the beastmen. He automatically can dominate 1 HD orcs, but he needs to throw 4+ to dominate the orc champion and 13+ to dominate the ogre. He throws 1d20 and the result is 14. Therefore he has (potentially) dominated all the beastmen. Had he rolled, e.g., an 13 he would only have dominated the orcs and orc champion, and had he rolled a 3 or less he’d only have dominated the orcs. He now rolls 2d6 to determine the number of Hit Dice he has dominated and rolls a 7. Since the weakest beastmen must be dominated first, he dominates the five orcs and the orc champion (6.25 HD total) but not the ogre. Had he rolled an 11, he could have dominated the 4+1 HD ogre as well (10.5 HD total). In any case, the beastmen will remain under his domination for 1 turn per level, or 5 turns.
All Zaharan darklords possess certain inhuman benefits and drawbacks from their demoniac bloodline. First, Zaharan darklords are inexorable in the face of horrors that terrify normal men. They are immune to all natural and magical fear effects. Second, darklords benefit from the ancient pacts of service and obedience by which the lords of Zahar ensorcelled the dark powers of the world. Some creatures still remember these pacts and will aid Zaharans when commanded. All Zaharan darklords gain a +2 bonus to reaction rolls when encountering intelligent chaotic monsters. Intelligent chaotic monsters suffer a -2 penalty to saving throws against any charm spells cast by a Zaharan darklord.
Third, due to their background and training, all Zaharan darklords speak four dark tongues. In the Auran Empire campaign setting, these languages are Ancient Zaharan, Goblin, Orc, and Kemeshi. The Judge should substitute appropriate languages of his own devising for other campaigns.

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43 Comments:

Blogger James Dixon August 15, 2017 11:37 AM  

> Third, due to their background and training, all Zaharan darklords speak four dark tongues.

Only four? Well, I guess that's the minimum and they can learn more.

They seem to have left out the special case of increased attack speed at the cost of reduced stamina though.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab August 15, 2017 11:41 AM  

It says nothing about the DarkLord wearing Italian loafers.

Blogger S1AL August 15, 2017 11:53 AM  

I will disappointed if there isn't a class-specific "Summon Infernal Chalice" spell.

Blogger Shimshon August 15, 2017 12:05 PM  

Darklords are also very fast, like the wind. But only for a couple hundred meters. After that, they lose stamina quickly.

Anonymous Astalnar August 15, 2017 12:07 PM  

Is there any chance to support this campaing after it is closed? Would love to get my hands on the PDFs for both books.

Blogger VD August 15, 2017 12:08 PM  

You can buy the books on release, I believe.

Anonymous Man of the Atom August 15, 2017 12:26 PM  

Outstanding -- and Happy to support such a fine effort, Supreme Dark Lord -- waiting with impatience for my new ACKS supplements to be ready.

War in a Box (John Mollison?) built you and a VFM in miniature.

Anonymous Killua August 15, 2017 12:29 PM  

Sounds awesome!

Blogger JRR August 15, 2017 12:35 PM  

An unarmored foe is ac 10 -or 9, depending on edition, not 0. 0 is very good armor, equivalent to plate mail +3.

Blogger Aeoli Pera August 15, 2017 12:40 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Nate August 15, 2017 1:10 PM  

Vox... now trapped in his office... by his own enormously swollen cranium.

not unjustly.

Anonymous Oh, yeah, I remember that guy August 15, 2017 1:16 PM  

"... and he can shoot fire from his eyes, and he's eleventy feet tall, and he rides a motorcycle all the time, and can use battle axes AND magic, oh and he coincidentally looks just like me."

Anonymous Causal Lurker August 15, 2017 1:17 PM  

After all this time, someone needed to describe and build a proper Dark Lord character. I read the extended splutter-fest about the Dark Lord character on ACKS website, and this amused me. Oh Autarch, can you not see that SJW also stands for Small Jolly Warrior (hobbit)? Surely the thought of VFMs tearing apart or barbecuing (alive) an SJW would also warm your heart?

Anonymous Man of the Atom August 15, 2017 1:22 PM  

Causal Lurker wrote:Oh Autarch, can you not see that SJW also stands for Small Jolly Warrior (hobbit)? Surely the thought of VFMs tearing apart or barbecuing (alive) an SJW would also warm your heart?

Stolen for my first game using the Darklord character.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( You are Welcome ... to go back to the hell hole you came from ) August 15, 2017 2:02 PM  

"all Zaharan darklords speak four dark tongues"

hmmm. seems phonetically related to 'forked tongue'.

welp, you know how them Indian Givers are, what can you expect?

" Theophanous"

hah!

Anonymous Alexander August 15, 2017 2:10 PM  

JRR, the game that this class is created for is ACKS, not D&D. In ACKS a character with no armor is AC 0. Leather is AC 2, Chainmail is AC 4, Plate is AC 6, etc.

Anonymous WaterBoy August 15, 2017 2:18 PM  

"Though they prefer to allow minions to fight for them, darklords are nevertheless formidable combatants."

Except for their poor spatial perception, which causes them to suffer a -2 penalty when using the crossbow or when throwing other objects.

It should also be noted that certain Darklords often carry a magical item called the Miniature Umbrella of Clarity. By placing it in any alcoholic drink prior to imbibing, the Darklord renders himself impervious to the effects of alcohol and continues displaying the impeccable logic of the sober.



Blogger wreckage August 15, 2017 2:22 PM  

Speaking of tabletop gaming, an SJW swarm just descended on one of Reaper Miniatures employees. Reaper corporately isn't any kind of alt-right, but the employee drew fire for saying Antifa and Nazis were all jackbooted control freaks, and that historically speaking, modern American Nazis were not 20th century German Nazis and didn't gas anyone.

Subsequently a Facebook campaign aimed squarely at their Kickstarter project kicked off. No idea of twitter or other involvement, but I thought it was a clear cut attack on gamers, and this was the only venue I knew of for letting Gamergate and OSR people know this was happening.

Blogger JRR August 15, 2017 2:25 PM  

"RR, the game that this class is created for is ACKS, not D&D. In ACKS a character with no armor is AC 0. Leather is AC 2, Chainmail is AC 4, Plate is AC 6, etc."

Ah, must be a liberal game. Everything is reversed.

Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( You are Welcome ... to go back to the hell hole you came from ) August 15, 2017 2:42 PM  

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-phane

Blogger Knighterrant August 15, 2017 3:57 PM  

Its already ended over at Reaper, they put up the following:

"From Ed Pugh, CEO Reaper Miniatures
It has come to our attention that one of our employees became involved in a series of controversial posts on social media. We are deeply embarrassed that our company name has been associated with these statements. Reaper’s culture values diversity and equality, and we do not support, condone or agree in any way with the views the employee expressed in that discussion. We are reviewing the matter and taking appropriate action.
Best wishes,
Ed Pugh, CEO"

and the employee in question put up an apology on his Facebook page. No confirmation yet if they fired him or not but he has removed Reaper from his Facebook profile's work history.

Anonymous Man of the Atom August 15, 2017 4:00 PM  

@21. Knighterrant
Converged. Bye bye, Reaper Miniatures.

Blogger Nate August 15, 2017 4:03 PM  

"Except for their poor spatial perception, which causes them to suffer a -2 penalty when using the crossbow or when throwing other objects.

It should also be noted that certain Darklords often carry a magical item called the Miniature Umbrella of Clarity. By placing it in any alcoholic drink prior to imbibing, the Darklord renders himself impervious to the effects of alcohol and continues displaying the impeccable logic of the sober."

Also it is widely known that dark lords have deep affection for fine footwear.

Blogger Knighterrant August 15, 2017 4:06 PM  

I should add though that I live nearby and have visited Reaper repeatedly and met several of their employees and I can say they're definitely not a leftist enclave by any means. But they are a relatively small company in the big scheme of things, the Desktop gaming industry is so heavily left wing right now and they are in the middle of a major Bones Kickstarter that they need to be successful if they want to keep their plans of switching all their mini lines to affordable (and profitable) resin on track. The truth is they're extremely vulnerable to an industry boycott right now and I would not be surprised if they're just trying to play for time and did the absolute minimum to to end the matter quickly so they could wait out the news-cycle (the fact that no one has specifically said the guy's been fired is hopefully a sign this is the case).

Oh and of course, despite all the promises by SJW posters on their facebook page that there were going to be a wave of new pledges coming in to their KS campaign due to their compliance the #'s have barely moved....

Anonymous VFM #6306 August 15, 2017 4:42 PM  

Reaper's smart business move would have been:

"Reaper Miniatures, Where SJWs Can Sod Off."

Their kickstarter would have taken off like a rocket. Screw the failing leftwing comix stores. They are a complete joke.

By trying to tiptoe past the SJW, they've dodged the heat, but not yhe collapse of a converged industry.

Blogger Durandel Almiras August 15, 2017 4:51 PM  

Where is the summon VFM spell?

Where is the spell, Triggered, where any creature or character of INT 10 + player lvl/2 (rounded down) suffers a debilitating Tourette's seizure for 6 combat rounds/lvl or 1 game day/lvl? Spell works for twice as many rounds on Orcs when the Dark Lord tells them "to go back," and on Elves when he says "free trade has issues".

No meme magic attack!? No sexy female hirelings with whips? No special ability where the Dark Lord deals physical damage twice as hard after suffering an attack?

Is Alex taking this game expansion seriously or not?

Anonymous Deadlocked August 15, 2017 5:08 PM  

Does the full class description include any of those "inhuman [...] drawbacks from their demoniac bloodline"? It looks quite interesting, but without knowing about those it's hard to judge.

Anonymous Avalanche August 15, 2017 5:28 PM  

@17 By placing it in any alcoholic drink prior to imbibing, the Darklord renders himself impervious to the effects of alcohol and continues displaying the impeccable logic of the sober."

That's very sad; was he cursed to have to carry it? Is he forced to use it, or can he contain it by his strength of Will? (And who's Will?)

Anonymous Priorities August 15, 2017 5:43 PM  

Would Aristotle have wasted his time shilling autistic dreck like this? Especially at the hour when his cultural legacy was circling the drain hole?

Blogger Nate August 15, 2017 6:06 PM  

"Would Aristotle have wasted his time shilling autistic dreck like this? Especially at the hour when his cultural legacy was circling the drain hole?"

shut up moron. When you carry one tenth of one percent of the water Vox does... think about opening your mouth.

Then rethink it... and keep it shut.

Anonymous Überdeplorable Psychedelic Cat Grass August 15, 2017 6:33 PM  

OT:

My girlfriend just called. Her brother got into a bad car wreck and may not make it. Prayers would be appreciated. Thanks!

Blogger James Dixon August 15, 2017 6:40 PM  

> Where is the summon VFM spell?

The VFM are dominated Beastmen.

> ...drawbacks from their demoniac bloodline

The redskins were called devils you know.

> Prayers would be appreciated.

Offered.


Blogger ((( bob kek mando ))) - ( You are Welcome ... to go back to the hell hole you came from ) August 15, 2017 6:50 PM  

29. Priorities August 15, 2017 5:43 PM
Would Aristotle have wasted his time shilling autistic dreck like this?


bitches don't know bout my LULZ.

Blogger VD August 15, 2017 7:04 PM  

Would Aristotle have wasted his time shilling autistic dreck like this? Especially at the hour when his cultural legacy was circling the drain hole?

Always nice to hear from the Gammas. The RPG train is fine.

Blogger Nate August 15, 2017 10:12 PM  

NFL season is starting up. I'm sure we'll hear all about how much they don't like sportsball.

so original.

Anonymous Korbin Ransley August 15, 2017 11:09 PM  

Sure does 8^)

Anonymous Korbin Ransley August 15, 2017 11:30 PM  

Nice. Great stuff. Would love to see the artwork. 8^)

OpenID jeffro August 15, 2017 11:43 PM  

Hahaaah... yes! Vox has d4 hit dice!

Blogger wreckage August 16, 2017 12:08 AM  

Nah, Reaper ain't converged. It's a money making machine run by accountants. They do however try to support their retailers so they will try not to make trouble. The FB post was a shitstorm of support for the employee, and something like 100 people immediately gave Reaper positive reviews, but the company is too small to have a Kickstarter fail.

Robust, but not antifragile.

They have emphatically stated that they haven't fired the dude, the SJWs have quit the field on FB and the KS comments.

Sorry for the partial hijack!

I play SnW, the Darklord should convert over nicely!

Anonymous Korbin Ransley August 16, 2017 1:13 AM  

@24 and @39 That is reassuring to hear.

I definitely want to check these books out now. I've been exposed to so much through Vox Popoli, Alpha Game, and the Dark Stream, and I can share them with others. I feel grateful. 8^)

Blogger wreckage August 16, 2017 1:27 AM  

You CAN lurk on Reaper's FB page and play "spot the SJW"; anyone insinuating,usually indirectly like a spineless turd, that the guy SHOULD be fired. Some of them don't mention that, for example, as purveyors of papercraft miniatures, they are Reaper's competition.

I like SnW for its simplicity, but it works hard to be "true ODND" and as such has some omissions. ACKs and Labyrinth Lord fill in those gaps, but I kinda focus on SnW for the simplicity.

Blogger wreckage August 16, 2017 4:40 AM  

And now the Daily Caller is running a hit piece on Reaper.

This is why the right loses. Not a lack of aggression, not a lack of commitment, a lack of any tactical sensibility, and a total ignorance of 4G warfare.

A village is under domination of a local warlord. One of their members is singled out. They try for a diplomatic solution, yeah, it's submission, but it's not like they have the upper hand.

The Right charges in while negotiations are still ongoing, kills half the villages fighting age men for collaborating with the enemy, declares victory, and leaves.

The warlord is still at large.

We are doomed; because our side are buffoons.

Anonymous User August 17, 2017 1:07 AM  

I get a strong Melnibonean vibe from this. I like it.

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