"Over a millennium ago, when the borderlands were in the dark grip of the Zaharan Empire, the empire’s sorcerer-priests erected a profane temple to house the terrible artifact known as the Stone of Sakkara. Using the Stone, the sorcerer-priests could birth monsters and abominations with frightening ease and magically command the loyalty of chaotic creatures. The Stone brought its evil masters great power throughout the fell empire.
In the centuries since the fall of Zahar, the Stone has lain dormant and forgotten. Now it has awakened, and warbands of beastmen have begun to gather sacrifices to power the Stone’s birthing pools again. Local farms and hamlets have been sacked and pillaged, and entire families have gone missing. The local legate has too few men to even patrol the border; he has none at all to hunt down the source of the evil. Adventurers are needed…"
Not wanting to rest on my laurels after today's post about some campaign commentary I dug out my copy of Adventurer,Conqueror,King's AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. The reason for this is pretty simple looking back into ACK's has always given me ideas & how to use Dungeons & Dragons style games in a different light. This is especially true of certain styles of OSR settings & campaigns especially space dungeons, night roads, other transcosmic settings.
The borderlands of AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara has a pseudo-Late Roman empire keep in an Ancient Egyptian/Mesopotamian culture setting that is rife for further adventures. And I've used this adventure to flesh out other settings as well. The late Auran Empire in this adventure has all of the feel of a governmental body stretched to the maximum. This feels to me not only as a homage to Gary Gygax's B2 Keep on the Borderlands. The Auran Empire could be a part of a greater galactic empire & for me this comes through loud & clear in the Auran Empire Primer.
Adventurer,Conqueror,King's forces of Chaos never sleep & are almost always at the door of the game's setting. AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara puts this idea front & center then slams it home! Humanoids, abominations, shoggoths, & a wide variety of the usual Dungeons & Dragons suspects are present in ACK's. To me ACK's feels like a setting with all of the bells & whispers of an empire that was part of something greater that was suddenly cut off the intergalactic stage. The Heroic Fantasy Handbook & Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu have this same lost empire feeling built right into these book's fluff & background.
The stone is the focus of the AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara but this adventure has seen a lot of use at my table since its publication in 2015. Parts of this adventure would make an excellent addition to Dreams in the Lichhouse's Black City project from back in 2011. The alien feel of the Black City seems like its Grey have taken over parts of H.P. Lovecraft's Elder Thing City from At the Mountains of Madness.
But part of me can't shake the feeling that the official setting of ACK's itself presented within AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara is somehow the lower quarter rung of adventurers even within a science fantasy setting. Chaos is always just somehow nipping at the adventurer's heels. These adventurers cross over into transcosmic settings such as Lamentations of the Flame Princess's Carcosa. If they make it back to the nice comfort of a normal camp fire or bed nothing is ever going to be the same.
Over the course of the next couple of days I'm going to have to dive back into AX1: The Sinister Stone of Sakkara again. There's far more below the surface then meets the eye folks & I think its gonna get interesting.