Thursday, February 18, 2021

Review & Commentary For Aryxymaraki's Almanac of Unusual Magic By Matt Jarmak For The Adventurer, Conqeuror, King Rpg & Your OSR Retroclones

 "The ancient almanac of unusual magic, penned by the wizard-lord Aryxymaraki in the time before the Day Without Night, has been rediscovered…" 

Within the pages of Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic, you will find four new kinds of magic-user, each of which uses magic in new and exciting ways:

  • Dwarven earthforgers inherit an ancient tradition allowing them to draw on the spark of the divine found in all creation to power their magic.
  • Gnomish alchemists are experimenters whose concoctions range from ‘helpful and safe’ to ‘incredibly poisonous’.
  • Terran engineers are scientists and builders from another time, whose inventions and tinkering certainly appear magical to most non-technological societies.
  • Warlords draw on the chaotic energy of battle, taming it with their practiced tactics and leadership to ensure that their side wins.

These new classes are built for use with Autarch’s Heroic Fantasy Handbook, which provides rules for ceremonial and eldritch magic. Because they use eldritch magic, the new spells (and tactics) described for the gnomish alchemist, the Terran engineer, and the warlord constitute more than one hundred new eldritch spells usable in any campaign that includes eldritch magic, even one that doesn’t include any of these new classes. Of course, it wouldn’t be an ACKS supplement without full builds for all of the classes and spells, and the source factors for gnostic magic, allowing you to build your own content to expand what’s in the Almanac"

Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic is one that I've been waiting for since the kickstarter reared its head a long while back. Clocking in a fifty six pages of ACK's goodness Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic  packs in the magical PC goodness for orienting magus towards the Heroic Fantasy Handbook.  

And like it Dwarven earthforgers are a welcome add on to Adventurer, Conqueror, King giving the Dwarven PC classes a much needed magical elemental boast. The class is well rounded & feels like it belongs in Dwarven hold deep beneath Greyhawk.

 Here's exactly the sort of flavor we're talking here;"
At first level, dwarven earth-forgers are able to learn and cast gnostic ceremonies in the runic tradition. Unlike other ceremonial spellcasters, dwarven earth-forgers know only one ceremony at first level, determined by their choice of sigil of creation (see below). The ceremonies available to dwarven earth-forgers are referred to as invocations. They may cast an invocation at any level equal to or less than the maximum level listed on their progression table, below, for their class level. The invocation will describe its effects at each level in its description. When they perform an invocation, they may choose which level to perform it at; they do not need to prepare it ahead of time" We get behind the scenes building of the class from the ground up. Then variarations & much more.  The Gnome Alchemist is another class that as player & DM that I really like ;"Gnomish Alchemy is a new subset of magic for ceremonial and eldritch magic. It is a kind of eldritch magic, and uses all of the same source factors and can theoretically access the full spell list. In addition, any spells designed for gnomish alchemy can be used by eldritch spellcasters without any change necessary (beyond determining their shade). Instead of its spells being categorized as Black, Grey, or White magic, they are categorized as Toxic, Tolerable, or Safe. Instead of risking Corruption when casting Black or Grey magic, they risk exposing themselves to Toxicity when using concoctions that are Toxic or Tolerable. And instead of comparing their Corruption to their Wisdom score, they compare their Toxicity to their Constitution score. Thanks to their distance from the magic, provided by their use of alchemy rather than direct ritual, they can blithely perform acts that would sear the soul of an ordinary eldritch caster. However, because their ingredients have difficulty doing things outside the physical, effects that are perfectly safe for ordinary eldritch casters may be among the most toxic for a gnomish alchemist." 
Simple easy, & straight forward.. And its a well done class but then we slide deeper into the Alchemy levels for the Gnome Alchemist we get deeply into their background, motives, class structure, & much more. 
And then we get into one of the primary villain NPC race's magicks  of my campaigns 'The Terrans'. And their traditions of Terran engineering; "
Like Gnomish Alchemy, Terran engineering is a new kind of ceremonial and eldritch magic. Terran engineers can easily do some things that are horrifying or dangerous for other eldritch spellcasters (including gnomish alchemists), but have difficulty with other things that might be simple for them. Instead of their spells being Black, Grey, or White, they are categorized as Hypothetical, Experimental, or Tested. Only Tested spells can be cast or learned safely! Even Experimental spells carry dangers with them, and Hypothetical spells, which truly test the boundaries of engineering, are even more dangerous. Like gnomish alchemists, Terran engineers do not gain Corruption in the normal way; instead, they gain intellectual apathy as they delve deeper past the frontiers of the science they know and learn the dark secrets of the universe. Their ability to resist this is based on their Intelligence score, rather than their Wisdom score." 
We get deep into the actual nuts & bolts of the alien technologies & dangerous sciences of the Terrans. And not all is wonderful with them. Take for example the spell Aversion Field; " 
Aversion Field Range: 0’ Terran Engineering 4 (Hypothetical), Duration: 9 turns Eldritch 4 (Black) By means of a supersonic noise above the level of human hearing, the caster can create a field that repels animals. The field affects a 480’ diameter sphere centered on the engineer when cast, though the field does not move after casting. The field lasts for nine turns. Animals and giant animals in the field when it is cast, or who attempt to enter the field for the duration must save vs Spell; on a failed saving throw, they flee in panic for 30 rounds. On a successful saving throw, the animal is not affected by the aversion field." Applied to the holdings of a Terran royal through his or her engineer a pattern of spells & operations for the Terrans emerges. And its not all rainbows & sunshine. This is a race whose spell casters have an agenda & its clear through out Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic that PC's better watch out. Finally we get a brand new class of magic in form of Warcraft; "The ebb and flow of combat…the dance between life and death. There is an art to war, to knowing when to step forward and when to fall back. When to take a chance, and when to cut your losses. And as with any art, there are masters of it. Those masters call their art warcraft. Is warcraft magic? There is power in it, and its secrets seem to be visible only to a talented few. Perhaps it is a matter of training and talent only. Perhaps there is magic in it, as there is magic in a sunset or in a baby’s first breath. There is a raw power available in combat, as primal forces surge to the fore while combatants strive for victory or death. Warcraft is the art of recognizing that power and of manipulating it through the actions of yourself and your allies. Practitioners of warcraft do not directly manipulate magic, and would not consider themselves spellcasters. They are strategists and tacticians, commanders and captains. By recognizing the flow of the battle (consciously or not), they can identify the perfect action to take at the time, and the effects of such perfect timing can be magnificent." 
Without a doubt Warcraft magi would be right at home in the field with the armies of Rome! Seriously this class is everything I was expecting & wanting from 
 Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic. This is a battle magi worth of ACK's warfare. A solid class of magus capable of pulling off some of the magicks to bring the war to the enemy in spades. This is a good solid class to add to party if their looking to profit & deal with warfare on a tactical or grand level. 
Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic be added to other OSR systems?! Easily in my opinion where Labyrinth Lord  & its subsystems are used. Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic is a good book to add into the mix to get the maxinum ulility out of your OSR systems. 

All in all I'm really glad that I backed Aryxymaraki’s Almanac of Unusual Magic it has just the right combination of OSR magicks & classes to make a worth while addition to a DM's tool box for Adventurer,Conqueror, King rpg. 

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