Wednesday, May 31, 2023

From the Old Dog Learns New Tricks Dept: Going 100% PDF in a Live Game?!?!?

 It started this way: last night, as I hauled out two 30-40 lb. bags of books and campaign material, I laid it all out for the following morning so I had stuff ready for the game I run after work. I then sat down, and while perusing Drivethrurpg noticed a new compendium from Autarch for the Adventurer, Conqueror, King RPG. In looking at it I realized I had the ACKS core book and Player's Guide on my account as PDFs from many ages ago. It dawned on me that I really had no idea why I had ignored ACKS over other systems, beyond my tendency to go for physical books as a sign of official status, and had never had physical ACKS books in hand...therefore never messed with it before.

The thing is, three years of pandemic and post-pandemic existence got me quite used to using PDFs of books to prep and run games online. I am more likely to have and use the PDFs these days when running Roll20. The first time I really brought out the old tomes for actual use beyond the visceral satisfaction of reading a paper-based product was our return to live gaming a few months back. Yet, when preparing the live scenario at home I am still mostly accessing PDFs now, and only using physical books for which I have no PDF alternative.

That got me to thinking: here's ACKS, a game system I admit I have not done anything with due to the PDF-only status it holds in my collection, but it actually looks like a rather neat game (especially if you enhance it with some of the many cool supplements it has). What if I....and yes, this if crazy talk for an old Gen Xer like myself!....what if I just, kept it as a PDF collection but also tried to use it that way, too????

Madness!!!! But also....yeah. I looked at the other ACKS books I didn't have, and started shoveling print+PDF editions into the cart, and looked at the $150+ price tag to get physical copies of what I wanted. Then I noticed I could get a lot more for a mere $50 and have a very nearly complete collection of all the ACKS stuff without breaking the bank.

I have, like, 3 or 4 active current tablets that can all handle decent hi resolution copies of PDF without any speed issues. I have a very nice laptop which can do this. So....what's to prevent me from showing up with a modest bag of just the campaign stuff, GM screen, and maybe one or two main books I need, and use the iPad or laptop for the rest? Only my own hang up about physical media!

Anyway.....I am now thinking about trying this out tonight, at the game table, and my newly discovered obsession with the ACKS System may be next, to try and run a game which is 100% in my digital bookshelf. 

As a side note on ACKS: definitely a variation on old school, but I love that it uses proficiencies, and while its a class as race domain, the way ACKS does it is rather cool, with unique classes suited to the species in question (such as elven spellswords). I'll post more about that later, I imagine.


  1. For some reason I find this spam comment really amusing. It's more coherent than they have been in the past, maybe signs of a LLM doing the writing?

  2. I have a good bit of the ACKS stuff, loads of fun!

  3. The supplements are top notch as well

    1. I've nabbed 9 of the ACKS sourcebooks and modules so far, all great stuff. Plotting how to spring this on my game group now. Probably the live group though, I don't see that ACKS has any Roll20 support.