[Review] ACKS: The Sinister Stone Of Sakkara

The Sinister Stone Of Sakkara is the first officially published adventure module for the Adventurer Conqueror King System (or ACKS for short) from Autarch. It promises a solid beginner level adventure that takes the domain and trade management rules of ACKS into account. Let’s check whether it keeps that promise and how good it fares otherwise.

It integrates well with the ACKS rules, often explaining how certain values were calculated or how flavour is expressed in rules terms. If a more obscure rule would be useful, it mentions where to find it. Occasionally, that is meant better than made though, for example with reaction rolls in Türos Tem: Regardless who is involved, the reaction is mostly buy at discount / standard prices / won’t interact. What is the point of an NPC if it won’t interact with the group?

The friendly NPC are generally a little problematic, none of them have clear motives or goals. A few, like Lady Valerian or Guild Master Karanos, have adumbrated goals. For most, we only learn what they do and when, but not what they want to achieve and why. Strangely enough, the monstrous inhabitants of the dungeon are described better in this regard and even the PC may roll for their motivation.

Beside the monsters, the dungeon is not very engaging. There are hardly any riddles or other content that is not connected to the main target (the adventure’s namesake). On the other hand, the adventure offers some completely superfluous random tables like “fortune cookie quotes” and “banquet meals”.

The dungeon adheres to standards, but does not offer anything special: A lair with monsters here, another one there, chaotic magic somewhere in the middle. Solid work, for sure, but nothing to raise it above the mark. Türos Tem also seems to be rather self-contained, with hardly any leads from Türos Tem to the remaining campaign world.

In several cases, internal references are broken. The most glaring example can be found on p 34, where encounters are listed by name but are referenced by number. One can also find a couple typos.

The Print on Demand (PoD) softcover has a major issue with layout: The inner margin is much to small. That not only makes it difficult to read the text, but also to copy or even watch several of the maps. It completely ruins some pictures (which I otherwise like, they are mostly well drawn).

Conclusion

The Sinister Stone Of Sakkara work well as tutorial for ACKS, but otherwise offers little one cannot find in one of the countless other adventures for D&D clones available on the internet. There is nothing wrong with it, solid craftsmanship, but it does not offer anything special or particularly clever either.

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