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Author Topic: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D  (Read 356 times)

kidkaos2

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Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« on: January 11, 2021, 02:08:29 am »
I am wondering if there's a system out there that has actual game mechanics for handling relations between feudal governments with the one requirement that it not be tied to D&D mechanics.  It can even be a separate storygame shoehorned in, that's fine.  I'm willing to do some game mechanic gymnastics to get it to work.  I'm just trying to keep d20s out of this campaign because I'm trying to keep to smooth bell curves where the random factor isn't too high.  Maybe Houses of the Blooded?  I've heard of that but never looked at it.

Chris24601

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Re: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2021, 12:24:58 pm »
Well, bearing in mind that pre-WotC D&D mechanics could be very divorced from each other, I'd recommend starting by looking at the domain rules in BECMI as those didn't rely on d20's at all to my recollection.

That said; I've tried just about every domain management mini-game over the years and NONE of them are better than just having a GM who can come up with interesting NPCs and events.

Far too many get lost in making the PC's control of a realm about dice rolls and spending specific resource points when player interest is better maintained by the GM saying "one night an exhausted messenger bursts into your feast hall with a wax-sealed scroll bearing the insignia of the Baron of Riverrun. Opening it you see it is a request for aid. The baron's scouts have spotted orcs massing near his border and he is desperate need of additional troops to reinforce his borders and would negotiate with you to obtain the service of yours against this threat."

The main things you need to track are just the size of your PC's income/treasury, the number and type of troops under their command and the territory they control. Specific titles and duties and "domain actions" are less important than what the PCs themselves choose to do; which if left in the realm of pure roleplay can allow for much more out of the box thinking.

Greentongue

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Re: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2021, 01:19:18 pm »
Having a system to follow loosely helps to kickstart ideas.
Never a bad thing.

Eirikrautha

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Re: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2021, 02:41:09 pm »
Having a system to follow loosely helps to kickstart ideas.
Never a bad thing.
Ehhh, if you are looking for "ideas," a "random event" table seems to me to be a better vehicle than a system of mechanics.  Usually, I only use systems for things that I want to incentivize the players to be concerned with.  For example, if your "realm-management" system gives bonuses for the quality of your hires, it incentivizes the players to talk to NPCs they encounter on their travels to see if they can convince some to join them.  So make sure that the mechanics you establish lead the players to focus on the things you want them to focus on.  And if those mechanics aren't forward-facing (i.e., the players don't know them), then I'm with Chris... just come up with interesting events.

Chris24601

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Re: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2021, 03:04:33 pm »
Having a system to follow loosely helps to kickstart ideas.
Never a bad thing.
If all you're looking for is to kickstart ideas then here you go...

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering/other-rules/kingdom-building/events/

Roll as many times as you like to give your PC rulers things they might be interested in getting involved with.

Greentongue

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Re: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2021, 01:41:51 pm »
Ideas are always welcome.  Thanks for the link.
I've tried running a domain level game using "An Echo Resounding" hoping the players would interact.
The mechanics took center stage and there was little interaction between the players directly.
Giving them things to react to may have worked a lot better than hoping for interaction from natural occurring conflict.

S'mon

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Re: Kingdom/Empire level politics outside D&D
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2021, 05:41:46 pm »
Well, bearing in mind that pre-WotC D&D mechanics could be very divorced from each other, I'd recommend starting by looking at the domain rules in BECMI as those didn't rely on d20's at all to my recollection.

That said; I've tried just about every domain management mini-game over the years and NONE of them are better than just having a GM who can come up with interesting NPCs and events.

Far too many get lost in making the PC's control of a realm about dice rolls and spending specific resource points when player interest is better maintained by the GM saying "one night an exhausted messenger bursts into your feast hall with a wax-sealed scroll bearing the insignia of the Baron of Riverrun. Opening it you see it is a request for aid. The baron's scouts have spotted orcs massing near his border and he is desperate need of additional troops to reinforce his borders and would negotiate with you to obtain the service of yours against this threat."

The main things you need to track are just the size of your PC's income/treasury, the number and type of troops under their command and the territory they control. Specific titles and duties and "domain actions" are less important than what the PCs themselves choose to do; which if left in the realm of pure roleplay can allow for much more out of the box thinking.

This fits my experience - including the % based BECMI rules (in Companion Set & Rules Cyclopedia) - the only ones I ever found worth using. There are some good random tables from Dragon mag, eg Holding Down the Fort (#154 I think?) has nice castle event tables.  The 1e AD&D DMG approach of using wandering monster checks as part of the domain system is also a good approach and can be used with any system.
My 5e and Mini Six Primeval Thule games blog:
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