Sunday, July 24, 2016

Renegade Crowns' Domain Engine

While thinking about the issues with ACKS' domain system, I keep returning to Renegade Crowns.  It's strange that I mentioned it during my Suns of Gold review without making the important connection.

Suns of Gold has a trade system that generates adventures - you often have to go on an adventure in order for a deal to be profitable.  This is good, and fun!

Renegade Crowns' domain system is also designed to make domains a source of adventures.  If you want to stay in power, you have to do stuff.  This is...  good, and fun?  Probably better, at least, than "I sit back on the throne and send henchmen".

Notably, RC has a "domain engine" (sort of like a world engine, but smaller).  It has two pieces of state: an Internal Trouble score, and an External Trouble score.  These go up over time, and going on adventures can reduce them.  If they hit certain thresholds, mandatory adventures happen - deal with them or be deposed.  Internal Troubles may result in settlements declaring independence, peasant rebellions, or courtiers assassinating you, while External Troubles might be monsters eating your peasants or neighboring domains declaring war and invading.  Solving these troubles has varying effects on the trouble scores, depending on how well they were solved and by what means (for example, brutality tends to project strength to monsters and foreign powers, but breeds local resentment).

While the specific modifiers to trouble scores are rather...  cynical ("If the characters actually solved the original problem [causing public discontent], increase the Internal Trouble score by 5 points.  The population now knows that they can get the prince to do things by complaining about him, and they are likely to try it again  in the future"), in the Warhammer tradition, something more-or-less of this form is probably a good replacement for Morale for Simple Domains.

1 comment:

  1. I thought Renegade Crown's borderlands generation system was very impressive, but the rules for running Principalities were the opposite of what I'd want from mechanics.

    - There's no benefit to running a principality at all. It makes life harder.

    - There's no interface between the game world and the principality. How much do you earn? What resources can you extract? What resources can you invest?

    - There's no way for the principality to matter. "No matter how hard the Characters work, they will never achieve anything truly great in the wider world. Their principality will remain small, buffeted constantly by threats both internal and external. They never get the chance to rest on their laurels. Along the way, they might defeat great threats to the world, but improving the status quo is beyond them. And no matter how well they succeed,
    the Empire, the Dwarfholds, and the other Human lands never regard them as anything more than jumped-up bandits."... Also "Player Character princes are likely to lose their principality at some point; the rules for problems are constructed to make it difficult
    to hold on to power indefinitely."

    Essentially it's Adventurer Conqueror Adventurer rather than Adventurer Conqueror King. (Which I think is probably why you like it!)

    That said, I do love the first 75 pages of that book. It's awesome.