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I have been searching for years for a good realm-management rule set for RPGs. By "realm management," I mean a system that tracks the fortunes of large areas and / or groups in the way that most RPGs track the fortunes of individuals.

For example - A fighter grows rich enough to build himself a motte-and-bailey stronghold. A realm management system will tell players when his buildings need repair, when his holders are hungry, when his neighbors are making war on him.

I am currently happiest with the rules from Reign but I know it's far from perfect.

I would like to know what realm management systems rpg.se users like and use.

UPDATE: I eventually chose the answer with Reign, but I'm still not quite happy. Aramis, thanks for reminding me about the older Pendragon systems. I'm hoping to find additional goodness in Fief and Town both from Cumberland Games.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I would suggest Reign based on the One Roll Engine. It's a great tool for running encounters on a macro scale.

Thanks to rjstreet for introducing me to it.

The core rules, including the best of the supplements and excluding the setting can be had in the Reign Enchiridion

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While I like that Reign includes company rules for being a king, and it's certainly interesting, it doesn't really draw on the ORE much, the way one roll character generation does, and it seems like they could be done better if not tied to ORE. I find this particularly the case after reading Legends of Anglerre, which with all the underlying systems for aspects, stress tracks, plot stress and actions between constructs really has almost everything covered for that - the realm management rules are just another implementation of FATE and its subsystems, rather than being an entirely separate rul –  migo Apr 9 '11 at 0:31
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King Arthur Pendragon has at least two good sets. Yes, plural.

Noble's Book, for 1st edition, is relatively straightforward tracks resources by type, and produces excellent landholdings for smaller-end games; it tends to break a bit at the county level.

Lordly Domains is for 3rd/4th Edition abstracts much of the details, alters the upkeep costs for household knights, and includes more castle construction options.

Both use the same basic accounting methods, differing in how populations are represented and how much income they generate.

Note that all editions are mechanically compatible, and that every edition has a single-manor system in the core book, using the same methodology, but vastly simplified.

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I just found GURPS Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics. The publisher's blurb says:

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick-Maker

Society is built on the backs of people who gather resources and turn them into food, shelter, and finished goods. Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics looks at the lot of ordinary TL0-4 folk – much of which is of concern to adventurers, too! Contents include:

  • Food. How to gather and prepare it, whether you're raising crops or hunting game on the way to your next adventure.
  • Domesticated Animals. Stats for common beasts as sources of both labor and food.
  • Big Machines. Costs, weights, and performance figures for heavy construction and industrial equipment.
  • Manufacturing. Work out how long it takes to make that nifty new sword and how much it costs – and learn secrets that would make it better!
  • Construction. Detailed rules for erecting buildings of all sorts, from log cabins to Gothic cathedrals.
  • Transportation. Guidelines for hauling and shipping almost anything, with stats for low-tech merchant vessels.
  • Occupations. Details about many common jobs, complete with new Professional Skills and practical advice on thriving as a merchant.

If you're not satisfied with fantasy worlds where nobody gets his hands dirty and everything is for sale at the market, then Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics is for you.

Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics is a supplement to GURPS Low-Tech. The information on manpower, manufacturing, and resources would be useful in any campaign that values historical realism.

I haven't read it yet, but I have GURPS Low-Tech and it's up to the usual high standards of GURPS 4e. I suspect that this book would make a valuable addition to any realm-management collection, and I intend to add it to mine ASAP.

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I would like to add S. John Ross's Medieval Demographics Made Easy to this list. It's not really a set of mechanics, but it is a terrific collection of information that might be incorporated into a set of mechanics.

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The A Song of Ice and Fire RPG, from Green Ronin, contains a really interesting ruleset for building noble houses, including generating random histories, and statting out the values of various aspects, from physical goods such as their holdings to more abstract concepts such as the enforcement of law in their lands. The idea is that the actions of the player characters can affect the stats of their house.

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I ended up switching to the Reign system for the second half of my ASoIaF campaign. I couldn't stand the way the ruleset worked in play. It was great for generating a house, but not for continuing one. –  gomad Dec 10 '10 at 16:33
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Another one that I've not used, but here for your consideration, is Chivalry and Sorcery.

C&S is frequently overcome with details; later editions have removed details, rather than added them.

It uses classes and categorization of various typical holdings, and is highly simulationist. Friends who have played it swear by it and at it. C&S' detail levels mean it's not particularly fast playing, but it can replicate many historical issues with good fidelity.

The political and other aspects are supposedly simple to use... but don't read that way in C&S 5E.

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C&S, across its various additions, had mechanisms for designing feudal (and other) societies right down to planning out the fiefs and fortifications each fief would have. C&S2 had a set of rules for feudal economics, even (although they were slightly broken and needed to be fixed -- it looked like last-minute changes were introduced without applying them consistently). –  JUST MY correct OPINION Oct 19 '10 at 7:56
    
I've got 1, 4 and 5 only... they still have the rules, just streamlined a bit. –  aramis Oct 19 '10 at 7:58
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