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In my regular D&D 4e game, we are currently in mid-paragon tier. My character had accrued enough gold that he decided it was silly to continue paying for a room at the local inn whenever we rolled into town, so he bought the place.

Now I'm looking for a game system that includes rules for running a business, to add some flavor to this important change in my character's path towards an Epic Destiny - owner of a chain of inns stretch across the Realms, perhaps?


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Are you looking for something to graft in to 4E, or something else to play because this style of play interests you? The question as written isn't that clear on it. – aramis Nov 19 '10 at 6:00
Would this be a macro-level of play or micro? The first assumes a level abstraction to simulate a business environment and the variables that impact it. The second would be a very intense level of involvement for both player and GM. So any rules used would need to reflect this. – Acedrummer_CLB Nov 19 '10 at 14:01
Aramis: Sorry the question is vague. I'm primarily looking for something to bring to the DM to request we graft it into the 4e ruleset; however, games which are designed around this style of play are also welcome answers and likely to get upvotes. :) – TML Nov 23 '10 at 16:38
Acedrummer_CLB: I don't know that I'm at a point where I want to limit the answers - obviously, either one will require some buy-in from my GM before I can bring it into the game, but I'm still open to options anywhere along that spectrum of complexity you've lain out. – TML Nov 23 '10 at 16:41
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The Company rules in Reign were designed to be independent of the system it was written for, and they can be grafted onto another system painlessly.

The gist of the system is that your organisation has stats of it's own, representing things like finances, territory size, and member loyalty/productivity. Every month of game time you can take a number of actions with your Company, with the rolls possibly modified by your characters' adventures during that month, if relevant to the Company action. Company rolls cover everything from industrial espionage and schmoozing with suppliers, to hostile takeovers and marching armies against enemies (not that an inn chain would have an army… probably). The system gives you a high-level abstraction of the Company's operation while at the same time allowing your on-the-ground actions to directly influence the abstraction of your Company's fortunes.

Though Reign is a big book, there is a condensed handbook (the setting is stripped out, leaving just the rules) called the Reign Enchiridion.

I just picked up Reign through Drive Thru RPG - I'm really liking the content I'm finding in here...even if the company rules don't pay off (I haven't hit them yet, it's a BIG book!), I really appreciate the pointer. – TML Nov 22 '10 at 4:08
@TML Welcome! I'm glad you're enjoying it regardless. – SevenSidedDie Nov 24 '10 at 1:37

Traveller RPG has a rules section on managing the expenses of running a star ship, cargo and passengers. Things like, revenues(room rates), passengers(guests), Crew(staff), maintenance(building & supplies) and problems. You could use that as a starting for point for coming up with something that would fit your campaign. There are random charts for determining the kind of passengers(guests) that you get(if any) and what type of passage they seek.

The rules are fairly light but should cover the bases. I remember playing where we found it was not as easy as it seemed to to make money and always had to supplement the ship coffers with adventuring.

Hope this helps.

That's because the rules are written such that one just about has to adventure. In CT, the profit margin on full load is pretty slim; a few dozen credits per Ton of payload on freight and passengers. – aramis Nov 20 '10 at 1:36
Yeah. I work in business now and the rules are pretty consistent with what I've experienced in business. It's hard work to make money. LOL – Acedrummer_CLB Nov 20 '10 at 18:20
Even though I've always been interested in the concept, I haven't ever looked into Traveller, this might be the thing that finally pushes me to do so. Thanks! – TML Nov 22 '10 at 4:09

If you're wanting to present something to the DM, as he's already a very busy person, then I'd personally come up with some kind of high level abstraction.

For example your character could invest a certain amount of money for a variable monthly return. That variable return could have a few simple inputs.

Example: Player Owned Inn

You spend 10,000 gp on purchasing an inn. Agree with the DM a base level of return, say it makes you 500 gp a month.

Then add in some variation. If you are there for the whole month, buttering up the customers and jollying along the staff then you make your full amount. If you are off adventuring the DM could lower it.

Or the return could be based on a dice roll instead, such as 1d6 time 100 gp.

A chain of inns could introduce some adventuring plot hooks even. Eg. the manager of your inn on the other side of the realms is skimming off the profits, or not returning your cut to you at all. So you have to go sort him out. Turns out he's being blackmailed by a high level organisation or BBEG that you party then needs to deal with.

As a DM, a player that comes to me with potential plot hooks is a player that's more likely to get what they are asking for.

Thanks for the input, Iain - this is actually exactly what I've worked out with the DM (that I present him with a high-level view of the "rules" for owning the inn). I'm just looking for systems that have done this already so I can get a good idea of what a "balanced" approach might be. – TML Nov 24 '10 at 18:53

I recommend combining the Stronghold rules (recently released in DDI) with the Economicon. Using the stronghold rules, especially using the stronghold as a resource storage area as well as a profit-making area, it should be quite feasible to structure adventures around their stronghold. The level-scaling nature of abilities in 4e should complement profit neatly.

Just keep in mind that profit should be considered a treasure parcel that they get up-front, and then have to spend time defending their business as per the normal rules in the Economicon. Also, K's complaints about the 3.5 economy are less important in 4e, where they don't have an economy… as such. Still, the stronghold with the profit rules should serve as an excellent narrative device.

I'm having trouble finding the "Stronghold" rules in my DDI account - where did you see them? – TML Feb 22 '11 at 4:54

Like Reign, Legends of Anglerre includes rules for groups and organisations, beyond just single people. I'm not sure how well that would integrate with D&D 4e though.

For a more D&D focused answer, I'd take a look at the AD&D 2e Birthright setting, which added on running a kingdom to the AD&D rules.

Similarly, the D&D Companion set (#3 in BECMI) included more detailed rules for running a realm, which shouldn't be that different from another sort of business.


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