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One of campaigns I used to GM was centered around governing a small, elven village (it was D&D3.5 campaign but it shouldn't really matter). I thought about rules as they were needed, but it was too crude to work in a long campaign. Are there any systems that concentrate and/or elaborate on this matter so that there is enough information to make a campaign where PCs are rulers of a city/village?

EDIT: What I exactly ask for is rules for economics primarily. Things like:

  • Population, changes of population, percentages of different social classes and how all of this modifies economic power of place, changes of people (deaths, people moving in-out, born children)
  • Monthly/Weekly production of place (what produces), trade with other places (how well the trade goes, depending on relations with them)
  • What does the governor need to take care of - Army, Guards, Peasants, Extending city (new buildings?), temples and religion (paying temples, how temples change people's relation to governor)
  • And other similar stuff
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What level of abstraction do you want? There are systems for broad government where you respond to general military or financial conflict, and there are systems where you create individual NPCs in positions of authority. Do you want to respond to declarations of war, or do you want to fine-tune the tax on milled wheat? –  J. Strange Mar 9 '11 at 14:41
I think both types would be interesting to know. But as far as my needs go, I thought about system not concentrating on military stuff, but not as specific as "tax on milled wheat". Ideally it should be something manageable to progress during situations when players are not interacting with the world. So tax on wheat not, but taxes on groups like Ore, Military Equipment, Magical Equipment, Food, Slavery. –  Maurycy Zarzycki Mar 9 '11 at 14:53
It's not a system (i.e., not rules) but Grain Into Gold: A Fantasy World Economy is a detailed investigation of how the moving parts of a fantasy economy would operate, given largely medieval assumptions and not too much magic-everywhere syndrome. It would be an excellent reference upon which to develop a system, and it's fascinating reading alone. Wyatt's review gives more explanation and is a great review generally. –  SevenSidedDie Mar 9 '11 at 16:57
Interesting, I will certainly consider buying it, one of those days I actually get enough free time to half prepare for a campaign. –  Maurycy Zarzycki Mar 9 '11 at 18:05
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2 Answers

I would look at the Fief and Town books from Cumberland Games. I have been looking for a good set of what I call rules for decades. And while these books are still on my wishlist rather than my shelf, Lisa J. Steele's work on GURPS is well known to me. That means I can certainly recommend that you look at the free samples of those books.

And you can't go wrong starting with S. John Ross's Medieval Demographics Made Easy.

Good luck, and if you find great resources for realm management, please let the rest of us know!

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Demographics Made Easy is an excellent source! I can't believe I haven't read it carefully when encountered it while preparing for aforementioned campaign (deemed it unrelated I suppose). Fief and Town looks interesting but these seem to be more of a resources to use as a background or something, seems that I'd still have to invent the "changes mechanism". –  Maurycy Zarzycki Mar 9 '11 at 21:17
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I think the Reign system has mechanics for that, and they work fairly well in conjunction with your standard adventuring system.

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From what I see REIGN concentrates on politics and wars, while I meant economics and prosperity mostly. I might have worded myself wrong, so I've updated the question. –  Maurycy Zarzycki Mar 9 '11 at 14:39
The Reign mechanic also handles economic choices, but not nearly at the level of detail you want. Reign uses a single abstraction over with four resources: Might, Territory, Sovereignty (Unity), and Economic (I can't recall the name of that one). –  C. Ross Mar 9 '11 at 14:47
Reign is good and what I would have suggested after reading the title but before reading the body. Reign is decidedly not a bits-and-pieces simulation. It's abstract at the level of one roll to alter the entire territory's general production for a month, leaving what "product" means as beside the point or a matter left to roleplaying. It wouldn't satisfy anyone's desire to tinker with the details of running a village. –  SevenSidedDie Mar 9 '11 at 16:27
@SevenSidedDie The original question was not nearly so precise. I'm afraid I've never heard of an RPG system that simulates what he wants. –  C. Ross Mar 9 '11 at 16:29
Ah, fair enough! The detailed comment is meant to be mostly information for the OP rather than chiding you for your answer, but I can see now that isn't clear. Sorry! –  SevenSidedDie Mar 9 '11 at 16:51
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