RPG system for “town management”? [closed]

I have an idea for a campaign in which my players will go with a "colonisation" mission. They will be responsible of exploration and making settlement on unknown land.

My question is, if there is any RPG system that got some built in complex resource system and/or something related to buildings, management etc?

• Campaign will be kind of a classic one mixed with some economical-strategic aspects of being in charge of growing settlement. I'm just curious if there is anything even close to this, or should I make up my own solution?

• Setting will be fantasy (magic, fantasy races) based on feudal culture and technology. Players will be responsible with providing basic resources like food, building materials etc. and defending town if any conflict with natives (no large scale battles, possibly few skirmishes featuring (hopefully) no more than 20-30 fighters of each side).

• As for dice, I'm completely ok with almost any system, most used to d4 through d10.

• Other than town management, players will explore newly found land as they are the first men there (not counting natives). This will feature classic dungeon-running adventures with mazes, traps, archeology and monsters.

Pathfinder includes kingdom building rules that were initially introduced in the Kingmaker Adventure Path (which is a prewritten campaign that sounds a lot like what you are describing).

Being a traditional Fantasy D20 game, it handles non-human races without a problem.

The system handles exploring and claiming land, building settlements (and specific buildings in them) as well as setting up farms around them and roads between them.

It doesn't micromanage food and building resources, but abstracts them out into a general resources pool that you draw on for everything (including converting to cash to pay new magic items or unexpected incidentals such as a resurrection for a King who got himself killed chasing down the monster that smashed its way through the capital city's walls).

There is, of course, nothing stopping you dividing that pool up and making the system more detailed if that is what you want, but I've found the default level provides enough choices to keep the Kingdom turns interesting without being overlong.

In RAW, characters gain XP as the kingdom grows in size (with milestones that come with XP awards measured mainly in wilderness hexes covered and the number of buildings in settlements), but I've followed the common house rule of levelling at the speed of plot rather than tracking XP.

The Kingmaker campaign expects characters to spend about one week a month (of game time) managing the kingdom and the rest of their time attending to personal business and going out on adventures. This allows you to continue the exploration and use your mazes, traps, archeology and monsters.

• Could you detail your own experiences with the system? Have you only read it, or actually run it? – Chuck Dee Mar 6 '15 at 14:28
• I'm in the process of running the Kingmaker campaign. Currently my players have made it to level 7 and we're focusing on running a set of Kingdom turns to let the kingdom grow before starting on book 3. – Quentin Mar 6 '15 at 14:33
• Did you meant D20 and not F20? – Matthieu M. Mar 6 '15 at 15:31
• @MatthieuM. — No, I listen to the Ken & Robin podcast ;) (It's the term they use for fantasy D20 games). – Quentin Mar 6 '15 at 16:14
• @Quentin - can you incorporate that comment into your answer? And perhaps (since you point out the letting the kingdom grow) how the kingdom turns interact with the character level experience? – Chuck Dee Mar 6 '15 at 16:36

You are describing something I have quite a bit of interest in. Check the number of questions tagged for related information.

I would suggest a pair of games to meet your needs:

First, the winner and still champion...

Reign

Reign contains detailed rules for Companies - organizations ranging from a gang to an empire. The linked Reign Enchiridion has just the rules without the default fantasy setting included in the main rulebook as well as some new stuff. It would be my recommended way of getting into the system.

One thing to note is that the Companies rules can be used for organization-level interactions and you can use the system of your choice for the rest of the game. Of course, the One Roll Engine is a good system and can be used for the entire game if you desire.

Reign is aimed at exactly the question you mention - what does being in charge mean for the characters?

I used Reign as a successful replacement for the House system in Green Ronin's Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying. I found the Company rules from Reign much more fit-for-purpose than the rules in the (otherwise fine) SIFRP.

Next up is...

ACKS is an OSR game - OD&D style classes and levels. But it makes good on the broken promise of the original that you'd be able to grow into an influential person in your region. Each class has a kind of stronghold that they can build and develop once they reach a suitable level. Fighters get fortresses, thieves get guilds, wizards get towers, etc., (These are my recollections in general and may not be the exact terms from the rules). Each of these, and indeed, most of the character's other actions, are linked in deeply with the in-game economy.

That economy is one of the great strengths of the game, being both rational and internally consistent, unlike the vast majority of FRPG economies.

The benefit of ACKS is that it addresses your classical dungeon-crawling needs and your large-scale organizational gaming needs all at once in an integrated fashion.

• +1 for Reign :) Could you add some info on the system (ORE is not known to everyone), to how it manages the organizations themselves, and to your own experiences playing it? – Cristol.GdM Mar 6 '15 at 13:42
• @gomad - can you perhaps give a bit more on how it answers the question of 'what does being in charge mean for the characters'? – Chuck Dee Mar 6 '15 at 16:37
• Though I didn't marked this as the selected answer, it's really helpful, especially because of Reign which interested me. Thanks a lot. – Forien Mar 9 '15 at 7:42

Legends of Anglerre

Legends of Anglerre is a med-fan somewhat crunchier adaptation of the Fate rules, with a large section dedicated to organization management and conflict.

• Setting: the book has two sample settings, a low magic one and a high magic one, but the rules are made to fit more or less any medieval-fantasy setting. I personally run it in the Planescape setting, and it works like a charm.

• An organization (small town, thieves' guild, Dark Evil Empire of Evil Darkness™) is created like a character, but with specific stats (Scale or Scope) and skills (e.g. Influence, Administration, Arms, Trade, Diplomacy, etc.).

• Rules are provided for organization expansion, either through players' actions, or through players using their "XP" directly.

• Rules are also provided for organization conflict, whether your Peaceful Village is taking on the Dark Evil Empire of Evil Darkness™, or the Nice Republic is attacked by a Huge Millenia-Old Dragon. Again, it can be done either by organizations acting against each other through their stats and skills, or by PCs acting directly to help one side or the other.

• One thing to keep in mind is that while the system is a bit crunchy (Almost 300 pages of rules, not including the Bestiary or Setting), it still is a Fate game. As such, it can be a bit different and more abstract than more "traditional" games, and can take some time getting used to.

I have been GMing a pseudo-Planescape game with it, where the PCs got responsability of Viking village recently destroyed by beholders. They built it up, managed Trade with the neighbouring villages, set up an Ethereal ships' fleet, and ended up having to organize the whole Plane together to face an Empire of Neutral But Not Really Nice Mirror Creatures.

Organization management took a bit of time to get used to, but once understood, it was pretty smoothless, and it was easy to just ask players what they wanted to do and find a way to translate it into rules.

Regarding RPG-systems: about a decade ago GURPS had some material useful for designing an urban system. An urban system is the constellation of settlements, from the many small to the few large, that are inter-related through trade and specialization. As a practicing geographer, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the authors had incorporated central place theory as a foundation. I believe it was the GURPS Basic: Campaign, 4th edition.

What is central place theory? This [Encyclopedia Britannica link][1] is weak sauce, but a start for understanding Central Place Theory.

If this sort of work is of interest, you might also examine: von Thuenen's model of land rent; Alfred Weber's model of industrial location, Christaller's Central Place Theory, Loesch's Central Place Theory, and Hotelling's ice cream stand model. All will help you think about underlying processes alleged to be at work in settlement formation and the emergence of dynamic city systems.

The benefit of considering the interrelationship between trade and specialization is that you have a simple heuristic for telling players what is and isn't possible to import or export. Or, when lower levels, buy or sell in a settlement of a given size.

Where the RPG-market falls short: I've not seen any RPG books explain clearly ecology, biomes or any other part of physical geography such as climate or landform.

If you are interested in understanding the underlying ecology, at least before magic enters the system, basic text books on bio-geography might be worth a skim. In particular, even knowing the basic biomes (the combination of climates and plants) players will encounter will be helpful in describing the general structure and number of plants and animals encountered. Such knowledge can also help you find easy real-world analogues for the terrain your players encounter. Other resources that might be useful would be introductory level natural biology textbooks or physical geography textbooks.

Frankly, though, coffee table science books that explain landforms using beautiful illustrations are sufficient for your needs. In the US and Canada, these are often found in the sales bins at larger chain book stores at a reduced rate.

Sorry if this is a bit off-topic, but hopefully the original poster finds it a useful answer.

• Missing a link there. – user17995 May 18 '15 at 18:54