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I have been (re)playing the PC and mobile versions of King of Dragon Pass. I am really falling in love with the concept of the game, and I would like to give it a try at a table with some friends.

I'm looking for a system where:

  • Players would be in charge of the tribe/clan/kingdom/whatever as a whole, and need to make decisions and guide it
  • Players control/represent single characters that are easy to create/replace as the needs of the tribe change (the Clan Ring aspect)
  • While player characters can aid in tasks, most tasks are abstracted away.
  • The system has mechanics or even tools for generating interesting or unusual events
  • I have no attachment to the medieval fantasy world, so something modern or scifi is acceptable
  • While players have characters, the focus is on the group they represent as a whole
  • Players make decisions, and maybe assign NPCs or their character to temporary roles, but there is still an element of luck
  • Time is experienced linearly by players
  • I want the focus to be on the big decisions, and not the minutia of, for example, combat

Microscope hits on a lot of those ideas, but there is no element of luck, and there is non-linear time. Pathfinder's Kingmaker (and kingdom rules) also cover some of what I'm looking for, but in my experience the focus turns too much to the PCs

What is a good system for play like this?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you aware that KoDP is based on an RPG, whose designer did the primary writing for KoDP? \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2015 at 15:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I am, the world of RuneQuest / Glorantha. I have the BRP ruleset published by Chaosium (the RuneQuest rules less any references to the world of Glorantha), which does not, as far as I have been able to find, have any mechanics along what I'm looking for. If you know of supplements that match the tribe aspect, please let me know. \$\endgroup\$
    – rStyskel
    Aug 14, 2015 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ The PenDragon Pass campaign was not clan-focused. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2015 at 1:25

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This sounds almost like something we did in one of Jeff Richard’s games, though I think we switched from character-centric to clan-centric briefly to do it. (Also, like a Sartar tribal council game Greg Stafford wrote up.)

We used the HeroQuest rules, which do have a section on running communities. I don’t think they explicitly handle everything you’re after, but they’re a toolkit which should work about as well as Fate.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.se! It's a treat to have the creator of King of Dragon Pass weighing in on a question like this. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2015 at 1:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you tell any more about how you did it? \$\endgroup\$
    – rStyskel
    Aug 15, 2015 at 12:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ It has been too long, but I believe we were all basically playing important clan members in the long-running Sartar game. Come to think of it, this might have been the Dawn Age game Jeff ran (where we were all important people in the clan): pensee.com/dunham/glorantha/dawnAge twitter.com/KingDragonPass/status/632357576840232960 has some replies that might be useful. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2015 at 15:49
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Reign Enchiridion can do most of the things you're after. It is a fantasy system based on the One Roll Engine (ORE) and contains versatile company management rules which can describe a variety of groups, from warbands to cities. The rules are purposefully light and abstract.

I have not actually made characters in Reign/ORE, but the company rules are modular, which means that if ORE is not to your liking you can trivially apply them to any other system or genre. As such, I've used these rules when my players founded a city in a D&D 4e game.

Each company has 5 stats (Might, Treasure, Influence, Territory, Sovereignty). There are rules for events temporarily affecting these, as well as detailed examples of kinds of actions PCs can undertake to provide bonuses (or penalties!) to specific rolls. These would typically come about as a result of an adventure, though we've also had PCs simply dedicate a month of their time to an activity for a substantial bonus.

While there are no random tables for events, all actions are handled with a roll, so unexpected outcomes are always a possibility. There are also plenty of unique traits companies can have to make them stand out from one another.

As for my personal experience with the system and how it relates to the question, here's how it went. While we still focused on their regular adventuring activities, we also engaged in city management between them, as in-game time passed. The players took control of the city they founded, improving its various aspects and fending off any attacks that may have occurred.

Due to the flexibility of Reign, it was easy to interpret the impact the adventures had on the city, as well as just what it meant to have a city stat go up. While the epic level characters had tremendous impact on their chosen tasks, they couldn't do everything at once. Reign allowed us to get a real sense of a community working together to accomplish its goals at the same time as reinforcing the importance of PCs. But that was a conscious choice, and one can just as easily run a game where PCs are simply leaders and heroes, not demigods.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Per our game recommendation guidelines, please rewrite this to explain via experience with using the system for the purpose in the question how well is does (or doesn't) suit. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 17, 2015 at 3:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this better? \$\endgroup\$
    – Magician
    Aug 17, 2015 at 4:52

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