Gobble-ins, Centaurkeys,and Thanksgiving One-Shots

Happy American Thanksgiving, everybody! I expect most people are reading this on Thursday, because they are drinking as often as possible on Wednesday. This is going to be a hard holiday for a lot of people, and I bet bars and liquor stores are looking forward to Black Wednesday. Let’s assume for a minute that you are woefully hungover and are reading this from your smart device while praying to the porcelain gods. First, I feel your pain, and suggest you pop some alka seltzer and make yourself an egg cream. Second, double up on the mashed potatoes, heavy on the butter. Third, let’s talk about a Thanksgiving themed one-shot you can run while everyone is barely keeping it together.

Domain Rulership, Part Eleven

Last time in this series, I wrote about some additional ACKS content and Sine Nomine’s An Echo, Resounding, with full-throated praise for both. Today I’m covering a domain rulership system entirely separate from D&D: Green Ronin’s Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, by Robert Schwalb. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past twenty years, this title tells you that it presents rules for roleplaying in the setting of George R. R. Martin’s series of novels, based on the hit HBO show A Game of Spoilers. (…nailed it.) Of necessity, I’ll include an overview of the Chronicle engine that SIFRP is built on, but mostly I’m here to talk about domain rulership. What with that being the title of the article and all.

Domain Rulership, Part Ten

Last time in this series, I examined the Adventurer Conqueror King System. Alexander Macris came along in the comments section and offered me previews of five articles that will appear in the AXIOMS fanzine, expanding some particular elements of ACKS’s handling for non-feudal governance and the like. I’m starting this article with some commentary on those, and I’ll continue into discussing An Echo, Resounding by Kevin Crawford. The huge amount of content I’m covering is also the reason this is going up almost twelve hours late.

(image above from the popular HBO series, Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo Kill Everyone)

Domain Rulership, Part Nine

You know, there have been a lot more domain-management systems published for D&D, D&D derivatives, and D&D clones than I would have guessed. Today I’m tackling the Adventurer Conqueror King System (hereafter ACKS), which will take up enough column-inches to stand alone. I’ve been reading about ACKS for years now without actually reading it, though I came very close to buying a copy a few years ago at the Escapist Expo in Durham a few years back. My deep gratitude goes to the generous reader who gave me a copy of the PDF as a gift, just so I could write this article.

Domain Rulership, Part Eight

Last time in the Domain Rulership series, I talked about some of the relatively rules-light approaches to domain and stronghold play, in the form of 13th Age and Dungeon World. Now I’m turning back toward more involved systems: Fields of Blood by Eden Studios, given to me by a generous reader; and Kingmaker/Ultimate Campaign by Paizo, given to me by… a more different generous reader. The point is, my readers are the best. They are discerning and witty and almost assuredly 10% more appealing to members of their preferred gender than people who do not read my column. Look at you, reading this, getting better-looking every second. I mean, not to me, I’m married. But still.

(Image: The Magna Carta. One of the original system documents defining domain rulership as something other than, “it’s good to be the king.”)

Domain Rulership, Part Seven

Previously in this series, I looked at one of the high-water marks for fine detail in domain rulership systems. This week, I’m going to some systems at the opposite extreme: 13th Age and Dungeon World. Not counting, of course, systems that simply have no rules for domain rulership or strongholds. Absence is different from minimalism – and I’m about to split that hair damned fine.

Domain Rulership, Part Four

Two weeks ago, I covered domain rulership in the AD&D 2e DMG and The Castle Guide. Not too long after the latter came out, TSR released Birthright, which ignores it completely, operates on an unrelated set of assumptions, and presents rules for domains anywhere from the size of a small business or cult all the way up to an empire of many provinces. I’ve been going on about how much I love Birthright since I started this series, so you won’t be surprised by full-throated praise – but at the same time, it works a hell of a lot better with electronic aids than it does with pencil-and-paper accounting.

Domain Rulership, Part Three

It’s been a few weeks since my last Domain Rulership article, so let’s get back to it. This week is the first of at least two articles on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Second Edition, because it had two unrelated systems. The first of these is in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, expanded in The Castle Guide and at least referenced lightly in The World Builder’s Guidebook; the second is the majestic Birthright.

Domain Rulership, Part Two

Last time in the History of Domain Rulership, I studied Frank Mentzer’s Companion rules and bemoaned my lack of the Expert rules. To my great surprise, a friend sent me a copy of Expert a few hours after my article went up, so now I can talk about it, and Rules Cyclopedia, and… you know what, I don’t know how much I’ll be able to cover this week, so let’s just take it as it comes.

(Pictured above: every domain ruler needs a council of advisors. This Grima Wormtongue guy seems trustworthy! Wormtongue is a common family name where he’s from. Probably.)

Domain Rulership, Part One

A few weeks ago, my esteemed colleague wrote about PC headquarters and home bases in campaigns. Talking to him about it afterward got me thinking about building new domain-management rules for 5e, taking the best parts from the huge list of other tabletop roleplaying games that have included domain-management elements. To do this, of course, I need to study everything, and as I do that, I might as well turn it into something other people can read too.

There are a lot of games to draw from here, and some of them are more difficult or expensive to track down than others. No promises on which ones I’ll cover in the course of this series, though each edition of D&D will get at least some coverage – including a discussion of how to make 4e’s skill challenges do some of this work.