Archives of Nethys

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Kingdoms and War

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 198
Some heroes found kingdoms, driving out hostile monsters to make room for peaceful settlers. Others lead soldiers into battle, waging great and terrible wars. This chapter presents rules for building a kingdom and waging war that focus on the larger tactics of city planning and troop strategy rather than managing details of individual settlers and soldiers.

This chapter uses “kingdom” as a universal term to represent all kinds of domains, regardless of size, form of government, and gender of the ruler. Most of the decisions are in the hands of the players, and these rules are written with that assumption, using terms like “your kingdom” and “your army.” However, the GM is still in charge of the campaign, and is expected to make judgments about the repercussions of player decisions. While players running a kingdom should be allowed to read these rules (having them do so makes much of the kingdom building easier for the GM), the players shouldn’t think they can abuse these rules to exploit weird corner cases. For example, players may decide to construct a city full of graveyards because of the bonuses they provide to the city, but if the GM believes that is unreasonable, he could decide that the city is prone to frequent undead attacks. Likewise, a settlement with more magic shops than houses and businesses may slowly become a ghost town as all the normal citizens move elsewhere out of superstitious fear. As with a normal campaign, the GM is the final arbiter of the rules, and can make adjustments to events as necessary for the campaign.

Kingdom Building

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 198
Ruling a kingdom is a complex and difficult task, one undertaken only by the very ambitious. Many PCs are content to live as mercenaries or treasure hunters, no interest in being responsible for the health and well-being of subjects; for these characters, a kingdom is simply a place they pass through on the way to the next adventure. However, characters who are keen to spread their wings and forge a place of power and influence in the world can use this chapter to create a different sort of campaign. If the PCs are interested in ruling only a single town or castle and the small region around it, kingdom building can focus primarily on the settlement and the PCs’ personal demesne. If the PCs have larger goals, such as carving out a new, independent kingdom, these rules allow them to build cities and engage in trade, diplomacy, and war.

These rules assume that all of the kingdom’s leaders are focused on making the kingdom prosperous and stable, rather than oppressing the citizens and stealing from the treasury. Likewise, the rules assume that the leaders are working together, not competing with each other or working at odds. If the campaign begins to step into those areas, the GM is free to introduce new rules to deal with these activities.

Like the exploration system, the kingdom-building rules measure terrain in hexes. Each hex is 12 miles from corner to corner, representing an area of just less than 95 square miles. The hex measurement is an abstraction; the hexes are easy to quantify and allow the GM to categorize a large area as one terrain type without having to worry about precise borders of forests and other terrain features.

Optional Kingdom Rules

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 228
The following sections are optional rules for the kingdom-building system. These rules are modular; if the group prefers a simpler version of the kingdom rules, the GM can ignore the options and only use the standard kingdom-building rules. Many of these optional rules introduce more math into kingdom-building and use complex formulas to derive additional effects to be placed on the kingdom. The GM decides whether to use any of these optional rules in the campaign, and whether to keep or discard them if they interfere with the campaign’s intended style of play.

Mass Combat

Source Ultimate Campaign pg. 234
Sooner or later, even the most peaceable kingdom will find itself faced with the prospect of war. While some kingdoms at odds with your own might be willing to compromise, others are not amenable to negotiation, or respond to overtures of appeasement with ever-increasing aggression. When diplomacy fails, the clash of steel is close behind.

This section contains rules for you as a kingdom leader to create armies, assign their commanders, and prepare them for battle on land, at sea, or in the skies. This includes rules for equipping and maintaining conventional armies, utilizing PCs as part of mass combat, converting groups of monsters into military forces, and going beyond the battlefield to deal with the aftermath of combat.

These rules provide an abstract, narrative mass combat system that will let you rapidly play out a complex battle scenario without getting bogged down in excessive detail, while still retaining fidelity to strategy, tactics, and the realities of the battlefield. These rules are not intended to accurately represent complex wars, provide a highly tactical simulation, or accurately model a tactical warfare miniatures game. Instead, they are intended to incorporate warfare into a campaign while still staying primarily focused on traditional, small-scale adventuring and roleplaying.