|I liked it. More space|
is dedicated to the title
of the book than to the
art on the cover.
|Healthy Table of Contents|
Building A Realm
The first chapter talks about all the bits necessary for putting together a stat block for a realm. This is extremely dense, and covers parameters such as the physical size, population density, education levels, corruption, productivity, governance, economy, and so forth. Even though a lot of laying out the stats for a given polity is based on hard usable numbers, sometimes the method by which they are ascertained does require the application of a more fuzzy wuzzy rubric. Admittedly, I think in these cases it makes the most sense, but I do feel a bit uneasy that maybe a number is chosen by looking at a description of some abstract level of an abstract value and picking what sounds best instead of using a formula; but that's the shape of the problem some times. As mentioned earlier, some of the metrics are very similar to some of the previous releases, but tuned in a way to be more mechanically useful, and a little easier to rate for the more subjective metrics. Most importantly, a few metrics are really only useful if you have and are planning to use Mass Combat. Otherwise, a large majority of this chapter is new or improved and stands on its own without reliance on other expensive supplements.
This is the system of actually using the stats that are put together in chapter one. "The Wheel" is a turn based system of executing government orders to take care of subjects, levy troops, complete large scale civil projects, and so forth. Turns nominally last one month and usually you can execute one action per "turn," but taking certain risks or having certain modifications ascribed to a realm can make this more or less difficult. After this maneuvers are explained, there are two tables of random calamities or boons that can occur occasionally to make running a state a little less predictable. Following this, helpful mechanics explaining how to actually improve a realm, from technological achievement, expansion and conquest. The chapter ends with some ideas about dealing with revolutionaries, coups, or similar tumultuous unrests. This chapter explains that Realm Management is meant to be a mini-game alongside the adventuring a party of PCs would normally be involved in, and not the whole enchilada innate of itself. Similar to the idea of Mass Combat not being a replacement for all adventuring of a party, Realm Management is meant to be a tool to make governing a realm useful for the PCs, have some strings to pull to utilize it to their ends, and then get out of the way as they go do other stuff, hopefully both these adventurers and the administration of the government have meaningful and interesting impacts upon each other.
This is basically something that I've been wanting for a long time, so it's hard for me to even think objectively about this book. I feel like it does a great deal to assuaging a hitherto under-addressed issue, but it also inspires a lot of new questions, and makes me look forward to authors adding on and refining an already great foundation.
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