Since ACKs intends for you to earn a Stronghold as part of its high level end-game. It assumes you have a player character already built, and nice doughty rules on how to create successors, use money, gain xp, and so forth.
Ultimately, this was more then was needed for a top-down kingdom management game, except ACKs requires /adventures/. You’re expected to go on four of the damn things a year. Also, while off adventuring, you’re not at home administrating. This meant that I, the DM, had to carry a lot of admin weight as the PCs didn’t hear about their decisions from a month prior to adventuring, until they got back from the adventure. Meaning they missed out on events and administration.
Also, PCs had a hard time figuring out what it was they were really good at.
Now, being an RPG, and an OSR RPG at that, ACKs is very well built, but ultimately, we don’t need all of it.
Now, a major inspiration for this game, was a video game called Crusader Kings 2. CK2, as it’s known, is a game where you take on the role of a dynasty of rulers and see how they thrive, or die, throughout the rough time period of roughly the 8th through 15th centuries. Your various rulers have a series of traits, and five stats. These five states determine how well you deal with your subjects and others (diplomacy), how good you are at plotting (Intrigue), how good you are at war (martial), how smart you are (learning) and how good your guy is at basic management (stewardship). The traits modify these five stats, and each of these stats has different effects on other factors (size of your army, how well people like you, how big of a kingdom you can manage, how many vassals you have, and so on). A high enough martial, or certain traits would also grant a ‘personal combat score’ meaning that your ruler himself was a force to be reckoned with.
For us, I think a set of similar stats would be useful. A base idea of class, and then ratings for more adventurer-y things.
I find myself thinking of stuff like say..
Thew: How physically tough is your leader?
Craft: How magically tough is your leader?
Shrewd: How cagey are you / how good are you at doing roguish things?
Ministry: How good are you at managing things?
Allure: What is your personal charisma?
It’s kind of like the classic four classes (and the bard) , although every ruler would a rating in each of these. It would basically let management of disasters come down to a die roll when adjudication is needed.
I think the scale would work best on a 6-tier system. This also makes generation of courtiers and successors easier (roll a 1d6 down the line).
As an example. Let’s say I’ve got Conan.
He’d be say
Thew: 6, because he’s relentlessly beefy.
Craft: 1, because magic is damn near alien to the guy.
Shrewd: 4, he used to be a thief, he’s also pretty damn clever.
Ministry: 3, Conan means well, and 3 here is average. He’s not precisely a master steward, but neither is he an incompetent.
Allure: 5, he’s apparently spectacularly charismatic and people immediately fall in behind him.
Compared against say, Grima Wormtongue
Thew: 2, because he is a man of Rohan, even if he’s the weediest.
Craft 3: He actually knows his way around magical shenanigans.
Shrewd: 6, honeyed words and sneaky git.
Ministry: 1, if this guy was managing the Sahara, they’d run out of sand.
Allure 1: He’s repugnant to even his own ostensible supporters.
I might modify the ratings, or make the scale wider, but I like this system. Especially for conflict resolution stuff. I think I’m going to eliminate the ‘must adventure’ stuff and the ‘lose out on administration’ stuff, for the most part. If you’re going on a journey that takes a few months, you will have to go into ‘regency.’
Also, I’ll need to automate what the ruler stats do to spreadsheet elements, if anything. Ministry might affect Subsistence spoilage for example.