The Kingdom Rolls 3d6 In Order

A couple of weeks ago, Grognardia reader DeForest posted an interesting reply about statting out political units in a campaign:

As I was designing the campaign I decided where the political units were going to be and very, very, very general ideas of what these units were (mainly ideas of racial composition). I then statted them up as characters — straight 3d6 in order. This told me which political units were stronger than others, made wiser decisions, more intelligent decisions, were more robust as a polity, had a greater magical presence, were more mobile in response to threats, etcetera.

The thrust of the remainder of DeForest’s reply dealt with how the random results of this process injected excitement, novelty and creativity into the process. Certainly this is valuable, but it elides another interesting part of the idea, which is that this offers a simple, intuitive scale by which the DM can write up and assess political units in the campaign.

You could probably even utilize the OD&D combat system to resolve conflicts between states. Figure out each state’s class and level, assign hit points and armor class, and treat each combat round as a year. I’m not sure this would be useful, but it would certainly provide an entertaining experiment.

2 Responses to “The Kingdom Rolls 3d6 In Order”

  1. 1 Vincent Diakuw
    May 3, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    Not merely useful, but a great way to spend the hour at the end of an evening where the PCs have unexpectedly tied things up early. Each could take on the role of a nation for 15 minutes and roll the campaign timeline forward.

  2. May 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Upon further consideration, I’d actually make each round a season rather than a year.

    Things to think about:

    • How quickly do political units naturally recover “hit points”?
    • What happens when a political unit runs out of “hit points”? Is it annexed? Vassalized? Balkanized? Forced to pay tribute? Slaughtered to the last man, woman and child? Or is it simply rendered ineffectual for a while, until it recovers? (I figure this can be handled on a case-by-case basis.)
    • How do a political unit’s “spells” manifest in the setting? Cure light wounds could indicate that the country’s leaders are rallying the people; charm person could indicate bribery. But what about sleep? Web? Polymorph other?

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Past Adventures of the Mule

May 2010

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