View Full Version : Game of Houses/Politics in RPG

September 25th, 2008, 06:49

I'm trying to build an element of political intrigue into an FG campaign, and I wondered if anyone knows of rules which might govern a Game of Houses (WoT) or similar political maneouvrings?

It would be good to run a session where the players step back from their normal PC roles and play whole factions to help determine the fate of the nation.

Then they can drop back into their PC roles and the world will have a different balance to it.

To do this, I'm keen to find some political/machievellian RPG rules that we can use just for one or two sessions.

Any ideas?


September 25th, 2008, 09:03
Find some nice free mindmap software, pull arrows between factions and place numbers on the arrows for level of influence.

Adjust bubble-size for sheer military and/or monetary might.

When a factions regard changes for another faction, it tends to also change (if to a lesser degree) the regard held by those holding the second nation in good regard.

If the bubbles for different factions are mobile you might wish to keep some basic alignment ideas as well with up beeing good, down evil, left lawful and right chaotic. Note that factions going to the right will probably become more and more dissolute and hence loose influence. Those going more rigid (to the left) might have more power than anyone thinks even if they are small and/or lacking in monetary resources.

It is generally a good idea to color-code the factions as well since this lets you use that color direct on the map as well to show their area of influence as well.

Put a couple of hindrances on each faction, WHAT hinders them from the greatness they could achieve?

Are they embroiled in a trade-war? Are they in a real war? Is it those pesky raiding parties burning their villages? Is it their culture in some way? Or are they just too complacent being at the top of the wheel right now? Incompetent leading figures?

Also add a few notes on what each factions strength is. "Immense Wealth", "Well trained troopers", "Dark Magic", "VERY strong alliance with 'nnnnn' " etc etc.

Drop in a couple of plot-hooks on each faction... and a gang of bungling adventurers whom seem incompetent but somehow tends to survive even if they do a half-assed job out of any assignment. (This tends to amuse the players a LOT. )

Note that even those NOT taking part in the politics will be powers on this mindmap... the roaming orc tribe might actually be one of the big players due to how they affect the area they move into, the bungling adventurers might be another due to how they solve or fail at handling their tasks. (Gaining or losing influence...)

I use Freemind (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page) and Excel for storing values.

September 25th, 2008, 14:27
You might want to check out "Houses of the Blooded" by John Wick of L5R and 7th Sea fame.

Ram Tyr
September 25th, 2008, 14:31
I have heard good things about Interactive History (http://www.niksula.hut.fi/~juuso/jumkilpi/rules.html). It might suit you. You might also be able to make Dawn of Worlds (http://www.clanwebsite.org/games/rpg/Dawn_of_Worlds_game_1_0Final.pdf) work for you.


September 25th, 2008, 19:29
If you have it, the 3.5 PH2 association rules are interesting. You can also set up a set of factions and just deal Tarot cards for them. Shaintar has an appendix on doing something very similar to that. Similarly, plot generators might help if you generate a plot for each faction and then resolve the inconsistencies as conflicts.

September 25th, 2008, 22:19
Great ideas ... thanks for the tips, I'm sure there is something I can warp to my own devious ends!


Ram Tyr
September 26th, 2008, 01:53
I would be interested in reading what you end up doing and why you went that way. A little insight into why you did not use anything else you checked would be a nice bonus! These kinds of ideas can often develop in the most interesting of ways.

So, if you are so inclined, please do share if you find the time.


September 26th, 2008, 03:16
I think the 2nd edition Birthright is the best at what I think you're trying to do. It is somewhat complex. Or maybe I'm just missing the boat entirely.
This thread on the Birthright forums site discusses a 3.5e conversion: