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Ultimate Rulership (PFRPG)

***** (based on 5 ratings)
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A fantastic expansion to the kingdom-building rules for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

If your characters are building a kingdom, you cannot miss this 40-page product! Designed as a perfect complement to the newly revised kingdom-building system, Ultimate Rulership contains a dazzling array of new options including new Edicts for royal commissions and endowments, espionage and festivals, and militarism and recruiting new armies. Add nearly 20 new buildings for your cities from Aeries to Tunnels, Hanging Gardens to Crematoria. Guidelines for population and military recruitment, and for integrating settlement attributes, kingdom events, and danger levels; naturally advantageous sites and exotic city locales from cliff dwellings to treetop towns to cities under the sea!

We hope you enjoy the first product in our line of Ultimate Plug-Ins and look forward to upcoming products supporting not only the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Ultimate Campaign hardback but other hardback rulebooks. Players and GMs alike will find fantastic rules support from the best authors in the business, delivered the creativity, flair, and imagination that will Make Your Game Legendary!

Download includes two files: one full-color version and one stripped-down printer-friendly version.

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Product Reviews (5)

Average product rating:

***** (based on 5 ratings)

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If you like Kingdom Building... you want this.

*****

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I'm a huge fan of the Ultimate Campaign Kingdom rules, as well as Legendary Games, so when a complementary product is released, I'm quick off the mark to buy it (but not too quick to review, it seems).

This book is the perfect expansion for people who want more depth and options for their kingdoms, written by the maestro of kingdom crunch, Jason Nelson.

The Good
If the introduction didn't sell it well enough, here's some broad details:
New edicts, covering things like festivals, espionage, and military recruitment.
New buildings, offering greater variety in benefits (and building tiles for your settlement sheets).
Population revised, which gives a more detailed approach to the size of your settlements.
Events revised, accounting for the kingdom's danger level.
Titles. Lots and lots of titles, drawn from the real world, you can find the perfect noble title for your ruler (and rules for how proclaiming yourself Emperor if you only rule a single hex makes you look like an idiot).
And lots more... (and I don't mean "just one more bit", this book is packed with options and rules.)

The Bad
As usual, I find it hard to find fault with this product. One thing that springs to mind is that the Windmill is missing from the new building tiles.
Layout-wise, I found having the titles taking up several pages in the middle of the book a bit odd (could have been an appendix).
One thing that might put people off is that there is simply So. Much. Crunch. This is not a negative for me, but if you're not after detail, detail, and more detail, then you might feel overwhelmed.

The Conclusion
If you're looking for more Kingdom rules, this book is a must. It perfectly works alongside the Ultimate Campaign rules, and bits of it can be plugged in (Ultimate Plug-ins, who'd have thought it?) with impunity.


An Endzeitgeist.com review

*****

The first proper supplement for Ultimate Campaign’s innovative crafted by Legendary Games is 48 pages long, 1 page front cover,2 pages of editorial, 1 page SRD, 1 page ToC, 1 page introduction, 2 pages of advertisement, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 39 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?

I’ll do it similar to the introduction of this book and go off on a slight tangent: I LOVE Ultimate Campaign. It’s not perfect, but the sheer fact that the rules allow for PCs to properly influence and guide the fortunes of organizations, cities etc. is glorious and helps much with the concept of immersion. So what does this expansion offer?

The first component introduced herein would be edicts, of rather modifications of edicts: Alternative expansion, taxation and holiday edicts are provided and offer more variety and control than their default versions: Weekly holidays may for example cost 1d12 BP, but they also offer +2 to economy and +4 to loyalty… Nice modifications for the standard edicts and ones that should not overexert anyone’s ability to implement them. We also are introduced to a series of special edicts that can be grouped in 5 fields – commission, endowment, espionage, festival and recruitment edicts. The respective edicts are smart and make sense: For example, take the endowment edict – it may result from the noblesse oblige event and provide +1 loyalty and fame, but also increase consumption by +1 – and if you fail to pay for the endowed building, you run the risk of gaining 1 point of unrest on a failed loyalty check… Espionage is also rather awesome, if I may say so – from the alignment and levels of vital players/rulers of nations to general levels of unrest, there is a lot that can be gleaned and options to support organized crime, ferment unrest, bribe merchants – it’s all there for the taking!

What also deserves special mentioning in my book is the fact that all PC-classes can be “built” as elites by providing the adequate prerequisite buildings. Now one personal minor gripe I had with the basic kingdom building rules seems to have been shared by LG’s design-team and we thus also are introduced to a variant rule that eliminates the attribute modifier from the respective ruling positions and instead makes a value of 13 a prerequisite. Instead, skills count for more in the respective area of expertise, which, at least to me, makes infinitely more sense – so kudos for that and making magical items with attribute boosts matter less in the grand scheme of things.

Now with all this talk about kingdom building, it should come as no surprise that we also get a variety of basic premises that are the foundation - getting a land grant results e.g. ina different starting BP-score than getting a fiefdom – and yes, taking the conan-route and gaining control via a coup (not that unlikely, taking PC prowess into account!) also provides for an option, albeit a challenging one – having to start with only 20% of a kingdom’s former BP is a harsh restriction, but if the rulers-to-be manage to pull it off, they’ll have no authority above them to answer to…

Now on the fluffy side, having kingdoms, land and vassals also entails a certain amount of status and thus, titles – mostly neglected in the basic rules, we get a nice, concise breakdown of kingdom sizes, domain names, typical titles of the respective rulers and honorifics: Beyond European-inspired lists, we also cover middle-eastern, asian, ecclesiastic and Greco-roman titles and finally, even a collated table.

Now every realm requires cities and similar settlements – and some places are safer than others. Hence, we get a neat table to modify population-size by terrain and factor modifications of danger by terrain type into account as well – and yes, settling in the underdark is damn dangerous. Via farms, fishereies, watchtower etc., these can further be modified and sample settlements,. Once again, we get optional rules as well and oh boy, do I like them: Where limiting exotic goods seems logical, the second one provided is gold: We actually get a concise way of limiting consumable magic items – which is awesome. Why? Well, if you haven’t noticed, their pricing tends to be balanced with costly material components that don’t fracture into the GP-limit-determined availability, resulting in powerful magic being potentially available in ridiculous breadths. Well, with some concise rules and a small table that particular jarring blemish is gone., especially since part two of that issue, the restriction of caster levels, is addressed as well. Compared to those optional rules for secret markets for magic items and a smart limit on spellcasting services available may be less interesting, but still welcome – at least on my table.

Speaking of cities – building them was never as easy as with this book: With the extremely helpful massive table of buildings tec. by base-cost and how long construction takes etc. – duplicate buildings, restrictions, different building qualities – all in here. As is advice for luring the lines between city-building and customizing buildings to represent their neighborhood. Have I mentioned the new types of buildings? Tunnels and thankfully, finally also bordellos may now be constructed. Oh, and want to go kingdom-building Geb/Hollowfaust-style? What about having your own deathless labor force? Permanent Animate Objects? What about forbiddance or (un-)hallow effects? Or peculiarities like fertile land, natural crossroads and the like? There is quite an array of potential at your beck and call, if you choose to make use of it. Now where the pdf goes above and beyond is with uncommon settlement-types – cavern cities, cliff-side settlements, barge cities, treetop villages – all come with their own restrictions and challenges to make sure that your exotic settlement does indeed reflect its uncommon nature in the rules as well as its fluff – two thumbs up!

Another expansion herein that we imho were in dire need of would be danger-levels by area and thus kingdom and settlement events – events are now grouped as beneficial or dangerous, modified by danger modifiers and come with their own tables that make determining proper events much faster and also more logical. We also get a broad range of different settlement qualities that allow for e.g. the settling in old ruins to be possible and civic attributes also feature in a concise, massive table – which btw. includes e.g. sacred animals, anthropomorphizing auras, a magical aura that makes animals talk, existing in a pocket dimension, being unaging/eternal (great to build e.g. ancient bastions akin to Anor Londo) or make your settlements wild magic zones or bureaucratic nightmares –all can be found herein.

Beyond this vast amount of options, we also get lavishly drawn building tiles in full color as well as an index of tables.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches of significance. Layout adheres to LG’s two-column full-color standard studded with thematically fitting graphical elements. The pencil-drawn artworks by Frank Hessefort and Mike Lowe in full color at first took me a bit to get used to, but their sheer amount of detail and precision let them develop a nice, unobtrusive flair that complements the supplement rather nicely. The building tiles are top-notch. The pdf comes fully bookmarked and in two versions, with the second being more printer-friendly than the default pdf.

Jason Nelson has delivered a supplement with this pdf that is all but REQUIRED for Kingmaker and any supplement using Kingdom-building-rules – this pdf provides options upon options, many of which allow you address some of the weaker aspects of the base system. Furthermore, the added content, with all its options and iconic possibilities does quite a nice job at providing a myriad of possibilities. If this pdf made one thing clear, then it would be that these rules not only can use expansions, they provide fodder galore for even more supplements. Ultimate Rulership is an awesome, if not particularly cheap supplement that is worth every cent for its well-crafted amount of crunchy content, with my one gripe being that there is still quite some ground to be covered – perhaps a sequel is in order? My final verdict will clock in at 5 stars + seal of approval for a glorious supplement indeed that should make any kingdom-building experience more rewarding and which should be considered all but required for any prolonged use of Ultimate Campaign.

Endzeitgeist out.


Can't Complain.. At all

*****

I bought this shortly after it was premiered on the home page of Paizo.com. I read through it before I read Ultimate Campaign, then read it again after reading Ultimate Campaign. It accomplishes what it set out to do. It adds to the Ultimate Campaign without even compromising it. I think in my humble opinion this piece is part two of the Ultimate Campaign. I wouldn’t use Ultimate Campaign without it.


Ultimate Rulership lives up to its name

*****

Ultimate Rulership is a PDF from Legendary Games in their Ultimate Plug-Ins line consisting of a host of optional yet very fun rules for the kingdom building rules in the recent Ultimate Campaign hardcover. It consists of 40 pages, with one page for a cover, title page, credits, contents, one page explaining the Plug-Ins line, one full-page piece of color art, a back cover, and two pages covering what else LG has for sale or is coming soon from them. That leaves 31 pages for the actual contents, so here goes.

First you get a list of new edicts for your PC rulers to use and some expansion on variants for the normal edicts listed in UC. The new edicts allow you to commission magical items from your populace, have festivals to entertain your subjects or establish places of art and learning for them, and my favorites, the espionage and recruitment edicts. They are both very detailed, allowing you to engage in all sorts of devilry with the neighbors if you so desire ranging from spying on them to rousing the rabble and promoting unrest. (Of course, they can do this to YOU too).

Recruitment edicts allow for the raising of an army -- militia, regular troops, and elites, with the latter given a list of building requirements. You can also set the level of militarism from 'Peace and Love' to 'We are Sparta!' with effects on how many troops you can raise and affects on your nation's economy and society.

The PDF also expands on leadership role skills in case you prefer that skill counts for more than raw ability when it comes to running a nation. There's also some material on just how your nation can be founded, and the differences between doing it all yourself, taking a fief, charters or land grants. There are rules for how to make Building Points a kind of treasure and how the Leadership feat can help.

Another section that I consider very well done is the one on judging the population of your kingdom and its cities. This new system goes into considerable detail as to how many people can be found in various kinds of terrain, how improvements such as farms affect it, as well as a new system for erecting various buildings on a monthly installment plan. It always seemed odd to me that you could put up a castle in a month. There's an extensive chart that lists all the information you need for this, including the population it will add and (another new optional rule) whether or not it can be built in your community, depending on how big it is.

And we get new building types, as well as rules for less-sturdy wooden buildings (quicker and cheaper to build but more fragile). Various magical improvements and natural advantages are listed as well, along with new exotic types of settlements such as cities built on barges, causeways, and cliffs. It ends with some new rules on dangers to your new town and attributes it can have or gain.

I think this is required for anyone who wants to use the kingdom building rules. Along with JBE's Book of the River Kingdoms it's some of the very best expansions for a game of PC rulers. My sole criticism is to wonder if they really needed nine whole pages out of a 40 page PDF for cover, contents, ads and all the rest. That stated what you get is worth every penny you'll pay for it. 4.5 stars and rounded up to 5 for this review.


High Value Supplement

****( )

Ultimate Rulership is a well written product offering substantial value to anyone using the kingdom building rules in the Ultimate Campaign or the Kingmaker Adventure Path. It provides complementary material adding depth and enrichment that feels native to Pathfinder.


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