There are two versions of how leaders work in Ultimate Campaign. The base rule is that leaders use certain ability scores to determine the effect of their leadership. The optional rule in Ultimate Campaign adds the effect of certain related skills (such as Knowledge (nobility) for the Ruler).
Legendary Games's Ultimate Rulership goes one step further by eliminating the ability score and only using the skill.
Can those with experience with the two optional rules comment on whether you think one system is better than another?
I haven't used the optional rules, and I probably wouldn't. Using skills rather than attributes forces the PCs to invest in a skill they might not otherwise with their characters. Furthermore, there are considerably more kingdom roles than PCs, and thus NPCs are necessary to fill out the spots. Many of them just don't have the skills to take the roles, where they probably have the attributes. Attributes are just simpler.
Thanks for the thoughts, though I was looking more for what worked mechanically and what didn't.
I'm okay with requiring skills the PC's might not otherwise have - nobody's forcing them to take a particular role and surely they'll fit into some role without having to take extra skills if they don't want to. But this is, after all, not just a game about combat. Making skills useful for kingdom roles seems like a net positive if the mechanics otherwise work out.
As for the NPC's, I create those. That won't be a problem.
My concern with the optional system in Ultimate Combat is that it adds the skill as a bonus, thus making the roll better than the base system, giving the kingdom a large number of bonuses with no counterbalance.
I might prefer a system whereby you get the better of your ability modifier or 1/3 your skill ranks as a bonus. But none of the various kingdom-building spreadsheets would work with such a house rule and I don't want to build my own.
Mine PCs are at the begining of RRR, and I'm for using both Ability and Skill ranks/5. I'll really encourage mine players in taking ranks in their kingdom-related skills.
Yes, they are kingdom's founders and heroes but they also will spent a lot of months in their rulership positions out of the wilderness and taking care of their kingdom.
They have good ability (rolled) and in future they will get good ranks in skills but not the same could be said for their council of NPCs (created with 15 point for abilities, and unless are taken as Cohort they will slowly level up and take ranks in their related rulership skills.)
Plus I had their starting BPs reduced to 10 plus others they can gain using diplomatic agreement with others political organizations, and some of those request that particular NPCs take particular rulership positions. This means I as GM can balance the rest of their kingdom bonus with non-optimal NPCs.
Shadowkras - that's exactly why I'm shying away from that rule. I wish it were the better of either, not both.
To be fair, they are lv9, they have almost 10 ranks on some of the skills (example: knowledge arcana and religion), but not only that, they also have magical items that increase those stats (fighter has +7 str, wizard has +6 int), and recruited some high level npcs to help them on their kingdom.
To make it clear, they ran the Crucible of Chaos and are rebuilding the ancient shory city from the module, to use against a vampire lord from their very first adventure (they were lv1 when they heard about him). On their adventures, they helped a bunch of people and asked them if they were willing to help in return now. Some of those npcs are lv5, some are lv7, others are lv9, there is a lv15 npc even, as their ruler.
The +1 or +2 bonus from the skills are just icying the cake.
This could easily be fixed by making the other npcs a lot weaker than the pcs, with at best +2 on an ability score and 5 ranks in the appropriate skill after a few months in charge of their position. That alone should make things challenging.
The way i found to challenge them is roll the events every month, and i already scheduled a year worth of events ahead, so they will have a bunch of trouble in the future.
Note aswell that Unrest can be applied to all kingdom checks as a penalty, an event that increases Unrest by 4 points will apply -4 to all checks, and a bunch of continuous events will increase Unrest every turn. If not solved quickly, these events can cause the ruin of their kingdom.
IMO, the kingdom building rules shouldnt be so difficult that they cant collect taxes due to a failed Economy check. The focus should be on what to build and where to build, while the events make their lives more interesting (plagues, monster attacks, inquisitions, etc)
Remember they also could keep adventuring while their kingdom grows.
Core UCam: Ability score.
Optional UCam: Ability score + skills
Optional URule: Skills
Proposed Houserule: Better of Ability Score (Core UCam) or Skills (Optional URule) (Aka The Tarondor Variant)
I'll see what I can do for you on a spreadsheet. Looks like I'm going to be playing with these optional rules sooner than I expected. See you in about 12 hours.