It should be apparent by now that I am a big Paradox Interactive fan, and the idea of combining my grand strategy and RPG interests is pretty exciting to me.
So here are my ideas for applying a version of the “government slider” system from Europa Universalis III to RPG world-building.
The idea of the government slider in EU3 is that you have a set of opposed axes, such as “Land vs Naval”, and that moving in one direction along this axis gives you certain bonuses and penalties unique to that particular axis. I don’t know exactly how I would implement such bonuses and penalties in ACKS, but I think these axes can still be used as a kind of quick “stat-block” to model the government of a nation or domain.
So when you are designing a kingdom, you can answer the following questions.
1. Centralization vs Decentralization
How much power is shared by the ruler with the vassals?
2. Aristocracy vs Plutocracy
What percentage of total wealth lies in the hands of the land-holding aristocracy? How wealthy is the urban nouveau riche of traders and moneylenders?
3. Serfdom vs Free Subjects
Is slavery allowed? Are non-slaves free to travel and work as they wish?
4. Narrow-Minded vs Innovative
Are the rulers (and public) traditionalists, comfortable with their way of life? Or are they desiring to strike out in a new direction (politically, religiously, or otherwise)?
5. Mercantilism vs Free Trade
Aside from taxation, how much does the aristocracy interfere with the economy? Is their interference protectionist, dirigiste, monopoly-crushing, or what?
6. Offensive vs Defensive
Consider the total amount of money spent on military engineering and equipment. What percentage of that goes to castles, fortifications, and other defensive works? What percentage of that goes to siege engines and outfitting the army with quality equipment?
7. Naval vs Land
Of total military expenditure, how much is spent on the navy versus the army? Of total available manpower, how much is allocated to the navy versus the army?
8. Quality vs Quantity
How selective is the military when it comes to deciding who can serve? Is there a large army from a universal draft (of poorly paid conscripts), or a small and elite standing army of (well-paid) crack troops?