Welcome to Guidance, Private Sanctuary’s source for tips and techniques for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, written by Everyman Gamer Alexander Augunas. Today, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on Legendary Games’ Ultimate Rulership.
So sometime last month, I sat down to write a review of Ultimate Ruleship, by Legendary Games. And I simply couldn’t. Not because I don’t have things to say about it, but because more and more, a full-scale review of the product was starting to feel less professional from me. As many of you know, in addition to being a 3PP freelancer, I also run my own small-scale publishing venue (Everyman Gaming, LLC). Because of this, I started feeling really arrogant when I was writing my reviews, so I stopped. Don’t want to burn any bridges or anything.
That said, I do have stuff I want to say about various products, especially good ones. When I see a product that deserves a shout-out, I want to be able to give it that shout-out. Hence, my new peer reviews articles! Its doubtful that you’ll see me talk about any Paizo stuff in Peer Reviews, and if you do, it’ll be completely in the context of, “Using this outside of the established campaign setting.” What I want to focus on is giving some deserving 3PP the mention they deserve, because we can’t always shout out to them when we’d like on Know Direction’s podcast. In any case, I’m ready to start talking about the first Peer Review, Ultimate Rulership.
A Brief History
Published by Legendary Games, Ultimate Rulership was the first major crunch-based product released by Jason Nelson, a prolific Paizo freelancer. In addition to gods know what else, Jason is the gentleman who was tasked with taking Paizo’s Kingdom Building rules from the Kingmaker Adventure Path and tweaking and expanding upon them ever so slightly for Ultimate Campaign.
Considering the small amount of space in that product, it comes as no surprise that Jason probably had a few more ideas on how you could faithfully run a kingdom than what made it into Ultimate Campaign. Given the time table of most Paizo products, he also had an easy six months to stew on those unused ideas. And from this unborn thoughts, Ultimate Rulership was born.
Ultimate Rulership adds everything from new subsystems to new buildings, new hex types and terrain improvements, and more. You’ll find some very creative new buildings, such as the lighthouse and hanging gardens. You’ll gain the ability to build cavernous settlements, underground settlements, and have rules for everything. There are new edicts for kingdom leaders to issue and essays to help you picture how settlements are visually set up compared to how they are set up from a mechanical perspective. But above all, my favorite parts of Ultimate Rulership are the leadership titles and the staggered building costs.
Ultimate Rulership includes several tables that present alternate titles for every leadership role in Ultimate Campaign, taken from a variety of cultures. It says, “Hey, if your campaign takes place in the Middle East or the orient, here are some alternate words for you to use to make your game sound more authentic.” It is a very cool, immersive part of this product. My other favorite part, the staggered building costs, is much more crunchy. The default kingdom building rules assume that you are spending a ridiculous amount of money to get things built in a single month. For many, this isn’t sufficiently realistic, so Ultimate Rulership includes a staggered payment system where you can pay a small amount of BP per month over the course of multiple months to pay for a building. For example, you can choose to pay 6 BP a month for 18 months to build a palace instead of paying the full 108 BP up front. In many ways, this is similar to the downtime system, where theoretically you could build structures that cost a great amount of BP at a discount, but over a very long period of time. Personally, I think that the staggered BP cost rules are something that the Kingdom Building rules REALLY needed, and I’m thrilled to see them here.
Should You Buy It?
Personally, I love this product. My games have only used it sparingly so far (I had a lighthouse in a city that my PCs were looking to annex), but more and more I want to implement Ultimate Rulership, specifically for the additional options it provides. The new edicts are cool and the new settlement types and hex improvements are interesting, but for me, this book is a steal for its staggered BP costs as well as its new, very logically chosen buildings. If you are a player who enjoys the downtime system, I highly recommend this book for those two aspects alone. Furthermore, Legendary Games offers a print version of most of their Kingdom Building series (yes, it is a series), so if you’re ike me and find it hard to use something that isn’t slapped on a dead tree, there’s some further incentive to use Ultimate Rulership!
Alexander “Alex” Augunas has been playing roleplaying games since 2007, which isn’t nearly as long as 90% of his colleagues. Alexander is an active freelancer for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is best known as the author of the Pact Magic Unbound series by Radiance House. Alex is the owner of Everyman Gaming, LLC and is often stylized as the Everyman Gamer in honor of Guidance’s original home. Alex’s favorite color is blue, his favorite Pathfinder Race/Class combination is kitsune king, and the first thing that Kyr’shin did with his arena was hold a big party in it. Go figure.