My Argument for Politics in your Gaming World

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Remember the good old days? Back when the characters were low level and they didn’t have to worry about the ramifications of everything they did?

Yep, I do too. And those days were fun.

But there will come a time when the characters achieve a certain station in life. Then they will have to deal with pretty political issues of the village, kingdom, empire, or even the world.

Yesterday, on Twitter, we were discussing politics in your game world. But you may be thinking, “That’s a lot of trouble to go through. Why would I want to play with politics?”

I’m so glad you asked.

These days the worlds of gaming are filled with political intrigue. You never know who you can trust, someone is always assassinating someone else, and the characters could start a war simply by sleeping in the wrong inn.

Yes you. Can start a war. By sleeping in the wrong inn.

Isn’t it great? Kinda makes you feel important, huh?

That’s because the characters have built themselves a reputation. They ARE important. And now the game opens up to huge political game potential.

So what’s the difference between political games and the normal dungeon crawl?

Political games usually involves a crisis of some kind. Like discovering a spy in the royal court, or negotiating peace with two warring factions.

Your characters have gone from being the soldiers on the field, to the generals standing over the battle map.

Speaking of which, there’s not so many small scale battles, as there are wars of huge armies. And the game works better with the fewer players you have.

So, how do you get your players involved? Easy.

Any service to a kingdom, or any government, can include going on diplomatic missions. Especially if one of your characters is of high birth.

His cousin, the queen, may remember all the times he pulled her pigtails as a child. And now she requires him to perform several demeaning, but dangerous, political missions.

Also, whenever a character gains land or builds a keep, they become involved in politics. They have to rule that territory. Which means that they will have to deal with other rulers. Either through wars or diplomacy. Especially if that territory had something that other rulers want.

There won’t be many years long adventuring raids, if you want to keep that lovely castle of yours.

Leave it for too long and you can come back to find someone else sitting in that ergonomic throne with the +1 heated seat.

Or even better, was this someone else’s land to begin with? Have the characters, either knowingly or not, taken possession of someone else’s home?

Will the surrounding nobles allow trade routes to remain open through this upstart territory? And if they don’t, did the territory have the resources to survive?

And what about the local population? How do the characters support them?

There are tons of issues you can throw at the characters, all of which are just a part of ruling a territory.

Have fun with it. Build intrigue! Rule the world!

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