From Sanctuary Shard
This article is intended to serve as a detailed overview of how RPCSS is suppose to work in design for those who are trying to wrap their head around the concept. Further details can be found in the RPCSS category on the Wiki, as well as on the RPCSS Manual page, also on the wiki.
RPCSS, which stands for Role-Play Conquest Simulation System began with the premise it is nearly impossible to create large scale armed conflict in games which have only individual players on each side.
Consider a Game of Thrones or any medieval world war from any fiction or history you like, and you’ll be on page with me.
To begin, we must accept the general point that it is difficult to effectively, fairly and consistently create a player driven storyline involving armies and kingdoms using nothing but role-play and combat between players. Without a larger scripted storyline being managed by someone, the back and forth begins to feel like cowboys and Indians, not the War of the Roses. “I shot you!”, “No I shot you!” becomes a common refrain.
However, most role-players are not interested in playing out a scripted story where who wins and who loses is pre-determined. They want a fair chance at winning.
Most of us who role-play have also played tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons. Creating a set of rules is the next logical step for game masters when confronted with the challenge of creating any storyline that involves the use of armies.
The first set of rules includes making decisions such as; how big is each team's army, how much money do they have, what resources do they have access to, where do they get their money from, how much land do they have, and so on.
This can take weeks for a single game master to work out, and much longer if there are multiple team leaders who all need to agree. It often gets more and more complicated, and someone is stuck with the nearly full-time job of managing these numbers every week.
The first thing RPCSS does is manage this information for our team leaders using a base set of rules and the advantage of a programmed solution that doesn’t go on vacation or get bogged down at work.
RPCSS tracks and manages a team's treasury, taxes collected from controlled land, when and how often armies can be replenished, the cost of forts/castles, salaries to soldiers, the costs to implement new infrastructure, political influence and the size of spy networks. The design is not complicated, we kept it simple, but it is a lot of work for someone to manage by hand.
Once you have figured out all the basic accounting needed to stage conflict the next step is to figure out how battles will be resolved. Questions such as; how far can an army travel in a day, are all armies equally powerful, how do we know which army wins, what happens when an army loses, does the winning army get to keep the land, how many armies can one team control, how are supply lines managed, can spies infiltrate an army, etc, etc.
- Once again, RPCSS tracks all of this information.
- Where and how far an army can move is programmed into the web tool.
- Game logic to determine the winner and loser of each battle.
- Taking control of a map hex.
- How are supply lines managed.
- What happens to an army when it loses a battle.
- What information can NPC spies learn.
The next step is getting the information from the teams into the hands of the players. In a tabletop game, where each person is the general of their own armies, a game master can write a note to each player or take them off to the side and give them the information. When you are dealing with dozens of people you either need to write dozens of individual notes, make general statements, or expect the team leader to hand out the information themselves to role-play partners and allies. The more people you get, the more this process becomes its own headache.
RPCSS handles the delivery of information to the player characters itself. Team Leaders receive individualized information sent directly to them via the post office in-game. Other player characters will be able to glean information from what is happening in the system by visiting the town crier who provides "randomized but incompletely" information which is designed to "encourage players to go RP with others to fill in the picture."
This information, gleaned by player characters and supported by RPCSS spies is crucial to any strategy planning and is one of the reasons why running a team without allies is a challenge. RPCSS turns are once a week, allowing even those with time constrains plenty of time to role-play with others and make plans.
At this point, some people are still going to ask, "but can't someone just circumvent the role-play just to win in RPCSS". The answer is both yes and no, but ultimately no.
This game can not be won without creating allies. No single team can control more than ten hexes at once, players will HAVE to create relationships with other teams to even come close to winning.