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D&D 5E MCDM Kingdoms and Warfare is out!


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Zaukrie

New Publisher
I finally downloaded it today. At some point I'll skim it, but I'm not sure that will be enough to know much. When I do, I'll give an overview.
 





darjr

I crit!

Chaosmancer

Legend
This thread is 24 posts long and I still have no idea what anybody thinks of the book!

I think it is a good start, but has some confusing bits and some parts that are just not really going to work for me as written.

I actually had to go to the Reddit thread and ask a clarifying question on how the specialization bonuses are applied, because the level up system for the domains, while cool and inovative, left me confused on how the bonuses were meant to be used. Only one person responded, and we kind of reached a point I think worked, by going backwards and reverse engineering the organizations and how they are built.


The lore in this book is amazing, but also... that is sort of a problem. Using Zaar Anathema, the Shackled King, the King in Gold as a big bad creates a massive adventure that could be a blast to run... but it requires a lot of reworking or just trying to run in Matt's homebrew world.

Additionally, I once again find myself kind of disappointed by certain thematic choices. I am actually planning on using this for a 1v1 game I'm running where the PC is making a cult, because they are a warlock and their patron is a pretty big deal in the story. Well, if I used the "Hidden Cult" specialization for the Religios Order organization, then one of our abilities is going to be blood sacrfice, murdering an entire unit of our own troops to empower the others.... and that is 100% wrong for the flavor of our cult and our PC. And one of our domain features is "spreading the word" to get Crusaders... but we are the start of the cult, there aren't any other people to call to our banner.

Other things like his goblins, well, they all have an ability called "AUUUGGH!!" that is meant to represent them scattering in a panic and injuring every unit around them. But that... doesn't fit the goblins I'm using at all.



Now, on the positive side, reskinning, retheming and even reworking these elements isn't hard. The system is a bit complicated, but the math behind it is easier to figure out, and making your own versions of these things doesn't look to be tooo hard. So, that major frustration of mine is just having to go in and make the rules my own.

Though, there is another concern. Again and again he lays out and says that the only way to destroy an enemy organization is via Warfare, and the major parts of the Intrigue rules like the Defense Levels are explicitly tied to warfare rules, affecting units and positioning.

Which is great if you are a holy order fighting a vampire kingdom, or a noble lord and his court fighting a draconic empire. It is less great if you are say, a cult trying to oppose and weaken the churches so you can gain legitimacy. Or a thieves guild planning a heist against an order of mages. Because the plan is never to go to war, so a lot of the rules end up being less useful the further from the "expected" playstyle you get

Which is understandable, but still kind of frustrating.
 

I understand the impulse for companies to go hard on their own lore -- many of their most engaged fans will be telling them that's what they want more of. But it really impedes my use as a DM not using their world if I have to reconfigure a large part of a book to use it in my own world. I'd love it if books like this (or Monsters of the Wilderness or Empire of the Ghouls) could be split in two, either physically or within the volume itself, with the systems and crunch in one section and the lore in the other.
 


Shardstone

Hero
Publisher
I think it is a good start, but has some confusing bits and some parts that are just not really going to work for me as written.

I actually had to go to the Reddit thread and ask a clarifying question on how the specialization bonuses are applied, because the level up system for the domains, while cool and inovative, left me confused on how the bonuses were meant to be used. Only one person responded, and we kind of reached a point I think worked, by going backwards and reverse engineering the organizations and how they are built.


The lore in this book is amazing, but also... that is sort of a problem. Using Zaar Anathema, the Shackled King, the King in Gold as a big bad creates a massive adventure that could be a blast to run... but it requires a lot of reworking or just trying to run in Matt's homebrew world.

Additionally, I once again find myself kind of disappointed by certain thematic choices. I am actually planning on using this for a 1v1 game I'm running where the PC is making a cult, because they are a warlock and their patron is a pretty big deal in the story. Well, if I used the "Hidden Cult" specialization for the Religios Order organization, then one of our abilities is going to be blood sacrfice, murdering an entire unit of our own troops to empower the others.... and that is 100% wrong for the flavor of our cult and our PC. And one of our domain features is "spreading the word" to get Crusaders... but we are the start of the cult, there aren't any other people to call to our banner.

Other things like his goblins, well, they all have an ability called "AUUUGGH!!" that is meant to represent them scattering in a panic and injuring every unit around them. But that... doesn't fit the goblins I'm using at all.



Now, on the positive side, reskinning, retheming and even reworking these elements isn't hard. The system is a bit complicated, but the math behind it is easier to figure out, and making your own versions of these things doesn't look to be tooo hard. So, that major frustration of mine is just having to go in and make the rules my own.

Though, there is another concern. Again and again he lays out and says that the only way to destroy an enemy organization is via Warfare, and the major parts of the Intrigue rules like the Defense Levels are explicitly tied to warfare rules, affecting units and positioning.

Which is great if you are a holy order fighting a vampire kingdom, or a noble lord and his court fighting a draconic empire. It is less great if you are say, a cult trying to oppose and weaken the churches so you can gain legitimacy. Or a thieves guild planning a heist against an order of mages. Because the plan is never to go to war, so a lot of the rules end up being less useful the further from the "expected" playstyle you get

Which is understandable, but still kind of frustrating.
I'm not sure why I would ever want to use these rules for a heist, to be honest. But this review is pretty good! Thanks!
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I understand the impulse for companies to go hard on their own lore --

As someone who likes a lot of examples in his RPG books (and who loves examples of play), I think lore has its role in that framework (rather than some generic thing). This way we can see what a creator has in mind in action and we can make use of, re-skin, or ignore that lore without throwing the crunch away with it.
 

Zaukrie

New Publisher
So, thoughts after a quick skim:

  • It looks great, much better than the first book (PDF only so far).
  • It needs MUCH better PDF support (more cards at the end, a better "character" sheet....I get that just making a copy of the physical book is hard enough, but still).
  • There is no reason to have more codices in this book, but there they are.
  • TOO much lore tied to their own setting, Kobold is much better at this.
  • All the action oriented monster/leaders are really high level but one. The leader in the adventure isn't even action oriented. Mind. Boggling. Truly. They really, really, messed up, imo, not having some mid-tier monsters that are action oriented. Adding the concept is great, and it is how I use leaders / solos.
  • They should/could have given us tables of things domains can do, way more than what we got. The samples are great, but replace the Codices with lots of things that domains can do, and give us ways to WIN without warfare.

I can't comment on the specific mechanics yet....
 

As someone who likes a lot of examples in his RPG books (and who loves examples of play), I think lore has its role in that framework (rather than some generic thing). This way we can see what a creator has in mind in action and we can make use of, re-skin, or ignore that lore without throwing the crunch away with it.
I would love it if it was at least in a boxed-off sidebar. As it is, some companies will sell products as "can be used in any campaign" without conceding that means 20+ hours of work to disentangle it from their setting.
 


el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I would love it if it was at least in a boxed-off sidebar. As it is, some companies will sell products as "can be used in any campaign" without conceding that means 20+ hours of work to disentangle it from their setting.

"Generic" or not it can take me hours of work to incorporate most game material.
 

Istbor

Dances with Gnolls
Soooo. Tell me if the book is better and there are better ways of running what I presume were battles. I saw a bit of those video clips posted, but without any real prior knowledge of the product, it just looked like two spreadsheets fighting.
 


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