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    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    I'm a fan of the Dominions series of PC Strategy games. With it's rich history, mythology, and crazy magic system, I keep wondering about applying it to a TTRPG.

    Either as background, as inspiration for the system (the Dominions mechanics are transparent, so you could actually just make it into a TT system, if you felt like doing a lot of writing), or as a living part of the campaign. One thought I had was starting a game of Dominions, possibly as a multiplayer game with the other players, and then starting the RPG at some arbitrary point in the ascension war. Possibly continue to advance the game month by month as time passes in the TT game, which might require some cheating if the PCs start to have major effects in the world.

    Of course it's not exactly a friendly world for adventuring in, humans are pretty damn squishy by dominions standards (elves are terrifying though), and there are not infrequent events that pop up in the game like "A group of adventurers have raided the lair of a terrible troll. The perpetrators have been hung and their items transported to your treasury." so you would probably want to get your paperwork straight before adventuring.

    Has anyone tried this, or something similar?

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Dec 2010

    Default Re: Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    I co-opted bits of it for a campaign once, but I felt that the result didn't really mesh well with that campaign or group. The magic is a little too absolutist in some regards - as an army game, Dominions basically treats individual units as if they're hitpoints, and the magic reflects that - there's a number of spells which are essentially high variance no-save-just-die effects, which in the game is balanced against the fact that it's much more likely to hit fodder than your pretender or commanders, especially if you did the smart thing and put your fodder up front.

    For standard tabletop play though, retaining those aspects tends to make standard tabletop skirmish conflicts very bad propositions for everyone involved (e.g. even victories in fairly uneven fights can become unsustainably costly to make an adventuring 'career' out of).

    So you'd have to figure out how to strike a balance on those factors while still preserving the sense and range of scale in Dominions, which I think is pretty integral to the feeling of the setting. You might actually have to build the game around the PCs being commanders, with having a squad of 40 accompanying units or whatever being something that would be considered 'standard gear' for anyone important enough to be influencing world events in that setting.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    Well, some things would have to be done differently.

    The hands off except for some light scripting approach to combat, obviously goes against the grain for an TT game. Although you would need to bring it back a bit for any mass combats.

    There would be some obvious binary options set at a campaign level. Is there an ascension war going on or not? Do you work for a pretender, or not? (These could change in play of course.)

    One of the most delightful aspects of the game are, in my opinion, all the little events that remind you that there is a world of regular people living normal lives in spite of all the high level strategy of the game itself.

    Although of course some of those high level events would be spectacular things to see occur in a game, and to then deal with the aftermath. (The Ermor Cataclysm, The Abyssian Wave of Fire.)

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    Knaight's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    I've looked at its system from a tabletop perspective - and it's very, very unsuited. Just read the manual and count up the sheer number of dice rolls involves. There's something like 40-60 update steps per turn (depending on which Dominions you're using, and I don't really know the Dom 1 or Dom 2 systems well at all), some of which involve multiple rolls per province. The combat system routinely involves three opposed rolls per strike, (hit, repel, damage), before bringing in fear, awe, blood vengeance, shield penetration, wound effects, etc. and a lot of these are for whiffs.

    Basically, there's a fundamental difference in the cost of rolling a die that leads to hugely variable systems. In a tabletop game, every die roll takes noticeable rolling time, noticeable calculation time, and noticeable mental effort. It's not a lot, but it can add up quickly, especially in something like opposed exploding 2d6 (or 2z5, if we're taking the -1 on explosion into account). For a computer it's basically nothing.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    Those elements could be streamlined though. Probably the most important one to keep is the relationship between Fatigue and defenses, since that ends up being how most supercombatants end up dropping to armies, as well as acting as a primary bottleneck on large-scale spellcasting.

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    Iamyourking's Avatar

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    Default Re: Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    Not the system itself, but I made Hinnom as a quasi-setting a while ago. There's a link to the thread in my signature, or you can go straight to the text here. I wanted to do some of the other nations, but never got around to it.
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    Thank you to Ceika for the signature and avatar.

    Read Sons of the Fallen here

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: Dominions PC Game - Anyone tried to Table Top it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iamyourking View Post
    Not the system itself, but I made Hinnom as a quasi-setting a while ago. There's a link to the thread in my signature, or you can go straight to the text here. I wanted to do some of the other nations, but never got around to it.
    Nicely done. Although it does drive home to me that while the Dominions system itself would be a pain to run, it doesn't translate well to D&D either.

    You (or rather I, if I actually had the time and energy) would want to use some simpler (and flatter) system. By flatter, I mean that while I do think a level based system would be potentially suitable for the game, a range like 1-5 would model the more modest character growth of Dominions better than the 20+ range of D&D.

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