A Game of Lords and Leaders

Reign expands the frontiers of fantasy gaming by elevating the action to an international stage. Monarchs and mercenaries gamble armies and fortunes to win nations in a rich and vibrant fantasy setting. Reign’s simple but complete rules model the triumphs and disasters of societies as small as a village or as large as a realm-spanning religion. With Reign, your characters can defend and bring prosperity to threatened lands… or, if you prefer, conquer and pillage on a vast and awesome scale.

Powered by the One Roll Engine (or ORE) popularized by Godlike, Nemesis, and Wild TalentsReign can take your characters from beggars to emperors. If you’re already a fan of the ORE, Reign is familiar (though with a few interesting refinements). If it’s new to you, the ORE resolves events in delicate detail without cumbersome layers of contingent rolls.

Reign‘s group-resolution rules are self-contained and easy to stack on top of any other RPG system. Want a concrete way to model what happens to the city when your superheroes destroy the Cult of Moloch Triumphant? Use Reign to stat up the city and the cult. Ever wonder who’d win if two rival government conspiracies went head to head? Reign lets you measure their weaknesses and strengths, then test them against one another. Fantasy kingdoms, cosmic empires and secretive cabals can all be easily managed and modeled with Reign.

This new edition of Reign unites the original core rulebook with all of the supplementary material Greg generated on his website, along with the following improvements:

  • All the content EVER collected in two books, one covering the rules, one covering the campaign settings
  • All the material totally reorganized and properly integrated for maximum utility.
  • Brand new art (potentially color), replacing all the…ahem….stylized work that Greg did on his own in the expansions!
  • Modernized PDF layout, more thoroughly organized, linked and indexed.
  • The opportunity to get Reign in hardcover at a reasonable price.

The Reign 2 FAQ

Who are you and what would I know you from?

My name’s Greg Stolze, and I’ve been writing RPG stuff for pay since 1996 so… you might know me from a LOT of stuff. I’ve worked on several old World of Darkness lines, wrote some novels for them in addition to all the fiction that’s up at my web site, but more recently I’ve been involved with the reboot of Delta Green. I’m also the co-creator of Unknown Armies. I designed the original mechanics for it, and redesigned them for the recent third edition. Also, even if you haven’t heard of Reign, it’s been around for a while.

What’s the Elevator Pitch for Reign?

It’s a high fantasy game where you can give quests instead of taking them. Reign presents a world that isn’t in immanent danger of being destroyed—it’s a world full of complex cultures, old grievances, religions in conflict and sullen old schools of wizardry that can crisp off your arm. In addition to the usual FRPG heroics and enchantment, it has a system for statting up nations, or cults, or secret conspiracies and resolving their broader conflicts, instead of just leaving the fallout of their clashes to GM narration.

The basic premise of Reign sounds cool. Tell me a little more about what you can do with the system?

It presumes you have a “company”—some organization of followers and property that the PCs govern. It can clash with enemy groups in a way that a rag-tag team of heroes just can’t, though the actions of the players’ characters usually offer big boosts (or penalties) to company rolls. If you take a whole adventure to set up your roll to change hearts and minds in a rival country, you’re far more likely to succeed. On the other hand, it also lets you play the kind of game you want by offloading some tasks onto your underlings. For example: Imagine a game with elements of investigation and elements of big hairy fights. One group that lives for detective work could do all their own spying, then have a mighty army for their company. Once they know where and what the enemies are, they just write a memo to the generals and have a lovely dinner on the back deck. A different group might LOVE the combat elements but find the spy stuff confusing or tedious. They could build a company that’s full of spies and diplomats, and use them to ferret out the secrets, which they then dispatch personally.

What are the real basics of the One Roll Engine?

You roll a pool of ten sided dice and look for matches. If you’re trying something simple and straightforward, any pair (or set of three, or more) gets it done. With four dice, you have a 50/50 chance.

But the neat part is that you can pull more information out of a single roll, because every successful set has two pieces of information embedded in it—how many dice turned up in the set, and what the number is that they matched on. We call this “height” and “width.” If you get three nines, the width is three and the height is nine.

It’s a bit like poker. A pair of tens beats a pair of eights, but three deuces beats any pair. In REIGN, however, height and width can mean different things. Sometimes you want a wide set, sometimes you want a high set. Would you rather do a lot of damage to a target’s leg, or a little bit to its unprotected head? The engine makes those sorts of decisions quick, easy and intuitive.

It’s particularly efficient for fantasy combat. You roll one set of dice and it tells you (1) whether you hit or missed, (2) how quickly you acted, (3) how hard your shot was and (4) where you hit the enemy. That’s why it’s called the One Roll Engine.

Why a new edition?

Several reasons. First off, the first printing ran out, and as long as I was reprinting it, it seemed like a good time to take a long look at Reign and its supplementary material. Secondly, I did a lot of the artwork and layout myself in the supplements, and it’s not up to the standard of the main book. I want to make a version of Reign that looks as good as Delta Green. Thirdly, I’m a better writer now than I was back in 2006, and I think I can make the text tighter, clearer and more fun to read.

What’s NEW about this new edition?

Organization. This may not sound like the shiniest of bells and whistles, but Reign’s supplements have been Kickstarted and released in online PDFs, so they’re a bit wild and random. Moreover, while I’m not changing a lot of the rules, I do want to modularize them and make it easier to get exactly the game you want. There are a ton of combat options, and in the first edition they’re just delivered here and there without much guidance about when you want to use the skirmish rules and when you can just fall back on abstracted fight scenes. In this edition, I say “If your group wants highly detailed tactical combat with loads of options, use A and B. If they just want it to be one element amongst skullduggery and political intrigue and low comedy, just use C.” You can pick what the rules magnify to make the rules right for your group’s adventures. There are rules for extended chase scenes that would work great for a game where you’re the cops chasing the robbers (or the robbers fleeing the cops) but which would be extraneous in a court intrigue game. If you’re playing a game set in the desert, you don’t need the detailed “managing a ship at sea during a devastating storm” rules.

Why Kickstart it?

Why would we not? The supplements have done very well as Kickstarted individual products, so the fan base seems satisfied with crowdfunding as a concept and as a platform. I’m at less risk because the pledge money pays for the printing instead of (say) me taking out a second mortgage. The fans get a better product because I get to see how much they fund, how interested they are in particular options or expansions, and they don’t have to deal with a book that was written by someone fretting about a second mortgage. I’ve always been a Kickstarter fan—if nothing else, it’s an avenue of communication between makers and buyers that keeps both sides from wasting their time.

What are some of the cool things you hope to add if the Kickstarter goes well?

Well, as mentioned, Reign has a stable system. I didn’t see anything hugely broken or obviously missing, so I hope to just tighten and tidy the mechanics. The extra stuff is cool, inventive settings from other authors. I’d already done a wizard school setting (Nain) and a SF setting where everyone in the universe is psychic, except us (Out of the Violent Planet). The stretch goals here include a science horror government investigation game written by myself and Patrick O’Duffy. It’s called Leviathan and it’s sort of a cross between The X-Files and The Hot Zone, only set in the world’s most poisonous continent, Australia. There’s a mythic setting for feudal Japan, and another for the legions of Rome. And there are stranger ones, like STORKCO, a setting about what happens to society when children aren’t born, they’re storked. It’s possible that we’ll be able to make this into a whole third book!