Stolze on Reign

Reign: Rules and Reign: Realms have finally headed off to press, which means we should hopefully have them released this coming Autumn. With this milestone accomplished, we decided to run a few of the most common questions about Reign and the One Roll Engine by Greg Stolze, the design brain behind it all.

For those not familiar with it, what is the “elevator pitch” for Reign

Self-determination. In this fantasy game, you’re not running errands for the queen or the guildmaster or the high priest. The mechanics are there for you to run a nation, cult or crime syndicate. It’s more inspired by games like Civilization than by a FPS.

What’s the basic “beating heart”of Reign systemwise?

You roll a pool of d10s, based on a stat plus a skill—sound familiar? But the twist is, instead of counting numbers that hit a target number, you look for sets of matching dice. More sets are better, sets of higher numbers are better, sets with more dice in them are best of all. It not only gives you degrees of success, but different kinds of success.

How is Reign different than other One Roll Engine games? 

The focus in Reign is on leadership. It’s assumed that the characters are in authority over a “company,” which could be a nation or a church or a gang. It gets stats and you roll dice for it, allowing players to take action on a scale that’s often left to the GM’s judgment.

Reign was built to mix well with other games. You can take the company rules and apply them to local clans from Vampire: The Masquerade, or to cults and cells in Delta Green

What are the major differences between Reign 1e and Reign 2e? Any rules changes? 

Nothing major, no big redesigns, though we tightened up some little process bits here and there.

The big change is that Reign 2e is better organized and comprehensive. It’s everything for the line, consolidated into three volumes!

Also, it looks better. The original first edition was a handsome black and white volume, but these books are full color throughout with a variety of professional illustrations.

Are there plans to expand/explore more of the Company system. Its what drew me (and I suspect a large number of other players) to Reign and the ORE. The framework that exists is superb — but are there plans to add to it or is it “feature complete”?

No plans to rework it or add in new dimensions to it. The easy way to tinker with it is Assets. A new Asset would have to be pretty unbalanced to derail the whole system, so if you want to pop the hood and adjust things, that’s what I recommend.

As for us adding to it, I could wake up tomorrow with a brilliant idea to expand it, so I won’t say never, but I will say not right now. If you did a science fiction setting you might want a rating in Tech for example—or you might just want to reskin Territory for that.

Is there going to be a framework for expanding it? Like, to different sets of stats etc, with examples and so on?

No plans to at the moment, but people have always tinkered, and I think this a rules set where it’s hard to make it collapse. 

If you were to play some of the Realities in the Reign: Realities book, which ones would you be more excited about?

Ooh, it’s hard to pick. I really liked Gifts of Starlight, Gifts of Stone because it has a beautiful mythic feel, really fits my personal tastes, you know? But Newborn World also looks like it would be really wild and ripe for jack moves. 

Ask me again in a month and I might answer differently.

Are there still plans to publish Paul Mitchener’s Ninth Legion?

I’d like to, yeah. 

Are there any plans for the future development of new Reign material since there’s now a solidly structured rulebook to build upon?

The main focus right now is finishing the Kickstarter. The long delays have been bad, no one’s happy about it, so once we get everything out the door, we can take a breather and gauge some reactions. There’s a lot of different material in this release, so it’s going to be interesting to see what hits and what misses.

That says, we do have Ninth Legion written and waiting in the wings, so if there’s market demand—why not?

If a Reign fan would be interested in creating and independently publishing new material (Realities, Martial Paths/Magic Schools/Esoteric Disciplines, scenarios/campaigns), is that a possibility, and if yes, under which conditions? (This question is partially influenced by the present rpg scene discussions, yes).

As always, if you’re doing it for free and for the love of the game, go for it. Have my blessing.

Selling stuff for money is different, it opens up some possibilities and problems, but I’m giving it a really hard think. Watching the success of Powered by the Apocalypse  and MÖRK BORG, alongside the grotesque failure of trying to build an OGL walled garden is certainly informing my thoughts. 

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