Hail to the king, baby.

Yesterday, I received my copy of Pathfinder #32: Rivers Run Red, the second part of the new Kingmaker Adventure Path. Unlike previous Adventure Paths, this one is much more open-ended, in terms of allowing the PCs to explore various locations – and meet various combat encounters – in almost any order, and largely determine the pace of the adventures themselves.

This issue is significant, however, in that it has the rules for building, sustaining, and expanding a kingdom. About a dozen pages long, the rules are very intuitive, measuring a kingdom’s stability, loyalty, and economy over time, while also keeping track of unrest. PCs (or NPCs) can occupy one of eleven various official roles (from ruler to general to royal assassin, and others), which have effects on the four aforementioned scores (Stability, Loyalty, Economy, and Unrest).

But that’s not all. Various activities can be undertaken, but most cost Build Points (the abstraction of your kingdom’s wealth). So by spending BPs, you can make various edicts (promoting your rule, throwing festivals, or raising/lowering taxes) and engage in new acts of expansion and/or construction. Hence, you can build a new library in your city, and it will raise your kingdom’s Economy and Loyalty by +1, but it will cost you 6 BP to construct.

Of course, none of this happens in a vacuum. Every month the ruler must make various checks to determine the state of the kingdom, pay the Consumption Cost (where a certain amount of BPs must be paid as the simple monthly cost of keeping your kingdom up and running), and check for unexpected events happening, among other things. So yeah, these rules do a pretty good job of letting you run your own kingdom in the Pathfinder RPG.

Recently, though, I came across something rather amusing. On a thread on the Paizo messageboards, one person noticed that among the various official roles, the “ruler” one allowed for up to two characters to occupy it at the same time, e.g. a king and queen ruling together. This is different from all the other roles, which can only be held by a single person at a time.

What was so amusing though was that this poster joked about the nation’s ruler having a harem instead of a co-ruler. This generated some gentle ribbing from the other posters, and even from Paizo’s own James Jacobs himself, but of course there wasn’t any sort of rules-based answer. That’s not the sort of thing that the mechanics for running a kingdom – which necessarily includes some level of abstraction – are designed to deal with.

I got a good laugh from the idea of having rules for a harem among the kingdom-building mechanics, though, and so just for fun I thought I’d make some up. So here they are, the rules for making your kingdom include a royal harem:

Harem: A harem is a collection of individuals dedicated to serving the realm’s ruler in a personal capacity, usually as confidants, entertainers, and concubines. Establishing a harem is a type of promotion edict. It does not grant a Stability bonus; instead, having a harem grants the ruler a +1 circumstance bonus to his Charisma score when adding his Charisma bonus to the nation’s statistics (see the ruler entry under Leadership Roles). Establishing a harem increases a kingdom’s Consumption by 2 BP.

A ruler may increase the size of his harem. This edict may be made multiple times, and the Charisma bonus and the Consumption costs stack. If a realm has two rulers, only one gains this Charisma bonus, though the second ruler may start a separate harem to gain a bonus for themselves.

Sexy, ain’t it?

The above rules serve as an adequate representation of the costs and benefits of having a harem. Namely, that it’s an extravagance that has little practical value to the kingdom as a whole. After all, paying for a lavish lifestyle for several people who don’t do anything but be available when the ruler wants to be entertained can be quite expensive, but doesn’t really do much for the nation, besides serving to make the ruler seem more virile.

I’ve deliberately ignored the specifics regarding how many individuals are in the harem, what their levels are, etc. Those details are simply too minute to make a difference in the kingdom rules Paizo has written. For those who want such particulars however, I recommend the following: a harem has 1d4+2 individuals (each of whom has a Charisma score of 12+1d6), with 1d3 NPC levels each (usually expert, but if you have it I recommend using 4 Winds Fantasy Gaming’s courtesan NPC class, from Paths of Power). This increases by another 1d4+2 individuals each time the harem edict is used.

And there you have it – rules for one of the perks that comes with wearing the crown. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? Well, that’s up to you to decide, because making the big decisions is what you do now: you’re the king.


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3 Responses to “Hail to the king, baby.”

  1. Saiyu Says:

    …or queen…no wait… lolz

  2. David Leemon Says:

    I think there should be a limit to how many times the bonuses may stack. I don’t think people are going to be more impressed by 500 wives than they are of 250 wives — at some point they are going to say “Does this guy to ANYTHING besides play around in his harem?”

    • alzrius Says:

      Before anything else, it’s important to remember that harem girls aren’t presumed to be wives – just playthings (though I suppose the ruler could marry them, if he were so inclined).

      But on to your point; I confess that the issue of putting a cap on the bonus never occurred to me. The ruler has to spend 2 BP to get a +1 to his Charisma score – meaning that he needs to spend 4 BP (having a harem double the default size) in order to get a +2 Charisma bonus, which translates to a +1 increase on the listed Charisma checks.

      Needless to say, that’s a large expense for a very small reward. If a ruler were to try and get, say, a +10 bonus to checks just from this, he’d have to have purchased a harem twenty times over (obtaining a harem of about 90 girls), which would cost a whopping 40 BP. Now, large kingdoms may not go bankrupt from that, but it’s still a drain on valuable resources that are better spent elsewhere.

      In other words, the cost is meant to be so prohibitive that it prevents people from going overboard in the manner you described.

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