@arkandel said in Alternative Lords & Ladies Settings:
Another take on Lords and Ladies could be to introduce a level of strategic planning to it.
One of my peeves about settings like that, for some time, was that there was no cost to anything. Every other noble PC walks around throwing gold at problems; if Jane comes asking Jim for some ships to move her good he can just... give it since there's an inexhaustible supply. Here, have some imaginary ships, lady!
Similarly there's no downside in being nice. Hey peasants, I lowered your taxes! Love me! Which means playing cutthroat, cynical characters with an eye toward making money and using it to gain political advantages (think Littlefinger from Game of Thrones) doesn't give any edge over honorable ones (like Eddard Stark), and that ultimately cheapens both; honor is cheap without sacrifice, and bastardy is just dumb because... you act like an asshole IC yet get nothing to show for it.
I'd love to see a setting where clever players managing their estates well is meaningful and gets them the upper hand. Treating serfs well makes one popular - which grants bonuses - but empty coffers also translate to disadvantages that have to be played around.
Anyway. Lords and ladies. Resources. Meaningful choices. I'd like to see a good take on it.
One of the systems used on the Fading Suns game set on Vargo did this pretty well, basically you defaulted as a noble to having everything funded at the 'thoroughly mediocre' level when it came to loyalty of your people and vassals and that left you with a properly funded lifestyle for your rank along with some spending money but not a fortune. The moment you wanted to live in an extra fancy manner, or do well by your peasants, etc? You either needed to be excellent at managing your lands or obtain money from outside sources.
It ended up with things like one faction leader trying to sign a peace deal with the NPC neighbor and it being foiled because one of his baronesses was sending pirate ships to raid their coast and he had no idea it was going on. He thought the other party was making up coastal raids in order to try to get concessions but they were totally real and were making said baroness a ton of money.
I had a character who was held a senior military position and she was 100% embezzling the budget to help fund her personal goon squad of elite and ludicrously well paid murderers. They were just down the road from the palace where her boss lived though and so whilst he knew she was embezzling money he did not say anything due to being legitimately concerned about a coup.
It obviously had major problems but I loved how it rapidly turned landed nobles into money grubbing kleptocrats who would strike dubious deals with people and go into debt continuously. Successful military campaigns and sacking towns was also a great source of incoming if you could pull it off.