Post by davidbrodeur on Apr 11, 2021 7:34:50 GMT -6
I bought because I was interested. I was super pumped up for the system and how it works and so on. Very useful to generate regions and keep it linked with the domain system.
However, when I playtested it with my group (we did it outside of our normal campaign so that if it broke everything, it wouldn't affect our long-standing (almost 3 years) campaign), it didn't work. I mean, it "worked", but it didn't do what I wanted it to do. Also, I thought abstracting things (domain ability scores) would help lower the book keeping (compared to say ACKS), but in the end it actually created MORE book keeping because those abstraction are not grounded in the reality of the normal game.
To me, AER is a boardgame, but I don't see myself using it for domain.
Good: - Solid generation of locations/settlements/etc.. Random tables and generation has always been the strong point of Crawford. You could use this with any region generation, with or without domain, and use very liberally the stats and so on. - The system itself is well-made, it won't "break" - Versatile in its scope (you could use it for a small faction thing or a kingdom)
Bad: - Too much book keeping and different abstracted stats that sometimes create confusion, especially if you go BTB domain where at level 9 you basically only have have a keep and start attracting settlers. I feel this system is for when you are super installed at higher level, approaching a kingdom or something. I understand he says otherwise and he tries to put emphasis on early domain management (i.e. fixing settlements problems), but there is too much book keeping for such an aventure-focused thing. I understand we should do book keeping no matter what as a Referee, but when I have to maintain multiple spreadsheets and keep track of the spreadsheet of my players, I feel it's a bit much. - Abstraction is to make sure its suited to all system, and I understand that. However, it really makes it "another game" because of that. I feel sometimes it was too disjointed. I had to make both narrative and mechanical efforts to link OD&D with it, which I didn't appreciate fully. - Some good aspect of domain level interactins are missing IMO, such as random events happening (see ACKS or Birthright). I had to add those to my own. - System wise, the action economy is weird. My players felt they were hindered and couldn't do enough.
Mileage may vary. Maybe I was just using it wrong.
I use it for setting generation quite a bit (along with a mishmash of a lot of other techniques and books). When it comes to domain level play I generally handwave a lot of the details. I have used the specific scores found within as an abstraction, but I don't use the play procedures within by the book.