RPG And Character Development
Characters can have gear, magical talents, social talents, and so forth
Axioms Of Dominion has a very deep character system. Not only do characters have political stuff like languages, cultural knowledge, religions, and personal backgrounds but they also have attributes, around 7-14 depending on my final choices, as well as a the potential for double digit numbers of magical “aspects” called aptitudes.
You have all the fun elements/damage types of an RPG magic system as well as what you might call structural aspects. Evocation, Divination, Metamagic, and so forth. Axioms may or may not get composite elements and non-elemental types like glacial, tectonic, chronomancy, spatial and gravity magic and so forth.
Characters have racial magic potentials and they have training/education options based on their polity. There is a fancy interconnection to literacy and education policy here. Some nations should eventually spawn magic academies and other elite schools.
While combat is a major use of magic some magic schools are useful in logistics or intelligence or construction and even enchanting and forging and so forth. Alchemy is going to be pretty detailed as well as noted in another post.
I wrote a lot about how the RPG aspects tie into politics in previous posts. There is also an exploration system in Axioms. Besides learning information about the world through the intelligence system there is more direct RPG exploring. Every province will have various locations, some generate randomly at game start, some by historical stuff like the rise and fall of realms, and spawn spawning every few hundred turns as the game progresses.
You can find underground caves full of resources, creatures, or monsters, hidden settlements of rare or unique races, imprisoned characters or spirits or deities, mountain passes by tunnel, and various other stuff. There are lots of lore explanations for this but that isn’t super relevant until you can actually play the game.
A key aspect of exploring is that while you can send stuff like military or scout units a major aspect is characters. Exploration is open to any character, not just province owners, although local lords may have various advantages. It should technically be possible to play a non-landed character alone or with something like a party and to go on adventures. Unlanded characters have different risks and incentives than landed ones.
Unlanded Or Non-Political Characters
Similarly you can “retire” and start a magic academy, maybe a high tier crafting business, or even found a mercenary company. “Retiring” is just you change what you spend attention points on. That isn’t an actual mechanic. You’d just stop looking for loot or knowledge and build up connections and some logistics or w/e.
Roleplaying actually matters in Axioms to some degree. If you do play a landless, or even landed in rare cases, character that avoids politics or conflict, landed characters will be willing to give you support for something like a magic school. You’d have to make different deals depending on the character.
Of course if you were powerful enough even lacking land you could get involved in the great game if you wanted. It would just raise the hostility level a bit. Especially if you got caught doing something shady.
Regular Landed Characters And Builds
A landed character can of course be a powerful mage or something. Personal power can be relevant. Also landed characters might find getting education and resources easier. Nothing wrong with being a mage king.
Magic is also useful in politics and other fields. Charm, raw mind control, divination for knowledge, creating or finding wealth or resources, using education and knowledge related spells, and so forth. Magic can translate or make you seem to speak in a different language.
While alchemy can be a business rare and high power recipes can do other things. Boost magic potential, restore mana, help in adventuring and even large battles. It also can be applied to other crafting paths.
Characters can also do non-magical character growth. Learning a language the hard way, studying a culture, etc. Characters, and their populations and states, can gain proficient in things like intrigue or diplomacy if they focus on it. A Mayene style small or medium sized nation that remains independent without large armies or great wealth is possible.
Other Roles To Play
Characters can be landholders, magnates, spies, mages, religious leaders, and many other things. I’d recommend mostly advance players to play non-land holding characters since there are a lot of things you can’t do without a holding. Some are impossible and some merely hard. Plus landed characters may not appreciate you.
Characters in Axioms can follow many paths. You can be a ruthless tyrant, a king who stewards his land and people with honor and compassion, a shifty ruler who operates in the background and the shadows.
Because Axioms has no fixed narrative and doesn’t employ fancy pre-written text or art assets you trade off crafted narrative and glitz for true choice and consequence. There’s no right way to play. Being a lower ranking landholder provides far more than in something like CK2 because the detail of the simulation allows for playing tall, ignoring big wars, getting stuff done in secret with good personal skills and so forth.
A leader with only a few medium quality provinces can bring impact even an empire, either to raze it, to break it up, to usurp leadership, or just to control which other character is in charge.
Many people start as a count or an OPM or an unciv or w/e to increase the challenge but eventually after a short time you are a king and must start to paint the map. Not in Axioms. You can wield a large influence network even without land if you are a veteran player, you can achieve things without any wars, you can disrupt trade without revealing yourself. Both the detail of the system and the interconnections are superior to any game I’ve been able to find. After all if I could have found a game that did what I wanted I could have just worked a retail job and played that game forever. No need to go to all this hassle.