My campaign is focused on establishing a colony in unexplored hostile wilderness and the players have decided that they want the actual tasks of taking, holding, and fortifying territory to be a bigger part of the game. Simply saying “We have a fort worth X,000gp and it holds everything within a certain area!” doesn’t cut it. So I’m looking for ideas and suggestions on how to manage this.
Thus far, I’m working on a more detailed map of the immediate area. We’ve noticed that a 30kgp stronghold, according to ACKS rules, can secure a hex of just over 30 square miles and are placing the upper limit on territory at 1 square mile per 1kgp of fortifications, but there’s still the question of what is involved on an ongoing basis to maintain control of that territory. The simple existence of the stronghold is clearly not adequate - your castle can be worth a million gp, but, if it’s completely deserted, it’s not going to secure anything once someone notices that nobody is home.
My reasoning at this point is that the stronghold should actually serve as the base of operations for a military force which actually secures and patrols the area around it, but I’m unsure at this point of what the force requirement should be. The only case of a garrison requirement in the rules is a per-family requirement, but that doesn’t map directly to an amount of land controlled, given that you’re not always going to be at maximum population density - a half-hex wilderness domain with 50 families and a sixteen-hex wilderness domain with 50 families both have the same requirement of a 200gp/month garrison, yet those troops would obviously be spread much more thinly (and be correspondingly less effective) in the larger domain than the smaller.
At this point, I’m kind of defaulting to basing the required garrison to secure land on the maximum population of that land (e.g., wilderness has a max population of 125 families/hex, or about 4 families/square mile, and requires a garrison of 4gp/family, so it would require 16gp/square mile to secure), but that makes more-civilized areas harder to secure (max population per square mile increases faster than required garrison per family decreases) and also removes the stronghold value from the equation entirely.
Intuitively, I would say that, to get the stronghold back into it, the stronghold value would provide a cap on the garrison that can be stationed there. In this example, 16gp garrison per 1kgp stronghold would give you the same maximum controlled territory, but then that would mean you can’t support a garrison larger than what the population requires and can’t get a morale bonus that way. Using the figures from D@W for the number of units that can be garrisoned in a structure isn’t really acceptable, because it’s too easily gameable. (Build lots of palisades. They’re dirt cheap and can garrison a unit (120 infantry/60 cavalry) each.)
Aside from the garrison/patrol-based method making sense to me, my players also like the idea of heavy troop losses meaning that you have to withdraw your patrols and cede outlying territory even if the stronghold has remained completely secure. So we seem pretty set at this point on having that play some role instead of making it purely a matter of the stronghold, although I’d still be interested in hearing any other ideas for how to determine both how much territory and exactly which territory is controlled at a smaller-than-hex level.