Perhaps I’ve been reading too much Harn Manor lately. Opinions solicited.
Once a character acquires a realm large enough to provide him with campaign XP (e.g. domain exceeds the character’s GP Threshold), his henchmen will expect the lord to assign them a domain from the realm to manage. Moreover, the henchmen will expect that the domains they are assigned will be appropriate to their own level. If a particular vassal domain’s income is less than the henchman’s GP Threshold, he will begrudge his lord’s penuriousness, and his loyalty may be compromised.
To determine if a vassal begrudges his lord, consult the XP from Domain and Mercantile Income table. Starting on the first row, move down the GP Threshold column until the listed GP Threshold value exceeds the domain income for the vassal’s domain (which may be 0). Stop there and write down the class level associated with the GP Threshold on that row. If the class level you wrote down is less than the vassal’s actual level, his morale score is reduced by 2 per point of difference.
EXAMPLE: Duke Robert is a 9th level fighter with a domain of 2,500 families. Duke Robert wants to keep his own domain as large as possible to maximize his own XP, so he decides to give his four henchmen quite small domains.
One of his henchman is Howard, a 7th level fighter. Howard is assigned a domain of 50 families to rule. After garrison, taxes, tithes, and stronghold upkeep, Howard’s domain has a domain income of 315gp per month. Consulting the XP from Domain and Mercantile Income table, the Judge finds the first GP Threshold which exceeds 315gp is 650gp. The class level associated with that GP Threshold is 5th level. 5th level is two levels below Howard’s 7th level, so Howard’s morale score is reduced by 4.
Duke Robert learns of Howard’s unhappiness and decides to increase his domain to a more satisfactory size. He increases Howard’s domain from 50 families to 400 families, which increase Howard’s domain income to 2,560gp. Consulting the XP from Domain and Mercantile Income table, the Judge sees that Howard is now satisfied.
Duke Robert realizes his other three 7th-level vassals will be as upset as Howard if he doesn’t take care of them, so he assigns 400 families each to each of his three other vassals. Robert now has a personal domain of 900 families and four vassals, including Howard, each ruling 400 families.
Assigning a vassal a domain with a domain income greater than his own GP Threshold does not decrease the vassal’s loyalty, but it doesn’t increase it. Perhaps the vassal develops an overinflated ego, assuming that his lord is desperate for his services, or resent the excess responsibility being thrust upon. History is filled with betrayals by trusted henchmen shown a little too much favor…