I thought I would pitch this out to the general forum on the subject of domain building.
How would you model a domain being ruled by a council or a collective rather than a single strong fist. You could just say that one member of the council is the strong arm of the law (and has the levels to back it up) but what if you want a real group ruling an area?
Or how about a weak noble? There could be a strong regent as is historically frequent. But what if there were several factions to a domain that needed to come to a consensus for decisions?
I was thinking of replacing the single ruler with several characters with lower levels. But would that futz the math too much?
A weak collective (or collective of the weak) probably holds the same place as a single weak ruler: Waiting to be conquered.
As such, a collective would need at least on member powerful enough to maintain it, making him the defacto ruler.
If you’ve got several powerful characters in this collective, the strongest still rules.
If you’ve got several equally powerful characters in this collective, then they all rule, but still have the same amount of resources, which leads one to wonder why some of them don’t go start their own kingdom.
Alternately, your collective of powerful rulers each control only their own kingdoms, but these kingdoms share borders and cultures and are recognized as a single entity, even though it has multiple “heads”.
Or, as a house-rule, maybe divide a “real” ruler’s XP-worth between these “counsil-members”, and then treat them as an individual ruler (of thier total XP level or perhaps at their highest individual level) for all other purposes. I probably wouldn’t try that with PCs, but it might work.
</speculation & spitballing>
I’ve been running with the idea that there is always a strongman in charge.
If it appears that there is a council, collective, weak ruler, or multiple weak factions in charge of a stable domain, that usually means that the domain is secretly ruled by an appropriately powerful thief, assassin, or other character who got a hideout instead of a castle. The public leaders of such a domain are either the shadowy ruler’s henchmen (or the henchmen of members of his syndicate or guild) or are simply powerless pretenders (whether they are aware of it or not).
Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, splitting the XP seems to actually work pretty well.
The ruling council of a large town (normally ruled by a 9th level character) might be a dozen people strong, which would make them around 5th level.
If you wanted higher level characters, or you wanted large councils, then use something akin to the feudal pyramid: split the XP up among the power bloc/political party leaders, and fill out the rest of the council with their henchmen (and their henchmen’s henchmen). If our hypothetical town council had three major power blocs, they could each be headed up by someone around 7th level and you could cascade down the henchmen charts until you got to the size of council you wanted.
The beauty of doing the pyramid would be that you would have a pre-made indication of how votes would go. You could even use the Loyalty roll as a basis for how difficult it would be to convince a given member to change their vote…
I think like the idea of splitting the XP among the movers and shakers and filling the rest of the benches with characters with less pull in the government since it is slightly less cynical than “always a dictator” or “always a puppet master behind the scenes”.
Not that I want to bring marxist theory into a game titled Adventurer Conqueror King, but I like the option of a more utopianistic feel once in a while in my fantasy.