I'm looking for some thoughts on Chaotic domains. Basically, I want to establish a very small bandit domain in my borderlands region. It would be chaotic but not a "beastmen" domain. I'm thinking about using the standard rules for chaotic domains just focusing on men instead. It would not trade, and wouldn't be growing very fast, but it would count as a settlement (class IV) in the wilderness.
From a Judge's perspective, I see it serving three purposes. (1) would be to offer a settlement - though not a safe one, in the wilderness, (2) would be as an adventuring site itself, and (3) would be as a place that might someday serve the PCs as a good place to overthrow and use it to start their own domain in the borderlands.
Any thoughts about using chaotic domains, experience with having them on the map, or the purposes I plan to use this one for, etc. would be appreciated.
Chaotic domains don't necessarily have to be that of bandits and beastmen. Any domain that is driven primarily by tyranny or "might makes right" could be considered chaotic. If the only thing keeping the chieftain in command is that no one dares to challenge him to fight, that could be considered chaotic (and indeed, rulership probably changes often).
By contrast, a lawful domain has some sort of prescribed method of passing rulership, even if said rules just so happen to heavily favor the current ruler. Hereditary rule is an option, elections would not be unheard of, or even simply naming an heir with the consent of your vassals (and then conveniently naming your most competent child and strongarming your vassals to support). As long as some semblence of rules justify who the king is, it's lawful.
Now that I think about it, another angle could be a domain that even seems lawful, but the official realm religion is one in service of a cthonic god. So you have a few options if you want a little variety.
Having planned to have a PC rule a chaotic domain at one point, my conclusion of reading the rules is that a beastmen domain and a chaotic domain are entirely different things.
Domain alignment is largely cosmetic; it applies a morale penalty if the ruler and domain don’t match, there are a few things chaotic domains can do that lawful ones can’t (like slavery), but the differences should generally be just in the choices made by the rulers and laws.
Remember that the vast majority of the citizens of any human domain are Neutral, regardless of the alignment of the domain or the ruler.
I agree that domain alignment is largely cosmetic. My intent though is to use the rules for chaotic domains in this instance because these folk would be much more like the rules description for how those function. I just want to focus it on brigands/bandits rather than beastmen.
Overall, I think the chaotic domain rules do a pretty good job of representing something like the Iron Isles from Game of Thrones... "We do not sow." That's what I'm going for.