Domain by Council

A fighter, mage, cleric, and thief hit 9th level and decide to pool resources to build a domain. Does that work? If so, how? Do they all earn xp from the taxes? Do they all generate followers? Do they benefit from the cleric’s half off ability? Or is only one of them considered to be the domain master and they receive the benefits alone?

Ahh, the level 9 anarcho-syndicalist commune. :slight_smile:

I’d rule that they can share gold all they want but must invest it personally to receive their class-based benefits. So the single domain would have a stronghold, fortified church, sanctum, and hideout. Their “executive council” could pool tax income from their personal domains and even have a separate building to meet in. I think it would look more like a republic of land-holders that way, but that is attested in the ancient world and might give you the effect you want.

My group has been trying to pull something similar. I’ve ruled that every domain has one and only one ruler. I also reminded them that:

  1. the assassin can run a guild within the ruling player’s domain,
  2. divine characters (if they had any) could set up a congregation within the ruling player’s domain, and
  3. an urban settlement is technically a separate domain within a regular domain.
    I’d suggest this group found 3 domains in adjacent 6-mile hexes and spread out in different directions. I’d suggest the thief start a guild that has branches in each of his allies’ domains.

In a lot of ways, this makes sense to me. I mean, most ‘fantasy city’ examples tend to be one ruled by a nominal fighter type, while having a mages guild, a thieves guild, and temple(s). So the idea makes fluff sense.

But the real question is from a mechanic point of view… would they get the benefits of all of them living together? Do they get free followers and the divine discount? I’d say no. Maybe split the taxes for xp purposes, I’m not really worried about that.

But I wonder if I’m being too dogmatic about my interpretation.

Why not have them split all the tax income, while receiving things like followers, mercenaries, and aspiring mages after building their respective strongholds/sanctums/hideouts? They could all occupy and share a single hex that way!

Also, why not apply these ideas as part of the collaborative ACKS region I posted about? :slight_smile:

I think this is likely another case of changes in play over level. I had a group pick up a pair of domains at sub-9th level, and they had a hell of a time clearing hexes or otherwise increasing their power because they split their strength. Likewise, if you look at Cameron’s Grim Fist game, his PCs have been remaining pretty cooperative. I think, though, that beyond a certain point this ceases to be as much of a beneficial strategy and the cleric and wizard will probably want to spread out into their own domains proper.

Do they all earn xp from the taxes? Do they all generate followers? Do they benefit from the cleric's half off ability? Or is only one of them considered to be the domain master and they receive the benefits alone?
The Grim Fist pooled their money to build Chlodomer's castle. Because it wasn't for the cleric, there was no half-off for the cleric's presence.

The fighter got the followers, domain, peasants, tax income, and so on. No one else got jack except what Chlodomer gifted them. Chlodomer has voluntarily split the domain income with the party, however, and each character gets XP based on their share. This has meant that almost no one gets XP, of course, which is why they are aggressively expanding the domain.

The cleric was declared patriarch, and so gets all of the tithe money and divine power. So far, the math has worked out in favor of remaining patriarch rather than striking off on his own. I also allowed the cleric to build temples in the domain - these don’t count for domain, but they do allow the cleric to acquire followers, because that made sense. The temples were half-off.

The thief runs a guild and is a vassal governor of the city. In both cases, the thief class is pretty much built for this kind of cooperation. The existence of the guild is orthogonal to the existence of a domain!

The mage in this case is unusual, and probably doesn’t apply to your needs very well, because Galswintha’s player … does what she wants ;). I don’t mean that in a bad way, but she follows her own muse, and I try to accommodate based on the solid foundation that ACKSenomics provide - she is technically a vassal of the fighter’s realm, but she allows no peasants in her domain (it’s a wilderness preserve) and has tons of fairies, so I worked out a sort of city market income based on the deals and specifics of the fairies (dryads, gnomes, pixies, sprites, brownies, blink dogs, naiads, and so on). So I’m using the city rules to represent a leisure population of fairies … and she has also started a mage guild, so I’ve been using the thief hideout rules as a basis for that, but with research and spellcasting income rather than hijinks. And since she built a sanctum, I gave her followers.

Overall, then, I don’t provide much in the way of “splitting the benefits” or “adding the benefits together.” The cleric gets followers, but no other domain benefits. The fighter gets pretty much everything (even if he voluntarily splits it with the party).

However, the Grim Fist’s cooperative behavior does have emergent benefits. The fighter’s domain is vast compared to what he could have managed on his own. The cleric has divine power coming out of his ears, and the tithe money is very nice. The thief has a much better city than if she tried to go her own way. And so on. And they’ve successfully fought off very heavy threats at this point, in part thanks to their cooperation.

I do not think it likely that a set of rules could accommodate all of the possible ways in which PCs might configure their domains, so it’s probably best to do as Cameron et. al have done and simply adjudicate ad hoc based on what the PCs decide, knowing that the core economics can support it.

Reading this thread reminded me of the useful truth that RPG rules are fractal. If you add detail in an area (as we did with domain rules for ACKS), rather than be sufficient, it actually results in further detail being added to extrapolate from the elaborations you’ve provided.

Unrelated to original post, but I would really love to see those fairy city and mage guild setups.

Nothing special: I said, “Poof! Galaufchulis is a city! It starts with the three pixie villages worth of people, plus dryads and naiads and treants, so we’ll call it an even population of 100.”

It’s been growing slowly but steadily since, using the normal rules for a city domain. In theory, there are also some fey-friendly humans, gnomes, and others who have moved in as well, although we’ve left it mostly undefined.

Mage guild: Again, nothing special, and even more ad hoc. At some point we may sit down and really work out the numbers, but I’ve been waiting until Galswintha’s player and I can sit down for an hour or two without disturbing the rest of the party.

I do like the idea of a PC hideout in a PC settlement, but I wonder how that works out when a follower gets caught. Naturally, the PC ruler can pull strings, or even just outright pardon the criminal, but I think there might be repercussions if done too much. First of all, the people might catch wind of this cooperation and consider the ruler corrupt for helping career criminals escape justice. Secondly, these criminals, knowing that their crimes will go unpunished might get bolder and sloppier, leading to a weak thieves/assassin’s guild. Of course, the ruler could just leave the thief to the criminal “justice” system, but that might be unpopular to his good sneaky friend.

The best solution I can easily see is to impose punishments that are suitably irritating to the young thief and beneficial to the domain, but do not cause any permanent harm. So instead of whipping and branding, some form of community service, military service, helping to train the garrison (maybe through instruction in stealth, or acting to test their skills in observation), manual labor, etc. Sure the realm might still seem soft on crime compared to the ones that cut off hands regularly, but there are some limits to how much you can hide helping a criminal organization.