Domain Density

I’m slowly gearing up to run an ACKS campaign, and I’m working on the first regional map at the moment. What I haven’t quite gotten my head around yet is the number and size of settlements that’s assumed by default.

First off, the “Creating the Region” rules on p235 say to include about 15 settlements, towns and castles. Does any domain stronghold count as a settlement for these purposes, or only the more significant tones? Because if domains are often only 1 hex in size then you don’t need a lot of domain hexes to use up all 15.

Secondly, how large should the local settlements be? I’m working on the assumption that most of the settlements are class V or VI with a couple of class IVs, one class III on the region map, a class II that’s maybe a week’s travel from the edge of the map and the only class I is a long sea voyage away.

Does that sound about right?

For the 15 settlements, you would disregard Class VI settlements and strongholds that are so small that they can control 1 hex or less.

For the local settlements, your assumptions sound quite good. There are some explicit instructions on p. 231 to equate your settlements to your domain sizes but your assumptions have gotten you to the right outcome regardless.

Thanks Alex, glad to hear I’m on the right track.

“For the 15 settlements, you would disregard Class VI settlements and strongholds that are so small that they can control 1 hex or less.”

Well, I’ve been doing that wrong.

So how many Class IV or larger settlements do you generally place in a region, Alex, and at what density? I’m curious because, going by the rules as written, a Class IV or higher market civilizes a 50 mile radius, and makes borderlands of an additional 25 miles beyond that. The recommended region is only 240 miles by 180 miles, so it doesn’t take too many Class IVs to crowd the wilderness out entirely.

I’m not Alex, but think about how those cities would emerge out of play to get an idea of how the cities might be spaced out:

*A brave adventurer amasses enough wealth and experience to secure her own domain. Not wanting to owe fealty to anyone, she establishes her stronghold in the middle of the wilderness, starting with a single hex requiring a (if i recall correctly) 30k GP stronghold.

*slowly but surely, she secures and annexes new hexes, each time upgrading her stronghold by another 30k gp until she reaches her maximum: 16 6 mile hexes, or one 24 mile hex.

*Once her domain hits the limit for wilderness hexes, they upgrade from wilderness to borderland to allow more people. that eventually isn’t enough and the hexes become civilized as well, which then makes any hexes within 25 miles of her domain borderlands.

*at some point in the path from wilderness to civilized, she scooped up some of her rural citizens and put them in a new class VI market, she’ll need to get it halfway through the descriptors of a class IV before it civilizes the region.

*also at the same time, she likely had vassals create domains relatively near her domain, possibly adjacent, but not necessarily. They are going through the same steps as her.

*with a sufficiently settled region, you’ll eventually have several adjoining 24 mile hexes, each with a stronghold and a city. Depending on how the person at the top lays them out, the biggest cities could be near each other or on opposite ends of the realm, but there are could be small cities almost every 24 mile step of the way.

It’s important to note that an area is only civilized or borderlands once its cleared and settled. An area can be within 50 miles of a city and if its filled with monsters it will be wilderness. By implication the rules assume that such an area would not stay wilderness for long, but in particular instances there can be atypical force causing this.

I typically place a Class III or Class IV city in one corner. I then have 3-5 Class V towns in a radius of 6-8 hexes away from the city. I then have a row of tough (75,000gp+) strongholds in a radius 3-5 hexes away from the Class V towns, along the edge of the borderlands. That usually takes up about half the map.

I then place woods, swamp, mountains, or other bad terrain within the civilized and borderlands area, and place some dungeons in those areas.

“It’s important to note that an area is only civilized or borderlands once its cleared and settled.”

That would be the point I missed. Thanks for clearing that up for me.