Domain rulership and battle leadership

We've just started mass battles and are fast approaching the point where we'll be looking to found domains. I'm interested in how others have handled this part of ACKS gameplay.

Mainly I'd like to know how people share responsibilities, treasure, and EXP between PCs. High level ACKS play seems very much designed for each Player to act as an individual commanding a group of henchmen, rather than as a part of a team of equals.Treasure and EXP division is structured to funnel the majority to one person, with substantially smaller shares going to others.

I saw the Grim Fist campaign dealt with this by having a single domain for the whole party, with equal EXP division and roles such as treasurer, spymaster etc for each PC. 

What are others' experiences? Have you stuck to the division set out in the book, or tried something different?



Hi Mike,

In my various ACKS campaigns I've found several methods that all work:

1. The party controls one domain. One player is the ruler of the domain, while other players focus on supporting roles within that domain - military leadership, magical research, thieves' guildery, building congregations, etc.

2. The party controls one realm. Each player has a domain with the realm. One player is the ruler of the realm, with other players as vassals. 

3. The party controls one realm. Each player has a domain within the realm. The party is the ruler of the realm, with its own domain, using some house rules for joint control or senatorial rule. 

And of course it can shift between these as the party gains in strength, conquers domains, and so on. 

In the Auran Empire campaign, the adventurers began with one domain built in the wilderness, which they shared roles within (#1), but eventually became rulers of all of Southern Argolle, with one character as Exarch and the others as various Prefects (#2).

In the Opelenean Nights campaign, the adventurers began with one domain built in the wilderness (#1) but later staged a coup and seized control of a rebel prefecture, which they ran as a council (#3). 


how did XP break down for #1 and #2? #3 seems to pretty clearly be handled by the book as written.

At some point I shall offer more formal rules for this.

For #1, I simply allocated XP based on the character's actual activities - e.g. fighting battles, doing magical research, hijinks, etc. The domain ruler did get slightly more XP than the other players, but it was nothing game breaking, and it incentivized the other players to invest in domains.

For #2, I've used different methods at different times. You might try (a) Calculate domain income; (b) Find the XP threshold of the highest-level co-ruler; (c) subtract B from A; (d) divide the remainder as XP between the co-rulers, either equally or by responsibility or pro rata by level.


There's a significant difference between Battle XP and Domain XP. Domain XP is subject to XP thresholds, which means that you need a big domain before you start getting any XP at all.

Taking the scenario of a Level 9 character running a wilderness domain with no urban centre and no liege to pay taxes to, you would in the best case need a domain of 9 fully-populated hexes before the Level 9 lord would earn any XP at all (and it would be less than 500 XP per month). Unless you get very lucky with your land value, the real answer is more like 12 hexes. If all of the PCs found their own domains within a few months of each other, the difference in XP will be negligible.

By contrast (as we discovered on Sunday) knocking over a few lairs with a small army can result in a large influx of XP, a goodly fraction of which goes to the army's general.

"War. It's fantastic!"


wait, did you use domains at war rules to knock over monster lairs in hexes? or did you mean "small army" in the sense of "one PC and his henchmen/mercenaries" ?


Thanks Alex - interesting stuff. The Thursday night game I run is still quite a ways off from this point, but they're very group-focused so when this came up in the Sunday game I play in it got me thinking ahead.

#3 is quite appealing to me because it replicates the consensus decision making aspect of lower level party interactions. A big part (for me anyway) of why tabletop RPGs are enjoyable is because of their co-leadership and teamwork assumptions.

So essentially set yourselves up as a council/oligarchy or something akin to the Roman republic's consuls. 

In theory you could apply a similar structure to battle command. Would anything in the game's assumptions and math go off kilter if you did that sort of thing? I imagine most other rulers would think you a bit mad for sharing power and command, which could make diplomacy a bit difficult.

Otherwise, I guess which PC's bonuses apply could get murky? I assume you had some set of house rules to cover that? Any chance you could share?


You don't have to mirror the real life group dynamic in game.  You could have one character be the commander and the rest his underlings, but still have decisions made as a group.  That would seem to be the simplest way to go.

Sure did - three humanoid villages, each large enough to field a platoon-scale army at least. The only rules change I implemented was I treated the total GP value of the lair as the Spoils of War instead of using the Domains at War rules. I also ignored the reconnaissance rules as the party already knew where the lairs were and I figured the lair would figure out dozens of cavalry were descending on them. 

That's awesome! How did it go?

Quite well, I think. It was a lot easier to run than having the party fight a whole village, espcially since i figured out what the mass combat stats for the lair would be in advance of the session.