Domains before ninth level

So we were reading the stuff about domains and came up with two interpretations for how domains grow when you start them before ninth level. Either way you definitely don’t get your starting families until ninth. But as far as immigration emmigration, does that not happen untill you hit ninth level? That wouldn’t make sense for a big domain that is inherited by a low level guy.
Our other interpretation is that the whole only get families on a roll of 10 when you are below 100 applies to everything normal growth, investment etc… This would mean that without the starting families you’d need to get really lucky and spend a lot to make it work. This makes more sense to me but anyone have any ideas/better interpretations?

As I read it, you don’t get your automatic bonusses (such as starter families) when starting before ninth level. However, if you can convince people to recognise you as their lord during play, you could count those as ‘families’. Those families would immigrate and emigrate normally, I’d say.

I meant to reply to this earlier. I don’t have much to add in terms of “how-to” but I will say that, with Domain Management and campaign XP such a major part of what’s unique about ACKs, it seems a shame to not have a few ways to let lower level players dip their toes in to those mechanics, especially when the demographics suggest that your average baron is much lower than 9th level.

One way to solve that might be with a more formalized system of inheritance? Every game should be more like Crusader Kings II, basically.

I always used the interpretation that, on the border, rulers were pretty exclusively name-level, because borders are dangerous. But the interiors of large realms have a lot of titles that have been hereditary for many generations; as such, many rulers will be quite below name level.

A campaign that started at the adventurer tier could make starting PCs local lords who only recently inherited their lands. So they need to manage the succession process and make nice with the local power brokers while also maintaining good relations with neighboring polities and finding the time to delve into a dungeon every once in a while.

I’ve been thinking about that myself. For now, I solved it by having the players being sponsored by a local lord, and appointed custodians of a border fort. They have a safe base of operations and can lord it over a small group of soldiers, but the lord gets most of the income and the players still have to pay their taxes. In the end, its a money sink, but the players don’t seem to mind.

That said, I’m working on a concept where low level players can found a mini domain called a Temple Grounds. In my campaign, it’s possible to strike a pact with a Great Spirit (complicated, but call it a demi-god of nature for now). You can then create a large temple where the Spirit is worshipped. I’m imagining travellers, traders, monks, pilgrims and frauds will show up, slowly growing the temple into a proper Temple Grounds - a special type of Urban Settlement. urban settlements mean markets, and I think that fits nicely for such a hub of activity.

Now, I’m working on the rules, an the balance of such a settlement, but I do believe these settlements could count as a set of training wheels. There’d be income, trouble, trading and the possibility to grow the mini domain into a proper one - although in my campaign Temple Grounds cannot grow into Civilized domains, as that would destroy the connection to the Spirit.