I'd like to start running a domain-level ACKS game but am not sure how to structure things. Are there any good examples online that highlight the down-and-dirty mechanics of actually *running* a domain-level campaign? Any good tracking tools or spreadsheets that you've found useful?
I have a vague recollection that Alex once said here on the forums that when he runs domain-level play, he just has players describe their actions in-world and then he handles all the numerical tracking and such behind the scenes. Having given powergamers full access to the rules-text of domains and let them have at it, I think this degree of black-boxing is probably reasonable.
I've posted my thoughts on sample domain - called Feathergale - swiping ideas from the 5e module Princes of the Apocalypse.
I'm using the revised domains rules from Axioms 3, and the domain management tool (from Mike3P).
Since I thought they were cool, I built up the domain's garrison (the Feathergale Knights) first, then added the stronghold and domain details afterwards. My first conclusion was that the Knights are way too expensive for a small domain. Rather than making the domain larger to support the Knights, I'm going to assume that they're actually paid for by a (as yet undescribed) liege. (This is similar to Muntberg's position in Dwimmermount.)
Anyhow - I'm interested in feedback form those who have run domain-level games. Does everything look kosher?
(I've also posted some questions in the "Ask the Autarchs" forum about the BR for the Feathergale Knights.)
FYI: I noodled around with Mike3P's tool and while it's quite cool, unless he's updated it recently it is using the old core rules for domains and not the updated axioms version.
If I had players who were willing to do the math for such things I'd certainly let them, but for the most part, they simply haven't been. I don't mind being the "black box" so it works out and it enables more people to enjoy domain-level play.
ACKS assumes that flying mounts are priced relative to normal mounts as World War I airplanes were cavalry in 1916-1918. (Literally, that's the math I used to benchmark costs.) So a small tower like Feathergale is not going to be able to afford an air force any more than Montenegro had an air force. A force like the Feathergale Knights would have to come from a kingdom or some such.
One thing that might be missing is vassal domains.
I've tweaked details on Feathergale and posted the Warlock and the Wind-Swept Downs. It's the larger domain of which Feathergale is a vassal, and provides some of the backstory for the vulture-mounted aerial cavalry.
The pictures are again swiped from the Princes of the Apocalypse adventure. (Alex - how much would a floating tower cost?)
You may notice that I reference locations from the old Divine Right map. I'm not using much of that game's backstory - just the cool map.
K-Slacker, a floating tower would cost... a lot.
If you assume flight costs scale linearly, then look at the cost of a magic carpet, and measure its weight capacity, then calculate the weight of your tower; that's how many magic carpets you'd need.
If you assume flight costs scale geometrically, something like how blast radius does, then it'd be the square of the ratio above.
I assume a floating tower would not have the speed or maneuverability of a flying carpet. I imagine a lighter-than air ritual turning it buoyant and then using chains to anchor it to its current place and draft animals (perhaps flying) or temporary flight spells to actually move it. The lighter than air ritual could scale a lot better than either flight or levitation without breaking the game (but care must be taken not to turn the setting into rampant floating castles (perhaps by making the reagent some rare creature).
Or, once it's "lightened", a complex gyro of mechanical legs from a machinist; visually a'la Howl's Moving Castle.
I'm just going to say its "magic" and leave it at that. It was built by the Warlock of the Wind-Swept Downs upon an elemental place of power (a major aerie of elemental air, to be specific), so I'm going to wave my hands and mumble something about it being an "empirical correction" to the standard stronghold rules.
(It's stuck in place though - just floating there much the same way that bricks don't.)
Worst case, in terms of cost, just say it was the result of a carefully (or perhaps imprecisely, if this was not what they intended) worded Wish.
Are you looking for organizational tools, automation, or procedural generation? I've been playing around with the idea of combining D@W's army recruitment vagaries with Axiom III's senatorial politics and domain-level wandering encounters to create military and political threats/opportunities. Particularly, the details on senates seem like they could be adapted to use with other kinds of intrigue. I don't feel like I'm very good at winging that sort of thing...
I'll need to see what the players decide...
At first I was looking for worked examples of "standard" domains of various sizes. Alex supplied that info, and now I'm putting together a few of my own that are ruled by Wizards & Sorcerers.
Next I'll need to know whether the players want to rule a domain of their own, or be a more "mobile" force (perhaps free mercenaries). Then we'll see whether it'll be slanted towards political/economic or large-scale battles.
I've not tried statting up a floating castle, though I did try doing an airship once, it turns out it comes out cheaper treating it as a construct with a crew requirement rather than a massive flying carpet - still stupidly expensive and utterly impactial though.
The D&D Rules Cyclopedia actually has rules for creating magical structures - airships and the like. They aren't designed to work with ACKS's item creation rules - but I suspect ta hybrid system could be created. I'll have to try writing that up at some point.