I want to run a game of SSoS, but in some way turned on its head. In my game players will play the roles of sons and daughters of Ulrand Valerian. First session will start with sudden (and, of course, mysterious!) death of the Legate, caused by some sinister force or political intrigue. 1st level PCs will be forced to quickly become competent rulers or die trying... or abandon Turos Tem and become full-time murderhobos. :) To make things worse, I want to start with them being imprisoned by beastmen in the dungeon. But before I sit behind the table and throw all my ideas at players, I must say that I didn't run the numbers and didn't do thorough homework to know if my idea has any serious pitfalls. Isn't 1st level too low for such play? Isn't Turos Tem a hereditary holding by the book? How should I play the vassals?
If you have any other ideas to improve my future game, I'll be glad to read them.
You can pretty easily give small domains to even 1st level players. They will be more powerful than your typical 1st level PC, of course, but the game won't warp out of control. Be sure to check out Axioms III for limits on how large of a domain you can rule at a given level (including 1st) and stick with something around that size if you want it to be background noise. If you give them something bigger, like the size of the realm of Turos Tem, you'll certainly create a fun set of challenges as the penalties to morale rolls quickly spiral out of control.
My best piece of advice would be to make sure they don't get too bogged down in "protecting the domain" - that they end up getting in over their heads with threats they cannot defeat - in lieu of doing what they ought to do from 1st-5th: plundering accessible dungeons.
My party'd obtained one at 2nd level, and then went around pissing off established powers (that wouldn't necessarily have noticed them anytime soon), forcing a showdown, rather than using that time to get leveled.
As an example, they had several plot hooks thrown at them for Sakkara, and never bit. Had they went there at 4th level, finally, they'd have plowed through it, even accounting for powering it up over time.
...hell, looking at my campaign calendar, that was 4 1/2 months from taking it over to talking themselves into getting sieged.
And, one more thing: it wasn't necessarily the party's level. Levels mean in ACKS you've gotten gold - and they didn't have a lot of it, which handicapped them a bit. They'd spent a lot of what they had on protecting things they barely had a hold on - doing some minimal improvement to a wrecked fort a hex away, etc.
I could have controlled things a bit better, or been a bit more explicit in my advice to them when it started to look like they were gonna go off the rails, but, hey.