Starting domain before name level

Collection of domain-related rules I’ve found:

So, if a player starts a domain within X hexes of a large town, it spawns as a borderlands domain.

A borderlands domain is defined as having 125 families per six mile hex, or 2000 families in a 24 mile hex.

A player who starts a domain in the borderlands gets between 30 and 180 families per six mile hex.

A character below 9th level doesn’t get the starting families bonus.

I’m not sure how exactly these rules interact. If a low level character builds a stronghold in the borderlands, does their six-mile hex come with 125 families, and then a high level character gets 125+3d6x10? (You get everyone living there, plus a FAME BONUS if you’re high level?)

Or does the low-level character get zero families in his domain, even though there’s like a hundred families hanging around the area. (Peasants just don’t want to go live by Steve’s house. Steve isn’t cool enough yet.)

I believe a wilderness hex has up to 125 families living there, not necessarily exactly 125.

So in my opinion (and I am not an Autarch), the character below 9th level gets a number between 0 and 125 families as determined by the Judge based on circumstances of the specific hex. The 9th level character gets 3d6*10 (which averages about 105, but might be more or less).

my reading of the hex types seemed to indicate those were capacities for a given hex, and that otherwise a hex has no people.

You could choose to give them the 125, the net effect would be to free them from having to grow families the usual way: adventuring and agrarian investment. it’s 1000gp per 1d10 families, so you’ll be saving PCs somewhere in the realm of 22,000gp or some equivalent amount of time to let it build up naturally.

As already suggested, you have misread. “A wilderness domain cannot exceed 4 families per square mile, or 125 families per 6-mile hex.” (ACKS 129, emphasis mine) 125 families is the upper limit, not the standard (or starting) population.

The values from the Domain Population table on ACKS 127 are the total population of a newly-founded domain of a given type, so 3d6x10 for borderlands, not 3d6x10+125.

According to “Establishing Strongholds Before 9th Level” on ACKS 134, no new starting families will move in because of the domain being established (if you’re below 9th level), but you can “manag[e] peasant families that already live on the domain.” Personally, for my campaign, I’ve used that to justify ruling that you get the normal starting families regardless of your level when building the stronghold, but, technically, you should work out a way of determining how many people lived there before the stronghold was built and use that for the starting population of the domain.

Yeah, I figured out now that I should’ve written borderlands in the original post (and have since corrected it)

I’m just a little confused because it seems like wilderness transforms into borderlands at the 125 mark, but the starting families for borderlands can be much lower (You could roll only 30 families living there, if the dice hated you.) How could that be borderlands if nobody lives there? I guess it could be an averages thing (There’s more people nearby, just not in that particular hex. I guess the heroes should’ve noticed they were building a fort in a deserted area!)

I believe in that case it’s borderlands by virtue of location - within 25 miles/4 6 mile hexes of a civilized hex.

It’s not necessarily the population density, but it’s close enough to civilization that there’s still not as many monster encounters there - so it’s the averages thing.

Still, it’s only a ~5% chance a new borderlands domain has as many or less (30, 40, 50 families) than any given new wilderness domain (20-50 families).

Loosely related:

I think there’s room in the Land Surveying proficiency for giving a way to assess a hex before attempting to secure it; perhaps spending a week or so, which would probably involve a quick count of existing settlers.

It’d be kind of fun having the party have to defend this normal man specialist they hired to do the job from all the random encounters that happen while doing the surveying, at least.

They’re two separate and completely unrelated ways to get a borderlands domain.

A domain is borderlands if either it is initially secured within 25 miles of a civilized area or it starts out as a wilderness domain and grows to 16 hexes with a population of 2000 families.

Neither requirement impacts the other - a newly-founded domain near civilized lands does not need to be 16 hexes or have any particular population numbers and a wilderness domain becoming borderlands by maxxing out does not need to be anywhere near a civilized area.