Stronghold Entry Level

Looking at the Strongholds by Class table, everyone gets their stronghold package at level 9 - except mages, who get theirs at level 11 rather than name level. Should that be 9th level also? Mages needing 600,000 xp versus the thief’s 160,000 xp seems a bit extreme.
My reading of “Strongholds and Domains” is that regardless of what type of stronghold is built, the domain needs to be secured, peasants will be attracted, and a garrison of troops will be required. The main difference between the class strongholds is what type of followers they attract and what activities they’ll be up to. Right?
If a mage sanctum includes a dungeon, is the cost of the dungeon included in the stronghold value to determine how much land it can secure? Dungeons are expensive.

Great question.
The honest answer to why mages get their sanctum at 11th level is that has traditionally been the level at which mages did so, tracing back through B/X at least. I think it relates to the fact that 11th level is the last class level at which the character gains a mechanical benefit (6th level spells).
It’s actually caused me some substantive heart ache. On the one hand, I have respect for tradition and tend to take the approach that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Certainly high level mages are no slouches. On the other hand, it would make the mechanics simpler if everyone got their stronghold at 9th level.
I’m very interested in our backer’s thoughts, so please let me know.
Regarding the dungeon – if the dungeon is populated with monsters, then no it wouldn’t count towards the stronghold value of the land secured. The monsters are a threat to the land! On the other hand, if it’s a chaotic domain, it would.

Isn’t level 11 also when mages can start creating the monsters they have to hide in the dungeon?

My feelings are that parity and simplicity would be preferable to tradition. (I admit, this comes from my work where ‘but that’s how we’ve always done it’ is something that frequently comes up, even when it’s demonstrably inefficient.)
Some thoughts that support my feelings:

From one perspective, given how hard you’ve worked to construct the Domain Game and make it relevant and interesting to characters it does seem a little punitive to make Mages wait an additional 2 levels (and 2-3 times the Experience Points of the other 3 base classes) before they are mechanically supported in building their sanctum.
At 9th level, a Wizard can start creating permanent magical items (compared to a Thaumaturge whose items are consumables). It makes sense that they can perform their artifice in a safe place specially constructed for the purpose. Also, where do they store all those Hell Hound body parts needed for their Wand of Fireballs, etc? If I were a PC Wizard, I’d want to have a lab/study/magic forge as soon as I were able to create items, and that would be where I’d want my sanctum to be.
If mages can’t start creating monsters until 11th, then it makes some sense that they can start construction a little earlier too. At 9th they could get the Sanctum and have time to build the protections that will enable them to splice their monsters.
Also, the gaining of apprentices and a sanctum is 11th whilst the gaining of hit dice stops at 9th which I’d always equated with hitting Name Level. That’s probably down to my assumptions, but it’s interesting to note.
I recall that the Mentzer Basic set states that all Magic Users must have a master until they are 7th level, which to me suggests that an M-U of 1st to 7th level is not regarded as having mastered their art, and that 8th level M-Us inhabit something of a limbo space. Masters of their own destiny, but not yet recognised by the world at large, and not burdened by apprentices. There are other implications there too I think; M-Us of Name level and above will have apprentices, and as such will likely need somewhere to train them (unless they cart them around on adventures all the time). Obviously this comparison is not to relevant, as I can’t see any mention of low level Mages needing a master, and apprentices are gained at 11th along with the sanctum.
Also interesting is that the Rules Cyclopedia (1991) states that a Wizard gets to build his tower at 9th level (p.20). I’d guess that my Mentzer Expert set is in line with this, but I could be wrong. I wonder when that particular change from 11th to 9th was made.
Finally, in the context of adventuring society, at the point where Fighters are recognised as great leaders of men, and Clerics (effectively) gain a private army, the Wizard gets nothing – no mechanically supported recognition of their standing. As a player, I might find that quite unfair. Sure I can make magical items for you, but I’m not allowed to own my own house? What am I to you, a factory? (I dramatise for effect, please forgive me…). What I’m trying to say here, I think, is that many players will actively want to play in the Domain Game at the same time as their fellows and the rules should support that desire in the spirit of everyone playing the same game.

(P.s. Apologies for my walls of text, I seem to be putting more thought into some of this stuff than I realise)

I think 9th level would make sense, mostly because strongholds and domains are such a meaty part of the game. Another point is that at 9th level, mages don’t have masters to teach them spells. That seems to be a good qualification for apprentices.
The 11th level tradition just seems out of place compared to the general importance of 9th level and how neatly everything ties together there.

I’d missed the golden nugget about 9th level mages not having masters, thanks for pointing it out (and I’ve found it now in the Spells section).
The information about mages having masters / belonging to a guild would be useful in the character class description as it answers some very early questions about how you ‘start out’ as a mage.

+1 on 9th level makes more sense, adds consistency, will probably play better, and doesn’t hurt tradition too much.

OK - count me as persuaded. It shall be 9th level.

I like how the 1-7 is the MU’s Journeyman status (or whatever the term is) and starting with 9th they have the ability to create their stronghold. Since a Stronghold dosent happen right away (you have to save your money, pick a location, recruit workers, draw up blueprints) having a level (8th) where that is all you can do makes sense to me. Sort of the Year after college you spend backpacking around and looting dungeons before you settle down to the 9-5 grind of running a stronghold.

Jedo - It’s a nice conceit in the Mentzer edition yes. In ACKS you’re in college until you hit 9th level, then it’s graduation time and time to build that stronghold in preparation for your home-studied PhD in advanced Monster Genetics and Cross-Breeding 2 levels later :wink:

Stay with me for a moment, In CHAINMAIL a wizard and a super hero were equivalents, as were seers and heroes. In d&d terms 8th and 4th level. Once G&A went with the new spell progresson, however wizards didn’t get 6th level spells until 12 level, therefore 11th level became the super-hero level for wizards, but you will notice that 11th level wizard in 0d&d only required 300,000xp compared to the lords xp of 240,000xp.
A 11th level wizard is suppose to be equal to a 9th level lord. This horrible idea that wizards need 600,000xp to reach name level (ridiculious as you can level a fighter to name level twice in the same time) comes from someone at TSR who had a fetish for orderly and mathematical xp charts and prefered to see a pretty progression instead of looking at what the progression was accomplishing.
Requiring 600,000 xp for 11th level is dumb, inarguably dumb.

Bargle - A Hero in CHAINMAIL cost 20 points, and a Superhero in CHAINMAIL cost 50 points. To purchase a Wizard costs 100 points; 50 points only gets you a Seer, and 20 points doesn’t get you anything.
So I’m not sure I can agree with your claim that in CHAINMAIL a Wizard and a Superhero were equivalent, nor that a Hero and a Seer were equivalent.
Within ACKS, an 11th level Wizard is not the equivalent of a 9th level Lord. An 11th level Wizard is considerably more powerful. We’ve gone out of our way to buff Fighters in ACKS compared to earlier editions but high-level Mages are still the mightiest mortals.

But you have to give the super hero a magic sword and magic armor which brings his total to 70. Obviously, I came off a bit harsh–not intended. Wizards have utility, but I wouldn’t say raw power is really one of them. Even in Acks, the damage a 9th level fighter could do with a 2 handed vorpal sword and “chop till you drop” to a whole host of ogres would put a wizard to shame. Wizards spells are in their utility, not melee prowress.
The emergent play of having wizards require 600k vs 300k for other classes is that other classes will semi-retire their PC’s level a new PC to name level and the guy with the wizard is forced into retirement by 10th level before even seeing such overpowering 6th level spells like “reincarnation”, “stone to flesh”, and “move earth”

Requiring 600,000 xp for 11th level is dumb, inarguably dumb.
I was a bit put off by the mage XP progression too. The numbers don’t actually turn out that bad, though, and the classes don’t get that far apart.
600,000 xp is a level 10 Nightblade, Craftpriest (max), Spellsword (max); level 11 Mage, Bard, Vaultguard; level 12 Fighter, Thief, Assassin, Explorer; level 13 Cleric, Bladedancer. Everyone’s basically within a level or two, with the healers pulling out ahead.
There are some oddities in the XP progressions (thieves getting a significant XP penalty after level 9, for example) that probably work to balance things out a bit.

I saw that as well and came to the same conclusion, which is why I never said anything till now–the ACKs guys handled it pretty well, but it begs the question; ACKs states they fully expect people to play from levels 1-14, unlike certain other games where things stall out after a while–if this is the design decision, why does 14th level take almost the same xp as 18th level in the original games? If people can’t get their mu to 18th level in ad&d that requires 3 million xp, what will help players get to 14th in acks when it required some 2.6 million? (not near my pdf so not sure avout wizard xp requirements for 14th level in acks)
In the end, its not a big deal as they could dictate that wizards require 4 million xp for 14th and it doesn’t effect their domain rules explictely–i just chalk it up to their home-brew rules–my intent has always been to use their great stuff i my 0d&d games, so I try…try not to dwell on the reto-clone section too much. Just because I believe 11th level should be 300k and they think the wizard needs 600k…well, different strokes :slight_smile:

Just to muddy the waters….
“Tradition” – depends on whose tradition. I’ve said before that tying level to, “you can’ts” tends to irk me when its simply an arbitrary gamey kind of thing, including, especially, the idea of when you are “allowed” to attract followers and build strongholds. ACKS, fortunetly allows one to ignore that nonsense completely, but still pays homage to the “tradition” found in some of the rules.
Historically this is one of the contentions between Gygax and Arneson. Gygax, (perhaps influenced by his background selling insurance?) loved to place benchmarks and restrictions and delineations on character classes. Arneson preferred flexibility and in game development. The FFC characters, for example were building strongholds and laboratories at hero level. So, FWIW I’ll cut and past here Arneson’s section from his draft of the OD&D rules from 1973 and maybe the weight of “tradition” won’t seem as heavy. (please do not share this around as the source document remains in private hands.)
Now that the Magic-user has returned from his fun and games, serious thought must be given to his future. The place for the Magic-User is in a Fellowship or Guild, if he lives in a city, or a pleasant (for him) tower in the countryside or forest. If he joins a Fellowship or Guild, he must then wear the sign of the organization on his next adventures. He must also pay dues (as set forth in SUPPORT AND UPKEEP) and City taxes. In return, the organization will share the cost of any research (see below), and find steady employment for the member.
If he goes off by himself, he can establish a tower and his own bunch of disciples, as well as gain automatic income from the surrounding population (20 mile radius) at the rate of 1 GP/10 people for selling miscellaneous items (charms, love potions, etc.). The latter will require no outlay in time or money.
(See also BARONIES)
Going Into The Magic Buisness: An Enchanter or above may manufacture and sell potions, scrolls, and other magical. items….”
(Business misspelled in original) Note also that “Enchanter” in this manuscript is 7th level and requires 40,000 XP.
For the Fighting Man, the time has come to decide whether to join a household of some mighty Lord as a guard or strike out on his own, either as a Baron in his own right or as a simple city-dweller with a modest house and household. If the player decides to join a Lord, there is a chance that the Lord will receive some of the items brought back from the journey. This will come in the form of a request, and the player night or might not be compensated. The Fighting Man will live in the manor of his Lord and thus will have few expenses, and can afford (perhaps) to attend weapons auctions and purchase better equipment from his friendly neighborhood armorer. The player’s next adventures will probably be on the nature of mission for his Lord. If not, leave must be granted, probably with strings attached. If the player feels he has enough standing and wealth to strike out on his own, he may establish his own manor and territory of control. This is usually restricted to Fighting Men above the level of Champion, at the Referee’s option.”
Note that “Champion” in this manuscript is 7th level and required 50,000 XP.
And just cause I love you guys, here is the section on Baronies:
After Fighting Men build their own strongholds and control a territory and population (construction costs Table 23), they will have an opportunity to attack each other, improve their lands, and/or expand. It is suggested that the initial territory be about 20 miles by 30 miles. Areas of players’ control should have a random population of 2- 12 villages of from 100 to 600 inhabitants each. Players may then begin to invest capital in their holdings in order to improve them and bring in additional revenue. There are, of course, investment areas which are not related to the populace or the territory of the players.
Up to 10% of the population will take service as soldiery. In times of trouble an additional 25% of the population becomes militia.
Magic-Users: Do not create Baronies as such. While living in cities Magic-Users belong to a Guild, and therefore live in the Guildhome, or are independents (very risky) and live in a house. In neither case does the Magic-User own land or build strongholds. If the Magic-User does not live in a City, but lives in the country, forests, or hills
and mountains, tower construction or mansions are popular. In this case, it is common for the Magic-User to “control” the surrounding countryside, depending upon the terrain and. the level of Magic-User involved. In this case, a “tribute” is given to the Magic-User from the villagers (if any) inhabiting the area he controls. In neither case is a Barony, as such, established. Magic-Users, however, can and often do hire themselves out to a Baron or Lord as the “castle magician” It is also possible for Magic-Users to overthrow a Lord or Baron, and take control of his lands. However, in this case, the rules for “Angry Villagers” (see below) can apply.
Clerics: Cannot establish Baronies at all. The prime goal of a cleric
is to belong to a monastery or an Order. They do not live alone,
nor do they establish territories on there own. However, the monasteries and orders can establish a kind of religious territory. In this case, the head of the clerical group, whether Bishop, Lama, or Patriarch, becomes a kind of constitutional mona.rch over his area. While having, as always, complete control over his group, the only control exercised over villages is spiritual, letting them run there own affairs. Also, insted of a tax, villages and villagers pay a 1O% tithe to the monastery or Order in control. Clerical groups can invest in outside interests, however, but only as a group. In any case, all monies are put into the general group pot, controlled by the ruling cleric and any assistants he may designate.”

RE: Bargle and the XP controversy, of the many things in ACKS, I never expected the XP Progressions to be controversial.
While I have tremendous respect for OD&D, the level progression that was used in OD&D doesn’t seem optimal. It wasn’t used in either AD&D nor in B/X D&D, suggesting that neither Gygax nor Moldavy/Cook thought it was well-balanced.
Instead, I considered B/X v. AD&D 1e as appropriate systems to use.
To advance, a magic-user in Moldvay/Cook requires:
20,000 - Level 5
40,000 - Level 6
80,000 - Level 7
150,000 - Level 8
300,000 - Level 9
450,000 - Level 10
600,000 - Level 11
750,000 - Level 12
900,000 - Level 13
1,050,000 - Level 14
A magic-user in Gygax AD&D 1e requires:
22,500 - Level 5
40,000 - Level 6
60,000 - Level 7
90,000 - Level 8
135,000 - Level 9
250,000 - Level 10
375,000 - Level 11
750,000 - Level 12
1,125,000 - Level 13
1,500,000 - Level 14
As between these two, the B/X curve makes far more sense. There is a fairly smooth doubling of XP from level 1 to level 9, with a flat 150,000xp per level thereafter, making for a steady progression from 9 upward. In contrast, the AD&D 1e progression doubles every level from 1 to 6, then has no apparent mathematical progression from 6 to 11, then requires 375,000xp per level from 11 to 14.
Looking at the chart shows that a mage will get to both 5th level and 14th level faster in ACKS than in AD&D, and will have a smoother progression in between.
In general all classes in B/X enjoy considerably faster increase in level from 9 to 14 then they do in AD&D 1e. For example, a 14th level Fighter in B/X only needs 840,000 while a 14th level Fighter in AD&D needs 1,750,000! A 14th level Thief in AD&D needs 1,320,000 while only needing 760,000 in B/X.
Thus, the ACKS experience point progressions are virtually identical to those that appear in the Moldvay/Cook rulebooks. Those are mathematically the most straightforward in any version of the rules and they allow for characters to get to maximum level in roughly half to two-thirds the time required to reach comparable level in AD&D.

The logic of progression is certainly one issue, but aside from that it’s usefull to keep in mind the XP numbers are often not directly comparable because the value of an XP depends on what they are awarded for, how much is awarded, and how XP is distributed in the group. All of these things were different between editions and the 3LBBs were quite different in assigning 100 XP per HD plus treasure. Generally, an OD&D character will level up a lot faster, at least in the lower levels.

Good point. I can’t claim I’ve measured it on an XP “income” v. “cost” basis. I looked at the spreads on an intra-game inter-level basis.

I have been looking into the rate of earning XP as part of working on the dungeon monster encounter tables. My sense is that the way treasure is awarded is going to be more important for the rate of progression than whether XP is awarded for combat at the linear 100 XP per HD OD&D level or the curved per-HD awards of Greyhawk and later. In a dungeon stocked by Moldvay’s level 1 wandering encounter charts, it does appear to be true that 4x as much XP will come from treasure as from combat; however, by far the bulk of this treasure is in the hands of Dwarves and Nobles, with whom combat might not be expected to occur!