This is something that I threw together concerning PCs and their groups traversing the domains of lords they are not affiliated with. I find the notion of well-armed groups traipsing through the civilized lands of those with whom they don’t owe fealty to be odd at best.
Tolls for Passage
The lord of a land will not allow others to cross through their domain without being challenged. This typically takes the form of a toll for passage. Each toll payment will purchase a writ of passage good throughout that lord’s domain for a month. Patrols only occur if a garrison has been paid for and if that garrison is present in the domain.
Possession of a writ of passage is good within a vassal realm as well. For example, a writ of passage obtained from a Count is good within that Count’s marches and baronies.
Encountering a Patrol
The chance of encountering a patrol is 1-2 (d6). Roll once per day if the group is stationary or each time a patrolled hex is entered.
A group may actively attempt to avoid patrols. Doing so means that the group’s overland travel speed is halved, receiving a x1/2 modifier. Each day, have someone in the group roll 1d20. A roll of 18+ indicates success and regardless of the patrol encounter roll, the group has escaped notice. If an Explorer, Elven Ranger, or a custom class with the Difficult to Spot proficiency is in the group, a roll of 14+ indicates success. Group members making a successful Hide in Shadows roll will grant a +2 bonus to the avoidance roll, but only one such bonus may be applied.
The avoidance rules pertain to mixed groups. A solo Explorer or a group comprised entirely of Elven Rangers for example, can use their Difficult to Spot abilities to outright avoid patrols, doing so on a d20 roll of 3+. Likewise, casters may have magical means at their disposal to completely evade detection. Common sense should prevail in these cases.
The Captain will be 2 levels lower than his liege, min 3rd lvl
There will be 1-2 Lieutenants, each will be 2 levels lower than the Captain, min 1st lvl
Each lieutenant will have a squad of 4-6 Men-at-Arms - if human, these will be 0th lvl men, otherwise they will be 1st lvl non-humans
All members of the patrol will be mounted and well-equipped. The patrol will have banners, tabards, and shields bearing the heraldry of their liege.
Toll amounts are typically 10gp per PC per level. Each henchman will cost 1/2 the amount of a similarly-leveled PC. The toll on mercenaries is half their monthly wage. Specialists incur a toll equivalent to 10% of their monthly pay rate.
Optionally, the group can attempt to bargain with the patrol’s captain. A 2d6 reaction roll is made and the following table consulted:
2-: hostile, passage refused, group arrested
3-5: fee doubled
6-8: normal fee
9-11: fee halved
12+: fee waived, the group is invited to be guests and will be feasted
* Diplomacy, Intimidation, and Seduction proficiencies may apply
Other modifiers may come into play, such as racism, noble stature, or religious position. I recommend no more than a +/- 2 for each.
Groups that receive a result of 3-11 may still refuse to pay. If this is the case, they will be arrested and escorted to the local stronghold.
Arrested characters are imprisoned for 1-3 days before being brought before the stronghold’s lord. While you will likely want to run the arraignment with his lordship as a role-playing session, you might also want to make a typical reaction roll to determine the outcome. In addition to the normal modifiers, such as Diplomacy, give this roll a -2 because the group is already at a disadvantage for refusing to pay.
Alternatives to payment
Groups that receive a non-negative (6+) reaction during their arraignment might convince his lordship to an alternative to the toll. Such alternatives might include activities such as performing a service or quest, or some form of friendly challenge.
Examples of challenges are: Gambling, Riddles, non-lethal Dueling, Performance, and Archery contests. Note that the wager his lordship will demand will be at least double the toll fee. This means that if the fee was previously doubled, it will be quadrupled should the group fail the challenge.