My players are in the process of establishing a domain far from civilization, in territory considered Wilderness (as per p. 125 and 129). They are rebuilding a ruined keep to serve as their base rather than build one from scratch. I'm making them handle the logistics of importing labor, since the conceit is that they are in unsettled wilderness without a human population. Right now I've declared the keep has an overall value of 60,000 gp when repaired; in its current state it can hold 80 individuals and serve to garrison a single 6-mile hex. When repaired it will hold 160 people and garrison two 6-mile hexes as wilderness.
The immediate hex around the keep has been cleared of lairs and is being patrolled daily, and a garrison is being maintained at the keep to protect the workers. They've started to import settlers. My question is this: what determines the point at which it becomes Borderlands, and then civilized? p. 125 indicates this is due to the proximity to a substantially sized town or city, while p. 129 indicates, to some degree, that it is based on the non-urban population of the hex. Do they want to concentrate of establishing an urban center first or on importing non-urban settlers?
They need to bring in non-urban settlers. The section on page 125 about proximity to urban centers is for determining the initial state of the domain. Once it is established that the domain is wilderness, the section on page 129 about a domain upgrading from wilderness to borderlands once it has 2,000 families across 16 hexes is applicable. Establishing an urban settlement doesn't affect the domain's classification (cf. p. 133, which states "an urban settlement functions much like a separate domain").
So, essentially the order of operations in order to tame a single wilderness hex is ----> Build a keep/fortification of at least 30,000 gp to secure the hex ----> Start importing settlers into the hex ----> Once you reach a population of 125 families within the single wilderness hex it becomes a Borderland hex. It sounds like you can start building a settlement at any point, but that it doesn't actually affect the overall classification of an area.
The reason that I'm asking is I'm trying to figure out when the area becomes Borderland so that I can reduce the frequency of wandering monster checks. Right now there are no settlers in the area, the Keep is large enough to secure a single 6-mile hex and the area is being patrolled daily by a mounted force of ten horse archers and a couple of henchmen (I arbitrarily decided on some minimum garrison numbers absent a population to base it off of, and decided there would need to be a) a garrision of some size to actually stay in the Keep and b) a patrol of some size that would make daily sweeps through the area to ensure that no monsters resettled the cleared lairs.
I think you've got it right, tk. There's no way to reduce the number of checks per day until the domain moves from Wilderness to Borderlands. And there's no way to make the domain move from Wilderness to Borderlands without importing settlers. Building an urban settlement has no effect on the status of the domain (although you only have to pay the Civilized 2gp/family cost for an urban settlement garrison, instead of the Wilderness 4 gp/family, perhaps because that initial 10,000 gp investment paid for a palisade?). You still need that 126th family to move into the hex for the hex itself to jump from Wilderness to Borderlands, whether the families live in the urban settlement or not.
What's missing from the rules (to my eyes at least) is how the process of forming new lairs works. For example, an adventuring party clears a Wilderness hex of all lairs. It can then be assumed that any future wandering monsters found in the hex are not lairing there. At what point do new monsters wander in and stay? Does a daily patrol of the hex discourage wandering monsters from settling by virtue of the patrol itself, or must the wandering monsters be killed in order to prevent a new lair from forming?
What’s missing from the rules (to my eyes at least) is how the process of forming new lairs works. For example, an adventuring party clears a Wilderness hex of all lairs. It can then be assumed that any future wandering monsters found in the hex are not lairing there. At what point do new monsters wander in and stay? Does a daily patrol of the hex discourage wandering monsters from settling by virtue of the patrol itself, or must the wandering monsters be killed in order to prevent a new lair from forming?
These rules can be found in the ‘stocking a mage’s dungeon’ section (page 141 ACKS Core). Essentially, any monster that arrives has a chance of establishing a lair equal to their % in lair chance.
So if not found and killed, some (most, usually) monsters will wander right on along, but some will set up shop and live there and need to be cleared out.
So, here's how I'm handling it in game. Once you guys clear a hex you eliminate most, but not all, of the wandering monsters that pop up. The wandering monster table for Wolf Keep hex actually looks as follows:
3. Humanoid (roll on subtable).
4. Antelope herd (added just recently)
5. Flyer (roll on subtable).
8. Wild boar (original)
When a positive wandering monster check yields a result on the table of "Empty" I roll to see if it is re-filled by making another check. If this is positive I then make a % lair check. If negative the encounter is simply with a monster moving through. If positive then the monster tries to establish a lair.
To clarify, I'm making two wandering monster checks only when the initial result pops up "empty". This way, if a positive result occurs the second time it represents that empty slot refilling. That point is when I make the % liar check, to see if it is a monster that has (or is trying to) resettle a lair *or* is simply passing through the hex/or entering from a nearby hex.