Posts Tagged ‘Domain’

Domains: Village and Town

May 9, 2011

Villages vs. Towns. In the previous post I talked about a Stronghold and its Village nearby. That Village could be a Town instead, but Villages and Towns do things differently. As a Stronghold and Village grows, it may splay its fingers out and have other villages farther away, and the village around the Stronghold could grow to become a Town instead. Here’s the difference: Villages gather or create resources, which are shipped to Towns for consumption. Towns ship back finished goods of a higher quality and lower cost than could be produced in the Village.

Here’s one possible explanation. In a village you could employ a Blacksmith, or not, but regardless you will need some Blacksmithing work done. If you don’t have one, you have to go to a nearby village to get the work done and to buy new tools. It’s more expensive and inconvenient. The small village just doesn’t have enough people, enough demand, to warrant a whole Blacksmith. However, the village does produce a whole lot more food than it needs, which means the village can trade it to the outside world in exchange for other stuff. A town has the reverse problem: it can produce stuff, but it doesn’t produce food.

That’s not to say you can’t have a town with farmland around it. But the population of the town is probably so much higher than the surrounding farmland can support that it needs to buy food from elsewhere.

The second issue is that some resources are terrain-based. You need to be near a forest to produce wood and game animal meat. You need to be near mineral deposits to produce ore. The town probably grows up from a village at a place central to trade routes, but not necessarily near these resource centers. The mining village produces more ore than it could use, but maybe not enough food, and it’s the only village in the region that produces ore.

Check out this map.

The yellow things are farmland. The double blue lines are rapids or falls. The Mickey thing is a primary Stronghold, the other houses are villages.

What I hope this illustrates is that there is a reason why the entire population isn’t centered around the main Stronghold. If you put the Stronghold up by the mining village, it’s effectively on the outskirts of the land you want to possess. Of course this doesn’t preclude putting fortified places in these other villages, and in fact there should be. But it matters where your main Stronghold is, because that’s where you probably have most of your retainers and your special library and laboratory and all the cool furniture you collect on your adventures. You can’t have three capitols.

Hopefully you can also see why it’s more difficult to determine income from townsfolk, though we can abstract that out too and say that townsfolk give all their taxes in money and not in food and services. This means a town family gives 25 SP per month in tax – pretty cool! So why don’t you just tell all your villagers to buck up and stop farming and just do town things? Because then everyone starves to death and they don’t have the cash money to pay your taxes anyway.

For this reason I’d say you need X village families doing agriculture in order to support Y families not doing agriculture (mining, townsfolk, lumberjacking), and to support the society you’d need A mining families and B lumberjacking families per C total population. Still need to figure out what those should be. Effectively, you’d try to get as many townsfolk as possible because they represent money coming in. But to get those townsfolk you need to support them with enough goods-producing families. You really just care because of the form the tax payment comes in.

I think this level of abstraction is okay, because I’ll just do the nuts and bolts math behind it and give the approximate per-family tax output and support requirements. The player doesn’t need to worry about anything else. If he wants to move families around it’s okay, I don’t care if he drives the barony into famine or mismanages it once he has the underlying numbers. Or will I give him those? If he’s the absentee lord maybe I’ll just give him the populations of each village and town.

Anyway there’s a third possibility for a settlement: the outpost. I won’t make any new rules for outposts, they’re just villages that don’t really produce anything noteworthy. You might want an outpost along a long trade route for example. If I think the outpost families can all work enough I would probably just say the outpost families produce money taxes like town families. We’re talking about an inn or caravanserai with some outlying farms.

Another possibility is that you have a hybrid town-village, where there is a core in the town with high enough population to require agriculture families in the outskirts to support it, but that population isn’t quite high enough to need outside food. Kind of a mini-town. I suspect this would be a midpoint where the existing settlement is in the process of growing into a town. With nothing to check its growth, and people still flocking to it with promises of wealth and comfort and society, the town would eventually grow beyond the hybrid stage. But a strong ruler could demand a maximum town population and tell everyone else to just go try to develop some other village into a town. In this case I would count the townies and the farmers separately and give the taxes for each part (in money from the first, food and such from the second). Of course the hybrid agritown wouldn’t solve the problem of far-flung resource extraction (mining, forestry, etc.).

Domain Rules

May 6, 2011

I need some domain rules. I’ve been steered toward the AD&D Birthright materials, since it seems like D&D has kind of flaked on domain rules since Rules Cyclopedia.

The rules need to be based on the same stuff I have now, though. I could make up rules where a Curtain Wall has 40 Structural Points and a Large Square Tower can hold 3 Room Spaces, but I’d rather not have a whole extra layer of rules that doesn’t come into play most of the time. That might be where I eventually go, but I’d rather just treat strongholds and villages and peasants and armies the same way I treat stone walls and thatch huts and NPCs. No new rules-layer, no new objects and modifiers and stuff, just larger numbers of the same old toys we’ve been playing with all this time.

The important thing is that we be able to abstract it out easily for when the player wants to have a domain but doesn’t want the nitty-gritty of running it, and let the player descend into those details as much as he wants to.

That said, I need some specific encounter tables. There needs to be tables for Nature, Diplomacy, Economy, and Monsters. I chose these because they seemed like they would overall cover the range of events I want to have happen to a domain. A village is the “character” here, who encounters things, except that the village is stationary and things that it encounters must come to it. Because it stays in the same place all the time, encounters that affect it can include things that a normal adventuring group wouldn’t really notice, such as droughts and such.

When creating these tables I need to make sure to not make the neighborhood go crazy every month (or season, or whatever). Mainly they’re there so that nothing can be taken for granted, things are a little more interesting, and if the PCs want to hole up making magic items for six months something might still happen.

Any or all of these tables could be ignored, for example, there isn’t opportunity for diplomacy if you’re off in the wilderness. Although the local intelligent forest creatures might practice some form of diplomacy …

In order for these to work, I need to have a list of nearby other actors. These might be other domains, or might be monster lairs, or dungeons, or whatever. These should be listed such that you can roll on the list to select one. If there are 7 actors nearby, just roll d8 and reroll 8s, that sort of thing.

We assume at the start that the domain includes an area that is set aside for the lord, and other areas that are for the villagers. We can call the lord’s area the Stronghold. The other areas are the Village.

The taxes raised by the lord come in the form of goods and services (food, animals, leather, repair work) which upkeep the Stronghold and the lord’s retainers. One family of villagers can support one retainer. The monthly upkeep cost for retainers is

6 SP food
12 SP beer or wine
1 SP equipment repair
1 SP firewood
20 SP total (2 GP the way I count it)

I would count a dog as a quarter man, a horse as four men. Remember this is just the extra cost if you want more retainers than your Village can support. If you have fewer retainers, you get the extra 2 GP in extra food and such (not money). You can also count it like this: with 10 Village families, you get 20 GP in goods and services. Decide what you’re going to do with that. A retainer costs 2 GP to support, a dog costs 5 SP, and a horse costs 8 GP.

Taxes also come in the form of money, but this is a smaller amount, only 5 SP per family per month. This money is almost always in copper coins.

Taxes also come in the form of labor, repairing the Stronghold and maintaining the Stronghold lands. The fact that Villagers maintain their own houses, sheds, fences, etc. is of value to the lord because he still owns all that land and everything on it.

There is trade among Village families and between Village families and the Stronghold. A Village family may buy a new plough blade that your Stronghold Blacksmith made in his spare time, the profit from which he spends getting a nice new pair of boots or extra booze or new bed linens. The lord doesn’t gain anything from this trade.

The lord can increase taxes, but this makes people unhappy because it’s harder to feed themselves and any little bit of extra money they might have is skimmed off. I’d just have to roleplay the villagers differently if taxes were lower or higher. Certainly a highly-taxed village will produce lower-morale militia.

Each retainer needs a 10’ square of personal space in your Stronghold. Courtyard area can be used for horses and dogs if you like. Retainers need additional shared spaces, including kitchen, mess hall, toilets, etc. Assume that 4 retainers can share one 10’ square of shared space. Define these any way you like. If you define all your shared space as toilets, your men will cook and eat and gamble there too (miserably, we can assume).

Village families each take up a 20’x20’ square standard house (80’ exterior walls, ground floor plus loft for children and storage). Twenty families can work one square mile of agricultural land, on which they can support themselves and pay their taxes.

A stronghold and the village immediately around it takes up one square mile in the 5-mile local hex. Not all villagers will live in the main village. Their houses and farms can be farther out. Anyway, that leaves 48 one-mile hexes in the 5-mile local hex. This means you can have up to 960 villager families in one local hex.

Of course, you can have non-agricultural families. But that gets us into towns, which is another level up and involves taxation of a complex economic system.

I have costs already for stone and wood construction, which is based on linear wall length and a standard wall thickness. You can double up wall thickness, etc. You also pay for floors and ceilings separately (usually wooden). I think I have separate extra costs for doors and windows. It’s all pretty atomic.

Magic like Plant Growth will affect the local productivity of your Village. This directly increases the tax output. You can take all the excess as tax, explaining to your villagers that it was only because of your magic that they had the excess to begin with, but they’ll still be pretty steamed about it as if you had raised taxes.

Likewise a drought or something will lower their productivity. If their productivity goes down below 75% they will be unhappy since they are hitting hard times, and might blame their lord even though he didn’t do anything to cause it.

Earthquake (Volcano chance for those nearby)
Game Animal Population Boom
Heavy Precipitation
Lightning Storm (forest fire?)

Nearby ally offers a magic item for trade (only if you have any allies)
Nearby enemy raids your outskirts / supply line
Envoy from neighbor (opportunity to gain/lose friendship)
Scout from neighbor
Foreign Merchant (goods for trade, might set up trade agreement)

Mining goes really well
Mining disaster
Good fishing
Villager or Retainer found some buried treasure
Criminal was caught locally (% chance based on retainer strength and numbers, and morale)

Human monsters move into area (bandits, pirates, thieves) (add neighbor)
Adventuring group comes into area (possibly add neighbor)
Local nature monsters cause some trouble (satyrs, dryads, ents)
Underworld monster lairs nearby (add neighbor)
Flying / seagoing monster passes through
Exacerbation of local monster problems (or add new local monster problems) (kobolds, giant rats, etc)
Monster refugees come in from elsewhere (wolves come because of no food in their hills) (add neighbor)

These are just some ideas of what might fit under these tables. I think the 1E D&D Oriental Adventures had some tables like this too. I’ll have to look around.