Tuesday, August 23, 2016

ACKS'd and Answered

Mapping via computation is a hole I'm still digging deeper, interspersed with still cogitating on those pesky Thief skills of hide in shadows and move silently.

I was reminded earlier about a game in which I'd awarded the players a stretch of land to see what would happen.

Autarch's Patreon, the gift that keeps on giving, soon answered part of my question above, and I'd like to think I inspired the addition, and know we know how much land sells for based on it's classification and land value.

What I gave out was a borderlandsy sort of area, the PCs were ~10th level, and I was looking for something novel. Figured I'd hand them some real estate and see what came of it. Along with the real estate came a title of minor nobility, just cause.

I found one of my emails from the time, and it had the map in it, as well as a description. Turns out I only handed them about 9 square miles of land. I have no idea why that's the size I picked.

That's 5,760 acres; abouts. As average borderlands it'd be worth 86,400 GP; quite a haul. Average wilderness, which this probably would have been classified as honestly, would be either worth nothing, or 1 GP or less per acre.

The Patreon's revised Strongholds & Domain rules (which I think are available to anyone) further defines the level at which a character can easily control claimed territory.

There's ~20,371 acres in a 6 mile hex; so as a whole they got a bit over 4 1.5 mile hexes, or about 1 1/3 1.5 mile hex apiece.

As it turns out, due to various things, we folded that game and restarted, with Knibbs being a character crossing campaigns - the land grant fell fully to him (in game, the dwarf returned to the mountain, the druid retired to the forest, whatever)

In either case, something that can be managed by a 1st or 2nd level character.

Viewed in that light, it's a pretty paltry gift, if we assume the PCs would have been the equivalent of 7th level in ACKS.

Especially considering there was no stronghold of note defined at the time; and the village (of undetermined population, probably a tiny hamlet) had been more-or-less depopulated by the events of the module.

So, not only would ACKS have informed me on how to handle this land grant, it would have also told me that it wasn't that much of a reward...

Anyway - he was excited about the prospect, and we set to task defining things:

Ok, I have a plan brewing in the back of my head, but the details are not fully evident to me yet because I am missing important pieces to the puzzle. There are a few things that I need to know that we have never really covered and if we did I just forgot because until recently I was operating as if it would never really be an issue. Having just reached 10th level and with things developing as they are, I want to know certain things that you may or may not have put a lot of thought into. If we are to continue as we are and if Knibbs’ position of minor “Nobility” is going to be in play, then I want to work on developing it and his power structure. To do so I would like to know some of the following things.

Here's the part in 2007 where I'm like, huh - I really didn't think this cunning plan all the way through.


1) I assume that the general lie of the political system is Feudal/Monarchy.

a. Is the region we are residing in a single country with a King or Holy Emperor?

b. Or is it just a section of a larger country and there is a Lord who answers to above King?

2) If there is a King does he answer to the Church or is his position considered a divine right and therefore he has influence with the Church.

a. We talking Europe during the Crusades – Church says we need to reclaim the Holy Lands and Kings spend hella money trying to do so

b. Or are we talking France during the Renaissance

How would ACKS have answered this?

I'd have a general idea of where "the buck stopped" for the particular lord who granted the PCs the title & lands, via the initial campaign setup. I'd know the Baron's realm & domain was yet a subrealm of say, a Duke above him, and a King above that Duke.

I'd know that the prominent religion of the realm collects tithes, and I could be reasonably sure that there's a very high-level cleric at the center of that religion that sits alongside or behind that King.

Ok scratch that (sort of).

1) How much land do I actually have after the consolidation?

2) Does owning this land grant me title, or was that also a condition of the award

a. Does land ownership grant me the title of nobility, or

b. Was the land a gift when I was given the title?

3) Do I actually have a title and if so what is it?

4) If this is a Feudal System, who would be the Lord I am supposed to answer to?

a. Or are we dealing with a Monarchy and I ultimately answer to a King?

b. For instance; am I on the same level as Baron Genestes or am I supposed to “answer” to him

i. I realize he would have more power and influence being an established Noble with more land, money, tradition, etc. but I guess what I am getting at goes back to #2.

c. Can I “knight” folks giving them said title, or does that sort of shit happen at a higher level.

So, presumptively I would have had them accept some form of vassalage, either to the Baron directly or some intermediary.

He'd build his own power base by bringing in vassals below him.

Alternatively, the whole thing could have been ignored, and they could have been mere landowners, rather than governing the area fully.


1) What is my official position with the Church?

a. I know I have answered to Father Tom in some capacity, but what I am after is am I a Friar, Monk, Priest?

i. Do I answer to Father Tom? Or

ii. Do I answer to a Bishop/Arch Bishop?

This player's character was the one I've spoken of previously - the Fighter/Rogue/Mage/Cleric, on his way to the Mystic Theurge prestige class. The 'hard road to Bard', as it were. I'd previously honored this build with the closest I could get to in ACKS without going demihuman, the Fortune Hunter.

Once Knibbs had settlers in the domain, he could also act as the ranked cleric in the domain, and as such would collect tithes on the church's behalf to be used for church functions (technically, I realize ACKS default doesn't define where the tithes go, but I know he would have had some shenanigans going on here). He probably would have answered in this function to whatever cleric served that same function in Genestes' domain/realm.

St. Egilius:

1) Current population capacity – would it have been a Thorpe (pop: 20-80), Hamlet (81-400), or Village (401-900); prior to the “Evil” that killed off the towns folk and converted squirrels and bunnies into “people”.

2) Do you have a “map”

a. General layout

b. Defensible structures – such as what buildings are stone, was there a frontier “fort” sort of structure, etc.

c. Tavern, Church, Forge, Wizard’s Tower, etc.

d. How many people can the actual “city limits” accommodate?

3) How far are the catacombs from St. E proper?

4) What is the water supply consist of?

a. This goes to my previous e-mail about streams, rivers, lakes, wells, etc.

This was a modified version of ... The Standing Stone, one of WoTC's adventures from that first run back in the 3X days. It was a bit of a goofy plot, and I don't think I made it better. :) A tiefling, a fallen druid, and some other hangers-on were uplifting animals into people to create...I don't know. I guess they were going to eventually have a super-loyal army. I believe this was in the "venture-funded startup" phase of the evil plot.

St. Egilius would have been the local urban settlement in the domain (technically they all shared the town, I think). At any rate, with ACKS, answering the question about the size of the settlement gets me a whole train of related answers in regards to attached realm/domain size, either in square mileage or population. From that I get general domain/realm income, which answers several other unasked questions, at that.

I'd know from the settlement size what the investment in the settlement should have been, and I can guess at where fortified structures exist. Had this been done in ACKS, there'd be a stronghold somewhere they'd been gifted as well, I guess (I think perhaps whoever ran this domain was murdered and replaced at some point).

Alternatively, I could have kept the settlement as something outside of their land grant, which would have indicated an NPC they'd end up having to deal with, in a "Free City" sort of situation. That may have been fun.

Water supply is an interesting question. I'd be curious how often that comes up. This guy is tied with the German for my most favorite of players.

The Sinister Stone of Sakkara gives an answer to that in the details of the fort of Turos Tem about how water might be stored, and how much you'd need for a fort of some garrison population.

So, recall this was 3X: a lot of the next section is referring to concepts from that edition's "Leadership" feat.

Next Session:

2) A lot of the questions about Paladins, Clerics, and Fighters were meant to try and feel you out for potential “hirelings”.

a. I had planned on talking to Father Tom about getting a couple of newb missionaries out to St. Egilius to lend support to my followers and to potentialnew settlers/crafts folk during the rebuilding process and to make sure that the Church had a presence there other than mine (since I am not actually there). People get sick and injured and I wanted to make sure there was some sort of relief in that department.

b. As for the others; I am looking to get some reinforcements out to my Lands.

i. The paladin-type would be to keep some semblance of order and provide addition protection to hopefully prevent another group of whackos from trying to repopulate my holdings with badger peoples.

ii. The fighter-type would be more of a “man-at-arms”. An individual competent enough to organize a militia if need be and more loyal to Knibbs’ money than divine righteousness, so that he/she might be willing to do those occasional things that need to be done that a paladins code would prevent him from doing. Such as directing that new rogue in town to go talk to a guy in “X –town we just came from” about a job, because Knibbs ain’t having this sort of knavery in his town…

c. For those reasons, I am looking for folks with a little more seasoning than fresh from the seminary or thugs that couldn’t cut it as sailors and I am willing to pay for them.

i. This ties into #1 above. It stands to reason that some of the “knightly” types that are in attendance might not have an allegiance to a “Lord” yet and Knibbs is willing to give them the opportunity to prove themselves in his service. Plus he is paying and they would have a decent amount of influence having gotten in at ground level.

This is obviously a job for Domains At War.

What Knibbs would do here is go out and hire at the realm-wide level for mercenaries, find what's available, and hire whatever he finds acceptable - same goes for clerics, really. It's likely that if he was 9th level in ACKS I would have thrown some clerical followers at him.

ii. 4c under Nobility – If I can Knight people…then I am making my own roundtable and I need a couple of competent individuals to lead this group in my absence. Perhaps my 3rd level Follower could handle this role, but I would still like to hire that person some “muscle” who is loyal to me.

This is just more henchmen and more hexes claimed - the bread and butter of ACKS domain management.

It's also very likely Knibbs would have started his own hideout and syndicate - his henchman from the Leadership feat was a pure rogue, and as a thief, she would have been perfectly suited to run it.

I'm...actually getting a little misty about the sheer insanity that could have been. He'd have been rolling in domain income from regular population, church tithing, and a step removed from his thief's hijink income.

We didn't get very far with it. This was a somewhat chaotic time for this group of friends; children coming aboard, etc.; so while we got a start at it, we never really got a chance to develop it.

Turns out what I really needed at the time was a time machine to go kidnap Alexander Macris from the future and glean from him the concepts of ACKS.