Thursday, June 30, 2016

ACKS - Mundane Equipment Kits

Once upon a time, I wrote that simplifying encumbrance by putting mundane gear into bundles would be great and useful.  So here are some kits, in the style of Beyond the Black Gate's old standard adventuring kit.  I'm making the reasonable assumption that players will buy backpacks and count their arms, armor, and military oil separately.  I'm also assuming that rations weigh 2lb per day, per page 94.  This means that one day of rations is an item, and six days of rations are about a stone (though I am sorely tempted to fudge a little and make a week's rations a stone, for roundness), assuming you can get water from somewhere else.

A backpack holds four stone, and so can be used to carry up to four of the following kits.
  • Burglary Kit: Thieves' tools, crowbar, large sack, small mirror, hooded lantern, pint of lantern oil (four hours of light). Cost 41gp, weight 1 stone.
  • Camping Kit: Tent, blanket/bedroll, tinderbox, 1 day of rations, wine/waterskin, fishhooks and line.  Cost 25gp, weight 1 stone.
    • Replace fishhooks and line with hatchet for +3gp cost.
    • Extra rations: 6 days of rations, cost 3 gp, weight 1 stone.
    • Extra iron rations (normal rations go bad in about a week): 6 days of iron rations, cost 6gp, weight 1 stone.
    • One day of water: Cost 3gp for containers (about four waterskins), weight 1 stone.  Refillable, but be careful with your source.
  • Climbing Kit: 100' rope, small hammer, 12 iron spikes, grappling hook, pouch of chalk. Cost 30gp, weight 1 stone
  • Dungeoneering Kit: 6 torches (1 hour of light each), dagger, 50' of rope, 12 iron spikes, small hammer, large sack. Cost 8gp, weight 1 stone.
    • Replace dagger with a set of manacles with key for +17 gp cost.
    • 10' pole - inexpensive, weight 1 stone, doesn't fit into a backpack.
  • Gothic Monster Hunting Kit: Holy symbol, mallet and 4 stakes, 1lb garlic, 1lb belladonna, silver dagger, small mirror. Cost 73gp, weight 1 stone
  • Medical Kit: 2lb of comfrey (HP), 1lb of birthwort (poison), 1lb goldenrod (disease), 1lb woundwort (HP), small bonesaw. Cost 54gp, weight 1 stone
    • More of herbs: 2 lb of comfrey, 1 lb of birthwort, 1 lb of goldenrod, 2 lb of woundwort, cost 60 gp, weight 1 stone.
  • Monster Part Collection Kit: Four jars, scalpel, bottle of cheap liquor.  Cost 7gp, weight 1 stone.
The main things I feel like I'm currently missing are mapping (with parchment, ink, and so forth) and navigation (compass, sextant, spyglass, &c).  But I don't think dungeon mapping gear would take up a full stone, and navigation gear isn't in the book and quite possibly also not a full stone, so I guess those two are just going to get skipped.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Breaking the Phalanx, Better Thieves

Previously, I mentioned that the reason that thieves suck in my games is that there are no traps, and they aren't good in combat.  I don't want to add traps, so I must change the circumstances of combat.

The consensus among my players is that dungeoneering combat is largely "solved" by the Dungeon Phalanx - a formation of ranked fighters with plate, shield, and spears, supported by a wizard or two and a cleric in the rear.  The phalanx is very strong in melee in hallways, and when met in open rooms by a foe with superior numbers, it tends to hold the doorway through which it entered and let the wizards do the heavy lifting.

But, there is little place in it for thieves, assassins, explorers, and other lightweights who aren't packing sleep.  If placed out in front of the phalanx, the expectation is that they will be cut to ribbons, and can't retreat through the shield wall.  If placed in the rear, their targets for archery are typically restricted to those already engaged in melee, and as a consequence Precise Shooting becomes a proficiency tax and they still won't hit anything because -4 is brutal.

There are a couple of ways to address this.

One potential fix is suggested by Jeff Rients, in his old post on miniatures scale, where he cites an early source suggesting that back when, a 1" square on the mat was typically ~3 feet instead of 5.  This lets you put three guys in each rank...  or leave a hole in the middle for your thieves to retreat through.  Ultimately, though, this increases the concentration of firepower possible in the front of the phalanx, making it stronger in its typical combat situation (though massed melee humanoid foes probably benefit similar from this change), so I'm not sure it solves the problem.  Making some hallways 20' wide instead of 10' would have similar effects, stretching the frontline.

Another option is area attacks, which wreck close formations.  Unfortunately, area attacks also wreck thieves, who have few HP and no Evasion-equivalent in ACKS (Blast and Breath is actually their weakest save).

Probably the correct option is larger open spaces and much more skirmishy enemies, with archers, hit-and-run attacks from the sides and behind, and ambushes along avenues of retreat.  Basically, Tucker's Kobolds.  Notably, one of the main failures of the Phalanx in previous campaigns was under archers in a very large room.  This was also possibly the only time a backstabber (in this case a nightblade) was presented with a golden opportunity to make use of that ability in that campaign.  So that's a dungeon-design and monster management problem on my end - smart, prepared foes unwilling to just engage in a slugfest with the phalanx place a premium on surprise and ability to engage at range, and larger rooms give thieves some room to maneuver, hide in, and shoot from.  Thieves and assassins also excel against intelligent opponents standing guard with an alarm system (gong, war-horn, whatever), who need to be eliminated quietly before they can trigger it (though sleep can also solve this problem).

Clarifications on the nature of light and shadows might also help.  I believe that the rules intend for Hide in Shadows to be usable in the fringe-areas of the zones of shadowy illumination emitted by torches and lanterns, though this is never made explicit.  This provides a relatively safe place out in front of the party for thieves and assassins, from which they can surprise enemies (because they aren't in the bright zone), in which they can hide, and from which they can retreat to behind the party's front line.

In terms of mechanical fixes to thieves themselves...  It probably wouldn't hurt to trade away a couple of rarely-used skills (say, Find Traps, Remove Traps, and Picking Pockets in my game) for some subset of Precise Shooting, Weapon Finesse, Swashbuckling, Skirmishing, Combat Reflexes, Acrobatics, and Skulking.  Seriously, Picking Pockets is not even close to as useful as basically any combat-oriented class proficiency.  Even Weapon Focus triggers about every 20 attacks, so maybe once every session or two, whereas Picking Pockets is useful basically never.  I'm more than willing to let thieves continue using Picking Pockets at its nominal value the one time per campaign it actually comes up (and for hijinks, just standardize all hijinks into a single uniform throw by level, a la Magic Research Throw, but modified by Dex.  Maybe with a new class proficiency like Magical Engineering that grants a bonus to hijinks).  The thief suffers from a proficiency tax problem to be combat-effective, and frankly being in melee with d4 HD and AC ~5, even with all of those proficiencies, is not exactly low-risk.

Honestly, the correct solution is probably HD 1, Fighting 1, Thief 3.  Thief 2 is just so bad that even at 6 skills, Fighting 2 / HD 1 / Thief 1 beats the crap out of Fighting 1 / HD 1 / Thief 2 for not that much more XP.  So we're doing it this way instead.  This costs 1700 XP, right on par with Assassin (great, advances my goal of reducing XP divergence slightly between classes), and ACKS' class-points system be damned.  For skills, you pick up Hide, Move Silently, Backstab, Climb Walls, Hear Noises, Open Locks (I'm on the fence about Open Locks...), Read Languages at 4th, Read Scrolls at 10th (together count as 1), and then three class profs, probably Precise Shooting, Weapon Finesse, aaaand...  Swashbuckling?  At low levels, Precise Shooting and Weapon Finesse mean that you can actually attack and hit, and Swashbuckling means you might even survive it.  At high levels, Precise Shooting and Weapon Finesse fade in importance (Swashbuckling somewhat less so because it scales slowly), but your stealth skills pick up the slack as their success rate rises.

If you wanted to get really crazy, you could even change up those proficiency-sets like Barbarian does.  So you might have Merry Robber with Precise Shooting, Swashbuckling, Alertness, and green tights, Rake or Bravo or Hoodlum with Weapon Finesse (or Fighting Style: Two Weapons, for main gauche), Swashbuckling, Combat Reflexes, and a big hat, Footpad or Cosher with Skulking, Skirmishing, Weapon Finesse, and an ugly brown medieval hood...

Saturday, June 25, 2016

ACKS - Why Thieves Suck In My Game

So I think I figured out why nobody even wants thieves for henchmen in my games.  Consider the following statistics from my first ACKS campaign:

PC Causes of Death:
  • Combat: 9
  • Use of artifact: 1
  • Collecting yellow mold for use as as a weapon: 1
  • Dungeon traps that a thief could've hypothetically found and disarmed: 1
Henchman Causes of Death:
  • Combat: 17
  • Use of artifact: 1
  • Betrayed by employer: 1
  • Opened a box full of wraiths: 1 (not really a combat, per se, nor something a thief could've disarmed)
These are more-or-less representative of the general trend in later campaigns as well: at least 75% of casualties are a result of combat.  If anything, they're unrepresentative because a PC actually got killed by a trap, an event which has not happened since.

The Dungeon Phalanx of two ranks of shield-and-spear fighters in front of wizards addresses combat in general pretty effectively.  Area effect traps, and traps whose activation is delayed at random (as is the default for ACKS' traps; see page 240, where traps are mentioned as having a 1 in 3 chance of triggered when a character might stumble on their trigger), counter the dungeon phalanx by punishing high densities of characters and hitting the wizards in the middle instead of the shield wall in the front.

But, mechanical traps are dumb and strain my suspension of disbelief, so I don't use them.  Seriously, I can't bring myself to build deadly traps into the very architecture of a space that somebody once intended to live in, except to secure the front door, the vault, or a few other high-security spaces, and even then it requires some serious mechanical ingenuity on the part of the original builders for things to plausibly be still running (ie, dwarves yes, humans probably not, beastmen almost certainly not if the trap is any more complicated than a sharp stick with poop smeared on the end).

With no traps, or weak traps, or very few traps, there's not much incentive to have a trapfinder out in front of the phalanx.  If your thieves never go out in front of the shield wall, they're likely confined to the rear of the phalanx, where they get to attempt archery into melee at a stiff penalty, and are forever denied the opportunity to backstab and hide in shadows.  Further, without darkvision, thieves are effectively unable to scout for monsters (beyond listening at doors), because by the time the thief has seen a monster, the monster has seen the party.

Ergo, "thieves suck".  Even if they were good at what they do (contentious), they can't really do the one thing that my players spend most of their time doing and care most about (killing monsters before they kill you) within the local metagame.  They do not solve any of the problems that my players have.

I could use more traps, but I really don't want to.  The correct question, I think, which will also benefit assassins, explorers, bards, bladedancers, and others, is "what can I, as DM, do to change the Phalanx metagame so that characters who neither wear plate nor cast spells matter in combat in the dungeoneering levels?"  And that is next post.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wilderness and Attrition

I've been thinking more about Wilderness as Dungeon.  One of the core elements of old-school dungeoncrawling is attrition-based, resource-management-focused gameplay.  In the dungeon, this works well, because at the timescales under consideration, HP and spells are not restorable, so a series of easy encounters can grind you down if you do not manage your resources carefully, with random encounters serving to discourage playing too cautiously.

This is not the case in the wilderness, where a journey is measured in days and consequently spells slots and HP can be restored by camping.  At the movement rates we typically see (fighters in plate on foot with 60' movement translates to 12 miles a day, usually reduced further by rough terrain), you're only looking at one or two random encounter rolls per day, and less than one encounter per day in expectation.  About half of those can be avoided by a good reaction roll.  So you'll probably only have a fight every couple of days, which means the party will be well-rested, with full HP and spell slots in most combats.  This is a state of affairs which nominally agrees with them, but actually has dire consequences.

This situation is very similar to that produced by the Five-Minute Adventuring Day in 3.x.  Fights have to be really, really dangerous in order to matter to the resource-management game at all, and the unit of resources managed becomes corpses and consumable magic items rather than HP and spells.  I'm not sure this is desireable.  The sheer size of many wilderness random encounters suggests that the game's designers might have been aware of this, and chose to escalate, but I don't have enough data on the earliest days of wilderness adventuring to conclude that definitively.

There's also a feedback loop here - the more cautious the party, the deadlier you have to make combat encounters to matter, and the more cautious the party gets.  Psychologically deescalating back down to slow-burn attrition is very difficult.

If you could only restore spells by resting and reading in a comfortable, indoor environment (can't have stray winds blowing your ritual foci around, you know - mucks up the feng shui), or praying at a properly-sanctified altar, establishing a domain out in the borderlands/wilderness near your main treasure sources would become a lot more imperative.  Accompanied by a decrease in wilderness encounter difficulty from existential threat down to chip damage (not lairs, though - those should stay dangerous), I think this would extend the dungeon attrition model out into the wilderness effectively.  An alternative would be to reduce the rate of spell recovery in the wilderness rather than eliminating it entirely.  What if it took a whole day to recover spells in the wilderness?  What if it took an hour per spell level, and you had to start with your lowest-level slots expended?  What if recovering spells in the wilderness were dangerous, exposing your mortal soul/astral self to the hungry Green Chaos and risking corruption?

Two other alternatives present themselves.  A party under time pressure cannot afford to crawl along at 12 miles a day, and moving faster increases their risk.  It is also possible that at higher levels, wilderness encounters become much less threatening, and players will of their own volition choose to move more quickly because they have the resources to endure multiple encounters as they currently exist.  This might be similar to how 1st-2nd level dungeoneering plays - any encounter is potentially deadly, so the party takes great caution, but at higher levels the dungeoneering dynamic changes somewhat, then resets to high lethality at 4th-5th in the wilderness, which then tapers off again.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

ACKS - Simplified Mercenaries

Much like managing domains in general, hiring mercenaries in ACKS is a pain in the ass, with more detail than it needs.  Here are some simplifications!
  • No individual mercs.  They can be hired collectively in platoons, companies, or squads, as appropriate.
  • Costs for companies are expressed in increments of 250 gp, and roughly rounded.  Costs for squads and platoons are expressed in increments of 25gp.
  • Wages and supply and quartermasters and armorers and shit are all rolled into the total cost of operation.
  • Costs for variations of the loadouts of mercenaries within a single class (Heavy Infantry B vs C) are abstracted, and will tend towards the average or upper end of the available options.
  • Slingers and Medium Cavalry delenda est; their availability numbers are rolled into Bowmen and Light Cavalry, respectively.
  • Crossbowmen have also been rolled into Bowmen for availability, as they draw from the same pool of candidates.  Some cultures will have crossbowmen instead (available as Bowmen, but cost as Longbowmen).
  • Really I should get rid of Longbowmen and Cataphracts too, but they're kind of player-favorites.

Here are some tables that show either how many of a particular size group of mercs are available per month in a given market, or how long it takes to recruit a group of mercs of that size (ie - "2 per month" means you can recruit 2 platoons per month in this market; "2 months" means it will take 2 months to gather a single platoon).  This is a perfect job for a henchman who is too badly injured to continue adventuring ("Yeah, and you'll get full medical coverage!"  "...  Is that what full medical looks like?"  "Given that I've been dead twice and lost a total of five limbs and three eyes, I'm pretty happy with it."), or maybe even a henchman who isn't terribly maimed.

Note that while you can recruit multiple different types of mercenary concurrently (eg, a unit of heavy cavalry and a unit of heavy infantry), you can only be recruiting one unit of a given type of mercenary at a time (ie, time spent recruiting a company of heavy infantry cannot also be counted towards gathering a platoon of heavy infantry).

Platoon Availability I II III IV V VI
Light Infantry 6 per month 1 per month 2 months 4 months 9 months 20 months
Archers 8 per month 2 per month 1 per month 3 months 6 months 14 months
Heavy Infantry 3 per month 2 months 3 months 7 months 15 months 36 months
Longbowmen 1 per month 3 months 6 months 15 months 30 months 91 months
Light Cavalry 4 per month 1 per month 2 months 5 months 9 months 27 months
Horse Archers 2 per month 2 months 3 months 8 months 22 months 66 months
Heavy Cavalry 1 per month 3 months 5 months 20 months 30 months 100 months
Cataphract Cavalry 1 per month 4 months 6 months 31 months 38 months 150 months


Company Availability I II III IV V VI
Light Infantry 1 per month 3 months 5 months 16 months 35 months 80 months
Archers 2 per month 2 months 4 months 11 months 24 months 54 months
Heavy Infantry 2 months 5 months 9 months 27 months 60 months 142 months
Longbowmen 3 months 11 months 22 months 60 months 120 months 364 months
Light Cavalry 1 per month 3 months 6 months 18 months 36 months 108 months
Horse Archers 2 months 6 months 12 months 30 months 86 months 261 months
Heavy Cavalry 3 months 11 months 18 months 80 months 120 months 400 months
Cataphract Cavalry 4 months 14 months 24 months 122 months 150 months 600 months

Below is a table of availability of 6-man squads of infantry, or 3-man squads of cavalry.  At this scale it doesn't really make sense to use Domains at War (though I've tried) because of DaW's assumptions about what fraction of combatants can actually attack the enemy, but this seems like a reasonable minimum size group of mercenaries to attempt to collectively bargain with, and to manage morale for.  It also has the convenient property that a squad fits nicely into a 10' hex, and the even more convenient property that it is the same size as an average beastman gang (5 orcs plus champion).


Squad Availability I II III IV V VI
Light Infantry 33 per month 8 per month 4 per month 1 per month 2 months 4 months
Archers 44 per month 11 per month 5 per month 1 per month 2 months 3 months
Heavy Infantry 16 per month 4 per month 2 per month 2 months 3 months 8 months
Longbowmen 7 per month 1 per month 2 months 3 months 6 months 19 months
Light Cavalry 24 per month 7 per month 3 per month 1 per month 2 months 6 months
Horse Archers 10 per month 3 per month 1 per month 2 months 5 months 14 months
Heavy Cavalry 7 per month 1 per month 1 per month 4 months 6 months 20 months
Cataphract Cavalry 5 per month 1 per month 2 months 7 months 8 months 30 months

It's worth noting that rounding to months introduces a some inconsistencies, particularly in cases where you're rolling 5d10 individuals per month, which is almost-but-not-quite a platoon.  It might be worth switching to weeks instead of months for some of these (in which case 5d10 would be 5 weeks instead of 2 months).  Likewise, sometimes 1 per month is secretly 1.5 per month, which gets abstracted away unless you go hire a bigger unit instead.  Maybe I should be doing this whole thing with rational numbers instead of ceilinged/floored floats.

Anyway...  looking at those recruitment times, it's going to take forever to muster a force capable of storming the local count's castle, even if the PCs are willing to do a fair bit of the heavy lifting.  Those 25 mercenaries you get when you hit 9th won't help all that much either.  This further supports my belief that if you want to gather an army to take a civilized domain by force, you're better off going out in the woods and subjugating bandits, berserkers, nomads, and beastmen than sitting in town and waiting.  You were going to be out in the woods anyway, because that's where the treasure is.

Anyway.  Here is a simplified total cost of operation per month table:

Type Company kgp/mo Company Platoon Squad
Light Infantry 1 1000 250 50
Archers 1.5 1500 375 75
Heavy Infantry 1.75 1750 450 100
Longbowmen 2.5 2500 625 125
Light Cavalry 2.75 2750 700 150
Horse Archers 3.75 3750 950 200
Heavy Cavalry 4.75 4750 1200 250
Cataphract Cavalry 5.5 5500 1375 275

Hiring a unit of mercenaries is sort of like hiring a henchman.  When hiring mercs, you should do the "reaction to hiring offer" roll; each unit accepts or declines collectively, typically through a veteran NPC spokesman, who serves as the unit's face to the party for the duration of its employment.  Half of mercenary units are cautious and desire garrison duty somewhere safe and with a surfeit of whores, and half are aggressive, ambitious, and desirous of plunder.  These preferences can be used to improve one's hiring offer - a promise of garrison-only duty or a campaign with plunder within the year are sufficient to sweeten the pot on a roll of "Try Again".  Should you fail to carry through with your promises, a loyalty roll at -2 should be made immediately (not quite a catastrophe...).  Mercenaries are also well-known for their love of money up front, with a month's cost of operation yielding a +1 bonus to the hiring roll (or another try).  Mercenary units each track their loyalty / morale as a unit, and desert or betray their employers collectively.  Cautious mercenaries are more likely to desert than betray (desert instead of betray on a 2 on a loyalty roll, but still betray at 1 or lower), while aggressive mercenaries are more likely to betray their employers (betray on 3- instead of 2-).

1d12 Mercenary Company Names
  1. The Bloody Band
  2. Egil's Reavers (action starts here)
  3. The Black Company
  4. Wilhelm's Freikorps
  5. The Catalan Grand Company
  6. The Varangian Guard
  7. The Company of Death
  8. The Pecheneg Bows
  9. The Almogavars (Awaken, iron!)
  10. The Genoese Crossbows
  11. Buccleugh's Highlanders
  12. The Thuringian Pikes (the Thuringii did not have a substantial mercenary history, but Thuringian is fun to say)

Beastman mercenaries, if you can hire them, are always aggressive (except goblins and kobolds, who are wimps).

Type Company kgp/mo Company Platoon Squad
Goblin Light Infantry 0.75 750 200 50
Goblin Archers 0.75 750 200 50
Goblin Wolf Riders 4.75 4750 1200 250
Orcish Light Infantry 1 1000 250 50
Orcish Heavy Infantry 1.5 1500 375 75
Orcish Archers 1 1000 250 50
Orcish Boar Riders 6 6000 1500 300
Ogre Heavy Infantry 5.75 5750 1450 300

I guess I should rework Domains at War's hiring tables for domains of various sizes at some point, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Quid Pro Quo Cleric Casting

It's been long-established that I'm not a big fan of clerics, and that I kind of like the NetHack approach of "make sacrifices, pray to diety, hope for not-smiting", which anybody should be able to do.  I was also considering that old-school polytheistic deities typically expected material sacrifices in return for their aid, instead of just prayer and devotion.

Well, we have these divine spellcasting prices in the Equipment chapter...

So what if instead of having a cleric at all, before you set out for the dungeon you'd do the old "I go to the temple, sacrifice ten goats, and pray to Tyr for courage in the coming expedition to retrieve the Whatsit of Blarg."  Now, a goat, he is 3 gold pieces.  A casting of Remove Fear is  10 gold pieces.  So later, when you're out in the field and the party gets ambushed by mummies and you call on Tyr to lift the fear-paralysis and avoid TPK, you have (depending on the exchange ratio between "goats now" and "casting credit later", and maybe contingent on a deific reaction roll) maybe one, maybe three castings of Remove Fear.

It's super-duper vancian.  This is preparing spells once for the entire adventure (you know, like you were supposed to do back in OD&D but everyone has forgotten).  There are obviously some wrinkles, like not letting people buy RL&Ls to use in the field (and "spell selection" more generally).  Maybe taking oaths opens up higher level spells (from a particular deity, while walling off other deities)?  Healing in general is kind of weird - I could definitely see adding a spell for this that gives you an extra level of Healing proficiency for n minutes, so you pray for that and then do your healing.  Maybe sacrificing to improve State of Soul makes sense (and then it applies a bonus when your buddies bring your corpse back to the temple, where the ritual magic happens).  People buying up enormous piles of spells might be an issue, but could maybe be counterbalanced by having preparation take time?  Ritually sacrificing 10 goats with all the proper ceremony is not something you want to rush, and something like sacrificing a hecatomb of oxen for Control Weather is more than one day's work.   There's also the cost disparity between potions and spellcasting (potions don't go bad if you don't use them this adventure, though).

Anyway, something to kick around.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Simple Sample Orcish Domains

By request from Koewn, and in the style of Civilized Sample Simple Domains.  Here I am operating under the assumptions that they have captured a crumbling stronghold and are the sole occupiers of their hexes.

Orcish Sept
  • Size: 1 6-mile hex
  • Population: 188 rural families, 19 "urban" families.  283 adult male orcs, 238 adult females, 475 children, and 95 slaves is an average size for an orc lair.
  • Net domain income: 520 gp/mo if independent, 170 gp/mo if tributary
  • Market: Class VI hamlet in vicinity of stronghold
  • Gives liege lord: 350 gp/mo if tributary
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 5th if independent, 4th if tributary
  • Stronghold value: 22.5 kgp
  • Garrison: 0.6 kgp/mo, 1 platoon of ogre light infantry ("the brute squad")
  • Militia: 1 platoon veteran orcish heavy infantry (champions), 4 platoons orcish heavy infantry, 2 platoons orcish archers, 1 platoon orcish light infantry, 4 platoons "goblin" archers (orcish women fight as goblins, and half qualify as archers), 4 platoons "goblin" light infantry.  If organized as companies (and a 5HD chieftain can command at company-scale), probably 1 company orcish heavy infantry, 1 company orcish light infantry, 1 company goblin archers, 1 company goblin light infantry.
    • Note that fielding the entire militia plus the ogres is ~5 kgp in supply+wages per month, which vastly outstrips domain income.  It's basically impossible to field a useful amount of troops on a 500gp/mo budget, so you have to raid, and you have to do it fast before you run out of cash to pay your orcs.
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 600 troops and 1 day
    • Yields 2.2 kgp in gold, 5.7 kgp in supplies, and 4.6 kgp in prisoners
    • Net income reduced to 185 gp/mo and garrison to 271 gp/mo
    • It costs 22.9 kgp to unpillage a sept
    • A total militia wipe has economic consequences similar to being pillaged.
  • Razing
    • Requires 600 troops and 4 days
    • Yields 4.1 kgp in gold, 10.3 kgp in supplies, and 8.3 kgp in prisoners
      • Nominal treasure for an average orcish village is Gx5.5, or about 11 kgp before prisoners, so this is a little high but not by all that much
    • Domain destroyed
Orcish Clan
  • Size: 1 6-mile hex, with two septs joined under a single chieftain by marriage or conquest (pushing population density up to civilized).  Development characterized by religiously-justified hereditary nobility, social stratification, infrastructure projects (I'm thinking Diamond's description of Hawaiian chiefdoms in Guns, Germs, and Steel).
  • Population: 376 rural families, 38 "urban" families.  This is close to the upper limit for beastman population density (390 rural families per hex)
  • Net domain income: 1.6 kgp/mo, 0.9 kgp/mo if tributary
  • Market: Class VI hamlet in vicinity of stronghold
  • Gives liege lord: 0.7 kgp/mo if tributary
  • Ruler max level from domain income: 7HD if independent, 6HD if tributary
  • Stronghold value: 15 kgp (presumably they didn't so much tear down the old borderlands-grade stronghold as let maintenance lapse)
  • Garrison: 0.8 kgp/mo, platoon of ogre light infantry and platoon of orc light infantry?
  • Militia: 2 platoons veteran orcish heavy infantry, 2 companies orcish heavy infantry, 1 company orcish archers, 2 platoons orcish light infantry, 2 companies goblin archers, 2 companies goblin light infantry
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 600 troops and 1 day
    • Yields 4.3 kgp in gold, 11.4 kgp in supplies, 9.1 kgp in prisoners
    • Net income reduced to 0.7 kgp/mo, garrison to 0.4 kgp/mo
    • Costs to 45.8 kgp to unpillage
    • Militia wipe has economic consequences comparable to pillage
  • Razing:
    • Requires 600 troops and 4 days
    • Yields 8.3 kgp in gold, 20.7 kgp in supplies, and 16.6 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain destroyed
 Orcish Tribe:
  • Size: 2 hexes, each containing 2 septs
  • Population: 752 rural families, 76 urban families
  • Net domain income: 3.1 kgp/mo, 1.7 kgp/mo if tributary
  • Market: Class VI Small Village
  • Gives liege lord: 1.4 kgp/mo in taxes if tributary
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 8th if independent, 7th if tributary
  • Stronghold value: 30 kgp
  • Garrison: 1.7 kgp/mo, platoon of ogre heavy infantry
  • Militia: company of orcish veteran heavy infantry, 4 companies orcish heavy infantry, 2 companies orcish archers, 1 company orcish light infantry, 4 companies goblin archers, 4 companies goblin light infantry
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 2400 troops and 1d3 days
    • Yields 8.7 kgp in gold, 22.8 kgp in supplies, and 18.2 kgp in prisoners
    • Net income reduced to 1.4 kgp/mo, garrison to 0.7 kgp/mo
    • Costs 91.3 kgp to unpillage
    • Militia wipe has economic consequences similar to pillage
  • Razing
    • Requires 2400 troops and 4d3 days
    • Yields 16.5 kgp in gold, 41.4 kgp in supplies, and 33.1 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain destroyed
Orcish March:
  • Size: 4 hexes, each containing 2 septs
  • Population: 1505 rural families, 150 urban families
  • Net domain income: 6.3 kgp/mo, 3.5 kgp/mo if tributary
  • Market: Village, class V
  • Gives liege lord: 2.8 kgp in taxes if tributary
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 9th if independent, 8th if tributary
  • Stronghold value: 60 kgp
  • Garrison: 3.3 kgp/mo, two platoons of ogre heavy infantry
  • Militia: two companies orcish veteran heavy infantry, 8 companies orcish heavy infantry, 4 companies orcish archers, 2 companies orcish light infantry, 8 companies goblin archers, 8 companies goblin light infantry
    • At this point you could take the 44 subchieftains and any of the 8 chieftains that you're not using as commanders, put them on boars, and have a superveteran shock cavalry company if you really wanted.  Probably more useful for raiding than battalion-scale defensive engagements that use the full militia.
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 2400 troops and 1d3 days
    • Yields 17.4 kgp in gold, 45.5 kgp in supplies, and 36.4 kgp in prisoners
    • Net income reduced to 2.7 kgp/mo, garrison to 1.5 kgp/mo
    • Costs 182.8 kgp to unpillage
    • Militia wipe has economic consequences similar to pillage
  • Razing
    • Requires 2400 troops and 4d3 days
    • Yields 33.1 kgp in gold, 82.7 kgp in supplies, and 66.2 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain destroyed
 Orcish Horde:
  • Size: 16 6-mile hexes, each containing two septs, 1 24-mile hex
  • Population: 6019 rural families, 602 urban families (if free), or 301 urban families (if subject)
  • Net domain income: 25.2 kgp/mo if free, 14.5 kgp if subject
  • Market: Small town or large village, class V
  • Gives liege lord: 11 kgp in taxes, 300 urban families
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 11th if free, 10th if subject
  • Stronghold value: 240 kgp
  • Garrison: 13 kgp (actually varies slight for free vs subject, but I'm not gonna worry about it), 2 companies ogre heavy infantry and misc other monsters
  • Militia: One battalion superveteran orcish boar cavalry, two battalions veteran orcish heavy infantry, 8 battalions orcish heavy infantry, 4 battalions orcish archers, 2 battalions orcish light infantry, 8 battalions goblin archers, 8 battalions goblin light infantry.  Hooooly shit.  Even without the goblins they outnumber the forces of a prepared vassal county (ie, human realm of the same size) by more than two to one.  Horde mode working as intended.  Granted, they still suffer the two classic orc problems: can't pay their troops, and can't command their troops at this scale.  Maybe the point of feudalism in ACKS is to make sure you have subcommanders capable of commanding armies at close to the scale of your domain?
  • Pillaging
    • Requires 7200 troops and 1d4 days
    • Pillaging a free horde yields 69.5 kgp in gold, 182 kgp in supplies, and 145.7 kgp in prisoners.
    • Pillaging a subject horde yields 66.4 kgp in gold, 173.8 kgp in supplies, and 139 kgp in prisoners
    • A pillaged free horde has a net income of 11 kgp/mo, 6 kgp/mo garrison, and costs 731.6 kgp to rebuild
    • A pillaged subject horde has a net income of 6.2 kgp/mo, 5.7 kgp/mo garrison, 5 kgp in taxes, and costs 698.4 kgp to rebuild
    • Market remains class V in both cases
    • Militia wipe has economic consequences similar to pillage
  • Razing
    • Requires 7200 troops and 4d4 days
    • Razing a free horde yields 132.4 kgp in gold, 331.1 kgp in supplies, and 264.8 kgp in prisoners
    • Razing a subject horde yields 126.4 kgp in gold, 316 kgp in supplies, and 252.8 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain is destroyed
Orcish Ilkhanate (Under-khanate)
  • Vassals: 5 subject hordes
  • Size: One 24-mile hex, plus 5 24-mile hexes held by subjects
  • Population: 6019 rural families, 1051 urban families
  • Net domain income: 51.8 kgp/mo
  • Market: Large town, class IV
  • Gives liege lord: 22.7 kgp/mo, 1050 supported families
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 12th
  • Minimum stronghold value: 240 kgp
  • Garrison: 14.1 kgp/mo, 2-3 companies ogre heavy infantry
  • Militia: uhhh shit.  Honestly it's not much bigger than a horde's; ilkhanates have about two sept's worth of extra population, which doesn't really register when you're talking tens of battalions.  The main difference is ilkhanates can actually pay all of their heavy infantry without going bankrupt.
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 7200 troops and 1d4 days
    • Yields 74.2 kgp in gold, 194.4 kgp in supplies, and 155.5 kgp in prisoners
    • Market downgraded to class V, small town
    • Net income falls to 44.3 kgp/mo, garrison falls to 6.4 kgp/mo, tax falls to 16.3 kgp/mo
    • Costs 781.2 kgp to unpillage
    • Militia wipe has economic effects equivalent to pillage
  • Razing:
    • Requires 7200 troops and 4d4 days
    • Yields 141.4 kgp in gold, 353.5 kgp in supplies, and 282.8 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain destroyed
Orcish Khanate
  • Subject to an orcish khaganate
  • Vassals: 5 ilkhanates
  • Size: 1 24-mile hex, plus 30 24-mile hexes held by subjects
  • Population: 6019 rural families, 2926 urban families
  • Net domain income: 89 kgp/mo
  • Market: City, class III
  • Gives liege lord: 35.7 kgp/mo, 2925 urban families
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 13th
  • Minimum stronghold value: 240 kgp
  • Garrison: 17.9 kgp/mo, three companies of ogre heavy infantry
  • Militia: About one and a half times that of a horde.  So one battalion of superveteran boar cavalry, three battalions veteran heavy infantry, 12 battalions orcish heavy infantry, 6 battalions orcish archers, 3 battalions orcish light infantry, 12 battalions goblin archers, 12 battalions goblin light infantry.  Or, in brigades, one brigade veteran heavy infantry (the subchiefs can join them I guess), 3 brigades orcish heavy infantry, one brigade orcish archers, one brigade orcish light infantry, three brigades each of goblin archers and light infantry.
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 12000 troops and 1d6 days
    • Yields 93.9 kgp in gold, 246 kgp in supplies, and 196.8 kgp in prisoners
    • Market reduced to small city, class IV
    • Net income reduced to 83.5 kgp/mo, garrison to 8.1 kgp/mo, tax to 28.5 kgp/mo
    • Costs 988.3 kgp to unpillage a khanate's seat
  • Razing:
    • Requires 12000 troops and 4d6 days
    • Yields 178.9 kgp in gold, 447.3 kgp in supplies, and 357.8 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain destroyed

Orcish Khaganate (khan of khans)
  • Subject to none.
  • Vassals: 5 khanates
  • Size: 1 24-mile hex, plus 155 24-mile hexes held by subjects
  • Population: 6019 rural families, 15227 urban families
  • Net domain income: 172.9 kgp/mo
  • Market: Large City, class II
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 14th
  • Minimum stronghold value: 240 kgp
  • Garrison: 42.5 kgp/mo, two battalions of ogre heavy infantry
  • Militia: About three and a half times that of a horde.  Rounding to 4 for ease of use.  One brigade of superveteran boar cavalry, three brigades veteran heavy infantry, 12 brigades orcish heavy infantry, 6 brigades orcish archers, 3 brigades orcish light infantry, 12 brigades goblin archers, 12 brigades  goblin light infantry.  Again, outnumbers the field army of an equivalent human domain (imperial seat) by a wide margin - 49 brigades vs their 15.  Still cannot hope to supply all those troops.
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 24000 troops and 1d8 days
    • Yields 223.1 kgp in gold, 584.3 kgp in supplies, and 467.4 kgp in prisoners
    • Market remains a large city, class II
    • Net income reduced to 166.6 kgp/mo (it turns out that orcish urban families are net-negative, even in large cities - 4gp/mo urban income, vs 1.6 gp/mo in festival, 1.5 gp/mo in upkeep, 2gp/mo in garrison = 5.1gp/mo expenses.  So losing 7500 urban families is actually good for income... but bad for militia troop limits), garrison to 19.1 kgp/mo
    • Costs 2,347.7 kgp to unpillage a khaganate's seat
    • Losing all of your militia has economic consequences similar to being pillaged
  • Razing:
    • Requires 24000 troops and 4d8 days
    • Yields 424.9 kgp in gold, 1,062.3 kgp in supplies, and 849.8 kgp in prisoners
    • Domain destroyed
Hmm.  Maybe I should've set urban population fraction lower?  That would help solve the economic "can't feed my troooops" problem.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Game Trails

Speaking of wilderness navigation again, one handy feature definitely worth considering in otherwise-trackless wilderness is game trails.

It's not much, but it's better than nothing
Game trails are paths produced by wildlife between sites that they commonly frequent, typically including lair, water source, and feeding grounds.  This, combined with their relative ease of traversal, make them a wonderful feature for adventurers.  If you're lost and dying of thirst, you can follow the trail and hope you get the water end instead of the lair end.  If you're in good shape and looking for treasure, you can instead look for the lair end.  Additionally, the trail's usual denizens tend to leave spoor - shed fur in the spring, droppings, chewed up trees, footprints, and suchlike.  This is a great opportunity to drop clues about what's living in the area.

Mechanically, following a game trail has the same effect on wilderness movement speed as a road (though they are much too narrow for wheeled vehicles, typically single-file, and may wind instead of running straight), but doubles (at least) the chance of a random encounter per unit time, with the odds heavily weighted towards the trail's creators.

A minimal game trail generation algorithm would probably take each lair on a hex map and link it to its nearest water source.  If we're willing to complicate things a little more, flying monsters do not leave trails, and arboreal / brachiating monsters may or may not.  Burrowing monsters that can rely on groundwater, like giant ants, probably don't either, nor do sealed or undead monsters that do not hunt (ghouls probably do, though), nor do aquatic monsters.  Social or sentient monsters with multiple lairs in the area may produce linked trail networks between their lairs.  Predatory monsters may also link their trail networks to the trail networks of their prey species.  Depending on the scale you're using for wilderness movement and the monster density of your hexes, the details of trail network structure may be irrelevant - I could see having a "game trailed" modifier for hexes, which when traversed give the party the choice between fast, risky movement and slow, safer movement.  On the other hand, game trails are likely to be relatively safe from non-monster natural hazards, at least compared to bushwhacking - nothing's going to build a game trail over a quicksand pit.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Never Show Them the Map

I was thinking about why wilderness play is sort of boring, and one of the conclusions I have reached is that showing your players your ground-truth hexmap of unexplored wilderness areas is an incredibly bad idea.  I'm not talking about the secret DM layer where you keep your monster lairs - I'm talking about just terrain.  Maybe everyone else already knows this, but I'm going to talk about it anyway.

One of the exciting things about dungeoneering is opening a door into the unknown.  The potential for death and treasure is clear, and maybe there will be some curious or exploitable feature.  Maybe on the other side is a portal to hell, a shaft descending in darkness to the 6th level of the dungeon, or the hall of the mountain king.  The gradual construction of a player map, which can be exploited to circumvent lairs and reach desired destinations with minimal risk, is a satisfying activity.  In OSR systems where there is not much system-mastery to be had, world-mastery can fill the same role, rewarding players for their attention to detail and their skill.  Additionally, when players keep their own map, they necessarily end up a little uncertain about it, and this adds to tension.

Given that this works well in the dungeon, why don't we do it in the wilderness?  Notably, a number of very successful wilderness adventures and settings actually have given players a blank map and said "have fun filling this in".  The original Wilderlands of High Fantasy did this way back in the 80s.  The player map was a central feature of the widely-imitated Western Marches campaign, and Pathfinder's popular Kingmaker adventure path did the same.  In these cases, the hexcrawl is actually a crawl, with decisions along the way forced by lack of information.  By contrast, in my attempts at wilderness campaigning with a high-detail ground-truth hexmap, typically the party looks at the map, calculates an optimal route, deals with any random encounters along the way, and arrives at their destination.  Rations are laid in with perfect accuracy, so logistics are almost never an issue; hunting and foraging never occur, and resting only results from forced march.  The travel becomes interactive, nonlinear, only when the party fails a navigation roll (an exceedingly unlikely occurrence when you have two characters with Navigation, although re-reading the rules it looks like multiple characters with Navigation don't stack, but Navigation and Explorer do stack so it works out about the same), and the satisfaction of exploration, the joy of discovery, never occurs.

Alexis very accurately expresses this major source of discontent with my last campaign in his book:
A mistake I made many times as a young DM was in recognizing, unfortunately, a common pattern.  If I made the party aware of a place that contained something valuable, they would, most times, unquestioningly march out and get it.  My campaigns rushed from target to target, and as I assigned each target, the next sessions would become lamentably predictable.  I began to feel trapped in my own campaigns.  After a time this became quite dull...  Parties are more interested in and involved with targets they cannot see...  If the party is told where to go, they will go there.  But if the party is told only that the destination is 'nearby', they will go everywhere.
There is also an anachronism argument to be made, that accurate mapping and surveying techniques were not developed until the early modern period to assist the developing European states in clearly delineating their territory into legible administrative districts.  I think the realism concern is less important than the excuse to drop stylized, dubiously-accurate maps with crazy sea monsters on my players, with hopefully hilarious results.

On the flip side, running wilderness navigation is hard.  You do not have the structure of the dungeon, and your extensive experience in indoor spaces, to help you.  My earlier interest in mountain peaks and smoke visibility were part of an attempt to build usable language and conventions for wilderness exploration play (in the way that "You open the door, and see a 30x30 room with a door in the opposite wall, containing five gnolls" is clear and actionable. "You are in gently-rolling forested hills, on a narrow trail; from a treetop, you can see a mountain range to your west and multiple columns of smoke to the south.  The sun is low in the sky to the west, nearly touching the peaks" is a little less useful; it does not present an obvious menu, other than "make camp"), but I recognize now that without concealment, without prolonging wilderness travel and making it interactive, there can be no fun in exploration and such conventions and language are useless.

On further reflection, I guess what I'm really aiming to do is to turn the wilderness into the megamost dungeon.  The megadungeon structure is sort of dumb and deeply unrealistic, but it works.  A lot of the things that make good megadungeons work really well (multiple paths, varying danger levels, factions, restocking, path reuse, too-big-to-clear) actually make more sense or are simply unavoidable in the wilderness, but for the most part we've (well, I've at least) failed to put it all together properly.  I've failed to see the dungeon for the trees.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Civilized Simple Sample Domains

So I complained previously that generating NPC domains with ACKS' rules required like...  understanding them and thinking and doing math, all of which suck when you're in a hurry.  So here I'm going to make some simplifying assumptions, take a whole bunch of variables out of the equation, and just leave the usable end-results.  We are here to answer the following important questions:
  • What does holding one of these do for you?
  • What does having one of these as a vassal do for you?
  • How tough is one of these?
  • If you kill one, how much loot is there?

  • No sub-6-mile-hex domains.  I'm also going to mirror what my players would do in terms of growth strategy ("Maximum personal domain size is a 24-mile hex; why the heck would you want vassals if your total domain size were smaller than that?"), because it makes everything simpler!  Also because the ACKS book makes it clear that personal domain sizes vary with realm size, but doesn't make explicit just how big they are (or what population density they used) to derive personal domain populations, so I'm gonna simplify it.
  • These grasping, powergaming autocrats also impose a maximally Centralized settlement pattern.  Roughly half of a vassal realm's supported urban population will be in that vassal's central settlement; the other half get pushed up to their lord's urban population through some combination of food shipments / tax in kind and travelling merchants originally from the vassal's domain.
  • No ranges of values; all is concrete.
  • Population density of 450 families per 6-mile hex (~75 people / sq mi).  Right in the middle of the chart, low-middle Civilized.  Probably worth doing borderlands and wilderness domains at some point...
    • Actually, with urban population, 495 families per hex makes my life a lot easier, assuming a split of 450 rural and 45 urban.
  • 6gp/mo land value (again, average)
  • No population growth over time.  Domains are immutable (unless pillaged or razed).
  • There are two levels of pillaging: pillaged and razed.  A pillaged domain has its income reduced and has a cost associated with unpillaging it, which combines the necessary stronghold rebuilding and urban/agricultural investment to bring population back up to old levels.  A razed domain is just gone.
  • Things will tend to be expressed in units of kgp when reasonable, with one significant figure and inconsistent rounding.
  • Military unit selection is in the "knights and pikemen" tradition. 
 Vassal Barony
  • Size: 1 6-mile hex
  • Population: 450 rural families, 23 "urban" families
  • Net domain income: 2.1 kgp/mo
  • Market: Class VI hamlet at stronghold
  • Gives liege lord: 1.1 kgp/mo, 22 supported urban families 
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 6th.
  • Stronghold value: 15 kgp, small round stone tower
  • Garrison: 0.9 kgp/mo, 2 platoons of heavy infantry
  • Field army (cost to field is around garrison+net income, has had some time to prepare for war): 2 platoons of heavy infantry, 2 platoons of bowmen, 4 platoons of militia
  • Pillaging: 
    • Requires 600 troops and 1 day.  
    • Yields 5 kgp in gold, 13 kgp in supplies, and 10.4 kgp in prisoners.  
    • A pillaged barony has its net income reduced to 0.5 kgp/mo, garrison reduced to 0.4 kgp/mo (actually the population reduction might drive the domain down into Borderlands, in which case this might go up?  Too complicated, don't care), and liege tax reduced to 0.5 kgp/mo.
    • It costs 52.2 kgp to unpillage a barony (payable gradually; takes ~56 months if you sink all your excess domain income into it).  Protip: don't get pillaged.
  • Razing
    • Requires 600 troops and 4 days
    • Yields 9.5 kgp in gold, 23.7 kgp in supplies, and 18.9 kgp in prisoners.
    • Stronghold is badly damaged, domain depopulated.
Damn, civilized realms are way more lucrative than these borderland/wilderness crap baronies we've been using (2kgp/mo?  That's like ten times what we've seen from fresh domains).  Also: razing is terrifying.  Four days is not very long at all to gather a relief force.

Vassal March
  • Size: 4 6-mile hexes
  • Population: 1800 rural families, 180 urban families
  • Net domain income: 8.4 kgp/mo
  • Market: Small village, class VI
  • Gives liege lord: 4.4 kgp/mo, 180 supported urban families  
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 8th
  • Stronghold value: 60 kgp, large round tower with some 20' high curtain walls, gatehouse, moat and drawbridge
  • Garrison: 3.8 kgp/mo, five platoons each of heavy infantry and bowmen
  • Field army: two companies of heavy infantry, three companies of bowmen, five companies of militia
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 2400 troops, takes 1d3 days
    • Yields 19.8 kgp in gold, 52 kgp in supplies, and 41.6 kgp in prisoners
    • A pillaged march has its net income reduced to 1.9 kgp/mo, garrison to 1.7 kgp/mo, and tax to liege to 2 kgp/mo.  Its market is reduced to a Hamlet.
    • Rebuilding a pillaged march costs 208.8 kgp (110 months of domain income)
  • Razing:
    • Requires 2400 troops, takes 4d3 days
    • Yields 37.8 kgp in gold, 94.5 kgp in supplies, and 75.6 kgp in prisoners.
    • Stronghold badly damaged, domain depopulated.
Vassal County
  • Size: 1 24-mile hex (16 6-mile hexes)
  • Population: 7200 rural families, 360 urban families
  • Net domain income: 33.6 kgp/mo
  • Market: Large Village, class V
  • Gives liege lord: 17.8 kgp/mo, 360 supported urban families 
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 10th
  • Stronghold value: 240 kgp, square keep with 20' high curtain walls with a barbican and medium round towers at the corners, moat, maybe some buildings inside the walls
  • Garrison: 15.1 kgp/mo, two companies of heavy cavalry, two companies of heavy infantry, two companies of bowmen
  • Field army: three companies of heavy cavalry, seven companies of heavy infantry, ten companies of bowmen, eleven companies of militia
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 12000 troops and 1d6 days
    • Yields 79.4 kgp in gold, 207.9 kgp in supplies, and 166.3 kgp in prisoners.
    • A pillaged county's net income is reduced to 7.6 kgp/mo, garrison to 6.8 kgp/mo, and tax to 8 kgp/mo.  Its market is reduced to a Village.
    • Rebuilding a pillaged county costs 835.4 kgp (110 months of domain income...  a curious constant!)
  • Razing
    • Requires 12000 troops and 4d6 days
    • Yields 151.2 kgp in gold, 378 kgp in supplies, and 302.4 kgp in prisoners.
    • Stronghold badly damaged, domain depopulated.
Above counties you have to start adding vassals.  Incidentally, this particular generation scheme probably gives counts more power than the default.  Yeah, checking the book my counts are as strong as normal dukes, my dukes as princes, and kings and emperors as normal.  I'm OK with that.

It's also worth noting: if you're a vassal count, and you subjugate another count (somehow?), your net domain income goes up by like 50%.  Pretty nifty.

Vassal Duchy
  • Vassals: 5 counties
  • Size: 1 24-mile hex personally, 5 24-mile hexes held by vassals
  • Population: 7200 rural families, 1260 urban families
  • Net domain income: 96.7 kgp/mo
  • Market: Small city, class IV (towns?  Who needs 'em?)
  • Gives liege lord: 36.9 kgp/mo, 1260 supported urban families
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 13th
  • Minimum stronghold value: 240 kgp, as county
  • Garrison: 16.9 kgp/mo, two companies of heavy cavalry, two companies of heavy infantry, three companies of bowmen
  • Field army: two battalions of heavy cavalry, three battalions of heavy infantry, six battalions of bowmen, six battalions of militia
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 12000 troops and takes 1d6 days
    • Yields 88.8 kgp in gold, 232.6 kgp in supplies, and 186.1 kgp in prisoners.
    • Having vassals is great if you've been pillaged, because they keep paying taxes (provided they haven't also been pillaged, or rebelled).  A pillaged ducal seat with unpillaged counties has a net income of 70.8 kgp/mo, a garrison of 7.6 kgp/mo, and a liege tax of 26.4 kgp/mo.  A pillaged ducal seat's market is reduced to a Small Town.
    • It costs 934.8 kgp to rebuild a pillaged ducal seat (~13 months).
  • Razing:
    • Requires 12000 troops and takes 4d6 days
    • Yields 169.2 kgp in gold, 423 kgp in supplies, and 338.4 kgp in prisoners.
    • Stronghold badly damaged, domain depopulated.
Vassal Kingdom
  • Vassals: 5 dukes
  • Size: 1 24-mile hex personally, 30 24-mile hexes held by vassals
  • Population: 7200 rural families, 3510 urban families
  • Net domain income: 165.5 kgp/mo (it's good to be king)
  • Market: City, class III
  • Gives liege lord: 59.5 kgp/mo, 3510 supported urban families
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 14th (barely - 14th level vassal kings will be ooold)
  • Minimum stronghold value: 240 kgp, as duchy
  • Garrison: 21.4 kgp/mo, three companies of heavy cavalry, two companies of heavy infantry, three companies of bowmen
  • Field army: Four battalions of heavy cavalry, six battalions of heavy infantry, eight battalions of bowmen, and eight battalions of militia.  Trifle not with kings, for verily they shalt wreck thy shit.
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 12000 troops, 1d6 days
    • Yields 112.5 kgp in gold, 294.5 kgp in supplies, and 232.6 kgp in prisoners.
    • A pillaged royal seat whose vassals are unpillaged has a net income of 139.8 kgp/mo, a garrison requirement of 9.6 kgp/mo, and pays a tax of 47.1 kgp/mo.  Its market is reduced to a Small City.
    • Rebuilding a pillaged royal seat costs  1,183.4 kgp (~9 months)
  • Razing:
    • Requires 12000 troops, 4d6 days
    • Yields 214.2 kgp in gold, 535.5 kgp in supplies, and 428.4 kgp in prisoners.
    • Stronghold is badly damaged, domain depopulated.
  • Vassals: 5 kings
  • Size: 1 24-mile hex personally, 155 24-mile hexes held by vassals
  • Population: 7200 rural families, 18270 urban families
  • Net domain income: 367.9 kgp/mo
  • Market: Large city, class II (just short of a metropolis)
  • Ruler max level from domain XP: 14th
  • Minimum stronghold value: 240 kgp, as kingdom
  • Garrison: 50.9 kgp/mo, five companies of heavy cavalry, eight companies of heavy infantry, ten companies of bowmen
  • Field army: Two brigades of heavy cavalry, four brigades of heavy infantry, four brigades of bowmen, five brigades of militia
  • Pillaging:
    • Requires 24000 troops, takes 1d8 days
    • Yields 267.4 kgp in gold, 700.4 kgp in supplies, and 560.3 kgp in prisoners.
    • A pillaged imperial seat whose vassals remain loyal and unpillaged has a net income of 314.8 kgp/mo, and a garrison requirement of 22.9 kgp/mo.  Its market remains a Large City.
    • Unpillaging an imperial seat costs 2,814.3 kgp (9 months)
  • Razing:
    • Requires 24000 troops, takes 4d8 days.
    • Yields 509.4 kgp in gold, 1,273.5 kgp in supplies, and 1,018.8 kgp in prisoners.
    • Stronghold destroyed, domain depopulated.
So looking back on this, it's slightly more usable for stuff like "OK you fought and vassalized a count, what does that really get you?"  But the whole "pushing urban population up" thing breaks the abstraction of "population never changes", because presumably if you rebel against your liege and stop paying taxes and shipping food, your liege's central settlement will have a food shortage and they'll lose your supported families, which will require reevaluation of their stuff in a manner more complicated than "subtract lost taxes from monthly income, good to go".  Would probably be fine to just fix the urban populations at build-time and not worry about it changing.

Apparently I also forgot principalities.  I am OK with this; never liked them anyway (they don't fit into my Crusader Kings-based worldview).  If I have to add them back I'll make them short kings, with 3 dukes instead of five.  It does mean that emperors / kings are a little weaker than they would be if they had an extra layer of vassals, but it's about made up for by making counties extra-powerful.  It might be worth doing over again with weaker counties (with smaller personal domains and march vassals, and marches with barony vassals) and principalities, but that was a lot of typing.

Handling all the details of morale is prone to change domain income.  As far as I'm concerned, though, there are two proper morale states for the peasants: quietly resentful of taxation, and violently resentful of taxation.

Next time: borderlands and/or wilderness domains.  Because barbarian armies have to come from somewhere.