Governing conquered chaotic domains

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EHamilton
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Joined: 2012-04-27 16:03
Governing conquered chaotic domains

During the last playtest, I had three different chaotic domains get conquered by a mercenary army. The mercenary captains weren't high enough level to have their own domains, but that didn't matter, since it was just a one-off scenario map for a playtest. However, I'm wondering how this would work in an actual campaign.

There are two questions here:
1) Can a commander who is lower than the usual "name level" to become a ruler still be installed as the governor a conquered domain, and function normally as a vassal?

2) Are there any disadvantages to ruling a bunch of conquered chaotic subjects, aside from the initial morale penalty for "changing alignment"? For example, can the new vassal ruler immediately start recruiting local mercenaries or raising conscripts, and have a loyal force of chaotic men and beastmen?

I feel like there should be something that makes this more difficult to pull off. Although maybe it's just in the nature of chaotic domains that they're always happy to work for whoever seems most powerful or pays the best!

At the moment, I'm thinking I'd at least require that the ruler share a common language with the subjects, although this is just going to make dwarves and elves that much more popular.

I'm also thinking that when I create a custom "Vagaries of Rule" table that includes adverse effects, the rolls should have penalties or have more severe effects when they occur in a chaotic domain, or when the ruler is of lower level.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

1) Can a commander who is lower than the usual "name level" to become a ruler still be installed as the governor a conquered domain, and function normally as a vassal?

Yes. In fact, most rulers are not name level - barons are probably 2nd-4th level characters, counts are 5th or 6th, and so on. A character who is ruling a domain which is "too big for his level" will have problems, though.
a) His vassals are likely to be higher level than he is. This will prompt more Henchman Loyalty rules; I'd probably require one any time he demands a favor. (Think Rob Stark calling his father's banners).
b) His rivals will treat him with contempt and probably try to eat his lunch. You have to RP this or develop new random tables.
If the ruler survives, he'll rapidly earn enough XP to become a level suitable to his domain, thanks to the GP Threshold mechanic.

2) Are there any disadvantages to ruling a bunch of conquered chaotic subjects, aside from the initial morale penalty for "changing alignment"? For example, can the new vassal ruler immediately start recruiting local mercenaries or raising conscripts, and have a loyal force of chaotic men and beastmen?

Each season, the ruler will suffer a -2 penalty on his Domain Morale die roll because "ruler is of different alignment". It's not meant to be read as "ruler is of different alignment [than last season]," it is meant to be read as "ruler is of different alignment [than that of his domain]". The ones that only apply for a season are noted as such.

Unless and until the domain becomes aligned with the ruler, that penalty will always apply. Changing a domain's alignment is essentially the same as changing its religion, and imposes a -4 penalty on the morale roll for one season. If/when the domain morale score reaches +1 or higher at some point thereafter, the domain's inhabitants can be assumed to have changed their alignment to that of the ruler. (At that point 50% of the population is of the new alignment). This is not explicit in the rules, merely how I'd handle it.

I would not require that the rulers and ruled speak the same language. As often as not, in history, rulers and ruled did NOT speak the same language. Consider the Romans (speaking Latin, ruling Gaul, Hispania, Greece); the Normans (speaking French, ruling England); the Arabs (speaking Arabic, ruling Persia, Lebanon, and Egypt); the Ottomans (speaking Turkish, ruling Greece); and so on. The idea that the populace and its rulers should speak the same language arises from the concept of the "nation-state", e.g. the political commonwealth overlapping with the ethnic-linguistic people that make it up, and as such I wouldn't make it normative to an ACKS setting. (Unless that's the vibe you want, in which case, go for it).

EHamilton
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I would not require that the rulers and ruled speak the same language. As often as not, in history, rulers and ruled did NOT speak the same language.


-archon

In the long run, on the timescale of years, it's usually not a problem to acquire a functional level of communication with a conquered nation. But most invaders into foreign lands benefited quite a bit from having someone who could translate for them during the immediate aftermath of conquest, during an exploratory campaign.

Cortez never would have been able to recruit as many local mercenaries as he did, without the good fortune of finding both Aguilar and La Malinche. Caesar likewise was enormously advantaged by having Procillus as a interpreter and diplomatic envoy, and probably wouldn't have won as much native mercenary support with an attache who didn't have the same fluency in Gallic.

The question is whether to represent that mechanic explicitly in the game, as a proficiency of a named officer, or just assume it's happening automatically behind the scenes.

And as always, your answers to the questions above were very helpful!

jedavis
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>Yes. In fact, most rulers are not name level - barons are probably 2nd-4th level characters, counts are 5th or 6th, and so on. A character who is ruling a domain which is "too big for his level" will have problems, though.

So, by implication, most baronies and counties do not grow, because their rulers are below name level?

EHamilton
Dwimmermount BackerDomains At War BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters BackerBarbarian Conquerors of Kanahu BackerACKS Heroic Fantasy Handbook Backer
Joined: 2012-04-27 16:03

That doesn't necessarily seem unrealistic. Aside from climate-driven growth during the Medieval Warming Period, and some recovery cycles after plague epidemics, there wasn't much sustained demographic expansion in Europe.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Correct. They may grow on historical timescales (a percentage point in a few years) but not in a typical campaign's time frame.

Its by design, so you can essentially leave the smaller NPC domains on autopilot as generating X revenue at Y cost from Z families per month, and only worry about named NPC and PC domains.

jedavis
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Joined: 2012-03-08 01:21

Ah, cool. Makes my life easier / provides justification for the sort of NPC domain stasis I was already doing.

Nerdnumber1
Domains At War Backer
Joined: 2013-03-08 18:02

Yay civilizing the beastmen! All the the orcs and goblins and gnolls will become farmers!

... if the PCs decide to put in lots of effort rather than pillaging the beings that MAY have feasted on innocent man-flesh during the war...