RPGaDay2019 Day 20 – Noble

Noble. That’s the inspiration for day 20 of #RPGaDay2019, following Scary yesterday.

Who’d be a noble?

When I first got the Expert set with construction, and then the Companion set with rules for Dominions, I was very excited. Who wouldn’t want to be a noble with your own stronghold and people looking up to you? Okay, so building castles is expensive – but hey, we need to do something with all that money we’ve earned while adventuring.

So we started our dominions. We found an empty area of land (easy when you’re both DM and player…) and built our castle. And I started looking at running the dominion.

There are 9 pages of it, including (per dominion, or 24-mile hex if larger):

  • how to determine how many families (500-5000 in civilised lands, 200-1200 in borderlands, or 10-100 in wilderness)
  • how to determine what resources the dominion contains, depending on a d10 roll: 1 = 1 resource, 2-7 = 2 resources, 8-9 = 3 resources, 10 = 4 resource
  • the type of resources, again depending on a d10 roll: 1-3 = animal, 4-8 = vegetable, 9-10 = mineral
  • how to calculate the standard income (services, etc: 10gp/month/peasant family), the tax income (up to you, but if you change from the 1gp/month/family your choice will have an impact), resource income (2/1/3 gp/month/family for animal/vegetable/mineral resources respectively)
  • how fast the population grows or shrinks (depends on size, plus may gain or lose 1-10 families depending on the fortune that month)
  • costs of hosting other nobles, holidays, tributes to higher rulers, tournaments
  • how and when to determine the confidence level of the domain (from Ideal, down through Thriving, Prosperous, Healthy, Steady and Average to Unsteady, Rebellious, Belligerent or Turbulent) and the implications, from increased income to open revolution depending on the score

I think we only tried one session looking at that and then decided we weren’t bookkeepers or accountants, and that it was far too much effort and admin for far too little fun, and that we really just wanted to go and fight dragons.

I see in 5e they’ve recognised this and vastly cut down on the detail, leaving it in the optional section, and the section on titles has been cut to 2 paragraphs (p230 of the DMG).

If you’re running a political campaign, titles and rulers and interaction between nobility will be the bread and butter of the sessions. For the rest of us, nobles are like the land – they’re around, and maybe there’s a little impact caused by the difference between nobles, but on the whole they’re just background colour.

Tomorrow we have “Vast”.

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