Friday, June 12, 2015

Disinterred Eldricity: Ruling Domains, Part the Third

This one's gonna be huge. All the new domain actions are broken down, and I cover the rest of what happens on a domain turn -- which, in point of fact, is this entry's preamble.

I've elected to rename "domain turns" into what they are; seasons. Mechanically, nothing changes, but there's no more confusion of terms with players taking their turns on action rounds. I'll probably go back and edit the old entries with that terminology at some point, but whatever final document I come up with will certainly have all references changed to "season".

Lots more stuff has changed mechanically at this point compared to the old system. Free action abuse is no longer a problem with the conversion to using bonus actions instead (of which players only get one per action phase; or turn, which is another reason why I wanted to change domain turns to seasons). This does introduce a more strict action economy than before, but I've attempted to alleviate some of the growing pains by also having some domain actions have an option to become bonus actions instead, usually by owning certain holding types in a province.

I've also gutted a couple old actions that don't matter anymore, such as Hold Action (as I've introduced the concept of a Ready action like exists in standard 5E combat). Since war moves and conquest gameplay is also being changed slightly, Pillage is a new domain action I introduced to support raiding domains. It may well be horribly unfair though, and needs playtesting.

Anyway, picking up where we left off with the course of domain turns SEASONS. DAMMIT.

6, 7, and 8. Taking Domain Actions

During each season, the regent takes a total of three domain actions. Each of these represents roughly a month of time in-world, thus there are twelve domain actions that can be taken in the course of a game year.

While most domain actions are fairly straightforward, there does exist the concept of the bonus action during a season. Bonus actions can be taken in addition to regular domain actions, but the player is limited to a single bonus action per action round, as with bonus actions during combat rounds.

Typically, there are a small array of domain actions that can be taken as bonus actions, and the possession of certain types of holdings within provinces allows an action that is typically not a bonus action to become one. A good example of this is the Agitate action, which can be taken as a bonus action when the target province contains a temple holding owned by the regent.

Furthermore, a regent can ready a particular action to trigger only after a condition is met. This is, in most respects, identical to the way a player can ready an action on a combat round. With respect to seasons, however, the readied action is maintained until the end of the season, and if the condition is not met, the action is lost.

For example, Erin Velescarpe and an allied domain ruled by Ashira al-Sumari maintain correspondence and have agreed to a mutual assistance pact if one of Ashira’s neighbors declares war. As tensions heat up in the spring (when domains typically muster for war), Erin keeps a readied action to Declare War against whichever of Ashira’s hostile neighbors decides to pick a fight. She has all of the couriers ready to go, conscriptions signed but not posted, and shipments of gold and food catalogued for distribution, but never pulls the trigger unless the condition is met.

Resolving Domain Actions

Domain actions have conditions that must be satisfied in order to enact them. Typically, this is expenditure of gold bars and/or regency points, but a Dungeon Master may require additional conditions in order to undertake an action (such as needing to liberate an occupied quarry in order to use the Fortify action).

Every action has a target number that must be met or exceeded on a domain action check. This roll is made on a d20 using the regent’s proficiency bonus and their Bloodline modifier. This is represented as the competence of the regent, along with their bloodline power, in order to make something happen within their domain. In keeping with the theme of Birthright’s divine right to rule, a regent with a particularly potent bloodline finds it easier to make things happen in their domain, as though the land itself were aligning to their desires (and in many ways, this is exactly what is happening).

It is worth noting that if you fail to hit the target DC, the gold bars and/or regency points you spent to perform the action are lost. Not every project pans out, not every investment bears fruit.

Modifying Difficulty and Outcome

When making domain action checks, you may increase your chance of success by spending Gold Bars. For each Gold Bar you sacrifice, you add a +1 bonus to your d20 roll. This represents a certain degree of “throwing money at the problem” to make it easier to resolve, but also presents a great risk, as failure despite investment still loses that investment. Multiple regents can opt to contribute GB to the proceedings, which represents their support of your endeavor, but they must have a stake in the proceedings (owning a holding in the target province, etc.). They may do this out of turn before you make your domain action check. No more than 10 total GB can be contributed to modify a roll in this fashion from all parties.

Some actions are taken against regents who don’t have your success in their best interests, but they must have a reasonable means of opposing you (usually by being the target of your actions or having a holding in a province you control). In a case where a regent opposes you, they can expend Regency Points to increase your target DC for the domain action check on a 1 to 1 basis. This represents the regent exerting their will over their territory, whether it be via inspiring their populace to react in a favorable way, or having the strength of their blood-given rights make your chances of success more difficult. Multiple regents can opt to contribute RP to increase the difficulty (when applicable), representing their desire to see your efforts fail. No more than 10 RP can be contributed to modify a roll in this fashion from all parties.

This bidding war between GB and RP takes place openly, and always before the roll is made. Once the die is cast, no one can modify the result.

For example, our young regent, Erin Velescarpe, is attempting to enact a Decree to assuage an influential priest who raised concerns about the impiety of the locals. Her base success difficulty is DC 10, which should be easy for her to hit.

Unfortunately, Prince Darien Avan owns a temple holding in her territory, and he is sore about being snubbed at a recent diplomatic gathering. He expends 5 Regency Points to increase her DC to 15; the Prince is interested in seizing more temple holdings eventually, and if the situation destabilizes further, he can capitalize on the opportunity. After all, he has plenty of Regency Points to spend, and he can afford this indulgence.

Erin grinds her teeth in frustration. She cannot challenge the much-stronger regent openly or risk losing his support in other areas, so she opts to make the Decree more of a public affair. She expends 3 more Gold bars to add +3 to her roll when it is made, and succeeds handily. At their next meeting, the Prince bemusedly congratulates her on resolving the affair, and Erin silently marks down another beating she would like to administer to Anuire’s pre-eminent pompous ass.

Critical Successes

Many domain actions have a critical success effect that is achieved on a natural 20 on the domain action check. These represent particularly skillful or fortunate outcomes, and will have an improved effect as listed under the respective action.

Types of Domain Actions


Type: Action
Base Cost: None
Base Success: Automatic

The call to adventure affects even an established regent from time to time. It’s a major responsibility that one sets aside to wander the countryside in an effort to gain fame and fortune, or to handle certain situations personally. Choosing to adventure uses up a domain action for the round. Any adventure that takes longer than approximately four weeks risks consuming an additional domain action on the next round.


Type: Action (or Bonus)
Base Cost: 1 RP, 1 GB
Base Success: DC 10

You may attempt to build sentiment or foster conflict within a targeted province (or multiple provinces). To do this, you must control a holding within the target province. You must pay the listed cost for each province you are affecting, and all of those provinces must be part of the same domain. You may Agitate in your own provinces in order to improve your standing within your own territory.

If the regent who owns the targeted provinces is in support of your actions, you make your domain action check at advantage. If they are opposed, your base success DC increases by the level of the highest Law holding they possess. You must make the domain action check for each targeted province, making this a potentially expensive course of action if you are in conflict with the regent of the lands you are affecting.

Any targeted province affected by your Agitate attempt increases or decreases its loyalty by one grade, at your discretion.

Bonus Action: Agitate may be performed as a bonus action if you control a temple holding in the targeted province. If you are targeting multiple provinces, this cannot be done as a bonus action.

Critical Success: The loyalty of the affected province is increased or decreased by two grades instead of one.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: Varies
Base Success: DC 5

For any the construction of any structure that is not a fortification or holding, the Build action is the go-to for any regent. Many domain events will request that the regent provide the resources for the creation of a guildhall, civic center, statue, or anything else the people might need or desire.

The Dungeon Master sets the Gold Bar cost of a particular construction project, which typically ranges from 1 GB for a small chapel to 30 for a massive palace.

Build is also useful for the construction of bridges and roads. Roads enable troops and the populace to get about the province more easily, while bridges are used to cross rivers and chasms. A bridge can cost anywhere from 2 to 5 GB (1d4+1). A road costs a single gold bar for a plains province; a forest, tundra, or desert costs two; a hilly province or swamp costs four; and mountains cost eight. Typically, the construction of a “road” really means any number of paths throughout the province.

The more remote and rural a province, the more expensive a construction project; this represents the cost to secure and move the building materials to the site. If the target province for the building project is rated as 0 or 1, the cost is doubled. If the target province is 3 or 4, the cost is increased by 50%.

A building project is never instantaneous. Each season, the progress on a structure advances by 3 GB (or 1d6) of its cost. The project is considered complete when the full cost of the Build is accounted for in this way.

Critical Success: The building project gets an excellent head start and immediately completes 2d6 of its total building cost.


Type: Action
Base Cost: 1 RP
Base Success: DC 10

By contesting a holding or province, a regent attempts to tie it up in claims over its ownership, argue over its legitimacy, or otherwise undermine its functions. You must control a holding in the same province as the targeted holding in order to Contest.

To contest a holding, the regent states their intent to do so over a single holding or any number of holdings within a given domain. They must pay the cost for each holding contested. A contested holding increases the base success DC by its level (thus a level 4 Law holding has a DC of 14 to contest), and a domain action check must be made for each targeted holding.

A successful Contest means the holding is in conflict, and generates no RP or GB for its owner on their next season. This manner of contesting lasts until one of the following conditions is met:

  • The owning regent succeeds at a Rule action targeting the holding(s) in particular.
  • The attacking regent relents of their own free will on their next domain action (this does not cost an action).
  • The attacker loses control of all of their holdings in the targeted province, or loses control of the province (if contesting in their own lands).

A second successful Contest by any regent causes its owner to lose all control of it, and the holding becomes free of the control of any regent until brought to heel.

To Contest a province, the province may not possess any Law holdings higher than level 0 that are not under your control, and must be at rebellious or poor loyalty. The province’s level increases the DC to Contest (thus a level 4 province has a DC of 14 to contest). Success indicates the province will no longer generated RP or GB for its owner, and is ripe to be divested (see Investiture below).

Armies that occupy a province unchallenged automatically Contest the province in favor of their regent, and no roll must be made.

Critical Success: You recuperate the RP spent on this action.

Create Holding

Type: Action
Base Cost: 1 GB
Base Success: DC 10

When a regent wishes to establish a foothold in a given province, they may create a holding of the desired type. If this holding is created in another regent’s province and the regent wishes to contest your efforts, the level of the province increases the DC of your domain action check (thus, attempting to create a holding in a level 6 province makes the DC 16). They may spend RP to further increase the difficulty.

Success on the domain action check creates a holding of the desired type at level 0. You may Rule this holding on further domain actions to increase its level as normal.

Create Province: If a regent wishes and the Dungeon Master approves, they may use this action to instead create a new province in any unclaimed territory. The Dungeon Master determines the dimensions of this new province and assigns it a Source rating based on the terrain type that is present. If the new province is not adjacent to any existing provinces, the cost to attempt the action is increased to 3 GB. This represents financing any exploratory expeditions or prospectors. If successful, a new province is created at level 0 and may be Ruled as normal.

Critical Success: The new holding or province is instead created at level 1.

Declare War

Type: Action
Base Cost: None
Base Success: Automatic

A regent must use the Declare War action before moving troops through provinces that do not belong to them, unless permission is obtained by use of the Diplomacy action. The regent can begin making war moves and conducting battles against enemy troops in provinces where they clash.

If enemy troops are in your province, you do not need to Declare War; you may move your troops on the respective phase of the season within your own territory. The target of a declaration of war must use this action on their turn in order to counterattack into enemy territory; this is not merely the public declaration, but also preparing the logistics of entering enemy territory.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: 1 GB
Base Success: DC 10

A Decree encompasses a number of policies and processes that are not otherwise encompassed by other domain actions. While the list provided below is not the limit of what a Decree can do, any action that can be referred to as a Decree must fulfill the following criteria:

  • The decree cannot affect another regent’s holdings or provinces.
  • The decree cannot change the loyalty or level of any province or holding.
  • Decrees cannot affect armies or assets in any way.

Some examples of common Decrees are as follows. Dungeon Masters and players are encouraged to use Decree whenever no other action is suitable, but care must be taken not to go overboard with what a Decree can accomplish.

  • A tax or asset seizure is enacted, generating 1d6 Gold Bars for your treasury.
  • A roustabout or rumormonger is arrested.
  • A festival is declared throughout your domain.
  • A bounty is offered for local monsters, which may draw adventurers to your territory.
  • A minor act of legislation is passed regarding changes to the law, acceptable behaviors, or cultural integration.
  • A minor event is dealt with by placating the petitioning party through offerings and compensation.

Furthermore, the condition of the regent’s court may cause this check to be made at advantage or disadvantage. See the section on Maintaining Court for more details.


Type: Domain
Base Cost: 1 RP, 1 GB
Base Success: DC 10+ (or Automatic)

Neighboring regents can generally be assumed to remain in correspondence with one another throughout the course of a season. The Diplomacy action has a much wider impact, and is typically a court affair with dignitaries, soirees, and document signings. Typically, this action is taken in relation to NPC regents or random events; if a player character regent is the target of the Diplomacy action, they can determine whether it is automatically successful (but the expense of GB and action must be made in order to gain the effects).

The DC of the domain action check depends on the specific action being taken. Diplomacy checks are typically simple affairs, but care must be taken with the proposals and the mood and standing of a regent. If a deal is outright insulting, the Dungeon Master can rule the action has no chance of success.

Furthermore, the condition of the regent’s court may cause this check to be made at advantage or disadvantage. See the section on Maintaining Court for more details.

Regents on the sidelines who wish to influence the proceedings one way or another may spend GB and RP as usual, affecting the DC and roll bonus accordingly. This represents their dignitaries at the diplomatic function, currying favor and giving advice.

A Diplomacy action can encompass one of the following effects, each of which has its own DC.

  • DC 10: Form an alliance with another domain with whom you are already friendly.
  • DC 10: Create a trade agreement between two domains. This allows the Trade Route action to be taken.
  • DC 15: Allow troops to move through the targeted domain without the need to Declare War.
  • DC 15: Force a targeted regent to provide tribute or concessions.
  • DC 15: Respond to a domain event such as brigandage, unrest, or feuds, causing its effects to subside.

As it pertains to forcing tribute, a regent typically offers no more than a quarter of what they collect each turn in Gold bars; unless threatened with overwhelming force, a regent will never capitulate to more than that.

Critical Success: The RP and GB costs for this action are immediately recouped.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: None
Base Success: DC 10 (or Automatic)

This action is used to break up units under the regent’s command. Any number of units can be affected by this action, and if the units are of regular troops, the success is automatic. The spending of a bonus action represents the discharge papers, paying final expenses, and ensuring no soldier makes off with military equipment that is not otherwise given to them.

If the targeted unit is a mercenary unit, a domain action check must be rolled for each unit. On a success, nothing untoward happens. If the check fails, the mercenary units become units of brigands within the provinces where they were disbanded.

The regent can also use this action to dismantle any holdings or assets that they no longer wish to maintain. The effect is immediate, and the holding/asset will no longer generate RP or GB for the regent starting on the next season.


Type: Action (or Bonus)
Base Cost: 1 GB
Base Success: DC 15

At the heart of being a regent is having a good spy network. The Espionage action covers all manner of skulduggery and legerdemain on behalf of your domain. The regent must declare the intent of the Espionage action before making their domain action check. Espionage can:

  • Uncover the details of diplomatic agreements between one domain and its allies, even ones otherwise kept secret (using the province rating of the capital).
  • Determine troop movements and strength in foreign provinces.
  • Create an assassination, intrigue, corruption, or heresy event in a target domain (using the province rating of the capital).
  • Trace another Espionage action performed against you.
  • Move individuals or transportable assets in secret from one location to another.
  • Rescue hostages in a foreign province.

For hostile Espionage actions, the target DC is modified by the level of the province in which Espionage is being performed, as well as the levels of any Law holdings within those provinces. For example, Erin Velescarpe wishes to send agents to investigate rumors of Baron Gavin Tael forming a secret alliance with the Gorgon to expand his own holdings. Her base DC of 15 is increased by the level of the Baron’s capital province (6) and the Law holding in his capital province (4). This increases her DC to 25 -- Erin will be spending a great deal of gold financing this endeavor.

If the roll fails by 10 or more, then the regent’s spy is caught and imprisoned. They may attempt to rescue the agent with additional Espionage attempts, and the Dungeon Master should secretly determine if the agent is successfully interrogated.

Espionage is dangerous, difficult, and requires a massive investment of Gold Bars to have a solid chance at success. However, the rewards for successful Espionage are rich and the destabilization it can create rivals that of invading troops.

Bonus Action: If you control a Guild holding in the target province, you may enact Espionage as a bonus action when targeting that province.

Critical Success: The regent may select one other effect of Espionage to take place concurrently and at no extra cost.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: None
Base Success: Automatic

Through this action, it is possible for regents to turn Gold Bars from their treasury into liquid assets to purchase personal equipment or pay ransoms without using official channels. This action may be performed only once per season, and the number of Gold Bars that can be converted is equal to the sum total of all Guild holding levels the regent controls, plus their Bloodline modifier. Each Gold Bar converted becomes 2000 gold pieces of currency in the regent’s possession.

Thus, if Erin Velescarpe (Bloodline score 15) controls four guild holdings of levels 1, 2, 2, and 4, she can convert up to 11 Gold Bars into coins. Regents must be careful not to bankrupt their kingdoms using this action.

I took out the Loan sub-action from this. It feels like something that can be accomplished via Diplomacy anyway.

Forge Ley Line

Type: Action
Base Cost: 1 RP, 1 GB (see below)
Base Success: DC 5

When casting realm magic, arcane spellcasters require the use of a Source. However, they may find themselves in provinces where the Source is weak, and thus at a disadvantage when choosing from among their arsenal. By creating ley lines, the spellcaster can substitute the Source rating of one province with that of another.

Ley lines are a potentially hefty expenditure, requiring 1 Regency Point and 1 Gold Bar for each province between the “home” Source and the destination of the ley line. Always use the shortest distance to determine the number of provinces crossed, geographical features notwithstanding.

Spellcasters can also expand on ley lines by creating “networks” stemming from the home Source province. Consider existing ley lines when calculating the cost of new ones; the spellcaster need only pay for extension of a ley line rather than recalculating from the home Source, if it is cost-effective.

Any contiguous ley line the spellcasting regent owns costs 1 Regency Point during the final step of the season. Multiple ley lines that are not connected each cost RP.

For example, a spellcasting regent, Calimor the Magnificent, wishes to create a ley line connecting his Source holdings in the province of Sorelies (Source rating 4) to a weaker location in Alaroine (Source rating 0) so that he can cast useful realm magic while stationed in there. The distance between provinces is only two along the shortest route (south through Hildon, and then to Alaroine), so the cost to build the ley line is 2 RP and 2 GB.

Calimor later decides to extend the ley line into enemy territory in the province of Ghiere, in Baron Gavin Tael’s domain of Ghoere. He pays only an additional 2 RP and 2 GB to push the ley line two more provinces south, but must still succeed at his domain action check to complete the forging. Now with a strong home Source at his command, Calimor can lead soldiers there and cast devastating realm magic against the warmongering Baron on his own turf.


Type: Action
Base Cost: 1 RP, Variable GB
Base Success: DC 5

Through use of the Fortify action, regents construct Castle assets to protect their provinces (or expand upon existing Castles). A province can only hold a single Castle asset for purposes of this action, though you may well have numerous smaller keeps and palaces in the area that do not necessarily contribute to defense in any meaningful way. You can only construct Castles in provinces you own, and Castles require a massive investment of gold to bring to completion.

To create a new Castle, a regent chooses the target province to begin construction. Castles, like provinces and holdings, have levels which dictate how impregnable they are and how well they defend holdings in their sphere of influence. Castles are unique in that they may be of higher level than the province in which they lie, but if the Castle’s target level exceeds the province level, costs quickly begin to multiply.

The base cost of a Castle is 6 GB per level. If the Castle is greater level than the province, each level beyond the province level costs 9 GB. For example, if Erin Velescarpe wants to build a level 6 Castle in a level 4 province on the border with Ghoere to deter any of the neighboring Baron’s aggression, she must pay 42 Gold Bars.

Castles are expensive, and can take years to build to completion. Once the desired level of the Castle is chosen and the initial cost is paid, progress continues automatically at a rate of 3 (or 1d6) GB each season and the regent does not need to continue to use this action unless they are adding features or upgrading the Castle level.

A standard Castle has the benefit of completely halting the advance of enemy troops through your provinces. Any enemy units that move into a province occupied by a Castle cannot move out of the province any direction save the way they came, until the Castle is neutralized or destroyed (see Conquest and Occupation section). Furthermore, holdings you own in provinces with a Castle are protected from total destruction using Pillage, as outlined in that action.

You may also garrison a number of units in the Castle equal to its level. Garrisoned units cost half of their maintenance each season, but are slow to bring back to muster in an emergency.

You may also add features to a Castle during the construction process, or on later turns using the Fortify action. These increase the cost accordingly.

  • Center of Power (3 GB): The Castle also controls Loyalty as might a Law holding. You automatically negate up to two categories of Loyalty loss in that province at the end of each season, provided the Castle maintains at least 1 level of strength.
  • Conscription Center (4 GB): The Castle possesses facilities and armories to quickly and cheaply outfit troops. The cost to muster armies in this province is reduced by 1 GB per unit, to a minimum of 1 GB.
  • Dungeons (2 GB): High profile prisoners can be stored in these fortified dungeons. They cannot be extracted from your domain using the Epsionage action.
  • Expanded Barracks (2 GB): You may station one additional unit at the Castle without needing to expand its level. You may purchase this feature multiple times.
  • Moat (1 GB): Your Castle is surrounded by a moat. You increase the number of units an occupying force must contribute to a region to neutralize the castle by one.
  • Subterranean Fortifications (5 GB, Dwarf regents only): The bulk of your Castle’s functions are stored below ground and are impervious to standard siege attacks. Your Castle can never be reduced below an effective level of 1 until it is utterly destroyed.
  • Wilderness Fortification (3 GB, Elf regents only): The placement of your Castle and the deliberate cultivation of thickets and underbrush in the province increases the movement cost of enemy troops through that province by 1. Your own troops are immune to this effect.

Critical Success: Construction gets a head start, and 2d6 GB worth of building is completed on the same season.

This action was significantly rebuilt and its costs rebalanced. Castles were not terribly attractive to build, and fortified holdings were head-scratchingly designed; no NPC domain even lists the presence of a fortified holding. Their functionality was suspect and narrow, so this ended up feeling like a fool’s investment, especially with how expensive they were.

Castles, on the other hand, were made way more modular and upgradable. They still provide good benefits and contributed to the development of the new Pillage action.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: Special
Base Success: DC 10 (Automatic, see below)

This domain action is used by regents who wish to reward helpful servants with titles or gifts of wealth. Typically, this is used when resolving a domain event that requires the appointing or appeasement of a government official. It can also be used to give another regent money from your treasury in the form of Gold Bars.

Unlike other domain actions, the domain action check is made not to see if the action succeeds, but whether anyone is potentially angered by the Grant (especially in the case of giving out wealth). Every Gold Bar that exchanges hands in this way increases the DC by 1. Should anyone be offended by the use of a Grant, it will force a corruption, intrigue, or unrest event on the next season.


Type: Action
Base Cost: Varies
Base Success: Varies

To enact Investiture, a priest capable of casting the realm spell of the same name must be present for the ceremony. This ceremony is critical for passing rightful ownership of holdings and provinces to new rulers, and without it, a regent cannot draw Regency Points or Gold Bars from either asset type.

To invest provinces and holdings, the asset in question must either be willingly given to the investing regent; otherwise, it must be conquered or contested by that regent, and there must not be an enemy Castle present that is not neutralized. The regent must pay Regency Points equal to the combined levels of all holdings, provinces, and castles being invested through the course of this domain action. If the former owner is an unwilling participant, the investing regent must succeed at a domain action check with a DC of 10 + the defending regent’s Bloodline modifier. The defending regent may also spend RP normally to make this more of a challenge for the would-be usurper. This process is known as divesting a regent.

Investiture is also used to formalize vassalage. Upon using Investiture for this purpose, both regents contribute RP equal to the vassal’s Bloodline modifier. From this point on, the vassal contributes that value to their new lord every season, and no longer gains RP from their Bloodline modifier.

Finally, a blooded individual may be the target of Investiture, either willingly or unwillingly (though they must be present). This strips the blooded individual of all derivation, Bloodline ability score, and blood abilities. If the recipient is not a blooded individual, they gain a Bloodline score of 11 and the derivation of the divested scion, unless that scion’s Bloodline score was less than 11 (in which case, the new value is equal to the scion’s previous value; for this reason, Tainted bloodlines are almost never invested in this way). If the recipient of the investiture is already blooded, their Bloodline score permanently increases by 1, to a maximum value of 20.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: 1 GB
Base Success: Automatic

The regent raises a retainer or henchman NPC to the status of a lieutenant. A lieutenant can be another player character if that player character is not themselves a regent. Anyone can be a lieutenant, whether they possess a bloodline or not. The lieutenant typically possesses character levels and may undertake missions in the regent’s stead. NPC lieutenants require upkeep, and are paid on the Maintenance Costs phase of the season.

Lieutenants are extremely useful in that they provide the regent with a single additional bonus action that may be used at any point in the action phases of the season, provided the lieutenant is within the boundaries of the regent’s domain at the time. Once this bonus action is used, it cannot be used again on any subsequent turn in the round. The regent cannot benefit from having multiple lieutenants in this regard, but many regents keep additional lieutenants around in case one becomes occupied.

Some random events may require the use of a lieutenant to adjudicate outcomes, thus consuming the lieutenant’s attention for the season. This forfeits any bonus action they would have otherwise granted, unless the regent has another lieutenant handy.

For example, Erin Velescarpe raises up her brother, Eist, as a lieutenant. While he is not a regent, he acts in her stead where she cannot. She uses him several times to perform Decrees while she tends to more pressing matters.

Eventually, an event arises within Erin’s domain requiring the personal attention of the regent. Instead, Erin dispatches Eist to settle the matter, and does not gain his bonus action this season.

Move Troops

Type: Bonus
Base Cost: 1 GB
Base Success: Automatic

Using this domain action, the regent orders any number of loyal troops to another location within their own domain. Financing the movement of the troops costs 1 GB for every 10 units or provinces; for example, 1 GB can move a unit across 10 provinces, or 10 units across 1 province, or any combination that can be mathematically derived. The troops are not available for use while moving, and the movement completes at the end of the action round, whereupon they become available for battles waging in that province.

If the regent’s domain is invaded during use of the Move Troops action, they can abort any movement that is in progress to come to the defense of an invaded province, but forfeit any GB spent.

The concept of a map with “province” sized chunks of oceanic territory is introduced in the Havens of the Great Bay accessory, which is a must-have for naval-minded regents. I’ve cut out the old mileage-by-day calculation stuff with the assumption it would be used.

Muster Armies

Type: Bonus
Base Cost: Special
Base Success: Automatic

The regent calls up his provinces to war, or raises troops in any province where they maintain a holding. This can take the form of raising peasant levies, drawing up trained soldiers, or hiring mercenaries. They must pay the GB cost of any unit, as listed in its entry. A province can raise a number of military units equal to its level in a single season. If the troops are being raised in a province you do not control, the owning regent can automatically deny you this action.

Units cannot be used in the same action round in which they are mustered, unless those units are mercenaries (which can be used immediately, but mercenaries come with their own risks).

If the type of unit a regent musters is a Levy, it comes with an additional cost. The province level is temporarily reduced by 1 each time Levies are mustered from that province (see the section on Armies for more details). The rating is restored when the unit is disbanded, but if those units are ever destroyed in combat, the province level is permanently reduced. Levies cost nothing to muster, but are dangerous to use for this reason.


Type: Bonus
Base Cost: None
Base Success: DC 10

When a unit of the regent’s troops occupies a province unopposed, and that province does not possess a functioning Castle asset, the regent may order one holding in the province to be pillaged. The DC for this domain action check is increased by the level of the target holding, and decreased by 1 for each unit above the first occupying the province. Failure represents the inability of the occupying force to plunder a fortified or distributed holding.

A successful Pillage utterly destroys the affected holding; its regent no longer gains RP or GB from it on subsequent seasons. If the holding is protected by a Castle (that has no units garrisoned), a number of levels equal to the level of the Castle are protected from destruction unless the Castle is neutralized or destroyed (but the holding will be permanently damaged and have its level reduced accordingly). The attacking regent gains a number of Gold Bars equal to the reduced levels of the destroyed holding. If any of the pillaging units are classified as mercenaries, this value is reduced by one.

For example, Baron Gavin Tael invokes an obscure treaty from the years long before Erin Velescarpe took control and sends an occupying force into one of her outlying provinces, where she does not have any troops presently stationed. However, she does have a level 2 Castle there. When the Baron tries to Pillage her level 4 Guild holding there, he destroys two levels of the holding; the rest are protected until he neutralizes or destroys the castle. The Baron gains 2 GB from the Pillage.

This one’s completely new. Since the concept of fortified holdings was removed, and castles are way beefier than they used to be, Pillage is a good way for military-minded regents (I’m looking at you, Vos PCs) to generate Gold Bars by preying on weak neighbors.

Realm Magic

Type: Action
Base Cost: Special
Base Success: Special

Through this action, a powerful spellcaster can invoke realm magic that affects entire provinces. Only blooded spellcasting regents can cast realm magic, and each realm spell has its own entry for success and failure considerations. Realm magic can only be used in provinces where the regent possess a temple holding (for divine casters such as clerics, druids, and paladins), or a source holding (for arcane spellcasters of all stripes).


Type: Action
Base Cost: Special
Base Success: Special

Spellcasting regents may use this action to perform magical research in order to create magical items or spells. As most regents are already extremely wealthy compared to most characters from normal campaigns, it is assumed that the regent has access to appropriate laboratories and libraries.

The Research action exists to support the presence of more indepth magic item and spell creation rules which, at this time, do not really exist in a meaningful format in 5th Edition. Harbinger promised me he’s making something like this at some point, and I believe his exact words were “challenge accepted” when I mentioned it. There were puppy dog eyes and everything when I said I was going to cut it. Really.


Type: Action
Base Cost: Varies
Base Success: DC 10

Regents who devote time to ruling their domain may increase the levels of provinces and holdings. They are actively managing the minutia of their realm with the express purpose of expanding it and drawing a larger population under their banner.

Firstly, a regent may use this action to increase the level of any single holding or collection of holdings. They must pay RP equal to the new level of all holdings affected, as well as 1 GB for each affected holding. Only one domain action check needs to be made to increase the level of all holdings. Remember that the total level of all holdings of a given type cannot exceed the level of the province in which they are located.

For example, Ashira al-Sumari wishes to grow her holdings. She has a Law (3) holding, a Guild (4) holding, and a Source (2) holding that she wishes to improve. Ashira must spend 3 GB and 11 RP (4 + 5 + 3) and then make her domain action check.

Secondly, a regent may elect to rule a province; only one province can be ruled at a time by this action. The cost to rule a province is equal to RP and GB equal to the new level of the affected province, and the regent must succeed at a DC 10 domain action check.

For example, Calimor the Magnificent wishes to increase the level of a province, currently rated at level 3. He must pay 4 RP and 4 GB and succeed at his domain action check.

Critical Success: The efforts of the regent are incredibly effective, and the domain or holding increases its level by two. If this is not possible, say because a holding would level past its province, the cost is instead refunded.

Trade Route

Type: Action
Base Cost: 1 RP, 1 GB
Base Success: DC 10

Creating trade routes is a surefire way to greatly increase seasonal income for a regent. In order to create a trade route, the regent must own a guild holding in the home province and have permission from the owner of the target province, (either through Diplomacy or if the target province is owned by a friendly player regent), who must also possess a guild holding there. Further, the two provinces must be connected either by sea or by provinces with an appropriate network of roads, which are constructed via the Build action.

Each season, both regents draw Gold Bars equal to the average of the levels of the two connected provinces. Trade routes cease to generate income if the provinces or guild holdings at either end of the trade route become contested or occupied.

Creation of a trade route can be challenged by regents who own law holdings in either end of the route. They may contribute RP to increase the DC of the domain action check accordingly. Both the regent making the check and the regent at the other end of the connection can contribute GB to add a bonus to the roll as usual.

This action can create multiple trade routes at once, so long as they all originate from the same province. The regent must pay each cost separately, but only one domain action check need be made. Provinces up to level 3 can only be the source of one trade route, provinces between 4 and 6 can be the source of two, and provinces of level 7 or higher can support three.

9. Adjust Loyalty

At the end of the season, after all three action rounds have been taken and all war moves and battles are resolved, all active regents perform this step. First, regents adjust loyalty in each province based on the following conditions:

  • Reduce loyalty by one category if:
    • Severe taxes were collected, or moderate taxes were collected in a province with no Law holdings
    • Levies were mustered and sent to a foreign land
    • Domain events that modify loyalty were not addressed
    • A rival regent completes Agitate actions in that province with the express purpose of causing unrest
    • Province is under occupation by an enemy force
  • Improve loyalty by one category if:
    • No taxes were collected
    • A regent completes an Agitate action in that province with the purpose of improving loyalty
    • A major battle was won against a hated enemy (improves loyalty in all provinces)

Law holdings are useful for preventing the loss of loyalty. If the regent controls all law holdings in a particular province, the regent can prevent up to two categories of loss in a province. If the regent controls at least half, but not all of the law holdings in the province can ignore one category of loss in that province. In the case that the regent controls less than half or no law holdings in the province, they cannot ignore any loyalty category changes.

Units of soldiers stationed in a province count as one Law holding per unit for purposes of loyalty and taxation. The peasants are less likely to grumble if there are soldiers garrisoned nearby.

If any province becomes rebellious, the regent can no longer collect taxes there and all holdings in that province become contested. The peasants there will immediately raise the largest possible levy and become hostile to the regent’s forces. If the force is subjugated, or the regent is able to perform the Agitate or Diplomacy action to resolve the situation, the province returns to poor loyalty.

I’ve regrouped the old “Losses of Regency” effects under respective domain events that will be covered later. Alignment as a punishing tool is a very old and kind of crappy way to strip Regency Points from players. The Minor, Major, and Catastrophic regency losses can be more accurately represented through the events anyway.

Wrapping Up

Whew! Okay, that was a lot, and none of it has been playtested yet, but I'll get there. Next time we'll talk about warfare, conquest, and occupation, the bulk of which will take into account (and add new scales) to the Battlesystem Unearthed Arcana article put out some time back.

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