Eclipse d20 and Building Domains

Here we have something that’s been on the back burner for a long time – rescaling the character mechanics to represent domains rather than individuals – basically an extension of the rules for representing military units as individual characters. In this case, however, the scale has really gotten too large for direct interaction between Domains and normal characters – and so I’ve shifted some of the terminology around a bit to keep that clear.

First up, Settlements don’t exactly have races. Even when one species dominates the domain, their racial template rarely translates onto the domain scale. Settlements tend to be dominated by their Terrain and Nature – both of which are usually represented by small (15 CP plus a 3 CP Disadvantage) Templates. In general, a Settlement will have two – one representing the type of terrain the place is built on, the other representing it’s general nature. For our example, we have a Settlement built in a Forest as a Citadel (or Stronghold). It might have been built in a Fey Pocket, or as a Seaside Port, but this one happens to be a Forest Citadel.

Forest Settlement Template (15 CP):

  • Outriders (Occult Sense / Happenings in the forest, 6 CP). A Forest Settlement will always become a base for hunters, trappers, and foragers in those wilds – and, as such, will automatically gain a wide variety of information about things in or affecting the forest and a +2 on forest-related Profession checks.
  • Beast Master (Leadership with Beastlord, Corrupted for Reduced Cost / Forest animals only, 6 CP). People living among the great trees tend to adopt pets and live together with the local beasts, bending them to their will.
  • Forest Style (Scouting): +6 +Scouting (=8) (6 CP).
    • Basic Techniques: Defenses 4 (forests, fences, and palisades), Synergy / Forestry (Tier II, so +4), Synergy / Handle Animal (Tier II, so +4), Synergy / Survival (Tier 1, so +2), Toughness II (Plenty of wood for sturdy construction).
    • Advanced and Master Techniques: Travel with Mount (forest settlements quickly become familiar with existing trails and make more, allowing their travelers and traders to transverse the forest without hindrance), Mind Like Moon (having numerous foresters makes it hard for enemies to sneak up on a forest settlement), Rapid Shot (archery is a common pastime for the inhabitants of a forest domain, and so they can field extra skilled archers), and Split Movement (with every tree a watchtower and sniping position, a forest domain is adept at striking while avoiding contact with the enemy).
    • Occult Techniques: Hardy Pioneers (Inner Strength II), Wooden Reinforcement (Iron Skin), and Setting Fires (Wrath). A forest community has plenty of lumber for emergency reinforcement of their settlement and can – if hard pressed – use a controlled burn to drive back or corner an attacking force.
    • Known Techniques (4) are being left open for the players.

So why am I representing the general advantages and disadvantages of forest terrain as a martial art? Because – in game terms – it functions like one. A domain can only really take advantage of one form of terrain at a time, but will certainly be practiced at using it’s home ground to its best advantage, different domains with the same terrain may take advantage of it in different ways (making different selections from the “style” as they advance), and different terrains will allow the use of different special maneuvers – and offer boosts to particular professions. All of which fits neatly into a martial art.

  • Disadvantage: Settlements in great forests are always at risk of powerful creatures showing up and making trouble (Accursed, -3 CP).

Citadel Settlement Template:

  • Wall Construction (Augmented Bonus, adds (Might) to (Mobilization) when fighting defensively, 6 CP). While hardly as strong as the results of a Mystic Architect, well-defended walls grant a citadel settlement a strong defensive edge.
  • Militia: Proficient with all Simple Weapons (3 CP) and Light Armor (3 CP). A Citadel or Capital is fairly vital, and must be held – so the populace is invariably given at least basic weapons-training.
  • Citadel Style (Construction) (Corrupted for Increased Effect (+9 +0 Construction = +9) / only usable when fighting defensively, 6 CP):
    • Basic Techniques: Defenses (4) (with walls, buildings, and streets constructed so as to confound an enemies advance, a Citadel Settlement is very hard to defeat), Attack 4 and Power II (with fields of fire set up in advance, brushwood cleared, siege engines ready, and a gauntlet of defenses, a citadel is adept at inflicting disproportionate damage on attackers).
    • Advanced and Master Techniques: Improved Initiative (The alarms and defenses of a citadel allow the defenders to be rallied speedily), Reserves (Grant of Aid; a citadel has reserves of supplies, and can swiftly make crude repairs when damaged), Night Training (Blind Fight, a Citadel has lighting ready and provisions for fighting at night), and Volley Fire (Combat Reflexes, a Citadel has trained it’s troops to work in unison).
    • Occult Techniques: Gallant Defenders (Inner Strength II), Concentric Defense (Resist Pain), and Sally (One Finger).
    • Known Techniques (5): Once again, these are up to the players.
  • Disadvantage: Valuable. A Citadel dominates the surrounding countryside and is stronghold that no invader can afford to bypass. As such, they are primary targets for any takeover of the area.

Every domain needs a location. As it happens for our example…

A modest river winds around the bases of the hills, constantly cutting into the ancient glacial moraines where it runs more quickly. The small avalanches thus created expose ancient masses of crystal, renew the modest placer deposits of metal which the locals harvest, and block the flow of the water – giving rise to numerous small lakes and swamps rich in fish, wildlife, and the reeds so useful in basket-making, construction, making rush lights, paper-making, and many other basic crafts. The area surrounding the river valley is, of course, heavily forested, providing lumber and game. The Crystal Valley domain is no great metropolis, but it is nonetheless a good place, where the land well supplies it’s peoples needs with something left over to sell. Sadly, those same natural dams and swamps mean that the small river is only navigable with frequent portages, and so is of limited use for commerce and transport.

Currently Known Resources (In general, resources provide circumstance bonuses)

  • Placer Mining +4 (Crystal +8). The area has considerable reserves of crystal (many of use in magic), although – unusually – they are buried in dirt and loose rock, apparently thanks to glacial deposition.
  • River Transport +2: While relatively near the Imperium to the south, with a river connection that is mostly navigable, the area is prone to small landslides, that break the river up into a series of long lakes and require frequent portages.
  • Forestry +2: The local forests offer plentiful supplies of timber, although a good deal of it is (or at least was) used in the mining operations.
  • Reed Ponds and Swamps (Fishing and Reed Production +4). The long lakes produce plenty of usable reeds, support large colonies of fish, and not a few beavers and otters.

Local resources are the equivalent of mundane equipment for a domain. Not surprisingly, the extent and value of the local resources is a major determinant of whether or not you’ve found a good place to settle down and get started building. A port will offer bonuses to Trade, Transport, and Fishing, a fishing fleet will offer bonuses to Survival or to Fishing, mountains offer ore and stone, and even swamps offer something. Unfortunately, of course, the best places usually already have domains on them – which is why the disaster which struck the realms north of the Imperium offers so many opportunities for founding profitable domains and why the Imperium is subsidizing the founding of such domains so as to rebuild it’s trade.

Basic Build for the Crystal Valley Domain:

Current Magnitude: 2. Base 72 Construction Points +3 (Disadvantage: Imperial Obligations) +6 (Founder Bonus) = 81

As a relatively new domain Crystal Valley is only recently established – but between recruiting the refugees from the recent disaster in the area, being founded by a sizeable party of adventurers, and being a supported colonizing expedition from the Imperium, it’s been growing rapidly and is past the introductory “just arrived” stage. Thus it’s Magnitude (“Level”) Two.

Basic Attributes: Might +2 (effective +4; Centric’s whoop currently provides a +2 Might bonus), Training +3, Scouting +2, Construction -2 (12 CP to raise to +0), Mobilization +1, Diplomacy +1

Domain Attributes do mirror the usual set, but I’m going with “attribute modifiers as attributes” for domains – not because of the “it’s simpler!” battlecry but because it emphasizes the scaling differences – and because Domain Attributes are much cheaper to raise than Domain Attributes. Add more people to the army because your population base is growing? That’s more Might. Bring in Masons and start replacing wattle-and-daub structures with stone? That’s boosting the Construction score. So here’s our first new rule: Domain Attributes cost 6 CP per +1, but you can’t buy more than (Magnitude) points of boosted attributes in total. No domain has the resources to upgrade EVERYTHING.

Professions: 0 (0 CP) + 15 (Training x (Magnitude + 3)) = 15

  • Survival +5 (5 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +7

This is pretty basic for any domain. On the Domain Scale this tends to take the form of fishing fleets and fish markets, subsidiary villages, farming, hunting, and housing construction – but “gather resources from the surrounding area and be self-sufficient” is pretty much what a domain DOES. About the only exceptions are outposts that are supported by their patrons.

  • Craft/Alchemy +4 (4 PP) +3 (Training) = +7

The expedition which founded Crystal Valley was led by a master Alchemist, who set up shop there – so this is hardly surprising.

  • Handle Animal +3 (Tier II, 1 PP) +1 (Diplomacy) = +4

Flocks, herds, draught animals, and mounts are all fundamental to civilization, so this is a fine skill to have. Especially if someone or something attacks them.

  • Simple Profession/Crystal Mining (Tier III) +5 (2 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +7

The most obvious source of profit in the area is the reserves of crystal – although, thankfully, there isn’t a lot of training required to look through newly-exposed layers of earth and look for the shiny bits.

  • Complex Profession/Forestry (Tier II) +5 (2 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +7

Gathering lumber, nuts and fruits, dyes, and all the other vegetable resources of the forest falls under Forestry – making it a basic skill for any forest domain.

  • Simple Profession / Fishing (Tier III) +4 (1 PP) +2 (Scouting) = +6

A source of profit as well as a way to build up reserves, this simple profession is cheap to buy.

For a Domain, it’s skills represent the abilities and professions of the people who live there. While this does make “retraining” a little easier, it’s already usually fairly easy to persuade a game master to let characters pull a few skill points out of things they never use to invest in things they do. Sure, Carpentry may have been useful early on, but when you never do it any longer – and have seen a thousands of monsters, spells being cast, and weird realms – those skill points have probably wandered over into something else anyway. I’m using the Skill Tier system (making less useful skills cheaper to buy) for the setting of this domain, but you can just ignore that if you’re not interested. One important note is that a Domain can make (Magnitude + 2) Profession Checks in each Domain Turn. One of them is usually Survival unless the domain has already built up reserves to use.

In any case, as a fairly new domain, Crystal Valley doesn’t have that wide a selection of professions as yet – only the most vital ones. We can, of course, presume that there are people who can make usable shoes, weave crude homespun, and make basic clothing – but most of that really goes under the basic Survival check, rather than building up reserves or producing anything for export.

Offense Rating: +2 (12 CP) +4 (Might) = +6

Considering that it’s guarded by a group of adventurers – including Cenric and his sapient combat- trained armed and armored gorillas – having a decent “Base Attack Bonus”  should not be too surprising.

Defense Rating: 10 (Base) +2 (Light Terrain Barriers) +4 (Enhanced Earthworks) +2 (Assistance / Armored Troops) +1 (Mobility) = 19

The party has focused heavily on building up defenses, rather than accepting a few casualties in order to expand more rapidly – a cautious, low-risk, option. At this point Crystal Valley has spent more time on building defenses than on anything else.

Cohesion: 20 (12 CP + 2 x Construction – otherwise known as 2d10 HD).

As with military units and hit points, loss of all Cohesion doesn’t mean that everyone is dead and the domain has been burned to the ground; it just means that all organization has collapsed and the Domain is thus incapable of taking domain-scale actions. I’m going to give the maximum for the first few domain hit dice because why not?

  • Fortification Check:+0 (Construction) +2 (Purchased, 6 CP) = +2.
  • Response Check: +1 (Mobilization) +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) = +2.
  • Morale Check: +1 (Diplomacy) +1 (Purchased, 3 CP) = +2.

Will the domain endure an earthquake with minimal damage? Will the firefighters put out that house fire before it burns down a major section of the capital? Will the army stand against that horde of undead? Will the government resist being bribed and suborned? The perils may be different, but the concept of “Saving Throws” remains.

Militia: Add All Martial Weapons to All Simple Weapons (6 CP).

With the city led by several martial characters with their own troops, the militia may not actually be skilled with all martial weapons – but they’re practiced with all the ones they’ve actually got, so the difference is something of a moot point.

Initiative: +1 (Mobilization) +4 (Improved Initiative, 6 CP).

Again, with adventurers personal followers providing the backbone of the cities forces, a fast response to any difficulty is only to be expected.

Domain Abilities:

  • Stipend (6 CP):

At the moment, Crystal Valley is supported by it’s founders, who have a surprising amount of resources to invest in it. This translates to having a Stipend.

  • Alchemical Mastery (6 CP): Using the “Where Does He Get These Wonderful Toys” package at a basic level, the domain is well-equipped with alchemical wonders and exotic charms and talismans.
  • Privilege (Order Patron) (6 CP): The domain has not yet learned to exploit this fully, but likely will fairly soon, further enhancing it’s Charms and Talismans.

This is basically having a magical patron – a gateway to developing further powers based on that patron. While the selection of patrons that can grant powers to an entire domain is kind of limited, in the setting that includes (obviously enough) all of the Domain Lords – although not all of them are willing to do so. Of course, while Domain Lords are specific to Atheria, it’s hard to deny the benefits of having a more powerful patron that may assist you on occasion. Just look at real-world politics for a long list of examples of one country serving as a patron for another.

Wealth Rating: Well-Off (3 CP).

This is from The Practical Enchanter, which offers an option for using Wealth Levels instead of money for a setting – and at the moment, thanks to salvaged resources, support from the Imperium to the south, and being founded and supported by a bunch of wealth adventurers, the Crystal Valley domain is doing quite well at the moment.

Note that, among other minor benefits (and a comfortable lifestyle), being Well Off provides access to some Charms and Talismans – minor but useful items. These include a Talismanic
Ditty Bag and three charms – an Alchemist’s Flask, Sunstone, and “Elfin” Cloak.

One reason for getting a Wealth Rating is that City Magic Items (See “Magical Businesses”) tend to be quite expensive, while Charms and Talismans are generally useful and cheap. Secondarily in this case, it’s because Atheria (the setting for the Crystal Valley Domain) doesn’t support normal magical items or magical businesses, making Charms and Talismans the only real option.

Is this complete? Well… on Atheria, where conventional magical items do not exist, you don’t really need rules for money. After all, Domains really don’t collect heaps of coins; they accumulate stockpiles of food and supplies, build aqueducts, roads, canals, irrigation systems, and villages, have land and herds of animals, and deploy vast amounts of labor (for those with fond memories of playing Civilization, you can always Corrupt some special ability of your domain to require a massive structure and call it a Wonder of the World).

For other settings you can simply treat “Domain Scale Money” as normal money that cannot be translated into character-level funds because it’s an abstract measure of resources; tracts of arable land, days of service owed, herds of pigs, and so on – stuff that’s spread out over the doman. You can’t really translate “we get a bunch of stuff to feed the garrison with from the farmers every week” into a +5 sword. Magical swordsmiths tend to want gold and gems and powerful items in exchange for their labors – not bellyaches from eating too much.

Powerful Adventurers who are heavily involved in the domain effectively contribute a Bonus Feat each – two if they have a substantial number of personal followers with useful talents. Still, there are distinct limits to this sort of thing; no combination of adventurers can contribute more than 36 CP worth of benefits in total. For the moment I’ve only accounted for Cenric, but several other characters may make contributions.

Now there will doubtless be corner cases, and I’ll have to make a few more rulings – but this gives us a reasonably detailed way to describe domains, a way to measure their ability to handle wars and other emergencies, details about what they produce, and the obvious note that the quick way for a domain to improve is by holding off attackers and through conquest – taking over additional areas. Waiting for natural population growth to increase your domains magnitude is going to be a very slow process – like waiting to level up through role-playing awards.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: