Sunday 13 February 2022

How to build a Domain in AD&D 1st Edition Part 4


Second Period

This post will focus on covering just one month in the life of Machodor Domain management.

After the first large period of 3 month's worth of encounters, the procedure I use now is to start rolling for one month of encounters about a month in advance. Just the encounters themselves to begin with, then the base unit numbers, types, spells and magic items etc, as time moves on, so that with a week left before the next month starts I can work out what the possible “encounter of the month” is and how it may be handled. It's surprisingly time consuming so resolving a bit here and there really helps.

Machodor is quite large, nine 30 mile hexes wide, but with only a few populated areas, the largest by far being Minas Mandalf. Therefore I treat the whole area as one Domain. This is also due to the historical accident of other parts of Machodor existing before I knew exactly where the road was or how these rules worked. 

In the case of the city of Minas Mandalf, the vast area within its one mile diameter walls was crying out for development, so I assumed most things such as merchants would go there regardless of where they might be initially encountered. Alternately, I could have ignored everything but Minas Mandalf and assume all encounters happen in that hex or an adjacent one as I did in the first 3 months, but that would not have had the same flavour.

Another option with the above map; you could easily imagine Fordebridge and/or Murkwell being the capital instead of Minas Mandalf, they could actually be separate domains, or they could even accrue their own encounters for the single Domain in addition to the other 3 (I'm not going there though). 

Another way to look at weekly encounter generation is that the Domain gets one encounter for its "capital", and two more for its road, if it has one, and these latter encounters can occur anywhere along the road's length within the region the Domain patrols.

Second Period Encounters

The "Uninhabited" table no longer being required, these were the results of the first normal month of encounters on the "Inhabited" table;

  • Week 1
    • 200 Merchants (d6 result 4)
    • 200 Merchants (d6 result 4) 
    • 150 Merchants (d6 result 3)
  • Week 2
    • 160 Gnomes
    • 80 Bandits
    • 150 Merchants (d6 result 3)
  • Week 3
    • 120 Elves
    • 300 Merchants (d6 result 6)
    • 1 Hill Giant
  • Week 4
    • 150 Merchants (d6 result 3)
    • 90 Berserkers
    • 200 Merchants (d6 result 4)

Suitable Encounters

This was a very lucrative month for merchants! The d6 result for their base number is also multiplied by  10,000gp to derive the value of their goods. With a total of 27 rolled that becomes 270,000gp in goods which breaks down to;
  • Duty at 2% = 5400
  • 10% Luxury Goods Tariff at 5% = 1350
  • Sales tax of 10% = 27,000
For a total of 33,750 gp. 
  • Entry Fees (I assume these are incorporated into the gate guards' salaries)
    • 5cp per head of people = 1350 copper pieces
    • 5cp per animal (10 animals per 5000gp merchandise) = 2700 copper pieces
    • Total 4050 copper pieces

The Gnomes, having first pledged their allegiance to Machodor and all that is good and true, payed their Citizenship fees and joined their brethren who had previously established Gnomesville.

Lawful Good Gnomes base 160
   Level  1 2 3 4 5 Total
Fighters 0 5 6 1 1 13 
Clerics   0 4          4
Females 88
young     44
Total Citizenship fees = 3,980gp

Based on subsequent events, it seems likely that gnome groups have hidden amongst them some undeclared Illusionists!

Items, note that Gnomes have a 10% chance per level of magic items. The finer details in the Monster Manual are a bit vague on the break down for each kind of item, my interpretation is; each fighter that makes his roll gets one roll on the Armour, Swords, & Miscellaneous weapons tables but no re-roll in the case a cursed or otherwise unsuitable item is rolled. For each Gnome cleric item I roll a d10 to determine if it is a potion/scroll/ring/RSW/Misc Magic. When rolling for this stuff for a non-human race also I assume all items rolled are sized for that race if possible. So, for example, all Gnome swords are short swords.

I track the items by level of owner, which gives me a basic idea of who has what. 

Level 5 
  • Short Sword +1
  • Shield +2
Level 4 Nothing
Level 3 
  • Shield +1
  • Leather Armor +2
  • Plate Mail +2
  • Plate Mail +1
  • Sword +1
Level 2 
  • Short Sword +3 [Unusual Abilities: Int: 14, Alignment: Lawful Good, Communication: speech, Languages: 2 (Manticore, Gnome), Powers/Abilities: detect precious metals, kind and amount in a 2" radius, strength, 1 time/day (on wielder only)]
  • Sword +2
Level 1 
  • Miscellaneous Magic
Level 2 
  • Wand
  • Miscellaneous Magic
Level 3 
  • Miscellaneous Magic
  • Wand
Level 4 
  • Miscellaneous Magic
  • Rod
  • Potion 
As per security protocols, the names of the magic items rolled for the above are classified.

The Monster Manual entry lists various subtypes of Elves but no means of determining which of them are encountered. I assume the default is High Elves, but others should be possible (though rare). I've decided to do this with a d10 as so;
  • 1-7 High Elves
  • 8-9 Wood Elves
  • 10 Grey Elves
The Elves in this period were High Elves. Due to the unique history of Trollopulousian Elves I'm counting these as visiting representatives from the Domain of Chaz the Elf, so, due to their diplomatic status they did not provide any income. However, some of their funds were probably spent on things that attracted sales tax, so that is some comfort. If and when I encounter Grey Elves I'm going to make the case to the DM that they have come from the alternate material plane home world of Macho Mandalf, which, like himself, is a cross between Middle Earth and 80's WWF.

During this period, 0-level humans fleeing the chaos of the plague & siege & undead of Trollopulous arrived in Machodor at a rate of 1d100 per week. In this month 201 arrived. No charges are made on these people and suitable work is found for them within the Domain.

Note, the subject came up on Twitter as to whether the funds raised above should result in XP accruing to the Domain lord on a GP = XP basis. I have not been doing it this way so far, but I find the argument that I should be quite strong. In the end though, even a really good month like the one in this post amounts to only about 15% of a level for Macho Mandalf, so counting GP=XP is not at all game breaking. It also has the advantage that these funds clearly go 100% to the Domain Patron, where as XP and treasure from encounter victories are often split with henchmen and troops.

Unsuitable Encounters

Finishing with the Suitable encounters leaves three Unsuitable monster encounters; 1 Hill Giant, 80 Bandits, & 90 Berserkers. I rolled between the three and the Beserkers came up (which actually made sense I thought; you'd have to be berserk to take on Macho Mandalf). Note that, unlike in earlier periods where they were considered to still be at large if not dealt with, at this stage of Domain development the non-selected Unsuitable Encounters are deemed to have never happened.

Using a d12 plus d8 combo like this
as suggested on pg 138 of Monster Manual 2

To work out a location for the incident I assigned numbers along the road from Fordebridge to Minas Mandalf. I assigned the hexes along this section of the road in the picture below numbers from 9 to 12, since it seemed the location most ripe for the Berserkers to attack.

A likely ambush spot

Again, anything plausible is good enough to start with, and the DM can choose to micro manage as much or as little as he wants to. I imagined that the Berserkers had a plan, and this is what it was;

By mingling with the locals in Fordebridge, they learnt of the Merchants who would be travelling the road and picked their spot above. However, they did not know about the construction of a Pegasus Express tower just south of this location.

Wikipedia entry


The Berserkers achieved near total surprise, attacking from the forest just as the sun was going down. They fell upon the merchant troops who took significant damage, but their morale held. Since it was a case of foot versus horse troops, the berserkers' plan was to then retreat into pre-prepared locations in the nearby forest with whatever loot they'd managed to grab, attempting to draw the enemy in to a killing zone.  

However, the Machodorian Dervish escort troops galloped in and intervened to prevent pursuit of the enemy, assuring the merchants that all would be well. The Pugmen, who had formed part of the escort where the road passes through the forest near Tregard, were sent in to cut off any retreat via the forest, if possible, and if not possible to track them. Then a message was relayed by Pegasus express from the nearby tower to Minas Mandalf, enabling Macho Mandalf to teleport to there by morning. 

The Berserkers had slipped away by then; but, as it is hard to evade the nose of a Pugman, they had been tracked to their secondary base further into the forest. 

With this camp identified Mandalf then relied once again on the proven process of using clairvoyance and aerial servant to locate and capture the leaders. The remainder refused to surrender however, so they were forced out of their position by the use of the 5th Level Cleric spell Insect Plague, and defeated in detail. None survived.

So tough they fight without shoes!

Berserkers (90 base)

    Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Total
Fighters 9 4 3 2 1 0 2 0 0 1             22
Clerics            4       1                      5

Leader Execution ( 3 Level 7 and 1 level 10) XP =  5170. 100% of this XP goes to the Domain Patron.

(Other combat XP assumed to be split between the various supporting forces, essentially lost in this case)

Berserker treasure

One item of Jewelry worth 3000gp, 10g gem, 1000gp gem, 70gp gem, 2000gp

Monetary XP 6080

Magic Items XP 20750

Total XP 26830

50% of this XP goes to the Domain Patron. Where it is possible to identify them from the nature of the encounter resolution, the other 50% of the XP can be allocated to Henchmen, Commanders, etc.

Total Domain XP = 26830/2 + 5170 = 18585


That was a fairly straightforward month worth of encounters to resolve. Next time I'll go into detail on another month with quite different encounters and show how I use a certain generator to make life a little easier.


  1. I'm curious as to why you rolled a D6 instead of 5d20 for the inhabited encounter table seeing as how it goes up to 100. I'm still getting into AD&D so I could be missing something.

    1. Thanks for your question. I guess you are asking about where I say "(d6 result 4)" etc.
      This is just noting down the base number roll for Merchants, as this same result is used to determine the value of their merchandise later. I use a d100 for the Inhabited Encounter checks.

    2. Thanks for the reply! I'm really trying to get into this so I gotta ask these questions lol

    3. That's great, I'm happy to help.

  2. I dig this series so far! One thing, though:

    If you wanna have your random encounter tables more closely match the Frequency percentages from page 5 of the Monster Manual, roll 1d10 + 1d4 instead of 1d12 + 1d8. Type both into to see what I'm talking about. Here's the jist of it:

    Put your Common monsters in the 5 to 11 slots; your Uncommon monsters at 4 and 12; Rare at 3 and 13; Very Rare at 2 and 14.

    The percentages don't line up exactly but they line up very, very close. Note:

    Common: 65% in MM; 70% on a d10+d4 table.
    Uncommon: 20% in MM; 15% on the table.
    Rare: 11% in MM; 10% on the table.
    Very Rare: 4% in MM, 5% on the table.

    Of course, to stay totally faithful to the Frequency metrics in the MM, you'd have to use d%, but a d10 + d4 roll is a very close second.

    I hope that all makes sense!


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