Friday 4 February 2022

How to build a Domain in AD&D 1st Edition Part 2

Making them pay. 

So, having rolled a month's worth of encounters, let's say the results include Merchants, some Settlers, and some Bandits. What do you get out of it?


“The town charges a 1% duty on all normal goods brought into the place for sale — foodstuffs, cloth and hides, livestock, raw materials and manufactured goods. Foreigners must also pay this duty, but at double rate (2%). Luxury items and precious goods — wine, spirits, furs, metals such as copper, gold, etc., jewelry and the like — pay a tariff in addition to the duty, a 5% of value charge if such are to be sold, and special forms for sale are then given to the person so declaring his wares (otherwise no legal sale is possible). Entry fee into the town is 1 copper piece per head (man or animal) or wheel for citizens, 5 coppers for non-citizens, unless they have official passports to allow free entry. (Diplomatic types have immunity from duties and tariffs as regards their personal goods and belongings.) Taxes are paid per head, annually at 1 copper for a peasant, 1 silver for a freeman, and 1 gold piece for a gentleman or noble; most foreign residents are stopped frequently and asked for proof of payment, and if this is not at hand, they must pay again. In addition, a 10% sales tax is charged to all foreigners, although no service tax is levied upon them. Religion is not regulated by the municipality, but any person seeking to gain services from such an organization must typically pledge to tithe. Finally, several tolls are extended in order to gain access to the main route from and to the municipality — including the route to the dungeon, of course. Citizens of the town must pay a 5% tax on their property in order to defray the costs of the place. This sum is levied annually. Citizenship can be obtained by foreigners after residence for one month and the payment of 10 gold pieces (plus many bribes)”  DMG page 90

Although the above quote is expressed as an example rather than a rule, I've been applying it as written since it seems to work just fine.


The above quote on its own, particularly the part I've bolded, could be mistaken as applying just in NPC cities, or to PCs who are trading, but of course it applies to PC Domains as well. The encounters that are suitable to "move in and settle down", as discussed in Part 1, must pay a citizenship fee first. For simplicity I assume this fee is paid in advance at the beginning of the one month waiting period.

Roll for the "No. Appearing" as listed in the Monster Manual and work out the number of additional higher level characters, but note, because the group is moving into your domain to become citizens, the floor on this number should be any "In Lair" numbers and in addition there may be females and young.

For example,  Dervish have a 30-300 base number, but a minimum of 200 "In Lair". Being fanatical warrior types, they don't have women or children with them, but, they did have "1-4 each ballistae and light catapults and 1 -2 heavy catapults" in the fortress they have left to join your domain, so I think they bring those with them.

Another example, Gnomes have a 40-400 base number, no minimum in lair number, but do have in their lair: "from 2-8 fighters of 2nd or 3rd level, 1-4 clerics of 2nd level, and females and young equal to 50% and 25% respectively of the number of adult males." They also have a chance to be accompanied by tamed animals like badgers (don't charge for those).

All suitable encounters then become a 10gp per head income in that month as they apply for citizenship. Add up all of these for each group and work out the monthly citizenship total.

The "many bribes" part is open to interpretation, and seems inappropriate in a strongly lawful good setting, but I think the idea is that some other object of value, like a magic item, will be shared with or given to the Patron on a per group basis.

The yearly 5% property tax will be a challenge to adjudicate, suggestions in the comments section would be greatly appreciated.

Taxes etc

For each merchant caravan, the number appearing is determined by 1d6 times 50. You can work out all the higher level mercenaries etc, since they will be in the area for a while, but they will not be paying citizenship fees (unless perhaps the domain Patron is Neutral). I use same d6 result to calculate the value of the merchandise (from 10,000gp to 60,000gp) the merchants are carrying. The outcome has duty and sale taxes applied as above. For simplicity, I assume 10% of the merchandise are "luxury items and precious goods" and so this amount attracts an addition 5% tariff. I suppose I could roll for this instead to simulate merchants who specialise in such goods but having everything directly proportional to the initial die roll makes resolution faster.

I allow that a new stronghold with room to grow has the capacity to absorb all the merchandise coming in, so a sales tax of %10 is applied to it, but in other situations this may not be the case. Also, the sales may not actually occur all that month, but I treat them as if they do. A more complicated system could be devised to work out when a given merchant has sold everything they intend to and so then move on, but instead I simply add their number to the population for the first 6 months and then cap it at that, assuming that their coming and going results in much the same number after that. 

A new stronghold under the best conditions will be in a boom state, but after some period (say 6-12 months) it will settle down and the nature of the market will change. Eventually some of these merchants may take the opportunity to become citizens to avoid some fees (noting that only 10% of merchant groups are actual merchants, this makes citizenship quite affordable for them). After this point a rule to randomly determine if a given merchant encountered is a citizen or not will then be required. 

The monthly encounter

Surprisingly, often, the monthly encounter will be where the real treasure is. Bandits, Brigands, & Berzerkers, the three B’s never seem to learn and keep invading a Patron’s domain. 

Determine the significant monthly encounter from the subset of rolled encounters that are unfavorable (i.e. not merchants or settlers). This can be done entirely randomly, but sometimes it is appropriate to weight it towards more congruent looking results. 

Using the example of a group of Bandits, roll for the "No. Appearing" as listed in the Monster Manual and work out the number of additional higher level characters, but note, all "In Lair" results should be ignored unless the encounter resulted in the capture of the Bandit's lair. I'll go into more detail on how to resolve the monthly encounter in Part 3.

Let's say in this case the domain Patron did vanquish the Bandits in their lair. Individual treasure type (M in this case) is generally not worth the bother, chump change to a domain lord. The Bandits' in lair treasure type of A is the most important factor.

Just look at the Gems and Jewelry chances!

Not every piece of monetary treasure will go to the Patron directly, it also depends on how the monthly encounter is resolved. By default I apply a 50/50 split between the Patron and his supporters, as this seems fairest. This division serves as a strong motivation to the Patron's forces.

Note also that the following table applies to all encounters with “Men”;

Monster Manual pg 66

This means that any large group of men will likely be in possession of many magic items. The best chances are not actually with the highest level characters, but with the large number of lower level characters in the range of 4th & 5th level. If you have 10 level 4&5 fighters rolling 5 times each on the above table, that can really add up. You can use this table to discover what items your new citizens have in their possession, since they are motivated to use them in your cause, but it is the items owned by the Three B's that are the real prize; if they are defeated this loot rightfully becomes the domain player's plunder!


Some may think this paragraph is an unjustified extrapolation of the rules, please comment if you do. The domain Player accrues experience points for resolving the monthly encounter. It is usually split in the same manor as treasure (of course, some of the XP is a direct result of obtaining the treasure) except where circumstances suggest otherwise e.g. execution of captured enemies accrues XP directly to the domain lord. As a large domain treasury need not be entirely in coins, monetary treasure does not have to be converted to gold pieces to count for XP purposes*. Even with this source of XP coming in, it will normally take many months for a Patron to earn enough to increase in level, so I think it is well balanced.

*Update: subsequently found the rules explicitly account for this in the DMG pg 85.


Doing all of the above each month (1:1 time is assumed of course) will see significant amounts of monetary treasure, XP, and items coming into the domain. This is commensurate with the kind of activities a domain Patron will be wanting undertake; construction is expensive and slow, but can be sped up with more funds, the casting of some magic user spells consumes expensive gems as spell components (I'm looking at you Wall of Force), spell research itself requires vast funds, and henchmen supplied with coin and items will be the most loyal. This also helps explain why domain lords are not adventuring, they can pay hungry adventurers to do so instead. All of this is affordable with domain income, though not all at once and not without thought, spending resources wisely is part of the fun of playing. 


  1. 'Dervish have a 30-300 base number, but a minimum of 200 "In Lair".'

    Where are you getting that last number from?

  2. Monster Manual pg 68 "Dervishes will have a walled fortress as a lair. There will be 200 to 300 dervishes there."


Trollopulous Adjusted Session 57 (Machodor #29); Goblins and oil don't mix

  Timekeeping This session took place on 01/02/2024, and the PCs adventured for 4 days.  Player Characters Present Lance Errant (Level 1 Pal...