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OSR How much does your party use Retainers, Henchmen and Strongholds?

In my 3.5e email campaign (which started as AD&D 1e and uses Greyhawk and many old school adventures), not everyone is interested in their own domains. One player character (a cleric) has his own domain - took over the village of Ossington from the Standing Stones adventure and made it his own, importing refugees and NPC’s to settle and designing a church with a tower. Most of the rest of the characters live at the Keep on the Borderlands.
 

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Distracted DM

Distracted DM
Supporter
I use them always. Even in 5E, I still use the ancient BECMI advancement rules.

Most players are happy to have a retainer or two. Often a 'buddy' to help them in combat. But some clever players use them to guard things, fetch things and do other tasks. And often fill in holes.....like a fighter having a diviner retainer to "do magic stuff". While character's do just hire some, at least half are met on adventures and join the group.

Henchmen are often hired for a task.. As the players will often pick a spot as a "base", they will fill it up with henchmen.

And by Name Level (9th) most players are looking to do more then just "adventure like 1st level". And this is where Dominions come in. This adds a whole new level of play.

And then...at the peak of Master Level play.....is the Quest for Immortality. Yet another level of play.

I have had many players follow this long path over years...making their personal mark in the game world and loving it. Though only a few ever made it to immortality.

It is a LOT of record keeping and keeping track of things....but then that is what any player in my game must do from first level.
Any changes etc that you have to make using those rules for 5e?
 

TiQuinn

Registered User
Well, for any complex game the DM needs to guide the players at the start.
That’s my point. If they don’t see the purpose of domain play, and I don’t see the point of domain play, then I don’t think I’m going to incorporate it. What I’m trying to suss out is what impact that has, if any, on the rest of the game if it’s removed?

I’m getting the sense that retainers are a pretty key aspect, but domain play is more there if it’s what the players want.
 

ldvhl

Explorer
Domains are a major source of income in the mid-late game that can be used to finance PC shenanigans. They're also where PC levy their troops from. It doesn't really matter how good your AC is and how many attacks per round you get when you're facing units of dozens of hostiles from that earl you pissed off when you were level 3.
 

Well, they use henchmen and hirelings very little if at all - UNLESS they establish a class-related stronghold or maintain some kind of real-estate holding prior to that. It's not uncommon for the players to do that - pool their resources and take over the first decent sized and located castle or stronghold that they clear out during an adventure. THEN they quickly start needing security troops, farms (or reliable supplies), their own bowyers, fletchers, blacksmiths, weapon smiths, stable hands, spell research facilities, etc. etc. etc.

However, most of the time they're happy to just go it alone without the added overhead.
 

That’s my point. If they don’t see the purpose of domain play, and I don’t see the point of domain play, then I don’t think I’m going to incorporate it. What I’m trying to suss out is what impact that has, if any, on the rest of the game if it’s removed?

I’m getting the sense that retainers are a pretty key aspect, but domain play is more there if it’s what the players want.
It's not so much that they're a key aspect - it's more that PCs don't operate in a vacuum. Whenever they book passage on a ship (or buy one), they're interacting with hirelings. The same applies if they ever employ the services of a sage or an alchemist or a weaponsmith or a guide or whatever. One of my parties had an alchemist on staff at their home base churning out healing potions once or twice a month. Others have hired scouts to guide them through an area. For high-level fighters, you're going to attract a body of warriors by virtue of the class - in more than one case the leader of this group of followers accompanies the PC on adventures (or becomes a full PC over time). So rather than being key, interaction with retainers just sort of happens.

Domain play is indeed another thing entirely. Some PCs don't want anything to do with it. Some do. The PC who built the canal originally had a temple but lost it due to an unlucky draw from the Deck of Many Things and has kind of been compensating ever since ;)
 

DarkCrisis

Reeks of Jedi
Party has horses and wagons with goods and treasure. They hire retainers to guard the stuff while they go down into the dungeon.

Also, when I play a Wiz/MU I usually hire a shield bearer to stand behind.
 
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bloodtide

Legend
Any changes etc that you have to make using those rules for 5e?
The nice thing is the BECMI dominion rules are a sub game not connected to the 'adventure rules'. And as 5E really only has combat rules, they don't really matter for a dominion.

That’s my point. If they don’t see the purpose of domain play, and I don’t see the point of domain play, then I don’t think I’m going to incorporate it. What I’m trying to suss out is what impact that has, if any, on the rest of the game if it’s removed?

I’m getting the sense that retainers are a pretty key aspect, but domain play is more there if it’s what the players want.
It really depends on the players and the DM.

Plenty of people just have fun with the pure adventure game. Each session is episodic. It is all simple fun and casual.

Some people want more then that type of game, that is where domains come in.

But there is nothing "key" really.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Domains are a major source of income in the mid-late game that can be used to finance PC shenanigans. They're also where PC levy their troops from. It doesn't really matter how good your AC is and how many attacks per round you get when you're facing units of dozens of hostiles from that earl you pissed off when you were level 3.
It also gives the PCs realistic goals beyond, "save the world and be a hero", which in many cases are the assumed motives in modern gaming. Become king, lead the church, run the circle of archdruids, or become the master if my own thieve's guild are all on the table in domain play.
 

Schmoe

Adventurer
Domains are a major source of income in the mid-late game that can be used to finance PC shenanigans. They're also where PC levy their troops from. It doesn't really matter how good your AC is and how many attacks per round you get when you're facing units of dozens of hostiles from that earl you pissed off when you were level 3.
I'm not familiar with OSE and Domains as a proper noun is a new concept to me. Is there somewhere I could learn more about them?
 

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