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D&D General To Domain or not to Domain?


For some players and DMs a big part of reaching level 10 (name level in old school jargon) is to start to carve out a domain, attract followers, build castles, churches and towers. Some call it the Domain Game. It's like a mini game of civilization inside the campaign. The Master book of BECMI supplies several rules on how to handle that phase of the game, including mass battles. For others groups they want to continue as they always did, going down the dungeon, and never do the Domain Game.

Both Gygax and Arneson hoped their players would do the same in their Greyhawk and Blackmoor campaigns. For them, as wargamers, it was the logical conclusion of an adventuring career. Becoming a lord and rule over land and people. How else would you get thief guild masters and other organization leaders.

Did you ever develop Domains during your campaigns? If you did please share your stories.
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The characters in the current campaign are building their own "guild", kinda a domain. With trading in an adamantium mine they helped recover, and peddling influence and hiring themselves es out as troubleshooters.

Their ideas, not mine. Cool.


AD&D (circa 1982-84) : In the rare campaign I was player (Magic-User) the King was willing to sell us a problematic valley if we cleared the land. We had payments to make every 3 months. So we cleared the land and a few nearby dungeons getting gold to make the payments. We went to the capital to recruit settlers. That in turn attracted «Followers».

We paid to rebuilt the castle in ruins. I built my wizard tower nearby. The abandoned village was rebuilt the settlers. We protected them against invading monsters and other threats. They started paying taxes.

To make more money, outside dungeon crawls, I decided to invest in the trade of wool and bought the production of the local shepherds. The druid started a marijuana farm and the thief used his connections to sell it in the large cities of the Kingdom.

Later there was an Arab invasion of the capital by sea. We rallied the lords. We laid a proper siege but ultimately it was a Wish, from a ring, that crumbled the wall of the city and we booted the invaders out.

It was a fun period.


Elder Thing

*In theory. It's been rare that I had a campaign go high enough for it to be relevant.

In my current campaign, which I run for my 6yo, the kid is EXTREMELY excited about hitting Name Level and becoming a Barbarian Lord and having their own kingdom. Of course, they idolize Conan (as he appears in Conan: the Destroyer, the only actual Conan film they've seen), and if Conan becomes a king, then that's their goal too.

Our characters are currently 8th level, so it won't be long now. And to clarify: I'm running Rules Cyclopedia D&D, which has all the domain rules in it already. Plus I have the old Dragon Magazine articles where Bruce Heard filled in a lot of the blanks for stuff that didn't make the RC cut. I'm all set!
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Lord of the Hidden Layer
Not a Domain, but I worked my 4e LFR Warlock into Neverwinter Campaign Setting as a patron for future PCs to work with / for. He was working to rebuild the city's industries and crafts / trades with the export market in mind.


Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
I always try to nudge my players in that direction, because it doesn't make sense for most adventurers to continue adventuring after they make their fortune. "Yeah, we have all the money we could ever possibly need to live our lives in total luxury, living as gods among men, but let's go risk our lives in that lich's dungeon anyway..."

Domains generally don't happen. Most of the players just want to keep adventuring. They generally don't have goals that can more easily be achieved by owning land.

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