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CHAPTER 5: RULING A DOMAIN
The power and profitability of a domain are represented by two important domain assets: the regency reserve of the domain's regent and the size of the domain's treasury.
A regent's available regency is measured in regency points (RP). RP represent political or divine power which allows the regent to influence political affairs to their advantage.
A domain's treasury is measured in gold bars (GB). A gold bar abstractly represents things of worth owed to the regent, be they in cash or commodity, in service or in kind. The default gold bar is roughly equivalent to 2,000 gp in coin value if quickly disposed of, but this value may differ regionally. The things of worth represented by a GB varies by the nature through which the revenue is generated – generally through taxes on commodities, but also in part direct seizure of such (the lord’s share of corn, ground wheat, etc.), and extraction of certain feudal services (including military obligation or scutage). The exact nature of these things is usually irrelevant, as GBs are only used to finance domain level actions and pay for domain actions. A regent who wishes to use GBs for another purpose must do so using the Finance domain action.
DOMAIN REGENCY COLLECTIONS
Domains provide a measure of political power, or regency, to their regent. Any character can hold (be a regent of) any province or holding. However, not all regents benefit equally from holding a domain. Incompetent scions derive less respect from their subjects than their bloodline might allow. Perceived competence is an important factor in regency collection. A regent's ability to effectively manage each of the five major domain components is determined by their dice in the key skills used in holding the domain component.
Each Domain Component generates a maximum amount of RP equal to its Level every Season.
Provinces are held by diplomatic finesse, superior intelligence, military prowess, and bureaucratic know-how. A regent's Regency Collection Rating for provinces is equal to: (Persuasion + Streetwise + Warcraft + Administrate) / 2.
Ruling a guild holding requires a variety of skills. The character should know their trade, be a canny negotiator, stay well-informed of opportunities and dangers to their market, and be capable of driving a hard bargain when necessary. A regent's collection rating for guild holdings is equal to: (Trade(any relevant) + Persuasion + Streetwise + Intimidate) / 2.
The primary characteristic for success as the regent of a Law holding is the ability to select, train, and effectively lead the forces that enforce a realm's laws and collect taxes and tribute. Although it helps to have a good working knowledge of the Law, the regent of a law holding is rarely a judge or magistrate; these positions are filled by experts that report to the law regent. A regent's collection rating for law holdings is equal to: (Investigate + Warcraft + Intimidate + Knowledge (Law)) / 2.
Source regents must understand the workings of mebhaighl; both the natural forces that empower it and the arcane rituals necessary to tap into that natural flow. Only Regents with Arcane Background (Wizard) may earn RP from Source Holdings. A regent's collection rating for source holdings is equal to: (Knowledge (Arcana) + Knowledge (Nature) + Spellcasting + Survival) / 2.
Temple regents must not only know the rituals and ceremonies of their religions, but must be effective leaders and orators. Only Regents with Arcane Background (Cleric or Druid) may collect RP from Temple Holdings. A regent's collection rating for temple holdings is equal to: (Knowledge (Religion) + Persuasion + Faith + Administrate) / 2.
Regency Collection Rating
A scion can also gain regency from a vassalage agreement bound by a ceremony of investiture. During the casting of the investiture realm spell, the vassal regent pledges to supply a fixed seasonal amount of RP to their liege. The book-keeping for the RP collected by the liege lord is performed during collections.
DOMAIN INCOME COLLECTION
Ruling a domain is expensive. Fortunately, a domain has a treasury whose income is generated from collected taxes, dues, tithes, and other profits from its subjects.
Source holdings rarely generate any base income. Trade routes generated a base income per season equal to the your guild’s level divided by 2. A guild or temple holding generates a base income per season equal to its rating. These incomes represent the manufacture and sales of goods and services and the incomes generated by rented or farmed property, and (in the case of temple holdings), the tithes and offerings of the pious.
A province generates a base income per season equal to its rating. The income generated by provinces represents taxes collected from the citizens and business dealings of the realm; this includes a share of all milled grains (a millage), a portion of every merchant's income (hawking tax), taxes on trade goods (income/export taxes and bonding fees), tolls on public roads or wharfs, a death tax assessed on the estate of deceased landholders (heriot), military service from vassal nobility (more commonly, however, vassals instead pay scutage, or shield money, to instead allow their lord to hire soldiers to stand in their stead), labor owed by serfs (generally used to work the lord's fields), rent or crop shares of vassal farmers, property taxes on real estate owned by gentlefolk, and other such obligations.
Typically, income taxes are due in the winter, rent fees in the spring, and crop shares in the summer and fall. A realm's system of taxation is arranged in such a way that the effective income for the province is nearly identical season to season; this allows for a constant stream of revenue to the regent while also reducing the amount that the regent's subjects pay in any given season. In return for this income, a regent's subjects expect their ruling lord to administrate justice and to protect them from external threats.
A law holding represents the military might used to enforce the collection of taxes (if necessary), but the actual monies that pass through a law holding are destined for the province ruler (and might not, in fact, be collected by agents of the law at all).
Table 5-11: Income Collection
Base GB collection
holding level - 4 (via “virtual” guild)
combined holding levels, split proportionally
The base GB collection for a province is based upon the assumption that the regent collects taxes that are in keeping with the contemporary standard. A regent that holds a province may declare their taxation to be more severe (or more forgiving) than usual. Through the use of the Decree domain action a regent may increase (or decrease) their province taxation by +/- 1 GB/season.
This new taxation modifier is permanent until changed though a future decree. Province taxation rates can only be increased (or decreased) in increments of +/- 1 GB, and only one such decree can be made per season. The taxation modifier for a province cannot increase its income by more than 50%. Regents should take careful note – modifiers to a province's taxation have a significant impact on domain attitude.
Example: The Countess of Medoere rules Alamier (4), Braeme (3), and Caerwil (2). Normally, her taxation modifier is +0 and she would receive 9 GB/season from her provinces (in addition to any income from her other holdings). Fearing a major war, she decides that she needs to increase her income to support additional army units and Decrees an increase in taxes through out the realm. All provinces now have a +1 taxation modifier; thus she will collect 12 GB/season in future collections. During the next Season, she can increase the taxation modifier further (to +2), decrease it (back to +0), or leave it unchanged (+1).
A law regent has the ability to take additional portions of the incomes generated by provinces, temples, or guild holdings through brigandage. Seizures represent emergency measures (such as aides for ransoms or war expenses), draconian or unfair enforcement of the law, corruption and bribery, or outright banditry on the part of the agents of the law holding. Seizures reduce the income of one or more target holdings and/or the province itself. When a law regent wishes to seize province, temple, or guild assets, he must spend a Contest Holding Domain action, although seizure does not automatically destroy targeted holding or province levels.
To seize province, temple, or guild assets, a Law Regent takes a Contest Holding domain action and makes a Warcraft check instead of the usual roll. Each success and raise transfers 1 GB from the target holding’s coffers to the Law Regent’s, up to a seasonal maximum of the Target Holding’s Level. GBs seized beyond this maximum result in the destruction of an equivalent number of Holding Levels.
The strength of a realm is measured not only by the power of its rulers and armies, but also by its economic health. Many regents have ruined their lands through careless fiscal policies. Each season, a regent must cover the expenses of his government. The most common seasonal expenses are military payroll, domain maintenance costs, court costs, vassalage agreements and tribute. These expenses are paid from the domain's treasury.
The only normal source of regular domain regency expense is through a vassalage agreement bound by a ceremony of investiture. The nature of the investiture realm spell causes this transfer of regency to occur automatically after Regency collection.
Being a vassal has a real cost, because this timing makes it impossible to "give away" regency points that you wouldn't be able to collect yourself. Likewise it has a real advantage to your liege lord, as long as their current RP reserve is not at maximum. A standard vassalage agreement generally requires the vassal to provide 1 RP per province or holding held; but such agreements can vary significantly.
DOMAIN ASSET MAINTENANCE COSTS
The administrative costs of province, holdings, trade routes, and other income generating domain assets are already factored into their collected net income. The cost of non-income generating assets, however, must be paid explicitly. These constructions may generate some revenue, but their regular revenue is insufficient to cover the expenses associated with payroll and/or routine maintenance. Most domain constructions have a maintenance cost equal to one-tenth of their build cost (See SAVAGED BIRTHRIGHT 5.A - COMPONENTS OF A DOMAIN for details).
All military units have a seasonal maintenance cost. Active army units have a seasonal maintenance cost of 1/2 their muster value. Army units garrisoned in their home province have a seasonal maintenance cost of 1/4 their muster value. Active naval vessels have a maintenance cost of 1/10 their build cost. Naval vessels that spend the entire season docked in a friendly port have a maintenance cost of 1/20 of their build cost. See Chapter Six: Armies and Warfare, for details.
A regent must maintain the domain court and pay for retainers, regular gifts, and diplomatic affairs of state. The seasonal maintenance cost for a court is 1 GB per level. If this expense is not paid the regent loses 5 RP for every GB of shortfall and the court automatically decreases in value by one level as if the regent had Decreed its downsizing. Furthermore, the regent cannot increase the size of her court for a full year, as her ability to maintain her courtiers appropriately must be reestablished with time.
The regent's court costs provide a reasonable wage and standard of living, but do not cover highly prized specialists (such as most PCs). Most such characters serve the court out of duty, pride, personal power, or because they want to. Some lieutenants and specialists may require additional payment. Such payments constitute an additional expense to the regent's treasury.