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Jul 04

The Hill Cantons: AD&D Domain Play

We’ve mentioned Hill Cantons before, but there’s a lot there to look at.  What interests me today is a series of posts on AD&D Domain play – that is, what happens when your 1st Ed. AD&D characters reach “name” level, and start t create keeps, wizard towers, cathedrals and so forth.

Given the way blogs work, you’ll be wanting to read those articles in reverse order.

There’s a lot to find here, with a textual analysis of Gary Gygax’s original rules leading to an insight into the nature of the AD&D world – which is actually quite surprising.  The world looks a lot less like a feudal monarchy, and more like a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Take your garden variety band of bandits that roam (only a 20% chance they are in “lair”) the wilderness in packs of 20-200. From the entry:
“Bandits will always be led by an 8th, 9th, or 10th level fighter…To determine the level of the bandit leader use the following guide: if under 100 bandits are encountered the leader will be 8th level, if 100 to 150 the leader will be 9th level, and if 150 or more the leader will be 10th level…For every 50 bandits there is a 25% chance that there will be a magic-user of 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th level (roll a 4-sided die for level if one is with the group).”
These name-level “lords” rule over the most rudimentary of “strongholds”: “Bandit lairs will be informal camps 80% of the time, but 10% will be cave complexes with a secret entrance, and 10% will be regular castles with 1-4 light catapults for defense.”

You do wonder what these roving bands are doing roaming the land, and what happened to law and order to allow it to happen.

It’s a cool series of articles, that I think deserve some careful reading.

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