There would be a number of GM-designed game kingdoms.
Characters could join one kingdom, subject to the approval of the
Some kingdoms grant the right to own land. Members of these kingdoms
may claim ownership of a province by attacking any existing garrison
and installing their own. The character who actually installs the
garrison becomes the direct owner.
Drassa [cy76], province
Routes leaving Drassa:
Ruled by Osswid , of the Imperial Kingdom
Garrison : ten pikemen, three knights
o The owner may add or remove soldiers from the garrison.
o The garrison may not execute any commands.
o The owner is entitled to the tax generated by the garrison. 
o The owner receives a location report for the garrisoned province.
o The kingdom leader receives a short summary of the provinces claimed
by the kingdom, and their direct owner. He does not receive a location
report for each province.
o The direct owner may give ownership of a province to another member of
The leader of the kingdom may reassign ownership of a province from
one character to another, at will.
o A leader would likely do this when the direct owner of a province died.
Although the province would remain part of the kingdom, no character
would exist to claim the taxes or to have access to the soldiers.
Garrison units guard against pillaging.
o The direct owner may pillage in his own provinces.
o Some kingdoms are configured such that garrison units implicitly DEFEND
members of the kingdom. Other are not.
o Some kingdoms allow the leader to designated units which may freely
attack within the kingdom, without interference from the garrisons.
This includes pillaging.
Example: The Imperial Realm
Members may claim lands in the name of the Imperial Realm
Each garrison collects 30 gold/month, and sustains any number
of soldiers without maintenance.
Garrison units DEFEND members of the realm.
The Emperor may designate Marshalls, with right of free attack
Benefits of membership depends on which kingdom you join:
o Imperial Citizens may own land and collect taxes from them.
o The Barbarian Horde gets stronger with each victory in battle.
o Members of the Orc/Savage/Skeleton kingdoms may raise an NPC unit
from each owned province.
Perhaps groups with no interest in land ownership, such as guilds or
other secret societies, could later be worked into this system. Initially,
however, the design is meant to pit various groups against one another in
the arena of land control through military might.
o The Imperial Realm provides defense to its members, and tax revenue
to those who expand it.
o The goal of the Barbarian Horde is to find garrisons and destroy them.
o The orcs/savages/skeletons gain strength through expanded territory,
by being able to increase their numbers. 
Note that participating in the great land struggle is largely voluntary.
Nobles unaffiliated with a kingdom present little reward to the competing
How does one become leader of a kingdom? It would likely vary from kingdom
o Could rest on possession of an artifact.
o Perhaps Imperial landowners vote in their emperor.
o Maybe you have to kill the old Barbarian King to take his place.
o Perhaps the Dark Overlord has the power to appoint the leaders of some
kingdoms. Say, DO could appoint the Orc King and the Savage King.
DO may kill them at will. I have no idea how you become Dark Overlord.
I have some other ideas for kingdoms, less well developed. Complete kingdom
designs are welcome. I want lots and lots of possible kingdoms to join.
Another benefit available from membership could be the use of an otherwise
unobtainable skill. For instance, perhaps the Sea kings know how to make a
special kind of boat that no one else can build.
Olympian physics suggests that the direct owner would have to
visit the garrison and TAKE any gold collected in taxes from them.
I don't like the idea of automatically teleporting tax revenue to
a castle or the owner. Encouraging visits in this way naturally
limits the number of provinces a single noble could directly own.
The orcs/savages/skeletons would grow in strength too quickly.
Perhaps, if their leaders are appointed by the Dark Overlord,
they may raise units from DO owned provinces, and claim land
in his name. Whatever...
Comments on the plan:
Several months ago I raised the possibility in the first alpha _Times_ that
players could control NPC factions. I was surprised by the large response.
"I don't really have time to play Olympia, but if you let me be the Demon
Horde I will make time. Pretty please..."
Everyone, it seems, wants to have a special role in the game, and lots of
players are starving for defined goals (in some cases, the bloodier the
The kingdoms plan has much in common with NPC factions, but keeps players
from becoming GM's. The player controlled groups must fight it out in the
dirt with the rest of the Olympians. Hopefully this will give everyone
yearning to play an NPC faction what they want.
The plan is slightly complex and unwieldy. I expect this to work itself
out as the list of kingdoms, their benefits, goals, and routes to attaining
the leader role develops. Once the list of possible variables for a kingdom
are well defined, it should be easy to trim, simplify, and implement.
-- Rich Skrenta <firstname.lastname@example.org>