Domain » Holding » Province holding

House rules: Province holding

[top]Why track province holdings?

In standard Birthright a province is either ruled by a regent, or it is not. There is no half-way stage at 'macro' level - any issues regarding power sharing are reflected in law holdings.
This has the advantage of simplicity, but suffers in a few respects.
  • An increase in the province level must represent increases in the population - there are no 'empty' province levels. This is seen as unrealistic by some players.
  • Different races & cultures must all follow the same ruler encouraging rigid province borders between xenophobic people.
  • Powerful vassals and landed lords cannot be seen as ruling a geographical region unless it is province-sized. This makes many vassals either overly powerful, or near invisible.

[top]Total province level

Under this system instead of a province (6), you could have a province 4 (Anuirean), 1 (Rjurik) 1 (goblin). Within the Anuirean population you might only have 2 province levels actually held.
The total province level would dictate impact on source level (adjusted for races such as sidhelien if they formed a section of the province population).
The difficulty of increasing the total province level should be dependent on the total province level - not the individual slices for each race, otherwise ruling high level holdings can get too easy. This can be explained as the other race sitting on the good land, trade routes, etc. and shouldn't be a problem in most cases - sidhelien being a possible exception.
This approach is a very handy way of making increasing the population far harder than increasing the efficiency of the realm without crippling certain realms - a DM can have slow population growth (over 10-20 years even) but still allow realms to increase in size during the passage of a standard game simply by making increasing the difficulty/cost of increasing total province level very high, yet keeping the province holding as easy to rule as any other.

[top]Race level

While not necessarily limited to races, when provinces have levels like a holding, it is easier to incorporate other races and cultures within a province. This does however have some issues - can a guild expand across racial or cultural divides? Can a temple? This is simply the normal issue of xenophobia and game effects of culture and race writ on the small scale, but the geographical confines of the province make it more apparent than usual.

[top]Province holding level

The level of province held then reflects the amount of the population that consider the regent to be 'in charge' - low levels could reflect ignorance, poor communication, multiple tiers of rulership, general inefficiency, etc.


[top]Law holdings

Although superficially there is some overlap with law holdings in this approach, this is in reality no more than is usually the case and whatever means the DM chooses to differentiate between rulership of the province and control over law should remain valid.


There are 5 human tribes, goblins, sidhelien, karamhul, gnolls, orogs, monsters, etc. forming realm-sized populations. That's potentially a lot of extra columns to be tracked...
Fortunately in practice most realms will only have 1 ruler, or at most 2. (Dhoesone might be a rare exception with 3). As such the primary impact should be on the ability to increase 'the size' of inefficient realms rapidly.

[top]Mine! All mine!

Some PC rulers simply must control all of their holding type, possibly even all holdings in their realm if they are a ruler. Where these PCs which rule domains are likely to see another regent being 'ruler' of one of 'their provinces' as a direct affront which cannot be tolerated. C'est la vie. You will get issues with those players anyway, this might at least distract them from snaffling guild holdings.


The sidhelien have very different economies, societies, etc than the other cultures. They need no apparent agriculture or industry, this lets them avoid impacting source levels regardless of their numbers, but can be an issue when you start mixing cultures. To reflect sidhe ways one option is to make their provinces levels 'wider' by 50% or 100% - so the cost to increase a province level from 4 to 5 (population: Anuirean 2, sidhelien 2) could be increased to the cost 5:6 (or even 5:7) if you wanted to reflect sidhelien using more land than other races. As no elven province exceeds level 6 (and most are far lower) this should not cause consistency problems, although it would make having sidhelien make up part of the population more irritating to local human rulers as it would constrain their growth more than another human culture would.


The Rjurik Jarls have considerable influence in the highlands. In other races split provinces would likely be rare unless feudal vassals are beefed up (Kiergard, Osoerde, Muden, Rohrmarch and Yeninskiy, being possible canon candidates for splitting province levels). If provinces are split between the existing 'ruler' and new vassals, then some adjustment will have to be made to maintain some realms playable - Manor holdings being one obvious method to restore income levels.

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