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The Known World Grimoireby Bruce Heard
Assembling Armies in the D&D Known World
This regular feature offers suggestions to question on the D&D(r) game, its worlds and its products, occasional articles, or "first glance" reviews of D&D game products. The reader is welcome to send questions, suggestions, or criticism on the game or material published here. We can't promise all letters will be addressed in this column, but they all will get our attention.
The past "Grimoires" focused on dominion economics. The topic of this month, though, is armies and warfare-the true raison d'etre of medieval nobility! Here are military and role-playing issues to watch for when ruling a dominion. Ready? En guarde!
A fundamental difference separates the military backgrounds of the Known World and the Savage Coast. The former relates more to real-world Renaissance Europe (sans gunpowder), in that its kingdoms have permanent national armies of professional soldiers, while the majority of common civilians often remains unarmed. The Savage Coast has more a medieval flavour, with feudal armies cantered around dominion rulers and their lieges, while weapons remain fairly common in all the layers of society. A monarch's standing army in medieval times is much more likely to he a patchwork of vassals' troop contingents, mercenaries, and royal guards than an army with a strong national identity. In an early feudal setting, monarchs distributed land from their royal demesnes to key supporters (like dukes), in exchange for their loyalty, services, taxes, and military support. The monarchs owned all the land, their supporters being mere temporary tenants of the fiefs entrusted to them. The land could consist of small pieces scattered in different regions. These tenants then sub-let part of their fiefs to lesser followers (counts, barons, etc.). Simple knights and sergeants were at the bottom of this hierarchy. The knights usually had a manor and some surrounding lands. The sergeants were those of lesser status who were given smaller estates to administrate. Knights, sergeants (or thanes), and demesne lords were required to provide troops to their lieges, who in turn added their own and sent them to their suzerains, and so forth all the way back up the feudal ladder.
In times of war a ruler could order peasants and freemen living on his lands to arms under his banner. Likewise, lieges required their vassals to send troops and leaders. This was a feudal obligation that did not require payment. This system historically yielded somewhat lackadaisical results. The number of troops that could be levied, their nature, and the time frame involved in mobilising them were often unpredictable. Most troops, especially peasants, expected to return to their land within 40 days of being called, precluding long-lasting wars. Up to two-thirds of summoned troops often did not show up at all, sometimes sending money instead (scutage tax), enabling the liege to hire mercenaries in their place. All this made feudal warfare impractical. In the D&D game, the setting was modified to reflect the later medieval era (one must pay for all troops, for example) to simplify and balance the game.
Before recruiting troops, it is necessary to figure out how much money a ruler may spend. Of all the income a dominion makes, an increasingly larger part should be devoted to the upkeep of the dominion and the ruler's retainers and servants. Whatever the ruler's overhead doesn't cover, donations from landed gentry, townships, or the theocracy will.
One could spend a great deal of time researching all the costs involved (see "The Voyage of the Princess Ark," DRAGON(r) issue #188 on the salaries of stronghold retainers and military) and creating a morass of accounting details, but it would be simpler to give a general number, then let the players "play" with the leftovers. These "leftovers" include military costs and special tasks (building or repairing of castles, ships, roads, etc.), or it can be saved for harder times. (Note that investing funds with the intent of making a profit was generally frowned upon in medieval times, but not so in the Renaissance.) The solution to determining a ruler's available monthly money supply consists in finding out how much total tax income is available. Then, subtract the liege's 20% salt tax and the 10% tithe for the clerical establishment to find the net income. Finally, subtract the dominion's overhead from that net income, as given in the Overhead Chart, to find how much available money that dominion can count on each month.
Dominion/Kingdom Cost Overhead
Up to 500,000 gp 75%
Net monthly income Budget share Up to 500 gp 35% Up to 750 gp 40% Up to 1,000 gp 45% Up to 2,000 gp 50% Up to 5,000 gp 55% Up to 15,000 gp 60% Up to 50,000 gp 65% Up to 150,000 gp 70% Up to 500,000 gp 75% Over 500,000 gp 80%
Example: If a ruler controls a dominion that generates the equivalent of 10,000 gp a month in total tax income, 3,000 gp go toward the tithe and salt tax, then a minimum of 4,200 gp (60% of the net 7,000) go toward the upkeep of the stronghold and its retainers. The remainder, 2,800 gp is the available cash the ruler gets to "play" with every month.
Should it become necessary to find out how much of the overhead goes toward retainers vs. materials, assume that 60% of the overhead is budgeted for salaries. The rest is spent on food and general daily upkeep. This budget determines who can be hired for each job in the stronghold and at what price. Daily upkeep does not cover special occasions like visits from nobles, festivals, jousts, and other unusual events. Money for these comes from the ruler's available cash. So, it is wise to save some gold every month. A dominion's treasury may also become very handy in any case, especially in the event of unexpected wars-several months-worth of net income might not be a bad idea if one can afford it.
Bankruptcy: Unfavourable historical events (changes in population, hostilities, etc.) cause income to drop, but the overhead does not. The actual cost (in gp) to run a dominion or a kingdom remains at its highest point, regardless of ensuing income variations. Presumably, one could dismiss some of the dominion retainers for lack of funds, but material upkeep cannot be reduced without causing progressive deterioration of the stronghold or palace, as well as other structures under the ruler's control. Trying to reduce overhead becomes, in part, a role-playing consideration.
See the "Voyage of the Princess Ark" column in DRAGON issue #188 for salaries of stronghold retainers and military troops. Otherwise, check the chart on page 133 of the Rules Cyclopaedia. To simplify the problem of figuring what each military commander gets paid, simply add 25% to the overall cost of troops. This assumes that approximately one of every ten troops is a leader making twice the troops' base pay, and one of every 100 troops is a commander making 10 times the troops' base pay.
Native troops generally get half the mercenary rates, but the dominion ruler must equip and train them in a Renaissance-style setting. In a medieval selling, native soldiers usually owned their own equipment. The problem is that the more demanding a ruler is about his troops equipment, the harder it becomes to find new troops among the native population who can afford the required equipment (see later).
The cost of equipment (arms, armour, mounts, chariots, war machines, etc.) could be lower, at the DM's option, than the inflated prices adventurers usually pay (three-quarters for a dominion whose population is mostly borderland, one-half if mostly rural, or one-quarter if a city exists within the dominion). This should require ordering at least 100 of the same items, or purchases of at least 2,000 gp of the same items, whichever is lowest.
Should you decide to ignore the feudal way of acquiring troops (40 days free service from the common citizenry then everyone goes home), troops must then be levied directly from the population and paid on a monthly basis.
Once the setup of a dominion is completed, the ruler should decide which layer of the population military recruitment will primarily target (all layers of population averaged out, or perhaps just borderland farmers, forest elves, or only the town of such-and-such, etc.). The appropriate groups of population are then shifted to the military. This obviously will have an impact on population and farming and on local economies (especially when many soldiers are suddenly needed in an all-out war). This is another way for a ruler to have some degree of control over the balance of population.
Levying troops: Assume that light footmen can be levied without too trouble, as long as at least a month's salary is paid as a recruitment bonus. Figure up to 10% of the entire civilian population in the dominion could be levied this way as long as the ruler can pay for them all. This is based upon payment of 1 gp per month per native footman. For more expensive troops and officers, drop the 10% base levy by 1% for every extra gp of pay So, finding 20-gp heavy cavalry would, so far, incur a -19% penalty on levy rates!
Administrative ability: However, the base levy increases with the dominion's administrative ability. This could be based upon the ruler's overhead-supposedly the higher the overhead, the greater' the administrative ability. In support of this, each 5% increment spent above the bottom-line 35% overhead (the lowest percentage in the Overhead chart) increases the dominion's base levy by 2%. Here's a short-cut: Subtract 35 from the overhead, divide the result by 2%, and then add 10 to find the adjusted levy rate.
Example: The dominion of Mooria has an overhead of 55% which yields a base levy of 18% (55-35=20; 20/2.5=8; 8+10 =18). If the ruler decided to deliberately spend 80% of the net income instead, the base levy would then be 20%. Mooria could thus levy up to 20% of its civilian population as light infantry. The following month, it could levy a maximum of 1% (20-19 = 1) of its civilian population as heavy cavalry.
Mercenaries: Whenever a ruler cannot levy a particular type of troops, the solution lies in hiring mercenaries. Assume they are always available. This was not always true in history-it was often necessary to contact potential mercenary troops many leagues away and make them an offer. It also may be possible to bribe enemy mercenaries either to leave or to switch camps. Spies can help with this, but that's a role-playing issue!
Regional circumstances: Circumstances also affect recruitment success. For example, a region that has been attacked or is at imminent danger of being attacked would be easier to recruit from, with many of its people volunteering for service in their lord's army. In this case, roll 1d4+1 and divide the amount to pay in recruitment bonuses by that result. Likewise, urban folks living a comfortable life away from threatened areas might require a greater reward. Roll 1d100; the result indicates how much more should be offered in recruitment bonuses as a percentage.
Every unpaid percentage point below the indicated recruitment bonus (after regional circumstances are taken into account) should otherwise apply as a -2% penalty when levying troops. In other words, if a ruler offered recruitment bonuses 10% lower than the expected amount, the levy rate would then drop 20%. When more money is offered, the levy rate goes up as well but at a much slower rate. Each extra 10% offered on the recruitment bonus causes the levy rate to gain 1%. So, if a ruler offered a double reward, the levy rate then would go up 10%. (This approach is generally cheaper than increasing the overhead when the population pays an average 1 sp or more per person in taxes.)
Peasant levies: Peasant levies can be mustered (10-20%, as explained in the Rules Cyclopaedia, page 142). The Mercenaries Table on page 133 of that book also lists "peasants" for 1 gp per month; it should really list "unarmoured spearmen or unarmoured pikemen" instead-peasants just aren't mercenaries. A sheriff usually commands these troops. Peasants fight with farming implements mounted on shafts (flails, scythes, etc.), and are unable to fight for very long in any kind of a military formation.
For the sake of flavour, it may be better to preserve the original feudal system when levying peasants. In effect, their involvement is free, but only for 40 days. After that, a 2 sp bonus per peasant per month should be offered as an attempt to keep them in an army. Each month this offer is made, the leader must succeed at a Charisma check; otherwise the peasants decide to return home to tend their land. Finally peasant levies never fight outside the borders of their nation.
Press gangs: A ruler could resort to press gangs, but only untrained troops fit to be unarmoured spearmen, rowers, or sailors could be "levied" that way No recruitment bonus is needed. The levy rate is a flat 1% per month (or 20 single individuals of 1 HD or less). A Confidence check is also required each month this practice takes place.
Convicts: There were occasional episodes in history when common criminals fought in an army. For example, upon a promise of freedom, convicted criminals could accept to join in on a dangerous campaign-the classic "Dirty Dozen" scenario. Although risky, it is the cheapest way to acquire troops (though troop quality is totally random). It is also a way to use a rather unproductive and potentially dangerous segment of a dominion's population-yes, war prisoners and other common criminals should be counted as a part of the population (perhaps miners or galley rowers.
Medieval troops weren't organized like modern armies, with rank and pay based on professional ability. Instead, they cantered around the men-at-arms, basically knights and nobles paying for their own troops, with social status being the main factor for authority. In effect, we could have the following structure: Army: The most powerful dominion ruler or the monarch would be at its head. Battalions: These are separate army groups (usually a vanguard, a main battle, and a rear-guard). Each is under the command of a prince, an important noble, or a dominion ruler.
Lines: These are the rows of soldiers forming each battalion. Nobles usually command the lines.
Banners: These are units of 25-50 soldiers gathered around the banners of the men-at-arms who command them.
Lances: These are small, tactical units of 5-10 troops, either infantry or cavalry, within each banner. Lances remain under the command of lesser knights or sergeants. (Individual "glaives" also existed, being 2-4 troops, usually a horseman of some type, an archer, and some light infantry with pole arms.)
Feudal ranks: In the Savage Coast especially, men-at-arms could fall into three categories: "the knight banneret," with a square banner, usually reserved for dominion rulers and upper nobility; "the knight bachelier," with a forked pennant, usually a lesser member of a dominion ruler's family or of a noble's family commanding up to 25 troops; and "the squire," a simple knight (knight, paladin, or avenger as per the standard Fighter class, or someone learning to become a knight), or a bourgeois (a burgher) rich enough to own cavalry equipment and have servants. All knights and squires are expected to have at least two servants (a page or valet who doesn't fight, and an armed guard), proper weaponry complete armour and barding, and four horses (one for each of the servants, and a spare horse).
The "sergeant" was also available to command small bodies of infantry or to hold the lord's banner. Sergeants wear less armour than knights, ride unarmoured horses, and usually fight on foot. (Do not confuse sergeants with "sergeants-at- arms," who were part of a monarch's elite personal guard).
Setting up for battle: Usually troops of the various dominions meet at a certain point before a battle. The troops are then reorganised in tactical units that are more practical.
For example, a monarch joins a number of his vassals. They all have various retinues of infantry archers, and cavalry following their respective leaders' banners. A duke and the monarch's son, a prince, are assigned the vanguard and the rear guard. The monarch takes the main battle with three-quarters of all troops available. The infantry from all dominions forms lines A, B, and C in the main battle, the archers form lines X, Y, and Z, and the cavalry musters around the monarch's banner. The remainder of the troops is organized in the same fashion in both the vanguard and the rearguard.
Each line would fall under the command of counts and barons. So far, the prince, the duke, the counts, and the barons all qualify as knights banneret. Within each line, troops remain close to the banners of the remaining knights banneret (possibly other barons and landed-knights) or to the pennants of the knights bachelier assigned to command them. Lesser knights (household or landless knights) and sergeants can then command individual lances, using coloured pennons to rally the troops.
Of course, in a true medieval setting, a lot of arguing would occur between the barons and the knights about who gets to command what, next to whom, or before whom (who might be a hated rival)! This could affect the outcome of a battle if totally ignored. Finally it may be a good idea to send a herald to meet the opposing army and set a time and place for the battle. Maps and communication being what they were in medieval times, this approach wasn't unheard of in history.
Modern ranks: Unlike the Savage Coast, armies of the Known World tend to be organized on a more professional basis, "sergeants" replacing squires and feudal sergeants, "lieutenants" replacing knights bachelier, and "captains" replacing knights banneret. Although they all keep their nobility titles, if any, these officers are all paid according to their military ranks. As usual, either a monarch, a prince, or a powerful noble would command a battle or a whole army or a military "marshal" could be appointed for the task. The more organized mercenary companies would tend to use this setup too, possibly calling their leader a "condottiere" rather than a captain or a marshal. (Condottieri were members of wealthy families who would use their reputations to raise money or to guarantee payment to their troops even in times of unemployment).
Combat troops usually come with non-fighting auxiliaries, like a knight banneret's page, an artillerist's mason and carpenter, etc. Auxiliaries also can be ill-armed peasant levies who drive the baggage train of a marching army. A whole slew of civilians could also tag along, such as cooks, surgeons, clerics, blacksmiths, soothsayers, grave-robbers (and other persons of ill repute), spies, merchants peddling their goods, even the families of some of the soldiers! Some fine role-playing could really frustrate the plans of a would-be conqueror with these people getting themselves in trouble at every opportunity. They could number up to as much as 20% of the whole army they follow.
Assume that all the auxiliaries form an integral part of the army. So, when one hires 10 swordsmen, assume the "tenth" person is some kind of auxiliary-likewise with their pay. Of course, the ratio should be much lower with common infantry but it all averages out when mounted knights and high-level warriors have two or three servants each. This explains why the latter are so expensive. For simplicity, assume everything averages out, including actual number of people in the military their pay and odds during a battle (all forces present are "presumed" to have some non-fighting auxiliaries among them). So, no mechanical or accounting changes are needed here-just remember the auxiliaries for the sake of role-playing and background flavour!
It sometimes happened that towns or cities would become independent from local nobility. For example, the monarch may grant such autonomy to towns inside the royal demesne to insure they are properly administered and defended. The monarch could grant a new vassal the lands surrounding a town, then allow the town to become autonomous, thus avoiding the risk of making that vassal a bit too powerful (causing jealousy among other vassals) or of tempting an unruly vassal to seize the wealthy town. Adventurous dominion rulers could give up unproductive lands to become traders in a wealthy city, allowing the town to gain control over the surrounding lands.
The town becomes a dominion of its own, paying salt tax and tithe like other dominions. Its overhead should be higher (+ 15%) because of all the buildings, streets, and other structures that require upkeep. The town levies permanent troops to act as a police force and garrison the town's walls and fortifications. Its troops can be counted on during a call to arms, but only in defence of the nation. Militias can be every bit as good or even better than conventional dominion troops because of the wealth that their towns can use for better pay training, and equipment. Town militias use the more modern ranking system.
Remember that armed forces do not work in the fields, thus they do not grow food. Troops must draw food supplies from the agricultural community. In a medieval setting, troops were expected to feed themselves. In game terms, we can conveniently assume that the cost of feeding troops is part of their pay However, this implies certain risks.
During peace, armies are scattered throughout the kingdom, buying food from their local neighbourhoods. This is especially important for permanent garrisons guarding borderland or rural territories. The local agricultural base should be sufficient for these troops to find food. Using the guidelines on economics provided in this column in recent DRAGON issues, find out how much agricultural population lives within one or two day's ox-ride (12-20 miles) from the troops position, and whether it can accommodate these troops.
Hunting is an option. Here are some rough guidelines: In a wilderness area with ample wildlife and water resources, figure that up to 100 troops can generate food for 80 people (80%). The remaining 20% represents essentials like grain or salt that must be provided either by local farming or brought in from elsewhere. For each of the following, decrease the top hunting rate (80%) as indicated: Each extra 50 troops (-10%), borderland (-20%), rural (40%), moderate wildlife or less than 10% missile weapons among troops (-30% for either), little wildlife or no missile weapons among troops (-60% for either). Troops cannot hunt in suburban or urban areas; otherwise the hunting rate should never be less than 10%.
If the balance is still insufficient, then food supplies must be transported to the troops, at the ruler's cost (1 sp per month and per person). Planning should prevent this from happening. When garrisoning an oasis, for example, make sure the number of troops there matches what the oasis can support. This will prevent the garrison from depending on regular caravan supplies. In suburban or urban areas, assume that the military forces there are supplied like the rest of the urban population (e.g., regular arrivals of foodstuffs from the rural lands, caravans, local farming); this is all averaged out in the guidelines on economics. As usual, garrisons in wilderness must be supplied, since the wilderness agricultural base cannot figure in the food mechanics.
Garrisons usually stockpile food and water, sometimes for up to a year in a warlike setting. Unsupplied troops might plunder and pillage the land to feed themselves. Plunder and pillaging wipes out all farming for a month in the affected hexes. If the ruler's troops plunder their own land, a Confidence check should be made for each month of plundering.
Sending troops back home can be vastly amusing! After serving a liege, dominion rulers and the commanders of town militias usually return to their lands without making much trouble, but mercenaries might decide to roam the countryside instead, plundering and pillaging everything on the way until they find another employer. This is almost inevitable if the mercenaries haven't been paid or if a conflict hasn't yielded much war-booty. Fortunately it is sometimes possible to buy-off unemployed mercenaries or arrange for them to obtain employment elsewhere.
Native troops being dismissed, especially if they are several hundred who fought together long enough to establish a sense of community, might turn to banditry as well. Using one's military experience to terrorise the countryside is a far more attractive option than returning to famine and utter poverty. This is particularly true if these individuals own their equipment, or if the ruler has been weakened by a conflict. Native renegades are usually the worst since they know the gibbet awaits them if they're caught, compelling them to fight to the death when cornered. Widespread political chaos is generally favourable to organized banditry For example, among predatory activities, renegade troops or unemployed mercenaries may resort to demanding exorbitant tributes from defenceless towns, when they aren't simply plundering the land to feed themselves. Some renegade leaders might just try to claim land outright in an attempt to carve themselves their own dominions, with local rulers bowing to their military might-if one can't beat them, one might just accept them as new vassals!
Running a monarchy
What do monarchs do with the salt-tax revenues? If the PC is running a kingdom, with dominions turning in their 20% salt tax, here's what should be done. The monarch could have one or more family estates or dominions gained through marital alliances, generating tax income or troop levies like normal dominions. Likewise, the kingdom should have a royal demesne belonging to the throne. These are lands that the monarch occasionally carves up and gives away to new vassals. Lands conquered by the monarch become part of the royal demesne. Add up tax incomes from the family estates and the royal demesne, and subtract the 10% tithe. Then add all of the salt taxes from the vassal dominions, if paid in cash. The monarch does not pay the 10% tithe on salt tax received from the vassals. This determines the monarch's net income. The monarch's overhead is calculated from that net income.
A vassal's salt tax paid in merchandise is considered part of the monarch's total income as if it were cash, thus counting against the monarch's overhead one way or the other If the kingdom is part of a greater empire, then the monarch's total income is subject to a salt tax, just like a dominion. There can be any number of vassal- liege, liege-monarch, and monarch-emperor layers. The overlord may require the adoption of the same coinage and laws among all vassals.
Military: If a monarch (or a liege in general) requests a vassal to pay the salt tax in troops, add them to the monarch's army. If so, the vassal must provide troops whose pay amounts to 20% of the vassal's total income. The troops must be appropriately equipped to fit the monarch's most prevalent army requirements. Training must be at least as good as that of the vassal's forces. The value of training and equipment does not otherwise count against the vassal's 20% salt- tax figure. If a vassal is incapable of providing enough troops meeting the liege's standards, the vassal must then pay the difference in cash (or the whole amount if the vassal couldn't provide any of the required troops at all). Mercenaries are not an option in this case. The vassal had better make sure there was an overwhelming reason why these troops could not be provided, or else the liege might consider such a shortcoming wilful treachery.
A royal tip: Requesting vassals to send troops rather than cash is a cheap way of acquiring properly equipped and trained troops, and keeping vassals in check. It also helps the monarch keep the throne's overhead substantially lower. On the other hand, the monarch has far less cash available this way. The best advice here would be to acquire whatever troops are needed to protect and further the monarchy, then collect the remainder in cash. This balancing act is a true test for a serious ruler.
Standing army: All of the troops sent by the vassals and the monarch's own household troops constitute the kingdom's standing army. In times of war, the monarch expects vassals and their retainers to join him, with up to 80% of their troops. Likewise, peasants can be mustered (see "Recruitment"). Up to 80% of the theocracy's troops, military orders, and militias also can be called upon to defend the nation (see "Theocracies"). If that doesn't do it, then throw in a good measure of mercenaries!
The theocracy's point of view
What do the clerics do with the tithe? The clerical establishment runs its various orders, builds temples, supports art and literature conforming to its precepts, feeds and caters for the poor (sometimes), maintains its own troops to defend the clerical estates (often), and meddles with local and global politics for various reasons(always).
A theocracy's income is subject to a cost overhead comparable to that of an autonomous town (+15%). A nation's theocracy might have to send 10% of its own tithe income to some archclerist (or whatever potentate representing the theocracy's highest authority) if outside the nation's border. The theocracy's overhead only includes the daily upkeep of temples, clerics, mystics, servants, and the support of art and literature. Everything else comes from the theocracy's available cash.
If a clerical order does not receive regular tithe income, it can instead generate a net 5 sp cash income per ordained cleric or mystic (including overhead). This income covers work clerics provide and their followers' donations. Assume the clerical work force can always feed itself. Theocracies literally form autonomous "dominions" inside other nations. They initially control little land other than the hallowed grounds of their temples and the mystics' domains. There could be cases when a monarch or a powerful dominion ruler may cede land to a theocracy as a reward for help or as a result of political pressure A theocracy could also simply purchase land from a bankrupt dominion, with the liege's permission. A theocracy, however, never pays any salt tax, since its only true liege is the Immortal it serves.
Military orders: Theocracies may also create military orders (of paladins, for example) that live off their members' donations. A military order receives 10 gp per knight in addition to taxes levied on any land it controls. This income is subject to regular dominion overhead and tithe. Although they don't pay the salt tax, they must answer their monarch's call to arms. Military orders are otherwise fairly autonomous from either theocracy or monarchy. They raise their own troops, build castles, and undertake a variety of military or financial activities to further their own interests.
Knights (landless knights, knights-errant, and paladins) join the order on a purely volunteer, unpaid basis. Other troops should be paid; they can be levied on the order's lands or hired among mercenaries. Having knights join the order is a question of situation and role-playing (the leader's Charisma, a need to vanquish some great evil, the order's clout, etc.). Knights joining an order each month may range from 1d4-1 knights in a very unfavourable situation, to 3d6 + 2 knights in the best case. If the order is being founded, add to the die roll a number of knights equal to twice the leader's maximum number of retainers (see Charisma). Very large orders may become the target of worried monarchs, so beware.
Rival theocracies: The situation can get complicated when several theocracies compete within a same nation. Usually one theocracy dominates the field, representing one Immortal or a group of related Immortals. This "official" theocracy is the one collecting the tithe. Other unrelated orders make do with donations from their followers, be they commoners, rich merchants, or influential leaders. These minor theocracies, of course, compete for followers, struggling to force the "official" theocracy out of the big picture in order to become the one collecting the tithe.
Heretical crises: The monarch of a nation chooses which theocracy is the official" one. It may based purely on the monarch's personal convictions or on what philosophy is predominant in the realm. The latter choice is the safest path but that can be a hard choice for a monarch with different ideals, especially the monarch is on the path to Immortality. The former option could lead the population into rebellion, with both military and financial support from the deposed theocracy if the monarch ignores the people's dominating philosophy. Along the same idea are regional theocracies deliberately splitting away from their higher authorities in an attempt to reform their own philosophy and keep more power and wealth in their own hands. Likewise, powerful military orders may break away from their original theocracies for the same reasons. The political and military consequences of such hostile schisms within a theocracy all become a matter of circumstances and role-playing, in other words, more trouble for the ruler, as it should be! It gets all the more entertaining when the ruler happens to be a cleric, too, but that's the reward for power, glory, and yet another a chance for more adventures!