Dominion represents a pretender's religious influence over a province, and the degree to which its inhabitants worship them. Only one pretender can have dominion in a province at any one time, though this is not necessarily the owner of the province. Provinces that have a pretender's dominion will have their scales slowly shifted to match those of said pretender, and will also have a number of effects on battles that take place there.
The level of dominion in a province is represented by a number of candles in the details panel of that province. White candles represent your own dominion, while black candles represent the dominion of another pretender. The maximum level of dominion a pretender can have in a single province is limited by the dominion score of that pretender. The dominion score of a pretender is initially set when creating that pretender, and increases by one for every 5 temples of the pretender built (or 5 per player on the team in a disciples game).
Dominion can be generated from several sources. It is primarily generated by a nation's pretender, its prophet, its capital, its temples, and any thrones of ascension it has claimed as its own. The chance of dominion increasing from one of these sources is [50% + 5% * dominion score]. Each chance of generating dominion is called a 'temple check' both in-game and in documentation, regardless of the actual source. A nation's capital, prophet, and each of its temples each generate a single temple check. A Pretender generates one temple check that is guaranteed to succeed, and two more, standard, temple checks. Thrones generate a number of temple checks ranging from 1-7, depending on the specific throne. The number of temple checks a throne generates is listed at the top of its description, as "Spreads dominion (x)".
When a temple check succeeds, and a point of dominion is generated, the following process determines where it is placed:
If at any point during this process a point of dominion is successfully placed, the process ends, and the next temple check is rolled, potentially starting the process again, until all temple checks are rolled and resolved.
It is more difficult for dominion to spread from land→sea or from sea→land province. During the third step, if the selected province crosses the land/sea border, there is a 50% chance that another province will be selected instead.
This sort of dominion spread happens late in the turn; notably, after combat.
Dominion can also be increased in a province by having priest commanders preach. A preaching commander has a chance to increase dominion in their current province, even beyond their pretender's dominion score, by 30% * the priest's holy level. Any points of dominion generated by this cannot spread to adjacent provinces. Having a friendly temple in the province adds 0.5 holy levels to the priest for the purposes of preaching. If the priest is preaching in a province with enemy dominion, the chance is then decreased by 5% * level of hostile dominion.
Example: A level 1 priest is preaching in a province that has -4 dominion (that is, an enemy has 4 dominion there). Their chance of successfully increasing his dominion (and thus reducing the enemy dominion from -4 to -3) is 10%. If they were preaching in a province with neutral or friendly dominion, they would have a 30% chance of increasing dominion. If there was a friendly temple in the province, their chance would be 45%-20% = 25% in -4 dominion, and 45% in neutral or friendly dominion.
Inquisitors get bonuses when preaching within hostile dominion. Their holy levels count as double for purposes of preaching under these circumstances.
If the dominion in a province is at or above 2x a priest's holy level (including the temple bonus), their preaching will have no further effect in the province.
Preaching-related dominion spread happens before combat. This can be very relevant in besieged forts, with both sides preaching in the province, trying to get their dominion in the province, in order to gain its benefits during a fort storming or siege break.
Several nations are also able to spread dominion through blood sacrifices. To conduct a blood sacrifice, a priest of an appropriate nation must be given a number of blood slaves, as though they were going to bring them into combat, and then ordered to 'Perform Blood Sacrifice'. A number of slaves equal to the priest's holy level are consumed, or fewer if the priest doesn't have that many, and an equal number of temple checks are created.
Apart from the above methods:
← This is what hostile dominion looks like on the map and the UI, by the way.
Provinces within a nation's dominion will have their scales shift towards that dominion's scales configuration. More candles means the scales will be more drastically affected.
If a player's province has hostile dominion in it, the province will not benefit from order, production, luck or magic scales. Turmoil, sloth, misfortune and drain scales will still have effect the province as normal.
EA Arcoscephale, MA Arcoscephale and LA Arcoscephale
Arcoscephale will scry on all provinces under its dominion. The information gained from this will be available to disciple players as well, and is more accurate than normal scouting reports.
Mictlan (EA Mictlan and LA Mictlan)
In the Early Age and Late Age, Mictlan has dying dominion. Mictlan's home province, prophet, and temples do not spread dominion, and its pretender checks are half as effective as a normal pretender. The only way for Mictlan to spread dominion (aside from its pretender) is to conduct blood sacrifices.
Oni will appear in all temples that are inside Yomi’s dominion. High Turmoil scales will increase the number of Oni that appear. The strength of the Yomi dominion itself does not affect this, as long as it is at least 1. The location of the temple determines what type of Oni are able appear – mountains, highlands, or caves are required to get Amanojaku, Kuro-Oni, and Oni. Heat and Cold scales are required for Aka-Oni and Ao-Oni respectively. Temples in provinces that don't meet any of these requirements will only spawn Ko-Oni. Oni generals also attract Ko-Oni if they are in a province with Turmoil scales or Unrest,
regardless of dominion.
Disciples to Yomi do not get this dominion feature.
LA R'lyeh's dominion spreads insanity to all units without void sanity and freespawns madmen. Both effects will also happen in lands owned by disciples. Units without void sanity that are owned by LA R'lyeh, or one of its disciples, are slightly less likely to go insane than other such units, but are not immune.
The dead will rise to server Ermor and the living will die so they can rise later on. These effects will also take place for disciple players and the undead will obey the disciples when they appear there. The disciple players start with full population in their realm, but it will die quickly and undead will rise instead. Being a disciple of Ermor will not be easy. Ermor’s dominion also sense any unburied corpses in the provinces it covers.
The living will die and be animated by vines and roots to serve in the war against the world. Manikins will rise from the corpses of humans, animals, satyrs, harpies, minotaurs, and other creatures animated by the vines and the malign will of the God of the Vengeful Woods. Disciples will also get this effect and their population will soon be killed. Being a disciple to Asphodel will not be easy.
The dominion of C'tis will cause heavy rain that lasts for months at a time and turn the land into soggy wetlands. Mosquitoes will thrive and so will diseases. All warm-blooded beings without the swamp survival special ability will be affected by diseases and all enemy provinces under this dominion will have their income severely reduced. Provinces owned by C'tis will have their income slightly increased instead. Disciples are affected in the same way as enemies, but their sacred troops are immune. Underwater provinces are not affected, so it would be possible to have a underwater disciple without facing a ruined economy and a dying army.
Constructs will have increased hit points in this dominion. It will help disciple players as well as enemies should they have any constructs.
EA Caelum, MA Caelum, Niefelheim, Jotunheim and Vaettiheim
Spreads cold just outside of its dominion, too. It will have a 10% chance of changing the cold scale colder for each scale level it is currently away from maximum cold. Maximum cold is 1 for EA Caelum, Jotunheim and Vaettiheim, 2 for MA Caelum, and 3 for Niefelheim. The maximum cold is limited by the cold level chosen for that nation in pretender creation. Works just like usual when this nation is God.
EA Abysia and MA Abysia
Spreads heat just outside of its dominion too. Works just like usual when this nation is God. It will have a 10% chance of changing the heat scale hotter for each scale level it is currently away from maximum heat. Maximum heat is 3 for EA Abysia and 2 for MA Abysia.
Marverni, Sauromatia, EA Pangaea, EA & LA Mictlan, EA, MA & LA Abysia, EA & MA Vanheim, Helheim, Hinnom, Berytos, EA, MA & LA Xibalba, LA Marignon, Midgard and Gath
May blood sacrifice to increase dominion. This ability is not transferred to disciple nations. Disciple nations with this ability can still use it. These nations do not have dying dominion. Note that Marverni does not have any blood mages, so it will have very hard time finding blood slaves.
All Phaeacia’s commanders can sail (see Sailing ability, p. 59) if both the origin and destination provinces are in friendly dominion. The Dark Vessels ability cannot be transferred to other nations. Disciples do not benefit from the Dark Vessels. If Phaeacia is ruled by a disciple, it can still use its Dark Vessels in all lands under their pretender’s dominion.
Population will die off slowly but surely under the dominion of Therodoros. Friendly forts under this dominion will generate ghosts that will help the Pretender God. In disciple game this will also affect the disciples.
The dominion of Mekone is extra efficient at suppressing other faiths. When trying to remove the enemy dominion, the maximum strength of Mekone is counted as one higher than it really is.
MA Phlegra and LA Phlegra
All provinces under the dominion of Phlegra will have their unrest increased every turn. Higher dominion strength in the province yields a greater increase in unrest. In a disciple game this will only have an effect if Phlegra is the Pretender God and then it will affect the disciples as well. Being a disciple of Phlegra will be difficult.