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Care and Feeding of your Barony (aka "the Rules")

Discussion in 'Machiavel: Ambition' started by Ravana, Dec 16, 2011.

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  1. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    This thread replaces the previous thread of the same title. The materials have been organized into much smaller (and more directly stated) pieces, which hopefully will make them more readily usable. Detailed discussions on some of the topics will probably be added later on.

    SECTIONS (by post #):
    2: What You Start With
    3: Keep
    4: Land
    5: Settlements
    6: Estate
    7: Peasants - includes Labor Paradigms; Disposable Income
    8: Craftsmen
    9: Military - includes Quarters; Reserve Status; Scutage
    10: Individuals - includes Baronial Officers
    11: Resources - includes List of Resources
    12: Plot Subtype and Resource Generation
    13: Products - includes List of Products
    14: Improvements - includes Construction; Operation; Maintenance; List of Improvements
    15: Fief Stats [Access, Organization, Local and Transit Commerce, Education, Health, Happiness]
    16: Your Own Stats [Fame, Influence, Reputation]
    17: OStentation (aka "Ooh, Shiny!")
    18: Money pt 1: Income - including Taxes, Tolls, Tariffs, etc.
    19: Money pt 2: Expenses, Other Factors
    20: Policies

    NPC Stats
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  2. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    Your keep:
    (1A) Includes staff.
    (1B) Includes one free barracks.
    (1C) Three military units of your choosing.
    (1D) Your treasury: 50,000 thalers.

    (2) A number of “tracts” of varying terrain types and quality.
    (2A) These determine which resources, and how many of each, you can collect.
    (2B) You begin with basic roads in all of these.

    (3) One town.
    (3A) Includes a marketplace and small church.
    (3B) Might randomly include a craft/production improvement.
    (4) Some villages and/or hamlets.
    (4A) Might include marketplaces and/or chapels.
    (5) Any settlement might randomly include some basic defenses.

    (6) A large number of peasants, both in the settlements and scattered about the rural areas of your fief.
    (7) A small number of craftsmen in your town; possibly in smaller settlements as well.

    (8) Aristocracy: minor nobles and gentry who have estates of their own. (See Estate below.)
    (8A) Each includes land plots, peasants to work them, and a manor.
    (8B) Noble vassals will also have a small number of troops of their own.
    (9) Burghers: persons of importance living in your settlements.
    (9A) Some may also be landowners; most will not.
    (9B) Includes civic leaders (priests, aldermen), educated professionals, and various mercantile leaders.
    (10) Courtiers:
    (10A) Your family.
    (10B) Your baronial officers. You may appoint family and/or other vassals to these positions if you wish.
    (11) Specialists:
    (11A) Random chance for one or more. Effects tend to be broad and profound. You really want these guys—and no doubt will want to find more.

    (12) A variable number of land plots belonging directly to your line, as opposed to being part of the barony “at large.”
    (12A) Peasants to work them.

    (13) In addition to any that come with your settlements, you may choose a small number of others to start with.
    (13A) Each metal or mineral resource on your lands has a chance of beginning with a mine already built; if not, these would make good choices.
    (13B) Refer to the “Improvements” sections of the “Information” thread to see the possibilities. Most of the options listed under Production, Commerce or Urban are available, as are about half the ones under Military and Cultural. Only a couple under Land can be taken at start. If in doubt, ask.
    (13C) You may randomly receive an additional improvement of the GM’s choice.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  3. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    Your seat of power at the outset. This is assumed to be located near the largest settlement in your barony, as that is the place you’re most likely to want to defend. You can choose to put it elsewhere if you like, if you want to take advantage of different terrain for defensive purposes, or if you decide something else in your barony is more important to defend (say, if you have a silver mine). Your keep includes:

    (1) Staff: one “unit” of servants, administrative assistants, and so forth, who you have to pay support on. If you eventually expand to larger fortifications (castle, citadel), you may need to increase this to more than one unit.

    (2) Storage: you can store up to 50 units of resources/products, as if you had a warehouse; this does not provide any other (i.e. commercial) benefits a warehouse might.

    (3) Troop quarters: your keep can house one unit of troops for free. Troops do not count as part of your staff; they need to be paid for separately.
    (3A) You also begin with one free barracks, which can house a second unit of troops. This can be part of your keep, or it can be placed elsewhere.

    Your keep can have up to three expansions added to it: if you decide you want your free barracks to be part of your keep, this will count as one of those three. If you later add extra fortifications to your keep to increase its defensive value, these do not count against the three expansions.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  4. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    The average starting barony is, very roughly, a square twenty miles to a side. (The actual size of the barony will never matter for game purposes.) During initial generation, this is divided into a number of “tracts,” each of which receives a random terrain type, level of development, and fertility rating; certain ones may also receive a subtype. From these in turn are generated the resources the barony can produce.

    (1) Terrains:
    (1A) Basic terrain types are plains, forest, wetland, hills, mountains, and coast.
    (1B) Hills will always have one of two subtypes: gentle/rolling or steep/ravine.

    (2) Subtypes:
    (2A) Subtypes include wooded, forested, and riparian. Not all tracts will have subtypes.
    (2B) “Wooded” indicates the presence of large amounts of bushes and small trees. This can occur in any terrain type (including forests, which indicate timber resources).
    (2C) “Forested” adds timber stands to hills or mountains.
    (2D) “Riparian” indicates the presence of a large river and associated fertile valley.
    (2E) Additionally, the subtype “deposit” can occur in any terrain; this indicates the presence of an exploitable mineral or metal resource.

    (3) Usability (level of development):
    (3A) This indicates how easy it is to use that particular piece of land, and for what purposes.
    (3B) “Arable” indicates well-cleared land suitable for intensive farming.
    (3C) “Pasture” is reasonably cleared land most suitable for raising livestock.
    (3D) “Uncleared” is land that has not been well developed: there are fewer roads and trails, more undergrowth, etc.
    (3E) “Rocky” is like uncleared, but more so; plow farming is very limited, but deposits tend to be richer.
    (3F) “Exposed” indicates large amounts of bare rock with little vegetation; again, deposits tend to be richer, as well as being more likely to be on the surface rather than below ground.
    (3G) “Virgin” is forest or wetland that is essentially untouched by civilization; it is richer in resources, but more difficult to exploit.
    (3H) “Beach” indicates a coast region dominated by sand, gravel or rock, with little vegetation.

    (4) Changing usability type:
    (4A) It is possible, though difficult and expensive, to change the usability type of some tracts.
    (4B) Arable and pasture can be converted from one to the other.
    (4C) Uncleared land can be cleared. In the case of forests, this does not mean clear-cutting them: rather, it involves the development of trails and the clearing of undergrowth.
    (4D) Rocky and virgin land can be converted to uncleared.
    (4E) Exposed and beach land cannot be changed with present levels of technology.
    (4F) Improving roads can also reduce the negative effects of a usability type without changing it.

    (5) Fertility:
    (5A) This indicates how rich the ground is.
    (5B) Fertility types include fertile, normal, distressed, and spent.
    (5C) “Fertile” indicates rich soil and abundant growth.
    (5D) “Distressed” indicates thinner or less useful soils, possibly ones that have been overworked from lengthy use.
    (5E) “Spent” indicates soils that are either too thin or poor to be of much use, or which have been worked for so long they have become exhausted.

    (6) Changing fertility types:
    (6A) As with usability types, this is difficult and expensive.
    (6B) Spent can be converted to distressed, distressed to normal.
    (6C) It is not possible with present technology to convert a tract to fertile.

    (7) Water ratings:
    (7A) These include River, Stream, and Pond/Lake ratings; each is a number from 1 to 10.
    (7B) Higher ratings can increase fertility and improve the effects of irrigation; some improvements require certain minimum ratings.
    (7B) Ratings can affect some Fief Stats.
    (7C) Ratings determine the availability of fish as a resource.

    (8) Plots:
    (8A) The terrain types, fertility and usability levels determine the total number of workable “plots” available for generating various resources.
    (8B) At base level, each plot requires one peasant unit working it to generate one unit of resources.
    (8C) It is possible to increase the number of available plots by clearing additional land for use; this involves a similar, though less expensive, process to converting usability or fertility types.
    (8D) In addition to the “general” plots that are part of the barony at large, estates (your own and those of your aristocracy) will have a number of workable plots directly attached to them.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  5. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    These are the urban areas in your barony. You begin with one town, as well as a random number of smaller settlements (villages and/or hamlets).

    (1) Town:
    (1A) This will have a beginning population of between 11 and 20 peasant units.
    (1B) It will also have between 5 and 8 craftsmen units.
    (1C) It will include a variety of burghers: individuals who are community or commercial leaders.
    (1D) It may include one or more specialists.
    (1E) The town automatically includes the improvements marketplace and small church.
    (1F) It may include some level of basic defenses.
    (1G) It may include a craft or production improvement.

    (2) Villages:
    (2A) These will have a beginning population of 6 to 10 peasant units.
    (2B) They will also have between 1 and 4 craftsmen units.
    (2C) They will probably have some burghers; there is a minimal chance of a specialist as well.
    (2D) Villages have a chance of beginning with any of the same improvements as towns do (except for small church: this will be a chapel in a village).
    (2E) Not all baronies will have villages; the more villages it has, the fewer hamlets there will be.

    (3) Hamlets:
    (3A) These will have a beginning population of 1 to 5 peasant units.
    (3B) There is a small chance of a hamlet beginning with a single craftsmen unit.
    (3C) There is a small chance of a hamlet having one or more burghers.
    (3D) There is a small chance of a hamlet beginning with a chapel and/or a palisade.

    (4) Urban environment:
    (4A) Settlements are great for improving commerce.
    (4B) On the other hand, they tend to lower the health of your subjects.
    (4C) Urban health penalties can be offset in a variety of ways: improvements such as sewers or extra water sources, and better housing (especially with fire-resistant materials) can go a long way. For more details, see “Health” under Fief Stats.

    (5) Expanding settlements:
    (5A) Each settlement type has a maximum size, in terms of number of peasant units it can house.
    (5B) As it approaches this size, crowding will cause health to decrease.
    (5C) Once it reaches the maximum, it must be expanded to the next largest size before it can grow further. (Once it becomes a City, it can grow without limit.)
    (5D) There are also requirements for certain minimum numbers of craftsmen; a settlement cannot be expanded until this is met. Craftsmen won’t live anywhere except in urban areas; in order to expand your industrial production, you must keep your settlements growing.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  6. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    In addition to the workable plots that come with your barony, you have a number of plots that are the personal property of your family. These are assumed to be located around your keep, but you can place any or all of them elsewhere in your barony if you want to collect a specific resource that isn’t located near your keep.

    (1) Your estate plots are assumed to be prime agricultural land unless you relocate them. You may use them to produce the following resources:
    (1A) Any farmable resource that appears anywhere in your barony and which does not require an orchard for farming.
    (1B) Any farmable resource that does require an orchard, if you also build an orchard on your estate.
    (1C) Any livestock resource that appears anywhere in your barony.

    (2) Within the above limits, you can change what any given plot produces from year to year.

    (3) You may relocate one or more plots to collect some other resource available in your barony if you wish. If you do this, that plot can only produce that resource: it cannot be changed later.
    (3A) You cannot use estate plots to increase collection of mined or quarried resources, since each of these has its own limit to production. You can use estate plots to control these resources: this requires assigning a number of plots equal to the maximum amount that source can generate.

    (4) Your estate comes with its own peasants to work it: these are in addition to the general population. You can also assign them to other work if you like, such as construction or making secondary products.

    (5) It is possible to expand your estate by clearing new land.
    (5A) You do not get more free peasants when you do this; you will need to recruit some, or reassign some from your general populace.

    (6) You may also sell estate plots, give them away as rewards to vassals or as benefices to priests, or convert them to “common land” for your peasants to work for their own profit. You may also buy additional plots, if you find someone willing to sell.
    (6A) If you do dispose of a plot, it is your option whether or not to transfer the peasants that had been working it to its new owner—though if you don’t, the plot will be of limited value until that owner can come up with his own labor.
    (6B) You can also keep the peasants and set them to other tasks as mentioned in (4) above.

    What’s the difference between a mine you’ve built in your barony and one you “control” with your estate? Ownership: if for some reason someone else becomes baron of that fief, you (or your family) will still control that mine, whereas if the mine is part of the fief, it would go to the new baron.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  7. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    The major portion of your population consists of peasants. Each “unit” of peasants represents 100 laborers. Plus their families: your actual population is several times what this number indicates; however, since all production and supply is handled by the unit, the actual number will never matter (and so is left uncalculated). Your peasants do all the collecting of resources in your barony; they can also be assigned to make many other products from these resources, and to provide labor for construction.

    (1) Food:
    (1A) Each unit of peasants consumes 0.5 units of grain each month; this is subsistence level.
    (1B) Up to half this amount can be replaced by other foods.
    (1C) “Produce” class foods replace grain on a 1-for-1 basis.
    (1D) “Flesh” class foods replace grain on a 2-for-1 basis.
    (1E) To maintain normal Health, peasants need at least one Produce and one Flesh.
    (1F) Additional variety in their diet improves Health beyond the base level. (Note that no matter how much variety they get, they still consume at least 0.25 units of grain each month.)

    (2) Housing:
    (2A) Peasant housing is assumed to be made out of the cheapest materials available: timber framing, plaster walls, and thatch roofs.
    (2B) Replacing this with better housing improves Health, and can reduce the risk of a major fire sweeping a settlement.
    (2C) Other upgrades can be made to housing as well, such as brick hearths or glazed windows.

    (3) Supply:
    (3A) Peasants also require clothing and furniture, as well as carts and tools with which to perform labor.
    (3B) If your labor paradigm is “serfdom” (the default at start), you are responsible for seeing to these needs, either by providing them directly or providing your serfs with enough disposable income for them to purchase them. See below for more details.
    (3C) If your labor paradigm is something else, your peasants see to these details themselves. You still need to make sure you aren’t taking too much of their income (in taxes, rents, etc.) for them to be able to do so.
    (3D) Providing or making available more than the minimum amounts or quality of these products will improve Health and Happiness.

    (4) Serfs:
    (4A) The default labor paradigm for the Empire and associated regions is serfdom.
    (4B) In the Empire’s version of serfdom, you take in all that your peasants make, provide them with their needs from this, and sell the rest. You have the greatest level of responsibility, but also see the greatest direct share of the profits.
    (4C) Serfdom is also the worst paradigm when it comes to your fief’s Commerce and Education ratings, and since both of these affect Happiness, is the worst for that as well.
    (4D) Under serfdom, most maintenance on improvements gets handled automatically, as part of the serfs’ duties.
    (4E) Serfs are bound to the land they work; they do not legally have rights of mobility.

    (5) Tenants:
    (5A) Tenants use your lands in exchange for a set amount of their production (expressed in multiples of 0.1 units of goods per peasant unit per month: normal is 0.3 or 0.4/unit). They keep anything in excess of this amount, and profit from any overages in production.
    (5B) Costs for construction labor and maintenance increase with tenants, as these are no longer part of the peasant’s duties.
    (5C) Tenant labor significantly improves Commerce and Education ratings, and through them Happiness.
    (5D) Tenant labor also increases the amount of sales tax you collect (with serfdom, you’re “selling” a great deal of product to yourself).
    (5E) For the sake of simplicity, all tenant contracts are assumed to run for one year at a time.
    (5F) Tenants are not bound to the land; however, their limited means will generally prevent much in the way of mobility.

    (6) Freemen:
    (6A) Freemen do not provide a portion of the resources they generate; instead, they pay cash rents.
    (6B) Costs for construction labor and maintenance increase as with tenants.
    (6C) Freemen improve Commerce and Education ratings, and sales tax revenues, even more.
    (6D) As with tenants, rental contracts are assumed to be for the year.
    (6E) Freemen are not bound to the land, and may even possess the wherewithal to leave if they don’t like conditions.

    (7) Changing labor paradigms can be done at the beginning of the year. Switching from serfs to some other form of peasantry is easy enough; reversing the process is a great way to cause unrest.

    (8) Labor paradigms cannot be mixed at present: all peasants in a barony must be of the same type.

    Other labor paradigms may become available over time; the only one likely to appear any time soon is yeomanry (peasants who own their own lands).

    [Note that these do not strictly reflect historical uses. Manorial serfdom, the most familiar form, normally involved a combination of collecting a percentage of the peasant’s production with requiring the peasants to provide labor on the lord’s own lands and for other uses as demanded, plus a variety of sometimes oppressive fees. Tenant contracts would more commonly last a number of years; in some cases, tenants could decide how they used the land. Tenants also tended to have fewer duties; in particular, they may or may not have owed other forms of labor to the lord. In neither case would these peasants make up the majority of the population in larger urban areas, whereas here all peasants in a fief are considered to be the same for simplicity.]

    (9) Under serfdom, it is assumed the lord is taking care of the basic needs of the peasants. Even so, they will need to be provided with some level of additional income, or else the economy and level of contentedness will suffer.
    (9A) Disposable income is provided in multiples of 10 thalers/unit/month; thus, a population of 50 peasant units will require an expense of 500 thalers/month per “level” of disposable income.
    (9B) Each “level” of disposable income allows peasants to purchase a single additional product, either dietary variety or luxury.
    (9C) Every three “levels” also increases Local Commerce by +1; every four levels increases Transit Commerce by +1.
    (9D) Tenants and freemen handle their own expenses; the effects of their available cash is calculated in the same way.

    (10) If you wish, you can convert to a pure “cash” economy. Depending on the resources in your barony, the cost will range from around 125 to 200 thalers/month per peasant unit–before including any disposable income.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  8. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    These are the skilled laborers who convert raw resources into finished products. Each “unit” of craftsmen represents 20 laborers, plus their families: as with peasants, the total number of people is irrelevant.

    (1) You do not get to choose what craftsmen you begin with; they will be assigned based on resources available in your fief.
    (1A) You can influence what types of craftsmen you receive later, through building improvements to attract them.

    (2) You are not responsible for supplying craftsmen; they buy what they need to make their products, and they cover their own needs with their profits.
    (2A) You can, however, make this easier for them by increasing the amount of collection for resources they need, offering them discounts for resources, or arranging for the importation of resources not produced in your barony.

    (3) Craftsmen are unaffected by labor paradigms: they’re always free.
    (3A) This also means that if they aren’t happy in your barony, they can leave of their own accord.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  9. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    There are two main types of military unit: infantry and cavalry. Cavalry are ones who normally perform operations on horseback, while infantry does not–giving your infantry horses doesn’t turn them into cavalry. There is also militia, who are infantry but who are less well trained and equipped, and who are not “standing” troops: they spend most of their time doing other things–specifically, they count as extra peasants, in addition to your general populace. Each type of unit has various subtypes, not all of which are available to you at the outset.

    You begin with your choice of three military units (you can take fewer, but I can’t think of any reason why you would). Your options are:

    - heavy cavalry: chain hauberk, spear, target shield, broadsword or mace
    - light cavalry: leather, spear, target shield, broadsword or mace
    - heavy infantry: chain hauberk, broadsword or handaxe, kite shield
    - light infantry: leather, spear, target shield
    - archers (light infantry): leather, shortbow, handaxe
    - trained militia: leather, spear
    - untrained militia: whatever they can grab

    Untrained militia is mentioned only for completeness: obviously, you won’t choose those as a starting unit.

    Military units are of varying sizes: a unit of cavalry is 20 soldiers, plus mounts; a unit of infantry is 50 soldiers; a unit of militia is 100 (the same as a unit of peasants). This very approximately reflects their efficiency in battle–the circumstances of the battle will have considerable impact on this. In the open field, cavalry can slice through untrained militia as if it weren’t there… put the militia behind a wall, and the cavalry are either useless or have to dismount and fight alongside the foot-sloggers.

    - Quartering:
    Your military needs to live somewhere.
    (1) Your keep can house one unit of any type.
    (2) Each barracks can house one unit of any type.
    (2A) You begin with one free barracks, which you may attach to your keep or place elsewhere in your fief.
    (2B) You may choose another barracks as one of your starting improvements, in order to house a third unit.
    (3) Militia does not require housing.
    (4) If you have more standing units than you have available barracks, you must “quarter” the rest of them: that is, they get housed in private dwellings, inns, etc. This is an extremely unpopular measure, though it might be unavoidable as a temporary one, say if you’ve just hired a new unit and haven’t built a barracks for them yet.
    (4A) If you do quarter units, you have the option of paying “rent” and upkeep to whoever the troops are quartered with, or you may simply compel whoever’s housing them to burden the costs. Which is even more unpopular.
    (4B) Cavalry cannot be quartered with your populace… and your aristocracy isn’t likely to be willing to put up with the abuse except perhaps in an emergency.

    - Reserve Status:
    (5) Infantry can be placed on “reserve” and assigned other tasks; each counts as half a unit of peasants.
    (5A) This in no way reduces their costs; it just gives you a bit more labor.
    (5B) Doing this too often or for too long can harm combat readiness, as well as create resentment among the troops.
    (5C) Since your infantry are also the people who collect your taxes, patrol your borders, and provide other policing duties, it’s a good idea to always have at least one unit active.
    (5D) Militia are always on “reserve” except when they’re mobilized.
    (5E) Cavalry and specialized units may never be put on reserve; they’re always “standing.”

    - Untrained Militia:
    (6) In an emergency, you can call upon your peasants to grab their rakes and hoes and form up for battle.
    (6A) You can mobilize up to one unit per 10 peasant units.
    (6B) Rather than reducing your workforce, this will cause an across-the-board hit to production, since drafts take place evenly across the population, and always takes the most fit workers first.
    (6C) These get paid the same as trained militia while mobilized.

    - Scutage:
    Historically, scutage was a tax paid by those who owed military service to their overlords to get out of providing it. Here, we use it to refer to the practice of providing such service as a whole–essentially the reverse of historical usage. (The tax to get out of it will be called a “tax.” Made more sense to me to use the specialized term for the service; easier to keep track of who owes what and why.)
    (7) All of your noble vassals are responsible for providing you with troops upon demand.
    (7A) These are in addition to your own troops; you do not bear the cost of maintaining them.
    (7B) How many each vassal provides depends on the noble’s rank.
    (7C) These are given in multiples of 0.1 units of troops; so, for instance, a lord might provide 0.2 cavalry and 0.3 infantry.
    (7D) When mobilized, these are simply combined with your other troops, without respect to “whose” they are. The exception to this is knights banneret: since the definition of “banneret” involves leading their own troops, these will act as separate units, albeit still under your overall command.
    (7E) When vassal troops are mobilized, vassals’ taxes are reduced or eliminated for that year.
    (7F) There’s no guarantee your vassals’ troops will be in your barony at any given time: many of them will hire theirs out in order to defray costs; a few might even go campaigning of their own accord because they enjoy it.

    (8) The same applies in reverse between you and your overlord: he can call up your troops (and through you, those of your vassals) as well.
    (8A) Likewise, you get a tax break if this happens.

    - Costs:
    Standing armies are very expensive. Not only do you have to feed your troops–well!–you have to clothe them, house them, equip them, maintain that equipment, train them, provide for support services (including feeding and stabling horses, if they have them), and give them some pocket change to spend on drink, gambling and prostitutes.
    (9A) Infantry costs begin at 20 thalers/person/month (1,000 thalers for a unit of 50).
    (9B) Cavalry costs begin at 35 thalers/person/month (700 thalers for a unit of 20).
    (9C) In both cases, heavy troops, archers, and specialized troops cost more.
    (9D) As long as your units are housed in your barracks, these amounts are reduced by 7.5 thalers/person/month (regardless of type).
    (9E) Infantry quartered with your populace receives the same cost reduction if you choose to pay for their upkeep.
    (9F) If you don’t pay for their upkeep, the cost reduction is double (15 thalers/head). You may be sure the loss of public good will more than offset this in the long run, though.

    (10) Trained militia costs 1 thaler/person/month per unit (100 thalers for a unit of 100) when not mobilized.
    (10A) Militia (regardless of type) costs 10 thalers/person/month (1,000 thalers per unit) when mobilized.
    (10B) If the militia never leaves your fief, this amount is reduced by 6 thalers/person/month.

    (11) In the field (i.e. outside of your barony), all troops must be paid for at full cost, unless you can find someone willing to cut you a discount on retail prices.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  10. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    These are the important people in your barony: your family, officers, other nobles, professionals, merchants, civic leaders, etc. They fall into four general classes:
    - Courtiers
    - Aristocracy
    - Burghers
    - Specialists

    (1) Courtiers:
    These include your family, other relatives, their families, and any miscellaneous persons of importance you may have accumulated about your household over time. What distinguishes them from the other classes of individuals is that these people don’t actually do anything… not necessarily, at least. You may assign them to certain tasks (see Baronial Officers below); you may arrange marriages for them with other nobles; you may use them as representatives or ambassadors (some may be representatives of other nobles, in which case they’re only “yours” in the sense of living with you); and so on. Otherwise, they just sit about drinking your wine until you find a use for them.
    (1A) In general, these are paid for as part of your keep’s staff. Exceptions will be noted if they occur. If you accumulate large numbers of courtiers, your expenses may rise.

    (2) Aristocracy:
    These are the other major landholders in your barony. Each has an estate, a very fancy dwelling (manor or chateau), some workable land, and peasants to work it with. They are subdivided into two groups:
    (2A) Nobility: those who have hereditary titles and some small amount of their own troops.
    (2B) Gentry: those who own land but who do not have hereditary titles; some (esquires) may have a pittance of soldiers, others (gentlemen) do not.
    (2C) Aristocrats pay their own expenses… and you get to tax them, too.

    (3) Burghers:
    Persons of importance in your settlements.
    (3A) Priests: self-explanatory.
    (3B) Aldermen: civic leaders who act as intermediaries between you and your subjects.
    (3C) Urban landlords: own housing and other properties in the settlements, which they rent, increasing your income.
    (3D) Mercantilists: craft masters, merchants, bankers, and the like. Some may provide bonuses to production or allow you to produce specialized goods you otherwise couldn’t.
    (3E) Professionals: the educated class–doctors, lawyers, and so forth.
    (3F) All of the above have a small chance of also being landed gentry (that is, own workable land outside the settlements) as well.
    (3G) Unless otherwise specified, burghers pay their own expenses. If you feel a need for certain ones, you can hire them in at your own cost.

    (4) Specialists:
    Highly-educated and unusually talented persons who tend to either provide wide-ranging benefits for your whole fief, narrower benefits in areas no others do (such as diplomacy), or whose skills are required for certain undertakings.
    (4A) Benefits vary too widely to be summarized.
    (4B) If the specialist is not in a money-making profession, you will have to pay them. Lots.

    These are the people responsible for keeping your barony running smoothly. You aren’t required to use all (or any) of them, but you may find conditions in your fief deteriorating if you do not. The usual ones are:

    - Seneschal (overall administration)
    - Chamberlain (administration of your keep and household)
    - Exchequer Minor (finances)
    - Reeve (justice)
    - Ensign (military)
    - Castellan (defense of your castle)

    These are the “formal” titles; what you call them is up to you (your “ensign” might be called “Captain of the Guard,” for example). You can always create additional offices if you like; whether or not these prove to be of any benefit will depend on what they are in charge of and how competent they are.

    You may appoint any of your courtiers to these positions; in most cases, you can appoint other vassals as well, if it seems likely they’d be more suited to the tasks. How competent each is at a given position will emerge over time.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  11. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    These are the things your barony produces directly: what you can harvest, herd, chop down or dig up. What resources each barony has is generated randomly, and generally does not change, though it is possible new resources may be discovered from time to time. Some resources will be consumed directly (food); others will require crafting into finished goods (metals, timber); a few will have both uses (grain can be eaten or turned into beer).

    (1) Agricultural resources:
    All farming and livestock-rearing resources, including textiles (flax, dyestuff) and food-related or non-food resources (herbs, spices, honey, flowers, wax).

    (2) Industrial resources:
    All mined/quarried resources, plus those derived from forestry (timber, resin, syrup).
    (2A) Includes most construction materials (and the rest are products made from these).

    (3) Collecting resources:
    At its most basic, 1 unit of peasants working 1 plot of land collects 1 unit of resource per month.
    (3A) Nearly all resources can benefit from some improvement or other; in some cases, there are several different improvements that can benefit a single resource. If so, the effects of these are cumulative.
    (3B) All resource collection benefits from higher Health and Happiness ratings, and to a lesser extent Access ratings; these too are cumulative. See Fief Stats for more information.
    (3C) In some cases, one or another of your vassals may provide additional benefits.
    (3D) Resource collection is affected by seasonal factors. Most agricultural goods have “harvest” months where production is dramatically increased. Winter negatively impacts all resource collection, even of industrial goods, since transportation becomes more difficult. Check the Calendar for specifics.
    (3E) Many agricultural products benefit from being worked year-round; thus, you should plan on assigning labor to these at the beginning of the year and not changing those assignments later. (This will also make labor assignment after the first month of each year much simpler.)

    (4) The “Trade Unit”:
    This is an abstraction of what a unit of populace can generate with a month’s work. As such, these are not all the same “size”: one unit of timber is a lot larger than one unit of gemstones. (4A) Each resource has its own monetary value; each product (see next section) has a value based on the input resources required, along with the amount of skill needed to make it.
    (4B) These values exist in a complex interrelation, so that, for example, a change in the price of copper will change the prices of at least six other items as well.

    [Note for the curious: all values have been based on the assumption that two, and only two, items have “constant” values: grain and money. If the value of grain were to change significantly, this would have a cascade effect altering the price of everything else.]


    LIST OF RESOURCES by Subtype

    • Cropland: dyestuff, flax/hemp, grain, vegetables
    • Horticulture: berries, flowers, fruit, herbs, olives, spices
    • Pasture: draft animals, horses, livestock, wool
    • Other (no subtype): fish, fur, honey, wax

    • Deposits: alum, clay, copper, decorative stone, gold, iron ore, lead, lime, marble, precious gems, salt, sand, semiprecious gems, silver, stone, tin, zinc
    • Forest: resin/tar, syrup, timber

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  12. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    Your barony comes with certain resources it can produce and certain amounts of land that can be worked to generate them. You have some flexibility in deciding which plots produce what. However, there is a limit to how much land of any given nature is available, and quite often resources compete with one another for the land they require. For instance, cultivation-intensive resources such as grain, flax, dyestuff and vegetables all require the same sort of land to grow in (cropland)… and while you can use any plot of cropland to make any of them, the total you make of all of them cannot exceed the total amount of cropland you have.

    The subtypes are separate from the land types of tracts: the latter determine how many plots of each type you begin with (plains give more cropland plots than do wetlands, for example).

    (1) To prevent excessive generation of certain resources, some have been given additional specific limits, expressed as percentages. Collection of these will be limited to that percentage of the land type they fall under, rounded up to the nearest whole number. So, for example, draft animals is limited to 25% of your total pasture plots: if you have 17 pasture plots, your maximum for draft animals would be 5.

    (2) The same limits apply separately to your personal estate: in the above example, if you have 7 estate plots, you can produce a maximum of 2 draft animals on it in addition to the 5 you could from your pasturage.

    (3) Used for: dyestuff, flax/hemp, grain, vegetables.

    (4) Used for: berries, flowers, fruit, herbs, olives, spices.
    (4A) Berries and olives both require orchard improvements as well (separate ones for each), so their production is further limited to five units per orchard built; they still count against the total number of horticulture plots available.
    (4B) Herbs are limited to 25% of total plots; spices to 20% of total plots. If orchards for these are built, each orchard can produce five units in addition to the percentages (though the maximum number of horticulture plots still applies).

    (5) Used for: dairy, draft animals, horses, livestock, wool.
    (5A) Dairy and wool are limited to 50% of total plots (each); draft animals to 25%, horses to 10%.

    (6) Used for: resin/tar, syrup, timber.

    Resources independent of subcategory:
    (7) Fish, fur, honey, wax, all metals and minerals, and berries (if collected in the wild rather than grown in orchards).
    (7A) Fish, fur and all deposit-based resources have their own limits, which do not affect and are not affected by anything else.
    (7B) Honey and wax both require the beehive improvement; the combined total of their production cannot exceed the production of the beehives you’ve built.
    (7C) Berries can also be collected in the wild, but in this case they will have a separate (and much lower) limit, as with (5A). This is in addition to the limit from horticulture plots.

    Changing subtypes:
    (8) Converting land between cropland, horticulture and pasture usage is possible.
    (8A) If the plot has been growing berries, fruit or olives, this is somewhat more involved, as you need to dispose of trees. Adding these is both more involved and takes considerably longer–you need to grow trees.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  13. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    What is made from resources. Some of these are made directly from a resource (flax is woven into cloth); some have intermediary steps (copper and tin are combined to make bronze, which is then used to make metal products). Most products require more than a single resource. Many also require craftsmen, a specific improvement, or both; a few require skills beyond those of craftsmen, found only among professionals or specialists.

    (1) Agricultural products:
    Those made primarily from agricultural resources, either food-based items (beer, wine, preserved meats) or made from plant or animal products (cloth and clothing, leather, rope).

    (2) Industrial products:
    Those made primarily from non-agricultural resources: metal, stone, mineral and wood products.
    (2A) Includes some construction materials such as brick and tile.

    (3) Production:
    As with collection, basic production involves 1 unit of populace putting out 1 unit of product per month—though unlike collection, in some cases this will be a peasant unit, in others a craftsman unit.
    (3A) The required resources to create a unit of finished goods depends on the product. In general, one unit of the primary component will be necessary; other components may be needed in comparable amounts, or may only make up a small portion of the whole. (Example: pickling requires one unit of vegetables, plus a small amount of salt or alum, or a moderate amount of vinegar.)
    (3B) Factors such as Health and Happiness affect production, as can improvements and skilled vassals. Access and seasonal/weather variations do not.


    "Intermediate" products are those that are not consumed as end products but rather are made into them; "Finished" products are consumed as end products; "Both" are products that may be consumed directly or be used to make end products.

    • Intermediate: dyed cloth, lacquer, leather, pigment, plain cloth
    • Finished: canvas, cheese, clothing, cosmetics, fine clothing, fine spirits, meat, medicine, parchment, perfume, pickle, preserves, rope, rugs, shoes, soap
    • Both: beer/ale, lace/hosiery, oil, spirits, sugar, vinegar, wine

    • Intermediate: brass, bronze, glass/enamel, glue, pewter, wrought iron
    • Finished: armor (heavy, light), brick, carts, ceramics, fine furniture, furniture, jewelry, metalware, plaster, tableware, tile, tools, trinkets, weapons
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  14. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    Covers just about anything you can build, from roads to irrigation to mills to defenses.

    Improvements are broken down into several broad categories (a couple of which have fuzzy borders):
    • Production: increases resource or product output, or is required for collection or production (beehives for honey, forge for metal).
    • Commerce: increases the flow of money, either directly (marketplace) or as a result of improving Access and thus encouraging goods to enter or cross your realm (roads).
    • Urban: improves life in settlements; includes expanding settlements to larger sizes.
    • Military: defenses and housing for troops.
    • Cultural: a broad category including educational, religious and entertainment, along with a couple items that didn’t fit in elsewhere.
    • Land: generally not available at the outset; most are large-scale projects that involve making radical changes to vast sections of your fief. Smaller ones involve clearing additional land one plot at a time, or exploring for new subsurface resources.

    (1) Building an improvement has two components: labor and resources.
    (2) Labor is given as the number of “unit-months” it takes to complete, a unit-month being the amount of work one unit of peasants can perform in a single month.
    (2A) In most cases, it is possible for up to three peasant units to work on building an improvement at one time, thus reducing the amount of time you have to wait for it to be finished.
    (2B) If your labor paradigm is serfdom, you can simply order your serfs to work on whatever you want them to.
    (2C) If your labor paradigm is anything else, you will either have to pay cash wages for construction labor, or institute unpopular policies to conscript it.
    (2D) You may always use the cash equivalent, even with serfdom, if you wish: it is assumed any labor hired thus comes from outside your fief, and does not cut into other work your peasants are performing for you.
    (2E) Some construction will also require skilled labor: architects, engineers, and so forth. These costs are not factored into the cost of labor; you will need to hire these persons in separately.
    (3) Resource requirements include construction materials, tools and carts to perform the work, and internal furnishing needed for operation.
    (3A) These have been converted to a cash equivalent for purposes of simplicity.
    (3B) If you want to get more detailed, you can provide some or all of the requirements from your own fief’s production to achieve a discount. There may still be a small cash requirement left over, covering minor outfitting or other costs.
    (3C) In many cases, more than one type of construction material can be used; the costs given are for minimal requirements (the cheapest possible options). Using better than minimum requirements results in a better outcome: sturdier, more fire-resistant, etc. Unless you specify, minimum requirements will always be assumed.

    (4) Most production improvements require only the labor that works there and the materials used in order to function; a few don’t even require these: their mere existence provides the benefits.
    (4A) Some have additional costs associated with their operation: forges and kilns, for example, both require fuel to burn. These are given as a monthly cash expense, which gets deducted prior to calculating profits.
    (4B) A few non-production improvements have operating costs as well, either in products (a laundry requires soap, for instance) or other expenses (an orphanage requires food); these are also given as monetary values.
    (4C) As with construction, it may be possible to reduce these costs where a product can be provided directly, if you care to.

    (5) Most improvements have a small annual cost for minor repair work, for replacing worn furnishing, etc.
    (5A) If a maintenance cost does not get paid on time, there is a chance the improvement will stop functioning; this is particularly true of roads (apart from paved roads, which never require maintenance).
    (5B) If an event causes an improvement to be damaged (but not destroyed), the cost of repairing it will be some multiple of the maintenance cost; until this is paid, the improvement will not be usable.



    armorer, beehives, brewery, craft hall, creamery, dairy, distillery, factory, fishing fleet, fishing wharf, forge/smithy, granary, irrigation, kiln, mill, mine, orchard, ore smelter, quarry, salt refinery, shipyard, slaughterhouse, smokehouse, stables, sugar refinery, tannery, timber lodge, vineyard, whaling ship

    bazaar, bridge, canal (barge), caravanserai, ferry, guildhall, lighthouse, marketplace, pier, road (highway), roads (basic, good, paved), road network, ship, shipping yard, town square, trading post, warehouse

    aqueduct, baths, cistern, city, cobbled streets, gutters, hamlet, housing, laundry, meeting hall, orphanage, paved streets, poorhouse/workshop, sewers, sidewalk, town, village, well, widen streets, woodlot

    bailey, barracks, castle, city/town wall, fortification (upgrade), keep, moat, palisade, watchtower

    artwork, benefice, chapel, chateau, church/temple (small, large), embassy, fountain, garden, library, manor, monument, posts, school, scriptorium, shrine, theater, tomb

    canal (small), clear land (rocky→uncleared→cleared), common land, convert plot type (cropland/horticulture/pasture), enlarge estate, expand tract, exploratory shaft, revitalize land (spent→distressed→normal), spread resource

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  15. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    Similar to the familiar “character stats” of other RPGs, your barony has its own set of stats. Unlike those of characters, they are not independent of one another; instead, some of them “feed” others, increasing their ratings. The order they are presented in reflects this relationship: no stat lower on the list feeds a higher one (thus, there is no circularity). The stats are:

    - Access, Organization, Local Commerce, Transit Commerce, Education, Health, Happiness

    (1) Beginning stats:
    (1A) Based largely on the physical facts of the barony itself. Rugged and wilderness terrain lowers Access; since Access feeds everything else directly or indirectly, this can result in other stats having low start values.
    (1B) Large urban populations may raise Commerce and Education, but can lower Health.
    (1C) Improvements, both those you receive randomly and the ones you choose, may have stat effects.

    (2) Changing stats:
    (2A) All can be changed over time by building new improvements.
    (2B) Stats can also change as a result of instituting certain policies–some of which may raise one stat while lowering another.
    (2C) Some stats may also change on their own as population changes: Health may drop if settlements become too crowded; Education may rise if the proportion of craftsmen increases.

    (3) Production:
    (3A) Health and Happiness have strong direct effects on all production within the fief.
    (3B) Access has a weak direct effect on resource collection.

    (4) Commerce ratings:
    (4A) These generate additional income, as an abstraction of day-to-day collection of various taxes, tolls and tariffs.
    (4B) Commerce has both a base rating number and a monetary value: the rating multiplied by the value determines income. Many things that affect Commerce will improve both rating and value; so, for instance, a marketplace gives both +1 to the rating and +10 thalers to the value of each point.

    - These are brief descriptions of each stat; more complete ones will appear in the “Information” thread.

    (5) Access: how easy it is to get about in the fief.
    (5A) Feeds everything else, directly or indirectly.
    (5B) Raised primarily by improving roads.

    (6) Organization (Communication): how easy it is to exercise control over the fief.
    (6A) Feeds Commerce and Education.
    (6B) Rises as a result of better Access.
    (6C) Some defensive and education improvements raise.

    (7) Commerce, Local and Transit: reflects the flow of goods in the fief; Local is goods made and sold within the fief, Transit is goods arriving from elsewhere or passing through.
    (7A) Both feed Happiness.
    (7B) Strongly affected by Access, somewhat less by Organization.
    (7C) Affected by level of urbanization.
    (7D) Strongly affected by commercial improvements such as marketplaces.
    (7E) Strongly affected by taxation policies.
    (7F) Very strongly affected by labor paradigm.
    (7G) Very strongly affected by amount of disposable income available to populace.

    (8) Education: the overall level of learning in the fief. Primarily a reflection of how much specialized knowledge is available, rather than of how much everyone knows.
    (8A) Determines chances of acquiring new technologies.
    (8B) Feeds Health and Happiness.
    (8C) Rises with better Access and Communication.
    (8D) Increases with number of craftsmen, professionals, priests and specialists, as well as various improvements.
    (8E) Very strongly affected by labor paradigm.

    (9) Health: an average of how fit your population is.
    (9A) Determines chances of natural population increase over time… or decrease, if it sinks too low.
    (9B) Feeds Happiness.
    (9C) Rises slightly with better Access, significantly with Education.
    (9D) Very strongly affected by urban conditions; falls with crowding, offset by a variety of improvements such as sewers, water sources and better housing.
    (9E) Very strongly affected by available resources such as greater food variety, medicine, shoes and rugs.

    (10) Happiness (Loyalty, Morale): how content your subjects are with their lives.
    (10A) Rises with Commerce and Education.
    (10B) Health can strongly affect as well, especially if it’s poor.
    (10C) Availability of resources beyond subsistence level, and disposable income to buy them, have strong effects.
    (10D) Religion also strongly affects–especially if yours doesn’t match that of your subjects. (10E) Military activity and policies can lower drastically, if temporarily.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2017
  16. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    Unlike most role-playing games, your character's stats are the least important ones you'll be dealing with—at least as far as game play goes. As an indicator of where you stand in relation to your peers, these three numbers are the best indicators of status—and success—you have.

    (1) Fame: quite simply, how well and how widely you're known.
    (1A) Begins at 1 for new barons, and that has more to do with people having heard of your fief than of you personally.

    (2) Influence: how much pull you have. Involves two main factors:
    (2A) Your rank: titles, offices, etc.
    (2B) Your connections: favors, deals, friends of friends, and so forth.
    (2C) Begins at 1 for new barons.

    (3) Reputation: what you're known for—which is a very different thing from how many people know it.
    (3A) Begins at 0 for new barons… unless you have something truly spectacular in your past. Which is unlikely to be a good thing, if so.
    (3B) Can never be higher than your Fame.
    (3C) Can aid or hinder the exercise of Influence.

    (4) Usually, these numbers don't see much "active" use: most of the time, it will only be your role-playing that matters. Every so often, one or more of these (usually Influence) may be applied as a modifier to a random roll, when you're trying to accomplish something of a political nature or as a result of an Event.

    (5) These numbers will change over time, as a result of your activities, including but not limited to:
    • politicking; receiving new offices or promotions; having or hiring certain vassals; building certain improvements; overt acts of piety; military distinction.
    (5A) To a certain extent, you can also "buy" your way up, at least as far as Fame is concerned: see "OStentation" (next section). Money can also be a great way to temporarily supplement your Influence as well (we call this a "bribe" in the Empire).
    (5B) Your vassals have stats of their own—including all three of these. Their activities can affect your rankings, too. On the other hand, if you happen to have a vassal with a stat that exceeds yours, you may be able to take advantage of the fact: say, by letting him handle your Influence actions at court.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  17. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    You're a noble: not everything revolves around exploiting your peasants. There wouldn't be a whole lot of point to exploiting them if it did… they're just peasants, after all. No, you exploit them for a reason: to get rich. This in turn allows you to buy things. One of the things you buy is the soldiery you use to continue that exploitation (and eventually to exploit other people's peasants); another is influence.

    A third is… well, "stuff." Stuff no one actually needs, unless they're trying to make a good impression on other people, especially those who can also buy stuff of their own. To a certain extent, he who dies with the most toys wins. Though to much larger (and more satisfying) extent, he who lives with the most toys wins. Pretty stuff. Stuff that makes people go "Ooh, Shiny!" Which is why it's capitalized "OStentation": it's a mnemonic. Think of it as your "Ooh, Shiny!" stat.

    So this is what you spend your money on when you can't think of anything else to spend it on (often, even when you can). Luxury goods of all sorts have an "Ooh, Shiny!" factor built into their costs… it's what makes furniture that's been nicely lacquered and upholstered worth so much more than furniture that looks like it was crafted by orthodontically-challenged beavers—and what makes furniture made from imported wood worth more still. It's what makes gemstones worth more than grain: the latter has a practical use, the former does not. But they sparkle more. It's why you'd bother building in marble rather than stone; why you provide your local priest with gold-plated chalices; why you stock the best vintages; why you keep a library of books you've never read, never will, and may not even be able to; why you don't settle for bare windows when you can have drapes and don't settle for drapes when you can have tapestries; why you'd go to the dreadful expense of hiring artists to paint every inch of exposed surface remaining after you're done putting up marble and hanging tapestries, and why you're happier when you have the opportunity to an artist that charges twice what your current one does. And so on.

    You do it so you can shine.

    The precise "mechanics" of OStentation aren't worked out yet (in "precise" terms, they may never be), but you can rest assured that the name of the game isn't "keeping up with the Johanssons" so much as "leaving them in the dust."

    After all, the first step to influencing people is to get their attention. Which in this neighborhood requires either the mule method (hit them with something), or making them stop, stare, and say… well, I'm sure you have it figured by now. :D
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  18. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    MONEY, part 1

    The basic unit of currency in Machiavel is the thaler (abbreviated “th”), a silver coin about the same size and weight of a U.S. dime. As a general rule, this will be the only denomination you have to deal with. There are also gold marks and copper pfennig, coins of the same size, worth 20 thalers and 1/20 of a thaler respectively; the former may occasionally be mentioned; the latter will rarely be (since you aren’t a peasant). For complete numismatic details—and assuming you care—see the “Setting” thread.

    What follows is likely more detailed than you feel a need to know, as well. In particular, sections (5) and (6) only come up once a year, section (7) functions purely automatically, and sections (8) through (13) can be ignored altogether if you wish. Once you feel comfortable with things, you can decide if you want to start playing around with changes and details. Sections (14) through (19) repeat information that appears elsewhere; section (20) you’ll probably want to be aware of at least peripherally. Sections (21) through (23) are things that don’t require decisions so much as to be on the lookout for.

    How You Get It:
    (1) Collecting and selling resources.
    (1A) The main thing your peasants do, at least for now. They bring it in, you sell it. Your primary source of income at the outset, though others might exceed it later.

    (2) Making and selling products.
    (2A) What your craftsmen, and possibly some peasants, are doing with resources. They buy from you—to the extent they can, which makes it in your interest to collect what they need— from which you make money; they make products and sell them, from which you get a cut of the profits (see the next two sections).

    (3) Taxing income and sales.
    (3A) Though completely different, these are handled together here, to form the overall basis for the noble’s non-production finances. (Basically, it uses the oversimplification that one person’s purchase equals another’s income, so it all comes out the same.)
    (3B) The default tax rate is 20% on all your subjects.
    (3C) You may set different tax rates for different classes (craftsmen, burghers, nobles) if you wish; these should be instituted as “Policies” (see that section). (Changing the tax rate for peasants is a largely, though not entirely, symbolic gesture.)

    (4) Usage fees.
    (4A) These are fees you charge for the use of commercial improvements you build—your “cut.”
    (4B) The default rate is 30% of the profits from the product made. This is in addition to taxes from sales, so in total you make 50% of the profits of products made in improvements you own.
    (4C) You do not get a usage fee for improvements you do not own.

    (5) Taxing land.
    (5A) All the landholders in your fief pay an annual tax of 200 th per plot they own. It gets collected at the beginning of the 10th month… which is also when yours are owed to your overlords. (See below.)
    (5B) Exception: benefices do not get taxed.
    (5C) Other real estate, such as manors and privately-owned improvements, can be taxed as well.

    (6) Capitation (head tax).
    (6A) This is an annual per-person tax your subjects owe you: the term is used somewhat loosely here, since the amount is not the same for every subject. It is collected the same time property taxes are.
    (6B) Peasants pay a capitation of 1 th/year (100 th/year/unit).
    (6C) Craftsmen pay a capitation of 10 th/year (200 th/year/unit).
    (6D) Most individual vassals pay a capitation of 100 th/year, unless they hold titles, in which case it depends on the title.
    (6E) Ecclesiastic vassals (priests, etc.) don’t pay taxes under the current system, though a few might be taxed for other reasons (e.g. if they own land of their own, as opposed to benefices).
    (6F) Keep in mind that if you call up troops from your vassals, their dues will be reduced or eliminated for that year.

    (7) Urban rents.
    (7A) Your urban landlords generate a small but steady stream of income for you: 200 th per month, from rents charged to tenants living in your settlements.

    (8) Tolls.
    (8A) These are fees imposed upon people or goods passing within or through your fief, usually at obvious chokepoints (which makes them a lot easier to collect); in general, they are set amounts, say one pfennig per person, or five per cart, to use the ferry.
    (8B) At the most basic level, these are handled as part of your Commerce rating.
    (8C) You may alter these in non-specific ways, by raising or lowering the amount each point of Commerce is worth.
    (8D) You may also impose additional ones if you like, and have some obvious chokepoint to impose them at (a bridge, a port, etc.).
    (8E) Changing tolls, or levying or eliminating specific ones, may have an effect on the total amount of trade, depending on how great the change is.

    (9) Tariffs.
    (9A) These are fees imposed upon goods entering or leaving your fief; in general, they are set amounts per container-weight of a particular type of good (bag of grain, barrel of beer, etc.).
    (9B) At the most basic level, these are handled as part of your Commerce rating, as with tolls.
    (9C) As with tolls, you may alter these in non-specific ways.
    (9D) You may also impose additional ones specific to a given good, if you happen to know that good enters or leaves your fief (with non-specific changes, you don’t). In this case, they will be assessed per unit of good crossing your borders.
    (9E) Changing tariffs, or levying or eliminating specific ones, may have an effect on the total amount of trade, depending on how great the change is.

    (10) Selling licenses and concessions.
    (10A) Stamp duty: a fee levied for affixing a stamp to a document. This won’t come up often; mainly it will appear in connection with land sales and inheritances.
    (10B) Licenses: you can require professionals and businessmen to pay one-time or annual fees in order to be allowed to practice. Annual fees should be instituted as “Policies” (see that section); one-time fees for permission to start up are up to you.
    (10C) Concessions: covers a wide range of possibilities, including allowing assayers to look for mineral deposits, or allowing a guild or other organization to acquire exclusive rights to develop a resource or make a product. Can be one-time or annual; amounts are up to you, though the more you charge, the more they’ll want something in return—such as tax breaks.
    (10D) Construction permits: allow someone else to build an improvement in your fief. The advantage is you don’t have to pay for the construction; the disadvantage is you don’t get a usage cut (see above).
    (10E) Anything else you can think of to impose fees on.

    (11) Sales of real property.
    (11A) You can sell land that you own (i.e. estate plots), or improvements you’ve built. Check the market for going rates.

    (12) Loans.
    (12A) If you can find a moneylender (in your fief or elsewhere), you can take out loans. You may also be able to get loans from other nobles, your overlords in particular.
    (12B) The default interest rate is 1% per month.
    (12C) Payment on premiums is negotiable, though the default assumption is that you will make a single lump-sum payment when the term of the loan is up, or earlier if you’re ready to (it’s simpler that way… though it also reflects historical practice).
    (12D) Lenders will often expect you to provide securities for loans, of course.
    (12E) Alternately, you can make loans to others and collect interest yourself.

    (13) Everything else.
    (13A) It is impossible to list everything that could get taxed—particularly since everything from chickens to marriages to windows to urine has been taxed at some point in human history, somewhere or other.
    (13B) Nor is every source of income a tax: one-time mandatory “contributions” are a popular way to raise emergency cash, for instance. Sale of offices is another, if you’re high enough up to grant them. Other popular ways to make money include: minting it—which will require a source of coinage metal, a mint, and probably a license from the empire (which of course they’ll charge you for); fees for owning, buying or selling specific types of goods; issuing subscriptions (i.e. bonds: these work roughly the same way loans do); plus of course seizure of assets, looting, piracy, accepting bribes and kickbacks, blackmail, renting out your troops, imposing tribute on a conquered realm, debasing currency, counterfeiting, committing fraud on government contracts, or the lowest of the low, state monopolies.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  19. Ravana

    Ravana Istar

    MONEY, part 2

    Where It Goes:
    (14) Labor.
    (14A) In serfdom, you are handling the basic needs—food, clothing, housing, tools, etc.—of your peasants. This is calculated as a monthly cost, and is deducted from your income. It is a very bad idea to try to go below the baseline cost, as it will lead to lower Health and Happiness.
    (14B) You may want to pay more than the baseline: to provide disposable income for your peasants to spend, or to provide them with additional or higher-quality goods to improve their lives (and Health and Happiness).
    (14C) For labor other than serfs, you don’t need to worry about any of this (though you may still want to occasionally intervene to see that certain extras are available for their consumption); you’ll pay the going rate for labor when you need to hire some for construction, but otherwise the peasants are on their own. You just sit back and collect their taxes. Your income may not be as high, since you no longer control the resources themselves, but if micromanagement isn’t your thing this is the way to go.

    (15) Salaries.
    (15A) Your keep staff has a default cost of 1,000 thalers/month; this covers all its basic needs and functions.
    (15B) If you hire in additional officers, specialists or other individuals, you may need to pay extra for them. Likewise, if you want to hire in someone of known competence even to fill a normal post (say, recruiting an accountant with a reputation for finding money-saving loopholes in imperial tax codes to be your exchequer), you’ll probably have to pay extra there, too.
    (15C) This also applies to anyone else you want on your payroll, whether they work in your keep or not. Specialists can get very expensive; on the other hand, it would be a rare instance where they aren’t more than worth the cost, especially in the long term.

    (16) Military.
    (16A) See that section for basic costs. A complete cost breakdown will be presented in the “Lists and References” thread.

    (17) Construction.
    (17A) The obvious. Refer to the “Improvements” sections in the “Lists and References” thread for costs.
    (17B) You can defray a certain amount of the costs, in many cases, by providing some construction materials yourself, and possibly by providing labor, both of which are included in the cash costs given. Ask if you’re interested in the details.

    (18) Maintenance.
    (18A) Maintenance is an annual cost to keep certain improvements—roads in particular—in good working order. The good news is if you’re using serfs (and haven’t eliminated the corvée: see “Policies” below), this is handled at no further expense or effort: you don’t even need to assign labor to it.
    (18B) If you are not using serfs, or have eliminated the corvée, you’re going to need to spend at least part of the listed maintenance costs; if you’ve done both of these, maintenance costs will reflect the going rate of labor.

    (19) Operating costs.
    (19A) Monthly costs reflecting expenses involved in operating certain improvements, apart from buying any materials involved in making products. These costs only change if the factors they’re based on change, so your only decision is to pay them or shut the improvement down for a while.

    (20) Annual dues.
    (20A) You collect them, you have to pay them as well. For a baron holding a single fief, the amount owed annually is 11,000 thalers. This breaks down as follows:
    • to the immediate overlord: 5,000 per fief, plus a flat 1,000 based on the title.
    • to the region (governor): 1,000 per fief, plus a flat 500.
    • to the empire: 2,500 per fief, plus a flat 1,000.
    These numbers allow you to calculate what happens if you find yourself holding more than one barony. Note that you only pay your immediate overlord, not every overlord between you and the emperor. Unless some mediate overlord gets greedy, at any rate.
    (20B) Your estate plots do not get taxed—or, rather, you’re taxing them yourself, since they’re part of your barony. Any fortified structures you own are taxed: 1,000 th for a basic keep, varying amounts for other structures. (This gets paid only to your immediate overlord.)
    (20C) As with your vassals receiving reductions when providing you with troops, you will receive reductions when you do so as well.
    (20D) Full details for multiple fiefs, higher-level titles and so on will appear in the “Lists and References” thread.

    (21) Everything else.
    Gifts, bribes, licenses, loan interest… pretty much if it’s a way you can bring it in, it’s also a way for someone else to do so.

    Circumstances Beyond Your Control:
    (22) Overlords, Governors, and the Empire.
    You get to collect taxes, tariffs, tolls, etc.; so do they. You get to change them; so do they. Changes will take one of three forms:
    (22A) Changes to annual dues: every so often, someone at a higher level comes up with new ides for increasing revenue. In fact, this is probably happening all the time, but minor ones will be ignored—there’s no point in worrying about whether your duke’s chimney tax is two pfennigs or three. Only those with a net effect of 100 th/year will get mentioned, and those will be rare, since they tend to prompt objections from people who actually have the power to make meaningful ones.
    (22B) One-time imposts: what it says. Someone at some level decides he needs some quick cash; you and your peers get to cough up lump sums. Not much different from the above, except for being isolated occurrences.
    (22C) Changes to tariffs, tolls, etc.: these are being collected for the empire (and other levels) right alongside what’s coming in from your Commerce ratings. A change in one of these doesn’t change the amount your rating points are worth, since you weren’t seeing this part of it to begin with; however, it might change the Commerce ratings themselves—yours, and those of every other fief that’s affected. You may be able to compensate for this by making your own adjustments, depending on how great the change is; losing a few thalers per point may well be worth it to preserve the rating point itself, especially as values climb.
    (22D) Campaign financing: no matter how expensive keeping standing armies seems, actually using them is even more so. Your overlords may hit you up for a portion of such expenses, even if you’re also providing troops. No different from one-time imposts, really, apart from being more predictable.

    (23) Events (aka “everything else”).
    Supply and demand changes, driven by fashion, tastes, and money supply; trade routes grow and die, new products compete with old ones. Wars interrupt traffic, creating local surpluses or shortages, as well as increased demand for certain items and reductions in available labor; casualties must be replaced; if you’re unlucky enough for one to pass through your fief, improvements may be damaged or destroyed. Bad weather ruins harvests. Evil omens stir unrest. New discoveries afford new opportunities. And so on. Apart from keeping a comfortable cushion in your treasury, there’s little you can do about most of these. Fortunately, they don’t happen too often.…

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
  20. Ravana

    Ravana Istar


    The way your fief is run… at least officially. Whether or not you follow your own laws, and how scrupulously, is your decision; just keep in mind that if anyone has the wherewithal to take you to court over it, these will form the basis upon which the case will be judged. Policies can be changed over time, though it’s not a good idea to be changing them all the time: your peasants tend to prefer boring predictability, even when it’s onerous predictability. Your other vassals will favor predictability more strongly still, though they’ll have greater objections to “onerous” parts. Your trading partners also prefer consistency, as do your overlords; the Empire is quite keen on the notion.

    Of course, most of these they won’t object to changes that advance their own interests. Some may go as far as to demand them, or even try to impose them. It is an unfortunate truism that any change that pleases one party will almost always offend another… often leaving you in the position of either choosing to offend or accepting the offense yourself.

    The following policies have already been addressed above:
    (1) Your labor paradigm (under “Peasants”);
    (2) The various taxes, tariffs, tolls, etc. you collect (under “Money”).

    In addition, three other policies are assumed to be in place at start, and are considered the norm throughout the Empire:
    • corvée
    • guilds allowed
    • tithing

    (3) Corvée: this is the practice of requiring your peasants to provide labor for the maintenance of improvements in your fief—especially roads. (The name comes from the immensely popular French practice… though they were hardly the only ones to use it. On the other hand, to the best of my knowledge they’re the only ones to have reintroduced a form of it in the 21st century.…)
    (3A) For serfdom, you merely tell your peasants where to go and what to do. As long as you keep feeding them and handling their other basic needs, one type of work is little different from another to them. This will automatically cover the annual maintenance costs of your improvements, without requiring you to do (or spend) anything further. This has a small negative effect on Happiness, but it’s simple and cheap.
    (3B) For any other paradigm (or if you eliminate the corvée), this becomes more complicated, as working on your improvements isn’t their job any more… and working on your improvements takes them away from the things they need to do to pay you.
    (3C) If you pay them the going rate for cash wages—normally around 400 th/unit/month—they won’t object too strenuously. You may use the corvée to require them to work for less, but this can cause unhappiness, especially if you do this too often or get too cheap about it.

    (4) Guilds Allowed: this may or may not have any immediate effect, depending on whether or not there are any guilds in your fief. While this is the default policy within the empire, some nobles have forbidden guilds in their fiefs, either because they believe that fewer restrictions on trade improve their bottom line, or because they favor state monopolies and don’t want the competition.
    (4A) Allowing guilds makes it more likely for craftsmen to move into your fief if they are part of a guild that already exists there, or if they want to set one up.
    (4B) Conversely, it makes it less likely for craftsmen to move into your fief if this would put them in competition with an existing one—and an existing one will do everything in its power to prevent them from doing so. Including expecting you to enforce their exclusivity.

    (5) Tithing: your popluace is expected (i.e. required) to tithe regularly to support the religious establishments in your fief.
    (5A) For peasants, this is a set amount: 1 pfennig per month per person (5 th/mo per unit). For which they’d better have some income to part with.
    (5B) For craftsmen and vassals with their own production-based incomes, this is a percentage of their post-tax income: 10%. Which is why priests love working in large urban areas.
    (5C) For vassals without production-based (or otherwise variable) incomes, this goes to a set amount again, determined by exactly what their position is; it comes out to about 10% of what they’d be expected to make if their income were calculated as a separate number.
    (5D) You only have to shell out 5%. Don’t you feel lucky? [This is primarily to compensate for the fact that much of your income has already been through one round of tithing before it gets to you. It’s easier to do it this way than to keep two sets of books.]
    (5E) You also get to deduct 100 th/month from your own tithes per benefice you’ve provided your priests… though you do not get to deduct anything if anyone else has provided it.
    (5F) These numbers can be adjusted up or down: each 1% change in the base rate changes your rate by 0.5%. Peasant tithing goes up/down 1 th/mo per unit for each change of 2%.
    (5G) Changes may provoke objections from other parties—such as the priesthood.

    Other policy options will be introduced over time. Any you can think of, you’re welcome to suggest, though it’s a good idea to check with someone familiar with imperial law prior to instituting them. (Slavery, for instance, is definitely not allowed. That’s what serfdom and the corvée are for.)

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2012
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