The Overlords Guide to Kingdom Building


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My first attempt at a guide is to explain kingdom building choices and how to make reasonable decisions.

I won't be able to edit this post so here is the Google docs version which I will try and keep updated: The Overlords Guide to Kingdom Building

Introduction

Pinky: "Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight"
Brain: "The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world!"

To be successful at kingdom building you must understand the fundamental building blocks and the interrelationships of all the component parts. To do that properly means doing a mathematical analysis of all the components and performing multiple experiments in kingdom building. Or, you could just follow this guide.

This guide tries to answer many questions about kingdom building, for example:

  • What is a good expansion strategy?
  • When should I establish farms?
  • Where should I build roads?
  • Are edicts worthwhile or a waste of resources?
  • What are the most cost effective buildings to use?

These and other questions are answered. The recommendations are backed up by both practical campaign experience and mathematical analysis. So hopefully you will be able to create a sustainable and highly successful kingdom from the outset.

Kingdom Basics

Your kingdom has three primary characteristics:

  • Economy - generates income to power your kingdom
  • Stability - holds your kingdom together
  • Loyalty - tests you kingdom's spirit when the going gets tough

Economy and Stability you need every month. Loyalty you need infrequently unless you are at war. Ideally we want them all within 2 of our Command DC and never fail a roll (except on a natural one which is always a fail). You likely won't have that luxury until you enter the middle game. The kingdom building rules and initial BP set up are designed so that you have to take some risks and thereby generate adventure. You may not want to totally eliminate risk, just reduce it to your required level of fun.

So how should we prioritise:

  • Economy is the most important at first - without income you can't expand, build or do anything to offset bad things happening. Later this will become your least important characteristic.
  • Stability is the second most important - it is worth 1 BP per month and offsets minor events. You can afford the fun events that come from failing this occasionally. You cannot afford to fail this consistently. The importance of this characteristic stays the same throughout the game.
  • Loyalty is the one you can least afford to invest in at first as you don't need it very often, though you can't ignore it. In times of war this will rise to be your most important characteristic.

At the outset aim to get Loyalty within 10 of you Command DC and the other two stats within 5, or as near as you can get to that, with Economy first and Stability second. Adjust leader bonuses accordingly to achieve this. At this level you will fail roughly one in four Economy or Stability rolls and one in two Loyalty rolls. This is about the best you can do at the outset.

Build up Economy to 33 initially to support medium magic item sales and then to 48 to support major magic item sales. Once it reaches 48 Economy switches to your lowest priority. Your main source of income should now be magic items and income from Economy will be less critical.

  • Note that a roll of a one is always a fail so you only need to raise Economy to within 2 of the target number for selling magic items. The magic item Economy DC is 35 for medium items and 50 for major items.

Try and raise both Stability and Loyalty to within 5 of your Command DC, the closer the better. You probably won't achieve that for a while unless you expand really slowly.

Build Points, Farms and Consumption

Build Points or BP are not a direct measure of cash rather it is measure of economic activity similar in concept to GDP in our world. Despite the initial set up you are not investing cash, you are guiding economic activity.

Note there are two kinds of BP:

  • Farm BP: which are created continuously by farms and can only be used to pay for kingdom consumption. Any excess Farm BP is lost.
  • Economy BP: which are created by buildings and other events and can be used to pay for both consumption and buildings. These are automatically carried over for future use.

Key fact: The exchange rate between Economy and BPs are 5 Economy = 1 BP. Understanding this relationship implicitly is the key to making good kingdom building decisions.

Always keep net consumption at zero. Paying for consumption with Economy BP is not sensible.

Edicts

"You will obey", Dalek Khan

Raise Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 3 as long as you have the farms to pay for the consumption.

Raise Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 4 only if you have the building that reduces the appropriate consumption cost for that edict (Cathedral and Arena).

  • Edicts are a great way to raise your Stability, and Loyalty ratings by a small amount relatively cheaply. They can be paid for by Farm BP or Economy BP. Farms continuously generate BP without further investment. Whereas Economy BP must be paid every month (and noting our key fact above - it took 5 Economy to generate each BP). So the moral is never pay for Edicts with Economy BP, only ever pay with Farm BP and don't pay at all unless you have the spare Farms to back it up.
  • The Promotion and Festivals Edicts are good deals up to level 3. Generally the first level is fantastic value for money, the second level is very good value for money, the third level is good value for money and the fourth is poor value for money unless you have many grassland farms to spare. It is not worth going to level 4 if you have to use hill farms to do so. So always produce surplus farms to get the edicts up to level 3.
  • Edicts don't count towards build limits so you can vary these every month without restriction.

Always keep the Taxation edict at 'none'.

  • The Taxation Edict is a very poor deal and I would always leave this as 'none'. It adds to Economy at the expense of Loyalty. Remembering that 5 Economy = 1 BP, then using the Taxation edict is rating Loyalty at a cost of 7.5-11.25 BP per point (depending on level of Taxation used). This is clearly a poor deal compared to common buildings such as a Dump, Monument or Library. It is also completely different to the other edicts in structure. It would need to generate BP rather than Economy to be worth considering.

Farms

Establish farms to pay for consumption and to pay for Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 3. They are several times better at paying for consumption than any alternative. Essentially this means that initially you should always establish a farm every month that you expand. Raise edict levels as new farms are established keeping net consumption at zero.

  • Farms generate the equivalent of one net BP per month for a cost of 2 or 4 BP (for grassland and hill hexes). Note one of the two BP it generates pays for the farm hex itself so is not counted. (Though astute observers may note that each excess farm that is not being used to sustain hexes or city districts generates the full 2 BP so perhaps we should say they generate up to 1.5 BP.)
  • One Farm BP is the equivalent of having at least an extra 5 Economy which would cost around 15 BP to purchase using roads or buildings. One farm BP (half a farm) cost either 1 or 2 BP to establish. There is no contest, always use Farm BP where you can.
  • Therefore on the first month of kingdom building establish a farm - it pays for the base consumption for the city hex and the farm hex. Next month establish another farm to pay for the city and the farm hex.
  • Obviously establish a farm for every two hexes you have as the first of the two hexes claimed to pay for both hexes consumption.
  • Obviously establish farms on grassland first as this is cheaper. Claim hexes in a sequence to get to grasslands as quickly as possible from your cities. So you might for example have a narrow line of hill hexes leading from your capital city to a large grassland area.
  • Farms are an extra build that you can make in addition to your monthly building limit which is valuable.
  • Using additional farms to boost Edict levels is the only cost effective method to do so. Establish additional farms to boost your Promotion and Festivals edicts to level 3.

Roads

Always build maximum roads on all available grassland and hills

  • They generate 2 Economy and 1 Stability for 8BP (on grassland or hills). This is slightly cheaper in cost than the cheapest buildings. Though with the occasional bridge required this will work out roughly the same cost as the cheaper buildings.
  • You need roads to get your farms going anyway, and they make travel faster.
  • Roads are an extra build that you can make in addition to your monthly building limit which is valuable.

Don't build roads on other types of terrain unless you have to. The cost of building roads on other terrain types is uneconomical compared to buildings.

Buildings

Build the cheapest buildings to raise your Economy, Stability and Loyalty to the target levels. You should initially focus on buildings that combine Economy and one other bonus, either Stability or Loyalty. Once Economy reaches 48 you can stop focussing on Economy and be more flexible.

Use buildings to keep your Economy, Stability and Loyalty within target ranges so you can keep expanding. However, use magic item generating buildings for your main source of income.

  • The best way of generating income with buildings is with those that generate magic items. For example it takes at least 30 months to pay for a Mill from the income it generates from Economy. It takes only 4 months to pay for a Black Market. A black Market is the cheapest source of Major magic items provided you have enough Economy to consistently make your major item selling role of 50.
  • Note: You are limited to one magic item sale per district per month. So never build more than one magic item generating building per district. You are better off BP wise building a new city than trying to fill districts. So when you can afford to buy the next Black Market - start a new city.
  • The one per district limit means you need to maximise the output of the magic item creation building in that district. Therefore always use a Major Magic item building, usually a Black Market, as this is the cheapest.

The core build list, including non-buildings to show your best buy choices, most economical first:

  • Grassland Farm: the cheapest build to support consumption and to support level 1-3 Promotion and Festivals Edicts
  • Hill Farm: still great value though not as good as Grassland farms
  • Caster's Tower (1 off): build one at the start of the game to get the BP flowing
  • Black Market and 2 houses (1 per city district): the income generator of choice
  • Edicts level 1-3: Promotion and Festivals - supported by farms
  • Monument: the cheapest build to get Loyalty fast' use in the middle game to support expansion
  • Dump: the cheapest build to get both Loyalty and Stability. Use in the middle game to support expansion, especially if you have a Town Hall which halves the price of Dumps
  • Roads: the cheapest build to get Economy and Stability
  • Brothel and House: the cheapest build to get Economy and Loyalty
  • Library: cheap Economy and Loyalty
  • Mill/Smith/Tannery: cheap Economy and Stability

Defence

In the middle game consolidate your defences and build a defensive structure every month or so. Generally you only build defensive structures in the middle and late game once you have multiple cities, unless you are threatened or need a quick unrest fix. The buildings to use, in decreasing order of preference, are:

  • City Wall: use to reduce large unrest quickly and cheaply
  • Castle: only buy these in the middle game when you have lots of BP to spare. They are a quick way to quell unrest, boost defence and support expansion in one package.
  • Watchtower: once you have a castle and still want to increase defence this is one choice
  • Barracks: and this is the other

Variety

This isn't just a resource planning exercise but a simulation of a kingdom and cities. Once you have three or four cities/districts churning out major magic items consistently then you have critical mass of income and can build practically anything you want. The list above is still the most cost effective. Though you probably want to add variety to your city and not focus as much on cost efficiency.

You might for example found a new city or district with a Magic Shop or a Waterfront instead of a Black Market. This is the time to start to indulge the creative side and build a large and varied capital city. Perhaps adopt some realism limit into your city planning. A simple reality house rule adopted in our campaign is: never build more of any building type than the number of houses in that city. This encourages variety and avoids cities filled for example with Dumps and Monuments.

Building Discounts

"It's a trap!" Admiral Ackbar

Don't get suckered into getting discounts with building chains in the early game. Keep it simple and just use a core list of cheap buildings. Buying an expensive building that gives you discounts early on will use all your BP and you will likely never catch up with the delay incurred.

Of course once you have BP to spare and start to add variety then take full advantage of all the discount chains. For example once you have a Castle then certainly build a Town Hall as this opens up cheaper Dumps, Barracks and Watchtowers, which you will be buying a lot of.

Size Matters

In the middle game with the BP flowing thick and fast you will want to fill city districts as fast as possible to get to the next district and to use your BP to best advantage. The obvious way to do this is with buildings that occupy more than one block. Buildings such as the Town Hall and Noble Villa are obvious choices, but all the size 2 buildings are OK choices once they are discounted.

All the size 4 buildings are one per city and you should plan to build one of each in the middle game in your capital city at least.

Magic Items

Buildings that sell Magic Items are critical for generating sufficient income to run your kingdom. This is because these buildings typically have a much shorter payback period than other Economy based buildings. Return on investment in medium and major magic item buildings is measured in months not years. Such buildings sell minor, medium or major magic items.

Once per district per month you can attempt to sell one, and only one, magic item from that district with different target numbers for each type of item. Each item sold generates BP as follows:

  • Minor 1 BP (but only if the item costs 4000gp or more)
  • 8 BP
  • Major 15 BP

As you can see buildings that sell minor magic items are unreliable sources of income, because only items that cost 4000gp or more can be sold this way to generate BP and many minor items cost less than this. The item slot can therefore become blocked by an item of less than this value unless the PCs buy it themselves.

Buildings that sell major items are clearly the best choice as they maximise the use of scarce resources, in this case city districts.

However at the start of the game you may have insufficient BP to buy a major magic item building. It takes 56 BP to build the cheapest one a Black Market (including the two required houses). Therefore you should build the cheapest medium item generator first to kick start your Economy. This is the Caster's Tower.

Expansion

"Baby Bears Porridge, just right"

The rules are set up so that expansion benefits your kingdom. You just need to expand at the right rate. Too fast and unrest can surge leading to your kingdom breaking apart. Too slow and your kingdom will never be a major player.

Only expand when you can afford the consumption using farms.

As mentioned before paying for consumption using Economy BP requires you to spend BP every month. Paying for consumption using Farm BP requires you to spend BP once.

Only expand if you can keep all your statistics in target ranges.

  • At the beginning, only expand when your Economy and Stability are within five of your Command DC and your Stability is within 10.
  • You want to build this up to having your Economy roll within 2 of the Command DC and both the other two within 5 of Command DC as soon as you can.
  • Keeping your statistics within reach of the Command DC may be your limiting factor on expansion for most of the game.

Otherwise expand as fast as you can.

New Cities and Districts

Build a new city whenever you can afford to pay the 60 to establish a farm, clear the land and build 2 houses and a Black Market. It's as simple as that. Though don't abuse this with cities that contain only 3 buildings scattered across the landscape.

Put the buildings that support expansion mostly in one city so that you will fill up a city grid and be able to boost income by building another major magic item generating building there.

Coming of Age

There are several events that mark the successful foundation of a solid kingdom, and the transition from the early game into the middle game, that all tend to occur around the same time. These are:

  • Magic item income is available from three city districts. Once BP income starts really taking off then you will find you have much more freedom to do what you want.
  • Economy reaches 48: before this point Economy was your primary focus. You wanted to guarantee your major magic item sales. Now it is virtually guaranteed it becomes relegated to an afterthought.
  • Claimed hexes reaches 26: before this point you may well find yourself constrained by the per-month build limits. This shouldn't be as constrained now, though you still won't be able to do everything you want.
  • All statistics are within 2 of Command DC, if not higher.

Up until the now it is possible that at times it felt like a treadmill to keep expanding and building your statistics to keep pace with expansion. Once you satisfy all the above criteria then you can pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It is time to start adding a larger variety of buildings and to put your personal stamp on the kingdom.

In this guide I refer to the time before this point as the 'early game' and after this point as the 'middle game'.

Withdrawals

"It's a justifiable business expense, I swear"

An option that may appeal to characters is to make withdrawals from the kingdom to support their lifestyle and buy magic items. In a well-run kingdom with a significant BP reserve it is a viable tactic to withdraw a handful of BP per month, perhaps 5. In the middle game when you have a good source of income you will build any unrest away quickly, make the required Stability and Loyalty rolls consistently and even if you fail will recover quickly.

So the limiting factor here is not whether you can withdraw cash from the kingdom, but whether you should. This could unbalance a campaign quickly by adding 10,000 GP to character's gear every month.

Discretionary Leader bonuses

There isn't really much to be said about where best to put leader bonuses. Just follow the recommendations above around the target levels for your statistics.

At first you will likely put one or two of the discretionary bonuses into Economy. These can be adjusted every month to suit any current shortfall. Once Economy reaches 48 without discretionary bonuses, you will switch discretionary bonuses to the statistics that need it most, as they need it.

Leader Death

The vacancy penalties when a leader dies are severe and you are likely looking at a ten point reduction in that leader's contribution to one of the kingdom statistics for that month. If two leaders die or you get a TPK then your kingdom could be in serious trouble. In the early game you likely have to just accept this. In the middle game you can provide some insurance against this by raising kingdom statistics above the Command DC.

Outliers

Two areas are obvious outliers in the system: the Taxation edict and magic item BP income. The Taxation edict is underpowered and won't get used. The Magic Item income BP is high for the required investment and will always get used though this does not break the system. The Magic Item rules can be abused by having many very small cities or districts, each containing just a magic item generating building. Keep it real.

It is also possible using Magic Item income to have kingdoms with no farms at all as you can pay for consumption with Economy BP. You could find yourself with Golarion's first mega-city with no obvious source of food if you let it. Though that would take a very long time.

Conclusion

The kingdom rules hang together well providing the capability to keep on expanding at a rate consistent with your maximum income. Expansion is rewarded if done at the right pace and it can be very satisfying to build your kingdom. Beware of trying to force it or of chasing kingdom XP rather than doing it right. Building realistic cities, in sensible places, with a large variety of buildings and solid defence are the mark of a believable and mature kingdom. Have fun with it.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looks good, I linked this to my players, with the knowledge that Optimisation guides are useful, but not the be all and end all. I want their kingdom to reach a point where they can be creative with it.

Grand Lodge

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
Looks good, I linked this to my players, with the knowledge that Optimisation guides are useful, but not the be all and end all. I want their kingdom to reach a point where they can be creative with it.

I too will forward this to my players!


This is a fine mechanical optimization guide for kingdom building, and viewed as such, I commend you on it.

However, the main thing I think it highlights are the weaknesses in the kingdom building rules, which lend themselves to overemphasis on the magic item economy and, if used in an optimal way, lead to wildly unrealistic cities.

Taking a look at your recommended buildings we see a city with: a caster's tower, a black market, a monument, a dump, a brothel, a library, housing and a mill/smith/tannery. Only one of those buildings represents legitimate, non-magical trade and commerce. Such a city would be unlikely to thrive (Las Vegas notwithstanding), and if it did, I wouldn't want to live there. No shops, no marketplace, few tradesmen, no inn, no town hall, etc. None of the things you would logically think a growing city would want to build early to attract new residents and continue to grow. This isn't a criticism of your work, but rather of the rules emphasis that makes magic items disproportionately effective as drivers of the economy.

So, despite the quality of your work, I will not be showing this to my players. I actually am not revealing the bonuses for specific buildings to them until they build them. Instead, they are using their brains (and their knowledge skills) to try and figure out what to build next. They are doing just fine, following a cautious expansion strategy that has them at 14 hexes after 22 months of game time. Their city/kingdom may not be optimized, but it is thriving, and their city is much, much, much more realistic than ones built following your recommendations. It is a place people would want to live in.


Paizo Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Thanks for posting this.

If you want to add the percentage chances for generating saleable items from each category -

I read that a lot of people find the "item generation" step takes a lot of time, so I thought I might give my players the option of averaging out the benefit instead of rolling specific items. (This eliminates some of the confusion of "but don't we own these items if we're selling them." Also, I'm also converting the path to 4E, so the values would have been off anyway, and I wanted the results in my campaign to be equivalent to the BP that 3E/Pathfinder generates, rather than relating them to 4E item values.)

I ran through the probabilities using the values and percentage changes of all magic item tables from the PRD. Because all categories (including Major) have the possibility of generating low value items (such as scrolls), the results are the following:

Minor: 11% are worth 2 BP (DC 20) (the rest are <4000gp value)
Medium: 71% are worth 8 BP (DC 35)
Major: 85% are worth 15 BP (DC 50)

NOTE: Some have proposed using a house rule that items below 4000gp value can be sold and each 4000gp accumulated is worth 1 BP. If using this house rule, instead of the PCs buying the sub-4000gp items, the percentages are the left over from what was sellable above, and the values average as follows:

Minor: 89% are worth 0.1 BP
Medium: 29% are worth 0.2 BP
Major: 15% are worth 1/3 of a BP

Dark Archive

Brian Bachman wrote:
Taking a look at your recommended buildings we see a city with: a caster's tower, a black market, a monument, a dump, a brothel, a library, housing and a mill/smith/tannery. Only one of those buildings represents legitimate, non-magical trade and commerce. Such a city would be unlikely to thrive (Las Vegas notwithstanding), and if it did, I wouldn't want to live there. No shops, no marketplace, few tradesmen, no inn, no town hall, etc. None of the things you would logically think a growing city would want to build early to attract new residents and continue to grow. This isn't a criticism of your work, but rather of the rules emphasis that makes magic items disproportionately effective as drivers of the economy.

Don't get hung up on the building names. Remember they are simple building rules and only a fraction of the businesses you would find in a real city are represented. Also a city block is 750 feet square and that is a lot of buildings. There will be supporting businesses and spin off businesses from the main business type in each block.

Think what the building name represents and then derive the other businesses that will be in that block. Rename the buildings to suit the feel of your city.

Smiths represents skilled tradesmen working with raw materials. So this includes for example black smiths, gold smiths, silver smiths, weapon smiths, armorers, fletchers, coopers, potters.

Tanneries represent working with raw animal and smelly products. So this includes slaughterhouses, butchers, fishmongers, dyers, candle makers.

Mills represent working with farm plant produce. So this includes bakers, basket weavers, sack makers, plant oils, rope makers, cotton and wool products.

A library represents learning and knowledge. So this also includes schools.

A Brothel represents personal services, personal indulgence and letting off steam. Depending on your city and personal taste this includes roman or Turkish baths, dance halls, smokatoriums, bars, casinos, cockfighting rings, bear pits, massage parlors, geisha houses, boxing and wrestling clubs, private and public clubs.

A monument is not a 750ft square and a mile high statue, sadly. It represents a public place or building with one or more statues, ziggurats or other works of public art that the people can connect to.

A casters tower will have supporting businesses making non-magical and minor magical items and components that are useful in their own right.

A black market is probably the only one true to its name, where you can buy and sell anything. This is probably where the party rogue gets his tools and sells his findings.

A dump is the only building I have difficulty understanding its role and the benefits it gives. However I have noted that there is no low cost street market or bazaar business type which is a massive omission and the dump could easily be replaced with that. It also makes more sense than a dump for the bonuses it gives. You only need a barrow and some bare ground to set up a street market and a few tents or makeshift buildings to make up a bazaar. I note that there is a vary large and expensive market business type in the rules, which I assume deals with large and expensive items such as livestock or carts.

[I have now added this to the google doc linked in the first post. Thanks for highlighting this.]

Note that I do recommend you diversify building types as soon as you have the money to do so.


I think the dump represents more than a smelly pit and some tools - consider it representing a centralized place to throw away garbage other than underfoot in the streets or dumping it out windows onto passersby, as well as some infrastructure to get district or city-wide trash to it and out of the sight (and smell) of everyone else. Maybe even sewers. A big smelly pit does nothing more than annoy the neighbors. A sanitation system, that happens to ultimately involve a big smelly pit, which lowers threat of disease and generally makes the rest of the area nicer is worth celebrating. This helps explain why the town hall halves the cost - the clerks and bureaucrats ease the administration of the system.

Dark Archive

bittergeek wrote:
I think the dump represents more than a smelly pit and some tools - consider it representing a centralized place to throw away garbage other than underfoot in the streets or dumping it out windows onto passersby, as well as some infrastructure to get district or city-wide trash to it and out of the sight (and smell) of everyone else. Maybe even sewers. A big smelly pit does nothing more than annoy the neighbors. A sanitation system, that happens to ultimately involve a big smelly pit, which lowers threat of disease and generally makes the rest of the area nicer is worth celebrating. This helps explain why the town hall halves the cost - the clerks and bureaucrats ease the administration of the system.

Very good points. Summary added to the guide.


This is certainly a good effort you've put forth here. There are lots of good bits of advice throughout but personally, I'd rather see a kingdom builder's guide that focuses more on the general rather than the specific. For example, you note that Loyalty isn't particularly important when first building your kingdom. While that may be true when playing "Kingmaker" it certainly does not have to be true in general. What if your fledgling kingdom needs military units immediately or if there are kingdom events (scripted or otherwise) that require loyalty rolls early on?

Also, your definitions for early and middle game again deal specifically with goals with respect to the Kingmaker AP and assume the only threats to a kingdom come from random kingdom rolls.

I think it would be very hard to do a kingdom building guide justice without also including mass combat since they are so closely tied together.

There are also a couple of technical issues.

Farms - Your comment regarding the astute reader is a fallacy. A farm can only produce enough BP to cover its own hex plus one additional BP. The fact that you may already have extra hexes covered at some point does not change this fact even though the net gain *seems* to be 2 when you build farms when operating at a net 0 consumption.

Magic Item Sales - minor items (according to the rules as written) produce 2BP rather than 1 when sold.

On that note, as others have pointed out, you do a good job illustrating the faults of the system in that when trying to optimize, it relies heavily upon a magic item factory of a kingdom. When the rules get edited for reprinting (it's been suggested this will happen, though perhaps not for a while) we can expect these will be reviewed and most likely chopped. That will undermine a lot of the suggestions you make since you rely heavily on the sale of magic items for BP. It's possible to write the guide in a way that hedges your bets regarding future editing of the rules. Perhaps you would consider adding a "no-magic" optimization section?

Your other "outlier" is the taxation edict. As it turns out, when you run through the actual simulation of building a kingdom, very often you end up with stability and economy being the ones holding a kingdom back since loyalty is much cheaper to buy through buildings and is often tied to those that reduce unrest. As a result, your loyalty score is far above your DC and taking the hit by increasing taxation does not affect its roll at all. In that case, the taxation edict is giving you free money (at the rate of almost 1BP per turn when maxed out).

Finally, I really like how you lay out certain principles like the +5 economy = 1BP/turn thing but then you go on to make statements that seem to be pulled out of thin air. If you're going to say things like "expand only if your statistics are within these ranges", then you really need to back up why those ranges are important. Just because something feels right doesn't make it good from an optimization standpoint.

It's ceratinly a good starting point though and I'll keep reading as you refine it. I hope these comments are useful.


ZomB wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
Taking a look at your recommended buildings we see a city with: a caster's tower, a black market, a monument, a dump, a brothel, a library, housing and a mill/smith/tannery. Only one of those buildings represents legitimate, non-magical trade and commerce. Such a city would be unlikely to thrive (Las Vegas notwithstanding), and if it did, I wouldn't want to live there. No shops, no marketplace, few tradesmen, no inn, no town hall, etc. None of the things you would logically think a growing city would want to build early to attract new residents and continue to grow. This isn't a criticism of your work, but rather of the rules emphasis that makes magic items disproportionately effective as drivers of the economy.

Don't get hung up on the building names. Remember they are simple building rules and only a fraction of the businesses you would find in a real city are represented. Also a city block is 750 feet square and that is a lot of buildings. There will be supporting businesses and spin off businesses from the main business type in each block.

Think what the building name represents and then derive the other businesses that will be in that block. Rename the buildings to suit the feel of your city.

Smiths represents skilled tradesmen working with raw materials. So this includes for example black smiths, gold smiths, silver smiths, weapon smiths, armorers, fletchers, coopers, potters.

Tanneries represent working with raw animal and smelly products. So this includes slaughterhouses, butchers, fishmongers, dyers, candle makers.

Mills represent working with farm plant produce. So this includes bakers, basket weavers, sack makers, plant oils, rope makers, cotton and wool products.

A library represents learning and knowledge. So this also includes schools.

A Brothel represents personal services, personal indulgence and letting off steam. Depending on your city and personal taste this includes roman or Turkish baths, dance halls, smokatoriums, bars, casinos,...

I understand your point and partially agree with you. Basically what you are saying is just consider it purely mechanically and forget about anything other than the bonuses. Unfortunately, for me the fluff is important. The building name clearly indicates what would be the focus of that block. Clearly there would be other buildings in that block (expecially housing, but probably small shops and craftsmen as well), but the name must reflect the main economic purpose of the block or what's the point.

I stick by my original point that the designers made an unfortunate choice in my opinion, to emphasize the magic item economy so much. For the optimizers out there it is an open invitation to produce weird, non-sensical cities to maximize mechanical gain at the expense of realism and immersion.

As I said, you've done a fine job at your main intent, which was to produce a guide for producing mechanically optimized cities using the rules. Just not my cup of tea.

Dark Archive

Tem wrote:
This is certainly a good effort you've put forth here. There are lots of good bits of advice throughout but personally, I'd rather see a kingdom builder's guide that focuses more on the general rather than the specific. For example, you note that Loyalty isn't particularly important when first building your kingdom. While that may be true when playing "Kingmaker" it certainly does not have to be true in general. What if your fledgling kingdom needs military units immediately or if there are kingdom events (scripted or otherwise) that require loyalty rolls early on?

This is something I will aim towards. For now I have put a qualification paragraph in the intro spelling out what it covers and doesn't.

Though I wonder if a kingdom could survive at all if attacked in its infancy?

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Also, your definitions for early and middle game again deal specifically with goals with respect to the Kingmaker AP and assume the only threats to a kingdom come from random kingdom rolls.

Guilty. A heavy kingmaker bias is evident and I was going to refer to the war period as a separate phase. Will ponder.

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I think it would be very hard to do a kingdom building guide justice without also including mass combat since they are so closely tied together.

Mainly because we haven't done that in my home campaign and I didn't intend to cover that until we do.

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There are also a couple of technical issues.

Farms - Your comment regarding the astute reader is a fallacy. A farm can only produce enough BP to cover its own hex plus one additional BP. The fact that you may already have extra hexes covered at some point does not change this fact even though the net gain *seems* to be 2 when you build farms when operating at a net 0 consumption.

Hmm, not quite following this, will review my logic.

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Magic Item Sales - minor items (according to the rules as written) produce 2BP rather than 1 when sold.

oops, fixed.

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On that note, as others have pointed out, you do a good job illustrating the faults of the system in that when trying to optimize, it relies heavily upon a magic item factory of a kingdom. When the rules get edited for reprinting (it's been suggested this will happen, though perhaps not for a while) we can expect these will be reviewed and most likely chopped. That will undermine a lot of the suggestions you make since you rely heavily on the sale of magic items for BP. It's possible to write the guide in a way that hedges your bets regarding future editing of the rules. Perhaps you would consider adding a "no-magic"...

My guess is the bonuses will be reduced, perhaps to 1/4/9. Whatever, a more generic guide is a goal and a non-magic section would be worthwhile to do, if only because I might learn something else about the system.

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Your other "outlier" is the taxation edict. As it turns out, when you run through the actual simulation of building a kingdom, very often you end up with stability and economy being the ones holding a kingdom back since loyalty is much cheaper to buy through buildings and is often tied to those that reduce unrest. As a result, your loyalty score is far above your DC and taking the hit by increasing taxation does not affect its roll at all. In that case, the taxation edict is giving you free money (at the rate of almost 1BP per turn when maxed out).

Hmm, hadn't considered that as a middle game strategy, though at that point economy BP isn't a major factor. But hey 0.8BP for free is not to be ignored. Will change the guide.

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Finally, I really like how you lay out certain principles like the +5 economy = 1BP/turn thing but then you go on to make statements that seem to be pulled out of thin air. If you're going to say things like "expand only if your statistics are within these ranges", then you really need to back up why those ranges are important. Just because something feels right doesn't make it good from an optimization standpoint.

Coming up with a good method for that will be a challenge. I like that! Hmm, probably base one test on a character death and others on max and average unrest events. Note our campaign kingdom fell apart when we expanded quickly and had an unrest event in the same month that one of the leaders died. Is that an outlier or a typical test?

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It's ceratinly a good starting point though and I'll keep reading as you refine it. I hope these comments are useful.

Thanks, and yes they are useful, I have already started to update the guide based on your suggestions.

Dark Archive

Brian Bachman wrote:
I understand your point and partially agree with you. Basically what you are saying is just consider it purely mechanically and forget about anything other than the bonuses.

I was trying to enrich the feel of the city by adding depth and choice to the establishments therein and suggesting we add our own fluff where it is missing from the very simple city building system.

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Unfortunately, for me the fluff is important. The building name clearly indicates what would be the focus of that block. Clearly there would be other buildings in that block (expecially housing, but probably small shops and craftsmen as well), but the name must reflect the main economic purpose of the block or what's the point.

I hope any expanded city rules add the fluff explicitly. I am happy to add my own fluff, though know others prefer it from the designers.

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I stick by my original point that the designers made an unfortunate choice in my opinion, to emphasize the magic item economy so much. For the optimizers out there it is an open invitation to produce weird, non-sensical cities to maximize mechanical gain at the expense of realism and immersion.

As I said, you've done a fine job at your main intent, which was to produce a guide for producing mechanically optimized cities using the rules. Just not my cup of tea.

Thanks. Removing the magic item income from cities would not change the core build list from the optimisation guide (apart from the magic item buildings of course). It will greatly slow down city and kingdom building which may be the feel you want.


I think that the guys wanting to get rid of the distorting "magic item economy" issues are failing to look at the compressed timeframe. You can stick to shops and tradesmen, and your settlement will grow slowly over time until it's a perfectly respectable large town or even small city. If you want to go from a bandit camp in unexplored terrain to a metropolis of 135,000 (15 districts, easily achievable) in 5-7 years, you need some massive driver of wealth. The rules currently make that driver magic items. No organic growth is going to come anywhere near that, not even gold rushes.


bittergeek wrote:
I think that the guys wanting to get rid of the distorting "magic item economy" issues are failing to look at the compressed timeframe. You can stick to shops and tradesmen, and your settlement will grow slowly over time until it's a perfectly respectable large town or even small city. If you want to go from a bandit camp in unexplored terrain to a metropolis of 135,000 (15 districts, easily achievable) in 5-7 years, you need some massive driver of wealth. The rules currently make that driver magic items. No organic growth is going to come anywhere near that, not even gold rushes.

You say "failing to look at", I say "noticing and objecting to". I have only read the core kingdom building rules, and have NOT read the adventure path (I'm a player not a DM, and we haven't defeated the Stag Lord yet). Perhaps Kingmaker requires you to achieve a metropolis in 5-7 years, or perhaps not. If the only way you can grow that fast in 5-7 years is through using the magic item economy as a driver, though, then I see that as a de facto reason why the magic item economy is broken. A kingdom cannot realistically be built to that kind of a level in 5-7 years. Of course organic growth will take much longer. It should. And outside of the specifics of the adventure path, and just looking at the concept of generalized rules for building a kingdom from scratch, that's exactly how it ought to look.

ZomB wrote:
Though I wonder if a kingdom could survive at all if attacked in its infancy?

Realistically? Probably not, tying in with my point above. If a newly founded kingdom, started from scratch, less than five years ago, were attacked by a strong enemy, and it *CAN* defend itself, something weird is going on. And if the rules allow that, it probably indicates a lack of realism in the rules. Of course whether or not "lack of realism" = "flaw" is in the eye of the beholder...

ZomB wrote:
My guess is the bonuses will be reduced, perhaps to 1/4/9. Whatever, a more generic guide is a goal and a non-magic section would be worthwhile to do, if only because I might learn something else about the system.

The most obvious answer seems to be that since you can always donate 4,000 GP to the kingdom for a BP, and the standard selling price for any item (magic or otherwise) is half its value, any magic item you force through the economy system ought to generate 1 BP per 8,000 GP of value it has. The classic "trick" to selling expensive magic items is finding a buyer, and the one economy check per district per month seems like a reasonable way to simulate this process of finding buyers. Offering a flat amount of BP for any "major" item seems silly though. I'm assuming that on average the major items you sell will be worth less than 120,000 GP, and as such generate less than 15 BP, if you use this alternate rule? This of course falls into the side discussion of house rules, and doesn't really connect to what this thread is about, since your guide is written with the RAW in mind. Food for thought though...


Just for your information, I believe it would be possible to cut back the magic item bonuses even more than you think.

The rules give 2/8/15 for minor/medium/major and you mentioned that they could be cut down to 1/4/9.

For reference, I'm DMing Kingmaker right now and have run through building a kingdom three times (not counting my PC's kingdom). I've settled on giving 0/1/2 for magic item sales. Even when mass combat is thrown into the mix, it isn't hard to build up a viable kingdom. Of course, it ends up looking very different from what you suggest since sinking that much money into a caster's tower isn't that great an idea early on.

The biggest benefit for giving 0 for minor item sales is that you don't have to worry about the >4000gp weirdness or tracking partial sales.

Regarding kingdoms being attacked early on:

I think you're still in the Kingmaker mindset. A kingdom could be a major colonization effort of some much more established area. In that case, perhaps you're starting with 100+ BP but very little land. On the other hand, you might start with 2 or 3 small villages over 8 or 10 hexes filled with farmland who have now decided to band together for whatever reason and have almost 0 BP as a starting point.

The first could easily defend itself against a moderate attack whereas the the second could not.

A generic kingdom building guide should at least partially address these sorts of situations. (Yes, I understand this is a big undertaking)


bittergeek wrote:
I think that the guys wanting to get rid of the distorting "magic item economy" issues are failing to look at the compressed timeframe. You can stick to shops and tradesmen, and your settlement will grow slowly over time until it's a perfectly respectable large town or even small city. If you want to go from a bandit camp in unexplored terrain to a metropolis of 135,000 (15 districts, easily achievable) in 5-7 years, you need some massive driver of wealth. The rules currently make that driver magic items. No organic growth is going to come anywhere near that, not even gold rushes.

I just note that Kingmaker has no firmly defined "timeline" until you get into the endstages. The PCs can take whatever time they want to build their city to the size they want, and it is up to each DM and PC group to determine when they want to kick off certain set events in the adventure path. Your 5-7 year timeframe might or might not be typical. I can just as easily see some groups rushing it into just a few years and others havingit play out over a couple of decades. That's just a part of the sandbox feel. This isn't a typical adventure railroad in which events happen on a strict schedule and the PCs have to react.


Brian Bachman wrote:
I just note that Kingmaker has no firmly defined "timeline" until you get into the endstages. The PCs can take whatever time they want to build their city to the size they want, and it is up to each DM and PC group to determine when they want to kick off certain set events in the adventure path. Your 5-7 year timeframe might or might not be typical. I can just as easily see some groups rushing it into just a few years and others havingit play out over a couple of decades. That's just a part of the sandbox feel. This isn't a typical adventure railroad in which events happen on a strict schedule and the PCs have to react.

I'm not claiming that such a timeframe, or such a level of development, is necessary or even good, it depends on the group. It's the folks who seem to want the quick development but don't want the magic item economy. Doesn't work, not without some replacement driver of the boom. Fast, big, no boom: pick 2. I'm fine with the extra time, at least until it starts to hurt PCs from shorter-lived races and lead to important NPCs retiring or dying (which would actually be interesting to roleplay.)

Liberty's Edge

Brian Bachman wrote:


So, despite the quality of your work, I will not be showing this to my players. I actually am not revealing the bonuses for specific buildings to them until they build them.

Color me in the same box as Brian here. I do think your write-up is a great tutorial for those who prefer an a optimized type of game.

And granted your suggestions of fluff for various types of smiths/tanneries etc is quite creative.

However, I'm from the same bolt of cloth as Brian and feel this would be detrimental to the style of play I and most of my players prefer. Like Brian, I didn't divulge all the building rules before play. The players learned through trial and error on some things, but also used pragmatism and reason in their decision making. They used their knowledge skills, and hire "specialists" to advise/council the PCs on their decisions - addressing with what should done to accomplish what the PCs were wanting.

Baron: My people seem unhappy - they tend to wish to revolt and I need to instill some confidence in them of my leadership to buy their loyalty. What should I do next in my fledgling barony?
City Foreman (who is Jubilost Narhropple by the way): I would build a giant monument of yourself standing tall and proud.....and me standing there next to you of course!

They have had a slower build up of their kingdom than most I have read about on here - but it's far more reasonable and believalbe and it plays to our groups preferences, which is the story and fluff behind it is far more important than the actual mechanics. Obviously the mechanics do play a role - but we use the rules to support the story - not the other way around.

Meanwhile - they're building the kingdom and making their decisions based on what is needed and makes sense.

NPCs are often times driving the story in what they would like to see - and I have given bonuses to the NPCs stats that aid the kingdom when certain things are built for them to do their job more efficiently. For instance, once a garrison was build, the General's stats increased from a +2 to a +3

Each NPC has different styles to them. The PCs are making valid and valuable decisions on what best fits their kingdom need - not which "building combo" is the surest bang for the buck.

Also I have already laid groundwork to significantly slow down the income of BP based on magic items, and instead of having 3 categories (min/med/maj), i have a chart based on gp value w/ 15 different BP amounts ranging from 0-15.

Robert


Robert Brambley wrote:
Also I have already laid groundwork to significantly slow down the income of BP based on magic items, and instead of having 3 categories (min/med/maj), i have a chart based on gp value w/ 15 different BP amounts ranging from 0-15.

Interesting...

Care to elaborate good sir, or have you posted this elsewhere...?
I too am in the 'prefer a more organic approach' box. I have one
optimiser, but the other 4 players aren't so much... Well, maybe one
of the others has those tendencies...but they're roleplayed well... ;-p

Cheers

Liberty's Edge

Philip Knowsley wrote:
Robert Brambley wrote:
Also I have already laid groundwork to significantly slow down the income of BP based on magic items,

Interesting...

Care to elaborate good sir, or have you posted this elsewhere...?

Cheers

Originally I discussed it on THIS THREAD which I posted several months ago, wherein I discussed some ideas and options.

Since then I have posted on my own game-messageboard to my players a revised format that we are now using...

Spoiler:

Here is the breakdown of the value of a magic item (market price), the BP that it will earn the kingdom for selling it, and the Economy DC required to sell it. Your district must contain a SHOP building in order to sell magic items in that district.

Price / BP / DC
4000 / 1 / 20
7000 / 2 / 24
10000 / 3 / 28
14000 / 4 / 32
18000 / 5 / 36
22000 / 6 / 40
27000 / 7 / 44

32000 / 8 / 48
37000 / 9 / 52
42000 / 10 / 56
48000 / 11 / 60
54000 / 12 / 64
60000 / 13 / 68
66000 / 14 / 72
73000 / 15 / 76
80000 / 16 / 80
87000 / 17 / 84
94000 / 18 / 88
101000 / 19 / 92
108000 / 20 / 96

(NOTE: for items costing above this amount, follow the same pattern for increase (2 increases of 3000, 3 increases of 4000, 4 increases of 5000, 5 increases of 6000 etc)

NORMAL FONT: Requires a SHOP
ITALICS: Requires a LUXURY STORE
BOLD: Requires a MAGIC SHOP

You may attempt to sell 1 item for each district of the kingdom - provided that kingdom has the appropriate type of building within its borders. With a failed Economy roll, you may attempt to sell it again the following Turn and receive a cumulative +2 to the check (until the item sells).

DC: Your Economy DC increases by 5 for each subsequent item you're attempting to sell each turn.

DISTRICT: You must have 24 of the 36 squares (2/3rds) of a district already improved w/ construction (buildings etc) before a new district of a city can be initiated.

Now I know that the sum of the changes/limitations/restrictions that I've placed on this will result in a far slower advancement of the kingdom being built etc, but collectively, we are all okay with that.

They are just now completing their 5th year (about 3 months from anniversary). They have 8 hexes, and 2 cities (3 districts). We've focused a lot more on political aspects of the game than the module originally provided scenarios for. It's become a game of a lot of roleplaying, a lot of exploring, and a lot of politicking, positioning, treaties, trade, etc. This is a lot closer to our style and desire. We are almost through book 2. PCs are level 6. Ultimately we see 5 years of time is believable to really get a kingdom off the ground. I've alreayd introduced Maegar Varn and his barony - which the PCs have allied with and set up trade, and even are trying to marry his daughter to their own Baron to better unite the kingdoms.

I'll introduce some of the other Kings of the River Kingdoms

Spoiler:

including Irovetti

to the game for the PCs to interract with and get to know to continue their political growth.

We all agree that we'll now begin to see a spike in development of their kingdom now that the infrastructure is in place, and agreements, treaties etc are in place. I am expecting it to boom much more rapidly with the closing of book 2 into book 3.

Robert


Thanks - I appreciate the info. I may just use it in my game if you don't
mind! :)


bittergeek wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:
I just note that Kingmaker has no firmly defined "timeline" until you get into the endstages. The PCs can take whatever time they want to build their city to the size they want, and it is up to each DM and PC group to determine when they want to kick off certain set events in the adventure path. Your 5-7 year timeframe might or might not be typical. I can just as easily see some groups rushing it into just a few years and others havingit play out over a couple of decades. That's just a part of the sandbox feel. This isn't a typical adventure railroad in which events happen on a strict schedule and the PCs have to react.
I'm not claiming that such a timeframe, or such a level of development, is necessary or even good, it depends on the group. It's the folks who seem to want the quick development but don't want the magic item economy. Doesn't work, not without some replacement driver of the boom. Fast, big, no boom: pick 2. I'm fine with the extra time, at least until it starts to hurt PCs from shorter-lived races and lead to important NPCs retiring or dying (which would actually be interesting to roleplay.)

Agreed that if you want to develop fast the magic item economy or some other kind of driver is needed. One option would be to ramp up BP support from Brevoy or other foreign benefactors or investors. Of course that would come with strings.

Personally, I'm looking forward to a campaign lasting a decade or more, which I haven't been able to do since 3.0 introduced extreme increases in character advancement speed. I like the fact that they will grow older, establish families, develop deep roots in their community, and generally live in a way that should permit far more immersion and produce characters that have far more depth and aren't just numbers on a page.


Robert Brambley wrote:
Brian Bachman wrote:


So, despite the quality of your work, I will not be showing this to my players. I actually am not revealing the bonuses for specific buildings to them until they build them.

Color me in the same box as Brian here. I do think your write-up is a great tutorial for those who prefer an a optimized type of game.

And granted your suggestions of fluff for various types of smiths/tanneries etc is quite creative.

However, I'm from the same bolt of cloth as Brian and feel this would be detrimental to the style of play I and most of my players prefer. Like Brian, I didn't divulge all the building rules before play. The players learned through trial and error on some things, but also used pragmatism and reason in their decision making. They used their knowledge skills, and hire "specialists" to advise/council the PCs on their decisions - addressing with what should done to accomplish what the PCs were wanting.
...

Interestingly enough, it came up in conversation with my players this week that there were people doing optimization guides and making suggestions for kingdom building, and they unanimously rejected the idea of looking them up, preferring to do things their way. Reasons ranged from wanting to have more realistic cities and kingdom to wanting the kingdom to be more unique and "theirs" than would be possible following someone else's advice.

Sovereign Court

I am of the same mind as Brian (the building guides I game to players don't list any hard numbers, and I run everything behind the screen).

I do appreciate the guide, as it helps me offer suggestions to my players if they are struggling. For instance, if their loyalty is suffering, Svetlana (the Kingdom's councilor) could suggest that a Monument built in the middle of the city would help boost loyalty for not a lot resources.

Liberty's Edge

Philip Knowsley wrote:

Thanks - I appreciate the info. I may just use it in my game if you don't

mind! :)

Not at all. If i minded - I wouldn't have shared. :-)

Happy gaming.

Robert

Liberty's Edge

Brian Bachman wrote:

Interestingly enough, it came up in conversation with my players this week that there were people doing optimization guides and making suggestions for kingdom building, and they unanimously rejected the idea of looking them up, preferring to do things their way. Reasons ranged from wanting to have more realistic cities and kingdom to wanting the kingdom to be more unique and "theirs" than would be possible following someone else's advice.

Good point Brian. Otherwise campaign kingdoms would have all the originality and uniqueness of society play and MMO "build" types.

Not my cup of tea at all.

Robert


Robert Brambley wrote:
Philip Knowsley wrote:

Thanks - I appreciate the info. I may just use it in my game if you don't

mind! :)

Not at all. If i minded - I wouldn't have shared. :-)

Happy gaming.

Robert

Yeah - I kinda guessed that...but I wuz bought up old skool... ;-p

You know the sort, please, thankyou - all those uncool things...
Cheers Robert!

Dark Archive

I have updated the Google Docs guide, linked from the first post, with many edits throughout after running several simulations and more analysis. These include:
- Key Points for the early game and middle game.
- A long Middle game build list.
- The first hints of an optimal timeline.
- An updated alternate building names section
- A slightly expanded variety build section
- Replaced the Outliers section with a Potential System Issues section
- Completely reworked the taxation edict
- Many qualifications throughout

Interestingly the current optimal build strategy also turns out to be quite varied. With for example Dumps and Monuments being rare. Only the first city district and part of the second uses the core build list above. After that the larger buildings are favoured.

Significant section updates in following posts.

Dark Archive

The Early Game Build List
...
Following these guidelines should get you through the first 25 or so hexes until you establish your second city district. Probably expanding at an average rate of 1 hex per month during that time.

Key point: In the early game you are limited both by BP income and by being able to keep stats within target ranges. Therefore the goal is to minimise BP per stat point.

The Middle Game Build List

Once you enter the middle game then the focus switches to using your build limit to maximum efficiency. As you become limited by the allowed builds per month then you should focus on larger size buildings to fill up your city districts as quickly as possible. This allows you to grow your cities faster, bring new sources of income online and to continue to fund the maximum rate of expansion. The middle game build list is below, most economical first:

  • Grassland Farm – the cheapest build to support consumption and to support level 1-4 Promotion and Festivals Edicts - level 4 once the appropriate edict supporting building is built
  • Hill Farm – still great value though not as good as Grassland farms
  • Black Market and 2 houses (1 per city district) – the income generator of choice for a district
  • Magic Shop and 2 houses (1 per city district) – an alternative income generator for that district
  • Waterfront (1 per city) – an alternative income generator for that district
  • Edicts level 1-4: Promotion and Festivals - supported by farms and level 4 by Building bonuses
  • Roads – the cheapest build to get Economy and Stability and perhaps more importantly an extra build
  • Castle (1 per city) - buy before you buy a Town Hall or a Noble Villa
  • Barracks (perhaps one per district for defence)
  • Watchtower (perhaps one per district for defence) - buy before you buy a Guildhall or a Market
  • Theater
  • Garrison
  • Town Hall
  • Temple
  • Noble Villa
  • Arena (1 per city) - buy before you buy a Theater or Garrison
  • Guildhall
  • Cathedral (1 per city) - buy before you buy a Temple or Academy
  • Academy (recommend one per city) - buy before you buy a Magic Shop.
  • Market and 2 houses (recommend one per city) - buy before you buy your second Black Market.
  • Edict Taxation 1-4 - as long as Loyalty remains within 2 of Command DC then Taxation is a great deal. Any lower and it is a bad deal.

Following these guidelines should allow you to reach 200 hexes in about 3 years from the start of the middle game with around 20 full size city districts, or many more smaller cities.

Key point: In the middle game you soon find yourself limited by maximum allowed build rate. Therefore the goal is to maximise city blocks filled with “BP per stat point” coming second.

Dark Archive

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Rename the buildings to suit the feel of your city

Don't get hung up on the building names. Remember they are simple building rules and only a fraction of the businesses you would find in a real city are represented. Also a city block is 750 feet square and that is a lot of buildings. There will be supporting businesses and spin off businesses from the main business type in each block.

Think what the building name represents and then derive the other businesses that will be in that block. Rename the buildings to suit the feel of your city. For example a Brothel might instead be a Turkish Baths in your city. You could also use different names for the same building to increase variety so you might have a Tannery and a Slaughterhouse using the same building type.

Smiths represents skilled tradesmen working with raw materials. So this includes for example black smiths, gold smiths, silver smiths, weapon smiths, armorers, bowyers, fletchers, attiliators (crossbow makers), potters, masons, carpenters, wagon/wheel makers (cartwrights, wheelwrights).

Tanneries represent working with raw animal and smelly products. So this includes slaughterhouses, meat markets, fish markets, dyers, candle makers (chandlers).

Mills represent working with plant and dry animal produce. So this includes shoemakers, furriers, tailors, leather goods (saddlers, cordwainers), bakers, weavers, sack makers, plant oils, rope and net makers, bookbinders.

A library represents learning and the knowledge professions. So this includes schools, scribes, cartographers and possibly astrologers and fortune tellers.

A Brothel represents personal services, personal indulgence and letting off steam. Depending on your city and personal taste this includes Roman or Turkish baths, dance halls, smokatoriums, bars, cafes, casinos, cockfighting rings, bear pits, massage parlors, geisha houses, boxing and wrestling venues, private and public clubs.

A monument is not a 750ft square and mile high statue, sadly. It represents a public place or building with one or more statues, ziggurats or other works of public art that the people can connect to.

A casters tower will have supporting businesses making non-magical and minor magical items and components that are useful in their own right.

A black market is probably the only one true to its name, where you can buy and sell anything. This is probably where the party rogue gets his tools and sells his findings.

Dumps represent cleaning and sanitation services. Removing garbage from the streets and possibly sewers or night soil collection. Which lowers the threat of disease and vermin and makes life better for everyone.

There is no low cost street market or bazaar business type which I believe is a serious omission. This could also give similar bonuses to the undiscounted dump as lots of money changes hands there and it is essential for everyday life. You only need a few barrows and some bare ground to set up a street market and a few tents or makeshift buildings to make up a bazaar. I note that there is a large and expensive market business type in the rules, which I assume deals with large and expensive items such as livestock or carts.

[I need to expand this section to cover the middle game build list, though that is a big task and a low priority]

Dark Archive

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Potential System Issues

There are several potential issues in the kingdom building game. the most obvious ones are: magic item BP income, the attention to detail required in the early game and the Taxation edict trap.

The Magic Item income BP is high for the required investment and will always get used though this does not break the system if used sensibly. The Magic Item rules can be abused by having many very small cities or districts, each containing just a magic item generating building. Keep it real.

It is also possible using Magic Item income to have kingdoms with no farms at all as you can eventually pay for consumption with Economy BP. You could find yourself with Golarion’s first mega-city with no obvious source of food if you let it. Though that would take a very long time.

An obvious issue for first time kingdom builders is that it requires the most attention to detail in the early game where poor decisions can take many months to recover or cause kingdom collapse. This might be realistic but from a game-play perspective this is less than ideal, though perhaps can't be avoided. In the middle game you don’t need to focus as much on detail, more on the volume. Though using one of the kingdom spreadsheets helps immensely with that.

Another minor issue for first time kingdom builders is that the Taxation edict is not really usable until you reach the middle game when Loyalty has been raised above the command DC. It will trip up new kingdom builders who try to use it in the early game to their disadvantage.

Dark Archive

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I have significantly updated and revised the guide
- added general guidelines for each part of the game
- added stat target explanations
- expanded the middle game build advice
- added late game build advice
- expanded variety advice
- qualified the likely timeline throughout
- added a typical cityscape example section
- updated the "Potential game-play issues" section
- expanded the conclusion section
- added several new section header "quotes"

Grand Lodge

ZomB wrote:

I have significantly updated and revised the guide

- added general guidelines for each part of the game
- added stat target explanations
- expanded the middle game build advice
- added late game build advice
- expanded variety advice
- qualified the likely timeline throughout
- added a typical cityscape example section
- updated the "Potential game-play issues" section
- expanded the conclusion section
- added several new section header "quotes"
Great work! I know some wont agree with what you suggested, but seriously.Kudos!


sweet, thanks man.


Dotted.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Just want to point out a very minor thing: a chandler is not a candle maker. It is either a ship/boat outfitter (rope, fittings, pulleys, buoys and so forth) or a small household goods store (crockery, cutlery, pots and pans).

Other than that, a very useful guide. Now I just need to run Kingmaker.


Has anyone made a new guide based on Ultimate Campaign additions?


I second Nawtyit... has Overlord or anyone else constructed a Kingdom Building guide since Ultimate Campaign?


I briefly had the beginnings of a Kingmaker game set up, but player issues brought an end to it. Since I already have half of the books and really like the core concept, I'll probably try running it again sometime, and this will definitely come in handy. Whether or not I show my players is something I'll have to decide later.


I think this is why you should not let the players access at the buildings's stats. Only give them building prices, and perhaps some info if some of them bring in magic items, or if some are needed to make others, but let the town build itself organically. Don't turn this into perfect spreadsheet min-maxing.

I already nerfed the magic items in half, Minors are worth 1 BP, medium and majors are worth their cost / 4000, or half BP. Let the townspeople voice needs, not having a dumb, or an inn and shops for months could lead to problems, stability success or not. If your players are Point Buy 20 or 25, chances are they will never ever ever fial a single roll, unless they roll a 1.


I did the following:
number of minor items divided by 2 = economy bonus
number of medium items = economy bonus
number of major items times 2 = economy bonus

I also second the whole "Don't let them play accountancy" and optimize their kingdom. Let them make smart and logical choices, such as paving the roads or taking care of a graveyard.

Mine did a graveyard after 2 years ingame, and slapped themselves on the back of their head for not thinking about it earlier.
(And it give them a +1 to the stat they had already too much in, but they don't know :P)


Hmm, from reading Ultimate Campaign, it seems that the Magic Item rules have changed such that you can no longer sell magic items for Build Points.

From page 207 under the "Sell Expensive Items for BP" heading:

You cannot use this step to sell magic items held or created by buildings in your settlements; those items are the property of the owners of those businesses.

On page 213 in the Magic Items in Settlements section it discuss what can be done with the magic items provided by buildings:

1. Purchase them yourself (with your own gold)
2. Make an economy check to sell them to outsides (but still not generate BP, the money goes to the shop owner)
3. Spend BP to purchase it.

None of those generate BP for the Kingdom (and #3 costs it BP).

Do I have this correct, or is there still some way to turn Magic Items into BP?

The Exchange

Yes, I believe you are correct. That is my interpretation of the rule regarding selling magic items generated by buildings, making magic items generated by buildings completely pointless as far as I'm concerned.

I do understand the logic of not selling a shop owner's magic items to generate BP for the Kingdom. Perhaps these building could instead have a higher economy bonus for the kingdom.

-Car


In the Ultimate Campaign rules they nerfed the magic item economy but increased the collect tax (economy/3 instead of economy/5), also some tarrain improvment produce BP (mine, quarry, sawmill)


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Pointless...unless your PCs want somewhere within their own kingdom that
they can buy &/or order specific items...rather than just find them adventuring.
Plus - they still get bonuses for those buildings...& a GM who's onto it
will build in scenarios & PCs that fit... Not pointless - just not a
powergamer's wet dream anymore...

As for nerfed - well, I guess 'technically' you could say that, but many
of the comments on these boards from experienced GMs stated that the old
magic item economy rules were so broken, that they'd completely gotten
rid of them. I guess the rules have those items on par with everything else,
so perhaps nerfed to the point of being balanced...?


They should have left a small chance for a slot to restock on its own, like maybe 1% per turn on 10% per year. Now it just sits there forever.

The guide needs an update for Ultimate Campaign.

Magic item buildings could be boosted by making them a pre-requisite to recruiting caster armies. Even with small size and capped at CL 5 those can be pretty good for the +3 attack, +3 defence and a few special abilities. Their attack and defence bonuses shouldn't stack with armour and weapons upgrades as wizards have little use for those, but I'd give them mounts and ranged weapons for free.

I'd argue that if players are managing thousands of subjects, there is nothing wrong with them making withdrawals each turn. Yes, they will use that wealth to upgrade their equipment, but so what? They can afford armies, so they should get some personal income too. In fact, I'd give each minister 100 gp per month and each ruler 200-500 gp per month, decrease Economy BP by 1 and make it not cause unrest. I haven't looked precisely how to do it, but unrest from getting withdrawals could be countered by buying defensive structures ASAP.

Boosting upkeep BP by building as many farms, mines and sawmills as possible plus buildings boosting them further is worth it. Up to 5 upkeep BP can sit in each granary for emergencies and armies eat upkeep like candy, even when garrisoned.


I haven't really looked at the kingdom rules yet but I thought there was a chance for items to restock or am I misremembering?

This is on my list of things to look at (for other reasons), that said if I include some house rules that are knocking around in the back of my head given what I've seen posted are . . .

1) Items sell and replace naturally (like I said I thought there was a way this happened already but if not . . .)

2) Party members can request any magic item they like at 80% to 90% of cost. That's retail cost not wholesale and if it doesn't exist it needs to be made which will take time. However they get a discount as heads of state. Patronizing one particular store over serveral will get a bigger discount but the more important/prestigious the store is the smaller it will be because while being royal suppliers is a great advertising scheme its less important to the bigger ones. Somewhere producing major magic items they're going to for the first time will probably be 90-92% of cost, a place producing minor magic items they've been going to for years might make things for them at 75% of the cost.

3) Magic item creation is a pre-requisite for certain armies, not just caster ones but even equiping them with magical equipment (weapons and armour) requires your kingdom be able to produce minor magical items.

4) All heads of state get an income in the form of taxation higher taxation = higher income. If your kingdom has zero tax you get no income from it. If your kingdom has a high level of tax you get a high level of income at the cost of unhappy citizens (can't be more specific till I look at it). Similarly any leadership slots not filled by PC's need to be paid for out of the PC's earnings whether through adventuring or tax. So you can have that level 20 wizard as the court wizard but you better have the money to pay his wages (I vaguely recall 3 million a month in 1st edition covering all his equipment and other needs). On the other hand for 4-5 thousand a month you can have a level 6-7 wizard on staff not as good as the best in the land (by a long shot) but more in line with your expenses.


dot


Quote:
Farms generate the equivalent of one net BP per month for a cost of 2 or 4 BP (for grassland and hill hexes). Note one of the two BP it generates pays for the farm hex itself so is not counted. (Though astute observers may note that each excess farm that is not being used to sustain hexes or city districts generates the full 2 BP so perhaps we should say they generate up to 1.5 BP.)

This is something that has been in my mind for a while, and even after reading your guide (it's great by the way), i still dont get it.

Where does it say that a farm hex doesnt cost the normal 1 BP per hex?
I get that you can build other structures or enhancements on a farm hex, your city could even be on a farm hex, but that hex has a monthly cost of 1 BP which is paid normally. No?


One thing I do not understand about discounts - will you only get one discount from a building.
Or will you get one discount from a building per building types listen in the discount line.

For example Academy.
Discount Caster's Tower, Library, Magic Shop
Will I be able to build one discount library (or caster tower) and then that is it.
Or will I be able to build ONE discount library and One discount casters tower and One discount magic shop.

It'll make the BP savings for example TOWn hall or Arena in the late game much more worth (get discount for 4 or more buildings) otherwise they remain kind of a trap quite to the end.

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