Rise of Nations
Ruling a kingdom is a complex and difficult task, one undertaken only by the very ambitious. Many PCs are content to live as mercenaries or treasure hunters, with no interest in being responsible for the health and well-being of subjects; for these characters, a kingdom is simply a place they pass through on the way to their next adventure. However, characters who are keen to spread their wings and forge a place of power and influence in the world can use the rules here to create a different sort of campaign. If the PCs are interested in ruling only a single town or castle and the small region around it, kingdom building can focus primarily on the settlement and the PCs’ personal demesne. If the PCs have larger goals, such as carving out a new, independent kingdom, these rules allow them to build cities and engage in trade, diplomacy, and war.
It should be noted that these rules also assume that all of the kingdom’s leaders are generally focused on making their kingdom prosperous and stable, rather than oppressing the citizens and stealing from the treasury. Likewise, the rules assume that the leaders are working together, not competing with each other or working at odds.
Kingdoms have attributes that describe and define them. These are tracked on a kingdom sheet, like a character’s statistics are on a character sheet.
Alignment: Like a PC, your kingdom has an alignment, which you decide when you form the kingdom. The kingdom’s alignment represents the majority outlook and behavior of the people within that kingdom when they’re considered as a group. (Individual citizens and even some leaders may be of different alignments.) When you decide on your kingdom’s alignment, apply the following adjustments to the kingdom’s statistics: Chaotic: +2 Loyalty; Evil: +2 Economy; Good: +2 Loyalty, Lawful: +2 Economy, Neutral: +2 Stability (apply this twice if the kingdom’s alignment is simply Neutral, not Chaotic Neutral or Lawful Neutral).
Build Points: The units of a kingdom’s wealth and productivity are build points (BP). Build points are an abstraction representing the kingdom’s expendable assets, not just gold in the treasury. They include raw materials (such as livestock, lumber, land, seed, and ore), tangible goods (such as wagons, weapons, and tools), and people (artisans, laborers, and colonists). Together, these assets represent the labor and productive output of your citizens. You spend BP on tasks necessary to develop and protect your kingdom— planting farms, creating roads, constructing buildings, raising armies, and so forth. As leaders, you use your power and influence to direct the economic and constructive activity of your kingdom, deciding what get build, when, and where.
Consumption: Consumption indicates how many BP are required to keep the kingdom functioning each month. Your kingdom’s Consumption is equal to its Size modified by edicts, settlements, and terrain improvements (such as Farms and Fisheries). If a kingdom is unable to pay its Consumption, its Unrest increases by 2. Consumption can never go below 0.
Control DC: Some kingdom actions require a check (1d20 + modifiers) to succeed— this is known as a control check. The base DC for a control check is equal to 20 + the kingdom’s Size in hexes + the total number of districts in all your settlements + any other modifiers from special circumstances or effects. Unless otherwise stated, the DC of a kingdom check is the Control DC.
Economy: This attribute measures the productivity of your kingdom’s workers and the vibrancy of its trade, both in terms of money and in terms of information, innovation, and technology. Your kingdom’s initial Economy is 0 plus your kingdom’s alignment and leadership modifiers.
Kingdom Check: A kingdom has three attributes: Economy, Loyalty, and Stability. Your kingdom’s initial scores in each of these three attributes is 0, plus modifiers for kingdom alignment, bonuses provided by the leaders, and any other modifiers. Many kingdom events require you to attempt a kingdom check, either using your Economy, Loyalty, or Stability attribute (1d20 + the appropriate attribute + other modifiers). You cannot take 10 or take 20 on a kingdom check. Kingdom checks automatically fail on a natural 1 and automatically succeed on a natural 20.
Loyalty: Loyalty refers to the sense of goodwill among your people, their ability to live peaceably together even in times of crisis, and to fight for one another when needed. Your kingdom’s Loyalty is 0 plus your kingdom’s alignment and leadership modifiers.
Size: This is how many hexes the kingdom claims and and affects its Consumption and its Control DC. A new kingdom’s Size is 1.
Stability: Stability refers to the physical and social well-being of the kingdom, from the health and security of its citizenry to the vitality of its natural resources and its ability to maximize their use. Your kingdom’s initial Stability is 0 plus your kingdom’s alignment and leadership modifiers.
Treasury: The Treasury is the amount of BP your kingdom has saves and can spend on activities (much in the same way that your character has gold and other valuables you can spend on gear). It is possible for a kingdom’s Treasury to fall below 0 (meaning its costs exceed its savings and it is operating in debt) but this increases Unrest.
Turn: A kingdom turn spans 1 month of game time. You make your kingdom checks and other decisions about running your kingdom at the end of each month.
Unrest: Your kingdom’s Unrest indicates how rebellious your citizens are. Your kingdom’s initial Unrest is 0. Unrest can never fall below 0 (anything that would modify it to less than 0 is wasted). Subtract your kingdom’s Unrest from all Economy, Loyalty, and Stability checks. If your kingdom’s Unrest is 11 or higher, the kingdom begins to lose control of hexes it has claimed. If your kingdom’s Unrest ever reaches 20, the kingdom falls into anarchy.
Founding A Settlement
Before you can start your own kingdom, you first need a base of operations— a fort, village, or other settlement— where you can rest between adventures and where your citizens know they can find you if they need help or want to pay their taxes. Later on, you’ll want to create more settlements in order for the kingdom to grow and prosper. To found a settlement, you must perform the following steps:
Step 1— Acquire funds. You’ll need money and resources in the form of build points (see above). In many cases, this initial BP comes from a source outside the party. In this campaign, the Swordlords of Restov will be providing the seed amount of BP once you have fulfilled the terms of the exploration charter and defeated the major threat in the region. Of course, this investment doesn’t come without strings; your sponsors are likely to want something in return.
Step 2— Explore and clear a hex. You’ll need to explore the hex where you want to put the settlement and clear it of any monsters and dangerous hazards. The time needed to clear it depends on the nature of the threats; this step is usually handled by you completing adventures there to kill or drive out monsters.
Step 3— Claim the hex as yours. Once you have BP and have explored and cleared the hex, you can claim it. Spend 1 BP to do so; this represents setting up very basic infrastructure such as clearing paths, hiring patrols, setting up a tent city, and so on. This establishes the hex as part of your kingdom (or the beginning of your kingdom).
|Claiming Water and Islands. When you claim a hex that contains part of an ocean or lake, your claim includes the water portion of that hex. In effect, your kingdom automatically controls a small portion of the waters adjacent to its coastline. Because any new hex you claim must be adjacent to an existing hex in your kingdom, if you want to claim land beyond that water (such as an island), you must first explore and claim the intervening deep water hexes. Your exploration only applies to the water’s surface— you are searching for uncharted islands, dangerous reefs, and so on. The underwater portion of the functions as a separate hex, much like a network of large caves under a hex counts as its own hex, allowing a village of merfolk or sahuagin to thrive in your kingdom without your knowledge.|
Step 4— Prepare the site for construction. To put a settlement on a claimed hex, you’ll need to prepare it. Depending on the site, this process may involve clearing trees, moving boulders, digging sanitation trenches, and so forth (see the table below for the required time and costs). Preparation time represents months of labor (beginning with the current turn); construction of buildings can begin in the current month for settlements built on plains. If your settlement is in a hex containing a canal, lake, ocean, river, or similar large body of water, you must decide which of your settlement’s borders are water (riverbanks, lakeshores, or seashores) or land. Some types of buildings, such as Mills, Piers, and Waterfronts, must be adjacent to water. A new settlement consists of 1 district, represented by the District Grid map. Mark the four borders on the District Grid as land or water, as appropriate.
Terrain and Terrain Improvements
|Terrain||Preparation Time||Preparation Cost||Farm Cost||Road Cost*|
|Cavern**||3 months||8 BP||—||4 BP|
|Desert||1 month||4 BP||8 BP||4 BP|
|Forest||2 months||4 BP||—||2 BP|
|Hills||1 month||2 BP||4 BP||3 BP|
|Marsh||3 months||8 BP||—||4 BP|
|Mountains||4 months||12 BP||—||4 BP|
|Plains||Immediate||1 BP||2 BP||1 BP|
|* If the hex contains any rivers, double the listed cost to reflect the need to build bridges.
** This is a large system of caves and underground passages and can be found in any terrain type except Marsh. It functions as in additional hex that exists underground, below the surface hex.
Step 5— Construct your first building. Construct 1 building in your settlement and pay its BP cost. If this is your kingdom’s first settlement, you should start with an Inn, Shrine, Monastery, or Watchtower. In addition, you may also purchase and construct 1 House, Mansion, Noble Villa, or Tenement. If your first building is an Inn, you must construct a House or Tenement next to it, as building an Inn requires an adjacent House or Tenement. When you complete these steps, you’ve founded your first settlement! If this is your first settlement, it’s considered your kingdom’s capital city.
|Capital City. A kingdom should have a capital city— the seat of your power. Your first settlement is your capital. If you want to designate a different settlement as the capital, you may do so in Step 7 of the Edict phase. Your capital city primarily comes into play if your kingdom loses hexes. If you change the capital city, attempt a Stability check. Success means Unrest increases by 1; failure means Unrest increases by 1d6.|
Founding A Kingdom
Once you have your first settlement, you have the start of a kingdom. You’ll need to make some initial decision that affect your kingdom’s statistics and record them on the kingdom sheet.
Step 1— Choose your kingdom’s alignment. Your kingdom’s alignment helps determine how loyal, prosperous, and stable your kingdom is (see above). Your kingdom may be a lawful good bastion against a nearby land of devil worshipers, or a chaotic neutral territory of cutthroat traders whose government does very little to interfere with the rights of its citizens.
Step 2— Choose leadership roles. Assign the leadership roles for all PCs and NPCs involved in running the kingdom, such as Ruler, General, and High Priest (see Leadership Roles for details). These roles provide bonuses on checks to made taxes, deal with rioting citizens, and resolve similar issues. Note that an unfilled role will often result in a penalty to certain kingdom statistics.
Step 3— Start your treasury. The build points you have left over from starting your first settlement make your initial Treasury.
Step 4— Determine your kingdom’s attributes. Your initial Economy, Loyalty, and Stability score are based on the kingdom’s alignment and the buildings you settlement has (if you start with more than one settlement, include all the settlements in this reckoning). This modified by bonuses (or penalties) granted by each PC and NPC in their leadership roles.
Once you’ve completed these steps you are ready to move onto Kingdom Turn Sequence.