- Ruling a Kingdom
- Kingdom Terminology
- Founding a Kingdom
- Leadership Roles
- Forms of Government
- Build Points
- Kingdom Turn Sequence
- Losing Hexes
- Independence and Unification
- Leadership Role Skills
Some heroes found kingdoms, driving out hostile monsters to make room for peaceful settlers. Others lead soldiers into battle, waging great and terrible wars. This section presents rules for building a kingdom and waging war that focus on the larger tactics of city planning and troop strategy rather than managing details of individual settlers and soldiers.
This section uses “kingdom” as a universal term to represent all kinds of domains, regardless of size, form of government, and gender of the ruler. Most of the decisions are in the hands of the players, and these rules are written with that assumption, using terms like “your kingdom” and “your army.” However, the GM is still in charge of the campaign, and is expected to make judgments about the repercussions of player decisions. While players running a kingdom should be allowed to read these rules (having them do so makes much of the kingdom building easier for the GM), the players shouldn’t think they can abuse these rules to exploit weird corner cases. For example, players may decide to construct a city full of graveyards because of the bonuses they provide to the city, but if the GM believes that is unreasonable, he could decide that the city is prone to frequent undead attacks. Likewise, a settlement with more magic shops than houses and businesses may slowly become a ghost town as all the normal citizens move elsewhere out of superstitious fear. As with a normal campaign, the GM is the final arbiter of the rules, and can make adjustments to events as necessary for the campaign.
Kingdom Building Quick Reference
With building a kingdom, you begin by founding a small settlement—such as a village or town—and expand your territory outward, claiming nearby hexes, founding additional settlements, and constructing buildings within those settlements. What you build in a hex or a settlement affects the economy of your kingdom, the loyalty of your citizens, the stability of the government, and the likeliness that kingdom will fall into chaos when citizens worry about monster attacks and other threats.
Use the kingdom sheet to track the statistics of your kingdom, just as you use a character sheet to track the statistics of your character.
You and the other PCs take specific roles in leading your kingdom, such as Ruler, High Priest, General, and so on. The leaders provide bonuses on rolls you make to manage the kingdom’s economy and other important issues. For example, having a High Priest makes your kingdom more stable and your citizens more loyal, and having a Treasurer makes your kingdom more profitable.
Instead of using gold pieces, a kingdom uses a type of currency called build points (BP), which represent actual cash, labor, expertise, and raw materials. While it is possible to convert gp into BP and back again, for the most part you’ll just be spending BP to run your kingdom.
Running a kingdom takes place over a series of turns, similar to how combat takes place over a series of rounds. a kingdom turn takes 1 month of game time. Each turn has four phases which you resolve in order: the Upkeep Phase, where you pay the kingdom’s bills; the Edict Phase, where you levy taxes and build improvements; the Income Phase, where you collect taxes; and the Events Phase, where you see if something especially good or bad happens to your kingdom.
If this is your first time reading these rules, start with the section on Founding a Settlement and read the rest of the kingdom-building rules in order. If you find a term you’re not familiar with, check the Kingdom Terminology section or refer to the Overview for a better idea of where you can find that information.
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, 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 the next adventure. However, characters who are keen to spread their wings and forge a place of power and influence in the world can use these rules 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.
These rules assume that all of the kingdom’s leaders are focused on making the 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. If the campaign begins to step into those areas, the GM is free to introduce new rules to deal with these activities.
Like the exploration system, the kingdom-building rules measure terrain in hexes. Each hex is 12 miles from corner to corner, representing an area of just less than 95 square miles. The hex measurement is an abstraction; the hexes are easy to quantify and allow the GM to categorize a large area as one terrain type without having to worry about precise borders of forests and other terrain features.
The key parts of the kingdom-building rules that you’ll be referencing are as follows:
- Explanation of the kingdom terminology.
- Step-by-step instructions for founding a kingdom.
- The turn sequence for an established kingdom.
- The game statistics for terrain improvements.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to found your first settlement.
- The game statistics for the types of buildings.
- The settlement District Grid.
Following the main rules and the types of buildings are several optional rules for kingdom building, such as modifying the effect of religious buildings based on alignment or deity portfolio, tracking Fame and Infamy scores for your kingdom, rules for different types of government, and special edicts you can declare during the turn sequence.
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: Stability +2 (apply this twice if the kingdom’s alignment is simply Neutral, not Chaotic Neutral or Lawful Neutral).
A kingdom’s alignment rarely changes, though at the GM’s option, it can shift through the actions of its rulers or its people.
Build Points: Build points (or BP for short) are the measure of your kingdom’s resources—equipment, labor, money, and so on. They’re used to acquire new hexes and develop additional buildings, settlements, and terrain improvements. Your kingdom also consumes BP to maintain itself (see Consumption).
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 settlements and terrain improvements (such as Farms and Fisheries). 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.
Who Rolls the Kingdom Check?
Running a kingdom is more fun if all the players are involved and each is responsible for making some of the kingdom checks. Who makes each roll depends on the players in your group and what roles they want to play. Some players may not want to make any of these rolls. You may want to start with the following die roll responsibilities and modify them to suit your kingdom and the other players. Anything marked as an optional rule is described in the optional kingdom-building rules.
Ruler: Loyalty checks, any checks or edicts not covered by other rulers
Councilor: Holiday edicts
General: Kingdom checks for events requiring combat
Grand Diplomat: Diplomatic edicts (optional rule)
Heir: Kingdom event rolls
Marshal: Exploration edicts (optional rule)
Royal Enforcer: Loyalty checks to reduce Unrest or prevent Unrest increases
Spymaster: Kingdom checks involving crime and foreigners
Treasurer: Economy checks, Taxation edicts, Trade edicts (optional rule)
Viceroy: Vassalage edicts (optional rule)
Warden: Stability checks
Kingdom Check: A kingdom has three attributes: Economy, Loyalty, and Stability. Your kingdom’s initial scores in each of these attributes is 0, plus modifiers for kingdom alignment, bonuses provided by the leaders, and any other modifiers.
Many kingdom actions and 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 initial Loyalty is 0 plus your kingdom’s alignment and any modifiers from your kingdom’s leadership role.
Population: Actual population numbers don’t factor into your kingdom’s statistics, but can be fun to track anyway. The population of each settlement is described in Settlements and Districts.
Size: This is how many hexes the kingdom claims. 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 saved and can spend on activities (much in the same way that your character has gold and other valuables you can spend on gear). Your Treasury can fall below 0 (meaning your kingdom’s costs exceed its savings and it is operating in debt), but this increases Unrest (see Upkeep Phase).
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 (see Upkeep Phase).
Once you have your first settlement, you have the start of a kingdom. You’ll need to make some initial decisions that affect your kingdom’s statistics, and record them on the kingdom sheet.
- Choose Your Kingdom’s Alignment. Your kingdom’s alignment helps determine how loyal, prosperous, and stable your kingdom is. 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.
- Choose Leadership Roles. Assign the leadership roles for all PCs and NPCs involved in running the kingdom, such as Ruler, General, and High Priest. The leadership roles provide bonuses on checks made to collect taxes, deal with rioting citizens, and resolve similar issues.
- Start Your Treasury. The build points you have left over from starting your first settlement make up your initial Treasury.
- Determine Your Kingdom’s Attributes. Your initial Economy, Loyalty, and Stability scores are based on the kingdom’s alignment and the buildings your settlement has. (If you start with more than one settlement, include all the settlements in this reckoning.)
Once you’ve completed these steps, move on to Kingdom Turn Sequence.
A stable kingdom has leaders that fill different roles—tending to the economy, defense, and health of its citizens. PCs and NPCs can fill these roles; your fighter may be the kingdom’s Warden, the party cleric its High Priest, and so on. Each role grants the kingdom different benefits.
A character can only fill one leadership role at a time. For example, your character can’t be both the Ruler and the High Priest. Even if you want the Ruler to be the head of the kingdom’s religion, she’s too busy ruling to also do the work of a High Priest; she’ll have to appoint someone else to do that work.
The kingdom must have someone in the Ruler role to function; without a Ruler, the kingdom cannot perform basic actions and gains Unrest every turn. All other roles are optional, though leaving certain roles vacant gives your kingdom penalties.
These leadership roles can be a part of any form of government; in some kingdoms they take the form of a formal ruling council, while in others they may be advisers, ministers, relatives of the leader, or simply powerful nobles, merchants, or bureaucrats with access to the seat of power. The names of these roles are game terms and need not correspond to the titles of those roles in the kingdom—the Ruler of your kingdom may be called king, queen, chosen one, padishah, overlord, sultan, and so on.
Responsibilities of Leadership: In order to gain the benefits of leadership, you must spend at least 7 days per month attending to your duties; these days need not be consecutive. This can be roleplayed or can be assumed to run in the background without needing to be defined or actively played out. Time spent ruling cannot be used for adventuring, crafting magic items, or completing other downtime activities that require your full attention and participation. Failure to complete your duties during a turn means treating the role as thought it’s vacant.
For most campaigns, it’s best to have the PCs pick the same days of the month for these administrative duties, so everyone is available for adventuring at the same time.
PCs and NPCs as Leaders: These rules include enough important leadership roles that a small group of PCs can’t fill them all. You may have to recruit NPCs to fill out the remaining necessary roles for your kingdom. Cohorts, followers, and even intelligent familiars or similar companions can fill leadership roles, and you may want to consider inviting allied NPCs to become rulers, such as asking a friendly ranger you rescued to become the kingdom’s Marshal.
Abdicating a Role: If you want to step down from a leadership position, you must find a replacement to avoid incurring the appropriate vacancy penalty for your position. Abdicating a position increases Unrest by 1 and requires a Loyalty check; if the check fails, the vacancy penalty applies for 1 turn while the new leader transitions into that role. If you are the Ruler, abdicating increases Unrest by 2 instead of 1, and you take a –4 penalty on the Loyalty check to avoid the vacancy penalty.
If you are not the Ruler and are leaving one leadership role to take a different one in the kingdom, the Unrest increase does not occur and you gain a +4 bonus on the Loyalty check to avoid the vacancy penalty.
Leader Statistics: The statistics for the different roles are presented as follows.
Benefit(s): This explains the benefit to your kingdom if you have a character in this role. If you have the Leadership feat, increase this benefit by 1. If this section gives you a choice of two ability scores, use whichever is highest.
Most benefits are constant and last as long as there is a character in that role, but don’t stack with themselves. For example, a General increases Loyalty by 2, so the General provides a constant +2 to the kingdom’s Loyalty (not a stacking +2 increase every turn), which goes away if she dies or resigns. If a benefit mentions a particular phase in kingdom building, that benefit applies every turn during that phase. For example, the Royal Enforcer decreases Unrest by 1 at every Upkeep Phase.
Vacancy Penalty: This line explains the penalty to your kingdom if no character fills this role, or if the leader fails to spend the necessary time fulfilling his responsibilities. Some roles have no vacancy penalty. If a character in a role is killed or permanently incapacitated during a turn and not restored to health by the start of the next kingdom turn, that role counts as vacant for that next turn, after which a replacement can be appointed to the role.
Like benefits, most vacancy penalties are constant, last as long as that role is vacant, and don’t stack with themselves. If a vacant role lists an increase to Unrest, however, that increase does not go away when the role is filled. For example, if the kingdom doesn’t have a ruler for a turn, Unrest increases by 4 and doesn’t automatically return to its previous level when you eventually fill the vacant Ruler role.
The Ruler is the highest-ranking person in the kingdom, above even the other kingdom leaders, and is expected to embody the values of the kingdom. The Ruler performs the kingdom’s most important ceremonies (such as knighting royals and signing treaties), is the kingdom’s chief diplomatic officer (though most of these duties are handled by the Grand Diplomat), is the signatory for all laws affecting the entire kingdom, pardons criminals when appropriate, and is responsible for appointing characters to all other high positions in the government (such as other leadership roles, mayors of settlements, and judges).
Benefit(s): Choose one kingdom attribute (Economy, Loyalty, or Stability). Add your Charisma modifier to this attribute. If your kingdom’s Size is 26–100, choose a second kingdom attribute and add your Charisma modifier to it as well. If your kingdom’s Size is 101 or more, choose a third kingdom attribute and add your Charisma modifier to it too.
If you have the Leadership feat, the bonus from the feat applies to all kingdom attributes you affect (one, two, or three attributes, depending on the kingdom’s Size).
If you marry someone of equal station, you both can act as Ruler. You both add your Charisma modifiers to the kingdom attribute (or attributes, if the kingdom is large enough). As long as one of you is present for 1 week per month, you avoid the vacancy penalty.
In a typical campaign where the kingdom leaders have no ties to actual nobility, “someone of equal station” is irrelevant and your marriage is between two Rulers. In a campaign where the leaders are nobles or royals, marrying someone of lesser station means the spouse becomes a Consort rather than a Ruler.
The Consort is usually the spouse of the Ruler, and spends time attending court, speaking with and advising nobles, touring the kingdom to lift the spirits of the people, and so on. In most kingdoms, you cannot have two married Rulers and a Consort at the same time.
The Consort represents the Ruler when the Ruler is occupied or otherwise unable to act. With the Ruler’s permission, the Consort may perform any of the Ruler’s duties, allowing the Ruler to effectively act in two places at once. If the Ruler dies, the Consort may act as Ruler until the Heir comes of age and can take over as Ruler.
Benefit(s): Add half your Charisma modifier to Loyalty. If the ruler is unavailable during a turn, you may act as the Ruler for that turn, negating the vacancy penalty for having no Ruler, though you do not gain the Ruler benefit. If you act as the Ruler for the turn, you must succeed at a Loyalty check during the kingdom’s Upkeep Phase or Unrest increases by 1.
Vacancy Penalty: None.
The Councilor acts as a liaison between the citizenry and the other kingdom leaders, parsing requests from the commonwealth and presenting the leaders’ proclamations to the people in understandable ways. It is the Councilor’s responsibility to make sure the Ruler is making decisions that benefit the kingdom’s communities and its citizens.
Vacancy Penalty: Loyalty decreases by 2. The kingdom gains no benefits from the Holiday edict. During the Upkeep Phase, Unrest increases by 1.
The General is the highest-ranking member of the kingdom’s military. If the kingdom has an army and a navy, the heads of those organizations report to the kingdom’s General. The General is responsible for looking after the needs of the military and directing the kingdom’s armies in times of war. Most citizens see the General as a protector and patriot.
Vacancy Penalty: Loyalty decreases by 4.
The Grand Diplomat is in charge of the kingdom’s foreign policy—how it interacts with other kingdoms and similar political organizations such as tribes of intelligent monsters. The Grand Diplomat is the head of all of the kingdom’s diplomats, envoys, and ambassadors. It is the Grand Diplomat‘s responsibility to represent and protect the interests of the kingdom with regard to foreign powers.
Vacancy Penalty: Stability decreases by 2. The kingdom cannot issue Diplomatic or Exploration edicts.
The Heir is usually the Ruler’s eldest son or daughter, though some kingdoms may designate a significant adviser (such as a seneschal) as Heir. The Heir’s time is mostly spent learning to become a ruler—pursuing academic and martial training, touring the kingdom to get to the know the land and its people, experiencing the intrigues of courtly life, and so on.
Vacancy Penalty: None.
The High Priest tends to the kingdom’s religious needs and guides its growth. If the kingdom has an official religion, the High Priest may also be the highest-ranking member of that religion in the kingdom, and has similar responsibilities over the lesser priests of that faith to those the Grand Diplomat has over the kingdom’s ambassadors and diplomats. If the kingdom has no official religion, the High Priest may be a representative of the most popular religion in the kingdom or a neutral party representing the interests of all religions allowed by the kingdom.
Vacancy Penalty: Stability and Loyalty decrease by 2. During the Upkeep Phase, Unrest increases by 1.
The Magister guides the kingdom’s higher learning and magic, promoting education and knowledge among the citizens and representing the interests of magic, science, and academia. In most kingdoms, the Magister is a sage, a wizard, or a priest of a deity of knowledge, and oversees the governmental bureaucracy except regarding finance.
Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4.
The Marshal ensures that the kingdom’s laws are being enforced in the remote parts of the kingdom as well as in the vicinity of the capital. The Marshal is also responsible for securing the kingdom’s borders. He organizes regular patrols and works with the General to respond to threats that militias and adventurers can’t deal with alone.
Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4.
The Royal Enforcer deals with punishing criminals, working with the Councilor to make sure the citizens feel the government is adequately dealing with wrongdoers, and working with the Marshal to capture fugitives from the law. The Royal Enforcer may grant civilians the authority to kill in the name of the law.
Benefit(s): Add your Dexterity modifier or Strength modifier to Loyalty. During the Upkeep Phase, you may decrease Unrest by 1 (this is not affected by having the Leadership feat); if you do so, you must succeed at a Loyalty check or Loyalty decreases by 1.
Vacancy Penalty: None.
The Spymaster observes the kingdom’s criminal elements and underworld and spies on other kingdoms. The Spymaster always has a finger on the pulse of the kingdom’s underbelly, and uses acquired information to protect the interests of the kingdom at home and elsewhere through a network of spies and informants.
Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4. During the Upkeep Phase, Unrest increases by 1.
The Treasurer monitors the state of the kingdom’s Treasury and citizens’ confidence in the value of their money and investigates whether any businesses are taking unfair advantage of the system. The Treasurer is in charge of the tax collectors and tracks debts and credits with guilds and other governments.
Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4. The kingdom cannot collect taxes—during the Edict Phase, when you would normally collect taxes, the kingdom does not collect taxes at all and the taxation level is considered “none.”
The Viceroy represents the Ruler’s interests on an ongoing basis in a specific location such as a colony or vassal state (see the optional Vassalage edict). The Viceroy is in effect the Ruler for that territory; her orders are superseded only by direct commands from the Ruler.
Benefit(s): Add half your Intelligence or Wisdom modifier to Economy. You may assume any leadership role (including Ruler) for your colony or vassal state, but any benefit you provide in this role is 1 less than normal; if you do so, you must spend 7 days that month performing duties appropriate to that leadership role in addition to the 7 days spent for Viceroy duties.
The Warden is responsible for enforcing laws in larger settlements, as well as ensuring the safety of the kingdom leaders. The Warden also works with the General to deploy forces to protect settlements and react to internal threats.
Vacancy Penalty: Loyalty and Stability decrease by 2.
The kingdom-building rules presume your government is a feudal monarchy; the leaders are appointed for life (either by themselves or an outside agency such as a nearby monarch), and pass their titles to their heirs. The form of government you choose can help establish the flavor and feel of the kingdom and also adjust its settlements’ modifiers. You may choose one of the following as the kingdom’s government.
Autocracy: A single person rules the kingdom by popular acclaim. This person may be elected by the people, a popular hero asked to lead, or even a hereditary monarch who rules with a light hand. Modifiers: None.
Magocracy: An individual or group with potent magical power leads the kingdom and promotes the spread of magical and mundane knowledge and education. Those with magical abilities often enjoy favored status in the kingdom. Modifiers: Lore +2, Productivity –1, Society –1.
Oligarchy: A group of councilors, guild masters, aristocrats, and other wealthy and powerful individuals meet in council to lead the kingdom and direct its policies. Modifiers: Corruption +1, Law –1, Lore –1, Society +1.
Overlord: The kingdom’s ruler is a single individual who either seized control or inherited command of the settlement and maintains a tight grasp on power. Modifiers: Corruption +1, Crime –1, Law +1, Society –1.
Republic: The kingdom is ruled by a parliament of elected or appointed officials who represent the various geographic areas and cultural constituents of the kingdom, making decisions for the whole through voting, bureaucratic procedures, and coalition-building. Modifiers: Crime –1, Law –1, Productivity +1, Society +1.
Secret Syndicate: An unofficial or illegal group like a thieves’ guild rules the kingdom—the group may use a puppet leader to maintain secrecy, but the group pulls the strings. Modifiers: Corruption +1, Crime +1, Law –3, Productivity +1.
Theocracy: The kingdom is ruled by the leader of its most popular religion, and the ideas and members of that religion often enjoy favored status in government and the kingdom. Modifiers: Corruption –1, Law +1, Lore +1, Society –1.
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. Build points include raw materials (such as livestock, lumber, land, seed, and ore), tangible goods (such as wagons, weapons, and candles), 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 on. These things are made at your command, but they are not yours. The cities, roads, farms, and buildings belong to the citizens who build them and use them to live and work every day, and those acts of living and working create more BP for the kingdom. As the leaders, you use your power and influence to direct the economic and constructive activity of your kingdom, deciding what gets built, when, and where.
Build points don’t have a precise exchange rate to gold pieces because they don’t represent exact amounts of specific resources. For example, you can’t really equate the productivity of a blacksmith with that of a stable, as their goods are used for different things and aren’t produced at the same rate, but both of them contribute to a kingdom’s overall economy. In general, 1 BP is worth approximately 4,000 gp; use this value to get a sense of how costly various kingdom expenditures are. In practice, it is not a simple matter to convert one currency to the other, but there are certain ways for your PC to spend gp to increase the kingdom’s BP or withdraw BP and turn them into gold for your character to spend.
Providing a seed amount of BP at the start of kingdom building means your kingdom isn’t starving for resources in the initial months. Whether you acquire these funds on your own or with the help of an influential NPC is decided by the GM, and sets the tone for much of the campaign.
In many cases, a kingdom’s initial BP come from a source outside your party. a wealthy queen may want to tame some of the wilderness on her kingdom’s borders, or a merchant’s guild may want to construct a trading post to increase trade with distant lands. Regardless of the intent, the work involved to create a new settlement costs thousands of gold pieces—more than most adventurers would want to spend on mundane things like jails, mills, and piers.
It is an easy matter for the GM to provide these funds in the form of a quest reward. a wealthy queen may grant you minor titles and BP for your treasury if you kill a notorious bandit and turn his ruined castle into a town, or a guild may provide you with a ship full of goods and workers and enough BP to start a small colony on a newly discovered, resource-rich continent. In exchange for this investment, the sponsor expects you to be a vassal or close ally; in some cases, you may be required to pay back these BP (such as at a rate of 1 BP per turn) or provide tribute to the patron on an ongoing basis (such as at a rate of 10% of your income per turn, minimum 1 BP).
An appropriate starting amount is 50 BP. This amount is enough to keep a new kingdom active for a few turns while it establishes its own economy, but it is still at risk of collapse from mismanagement or bad luck.
As the initial citizens represented by this BP investment are probably loyal to the sponsor, taking action against the sponsor may anger those people and cause trouble. For example, if you rebuff the queen’s envoy, your citizens may see this as a snub against the queen and rebel.
Your responsibility to the sponsor usually falls into one of the following categories, based on the loan arrangement.
Charter: The sponsor expects you to explore, clear, and settle a wilderness area along the sponsor’s border—an area where the sponsor has some territorial claims. You may have to fend off other challengers for the land.
Conquest: The sponsor’s soldiers clashed with the army of an existing kingdom and the kingdom’s old leaders have fled, surrendered, or been killed. The sponsor has placed you in command of this territory and the soldiers.
Fief: The sponsor places you in charge of an existing domain within his own already-settled lands. If it includes already improved terrain and cities, you’re expected to govern and further improve them. (While you’ll start with land and settlements, you’ll still need around 50 BP to handle your kingdom’s Consumption and development needs.)
Grant: The sponsor places you in charge of settling and improving an area already claimed by the liege but not significantly touched by civilization. You may have to expand the borders of the land or defend it against hostile creatures.
It’s not easy to start a kingdom—probably the reason everyone doesn’t have one. If you are founding a kingdom on your own, without an external sponsor or a fantastic windfall of resources, the initial financial costs can be crippling to PCs. Even building a new town with just a House and an Inn costs 13 BP—worth over 50,000 gp in terms of stone, timber, labor, food, and so on. To compensate for this (and encourage you to adventure in search of more gold that you can convert into BP), if you’re running a small, self-starting kingdom, the GM may allow you to turn your gold into BP at a better rate. You may only take advantage of this if you don’t have a sponsor; it represents your people seeing the hard work you’re directly putting in and being inspired to do the same to get the kingdom off the ground.
This improved rate depends on the Size of your kingdom, as shown in the following table.
|Kingdom Size||Price of 1 BP||Withdrawal Rate*|
|01–25||1,000 gp||500 gp|
|26–50||2,000 gp||1,000 gp|
|51–100||3,000 gp||1,500 gp|
|101+||4,000 gp||2,000 gp|
* If you make a withdrawal from the Treasury during the Income Phase, use this withdrawal rate to determine how much gp you gain per BP withdrawn.
The GM may also allow you to discover a cache of goods worth BP (instead of gp) as a reward for adventuring, giving you the seed money to found or support your kingdom.
A kingdom’s growth occurs during four phases, which together make up 1 kingdom turn (1 month of game time). The four phases are as follows:
Phase 1—Upkeep: Check your kingdom’s stability, pay costs, and deal with Unrest (see below).
Phase 2—Edict: Declare official proclamations about taxes, diplomacy, and other kingdom-wide decisions.
Phase 3—Income: Add to your Treasury by collecting taxes and converting gp into BP, or withdraw BP from your kingdom for your personal use.
Phase 4—Event: Check whether any unusual events occur that require attention. Some are beneficial, such as an economic boom, good weather, or the discovery of remarkable treasure. Others are detrimental, such as foul weather, a plague, or a rampaging monster.
These phases are always undertaken in the above order. Many steps allow you to perform an action once per kingdom turn; this means once for the entire kingdom, not once per leader.
During the Upkeep Phase, you adjust your kingdom’s scores based on what’s happened in the past month, how happy the people are, how much they’ve consumed and are taxed, and so on.
Step 1—Determine Kingdom Stability: Attempt a Stability check. If you succeed, Unrest decreases by 1 (if this would reduce Unrest below 0, add 1 BP to your Treasury instead). If you fail by 4 or less, Unrest increases by 1; if you fail by 5 or more, Unrest increases by 1d4.
Step 2—Pay Consumption: Subtract your kingdom’s Consumption from the kingdom’s Treasury. If your Treasury is negative after paying Consumption, Unrest increases by 2.
Step 3—Fill Vacant Magic Item Slots: If any of your settlement districts have buildings that produce magic items (such as a Caster’s Tower or Herbalist) with vacant magic item slots, there is a chance of those slots filling with new items (see the Magic Items in Settlements section).
Step 4—Modify Unrest: Unrest increases by 1 for each kingdom attribute (Economy, Loyalty, or Stability) that is a negative number.
The Royal Enforcer may attempt to reduce Unrest during this step.
If the kingdom’s Unrest is 11 or higher, it loses 1 hex (the leaders choose which hex). See Losing Hexes.
If your kingdom’s Unrest ever reaches 20, the kingdom falls into anarchy. While in anarchy, your kingdom can take no action and treats all Economy, Loyalty, and Stability check results as 0. Restoring order once a kingdom falls into anarchy typically requires a number of quests and lengthy adventures by you and the other would-be leaders to restore the people’s faith in you.
Example: Jessica is the Ruler of a kingdom with a Size of 30 and a Control DC of 60. Based on leadership role bonuses, kingdom alignment bonuses, and buildings in her settlements, the kingdom’s Economy is 52, its Loyalty is 45, and its Stability is 56. Its Unrest is currently 5, its Consumption is 5, and the Treasury has 12 BP. In Step 1 of the Upkeep Phase, Adam, the Warden, attempts a Stability check to determine the kingdom’s stability. Adam rolls a 19, adds the kingdom’s Stability (56), and subtracts its Unrest (5), for a total of 70; that’s a success, so Unrest decreases by 1. In Step 2, the kingdom pays 5 BP for Consumption. None of the kingdom’s magic item slots are empty, so they skip Step 3. In Step 4, none of the attributes are negative, so Unrest doesn’t increase. Mark, the Royal Enforcer, doesn’t want to risk reducing the kingdom’s Loyalty, so he doesn’t use his leadership role to reduce Unrest. At the end of this phase, the kingdom has Economy 52, Loyalty 45, Stability 56, Unrest 4, Consumption 5, and Treasury 7 BP.
The Edict phase is when you make proclamations on expansion, improvements, taxation, holidays, and so on.
Step 1—Assign Leadership: Assign PCs or NPCs to any vacant leadership roles or change the roles being filled by particular PCs or closely allied NPCs (see Leadership Roles).
Step 2—Claim and Abandon Hexes: For your kingdom to grow, you must claim additional hexes. You can only claim a hex that is adjacent to at least 1 other hex in your kingdom. Before you can claim it, the hex must first be explored, then cleared of monsters and dangerous hazards (see Steps 2 and 3 of Founding a Settlement for more details). Then, to claim the hex, spend 1 BP; this establishes the hex as part of your kingdom and increases your kingdom’s Size by 1. Table: Improvement Edicts tells you the maximum number of hexes you can claim per turn.
You may abandon any number of hexes to reduce your kingdom’s Size (which you may wish to do to manage Consumption). Doing so increases Unrest by 1 for each hex abandoned (or by 4 if the hex contained a settlement). This otherwise functions like losing a hex due to unrest (see Step 4 of the Upkeep Phase).
You may also prepare a hex for constructing a settlement. Depending on the site, this may involve clearing trees, moving boulders, digging sanitation trenches, and so on. See the Preparation Cost column on Table: Terrain and Terrain Improvements to determine how many BP this requires.
Table: Improvement Edicts tells you the maximum number of terrain improvements you can make per turn.
Step 5—Create and Improve Settlements: You may create a settlement in a claimed hex (see Founding a Settlement). Table: Improvement Edicts tells you the maximum number of settlements you can establish per turn.
You may a building in any settlement in your kingdom. The list of available building types begins. When a building is completed, apply its modifiers to your kingdom sheet. Table: Improvement Edicts tells you the maximum number of buildings you can construct in your kingdom per turn. The first House, Mansion, Noble Villa, or Tenement your kingdom builds each turn does not count against that limit.
Step 6—Create Army Units: You may create, expand, equip, or repair army units (see Mass Combat).
Step 7—Issue Edicts: Select or adjust your edict levels (see Edicts).
Example: Jessica’s kingdom has no vacant leadership roles, so nothing happens in Step 1. The leaders don’t want to spend BP and increase Size right now, so in Step 2 they don’t claim any hexes. In Step 3, the leaders construct a Farm in one of the kingdom’s prepared hexes (Consumption –2, Treasury –2 BP). In Steps 5 and 6, the leaders continue to be frugal and do not construct settlement improvements or create armies. In Step 7, the leaders issue a Holiday edict of one national holiday (Loyalty +1, Consumption +1) and set the Promotion edict level to “none” (Stability –1, Consumption +0). Looking ahead to the Income Phase, Jessica realizes that an average roll for her Economy check would be a failure (10 on the 1d20 + 52 Economy – 4 Unrest = 58, less than the Control DC of 60), which means there’s a good chance the kingdom won’t generate any BP this turn. She decides to set the Taxation edict to “heavy” (Economy +3, Loyalty –4). At the end of this phase, the kingdom has Economy 55, Loyalty 42, Stability 55, Unrest 4, Consumption 4, and Treasury 5 BP.
During the Income phase, you may add to or withdraw from the Treasury as well as collect taxes.
Step 1—Make Withdrawals from the Treasury: The kingdom-building rules allow you to expend BP on things related to running the kingdom. If you want to spend some of the kingdom’s resources on something for your own personal benefit (such as a new magic item), you may withdraw BP from the Treasury and convert it into gp once per turn, but there is a penalty for doing so.
Each time you withdraw BP for your personal use, Unrest increases by the number of BP withdrawn. Each BP you withdraw this way converts to 2,000 gp of personal funds.
Step 2—Make Deposits to the Treasury: You can add funds to a kingdom’s Treasury by donating your personal wealth to the kingdom—coins, gems, jewelry, weapons, armor, magic items, and other valuables you find while adventuring, as long as they are individually worth 4,000 gp or less. For every full 4,000 gp in value of the deposit, increase your kingdom’s BP by 1.
If you want to donate an item that is worth more than 4,000 gp, refer to Step 3 instead.
Step 3—Sell Expensive Items for BP: You can attempt to sell expensive personal items (that is, items worth more than 4,000 gp each) through your kingdom’s markets to add to your Treasury. You may sell one item per settlement district per turn. You must choose the settlement where you want to sell the item, and the item cannot be worth more than the base value of that settlement.
To sell an item, divide its price by half (as if selling it to an NPC for gp), divide the result by 4,000 (rounded down), and add that many BP to your Treasury.
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. (See Magic Items in Settlements for more information on this topic.)
Step 4—Collect Taxes: Attempt an Economy check, divide the result by 3 (round down), and add a number of BP to your Treasury equal to the result.
Example: Jessica and the other leaders need to keep BP in the kingdom for future plans, so they skip Step 1 of the Income phase. They are worried that they won’t collect enough taxes this turn, so just in case, in Step 2 they deposit 8,000 gp worth of coins, gems, and small magic items (Treasury +2 BP). The leaders aren’t selling any expensive items, so nothing happens in Step 3. In Step 4, Rob, the Treasurer, rolls the Economy check to collect taxes. Rob rolls a 9 on the 1d20, adds the kingdom’s Economy score (55), and subtracts Unrest (4) for a total of 60, which means the kingdom adds 20 BP (the Economy check result of 60, divided by 3) to the Treasury. At the end of this phase, the kingdom has Economy 55, Loyalty 42, Stability 55, Unrest 4, Consumption 4, and Treasury 27 BP.
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.
In the Event phase, a random event may affect your kingdom as a whole or a single settlement or hex.
There is a 25% chance of an event occurring (see Events). If no event occurred during the last turn, this chance increases to 75%. Some events can be negated, ended, or compensated for with some kind of kingdom check. Others, such as a rampaging monster, require you to complete an adventure or deal with a problem in a way not covered by the kingdom-building rules.
In addition, the GM may have an adventure- or campaign-specific event take place. Other events may also happen during this phase, such as independence or unification.
Example: The GM rolls on one of the event tables and determines that a monster is attacking one of the kingdom’s hexes. Instead of attempting a Stability check to deal with the monster (risking increasing Unrest if it fails), Jessica and the other leaders go on a quest to deal with the monster personally. They defeat the monster, so the event does not generate any Unrest. At the end of this phase, the kingdom’s scores are unchanged: Economy 55, Loyalty 42, Stability 55, Unrest 4, Consumption 4, and Treasury 27 BP.
If you lose control of a hex—whether because of Unrest, monster attacks, assaults from a hostile kingdom, and so on—you lose all the benefits of any terrain improvements in that hex (such as Farms and Roads). All settlements in that hex become free cities with no loyalty to you or any other kingdom (see Free City). At the GM’s discretion, monsters may move into the abandoned hex, requiring you to clear it again if you want to claim it later, and terrain improvements may decay over time.
Losing a hex may break your connection to other kingdom hexes. For example, losing the only hex that bridges two sides of a mountain range creates two separate territories. If this happens, the primary territory is the part of the kingdom with your capital city (see sidebar), and the rest of the kingdom is the secondary territory. If none of the kingdom’s leaders are in the secondary territory when this split happens, you lose control of all hexes (as described above) in the secondary territory.
If at least one kingdom leader is in the secondary territory when the split occurs, you retain control of the secondary territory, but kingdom checks regarding its hexes treat Unrest as 1 higher, increasing by 1 each turn after the split. This modifier goes away if you claim a hex that reconnects the secondary territory to the primary territory.
If you claim a hex that reestablishes a connection to a leaderless secondary territory, you regain the benefits of the territory’s terrain improvements. You must succeed at a Stability check to reclaim each of your former settlements in the secondary territory. You initially have a +5 bonus on these checks because the cities want to return to your kingdom, but this bonus decreases by 1 (to a minimum bonus of +0) for each subsequent turn since you lost control of the secondary territory.
If your kingdom is reduced to 0 hexes—whether through Unrest, a natural disaster, an attack by another kingdom, or other circumstances—you are at risk of losing the kingdom. On your next turn, you must claim a new hex and found or claim a new settlement, or your kingdom is destroyed and you must start over if you want to found a new kingdom. At the GM’s discretion, you may be able to keep some BP from your destroyed kingdom’s Treasury for a time; otherwise, those assets are lost.
Sometimes, breaking a kingdom into multiple pieces or joining with another kingdom is the best option for long-term survival.
Though many kingdoms break apart due to military, racial, or religious conflicts, you can divide up your kingdom amiably if all leaders agree. During the Event Phase, follow these steps.
Step 1: Decide how many kingdoms you’ll make out of the old one.
Step 2: Split up the kingdom. Determine which hexes belong to each daughter kingdom. Divide the treasury in a fair manner (such as proportionate to population or Size), and divide any other mobile assets (such as armies).
Step 3: Determine how much Unrest in the parent kingdom does not result from leadership and building modifiers. Divide this by the number of daughter kingdoms being made from the parent kingdom (minimum 1 Unrest).
Step 4: Each daughter kingdom should follow the steps for founding a kingdom. Treat leaders moving from the parent kingdom to a daughter kingdom as abdicating their posts in the parent kingdom. Loyalty increases by 1 for each daughter kingdom for the next 6 months. Add the Unrest from Step 3 to the Unrest for the daughter kingdoms.
The GM may influence any of these steps as appropriate to the situation, such as by giving one kingdom an Economy penalty and a Loyalty bonus, or dividing the Unrest in Step 4 unequally between the kingdoms.
If independence occurs as a result of creating a secondary territory by losing control of a connecting hex (see Losing Hexes), the additional Unrest penalty from having a kingdom leader act as the Ruler ends.
Independence and Diplomatic Edicts: If you’re using Diplomatic edicts, you may wish to use such an edict to declare independence. Treat this act as a Diplomatic edict to form an alliance, but the sponsor’s initial attitude toward your kingdom is 2 steps worse.
If successful, the negotiation emancipates your kingdom and ends any treaty or alliance with your former patron; you retain an embassy with that kingdom and can try to negotiate a new treaty or alliance. If the negotiation fails, it worsens the patron’s attitude by 1 additional step. If this changes the patron’s attitude to hostile, it leads to war against your rebellious kingdom.
The paragraph above describes an optimal, peaceful situation where part of the kingdom wants to split away from the rest or the rulers want to divide the kingdom into smaller kingdoms. Splitting a country because of invasion, revolution, or a similar conflict usually involves unique circumstances and is beyond the scope of these rules; the GM should use the above steps as guidelines for when the kingdom leaders reach an agreement with others about how to split the kingdom.
Just as a kingdom can divide into separate pieces, kingdoms may want to unite to become a more powerful political entity. If the leaders in each kingdom agree to the union, the process is relatively smooth. During the Event Phase, follow these steps.
First, combine the Treasuries and any other mobile assets (such as armies) of the kingdoms. Next, determine how much Unrest in each kingdom is not from leadership and building modifiers. Average these numbers together (minimum 1 Unrest).
Then follow the steps for founding a kingdom. Treat leaders who change roles as changing roles within the same kingdom.
Once you’ve got your new, combined kingdom, add the Unrest from earlier to the Unrest for the new kingdom.
The GM may influence any of these steps as appropriate to the situation, such as giving hexes in the smaller kingdom a temporary Loyalty penalty for 1 year, or giving the entire kingdom a 1d4–2 Stability modifier each turn for 6 months.
Gaining Experience for Leadership
As the kingdom grows, the party gains experience points the first time it reaches each of the following milestones.
Found a Kingdom: 2,400 XP
Establish a Capital City: 1,200 XP
Reach a Kingdom Size of 11: 2,400 XP
Reach a Kingdom Size of 26: 4,800 XP
Reach a Kingdom Size of 51: 9,600 XP
Reach a Kingdom Size of 101: 12,800 XP
Reach a Kingdom Size of 151: 25,600 XP
Reach a Kingdom Size of 201: 76,800 XP
Fill a Settlement with 4 Lots of Buildings: 1,600 XP
Fill a Settlement with 16 Lots of Buildings: 4,800 XP
Fill a Settlement with 36 Lots of Buildings: 12,800 XP
Each leadership role provides bonuses to kingdom statistics based on one of the leader’s ability scores. The GM may want to allow a leader’s ranks in a relevant skill (such as Diplomacy or Intimidate) to also affect the kingdom statistics. For every 5 full ranks in a relevant skill, the leader may increase the leadership modifier by an additional 1. These skill-based additional bonuses modify the standard leadership role bonuses in the same way that the Leadership feat grants additional bonuses.
The relevant skills for each leadership role are as follows.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Campaign. © 2013, Paizo Publishing, LLC; Authors: Jesse Benner, Benjamin Bruck, Jason Bulmahn, Ryan Costello, Adam Daigle, Matt Goetz, Tim Hitchcock, James Jacobs, Ryan Macklin, Colin McComb, Jason Nelson, Richard Pett, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Patrick Renie, Sean K Reynolds, F. Wesley Schneider, James L. Sutter, Russ Taylor, and Stephen Townshend.