House Rules: Nation Building - Settlements

Founding a Settlement

Before you can start your own nation, 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. Once you have a nation, you'll want to create more settlements in order for the nation to grow and prosper. To found a settlement, you must perform the following steps. (These steps assume you're building a new settlement from scratch; if you're attempting to incorporate an existing settlement into your nation, see Free City.)

Step 1—Acquire funds. You'll need money and resources in the form of build points.

Step 2—Explore and clear a hex. You'll need to explore the hex where you want to put the settlement. See the Exploration Time column on Table: Terrain and Terrain Improvements to see how long this takes. Once you have explored the hex, clear it of 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. This is done using the Ruler's leadership action during the Decision Phase. This establishes the hex as part of your nation (or the beginning of your nation).

Step 4—Prepare the site for construction. To put a settlement on a claimed hex, you'll need to prepare its first district using the Ruler's leadership action during the Decision Phase. Depending on the site, this process may involve clearing trees, moving boulders, digging sanitation trenches, and so on. See the Preparation Time and Preparation Cost columns in Table: Terrain and Terrain Improvements for the BP cost and the time needed to prepare the first district.

If your settlement is in a hex containing a canal, lake, ocean, river, or similar large body of water, then your settlement is considered to have access to a body of water. Some types of buildings, such as Mills, Piers, and Waterfronts must have access to a body of water.

Step 5—Construct your first buildings. Construct 1 building in your settlement and pay its BP cost. If this is your nation's first settlement, you should start with an Inn, Shrine, or Monastery. In addition, you may also purchase and construct 1 House or Tenement. If your first building is an Inn, you must construct a House or Tenement as well, as building an Inn requires a House or Tenement in the settlement.

When you complete these steps, you've founded your settlement! If this is your first settlement, it's considered your nation's capital city.

Growing Settlements

Settlements are grown by increasing its population by building Houses or Tenements. When a settlement reaches the population threshold to increase in size, you must spend time and BP as noted in Table: Terrain and Terrain Improvements to prepare each new additional district. You may start preparing multiple districts at the same time if you can afford the cost. All new districts must be prepared before you are able to build new Houses or Tenements in the settlement.

Magic Items in Settlements

In addition to the commonly available items in a settlement as determined by its base value, some buildings increase the likelihood of having specific or unusual magic items available for purchase.

Gaining Item Slots: When you construct one of these buildings, mark the appropriate boxes in the Magic Items section for that settlement; this indicates that the settlement has gained a slot for an item of that type.

Filling Item Slots: In the Upkeep Phase, you roll to fill vacant magic item slots in each district. Roll d% once for open magic item slot. There is a 50% chance (51–100) that an appropriate magic item becomes available in that slot. This item's price cannot exceed the base value for the settlement (reroll if the item's price exceeds the settlement's base value).

Emptying Item Slots: If you are unsatisfied with a magic item generated by a settlement, there are three ways to purge an undesirable item and make its slot vacant. The first is to purchase it with your own gp, which makes it your personal property and means you may do with it what you please (use it, sell it at half price for gold, deposit it in the nation's Treasury during the next Income Phase, use it as a reward for a local general, and so on).

The second method is to manipulate your nation's economy to encourage an NPC to purchase the item (such as a random adventurer passing through the settlement). During the Decision Phase, your nation's Magister may attempt one Economy check for a filled slot you want to empty. For every such check, your Economy suffers a cumulative -1 penalty until the next Decision Phase, since these manipulations are harmful to your nation's economy and typically only serve to get rid of an item you consider undesirable. If the check fails, nothing happens. If the check succeeds, erase the item from that slot; you may attempt to fill the empty slot as normal in the next Upkeep Phase. You do not gain any gp or BP from this sale; the money goes to the building's owner, who uses it to acquire or craft the next item.

The third way is to spend BP (1 BP = 2,000 gp) to purchase the item. If you take the item for your own use, this counts as withdrawing BP from the Treasury for your personal use (see Withdraw from treasury leadership action for the Treasurer). If you use the item in a way that doesn't directly benefit you or the other PCs (such as giving it to a hero of your army or donating it to a settlement as a religious or historical artifact), then purchasing it is essentially like other nation expenditures and does not increase Unrest or decrease Loyalty.

Settlement Modifiers

Base Value: The base value associated with a settlement is tied to the number of trade-based buildings it has. Each such building, whether it’s a shop, tavern, or brothel, increases a settlement’s base value. Any nonmagical item is always available if its cost is lower than the settlement’s base value.

Community Wealth: Community wealth is the limit of actual currency or the value of the total amount of a single good that is available in a settlement. Community wealth is determined by multiplying half of the settlement's purchase limit by 1/10 of the settlement's population. For example, a Hamlet with a base value of 500 gp with a population of 90 has a community wealth of 1,125 gp. A group of adventurers could exchange up to 1,125 g worth of gems for hard currency, or purchase up to 75 longswords in this settlement.

Danger: A settlement's danger value is a number that gives a general idea of how dangerous it is to live in the settlement. If you use wandering monster chart that uses percentile dice and ranks its encounters from lowest CR to highest CR, use the modifier associated with the settlement's danger value to adjust rolls on the encounter chart. A settlement's base danger value depends on its type.

Defensive Modifier: A settlement's Defensive Modifier can be increased by building certain structures (such as city walls) and has an impact on mass combat.

Districts: Larger settlements are split into districts that limit certain settlement improvements.

Population: A settlement's population is equal to the number of house and tenements x 50.

Purchase Limit: A settlement's purchase limit is the most money a shop in the settlement can spend to purchase any single item from the PCs. If the PCs wish to sell an item worth more than a settlement's purchase limit, they'll either need to settle for a lower price, travel to a larger city, or search for a specific buyer in the city with deeper pockets. A settlement's purchase limit is half of its base value.

Settlement Modifier: Settlements possess six modifiers that apply to specific skill checks made in the settlement. A settlement's starting modifier values are determined by its type. This value is further adjusted by the settlement's alignment, government, qualities, and disadvantages.

Size: A settlement's size is determined by its population. A metropolis occupies the entire hex, and does not allow any other improvement present within it. Any improvement in the same hex as a large city settlement must be removed before more houses can be added. To continue growing, an adjacent hex must not have any improvements in it before more houses can be added to the settlement.

Spellcasting: Unlike magic items, spellcasting for hire is listed separately from the town's base value, since spellcasting is limited by the level of the available spellcasters in town. The highest-level spell available for purchase from spellcasters in town depends on the settlement's size. This limit may be increased by other factors.

Table: Settlement Size Modifiers

Size Settlement Modifier Population Spellcasting Defensive Modifier Districts Danger
Thorpe -4 20-80 1st +0 1 -20
Hamlet -2 81–400 1st +0 1 -15
Village -1 401-900 1st +0 1 -10
Small town 0 901-2,000 2nd -2 4 -5
Large town 0 2,001-5,000 2nd -4 9 0
Small city +1 5,001-12,000 3rd -8 16 +5
Large city +2 12,001-25,000 3rd -12 25 +10
Metropolis +4 25,001-50,000 4th -16 36 +20
(Metropolis+1) (+4) (+25,000) (+1/2; max. 9th) (-4) (+36) (+20)
  • Corruption: Corruption measures how open a settlement's officials are to bribes, how honest its citizens are, and how likely anyone in town is to report a crime. Low corruption indicates a high level of civic honesty. A settlement's corruption modifies:
    • all Bluff checks against city officials and guards,
    • all Stealth checks made inside of the settlement (but not inside buildings or underground).
  • Crime: Crime is a measure of a settlement's lawlessness. A settlement with a low crime modifier is relatively safe, with violent crimes being rare or even unknown, while a settlement with a high crime modifier is likely to have A powerful thieves' guild and a significant problem with violence. The atmosphere generated by a settlement's crime level applies as a modifier on:
    • Sense Motive checks to avoid being bluffed,
    • to Sleight of Hand checks made to pick pockets.
  • Law: Law measures how strict a settlement's laws and edicts are. A settlement with a low law modifier isn't necessarily crime-ridden—in fact, A low law modifier usually indicates that the town simply has little need for protection since crime is so rare. A high law modifier means the settlement's guards are particularly alert, vigilant, and well-organized. The more lawful A town is, the more timidly its citizens tend to respond to shows of force. A settlement's law modifier applies on:
    • Intimidate checks made to force an opponent to act friendly,
    • Diplomacy checks against government officials,
    • Diplomacy checks made to call on the city guard.
  • Lore: A settlement's lore modifier measures not only how willing the citizens are to chat and talk with visitors, but also how available and accessible its libraries and sages are. A low lore modifier doesn't mean the settlement's citizens are idiots, just that they're close-mouthed or simply lack knowledge resources. A settlement's lore modifier applies on:
    • Diplomacy checks made to gather information,
    • Knowledge checks made using the city's resources to do research when using a library.
  • Productivity: A settlement's productivity modifier indicates the health of its trade and the wealth of its successful citizens. A low productivity modifier doesn't automatically mean the town is beset with poverty—it could merely indicate a town with little trade or one that is relatively self-sufficient. Towns with high productivity modifiers always have large markets and many shops. A settlement's productivity helps its citizens make money, and thus it applies as a modifier on:
    • all Craft checks,
    • all Perform and Profession checks to generate income.
  • Society: Society measures how open-minded and civilized A settlement's citizens are. A low society modifier might mean many of the citizens harbor prejudices or are overly suspicious of out-of-towners. A high society modifier means that citizens are used to diversity and unusual visitors and that they respond better to well-spoken attempts at conversation. A settlement's society modifier applies on:
    • all Disguise checks,
    • Diplomacy checks made to alter the attitude of any non-government official.

Settlement Qualities

Settlements often have unusual qualities that make them unique. Listed below are several different qualities that can further modify a community's statistics. A settlement's qualities are determined by the improvements built within it and its size.

Note that many of the following qualities adjust a town's base value or purchase limit by a percentage of the town's standard values. If a town has multiple qualities of this sort, add together the percentages from modifiers and then increase the base value by that aggregated total—do not apply the increases one at a time.

  • Academic: The settlement possesses a school, training facility, or university of great renown. (Lore +1, increase spellcasting by 1 level) Requires Academy or Library, and settlement size Large Town or greater.
  • Holy Site: The settlement hosts a shrine, temple, or landmark with great significance to one or more religions. The settlement has a higher percentage of divine spellcasters in its population. (Corruption –2; increase spellcasting by 2 levels) Requires Cathedral, 3 Temples, or 5 Shrines.
  • Insular: The settlement is isolated, perhaps physically or even spiritually. Its citizens are fiercely loyal to one another. (Law +1; Crime –1) Requires no roads or rivers connected to the settlement, and not built in a plains or hills hex.
  • Magically Attuned: The settlement is a haven for spellcasters due to its location; for example, it may lie at the convergence of multiple ley lines or near a well-known magical site. (Increase base value by 20%; increase purchase limit by 20%; increase spellcasting by 2 levels) Requires 3 Caster's Towers.
  • Notorious: The settlement has a reputation (deserved or not) for being a den of iniquity. Thieves, rogues, and cutthroats are much more common here. (Crime +1; Law –1; Danger +10; increase base value by 30%; increase purchase limit by 50%) Requires Black Market, and settlement size Large Town or greater.
  • Pious: The settlement is known for its inhabitants' good manners, friendly spirit, and deep devotion to a deity (this deity must be of the same alignment as the community). (Increase spellcasting by 1 level; any faith more than one alignment step different than the community's official religion is at best unwelcome and at worst outlawed—obvious worshipers of an outlawed deity must pay 150% of the normal price for goods and services and may face mockery, insult, or even violence)
  • Prosperous: The settlement is a popular hub for trade. Merchants are wealthy and the citizens live well. (Productivity +1; increase base value by 30%; increase purchase limit by 50%) Requires 2 Markets or Waterfront, and settlement size Large Town or greater.
  • Racially Intolerant: The community is prejudiced against one or more races, which are listed in parentheses. (Members of the unwelcome race or races must pay 150% of the normal price for goods and services and may face mockery, insult, or even violence)
  • Rumormongering Citizens: The settlement's citizens are nosy and gossipy to a fault—very little happens in the settlement that no one knows about. (Lore +1; Society –1)
  • Strategic Location: The settlement sits at an important crossroads or alongside a deepwater port, or it serves as a barrier to a pass or bridge. (Productivity +1; increase base value by 10%)
  • Superstitious: The community has a deep and abiding fear of magic and the unexplained, but this fear has caused its citizens to become more supportive and loyal to each other and their settlement. (Crime –4; Law and Society +2; reduce spellcasting by 2 levels)
  • Tourist Attraction: The settlement possesses some sort of landmark or event that draws visitors from far and wide. (Productivity +1; increase base value by 20%) Requires Arena, or 4 Monuments, and settlement size Large Town or greater.

Settlement Buildings

You improve settlements by constructing buildings, which provide bonuses to the nation in general and the settlement in particular. Some buildings also intersect with the mass combat rules, notably with fortifications and reserve armies.

BP Cost: Thanks to time and cost of preparing a district for construction, a building's cost is not affected by the terrain the settlement is built in.

Construction Time: A building's construction time indicates how months it will take before the building is complete. The building's cost is paid at the time of commission, but the building's modifiers are not applied to the nation. At the start of the Upkeep phase, all buildings currently under construction reduces its remaining time by 1 month. At 0 months remaining, the building is complete, and its modifiers can be applied to the nation. Thanks to time and cost of preparing a district for construction, a building's construction time is not affected by the terrain the settlement is built in.

Demolition: If you no longer wish to have a building in your settlement, you may demolish it at the cost 1 BP. You do not regain BP for demolishing a building, but you can use its remains to jump start the construction of a new building in the same turn (see Rebuilding below). A demolished building is not considered to be a destroyed building, and its remains vanish at the end of the current Nation turn.

Destroyed Building: If an event or a pillaging army destroys 1 or more buildings, the devastation generates +1 Unrest per building destroyed.

Rebuilding: You may rebuild a destroyed building at half the the cost, as you can reuse some of the materials for the same purpose. If you rebuild a different type of building from the remains of a destroyed building, reduce the cost of the new building by 1/4 the cost of the old building (minimum 1 BP).

Requirements: Some buildings have requirements that must be fulfilled before its modifiers can be applied, such as a settlement reaching a certain size or specific buildings must already be present in the settlement. If a settlement loses those requirements at a later time, then the buildings affected no longer applies their modifiers.

Duplicate Buildings

Having more than one type of building in the same district provides very little benefit as it oversaturates its potential audience or market. Unless otherwise noted, each type of building is limited to 1 per district. Duplicate buildings that exceed the settlement's number of district do not provide any bonus to the nation's Economy, Loyalty, and Stability, nor any increases to the settlement's Base Value. All other modifiers may still apply. Some building have subtypes, such as Exotic Artisan (firearms) or Temple (Kaï-den). As long as the subtype is different, each of the same building counts as unique.

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