Polity Management

Some heroes found their own countries or city-states, 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 polity 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 “polity” 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 polity” and “your army.” However, NPC polities (whether a small barony, neighboring city-state, or large kingdoms) will follow the same rules for consistency sake.

Polity Building Quick Reference:

With building a polity, you begin by founding (or claiming) a small settlement—such as a village or town or even block of a larger but unstable city—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 polity, the loyalty of your citizens, the stability of the government, and the likeliness that polity will fall into chaos when citizens worry about misrule, Red Plume attacks, and other threats.

Use the polity sheet to track the statistics of your polity, 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 polity, such as Ruler, High Priest, General, and so on. The leaders provide bonuses on rolls you make to manage the polity’s economy and other important issues, based on their statistics, class abilities, and relevant non-weapon proficiencies (see Leadership Roles below).

A polity uses a type of currency called build points (BP), which represent the confluence of cash, labor, expertise, and raw materials in the abstract. Cash and valuables can be converted directly to BP on a 1000gp = 1BP basis, but investment in resources, businesses, and relationships with NPCs will generally have a much higher rate of return.

Running a polity takes place over a series of turns, similar to how combat takes place over a series of rounds. a polity turn takes 1 week of game time. Each turn has four phases which you resolve in order:

  • Upkeep Phase, where you pay the polity’s bills.
  • Edict Phase, where you levy taxes and build improvements.
  • Income Phase, where you collect taxes or other earnings.
  • Events Phase, where you see if something especially good or bad happens to your polity.

Ruling a polity 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 polity 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, polity 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 polity, these rules allow them to build cities and engage in trade, diplomacy, and war.

These rules assume that all of the polity’s leaders are focused on making the polity 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.

When dealing with areas outside of cities, these rules measure controlled territory in hexes. A hex is defined as an area 6 miles from side to side. 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.
Rough Hex Map of the Moonsea Region

When carving off space in a large city or other existing polity (such as Phlan), controlled territory is measured in Districts. Districts are not consistent in size, but rather divided by similar land-use or socio-economic status.

Phlan is broken up into 12 distinct Districts, with no single political entity controlling more than a single District. District Map of Phlan

Polity Statistics:

Polities have attributes that describe and define them. These are tracked on a polity sheet, like a character’s statistics are on a character sheet.

  1. Alignment: Like a PC, your polity has an alignment, which you decide when you form the polity. Unlike PCs, the polity’s alignment must be clearly defined. The polity’s alignment represents the majority outlook and behavior of the polity’s leadership when they’re considered as a group (individual citizens and even leaders may be of different alignments). Depending on the polity’s alignment, apply the following adjustments to the polity’s statistics:
    • Chaotic: +2 Loyalty, +1 Crime.
    • Evil: +2 Economy, +1 Corruption.
    • Good: +2 Loyalty, +1 Society.
    • Lawful: +2 Economy, +1 Law.
    • Neutral: +2 Stability, +1 Lore. (apply this twice if the polity’s alignment is True Neutral).
  2. Form of Government: As with your polity’s Alignment and Leadership, the type of government you form can also affect the starting values of your polity’s various attributes.
    • Autocracy/Monarchy: The most common form of government in the Realms. A single individual rules the polity by popular mandate.
      • Modifiers: None.
    • Colonial: The polity’s ruler is a figure-head for a distant power: a Viceroy or Governor. He or she may have limited autonomy in running the colony, but ultimately answers to the colony’s founding power. Colonies are typically seen as resources for their founding government, not having much political power or influence.
      • Modifiers: Corruption +2, Economy +1, Law +1, Stability -2, Loyalty -2
    • Council: A group of councilors, often composed of guild masters or members of the aristocracy, leads the polity, bringing a variety of (often conflicting) ideas to the table.
      • Modifiers: Society +4, Law -2, Lore -2
    • Arcanocracy: An individual or group with potent magical power, such as a heirophant, an archwizard, or even a magical monster, leads the community.
      • Modifiers: Lore +2, Stability +2, Corruption -2, Society -2
    • Junta: The polity is ruled by a military commander or group who maintain power through force and believe that the polity exists solely to serve the military forces deployed there.
      • Modifiers: Law +3, Corruption -1, Society -1, Loyalty -1
    • Overlord/Dictatorship: The polity is ruled by a single individual who either seized control or inherited command of the settlement.
      • Modifiers: Corruption +2, Law +2, Crime -2, Society -2
    • Secret Syndicate: An unofficial or illegal group like a thieves’ guild or cult rules the polity—they may use a puppet leader to maintain secrecy, but the group members pull the strings in town.
      • Modifiers: Corruption +2, Crime +2, Economy +2, Law -6
    • Theocracy: The polity is ruled by its patron faith: secular and theological power are one and the same here. Priests and clerics decide every facet of life in the polity.
      • Modifiers: Law +2, Lore +2, Economy -2, Society -2
    • Plutocracy/Oligarchy: The wealthiest and most influential merchants rule this polity. Wealth is seen as a sign of good character, ethics and even divine favor. The poor have few, if any rights that the wealthy are bound to respect.
      • Modifiers: Corruption +2, Crime +2, Economy +3, Society -2, Law -2, Stability -3
    • Utopian Experiment: This idealistic polity was founded upon lofty ideals. In theory at least, all members of the community have a voice in its government, and a council meets to ensure the ideals of the community are followed.
      • Modifiers: Society +2, Lore +1, Corruption -2, Crime -1
  3. Build Points: Build points (or BP for short) are the measure of your polity’s resources—equipment, labor, money, and so on. They’re used to acquire new hexes and develop additional buildings, settlements, and terrain improvements. Your polity also consumes BP to maintain itself (see Consumption).
  4. Consumption: Consumption indicates how many BP are required to keep the polity functioning each turn. Your polity’s Consumption is equal to its Size (the sum of the controlled Hexes and Districts), modified by settlements or terrain improvements (such as Farms and Fisheries). Consumption can never go below 0.
  5. Control DC: Some polity 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 number of hexes controlled + the total number of Districts controlled + any other modifiers from special circumstances or effects. Unless otherwise stated, the DC of any polity check is equal to this Control DC.
  6. Economy: This attribute measures the productivity of your polity’s workers and the vibrancy of its trade, both in terms of money and in terms of information, innovation, and technology. Your polity’s initial Economy is 0 plus your polity’s alignment and leadership modifiers.
  7. 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 polity’s initial Loyalty is 0 plus your polity’s alignment and any modifiers from your polity’s leadership role.
  8. Population: Actual population numbers don’t factor into your polity’s statistics, but can be fun to track anyway. The population of each settlement is described in Districts.
  9. Size: This is how many Hexes & Districts the polity claims. A new polity’s Size is always 1.
  10. Stability: Stability refers to the physical and social well-being of the polity, from the health and security of its citizenry to the vitality of its natural resources and its ability to maximize their use. Your polity’s initial Stability is 0 plus your polity’s alignment and leadership modifiers.
  11. Treasury: The Treasury is the amount of BP your polity has saved and can spend on activities. Your Treasury can fall below 0 (meaning your polity’s costs exceed its savings and it is operating in debt), but this increases Unrest.
  12. Unrest: Your polity’s Unrest indicates how rebellious your citizens are. Your polity’s initial Unrest is 0. Unrest can never fall below 0 (anything that would modify it to less than 0 is wasted). Subtract your polity’s Unrest from all Economy, Loyalty, and Stability checks.
    • If your polity’s Unrest is 10 or higher, the polity begins to lose control of hexes and districts it has claimed.
    • If your polity’s Unrest ever reaches 20, the polity falls into anarchy — and will probably seek the Ruler(s) head(s).

Secondary Statistics: In addition to the main attributes of your Polity (Loyalty, Stability, Economy, and Unrest), five other attributes also affect life in your polity. These attributes are mostly determined by the types of buildings, businesses, and people in your polity (rather than by the polity’s leadership). Certain events may require you to make Polity Checks against these secondary statistics.

  1. Corruption: Corruption measures how open a polity’s agents and 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 bit of corruption is not necessarily a bad thing, as an incorruptible bureaucrat can make like extremely difficult for everybody.
  2. 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. Like Corruption, some level of Crime is not inherently negative for a polity, bringing in a variety resources that might not otherwise be available.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Leadership Roles:

Running a polity is always a collaborative effort. Even the most staunch monarchist has his courtiers, generals, and privy council. For PC-run polities, it is more fun if all the players are involved and each is responsible for making some of the polity decisions and 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 roles — and some roles may best be filled by NPCs when no PC has the relevant skills.

Polity Checks: A polity has three primary attributes: Economy, Loyalty, and Stability. Your polity’s initial scores in each of these attributes is 0, plus modifiers for polity alignment, bonuses provided by the leaders, and any other modifiers. Many polity actions and events require you to attempt a polity check, either using your Economy, Loyalty, or Stability attribute (1d20 + the appropriate attribute + other modifiers). Polity checks automatically fail on a natural 1 and automatically succeed on a natural 20.

Leadership Roles: There are numerous leadership roles within a polity. 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 polity’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. Each role is has the authority to make specific types of Polity Checks and to issue specific Edicts. In addition, each role grants bonuses to the Polity’s statistics and other benefits if the leader meets specific requirements.

Within a specific government, the titles of these roles may very wildly. For example a Ruler might be a King, Queen, President, Prime Minister, Padishah, Sultan, Tsar, Dictator, Premier, Chosen One, or any of a variety of other epithets. How the polity chooses to call its leaders is entirely up to the players.

Responsibilities of Leadership: In order for a Polity to gain the benefits of a character’s leadership, that character must spend at least 1 day each turn (1 day per week) attending to their duties. 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, training, 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, suffering the Vacancy Penalty indicated below.

If the party intends to leave the polity for an extended adventure or diplomatic mission, they should appoint replacements to tend to the polity in their absence. A Regent or Vice Marshal or Deputy High Priest may not be as good as the real leader, but they are better than leaving the polity ungoverned.

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. Permanetly 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, and you take a –4 penalty on the Loyalty check to avoid the vacancy penalty.

The Roles:

Ruler: The Ruler is the highest-ranking person in the polity, above even the other leaders, and is expected to embody the values of the polity. The Ruler performs the polity’s most important ceremonies (such as bestowing titles and signing treaties), is the polity’s chief diplomatic officer (though most of these duties are handled by the Grand Diplomat), is the signatory for all laws affecting the entire polity, pardons criminals, and is responsible for appointing characters to all other high positions in the government.

  • Responsibilities: The rule can roll any Polity Check and issue any Edict.
  • Benefit(s): Choose one kingdom attribute (Economy, Loyalty, or Stability). Gain +1 to that attribute for each of the below requirements met (max +10). If your polity’s Size is greater than 25, this bonus applies to 2 of these attributes. If your Size exceeds 100, this applies to all three attributes.
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Leadership score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Leadership score of 19 or greater.
      • Character is of a class and sufficient level to attract Followers.
      • Character worships the same Religion as the High Priest.
      • Character’s alignment exactly matches the Polity’s alignment.
      • Character has the Administration, Crowd Working, Law, Oratory, or Raise Army non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: A kingdom without a ruler cannot claim new hexes or districts, cannot create Farms, build Roads, or purchase settlement upgrades. Unrest increases by 4 during each of the kingdom’s Upkeep Phase.
  • Special:
    • A Ruler who is married may choose to share power with their spouse. The Polity gains the Ruler benefit (above) from each character (these stack to a maximum of +10), and only one of the two needs be present in order to avoid the Vacancy Penalty.
    • A Ruler always treats his Polity as his homeland for the purpose of using the Raise Army proficiency.

Councilor: The Councilor acts as a liaison between the citizenry and the other polity 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.

  • Responsibilities: Loyalty checks. Holiday Edicts.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Society for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Appearance score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Appearance score of 19 or greater.
      • Character is a native of the region in which the polity lies.
      • Character’s alignment matches the Polity’s alignment on the Good-Evil spectrum.
      • Character is unable to cast spells (the common people cannot avoid a certain level of superstition).
      • Character has the Bureaucracy, Local History, Mediation, Storytelling, or Teaching non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Loyalty decreases by 2. The kingdom gains no benefits from the Holiday edict. During each Upkeep Phase, Unrest increases by 1.

General: 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.

  • Responsibilities: All polity checks related to resolving combat.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Stability for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Stamina score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Stamina score of 19 or greater.
      • Character is of a class and sufficient level to attract Followers.
      • Character’s class grants a Warrior’s attack bonus advancement.
      • Character’s alignment matches the Polity’s alignment on the Law-Chaos spectrum.
      • Character has the Battle Command, Defensive Tactics, Magical Tactics, Naval Combat, or Offensive Tactics non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Loyalty decreases by 4.
  • Special: A General always treats his Polity as his homeland for the purpose of using the Raise Army proficiency.

Grand Diplomat: 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.

  • Responsibilities: All polity checks related to foreign relations. Diplomatic Edicts.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Stability for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Reason score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Reason score of 19 or greater.
      • Character’s Homeland does not share a border with the region in which the polity lies.
      • Character’s alignment matches the Polity’s alignment on the Law-Chaos spectrum.
      • Character has the Modern Languages non-weapon proficiency for at least 4 different regional languages (not racial languages or the Common tongue).
      • Character has the Assimilation, Diplomacy, Etiquette, Heraldry, or Investigation non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Stability decreases by 2. The kingdom cannot issue Diplomatic or Exploration edicts.

High Priest: 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.

  • Responsibilities: Holiday Edicts. Polity checks to generate magic items from Cathedrals, Shrines, and Temples built within the Polity.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Loyalty for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Intuition score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Intuition score of 19 or greater.
      • Character is able to cast Priest spells.
      • Polity contains an active Temple or Cathedral of the High Priest’s Religion.
      • Character’s alignment exactly matches the Polity’s alignment.
      • Character has the Burial Customs, Ceremony, Debate, Prayer, or Sacred Legends non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Stability and Loyalty decrease by 2. Unrest increases by 1 during each Upkeep Phase

Magister: 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.

  • Responsibilities: Polity Checks to generate magic items not rolled by the High Priest. Any Polity Check involving relations with wizards or academics.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Lore for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Knowledge score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Knowledge score of 19 or greater.
      • Character is able to cast spells.
      • Character has created at least 1 magic item in their lifetime.
      • Character has at least 2 non-weapon proficiencies with the “ology” suffix or “Lore” in the name (such as Arcanology, Dragonology, Fey Lore, Folklore, Genie Lore, Geology, Necrology, Occult Lore, Planetology, Planology, Psychology, Screed Lore, Spirit Lore, Toxicology).
      • Character has the Ancient History, Detect Magic, Scribe, Spellcraft, or Runecraft non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4.

Marshal: 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.

  • Responsibilities: Exploration Edicts. Any Polity Checks related to law enforcement.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Economy for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Willpower score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Willpower score of 19 or greater.
      • Character has proficiency in at least two Broad or Tight Groups of weapons.
      • Character’s base unencumbered movement rate is greater than 12.
      • Character is of Lawful alignment (regardless of the Polity’s alignment).
      • Character has the Cartography, Navigation, Signaling, Street Sense, or Tracking non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4.

Royal Enforcer: 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.

  • Responsibilities: Loyalty checks to reduce Unrest or prevent Unrest increases.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Loyalty for each of the below requirements met (max +10). During the Upkeep Phase, you may decrease Unrest by 1; if you do so, you must succeed at a Loyalty check or Loyalty decreases by 1.
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Muscle score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Muscle score of 19 or greater.
      • Character has a base Fear Save value of 9 or less.
      • Character is able to read a target’s thoughts, discern truth, or determine a target’s alignment through magical or psionic means.
      • Character is of Lawful or Evil alignment (regardless of the Polity’s alignment).
      • Character has the Intimidation, Inquisitor, Law, Rope Use, or Trailing non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: None.

Spymaster: 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.

  • Responsibilities: Any Polity Checks involving crime and foreigners
  • Benefit: During the Edict Phase, choose one secondary polity attribute (Corruption, Crime, Law, Lore, or Society). Gain +1 to that attribute for each of the below requirements met (max +10). This can be changed each turn, and applies only to checks made in that turn.
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Reason score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Reason score of 19 or greater.
      • Character has the ability to impose a penalty on opponent’s Surprise checks.
      • Character is of a class and sufficient level to attract Followers (so that he may have his own network of agents separate from the Crown’s).
      • Character is a member in good standing of an outside organization not based within the Polity (such as the Harpers, the Zhentarim, a foreign Thieves’ Guild, or the like).
      • Character has the Bribery, Forgery, Information Gathering, Intrigue, or Mental Resistance non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Economy decreases by 4. During each Upkeep Phase, Unrest increases by 1.

Treasurer: 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.

  • Responsibilities: All Economy checks. Taxation Edicts. Trade Edicts.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Economy for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Reason score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Reason score of 19 or greater.
      • Character has their own source of recurring income from a Kit or Homeland ability (such as from the Merchant or Guilder kit, or the Melvaunt homeland).
      • Character has at least two Craft Proficiencies.
      • Character has the City Familiarity non-weapon proficiency for at least one settlement within the Polity.
      • Character has the Administration, Agriculture, Appraising, Haggling, or Numeracy non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • 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.”

Warden: 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.

  • Responsibilities: Stability checks.
  • Benefit: Gain +1 to Law for each of the below requirements met (max +10).
    • Requirements:
      • Character has a Fitness score of 14 or greater.
      • Character has a Fitness score of 19 or greater.
      • The character’s Class and Kits allow the wearing of all types of armor and shields.
      • Character is of Lawful alignment (regardless of the Polity’s alignment).
      • The character has at least two Detection Proficiencies.
      • Character has the Alertness, City Familiarity, Investigation, Light Sleeping, or Local History non-weapon proficiencies (these stack).
  • Vacancy Penalty: Loyalty and Stability decrease by 2.

Viceroy: The Viceroy represents the Ruler’s interests on an ongoing basis in a specific location such as a colony or vassal state. The Viceroy is in effect the Ruler for that territory; her orders are superseded only by direct commands from the Ruler.

  • Responsibilities: Vassalage Edicts.
  • Benefit: A Viceroy 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.
    • Requirements:
      • The Viceroy must meet the same requirements as the role they are filling.
  • Vacancy Penalty: If you have no Viceroy for your vassal state, treat it as if it had the Ruler vacancy penalty.
  • Special: Vassal States may effectively have a Viceroy for each position in the primary polity.

Build Points

The units of a polity’s wealth and productivity are build points (BP). Build points are an abstraction representing all of the polity’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 polity—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 polity. As the leaders, you use your power and influence to direct the economic and constructive activity of your polity, 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 polity’s overall economy. In practice, it is not a simple matter to convert one currency to the other, but there are certain ways for PCs to spend gp to increase the polity’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 polity building means your polity 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.

Wealthy Sponsor: In many cases, a polity’s initial BP come from a source outside your party. A wealthy queen may want to tame some of the wilderness on her polity’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 tens of thousands of gold pieces—more than most adventurers would want to spend on mundane things like jails, mills, and piers.

PCs who choose to go down the route of polity creation can often expect 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 island. 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).

Initial citizens represented by this BP investment are probably loyal to the sponsor, rather than the PCs. 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 polity and the polity’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. This usually starts you with land, settlements, and a functional economy instead of raw funds.
  • 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.

Starting from Scratch: It’s not easy to start a polity—probably the reason everyone doesn’t have one. If you are founding a polity on your own, without an external sponsor or a fantastic windfall of resources, the initial financial costs can be crippling.

Even building a new town with just a few houses and an Inn costs 13 BP—worth nearly 13,000 gp in terms of stone, timber, labor, food, and so on. To compensate for this, if you’re running a small, self-starting polity, the GM may allow you to turn your gold into BP at a better exchange 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 polity off the ground.

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 polity.

Polity Turn Sequence

A polity’s growth occurs during four phases, which together make up 1 polity turn (1 week of game time). The four phases are as follows:

  1. Upkeep: Check your polity’s stability, pay costs, and deal with Unrest (see below). If your polity controls 0 hexes or districts, skip the Upkeep Phase and proceed to the Edict Phase.
  2. Edict: Declare official proclamations about taxes, diplomacy, and other polity-wide decisions.
  3. Income: Add to your Treasury by collecting taxes and converting gp into BP, or withdraw BP from your polity for your personal use.
  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 are typically resolved by a Polity Check (effectively sending your soldiers and citizens to deal with the Event), but can also be hooks for the PCs to go adventuring to deal with it themselves.

These phases are always undertaken in the above order. Many steps allow you to perform an action once per polity turn; this means once for the entire polity, not once per leader.

Upkeep Phase: During the Upkeep Phase, you adjust your polity’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 Polity 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 polity’s Consumption from the polity’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 Buildings & Magic Items).
  • Step 4—Modify Unrest: Unrest increases by 1 for each polity attribute (Economy, Loyalty, Stability, Crime, Corruption, Law, Lore, or Society) that is a negative number.
  • Step 5—The Royal Enforcer may attempt to reduce Unrest during this step.
  • Step 6—Check Unrest Level
    • If the polity’s Unrest is 10 or greater, it loses 1 hex or district (the leaders choose which). See Losing Hexes.
    • If your polity’s Unrest ever reaches 20, the polity falls into anarchy. While in anarchy, your polity can take no action and treats all Economy, Loyalty, and Stability check results as 0. Restoring order once a polity 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.

Edict Phase:
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 polity to grow, you must claim additional Hexes or Districts. You can only claim a hex that is adjacent to at least 1 other hex in your polity. Before you can claim it, the hex must first be explored, then cleared of monsters and dangerous hazards. Then, to claim the hex, spend 1 BP; this establishes the hex as part of your polity and increases your polity’s Size by 1. You can claim no more than 1 hex per turn.
    • You may abandon any number of hexes to reduce your polity’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 abandoning a District or a hex containing a settlement). This otherwise functions like losing a hex due to unrest (see Step 4 of the Upkeep Phase).
  • Step 3—Build Terrain Improvements: You may spend BP to build terrain improvements like Farms, Forts, Roads, Mines, and Quarries.
    • You can make 1 improvement per turn (which may be of any type). As your Size increases, you can make a total number of improvements per turn equal to the polity’s Size divided by 10 (round down).
    • 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 Terrain Improvements for details.
  • Step 4—Create and Improve Settlements: You may create a settlement in a claimed hex (see Founding a Settlement). You can create no more than 1 settlement per turn. You may also add a building in any settlement in your polity. See the list of available Building types. When a building is completed, apply its modifiers to your polity sheet.
  • Step 5—Create Army Units: You may create, expand, equip, or repair army units.
    • In order to create and muster a new Unit, the General must succeed at a Loyalty check against the polity’s Control DC. If the check is successful, a single Unit is formed. This Unit is comprised of 1st-level Fighters of the Polity’s dominant race. The size of a newly created Unit cannot exceed the General’s leadership bonus.
      • Mustering and equipping the newly created Unit costs a number of BP based on its size (see Army Stats). Unless otherwise specified, newly mustered troops arrive with a Padded Gambeson, a Shield, and a basic melee weapon. Upgrades to a Unit’s equipment can be purchased as Resources.
      • A polity can only muster a number of Units equal to the Polity’s size. If the polity has more active Units than its current Size, it cannot muster any additional Units.
      • Certain Buildings, as well as events, encounters, or adventures may grant access to unusual troop types (spellcasters, intelligent monsters, undead creatures, etc.). Any unusual troops available will be noted on your Polity Sheet.
    • Units comprised of the Polity Leaders’ followers or raised using the Raise Army non-weapon proficiency are automatically added to the polity’s forces and do not need to follow this process. Consumption must still be paid for all such forces. These Units can allow a polity to exceed its maximum number of Units based on its Size.
  • Step 6—Issue Edicts: Select or adjust your edict levels (see Edicts).

Income Phase: 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 polity-building rules allow you to expend BP on things related to running the polity. If you want to spend some of the polity’s resources on something for your own personal benefit, 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 500 gp of personal funds.
  • Step 2—Make Deposits to the Treasury: You can add funds to a polity’s Treasury by donating your personal wealth to the polity—coins, gems, jewelry, weapons, armor, and other valuables you find while adventuring. For every full 1,000 gp in value of the deposit, increase your polity’s BP by 1.
  • Step 3—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.

Event Phase:
In the Event phase, a random event may affect your polity as a whole or a single settlement or hex. In any Turn there is a 25% chance of an event occurring (see Polity Events). Some events can be negated, ended, or compensated for with some kind of polity 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 polity-building rules.

In addition, the GM may have an adventure- or campaign-specific event take place.

Losing Hexes:

If you lose control of a hex—whether because of Unrest, monster attacks, assaults from a hostile polity, 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 city-states with no loyalty to you or any other polity. 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 polity 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 polity with your capital, and the rest of the polity is the secondary territory. If none of the polity’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 polity leader is in the secondary territory when the split occurs, you retain control of the secondary territory, but polity 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 polity, 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 polity is reduced to 0 hexes—whether through Unrest, a natural disaster, an attack by another polity, or other circumstances—you are at risk of losing the polity. On your next turn, you must claim a new hex and found or claim a new settlement, or your polity is destroyed and you must start over if you want to found a new polity. At the GM’s discretion, you may be able to keep some BP from your destroyed polity’s Treasury for a time; otherwise, those assets are lost.

Polity Management

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