THE RULEBOOK PAGE ONE
These are the rules governing SWORDLANDS - from trade and taxes to kingdom loyalty and warfare. Included are tables and procedures used by the Magister to resolve each TURN of play. They are presented here for Player reference.PAGE ONE: KINGDOMS
Culture determines the level of civilization, from savage to advanced. A kingdom's Culture level effects trade, taxation, and the type of troops, ships and fortifications available.
SAVAGE cultures have no organized government, though there may be a warlord or supreme chieftain who claims dominance over the area. People live in scattered bands, clans or villages and fend for themselves. Savages are illiterate and lack the higher industries of agriculture, metal-forging and stone-building. They sustain themselves by hunting, coastal or inland fishing, herding, and raiding among themselves and their neighbors. They build no fortifications beyond timber palisaded villages and do not build ships.
BARBARIC cultures may be separate, independent clans or tribes, or they may be unified under a high chief or king. They practice agriculture and the basic industries - metal-forging, wool production, timbering, shipbuilding, etc. Most people are illiterate and traditions are passed orally, though there are often educated individuals who have had contact with civilization. The backbone of barbaric military strength is the warrior, the commoner who possesses traditional fighting skills and battlefield experience. Elite warriors, who are better trained and equipped, serve the chieftains and are treated as a higher class, but there is no barrier preventing a common warrior from achieving that status.
FEUDAL cultures have taken the first steps toward true civilization. There is an established social order, with hereditary lords (descended from barbaric chieftains) ruling a vast majority of common peasants, serfs or freemen. While a Barbaric king controls his chieftains through tribute and force of arms, the Feudal king rules the lesser nobles as vassals through oaths of fealty and taxation. Authority is derived from the top and support is required from the bottom upward. Agriculture is the economic base and most people are farmers or herdsmen, but advanced industries are common - stone-building, ship-building, textiles and metalworking. Literacy is rare, practiced only among the merchant, scholarly and noble classes. The old warrior class has become professional soldiers, payed to serve noble lords, while the vast majority of common folk are not battle-trained (in most cases, they are forbidden to bear arms). Feudal military strength is centered on the noble knight, supported by professional men-at-arms and other hired troops.
CIVILIZED cultures have passed from the feudal stage to a level of more centralized and organized government. The King's authority is not absolute, bound by tradition and laws that have been codified for a very long time. There is still an hereditary noble class, and government positions are often restricted to those of noble birth. However, the common merchant class holds great influence and merchants often control more wealth than the nobles. Literacy is common, even among the lower classes. The nobles no longer command large personal armies (they may employ small units as bodyguards). Military power lies in the hands of the state through an organized militia and professional corps controlled by the government. Foreign mercenaries (Feudal and Barbaric) often are an important component in national defense. Agriculture has reached the height of efficiency and all advanced industries are represented. Now, trade makes the most important contribution to national wealth.
ADVANCED cultures have been civilized for a very long time. A complicated legal system and entrenched bureaucracy rules, severely limiting the power of the King - though, despotism occurs when rulers attempt to seize more power than is alloted by law. The great difference between Civilized and Advanced is in the proliferation of magic and its influence in every day life. Literacy and magical learning are common, luxuries are considered essential, and, often, slave labor supports the economy. The noble and merchant classes have merged and there is a great divide between the upper and lower levels of society. With most people living in cities, agriculture has become a slave-labor industry controlled by the government. Military power is state controlled and heavily reliant on conscription, with professional career officers (usually of common birth). The only elite troops are foreign mercenaries.
RESOURCES are the natural materials and crafted goods produced in the kingdom. Resources combined with Culture determines the kingdom's Wealth.
Each kingdom has a list of specific Resources produced.* These are available for Trade outside the kingdom in order to generate additional revenue for the Royal Treasury. In addition, some Resources must be listed for the production of certain military units and fortifications (see below). If a kingdom lacks needed resources - like Stone to build fortifications - it can trade for them from another kingdom.
*Listed items do not represent all of a kingdom's Resources, only those available in sufficient quantity for trade - or in the amounted needed for military use.
WEALTH is determined by the kingdom's Culture combined with Resources. Wealth is then used to determine the amount of money that can be generated for the Royal Treasury each year, depending on the Tax Rate.
Wealth can be increased by conquering another kingdom of equal Wealth or higher.
POPULATION is an estimation of the number of inhabitants. It is used to determine Manpower, which limits the percentage of the population that can be placed under arms at any given time. The percentage of Manpower used (at any one time) effects the workforce of the kingdom and can reduce overall Wealth at high level.
Culture Resources Wealth Population
Savage Few Destitute Sparse
Barbaric Typical Poor Average
Feudal Abundant Prosperous Dense
Civilized Vast Rich
Here's how the stats for each Player kingdom are determined:
Each kingdom produces goods that are traded among its own towns and cities. Farmers grow crops that are carted to marketplaces. Miners dig ores and lumbermen cut timber which is transported to towns where craftsmen purchase the raw material to produce goods. Herdsmen take wool, meat and leather from sheep and cattle or raise horses to sell. At seaport cities, shipwrights use timber to build ships. There is a constant activity of production within any kingdom that generates the gold which flows into the Royal Treasury in the form of taxes. Trade allows the kingdom to export Goods it produces, creating additional revenue for the Royal Treasury, and import Goods which the kingdom does not produce.
The goods a kingdom produces depend on location, climate, geography and culture. Northern lands have forests where timber is cut and fur-bearing animals are hunted. Desert areas do not. Coastal kingdoms fish and, if timber is available, build ships. Mountainous areas give access to extensive ore deposits ... Resources does not rate the number of goods a kingdom produces, but the quantity of goods, even if they are limited in number.
Required Materials are those goods needed for certain types of troops, ships and fortifications. Without access to the required materials, a kingdom cannot produce them:
Armored Troops Weapons & Armor
Mouted Troops Horses or Camels
Ships Timber (and a port town or city)*
Fortified Town or Fort Timber
Castle, Fortress or Walled City Timber and Stone
Goods that are exported bring additional revenue into the Royal Treasury by taxing the merchants. The amount depends on the value of the good traded. A Trade Agreement with another kingdom can be a simple sale of a certain good, which brings in more revenue each year, or an exchange of one good for another that brings in gold on both sides and gives a kingdom access to needed materials.
AT THE START
Each kingdom begins with a list of goods produced and Trade Agreements already in place (if any) before the new King or Queen comes to power. Rulers may make as many trade agreements as they wish, provided there is trade contact between kingdoms, overland or by sea. The value of the agreement in crowns is based on the value of the goods traded and the kingdom's own annual revenue in taxes.
Either partner in a trade agreement can stop trading with the other at any time. No gold is lost for the remainder of the game year. However, any needed materials that the kingdom is trading for are no longer available.
Details on Goods and Trade, as well as the starting trade positions for Player kingdoms, are presented here.
The actual population of a kingdom can only be estimated. There are no postal services or social security numbers in this world. This statistic is used to limit the maximum number of people within a kingdom who can be recruited or drafted into the military at any given time.
Here's how these numbers were arrived at.