Cross Border Trade and Development II

I have been thinking about trading and development across borders again and realized that the system that I have put in place is complicated and doesn’t really use the rules that I already have in place effectively.  The current system uses the cash values of BP, then ‘sort of’ tied that in with the difference in values between BPs in different size settlements, and the portability of some resources, such as boats and soldiers, and it just gets complicated.

I already have two variables that I can use:  Purchaser Status (Preferred; Standard & Outsider) and tax rate –  It would be simple, and more sophisticated, to use those two  variables alone.  I will also standardize the mechanic of Taxable Vessels, which I have already introduced for the Community Pier and Serai, so that it applies across the board.

Why now?  Because a number of people are starting to ask questions about it –  quite legitimately, and I want a relatively standard system that I can apply consistently.  So far it has all been worked out on a case-by-case basis.

Those changes allow me to restrict the build of Religious Developments so that the income is used for religious purposes, rather than running a business or a holding.  A couple of people have already gone down that route (which has helped me identify the issue) – their existing holdings won’t be affected, but it won’t be available in future. 

Developing across borders

We have been fiddling about with PCs only being able to ‘cash in’ specific things to facilitate developments abroad – which is a pain for all concerned.  It means the PC has to optimize their holdings for cash generation, rather than business interests, and it means I have to check every example carefully –  not something that is good for me, the PC or the game.  These rule changes will mean that the PC can ‘cash in’ all their income to develop abroad, if they like.  However, it won’t be a straight equal value exchange.  PCs will pay a premium to move BP from one location to another. 

It was always my intention that it would be more easy to develop in areas where you are well known and influential –  but tougher in other areas.  I was hoping to use Influence to modify those costs, BUT that has proved much too difficult to implement, and very time-consuming to maintain the influence records.

This system lets me vary rates according to the stance of the New settlements rulers, and supports Role Playing.  Adoven, for example, has already negotiated deals that allow him to trade in Jovvox and Mivon –  although growth in both of those places will be slower and less profitable than in Tusk/Midmarch.  However, the associated benefits, such as trade routes, base income and stability, should make up for that.

Investment costs

The PC can ‘cash in’ their income to use when developing and use the ‘Development Costs List’ below.  These cost represent fees, licences, compensation and other similar costs associated with the development of new businesses.  Most settlements choose to favour their own business owners, at the expense of incomers.

These tables will be used by NPC states and will normally be followed quite strictly.  In some cases a ‘dispensation’ for a lower rate might be agreed, IF the development suits the needs of the settlement.   It will probably be tied to a specific development.

PC controlled states can charge what they like, when they like.  Some settlements in Southern Region, those particularly keen on expansion, choose not to charge any fees at all – in effect granting a blanket dispensation.  Other states work more closely to this list.

Examples of Dispensations

V&A have a ‘dispensation’ in Jovvox –  they can expand at Preferred Rates inside their Hamlet, although they must ‘balance’ the Hamlet in terms of Econ, Loy & Stab.  However,  they may not develop anything outside that hamlet. 

DELEM had a dispensation in Restov – permission to build a Town Base at Standard Rates, rather than Outsider rates.  It is limited to the town base, and DELEM may not expand to a City Base.  Other developments are permitted at Outsider Rates.

NOTE:  Dispensations are agreed on a case-by-case basis – and will differ between settlements.

Investment Costs Table

  • Preferred investors – are people who have a special relationship with the settlement’s rulers, they pay 0.5bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
  • Standard investors – The normal residents of the settlement, pay 1bp social development contribution per point of Economy.
  • Outside investors – Anyone coming from outside the settlement, pays 1.5bp social development contribution per point of Economy.  Using BP generated at the settlement, by a development owned by an outsider.
  • Externally Funded – Any development that is even part funded by BPs generated  from outside the ‘state’, costs 2bp social development contribution per point of Economy.  (this is represents Outsider Rate, plus a small premium to represent moving the resources about)

Vessels, Mules etc are still portable and can be purchased at the normal rate, then moved to a new site.  For example, Shallops can be purchased from the Boatyard in Tusk, at their normal price, and then sailed down to Jovvox or Mivon.  Mules could be purchased (at the normal rate) from Zora’s ranch and moved to Restov.  They do not attract ‘outsider’ costs.  Example:  V&A can but Fishing Boats in Tusk and sail them down to Mivon, for use there, without paying an extra fee.


The ‘standard’ tax rate for Midmarch was set so that one point of economy  earns 0.5bp per year – however, that is a very generous rate, and other settlements do not  match it.  Some might not even have the same tax rate for different categories of Investor.  (NOTE:  I am not going to deal with different tax rates for different classes of investor in Midmarch or PC managed settlements – it really screws up my spreadsheets!)

Tax rates are higher in Mivon, Jovvox and Restov – which means lower profitability for businesses –  which leads to slower growth.  My first thought are 0.4bp income per point of Econ in Restov and Jovvox, 0.3bp per point of Econ in Mivon.

Why that huge difference?  Midmarch was a ‘boom’ economy,  a whole state that was being built from scratch –   it needed investors, and it needed them quickly.  Tusk took that tax rate on, they have always had the option to change it, if they  wanted to.

Jovvox and Restov are both well established settlements, they are more interested in protecting their own interests and their own investors, that encouraging new comers –  and they are both Chaotic settlements, although they have a settled hierarchy.  Mivon is even more different, it is Chaotic, and it is run by a self-interested group of nobles – Mivon’s Great Aldori Houses.  Those guys are only interested in themselves, anyone else is there on sufferance and is expected to pay through the nose for the privilege. 

In other places the tax rate will be higher, and the income per point of Econ even lower – rumour has it that the tax rates in New Stetven is so high that businesses rarely make more that 0.25bp  per year, per point of Econ!

Tax RateProfitability 
Very High0.25New Stetven
Medium High0.35Brundeston
Medium0.4Restov, Jovvox, Sway
Vey Low0.5Midmarch, Tusk

Untaxed Items

Currently, Vessels and trade caravans are considered as Untaxed and don’t count towards the Balance that settlements need to maintain.  That is not going to change, it is one of the perks of  Merchant Houses –  however, it is going to be reflavoured.

Rather than Untaxed, they will become Permit Free.  In other words, Merchants do not need to seek permission (or pay extra costs) to vessels or Trade Caravans operating from their Jetty, Serai etc.

They will however, be taxed.  This means that Vessels and Trade Caravans have the same profitability as the rest of the business  (ie 0.5 in Low Tax areas, 0.3 in high tax areas etc).  It is also a win for the people who manage the settlements –  as I will modify their income to reflect this extra tax generated by vessels operating from the town.

Religious Developments

That gives me an opportunity to ‘fix’ religious development.  It was always my intention that Religious Developments should be used to promote the philosophies of the deity involved, rather than be a ‘settlement’ or ‘business’ development tool.  Settlements have their own lists (Defence, Social) development lists.  Merchant Houses, which represent the ‘pinnacle’ of business development, have all sorts of development advantages that can be leveraged to improve their profitability. I would like to see religious developments have a similar ‘specialist’ flavour to them, it helps to enhance the RP flavour of the world.

I intend to restrict religious developments, so that non-priests are limited to building shrines and great shrines only.  That allows PCs to Role-play a religious devotion to their deity but means they can’t use the income generated by Deity’s favour to fund their own developments – without some sort of commitment to the deities ideals.

Once the PC reaches Level 6 (or above) they can take an Entourage Cousin/Ally, who will be able to build larger religious establishments.  However, the Cousin/Ally will expect the income generated from Church premises to be spent on their Deity’s agenda, rather than their PC patron’s.

NOTE: Some PCs have already built Holy Houses without meeting the Priestly requirement, and I won’t take those away from the PC.  However, in future, I will expect the income to be used to advance the Deity’s interests.

A deity’s agenda is defined by their: Areas of Concern; Worshippers; Domains and Subdomains – or something that can be clearly associated with the deity.  You can find the listed in the entries at the Pathfinder Wiki.

That still gives you a lot of scope to develop.  Pharasmin orders might concentrate on Graveyards, Fighting Undead or The Circle of Life.  As well as Dwarves, metalworkers and the other things listed, I find the line ‘Many of his followers are architects, artisans of all stripes, or military planners. He is also popular among guards and city watchmen, who pray to him for protection’  in his description.  There is lots of ways you can interpret that.

The same is true of  the other deities –  BUT I do expect you to be able to make a case for the philosophy and to be reasonably consistent in your interpretation of it.   

Some obvious examples include: taverns and breweries for Cayden; schools, libraries or courthouses etc for Andoletta; defensive structures or sword-schools for Acavna; markets, banks and shops for Abadar; anything to support rural life for Erastil; natural things for The Green Faith.  However, there are many other things that work just as well.

Placement can benefit the PC –  for example Mother Beatrix supports Henry’s objectives and often builds in places that benefit them.  Lutz Stigmar, has agreed to support House Aeris in their development and Brother Gandred is committed to Ringbridge and House Lebeda-Ondari’s estates and  Maril will support developments in wilderness areas that are part of Old Keep.


I knew I had forgotten something! I need to add an extra cost for building in Prime Areas. For example, Tusk might charge 1bp per point of Building size for buildings inside the Inner Walls, and 0.5bp for buildings between the two walls.

Posted in Role Playing Aids, World Building.

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