In recent Blog Posts, I have looked at a couple of aspects of the Game System economy – and as I have been changing my spreadsheets to reflect those, I realised that I could improve and simplify the whole system with a couple of basic changes.
Note: These changes are open to discussion and comment. They and aren’t set in stone and are open to some modification. However, I do intend to this new approach (with any modifications) for the next Stolen Lands campaign round.
The rules started out with two economic factors, Economy and Consumption, inherited from the original system and, to some extent. They worked well together for that system. However, the original rules were Kingdom Building Rules, and assumes that every player is involved in the building and management of a single kingdom. These Campaign Rules have a different emphasis, rather than a kingdom the Campaign Rules focus on smaller strongholds, and the businesses and organisations that underpin those. You can still get a Kingdom out of them, but the focus is on the smaller elements that make up the Kingdom, rather than an Overview of the whole Kingdom.
While Economy and Consumption have worked reasonably well, both of them have been ‘tweaked’ a few times to try and make them fit with our needs as settlements and businesses have grown. As I worked through the rules, I realised that most of those tweaks, while all having slightly different mechanics, have had the same effect – producing Economy that strongholds don’t need to balance.
The most obvious examples of these ‘special cases’ are …
- The Magic Economy (which has been accounted for separately)
- Trade Caravans (vessels, mule trains etc, that have been classed as untaxed)
- Merchant bases and trade routes (A taxed benefit, that is automatically balanced by Loy and Stab)
So why not add a new economic factor that fits that profile and pulls all three ‘tweaks’ together and might also give us an extra dimension to play with? So, Special Economy is born … And the first benefit could be Toll Booths for Turnpikes and Canals that give people a way of realising a profit for serious infrastructure development.
Economy represents the day-to-day business of a normal settlement. Shops, businesses, schools, parks taxes, good will, all the everyday resources. But it relies on people working together and wanting to stay in the settlement – growth in the economy means bigger settlements, immigration, and more people trying to work together. That is why it needs to be balanced with Loyalty and Stability.
Represents the cost of maintaining and managing the settlement. That is why, if you have a good stewardship Committee, who have the right skills sets, you can offset Consumption Costs with Consumption benefits. But there are other things that make some settlements easier to run and manage, a particularly fertile piece of land when a specific crop or plant grows abundantly or an accessible mineral deposit (for example), can help support the common population of a settlement, as well as provide an economic opportunity for an entrepreneur. Roads, Highways and Canals can do the same sort of thing, making it easier for everyone, including the common population, to trade back and forth. They are all intangible benefits that make it easier to support more people and grow your settlement.
However, some things are not really population dependent. Creating Magic Items (the basis of the magic economy) doesn’t need more people, it just needs one or two special people. Adding a fishing boat to a jetty doesn’t bring in more fishermen, however, it makes them more efficient. A mule train working between two settlements, doesn’t add more people, but it helps move goods between towns and boosts the economy that way. It is the same with Merchant Bases and Trade Routes – Merchant bases represent better ways to leverage the local economy, and while being on a trade route might help the settlement to grow, it also brings increased economic opportunity with it.
Under the new system the Special Economy will be taxed. That doesn’t affect the business /organisation at all – their income will stay the same, however, it will mean a larger tax take for settlements. As an example, Tusk would gain an extra 4.6pb as tax income. It won’t be quite that much under the new rules, but it won’t be much less.
Special Economy will not count towards the size of a settlement, which will mean that settlements will grow more slowly and have a smaller population. However, any status gained, in the Stolen Lands Game, so far – will be protected until the settlement catches up.
The Stolen Lands
I have already posted about the restructuring of Magic producing developments, and I think the only people immediately affected by those economic changes are Andalon and Mother Beatrix. The changes don’t have an economic effect on the Merchant rules, although the way I record some of their economy will change – but that shouldn’t affect income.
The biggest change comes from Roads and Canals moving back into the Consumption Modifier category – and that affects Henry, Safiya and Tusk. It is a small change for Tusk (Which is covered by the general tax changes), Safiya’s holdings (and we have spoken about that before this post) and Henry’s Midmarch holdings (which will change the way he can develop things, but doesn’t have a huge impact as he is about to go into paying consumption costs with BP anyway).