Realms & resources

The game's general rules regarding cultures, realms, gameplay and more.
The realm

This thread contains the rules regarding your realm, its population and resources: the infrastructure that you rule and from which you play the game.

Population & economy

In various versions of this game population, economy and resources have been tracked to varying extents, on various scales and in various ways. This version has a relatively high level of abstraction. In this version we primarily track provinces rather than population, provinces in which the number of people is merely a rough assumption. In terms of resources we don't track everything: only that which matters to you as rulers, like taxation and whether people in general are fed. The rationale is that details beyond that don't matter on the scale of kingdoms and empires with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants. The provincial organisation also allows more easily for localised effects such as local famine and unrest.

Spatial terminology

Every team governs a realm, which is largely or entirely populated with that team's culture, with an example of an exception being large trading cities that probably contain foreign communities.
On the map, realms will be delineated with coloured borders and a banner somewhere in its territory.

Realms consist primarily of provinces, states, fiefdoms, tribes, or other territorial units, which are all referred to as nodes. Each of these nodes is organised around an administrative centre, usually a central town - though there may be other towns and though nomads may not organise around an actual town. Control of these territories is exerted from this centre; hence the term node.
On the map, nodes will be represented by this very centre.
Nodes come in various shapes and forms, and are established during world settlement by the players within certain guidelines. The various node types and features are presented here in the last post. How this works during world settlement is explained in the Era rules.

During the era the world map will contain a patchwork of nodes, networked by routes. Routes show the corridors where roads and paths lie. These indicate trade routes, and routes along which armies can travel easy and fast. Reference.
Routes are established in pre-era by the GMs according to locations of nodes and attitudes of cultures, and can subsequently change during the era as events unfold.

On a larger scale than nodes there exist regions, large geographical units. Regions only have a minor role in game play during the era. They largely matter for node settlement and in the background.
© 2008-2014 Zanzibar. All rules are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
For all details see our license post.

Resources are an abstract for all manner of ... well, resources - be it money, credit, precious metal and gems, food, timber, iron, other material resources, labour, prestige, favours and services owed, and more. Resources are an abstract for everything players use to buy, produce or otherwise acquire what has a cost, feed what must be fed, maintain their projects and institutions, and more.
These abstract resources are tracked in resource points: RP.

Resource generation
Resource points are mainly generated per node. Resources are generated every year during Harvest season, so every 4 seasonal turns, when crops are harvested and taxes are gathered. This is referred to as revenue.
Nodes you have lost control over when revenue is raised do not generate resources that year. This can be due to collapsing public order, because of rebellions and revolting peasants, because of interdiction by hostile military forces, or other disruptions and calamities.

Resources through revenue can be spent from the next (Winter) turn, and are not lost when not spent. Of course, since resources are gathered every 4 turns, some budgeting will be required. Resources can be spent on more or less anything you can come up with. Main 'regular' expenditures encompassed in game systems would be military forces, agents and monsters. However, since this is a freeform game where you are more or less unrestricted in what you can order, you are free to come up with projects that you want to spend resources on. The limits are your imagination and what the GMs agree is possible in this world.

The amount of RP generated per node varies per node type, but mainly per tax rate. RP generation for a standard rural node per year of 4 seasons is detailed in the table below. Modifiers may apply; first percentile additions/subtractions and then discrete additions/subtractions. Multiple percentile additions/subtractions are stacked and applied together.
revenue rateRP per year

Maximum revenue rate is determined by your culture's polity type. For easy reference, tribal confederations and urban leagues can only have a light tax rate, personal monarchies can go up to moderate, centralised monarchies up to heavy, and bureaucratic empires up to overwhelming.
The maximum revenue rate is the default position, unless ordered otherwise for particular nodes. Changing revenue rates during the era may have effect on public order.

Local resources

Aside from normal resources, which are gathered per year and can be spent at (theoretically) any subsequent time and any place, there's also a thing called local resources. This represents food, other materials, labour and goodwill available locally, in the province, in the node.

These local resources are not gathered into any treasury, they're just available in the node itself during that turn. Local resources are there to be used to supplant RP expenditure for the following purposes:
• upkeep of military banners garrisoned in the node for most of that turn;
• paying for monsters kept in the node for most of that turn;
• construction work in the node;
• possibly for other strictly local projects (check with your GM).
Local resources that are not used during the turn are simply not used, and have no bearing on the next turn. That said, not using local resources might have a positive effect on public order.

The amount of local resources available per node depends on the node type, and can be modified by node features, culture aspects and technologies. Modifiers are applied in the same manner as for normal resources.
© 2008-2014 Zanzibar. All rules are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
For all details see our license post.
The node

So the node is the realm's building block. Control and governance over your nodes is what makes your realm a functional realm. Revenues are levied from nodes and they can provide local resources (as explained in the previous post, depending on node type and upgrades (see next post). All nodes are established during world settlement (and later at Half-Era) by the players, within the limit of regions. Reference. This section discusses variations between nodes and other rules governing nodes during the game.

Anatomy of the node

A node profile contains its basic setup in node type and upgrades, a description and its status regarding food and public order (the rules for which are outlined below). Since this is best shown, below are a few sample nodes. Feel free to get creative with your descriptions; it'll help the GMs to portray your realm.


Coordinates: (xx; xx)
Node Type: rural
A colony of transplanted Onandowagan subjects in the coastal highlands of the south-eastern continent. The Onandowagan tribesmen live here mainly as shepherds in the many valleys of this rugged country. The colony is governed from the largely Keshan harbour town of Nikisiani, a wayport between Kesh, Hadascus and Wu'ghos.

Population: Onandowagans (rural) and Keshim (town)

Revenue: light - 16 RP
Local resources: 4 RP
Food: sufficient
Public order: unrest


Coordinates: (xx; xx)
Node Type: rural + metropolis
In the verdant tropical archipelago of Llidani's Garden in the wide seas separating the world's continents, its azure waters dotted with the sails of fishing boats, languishes a magnificent city: the Pearl of the Ocean, Mother of All Cities, and Navel of the World. Or so its citizens say at least. A city of sailors and merchants, backed by a large population of fishermen and craftsmen, it truly is the world's marketplace and the nexus of its overseas trade. However, between the various merchant houses vying for profit and power, and tensions inherent to a multi-cultural population, the city of Kesh is notoriously never free of unrest and intrigue.

Population: Keshim
Minorities: Hadabian. Also Glacian, Excelsior, Llisit and Gehen

Revenue: light - 112 RP {light x7 (rural + metropolis)}
Local resources: 33 RP {rural + metropolis x2 (urban league) +4 (fertile land) +4 (mercantile patriciate) +1 (developed Crafting)}
Food: sufficient
Public order: unrest

Foreign communities & multi-cultural nodes

By default, most of your nodes will be inhabited primarily or entirely by your culture. This is shown in the population entry in the node profile. However, there are exceptions to this.
• If your culture has distinct population groups that live apart, you may designate this in node populations.
• Cities and especially metropoleis will feature foreign communities, whether traders or other migrants, unless the city is specifically closed to foreigners. It is likely that these will be from nearby cultures and those in commercial contact.
• When settling nodes for the era, you may in agreement with another player establish truly multi-cultural nodes, especially when your realms share a region.


The food stat tracks the node's ability to feed itself. This is tracked with a simple and intuitive ladder, shown below.

plentiful+1 public order
sufficientno effect
subsistingno effect
shortages-1 public order ; local resources halved
famine-2 public order ; local resources and revenue halved

Your agriculture determines the baseline for your nodes' food status (or animal husbandry for nomadic nodes), as specified in the technology description. Without any development in these techs the baseline is merely subsistence. This baseline is affected by a number of factors, mostly situations and events that screw over your populace.

• heavy or overwhelming revenue rate --> -1 food stage
• burden of bureaucracy --> -1 food stage
• army of 16+ banners passing through --> -1 food stage
• raids and the ravages of war --> varies

Bad harvests and food shortages can obviously lead to famines with dire consequences, especially under heavy taxation.

Cities' and metropolises' needs
Large cities and metropolises have demands for food beyond the ability of the immediately surrounding farmlands to produce, as detailed in the post below detailing such cities and metropolises. Should the import of the required food be interrupted, especially during Harvest, the food status of that city or metropolis may quickly plummet to shortages or even through to famine.

Public order

Like food, public order in the node is represented with a simple ladder. The effects of better or worse public order are not easily quantified (aside from loss of control in nodes reduced to 'disorder'), but they will be felt in the game.

goodall is fine
unrestcivil unrest (not all that uncommon in larger cities)
disorderpublic order is breaking down (riots or rebellion likely)
collapseutter destruction of society

However, behind this ladder is a rating from 0 to 10, used by the GMs behind the scenes to allow for a finer granularity. Hence the references to -1 or +1 public order.
The 'starting position' of a node's public order is just into 'good'. Many factors can change this, both structural and situational. Structural modifiers are the reduced social cohesion in cities and discontent with overwhelming taxation. Situational modifiers can include the effects of both famine and food surpluses, the stabilizing presence of a garrison or the potentially disrupting presence of a large number of bored soldiers, and the disruption or downright devastation caused by large armies and war. That aside, consider the possible effects of the presence of Chosen, of strict order enforcement or the absence of authority, dissent and disease.

If public order is reduced to 'disorder', you effectively lose control over the node. Of course control can be re-established, but if disruption and devastation continue into ruination, society and civilisation can collapse completely, which is not easily reversed if it can be done at all.

The public order stat may also show the general mood of the node's populace, the public atmosphere. This is only shown for nodes where your Chosen is personally aware of it, for example through his own presence or agents on site.
© 2008-2014 Zanzibar. All rules are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
For all details see our license post.
Node types & features

Nodes aren't just nodes. Nodes have a type and can contain specific features deserving to be noted outside the node's description. This section details all that. The process of how nodes are settled during world settlement is detailed in the Era rules.

Node types

Here follows a table with the various node types and their stats. Every type has its cost in node points (NP) noted. Then there's the modifier to the node's yearly revenue, and finally there's how much is available in local resources. Further down is more explanation on the node types and particular rules surrounding them.
Node points costRevenue modLocal resourcesOther
rural3 NPx14 RP
populous6 NPx26 RP
rural + city6 NPx26 RP-1 public order
populous + city9 NPx38 RP-1 public order
rural + metropolis17 NPx712 RP-2 public order
populous + metropolis20 NPx814 RP-2 public order
nomadic3 NPx0.53 RP

Rural and populous
Rural nodes are your standard areas with a (largely) sedentary peasant population. Populous nodes are the densely populated version. Populations of roughly 50,000 and 100,000 people respectively are assumed per node.

Rural nodes can be settled in most regions, though settling in semi-barren regions requires developed agriculture. Rural nodes can never be settled in barren regions.
Populous nodes require developed agriculture, and cannot be settled in semi-barren or barren regions.

Cities and metropolises
Every node has an administrative centre (the node itself). For most nodes that is a town with a few thousand people, but some have much larger settlements, which are referred to as cities. With an assumed urban population of some 15-40,000 cities are probably centres of manufacture and commerce. A metropolis goes beyond that: a world city with about 100,000 inhabitants.

In this turbulent world, all towns, cities and metropolises are normally assumed to be walled, according to your culture's engineering and fortification standards, unless you specifically state that a town, city or metropolis is not walled.

Cities and metropolises - and food
Cities and metropolises require more food than the immediate surroundings can produce, requiring food import. To keep its populace fed, a city requires the surpluses of 2 rural nodes' worth; a metropolis requires 10 rural nodes' worth of surpluses. Populous nodes count for 1.5 rural nodes for this purpose. Near nodes connected through a direct route can serve for such imports. From a greater distance, up to 10 clicks, nodes can serve for this if connected by a sea route or a river. It doesn't matter whether a supplying node is part of your realm or a foreign realm, so long as the trade isn't hindered.
This food requirement is not quantified as a separate resource; the requirement is just that the food import is there. If there is not enough food or its supply is disrupted, there will be consequences, especially if the disruption occurs during Harvest season.

Nomadic nodes
Nomadic nodes represent a province, tribe or other organisational unit with a nomadic populace instead of a sedentary one. Consequently there's much fewer people. About 10,000 to 25,000 are assumed, and there is no central town. Nomadic nodes are also poor, largely subsisting as herders and breeders, and with little to no manufacture beyond the necessary.
However, nomadic populations are mobile and nomadic nodes can migrate. Migration has no pre-determined cost, though circumstances may have an effect. Crossing deserts would be hard, and sedentary populations across whose land you might travel may very well object to your sheep enjoying their crops.

Node features

On top of the basic types, nodes can be customised with 'features'.
The list that follows is a list of examples, certainly not a definite list. You are free, and indeed encouraged, to come up with ideas to customise your own nodes.


Fertile land [1 NP] - Whether in farmland, grazing or fisheries, this node is particularly fertile. +4 local resources. Counts as an additional rural node for metropolis food requirements.

[Natural resource] [3 NP] - This node contains a natural resource of value, such as iron, precious metal or precious stone, which is quarried or mined for +1 the node's revenue modifier. Specify the resource.
Requires developed construction.

Forest dwellers [0 NP] - The node's population has cleared only a minimum of forest for agriculture, supplementing as much as they can with forest farming and gathering, and incorporating their villages within the forest. This prevents larger scale deforestation, but does limit taxable surplus resources. The node has only half the rural population, -0.25 to its revenue modifier and -1 food.
Only in rural nodes (whether or not including cities), in forested terrain.


Fortified centre [1-3 NP] - This node's town [1], city [2] or metropolis [3] is heavily fortified, beyond normal walling. This is not available for nomadic nodes, for obvious reasons.
Requires developed military engineering. This feature's price varies depending on whether the node includes a city, metropolis or not.

Fortified countryside [1 NP] - The node's countryside is strewn with dozens of forts and castles.
Requires developed military engineering.

Stronghold [1 NP] - Place a fortress somewhere in the node's territory.
Requires developed military engineering.

Great fortress [3 NP] - This node contains one of the great fortresses of Zanzibar, whether in the node's centre or in its countryside.
Requires expert military engineering.


Arcane academy [2 NP] - A place where the most gifted people in the realm can gather and develop their arcane expertise. If your realm suffers Scholar casualties, they can be bought back and are available the turn after (depicting the order for training, and the actual time required for it). However, each academy you own has a number of quality candidates ready to go, and once the funds are pushed through, they're immediately available, instead of requiring a season's wait, up to 15 per Academy per season.

Great harbour [1 NP] - This city contains one of the great harbours of Zanzibar. It may be a focal point of shipping lanes, and can easily keep large fleets within its safe confines.
Only in cities and metropolises. Requires expert construction, or expert marine technology and developed construction.

Hospital [1 NP] - A place where the sick and wounded can receive good treatment.
Only in cities and metropolises. Requires expert medicine.

Temple complex [1 NP] - A great centre for a state-sponsored cult, with a large priesthood and a regimen of public and/or hidden sacrifices to honour the cult's patron deity.
Requires developed construction.

Socio-political structure

Military march [1 NP] - This node is a militarised border district, probably with different laws than the rest of the realm. Any and all revenue from this node is void, but its local resources are increased by 300%. This benefit does not stack with local resources increase of the urban league.

Other infrastructure

Road [1 NP] - Improves the route between two specified nodes to an actual paved road. News travels much faster; overland trade benefits as well, and operational speed over a paved road is improved by 50%.
Requires expert construction.
© 2008-2014 Zanzibar. All rules are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
For all details see our license post.

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