building a kingdom


The following rules were adapted from the Pathfinder Kingmaker campaign and are still under development and subject to change.

You start by claiming a hex and probably building a city there. The kingdom progresses on a monthly cycle, each month consisting of four phases: Upkeep, Improvement, Income and Event. During the Upkeep phase the treasury pays its debts, the security services make their reports, and craftsmen make new magic items available. During the Improvement phase the rulers make their decisions: changing leaders; claiming new land; making improvements in the form of new cities, new buildings in existing cities, roads, and farmland; and changing the government’s general approach towards governing the kingdom with regard to the three main stats. During the Income phase the rulers can make deposits into or withdrawals from the treasury, and collect taxes. Finally, during the Event phase, Stuff Happens.

Kingdom stats

Your kingdom has a kind of “character sheet” which contains the following stats:

Economy, Loyalty and Stability. These are like saving throws: how rich the country is, how patriotic its citizens are, and how bad its criminal and rebellious elements are. The main contributors to these stats are alignment; leaders and their decisions; developments such as buildings; and Unrest. A natural 1 is always a failure and a natural 20 is always a success.
Size. This is the number of hexes claimed.
Population. This is actually unimportant. The population of rural hexes varies but the standard formula is 250 per hex of developed farmland + urban population.
Control DC. The usual DC for Economy, Loyalty and Stability checks is 20 + the kingdom’s size. Don’t worry if this looks high—it’s actually easier to hit than it looks.
Unrest. This measures how much the populace dislike how the country is being run. You might think of this as “internal political damage”, so every kingdom has 20 “hit points”. It’s also a penalty to Economy, Loyalty and Stability checks. Unrest ranges from 0 (no complaint), to 11 (some outlying areas are sufficiently annoyed to break away), to 20 (government collapses).
Treasury. This is measured in Build Points. It’s not money, but an abstraction of various resources (including money) that contribute to a country’s capital. Having a negative balance makes the people nervous.
Edicts. This is the government’s general approach to running the country. More aggressive Promotion and more Festivals cost more but increase Stability and Loyalty respectively; heavier Taxation increases Economy but decreases Loyalty.
Consumption. This is how many BP it costs to keep the country running each month. Consumption = size + number of city districts + cost of edicts – 2 per farmland.


There are 11 leadership positions. For each one, whoever fills it contributes one of their ability modifiers to one or more of the country’s three stats. A leader must be physically present in the country for one week per month to grant this bonus; failing this, a penalty applies instead (in some cases to more than one stat).

Some positions are more important than others. The most obvious is also the most important:

Ruler. Head of government: The ruler is regarded as equivalent to a baron/baroness if the kingdom size is less than or equal to 20. They are regarded as a duke/duchess if it is between 21 – 80 hexes, or a king/queen if over 81 hexes. MA & IQ modifier applies to one (baron), two (duke) or three (king) of the country’s stats, which you can change at the start of the Improvements phase. A married couple can rule jointly, giving each of their bonuses individually. Thus it is beneficial for a ruler to marry. If absent, Unrest increases a lot during Upkeep and the country can’t expand or make improvements (other than buildings).
The ruler has three chief advisors, one for each stat/edict. If you don’t fill these positions, you can’t issue the corresponding edict.

Councillor. Representative of the people to the government. IQ & MA modifier applies to Loyalty. If absent, Unrest increases during Upkeep, and the country can’t benefit from festivals (i.e. Festivals reverts to None).

Grand Diplomat. Manages foreign relations. MA & either IQ or PB modifier applies to Stability. If absent, the country can’t issue Promotion edicts (i.e. Promotion reverts to None).

Treasurer. Manages the treasury and tax collection. IQ & ME modifier applies to Economy. If absent, the government can’t collect taxes (i.e. the Taxation reverts to None, but since zero tax isn’t a deliberate policy, you don’t get the Loyalty bonus).

Vacancy in the following positions causes Unrest to increase each month, which can quickly get out of hand if you don’t deal with it quickly:

Ruler and Councillor, as above.
High Priest. Sees to the country’s religious needs. MA & ME modifier applies to Stability.

Spymaster. Keeps spies in both the country’s underworld and in other kingdoms. PP & IQ modifier applies to one stat, chosen during Improvement (once per month).

The following positions should at least be filled by someone vaguely competent to avoid the vacancy penalty:

General. Commands the kingdom’s armies and is a public hero. PS & MA modifier applies to Stability.

Magister. Guides the country’s higher learning and magic. IQ & ME modifier applies to Economy.

Warden. Organises border patrols and enforces frontier justice. PP & either IQ or PE modifier applies to Economy.

Sheriff. Leads the country’s defence and city guards. PS & PE modifier applies to Loyalty.

The following positions are entirely optional:

Enforcer This can be a Royal Assassin, Public executioner, headsman, or assassin. PS or PP modifier applies to Loyalty, and Unrest reduces during Upkeep. There is no vacancy penalty.

Admiral In charge of naval security and protecting shipping. MA & PP bonus applies to Economy. No vacancy penalty.

Attribute modifiers:
These apply to the kingdom stats appropriate to the positions to which the characters have been appointed. The wrong person in a job can have a significantly detrimental effect on the country.
Attribute 1-2: -3
Attribute 3-4: -2
Attribute 5-7: -1
Attribute 8-15: 0
Attribute 16-18: 1
Attribute 19-22: +2
Attribute 23
: +3

In addition to the attributes, certain positions are better suited to members of certain classes and poorly suited to others. If held by characters of a favoured class, they gain an additional bonus, based on their level. + 1 for level 4-5, + 2 level 6-7, + 3 level 8-10, + 4 level 11 +. Level 1-3 characters are considered novices and so there is no added benefit from them holding a role. If held by a character of an opposed class there is a -3 modifier. Multiple class characters only count the highest level favoured class. Similarly, only one opposed class counts. Most characters will fit in between, being nether favoured nor opposed and providing no modifier.

Favoured Class: Noble, Knight, Paladin
Opposed class: Thief, assassin, witch.

Favoured class: Scholar
Opposed class: Thief, witch

Grand Diplomat.
Favoured class: Noble, bard, actor
Opposed class: none

Favoured class: Merchant
Opposed class: Thief

High Priest.
Favoured class: Priest, Shaman
Opposed class: Any non-clergy

Favoured class: Thief, bard
Opposed class: Knight, Palladin

Favoured class: Knight, Paladin, Soldier, mercenary
Opposed class: any man of magic, scholar, merchant.

Favoured class: any man of magic, scholar
Opposed class: any man at arms

Favoured class: Ranger
Opposed class: Noble

Favoured class: Soldier, mercenary, knight, paladin, longbowman
opposed class: Thief, assassin, scholar, merchant, man of magic

Favoured class: Assassin
Opposed class: none

Favoured class: Sailor, pirate
Opposed class: anything else

Monthly progression

Upkeep. Skip this phase during the first month before you’ve claimed or built anything.
Roll Stability vs Control DC. If successful, reduce Unrest by 1. If Unrest is already 0, increase Treasury by 1 BP.

Pay Consumption. Deduct Consumption from Treasury. If Treasury is now negative, increase Unrest by 2.

Unrest. If Unrest is 11 or higher, lose one hex (chosen by the leaders) including improvements. When reclaiming an abandoned hex, any town there must be annexed (Stability check vs control DC; failure increases Unrest by 2d4). Finally, if there is an Enforcer (Royal Assassin), reduce Unrest by 1.

Improvement. How much you can do in this phase depends on your country’s size—the bigger, the more you can do.

Select leadership. You can change leaders as often as you like (to a limit of once per month, of course).

Claim hexes. A hex must be adjacent to already claimed land and have been explored and cleared of hazards. Annexing a hex costs 1 BP and increases size (and hence consumption) by 1. Abandoning a hex (decreasing Size by 1) increases Unrest by 1 (4 for a city hex).

Found and improve cities. Founding a city requires clearing a site, which costs a certain number of BP and takes a certain amount of time depending on terrain.
Buildings can give bonuses or penalties to the country’s stats; reduce the cost of other buildings; create magic item slots for the city and increase the city’s base value; increase the city’s Defence Modifier (used in mass combat, which first comes into part 4); increase or decrease Unrest when built; or reduce the cost of edicts.

Build roads. Roads make travel quicker and increase Economy and Stability. Building roads in a hex costs 1 BP, or 2 in forests, or 4 in swamps and mountains, and twice that if there is a river.

Establish farmlands. A farmland hex reduces Consumption by 2. Developing farmlands costs 2 BP in grasslands or 4 BP in hills. Forests, swamps and mountains can’t be farmed.

If a forest hex is connected by river it can be developed for forestry. This costs 4 BP and increases economy by 2.

Issue Edicts. Choose your Edict levels.


Deposits. You can donate coins, gems, jewellery, equipment, etc. to the treasury to increase its balance. Every 20,000 gp of value donated adds 1 BP to the Treasury.
Withdrawals. You can withdraw money from the treasury at a rate of 10,000 gp per BP. Doing this increases Unrest by at least 1, and more if you fail a Loyalty check. (however, because the interests in the city are divided, the PCs each get only 10% of this money)
Sell valuable items. You can sell items that cost at least 20,000 gp through your city’s markets—your own, or ones in a city’s item slots. This requires an Economy check. If it sells, the Treasury increases depending on whether it’s minor, medium or major. You can attempt such a sale once for each city district in each Income phase.

Generate income. Make an Economy check vs the Control DC. If successful, increase the Treasury by a number of BP equal to the check result / 5 (round down).

Event. During this phase something interesting may happen, at the GM’s whim. An event can increase or decrease stats, destroy city blocks, increase Unrest, etc. etc. Some events are ongoing and have their effect happen each month until finished.

Hiring adventurers. By hiring adventurers, the PCs can effectively purchase one time bonuses to any Economy, Loyalty, or Stability checks made as a result of a kingdom event. A group of low-level adventurers costs 4 BP and grants a +2 bonus.

building a kingdom

The taming of the North GwerinColin