These are the most complex of the Kingdom Building Rules. You need to have an idea of what you want to achieve, plan how to get there and then take time to follow the plan through. You have to start off by claiming some land, and to do that you have to explore it and clear any monsters or humanoids out. If you are really lucky, your GM will have some of the monsters or bandits hiding in a lair that will act as a base. The chances are that your new piece of land is just beyond the frontier somewhere, or even right out in the wilds – so wilderness that you have to build up from scratch.
The rules lend themselves quite nicely to role-playing different management styles. Playing, exactly, to the balance rules will give a well-rounded, well managed society with next to no unrest. However, if a town runs high Stability and Defence - you will start to get an authoritarian, militarized settlement that could suit a Lawful ruler - obviously LG, LN & LE rulers will solve social problems, which will invariably arise, in different ways. In the same way, low Stab & Def will lead to a more 'chaotic' settlement, with its own social problems.
So now you have to decide what sort of stronghold you want to build. Big? Small? Wilderness? Rural? Built up? There are lots of different options – here are a few examples from my RPoL game. But you also need to understand how your Stronghold fits with the rest of the world, keeping things in balance, how Stewardship works and How the finances work. There are a lot of rules and, at first glance, they look complicated - however, they aren't that bad, they just take a while to explain. When you get them, they are quite straightforward.
You should understand how different terrains and transport links will affect your stronghold. Forests, deserts, mountains etc are more difficult to build in - so developments in those terrains costs more. And the roads that let you trade with other towns are more expensive to build.
A stronghold is defined by four main properties (Economy, Stability, Loyalty and Def) if you keep those in balance, your stronghold will prosper and do well. If they get out of balance, bad things will happen ….
As your stronghold grows, it needs resources to cover its running costs If you employ the right people as Stewards, they run the stronghold efficiently and reduce the costs. If you want to run a private Stronghold, you should think about how your entourage assistants can help. If your PC wants a role running a 'Free City' or a Shared Stronghold, you need to think about the PCs development.
All of which goes to set out a fairly simple management system.
The Wilderness Rules come in handy for most Stronghold Builders occasionally. many people start off with a wilderness hex, but even as your stronghold develops you might want to claim and patrol hexes cheaply – and the wilderness rules are good for that too. It is always good to have a bit of a buffer between your new town and the ravening horde of Orcs that live in the hills. If you want to build a pure wilderness stronghold, you can stop here. A wilderness Stronghold is nearly all developed with the ‘owners’ resources – there is little need to negotiate or deal with other Characters to build your stronghold.
If you want to develop a rural or urban stronghold, just dip into these rules to get started.
Rural is all about villages, farms and other country businesses – but if you wish to build a city, you need to start with a village. The Rural Stronghold rules build on the first part of the Wilderness Rules and lead you through setting up your first Village hex. You can choose to keep the settlement as a village and build that up, or you can grow it into a small town (which then uses the Urban rules).
This is the first stage of these rules where you will probably be negotiating with other PCs and trying to get them to build businesses and invest in your stronghold. You could build a small rural or rural/wilderness stronghold just using your own resources - but if you have planned for a town or a city, you need help from other people. They earn from their investments – but you get some tax income as well. So the more inward investment that you negotiate, the more BPs you will get, the faster you can build. There is a catch, of course, you have to balance Economy, Loyalty and Stability - or else things will go badly for your stronghold. It isn’t too bad at this level, but gets more complicated if you move to the Urban rules.
You can stop here is you want a Rural or Rural/Wilderness stronghold, as might suit a devotee of the Green Faith or a follower of Erastil – or anyone else who wants to retire to a country inn when they finally stop adventuring. Although I would hope that you finish up with a nice country manor house, with a decent tavern on your door step.
A full on system that builds on the Rural Rules, the Urban Rules let you develop your village into a town, city and even a metropolis - if you get support from other PCs and manage it properly. If you only want a one hex independent city - these are all you need.
If you want a stronghold that covers more than one hex - perhaps something the size of a county, a duchy or (eventually) a kingdom - then you probably need to use the Rural and Wilderness rules as well. After all, no significant state is just a run of towns and cities one after the other - there are farms and wilderness areas as well. And they are cheaper …
This is the most complicated level of these rules, and really needs planning, negotiating skills and flexibility.