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World Building Rules

In some respects this is one massive rule-set that will allow your characters to take a chunk of wilderness and turn it into a city. In another way, it is a whole series of interlinked rule-sets that will let characters develop their own small piece of the world. For example a Cleric could build a Cathedral, or a monastic order with Holy Houses or Priories spread across the state. A PC might want to set up as a Merchant with a fleet of ships and interests in every port. Or perhaps they just want their own Noble Estate to retire to? There are rules that cover that too. As well as Businesses, Schools, Casters' Towers, Rangers' Wilderness Estates - with villages, towns and cities covered as well. While this layout is still under development, each section should work as a standalone or as part of the larger set.

This was heavily influenced by Paizo's Kingmaker rules and uses the concept of Build Points as a basic 'currency' across all of these subsystems. Hopefully, the various parts of the system hang together better than the other campaign systems that are out there.

Build Points

Build Points are used across the Campaign Rules as a form of currency. However, BP is not money - nor does 1 BP relate directly to a given amount of money, so there isn't a straightforward way to sell BPs for GPs. See this page for a more detailed explanation.

Build Points in detail.


This is the most complex part of the World Building Rules and can incorporate elements from any of the other World Building sections!

Strongholds represent areas that have their own ruler. It might be a kingdom or a principality, or the estates of a Count or some other Lord. It might be a Town or City that is managed by a Mayor or Council – or a Ranger’s hunting ground even a Druid’s nature reserve. But if you (or your party) want to control lands and people - this is for you. It is generally the quickest way to get titles and control. It is the most complicated section of the World Building Rules. You will need to plan and manage your stronghold's development across Wilderness, Rural and Urban stages, and then gather support from, and negotiate with, other players if you want your stronghold to grow large and powerful.

In “The Stolen Lands” game at RPoL these rules have been used to build the province of Midmarch (under a governor), the city of Tusk (controlled by a three person council) and the town of Ringbridge - a Lord's Holding.

Rules for strongholds

Merchant Houses

These are the second most complex part of the World Building Rules. You will need to plan and manage the development of your Merchant House carefully - and be prepared to negotiate with all sort of people.

Merchant Houses are the lifeblood of the land. If strongholds represent the bones that allows a community or nation to grow – Merchant Houses are its blood. Merchant houses enable trade, they export the goods the community produces and provide the items a town can’t provide for itself - as well as a few luxuries. The Merchant House rules are straightforward to start with, but as you expand and grow, they become more complicated. There are a number of variables to manage, and the rules can be unforgiving if you plan badly.

The Merchant Rules allow the PC to set up trade networks and control some elements of trade in their main towns. This is the quickest way to get rich but the rules are fairly complicated and you have to work hard to negotiate permission to build your land based assets. This gets more complicated when you try to move into foreign cities where you don’t have much influence.

Merchants start off small, often just bringing goods to town from the surrounding towns and villages. Over time, they develop trade routes between local towns, and start to dominate trade.

Rules for Merchant Houses


The Business Rules allow the PC to set up a business empire, and can cater for everything from a Slum Landlord, through Craftsmen and Professionals to top class Hoteliers and Magic Shops. These rules are much less complicated than either Strongholds or Merchants - although Business Owners still need to negotiate with the local land owner for permission - and pay what ever fees they ask. With a bit of imagination, and a dip into the other rules sets, you can build just about any business you fancy. Even a traditional Mage's Tower.

Rules for Running Businesses

Shrines, Churches & Religion

This is among the easiest of Rule Sets to use, as you rarely need to get involved in Economic negotiations with the local land owners. You may, of course, have to deal with other theologies, different philosophies and pleaders who just don't like your religion. It is probably not a good way to go, if you are a priest of Gorrum trying to build in a town dedicated to Abadar. That said, You can use it to Build a Cathedral to Abadar that incorporates banking Facilities, or an Abbey dedicated to Pharasma with graveyards and Holy Houses spread across the province, or even a Priory dedicated to Iomedae with a Sword School attached.

Rules for Running Religious Organisations

Schools Colleges and Education

This is the easiest rule set to play, as all the developments are designed with balanced Economy, Loyalty and Stability - which means most land owners are pleased to have them, so long as there is space for them. It is probably the simplest way to take part in Kingdom building aspect of the game.

Rules for Running Academic Organisations

Estates and Secondary Settlements

The Estates and Secondary Settlement rules allow a PC to develop private estates and rural businesses without using the Stronghold Rules. These rules are primarily intended to support the development of rural businesses, such as Vineyards, Ranches, Mines and the like - however they can also be used to build military bastions, country homes or a hunting lodge. The PC needs to get permission from the local lord before they can build.

Estates and Secondary settlements can be an easy way to set up a small business and build yourself a home. It isn't quick and won't make the PC hugely influential - but it lets them 'stay in the game', if that is what they choose to do. It will work well in built-up areas where the Characters are working for the local lords.

Rules for Estates and Secondary Settlements

Clubs, Societies and Guilds

These rules follow the same basic principles as the other World Building Rules, but they are private, not-really-for-profit, social organizations.

It could be used for:

  • Secret Organisations - Such as The Bellflower Network
  • A semi-secret society - Such as The Loyal order of the Water Buffaloes or The Stone Cutters
  • A Charitable Organisation - Such as the Real Life Rotary Club.
  • A social Club - Scouts, Guides, WI, U3A etc etc.
  • Guilds - Merchant-Venturers, Thieves, Mages, Craft Guilds etc.

It has lots of possibilities,

Clubs, Societies and Guilds


Cost of Living

The main reward for taking part in the Campaign Rules is that the PC's cost of living expenses are met. Even a mid-level PC, who has taken part in the World Building Rules, will have nice apartments, a house or possibly even a mansion - along with servants and a choice of Courtier's suits to wear to that posh party. At higher levels, the PC might have a Noble Estate and more servants than you can shake a stick at.


As the PCs go up in levels, they become leaders in their community. Not many nobles (or towns) have enough wealth, military or magical resources to challenge an adventuring PC, face-to-face - and know they will win. Instead they reward them with titles, honours and awards as they try to keep them supportive and on friendly terms. In The Stolen Lands Noble titles depend on the defensive capability of your stronghold or business enterprise, however there are lots of other ranks and titles that are available.


As PCs grow richer and more powerful, and they start to get titles and mansions to their name - they become more influential in their community. This is measured by an Influence Score that determines how NPCs react to that individual or group. Just about every commoner is going to call every adventurer 'Sir' or 'My Lord' - but what about the Town Magistrate, or the Captain of the Guard? A high Influence doesn't mean the PC will get their own way, just that higher level NPCs will treat them with respect, as an equal or even as superior.

Note that this is a measure of LOCAL influence. While a PC might be a Big Fish in her own town, she is less influential in the Big City down the road and people at the Royal Court might not even have heard of her.

pathfinder/campaign_systems2/world_building.txt · Last modified: 2021/03/30 11:39 by johnb