Version 02, April 30, 2007

 

The Estates System

            In NERO, your character can manage an Estate or purchase, lease or manage parts of an Estate.  Since NERO is a medieval fantasy world, owning lands is something that only the highest ruling nobility have the ability to do.  However, this does not mean that they can manage all of those lands themselves.  The Feudal society permits Liege-lords to assign an administrator of an estate within their lands. Lieges often assign the management of their lands to oath-sworn vassals, most notably those who follow the code of chivalry.

In general, titles and lands are considered as rewards for honorable, courageous, and selfless acts, as well as loyalty to a noble of a particular land.  Estates and other titles and honors may be given out to those who are not nobility, though giving the rights to full Estates is very rare in these cases.

Each estate needs at least one administrator. This administrator oversees the construction and running of businesses along with taking the responsibility for the welfare of all citizenry in any given estate. An administrator must be appointed by the ruling nobility. From there administrators may pass along their responsibilities to another who would become the new administrator. But donít forget to ask any nobility for further information about estate administrators. I have found in my travels that different lands in Evendarr have different laws regarding estates and their management.    

            In general, titles and lands are considered as rewards for honorable, courageous, and selfless acts, as well as loyalty to a noble of a particular land. Estates and other titles and honors may be given out to those who are not nobility, though giving the rights to full estates is very rare in these cases.

            For example, King Mykel of Evendarr rules all of Evendarr. Within his kingdom, there are many duchies. A duke or duchess rules each duchy. A duchy is approximately 409,000 acres. Each duchy is divided into several parts. The first is the ducal barony, which is often the largest barony in terms of land area. The duke or duchess lives and maintains troops in the capital city of his duchy in the ducal barony. The smaller aspects of managing this barony are often left to an appointed baron who has shown outstanding loyalty to the duke or duchess.  

            In many instances, the rest of the duchy is divided into two counties, which are further divided into two baronies each for a total of five baronies including the ducal. Some larger duchies may have more counties and barons, but this example shows numbers for an average size duchy. Not all baronies are of equal size, but they are often very close so that rivalries do not occur. 

            However, there are more to estates than just boundaries and administrators. The key aspect to ensuring an estate will thrive is the buildings and businesses being created and maintained within it. There are two costs involved with each structure and business. The first of these costs is to create the actual structure which will house business, tenants, or whatever else it will be used for. For the instance of running a business, the second cost is that of starting any given business. An example of this is a tavern, and seeing as many years as I have I can tell you that every good town needs a good tavern!

            My apologies for diverging from the topic at hand please allow me to continue. To build a tavern it will cost you 25 gold. That cost is only for the building there will be no furniture, drinks, or staff. However, the secondary cost of 75 gold constitutes any and all costs involved with starting up a business. The second fee would pay for furniture such as tables, chairs, a bar, etc; a staff such as waitresses/waiters, chefs, and bartenders; and supplies like food and drink. It is important to remember that a business canít start making you money until you pay both of these costs.

            That brings me to the next subject, what you were really waiting for, making money. Now before you get too excited about all of the money youíll be making think first about the citizenry of your estate and their well being! Too many times has a corrupt noble stolen the treasury from his or her estate putting their own prosperity over that of their subjects. Now that thatís out of the way, allow me to explain how an estate makes money. Many buildings have a monthly yield or income. Some of these buildings include farms, guilds, mining operations, and many others. All of these typically have a yield of 5% of the cost of building and starting a business.

            Let us again take the example of the tavern. A tavern costs 25 gold to build with an additional 75 gold to start up the business totaling 100 gold. From here the administrator could expect to receive 5 gold each month on average. This amount would of course depend on how many patrons the tavern keeper served on any given month or any other factors which take place. This money goes into a treasury for each estate. The money can then be used in a variety of ways to better any given estate such as creating new businesses and buildings, increasing the military defense presence, or saving it for a rainy day.

            However, not all that is built offers any income. Barracks, schools, and military outposts are only a few of this type of building. However, these buildings each offer something more important than gold. By having barracks you can house soldiers who will increase your estateís defensive rating. Iíll explain what a defense rating is in just a moment. But first, schools help to educate your people and by doing so you can increase your estateís quality of life rating. Again, I will explain what this is in just a moment.

            I told you about defensive ratings, and you are probably asking yourself, ďWhat is a defensive rating for an estate, and more importantly, why should I care?Ē Both of these are valid questions each with an important answer, so listen closely. Your estateís defensive rating, or defense, is a number which represents your ability to prevent outside attacks on your estate. This rating ranges from 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best. A strong defense is necessary for survival. How are you going to keep your well earned treasury or protect your citizens from a horde of goblin raiders? Simply put, you must raise a military and train them to protect your estate. One must request troops from the military to be stationed in their estate in order to have troops. However, as the administrator you must accept responsibility for their pay of 1 gold piece monthly for each soldier. This may seem costly however in my mind there is no price too high for the safety of civilians.

            To continue with the defense of an estate, it is not entirely necessary to have regular soldiers to protect your borders. Each estate should have a militia as well. An estateís militia is formed of able bodied civilians who will answer the call of duty during times of need; such as war, invasion, or raiders. Although a strong and able bodied militia is an important part of any estate, the effect of a militia is limited. This is mainly due to any given militia soldierís poor training. While an administrator may train their militia there power will only be one quarter of that of a regular soldier. In other words, a trained soldier from the military is worth four soldiers from the militia.

            There are other simple ways to increase your defensive rating. One good way is to convince adventurers to stay in your estate. Their knowledge for combat and survival strengthens not only your defense, but also the moral of your troops. Each adventurer can make your troops into a formidable force. Another path to increase your defense is to build a wall around your town, city, or if you are wealthy enough, your entire estate. Walls come in several varieties based on height and construction material. But, if you want to make a wall be sure to add on a gate or you wonít have a way to get out of your walled in fortress!

            Now that the defensive ratings are all taken care of, on to the ratings given for the quality of life an estate can sustain. This rating gives a numeric value representing how good of a life your citizenry live. Again, the rating ranges from 1, the lowest, to 10, the highest. The best thing for any administrator to do is to make sure that his or her citizenry are happy and well cared for. They will appreciate your actions and efforts and will act accordingly. I have even heard of instances where statues have been erected of administrators who have shown such exemplary talents and leadership. But one does not just walk into a town and suddenly it is the best place to live! It takes time, money, patience, and know how to have a high quality rating.

            First, you need to know what your people want and what they need. People need three things in order to survive. They need sustenance, in terms of both food and drink; they need shelter, and they need jobs. Letís start with food and drink; this can easily be taken care of. As far as the necessity of food the construction of farms and making sure they are prosperous is both necessary and proper. Other possible ways to retrieve food is to hunt for it by setting up either a hunting or fishing operation in your estate. As well, people may trade for or purchase foods at a mercantile inn. There are also a plethora of choices for your people in terms of drinks. Water sources, such as a protected well, offer a safe and efficient option to solve this problem. However, for those who find water a little weak there are other options. Both breweries and wineries are viable options to an administrator who wants his or her citizens to have a variety of choices on how to quench their thirst.

            The next need that all people share is shelter. Whether it be a small hut, an extravagant manor house, or anything in between all people need a place to live. Mostly the people of your estate will be able to fend for themselves by building their own homes or purchasing their construction. However, there will be instances when your citizenry will not be able to afford for their own welfare. Or, there are also the instances in which war, invasion, or raids may leave their homes destroyed. It is on these tragic occasions that you, as the administrator, must take action. It is your responsibility to care for the citizens of your estate. Occurrences such as these are good reasons as to why you should leave some amount of gold in your estate treasury at all times. Almost as a, ďrainy day,Ē fund.

            Finally, you must ensure that the people of your estate have jobs. There are a variety of reasons for this; however, one is more important than the others. Iíd rather not turn this into a classroom; yet if I must then I must, jobs help the economy. Letís use the example of Farmer A. Farmer A has a farm. He plants seeds every year and harvests his crop during the season. He keeps some food for himself and his family, and then sells the rest of his crop at the market. He makes a profit. He takes his profit and can do anything with it. Maybe his family needs some new clothes, his child wants a new toy, or it is possible that he will save the money he made for when the crop doesnít come in as well, or he may use it to better his business by hiring more people or purchasing more land. Regardless, with a job he creates more jobs as seen, clothes need tailors, toys need toy makers, saving money needs a bank, and hiring more people gets farm hands. If more people have jobs then they can afford to live and survive. That being the most important reason to make sure that there are sufficient jobs for all your citizens.

            There are many who say that there is a direct link between an estateís defense rating and their quality of life rating. I, however, firmly disagree with this. Making sure that there are enough jobs and food for your citizens is costly. This reduces funds which could be used for military purposes. Soldiers are expensive; they need food, shelter, and pay. Many find themselves in a quandary when they must ask themselves whether to feed their people or protect them from possible invasion. Another well kept secret which furthers my views is information about militia training. As previously stated, four militia equals one soldier. However, training can make all of the difference. If, as an administrator, you take the time to train your militia their military skills will raise as well. If you train them for only one day a week then three, instead of four, will be the equivalent to one soldier. If you train them for four days a week then two will be equivalent to one soldier. If they are trained for more than four days in any given week then they will constitute as soldiers and no longer be militia. This may sound appealing and a viable option; however, there is a down side to doing this. For each point this will increase your defense rating it will drop your quality of life rating. Why? Because you are taking people away from their jobs to be better soldiers. You are decreasing their productivity and making their lives harder to compensate. This, ďtrick,Ē can come in handy for some estate administrators who have very high quality of life ratings and wish to inexpensively raise their defense ratings.

            Another important part of running a successful estate is trading. You have many estates surrounding you all of which have something in common with you. They all need something and they all have something. If your farms produce grain and dairy you may want some fruit or livestock. It just so happens that your neighbor has the opposite problem. She wants to get her hands on some grain and dairy and is willing to trade some of her fruit and livestock for them. But what happens when you need potions from an apothecary? You find that someone has some for trade, but wants wooden planks for them. Do you have a wood mill? Well if you donít try to find someone who does, find what they want and trade for it! This is a dastardly cycle that can continue on for many, many trades, but that is half the fun now isnít it?

            Another one of your duties as an administrator, and one of the more unfortunate ones, of an administrator can sometimes be dismantling. Dismantling is a process by which a building is utterly destroyed in the name of progress. It is a shame, in my mind, to have to destroy. This holds especially true when people invest their lives into these businesses and buildings. However, dismantling can be a key technique in preserving an estate or making new what is best for an estate. You see, although you destroy a building by dismantling you also receive half of what was paid for it to begin the business or activate a buildingís function. For example, if suddenly you need money for an emergency for your estate one course of action could be dismantling. You should carefully decide which building is the most expendable and will get you the most return. For example if you feel that the mercantile inn isnít worth keeping around in your estate considering the impending doom then you can dismantle it to get 37.50 gold back into the treasury. As I mentioned, this is a rather disdainful task, yet it can be a necessary one.

            There are a few more things that are important to keep in mind as an administrator. I am sorry to be the one to inform you of this but the higher nobles donít entirely trust you. And who can blame them? Too many times in the past have your predecessors stolen from their estates for their own ventures. To prevent such occurrences the high nobles have taken the liberty of devaluing the coinage produced by the estates. They are made of lesser stuff I guess, I donít really know nor do I want to get caught up in that whole mess. All I know is that if anyone tries to take the money from their estate they will only get 1 gold piece per 10. Thatís right; to prevent dishonest administrators from stealing from what is rightfully the personís of an estate the value of coinage in all estates is devalued. Conversely, a particularly generous administrator will be able to put his or her own coinage into his or her estate; however, it will only double in value. In essence you can have 100 gold in your estateís treasury, take it all out, get 10 real gold, decide you made a mistake, and only get 20 back into your estateís treasury. This may seem as a harsh system of business but please donít blame the high nobles but your predecessors who ruined this system of trust and honesty we once had. 

            Another key factor which should be a part of your planning process when creating businesses and buildings in your estate is timing. It takes about one week to make any simple buildings such as farms, apothecaries, or guild houses. It takes at least two weeks for moderately complicated structures consisting of wooden bridges or walls, docks, and a small gathering hall. The most complicated structures include manor houses, the large gathering hall, and stone worked structures. These all take at least one month to construct. Additionally, all buildings, structures, and businesses take approximately one week to start running. Finally, these buildings take approximately the same amount of time to dismantle as they do to construct. So even if youíre in a bind you had better plan ahead if you expect dismantling a building will save your skin!

            I hope that you can put this information to good use. There are plenty of years of experience behind each and every one of them, and if you donít take my advice then you are a fool. I have seen many estates rise and fall. I have seen empires built on the backs of slaves and their eventual demise. I have seen a new age of peace and love usher in hope and prosperity to all the peoples of Tyrra. I wish to keep such a world in place. I will do all within my power to help the peoples of Tyrra in anyways I may. These are good people who deserve a chance, so please, heed my words and give them that very chance.