ODERN GOVERNMENTS finance their administration and services by taxation on income and/or property.  In the Middle Ages, the situation facing a king and his council, or even a lord of a small domain was very different.  General direct taxes were imposed only infrequently, and then were only accepted by the populace when a justifiable reason was offered, such as the marriage of a prince or princess, or if sufficient pressure was brought to bear.  This is not to say that other forms of taxation, such as tolls on road travel, or customs on goods entering towns, were not used, but in general these formed only a part of the lord's income.

Kings and lords were expected to finance their activities from the revenues of their domains.  In the case of the king, his domain might form the major part of the kingdom, but that was still in effect a private source of income, generating revenue from the commodities produced on it.

In addition, loans could be obtained from merchants and bankers using the customs, tolls and land revenues as security.  Many mediaevel monarchs financed themselves on this basis, but it can develop into a vicious circle of debt repayments, and kings often defaulted on their loans; a move not likely to endear yourself to moneylenders, and only to be risked by the powerful.

N BLOOD ROYAL, THERE ARE EIGHTY COMMODITIES, which are listed in Appendix Four.  Some are produced by towns (marked with a T in the appendix), others in the countryside (i.e. by honours).  Each town produces two to four commodities, and each honour will produce between three and five commodities.  Production of some commodities is restricted, whether for technical reasons (e.g. glass making requires specially-skilled workers), or due to a required resource (e.g. mining gems and precious metals).

Every territory demands supplies of each commodity, the amount required increasing with its population and prosperity.  The amount produced is dependent on the population and the people's morale, but can be improved by spending money on research.  Production may be affected by unforeseeable events, such as floods or particularly good weather.

Each year, the price for each commodity will be calculated based on the overall supply and demand.  The profits of each honour will be allocated to the holder of the honour, with the lord of the province taking a small portion.  The overlord of each town will receive a portion of the money made in that town.

The demand of each territory will be satisfied from supplying territories based on three factors.  These are geographic proximity, diplomatic alignment and economic affinity.  The latter is a measure of the closeness in trading and business between two areas; it is a self-increasing relationship, in that the more one area trades with another, the closer they become economically, and so the more trade they wish to do together.  Economic affinity can also be increased by the command 'Negotiate Trade Treaty'.

CONOMIC COMMANDS ARE MAINLY CONCERNED with improving conditions for trade.  This is the aspect of the game over which a player has least noticeable impact; your actions may take some time to have an effect on the economy.  It must not be neglected, however, as the money earned through trade enables you to undertake your other tasks, and your economic power, like your military power, is a factor in your overall status.  As the prosperity of your domain grows, it will provide you with the money and influence to incrase your standing, as well as increasing your security as people become contented under your benign rule.

Copyright © 2001-03 James Doyle. All rights reserved.