Revenue by Realm

Okay, I’m working my way through the Revenue by Realm stuff in the book and am struggling a bit.

In the example on page 230 (2nd column, top), the text reads, “He has already decided that Southern Argollë has a population of 3,000,000, which equates to 600,000 families. Reviewing the Realms by Type table, he sees this is about 30% of the maximum size of a Kingdom. Exactly 30% of 7,776 is 2,332.8; he decides that Southern Argollë will consist of 2,300 domains. On the Revenue by Realm Type table, he estimates that Exarch Lazar should earn about 140,000gp per month from his domains and another 25,000gp per month from various urban settlements.”

I don’t know where most of these numbers come from.

  1. I get that 600,000 families is 30%. I don’t know where 7,776 comes from as a kingdom can have up to 9,331 domains, so should it be 30% of that?

  2. Domain Income - The book says he’ll get 140k, but the max value for kingdoms is listed at 171k, so shouldn’t it be 30% of that or 51.3k?

  3. Urban Income - Again, the book says, 25k, but the table max is 112k, so shouldn’t it be 30% of that or 33.6k?



The 7,776 number is coming off of ‘Political Divisions of Realms’, as the maximum number of Marches an Empire may hold.

You are totally justified in being confused though, took me a few minutes to figure it out myself just now. I’ve worked realms up before, but I’ve never tried to estimate one from the top down, haven’t needed to.

The sentence that’s probably missing (or a bit of a rewrite that’s needed) in that example is:

"To estimate the size of Lazar’s realm, the Judge decides to see how many Marches exist underneath his kingdom. As Lazar’s Kingdom is 30% of the maximum size, he looks at the Political Divisions of Realms table to see that the maximum number of Marches in a Kingdom is 7,776. Taking 30% of that, which is 2,332.8, he estimates 2,300 domains.

To estimate his domain income, the Judge looks at the Revenue By Realm Type table. Domain Income from a kingdom is 120K-171K per month, a range of 51K. 30% of 51K is 15.3K, added back to the base 120K is 135.3K. The Judge rounds that to 140K.

Urban income can be calculated the same - from a range of 17.5K-112K (94.5K) 30% is 45.8K (17.5K + 28.35K) per month. However, the Judge decides that Lazar’s realm is mostly agrarian, with few dense settlements, and cuts that in about half to 25K."

That could probably be cleaned up a bit, but I hope it suffices. There’s room for improvement in that example in the default text.

I really thought there was a thread on this already. Hmm.

Anyway, 7,776 is the maximum number of baronies that a kingdom can have, as per the Political Divisions of Realms table.

I don’t know why that number was used, and it doesn’t seem to explain anything else, but there you go.

Whoops. Meant Baronies, typed Marches.

Well, that’s as close to making sense as we’ve come so far.

But by that reading, a barony with a bare 120 families makes not 450GP, but 630GP, which is more than halfway up the range. ((120/200) * (750-450) + 450)

It should make 450GP? My post still might not make sense enough, or I’m not reading something right still :slight_smile:

The difference in the range for the families is 80, for the income, 300GP.

120 families - 0% of the difference (0GP) - 450GP

200-120 == 80, 0 extra families of 80 == 0% of the difference.

160 families - 50% of the difference (150GP) - 600GP

200-120 == 80, 40 extra families of 80 == 50% of the difference.

200 families - 100% of the difference (300GP) - 750GP

200-120 == 80, 80 extra families of 80 == 100% of the difference.

Alternatively, each family at that level gains 300/80 == 3.75 GP.

That doesn’t hold all the way up, Marches is 2.18GP/family. Empires gain (10100K family difference, 175K GP income difference) 0.017GP per family. I think that’s mostly because that table is presenting that income as the tax revenue, so each additional layer of henchmen/subhenchmen/subsubhenchmen are taking out their profit on the way up.

Okay, I see where 7,776 comes from and get the rest of your explanation koewn, but yeah, it doesn’t seem to scale appropriately.

Koewn, you’ve described it correctly.

You could be the ACKS Sage Advice writer. Amazing.

The reason the scale seems to be weird is, as Koewn points out, that the chart is looking at net income. The income per peasant decreases at each tier because the lower level lords take their cut.

For example, a baron’s peasants are worth 12gp per month to him. Of that he passes 2.4gp to his marquis. The marquis passes .48gp of that to his count. The count passes .0.96 to his duke. The duke passes .0192 to his prince. The prince passes .000384 to his king.

This is a huge factor of the ACKS rules that hasn’t gotten much comment. Let me explain what’s going on. The system is intended to reflect:

  1. The inefficiency inherent in ancient and medieval taxation. With most wealth coming in the form of hard-to-ship goods, both spending and taxation had to be local. A modern government will collect all tax revenue at the national level and then distribute tax revenue back down locally (to schools, welfare, etc.) An ancient government might do that “on paper” but in practice the money is being collected and spent by the local leadership.

That in turn leads to…
2. The tendency of proconsuls, viceroys, and other vassals to grossly enrich themselves rather than pay up to their liege lords. Whether it’s Persia, Rome, or England, lower-level lords often become quite wealthy.

That in turn leads to…
3. The fact that for high-ranking nobility, much of their wealth comes from their personal domains rather than from taxation of their nobles. The Roman Emperor’s wealth came from the personal province of Egypt. The King of England’s wealth came from the royal estates and demesnes.

That in turn leads to…
4. High-ranking leaders not having as much money as they might need for the purposes of fighting and acting at the principality, kingdom, or empire level. To get what they need they have to Call to Arms or Impose Special Taxes (per ACKS Favors & Duties).

That in turn leads to…
5. Morale checks from unhappy nobles…

Alex, you agreed with Koewn’s writeup. What about this part in particular?

“Urban income can be calculated the same - from a range of 17.5K-112K (94.5K) 30% is 45.8K (17.5K + 28.35K) per month. However, the Judge decides that Lazar’s realm is mostly agrarian, with few dense settlements, and cuts that in about half to 25K.”

So we were meant to understand that the urban settlement income should get cut in half because the realm is mostly agrarian from the example? I just don’t see that.

Please confirm if this is a typo or not.

It looks like a rough estimation to reflect the fact that an agrarian realm will have fewer and smaller urban settlements (see the agrarian/urban and distributed/centralized modifiers to urban settlements), which are counted separately from regular population.

I get that. I just don’t see anything about the realm being agrarian in the text explicitly or that this is a reasonable adjustment if a realm is agrarian. It seems Koewn is just taking a guess that this is what Alex may have been thinking.

Well, there is the little table on page 231 that says, “Agrarian, pastoral realm” and equates that with a smaller urban population by “1-2 rows”. If you have a full understanding of how the “Revenue by Realm Type” table works (I don’t) then it might not be hard to extrapolate what those smaller settlements mean for urban income.

Ok, looking at urban populations, “one row up” is (very) roughly half the population, which would, I guess, justify half the income as well.

That’s correct. It’s entirely possible for a realm to have 1/2 or 2x or really any variable amount of urban population relative to its agrarian population. There is no explicit link between the size of the rural and urban population in the actual rules; there is merely a suggestion based on historical averages. Likewise there is no explicit link between the size of a domain and its number of vassals and sub-vassals; again, merely a suggestion based on historical averages.

You absolutely could have a realm which is a Class I city with a 12,500 rural domain and no vassals. You could have a domain which is 500 families but sits at the top of an empire. These would be odd, but odd things happen in history all the time.

Overall, I want to correct what I fear is a misimpression over how the world creation and region creation guidelines in the Secrets chapter are intended to be used.

Those rules are not intended to have any more “force” than the dungeon stocking rules, treasure type rules, or wandering encounter rules. As Judges, all of you feel comfortable creating a dungeon that doesn’t follow the dungeon stocking rules, right? (“This dungeon was made by a thief who loves traps, so its filled with traps!”) All of you feel comfortable tossing out the treasure types when you want to, right? (“The dragon has just had its hoard stolen and is in a rage about it.”) Same thing is meant to be true of the region and world creation rules.

If you follow them exactly, you’ll get average kingdoms, baronies, empires, etc. They’ll be plausible and coherent within a range of realism based on certain periods of history. But as the saying goes, history isn’t realistic. If your world ONLY uses the guidelines it will be less gonzo than our actual world.

So, please, don’t slavishly follow those guidelines. What will make your campaign different is where you break them. Put a Class I city in the mountains filled with dwarves. Have the Emperor running a 500-family domain because he’s a religious theocrat who allegedly has renounced wealth. Whatever.

Yeah, as much as I’ve enjoyed creating an average pseudo-medieval realm for my “classic D&D” campaign setting using the rules (incidentally, the rules work perfectly down to the level of knightly manors, producing villages of plausible size with plausible fortifications - e.g. a manor-house with a stone wall - and giving knights who’ll rise to 2nd to 4th level from income), I have had to throw them mostly out of the window for my Crimson Sun setting, along with much of the market/trade rules (no city of the Tablelands would have a trade route with another by the rules, basically). They still make a good guideline, they just have to be made to fit the setting, rather than the other way around.

I appreciate all that Alex, but I must not be asking my question clearly. In the example of Lazar on page 230, there is no mention of making an adjustment to urban income because Lazar is more agrarian than is typical. In fact, there is no mention of Lazar being more agrarian anywhere, yet in this thread we are talking about an agrarian adjustment.

So, should the example have spelled out this fact? I don’t see how most readers would just guess this sort of thing.

Ah! Well, I certainly misunderstood your question. At 30%, one would assume something closer to 45,000 per month in urban income.


(And yes the knightly math was very fun to work out. As an ACKS test-case I built out Medieval England).