Watchmen and Armies
Many campaigns that feature kingdom building revolve around leaders’ abilities to use settlement and kingdom resources to meet the threats of bandits, crime rings, encroachment by enemy realms, secret cults, and other such widespread dangers. Unfortunately, the kingdom building, settlement, and mass combat rules are somewhat lax in describing the base numbers of available troops or watchmen that settlements can muster to combat these threats. Below is a proposed system for dealing with this omission to the standard rules.
Firstly, every settlement, regardless of it’s other buildings or improvements, employs roughly 1% of it’s population as watchmen. These personnel act as police, fire-guards, laborers, and city defenders when true military forces are absent. On the one hand, this may seem like an overlarge amount of the citizenry, as modern states employ closer to .2% of their populations as police. On the other, it is likely necessary in a setting without advanced communication and transportation, and with the additional dangers of bandits and sieges. Therefore, if Owlbear Keep has a population of 2,750,there would be 28 watchmen available to it’s leaders.
This works out to 2.5 watchmen per settlement lot. If settlements are broken up into 4 lot beats (about 83 acres per beat), each beat can have three 2-man patrol shifts, 1 section leader, 1 logistics officer (cook, quartermaster, etc.), 1 runner/auxiliary watchmen, and 1 “investigator” (plain-clothes officer).
Additionally, constructing buildings like Jails or Town Halls may justify increasing the Watch to 1.5% or 2% of the population. Alternatively, the watch could be supplemented by any reserve military units stationed within the settlement. Finally, in wartime or during a siege, an additional 19% of the population could be called upon to fight. The quality of such troops would be based on the forethought of city leaders, access to training, likelihood of attack, and other factors.
According to the mass combat rules, field armies have a consumption cost that must be paid once per week. Since even the smallest army has a consumption of 1, this can become exorbitantly expensive – minimum -4 consumption per kingdom turn per unit. One solution proposed in those rules is to put army units into reserve status. This requires a building of adequate size and type, but it makes the army’s consumption accrue on only a monthly basis, instead of weekly. Doing so keeps the army trained and fed, but they must be activated, paid for with weekly consumption, in order to fight.
Watchtowers can house Small (50-man) armies; Bardic Colleges, Magic Academies, and Temples house Small armies of specialized troops; Barracks house Medium (100-man) armies; Cathedrals and Universities house Medium armies of specialized troops; Castles house Large (200-man) armies; and Garrisons house Huge (500-man) armies.
However, the kingdom building rules aren’t really balanced against this cost either – a settlement with a castle, a garrison, and 4 watchtowers, fully manned with reserve units, would cost an additional 7 consumption/BP per month! Yet, it makes little sense that such buildings would provide the bonuses they do if they were completely unmanned.
Instead of assuming they are unmanned unless leaders specifically raise and maintain units in them, these buildings can be assumed to be manned, at no additional cost, by units two size categories smaller than their army size limit. This works out to about quarter-strength units:
Watchtowers/Temples/Bardic Colleges/Magic Academies: Diminutive (10-man)
Barracks/Cathedral/University: Tiny (25-man)
Castle: Small (50-man)
Garrison: Medium (100-man)
If these smaller units are mustered to defend the settlement, they would not cost additional consumption, as their pay/maintenance is subsumed in the cost of their housing and the opportunity cost of the lots such housing occupies. However, should these units be sent into the field, they would have to be paid for like other field armies. Utilizing these rules balances the cost of military units with the kingdom rules and provides the logical justification for the bonuses housing buildings provide.