Lords51: National Projects

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National Projects cover a wide range of efforts a nation may undertake beyond the simple construction of cities, armies and ships. They are divided into two main types – megalithic constructs, which tend to be large architectural efforts like roads, pyramids or canals – and national transformation projects, like abolishing slavery, or breaking down (or setting up) a caste system.

All Projects are defined in terms of an objective (building a pyramid), costs (GP, NFP and Time – which is counted in years), and supplementary requirements.

A Project is not complete until all costs are paid and the supplementary requirements satisfied. As a result, a project may take more time than initially required. To ease the burden on your poor, over-worked GM, payments of GP and NFP are not mandated in equal portions per turn of construction.

You may pay some or all of a project cost on a given turn – but the project as a whole is not complete until you have satisfied all of the requirements.

To start a Project you must pay at least 1 GP and 1 NFP / 1 sNFP (if MC allows). A Project must also have improvement work upon it each turn at the same 1 GP and 1 NFP or 1 sNFP Rate (if MC allows). A Project may take many turns to complete. If no improvement costs are paid at the least then 1/4 of the current investment is lost.

Megalithic Constructs

The concept of Megalithic Construction covers a wide range of engineering feats. Basically, anything that is really big and impressive is a Megalithic Construction (MC). The Pyramids, the Great Wall of China, the Colossus of Rhodes, and so on, are all MC’s. For game purposes, all MC’s are graded in Levels.

Generally, an MC is a very large construction separate from other locations (cities or fortresses) in the same province. As such, it must be defended separately unless, when you are building it, you state that it will be within a city or a fortress will be built to protect the edifice.

Each Level costs:

  • 1 - 50 GP, 25 NFP and two (2) years to construct.
  • 0.5 - 25 GP, 13 NFP and 1 year
  • 0.25 - 13 GP, 7 NFP and 1 year

If the region that a MC is being built in is taken by an enemy before it is completed, the Gold and NFP will be lost. Megalithic Constructions may be built in any controlled region of Non-Paying Tributary status or better.

Table 6-1. Summary of Megalithic Constructs

Construct Base Level
Canal 1-6
Intense Cultivation (2) 2
Regional Cultivation (1) 1
Royal Road .5
Postal Road 0.25
Great Walls 1
Defensive Dyke .5
Bridge .5 to 1
Monoliths Varies (min 1)
Palace 1
Great Library 1
Stables .5
Wizard School 1
Various Military Colleges 2

Additional optional Megalithic Constructs are defined – but first ask that they can be constructed in your regions, cities, or geographic zone.

Requirements for Megalithic Constructs

The specific requirements if any will be noted in the explanation of each MC. Some require a Specialist to be hired, an Education level minimum, and others require a certain city size. The larger more complex structures usually require some combination of criteria. If sNFP can be used to construct the MC it will be noted.

Megalithic Construction Cost Modifiers

The Base Level cost of a given Megalithic Construction Project is modified by the Race & Terrain. Where noted some races find certain MC's easier to construct. Fractions are rounded off to the nearest half-level (0.5).

Table 6-2. Megalithic Construct Cost Multiples for Race & Terrain

Racial Type
A 1.5 2.0 2.0 1.5 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0
B 2.0 1.5 1.5 2.0 1.5 1.0 2.5 1.5
B1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.0 N/A N/A
B2 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.0 N/A N/A
D 1.5 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.5 2.5 1.0 1.5
D1 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.0 N/A
D2 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.0 N/A
F 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0
F1 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 N/A N/A 1.0
F2 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 N/A N/A 1.0
G 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
G1 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
G2 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
H 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
H1 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
H2 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0
M 1.0 2.0 1.5 1.0 2.0 2.5 2.0 1.5
M1 1.0 N/A N/A 1.0 N/A N/A N/A 1.5
M2 1.0 N/A N/A 1.0 N/A N/A N/A 1.5
S 1.5 2.5 2.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 1.0 1.5
S1 1.5 N/A N/A 1.5 N/A N/A 1.0 1.5
S2 1.5 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1.0 N/A
W 1.5 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0
W1 N/A 1.0 1.0 N/A 1.5 1.5 N/A 1.0
W2 N/A 1.0 1.0 N/A 1.5 N/A N/A 1.0

Example: The Aztec Empire decides to build a massive pyramid complex as part of their astrological study array. The optimal location for this edifice is in the mountains of Huichol, as high in the atmosphere as they can manage. The base Construction Level of this is a 3 (set by the GM). Since they are building in a Mountain (M) region and they are Human, they have a 2.0 multiple. The resulting Level of the megalithic construction is (3 × 2.0 = 6.0). It will cost the Aztecs 300gp and 150 NFP to complete the Monté Alban pyramids. G'luck In Lords 51 that cost may be reduced with help from Dwarves or Specialists.

Table 6-3. Megalithic Construct Level Modifiers for Border Type - not used in 51


Base Level This varies as per the following chart.

There are many opportunities to build canals in the World. These vary in length for convenience and clarity. Once complete, certain Canals count as a Sea Zone for movement purposes and for tracing Trade Routes. Canals counting as a Sea Zone are marked with boldface in the table below. Some do not. They also count as Navigable Rivers for movement purposes, see Ship Unit Classes and Effects.

Canal costs will be looked at. They will be based upon terrain covered, distance covered, etc. In some instances it will not be possible to complete an entire Canal project with but one Race. Dwarves are required in this Age to construct Locks. Locks allow ships to pass up and down a rapids section of a River. Lizardmen have the distict advantge of brute strength and the ability to be underwater at length.

With the level costs posted before them, only the following canal zones may be built: (Until time is taken the Canal 6-4 table will be left alone)

Table 6-4. Canal Construction Levels

Level Description
1 Kiel Canal (Skaggerak to the North Sea).
1 Lagoda Passage (Lake Lagoda to Gulf of Finland).
2 Volkhov Canal (Lake Lagoda to Lake Ilmen)
2 Necho’s Canal (Red Sea to Lower Nile to Med.).
3 Erie Canal (Lake Erie to Chesapeake Sea Zone via the Hudson River, which passes through the regions of Cayuga, Iroquois and Mohawk).
3 The Grand Canal of China (Huang Ho to Yangtze).
3 Duluth Canal (Great Snake to Lake Superior).
4 Queta Canal (across present day Nicaragua).
6 Panama Canal (across Cuna, Pacific to Caribbean).
6 Chicago Canal (Middle Snake to Lake Michigan).
2 Niagara Canal (Lake Erie to Lake Ontario)

Intense Cultivation

Base Level Two

To convert a region from a Regionally Cultivated level 1 to Intensely Cultivated level 2 requires 2 levels of Megalithic Construction. Conversion to this new terrain type is instantaneous upon completion of the project. There is no need to support this project. This MC allows for the highest and best use of the natural terrain and available resources in a given region for your people. It can then be colonized creating a 4 GPv region.

All bordering regions are required to have maximum public works and improvements.

Table 6-5. Regions Eligible for Intensive Agriculture - not used in 51

Regional Cultivation

Base Level One

In order to convert a steppe, wilderness or jungle region to cultivated, a Level 1 Megalithic Construct must be built. There is no need to support this project. Note! The Terrain Modifier of the province affects the cost.

If the region in question is already partially cultivated (due to the presence of a city), then the nation need only pay the difference between what is cultivated and what is not.

Example: coming soon with images to help.

Royal Roads

Base Level One-Half

A Royal Road is built between from the center of a region to the border. The primary effect of the Road is to halve the usual movement cost for moving through a region. This helps in extending the King’s Command Control Radius and Homeland Build Zone as well. Also, a nation’s ITV rating will increase when inland cities are connected by a royal road to the Capital and Port cities.

  • sNFP may be used.

Postal Roads

Base Level One-Quarter

The Postal Road is the poor cousin of the Royal Road, costing one-half that of a Royal Road in the same location. A Postal Road does not grant any benefit to army movement or revenue gathering, but does aid in extending the national Command Control Radius (CCR) by halving the AP costs of regions the Postal Road runs through for the sole purpose of CCR checks.

A Postal Road may be upgraded to a Royal Road by spending the other portion of the Royal Road construction cost.

  • sNFP may be used.

Great Walls

Base Level One

A Great Wall is built along a designated border between two regions. If built along Rivers, Sea Zones or Lakes, one segment must be built for each adjoining water source.

A Great Wall doubles the combat value of the defending army that is behind it. By itself a Great Wall has no defensive strength, so it must have an army or garrison behind the Great Wall to be effective.

  • Field Forts may garrison a Great Wall segment.
  • sNFP may be used.
Example: The Duchy of the Isles decides to build a Great Wall all the way around the island of Malta. Malta is at the intersection of three sea zones; the Ionian Sea, the Sea of Libya, and the Bay of Tunis. This would be a three level MC, costing (3 × 50 = 150 GP and 3 × 25 = 75 NFP) to build.

Defensive Dyke

Base Level 0.5 (Racial construction restrictions listed below)
A Defensive Dyke is a poor man's Great Wall built along a designated border between two regions. Moats, Briars, Burms, Hedges, and Spiky Fauna all qualify as this type defensive construction.

A Defensive Dyke multiplies the combat value of the defending army that is behind it by 1.25. By itself it has no defensive strength, so it must have an army or garrison behind the Defensive Dyke to be effective. Field Forts may garrison a Defensive Dyke segment. A Defensive Dyke can be built to front a Great Wall segment to enhance its effects.

  • Dwarves - Grassland, Foothills, Steppe, or Highlands
  • Elves - Grassland, Woodland, Highland, or Forest
  • Halflings - Grassland, Woodland, Highland or Forest
  • Goblin - Grassland, Foothills, or Highlands
  • Humans - Grassland or Highland regions
  • Lizardmen - Grassland, Highland or Bayou
  • Nu'jree - Grassland, Steppe or Desert
  • Orc - Grassland, Highland, Foothills, Forest, or Woodland

  • sNFP may be used.


Base Level One Half to One

A bridge can be constructed over any Navigable River or Waterway, connecting two adjacent regions. The higher of the two regional values will be used to determine the base multiple of the project. If the project is to cross a River the cost "Base Level" is .5, if it is to be a Waterway then the "Base Level" is 1.0

Once a Bridge is completed, it eliminates the extra cost of moving across a Navigable River.

Defending a bridge does provide bonuses.

  • sNFP equal to half the total NFP cost may be used.

Monoliths and Monuments

Base Level Varies

These are all the other structures you can build as Megalithic Construction. These are the huge shrines, triumphal arches and gravestones to be built at the whim of the ruler.

If you can keep these Monoliths preserved over the centuries, your nation can begin to make money off the tourists who will come by to see your amazing megalith.

Each Monolith that is built will be placed on the map with its own unique symbol.

sNFP may be used equal to half the total NFP and may increase depending on the Monolith. May be constructed inside or outside of a city.

Example:In the Lord of the Rings movies we see truly gigantic statues of Aragon's forefathers. Each one of those would be a MC and proclaim for everyone to see the greatness of that time.


Base Level One
A palace can be constructed in the Capital city. This complex of audience halls and offices provides a small bonus to the King's Admin rating when he is in residence. If the Capital is moved then the building turns into a Museum which may draw visitors at some future time.

  • A bonus % may help draw various government related Specialists
  • The GPv of the city needs to be 4 or more.
  • sNFP may be used equal to half the total NFP cost.

Great Library

Base Level One
A national library can be constructed in a large controlled city. It provides a small bonus to an RF concerned with matters of history, geography and literature. There is a small chance that among its volumes hide certain rare and disturbing tomes – which is not always a good thing…

  • A bonus % may help draw Sages, Scholars, and the like.
  • The GPv of the city needs to be 8 or more.
  • Goblin and Orc sNFP may not be used.


Base Level One-Half
Stables may be required for more unique types of mounts. Horses, Mules, Camels, and Ponies have been domesticated for a long time and will probably not need such an elaborate layout. Lizards, Mammoths, Eagles, Griffins, and such fantastical creatures as might be found will need not only space for themselves, but all attending buildings and fascilities. Animal Handlers, Tanners, Saddlemakers, and Blacksmiths will require housing.

  • sNFP may be used up to half the total NFP cost.
  • Primarily built in regions and not placed on maps, but noted in My Lords.

Wizard School

Base Level One
A series of buildings and perhaps towers constructed to give students and teachers of Magic a place to complete their work in relative seclusion. Depending on the desired outcome specific structures have been known to be built for but one area of Magic. The Wizard School of Air for example could easily exist.

  • A % bonus on investment into the School of Magic deticated to, or in general will help acquire Specialists with a magical nature.
  • Future investments into Magic or the Schools specialty will be increased.
  • Goblin and Orc sNFP may not be used.
  • Other sNFP may be used up to half the total NFP cost.
  • The GPv of the city needs to be 4 or more. The city also has to be built on a road, near a port, or both.

Military Colleges

Base Level Two

These are collections of buildings designed for education and advancement of the art of warfare. All AQR's your nation has may have a specific Military College dedicated to them. Depending on your specialty units and advancement in AQR's some combination of two types may be built.

  • If the city which holds the College is attacked 1000 students (5 units) will come to the aid of the defenders.
  • Future investments into the AQR of the College will be improved.
  • City GPv must be 10 or higher. Also Naval Colleges require a port.
  • Education level must be 4 or higher for most. 5 or higher for Goblins and Orcs.
  • sNFP may be used.

National Transformation

Societies and political institutions are mutable. Within the framework of Lords of the Earth, you (as the player of your Nation) can undertake to change the following fundamental aspects of your Nation:

  • The Government Type
  • The Society Type
  • The Economic Type
  • The Culture Type

Each kind of Transformation is graded by Level, which are generally limited to one-half (0.5), one (1), two (2) and three (3). The actual cost of a Transformation is derived by multiplying the Level of the change by the Imperial Size of the Nation.

Please note most Transformations also have supplementary requirements (including minimum Education Levels in many cases) or side-effects! The road of change is often blocked by many dangers. The prudent course may be not to set foot on the road at all.

Some only become feasible in the next Era.

GP Cost = Level × Imperial Size × 50

NFP Cost = Level × Imperial Size × 25

Time Cost = Level × Imperial Size × 2

Note: A half-level costs 1 years of time, 13 NFP and 25 GP.

Changing Government Types

To change a government from one type to another can be as easy as declaring the change, even though it may incur internal rebellions and strife. For each of the possible changes listed below, there are certain conditions that must be met in every case before the change can occur. In all cases, every condition must be met to accomplish the transformation.

Note: Not all Government types can change directly to all other government types. Also note that many Government type changes are forced upon the nation by circumstance, rather than desire. Tech Level also limits the possible transformations. One of the most common is to change from a Feudal Monarchy to Central Monarchy. This takes place when either BL or Infra go above 2.

From Centralized Monarchy…

To… Feudal Monarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions One of four conditions must exist and usually any one of the four will turn the Centralized Monarchy into a Feudal one. These conditions are: Dynastic Strife, Governmental Collapse, Civil War, or Anarchy.

To… Imperial

Level None

Ed L Required Education Level 3 or better.

Conditions When the government has grown beyond the bounds of the Centralized Monarchy (BL and Infrastructure greater than the maximums for Centralized Monarchy), or an entire another country has been either conquered or acquired through diplomacy.

To… Constitutional Monarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Education Level 5 or better.

Conditions After the country has suffered a DF and has the king as a figurehead.

From Constitutional Monarchy…

To… Imperial

Level None.

Ed L Required Education Level 3 or better.

Conditions Governmental collapse due to civil war or dynastic failure and a previously-figurehead ruler gains control.

To… Oligarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions A rebellious outpost or colony of a Constitutional Monarchy.

From Democracy…

To… Oligarchy or Feudal Monarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions If a Democracy’s Imperial Size exceeds its Infrastructure (including the ‘hidden’ Infra provided by a ruling King), then a Civil War check is made. Any of the surviving factions may become an Oligarchy or Feudal Monarchy (as deemed by the GM).

If the Democracy’s Infrastructure or BL exceed the levels allowed, then the government type will become an Oligarchy.

From Dictatorship…

To… Imperial

Level 1.

Ed L Required Education Level 3 or better.

Conditions None.

To… Centralized Monarchy

Level 1.

Ed L Required Education Level 3 or better.

Conditions None.

To… Oligarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions When a Government Collapse occurs due to civil war, dynastic failure or the destruction of the national capital.

From Feudal Monarchy…

To… Centralized Monarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions When the nation’s Government Stats (BL and Infrastructure) exceed the maximum for Feudal Monarchy, then a Centralized Monarchy is created by default.

From Imperial…

To… Centralized Monarchy

Level None.

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions The destruction of the Imperial Capital will result in the nation reverting to a Centralized Monarchy, unless the surviving BL and Infrastructure are still sufficient to warrant an Imperial government.

To… Oligarchy

Level None

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions In the course of a civil war or dynastic failure, one or more factions may adopt an Oligarchic government.

From an Oligarchy…

To… Centralized Monarchy

Level 0.5 or None

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions An Oligarchy may attempt to form a Centralized Monarchy (by one faction gaining control over the others), which requires the noted Project and then a Civil War check upon completion.

An Oligarchy which suffers a dynastic failure which ends the same turn it begins (by the victory of one faction over all others) produces a Centralized Monarchy.

To… Imperial

Level None

Ed L Required Any.

Conditions When the Imperial Size is greater than the Oligarchy’s maximum Infrastructure and a civil war occurs, the victorious faction may become an Imperial government.

Changing Society Type

To convert from one type of society to another is usually a more time consuming task than anything else. However, not all society types can convert to any other, so there are some limitations. The basis for the cost of changing societies is partially based on the following table, and the rest are conditions that must be met before the society type can be altered.

As noted for Government transformations, the Leve listed for the change is multiplied by the Imperial Size to produce the actual Project Cost.

Note that not all change path options are available.

Table 6-6. Society Transformation Costs

To Society of type...
Caste Clan Feudal Open
Caste n/a 2.0 Note 1 3.0 (Note 3), TL 7
Clan n/a n/a 0.5 Note 4
Feudal 0.5 1.0 n/a 1.0, TL 7
Open 1.0 1.0 Note 2 n/a

Conditional Notes

  1. A Caste society which suffers a Civil War or Dynastic Failure may degrade a Feudal if the wars of succession last for more than 20 years.
  2. An Open society afflicted with constant foreign invasion and/or raids and/or slave raids, will develop a feudal society after 20 years.
  3. Caste societies attempting to become Open will be afflicted with a Civil War check at the completion of the transform project.
  4. Only possible in the Modern Era.
  5. Note the Tech Level requirements for the Open society type.

Changing Economic Type

Changing the national Economic Type also involves a transformation project, with pre-requisites and conditional events attached:

Table 6-7. Economic Transformation Costs

From... Economy To... Slave Guild Free Agrarian
Agrarian (ag) Note 1 2.0, TL4 1.0, TL5 n/a
Free (fr) Note 1 1.0 n/a Note 3
Note 4
Guild (gu) Note 1 n/a 2.0, TL6 2.0
Slave (sl) n/a 1.5, TL4 2.0, TL6
(Note 2)

Conditional Notes

  1. Conversion of an Agrarian, Free or Guild economy to Slave economy will occur if Slave NFP are used to build more PWB in the nation than the nation makes in regional GP, or if slaves are used to build more than one City in the nation (in a 20 year period), or if they are used in more than one Megalithic construction project (in a 20 year period).
  2. Converting a Slave economy to Free inflicts a Civil War check on the nation.
  3. An Free economy may revert to an Agrarian economy due to national collapse, or the destruction of the cities in the nation by war, disaster or famine.
  4. An Free economy whose nation loses 25% or more of their Tech Level becomes Agrarian.
Example: Venice wants to change its Economic Base from Guild to Free. This is a Level 2 project. Venice’s Imperial Size is 3, therefore:

2 × 3 × 50= 300 GP
2 × 3 × 25 = 125 NFP
2 × 3 × 5 = 30 years
After the project is complete, the Venetian Republic will enjoy an economy free of societal constraints and the onerous master / journeyman / apprentice system.

Changing to and from Seafaring

In Lords 51 Seafaring is the only modification that can be made. For flavor any nation that can meet the requirements will get some of the benefits of a Seafaring Nation. An extension of Conduit Limit, a cost reduction in Vessel cost, and an extension of Sea Zone limit are just some of the benefits. Lizardmen are the exception and have many of the benefits of Seafaring with fewer restrictions.

Note This is not identical to Seafaring in a normal campaign because of the sheer volume of xStats adjustments which would be required.


Seafaring powers may easily or accidentally become Civilized one or more of the following conditions for two or more consecutive turns:

  • A control status in more than one or two land-locked regions or cities. Land Locked for purposes of Lords 51 is a city or region not connected to a port via Royal Road. 3 Such cities and regions could be connected without suffering penalty.
  • More than half of its controlled coastal regions do not have Port Cities or Port Areas.
  • The total GPv of its regions is greater than the total GPv of its cities.
  • A Vessel Quality Rating that is equal to or lower than any of its Infantry, Missile, Mounted, or Siege Quality Ratings.

A Nation wishing to become Seafaring must:

  • Reduce its holdings to all Coastal and Island provinces. Lords 51 acceptions are listed above.
  • The highest QR maintained by the nation must be Vessel (and it must be higher than any other QR).
  • Make 50% or more of its total Revenue from Normal Sea Trade, Inter-City Trade derived from Internal Trade fleets or Raiding carried out by sea.
  • Sustain this state of affairs for at least 5 turns (10 years).
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Campaign: 51 Siri - Age of Awakenings
Alternative Campaign Setting

Lords of the Earth 5th Edition, version 5.5 © 1997 Thomas Harlan (Original)
© 2005 JJ Martell (Modified for Lords51)

All rights reserved. Permission was given to modify the content for Lords51. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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