Lords Lite: 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, none 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.

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 fifty (50) GP, twenty-five (25) NFP and five (5) years to construct. Half-levels (costing 25 GP, 13 NFP and 3 years) are also allowed in certain cases.

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 2-3
Regional Cultivation 1
Royal Road 1
Great Walls 1
Postal Road 0.5
Monoliths Varies (min 1)
Bridge 1

Requirements for Megalithic Constructs

A Nation cannot build a Megalithic Construct whose base level is more than their Tech Level. So a Tech Level 1 nation can only build roads, great walls, postal roads, bridges and some canals.

Megalithic Construction Cost Modifiers

The Base Level cost of a given Megalithic Construction Project is modified by the terrain and the building nation’s Culture. If a Project straddles two regions, they take the cost of the more expensive terrain. If a Project straddles two regions, they take the cost of the more expensive terrain.

Table 6-2. Megalithic Construct Cost Multiples for Terrain

Culture Terrain Interaction Modifier
Easy 1.0
Rough 1.5
Difficult 2.0

Table 6-3. Megalithic Construct Level Modifiers for Border Type

Border Type Modifier
Type-1 Mountain +1
Type-2 Mountain +2
River or Canal +1


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.

With the level costs posted before them, only the following canal zones may be built:

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)

Royal Roads

Base Level One

A Royal Road is built between the centers of two adjacent regions, or from adjacent city to adjacent city, if they are available. The primary effect of the Road is to halve the usual movement cost for moving from the first region to the second. This helps in extending the King’s Command Control Radius. Also, a nation’s ITV rating will increase when inland cities are connected by a royal road to the Capital.

If a Royal Road is built over a Mountain Range, then its level of cost is increased by one for each rating of the mountain. If a Royal Road is built across a navigable river (but not a Canal) then the cost is increased by one level.

Postal Roads

Base Level One-Half the equivalent Royal Road

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 one-half of the Royal Road construction cost.

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.

Example: The Russians have built a city in Murom, which has had its inevitable effect and 30% of the province is cultivated as a result. The Tsar, however, has grown bored and decides to cultivate Murom now. Russia is Civilized, so a level 1 project in a wilderness region would be adjust to a level (1 × 1.5 = 1.5). The base cost would be 75gp, 37.5nfp and 7.5 years.

Intense Cultivation

Base Level Two or Three

To convert a region from a cultivated to intensely cultivated requires 2 or 3 levels of Megalithic Construction. The differentiation between 2 and 3 level MC’s are noted by the cost in parentheses. Conversion to this new terrain type is instantaneous upon completion of the project. There is no need to support this project. During the Medieval Era only certain regions are eligible to become Intensely Cultivated. Listed below is a list of these regions grouped together by Geographic Zone.

Table 6-5. Regions Eligible for Intensive Agriculture

Geographic Zone Eligible Regions
Central Asia Khwarzim (3)
China Honan, Anhui, Szechwan, Hupei (2)
Central America Valley of Mexico (2)
India Uttar Pradesh, Rajput, Jaunpur, Maghada, Gaur, Palas (2)
Japan Kwanto, Yamato (3)
Middle East Mesopotamia, Mosul, Hahmar, Abadan (2)
North Africa Mansura, Egypt, Faiyum (2)
South East Asia Khemer, Annam, Pegu (3)
Western North America Patwin, Yokuts, Serrano (3)

Monoliths and Religious Monuments

Base Level Varies

These are all the other structures you can build as Megalithic Construction. These are the huge religious shrines, triumphal arches and gravestones to be built at the whim of the ruler. A Religious Monument adds one to the Religious Strength of the nation that builds it for each two Levels in size that it is. The maximum boost to Religious Strength is +1 per turn.

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. If the Monolith is of a religious nature then any city that may be in the same province may become a Sacred City as a result.

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


Base Level One

A bridge can be constructed over any Navigable River, connecting two adjacent regions. If the border of one or more of the two adjacent regions that the bridge is being built between is also a Mountain border, then the cost is multiplied by 1.5.

Each Base Level of a bridge requires the expenditure of one point of Industrial Capacity.

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

National Transformation - up for discussion

Review all aspects of National Transformation in light of decisions re the Gov, Culture, Economy etc types and further consideration of Matt Holy's Benchmarks idea.

Human society 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 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 Tech 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.

GP Cost = Level × Imperial Size × 50

NFP Cost = Level × Imperial Size × 25

Time Cost = Level × Imperial Size × 5

Note: A half-level costs 3 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.

From Centralized Monarchy…

To… Feudal Monarchy

Level None.

TL 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

TL Required Tech 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.

TL Required Tech Level 6 or better.

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

From Constitutional Monarchy…

To… Imperial

Level None.

TL Required Tech 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.

TL Required Any.

Conditions A rebellious outpost or colony of a Constitutional Monarchy.

From Democracy…

To… Oligarchy or Feudal Monarchy

Level None.

TL 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.

TL Required Tech Level 3 or better.

Conditions None.

To… Centralized Monarchy

Level 1.

TL Required Tech Level 3 or better.

Conditions None.

To… Oligarchy

Level None.

TL 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.

TL 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.

TL 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

TL 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

TL 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

TL 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.

From Tribal…

To… Feudal Monarchy

Level None

TL Required Any.

Conditions When the tribe has settled down (all tribal points expended) and at least one point of government has been gained.

There are also some other conditions involved in governmental changes that will require some more discussion below.

  • Civil War: When a failure of central government occurs, and there is no clear successor to control of the state, then the various contenders for the succession may well fall out amongst themselves and fight it out on the fields of valor, precipitating a civil war.
  • Dynastic Failure: This is when the King dies with no heir, or if there is some contest of who is the next in the line of succession. This usually occurs when there has been a lot of inter-marrying within the local nobility.
  • Governmental Collapse: This occurs when there is no clear ruler or the government is split on who to follow. This can also occur if either an internal or an external force partially or wholly destroys the government.

Changing the Culture Type

The mechanisms used to change your culture type are more amorphous and are broken out by your starting culture and what paths might lead you to a different type. In all of these processes, your GM is the final arbiter.

Starting Culture May Become…
Barbarian Civilized, Nomadic, Seafaring
Nomadic Civilized, Barbarian
Seafaring Civilized, Renaissance
Civilized Seafaring, Renaissance, Barbarian

When the culture type changes from Nomad or Barbarian to Civilised this will affect the maximum status the nation can hold in certain terrain types:

Table 2-22. Maximum Region Status by Terrain

Region</br>Terrain Controlling Culture is...
c2 (Intns Cult.) Hm Hm Hm F Hm
c (Cultivated) Hm Hm Hm F Hm
w (Wilderness) F Hm EA FA Hm
m (Mountain) FA F T EA FA
s (Steppe) FA T F NT FA
d (Desert) FA T F NT EA
t (Tundra) F F NT T F
i (Island) F F T Hm F
j (Jungle) F EA NT EA F
o (Oasis) T NT A NT NT
City F F F F F


Barbarian nations may find that advancing Tech Levels will convert them to Civilized (at or about Tech Level 5), or the acquisition of a preponderance of Cultivated regions will do the same. Having cities in half or more of your regions will have the same effect.

A Barbarian nation forced into desert or steppe regions will become Nomadic in 5-10 turns, assuming that they survive so long on the plains…


The steppe-lords have the easiest path with two possible means of changing their culture type: …

  • When the Horde settles down, it becomes either Civilized or Barbarian, depending on what kind of culture it has displaced. From that time, the horde troops require the appropriate troop support of their new culture.
  • If a Nomadic empire acquires a preponderance of Cultivated or Wilderness regions (more than half of their controlled provinces), at EA status or better, then they will convert into a Civilized nation. Similarly, if a third or more of their provinces have controlled Cities in them (at Non-Paying Tributary or better), they will become Civilized. The undertaking of cultivation projects in Steppe or Wilderness regions also betokens Civilization. Nomads forced into a preponderance of Wilderness or Mountain regions (more than half) will become Barbarians. And hate every minute of it…


Increasing technology will eventually convert most Civilized nations to Renaissance nations (at Tech Level 8 and above). However, the loss of more than two-thirds of a Civilized nation’s Cultivated regions, and their forced relocation into Wilderness or Mountain regions will make them Barbarians once more.


Seafaring powers may easily become Civilized or Barbarian by satisfying 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.
  • 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 Warship Quality Rating that is equal to or lower than any of its Infantry, Cavalry, or Siege Quality Ratings. Whether they become Civilized or Barbarian nations depends on the terrain that they have seized. Improving technology can make a Seafaring power a Renaissance nation, which will lift these limitations.

A Civilized, Barbarian, or Nomadic Nation wishing to become Seafaring must:

  • Reduce its holdings to all Coastal and Island provinces.
  • The highest QR maintained by the nation must be Warship (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 two generations (60 years).
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