Modern Age: The Stat Sheet

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The Merchant House

The Merchant House nation can be added to any campaign currently in the Renaissance or beyond. Merchant Houses represent multi-national economic concerns (like the historical British East India Company) that involve themselves in trade, exploration, opening new markets and exploiting the natives of far-off lands. See section The Merchant House for more details.

Note: In previous versions of these rules the Merchant House was called a Mercantile Combine.

Tech Levels

This statistic describes how advanced your nation is. At this point in time, pre-Colombians are (generally) at the lowest level of technology, Nomads and Barbarian are above that, Seafaring, Civilized, and Renaissance nations are at a middle level and Industrial nations are at the top of the heap.

As the game progresses, the level of technology will increase, and a nation will be able to exploit new opportunities. The advance of technology is the vehicle to change Culture Types and improve military capabilities.

Tech Level affects the following national statistics or ratings specific to the Renaissance and Industrial eras.

  • It determines your maximum Trade Range and Conduit Limit ratings.
  • It determines your maximum military Quality Ratings.
  • It helps define the maximum number of Leaders that your nation can have.

Tech Level Bonus to Tax Rate (Optional)

This change adds the current Tech Level as a modifier to the Base Tax Rate for the nation according to the following formula

(Years per Turn % ×
TaxRateAdjustment × AgroModifier ×
InfraModifier × UW&M (if any) ×
(1.0 + TechLevel/100) = Tax Rate

So for a nation with a TL of 11 the base rate will be multiplied by 1.11 to get the final rate.

Table 2-1. Technology Levels

Tech Level Tech Level Title Culture Types
001 Stone Working Pre-Columbian / Seafaring
002 Iron Working Pre-Columbian / Barbarian / Nomadic / Seafaring
003 Iron Working - Steel Civilized / Pre-Columbian / Barbarian / Nomadic / Seafaring
004 Early Medieval Civilized / Barbarian / Nomadic / Seafaring
005 Medieval - Medicine

Civilized / Seafaring

006 Medieval - Crossbow Civilized / Seafaring
007 Late Medieval Civilized / Seafaring
008 Renaissance - Gunpowder The Renaissance
009 Renaissance – Printing The Renaissance
010 Renaissance - Balloons The Renaissance
011 Renaissance – Steam Engine The Renaissance
012 Industrial 1 - Railroads Industrial Stage One
013 Industrial 1 – Internal Combustion Industrial Stage One
014 Industrial 1 - Electricity Industrial Stage One
015 Industrial 1 – Vacuum Tubes Industrial Stage One
016 – 019 Industrial 2 Industrial Stage Two
020 – 022 Industrial 3 Industrial Stage Three

Economic Information

International Trade Value

As in the Basic System, the ITV is calculated by totaling the City Trade Values of all of the cities in your nation. Each CTV is calculated according to the following formula:

City Trade Value (CTV) =
(City GPv / 3) ×
City Type Modifier ×
City Status Modifier ×
Regional Terrain Modifier ×Cultural Modifier

Note that Renaissance and Industrial nations have a different Cultural Modifier, as noted in the following table:

Table 2-2. National Culture Modifiers

Cultural Type Modifier
Industrial Four 1.4
Industrial Three 1.3
Industrial Two 1.2
Industrial One 1.1
Renaissance 1.0
Seafaring 0.9
Civilized 0.8
Barbarian 0.7
Nomadic 0.6
Pre-Columbian 0.5

Example: The Frankish Commonwealth has a port city, Marseilles, which is worth 8 GPv. It is in an allied province, which is cultivated. The Commonwealth is Renaissance. The CTV of Marseilles, then, would be (8/3) = 2.6 × 1.5 × 1.0 × 1.0 × 1.0 = 3.9, rounded up to 4.

Regional Income

As in the Basic System, the formula for figuring out the regional income is as follows:

Regional Value =
Region’s GPv × Status Multiple ×
Terrain Multiple
Regional Income (in GP) =
The Sum of Regional Values +
1 (for each Silk Road region controlled) +
2 (for each Fur Line region controlled)

Table 2-3. Terrain Type Tax Multiples

I1 R C B N S P
c2 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 2.0 1.0 1.0
C 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0
W 0.5 0.5 0.5 1.0 0.3 0.5 1.0
M 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.5
S 0.5 0.3 0.3 0.2 1.0 0.0 0.2
D 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.5 0.0 0.2
T 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2
I 0.5 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0
j 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.2 1.0 1.0
o 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Monetary Troop Support

This expenditure covers the minimum expenses required for the maintenance of the armed forces of the nation. If less is paid, then those units that are not supported disappear. The Troop Support cost is an easy calculation. Each unit type has a troop support cost defined for it. This much gold must be paid per unit that you have in your armies and garrisons at the beginning of the turn, before builds. This cost is further modified by the terrain of the region that the units ended the previous turn in, and whether they fought in a battle in the previous turn.

Units that were ‘On Campaign’ in the previous turn cost double to support. The effects of terrain upon troop support depend on the Society Type of the owning nation and the terrain type that the units ended the turn in.

Generally, Troop support is one-tenth the GPv purchase cost of the unit per turn.

Troop Support = TSC × TSM × ASM

TSC is the Troop Support Cost (from the Unit Build Charts, see Renaissance Unit Construction Chart).

ASM is the Army Status modifier, from the following table.

Table 2-4. Army Status Troop Support Modifiers

Status Description Modifier
A Administering 1.0
B Being Besieged 2.0
C On Campaign 2.0
E Sneaking Around... 0.0
G In Garrison 1.5
M Mutinious! 0.0
N Normal 1.0
P Prisoner 0.0
R Ruling 1.0
S Besieging A City 2.0


  • A Leader (and his army) has a Status of On Campaign if they have fought in any battle during the previous turn.
  • A Leader (and his army) have a status of In Garrison if they are the sole units in a Pacified region, and are thus serving as its garrison.
  • Leaders on Evade or in Prison cannot command troops. A Mutinous Leader is not counted for Troop Support.

TSM is the Terrain Support modifier, from the following table:

Table 2-5. Terrain Troop Support Modifiers

Terr. I1 R C B N S P
M 1.5 1.75 2.0 1.0 2.0 2.0 1.5
S 2.0 1.5 2.0 1.5 0.0 2.0 1.5
T 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.5 2.0 2.0 1.0
D 2.0 1.75 1.5 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.5
J 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0
W 1.25 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.5 1.5 1.0
C 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.1 1.0 1.0
C2 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.5 0.1 1.0 1.0
I 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.5 1.0
O 2.0 2.0 2.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 1.5

Regions and Cities

Regional Garrisons

As in the Basic System, the size of a regional garrison must equal or exceed the Modified Resistance Value of the region. The Modified Resistance Value can be calculated using the following equation:

Modified Resistance Value =
Regional Resistance ×
Terrain Multiple ×
Religion Modifier

Note that new Renaissance and Industrial nation terrain multiples have been added to the following table:

Table 2-6. Garrison Terrain Modifiers

Culture c c2 w s j i d m t o
PreColumbian 1 1 1 2c 1 1 2c 1 2 1
Seafaring 1 1 2 2c 2 1 2c 2 2 1
Civilized 1 1 2 2c 2 1 2c 2 2 1
Barbarian 2 2 1 2c 1 1 2c 1 2 2
Nomadic 1 2 2 1c 2 1 1c 2 2 1
Rena./Indust1 1 1 2 2c 1 1 1.5c 1 2 1


  • All regions requiring a cavalry garrison (those marked with a c) can be garrisoned with infantry or field forts in twice the cavalry amount. An exception to this applies in the case of regions where there is no Cavalry in use (pre-Cav Count America, or South Africa).
  • All listed numbers are factors that are multiplied by the Region Resistance Value.

Maximum Status For A Region

The maximum control status a nation can achieve in a region through diplomacy or conquest will be the lower of the two statuses as determined from the following tables.

Note that a higher status is possible if a region or city is colonized.

Table 2-7. Maximum Region Status by Religion

Regional Religion
Same Tolerant Hostile
1 F F A
2-3 F F EA
4-5 F A EA
6-7 F EA T
8-9 F EA NT
10 F T P/PT

Table 2-8. Maximum Region Status by Terrain

Controlling Culture
R / I1 C B N S P
C2 (Intns Cult.) Hm Hm Hm Hm F Hm
C (Cultivated) Hm Hm Hm Hm F Hm
W (Wilderness) F F Hm EA FA Hm
M (Mountain) EA FA F T EA FA
S (Steppe) EA FA T F NT FA
D (Desert) EA FA T F NT EA
T (Tundra) F F F NT T F
I (Island) Hm F F T Hm F
J (Jungle) F F EA NT EA F
O (Oasis) EA T NT A NT NT

Note: Seafaring, Renaissance, and Industrial nations may have a Port City as their Homeland.

Building Facilities and PWB

Open Nations, Merchant Houses, Religious Primacies, Religious Orders and Secret Empires may build Public Works or Projects in regions and cities where they maintain a control status which yields some amount of tax revenue.

In addition, Public Works can be built in an uncontrolled region if the GP / NFP required to build the PWB are moved to the region by a Leader. Presumably this will be done as part of a diplomatic overture.

City Types List

This list replaces that found in the Base Rulebook, as it includes a number of Modern-Era-specific items. In addition, the codes are formatted along the following pattern:


Table 2-9. Base City Types

Type Base Code Notes
Capital C
Road R Must be connected to the capital by Royal Road.
Railroad T Must be connected to the capital by Railroad.
Port City P
Silk Route S Silk Route must be “working”. Overridden by Road or Railroad.
University U Only if the University is not in the Capital.
Sacred City H
Treasury $

Table 2-10. Meta-City Types

Meta-Type Code
Road and Port  %
Road and Railroad =
Road, Railroad and Port #
Silk-Route and Sacred City  !
Sacred City and University *

Table 2-11. Master City Type List

Description Code Agro ITV Road? Port? +RV
Normal / 1.0 0.5 No No +0
Capital C 1.0 1.25 No No +1
Road R 1.0 1.0 Yes No +0
Railroad T 1.0 1.5 Yes No +0
Port City P 0.8 1.5 No Yes +1
Silk Route S 1.0 1.0 No No +0
University U 1.0 0.75 No No +1
Sacred City H 1.2 0.75 No No +1
Treasury $ 1.0 0.75 No No +1
Road, Port  % 0.8 1.5 Yes Yes +1
Road, Railroad = 0.8 1.5 Yes No +0
Road, Railroad, Port # 0.8 1.5 Yes Yes +1
Railroad, Port + 0.8 1.5 Yes Yes +1
Silk-Route, Sacred City  ! 1.2 1.0 No No +1
Sacred City, University * 1.2 0.75 No No +2
Capital, Road CR 1.0 1.25 Yes No +1
Capital, Port CP 0.8 1.5 No Yes +2
Capital, Railroad CT 0.8 1.5 Yes No +1
Capital, Road, Port C% 0.8 1.5 Yes Yes +2
Capital, Road, Railroad C= 0.8 1.5 Yes No +1
Capital, Road, Railroad, Port C# 0.8 1.5 Yes Yes +2
Capital, Railroad, Port C+ 0.8 1.5 Yes Yes +2
Capital, Silk-Route, Sacred City C! 1.0 1.25 No No +2
Capital, Sacred City CH 1.2 1.25 No No +2
Sacred City, Road RH 1.2 1.0 Yes No +1
Sacred City, Railroad TH 1.0 1.5 Yes No +1
Sacred City, Port PH 1.0 1.5 No Yes +1
Sacred City, Road, Port  %H 1.2 1.5 Yes Yes +2
Sacred City, Road, Railroad =H 1.0 1.5 Yes No +1
Sacred City, Road, Railroad, Port #H 1.0 1.5 Yes Yes +2
Sacred City, University, Road, Port +H 1.0 1.5 Yes Yes +3
Sacred City, University, Road, Railroad =* 1.0 1.5 Yes No +2
Sacred City, University, Road, Railroad, Port #* 1.0 1.5 Yes Yes +3
Sacred City, University, Railroad, Port +* 1.0 1.5 Yes Yes +3
Capital, Sacred City, Road, Port C%H 1.0 1.5 Yes Yes +2
Capital, Sacred City, Road, Railroad C=H 1.0 1.5 Yes No +2
Capital, Sacred City, Road, Railroad, Port C#H 1.0 1.5 Yes Yes +3
Road, University RU 1.0 1.0 Yes No +1
Railroad, University TU 0.8 1.5 Yes No +1
Port City, University PU 0.8 1.5 No Yes +1
Silk Route, University SU 1.0 1.0 No No +1
Capital, Silk Route CS 1.0 1.25 No No +1
Port City, Silk Route PS 0.8 1.5 No Yes +1

City Description Layout

The description of a City includes the Industrial Capacity (i), which is noted immediately following the PWB value of the city. This is the Generic Industrial Capacity of the city, as per Intrinsic Industry.

New Military Ratings

A new Military Quality Rating is added with the advent of gunpowder and the Renaissance: the Artillery QR. This represents the efficacy and tactical skill of field artillery units attached to your armies in the form of Artillery units.

The actual effects of Artillery units are two-fold: first, they fight as units with a combat strength and second, they give your army a Combat bonus. This bonus is calculated from the number of units and their QR, so as QR's increase, each level of bonus requires fewer units to reach.

Note that the Artillery QR only affects your Artillery units in field battles. In sieges the Siege QR represents their effectiveness.

Industrial Era Quality Ratings

With the advent of the first Industrial Age, other AQR’s such as Aircraft (which includes Airships and Aeroplanes) and Rockets will be added, as technology improves. These ratings are handled just like other QR’s for investment and improvement.

Naval AQR

The Warship AQR is replaced by the Naval AQR which covers both surface and submarine capabilities. In addition, the improvements in technology introduce new factors into naval warfare:

  • The Armor rating of a ship unit represents the combination of armor, structural strength, compartmentalization, damage control, etc., as it applies to gunnery, torpedoes and bombing.
  • The Torpedo Attack Factor gained with the completion of the R&D: Torpedoes project
  • The Scouting Factor, which in the Modern Era is a function of shipboard aviation (scout planes) which all ships of cruiser class and above are assumed to possess. Aircraft Carriers are assumed to possess one or more scout planes or to devote one or more of their attack plane compliment to scouting duties. It does not include the effects of radar if present.

The ratings for all types of naval units are shown in Ship Unit Capabilities.

Aircraft QR

Completion of the R&D: Airships or R&D: Flying Machines: Biplane project gains the Aircraft QR. All aircraft and airships fight using the Aircraft QR.

Mechanized QR

Completion of the R&D: Motorized Transport project gains the Mechanized QR. All motorized, mechanized and AFV units fight using the Mechanized QR.

Rocketry QR

Completion of the R&D: Rocketry: Single-Stage Rocket project gains the Rocketry QR. All long-range rockets and spaceplanes are launched using the Rocketry QR.

Nuclear QR

Completion of the R&D: Nuclear Theoretical Physics project gains the Nuclear QR, All fission and fusion bombs are detonated using the Nuclear QR. Note that these bombs must be delivered to their target by ship, aircraft or rocket, and so are dependent on the relevant QR to reach their target.

New Operations Capacities

With the Renaissance and the Industrial Era and the completion of the appropriate Research and Development projects, a Nation may acquire Army, Aircraft and Naval Operations capacities and the concomitant Bonus points.

Investment in improving these Ops/Bonus points are handled just like Intel or Religious Operations/Bonus points. Each Op point allows Army, Aircraft or Naval units to attempt one of a variety of different kinds of Actions, without the intervention of a Leader.

See the section Army, Aircraft, Naval, Rocketry and Nuclear Operations for the Army, Aircraft and Naval action codes, modifiers and descriptions.

Airship (zeppelin) units may either be moved/used by Leaders, or via an Aircraft Operations point.

Year Length Change

As a campaign progresses, the number of years per turn is reduced to reflect the increasing tempo of events driven by the highest open position Tech Level in play. As the turn length decreases, so too does the Base Tax Rate as well as the costs for support. For example, If your nation is paying 100gp for its various support costs (Government, Troop and so on), then when the turn becomes four years long, you would only pay (100 × 0.80 = 80gp) in support.

The costs to purchase discrete units (infantry points, Public Works, and so on) remain constant, however.

Table 2-12. Years per Turn

Tech Level Years per Turn Base Tax Rate
1-7 5 100%
8-9 4 80%
10-11 3 60%
12-13 2 40%
14-15 1 20%
16-17 6 months 10%
18-19 3 months 6%
20+ 1 month 2%

Merchant Shipping Limits by Port Size

Each Port City has a limit on the amount of merchant shipping that can be based in it by one or more Nations. This limit is:

((20 × GPv of City ) + BuiltCap ) × Tax Status
= Maximum MSP based at port

For example, if the Port City is shared by two nations (being Tributary to each of them) then the basing capacity is also split, with each nation getting 50% of the total capacity.

As a result, only cities which yield a MSP Capacity can be used for basing MSP. For Open Nations, this means Tributary or better, but for (example) Merchant Houses, even a Mercantile Agent status (their lowest) will accrue some basing capacity.

Building More Capacity

Additional MSP capacity (warehouses, docks, lading facilities, workers) can be built at a city by paying 2GP or 1 NFP per additional point of Capacity. This ‘extra’ capacity cannot exceed 20 × City GPv, so at most you can double the Port MSP capacity.

The capability to build more MSP Capacity is gained at Tech Level 8.

Sea Ratings and Trade

All three of these Ratings (Navigation, Trade Range and Conduit Limit) are concerned with the effective utilization and exploitation of the oceans of the world.

  • Navigation aids your fleets with faster movement and the ability to explore and map sea zones or ocean arrows that were previously unknown.
  • Trade Range lets your Merchant Shipping reach farther from your home ports.
  • Conduit Limit lets you establish a far-flung network of trade outposts that will carry the riches of China, the Americas and Europe home to swell your coffers.

All three of these ratings can be invested in, and improve as do your military QR, Intel or Religious ratings. Your current Tech Level limits each rating’s maximum value.

Table 2-13. Sea Ratings Maximum Values

Rating Maximum Value
Navigation Tech Level / 2
Trade Range Tech Level – 2
Conduit Limit Tech Level / 2

Navigation Rating

As nations put forth feelers into the great ocean, they begin to acquire the ability to transverse hostile seas and move farther than before possible. Each nation, then, is assigned a Navigation Rating. The higher a nation’s rating, the less likely that the nation’s ships will be swallowed up by Hostile Sea Zones or Open Ocean Arrows. The Navigation Rating also improves the movement capability of ship units (warships, transports).

With the acquisition of a Navigation Rating, nations can also begin mapping Hostile Sea Zones and Open Ocean Current Arrows. Renaissance nations do not receive any enhanced Navigation Rating benefit when mapping the Straits of Magellan; Industrial nations do, however.

Navigation also denotes the attainment of ship building technology necessary for the sailing ships of the late Renaissance.

Ship Movement Effects

The Transport and Warship units of Renaissance and Industrial nations base their number of actions per year on the national Navigation Rating, with the number of actions being equal to:

Table 2-14. Ship Movement Rates

Culture Actions per Year
Renaissance 7 + Nav. Rating + other AP modifiers
Industrial One 8 + Nav. Rating + other AP modifiers

This applies to both wind- and steam and diesel powered ships and submarines. Steam and Improved Engines provide the ships of the Modern Era vastly greater movement than sailing ships but their range is limited by the provision of suitable coaling stations and bases.

Note that a new Action Point Impulse Chart is in use once nations begin achieving Modern Era Tech Levels. The new chart is included in Action Charts.

Effect on Mapping Unknown Sea Zones

Mapping an unknown Sea Zone or Arrow is accomplished by a fleet of ships (at least 5-7 units and a Leader are recommended) being sent into an unknown sea zone with orders to conduct an Explore action.

The ruttiers (navigational books) produced by Mapping can, of course, be stolen, sold, swapped or lost. Fleets that are engaged in Mapping suffer attrition if they fail their mapping rolls. This is a dangerous mission and ships, Leaders and men may be killed by hostile natives, great white whales and what-not…

Initial Trade Range(s)

Upon achieving Renaissance status, each nation has its trade range modified, based upon the previous Culture.

Table 2-15. New Trade Ranges

Original Culture Type New Trade Range
Civilized 4
Seafaring 5

Tracing Trade Ranges
Normally, a nation may trace a Trade Route through a number of known Sea Zones, Open Ocean or Inter-Island Arrows equal to or less than its Trade Range. However, tracing into a Sea Zone against a Sea Zone Border Arrow costs two (2) points of Trade Range for each such Sea Zone. Renaissance and Industrial nations may establish Trade Conduits allowing those nations to increase their Trade ranges dramatically (see the section Sea Trade Routes & Trade Conduits). Neither normal Trade Routes nor Conduits may be traced through unknown Sea Zones, Inter-Island or Open Ocean Arrows, blockaded Sea Zones, or into Cities under Siege or Blockade.

Example: The sea zones off the western coast of Africa were historically some of the worst in the world in terms of ships swallowed by dangerous seas. The Gambian Sea therefore, is a Hostile Sea Zone. Until your pilots have mapped it, you cannot trace trade through it. Similarly the Cape of Good Hope is prey to ferocious Antarctic storms that litter the beaches of Cape province with smashed ships.

Worse, the borders of Grand Bassam / Bight of Benin, Bight of Benin / Kongo Sea, Kongo Sea / Cape Fria, and Cape Fria / Nambian Sea have directional arrows, pointing north. When trade is being traced across these sea zone borders, each one counts as 2 SZ for trade range purposes.

Effect on Effective Merchant Shipping

In the Middle Ages, the base Trade Range was assumed to be three (3) for most nations. Now, however, it will be four for previously Civilized nations and five for previously Seafaring nations. As a result the formula for calculating the number of effective Merchant Shipping Points on a given Sea Trade route changes to take the varying Trade Range into account. This formula replaces the one shown in Basic Rulebook Calculating Inter-nation Trade Step 2a.


eMSP is the resulting, effective, MSP on the Route.

M is the initial, unmodified, MSP assigned to the Route.

R is the Trade Range of the Nation.

L is the Length (in Sea Zones) of the Route.

Sea Trade Routes & Trade Conduits

An important aspect of the Modern Era is the ability of nations to conquer the seas and send their merchants and colonists to the far corners of the world. To reflect this, the concept of the Sea Trade Route formed of Trade Conduits is introduced.

A Trade Conduit consists of two controlled Port Cities, connected by a number of known Sea Zones, Inter-Island or Open Ocean Arrows no greater than the Trade Range of the Nation. The two port cities are called Conduit Anchors, as they form the “ends” of the Conduit.

Example: The English control the port city of London and a port city at Gibraltar. They have a Trade Range of 4, allowing them to form a Conduit between London, via English Channel, Bay of Biscay, Sea of Portugal, Gates of Hercules (4 Sea Zones) to Gibraltar. This is one (1) Conduit.

A Sea Trade Route is comprised of one or more Trade Conduits. More than one Sea Trade Route may use a single Trade Conduit. Each Sea Trade Route can be composed of a number of Conduits equal to the nation’s Conduit Limit. A nation can have any number of Conduits, as long as no single Sea Trade Route is formed of more Trade Conduits than allowed by the Conduit Limit.

In general, this allows the nation to extend its trade by multiples (up to the conduit limit) — but only so long as it controls Port Cities at the Conduit ‘anchors’. This also means that sea-borne trade will increase dramatically in importance to aspiring world powers, as will the sea power required to establish and protect these trade routes.

Requirements for Establishing a Conduit

A Trade Conduit consists of:

  • An origination port, which is a controlled Port City in the home nation, of at least the minimum status (as indicated by the following table) connected to the Capital or Homeland by contiguous controlled land regions.
  • A certain number of contiguous sea zones from that controlled port to another controlled Port City of at least minimum status.

A Capital that is also a Port City may, of course, act as the first conduit anchor. Port Fortresses and Port Areas cannot act as trade conduit anchors.

Trade Conduits can branch out from one another to form myriad Sea Trade Routes as well. It is not necessary to construct completely separate sequences of Trade Conduits for each Trade Route.

Table 2-16. Conduit City Minimum Status

Nation Type Minimum Status for Conduit City
Open Nation Economic Ally
Religious Primacy Holy City or Economic Ally
Merchant Combine Branch Office or Economic Ally
Religious Order Order Fortress or Economic Ally

Example: The Swedish player has a Renaissance nation with a Capital (Stockholm) in Uppsala. Sweden’s Trade Range is 5 and its Conduit Limit is 3. Assume that Sweden possesses the region of Norway and has a port city (Oslo) therein. Since Oslo is connected to Uppsala by Swedish controlled regions, it can be used for Inter-Nation Trade. Oslo, therefore, is the first ‘anchor’ in the Conduit chain. Sweden can trace a Trade Conduit through the sea zones of Skaggerak, Viking Bank, North Sea, English Channel, and Bay of Biscay to Gascony where it controls the port city of Bordeaux (as an Economic Ally).

Bordeaux is the second 'anchor' and allows the Swedes to establish a Trade Conduit between Oslo and Bordeaux. The second Trade Conduit can be traced a further five sea zones (through the Bay of Biscay, Sea of Portugal, Gates of Hercules, Sea of Dogs, and Ifriqan Coast) to Gambia. Here, the Swedes control a friendly port city (Sunderholm) to serve as an ‘anchor’; this is the second Trade Conduit of their maximum of 3 in this particular direction.
Unlike Bordeaux, Sunderholm straddles both Sea Zones. So the third, and final, Trade Conduit can be traced through the sea zones of Gambian Sea, Grand Bassam, and into the Bight of Benin.

Note that the Arrow Sea Zone Border between Bight of Benin and Grand Bassam costs TWO Trade Range points to traverse.

Assuming that the Swedes have a Port City in a coastal region adjoining the Bight of Benin, say in Teke, the ‘anchor’ of the third Trade Conduit is established. Then, from this final Conduit ‘anchor’, the Swedes can trade normally with any nation within 2 sea zones (their Trade Range from a region on Bight of Benin considering that there are Arrow Sea Zone borders on both exits from the Zone), which is this case could be as far south as the region of Ovambo on the coast of the Nambian Sea.

Effectively then, the Swedes have a Trade Range of 15 Sea Zones, from Oslo to Ovambo.

If the ‘anchor city’ of a Trade Conduit borders on only one Sea Zone, that Sea Zone must be counted as the last Sea Zone of the first Trade Conduit and as the first Sea Zone of the second Trade Conduit.

Example: Ming China’s first trade conduit can reach to Mallaca Strait, where they control Kadaram (in Perak) as the ‘anchor’ city. Kadaram borders only one Sea Zone. When counting the second trade conduit, Mallaca Strait is counted as that conduit’s first Sea Zone.

Which is one reason why cities straddling Sea Zones are so valuable.

Sharing Trade Conduit Cities

The control of strategically placed port cities becomes critical with the Trade Conduit rules in effect. It quickly becomes apparent that there are a number of crucial seaways or straits scattered around the world. Further, since there is a limit of one city per province, the acquisition or seizure of controlled cities is vital.

Note, however, that for a city to qualify as an ‘anchor’ it must be at least Economic Ally status.

Opening a Sea Trade Route via Conduits

To open a Sea Trade Route through a series of Trade Conduits at least one Merchant Shipping Point must be allocated to the Trade Route. This MSP must be able to ‘move’ through a series of connected Trade Conduits controlled by the nation opening the Trade Route from the origination port in the home nation to a viable port in the target nation. If this can be accomplished, then trade can be opened.

To allocate shipping to a Sea Trade Route, your Nation must be able to open that Route through its own set of Trade Conduits. Trade is initiated at the beginning of the turn, therefore all conditions must be set at that time, for the route to be opened.

Note, therefore, that you cannot use another nation’s Trade Conduits to open a Sea Trade Route or to allocate your nation’s Merchant Shipping to an existing route. This means that if another nation with a superior trade range or conduit configuration opens a Route to your nation where you cannot match the connection, then your nation cannot allocate merchant shipping to the route. This will place your Nation at a significant economic disadvantage on that Trade Route.

Example: The Nisei have acquired ‘anchor’ cities in the Great Lakes area and on Newfoundland, Greenland and the Shetland Islands. These cities form a set of Trade Conduits reaching from the Nisei heartland in the American North-West and Great Plains to Europe. From their final ‘anchor’ city of Ukiuo-ye on the Shetlands, the Nisei merchants can reach England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Russia and many more nations. Due to the progression of events, however, none of the European nations have Trade Conduits in place to return the favor. Since none of the Europeans could theoretically open a Sea Trade Route to the Nisei realm, none of them are allowed to allocate Merchant Shipping to the Sea Trade Routes opened by the Nisei.

Effectively, the Nisei control all of the trade between themselves and the Europeans and will make the lion’s share of profits from the routes. The Nisei are happy. The Europeans are sad.

Closing Trade Conduits

A Trade Conduit is closed down if one or both of the ‘anchor’ cities that the Nation controlled to form it are lost to hostile action, blockade or rebellion. If a Conduit closes down then all Sea Trade Routes being traced through it are also shut down if there is no other way for them to be traced from the originating nation to the target nation.

Note that a Sea Trade Route may remain open even if one Nation loses a crucial ‘anchor’ city if the other Nation in the trade route can replace the Conduit chain with one of its own.

However, if this occurs, then the Nation that can no longer trace the route cannot allocate any MSP to the route.

Handling Trade Route Distance via Disparate Paths

As mercantile nations establish global trading networks, situations will arise where (due to the varying locations of Conduit Cities), nation A will be able to establish a Trade Route of distance X, while nation B will be able to establish a trade route of distance Y.

When this situation develops the Distance of the Route is the average of the two route lengths, rounded up.

If for some reason one Nation (either A or B) loses their ability to maintain the trade route, then the Distance of the Route reverts to the partner able to maintain trade, and the losing partner’s MSP are removed from the route.

New Types of Trade Route

Railroad Trade

Two nations whose Capital Cities are connected by a railroad may conduct Rail Trade (at a level of efficiency slightly superior to sea trade). Railroad Trade supercedes (or replaces) any existing trade route between the two nations.

Aerial Trade

Merchant Houses who possess Airship Transports (requiring, therefore, the completion of the appropriate R&D Project and construction of at least one ZT unit) may open Aerial Trade routes. An Aerial trade route is traced from the Home Office of the Merchant House to the Capital of the nation to trade with. Aerial Trade is considered to be in small, valuable cargoes, passengers, mail and other items where speed of delivery surcharges make up the difference in volume profits.

Merchant Shipping Points for Aerial Trade routes can only be acquired by converting Airship Transport (ZT) units to Aerial MSP (aMSP). Airship Transports are converted to aMSP at the usual MSP conversion rate of 1 MSP per Cargo Point.

The Range of Aerial Trade is equal to the Current National Trade Range (up to a maximum of twice the Operational Range of the Transport Airship).

Conduits may be established for Aerial trade with the first anchor city being the city containing the Merchant House’s Home Office. Successive anchor cities are may be established at intervals of the Aerial Trade Range provided that the Merchant House has at least a Branch Office or better at each anchor city. The Conduit Limit for aerial trade is equal to one-half the Merchant House’s Conduit Limit, rounded down, with a minimum of one.

Aerial Trade may be established between the Merchant house and its Trade Partners in addition to regular Sea Trade. A Merchant House trading by a common land border may not establish Aerial Trade in addition to their land trade. Finally, Aerial Trade Routes may not be used for Cartel Trade.


An airport may be built at any city where the Merchant House has an ordinary status at Tributary or above or a Branch Office or above as a Project.

Conversion to Wartime Duty

At the beginning of any turn, each 1 MSP on an aerial trade route may be turned into a national Transport Zeppelin (zt) unit at the cost of 4 GP. (It would require 10 MSP to be converted into 10 'zt' to obtain the equivalent of 1 NFP.)

Only Transport Zeppelins may be created in this way. These units appear at the Base Port of the Route they were converted from.

Trade Route Status

Each Trade Route has a status attached to it, as per the following table. Each status modifies the amount of trade that can flow through the route each turn.

Table 2-17. Trade Route Status

RouteStatus Description Throughput
AIR Aerial Trade 25%
BST Blockaded Sea Trade 50%
LTC Land along the Silk Route 30%
LTD Land by Difficult Terrain 80%
LTH Land by Hostile Terrain 70%
LTO Land by Open Terrain 85%
LRR Land by Rail Road 110%
LTR Land by Road 90%
LTS Land across the Sahara 50%
INI Trade Under Interdict 50%
NST Normal Sea Trade 1-100%
WAR Blocked by Warfare 10%

The various Route Statuses’ are set by the GM as per their assessment of the kind of route and the terrain over which it must travel, in the case of land trade.

  • An Aerial Trade Route can only be used by a Merchant House for trade by air carried by airships or aircraft.
  • A Blockaded Sea Trade Route is one that the Trade Route traced is Blockaded by a hostile fleet.
  • A Trade Route can be operated via Land Along The Silk Route if a contiguous series of controlled land regions can be traced from the Capital of your nation to a Silk Route region (which you control), then via Silk Route regions (uncontrolled by any player, save yourself and the Nation that you are trading with) to a region that is controlled by the other Nation, and thence, by controlled land regions to their Capital.
  • A Land Trade by Difficult Terrain route contains one or more wilderness or jungle regions, a type-one mountain range, or a ferry arrow.
  • A Land Trade by Dangerous Terrain route contains one or more desert or tundra regions, a type-two mountain range or a Hostile or Unsettled region.
  • A Land by Open Terrain route is composed of a string of continuous cultivated or steppe land regions between the two capitals, with no ferry points used.
  • A Trade Route can be operated via Land by Rail Road between the Capital Cities of two nations connected by a railroad. Railroad Trade supercedes (or replaces) any existing trade route between the two nations.
  • A Trade Route can be operated via Land by Road if the majority (75% or more) of the cities in each nation are connected by Royal Roads and the two nations share a Royal Road network that connects both Capitals.
  • A Trade Route can be operated via Land Across The Sahara if you can trace a caravan route via Oases (controlled either by your Nation or that are Uncontrolled by any Nation) to a land region in the other Nation.
  • A Trade Route is Under Interdict if a nation is trading with a partner of the same religion which is under Interdict from a Primate Authority of the same religion.
  • A Trade Route is Blocked by Warfare if the two nations that had been trading (and had established a route) are now at war with one another.
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Lords of the Earth, 6th Edition © 2010 Thomas Harlan
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