The Maps

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Maps are central to the game play of Lords of the Earth. They show the locations of the regions and cities, the terrain, borders, builds and in some games what nation controls the region. It is recommended that you periodically reorder map sections that change significantly during the course of the game.

The maps of Lords of the Earth feature relatively evenly sized regions that divide up virtually all of the landmass of the whole world save the Polar Regions. Each region contains a name, a terrain symbol, a religion symbol, a Gold Point Value (GPv) and a Regional Resistance Value (RRv). The two values will be enclosed by parentheses and separated by a slash, with the GPv to the left and RRv to the right. The tables in the following sections display the various symbols that you will find on the maps.

See also the Example Map Section.

Regional Symbols

Besides Terrain, Religion, GPv, and Resistance, each region can contain a wide variety of other symbols representing just as wide a variety of resources, improvements (environmentalists notwithstanding), and hindrances amidst the landscape. Cities, Fortresses and Ports represent concentrations of population within a region. Trade Centers, the Silk Route and the Arctic Fur Line represent locations of unusual economic value. Roads and Monuments are valuable constructions. Colonizable Land Regions are great opportunities for expansion that won’t inconvenience your neighbors.

Table 4-1 . Regional Symbols

Symbol Meaning
City.JPG City
Fortress.JPG Fortress
PortSymbol.JPG Port
PortCity.JPG Port City
PortFortress.JPG Port Fortress
HolyCity.JPG Sacred City
RoyalRoad.JPG Royal Road
PostalRoad.JPG Postal Road
TradeCenter.JPG Trade Center
SilkRoute.JPG The Silk Route
FurLine.JPG The Fur Line
Monolith.JPG Monument (megalithic construct)
( / ) Colonizable Land Region
H Hostile Land Region


Each region potentially can contain a city. But, the sizes of those cities will invariably differ. On the maps the relative size of a city is denoted by one of the five city type symbols, each of which represents differing ranges of City GPv’s. See Building Cities for more on Cities.


Each region can also potentially contain a fortress. Sometimes the fortress is surrounded by the region’s City and in other cases the fortress is in a different location, separate from the City. A fortress surrounded by a city is denoted by the combined fortress-city symbol (as shown in Table 4-1), while a stand-alone fortress is denoted by a triangle. See Building Fortresses for more on Fortresses.


Cities built along coastlines of sea zones or navigable rivers may also have port facilities. Ports permit the construction of navies and act as bases for the nation’s merchant fleets. Cities sporting port facilities will have an anchor noted next to their city symbol. The position of this anchor symbol will also show which Sea Zone the port is placed on. A port may be placed at the junction of two Sea Zones, thus adjoining both of them, or at the confluence of a River and a Sea Zone, allowing access to either.

Only light transports can be based at port cities on rivers for the purposes of supporting msp. See Ship Unit Classes and Effects.

In rare circumstances an anchor may be noted next to a body of water in a region that does not contain a city, or in a region that contains a city that is clearly situated inland. This is known as a Port Area.

A Port Area allows the nation that controls the port area to build up to 20 light warship and/or light transport units per turn.

A Port Area does not count as a Port for purposes of tracing a trade route from capital to capital. For that, you need a port city.

All port facilities aid troops in embarking to and debarking from ships. See Load/Unload Ships for more on Loading and Unloading ships.

Sacred Cities

A few cities have the distinction of being revered by one or more faiths for their religious significance. These Sacred Cities are denoted on the map as cities with a small cross above the box symbol of the city itself (HolyCity.JPG). See Sacred Cities And Their Effects for more information on the formation and effects of Sacred Cities.


Roads can be built to hold the far-flung expanses of an empire together. Royal Roads will extend the King’s Command Control Radius and the Homeland Build Zone, improve troop mobility into the hinterlands, and can improve the mobility of your merchants (thereby improving your International Trade income). Postal Roads will extend the King’s Command Radius, but do not provide mobility improvements or extend the Homeland Build Zone.

Royal Roads are denoted on the maps with parallel lines extending from city to city, city to region center, or region center to region center (RoyalRoad.JPG). Postal Roads are single lines that extend in the same manner. See Royal Roads and Postal Roads for more information on the construction and uses of, respectively, Royal and Postal Roads.


On occasion, nations will build monuments to commemorate an important event or the passing of a great leader. Sometimes these monuments are religious in nature, other times they are memorials to past great leaders, and still others are built to impress locals and foreigners alike as to the power and wealth of the nation. Given sufficient time and notoriety, these monuments can potentially generate a small income due to tourist traffic as well.

Since these constructions can vary widely in purpose and form, the symbols that represent them may also vary. Some show up as a pyramid (Monolith.JPG). See Monoliths and Religious Monuments.

Region Religion

The Religion symbol in a province denotes the dominant religion of the region, even if the majority of the people there are of a different religion. Sometimes two religion symbols may be seen for the region. This means that a Military Conversion (MC) is in effect. See Military Conversion (Religion) and Military Conversion (Leader Action) for more details.

Special Trade Regions

Trade Regions are specific locations around the world where trade activity is high, due to central locations, precious metals, furs or any of a number of other reasons. Trade Regions, as a group, include Trade Centers, The Silk Route, and any region along the Tree Line (The Arctic Fur Trade).

Trade Centers

Trade Centers represent areas of high trade activity for less specific reasons than the Silk Route or the Fur Trade. Such regions are noted on the maps by a TradeCenter.JPG, and exist in numerous locations. They have no direct GP value, but they do increase the nation’s International Trade Value.

Each region that a Nation controls at a status of Tributary (T) or higher that contains a Trade Center will increase the Inter-City income by three (3) and the Inter-Nation Trade rating by one (1).

Trade Centers may be used by Nomadic and Barbarian nations for troop construction away from the Homeland or Capital as if they were a City.

On your stat sheet, the Trade Centers are further defined as being of one of the following types:

Table 4-2. Trade Center Types

Code Type
A Silver mines
G Gold mines
M Merchant faire
P Spices
S Salt

The Silk Route

The Silk Route is an ancient trading link between the East (as in China) and the Levant. It is marked on the maps as a dotted line (……) running from central China west to Baghdad in Mesopotamia.

Each region that a Nation controls that lies on the Silk Route, regardless of the GPv of the region, produces one (1) additional GP which is added to the nation’s Regional income. If a Nation has control of any region along the Silk Route, its Inter-City income is increased by three (3) and its Inter-Nation Trade Rating is increased by one (1). This addition is only applied once, regardless of the total number of Silk Route regions controlled by the Nation.

The Silk Route remains in effect until such time as direct sea trade is established between a Nation in the Middle-Eastern Geographic Zone and a Nation in the China Geographic Zone.

The Arctic Fur Trade

The far north houses a vast reservoir of resources that can be tapped by northern countries that are willing to seek it out. The Fur Trade is conducted through regions on the Tree Line, which is marked on the maps as a string of tree symbols along the arctic frontier in both Siberia and Canada.

For each region that a Nation controls that is adjacent to the Tree Line, regardless of the GPv of the controlled region, two (2) GP are added to the nation’s Regional gold income.

If a Nation has control of any region along the Tree Line its Inter-City income is increased by three (3), and its Inter-Nation Trade Rating is increased by one (1). This is applied only once, regardless of the number of Fur Line Regions the Nation controls.

Border Terrain

Impeding your movement or protecting your nation are natural features on your region’s borders.

Table 4-3. Border Terrain Symbols

Symbol Terrain Feature
SmallMountains.JPG Small Mountains (type-1)
LargeMountains.JPG Large Mountains (type-2)
NavigableRiver.JPG Navigable Rivers
Tsetse.JPG Tsetse Fly Line
GreatWall.JPG Great Wall section

Mountain Ranges

Mountain ranges, as so often has been the point in history, are dividers of the land. Within this game there are two kinds of Mountain ranges, referred to as Type-1 and Type-2. The big ranges and the bigger ranges. Small ranges are not important in Lords of the Earth.

Type-1 mountain ranges are somewhat difficult to cross. These mountains make movement difficult, but not overly so. Examples include the Urals in Russia and the Apennines in Italy. Crossing a Type-1 mountain range costs one additional Action Point.

Type-2 mountain ranges are difficult to cross and have few passes. The more notable Type-2 ranges include the Appalachians, the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes. Crossing a Type-2 mountain range costs two additional Action Points.


Just as the mountains divide up, the rivers divide across. The vast majority of rivers are not represented, however, on the maps. Only those which are true water-ways are shown. Each river section is considered to be a Sea Zone by Light Warships and Light Transports. For land units, crossing a navigable river costs an extra Action Point.

Medium and Heavy Warships and Transports cannot move along Rivers. See Ship Unit Classes and Effects.

Example: The Great Snake in the Americas consists of two sections – The Upper Snake and the Lower Snake. Each is considered a sea zone. An army moving between Michigamea and Quapaw would pay one extra Action Point to cross the river.

Great Wall Section

Great Walls are massive border-length defensive fortifications that, historically, were used by the Chinese to demarcate their northern border. At this time historians are debating the efficacy of their use as means of defense. Great Walls are represented on the maps by GreatWall.JPG.

The Tsetse Fly Line

Due to the tsetse fly, and other mitigating circumstances, there is a large section of Africa that is prohibited to Cavalry. Any Cavalry force that enters this area is converted immediately to Inexperienced Infantry. Further, due to the barrier nature of this zone, southern Africa has no indigenous horses, and, as a result, suffers from the same limitations as the New World. The tsetse zone is noted on the map by a secondary dashed line of triangles running along the region boundaries (Tsetse.JPG). The triangles point away from the zone. The tsetse zone cannot be destroyed and any leader that moves into the Zone, or into Southern Africa in its pre-horse state will revert to only being able to use 5 Actions per year.


There are 10 different kinds of terrain types as shown on the Map Legend illustration. These are Intensely Cultivated (c2), Cultivated (c), Wilderness (w), Steppe (s), Jungle (j), Mountain (m), Desert (d), Island (i), Tundra (t), and Oasis (o). Each terrain type is described in more detail in the following sections.

Table 4-4. Terrain Symbols Table

Symbol Code Description
IntensiveCultivated.JPG c2 Intensive Cultivated
Cultivated.JPG c Cultivated
Wilderness.JPG w Wilderness
Steppe.JPG s Steppe
Jungle.JPG j Jungle
Mountain.JPG m Mountain
Desert.JPG d Desert
Island.JPG i Island
Tundra.JPG t Tundra
Oasis.JPG o Oasis

Differing cultures thrive in different terrain types. The following table details the Taxation Multiple (TM) for determining Regional income, and the Action Cost (AC) for units to enter a region of the terrain. The table lists separate figures for each culture type.

Table 4-5. Regional Terrain Action Costs

Terrain Civ / Sea Barb / PreCol Nomadic
c2 1 1 1
c 1 1 1
w 2 1 2
m 2 2 3
s 2 2 1
d 2 3 1
t 2 2 2
i 1 1 1
j 2 2 3
o 2 2 1


  • This is the Action Point cost to enter a region of the given terrain.

Table 2-8. Terrain Type Tax Multiples

c2 1.0 1.5 2.0 1.0 1.0
C 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0 1.0
w 0.5 1.0 0.3 0.5 1.0
m 0.3 0.5 0.2 0.2 0.5
s 0.3 0.2 1.0 0.0 0.2
d 0.2 0.2 0.5 0.0 0.2
t 0.2 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.2
i 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.5 1.0
j 0.3 0.5 0.2 1.0 1.0
o 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Intensely Cultivated

Intensely Cultivated regions have been wholly transformed by humanity for habitation and food production. Like Cultivated regions, these are easy to travel through.

Intensely Cultivated regions can support the highest level of regional development and urbanization. Cities can grow as large as 15 GPv in size, and the region can support as much as (20 × Regional GPv) in Public Works.

If an Intensely Cultivated region is SE or RG’d it will revert to Cultivated. A region that is RG’d and then resettled in the same turn shall remain Intensely Cultivated and not revert to Cultivated. So, plan ahead…


Cultivated regions have been partially transformed by humans into food producing farms and ranches. They are easy to travel though despite the fact that there are numerous pockets of undeveloped land.

Cultivated regions can support heavy development and urbanization. Cities can grow as large as 10 GPv in size, and the region can support as much as (15 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. Some Cultivated Regions can even be transformed into Intensely Cultivated regions.

Cultivated regions that are Regional Genocided or Enslaved and left empty for more than one turn revert to either Wilderness, Steppe, Desert or Jungle, depending on the nearest region of the reversion terrain type. Steppe regions converted to Cultivated and then Regional Genocided or Enslaved revert to Desert regions instead of Steppe. Jungle regions that are converted to Cultivated and then Regional Genocided or Enslaved revert to Jungle.


A Wilderness region is basically a temperate or arboreal woodland. Wilderness regions are rough travel for Civilized and Nomadic nations but Barbarian and pre-Columbian societies are at home here.

Wilderness regions can support moderate levels of regional development and urbanization. Cities can grow as large as 6 GPv in size, and the region can support up to (5 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. In addition, a Wilderness can be transformed into a Cultivated region.

Wilderness regions that are converted to Cultivated and then Regional Genocided or Enslaved revert to Wilderness.


Steppe regions are temperate or arid grasslands. Nomads are at home here, hunting the game of the plains. Civilized, Seafaring and Barbarian societies have difficulty traveling in these regions.

Steppe regions can support low levels of regional development and urbanization. Cities in the Steppe can grow to 4 GPv in size, and the region can support up to (2 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. In addition a Steppe region can be transformed into a Cultivated region.

Steppe regions that are converted to Cultivated and then Regional Genocided or Enslaved revert to Desert regions instead of Steppe.


Jungles are tropical woodlands. Travel is difficult going in jungles, though Barbarians and, particularly, pre-Columbian societies can manage quite well here.

Jungle regions can support moderate levels of regional development and urbanization. Cities in the Jungle can grow as large as 5 GPv in size, and the regions can support as much as (5 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. In addition, a Jungle region can be transformed into a Cultivated region.

Jungle regions that have been transformed into Cultivated regions can only maintain that level of agricultural production for a number of years before reverting to Jungle. The GM will keep track of this conversion. Jungle regions that are converted to Cultivated and then Looted, Scorched Earth, Enslaved or Regional Genocided revert to Jungle.


Mountain regions are rugged, rocky and high altitude territories that are very difficult and dangerous to move through. Mountain regions can support low levels of regional development and moderate levels of urbanization.

Cities can grow to as large as 5 GPv in size, and the region can support up to (2 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. Mountain regions cannot be transformed into Cultivated regions.


Desert regions are arid, desolate territories, with sparse vegetation. Travel is difficult and dangerous here. Desert regions can support low levels of regional development and urbanization. Cities can grow to 4 GPv in size, and the region can support (2 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. Desert regions cannot be transformed into Cultivated regions. Under certain conditions Cultivated and Steppe regions may become Desert as well.


Islands are similar to Cultivated territories except they are small and are surrounded totally by sea. Islands can support moderate levels of regional development and high levels of urbanization. On the map they are represented by a circle which may encompass more than one physical island.

Cities can grow to 10 GPv in size, and the region can support (10 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. Islands cannot be transformed into Cultivated regions.

Islands (including wilderness islands) do not count against the movement of ocean going vessels moving past them on a Sea Zone, Inter-Island or Open Ocean Arrow. If the Island circle touches multiple sea hexes (or Arrows) then you can reach the Island from any of those hexes or Arrows.


Tundra regions are cold, arid plains, often covered with snow. Yet plant life flourishes here, though it is of a hardy type. As one would expect, travel is tough in Tundra. Tundra regions can support low levels of regional development and urbanization.

Cities can grow to 3 GPv in size, and the region can support as much as (2 × Regional GPv) in Public Works. Give up on any delusions you might have of transforming Tundra regions into Cultivated regions.


Oases are pockets of life in the midst of a totally barren, desolate desert. They are basically watering holes with palm trees and other vegetation around them. Travel to and from an Oasis is difficult and hazardous for an army (especially for foot troops). It is possible to build a fortress in an Oasis but not a city. It cannot be converted to another terrain type.

Hostile Land Regions

There are a rare few land regions on the maps that are especially nasty. These regions are noted on the maps with an ‘H’. Support costs for troops stationed in a Hostile Land Region are doubled, action costs to perform activities in these regions are increased and armies defending in such areas gain a favorable bonus in battle.

All actions undertaken in a Hostile Land Region, including movement into the region, cost one (1) extra Action Point to undertake.

Colonizable Regions

There are quite a number of regions on the map that begin with empty regional values (e.g. (-/-)). These are known as Colonizable Regions (or CR’s). A CR is a region that is just waiting for some prosperous people to come along and settle there, hewing farms, ranches and towns out of the wilderness. The vast majority of these regions are Wilderness areas. The rules governing the settlement of these areas are found in Colonizing Unsettled Regions.

Until a CR is colonized, and has no GPv, and it counts as a Hostile Land Region for movement and action purposes.

Sea Symbols

Sea Zones (also called Coastal Sea Zones) define the seas of Earth, hugging the continental shelves. Each Sea Zone has a name and is demarcated by dashed lines.

The Sea Zones describe the waters ‘known’ by locals during the Medieval Period.

By default, a Nation knows the river sections and sea zones that are adjacent to a region it controls at NT or better (and a non-Open Nation knows river sections and sea zones that are adjacent to a region or city it has a site in). (One way to learn the coast of Africa, for instance, would be to march down the coast, conquering or DPing all the regions).

All Sea Zones and River Sections that are initially unknown to a Nation must be Explored by their Leaders and ships before they can be used for trade, or traversed by fleets without suffering attrition and getting lost. The ruttiers (navigational books) produced by mapping can, of course, be stolen, sold, swapped or lost.

In addition to the regular dashed line border there are special Sea Zone borders, which are described below.

Table 4-6. Sea Zone Symbols

Symbol Meaning
FerryPoint.JPG Ferry Point
OneWay.JPG One-way Inter-Island Arrow
TwoWay.JPG Two-way Inter-Island Arrow
OneWayOpen.JPG One-way Open Ocean Arrow
TwoWayOpen.JPG Two-way Open Ocean Arrow
-↑↓- Monsoon Sea Zone Border
-↑- Strong Current Border
H Hostile Sea Zones

Open Ocean and Inter-Island Arrows

Open Ocean and Inter-Island Arrows must be explored before they can be traversed. Inter-island Arrows are double line arrows and are relatively easy to explore. Open Ocean Arrows are single line arrows and are tough to explore unless you have Navigation skills. Until the Renaissance only Seafaring Nations can explore Open Ocean Arrows effectively, but they can only trade across Inter-Island Arrows, not Open Ocean Arrows.

No combat can occur on an Inter-Island or Open Ocean Arrow.

Hostile Sea Zones

Hostile Sea Zones are defined, in general, as those places where ships go but do not come back from. For the vast majority of the seafaring nations, anything out of the sight of land is hostile (thus the restriction of Sea Zones to the coast and the use of current movement lines in the open sea). The Sea Zones that are intrinsically hostile are marked with an H. Most marked Hostile Sea Zones are riddled with icebergs or large hungry sea monsters.

Monsoon Borders

Monsoon Borders are treated for movement and trade as ordinary sea zone borders. Double arrows astride a sea zone border represent them.

Optionally, at higher Tech Levels where the length per turn drops below a year Monsoon Borders may be treated as beneficial Sea Zone borders where the prevailing winds are defined by the season in a big way. In the right season a Monsoon border costs Leaders and units only ½ an Action Point to cross.

Strong Current Borders

Strong Current Borders can be hindrances to navigation if you sail against the prevailing current. A single arrow astride a sea zone border represents the prevailing current direction of a Strong Current Border. A Strong Current Border costs Leaders and units 2 Action Points to cross moving against the direction of the arrow, and 1 Action Point to cross moving in the direction of the arrow. For Trade Routes, crossing a Strong Current Border counts 2 against its range.

Ferry Arrows

There are a number of points on the map that are indicated by a thin double-headed arrow (Doublearrow.JPG) crossing particularly narrow bodies of water. These are locations where Ferry Arrows operate providing a locally generated means of communications and transport from one shore to the other. Ferry Arrows also act as “land” bridges by permitting Homeland Build Zones, and land-based Inter-Nation Trade Routes to function across the Ferry Arrow as if the regions on either end of the Ferry physically bordered one another.

All possible Ferry Arrows are already marked on the map. New ones may not be constructed.

Ferry Arrow Capacity

Generally, all Ferry Arrows are considered to start with 10 Ferry Points (FP) that can move up to 10 Cargo per Action impulse to the other side. However, depending on how your GM has set up the campaign, the number of FP may vary.

The Ferry Arrow capacity can also be temporarily augmented with additional warships and transports whose Cargo value is lent to the Ferry Arrow to make the crossing faster.

Ferry Points are self maintained and repaired, so troop support is not assessed for them. Ferry points may be interdicted by Naval action or by capturing one end of the ferry point and not allowing the ferrying troops to land.

Armies may attack across a Ferry Point, provided that they can pay the extra cost in Action Points to cross.

A neutral province will not allow an Army to cross a Ferry Point leading to the province without attacking.

Crossing a Ferry Arrow

When an army crosses a Ferry Arrow, there may be an extra Action Point cost if the size (in Cargo Points) of the army exceeds the capacity of the Ferry Arrow. A Ferry Arrow can move Cargo Points equal to the number of Ferry Points at the Arrow in 1 AP.

If, therefore, an army with a cargo capacity greater than the carrying capability of the Arrow crosses, the AP cost can be calculated by:

Army Cargo Size / Ferry Arrow Capacity = AP To Cross

Any fractional AP cost is rounded up.

Example: 20 Light Cavalry units (Cargo value 40) are crossing a Ferry Arrow which has 10 Ferry points plus 10 light transports (total Cargo capacity of 10 + 10 = 20), they would have to expend two (2) Action Points to get across (40/20=2).

Ferry Crossings (Optional Rule)

Some campaigns use a different approach to Ferry Points to make life for the GM and the players easier. Instead of using the Ferry Arrow Capacity a Ferry Point costs +2 AP to cross for armies, unless opposed by an enemy fleet, which would block the crossing.

LOTE Symbol Small.JPG

Lords of the Earth 6th Edition
© 2016 Thomas Harlan
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