Main Page » Domain action summary » Create Trade Route action

This action is summarized in Domain action descriptions. This page expands upon the basic BRCS description and adds various alternative interpretations and options.


Guild regents can attempt to open trade routes, thereby increasing the potential income of their domain. Trade routes are discussed in detail in the domain assets section of this chapter. The creation of a trade route requires a domain action check against a DC 10.


A trade route is a well known path of trading profit - convey A to B to C to D turning a profit at each step. Creating a trade route has a number of aspects:
  • Product: Forging a trade route requires goods that are plentiful locally, but in short supply (and valued) elsewhere. For trade routes between neighboring provinces the goods could be relatively bulky - foodstuffs, coal, ores, lumber, masonry, salt and the like. As the trade route becomes longer the goods must be more valuable - for example refined metals instead of ore over moderate distances, then worked tools instead of refined metals over long distances. Only the most valuable goods such as spices, silks, narcotics, and so on will be transported over very long distances.

  • Passage: A route must be found to move the goods - either by road, river, or sea. This may require trails to be blazed and roads to be built, wharfs to be constructed, deeper channels to be dredged in rivers, the construction of fords, bridges, etc. Also of course pack animals must be procured and maintained - possibly of several types if the trade route crosses different terrain types, boats must be chartered or acquired, barns must be obtained for storage, etc.

  • Permission: Every noble has taxing rights over their lands, many towns and cities also have the right to impose taxes and tolls. Many lands allow trade fairs and markets to be held only with the permission of the lord, other local landowners such as temples may require some largess in exchange for their acquiescence.

  • Problems: Problems other than the above include rivals (which would leach profit from the venture), bandits and monsters (which might have to be removed to make passage possible, or negotiated with to permit passage by the guild domain's wagons only, monopoly rights either held by others or to be won by the guild, lack of the necessary manpower or skills, and so on.


[top]Source based trade routes

  • The Book of Magecraft suggested allowing high level source holdings to be used as virtual guilds for the purposes for creating trade routes, to provide source holders with a minimal amount of income. The suggested rule was that the source would act as a guild holding 7 levels lower, indicating that the goods traded were rare herbs and other magical growths found in high mebhaighl provinces, this did have the effect of creating significant income for sidhe regents however.

Source trade routes are perhaps redundant under a system in which sources generate GB income.

[top]Action based trade routes

The standard rule assumes income is automatically generated each domain turn. However the trade route could merely represent potential, with profits generated only when an action (in [[BRCS]], a court action) is spent to have goods conveyed. This is a particularly good way of dealing with trade routes in the north of Cerilia which may only be accessible during the summer.

[top]Different income

  • (2e) the average of the province levels of the 2 provinces involved.
  • ([[BRCS]]) The average of the levels of the two guild holdings involved.
  • Dependent on a trade route holding level.
  • Affected by province aspects - i.e. a province may have a bonus due to good quality iron ore, but only if transported to a city.
  • 1d4 GB per action spent to carry goods. (For action-based trade routes).
  • Income dependent on the success of the action and the GB invested. (For action-based trade routes).

[top]Trade route holdings

An alternate way to abstract the trade route is by a separate holding type, anyone with a guild (or possibly law) holding in the region can create a trade route holding to represent control over the large scale export/import of goods. This method increases competition between guild domains, and implicitly shifts the holding types toward control over local trade, fairs, etc (guild holdings) and external good flows (trade route). Income for a trade route holding would depend on the local campaign, but could be equal to a guild holding, or perhaps produce more/less GB and a correspondingly smaller/larger amount of Regency than the norm.

[top]Different requirements

  • (2e & BRCS) Either different terrain, or different culture types.
  • Different region (i.e. guild holdings cover local trading, trade routes represent the longer 'silk roads' only.) i.e. Anuire south coast to Anuire east coast, or the Rjurik Taelshore to the Rjurik Northlands.
  • Different good requirements. This likely require more book-keeping, but alternatively can be represented by adding some terrain types such as 'city', 'fine tools', 'famed scholarship' in the simplest method.

[top]Exploratory trade

Described in Havens of the Great Bay by Ed Stark, page 88-89. If a guild holding was held in a sea province of L4 or greater, the guild could send out a trading fleet of ships in search of profit once a year. The DC was 20, the base cost 1 RP and 5 GB. The guild invested a certain level of GB, on a roll of 1 the ships were lost with the invested goods, on a standard failure the ships returned after 2 months without having made a notable profit or loss, if the roll succeeded then the investment paid off and a profit of seaport level x investment was made. As a note, ships were required to carry the investment cargo...
Moving this to a [[BRCS]] approach, the profit would be holding level x investment.
I recommend a maximum investment limit, or an increase in the DC to reflect the greater value of goods. Another alternative would be to make a loss of 10% per point of failure, or a profit of 10% per point of success on the roll against the DC.

[top]Trade chain

The second domain action in Havens of the Great Bay by Ed Stark, page 89-90. The regent must have an existing trade route. They then used this action to create a second leg to the trade route. The maximum length of a trade route was 30 sea areas (see the Brecht map of Cerilia for sea areas), this action was designed to allow trade over long distances such as between the human nations.
The profit from the trade chain was the average of the province levels linked, plus 1 GB per province beyond the second for the owner of the trade chain, plus 1 GB for each guild holding linked to (which could of course also be owned by the owner of the trade chain). So if Theofold linked a province 6 to a province 3 to a province 6 to a province 5, and held three of the guilds concerned, then he would earn ([6+3+6+5]/4)=5 GB + 2 GB (3 provinces) + 3 GB (three of the guilds) = 10 GB.
Moving this to a [[BRCS]] approach, and simplifying matters slightly, the profit would be 50% of the guild level for each guild in the link, or 2/3 GB per guild level if the intention was to make the trade chain more profitable than regular trade routes.

[top]Recommended reading

A Magical Society: Silk Road by Expeditious Retreat Press,

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