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Manor Lords: Regional Wealth Guide

A basic look through of the market and basic money strategies, including early and mid game choice commodities for your first settlement.

Manor Lords: Regional Wealth Guide

For the purposes of this guide assume you are going trade heavy in your first settlement, as this allows for a very rapid startup.

Regional wealth is a fairly simple topic when you have a grasp of it, but if you do not think of it early on when building your settlement its rather easy to get stuck in a cycle where your serfs are stuck in a cycle being strapped for work, and are simply unable to focus on productive enterprises due to the sheer weight of sustaining their own lives.

There are two key ways of getting regional wealth:

  • Well to do houses (Level 2-3) produce wealth per family stationed there, this means that while early on your passive growth in wealth is rather limited, as time goes by the most well off households (Level 3) will become a fountain of wealth as the families themselves simply bring in is rather glorious. A level 3 house with an expansion plot brings in 8 times as much wealth as a single level 2 house.
  • As early on, the peasants will be poor, the first source of wealth you will have access to is by exports via the trading post, a valuable logistics building which can draw in foreign investment by selling your excesses.

You can also gain some via beating down the bandits, but as this doesn’t apply to all scenarios, I’ll cover this in the last section.

Trade in general

  • Most goods do not need a trade route, you only need one if you can’t set a policy on exporting for that good without one. Trade routes let you import or export at greater volumes then if you did not have a trade route, but early game there is only one good you commonly produce that needs one, or even can use one at your first years worth of production capacity.
  • There are two valuable trade developments, trade logistics, and better deals. Both are incredibly valuable, to the point where your main settlement is one I would consider always well off to have them. However, I caution you against taking these traits too soon, as they provide little value early on when your interests in trade are simple: Export labor efficient goods to develop your burgages, to foster town wealth.
  • One development, foreign supplies, lets you place two wealth vacuums in the market, which buy goods passively as if better deals was active. As you are likely interested in better deals while you only have one settlement, this is a dubious development that might work better as a lord skill rather then a development, if our lord gets a skilltree later in development.
  • Buying goods without better deals is bad, until you have other settlements. When you have many settlements you don’t need better deals to avoid tarrifs if you buy things your other settlements are actively selling.
  • There are rare cases where pre-better deals trade is still valuable, say, if this lets you get a permanent upgrade early for better happiness early. (Such as buying roof tiles for an early level 2 church to make level 3 development sustainable early on… Expensive, but if you don’t have the labor surplus to make them its only like 30 leather sold to finance the church.)
  • Exporting or importing too much can cause supply issues, altering the prices of goods or rendering trade impossible for that goods catagory.
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There is a general strategy I find is most valuable for first town trade

  • Early on export labor efficient goods to produce wealth to develop backyards. Backyards generate 2-4 wealth of goods a month at worst, or cover 12 jobs worth of food at best. Check “Food, just food” for more info on the value of backyards.
  • One backyard I did not mention there is goats, which provides 4 wealth worth of hides (1 hides) a month. In a year, goats will pay off the investment trivially. Early on I disliked them due to the low production rate, but I found that with denser housing they are valuable.
  • Building dense single family housing is expensive, but lets you have more backyard production, and have more efficient artisan families. Multi family housing is cheaper, but costs you in terms of backyard productivity. A wealthy town can get most of its food from its backyards, so minor details of food efficiency are almost unimportant.
  • Two family artisan houses also eat resources like no tomorrow. You will suffer if you have too many of these.
  • The shorthand is: Expensive settlements bring in the bank.
  • As you gain artisan workshops which produce goods of great value (Bows and boots,) get trade logistics as valuable goods often need you to spend money on trade routes, which are cheaper with the development.
  • If you lack rich soil, get better deals by development 3, as this lets you import malt cheaply and hit development level 4 without having to do terrible, not worth it in poor soil barley farming. Developing to development 4 without better deals or rich soil is pure unfiltered suffering.
  • Gradually switch to higher value, lower volume goods, as your trade post workers will slowly stall carrying high volumes of goods to the market.
  • In the final phase of trade, you will have too many goods to export with just one market, and too many trade routes. Just build more markets and start trading with other settlements you build.

Early labor efficient trade.

These trade methods are low value, generally unsustainable long term, but when you are labor constrained they can be the best means you have of making wealth to rapidly develop, to gain more wealth.

Some can be forcibly made sustainable via simple one step developments, others (See trapping) need at least two.

The Lumber Trades

  • Early on, one worker makes 5 planks with only two families worth of labor, for 10 wealth per batch of planks. As such, continuing the production of planks after you build your church can help you obtain chickens, goats, and vegetables very early, jump starting your early explosion in value. However, the drain this puts on your forests is immense, and I don’t recommend doing this long term.
  • Eventually, you want to reverse this trend as wooden parts, both types of shields, and bows become available as means of making wealth, as three joiners and a bowyer makes four export goods of high value.
  • With a mix of wood craft, and responsible forestry any town is capable of generating near limitless wealth. If your sawmills start falling behind, buy more oxen and build more stables first. Then, and only then should you consider importing planks.
  • However, this method is not without drawbacks, as these goods are easily saturated, and rendered unable to export if too many are produced and brought to market.
  • Firewood takes very little forest to make, but has little value…. But exporting surplus isn’t the end of the world in early stages where you have 6x too much wood.
  • But charcoal is extremely valuable, the only problem is the slow work rate to making charcoal. Its not an efficient means of producing fuel by a labor and time spent perspective, but because its a high quality fuel it has excellent trade value. If you wish to run a mining economy, charcoal can be an excellent part of your early exports.
  • Remember to replant trees early, as they take 3 years to grow seemingly. Don’t get caught without a forest.
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The Leather Trade

  • Hunters produce hides and meat far beyond what a small settlement can use early game, as such leather is a promising early export, with a small starting cost of 36 wealth to export it.
  • The problem is that hunting at scale is expensive, and making enough leather is difficult. Reports of there being no leather in ones market, only boots after having just a single cobbler is not uncommon.
  • Thankfully the boots are rather expensive, so while you will export cap them nearly instantly, they are a good spike in wealth. Early cobblers make your level 2 houses happy, and make a stupidly valuable export.
  • There are three ways to sustain leather production: Trapping, goats, and importing hides. Importing hides is dubious, as, you will be export capped on selling boots nearly always.
  • Trapping is one of the most confusing developments, as what it does is make the hunters continue to work producing just meat while there is insufficient deer for them to continue hunting, this is slow work, but with six or so trappers you can supply an astonishing number of families with meat. Where this is relevant is the second trapping development, which adds a second output to these traps… Hides.
  • Trapping works in the winter, so when we have some sort of automation/temporary jobs this could be a great winter industry when many of your other jobs go to sleep.
  • Rich hunts and hunting grounds can also greatly improve the throughput of this industry early game.

Yarn, the friend to all

  • Importing sheep gives you an absurd amount of wool each year, this is sort of the universal industry that all provinces can do outside of woodcrafts.
  • Both the wool and the yarn can be valuable, giving you two things to market cap.
  • With sheep breeding, more pasture space gives you a third export with a value of 20: The sheep themselves. Amazing.
  • Sheep will not be sheered during the winter, so micro can improve your villages productivity a bit.

Mid game trade

These trades often take many developments to be sustainable, need dedicated trade routes (And thus wealth and trade knowledge) to export goods at sufficient scale, or lots of labor and dedicated supply lines.

So I don’t consider these for opening builds, but once they are set up they are sustainable.

Orchards

  • Large orchards can put out thousands of apples, which are cheap, but can’t be ignored as a great source of years two, three and four wealth.
  • You will market cap on these and have lots of apples to eat once apples finally reach your market. This can take some time, but sometimes you can magically shake the apples from the tree by telling them to export when they aren’t ready. Its strange, and it only works about half my saves. So normally you just need to wait for the pantry to overflow, so keep your apple households low level prior to the trees third year.
  • They seem to be a little unreliable.

The Bread Loop

  • With the bakery development, you get two bread from one flour. So importing threshed grain, milling it, then baking it can with incredible pace make bread to export. 2 input for 8 value? Amazing.
  • If your soil is good, you can supplement this with your fields for far greater supplies of grain, or skip the bakery development and just make great volumes of rye.
  • Be mindful of the bread export cap.

The Berries Loop

  • Berries can become dye, a valuable good in its own.
  • Dye can be turned to cloaks or clothes, if you have yarn or linen, greatly increasing its value yet again. However, the cloth + dye is more valuable then the end result, so I highly recommend waiting until dye and your cloth types are both saturated on the market to start selling advanced clothing.
  • Berries are dirt cheap relative to what they can become, so importing them to export their products can be valuable. Still, picking your own increases profits, as does having a rich supply.
  • Herbs can be a secondary product of berry farms, but they don’t produce in enough quantity to be viable as an economic thing.
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Ironworks and the arms of war

  • First you need raw iron, which can be mined, or imported. You also need a trade route to sell nearly every iron byproduct.
  • An iron mine with one family can mine a rich mine for about 30 years, something I learned from my first playthrough. As such, I still am doubting the value of deep mines on your first settlement. Like, an infinite mine sounds good…. Do you need it on your first major manufacturing and trade hub?
  • Secondary settlements with such a mine are good to build, as you can trade yarn out to the secondary settlement for a flow of iron back. You don’t necessarily need a barter post, your regions regular trade just works.
  • Slabs are rather expensive, so are tools which only take a single slab, as are helmets, which take a development to produce but are also rather cost effective. Once you have saturated exports on these three other goods open up as potential exports to keep your iron economy going.
  • Spears and polearms take 1 iron/1 plank, so their input costs are a little high compared to their value, but you might also need these for your settlements defense in most scenarios. Rushing these is quite valuable say, if you need to have a unit of 20 men to beat the first year bandit wave and you are on a difficulty where there isn’t a free weapon shipment.
  • Sidearms are valuable, but take a lot of iron, as such, making these I consider a secondary concern, as selling cheap iron goods to import sidearms is easier.
  • If your farms are capable of producing flax for linen, that also may be valuable here: Level 2 families are not only able to wear Gambesons, but the gambesons have a good export value too. As this is not a military guide, I won’t say much more then this.
  • Mail armor and plate armor are rather expensive to produce in terms of developments, so from a purely economic perspective, I don’t think of them much for my trade hub settlement. Having a settlement producing plate armor however, can greatly reduce the cost of having the finest retinue.

Taxation, and wealth by military means

  • Taxation is simple, it takes a portion of gained regional wealth and turns it to treasury. You need to have built your lords manor to set tax and tithe.
  • With this, you may hire retinue, kit them out, and hire mercenaries.
  • These can be used to attack bandit camps and loot them for about 150 wealth or treasury, your choice at the time of event.
  • With a good retinue, its rather cost effective to attack camps for the money to hire more retinue. Just be careful to have enough forces at home to hold of bandit attacks.
  • With high house demands, its hard to sustain more then 5% tax, but 10% or higher tax rates are easily doable with normal house demands.
  • Lastly, with wealth, you can start settling land you have claimed, for 250/500/750 wealth. Complex, single resource developments start making much more sense when you have a variety of regions trading with one another without needing the trade developments.
  • If you need influence to claim land, tithe is like a no unhappiness tax that deletes food, but outputs influence. No wealth is gained, this only makes life in your settlement harder, but if you have insane stocks of food and no capacity to keep exporting foods, this can give you the influence to expand.
Written by WalrusJones

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