Economics 101

By George Ehrhardt.


Warning: Given the fascinating nature of this material, and economics in general, be sure your screen-saver is on before continuing – this is to prevent screen burn-in if you fall asleep…;)


Introductory Microeconomics

Each month, at Production, the tradesmen (tradespeople? tradesbeings?) in each population segment will produce certain items. You can use the Production turn to determine (within certain limits) what sort of item each type of tradesman will produce, and what number of them are assigned to a specific task.

As explained in the General Rules, tradesmen produce items according to the following formulas:



Land Cleared = (Laborers assigned/5) * (1 + SEI/200)

Note that population can always clear land, even if they are non-nomads in a legion!

Wagons Made = (Laborers assigned/2) * (1 + SEI/200)

Underground City increase = Laborers assigned * (1 + SEI/200) 

Other competitive jobs you can assign laborers to in a normal turn: assemble ships (E1), train mounts (B20), and build fortifications (E2), Guilds (L9) or roads (MO24). ‘Competitive’ meanes they cannot be used anymore for the upcoming production.



Goods produced = Farmers assigned * province Fertility Rating * (1+PM/100) * (1+SEI/200)

– with PM = Production (i.e. Seasonal) Modifier, that appears on the front page of your turn results; it is due to Seasonal Weather Effects, and only affects Farmers and Miners.

Goods can be: food, soft materials or by-products.



Tradegoods = Craftsmen assigned * (1+SEI/200)

Crowns = Craftsmen assigned * (1+SEI/200) * (5 + CB +SB)

– with CB = a Crown Bonus for the presence of Guilds and Markets in the location, and for Production Secrets that the pop segm knows. How high the CB resulting from guilds actually is, remains unknown. Markets are said to add about +0.3 crowns. While Production Secrets are said to increase the crown production with +2 crowns per Secret. Note that these Crown Bonusses only applies to crafsmen, not to other tradesmen producing crowns.

– with SB = the so called Synergistic Bonus; meaning that the crown output per craftsman is higher the more craftsmen there are present in the pop segm; it is due to benefits of co-operation.

In Legendds I, this SB was a strong reality, and said to begin after 50 craftsmen present. However, in Legends II (SOP and later modules), having large quantities of crasftmen will no longer increase the production significantly, and the bonus is in principle set to zero; however, due to some random factors and rounding effects, the SB is at best +1 crown (so a cap at 6 crowns basic craftsmen production). The CB is added later, and in Legends II the sum of positive effects from CB and SB together will be capped at +3, so that craftsmen can never make more than 8 crowns per person.

A competitive job you can assign craftsmen to in a normal turn is Resource Conversion (T12). Note that each module will have Rare resources that can be converted with that order too (find out with Rune-research).



Resources gathered = Miner/Foresters assigned * (1+PM/100) * (1+SEI/200)

Crowns = Miners/Foresters assigned * (1+SEI/200)*1

Many types of resources can be gathered.

Note that the Season does not affect crown production, only harvesting resources.



Ship Units = Shipbuilders assigned * (1 + SEI/200) 

Crowns = Shipbuilders assigned * (1 + SEI/200) * 5


Weapon makers:

Items made = Amount Rating * Weapon makers assigned * (1 + SEI/200) 

Crowns = Weapon makers assigned * (1 + SEI/200) * 5

The “Amount Rating” per weapon type is given in the Rules Book p. 46, but be aware of changes made in each module (listed in the Module Book)



Items made = Amount Rating * Armorers assigned * (1 + SEI/200) 

Crowns = Armoreres assigned * (1 + SEI/200) * 5 

For the Amount Ratings, see Rules Book p. 47 and your module book.

Unfortunately, there are certain limitations on production. 


The amount of Cleared Land in a province restricts the production of Farmers: it is required for harvesting food, soft materials and by-products. They will first use it to make food, then what is left over is used to produce soft materials, and then finally the remaining land is used for making by-products. So should you over-allocate Farmers to making food, then you could find your tradesmen being in short supply of materials they would need to make their wagons, armors, etc. (Example: if the Cleared Land value is 800, then 800 farmers could be assigned to produce food, OR 800 men to produce by-products, OR 800 men to produce soft-materials, OR 800 to a combination of those three items.) 

Shipbuilders, Weapon Makers, and Armorers are limited by the amount of resources they can use. In the latter cases, Iron will in general be the critical resource! Note that production occurs from top to bottom of the “Production Turn”, so miners/foresters gather resources before ship units and arms/armor is produced. This means that Iron can be gathered and used in the same Production.

Production could purely hypothetically be restrained by the limit of items per possession slot: in Legends II, possession slots can have nearly ten million of items (like with crowns) (in Legends I there was a limit of 32,767, which could cause problems for food etc.). 

In Winter, the seasonal modifier will reduce the amount of resources produced. Note that you cannot correct for this by allocating more Miners/Foresters than the listed maximum production (province resource level). (This is the Official MG standpoint; some players think such over-allocation does work.)

undead soldiers will reduce the SEI of a location; this happens rougly on a one for one basis. Note that Undead Characters can roam a city without doing harm (at worst -1 SEI). (This was noted in the Legends I General Rules page 26).

Whenever you gain a new location, and want to set production for it, remember to set their crown production to zero. For they will be fully assigned to that, and you could easily make the mistake of only entering their new assignments (like weapon making), and forget about adjusting crowns. But as crown production takes precedence (and is default setting), you will never see any weapons coming your way…

When production has finished, the soldiers, warmounts, population, and herds get fed. Feeding precedence is in that order, and pop segs get fed in the sequence in which they are listed in your force (Rules Book p. 43). Soldiers and animals require 1 unit of food per individual; individuals in a population segment needed 1/2, 1 or 1 1/2 food, depending on racial size (p. 43).

When all of this has finished, the SEI of the location and of the pop segms is cut in half. This is to prevent SEI growth from getting out of hand. Keeping your SEI high takes work, but brings big benefits.


Intermediate Microeconomics


In the above formulas, the SEI was the combination of Location’s SEI and Pop Segm’s SEI. Note that the latter cannot be raised above zero; it is only affected by times of trouble. Like war. Or when you add or remove population to or from a segment, which each time will give you penalty depending on the quantity moved but with a maximum of -25 to the Pop Seg SEI. It is the Location SEI that can be boosted by players, and it is this SEI we’ll refer to below.


Raising SEI

You can raise your SEI with guilds, spells, or utilizing admin-engineers. In general, the last option is best recommended.

When using Guild strenght you’ll get a proportionate increase in SEI (i.e. 10 strenght points used gives +10 SEI). However, guild strength is best used to increase the strength of a guild. Utilizing it to increase your SEI lessens the chance of increasing the guilds strength too much to be worth the cost. Strong guilds in your city will increase your prestige, your crown production, and your chances of success with character training or research.

High level Churches (and Thieves and Merchant Guilds) may be one exception to this rule, due to the nice 100% bonus that they have (see order G1).

Spells to raise SEI (like spell #33) can be useful in some situations in which characters recover their mana very quickly and spell casters are in good supply. Otherwise, mana is best used for other purposes. Spells are particulary ineffective in locations with magic shells, which will reduce the amount of effective points in the spell.

Admin-Engineers, on the other hand, are extremely useful; actually, if you start as an Overlord, you should employ an Administrator as soon as possible to make something of your pitifull little town! Let us look at them in more detail.


Industrial Policies

Lee Kuan Yew and V.I. Lenin would be proud of the Legends design staff. “Of course people require the firm hand of a skilled administrator to reach their potential prosperity,” they would say. Perhaps one day a module will be designed which features:

Religion #3: Monetarism, whose diety is Milton Friedman and gives to the population of its followers certain production bonuses in the absence of administrators.

Until then, skilled administrators are essential, not in the least for large locations.

When an adminsitrator does public works the SEI of the Force is increased by 2x the level of the Administrator.

Also make sure to have an Administrator Assigned (order B9) and present during production! Then, at the beginning of production, the location’s SEI will be increased by 2x the Admin’s skill level – at no cost!; later followed by the normal cutting in half of the SEI at the end of the production. Example: a location with a SEI of 10 has a 20th level ADMIN assigned and present in the turn before production; then you will see at your turnsheet of the turn done after production that the location’s SEI will be ((10+(2×20))/2 = 25. Compair this with the case when there was no ADMIN present: then the SEI would be reduced from 10 to 5!

As you have seen from the formulas above, the SEI is devided by 200. The conclusion is thus, that an Admin will increase tradesmen production by a percentage equal to his skill level, whether by Reforms or Assignment. Example: a level 20 admin will generate +20% more items at production.

The cost of Public Works/Reforms are determined by the amount of population in the location (POP), the formula being published in several variants:

Public Work Costs = 0.005 *(POP^1.5) = SQR(POP^3)/200 = POP*SQR(POP)/200 

with SQR = square root, and ^ = to the xth power

Note that the costs for Public Works are reset at production, and in between productions these costs are only updated [raised] if population is added into the location, but not updated [lowered] if population is removed out of the location. This is fully logical, for “Public Works are like any government project: the costs only go up but never go down…!” (Edi Birsan). So it doesn’t pay to remove population in turn 1, and replace it in turn 2, in order to be able to do cheap Works in turn 1 – that simply doesn’t work and will only get you the moving penalty to the popseg SEI. Of course you could move population out in turn 2, to get cheap Works in turn 1 of the next month, but that means you will not produce, have to supply food, are less well protected, still have that pop segm SEI penalty, etc. So this could at best only pay in your first month or so, as a quick way to ‘jump-start’ your location’s SEI.

Note that when giving order S28, you can leave the Amount column empty and let the system do the calculating. The amount of Reforms that can be done in a month will vary per module. Admins can also be in guilds inside the target location when doing them.

Please note the important difference between these two cases:

1) S28 – an Admin does NOT have to be owned by the same player as the locations force for which he does Public Works. So position X’s Admin can do reforms to raise the SEI for the location of position Y.

2) B9 – an Admin must be owned by the same player as the location to which he is Assigned. But this only is valid for the moment of Assignment (when he must be in the location as well); or in other words: you can only Assign a guy to your location if you own him. But if he later is influenced away, or someone takes away the location, or if you take over a town to which an admin is already assigned, then in all such cases the administrator, even though not owned by the location owner, will continue his work (as long as he is in the location).


Nomad Camps

Some of the techniques to running an efficient nomad camp are:

  1. Have the first pop seg filled with all your laborers. That way they clear land for the second pop seg to use. 
  2. Watch where you are moving to on the turn before production, nomads live and die with cleared land and then fertility. 
  3. Camps have SEI just like a location and can have an assigned administrator. 
  4. Get a Druid who is able to toss Increase Fertility now and then in a pinch to help out in the food production area. 
  5. Have third and fourth pop segments in the force allocated to mine various special resources pre set so that if you move into a province with gold or silver in it you will pick up those resources without having to reallocate the miners each time.



The following two paragraphs offer one perspective on whether to build fortifications. They were taken from a letter to the Legends newsgroup. I don’t know who it was.

The Legends fortification system is fairly good, with just the right amount of complexity to make it interesting without becoming the dominant element in the game. The problem is, from a power-gaming standpoint, the option of devoting resources to this aspect of the game isn’t really feasible. Any experienced player will tell you that building up fortifications in Legends has never been cost-effective.

It isn’t really the material costs that bother me, substantial though they are. Rather, it’s the expenditure of admin. character actions that could otherwise be spent enhancing the SEI of a location. Considering how minimal the increments in fortification building are, and how far- reaching the benefits of SEI are; how many experienced players are ever going to make the choice to build up a castle instead of doing public works? For example, you have a character with admin. 12. Do you 1) spend some crowns and add 24 points to your location’s SEI, increasing your production of crowns, tradegoods, pop., weapons, armor, food, mining, etc., by 12% or 2) spend huge amounts of materials and add 2 towers to your castle, increasing your fortification value by perhaps 1 and adding 20 to your capacity?

In spite of this, it can be quite satisfing to see the walls going up around your cities, just for the Roleplaying element of it.


Labor-Management Relations

In modules in which the notion of Hated Races is active, population revolts may occur that will have a nasty impact on your production… Check out the article on Revolts on the Harlequin Games website.

But in happy, peacefull times, your population will love you – their lord and master – dearly and will multiply like rabbits if you ask them to…

But only if you feed them a bit extra (oisters?), by setting the Consumption Rate (order T13) above zero. For every 10% extra food, they will increase with 1%. Example: a Consumption Rate of 3.5 will result in 35% more food used up, and a population Growth Rate [the one mentionned on your printout] of 3.5% (provided ithis is lower than the racial growth limits, see Rules Book p.32-33 and order T13). If the amount of food depending on race size is called Food Rate (see p. 32-33; 1/2, 1, or 1 1/2), then:

Food used by Population = Food Rate * (1 + Consumption Rate*10/100)

The rate of reproduction is also affected by a high SEI (=happy atmosphere, leading to happy exploits of every kind…), namely by an extra growth of: +1% * SEI/100, with the SEI that is relevant at production (so including any adds from an Assigned Admin). But this effect may not raise growth rates by more than the racial base (p.33 and p. 189).

Note that big population centers are discouraged, by the so called “urbane spoilage factor” (overcrowding, stress, decreasing public sanitary conditions, etc). It means that for every 5000 population in a location, each pop seg in it will get a -1% growth rate penalty (p.32; this page has a typo, as 1% per 5000 means -0.000002 per 1 person, or -0.0002% per 1 person, as Nigel Secomb correctly pointed out). This 5000 population penalty is looked upon per location, not per pop. segment. So you cannot escape it by planning several segments of just below 5000 people. The total population in a force is added up from all pop segments to get the ‘spoilage factor’. Example: if you had 4 pop segments with each 5,000 people then the total is 20,000 for the force and there is a minus 4% growth factor applied to every segment.

All these factors together result in: 

Effective Population Growth% = Consumption Rate * 1% + 1%*SEI/100 – (Total population/5000)*1%

As if to caution you, and as a second penalty to over-urbanisation, the chances of spontaneous Plague outbreaks increase when you have more than three prop segments in one force.

When talking about the Production process, the Production Secrets were already mentionned. These Secrets are tied to a pop segm (order S15). Which means that if new population is transferred into such a segment, the Secret may become lost; and when you transfer population out, the chance of then taking the Secret with them is very small.


Ministry of Transportation–Mounts

As population owner and powergamer, it will be vital to transport items and resources between locations and back and forth to your mighty armies in the field. This meaning that you can hardly have enough wagons stationed at different places in your Realm. The production of these was treated above. But there is a second way of transport: having lots of mounts. These have the advantage not to slow down your legion as much as wagons. And of course, once trained, you can also make a cavalry of the lovely beasties.

How to get animals? Well, your characters can use Charm Herd #224. But often more effective is using a legion with soldiers; with Military Order #20 they can capture some animals, the amount depending on the ratio of their own Combat Factor versus the Combat Factor of the animal in question. The ratio you’ll need is about 3 to 1.

Once captured, you can transport the animals to your city, and when they are grazing untrained in your possesion slots, they will be happy and multiply, in the following way: 

Aayko’s Formula for Herd Growth: Gh = 2% + (200/CFm) x 1%


Gh = growth of a herd in possession, as %

CFm = racial Combat Factor of the mount type

This means that horses, e.g., grow 15% at production, and ponies 18%, which in older modules were the only two species to be found in abundance, enough to make a nice cavalry. But in new modules, flying mounts have become very important. Note that the Bless Animals #222 spell will not work on animals in Guilds or in Herds, and it only works on untrained animals. For this sepll (p. 134), the Target is the force in which the animals are, and the Qualifier is the animal kind #id.


This article is reproduced with kind permission from “Aayko’s The Legends Corner”.