Advanced tips and information for finances including how to increase your income and lower your expenses.
Many settlements are too expensive to have a garrison providing the city with wealth. For example, Spain and Gaul have three units each of Foederati Cavaly as garrisons. Each unit is nearly 400 Denarii. Peasants perform the same task as expensive units (the quality buff has been added in medieval 2) and they are dirt inexpensive. Over time, you will need to replace costly “garrisons” with peasants. This will save you tons in the long term. You can either send these costly troops off for war or disband them. I don’t bother Foederati Infantry and Cavalry. They are so expensive losers that they are so useless, I disband them to focus on the good stuff, like Sarmatian Auxilia.
Finances of Western Roman Empire, at the beginning of the game
As I mentioned in the previous chapters, you will be spending little money on ensuring your settlements stay under control. For most settlements, this will take a few rounds. Training peasants can easily solve the majority of immediate problems. But that doesn’t mean that public order will magically be restored. You will be primarily busy with the next chapter for the first few turn.
Once the dust of the first few turns has settled, and public safety is no longer the top priority, it’s the right time to start making money. A lot cities are still not well-developed at the start, so there’s a lot to do to make them financial power. The amount of money you make will not be excessive, so not all cities will build anything. So divide your attention across your empire. It will take time to make enough money to build everything in every city. Until then, you must be careful about how and where you spend your money.
There are two primary ways to make more with your settlements.
- Increasing income
- Reduce your expenses
You start with many underdeveloped settlements, just as we mentioned earlier. Even settlements that make a lot of money due to their position won’t break even at the beginning. Three ways are there to earn income from a settlement:
This is an ascending list, as trade (even between your settlements!) is extraordinarily powerful. Send diplomats around to open up trade routes and work on building roads and ports within your cities. If you are able to develop these cities well, these cities will become your financial capital. Take Caralis, as an example. It has a wooden barrier at the beginning of campaign… that’s it! A level 1 port will earn you a few hundred dinarii just by building one!
Taxes are often inseparable from farms. The better your farms are, both the number of people visiting them and the amount of taxes they will pay, the higher the tax rate. You can also increase the city’s population by upgrading its farms, which will result in a faster growth rate and allow you to upgrade your city faster. This does have the downside of causing more squalor and thereby reducing public order. If you’re certain you can handle the problems, then you shouldn’t be focusing on the increasing population in cities.
I will also tell you to invest most of your money in financial development in cities with less chance of being attacked. Spain, Gaul, the Mediterranean islands and Italy are all far from immediate action (with the possible exception of the revolts described in the previous chapters) and can be developed fairly safely. It’s a rare exception that the cities of Italy will see fighting, but it’s important to develop them militarily and financially, since you don’t want these cities to be lost.
Reduce your expenses
Corruption is the main reason you will have a low income, besides the garrison units mentioned in this guide. law is key to fixing this problem. law is the key ingredient in fixing this problem. It not only creates public order, it also reduces corruption. Therefore, increasing law in settlements solves both of these problems simultaneously. Academies, walls, and other structures can provide law in BI. However, they don’t in regular RTW. Pagan temples offer more law that Christian churches, especially the Temple to Sol Invictus. To reduce corruption, we should concentrate on building these types. You can even tackle multiple problems at once. As an example, you might make a wall to enforce the law. But, a group of barbarians in the area may want to destroy a stone wall.
I have already mentioned the reduction of expensive garrisons, but I’ll address it here. Many cities have Foederati cavalry and infantry as garrison. They are far too expensive to perform the simple garrison tasks peasants can also do. You will save thousands of dearii per turn by replacing all Foederati workers with peasants. You would prefer that all cities, except those located on the frontline have peasants serving as garrison. If you feel uncomfortable having only peasants as a garrison, you can also consider adding Archers or Limitanei. They are very affordable and allow for some flexibility.
This topic will be discussed in more depth in the military chapters. But it’s good to mention it here briefly. Conquering stuff will always result in an increase of wealth. I will say that the Eastern Roman Empire had a stronger start than its Western counterpart: their territories are wealthier. After overcoming internal problems, expanding into Greece or Asia Minor will bring the greatest financial returns. The Eastern Empire is most likely to have their troops at their borders, along with the hordes from the North and Sassanids of the East. Everything in between will be up for grabs. These regions are worth a lot, so make sure you take them!
It’s a good idea not to initially have all/most boats in your campaign. Pirates will constantly attack them anyway. This will save a few hundred dearii in the first round. You can keep a few boats near Britannia to make it easier to reach the Celts. However, you won’t use the many ships in the Mediterranean. These can be quickly disbanded if you don’t need them. Remember that you must have a port to disband a fleet!
Finances of Western Roman Empire, still on their first turn but with high taxes in all cities that need them, most fleet members disbanded. A few garrison units were also lost. From a profit averaging 21 denarii, to a profit averaging 1315 dinarii. Although it may not be the most significant difference, remember that all of my settlements have been ordered by the public.
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