Chapter 3

Ultimate Settlement Guide

A step by step process for building robust settlements for use in your campaigns.
Chapter Three

Industries and Government

In this chapter we’re going to:

  • Decide on one or more food source(s) for your settlement
  • Decide on one or more industries for your settlement
  • Determine what government structure your settlement has

Now that we’ve figured out why our settlement exists and where it’s located, we can start looking at how the settlement can meet the minimum requirements to sustain itself over time (water, food, and money). We will also be looking at the government structure that keeps the day to day operations of the settlement running smoothly (or not).

STEP sEven

Source of Food

Introduction to Industries

For the last two settlement requirements, a source of food and a source of resources, we’ll need to cover the concept of industry. For the purposes of this book, we’ll define an industry as a set of related activities that take inputs and produce outputs. For example, in fishing, you input tools and labour (e.g. boats, nets, etc.) and output fish.

We’ll cover common industries and make decisions on what industries your settlement is built around. These choices will then influence the types of buildings that should be constructed in your settlement.


Choose A Food Source

Review the three sources of food listed below and decide on one or more to use as a source of food for your settlement. Once you’ve decided, record the results in your town builder’s booklet (pg. 5).

Food Source Examples

Common Food Sources

For any settlement to survive there needs to be a sustainable source of food. There are three industries that are most common to supply food: agriculture, fishing, and hunting/gathering. While one of these industries is likely capable of supporting your settlement on its own, some settlements employ more than one (or even all three).


The most common modern source of food is through agriculture, either through growing and harvesting crops, livestock, or a combination of both. In either case, a settlement needs to have access to a large amount of land to support the agricultural activity. Depending on how fertile the surrounding land is, your settlement may decide to focus primarily on crops (if very fertile) or livestock (if mostly grasslands).

Requirements: Fertile land, sufficient fresh water, blacksmith


If fertile land is scarce and the settlement has easy access to large bodies of water populated with fish (e.g. ocean), fishing is a favorable alternative. To support a fishing community, there needs to be a some means of maintaining the equipment (e.g. boat building).

Requirements: Access to water, boat building, blacksmith


With no land or access to water, your settlement can rely entirely on hunting and gathering from the wilderness to support their people. Hunting and gathering is the least reliable of the three sources of food and is typically used in combination with one of the other industries (i.e. fishing, agriculture).

Requirements: Sustainable populations of animals/plants; blacksmith


Choosing Industries

Source of resources

As mentioned before, a sustainable source of resources is one of the most often overlooked aspects of a settlement but may be the most influential on the culture, population make-up, and over all feel of the settlement. For most people, how they make a living is who they are (or at least a large part of their identity).

Settlements can’t be good at everything. I believe people often make this mistake of putting one of everything into a settlement. Now, there’s nothing saying you can’t do that; however, you’re missing out on a lot of interesting consequences of not having something in the settlement. Instead, I encourage you to pick specializations for your settlement.

By specializations, I mean 2-3 industries that your settlement is known for. These industries will represent employment for the majority of your settlers and have a large influence over the settlement’s culture and reputation.

A note on synergy

While your settlement could specialize in textiles and weapon smithing, it’s far more likely for a settlement to invest in industries that compliment one another. A complimentary industry takes inputs from another industry or vice versa (e.g. mining creates ore and weapon smithing uses ore to forge weapons). Complimentary industries allow a settlement to maximize the return on the resources they’re gathering and is typically the driving force behind a settlement growing larger than average (in a sustainable way).

If a settlement doesn’t capitalize on complimentary industries and further processing their raw materials, it’s likely that their neighbours will. This will help quickly define the trade relationships with neighbours without having to go into too much detail (e.g. We sell most of our timber to the settlement to the north).

What industries can you pick from?

I’ve created a list of the most common industries throughout history that are relevant to a fantasy setting. For each industry, we’ll explore the main activities, the inputs, the outputs, the level of skill required and the minimum requirements to support the industry in your settlement (e.g. mining industry requires a natural resource deposit).


Choose Your Settlement's Industries

Review the industries listed below and determine what industries make sense for your settlement. You can choose multiple industries (most settlements have a few). Once you’ve decided, record the results in your town building booklet (pg. 5). If you choose multiple industries, make sure you’ve checked off all boxes that apply. If there is an industry that you’d like to include but is not listed below you can fill out the empty fields provided.

Industry Examples

Common Industries


The forestry industry involves creating, managing, harvesting, and conserving forests to extract wood to used as a renewable energy source (i.e. firewood) or to be further processed into lumber. Trees are first selected for harvest and then felled, limbed, and bucked to length. The logs are then gathered and transported for sale or for further processing at a sawmill. The use of rivers to transport logs long distances is common.

A person working in the forestry industry is known as a forester. If your settlement is less sophisticated and the knowledge they have is limited, they may focus primarily on the extraction of wood and less on the conservation. Depending on the types of trees within the forest, the value of the lumber may vary greatly.

Inputs: Axes, Saws, Labor

Outputs: Logs

Skill Level: Low

Requirements: A forest; A blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Sawmill, Woodworking, Fletching/Bow making, Boat Building

Lumber/Sawmill Industry

The lumber (or sawmill) industry involves processing logs into lumber that can be used in construction, wood working, etc. Once the logs arrive at the mill, they are debarked and sorted by species, size, and end use. The log is then broken into cants (unfinished logs) and flitches (unfinished planks). Depending on the type of log and the end use, cants will be broken down further into multiple flitches. The flitches are eventually trimmed to size and stacked in a way that allows air to flow through the flitches as they dry. The lumber is then left to dry for months to years, depending on the thickness and species of wood. Wood that is meant for furniture making is typically kiln-dried, as kiln-dried lumber has a lower moisture level and is less likely to warp inside a building.  

Some sawmills are built next to or on top of rivers and use a water wheel to power the sawing mechanism inside. These river sawmills typically receive logs via the river, allowing them to float in the water as they wait to be processed.

Inputs: Logs, Saws, Labor

Outputs: Raw Lumber

Skill Level: Medium

Requirements: Supply of Logs, Skilled laborers, Sawmill, Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Woodworking, Forestry, Boat Building, Fletching/Bow making


The tanning industry involves the processing of animal skins into workable leather. The process begins by curing animal skins with salt to prevent putrefaction of the proteins (collagen) while the hide is transported. Once ready to be tanned, the animal skin is soaked to make the skin pliable and to remove the salt, then stretched out. The hide is treated with milk of lime to remove hair, natural fats, and to bring the animal skin to the proper conditions to tan effectively. Using a scraping knife, the skin is “scudded” to remove any remaining unwanted material. Next the skin is delimed and bated by washing with enzymes (e.g. tannins) to soften the hide. Once the skin is dry, it is ready to be cut and further processed.

Inputs: Animal hides, lime, enzymes (e.g. tannins), tools

Outputs: Raw leather

Skill Level: Medium

Requirements: Tannery, Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Sawmill (Bark Tannins), Hunting/Gathering


The leatherworking industry involves the processing of tanned leather into useful items, such as clothing or bags. The process typically involves designing the pattern for the item, cutting the leather to size, then gluing pieces together or punching holes for sewing and sewing the pieces together, finishing the edges with a wooden tool, and treating the leather with dyes or oils to protect it throughout usage. Depending on the purpose of the item, a leatherworker may choose thicker material and use hardening techniques (e.g. leather armor).

Inputs: Raw Leather, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Leather goods

Skill Level: Medium

Requirements: Supply of leather, Leather Workshop, Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Hunting/Gathering, Tanning


The mining industry involves the extraction of a natural resource from the earth, whether it’s on the surface or deep below the ground. These natural resources include, but are not exclusive to metal, coal, oil shale, gemstones, limestone, chalk, dimension stone, rock salt, potash, gravel, and clay. Mining starts with prospecting, where the land is surveyed for the existence of the resource in question. Once deposits are identified, a mining camp is constructed, and the extraction process begins. Using shovels, hammers, chisels, and pans miners begin removing material and filtering out the resource as they go. Large mines will use carts and tunnel systems as the miners move deeper and deeper into the earth.

Depending on how close the resource is to the surface, different types of mines are used. If the resource is close to the surface, surface mines (e.g. strip mining) or high wall mines are common. If the resource is deeper in the earth, sub-surface mines including tunnels or mine shafts are used.

Inputs: Tools, Labor, Lumber

Outputs: Resources (specific to mine)

Skill Level: Low

Requirements: A natural resource deposit; A blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Smelting, Blacksmithing, Weapon smithing, Armor smithing, Masonry/Stone Cutting, Ceramics/Pottery


The smelting industry involves the processing of ore to extract a base metal (e.g. copper, iron, silver, etc.). This involves more than simply melting the metal out of its ore, as a chemical reaction is necessary to extract it in its base form. To do this the ore must be brought to the appropriate temperature where thermal decomposition occurs (i.e. roasting) and then placed in a reducing environment (typically an air starved furnace) which pulls the oxygen atoms from the metal. The roasting and reduction steps happen at different temperatures depending on what metal is being extracted. Smelters use something called a flux to catalyze these reactions and bind to unwanted impurities. Once this metal is extracted it is melted and poured into ingot molds, for general use by other industries (e.g. blacksmithing).

Inputs: Ore, Fuel Source, Labor

Outputs: Refined Metal (Ingots)

Skill Level: Medium

Requirements: Smelter, Source of Ore

Complimentary Industries: Mining, Blacksmithing, Weapon smithing, Armor smithing


The blacksmithing industry involves working metal into objects can be used for other purposes (e.g. gates, horseshoes, tools, etc.). This is done by taking refined metal (e.g. wrought iron or steel) and heating it in a forge until it is soft enough to be shaped with hand tools. The forging process includes seven basic techniques: drawing down, shrinking, bending, upsetting, swaging, punching, and forge welding. All of these techniques involve moving material in one way or another, typically in combination to create the desired shape. The metal is then finished by brushing (wire brush), heat treatment and hardening, and finally grinding with stones or files.

At minimum, forging requires access to a hammer and anvil, but most smiths use specialized tools as well.

Inputs: Refined Metal (Ingots)

Outputs: Tools, furniture, gates, nails, horseshoes, etc.

Skill Level: Medium to High

Requirements: Smithy, Supply of Refined Metal (Ingots)

Complimentary Industries: Mining, Smelting

Weapon smithing

The weapon smithing industry is a sub-industry of blacksmithing. The processes involved are largely the same, except for the attention to detail and level of skill required to produce quality weapons. While simple blacksmiths may be focused on producing a large quantity of tools to keep the settlement operating smoothly, a weapon smith is focused on forging weapons that will stand the test of time (and battle). Depending on the end user of the weapon, more ornamental features may be included requiring some weaponsmiths to gain skills in working with gold, gemstones, and engraving.

Inputs: Refined Metal (Ingots), Wood, Leather, Labor

Outputs: Weapons

Skill Level: High

Requirements: Smithy, Supply of Refined Metal (Ingots)

Complimentary Industries: Mining, Smelting, Woodworking, Gem cutting

Armor smithing

The armor smithing industry is a sub-industry of blacksmithing. The processes involved are largely the same, however, additional skills are required to create functional equipment. While some armor is made entirely out of forged metal (e.g. plate armor), many sets of armor include other materials such as leather, cloth, or chainmail at the joints. Unlike a simple blacksmith, armorers are often skilled in a number of crafts, combining different techniques to produce their final pieces. Due to difficult nature of wearing armor, it is most commonly ordered ahead and fitted to the person who will be wearing it.

Inputs: Refined Metal (Ingots), Leather, Cloth

Outputs: Armor

Skill Level: High

Requirements: Smithy, Supply of Refined Metal (Ingots)

Complimentary Industries: Mining, Smelting, Leatherworking, Tailoring


The trade industry involves the buying and selling of goods from one person/organization to another at a profit. Unlike other industries, trade is almost entirely dependent on the existence of other industries to act as a supply of goods. For example, in a mining town there may be a large industry built around the trade of excess material to surrounding settlements. Instead of travelling far away and bringing back goods, traders maximize their return by leaving with cargo (i.e. goods from settlement) and selling it at other settlements. Access to a main road is necessary for basic trade, however, larger operations may require access to water (i.e. a port).

Inputs: Goods

Outputs: Money

Skill Level: Low to High

Requirements: A supply of goods; Access to trade routes

Complimentary Industries: Any industry that produces goods


The tailoring industry involves the processing of textiles (e.g. linen, wool, silk) into garments of clothing. Traditionally, clothing is made to order and manufactured to fit the customer, however, as production increases clothing tends to be made to standardized measurements and then altered after/at purchase. Depending on the quality of materials and the level of detail added to a garment, a tailor may need to be very skilled (e.g. inlay) or only have basic sewing skills.

Inputs: Textiles, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Clothing

Skill Level: Low to High

Requirements: Tailoring Shop/Station; Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Textiles, Agriculture


The quarrying industry is a sub-industry to mining, where the natural resource that is being extract is stone that is used for stonemasonry. These mines tend to be surface mines, where the stone is split off in sheets over time. The sheets are broken into rough blocks which are then cut into cuboids by a sawyer. Depending on the end use of the stone, the sawyers may cut it to specific dimensions required for the construction design. These rough blocks are then taken to a construction site to be incorporated into the structure by stonemasons.

Inputs: Mined Stone, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Rough Stone Blocks

Skill Level: Low to Medium

Requirements: Quarry, Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Mining, Stonemasonry, Art


The stonemasonry industry involves constructing buildings, walls, and other stone structures by stacking stones and securing them with mortar. First, stones are received from a quarry then sorted by size/color for the various purposes of the build. The construction plan is mapped out by the head mason/architect and the grounds are prepared for the build. The stone is then stacked row by row, with mortar applied to the gaps and on top of the stones (to secure the next row). As the construction progresses, the head mason ensures that the stones are laid properly (for stability) by using a tool called a plum line.

Inputs: Stone, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Structures

Skill Level: Medium-high

Requirements: Blacksmith, Source of Stone

Complimentary Industries: Quarrying, Mining


The textile industry involves the processing of natural fibres into yarn and then yarn into fabric. First the fibres are cleaned and drawn straight. The straight fibres are spun in a spinning machine to create the yarn (held on spools). The yarn is then taken and weaved together into fabric on a loom or knit. The fabric is then dyed, printed on, or left raw and ready to be further processed into clothing. The most common natural fibres that are processed into textiles are wool, cotton, silk, flax, jute, and hemp.

Inputs: Natural Fibres, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Textiles (Fabric)

Skill Level: Medium to High

Requirements: Supply of Natural Fibres, Spinning Wheel, Loom

Complimentary Industries: Agriculture, Woodworking


The bow making industry involves processing wood and cord (e.g. sinew) into bows. Simple bows are made entirely of one piece of wood while composite bows are made up of several materials (e.g. horn, wood, sinew). First the wood is selected based on length and optimal grain pattern (for increased flexibility and strength). The bowyer shapes the wood according to the bow type and attaches a cord (e.g. sinew) to notches in either end of the bow.

Bows without arrows are useless. This is where fletchers come in – fletchers are craftsman that make arrows from wooden shafts, stone or metal arrow heads, and “fletching” (fins for improving flight, typically made out of feathers).

Inputs: Wood, Sinew, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Bows, Arrows

Skill Level: Medium-High

Requirements: Supply of Wood, Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Agriculture, Forestry


The art industry involves the creation of artworks from various materials (e.g. stone, leather, paint). While there is no real definition of what art is and what it isn’t, some common practices/domains include painting, sculpture, and ceramics. To be considered industry, there should be some commonality between the creators within the settlement. This could be in their domain, their styles, or even their trade routes. For example, your town could be known as the scrimshaw town, making ornate carvings from ivory. The most important aspect of a successful art industry is ensuring there are buyers available (i.e. demand).

Inputs: Materials, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Artwork

Skill Level: Medium-High

Requirements: Artist Studio,

Complimentary Industries: Textiles, Lumber, Tanning, Smelting, Quarrying


The alchemy industry involves combining various ingredients with alchemical properties into compounds with a desired effect (e.g. potions, elixirs, poisons, dyes, etc.). The purpose of the end product determines what ingredients are required (e.g. healing properties for a health potion). An alchemist begins with researching the ingredients and recipe for creating a specific compound. Once the process is understood, they must source the materials needed through foraging, trade, farms, or adventurers. Following the known recipe or experimenting along the way, the alchemist refines their process and end product. To sustain an alchemy industry, there must be a steady supply of alchemical ingredients or a continuous investment in alchemical research (e.g. Academic Institute).

Inputs: Alchemical Ingredients, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Potions, Elixirs, Poisons, Dyes

Skill Level: Medium to High

Requirements: Laboratory, Source of Alchemical Ingredients

Complimentary Industries: Trade, Adventuring, Agriculture, Academia, Textiles


The academic industry involves the exchange of knowledge for money, whether through educating students or offering their expertise to the public (for a price). An academic institute is likely to have a common goal that its membership is working towards. This could be a specific domain of knowledge (e.g. illusion magic) or a common philosophy or methodology (e.g. protect history). Depending on the focus of the institute, the services offered could vary significantly.

Inputs: Books, Materials, Knowledge, Labor

Outputs: Money, Trained People

Skill Level: Low to High

Requirements: An institute/building to teach in, Knowledgeable faculty

Complimentary Industries: Agriculture, Trade, Alchemy


The ceramics industry involves the processing of clay and other materials into hardened items (e.g. plates, tiles, cups, jugs, etc.). While the outputs may vary greatly in size, shape, complexity and purpose, the process of creating ceramics is the same. To start, the clay is mined then prepared by kneading with water until smooth and pliable. The clay is then shaped into the form of the object that is being created (e.g. vase) using their hands and other tools. While this part can be done on any surface, many potters use a pottery wheel which spins the surface that they’re working on. Once the form is complete it is left to air dry until “leather-hard” and painted or glazed to add color. The form is then fired in a kiln at extremely high temperatures until hardened.

Inputs: Clay, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Pottery, Ceramics

Skill Level: Medium to High

Requirements: Kiln, Source of Clay, Source of Water

Complimentary Industries: Mining (Clay), Alchemy

Boat Building

The boat building industry involves the processing of wood and other materials into floating vessels that can be used for transporting people or goods across bodies of water. A boat may be used for trade, fishing, or even military purposes. Depending on the intended use of the vessel, the design may vary greatly. To build a boat, the design and plans are drafted first. Once complete, the custom timbers are ordered from the sawmills or processed there by hand. Due to the curved design, timbers that have natural curves are selected for and shaped accordingly. The boat is assembled and then sealed using resin, pitch, or some other naturally occurring sealant (waterproof). For smaller vessels, oars may be the only means of propulsion. However, larger vessels may use a combination of oars and sail(s) to generate the energy necessary to move across the water.

Inputs: Wood, Pitch, Tools, Labor, Canvas

Outputs: Boats

Skill Level: High

Requirements: Boatyard, Blacksmith, Source of Timber, Source of Resin/Pitch

Complimentary Industries: Lumber/Sawmill, Forestry, Fishing, Trade, Textiles


The magic industry involves the use of magic to some end, in exchange for money. What magic is used and to what end may vary greatly depending on where you are at in your world (and who is paying). However, there are some common trends that can help you define a magic industry in your settlement. We typically spend money on two things: saving our time and saving our resources. A magic industry may be as small as one or two wizards/magicians offering their services to those who visit them or as complex as a group of wizards augmenting the agricultural industry by watering crops on a massive scale. Due to its power, magic has the potential to disrupt the balance of life – so be conscious of the implications, as they may be great sources of conflict/story.

Inputs: Alchemical materials, Labor, Magic energy (if needed)

Outputs: Magical Effect

Skill Level: High

Requirements: A wizard(s)

Complimentary Industries: Alchemy, Academia

Jewelers/Gem Cutting

The jeweler industry involves the processing of raw precious stones into ornate jewelry and decorations. Stones including amber, quartz, jade, ruby, emerald, and many others are mined from the earth’s surface. The stone is separated from the rock around it (gems naturally occur as deposits) and cleaned. Next, it is shaped through cutting or chipping, using a variety of tools (e.g. chisel). Depending on the available techniques, softer or harder stones may be preferred. The chosen shape may also depend on the grain structure of the gem as well as the end purpose (e.g. ring). Once cut to shape and size, the gem is polished by applying a finer and finer abrasive over time (i.e. sand). The gem is then set into the final piece and fixed in place. While a gem cutter may do nothing but cut stones, it is likely that they also work with gold and other precious metals.

Inputs: Raw Precious Stones

Outputs: Cut Gems/Jewelry

Skill Level: High

Requirements: Source of Precious Stones, Blacksmith

Complimentary Industries: Smithing, Mining, Trade


The adventuring industry involves contracting out the skill and labor of adventurers for some purpose, including (but not limited to) acquiring treasure, defeating monsters, exploring, and investigating. Contracts could be verbal or written, starting with someone seeking out help from an adventuring party. If the adventurers are organized, the person may visit the adventuring guild and post the open contract for the membership to accept. Once payment is negotiated and the contract is accepted, the adventurers see to its completion. What types of contracts are accepted varies across adventuring parties and guilds, as some are more willing to run blindly towards danger or even turn a blind eye to nefarious deeds.

Inputs: Labor

Outputs: Completed Tasks

Skill Level: Low to High

Requirements: Access to adventurers

Complimentary Industries: Armor Smithing, Weapon smithing, Blacksmithing, Alchemy/Medicine, Magic


The tourism (or hospitality) industry involves offering services to visitors that are travelling through the area. This typically refers to taverns and inns, however it can include any recreational service that caters towards visitors. This industry relies on a steady flow of travellers to sustain itself, which means there must be a reason for people to visit in the first place. This could be as simple as the town’s placement along a well travelled road. If the town has a reputation for being particularly good at something (e.g. leatherworking), that reputation may be enough to warrant large numbers of visitors. Due to the limitations of traditional travel, tourism is typically defined by the seasons (e.g. higher traffic in the warm seasons). Because of this tourism towns are usually quiet and desolate during the off-season.

Inputs: Labor

Outputs: Services

Skill Level: Low to Medium

Requirements: Source of Visitors

Complimentary Industries: Jewelers/Gem Cutting, Art, Trade, Tailoring, Leatherworking, Alchemy/Medicine, Academia/Education, Ceramics/Pottery, Magic


The milling industry involves the processing of cereal grains into flour through grinding in a mill. Milling is typically done with a simple set up of two stones, one stationary and one mobile. The larger the stones, the more energy it takes to move them to grind the grain. Because of this, traditional mills must capture some form of passive energy such as wind or running water to move the mobile stone. To crush the grain, it is pouring into a hole at the center of the stones which distributes it through a system of groves and flat plans where the grain is ground. Common grains that are used for flour include wheat, barley, corn, millet, oats, rice, and rye.

Inputs: Grain, Labor, Energy

Outputs: Flour

Skill Level: Low to Medium

Requirements: Mill, Blacksmith, Source of Energy

Complimentary Industries: Agriculture, Carpentry


The beekeeping industry involves the caretaking of bees to harvest their natural biproducts, including wax and honey. When a bee colony has a new queen born, the old queen and her colony may break off and “swarm”. To start a new colony, a beekeeper goes out and finds a swarm taking shelter in nature (e.g. swarming a branch) and captures it. The swarm is introduced to a hive where it settles. Over time, the bees collect pollen and produce honey to feed their colony. Beekeepers open the hives, remove the wax cells, and break them to release the honey. It is collected and stored for future use or sale. The wax can be collected and processed into candles. It is common for agricultural towns to have beehives as they help pollinate their crops, increasing yields.

Inputs: Bees, Labor

Outputs: Honey, Wax

Skill Level: Low to Medium

Requirements: Carpentry, Bees

Complimentary Industries: Agriculture


The papermaking industry involves the processing of natural fibres into sheets of paper for writing, bookmaking, etc. To start, the inner bark fibers of plants are separated from the rest of the plant. The fibers are then soaked in water and cooked. They are then rinsed and beaten to form “paper pulp”. The long fibers are screened and pressed, then left to dry. Once dried, the sheets of pressed paper are cut to size and used or packaged for sale. While paper can realistically be made from any plant fibers, the most common include cotton, linen, and hemp.

Inputs: Plant Fibre, Labor, Water

Outputs: Paper

Skill Level: Medium to High

Requirements: Paper Press, Blacksmith, Source of Plant Fibers

Complimentary Industries: Agriculture, Art, Magic, Alchemy/Medicine, Academia/Education, Forestry


The carpentry industry involves the processing of lumber and other materials into furniture and other wooden objects. First, the carpenter(s) decide on the design for the piece they’re building. If there are special dimensions or wood varieties needed, the carpenters will order ahead of time from a lumber mill (hardwood lumber can take years to dry naturally). All pieces to build the piece are cut, planed flat, and assembled. Traditional wood working uses joinery to hold the wood together, however, it requires more skill than wooden pegs or nails. Depending on how luxurious the piece is meant to be, the carpenter may choose to use exotic woods or more skilled techniques such as carving or inlay.

Inputs: Wood, Tools, Labor

Outputs: Furniture

Skill Level: Medium to High

Requirements: Blacksmith, Source of Lumber

Complimentary Industries: Forestry, Sawmill/Lumber

Step Nine

Government Structure

When settlements grow, they need some form of governance to ensure that the day to day maintenance of the settlement is taken care of, as well as keep the political landscape stable. Depending on what the settlement’s purpose is and who is “in charge” you may have any number of different governance structures. Here’s a list of the most common types of government and a brief description of what defines them from other systems.

Depending on the size of your settlement it may not have any representatives of the governmental body that governs the surrounding area. However, the person(s) in charge may fit into the hierarchy of the overarching government (e.g. a duke within a kingdom). These relationships have great impact on the settlement itself, as any fealty pledged by those in charge must be carried out by the entire settlement.


Choose A Government Structure

Review the government structures listed below and determine which one you’d like for your settlement. Once you’ve decided, record the results in your town building guide (pg. 7). There is a note section for adding additional information that you believe is important.

Government Examples

Common Governance Structures


A monarchy is a governmental system with a person (the monarch) at the head of state. Their power is held for life or until abdication, the formal relinquishing of monarchical authority.  The succession from monarch to monarch is typically hereditary (passed down through generations). It is common for other aristocrats to fill out the ranks underneath the monarch, giving many monarchies similarities to oligarchies. The head of a monarchy is usually called a king or queen; however, emperor, tsar, and kaiser are also acceptable titles.


A democracy is a government system where the people have the authority to choose the governing law. How this power is distributed amongst the people and to whom is defined by the democracy through written lists of agreed upon principals called constitutions. The two most common forms of democracy are direct and representative. Direct democracies have the people directly involved in creating the legislature. Representative democracies have people elect representatives to create legislature for them.  Decisions are made through the majority rule, where at least half of the constituents must agree to move a motion forward.


An aristocracy is a type of government where the rule of law is given to a small, hand selected ruling class called the Aristocrats. How these aristocrats are selected may vary, however, in all cases you’re looking for the “best of the population” to represent the population. The general philosophy behind an aristocracy is that the rule of a few great people is better than the rule of the many. Unlike monarchies, the hereditary aspect of an aristocracy is forbidden, leaving the children of aristocrats to prove their own value before being selected to rule. However, when put into practice the greatest challenge with maintaining a true aristocracy is avoiding corruption and hereditary government (i.e. creating an oligarchy).


An oligarchy is a government system where the power of rule is given to a small number of people, typically chosen due to existing nobility, wealth, or education. While hereditary rule is not guaranteed within an oligarchy, it is quite common for families to remain in power over time. When put into practice, oligarchies behave like corrupt aristocracies – tyranny and oppression from a select few over the population. Because of this, the citizens within oligarchies are unlikely to be favorable of the system.


A theocracy is a government system where a deity has the power to rule over the population, through guiding intermediaries that handle the day to day affairs of the government. Depending on what deity is in power, the government style and objective may vary greatly (e.g. a lawful good deity would focus heavily on upholding justice). The degree to which the deity is involved may vary. It’s possible that those who claim they have divine powers and authority may be simply lying – praying on the belief of the people. However, the belief itself is what keeps a theocracy running smoothly.


A communist government is a government system driven by an ideal that society should be void of social class, money, and a governing state. This is said to be achieved through common ownership of the means of production and equal distribution of economic value across the population. In practice, communism is historically fragile. While the ideals may remain genuine, the system itself tends to fall into corruption and oppression over time.


A tyrannical government is a government system in which an “absolute ruler” or tyrant rules unrestrained by the law (without constitutional right). Tyrants gain control by usurping an existing government/ruler’s sovereignty and maintain their power through oppression of their own people or others. Tyrants often come to power in times of transition by taking advantage of the weakened state of a settlement or country. Over time, tyrants are usually overthrown by another, more dominant, force.


An anarchy system is defined by the “lack of government”, in which no formal hierarchy is recognized, and society is freely constituted without authorities. Those within an anarchy are referred to as anarchists, and seek a new system based on abolishing unjust, coercive governments in place of direct democracies and cooperatives. Due to the nature of anarchy, one could see it as a transition between one government system towards a more favorable one (in the eyes of the anarchists).


A federation (a.k.a. a federal state), is a central governing body created by the union of partially self-governing settlements, provinces, states, or other defined political entity. Within the federation, the central government is given the authority to govern certain aspects of the civilization, while each member retains a limited amount of control to govern their population how they see fit. One example may be military power and trade, where the central government has control of the federation’s armies, but each member is able to establish trade relationships with whomever they want. What governing body gets what power is entirely up to the constituents (and you as the creator).


A plutocracy is a government system where the power is given to a small group of people solely based on their wealth or income. Similar to an oligarchy, the results of a plutocracy are typically a large division between classes and oppressive tactics to retain control (by those in power). Plutocracies do not need to be formally established to exist and in many cases are a result of corrupting an existing system (e.g. aristocracy).  A plutocracy is likely to emerge when those in power become reliant upon or indebted to wealthy individuals. Power shifts as the wealthy leverage their position and take control of the government.


A technocracy is a government system where representatives are elected by the population or are appointed based on their expertise in a specific area of responsibility (e.g. science). Unlike traditional democracies, where elected representatives are chosen based on their political affiliations, technocracies care only about the person’s skills and understanding of their domain. The idea of a technocracy is largely hypothetical, with no real examples to point to.


Checking In

You've made it through chapter three! By now, you should have downloaded your settlement booklet and completed the tasks outlined in the instructions panels. This includes:

  • Choosing a Food Source(s)
  • Choosing Industries
  • Choosing a Government Type

In the next chapter, we'll be looking at events and celebrations within your settlement (e.g. festivals), organizations that exist and influence the settlement's development, and decide on what buildings make sense to be in your settlement (based on your previous decisions).

Go to the Next Chapter ->

Table of Contents

Quick Travel

Chapter 1: Biomes, Settlement Origin, and Terrain

In this chapter we’ll decide what biome your settlement is located in. We’ll look at the common reasons for settlements to start and choose your settlements origin. Finally, we’ll consider the terrain that your settlement is placed upon, using the origin as a key influence.

Read Chapter One ->

Chapter 2: Demographics, Water Source, and Defenses

In this chapter we’ll look at some common demographics for your settlement including name, population, and races. We'll review the minimum requirements for a settlement (e.g. source of food) and decide on a source of water and the settlement's defenses.

Read Chapter Two ->

Chapter 3: Industries and Government

In this chapter we'll review the concept of an industry and decide on one or more industries to support your settlement's population, including a source of food (e.g. agriculture). Next, we'll look at common government structures and decide what type of government you want your settlement to have.

Read Chapter Three ->

Chapter 4: Events, Organizations, and Buildings

In this chapter, we’ll review the concept of events and choose one or more annual events to be celebrated in your settlement. Next, we’ll look at common organizations and use our past decisions to determine what organizations exist in your settlement. Lastly, we’ll take all of the decisions we’ve made so far and determine what buildings will be placed in your settlement.

Read Chapter Four ->

Chapter 5: Neighbours and Landmarks

In this chapter, we’ll look at the surrounding areas of your settlement, including the neighboring communities and their relations with your settlement. While we’re at it, we’ll look at landmarks and determine what significant landmarks exist in and around your settlement.

Read Chapter Five ->

Chapter 6: Drawing your Settlement

In this chapter, we’ll take all of the decisions we’ve made and start drawing a settlement map. We’ll go through a step by step breakdown of the drawing process that I use, using an example settlement that I built using this guide.

Read Chapter Six ->

Resource: Town Building Booklet

If you would like to use the templated booklet to track your answers, use the link below to download the booklet for free.

Download the Booklet ->