Community Design Journal - Taxes & Town Managment

----------------------Welcome to the very first Community Design Journal! -------------------

Your Role: You have been hired by soulbound Studios to figure out just how a new game system would be designed and executed.

The Rules: you must keep in mind the 5 design pillars that each system must pass...

1. The world must be truly dynamic!

2. The hero must be truly heroic!

3. Anything in the game that requires character skill must also take player skill!

4. Must have a reason to come back everyday!

5. Introduction of survival elements for dramatic storytelling

Each week we will pick a topic and its up to you to tell us how you would envision your system working or maybe a simple Idea of what you want added to a system and how it would work.

Todays weekly topic is : Taxes & Town/City Management

These two systems go hand and hand so let us know how you envision your system working and we welcome others to join in with constructive criticism!

6/2/2016 12:04:22 AM #1

Riiiight... Here are some fun thoughts though. I think they should have to send a tax man around to gather the taxes from a lockbox and communicate via messenger on any changes or issues. That gives a count an active interest in ensuring that the area is safe cause his tax collector could be hijacked. If your settlement is not worth traveling to for the tax then you get a pass cause they didn't collect, if a secure road gets built nearby they could start showing up. This would create contractual jobs for players to do. I can already think of how I would write a contract up... I would sell the total county tax amount to a player for 50 to 75% of the value upfront and give them authority to collect it. The player then is responsible for traveling and security and makes whatever they collect over the upfront amount. If he shows to collect and the funds aren't available he can issue a notice that I would act on (depending on how good of a negotiator they are they could put a clause in their that would require me to return half of the funds for lands that don't collect). I think Town/City Management should be through an NPC(think Pillars of Eternity). You would communicate what you want done to the Town Manager who visits the people in charge of the various roles and delivers the orders.

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. ~Napoleon Bonaparte Friend Code: 27AA6C

Stalwart Proving Grounds in Boros County Duchy of The Stormlands Kingdom of Vornair Luna.

6/2/2016 3:08:39 AM #2

Property Taxes

just as in our world property tax is different for every person. Property in COE will all hold different values depending where they are and also what other building that are around them. Land will go up and down over time depending on how a city grows. Land value will depend on how many building surround them and what type of building surround them.below is a chart showing just a example of that...

Every government structure added to the city will have a invisible range around them that improves the value of the land around it.This circle size will depend on the type of building and what it provides. The circle is only shown on the city management table.

COE is a component based building system where every foundation and wall you add to a building have a small tax cost embed in it. The type of material used also effects the tax value. Adding up this collective cost added with your land value will give you your over all property tax. The city planning choices a count or duke make can effect your tax rate.

Besides basic home building there are government building that provide a benefit to those around it.Take for example a small well.The well provides a buff that reduces the thirst loss that happens over time.The well also provides water when used to restore thirst.Having that benefit so close comes at a cost of extra tax.

Infrastructure tax

is a bit different. The walls, roads and bridges make up most of the infrastructure tax each component also having it own cost but the cost is split among the people in the county you live in. The city manager pays the tax with all the money collected. That payment keeps structures from decaying.

Tax Collection

when you first acquire your land you sign a contract that that explains when taxes will be collected. The player/npc will place payment in the collection box inside the city management building.Each time tax is due you will receive a tax notice with a detailed list of what you owe.Players living outside city walls may pay less taxes on infrastructure and property tax but will also have farther to travel, buff loss and lose city wall for protection so every placement in the city has a pro and a con attached to it.

Failure to pay

having failed to pay on your contract due date for lack of money or forgetfulness the city will send out a collector to visit you in person to collect debt owed. failure to pay will provide you with some choices...

Raise the money

Pay your owed money within a extended time will get you back into good graces.... but with a 10% added compliance fee

Talk to your count/duke/mayor

they can give you a waver if you have good standing with them.. but dont expect this to happen more then a few times as your lack of money must be made up in other places for them to pay the tax owed.

Contract Barter

agree to provide a service to make up for the debt owed.example of this might be to use your trade to give the count/duke/king swords for their army.(better hope you deliver)

2nd Payment Failure

collector of coin will visit you but will most likly bring along a guard for harassment and you/home will be searched for compensation.

* Final Payment Failure*

final payment failure will go straight to the town manager. Town manager will then pull use your land deed as payment as you will be given a few days to move before the land will be put back on the land management table for someone to buy for their own.

---------------------City and Town Management---------------------

becoming a city elder/count/duke/baron/king is not a job for the faint of heart.With great power comes great responsibility.Management of a city starts at the city management table where they can look at the city layout begin planing. The faster the city grows will open up more options for a city planner. The city planner can see the over all city cost to keep up with current infrastructure and is allowed to place different city management like tables in government buildings turning a basic building into something more. the bigger the city wall or building the more cost it will takes to keep it from decaying over time. The city planner will have full control over the following....

1.Tax controls


3.Troop Recruitment & Training

4.Troop Armament

5.City building supplies

6.Food supplies

7.City Layout

8.Infrastructure & property tax collection

take for example building a wall to protect the city.this task is no easy challenge... first they must decide placement. The second task would be supplies. The supplies can be gathered 4 different ways.

1.Donation (blacksmith that wants to help might give you iron braces for the dooor)

2.Tax compensation ( lumber jack cant pay his tax so he donates a agreed amount of wood for compensation for the tax )

3.Trading (inside/outside) of town

4.Lastly is using tax money

the last one being the main way of getting the job done. The city planner would withdrawal tax money to buy supplies from local crafters (contract sales) or use it to trade with neighboring cities.(hope that wagon don't get robbed)

using this system makes the city planner responsible for what happens with the tax money.... He might send a guard off for training with it... buy swords for them or take on more men to help defend.. build a stable to house the city horses. The choice of how to expand and how much is very important. The factors that get thrown your way might also throw a hole in your plans. The city gets attacked and you lose a few men and need supply's to fix the walls and buy more horses. the king might demand a bigger cut of what you make then you had planed.The possibilities are endless!

City Management Failure having careless city manager will have a visual effect also.. players might be responsible for their homes but a careless city planning can lead to a host of problems. one might come with spending to much money in the wrong places. This might leave short on money to pay the city infrastructure cost. This will have a visual cost as well a structure cost.walls will start to get weaker (must use supplys to get them back into good standing)... roads will start to fade away. each city manager will have the choice to pick and choice what infrastructure they wish to upkeep. failure to keep the granary stocked with food might will cause your city to lose its hunger buff. People will take notice and will forced upkeep their own hunger needs.( I smell a fire heading your way )

Fail to provide the city with what it wants might just cause a uprising. a king that ask to much of a duke might leave him failing in his city or failing to grow the city like the city demands....

Tax without growth like the example above keeping high taxes on your people with nothing to show for it might not always be your fault. Having to explain your case to the mob of people outside your door asking questions about why everything is going to hell might be a fun job and might go 1 of 3 ways....

  1. the people blame the king and take your word for it and you reason out a deal with a king to lower the tax for good or for a agreed amount of time.

  2. The people take back their city by force starting a uprising.

A active city manager who cut deals early on might have more understanding then a city manager who's enjoys his power.

to be continued....

6/2/2016 3:34:48 AM #3

I have just a couple thoughts on taxes as well, first is that taxes need to be decided by the highest authority and carried out by each following rank. Meaning the king decides how much he needs to run his entire kingdom of 4 dukes, let's say 10,000 coins every 2 weeks IRL. So he looks at his 4 dukes and says "you all have about the same size population and economy I want 2500 from each duke every two weeks."

So now the burden gets passed down to the Dukes, each with lets say 5 counts. The duke needs 1500 for his own duchy and needs to pay 2500 to the king so on total 4000 gold coins, he looks at his counts and says 800 each. If one is a warring count that has fewer economics and more war he may ask for 400 from that count and 1200 from a county based on trade. But let's just say each needs 800

So the counts need their 800 and maybe 700 to fuel the county projects each week. Each count has 5 barons and he says 300 every two weeks. The barons need to make 300 for the count and 200 for the city infrastructure so they need 500. The barons look at their 100 citizens and say 5 coins every 2 weeks please.

This trickle down system, each with their own tax collector to manage it, seems like the simplest and most manageable way to perform taxes. It also ensures the bigger picture is always taken care of first. It keeps every level on the simplest need to know basis and if every level of government needs a tax collector they can have varying degrees of protection and payment giving freedom to each noble to tax the best way for their citizens. For example the barons who need 500 every two weeks can choose to tax 10 Coins a month rather than 5 a week of they have a lot of travelling merchants who can't be back every two weeks. I think this system will work best and if one tax collector gets robbed there will be hundreds others still collecting money. They don't put the fate of all their coins on one tax collector.

Aspiring Lumberjack, NA-W

6/2/2016 3:46:25 AM #4

I like where your head is at.It will be interesting to see how a group of powerful men having to hand money over to the next guy in line might lead too and where that might leave the guy at the bottom having to face his people with nothing.Then having also to take in how well the each person is at city planning could really have ripple effects all over the kingdom if someone does a poor job.

6/2/2016 9:47:04 AM #5

I agree that this system is the simplest one to implement. However, this does not ensure the bigger picture is always taken care first.

When all the money is simply put into the hands of the king, what is stopping the king from spending these very money on his personal enjoyment? or spend the money to further his ambition to obtain more power?

The method suggested by you, simply ask the inhabitants to hand their hard earn resources to the highest authority. It does not guarantee anything other than the nobility having more resources to play with comparing to the other players.

Never argue with an idiot, cuz he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Vice mayor of Lighthalzen

6/2/2016 12:18:57 PM #6

I would implement taxes with an autocontract. Not honoring the contract gives the lord above you retribution options such as eviction and deposition banishment and death. It is up to the counties kingdoms and Dutchies to find support for these taxes or face rebellion. Each inhabitant should be able to rebel and overthrow their lord by arms including the citizens of the baronies. Similar to the rules about casus Belli.

A system like this forces everyone to talk, compromise and if someone does not, he would face certain consequences.

This also means there needs to be a way to Change liefs and swearing fealty to someone else or be a stateless vagabond.


6/2/2016 12:42:32 PM #7

Just a note here... this very detailed system will go to crap as soon as players decide they don't like it. I wouldn't make a set system, but give different options. Maybe give options like the above, payment for entry, payment for services or sales taxes (On second thought I think sales tax is a bad Idea... I would rent stalls in a market place and charge for the premium shop locations) (to towns/cities). If you lock people into a system like this the strongest Kingdom is the one that locks tax at 0, for a person that does that the players will destroy all others. Example, I've played games where the King could set taxes collected from the resources you gathered... and players would allow around 3% typically without complaint (and that didn't require any player effort!). If the taxes jumped to 10% the King would be dead within an hour. If a King set it to 0% he didn't even have to have guards! Now it just occurred to me that the only way SS can stop immediate overthrow b/c of this tax system is NPC guards... so I'm guessing you might want to up your pledges if that was a concern of yours cause their is no way they can enforce a tax system that requires you to travel to pay without players saying... come and get it puny king. Now before people say the Kingdom will fall apart without funds, at least acknowledge that their are other ways to gain funds... be honest.

Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. ~Napoleon Bonaparte Friend Code: 27AA6C

Stalwart Proving Grounds in Boros County Duchy of The Stormlands Kingdom of Vornair Luna.

6/2/2016 1:59:23 PM #8

Whatever the taxation system is, I suggest avoiding allowing it to become over-complicated or burdensome.

I'm not sure at what level you see an interactive menu with your economic needs, what it would look like, and the ability to determine what is what as a King/Duke/Count/Baron (Johnny 5 needs input!) and how that might look differently.

There should be a simplified menu to monitor this, it would be positively fantastic if this system could be integrated into a cell phone app to monitor this remotely, possibly allowing Nobles to also take IMs directly as well in case subjects have questions.

Devs should limit the ability of nobles to over complicate the taxation system (you really don't want to get into a situation where everyone might need an accountant to help them either implement taxes or pay them!) look at flat taxation, and use a percentage system that the program automatically calculates. I strongly suggest, much like banks, give the players the option to MANUALLY or AUTOMATICALLY pay these taxes. Some players aren't going to want to care or worry about taxation because that's just background noise to the game, or, as the Devs have noted, this game is geared towards older folks with less time, so allowing for some level of automation caters to that desire. Allow a check-box for the noble to mark the tax as 'paid' on their end as well, if a noble is offering incentive to settle in their town, such as waiving taxes for a year on a property, or if a barter situation has occurred,(With contracts!) they can just have a box to mark that property as paid. That way, as well, if the noble FAILS to check that box, despite a contract, that's something the system can monitor as well. (always get a contract! ~^_^~)

I would not allow for income taxation, as we're going to have a large nomadic population. Focus on property taxes attached to the type of building on the property. IE, plain houses have a basic number, that fluctuates by the sq ftage which the program should know anyway, which would simplify matters. Businesses/workstations on a property site incur a slightly higher tax, again, the game already can determine what type of workstations you have on a property, so it's information generated automatically. As a point, don't allow for it to be a large tax, as some players may have the workstations for 'practice'.

Allow the option to impose a 'sales tax' for all financial transactions that take place openly within a city. It should be attached to a 'Licensed Vendor' contract, which should allow for the aforementioned app to give the noble a drop-down list of vendors.

Each level up can get a 'sorted list' of vendors broken down by duchy, county, city then establishment. It allows not only for higher up players to have some level of 'connection' with active businesses and their players under their purview, but it can also allow each level to make sure that their counterparts on each level are doing ok. If County X is undergoing a drought (BTW, when disasters begin, there should be some ability to click on the area's holder and get a report on that. Even if the -player- doesn't report it, as they may not have time, in an NPC sense, surely to the Gods with the moving around people do, word will get there. Let's just have it happen electronically.) and really struggling, the Duke or King can then choose to re-allocate resources since they have a method to be aware of the situation.) Then folks can trade in a kijiji-style basis,(IE tax-free) but anyone who wants to own an establishment can then be taxed accordingly (and, again, be charged either automatically or opt to do so manually)

For properties sold between players, the baron/count/duke/king should have an option for a 'minimum number' that would be their take in those instances. (IE, for a small plot, there's a 500 coin base price for all 'small plots', King gets 250, duke gets 125, count 75, baron 50 not a precise number, but an idea) so it's possible for someone to sell for a single coin, but they still have to pay the penultimate 'owners' of the land as well (It would be similar to a deed-transfer tax or other similar real estate taxes, it just de-complicates it basing it on size rather than price, and Lords should be able to 'waive' their fee based on contract, or add on a percentage sales tax if prices in cities gets way out of hand..which they have in other games).

Sorry for the ramble ~^_^;~

6/2/2016 2:40:23 PM #9

All great ideas! SquiddyLaFemme is right in that it cannot become too complicated or burdensome or else ppl will simply not pay taxes. Below are some bullets on the way I have imagined the system.

Flat taxes on property and OPC sales of goods.

Taxes are set by region by each level of governance. (King sets base at say 2%, duke adds 1%, count 1%, mayor 1%) In this way each level gets money AND resources to benefit their lands)

A portion of resources gathered FOR THE SETTLEMENT is "taxed" and sent to the count, duke, king. It has been stated that you will need farms and the like to provide resources to the settlement.

AUTOMATIC collection on property and OPC sales. For immersion, a system of payment from the baron up to the king could be put in place, but the actual payment of such tax is auto at the source. (SWG upkeep style)

6/2/2016 11:14:01 PM #10

It was said in one of the kickstarter replies that not paying taxes was a crime. I'd love to see a count go down for embezzling the tax rolls.

6/15/2016 6:56:18 AM #11

Thankfully, absolutely nothing is stopping a King,Duke,Count,Baron from taxing their citizens for personal gain or whatever they see fit. This opens the door for a lot of interesting outcomes such as organized protest or even rebellion. The game shouldn't force you to do anything. You just have to deal with the consequences of your actions =D

6/15/2016 11:23:38 AM #12

Uh Oh, it looks like The US IRS is planning on being some nobility in CoE. :P Some of that I could understand about as well as our current tax code.

I had begun thinking about taxes for my county, but I had thought it was pretty useless to begin thinking to much about that yet, for the reasons @CuteLilPuppyDog gave. I have to know what the Duke and King are going to charge me, before I can set my tax rate.

What I am going to do is set a simple % for personal income, and a % for sales tax. Hopefully both small, as I want to encourage crafters, merchants, etc. to live in my county, and just as IRL a small tax rate can do that, compared to a large tax rate from others.

9/4/2016 6:51:05 PM #13

Given, that in medieval times there wasn't a feasible way to control how high your income actually is, taxes should depend on your profession. So basically if you want to be a traveling merchant you have to pay customs. To be allowed to hunt/gather/etc you'll have to have the necessary permissions, which have to be paid for. Hunting was after all a privilege in those times usually only granted to nobility. The same goes for crafters. To be allowed to craft and sell your products you need a permission. By controlling who is allowed to craft, you also avoid having 10 blacksmiths in a village with a population of 20. Farmers should pay an amount relative to the area they can grow their plants on.

9/5/2016 4:34:26 AM #14

I like yours the best so far Xethoras, it's the simplest but it works the best. Once it gets into the bigger cities there will be a need for all sorts of permits, permits to build new buildings or update old ones, permits to sell goods, permits for everything.

Join Freeport County, we like boats. And dogs.

9/5/2016 6:31:40 AM #15

We have to remember that there are several level of taxes and that taxes must be collected.

Just like Xethoras said there is a practical aspect that needs to accounted for.

  • King tax Duke and may or not have access to some other taxes

  • Duke tax Count and may or not have access to some other taxes

  • Count tax Mayor and land owners and may or not have access to some other taxes

  • Mayor tax settlement inhabitants.

Then comes the question of what to tax, the answer to that question is linked to how to collect taxes.

There are at least 3 big kind of taxes, taxes on possessions, taxes on activity and taxes on usage.

taxes on possessions:

  • first comes land, land is taxed at Count level and is part of the buying deal when you buy land.

  • then buildings, those might be tools for mayors to incite or limit building types, styles and location, they hardly can be contracted so might need to be under law or city planning.

  • children, depending on if you want to limit or increase population you can tax the number of children or the lack of children; a population control tool that is probably going to be in the hands of nobles.

taxes on usage:

  • usage of community buildings, bridges, roads, mills; buildings that have been built by nobles to be used by all but not for free.

  • usage of settlement existence, fancy town security and amenities ? pay the tax. tax the passage thru the gate of settlement, the elder seat...

taxes on activities:

there is two ways to do that, either record the activity and then tax it or tax the right to perform. the first one goes with books to record activity, the other with permits. You can obviously combine both.

As Xethoras and history i'd go for permits too as it is yet an other tool to control activity, especially in a world where ressources are depleted.

Since every tax level will need its own tax collectors they might be collecting directly all the taxes they created, but also might want to delegate some to lower level. The master of the tax collector is also going to say who you'll antagonise if attacking him or refusing to pay... not the same deal to attack mayor's tax collector and king's one!

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