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Settlements are the ultimate way to own a part of Golarion, but they’re not necessarily permanent features to the map. The River Kingdoms are littered with the remains of ancient civilizations, and leaders that aren’t managing their kingdoms might wake up one day to find themselves staring down an army of siege engines and attackers Hell-bent on their destruction.
Settlement warfare is designed to:
Disagreements between settlements (or between companies and settlements) can sometimes only be resolved on the battlefield. Settlements (or companies) can attack and capture other settlements by surrounding them with Siege Engines and Camps. The ensuing siege first destroys any stockpiled bulk resources in the settlement's upkeep vault, and then steadily disables all the structures in the settlement. Once all the structures have been disabled, the settlement's owners will lose control of the settlement. At that point the settlement can be claimed by having 1 active holding and 2 active outposts in each neighboring hex.
These are the basic steps for attacking a settlement:
Attacking a settlement should never be taken lightly. Sieging a settlement requires a significant investment in resources and influence by the attackers. Lesser military options like feuds and the occasional Holding capture, or diplomatic options like trade agreements or tribute payments, are often the best ways of solving problems between companies and/or settlements. However, when those options fail, here's what a company needs to siege a settlement.
The first order of business is crafting the necessary siege equipment. Because the targeted settlement needs to be completely surrounded to officially start the siege, the attacking companies need at least 6 Siege Engines and 12 Siege Camps (1 Engine and 2 Camps per neighboring hex). The siege equipment also needs to be powerful enough to actually damage the target settlement based on that settlement's current settlement level and number of structures (see the damage section below to calculate this). The siege equipment kits are fairly heavy and need to be initially stored at an attacking or NPC settlement, so some mule saddlebags may also be helpful to have prepared.
The second order of business is to acquire a source of bulk resources to keep the Siege Engines active. Unlike other outposts, Siege Camps don't provide bulk resources, so the Siege Engines need to be manually stocked with bulk resources to keep them active and doing damage.
Third, establish a supply line between at least one of the attacking settlements (unattached companies may declare an NPC settlement as their base) and the target settlement. This involves having a series of hexes no more than 3 traversable hexes apart, each with a Holding and 2 Outposts held by a company involved in the attack. Hexes of different elevations can't be traversed between without going through a pass hex. Basically, the attacker must be able to draw a traversable path from one attacking settlement to the target settlement, and a character traveling that path (without jumping off cliffs) must never go more than 3 hexes without getting to the next hex controlled by an attacking company.
Finally, the attacking companies will need enough influence to place and upgrade all the required siege equipment. If the attacking companies are attached to settlements, then the founding companies of those settlements will need enough influence to feud the target's founding company. If the attacking companies are unattached, then they need enough influence to also feud the target's founding company themselves. Whenever feuds are required throughout the process, they must be between founding companies unless the attacking company is unattached.
Once everything is nearly prepared, all attacking parties need to send an email to email@example.com stating the target settlement and the attacking companies/settlements, along with which character (or characters) will be given control of the target settlement if the siege succeeds. This email should be sent well in advance of any planned siege so that the GMs and the attackers can work out an official start time for the siege. At the agreed time, a GM will verify that the attackers have everything needed for the attack (including that the siege equipment is stored at an attacking or NPC settlement), and will also record the target settlement's current bulk resource stockpiles, settlement level, PvP windows and settlement structures.
After everything is verified and recorded, the attackers post a war declaration under the General Public forum. This declaration must list all settlements or individual companies participating in the attack. From here on out, the attackers must maintain feuds against the targeted settlement and/or one of its territory-holding companies throughout the bulk of the target's PvP windows. The attackers must also pay a weekly Settlement Warfare Deposit to a GM of 1 Copper Coin for each point of Settlement Defenses the target has for the duration of the war, half of which will be given to the victor at the end of the war (attacker wins by defeating the settlement, target wins by retaining settlement ownership).
At least 24 hours must pass between the posting of that war declaration and the first placement of any siege equipment (an exception is made for any siege equipment a participating company placed during a previous siege attempt that has not been destroyed). It will often be beneficial to declare war before attacking any of the holdings around the target settlement, since any attacks before the declaration could tip the targeted settlement off and result in them raising their settlement level or taking other measures to increase their defenses.
Once war is declared, the defending settlement is under some restrictions:
The siege officially starts when the following conditions are met for 3 days in a row during the defending settlement's PvP days (which are automatically applied to the neighboring siege equipment):
This will all be checked right before or after downtime each day, as appropriate. Once the siege is officially started, it enters its initial bulk resource destruction phase.
During the 3 days the siege is being established, no damage is done to the settlement or its bulk resources. After that, damage is done each day that PvP windows are open for hexes neighboring the target settlement and that the supply line is active. Each hex that has an active Siege Engine and 2 active Siege Camps, all of which survive an active PvP window and feud (at least 48 hours old), will have its damage calculated based on the lowest upgrade of the lowest tier for all the siege equipment in that hex. For example, a hex with a Master's Siege Engine +3, a Professional's Siege Camp +5 and a Professional's Siege Camp +4 will do the damage listed next to Professional's +4. That's because the lowest tier for any of the equipment is Professional's, and the lowest upgrade among those was +4.
Here's the amount of damage each hex will do based on its lowest siege equipment tier/upgrade:
The damage from all the neighboring hexes gets added together, with a 5% bonus for each neighboring hex contributing to the damage (i.e. no bonus if only 1 contributing hex, 5% bonus if 2 contributing hexes, up to 25% bonus if all 6 hexes are contributing). If necessary, round the damage down after the bonus is applied.
Next, the target settlement's defenses are calculated to see how much damage gets blocked that day. The defenses can drop over time if some of the settlement's structures are damaged or if the settlement isn't able to maintain its original settlement level, but the defenses can't go up from their original value.
Settlement Defenses are based on Settlement Level and the number of active structures of each size. The first part comes purely from the Settlement Level, as follows:
The second part comes from the settlement's structures, but also takes into account Settlement Level again. The structures for each size are tallied, and then each count is multiplied by the appropriate multiplier for that size (1 for Infrastructure, 1.5 for Small, 2 for Medium and 2.5 for Large). The results are added together and then multiplied by the Settlement Level. Here's the formula (if necessary, round the final results down):
The Settlement Level Defenses are then added to the Settlement Structure Defenses to get the final Settlement Defenses. Here are a few examples:
The amount of actual damage done to the settlement each day is calculated by first taking the total damage from all neighboring hexes and then subtracting the settlement's defenses.
To very roughly calculate the siege equipment required to damage a settlement, divide the Settlement Defenses by 7.5 and see which tiers/upgrades do at least that much damage. Having active siege equipment of at least that tier/upgrade in all 6 neighboring hexes will guarantee that some damage is done each day. It’s possible that mixing and matching siege equipment will let the attackers get by with some slightly lower tier/upgrade equipment, but for actively defended settlements, attackers will usually be better off having some extra damage capability in case one or two hexes are temporarily unable to contribute to the damage totals.
During the bulk resource destruction phase, the damage done to the settlement each day is used to decide how much of each bulk resources gets destroyed that day. The amount to be destroyed is doubled for every previous successive week of PvP during which the settlement took damage all three days. In other words, the multiplier is 1 the first week, 2 the second week, 4 the third week, and so on, with the multiplier resetting to 1 any PvP day that the siege equipment doesn't manage to damage the settlement.
If any one of the bulk resource types doesn't have enough available resources to cover the damage, or if the total amount of damage to that resource type over the course of the siege exceeds the amount the settlement started out with of that type, then 4 times the amount of other bulk resources (starting with the most plentiful) will be taken to cover the remaining damage. If there are aren’t enough bulk resources to cover all of the day’s damage, the siege will move into the structure destruction stage the next day.
During the structure destruction phase, the amount of damage that gets through each day is passed on to the settlement's structures. There is no multiplier for successive weeks of damage.
Each day, damage is applied to only the smallest size of buildings still remaining, with damage applied to one building at a time until it is destroyed. Damage to individual buildings carries over from day to day. On any given day, at most 4 Infrastructure, 3 Small, 2 Medium or 1 Large structure can be destroyed. Once that limit is reached, or once the last building of a particular size is destroyed, no more damage is applied to any additional buildings that day.
The amount of damage each structure can take is based on its size and Settlement Level:
If there are no structures remaining and there is excess damage that doesn't get applied to any structures, then the siege will move into the settlement destruction stage the next day.
During this final phase, if the attackers damage the settlement at all, the settlement falls and the victors have the first shot at claiming control.
The victors have exclusive holding/outpost building rights in the neighboring 6 hexes for 1 week, and can claim the settlement by surrounding it with 1 active holding and 2 active outposts in each neighboring hex. The newly claimed settlement is protected from being sieged for 1 month. Destroyed buildings can be repaired at a cost of 1 gold coin each (regardless of size), but at least 25% (rounded down) of each size of buildings must be torn down. The new owners get to decide which buildings they'd like to repair and which will be torn down.
If the victors do not claim the settlement within two weeks, then buildings will be chosen at random to tear down and the settlement is treated as abandoned. Abandoned settlements can be claimed by any group that manages to surround the settlement with 1 active holding and 2 active outposts in each neighboring hex. Any remaining buildings can be repaired at a cost of 1 gold coin each or torn down.
Newly claimed settlements are protected from being sieged for 1 month.
Until the target settlement is destroyed and turned over to new owners, the siege can be defeated in the following ways:
If the siege fails for any of these reasons, then the attacking companies/settlements cannot participate in another siege for 1 month.