OK, first things first... throw out the Kingmaker rules. No seriously, look at the "Ultimate Campaign" books for something a little more sane. The rules in the original book are garbage and simply don't work. The Magic resources are dramatically over-powered the Forest hexes carry negative value even though the DM's guide identify the wood as being very valuable.
And then you get into crazy things like "all mines being equal"... so if you find a gold mine and a diamond mine and a silver mine they're all worth the same thing!?!
Stuff to do:
- Put together a spreadsheet to track everything. Try Google Docs or MS OneDrive for sharing the spreadsheet. You will want to write down what's going on each month so that you have some form of accounting.
- Consider taking some of the city-building "offline", get an on-line die roller and fill out the months when the core parts of the quest are not happening. Otherwise you end up with a few people sitting around eating snack foods while the two or three people actually roll up the Kingdom. This isn't laziness, it's just that kingdom building takes a while to master and most months are filled with pretty mundane decisions. Big structures can take months of setup and even more months to build, so you're not actually making lots of month-to-month decisions.
- Also take a look at the downtime rules (also in Ultimate Campaign), use the spreadsheet above to keep notes on what everyone is doing each month. This can be important source of personal income for people with Crafting skills. It's also relevant for people with specific strategies or things like the Leadership feat where lots of extra people are pulled in.
- Develop a plan for dealing with longer term growth. I did not make it through my Kingmaker campaign, but from what I recall, the heroes Kingdom was eventually going to consume multiple maps, that's a lot of hexes to clear.
What is a recommended kingdom build for the first year?
You basically build roads, farms and a mine or two. Unless something really terrible happened to Oleg's trading post or you chose not to claim the castle, you basically need to build a road from there to your castle and then you need to build farms to feed everyone and then you need to build mines or sawmills to start growing the economy.
You're limited to claiming a hex / month and you don't really have the resources for much more than that anyways. So if you do the math, 12 months is basically just enough for covering the territory between Oleg's and the Castle.
Other personal notes
- Work with your DM to fill out where the book leaves off.
- Aside from the holes in the Kingdom rules, much of the DM's guide seems to have been written by a DM whose players never actually built the Kingdom (else they wouldn't have printed what they did). The result is that you will think of tons of Kingdom-building ideas that the DM just doesn't have in the book.
- You really have to decide how much politicking, spying and things you want to engage in. You also want to talk to the DM about your strategies for dealing with this in your own kingdom. This may be challenging as the story seems to have several set pieces that seem to ignore what you've actually done, but it's nice to know you at least tried.
- Additionally, the economy of the Pathfinder universe is kind of warped and non-functional. The moment you start dealing with money on a big scale, you can see these shortcomings. In fact, if you look at the Ultimate Campaign rules, this is one of the big fixes they made, reducing the output of Magic Shops.
Simple ideas that break the game
- Consider building a "Teleport network". A level 11 sorcerer can cast 6+ teleports / day, carrying 3 additional medium creatures all carrying less than their max load. A normalish human (12 STR) can carry two bags of holding (IV). That's a combined teleport capacity of 12,000 lbs or 2,000 cubic feet. That's about 2x20ft shipping containers on every trip and your handy sorcerer can do 3 round trips / day. What about "mishaps" on teleportation? They don't happen if you build a set of well known locations. And that's barely trying, enlist your fighter and give him Ant Haul and Lighten Object! Suddenly your sorcerer is a jumbo jet of cargo movement. Why would you ever risk a caravan of trade goods?
- Many magic items were not designed with economics in mind. For mining, consider a ring of Hairline Fracture or Expeditious Excavation or Ant Haul (run through an example below). A ring of "Enhance Water" could provide a barkeep with 10 pints of ale / minute simply by changing "water into wine".
- Think about the Create Water "cantrip". A 10th level Cleric/Druid can generate 20 gallons / 6 seconds an infinite number of times. That's 120,000 gallons / hour. Of course, you can put a simple version on a ring for 1000gp and give your town an infinite well. Even less if your Wizard has ring crafting.
- If you get followers due to Leadership, your position as Kingdom rulers will likely give you a +3 or +4 bonus. This means that by level 7 your score can easily be 15 or 16 which means that you will have a 20+ followers, including a level 3 follower and a level 5 cohort. The rules say they are generally not useful in combat, but make them all wizards and give them all wands of magic missile and watch them be very useful in combat (20d4+20 damage per turn). At the least you can leave these as primary guards for your base, but you'll need to negotiate the actual mechanics with the DM.
- The list goes on, but the basic premise is that when you're suddenly competing economically, you start looking at the spell list very differently. And that really changes the world, because most people don't really care about +1 longswords, but they really care about a ring that makes gallons upon gallons of water every day.