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In our Kingmaker campaigh, the wizard (who is not too shy with necromancy) is thinking about heavyload transportation, as in all the stone and ore from mines, building materials and whatnot.

Typical "freighter" is a caravan of many people with many horses, mules and maybe bulls and other strong animals who push a cart. Teleportation and bags of holding/portable holes are indeed faster and more efficient, specially if teleports are free (bound outsider) or a demiplate that is used as a buffer.

But, the objective is not to break a game, is to make a showoff gimmick of a wizard that is indeed helpful and don't cause a major discomfort to society and good masses.

Right now the party is at level 9 and any high level spell that they can't cast yet is available through scrolls bought in another city via teleports and purchase orders. relevant members are: Wizard 9, Cleric 9, Mite Druid 6(cohort)

Best suggestions that were found so far:

  • Animated Object (collossal) Sure it's cost is about 30k plus base materials but construction points can make it fly at decent speed and 46 STR can make it a really good beast of burden. If made like a spider, it's carry weight might be even bigger, but it will have to deal with rough terrain and obstacles. A flying ship or a fort with spider legs
  • Any flying or quadruped colossal creature that was a target of Animate Dead with a couple of precautions against paladins and whatnot. Far cheaper solution but also far riskier because of the need of constant wards against detections. Good candidates are a Shipwrecked Crab, Megafauna or Titan Centipede
  • Any gigantic vermin or animal that was tamed and trained by said Mite Druid
  • A candidate for the role of Atlas Telamon where some giant or other strong humanoid is given strength boosting items, muleback cords, masterwork "backpack", ant haul and so on, making a rather comical image of a tiny man carrying a mountain on top of his shoulders. Multiple Atlases can be hired and really expensive items like +6 belt of giant's strenghth can be given for a time when kingdom is at peace.
  • Playing with shipping containers and Shrink Item spell. the goods are loaded, spell is cast(ether by a wand, scroll or caster) and a much smaller-than-colossal bird will carry the container wherever it's needed.

My only concern, right now, is that those beasts of burden will be used as siege engines or platforms for those to do pinpoint strikes (or just make it rain a metric ton of rubble on their heads every round) during war phases so the enemy side will have to deal with that somehow which add yet another layer of complexity on top (maybe a good old shower of fireballs/dispells/save-or-dies to deal with that after a couple of uses on enemies)

Anyone have recomendations on which is best suited for the kingdom's freighter role? Maybe I've missed something?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras something that is more versatile than circles of teleportation and cooler than a bigger caravan (no option for boats there because no rivers in a useful proximity). plus a scroll with teleportation circle is 4825 for a 170 min teleport window or 22500 extra if made permanent. It doesn't need to be groundbreakingly useful or much cheaper, it's something that is at least much more useful than standard way and way cooler so the wizard can brag about it (look, I made/tamed this) \$\endgroup\$ – Saendra Sep 3 '18 at 0:54
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Create vehicles and constructs

There are many vehicles that become easily available should your group have the necessary gold and willing workers (by owning a kingdom, for instance). To list a few:

  • Airships, can load up to 30 tons or 100 passengers. It costs 50k gp;
  • Alchemical Dragons, can load up to 20 tons or 70 passengers. It costs 100k gp.

Despite the high cost, that is their buy price, being much cheaper if created by the PCs (from 1/3 to 1/2 the price), especially if using Fabricate.

On the other hand, players also have the option to start building constructs, which normally have a high strength (and thus a high carrying capacity) and will never get tired. Wood Golems can be created for as cheap as 8.8k gp, and even if they can't carry the same weight as an ogre, they will never get tired or require food.

Still, for that same cost, you could have dozens, if not hundreds, of humanoids pulling horses and mules pulling their wagons for months, if not years. And if they get tired, or old, you can easily replace them by another (while an airship would cost a fortune in repairs). So, while a cool idea, its not really cost-efficient no matter how you put it.

3rd-party solutions

The credited creator of the kingdom building rules, Jason Nelson, has created other supplements expanding those rules under 3rd-party-published books. The Ultimate Ruleship book, brings us two other options for extra work force:

Animated Automation (5 BP per building or 25 BP per hex): Permanent animated objects can be used to replace living laborers. While they cannot perform complex tasks, they have great strength and endless stamina. Local citizens may resent the automation of labor cutting into their job opportunities. Effect +1 Fame. Animated objects in a city must be assigned to a specific building that provides a bonus to Productivity. They provide the following additional settlement modifiers: +1 Economy, +1 Productivity, -1 Loyalty. Alternatively, animated objects can be assigned to a hex with a Farm, Mine, Quarry, or Sawmill. In such hexes, animated objects usually work alongside human(oid) laborers, replacing or supplementing pack animals or operating heavy machinery. Constructs in these hexes provide +1 additional BP of revenue (or increase Consumption reduction of a Farm by 1). Prerequisite Cathedral or Magical Academy.

Deathless Laborers (2 BP per building or 10 BP per hex): While incapable of skilled labor, mindless undead created with animate dead are utterly tireless in performing simple, repetitive tasks. Animated skeletons and zombies can be created and tasked to perform such simple labor, increasing economic productivity but making the general populace nervous about the possibility of the undead breaking loose and going on a rampage against the living. Effect Infamy +1. Deathless laborers in a city must be assigned to a specific building that provides a bonus to Productivity. They provide the following additional settlement modifiers: Economy +1, Productivity +1, Danger +1. Alternatively, deathless laborers can be assigned to a hex with a Farm, Mine, Quarry, or Sawmill; undead in these hexes provide +1 additional BP of revenue (or increase Consumption reduction of a Farm by 1), while creating +1 Unrest and increasing Danger in that hex by 5. Prerequisite Caster’s Tower or Temple; Tunnels or Graveyard.

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