Medieval Economy: Revision of Bibliography


The aim of this analysis is to find clues to create a system for building a medieval society. This system has to link the kingdoms macroeconomy with the characters microeconomy.

To achieve this objective, we have analyzed several information sources.


Grain into Gold (Generic)

Coberta de Grain into Gold

Grain into Gold

The more “raw data” of all sources analyzed. It’s not linked to any game system. There are lists of prices of productes and professional wages.

There are some interesting facts established: an slave can be maintained alive with 100 silver coins a year, and one peasant family needs between 20 and 30 acres to survive in more or less good conditions.

There is any system to calculate demography.

GURPS 4th ed. Low-Tech Companion 3: Daily Life and Economics

Coberta de Daily Life and Economics

GURPS 4th ed. Daily Life and Economics

As Grain into Gold, there is “raw data” in this book. There are lists of salaris, and includes a system to calculate the cost of manufactured products.

It establishes a population density between 10 and 75 people per square mile.

Hârnmanor (Hârnmaster)

Coberta de Hârnmanor


És el sistema més complet a l’hora de dissenyar un feu. El sistema consisteix en omplir tres formularis: el del poble on hi viuen els tenants, el de la casa del noble, i el del feu. El resultat reflecteix la producció al detall, des dels diners que li queden al noble al cap de l’any fins la quantitat de blat que es produeix.

The more complete system to design a fief. The result are some forms including the money gained by the noble, the number and profession of tenants, the quantity of animals maintained, etc.

There is an unofficial simulator to do this automatically, but you will need the book to understand it:

The simulator only works for small fiefs, up to 3600 acres. So it’s impossible to build something larger, like a county or a kingdom.

Book Of The Manor (Pendragon)

Similar to Harnmanor, but simpler. The incomes and outcomes are calculated in a very simple way.

This system is centered in gaming, not in demographics. It has to be fun to play with it, but doesn’t permit to build a demography.

Includes an inventory of buildings to improve the fief, and tables of random events.

A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe

Coberta del manual A Magical Medieval Society

A Magical Medieval Society

At first view is the more complete system. It includes the generation of manors, kingdoms, cities, buildings, etc.

It’s a book for the D20 system. It’s not very realistic (the main coin is the gold piece), and not very scalable because the mininum population to begin with is two million.

A Song Of Ice And Fire: Core Rulebook

Coberta de A Song of Ice and Fire: Core Rulebook

A Song of Ice and Fire: Core Rulebook

Igual que Hârnmanor i The Book of the Manor, inclou un sistema per gestionar un feu, però és molt més abstracte. Es parla de casals nobles, que tenen una sèrie d’atributs que es poden millorar amb el temps a mesura que els personatges hi van aportant glòria o diners.
És un sistema fàcil de jugar, i ajuda a veure el feu com un personatge més que ha de pujar de nivell, però no permet fer cap càlcul demogràfic.

Like Harnmanor and The book of the manor, includes a system to manage a fief, but is very abstract. Noble households are like characters to be played and improved in time with glory or money.

It seems a fun game to play, but we cannot use it to build the demography and economics of our campaign.

Internet resources

Medieval Economics by Philip McGregor

An interesting article to know the medieval economic reality.

Historical hit points 2 simulating medieval economics in tabletop RPGs

A dissertation about the difficulties to find a system to manage the medieval economy in fantastic settings.

Medieval levies and revenues for fantasy RPGs

A system to calculate armies and their salaries.

Medieval Demographics Made Easy

A system to calculate quickly the population and entire kingdoms. It allow to create cities, towns and villages.

There is a random generator based in this article.


There is any system fitting a hundred per cent to our necessites: realism and scalability. We have tried different systems, going from general to local and from specific to global. Only the last worked.

We will work with Harnmanor to create a standard manor, then we will extrapolate the results to the entire county.

We will use the random kingdom generator to establish the number of cities, towns and villages of each county.

Finally, we will use Daily life and economics to calculate the cost of the infrastructures.

On the next posts we will try to give an example of use of this combination of systems.



About Roger Trobanoms

Roleplaying Master, playing Fate Core in a Medieval fantasy setting of his own creation.
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One Response to Medieval Economy: Revision of Bibliography

  1. Pingback: Economy (I): The Earldom Form | Table RPG

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