Each Ronin player receives a non-accumulating income, measured in koku. The income level of a player determines how many Ronin can be hired and sustained. Income comes from one or four places: family, territory, taxation, and stipend.
All players receive a small income from their family fortune. It is the same for all players and is just enough to support a small army.
Each castle in Ronin controls the surrounding territory, which yields an income from agriculture and commerce. Territories have different sizes and land quality, so their incomes are not all the same. The territory income also varies dynamically because of external forces (i.e. drought, flood). Territory income also increases if the surrounding territories are all under the control of the same lord, including adjacent territories that are controlled by different vassals of the same lord, a result of the increased productivity induced by political stability. Of course, the player who controls the castle receives the profit from its territory.
Taxation and Stipend
A vassal is responsible to pay taxes to his lord, unless the lord is generous enough to offer a stipend. The lord sets the taxation level or salary (stipend) of the vassal. Taxes are specified as a percentage of the income of the vassal, and can be up to 10%. Stipends are specified in terms of koku.
Vassals have the opportunity to set a skim factor associated with the taxation levied by the lord. The skim factor represents the percentage of taxes that the vassal chooses to deliver. But skimmers are warned to keep an eye out for spies and evaluators.
A player's income is used to pay for the upkeep of troops. Each character has a fixed salary associated with it, which must be paid by the player. If the player's income drops below the combined salaries of the troops, they become disgruntled and their morale goes down, which reduces their impact in battle. If the player has excessive income to give the troops, their morale is improved, but morale is not always easy to heal after a long dry spell. As long as a player is in the red, no additional troops will be willing to fill the ranks.
All income, expenses, and tax and stipend levels are displayed simultaneously in the player status screen, which also allows the associated control parameters to be set. Tax levels and skim factors can be changed at any time during the game. If a vassal's tax level is changed by the lord, the player is immediately notified by a message. Likewise, the lord is notified whenever the income being received from a vassal changes, which could be the result of territorial gain/loss, natural causes, or skimming.
- An alternative model of taxation under consideration is that a vassal is required to send all income (after skimming) to the lord (and on up the ladder) and the lord specifies a salary for each vassal.
- Since wealth cannot be accumulated, castle contruction costs can be handled by having construction characters require higher salaries (upkeep) than other players.
- One-time expenses, such as spy information, could also be modeled as a reduction in income for some interval (i.e. a virtual month).