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A Settlement is any urban center that serves as the control point for a province. In campaign, settlements serve as military training centers, as well as a source of income. Settlements form the central population centers from which units are recruited into service, populace is taxed as a source of income, and trade is directed through.
In Total War
"Settlements are centrally important in your efforts to conquer the world. They generate income through taxes. Military units are trained there. And without taking enemy settlements, you're unlikely to win the game."—The Creative Assembly, Rome: Total War manual
Each settlement is the regional capital of the province it occupies; the faction that owns the settlement also owns the associated province, and all of its subsettlements. All the resources shown on the campaign map in a province are available for use by the settlement.
The size of a settlement - whether it is a village, town, large town, minor, or large city - is determined by the size of its population. The larger the population, the larger the settlement. Settlement size and defenses are shown on the campaign map.
Settlements on the Campaign Map
Cities, villages, towns, etc., are represented on the campaign map with a figure that looks appropriate for the size, type, and culture of the settlement. Each settlement has its own label that includes basic details about the settlement's status. These details are:
- Settlement name - The top line includes the name of the settlement, and will also show an appropriate icon if it is suffering from revolts, or a disaster.
- Income - Income is represented as a number besides an icon. The number shows the income generated by the settlement each turn. A negative value means that the settlement is actually running at a loss.
- Public Order - Public order is represented by an icon which shows the overall happiness of the settlement population. The color of the icon symbolizes each level of happiness. Red - happy, Yellow - content, Blue - disillusioned, Red - rebellious.
- Culture Penalty: Incurred when a Settlement has Infrastructure that is not native to the owner's faction. (Example: A Greek Barracks in a Roman-controlled Town). Culture Penalties inflict serious reductions to a Settlement's Public Order and can only be corrected by demolishing or replacing the offending structures.
Cities and Castles
In Medieval 2: Total War, there are two distinct types of large settlements; cities and castles, which differ in what types of buildings are available for construction in each settlement.
Cities are settlements that revolve around supporting trade and a large population. It is population that drives these settlements - when a city reaches a high enough population it will be ready to grow into a larger settlement with the construction of better fortifications.
Cities provide the benefits of:
- The ability to set the tax rate for the region as desired.
- Several types of buildings that support and improve trade income.
- Buildings that spread your faction's religion greatly.
- Buildings that allow for recruitment of agents, militia, and siege artillery.
- Free upkeep for some militia units while garrisoned.
Cities come with the problems of:
- Public unrest leading to riots, or rebellion.
- A wealthy environment that may corrupt governors.
- Usually lacking in buildings to recruit cavalry and missile infantry.
- Little fortifications when compared to castles.
Castles are military settlements with strong defenses that oversee the surrounding lands, collecting taxes with rigid regularity. Castles may be upgraded to a larger size that can allow for more defensive structures.
Castles provide the benefits of:
- Naturally high public order.
- Very strong defenses, including multi-ring walls at the higher levels of castle size.
Castles come with the problems of:
- Not being able to adjust the tax rate.
- Usually lacking in buildings that improve trade.
- Usually lacking in buildings that can recruit agents.
- Usually lacking in academic buildings.