rating: 0+x

A colony is generally defined as a settlement or territory sponsored by a nation or city-state which is not physically contiguous with the main territory surrounding the city-state in question.

In the current age of strong economic competition between cities, many are sponsoring colonial ventures to gain a competitive advantage. These are rarely started as a military venture. Rather, the city-state in question sponsors an explorer or adventurer to establish a colony at a strategic location in exchange for a cut of the profits or other concessions. If he succeeds, the sponsor can reap the dividends. If he fails - or does something unpopular back home, like wholesale slaughtering of natives where journalists from neighboring city-states can find out - the sponsor can disavow him and cut their losses.

The expedition leader usually uses some of his funds to hire mercenaries to protect his new settlement. The colonial settlement is either established by conquering some existing community, replacing the local leadership with the expedition leader and his cronies, or by bringing settlers from the sponsoring city with him. It is certainly possible that this settlement can be established at some location that is currently uninhabited (this is the case with almost all Far Coast colonies, for instance), and the technology and magic at the command of such explorers is often able to create thriving settlements in locations that would be nonviable for the natives. But as often as not, the local natives have already picked all the best spots for settlements, which means that they need to be displaced to make room for the new colony.

If the settlement is clearly thriving after some time, the sponsoring city-state might officially decide to adopt the colony, incorporate it into its protectorate, and send a military garrison. This is not done lightly, as few city-states can afford to maintain large armies, but the strategic and commercial advantage of such a move can make it worth it. Sometimes the ruler of the colony refuses to go along with this because he has gotten used to being the only one in charge, but this is a gamble as the sponsor might not be willing to cut its losses and try to gain control of the colony with military force - and even if they don't, they will likely at the very least place a trade embargo on the colony, threatening its supply lines. But most rulers accept this, as they will almost always be confirmed as colonial governor, which will allow them to continue to get a nice cut of the profits of the colony and gain a military garrison which is usually more reliable than mercenaries and honor-bound to defend him and his territory. Furthermore, the prestige he has gained will serve him well if he has further political or economic ambitions once he decides to leave his office and return home.

List of Colonies

Adventure Ideas

Designer's Notes & Resources

Colonialism, Urbis-style. As the city-states of Urbis are nowhere as powerful as the Great Powers of the Age of Imperialism, their colonies are a lot smaller and more scattered across the world. Nevertheless, I hope they are still interesting enough in this form to keep all the cool stuff useful to adventuring…


Add a New Comment
Urbis - A World of Cities © Jürgen Hubert. All material on this site excepting forum posts is owned by him.