Rivkah's Shadowbane Notes

City Management Tips

Note: Not Updated Since 2005

This is a list of tips and general information regarding city management for Shadowbane. This information is by no means complete, but having managed a city for a few months myself I feel like I've learned a lot, and I think there's a dearth of useful information out there for others who plan to build cities of their own. If you have any suggested tips or related resources I should list on this page, please let me know.



Friends Lists

Every building has a friend list. Only the owner of a building can add people to the friend list by dragging their heraldry to the list. They can also choose to add an entire guild or just the IC (inner council) of the guild. Anyone listed on a friend's list can manage a building just like the owner except they can't add anyone to the friends list or remove them, and they can't transfer or delete the building or the hirelings within it. Note that there seems to be a limit of about 10 or so crests on a friends list, and there is no indication when you meet that limit- the oldest crest will just fall off the list. The tree is a special case, only the IC of a guild can manage a city's tree.



Paying for a city can run to the many millions a week. The main source of income for a city is revenue from items sold to the vendors. When an item is sold to a vendor the person selling is paid a percentage of the item cost listed on the item. The shop manager can choose to "junk" the item for the full value listed on it if they choose, or leave it on the shop (marking up the price if they choose) for it to sell to another person for a percentage markup. Because of the ability to junk items for full value, a city can be supported quite well by the sales of the random common items found when hunting, and guild members should be encouraged to sell in the city as much as possible and bring the junk back from the camps they hunt at.

Cities can also make money off of the sale of goods to others, repairs and trainers, but those items alone are difficult to fund a city with unless you have a very good clientele. The majority of support for most cities will come from junking items or donations from guild members.



A city can have a couple different types of guards- guard dogs, magisters, archers and standard guards. Guard contracts can only be acquired from a steward. Typically guards alone are not sufficient to protect a city from a large force, but they can provide support to the defenders in a city and can discourage small groups of troublemakers from attack. From what I can tell guards can't usually see people who are stealthed but there are some stories that if the stealthing occurs within the city area then some may be able to see. Uusally guard buildings are not set to be protected by the runemaster since there is a limited amount of buildings a runemaster can protect and usually a city needs the protection slots for other buildings, but with the recent increase in the number of protection slots available this is no longer as big of a problem. Guard buildings typically have quite a few hitpoints and aren't easy to take out quickly so there is less of a need for protection.

By default a guard will only attack someone if they attack someone in the nation the city belongs to within a reasonable distance of them, hits an unprotected building, attacks a guard, or heals someone who the guard is attacking. They will also attack anyone they can see within range that is on the condemn (KOS) list specific to that guard's building. If the runemaster is protecting the guard's building it can be set to use the condemn list on the tree instead of the guard building's list. Once the guards are agroed on someone they will continue to attack them if they are within range until a certain time has passed without them being seen, I believe the time is 15 minutes (it may be necessary to log out for 15 minutes and log back in to break the agro).

Guard dogs can be placed in cottages. Only one guard dog can be placed in a cottage and a cottage can't be upgraded- the guard dogs stay close to their cottages unless they have a reason to attack. Barracks can house one guard captain (magister or standard guard, who can make melee or archer guards), who when ranked to r7 can train up to 5 r7 guards to patrol the city at one time. A barracks can be upgraded to increase the hitpoints and guard respawn speed but does not receive more slots for captains. Certain wall pieces can house up to two wall archers. There are other buildings which can house guards as well but that's the limit of my familiarity with the topic.

There are several different types of racial guards available on the Mourning server (so far I know there are minotaur, irekei, templar, northman, undead, shade and elf guards available). These racial guards have slightly different maintenance costs and different skills. Templar guards are rumored to hit harder, elven guards seem to have high magic resists but do lower damage. I'll add more notes regarding the different types of guards as I collect them. Typically you can only get the racial guards at the appropriate racial steward but elven guards are dropped by the r8 mob in the elven zone and undead guards are dropped by the r8 mob that roams.


KOS Lists

Each building has a condemn list, better known as the KOS (kill on sight) list. The list can be added to by the owner of the building and anyone on the friends list. Guard buildings use KOS lists to determine who to attack on sight- you can add individuals, guilds and nations to the list by dragging their heraldry to the list (from your heraldry list under guild options, your death list, the selection box, the track list, or a warrant). Non-guard buildings such as vendors use the KOS list to determine whether to refuse to do business with someone. The KOS list on the tree can be applied by the runemaster to any building the runemaster is set to protect. There is now also an option to have the KOS list inverted so only people on the list will not be considered KOS. If your city is not actively trying to encourage business from a lot of different guilds you may want to consider taking advantage of this.

One tip for guilds with a fairly trustworthy membership: make one guard building possible to administer by all guild members. Encourage newer guild members to study the KOS list on that building to familiarize themselves with the heraldy of problem guilds. Also encourage all guild members to place the heraldry of any individuals that have attacked them on the building and inform the ICs of the guild so that one of them can determine whether to transfer the heraldry to other buildings. Although a guild member can just transfer heraldry to a warrant to give ICs, that requires being able to meet up. By just transferring it to the building the IC can copy the heraldry at their leisure. Note that you can only copy the heraldry of individuals to your heraldry list from buildings, not guilds or nations. But once you have the heraldry of an individual you can add their guild or nation to any KOS list.



When placing a city, the location is very significant. Cities can't be placed within or too close to mob zones. They also can't be placed too close to other cities. When placing a city the most important thing to consider is what the priorities are of the guild placing the city. For most cities there are two main concerns- there needs to be enough high level hunting grounds within a reasonable distance for guild members to level high enough to be useful in PvP, and there needs to be some camps nearby which drop good junk to use to fund the city. It's also extremely helpful if there are some hunting areas nearby which are decent for lower level members so they aren't too dependent on being power leveled. You also want to consider the other guilds in the neighborhood and whether they are friendly (it's a wise idea to speak to the neighborhood guilds before you place near them and make sure they don't object) and you may want to consider whether there are trainers within a reasonable distance from your town (asusming you are not building a training town).

Typically for collecting junk for the city you want to have at least one camp nearby which is mostly r2 or r3 (for quicker kills) which drops quite a bit of mundane items which have a good listed cost compared to their weight. Some excellent junk farming camps are the r3 amazons (they drop a lot of decently priced armor), r3 frost giants (they drop a lot of decently prices swords which don't weigh much) and r2/r3 ettins (they drop a lot of decently priced hammers which don't weigh much). There are many other camps that are like this- make sure your guild members know about the good spots near your town for farming items to support the city.

Some guilds are mostly PvP oriented and may not have much interest in farming or gaining experience (especially if the members are already r5/r6 when they join). In that case any location is probably fine but you should keep in mind which guilds are in the surrounding area and how easily you can access the spots you need from your location.

If you are building a shopping mall town or a trainer town, be sure to survey the nearby towns and determine whether any of them will be significant competition for your city or possibly regular customers. Placing a city near popular hunting grounds is often a good way to get folks to bank and sell junk in your town, even if they aren't members of your guild, and if you are conveniently on the way to hunting, they may find themselves often shopping or training in your town as well.

Placing near a runegate can be both good and bad. Although being near a runegate allows your guild members access to a lot more areas very easily, it will also make it easier for trouble to come to you. Since spots near runegates are attractive to most people, it may make it more likely someone will attack your city to try to take your location.

Also make sure you're aware of any errant ruins that may be near your preferred location. Most cities near errant ruins experience a higher frequency of random attacks. Typically being near an errant ruin isn't a good idea unless the other benefits of the location outweigh the negatives.



Every building in a city has a weekly maintenance cost which includes the cost for maintaining the building itself and any employees the building may house. The maintenance is due on the anniversary of the time and day of the week that the building was originally placed. The money for the maintenance of the building is taken from the money placed on the building. If there is not enough money on the building then typically the building will derank, falling down completely if it is already at the lowest rank. If the building deranks and loses an employee slot, the employee will disappear. I have heard that buildings with items for sale on them may sell off items to pay for maintenance before deranking but I'm not sure if it really works this way. I don't know if there is a way to derank an employee without losing them completely by deranking a building or firing the employee.

Typically it is a good idea to keep 2-3x the weekly maintenance on the buildings at all times, to prevent accidental loss of rank. You can use the reserve option on shops to prevent them from buying enough items to run out of money for maintenance. I have heard that sometimes bugs can cause buildings to disappear so it's wise not to keep overly much money in one building. You may want to keep a little less money on buildings which are unprotected so that if the building is knocked down you don't lose too much money, but I would still make sure you have at least one week's maintenance there unless you are having problems with people attacking your buildings.

Since the building maintenance is due on a schedule based on when the building is placed, it can be difficult to keep track of which buildings have to be maintained when. It is best to restrict your placing of buildings to only a few days of the week, so that you know those are the only days you need worry about paying maintenance. Then make a list of which building is due which day of the week and check over those buildings the night before to be on the safe side.


Merchant Contracts

Finding Contracts

Human contracts of all types can be purchased from stewards. Stewards don't sell racial contracts. Racial contracts can only be found from mobs, on a random basis. Salaries and upgrade costs are the same for racial vendors as for humans, but most racial vendors are reputed to make higher quality items. Most mob types only drop a certain race of contract. Here is a list of some of the racial contract drop areas I'm aware of:

There is also some racial contract drop information on the Racial Vendor Spreadsheet at Gold Fish's Web Site.

Racial Contract Specialties

Different races specialize in different types of goods. All vendors are capable of making most types of items but there are some things they're better at than others and some things only certain races can make. In general, racial vendors are expected to make higher quality goods. Here are some notes on what I've learned about the different racial vendors thus far:

General notes about vendor abilities:

There is also some racial vendor specialty information on the Racial Vendor Spreadsheet at Gold Fish's Web Site.



You can place race or class shrines in your town to provide boons to your guild members. Note that the shrine only will give boons to the guild that owns the city, not to other nation members, and a boon is stronger if it belongs to the nation guild. You need an r3 tree for 1 shrine, r5 tree for 2, and r7 tree for 3. Shrines are automatically protected and are only destroyed if the tree is destroyed.

Shrines will only give their boons to the specific class or race they are for. The boons last for 1-2 hours and are significant. Race and class shrine boons do stack.

To make your shrines more effective you can donate offerings to them which increase the shrine's favor compared to shrines in other cities. It seems that offerings are found in specific locations for the most part, although offerings found on the RoC expansion island are random.

More Information on shrines:


Shop Management

Shop management is a fairly time consuming task, but it is the one which will provide the bulk of funds for your city in most cases. Some things to remember about managing shops:


Siege Spires

Siege spires can be placed in a city, only by the guild leader. You can have 1 siege spire with a tree r1-r3, 2 with a tree r4-r5, 3 with a tree r6-r7. They can have a variety of effects including no-fly, no-stealth, and elemental debuffs. Ranking a siege spire will increase the effect somewhat as well as the hit points of the siege spire. They can be protected by a runemaster.

Siege spires are not designed to be active all the time- they cost money the entire time they're in use and the amount is higher if the city is not baned. If the siege spire runs out of money it will turn itself off.


Starting Out

To start a city you will need to be the leader of your own guild and you need a guild seed which can be purchased from a runemaster. You can create a guild by buying the appropriate charter from a runemaster. If your guild is subguilded to another you will lose your tie when your city is placed and you will need to be resubbed if you still want to be. Once you place your tree it will take 12 hours before it grows into maturity and can be seen on the map (all buildings take 12 hours to reach r1 when placed).

When your city starts out, you will probably want a runemaster and a bank with a bursar at the very minimum. At rank 1 the runemaster can protect eight buildings (he can be upgraded to support twenty buildings at the maximum rank of r7, a tree can only support one runemaster). You will probably also want a sage shop with at least an r1 sage for the purposes of making and selling recall and identify scrolls and a forge with an r1 helmsmith- a helsmith can buy and repair all types of armor, cloth and shields. You will probably want at least an r1 version of each weaponsmith eventually for junking and repair purposes but you should start with the weapon types that are most commonly dropped by the mobs likely to be hunted nearby. Note that a forge can be upgraded to r3 to support two vendors in a short period of time, although it takes several weeks to upgrade a forge to r7 to support three vendors, so depending on your needs it's often better to upgrade the runemaster to protect more buildings than to try to get the forges to r7.

You should make sure to protect all the buildings you can with your runemaster- it's at least essential you protect all your shops with him since if your shops are destroyed you will lose all the items that were for sale on them as well.



Walls are popular with most cities because they provide an illusion of protection and can give the city defensive advantages. However they can be expensive to build and add additional complications. Whether you wall your city is an individual decision, but it should depend a lot on the type of guild you are and the style of fighting common on your server. With the addition of no fly and no teleport spires, walls can now be a very effective way to prevent intruders, although there are still cities for which walls aren't necessarily the best choice. For advice on wall layouts, see Narcissa's Building a Better City.




Other Resources

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Cari D. Burstein - cdaveb AT anybrowser DOT org