The role of land in Dungeons & Dragons
Land is often overlooked in Dungeons and Dragons and assumed to be something unattainable or unusable by the players. In a more historic reality, however, the most powerful figures in medieval history and fantasy often owned and managed large swathes of land. The utility of land is based on a variety of factors, primarily what the player can do with it, how much money it can produce, where the land is located, and who inhabits it.
The uses of land
Using land for personal interests
The most straightforward use of land is for the construction of property for the personal use of the player. Building these structures comes with requirements twofold: the necessary wealth, manpower, and real estate for the building itself, and meeting the required class, race, and/or background.
Buying and selling land
Land on the market is often poorly charted, not fully mapped, or completely unexplored. While a player can usually get a good grasp of what they're buying simply by exploring potential purchases, they can't map it to the extend required for construction or determine what resources the land possesses. Players who wish to know what their property entails can hire a surveyor, who can map the land in great detail and report what and how much resources are on the land. Surveyors work for 10 gp a day and can survey 1 square mile per day. The following table details what they report:
Surveyors do not map caves, report the presence or quantity of ore, gems, or any other underground resources, or point out aquifers. They can, however, locate natural wells by the effect it has on the surface. If a player wishes to map the contents of their property below the surface, they must hire an underground surveyor, who is always dwarvish or gnomish and charges 30 gp per day, mapping the underground terrain at the same speed as a normal surveyor.
Rangers and players who are proficient in cartographers tools and nature can survey their property themselves at the same speed as a hired surveyor. Doing so requires cartographers tools and the contents of an explorers pack. Dwarvish or gnomish players can survey the underground, provided they meet the same requirements as a normal player surveyor.