Total War: Rome Remastered – Maintaining Public Order: When to Occupy, Enslave or Exterminate a Settlement

This concise yet thorough guide will get you through the obstacle of maintaining public order. My aim in writing it is to inform you on how public order works, what reduces it and what you can do to improve it. I intend to help you in choosing when to occupy, enslave or exterminate a settlement, a decision which impacts the direction of your campaign and influences your public order.

Guide to Maintaining Public Order

Conquest Methods


  • Occupation allows immediate and increased recruitment of units.

Rome total war has a population mechanic in each settlement. When you recruit a unit, the number of people required to man the unit are removed from the population pool of the selected settlement. Occupying does the least harm in the population of that settlement, giving you the most use in terms of immediate and sustained recruitment, which is helpful early on when frontier settlements are too small to enable recruitment if exterminated.

  • Occupation is theoretically best for taxes.

A large population pool allows you to draw more taxes from it. The potential income of an occupied settlement will be maximally high. However, taxation goes hand in hand with public order. Occupying a large settlement afflicted with civil unrest won’t allow you to utilize its large population pool for taxation. You will have to lower taxation to balance public order, and even then it might not be tenable to hold the settlement at all. Nevertheless, occupation with a view towards increased taxation can be viable, as in the case of settlements sharing the culture of the occupier.

  • Occupation is a shortcut to settlement upgrades.

Settlements unlock upgrades when you reach the population ceiling. These upgrades enable the construction of better military, civic, and economic buildings. The above mentioned amplify your ability to wage war, they contribute to public order, and increase your revenue. Settlement upgrades are arguably the single most important element to world domination. They provide an ever expanding roster of increasingly professional military units to recruit from. They also give various military, economic, and administrative buffs. Since they are your biggest assets, you want to unlock upgrades the earliest you’re able, and occupying preserves the settlement’s population pool for that purpose.

  • Occupation is bad for public order and impedes short term financial gain.

In practice, it’s rare that a settlement can be occupied to have its entire population pool exploited without presenting a problem to public order. The biggest hindrance to occupation in my games is the lack of immediate incentive, as enslaving or exterminating the population is more advantageous in reinforcing your immediate capacity to wage war, by giving you funds for that turn, putting pressure on the map, and by increasing public order to a manageable level so that you can concentrate your attention on to the next conquest, instead of shifting to defense, halting expansion to focus on the integration of your newest settlement.


  • Enslavement is the single best intended method for rushing settlement upgrades globally.

The enslavement feature takes some of the population of the settlement and divides them among your existing towns and cities. This method represents the fastest shortcut to faction-wide settlement growth. However, utilizing this strategy does not increase the number of pops objectively. You’re sacrificing short term growth in your newer settlements to build up your existing ones, bringing your starting settlements a step closer to ultimate urbanization each time. This is a viable strategy to reach the Marian reforms in record setting time.

  • Enslavement is moderately good for recruitment.

The middle ground for players who wish to balance public order while retaining their ability to recruit units in small settlements.

  • Enslavement is good for tax collecting.

In theory not as good as occupying, but enslavement is the pragmatic choice for collecting taxes efficiently, balancing public order without sacrificing your population. This is the best way to maximize income, as it allows you to increase taxes all the while not outright losing any pops. The enslaved pops go someplace else where they continue to contribute to the income of your faction globally.

  • Enslavement gives you a bit of income.

The seizure of the slaves’ property by the state lands you some immediately usable funds. The amount seized and number of slaves taken depends on the size of the settlement.

  • Enslavement balances public order without hindering population growth significantly.

It’s often enough to enslave a population to bring public order to a manageable level. Thus it should be preferred when population growth is desirable, as it’s much less disturbing than eradicating the population.


  • Extermination is the most meaningful and impactful strategic decision in the game.

The income seized depends on the size of the settlement and represents the largest instantly felt financial boost in the game. The alternative is investing in the tax revenue afforded by the existing, large population pool. The long term negative consequences of an underdeveloped settlement is exceeded by the value in instantly fueling your capacity to construct buildings, recruit armies, and hire mercenaries. The impact to population growth can also be partially mitigated over time by constructing growth boosting buildings. The potential in exterminating a large settlement, especially early in the campaign should not be understated. It’s a huge incentive for more experienced players, looking to sacrifice local development for opening up strategic options previously unavailable.

  • Extermination instantly solves public order difficulties in almost every case.

It’s a one button solution for players who find public order management to be distracting. Even severe public order debuffs will likely not be an issue for a while after an extermination. Population is intricately tied to squalor and other issues which are solved with the reduction in population. A settlement that has reached it’s population ceiling and hasn’t received an upgrade will begin to deteriorate in public order. Extermination is the answer to quelling unrest in settlements you don’t intend to manage.

  • Extermination… annihilates the population of the settlement.

The practice of cutting down the population impedes recruitment in small settlements early in the game, delays settlement upgrades, and reduces the income of the settlement drastically.

Factors affecting public order

Distance from capital

An element that kicks in once your faction has grown larger. It’s generally a good practice to reorient your capital to be in the center of your faction. Sometimes, however, there is a particular problem region with a lot of foreign culture. In cases where public order is unmanageable somewhere in particular it’s preferable to shift your capital there until that region has been fully integrated.


A problem felt in settlements without health boosting buildings, or where the population has exceeded the size of the settlement. Build health boosting buildings such as baths and sewers, and upgrade the settlement to decrease squalor.


Increasing taxes reduces public order and population growth, and conversely lowering taxes increases public order and population growth.

Presence of foreign culture

The game has a number of cultures in it. Some can coexist with no issue, as with Greeks and Romans. Other cultures are incompatible and integration will require the dismantling or converting of foreign buildings, causing the population to switch culture to one’s own.


Corruption will slowly creep in and become a bigger problem as the game goes on. You deal with it by constructing buildings with an effect on law, centralizing your capital, and stationing governors with positive traits.

Volodymyr Azimoff
About Volodymyr Azimoff 13679 Articles
I love games and I live games. Video games are my passion, my hobby and my job. My experience with games started back in 1994 with the Metal Mutant game on ZX Spectrum computer. And since then, I’ve been playing on anything from consoles, to mobile devices. My first official job in the game industry started back in 2005, and I'm still doing what I love to do.

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