This is quoted (except for changing defendable to defensible and adding emphasis to item #1) from a post by user Scott Anderson on The Ruins of Murkhill forum. I'm no longer a big fan of forums and am not a member, but if you like them this seems to be a good one.
1. Always ask, "how do we get the loot without putting ourselves in much
danger?" Loot is how you level; combat is how you die.
2. Always have a larger plan. You might be able to afford to build a castle
at level 8 but who's going to actually build it? Who will man it? What
peasants will support it? A random castle in the wilderness is worse
than useless. It's a huge mausoleum.
3. Build up the towns you visit through industry and military power. Make them remember you by leaving a mark on their town.
build a work house. Like maybe there's clay nearby. You can hire a
master potter from the nearby city to show the hapless sods how to throw
clay pots, and then build a pottery factory. Or maybe invest in some
looms and start a rag maker's shop. Something to improve the lot of the
least among the townsfolk.
Military: spend some time with the men
showing them how to fight. Introduce them to your gods. Offer to take
them out adventuring nearby. And when you leave, give them a way to call
out to you if they ever need your help. This will build you an army and
make sure the town is safe when you return.
Family: if you are a
boy character, take up with a maiden and have a baby. That will tie you
and the town together in a way no mere physical connection can. Given
enough down time, a lady character could make a baby and leave it with
the dad in the same way.
If you plan to stay a while, finance a
palisade around the town or at least a bailey. That way you will have a defensible position and the beginning of a fort or castle in the future.
All of these tasks can be completed in several different towns in order to establish a real territory.
4. Clear areas systematically. You will be able to build new frontier out of wilderness piece by piece.
5. Spend treasure to buy legitimacy. Titles and political favors are as valuable as military might.
Have stuff your guy wants, and tell the Ref he wants it. Then a good
Ref will give you opportunities to find or earn those things. It makes
things go easier for him to get input.
7. One of the very
important things that all of this requires is adequate down time between
adventures! Down time requires a calendar and regular time keeping. So
if you want to have a real campaign, offer to take care of time,
seasons, and weather for the Ref so he doesn't have to.