Why NOT to Rule
Your first inclination when entering the world of Brunelleschi is probably to start your own settlement, be Lord and Master of an entire virtual realm and rule everything your screen will render. However, Brunelleschi is not a Facebook farm simulator and the realm you have just created is far more demanding than 'clicky-clicky plant, clicky-clicky-harvest, rinse repeat'. Your buildings need employees, your employees need housing, therefore are residents. Your residents demand services, and if you don't provide them you face riots and work stoppages. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Let's face it, unless you're a controlling math genius, being a Sovereign is hard. It's supposed to be, no ruler who gets any real power ever has it easy.
On the other hand, there's much to be said for moving into someone else's settlement, taking advantage of their local production chain, services, and nice district bonuses. Every district built in your new home settlement provides you with some happiness bonus, maybe even an attribute bonus, and a specialty action. Living as an Exemplar (non-ruling Hero or Lord) can be incredibly cushy. If you play your cards right, your sovereign (and ministers) may even pay you to live there, put items they produce on sale for you in the market, and could easily be enticed into giving you gifts just to keep you around.
Many main buildings, the center of each district, have built in Exemplar-rooms for rent. And in most of them, the rent will be 0 because either their ruler never thought to change the default settings or because they desperately need more exemplars in their settlement. Each building that provides player housing (except for renovated NPC housing buildings) provide a special bonus. The Inn provides Health regeneration while the Tavern does the same for Magic. Even players housed in the humble Granary (many of us) get a small bonus to experience gain per level of the Granary. Visiting your home daily to take a look at the portraits of your neighbors offers a daily experience bonus. Office holders are assumed to live somewhere within their building-of-office and get neither homes nor home bonuses.
Exemplar job slots are why a good Sovereign should fall all over themselves to welcome your characters to reside in their settlements. Every harvesting/production/crafting building in which a player-character works can run at 150% efficiency at the cost of only 100% NPC-employment. You don't have to do anything to work the job, but working too many jobs will lower your AP regen-speed. Don't worry, there's always a warning before you over-extend yourself. While your work place doesn't offer the same kind of bonus as homes do, but you can get paid! If you wish to take a job and it doesn't offer salary, try sending a message to the local sovereign/minister. Just remember, if the settlement isn't Minting currency yet... they probably can't pay you in it. Like housing, visiting your workplace(s) once a day will also give you a modest daily experience bonus.
The other reason Sovereigns should be worshiping their player residents, especially the higher-level caster/clergy types. Settlements cannot produce research, research buildings/gear/units and progress forward without player-researchers in their research buildings. Take one of these positions, especially in a young settlement, and you have passively gained god-like power. Nothing happens without researchers. These jobs can also offer payment in currency and visiting them once a day will provide the daily experience bonus.
Being a ruler takes a lot of your scheduled play-time, and even then you probably won't finish all your tasks. On the other hand, Exemplar residents don't actually have to show up to work to get their bonuses. They don't actually have to pay upkeep on their homes to gain housing bonuses. They don't have to use their Action Points on government functions or expend their Importance enacting laws. They are free to level fast and free, as they see fit. Players without office can quickly outstrip their overworked 'rulers' in level and even Rank if they play with strategy. Alternately, sip your lemon drink and taunt the ever-busy rulers from your seat beneath a shady tree.
Being a resident doesn't mean you have to give up the means of production, especially in more populist or trader-centric settlements. Private property ownership is a major factor of the game, whether you use the market or build yourself an entire production chain. You don't have to be a ruler to become a business mogul and in fact are freer to manage your affairs without the responsibilities of title and office weighing down upon you. This is a happy medium for players who want power without responsibility.