The Great Game: Mechanics
The following is in-world lore for all the campaigns of Experience Point in the shared world of Nevermore. Interested in joining or finding out more? Check out our Events Calendar to read our campaign diaries, drop us an email with any questions that you may have, or simply just give us a call! Don't worry, we're nice... -ish.
There are seven skills:
- Military is used to raise Armies, attack your neighbours and to defend against attacks made by your neighbours. A strong military is not only a deterrent, but also a great excuse for your neighbours to find reasons to work with you.
- Espionage is used to gather Intelligence about your neighbours, sabotage your neighbours infrastructure, and prevent enemy spies from entering your territory.
- Order is used to improve infrastructure and ensure that your people remain content and happy. Thanks to citizen policing, it can also be used in place of Espionage when performing counter-espionage.
- Religion is used to honour the gods and generally curry favour with the temples. Religious influence can be used to gain Armies, Intelligence, and Resources alike, albeit somewhat inefficiently.
- Trade is used to gain Resources through trade agreements with your trade partners. The more trade partners you have, the better and more profitable your trade actions tend to be.
- Production is used to gain Resources, plain and simple.
- Diplomacy is used to negotiate deals with your neighbours and generally maintain peaceful relationships with them. Diplomacy can be used to defend against Military attacks, although a successful Diplomacy roll only prevents the inevitable.
All Skill Tests are performed with FATE dice, a set of four special dice with faces that show either +, - or blank. This gives each roll a possible variance of -4 to +4, with a bell-curve towards 0. This is added to the appropriate Skill value, which is then compared against the difficulty of the skill test.
Each game turn represents one in-fiction week of seven days, and you may spend each in-fiction day either preparing for a Skill test or performing a Skill test. For each additional day that you spend preparing for a Skill test, you gain an additional +1 to your roll (to a maximum of +6 if you spend your whole week preparing for that one single Skill test). Unspent preparation does not carry over to the next turn.
All actions must explicitly mention the Skill which you wish to employ, eg. "[Order] I spend 3 days quelling the riot on my western marches". The DM will roll in secret and inform you of the results only after the turn is over.
Resources, Armies and Intelligence
Resources are gathered either through Trade or Production, and may be spent raising armies, maintaining armies, improving infrastructure, and bribing your neighbours.
Armies exist in locations either in your kingdom's heartland, in some part of your kingdom's marches or, after attacking, in your neighbouring kingdom's marches. Each Army costs one Resource to maintain at the start of each turn, and will immediately disband if you cannot support it.
You must perform the Command an Army action in order to give any orders to an Army. Each Army at the same location gives +2 to your Military Skill Test. Armies will automatically defend against attacks, and an attacking army that fails retreats to the adjoining marches, while a defending army that fails retreats to the kingdom's heartland.
Intelligence is specific to a particular kingdom and can be gathered with a successful Espionage roll. Intelligence can then be traded in (without needing to spend an action) to find out the numerical value of one of their Skills, to learn an action they performed last turn, or to find out how many Armies they have in one part of their kingdom.
Every player starts with 10 land. It is your job to acquire as much land for your kingdom as possible, because the player with the most land at the end of the game wins. However, until then, land can be bought, sold, acquired or traded just like Resources, Armies, and Intelligence.
Default Skill Uses
[Military] Raise an Army: spend one Resource (non-refundable), base difficulty of 4, +2 per Army that you control. If successful, you now have a new Army in your kingdom's heartland that you may command on your next turn.
[Military] Command an Army: give a command to an Army. If it is on friendly territory, it may either Move, Defend, or Attack a neighbour's marches; if it is on enemy territory, it may either Retreat (return home), Pillage a neighbour's lands (-1 Resource for neighbour, ignores Army upkeep this turn), or Rampage (destroy enemy infrastructure).
[Espionage] Gather Intelligence: difficulty equal to target's Espionage or Order (whichever is higher) Skill Test. If successful, you now have +1 Intelligence on the target that you may spend to either learn about their Skills, learn an action they performed last turn, or find out how many Armies they have in one part of their Kingdom.
[Espionage] Sabotage: difficulty equal to target's Espionage or Order (whichever is higher) Skill Test. If successful, choose one: rampage (destroy enemy infrastructure), poison (force Army at chosen location it to retreat to the heartland), or steal (-1 Resource for neighbour, +1 Resource yourself)
[Order] Improve Infrastructure: spend X Resource (refund half on failure), base difficulty equal to 2 + X, where X = the next level of a particular type of infrastructure in the location, eg. if you have level 2 Walls at a location and wish to upgrade it to level 3, the difficulty is equal to 2 + 3 = 5, and the action will cost 3 Resources. Sample infrastructure include: walls, roads, temples, markets, academies etc. Improving Infrastructure is a good way (and possibly the only predictable way) to improve your kingdom's Skills and gain special abilities.
[Religion] Religious Tithe: base difficulty of 2 + fatigue modifier (resets to +4 after using this action, -1 per turn without performing this action). If successful, gain one Resource.
[Religion] Religious Crusade: base difficulty of 4 + fatigue modifier (resets to +4 after using this action, -1 per turn without performing this action) + 2 per Army you control. If successful, you now have a new Army in your kingdom's heartland that you may command on your next turn.
[Religion] Religious Inquisition: base difficulty equal to target's Religion or Order (whichever is higher) Skill Test + fatigue modifier (resets to +4 after using this action, -1 per turn without performing this action). If successful, you now have +1 Intelligence on the target that you may spend to either learn about their Skills, learn an action they performed last turn, or find out how many Armies they have in one part of their Kingdom.
[Trade] Sign Trade Agreement: no roll required, but both parties must agree to be trade partners. You can always trade with kingdoms adjacent to your own and to any of your friendly trade partners. A trade agreement is always destroyed when war is declared.
[Trade] Trade: base difficulty of 2. You may wish to activate any number of trade partners to gain +1 per activated trade partner in exchange for giving them +1 Intelligence on you. If successful, you gain one Resource, and for every 2 full points that you exceed the difficulty by, you gain one additional Resource (to a maximum of 4).
[Production] Produce: base difficulty of 2 + fatigue modifier (resets to +4 after using this action, -1 per turn without performing this action). If successful, you gain one Resource, and for every 2 full points that you exceed the difficulty by, you gain one additional Resource (to a maximum of 4).
[Diplomacy] Send Ambassador: establish an embassy within a friendly kingdom's marches. This roll automatically succeeds if the target kingdom allows this to happen, but the roll becomes contested if the target kingdom wishes to reject the proposal without giving offence. If the target kingdom wins the roll, he may either outright reject the proposal or ask for something in exchange for the embassy. Embassies are automatically destroyed when war is declared.
[Diplomacy] Contact Ambassador: base difficulty of 2, target a kingdom that you have an embassy with. If successful, you gain one Intelligence on the kingdom. Embassies are automatically destroyed when war is declared.
[Diplomacy] Stall Army: base difficulty equal to target's Diplomacy Skill Test + fatigue modifier (resets to +4 after using this action, -1 per turn without performing this action). If successful, the army may not Attack, Pillage or Rampage you this turn.
[Diplomacy] Contact Faction: base difficulty depends on the target. If successful, you have now gained the respect of an NPC faction within your kingdom that you may trade with, negotiate with or otherwise rely upon to help you somehow. You cannot contact a faction whose existence you know nothing of.
- If you have something in mind that isn't covered by the rules here, ask the GM how you can accomplish it.
- Do not go to war without an agenda! While a Rampaging Army is extremely punishing to your enemy, it serves you no good; instead, use the potential of Rampage as a threat to get what you want or need instead from your neighbour, be that land, Armies, Resources, Intelligence or a forced alliance.
- If you have good Diplomacy, use it! NPC factions make excellent trade partners.
- Allies are vital for trade, but don't forget: everyone has an agenda.
- Building Barracks in your marches will reduce the maintenance cost of a local Army to 0.
- Building Walls will give local defending Armies +1 to their Military roll per level.