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This book is dedicated to the people of the RPG blogging community. The arguments put forward in the community about
elegance of design, importance of player agency, neutrality of gamemastering, and a host of other topics have had a profound
impact on my thinking. The design of the roleplaying side of this book was strongly influenced by these ideas.

Furthermore, the RPG blogging community represents the do-it-yourself spirit that is an undercurrent to everything that I have
done. Some things must be done without the support of the RPG industry. Some things are worth doing even if they are not
profitable. It is important to remember that we are human beings, not currency robots.

Game on!
Except as otherwise identified, all written portions of this book and Statecraft logo ©2010 Greg Christopher, all rights reserved. All artwork in this book is in the public domain. The
mention of, use of, or reference to any company, trademark or product in this book is not a challenge to the trademark or copyright in question. This book is not for sale. Download a
free copy at

What is Statecraft? Winning the Game
Statecraft is a Grand Strategy Roleplaying Game designed to simulate Statecraft is about having fun, not accumulating wealth and power. The
international relations during the early modern period, roughly 1500 to 1900 game is designed so that it is often not in your best interest to take the
A.D. The game can also be used to simulate earlier periods of history if you most conservative and safe path. Your reward for taking risks and being
wish, although some of the game concepts (like Casus Belli) may not be ostentatious is Prestige. This is your barometer of success in the game. If
entirely appropriate for the time. you are accumulating large amounts of Prestige, you have probably been
contributing to the fun of everyone in the group. There are also opportunities
In Statecraft, the players take on the mantle of a ruler from history, called a to spend Prestige to accomplish even more amazing things in the game.
Sovereign. The Sovereign is represented using a character design similar to
those in traditional roleplaying games. Sovereigns will be good at some things If you want to crown someone
and bad at others, just like rulers in real history. The character design is set up the winner of the game, you can
in a way that encourages real life behavior, including recklessness and short- use Prestige to do so. Simply set a
sightedness, to create an experience akin to actually commanding nations timeframe for play, such as starting
from history. in 1492 and playing until 1792.
Whoever has accumulated and spent
Each Sovereign is in control of a nation or country called a State. The State is the most Prestige at the end of that
represented using some basic mechanisms that provide tax revenues, soldiers, timeframe is the winner. However,
ships, and other resources for your Sovereign to use in pursuit of their goals. you will most likely not be concerned
You can use a printed or a digital map as a guide to represent the world you about having a “winner” by the time
are shaping, but you are not required to do so. Each Sovereign eventually you reach 1792. Winning is ancillary
dies and you move on to a new Sovereign, passing down a variety of things to enjoying the game. You cannot lose
including the most important measurement of your success in the game; at Statecraft either. If your State is
Prestige. So even if you manage to totally wreck your economy and end up totally destroyed, you can move into a
under the heel of your most bitter rival, you can choose to pass on not to your new State with a new Sovereign. You
direct heir but to a distant cousin and take up the throne of a different State. are never eliminated from play.

One of the players does not control a specific Sovereign, but instead takes on
the role of the Gamemaster (GM). The GM is in charge of running all the
States in the game that are not controlled by players, as well as pirates and
What do you need to Play?
rebels. The GM also has a lot of tools at their disposal to shape and influence
Statecraft uses six different types of dice; four-sided dice (d4), six-sided dice
the game to make it more enjoyable for the players. GMs can introduce events
(d6), eight-sided dice (d8), ten-sided dice (d10), twelve-sided dice (d12), and
to stir up chaos, like civil wars and religious conflicts. GMs can use Prestige
twenty-sided dice (d20). However, since the game is designed to be played
as a carrot to send players off to the far reaches of the globe in search of glory
on an internet forum or using e-mail to distribute game information, you can
and honor. You do not have to rely upon poorly coded AI. The GM brings
simply use online die rolling software for this. If you choose to play at a table,
realism and life to the rest of the world in a way that a computer cannot hope
it will be tricky to keep everything secret and you will need physical dice.
to ever achieve.

The Sovereign
& The State

The Sovereign:
Each player in Statecraft controls a bloodline of political rulers called
Sovereigns. A Sovereign lives one lifetime, hopefully an exciting and fulfilling
one, but like other mortals they fall victim to the ravages of time and damage
to the body. When their current Sovereign dies, the player moves on to a new
Sovereign. Throughout the game and across the lives of many Sovereigns,
you will track a variable called Prestige. This is the ultimate measure of your
contribution to the game as a player and you should make every attempt
to accumulate more Prestige. Each Sovereign is merely a vessel to use in
achieving the goal of maximizing your Prestige. We will talk more about
exactly how to do that very shortly.

This section will walk you through how to create manage your Sovereigns.
Each one has eight Attributes and seven Measures which serve for the basis
of roleplaying and for interacting with the game mechanics.

Attributes: Attribute Tests

Attributes are tested frequently during play by rolling a 20-sided die. If the
Attributes define the abilities of Attributes
the Sovereign to accomplish tasks. die result is lower than the attribute, the test is a success. If the result is lower
Acumen Ability to Manage than the attribute being test, then the test is a failure.
This aspect of the Sovereign is
completely random and represents Authority Ability to Inspire
the hand that fate has dealt for you. Fertility Ability to Procreate Many rolls are also affected by several potential modifiers. These modifiers
Do not worry about whether your are applied to the attribute, not the die result. Thus if you are making an
Fortune The Favor of Fate Authority test with a +2 bonus and you have an Authority of 12, you make
Sovereign is good or bad based on
Grace Ability to Charm the tests as if you had an Authority of 14 instead.
whether they can succeed or fail
at tasks. Ultimately, you are not Guile Ability to Deceive
rewarded based on your ability to Strategy Ability to Wage War Opposed Rolls
succeed or fail, but if you succeed or An opposed roll is when you are competing against another player or the
Vigilance Ability to Anticipate GM in the action you are undertaking. In these cases, simply succeeding is
fail spectacularly.
not enough. You must succeed by a larger margin than your opponent. If you
Each attribute has a value from 3 to 18, determined by rolling three six-sided needed to roll a 14 or less and you rolled a 10, your margin of success is 4. If
dice and adding the results together. You will need to make seven rolls to get your opponent only succeeded by a margin of 2, you are victorious.
a value to assign to each attribute. Rolls must be assigned to each attribute in
turn as rolled, not assigned by the players to whatever attributes they wish. If you wish to attempt something not covered by the game rules as written,
the GM may allow you to test an attribute to determine the action’s success.

Attributes (continued):
Acumen Grace
Acumen is the administrative skill of your Sovereign. This is a rough measure Grace is the charm and influence of your Sovereign. This is a rough measure
of their ability to make organizations function properly. Acumen not only of their ability to get others to see things from their perspective without
represents good money management skills, but also the ability to effectively resorting to the use of coercion. Grace represents a lightness of social presence
utilize the work of subordinates. Sovereigns with high Acumen have more as well as a talent for seduction. Sovereigns with high Grace have more friend
efficient governments, make more money, and keep their armies better and allies, as well as an easier time negotiating peaceful solutions to disputes.
supplied in the field. Acumen is used for Growth and Decline rolls every year Grace directly affects success at converting the populace to your religion,
and the amount of supplies available to your forces on the battlefield. claiming titles, extracting information via royal marriages, and increases the
pain a Sovereign endures when refusing generous peace terms that you offer.
Authority is the social presence of your Sovereign. This is a rough measure of Guile
their ability to maintain loyalty even in the face of disagreement. Authority Guile is the cunning and treachery of your Sovereign. This is a rough measure
represents both the personal charismatic presence of the individual but of their ability to deceive and manipulate others. Guile represents talent for
also the ability to manipulate others so that they are serving your interests manipulating and using others in pursuit of your own ends. Sovereigns with
by pursuing their own. Sovereigns with high Authority have more loyal high Guile have an easier time acquiring secret information and enjoy the
followers, more political stability, and fewer rebellions against them. Authority company of spies, thieves, and pirates. Guile directly affects your success in
is used for the annual Control roll and in keeping the loyalty of military forces many Targeted Actions, such as Infiltrate and Piracy.
that might otherwise rebel against your rule, either due to your own financial
insolvency or the nefarious bribes of others. Strategy
Strategy is the military prowess of your Sovereign. This is a rough measure
Fertility of their ability to make decisive tactical decisions on the battlefield. Strategy
Fertility is the natural strength of your reproductive system. It is only tested represents both tactical and strategic competence in military affairs of every
in one instance, at the death of the Sovereign, to determine if there are eligible kind. Sovereigns with high Strategy have a better chance of winning battles,
heirs to continue ruling the state. both on land and sea. Strategy directly affects all combat rolls.

Fortune Vigilance
Fortune is the natural luck of your Sovereign. This is a rough measure of Vigilance is the awareness and perception of your Sovereign. This is a rough
their ability to come out on top when the chances are against them. Fortune measure of their ability to take the initiative and move to defend before
represents your raw talent for survival in the face of adversity. Sovereigns with they are even attacked. Vigilance represents the ability to anticipate, to put
high Fortune have better luck when exploring the world for new regions to complex data together, and to see the overall picture. Sovereigns with high
colonize, manage to emerge from the jaws of defeat unscathed, and just tend Vigilance tend to position their armies in advantageous locations on the
to have longer lifetimes. Fortune directly affects your rate of Vitality loss over battlefield and succeed when making tactical retreats. Vigilance directly affects
the years and rolls made when personally commanding armies to avoid injury the detection of enemy forces on the march, whether your army can take up
and death on the battlefield. an advantageous Position before a battle, the ability to retreat from combat
successfully, and defends against Targeted Actions.

Measures are the changing aspects of the Sovereign’s life. They are fluctuating values that change frequently as a result of your decisions. In many ways, measures
represent the your Sovereign’s personality and how they are perceived. Measures are not rolled against, however they can be spent to accomplish some actions
and they can be lost or gained as a result of certain behavior.
Gold Measures Prestige
Gold represents the total amount Prestige is a measure of the greatness of the player. Prestige accumulates
Gold The Treasury
of money available in liquid form to from only one source; the GM. The GM awards Prestige when you engage
be spend on other expenditures at Honor Trust of Your Peers in great roleplaying. Brilliant successes on the battlefield, the signing of great
the Sovereign’s discretion. It is the Manpower Human Resources treaties, the construction of great colonial empires, dramatic betrayals, and
accumulated result of Tax Income Prestige Legacy of Greatness any other exceptional act should result in the awarding of Prestige, regardless
over time. Wars and diplomacy are of the negative consequences that might result. A great failure can be as
Religion Your Faith
two ways to quickly relieve yourself spectacular as a great success. Prestige is fully inherited by the player to their
of gold. The GM will give you a Vitality Life Remaining next Sovereign. It can sometimes be taken away if you cannot pay a price in
starting value for this condition the traditional way and it must be used to fuel some diplomatic actions. It can
based on the scenario design. accumulate to any value without limit. Your first Sovereign begins play with
10 Prestige.
Honor is a measure of the dignity of the Sovereign. Keeping your word, Religion
defending your allies, and living up to your treaty obligations will raise your Religion is a measure of the religion that the Sovereign enforces in their
honor. Failure to do so will reduce it. Whenever issues of trust arise, such State. All Sovereigns inherit the religion of their predecessors when they
as when writing a diplomatic agreement, your honor will be tested. Honor are created. There are opportunities for Conversion to bring parts of your
cannot be greater than 20 or less than 0. Your first Sovereign begins play with nation in line with your faith, just remember to prepare to deal with the
10 Honor to represent the neutrality of opinion on their behavior. consequences if the people refuse. Religion is also affected by special rules,
such as the Papacy. You can change your personal religion at any time, but
When a Sovereign dies, their heir inherits half of accumulated honor, you will lose 2d6 Stability doing so.
rounded down. This is the classic assumption that the apple does not fall
far from the tree. You may notice that this rule will result in a gradual loss Vitality
of honor over time by your family if you take no actions to raise it. This is Vitality is a measure of the life remaining in your physical body. Roll 1d8
because honor is something that must be continually maintained. If the player when creating the Sovereign to get the initial Vitality value. Every year, you
moves to a new State, honor is reset to 10. must make a Fortune test to determine if this measure falls. If you fail the
roll, lower your Vitality by 1. It is possible to lose Vitality in other ways, such
Manpower as defeat on the battlefield. This measure cannot be negative. If vitality is
Manpower represents the current pool of available men to recruit into the reduced to zero, the Sovereign dies and a new one must be created.
military. It is the accumulated result of Recruitment over time. It will decrease
when you raise new military forces. The maximum amount of manpower you Even with a positive Vitality, no Sovereign can cheat death forever. If you are
can have is equal to five times your Recruitment. lucky enough to survive long enough to experience it, life will end on your
80th birthday.

The Conditions of the State:
The State represents the political entity which is controlled by the Sovereign. It provides all the resources at the Sovereign’s disposal and the means through
which those resources can be used. The State is managed through a set of Conditions. Initial values are always determined by the scenario design provided by the
GM. As the game unfolds, this data will change significantly with the ebb and flow of gameplay. Conditions are transferred seamlessly to new Sovereigns.

Conditions Centralization
This condition determines how much autonomy is possessed by local
Capital Location of the Government
government officials, expressed as a value from 0 to 10. A setting of 0
Centralization Degree of Autonomy Delegated to Local Authorities represents perfect feudalism where the central government controls nothing
Decay Degree of Economic Decline save the military forces and diplomatic services. A setting of 10 represents
Investment Percentage of Tax Income Invested Internally perfect absolutism where the central government makes all possible decisions.
Most States lies somewhere between those positions.
Readiness Military Mobilization and Combat Preparedness
Recruitment Annual Military Recruitment Centralized States have a stronger role in economic development and can
Stability Degree of Internal Harmony grow economically at a rapid rate. However, this comes at a political cost.
Tax Income Annual Tax Collection Highly centralized states create dissatisfaction in their societies and are
vulnerable to political instability.
Every State has a designated capital g
Positive Modifier to Growth rolls
city. It represents a fixed point on g
Negative Modifier to Control rolls
the map that must be defended to g
You can change by one unit every ten years at a cost of 1d6 Stability
retain control of your State. Even
though combat and land ownership Decay
is abstracted to a great degree in This condition is the accumulated result of economic decline. No State
Statecraft, the Capital represents remains on top of the heap forever. Decay is a kind of drag effect that will
one particular piece of land that slowly bring down your State over time. If you are able to grow at a faster rate
you need to monitor. The territories than you decay, then your State will become strong and prosperous. If you are
around your capital can never be not, your State will fall by the wayside.
ceded by a treaty.
Accumulates from Decline rolls over the years
The capitals of other States may become vital in your efforts to defeat them g
Subtracted from Tax Income every year during tax collection
militarily or annex them completely. The mere chance that your Army may be
on the verge of capturing an opponent’s capital can quickly bring them to the
peace table. If your capital falls into enemy hands, your rule can come to an
end rather quickly.

Investment Recruitment
This condition determines how much of tax income is invested internally, Recruitment represents the annual addition to the pool of available men for
expressed as a percentage from 0% to 100% in 10% increments. A setting the military. Every year, this value is added to your Manpower to represent
of 0% represents no investment at all and a setting of 100% represents all the growing population under your control. Some nations have more people
income being spent on investment. Most States lies somewhere between at their disposal than they can afford to put on the battlefield while others
those positions. This policy represents a trade-off between money today and have so few men that they must resort to mercenary forces to make up for the
growth for the future. shortfall. The degree to which your recruitment value compares with your
Tax Income value will determine your capacity in this regard.
Positive Modifier to Growth rolls
You can change by 10% every year at a cost of 1 Stability Stability
Stability represents the current
Readiness condition of State loyalty, expressed
This condition determines how much money is being spent on combat as a value from 0 to 10. A value of 0
preparedness, expressed as value from 1 to 3. Readiness is tracked separately represents the most chaotic situation
for naval & land units. You can have a high degree of naval readiness while short of complete state collapse.
having a low degree of land readiness. Starting land and naval readiness is A value of 5 represents average
determined by scenario design. loyalty of the population to the
State. A value of 10 represents the
A value of 1 represents minimal preparedness. Your military units exist strongest imaginable loyalty to the
almost exclusively on paper. While at this setting, your military forces cannot State. A large number of diplomatic
engage in combat and will automatically retreat if engaged. However, you only and military outcomes lower your
have to pay half the normal Upkeep cost of all your units. Stability. Any incurred loss that
would lower Stability below 0 instead
A value of 2 represents average preparedness. Troops are engaged in regular triggers a rebellion, as described
training with all of their equipment, ships are on defensive patrols, and under Foment. Every year, there is an
everyone is prepared for war. While at this setting, your military forces annual Control roll that can improve
function normally. the situation or slide further down.

A value of 3 represents extreme preparation for war. Troops are prepared Tax Income
for offensive operations, magazines are in place, supply wagons have been Tax Income represents the taxes collected annually. Every year, this value
requisitioned, ships are in forward combat positions, and everyone is ready reduced by Decay, then reduced by your Investment condition, and the
to open fire at the slightest provocation. While at this setting, your military remainder is then added to Gold. This process is called tax collection.
forces function at a +5 bonus to all Combat Rolls. However, you have to pay
double the normal Upkeep cost of all your units. For example, if you have a Tax Income of 120, 20 points of Decay, and an
Investment of 60%, then you will add 40 to your Gold each year.
You can change by one unit every season at no cost, however changes require
a full season to take effect Ex: 120 - 20 = 100 * (100% - 60%) = 40

Example of Sovereign Creation: Charles I: King of England
Example Attribute Assignment:
Roll 1 : 6 + 5 + 3 = 14 Roll 5 : 5 + 2 + 5 = 12
Roll 2 : 2 + 2 + 6 = 10 Roll 6 : 5 + 6 + 2 = 13
Roll 3 : 4 + 5 + 4 = 15 Roll 7 : 4 + 4 + 2 = 10
Roll 4 : 3 + 2 + 3 = 8 Roll 8 : 2 + 6 + 3 = 11

Example Measures:
Gold : GM gave out 120 based on scenario design
Honor : All first Sovereigns begin with a value of 10
Manpower : GM gave out 70 based on scenario design
Prestige : All first Sovereigns begin with a value of 10
Religion : The English people may be Protestant, but Charles is Catholic
Vitality Roll : 5

Example Conditions:
All Determined based on Scenario Design provided by GM

Attributes Measures Conditions

Acumen 14 Gold 120 Capital London
Authority 10 Honor 10 Centralization 5
Fertility 15 Manpower 70 Decay 0
Fortune 8 Prestige 10 Investment 40%
Grace 12 Religion Catholic Readiness 2
Guile 13 Vitality 4 Recruitment 40
Strategy 10 Stability 6
Vigilance 11 Tax Income 85

Life and Death of Sovereigns:
Eventually a Sovereign’s Vitality will run out. Death claims us all. When Changing States
this occurs, you must make Fertility test. This is the only time in the entire You will likely have worked hard to improve the State which you are ruling
game when you will test this attribute, but it is of vital importance to the and you probably have a lot of diplomatic agreements in place. However,
stability of your dynasty. Add a +1 bonus to this test for every five years of sometimes things do not go as you wanted them to. Perhaps your State is on
power enjoyed by your sovereign in their lifetime. If you succeed on the test, the verge of collapse or has been reduced to a low political status that you are
you become your Sovereign’s eldest child and seize power. Play continues unwilling to accept. Perhaps you simply yearn for a change of pace. Perhaps
normally. If you fail this test, you experience a Succession Crisis. you are being forced to change States due to a succession crisis. Whatever the
case, you may choose to abandon your current Sovereign lineage and move
Succession Crisis to a different State which you do not currently control. You become a distant
A succession crisis is an invitation for other States to intervene in your cousin of your Sovereign that has risen to power elsewhere.
dynastic transition. The death of a Sovereign without a clear successor creates
an opportunity for any other Sovereign with the slightest claim on your You will need to negotiate with your GM about which alternative State
throne to do so. Any State with which you share a Royal Marriage can make you would like to play. Preferably, you should have these discussions before
a Claim against you for half the normal cost, rounded down. This may result your Sovereign actually dies, so you do not waste a lot of valuable game time
in the loss of control over your State. In that case, you must change States as discussing it. In general, you should be moving to a State with less power and
described to the right. resources than your current one. It should also not be a State that you have
been overly generous with in the past, nor should it be a State that is too far
Once any claims have been resolved, you may roll up a new Sovereign and away from the rest of the players. It should be a viable State, but with a lot of
play continues normally. work necessary to bring it up to speed as a great power.

For example, you may feel that England is no longer a State that you want
to play. You still want to play a naval-oriented nation, but England is getting
too complex for you to enjoy. You talk to the GM and decide that Denmark
is a good transition State for you. It has a similar style of play to England,
but it is both militarily weaker and has a smaller economic base. When
your Sovereign dies, you inform the rest of the group that your cousin has
inherited the throne of Denmark and you are now the King of Denmark
instead of the King of England. From that point on, England would be ruled
by a Sovereign under GM control.

Becoming A General
A final path beyond death is to take up service under another monarch as a
General. This should probably be negotiated beforehand so that there is a
smooth transition.


The Flow of Time:
Statecraft is a game that is played out over very long periods of history. The basic unit of game time is the Season, which represents the Spring
natural weather cycles of the year. The Season is primarily a unit of accounting and performing actions in the Spring instead of the Fall
usually does not occur any differently. The one exception to this is Supplies, which can be profoundly impacted by weather. Most actions
that occur during a Season are related to unit movement and combat. Most economic activity is resolved on an annual basis. Of course, Fall
diplomatic activity will occur at all times. Winter

Order of Seasonal Activity: Loans:

• Pay Upkeep on all Military Units It is possible that a Season may begin and you lack the funds to pay for your
• Submit Movement orders for all Military Units in secret to GM military. So make up for this shortfall, you can take out loans from capital
• Resolve Combats that occur markets, which in this time period means primarily banking families. These
• Calculate Supplies and remove units lost to Attrition markets will loan out money in increments of 100 Gold with an interest rate
determined by the GM based on an assessment of how risky you are based
Activity that can occur at any time: on your previous financial management. The standard starting interest rate is
• All diplomatic activity, including Targeted Actions 5% per year. Interest is paid every year out of your Gold. If you cannot pay the
• Funding of Explorers loan interest with available gold, you must take out another loan to pay for it.

You can repay the loan principle at any time to terminate the loan.
Order of Annual Activity:
• Resolve the entire Winter Season first
• Accrue Gold Bankruptcy:
• Accrue Manpower If you feel that you can no longer afford to pay the amount of interest that
• Make a Growth roll you owe, you can default on all your debts instead of pay. This is called
• Make a Conversion roll (optional) Bankruptcy. When you declare bankruptcy, you must make an Authority
• Make a Control roll test with Decay applied as a penalty. If you fail this test, the GM may have
• Make a Decline roll some armies and navies under your control rebel against your command. The
• Make a Death roll degree to which this happens is based on your margin of failure. Armies that
• Pay interest on all Loans rebel in this manner function as if they have just been created by Foment.
• Begin Spring Season Navies that rebel in this manner become Pirates.

Even if you succeed on your Authority test and retain control of your military,
declaring bankruptcy always causes 2d20 Decay. Bankruptcy is a powerful
blow to even the mightiest of empires and a bellwether of decline.

Annual Calculations:
Gold: The Conversion Roll:
At the end of every winter season, a State gains Gold equal to Tax Income Each year you have a chance to convert a portion of your populace to your
multiplied by Investment. own religion. This process increases control over your populace, but at a steep
financial cost. The conversion process involves making a Grace test. If you
Manpower: succeed by a margin of 5 or more, you gain 1 Stability but lose an amount
At the end of every winter season, a State gains Manpower equal to of Tax Income equal to the margin of success. If you succeed, but not by 5
Recruitment. or more, you lose Tax Income equal to the margin of success but do not gain
any Stability in the process. If you fail, nothing happens except in the case of
extreme failure in which the GM may decide that a religious uprising occurs,
The Growth Roll:
creating an army as described under Foment. This roll is entirely optional.
Every year, you make an Acumen test called a Growth roll. For every 10%
spent on Investment that year, you get a +1 bonus to this test. If the test is
The Control Roll:
successful, raise your Tax Income or Recruitment by the margin of success.
Each year, you may gain or lose favor in the eyes of your populace due to the
You may elect to not make a Growth roll, instead using your economic
accumulation of minor slights or kindnesses. The Control roll is an Authority
growth to create a Colony in an undeveloped part of the world that you have
test to represent this shift. If you succeed on the test by a margin of 5 or more,
already explored.
your Stability improves one step (e.g. from 3 to 4). If you fail by a margin of
5 or more, you lose one point of Stability. If you are in between these two
For example, if you had an Acumen of 12 and 60% investment, you would
extremes, nothing of importance really changes.
make a roll as if you had an 18. With a die result of 11, that would be a
margin of success of 7. This would raise your Tax Income or Recruitment by
The GM can apply penalties to this roll if you have a large portion of religious
7 or you could have built a Colony in newly discovered Madagascar.
minorities within your State. For example, the Ottoman Empire should suffer
a penalty for controlling lots of Orthodox Christians and not Sunni Muslims.
However, over successive Conversion rolls the GM should reduce this penalty.

The Decline Roll:

The Decline roll is an Acumen test you must make a roll every year to
determine the change to your nation’s fortunes that occurs from the normal
passing of time. For every 10% that was not spent on Investment that year,
you get a -2 penalty to this test. If you succeed on the test, you lose Decay
equal to the margin of failure. If you fail the test, you gain Decay equal to the
margin of failure.

The Death Roll:

The Death roll is a Fortune test. Failure reduces your Vitality by 1.

All States have access to knowledge about what is called the Known World. Spreading Map Knowledge:
This may be an actual map that the GM maintains and updates for the group Twenty years after being discovered, the other Sovereigns are informed that
as a whole or it may simply be the ability to ask the GM questions about what new land has been found. They are not given the exact location or the ability
is going on in the world at the moment. At the start of the Age of Exploration to build Colonies in the area, but they are aware that the lands exist. This
scenario for example, the Known World is limited to the European continent, allows them to make directed attempts to discover them with Explorers
the shoreline of North Africa, and a portion of the Middle East. Everything that should usually succeed, subject to GM judgment. Fifty years after being
beyond this area are considered unexplored. The players have no information discovered, a location is added to the Known World.
about it at all. The only way to acquire information about the regions beyond
the Known World is through exploration. As States explore these areas over
time, they will become common knowledge and eventually appear in the
Colonies can be built using Growth rolls. Each attempt to build a colony
Known World.
triggers a Fortune roll against a difficulty set by the GM based on the
suitability of the terrain. The presence of land units in the area may result in
Finding New Lands: a bonus from the GM. If you fail this roll, the colony is lost. Building colonies
A Sovereign who wishes to explore the world beyond their current knowledge in Western Australia is significantly harder than in Cuba.
can commission an Explorer to venture into the unknown. The player simply
declares their desire to do so and a rough cardinal direction in which to travel, If this Fortune test succeeds, it is followed by a Discovery roll. The GM will
such as West or Southeast. The GM will quote them a price in Gold to do so. inform you of a number of dice to roll based on the inherent wealth of the
area you are colonizing. For example, 3d6 might be a value for a colony in
If the Sovereign is willing to pay the price, the GM will make a secret Virginia while a colony in Greenland may only net 1d4. The result of the
Fortune roll on behalf of the player. Based on that roll and their judgment, Discovery roll is added to your Tax Income. Once a colony is built, the area is
a few seasons later the GM will provide the player with information on considered a part of your State.
what new lands were discovered by their explorer. Sometimes this may
include knowledge of new foreign states. For now, the player can keep this
information to themselves or share it as they wish, however it is the only
record of what lies beyond the Known World. The GM will not inform other
players about what has been discovered.

Undeveloped parts of the world, such as the Americas, can be developed as

Colonies though Growth rolls. Until the knowledge of the region spreads into
the Known World, these developments can remain secret (unless revealed
through espionage or a royal marriage). Multiple Sovereigns may have secret
knowledge of the same locations or foreign States and not even realize it.


The majority of gameplay will typically be spent engaged in diplomacy. A Casus Belli:
large portion of this will be conducted in secret by sending secret messages to Casus Belli is a Latin expression meaning the “cause for war”. It implies that
the GM or other players. there are reasonable and unreasonable causes for war, legitimate grievances
that justify war, and ingrained with a concept of honor and respect between
Maintenance of Honor: States. If you have a Casus Belli, you can declare war on another nation at a
Honor is gained from upholding treaties. It represents your word in the eyes much reduced Stability cost. You typically gain a Casus Belli against someone
of the international community. Relations between Sovereigns and States is who violates a treaty they signed with you or when someone commits some
highly dependent upon trust and reliability. A Sovereign needs to believe that act of espionage against you. The GM can also grant a Casus Belli to any
their ally will come to their defense, that terms of treaties will be upheld, and Sovereign that they feel has a legitimate grievance against another State that
that they can depend upon certain things to occur that have been promised. would not normally be granted by the game mechanics.

If you do not stand by your word, you will not be trusted. The GM and other To protect their personal honor, any Sovereign with a Casus Belli should
players will use your Honor as a measure of your truthfulness. You can gain declare War in an attempt to right the wrong that has been done to them.
Honor by taking actions that are expected of you. You can lose Honor by This represents a social obligation to redress grievances, therefore a Sovereign
failing to take those actions. Often, there is no middle ground to tread. You declaring war with a Casus Belli will receive 2 Honor and all Stability losses
must stand up for yourself or be viewed as a coward. To fail is a better fate from declaring war are ignored. Failure to declare War within a year of
than to have never tried. receiving the Casus Belli will result in the loss of 1 Honor and 1 Stability,
because no one respects a coward. The Casus Belli is removed immediately
The Papacy: after use and rendered unavailable for future declarations of war.
If appropriate for the time period, the Papal State is a State which is always
under GM control unless annexed by a player. The Papacy can confer Fidei Annexation:
Defensor status on a single Sovereign at a time. Fidei Defensor is a Latin term If you control a State’s Capital, you may attempt to Annex that state. This
meaning Defender of the Faith. The Sovereign who has this status gets +2 involves an opposed Authority test against the other Sovereign. You may only
on their Conversion rolls and +1 to all combat values while engaged in battles make one such attempt per year. If successful, you will lose Stability based on
against States of a different religion. GM judgement of the relative size of the territory being annexed.

The Papacy can also Excommunicate Catholic States that are acting against At the time of annexation, any portions of that nation under your control
the expressed will of the Pope. This causes the loss of 5 Stability and the are immediately transferred to your ownership. Any portions that you do not
Papacy will not discourage war against that State until the Sovereign dies. yet control either declare their independence as new States, subject to GM
Further, the Papacy can declare a Crusade against a non-Catholic State of judgment, or also transfer to your ownership.
their choice. All Catholic nations are considered to have a Casus Belli on that
State while the Crusade lasts. The Pope can end the Crusade at any time, but For example, you may annex Great Britain, but if you do not control their
it cannot last longer than 10 years. Of course, if the targeted State is annexed American colonies they might refuse to join you, instead choosing to form
then the Crusade will end naturally. their own new State; the United States of America.

Treaties are the method of formalized diplomatic relations. A treaty must be actually written out and formally signed by all parties involved to be valid. Once
signed, the GM is the sole arbiter of what is a violation of the terms. If a treaty is violated, the GM will then reduce both Stability in the State and the Honor of
the Sovereign by the amounts listed in the Treaty Conditions chart as a penalty for violating the treaty. If the State lacks the Stability or Honor to pay the full
price for the violation, excess is taken out of Prestige. Violating secret treaties is not a public disgrace and thus carries no mechanical costs, however it absolutely
destroys any trust extended from the parties to the treaty.

Treaty Conditions: Treaty Conditions Violation Penalty (Stability & Honor)

Sovereigns are free to write treaties using any language they wish, so long Coalition 1d6
as that language does not violate the rules of the game. These conditions Defense Pact 1d6
may include requirements to use Targeted Actions against specified States
Exchange 1d6
(or to abstain from them). However, the conditions listed here have specific
consequences to violation. Any terms that are agreed to by the players Military Access 1
are subject to GM judgment regarding what specific game obligations are Non-Aggression Pact 2d6
involved and how they affect Honor, Prestige, and Stability. Peace 2d6
Protectorate 2d6
A Coalition is when more than two States enter into a collective agreement Royal Marriage 1
to wage war against a common enemy. This enemy must be specified in the
treaty. One State in the coalition is designated the Coalition Leader and
the Sovereign of that State negotiates with the chosen enemy on behalf
of the entire coalition. The treaty may provide stipulations that limit the
ability of the Coalition Leader to negotiate, however they cannot demand
active oversight by the Coalition members. For example, the treaty in a war
to restore a State that has been annexed by the enemy may specify that the
Coalition Leader cannot sign a peace treaty that does not restore that State.

The treaty does not immediately result in war when signed, nor does it
provide a Casus Belli. Each member must declare war separately. The timing
of these declarations and size of forces committed may be specified in the
treaty. The coalition automatically dissolves once a Peace treaty is signed.
Members may leave the Coalition at any time, including to avoid signing a
peace treaty that the Coalition Leader has secured, however this is considered
a violation. When the Peace is signed, the coalition members vote on whether
or not the Coalition Leader lived up to their promises. If the majority agrees,
the Coalition Leader is awarded 3 Honor.
Defense Pact: Non-Aggression Pact:
A Defense Pact is a bilateral agreement involving two States. Each State must A Non-Aggression Pact is a bilateral agreement involving two States. The
make a reasonable attempt to come to the defense of the other if a third party terms stipulate that each State will refrain from taking any offensive action
declares war on either of them. Once signed, both parties will always have a toward the other. Certain targeted actions that are exposed can sometimes
Casus Belli to declare war on anyone attacking the other. Stipulations can be be considered violations of these terms (e.g. Destabilize). A Sovereign who
added to limit application (e.g. will not be forced to fight against France). If upholds the treaty even when greatly tempted, subject to GM judgment, will
violated, the other party to the treaty gains a Casus Belli on the violator. receive 1 Honor. A great temptation might be the other Sovereign suffering
major defeats in an ongoing war and presenting an easy target. If violated,
Exchange: any other State that also has a Non-Aggression Pact with the violator gains a
An exchange is the immediate transfer Casus Belli on them.
of land ownership, money, military
units, or manpower between two Peace:
states. Stipulations may be amended A Peace term in a treaty ends a War. Violation of any other conditions
to the treaty that control the return attached to a Peace treaty are considered violations of the Peace as well and
of these resources. For example, a render the entire agreement void if violated.
State may give another State several
military units to assist in a war with There may be times when you are making what you feel are reasonable offers
the stipulation that they are return of peace that are being refused by your opponent out of stubbornness. You
once peace is signed or if the lending can attempt to override the Sovereign and appeal to their population instead.
State is itself attacked, provided they Inform the entire gaming group that you are going to make generous terms
survive the war intact. The exceptions and lay out those terms in public. The other players then vote by submission
to this is manpower, which can never of a secret ballot to the GM whether they believe you are offering generous
be returned, and mercenary units terms or not. Anyone involved in the war is not given a vote, including
which can never be traded between the player offering the terms. The GM always gets their own vote as well,
States under any circumstances. regardless of their involvement in the war.
Since the exchange is generally done
immediately, the only way to violate If a majority believe the terms are generous considering the degree of your
this treaty is to fail to live up to any victory on the battlefield, the GM informs the player being offered the terms
stipulations added. Note that you can that they are generous and refusal will carry a penalty. The player being
only exchange land that you own. offered the terms can either accept them or refuse them, however refusal
results in Stability loss equal to half your Grace attribute. This represents
Military Access: the internal dissent against the Sovereign caused by refusing generous offers.
Military Access is the right of one State to move military units through The GM will also award Prestige and Honor to the generous Sovereign in
regions belonging to another State. This may be limited to only naval access proportion to the actual generosity of the act.
to ports for resupply or only land access for armies if desired. Access may also
be further limited to specific lands, such as allowing another States to only
move troops through Normandy.

A Protectorate is a bilateral agreement involving the domination of one State
by another. The dominating state is called the Suzerain and the dominated
state is called the Vassal. The Vassal is not able to sign Treaties without
the consent of their Suzerain. Any declaration of War on the Vassal is also
considered a War on the Suzerain. This effect does not work in reverse and
the Suzerain may be engaged in a war without involving the Vassal. This
treaty condition is almost always attached to some form of Exchange as well,
such as a regular monetary payment. The only way to escape from this status
is via the terms of a treaty or by the Vassal declaring war on the Suzerain,
which costs an additional 2 Honor beyond any other Honor loss that occurs
from the violation of related treaty conditions. However, you will probably
gain a lot of Prestige if you can break free of your vassalage.

A Sovereign may release a piece of land as a new State that begins play as
a Protectorate. This costs 1 Prestige, 1 Honor, and 1 Stability per region
released in this manner, since it implies that you lack the power to govern
the territory properly by yourself. However, it can be useful for managing
religious issues. For example, Austria may feel that Protestantism is hurting
their Stability in the long term, so they release Bohemia as a vassal. The exact
Tax Income loss for performing this action is up to the GM.

Royal Marriage:
A Royal Marriage is a bilateral agreement to a marriage involving one
influential member of the ruling elite from each nation. This provides each
side of the agreement with an advocate inside the other nation to ensure their
views are presented more accurately. Each State receives a +3 bonus to any
attempt to Destabilize, Foment, Infiltrate, or Influence the other. Whenever
a secret treaty or discussion takes place that involves one State, but not the
other, the GM may allow the uninvolved Sovereign to make a Grace test,
perhaps with a penalty for really secret information, to learn what happened.
The only way of violating this condition is by declaring war on the other
State. Doing so is an egregious offense of honor and causes double the Honor
loss rolled instead of the same amount (Stability loss occurs normally).

The act of signing a Royal Marriage results in a gain of 1 Honor to both

Sovereigns. When formed, a Royal Marriage receives a random Vitality value
that falls as if it were a Sovereign. When it ends, both sides gain 1 Honor.
Targeted Actions:
Sovereigns can take Targeted Actions at any time, though they cost resources Targeted Actions Discovery Penalty (Honor)
to perform, usually either Stability or Prestige. If you lack the ability to pay Claim -
the cost, you cannot perform the action. For example, you probably will not
be able to declare War on anyone at 0 Stability nor can you make a Claim Destabilize 1d6
with zero Prestige. Foment 2d6
Infiltrate 1
Some actions carry a risk of being caught. If you are caught performing these Influence -
actions, you lose Honor equal to the amount listed in the chart to the right.
The State being targeted will also receive a Casus Belli against you. Any costs Piracy 1d6
paid to take actions is not returned if the action fails. Other effects may be War Special
listed in the descriptions.
Claim: Destabilize is an attempt to reduce Stability
A Claim is an attempt to grab the title of a deceased Sovereign for yourself or in a target State. This is done by declaring
one of your family members. Whenever a Sovereign dies, you can claim that your intent to the GM via a secret note.
someone else is the true inheritor of their State, either yourself or someone in Be sure to list your Guile and the amount
your royal line. Multiple Sovereigns can make claims against the same State. of Prestige you are paying on your note.
The GM will announce there has been
If you are claiming the title for yourself, you must pay an amount of an attempt to destabilize that State and
Prestige determined by the GM, based on the strength of the title you are ask the Sovereign how much Prestige
attempting to claim. For example, making a claim against Spain should cost they are willing to spend to stop the
more than Portugal. If you are making the claim on behalf of one of your attempt. The GM will then make a Guile
family members, you only need to pay half this amount. However, the family test on your behalf against the opposing
member will be rolled up by the GM and their newly rolled Grace will Sovereign’s Vigilance, adding spent Prestige
be used in the next step of the process. If you are making a claim during a to the attributes as bonuses. Results are
Succession Crisis, you only have to pay half the normal amount of Prestige adjudicated as indicated on the below table:
required, rounded down.
Destabilize Roll Results Outcome
Once a list of claimants is assembled, they must all make an Grace test. After Both tests succeed, Defender loses Stability equal to
dice rolls are made, any Sovereign may pay Prestige voluntarily to support one but the defender has a the difference between the two
of the claimants, adding the same amount to the claimant’s Grace as Prestige lower margin of success margins of success
paid. These payments can be made multiple times as a kind of bidding war. In Attacker succeeds, Defender loses Stability equal to
the end, the Sovereign with the highest margin of success is allowed to Annex Defender fails the attacker’s margin of success
the targeted State. All other claimants gain a Casus Belli on the inheritor. All other results Nothing happens

Foment: Infiltrate:
Foment is an attempt to raise a rebel army inside another State to topple their Infiltrate is an attempt to acquire information from a targeted State. This
government. You must pay an amount of Prestige equal to ten minus the is done by declaring your intent to the GM via a secret note. Be sure to list
Stability of the target State, though you can choose to pay more. You must your Guile and the amount of Prestige you are paying on your note. The
further make a monetary payment in Gold to give to these rebels. This is done next time a secret treaty or discussion takes place that involves that State, but
by declaring your intent to the GM via a secret note. Be sure to list your Guile not the infiltrating State, the GM will roll a Guile test against the defending
and the amount of money and Prestige you are paying on your note. Sovereign’s Vigilance to learn the secret information. If successful, the GM
will reveal the information. If their margin of success is at least twice yours
The GM will announce there has been an attempt to foment rebellion that or you fail your test, the GM will reveal you were making the attempt. You
State and ask the Sovereign how much Prestige they are willing to spend to receive a number of chances to learn information equal to the amount of
stop the attempt. The GM will then make a Guile test on your behalf against Prestige paid. Once you have used up your chances, the GM will no longer
the opposing Sovereign’s Authority, adding spent Prestige to the attributes. make tests for you. Of course, you can re-infiltrate by spending more Prestige.
If their margin of success is at least twice yours or you fail your test, the GM
will reveal you were making the attempt. Influence:
Influence is an attempt to affect the decisions of any other Sovereign. This
If you are successful, the GM will roll up a new Sovereign and purchase an represents the personal appeal of the Sovereign to their peer. At any time and
army for them using the money you have provided. This army will then be with respect to any decision in the game, you can declare that you want to
placed in an appropriate location (never the capital) by the GM and function influence another Sovereign. Express how you would like to see the decision
as any other army. made and declare how many points of Prestige you are willing to pay to
the Sovereign if they change their mind. They may propose a compromise
They are immediately declared a new State with their capital located within solution or wrangle over price or duration of the effect.
the initial lands that they control. Other Sovereigns can being diplomatic
relations with them, including exchanges to assist them in their war. They are For example, England’s Sovereign may see that France is declaring war on
automatically at war with their former owner and do not have to declare war. the Netherlands, yet wish to stop it. They offer 5 Prestige to France to not
The new State has Conditions determined by the GM and Gold equal to the declare war on the Netherlands, either now or for the next 10 years. France’s
remaining unspent money. Sovereign could counter, asking for 7 Prestige to hold off for so long. They
might agree upon 6 in the end.

Once an agreement has been reached, the Prestige is transferred. If the terms
of the agreement are ever violated, subject to GM judgement, double the
original amount of Prestige is removed from the violating Sovereign and the
amount paid is returned to payor.

Piracy: War:
Piracy is an attempt to cause mayhem in a sea using pirates. You must pay 1 War is the most extreme diplomatic action available. Declare war in front
Prestige per attempt. You must further make a monetary payment in Gold to of the entire game group and specify the target of the declaration. The GM
outfit the pirate fleet. This is done by declaring your intent to the GM via a will then determine the total Stability and Honor loss from violating any
secret note. Be sure to list your Guile, the amount of money you are paying applicable treaties. If the final costs cannot be paid, Prestige is paid instead to
on your note, and what general area you wish to cause piracy in (ex. Greater make up the difference. A Casus Belli may negate these losses.
Antilles in the Caribbean or the Western Mediterranean).
The GM will then give all States that would be obligated to join the war
The GM will announce there has been a surge of piracy in this area and ask the chance to do so. If two treaties contradict, such as when a State with a
the Sovereigns with regions neighboring that area if they are willing to spend Non-Aggression Pact with another State declares war on a third State that
1 Prestige to discover the source of the attempt. If so, the GM will then make has a Defense Pact with the other State, the Sovereign must make a choice
a Guile test on your behalf against the opposing Sovereign’s Vigilance. If a of which treaty to honor. Penalties for violating the other treaties are then
defending Sovereign’s margin of success twice your total or more. Otherwise, applied. Let this serve as a stern warning to avoid signing too many treaties
they learn nothing. that could potentially overlap.

The GM will construct a fleet of pirates using your money and place that Once war is declared, you may move your armies into land controlled by your
fleet in the area. While present, the pirate fleet reduces the Tax Income of enemies and engage in combat. Any opposed navies that meet at sea engage in
all States neighboring that area by an amount equal to the number of ships combat. This condition remains in effect until ended by a Peace.
in the pirate fleet. Any navy can engage the pirates as any other hostile naval
force and thereby remove the penalty.

Military Units

Military Units:
Wars must be fought with force of arms. Military units represent these
forces. There are two types of units; Land and Naval. The only real difference
between the types from a mechanical perspective is that they operate in
mutually exclusive spheres. Obviously, naval combat can only occur at sea
and land combat can only occur on land. Other than this distinction, the two
types operate identically in the game.

A group of land units moving around on the map is referred to as an Army.

A group of naval units moving around on the map is referred to as a Navy.

The number of actual soldiers per unit is left to the GM and may change
over the course of play, usually increasing in size over time. In the early
medieval period, a single unit may represent only a few hundred men. In the
Napoleonic period, a single unit may number in the thousands. The exact Mercenaries:
ratio has no real bearing on the game mechanics and is purely for adding If you lack the manpower to create land units but have excess money to
flavor to the game experience. spend, you can purchase Mercenaries on the international market. Each
mercenary unit costs 5 Gold to recruit. The number of Mercenaries that
Recruiting Units: you can purchase and the amount of time it will take for them to relocate to
Units are created by a recruitment process takes two seasons to complete (e.g. your desired location are left to the GM. Mercenaries charge double Upkeep,
units constructed in the Spring will be ready at the start of the Fall season). so be prepared to pay significant sums to keep them in the field. Note
Each unit costs 2 Gold and 2 Manpower. This price must be paid at the that the doubling effect of Mercenary status is applied after the Readiness
beginning of recruitment. modification. Naval units cannot be raised in this manner.

Additionally, the creator must specify to the GM a city in their territory Privateers:
where the units are being constructed. Obviously, for naval units this must Naval units that you have already recruited by normal methods can be
be a coastal city. If the city is captured by the enemy before recruitment is converted into Privateers to attack enemy shipping lanes. Privateers function
complete, the attempt fails but any Gold and Manpower paid is still lost. as if they were Pirates in terms of damaging the tax incomes of other States
with their presence in neighboring areas and in operating under GM control.
Upkeep: However, your naval units can only be converted into Privateers during
At the start of every Season, you must pay 2 Gold per unit in Upkeep. For wartime and they return to your control when the war is over. Privateers are
example, if your entire armed forces consisted of 12 units, you would have most useful when you have a sizeable fleet that you do not wish to risk in
a total upkeep of 24. This value is modified by two factors; your Readiness direct naval battle with the enemy, but that you would like to use to harass the
condition and whether a unit is a mercenary. enemy as much as possible instead.

Military Leadership: Military Intelligence:
By default, all Armies and Navies are led by generic unnamed Officers. Once per year, a player may tell the GM they want to look into a particular
Until these officers engage in a combat, they do not have any attributes. At region, make a Guile test, and the GM will tell them what they believe is
the beginning of their first battle, the GM will roll two attributes for them, going on in that region from a military standpoint. This information will not
assigning them in the order rolled to Strategy and Vigilance. These values be perfect, but it can be useful. No unit can remain completely hidden from
will then be used for the combat. Officers use a 1 for their Acumen when view unless it is outside of the Known World.
calculating Supply for their forces. While engaged in combat, the decision to
retreat or keep fighting will be left to the GM. Once the combat is over, you Awareness:
can choose to remove the officer from command or keep them in place. After Whenever a large amount of units is recruited, a large amount of units is on
every battle, the GM rolls makes a Fortune test on their behalf using their the move, or there is a major battle, the GM will inform other players that this
Sovereign’s attribute. If they fail this roll, the officer is killed. If their force is is occurring. Complete secrecy during the time period covered by the game
destroyed, they are killed automatically without a roll. is essentially impossible. You cannot hide an army of 100,000 men marching
through an area. However, this information will not be 100% accurate.
Alternatively, you can appoint a General or Admiral to command an Army
or Navy respectively, if you have a player to take that character. These
commanders roll up a full character as if they were preparing a Sovereign,
Field Intelligence:
A General, Admiral, or Sovereign
however unlike a Sovereign they can assign their two highest rolls to Strategy
can acquire active intelligence about
or Vigilance if they so choose. These commanders can make decisions to
the surrounding areas when they are
retreat or keep fighting when that issue arises in combat. Additionally, these
commanding from the field. This can be
commanders use their Acumen to assist in providing Supply for their forces.
highly accurate, but is limited in geographic
Like a generic officer, they must also make a Fortune test after every battle to
scope. Once again, it involves making a
determine if they are injured in battle. They use their own Fortune instead
Guile test and the GM will tell them what
of yours and even if they fail this test, they only lose 1 Vitality. If their force
they believe is going on around them.
is destroyed, they are not killed automatically like an Officer. Instead, they
merely make the standard Fortune test for a lost battle.
In fact, while commanding from the
field, a Sovereign may have a much
A Sovereign may choose to award a General or Admiral their own State as a
better grasp of what is going on in their
reward for excellent service. This may even be negotiated beforehand to secure
immediate vicinity compared to other
service in the first place. This new State must be released as a Protectorate.
parts of their nation. They may receive
Normal Prestige and Stability costs for releasing a Protectorate do not have
delayed reports from subordinates with
to be paid in this instance. The General or Admiral then leaves the service of
updates on the homefront. For example,
their former Sovereign to become a Sovereign in their own right.
a French Sovereign that has invaded Italy
may receive a report from Paris in the Fall
Finally, the Sovereign can command armies personally just as if they were a
informing them of an English army landing
General or Admiral. However, this does place them at risk of being injured or
in Aquitaine earlier that Summer.
killed using the same rules.
Military Movement: Supply:
All movement orders are submitted to the GM in secret. Armies can generally All units are dependent upon Supply to function. Supply represents the
move up to 500 kilometers every Season. An army may only be able to move availability of essential materials such as gunpowder, shot, food, water, and
half as far, or perhaps even less, through Deserts & Jungles. Navies can horses. Units without access to these things can suffer casualties simply out of
generally move up to 5,000 kilometers every Season. The maximum distance hardship. If the GM feels that your army is operating in a manner that would
you can travel and what region you ultimately reach is up to the GM. result in supply shortages, they can call for a Supply roll. This is an Acumen
test subject to a modifier provided by the GM representing the challenge of
Naval Transport: the environment. For example, an Army operating in Champagne would have
Naval units can carry a number of land units equal to half their number. Thus a much easier time than one in Algeria. Due to the unforgiving nature of the
a Navy consisting of 6 naval units could carry up to 3 land units. Land Units sea, naval forces should roll for supplies on any trip of significant distance.
can only board and disembark while in a coastal city. Land forces should generally only roll when operating in enemy territory or in
extreme physical environments like deserts.
Devastation: If you fail the Supply roll, your force takes casualties equal to the margin of
When an Army stands essentially unopposed in enemy territory, they can
failure. Thus a General with an Acumen of 15 could roll a 19 on the test, and
choose to devastate it. This is an Strategy test with the number of land units
with no modifiers fail it. This would cause that Army to lose 4 units. If you
in the Army applied as a bonus. If successful, the enemy State is temporarily
succeed on the Supply roll, your force takes no losses.
denied Tax Income equal to the margin of success for the next 2 annual tax
collections. Additionally, the Sovereign of the devastating army gains half
The below chart is provided merely a guidepost for you and the GM, not the
the amount stolen in Gold. This represents the process of essentially stealing
last word. Circumstances dictate supply. An army taking refuge in a burned-
everything you can carry with you.
out snow-covered Moscow could experience a penalty of epic proportions.
The GM may impose a maximum amount that can be gained from Example Supply Modifiers
devastating a particular area, regardless of the roll result, based upon the Spring +0
inherent value of the region. For example, no one can loot the Scottish
Highlands for vast sums of money. It just isn’t there for the taking. Summer +1

Fall +2
Blockades: Winter -3
A Navy can blockade the ports of an enemy by positioning themselves in the
adjacent seas and declaring their intent to blockade. This is an unmodified Plains +2
Strategy test. If successful, the enemy State is temporarily denied Tax Income Forests & Lowlands +1
equal to the margin of success for the next tax collection. As with devastation,
the Sovereign of the blockading force gains half the amount stolen in Gold Mountains & Tundra -3
and the GM may also impose a maximum amount to be gained. Any navy Deserts, Islands, & Jungle -5
attempting to leave port while under a blockage is automatically detected and
the blockading navy always gets the Weather Gauge in such an engagement. Surrounded by Enemies -10

Battle Adjudication:
Contact: Retreat:
It is possible that two armies or navies may cross paths during movement. Before the battle even begins or at the end of each round of combat, either
If the GM feels like contact is likely between two forces, they will have each commander may decide to retreat from battle. They make an opposed
force make a Vigilance test. Use the below table to determine results. Vigilance test against their opponent (the Position bonus applies to this roll).
If the force remaining on the field succeeds on this test by a higher margin
Contact Roll Results Outcome
than the retreating force, they inflict pursuit damage on the retreating force
Highest margin of success gains equal to the difference between the two margins.
Both tests succeed:
Position bonus equal to difference
Each force notices the other
between the two roll results A retreating force moves to a nearby location of their choice. If they have been
One test succeeds: If they choose to initiate, successful trapped, such as by pushing them to the tip of a peninsula (or inlet in the case
Successful force can choose to force gains Position bonus equal to of naval units), the force is destroyed and all units are removed from play.
either initiate or avoid combat margin of success rolled.
Neither test succeeds: An Army that remains after a battle can keep their Position bonus result as
Nothing occurs
Forces do not notice each other long as it remains in the immediate area. It can use this bonus against any
army that attacks that area in the future.
One side of the combat may enjoy a Position bonus from their Contact Roll.
This represents making the best tactical choices on where the battle takes
place. This bonus applies to all combat rolls made in the coming battle. If a
navy has a Position bonus of +5 or greater, they have the Weather Gauge.
Having the Weather Gauge means that you are upwind of the enemy Navy
and can choose to engage in battle or not. When you have the Weather
Gauge, your opponent cannot retreat from battle and must fight to the death.

When two or more armies make contact, a battle occurs. Battles are broken
into Rounds of combat. Each round, each commander makes a Strategy
test and adds the number of units in their force as a bonus, along with any
relevant Position bonus and any other modifiers (e.g. Readiness).

Margins of success are compared and the difference is applied to the army
with the lower result as casualties, meaning that many units are killed in
action. One fourth of the difference is applied to the army with the higher
result as casualties. Nobody escapes combat unscathed. Casualties are
removed from the battle before moving on to the next round.

The Role of the Gamemaster:
The primary job of the GM is to adjudicate the rules in a fair and neutral Representing other Nations:
manner. They are responsible for keeping the game moving forward in The GM is responsible for all Sovereigns and States that are not run by a
time, including everything from calling for movement orders every season player, as well as pirates and rebel armies. The GM can simply set whatever
to overseeing tax collection. The GM is also responsible for maintaining Conditions they desire in one of their States, they can create Armies and
the unplayed States and Sovereigns in the game in a believable and realistic Navies in any unit amounts that they wish, and they can kill Sovereigns
manner. Finally, there are some mechanisms by which the GM can proactively under their control whenever they like. They are free to do essentially
intervene in the game itself. anything they want within these States, so long as it is realistic and serves the
purpose of the game.
Time Management:
The GM can conduct their tasks within whatever real time intervals that In general, these entities should be passive and relatively unambitious unless
are appropriate for the group. Typically this involves setting a regular flow of threatened by unusual circumstances. The game is about the rise and fall
time, such as 1 day of real time to turn in your military movement orders for of the States played by the players, not a vehicle for a GM’s power trip. The
the season via e-mail. The game is designed to be played over the internet, so GM has an ethical duty to run the game so that it is enjoyable to everyone
if you want a game with a faster or slower pace, make your own adjustments. and thus should refrain from abusing their power for their own amusement.
Forces under GM control should generally be used as obstacles, boundaries,
A Season can technically be resolved in a matter of seconds, if everyone is at and pawns for the players to interact with, not as serious rivals to their
peace and all military units are in supply. However, you may want to build existence. There can be exceptions if you have the consent of the players.
in some time for people to discuss basic matters and make proposals to one
another. No matter what timetable you are using, a player should have the The Papacy:
right to ask for a temporary stoppage so that they can conduct emergency The GM can use the Papacy and its significant financial backing to influence
diplomacy. The GM must be careful not to let this right be abused as a player politics and to encourage religious strife between Catholics and other
method of stalling. religions, particularly Islam and Protestantism. The GM can use the threat
of Excommunication to discourage Catholic players from taking actions that
Setting Difficulty: the Papacy frowns upon, such as declaring war on peaceful Catholic minor
The GM is given the task in some instances of imposing a penalty to reflect powers. The GM can also use the declaration of Crusades to encourage
difficulty. In these instances, the range of possibilities is so large that it is the players to work towards common goals. In general, it should minimize
impossible for us to set a standard in every case. conflict among Catholics and encourage it with other religions.

For example, the GM can set a difficulty penalty for a piece of secret Before Protestantism, the GM should use their power to slightly annoy
information to be learned through a Royal Marriage. The range of potential the players, while being careful not to threaten player autonomy. After
secret information is massive. Thus, the GM must rely upon their judgment Protestantism, the Papacy should become supportive and useful to keep
to determine how likely it would be for someone to get access to the secret Catholicism strong.
information that is being discussed.
As with everything under GM control, exercise appropriate restraint.

Giving Out Prestige:
The goal of every game should be to have fun. The ability of the GM to give out Prestige is the most powerful tool they have to accomplish this goal. You should
give Prestige to players that engage in the kind of play that makes the game more fun, even if that play hurts their Sovereign or State. The guidelines below exist
for you to use when making decisions about your own game.

Great Things to Give Prestige For: Prestige Rewards:

Acting on impulse, even when it is to your detriment The GM can use Prestige Rewards to encourage exciting gameplay. A Prestige
Doing something unexpected and surprising everyone Reward is informing the players ahead of time and you are going to be
Doing something extremely sneaky and not getting caught granting Prestige for accomplishing a particular task. The details of the task
Stunning betrayals that have been planned for a long time are left to the GM’s imagination, but must be fully disclosed in advance to all
Aggressive defense of your Sovereign’s Honor the player. The player who accomplishes the task first gets the reward added
Good roleplaying of your Sovereign to their Prestige.
Recovering lost territory because it is rightfully yours
Coordinating a complex treaty involving many terms and/or multiple states Ideas for Prestige Awards:
Accomplishing Challenging Tasks for the glory of having completed them g
Discover a Sea Route around Africa
Attempting something despite high risk because it is daring and bold g
Discover the Americas
Letting an opportunity pass despite low risk because it is weak and cowardly g
Get a colony in the New World built up into a developed region
Conquer a particular foreign State (ex. Aztec Empire)
Conquer a particularly difficult-to-invade region (ex. Malta)
Drive a Religious Enemy out of an area (ex. Moors out of Spain)
Consolidate political control over a large area (ex. Unify Italy)
Discover a far-off location (ex. Discover Australia)
Build a Trading Post in a difficult location (ex. Shanghai)
Control trade over a large area (ex. India)
Accomplish a seemingly impossible goal (ex. Liberate Israel)
Become the first Protestant State

Events represent the most powerful and unique way that the GM can shape Technology:
and influence the game. The GM should come to the table with a number of The advance of technology throughout the game is handled by events. Each
events prepared ahead of time. These events represent a potential situation event represents a chance to acquire a technological advance first, before
that could occur in any country, for example a political scandal involving your opponents can adopt it. It confers a temporary bonus of some kind to
prominent elites. An event that would only make sense for a few of the played represent the leading edge that your State enjoys in this field. Technology
States, such as only Islamic States, would be inappropriate because everyone events are always positive and they share some common characteristics.
gets a chance to receive the event. Many GMs will want to create their own
custom events to make their game more interesting. However, you can just as g
Technology always grants some kind of specific effect, such as a bonus to
easily rely upon the template events found in the Events chapter. combat rolls on open plains.
Technology effects always last for specific number of years. After that time,
Every event should be either positive or negative. If there is a high level of the technology is assumed to be spreading to other nations and thus no
ambiguity about whether the event would ultimately be helpful or hurtful, longer confers any special advantage.
you should probably not use it. When a player learns of the event, they should g
Technology events are bid upon with Gold instead of Prestige.
be able to instantly discern whether they would want the event to occur to g
Technology events take away all the Gold bid from all players, in the same
them or not. Template events are sorted in this way for easy reference. way that a negative event takes away Prestige.

Introducing Events: Global Events:

The GM is free to introduce an event at any time in the game. Introducing an Certain things occur in history that
event in the midst of a moment of extreme uncertainty, such as a few seasons instantly change things for everyone,
into a major war, could add an extra layer of tension to the bidding process. not just a single recipient. These
The GM informs everyone that an event is up for bidding and reads the events are based upon the period of
event description out loud to the group. Players should submit the amount history you are dealing with, but the
of Prestige that they want to bid to the GM. Even if they are bidding zero, clearest example is Protestantism.
players should still submit that to the GM. Martin Luther will nail is 95 theses
on the church door in 1517. This
If the event is positive, the players are bidding Prestige to RECEIVE the changes the religious climate in
event. The event occurs for whichever player bids the most Prestige, with Europe permanently. From that
ties broken by an opposed Fortune test. Only the winner actually loses the point on, a Sovereign could convert
amount of Prestige they bid. to Protestantism, albeit at a social
cost. When these events occur, the
If the event is negative, the players are bidding Prestige to AVOID the event. GM will inform the entire table
The event occurs for whichever player bids the least Prestige, with ties broken about the nature of the global event
by an opposed Fortune test. All players lose the amount of Prestige they bid. and what it means for the game
going forward.


Scenario Design:
The GM is responsible for providing the scenario for the game. A scenario is
the starting point of the game and defines the fixed elements from which the
players to make their early choices.

Starting Date:
This is the year in which play begins. For example, 1492 A.D.

Primary States:
The GM should choose a number of States and present them as
recommended choices for the players. Placing a player in each of these States
is essential to having a quality game. For example, the Age of Exploration
scenario suggests a choice from England, Spain, France, and Portugal. These
nations exemplify the colonial efforts of Europe during this time frame. In
the scenario design, the GM should provide a listing of all the details for each
State, such as their starting military forces and Conditions.

Alternate States:
The GM may designate certain States as possible alternative choices to
the primary selections. These States may be influential in the affairs of the
primary states or they may be minor States that present a more challenging
game. If you have additional players who wish to join in the game, they can
choose from these States.

Late Emergence States:

The GM may designate certain States as not existing yet, but as future
possibilities. These States emerge during play and represent a possible choice
for a player in the future. For example, the Netherlands revolts from Spain
during the late 1500s. A player may choose to start the game as a General
if they know they can move to one of these States later on. Unlike alternate
States, descriptions are not provided for these States in the scenario templates
and must be drawn up by the GM when the time arises.

Age of Exploration:
Starting Date: 1492 A.D. Alternate States: Austria & Venice
Primary States: England, Spain, France, & Portugal Late Emergence States: the Netherlands & Brandenburg-Prussia

England Spain France

Measures Conditions Measures Conditions Measures Conditions
Gold 55 Capital London Gold 120 Capital Toledo Gold 85 Capital Paris
Manpower 20 Centralization 4 Manpower 45 Centralization 2 Manpower 52 Centralization 1
Armies Decay 0 Armies Decay 0 Armies Decay 0
London 5 Investment 60% Castile 18 Investment 30% Paris 15 Investment 40%
Calais 2 Readiness 1 Naples 5 Readiness 2 Gascogne 8 Readiness 2
Navies Recruitment 12 Navies Recruitment 25 Navies Recruitment 34
Bristol 3 Stability 7 Cadiz 15 Stability 5 Brest 3 Stability 5
London 8 Tax Income 34 Naples 4 Tax Income 54 Marseilles 12 Tax Income 60
Diplomacy: Ireland is a Vassal, Diplomacy: Royal Marriage with Portugal, Diplomacy: Defense Pact with Scotland & Venice,
Royal Marriage with Spain Defense Pact with Portugal Brittany is a Vassal, Royal Marriage with Savoy

Portugal Austria Venice

Measures Conditions Measures Conditions Measures Conditions
Gold 35 Capital Lisbon Gold 72 Capital Vienna Gold 150 Capital Venice
Manpower 12 Centralization 3 Manpower 34 Centralization 4 Manpower 15 Centralization 6
Armies Decay 0 Armies Decay 0 Armies Decay 0
Lisbon 1 Investment 80% Vienna 12 Investment 50% Venice 10 Investment 70%
Sao Tome 3 Readiness 2 Flanders 4 Readiness 2 Crete 2 Readiness 2
Navies Recruitment 8 Navies Recruitment 30 Navies Recruitment 18
Lisbon 4 Stability 9 Stability 6 Venice 22 Stability 8
Sao Tome 6 Tax Income 28 Tax Income 43 Crete 4 Tax Income 48
Diplomacy: Royal Marriage with Spain, Diplomacy: Holy Roman Emperor, Diplomacy: Defense Pact with France,
Defense Pact with Spain Royal Marriage with Hungary Royal Marriage with Genoa

Event Design:
The GM is responsible for providing events during the game. An event
provides an opportunity to add interesting flavor to the game and take things
in new directions if play stagnates.

There are four types of events; Global, Technologies, Positive, and Negative.

For most events, this is a recommendation for when to implement the event.
For Global events, this is an exact year in which this event will occur.

The GM must read this text aloud to the players when introducing the event.

Whoever receives the event (in the case of Global events, everyone) will
experience the listed effects when the event occurs. The exact effects should
NOT be read to the players before the bidding process.



Example Global Events: Example Technology Events:
The Conquest of Mecca: Heavy Cavalry:
Type: Global Type: Technology
Year: 629 A.D Year: ~ 100 B.C.
Description: Muhammed has conquered Mecca with the armies of Islam. Description: Armorers are developing heavy mail that can be used on horses
This is the beginning of a new era of religious fervor. as a form of barding. When combined with a heavily armorer rider, this
Effects: Any Sovereign can convert to Islam if they are willing to pay the price. allows you to field a new kind of soldier with unparalleled combat strength.
Islamic religious events can also occur now. Effects: You gain +5 to all Combat rolls. If you do not have a Position bonus,
reduce your opponent’s bonus by 2 to represent the ability to charge through
The Great Schism: an arrow bombardment. This effect remains exclusively yours for 50 years.
Type: Global
Year: 1054 A.D Long Distance Sailing Ships:
Description: Due to growing irreconcilable differences, the Eastern and Type: Technology
Western churchs of Christianity have split into two distinctive groups. Year: ~ 1450 A.D
Effects: All Christian Sovereigns must choose between Catholicism and Description: Shipwrights are beginning to experiment with long-distance
Orthodox. Catholic and Orthodox religious events can also occur now. ocean-crossing ships capable of exploring previously inaccessible parts of the
world. This has resulted in new designs such as the Caravel and Carrack.
The Black Death: Effects: You can send explorers and colonists over considerable distances,
Type: Global such as from Europe to the Americas or around the tip of Africa. This effect
Year: 1348 A.D remains exclusively yours for 40 years.
Description: The Black Plague has been unleashed on Europe. It will kill
roughly half of Europe’s population and leave chaos in it’s wake. Gunpowder Weapons:
Effects: All European nations lose a quarter of their Tax Income and half of Type: Technology
their Recruitment. Year: ~ 1500 A.D
Description: Inventors are beginning to experiment with using gunpowder to
The Reformation: propel bullets over considerable distances. Although in an infant stage now,
Type: Global this technology will become a centerpiece in the future of warfare.
Year: 1517 A.D Effects: You gain +5 to all Combat rolls. If you have a Position bonus, add
Description: Martin Luther has posted his 95 theses on the church door +2 to that bonus to represent the shock effect of firing into incoming troops.
in Wittenburg, Germany. This has triggered an unraveling of Catholic This effect remains exclusively yours for 25 years.
intellectual authority.
Effects: Any Sovereign can convert to Protestantism if they are willing to pay
the price. Protestant religious events can also occur now.

Example Positive Events: Example Negative Events:
Rising Prosperity: Economic Contraction:
Type: Positive Type: Negative
Year: Any time Year: Any time
Description: Your land is prospering under your wise leadership. Harvest Description: Your land is suffering through hard times. Harvest yields are
yields are increasing, the people are happy, and life is good. There is a falling, the people are unhappy, and the value of coinage is falling. There is a
palatable sense that things are going very well and the future outlook is good. palatable sense that something is wrong and the future outlook is poor.
Effects: Reduce Decay by 3d20. Effects: Increase Decay by 1d20.

Colonial Dynamism: Civil War:

Type: Positive Type: Negative
Year: Any time after 1450 Year: Any time
Description: Your people are yearning for colonial expansion. There is a Description: Your people are deeply divided over many issues. A prominent
strong desire to go out into the world and find new lands and peoples. military leader has used this as an excuse to rebel against your authority.
Effects: Reduce all exploration costs by half. Gain a +5 bonus to all Discovery Effects: A General takes roughly half of the State’s military and declares
rolls and all Fortune rolls made in conjunction with colonial development. himself the true heir to the throne. Give a random portion of Sovereign’s gold
is transferred to this general. Use your judgement to pick a General that is a
Fortunate Inheritance: reasonable distance from the Capital, you don’t want to cripple the Sovereign
Type: Positive instantly. If one doesn’t exist at the proper distance, feel free to create one and
Year: Any time provide them with newly recruited forces.
Description: The Sovereign of a nearby State is near the end of their life. It
has been recently discovered that you have a strong supportable claim on the Independent Title:
title for yourself. Type: Negative
Effects: Annexation of a nearby minor State of the GM’s choice without Year: Any time
Stability loss. Description: One of your lesser land titles has unfortunately fallen to an
individual with only partial fealty to your State. This individual has chosen to
Policy Shift: assert their independence from your rule.
Type: Positive Effects: Take a modest portion of the State and give it to a new title holder.
Year: Any time Roll up a new Sovereign for the new State, which enters play as a vassal of the
Description: A stubborn local political figure who had been standing in your Sovereign receiving the event. Alternatively, take an existing vassal and make
way has met an unfortunate end. This has made it possible for you to make them completely independent.
some internal political changes without opposition.
Effects: Gives the Sovereign their choice of one of the following; +1 Stability,
+1 to Centralization, or shift Investment by 20% in either direction without
Stability loss.
Player: ______________ Sovereign: ____________ State: _______________
Birth: __________ Death: __________

Attributes Measures Conditions Casus Belli

Acumen Gold Capital State End Date
Authority Honor Centralization
Fertility Manpower Decay
Fortune Prestige Investment
Grace Religion Readiness
Guile Vitality Recruitment
Strategy Stability
Vigilance Tax Income

Public Information Military Forces

Coalitions Commander Type Units
Defense Pacts
Military Access
Non-Aggression Pacts
Royal Marriages
Crusade Targets
Technology Bonuses