Agents Of Empire/Mechanics

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This page is for the system and mechanics of the game. As mentioned elsewhere, the general idea is that there are two parallel sets of mechanics. The Houses take board-game-like actions, which are relatively strictly defined (see most of the rest of the page), and characters take RPG-like actions, which are as freeform as normal RPG play.

Turns will be three times weekly. There'll be some page where you list your house and individual actions, and they'll basically all resolve at once. In some cases we'll play out actions in more detail, and in some cases you'll just say what you want to do and we'll roll. I assume people will sometimes want to do private actions; we can manage that through email or maybe there's some way to do it through the wiki.

House Creation

Houses run by players have the following skills: Diplomacy, Industry, Trade, Military, Exploration, and Research. Of the six stats, choose two to be Good (+2), three to be Average (+0), and one to be Bad (-2). Generally speaking these skills won't be rolled against, but the good/average/bad ranking has other effects.

Furthermore, Houses start with two aspects. These can be anything: Jarou Allies, Hotshot Pilots, Friends in the Senate, etc. These aren't used by House actions, but rather by character actions related to the House -- a character leading an aerial assault could draw on the House's ability as hotshot pilots.

Character Creation

Characters have the following skills: Academics, Athletics, Criminal, Weapons (Primitive, Blasters, or Exotic), Vehicles, Survival, Stealth, Engineering, Investigation, Socializing (Senate, Military, Merchants, etc). Choose two to be Great (+4), three to be Good (+2), two to be Bad (-2), and the rest to be Average (+0). For skills with specializations (Weapons and Socializing), choose a specialization to be at the stated skill level, and the other specializations are at -2. You may also choose multiple specializations to be Great or Good if you desire (eg, you could choose to have Good Socializing: Senate and Good Socializing: Military).

They also have four Aspects, such as Master Tactician, Allies in House X, Trained Spy, Telekinetic, etc.

House Actions

House actions proceed through a series of phases. Phases occur in the same order each turn, and all Houses wishing and able to act in a particular phase act simultaneously. Each phase is explained in more detail below, but here is the order of phases and a brief summary:

  • Shipping: Cargo ships load their goods and take off
  • Fighting: Military units attack their targets
  • Exploration: Explorers explore hexes
  • Production: Mines and other production sources produce
  • Processing: Factories and other processors process
  • Research: Research institutions research
  • Building: New units and buildings are created
  • Landing: Ships land
  • Trade: Buying and selling completes
  • Politics: Political maneuvering completes

Shipping Phase

In the shipping phase, cargo ships load their goods or units (they can load as many as they have capacity, with one good = one unit = one capacity slot) and take off for their destination. Characters can ride on a ship without taking up any cargo space. Traveling either to another nearby planet on this side of the wormhole, or through the wormhole to a central commerce point, the ship will arrive at the end of the current turn. Other destinations may take longer.

Fighting Phase

In the fighting phase, military units (psychic shock troopers, blaster squads, jet fighters, etc) on the same hex as other military units can attack them. The unit with the higher rank wins; the lower ranking unit is destroyed. In the case of a tie, neither is destroyed. A group of lower-ranking units can band together to attack (two units of rank N rate the same as one of rank N+1), but are in turn attacked individually. Units from a superior zone (space is superior to air and land; air is superior to land) get a +3 rank bonus against units of an inferior zone. During this phase, military units can move one hex either before or after they attack.

Exploration Phase

In the exploration phase, explorers (eyebots, scout droids, survivalists) explore hexes. Explorers can only move into hexes of their own rank or lower. Hexes cost their rank in movement points to enter; explorers have movement points equal to their own rank each turn (so a rank-4 explorer could explore two rank-2 hexes or one rank-4). Already-explored hexes only cost one movement point to enter, regardless of their rank. Hexes must be explored before anything can be built on them.

Production Phase

In the production phase, producing buildings (mines, farms, oil wells, etc) produce one unit of their type of good per rank.

Processing Phase

In the processing phase, processing buildings (factories, mills, refineries, etc) take in some specified set of goods and produce some other good (eg, a warp core factory can turn three crystals into one warp core). Processing takes 4 - (rank of the building) turns to complete, so usually it'll have to be specified across multiple turns.

Research Phase

In the research phase, research buildings (universities, libraries, archives, etc) have a chance to produce a discovery in their area of specialty. Higher-ranking research buildings have a better chance of producing higher-ranked research. Research takes three turns to complete.

Building Phase

In the building phase, new units and buildings are paid for and created. Some units/buildings take more than one turn to complete.

Landing Phase

In the landing phase, ships reach their destinations (if scheduled to do so).

Trade Phase

In the trading phase, goods, buildings, and units are bought and sold in the commerce centers of the empire. Generally speaking buildings and units cost twice as much to buy as they do to build, but no prerequisites need to be satisfied to buy them, and they can be purchased in a single turn.

Politics Phase

In the politics phase, laws are voted on and pass or don't pass, and diplomatic units maneuver.

Character Actions

Characters can take one action a turn. These are more standard RPG things like negotiating with prospective trade partners, sneaking into places, wooing people for fun and profit, lying on couches eating grapes, dueling, that sort of thing. Many character actions can be to benefit prospective House actions; before a military conflict occurs, a character could spend an action to help prepare an ambush, and before an important vote, a character could wine and dine (or blackmail!) the electors. Characters can also benefit current House actions -- fighting as part of the conflict or making a speech on the floor -- but this is riskier for the character.

Aspects and Fate Points

Characters (not players) have three fate points each. Fate points have two main uses:

  • A character who suffers an injury can spend a fate point to avoid it
  • A character can spend a fate point to raise their skill by 2 points (ie, to the next higher level) for one use. To do this, they have to invoke a relevant aspect, either on their character, on their opponent, or on their House.

Characters can regain fate points when a relevant aspect causes them to lose a conflict. (Either at their offer or the GM's.)

Costs and Economics

Prices for goods, units, and buildings are on their own page.