Ruling Dynasty IV

Copyright 2017 by Michael E. Brines

Be sure to join the game forum @ Google Groups "Fantasy Nations" forum.

Joining the Game

New players choose an NPC position from the gazetteer for their dynasty to rule. Once you decide on the position you like, contact the GM at and tell him how your dynasty roae to power. Are you the son of the former king who died after a long illness? Did you usurp the previous dynasty? Maybe you worked for them as an ambitious but untrustworthy grand vizier or army general.

The GM will send you a list of their possessions and the number of character points you start with. Then just generate your characters, and submit your first orders by the next weekly deadline. Feel free to ask the GM questions.

Characters are male or female, of a particular race, have names, a religion, and possess one or more talents that modify endeavors undertaken in the game. Race and religion can be anything you like, but consider also the nation you begin play as ruler of. Monarchs whose race or religion are different than their subjects’ experience increased unrest.

Talents are defined by level, +1, +2 etc. Adult characters must have at least one level+1 talent. Characters can also have spouses, children (very necessary to carrying on a ruling dynasty) and other relatives. Children under sixteen have no specific talents until they come of age. Characters with spouses may produce children during the game to expand their dynasty. However, no new characters (other than children) can be generated once a player begins play. The CP cost for each level of talent is ten. CP not allocated before you start can be used later to add talents to existing characters or produce children (new characters.)

Players earn character points during the game by conspicuous consumption—spending gold on cool stuff like hosting parties, staffing harems, constructing wonders of the world, erecting statues of themselves, monuments, palaces, zoos, and anything else that isn’t otherwise useful that a power-crazed monarch might use to thrill his hardened little heart. Essentially each gold “wasted” on frivolity gains you a character point.


Talents allow actions to be performed and modify the success of endeavors. Talents can be used every turn to perform a number of actions or modify endeavors up to the level of the talent every turn, so an Admin+3 talent could provide a +3 to one endeavor, or +1 each to three endeavors or a +1 to one and a +2 to a second endeavor, every turn. But talents cannot be saved or accumulated. (But see the rules for plots.)

Admin modifies tasks involving construction or ruling a province.

Beauty is a “talent” for princesses you’re just going to marry off to some damn foreigner anyway and you don’t want to actually waste a useful talent on them.

Charisma modifies tasks improving your subordinate’s loyalty and devotion.

Cleverness modifies inventing new things, including technology and magic spells.

Diplomacy modifies attempts to make deals with non-player countries (NPCs).

Fervor modifies religious issues.

Guile modifies any sort of sneaky, underhanded plots you might attempt such as spying or assassinations.

Leadership increases an army’s resistance in the face of defeat.

Scouting increases an army’s reconnaissance rating.

Tactics increases an army’s fighting power.


Magic spells are simply a different form of talents. A character who wants to be a magic-user can learn or invent spells by spending CP to do so. Get with the GM for the specific spells you want to develop. Some may cost more than ten CP per level.

Playing the Game

Playing the game is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Collect income

  2. Issue orders

  3. Submit your orders to the GM.

1. Collect income

Each province has a wealth level. Each turn you receive bags of gold equal to the total wealth levels of the provinces you control. To control a province you must have a line of communication back to your court—which lies in your home province. Lines of communication cannot cross mountain ranges and you must own a ship to cross the sea.

Nomads who control steppe provinces can breed herds, gaining a bag of gold or new herd for every eleven herds they own which aren’t being used for other purposes that turn, but not more than one new herd per turn per steppe province.

2. Issue orders

Anything you do other than communicate with other players is done through orders. Want to buy something? Put that in your orders. Raise an army and attack something? Write up the orders. You can try just about anything. Be sure to tell the GM what you are using to accomplish these feats. If the outcome of an action is certain—such as just buying something off a list—you can use the item the same turn. For endeavors with uncertain outcomes—such as attacking or building or inventing something—you must wait until you get your turn results to find out if you’re successful.

Every player can issue five orders per turn. They can pay extra to order more. An order is anything you issue orders for except collecting income. Write up your orders with each separate order being a separate paragraph. A single order can consist of several related actions. As long as the actions are related you can count it as a single order. For example, buying three different kinds of equipment is a single order because you’re buying stuff. Giving three different things to the same player is one give order. But giving stuff to three different recipients is three separate give orders. Paying your troops is not a separate order; it’s part of whatever mission you’re assigning them: attack, defend, etc. Having three different war bands attack is only one order, unless you’re having them attack different opponents. Buying equipment to raise an army to make an attack is two separate orders—one to buy the equipment, another to pay the troops and order them to attack. A long-term construction project or diabolical plot that takes several turns to complete counts as an order each turn.

Players may purchase any number of additional orders each turn from the GM at a cost of one US dollar each. He takes PayPal using his e-mail address or you can send a personal check. Please pay in advance. If you quit the game, notify the GM and any unused balance will be refunded.

Armies assigned to “defend” protect all your holdings, not just a specific province, so you only need to specify what is defending, not where. The type of equipment any group has determines their type and how well they fight. Warriors can use one two-handed weapon, or a shield and a single one-handed weapon, or two one-handed weapons. They can also wear armor and ride a chocobo, if provided. Warriors are typically organized into companies, cohorts, war bands, or troops of cavalry. A rack of weapons, shields or armor can equip one company, cohort, or war band. A troop of chariots or cavalry requires a herd of chocobo. Each ship’s crew, company, cohort, or troop must be paid a bag of gold every turn. Herds of chocobo assigned to a cavalry troop also require one gold worth of supplies each turn. War bands supply themselves and do not require pay, although they are much more difficult to organize. Each turn each unit can be assigned to a mission. Missions include attack, defense, raiding, or reconnaissance. Attacks, raids, and reconnaissance missions start from the attacker’s controlled territory. He can choose to launch his attack from any province he controls. However, only flying units can attack across a mountain range. To cross water you need ships, until you capture a beachhead.

Communication with other players is not part of your orders and should be handled directly, either on the forum (for public statements) or by a private e-mail (for especially sneaky plotting.) Do not send messages to other players through the GM. Communication with NPCs does goes through the GM and is part of your orders.

Female characters can have a baby each turn at a cost of two CP. Be sure to provide the GM with a name, gender, and the year the child comes of age (in 16 turns.)

There is no prescribed list of actions you can perform. This is a role-playing-type game and you can try almost anything. Everything’s based on common sense. You can’t use something for more than one purpose each turn. A +1 talent is only good for one endeavor. A particular war band can only defend the country or attack, not both. If you have any questions, contact the GM directly and ask.

3. Submit your orders to the GM

At or before the turn deadline, write your orders and send an e-mail to the GM at For the subject put “<the name of your dynasty> <whichever game turn/year it is> orders.” You can cut and paste your orders into the body of the message or attach them as a text file and send. There is no need to send last turn's results back to the GM. All he needs is your current orders.

If your orders change before the deadline, send a new e-mail message to the GM using subject “Revised <your dynasty's name here> orders” and send. The GM will carry out the orders from the most current "revised" packet.

If he doesn't receive any orders from you, the GM will run your position as an NPC. If you miss three turns in a row without contact, it is assumed you have dropped out and the position becomes NPC. If you do drop out, the GM would appreciate knowing why.

Miscellaneous Rules

The game forum is a great place to learn of events in other parts of the game world and to communicate with all the other players. Be sure to join at Google Groups "Fantasy Nations" forum. Go to my membership” settings and choose for email delivery preference “notify me for every message.” Save your choice. If you don't select this, the default is no messages and you'll be in the dark. Please remain in character on the forum. (In this way other players are less likely to take your comments personally and become angry.)

General Equipment



Axes, rack of



Battle axes, rack of



Bows, rack of



Chariots, troop of



Chocobo, herd



Great Swords, rack of



Mail shirts, rack of



Shields, rack of



Spears, rack of



Swords, rack of



War Galley



For other items consult the GM. Items not listed in the general equipment list may require possession of “plans” before they can be made. Get plans by inventing the device, or by stealing plans from somebody who has them. If you have plans for a new invention, you may give them to other players.

Dynastic Ties & Treaties can be gained with NPCs through diplomacy. Offering one of your characters in a dynastic marriage is a big modifier, if you have a suitable princess available to marry off. (You will lose control of the character.) Only one player can have a tie or treaty with the same NPC at a time. Other player’s diplomatic efforts will go first to reducing rival ties before establishing their own. A tie or treaty has a modifier strength like a talent, +1, +2 etc. The strength of an existing tie or treaty can be used to modify additional diplomacy or to wrangle other concessions out of your “ally” such as ships, troops, or tribute. If your ties become sufficiently powerful you can gain complete control of the NPC kingdom. You may establish ties or treaties with your own local provincial leaders, which reduces unrest. Your relations with other players is between the two of you and is not modified by diplomatic talents.

Plots. Sometimes an especially difficult task may require a large investment in modifiers over time. Players may undertake a “plot,” using their talents over several turns to plan and scheme while accumulating the modifiers to cash in at a later date. You can also spend wealth to increase the value of your plot. But your “plot” has to be specific—you’re plotting to assassinate King Kanute, or maybe plotting to suborn the gatekeeper of a particular town to open the gate to your invading army when you attack.

* * *

Character sheet example


King Bobo the First, male, Tactics+1

Queen Nefritiri, female, Diplomacy+2

Uncle Bob, male, Admin+2

Cousin Fred, male, Admin+1


The City of Townsville wealth+10 (in unrest)

Possessions: 2 bags of gold, a herd of chocobo, a rack of crossbows, another of spears, one of shields, and a fourth rack full of mail shirts

* * *

Example of turn results from last turn:

In the Year of the Star 969 did King Bobo go a hunting in the Gem Mountains. Beaters he took, to chase game out of the bushes while he did await with bow and arrows. His chief steward noticed a shiny black stone: a chunk of anthracite. To Bobo's disappointment, all he managed to bag were three beaters mistaken for game. His response was, "Peasants, pheasants, what's the difference? Pass me another beer."

Upon his return, the Prime Minister (an NPC) met the King at the gate of the city. Gesturing widely at the complete lack of cheering crowds, He suggested perhaps the King ought to cut back on his drinking and look into the people's complaints. "Sire, they feel as if you are indifferent to their plight." (The city is in unrest.)

While the king had been a-hunting, NPC ambassadors from Aegypt and Northumbria arrived bearing gifts. Each presented the Queen with a bag of gold (already added to possessions above) and suggested an alliance, although each privately suggested the other was untrustworthy.

Example of Orders:

The following would be sent to the GM on or before the due date using the heading “<the name of the dynasty> <whichever game year it is> orders.”

Gain Income

+10 bags of gold for a total of 12

Issue Orders

King Bobo will use the rack of crossbows to outfit a company of crossbowmen recruited from foreigners and criminals using a bag of gold to pay them. The new crossbow company will patrol the streets of the capital looking for "troublemakers." This is King Bobo's solution to his people's complaints. If the peasants don't like the way he runs things, they can be shot down in the streets like rabid dogs. Foreigners and criminals should have no scruples about shooting them so full of crossbow bolts they look like porcupines, if need be.

The ceremonial spearmen will be issued their bronze shields and spears. One bag of gold will be used to pay for supplies, including lots of metal polish. The ceremonial spearmen defend Townsville. They'll also act as royal bodyguards and look so pretty posed alongside the gates of the city with their shiny shields.

Buy a rack of swords ($1) and use those plus the chocobo herd to outfit a troop of cavalry.

Two bags of gold are used to supply the cavalry. (One for the men and the other for their mounts.) The King employs his Tactics+1 to assist his new cavalry troop in defending the realm by patrolling the border, turning away riffraff, unless they know how to shoot crossbows, in which case recruit them for the crossbow company. The cavalry are to block small incursions, or if they're too badly outnumbered, retreat to Townsville and make a stand alongside the spearmen.

The King uses 2 gold to buy two casks of beer. King Bobo is going to host a "bitchin' week-long kegger" to "properly greet" the ambassadors, test their endurance and gain two character points.

In between being stupidly drunk, King Bobo is going to use the two CP gained by his carousing to get with the queen and produce an heir. He's going to hope for a boy. She's just glad for a change to be paid attention to by her drunken sot of a husband.

The Queen is going to use her free time (in between being pawed by her drunken husband) to try and negotiate dynastic unions with the ambassadors from Aegypt and Northunbria, using diplomacy+1 on each. [This is two orders.]

Uncle Bob and Cousin Fred are going to use the remaining 5 gold and combine that with their administration talents to dig an anthracite mine in the Gem Mountains.

King Bobo ends the turn with zero gold and a hangover.