Steampunk Society II

The steampunk role-playing community play-by-e-mail game

Copyright 2017 by Michael E. Brines

Version 1.07

Changes from the previous edition are indicated in red.

Joining Steampunk Society

Since the game is more about choices, diplomacy, role-playing and making the most of what you have, rather than vanquishing your rivals, there is no disadvantage to entering the game late.

There are seven types of factions:

Criminal gangs begin with 250,000 crowns in ill-gotten gains ($250 in wealth) and 25 scoundrels. Examples include the Mafia or the Purple Gang.

Guilds begin with 50 influence. Guilds include the coal miner's guild, the iron worker's guild and the ship wright's guild. Unions for workers in other industries (factories, oil fields, etc.) could be organized for the purpose of improving the lot of laborers. There can only be one guild or union for any particular type of industry or resource.

Mystical societies employ paranormal powers in pursuit of their goals. Polite society scorns seances as mere entertainment, and the scientific literati dismisses belief in supernatural powers as “superstitious claptrap.” Meanwhile, mystical orders, cultists, vampires, and other minions of the Dark Powers smile smugly knowing they employ mystical energies in pursuit of their wicked purposes. Mystical societies begin with 250,000 crowns in ancient treasures ($250 in wealth) and 25 power. Examples include the Thule Society or the Theosophical Society.

Noble families begin with a title, fifty thousand crowns ($50) and an estate—an expanse of agricultural land with food production capacity of 45. Choose a title: baron, count, duke, or ritter (knight) and a location for your estate somewhere within the boundary of the Empire. Currently, the Emperor rules with the advice of a council of nobles known as the Reichstag. Armed retainers are legal and many nobles have their own private armies for local defense.

Revolutionary groups or religious cults begin with 50 influence. Although elections are common in America, and Britannia has a constitutional monarchy, Reichsland is ruled by an Emperor who oversees numerous local nobles, each with their own lands. There are no elections. The ruling class sees them as a threat to their power. The goal of revolutionary groups is to force the Empire to hold elections after which the group then becomes a political party of one persuasion or another and attempts to implement its program. Examples include the Peasants and Worker's Party or the Technocrats. Cults function similar to revolutionary groups in that they have a vision for transforming society but through religion rather than politics. Players can make up the nature of their religion or use an existing real-life one.

The Church. The head of the Holy Universal State Church is the Archbishop and he is treated as a noble, owning vast estates. The Church is ancient and adores pomp and ritual. Its activity in every major city centers around great stone cathedrals littered with statues and covered in stained glass. The priests wear black robes and the Archbishop wears a tall, conical hat. There is no Pope or higher authority. The Archbishop, of which there can be only one in the game, begins with 45 estates, 50 influence and 50 wealth.

Wealthy bankers, businessmen, capitalists and industrialists begin with a fortune of five hundred-thousand crowns. They can then invest this into businesses, coal mines, factories, shipyards, iron works and such to produce income. Your faction might be the owner's family (Krupp) or perhaps the management of a large corporation.

Select your faction type and give it a name. Then make a character to be its “face” and notify the Game Master at son@cox.net. Be sure to join the forum and submit your first orders by the next weekly deadline. Feel free to ask the GM questions.

Much of the game takes place on the game forum. Be sure to join it @ 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.)

This is a new game, requiring extensive testing. As such players play for free in exchange for putting up with necessary rules changes from time to time. The GM encourages helpful discussion of the rules on the forum with the intent of perfecting them. Wantonly spewing unbridled negativity is neither helpful nor encouraged.

Playing the Game

Playing the game is as easy as 1-2-3: (1) manage production (2) write up your orders, and (3) submit your orders to the GM.

Your turn results are sent to you every turn by the GM. A simple document listing your faction's possessions, at the top there are boxes indicating the total resources, consumer goods and wealth you have stockpiled. This may differ from what you had at the end of last turn due to game events beyond your control. If you think a mistake has been made, after you have read any notes from the GM, contact him for clarification or correction. Don't wait around. The time limit for corrections is until the next turn is posted. Equipment you have stockpiled, and a section with notes to you from the GM are recorded below resources. Beneath that is a series of asterisks separating the informational top half of the sheet from the lower half of the sheet. You put your orders for the turn under that line. Don't write above it.

1. Manage production

You want to start issuing orders by managing your production. For game purposes $1 in wealth means one “thousand crowns” which equals 1,000 gold imperial coins. You can refer to this as “a thousand crowns,” a “gold,” $1 or one wealth. It's all the same. The properties you own are listed by location on the social register on the game web page beneath your faction's name.

Properties have a capacity representing the amount of resources or production available. Businesses produce wealth. Coal mines produce coal. Estates produce food. Handwavium mines produce handwavium. Iron works produce iron. Neutronium works produce neutronium bars, Oil fields produce oil. Plantations produce tropical trade goods (TTG) representing copra, cocoa, coffee, palm oil, rubber, etc. Thorium smelters produce Thorium rods. Vice produces wealth and crime. Vril mines produce vials of Vril.

In addition you may have permanent modifiers such as influence, mystical power, or scoundrels. These don't produce anything but can be used to attempt endeavors each turn.

Resources require labor to produce. You may pay labor cost up to a property's total capacity to produce twice as much resources as you paid in labor. For example, an owner of an iron works of capacity 6 could pay up to $6 for labor and produce up to 12 stacks of iron. You don't have to produce to full capacity, but if you don't pay for labor you produce nothing. The only exception to this is Vice, which produces $3 in wealth per $1 in labor costs paid. (Vice also produces crime, debauchery, and despair.)

In the orders section of your turn packet write “Pay labor” and then the amount and then the quantity of resources. For example, “Pay labor $27 for 54 iron.” If you sell, expend or give away wealth or resources, make a note in your orders such as “sell 10 coal” or “give 7 iron to the Thule Society.”

Labor cost can also be satisfied in other ways. Mystics can use their powers to mesmerize workers to labor without pay. A scoundrel can employ extortion or threats to accomplish the same goal. Each scoundrel or point of mystic power employed obviates the need for $1 in labor.

Factories only produce if supplied with labor, coal and iron, one each per capacity. Every such capacity supplied with all three produces 4 production points (PP) of any non-ship items off the standard production list below or any technological items you possess the plans for. (So a factory with capacity 3 requires $3 for labor, plus 3 iron and 3 coal to make 12 PP of stuff.) Production points (PP) cannot be saved or accumulated and have no value other than determining the items produced. Be sure to indicate what you used the PP for. Any PP not turned into items are lost. When producing consumer goods (CG), for game flavor you can specify what it is you're making: barrels of booze, commemorative plates, spatulas, left-handed typewriters, clockwork corsets, canned fruitcake, dehydrated water, etc.

Standard Items

PP Cost

Firepower

Resistance

Notes

Armored breastplates & helmets, stack of

1

0

0

Gives a cavalry regiment (Cuirassiers) resistance of 3.

Armored cruiser

20

4

20

Ship. Requires 1 coal to move and 1 stack of shells to fight.

Artillery park

10

0

0

Around sixty cannon used to mobilize an artillery regiment.

Bombs, stack of

1

0

A

Ammunition

Cavalry lances, stack of

1

0

A

Gives a cavalry regiment (lancers) “firepower” of 3

Consumer goods

1

0

0

Household items of the sort typically found in department stores

Gas masks, stack of

20

0

0

Protects against 2 losses inflicted by poison gas each turn.

Gatling gun

1

0.1

1

Every ten equals one firepower

Grenades, wagon load of

1

0

A

Gives a pioneer or infantry regiment firepower of 2.

Gunboat

4

1

4

A small warship that requires 1 coal to move

Ironclad battleship

40

8

40

Ship. Requires 2 coal to move and 2 shells to fight.

Merchant Ship

10

0

10

Ship. At a cost of one coal each turn can either transport a regiment overseas or produce $2 income.

Rifles, stack of

2

0

0

Used to mobilize infantry or cavalry regiments.

Shells, stack of

1

0

A

Artillery ammunition

Steam ship-of-the-line

20

4

20

A wooden warship with auxiliary steam power. Requires coal to move & shells to fight

Tethered observation balloon

10

1

1


Tools, stack of

1

0

0

Used to mobilize a pioneer regiment.

Torpedo

1

1*

A

Can only target ships.

Firepower is the value of the item in battle. Resistance is the amount of damage required to destroy the item.

Shipyards are simply factories located in a port. They are treated as factories for all purposes except their production points can also be used to produce ships. Air and rotorships are not considered “ships” and may be built in factories or shipyards.

Handwavium (Ha) is an exotic material used to make certain types of technological equipment.

Thorium (Th) is a radioactive material used by thorium engines to produce energy.

Neutronium, (Nu) or element 0, is a rare extremely dense material composed entirely of neutrons used primarily for armor.

Vril (Vr) is a mystical element that glows with a black radiance. It can be ingested to increase mystical power.

2. Write up your orders

You can attempt pretty much anything. Just tell the GM what you want to achieve and how you go about doing it. Success is determined by the GM and depends on the wealth and effort you put into it. You do get a bonus for role-playing. Some specific details for more common endeavors are given below but these rules can't possibly cover every potential task a player might decide to do. Remember this is a role playing game more in the style of Castle Falkenstein or classic D&D than, say GURPS or a board game. What you get out of this game is proportional to the imagination you put into it. Consult the GM if you have questions.

Everything other than communication is handled through your orders. Write up the orders specifying the details of your production and the actions you take and submit them to the GM. Strive for clarity because if the GM misunderstands, you may not like the result. Specific details concerning particular orders are given below. Remember, you can attempt much more than just what is listed here.

Endeavors require modifiers—something required by the nature of the task. This could be the expenditure of resources or wealth or the temporary use of influence, power, scoundrels, or equipment. Resources and wealth are expended if used to attempt an endeavor. Permanent things such as influence, power, scoundrels and equipment are merely used for the turn. A single modifier can't be used to modify more than one endeavor the same turn. For example, if you only have one influence you can't use it to attempt three different endeavors the same turn. The same police regiment couldn't break up a strike and investigate a faction at the same time. If you only have one scoundrel you can't have him try to rob three businesses the same turn.

With most things the total modifiers employed trying to achieve something will be divided by ten and you'll get that many successes. If your modifiers total less than ten you have a 10% chance of success per modifier employed. For example, it takes $10 to automatically start a business with capacity one. If you spent $100 your business would have a capacity of ten. If you tried to start a business with just $1 you have a 10% chance of obtaining a capacity of one, and a 90% chance of failure through insufficient capital. A business, mine, factory, etc. doesn't produce the same turn you create it. If you increase your influence, scoundrels or power you can't use those for more endeavors the same turn.

The Game Master may grant a bonus to any endeavor's chances based on the player's role-playing.

Buying resources and negotiating with other characters, whether players or NPCs, should be done directly. Do not put this in your orders. Contact them directly using the address provided in the social register. NPCs can be contacted via the GM. Be sure to specify who you are and to whom you are speaking. For game-wide messages use the forum, but please remain in character. Just keep in mind that the outcomes of endeavors are uncertain and determined by the GM. Unless you're Baron Munchhausen and it's clearly a tall tale, don't post a long story of how you personally defeated the invading Burgundian army single-handedly unless the GM informed you of your success in that endeavor. But feel free to make political statements, invite people to dinner parties and discuss events from the newsletter.

To buy anything from players or NPCs contact them directly, make a deal, and then use a “give” order to send the money. They will use a give order to send you whatever you bought. Issue give orders by writing “Give”, followed by the faction name and the things given. The price of everything is up to mutual agreement and the item won't be available for your use until the following turn. You can buy stuff from NPCs and foreign nations, if they agree to sell to you.

Selling resources to the open market using a “Sell” order. The current price is given at the top of the Social Register and updated every turn. The market will only buy coal, consumer goods, food, oil, and tropical trade goods. Money received from selling resources to the market can be used immediately. You may sell stuff to other characters for any agreed upon price. However, you can't use resources or money gained by sales to other players until the turn after you receive it and it is listed on your turn results. (You might not actually receive it.)

Examples of endeavors:

Arson & Sabotage require scoundrels or mystical power to damage a target business, factory, mine, etc. For example, six scoundrels could be used, giving a 60% chance to burn a rival factory.

Assassination & murder require scoundrels or mystical power. It's assumed characters have protection appropriate to their position: bodyguards, police, etc.

Building factories is modified by wealth. You can build a factory anywhere on Earth there is a large labor force—basically any place that isn't desolate. Shipyards must be located in a seaport. You can't build a factory and produce with it the same turn.

Constructing a coal mine, estate, iron works, or oil field requires wealth and can only be done in a location on Earth with deposits of coal, fertile ground, iron ore or oil, depending on what you want to build. You can't build a coal mine, estate, iron works, or oil field and produce with it the same turn.

Constructing forts costs $1 to hire laborers to build one “fort.” Alternately, a supplied pioneer regiment not otherwise engaged in the same location can do the job. Forts represent not only castles and large brick and mortar structures but also barbed wire entanglements, bunkers, emplacements, foxholes, fougasse (mines), moats, pillboxes, trenches, watchtowers, etc. Forts are captured if attacked when unoccupied by defending troops. A regiment or battalion of any type can man any number of forts in the same location.

Decreasing a rival's influence requires a smear campaign employing wealth, influence, mystical power, or scoundrels to spread dirt on their reputation.

Developing a new technology requires money. The GM limits the introduction of new technologies to no more than one every turn, so if multiple players attempt this, only one will succeed.

Establishing businesses on Earth requires wealth. Just state where and what the business is. Commercial businesses include department stores, restaurant chains, utilities, and such. Vice businesses include unsavory and immoral activities such as gambling, prostitution, opium dens, and gin mills that specialize in cheap rotgut liquor, shanghaiing sailors and white slavery. You can't establish a business and produce with it the same turn.

Establishing plantations on Earth requires wealth and can only be done in a tropical location under imperial control. Other nations will not let foreigners build plantations in their colonies. You can't establish a plantation and produce with it the same turn.

Expanding capacity of an existing business, estate, factory, iron works, mine, oil field, plantation, shipyard, etc. on Earth requires wealth. The new capacity can't be used until next turn.

Fighting crime. Crime is a part of life that steals wealth and inflicts property damage if not suppressed. There's a certain amount every turn, plus vice and illegal businesses generate more. (The business itself isn't directly committing crimes, it's the customers they attract.) The ruling government faction and nobles may employ police to reduce crime.

Illegal businesses. Certain types of businesses may become illegal. In this case players with scoundrels may operate “under the table” using a legal business as a front for the illegal activity. (Any capacity business can front for any amount of illegal activity.) A scoundrel provided with $1 in labor cost will generate $3 in wealth plus some crime.

Increasing influence can be accomplished by spending wealth or by employing influence or power. Use money to make charitable donations, finance exploratory expeditions to the heart of darkest Africa or the frigid Arctic, host lavish parties for the “movers and shakers” of society, patronize the arts, or engage in other activities suitable for impressing your target audience. Influence can be used to publish books or newspaper articles, to make speeches, lobby for particular causes or organize demonstrations, marches or rallies of your supporters. Through mystic powers you cloud men's minds, mesmerizing them into supporting you. Newly gained influence can't be used until next turn.

Investigate a faction. The ruling government faction and nobles may employ police to investigate a rival faction. Other factions can employ wealth to hire private investigators or power to employ mystical methods. A successful investigation endeavor either arrests a scoundrel or reduces the target faction's mystical power.

Mobilize mobs or battalions of militia by sacrificing influence. Specify the number mobilized. Every mob or battalion created has a 10% chance of reducing your influence by one. Mobs/militia battalions remain available for your use until demobilized, requiring no supplies. Each mob/battalion demobilized has a 10% chance of regaining you influence. (The moral is, don't throw all your followers into the streets and then get them killed.) The use of mobs/militia is covered in the army rules.

Prospecting for minerals requires wealth. It's usually only necessary in primitive locations outside Europe and North America. Mystical powers may by employed as divination for the same purpose.

Remote viewing allows mystical power to be used to spy on someone or some place without the possibility of being detected, although with a 10% chance of incorrect visions.

Robbery. Every scoundrel employed for this purpose has a 50% chance of taking $1 in wealth from the target, which can be a faction's business, industry or even the market (ordinary citizens.)

Riots require influence and/or mobs. Name the location inside the Empire and your rioters will inflict damage to businesses and factories there. Police and military units in the same location may prevent this damage.

Sacrifices & rituals require wealth or power to increase your mystical powers by +1. Even non-mystic societies may “dabble in the occult” and gain power in this way.

Spying on NPC nations or other factions requires scoundrels. You can't get a copy of their turn results and you cannot know what they are going to do—even the GM doesn't know that until they turn in their orders, by which point it's too late for you to profit from knowing since your turn is due, too. Players do not have to specifically take actions to defend against spying. It's assumed they're trying to keep things to themselves as much as possible. Spying always has at least a 10% chance of failure that usually results in the target knowing who was spying on them.

Stealing equipment employs scoundrels to swipe resources or equipment—anything but wealth. Two scoundrels are required per resource or per production point worth of equipment hijacked. Be sure to indicate where you're swiping the item from. You can't just order your “boys” to “get me some rifles.”

Stealing Technology requires scoundrels to obtain the plans for an existing technology. Please be sure to specify in your orders what plans you seek and who you believe has them.

Stockpiling equipment. On your turn results all the “stuff” you own will be listed. This could be anything from airships and motorcars to piles of coal and stacks of iron. Weapons can't be used for battle unless they are assigned to an army. So if you own an armored car, it's probably just parked in your garage. If you want to use it for your revolution, you need to assign it to a mob. See the army rules for details.

Strikes require 1 influence per capacity to shut down a target business, factory, mine, etc. The strike takes place the following turn and the target cannot produce.

Strikebreaking requires one scoundrel or police regiment per capacity of the affected industry to beat up picketers and break up a strike.

Underworld contacts require influence, or power to recruit scoundrels who specialize in dirty deeds done dirt cheap. Anybody can do this, not just criminal organizations. (It's a good way for the government to staff its intelligence agency.)

This list is not exclusive. Other endeavors are possible. Get with the GM if what you want to do isn't listed here.

3. Submit Orders

Please provide the GM with ending totals for all your resources including wealth at the bottom of your orders. This saves him having to recalculate them for the start of next turn.

At or before the turn deadline, send an e-mail message to the GM at son@cox.net. For the subject put “<the name of your faction> <whichever game turn 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.

If your orders change before the deadline, send a new e-mail message to the GM using subject “Revised <your faction's name here> orders” and send the entire set of orders, not just the changes. The GM will delete the older set and carry out the orders from the most current "revised" packet.

Armies

An army consists of all regiments and militia battalions in the same location controlled by the same player, plus whatever weapons and equipment are assigned to support them. Multiple armies can exist in the same location, but only one army belonging to a particular player. All the player armies are listed on the army page on the website.

You can take equipment from a stockpile and assign it to support any army in supply, up to 100 items for each regiment or battalion in that army. This will remain part of that army unless you order it returned to your stockpile. Equipment such as Gatling guns, armored cars, or airplanes can only be used in battle if assigned to a regiment or battalion. (Somebody has to man and maintain them.)

Ships must be assigned to a fleet. A fleet is based in a port, usually Spee. Ships operate on their own and aren't assigned to regiments or battalions. Ships can either remain in port tied up to the dock or be sent on a mission. Not all the ships have to be sent on the same mission. Any ships sent on a mission require the expenditure of coal. Ships that engage in combat usually require shells, which won't be deducted from your equipment unless required.

Ammunition. Some equipment requires ammunition to fight. An example would be artillery regiments require shells to fire their guns. You don't have to deduct the ammunition in your orders. The GM will do it if you end up in combat. But if ammunition isn't available, you can't fight.

Fuel. Some equipment, such as ships, requires fuel to move. You must deduct fuel for any equipment that requires it if you issue orders to move that equipment. Ships sent on patrol require fuel. Ships that sit all turn tied up to the dock, don't. Airships or steam panzers that patrol the border require fuel. Those that remain back in their base do not. You can issue orders to use fuel to respond to attacks, in which case the GM will expend it if necessary.

Supplies. Every regiment you control (including police regiments) requires one food per turn for supplies except cavalry regiments, which require two. Unsupplied units desert (taking their equipment with them) unless you order the unit disbanded as an action. Mobs of disgruntled hungry deserters wandering around armed is a bad idea, so if you can't feed them, order the units disbanded and put their weapons into storage.

Disbanding regiments (also known as placing them “in reserve”) is a better alternative than having them desert because you can't feed them. The soldiers are discharged and their equipment stored in your stockpile. Infantry regiments become stacks of rifles. Cavalry regiments a stack of rifles and a herd of horses. Pioneers become stacks of tools. Artillery regiments become artillery parks. On a later turn if supplies are provided the equipment can be mobilized and become a military regiment.

Mobilizing new military regiments requires equipment of a particular type depending on the type of regiment desired. Indicate the type and quantity of regiments mobilized. A stack of rifles mobilizes an infantry regiment. A stack of rifles, plus a herd of horses mobilizes one cavalry regiment. A pile of tools is required for a pioneer regiment. An artillery park is required to mobilize an artillery regiment. Units mobilized also require supplies the same turn.


Mobilization Cost

Firepower

Resistance

Notes

Artillery regiment*

Artillery park

3*

10

Requires a stack of shells

Cavalry regiment**

Rifles + herd of horses

2

2

Requires double supplies

Infantry regiment*

rifles

1

2

-

Militia battalion

influence

0.1

1

One firepower for every ten battalions.

Pioneer regiment*

tools

1

1

For constructing or demolishing fortifications.

Police regiment*

0

1

0

Mobilize for free if you provide supplies.

*Regiments all require supplies (food) every turn. If desired, police regiments may be paid a wealth in lieu of food for supplies.


Militia. Militia are groups of civilians armed with their own weapons. Depending on who mobilized them, militia might be government volunteers, a private army, political storm troopers, a noble's retainers, or even just angry mobs of rioters. They require no supplies and fight poorly. They can hold a position (maybe) or support “real” soldiers, but having few weapons and no training are fairly useless for most offensive purposes.

Moving armies is an order. Just say which army and where it's going. You could order an army to attack a particular location or to transfer battalions or regiments or equipment to another army or even split them off to become another army in a different location. Armies can potentially move any distance overland in the same turn. Redeployments in friendly territory will probably be done by train in a matter of days. Advances into enemy territory will be on foot and the rate of advance depends on the enemy's resistance.

Moving armies overseas (or bringing them home again) requires merchant ships or transports, one per regiment or battalion. Any supplies and equipment assigned to that army are included when it is moved.

Reconnaissance can be performed by cavalry and aircraft. A reconnaissance patrol mission compares the aircraft and cavalry employed on the mission with those in the defending army, revealing the defenses if the recon force is superior. A reconnaissance won't usually result in casualties since the recon force withdraws if it encounters resistance, but most neutral nations will consider it an act of war.

COMBAT

Artillery, warships and other “bombardment” type weapons fire first and remove any casualties they inflict. This is where shells, rockets, bombs and other ammunition is expended. Units without ammunition don't fight. Bombardment-type units supplied with ammunition destroy enemy resistance equal to equal to their firepower. When inflicting losses, fortifications are usually destroyed first. Each fort equals one resistance if occupied by a battalion or regiment. (Unmanned fortifications do not “fight” on their own and are simply captured by the enemy.) After the bombardment, both sides' remaining non-bombardment firepower is compared. The lower total is subtracted from the higher and the side with the lower total loses resistance equal to the difference. If at least one defending non-artillery regiment or battalion survives, the defender holds the position. If the defender has nothing left but artillery, the attacker advances. Artillery can be captured if the attacker inflicts more losses than the defender has resistance to satisfy. Multiple locations can fall in the same turn to an overwhelming attack. The GM may modify the outcome based on role-playing considerations if a player comes up with an especially clever (or stupid) plan. Mystic power can also be used by either side to modify combat.

Aerial combat. Any kind of flying craft including airships, airplanes, auto-giros, etc. are immune to damage except from other flying craft, beams, rays, rockets and anti-airship guns. Flying craft inflict their damage after bombardment-type weapons, calculated in the same way, but may choose their targets. Intercepting aircraft fire at enemy bombers before the bombers attack, so against a strong air defense your bombers might not get through.

Torpedoes can only be used against ships. Ships can employ up to ten torpedoes or rockets each. For attacks against ships, torpedoes can be substituted in place of bombs.

Spoils of war. Police and military units that eliminate all resistance in a location may seize the “enemy” property there, taking control of any factories, mines, businesses, etc. in that location if instructed to do so in your orders. If desired, the property may be assigned to another player's control. Be sure to indicate this in your orders.


COUPS

Before they declare a revolt, potential rebel factions should agree between themselves the Law the “new” government will operate under, which of them is to be emperor or chancellor and how the government will be organized. Factions attempting a coup then issue orders to mobilize militia, incite riots and have their private armies take control of as many vital locations as they can, treating government forces as enemies. Imperial forces (the army and police) control every location unless and until dislodged by the rebels.

When orders are processed and the results of a coup revealed, the game halts in limbo as the imperial government has the choice to give up and agree to the change in Law based on the success of the coup. If the government doesn't think it'd be worthwhile fighting back, the game continues with the rebels forming the new government. If the loyalists refuse to give in, then the rebels have the option to surrender. (Maybe things didn't go as well as planned.) If the rebels also decide to carry on, a civil war results with the country splitting in two.

CIVIL WAR

In the event of civil war the locations controlled by the rebels are treated as a separate country. Any properties in those locations belonging to loyalist factions are considered captured by the rebels. All other locations remain loyal. Any properties in those locations belonging to rebel factions are considered captured by the loyalists.

Both sides have separate governments that follow whatever the laws are for their “country.” This continues until one side controls all Imperial locations either through military victory or a surrender. “Foreign” influence has no effect, so rebel influence has no effect in loyalist-controlled areas and vice-versa.


Government

When the game starts the Emperor controls his own estates and from them supplies the Imperial Army. There are no taxes, although in the event of war the Emperor can call on his vassals (the nobles) to supply troops or supplies.

Crime is a natural occurrence in human society. The crime level depends on the size of the economy and the amount of vice and illegal business acticity. If the crime level isn't reduced, factions will lose wealth and may experience property damage through petty robbery, shoplifting and vandalism. The Emperor is responsible for maintaining the police, although local nobles may also support police forces of their own. This is the difference between local and “imperial” police and courts. Someone sentenced by a local court can appeal “to the emperor” for trial in the imperial court. This usually results in either clemency or (if found guilty) an even harsher sentence. Murder is punishable by death by guillotine. Most other crimes are punished by imprisonment. Disputes between nobles are sometimes settled through dueling, which is legal to “first blood.” Duels that result in death are punished as manslaughter.

The Law specifies how government works and what various ministers are allowed to do. Changes to the Law cannot alter the laws of nature (i.e. the game rules) and are posted and take effect at the start of the next game turn. Currently the Emperor decides what the Law is and can change it by edict. The only restraint on his power is the fact that the nobles and peasants may revolt if he becomes tyrannical. A wise emperor is conciliatory and only makes changes with the consent of the reichstag.

Social programs include art & music subsidies, child care, orphanages, commerce regulation, consumer protection, disability pensions, disaster relief, environmental protection, forestry, health care, housing, old age pensions, parks & recreation, poverty assistance, public information, propaganda, public works, schools, and unemployment assistance. If the “government” funds social programs all factions involved in the government gain influence equal to 1/10 the the amount spent, divided equally between them. Fractions are ignored. For example, three factions budgeting $68 on social programs would gain +2 influence each.

ELECTIONS

If elections are held, the GM will determine the percentage of the votes each faction won by comparing their influence at the end of that turn (after all orders have been processed) with the total influence of all factions combined. A faction gains a percentage of the votes equal to its percentage of the total influence.

In parliamentary systems (which the Empire does not have yet) the head of the faction controlling the most votes in parliament is invited to “form a government,” becoming Chancellor if he can assemble an alliance of other players/factions controlling a majority of votes (at least 51%.) This is generally accomplished by allying like-minded factions and/or “bribing” them to join by passing out various government offices. (You make this guy Minister of War and he promises to support you with his votes.) The factions comprising the government then pass laws and govern as they please as long as they all agree on the actions taken. If the governing factions split on an issue, abandoning their alliance so that the Chancellor no longer controls at least 51% of the votes, the government is said to have “fallen.” No new laws can be passed and new elections are held at the end of the next turn. Players who quit the alliance should post this clearly on the forum as soon as they decide, so other players have a chance to “campaign” (increasing their prestige) in their orders.