Espionage and Conquering

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Espionage and Conquering

Postby Tshanja » Tue Jul 03, 2012 5:37 pm

I think I understand how this works, but the core rules are a bit contradictory, so I thought I would just ask:

According to the rules on page 245 (Conquer a Region) you have to successfully perform an Espionage action to look at the enemies regions, then you can use a second season action (in the next Season, since you have to wait for the spies to report back) to invade. However, according to page 271 (Conquer) you have to FIRST reduce the loyalty and THEN move your army into the area. I'm guessing that is just a typo and the rules on page 245 are more correct.

While invaded, the Region looses loyalty every Season based on who is in there, and the ruler can't do anything with the region other than to move his own Personal Guard in to kick the invaders out. I think this would include attempts to raise the loyalty, so, if I understand this correctly, if you don't have a personal guard (or secret army, or militia) and someone manages to invade, you can kiss that Region goodbye. However, even with one of those, it is roughly a coin-flip as to who is going to end up with the thing - so the best defense seems to be to have a good Security rating (spies and Spy Masters).

Also, at first glance that seems to imply that the only roll that needs to be made as part of that process is the initial Espionage action. So, even when you're on the offense, having lots of spies and a good Spy Master seems really important - probably more important that having lots of personal guards and a good General. All that Espionage probably makes sense, given that everyone is trying to keep their conflicts a secret. Still, it strikes me as strange - so am I getting everything right, so far?

One thing that is a bit unclear is a comment on page 245 that says that the information needed from the Espionage action could be gained through roleplaying/stories, but that a Season Action was still required in that case. Is that action still an Espionage Action (that requires a contested roll, perhaps because the spies still need to bribe officials as in the example) or is it just an action that needs to be spent (since the information is already considered obtained, and now it just needs to be distributed)? The book gives the example of bribing officials, so my assumption is that a successful Espionage Action is required no matter what - but I could see an argument going the other way (since, if you already have the information you are after, the bribes seem a bit superfluous).
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Re: Espionage and Conquering

Postby JohnWick » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:31 pm

Hi.

I'm revising the Season System for the HotB Companion and I suggest using the following system as a replacement for the one above.

Step 1: Successful Espionage Action (that you may roleplay if you wish).
Step 2: Armies: Send in your Secret Army (not Personal Guard) against the Province. You may roll against the Region, but it gets to roll a number of dice equal to the Region's Loyalty. You roll dice equal to the rank of your Secret Army. If the Region has a Secret Army stationed there, it also gets to roll dice equal to the SA's rank. The winner of the roll (whoever rolls highest) gets to say what happens with the Secret Armies.


Simpler, quicker, easier. Hope that helps. :)
The Reverend John Wick, PhD, D.M., KoAL, G.M., ST, Narr., G.A.M.E.R., Master Mason
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Re: Espionage and Conquering

Postby Tshanja » Thu Jul 05, 2012 5:04 pm

That does help clarify things. I like that in this new version having a high security helps against step 1 (unless it is roleplayed out?) and loyalty helps against step 2. If I am reading it correctly, it would be possible for a region to oust a group of invaders by themselves, if their loyalty is high enough. It also suggests that if a Baron is going a good job, and keeping his vassals content and happy, they're capable of defending themselves - or at least capable of resisting the temptation to join up with some random guy trying to muscle his way in.

It also appears that it is likely that the takeover will be resolved within a single Season (no more slowly lowering the loyalty) - unless the winner of the roll decides that it remains in conflict. I think I like that better, but I don't have a lot of good reference points yet, since i haven't run a game with Season actions yet. It does seem to suggest that conquering probably occurs as a series of small-scale skirmishes - where one Ven proves his superiority over another and, thus, his right to take his lands - rather than long drawn out conflicts that last years.

It would also be clear about what information is needed for step 1, and whether or not obtaining that information during a Story/roleplaying eliminates the need to roll against the Security of the Region during Step 1, or whether that roll an Espionage Action is still required, even if roleplaying out how the information was obtained.

Also, IIRC, in the original rules you suggested that roleplaying Step 2 was also an option for groups interested in that (using Mass Murder), would you still suggest that route, or does the new effect of loyalty make that confusing (since there are not specific Vassals that need to die)?
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