DaNES II – When the Stars Fall The deadline for Turn 5 orders is 0300 GMT ON THE MORNING OF FRIDAY MAY 21 2010. Introduction This is a NES, set in the Eastern Hemisphere of an Earth quite different from our own, still in the throes of the great era of migrations. In the Mediterranean, the Roman hegemony never occurred, and was stillborn at the hands of a powerful Seleukid Empire, which in its own turn slowly broke apart, while at the same time the faith of the Holy Wisdom spread throughout Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean. Gaelic civilization dominated Western Europe, in its various forms, until the great migration era, as Germanic and even Iranian peoples began to settle in large numbers. China, savaged by waves of steppe invaders, has fallen into the period of the Five Dynasties after the death of the Han state. And India, the cultural beacon for most of Southeast Asia, is increasingly wracked by fighting between the Pala and Chola states and their respective allies. In short, it is a wholly different world that meets us in this year, 600 (or, 912 of the Seleukid Era). And it’s going to get a whole lot more unrecognizable now that you’ve all got your hands on it… But you are not the only agents of chaos and change. In the darkness that surrounds the civilized world, from the dark forests of Europe to the trackless plains of Central Asia, from the scorching deserts of Arabia to the steaming jungles of Indochina, a primal urge has been awoken. Great peoples are on the march, and the shockwaves from their impact can bring down ancient empires. This is a world in which the stars are beginning to fall. The Usual First Post Stuff I apologize for the pretentious and poorly written title/intro stuff. It's kind of customary in NESing. Not that it's not fun to type. Players – anybody can join, provided that you send orders and that they are on time. All powers are available by application; that is, provide me with a brief CV in the thread, telling me about success/failure in NESes, strengths as a player, that sort of thing. You might also want to tell me what you plan on eventually doing with your state (might be best not to do that in the thread though). Stories – you can write them, and I recommend doing so if you feel like it or if you have nothing better you want to do, or if you get bitten by a writing bug, or whatever. They may have an effect on the course of the NES, and I’ll incorporate them into the update if I can. Not every story will get a concrete bonus (more on that later). Orders – above all, orders must be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Depending on who you’re playing and what you’re doing, they might be long, or they might be short, but in all cases save length for the really important stuff. I don’t want to have to wade through paragraphs on what your spies’ passwords are, or what precisely your court ceremonial involves. In countries with representative systems of government, it is highly advisable to take the reactions of the opposing party/parties into account, or even negotiate with the mod (via IRC, PM, or whatever) to ensure the passage of the measures that you want to succeed. In all states, some orders may be deemed objectionable because of the lack of support for a given action; thus, it is also advisable to discuss your justification for your actions. They will all probably be announced, even the ones that people don’t like, but they may have unintended consequences or may be stillborn. And finally, since updates are five years long, you should try to work into your orders an idea of what year certain things should be happening in. In the event of extenuating circumstances (i.e. something major that wasn’t anticipated by a player’s orders but to which he ought to have the chance to respond) I may also PM a player after the update deadline to ask a question or questions about the response to a given situation. Players will have 24 hours from the time the PM is sent to respond before I make something up for them. NPCs (Non-Player Controlled entities) – some countries or peoples, deemed by the mod to be insignificant and a possible drain on players, may be permanently NPCed (that is, until we get enough players to make them playable). Said countries will be listed in the stats as such, denoted by unbolded names (playable NPCs and player-controlled states will have bolded names). Since there is nobody to play them, I’ll take charge of them, and I’ll make sure that they aren’t pushovers. Heh heh heh. Updates – in order to ensure timely updates, all orders will be due on Tuesday nights at midnight, GMT (which works out to 7 PM Tuesday evening on the East Coast of the United States, and frankly, I don’t really give a damn what time it is anywhere else). That way, I can write the update on WedNESday. However, in the event of extenuating circumstances, update times and order deadlines may be changed by the mod; information on the current orders deadline can be found at the top of the OP. In addition, it should be noted that each update covers the period of five years. I will endeavor to award at least one bonus for each update, for perhaps good stories, timely orders, or other things decided by fiat. These will not be the same each update, because my consistency is only rivaled by my knowledge of Chinese and Indian history. Countries – pick an NPC (not a permanent one) or start a rebellion (please consult me first before starting one, because it’d suck if it got crushed instantly, and that would happen if you don’t pick carefully). If you pick an existing country, make sure to read your state’s background, so you can act in-character and so I don’t get so many questions. I’d also recommend doing at least a little bit of research on the period in real history as well; I changed a lot of stuff, but I didn’t change everything. Map – this is the “Symphonic Style” Winkel-Tripel projection, not the “Northern Style” because I hate the way that that map shows coastlines. Only the capital city of each country is denoted on the map, partly due to lack of real demographic data and mostly due to laziness. Several steppe confederacies have no capital, because the capital is defined as “whatever yurt the chief/qagan is living in at the time”. Any colored state (unless it’s a perm-NPC) can be taken over by a player, divided by single-pixel black lines. Wars will be shown by shifting a state’s color while keeping the prewar border on the map. Have fair warning, though, that this is not the First World War, and you don’t exactly have troops all along your borders with another state. Rules TEMPLATE Polity Name Capital: Ruler/Player: / Government: Factions (Confidence/Strength): Culture: Army: Army Quality: Army Description: Navy: Navy Quality: Income (Raw – Upkeep): Treasury: Infrastructure: Prestige: Description: Government: Funnily enough, this is your system of government. There are a few differing kinds of this from which to choose, though most are monarchical; there are further qualifiers, though. It is a descriptive stat, and includes such tidbits as whether your government is monarchical, the level of centralization, the type of provincial governments, the level of corruption in your bureaucracy – assuming you have one – and so forth. Governments that include a strong republican element, such as Panormos, will need to see players work to get legislation passed. The archontes are not dictators; they cannot get measures passed by fiat. Another thing that would be as ill-advised as attempting to pass your own legislation would be repeated government changes and major reforms, especially if they don’t make any sense at all. (If you’re not sure about this, ask the moderator! He will know the answer.) In addition, decentralized states will often have decreased player control over actions occurring at the lower levels of government. Factions: Shamelessly ripped from BirdNES 3, because they’re a really good idea. Their confidence in your rule, on a one to five scale (five being ‘extremely confident’, and their strength, on a one to five scale (five being ‘extremely powerful’ are noted in parentheses next to a brief description of what the faction is. It would be wise to side with one or more of these groups within your state. I strongly doubt that you’ll get anything done without them. Politicking will become a necessity. Culture: Herein will be listed major cultural groups within your country along with their strengths, as well as foreign influences and religions and so on. This is obviously an extremely important stat that you can’t influence directly, but many of your actions and those of other players will have an indirect impact on it. It, like the Government statistic, is a descriptive one. Military: This is the usual number-based military, divided into infantry, cavalry, and ships. It’s also highly customizable! Each state’s army is discussed in a descriptive stat (appropriately enough titled ‘Army Description’ that breaks down the…breakdown of your troops as well. How much does your army use archers? Are you most proficient with heavy cavalry? This descriptive stat can be changed through military reforms and so forth. The number shown is the number of troops available to you personally as the ruler. It does not show the number of troops you might be able to levy from the population or the troops your nobility might provide to you in a time of crisis. (Ask me for probable numbers on both of these.) Non-personal troops will be denoted as such in the stats. It should also be noted that fortified area troops, frontier guards, and urban garrisons are also not included in the stats, though they will have an effect on the battlefield. (Ask me for a description of these as well.) Your army and navy also each have a Quality stat, which is kind of a description of training and weapons quality and leadership all in one abstracted package. Ask me for the amount of money you’ll need to invest to increase it by one level; it varies extensively based on your government, the size of your military, the nature of your military, the type and manner of combat operations going on at the time, and so on. It may decay if your military sits unused for some time, or if you suffer major losses to your trained troops. Finally, you will have to pay upkeep for your troops. This number increases due to a whole lot of factors, and may decrease due to a whole lot of factors, too numerous to list here. Your upkeep will be by far the largest expenditure in your economy, almost certainly. Hiring soldiers is easy; a signing bonus, perhaps some allowances for arms and armor, and you’re set. Paying their wages every day? Not so much. You have the option of not paying your upkeep either in full or in part, but this will have severe consequences in terms of Quality and deserters. It is ill-advised. For some states (chiefly, nomadic steppe peoples) military upkeep may actually be higher than income; to compensate for this, you’ll need to raid the surrounding regions for stuff with which to pay off your troops. Civilized peoples usually yield more money than uncivilized peoples; ask me about potential targets and whether they will make up the deficit. Raiding will also be a significant part of warfare for more sedentary states, too, but wars tend to be more formal for them. 1,000 infantry = 150 talents 1,000 cavalry = 300 talents 10 ships = 200 talents Economy The economic side of things is relatively simple. I give you a number for income, give you another number for upkeep, a third number that subtracts upkeep from income, and a fourth number for the amount of cash you have in your treasury. Pretty simple, right? You can spend this money on virtually anything under the Sun, from spy missions to fortifications to soldiers to ships to temples to bribes to attractive slaves of the opposite sex with which to spend quality time. You can increase this number in many ways – economizing on salaries, conquering new territory, instituting new taxes and duties, confiscating the lands of your nobility, importing more people to increase the area under cultivation, exploiting untapped mineral resources, taking advantage of expanding trade, and the like. I recommend you figure out how to do that. All money is denoted in terms of the Attic silver talent (talanton). The Attic standard is the standard weight of measurement for the entire Mediterranean and Greek worlds. The talent isn’t actually a coin, but a weight; this weight in silver is equivalent to a certain value in lower denominations, which actually are coined (such as the mina, drachmon, or stater). Talents aren’t coined because they are worth so friggin’ much; one talent could pay a skilled laborer for a decade. (Roughly.) The numbers would get outlandish if any other denomination were used, so we’re sticking with the talents. The Chinese, Indians, and so forth don’t use the Attic standard, but to simplify things the values for everything everywhere will be given on the Attic standard. I recognize that, due to the wonderful problem of varying market basket values, the same number of Attic talents would not purchase equivalent numbers of virtually any good in China and Syria. This problem has been somewhat avoided by inflating or deflating the income and price numbers for all spending and upkeep except for military recruitment for all relevant states. Infrastructure: This is a stat represented in self-explanatory word-levels. This does not just denote a roading system, but encompasses “everything that makes it easier to travel in your country” – roads, grain depots, caravanserais, harbor facilities, and the like. Usually increasing infrastructure also increases the volume of trade (and the contrapositive is true as well); it also permits more rapid movement of troops within your territory. However, high levels of infrastructure also contribute to a higher level of upkeep (especially if they are in bad terrain). You can forgo paying part or all of your upkeep, but it will have adverse consequences for your infrastructural level. In order to increase your infrastructure level, you’ll need to ask me about how much money to pay. Sometimes it will take more than a turn of payment to increase your infrastructural level, in which case the number paid and the total number required will be displayed next to your infrastructure level in the stats. I elected not to tie the infrastructure level to anything specific in the stats or to a size stat so as to fix certain economic problems and to better account for regional variations in how much work it is to build a road and so forth. The point has also been made that frequently infrastructure was increased by means of corvee labor, that is unpaid peasantry working on public works and infrastructure projects by law as part of their feudal obligations. This policy is necessary in feudal governments (tastefully highlighted by the appellation “Feudal” in their government description; I recognize that there are many many MANY other facets of feudalism, but that was the most convenient way to describe this); you can increase and maintain your infrastructure by corvee, but it will come at a different cost. You will also face a greater risk of peasant revolt; people don’t tend to like those unpaid obligations. The fact that your state operates via feudal government also will decrease your revenues, since most of your cash will be collected from your own demesne instead of a universal taxation system. (The Chinese governments are mostly represented by the “Semi-Feudal” appellation, meaning that they both have elements of national taxation and the necessity of using corvee. They also face a horrifyingly high likelihood of peasant revolt due to this combination.) The time in turns required to increase infrastructure by corvee will be displayed next to the infrastructure level instead of the monetary investment numbers shown in others’ stats. Word-levels: Atrocious-Pathetic-Bad-Tolerable-Decent-Improving-Good-Efficient-Great-Excellent Prestige: This is arguably the most important (numerical) stat in the game, because whoever has the highest prestige at the end of this NES gets the Winner award. It does not have many, if any, concrete effects on your empire, and rightly so. However, the drive to gain prestige does. There are plenty of ways to increase prestige. You can conquer territory and win military victories; you can successfully face down some of your Factions; you can implement a vast new public-works project; you can finance the rantings and ravings of a philosopher, or the upkeep of a grand library. (When initiating grand public works projects, take care not to go too far. It would suck to end up like one of these guys.) Prestige can also be lowered by military defeats, political squabbles, open corruption problems, and the like. Virtually anything and everything you do in this NES will alter your prestige. Description: This is a short (ha!) outline of the historical background for your state, chiefly for the purposes of context. Fairly self-explanatory, really. If you have any further specific questions about the setting, you should ask me; since this is a Guess-the-PoD map, not a timeline, I didn’t go into absurd depth on every inch of history since the PoD (which, for the record, was immediately after the Battle of Magnesia in 190 BC), which means that I may have not even thought about the thing you’re wondering about, so you can make it up on your own! Ask first, though. Other Investments As mentioned before, you can spend money on, well, virtually anything. It might not always have an effect – in fact, sometimes it will have quite a negative effect – but far be it from a mere mod to tell the god-king of the Seleukid Empire what he can do with his money! More seriously, though, there are plenty of other things on which you can spend your cash. Fortifications, military reforms, public-works projects, attractive slaves, some nice books, or whatever. If you can think of it, I’ll do my best to incorporate it somehow, with the appropriate benefits (or disadvantages) for you. The only limitation on this is technology, really – you can’t have somebody build you a roller coaster in the equivalent of 600 AD. Sorry. Abbreviated Stats Some states simply don’t work the same way as others do. I daresay that the qagan of the Antes doesn’t really worry about the level of infrastructure in the lands his horde controls, for instance. So some states may not incorporate all of the stats that others do. (This mostly just applies to Navies and Infrastructure.) Others, such as perma-NPCs, incorporate almost no stats at all. This is mostly for purposes of expediency. If they ever get players they will have more in depth stats added to them.