[IAAR] The Powers That Be


Jan 9, 2011
United States
The Powers That Be

Welcome to The Powers That Be! TPTB is an Interactive After Action Report that will span the history of civilization. Every ten turns I will post an update of what is going on in the game and players will get to react and decide what happens next. The goal of each player is to win victory points by steering the game towards their personal victory conditions. At the end of the game, the person with the most victory points wins.

To join, simply read the rules, post in the game thread, and I will PM you with more details. We are always open and always accepting new players! Without further ado, let the games begin!
The Rules

To be nice and avoid some long-windedness, the following is an abridged version of the rules. After you have joined I urge you to read the longer version located here. Nevertheless, you should be able to get by reading this and asking questions.
Spoiler :

Victory: When they first join, players are each assigned one primary and one secondary victory condition. Throughout the game players will receive victory points (VPs) associated with those conditions. The player with the most VPs at the end of the game wins. The available victory conditions are: Domination, Religious, Science, and Culture.

Sessions and Turnsets: The game is divided into turnsets of ten turns followed by a session. Sessions update players on events that have transpired over the previous turnset, and provide a chance for them to take actions. Sessions will be divided into two or more updates.

PCs: Player Characters are in-game representations of players. PCs will have attributes (Charisma, Strength, Intelligence, Stealth) and stats (Age, Position, Location, Wealth, Influence), and will age and die as the game progresses. Can take 2 personal actions, and 3 professional actions each session.

NPCs: Non-Player Characters are added for each point of population in game, and represent that population in politics and society. In certain circumstance NPCs will be added to fill vacant positions.

Social Groups: Represent the different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic groups in society. Each population point will be apart of a social group, and when a new population point is added there is a chance it will create a new group. Groups will be represented by Community Leaders (NPC with highest position associated with that group).

Age: PCs age one year per turn. How long PCs live is dependent on technology, buildings, and game era. In addition, disease may spread greatly increasing chance of death. When PCs die, a portion of their stats will be passed to their successor. Succession is automatic and doesn’t need to be managed through actions (such as marry or procreate).

Location: One PC per non-city tile. One PC per population point within cities.

Needs: Change based on era. To start PCs need 1 food and 1 production each turn. Consumption over the minimum will increase attributes.

Attributes: Include: Charisma, Strength, Intelligence, Stealth. Action success will be dependent on attributes.

Influence: Amount of sway PCs have over events in the eyes of NPCs. Include: Martial, Scientific, Religious, Cultural, Economic, Total, and Local.

Governments: How decisions are made politically. Chosen by players, though limited by tech and civics. Defined by power source, positions, relationships, and property and civil rights.

Private Positions: Positions not politically chosen. Used to earn influence and resources outside government. Makes new professional actions available.

Actions: PCs get 2 personal and 3 professional actions each session. All actions must be posted in the thread unless otherwise stated.

    • Practice Speaking- Try to improve your Charisma attribute by practicing.
    • Train- Try to improve your Strength attribute by training.
    • Study- Try to improve your Intelligence attribute by studying.
    • Practice Sneaking- Try to improve your Stealth attribute by practicing.
    • Attack- Physically attack another PC or NPC. Odds of success based upon Strength attribute.
    • Murder- Attempt to secretly murder another PC or NPC. Odds of success based upon Stealth attribute. (Can be performed in secret through PM).
    • Spy- Attempt to learn secret order or relationship information about another PC. Odds of success based upon Stealth attribute. (Can be informed in secret through PM).
    • Gather Information- Attempt to learn more about something in the game. Odds of success vary.
    • Go into Hiding- Attempt to go into hiding to avoid an attack or attempted murder. Odds of success based upon Stealth.
    • Spar- Increase your Martial Influence by proving you know how to fight. Odds of success based upon Strength.
    • Strategize- Increase your Martial Influence by developing combat and battle strategies. Odds of success based upon Strength and Intelligence.
    • Perform Rites- Increase your Religious Influence by participating in religious customs, ceremonies, or rites. Odds of success based upon Intelligence and Charisma.
    • Theologize- Increase your Religious Influence by intensely studying the truths of this world and the supernatural. Please submit a work discussing religion in the game. Odds of success based upon Intelligence and quality of submission.
    • Experiment- Increase your Scientific Influence by conducting experiments about the world around you. Odds of success based upon Intelligence.
    • Philosophize- Increase your Scientific Influence by contemplating and debating the workings of the natural world. Please submit a work discussion science, logic, or society in the game. Odds of success based upon quality of submission, Intelligence, and Charisma.
    • Produce Artwork- Increase your Cultural Influence by creating a piece of artwork. Please submit a work of art appropriate to the time and culture of the game.
    • Study Artwork– Increase your Cultural Influence by studying past and current trends in art. Odds of success based upon Intelligence.
    • Learn a Skill- Increase your Economic Influence by learning a new skilled trade. Odds of success based upon Intelligence. This action is stackable meaning that each time you successfully learn a new skill, the next time you perform the action it will have a stronger effect on Economic Influence. Skills can only be increased a total of three times (Apprentice, Journeyman, Master) before the effect multiplier restarts.
    • Invest- Commit resources to financing an enterprise undertaken by another PC or NPC. You will specify the amount you like to invest, and then will be provided with a list of available projects. Each project will be rated as ‘safe’, ‘some risk’, or ‘risky’. The riskier the project the more profit you will make in return, but the higher the chance you will lose your entire investment.
    • Talk to- Increase your relations with an individual NPC. Odds of success based upon Charisma.
    • Spread Propaganda- Increase your relations with a social group. Odds of success based upon the amount spent. (Can be performed in secret via PM).
    • Foment Protests- Spark NPC protests in response to decisions made by government. Odds of success based upon the amount associated Influence and Charisma.
    • Move- Change where your PC lives. A city can only contain a number of PCs equal to its population while a non-city hex can only contain one PC.
    • Form Group- Form a group of NPCs to achieve a goal. Possible groups include: guilds to increase Influence in a certain area, rebel organizations to foment a rebellion, political groups to build support for your policies and goals, and economic groups to increase income. This list is not exhaustive; if you have another idea for a group you can submit it for approval. Odds of success based vary based on different factors. (Depending on the group this may be able to be performed in secret)
    • Call Referendum- Call for a peaceful vote of no-confidence in the current government structure. Odds of success based upon Total Influence and Charisma.
    • Hire NPC- Hire an NPC to perform a service. Possible services include:
      • Servant- An assistant that can perform an additional action in your stead each session that won’t cost you one of your two. Can only perform personal actions.
      • Steward- An advisor that can give you more information and suggestions about the world, specifically the economy. Can perform an additional action in your stead each session. Able to perform both personal and professional actions.
      • Guard- A bodyguard that will protect your from physical and stealth attacks.
      • Spy- A stealth operative that will attempt to find out secret information about another PC.
      • Assassin- A stealth operative that will attempt to murder another PC or NPC in your stead. Odds of success increased. Chances you will be found out decrease. (Can be performed in secret through PM).
    • Trade- Trade in resources you own for another kind of resource. Can also be used to transfer resources to another PC or NPC.
    • Fundraise- Raise resources for a cause or group. Odds of success based upon Charisma attributed and your Influence associated with the cause.
    • Indoctrinate- Adopt the culture of a social group. Will increase your relation with that group, but negatively impact your relations with the group you are leaving and enemy groups.
    • Donate- Give resources to a group or cause currently being fundraised for by another player.
    • Supplant- Take the place of another PC on a tile or in a city. Requires you to have more total influence than the target PC.
    • Call on Ally- Personally request an allied NPC to perform an action in your stead. Will degrade your relations with that NPC.
    • Foment Protest- Inspire allied social group to begin a protest for a particular cause. Chance of success based upon associated influence.
    • Groom Successor- Teach your successor about the world. Reduces losses of wealth upon death.
    • Action you are looking for not on the list? Suggest it and you may be able to perform it.
Professional Actions:
  • Search for a Private Position- Look locally, or specify a location to look, for possible professional private positions. You will receive a list of available options from which to choose from.
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I will join.
Let's give this a try. I'm sure I'll look like an aimless noob to start with, but I'm finding the idea intriguing.
Signing up, naturally!
I didn't expect things to go so fast. Got exams until the 19th, will actually look into this then. :p

From the stirrings of life beneath the water… to the great beasts of the Stone Age… to man taking his first upright steps, you have come far. Now begins your greatest quest: from this early cradle of civilization on towards the stars...
The sun rose over another day, and as the light shone through the temporary huts and shelters that had been constructed haphazardly around the forest clearing, signs of life began to emerge as people started to wake. They had gotten in late last night, only just beginning to set up camp after dusk had already come and gone. Despite their lethargy, the tribe knew that today was an important day. The elders were to make an important decision today. All across the wilderness rumors of a new way of life were spreading. Men who until now were forever on the hunt for food, forever pursuing the next horizon, forever searching, had settled. The secrets of unending bounty had been revealed: agriculture. Smart men had found a way to harness the powers of nature to provide. One of those men were now among the tribe. He assured that this simple process had the power to change everything. He had plead with the wisest and most respected among them, his voice had been heard. On that cool spring morning, the elders agreed that it was time to stop the constant struggle to find food. They said they would give him one season. He would get one chance to prove that he could make food from mere seeds.

Life would never be the same for the tribe. Season after season the harvest multiplied, and so did their numbers. Though the work was hard and tedious, it was rhythmic, and more importantly it was effective. None of the elders had ever experience such plenty. While some in the tribe continued to hunt and to gather, the meager pittance normally scrounged through these old means was now far exceeded by those who chose to farm. As the number of people increased, the tribe began to evolve and change. A culture was taking shape, and new leaders were emerging from the masses. They were on the verge of something truly magnificent, the transformation from a tribe to a civilization...

One warm summer morning the tribe was gathered together for what would be the first of many meetings. Everyone grew silent as the eldest among them cleared his throat,

“The time has come to organize ourselves. We have grown more in the past few years than I have seen in my entire lifetime. The other elders and I believe it is time we stepped aside and let the young lead the tribe into the future. Our
world has changed, and if we do not change with it, we will perish.”

  • The tribe has settled and adopted the technology of agriculture.
  • The elders have stepped down and implemented Tribal Council as the new government.

The first TPTB Session has begun! The first session will be a special prologue session. You will not have a PC and you will not be able to perform any actions. Instead, you will be able to give input in the thread in response to the available decisions. Because no one holds any influence, no one will be able to make any decision on their own. Rather, each player can put forward their preferences. Of the available options, I will randomly select a response to each decision. If multiple people make the same decision, it is more likely that one will be chosen.

  • What should we call ourselves? (Name, Adjective, Demonym)
    • (example: Britain, British, Briton)
  • What shall we name our capital? (Name, Adjective, Demonym)
  • What qualities do we want in our future leaders? (Which civilization should I choose?)

Spoiler Rule Changes :

  • Victory Points
    • VPs no longer divided by the number of turns active.
    • Era Multiplier added to VPs. The number of VPs awarded for achieved events associated with a player’s victory conditions will increase in each era.
  • Added Actions
    • Foment Protest
    • Groom Successor
  • Update Actions
    • Theologize
    • Philosophize
    • Produce Artwork
  • Player Referrals
    • You can now earn influence for referring a new player. Just have them mention your name when they join!
Many apologies, but real life has handed me a plate full, and I will not be able to reliably participate for the foreseeable future.
I suggest that we model ourselves after the harsh snow that culls the weak among us (Russia), and to take our name from the reported sights of shimmering lights in the sky, making us Auroria (Aurorian, Aurorans). For the capital, I move that we name it after the indomitable snow that shall protect us - Blizzard City.

(Yes, it's snowing where I live, and it's pretty.)
I'd like to join!

The ice and snow is certainly the most dangerous side of nature made manifest (yeah Russia), but a more appropriate name for our people would by Hyperioni (Hyperions, Hyperionic), so that our first city may bear the name of our daughter, Aurora.
OOC: Sorry, I've been busy with papers.
IC: I second Wyverncraft's suggestions for our civilization and city names.
Prologue: Conclusion

The tribe has spoken. Our people have been forged through frost and ice. We have battled the bitter cold year after year, and have grown strong because of it (Russia). Further, taking our cue from the heavens, we will henceforth be known as Auroria, and our people as Aurorans. Our burgeoning village, a light in the dark wilderness as the Aurora in the night sky, shall take its namesake (Aurora).

With the commencement of the first Tribal Council, the history of the Aurorian Civilization has begun.

Tribal Council: The Tribal Council is an early form of decision making whereby those with the highest associated influence make decisions.
Spoiler :

  • Basic Structure: Rule by Right. The tribal elders of old vested all power in the Tribal Council, and so the council’s rule is rightful based on tradition.
  • Positions:
    • Tribe Member
      • Power: All authority lies in tribe members. The tribe member with the highest associated influence makes the decision. Total Influence decides in cases where it is not immediately obvious, and in the cases of ties. Local influence decides production and citizen management, while economic influence decides spending and worker orders.
      • Selection Process: Every adult born in the tribe is considered a tribal member. Tribe members can only be removed through banishment by consensus by the rest of the tribe
      • Jurisdiction: Entire Civilization
      • Relationships: N/A
  • Property and Civil Rights: All land is community owned. All Tribe Members are equal.

OOC: For real RNG chose the most obvious of combinations. What are you to do when the RNG has spoken? Also, I forgot to post the new government structure with the update, so I have added it here.
Didn't Wyvern's suggestions have two votes, as opposed to the one of mine?
It did, however the votes only changed the odds each suggestion would be chosen. In the end it was still chance which of the options was chosen because no one technically has any influence.
Oh. I hadn't realized that. Would it be possible to change retroactively? I honestly prefer Wyvern's suggestion, but I hadn't thought to change my vote since I thought it would be picked.
Session I - Update 1

The air in the council hall was loud and stuffy. Men and women of all ages packed themselves closely together as more and more people shuffled in. Aurora had gown immensely in the decades since the first tribal council. Everyone everywhere seemed to be doing something different. As the crop yield continued to grow, many stopped farming all together. In exchange for food and materials for their houses they performed services, produced art, learned to fight. Auroria was taking on a new level of sophistication and advancement never before seen. With all the changes, however, came new challenges. Questions that seemed to have natural answer before, now became difficult. How should Auroria harness all the productive powers at its disposal? Who among them would rise up to lead and make the hard decisions moving forward? As the clamor began to die down and everyone found a place to stand, the council session began.

A man stepped forward from the crowd, "Our first order of business must be the naming of our people. Yes we live in the city of Aurora, but we were a people long before the word Aurora even existed. I propose we return to our name of old. Let us be known as the Hyperioni. Let us honor our ancestors." He was met with a chorus of ayes, and with near unanimous agreement the change was made. The council continued in a similar fashion. Different people stepped forward, presenting decisions to the tribe they found to be most pressing.


  • Aurora was founded.
  • Aurora gained a population point.
  • The Hyperion Tribe social group formed.
  • A NPC has been born.
  • The name of our civilization has been changed from Auroria to Hyperion (is this correct?)


  • What should we research?
  • What should we produce in Aurora?
  • What should our warrior?
  • What civic should we develop?
  • How should we react to other civilizations we might meet? (Hostile, Neutral, Ingratiating)
  • With so many people we need to be able to differentiate our families. What should our naming conventions be? (Please include at least a surname that will take the form a player’s username).
  • How should we name the surrounding geography? (River, Ocean, Grassland Region, Tundra Region)
  • How should we name our first warrior?
With the resources available to us, it is my belief that we would greatly benefit from researching Mining. However, we cannot just look to the Earth around us; we must also look abroad and explore the world. To do this, we should train a Scout unit. The Scout unit should be sent out exploring the world when it is finished, while our Warrior unit should investigate our immediate surroundings, starting at the tribal village to the north-west, and then taking a circular path around our city. Were we to encounter any other civilizations, we should try to maintain a cordial relationship with them, encouraging trading by revealing locations of capitals and possibly trading away excess luxuries, but nothing more.. With regards to civics, I naturally move for Code of Laws.

I believe that differentiation should be kept simple - as such, a surname will be enough to know about whom people are talking.
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