Tang Chinese Steppe Falconer at Court

A Twilight of Empires

Lords of the Earth, Campaign 13

Component Nations

What happens when one nation absorbs another through diplomacy or other means? How can a large empire create kingdoms entirely within its sphere? How might an illiterate barbarian control a globe-spanning empire within his lifetime?

This new rule seeks to address these issues.

What is it?

A Component Nation is a new nation type (see 2.1.3). They appear in the ISI listing as such. Nations may enter and leave that list depending on their status. The stats for a Component (hereafter C) Nation are sent to the player owning the controlling empire. A tag for this position is placed in controlling empire's region list, of the form C(name of component), e.g. CLATIUM, and having the stats of the homeland of that component. The player may, if he or she chooses, let another person run the position "under supervision" if desired. Given that orders must be turned in for each C nation this may save a lot of effort (see below).

How can it be created?

There are two usual methods. One is to calve off part of an existing empire, assigning two or more regions to the new C nation. The other is to somehow acquire (by force, diplomacy, or some combination) an existing played or non-player nation.

The created entity must make some geographic, cultural, and historical sense. Taking all of an empire's 0 gp regions and lumping them into "Nullistan" is not going to pass muster. Consultation with the GM is essential in this stage.

Most CN positions are created at the start of the campaign, based on historical analysis.

What are its attributes?

The CN will have AQRs and other stats assigned by the GM based on history and campaign events. It will have a "king" and may in its future more leaders, as stats permit. It will have a control status as if it were a single region named C(name of component).

Keep in mind that it is a nation in most senses. As such it may suffer a Dynastic Failure, Random Event, or other of the less desireable aspects of a full LOTE player position.

What may one do with its resources?

The control status of the "region" listed, e.g. CLATIUM, will indicate what may be done with the component's resources. The resources under discussion are those after support costs are paid.

For example, suppose CLATIUM had an income of 23.4gp, and support costs of 5.4gp. This would leave the controlling empire with 18.0gp to deal with. If CLATIUM were Friendly, then all of this would be available, if Allied then half, and so on. Agro and nfp are dealt with similarly.

If the CN is at Tributary status or better, the controlling empire may tell the component how to spend its resources, so long as these are internal only. The CN will automatically trade with the controlling empire, and if at Tributary or better status any others that empire desires.

Unallocated resources are used to build palaces, hire dressmakers, and throw parties.

What may one do with its leaders?

If Allied or Feudal Allied, then the CLATIUM king would be available to move armies about, but if of another control status may not leave its own regions. Thus an Economic Ally may be ordered to move its army to one of its own regions, but no further, while a Feudal Ally may move anywhere on the map. Counting as own regions are lands having some control status to the component within the last 24 years, about a generation. This allows "lost" lands to be reclaimed, with luck.

What may one do with its other powers?

Intelligence and Religious operations may be allocated for use as if of the controlling nation if the control status is Friendly or Allied, and for military action support if Feudal Allied. Otherwise Intelligence (i.e. intel and assassain ops) may be allocated only for either internal use (e.g. CR, CA, CI, etc.), or peaceful/safe external use (e.g. RF, IE, etc. not JB, KL, etc.). Religious ops may only be used in such cases internally (e.g. MW, DI, RS, etc.) or peaceful/safe external use (e.g. not MW, LS, etc.).

As always contact the GM when in doubt.

Table: Component Nation Resource Utilization By Controlling Nation

Control Status May Give Leader Orders? GP/NFP Allocated? Intel/Assassin Allocated? Religious Ops Allocated?
Friendly (F) and
Pacified (P)
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Allied (A) and
Pacified Tributary (PT)
Yes Yes, Internal, Half Yes Yes
Economic Ally (EA) Yes, Internal Yes, Internal, Half Yes, Safe External Only Yes, Safe External Only
Tributary (T) Yes, Internal Yes, Internal, Half Yes, Safe External Only No
Feudal Allied (FA) Yes No Yes No
Non-Paying Tributary and
Lower (NT, C, and UN)
No No No No

How does further diplomacy work?

Suppose one wants to DP one of the CN regions. It will react as if part of a separate country - which it is. The entire CN may be wooed as well, to some new control status.

In another scenario, suppose one invades a non-player nation and defeats its army. If the goal (in the orders, explicitly) is to create a subject people, then it would become a Pacified Tributary. Thereafter one might DP it as though the entire CN were one region with the sum of its revolt values, starting out as Hostile - this is an improvement, as one usually must DP a region controlled by another nation down to Uncontrolled from whatever its current status, then up to another status. This would later be called "gunboat" diplomacy, or in other LOTE campaigns one form of "horde diplomacy".

Other special circumstances may apply in some cases.

Could another person run the Component Nation?

Each CN (Component Nation) requires the imperial player to write orders for it. This could clearly become a tiresome burden. Further, one may want to recruit friends for more fun in the campaign, or be requested to let someone run one of the vassal states.

Under these conditions a CN position may be turned over to another player. So long as the nation in question is an imperial vassal the imperial player may write in the turn orders that another will be taking the position - or may write that the nation be taken away, at his whim.

Should the Component Nation be reduced to Non-paying Tributary (NT) control status or less due to game events, e.g. Dynastic Failure (DF), then the CN player may choose to leave the empire and form an independent state. In this case the new nation's player may not be removed by the "emperor" by fiat, and in the case of a DF will form one of the factions vying to renew or crush the extant imperial dynasty.

Note further that other changes in Component Nation control status may only be made through diplomacy by the "imperial" position. Of course, agreements for Royal Marriages and similar moves to improve the odds of diplomatic succes may be made by the CN player. Likewise, the emperor may at his whim decide to reduce the control level. The Component Nation player may make overt actions against the overlord player, but these will likely result in a check for Dynastic Failure as regional and imperial factions cause trouble within the CN polity. Infiltrations, conspiracies with other players, and similar moves will usually be allowed without this penalty - when in doubt contact the GM.

In any case turn fees would be due upon independence ...

May a Component Nation be Absorbed?

In time, an empire may wish to annex a CN fully, making its regions the same as any other within the controlling empire. This may be attempted at any time.

The procedure involves the following steps:

  • The CN must be raised to the control status of Friendly. This may already be the case, or the controlling empire may attempt this via diplomacy in the same turn as the absorbtion.
  • Once most of the ruling elites of the CN are co-opted, the remainder of the people have their reactions. This involves a DF check, with all regions making Revolt Checks as if against the controlling empire.
  • Assuming there is no DF, the final hurdle is a Revolt Check for the entire CN against the controlling empire.
  • Once all of these steps have been successfully completed, the CN will dissolve into the tasty broth of the empire.

Note that patient diplomacy of each region of the CN by the controlling empire may prove more prudent, either as an alternative, or preparatory to absorbtion as above.

Final Note

Empires were often composed of several vassals of greater or lesser value, and of higher or lower reliability and responsibility to the central authority. This Component Nation rule is an attempt to simulate this. Having several such CNs will give a player the advantage of lower imperial size, but - as each has a revolt value of the sum of its parts - somewhat greater risk in terms of splitting off in case of dynastic failure or other mishap. For many, the tradeoff will make CNs look like the only route to the future.

This concept is under development by the GM in consultation with the players, whose input is eagerly anticipated.

Chris Cornuelle / lote13gm at xmission dot com / last modified Tuesday, 16-Nov-2004 14:24:07 MST
© 2001-2008 Shirin Strategy Games