Lords51: Espionage

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Most nations possess a capability to engage in covert activities; that is, they have various spies and assassins working for them. These capabilities, which may of course be expanded and upgraded, are represented by the national Intel Stats:

Operations Capacity (OC), Operations Bonus (OB), Assassin Capacity (AC), Assassin Bonus (AB), Action Range (AR)

Simply put, the two kinds of Capacities are the number of spying or murder attempts that the nation can attempt in a turn, while the Bonuses are the skill, resources and talent that the country has at its disposal to further its nefarious plans.

The various ratings are handled like Army Quality Ratings. They are increased by investment (whose progression mirrors that of Army Quality Ratings, with no more than one point of improvement per turn) with investments made for each rating. Additionally, a blanket support cost is levied to maintain those levels.

With Lords 51 one must consider the Racial challenges faced in actions too.


Matthew Holy has broken down Espionage for LOTE-lite. I find a more simplified system so much less cumbersome for Lords 51 that I'm going to make mention of it here and modify it where necessary. Matthew Taylor came up with an initial simplified system as well which spawned the following concepts. I've taken the idea of simplification and used it here.

So, the breakdown comes to:

  • Reveal vs. Conceal
  • Assist vs. Hinder
  • Attack vs. Guard
  • Steal vs. Protect
  • Special Operation

Use Of Intel Capacities And Bonuses

Each turn the nation’s Operations and Assassin capacities are assigned (or not) to the various activities that the player desires. Each effort requires the assignment of at least one Capacity point. Each operation can be assigned all, some, or none of the available Bonus Points. The Bonus Points available each turn are discrete and each point can only be assigned to a maximum of one operation in each turn. The more Bonus points assigned, the greater a chance of success the operation will have.

Gold may also be spent to improve your chances of success, though on occasion throwing a lot of money around will actually reduce your chances of carrying off a covert act. Gold assigned to an Intel or Assassin operation is always spent, even if the Operation is on a contingency basis.

Operations are noted to the GM in the following manner:

OpCode + OpBonus + Gold / Target : Subdescriptor

Assassin operations are handled in the same manner, though they require the assignment of Assassin Capacity and Assassin Bonus points instead. The sub-descriptor used in assassin operations may sometimes need to be rather specific. If the heir to the throne of a given country is the target, then note so. If a specific Leader, such as that commanding a given army, is the target this should be made clear in your orders.

Note that if the location of a target (for an assassin operation) is not indicated, then the operation will suffer a negative modifier. As a result it is often best to chain a Reveal: Leader operation with an Attack: Leader operation. This is usually needed when the target is either moving (like commanding the army rampaging around your country) or is screened by Secret Movement or Guard: Leader.

Table 8-1. Summary of Intel Operations

Operation Code Type Odds
Assault Organization Attack Assassin medium
Battle Assistance Leader Assist Operations high
Cause Mutiny Hinder Operations low
Cause Unrest Hinder Operations low
Conceal Fact Conceal Operations medium
Counter Assassination Guard either high
Counter Intelligence Protect Operations high
Crush Revolt Leader Assist Assassin medium
Destroy Assassin Base Attack Assassin medium
Destroy Intel Base Attack Operations medium
Jailbreak Steal either medium
Kidnap Leader Steal Assassin low
Kill Leader Attack Assassin low
Kill Ruler Attack Assassin low
Reveal Fact Reveal Operations high
Special Operations Special Operation either always
Steal Gold Shipment Steal either low
Steal Object Steal Either Medium
Steal Investment / Tech Steal Operations low
Steal Treasury Steal Assassin low
Support Diplomacy Leader Assistance Operations high
Terrorist Attack Attack Assassin Medium

Note: Some intel actions can be performed with either Intel or Assassin Op points, though their chances of success may vary, depending on the kind of operations point employed.

Leaders Performing Intel Actions

Certain Specialists may act as an Intel Operations point (allowing the conduct of an Operation) or as an Intel Bonus point (to an operation launched either by another Specialist, or by a regular Intel Op Point).

This counts as an action that may be attempted (Espionage) and they may fail to accomplish the Espionage action, in which case they are unable to attempt the Intel Op that would come from that.

The Specialist leader type conducting the Espionage action must be present in the location (region or city) where the Intel operation is being attempted. In the case of a ‘national’ operation like Counter-Intel, they must be present in the Capital (or Homeland, if there is no capital).

Individual Actions


Battle Assistance

Code LA - Leader Assist

Target Your Leader # being assisted.

Type Intel

Results If the operation is successful, then your Army will get a bonus in battle. This lasts throughout the entire turn. The bonus may be offset by hostile Leader Assist operations. One LA operation affects one Leader for the duration of the turn.

Crush Revolt

Code Assist

Target Revolting - Region, Units, or Leader.

Type Assassin

Results When used against a revolting Leader, a successful Assist: Revolting Leader# results in the Leader’s arrest or murder and the prevention of any army mutiny. When used against a region, it maintains the old status of the region. Note that for Pacified regions, troops must still be present to garrison the region. Can be used to counter an enemy Hinder operation. This operation may be ‘held-in-hand’ for some designated event that may or may not happen during the turn, like a region or Leader revolting.

One “running” Assist will attempt to suppress one Leader, Region or City revolt during the turn. If you have two different revolts and only one Assist, then one revolt will go untouched.

Support Diplomacy

Code LA - Leader Assist

Target Support Diplomacy must be targeted to a specific Region or City.

Type Intel

Results The LA operation attempts to aid one of your Leaders performing a single diplomacy action in the specified Region or City. If successful, the operation will give a bonus to your roll - hopefully resulting in success and promotions all around.


Assault Organization

Code Attack

Target Other nation’s BL or Infra government investment

Type Assassin

Results This operation attempts to purge investments into another nation’s government. If successful a government’s Infrastructure or BL investment will be reduced. This can be done turn after turn to seriously hamper any sort of development.

Can be countered with a Protect - Target - Government Stat operation run by the target nation.

Destroy Assassin Base

Code Attack

Target Other Nations AC or AB.

Type Assassin

Results This operation must be directed against a given Assassin base. If successful, the target AC or AB will be reduced by some number of points. It is usually best to run a Conceal Fact in concert with this operation, so that the target nation does not figure who, exactly, is behind the fun and games.

Destroy Intel Base

Code Attack

Target Other Nations OC or OB.

Type Assassin or Intel

Results This operation must be directed against a given Intel base. If successful, the target OC or OB will be reduced by some number of points. Like its Assassin counterpart, Conceal Fact may be useful in hiding the execution of this action.

Kill Leader

Code Attack

Target Other Nation's non-Royal Leader (Lieutenant, etc.)

Type Assassin

Results If successful, either wounds or kills the target Leader. If wounded, the Leader aborts all remaining actions in the turn and may still die from complications. If the location of the target is not known, the operation suffers from a negative modifier. Guard: Leader resists the operation. This operation has a low basic chance of success.

Kill Ruler

Code Attack

Target Other Nation’s King or Heir.

Type Assassin

Results If successful, the operation may wound or kill outright the target Leader. If the target is wounded, they abort all actions for the rest of the turn and may still die. If the location of the target is not known, then the operation suffers from a negative modifier. Guard: Leader resists the operation. This operation has a very low basic chance of success.

Terrorist Attack

Code Attack

Target Public Works, Stored Agro, Wall Points, Port Areas, Megaliths, etc.

Type Assassin

Results A Terrorist attack is directed against a specific location or city. Could cause some unrest if continued.


Conceal Fact

Code Conceal

Target Thing (datum) being protected.

Type Intel

Results If successful the datum being protected (army movement, Leader movement, city construction, etc.) will not be revealed in the Newsfax or by an opposing Reveal Fact operation. A sufficiently well supported Conceal Fact can also produce misinformation - including, but not limited to - MSI manipulation, phantom armies and cities, and events which never occurred.


Counter Assassination

Code Guard

Target Your Leader being protected.

Type Assassin or Intel

Results This operation attempts to block any attempts made against the protected Leader for the duration of the turn. If the Leader is killed anyway, the operation may not be switched to another Leader.


Cause Mutiny

Code Unrest

Target Army controlled by another nation.

Type Intel

Results If successful, the operation will cause mass desertion upon the part of the enemy army targeted. If there is a Secret Diplomacy (SD) operation executed against the army at the same time, there is a chance that the deserters will join you. May be countered by Protect: Army before the Unrest: Army occurs or LA: Army# (CR) after the Unrest occurs.

Cause Unrest

Code Unrest

Target A Pacified or Pacified Tributary region controlled by another nation; or if the establishment of a racial minority in a Port City is known to exist.

Type Intel

Results If successful, the operation will cause the target region or city to revolt and become independent. If diplomacy is attempted by the nation running the Cause Unrest on the same turn as the revolt, they get a bonus on their DP attempt. May be countered by Protect: Region or City before the action is resolved or LA: Region or City after the action is successful.


Counter Intelligence

Code Protect

Target Hostile Intel Operations type

Type Intel

Results This operation will attempt to block hostile Intel activity against your nation. The operation can be directed in one of three ways:

(1) As a general action, which will apply to every hostile operation directed against your nation, but the initial operation will be at a -2 modifier. [Ex. Protect+0 : Whole nation ]

(2) As an action directed against a specific hostile op, which gets you a +2 bonus to your CI. [Ex. Protect+1: vs. Attack - BL]


Reveal Fact

Code RF

Target Item of Information.

Type Intel

Results The RF operation attempts to find something out; like where an enemies' armies are, or whether a certain country is behind the murder of your agents or the unrest in the capital. If successful, some degree of truth is revealed, though rarely the whole truth. A failed RF operation may return false information. Something will come back out of your operation - but can you trust what your agents are telling you? The operation is often used as part of a combined effort to determine the targets for Purges or Assassinations.

Special Operation

Special Ops

Code SO

Target Combination of Actions, Catch all command

Type Intel or Assassin

Results / Examples A added operation to help with a complex series of actions. This helps to tie together multiple Operations, not just two, but several. Another use is the combination of Ops from more than one nation. Its a fine idea to spread that information around with folks. If no other obvious action is evident the the Special Ops command can be used.

Either Intel or Assassin Ops can be used to tie together multiple Operations. If the SO is to be more specific then common sense must prevail to the most evident type.



Code Steal

Target Captive Leader

Type Intel or Assassin

Results Jailbreak will attempt to spring an incarcerated Leader from prison. If successful, the Leader will escape his jail and will make his way home to the nearest controlled region.

Kidnap Leader

Code Steal

Target Other Nation’s Leaders

Type Assassin

Results If successful, the operation will take as a hostage a targeted Leader of the enemy nation. Once captured, the Leader may be held for ransom, subverted or interrogated. This operation is countered by Guard: Leader or, later, Steal: Captive Leader.

Steal Investment

Code Steal

Target Other nation's Investment

Type Intel

Results Steal Investment allows a nation to conduct industrial espionage against a nation possessing superior technology. If successful, some of the secrets of the other nation’s technology will be available to the operating nation.

The GP stolen gets plugged into a formula: Gained Investment = (GP Stolen * Victims Statistic) / Your Statistic. This means stealing from a higher AQR nation gets you a higher yield. Any target nation will gain some benefit however.

Steal Gold Shipment

Code Steal

Target Specific transfer of funds between other nations.

Type Intel or Assassin

Results Occasionally, it may come to the attention of a player that some other players are transferring funds between themselves to some end. An attempt may be made, by execution of this operation, to intercept and steal some or all of the gold in question. The two nations must be specified in the sub-descriptor, and if the route that the gold will be moved along is known then a bonus will be applied. This operation can also be used on bank transfers and loan attempts.

Steal Object

Code Steal

Target A specific item.

Type Assassin

Results Steal Object allows an attempt to steal a given, named, object – like the True Cross or something. Chances of success are incredibly variable, depending in part on how portable the object is. Don’t try and steal the Sphinx of Giza, ok?

Steal Treasury

Code Steal

Target Other nation's Saved Gold.

Type Intel or Assassin

Results If successful, some portion of the target Treasury will be stolen and removed to the treasury of the nation running the operation. The location of the target treasury must be known for the operation to work. Also, it has a very low chance of success to begin with. May be a good idea to use a Reveal: City Treasury or something to determine location and such.

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Campaign: 51 Siri - Age of Awakenings
Alternative Campaign Setting

Lords of the Earth 5th Edition, version 5.5 © 1997 Thomas Harlan (Original)
© 2005 JJ Martell (Modified for Lords51)

All rights reserved. Permission was given to modify the content for Lords51. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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