Lords Lite: 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.

The wide variety of espionage operations that are available to the player are described by a set of operations codes - which are listed below. If you desire to attempt an action that is not covered by one or more of the operations listed below, the Special Operations code functions as a grab-all for other skullduggery. Such efforts should be carefully explained to the GM, however.

Use Of Intel Capacities And Bonuses - changed

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
Example: The Swedish player decides to attempt an infiltration of the Danish player’s government sector. This requires 1 OC to run the operation. Deciding that he would really like to succeed, the Swedish player assigns two Bonus points and 25gp in addition. This would be shown by the Operation Code set of:
IE+2+25gp : Denmark-Government

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 Secret (RS) operation with the Kill Leader (KL) operation using the Special Operation (SO) action so as to first locate the target, and then terminate them. 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 Counter-Assassination.

Example: The Danes decide to murder the King of Sweden. This operation requires that 1 AC point be assigned, and they decide to commit three bonus points as well, just so they’ll get ‘im. They are sure that he will be in Stockholm, so they include that as the location to make the hit. This would be shown as:
KK+3+5gp / Sweden - King Olaf in Stockholm.

Table 8-1. Summary of Intel Operations

Operation Code Type Odds
Assault Organization ao Assassin medium
Battle Assistance ba Operations high
Cause Mutiny cm Operations low
Cause Unrest cu Operations low
Conceal Fact cf Operations medium
Counter Assassination ca either high
Counter Intelligence ci Operations high
Crush Revolt cr Assassin medium
Destroy Assassin Base dab Assassin medium
Destroy Intel Base dib Operations medium
Infiltrate Enemy ie Operations medium
Jailbreak jb either medium
Kidnap Leader kp Assassin low
Kill Leader kl Assassin low
Kill Ruler kk Assassin low
Maintain Infiltration mi Operations always
Purge Infiltration pi Assassin high
Rearrange Expenditures re Operations low
Reveal Fact rf Operations high
Revise Orders ro Operations low
Special Operations so either always
Steal Gold Shipment sgs either low
Steal Object sj Either Medium
Steal Technology sk Operations low
Steal Treasury st Assassin low
Subvert Infiltration si Operations medium
Subvert Leader sl Operations low
Support Diplomacy sd Operations high
Terrorist Attack ta 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 - changed

An Heir, Prince, Lieutenant, Bishop or Full Allied Leader may also 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 Leader, 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 Leader 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).

Action Range - changed

You can conduct operations within (Action Range) Action Points of a region or city that you control at Non-Paying Tributary status or better. One of your armies may also serve as a base of operations. You can determine if a target area, person or object is within your Action Range by counting AP’s from your base of operations to the target as if a Leader of yours were moving through the intervening regions. Mountains and hostile terrain, therefore, inhibit action, while seas, rivers, roads help.

In the case of Intel actions you do not have to pay an extra 1 AP for entering an Uncontrolled region.

Example: The Byzantine Empire is attempting to subvert the Khan of the Khazars, who is in the region of Saksiny. Their nearest base is the city of Chersonessos in the region of Crimea. From Chersonessos they trace their Action Range through Black Sea [1ap], Patzinak (a steppe region) [1+1 = 2ap], Khazar (a steppe region) [1+1 = 2ap], and into Saksiny (a steppe region) [1+1 = 2ap]. Total range is 7ap. Unfortunately, the Byzantines only have an Action Range of 3. Drat! They will have to wait for Ziebil to come closer to Byzantine territory, or send a Leader to perform an Espionage action in Saksiny itself.

Operations Codes And Explanations

Table 8-1. Summary of Intel Operations, lists possible Intel Operations. All Operations actions require the assignment of Operations Capacity (OC) points and Operations Bonus (OB) points. All those operations listed as Assassin actions require the assignment of Assassin Capacity (AC) and Assassin Bonus (AB) points.

In the sections below, under Type, Assassin refers to AC points, while Intel refers to OC points.

Assault Organization

Code AO

Target Other nation’s government or religious base

Type Assassin

Results This operation attempts to purge another nation’s government or clerical base. If successful a government’s Infrastructure or BL or the religious ROC, ROB or Action Range will be temporarily reduced. The effects do not last more than one turn, though obviously an AO attempt could be made each turn ad infinitum.

AO can be countered with a Counter-Intelligence operation run by the target nation.

Battle Assistance

Code BA

Target Your army 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 Battle Assist operations. One BA operation affects one Leader for the duration of the turn.

Counter Assassination

Code CA

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.

Counter Intelligence

Code CI

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 CI, which will apply to every hostile operation directed against your nation, but the initial operation will be at a -2 modifier. [Ex. CI+0 : Whole nation ]

(2) As a CI directed against a designated type of hostile Intel operation, which is the default. [Ex. CI+1: vs. Infiltrate Enemy]

(3) As a CI directed against a specific hostile op, which gets you a +2 bonus to your CI. [Ex. CI+1: vs. IE-Intel Service]

Example: The Danes know that the Kingdom of Sweden is gunning for their Intel apparat. They decide to allocate one Counter Intelligence (CI) operation to protect against hostile Assault Organization (AO) operations. This CI will act against any and all AO attempts made during the current turn, but it will not protect against any Cause Mutiny efforts, or Terrorist attacks.

Conceal Fact

Code CF

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.

Crush Revolt

Code CR

Target Region or Leader revolting.

Type Assassin

Results When used against a revolting Leader, a successful Crush Revolt 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 Cause Unrest 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” CR will attempt to suppress one Leader, Region or City revolt during the turn. If you have two different revolts and only one CR, then one revolt will go untouched.

Cause Mutiny

Code CM

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 Counter-Intelligence (CI) before the CM occurs or Crush Revolt (CR) after the CM occurs.

Cause Unrest

Code CU

Target A Pacified or Pacified Tributary region controlled by another nation; or if the establishment of a religious minority in the region/city by conversion in a Friendly, Homeland, Full Allied or Feudal Allied region.

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 Counter-Intelligence (CI) before the action is resolved or Crush Revolt (CR) after the action is successful.

Destroy Assassin Base

Code DAB

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 DIB

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.

Infiltrate Enemy - removed

Code IE

Target Other Nation’s Sector (as listed below)

Type Intel

Results This operation is directed against one of the target nations sectors, which are: Government, Intel Service, Military, Royal Family, Populace, University or Clerical Hierarchy, National Bank or Household. Each infiltration is rated on a 1 to 10 scale. At level 10 and greater the sector is ‘subverted’.

At lesser levels the infiltration gives a bonus to Operations directed against that sector, like more Infiltrate Enemy attempts, or Destroy Intel Base, or Cause Unrest, etc. An established infiltration requires the assignment of a Maintain Infiltration operation each turn, or it will degrade and the possibility of the infiltration being discovered by the target nation increases dramatically.

When a Subversion result has been achieved, it has extra effects, as noted below:

  • Intel Service: Subverting player gets the first 50 lines of the subverted nation’s Player Notes and may attempt Revise Orders operations to change Operations assignments by that nation. A bonus on infiltration attempts directed against other sectors is also gained.
  • Government: Subvertor gets a copy of the subverted nation’s government stats and may attempt to alter governmental expenditures (investments, troop support, etc.) by running Rearrange Expenditures operations.
  • Royal Family: Subvertor gets a list of the royal family members and their notes. If the ‘turned’ member of the Royal Family becomes King, then the invidious possibility of seizing the entire country comes to the fore.
  • Military: The subvertor gets a copy of the Military stats of the country (including armies and garrisons) and receives a big bonus to provoke mutinies, army revolts and subvert Leaders to their cause.
  • Populace: No status report is received, but the subvertor receives a big bonus on all Cause Unrest operations. Diplomatic efforts against Non-Paying Tributary, Tributary, Feudal Allied, Economic Allied and Full Ally regions controlled by the infiltrated nation are carried out as though the regions in question were not controlled by the infiltrated nation. Also, if regions are taken from the subverted country by the subvertor, then there is a good chance that the regions will go to Friendly status on the same turn as they are ‘liberated’.
  • University: The subverting nation receives an extra Tech Point per turn if the subverted University is of a higher rating.
  • Clerical Hierarchy: Subvertor gets to view all the religious stats of the nation. Big bonuses are given to all religious operations directed against the nation.
  • National Bank: Subvertor receives a copy of the bank information for the nation and gains a bonus in any dirty financial dealings directed against the financial institution.
  • Household: This is directed at a specific national Leader and his attendant family, servants, secretaries, etc. Gaining this infiltration provides a large bonus to Subversion attempts made against the Leader.

Countries being infiltrated may be tipped off even without a counter intelligence action based on how discreet the infiltration action is and the country's natural resistance to being subverted (such as nations with a high religious strength).

Note: Don't get too excited when you get someone infiltrated. It's not as big an advantage as you think.


Code JB

Target A captured Leader held by another nation

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 KP

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 Counter Assassination (CA) or, later, Jailbreak (JB).

Kill Leader

Code KL

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. Counter Assassin (CA) resists the operation. This operation has a low basic chance of success.

Kill Ruler - removed

This is merged into Kill Leader, it will just be harder to kill a ruler.

Code KK

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. Counter Assassin (CA) resists the operation. This operation has a very low basic chance of success.

Maintain Infiltration - removed

Code MI

Target Current infiltration of other nation.

Type Intel

Results A Maintain Infiltration is required to maintain each current infiltration. If a MI does not support an infiltration each turn, then it degrades one or more levels and does not confer any bonuses to operations taking place within its sector. Bonus points only need to be assigned to a MI operation if you expect it to be attacked by either a Subvert Infiltration or Purge Infiltration operation.

Purge Infiltration - removed

Code PI

Target Detected infiltration.

Type Assassin

Results Some degree of the infiltration will be destroyed and removed from the infiltrated sector. Depending on the degree of the infiltration, the sector may also suffer some reduction of capacity as skilled, but compromised, workers are eliminated from the structure. A Purge may also be launched blindly and may even connect if there is really an infiltration in the sector. Losses will still accrue, however, whether anyone is really a spy or not.

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 Special Operation to determine the targets for Purges or Assassinations.

Special Operation

Code SO

Target Chained operations

Type Intel or Assassin

Results A SO operation allows the chaining of several other operations into one Super-Operation. Note that the coordination of such an effort requires that a point of Operations Capacity be allocated to run the combined operation - thus this code. Bonus points are allocated on the sub-operation level. If at least one Assassin is included in the combined operation, then an Assassin Capacity point can be used for the SO.

Example: The English decide that they want to try to murder the King of France, whom they know is going to be attending a secret conference somewhere in Germany this turn. To ‘acquire’ their target they run a SO to chain a Reveal Fact and a Kill Ruler operation.
RF+3 + SO + KK+3 / King Gilbert the Fat

Note that this extensive operation costs them nine Operations points in total; but four could be Intel Operations Capacity and Bonus, and five could be Assassin Capacity and Bonus.

Steal Gold Shipment

Code SGS

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 SJ

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 Technology

Code SK

Target Other nation's Technology Level.

Type Intel

Results Steal Technology 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.

Steal Treasury

Code ST

Target Other nation's treasury.

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 - so it is best preceded by an infiltration.

Subvert Infiltration - removed

Code SI

Target Detected infiltrations

Type Intel

Results A Subvert Infiltration operation runs on the same scale as a normal infiltration, except that once the SI exceeds 10 then the infiltration carries over into the infiltrating country’s Intel Service sector. Once the targeted infiltration has been compromised, it can be used to feed ‘bad’ information back to the other nation. The subverted Infiltration can also serve as a tripwire for hostile Intel actions being mounted by the other nation. The subversion must be maintained by a MI operation, just like a normal infiltration.

Subvert Leader - removed

Code SL

Target Designated enemy Leader.

Type Intel

Results If successful the operation forces the targeted Leader to make a Loyalty check. If the target fails the check then he becomes a Spy Leader of the Subverting nation. At this time the newly controlling nation can either maintain him in his previous post (so he remains a Spy) or have him revolt. Some, none or all of his troops will follow him if he revolts, depending on his Charisma rating.

Support Diplomacy - changed

Code SD

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

Type Intel

Results The SD 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. An SD operation can also be used to assist in site formations for various non-Open Empires. See the appropriate rules.

Terrorist Attack

Code TA

Target Location (city, region, etc.) where the attack will take place.

Type Assassin

Results A Terrorist attack is directed against a specific location, usually a city or religious shrine. If it is successful, the target gets bad press in the Newsfax and innocent people die.

LOTE Symbol Small.JPG

Alternative Quick Rules System

Lords of the Earth 6th Edition, version 6.0 © 2008 Thomas Harlan (Original)
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