Modern Age Introduction

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The Modern Period

This booklet is a supplement to the Lords of the Earth Basic Rulebook, which is required for play.

The title of this supplement uses the very broad definition of “modern” as applied by historians, who use it to describe a period from roughly the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. The main foci of these rules are two new culture types: Renaissance (R) and Industrial One (I1). There are references to more advanced Industrial cultures beyond I1 throughout these rules. This is intentional and represents the initial framework of simulating the highly advanced cultures of the post-modern period. In sum, this supplement should be seen as a work in progress and more material will be added to it as input from players and GMs accrue over time.

In Lords of the Earth, the ‘arrival’ of nations at Renaissance and Industrial culture status and the levels of Technology prevalent in these periods is governed by their accumulation of Tech Points during the previous periods. During the Renaissance it is very likely that there will be a mix of national types — Nomadic, Civilized, Barbarian, Renaissance, Seafaring, even pre-Columbian. As things progress, however, the nations less well endowed with technological prowess will find themselves facing a stiff struggle to survive in the face of nations that will gain the capability to span the seas, field armies of musket-armed infantry backed by artillery capable of bringing down the walls guarding the cities of the Medieval Age. This trend will be even more pronounced during the Industrial period, as nations with access to steam and internal combustion technology will have a dramatic advantage over their less advanced brethren.

These are times of tremendous change; of the birth of world-girdling trade empires, of the first vestiges and then the dramatic development of colonialism, of empires that initially span continents and then encounter difficulties in ruling over vast polyglot peoples. Warfare and economics change, banking changes — becoming international in scope. A worldwide web of interconnected economies form, develop and metastasize.

It is a time of new dreams, hopes and disasters. Of new philosophies, sciences and political thinking: the beginnings of revolutionary changes in how humanity both perceived and interacted with the world. Players will have the opportunity to exploit these changes or may fall victim to them.

Glossary of Terms

The following terms are pertinent to this Supplement. A further list of more general terms and concepts is found at the beginning of the Basic Rulebook.

  • Aerial Trade: A new Trade Route type available to Industrial Merchant Houses with airship technology.
  • Aircraft: Flying Machines with a rigid-airframe and one or more fixed wings and gasoline-burning engines to drive propellers.
  • Airport: a new Monolithic Construction that a Merchant House can use to support Aerial Trade.
  • Airships: A class of units for Industrial nations, representing lighter-than-air craft. Airship units run the gamut from small scout craft to giant Graf Zeppelin-style aerial passenger ships.
  • Anchor’ Cities: A controlled port city that forms one end of a Trade Conduit connecting it to one or more other controlled port cities.
  • Artillery: A new unit type, composed of cannons, bombards and other field pieces firing shot or canister with gunpowder propellant.
  • Branch Office: Represents a substantial economic interest in a given location (a city or region) by a Merchant House.
  • Cartel City: A city that is under the direct economic domination of a Merchant House.
  • Combat Leader: The Leader of an Army, a Fleet or Air Wing based on an Army Operations Point, a Naval Operations point or an Air Operations point.
  • Conduit Limit: The maximum number of Trade Conduits that can comprise a single Sea Trade Route. Not a limit on the total number or length of Trade Routes a Nation may have, however.
  • Diesel Engines: Advanced Internal Combustion Engines.
  • Engineering: The ability of Industrialized nations to use Siege Engineer units to assist in the construction of various national projects.
  • Factories and Yards: The facilities that enable Industrialized nations to build modern steam and diesel powered air, warship and submarine units.
  • Home Office: The center of the trade empire controlled by a Merchant House. Usually in a very rich city.
  • Improved Engines: Improved Internal Combustion (Diesel) Engines.
  • Industrial Capacities: a limit on the number of certain units and projects that can be built by a nation in any given turn. There are two different types of Industrial Capacity: First, Intrinsic, which is based on cities and trade centers and represents the number of Heavy-type combat units that can be built at that location and apply to all culture types. Railroad Projects by industrial cultures are also counted against this capacity. Dockyards are required to utilize the intrinsic yard capacity of Port Cities to build certain types of Renaissance ships. Second, Specific Yard Capacity which is based on Factories and Yards built by Industrial cultures and apply to the construction of Steamship, Aircraft, Airship and Submarine units.
  • Line of Communication: A series of contiguous, controlled land regions or Sea Zones reaching from the national Capital to an outlying province. If the LOC is traced by sea, then it must go through a controlled, un-blockaded Port City before it may enter/exit a Sea Zone.
  • Mercantile Construction: The capability of Industrial Merchant Houses to build units outside their HBZ.
  • Merchant House: A new kind of nation devoted to the discovery and economic exploitation of new markets, continents and trade routes.
  • Merchant Agent: The initial level of business interest that a Merchant House can maintain in a city or region.
  • Merchant Factory: The representative of a Merchant House in a specific location (usually a port city). Represents a degree of local interest and market control.
  • Merchant Shipping Points (MSPs): Representation of the actual trade ships used to move goods. Created by each Nation and Merchant House to carry their trade.
  • Monopoly: A trade concession or resource solely controlled by a Merchant House, usually at the expense of the nation that normally has access to it.
  • Navigation Rating: A rating expressing the ability of the seamen of the Nation or House to handle seagoing merchant vessels and warships. Affects the movement capacity of ship units.
  • National Force Points (NFP): A representation of the manpower. One NFP roughly equals 400 men.
  • Nuclear: A new class of weapons deployed by ship, aircraft or rocket.
  • Nuclear Weapon: a nuclear bomb delivered usually by aircraft or a nuclear warhead delivered by rocket.
  • Railroads: A new Megalithic Construction Project for Renaissance (TL 11) and Industrial nations, allowing them to ship units and goods much more quickly.
  • Research Projects A new form of investment for Industrial nations, allowing them to develop new kinds of units, factories and capabilities (once they have achieved certain pre-requisites, particularly minimum tech level). Research projects are measured in numbers of “Advances”, and are governed by an investment die roll, much like Quality Ratings.
  • Rocketplanes: A primitive form of early spaceplane (the X-15 for example) launched from another aircraft and returning to Earth and landing like an aircraft.
  • Rockets: A new class of units – long range weapons propelled by the reaction of gases produced by a fast-burning fuel.
  • Sea Trade Route: A sequence of Trade Conduits that allow two nations to trade with one another.
  • Spaceport: A new Monolithic Construction that permits the launching of larger rockets.
  • ‘Specialized’ NFP: National Force Points that are “recruited” by Industrialized nations to assist in non-unit construction.
  • Steamships: A new class of naval units for Industrial nations with the requisite technology. There are several different types of steamships, ranging from wooden steamships to Airship Carriers.
  • Submarines: A new class of units for Industrial nations with the requisite technology. There are two types of submarine units: the petrol/electric Submersible (the Holland, for example), and early diesel/electric Submarine units themselves.
  • Tech Level: A numeric rating, ranging from one to twenty-five, that expresses the level of technological sophistication and industrial development of a given nation.
  • Tech Points: An accumulated value that expresses the technological advancement and sophistication of the nation.
  • Trade Conduit: An established and regular route for the MSP of a nation traveling from one ‘anchor’ city to another ‘anchor’ city.
  • Trade Range: The maximum number of regular Sea Zones that a Trade Conduit can extend from one ‘anchor’ city to another ‘anchor’ city.
  • Universal Weights and Measure (UW&M): A new Societal Project representing the implementation of a set of international standards of weights, measurements and machine parts. Industrial nations that adopt UW&M will get a bonus to their tax rate.

The New Map

Concomitant with the introduction of steam-powered sailing vessels comes an overlay of sea hexes to regulate the movement of Airships and Steamships. Both types of unit may move using the hex-grid, though normal (wind-powered) shipping must continue to use the sea zones and current arrows as before.

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Lords of the Earth, 6th Edition © 2010 Thomas Harlan
All rights reserved. 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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