Passage of Time: -
The game is run in real time, with one of our days representing three months of in-game time. Four days represents a year. A lot of standard measurements of the game will be in seasons, so it will be beneficial (but not necessary) to check your progress each season.
Running your nation: -
At any time, you may message your assigned GM stating you wish to deliver an edict to your nation. The GM will make a note of this if it has a lasting or recurring effect, and make any changes the edict will have immediately. The exception to this is when the edict effects another nation (e.g. an attempted assassination or the sending of a diplomat), in which case the GM will determine a "travel time" for the edict, based on how many regions (and the size of those regions) it will have to traverse. Anything within reason can be an edict, from "The state shall now take the inheritance of all deceased persons in the nation", to "We declare war on nation X". When delivering an edict, bear in mind what technology you have available. If you say "We shall send an expedition across the ocean" when your most advanced ship is a man tied to a turtle, your edict will fail. A lot of edicts will cost money from the treasury, and build orders will obviously take time.
So, if you issue the edict "We will train 6 units of temple guard in region X", the GM will respond with the cost in time and resources. "That will cost 3300 marks, and will take 6 months".
There is no limit on the number of edicts you can issue within a given time frame.
While anything is possible, not everything is likely or reasonable. Bear that in mind, unless you want to be told your edict achieved nothing.
Serra conveniently operates with the universal currency of the mark. Treasuries will be tracked in how many marks they contain. Some things will drain your marks every season, while others (including owning a region) will contribute marks per season. Many edicts will have an immediate cost in marks, and cannot be undertaken unless you have sufficient marks in your treasury. It is possible for upkeep costs to force your treasury into negative figures, which will of course mean you cannot issue any edicts that cost marks. Which is of course, a bad thing, and you should avoid this if at all possible. An easy way of doing this is to deliver an edict declaring you will disband or destroy things that require an upkeep, or if you don't mind risking unrest, you can simply issue an edict saying you won't pay said upkeep.
Sometimes, events will occur within one of your regions, your nation, or across the world. In these situations, a GM will contact you with information, and offer you a chance to issue an edict in response. Some simple examples of events are: -
Natural Disasters (Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes)
Declarations of War
Enemies moving in to your line-of-sight
While you are not compelled to respond to events (particularly beneficial ones) it is often a sound idea to consider how it will or won't effect your economic, militaristic, or diplomatic standing.
Regions have five statistics to track: -
Units & Buildings
These five figures have the potential to change as edicts are issued and circumstances change.
Loyalty is measured as a percentage: Any loyalty above 50% is considered "safe", the region will act as its controlling nation wishes, any lower than this, and problems can occur.
At 41-50% loyalty, a region will have a 1/2 chance each season of rioting. A rioting region will not progress any of its build orders
At 31-40% loyalty, a region has a 3/4 chance each season of rioting. If it does so, there is a 1/4 chance it will create a rebel army of peasants or commoners in that region, size determined by population.
At 21-30% loyalty, a region will riot every season. It has a 1/4 chance each season of producing an army of peasants or commoners.
At 11-20% loyalty, a region will riot every season. It has a 1/2 chance each season of producing an army of peasants or commoners. It has a 1/4 chance of exiting your faction and forming a rebel nation.
At 1-10% loyalty, a region will immediately form a rebel nation.
Happiness is separate to loyalty, as the locals might have reasons to be unhappy that they do not attribute to the leadership of the region or nation. Happiness is also measured in a percentage, and is also considered "safe" at above 50%.
At 41-50% happiness, the region will produce 10% less marks.
At 31-40% happiness, the region will produce 25% less marks.
At 21-30% happiness, the region will produce 50% less marks and lose a point of population every season.
At 11-20% happiness, the region will produce 75% less marks and lose three points of population every season.
At 1-10% happiness, the region will produce 90% less marks, and lose 10 points of population every season.
Population is a direct measure of how many people live in the region, and is measured on a scale of 1-100. Larger populations are harder to manage, but produce more marks and fulfil build orders faster. A region will always have at least 1 population.
Production is simply a statement of any sort of production or training the region is currently conducting, and how long it will take until completion.
Units & Buildings is a statement of what units and buildings the region currently contains.
All regions also have a size statistic, and a natural resources statistic, these are not subject to change.
Size is measured from 1-3. 1 is a small region, 2 is a normal region, and 3 is a large region. Smaller regions will experience slower growth, and be faster to travel through. Similarly, larger regions will experience higher growth and be slower to travel through.
Natural resources refers to any unique resources a region contains (silver, iron, jewels, wool, oil, etc). These resources can be utilised in production by regions you control, or traded away to other nations. Some resources may have an inherent effect (such as corn, or fish, increasing growth in the region).
There are two types of units, Characters and Military units.
Characters represent individuals of note, such as spies, assassins, generals, nobles, or wealthy merchants.
Military units, are of course, formations of soldiers controlled by a faction.
Characters have the following stats: -
These are all measured on a scale from 1-10, and represent the character's value to its nation in each field. A character with low loyalty may be prone to changing sides for bribes, or lying about failures to save his own skin. A character with high intelligence will make for a good governor or general, while a character with high combat might prove to be useful as an assassin or training soldiers.
Speed determines how fast the character moves across the map. Quite literally, this translates as one point of region size for each two points of speed. So a speed 6 character can cross a size 3 region in a season, or 3 size 1 regions.
Characters may also accumulate "special" effects that have different (and usually very specific) impacts on what they do. For example, a character used as an assassin may gain become "unsettling", making him good at intimidating other characters.
Military units have the following statistics: -
These five statistics will have different effects on combat calculations as part of an army, and are each measured on a scale of 1-10.
High attack determines the unit's ability to deliver damage.
Armour determines the unit's ability to mitigate received damage.
Manoeuvrability determines the unit's ability to form up, reform, and skirmish on a battlefield. It is particularly useful for cavalry units.
Morale determines how quickly the unit will break and flee from battle.
Speed determines how quickly the unit can move on a battlefield, and thusly its success in charging, fleeing, or running enemies down. Speed also, as with characters, determines the unit's speed on the map. Groups of units (armies) will always move at the speed of the slowest outside of battle.
Battles are not a predictable affair, and a lot of variables can effect the outcome. If two armies come to blows, there are a lot of things that factor in to how the battle resolves, but the players have no direct control over it once it is determined that a battle will occur.
Combinations of attack, speed and manoeuvrability will be compared against combinations of armour and manoeuvrability, along with any additional factors (such as terrain, the intelligence level of commanding characters), to determine the numbers of casualties inflicted in a 3-stage process. Damage is usually dealt to units with the lowest manoeuvrability first, regardless of their armour, and is parcelled out to units with higher manoeuvrability in progressively smaller amounts. At the end of each of the three stages, units that have taken enough casualties to meet their morale threshold will flee the battle, and not contribute their offensive statistic to the next stage. Their speed and manoeuvrability will be used for their defensive statistics in the next stage, and they will not be counted offensively or defensively if there is a further stage.
Sieges will have as many stages of combat as it requires for one side to be completely broken, unless stated otherwise by the attacker.
Units that suffer casualties greater than half their size will be lost after the battle. Units that do not cross this threshold will survive the battle.
Holiday Mode: -
If you are going away for a while and wish for your nation to continue, you can tell your GM how long you'll be away for, and your nation will will be put into "stasis". You will not be able to issue edicts for at least four days after doing this (an in-game year), and from start to end of your holiday period, non-player effected events will be postponed until your return, other players will not be allowed to invade your regions, and you will neither accumulate nor lose marks. Your edicts will and build orders will not progress.
A player who issues no orders for a week will placed in Holiday Mode for two weeks, before their nation becomes a barbarian faction controlled by the GMs.