The idea of secret holdings having come up recently, and having some
thoughts on that idea myself, I decided that I had better look up Sepsis's
rules for Spy Networks in the netbook. They are quite good, and should
offer good ease of use, but I was looking for something with a little more
detail and applicability. There are a number of things that I would like
for characters to do secretly that aren't possible in those rules. To that
end, therefore, I offer the following rules expansion.

New realm action:
Regents often wish to keep their activities secret from their enemies, and
even from their allies on occasion. To increase the level of intrigue
possible in the game, regents are allowed to set up holdings which are
"invisible" to the other regents in the province. Needless to say, this is
an expensive proposition, and requires a certain expertise. Most regents
are likely to desire covert guild, law, and temple holdings, so these
rules will focus on those types. Source holdings are fundamentally
different, and will be discussed at the end.
Setting up a covert holding can be done by a guilder regent, or
by any other type of regent together with a rogue-class lieutennant. This
is considered to be the lieutennant's action for the domain turn. The cost
is three times that to create a regular holding (thus 3 GB). After that,
however, the holding costs the same as any other holding (figured in
domain maintenance costs). Guilder regents can set up covert law and guild
holdings by themselves, but require a priest lieutennant to set up covert
temple holdings. Regency points can be spent when the type of holding is
appropriate to the regent (i.e. would be able to collect RP from it if it
were a normal holding), NOT when it is appropriate to the lieutennant.
Once a covert holding is set up, it can be used. However, using a
covert holding makes it "active," and therefore easier to detect. A covert
holding can function as a regular holding, but immediately looses its
covert status. There are, however, a few things that a covert holding can
do and remain secret. Covert guilds can also be covertly Ruled (as x3 the
regular cost), but only if there is "space" availble for that holding
type. Law holdings are the exception to this rule (see below).

Covert guild holdings are your typical "spy networks." They use their
intimate contact with the goods and services of the province to obtain
intimite information about the land, its rulers, and its affairs. These
are best set up in the capital provinces of countries, where most of the
"official business" of the realm is conducted. Covert guilds are capable
of the following actions.
-Basic intellegence. All normal, non-secret information in that
province is sent to the regent. This includes: holding levels and holding
level changes, any build and fortify actions which take place in that
province, troop movements in and through that province, ambassadorships
and alliances that are publically announced, and random events that occur
in the realm. This does not activate the holding.
-Espionage. The regent can spend 1 GB to gain an espionage action
as a free activity in that province. Anything described under the
Espionage realm action in the Rulebook can be done, but this activates the
holding, making it easier to detect. Troop locations and movements can be
detected as if a scout unit were located in the province (i.e. detected in
that province and in all provinces adjacent). The chance of success
differs from that for regular espionage actions. The base Success
requirement is a 10 or better on a d20. Modify this by -1 per level of the
province, by +1 per level of law holding loyal to the victim, and +5 for
every province distant the source of information is. Add an additional
+1 if the holding or province is fortified. For example, Halried has a
covert guild in the Roesonean county of Ghoried, and is interested
in the court of Marlae, Baroness of Roesone, in Blackstone Castle next
door in Caercas. If Ghoried is a province (2), and Marlae controls a law
(1) holding in Ghoried, his difficulty is 10, -2 (province), +1 (law), +5
(1 province distant), +1 (fortified by castle) for a total of 15.
Halried's player must roll a 15 or better on a d20 to find out about
Marlae's new treaty with Aerenwe.
-Underground Trade Route. If a covert guild is not adjacent to
other holdings, an underground trade route must be established to connect
the two if anything other than information is to be passed between them.
Setting up an underground trade route costs the same as a regular trade
route if a road or river exists linking the two holdings, and twice that
if no route exists. The maintenance required is also the same as that for
a regular trade route, but it needs to be paid only in seasons (domain
turns) in which the route is active. When active, the route automatically
activates the covert holdings to which it connects. When inactive, the
route does not require any maintenance, but if left inactive for more than
a year (5 domain turns or more) it falls aparts. People (such as
adventurers or kidnapped victims) or items (such as stolen goods) can be
passed along an underground trade route. If used for smuggling, the route
generates half the gold that a regular trade route would make between the
same two provinces. This can be combined with a regular trade route to
increase profitability, but if so, the regular guild holdings are detected
as covert holdings, which may alert regents of nefarious practices.

Covert Temple Holdings. Worshippers who choose to attend a proscribed
religion tend to be devout and faithful, and so create the power and
effectiveness of a larger church.
-Regency Bonus. The holder of a covert temple actually collects
regency from the holding as though it were twice the size (zero-level
holdings generate 1 RP)
-Devotion: the devotion and faith of the followers allows the
regent to cast priestly realm spells in the province as though they were
more powerful holdings. A temple (0) produces enough faith to power a
realm spell that would normally require a temple (1) holding. A covert
temple (1) produces enough faith to power spells which require temple (3)
holdings, and covert temple (2) holdings can power spells which require
temple (5) holdings.
-Silent Agitate. A covert temple can reduce the loyalty of its
province by one grade, unbeknownst to the ruler. Thus, the province
appears to rebel when it reaches Poor loyalty. A rebelling province
reveals the presence of the covert temple. Revealing the presence of a
covert temple automatically reveals the true loyalty of the province. The
chance for success is the same as that for the regular Agitate action, but
no RP can be spent (for or against).

Covert Law Holdings. This represents traitorous nobles who have secretly
given their loyalty to another master, as well as "bandit lords" who move
in and take advantage of the weak.
-Military espionage. Activating the covert law holding reveals the
location and movements of troops in and around the province as though
there were a scout troop in the province.
-Usurp loyalty. The traitorous nobles may attempt to convince
others to join them in their treachery. This can actually "steal" control
of law units secretly from their current holder. They still obey the
putative holder, unless specifically told otherwise. Countermanding an
order instantly reveals the true loyalty of that noble. The cost of this
action is the level of the new covert holding times three in gold bars.
For example, Oskar has a covert law (1) holding in Calrie, and wants to
usurp the loyalty of another of the Queen of Aerenwe's nobles. Doing so
will give him a covert law (2) holdings, and so will cost him 2x3 = 6 GB
to make the attempt. The chance of success is 50% (target 10 on d20) and
NO RP can be spent (but, of course, none can be spent to counter, either).
If the attempt fails, Oskar's traitorous law (1) holdings will be revealed
to the Queen of Aerenwe, and she can have him removed (by making a Decree
free action).
-Turncoat. The traitorous nobles can throw their lot in with their
true master, defecting and taking their troops with them. A zero-level
turncoat will take one infantry or cavalry unit from the former regent's
army, and transfer their control to that of the new regent. A level-1
turncoat will take 2 units, or one pike or archer unit, and a level-2
turncoat will take 3 units, or one knights unit. The stolen unit does not
need to be in the same province as the turncoat, but does need to be able
to get across the border before being cut off or attacked. A province
which has 2 or more units "cuts off" the path of a fleeing unit. If a unit
is more than a single war move away from the border, the defender gets a
war move to attempt to cut off or attack the turncoat unit. The unit is
retained if cut off. Covert law holdings will usually go turncoat if they
are discovered and a Decree is issued against them. Moving two more army
units into their province than they can turn prevents this. When a holding
turns coat, it opens up a law holding slot in that province.

It should be obvious by now that regents will wish to reduce the
amount of secret holdings in their territory, or at least be able to keep
an eye on them. All guilder regents and rogue-class lieutennants have the
opportunity to recognize the indicators and signs that reveal that
something covert is going on. In addition, a special lieutennant, called a
"Home Agent," can be brought in to set up a "secret police" or
"counter-intellegence agency," to detect the influence of foreign powers.
Covert holdings exist in three different "states," which influence
how easy they are to detect. The first state represents the degree of
disorder that exists as the holding is first being set up. In the charts
below, this is what the first number represents: the percentage chance to
detect a "new" (just created) covert holding. The second state is the
"passive" state: the holding exists, but is taking no actions on behalf of
its holder. The third state is the active state. Holdings are most easy to
notice when in this state. The covert holding is in this state when
undertaking one of the actions described above (except Basic Intellegence
and Regency Bonus).
- -Guilders and rogue-class lieutennants detect covert holdings as such:
-law: 10 / 0 / 25
-guild: 5 / 0 / 10
-temple: 15 / 10 / 20
-if a regent spends an action, or a lieutennant responds as if to
a random event, she can concentrate on one area, and improve her chances:
concentrating on a single province doubles her chance to detect any covert
holdings present (although 0x2 still equals 0). If she further
concentrates on one type of holding in that province, the chance doubles
again (thus is now x4 base chance).

Home Agents cost 5 GB to set up. The set up period can be accomplished at
a rate of 1d6 GB per domain turn (season). The HA counts as a lieutennant
in terms of determining how many lieutennants a regent can have, but is
NEVER available for domain actions or to respond to random events. At the
DM's option, he may be available for adventuring, esp. if the adventure is
relevant to "national security." Once set up, the HA requires an operating
budget of 2 GB per domain turn. Every combination of 1 GB and 1 RP spent
beyond this basic level both increases the HA's ability to detect covert
holdings by 10 percent, AND increases the difficulty of any Espionage
actions taken against the regent by +2.
-Home Agents use the following chart for their ability to detect
covert holdings.
-law: 15 / 10 / 40
-guild: 20 / 5 / 20
-temple: 25 / 15 / 30
-Use the same modifiers as above for concentrating. Add bonuses
for GB/RP spent before concentation modifiers.

Source holdings are a completely different type of holding from the other
types, cheifly because they do not require the presence of people. They
are therefore much more difficult to detect by anyone who is not
"sensitive" to their presence (any other wizard). Wizards can quite easily
detect the presence of and locate the location of claimed sources in a
province, even one which is completely new to them, because they can sense
the flow of mebhaighl (and at a source, that flow is as "loud" as a
waterfall). Further, wizards are so intimately connected to their sources,
they they can sense when another regent is tampering with the mebhaighl of
the province. Contest Source and Rule Source actions are immediately
noticed by other wizards who own source holdings in the province. Even
attemps to Create Source Holding make a lot of "noise," and are frequently
noticed. The base chance is 80%, minus 10% per province distant the wizard
is at the time. Even if he misses it, the wizard knows that a new holding
was created the next time he returns to that province, because the pattern
of the flow is different.
Although other regents get very little out of source holding, it
may occasionally be useful to know where they are located. Mostly so they
can be destroyed at need. Scout units have a small chance of locating
sources in a province: 10% chance every week. Much better for this purpose
are rangers. If a ranger lieutennant spends a month searching a province,
he will find the site of a source unless he rolls a 1 on 1d6. If there is
more than one source in the province, the DM deterimines which one is
found. A ranger so occupied is unavailable for adventuring or responding
to random events.
Once found, a source holding can be destroyed to prevent a wizard
from using it to cast realm spells. (Perhaps this combination is another
reason why there are so few wizards in the Rjuric lands.) The easiest way
to do this is to "trash" the site: chopping down trees, burning the
plants, painting crude and insulting sayings on rocks, etc. This destroys
the wizard's "access point" to the mebhaighl supply. But, regents beware:
wizards often make deals with guardian monsters or spirits to safeguard
their sites (this would be a good use for the "elven elementals" which
someone else came up with earlier), or protect them with powerful
incantations. If this happens, the wizard can always start a new source
somewhere else in the province to restore his access to mebheighl.
However, if the previous source is "trashed", the magical rating of the
entire province is reduced by one, until it naturally regenerates.

Well, that's my post. Those of you who wish may feel free to post it to
whatever web pages you feel appropriate. And comments are quite welcome: I
hold no delusions that this is based rather closely on my own personal
conception of what certain things, particularly law and source holdings,
are like in Cerilia. Everyone cannot view things in the same way, so there
is bound to be some controversial topics here! Lets have it: more ideas
can only make our games stronger!

Mark VanderMeulen