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Thread: Espionage?

  1. #1
    Muaadeeb@aol.co
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    Espionage?

    In a message dated 1/25/99 8:24:47 AM Pacific Standard Time, vlad@mweb.co.za
    writes:

  2. #2
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    Espionage?

    > In the Birthright Rule book, the Espionage domain action says: "Both the spy
    > and the target regent can commit GBs and RPs to affect espionage." - Yes,
    > but to me it looks unrealistic, because if the target regent doesn't know
    > nothing about the spy regent actions, how could he affect the espionage
    > success chance? OK "...if the action fails by a margin of 10 or more, the
    > target learns the spy's indentity...". Yes, but first is the biding and then
    > the roll so....

    Sheer coincidence has it, that I've wondered about that only few days
    before myself. I've decided for myself that in my campaign a regent who
    is the victim of an espionage action always knows he's being spied upon -
    but not by whom. The amount of regency he spends to affect the espionage
    represents how much effort he puts into counter-espionage. The only way
    to spy upon someone and go completely undetected is the use of the Scry
    realm spell, and then only if your target isn't a wizard regent himself.

    - the Falcon

  3. #3
    Muaadeeb@aol.co
    Guest

    Espionage?

    In a message dated 1/25/99 8:43:41 AM Pacific Standard Time,
    m.m.richert@twi.tudelft.nl writes:

    In the Birthright Rule book, the Espionage domain action says: "Both the
    spy
    > and the target regent can commit GBs and RPs to affect espionage." - Yes,
    > but to me it looks unrealistic, because if the target regent doesn't know
    > nothing about the spy regent actions, how could he affect the espionage
    > success chance? OK "...if the action fails by a margin of 10 or more, the
    > target learns the spy's indentity...". Yes, but first is the biding and
    then
    > the roll so....

    Sheer coincidence has it, that I've wondered about that only few days
    before myself. I've decided for myself that in my campaign a regent who
    is the victim of an espionage action always knows he's being spied upon -
    but not by whom. The amount of regency he spends to affect the espionage
    represents how much effort he puts into counter-espionage. The only way
    to spy upon someone and go completely undetected is the use of the Scry
    realm spell, and then only if your target isn't a wizard regent himself.

    - the Falcon >>


    Yes, but then again....how can a spy ever truly be a spy if everyone knows'
    there is one....? I think this approach would be unfair to the spying
    regent.....


    As per my previous post, I would simply say an action is being used against
    you, will you defend?

    Muaadeeb

  4. #4
    Jonathan Ingram
    Guest

    Espionage?

    At 11:27 AM 1/25/99 EST, you wrote:
    >In a message dated 1/25/99 8:24:47 AM Pacific Standard Time, vlad@mweb.co.za
    >writes:
    >
    > but to me it looks unrealistic, because if the target regent doesn't know
    > nothing about the spy regent actions, how could he affect the espionage
    > success chance? OK "...if the action fails by a margin of 10 or more, the
    > target learns the spy's indentity...". Yes, but first is the biding and then
    > the roll so....
    > Can you explain it to me please or give me some better solution. Sorry if
    > you had this discussed before!
    >
    > Thanks
    >
    > Vladislav Slavov
    > vlad@mweb.co.za >>
    >
    >Well this is the one thing I have always had an itch about, but according to
    >the rules all a GM can say is:
    >
    >"There is an unknown action being taken against your realm, do you wish to
    >commit RP's to your defense?"
    >
    >Yes, it does kind of blow your cover against doing anything in secret. This
    >is one reason why perhaps using RP pools...defensive and offensive may come
    >into play. Just minus the defensive RP's in the pool and inform the player,
    >it was spent to counter an action..he need not be informed exactly what that
    >action was.
    Better solution: assign a "success" number based on your opinion of how
    difficult it should be to get the desired information. A secret treaty
    known only to four or five people would be base 18 or 19; location of all
    military units would have a base roll of 4 or 5. A base roll of 1 always
    indicates that the spy is caught or found out and traced back to his master
    (BTW, the DM makes the roll).

    The player can spend extra GB or RP on the action too, but these make it
    more likely that the action will be caught: for every GB or RP spent to
    lower the success roll, the "automatic detection" number goes up by 1. So,
    if you spend enough to insure success, you're also spending enough to
    ensure detection.

    You can also allow a player to spend money on counterintelligence on a
    regular basis; maybe 1GB and 1RP per domain turn increases the difficulty
    of all espionage attempts by 5% (from 10 on d20 to 11 on d20). This allows
    you to suck additional RP and GB from players as well, since they'll be
    almost sure to do it every domain turn.

    This way you only have to track the target player's RP total, not have it
    divided into two pools.

    Jonathan

  5. #5
    Vladislav Slavov
    Guest

    Espionage?

    Hello,

    In the Birthright Rule book, the Espionage domain action says: "Both the spy
    and the target regent can commit GBs and RPs to affect espionage." - Yes,
    but to me it looks unrealistic, because if the target regent doesn't know
    nothing about the spy regent actions, how could he affect the espionage
    success chance? OK "...if the action fails by a margin of 10 or more, the
    target learns the spy's indentity...". Yes, but first is the biding and then
    the roll so....
    Can you explain it to me please or give me some better solution. Sorry if
    you had this discussed before!

    Thanks

    Vladislav Slavov
    vlad@mweb.co.za

  6. #6
    Kenneth Gauck
    Guest

    Espionage?

    A defensive pool is a workable solution, but tends to be abstract for a
    role-play heavy campaign. Here are some suggestions for an intrigue heavy
    campaign.

    1) Assume that spying is going on all the time by all kinds of people, not
    just the realm's main enemy. Nobles in the realm spy on each other,
    guilders spy on each other, various guild leaders spy on each other in the
    same guild, spying in the temples, things that look like spying but isn't,
    lovers sending secret notes, for example.

    Get your players used to this, and let them know it cannot be stopped. What
    they need to do is keep certain things secret, they cannot keep everything
    secret. Maybe its OK of the Baron of Ghoere finds out you gave your wife a
    neckless for her brithday. He's probably not too concerned you will find
    out he had his wife's portrait painted for her's.

    2) Use role play sitiuations to reveal that something is going on in the
    shadows. Notes could be found, conversations overheard by one of your
    courtiers, known agents are seen to be active. Then what the player has to
    decide is "Is this an espiange action in motion, or just the exchange of
    court gossip?" "Are plans being smuggled out of the castle, or have I
    uncovered an adulterous affair?" I hope no one wouls spend 5 GB and 15 RP
    to keep Romeo away from Juliet. But that can happen if your players panic
    every time two pages arrange a rendezvous for their principles.

    3) So if spying is going on all the time, what is an espionage action?
    Well, it should be considered a larger scheme which requires more planning
    and preperation than a simple fact finding mission. Second, consider that
    an Espionage action is not neccesarily a one time affair. Such an action
    could be used to place an agent somewhere.

    This is a fairly big job. First you want to figure out what kind of insider
    do you want. Do you want a ferrier inside the baracks of Blackgate castle
    who will provide information about the state of and activities of the
    cavalry there? Do you want a cook in the court of the duke of Osoerde whose
    mission is to poison him? Do you want a secretary to Prince Fhileraene to
    report to you the contents of all his correspondance?

    One spy cannot do all of these jobs. The way intelligence normally has
    worked (from antiquity to the present) is that your agent finds a person who
    can do this job. All he knows is his profession (ferrier, cook, scribe) and
    what information to deliver. What he knows about his contact is probably
    useless, since his job is just to recruit spys and collect information.
    Your ferrier does not know who is using this information or how it is being
    used.

    Then you need to decide how to get your man on the inside. The duke of
    Osoerde probably does not advertise that he needs a cook by town crier, nor
    does he hire people off the street. Perhaps your agent found a taven cook
    who seemed to be pretty decent. The agent recruited him, brought him to a
    safe place that was not the kind of place which would give away who was
    behind this all. Maybe a nice tavern whose owners had no idea his cooks
    were up to no good. There the agent has already placed a master chef. This
    master chef trains the new recruit to be a courtly chef prepared to cook
    Jaison Raenech's favorite dish and other favorites of his court. Then put
    him in a location where the duke discovers him. Now all he has to do is fit
    in for a while so people are no longer watching him (hey the duke doesn't
    like so much basil!) and he can poison him.

    But what if you placed a secretary in Prince Fhileraene's household? You
    should be able to find out details that the secretary can get to his
    controling agent without having to do much. No futher actions are required
    to find out he plans to visit his cousin next month, he will review the
    Royal Company of Archers in a week, and that his physcian is off collecting
    some Gjorlab in the Giantdowns, which can be harvested only at this time of
    year. Occasionaly something juicy will come along.

    On the other hand, sending a member of your company of scouts to wander over
    and examine the condition of a key stone bridge should not. After all, you
    have a lot of available people to do this (a whole company), the job
    requires no special skills (the scout can, after all, scout), nor passing
    himself off as anything other than a traveler. Assuming all he has to do is
    cross the bridge, or observe it closely (without getting on his hands an
    knees, or doing anything that looks like an inspection), there is absolutely
    no reason to demand a domain action for this.

    Intelligence gathering that requires special planning and preparation
    requires an Espionage action. And, by the same taken, information that can
    be gathered by casual observation by anyone present, certainly requires no
    domain action. Also, some information revealed by a previous Espionage
    action, might not require one to see if it remains timely. Say a previous
    action revealed that a military unit (say the Iron Guard of Ghoere) was at
    such and such a location. If you just want to send a scout to observe to
    see if the unit remains at that same fort or encampment, and simple
    observation is sufficent, no additional action is required to determine if
    the unit is or is not there. If you want to get into questions of
    additional information, then it gets a bit more complicated. An intelligent
    NPC with appropriate skills (say, the seargent of a company of scouts) might
    be able to find out where the unit moved (depending on how secret the orders
    were, moving to get fresh forage is not a state secret, preperations for
    invasion is). A 0-level scout cannot get that kind of information.

    So, give your players the sense that their courts are filled with secret
    notes, secret meetings, and hidden agendas and then you can set up role play
    situations, adventures, or domain actions by placing a note beneath a soup
    bowl at dinner.

    Kenneth Gauck
    c558382@earthlink.net

  7. #7
    JulesMrshn@aol.co
    Guest

    Espionage?

    In a message dated 1/25/99 10:24:47 AM Central Standard Time, vlad@mweb.co.za
    writes:

  8. #8
    Kenneth Gauck
    Guest

    Espionage?

    - -----Original Message-----
    From: JulesMrshn@aol.com
    Date: Monday, January 25, 1999 10:59 PM

    > Remember, the regent has a connnection to the land.
    >That means playing on his turf gives him a big home field advantage.

    Who is bidding on espionage actions, let alone conducting them, if not
    regents? They all have a connection to the land.

    KG

  9. #9
    JulesMrshn@aol.co
    Guest

    Espionage?

    In a message dated 1/26/99 12:16:28 AM Central Standard Time,
    c558382@earthlink.net writes:

    >

    Yes, but they some have a better connection to their land (or people), hence
    investiture, RP generation and such. Would the Baron of Roesone have equal
    knowledge of things in Avanil as Prince Avan does? No. A homecourt
    advantage, I would say.

  10. #10
    Kenneth Gauck
    Guest

    Espionage?

    From: JulesMrshn@aol.com
    Date: Tuesday, January 26, 1999 12:37 AM

    >Yes, but they some have a better connection to their land (or people),
    hence
    >investiture, RP generation and such. Would the Baron of Roesone have equal
    >knowledge of things in Avanil as Prince Avan does? No. A homecourt
    >advantage, I would say.

    Should depend on the situation, home court can be a penalty as much as
    anything else. Its at home where your most dangerous intrigues occur.

    KG

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