> The Spy needs a base to operate from, a "Cover" identity, and a normal
> job, to kreep up appearances. The people at the target of the
> espionage need to get so used to seeing this person every day that they
> just blend into the background.
> Real spies are not like James Bond, cruising in, and blowing things up,
> They're more like a bank clerk by day, information gatherer at night.
> It is absolutely ESSENTIAL to have a holding in the area because any spy
> operating from another area will not have the information about region
> specific customs, dialects, even hand gestures, and body language.
> Years of training, and a secure base are more important than "Throwing
> 2000 gold at the spy."

I understand your point and I even agree with most of it. A holding is and
should be necessary for complicated espionage actions such as spreading
corruption or elaborate a list of the most influential characters in a
target province. But, and as Morten stated, what about the easy espionage
actions, like to determine the aproximate number and the condition of a
neighbor regent's army or finding out who is to marry who, what alliances
are thought to be made. That's something even an overeducated peasant could

I admit that I have exagerated when I questioned the need for a holding for
a espionage action but it was the kind of espionage actions mencionade
above I was thinking about, wich are also the most common.

> Now, as to the closeness of the country...
> What would it be like to try to infiltrate a radar base in Canada, or a
> government headquarters? They're close, look like us, and the language
> is basically the same. However, if somebody just "Shows up" one day,
> with no friends, past, or identity, it will be very hard for them to
> accomplish anything, let alone go in and listen to state secrets.
> Now, imagine the situation where it is a different language, culture,
> religion.

What you say now makes no sense. How can you compare espionage from the end
of the 20th century with a fantasy world wich is supposed to be set in a
pseudo-medieval time with a taste of Renaissance?
There's almost no relation at all. Let me give you an example in portuguese
history (I'm sorry most of you won't relate to portuguese history but this
example is the on that came immediatly to mind):

In the 15th century, there were rumours that there existed a great
christian king with a great christian empire in Africa, in the area where
Ethiopia is nowadays, named Preste João Kingdom(I'm sure he has an english
name, but I can only remember how his name sounds in portuguese). King
Manuel I of Portugal heard about these rumours and, basically, decided to
check them out, sending *one* spy, named Antão Gonçalves to the area and,
if the rumour was to be found true, that spy would infiltrate in that
king's kingdom and know about his intentions and whatever else he could
know (military power, etc.). That man traveled to Ethiopia disguised as an
*arabian* (the relation between a portuguese or spanish and an arabian
resembles, in game terms, the relation between a brecht and a khinasi - go
figure...) and actually found that christian kingdom (which turned out to
be very little of what everyone thought it was) and infiltrated that
kingdom. He had no official contacts there (Portugal never had anything to
do with that area) yet he managed to pass on the information so that it
could reach Portugal. He was eventually found and was executed (I'm not
sure about him being executed). So say the History books.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that *one* man could do alot in a
renaissance society.

> REAL spies don't even work like that. They usually are selected for
> their ability to con somebody into getting an informant to change sides,
> but since this person is from another country, you never can know if you
> can trust them, or if they are a double agent, and feeding you a bunch
> of crappy info, in order to root out YOUR spy network.

> IAN Fleming was a real spy. James bond is what the public wants to
> believe spies are about.

I don't doubt that, but I don't remember ever mencioning James Bond as I
absolutely don't consider him to be the spy prototype.