Spy network

Main Page » House Rules » Spy network

House Rules: Spy Networks

There are 3 ways for a Regent to gather information on nearby countries, Spies, Bards, and Trader's (or Traveller's) tales. With Spies being the most reliable, and Trader's tales the least. When using Spies with an Espionage Action the Regent sends the Spy the do a specific task (or learn a particular secret). But in order to keep a constant eye on another country a Regent needs a Spy Network.
Sun Tzu said: "There are five sorts of Secret Agents to be employed. These are Native, Inside, Doubled, Expendable, and Living."
The standard BR Espionage Action deals with the "Expendable" and "Living" types of Spies. A "Spy Network (or SN)" must deal with the other 3 types. When gaining Spies for a SN a Regent will pick someone from 1 of these 3 types.
  • Native agents are average folk from the country's people.
  • Inside agents are foreign officials whom you employ.
  • Doubled agents are enemy Spies (from enemy SNs) whom you employ.

Sun Tzu has many wise words when it comes to the employment of Spies, but for our purposes that is as deep as we need go for now (I suggest all BR DMs, and Players, pick up a copy of "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu ... you won't be sorry).
Each of these types of Spies can be found in 3 different areas of Espionage: Noble, Trader, or Faith.
  • The Noble Spies deal with Military matters, and the Actions of Regents and their Lieutenants.
  • Trader Spies can be found amidst the Guilds and they often know what is happening with the common folk.
  • Spies of the Faith report on matters dealing with Magic, Temples, and the private goings on of the upper classes.

No matter what area of Espionage (Noble, Trader, or Faith) a Regent wants to get a Spy in he/she must decide what type of Spy (Native, Inside, or Doubled) to get. And for each area of Espionage a different type of Spy may be more or less effective (This would depend on individual situations). Still it is possible to have Spies of each type within each area of Espionage.
In order to gain a Spy for your SN you must use an Espionage Action. The Success number is a base 10% improved by the total levels of any appropriate Holdings (ie. Law for Noble, Guild for Trader, and Temple for Faith) the Regent has in the target nation, and worsened by the total levels of appropriate enemy Holdings. The Spying Regent can use GBs to affect this type of Espionage (1GB=1%), but if they attempt fails all GBs are lost and the enemy Regent learns of the attempt to gather Spies.
Note: A DM should have a working list of possible Spies for a country before a PC undertakes this Action.
The GB cost of this Action should be raised 1 GB per level of the NPC being bribed. This is after the Player has decided how many GBs they will be putting down for the roll. These new GBs do not affect the roll, but if a Regent won't meet the price the roll fails no matter what. If the Regent meets the cost and succeeds the roll he/she will gain a new Spy for their SN.
Maintaining a SN is not nearly as costly as sending in new Spies every time you're curious. 1 GB per DT will maintain 3 Spies in a Network. If a Regent has less then 3 Spies in a country it still costs 1 GB. Each DT a SN has a percent chance to learn something of interest equal to a base chance of 5%, plus the combined levels of all the Spies of a particular type, within a certain area of Espionage. This chance is again improved by the total of all the spying Regents appropriate Holdings and worsened by the total of all appropriate enemy Holdings. It is possible to make several different checks each DT for each area of Espionage depending on how many types of SNs are present. If any check is successful what, if anything, is learned depends on the type of Spy employed and the actual position of the Spy. The particulars of the information is up to the DM.
Bear in mind that a successful Espionage Action by the enemy Regent will let them discover the identity of 1 of your Spies, without you knowing it. The enemy regent could then plant disinformation, or attempt to hire your Spy as a "Double-Agent".

Tags for this Page


Posting Permissions

Posting Permissions
  • You may not create new articles
  • You may not edit articles
  • You may not protect articles
  • You may not post comments
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your comments
BIRTHRIGHT, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS, D&D, the BIRTHRIGHT logo, and the D&D logo are trademarks owned by Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc., and are used by permission. ©2002-2010 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.