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Author Topic: Palace Intrigue Scenario for use with Egyptian Harem figures...Arise Again!  (Read 18522 times)
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Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« on: March 10, 2014, 07:50:46 PM »

People have been asking what the Egyptian Harem figures are useful for.

Myself, I have in mind a “Palace Intrigue” game. This would be a skirmish game with the tabletop representing the Pharaoh’s palace, including the harem, garden, etc. I intend to use Osprey’s Ronin rules to run most aspects of the game.

The concept is a power struggle within the palace. Naturally everyone is loyal to Pharaoh, but some may turn out to be more loyal than others! Each player controls a primary character. Each primary character has the goal to either maintain your current power base or move up, or at the very least, be on the winning team and do so in such a way that you don’t lose your head once it’s all over.

In addition to the primary characters there are secondary characters. These are junior officials, court flunkies and the like. They are neutral unless controlled by a player. Control is determined randomly. There will be a deck of cards with one card for each secondary character. Each player secretly draws a number of characters, perhaps 1-3. The characters are treated as neutral until the player shows his card and takes ownership of the figure. From that point on the figure is “player-owned” and is moved only by that player.

Neutral figures may be controlled by the highest ranking figure in an area. Normally this is just to move the figure about. They can also be moved by the referee or according to event cards.

All characters have starting locations and some have particular functions. The scenario assumes that the Pharaoh is ill in bed and so the Queen and the Vizier are hosting an audience with a Libyan Princess. The son and heir is away on campaign. The Queen is his sister who plans to wed her son if the Pharaoh dies. The Princess plans to wed her brother if the Pharaoh and Queen dies. The Vizier is loyal to the Pharaoh but if he dies can support the Queen, the princess or neither. The Sorceress may support any faction. The Eunuch and the Palace Guard Officer are loyal to Pharaoh but can support any faction if he dies. The Pygmy Priest can support any faction. The Libyan Princess hopes to assassinate Pharaoh and cause as much strife as possible before escaping, possibly with a hostage.

Primary Characters:
Queen of Egypt – commands all.
Vizier – commands all except Queen.
Sorceress and attendants – can summon and control the Sedja. Can counter snake venom.
Egyptian Princess and Attendants.
Chief Eunuch – command Eunuchs.
Palace Guard Officer – commands Royal Guard.
Pygmy Priest – can summon and control up to two cobras. Can counter snake venom.
Libyan Princess – has Libyan “hit squad” waiting outside.


Secondary Characters:
Physician – can administer or counter poisons, including cobra venom. Can heal light wounds.
Herald
Bodyguard – tough fighter.
Scribe
Assistant Chief Eunuch – will obey orders of Chief Eunuch unless player-owned.
Eunuch Officer – will obey orders of Chief Eunuch unless player-owned.
Food-taster
Armed porter
Egyptian Noblewoman
Egyptian Lady
Egyptian Ladies
Axe-wielding eunuch – will obey orders of Chief Eunuch unless player-owned. Becomes berserk in battle.
Pygmy eunuch – will obey orders of Chief Eunuch unless player-owned. Can control a single cobra at a time, but cannot not summon them.

Servants:
Maids
Fan-bearer
Nubian fan-bearer
Serving Girls

Entertainers:
Egyptian Musicians
Egyptian Entertainers: 2 Dancers and a Harpist

Concubines
Foreign Concubines
Young Egyptian Concubines

The Eunuchs
Eunuch Guards w. Spears and Pole-axes

The Palace Guards
Royal Guardsmen w.  Spears, Khopesh Swords and Axes


Large Egyptian Cobras (2) – summoned by and controlled by Pygmy Priest.

Egyptian Assassins (Male, Female, Male Pygmy) – substitute for any neutral male, female or male pygmy figure, or enter from any exterior entry point or from any designated hiding place. The figure is player-owned.

Concubine with dagger – substitute for any player-owned or neutral concubine or Egyptian lady. The figure becomes armed and player-owned owned if neutral.

Drunken eunuch – result of event card played on any non-player eunuch figure.

The Sedja – summoned and controlled by Sorceress.

This is what I have so far. Comments and suggestions welcome. I will be expanding this a bit over the next several days.

Regards,

Howard Fielding







« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 11:40:01 PM by Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye » Logged
Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2014, 11:05:28 PM »

One idea how to construct the palace...



This is from a Historicon 2012 game. It's a Pulp Era Indiana Jones type game in an Egyptian tomb. Each room or area is a box and they are stacked to make the various floors. And, of course, they are modular so you can re-use them for different games.

IIRC, the guy who ran the game had them stacked three high in places.


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Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2014, 01:29:38 AM »

The Palace

I'm thinking that it could be one or two stories, possibly even three (though I'd stick to two.) It could be laid out so part of the table is the first floor and part the second or it could be a building model with a lift of extra story. It would probably be walled but it isn't necessary to show the outer wall, IMO. I think that could be assumed and the table just shows the main palace building area. There could be barracks and out buildings elsewhere.

Within the palace area I think we need some definite areas for the purpose of the game, which would be linked by hallways, stairs and maybe patios of various sizes:

1) a Harem. I think this would have an entrance foyer with a guard room and perhaps a room or two for the officers. Then a large open area with a pool with rooms and hallways to other rooms around the edge. I picture this being on a second floor so this room opens onto a balcony overlooking a walled garden. This area would be populated by concubines and eunuch guards, fan bearers and maybe a few serving girls.

2) Private Apartments. At least for the Pharaoh and the Queen with the others assumed to live elsewhere in the palace. The Pharaohs rooms should adjoin the harem somehow. The Queen's rooms could be down the other end. Both these would still be on the upper floor. Each would be a cluster of rooms around a central room with a entrance foyer leading to the main hall. I picture a central open space with a balcony looking to the lower level with a grand stair case. I don't know what an Egyptian palace looks like so I may be way off base. The Pharaoh is supposed to be laying in bed sick in one of these rooms. The physician, food taster, bodyguard and perhaps some concubines and serving girls would be there. There would also be Royal Guards posted at the appropriate points.

3) a Throne Room/Audience chamber. On the ground level. A large room with a large entrance into the palace and adjacent barracks and guard rooms for the Royal Guards. Many of the characters would start here.

4) A Kitchen area from whence the serving girls come to and fro. Adjacent to the kitchen area might be servant quarters and misc store rooms. Perhaps halls leading to other parts of the palace.

5) a Shrine. An area with some rooms located around a shrine. The priest could start here or in the audience chamber. When summoned the cobras might originate here.

Comments? suggestions?

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rumacara
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2014, 11:01:46 AM »

Hello all

Sir Barnaby, for the palace i cant help you but you can search on pet shops for egypcian images and columns.
Also in some chinese shops you can find aquarium structures that might fit.

Cheers

Rumacara
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Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2014, 02:30:21 PM »

I was confused a bit about Egyptian Succession and the way it worked so I asked Mike Burns, the OP for the Indiegogo campaign. He responded thusly:

"Pharaoh could only be male and succession passed from father to son. Some queens might have a lot of influence however, especially over a weak or indecisive pharaoh - this might be the case when an older sister married a younger brother. The only 'female' pharaoh was Hatshepsut, who did not rule as queen but as a man, taking on the trappings and dress of a male pharaoh. But she was the exception. All other pharaohs were men. The Ptolemaic dynasty (the Greco-Macedonian rulers of Egypt from the 4th to 1st centuries BC) were different. Although they adopted many Egyption titles and practices they were essentially Hellenistic kings and queens. Several of the Ptolemaic queens were very powerful and capable rulers in their own right and often contended with their brothers over ruling in Egypt. Cleopatra was the last of this dynasty and the first that was actually able to speak Egyptian. She came to power with the help of Julius Caesar when they defeated her younger brother and husband and his advisor Pothinus the eunuch. Interestingly, we have court scrolls which discuss a plot within the harem to overthrow one of the Ramses Pharaohs, by one of his younger wives Tiy. Its an interesting document and probably wasn't the first time this had happened."

The Julius Caesar angle has potential, I think, but as I don't really know much more than what Mike says above - and that a carpet was involved -  I'll leave that aside for now and go back a little further into antiquity for the scenario.

So, for this scenario we are assuming Pharaoh is sick in bed, attended by his physician, bodyguard and a few others. His son and heir is away, hunting or putting down bandits or whatever. Meanwhile the Queen and the Vizier are handling the Affairs of State. They are in the Throne Room/Audience Chamber with aides, guards, servants and the usual throng of petitioners. Today there is also a Libyan Princess and entourage seeking to resolve some minor border or trade dispute.

Each player is given the role of one of the Primary Characters listed above. If not all characters are used then they become Secondary Characters and are shuffled in with the rest. Each player will also randomly draw one character from the Secondary Character pile. This must be kept secret. This is another character who supports the player's faction loyaly. The rest of the Secondary Characters and all the servants, etc are Neutral Characters. They are controlled by the Referee, by those in their chain of command and by events.

As stated before, everyone is completely loyal to Pharaoh - except those that ain't! Each Primary Character has a goal which may involve trying to gain more power or keeping the status quo. In all cases they want to maintain their heads and be on the winning side.

There is an Intrigue Deck. One half (rounding up) of the remaining Secondary Character cards are shuffled into this deck. Each player has a hand of cards - say 5 or 6? Or possibly variable depending upon how wiley the character is! I actually prefer that idea myself. So - each Primary Character will have an "Intrigue Rating" which can be the number of cards they start with and can be used to roll against in certain circumstances.

The Intrigue Deck is made up cards of various types. Always keep the contents of your hand a secret!

1) Secondary Characters. If you draw a secondary character then he is in your faction. You may play immediately or at any point in a turn - in yours or even another players, as an interrupt.

2) 1 x "Pharaoh Dies"  - of natural causes. How unusual. There will be a sequence of events that goes into play when this happens.

3) n x "Poison" - Play immediately as an interrupt on Pharaoh or any other figure taking food. If there is a food taster present and tasting for that figure then two (2) Poison cards must be stacked to poison that figure. If Pharaoh is poisoned or appears to be poisoned the Bodyguard will immediately slay the Food Taster in a fit of anger.

4) n x "Double Move" - any figure or figures in a group may run at twice movement rate. Played during the movement phase. They cannot shoot, cast magic or enter melee however. They may perform other actions, however, during the action phase.

5) 1 x "Drunken Eunuch" - play on any Eunuch Guard (not command figures). Substitute the "Drunken Eunuch" figure for the existing guard. (Assuming we unlock that stretch goal)! That figure is either drunk or drugged. There will be rules for this...

6) 1 x "Enraged Eunuch" - play on any Eunuch Guard (not command figures) after Pharaoh has died. Substitute the "Eunuch with Axe figure" for the existing guard, assuming we have unlocked that goal. The Eunuch is mad with grief. He will be berserk and attack any figure opposing the Queen and/or the Vizier whom he will naturally assume are loyal to Pharoah. If none are about he will run towards the nearest sound of conflict, or towards the Pharaoh's chamber if there is none. If he has to choose between the Queen or the Vizier's force roll a die.

7) n x "Armed Concubine" - play at any time on any Concubine or other non-player (ie. neutral) Egyptian Lady figure to reveal her as an armed ally of your faction. Replace the figure in question with an "Armed Concubine" figure. The figure is now part of your faction. If played as an Interrupt you can move or fight with the figure as you please.

8 ) n x "Assassin!" - play at any time to place an Assassin on the board. The card could be generic or could depict a specific type of Assassin: male, female or pygmy. When played an Assassin may enter through any unguarded door or window, or from any designated hiding spot, or be substituted for the appropriate neutral figure. That is, the Pygmy Musician could turn out to be a Pygmy Assassin. The figure is now played as a normal faction member.

9) n x "Bribe a Guard" - play at any time to bribe a Royal Guard. Play a single card to cause him to move as you like, stop an attack or let you go if under arrest. Play two cards at once to make him a member of your faction.

10) n x "Bribe an Eunuch" - play at any time as above, but works on Eunuchs.

11) n x "Crazed Concubine" - play at any time on any neutral concubine of Egyptian Lady figure. The figure will join your faction and will fight even though unarmed.

12) n x "Nothing Happens" - what it says. A dud.

13) 1 x "A Moments Pause" - play at any point. All movement and fighting ceases though there is still an Action phase for everybody who hasn't performed one yet. Start a new turn.

14) n x "Secret Passage" - play during movement to use a secret passage to move through any wall section. Mark the spot, though only you can use it unless somebody sees you going through. In such cases, an "intrigue" roll is required to use find and use the secret door.

That's all I have for now.

As I said, I am planning on using the "Ronin" rules. In these rules there is an Initiative phase, then morale, movement, melee and then an action phase at the end. Shooting can occur during the movement phase or action phase, or both.

Magic will be of two types: "Physic" - which can be performed on the fly like shooting, and "Ritual" which can only be performed during the action phase. Rituals may take more than one turn to perform.

The Sorceress, for example, has the power to summon and control the Sedja. This is a ritual. The effect depends upon how long she spends on the ritual:

1 Action Phase. If successful the Sedja is summoned and will arrive at any entrance in 1D6 turns.

2 Action Phases. If successful the beast arrives at any entrance the next turn.

3 Action Phases. The beast arrives next to the Sorceress.

The Sorceress automatically controls the beast once it has arrived, whether it is next to her or not. She can see through it's eyes and speak through it's mouth. Whether she can cast magic using the beast as a proxy is up to you. As is whether she dies if the beast dies...

Commetns? Suggestions?

« Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 02:32:43 PM by Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye » Logged
Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2014, 02:33:40 PM »

Hello all

Sir Barnaby, for the palace i cant help you but you can search on pet shops for egypcian images and columns.
Also in some chinese shops you can find aquarium structures that might fit.

Cheers

Rumacara

I never think to check Chinese shops. Thanks for that.

Howard
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Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2014, 03:43:26 PM »

Here is a sketch of a possible palace layout on two floors:




Taking North to be the top of page, the loations are as follows:

Ground/First Floor - In the east end is the Throne Room/Audience Chamber with great double doors. In the west end it the secluded garden for the harem surrounded by a high stone wall. In between would be the kitchen, store rooms, some servant quarters perhaps and other "work areas". There is a grand staircase up to the second level. Presumably there might be secondary staircases but I haven't shown any on this version of the plan. Guard rooms for the Royal Guard are marked "GR", while those used by the Eunuchs are marked "E GR". Basically the Eunuchs and Royal Guard are like oil and water. They each control their own territory. Note that the Eunuch's control offiically ends at the boundary of the harem (and garden) with some probable/possible overlap in the Pharaoh's personal suite. The Royal Guard patrol the rest of the palace and all outer areas.

Second Floor - In the west end is the Harem with a balcony overlooking the garden and stairs giving access. There is a big main room with a pool, and a foyer giving access to the rest of the palace. There is a private corridor leading to the Pharaoh's suite. At the east end are the Pharaoh's suite and that of his Chief Royal Wife, the Queen. The others presumably reside in the Harem(?) The smaller rooms could be designated for officials such as the Vizier or Physician, etc but it might not be neccessary for the scenario to identify them precisely.

I think the palace size would be determined by the playing space available. Guards would be present in the Guardrooms and would be stationed at various guard posts thoughout the palace. ie. at the main entrance, within the Throne Room, at the entrance to the Harem or Pharaoh's suite, etc. These guards could always be bribes, distracted or otherwise disposed of to gain access. There will have to be a table shown who is allowed where and under what circumstances.

As stated, I intend to use the Ronin rules to run the game, but many other sets would be suitable. I think there would be two tyes of movement. There would be the tactical movemnt once the action proper had started. That would be according to the ruleset in use. Prior to that would be a sort of "strategic" movement that would be done much more fluidly, by zones, or by rooms. Perhaps a normal move of three "areas"? Or each figure is allowed two actions which could be move or do something else. So a eunuch could move two areas to carry a message. Or move one and deliver them message - or would that be automatic? Or a concubine could move-move or move and then use a second action to attempt to distract a guard. That sort of thing.

Comments? Suggestions?

« Last Edit: March 12, 2014, 03:50:41 PM by Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye » Logged
rumacara
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« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2014, 05:23:16 PM »

Hello Sir Barnaby

Visit these links with patience and you will get a lot of information/materials/models for your palace.
Some might not see fit at start but search and you get almost all you need as well as lots of ideas to build a lot of things.


http://www.hirstarts.com/

http://ainstycastings.co.uk/

http://www.decorsminiatures.fr/category.php?id_category=36

http://dungeons3d.blogspot.pt/search/label/Castle

http://www.capochino.it/article.php?id=104

http://www.plastcraftgames.com/en/25-desert

http://www.stonehouseminiatures.com/


Cheers

Rumacara
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« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2014, 06:25:43 PM »

Interesting thread, I look forward to reading more!
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« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2014, 09:59:35 PM »

Very interesting; I look forward to seeing progress on what will be a mammoth project if you can get it all done!  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2014, 05:02:12 PM »

Wow! You have laid a lot of fantastic groundwork. That table set up could also be used for pulp games of the lost tomb variety or Conan games in Stygia. The only thing I'm not so sure about for me personally, is using Ronin as a basis for the rules. I'm thinking maybe song of blades and heroes as it's so well fleshed out and even has a dungeon delving supplement. In any case, most of what you've described is fairly generic and could be overlaid on just about any good skirmish set.
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Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye
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« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2014, 06:37:38 PM »

Hi Alex,

Yes, I agree completely that "Song of Blades and Heroes" could be used just as well. So could "Broadsword Adventures" from Rattrap productions. Ronin is just the "flavour of the month" for me.  Wink

The intent though is there should be some sort of intrigue as well. I think everything should start of like a normal day but at some point starts to heat up. Perhaps not to all out combat, but maybe a discrete assassination here or there to start things off. So there would be a "Strategic" or perhaps "Diplomatic" phase and the wargames rules would only be used when things moved to tactical combat.

I've been thinking there should be different "Alert" levels for each area.

1) Bored. Guards are inattentive, other characters are at ease and easily distracted. (Maybe with +1 to Influence/Seduction/Distraction attempts)?

2) Attentive. The guards are "on the job" but not on high alert.

3) Alerted. The guards know somethings up and are on alert and will challenge characters movements, prevent some movements and possibly arrest people.

4) Alarm. Guards move to trouble spots and leave their guard rooms. Potential troublemakers are dealt with forcefully and potentially lethally.

Incidents like an open assassination (ie. in front of witnesses) would boost the alert level. Similarly so would news of the Pharaoh's demise.

Each area of the palace would have an Alert level. When something happened the alert level would gradually change throughout the palace as news spread.

For example, having seen that the Pygmy Eunuch figure has a bell, my thinking is he could ring it at any sign of trouble. The sound of the bell would boost the alert levels farther each turn. Fighting would also cause enough noise to spread alarm faster as well.

So if the news travels at a normal rate of 1 2 or 3 areas, then with the bell it might be 4 or 5 areas, maybe more. Doors might count as an area because they absorb the sound.  A meesneger could spread the alarm with the alert level going up as the figure went thorough each area.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2014, 06:39:46 PM by Sir Barnaby Hammond-Rye » Logged
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« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 06:56:11 PM »

More about Alert levels...

Have chits marked 1 to 4. The highest level is only when there is actual fighting, but any of the other levels could occur from the start of the game. For example, the Throne Room/Audience Chamber would be at level 2. The Guards in the Pharaoh's suite would be at level 3. I would put the Eunuchs inside the Harem at level 1.

Draw chits for all guard posts not mentioned. Choose from a random selection of chits numbered 1,2 or 3. Do NOT look at the number on the chit. Place it next to each guard figure and in each other area occupied by characters.  Use a ratio of about 40% level1, 40% level 2 and 20% level 3. Or maybe 50% level 1, 40% level 2 and only 10% level 3.

Unoccupied areas have no alert level. They gain a level depending upon who is in there. So if a level 1, bored Eunuch moves to another area then that new area becomes level 1.

If a level 2 guard moved into the same area, does the level of the zone go up? Or does each figure have an alert level. ie the Guard is attentive but the Eunuch is still bored. Or would the attentive guard make the Eunuch more attentive? Hmmm...

Alert levels would be applied to groups. So an "event" would boost the level of everyone in the area. Fighting would put everyone aware of it at the highest level. Each figure would react according to what they were. ie. a Neutral Serving Girl is likely to run for safety. An aligned serving girl will act as the player wishes, perhaps with a morale test required depending upon what the player wants the figure to do.

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« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2014, 08:03:55 PM »

Very interesting.

The idea of secondary characters "player-owned" is a good simulation of politics (whatever the historical period), especially if occasionnally they can change player.

Old boardgames as "Kingmaker" (and, if I remember well, "Kremlin"?) had this system of each player controlling a small faction of characters (actually NPCs) and sometimes losing support of some of them taken by another player. The "possession" of 2ry characters was necessary to be strong enough win the game.
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« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2014, 08:40:42 PM »

That's an excellent idea, Patrice! I've already been thinking how to rework the characters. I think my understanding of Egyptian Succession has been flawed, or at least incomplete. I've done a bit of googling and now I am thinking that there should be Primary (ie. Player) characters, Secondary characters (ie. powerful positions) and Tertiary Characters (named positions but less powerful).

Players would all be female characters: the Queen, the Princess, the Libyan Princess, and enough others to fill out the numbers. Each is a wife of the Pharaoh, except for the Libyan who is visiting and could end up marrying Pharaoh or the heir.

The Vizier, Physician, Sorceress, Pygmy Priest, Chief Eunuch and Palace Guard Officer are the Secondary Characters. Each player is randomly given one of these.

The Food Taster, Scribe, Bodyguard, Pygmy Eunuch, Herald, etc are considered Tertiary Characters. Each player is randomly given one of these.

In both cases, keep these secret.

Other figures such as Concubines, Servant Girls, Eunuchs and Royal Guards, etc are "extras" .

Unused Secondary and Tertiary Characters are shuffled into the Intrigue Deck. If a playe draws one he/she is added to his faction.

There would also be an "Intrigue" card that would allow a player to randomly draw a card from another player's hand. All cards except the players own character card are in the hand. If a secondary or tertiary character is draw then he/she switches sides.
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