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5.1 Retainers

You may well find that you do not have enough active Dynasty members to carry out all the activities you would like to do - particularly if you are involved in politics, or prizefighting duels (see duelling below). For this reason, you are able to hire Retainers - characters in the pay of your House who will carry out whatever activities you demand of them.

In order to hire a retainer, go to your 'Dynasty' screen and click on the 'House Retainers' link. From here you will be able to see all your existing retainers and also access the 'Hire Retainers' screen, which lists all available retainers in your galaxy right now. To hire a retainer, simply make an offer to the character you are interested in. The better the retainers skills, the higher the salary that retainer will demand. The potential retainer will consider your offer for several days (responding more quickly if your offer is very good) and then either accept or reject your offer. If he or she accepts then the retainer is immediately in your pay, until such a time as you terminate their services.

If several players offer employment to the same retainer he or she will consider both the size of the wage offer and the status of the Houses concerned - a retainer will be more inclined to join a House with high status. You must pay the wages of your retainers every month. If you are short of cash, you should terminate the employment of any retainers you do not need.

Note that you cannot terminate the employment of a retainer if he or she has an upcoming duel on behalf of your House. You must wait until after the duel, and until all challenges and insults with which the character is involved have expired.

The number of available retainers is linked to the total number of players in the galaxy. Retainers do not stay on the 'available' list for ever, even if noone hires them. A retainer who doesn't receive or take up any offers will retire and be replaced by others, in time. New retainers are also randomly added to the list over time, so you will need to monitor the list regularly if you want to get hold of the best talent.

5.2 Champions

Your dynasty members are valuable, and need protection from all threats. Sometimes a member of your dynasty may be insulted by a rival House, and Honour will dictate that a duel challenge be issued to avenge this insult. If, however, the dynasty member concerned has poor duelling skills, this is likely to result in loss of the duel and possibly the life of the party concerned. To avoid such status loss, any dynasty member can appoint a more skilful retainer as 'champion', to fight duels on his or her behalf. This allows the dynasty member to issue and accept challenges without fear of injury or death. The downside is that any status gains for winning duels are significantly reduced if the duel is won by a champion and not a dynasty member.

To be appointed as a champion, a retainer must have been in the employ of your House for at least 5 months. Only then would he or she be trusted with such an important honour. The same retainer can act as champion for any number of dynasty members. Only hired retainers may be appointed champions, not other dynasty members - internal politics rule this out.

Once appointed a champion cannot be dismissed without terminating the retainer's employment outright. Noone would continue to serve under a House which had dishonoured them by dismissing them as champion. Therefore you should choose your champions carefully since you will not easily be able to 'chop and change'.

Be aware that if a dynasty member is enrolled in the prizefighting pool, then he or she fights his or her own battles - the champion is not used.

5.3 Insults

As you build up rivalries with neighbouring Houses, you may wish to bring them down a peg or two - particularly if you are looking for an excuse for a Feud. Without adequate Feud Score, you cannot freely attack another House unless you wish to bear the consequences of such an illegal act, and so insults are one way of getting at your enemies in a legal - if unpleasant - manner. What's more, delivering an insult will give the rival House increased Feud Score against you. Thus if you are looking for war, insults are one way to start the fire.

You can insult a House from that House's HQ page, by clicking the red 'Insult this House' link at the bottom of the page. This link will only be visible if the House concerned is within your operational range, and if both you and the rival House have at least Lesser House status (26 or more). Two types of insult are possible, Dynastic and Personal, as detailed below.

Delivering any insult loses the sender 1 point of status, as this is an unseemly act.

5.3.1 Dynastic Insults

A Dynastic insult is a grievous slight aimed at the rival House as a whole. Such an insult instantly gives the target increasd Feud Score against the insulting House. To deliver a dynastic insult, just select from the list and click the submit button.

5.3.2 Personal Insults

A personal insult works differently from a dynastic insult, and the consequences are generally not so serious. Such an insult is issued directly from one member of your dynasty to a member of the target dynasty. After delivery of the insult, the insulted party will have the right to challenge the offending character to a duel in order to avenge the insult, since Honour is now at stake. After two months, the insult is forgotten and the duel rights cease if no challenge has been made.

If a challenge is issued, the offender will be informed and must accept the challenge within one month or else his/her House will lose 5 status - for cowardice!

You can see which members of your dynasty have been insulted or challenged via links that will appear in the character description on your Dynasty screen. Click the link to act on the insult or to accept the challenge. Once a challenge is accepted, a duel is then scheduled - see the following section for details. The House of the losing duellist will lose 5 status, whereas the House of the winner will gain status according to who fought the duel - 5 status if it was a dynasty member personally, but only 2 status if a champion fought the duel on behalf of a dynasty member.

5.4 Duelling

The art of fighting duels, although considered brutal by some, is well-respected in the universe of Imperium Nova. Combatants face each other one-to-one, armed only with a choice of hand-to-hand weaponry - usually various types of sword. The duel takes place in a specially-prepared area known as the Duelling Pit, a sunken area surrounded by rows of benches for spectators. Duels are often broadcast live, and a particularly high-profile duel may be seen and talked about throughout the galaxy.

Duels fall into two categories - Honour Duels and Prizefights. The former are fought to avenge an insult or other slight, the latter to earn the victor money. To see a list of upcoming duels, go to the 'Duels and Prizefighting' section, from the Galactic Affairs main menu option. From this section you can view recent duels by clicking on the 'Previous Duels' link and then selecting 'Details'. Alternatively you can watch a duel 'live' once it is in progress by clicking the 'In progress' link. Once underway a round of combat will be resolved every (real time) minute, and you can use the 'Refresh Page' link to update the results as you watch.

If one of your characters is involved in a duel, you may select tactics for the duel. There are four possibilities:

  • Balanced The default if no tactic is set. No particular strength or weakness.
  • Cautious A defensive approach that works well against an aggressive opponent, but not so well otherwise.
  • Flamboyant This approach is good for showing off silky combat skills, but reduces the all-round effectiveness of the proponent a little.
  • Frenzied The combatant adopts an ultra-aggressive approach and cares little for defence. Will tire quickly if unsuccessful.

A duel will continue until one of the duellists loses - through being killed or rendered unable to continue as a result of serious injury or maiming. Such wounded characters will recover but suffer a significant penalty to any activity until their injuries heal - a process that may take several months. Whilst wounded a character may not participate in any further duels and will lose one status if called upon to do so.

The winner of a duel may also be wounded, with the same effect, despite being victorious. Characters may also increase their duelskills slightly by participating in a duel against an equal or superior opponent. This is the only way to improve your duelskills once over the age of 25.

5.4.1 Prizefighting

Such is the appetite of the public for duelling action, that a good deal of money can be made by skilled duellists through entry into the Prizefighting pool. This is a pool of fighters who must always accept any challenge laid down by another pool member - regardless of who it comes from. As soon as such a challenge is made, a duel is scheduled between the two parties. The winner will walk away with a prize of between $1,000 and $20,000 Galactic Solars. The loser will be lucky to walk away at all.

The size of the prize on offer for any such duel is dictated by two factors - the skill level of the better of the two fighters, and the difference in skill between the combatants. The more skilled and evenly matched the duellists, the higher the prize. Two superb duellists in the pit are likely to command the maximum prize - but none but the most bloodthirsty want to see a one-sided fight between a rookie and an expert, for the result will never be in doubt.

You may submit a dynasty member or retainer to the prizefighting pool as long as he or she has at least average duelling skills, and has no other commitments such as education or sphere leadership. The submission costs $5000.00 and if confirmed, will enrol the character into the prizefighting pool for a period of one game year. After this time the fighter leaves the pool, although you may always re-enrol the same character again. To view the current prizefighting pool and enrol a fighter of your own, follow the 'Prize Fighting' link from the 'Upcoming Duels' page.

Once you have a fighter in the pool, you will see a 'Challenge' link alongside any rival fighters that may be challenged by at least one of your fighters. You may submit as many fighters as you like to the prizefighting pool, but they may never fight one another. Each prizefighter may also participate in only one duel at a time, and if injured must wait until fully recovered before issuing or accepting another challenge.

5.5 Alliances

See the Embassy section.

5.6 Dynastic Marriages and Births

Any dynasty member over the age of 17 may be married to a member of another dynasty. Ensuring that your younger dynasty members are married in this way has key benefits. Not only can you gain status from such a marriage, but also any feud score existing between your two Houses will immediately be reduced. Additionally the married couple will have the chance to swell the ranks of your dynasty by producing children, thereby ensuring the continuation of your House line.

Be warned, however, that marrying 'below your station' will result in a loss of status for your House, rather than a gain - so choose your partners carefully.

There is a monthly chance that any married couple will produce children. This chance decreases with the age of the female partner, and also decreases if the prospective mother is in education, heading a sphere, or acting as senator for a planet - since these activities require a significant commitment in themselves.

The lineage of your House and the House of the other party in the marriage will determine whether the children of this marriage will join your House or the other House in the union. If both Houses are patrilineal, then both the newly-married wife and the children of the marriage will join the House of the husband. If both Houses are matrilineal, this situation is reversed. If the Houses are of mixed lineage determinations, then male children will join the patrilineal House and female children the matrilineal. In this case, both parties in the marriage will remain members of their original dynasties and can continue their duties if running any spheres of activity.

When you make a marriage proposal, you will see on the screen exactly what will happen to the children of that marriage.

5.6.1 Proposals and Marriage Ceremonies

On your dynasty screen, you will see a link 'Eligible to Marry' alongside the members of your dynasty to whom this applies. Clicking the link will take you to a search criteria screen, where you may filter the eligible candidates according to status, attributes, or other criteria. Once you submit this search, you'll be presented with a list of eligible candidates from other Houses, and you may choose to issue proposals to any or all of them.

There are several factors to a given proposal. Firstly, a dowry may be either paid to or received from the other House. If, for example, the other House is much higher in status than you, they may lose status through the marriage, and a dowry paid to them is one way of sweetening this loss. Note that if the party concerned cannot afford the dowry at the time of the marriage, then it will be called off and both Houses will lose status.

In addition to the dowry, the cost and size of the ceremony must be determined. This will affect the status gains from the marriage - a more expensive ceremony will increase the amount of status gained, as one might expect. The cost shown is for each House, and is therefore half the actual total cost of the ceremony and associated festivities.

Once you have decided these amounts, you can submit the proposal and the other House will receive a message informing them that a proposal has been made. If the proposal is rejected, you will lose one status. If a proposal is ignored, it will be forgotten about after a few months, with no status loss - letting you down gently, if you like.

You can view all your outstanding proposals (both sent and received) via the link from the dynasty screen. You may withdraw proposals made at any time, with no status loss.

As soon as the subject of a proposal accepts the proposal, the marriage ceremony costs are deducted and the ceremony scheduled for one months time from the date of acceptance. Either party can pull out during this time, but the ceremony costs will not be refunded and both parties will lose status if this happens. Any dowry due is not paid until the time of the ceremony itself, after which the couple are wed and the union between your two Houses is complete.

It is important to realise that when a marital partner joins your House as a result of a marriage, that character will not be considered suitable for any head of sphere role. The new family member is not yet trusted or held in high enough esteem to do so. Any offspring of the marriage, however, will not suffer from such a stigma.

5.6.2 Annulling a Marriage

You can view your existing marriages by following the link from the 'Marriage Proposals' screen, which in turn is accessed via your 'Dynasty' screen. From this screen it is possible to annul an existing marriage, should you wish to do this for whatever reason. However, both Houses concerned will lose 5% of their status immediately upon the annulment of the marriage, as a result of the scandal that this entails. Additionally, the House to which the other character belongs will receive increased feud score against your House.

Annulling a marriage under which your character has joined another dynasty, will return the character to your own dynasty. Note however that if the other player leaves the game, your former dynasty member is gone forever, deleted along with the departing player's other dynasty members.

5.7 Character Faiths

If there are any Faiths active in your Galaxy, you may find your dynastic and retainer characters will get the religion bug and adopt a Faith. The exact Faith adopted will depend upon the percentage of converts of each Faith on your homeworld, and also whether your House has adopted a House Faith. If your House operates in the Mysticism Sphere, then your House Faith is already selected. Otherwise, you may adopt a House Faith chosen from any Faith which has one or more of your characters as a convert. Other characters in your dynasty are more likely to convert to this Faith than any other.

Effects of Character Faith Aside from allowing a House to convert to a particular Faith, once a character has converted to a given Faith, the possibility may be open to him or her to advance through the Faith Hierarchy to more senior positions in the Faith in question. Whenever a dynasty member or retainer loyal to your House achieves a higher rank within a Faith, you will gain a small amount of status. Holders of the rank immediately below the Head of Faith will also be able to vote for the new Head of Faith once the current incumbent dies. In this way, you may even be able to take the Head of Faith position yourself.

Faith Hierarchy advancement options, and voting if applicable, can be accessed via the 'Faith Options' link that will appear on the dynasty page next to a character that has adopted a Faith.

Each Faith will have assigned certain requirements to progressing from rank to rank. If you choose to advance any of your characters through the Faith Hierarchy, you may be able to assist the Faith through building missions and other religious buildings, or through sponsoring Proselytization campaigns to boost the number of converts on a planet. Thus your characters will have some importance to the founder of the Faith in question, especially if you have access to planets outside of the range of that House. Note however that some Faiths may not have a hierarchy at all, and may have only two ranks - Initiate and Head of Faith. In this case, the only way to improve your standing within the Faith is to become the Head of Faith, by vote of all the Initiates upon death of the previous incumbent.

See the rules on the Mysticism sphere for more details.

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