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2.1 Registration

The first step in joining Imperium Nova is to register your user details and select a unique user name and password which you will use to sign in to the game.

It is important that you enter a valid email address, as an authorisation code will be sent to this address, without which you cannot proceed with signup. This is to ensure all players are using a valid email address. Please ensure before registering that your email client is set to receive mail from the domain, as otherwise this mail may be picked up by your junk mail filter. If you don’t receive your authorisation code within a few minutes of submitting your registration, this has probably happened and you should email for a new code.

You are also required to input a ‘security question’ and answer, which will be used if you forget your password or change your user details later on. This should be a simple question to which only you know the answer.

It is strongly recommended that you choose a unique password for your account and not one that you already use for any other accounts. If your account is hacked by someone obtaining your password through whatever means, the site cannot be held responsible for any damage caused to your in-game empire - so please keep your password secure.

2.2 House Creation

When you sign in for the first time after submitting your user details, you are prompted for your authorisation code. Once you input this correctly you are taken to the House Creation Menu. You may now go ahead and create your dynasty details.

You will have been automatically assigned to a particular game galaxy at signup, and randomly allocated a homeworld. This homeworld could be anywhere in the galaxy and may or may not already be home to one or more other Houses. You can move homeworld at any time in the game, but there is a significant cost associated with this and it should not be a move that is undertaken lightly.

You can view a map of your galaxy by clicking the ‘Galactic Chart’ link in the left-hand menu. This shows your homeworld and its position in the galaxy and allows you to view details and positions of all the known planets in your galaxy. See the ‘Galactic Chart’ section of these rules for further information on the map.

There are four stages to creating your House, followed by a confirmation stage. All correspond to options on the left-hand House Creation menu you will see when you sign in. You may complete all stages in one go or else take your time, browse the forums, familiarise yourself with the rules and come back to make the final decisions when you are sure you know exactly what selections you want to make. The relevant sections are as follows:

2.2.1 Name & Title

Although you already selected a user name when registering for the game, you do not yet have an in-game House name. This will be the family name of your dynasty and should be suitably grand-sounding. Whenever other players view your in-game details they will see this House name together with your coat-of-arms (see below), and this combination is what gives you your in-game identity.

Apart from deciding the House name you also need to choose whether succession in your dynasty is through the male or the female line. After your House leader dies, the successor will be determined by your choice here. Choose ‘patrilineal’ to give priority to male heirs, and ‘matrilineal’ for female. This also determines the sex of your initial House leader – choosing ‘patrilineal’ gives you a male leader.

Also on this screen, you choose the title for your House leader. This is for aesthetic purposes only – the various ranks have no order of precedence. In historical reality a Duke was more powerful than a Baron – this does not apply in Imperium Nova, all titles are equal. Simply choose one you like the sound of.

Finally, you should choose the kinds of name you want each of your dynasty members to have, by selecting one or more of the ‘name origin’ checkboxes provided. If you want European names then you would check only the appropriate boxes, and similarly if you want to run a Shogun-inspired dynasty you would check only the ‘Japanese’ checkbox. For pure randomness, select all the boxes!

Once you have done this and submitted the details you are ready to move on to the next stage and examine your Dynasty.

2.2.2 Dynasty

When you select this menu option for the first time, you will see a list of all the important members of your dynasty, including your House leader. These characters are randomly generated, and you cannot access this screen until you have completed the ‘Name and Title’ step above, as those details are used in generating your leaders.

The list you see is not an exhaustive roster of your entire family tree – it is a selection of the most willing or able individuals who are available to you at the start of the game. These individuals will get old and die, and succession will pass from older to younger members as time goes by. Some may give birth to children, providing you with new potential heirs. You can also bring in ‘new blood’ through arranging marriages - and you can hire the services of additional retainers to act as leaders and representatives of your House.

Your House leadership is important, as it is from this crop of esteemed individuals that you must select the governors and operational heads of each of your spheres of activity. The more able and experienced (as judged by age) the leader, the more of a boost will be given to the particular sphere of operations that individual is responsible for.

The ability of a given leader is judged in terms of three attributes; Charisma, Determination and Intellect. Each of these attributes is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with descriptions as follows:

  • Charisma:         Repellent (1), Irritating (2), Ordinary (3), Charismatic (4), Enchanting (5)
  • Determination: Apathetic (1), Idle (2), Diligent (3), Dynamic (4), Driven (5)
  • Intellect:             Halfwit (1), Dullard (2), Individual (3), Intellectual (4), Genius (5)

Your leaders will all have attributes on this scale, except for those aged under 18. These children and youths can be judged only in terms of potential, and their true abilities will not become known until they come of age. This rating of potential involves a significant margin of error, so a child presumed a hopeless case can sometimes actually turn out fairly competent after all.

The abilities of a sphere leader will affect his or her efficiency as sphere leader to a varying degree, depending upon the sphere. Which ability is best for which sphere is largely a matter for common sense - but they all help. If you are not sure which leader to appoint to head your initial sphere once you have joined the game, try changing the leader and then looking at your projected income and costs in the Treasury. If one leader results in a higher projected treasury balance, then that leader is the one you should choose. By default, your House Leader will head up the sphere, so once you commence playing you may wish to change this.

In addition to these characteristics of leader ability, your dynasty members will also have skills in two areas; Duelling Skills and Administrative Skills. The first of these skills is useful in one-on-one duels with members of other Houses, which can sometimes occur to resolve matters of honour. The second skill, administrative skill, dictates how well this character can govern and organise. Each of your spheres of activity must have a leader, and the better the administrative skills of that leader, the higher the efficiency of the operation will be.

  • Duelling and Administrative Skills: Abysmal, poor, mediocre, average, able, accomplished, superb, awesome, unsurpassed

Note that you may pay to educate the younger members of your dynasty (ages 18-25) and thereby improve these skills. However, the basic abilities of a character (charisma, determination and intellect) will not change.

Your dynasty will not all be highly competent. You may well have to work towards improving your bloodline through arranged marriages with other Houses and the employment of the best retainers, as time goes by. You therefore shouldn’t despair if you are lumbered with several repellent halfwits – this can change over time, and the disadvantage of having poor leaders is not an insurmountable one.

You may however scrap your initial House leadership and re-generate a replacement set, up to three times. You should only do this if you are drawn with a really appalling group of individuals, as you will be stuck with the new set. Bear in mind that the same leader can head more than one of your initial spheres of activity if required, although the overwork this causes will impact the leader's performance somewhat. The more strong leaders that you have, the smaller the impact will be should one of them be assassinated by a rival House, or stricken by Galactic plague or some other misfortune.

See the Dynasty section of the rulebook for more information relating to your Dynasty.

2.2.3 Coat of Arms & Motto

All Houses are identifiable by a unique coat of arms, originating in the distant past of the dynasty and carried forward to this day. At the start of play, you must design the coat of arms for your particular house. There are 15 different basic shield designs, most of which are two-colour designs. You can choose the two colours from a list of seven.

You can also finish off your coat of arms with a heraldic charge of some kind – such as a lion rampant, crossed swords and so on. A list of these is also provided on the coat of arms page for selection. This charge is optional and you may prefer just a coloured shield.

Whilst deciding on your design, use the ‘preview’ button to have a look at how your shield will appear in the game.

Your coat of arms must be unique within your galaxy. You may change it at any time up until you confirm your House details and begin playing. After this your coat of arms may not be altered.

You may also choose a motto, which will be displayed on your House headquarters page for all to see. This must be 50 characters or fewer. Please do not choose an offensive motto, as it will be permanently deleted and you risk expulsion from the game.

You can change your crest, charge and motto later in the game - but it will cost a small fee (in game currency) so deciding these details at start-up is preferable.

2.2.4 Spheres of Activity

The final stage before confirming your House details is to choose your initial sphere of activity. This choice will determine what actions you can carry out in the game. For example, if you choose ‘Mercantile’ you will be able to open up trade routes and generate income for your House through trading. In game terms, each area of activity requires that certain infrastructure and legal requirements (such as a trading permit) be met in order to operate. As a starting House you are limited in influence and infrastructure and so can only operate within a single sphere. As you gain status in the galaxy, you have the option to branch out into additional spheres of activity - although this is not essential and will require site membership (see section 2.3 below).

Your initial choice of sphere is limited to the six spheres most suitable for generating income; Mercantile, Agriculture, Geological, Transportation, Technology and Psionics. A brief overview of each of these spheres appears below. For full details of each sphere, and details of the remaining spheres that are not available to starting players, see the Spheres of Activity section of the rulebook.

MERCANTILE  Selecting this sphere allows you to set up trading facilities. To earn income from trade you must have a minimum of two trading facilities - each on a different planet - and establish a trade route between them.

There are three types of trading facility, which vary in size. The larger the facility the greater the cost to build and maintain it, but the more trade routes it can support. You will initially probably choose to build two small trading posts on nearby planets and operate a single trade route between them. Later on you can expand these and build larger facilities on more planets to facilitate more trade routes as the funds become available.

Your profits are directly related to the difference in prices of the commodity traded between the two planets involved. Base commodity prices are affected by relatively static factors such as planet type, population and economy. In addition, supply and demand plays a very important role. Put simply, the more people who trade a given commodity between the same planets, the lower the profits. Should your trade routes become unprofitable due to competition, you have two choices: either switch to a more profitable commodity or else somehow convince your competitors to do so instead. You may achieve this through honest negotiation, or else threats, insults, sabotage or even all-out war! Trading can be a cut-throat business.

Note that some commodities are outlawed on certain planets but not on others. These might include narcotics, slaves – or even wines & spirits. Be careful where you trade these commodities as if you trade in illicit goods you risk a hefty fine and accompanying loss of status.

AGRICULTURE  Selecting this sphere allows you to build farms and earn income according to the price of foodstuffs on the planet concerned. The profits you will make are strongly influenced by the type of planet which you farm - if your homeworld is of the 'airless' or 'frozen' type, maintenance costs for farms will be very high and you should probably avoid this sphere.

Agriculture is a good sphere to select for a starting House, since the Imperial government subsidizes this sphere for low-status Houses, so that your farms are guaranteed to return some profit. However, once you have become established and raised your status to a higher level, the sphere becomes much less attractive since you will lose the subsidies, and once you reach 50 status, you will have to pay additional taxes to help subsidize low-status Houses yourself! Thus, you should plan to operate this sphere only until you have established your House, and then consider closing it down and opening another sphere more suited to your developing status.

GEOLOGICAL  Choosing this sphere of activity allows you to set up mining stations and tap the mineral resources of the planets in your galaxy - you can mine for Minerals, Radioactives or Precious Metals. These resources are then sold on the local market for a profit. You only need one mining facility to begin operations, and as with trading facilities there are three sizes of mining station you can build with progressively higher build and maintenance costs, but also progressively higher profit potential.

In order to construct mines, you must first carry out geological surveys in order to discover mineral deposits on the planet where you wish to build. You then build mines to tap the deposits you have successfully discovered. All geological deposits have a finite size and eventually your mines will deplete the resources they are mining and require dismantling. Thus within this sphere there is a steady cycle of surveying, building mines to exploit your geological discoveries and eventually dismantling defunct mines.

The profits from mining operations are directly proportional to the sale price of the mined commodity on the local market, which is in turn affected by supply and demand. If there are numerous large mines on a given planet, the market will be inundated and the price of the mined commodity will be low. This can result in your mining operations making a loss unless you take action to out-do the competition.

Each planet in the galaxy also has a mineral wealth rating that will affect sustainability of mining operations. Abundant mineral resources mean greater chance to discover larger and more numerous deposits of commodities when you carry out a geological survey.

If your homeworld and the nearby planets are rich in mineral resources, you might wish to consider choosing Geological as a sphere of activity.

TRANSPORTATION  This sphere of activity relates to passenger transportation between planets. This is every bit as competitive as trade in any other ‘non-human’ commodity. Transportation operations work in much the same way as Mercantile, however the infrastructure is sufficiently different to make this a completely separate sphere.

As with a trade route, to set up a transportation route you require two spaceports, one on the embarkation planet and the other on the destination planet. Profits are dependent upon competition and the populations of the planets the route is between. High population worlds naturally result in a higher demand for off-world transportation services. You may also choose to make your services cheaper to undercut the opposition, or to specialise in luxury-class services not available elsewhere.

In addition to the profit potential, choosing this sphere gives your House a useful boost in operational range, due to the specialised nature of the technologies involved. This will mean that right from the word go you have access to more planets than other non-transportation Houses. Note that this only applies for so long as Transportation is your primary sphere of activity. If you later opt to open a new primary sphere and relegate transportation to secondary importance, you will lose this bonus.

TECHNOLOGY  Choosing this sphere of activity allows your House to set up two types of facility – research facilities and production facilities.

Research facilities cost money to build and maintain, and provide no income. Instead you receive a boost to your ongoing technology research that will result in your Tech Level improving more rapidly than otherwise (see the section on technology for more details). This will have benefits in numerous areas of operations.

Production facilities provide a regular income stream to counterbalance your research investment, as you produce and market goods based on the latest cutting edge technology. You may produce two types of commodity, either Hi-Tech Goods or Machinery. Your profits are greatly affected by the price of the commodity on the planet in question - look for a price of at least 80 Galactic Solars per unit.

PSIONICS  In the universe of Imperium Nova, certain very rare individuals are born with mental abilities far in excess of the normal realms of thought and perception. These ‘psionic’ individuals are seemingly able to sense danger and, if concentrating, even gain brief glimpses of future events. There is a thriving industry built around the services offered by these gifted individuals – they are a particularly useful form of defence against espionage and assassination attempts, and can warn you in advance of surprise attacks on your bases.

Choosing this sphere of activity enables your House to set up ‘Psi-centres’ for the identification and cultivation of these individuals. These facilities provide a regular income stream for your House once built – in addition to reducing your own costs when employing psionics (i.e. your security costs). The amount of income you receive is quite variable, and greatly affected by the number of other psi-centres competing with your own.

You will also have access to Psionic agents for your Covert Operations, should you choose this sphere. This will result in a bonus to your covert activities and a penalty to all those attempting such operations against you.

2.2.5 Confirming your House Details and Joining the Game

Once you have input all the required details, generated your Dynasty and selected your coat-of-arms and spheres of activity, you are ready to begin playing. Select the ‘Confirm Details’ link from the menu and if you see green ticks against each of the sections to be completed, you are ready to go.

If there are red crosses against any of the sections on the ‘Confirm’ page, then you haven’t completed that section yet – go back to the appropriate page and fill out the required details.

After pressing the ‘Confirm and Play!’ button, you will be taken to your House Headquarters page. This page will now be the first page you see every time you sign in to Imperium Nova. You are now in the game!

2.3 Site Membership

The cost of maintaining and developing the Imperium Nova website is met entirely through the voluntary site membership scheme. This avoids the need to add unsightly and performance-impacting advertisements to the site.

The easiest way to subscribe is to follow the 'Site Membership' link at the top left of your HQ screen next to the terms and conditions link.

In order to encourage players to take up site membership, certain benefits will be available to site subscribers only. At present, the ability to operate in three or more spheres, which is applicable to all Houses of Status 25 or more, is only available to site members. Further tools and features will also be added on a regular basis that will be available only to site members. Currently these benefits include:

  • An Economic Macro-Management tool which allows dismantling of facilities en masse, and other time and effort-saving actions
  • The ability to input House History & Background information which may be read by all players

Current costs of site membership are either GBP2.99 for 30-days, or GBP7.99 for a 90-day subscription. All payments are processed via Paypal and you will be registered with Paypal if you do not already have an account, when you make your payment. The Imperium Nova Paypal account operates as 'Quorum Online Gaming'.

Email payments via Paypal are also possible - please contact the GM to arrange this.

Once payment is received, the GM will need to manually activate your subscription, which may take a short time. If you make your payment outside of UK daytime hours, the activation of your membership may not begin until the next day. Because of this, it is recommended that players use the recurring subscription option, to ensure that your membership does not expire and the extra spheres you open are not closed down. The recurring subscription option is very easy to cancel in PayPal should you wish to do so.

If a user takes out site subscription and fails to renew this, their spheres will be closed down in the following order until only two spheres are left open:

  • Exploration, Covert Ops, Military, Mysticism, Politics, Agriculture, Construction, Financial, Psionics, Geological, Mercantile, Technology

Thus the income-generating spheres should remain open even if a user's other spheres are automatically shut down. Since the Transportation sphere grants the user increased operational range, this sphere will never be shut down by this process.

Signing up for site membership allows the continued hosting and development of the game - if you enjoy the game and do decide to take out site membership, your valuable contribution is much appreciated.

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