Back to Contents Forward to Next Section  
4.1 Overview

This section of the rules describes in detail each of the Spheres of Activity that a House may operate within, together with the advantages conferred and actions allowed for each sphere.

 
4.1.1 How Many Spheres?

A starting House will be able to operate within one Sphere of Activity, chosen from those which are the most profitable - the first five in the list below. At certain Status levels, a House will earn the privilege of being able to operate in an additional Sphere of Activity. Thus as your influence increases and you gain experience in the game, you can expand your operations into other areas and get more out of Imperium Nova if you so desire. To operate in additional spheres after the second, you must also be a site member and pay the small associated fee - if you are playing for free then you'll continue in up to two chosen spheres of activity indefinitely, and you can always close one and open another provided the limit of two is not exceeded.

The Status levels required to operate additional spheres are listed below:

  • 2 Spheres Requires Status >12
  • 3 Spheres Requires Status >25
  • 4 Spheres Requires Status >75
  • 5 Spheres Requires Status >250
  • 6 Spheres Requires Status >500
  • 7 Spheres Requires Status >1001

When you become eligible to expand into an additional sphere you will see a link to 'Open New Sphere' on your HQ page. There is a significant cost attached to set up the infrastructure for the new sphere - about $3000, so you will need to factor this into your plans.

Primary, Secondary or Tertiary? At game start, your single sphere will be your 'Primary' Sphere of Activity. All costs associated with maintaining and operating this primary sphere will be reduced by 20% due to the fact that your infrastructure is based around this as your primary activity. As you open more spheres, you will also begin operating in a secondary and possibly several tertiary spheres of activity. The cost savings bestowed on your secondary and tertiary spheres are correspondingly smaller. Your secondary sphere of activity will operate with a 10% efficiency bonus as opposed to the 20% enjoyed within your primary sphere, and any tertiary spheres will receive no bonus at all. However, without opening a particular sphere of activity you may not build the associated facilities or benefit from any of the advantages associated with that sphere.

Whenever you open a new sphere you may choose whether it should become your primary, secondary or tertiary activity. Any existing spheres will be shuffled down in order of importance should you make this new sphere primary. It should be noted that certain benefits of operating a given sphere of activity as your primary sphere are reduced or lost altogether should you move this sphere down in importance. For example, the extra operational range enjoyed by those operating with Transportation as a primary sphere will be reduced if Transportation is demoted to a secondary sphere of activity. For Covert Operations, your newly activated agents will only be Standard as opposed to Rookie experience should you have Covert Ops as your primary - as opposed to any other - sphere. There are many other examples, all covered in the individual sphere descriptions below, which illustrate that if you are operating multiple spheres, your choice of primary, secondary and tertiary spheres has important implications.

Closing a Sphere Should you decide you want to cease operations in a given Sphere, you may choose to close it down. You can only do this after you have disbanded all your facilities that relate to that Sphere, individually, and shut down any related trade and transport routes and so on. Since opening a new sphere is quite expensive, this should really only be a last resort if you are operating at a loss or you really want to try out a different sphere. You may never close down your primary sphere of activity however.

If you operate multiple spheres and your site membership runs out, all excess spheres apart from your primary sphere will automatically be closed and all related facilities dismantled after a short grace period. Be aware of this and if you wish to continue operating multiple spheres, make sure your membership is up to date!

 
4.1.2 Sphere Leadership

At game start, your House leader will automatically be placed in charge of your primary sphere of activity. You may change this if you wish using the dropdown that appears at the top of all Sphere of Activity screens. Your choice of which leader heads each of your operational spheres has important implications for the efficiency of activities in that sphere. In general, the better a leader's abilities and administrative skills, the greater the bonus you will get in terms of both cost and time savings for actions carried out within that sphere. For example, if an operation has a basic cost of $500 and will take 10 days, having a good leader with high administrative skills might cut your costs to $450 and shave a day off the time required to complete the action. Conversely, a poor, unmotivated or stupid leader will hinder your operations and your activities will incur a penalty.

It's not just as simple as putting your best leader in charge of all your spheres however, as there are two further considerations to take into account:

Workload Any one individual can optimally govern a single sphere of activity only. Should you also place this leader in charge of other spheres, then an 'overwork' penalty will apply - to both spheres. This penalty will increase the more spheres you place the same leader in charge of. The upshot of this is that there is very little point placing the same leader in charge of multiple spheres that you may be operating. It is far better to allot one individual to head up each operational area.

Time in Charge A second crucial factor in operational efficiency is the time a given leader has been in charge of a sphere of activity. Significant cost penalties apply if a leader has only been in charge for a short time. The longer the same leader heads up a given sphere of activity, the smaller the penalty - until length of time in charge becomes a bonus rather than a penalty. This represents the experience a leader has of administering a particular area of operations. Roughly speaking, a leader will suffer penalties for his or her first three (game) months in charge, before getting to grips with the operation.

 
4.2 Sphere Descriptions

 
4.2.1 Mercantile

Access your Mercantile Operations screen by clicking the 'Mercantile' link that appears on your HQ page if you are operating within this sphere of activity. This screen displays all your mercantile facilities and trade routes in operation, and allows you to manage these.

Operating within the mercantile sphere involves trading commodities between planets for a profit. Prices of commodities vary between planets based on numerous factors such as the wealth of the planet, the current supply of the commodity and so on. In Imperium Nova there are 16 commodities that may be traded:

  • Water Normally very cheap with limited profit potential, but this can change for planets hit by drought.
  • Foodstuffs General essential foodstuffs. Greatly in demand on planets suffering from famine.
  • Textiles General clothing materials.
  • Luxuries A range of non-essential luxury goods, including luxury food items aswell as leisure-related products.
  • Precious Metals Gold, silver and other valuable metals.
  • Alloys Metal alloys for construction or further processing.
  • Minerals Raw materials such as ores.
  • Wines & Spirits Intoxicating beverages.
  • Machinery Finished machinery and components.
  • Radioactives Minerals and metals with radioactive properties.
  • Hi-Tech Goods Computing and entertainment-related goods.
  • Chemicals Liquid and gaseous substances for a variety of purposes.
  • Medical Supplies Particularly in demand on worlds suffering from plague or other pandemics.
  • Narcotics Recreational mind-altering drugs. Often illegal.
  • Slaves Human slaves. The slave trade is illegal on most planets.
  • Arms From small arms to heavy duty military weaponry. Trade in these goods is also often illegal.
  • Objets D'Art Artworks and antiquities originating on the planet in question.
  • Automotives Land-based transportation vehicles of various types and technologies.

The prices of all these commodities on a given planet can be seen by clicking the 'View Trade Prices' link from any planet information panel.

On many planets trade in certain commodities is illegal - these are marked in red on the trade prices list for the planet. If you are caught operating trade routes in restricted commodities, you will receive an Imperial Warning, resulting in loss of status. If a House receives three warnings within a three-month period, the Emperor and Imperial Alliance will receive Feud Score against that House and are bound by the senate to take action - either through negotiating some kind of settlement (usually a hefty fine) or else through more direct means of punishment. The chances of receiving a warning are based both on the number of illegal routes operated, and the policing level for the planets in question. If there is a high police presence then there is a greater chance of your illegal activities being noticed - but note that any illegal route will not be displayed as such on the planet facility screen when others view this. A random legal commodity will be listed instead. See also 'trade route security' below for a means of minimising your risk of discovery when trading illegal goods.

Mercantile Facilities Before you can set up any trade routes you need to have the facilities in place to operate them. You may build facilities on any planet within your operational range (see Technology). Each commodity you trade will be bought at a facility on one planet and sold at a facility on another planet. Therefore you need two facilities for each trade route you operate. One facility may operate several trade routes however, depending upon the size of that facility. There are three types of mercantile facility:

  • Trading Outpost Can support one trade route only, and costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Trading Centre Can support two trade routes, and costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Trading Hub Can support up to three trade routes and costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

Your choice of which size facility to build should be based upon the number of potentially high-profit trade routes (see below) that you feel you can operate from this particular planet. The larger facilities are more expensive to construct initially and require more time to be completed, but are more economical in the long run. You can build multiple mercantile facilities on the same planet if you so desire, and even set up multiple routes in the same commodity, if the price makes it worthwhile.

To build a trade facility, go to your Mercantile Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the Trade Facilities heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and facility type, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Mercantile Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

From your Mercantile Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing facility to the next largest type, by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete. A facility must not be operating any trade routes in order for it to be dismantled. Additionally, you can always rename any facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box.

Note that if you click on the planet name of any facility, you will be taken to the planet information panel for that planet, from where you can view the current trade prices.

Trade Routes Once you have facilities in place on two or more planets, you can begin to establish your trade routes. To create a trade route between two facilities, click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the 'Trade Routes Operated' heading on your Mercantile Operations screen. This will open up a new row for you to select the desired details. Note that establishing a trade route costs money - this is in addition to the cost of building the facilities which will operate the route.

You will need to select the 'from' and 'to' facilities by name, together with the commodity to be traded and the security you wish to have in place for this route. Trade Route security will help reduce the effects of piracy should any exist on the planets between which this route is operating. See Space Piracy for further information. Additionally, should you choose to smuggle illegal goods, adding security to your route will reduce the chances of the Imperial Police detecting your activity. When you submit your new route using the green tick icon, you will be prompted to confirm your instruction. Make sure you check the 'Potential Profit' indicator on the confirmation screen. If this is any worse than mediocre you should consider alternative commodities that may be more profitable. Or perhaps you got the 'from' and 'to' facilities the wrong way round? In either case you can always cancel from the confirmation screen and re-examine your options.

The cost to establish a trade route is directly linked to the basic price of the commodity. If you trade in an expensive commodity such as luxuries then the initial cost to set up the route will be higher than if you trade in, say, foodstuffs. Once you confirm the trade route it will take one or two game days before it is up and running and you start to see profits.

Calculating Trade Income Each day, your trade routes will generate an amount of income equal to the difference between the traded commodity's price on the selling world and that of the same commodity on the buying world. If, for example, luxuries are trading at $100.00 on planet A, and $140.00 on planet B, a single trade route in luxuries from planet A to planet B will generate $40.00 per day, or $1600.00 per month. Once the trade route is in place, it will continue to generate income every day, and you can view your accumulated trading income on the Treasury screen. You can also see the income generated by each trade route on your Mercantile Operations screen. From here you can also adjust the security on existing trade routes, if desired.

You must also of course take into account the cost of maintaining your trade facilities (see above), together with their security costs, when examining the profitability of your existing trade routes. All income figures are gross figures, with facility maintenance as a separate cost on the treasury screen.

 

Factors Affecting Supply The trade price when you first set up your trade route is susceptable to change, and this will have a corresponding effect on your profits. If the price on the selling world goes up relative to the price on the buying world your income will go down. Such price changes are gradual where there is little to affect supply. However, each trade route to or from a planet will contribute to increasing or decreasing supply (respectively) on that planet. If many trade routes are all shipping the same commodity to a particular planet, for example, then the market for that commodity will become saturated and the price will drop quickly. The upshot of this is that you must keep a careful eye on your existing routes, and be prepared to terminate some and switch to other commodities when income falls below acceptable levels.

Sudden unexpected events such as drought, famine or plague can also have dramatic short-term effects on trade prices and lead to a 'gold-rush' type scramble to reap profits as demand in certain commodities goes through the roof on the affected planets.

 
4.2.2 Agriculture

The Agriculture Sphere is aimed particularly at new Houses and those of low status. It is subsidized by the Imperial Government for Houses with a status of less than 20. However, Houses with a status of 50 or greater will pay an additional Agriculture Subsidy Tax from their income in order to maintain this subsidy system. For this reason, agriculture is not recommended as a sphere of activity for those Houses with status of 50 or above. Full details of the subsidy system can be found below.

The Agricultural Operations screen is accessed by clicking the 'Agriculture' link that appears on your HQ page if you are operating within this sphere of activity. This screen displays all your agricultural facilties, and allows you to manage these.

Farming profits are affected by three main factors - the type of planet farmed, the market price of water there, and the market price of foodstuffs. The first two factors influence the maintenance cost of each farm, with the price of foodstuffs determining the basic income of a farming facility.

Farms require an appropriate environment and a supply of water. On airless or frozen planets, the environment is particularly ill-suited for farming and maintenance costs will be very high, due to the requirement for artificially-created environmental conditions. On these planets, most foodstuffs are imported. High water prices will also drive up the maintenance cost of a farm. Note that building farms on a planet stimulates the demand for water and is likely to drive up the trade price of water on that planet, and hence increase farming maintenance costs still further.

Agricultural Facilities You may build farms on any planet within your operational range (see Technology). There are three sizes of facility available. Note that the maintenance costs are the average for a temperate world, and may be much higher on inhospitable worlds or planets where water prices are very high.

  • Micro-Farm Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Farm Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Mega-Farm Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

To build a new facility, go to your Agriculture Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the Agricultural Facilities heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and farm size, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Agriculture Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

From your Agriculture Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing facility to the next largest type, by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete. Additionally, you can always rename any facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box.

Note that if you click on the planet name of any facility, you will be taken to the planet information panel for that planet, from where you can view the current trade prices.

Subsidies If your House has a status of less than 20, you are entitled to farming subsidies that will ensure the profitability of your farms until your status exceeds this level. These subsidies are paid for out of the Imperial Taxes collected by the Emperor, and the Agriculture Subsidy Tax levied on established Houses operating within the agriculture sphere. The subsidy levels are as follows, for a starting House:

  • Micro-Farm Profit of $5 per day guaranteed
  • Farm Profit of $10 per day guaranteed
  • Mega-Farm Profit of $15 per day guaranteed

Between status 12 and 20, a reduced subsidy is payable, guaranteeing profit of 2, 5, or 10 solars per day depending upon facility size. Above status 20, no subsidy at all is payable.

Agriculture Subsidy Tax If your House has a status of 50 or more, then you must pay Agriculture Subsidy Tax on all your agricultural facilities. This assists the Emperor with paying the agriculture subsidy to low-status Houses, and is compulsory and unavoidable. The amount charged appears as a separate deduction in your treasury, and is not deducted from the actual income of each facility. The amount deducted for each facility is as follows:

  • Micro-Farm $5 per day flat tax
  • Farm $10 per day flat tax
  • Mega-Farm $15 per day flat tax

Because of this additional tax, Agriculture is not suited to well-established Houses, and you may wish to close down this sphere and branch out into a more profitable area once you reach 50 status.

 
4.2.3 Geological

Access your Geological Operations screen by clicking the 'Geological' link that appears on your HQ page if you are operating within this sphere of activity. This screen displays all your mining facilities, and allows you to manage these and access your geological survey data.

Operating in the Geological sphere involves carrying out geological surveys and then constructing mines to extract naturally-occuring materials from planets. The mined commodities are then sold on the local market for (hopefully) a healthy profit. Three commodities may be mined: Precious Metals, Minerals and Radioactives. Each of these commodities has a market price which will differ from planet to planet (see Mercantile, above) and this trade price, together with the abundance of minerals on the planet concerned, will dictate the profitability of a given mine.

Geological Surveys In order to build mines, you must first have carried out a geological survey on the planet in question and discovered one or more geological deposits. You may then build mines to tap each particular deposit. The standard cost of a survey is $1000, but this increases to $1500 if you are attempting to discover one particular type of commodity - as specified when you commission the survey. The chance of your survey discovering a deposit depends greatly on the mineral wealth of the planet - those planets with meagre mineral resources are obviously less likely to turn up a deposit than those with boundless resources. You may even uncover multiple deposits from the same survey, if you are very lucky. Note that Precious Metals are rarer than Radioactives, and Minerals are the most common commodity type that will be uncovered by a survey. You may specify that the survey search for one particular commodity - but as noted above this is more expensive and also has a reduced chance of success overall.

To launch a new survey on a planet within your operational range (see Technology) or view your existing discovered deposits, follow the 'Geological Surveys' link from your Geological Operations screen.

The size of a geological deposit is very important. No geological deposit is infinite and each day that you mine a deposit, its size is reduced. The 'size' given for any one geological deposit is equivalent to the number of game days that a single mining outpost (see below) can extract material from the deposit, and ranges from as low as 500 up to as much as 100,000. The size of any deposit you discover through your surveys will be heavily influenced by the mineral wealth of the planet in question.

Note that once a geological deposit is depleted (or before, if desired) you can 'clean up' the deposit by selecting the 'Abandon' option against the deposit on the Geological Surveys screen. This option is only available if there are no mines currently tapping the deposit - so you'll need to dismantle the defunct mines first before doing this.

Geological Facilities You may build mining facilities on any planet where you have successfully surveyed for geological deposits. Go to the Geological Surveys screen and click the 'Build Mines' link alongside the deposit you wish to mine There are three sizes of mine available:

  • Mining Outpost Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Mine Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Mining Complex Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs. The size of mine you build will depend on the resources available to you, and your opinion on the profitability of mining that particular commodity on the given planet. If the potential profit is high, then building the largest mine makes sense. If you are not sure, then build an outpost - you can always upgrade it later.

You may build any number of mines to tap each of your geological deposits. However, the more you build, the quicker you will deplete the deposit and have to shut down the mines. Also, operating large numbers of mines will depress the price of the commodity on the planet, as the supply increases, and thus make all of them less profitable. Selecting the ideal number of mines to build against a given deposit is a balancing act - some players may prefer quicker short-term profits, whilst others will want to leave a mine operating for many years before having to manage the dismantlement of defunct mines. Each Mining Outpost will deplete a geological deposit size by one unit per day. A mine will deplete the deposit by two units a day, and a mining complex by three units a day.

From your Geological Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing facility to the next largest type, by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete. Additionally, you can always rename any facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box.

Note that if you click on the planet name of any facility, you will be taken to the planet information panel for that planet, from where you can view the current trade prices.

Calculating Mining Income Each day, your mines will generate income based on the trade price of the commodity mined - which can be viewed from the 'Planet Trade View' screen. A Mining Complex will generate income roughly equivalent to the actual trade price - with the smaller facilities generating relatively smaller amounts in proportion to their size. As with all spheres, the skills and experience of your Sphere Leader will play a part in determining exactly how much income you actually receive from each mine.

You should also be aware that mines serve to increase the supply of the mined commodity on a planet, so the trade price will fall with each mining comlpex you build, assuming no other factors are involved (see the Mercantile section for more details). As with all operations you should keep an eye on your mines and if they are generating insufficient income, shut them down or take other action to counter this. You can view your accumulated geological operations income on the Treasury screen. You can also see the income generated by each mine on your Geological Operations screen.

You must also of course take into account the cost of maintaining your mining facilities (see above) when examining the profitability of your existing mines. All income figures are gross figures, with facility maintenance as a separate cost on the treasury screen.

 
4.2.4 Transportation

Access your Transportation Operations screen by clicking the 'Transportation' link that appears on your HQ page if you are operating within this sphere of activity. This screen displays all your spaceports and passenger routes in operation, and allows you to manage these.

Transportation activities involve the operation of passenger routes between spaceports on different planets. This sphere of activity is similar to the Mercantile sphere, but with just one commodity - passengers. There is no 'trade price' as such, rather the profits of a given transportation route will be based on the demand for such a route and the competition faced by your operation from other Houses.

Aside from the obvious income potential, those Houses selecting Transportation will benefit from an increase in operational range to reflect the specialised technology developed by such Houses. With transportation as a primary sphere, one extra sector of range is added. With transportation as a secondary or tertiary sphere, the effective tech level of the House is boosted by 0.25 or 0.1 respectively, when calculating range. Thus if your House has a tech level of 6.8, you would have a range of 7 even if you operated Transportation only as a secondary sphere.

Spaceports In order to set up a transportation route a player must have built transportation facilities, known as 'spaceports', on at least two different planets. There are three different sizes of spaceport available:

  • Minor Spaceport Can support one passenger route only, and costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Spaceport Can support two routes, and costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Hub Spaceport Can support up to three routes and costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

Your choice of which size facility to build should be based upon the number of potentially high-profit passenger routes (see below) that you feel you can operate from this particular planet. The larger facilities are more expensive to construct initially and require more time to be completed, but are more economical in the long run. You can build several spaceports on the same planet if you so desire.

To order the construction of a spaceport, go to your Transportation Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the 'Spaceports' heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and facility type, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Transportation Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

From your Transportation Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing spaceport to the next largest type, by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete. This operation is only available if the facility is not operating any passenger routes. If you want to remove a facility that has passenger routes in operation, you must first terminate each of the routes.

You can rename a facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box.

Note that if you click on the planet name of any facility, you will be taken to the planet information panel for that planet.

Passenger Routes Once you have spaceports in place on two or more planets, you can begin to establish your passenger routes. To create a route between two spaceports, click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the 'Routes in Operation' heading on your Transportation Operations screen. This will open up a new row for you to select the desired details. Note that establishing a passenger transport route costs money - this is in addition to the cost of building the facilities which will operate the route.

You will need to select the 'from' and 'to' spaceports by name, together with the class of service you are offering on the route and the pricing bracket. These two factors will be crucial in determining the amount of income you receive from a given route. The available service classes are as follows:

  • Economy Cheap no-frills option. High demand on poorer planets.
  • Standard Standard service.
  • Premium Improved service with extras.
  • Luxury Top of the range service. High demand only on wealthy planets.

The available pricing levels are as follows:

  • Bargain Priced very cheaply to undercut competition. Low profits.
  • Competitive Priced below average.
  • Standard Reasonably priced.
  • Expensive Above the standard price for this class.
  • Extortionate Outrageously expensive.

When you submit your new route using the green tick icon, you will be prompted to confirm your instruction. Make sure you check the 'Potential Profit' indicator on the confirmation screen. If this is any worse than mediocre you should consider cancelling and trying an alternative route that may be more profitable.

Once you confirm the route it will take one or two game days before it is up and running and you start to see profits.

Calculating Transportation Income Each day, your passenger routes will generate an amount of income based on the success of that route. The exact figure is arrived at after applying the effects of several important factors relating to the demand for the service you are offering. Foremost among these factors is the population of the planets between which the route is operating. The higher the populations of these worlds, the more demand there will be for interplanetary transportation. When selecting planets to build spaceports on, you should bear this in mind as the principal factor.

Apart from population, demand is highly sensitive to the competitiveness of your route versus those of any other Houses operating a similar route between the two planets concerned. Should you be the sole operator, you will find your route in demand no matter how extortionate the pricing. If, however, your route has several competitors offering better value, you will find demand drops off rapidly and your income is reduced accordingly. When viewing your existing transport routes, you will see an indication of how many competing routes are present, and you should use this to guide any adjustments to pricing you may later wish to make in order to remain competitive.

One final factor to bear in mind, is that the more expensive class routes are popular only on wealthy planets. On poorer worlds, few can afford to travel in luxury, regardless of the size of the population on that planet.

When looking at the profitability of your existing passenger routes you must also take into account the cost of maintaining your spaceports (see the list above). All income figures you will see in your treasury are gross figures, with facility maintenance as a separate cost on the treasury screen.

 
4.2.5 Technology

Access your Technology Operations screen by clicking the 'Technology' link that appears on your HQ page if you are operating within this sphere of activity. This screen displays all of your Technology-related facilities and allows you to manage these. Note that this is a different screen to the Technology summary screen accessed from the main menu. That screen displays your technology research budget and tech level details, and is available to all players regardless of whether or not they are operating in the Technological sphere of activity (see 3.1.4 Technology).

Operating within this sphere of activity allows you to set your technology research budget to higher levels, increasing the rate at which your tech level will increase. You may also build a variety of technology-related facilities. These fall into two broad classes: research facilities, which generate no income, but will improve your research rate, and production facilities which generate income from the production of either hi-tech goods or machinery.

As with most facilities, technological facilities come in three sizes. The research facilities are:

  • Research Lab Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Research Centre Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Research Complex Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The larger the research facility, the more of a boost it will provide to your technology research efforts. Note also that research facilities consume Hi-Tech Goods and therefore increase demand for this commodity on worlds where they are constructed. The flipside of this is that the maintenance costs quoted above are modified according to the price of Hi-Tech Goods - the higher the price, the higher the maintenance cost of any research facilities there will be.

The production facilities are:

  • Tech Production Workshop Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Tech Production Plant Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Tech Production Complex Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

Tech Production facilities do not boost your research, but will earn a steady income, and will prove essential if your House operates solely within the Technological sphere of activity, as this will be your only source of income. The amount of income produced is related to the size of the facility, and to the trade price of the commodity produced on the planet where the facility is built. Your production facilities will act as a supply of Hi-Tech Goods or Machinery on the planet in question, so you will need to try to avoid saturating the market, ideally by trading Hi-Tech Goods and Machinery from the planets on which you have tech production facilities, or by encouraging someone else to do so (see the Mercantile section for more details on trade goods supply and demand).

In order to construct a new facility, go to your Technological Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the appropriate facility type heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and facility type, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Technological Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

From your Technological Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing facility to the next largest type, by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete.

You can rename a facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box.

 
4.2.6 Psionics

As with all spheres, access your Psionic Operations screen by clicking the 'Psionics' link that appears on your HQ page if you are operating within this sphere of activity. This screen displays all of your psionic facilities, and allows you to manage these.

Houses operating in this sphere of activity specialise in cultivating and hiring out individuals who are talented in psionics - those who have a 'sixth sense' or limited ability to 'see' the future, and may also be possessed of other paranormal talents. Such Houses will gain benefits to the success chance of all Covert Operations due to the presence of Psionic operatives within their secret services. Also, the security budget of a House operating within this sphere will be reduced, since the House will have ready access to psionics and will not have to hire them from third parties. The extent of these advantages is greatest for Houses with Psionics as their primary sphere.

Aside from these benefits, income may be generated through the construction of Psionic facilities. These training and co-ordination centres for psionic individuals gain income from providing psionic services to third parties. Three sizes of facility may be constructed:

  • Psi Lab Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Psi Academy Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Psi Institute Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

The larger the facility, the more income is generated daily. The exact amount of income depends on the wealth and population of the planet in question and on the number of other Psi Facilities on that planet. The greater and more wealthy the population, the greater the demand for Psi services and so the higher the potential income. If there are a lot of Psi facilities however, they must divide the available income between them to some extent, which can dramatically reduce the profitability of such facilities.

As a rule, then, you should build psi facilities on planets which have a high population and wealth level, and where there are none or only a few existing psi facilities already in place.

 
4.2.7 Covert Operations

All Houses have access to Covert Operations, via the link on the main menu. Full details on covert operations, agents and their uses can be found in the main Covert Ops section of the rules.

If you wish to specialise particularly in the Covert Operations sphere, you may do so by opening this as an additional (or even your primary) sphere of activity. Only by doing this will you be allowed to increase your covert operations budget beyond the level of 'Small', and thereby field a greater number of agents. Having Covert Ops as a tertiary sphere of operations will allow you to set the budget to medium, having this as your secondary sphere will allow you to set the budget to large, and if Covert Operations is your primary sphere, you will have no limit on the size of budget.

In addition to the ability to set a higher covert operations budget and thereby field more agents, any House with Covert Operations as a primary sphere of activity will benefit from the resulting culture of subterfuge - all newly activated agents will be of 'standard' experience, rather than 'rookie'.

Note that should you operate in this sphere, that fact will remain hidden from other players. The sphere will not be shown on your HQ page when another House clicks to view your House details - only you will see the sphere on your own HQ page.

 
4.2.8 Politics

Not happy with Galactic policy? Feel you could do a better job than the Emperor? Then the Politics sphere may be just what you're looking for. A House that operates within this sphere can field candidates in Senate elections. If successfully elected, the governing Senator has full control over planetary budgets, taxation and a variety of other important policy choices - see the Planetary Government section for full details.

Also, a governing Senator will take a seat in the Senate and may propose Senate motions on any issue desired. Having the Senate seat for a planet in the control of one of your Dynasty members or associated retainers will also greatly increase your influence on the planet concerned.

Elections Every three game years, each populated planet in the galaxy holds an election to determine who will govern the planet and take the representative seat in the Imperial Senate. Anyone with influence on a planet may vote in an election - however, only those Houses operating within the Political sphere may field candidates. Elections always take place on the 21st of the month (an ancient tradition), and official campaigning for a given election may only begin two months prior to the actual election date. From this time onwards, candidates my be submitted to run for the seat, upon payment of a $5000 election deposit, refunded if the candidate achieves at least 10% of the vote in the final result, or drops out before the actual election itself. Should a candidate fail to secure the required 10%, the deposit is not returned. Note that to run for a senate seat, an individual must be over 25 years of age and have no other current commitments (e.g. education, or leading another sphere), and that only one Senate seat can be held by a given individual at one time.

To view election details for a planet and to vote or submit a candidate to run for the senate, go to the Planet Political View, accessed by a link on the main Planet Information Panel screen.

When campaigning in an election, you must decide how much to spend on your campaign. As you might expect, the more you spend to publicise your campaign, the more effective it will be. There are four possible levels of campaign expenditure:

  • Low Key Costs only $500 per month
  • Standard Costs $2000 per month
  • Intensive Costs $5000 per month
  • No Holds Barred Costs $10000 per month

Every day, your campaign will gain impetus based on your campaign expenditure. It follows that to stand a good chance of election you must begin campaigning as early as possible - preferably as soon as allowed - two months prior to the election day.

Apart from your campaign expenditure, the quality of the candidate you field is of paramount importance in determining how a planet will vote in an election. A charismatic and competent administrator who has a record of previous activity in the senate will have a huge advantage over an unknown, unappealing candidate - even if the latter spends a fortune on his campaign. It is also worth bearing in mind that the overall leader of your political activities, as set through the Politics sphere summary screen, will also significantly affect the chances of your candidates in elections. For this reason, you should ensure your political leader is as charismatic and skilful as possible.

The final share of the vote, and therefore the result of an election, is arrived at on election day via a two stage process. At least 60% of the total vote comes from the general, unaffiliated population of the planet concerned. It is this portion of the vote that is 'up for grabs' to any candidate, and this portion that is influenced by the nature of the campaign and quality of the candidate. The remaining share of the vote (up to 40% depending upon the total influence of other players on the planet) is directly allocated to the Houses who have influence on that planet. The more influence a House has, the greater their affiliated share of the vote.

Once there are candidates to choose from in an election, all players with influence there may cast or alter their vote at any time from the Planet Political View screen. The size of each House's block vote is dependent upon their influence on that planet, so if you wish to successfully get a candidate into the Senate, you will need to convince the most influential players there that your candidate is the right man or woman for the job.

All Houses may, of course, vote for their own candidates in elections - so if you yourself have a high influence on a planet, you are more likely to win an election there.

Senate Motions Once you have one or more senators owing allegiance to your House, you may have them propose Senate motions. The Senate will only discuss one motion per month - any new proposals will go to the end of the queue for consideration in due course. To prevent erosion of democracy and minimise the number of superfluous or trivial motions, any motion proposed must first be seconded by a senator owing allegiance to a different House, before it will be considered for discussion and vote in due course.

To view and propose Senate motions, follow the link from the Galactic Affairs page, in the Senate Business section. Here you can vote on the current motion and see all the upcoming motions that you will be able to vote on over the coming months. All of the motions displayed here have been seconded and are eligible to be voted on.

On the 21st of each month, the votes for the current motion are counted up and the motion will either be passed or rejected (in the event of a tie, the motion fails). The proposing and seconding senators will earn a +2 status boost for their House if the motion is passed, but there is a -2 status penalty should the motion be rejected. If the motion passes, the Emperor (or GM) is duty-bound to enact or enforce the motion, whatever it may be, as soon as possible.

At least 60% of the senate must vote on a motion in order for it to be passed at the first vote. Should the required quorum not be obtained, the motion will be carried over for another month. If the required 60% of votes have still not been cast, the motion will be rejected (or occasionally passed, if over 50% of votes have been cast and all are in favour). Note that any House that has failed to actively vote on a motion (or abstain) when it is finally passed or rejected will lose 2 points of status. Those elected to the senate are expected to pay attention!

To propose your own motion or second somebody else's, follow the Proposed Motions link in the top right-hand corner of the Senate Motions screen. You will then see a list of all motions that have been proposed but not yet seconded, and you may click on the description of any of these motions to see the details and second the motion if you so desire. You may also propose a new motion by following the appropriate link. Note that a senator may only propose one motion at any one time. Once proposed the senator must wait until the motion is seconded and has been voted on before being able to propose another. Likewise, a senator may only second one particular motion at any one time.

When proposing a new motion you will need to enter a short description or summary of what the motion entails - which can be anything at all from cutting taxes or legalising trade in a certain commodity, to demanding galaxy-wide feud rights be given against a certain House or a vote of no confidence in the current Emperor. You should post lengthier details of your motion on the Forums to enable other players to understand and discuss your proposals - since you will need one of them to second the motion before it will be considered for voting, and you will need to convince the other senators to back your motion in the voting.

Emergency Motions In times of urgency, the Imperial House may submit an emergency motion for immediate consideration and discussion by the senate. Such a motion does not require seconding and will be available for voting as soon as it is proposed. The motion will be passed as soon as a majority of the senate vote in favour. If this does not happen within a set period (12 game days) then the motion is cancelled. Such a motion can run concurrently with standard senate business, and provides a way of bypassing a potential queue of less important motions should the need arise to pass legislation quickly. Only one such emergency senate motion can be put to the vote at any one time, and the Imperial House will lose 2 status for each such motion, regardless of whether it passes or fails.

 
4.2.9 Financial

Operating within the Financial sphere enables your House both to build financial facilities and to offer out loans and gain income from the interest charged. Lending is not recommended for the weak or faint-hearted, since a borrower may default on a loan - although the lender and the Emperor and associated allies will gain Feud Rights against them in this case.

As with most facilities, financial facilities come in three sizes. These facilities are:

  • Brokerage Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Credit Bank Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Investment Bank Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The larger the facility, the more income it will generate. Financial facility income is heavily dependent upon the wealth of the planet. Rich planets will provide much greater returns than poorer worlds and you may receive over $75 a day from an investment bank if you face no competition on one of these planets. As with any service or commodity however, there will be a level of demand for financial services on each planet - as more financial facilities are built the demand will be reduced and so profits will fall. In order to maximise your financial profits, you should therefore make agreements to limit competition with other Houses operating within this sphere as much as possible.

Loans You may set up loan offers by clicking the 'Finance' link from your HQ page once you have begun operations in this sphere. This will take you to your Financial Operations screen from where you may view all your current loans, both offered and taken. You may lend in set amounts from $500 right up to $25000, and fix a loan period and interest percentage as you see fit. The loan capital plus interest is repaid as a single lump sum at the end of the loan period, there is no facility for repayment by instalments. Should the borrower have insufficient funds to repay you, or deliberately choose not to do so, then you have just cause for Feud against that House. You may also wish to bring the matter to the attention of the Emperor if a large amount is involved.

You may wish to set up multiple identical loan offers. Rather than adding many different offers separately, the '# Available' dropdown can be used to select the total number of that loan offer that you wish to make available. For example, you may wish to offer 10 loans of $1000 each - for a total outlay of $10000.

You may limit your exposure to bad debt by setting the minimum credit rating required in order to take out a loan (see the Treasury section). Setting credit rating to anything other than 'D', the lowest rating, will prevent starting players whose reputation is unproven from taking your loans. You may also optionally choose to offer the loan to your allies only, or to just a single specified House - useful for pre-arranging a loan with another House, for example. In fact you may quite reasonably choose to make loans only on an 'on-approval' basis.

As soon as you submit a loan offer, the money is set aside and deducted from your Treasury. You can withdraw a loan offer that has not yet been taken up at any time if you need the money, and the amount will be recredited to your Treasury immediately. Otherwise, you will not see the money again until the loan has been taken up and repaid at the end of the loan period.

Loans can only be offered to and taken up by Houses within your own operational range. This prevents a House on the other side of the galaxy from taking your loan and then withholding repayment, with you unable to retaliate since the House is outside of the striking range of your military.

Note that a borrower can choose to repay a loan ahead of the repayment due date. In this case, the full interest amount must also be paid, even though the full period was not utilised.

 
4.2.10 Construction

This sphere of activity allows a House to earn income from the facility-building activities of other Houses - aswell as effectively giving the operating House a discount to all of its own facility building operations. Additionally, a house operating construction as a primary or secondary sphere of activity will benefit from reduced facility building times.

In order to gain income from construction, your House must first build a construction facility on a planet. Whenever any House then builds, upgrades or dismantles any facilities on that planet, you will profit, as your operation will receive some or all of the work involved in the construction of that facility. If the facility being built is one of your own, then you will regain some of the cost of building the facility - in the form of income for your construction facilities on that planet.

Additionally, construciton facilities will receive a share of a small percentage of the total maintenance costs of all facilities operating on a planet, to represent ongoing repair and renovation work. So, even if nobody builds any new facilities on a planet where you have construction facilities, you will still earn a little income.

Note that the income gained from construction for a facility is reported on your construction operations page by month, rather than by day. This is because of the erratic nature of much construction income, as outlined above - some days you will receive only a little income from facility maintenance, other days hundreds or even thousands of solars.

As with all spheres, you conduct your operations by following the relevant link from your HQ page in the 'Spheres of Activity' section - in this case, 'Construction'. From this screen, you may build and administer your construction facilities. There are three types of construction facility:

  • Construction Depot Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Construction Plant Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Construction Complex Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs. Construction facilities also increase the demand for machinery on planets where large numbers of such facilities are built.

Like all income-generating operations, the larger the facility, the greater the potential profit. In the case of construction, the larger facilities will gain a bigger share of the construction profits generated on a given planet. Roughly 20% of all facility building costs go into the 'pool' of available construction income for that planet, so on worlds where many facilities are being constructed, this sphere of activity can be highly profitable.

In order to construct a new facility, go to your Construction Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the 'Construction Facilities' heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and facility type, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Construction Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

From your Construction Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing facility to the next largest type, by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete.

You can rename a facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box.

It should be noted that there is a cap on the daily amount of construction income any one facility can take, based on the size of the facility, to reflect the maximum output possible for that facility. This will not normally be noticeable except in the case of very large construction projects. The construction of a huge fortress for example, will require the combined efforts of many construction plants and so even if you are the only House with a construction plant on a given planet, you will only receive the (still ample) capped income - the rest being assumed to go to 'non-player' construction plants.

 
4.2.11 Military

Although all Houses may operate in the Military sphere to some extent, building units and fortresses and launching military operations, it is also possible to specialise in this area.

There are two principal reasons for doing this. Firstly, you will be able to construct Military Academies in order to produce higher quality troops on a planet and earn income from recruitment and military education there. If you have a Military Academy on a planet and you recruit a unit to be based in any of your fortresses on that planet, the unit will be of 'Standard' quality rather than 'Rookie' quality as would normally be the case. As concerns income, each time any House, including your own, recruits units on a planet with one or more Military Academies, a percentage of the recruitment cost is earnt as income for the Academies. The exact amount depends on the number of Academies present, but will never exceed 20% of the recruitment cost. Additionally, all Academies will earn a small amount of income from educating officers and private individuals on the planet concerned. The amount earned depends upon the size and population of the planet, and also on the number of dynasty members of Houses for whom the planet is homeworld that are sent to Military or Elite Academy.

The second advantage to operating within this sphere as a speciality, is the ability to offer out your units for hire as mercenaries, thereby generating income over and above that gained from Academies. Should the unit survive it's mercenary service with the hiring House, you will have probably covered the cost of recruiting the unit in the first place, and the unit may also have gained some experience.

For full details of hiring out mercenaries, see the section within the rules for Defence .

 
4.2.12 Exploration

Those operating in the sphere of Exploration seek to push back the borders of the known galaxy and uncover new sectors and planets. Nobody knows exactly how large the galaxy is, and how many undiscovered planets exist in the Galactic Rim before deep space takes hold. Scientific observations suggest there are many planet-like bodies in the sectors outside of known space, but which of these are habitable or exploitable can only be ascertained by close examination using highly sensitive exploratory probes.

Operations within this sphere are expensive, and the cheaper probes that are available are notoriously prone to malfunction and failure. Therefore this is not a sphere for those on a tight budget. Only a House whose operations elsewhere are highly profitable, or who can secure funding from allies, should consider this as a worthwhile sphere.

The commissioning of exploration missions is a fairly simple process. A new mission can be launched by clicking the link on your Exploration Operations screen. This presents you with a mini-map of the galaxy, which functions in a very similar manner to the standard zoomed out Galactic Chart. Scroll the map to an unexplored sector within range which borders one that is already known to you, and click that sector to select it as the target for the Exploration Mission. Eligible sectors will have a border of orange dashes. Note that the co-ordinates of all sectors in the galaxy are in relation to the position of the Emperor's Homeworld. Thus co-ordinates may change if a new Emperor comes to power. To the right of the mini-map you will see a box for selection of the probe type for your mission. There are four types of exploratory probe available for selection for your mission, of varying quality, reliability and therefore cost. These are as follows:

  • Class 'D' - Polo Costs around $10000. Slim chance of mission success.
  • Class 'C' - Zheng Costs around $15000. Low chance of mission success.
  • Class 'B' - Columbus Costs around $25000. Moderate chance of mission success.
  • Class 'A' - Magellan Costs around $40000. Good chance of mission success.

Note that the more expensive probe classes are only available to those with Exploration as a Secondary (Columbus) or Primary (Magellan) sphere. The overall cost of the mission will also be influenced the distance from your homeworld of the sector to be explored, the attributes of your sphere leader, and the sphere precedence of your exploration sphere. As with all spheres, having exploration as a primary sphere will cut your mission costs by 20%.

The successful mapping of an unexplored sector will take about two game months. Be aware however that exploratory probes will often fail to complete the mapping of their target sector, for a variety of reasons, and your mission may come to a premature and unsuccessful conclusion. Each probe is a highly sensitive piece of equipment, prone to malfunction. The cheaper probes have minimal shielding against radiation and asteroid damage. On top of this, space pirates often operate around and beyond the fringes of known Imperial space, and consider the capture of an exploratory probe a valuable prize for salvage. For these reasons, Explorations are somewhat haphazard and should not be expected to succeed every time - you may have to make several attempts and go to great expense before successfully mapping a sector. Even if the mission is a success, the sector mapped is more than likely to be empty and of little interest. However, by mapping such a sector you will of course open up more distant sectors for exploration.

If you do have the good fortune to discover a hitherto unexplored planet, you will be able to build facilities there immediately. The population of such a planet will normally be virtually non-existent, just a few roving smugglers who prefer to base themselves outside of known space, or lone pioneers and settlers who have travelled into the Galactic Rim and never returned. The economy of such planets will therefore also be undeveloped, often leading to very low prices for any trade goods that may be on offer. Of course, it is possible that you are not the first House to discover the planet, in which case somebody else may already have an established presence there.

Public Knowledge of Unexplored Sectors You may at any time choose to make public the details of a sector you have explored, whether or not it contains a planet. If it does, the planet will become available for development by all Houses, an event that will make the Galactic News and gain your House 5 points of status. You can also reveal the knowledge of your explored sectors just to select Houses, or to fellow alliance members only. Be aware however that even if you choose to guard the location of your newly discovered sectors and planets, any sector that a House successfully explores has a chance of becoming public knowledge. This chance is related both to the number of Houses that know about the sector, and to the population of any planet within that sector. Once people start emigrating to the planet to work in the facilities you build there, the population is sure to rise. The higher the population, the more chance the planet will become public knowledge. It is unlikely you can keep a planet secret for too long - but you will certainly be able to establish a foothold there before anybody else.

Trade routes alone do not increase the chances of a planet becoming public knowledge. It is assumed the traders are employees of your House and therefore under strict orders to keep the knowledge to themselves. Similarly, transport routes, if set up, will not affect the chances although there will be very low demand for regular transport routes to and from sparsely populated newly discovered worlds. You cannot move your Homeworld to a planet that is not public knowledge however, so if you want to do this you must first publicise the appropriate sector.

Note that facilities on a planet that is not public knowledge will not count towards your status total. You will still gain influence on the planet in question, however.

Finally on the subject of Explorations - be aware that an enemy agent in your House may be able to steal knowledge of your explorations. It is a good idea to maintain a counterespionage presence if you wish to avoid this. Also, an attack which results in the ransacking of your House Headquarters can lead to your explorations being stolen by the victorious assailant. Guard your secrets well! Although you will be able to set up an Exploration Concession with another House, if you do wish to share your discoveries and get something in return (via your Embassy).

 
4.2.13 Mysticism

The sphere of Mysticism allows you to create a cult or religious faith, headed by a dynasty member of your House. You may then build religious facilities ranging from lowly Missions right up to Great Temple complexes in order to spread your Faith across the planets and dynasties of the Galaxy. As your Faith gains converts, your influence on the planets concerned will rise, and as dynasty members from your own and other Houses convert to your Faith, so too your status will rise. Mysticism facilities such as shrines and temples will also provide your House with a modest income through contributions from believers.

Creating your Faith When you start up in the Mysticism sphere, your Faith will need to be defined. Remember that in game terms the Faith need not be 'new' - it may be that a member of your House has recently become Head of Faith of a very old and well-established Faith that has been insignificant up until now. You begin defining your Faith by clicking the 'Mysticism' link from your HQ page in the 'Spheres of Activity' section.

Creation of your Faith is a four-step process. First you must name the Faith and select the Head of Faith from your available dynasty members. At this stage, you should also select the basic theology of your Faith. This dictates whether your faith is monotheistic, believing in only one God or supreme being, or polytheistic, animistic and so on. Having done this, you will go on to select the primary tenets of your Faith (see below). Next you will describe your Faith Hierarchy, before finally entering a brief textual description of your Faith and, if desired, a current message from the Head of Faith. This last item, the message from the Head of Faith, is the only section that you can amend without penalty later, after your Faith has been created. The Faith description and selection of tenets will be set in stone once you confirm the final screen in the creation process. You should bear this in mind and ensure you are happy with your Faith description and the other details.

Important :Please avoid any reference to real-world Faiths or Faith figures in both your Faith name and the description and current message. Such references may cause offence and are strictly forbidden, your Faith will be deleted if you do not follow this guideline.

Tenets of Faith As mentioned above, you may select up to three tenets of Faith. The tenets you may select from relate both to the fundamental beliefs of your Faith, and to the rituals and methods of worship used. If you feel that more than three tenets from the list given are applicable, just select the three that your Faith identifies with the most.

Faith Hierarchy The default Hierarchy has only two ranks - 'Initiate' and 'Head of Faith'. The creator of the Faith may rename these as appropriate, and add up to three more intervening ranks for characters of the Faith to aspire to, when the Faith is created. For example, the terms 'Novice' and 'High Priest' may be preferred for the lowest and highest ranks, and add intervening ranks of 'Adept' and 'Priest'. Note that all characters of the rank immediately below the Head of Faith will get to vote on who the next Head of Faith should be, when the current Faith Head dies. This could result in a character from another House assuming the role of Head of Faith! If this happens, the original owner still retains control of the Faith, although can no longer edit the message from the Head of Faith - this privilege passes to the new Head of Faith's House. For this reason the creator of a Faith may wish to set quite strict requirements for the most senior rank below Head of Faith (see below) to ensure that most of the converts at this rank are loyal to that House's chosen successor candidate.

In order to achieve each successive rank, a character of the lower rank must fulfil certain requirements, chosen from the list below :

  • Make Donation A cash donation to the House operating this Faith, from $1000 to $50000
  • Fund Construction of Building(s) May be a mission, shrine, temple or great temple (see below)
  • Sponsor Proselytization Campaign(s) Spend time and money to spread the word on one or more planets
  • Conduct Pilgrimage Travel to sites of significance as a mark of devotion to the Faith
  • Become Hermit Spend a lengthy period away from normal society, in contemplation or meditation

The actions open to a character devoted to a particular Faith can be accessed from the Dynasty page - for each character that has adopted a Faith, a 'Faith Options' link will be available.

As will be immediately apparent, these requirements can result in followers of a Faith from other Houses bringing unexpected benefits to the originating House as they proceed through the Faith Hierarchy. Doing so grants a small status boost with each advancement.

Note that in order to carry out many of the requirements, a character will need to have no other commitments - i.e. not be the head of another sphere, or enrolled in the prizefighting pool, or running for an election and so on. Also, a character who embarks on a proselytization campaign or pilgrimage, or who adopts life as a hermit, will be unavailable for other actions unless recalled via the character 'Faith Options' screen or until the allotted time is completed.

It should also be noted that if a character loyal to a House other than the Faith owner sponsors construction of a Faith-related building, this building will be owned by and under the control of the Faith owner, not the House of the sponsoring character. As soon as the instruction is confirmed, the Faith owner is notified and may view the pending construction from his or her Mysticism Operations screen.

The Faith owner sets the Faith Hierarchy and requirements for a Faith when the Faith is created. These details can be changed at a later date, but this will cost around $5000 for the restructuring, and perhaps more importantly will result in loss of converts throughout the galaxy as a result of the upheaval caused by tampering with the Faiths traditions. For this reason, be very sure when first creating a Faith that you are happy with the rank names and requirements.

Proselytization campaigns can be of varying levels of intensity - the more intensive the campaign the greater the cost, but the larger the numbers of converts that can potentially be achieved. The charisma and administrative skills of the character directing the campaign will be important when determining overall success of the campaign. If the campaign is going well, you should see a gradual increase in the number of converts on the planet concerned throughout the course of the campaign, although in terms of overall percentages the number of new converts from a single campaign will still be small (< 1%). The list below outlines the costs of the various campaign types:

  • Subtle Costs around $5000
  • Standard Costs around $10000
  • Intensive Costs around $20000

Once your Faith has been created, you can access the details of your Mysticism operations by following the relevant link from your HQ page in the 'Spheres of Activity' section. From this screen, you may build and administer your religious facilities. There are four types of mysticism building:

  • Mission Cost about $2400 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Shrine Cost about $4800 to build and $1000/month to maintain.
  • Temple Cost about $9600 to build and $1250/month to maintain.
  • Great Temple Cost about $24000 to build and $1750/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your Head of Faith. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

Unlike other spheres, the number and type of facilities you may construct in the Mysticism sphere is restricted. There are two principal restrictions to be aware of. Firstly, the influence of your Faith on the planet in question will affect which and how many facilities can be built there, according to the following criteria:

  • Mission May be built anywhere - but only one Mission is allowed per planet. Becomes redundant once you have five other facilities on the planet.
  • Shrine One Shrine may be built per 2% Faith influence on the planet.
  • Temple One Temple may be built per 10% Faith influence on the planet.
  • Great Temple One Great Temple may be built per 25% Faith influence on the planet.

Aside from this limitation, your sphere precedence is also important. Only a House which takes Mysticism as it's Primary Sphere may ever build Great Temples. Only a House with Mysticism as a Seconday Sphere may build Temples. Shrines and Missions are open to all Houses operating within this Sphere.

These restrictions also apply to any characters from other Houses who choose to sponsor construction of buildings - if a planet already has one mission, nobody can build another one for your Faith on that world.

In order to construct a new religious facility, go to your Mysticism Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the 'Mysticism Buildings' heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and facility type, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Mysticism Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

From your Mysticism Operations screen you can also upgrade an existing facility to the next largest type (if allowed), by clicking the 'upgrade' icon which appears to the left of each facility's type. You can also dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete.

Effects of Religious Facilities  Each religious facility you build on a planet will add to the chances of converting a small percentage of the population to your Faith. As the influence of your Faith grows, the chances of any character who has that planet as homeworld or who holds the planet's senate seat converting to your Faith will also increase. This chance is greatly increased for Houses that have the Faith in question as their official Faith - although adoption of a Faith as the House official Faith is only permitted if at least one Dynasty member has already converted to that Faith. Each character that converts to your Faith will give you a +1 status boost.

Additionally, your shrines, temples and great temples (but not missions) will generate income in the form of contributions based upon the influence percentage of your Faith on that planet. This income is not taxed, and whilst it will be negligible for the first few shrines you build, once your Faith is influential enough to allow temples, you will start to see increased revenues.

Remember that a mission becomes redundant and no longer contributes to converting the populace once you have five other Mysticism facilities on a planet. At this stage, the larger and more prestigious facilities render the mission useless and it can be dismantled or upgraded to a shrine.

Effects of Character Faith  Should a character adopt a certain Faith, there are several practical implications. Firstly, your House will now be allowed to adopt that Faith as its Official Faith - speeding the conversion of other House members. Secondly, should the character in question be the head of any of your Spheres of Activity, then the influence of his or her Faith versus that of other Faiths on the planets where you operate within that sphere will be important. If another Faith is highly influential on such a planet, then those Houses operating there with a sphere head who is not of that Faith, will suffer from increased maintenance costs - perhaps by as much as 25% in the case of a single rival Faith having a huge influence on a planet. Finally, there are the obvious benefits if the character chooses to advance through the Faith Hierarchy and meets the requirements set for this.

Head of Faith Succession  As mentioned above, should the current Head of Faith pass away for whatever reason, a voting process will be instigated to appoint the new Head of Faith. Eligible to vote - and also to be elected - will be all characters of the rank immediately below that of Head of Faith. Should this rank not have been attained by any character, then the eligible rank will be the next lowest one, and so on. If there are only the default ranks of 'Initiate' and 'Head of Faith' in existence, then any Initiates may vote and be elected as the new Head of the Faith. Alternatively, should one character alone be of the required rank, that character will automatically become the new Head of Faith. Similarly, if a character is promoted to a higher rank than all other candidates through a Faith Action (such as making a donation and so on), any current vote is cancelled and that character immediately becomes the new Head of Faith.

Voting is carried out from the Character Faith Options screen. If a vote is ongoing, a section for registering the vote for each character will appear beneath the standard Faith Actions selection. When registering a vote for a character, you will be able to check the box provided to register this same vote for all of your characters, to save accessing this screen to register a vote for each and every character. In order for a candidate to be elected as the new Head of Faith, that candidate must poll more than half of the total eligible votes. In the case of too few votes being cast to exceed the 50% requirement, or in the event of a tie, no Head of Faith will exist until the situation is resolved. This may be through a change of vote, or through a character being promoted to the eligible rank and casting a deciding vote, or through one of the candidates achieving a higher rank in the Faith than the others through a Faith action, as mentioned previously.

Attainment of the Head of Faith position grants the controlling House a one-off status boost of 10 points, plus allows that player to edit the Message from the Head of Faith on the Faith Summary screen. The Faith Hierarchy, however, can not be changed - that privilege is granted only to the original creator of the Faith.

 
4.2.14 Leisure

The Leisure sphere allows your House to operate recreational facilities where the hardworking dynasty members and retainers of Imperium Nova can wind down - for a price of course!

Leisure Facilities You may build leisure facilities on any planet within your operational range (see Technology). There are three types of facility available as indicated in the list below.

  • Bar Costs about $950 to build and $400/month to maintain.
  • Pleasure House Costs around $1700 to build and $700/month to maintain.
  • Gaming Hall Costs roughly $2400 to construct and $1000/month to maintain.

The actual cost to build any facility is influenced by the distance of the site from your homeworld and the competence of your sphere leader. Maintenance costs are likewise affected by your leader's competence. Also, build and maintenance costs are reduced on poorer planets, and increased on richer worlds, due to differences in labour and materials costs.

To build a new facility, go to your Leisure Operations screen from your HQ, and click on the 'plus' sign to the right of the Leisure Facilities heading. This will open up a new row for you to select the planet and facility size, and name your facility to help distinguish it from others of the same type. Submit the new details by clicking on the green tick at the end of this row. Alternatively, you may go to the planet where you want the facility constructed, click on the 'View Facilities' link, and then use the link in the top right hand corner of the screen to build your facility. Once you have ordered the construction of a facility you must wait for it to be completed, which will take some time. To view the facilities you currently have under construction, you can follow links both from the Leisure Operations screen and any planet's 'View Facilities' screen. This will also tell you how many game days remain before completion of the facility.

You can dismantle a facility using the red cross icon, should you have no further use for this facility. In this case, you will recoup around one third of the original cost of building the facility, once dismantling is complete. Additionally, you can always rename any facility simply by clicking on the existing facility name, which will make it amendable. Submit your new name by clicking the green tick that will appear alongside the input box. Note that Leisure facilities cannot be upgraded, the three facility types are quite different.

Note that if you click on the planet name of any facility, you will be taken to the planet information panel for that planet, from where you can view the current trade prices.

Leisure Profits Income from leisure facilities can be divided into two categories: firstly, the basic income from anonymous day-to-day visits to the facilities made by the population at large, and secondly, a much more variable income segment based on visits by specific dynasty members and retainers to your individual facilities. The first portion is fairly predictable and will be included in your projected income totals for the sphere. The exact amount is based on the type of the facility together with the population and wealth levels of the planet - and of course the degree of competition faced by your facilities on that planet. Bars generate the lowest income followed by pleasure houses, with gaming halls providing the best income potential. However, since the maintenance costs also rise for the larger facility types, the actual profits may well be broadly similar. Note also that the different facility types do not compete with each other - only with other facilities of the same type. So you can have one of each Leisure facility type on a planet without suffering any competition between them, however as soon as you or any other House opens a second bar (for example) both bars will suffer a small income penalty due to the competition.

The second income (or deficit!) portion for a Leisure Facility is based on the visits to that facility by dynasty members and retainers belonging to other players, and often also on what they get up to whilst at your facility! Normally, these characters will spend money to make a visit - but in some cases, the visit may actually cost you money! It is therefore very important to realise that the income from all your leisure facilities, and especially Gaming Halls, may be erratic due to the irregular frequency of such visits and the varying fortunes of the visitors themselves. In fact, it is highly recommended that any House operating within the Leisure sphere retains substantial cash reserves to cover the possibility of a big winner at one of that House's Gaming Halls resulting in hardship or even bankruptcy for the owning House! Although the odds are weighted in favour of the facility owner and should provide a healthy profit over time, a freak result can of course occur in the short term.

Whenever a character visits a leisure facility, the owner of the facility is immediately credited with $10 for a visit to a bar or Gaming Hall, or $20 for a visit to a Pleasure House. The owner of a Gaming Hall will be also be able to view the total solars lost or won by each visitor over and above the standard visit cost mentioned above, when accessing the 'View Visitors' screen for one of their own Gaming Halls. Other players will also be able to view the visitors to the facility in this way, but not the information regarding what they spent or won. Gaming Hall wins and losses are immediately applied to the daily income figure for that facility and to your Leisure income total for the month - which can of course be negative!

Granting a Leisure Concession to a House will give them a significant cost reduction when visiting your facilities - however, the base entry profit your House receives is halved (to $5 for a Bar/Gaming Hall or $10 for a Pleasure House). Winnings/losses in Gaming Halls are not affected by concessions.

Please note that because of the erratic nature of income from dynastic and retainer visits to Leisure facilities, such income cannot be projected. Your end of month Leisure income projection only includes the base planetary income, as discussed above.

Leisure Activities and Dangers 

The three different types of Leisure Facility each offer different activities within their walls - and different risks associated with a visit there.

When visiting a bar, the character may chat in the public bar forum that is displayed once a visit is initiated. This forum is visible to all current visitors to the bar, and posts here are deleted after one or two game days. The message list is automatically updated every few seconds, and the most recent 12 messages are listed by default. You can view older messages by clicking on the 'Archived Chat' link. If several players are chatting, there are a number of text colour selections available for speedy recognition of who has posted which message. Only a forum moderator may delete bar forum messages. As usual, any player found guilty of abusive posting on these forums will receive a ban and be unable to post. There is a small chance that during a bar visit, your character will be involved in an unpleasant incident such as a brawl or similar. You will be notified that such an event has occurred when you click the 'leave' link at the top right, to conclude your character's visit to the bar. Should you navigate away from the page without clicking 'leave', the character will remain in the bar for a maximum of 2 hours real time, after which he or she will automatically leave - so you can't avoid such events just by failing to click 'Leave'.

Pleasure Houses offer no special features for the characters visiting them, and so there is no reason to 'hang around' in a Pleasure House, you might as well click the 'Leave' link right away. As with bars, there is the possibility of a negative event affecting any character visiting a Pleasure House, which will be applied when you leave or are timed out from the facility. The activities that go on within the walls of such establishments are rarely wholesome, and often illegal. Visit such facilities sparingly.

Gaming Halls offer a number of games of chance that allow the visitor to stake solars for a potential big win. Note that the odds for pretty much all Gaming Hall games are weighted to favour the facility owner, and not the visitor. However, there are certainly wins on offer and the potential to win big is always there. The games available in a Gaming Hall are the same for all such facilities, and are accessed once your character is within the facility, with the rules for each game visible on the page for that game. Your character may leave a Gaming Hall in the same manner as for other Leisure facilities - simply click the 'Leave' link in the top right corner of the screen, or else the visit will time out after several real-time hours (even if the character is still present and active).

Miscellaneous Points Regarding Leisure Visits You can access a list of all Leisure Facilities directly from your House Dynasty page - just click the 'Leisure Options' link. This list defaults to filtering by your homeworld, where it will be far cheaper to conduct visits to Leisure Facilities. You may of course change the filter to include all planets, or another specific planet. The list also indicates whether or not you have any characters visiting the facility in question - under the 'Own Visitors?' column. You can view the current visitors or commence a visit yourself, from this screen.

Should you navigate away from the ongoing leisure visit screen for any of the facility types during an actual visit - for example by clicking on an option from the main menu - you can always return there by carrying out the steps to visit the facility again. That is, go to the planet facility list or the Leisure Facility list from your Dynasty page and click the 'visit facility' link. Just make sure you select the same character. You will then be taken directly back into the ongoing visit screen, rather than the confirmation screen which would charge you for a 'new' visit. In this way, you will not be charged each time you go back to the ongoing visit screen, and may carry out other business and then return there as many times as you like, until you click 'leave' or else the visit times out after several real-time hours.

Back to Top