Whispers of the Wood, Volume XII, Issue 10
Q: It seems that if a nation has an easy time placing camps at the beginning of the game, it'll continue to experience such good fortune throughout the game. Conversely, a nation which runs into difficulty placing camps early on seems to experience problems later as well. Is this a function of game mechanics, or is it just a run of luck approaching the odds of winning the lottery?
A: Just luck, but obviously good emissaries affect the chances and this benefit may continue throughout the game.
Q: When threatening a pop center with two armies from the same nation, does the required troop number need to be in each army or do the two armies "combine• for the necessary number to threaten?
A: The two armies would "combine" for the purposes of threatening.
Q: When attempting to threaten a population center, do war machines help out other than counting as 25 troops?
A: No, they count as just 'more troops' to help the threaten.
Q: Can a pop center be successfully threatened with less than the number of troops required as given in the rulebook?
Q: Is the number of troops required to conduct a successful siege roughly based upon the number required to threaten the pop center?
A: The numbers are similar, but not necessarily the same.
Q: ls the 'force' needed to threaten a population center based upon numbers of troops or strength points?
A: The 'force' Is based upon the quantity of troops, not the type or quality.
Q: Do dragons or NPCs aid in threats/sieges?
A: No. Only troops are considered for these purposes.
Q: Can a nation 'defend' a pop center owned by an ally if the defender has 'Friendly' relations with the ally? Or will the army stand by while the enemy burns the pop center?
A: Unless orders are given to attack, the ally will not automatically defend the pop center like the owner would. To be involved In the combat, the ally would have to Initiate an attack.
Q: Do latent artifacts help to protect the target of an assassination attempt? For instance, is a 50 rank mage with a 30 rank mage artifact treated as 50 or 80 for purposes of assassination?
A: GSI does not divulge this Information. The only thing we can say is--try It and find out!
Q: Which is easier, assassinate or kidnap?
A: Assassination. It Is easier to get In and stick a dagger In someone's ribs than It Is to get In, knock the target out, truss them up and then sneak away.
Q: Are some skills more effective at protecting against agent attacks than others? For example, might a 60 point commander be a harder target to assassinate than a 60 point emissary?
A: No. Skill level plays a part In how dlfflcult It Is to assassinate a character, but Individual skill classes have no effect.
Q: Assume you have two 50 point agents. Is it more effective to have both guard a single character than to just have one of those agents guard that character?
A: Yes. The enemy agent would have to get through both guards, as opposed to just the one guard.
Q: Are two 40 point agents guarding a single character: A. More effective than a single 80 point agent? B. Less effective than a single 80 point agent? C. About as effective as a single 80 point agent?
A: The answer Is B. Two 40 point agents are generally less effective than a single 80 point character, but that Isn't always the case.
Q: Does Stealth increase the effectiveness of 'Guard' orders?
Q: If a character has stealth, is he less likely to show up on another player's pop center report?
Q: Are characters with high skill ranks more likely to show up on another player's pop center. report than characters with low skill?
Q: Can an army, or specific troops, be put on maneuvers more than once in a turn (by different commanders)?
A: Yes, and by reviewing the discussion In the rulebook about characters with an army you can determine how this can be done.
Q: Does army morale go up when an army commander increases in rank?
A: No, not as a result of the commander's rank increase. Morale is normally Increased only as indicated in the rules.
Q: When attacking an enemy army (not the population center at one of their fortified population centers), will they receive a constitution bonus from their fortification? Does the attacking army have to overcome the fortification?
A: The answer to the first question Is 'Yes'. The answer to the second question is 'No' - because the enemy army would be gaining a defensive bonus because of certain available defenses associated with the fortifications not the actual fortifications themselves.
Q: When defending against an enemy attacking army that is at their own population center (i.e. when you are planning to siege their population center and they attack you), does the attacking enemy receive the constitution bonus from their own fortifications?
A: Yes, If combat occurs In a hex with fortifications which are owned by one of the Involved armies, then they will receive the bonus because they are still using the available defenses associated with the fortifications, even though they might also be attacking.
Q: Is there a way to capture/destroy a fortified population center without war machines (and without sieging, threatening, using emissary orders, etc .... )?
A: Yes, you can capture/destroy a population center using an army without war machines. The war machines are a .EUG.. help, but not absolutely necessary.
Q: Can armies of different nations combine to attack?
A: Yes, but the armies are JiQI joined. They simply can meet at the same place and attack on the same turn.
Q: If a navy is at a harbor/port, and the harbor/port is removed/destroyed, what happens to the navy?
A: The navy is not directly affected by the lost harbor/port. The navy can remain in the hex as long as It wishes. It can even, If the terrain is 'shore', anchor ships and go ashore. However, if the navy moves away from the hex, and the terrain Is not 'shore', then the navy can not return to the hex. Only an army would be able to enter the hex until the harbor is restored.
NOTE FROM RAVEN: I WLL NEED TO FIX LAYOUT OF CONTENT BELOW THIS LINE.
WotW Xiii - 9
Q. It states on the Fourth Age Nation Design Sheet that the three capital hexes
should be AT LEAST 10 hexes apart. What happens if they are not? Does GSI
reject the design?
A. If something like this happens the nation design will not necessarily be
rejected, although this could preuent a nation (and a team, If they are a
member of such) from being assigned to a particular game and end up
delayed until another game starts. Regardless, during the Initialization of
the setup of the game wheneuer a random factor Is called for for that
nation, the computer will inuarlably generate a lower ualue than would
normally be assigned. This could affect the leuel of the artifacts recelued
by that nation, or the starting heH production for that nation's population
centers, etc. ·
Q. Do the same races get [likely] stealth bonuses for new characters in the Fourth
Age scenario that got them in the (1650,2950] Third Age scenarios?
A. No. Since 'Stealth rank bonus' Is a Special Nation Ability (SNR #5) In the •
4th Age 1000 scenario, it must be selected in order to receiue this benefit.
Thus, players that select Elues/Non-human races should NOT eHpect new
characters to commonly be 'stealthy' unless they haue chosen this SNR.
Q. When an off shore navy threatens a pop center, how are the calculations
done? A town requires 1000 troops to threaten on land. Does a threatening navy
off shore work like other naval encounters and you divide all factors by 100--
the thousand thus becoming a 10? Do war machines in the hull of the ships count
R. In simplest terms, a navy Is an army with ships attached to It. No
modifications are made when a navy threatens a pop center--all of the
factors used when an army threatens are used when the navy threatens.
Thus, It Is the number of troops, the command rank of the army commander
and any war machines. Please note, however, that ships DO NOT count as
war machines--only war machines count as war machines. You can carry
war machines with a navy, but ships are NEUER counted as war machines.
Q. Why do hostages get a chance to escape before the character holding them
hostage can execute or imprison them? Wouldn't it make more sense for the
execute order to be placed after the hostage holder has a chance to dispose of
A. This is a logical view and one which we considered when designing the
game. However, GSI chose to look at It from the perspectiue of the target
character. GSI felt that, since the order to execute is a permanent state,
the hostage should be allowed one final attempt to hold onto his/her life.
We weighed both of these viewpoints during the Initial game design and
felt that giving the character one last chance to escape was both logical
Q. If a character with emissary skills is traveling with a navy and is off shore of
a hex without a pop center, can the emissary issue order 555 Create Camp? What
if the navy is moving up a river and the hex is not shore hex. Could he still issue
R. The answer to both of these questions is yes. Characters have greater
latitude than armies/navies with regard to terrain restrictions, so as long
as they are in" the hex, they can perform the 555 order.
Q. The following armies/navies are in the same hex. Commander A has a
navy off shore with 636 Infantry and 10 warships/16 transports. Commander B
has an army with 2700 Infantry. Commander C has an army with 400 Infantry.
Commander B orders Transfer Troop (355) 2600 Infantry to Commander
A; then Commander A orders Recruit HI (408) for 300 Infantry; then
Commander C orders Transfer Command (780) to Commander A; finally,
Commander A orders Move Navy (830).
The question is: Does Commander A move with ALL his ships including the
warships? If no, which command takes his ships away? Note: the ~rand total of
636+2600+300+400=3936 is Jess than the 4000 Infantry, the maximum for 16
R. In the above scenario, Commander R would be able to Issue the
Moue Navy order, since -the troop total does not exceed the maximum
number of troops the transports can carry.
Please note that, even If the troop total exceeded the maximum
number of troops the transports can carry, the ships would not be
anchored. The navy would simply become an army with ships attached to It.
If, on subsequent turns, enough troops were transferred OUT of the army so
that the transports could carry the troops in the army, that force would
then become a navy.
Q. In the 1650 rulebook that I have, Order 850 says that an army moving
without food may only use 9 movement points, and Order 860 says an army
may only use 10 movement points. However, the 2950 rulebook says only that
the range of movement will be reduced. Is movement in 2950 the same . as
1650? Do 2950 armies only have 9 or 10 movement points when moving
R. To answer these questions In (almost) reverse order, movement is
the same for both 1658 and 2950. The old 1650 rulebooks were misleading
In that they stated that moving without food only gave you 9 movement
points, 18 when force marching--THIS IS INCORRECT!! _
On p. 31 of the rulebook, there Is a chart which gives the movement
penalty for moving without food. This penalty Is normal movement cost
PLUS 1 /3, ROUNDED UP FOR ERCH HEX! I Please make note of this, as this
movement penalty Is quite different from the guidelines given In the old
Q. I was wondering what would happen if the same character issued the
355 Transfer Troops: Army to Army and transfer ALL the troops in the army;
then the character does one of the recruit troop orders (400, 404, 408, 412, 416
or 420). ·
Is the army considered disbanded after 355, forcing me to issue a 770
order and pay the hiring cost? Or do you judge the army status at the end of the
R. The status of the army Is determined after all of the orders of that
TYPE have been processed. In other words, after all of the 355 orders have
been processed, the computer will check to see if the army has been
disbanded. Therefore, If a character transfers all of his/her troops then
he/she will have to Issue the 770 order to create a new army.
If, however, there Is another army there and that army Issues a 355
order for the minimum of 1 BB troops, then the army will still be considered
active. Since the check Is done at the END of the 355 orders, the original
army will have 100 troops at the end of the order and the army would still
Q. When a mage researches a spell, is the "natural" or "net" rank used to
determine success? Which is used to determine the initial casting rank?
R. When a mage researches a spell, the NET rank Is used to determine
whether that research is successful. However, It Is the NATURAL rank which
determines the Initial casting rank.
Q. If I have an army In a hex and I glue that army a Stand and Defend order,
will It stop enemy armies who are moving evasively from moving through
A. If the armies both start in the same hex, the answer to this question is yes. If
there is an army who comes in from another hex, however, the army has a
chance to get by the defending army because of its evasive movement.
Essentially, if both armies start in the hex, the Defending army knows there is an
enemy force in the hex and can make arrangements to prevent that enemy army
from moving. If the enemy army starts from a different hex, then the Defending
army is unsure if any enemy forces will pass through; thus, evasive movement
might work. The rulebook is a little confusing on this matter. Please refer to p.
100 for clarification when filling out turnsheets.
Q. Will spell #244, Fearful Hearts, help when attacking an enemy population
A. Fearful Hearts only affects army combat. The spell description says
that "The spell temporarily reduces the morale of any enemy armies In that
hex by 10-20 points during combat." The key word here is morale. Since
there Is no morale for population centers, this spell will not affect
population center combat.
Q. Will it help when threatening an enemy population center?
A. Again, the answer Is no. Actually, combat spells do not affect Threatens
at all, since there is no actual combat taking place.
Q. An army of mine faces an army of South Gondor at a North Gondor population
center. What order do I write for my army to attack the South Gondor army and
capture the North Gondor population center?
A. You would not be able to do both on the same turn unless the South
Gondor army attacked you. The 230 order would allow you to attack all
enemy armies but you would not attack the population center. The 255
order would allow you to attack the population center and any armies of
the same nation but you would not AUTOMATICALLY initiate combat with
other enemy nations· armies. If the South Gondor army attacked you and
you gave the 255 order, then you would be able to accomplish both.
Otherwise, you would have to Issue one order the first turn and then Issue
the other order the following turn, OR have two armies present, each gluing
the requisite order.
Q. I have a commander in command of a navy with 300 HI and 18 warships and
7 transports. I have another character with command/emissary skill located in
the same hex (which has a city with a port). I would like the navy commander to
execute order 355 (TrTrps) and transfer 200 HI to the commander/emissary. I
would like his second order to be 830 (MovNavy), the result being that the first
commander sails away with 100 HI and the second character stays in the city
with 200 HI. Is this possible?
R. NO. The 355 order does not allow an army to transfer troops to a
character UNLESS the character commands (or Is with) an army/navy. The
765 (SplRrmy) would allow you to do this as long as the navy Is able to
Q. If this is possible, then: How many Warships and Transports would each
R. As augmented above, the navy commander who split the army would not
transfer any ships. Thus, the character receiving the transferred troops
would have no ships. Neither the 765 order, nor the 355 order, transfers
anything In terms of ships and/or Items In the baggage train, except the
765 moves a proportional amount of food as part of the split.
Q. I also have another character located in the same hex and would like him to
join the navy before it sails away. What order would I use?
R. Before the navy sails, the order to use would be 785 (JnArmy). After the
navy sails and lands, the order to use would be 878 (MovJoln).
Q. Here is my situation: I have an army with no food in it sitting in one of my
ally's population centers. He has raised his relations with me to friendly but I am
still tolerated with him. Is it possible for me to buy food directly into my army
at his pop center? Can I buy the food into his population center stores, and then
transfer it into my army? Or is there some other way to do this?
R. There Is no way to purchase food for an army at another nation's
population center--period. If there is already food in the population center,
you can TRANSFER the food into your army, but that would be taking directly
from the population center's stores. You could purchase food at one of your
own pop centers and then transfer It to that population center, but the
food would appear at the population center when the transfer takes place-
-at order 948, which Is almost the end of the turn. If you did this the turn
before, then you would be set.
Q. I was looking over the 635 order (Interrogate Hostage) and found it a little
conflicting. In the prerequisites it states: "Hostage character is held by character
OR by character's nation in a pop center." However, in the description to the
right, it says that the interrogation can only take place IN a population center of
the questioner's nation. My question is--can an agent interrogate a hostage
anywhere as long as he is the one holding the hostage or does he have to be in
one of my population centers?
R. Your agent can Interrogate any hostage they hold wherever they wish.
The "OR by character's nation In a pop center" means that any character
with agent skill can Interrogate the hostage at that pop center as long as
the hostage Is Imprisoned there. Otherwise, only the character holding the
hostage can Interrogate him.
Q. Regarding the secondary powers of some artifacts: if an artifact gives access to
a spell list, does holding the artifact allow any mage from that nation to learn the
spells or does each mage have to hold the artifact personally to have access to
that spell list?
R. Each mage would have to hold the artifact personally in order to be able
to learn the spells on that particular list. Holding the artifact does not allow
any mage from a nation to learn the spell.
Q. If an artifact gives access to a specific spell, can any character cast it or only a
R. If the artifact glues access to a specific spell, then any character can
cast that spell.
Q. If any character can cast the spell, what order would he use?
R. He would use the order that a mage would use to cast the spell; i.e. if he
had access to the Teleport spell, he would issue order 825 with the
additional information of 314 and the hex he is moving to. The artifact
would also have to be 'in use' to cast the spell. [Note: to research a spell
from an artifact (giving access to a spell list), the artifact does not have to
be 'in use'.)
Q. If an artifact gives access to Teleport, which category does that fall into?
R. If the artifact gives access to the Teleport LIST, then only a mage would
be able to learn the spell; if the artifact gives access to the Teleport SPELL,
then any character would be able to cast it.
Q. I was recently eliminated from play because I went bankrupt; I had a
38,000 revenue, a maintenance of 14,000 (gluing me a +24,000 surplus), a
tax rate of 100% and a gold reserve of 7,000. 1 also bought 17,000 food (at
a price of 2). How could I go bankrupt if I'm operating with a surplus and
the program won't let me buy more than I have in reserve?
A. The key to this question lies in the sequence of events (p. 109 of the
rulebook) . What happened in your case is that you bought your 17,000 food,
with a cost of 34,000 gold. According to the sequence of events, you receive your
production/revenue at step #4, and then your buys come at step #5.
Consumption of maintenance comes at step #7. Thus, you received your revenue
at step #4, giving you a total reserve of 45,000 gold (38,000 + 7,000). At this
point, your buy order went through, taking 34,000 from your reserve and giving
you a total of 9,000 gold in reserve. When the time came to pay your
maintenance of 14,000 gold, there was not enough to cover the expense; at this
point, your tax rate was increased to cover the deficit. This is what caused you to
go bankrupt. So yes, it is possible to bankrupt yourself by buying above your
means!! If you want to do this, you might want to make sure your tax rate is low
enough to handle the increase.
Q. With regard to season changes, how do I know when the season
change takes effect7
A. The season changes follow the normal season changes as they occur in the
"Real World." Any almanac can tell you what day the season officially changes.
To that end, OSI has implemented a message which will be generated giving
players at least a one turn warning when the season change is about to take
place. This will be printed in the "Nation Messages" section of your turnsheet, so
watch for it!
Q. I am a little confused when it comes to multi-player combat and how
these battles are resolued. Can you glue any examples?
A. O.K., here's one for you. There was a battle at 3028, where the Cloud Lord
owned a fortified town. There were armies in the hex belonging to the Quiet
Avenger, the Neutral Harad, Northern Gondor, and the Sinda had a navy. Here is
how it works out: the Sinda attacked all enemies. The Harad defended, the Quiet
Avenger attacked the Sinda and Northern Gondor gave a capture Pop Center
order. The Sinda, Quiet Avenger and Harad fought and Northern Gondor and
Harad fought. The Sinda and Harad are destroyed. The Quiet Avenger and
Northern Gondor split the food. Northern Gondor then attacks the Pop Center and
wins. The key here is that the Quiet Avenger does not automatically defend
because the Pop Center is not his--thus, he is cut out of the battle for the Pop
Q: The rulebook states "artifacts must be used by issuing the appropriate
order in the turn ... " - But order #205 indicated a combat artifact remains In
use until something happens to change the situation. Which is the case?
A: An artifact will remain 'in use' once it has become 'in use'. If a character
obtains an artifact, and does not currently have one 'in use', then one (the most
powerful) will be selected and used . If a character obtains a new artifact, and
one is currently 'in use', then no change will occur. If the new artifact, or any
other is desired to be the one 'in use', then #205 must be given. If a character
loses an artifact, but another is still in their possession, then one (again the most
powerful) will be selected.
Q: How does the "Combat Bonus" for artifacts and spells affect Personal
Combat? Naval Combat?
A: The "Combat Bonus" value is translated into values for:
Personal Combat = value/SO (i.e. a 500 bonus becomes 10)
Naval Combat = value/100 (i.e. a 1000 bonus becomes 10)
The "Combat bonus" for spells does not affect Personal Combat.
0: At what tax rate does the loyalty rank become affected, either adversely
or to our benefit?
A: The exact range of values is NOT revealed.
the loyalty rank is assured of going down or up by
intermediate tax rates can result in either a slight
or no change at all in the loyalty rate.
However, at certain tax rates
a fixed amount. However, the
decrease, or a slight increase,
Q: My nation spends more money than it makes In Income. How can I fix it?
Is this fair?
A: Third Age, circa 1650 is a period of recovery and bold plans. This means
that some nations have been suffering and are trying to return to a position of
power. Others have grand plans to acquire new holdings and strength. In either
case, this expansion takes wealth . Thus, it will be up to the nation's leaders to
continue these grand schemes/recovery or curtail their nation 's growth. M..lul.)'.
nations face this dilemma. Suggestions for methods of increasing wealth can be
found on page 21-22 of the Rulebook .
Q: My nation has a special ability that allows me to create new
(Commanders, Agents, Emissaries, or Mages) at a rank of up to 40. What
order can I use to gain this advantage?
A: The only way to take advantage of this ability is to use the "Name New
Character As (Commander, Agent, Emissary, or Mage)" order (#728, 731, 743 , or
737) and with a (Commander, Agent, Emissary , Mage) that already has a rank of
40+. The "Name New Character" order (#725) can not be issued to take
advantage of this ability .
Q: My nation has a special ability that allows me to create new
(Commanders, Agents, Emissaries, or Mages) at a rank of up to 40, but all my
(Commanders, Agents, Emissaries, or Mages) have a skill rank of 10. What
can I do to still gain this advantage? Is this a problem?
A: At this time in the Third Age, many nations are suffering, or just
recovering from the Great Plague . This means that many former heroes have
perished. Therefore, although your nation may have the historical ability to
create such skilled character s, you will have to train your current characters to a
skill rank of 40+ to gain use of this advantage. Many nations may find
themselves in this situation.
Q. When moving evasively or without food, what is the movement cost
of the "home" order?
A. "Home" movement always costs I movement point, no matter any other
extenuating circumstances such as lack of food or moving evasively. Essentially,
your men are spending one day in that spot, so there are no penalties for staying
in one place. The 4/3 rule when moving without food does not apply because the
army is not actually moving, so the food can be gathered as the army remains
stationary. When moving evasively, essentially the evasive movement was done
when the army entered the hex . No other movement points need be expended to
stay in the same hex--the army has already moved evasively.
Q. Can a company commander use order #780, Transfer Command, to
transfer command of a company to another character with command skill?
Can he use it to transfer command to another company commander? How
about to a character from another nation?
A. The answer to the first two questions is yes. A company commander can
transfer command of his company to either another character with command
skill or another company commander, thus combining the two companies under
one commander. Command cannot be transferred to a character of another
nation, even if that nation has friendly relations to your nation and vice versa. It
is one thing to have a character join a company commanded by another nation.
It is quite another to hand over command of an entire company of characters.
Q. If my commander is killed in an army attack along with his army, and the
enemy commanders and their armies were killed in the same turn assaulting my
pop center, what happens to the artifact(s) my commander was carrying?
A. If all characters are killed, the artifact(s) will drop in the hex. That is
not to say another player cannot pick up the artifact in the same turn ...
Q. If the artifact was dropped in my pop center, can I issue order #796, Pick
Up Artifact, to retrieve it?
A. Order #900 would serve you better. Order #796 is more for picking up
artifacts which a character dropped in a hex (and is usually best
accomplished by the character who dropped the artifact).
Q. If a player is knocked out via capturing all possible capitals, what happens
to his pop centers, armies, characters, hostages and any artifacts with those
We do not go into detail regarding nations which have been eliminated
and what happens to that nation's holdings.
Q. Can I hire (bribe) a Neutral or Dark Servant character if I am a Free
A. No. Characters can only be recruited by nations whose alignment is
the same as the nation who controlled that character.
Q. When calculating army strength in a pop center assault, do war machines
count only against fortifications, or does the army still get 50 strength points
per war machine?
A. When calculating army strength in a pop center assault, war machines
first go against the fortifications of the pop center. If there is anything
"left over," the remaining will get the 50 Strength against the pop center.
example: If there is a pop center with fortifications which give 2000
defense points and you have an army with 40 war machines, the war
machines will take down the fortifications but do nothing to the pop
center. If you had 41 war machines, 40 would be used to take out the
fortifications and the remaining I would give 50 extra strength points
when attacking the pop center. You do not get strength bonus from war
machines if they do not overcome the fortifications.
Q. Are war machines only counted on the first round of combat like artifacts
and offensive spells?
No, they are counted every round.
Q. IF A CHARACTER HAS AN ENCOUNTER, WHY CAN ANY CHARACTER
IN THE HEX REACT?
A. Actually, not just any character present in the hex can react to the
encounter. Any character in the hex that is not with, nor in command of, an
army/navy may react to the encounter.
The reason why 'almost' any character present in the hex may react is
partly to capture more reality, and partly to allow more simple/flexible game
mechanics. Most players would like to make the case that if they have more than
one character in a hex, then those characters could be travelling together
(certainly, this would be likely in the case of a company). Furthermore, if an ally
also had a character present, then the same case could be made, and the player
could tell that ally of the encounter. Perhaps the ally would prefer to have their
character react to the encounter, rather than the character that had the
encounter. However, characters in the hex that would not be likely to be
travelling with the character that had the encounter (i.e. enemies characters)
would not normally be present and thus would not normally be aware of (and
thus not likely to react to) the encounter, unless somehow the enemy character
was aware of the presence of the encounter from rumors or previous knowledge.
In such cases, the enemy character could be present and react as· well, sooner or
The rules require that only one character is 'forced' to react to the
encounter (the one that actually gets the encounter report), but by allowing
almost any character present to react to the encounter, the rules capture more of
the above-mentioned 'reality'. All the characters could get reports of the
encounter, but there really was no need to advise each character redundantly.
Furthermore, by allowing almost any character present to react, this allows the
player who has a company (or other characters present) to select the
character(s) that they feel are most qualified to react to that encounter
("perhaps a mage would be best for one encounter, and an agent for another";
"perhaps my best character should handle this encounter ... "), or most
Can a character being held as hostage be challenged (via order 210)?
A. No. He is a captive and can not react to anyone.
Q. Are armies at hidden population centers also hidden?
Q. If an army at a hidden population center is lost, are the characters
travelling with the army at the location considered to be within the hidden
A. Not necessarily.
Q. Can an army commander transfer food to or from a hidden friendly
population center of another nation (via orders 340, 345)?
Q. Can an army commander make war machines, armor, weapons, warships
or transports at a hidden friendly population center of another nation (via
orders 440, 444, 448, 452, 456)?
Q. Are characters in hidden population centers of the owning nation also
A. Not necessarily because success of scouting is based on agent
Q. For example, can they be:
1. challenged by characters of other players in the hex (via order 210)?
A. Yes, the characters at a hidden population center can challenged.
2. affected by "Spirit Mastery" spells (502, 504, 506)?
A. Yes, they are affected by these spells.
3. located through Reveal Character, Reveal Character True, or Scry
Character spells (420, 430, 436)?
4. located through artifacts on their person by Locate Artifact or Locate
Artifact True spells (418, 428)?
Q. Can a hidden population center be sieged (via order 260)?
A. No (see p 65 of the rulebook).
Q. The description for order 920, Scout Population Center, lists as a
prerequisite that the population center is not hidden. However, in the
description of the order it is implied that whether or not a population center is
hidden may be determined. Which is correct?
A. If he successfully scouts the population center then he may get
information concerning a hidden population center. If not, he will get
Q. Can supplies be transported to another nation's hidden population center
via order 948?
A. They cannot be transported to a hidden population center of that
nation but can be transported to another unhidden population center
of that nation. If the product is gold and that nation's capital is
hidden, you can indicate an unhidden population center to transfer to
and the gold will automatically be transferred to the hidden capital.
Q. Can a character in a hidden population center be recruited as a double
agent (via order 500)? Also, can a character in a hidden population center
recruit someone of another nation in the hex as a double agent?
A. The answer to both questions is yes.
Q. Same question for Bribe/Recruit (order 505).
A. Again, the answer is yes.
Q. Can a hidden population center be influenced (via order 525)?
Q. Will Uncover Secrets (order 585) reveal any information as to the
existence or rumored location of a hidden population center?
A. Perhaps ....
Q. Do offensive spells work only on the first round of combat or in all rounds of
A. The effects of the spell are applied once and that's all.
Q. Do defensive spells work only on the first round of combat or in all rounds
A. See above.
Q. Do combat artifacts work only on the first round of combat or in all rounds
A. See above.
Q. With regards to armies without food--if they pick up sufficient food to
feed the entire army (via order 340, for example) can they move at the regular
movement rate that turn or must they have food at the beginning of the turn?
A. There are actually two checks for food that are made in a turn--
one at the time of consumption (see p109 of rulebook for sequence of
events), when the morale is increased or reduced, and one at the time
of movement. If, at the time of movement, there is 1 food unit in the
baggage train, then no movement penalty will be incurred. If,
however, you transfer just enough to feed your army (1000 food to a
1000 Heavy Infantry army) and there is no food in the baggage train
at the time of movement, then the movement penalty will be in
Q. Could a harbor/port be built and used at a hex whose corner touches a
major river (for example, hex 1813)?
A. Yes--as long as you can move into an adjacent hex via the river,
a harbor or port can be built.
Q. Do the new recon maps provided by major towns and cities with sufficient
morale provide only a map or may they also provide information regarding
armies and army commanders in the surrounding hexes?
A. They only provide the map.
Q. Several agent orders are rated "hard." All things being equal, (guards, pop
center fortifications, etc.) is there any difficulty difference between them?
A. Yes, there are differences between different "hard" agent
actions. We do not, however, go into detail as to which orders are
more and/or less difficult. P. 18 of the rulebook gives a range for
skill ranks which have a fair/reasonable chance of success--you can
assume some "hard" orders fall in the low end of that scale while
others fall in the high end.
Q. If two agents are guarding a single character, are their ranks combined for
purposes of guarding or does the attacking agent go through each in turn?
A. The attacking agent must go through each in turn.
Q. If a mage casts a heal spell on a character and the character is cursed by
an enemy in the same turn, will the heal spell counter the loss of health from the
"Heals" take place at 120 while curses take place at 330.
the heal may not "counter" the curse unless the character was
at turn start. Irregardless, if the curse is successful, there will
drop in the cursed character's health.
Q. On p. 24 of the fifth edition of the rules, it states: "The chance of a
Character being sighted is based on ... the total ranks of the Character." Does
this mean (all other things being equal) that one is equally likely to spot a
character with 20 skill points in each of three skill ranks as one who is single-
skilled with 60 points in that skill?
A. All things being equal, yes, this is the case.
Q. Are the skills treated differently? For instance, is a 60 agent less likely to
be spotted than a 60 mage?
Q. Is a multi-skilled character with agent rank as his highest skill less likely
to be spotted than one who has another skill which is greater than his agent
A. No. See above. Having stealth, however, does help in avoiding
Q. I have an artifact which I have researched and have learned that it gives
access to the Teleport list. Is that access restricted to mage characters? Or may
non-mage characters with the artifact cast teleport with it in their possession?
A. Access to a list allows a mage--and only a mage--to learn spells
on that list. This is not the same as allowing a character to cast a
specific spell without knowing that spell or without having mage
rank. The operative word here is list. If the artifact gives access to a
list, only mages may learn spells on that list. If the artifact allows a
single spell to be cast, any character may cast that spell.
Q. The rules state that a double agent will try not to work successfully against
your interests . Does that mean that my double agent is easier for me to kidnap
A. No--the double agent may not know who is kidnapping him at
the time. All he knows is that a personal threat to his life is in
A. Well, faithful readers, the Oracle has erred. In the March issue of I..bJl
Oracle Speaks. we presented an example of army movement explaining the 4/3
movement cost with armies without food. In that example, we stated that an
army moving from 1614 to 0910, on the road, would only get to 1312. This is
incorrect. You would, in fact, be able to get to 1212--each hex costs 2
movement points so you can move from 1614 to 1613, to 1513, to 1412, to
1312, and then to 1212--using 10 movement points. You would not be able to
move to 1211 because the bridge adds an extra point, pushing the total
movement points to 13. However, you would be able to Force March to 1211. You
are not penalized twice for being without food (i.e., the cost is 4/3 the normal
movement cost, but you get the full complement of movement points to work
with -- you are not limited to the [estimated without-food] amount listed in the
rulebook). We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. It seems,
contrary to my own belief, that the Oracle is human (?) after all.
Q. If I'm travelling without food and cross a minor river to enter a hex; is the
cost of the minor river added to the cost of the ((hex-cost + minor river)x 4/3)
or is it the cost of the ((hex-cost x 4/3) + minor river)? Example: Heavy
Infantry entering a plains hex across a minor river: is the cost (3 x 4/3) + 2 = 6
or ((3+2) x 4/3) = 6.6 or 7?
A. The answer to this question is the cost of the minor river is
added to the cost of the plains and then it is multiplied by 4/3. In
the above example, the second formula is correct--the cost of the
move would be 7. This is true of any "hex-side" obstacles, i.e.
bridges, fords, rivers, etc.
Q. Assume that two opposing armies are in 3616. The first army is all
infantry, the second all cavalry. Both plot to move west down the road. Since it
costs cavalry 1 point per hex to move along the road in plains and infantry 2
points, would the cavalry outrun the infantry army by moving into and out of hex
3516 before the infantry finished moving into the hex?
A. No. Both would exit 3616 on the first 'day', and enter the
adjacent hex 3516 on the same day. Because they are now in the same
hex (other than the starting hex) they would end up stopping each
other. If they were not enemies, the cavalry army would exit the hex
3516 first (because they would spend different number of 'days'
traversing the hex) .
Q. Assume there are two opposing (infantry or cavalry) armies, one in hex
3518 and one in hex 3619. The first plots to move to 3418, while the second
plots to move into 3518. Does the second army have any chance of moving into
3518 before the first moves out of the hex?
A. Not unless the army in 3518 gives 'h' for Its first move. If the
above scenario occurred during the course of movement (after day 1)
then there is a 50-50 chance that army two would intercept army one
In 3518. However, if the scenario described above had two armies
moving exactly toward each other (3518-to-3619 and 3619-to-3518)
then one of them (50-50 chance) would enter the other hex first and
stop the other army - even on day 1.
Q. A Gondorian navy is in hex 2733. Can the navy move into the town/harbor
at 2833, then continue up river to 2933 in the same turn?
A. Yes, this is possible because of the major river.
Q. Consider the reverse situation . Could the navy at 2933 move into 2833,
then out to 2733 in the same turn?
A. Again, the answer is yes. Movement is permitted through the
hexes that contain the major river.
Q. Is it absolutely impossible under any circumstance for a foreign army to
march into hex 3329? I heard of a rare encounter which allows this to be done
("You find a hidden tunnel leading into the mountains .... ").
A. An army cannot get to this hex. We have published NO such rumors
Q. If it is, why the fortifications?
A. Because, historically, there were fortifications at this
Q. Would an army hired there be stuck?
A. Yes. But the army could still deter enemy emissaries ...
Q. It seems that if a nation has an easy time placing camps at the beginning
of the game, it'll continue to experience such good fortune throughout the game.
Conversely, a nation which runs into difficulty placing camps early on seems to
experience problems later as well. Is this a function of game mechanics, or is it
just a run of luck approaching the odds of winning the lottery?
A. Simply random luck. But, obvlously, good emissaries affect the
chances and this benefit may continue to hamper/help throughout the
Q. When threatening a pop center with two armies from the same nation,
does the required troop number need to be in each army or do the two armies
"combine" for the necessary number to threaten?
A. The two armies would "combine" for the purposes of threatening.
Q. Can a pop center be successfully threatened with less than the number of
troops required as given in the rulebook?
A. Yes. Those numbers are simply guidelines. Threatening can be
done with less, and can fail with more, troops.
Q. Is the number of troops required to conduct a successful siege roughly
based upon the number required to threaten the pop center?
A. The numbers are similar, but not necessarily the same.
Q. Do the fortifications of a hidden population center stop enemy armies?
A. No--this would negate the hidden advantage. If an army were
stopped by fortifications, it should be able to attack--thus
nullifying the hidden status.
Q. Can the army of a nation be fed at the hidden city of another nation?
Q. Does Perceive Secrets, spell #432, indicate whether a nation has exceeded
100% tax rate? Will it indicate whether a nation has been driven out of the
A. It can tell you if a nation has been eliminated from play but it
will not tell you the reason it was eliminated (i.e. tax rate, no maIor
towns/cities, etc.). Order 585, Uncover Secrets, can give you the
same information, but it is not always reliable ...
Q. Some dragons can be recruited into armies. Is it possible to recruit one or
more of the following creatures: balrogs, vampires, werewolves?
Q. Is it possible for two NPCs to be in the same hex at the same time (such
as two dragons, neither of which is recruited into an army)?
A. Possible--yes. Likely--no.
Q. Can a character from a dropped or eliminated nation have an encounter
(such as with a dragon who wanders into his hex)?
Q. Is it true that certain NPCs will only react to a character who's in an
A. Some encounters are for armies only, while other encounters are
for characters (without armies) only.
Q. If a character is in the same hex as a dragon but has yet to encounter that
dragon can he "force" an encounter by issuing the 'Investigate' (290) order?
A. Yes, or the 285 order, 'React to Encounter'. If the dragon is
otherwise busy, nothing will be reported. If not, then an encounter
could be initiated.
Q. If so, why doesn't this work with Sauron or Gandalf.
A. As stated before, some encounters choose to react only to
characters and others only to armies. You can not force an encounter
to react other than as they wish ...
Q. If a character is attacked by a dragon because he gave an 'unfortunate'
response during an encounter, is it possible for him to win the ensuing combat
(assuming he's extremely powerful)?
Q. If a character 'attacks' a dragon during an encounter, does he have a better
chance of winning the combat than if he had personally challenged the dragon?
A. In some cases. But he certainly has a better chance than if he
Q. Is it possible to personally challenge Sauron?
Q. Is it possible to personally challenge Sauron and win?
Q. Do dragons aid in threats/sieges?
A. No. Only troops are considered for these purposes.
Q. If two characters from different nations attempt to recruit the same
dragon, can both succeed?
Q. If both respond correctly, who would get the dragon?
A. Whoever responds first--and that's determined randomly.
Q. If a company has an encounter, does every character within the company
get to react to the encounter?
A. Companies do not have encounters, only characters have
encounters, but the answer is 'Yes'. Each character may react, but it
wlll occur one character at a time--and only one character in the
company will get the encounter message even though all may react.
Q. If a company encounters a dragon and opts to 'attack' that dragon, do they
have a better chance of defeating the dragon than any individual character in
that company would?
A. No. Each reaction is handled separately.
Q. Can two characters (not belonging to a company) but in the same hex both
encounter the same dragon in the same turn?
A. No, they will not both get the encounter message. But, Yes, each
may choose to react (if they're not with, or commanding, an army.)
Q. If an artifact has a bonus in combat against a particular creature, does it
provide this bonus automatically? Or must it be researched first?
A. Researching lets you know about the bonus, but you would
receive that bonus automatically.
Q. Are the secondary powers of all artifacts random, or do some artifacts
generally end up with the same secondary powers game after game?
A. Both of these occur. Some artifacts have their secondary powers
randomized while others have the same secondary powers from game
Q. Is it possible for an artifact to have more than one secondary power?
Q. Is it more difficult to locate and/or retrieve an artifact that's been hidden
by a nation than it is to find a 'lost artifact'?
Q.Can an agent attempt to steal an artifact that's been hidden at a pop
Q. Does Guard Location #605 protect against Emissary action, for example
#525, Influence Other's Population Center Loyalty?
A. No. Guard Location only works against other Agent orders.
Q. Are some skills more effective at protecting against agent attacks than
others? For example, might a 60 point commander be a harder target to
assassinate than a 60 point emissary?
A. No. Skill level plays a part in how difficult it is to assassinate
a character, but individual skill classes have no effect.
Q. Assume you have two 50 point agents. Is it more effective to have both
guard a single character than to just have one of those agents guard that
A. Yes. The enemy agent would have to get through both guards, as
opposed to just the one guard.
Q. Are two 40 point agents guarding a single character: A. More effective
than a single 80 point agent? B. Less effective than a single 80 point agent? C.
About as effective as a single 80 point agent?
A. The answer is B. Two 40 point agents are generally less
effective than a single 80 point character, but that isn't always the
Q. Does Stealth increase the effectiveness of 'Guard' orders?
Q.Are characters with high skill ranks more likely to show up on another
player's pop center report than characters with low skill?
Q. Will the 'Scout Hex' order reveal ships anchored in the hex?
A. It can, as can the Scry Hex spell.
Q. Will the 'Scout Area' order reveal anchored ships? How about the 'Recon'
A. No In both cases.
Q. I recently tried to move an all cavalry army without food from
1614 to 0910, on the road. From my calculations, that's 9 movement
points, well within the limit. I only got to 1312. What happened?
A. This is a misconception which many players have concerning moving
armies without food. The truth of the matter is that moving without food costs
4/3 normal movement, rounded up, and is calculated hex by hex, rather than by
total movement points. To take your example, you went from 1614 to 1613.
Normally that's 1 point; but now, since you were traveling without food, it's
multiplied by 4/3, which equals 1.33; this is now rounded up to two. Thus, each
hex now costs TWO movement points to travel through it. Using these
calculations, you moved from 1614 to 1613, to 1513, to 1412 and then to 1312.
This movement costs 8 points--trying to move to 1212 would exceed the
number of points you can use and your movement was stopped. The points given
under the 850 and 860 orders are a general guide as to the MAXIMUM number of
points you can move--and the cost is calculated hex by hex.
Q: Can a Mage use any two Mage skill orders, or is it just spells
that can be used twice per turn?
A: A Mage can not normally use two Mage skill orders, except for casting two
spells (using different orders) and that can be dangerous!! However, a Mage can
'Prenctice Magery' and 'Cast' a spell in the same tum.
Q: Can a new character do actions on the turn s/he is created?
A: No, the only order that is likely to allow a character to be involved in an
action on the tum s/he is created is #780. Since no space is provided yet on the
turnsheet for the new character, no orders can be given nor will be accepted.
Q: What is the difference
'Transfer Troops' involving all
between a 'Transfer
A: The difference is that the 'Transfer Command' will automatically transfer
all baggage and ships. The 'Transfer Troops' .QNLY. transfers the troops indicated.
Furthermore, the "Transfer Command" also allows for the former Commander to
join the new army without additional orders. The "Transfer Command" should
also be used when you are trying to combine two armies into one .
Q: Why do some of my population centers appear on my turn map
but not others? Is this a problem?
A: The turn map represents the general reports and feedback that your
nation receives from its indigenous populace in its historical realm/region. These
reports are NO.I. generated by any single character. This is why the turn map is
fixed the entire game, even if you move your capital or base of operations.
However, there are several orders (#905, #925, #935, #940(w/#415)) that can
provide as many 7-hex reports as you cart handle. These orders generate text
reports and a smaller version of the turn map.
This 'blind-spot' problem is shared, to a greater or lesser degree, by many
nations and is part of the difficulties faced when your nation expands beyond its
orders or when your nation is scattered about - more orders must be expended
in order to keep close tabs on your realm.
Fortunately, these distant population centers will report when they have
been approached or invaded or attacked or taken away .....
Q: I am supposed to kill a certain character • How do I find out
who and where they are? How about artifacts • who owns them and
where they are?
A: There arc several ways to locate both characters and artifacts. There arc
several Lore spells that can reveal the characters (#420, #430) and locate
information about the artifacts (#412, #418, #428). Actually catching up with
the target character, or obtaining · the specific artifact can be a bit more of a
Also, much of the supplemental reading contains details about characters,
population centers, nations, artifacts, NPC's, and other special activities that can
be encountered in ME-PBM.
Q: Will the 'Reveal Production' spell capacities or production centers you already
A: Yes, the hexes arc chosen at random within the radius and care not if there
is a population center there already.
Q: If some or your own characters are in one or your own
population centers, will they encounter any foreign character that
enters that hex, even if the natural 'sighting' capabilities or
population center don't spot the foreign character?
A: Characters will not 'encounter' other player characters unless ordered to do
so (scouting, challenges, double agents, etc .. ). Being aware of their presence does
allow you (or them) to initiate some interaction. Characters can 'encounter' non-
player characters (NPC's) in a hex without getting any report of their presence.
Furthermore, characters can choose to interact with NPC's in a hex, even if no
'encounter' is indicated, if there is some report of their presence.
Q: When attempting to threaten a population center, do war
machines help out other than counting as 25 troops?
A: No, they count as just 'more troops' to help the threaten.
Q: Does army morale go up when an army commander increases in
A: No, not as a result of the commander's rank increase. Morale is normally
increased only as indicated in the rules.
Q: When attacking an enemy army (not the population center) at
one or their fortified population centers, will they receive a
constitution bonus from their fortifications? Does the attacking army
have to overcome the fortification?
A: The answer to the first question is 'Yes'. The answer to the second question
is 'No' - because the enemy army would be gaining a defensive bonus because of
certain available defenses associated with the fortifications - not the actual
A: Yes, if combat occurs in a hex with fortifications which arc owned by one
of the involved armies, then they will receive the bonus because they arc still
using the available defenses associated with the fortifications, even though they
might also be attacking.
Q: Does the casting proficiency for a spell already learned increase
when a mage's skill rank increases?
A: No, once a spell is learned, the only way to improv e the casting rank,
besides acquiring certain artifacts, is to 'cast' the spell. However, the mage rank
is one of the factors for determining the original spell casting proficiency .
Q: When an agent attempts to assassinate a ranks or the target character matter, or matter
A: The highest one of the four skill ranks.
Q: Can an army, or specific troops, be put on maneuvers more than
once in a turn (by different command ers)?
A. Yes, and by reviewing the discussion in the rulebook about 'characters
with an army' you can determine how this can be done.
Q: Do ships, war machines, or fortifications matter at all in
calculating victory points?
A: No, they arc of tactical and/or strategic importance only . Other
section in the rulebook, the actual method and details of tallying victory
information withheld from the players.
Q: Can a navy move directly from 2927 to 2926?
A: No, nor can one move from 2236 to 2235 nor from 1118 to 1218 nor from
1119 to 1219.
Q. If I order a Commander In charge of an army to post a camp and.
the order falls, do I stlll have to pay the 4088 gold? If an Emissary falls to create a camp, do I stlll pay the gold?
A. Nope. If the orders fall, the gold's not spent. Why pay something for
Q. I’ve had a few different orders fall and they’ve all ended with the
same phrase ‘at this time’. What does this mean?
A. A number of orders that don't succeed generate the messages "at this
time• or • continued efforts may help•. If you see this, It basically means
that your random roll to determine success wasn't high enough - you
needed an eighty to post the camp and the computer rolled a fifty, for
example. You know the old saying: "Try, try again.”
Q. The only ways of improving your Mage rank are through the use
of order 710, Prentice Magery, through personal challenges, and
through the use of an artifact, correct7
A. You are correct, Sir! The way of the Mage Is an arduous and
demanding one with no short cuts.
Q. If I have a character with a Command rank of 30 and an Emissary
rank of 35, what wlll his or her Challenge rank be?
A. Assuming the other two ranks come in at zero, his or her Challenge
rank would be 100% of the Command rank (In this case, 30), plus 25% of
each of the remaining ranks (in our example, only the Emissary rank of 35),
for a total of 39. Your character's Challenge rank Is determined by current
skill ranks, so It will change over the course of the game.
Q. Why are most Agent orders "Hard"?
Actually, only about nine of the possible 25 Agent orders are rated as
‘Hard’, those dealing with the more shady side of covert operations. There
are two reasons for this. The first is realism - the kinds of things that
Agents will be asked to do are Just difficult to carry off. Stealing gold or
artifacts from secured fortresses, sabotaging structures or stores In
patrolled districts, kidnapping or killing someone - by their very nature,
these are risky, dangerous tasks. How many banks have you successfully
robbed? If the timing Isn't perfect, If everything doesn't go off like clock-
work, the action will fail. To reflect this basic fact of criminal life, these
activities are rated as "Hard".
The second reason relates to game balance - successful Agent
activities can drastically affect the face of the game. They can easily upset
a player's entire strategy. To balance and moderate this possible Impact,
Agent activities are made a little more difficult and challenging. It's not
Just a Job, It's an adventure!
Q. How do Companies, or characters travelling In a Company, deal
A. If your Company runs across any of the various people, creatures, or
places that constitute an encounter, the message will appear on ONE
company member's result sheet. Howeuer, the opportunity that the
encounter represents would be considered to be open to ALL Company
members. Your Company could elect to deal with the encounter In one of
1) ONE Company member (the best skilled or the most expendable)
could be selected to Interact with the encounter, sparing the others the
pain or profit OR
2) EVERY member of the Company could list a reaction on their
individual turnsheets, risking Company-wide gains or losses. In this
Instance, the order of how the encountered being or event would affect the
Company members would be randomly determined.
Every encounter represents a momentous event, potent with risk and
reward. How your Company chooses to deal with it would really depend on
how boldly or cautiously you want to play.