Welcome to our Q&A section.
Here you will find answers to some of the questions that we have been asked over the two decades that the game has been running.
The game itself has evolved considerably over that time. And so it is possible that changes to the game mechanics will have resulted in occasional errors in the information given. As such, if you remain in any doubt about a ruling, please email us for confirmation. And if you notice any mistakes in these answers, please let us know.
It is also a very lengthy page. So the best way to find the information you are looking for may be to use your browser’s search function.
Q: I had a company commander with artifacts who lost a challenge, but his artifacts were not picked up b someone else in the company. Is this right? I thought artifacts were kept by the company.
A: Yes, it is right. If a member of a company loses a challenge, their artifacts are indeed picked up by the company commander. But if a company commander loses a challenge, their artifacts are picked up by the winner of the challenge. (This is different to army commanders: if they lose, the artifacts go to the new army commander.
Q: Army A and B are in the same hex. If I have a character in army A and I issue them a 785 Join Army order to join army B, will my character leave army A and join army B?
A: Yes. Unless that character is the army commander, in which case you’d need to issue a 780 Transfer Command (yes) instead.
Q: My character gained an artifact from an encounter, but already had the maximum number, so it was left behind. But when later I tried to issue order 796 Pickup Artifact, the order failed.
A: If a character has too many artifacts when answering a riddle, the artifact is indeed left on the ground, but isn’t actually owned by your nation. (You’ll notice that it isn’t listed in the ‘artifacts you have hidden’ section on your results.) So in order to collect it, you need to issue a 900 Find Artifact order, not a 796 Pickup Artifact order.
Q: My character answered a riddle correctly and was killed! Is that a bug?
A: No, it isn’t a bug. There are a few riddle responses that will kill a character even if the answer is correct. We can’t reveal exactly which ones cause this, but they tend to be where either a Free People character gives the name of a powerful evil being, or vice versa.
Q: Can you attempt to downgrade (or upgrade) to the same nation more than once a turn?
(The exception being all-neutral/all vs. all games, where we do the downgrades to hated manually. In these games you have to already be disliked to the nation at the start of the turn, but by way of compensation it is always successful.)
Q: If you lose your capital, I know it will move to the next city or major town with highest loyalty. If you have a major town with higher loyalty than your cities, will it move to that major town, or to the city with highest loyalty?
A: The city.
Q: A force with insufficient transports to carry all its troops is at a population centre with a harbour, in a hex with ‘hills and rough’ terrain. If the harbour is removed, will the ships be automatically anchored?
Q:If an emissary character of mine is doubled, and later they lose all their emissary rank through an encounter, will they still remain doubled?
A: An interesting and unusual situation! But yes, they would remain doubled. A character has to possess agent or emissary skill in order to be targetted by the 500 Double Agent order. But once doubled, they will remain a double agent even if they no longer possess emissary or agent rank.
Q: If I double a character, and that character which doubled them dies, does my nation ‘keep’ the doubled character?
Q: Do you need to have any troops left in order to destroy a population centre? I know you need at least one in order to capture one.
Q: When a side concedes, why do you still run another final turn?
A: In the final turn all the losing side’s nations are eliminated from play, and the final statistics and victory point standings are calculated (found at the end of your results). This also gives the winning side a chance to submit a final set of orders to finish off anything they were planning.
Q: When issuing a 525 ‘Influence Other’s Population Centry Loyalty’, is the information received regarding the ‘perceived loyalty’ of the population centre always accurate?
A: At the time the order takes place, yes. However, bear in mind that later events in the turn (including other 525 orders) may then change the population centre’s loyalty.
Q: Is damage caused by weakness, sickness and curse spells based on natural mage rank, or mage rank including artifact bonuses?
A: Natural mage rank.
Q: If I have a navy offshore in a hex with a population centre but no way for the ships to anchor, can they still purchase food with a 310 or 315 order? And does the population centre feed the troops on the ships?
A: No, the ships need to be able to land.
Q: If my nation goes first during the steal gold order and another nation steals gold from me after my steal, will the gold I stole first be available to be stolen by that other nation?
A: Potentially, yes!
Q: Two navies of the same nation move through the same open sea hexes together at the same time, and one navy encounters pirates. Will the pirates attack just the navy that had the encounter, or both navies since they are in the same hex?
A: Just the one navy.
Q: When multiple challenges take place at the same location, which happens first?
A: The challenges are attempted in natural challenge rank order. (Note that this is challenge rank before items are applied, so not necessarily the character with the highest effective challenge rank.)
Each character can only be involved in one challenge a turn. So if a lower ranked character A challenges a higher ranked character B, who themselves challenged a third character C who had not refused, then character A’s challenge would fail.
Q: If I have a navy at location with an enemy population centre, enemy army and enemy navy (all belonging to the same nation), and my navy commander issues at 255 Capture Population Centre order, who do they fight?
A: Assuming your navy can land, you’d fight their navy first, then anchor and fight their army, then move on to attack the pop centre.
Then stop for a well-earned rest 🙂
Q: If I have an artifact that allows a spell to be cast, can any character use it (even if they don’t have mage rank)?
A: The short answer is yes. And this is the only time a character can issue an order without the appropriate skill.
The longer answer…
Take care that you do have an artifact which allows a spell to be cast, rather than one which allows a lost spell to be learned.
There are two types of artifact which relate to spells.
The first type allows access to a lost spell, or lost spell list. Only a character with mage rank can use these, and, when they have them in their possession, research the specified spell or spells.
The second type allows a character to cast a specific spell, regardless of whether or not they have any mage rank. This is the only instance where the prerequisite of an order (that only characters with mage skill can issue spell-casting orders) can be ignored. A spell cast using an artifact in this way is automatically successful (unless that character is a mage who already knows the spell, in which case their usual casting rank might be used).
However, where it is a ‘two part’ spell, such as, say, reveal pop centre, only the casting is automatically successful – so it would determine if there is a hidden pop centre in the hex, but whether or not that population centre is also revealed is based on the power of the artifact.
Q: I had an army of 100 HI with 100 food. But when they tried to move, they moved unfed. What happened?
A: In order for an army to move fed you have to have at least 1 food remaining in the baggage train after they have been fed that turn. So the army consumed 100 food, leaving them with nothing in the baggage train when it came to move. This is the case even if they are at a population centre which can feed them.
Q: If I destroy a population centre with a port or harbour, does the harbour remain?
A: No, the port/harbour is destroyed.
Q: Is it possible to pick up ships at a location where there is no harbour? (If, for example, they had been anchored at a harbour and the harbour was later destroyed.)
A: Yes. If there are dropped ships at a hex, they can be picked up.
Q: If I disband a navy (using the 775 Disband Army order), will the ships be anchored or lost?
A: The ships will be anchored at the location. Bear in mind that you can only disband a navy if it can land – you can’t disband it at sea!
Q: When spending Rewards, can population centres have their loyalty increased more than once, and can rewards be spread across different nations?
A: The following rules apply:
- Characters can only be modified once.
- Population Centres can only be modified once.
- Armies can be modified as often as you want.
- Each reward can only be used once.
- If you’re running multiple nations then you can spread the Rewards amongst your nations in anyway you want.
Q: If I guard a hex with a bridge, and an enemy agent tries to sabotage the bridge from an adjacent hex, will the guard work?
A: No, you would have to be on the same hex.
Q: If I have two separate army commanders Split Army (765) to the same character, will both orders work, or just one, since after the first order the receiving character will be an army commander?
A: Only one of the Split Army orders will work (determined at random). A better solution would be to Transfer Troops (355) from one army to the second army, then have the second army Split Army to the non-army commander character.
Q: My army failed to destroy a town, and the troops were lost but the commander survived. Is this correct?
A: Yes. Your character has a chance of surviving a failed attack on a population centre.
Q: Can a navy commander on a land hex be assassinated by an enemy agent at that location?
Q: I am playing in a game where each nation starts with a champion character (who can be issued three orders a turn). If I successfully bribe a champion character of an eliminated nation, will both characters remain champions?
A: Yes! A nation can have multiple champion characters.
Q: Does the Divine Allegiance Forces spell specify the number of forces, or the number of locations of forces?
A: Number of forces.
Q: When issuing orders, when should I use full names, and when should I use the 5-character version?
A: when issuing the following orders, the full name should be given:
- Post or Name Camp
- Name Character, Commander, Agent, Emissary or Mage
When issuing the Reaction to Encounter order, refer to the encounter, which will say whether the full name or 5-character version should be used.
At all other times, the 5-character version should be used.
When naming characters, please do not start the name with a space. It makes the Valar angry, and tends to break the game.
Also, whilst on the subject of names, if a name has spaces in its first five characters (e.g. Tom Bombadil), then please use a space in the 5-character version, not a dash or underscore. So tom b, not tom_b, tom-b, etc.
Finally, note that as an exception to pretty much everything, a riddle response can contain less than five characters. In this case, please do not ‘fill up’ the response with blanks.
Q: Is it possible to retire troops with a 425 order to reduce the amount of food an army requires?
A: No, sorry. Troops are fed before the retire troops order takes place.
Q: I have a question about order 775 Dsbarmy – Disband army. The rulebook says everything in the baggage train will be lost if an army is disbanded. What if I disband a navy: are the ships anchored (as one of the prerequisite is for the navy to be able to anchor ships), or are they considered part of the baggage train and destroyed in the process?
A: There are three possible scenarios here…
1) If you can land your navy, then the order will succeed, the navy will disband and you will lose all your ships.
2) If you have an army with insufficient ships in it (over-loaded), then the order will succeed, the army will disband and you’ll lose the ships.
3) If you cannot land your navy, then it cannot disband and the order will fail.
Q: My mage cast Research Artifact on four spells, but only received results for three of them, and one of these didn’t give the secondary power. Is this right?
A: Yes. Your mage has a separate attempt for each artifact researched, so some may succeed and others fail. Usually, failure indicates that the item you are researching is a high level one, as this modifies the chance of success.
Q: Can a character cast multiple spells on the same turn?
A: Yes, as long as they are from different spell categories – in other words they each use a different order code.
For example, a character can cast the Healing Spell ‘Minor Heal’ (using order 120) and the Combat Spell ‘Call Fire’ (using order 225), but not a ‘Barriers’ spell and a ‘Call Fire’ spell as these are both Combat spells. The simple rule is that each spell cast has to use a different order code.
By the same logic, a Champion character (who can be issued three orders a turn) could cast three spells, but again they all have to be in different categories.
If you do issue two spells of the same category, we will try to pick the more important one to process. However, it is often hard to tell – is a Locate Character more important than a Locate Artifact, for example, or which of two sets of Research Artifacts is more important? In which case we leave it to the computer to decide. So to avoid disappointment, please try and avoid issuing multiple spells of the same category.
Q: Will a navy stop an enemy character’s 525 (Influence Other’s Population Centre) order?
A: Yes, but only if it can land. So either if there is a port/harbour at the population centre, or the location is a shore hex. (Note that the navy will remain a navy.)
Q: I have a character commanding an army which might be destroyed this turn. So I want to issue two move orders – 850 Move Army and 810 Move Character – so that they will either Move Army if the army survives, or Move Character if the army is destoyed. However, JOverseer won’t let me. How do I do this?
A: There is a reason JOverseer won’t let you – it isn’t allowed! You can only issue one move order to a character per turn. So you need to make your best guess as to whether the army will survive or not, then issue the most likely move order. Note that you can, in theory, edit the order file manually before sending it to us, and insert a second move order. However, in that case all that happens is the game engine picks one at random for your character to attempt, so you are better off using your judgment to decide which to issue.
Q: The order Destroy/Capture Ships 270 is a bit confusing. There are enemy ships anchored at my town/harbour. If I want to destroy them, do I need a nay with more warships than they have anchored, or only one warship?
A: One warship is sufficient. You only need more warships than the enemy if you are at an enemy port/harbour.
Q: In Gunboat Game diplos, why do only some messages include the nations they are from at the top?
A: Because only some players include their nation names! We do not automatically add the nations to the top of each message. So if you want to say who your diplo is from – and this is a good idea! – then remember to include your nation name and/or numbers at the top of your message. Bear in mind that these count towards your diplo’s word limit, so take care.
Q: I want to learn a lost list spell from an artifact. Do I need to cast Research Artifact before I can learn the spell, or is it enough for the particular character to hold the artifact?
A: It is enough to own it.
Q: If you have an army with 1 food at your own population centre (so the army will get fed), and you split the army with a 765 order, will both armies still count as being fed?
A: Sorry, no. The army with 1 food will be considered fed, but the other one not fed.
Q: Can the Reveal Character and Reveal Character True spells be used to locate NPCs?
A: Yes, very much so. In Kin-strife these spells are used a lot to track NPCs.
Q: Can champion characters be issued three skill orders?
A: Yes. Champions can be issued three skill orders, as long as they are not given more than one skill order per skill type (com, ag, em, mage, move, spell type, etc.), and of course that they have the appropriate skill.
For example, 605, 435, 520 would succeed. But 605, 610, 435 would fail.
Q: How many war machines can an army transport?
A: An unlimited amount.
Q: If a healing spell is cast on a character, can that counteract curse squads?
A: No, a healing spell’s effect is not deducted from the damage caused by curses. But healing spells are cast before sickness/weakness/curse spells, so can heal an already-injured character to give it the best chance of surviving a curse.
Q: Some artifacts allow the casting of a particular spell by any character, even if they do not have mage rank. Do these spells automatically succeed?
A: Yes and no! These artifacts give a 100% chance of successfully casting the spell. However, the result of some spells is then based on the character’s mage rank. For example, the number of mounts conjured with the Conjure Mounts spell, or whether a population centre is unhidden as the result of casting Reveal Population Centre. And the artifacts do not confer an effective 100 mage rank when casting the spell. Instead, they give a mage rank based on the power of the artifact. This is to prevent a character with no mage rank suddenly becoming more powerful than Galadriel!
Q: If I sell one product globally via the 325 order and hit the market limit, am I able to then sell more locally via the 320 order on the same turn?
A: No, the market limit is for all sell orders.
Q: What happens to the non-played neutral nation/s in a game with pre-aligned neutrals? Are their characters and population centres eliminated, or just left in situ?
A: The nations are never put in play, so don’t exist. You can downgrade or upgrade to them if you wish, though, which helps with the recruitment of neutral NPCs in Kin-strife.
Q: Due to a harbour being destroyed, I have ships anchored in a hills hex with no port/harbour. How do I recover them?
A: You can pick them up with a 798 order as usual, and then sail away from the hex.
Q: Can I fortify a population centre even if there are enemy armies present?
A: Looking at the rulebook we cannot see any reason why not.
Q: I have two navies in the same coastal waters hex. Can one commander transfer command to the other?
A: Yes, that’s fine.
Q: Can you give orders to a character on the same turn that they are named?
A: No. You can give orders to other characters that affect the the new character (such as 765, 780, etc.), as long as the order takes place after the name character order. But the new character itself cannot be issued orders.
Q: Is it possible to Name a Commander (728) then immediately Split Army (765) to that new commander on the same turn?
A: Yes. But make sure you that you name the new commander something unusual, otherwise the name you give might already be taken and the 765 order will then fail.
Q: I have a champion (3 order) character, who is going to issue a 210 (challenge) order. I’d then like to issue 2 emissary skill orders – 500 and 525 – so that if the challenge fails the 500 order will be used, but if the challenge succeeds the 525 order will be used. Is this possible?
A: No, I’m afraid not. You cannot issue conditional or provisional orders, as part of the skill of the game lies in judging the chance of success of your other orders. So in this case you would have to decide whether to go with 500 or risk a 525.
Q: Do fortifications at a population centre always prevent armies in a hex from being overrun by non friendly/non tolerant armies?
A: No. That is a common misconception. Fortifications can help stop armies from being overrun, but do not always do so.
Q: JOverseer has a hard limit of transferring 99,999 food from an army to a pop center. Is that a hard limit, or can I actually transfer more than that? The rulebook and guide do not mention any limit.
A: It should be fine to transfer more than that.
JO gives a warning when checking orders that the value needs to be between 0-99,999. However, you should still be able to enter a higher value, and when you save/send your orders you should see that higher value in the file.
Q: When a nation goes bankrupt, do its characters still carry out orders?
A: It depends. The check to see whether a nation is bankrupt takes place in phase 13 of the General Sequence of Events. Orders which take place before that phase will be carried out; orders after it will fail. For details of how the economy works, and the sequence of events, take a look at our Rulebook.
Q: If I have a navy land at a hex and become an army to capture a town/harbour),the population centre will be reduced to a village and the harbour lost. Will I later be able to move the army back and collect the ships to become a navy, even though there is no harbour?
A: Yes. You do not need a port/harbour to pick up ships and leave a hex, but you do need one present to land if it is not a shore hex.
Q: If a population centre has fortifications and is hidden (or chosen as hidden during a FA set up), are the fortifications hidden as well?
A: Yes, as is any port/harbour. For the opposition it is as if the population centre, fortifications and port/harbour do not ‘exist’. This also means it will not attempt to stop an enemy from moving through the hex.
Q: If you have a riddle encounter and get the answer wrong, can you try answering again straight away, or do you need to start again and go through the whole process of getting the encounter, investigating and then reacting?
A: You can try answering again straight away.
Q: If a doubled agent is redoubled, what report does each nation get on the turn that the agent is redoubled?
A: Both nations get the current location of the agent. The original doubler then gets a report of actions up to the 500 order phase, and the redoubler gets a report for after the 500 order phase.
In the unlikely event of a double agent being redoubled by two (or more) nations on the same turn, the original doubler still gets the current location and a report up to the 500 phase, the first redoubler nation gets nothing at all, and the last redoubler gets the current location and the report after the 500 phase.
Q: The 830 order says that it will pick up enough transports to carry the troops, if available in the hex. If I have 20 transports already in my navy and only need 10 to carry my troops, will all 20 move when I issue an 830 order, or will 10 be left behind?
A: All 20 will move with your navy. The 830 order will only attempt to pick up extra transports if there are not already enough in the navy.
Q: Is it possible to capture (255) a population center then immediately improve it (550) in the same turn?
Q: A mage usually needs to know a medium spell of a mastery list in order to learn a hard spell. But if they only know a hard spell of the list, can they learn another hard spell?
Q: The rules state that “A war machine is (very) roughly equivalent to 50 Heavy Infantry, or 25 Heavy Infantry when threatening.” So is it 25 HI or 50HI?
A: They are equivalent to (roughly) 50HI in army combat, or 25HI when threatening a population.
To clarify, war machines do three things:
1) 500 damage in combat against armies (roughly 50HI)
2) 25 troop numbers when threatening a population center
3) 200 points of strength for fortification reduction during an assault (capture or destroy) or siege
Q: Does a home (‘h’) day of rest order cost still only cost 1mp when the army is unfed?
A: Yes. If an army has no food, the movement cost to move through a sector is increased by 1/3. But as it is not moving during a ‘h’ movement, the cost remains 1.
Q: If an artifact allows the casting of a spell as a secondary power, for example teleport, can any character cast the spell, even if their mage skill rank is zero?
Q: Quick question, is it somehow possible to give orders to a hostage character?
A: Quick answer, No!
Q: I have the maximum number of characters for this point in the game (15 characters on turn 9). Can I still recruit (505) a character from an eliminated nation?
A: Yes, up to the maximum limit of 21 characters. However, note that if the recruited character dies, you cannot then replace it by naming a character – in other words the recruited character breaks the limit of 15 characters, it does not increase your limit to 16.
Q: If I have an army and a navy at a port, and try and transfer more troops into the navy than it has transports to carry, will the order succeed?
A: It should work fine. In order to transfer troops into a navy it must be able to anchor its ships (though it will not actually do so). So the order will not fail as you can theoretically anchor the ships in the port. The navy will then effectively be an army with ships attached until you either get more transports, or lose the excess troops.
Q: If the answer to a riddle is a formal name with two words, do I need to write them both in? An example might be Grima Wormtongue.
A: Yes, please include the entire name, so both words.
Q: Can an army commander facing combat, and not knowing whether the army will be destroyed, issue both a recruit order and a hire army order (two skill orders)?
A: Sorry, no: you have to choose which you want. If you give a character two skill orders of the same type (e.g. two command skill orders), our game engine will randomly determine which is attempted, with the other automatically failing.
In your example, the best bet might be to have two commanders in the army, with the army commander doing a hire army order, and the commander with the army doing a recruit order. If the army survives, the recruit order will succeed and the hire order will fail. If the army is destroyed, then the recruit order will fail, and the hire army will succeed.
Q: Can the 780 Transfer Command order be done out at sea?
I have a question about transferring ownership of a pop center (949). Will it work if the nations have Neutral relations with each other? The rulebook says ‘not an enemy’.
Yes. Neither can be an enemy of the other, so Neutral or better relations is required on both sides.
Can an army with a dragon be overrun on the 5 to 1 rules?
Yes. The dragon does not add ‘mass’ to the army.
If I send a scout into a hex with an enemy pop center and do a 910 order, will a harbor or port (if present) appear on the mini-map generated by the order? Or would I need to do a 920 order to see if a harbor/port is or is not there?
If the 910 order is successful, you should get a full map with the harbours/ports showing.
Which versions of ME allow order 412 (research artifact) for up to 6 artifacts?
All of them.
Do spell orders 418 and 428 also have this option?
No, just 412.
In Gunboat games, are offensive actions against allies permited if the nation is dead? For example, influencing away a pop centre?
If a navy commander, in a port of their own nation, transfers command of their navy to a character who not currently a commander of an army or navy, do the boats automatically anchor?
If a subcommander in a navy does a Make Transport Ship order, are the ships automatically part of the navy, so the commander does not need to PckShp?
The ships are automatically asigned to the navy.
Is it possible to have two characters issue 185 against a neutral nation, and go from neutral to hatred (if both successful) on same turn?
It doesn’t appear to be precluded, so we suspect you can do it.
I have an army with NO food. If I issue an 850 or 860 order with a H movement, does the H cost 1 or two movement points?
A Home movement always costs 1 movement point.
Can a character investigate (290) an encounter another character has received a report about?
Yes. Any character can investigate any other character’s report, as long as they are not an army/navy commander or with an army/navy.
Can a character respond (285) to another character’s investigate encounter (290)?
Yes. Any character can respond to any other character’s discovery of an encounter, as long as they are not an army/navy commander or with an army/navy. A character can also attempt to respond to encounters discovered in earlier turns, though the encounter might not still exist.
If multiple characters respond (285), a randomly chosen character gets the result. Only one character can get a result a turn.
The exceptions to this are riddles and the Amon Hen/Lhaw encounters:
With riddles, multiple characters can get an ‘incorrect’ result, until one character answers correctly. (If two or more characters answer correctly, a randomly chosen character gets the reward.)
With the Amon Hen/Lhaw encounters, multiple characters can get a result.
Gandalf has two movement artefacts (Staff of Gandalf – Path Mastery, and Robes of Aman – Grey – Teleport). The problem is that the 805 order in JOverseer only allows for the entry of the artefact number. There is no way to enter the spell or movement hex, etc. So how do I use a movement artefact?
Neither of these is actually movement artifacts! Movement artifacts are for use with navies, to allow them to move safely.
These artifacts are artifacts that allow you to use spells. So you should use the 825 order. For example, 825 – 314 – 1234, where 1234 is the hex you want to move to.
Why was my character was unable to join a navy at 0513?
0513 is a sea hex. Characters need to join the navy (870 Join Army/Navy) when it is on a land hex.
What factors effect encounters? Specifically, does nationality have an effect?
Many factors come into play with encounters – allegiance, skills, artifacts, luck and even nationality. Some nations have advantages (and disadvantages!) with certain encounters and some don’t. There are no “sure” encounters, but the chances of success can be improved or hindered by such factors.
A friend had an encounter in a cave that killed the character. When he was sent another character, he couldn’t find the cave (at least he wasn’t told he found it). Am I correct that once you find encounters, you don’t necessarily “rediscover” them and should use command 285?
Correct. Once an encounter has been investigated, then the character may simply “react” if the hex is re-entered. This assumes that the encounter is still there – someone else may have ‘reacted’ and resolved it. It also assumes that the encounter doesn’t move (some encounters are at fixed locations; others move about – either every turn or they may stay put for a few turns before moving on.
Your description of companies mentions mages throwing a spell together. How would a company of emissaries or agents work if they were trying to combine sabotage or influence at a pop centre? Likewise, four mages throwing a spell at a dragon – do they throw one spell with a high chance of success, or four spells? (Specifically, do they have one large/improved chance to succeed, or do they make separate attempts ?)
Not every encounter/activity will allow multiple characters from a company to co-ordinate. The agent activity you mentioned would NOT allow four agents to work together towards the same mission – they act independently. However, because you have four together, it DOES improve your chances/results. The primary purposes of companies are to facilitate characters moving together (you only have to give one movement order to accomplish the movement. They can then co-ordinate their actions – i.e. four emissaries can all issue 520 or 525 orders – four mages could all cast spell 502 on the same target.) In the case of encounters, any one of the characters involved in the encounter can be selected to ‘react’. This allows the player to select the one he can afford to lose, or the one best suited to deal with the encounter.
Can I research an artifact for someone to find out what it does – or do they have to do it for themselves to take advantage of any ‘special’ powers? If I know what an artifact does in one game, is it necessary to research the same artifact in a different game that I may play, or can I just give the appropriate order to take advantage of its powers.(e.g. researching a lost lists spell?) Can I attempt to use an artifact’s powers if I think that I know its powers, or must I research them first?
If you suspect an artifact possesses certain powers, you can still try to take advantage of the ability and see what happens. Did not Bilbo put on the One Ring and turn invisible, even though he had no idea what it would do?? Knowledge of the special powers of any artifact is sufficient to utilise the bonus/ability provided. The database keeps no record of who or how the information was learned. Some of the special powers could even be inferred from ICE/Tolkien references!! You could research artifacts for him. You do not know that artifacts will be the same from game to game, but your could try….
I found an artifact that gives access to the lost teleport list. Yet there is also a movement order (805) for artifacts. Can I use this artifact to teleport, or must I research it? Or are there different ‘movement’ artifacts – some that give you the ability to research and some that allow you to ‘move’?
An artifact that allows access to movement lists IS different from a ”movement’ artifact. If you have (or research) an movement artifact that allows access to lost list allows the bearer to research those spells while s/he bears the artifact. Nothing more, nothing less.
Under the area listing artifacts on the turn-results sheets, it lists known powers. Yet, for some of these I’ve learned about additional powers by casting the research spell. How come this is listed under known powers, when the fact is known?
Space considerations become a factor when so much (or too much!) information is presented to the players.
What happens when someone leaves the game? Os there any difference as to what happens when someone is forced out militarily, goes bankrupt, or just voluntarily drops out (asked because on nation’s cities were ‘dissolving’ whilst another nation’s didn’t seem to be affected).
The rules under ME-PBM do not detail what happens when a nation goes under. The fate of the characters, regardless of the reason, is the same.
I had a strange thing happen to me. I tried to locate an artifact (via the locate true spell 428). I know the spell worked, because my casting rank increased – but I didn’t learn anything – what’s up?
It is possible that the artifacts held by NPC’s (like Gandalf) and even the NPC’s themselves may be more difficult to locate than the normal characters controlled by the player nations. This may even be true of the one ring.
Does the bonus of a mage artifact apply only to the mage rank, or also to the casting rank?
It applies to both.
Correct me if I am wrong. When I am threatening a city with an ally helping me, I must have the required minimum of troops by myself (e.g. 1000 to threaten a town). But when trying to capture/destroy, our troop levels combine.
You are correct.
Can an artifact that you start the game with have unknown powers?
Yes. Research them and find out. I know of at least one person who has found some.
Do siege machines count in victory point totals?
Only those items listed in the rules are considered for VP calculations. Thus war machines, fortifications, warships and transports are not of VP significance.
Players have discovered that you can rebuild destroyed pop centres with the same name; they have also discovered that at least some characters who die can be replaced with characters by the same name. What rules apply here? How does this affect personal victory conditions?
Pop centres can be re-built with the same or a different name. If the site (hex) is someone’s victory condition, then the same is changed in the listing on the result sheet – the hex would remain the same but the name of the pop centre would be changed to reflect its new name. Since characters created after game start are not in any victory cond’s then they can be renamed the same name if the character is killed. This is not the case with NPC’s or original characters. Those names are always reserved. Retired, or characters retired because their nation is inactive would count as ‘killed’ for VC purposes – re–read the section in the rules. Any artifacts possessed by such characters would be ‘hidden’ in Middle-earth and could be found during the course of play.
People seem to be running into a lot of dragons. How come there are so many dragons, and how can they be avoided? Every dragon encounter seems to end with a dead character, one hp left or the character fled; are there ‘good’ encounters possible with dragons?
A Dragons were a bit more prevalent in ME in the mid-Third Age. Their haunts are ‘known’ and can be avoided… Dragons are NPCs and as such little is said about what they can do and what their aims are. There can be very GOOD results (especially with certain nations and certain artifacts) and very BAD results. Each dragon is different – what works for ne will not necessarily work for another.
Suppose I have a multi-class character who is fighting a challenge, and his mage rank is already at 100 w/o artifacts, but he has another skill less than 100. Will he gain 1-15 in that statistic instead?
Winning a personal challenge can award from 1-15 points to the ‘prime’ skill area. If this ‘prime’ skill area reaches 100, then additional challenges will provide no bonuses.
Can NPC’s be recruited via order 505?
NPCs cannot be “recruited” by using the normal 505 order. However, many will “join” your side (for a while) as a result of some encounters.
Do NPCs share the limit of 100 skill points in an area w/o artifacts?
Most NPCs represent supernatural creatures and/or near deities (maiar). As such many are NOT bound by the 100 limit imposed on all human/elf/dwarf etc., characters.
Certain artifacts give “open sea” movement. Is that an example of a movement artifact that requires me to use 805, and if so, must I “use” it every turn I wish to receive its benefits?
Yes. With artifacts bestowing benefits or powers, the artifact must be “in use” before the benefit or power is gained.
If a character is “retired”, can he then be recruited by someone else, or is he/she considered dead?
Once a character is retired, he is considered to be no longer actively working within the nation in which he had been dwelling and cannot be recruited by anyone else.
If I fight a challenge and win do I automatically gain the dead character’s artifacts?
Characters who win a personal challenge don’t automatically get the artifacts from a deceased one. They get them if the character is a lone character and not with an army.
When a character’s ranks are something like 20 (45),-0-40-40, and has his highest rank raised, does the artifact make his command the highest rank? Likewise, if he was something like 0-0-40-40, which rank could be raised? (Is it random, or does the fact that Mage rank counts more for challenge rank have any affect?)
The only action where the “highest” rank is affected is personal challenge. For the personal challenge, he highest rank is considered to be the highest net rank as computed on pg.56 in the rules. In cases of ties, the highest net rank encountered first is used. (left to right of your turn sheet).
How come my stupid people tell me the dragon’s name, but not the important fact that s/he is a dragon? Can dragons use artifacts?
Many genres suggest that dragons are beings of great magic and lore. Although ME is vague on such issues, ICE suggests that dragons can cast spells can assume other forms if they so desire. This is why it can be somewhat of a surprise to find out that a spotted character turns out to be a dragon. However, although NPC may possess artifacts, some quite powerful, you would not expect them to wield them in the same manner as would normal beings. Besides, a dragon needs a little help when trying to kill someone… (Keith – I think this is a “no, dragons can’t use artifacts”. At the very least it means “not normally”).
Would cbt artifacts and their bonuses affect the results of a challenge? Is an assassination an agent -v- agent role?
Assassinations are NOT resolved like challenges. The factors and issues are different. The factors involved (as per the rules) are the agent and stealth rank of the assassin and the highest skill rank of the target, the skill ranks of the guards and the relations between the nations. The challenge ranks play no part. The agent rank of the target is only involved if the target is an agent! Stealth plays a part also.
I have two characters with four artifacts each. I want them to each give four artifacts to the other. Is this a problem?
A player has no way of knowing which order will occur first. The order is random within each order number (except “BIDS”). Thus, you can try both and if luck is with you then they will go through. If not, then the next turn, you can complete the transfer.
My nation can create 40pt. Commanders. Does this mean that every character gets 10pts of commander skill, or does this mean that a 30pt commander becomes 40pts?
The bonus ability only applies for use with the 728 order and only gains maximum benefit if the creating commander is rank 40+. Otherwise, the characters will be limited by the normal rules.
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?
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.
How does the “Combat Bonus” for artifacts and spells affect Personal Combat? Naval Combat?
The “Combat Bonus” value is translated into values for:
Personal Combat = value/50 (i.e. a 500 bonus becomes 10)
Naval Combat = value/100 (i.e. a 1000 bonus becomes 10)
The “Combat bonus” for spells do not affect Personal Combat.
At what tax rate does the loyalty rank become affected, either adversely or to our benefit?
The exact range of values is NOT revealed. However, at certain tax rates the loyalty rank is assured of going down or up by a fixed amount. However, the intermediate tax rates can result in either a slight decrease, or a slight increase, or no change at all in the loyalty rate.
My nation spends more money than it makes in income. How can I fix it? Is this fair?
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. Many nations face this dilemma. Suggestions for methods of increasing wealth can be found on page 21-22 of the Rulebook.
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?
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.
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?
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 characters, 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.
My nation has no (Commanders, Agents, Emissaries, or Mages). How can I create any?
The “Name New Character: order (#725) can be issued by any character at the capital with Command skill (they need not have the same skills as the character being created) and can be used to create a character with any skill type (or combination thereof). Of course, the cost for this order is twice as much as the other “Name New Character As” orders.
Does it make any difference in what sequence I list my character orders on the turnsheet?
Yes and no. All character orders, regardless of the sequence they are listed on your turnsheet, are randomly shuffled and sequenced by order number for purposes of order execution (Bid orders are then sequenced by the amount of the bid as well).
However, the sequence that character orders are listed on the turnsheet can make a difference. If you instruct your character to perform two skill order (which is not permitted!) in the same turn, the second character order listed will be considered the ‘duplicate’ and thus ignored. This is because, in most cases, players list their most important character orders first, regardless of the actual sequence in which they will be executed.
I am confused about the turn sequence. Can you move a character and then have him perform an action? Or vice versa?
All orders are executed in the sequence determined by the order number. Thus, you could have a Commander train his army (#435), and then move (#850). But, you could not have an Agent move (#810) and then influence (#525) – the #525 goes before the #810. The character could move and then on the next turn issue the order to attempt to influence.
If a navy is at a harbor/port, and the harbor/port is removed/destroyed, what happens to the navy?
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.
When can a navy give army orders?
A navy can issue ‘army’ orders as long as the navy could anchor its ships and go ashore. The navy does not do so, but it must be able to do so to be able to issue the ‘army’ orders. In this way, a navy that is ‘offshore’ of a land hex (not in ‘coastal waters’ or ‘open seas’) could put troops on maneuvers or recon the area. Normally, only in cases of actual combat (#230-#260) or movement (#850-#860) will the ships actually become anchored as a result of another order.
Is the ‘force’ needed to threaten a population center based upon numbers of troops or strength points?
The ‘force’ is based upon the quantity of troops, not the type or quality.
Can a Mage use any two Mage skill orders, or is it just spells that can be used twice per turn?
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 ‘Prentice Magery’ and ‘Cast’ a spell in the same turn.
Can a new character do actions on the turn s/he is created?
No, the only order that is likely to allow a character to be involved in an action on the turn 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.
What is the difference between a ‘Transfer Troops’ involving all your troops and “Transfer Command”?
The difference is that the ‘Transfer Command’ will automatically transfer all baggage and ships. The ‘Transfer Troops’ ONLY 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.
Why do some of my population centers appear on my turn map but not others? Is this a problem?
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 NOT 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, #940(w/#415)) that can provide as many 7- hex reports as you can 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 borders 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 attacked or invaded or attacked or taken away…..
Can armies of different nations combine to attack?
Yes, but the armies are NOT joined. They simply can meet at the same place and attack on the same turn.
I am supposed to kill a certain character – How can I find out who and where they are?
There are several ways to locate both characters and artifacts. There are 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 challenge… 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.
Will the ‘Reveal Production’ spell provide the production capacities of production centers you already own, within the radius of the spell?
Yes, the hexes are chosen at random within the radius and care not if there is a population center there already.
If some of your own characters are on one of your own population centers, will they encounter any foreign character that enters that hex, even if the natural ‘sighting’ capabilities of the population center don’t spot the foreign character?
Characters will not ‘encounter’ other player characters unless ordered to do so (scouting, challenges, double agents, etc….). Being aware of their presence does not 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.
When attempting to threaten a population center, do war machines help out other than counting as 25 troops?
No, they count as just ‘more troops’ to help the threaten.
Does army morale go up when an army commander increases in rank?
No, not as a result of the commander’s rank increase. Morale is normally increased only as indicated in the rules.
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?
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.
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?
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.
Is there a way to capture/destroy a fortified population center without war machines (and without sieging, threatening, using emissary orders, etc…)?
Yes, you can capture/destroy a population center using an army without war machines. The war machines are a BIG help, but not absolutely necessary.
Can evasive movement prevent non-friendly/tolerant armies/navies from having to stop when running across each other’s paths?
Yes, besides sneaking up on population centers, this is the primary purpose for moving evasively.
Does the casting proficiency for spells already learned increase when a mage’s skill rank increases?
No, once a spell is learned, the only way to improve 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.
When an agent attempts to assassinate a character, what skill ranks of the target character matter, or matter most?
The highest one of the four skill ranks.
Can an army, or specific troops, be put on maneuvers more than once in a turn (by different commanders)?
Yes, and by reviewing the discussion in the rulebook about characters with an army you can determine how this can be done.
Do ships, war machines, or fortifications matter at all in calculation of victory points?
No, they are of tactical and/or strategic importance only. Other than the section in the rulebook, the actual method and details of tallying victory points is information withheld from the players.
Can a navy move directly from 2927 to 2926?
No, nor can one move from 2236 to 2235 nor from 1118 to 1218 nor from 1119 to 1219.
Does the ‘Reveal Production’ spell reveal the five hexes with the greatest amount of that resource or just any five hexes with that resource?
The hexes are not revealed in any order – simply random.
Does the ‘Recon Area’, ‘Scry Area’, and ‘Scout Area’ orders reveal navies in the water hexes around that hex?
The answer to all three is ‘Yes – to some extent’.
Can ‘Scry Hex’ and/or ‘Scry Area’ be done in a water hex?
‘No’ to both.
How exactly does troop morale work? At one point in the rulebook it says that troops transferred to an army commander take on the morale level equal to the morale rank of the receiving commander’s army? Does this apply to the transfer command order?
Yes, it is only in cases of ‘split army’ (new army morale normally starts at 30) and ‘hire army’ (new army morale normally starts at 10) that this is not the case.
If my troops in an army are demoralized so that their morale is less than the command rank of their commander, can I merely transfer them away and then transfer them back on a later turn so that their morale increases to the level of the commander? Can this work in the opposite way also (if the troop morale is initially higher than the commander rank)?
You can ‘merge’ disgruntled troops into ‘energetic’ armies to improve overall morale (and vice versa). However, ‘re-transferring’ them back uses the ‘split army’ order which only results in a morale of 30 (not the army commander’s command rank). Thus, this kind of activity is of minimal advantage and usually simply wastes valuable orders. If the ‘split army’ is not used, then the transferred troops would simply assume the morale of their new army comrades. Note also that the commander rank has nothing to do with any existing army’s morale.
If an army commander does die from a challenge, and there is more than one character with command skill in that army, which character will become the new commander?
The one with the highest command skill – ties are broken randomly.
Can I order a character with command skill in an army, one who is not the army commander, to attack an enemy army or population center, in anticipation of my army commander’s death due to challenge?
Yes, but the order will be ignored/fail if the commander survives the challenge or if some other character becomes the army commander. In like fashion, if you expect your army to be destroyed, then you could issue ‘move character’ orders to your army commander, in anticipation that he will be only a character by the time the order comes around. If the army isn’t destroyed, then the order would fail.
If a hidden population center is revealed by a Mage spell, can the owner of the population center simply re-hide it the next turn again so that I cannot attack it, etc..?
Yes, it COULD be done, but it is not an ability that most nations possess. Even then, the task would not be easy. Therefore, by and large, the answer is ‘No’.
Since a navy in a land hex (harbor, shore, port) can anchor ships if it wants to, then it is able to use orders that an army can use. Does this mean that an offshore navy can use the ‘split army’ (navy in this case)? If so, can it choose to transfer a specific amount of ships as well?
In response to the first question – ‘Yes’, it can even do so without anchoring ships, just so long as it is in a hex where it could do so. Regarding the second question – the answer is ‘Yes’, but you would need to use a second order to transfer the ships desired.
If there is not enough gold to cover maintenance costs, is the tax rate automatically raised to cover the costs (assuming the needed taxes are under 100%). For example, if my tax rate is 80% and my maintenance costs require the additional revenue generated from a 95% tax rate, am I guaranteed that this tax rate will be successfully achieved without an order, or is it possible that my tax rate will not be successfully raised?
The answer is ‘Yes’, the tax rate will automatically be increased to whatever tax rate is required to cover maintenance costs. This is different from the ‘change tax rate’ order which can fail or only partially succeed. Furthermore, the loyalty at all population centers will be affected by the increase in the tax rate. However, the amount of impact on the loyalty will be greater if the tax rate is increased automatically rather than voluntarily.
Under the ‘steal gold’ order, it says that success will gain the character gold based on the net revenues (assuming 100% tax rate) and any gold production the population center generated that turn. However, on page 27, it says that capitals are more vulnerable to gold stealing because they house [most of] the gold reserves. How is this true if the amount stolen is based only on the revenue and gold production of the population center?
The capital is the only place where all of your reserve is potentially vulnerable. It is not easy, but a very good agent could exceed the normal gold limits, and a great agent could even clean your reserves out – but only at the capital. Of course, it is easy to guard your capital – whereas it is harder to guard all your population centers.
Can an agent steal gold from a population center if the nation has no reserves at the time?
No, considering that if there are no reserves, then what is left to steal? However, the skill rank would still improve.
Can a nation go bankrupt at any time during a turn other than when maintenance cost must be paid?
No, only maintenance costs must be paid. Thus, other expenses will simply fail to be paid and orders may thus fail as well.
What is the benefit of sieging a population center?
The benefit of a siege is that it reduces the food stores at the population center and doesn’t allow transfer orders, or market buy/sell orders, affecting the population center to take place. Once the food stores are gone, there is a continuing reduction in population center loyalty. Furthermore, there is a chance that if the sieging army has war machines, then the fortifications may be reduced each turn the population center is sieged. Revenue is also not received from any population center under siege (Note – revenue will still accumulate in the capital even though it is under siege – maintenance costs, orders, expenses, etc will be paid, but no transfers or market buy/sells will work there either). The net benefit of the siege is frequently that the population center will be more vulnerable to other forms of capture (threaten, emissary influence, army attack) but without the risk of troop and/or population center level losses. Of course, sieging takes time and the troops must still be fed and maintained . . .
When my capital falls, am I out of the game? If not, what happens?
Definitely probably not! When the capital is lost, and if there is another population center (major town or city) that can become the capital before turn end (else your nation is no longer active), then your nation is still active and can strike back. However, the loss of the capital can have a negative impact on your nation’s population center loyalty. Any loss of a population center tends to affect the loyalty at the nation’s other population centers. The greater the level of the lost population center, the greater the risk and amount of lost loyalty. Having population centers destroyed (rather than simply captured) also increases the risk and amount of lost loyalty. And losing the capital is generally the worst of all. Therefore, although it is not the end of the game to lose your capital, you must tread carefully and work hard to stay alive and get revenge.
What good is the ‘stand and defend’ order if it does not allow you to prevent an army from entering your hex?
The ‘Stand and Defend’ order is NOT intended to prevent an army from entering a hex. If it could do this, then you could prevent an army from entering the hex they need to enter in order to attack you. However desirable, it makes NO sense to have the order work in that fashion. The ‘Stand and Defend’ order IS intended to prevent an army from LEAVING a hex in the direction of a hex you wish to defend. Normally, a large enough army could do this by simply occupying the hex. Movement of non-friendly/tolerant armies would thus be stopped. However, on the next turn, the non-friendly/tolerant army could then simply continue its movement and the defending army would have no means to prevent this movement except by attacking. If this option is not desired, then the ‘Stand and Defend’ order will prevent the undesirable movement. In this way, an army can guard a mountain pass, or one side of a bridge, by occupying the hex in front of the hex to be protected and defending the proper directions.