Dynasty Primer

 

Summary

  Dynasty is a hybrid RPG/strategy game which simulates the political history of the human race and it’s chosen form of government. The players control a “dynasty” and their avatar is the scion of the family.   Each session is usually five years of time and as time goes by, scions age and then die or retire and a new scion comes forward. The player will have their own heir who will replace the scion when the time comes and the player will be able to guide the heir on their path to taking over the “family business”.  

How Does it Work?

Dynasty is played on Discord, on more or less monthly sessions, though there is scope for some sessions to split across two sittings and for some sessions to be closer or further apart. Players interact with each other and are also given situations to react to in their political groups (IE Republic players will make decisions for the Republic).   Players can also start their own actions that only involve them or can make one player versus player plot per session (which will often involve Tradecraft see below).   Post session, players will submit any actions they have that were either not part of the session or have come about from their briefing (which will often include decisions to make about your family and any business or political institutions or interests).  

A Testimonial from one of our newer players:

“So you've decided to join dynasty? Welcome! Enjoy the ride. As the most recent player who started over a year ago, here are some tips/hints for you.   I would say that the thing that got me the most at the start was the fact that this game is very open ended in terms of player action. Much more options than 4X games, more than RPGs like D&D. We have had players attempt to build Dyson spheres, commit genocide, launch world ships, merge massive companies and much more. The scope of the game doesn't get very micro intensive though the GM does a great job of that (the GM does a great job with it all tbh). Such as the building of a new orbital facility, supply some money and in an indeterminate number of years your fully armed and operational orbital facility is primed and awaiting your command. Then there is the eponymous dynasty.   Depending on your preference with how much you enjoy crusader kings, you could go either way. Some players like to keep track of every member of the family going back 8 generations and others dont know who their heir is until they are 30 years old and asking about their inheritance. I prefer to be somewhere in the middle, skewing slightly towards knowing who my current scion's 2nd cousin once removed is.   The point is, the game is what you make it. In this game events move whether you are ready or not. In skyrim if you decide to do every side quest before the main quest Alduin will wait for you. And in most d&d games the BBEG will kindly wait for you to find the rogues parents. If you decide to partake in infighting and politics a mysterious bug alien that attacked 30 years ago will come back and almost cause the extinction of humanity. So yeah, you can attempt anything you put your mind to. Just please try and work with other Terran players, does feel like we are facing extinction at the moment! Or at the very least, extreme depopulation of Terran space. Good luck and welcome”  

Dynasty Info

Each player’s dynasty tracks a few major pieces of information:  

The Scion

This is the head of the family and effectively your player character for the game. Some players actively roleplay that character and play their dynasty differently when the scion changes and whilst this is encouraged, this is not mandatory  

The Heir

This is the next in line, chosen by the family and usually, but not always, the next in line to run the family. The player will have choices to make for the heir each session that will guide them forward. The player can replace the heir and rarely the heir may die before they have chance to succeed.  

Wealth

This represents the money and resources of the family. Wealth can be spent on various things ranging from minor bribes and political contributions all the way up to major purchases like setting up your own political party or corporation.   Players tend to get an income from any corporations they are invested in or any colonies they are in charge of  

What Can You Buy?

The actual value of one point of wealth is somewhat vague and deliberately abstract but is generally assumed to be worth one billion adjusted dollars, so not an amount that should be spent on something trivial. There’ll be a number of things in game that will be “below the scale of the game” in terms of purchases Some (but far from all) the things you can spend wealth on:  
  • Two or more points of wealth can be used to start up a major corporation, though the truly huge corporations are worth fifty or sixty wealth (with some ranging into the hundred mark)
  • One wealth would be a significant advertising campaign during a political campaign and would be expected to shift the polls (though this can be undone by another party spending the other way!)
  • You can recruit tens of thousands of soldiers for one or two wealth and expect to pay one wealth per session in upkeep costs
  • You can build two or three small warships for one wealth
P Political CapitalAn abstraction of the political influence controlled by the Dynasty from favours owed, their own visibility and name and their connection to powerful political movements.   Players gain political capital from various means but these include being governor of a major planet, being associated with a successful political party and the dynasties own fame levels.   The GM will often provide guidance on things that would require or return political capital to action them, such as making friends with a minor faction or getting a vote through a planetary legislature. Political capital can also be spent to influence elections and is easier to do than spending wealth.  

Tradecraft

This is the sum of the family’s spy network, intelligence gathering assets and their general awareness of court intrigue and other schemes. Tradecraft represents the number of D6 that the player will roll if they are involved in a plot or other scheme   Only the highest roll will be counted and ties will be broken by the second highest roll   Example: Frank rolls 3D6 for tradecraft and gets 6, 4 and 4. Stevie rolls 3D6 for tradecraft and gets 6,5 and 1 Stevie would win the tradecraft roll   Holdings These are the places or corporate assets owned by the family that can be used. Some grant an income. Others have no value attached to them but could be developed and some of them can be cashed in for a one-off value.   Corporate Holdings As a rough rule of thumb, for each ten wealth that is invested in a corporation, you can expect to see an income of 1 wealth per session. This is not always the case though and it will depend on the success of the company and what it does   Where You Come In You will likely play as a “one off” character in your first session to help you get a feel for the game and the setting. After that, you can take over as a dynasty (or, in some cases, a corporation).   What sort of faction will I play? That’s sort of up to you. Traditionally most starting factions tend to be:
  • Political – whilst all of Dynasty is very political, a political family would be expected to already been known on their home-world and have a deep connection to a major political party or faction. You can expect to have a higher than average starting political capital
  • Military – either serving military at a fairly high rank or retired military, you’ll have connections in at least one major faction’s military. This may not see you start with much of a political profile as yet but you’ll be well placed to develop one.
  • Corporate – your family has deep pockets and is an investor or shareholder in one or more major corporations, or perhaps even owns their own smaller corporation. Expect to start the game with higher-than-average starting wealth
  • A Corporation -rather than a family, your Dynasty will be an actual corporation. There’ll be no marriages or children and your heir will be the COO (Chief operating officer) but otherwise the game functions more or less the same way. Again, expect to have higher than average starting wealth but you should expect to get some pushback if you get involved in politics
  • Religious – a newer type of faction, your family will have deep ties to one of the major religions, likely the Valtinist faith and have early ties and influence there. This will also give you some inbuilt political buy-in with the religious minded political parties. You can expect to get a somewhat frosty response from some of the more secularist factions though!
These aren’t your only options but are the most common ones. Typically, the GM will present you with a pre-generated family that is fits in the setting to suit what you’re looking for. Feel free to work with the GM to tailor your new dynasty to suit what you want out of the game.  

The Setting

The human race is currently divided into several major factions, with the The Terran Republic the largest and most stable form of government but far from controlling a majority of the Terran worlds.   The The Terran Empire collapsed after a catastrophic defeat to the Karkouri Regime and since then, the divided Terran worlds have bickered and argued and failed to form a consensus to reunite.   In some ways, this will be a tricky environment to start out in for a new Dynasty player but there is considerable opportunity to shape the new world as it emerges   There are a number of powerful factions within the Empire that are worth noting:  

The Terran Republic

The first government formed after the collapse of the Empire, the Republic is a democracy and based around Earth and New Berlin. It is currently embroiled in a bloody war on Nova Terra against “Burning Path”.  

The Free-Worlds Pact

see The Free Worlds Protection Pact  The FWP is an alliance of independent planets, centred on Mars and New Carthage, that offer mutual defence but have no over-arching government.   This is more akin to NATO than a proper government  

The Hassal League

see Hassall League  Created after the collapse of the Empire, the Hassal League worlds are under Karkouri control, though technically governed by their own people in puppet governments. The Karkouri have extracted considerable wealth, minerals and even captives from these planets.   The Hassal League is deeply unstable, with open rebellions on several planets and the Karkouri may struggle to keep control of these worlds.  

The St Lawrence Compact

see St. Lawrence Compact  Again formed after the collapse of the Empire and cantered around the wealthy colony of St Lawrence, the Compact was initially governed by the treacherous Collingwood dynasty but they were massacred and there was a period of anarchy in the Compact until mercenary unit VAIL took over and restored order.   The new government is technically democrat but most of the power lies with St Lawrence. The Compact is not a Karkouri puppet state but is banned by treaty from conducting foreign policy on its own until 2525  

The Corporations and the Hansa

There are six major corporations who control around 60% of the wealth of the human race. They are known for their power, their stubbornness and their trickiness. They formed the “Hansa” to serve as a joint negotiating and joint protection.  

The Black Dragon Yakuza

This powerful organized crime syndicate has its own world that it took over by force in the 2320’s. The Black Dragons traffic drugs, prostitutes and weapons and are wealthy and influential  

The Valtinist Movement

see Valtanism  The most powerful and influential religion in human space is Valtinism, the somewhat unlikely view that the universe is both sentient and benign and that humans and all other aliens are brothers and should unite. Valtinism is pacifist though it has recently formed its own military force to protect its adherents. It is known to have better than 50% of the terran race as adherents  

Artificial Intelligence

Around 2380 the 10th generation of AI were born. These are fully sentient AI. Known as the Kronus-10, they were granted full citizenship of the Empire and all sentient AI also have citizenship Self-aware Ais were granted full citizen rights within the Empire but nearly 80% of them were killed when the Cobalt Virus was released. The surviving self-aware AI’s largely live on their own colonies of Aeppel and Celeste.  

Burning Path

A splinter from the Valtinist movement, Burning Path are a faction of religious fundementalists and extremists who have called for the elimination of all sentient Ais, as well as human/AI hybrids. Their terrorist campaigns finally culiminated in the successful coup on Nova Terra. Burning Path have a very large militia on the planet  

The Aliens

There are a number of alien powers in the quadrant where the human race lives ranging in power. Players often find them a bit confusing at first so I’ve just briefly summed them up below. There’s much more information available on them (and everything else) if you want it  

The Major Races

The Tazzyn Empire

Cat like humanoids living in an imperialist Empire known for its military power, martial bearing and its arrogant, dismissive attitude. The Tazzyn are easily the most powerful race in the quadrant and do not like the humans

The Tranoan Empire

An ancient and powerful alien race known for its technology, science and culture. They uplifted the Terrans in the 21st century. They have been fading for about 200 years and are very much a shadow of their old power.

The Dhaugosk (Dhau) Empire

This race of doglike aliens migrated to the quadrant from a distant quadrant several hundred years ago. They carved out their own empire, largely from Tranoan space. The Dhau are warlike and reproduce in large numbers.

The Gannid Commonwealth

A former slave race of miners, engineers and traders, the Gannid have had a competitive relationship with the Terrans in the past. The Gannid and the Terrans have had an increasingly complex relationship

The Karkouri Regime

A military dictatorship of Avian creatures who are traders and slavers. They have a number of subject or slave races under them. They have fought six (or seven) wars with the Terrans and once successfully occupied Terran space in the early 24th century

The Vatu Empire

A military race of lizard-like dinosaurs known for their warlike nature and skill in hand to hand battle. They are honor-bound, aggressive and occasionally allies of the Terrans

Minor Races

The Indirians

A race of migrant aliens who moved to the quadrant somewhere around 700 years ago. They lived among the other races as nomads and mercenaries. Millions of Indirians settled in human space and have become accepted citizens of the Empire

The Jaradino

Small, goat-like humanoids who superficially resemble “fawns” of human mythology, they were uplifted by the Terran Empire in the 25th century but then their home-world of Prospero fell to the Dhau Empire. The Jaradino await rescue and liberation by the Empire.

The Chohan

A race of otter-like humanoids who were once an extinct species before being “brought back” with advanced biological science and the recovery a cache of ancient alien artifacts. An advanced race that live on New Carthage as citizens of the planet, they are a growing race but there are still less than a thousand of them

The Rorn

A race of ape-like humanoids who were once close allies of the Terrans. Good scientists and known to be pacifists

The Bl’Hud

A strange race of sentient plants who built powerful mech-suits to give them mobility. Excellent scientists

The Mor-Du

A race of froglike aliens known to be superb artisans and scientists. They were once conquered by the Karkouri and live in fear of them

The Hressans

A former Tazzyn subject race and, to humans, nearly indistinguishable from Tazzyn. The Hressans won their war of independence against the mighty Tazzyn Empire and have forged their own Republic.

The Zzenddi (the Roaches)

An extra-galactic alien race of hive-minded insectoids who attacked and conquered a swathe of the old Empire before being defeated. The Zzenddi are hugely technologically advanced and psionic too. Whilst they were defeated, many wonder if they will return to the quadrant one day.  

Recent History (from a human point of view)

  • 2320s-2360s The human race, recovering after the Karkouri occupation, form a new government known as the Federated States, a democracy that struggled to exercise authority, especially over the corporations
  • 2366-2370 A bunch of frontier worlds go into revolt and form the Union of Socialist Worlds (USW). They are defeated in the 3rd Terran Civil War
  • 2370’s-2380 The Federated States struggle on after the civil war with questions asked over its suitability as a form of government
  • 2380 There is a military coup and a junta of generals and admiral seize power
  • 2387 There is a second coup and a group of generals, with political and corporate allies, seize power and reformat the Federated States into the Terran Empire, crowning former special forces soldier August Solarin as the Emperor.
  • 2395-2400 Difficult relationships with the Karkouri spill over into two brushfire wars. The Empire defeat the Karkouri both times. The incredibly old and powerful Taur’leir Empire leaves the quadrant for its own reasons and its former empire lies empty and vacant. The Terrans, the Gannid and the Dhau agree to partition those worlds between them.
  • 2406 There is a major mutiny within the Marine corps as Lord-Marshall Danesh Hawthorne attempts to seize power in order to extract “justice” from Duchess Tilly Valane as well as others that were involved in the 2387 Imperial Coup. This mutiny fails to build traction and after a short, bloody battle, they were defeated in an attempt to seize the capital on Earth. Lord Hawthorne was assassinated and the mutineers agreed to a cease fire after certain concessions were granted by the Emperor
  • 2411 The Terran Empire launches a pre-emptive attack into Karkouri space and defeats the Karkouri in the short 7th Karkouri war which destroys nearly half of the Karkouri fleet. The Karkouri are crippled as a major power.
  • 2415 First contact is made with the natives of Prospero which nearly results in a huge war breaking out between native factions.
  • 2445 Terran scientists and soldiers manage to force a landing on the former Taur’leir world of Silence, provoking a diplomatic incident with the Tranoan Empire
  • 2455 An unknown alien race, referred to Imperial Military circles as “The Roaches” make a seemingly unprovoked attack on the frontier world of New Carthage, killing 20,000 people and destroying an Imperial Navy task force
  • 2475 The Roaches return. Later identified as the Zzenddi, they conquer six worlds and whilst they are driven back the death toll of the Zzenddi war is huge. Many worlds are also left devastated by the invasion. This also coincides with an intense period of political instability
  • 2496 Lord Marshall Collingwood betrays the Imperial Fleet to the Karkouri, which is then all but wiped out during the Battle of Vanheim. The Karkouri then conquer the Empire and break it up, creating the puppet Hassal League, the semi-independent Dragonfish Protectorate and the St Lawrence Compact.
  • 2498 The Terran Republic is formed, initially consisting of just five worlds.
  • 2513 The “Burning Coup” sees religious fundamentalist faction Burning Path seize control of the prosperous Republic world of Nova Terra. The Republic eventually deploys hundreds of thousands of marines to the planet but by 2520 they have been unable to restore order


Cover image: by Destiny - Game

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