Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: Reserves Welcome

9-player variant set in an alt-history Arctic Circle, with lots of Norse mythology thrown in for good measure. Created by NoPunIn10Did and Aeschines. GM'd by Aeschines.

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Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: Reserves Welcome

Postby Aeschines » 11 Mar 2020, 01:30

Hello wonderful people of Playdiplomacy! After a long interlude of absence (I'm blaming the new job) the time has come to give a second run to the AWARD WINNING variant, Saga of the Nine designed by our very own NoPunin10did (with a little help from yours truly).

Saga of the Nine II
An Arctic Fusion of Myth, Erroneous Geography, and Speculative History


Get psyched for Saga of the Nine (II), and it's a DP variant that ties together Norse mythology with alt-history. It's set in the Arctic Circle on an alternate Earth and starts in 400 BCE.

The full rules and details for this variant will be posted as a reply to this thread. There are two flavors of Saga of the Nine: S9 Basic and S9 Complete. We will be running S9 Complete.

Scheduling & House Rules
Each full movement phase will last at least 2 days. Each build phase will last at least 24 hours. Orders will always be due at 7pm Eastern Time (so some turns may last closer to 72 hours).

Communication will be handled via Discord. Orders can be sent either through Discord or via forum PM.

Draws must include all survivors and are voted on secretly using standing draw votes. S9 Complete is designed to end after a finite number of Cycles; after the 11th, the game will automatically end in a draw (assuming it hasn’t ended in a solo or draw already).

In the event of a solo, there will be one winner and eight losers. In the event of a draw, I will rank all surviving and eliminated players by total SC count or year of elimination. The size of the draw will be irrelevant. As this isn't an a scored game in actuality, there are no points attached to that rank; it's listed instead for posterity (and to discourage draw-whittling).

Country selection will be via a silent auction (i.e. no talking about what power you'd like to play). I'll handle power selection simultaneous with confirmations.

    Potential Players
  1. Asudevil
  2. Strategus
  3. Don Juan of Austria
  4. Bigj0e03
  5. Iamnobody
  6. diophantus22
  7. Wopwop
  8. Joadg
  9. Counsel0r
  10. MisterAsiago

  1. NanooktheEskimo
  2. Groo
  3. StarkAdder
  4. AKFD
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Rules v.1.1

Postby Aeschines » 11 Mar 2020, 01:33

Saga of the Nine
An Arctic Fusion of Myth, Erroneous Geography, and Speculative History

(note! we will be playing with v1.1 which is spelled out below.

Game Rules v.1.1

Saga of the Nine (S9) is a Diplomacy variant for nine players. Saga of the Nine provides rules for two different scenarios: S9 Basic and S9 Complete.

S9 Basic uses very few special rules. It is similar in complexity to Hundred [Schwarz] or 1900 [VonPowell].

S9 Complete incorporates more advanced features such as Diplomacy Points (DP), Heirs, Minor Neutral Powers, Thrall Powers, and Vassal Powers. It is comparable in complexity to Ambition & Empire (VonPowell, Kase, & Ronke).

All standard rules of Diplomacy apply, except where explicitly contravened by these rules.

“Saga of the Nine” is a variant of the board game “Diplomacy” by Allan B. Calhamer & Avalon Hill. “Saga of the Nine” is the creation of W. Alex Ronke & Chris Helwig, copyright 2019.

The copyrights for all maps and artwork associated with “Saga of the Nine” are held by W. Alex Ronke & Chris Helwig. All rights reserved.

The copyrights for all rules text and documentation associated with “Saga of the Nine” are held by W. Alex Ronke & Chris Helwig. We, the copyright holders of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:


1.0 - Introduction
Saga of the Nine takes place in an alternate version of Earth’s history and geography. A considerably warmer global climate has driven early civilizations further from the equator. Surrounding the North Pole, instead of a solid ice cap, lies a cold but arable continent called Arctica or Hel. Several feudal states have grown and thrived in and near Hel despite its sunless winters and nightless summers.

Each player will lead one of nine powers in the region: the Aesir, Dokkalfar, Jotnar, Ljosalfar, Madr, Surtr, Vanir, Ymir, and Zwergar. Centuries later in this alternate Earth, the stories of these nine powers and their conquests will be spun and reshaped until they reach mythical proportions. These nation-states led by mortal humans will be transformed by generations of storytellers into giants, dwarves, elves and deities; they will become the basis of the Nine Worlds of Norse mythology.

1.1 - New Power Types
S9 Basic only includes Major powers, as is standard for Diplomacy variants. In S9 Complete, however, you will see references to four types of powers:
  1. Major powers
  2. Minor powers
  3. Thrall powers
  4. Vassal powers
Minor powers are single-center neutral powers that occupy every neutral SC at the start of the game. Their units are stationary (§ 7.2), and their orders are determined each turn via DP allocations (§ 9.0). Thrall powers (§ 10.3) and Vassal powers (§ 10.4) are spawned during the course of the game and are indirectly controlled by one or two players, respectively.

The full capabilities and rules for each of these power types will be found throughout the later sections.

1.2 - S9 Complete: Don’t Get Eliminated
In S9 Complete, a player can be eliminated in two ways:
  1. The player loses control of all their directly-controlled SCs (the normal way).
  2. The player loses control of their Capital City (§ 5.6) and has no living Heirs.
Heirs are a new unit type with nonstandard behavior and orders. You can read more about Heirs and Early Elimination in sections 3, 7, & 10.

2.0 - Starting Year & Turn Structure
In standard Diplomacy, phases of a turn are labeled according to the seasons of a year: Spring Orders, Spring Retreats, Fall / Autumn Orders, Fall Retreats, and Winter Adjustments / Fall Builds. S9 preserves nearly the same turn structure and naming conventions, but what would normally correspond to one game-year in classic Dip instead corresponds to a Cycle of 19 years.

Thus, the first “year” of the game (what would be 1901 in classic Dip) is referred to as either the First Cycle or 400 BCE. The second “year” of the game is referred to as the Second Cycle or 381 BCE.

The peoples of the Arctic Circle have no standardized calendar, but they track history using the Metonic Cycle, a period of approximately 19 solar years or 235 synodic lunar months between points at which the Winter Solstice and the New Moon coincide.

Autumn Census
After Autumn Retreats have processed, but before the Winter Adjustments phase begins, S9 adds a phase: Autumn Census. The Census is not actually a new phase so much as a formal label for an existing set of standard game bookkeeping tasks; it does not require any player interaction and can be handled entirely by a human GM or automated adjudicator.

During the Autumn Census, SCs occupied by powers other than their current owners change hands. SCs are counted to evaluate victory criteria, pending builds, and pending disbands. In S9 Complete, additional actions related to the rules for Heirs and early power termination also take place during the Census.

3.0 - Victory Criteria & Game Length
There are 33 supply centers (SCs) in the game. Solo victory is achieved when a single player controls a total of 16 SCs at the end of the Autumn Census. That player must also have the highest total of SCs of any player, with no other players tied for highest total.

The game may alternatively end in a draw, with house rules determining how draws may be constructed, proposed, and voted upon. House rules also determine whether a draw is considered “equally shared” by all surviving players or not, particularly if a scoring system is to be applied to the game’s result.

Example 3.0.1: Two Players Tied for 16 SCs
At the end of an Autumn Census, the Aesir player has a total of 16 SCs, the Zwergar player has 16 SCs, the Jotnar player has 1 SC, and all other players are eliminated. In this scenario, neither the Aesir nor the Zwergar have achieved solo victory, and the game continues to the next Cycle.

Addendum for S9 Complete
Were this the Census of the Eleventh and Final Cycle of the game (see below), then the game would immediately terminate in a draw that includes Aesir, Zwergar, and Jotnar.

3.1 - S9 Complete: SC Totals
The SCs occupied by a player’s controlled Thrall powers count toward that player’s total for determining victory criteria only. Likewise, SCs held by Vassal powers, which are controlled jointly by two players, count toward both controlling players’ SC totals for victory criteria only.

Neither Thrall powers nor Vassal powers count toward a player’s SCs for their Major power when calculating pending Winter Adjustments, as each Major, Thrall, and Vassal power handles builds and disbands separately.

3.2 - S9 Complete: Final Cycle
S9 Complete includes a timing mechanism. No game of S9 Complete will last more than eleven cycles. At the end of the 11th Autumn Census (210 BCE), if no player has achieved Solo victory, then the game ends immediately in a draw that includes all surviving players.

3.3 - S9 Complete: Early Power Elimination Rules
During the Autumn Census, if a player has no living Heirs (§ 10.0) and has lost control of their power’s Capital City (§ 5.6), then that player is immediately eliminated. Follow this procedure to convert that player’s remaining Supply Centers into Minor neutral powers.
  1. Any remaining units belonging to the eliminated power are immediately disbanded.
  2. Any supply centers belonging to the power (i.e. those not already captured) are converted into Neutral supply centers. Each of those centers becomes a new Minor power of its own.
  3. During the subsequent Winter phase, each of the new Minor powers will build the unit type that was present in that center at the start of the game, as per the build rules (§ 8.9).
  4. If the player controlled any Thrall powers, they are converted to ordinary Minor powers.
  5. If the player jointly controlled a Vassal power, and that Vassal’s other controlling player has not yet been eliminated, then that other player may continue to control the Vassal on their own (§ 10.4) but must still allocate DP to set that power’s units’ orders.
A Vassal power will be eliminated early during Autumn Census if its Capital city is captured. Likewise, a Vassal power will also be eliminated if its two controlling players are both eliminated. In either case, the Vassal power’s supply centers should likewise convert to new Minor powers using the same procedure described in steps 1-3 above, with its units disbanded and rebuilt by said Minor powers during the subsequent Winter.

Optional Rules for Handling Dropped Players
At the GM’s discretion, if a player drops out or is kicked out of the game for NMRs or other unsavory behavior, and a replacement player cannot be found to take over that player’s position, the GM may elect to force that player’s Major Power to undergo the Early Elimination procedure. This must occur during an Autumn Census phase. The exact timing and specific parameters for invoking this option should, if possible, be spelled out in the GM’s house rules.

3.4 - S9 Complete: Alternate Endgame Criteria
In S9 Complete, Solo victory can also be achieved when exactly one surviving player remains at the end of the Autumn Census.

However, if no surviving players remain at the end of Autumn Census, then all players have lost the game.

4.0 - Maps
The following are reference maps for the Saga of the Nine. Note that the setups differ between S9 Basic and S9 Complete. In S9 Basic, there are no Heirs or neutral Minor power units. In S9 Complete, the starting units for Minor powers are tan-colored and marked with the ᚢ rune.

In the maps shown in sections 4.2 and 4.3, Armies are represented by hexagonal icons. Fleets are represented by pie-piece-shaped icons (a.k.a. sails).

4.1 - Greyscale Map, Outlines and Names Only


4.2 - Starting Map, S9 Basic


4.3 - Starting Map, S9 Complete


4.4 - Adjacency Diagram


The above diagram shows lines of adjacency between locations in Saga of the Nine. Yellow lines connect locations that only Armies may treat as adjacent. Blue dashed lines connect locations that only Fleets may treat as adjacent. Green lines connect locations that either unit type may treat as adjacent.

4.5 - Reference Map, Mercator


The above map, drawn by Mercator in 1595, was an attempt on his part to predict the geography of the Arctic Circle based on the knowledge available at the time. This map served as a major inspiration for Saga of the Nine.

5.0 - Map Notes
5.1 - Names & Abbreviations
Any space in S9 may be referred to by the first three letters of its name.
Each named space begins with a unique permutation of three letters, so there should be no ambiguity in this regard.

The following is a list of all space names in S9.
Code: Select all

5.2 - Lots of Canals
Several land spaces on the map also function as canal spaces. These spaces operate identically to Constantinople or Kiel in standard Diplomacy. Fleets may travel through and along those canals as they would coastlines, but fleets located in those canal spaces may not convoy armies. The exact connections those canals provide are detailed in the Adjacency Diagram (§ 4.4).

There are no split coastlines in Saga of the Nine (i.e. no spaces equivalent to Spain or Bulgaria from classic Dip).

5.3 - Island Spaces
Some spaces, such as Permyak and Thule, operate as island spaces. Islands may be occupied by fleets or armies. Armies and fleets may move freely between them and any space with which they share a border. Thus a fleet in Thule may move to Eljudnir or an army in Permyak to Ziva. Fleets occupying island spaces may not convoy units.

5.4 - Arrows
Arrows connecting two spaces (and crossing a water space) indicate the presence of a narrow inlet or land bridge. The connected spaces should be considered adjacent for all purposes.
  • Iqaluit & Ungavaheim: This arrow indicates that Iqaluit, Ungavaheim, Armsvartnir, and Gjoll should all be considered mutually adjacent.
  • Inuvik & Quttinirpaaq: This arrow indicates that Inuvik, Quttinirpaaq, Svol, and Gunnthro should all be considered mutually adjacent.
  • Eljudnir & Thule: This arrow indicates that Eljudnir, Thule, Slid, and Gunnungagap should all be considered mutually adjacent.
  • Belobog & Vidblainn: This arrow indicates that Vidblainn, Belobog, and Morskoy should all be considered mutually adjacent.
Please check the Adjacency Diagram (§ 4.4) if there is any confusion.

5.5 - Impassable spaces
Spaces without listed names are impassable, such as the sea space adjacent to Udainsakr (which would correspond to the Baltic Sea on a real map). Accordingly, neither Fyrisvellir, Myrkvidr, nor Udainsakr should be treated as having a coastline and may not be occupied by fleets.

5.6 - S9 Complete: Capital Cities
Each of the nine Major Powers possesses one Supply Center that is also a Capital City. The Capital City is where Heirs are generated or initially placed. A player that loses control of their own Capital will not be able to generate new Heirs. A player that loses control of their Capital and also has no living Heirs will be subject to Early Power Elimination (§ 3.3) during the Autumn Census.

Likewise, each Vassal power possesses its own Capital city (§ 10.4). Should it lose control of that Capital, it is also subject to Early Power Elimination.

6.0 - Major Powers and Starting Units
The following are the nine Major powers of Saga of the Nine. Each of these major powers is controlled by a single player.

6.1 - Aesir (ᚨ)
  • Color: Navy blue
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Asgard
    2. F Himinbjorg
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Asgard.
Counterfactual History
The Aesir, whose name may share etymology with a term meaning “people of Asia,” are thought to be ancestrally related to the Koryak, Ainu, and other indigenous peoples of northeast Asia.

6.2 - Dokkalfar (ᛞ)
  • Color: Purple
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Svartalfheim
    2. F Chernobog
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Svartalfheim.
Counterfactual History
The Dokkalfar, also known as the Svartalfar or “Dark Elves,” are thought to be ancestrally related to modern-day Slavic and Uralic ethnic groups. It is hypothesized that the Dokkalfar were originally a faction of the Ljosalfar that settled in Arctica and seceded from a larger Bronze Age proto-empire.

6.3 - Jotnar (ᛃ)
  • Color: Teal blue
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Jotunheim
    2. F Thrymheimr
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Jotunheim.
Counterfactual History
The Jotnar are thought to be ancestrally related to the Scandinavian peoples of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Artifacts found in Greenland seem to suggest that, at some point prior to the rise of the Surtr as an independent people, the Jotnar or Ymir may have ruled there as well. Other evidence suggests some cultural connection between the Jotnar and Ymir even though DNA analysis does not appear to suggest a close common ancestry.

6.4 - Ljosalfar (ᛚ)
  • Color: Yellow
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. A Alfheim
    2. A Belobog
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Alfheim.
Counterfactual History
The Ljosalfar, also known as the Alfar or “Light Elves,” are thought to be ancestrally related to modern-day Slavic and Uralic ethnic groups. They spoke a Finno-Ugric dialect similar to the language of the Dokkalfar, and it is hypothesized that these two powers were at one point part of a shared proto-empire in Bronze Age Eurasia.

6.5 - Madr (ᛗ)
  • Color: Brown
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Midgard
    2. F Siegfried
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Midgard.
Counterfactual History
The Madr, who referred to themselves using their word for “men” or “people,” settled the Pacific quadrant of Arctica in the eighth century BCE. They are considered one of the great puzzles of archaeology: their written language was clearly Nordic in origin, but fossil records and genetic analysis suggest a stronger connection to Aboriginal Australians.

6.6 - Surtr (ᛊ)
  • Color: Red-orange
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Muspelheim
    2. F Ragnarok
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Muspelheim.
Counterfactual History
The Surtr, or Muspel, described themselves in religious texts as a formerly enslaved populace that rebelled against a larger empire of either Jotnar or Ymir (depending on the translation). Archaeologists have been unable to independently verify the exact timing of this rebellion, but genetic analysis has shown evidence of common ancestry between the Surtr and other Nordic, Arctic-American, and indigenous Greenlandic ethnic groups. Ymir and Aesir writings from the period describe the Surtr in near-superstitious tones, warning of calamity should they ever seek to expand their borders beyond the plains of Ragnarok.

6.7 - Vanir (ᚹ)
  • Color: Green
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. A Vanaheimr
    2. F Noatun
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Vanaheimr.
Counterfactual History
Of the nine major peoples of the period, the Vanir were likely the most successful agrarians. They appeared to have maintained frequent contact with the Aesir across the Bering Straits, though not all such interaction was peaceful in nature. The Vanir are most likely ancestrally connected to the First Nations peoples of the Pacific Northwest.

6.8 - Ymir (ᛇ)
  • Color: Ice blue
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Niflheim
    2. A Audumbla
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Niflheim.
Counterfactual History
The Ymir (pronuounced either “ee-meer” or “ae-meer”) ruled an early proto-empire that stretched across multiple quadrants of Arctica and possibly into modern-day Greenland. By this period, their empire had experienced considerable decline, with many city-states like Thule, Nastrond, and Gjallerbru having declared independence years earlier. Human remains of the Ymir have proven difficult to link ancestrally to any modern-day cultures with even a slight degree of certainty.

6.9 - Zwergar (ᛉ)
  • Color: Charcoal
  • Starting Units / Home SCs:
    1. F Nidavellir
    2. F Ivaldi
  • S9 Complete Setup: An Heir begins in the Capital of Nidavellir.
Counterfactual History
The Zwergar or Dvergar, though their name shares an etymology with the Germanic noun “dwarf,” do not appear to have been, in actuality, a people of reduced height. The Zwergar settled the far northeast Atlantic coast of North America during and share common ancestry with the Algonquian and Iroquois.

7.0 - S9 Complete: Unit Types
In addition to the standard Armies and Fleets of Diplomacy, S9 Complete adds new mechanics for Heirs and stationary units.

7.1 - Heirs
There is one new core unit type: Heirs. Heirs are represented by small semi-transparent rectangles. Each player begins with one Heir in their Capital city.

Heirs are a totally nonstandard unit. They are not part of a player’s unit count. They do not perform standard orders. They can co-locate with other Heirs and unit types. They do not participate directly in combat. They cannot defend themselves, and neglecting them can lead to a player’s early elimination (§ 3.3 & 10.1). Heirs are only ever located in Supply Centers, and they can only be relocated through marriage.

Section 10 will provide further rules about Heirs and marriages.

7.2 - Stationary Armies & Fleets
Minor Powers and Thrall Powers possess only stationary units. The rules for stationary units should be familiar to anyone who has played a DP-based variant before, and it is recommended that the player familiarize themselves with the Common Ruleset for DP-based Variants, the most relevant parts of which are quoted below.
Stationary Units & Sortie Attacks
All Minor Powers' units are stationary. Stationary units can be given orders just like any other unit. They can be ordered to hold, support, move, or (when applicable) convoy. They can be ordered to move via convoy as well.

However, while stationary units can be ordered to move, they will never actually move. Instead, their moves will always bounce. This is called a Sortie. For example, a stationary unit's move order can be used to cut an adjacent unit's support or protect an adjacent empty province from a potential invader.

Because stationary units cannot leave their current locations, they cannot dislodge other units.

Stationary Units & Retreats
Stationary units cannot retreat. If a stationary unit is dislodged, it is always destroyed during the Retreat phase. If a stationary unit's move order bounces in an otherwise uncontested province, that province is not an eligible retreat location during the subsequent Retreat phase.

Please note that all of the above quoted section applies to Thrall Powers as well, though not to Vassal powers (§ 10.5), whose units are standard armies and fleets.

8.0 - Build Rules
There are different build rules for S9 Basic and S9 Complete.
8.1 - S9 Basic Builds
In S9 Basic, players may build in any vacant supply centers they control.

8.2 - S9 Complete: Builds by Major Powers
In S9 Complete, Major powers may only build armies and fleets in their original two home centers.

8.3 - S9 Complete: Building Heirs
In S9 Complete, a player’s Major power may build an Heir in their Capital city during the Winter phase only if the following are all true:
  1. That player currently controls their own Capital.
  2. The Capital does not currently contain an Heir.
  3. That player did not build an Heir during the most recent prior Winter phase.
8.4 - S9 Complete: Builds by Minor, Vassal & Thrall Powers
A Vassal power may only build in its Capital city. Its build orders are set by the players that jointly control the Vassal, with preference given to legal orders given by the Vassal’s Dowry Giver (§ 10.5).
Should a Minor power or Thrall power enter the Winter phase with a controlled-but-vacant SC, that power will automatically build a unit of the type present in that SC at the start of the game.

9.0 - S9 Complete: Diplomacy Points
Every neutral SC on the board begins the game with a neutral unit. Each of these initially belong to are "Minor Powers." The orders given for neutral units are determined through secret Diplomacy Point (DP) allocations.

Those unacquainted with Diplomacy Points should familiarize themselves with the Common Ruleset for DP-based Variants. S9 Complete uses a variation of these standard DP rules for setting the orders for Minor Powers, Thrall Powers, and Vassal powers. A section of that standard set of rules is quoted below.

Diplomacy Points
Diplomacy Points (DP) are the system by which players determine the orders of Neutral units. Each Orders Phase, every player receives an allotment of DP; the amount allotted varies by variant. That DP is use-it-or-lose-it; none can be stored or carried over into the next turn.

Allocating & Adjudicating DP
Along with orders for their own units, players can submit potential orders for one or more neutral units. Each potential order must come with a DP allocation, and the total DP allocated by a player must not exceed their total allotment for that phase. The DP expenditures act like "votes" for that order. Other players may vote for that same order and allocate DP to it. A single player with 2 DP, for instance, can potentially spend 2 DP on a single units' order or allocate 1 DP each to two different units' orders.

At the time of adjudication, the GM analyzes all of the submitted DP allocations for a given unit. The order that has the most DP spent is the one that will be given to the unit. If two or more orders tie for DP spent, or if no DP is allocated to that unit, it will be given a default order instead. Except where specified in the specific variant's rules, the default order for any neutral unit is Hold.

All DP allocations are kept secret. Only the "winning" orders will be known publicly but not which players (if any) allocated DP to those orders. For most variants, all DP allocations will remain secret until the entire game has completed.

Limitations on DP Allocations
Individual variants tend to come with additional restrictions regarding who a neutral unit or Minor unit will attack or support, which players may spend DP on a given unit, and how much DP may be spent on a single order per turn. These restrictions tend to be customized to reflect the setting of the variant and the affiliations of the Minor Powers. However, one rule is nearly universal, particularly for stationary minor powers.

The Attacking & Allocating Rule:
If a player's own unit is attacking (or supporting an attack on) a minor power, that player may not allocate DP to that minor power during the turn the attack or support is taking place.

This rule lessens some of the inherent "gullibility" of minor powers. Most commonly, it prevents a player from allocating DPs to a minor power for the purpose of having the minor power unit move, thereby making it ineligible to receive support-to-hold during the player’s attack on that minor power.

9.1 - DP Allocation Specifics for S9
The above rules apply in full for all non-Major power units, with the following changes:
  1. A Minor neutral power may also be ordered via DP allocation to Marry a player’s Heir (§ 10.3), which if successful will create a new Thrall power. For combat adjudication purposes, treat a Marry order the same as a Hold order. However, DP allocated to a minor neutral unit to Hold should not count as DP allocated toward a Marry order, nor vice versa; they are still two distinct order types.
  2. For DP allocation purposes, Thrall powers can be considered identical to Minor powers, except that the DP spent on an order for a Thrall power by that Thrall power’s controller is multiplied by 2 to the order indicated (§ 10.3).
    Example: Ljosalfar controls a Thrall power in Glaesisvellir. During an Orders phase, Ljosalfar secretly allocates 1 DP to F Glaesisvellier, ordering it to move to Aekin (sortie). Meanwhile, Jotnar secretly allocates 1 DP to F Glaesisvellir, ordering it to support F Jotunheim to Aekin. Provided there are no other DP allocations to this unit, F Glaesisvellir will move/sortie to Aekin, as that order effectively has the equivalent of 2 DP allocated to it.
  3. Units belonging to Vassal powers (§ 10.4) are also ordered via DP allocation. However, Vassal powers’ units are not stationary. Their move orders are not to be treated as sorties, they may retreat, and they are not subject to the Attacking & Allocating Rule. Also, the only players that may allocate DP to a Vassal unit’s orders are the two players that jointly control that Vassal power.
9.2 - DP Totals per Player per Turn
Major powers receive a total pool of Diplomacy Points during each Orders phase that they may split between allocatations to Minor, Thrall, and Vassal powers’ units. These points, if not spent, are lost at the end of the turn and do not carry over into subsequent Orders phases.

The total DP each Major power receives is calculated as follows:
  • +1 DP if the Major power controls its own Capital city
  • +1 DP if the power’s Capital city contains an unmarried Heir
  • +1 DP for each controlled Thrall power
  • +1 DP for each controlled Vassal power (both players that control a Vassal will receive this DP)
Accordingly, during the first Spring Orders phases of the game, each Major power will have 2 DP each to allocate: one for its capital, and one for its unmarried Heir. A Major power that has lost its Capital but still controls one Thrall power and one Vassal power will have 2 DP to allocate that Orders phase.
The easiest way to calculate available DP on a given phase is +1 for controlling their own capital and +1 for each heir present on the board.

10.0 - S9 Complete: Heirs, Thralls, and Vassal Powers
Heirs are a new unit type for S9 Complete. They are not part of the standard unit count, they are not part of standard combat mechanics, and they only ever reside in Supply Centers. Heirs start in their controllers’ Capital cities but may be relocated via marriage. Successful marriages create new Thrall powers and Vassal powers.
Heir mechanics are based partly on the 2018 rules for Diplomacy of Ice & Fire (based on the works of George R. R. Martin, with original variant & map design by Alex Maslow & Matt Kremer), a play-by-forum variant adapted and GM’d by Chris Helwig.

Heirs’ primary purpose is to act as a weakness. They provide means of more quickly eliminating players from the map. If we draw an analogy to a game of Capture the Flag, for instance, the Heirs and Capital are the flags. Marrying heirs spreads flags across the map. An S9 Complete player that never orders a successful marriage for their Heir will only ever have one such “flag” in their Capital city, and that Capital can be said to be that player’s Achilles’ heel.

10.1 - Building & Killing Heirs
Each Major power starts the game with one unmarried Heir in their Capital city. As seen in the build rules for S9 Complete, a player may build a new Heir during a Winter phase only if:(§ 8.3)
  1. That player currently controls their own Capital.
  2. The Capital does not currently contain an Heir.
  3. That player did not build an Heir during the most recent prior Winter phase.

If the SC where an Heir is located is captured, the Heir is killed during the Autumn Census and removed from the board. This is true even if the Heir belongs to the player doing the capturing (i.e. if a Major power captures its own controlled Thrall power or the capital city of a controlled Vassal power, the Heir is still killed).

During the Autumn Census (§ 3.3), if a player has no living Heirs and has lost control of their power’s Capital City, then that player is immediately eliminated.

10.2 - Marrying Heirs
Heirs start unmarried and reside in the Capital city of their Major power. Only one unmarried Heir may reside in the Capital at a time. They can be relocated to other supply centers on the board using the Marry order. They may be married to the heirs of other major powers OR to any minor power on the board.

In order to be successful, Marry orders must come in pairs and must be given during the same Orders phase. The procedure differs on whether the marriage is between two Major powers’ heirs or between a Major power’s heir and a Minor power.

Once an heir is married, they may not remarry or divorce. Effectively, they will remain at the supply center where the marriage took place until the end of the game (or until they are killed).
The genders of the Heirs are unimportant and left to the imaginations of the players.

10.3 - Marriage to Minor Powers: Thrall Powers
Marriages to minor powers may be issued in either spring or fall turns and create Thrall powers. The marriage requires the following:
  1. At the start of the applicable orders phase, the Capital city where the unmarried Heir currently resides must not contain a unit belonging to anyone other than that heir’s Major Power.
  2. At the start of the applicable orders phase, the Minor Power must still possess an army or fleet at its location.
  3. The Heir must be given the order to Marry the minor power at the chosen SC.

    Aesir Orders
    Heir Aesir Marry Permyak
  4. The Minor power unit must be given a corresponding order to Marry the Major power’s heir. As detailed previously (§ 9.1), this order is not set directly by any one given player but rather must be the succeeding result of DP allocations.

    Aesir DP Allocations
    2 DP to F Permyak Marry Heir Aesir

    Dokkalfar DP Allocations
    1 DP to F Permyak S Svartalfheim - Ylg

    Resulting Order for Permyak
    F Permyak Marry Heir Aesir
  5. The Minor power’s unit must not be dislodged during that orders phase.
If one or more of the above requirements are not met, the marriage fails, and the Heir remains at the Capital.

If the requirements are met, however, then the marriage succeeds! During the retreat phase that immediately follows the successful pair of Marry orders, move the Major power’s Heir to the Minor power’s supply center. That Minor power converts into a new Thrall power.

Thrall powers are “controlled” by the player whose Heir resides there, and that player may count the Thrall’s SC toward their total for victory purposes. However, that control is indirect. The orders given by a Thrall power’s unit are still set via DP allocations, though allocating a DP to a Thrall by its controller provides a x2 DP bonus (§ 9.1).

Thrall power units, like those of Minor powers, are stationary and may not retreat. They are also to be considered separate powers from their controller; a Thrall may cut their controller’s support order as well as support a dislodging move targeting their controller. A Thrall power is eliminated (and the residing Heir killed) if any other power, including their controller, captures their supply center.

10.4 - Marriages between Major Powers: Vassal Powers
Unlike marriages to Minor powers, marriages between the Heirs of two Major Powers can ONLY occur during Autumn orders phases. If they succeed, they will create a new Vassal power during the subsequent Autumn Census.

In a marriage between two Major powers, the two players whose Heirs are to be matched must decide on a Marriage Location where the new Vassal power will have its own new Capital. This location must be a supply center belonging to one of the Major powers, and it may not be one of the starting Home centers of either Major power. This SC is considered to be the dowry (or bride price) for the marriage. For the rest of the game, or until the Vassal is eliminated, the player that donates this SC will be that Vassal power’s Dowry Giver, and the other player in the marriage will be the Vassal power’s Dowry Receiver.

The marriage also requires the following:
  1. The two players seeking to marry their Heirs must not already share joint control of another Vassal power.
    Players may create multiple Vassals over the course of the game, but each pair of players can only share control of one Vassal at a time.
  2. At the start of the applicable orders phase, neither Capital city where the two unmarried Heirs currently reside may contain a unit belonging to any power other than each heir’s Major Power.
  3. At the start of the applicable orders phase, the Marriage Location must not contain a unit belonging to anyone other than the Dowry Giver.
  4. Each Heir must be given the order to Marry the other Heir. Each order must also include the Marriage Location (e.g.Heir Jotnar Marry Heir Zwergar at Thule).
  5. The Marriage Location may not be captured during that Autumn Orders phase or its subsequent Retreats phase. If it is, the marriage fails.
  6. Neither of the two Major Power’s Capital cities may be captured during that Autumn Orders phase or its subsequent Retreats phase. If either is, the marriage fails.
Assuming the above stipulations are all met, a new Vassal Power is created. At the start of the Autumn Census, control of the Marriage Location SC is transferred from the Dowry Giver to the new Vassal. Next, the previously unmarried Heirs of both Major Powers are relocated from their respective Capital cities to the Marriage Location.

The Marriage Location now becomes the new Vassal’s own Capital city. If the new Capital contains no army or fleet, the Vassal power may build a new unit there during the subsequent Winter. If the Dowry Giver possessed a unit at that location, it converts to a unit of the same type belonging to the new Vassal. The two married Heirs residing in the Capital still belong to their respective Major powers, though they will be given no further orders and will remain there until they are killed (or the game ends).

At the GM’s discretion, the players may optionally select a new name for the Vassal. References to that new power may be abbreviated as...
...with the G above replaced by the first initial of the Dowry Giver and the R above replaced by the first initial of the Dowry Receiver.

Assume Dokkalfar has captured Permyak on a prior turn and has a fleet there. Assume that both Aesir and Dokkalfar have unmarried heirs in their respective Capitals. The following are orders that could lead to a marriage between their two heirs.

Aesir Orders
Heir Aesir Marry Heir Dokkalfar at Permyak

Dokkalfar Orders
Heir Dokkalfar Marry Heir Aesir at Permyak
F Permyak Hold

Assume the marriage succeeds. A new Vassal power, vDA, is created in Permyak during the Autumn Census. Permyak’s SC ceases to belong to Dokkalfar and belongs to vDA instead. Likewise, the fleet in Permyak now belongs to vDA. Both players’ unmarried Heirs are moved to Permyak.

For the rest of the game, or until the Vassal is eliminated, vDA’s Dowry Giver will be the Dokkalfar player, and vDA’s Dowry Receiver will be the Aesir player. Permyak is now vDA’s Capital city. If Permyak’s SC is ever captured by any power, vDA will be subject to Early Elimination (§ 3.3).

10.5 - Vassal Power Orders & Gameplay
A Vassal power’s units and controlled territories are represented by icons and graphics that incorporate the colors and/or symbols of the two players that jointly control the Vassal.

Unlike Minor Powers and Thralls, which cannot move their units, Vassal powers may move their units, retreat, and capture SCs. They may even capture SCs belonging to either of the players that jointly control them. It’s even possible for a Vassal power to deliver the killing blow that eliminates either its Dowry Giver or Dowry Receiver.

Like a Major power, a Vassal power maintains a unit count of fleets and armies that corresponds to the total number of SCs it possesses. If that unit count permits, a Vassal power may build during Winter, but may only do so in their Capital city. Vassals may not produce their own new Heirs and may not engage in further marriages.

The SCs belonging a Vassal power count towards the victory condition for both players that control the Vassal.

If a Vassal power ever loses control of its Capital city SC, the two Major powers’ heirs residing there are killed, and the Vassal power is subject to Early Elimination (§ 3.3).

Orders Phases
Vassal powers’ units orders are still set via DP allocation (§ 9.0-9.1), similar to those of Minor powers or Thrall powers. However, Vassal powers’ units are not stationary. Their move orders are not to be treated as sorties, they may retreat, and they are not subject to the Attacking & Allocating Rule (§ 9.0). The only players that may allocate DP to a Vassal unit’s orders are the two players that jointly control that Vassal power.

Retreat & Winter Phases
Either player may issue retreats or build/disband orders to the Vassal power without spending DPs (as DPs are not used during Retreat phases or Winter). However, if the orders of the two players conflict, the GM must give preference as follows:
  • If only one player submits orders, those orders stand.
  • If one player submits legal orders, and the other submits illegal orders, then the legal orders stand.
  • During a Retreat phase, if both players submit legal retreats (or both submit illegal retreats), then the orders given by the Dowry Receiver override those of the Dowry Giver.
  • During a Build phase, if both players submit legal adjustments (or both submit illegal adjustments), then the orders given by the Dowry Giver override those of the Dowry Receiver.
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 0/9

Postby Strategus » 11 Mar 2020, 10:04

Me please!
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 0/9

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 11 Mar 2020, 12:34

I’m really excited to see this played again. The last round was quite thrilling.

Additionally, this will serve as the first “prelim” game of the upcoming 2021 Tournament Through Time. More details on that to come later.
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 2/9

Postby Groo » 11 Mar 2020, 17:30

Oh damn, it's on again. I really shouldn't! I've got so much work to do...and I got my butt kicked last time...But it's so sexy! :twisted:
Well, when in doubt :arrow: pbf cavalry!
Put me as a reserve please :)
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 2/9

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 11 Mar 2020, 20:22

Sign me up please! Its been a minute.
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 4/9

Postby Iamnobody » 12 Mar 2020, 20:10

I'm a little confused by some of the marriage rules, but I'll join. I might have a lot of questions though.
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 4/9

Postby diophantus22 » 12 Mar 2020, 20:21

I'm in
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: 4/9

Postby Aeschines » 13 Mar 2020, 16:06

Iamnobody wrote:I'm a little confused by some of the marriage rules, but I'll join. I might have a lot of questions though.

Of course! And I'll be happy to answer them. We'll also have access to NoPunin10did, who will be available to answer questions (he designed the variant but will not be playing) if you want to get a confidential answer about a rules issue but I'm not available right when you need me!
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Re: Saga of the Nine (II) Recruiting: Reserves Welcome

Postby StarkAdder » 15 Mar 2020, 19:23

I'm in if you still have room for a 9th. Will try to familiarize myself with the rules now; I think I shall have extra time on my hands this month :cry:
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