Your character is either the second son or the rebellious daughter of a well-to-do, but not rich, family. The first-born son will inherit all of the lands and chattels in this feudal society. Your only avenues of prominence are the traditional routes of military, church or trade. The less common routes of remaining Independent, Barbarism, Banditry, Piracy, Schism and Religious Heresy are also possible. You are not destitute, as your family has provided you with a stake. Three of your closest friends have sworn to join their fortunes to yours, and to serve as your loyal followers. Unemployment has been high recently, and you have been able to persuade about two hundred local youths from the farms and villages to act as your retainers to share in the adventures to come.
Your family has never been very politically or religiously inclined, though you are familiar with the major Factions of Midgard. You are free to place your fate with any of the power structures, but might well be advised to wander a bit, carry cargo between towns, and learn more of the lay of the land before making any decisions. You have never been further than the nearest city, but you know the region fairly well. Additionally, you have a map of Midgard given to you by your eldest brother.
The game encourages a player to advance through a series of levels of increasing power and influence. Players accumulate influence points by completing tasks for a Faction. Trade missions can be undertaken for any Faction without prejudice (merchants are seen as a necessary part of society and a low status occupation). At this stage, you are simply an "Independent" clan. After you have gained some familiarity with the region through travel, you can expect to be offered more challenging and varied assignments by many of the Factions. Midgard is, after all, a very uneasy world and your services can be important to many. Once you have gained some military experience, the Faction leaders will help you recruit more retainers to use as soldiers. This will occur after you consistently begin supporting one Faction. The pressure to choose a side builds quickly. Though you may change your mind, or put off making any decision, others will be acting quickly, hoping to gain the upper hand. Briefly, the possibilities are Secular, Religious, Mercenary, Bandit, Pirate or Independent. There are numerous Factions which are fully described in the FACTIONS section. Players will eventually control the Senior positions in the Factions, governing cities and the like, and you can expect to see large and far reaching economic, political and military actions. The GM will control the quantity of forces released by each Faction.
Time in Midgard is measured in cycles. We use the word cycle to represent the time covered by the average turn. If you fail to submit a turn by the end of a cycle, the world will go on without you.
Senior player factional turns are processed at a different rate. The time span for a factional turn is one month. If a Senior player says that they will do something, remember that it takes them a little more time to get the ball rolling.
The GM (Game Master) is in charge of the underlying construction of the game of Midgard. Aside from controlling the details of the world's operation (through programs, formulas and calculations), he is also a part of the game with which the players (and particularly the Faction Seniors) interact. Each Faction has a set of relationships that govern how a Faction operates, and its goals for Midgard. The GM is responsible for observing these operations, and judging how well Factions are accomplishing their particular goals.
Until a player assumes control of a city, the GM will be in charge of it. The cities do have standing military forces which will defend them. It should come as no surprise that an attack on a city will be met with defending troops. Each city is primarily loyal to a Faction, and the importance of the city or region to each Faction is carefully modelled. Large forces can be released to protect vital interests, but little or no help is given where unimportant holdings are concerned. In any event, the GM determines the extent of the response to any attack.
You may have up to three clan characters, or leaders, in the game at one time. If you have more than one character, each is related to the other. For simplicity sake, they will be called cousins. If one of your character kills one of his cousins, or if one of the clans is `mismanaged to death', you may not be allowed to obtain a new one. There are other restrictions regarding cousins. Most notably, they may not advance further than 15th Rank in any Faction other than your original clans. Therefore, if your original clan is a member of the Banner Faction, any cousin clans may advance no further than 15th Rank in any other Faction.
Each clan can have up to three followers. For each follower, you may operate one expeditionary force (for a maximum of three). Each clan may also run one city. Hence, you can have at most a total of five positions for each clan you run.
There are certain elements of magic in Midgard, the Ring Divination ability being a prime example. However, these arcane secrets are hidden deep within the game, and if no-one searches for them they will never be found. Anyone who chooses to seek out this knowledge is in for a long and difficult quest. Don't be expecting to be able to shoot Fireballs, summon Dragons and control Demons with the magic you discover, it simply doesn't work that way. Like the Ring Divination ability, the magic system is very subtle in nature.
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