10.0.0 Economics & Trade

This entire section has been gone over before in a previous section of these rules, but it bears duplication here.

Economics is abstracted in Fire On The Suns. Players do not have to transport RPs between locations in order to build things. All the RPs for an empire are accumulated into a "pool" which may be used to build anything on any inhabited world with suitable facilities. The civilian infrastructure is assumed to be already in place including production facilities, factories, etc., etc. If, however, a player wishes to colonize a new planet, build a base in deep space or at another location, or send foreign aid (in the form of RPs or technology) a freighter must be constructed that can transport the RPs necessary to build these new things.


Each turn, each player will be expected to submit a report of his empire's expenses, expressed in RPs in the areas of Ship Construction, Base Construction, New Colonization, Ground Forces Construction, Research & Development, Repairs, Refits, and any other area the player wishes to expend RPs in. Following a tally of these expenses, the GM will report back to the player his total production in RPs for the next turn.


RPs are never lost (unless destroyed) and may be accumulated from turn to turn in a player's treasury. This treasury is assumed to be a part of the empire's economic "pool". Conquered, devastated, or destroyed colonies and worlds will deduct points from the turn-to-turn pool of RPs available to a player. By the same token, if a player conquers an enemy's planets, he will gain RPs from it through his occupation of the planet.

The economic status of each empire must be determined each turn. Such status is chiefly a matter of the empireís tax rate, with lower tax rates offering greater public support and the potential for longer-term economic gain and higher tax rates offering more immediate RPís at the price of economic strain down the road and a grumpier populace immediately.



Empires may also conduct "trade" between each other. Trade must be formalized by a treaty between the players specifying the "level" of the relationships between the two empires. Trade treaties automatically involve both parties to the agreement. One-sided agreements are not permitted (except as noted below). Trade treaties and statuses can be any of the following (with attendant explanation as to results).


No Trade

No bonus. No empire is ever required to trade with any other empire.

Limited Trade

Gain 1% of your partner's base GNP for that turn.

Free Trade Agreement

Gain 5% of your partner's base GNP for that turn.

Most-Favored Power

Only applicable with a power you have a preexisting Trade Agreement with. Gain 8% of your partner's base GNP per turn. Unlike other trade agreements, this is purely one-way - the power offering the Most-Favored status grants the 8%, but receives only the usual 5% trade agreement level in turn. Each power can have only one Most-Favored partner, and Most-Favored trade status need not be mutual.


There are certain disadvantages to forming trade relationships between empires. Players will be able to judge the "pulse" of their partner's economies. They will be able to determine when new colonies are established, conquered, or lost, providing information indirectly about circumstances (such as war) that prompt such changes.


There are also major bonuses to espionage and sabotage due to the free access to their worlds.


There are also negative modifiers to espionage and sabotage against states that have no trade with your power, and larger negative modifiers to espionage and sabotage if no other power has any trade with you (i.e., you can't even operate through go-betweens).


Whenever an attempt to spy on a race you have no trade with is made, the chance for success is modified by -10%. If no one has any trade relations with the target race, the modifier is -20%. If, on the other hand, you have a Trade Agreement or Most-Favored status, the modifier is +20%.


The modifier for Limited Trade status would be +10%.

A single (independent) planet (i.e. most NPRs) in a Limited Trade agreement cannot gain more that a 25% of its GNP from trade - there is a total limit to the amount of trade they can digest.


Trade Agreements can only be entered between empires and there is no GNP limit, but with too many deals an empire will leak data (technology, economics, fleet dispositions, planetary defenses) like a sieve. This also leaves empires very susceptible to viral attack (biological or cybernetic). Buyer beware if you enter into a trade agreement with the Swarm or the Machine Empire. In actuality, "aggressor" races (such as Machines, Swarm, Arachnids, etc.) would not be very interested in trade or cooperation with anyone. It runs counter to their respective goals. The Machines may, of course, enter trade agreements with any race granted "Goodlife" status.


10.1.0 Alliances & Diplomacy

The following types of formalized alliance types are allowed in Fire On The Suns. However, in keeping with FOTS' free-gaming spirit, players may modify these as much or as little as they like (as may GMs). In addition, empires may establish various other treaty relations, such as popular non-aggression or mutual defense pacts.


Alliance Types Table

Economic Alliance

    No Contact/Embargo

    Limited Trade Agreement

    Free Trade Agreement

    Most-Favored Power Status

Military Alliance

    No Ties


    Refueling Rights

    Intelligence Asset Sharing

    Defensive Alliance

    Offensive Alliance

    Full Military Alliance

Technological Alliance

    No Ties

    Project Codevelopment

    Free Communication

Political Alliance

    No Contact/Ambassadors Recalled

    Ambassadorial Exchange

    Imperial (Metropole/Periphery)


Economic alliance types give a bonus to the general RP income of players.


No Contact/Embargo represents a complete lack of formal trade between powers due to distance, a racial isolationist policy, or conflict between the governments. Smuggling across the borders will, of course, exist, but does contribute to the above-board "national" economies.

Limited Trade Agreements are the "average" state of economic relations between powers. Limited Trade represents borders open to trade, but with local and federal tariffs, restricted items, etc. In order to have Limited Trade with another power, they must share a border. In the case of distant powers, a loose line-of-supply must be established of powers open to your trade. For example, in order to have Limited Trade with the Kontairu, the Grymphon must have trade with the Kahs and the TFR; trade routes may not pass through sectors without any colonies in them. Obviously, if the TFR rescinds their Limited Trade with either the Grymphon or Kontairu ("declares an embargo"), neither side will be able to conduct this trade, and will not gain any RP. Thus, conflict with one power has a good chance of incurring the ire of their trade partners. An exception to this routing rule would be the wide-ranging traders of the Saurian Alliance.


To their list of racial "special abilities," the Saurians would be able to add trade with whomever they wish, regardless of any intervening embargoes. The only way to stop Saurian trade through your territory is to declare war on them.


For example, at the beginning of the game, the Q'Tez are seriously hampered by their inability to tolerate humans; the TFR cuts them off from any contact with the Kahs, Saurians, Grymphon, Hee'Dra, and Kontairu (as the Kontairu-Pyronian border is a military zone). Saurian vessels, however, may cross TFR space and trade with the Q'Tez, unless and until the TFR declares war on the SA.


A Free Trade Agreement is a complete cessation of all tariffs, restrictions, etc. Anyone may carry anything between the two signatories.

The granting of Most-Favored Power status represents actual government subsidies encouraging trade with the beneficiary. As stated above, there must be a pre-existing Free Trade Agreement, and this status is purely one-way - the power offering Most-Favored grants the 8%, but receives only the usual +5% Free Trade level in turn. Each power can have onlyone Most-Favored partner, and Most-Favored trade status need not be mutual.


Military relations are more exacting, but for the most part less complex.


The most basic form of military agreement is Right-of-Passage. This is simply allowing another power's naval forces to transit your space.

Right-of-Passage is an obvious prerequisite forRefueling Rights. Granting Refueling Rights allows another power to use your colonies and stations to connect to their own Line of Supply and so their TFs/TGs are considered to be refueled by stopping at your facilities and colonies. Thus, they do not have to establish a string of depots across your territory, or rely so much on tanker support while in your space.

Intelligence Asset Sharing allows the signatory powers to combine their Intel RP in joint offensive operations. For example, the TFR and the Kontairu could each contribute 1000 RP to operations in Pyronian space. Asset Sharing cannot be used for Counterintelligence or Internal Security missions in either signatory's space; it must be used offensively. The downside is that, once two powers have pooled their resources like this, each becomes much more vulnerable to each other's intelligence operations in the future.

A Defensive Alliance also has Right-of-Passage as a prerequisite, and allows both sides' fleets to perform reaction movements to defend each other's colonies and fleets.

AnOffensive Alliance allows two or more powers to coordinate their fleets into joint attacks. For example, in the attack on the UO base in the Highblossom Nebula (Game 3), ships from the Saurian Alliance, Hee'Dra Republics, TFR, and B'Relli Dominance had to coordinate their strikes. Without an Offensive Alliance, such close timing would be impossible, and each fleet would have attacked separately, one by one.

A Full Military Alliance is simply a convenient blanket term for two or more powers who wish to grant each other all of the following - Right-of-Passage, Refueling Rights, Intel Asset Sharing, and Offensive and Defensive Alliances.


For example, in Game 3, the Saurians, TFR, and Hee'Dra would be considered a Full Military Alliance against the Unspeakable Ones.


Technical Agreements come in only two flavors.


Project Co-development , which allows two or more powers to research the same thing simultaneously, each contributing some of their own RPs and/or Science Stations - though the usual restriction on the number of labs per project applies. The real benefit of Co-development is, for each additional race involved in the project, there is a +20% bonus to RPís spent, above that accrued by Science Stations. This represents the advantage of combining different research methods and insights. This aspect of Technical Agreements can be especially effective when confronting the diminishing returns at higher tech levels.

Free Communication allows all parties a +20% per race bonus to RPís spent on every project. The downside is, your allies are given complete reports on everything you develop, and will probably want you to share the technology. This agreement does not give all the signatory powers access to the newly development technology/capability - they will only know that it exists, and what its capabilities are.


Codevelopment is still possible between powers with Free Communication, but will not provide any additional bonus (other than the obvious ability to pool RPís and Science Stations).


The nature of FOTS' free-wheeling diplomacy makes political agreements the most flimsily-defined area of these rules.


No Contac t is exactly that - the two governments do not speak to each other at all, much like the governments of the US and Iran. Players may choose to recall their Ambassadors at any time. This is pretty much just a way of slamming the guy you're annoyed with, as you may still contact them through third parties (see next two paragraphs for what I mean).

Ambassadorial Exchange is the "normal" level of affairs, and is necessary for any other type of agreement between two powers! No ambassadors, no Trade Agreement. No ambassadors, no Defensive Alliance. An exchange of ambassadors is also necessary for there to be any diplomatic contact between players. Players are not allowed to contact other players if their race has no formal contact with the otherís. Obviously, this requires a bit of discretion on the part of the GM regarding email addresses. Players who have no contact or have recalled their ambassadors may still conduct ad-hoc relations, either through a third party forwarding system, or by sending out ships physically bearing their messages.


There are two additional possible relationships.


A "real" Empire, in which one powerful state has control over the external policies of another. An example of this in FOTS is the Unspeakable One "alliance" with the Pyronians. If the Pyronians don't make war with those opposing the UO, the UO will squash them as well. The Pyronians pretty much let the UO lead the dance. In this sort of situation, the Unspeakable Ones are the Metropole, with control over the behavior of the Pyronian Periphery. The Metropole may require the Periphery to do anything it wishes, including giving them their entire budget, but the Pyronians still run pretty much independently, under their own player. Needless to say, this sort of arrangement will probably only occur when one player surrenders to another, or as a form of NPR interaction. For example, if the B'Relli are overawed by the sheer size of the TFR fleets, they may acquiesce to Terran overlordship. In this case, they will continue to run as an NPR, but the TFR player may pretty much tell the GM how he wants them to behave.

Unification orAmalgamation is the second type. This is simply the merging of two states into one, as the Kontairu merged with the TFR in Game 3. All the assets of the merging powers are pooled, and the powers continue to run under one player. I expect this will only occur when players drop out of the game.



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