Hey there, how’s it going? I run House Ingram over in Galaxy Baade, and wanted to put together this little writeup to clarify some issues I have with the current newbie guide – not that it’s not a great guide, or that you shouldn’t read it (chances are you got here from that page), but that a number of things about the game have changed since that guide was written. I also thought it lacked a few of the finer points that I’ve set out to cover here – basically the things you don’t learn before you get a chance to read the forum and/or play the game (I really wish people could read the forums before signing up. Seriously, it would clear up a ton of new player issues), so I’m not sure how useful it would be. But these are essentially the tips I wish I had going in (not that my house hasn’t grown and developed since then, and this guide is far from required reading. If you feel best just rolling up a house and diving in, by all means, go for it!) that I am passing along to you. As a caveat, however, most of the information I have is from playing in Galaxy Baade, so the local meta of the other galaxies might be different. If so, I encourage any interested parties in those galaxies to chime in. I’ve also tried to omit as much redundant information as possible, especially where spheres of operation are concerned, so be sure to check those pages as well.
Short version: Friendly advice, but all from one person’s experience – so feel free to take it with a grain of salt.
There’s really no ‘winning’ in Imperium Nova. Sure, you can have economic victories by cornering a market, or win a senate election, or, perhaps most literally, win against your enemies in a pitched military conflict. But the game keeps going. So really, winning is what you make of it – set your own goals, and see them through. Or don’t. But the best way to succeed in these areas is, honestly, to use the forums. I would also say the wiki, but the fact that you’re reading this proves that you’ve at least found the place – if you’re new, click around a bit! I can’t overstate how useful I’ve found this site. But yeah, the forums are where it’s at. IN, to me at least, really is less of a game and more of a forum with game-mechanics. And the forums can be pretty quiet at times, so chiming in is usually appreciated. Just introducing your house when you start up can net you a ton of financial support, which can catapult your house forward in the early game. Other than that, got a gameplay or flavor question that the wiki doesn’t answer? Ask the forum. Got something cool to say about your house? Maybe a vignette, or an announcement, or a question about what direction to take it in? Post in the forums! Got a cool idea for an RP? By all means, make a thread for it! Seriously, the more active the forums are, the more colorful and interesting the game is. And the more colorful the game is, the more everyone benefits.
Or, so you want to be a great house. I find that there are two approaches to making an interesting house. The first, of course, is to just figure out the climate of your galaxy and make things up as you go along. This is perfectly acceptable – just click the names and such you think look cool, get a competent administrator and a few adolescents, and just jump on down the page to the sphere advice.
The other is to think things out ahead of time. Though I recommend leaving a little wiggle room for the first method down the line. I would really just say that the thing to remember is that making a middle-of-the-road house is a good way to get stagnant and boring down the line. If TV Tropes is your thing, you can go a long way just grabbing some of your favorites from that hat and putting them together. And don’t be afraid to take inspiration from existing sources – just remember that it’s one thing to make a house that is greedy, backhanded, and ludicrously wealthy. It’s another thing altogether to straight up name it ‘House Lannister’. If you are determined to give your house a backstory and definitive mannerisms before hand, but are still at a loss for ideas, a good strategy is to ask yourself a few questions, such as:
And always remember, your house is both an entity of its own and a collection of individuals. How well each one fits the overall theme of your house is fully up to you. And as a rule of thumb, more galaxies could use a good Villain or two, to spice things up, so keep that in mind as a possibility.
So you want your house to stand out? Here’s a tip: don’t be a ‘Lord’ or ‘Lady’. The more well known a given title of nobility is, the more likely it is your Head of House will be the umpteenth ‘Lord Whats-and-Such’ or ‘Baron(ess) Who’s-Their-Name’ to come through the galaxy. You know what we don’t get a lot of? Grafs. Or Kaiserins. To illustrate, I’ve put together a handy chart (with help from a few users from the other galaxies – many thanks unto them) giving a breakdown of relevant data from each galaxy’s noble houses:
[TABLE WILL GO HERE SOON]
*Denotes inclusion of GM House
Seriously, though, 14 Lords/Ladies out of 48 houses. That’s nearing a third of all noble titles. You know what this also points out? A serious lack of matrilineal houses. A total of seven. Let’s take a look at what this means (Besides a devastating lack of Maharanis)
Now, I am generally opposed to power-gaming, and am of the mind that the RP comes first, but in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that there is something to consider here, and that something is dynastic marriages.
If you haven’t read up on that in the rules/wiki, feel free to do that now. The main point is, that in matri/patri marriages, both houses keep both married parties – as opposed to same-linage marriages, where the non-lineage dynast is transferred to the other house. So if you’re a patrilineal house, and you marry one of your daughters into another patri-house (and chances are you will, as most even ratio of patri-to-matri houses right now is 13-to-3), that daughter is transferred to control of the other player. The only time a matrilineal house has to worry about losing a character is when they happen to marry one of their sons into another matrilineal house. And as you can see, there is a far less chance of that happening at the moment.
The downside, of course, is that you only get the female children from a patri-matri marriage – so if the Random Number God decides to make all of the children of your unions male, your house can see a drop in numbers over time – something to seriously consider if you’re just running matri for the perks. But on the flip-flip side, you’re not losing dynasts to marriages, and your both your sons (so that people won't lose their dynasts) and daughters (due to the relative scarcity of marriageable young women that can crop up from time to time) will most likely be in high demand. So there ya go.
Not really too much to say here, as the crest is the most easily edited aspect of your house – it, along with your motto, can be changed for what is a truly trivial sum of money for even a house of moderate status. Some houses go through a number of crests before they get one that sticks. Other have a wartime crest, a crest of mourning, etc. That said, your crest should somehow tie in to your idea of your house (at least in my humble opinion). Are you a bunch of ascetics seeking higher wisdom? Maybe an eagle or a starburst on some chevrons. Are you exceptionally brave or militaristic? The crossed swords then. Is your head of house the most elegant Premier to ever waltz across the skulls of her fallen foes? A red fleur-de-leys on a black and white background is what you need.
Or hey, perhaps charges are too blasé for you. It’s perfectly fine to have none at all. You can make some pretty cool effects with the available backgrounds one way or another. And keep in mind that some sigils are far more popular than others.
But say you really want to stand out – you’re simply not content being the lone wolf in a galaxy of starbursts. Or perhaps you’ve got a really solid idea for your house, and none of the available charges cut it. Sure, Overlord Dragonov of Castle Von Dragonshead, Supreme Commander of the Dragony-Dragons could just go with a red hawk or something, but that’s just not doing it for you. What you need is a custom crest! There’s a handy guide here, and if you don’t feel like making one yourself (it’s actually pretty easy to pick up, and can be done in GIMP, which is free) you can contact the people listed there, start a thread, or just hit me up over on the Baade side of things – I’d be happy to help!
Like your crest, discussed above, your motto is also easy to change. It’s perfectly acceptable to just utilize a quote you’ve always liked which sort of fits your house. Latin seems to have survived well into the modern galaxies as well, so those are perfectly fair game. If you do have a really strong concept, or have played for long enough to have developed your house’s character, finding a good motto shouldn’t be terribly difficult.
So, we’ve gotten through most of the concept stage – not saying that doesn’t play some part here, but still – and it’s time to move on to gameplay. So, what sphere do you start in?
This is, in my opinion, the single best starting sphere, and one of the best in the game, period. It’s so straightforward, it’s almost easy mode. There are some things to think about, however – Building both Tech and Mech facilities will decrease the value of high-tech goods and machinery, respectively – even the tech sphere can be saturated, though it generally takes longer than most other spheres. High-tech goods will devalue quickly, but the price can be raised by building research facilities – not a tactic for the fledgling house, as you will almost certainly spend more than you gain doing this, but for larger, wealthier houses, it is possible to generate substantial profits with proper practice and balance. Machinery devalues slowly, and thus can generally support more facilities, but is much more difficult to manipulate price-wise – doing so requires construction facilities, and those will be covered later.
I have far less experience with this sphere, but I will elaborate as best I can. The upside is that geo is a very simple sphere to operate in, second only to technology in straightforwardness. The only downsides are that you must sink money into surveys in order to find optimal mining areas (a small, but not trivial cost, really), and that your mines will depreciate over time. Depreciation occurs very slowly, however, and by the time you have to deal with it, it is likely that you have amassed enough wealth and influence to expand into another sphere, making it a non-issue beyond basic upkeep.
This is where things start getting tricky. Transportation relies on interaction between planets, so you have twice the information to deal with over other spheres. Essentially, you want both planets to be at the roughly same economic level (which, for ease of reference, goes Undeveloped* < Poverty-Stricken < Poor < Average < Prosperous < Rich, as well as highly populous (population levels being Transient < Tiny < Small < Medium < Large < Huge). So if you have a head for this sort of thing, a love of spreadsheets, or are just up for a challenge, this is a good starting off point.
Also, it is noted in several places that running transportation gives you a boost to your operational range. This is utterly irrelevant, as operational-range is determined by tech level, and the average tech level in every galaxy (that is, the level at which you will start) is so high that your operational range will encompass the entire galaxy.
Oh, and watch that news ticker – planets can experience economic and population booms and busts at any time, which will affect your route’s viability.
*There are no longer any undeveloped planets in any currently active galaxy.
Mercantile is arguably the single most complex sphere in the game. As someone who’s intimately familiar with the sphere, I’m honestly surprised that you can start with it as your primary. I really can’t say I recommend it for anyone without a subscription. Basically, you’re going to spend a lot of time randomly clicking around planets, looking for high and low prices on one or more goods, finding some that have a reasonable difference, and setting up as many routes as you can sustain. And then another house is going to move in and wonk up the price of machinery or radioactives or what have you, and the process begins anew.
For subscribers, however, this sphere shines like tangible starlight. You see, with a subsciption comes the price comparator, and with the price comparator, you can quickly thumb through every planet in the galaxy (and view up to four at a time) and compare all relevant goods. It quickly becomes a trivial matter to find the highest and lowest prices of a given commodity, and proceed to set up numerous routes between the two. At this point, merc will give out exactly proportional to what you put in. As a handy tip, precious metals and narcotics tend to not only be the most stable commodities, but also tend to have the highest differences between high and low points – and thus generate the highest profits.
Regardless, always bear in mind diminishing returns – One route bringing in over 100 solars is great (and, yes, you can totally get a few of these), two at 60 is better, three at 50 is best, but by the time you have four at 40, you’re spending more to make less.
Not even once.
Okay, snark aside, given the current state of the galaxies, this is a terrible starting choice – which is a shame, I know, given how cool the sphere sounds. Psionics saturates super quickly in a given operational range – and operational rage, as stated in transportation above, ceased to be a thing several dozen tech levels-ago. Chances are you will barely be able to get a dozen facilities that will have positive profits – essentially, you will not be able to generate enough money to consistently build new facilities, those you do build will likely drain your treasury (and you will have no way to consistently know if they are going to do so until after they are constructed), and, in short, you will most likely have to close down psi operations and open a new sphere of influence just to progress to the point where you can open another sphere – though at that point psionics may become more of a viable option: see below.
But seriously, this is just personal experience, but I have never seen a house start in psionics that did not either restart or delete soon after.
Agriculture is neither great nor terrible, and is a solid place for a new house to start. Up to about a status level of 50, your agriculture facilities are subsidized as opposed to being taxed the way regular facilities are. This means that you can possibly gain a lot of status and profits very quickly, but that you will see a major dropoff as soon as you reach the 50 status mark. This does not mean that you absolutely cannot continue to operate in agriculture after this – indeed, you will likely have very little competition if you do continue to pursue this sphere. However, your facilities will be markedly less profitable. A good strategy is to open a secondary profit sphere as soon as possible, build that sphere up (and possibly switch it to your primary), and, if you no longer feel that agriculture is practical, slowly decommission your farms until you can replace agriculture with a new sphere entirely. If you’ve struck a good balance with your second sphere, the sphere you replace agriculture with does not necessarily even need to be a profit sphere.
So, you’ve gotten a good start with your first sphere (or even two or three), but now it’s time to open another. But what sphere should you expand into? As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to go to your galaxy screen (that is, your list of houses – just click the galaxy name in that little box), and click on ‘View Statistics for Spheres in this Galaxy’ at the top. This will give you an idea of the competition you will face in your new sphere.
Just Grab as much Copper Wire as you can Carry and Run
As mentioned above, both these spheres are very straightforward, can endure a ton of competition, and can generally generate a ton of profit. Always a good choice.
The Movers and Shakers
Again, as above, these spheres tend to be among the most complicated, and are venerable to competition, but can very much give you equal to what you are willing to put into them. Mercantile, especially, if you have a subscription.
Sweet Home Alabam Alpha
Not the strongest choice, but can possibly be good for RP reasons, and again, you will not be looking at much competition. Not the best sphere, but despite what it may seem, perfectly viable past status 50.
A special case. As stated above, psionics will likely already be completely saturated on a galactic scale by the time you’ve commenced operations. There will still possibly be a few little nooks and crannies where you can build a profitable facility, but this will likely fail to net you much status and influence. And, of course, if a house with a ton of psi facilities collapses, by all means take advantage of the resulting void in the market.
The other possibility, however, is running psionics as a purely ‘concession sphere’. It is almost impossible to run psi concessions along with facilities, as each concession you offer results in your facilities becoming that much less profitable – meaning that if you have a few facilities, you will be mostly negating their effectiveness, whereas if you have a ton, you’ll be losing more by putting up the concession than you will be making off of it. Which is overall just… just a godawful mechanic, if you ask me. But I digress. Essentially, you will have the sphere of psionics, but instead of building facilities, you offer psi concessions, which lessen security costs and increase the likelihood of successful covert ops missions (ever, ever, ever so slightly). In return, other houses give you money – depending on how good of a haggler you are, this can be anywhere from 25,000 to 10,000 a month per concession. Depending on the number of houses you can strike a bargain with, you can be looking at a very pretty penny, and without the drawback of your facilities plummeting into uselessness. The downside, of course, is that no facilities = no influence, basically making Psi-As-Concessions the opposite of zero-profit spheres like politics and exploration. I generally only recommend this tactic to those with either a large and powerful primary sphere, or to subscribers, who can have several spheres.
Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for the Overlord
Politics, is, in a word, fun. Don’t expect much in the way of profits, unless you want to dabble in Political Corruption, but do expect a healthy bump in status. Beyond this, politics has a ton of perks, and synergizes nicely with many other spheres. Need a planet richer or poorer to generate better profits/cut down on costs? Adjust the budget accordingly. Want to up your profits planetwide? Grant yourself a global tax exemption – why not? You’ve earned it! Want to hurt your enemies without granting them feud? Monopolize their spheres and all of their traded goods!
Beyond all of this, the more planets you hold politically, the more votes you have in the senate, which can translate to some serious clout, depending on how active the senate is in your galaxy, and how well the Emperor enforces galactic law. Get creative with it – you could, say, legalize narcotics across the galaxy. Or change the name of a planet or two. Even impeach the Emperor (just don’t expect them to go down without a fight)
Or, failing all of this, just remove your worlds from imperial jurisdiction, and govern them as your own personal empire. Remember to divert all the funds that would have gone to imperial taxes to your own profit, while you’re at it – after all, you just want what’s coming to you: the world, and everything in it.
Never Half-Ass Two Things. Whole-Ass One Thing
Construction is an odd sort of beast. It technically synergizes with technology – at a glance, construction facilities raise the price of machinery, the same way research facilities raise the price of high tech goods. Unfortunately, this is largely an illusion – construction facilities simply do not raise the price enough to make machinery Tech Pyramids a viable strategy. Coupled with the fact construction is one of the most easily saturated spheres in the galaxy – depending on its circumstances, your galaxy may only be able to sustain a single house operating in construction – and the erratic nature of construction income (can vary wildly depending on how much, or little, construction is being carried out on a given planet) this is a sphere to be approached with caution.
House [YOUR HOUSE HERE] Sends its Regards
Covert ops, possibly more than any other sphere barring mysticism (and much, much more on that later), requires a great deal of patience and finesse. Even considering the much greater number of agents you will possess – thus, lets be real, making each one much more disposable – you’re going to be looking at a few real-time months to carry out a successful assassination or technology theft. It’s also going to take a careful hand to generate any profit here, and you may have to get creative. Sure, you can spend your time defrauding other houses of their hard-earned money, but you might also be surprised at the number of houses who, with a little RP, would be willing to pay a king’s ransom for information on a major competitor’s finances or for the death of a hated rival. Just don’t forget that spies cost money, both to maintain and to train – don’t expect anyone to make it past ‘proficient’ just sitting on counterespionage, and even that takes a seriously long time. Having the sphere as your primary considerably lessens this, however, as the skill jump from ‘rookie’ to ‘standard’ is pretty major. Oh, and you can fund piracy, but with so few houses running mercantile at any given time, this is unlikely to make back what you spend on it, and will only make things more difficult for the people operating the most complex sphere in the game. You monster.
Oh, and one more thing – sure, covert ops doesn’t show up on your list of spheres. Good luck explaining why you’re the only Great House with only one sphere, while the ‘view statistics for spheres in this galaxy’ page clearly states that SOMEONE is running a covert ops primary. Whether this information should be considered IC or OOC, is, however, still some cause for debate.
Born too Late to Explore the Earth, and Also too Late to Explore the Cosmos
The galaxy has already been explored. You’re wasting your time and money. Unless maybe you live in Draco - though by the time you're reading this, there's a decent chance they've found the rest.
I’m Quite Good at Spending Money, but a Lifetime of Fabulous Wealth Hasn’t Taught me Much About Managing it
Financial is a super-easily saturated sphere, but slightly less so than construction and psionics. Essentially, you want to build on rich or prosperous planets – though an average planet with little to no competition can also net you a profit, depending on the competence of your sphere leader. If you only have one or two other financial houses in your galaxy, by all means, go for it.
The other half of this sphere is loans, which can sometime be extensively useful, and sometimes just ancillary. On the one hand, in a galaxy with a number of very old, very wealthy houses, most houses will already be steady on their feet, and those that aren’t will probably be able to get money for free (or next to it) from larger houses. Loans tend to only be taken up by small, inactive houses that are already in a death-spiral and about to delete. Good luck getting the minimum monthly payment out of those guys. What loans do let you do, however, is break the maximum amount another house can pay you. Gift/tribute payments are limited to 25,000 a month – meaning if you want/need 35,000 from another house, you’re going to be stuck waiting until the next month rolls around to get that last bit of it. A house running finance, however, can simply accept the 25,000 tribute, then give the other house a loan of 10,000 solars at 100% interest, have them pay it back immediately, and boom, there’s your 10,000. This can prove quite useful if you’re running a proxy campaign for someone else (see: politics) and the house that commissioned the campaign owes you more than the 25k maximum (a likely case if you’ve run a no-holds-bar campaign with a capable candidate). You can also use loans to create hidden, untouchable funds by offering loans to your allies that they agree not to take – a good tactic if you fear another house may be using spies to defraud you of money.
Addendum by cyaziris:
Another function of loans is that as an already wealthy house, you can save up your money outside your treasury. Holding more cash in your treasury than you have raw income will cause financial depreciation. Depreciation basically means you have so much money, it's not worth as much anymore. In the game, this works out as a lump sum being removed from your treasury at the end of the month. To prevent money from being deducted from your treasury, you can put money into loans. Simply make out a loan to Simon's house - usually something like Minimus - but do put it on a higher credit rating so they can't accidentally be taken out. The money for the loan will be taken out of your treasury, so that it doesn't count against the depreciation comparison. Do keep in mind that the amount of money you have in loans will be calculated when depreciation does occur. the usual depreciation is a small percentage of your cash reserves - but if you have a lot of money in loans, that percentage will also go over the loans! You can make loans in batches of max. 10x 25k solars, so 250k per batch. With four batches, you can put a million solars into savings, and with one click you can isntantly cancel the loan and have another 250k cash to spend.
What Happens on Vegas Secundus Stays on Vegas Secundus
What I like to call the 3-in-1 sphere. Unlike other spheres, which have three tiers of facilities, each better but more expensive than the last, leisure has three distinct, individual types of facilities. This makes leisure rather difficult to fully saturate on a given planet – even if there are too many pleasure houses for you to turn a profit off of any, there may still be room for you to squeeze a bar or gaming-hall in edgewise. Probably one of the most versatile and mechanically interesting spheres, in my opinion.
You can forget about any noble actually visiting your facilities for anything other than RP reasons, however – stress was a bad mechanic, and now it basically doesn’t exist.
Only Two Things Matter: Force, in as Great a Concentration as you Can Manage, and Style. And in a Pinch, Style Can Slide
Along with construction, one of the most easily saturated spheres in the game. The sphere is not without merit, however – just having a military academy on your homeworld can save you a ton of cash in the long run, especially if your galaxy is prone to conflict. Not having to train rookie legions to standard can really be a blessing. Just know that military academies don’t generate much profit, and there is little to no reason for there to be more than one per planet.
I can’t speak much to the ability to hire out mercenaries, as I’ve never really taken advantage of it, or seen it done, but it would be best to think of it more as an occasional advantage rather than a money maker – unless you are really, just scarily good at provoking conflict between third parties – as you still have to pay full price for those legions while you have them. And yes, they can be hired and then immediately used to attack you.
You’re Never Getting Rid of your Body Thetans with That Attitude
Phew. Mysticism. The subtle knife. Where do I even start? Okay, so, here’s the thing about mysticism – by the time you’ve dropped into the galaxy, there are already a number of huge, well-established faiths taking up most of the space in the galaxy. And, unlike other spheres, where the deletion of a house means a serious void in the market, faith percentage on a given planet really doesn’t go down until someone pays for the proselytization campaigns to change it. (Oh, and gods help you if your spellchecker doesn’t pick up on the infinite number of ways you can misspell proselytization. Because it won’t.)
This means that, unless you inherit an extant faith – which comes with its own bag of worms, namely that you already need to posess the head of faith, and that the status an influence for a given planet has already been ‘used up’ by the previous holder(s) – you are looking at a serious uphill battle.
So, given that it is infinitely easier to just join a faith – and that your dynasty is likely to have already converted whole-hog to one already, depending on your homeworld – why start a faith at all?
Well, for one thing, go and check out the Imperial houses in your galaxy. Without looking, I can guarantee you that all, or at least the vast majority of them, run mysticism. Why? Well, for one thing, consider this – at 99.1% faith influence on a planet, the house controlling that faith can have: 4 great temples, 10 temples, and 50 shrines, all generating profit with zero competition. That is an absurd amount of status and money, which can then be put toward acquiring yet more absurd levels of status and money. Mind you, this is very much the mysticism endgame, but take a look at any planet where a house has ‘major’ influence or above. You’re likely going to see a ton of shrines.
Okay, so now we’ve got the inverse – given the power of the mysticism sphere, why doesn’t everyone run it? Well, the short answer is that eventually most houses will give it a shot – seriously, good luck getting another house to convert to your faith outside of a truly huge galaxy. But the long answer is more complicated. You see, mysticism takes a truly absurd amount of time and money to break into. For starters, your head of faith is going to be your ONLY convert – meaning you can run one prosthlyti… prosyletize… pro… One conversion campaign every 40 in-game days (about half a week real time). Each of these campaigns nets you less than 1% of the planetary total. Other than this, your only option is to build missions, which don’t generate any profit, but which do slowly convert the populace – in the same way arming an infant with a soupspoon allows one to slowly tunnel out of the Tower of London. In short, you could be looking at weeks months of real time before you ever get a convert.
But once you have 2% or more of the populace under your sway, you can build a shrine – which acts like a mission, but will generate profit! Eventually! In about another 18%! So maybe a few months down the line! Yeah, it’s less that faith facilities ‘do’ generate income, and more that they ‘can, assuming a high enough faith threshold’ – seems to be about 20% for shrines and temples. And you can have 2 temples and 10 shrines by that point. Or, in otherwords, a huge amount of sunk costs into faith-generating but unprofitable facilities.
This is coupled with the fact that the dominant faith percentage affects how fast your faith will grow. You’ll be able to convert a planet whose top faith is at 30% exponentially faster than a planet whose top faith holds sway over 70% of the population – basically, imagine handing out flyers for your faith on a secular college campus as opposed to in the middle of a totalitarian theocracy, and you might see the nature of the difficulty spike. In fact, it is virtually impossible to convert a ‘well-defended’ planet of ~80%+ of a given faith, especially one with full religious facilities. At this point, the dominant faith basically becomes capable of ‘self-healing’ any damage you can do to it. It would likely take a massive, expensive, and concerted effort of both faith and military might to bring it down. Imagine, in this case, attempting to introduce the ideas of the middle Enlightenment to a swarm of self-replicating nanomachines, and you get a pretty good picture of what lies ahead of you. It is possible, just… not highly advisable.
If you have the money though, and really want to speed things up, you can do what is commonly known as ‘stealing converts’. Essentially, run as many campaigns as you can with dynasts and retainers that are of a different faith than the dominant one. Each extra campaign chips the dominant faith away that much faster, meaning that your faith can increase in size that much faster.
So what does this all amount to? Well, for one thing, I do NOT recommend mysticism to anyone smaller than a Great House (or PERHAPS a major house with an exorbitant level of income). But mainly this: you are looking at hundreds and hundreds of thousands, if not MILLIONS of solars sunk into this sphere before you see the slightest semblance of a profit. But once it gets off of the ground, you will be reaping money and influence like nothing else. Running mysticism is like piloting a rocket. Handle it with proper finesse, control, and respect, and it will carry you to the highest heights of galactic nobility. Fail to do so, and it will personally bury you.
The most important thing to remember – at least in this author’s humble opinion – is that Imperium Nova is a game. Every other house you interact with is going to be another player, with their own plans, goals, playstyle, and level of attachment to their characters.
In fact, I find the game is most fun when played more as a cooperative story than a competitive Game of Thrones (Dune for the sci-fi purists) simulator. This does not mean there shouldn’t be conflict – by all means, conspire against one another, start a galactic civil war, betray your closest allies with a catchy soundbite and/or terrible pun. But remember to let everybody have their fun. If someone is really not into your plans, ease off a bit, maybe try to work out a compromise.
On the flip side, not everyone holds with me on this, so you know, trusting in a gentleman’s agreement s is great, but keeping a few dozen legions stationed on your homeworld can’t hurt either.