Legacy Points & Mulligans
Two of the most powerful and simplest variant rules to play Ortus Regni with.
You are not just a great Earl but the scion of a great house that has acquired many feudal rights over many generations. Discover what your forbears have left to you!
Granting all players a number of Legacy points before a game begins. These Legacy points are identical to the Legacy point rules used in the Wessex campaign variant.
Choose how many Legacy points you want to use; 1, 2, or 3 work best. Give each Earl that number of cubes of their color. Then use the Viking bag to determine first player, as normal. Starting with the first player each Earl must spend 1 of their Legacy points using the options listed below, using the cubes to keep track of this during Legacy placement in your Earldom. This goes around the table, 1 point at a time, until all points are spent.
All Earls then make their 24 card Earl decks, aware of what everyone has already placed on the table with their Legacy points.
Legacy points are spent in the following way:
- 1 point - 2 Towers
- 1 point - a Banner card played out for Kingship (i.e. on the table)
- 1 point - a Castle or a Property on the table (excluding the Cathedral)
- 1 point - Placing a Lord (or Abbot) into a Castle or Palace
Note that these are indeed additional cards in play, from your complete Earl Card Set, beyond the 24 cards that you will make your Earl gameplay deck with. Also note that you cannot “buy” the Cathedral prior to gameplay.
But importantly, an Earl may indeed start as King prior to the game starting… once all Earls have spent all their Legacy points, if an Earl has managed to place 2 more Banner cards down on the table for the King card than any other Earl has, then at the very start of the game they immediately get the King Card (i.e. before the first player even takes their turn) and all Banners that were placed on the table in the Legacy phase for Kingship go into their Earls’ discard piles.
Good information is a precious and rare commodity in the medieval world. How much do you really know about the feudal holdings of the distant nobles that you might face on the battlefield?
Players place their chosen Legacy cards face-down. This is an advanced version of the Legacy point placement rules which adds an interesting veil of uncertainty, and possible bluffing, to the Legacy set-up phase.
The Clerisy variant rule is also used here; allowing religious buildings to be Fiefs.
Each card purchased with a Legacy point is placed in the appropriate spot in your Earldom - such as a Lord slotted under your face-up Palace - but all Legacy card choices are first placed face-down.
Players still known the basic nature of Legacy choices, because cards are in their appropriate locations, but you cannot be sure of what exactly you are facing.
- Spend your Legacy points in the normal manner, around the table. By placing cards face-down in their proper places.
Once all Legacy points have been spent, and before you design your Earl decks, all Legacy choices are revealed and turnedface-up. Note that any Towers placed down with Legacy points will, of course, remain face-down.
This option uses the Clerisy variant rule which allows religious buildings - Churches or the Cathedral - to either be placed as Fiefs on their own, or be attached to Castles or Palaces in the normal fashion. The Clerisy rules, found in Miscellaneous Rules, are included at the bottom of this document for reference.
The key rules of Clerisy are: that Religious building may stand alone as Fiefs; they have Strength 1 (weaker than Castles or Palaces); and when alone as Fiefs they can only take a Monk card as a Lord (Abbot); and only Market Towns and Lands may be attached as Properties to a religious Fief.
This means that a face down Legacy card may or may not be a Castle! And, for example, a pair of face-down Legacy cards, one slotted under the other as a Lord, may be a Vassal Lord in a Castle or a Monk Lord in a Church!
You cannot hide a Cathedral in this way, the normal Legacy point prohibition on buying the Cathedral remains.
Also, keep in mind that the Monastery power is much more achievable here than in normal Ortus Regni. Because a Monk Lord in a standalone religious Fief does provide you with the Monastery power; thus as an Action you can force another Earl to reveal their Hand to the table. With only 2 blind Legacy points to spend, an Earl can start the game with this power active for turn 1.
But you will not be able to hide any Banners placed for King with Legacy points because their special placement location will give away what they are. The same logic applies with Mercenary cards. So for simplicity, you may place those choices face-up, if you wish.
Mulligans (redrawing opening Hands) are always a popular way to solve the hassle of a poor opening Hand. Players should keep in mind though that such an ability also rewards decks that are not as safely designed, and thus opens the deck design space to more varied or extreme deck designs.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it should be kept in mind.
There are several variants of Ortus Regni where the gameplay is more involved and longer term than in a normal fairly quick game of Ortus Regni. In such variants it makes sense to ensure that players start with a decent opening hand, so that the later gameplay is more rewarding and balanced.
When play testing games we currently use the Punitive Mulligan rule, below, as a standard part of gameplay. As this method does allow players to avoid truly bad opening draws, but also puts pressure on players to design decks that will usually provide decent opening Hands for whatever strategy they want to employ.
Procedure: after everyone has drawn their opening hand, players should then go around the table - starting player first - and make their Mulligan choice(s) before gameplay begins.
Free Mulligan option
Players can take one free Mulligan of their opening Hand. But they must then play with their second Hand draw.
Punitive Mulligan option (the inexperience of youth)
Players can Mulligan, but the second draw is only 4 cards for their opening Hand. They can continue to Mulligan, but with one less card each time; so the second Mulligan would only give them an opening hand of 3 cards, etc.
Note that this rule means that an Earl starting with less than 5 cards, indeed, has more cards remaining in their Earl deck! Meaning that they will need to Bequeath later than other Earls who have not taken such a Mulligan. Imagine that such an Earl is younger than their peers, and will live longer perhaps, but is also less experienced, and this shows in their smaller opening Hand.
The Clerisy - for reference with Blind Legacy points
Religious buildings as Fiefs.
- Churches and the Cathedral can be placed in your Earldom as Fiefs, as if they were a Castle or Palace. They can now anchor and create their own Fiefs. Lands and Market Towns can then be attached to them, but not additional Churches or the Cathedral.
- Churches and the Cathedral are still strength 1. So they are weaker anchors for a Fief than a Castle (str. 2) or a Palace (str. 3). But they are a Fief and count as such to keep you in the game, if you have lost all your Castles and your Palace.
- Churches and the Cathedral, when they are their own Fief, only accept a Monk as a Lord - as an Abbot - but when they do have a Monk Lord installed they grant the Monastery Special Action; the ability to force an Earl to reveal their Hand to the table.
- Churches and the Cathedral can still simply be attached to a normal Fief, anchored by a Castle or Palace. In which case they cannot accept a Monk Lord and play by the normal rules of Ortus Regni.
The Clerisy rule affects the game in several ways. It can be a subtle change or a dramatic one depending on the strategies in play. Ultimately it means you can create many more Fiefs than normal, because previously you could only include up to 6 Castles in your Earl deck. Keep in mind that the weakness of a Religious Fief means that there is no real distinction between Sieging and Raiding, i.e. it almost never makes sense to Raid such a Fief. But the Monastery Special power is a step easier to acquire, as well.