System Claims and Diplomatic Relations
A frustration with players through the years of Phoenix is not quite knowing where is safe and where they are at risk. Even seemingly neutral locations can turn into firing zones when battle settings have been left active. Often only those at the very top level knew the true political landscape.
There are examples where things have gone wrong. In Yank the GTT ended up paying compensation to the CIA for accidentally blowing up one of their bases. After payment they once again accidentally blew up the newly restored base. Few were impressed.
||We have introduced Diplomatic Levels between affiliations. This combined with System Claims allows for everything from neutral zones to regions where open conflict can occur. All this means is that while positions can carry enemy lists they are not always active.
To give a good level of dynamism to the system we have split systems into levels of civillisation. The higher the level of civilisation, the greater the degree of antagonism that must exist between the two affiliations before they will open fire on each other. The claiment of the system however has greater control for determining who is considered an enemy. This allows for the creation of exclusion zones that can span orbits, orbital quads and even entire systems. The best thing about this is that when you view a system map it automatically informs you who is capable of opening for on you in the system and what charters/exclusion zones exist.
From a new player or newly returning player point of view, don't worry about the mechanics of all this (it is explained in the rules). All you need to concern yourself with are the potential enemies in the systems you are passing through.
If they are shown in red, it means that they can (though not necessarily will) open fire on you. You can of course do the same to them, providing your ship has a naval officer (and weapons of course).
Note that this also applies to boarding actions and ground combat.
You might want to look up Flags of Convenience. These are discussed in some detail in the next issue. Also read Diary of a Privateer.