Europa Universalis

                           BloodLine Variant

                               John Quarto-vonTivadar

                                  Autumn 1997

This set of variant add-on rules for Europa Universalis attempts to flesh out the concept of royal dynasties and the effect these dynasties self-perpetuation efforts played in European politics. The attempt is to add color to the process of running a country during this period by requiring Players to pro-actively perpetuate their royal house. Astute players may see overtones of play-concepts from Blood Royale, Kremlin, and Republic of Rome, in varying degrees; the intention is to add flavor and increase player interaction without a major overhaul of the original EU diplomatic system.

["Europa Universalis" is produced by Azure Wish Enterprises (Paris, France) who retains all rights to the original game. Any new ideas added by this variant apart from specific principles developed in other games have all their rights retained by the author, but may be used without prior permission as long as appropriate reference and credit are maintained during their use. The author can be reached at or at the EU web site (]

All standard EU rules apply, except as modified below:


Players must now manage their country and their dynasty; monarchs rule, wed, produce heirs (Hopefully) , and eventually die, passing their power on through their line. All minor countries that are eligible for placement on any Player’s Diplomatic track are ruled by a unique Royal House.

Dynastic Sequence:

  1.Birth: married couples may attempt to produce children.
  2.Natural Aging: All players a number of years equal to the change in Game Turn Year.
  3.Survival: all characters perform a survival roll. Unsuccessful rolls immediately remove the character from the game.
  4.Marriage/Betrothal: all characters will an effective age of 15 or older may be married; betrothal may occur at any age (even before birth). Divorce is handled by special rule.

The Dynastic Sequence occurs at the beginning of the Turn, before any other actions, and replaces the monarch survival sub-phase. Any effects that happen during this phase (for example on-going loss of Stability for the monarch being under-age) occur during this phase.

    Dynastic Sequence - Birth

 During the Birth sub-sequence, only married couples including the Monarch and any direct line descendants may attempt to produce children, if the female partner is 50 years old (effective age) or younger at the start of this sequence. Players roll 2 10-sided dice; a child is produced on a roll greater than 10. The child’s sex is randomly determined, with an equal chance of male or female. A couple may make up to 2 more attempts at producing children, but each subsequent attempt, increases the wife’s effective age by 2 years (permanent) and also temporarily increases her chance of failing her survival roll that Turn (-1 malus to dice roll per additional attempt). Children are born (and sexed) in the order rolled, and receive a year of birth sequentially based on the Turn Year. For example, in 1520 the French King and his wife attempt to have children. The first attempt is successful and produces a girl. Having no direct male heir for the King the French player decides to make another attempt, which is unsuccessful (the wife nonetheless suffers the aging effects). Therefore the Player decides to try again, and successfully produces a child, this time a male. The first (female) child was born in 1520, the second (male) child was born in 1522.

 After all birth attempts are complete the player then determines the child’s characteristics by consulting the Parent and Child Characteristic Tables. Note that both parents contribute to the modifiers for a child’s characteristics, thus for example, a father and mother who are both rated highly in their military stat will on average produce a child who is also highly rated in that stat.

 Players will want to create a means to record such pertinent character data, perhaps using index cards, and containing Year of Birth, Sex, Name, Dynastic Name, Title (optional rule), Characteristics, leader # (optional rule), Character ID # (useful if maintaining a family tree)

    Dynastic Sequence – Natural Aging

 Each Character ages a number of years equivalent to the change in Game Turn year. For example, if the Previous Turn was 1492 and the new Turn is 1495, then every character ages 3 years. It may be more convenient to simple combine this step with the Dynastic Sequence Survival roll below.

    Dynastic Sequence – Survival

Every character in the game must succesfully pass a Survival roll. Check these on a Dynasty-by-Dynasty basis, and remove dead characters from the game. Using the Survival Table in the Appendix, one will note that the chances of survival through age 60 is approximately 50%

    Dynastic Sequence – Marriage/Betrothal

A Marriage contract may be signed at any time, with any game-legal clauses. The signatories commit to the marriage between their dynasties. The Betrothal is announced during the BloodLine phase but the marriage itself does not take place until the start of the Diplomacy phase, thus it is possible that random events can occur which may effect the actual marriage.

Marriage contracts are binding agreement between players, and can cover agreements about trade, non-aggression, exchange of land, money, etc. These contracts cannot be broken under any circumstances, for as long as the marriage exists (whilst both partners are alive); however the contract itself is allowed to contain "escape clauses" if the parties so desire. Marriage contracts cannot contain clauses which include loss of Stability or Bankruptcy since a player cannot willing suffer these fates; they can however include terms such as the granting of possessions or of one-Turn CB’s or of money damages for a broken contract. Players are NOT subject to imposition of the contract’s clauses due to circumstances beyond their control which render them unable to fulfill the terms of the contract (for example the death of one of the betrothed before the marriage itself occurs).

In case of dispute, the parties may each appeal to the other players in the game who should give a ruling based solely on their reading of the marriage contract and anything they may have heard that indicates to them what the parties’ joint intent was (thus, the 3rd party players must try to endeavor to interpret the marriage contract as a GM would, apart from how it affects their own position in the game). Any terms which the majority of 3rd party players agree was part of the original contract and enforced; all other terms are ignored. At any point, the original players involved may come to any agreement between themselves for resolution of the dispute. [Note: if you are also using the Religious Expansion rules, this entire paragraph should be ignored.]

In most cases, and in cases where there is no prior agreement, the wife leaves her Dynasty and becomes a member of her husband’s Dynasty until she dies. If her husband dies first, the wife is returned to her original family. All children produced by such a union belong to the husband’s family, unless a specific agreement beforehand is in place. Note that all children must go to one side or the other; no splitting of offspring is allowed. Take the index card associated with a given character and place it with the family into which it is being transferred.

Some concepts which will make the process easier:

1. Players may not have characters of the same royal family wed. (for simplicity, even though marriage of second cousins and closer was sometimes historically accurate)
2. Characters cannot be married until the reach the age of 15; however betrothal can occur at any time, even before a character’s birth. ("I promise to wed my first-born son to your daughter"). Players are cautioned to carefully write such contracts!
3. Marriage is for life (unless the optional Divorce Rule is employed and even so, it is very restrictive) 4.Marriages between Players involving a Player’s monarch or any of that monarch’s direct heirs (defined as any children of that Monarch) must involve a title for the Dynasty that accepts giving up its character (see rules on titles for details) and must be done by standard-EU dynastic alliance (that is either a $100 dowry or at least one province transferred)

The Succession

Of course the interesting part of this expansion is the excitement generated when a Monarch dies and someone must succeed to the throne. In general, the European tradition of paternal primogeniture is followed, where the eldest male child of the monarch is first in line to the throne, followed by any offspring of his, followed by the second male heir of the dead monarch and any of his line in turn, on down through all the male children of the dead Monarch, and then starting with the eldest daughter of the dead monarch in turn. If the direct line of the monarch is extinct (no children, or no surviving children nor any children of same) then line is followed backward to the eldest sibling of the monarch, and then downward from that relation. Monarchs cannot abdicate, nor be disposed (except through other standard rules of EU, such as the more-than-half-national-provinces-in-revolt rule). A married female character who becomes monarch is returned to her dynasty along with her husband and any children they have produced (regardless of any prior arrangements made in this regard for the marriage contract). Characters do not inherit due to marriage, because their spouse is returned to its original family upon their death anyway.

The succession happens immediately upon the decease of the monarch, after all character survival rolls are complete. In order to inherit the throne, a character’s "claim" must be better than anyone else’s. Player’s must give priority to a legitimate claimant in succeeding the throne. New Monarchs who are under 15 years old inflict a –1 Stability per Turn on their country until their reach their 15th birthday.

[Optional Variant Rule #1 for Turkey: A Turkish princess cannot ascend the throne, but her husband inherits her rights in this regard.]

[Optional Variant Rule#2 for Turkey: A Turkish monarch who ascends the throne immediately puts to death all his brothers (but not sisters nor any of their children). This supercedes the EU rule about increasing instability in the Turkish monarch’s rule length based on Turn.]

Disputed Succession: players may choose to pass over the rightful heir to the throne, in only two circumstances

A. The heir is a prisoner of another country. In this case, roll for one revolt in the country and that revolt must be in the country (recall that some revolt table create revolts outside the home country that must be addressed by another player. This is not the case here). The player may use the next-in-line heir to run the Dynasty until the legitimate heir either dies or is released. If released, the legitimate heir immediately makes a claim to the throne. If the legitimate heir is not immediately recognized as the monarch, then the interim monarch is retained, and the results handled as in voluntary disputed succession (below);
B. The heir is a female character controlled by another player as a result of a Marriage. In this case, roll for one revolt in the country, as above. Further, all combat rolls of any kind for the country are done with a –1 malus for as long as the legitimate heir and any direct descendants remain alive. They continue to be controlled by the other Dynasty but make no attempts to remarry nor do they produce any further children

Voluntary Disputed Succession – Players may voluntarily by-pass any legitimate claimant to the throne but at high cost. First, the country suffers a –1 Stability, and then suffers an additional Stability level loss and a revolt for each legitimate heir passed over. Thus if you wish to skip over the first and second characters in line to the throne, you will suffer a total of 3 levels of stability loss, plus generate 2 revolts. Further, for as along as any of the skipped claimants, there is a 50% chance that 1 stability level is lost or a new revolt is generated each Turn until those bloodlines are extinguished (test this after all Survival Rolls). Control of the passed over heirs transfers permanently to the Player controlling their spouse, or if unmarried or married to a minor character spouse, control passes randomly to another Player who retains full control over the character from that point forward; any children subsequently produced by these ‘spurned’ bloodlines do not perpetuate the ongoing instability roll nor are they eligible for making claims to the throne. If the country falls into revolution as defined in the EU rules (half of all national provinces in revolt), then the present Monarch is considered dead and the next in line is determined by including the spurned bloodlines (that is, if you choose to by-pass these same characters again, the cycle may restart).

Further, while this condition is in effect, all battle rolls of any sort are done at –1 malus. Titled characters always retain any bonus/malus that their title gives them.

Dynastic Union – A complication arises when a female character ascends the throne and her husband is also monarch in his own right in his country. In such a case a Dynastic Union has taken place:

 When one Spouse is a minor monarch and the other a Player Monarch, the minor moves to the Vassal box of the Player’s country (even if such a situation is not normally allowed). If it was on another Player’s track that country has a free CB against the Player for this and the next Turn. When the marriage ends, minor returns to the minimum box allowable (Royal Marriage box) of original controller, or back to the Neutrals box. If it was formerly on another players track due to other EU rules it returns there (for example, Hapsburgs are permanently on the Spanish Entry-in-War box, so it would return there at this time). The player who controlled the minor has a -4 malus to diplomacy on this minor in this Turn, -2 on the next, and -1 on the 3rd. Example: Bavaria is on the French track at Expeditionary Corps. The English player manages to get his monarch married to the Bavarian King’s princess, who suddenly assumes the throne. Bavaria is immediately moved to the English Vassal box, even though this is not usually allowed. When either of the parties dies, Bavaria will return to the Royal Marriage box of France, and England will have a -4 to diplomacy on Bavaria that Turn (and likewise, maluses for subsequent Turns). Had it been on English track to start, then it would move to the English Royal Marriage box. Had Bavaria been on another player’s track due to some special rule, then it would immediately return there at this time (for example, Hapsburgs permanently on the Spanish track) When both husband and wife are from Player Dynasties are both Monarchs, husband’s controller participates fully in the decision-making process for the Queen’s country during all subsequent phases/situations except the Diplomatic and Peace phases, and both the Player and the husband’s controller must agree on their course of actions (or else nothing is done). If the countries were at war, an immediate peace is made. If they are at peace they cannot declare war on each other. The Queen’s country loses stability of 1 level per Turn for the first two Turns that this condition exists. Children of this union are automatically part of the male’s dynasty, regardless of any terms of the marriage contract. When the Queen or King dies the dynastic union is over and none of her children may inherit (for simplicity, it has to end somewhere), and the line passes to the next logical successor from the Queen’s family. One level of stability is gained and the (former) Queen’s country gains a free CB for this and the next Turn against the (former) husband’s country.

A player with a female character who is likely to ascend the throne can attempt to insist on a clause in any potential marriage contract whereby the husband renounces any claim to the throne of his home country, thus avoiding the situation above.

Dynastic Crisis.

A Dynastic Crisis occurs when a Player’s dynastic line has died out, i.e., there exist no members of the dynasty to inherit the throne. In such a sever case:

    The Player suffer an immediate "bankruptcy." Apply the same effects as when a financial bankruptcy occurs, including the Victory Point penalty. The Player’s treasury remains untouched, however. Generate a new dynasty, assumed to be a "distant relation" of the old Monarch. The new King is 40 years old with a wife of 35, and presently has 3 children aged 20, 15, 10, randomly sexed. Players controlling characters who hold titles in the dead dynastic line may now exercise their claim to this territory, taking immediate possession of any number of provinces that are part of the title. For each province after the first that they take they lose one level of stability. The Player suffering the dynastic crisis gains one level of stability for any province lost in this way as well as a free CB against the title holder valid thru the end of the new Monarch’s life. Players may freely negotiate these terms away, e.g., giving up a colony rather than a province due under the title, but the stability loss/gain is incurred if any province(s) exchanged were part of the original title. Once any such deal or non-voluntary claim is exercised, all such titles are nullified. Players may also freely give up all claim to a title at this time, and both sides gain a level of stability in doing so. A Player may also take no sides in the dynastic crisis (neither making a land claim nor giving up the title) in which case neither side suffers any penalty or loss and the title continues in force.

Note: any of the above exchanges of territory do not nullify the general EU rule that a national province held by another Player gives a permanent CB to the aggrieved party.

End of the BloodLine phase - all players announce results of the BloodLine phase so as to keep other Players informed as to what has occurred. This allows the phase to be sped up somewhat when taking care of ordinary business. Note that there is implicit time for players to diplome with each other during the phase so as to arrange marriage contracts and the like.

Additional Ramifications of the BloodLine variant:

1. Effect on Diplomacy rolls: players gain an additional "geopolitical" bonus when rolling for influence of minor in whose Royal Houses they have managed to marry a character. Only take the best bonus of the following:

 +1 if the Player has at least 1 character married into that minor’s Royal house
 +2 if the character is married to son or daughter or is the Mother or Father to the minor’s Monarch
 +4 if the character is the spouse of the monarch

1. Minor Children production: only a minor’s monarch and spouse attempt to produce children, and they make only 1 attempt per Turn. Further, any such children have characteristics that are unmodified die rolls as long as both parents are of minor stock. If the monarch dies without issue, then a randomly rolled monarch 5 years younger than the previous one takes the throne.
2. Minor Set-up: in scenarios where it is necessary to generate monarch for the minor houses, start each minor with a King of 2d10x4 years of age (average will be 2x5x4=40) and a wife 5 years younger. They have 1 child of random sex for each 20 years of the King’s life, fractions lose and the children are 20 years younger than the King, sequentially. If this creates any problem or ambiguities, err in favor of less children.
3. Marriage action of minors: as soon as minor children are of marriageable age (15 years and not before) they have a 50% chance of marrying that turn within their own country’s nobility if they receive no acceptable offers from Player countries. Minors decide which offer, of multiple ones, to accept based on the priority:

a. If minor character stays in minor Dynasty, best dowry offer, plus a title.
b. if minor character stays in minor Dynasty, best dowry offer.
c. else, if minor character goes to Player dynasty, best dowry offer plus minor character gets title;
d. else if minor character goes, best dowry offer offer.
e. possible random marriage due to no Player offers (50%)

Minors will only betroth/marry off children as long as elder children are already spoken for. For example, Savoy ruling house has two daughters, an elder one with less-than-average stats (wart on nose?) and a younger one with super stats (Miss Savoy, 1492). The minor’s monarch will not consent to marry off the younger daughter unless and until the older one is spoken for. Thus, resolve all offers as above, on a per-age basis, so that on a given turn the elder children are determined to have married or not before the younger ones. Minimum dowry is equal to Royal Marriage Box rating. Cumulative factors to multiply the base dowry:

    x4 different religion
    x2 if minor character is heir apparent
    x4 if minor character is monarch
    x4 if major character gives up its claim to throne
    x2 if Major character is heir apparent


Several times the concept of titles has been mentioned. A Title is a claim to feudal control of some geographical region. Title can be any of the various levels (duke, earl, baron, viscount, etc.) for the sake of playing flavor, although all are handled in the same fashion. Some actions using the BloodLine rules require the use of titles. Titles are given by a Player to any character he chooses, and must include at least one province under the player’s control (although it can include more). Players can give as many titles as they wish however they must title all of their direct descendent children before titling outside this line. Once a title is given it cannot be taken away, except by the death of the titled character and only if the Player controls that character at the time of its death (death occurs before testing for title control). Titles are passed down to descendants if the title is not taken away, at the whim of the player controlling the titled character. Titles on characters have the following effects:

The character gains a +1 to all battle rolls of any sort anywhere within his title lands; character with a title provinces generates income equal to the land values of those provinces, plus again the value of the largest-valued province in the region. Controller of a titled character determines who gets the income, but at least half (rounded up) must be given to the country who actually controls the province. Otherwise that country gets a free CB against the offending party (and if a controlled minor country it immediately moves to the neutrals box). If on another player’s track then the CB is exercised at the discretion of the controller.

Thus although in most cases a Player will also control a character to whom he has given a title it is possible that if a title ‘drifts’ out of the family that income can lost. However, this can be the subject of marriage contract terms or other player diplomatic agreements.

[Note: I am tempted to include required historical titles here, for example Duke of Burgundy to cover the specific historical area of Burgundy both within and without France, however, I am unsure if this will create more or less problems for countries that are land-poor (and thus title-inhibited) like Portugal. More play-testing will determine whether province-rich countries like Spain/France/England gain too much of an advantage using the present system.]

In determining how to give titles, players simply write in the title on the character sheet. When assigning titles, they must be given in the order of decreasing land value, such that the eldest child is given a title that includes provinces that are face total valued at least as great as any other titles presently available, and so on down. Players need only respect this rule when assigning a title anew; if chance occurrences happen that make the valued-ness rule not in force, they need not correct it until they wish to give a title out again. If political situations occur such that some of the provinces of a title then belong to another Player, that Player is still entitled to at least half of the land income generated from provinces he controls. When a Monarch assumes the throne he loses all in-country titles he presently owns (in return for being named Monarch), but retains titles that are in part or completely outside the realm. If part of his former title included lands which are now not part of his realm, then he retains title to at least these lands (and will potentially pass this title down upon his death). All-in-all, the title system generates new income equal to the titles largest land value (to balance out income lost to having to pay dowries for marriages in other parts of this BloodLine expansion).

Royal Characters in Battle

The variant leaders controlled by a country (Gen?1, Adm?3, etc.) represent the person in line to the throne of the present dynasty. Thus if these counters are captured or killed then that character suffers the same fate. The variant leaders are assigned in order of succession, so the highest ranked hierarchy leader is always assigned to the first in line character to the throne (re-set these each Turn as needed during the same phase when leaders enter/exit play). Don’t forget how useful this can be for royal characters who also possess a title, since they get a battle roll bonus within their lands. Female characters still in the Dynasty are also assigned variant leaders this way (married females are typically transferred to their husband’s dynasty anyway so this is not an issue). The assignments of leaders can only occur for characters who have reached marriageable age (15+years).

                                   Appendix I

  Parents Characteristics table
   (cross reference each parent's characteristics to determine overall modifier to child's characteristics roll) 

3 4 5 6 7 8 9
3 -2 -2 -1 -1 0 0 +1
4 -2 -1 -1 0 0 +1 +1
5 -1 -1 0 0 +1 +1 +2
6 -1 0 0 +1 +1 +2 +2
7 0 0 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3
8 0 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3
9 +1 +1 +2 +2 +3 +3 +4

Child's Characteristics Table
Modify die roll by result of the Parents Characteristics table. (a child's stats can never be less than 3 nor greater than 9) 

Die Roll 3- 4 5 6 7 8 9+
New Stat 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Survival Table
Effective age of character
2d10 10- 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 65 70 75
2- +2 +5 U U U U U U U U U U U U
3 - +2 +5 U U U U U U U U U U U
4 - - +2 +5 +5 U U U U U U U U U
5 - - - +2 +2 +5 +5 U U U U U U U
6 - - - - - +2 +2 +5 +5 U U U U U
7 - - - - - - - +2 +2 +5 U U U U
8 - - - - - - - +1 +1 +2 +5 U U U
9 - - - - - - - - - +1 +2 +5 U U
10 - - - - - - - - - - +1 +2 +5 U
11 - - - - - - - - - - - +1 +2 +5
12 - - - - - - - - - - - - +1 +2
13 - - - - - - - - - - - - - +1
14 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
15 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
16 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
17 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
18 - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
19 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2 -2
20+ -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5 -5

U R.I.P, character dies
+X Ill health: character ages X years
-X Good health: character rejuvenates X years
- No effect, character survives