At the beginning of each month, the player's 'Empire' has its status updated. This occurs in four 'phases':
- Upkeep: Check your empire's stability, pay costs, and deal with Unrest.
- Edicts: Declare official proclamations about taxes, diplomacy, and other empire-wide decisions.
- Income: Add to your Treasury by collecting taxes and converting credits into Build Points (BP), or withdraw BP from your empire for personal use.
- Events: Check whether any unusual events occur that require attention. Some are beneficial, such as an economic boom or the discovery of new resources. Others are detrimental, such as a plague or rampaging raiders.
During the Upkeep Phase, you adjust your empire’s scores based on what’s happened in the past month, how happy the people are, how much they’ve consumed and are taxed, and so on.
- Adjust Population: Adjust the empire's Population by its monthly growth rate (which can be negative).
- Determine Empire Stability: Attempt a Stability check. If you succeed, Unrest decreases by 1 (if this would reduce Unrest below 0, add 1 BP to your Treasury instead). If you fail by 4 or less, Unrest increases by 1; if you fail by 5 or more, Unrest increases by 1d4.
- Pay Consumption: Subtract your empire’s Consumption from the empire’s Treasury. If your Treasury is negative after paying Consumption, Unrest increases by 2.
- Commission New Ships: Vessels that have completed construction are placed into service, and the empire's Population value is reduced by the vessel's crew size.
- Adjust Unrest: Unrest increases by 1 for each empire key attribute (Economy, Loyalty, or Stability) that is a negative number.
The High Inquisitor may attempt to reduce Unrest during this step.
If the empire’s Unrest is 11 or higher, it loses territory (the leader chooses which territory). See Losing Territory.
If your empire’s Unrest ever reaches 20, the empire falls into anarchy. While in anarchy, your empire can take no action and treats all Economy, Loyalty, and Stability check results as 0. Restoring order once an empire falls into anarchy typically requires a number of missions and lengthy adventures by you and the other would-be leaders to restore the people’s faith in you.
The Edict phase is when you make proclamations on expansion, improvements, taxation, holidays, and so on.
- Assign Leadership: Assign PCs or NPCs to any vacant leadership roles or change the roles being filled by particular PCs or closely allied NPCs.
- Claim and Abandon Territory: For your empire to grow, you must claim additional territory. Before you can claim it, territory must first be explored, then cleared of any hostile inhabitants and dangerous hazards.
- Construction: You may spend BP to construct new structures on planets, orbital and asteroid facilities, and new ships. The number of new structures and facilities that may be built is limited, per the Improvement Edicts table. The number and size of new ships is limited by the BP and Silhouette capacity ratings of your shipyards. If the BP cost of a ship exceeds the BP capacity of the shipyard, construction carries over to the following month. Each shipyard has a construction queue and multiple ships may be placed into a queue. Shipyards can never construct vessels exceeding their Silhouette capacity.
- Create Army Units: You may create, expand, equip, or repair Army and Stormtrooper units.
- Issue Edicts: Select or adjust your edict levels. (See Edicts.)
During the Income phase, you may add to or withdraw from the Treasury as well as collect taxes.
- Make Withdrawals from the Treasury: The empire-building rules allow you to expend BP on things related to running the empire. If you want to spend some of the empire’s resources on something for your own personal benefit, you may withdraw BP from the Treasury and convert it into credits, but there is a penalty for doing so.
Each time you withdraw BP for your personal use, Unrest increases by the number of BP withdrawn. Each BP you withdraw this way converts to ? credits of personal funds.
- Make Deposits to the Treasury: You can add funds to the empire’s Treasury by donating your personal wealth to the empire. For every full ? credits in value of the deposit, increase your empire’s BP by 1.
- Collect Taxes: Attempt an Economy check, divide the result by 3 (round down), and add a number of BP to your Treasury equal to the result.
In the Event phase, a random event may affect your empire as a whole or some portion of it.
There is a 25% chance of an event occurring. (See Events.) If no event occurred during the last month, this chance increases to 75%. Some events can be negated, ended, or compensated for with some kind of empire check. Others, such as raiders, require you to complete an adventure or deal with a problem in a way not covered by the empire-building rules.
In addition, the GM may have an adventure- or campaign-specific event take place. Other events may also happen during this phase, such as independence or unification.