Out of Character

"Has anyone seen my D20?"


January 2016

Binary Shell Game

This is a dramatic retelling of the events of our first ever game of Twilight Imperium. I hope you all enjoy it it, and please check out Twilight Imperium if you get the chance.

Left unchecked the L1Z1X Mindnet launched a steady campaign against the systems bordering their own. Their dreadnaughts drew ever closer to the center of the unprotected center of the galaxy, as one world after another fell silent in the wake of their fleets. Far from Null the Federation of Sol launched a series of assaults on neighboring systems. As the ranks of their armies began to swell the race that had precipitated the Twilight Wars dreamt of expanding the borders of their new empire. Caught between two rapidly growing military powers the Universities of Jol-Nar turned towards science, placing all of their faith in technology, as they had in the past. They ventured out of the systems they’d already occupied cautiously as the improved their ships armaments, shields, and engines.  The Emirates of Hacan sought to secure new alliances through commerce, and as a result their ships were a welcome sight as they carried more trade goods than soldiers. Far from the resources and influence of the rest of the galaxy the Mentak Coaltion and the Xxcha Kingdom pressed inwards from the edge of space establishing new colonies along the way.


The Xxcha claimed a newly discovered wormhole while attempting to establish peaceful relations with the neighboring L1Z1X Mindnet. At the same time the Mentak Coalition entered a profitable alliance with the Emirates of Hacan. The two races established mutually beneficial trade contacts after assurances were made that the pirates would not harass the Hacan’s ships.


In a daring move the L1Z1X Mindnet laid claim Mecatol Rex by surrounding the planet with a sizable fleet. Cybernetically enhanced soldiers established a garrison within the last habitable city on the planet’s surface. A token force of occupation, as the Winarran who’d acted as stewards for centuries had no will to fight, and Mecatol Rex fell without resistance. Next the L1Z1X turned their fleet’s attention towards the Xxcha. Caught unprepared by the violent assault the diplomats took up their defense with far more fervor than their gentle natures suggested they could possess. An experimental space station orbiting the Xxcha’s home system destroyed many of the L1Z1X’s ships as the rest of their fleet struggled to push back the invaders. After a long and bloody conflict the Xxcha had been driven out of their home system, the survivors escaping aboard the handful of ships still at their disposal, cut off and trapped behind enemy lines.


The Galactic Council rang with cries of outrage at these unprovoked acts of aggression even as the L1Z1X Mindnet continued to occupy Mecatol Rex. A fleet of pirate vessels under the command of the Mentak Coalition broke through the blockade destroying the L1Z1X’s fleet around Mecatol Rex in a decisive battle. Inexperienced in ground warfare the pirates were reluctant to leave their ships and were content to form a blockade of their own for a time before claiming the planet. Resistance fighters from Xxcha, and further raiding by the Mentak Coalition shattered the lines of the L1Z1X fleet leaving them scattered and severely weakened.


Pressuring the Galactic Council the Xxcha also maneuvered other species and utilized their remaining influence to disrupt trade throughout the galaxy. In the midst of hurried negotiations new battle lines were drawn. The L1Z1X Mindnet retreated to Null unable to maintain their hold over the worlds they’d taken from the Xxcha.


The Federation of Sol and the Universities of Jol-Nar had steadily increased the sizes of the fleets and armies, drawing steadily closer to one another’s borders as they expanded. Inevitably this resulted in a massive buildup of ships along their borders. As the galaxy watched anticipating further violence the Federation of Sol launched a surprise maneuver diverting a large number of their ships through a wormhole. The anomaly brought them out on the opposite side of the Jol-Nar’s territory and alongside of the remaining Lazix. A clear flanking maneuver in place the Federation seemed poised to launch a massive assault on the Universities of Jol-Nar, but they’d failed to anticipate the actions of the L1Z1X. Desperate, driven to the edge of extinction, and with a sizable fleet still at their command the forces of the L1Z1X Mindnet launched a surprise attack on the Federations ships. As battle was joined the Universities of Jol-Nar unveiled their newly completed war sun and drove it to the borders of their space.


After the clash of the Federation of the Mindnet’s fleets the space around Null was adrift with the wreckage of ships from both sides of the conflict. Although the odds had favored the Federation in the initial conflict their victory had been a costly one, and they turned their efforts towards crushing what remained of the Mindnet’s fleet. Their war was a brief but dire conflict that left the L1Z1X with virtually no defense, and the Federation’s invasion force in ruins.


It was at this most opportune of moments that the Universities of Jol-Nar set their war sun to work along with a sizable portion of their fleet. They set to pushing their borders outward, expanding into Federation space steadily. Seeing the attack fleet they’d already set to work, and the line of ships occupying other outlying systems the Mentak Coalition struck at the Jol-Nar’s rear cutting them off from reinforcements. The pirates sowed chaos throughout the space under the control of the Universities of Jol-Nar before their assault ships were destroyed.


Meanwhile on Null the Emirates of Hacan utilized a wormhole to facilitate and invasion of their own. They carried out numerous invasion attempts and orbital bombardments hoping to exterminate the remaining members of the Mindnet, but yielding little result. Although they commanded a sizable fleet, the largest and most intact in the galaxy at that time, their ships were better suited for trade than war.


Trapped on the surface of Null, and with no hope of rescue the L1Z1X Mindnet chose to reveal their final ploy before the Galactic Council. It seemed their soldiers on Mecatol Rex had not been idle during their time there. They’d used the opportunity to implant a computer virus that by now had spread throughout the galaxy. Threatening to use the virus to disrupt economies, warfare, and other vital systems they held the governments of the other great races hostage. Faced with a threat similar to the one they suffered during the Dark Years their leaders knew they might not survive a second period of such chaos.


Convinced that they could undo the machinations of the L1Z1X Mindnet the Universities of Jol-Nar petitioned the Mentak Coalition to allow their ships to land in force on Mactol Rex. Fearing they would exploit the same trick the L1Z1X had in order to seize power the pirates refused and opened fire on the advancing ships. Faced with a war sun the fleet that had once liberated Mecatol Rex from the L1Z1X was destroyed by the Universities of Jol-Nar.


Ultimately the Galactic Council voted to grant the L1Z1X Mindnet rule over the galaxy so long as they did not leave their home system in force, or raise any great fleets as they had in the past. Now the Mindnet finds itself in much the same position as their predecessors. Trapped on a devastated world with a tenuous grip on power, and surrounded by enemies. As stability settles over the galaxy once more the question of how long the L1Z1X Mindnet can remain in power is unanswered.


Episode 62: Cinematic Encounters

Episode 61: Star Wars The Force Awakens

I discuss one approach to making the main characters from Star Wars the Force Awakens as characters in a roleplaying game.

Here are the completed character sheets for the four main characters from The Force Awakens.

Poe 1 001.jpg

Poe 2 001Finn 1 001Finn 2 001.jpgPoe 1 002Rey 1 001.jpg

Episode 60: Twilight Imperium

I share some of my initial thoughts about my newly acquired copy of Twilight Imperium.

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