Pigeonholing Phoenix has always been an issue with the game as there are many aspects to it and quite often one can be seen to dominate or for some people, not being interested in one aspect leads them to neglect it - sometimes to their detriment.
Each of the five aspects can be seen as the five points on a pentacle, each interacting with each other and all being affected directly or indirectly by the Game Master.
For wargamers, this is often seen as the primary purpose of the game - to be impregnable to attack and to be able to hammer enemies with impunity. Combat require the construction of machines of war and troops to use them.
Construction of war machines - tanks, warships and their likes requires technology and bases, which fall into the colonisation category.
Troops, the underlying strength of this position require paying - paying however requires stellars and invariably come back to commerce or 'protection' money through alliances or treaties, aka diplomacy/roleplaying.
There are two general means of earning stellars, collecting it directly from civilian populations or by dealing with other players.
For those interested in amassing wealth directly from civilian populations, they need to find somewhere where there is a civilian population that can be exploited through merchandising and for extra wealth, finding goods that can be sold to the civilian population.
In many cases these civilian populations are in regions of space claimed by other factions and colonisation of the world will require some level of diplomacy with the other faction. Further, goods to sell to the civilian population will have to be found through exploration and the base from which to sell the goods will have to be constructed (colonisation).
Even if it is decided to only deal with other players through commerce, often resources will still have to be found through exploration and private deals will also need to be struck (roleplaying).
Acquiring ships to conduct the trading will also require some level of communication with other members of the faction or through private deals and once some success has been achieved there is always the question of protection against pirates and defending assets from potential looters (combat).
New star systems, virgin territory exists for players to discover, it is just a case of extensive research into subspace and adjacent unknown space. Some of these systems may already have civilisations present that are just waiting to start trading.
Exotic trade items resources could already exist right under the foundations of a base, just waiting to be discovered.
As well as exotic trade items there may be ores spanning the entire range from basic elements right through to super rare minerals. These might reside in the sub-ice of asteroids or the atmospheres gas giants.
As well as discovering minerals and trade goods, there are new sentient species to encounter. How these are dealt with (roleplaying) may well determine the future relationship between the sentient race and the faction. More than one promising relationship has turned sour through a wrong-word.
This covers everything from building bases through to designing ships, researching technology, producing ordnance and other components for industry, recruiting personnel and even improving a planet's commerce potential.
Obviously such a large area often requires somewhere suitable to build and can often require some serious negotiation with other factions (roleplaying), not to mention resources (exploration). Then there is the question of defending everything you have built. While it is not always necessary or even practical to be impregnable, it is always a good idea to be less inviting for attack than other potential targets. Whether this is achieved through ordnance (combat) or treaties (roleplaying) is down to the faction.
As can be seen from the above descriptions, roleplaying in the form of diplomacy, treaties, support from civilian populations or even threats and bluffs, plays a vital part of the game and one that can be overlooked from time to time.
A combat oriented faction for example, still draws at least some of its revenue from civilian populations. It may also trade or have colonised locations where its navy might is stretched thin.
Smashing an enemy on a world that is intended for colonisation also tends not to go down too well with the civilians, especially if they are not forewarned.
An exploration oriented faction may miss some of the best resources simply because they never dealt with the primitive tribes and drank their hoo-doo juice.
A commercial faction may have their merchandising embargoed because others have been spreading lies about them in civilian circles.
These can be weakness to exploit or holes to plug. Realism and circumstance play a great deal in exploiting this aspect of the game - populations are won over slowly and often sacrifices are required to achieve success, but the effects can be crippling especially where there is a 'special' relationship between the civilian populace and a specific faction.
Affiliations - factions in which players control assets - all have profiles. These can be 'carved in stone' or mere guidelines. These are taken into consideration during GM Moderation when determining results. A faction that has a profile as a bunch of cutthroat entrepreneurs are unlikely to gain any support from a civilian faction, but by the same token, are unlikely to have their merchandising suffer when they fail to take a strong stance on a moral issue, pleading 'nowt to do with us'.
Empire style affiliations have the most to gain from loyal civilian factions but can also suffer the most when they fail to roleplay to their profile. Loyal civilians have expectations.
Game Master (GM) Moderation
The role of the GM is to facilitate the continuous progression and expansion of the game. As well as dealing with the mundane such as answering questions and pressing buttons as part of the daily running of the game, the GM also writes specific results to explorations, investigations and special actions. Finally, it is the GM's role to expand the game universe through developing plots, new regions of space and adding new items to the game.
Special Actions are what separate the game from a typical online/computer game. The GM will interpret the submitted special action and give a result. The nature of the special action is limitless, though obviously some degree of circumscribed reality is applied based on the current situation in order to keep the results believable within the framework of the game. For example suddenly declaring that the explorers are gods during first contact with natives will not result in millions of people across the entire globe suddenly falling on their knees in adulation - it is assumed that the larger the population the greater the diversity of thought and an ever increasing level of suspicion, cynicism and/or analysis of the facts.
Zones of Moderation
Moderation can generally be separated into three broad categories. These can be applied to regions of game territory - generally star systems, but potentially just the starport of a base or an entire cluster of star systems known as a Periphery.
This is the most common zone and represents what can be loosely classified as a hands-off approach by the GM. Intervention is largely through reaction to special actions that draws the GM attention to a facet or detail in the game in an attempt to elicit some sort of response. This might be to point out to natives how bad the owners of a starbase on the planet are and give suggestions how they might alleviate the situation or aid the instigator of the special action.
Protected zones are ruled with an iron fist. They are there for the benefit of all and are something of a nursery where all can exist without fear. Actions intended to harm, even through carelessness are punished by the GM. Initially these may be little more than a stellar fine or the damaging of the offending position in a Pavlovian conditioning manner but will quickly escalate to wholesale slaughter is the recipient of earlier warnings proves either intractable or proves incapable of learning. The GM is at liberty to use whatever means to restore the status-quo, up to an including the removal of all offending assets of the transgressing faction from the zone - explosively if necessary.
Actions that exploit transgressors of the protected status through non-combat oriented means are likely to prove especially successful just to emphasise the point - this is a protected zone.
The Yank star system is the prime example of this - though it does include EEM assets.
This is the middleman between open and protected and is generally regions of space where conflict is limited. Generally speaking there is a charter or explanation of what can and can't be done within the controlled zone. This might be limited warfleets, limits to the amount of bases that can be built or the nature of the actions that can be conducted within the zone.
Punishment is less severe than in a protected region of space and is generally meted out as a result of escalation or repeat transgressions. Carelessness or transgressions are rarely punished on a first offense basis unless they are magnitudes over the designated acceptable limit.
The Halo periphery is an example of this kind of zone.
Star Date: 221.3.3
Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.
Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble
However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:
“We have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.”
Doomsday On Pause
At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.
Star Date: 220.50.5
Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space
As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.
Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemy’s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.
Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.
Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.
When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...
Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease
Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.
What they found will shock you!
Star Date: 220.45.1
Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.
Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.
Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.
We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."
Valhalla Stargate Reopens
Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargate’s orbit.
*** Inter Galactic News ***
Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt
After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
|News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----
(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.
This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...
(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )
... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
|******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******
Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe from our new home in the Heartland,
And so with the news from the last few weeks,
*** Inter Galactic News ***
DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
Krell denounce worship of the True One
***** Inter Galactic News *****
Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole
A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.
The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
***** Inter Galactic News *****
Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.
The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empire’s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.
The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.
DEN continue to strike at the Empire
Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.
AFT turn to piracy
The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.
The AFT remain silent over the attack.
***** Inter Galactic News *****
Combat Special Edition
Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.
Felini strike back at Dewiek
Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!
GTT get sucked into the war
A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”
Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules
A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.
The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.
DOM make a choice
After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.
DOM positions share out
Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.
*** Affiliations ***
AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Urd
DOM Dominion (57) – we believe the DOM are now inactive
FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
KRL Krell (30) - Namica
KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
MOH Mohache (73) - Listens
MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz
* Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact
NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS
Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG
*** Submission ***
By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.