The Thirteenth Dynasty of Josh
'30 November 2020 - 24 January 2021
General Jenny Haniver, Fleet Commander of the Earth Deep Space Expeditionary Corp, entered the ISV Relentless Inquisition’s Crisis Room at 4.37am Sol Adjusted Time and threw herself unceremoniously into the chair at the head of the table. The assorted Generals and other attendees at the table sat ramrod straight, eyes forward, as she lit a cigar and fixed them with a baleful gaze.
“Let’s have it, then.”
Captain Ken Park stood and gestured towards the holoboard, which lit up and started scrolling images and information. “At 2.14am SAT this morning we received word that the seal containing the DEVAs was breached.”
Cmdr Haniver looked impassive but several gasps and groans of dismay could be heard around the table.
“As best as we can make out, the breach took place on the planet Blogia, when some of the local pre-Type-One human civilization completed a tile mosaic that just happened to be the quantum key to the DEVA’s 5th-dimensional cage.”
“Gimme a break”, rasped Haniver around her cigar. “What are the odds.”
“It’s a big universe,” said General Hannah Pak, Commander of the Fleets. “Sooner or later it was bound to happen.”
“We should have wiped them out long ago,” added another General.
“That was never an option,” said Haniver. “Probably isn’t an option now. Last time humanity squared up against the DEVAs they knocked us back to the dark ages. Decimated our population, probably held us off of Kardashev Type 1 for a millennium.” An uncomfortable silence fell around the table.
“Options, people,” said the Commander after a moment.
“I have a core-buster ready to deploy,” said General Pak, to instant dismay at the table. Haniver raised a hand and silenced the room. “Within eight hours I can have Blogia wiped off the map, and everything on it.”
“Surely we can manage this situation without needing to resort…” began General Omololu, but Hanniver silenced her with a look.
“This is the DEVAs, people. None of us squared off against them last time and I’m not sure that any of us want to this time. All options are on the table.”
“My concern…” came a small, querulous voice from the food of the table.
“What the fuck is he doing here?” snarled General Pak.
“I have as much right…”
“He’s half DEVA!” General Omololu gestured at the new speaker while looking to Cmdr Haniver for support.
None was forthcoming. “I asked Specialist Poindexter to be here,” she said, knocking the ash off of her cigar. “In this instance, his lineage is an asset. Please go on, Poindexter.”
“Thank you,” said Poindexter, his angular eyes flitting around the room defensively. “As I was saying, the concern is that merely destroying the planet would not, in fact, destroy the breach itself, and that DEVAs can – as we know – survive and still be a threat in deep space. Sooner or later we would face the problem again.”
“Do you have a better solution?”
“As a matter of fact, I do.”
Specialist Poindexter stood, drawing himself up to his full nine feet in height. As he walked over to the holoboard the articulation of his arm and knee plates made it look a if he was gliding. Captain Park handed him the control baton and stepped aside.
“I propose,” said Pondexter, “that we make use of the presence of the Ansible in the area and deploy the Rapid Atmospheric Insertion and Deployment team against the DEVAs. With the Ansible’s ability to transmit limitless quantities of information instantly, RAID pilots can remotely pilot mechanical shells against the DEVAs with no risk to themselves, allowing them to learn new tactics and retain knowledge of how to defeat the enemy. With only a small amount of retrofitting, the Ansible can also be used to synthesise stellar matter to produce functionally limitless numbers of new shells, meaning that we will be able to deploy an army that is self-sustaining. We will have the opportunity to see past the superior firepower of the DEVAs, and perhaps even work out how to defeat them once and for all.”
“Absurdly risky,” cried General Omololu. “If even one of them makes it off of that planet then –“
But Commander Haniver had leaned forward in her seat. “If that happens then at least we will have the benefit of RAID’s information on the DEVAs and how to defeat them. I like it. The DEVAs have been locked away for generations – they’re weak. This might be our best chance. Okay. Generals Omololu and Pak, please draw up contingency plans for deep space combat against the DEVAs. For now – Poindexter – you are green to go.” She stood, looked around the room at the tense, confused, despairing faces. She briefly considered saying something comforting or inspiring, but instead just nodded. “Dismissed.”
The following players were active at the start of the Dynasty:
Bais, Bucky, Clucky, Coderblaze, Darknight, Josh, Kevan, lendunistus, Maris, pokes, Raven1207, robotabc773
And at the end:
Brendan, Bucky, Coderblaze, Darknight, Josh, Raven1207
Posts of Interest
The Dynastic rules for this dynasty became very complicated quite early on, before being streamlined over the course on the early portion of the dynasty.
- Players were pilots who were flying mechs, called Shells. The mechs were defined in Ghosts in Shells.
- Shells could be modified in a variety of ways. Early mechanics included Mechanoids and varied loadouts. These were later swept away in favour of a simple system: chose a mod, pay the power cost. Some, such as onboard cameras that could see hidden DEVA information, turned out to be quite useful.
- As Pilots fought, they gained experience points. These could be used to make used mods permanently free.
- The pilots were combatting the DEVAs, an alien race with a variety of subspecies. The first DEVAs, the RAKSHASHA, were defined in DEVAs With Dirty Faces; they were later joined by the KNIGHT, OPHANIM, GNOME, and VALKERIE.
- DEVA stats were hidden from the Pilots; they could collaboratively pool their observations to zero in on their vulnerable ranges.
- DEVAs also had abilities, in the form of reactions. The initial set were later joined by some nastier alternatives. These were broadened into a variety of different types of characteristic.
- DEVAs appeared on a relatively fixed but accelerating schedule, which had to be sped up later in the dynasty to keep things interesting.
- This dynasty had an action system that was unlike those in any previous dynasties: timed actions. Actions could be set for a specific future time, and, once scheduled, were assumed to take place at that time with no further action required by the player. Daily update posts from the Emperor maintained the outcome and impacts of scheduled events. It required a lot of words to get into place but eventually worked well.
- Combat was conducted by Pilots by carrying out Fire Actions in which Pilots selected a fire vector within their attack range, hoping to match their targets Defence. Initially, these were blog posts that could be freely made. Once targets started to appear, they first developed a small cost, then were condensed into comments on the schedule posts and thus incorporated into the timed action system. Pilots later gained the ability to join forces against hard targets.
- Pilots could belong to Corporations. The Order of the Blue Lotus was added late, and for much of the dynasty was the only Corporation to be meaningfully staffed. Corporations were the key to victory - the Corporation, not the individual, with the required number of Crowns could win. The number of Crowns was pegged to the amount of damage that the DEVAs had done. More Corporations were added to improve the diversity of options. Individual pilots could later earn Crowns for their Corporation in a variety of ways, including racking up multiple kills and taking out Bogeys with the rare Refracted Crystal Heart characteristic.
- After six-ish weeks of the dynasty, no Crowns had been awarded, so their drop rate was increased tenfold.
- Due to a poorly written proposal, it was briefly possible to gain Crowns for any DEVA kill. During the time that this was possible, two Bogeys were eliminated, both by members of the Order of the Blue Lotus, giving them the two Crowns that were, at that time, all that was needed to win. This gave those Pilots the opportunity, for a short window of time, to be declared Meritous and achieve Victory. However, the fix proposal was enacted after the request post was posted but before the Emperor could ratify it, denying those pilots the easy win.
- In the aftermath, Pilot Brendan sensed an opportunity to nose in on a victory percentage.
- Brendan would later try another scam, in which he added a Corporation called "Meritous" in order to complete the victory criteria of having a Meritous Corporation to achieve Victory. It was rebuffed as the ruleset structured Corporation names as the titles to subrules, and therefore defined them as flavour text.
- A failed attempt was made to limit CFJs to no more than one every 18 hours.
- A new Special Case rule was added to standardise the public tracking of information from dynasty to dynasty.
With 3 Crowns, the Order of the Blue Lotus succesfully claimed Meritous status. Bucky was the chosen Pilot for promotion and declared victory.
Blogia and the Ansible first appeared in The First Dynasty of southpointingchariot. Jenny Haniver's distinguished career led to a later ISV being named after her; it first Explored New Ganymede before succumbing to android insurrection in the waning days of humanity. Josh (talk) 11:32, 30 November 2020 (UTC)
- The ISV Haniver's first voyage was actually to Earth's moon after being constructed during the The Second Dynasty of Derrick. And my headcanon was that New Ganymede was an android mission (possibly with one human Traitor) post-dating the android insurrection by decades or even hundreds of years, after they'd started to leave the solar system, but I don't think that actually made it into the text anywhere in the end.
- The ship's oldest antecedent is possibly the 19th century whaling ship Haniver in The Twenty-Second Dynasty of Kevan. --Kevan (talk) 12:00, 30 November 2020 (UTC)
- Presumably the ISV Haniver is part of the same Jovian Authority (or a successor organisation) as the one which appeared in the The Sixth Dynasty of Bucky. That dynasty also had GNOME-class vehicles, while this one has GNOME-designated enemies. The MC Keitalia in that dynasty ended up in Ganymede orbit. Josh (talk) 14:25, 20 January 2021 (UTC)
This dynasty was quite long and, for most of its run-time, only had two committed players, Bucky and Coderblaze. This provoked some discussion on Slack at its end. There was a significant corpus of non-players who were frustrated at how long the dynasty was and how slowly it was resolving, which was somewhat fed by the Emperor's own attempts to increase engagement and encourage new entrants. This resulted in a couple of attempts to end the game prematurely, some through legitimate scams, some through direct proposals to abandon the dynasty. This resulted in a slightly heated conversation in Slack which nonetheless included some useful discussions on Imperial Styles (clarity of intent, responsibility to players), gallery coups (frowned upon) and how best to construct an interesting endgame (creating a theatrical finale through some mustache-twirling villany is fine, a straight this-is-boring-end-it is less so if there are still players actively trying to play). Josh (talk) 10:53, 23 January 2021 (UTC)