|Imperium Offtopicum: The Aftermath|
World map at the start of the game
|Created by||Thorvald of Lym|
|Formal run||28 May–24 September 2011 (on hiatus)|
|Notable events||Cantabria crisis, Brazzaville dispute|
Imperium Offtopicum: The Aftermath, sometimes erroneously called "Imperium Offtopicum IV: The Aftermath" (abbreviated IOT:A), is the sequel to Imperium Offtopicum IV and the first direct sequel to an IOT game. It was inspired, at least in part, by Reiser's interest in creating a "story-driven" sequel to IOT4, and the game places a heavy emphasis on role-play. It is set 20 years after the IOT4 epilogue and chronicles the deteriorating state of the world in the post-apocalyptic aftermath of the nuclear war. It began May 28, 2011, and as of September 24 is on hiatus; resumption was originally planned for Spring 2012, but has since been postponed indefinitely.
As with IOT4, the game's exact date was never specified, although the technology level remained contemporary/near-future. While turn intervals were not given an explicit scale, Thorvald's roleplay and update recaps pegged them to a week each (thus the 18th update marked mid-May). Early speculative rulesets toyed with introducing an economic component that would allow for infrastructure development and physical armies, but this was dropped in order to maintain the "original" IOT feel.
Political divisions begin roughly the same as detailed in the IOT4 epilogue, and most players resumed control of their nations from the previous game. Participants have the choice of starting afresh or assuming control of an existing country, either a nation whose previous player did not confirm participation, or one of the non-player countries, each with unique identities and policies; while pre-existing states offer an established region of control, players must abide by national attitudes or risk internal dissent.
Each turn, a player can claim up to 5 contiguous territories; "microstates" (single-pixel regions) are worth half a point, and "large" territories cost three. Non-contiguous regions have a cost increase of 1 that is waived when a "colony" of 12 territories is established.
Radioactive contamination has various effects on gameplay (chiefly combat) and is tracked on a separate map. There are three contamination levels, or "zones": Blue (little or none; "healthy" regions), Yellow (moderate; livable with aid of equipment), and Red (heavy; fatal to almost all life).
Radiation is implied not to dissipate on its own; Thorvald has foreshadowed a special project dubbed the Environmental Restoration Initiative as a means of repairing the ecosystem, but it has yet to materialize in-game.
Kaetif are animals mutated into anthropomorphism that represent a new social demographic. They are resistant to radiation and are common in Yellow Zones. International opinion varies wildly, and they are often the victims of discrimination, institutionalized or otherwise.
Abhorrents are deformed monsters and the only known organisms capable of living in Red Zones. They function as the game's barbarians, headquartering out of the black wastelands and attacking neighbouring provinces. Unlike other factions, Abhorrents gain a bonus when fighting in contaminated regions, making them extremely dangerous for most of the world.
IOT:A reuses the battlefield simulation mechanic in IOT4 with some modifications: instead of individual battles for territories, the war is conducted "strategically" on a map representing a larger region. The war progresses over a predefined number of turns, with periodic reports allowing combatants to adjust their orders. Territorial changes are then made based on the outcome of the campaign. Simulation requires the consent of all belligerents involved. It has not yet been used in the game.
Alternatively, players can opt for a more traditional RNG-based system that allows up to five separate attacks per turn. Base rolls range from 1-10, and are then modified by a multiplier (1 by default) that can be increased by stacking attacks (+0.1 each; due to a clerical error, combining all attacks results in a bonus of +0.5); this modifier is also influenced by roleplay both positively an negatively: a hastily-arranged amphibious assault half-way around the world can incur penalties, while a carefully-planned sneak-attack can receive bonuses, for example.
Nuclear stockpiles are inherited from IOT4, with some modifications based on the epilogue. Use of nuclear weapons has the same reputation effect as before. Any nation may begin a nuclear programme by declaring so; each turn the chance of a successful test increases, after which a player may assemble one missile per turn. Nuclear weapons can be used strategically on the world map, and also tactically in combat if opting for battlefield simulation. Only one missile may be traded, used, or disassembled per turn.
Diplomacy is conducted player-to-player, with treaties and relations tracked on the front page. As with IOT4, the game features a United Nations user group for mediation and conflict resolution in which the Secretary-General can only arbitrate with the consent of the disputing parties. The UN also begins in control of intermediate "trusteeships" for which players can negotiate responsibility.
Foreign relations began on a blank slate and previous agreements had to be renegotiated. Players can also negotiate with the NPCs, who now have individual personalities; while advertised as an auxiliary feature, Thorvald was surprised by how quickly and extensively the players opted to interact with them. While not entrenched in the game mechanics, the Non-Proliferation Doctrine espoused by the New Hetmanate and Federation of Petrograd was an early-game threat of war in the event that any other country attempted to develop or acquire nuclear weapons.
Reputation and rebellionEdit
The reputation scale originally applied to nukes in IOT4 has been expanded to cover virtually any roleplay-related action. Reputation reflects both international standing and domestic approval, and is one of the main determinant factors in NPC relations. Consistently poor reputation can lead to internal revolt or outright civil war.
Rebellions are announced at update and rebel factions are the responsibility of the GM. The size and scope varies by circumstance but generally will not exceed half of a nation's total territory. Rebels can be defeated outright, but also negotiated with. Revolts can also occur independently of reputation as a result of Kaetif policy, either by the downtrodden taking arms to emancipate themselves, or by disgruntled humans turning to vigilanteism.
The reputation mechanic has been criticized because it does not distinguish between domestic and international standing, the revolt risk thus making aggressive play virtually impossible.
In the twenty years since the end of the World War, a combination of communications breakdowns and strong-manning by the New Hetmanate and Petrograd have maintained a shaky global peace. In the international vacuum, the Operarius régime is overthrown and Sombra de Mar becomes leader of the renamed Marian Republic, enacting anti-human legislation that combined with a self-image as the Kaetif messiah, suggests a future interspecies conflict.
As the world emerges from isolation, it is soon treated to its first wars as Sri Lanka invades North Ceylon and Democratic Kampuchea declares war on the world. The two conflicts are brief and relatively self-contained; tensions begin to heighten as Sombra sets his sights outward, threatening first Cantabria Libre, and then attempting to forcibly annex Brazzaville. The move is widely condemned abroad, and Vermont proposes shipping a nuclear warhead to the besieged city-state. While Vermont ultimately stands down, the flashpoint has caught the attention of a terrorist organization who steals the warhead. Brazzaville is ultimately annexed without further incident.
Just as the world begins to relax, however, the Emperor of Japan dictates his dying wish to his son; the empire disbands, but not before launching a missile at Kinshasa, destroying the city and surrounding area. Sombra cracks and, not knowing the perpetrator, fires the Marians' remaining missile at Petrograd in the hope of sparking a global nuclear war. The plan backfires as the Marian Republic splinters in the face of an international coalition assembled to apprehend Sombra, who disappears into the South American wastes...