Friday, May 12, 2017

Giant Robots of the Absolution War

UPDATE: Yeah. I've only recently recovered from nearly 9 months with a sinus infection and I'm so happy to have received some anti-biotics! The stress from my job didn't help either. My only solace is cups of coffee and maybe some white-noise.

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So, I've been getting more energy now that I've been feeling better and so I've been putting some effort into a couple of new designs. There's actually two designs; "Giant Robots of the Absolution War" [ GRoAW ] is the primary design and where these settings notes come from, and then there's "Mech, Beast, and Infantry" which uses a different design but is spiritually a sub-set of the first design.

What's been inspiring me is that I've got about 30 or 50 MechwarriorClix figures that are in the 1:160 or about 10MM scale that I wanted to use. I've been lurking in the forums for Dropzone Commander and thought that maybe I could do a MEST-flavored "improvement" over the basic concept; something within the Ovoidium Cosmogos universe, similar to my Web-published boardgame "Giant Robots of World War II."

These two new systems have been in development for about maybe three months; perhaps 20 hours a week. Still very rough, but my hope is that beyond the new genre and setting I can get a different take on how skirmish games could play out. Maybe some of this will help me improve the MEST 2.0 design that I've still got in the works.

I'll post up "Mech, Beast, and Infantry" once I wrap up the fundamentals; I'll probably post on Delta Vector forums first to get some (hopefully) positive feedback. It's currently v.0.25 and relatively short at 8 pages, and may grow to 12 pages when I'll be done. The main game GRoAW I'll probably keep improving in the backdrop; it may not see the light because I think it is more of a tinker's toolset akin GDW's Striker and GZG's Dirtside II.



Giant Robots of the Absolution War (GRoAW) is a tabletop skirmish miniatures game played between two opposing forces with 1 or 2 players managing each force. The play area is a modern or futuristic city which serves as the battlefield where these forces compete for supremacy.

Each Player represents an aspiring Little Wars Commander at the War Event of 2588 AD. They have been selected to resolve an Argument (a scale of battle) as a literal Player voted to serve as the Face of a particular Diction which collectively are known as Stages of Conduct which can be any of the arcologies within the Solscept. The Players are responsible for selecting the best warriors, mechs, vat-grown beasts, and machinery, from a cadre of Practitioners of the Ritual of Absolution and the best Catalogs of Destruction. Failure or victory; either guarantees penitence in the Eyes of the Lord. But that is in the Spiritual Realm. Upon the material plane, upon this cursed Earth; the victor wins the adherents of the false philosophies to become initiates and converts into the One True Diction and eventually bring about the Correct Coherence of the Final Absolution.

Help fight the decisive battles of the Utmost Age within the Demesnes of Solscept! Prove your worthiness! Show your righteousness! Choose your holy weapons and machines of war, and demonstrate your tactical skills through proper maneuvering of those forces upon the battlefield. There may be death. There might be destruction. But indeed there will, by God; be redemption! Amen.

The Absolution War

The arrival of fusion power enabled the rapid access to the planets around Sol. Artificial General Intelligence, mini-macro-printing, and advanced robotics helped with the construction of vast arcologies here on Earth, at the Trojan Points, to the Moon, and beyond. Genetics assisted in populating the many worlds now known as Demesnes of the Solscept. Mastery of biomimetics transformed man and beast into malleable vessels for technology and increased each species' hardiness for survival in harsh environments. Virtual and augmented reality, the foundation of what is known as the Sensual Realms, allowed society to become entertained and informed. With the creation of the Cyberkhyber, a multi-planetary world-spanning network-distributed fortress with the Sensual Realms, death itself has been conquered and fear of it deters very few. No member of society has needs or wants within the actual reality of the Physical Realm.  It has been this way for nearly 300 years and nearly every biome, planet, and rock has become a fully-inhabited domain. The entirety of all settlements has flourished without conventional war nearly all these centuries. As a result, Reason and philosophy became the endeavors of the majority of all populations across all habitations, virtual or real.

Great societies arrived and flourished under the guidance of the Quiet Voice; that singular expression of all inter-connected artificials intelligences. All leaders speak factually, reasonably, succinctly, and emphatically their well-substantiated decisions. The people vote using similar informed reasoning. Many of the populations as a result turned from their studies within their virtual worlds to see the World as it is just to take note. Imdwellers, the peoples of the Demesnes, sometimes disconnect and wander outside their underground crypts to see their beautiful but nearly empty cities, transformed landscapes, and strange lab-grown animals managed and minded by robot caretakers of various forms. Some remain outside to live simpler lives and to guide the tremendous shaping processes brought by technology, and these became known as the Raucous Few.

However, the Raucous Few began to enjoy their freedoms of being Disconnected and began to shape the World by introducing Whispers of Dissent. These well-placed and well-disguised memes turned what had been seamless harmony within the Ocean of Words into mere stretches of Punctuated Equilibrium. Soon, the entirety of the Sensual Realm started to question their purposeless life and begun to seek meaning. Over time, the people and their leaders became belligerent. They had no vent except through their virtual games and this has become worrisome for many as those inclinations became Manifest as small chaotic exchanges of Death Without Reboot and unplanned property de-establishment. There must be more to life, the social network reasoned. Absolutely the style of living with all needs appeased dissatisfied too many. The resultant varieties of discourse within the Ocean of Words created a positive feedback loop especially among those Raucous Few.

Many of the Imdwellers turned to esoteric philosophies and others turned to specialization into religious studies for what better way is their to expend energy than to argue archaic writings? Competing ideologies raged across the universe of thoughts, each their own Diction in an Ocean of Words. A rare few persons, still numbering into the millions, specialize further into martial studies. These are the Practitioners who are enhanced with cybernetic dictionaries of kinesthetic verbs and forms, with codexes of warfare containing recipes for organized combat in all its forms. Flowery terms for each clade of thought abounded to mask the simplicity of these thoughts, these Dispensations.

The entire Solscept had been at peace for nearly three centuries, but the Dispensations became more limited and some transformed into binding Ordinances in order to curb extreme thoughts. The Raucous Few home these actions would limit virtual violence before it would escape towards the Physical World and affect even themselves. To Failure; no memes could stop their infectious ancestral idea; "To Be". Mankind has always had its braggarts, psychopaths, and visionaries. Each scheming or desirous of a better future shaped to their will whether it be wars of the body or spirit. In the ancient past these schemes were resolved with bloody aplomb upon far-ranging battlefields where upon thousands if not millions perished.

Soon, from the Quorum of Worlds formed by the Lead Voices of each arcology, a Resolution came into being. This Structure was designed to quell the stochastic outbreaks of violence which had become more frequent. It was made clear in these exact words issued to all of the Solscept; "Realm or Roe, Vec or Vulg; those who want to fight, fight. Those who want to stay, stay. We demonstrate our lessons and want them beg sway." This was 14 years ago, and it started what is now known as the Utmost Age; the age of warfare as a precise tool of argumentation. It has also become a channel for many who seek death but were too ashamed of their sensuous lives within the Ocean to merely end it at the hands of their semi-autonomous Minders.

Now is the Utmost Age when warfare is punctuated, refined, and focused into the Rituals fondly named "Little Wars". Only the participants, the Practitioners, are put at risk. Each school of thought or Diction has its voice here and the impact of a Ritual which has been decided affects the entire Ocean of Words. Hence now each nation has annual War Events comprised of Little Wars, in which they select among their best and brightest to demonstrate their righteousness through tragic plays of mayhem and madness.


I wanted to create something weird but familar. It needs be flexible enough concept, with some constraints, to allow players to bring their own ideas for units to the table.


Many of the well-connected humans in society are utterly bored and live in virtual worlds.
  • Some of these have decided to fetishize their beliefs and become an adherent of an extreme philosophy known as a Diction.
  • The more arcane or religious the source of philosophy, the more adherents it will have.  Subjects range from Abrahamic religions, Scientology, Urantia, Wicca, New Ageism, UFO Conspiracy, Objectivism, or even Racism. 
  • These people join Memeleagues where the other members have a common Diction but multiple forms of Expression.
  • Some of these adherents have decided to change the world outside of their their virtual lives permanently. These are known as Practitioners.

Logos and Bios

  • It is possible for the mind to exist independent of a body. This is the Logos (loh-goss) and Bios (bee-oss) separation. 
  • It is also possible for a single mind to have copies of itself in different bodies. Each copy is registered as an Independent Member of a Logosbank and has rights just like any other human.
  • Bodies are actually transhuman; they've each been genetically and cybernetically augmented and are known as "Techno-organic". 
  • Most bodies, known as a Verum Corpus, are vat-printed on-demand without any memories to allow a Logos to control it.
  • Some Practitioners have decided to have pure-human bodies with few if any cybernetic enhancements, and just base-line genetic modification for diseases and general health. These are known as "Purists".
  • Most Practitioners switch out their bodies and when going to War can survive physical death through their Logos Devices which is stored within their skulls.
  • Many Practitioners desire to have a Single Voice, and will enter in a battle with duplicated Logos serving in different biological forms. This is known as Shouting the Din, and is considered to be somewhat like cheating especially when the Practitioner is supposed to be of higher standing. Each copy of the Logos makes the Practitioner become referred to as "The Unswayed" because of their stronger conviction during battles.
  • Some Practitioners, especially the wizened veterans of multiple wars, tend to become "Shut-ins". These have decided to destroy not to use a Logos Device when entering battle; death for them is permanent.
  • Some very few Shut-ins have been known to go one step further download their Logos into a stylized android construct to increase their durability. These "Machinamaksim" Practitioners are somewhat extreme even when compared to the others.

On-demand Constructs

The technology available to the Practitioners is astounding and can fabricate, grow, and customize any design crafted in the virtual world to make them physical within the real world. There are entire networks of artists, engineers, and researchers dedicated to crafting the best possible designs for use in these Arguments of War.
  • Retrodecofascii use designs from other eras including Gothic, Grimdark, Cosmic, Heavy Metal, Steampunk, Googie, Industrial, Atomik, etc.
  • Weeaboodo is pure art designs inspired by toys and cartoon characters. Many of these designs hail back as far as the early 1900 and 2000 AD.
  • Anachrocastrati employ sentimental designs of ancient eras of warfare such as Medieval, Pike & Shotte, Rifle Age, World War II, Vietnam War, Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and others. Nothing beyond 2100 AD

Design Goals

These were my targets for the design after several weeks of musing. Having little teevee time sort of helps here, as well as long commutes home from the office job.

Theming Goals

These goals are inspired by the Japanime stuff, even including something like Paprika. May old books as well, such as Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Keith Laumer's Bolo. I guess throw in some Metal Hurlant as well.
  • Strange Futurism
  • Heroic infantry
  • Style personalization

Mechanical Goals

These particular goals are a bit more like a wish-list. 
  • Faster game-play but more Rounds (pfft, shahright)
  • Fewer units
  • Allow models from any genre to be used
  • Make mechs, mecha, walking tanks significant
  • Make infantry survive unless against specialized weapons
  • Make aircraft stay on the battlefield
  • More tactics less luck (pfft, again because dice)
  • Flexible build-your-own
  • Integrated campaign system


Existing game designs and forums discussions always help influence me.