|Silent Death: The Next Millennium|
|Wargame published by
Iron Crown Enterprises
|No. of Players||Extinct In All Stores|
"In a universe of brutality and wrath, justice is meted out from the barrels of Pulse Lasers and Impulse guns. Here, fighters and gunboats streak to their final cataclysmic rendezvous. Torpedoes are launched, missile launchers are primed and battle is joined!"
- – First Edition Front description
"Set against the backdrop of a fragmented and feudal high-tech empire, many opportunities for conflict present themselves. At the forefront of these titanic clashes which decide the fates of worlds and star systems fly the colors of a multitude of star fighters. Proud and cunning, their pilots and weapon officers are well aware of the odds they face. Most will never see their second sortie, but those who survive enemy missiles, lasers, and ion cannons are well on their way to legendary stature."
- – Back of the First Edition Boxed set
This is the penultimate star-fighter table top game. This is what Aerospace tried to be and its what X-Wing tries to do to this day. Created in 1990, inspired by the game Star Strike, which was inspired by the RPG Spacemaster (also made by I.C.E.). Which then inspired/was turned into Silent Death Online. Don't bother looking for the vidya of it, its long dead and buried by The Great Satan of Video Games. The game breaks down very similar to BattleTech. Hexes, record sheets, yeah you get the gist. Except heat is not an issue and every weapon does a lot of damage. It isn't uncommon for a match to last just a few turns, or even less than two.
Basics of Gameplay
Okay, you have a record sheet for each ship. That sheet tells you everything you need to know about it. As the ship takes damage, you mark off how much damage in the damage grid. Damage is determined by weapon damage vs ship armor. You can score critical rolls, which do critical damage which then do more damage. Turns are simple, you move depending on your initiative roll. Afterwards, its missiles/torpedoes then evasive maneuvers then cannons, lasers etc. Then you calculate total damage. Boom, next turn. The most unique aspect of gameplay is a peculiar system of how you should read the results of the dice you roll. Each weapon has a specific "Damage" category. These categories are: Low, Medium, High, All, Allx2, 10/8/6 and Highx2/. So an example would be if a weapon was "Low" and you managed to hit a target with it, the damage would ONLY be the lowest numbers on the dice roll. ie, if it was 2d6 and you rolled a '3' and a '5' you would only count the '3'. As you can tell, weapons with the type "All" or "Allx2" are fucking insane.
It is 9,000 years in the future and mankind has managed to create a interstellar empire. It is not long after the multitudes of colonies are untied that the Terran Star Empire is formed and a new calendar is made. In this new political structure, Humanity is organized into Imperial Houses while aliens are organized into Minor Clans. Both Houses and Clans jockeyed for the attention of the Emperor and this often led to your usual political intrigue and warfare.
In the 476th year, a strange alien species was encountered in the frontier regions of Imperial space. At first, these "Grubs" were easily defeated by the frontiers men and Imperial pilots. But that was just the first step on the road to the apocalypse. In 498, scientists from factions not close to the Emperor found that the main fuel source for space travel (Andrium), was being made sub-par by the Empire. It turns out that the stuff can last for decades or even a few centuries but the Empire had deliberately made inferior Andrium. Once word about this scandal reached the rest of the Empire things began to boil. Eventually, The Emperor demanded that the factions who made this discovery were to be punished. However, the Emperor knew he just couldn't order the destruction of the edges of his own Empire so he turned to a political alliance known as "The Band of Iron" to do the dirty work for him. This worked well for the Band since their rival, the Provincial Powers Alliance, happened to be the ones who made this discovery. With sanction from the Emperor, The Band began their assault upon the Powers. This conflict, now turned into a two-way galactic civil war, lasting only two years.
Then the Grubs came back, with vengeance. Turns out that small species was actually a fragment of a much much more spread out species. Turns out these Grubs are a mix of plant/insect life and are also a hive-mind. These Grubs have been lying dormant on worlds that, at the time, didn't terraform well or could be terraformed at all. The reason for their sudden awakening is that they are able to feel the destruction and death of other lifeforms and were awakened by the Civil War. Instead of the Grubs being reasonable or smart or having the capacity to think, (you'd think that a whole fucking species that can feel the psychic death throws of other species would have evolved some form of communication or reasoning system. Possibly living as Space Referees or something?) went with their primal instincts and attacked the Empire. Eventually the Grubs, now called the "Night Brood," advance all the way to Earth. The Emperor, having not sat on his ass this whole time, had a space-nuke made just for the Grubs and launched it at them while they were in orbit near Mars. It successfully destroyed the Night Brood fleet, but it also awoke every Clutchworld in Imperial space.
In one big wave, the Sol system was lost and the other core systems went down with it. Soon humanity and whatever sentient aliens they had encountered decided to skip dodge and flee known space. Only a few years later after everything figuratively, and literally, died down; the remnants of civilization began to crawl back and re-settle their old homes or new homes. Humanity as it is, still manages to find things to fight over. However warfare has to be small and quick so as to not wake the Night Brood. From here the fluff can stay stable as is, until you realize that this is the Second Editions fluff and what's next is pure horror.
When most of the major powers came back to the old Imperial Space, some had brought new found friends. These new aliens, calling themselves The Primates had encountered the fleeing remnants of House Devon (a Provincial Power member), and they managed to develop means of communication and managed to get their story. Turns out the Primates come from what humans called the Prometheus Galaxy. The Primates were welcoming to any new species they encountered and had created a Confederacy of Sentients. Not many years or centuries or millennia later they encountered the Draconians. The Draconians had done the opposite of the Primates and had subjugated every race they encountered. Equal in power, both the Confederacy of Sentients and the Draconians engaged in war. This war lasted centuries and ended when the Draconians made
Star-destroying weapon Sun Eater which was used on a system that had not seen any of the conflict and forced the Confederacy to surrender.
Three years later the Night Brood, having been awoken by the Sun Eater weapon, descended upon Draconian held worlds. Not only is this establishing a pattern here, but the Night Brood had actually come from the Milky Way all the way to Prometheus. Unsurprisingly, the Draconians left the Primates to fend for themselves while they tried to re-take or hold onto their already large territories. Decades later, the Grubs were turned into a minor nuisance to both the Primates and the Draconians. Eventually the Two major powers realized that they couldn't just kill each other without pissing the Grubs off, so conflict was kept to a minimum. The Primates devoted resources to send a fleet to where the Night Brood had originated and the Draconians followed. During their journey any race the Primates encountered they offered to include said race into their confederacy, if the discovered race turned them down it was only a matter of time that the Draconians would show up and subjugate the race. During the journey to the Milky Way, the Primates ran into the fleeing survivors from House Devon. Eventually the Devons tried to get the rest of the remaining factions to join the Primates Confederacy, but not every faction was willing to join and others had found new allies. The Draconians had encountered the remnants of House Colos (a member of the Band of Iron) and had for once, decided to not enslave the humans, since they proved to be entertaining. Eventually the ties of the old powers that were, and the new powers began to re-form. Primates and their Provincial allies Vs Draconians and their Iron allies Vs Independent forces Vs the Night Brood.
TL;DR Not-Tyranids ate my Empire and now we have space furries trying to play humanity.
Difference between editions
There are two editions of this game. The first edition, simply called "Silent Death," and the second edition called "Silent Death: The Next Millennium." The story actually advances between the editions with the first taking place just before Imp 474. The first two supplements advance to the Ptolmean Wars (474-476). The last supplement of the first edition introduced the Night Brood and closes out the year 476. The Next Millennium begins in what would be Imp 518, but after the fall of the Empire in 511, the authors got lazy and made a new calendar the third set of dates to take into account. The starting year is 7 AL (Annus Libertatis). The latest supplement to give a date was the House Falstaff book which put they year as 22 AL.
Imperial Houses/Polties There are a lot of Imperial Houses and other polities that were under Imperial control before shit hit the fan. This is not the whole list. It includes all known (in brief)fluff and events.
ASP Technocracy - Space Scientists! These guys are all about genetic engineering and trying to make super humans. They tout that there hasn't been a single natural birth in their space in decades. You also know they're all about science since all their ships are named after various space-science things. No really, Quark, Lepton, Binary, Nebula, etc. These guys are now one of the Big Twelve. Staunch allies of House Colos and the Draconians due to their sense of superiority. These are also the guys that made Data Sphere.
House Agustus-Hayes - Known for making the Seraph. They are supposedly dead.
House Carlisle - One of the big three that made up the Provincial Powers Alliance. Not so hot after the Hatchling War.
House Colos - Space Prussia! Throw Dune's House Harkonen in with Soviet Russia, Prussia, Nazi Germany and cliche transylvanian lore and you get House Colos. Actually they are treated in to different ways, depending on what fluff applies. Pre-Hatchling War they are "Space Soviet Russia"(see The Most Helpful Tips Ever Presented In Any RPG or TT Game). Post-Hatchling War they are evil space germans with a dose of cliche transylvania thrown in. One of the key members of the Band of Iron and closest ally of the Draconians. They are also one of the Big Twelve. Many of the other small-time Houses have been absorbed into Colos. Their own book paints them as being very "political," but its very obvious that its just propaganda to make them look less cartoon-evil. They have the coolest symbol and they put it on everything. To further back up their Russian origin is their name which is an english re-rite of the Russian word for "Colossus," pronounced as "koloss." One of the playable factions in the old online game.
Data Sphere -Sentient AI. Except they're actually very friendly! No Skynet shit here, just a bunch of androids and AI hanging out on air-less worlds and satelites. Even when the Night Brood showed up these guys pulled out all the stops to aid the Empire. However, due to *ahem* cultural-bias Humans don't like the machines. Whats worse is that the Scalies are buddying up to them. One of the Big Twelve since they actually have their shit together. Sadly they don't have their own book. This makes the Data Sphere sad.
House Devon -Space, uh Devonshire? One of the major three members of the Provincial Powers Alliance. They have no icon or symbol despite being one of the more important factions. They are bundled together with the Primates to make one of the Big Twelve.
House Dneprodzerkutsk - Space Mongols! These guys are even nomadic in space. They only had the spot-light on them during the Ptolemean War.
Espan Fascisti - Space Mexico! Retconned with the first supplement of the second edition. Espan has a revolution and instills a more democratic government. Sadly it does not last when they default on their loans from the Kashmere Commonwealth.
House Falstaff - Space uh? They're a new faction that formed after the Empire collapsed. So no "real" status but they make up for it by having: 1. A supplement. 2. Experimental ships that they found. Possibly in line for becoming the Big Thirteen.
Hibernia Freehold - Space Ireland! Mainly known for the fact they have good schools (no seriously) and a good intelligence network. SoSpace CIA. One of the Big Twelve with no book. One of the playable factions in the old online game.
House Jade-London - One of the big three that made up the Provincial Powers Alliance. Not so hot after the Hatchling War.
Kashmere Commonwealth - Space India! The big merchants of the setting and travel throughout space in order to sell their stuff and to enforce their trade-pacts. One of the Big Twelve. They like to play "guess which cargo container is actually a fully loaded and armed docking bay." Neutral in the affairs of the Primates and Draconians.
House LeGrange - One of the big three that made up the Band of Iron. Not so hot after the Hatchling War.
Luches Utopia - Space Convicts! Their "Utopia" is in name only as they are a prison planet with a cruel overlord. Shockingly one of the Big Twelve. But they don't have a book but it would be massive since they just scavenge everything after they loot, pillage and rape it. Seen as only a means-to-an-end by the Draconians who use them as meat shields.
Q'raj Void Protectorate - Space Muslims! These guys banded together and inhabit worlds that were not terraformed well or were just plain hell Their past-times include rigging the economy so the Draconian Dollar goes into the shitter and killing Draconians. One of the Big Twelve and they make sure everyone knows it.
House Red Star - Space Native Americans! First people to colonize and terraform Mars. Really good at terraforming. Sell worlds they terraform in order to keep their fleet going. Disruptive populace since a pseudo-totalitarian government isn't that great. One of the Big Twelve, despite losing Mars. One of the playable factions in the old online game.
Sigurd Archdiocese - Space Vikings! Preach the Church of Odin and hate both Primates and Draconians and see the only right path is to kill all aliens. The HFY faction. One of the Big Twelve and with their growing number of members will turn that twelve into one.
Sun Runners - A group of Odin worshiping mercenaries who mainly fight the Night Brood. Nobody seems to like them save for the Archdiocese. Why? Because they don't keep prisoners and typically toss them out of the air-lock. Unless said prisoners are good slave labor.
House Thaan - One of the big three that made up the Band of Iron. Not so hot after the Hatching War.
House Tokugawa - Space Japan! They have a "preserve the land" stance and thus only have a big space navy for their military. A very "fuck it" attitude if the enemy gets in their atmosphere. Own the Po-Yang Reserve, which was its own faction but that's been retconned. One of the Big Twelve yet they have no book. One of the playable factions in the old online game.
Unkulunkulu Archipelago - Space Tourists/Hippies! Named after their "archipelago" of worlds. Ad-hoc in nature they drink beer and smoke weed 24/7 when not flying. One of the Big Twelve since they were on the outskirts of Imperial space. They do not have a book.
Yoka-Shan Warworlds - Space Africa! When they were done terraforming their world, people began to fight over what to do with it and how. One man, The Yoka-Shan , rose up and managed to get everyone to stop fucking each other and collectively work together to make their world good. Now the planet is divided into two hemispheres with the North being used solely as a manufacturing plant while the South is used to feed and house the people. The Yoka-Shan Warworlders hire themselves out as mercenaries to anyone that can afford them. They do offer discounts to worlds that are closer to them. Kind of weary of the Draconians but don't see the Primates as that benevolent. One of the Big Twelve.
The Rest of the Imperial Factions with no fluff or anything.
Too many to put here. Besides, they have no fluff or special rules or units.
The Primates - Space Furries! Don't worry though, it gets worse, Alien furries. Actually called the "Confederation of Sentients," the Primates are the catch-all term for all the species that are a part of this Confederation. The Primates, as you could guess, look like primates of Earth. They hail from the Promethean Galaxy and are the only group of aliens that managed to free themselves from Draconian control. Albeit under invasion, but still the typical "good" aliens. They are considered to be a part of the Big Twelve.
The Draconians - Space Scalies The cliche "evil" aliens that see themselves as being on the top of the food chain of the universe. Called Draconians because they are lizard-alien-people. They seek galactic peace but only if they are the ones in control of everything. Kinda makes them sound draconian
heh*BLAM!* ITS TOO OBVIOUS TO NOT SAY IT! Also part of the Big Twelve.
The Night Brood - Space Aliens! Half insect, half plant, 2,000% angry These "grubs" are by far the weirdest aliens ever conceived in fiction. You see it was 1992 and ICE needed Aliens in their sci-fi game or else it'd just be like AeroTech. So they came up with the Night Brood. They have "builder" plants, no literal plants, that muck about and do whatever the "main nest" tells them to do. Generally, they are making new tunnels or growing bio-ships which then have grub-like lifeforms grown and then placed into the bio-ship and boom, alien space vessel. The grubs become a part of the ship, like an organ. Most other grub life forms are either grown or kept in a pre-development state and then are awoken when they need a particular job done. They also have "Blood Worm Torpedos," which is basically a living torpedo that carries a bunch of crack-infused worm-things to break into a ship and feast on the crew. They have their own bio weapons just like another alien species. Oh and they feed off of psychic pain. So if a non-grub dies, they feel it. If a Grub dies they also feel it. If a lot of things die in a very short time frame, they go berserk. Surprisingly, this psychic fuel isn't the only thing that keeps them going. Its just like being injected constantly with roids if there are things dying near by. Basically, they get mad when things die, but they are not civilized enough to talk people down from fighting, they just go out and kill off whatever is pissing them off. Which then makes them even angrier since they just killed something. But for "plot," they never go overboard with the whole "I'm mad because things are dying and the only way I can deal with it is by killing it which causes more rage." Sounds dumb, but if Khorne had these guys...
Status of the game
Ok, the company that came up with Silent Death, I.C.E. has declared bankruptcy more often than Harmony Gold has sued Battletech. After a particularly bad one in the later 90's they had the Silent Death license pick up by a video game studio called Mythic Entertainment. They then made a online arena based space-ship shooter called Silent Death Online. It lasted two years on the Gamestorm servers. Then EA bought the license from Mythic (and the entire company less than a decade later!) and ran the game on their own servers with a new "fresher" early-2000's future feel to the UI. Thus the gritty 90's sci-fi look was taken away from the game and in December of 2001 the plug was pulled. Fortunately, a vestige of I.C.E. came back on the scene ten or so years later and now license the rights out to another vestige of I.C.E. Its as if some mediocrity curse is on everything they made. It won't last, but it won't stay dead.
Oh yeah, you can still get the game and its supplements (with the exception of all the first edition books.) And you can still buy the miniatures from a website they set up solely for this game. All the miniatures are metal. Only a set of twelve ships have been casted in plastic and can now be found on the internet under a different name, and a cheaper price. So no you are not stuck with hunting ebay for any of this.
Yes, there used to be a vidya gaem. As stated in the "Status" section of this page. The game was a top-down physics based star fighter game. The game was online only arena-based maps where players typically had an objective to complete. There were four types of matches;House Kill(Team Deathmatch), Dogfight(Deathmatch), A construction based match and lastly a Mining based match. The Construction type game had players of the four factions guard their Construction Bots while they built three Platforms (Space Stations). First to have all three built won. The Mining match had an asteroid in the middle while a Mining shuttle would go from the Asteroid back to its respective Platform and deposit X amount of minerals. Players were allowed to kill both Construction Bots and Mining Shuttles. The Mining Shuttles would re spawn after a given time. First team to reach ~25,000 won the match. Player progress was gauged by their number of credits they had earned. Everything depended on money, which could not be traded. Kills and match wins were the only way for players to progress. Credits were use to buy new weapons, shields, repair bots, engines and of course ships. The amount of money a player had also determined their rank. Which was displayed, in an abbreviated three letter manner, in from of the players name. There were only four factions that a player could choose from, Houses; Colos, Red Star, Tokugawa and Hibernia Freehold. Intentional or not, The colors for each faction were very obvious and could easily be associated with the origins of said faction. ie, Red Star was Red and they're descendants of Native Americans. You can see where this is going[FAIL]. The only faction to not have a racist under-tone was House Colos, who were Purple for some reason. But hey, better than just primary colors. The game did not last long since each company that ran it was typically bought out. Each. Time. No attempts have been successful at either recreating the feel of the game or being a straight-up "spiritual successor."
- Main Site:http://silent-death.mx/
- PDF Site:http://www.rpgnow.com/brose/pub/8834/Metal-Express/subcategory/23861_23888/Silent-Death
- File:HousePtlologo copy.png
House Ptloemus "Logo".