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Roleplay: Imperium Offtopicum
Old IOTs: Have large war, GM ragequits.
Middle IOTs: Have large war, everyone ragequits.
New IOTs: Have large war, everyone nukes the hell out of each other.
-Double A on the history of Imperium Offtopicum

Imperium Offtopicum, or IOT, is a type of forum game played on Civ Fanatics Forums. Specifically, it is a geopolitical clusterfuck that spawned out of the Altered Maps thread in Off-Topic, when taillesskangaru invited forumers to rename a country after themselves in an effort to revive the thread after weeks of inactivity. It backfired spectacularly, with those who made claims beginning to act like they are actually leaders of their own country, annexing more land, signing treaties, insulting other posters' countries and declaring wars. The situation very quickly got out of hand (in fact, at one point Mecca was nuked) and vehement protests by non-participating OT-ers led to the exercise being moved to Forum Games, where such wonderfully spammy content belongs. Then it got its own subforum to deviate it from the slightly-less-washed masses.

So far, there have been 10 numbered installments of IOT and an imperial crapton of spin-offs, all varying greatly in how long they are able to last before they are aborted by the GM. For a more descriptive history of the game, see here.

Provides examples of:

  • After the End: The Aftermath is a direct sequel to IOT 4, set twenty years after the end of the game's final world war. Most of the planet is irradiated and nations are under constant threat by Nuclear Nasties.
  • Alternate History Wank: An Israelwank occurs in SonIOTII:20th Century thanks to a combination of being a continuation of a previous game where it had a massive economy and an abuse of expansion rules: they eventually end up ruling a colossal empire. The game ended because nobody wanted to go up against such a powerful country.
    From Quebec to Manchuria, from Poland to Brazil, our armies are victorious. They have conquered all the Unclaimed World.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Common for Dem Taqat's characters. The prime minister of the Parliamentary Union of Britain in Multipolarity is, in fact, Awesome McCoolname. Other Meaningful Names include Director McBondvillian, Fanatico McFascist, and Ensign 'Roach' McShoutout.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Depends on the player and the game. Sometimes inverted when a player contacts a roleplaying leader of their nation.
  • Butt Monkey: When he was around, Mathalamus. In recent months, Double A (possibly becoming The Woobie due to constant abuse, if Sonereal's unprecedented savior-like actions in Sons of Mars III indicate anything).
  • Calvinball: Often, IOT rules often change without warning and/or due to unstable GMs.
    • Actual tournament set up by Double A in Iron & Blood: Redux. Rules are still unreleased.
  • Cold War: Almost every game that lasts long enough and has a few world wars ends up having at least one of these.
    • Notable examples: GUN-NADTA in IOT IV, Accord-UNA in Iron and Blood.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The Scarlet Lancers, a terrorist organization/secret society in Multipolarity. Their emblem is a red symbol on a black background and their leader, a nine-tailed fox, frequently employs sanguinary imagery in her denunciations of the Chinese leadership. However, they quickly earn international support as La Résistance, and in spite of their later role as State Sec prove themselves fiercely committed to democratic government at home and abroad.
  • Dirty Communist: Appear in virtually every game.
  • Divided States of America: Happens almost every single game, due to the large amount of territories in America, along with many players being from there. Generally, there is always a Northeast state based in New England or New York, a Southern state that sometimes is a call back to the CSA, and a Western State that is invaribly ruled from California or Cascadia.
    • An entire IOT was based on this and completed. The climax was an all-out war between Communist and Capitalist states. It eventually ended with the former surrendering.
  • Enemy Mine: Despite it just being nuked by Partitionania, Angola worked with the Government-in-Exile of Partitionania to bring down Russia and was about to help against the Papal State.
  • For the Evulz / Stupid Evil: The Enlightened Vigilante Infiltration League in Multipolarity Rearmed. Their first world-arresting diabolical plan? Pour syrup on a painting.
    • Post-game debriefing revealed EVIL was Not So Harmless: it had instigated the civil war in Russia that saw an NPC victory and subsequent Rage Quit by the controlling player; possibly the first of its kind in IOT.
  • Game Master: Runs the game. There have been too many to list, and many games that last long enough can have 2 or 3 GMs over its course. IOT V tried a system with 5 GMs that each had different roles, it did not work well. Iron and Blood's second GM, kiwitt, won the Best GM Award, and for good reason.
  • Hitler Rants: The Downfall characters get their own faction in IOT 9.
  • Hollywood Economics: Ironically, more pronounced the more "realistic" the model (with the qualified exception of Sonereal's, but those are Harder Than Hard).
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: An in-universe example occurs in Mobius: Total Chaos, where first manifestation of Black Chaos in Greater Reikland is in a settlement called "Neu Mordheim", which is subsequently razed by the Witch Hunters. Lampshaded when Karl Franz wonders why anyone would name their city after a Wretched Hive so bad it was destroyed by a comet.
  • Karma Houdini: christos200 in Multipolarity. After starting a continental war he can't hope to win, China sues for peace; on the same turn the treaty was to take effect, he launches a nuclear attack on India. Faced with total annihilation, he surrenders the country and retreats to a single province in Ethiopia with China's full nuclear stockpile, which he immediately uses to obliterate the Kingdom of Hawai'i for staggeringly disproportionate losses. He then forms a terrorist faction and invades democratic China, merging with a handful of splinter NPCs on the same turn. Before other players can mount a response, he joins the NPC-dominated "Italy-Russia Alliance" whose founding members "coincidentally" begin their own campaigns of regional conquest. Unsurprisingly, the only player country that chooses to normalize relations with China, the morally-dubious Papal States, is a member of the IRA, and had been previously receiving tithes from the monarchy.
    • The reconquest of China was particularly irksome as it could only be accomplished by the GM blatantly twisting his own rules. This combined with a number of other complaints killed the game a few turns later.
  • Light Is Not Good: Jehoshua's succession of Papal States are often the nexus of Machiavellian scheming, and tend to side with blatant dictators over more internationally-minded states owing to rigid adherence to a doctrine of "absolute state sovereignty".
  • Mega Crossover: Mobius: Total Chaos features Reikland, the area around The Zone, The Combine, and a space-faring Ottoman Empire among others competing for control of Mobius. In addition, the Black Arms seemed to have fully embraced Chaos Undivided as of Update VIII.
  • Neutron Bomb: So-called "province busters" are basically nuclear bombs that don't leave contamination. They still wipe out a province's industry, though.
  • Non-Indicative Name: An IOT based on Command & Conquer: Red Alert had the Allies facing off against the Warsaw Pact... except that Poland was an Allied country. The resulting confusion had the Pact be renamed to Comintern.
  • Not So Different: Despite what some people say, IOT and NES games have a lot in common, the only difference being one is stat-focused, while one is RP-focused.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Instigated after the first game to keep things marginally less chaotic. Atomic weapons were reintegrated in IOT 4 in a bid by the GM to kill the game, but were adopted seriously in some later instalments.
  • Nuke 'em: Almost every IOT featuring WMD is guaranteed to see a nuclear war. The country Partitionania is especially fond of doing this to its enemies.
    • This largely stems from the fact that in most games, the consequences of nuclear warfare are significantly downplayed: contamination dissipates within mere turns, and its effects are confined to the target provinces. Furthermore, the moral dilemma that usually accompanies Mutually Assured Destruction doesn't exist: players will launch a first strike if they think they have a reasonable chance of surviving the retaliation... and some even if they don't.
      • Conversely, IOT 4 and its sequel The Aftermath were the first games to impose substantial consequences for prolonged nuclear war. In addition to triggering popular unrest in the aggressor country, nuclear strikes permanently obliterated territories and spread radiation along geographic lines, in some cases leading to massive contamination along major waterways. Most of these effects only came to full light at the end of the war; the second game saw a total exchange of two missiles.
  • The Plan: Probably multiple every game, but one stands out: In SonRISK 2: Electric Boogaloo, Double A controlled South America and roughly half of Asia as Black Hole. Catalonia, led by JoanK, invaded him out of desperation. The only way for the conflict to be resolved was to either fight it out and inevitably lose to the large coalition thing comprised of the rest of Europe, all of Africa, and Australia, or to surrender. He did the latter.One turn later, Catalonia lost its capital and Black Hole was free again. Another turn into the game and Double A has conquered half the world.
  • Rage Quit: Mathalmus and Domination3000 were the worst offenders, though most players did it once or twice in their career.
    • NPCs in Sons of Mars 3.
      • Double A in Sons of Mars 3.
  • Richard Nixon the Used Car Salesman: A "Marshal Pandey" is mentioned several times in the Mughal Empire's roleplay in Iron and Blood. He conquers Afghanistan before leading a (doomed) expedition into Burma.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Hosts think their game is dying, so don't update. Players see the game isn't updating so don't/can't play. Guess what happens next.
  • Shout-Out: Tonnes. The several incarnations of Taniciusfox's Marian (or Mobian, depending on the game) Empire often features a mythology suspiciously similar to Sonic the Hedgehog, Coruscant and Kaurava appear in Imperium Universalis, while the leader of the New Lunar Republic of Sons of Mars III is a humanised Princess Luna, to name a few.
    • Every single MP2 NPC.
  • Trolling Creator: TaniciusFox, sometimes self-confessed.
    • Sonereal tends to randomly ban words in the IOT Chatroom, including "*quot;, "*quot;, and sometimes usernames, preventing the user from logging into the chat.
  • The Roman Empire: An Industrial-era New Roman Empire appeared in Iron and Blood, controlled by Omega124. It got heavy backlash because people assumed territories Rome was interested in was an non-negotiable SOI and lasted only a couple of turns before it got dogpiled and Omega Rage Quit due to being backstabbed by his only ally.
  • Vestigial Empire: Spain in Iron and Blood pulls a truly Up to Eleven example with an exile empire being built (and maintained!) in EASTERN SIBERIA!
  • Whole Plot Reference: The Spirit of Man is specifically based on Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds to the point of featuring the songs from the album in several updates. Several games are inspired by the Command & Conquer: Red Alert and Tiberium series, and Imperium Offtopicum: The Peshawar Lancers is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • World War I
  • World War II
    • A recent example of this happened in IOT: Valkyrie. It started because Turkey invaded Bulgaria. This lead to Greece declaring war on Romania to try to not fall behind the turks. One the lead to another and a huge war broke out. Something to note is that Turkey still hasn't actually joined the war, but instead soundly annexed Bulgaria.
  • Did we mention World War III?
    • Given that in several games the collapse of society takes place during WWIII for players to rebuild from, World War IV is not unheard of.
  • You Keep Using That Word: Sphere of Influence. It seems to mean the land a nation wants, not the area it can feasibly control.

    Shattered Europe 
  • Alternate History: Given it is based on a Europa Universalis 3 game played by three IOTers.
  • Cool Plane: Bar's recent military invention is the stuttering machine gun that can fire through the propeller of planes. Kalmar leapt at the chance to buy a prototype partially for this reason.
  • The Teutonic Knights: The German Reich was formed by the Teutonic Order.
  • Red Scare: Communist Tensions in Southern Poland. Western North America is controlled by a totalitarian communist state.
  • The Empire: The German Reich and Kalmar Union qualify.
  • The Federation: Poland, to an extent.
  • World War I: Arguably the war between Kalmar/Poland and Germany.

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alternative title(s): Imperium Offtopicum
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