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Roleplay / Great Interstellar War

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"Heh—Don't delude yourself. This war is far too big for any one man, battle, or campaign to bring to an end."
Marshal Vostrikov

The Great Interstellar War (GIW) is a shared roleplay universe on that was started by user Blackwave. It originated as a "future what if scenario" to be discussed as characters who were in-universe, but it eventually grew to become a full-fledged tactics RP (on both land and in space) with its own comic series as a spinoff, along with various short stories and other user fiction. The GIW universe is set about a few centuries into humanity's future, and the human-controlled galaxy has been rent asunder between two power blocs: the democratic Wester Federation and the communist Red Alliance. No other major factions have been mentioned, but Word of God says that there are alien factions out in the galaxy that are aware of humanity but don't really care about the cataclysmic war tearing it asunder.


The series is known on's Shared Worlds subforum as being perhaps the longest-running RP, with the original RP beginning back in 2010 and surviving to this day. There were two "Space Combat" RP-s from the same universe, but they are unfortunately defunct as of 2012. The current RP thread can be found here, while the comic series can be found here. (It is necessary to be a member of the site to see it.) The RP also has a wiki page that you can see without being a member.

Now has a Character Page.

This game provides examples of:

  • A Commander Is You: Two examples below:
    • Reds are Spammer/Brute/Loyal; they rely on overwhelming numbers and firepower to win the day, and their morale and patriotism are unmatched by the Westers in general.
    • Westers are Balanced/Ranger/Econmist. While their regular infantry are still very mooky, their vehicles and weaponry are noticeably more advanced technologically than those of the Reds. Additionally, their armor is better at hit-and-run tactics than the Reds' massive Dyakov and Yongkang tanks.
  • Action Girl: It's about a millennium into the future, and with a massive war raging, gender barriers seem to have been completely shattered in terms of the law; thus, a large minority of both armies are female.
    • Major Lucrezia Starace from the current roster of player characters.
  • A Father to His Men: General Tanya Amasova on Vhogsh would be the female version of this trope. She often goes out of her way to reduce casualties until she is forced to attempt a Zerg Rush, and she often shows signs of caring about the soldiers under her command.
    Amasova: “Let them see that I am not the type of leader who sees them as little more than fleshy bullets.”
  • All Nations Are Superpowers: There are smaller planetary and regional based human states, but they're all part of either Democratic or Communist bloc anyways. As for the alien nations, they're implied to have actual superpowers (or sufficiently advanced technology to be such).
  • Amazon Brigade: Its attempted by both sides, mostly as a morale/propaganda tool.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Pretty much every officer on both sides kicks plenty of ass.
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  • Badass Army: Both the Red Army and the Wester Army.
  • Bad Boss: Field Marshal Feng the Elder, not to be confused with his cousin Colonel/General Feng Bao-Lin. A legendary figure in the Red Army, but actually serving under him during the Azure Jewel campaign is... unpleasant.
  • Battlecry: Jaeger will often shout, "For the Federation!"
    • General Amasova also has one in the comic: "Follow my ass as if you could HAVE IT!"
  • BFG: WAY too many to count, but some examples include battlesuit autocannons, (dual) tank railguns, and ship mass drivers.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: “Internal” for the Westers, and a generic secret police for the Reds.
    Blackwave: “For reference, 'Internal' is a Wester cross between the FBI under the worst days of Hoover and a Mc Carthyist witch hunt agency...”
  • Bio-Augmentation: Major Luke Jaeger was genetically modified from birth. The Hei Gui assassins are a more extreme variety. And for everyone else the food is packed with performancing enhancing nutrients.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Practically standard issue for all Red battlesuits, usually of the vibroblade variety.
  • Blatant Lies: Pretty much anything the propaganda department of either side craps out.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Played straight with Boston.
  • Chicken Walker: Were used before the GIW as scouts and patrol vehicles, but completely outclassed by battlesuits.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: It doesnt take long for the '12 Bastards of Bombay', a group of Red officers Engels Shan leads to defect to the Federation, to slaughter each other in a spiral of distrust.
  • City Planet: On occasion. Nova Terra, the Wester homeworld, is implied (but not confirmed) to be this.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The merits of the Gundam sized Gronzy battlesuit is up for debate. Professional engineer Ruslan points out the inefficiency of a humanoid design for a unit that large. Captain Zenya questions how something that awesome could possibly be impractical.
  • Corrupt Politician: Both sides have their fir share of these, considering that the Westers are effectively run by NGOs and the Reds are run by a party that often sees a Klingon Promotion or two. Actually, there havnt been any CLEAN politicians shown so far.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shan's spaceborne landings in the mountains on Taiga-Zhai become this, as the initial Wester invasion utterly steamrolls the Red defenses and scatters them to the wind due to their opponents being complete rookies. Remarkable in that none of the characters involved were used to fighting a battle that easy. Minus the Ice Worms.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Colonel Sergoff. Major Starace can be one as well, especially when interacting with Boston.
  • Deflector Shield: Grozny battlesuits and spacecraft, to name a couple of examples.
  • Dirty Communists: The Reds. Of course.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Subverted; the Blue Witches strip and change in the middle of the battlefield. Nobody falls for it, and they end up not being able to actually use their fancy as hell armor until they abandon the idea.
  • Drives Like Crazy: General Feng of all people. When he was younger he tended to use his tank as an improvised battering ram.
  • Earth That Was: Earth has long been rendered desolate by climate change and pollution, both Westers and Reds having relocated to their capital worlds of Nova Terra and New Moscow respectively.
  • Enemy Mine: The comic story arc in which three Westers and three Reds have to survive on a strange planet that seems to be trying to kill them.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: Inverted with Task Force Malashenko, who's elite status resulted in them being sent to the most hazardous planets and worst assignments.
  • Expy: Take the Cold War with all its tropes and stereotypes, put it in space, then take it Up to Eleven. Thats GIW.
  • Fantastic Racism: Many encountered aliens seem to be tribal at best; thus, humans as a whole generally look down on them and feel little remorse about killing them or using them as cannon fodder.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Of the "Hyperdrive" flavor; GIW ships travel by entering "FTL space."
  • Fighting the Lancer: Steave Boston and Engels Shan despise and constantly attempt to undermine each other. However, they do have respect for the other's ability as a soldier.
  • Forever War: The Reds and Westers have been fighting for generations, both are hinted at being more or less the same under the surface although the Westers tend to be less cruel when possible.
  • Frontline General: Boston, Feng and pretty much every other flag rank character. Most tank generals are happy with this, due to being inside a well protected building sized vehicle armed with (dual) 300mm railguns. Some battlesuit generals such as Battlesmere are willing to do it as well, and General Amasova joins her infantry in the trenches.
  • Future Imperfect: Lost knowledge and saturated propaganda has lead to both sides having a...distorted knowledge of Earth history.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The infantry on the crystal planet need these to survive the radioactive atmosphere and the oxygen-free air.
    • Otherwise its a stylistic choice. Frontline infantry tend to shun masks while guards and elite troops tend more to appreciate their aesthetics and intimidation factor.
  • Gender Is No Object: Justified, as the Great Interstellar War is set centuries into the future, both armies will conscript anyone with four working limbs.
  • General Ripper: Feng is usually well mannered and reasonable, but when it comes to Shan he absolutely declares that one way or another 'The Traitor' will die. Whats interesting is that Shan apparently doesnt hold it against him.
  • Guns vs. Swords: One Red school of military thought calls for forcing the enemy into close combat to negate their technological edge and firepower. Practically every branch of the Red Army is equipped with some kind of sword to invoke this trope. Idealistic and indoctrinated Red infantry are more than happy to.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Neither Westers or Reds could be considered totally heroic, but the latter do love their swords. From infantry bayonets, to battlesuit vibroblades, commando knives and ceremonial officer jian swords. For the Westers this trope has been thoroughly discredited by association.
  • Hit-and-Run Tactics: Utilized often by battlesuits. In addition, Wester tanks have the ability to “leapfrog,” which means that they activate their jumpjet thrusters to land behind enemy lines and force the Reds to babysit their thin-skinned artillery with tanks.
  • Hold the Line: Played straight several times... which doesnt mean it actually works.
  • Honor Before Reason: An Informed Flaw of the Red Army. It comes into play at times, though political officers exist to keep it in check.
  • Hover Tank: Both sides use these. Bonus points for being the size of buildings.
  • Humongous Mecha: The Grozny suits for the Reds. The Grozny is forty feet tall and carries enough firepower to wipe out entire battlesuit platoons, ranking it one step higher on the Mecha Scale than the others.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The devastating amounts of firepower thrown around normally leave most populated areas unfortunate enough to be on or near the frontline in utter ruins. Occasionally lampshaded by both sides... although they normally don't let it stop them from calling in another nuke just to be sure.
  • Iron Woobie: Literally any soldier who manages to stay sane in this war. ESPECIALLY the poor infantry (on both sides).
  • It's Raining Men: Battlesuits often attack from the sky with jumpjets.
  • Jetpack: Battlesuits come with these standard-issue.
  • "Join the Army", They Said: The very first comic is an example of this, in which a Wester grunt picks up a discarded recruitment ad with a highly upbeat tone and, upon examining it, promptly says, "Bullshit." Cut to an epic panorama of utter death and destruction.
    • The Red version of the trope is more lighthearted, with the example showcased being a volunteer homemade video produced by a mechanic on an isolated military outpost. Service in the Red Army is just as crappy as it is in the Federation army though.
  • Kill It with Fire: Another favorite of the Alliance, seen commonly in the form of their Blue Dragon warheads, a kind of foam that turns into fire on contact. More traditional flamethrowers are used by elite close assault troops or mounted on battlesuits.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Subverted. Lasers and other more futuristic firearms are shown to be vastly superior to the standard issue ballistic guns. But the latter are still much more widely used due to being more simplistic. Played straight in space.
  • Knife Nut: Zenya in particular, the Red Alliance in general, having a liking for bladed weapons and close ranged combat.
  • Knight Templar: General Black is implied to be this. Unfortunately, he seems to have put too much trust in Shan.
  • Large and in Charge: Shan, Boston and Feng are all physically impressive.
  • Last Stand: Faragher attempted to make one of these when he got sick of retreating. Subverted when everyone else told him to shut up and follow orders. Shan and Boston's rivalry was brought out into the open by their difference of opinion on Faragher's action.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The GIW series spans several comics and stories, along with seven R Ps. Its to be expected.
  • Lovable Sex Maniac: The second a female officer (Starace) is introduced to the Wester officer corps, Boston transforms from a Jerkass into an annoying pervert. Starace is not amused.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Both sides employ advanced MLRS systems, and the Wester battlesuits come armed with rocket launchers.
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Lucrezia Starace, Major Luke Jaeger, and Major Vahnsinnik Zerster.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Engels Shan is playing everyone. His friend/superior General Black is hinted to be this as well.
  • Mini-Mecha: Both sides employ heavily-armed battlesuits; Logans, Samsons, and Pattons for the Wester “Battlesuit Marines,” and the Berias for the Reds.
  • Mile-Long Ship: According to Word of God, cruisers are about 5 kilometers long, with some ships (the Reds' superdereadnoughts) reaching about 20 kilometers.
  • Million Mook March: Can be seen in the comic during Marshal Vostrikov's seizure of power. They have enough manpower to make it a common event.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Eagle Emily, the Westers' “pinup girl.”
  • Missile Lock-On: The Wester Aegis drones serve this purpose.
  • Mooks: Infantry on both sides, especially the Red penal battalions.
    • Lampshaded by user Bob The Great when he names two of his characters "Lieutenant Mook Redshirt Sr." and "Corporal Mook Redhirt Jr."
  • Moral Myopia: Neither sides are saints. Both will use pretty much any tactic to win.
  • More Dakka: Where do you NOT see this? It is everywhere, and it is good.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: And HOW!
  • Multinational Team: Although in the future most of humanity is part of two factions spanning the galaxy old nationalities as identities still exist so both armies are effectively this. For example, Boston is of Irish-Wester stock despite speaking with a generic Wester (North American) accent. Major Lucrezia Starace and her troops are Italian. None of them can pronounce Shan's name right.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: One variant of the Beria class battlesuit is designated simply as 'the Overkill'.
    • Considering who Lavrenty Beria was, Beria suits in general could count.
    • Grozny suits, in Russian Gronzy simply means "to be feared."
  • Neutrality Backlash: There are neutral human factions, but that they generally don't last long, being invaded by either the Reds or the Westers or dragged into the fray kicking and screaming by other means.
  • N.G.O. Superpower: Wester mega corporations seem to hold a disconcerting amount of sway over the war effort and government affairs. One of the reasons General Black prepares his military coup.
  • Nice Hat: The hat of the aliens farmers featured in the Red secret police special comic, who without fail all wore various pieces of nice headwear throughout their appearance. Other aliens seem to have them as well. It seems to be used as an easy way for humans to tell them apart.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: Ivan and Chang is the popular way for Wester RI to refer to the Reds. The other side meanwhile sticks mainly with traditional communist insults.
  • Not So Different: The Reds and Westers are actually not that different under the surface.
  • Nuclear Option: Both side use nuclear weapons on the battlefield whenever judged necessary.
  • Oh, Crap!: Everyone's reaction to discovering a crashed alien spaceship.
    • Additionally, this is the reaction of any Wester who's attacked by a Grozny battlesuit.
  • Oh My Gods!: "By Stalin's sacred balls!"
    • Even worse: many of the Italian Westers worship Berlusconi.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: The Westers are centered around fast movement, superior technology, and high training. The Reds are more focused on using overwhelming numbers and firepower to wear down their enemies, including copious use of hand-to-hand combat.
    • Wester grav-tanks compensate for being less armored and armed than their Red counterparts for being ludicrously fast and maneuvrable—to the point of being able to perform barrel rolls or, when upgraded, effectively instantly jump across the battlefield. And next to Red tanks, they're 'merely' the size of large houses. Their standard issue battlesuits are the reverse, with the Wester Logan and Samson suits being bulkier and tougher, and with more firepower, while the Red Beria suit is relatively brittle.
  • Orbital Bombardment: Used often by both sides, to devastating effect. It's even common practice to call in NUKES as saturation bombardment, to the point that the soldiers at the front see them as COMMONPLACE.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Red infantry are specifically noted to have much better morale than their opponents. Wester RI conscripts are generally unprepared for the level of hardship the Reds are willing to endure for their cause. While the Wester Army has better training and technology, the Red Army has their patriotism. The two sides are evenly matched.
  • Plot Armor: The player characters, being player characters, are essentially unkillable. Note that they are perfectly capable of being wounded, as demonstrated by Zenya.
  • Powered Armor: Battlesuits are 10-12 foot tall armor suits, which squarely fit in this trope. Unless its a Gronzy class.
  • Power Fist: The Patton class battlesuit has one, which can pulverize an enemy Beria suit in a single punch.
  • Propaganda Machine: Both sides have this, bombarding citizens and soldiers with (rather consciously and satirically) cheesy messages. The Reds apparently even whole pop girl bands for the sole purpose of delivering jingoistic messages.
  • Recycled In Space: The Cold War IN SPACE!
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Aggressive, hot-blooded Jerkass Steave Boston is the Red Oni to cold, calculating Shan's Blue.
  • Salt the Earth: Both sides have been mentioned to glass entire planets in both the comics and the RP.
  • Sand Worm: Ice worms, actually, on Taiga-Zhai.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying!: Life actually isnt that bad if you live on a civilian world. Don't party too hard though, or you might find yourself conscripted and sent to the frontlines.
    • There are also parties that go on after successful campaigns.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Many, many examples, of all four types, in both the RP and the comic.
  • Space Marine: The Wester Battlesuit Marines.
  • Secret Police: The Reds have one. They make some impressive public service announcements.
  • Shoot Everything That Moves: Most characters at some point display this trope; justified by the massive amounts of targets and fire power involved.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: Discussed and played with. The deployment of shotguns by Red infantry in Feng's taskforce is argued from the Wester point of view to be a sign the Reds are better equipped. In actuality though the Reds only had two shotguns.
  • Shout-Out: Far too many to list...
    • The Bersaglieri are a veteran Wester Marine unit ingame; in real life, they're Italy's elite assault troops.
    • "Long Ago, the two commanders lived in harmony. But then everything changed... when Faragher lost his shit."
    • Boston's gunner and driver are named George and Baldrick.
      • "Boston possesses a degree from the university of life, a diploma from the school of hard knocks, and three gold stars from the kindergarten of getting the shit kicked out of him."
  • Single-Biome Planet: Occasionally encountered or mentioned in the RP; a notable example would be the ice-planet Taiga-Zhai.
  • Slave Mooks: The Red penal battalions.
  • Sniper Duel: Feng likes doing this with his tank. His favored tactic is to position his tanks in a defensive position then rain down death from a distance with his Crouching Tiger technique.
  • Stealth Expert: Wester Geists commandos are slightly less physical than Red spetsnaz (who take performance enhancing combat drugs), but are MUCH more dangerous due to their stealth abilities.
  • Straw Conservative: Lazarus Dimaggio. He's like Bill O'Reilly taken Up to Eleven and Played for Laughs.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Aside from the primitive aliens that humanity keeps under its thumb, aliens in the GI Wverse are apparently almost godlike beings that consider the Great War to be nothing more than two ant colonies having a scuffle.
  • Super Soldiers: The Hei Gui assassins. Genetically modified until very little is left other than the instinct to kill.
  • Tank Goodness: Played straight for both sides (the Red tanks are the size of buildings, for heaven's sake), though sometimes subverted for the Westers whenever they run into the superheavy “Yongkang” tank. Also, from a tactical standpoint, this could be considered a subversion; the battlesuits seem to be the tactical successor to modern armor, while the tanks in the GIW-verse function more as moving juggernauts rather than the jack-of-all-trades MBT.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Red Beria battlesuits fly aggressively, basing their CQC techniques on eastern martial arts. For the Westers, their martial arts consist of less showy maneuvers such as grapples, tackles, and punches. Or even better, not letting the Reds get into sword range in the first place.
  • The Chessmaster: Marshal Vostrikov pretended to be idiot as part of scheme to trick a rival Red politico into attempting to assassinate him just so that he could get the guy executed. Manipulating Westers and Reds alike. Typical of The Chessmaster, he has dastardly long-term goals (gain control of The Party and the Red Alliance).
    • General Black, a Wester who seems to be using Shan and manipulating the Polaris Cradle for equally despicable very long term goals of taking over the Wester Federation. Arguably a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
    • General Engels Shan isnt any slouch when it comes to scheming either, having successfully positioned himself as the leader of a Wester task force and being trusted by no one. All the while making elaborate battleplans and kicking ass.
    • General (then Marshal) Amasova doesn't seem it at first, but she learned to play politics rather quickly as well. With some help from a certain political officer...
  • The Commissar: Red political officers (called Commissar of course) are both feared, respected, admired, hated and mocked, as the situation requires.
  • The Dreaded: Red special forces make it their business to inspire fear wherever they go. It works.
    • Red Grozny battlesuits have an enormous fear factor if used correctly, mostly because of their capability to deliver a full fiery fist of f*ck you to their enemies. Gronzy literally means 'to be feared'.
  • The Engineer: Julius Manthei, Ruslan Kean, and Lucrezia Starace are skilled engineers. Ruslan is an actual sapper in the Red Army, while Manthei and Starace command vehicles, so their engineering skills are very useful.
  • The Federation: The Wester Federation. Effectively a futuristic, more homogenous NATO.
    • The Red Alliance for that matter, fits this rather than The Alliance. A fusion of Russian and Chinese culture, among other smaller nations that would fall under that bloc.
  • The Neidermeyer: Zenya. He's an extremely skilled soldier and a competent tactician, but a HORRIBLE team leader.
  • The Strategist: Engels Shan, the commander of the Wester taskforce in the story arcs of the Polaris Cradle and their premier strategist. Even his former supporter turned bitter rival Steave Boston admires his intellect and planning ability.
  • Translation Train Wreck: Played for Laughs when a Wester grunt in the comic attempts to interrogate a Red prisoner. The results are less than productive: "Good evening! I am the public toilet! Your boots are very tight indeed!"
    • Made even funnier when the Red gives him a look and he says, "I think my accent may have been a bit off."
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: Played straight with Captain Rodriguez and his gunner Sgt Tom Rider when their tank is disabled, they hook up with other Wester stragglers and manage to make it to their lines during a temporary ceasefire.
  • Trash Talk: Appears often (they are soldiers, after all), but Boston seems to be fond of this whenever he interacts with Starace or Shan.
  • Turncoat: Engels Shan.
  • Two-Faced: General/Marshal Amasova's face was disfigured by a Wester "hellbomb" round during the battle for Vhogsh. The shell left her with nasty burn scars on the left side of her face. Ironically, she's one of the few truly sympathetic flag rank characters.
  • Urban Warfare: Most characters look upon a city and see it as a defensive position or a tactical asset. Collateral damage is a secondary concern.
  • Vodka Drunkenski: The Reds are ALWAYS drinking. Awarding gifts of high quality alcohol to subordinates is often used as a substitute for medals. The Westers get in on it as well.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Lampshaded by Marshal Vostrikov when he tells Battlesmere that the war gives profit to Wester companies and loyalty to the Reds' Communist party.
  • War Is Hell: From; Godforsaken hunks of toxic rock, to thick jungles,to sprawling Urban battlefields, this war sucks. High body counts, tactical nukes, toxic waste, huge killing machines and more make this war absolutely horrific. And if you're an infantryman it sucks even more.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Luke Jaeger is a “designer baby,” a genetically engineered son of a rich senator. He has several defects resulting from this, and it is hinted by the player behind the character that Jaeger holds some resentment for his rich, distant father.
  • We Will Use Lasers in the Future: Subverted; lasers are generally only used as AA weapons or for shooting down missiles, while most of the weaponry is kinetic based. Red special forces have handheld laser weapons however.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Marshal Vostrikov appeared to have been set up as the Big Bad, complete with Million Mook March. He hasnt once been mentioned by the current cast of characters. Potentially justified due to the events of the Polaris Cradle RP taking place later in the timeline than the events near the beginning of the war. The narration, and some more cynical characters, note that do to the scale of the conflict this will be the fate of everyone, as no actions by a single person could change the galaxy.
  • World War Whatever: Somewhat played straight, though on a much, much larger scale.
  • Worthy Opponent: Shan appears to consider the task force he constantly meets to be this, particularly their Commander Feng. Everyone else, both Wester and Red, thinks that's nuts, and with Shan being an honorless defector, the feeling is not mutual. At all.
  • Wrench Wench: As stated previously, Starace is a skilled engineer who essentially grew up with a wrench in her left hand and a blowtorch in her right.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: The Future MCMAP of the Wester marine corps focuses on high speed grapples and throws. Its designed to be used while in Battlesuits.
  • You Are in Command Now: Shan's fellow commanders attempt to get this to happen to them. Emphasis on attempt.
    • Played straight by Shan himself, as his superiors are continually reassigned from the 1st Combined Arms until he receives the top spot.
  • Zerg Rush: Often used by Red infantry. Commissars and combat drugs help with the motivating.

Example of: