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Tabletop Game / AT-43

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The cover of AT-43's second major expansion, which ended up being its last.
AT-43 is (well was) a Tabletop Game by Rackham and can by summed up as a Lighter and Softer version of Warhammer 40,000.

The story is centred around the human homeworld Ava, which, thanks to precursor artefacts, created a small (compared to other races; a mere hundred or so planets) empire in a thousand years after finding them. However, Ava's first colony Hades, aggravated by Ava's total free marketing ideas (i.e. no workers' rights), revolted and turned communist collectivist, taking fully half of Ava's colonies with them and renaming themselves the Red Blok. This forced Ava to cancel the debts of, and grant full membership into the U.N.A., to the remaining colonies in other to stop them from joining the revolt. Civil war soon followed.

Then the precursors showed up, with giant chain-smoking apes with big guns.

Turns out the Therians, a race of Transhuman Internet junkies are the real humans having reached The Singularity over half a million years ago. One of their pet projects happens to be taking over the universe in order to stop it from dying in about 25 billion years. They do this by seeding worlds with humans, giving them databases of information to speed up their development and waiting until the planet's resources are used up, whereupon the Therians come in and blow it up so they can use what's left to make a Dyson Sphere, which the Therians then move.


However they did not foresee the U.N.A. and the Red Blok joining forces and driving them out before they could destroy Ava, but not without a heavy price: the Red Blok lost a large bulk of its forces and half of Ava's population was killed by the Therians altering the planet to be more Earth-like. This marked the first time in over one hundred thousand years anyone had defeated the Therians. This event is known as The Trauma to all parties involved.

43 years after The Trauma the U.N.A found the Therian world that launched the invasion (for a Therian it's more like a transport ship), Damocles.

The main factions of the game currently are:

  • U.N.A.: the main faction of the game. Based on the home planet of Ava, the U.N.A. is a parody of Objectivist America, where liberty, capitalism and prosperity are hailed as the best things in life. Their Elite Army is the Jacks of All Trades of the game, with units useful for anything but lacking in number and toughness.
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  • Red Blok: An alliance of former U.N.A. colonies who've adopt a collectivist doctrine where the individual works for the greater good. They are the main adversaries of the U.N.A.. Although their troops are not as good as others, they make up for it through numbers, resilience and firepower.
  • Therian: The original humans. After reaching a singularity point in their technological prowess, the Therian became immortal, now living inside a cyberspace known as the E.M.I. grid, and want to stop the universe's decay, having planted the Avans to facilitate that but then having been repelled by them. The Therians have the most powerful and numerous units and weapons, but lack any form of effective strategy.
  • Karmans: A race of giant apes created by the Therians. They serve the Therian but in contrast to their master, their race has adopted a stricly benevolent (as well as eco-friendly) philosophy and struggle with their role as underlings to the Therian. They can be fielded only in small numbers and vehicles are fragile, but most of their weapons have very high rate of fire and are very powerful.
  • Cogs: A formerly huge empire of aliens who fought the Therian. Brought to the brink of extinction and with only four lineages remaining out of dozens more exterminated, the Cogs ambition to take their revenge on the Therian. They are a whole race of clones and their armies are somewhat of a Glass Cannon.
  • O.N.I.: A rising Avan Megacorp who's become the greatest Private Military Contractor in the galaxy, among other businesses. They are known for employing hordes of cheap and durable zombies as foot soldiers.
  • Krygs: An upcoming race, not much is know about them other than they fought the Therians and Karmans long ago, with the Karmans believing they'd killed them all.

Currently its company Rackham has been liquidated, but Cyanide Studio has recently acquired the game along with Confrontation another game from Rackham with the potential to make a new game from it just as they did with Confrontation.

AT-43 provides examples of:

  • Abusive Precursors: The Therians are the ones who created the Karmans, and Humans in Ava. They have no problem with taking out any of them to achieve their goals.
  • Action Girl: A good chunk of the named characters are women, who don't hesitate to grab a weapon and stroll the battlefield. Special mention to Natalya "Bokor", the ruthless commander of O.N.I.'s V-SWAT and Alpha Atis-Astarte who is an Action Girl from a race full of Non-Action Guy.
  • Alien Invasion: The Therian tried to invade Ava from the South Pole and activating their machines to create a vast army of golems, but the alliance between the U.N.A. and Red Blok have repelled it.
  • The Alternet: The EMI Grid is the Therian cyberspace in which their consciousness can communicate with each other or create simulations for war and enjoyment.
  • Ambadassador: Muse would love to be this, but Daimyo John Priest really takes the laurel. He’s the first human to have successfully negotiated a trade deal with the Cogs, acquiring their battery and shield technology by impressing them through charm and violence.
  • Anti-Villain: The Karman are basically henchmen for the Therians, waging war against other species. However, they only do so because they owe their existence to the Therians and they do think that what they are committing is wrong.
  • The Atoner: Most Karmans believe that they have a debt to the Therians for the creation of their species. The Nova faction believes this debt to have been payed after committing genocide on the Krygs.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: All Therian weapons are in fact this, they're still winning anyway.
  • Bad Ass Boast: "Even if the entire universe united against us,note  we will still come on top"
  • Badass Bookworm: Anastasiya Tymofiyeva, an electronic warfare genius and she knows everything about Red Blok’s walker. Yet she’s wanted all her life to fight at the front piloting a walker, and she’s managed to accomplish just that thanks to her making it so she’s the one testing her jamming technology on the battlefield.
  • BFG: Karman, being gorillas, are pretty much the only one able to wield these, using giant mortar guns for instance. However, they pretty much only use them as Shoulder Cannon because they’re not that strong.
  • Bizarre Alien Reproduction: Cogs don’t have sex per se but have active or passive mode. The passive one is just an incubator for the active one who injects his entire genetic code to create a clone, but the former also tweaks the code to guarantee some diversity.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: The Therian Reaper blades are huge blades mounted like claws and are nearly ubiquitous among the golems.
  • Blood Knight: Therian Warroir Guild.
  • Blue Is Heroic: U.N.A.’s favorite color is blue, befitting their role as de facto protagonists of the game.
  • Body-Count Competition: The only thing Cog Counter-Snipers talk about.
  • Body Horror: Oni Zombies. New Born Cogs are often stated to have missing body parts (as they're going to be replaced by cybernetics anyway) ranging from their legs or a respiratory system to everything but their brain.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Urush is what amounts to transhuman Will Wright, making simulators that are often over the top because it's more entertaining, he's also one of the best tactical planners in the universe.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Oni, Cogs and Krygs were all mentioned in the background long before their armies are released.
  • Chicken Walker: Cog walkers have this structural singularity compared to the other factions. This because they are pretty much modelled after Cog legs.
  • Child Prodigy: Odin 0-1 and Manon 0-2 have genius level intellect at 13, having published a philosophy essay at 7, becoming physicians at 10, and becoming accomplished engineers to pilot their own walker.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: THE THERIANS. Honestly, the only reason why they fail at all is that they've forgotten how to properly apply military strategy (despite having a history of warfare behind them), and are more comfortable with letting the Karmans do their dirty work.
  • Color-Coded Armies: The U.N.A. troops are blue, the Red Blok is red, the Therians are always black, the Karmans are light blue and green, the Cogs are orange and O.N.I. troops are yellow and brown.
  • Combat Medic: Medics are a common human infantry models in the battlefield. The most famous one is Captain Pavel Vrachov.
  • Commie Land: Red Blok is a collectivist alliance of planets living the communist dream, where everyone works for the nation and proudly sports a red star.
  • Companion Cube: Cog Gunmen are brainwashed into thinking their BFG is their only friend
  • Conflicting Loyalty: The Karman are fully committed to their benevolent philosophy, but also feel they owe a debt of live to the genocidal Therians. So, they decided to act as the Therians' soldiers, waging war to ensure their survival and train to one day openly fight the Therians. Their society is split on whether the debt is fully paid or not.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The executive of O.N.I. have no qualm against bribing politicians to ease deals or murdering any obstacle in their path.
  • Crack Fic: In-universe; Therians have one called "I love you, 01100010011000010110001001111001!" about a unit of Storm Arachns (12 mini Spider bots that blow up) falling in love with a Wraith Golgoth (Spider Tank). They enjoyed a long lasting relationship of 28 seconds.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Great place to live, everyone doesn't hate each up for the most part, no one is really evil, but there's the fact that Therians outnumber and outgun everyone by a factor of a billion to one and are only delaying their victory because war is too much fun.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Averted for the most part, played a bit more straight with Cogs but only for their type 3 (who are 95% machine) but that's what brainwashing is for!
  • Deflector Shield: The Cogs had an exclusivity on the technology, but John Priest has managed to negotiate a technological trade so he now sports a suit able to deflect shots.
  • Designer Babies: Odin-01 and Man-02 are twins whose genes were selected from Red Blok’s elite, resulting in their genius-level intelligence.
  • The Dog Bites Back: The workers from the Avan colonies, underpaid and overworked in dangerous working conditions, rebelled to eventually form Red Blok.
  • Dyson Sphere: The Therian use plenty of these to trap the stars’ energy and stop them from moving away from each other.
  • Elite Army: Compared to Red Blok, the U.N.A. have a small population and a more elitist approach to life. It’s natural that they’ve decided to train an army of elite soldier with the best training and equipment available. This doctrine has its limits because it means the U.N.A. can’t be everywhere at once and have a hard time in attrition warfare.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: The UNA lives in this trope, there is a reason why their motto is "Better is Better".
  • Enemy Mine: Both U.N.A and Red Blok joined forces temporarily to fend of the Therian invasion on Ava.
  • Enemy Mine: The U.N.A. and Red Blok had temporarily set aside their goals in order to repel the Therians from Ava. It is noted that the cooperation was poor because of mistrust, and their alliance boiled down to “let Red Blok soak up damage while U.N.A. recovers from the initial assault and prepares for the counterattack, then attack at the same time”.
  • Evil Wears Black: The Therian have exclusively black shells for bodies, which extends to their soldiers and vehicles. The one “exception” is Omega Tiamat who is Red and Black and Evil All Over.
  • Fantastic Rank System: O.N.I. takes after feudal Japan with their ranking system, the foot-soldiers being named “Samurai” then “Bushi”, going up to the “Daimyo” and “Shogun” who serve as officers, and executives.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Urush was the head planner (kinda) of the invasion of Ava. When it failed, his punishment amounted to... all his Facebook friends taking him off their friends list. (Okay, it sounds silly to us, but in Therian society that makes him an Un-person.)
  • Flawed Prototype: From the Therian’s point of view, the Karman are this since they should have created an industrial-level civilization polluting their home planet. Instead the Karman developed eco-friendly technologies. Ava was a more successful experiment, but then the Therian forgot that Humans Are Warriors.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The U.N.A. troopers and vehicles make ample use of laser weapons, to the point it could be considered their signature technology.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Yes. U.N.A. for “United Nations of Ava” is very close to U.S.A.. Likewise, Okamura Non-aligned Industries ominously form up the acronym O.N.I., Onis being Japanese demons.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: A few factions have dabbled in this. Red Blok’s has made the designer babies Odin and Manon, but the Cog G-nocrats are the real master of this technology as they create vast armies of clones and have super-soldiers.
  • Genius Ditz: Since they think of war as a game, Therians often make some very stupid decisions. They have a literally infinite amount of tactical knowledge and resources to draw on, have the most advanced technology and aren't exactly lacking in the numbers department either, but they're too rash to properly apply these.
  • Gratuitous Russian: Nearly everything from Red Blok is named in Hadesian, which is mock-russian.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Given their general intentions, you could make the argument that the Therians are not that evil, and it's not like the other factions are saintly either. It's stated that they even allow those species that don't actively oppose their project to live.
  • The Greys: The Cogs are clearly modelled after these, except for being three meters tall, but the grey skin and big eyes give away their inspiration.
  • Guns Akimbo: Cogs and Karmans seem to like this.
  • Hellhole Prison: Vohris is a prison planet managed by O.N.I.. The “hellhole” aspect funnily directly comes from the inmates, as O.N.I. encourages everyone to be a violent warlord oppressing the population, granting resources to the most ruthless and effective warlords. It serves as a training and recruiting ground for V-SWAT.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Therians mainly as they are capable of technological feats like species-wide Brain Uploading or casually creating Dyson Sphere. The Cogs are master of genetic engineering.
  • Hit So Hard, the Calendar Felt It: The two main factions have changed their calendar and put the “Trauma” as an anchorpoint for counting years. AT-43 means that we are currently 43 years after the Trauma.
  • Hostile Terraforming: The Therian terraform planets to better use them as material for Dyson spheres. Sometimes said planet host sentient civilization but the Therian don’t care.
  • Hover Tank: The Karman make ample use of these vehicles because they prefer maneuverability to armor.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Babel was formed by UNA hackers messing around the EMI Grid (the Therian Internet).
  • Invisibility Cloak: Karman have a very efficient cloaking technology, enabling them to infiltrate whole fleets are the heart of the enemy.
  • Jet Pack: The Karman put them on their main infantry units whenever possible to enhance their armies’ speed. The U.N.A. Wing Troopers also use jet packs to strike from above
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Averted, laser weapons are always portrayed as far better, but kinetic weapons still have their place.
  • Laughably Evil: Dear lord, Therians. Frankly, it's hard to believe that these guys are the scourge of the universe on occasion.
  • Lightning Gun: Several examples of it exist, but the Karman jammers is the most impressive as it makes lightning rain from above, frying tanks on the spot.
  • Little Hero, Big War: The Ava front is in fact just a normal route mission for the Therians who's only real importance is that they lost.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome: The Therians think it's so awesome that once they found out that the Universe was to die in a mere 25 billion years, they launched a massive invasion of the universe in order to stop it.
  • Machine Worship: The Therian Web Striders worship their own technology and seek their gods inside the code of the E.M.I. grid.
  • Magnetic Weapon: The Red Blok use gauss weapons, propelling metal projectile at high speed with magnetic force. The advantage of this technology is that anything small and metallic can become ammunition, somewhat compensating for dodgy logistics.
  • Mega-Corp: O.N.I.
  • Military Maverick: Captain Pavel Vrachov frequently disobeys direct orders and disregards discipline, for instance abandoning a precious Kossak to save a comrade. The higher-ups dream of dragging him before a martial court, but Vrachov is so popular that the army would go on strike.
  • My Hero, Zero: Babylon/Nina Zero
  • Nanomachines: Therian weapons like the nucleus guns use smart nano-ammunition.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: An odd positive result — during the invasion of Damocles, UNA politics caused the Therians to be so confused it delayed their already delayed counter-attack.
  • Organic Technology: The Cogs are known to use drones as supercomputers. However, they do not shun armor and weapons.
  • Our Wormholes Are Different: The Karman use “Point Horizon”, a wormhole left by the Therian as a portal for Faster-Than-Light Travel and their scientists even hope to travel in time with it.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: O.N.I. Zombies have two types, one is your normal mindless zombie, the other, the super zombies, is fully sentient with all the memories and personalities they had; they're also still on the payroll.
  • Planet Spaceship: Zaïus, Flux's spaceship is a moon-shaped spaceship having a diameter of 20,000 kilometers and is said to be able to lay waste to whole star systems.
  • Private Military Contractors: MercForce is one of the most lucrative branches of O.N.I. being a mercenary force in a war-torn universe. They are highly sought by everyone (even the Therian) thanks to their efficiency and lack of disciplinary problems.
  • Propaganda Hero: Captain Pavel Vrachov was made one because of his bravery and efforts to implement medical aid in the army. His reputation eventually becomes too much for ARC to handle.
  • Propaganda Machine: Both Avan factions play up the success of their respective society at all times while hiding their flaws and dirty business under the carpet.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The Karman mainly fight to guarantee their survival. Likewise, those in MercForce mainly fight because they’re paid to.
  • Really Gets Around: The serum O give their host an exceptional fertility and desire to sleep with anyone. Okamura Kazuo has had nine wives, many more mistresses and sixty-four children as a result.
  • Recycled In Space: An acute AT-43 player may have noticed that the U.N.A. and Red Blok factions are basically the Western Bloc and the USSR transformed into space empires and having their cold war.
  • Red Is Heroic: At least for Red Blok, who paint nearly everything red in spite of common sense.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Therians are Internet junkies and gamers; sounds Narmy until you realize that they are killing trillions and blowing up countless planets all over the universe because it's their hobby and only lose battles because winning too quickly is boring.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Averted with UNA's Captain H. Newton. As the daughter of Ava's president, she is very much aware of this trope and made sure that her mother's position never gave her any special treatment. Played a bit more straight with Shogun Natalya Bokov, one of Oni's directors and leader of V-Swat who was chosen because she (like everyone on the board) is a descendant of Oni's founder Okamura Kazuo. It helps she's also a ruthless General Ripper.
  • Secret Police: RevPol is the secret police for ARC, monitoring the discipline and revolutionary enthusiasm of the population.
  • Send in the Clones: Only four Cogs are non-clones.
  • Sergeant Rock: Sergeant Albert Borz, a U.N.A. Steel Trooper then Fire Toad pilot, veteran of several wars who commands both the respect and the fear of his unit.
  • Shoulder Cannon: Karman soldiers with the "K" denomination all sport these. The K-fighters have jammers, the K-warriors have mortar guns and the K-shooters have ZZ-gun
  • Shout-Out:Lots of them concerning the Karmans. Let's begin with their battlestation being called Zaius. Baron B. Samedi is a clear reference to the James Bond movie "Live and Let Die" featuring a voodoo shaman able to "ressurect" the dead.
  • The Smurfette Principle: there are no models of female regular troops, and the only unit that has more than one female model is a unit of medics.
    • However, about half the special characters are female.
  • The Social Darwinist: Cog society is based on the survival of the fittest. While this drive to better themselves makes them one of the most redoubtable factions in lore, it divides their species.
  • Soviet Superscience: Compared to the more straightforward U.N.A., Red Blok puts emphasis on particular pieces of technology like their gauss weapons, the wonder metal kolossium, and their more esoteric experiments on psychic powers.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't overmine or alien robots will show up and blow up your planet!. Especially if they planted their artifacts all over the place to accelerate your progress.
  • Spider Tank: The Therians main AFV's.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Therian sport big long blades everywhere, especially on their shoulders to give a menacing look. Did we mention they want to commit genocide on the whole universe, so they can preserve it for their eternal enjoyment?
  • Tank Goodness: O.N.I. is the only faction to use tanks on wheels, their advertising relying on the low cost, speed and ability to maneuver in terrains most walking tanks cannot.
  • Teleportation: Alpha Atis-Astarte is the sole user of teleportation technology, and mainly uses it to close up on the enemy to slice them into pieces sooner.
  • That's No Planet: The Therian factory-ship Damocles is a Dyson sphere built around a white dwarf; it's about twice the size of the Earth and about 80% of its energy output is used to constantly alter its Therian passengers' environment to their whims. The remaining 20% is used to pump out millions of war machines in preparation of their conquest of Ava. And this is just one of billions of such stations (at the very least, the whole Milky Way was converted).
    • Did we mention that the Therians think Damocles is a small crappy ship compared to their real homes?
    • The Karmans built themselves their own planet-sized ship, the Zaius, and recently the Cog faction T-Regulator has begun construction of one as well. It seems that in this setting, you're not on the map unless you have a planet-sized warship.
  • The Virus: The serum O is made from an extraterrestrial virus which wants to infect the whole universe through O.N.I..
  • Time Abyss: The Therians are all this. Eons ago, they have become functionally immortal by acquiring artificial bodies. One of them for instance, is Omega Tiamat who has celebrated her one thousand seven hundred sixty seventh birthday during Operation Damocles. However, a Therian living more than a few millennia is very rare.
  • Transhuman Aliens: The Therians.
  • Uplifted Animal: The Karman. Originally gorillas, the Therian modified their genome to make them sentient, as well as stronger.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: O.N.I. is on the surface a prosperous and honest, if not ruthless Mega-Corp who wants to make a profit and expand its business, like any business in the universe. Little does everyone know that the executives are all controlled by The Virus, who wants to infect the whole universe with itself.
  • Walking Tank: UNA and Red Block have these as their main AFV's.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Several sub-factions like Flux for the Karman, the Warriors for the Therians, have come to simply enjoy war for its own sake and plan on not finishing their wars too rapidly because it’s fun. MercForce is also for war, mainly for profit though;
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: If you swap Earth with Ava. The conflict still boils down to the home planet of the species going at war against its disgruntled colonies.
  • We Have Reserves: Therians already have a number of galaxies under their control and can easily replace any losses.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Most of the factions can be seen this way; the UNA are fighting for their survival, the Cogs are fighting for their independence, and the Therians are conquering worlds to preserve the galaxy.
  • White Mask of Doom: The Therian sport these on every construct.
  • Zerg Rush: The Therians, during their war with the Cogs, threw millions upon millions of ships at the front line without any real plan other than hoping their numbers and tech would win the day (as it always had before). This time, it didn't.


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