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Video Game / Crisis of the Confederation

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The year is 2998. The Terran Confederation, ostensibly a democratic body governed by an elected President and Senate, has been slowly slipping into an oligarchy controlled from the shadows by individuals with great wealth, power, and influence. In protest, a number of sectors on the periphery have come together in a loose alliance known as the Orion League to demand independence from the Confederation. While the societies that make up the Orion League follow diverse and often radically different creeds, all of them are presently united in the fear that, should the central government on Earth gain too much power, they will lose the liberties that have allowed them to continue practicing their ways of life. Thus, they have decided that the best course is to strike out on their own.

Even the Terran loyalists are divided on the best way to resolve the ongoing crisis. While many remain committed to the federal ideals on which the Confederation was founded, a strong faction supporting greater concentration of power in the central government has recently gained power in the Senate, arguing that the very decentralized nature of the present government is what allowed civil war to break out in the first place. In certain circles some voices dare to venture even more extreme opinions, raising the idea that no republican body can provide the stability and security that comes with the firm hand of a charismatic autocrat...

In any case, humanity is on the brink of a massive conflict, the like of which hasn't been seen in almost five centuries — a Crisis of the Confederation.

Crisis of the Confederation is a total conversion Game Mod for Crusader Kings II, altering the setting from the medieval world of centuries past to a futuristic setting in interstellar space. The most recent version of the mod as of April 22nd, 2020 (v0.50) is available through either the Steam Workshop or the ModDB project page, and the developers can be contacted on the mod's thread on the Paradox Interactive forums.

This mod provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Absent Aliens: Humanity's had a thousand years to expand from Earth out into the wider galaxy, but so far no signs of any other sapient beings have been found.
  • The Alliance: The Orion League, a loose alliance of would-be independent worlds in opposition to the Terran Confederation. While the Republic of the Orion Reach is the linchpin of the League, each member is seeking full independence on its own terms.
  • Apocalypse How: Through the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, it's possble to burn the Earth to the ground, wiping out the homeworld's civilization. Such an act will horrify the entire galaxy (except for the Xenoterrans) so badly that your descendants will forever be tainted with the stigma.
  • Bilingual Bonus: As explained by Word of God here, many factions have names that are Meaningful Names in languages other than English. Most of them are fairly mundane, but one that stands out in particular is Tarka, derived from the tarka sastra Indian school of dialectics that emphasizes logic and reason - an appropriate choice for a faction of Totalitarian Utilitarian Cyborgs.
  • Blood on the Debate Floor: After senate elections, the senators appear in the ruler's court like any other courtier. This means they are susceptible to assassination plots and duel challenges like any other courtier.
  • Char Clone: Shiro Hasegawa, the brilliant and "VERY trustworthy" fighter ace of Jion, is the Char in Jion's Gundam homage.
  • Clone Degeneration: Clones can suffer from defects that slightly impair their health, fertility, and intelligence.
  • Clone Jesus: The nobles who are propping up the young King Arthur of Avalon claim that he is a clone of the original King Arthur and, in that capacity, effectively is King Arthur returned to rescue his people in their hour of need.
  • Clones Are People, Too: While clones do tend to inherit the same congenital traits as the original, it's not a guarantee, and their personality is still subject to the foibles of the education system.
  • Commie Land: The People's State of Strugatsky, an Orion League member founded on the belief that old Russia's downfall began with its abandonment of socialism. Any state ruled by Neo-Socialists are somewhere near this (to varying degrees, Neo-Socialism also covering social democracy backed up by enthusiasm about what modern technology allows), but Strugatsky is the only multi-system state that starts out as Neo-Socialist.
  • The Coup: In most territories (including the Terran Confederation and its constituent republics) that don't start out under either quasi-feudal or direct military rule, the fleets subordinate to a faction are handled as discrete sub-factions of their own. Should public opinion turn against the civilian leadership significantly, the admirals in charge of these fleets may gain enough legitimacy and support to launch a coup to set themselves up as dictators. A few factions, most notably the Military State of Jion and the Star Kingdom of Avalon, have already undergone violent coups within recent history, bringing Astrists and Neo-Feudalists to power, respectively.
  • Cyborg: Cybernetic enhancements are available, though expensive. Cyberneticists in particular are ideologically committed to cybernetic transhumanism.
  • The Cycle of Empires: The mod is explicitly set during the Decay phase of the cycle for the Terran Confederation, with corruption and assorted injustices provoking a secession crisis along its periphery. Whether the crisis results in the Confederation eventually sliding into a Long Night or being reborn in a more vigorous and resilient form is up to the player and the game engine.
  • Darwinist Desire: The ideology of the Bio-Directionists is all about selectively breeding the best and brightest together to ensure their offspring have the best chance of inheriting good traits, including through inbreeding if necessary.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The roots of the Astrist movement lie in the fact that many of their founding members spent long periods aboard starships, where any hesitation in following the captain's orders in a crisis could result in getting the entire crew killed. Astrists thus place a high value on both strong central authority and group solidarity.
  • Democracy Is Bad: An in-universe belief of some on both sides of the Crisis. On the one side, the Astrist separatists favor a highly regimented and overtly military hierarchy based on the relationship between The Captain and the crew aboard a starship (though they aren't necessarily opposed to the method of selecting the supreme leader being elections). On the other, Terran Imperialists think the Terran Confederation should unite under a single strong leader to become a Terran Empire, as only a strong leader can properly keep humanity united.
  • The Empire: What the Terran Confederation will become should the Terran Imperialists gain control and set up their own Emperor.
  • Elective Monarchy: Unlike with vanilla CK2, an elective monarchy in this game is a sign that the monarchy hasn't firmly established its succession rules, and is instead under the control of a junta.
  • Expy: By Word of God's admission, Jion is "a giant Gundam homage," right down to featuring prominent characters based on Char Aznable and the Zabi family.
  • The Federation: The Terran Confederation is a loose federation that governs all of Terran space. At the beginning of the game, the Confederation's outer rim breaks away and forms several new states, many of which (such as the New Frontier) also fit this trope, though others fit a wide variety of governmental forms. Furthermore, the very idea of democracy is starting to lose its legitimacy within the Confederation, and many groups are starting to agitate for military rule instead.
  • Feudal Future: This is the goal of the Neo-Feudalist political ideologynote . At the start of the game, they are in control of the interstellar Kingdom of Avalon, which they in the backstory hijacked from a Bio-Directionist statebuilding project. Some of the other ideologies can also favour shifts in this direction — the Terran Confederation can be transformed into the Terran Empire in the hands of the Terran Imperialist ideology (who are more authoritarian than actually feudal, but in actual effect shift towards this trope due to the demands of dictatorship on the interstellar scale), and the right circumstances can lead to the Confederation being transformed into the Holy Terran Empire, complete with a state church with power and influence.
  • Free-Love Future: Downplayed with the Astrists and Space Pirates. While marriages are still important as business arrangements, they have fewer hang-ups about extramarital affairs than other ideologies as long as you hold up your end of the bargain.
  • Generation Xerox: Avalon's founders tried to invoke this, as each successive leader was cloned from her predecessor all the way back to the first Victoria. Closer examination of their history reveals that it didn't really work out like that.
  • The Good Kingdom: The Star Kingdom of Avalon presents itself as a retro-futuristic version of Camelot, right down to having several system names clearly inspired by names in the Arthurian ballads. The neo-feudalists who have taken it over even rather whimsically claim that their Puppet King is a clone of King Arthur himself.
  • God-Emperor: Should an especially zealous Emperor of the Terran Empire gain enough power, he can proclaim himself one and establish an Imperial Cult centered on his worship.
  • Hereditary Republic: While the key element of a "republic" in this game is that republican heads of state are elected, it's entirely possible to ensure that said republic's leadership is under the perpetual control of your dynasty.
  • Hyperspace Lanes: The chief method of Faster-Than-Light Travel involves following fixed "jump lanes" that connect individual systems to one another. Some factions also have access to Hyperspace Tunnelers, special craft that allow small fleets to travel through hyperspace without being restricted to the jump lanes; others can potentially research this technology for themselves.
  • Interfaith Smoothie: Played with. Most real-world religions have adopted a sort of unified belief in making a pilgrimage to Earth, to the point that everyone who professes to adhere to Earth religions (and feels strongly enough about it to make it an important part of their world-view) is identified as a Pilgrim. Sect Adoptionists, meanwhile, are those religious movements that reject the Pilgrimage and believe that each world has its own spirit and god. Both kinds of religions, however, are about as similar to the modern versions of their religions as a modern Catholic or Hindu is similar to one from 1000 AD, and a lot of concepts have cross-pollinated between all Earth religions. And finally, if a Pilgrim adherent is pious enough and gains control of Earth, they can create a unified Terran Orthodox Church.
  • Libertarians IN SPACE!: The Frontier was settled largely by American space homesteaders who apparently bought into the "myth of the American frontier" and patterned their colonization efforts after it. The New Frontier was, in turn, settled by refugees from the old one who felt that, somewhere along the way, the original Frontier "sold out" its values. Both are presently on opposite sides of the Crisis.
  • Machine Worship: The Machine Cult. Spiritual Cyberneticists who worship machinery and replace as much of their weak flesh with it as possible.
  • Nepotism: A key game mechanic. Except in a select few factions, the base game's feudalism-based inheritance laws have been replaced with titles held by appointment, so to be successful you have to leverage your power and influence to either convince your superiors to appoint close relatives to key positions or get yourself in a position where you can hand them out by fiat yourself.
  • Neutrality Backlash: The Republic of Mukta Duniya tried to remain neutral in the Crisis. Earth took their refusal to support them as treason, thus pushing them into the Orion League's camp by default.
  • No Place for a Warrior: The Astrist ideology developed in part because the founders were long-haul spacers who had trouble adjusting to civilian life and politics.
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Nearly all religious ideologies (except of course the Machine Cult) oppose "Desecration of the Holy Human Form," which means cloning and cybernetics. In terms of what is actually possible to do in-game, cybernetic transhumanism can go pretty far (the two ends are becoming a full-conversion cyborg complete with immortality to age and immunity to disease, or the Hiver event that can make you a guiding element of a human cybernetic flawed hivemind), while the poor Bio-Directionists have to content themselves with cloning and nothing more (though Word of God states that future releases will flesh out their options a little more).
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Many sub-states within the Confederation are directly controlled by the Mega Corps that control the Confederation's political system.
    • Any government with the Corporate power-basenote  has elements of this, as the definition of it is that the government's power-base lies in control over the private sector and massive wealth. In Corporate Republics, like the Confederation and the Republic of the Orion Reach that expresses itself in the nominally democratic, elective political process being dominated by massive mega-corps that has the means to advance their candidates and lobby for their goals, which on the level of individual system can mean effective monopolization of it by a single corporation.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Male characters can specify whether they want a male or female clone. (Female characters apparently can't find anyone willing to donate a Y chromosome.)
  • President for Life: Life terms are possible under a republican government.
  • Puppet King: King Arthur of Avalon is only seven years old in the starting scenario, with the actual power concentrated in a regency under Duke Joseph Blackburn, the man responsible for his installation.
  • The Republic: There are several republics in the game, most of them bound together under the Terran Confederation as constituent republics. The remainder are seeking independence from the Confederation as part of the Orion League. Pretty much all of them are corporate states in all but name.
  • Rightful King Returns: The Neo-Feudalists of Avalon have rooted their figurehead's claim in the old legend of King Arthur dramatically returning to lead his people "in their hour of need," though with a decidedly high-tech twist.
  • Shout-Out: A few, mostly to other science fiction works:
    • The Star Kingdom of Avalon is inspired, in-universe and out, by Arthurian Legend. It also invokes the Star Kingdom/Empire of Manticore from the Honor Harrington books in its backstory.
    • The creator has emphasized many times that the Military State of Jion is one big, obvious, transparent reference to Mobile Suit Gundam.
    • The People's State of Strugatsky is named for the Strugatsky Brothers, and quite a few world names are derived from names in their stories.
    • The Terran Confederation controls a minor outpost on the fringe known as the Iserlohn Fortress. Indeed, the situation the Confederation faces is more or less similar to that leading to the rise of the Galactic Empire under the Goldembaums; given the right circumstances, it's possible to recreate that exact outcome.
    • The Machine Cult are a direct homage to the Adeptus Mechanicus. They don't control Mars at the start, though.
  • Space Opera: Being built on the foundation provided by Crusader Kings, most of the focus is on the drama created by the actions and interactions of the many, many characters in the game.
  • Space Pirates: There are a few existing on the periphery, usually protected by nebulas that can only effectively be crossed by the pirates' own craft. They aren't loyal to any ideology beyond the selfish pursuit of their own wealth and power.
  • Space Romans: Many of the cultures and ethnicities on display are either descended from modern Earth cultures, heavily inspired by them or are future incarnations of said cultures.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: It's possible for a character to fall in love with another on the opposing side of a conflict. If the other doesn't reciprocate, or if their superiors catch wind of what's going on, the consequences can be devastating.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Back in the days when deep-space travel was slow, expensive, and dangerous, spacers operated on a code of immediate obedience to the authorities, strict honesty, absolute commitment to promises, and utter trust in your comrades, because anything less was liable to get them and their fellow crew killed. After years of living and working under these conditions, many found it impossible to reintegrate into Earth life, where such things weren't almost guaranteed. Their beliefs that their old lifestyle should serve as the model for an ideal society formed the foundation for the Astrist ideology.
  • Super Breeding Program: The Bio-Directionists seek "better living through biotechnology" and practice cloning and genetic selection in their quest for the betterment of the human race.
  • United Space of America: The Frontier, one of the Confederation's constituent republics, was explicitly patterned on the earthbound United States government and largely settled by a population with Anglo-American backgrounds. The New Frontier is in turn an outgrowth of the old, but the two are divided by the fact that the New Frontier believes that the Confederation has betrayed the core values of liberty and democracy on which it was founded, and thus they have sided with the Orion League to gain independence and start again with a clean slate.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: The Orion League is fighting a war of independence against the Terran Confederation, headquartered on Earth.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The Orion League is made up of states that follow a wide variety of creeds, some of which (such as Astrism and Neo-Socialism) are diametrically opposed to one another. Should they win their independence, many of these states will likely find themselves at one another's throats before long.