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Story Games Seattle Message Board What We Played › What We Played: "Soylent Silver: The Decline and Fall of the Unicornian

What We Played: "Soylent Silver: The Decline and Fall of the Unicornian Empire" (Microscope)

Mark E. P.
Seattle, WA
Post #: 2
[This was played on December 1st. Sorry about the delayed writeup!]

Historians: Jess, Mark, Shuo, Trek
Big Picture: The Decline and Fall of the Unicornian Empire
Yes: cyberpunk tech, mythical creatures from any tradition, population control, religious struggles
No: magic, humans, interplanetary travel, natural cataclysm
Focuses: population control, religious struggles, revolution
Legacy: soylent silver (Jess)
Timespan (bookends): The Griffin Emigration (start) through the Last of the Silvamane Dynasty (end)

Historians disagree about the precise moment when the Unicornian Empire reached its apex and began to fall, but there is near-universal agreement that by the time of the Griffin Emigration, said fall had started and only got worse from there. Of course, at first glance, Soylent Silver seems to be at the root of the disasters, but it is probably better understood as a symptom rather than a cause, per se. That being said, it truly was the symptom to end all symptoms.

It was during the Griffin Emigration that the earliest known seeds of the Soylent Silver program were sown. The griffins, who had long been crucial to agriculture in the Unicornian Empire, had emigrated under unknown (to history) circumstances and left the food production apparatus in dire straits. The first harvest after their departure yielded scant food, and squabbles ensued between the Emperor and his nobles about distribution of the available supply, leading to threats against the Emperor’s emissaries and the eventual systematic purging of the heads of troublesome noble families at the hands of the secret police. In a desperate attempt to keep his Empire fed, the Emperor made a secret deal with the neighboring and technologically superior Goblin Nation to give up some of his own people to be turned into meat for goblins in exchange for grain, and it is thought that it was then that the goblins developed a taste for unicorn meat.

When the “Griffin Prophet” consumed the last griffin as a means of ascending to power, many Unicornians saw the rise of the Griffin Theocracy as an end to their troubles. The one-child policy of the Empire had created a Lost Generation of non-first-born unacalves, kept in secret away from the Empire’s spies, and the Griffin Theocracy’s enclave offered safe-haven. Although the journey was perilous, led by literal coyotes, the Theocracy offered to the youngsters spiritual guidance and the freedom to venerate the Griffin (“May His wings surround you!”).

Goblin cybertech (aka “goblintech”) began pouring across the border and the Unicornians embraced it wholeheartedly, especially because it initially came in the form of food synthesizers, bringing the Empire’s food stores to a level unprecedented since the time before the griffins left. The price paid was hefty, though, as the Empire saw the establishment of ten “distribution centers” to which many “non-productive” unicorns were dragged, kicking and whinnying, to be turned into meat for the goblins. Project Soylent Silver, as it was called by the Goblins, would stay in effect until the Luddites poisoned the supply during the period of uprisings. The Emperor was bribed into the morbid deal, which included a laughable “mutual defense treaty,” with a “smooth” personal yacht.

The Ogre War flip-flops at the tail end of the period of uprisings saw the mutual defense treaty in full ridiculous effect. After the poisoning of the supply, the Goblins, who had been supporting the Unicornian Empire in the Ogre War, made a deal with the latter and turned on their former allies. The ogres, seeing how fickle the goblins could be, however, flip-flopped themselves and helped their former enemies fight back the goblins.

Despite their alliance with the ogres, the unicorns seemed to almost be seeking out new enemies. For example, the horrific treatment of the orcs by the Empire before, during, and after the Orc War has been cited as the result of generations of oppression under the Soylent Silver program, and the fact that it occurred during the so-called “Prismatic Renaissance” somehow makes it even worse to modern eyes. Even Flowingmane’s later triumphant breakthrough that carried Unicorn technology beyond Goblin tech for the first time is insufficient to redeem the era.

And from there, no greatness was in store for the ailing Empire. The loss of the once-great Silvamane Dynasty is perhaps best illustrated by Emperor Flatteeth Silvamane’s selection of the Griffin Prophets as his “One True Church” based not on faith but on crass business. While claims of direct goblin involvement and deal-making during these final days of the Empire are unsubstantiated, this historian finds it difficult to believe that they were not at least somewhat present, even if only on the periphery. Regardless, the specter of Soylent Silver certainly haunted the Unicornian Emperors until the last one’s dying breath.
user 13294625
Seattle, WA
Post #: 53
This may be the best historical write-up of an unicorn empire that I have ever read. Bravo, Mark.
Jamie F.
user 12636925
Bellevue, WA
Post #: 68
If you guys haven't seen this:
Ben R.
Group Organizer
Seattle, WA
Post #: 244
So worth the wait. I can *feel* their rainbow-coated plight.
user 13294625
Seattle, WA
Post #: 55
Ben: You can feel their plight... but can you taste it?

Jamie: It's not silver enough. I think they used too much meat filler.
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