The story of Christmas is mostly a story of raiding and defending. Unlike raiders, good defenders, by their very nature, aren’t renowned for their achievements.
The region’s history page records the WA delegates, allowing some of the many nations that detagged and liberated Christmas to be named. So thanks to:
Ho Ho Ho, who held the delegacy 21 times.
Niomez, who clocked up 12 occasions.
Jolly ole saint nick, eight times delegate.
Liberated christmas, who was delegate seven times..
Eist, Gulden, and Harriet jones, who all were delegate four times.
None of them did it alone. Unfortunately those that endorsed them remain anonymous. This Story of Christmas is dedicated to all who have prevented Christmas from becoming a colony over the years. God bless you. Every one.
For Unto Us A Region Is Born
In the Bleak Midwinter
Sleigh Ride In July
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlenations
We Three Kings of Orient Are
Love Came Down At Christmas
Christmas Comes Again
Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly
For Unto Us A Region Is Born
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Santas helper, the founder of Christmas, CTEd on 2 August 2008. In vacation mode, they were last active on 2 June. The Boneyard only notes that the nation was founded in "Antiquity", but given the population reached 10.387 billion, the founding would most likely have been on or before 27 October 2003 (1).
The earliest hard evidence we have of the region of Christmas existing comes from a Wayback Machine record dated 17 October 2008. It shows an RMB post lodged on 24 December 2005 by 10112: "happy non-denominational gift exchange eve!".
Jolly ole saint nick was founded 29 November 2005, which was “before the region Christmas even existed”. So there’s only a one month window in which the region could have been founded. He says "The current region is from the second founding of Christmas. The original region was refounded since the Founder had ceased-to-exist.".
He elaborated in a telegram on 1 June 2018: "The original founding of Christmas was not unlike it's current incarnation. The founder CTE'd and it became a target for raids. I was disappointed how quickly the new founder CTE'd. "Not again""
The player behind Cromarty (founded 9 October 2011) also knew something of the original region. In a July 2012 post, Cromarty states that Christmas "has existed since two thousand f*cking three". There's no suggestion that they realised the region had been refounded.
With only ten RMB posts from the end of 2005 until October 2008, the region was clearly inactive during this period. It may have been more active earlier. In July 2012, Drop Your Pants states that Christmas "used to share a founder with The Youngworld so it had a bit of a community, if only by accident :P"
From the lack of events in the "Regional Happenings" log, we know that "The Evil personality dissorder of Santas Helper" created the WFE that existed on 17 October 2008:
Gothic forum: http://www.gothicunderground.net
The dark theme of their pretitle, and the text of the WFE implies that Santas Helper was a woman and a goth. This was confirmed by a telegram on 7 May 2018 from Drop Your Pants, who was part of The Youngworld:
"I believe the region shared the same founder, Corinthe. You'd be correct on the female and goth surprisingly. Sadly I can't provide much information beyond that. We only discovered she was the founder by accident when the region was raided and she revived the founder. And yes, we've tried her old passwords (she left the game at least 9 years ago so The Youngworld founder was passed on) but sadly no hope."
Besides introducing us to Corinthe, this telegram reveals two new pieces of information. First it shows that Santas Helper CTEd more than once, so must have been founded before 27 October 2003. Second, it shows that the first known raid on Christmas happened before 24 March 2008 (the earliest event on the Activity Log).
The only surviving RMB post by Santas Helper comes on 24 November 2006: "It's gonna be a black christmas." This proved to be prophetic.
(1) Based on Amerion's research, a nation reaches 50 million population on day 18, then grows at an average 6 million per day, assuming no interim CTE period. An age of 1741 days is consistent with a population of 10.388 billion.
In the Bleak Midwinter
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
The six nations resident in the 2008 Wayback Machine record were puppets of the same player. The Boneyard shows all six CTEd between 8 October 2014 and 21 December 2014 with populations over 20 billion. Four of these puppets were still in Christmas during July 2012. Both Scrooger Codger and Ambroscus Koth believed these belonged to the same player. We've no evidence of events between October 2008 and 25 December 2009, when the NationStates site shows the earliest records, but we know these puppets’ long-standing presence prevented Christmas from CTEing.
Later the same day, Chistmas1 takes the delegacy in the first recorded raid of the region. The WFE is set to read (2):
This WFE stayed up for a full year - Wz codgers powertools posts on 12 December 2010, "How long has that WFE when there for? How many christmases?!?"
On 29 March 2010, Christmas was the Featured Region, evidenced by five RMB posts, including one by Pere noel. Note that unlike on later occasions, this event is not recorded in the regional History page. Perhaps 'features’ weren't logged back then.
On Christmas Eve 2010, Jolly Ole Saint Nick posts "Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho! My favorite day of the year!". Jolly Ole Saint Nick becomes a long standing feature of Christmas history. More is revealed about him in Appendix 1: More Christmas Stories. (Unfortunately this dispatch has hit the size limit!)
Lord bern is the second known delegate, holding the delegacy for all of Christmas day 2010. They set the WFE to read simply (4):
Throughout 2011 there are further raids. The first recorded de-tag is carried out by Frattastan ii on 29 April, and this "Merry Christmas!!" is the WFE that they restore. For quite some time, this is the standard WFE entry that gets restored when defenders detag Christmas.
The first known embassy is opened with The Black Hawks, after their raid on 13 May 2011. The embassy lasts from 16 May to 24 July.
Ninja republic takes the delegacy on the major update at the end of Christmas day 2011. Backed by Communist eraser, they are from Warzone Airspace and North Pole_. The raiders bring a flurry of activity to the RMB, more than doubling its length - not too difficult, as there had been fewer than 20 posts over the previous two years. The WFE is changed to read:
(Herman Cain seems to have tried to take the region from the raiders)
Wz codgers clowns (whose puppet is Communist Eraser, and clearly the same player as WZ Codgers Powertools and Scrooger Codger) posts in the region six hours prior to the raid. A self-confessed Gameplayer, months later they post that "Raiding Christmas in July isn't as cool doing it on Christmas". On 15 February 2015, (posting as Pollaetorian) they state that "Christmas ... wasn't really targeted at all until 2011 onwards. Christmas really become a famous battleground only after I raided it on Christmas 2011 (but since it was me, most dismissed it as a one off 'funny theme' thing - no one takes me seriously :P)".
This comment isn't quite consistent with Sedgistan's 2012 note that they like "the chance to see which raiders are dedicated/obsessed enough to take part in the annual Christmas Eve raid. Plus which defenders are crazy enough to liberate the next day." This implies that by December 2011, raiding Christmas was a firmly established annual Gameplay event.
Lebuckte, founded 13 December 2011, posts on Christmas Eve 2011. There's no indication that they were one of the raiders. Lebuckte only posts one more time, on 18 July 2012. Despite not being vocal on the RMB, their voice was later to swing the future direction of Christmas.
On 29 December, Francisco Sendrijas posts ”Ang isang taong gala. Lang daan. A wanderer. Just passing through.”. Apparently also inspired by The NationStates Bunny, Francisco returns twice in later years along with Geese and friends on their annual visits.
(2) The website http://udl.taijitu.org/wfe_index/ (the "WFE Index") records historical region WFEs from 6 June 2010 onwards. As there is no new delegate between Christmas 2009 and 2010, Chistmas1 must have created that WFE.
(3) The Winding Trail of The NationStates Bunny can be seen passing through Christmas on the Wayback Machine activity log. For those who are interested, the Wayback machine records some more of The Winding Trail.
(4) This second WFE Index record is dated 11 Jan 2011. However, as we have no knowledge of anyone else having the power to change the WFE, we can assume it was Lord Bern, and that the change was simply not recorded until this later date.
Sleigh Ride in July
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
At update on 4 July 2012, Asgard raided Christmas. Nicholas remington (Cormac) became the 18th known delegate of Christmas. As usual, Christmas had been inactive before their arrival. Ambroscus koth notes "there were 0 WA nations in Christmas and no WA Delegate, therefore we overthrew nobody. There was not a single post on the RMB for around 140 days prior to our invasion."
Scrooger Codger remembers seven nations being resident before the raid, including himself, Santa Is Satan, and four of the 2008 puppets. There must have been more though. Forum posts show that Lebukte and Christmas bunny, (whom Cormac thought were both controlled by the same player) as well as Baubles were present.
Asgard members Nicholas remington (Cormac), Numpkys (Venico), Floreque, and Nakashima were later joined by The New Inquisition and The Land Of Kings and Emperors, swelling the number of nations in the region.
Initially, this seemed like any other raid, and there was no attempt made to defend Christmas by residents.
Ambroscus koth notes that "Nobody was in charge of Christmas and the natives did not feel it necessary to defend themselves."
Not that Christmas was undefended, as the last line of the WFE showed:
Vikings in residence: HDM Keisair Isidor C. Stark
HDM Keisair Isidor C. Stark
Thank you to our friends in The New Inquisition, The Land of Kings and Emperors, DEN Central Command, and Unknown for providing support!
FENDAS STOMPED: 2
Then two weeks into the occupation, on the 19th of July, the story of Christmas took a dramatic turn. A plan was declared on the RMB and the WFE. Christmas was to be refounded. A password was set. Christmas was locked down.
The WFE read:
Keisair: HDM Isidor C. Stark
Landstjóri (Governor): Cormac Stark
Founded over two years ago by Santas helper, Christmas was annexed as a colony of Asgard on 19 July 2012. It is now the cultural hub of NationStates for Christmas and other festivities related to winter holidays.
This region is in the process of being refounded. Asgard encourages and hopes for an active and thriving native population and we invite all natives to return to Christmas after the refounding process is complete.
Asgard "telegrammed all the nations in Christmas alerting them of our plan to refound, and they are highly encouraged to come back after the deed is done. We are not excluding them, alienating them, or taking away their rights."
The RMB post read:
As you may have noticed, Christmas has been annexed as a colony of Asgard for the purpose of making it a more stable and secure region that will be culturally beneficial to its natives and to the broader NationStates community. We are in the process of refounding the region and we are asking natives to voluntarily depart the region. You are invited and encouraged to return once Christmas is refounded.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask.
Algengur (Commanding Officer) of the Asgard Imperial Armed Forces
Landstjóri (Governor) of Christmas
With password in place, defenders were unable to gain access, and Christmas was firmly under Asgard control. The refound as a colony seemed certain.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlenations
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
On 22 July, the story of Christmas took a new twist. A new battle-front was opened. In the Security Council. Without first consulting residents, Mahaj of the United Defenders League proposed a Liberation of Christmas. If the Security Council imposed a Liberation order, the password would be removed. As long as the order was in place, no regional officer could add a new password. The proposal read:
NOTING that the region of Christmas was raided by forces of Asgard, The New Inquisition, and The Land Of Kings and Emperors on July 4th, 2012;
AWARE that Christmas is a region which many people treasure due to its special name;
RECOGNIZING that while the native community in Christmas was not large and has been forcibly removed, it is still deserving of the basic rights of freedom of movement and to be free from external governance;
DISAPPOINTED by the stated goals of Asgard, which are to refound the region and keep it as a colony;
BELIEVING that the Security Council must act swifly to protect Christmas from being stolen and kept as a colony;
HEREBY Liberates Christmas.
Koth was one of the first to respond, asking fore-sightedly:
"Let me ask you this, Mahaj, what do you want to come of this liberation? A future where Christmas is constantly invaded all the time and the native community doesn't exist?"
Of the free socialist territories shared this view, saying later:
"At the end of the day, if this is passed all that happens is that Mahaj gets his badge and Christmas gets fought over like a bone between a group of dogs every year, year in and year out, until it CTEs"
Koth added, "You cannot steal something that has no owner. Nobody was in charge of Christmas and the natives did not feel it necessary to defend themselves. Being "stolen" is probably the best thing that will ever happen to this region."
Eist from TITO held a black-and-white view of the situation:
"Raiders should not be allowed to occupy and lock-down any innocent region, regardless of size and activity. To give a seemingly innocent region the chance for autonomous rule as opposed to raider oppression is something I will almost always support."
Unibot ii of the United Defenders League, held a similar view:
"I care enough about Christmas not to want it to become an imperial colony under your regime without its consent, Cormac, because I believe in regional sovereignty, independence and above all else, justice."
"You do not need to be a member of a region to know and actively protest, even intervene when outsiders aren't playing nice with said other region -- that is not only the principles behind defenderism, but also the World Assembly Security Council, humanitarianism and interregional goodwill."
"If you want to help the region, Cormac, which I sincerely doubt you do, you would stop this invasion pronto, join the region simply as a member with what friends want to help out and begin developing the region."
Bundabunda believed in a compromise solution, though with the proposal already at vote, it was never likely to be realised.
"If and when Christmas is refounded, Asgard should hand the password over to one of the two natives who oppose the "Occupation". But not to cede the region. Christmas can't defend itself adaquetly enough without:
A. Going to Asgard for help if it ever gets raided again. (Under the conditions I'd want, the natives wouldn't have to go to Asgard because they'd have the password. )
B. Constantly go back to UDL/Defender organizations for assistance under the liberation. That's if there is anyone active enough to maintain relations."
More wistful was Keronika's late submission:
”Christmas shouldn't be ruled by any one region. After this resolution passes, why not have a treaty between raiders and defenders that guarantees the protection of Christmas. A committee could be established to make Christmas into a great holiday themed region where all nations could visit or live."
Others thought the whole thing was a waste of time and effort. Nationalist state of knox expressed this well:
"Why the hell is everybody bothered by this? What's the point in raiding it in the first place, let alone defend it? Let the raiders waste their time raiding this dead puppet dump, and just forget about it."
Others questioned the motives behind the proposal. Fear the navy said:
"Mahaj has stated on IRC that he writes these proposals to increase his SC Resolution count. Any proposal by him should be taken with a grain of salt. I just don't understand why these SC Proposals have to be so poor in quality if the reasoning is sound."
Delegate vinage said:
"I, Lothar Prolark, World Assembly Delegate and Vice President of Europeia will be voting NAY on this proposal after a 2/12 internal vote decided said action. The resolution is inaccurate to what has transpired and, well, this and the messages sent along to Delegates smack of point-scoring rather than an actual concern for the region. Perhaps the author is upset they won't get an invite to Christmas for the festivities?"
Skyrim diplomacy was also against:
"I will be voting AGAINST this proposal in my power as WA Delegate of Skyrim. The lack of native activity in the region in question gives our delegation no reason to remove the password at this time. Furthermore, we see this Liberation proposal as a last-ditch effort by the UDL to "save" another region they could not protect in the first place."
Fynnbays was cynical about motives too:
"To me, this is sounding like another AoSS. [Alliance of Socialist States]
situation. The UDL are just wanting to hold the region to ransom so the region will be dependent on the defender groups in the future for protection."
Aimed at Mahaj, and, as an afterthought, Asgard, Naivetry wrote:
"So, what gives you the right to decide what's best for a region without actually consulting the natives? You just jumped in and did what you wanted, without bothering to ask how any of them felt about it."
The "natives" did eventually express their opinions. First, Scrooger Codger:
"It's kind of funny watching everyone here trying to define what natives want in a region where the 4 oldest nations are puppets of the same guy, while the other 3 (including this one) mainly exist to be themed nations who wanted to match the region name.
With that in mind, how are you supposed to think the serious "gameplayer mindset" you all expect, when your entire reason for playing the nation is for such a casual/frivolous reason?
However if you must insist.... I want to continue playing this nation nonchalantly, logging in once every 60 days to not CTE, not really caring...until Christmas where I can spam a few 'Bah Humbugs"...and then not care for other 360 days of year...and repeat."
Lebuckte, who had been in the region since at least December 2011, was more opinionated, expressing dislike at both options:
"I am a native of Christmas. I do not want it liberated. That being said, I do not want the region to be refounded. I do not want the region to be passworded. I do not want myself and others ejected from the region. Therefore, I support this proposal."
Having this native (who had only twice posted on the RMB) coming out in favour would help swing other delegates in favour of the proposal.
Christmas bunny said a day later:
"I'm not against having the region refounded. I am against having the region refounded by a foreign power who decided they want it to be part of their 'empire'. I would much rather prefer that someone native to Christmas was allowed to refound it. I support the liberation proposal."
Cormac suspected Lebuckte was also Christmas Bunny because of their coincident login times. The similar style of their forum posts supports this theory. The Boneyard confirms it, showing founding dates of 13 and 25 December 2011 respectively, and CTE dates of 18 and 17 January 2017. Note that Christmas Bunny was no more active on the RMB than Lebuckte.
Baubles, when they posted, let loose with their anger:
"You yourself forcibly ejected me from my home region of.... Christmas, four days ago. And as I'm currently locked out of my HOME region with no way of getting back in, I have no option but to support this 'liberation'. So this is me, telling you that I am opposed to your refounding plan."
"You first wanted to talk to me about the future of Christmas, then just five days later it would appear that you have decided what the future of Christmas should be...a colony of Asgard. I know I didn't ask to become a colony... even if you could provide us with security"
Until now, the majority of votes were against the proposal. Then the feeders started to vote. For. The decisive vote came from Ananke II, the delegate of 10000 Islands, who wielded 820 votes in favour.
With the vote going against him, Cormac vented:
"We have put more time and energy into the region over the past three weeks than its "natives," if you can even realistically call them that, have put into it in the past year or more. I've been online at every update for three weeks -- even after the password was imposed -- and several people from Asgard have spent almost every minute of our NS time arguing against this resolution for the past 3 days. Meanwhile, Baubles over there didn't even notice he or she was sitting in The Rejected Realms until four days later. Now, explain to me why Baubles has the right to make these big decisions and we don't.
In my mind, the only actual native left in Christmas was Scrooger Codger -- which is ironic in that defenders would probably dismiss him as a non-native since he once led a raid of the region. Yet he was the only one of the "natives" who really brought any kind of life whatsoever to the region at any point in the past year."
Calaloo took a new angle on the debate, focused on the wording of the proposal.
"I am concerned that the World Assembly may by giving undue weight to the liberation of Christmas due to the significance of its name."
"Giving extra weight to this nation's liberation due, even in part, to the cultural and/or religious significance of the name "Christmas" is morally dubious at best. For that reason, on behalf of the people of Calaloo, we cannot vote in favor of this resolution to liberate Christmas at this time."
Koth had criticised the wording of the proposal shortly after it was written. Cormac returned to this angle in a last ditch attempt to save his plans.
"Neglected during this philosophical discussion have been some technical issues with the resolution itself:
- The liberation resolution states "that the region of Christmas was raided by forces of Asgard, The New Inquisition, and The Land of Kings and Emperors on July 4th, 2012." While TNI and The LKE provided support after update, neither were present at update making this statement false. If the Security Council passes this resolution, it will be enshrining false accusations against two regions into interregional law.
- The liberation resolution states that "the native community in Christmas . . . has been forcibly removed." Again, this is not the case. There are six native nations remaining in the region. While we believe that four of these nations belong to one person, there are at least three natives remaining in the region -- again making this liberation resolution inaccurate.
- The liberation resolution misspells the word "swiftly" as "swifly." While I wouldn't normally quibble over a typographical error, the World Assembly has come to expect a higher quality in its proposals and this resolution does not meet those standards."
On 26 July 2012, the resolution passed with 5,571 votes for, 4,040 against.
However, removing the password didn't remove the raiders. Cormac’s endorsement count of nearly 25 made his position difficult to topple.
Vanhania noted cynically:
"Good job at succeeding in liberating Christmas but failing to actually liberate It…Its sad if you wish to liberate a region be ready to follow through. It seems like they were right about you posting this proposal to raise your proposal count :3"
Faced with the decision whether to keep holding out against defenders, or to cede the region, on 30 July, Asgard chose to leave Christmas. Cormac left this parting RMB post:
We are leaving because it was the will of the interregional community that the natives be given a chance to decide the future of their region. We are most certainly not leaving because of the UDL or other defender organizations, none of whom have presented any resistance to our invasion or occupation in the past 26 days. We will leave now to give the natives the chance to determine the future of this region, but we fully expect a few months from now to find it exactly as it was before we came here: inactive and prone to constant invasion.
That will be the legacy of the Security Council, of the UDL, and of the natives who supported Liberate Christmas. But it will not be our legacy. Goodbye Christmas.
We Three Kings of Orient Are
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
The Liberation of Christmas was to have a long lasting impact on the region. In later forum posts and interviews, more detail came out about the raiding players behind the puppets.
"Koth and Venico participated in nearly every raid that Asgard engaged in. New to the game, Venico stayed up in IRC with me for every major update during the month-long occupation of Christmas. It was Venico who helped me send telegrams to Delegates when we were campaigning against Liberate Christmas. .... It was Koth who took charge of handling the debate on the Security Council forum."
Cormac Stark, 6 Oct 2012
“If Durk had never founded The Imperial Legion. I probably never would have found out about raiding, and I definitely wouldn't have met people like Cormac and made good friends with the group from Exshaw who ended up founding Asgard. Without Asgard, I wouldn't have ever gotten Venico to play NationStates, which would mean that The Brotherhood of Malice and the OFO would have never existed.
Not to mention that Cormac probably would have ended up in a completely different place in the game, and he's by far a more influential player than myself.”
Ambroscus Koth, 15 February 2015
Thank you for having me. I was shocked that I was asked for your first interview. To answer your question we have to go to the origins of the Brotherhood in a region called Asgard. This was my first region, my first home, where I first started raiding, and funnily enough where I got my first taste of the Security Council.We raided Christmas in July of 2012 and after a long hold, we put a password up. However, Liberate Christmas was passed swifly (sic) enough and the raid was over like that. Done.
It was about a month after that, when Cormac went defender (it was shocking the first time I swear), that Asgard fractured and split. The main thing that always caused stress in Asgard was the political end of it while the military and cultural sides provided a relief from that. I approached Koth about making a back up plan and the first thing we decided was that the region would avoid politics. There was no reason to avoid culture, that was fun. It bonds people and gives them something to do when they're WA immobile or between updates. To eliminate a part of the region which is dedicated to relaxing and enjoying your friends, well that's just silly.
3) Recently, you orchestrated a public shaming, for lack of a better term, of the World Assembly Security Council via a mock proposal intended to show that Security Council has some very large potential flaws to be exploited. What was your specific goal with this proposal, and have you achieved your desired outcome?
Specifically? I wanted a way to win in St Abbaddon. A refound would be ludicrous and would require us sitting in the region for six months twiddling our thumbs. No one wanted that. So I came up with a way to turn the region into Warzone Abbaddon and write the operation into the history books. I call that a win every day of the week. And if it's repealed? Well that's two Security Council numbers attached to our mission. Count that as a double win.
Another goal with this proposal was to bring attention to how broken the Liberation system is and how easily the Security Council can encroach on Gameplay with very little effort. This proposal shows how as long as something sounds good intentioned, it will pass. Even if we publicly announce our intention with this proposal is to ruin the region, we still win by a landslide because "Liberate..." sounds good.
4) Your main criticism with the above proposal, in my eyes, is that the Security Council is largely far too eager to pass to pre-emptive Liberations and show Defender-leaning tendencies. Now, being an ardent SC stalwart that I am, I would counter to say that this isn't to be heaped on a bias or favoritism from the SC, but the approving Delegates and their inattentiveness to the subject of proposals. Your response? Is that a fair counterargument?
I think it's a bit of both. I think given the margin most Liberations pass by compared to Commendations, Condemnations, and GA proposals, an argument can be made that many WA Delegates and voters tend to be biased toward defenders. But the lack of scrutiny of these proposals is also a problem. In this case they didn't even bother to look into who the author was, if the natives wanted it, or to see if the region was even griefed in the slightest.
Well, I started in a n00bish imperialist region most people probably won't remember, called Exshaw. Its Founder was Durkadurkiranistan II, whom many people know simply as Durk and whom older Feederites know as John Ashcroft Land or JAL. I had no idea at the time the reputation he had for couping The North Pacific, but I suppose in hindsight given my own history it's appropriate that I started out in a region he founded. Exshaw thrived for a little while in 2012 while script recruitment was legal on an experimental basis, but when it was made illegal again, Exshaw pretty much crumbled. I briefly tried founding my own region, Asgard, but it only lasted a few months. I landed in the United Defenders League, The North Pacific, and Osiris, ended up focusing mostly on Osiris, and the rest is pretty much history from there.
2. Describe your defender days for us, what was your favorite moment as a defender? Have a favorite mission you did? Would you ever return to being a defender?
My defender days were pretty great. I probably should have stuck with defending, but hindsight is 20/20, as they say. As odd as it sounds, my favorite moments from defending were probably the detagging operations we used to run when I was in the UDL. Most people didn't much care for detagging, and there were times I got tired of it too, but I had a lot of fun detagging with Ravania during minor updates. He had a unique way of making what otherwise seemed like a chore fun and competitive. As far as favorite operations, it's been so long now I'm not sure I could pin down a specific operation as my favorite. Anytime we successfully liberated a region was exciting and exhilarating. I probably wouldn't go back to defending in terms of making it my alignment again, but I wouldn't be averse to helping out with defending operations or anything.
3. Now you’ve also been a raider, tells us about that, what was your favorite moment as a raider? Have a favorite raid you did? Do you currently consider yourself a raider?
My favorite moment as a raider would still have to be Asgard's raid of Christmas back in July 2012. It was Asgard's first successful raid and the first time I was point, and the ensuing battle over Liberate Christmas was a lot of political fun too. Most raids during my time with The Brotherhood of Malice were a good time too. Really the best raids were the ones that I got to do mostly with my friends, I never much cared for the bigger raids involving a lot of regions, because there were invariably people on those raids I didn't like. I've never gotten along particularly well with most raider and imperialist regions. To answer your last question, no, I don't consider myself raider, nor defender. I would say I consider myself neutral, but that's boring, and independence has a whole connotation I don't like. I consider myself Cormac. I'm an alignment of one, really. Like with defending though, I'm not averse to raiding. I do oppose griefing though.
4. You are the Editor-in-Chief of the hard-hitting award winning and sometime conversational Miniluv Messenger, what made you start this newspaper? Have a favorite piece you’ve written? Is Big Brother still watching Gameplay?
It started mostly as a joke after the #miniluv IRC channel was exposed and everyone insisted it was some kind of gameplay conspiracy with me at the center, when in actuality at the time it was just a chat group with my close NS friends. Over time The Miniluv Messenger became more of a legitimate newspaper, and became famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for exposés like the article that exposed Operation Brave Toaster in the South Pacific. It was also probably the main source of resistance propaganda during Stujenske's 2015 coup of Lazarus. My favorite piece will probably always be the one I just mentioned, Operation Brave Toaster: Exposed. The impact it had on TSP really can't be overstated, even years later. For better or worse, TSP is in large part the way it is today because of that article and the impact it had on independent hegemony in TSP. Undermining Belschaft opened the door for Glen-Rhodes and others to push TSP in a more defender direction. I'm not sure that outcome thrills me, but it was still better than the alternative that Belschaft & Co. were pursuing at the time.
Big Brother is always watching gameplay. ;) I'm sure The Miniluv Messenger will be back at some point!
5. You’ve spent a lot of time in the various GCRs, including having been Pharaoh of Osiris three times. Describe your time there, what was your favorite moment as Pharaoh? Looking back would you have done anything different? Would you ever pursue becoming a GCR delegate again?
My favorite moment as Pharaoh ironically happened before I was ever Delegate. It was the end of Gatesville's month-long coup of Osiris. Even though the end of that coup was reached through diplomacy rather than military liberation, it was still very satisfying to see that coup end after spending months as a first-time Delegate fighting a coup. There hadn't been a coup of that level of seriousness since Empire's coup of The East Pacific in 2008, so very few people still active in the game really had any idea what they were doing when it came to fighting a GCR coup. There were many times I didn't think the coup would end, so when it did I was relieved Gatesville hadn't kept Osiris, and it was a major accomplishment for me. It was also the last Sinker coup to be defeated. Every Sinker coup since has been successful, which I think illustrates how dire the situation was for us during that coup.
Things I would have done different: Almost everything after that. I regret stepping down as Pharaoh in September 2013 and supporting Astarial's dissolution of the Kemetic Republic of Osiris, which eventually lead to the Osiris Fraternal Order in December 2013, and then to another coup in April 2016. All of that really paved the way for the less active situation that exists in Osiris right now, as well as normalizing subversion and coups to the point that raiders (which I also extend to include imperialists and raider-aligned independents) now control four Feeders and Sinkers through autocratic or oligarchical regimes. I don't think you would have Wolfist Lazarus, for example, if there hadn't first been the Osiris Fraternal Order. So I very much regret all of that, the impact it had on Osiris, and the impact it had on gameplay. I hope eventually these trends will be reversed, and I would like to see that start in Osiris. By their own free will, of course -- I'm not talking about using force. If I've learned anything it's that you can't coup your way to a better region. It just doesn't work out like that.
Would I pursue becoming a GCR Delegate again? Probably not, but you never know with me. I would really like an opportunity at some point to have a normal tenure as Delegate of a GCR just to prove I can actually do that. :P But my days as a GCR Delegate are probably behind me, and that's maybe for the best.
6. If you sold your soul to me, I mean to the Devil, what would you ask for?
An unlimited bank account. You probably thought I would say something NS-related but I mean, really, money. Because obviously.
Love Came Down At Christmas
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
The occupation may have been finished, but the conversation about it wasn't. Interest in the region remained high, likely because "Christmas is a region which many people treasure due to its special name".
The Embassy of Asgard published their summary of events on 1 August 2012.
From the Office of the Algengur
On 4 July 2012, the AIAF invaded the region Christmas. With the support of The New Inquisition, The Land of Kings and Emperors, DEN Central Command, and Unknown, the AIAF successfully occupied Christmas for 26 days without any attempt to end the occupation by any defender region or organization.
On 19 July 2012, password protection was imposed upon Christmas and it was announced that the region would be annexed as a colony of Asgard for the purpose of providing a stable and secure home to its natives and bringing about the cultural revitalization of the region. In response to these developments, a liberation resolution was introduced into the WA Security Council by a prominent member of the United Defenders League. Following a hard fought battle, Liberate Christmas passed by a vote of 5,571 to 4,040 on 27 July 2012.
Responding to the interregional community's desire that the natives of Christmas should be given the opportunity to determine the future of their region, AIAF forces voluntarily withdrew from Christmas on 30 July 2012 and cleared the regional ban list to allow natives to return to the region. Following this voluntary withdrawal, defender forces have occupied Christmas to suppress the only activity the Regional Message Board had seen in five months and to impose their will upon the region. Given that these actions were carried out by defender forces rather than natives, they would seem to contradict the defender credo of native self-determination and to defy the will of the interregional community as expressed by Liberate Christmas. What a surprise.
Galiantus said: By passing "Liberate Christmas" you killed that chance, you killed any hope of Christmas having a chance to grow, recruit, and become great before the holiday. As a founderless region, all it has done is provided entertainment to invaders every holiday season. Defenders are good because they try to keep regions in control of natives. Defenders are bad when they stifle growing communities in their attempts to protect regions. Invaders are inherantly bad because they eject natives, place passwords, and take over regions. They are good because they sometimes give regions like Christmas a chance to become great. Defenders. I stand with you on the issue of regional control. However, I stand with the invaders whenever they do something like this; it revitalizes regions, gives them the life-blood of their existence which is activity. Please consider what you have done and give Christmas a chance to grow."
"Defenders. What you have failed to realise is that there are a few things more important than keeping a region raider-free. Where is the value in NS if people don't interact? Where is the value if there is no culture or pride? None. What Asgard was trying to do was very noble compared to some of their other actions. They have, or at least most of them have, realized that the existance of a region is only important if it is being used to promote NationStates, make it a fun place, and keep people playing. If Christmas was to be refounded it would have a chance at being worth more than just a desirable name. It would be a community, and that's what matters.
By passing "Liberate Christmas" you killed that chance, you killed any hope of Christmas having a chance to grow, recruit, and become great before the holiday. As a founderless region, all it has done is provided entertainment to invaders every holiday season.
Defenders are good because they try to keep regions in control of natives. Defenders are bad when they stifle growing communities in their attempts to protect regions. Invaders are inherantly bad because they eject natives, place passwords, and take over regions. They are good because they sometimes give regions like Christmas a chance to become great. Defenders. I stand with you on the issue of regional control. However, I stand with the invaders whenever they do something like this; it revitalizes regions, gives them the life-blood of their existence which is activity. Please consider what you have done and give Christmas a chance to grow."
With Christmas Liberated by the Security Council, the first defenders moved in and detagged the WFE. The message hadn’t changed since January 2011, but Asgard had left an additional legacy - the colour scheme.
A large number of raiders remained in the region, and, invited by a resident, TITO moved in to complete the liberation.
Cormac said: "As is abundantly clear from a look back at the regional history and the regional message board, Christmas is only active when it's raided and I see no signs of that changing anytime soon. I'm sure activity will fall off once the TITO raid detagging is complete."
During the occupation, Christmas had a population of 32, 25 of these raiders. A month later, the population was still up at 20, mostly new nations, some of whom started to build a small community. Jolly Ole Saint Nick had returned (see Appendix 1: More Christmas Stories), and was joined by Nisse, Dasher Dancer Prancer Vixen, and Bears of the North Pole. Liberated christmas also arrived, who, months later, revealed themself to be none other than Cormac.
Sichuan pepper dreamt of a brighter future for Christmas: "I would like Christmas to be the one founderless region we all agree to not use as a battle ground."
"It is very rare that everyone can work together. We saw it can be done with the latest April fools prank where a great deal of NS were united. Christmas could be the one place that we can be civil and co-exist."
"It would require the major invaders to give support as well as defenders."
But they were brought back down to earth by Rachel Anumia: "You likely couldn't even get the defenders to agree. With Liberate Christmas, there were defenders who voted for it on the basis that it was a well known battleground."
There was support for the principle though. Ravania Prima said : "As I see it 'Christmas' should remain founderless and keep the liberation. Just to make sure it will never belong to one single group or person. To the idea of making it a meeting place for NS-ers on Christmas-day, I give my full support and will attend if invited."
Manegarmr responded: "If you DO get an agreement here's an early gift:"
Christmas Comes Again
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Less than a week after Asgard left Christmas, a motion to repeal the Liberation order was proposed by The Aztec Allience. Although motivations differed, raiders and defenders agreed on the answer.
Cormac "surprisingly, and speaking only for myself and not on behalf of the government of Asgard, I'm opposed to repealing the liberation resolution at this time. The will of the interregional community as expressed in the debate over Liberate Christmas was to give the natives of Christmas an opportunity to determine the future of their region. Asgard withdrew to give the natives that opportunity. Repealing the liberation resolution now would only make Christmas vulnerable to refounding by a different region or organization, perhaps one with less noble intentions.
I'm firmly convinced that the so-called "natives" of Christmas are puppets with no interest in improving the region's future. A majority of the interregional community, however, wasn't convinced of that. Let's leave the liberation resolution in place for a while, if for no other reason than to find out who was right."
Tim-Opolis was "surprisingly opposed to the Repeal. Liberate Christmas is one of the only Liberation Proposals I have ever voted FOR on.
If the Liberation is Repealed then the region will once again become open to being to being colonized by imperialist groups. Whether these groups would have good goals or not, I do enjoy the traditional Christmas raid that happens every year... And I find it much more amusing than anything that could come from a colonized or password-protected region."
On 3 November, the question came up again when Thehaloforrunners asked the international community "Would you vote for the liberation of Christmas?"
This prompted Skyrim Diplomacy to submit the repeal proposal they had drafted in August.
Cormac, now turned defender, said: "I find it odd and a bit ironic that this repeal is being proposed during another occupation of Christmas".
Further discussion ensued before Cormac noted: "I would just like to point out that Christmas has been liberated -- shout out to the Founderless Regions Alliance! -- and that the guy who totally wasn't a raider, Thehaloforrunners, has now relocated to The Jesuit Nations, the puppet dump and jump point for DEN Central Command and The Black Hawks [known raider organisations]."
And to ice the Christmas cake, Sedgistan added: "Not to mention, he was multying. Naughty boy."
“15 hours ago: The Santa States of Ho Ho Ho ejected and banned The Colony of East Sicily from the region.
15 hours ago: The Santa States of Ho Ho Ho banned The Republic of British Commandos from the region.
15 hours ago: The Santa States of Ho Ho Ho banned The Silver Kingdom of Abacathea from the region.
I admire the brass pair it took to waltz in here and ask the Security Council to repeal the liberation resolution protecting the region you just raided, I really do.”
And a fourth, by Charax on 24 December 2013
Elke and Elba highlighted some of the practical issues:
“I'm somewhat for the repeal but the question is: who is going to lead the refounding operation? Even if natives were to do it, are they organised enough to pull it off? Also; given for a region with 40-odd nations, having a single inactive member can destroy the whole operation.”
Mocking Mahaj who had also posted, Venico quipped: “I would rather see Christmas refounded by anyone than be swifly (teehee) plunged into war every few months.”
NEPHMIR the glorious Eternal Knight,
HAD some very shiny clothes,
AND if you ever saw it,
YOU would even say it glows.
ALL of the other raiders,
USED to laugh and call him names,
THEY never let poor Nephmir,
JOIN in any raider games.
THEN one foggy Christmas eve, Santa (didn't) came to say (ho ho ho)
"NEPHMIR with your armor so bright,
WON'T you save Christmas tonight!"
THEN how the SC loved him,
AND they shouted out with glee,
NEPHMIR the glorious Eternal Knight,
WILL go down in history,
DUN dun du duun duun duun duun, du du du duuuuuuuunnnnnnn *cymbals*,
Hereby repeals Security Council Resolution #95.
(sorry, couldn't help myself, and I am extremely sorry if anyone has done this before)
The fact that repeal proposals had become a joke didn't stop a further attempt by New brussels on 3 October 2014. Bears Armed notes that this "came verrry close to quorum after repeated submissions, reaching more than 90 approvals on what turned out to be the penultimate try, but was then thwarted by a de-approval TG campaign that I carried out -- using Bears of the North Pole -- which meant that on the next try it never even broke past 30... at which point its author gave up. You can see a copy of the TG used at
An interesting twist came on 23 November 2014. Nephmir proposed a second liberation, which would double the difficulty of repeals.
Evaluating Christmas' status,
Treating Christmas as a region without any remaining natives, instead being opened to the entire international community as a region open to all,
Encouraging nations to freely come and go peacefully without concerns of foreign aggression,
Realizing that the region of Christmas already has a Liberation in place by this council through SC#95: "Liberate Christmas",
Noticing that despite the presence of a Liberation, this region has been ruthlessly invaded many times without end,
Approving sanctions for the region's protection and well-being as viewed by the international community, the same community this region has its borders open to,
Listing the organizations that have raided Christmas, despite the presence of a Liberation already in place, including but not limited to:
Wishing to provide additional protection from this council, and to turn Christmas into a less appealing target for foreign invasions,
Attempting to fulfill this council's purpose of "spreading international peace" by
Rendering the region of Christmas to be virtually indestructible,
Hereby Liberates Christmas.
The discussion thread ends with Nephmir's comment: “To be honest, I'm surprised no one has noticed what I've done yet... and why it's written in an odd fashion.”
Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly
-Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
Raiding Christmas has never gotten old. On 18 June 2016, The Neutral Ground - an Open Discussion Thread included this chat:
Tom Vasentius HYDRA: “Awww but invading Christmas during the Holiday Season is fun!”
Drop Your Pants: “Every holiday though?”
Valrifell: “It's tradition! It's the NS GP version of decorating a Christmas tree. Just replace "tree" with WFE.”
Between Christmas 2009 and 30 April 2018, there were 319 delegacies, held by 243 unique nations. On 891 of these 3048 days (over 29% of the time), the WFE displayed raider tags. Although a small community had emerged in the region after July 2012, the frequency of tag raids increased dramatically. 300 of the delegacies were held in the six years after the Asgard occupation. The heaviest tag raiding was when The Black Riders were active. Between 3 December 2012 and 11 April 2015, TBR set up embassies from Christmas 12 times.
Most of these raids had no lasting impact on the appearance of Christmas. A detailed record of tags can be found in appendix 2 and appendix 3. More interesting is how the appearance of the region developed, and of course, who held Christmas on Christmas Day.
Gulden spent time detagging Christmas, first appearing as delegate in early December 2013. Defenders held the region for Christmas 2013, keeping the same short but colourful WFE. Nicholas von sinterklaas held the delegacy from 24th, passing it to Gulden on the 28th. Despite their delegacy, Gulden doesn't seem to have been part of the community, never posting on the RMB until March 2014. By this time the small community had become much less active.
On 16 December 2014, a challenge to hold Christmas on Christmas Day was laid down on the Gameplay forum. But Gulden was already in there, holding the delegacy from 15 December 2014 to 5 January 2015.
An obvious X-mas plan conducted by United berserkers of
Military Government to Santa's Little Raiders
The Morbid Elves of TRR underground
A Group Coalition of Grinches
Bloody Merry Christmas!
Rejected Presents: 3
"Raiders need their Christmas too!"
They made this this post on the RMB too:
No one could have foreseen the raider legion. (Except the 50-odd fenda pups)
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that tomorrow they would still be there.
But your expectations proved wrong, my sweet native friends,
And I'm sorry, but now its too late to make your amends.
You've been naughty this year, every last one,
"Saving regions", and spoiling the poor raiders' fun.
When I heard of this regions evil attire,
I yelled: "NO MORE!", justice, here and now, we desire.
So, enjoy your Christmas, next year be nice,
For this year, enjoying comes with a price.
Off-season, but very worthy of mention, from 21 May 2016 Christmas was occupied by The Reaper Council. Other regions supported the operation, bringing the biggest burst in regional activity as measured by RMB posts. First Mall santa held the delegacy, before passing it to Alpha Force. They opened eight embassies with the regions involved in the occupation, though no embassy was opened with Conch Kingdom, whose Naval Reserve also played a supporting role.
The RMB read:
None can hope to stand against the mighty armies of the Grim Reaper
Scythe Branch Leader Dragonslayer3927
Death Branch Leader The melon empire
Cloak Branch Leader Ducklausin
War Branch Leader Greats of greatlandia
Colossus subbranch leader Hatville2018
Deceit Subbranch Leader Gucci empire
Special Assistance was provided by our fabulous allies Irisania and Sacred Order of Fire and The Reformed Union of Soviet Socialists
Oh and Pigeonakia stole Christmas
Over two weeks in, on 7th June, Alpha Force had an idea. Having built up influence, the officers were able to eject the long-standing natives. Next day, the plan was ready: “Now we got a method. Now we got to pair up officers with the right targets starting tonight.”
Rulden ”formulated a Friendly/Hostile target list for this mess of a region. Hostiles are organized into two sections, Tier 1 Targets, and Tier 2 Targets. Tier 1 Targets are WA members who have not endorsed any one of the Security Officers. Tier 2 Targets are all unrecognized nations that aren't WA members and aren't confirmed to support us raiders.”
Although implied by the ejections, there’s no mention on the RMB of a plan to refound until 24 June. The Liberation order of course, made a refound harder, though not all the raiders were aware of this. Graale said: “we are all ejecting nativesso we can refound, while or WAD, Alpha Force saves up to password protect. Then we only need to Eject, and not Banject.”
Next day, Rhyphix reports ”Enemy Chatter Detected”. He later says: ”I've got another 27 WA nations moving in. For enforcement.”
Jolly ole saint nick, who frequently held the delegacy throughout 2016, successfully held it again for Christmas. This time he stayed delegate for 83 days, the longest delegacy to that point. Speardame from The Invaders held the delegacy briefly on Christmas Eve, but not for long.
Jolly Ole Saint Nick had been working to improve the WFE. On 27 November 2016, the first external links were added.
He says "Adding the new links didn't seem enough with our MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! all alone. So I pondered. It seemed to me that Charlie Brown fit the place between the holiday celebration and the faiths involved. Christmas in NS should be for everyone, religious or not, raider or defender or otherwise. Respect should be given to all. And who can argue with "on earth peace, good will toward men" for Christmas? (I suppose Bears Armed might say it should say 'towards all sentient creatures' or something similar to be inclusive - a fair point in NS Christmas as a multi-species region.)"
So on 22 Dec 2016, more links were added, along with the Linus quote:
| Countdown to Christmas | Christmas Music | | Santa Tracker | Norad Tracks Santa | Rudolf Racer Game | Christmas Fireplace
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Jolly Ole Saint Nick also set a Welcome telegram:
Welcome to Christmas, %NATION%!
Feel free to pull up an igloo and make yourself at home. Christmas is a casual, neutral region, filled with nations of all types. If you'd like to know a little more about Christmas, take a look at the dispatch, A Brief History of Christmas.
A Happy Merry Christmas to you!
Snow stag also helped keep the season bright, running polls from December 2016 through to June 2017.
By summer 2017, Christmas was inactive again. Little St Nick took advantage, and installed themself as a regional officer. Over the next few months, various new Christmas themed flags were hoisted over the region, and some new polls ran. In October, a “Nightmare Before Christmas” theme was set on the WFE. In December, the regional flag was changed daily, being used as an advent calendar.
Kawaii Schoolgirl’s fondness for Christmas inspired them to bring The West Pacific Armed Forces for the 2017 season. Backed by dozens of nations from the North Pacific and Europeia, raiders didn't stand a chance. Jul Hund (a puppet of the recently retired TWP delegate Big Bad Badger) held the delegacy from 8 to 30 December.
Little St Nick updated the WFE in time for Christmas Day. A tree was added, and presents placed under it.
_____/ .'o'. \
____\. o . ' ./
__ \. ' . ' o . ' ./
_ \o ' . o . ' . o ./
\. ' . ' o . ' . ' . o ./
🎁 🛍 🎁 🛍 🎁
Click on the presents!
What's This? 🎃 Oogie Boogie 🎃 Countdown to Christmas
👻You know, I think this Christmas thing
Is not as tricky as it seems! 🎃
But why should they have all the fun?
💀It should belong to anyone!
Not anyone, in fact, but me!
Why, I could make a Christmas tree! 🌲
And there's not a reason I can find,
🌟I couldn't have a Christmastime!
I bet I could improve it, too! 😈
And that's exactly what I'll do!
- Jack Skellington
On 5 January 2018, the 12th night of Christmas, Little St Nick put away his decorations, and the “Charlie Brown” WFE was restored along with the ‘candy-cane’ flag.
A few raids later, Earthbound Immortal Squad, who previously detagged Christmas on 18 April 2015, moved to Christmas permanently, and took up the delegacy on 20 April 2018. A period of embassy building commenced, setting the spirit of Christmas yet to come.