by Max Barry

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by The Star Fox of Jar Wattinree. . 110 reads.

The Sword Logic

Gameplay is a beast.

The nation is made from tiny stuff, from near-nothings. From atoms swimming through a blood of crackling sparks. Simple, eternal Rules shape Gameplay. The largest GCR is ruled by principles of law and order. Personas are slaves to charge and to chance. And this is why Gameplay feels inexhaustible, eternal.

No government complains about its death. Nations are the problem. Nations can be woven from flesh or circuit or thoughtful light. Origins don't matter. But small, half-smart nations have a fierce talent for denying the inevitable, for balking and complaining about injustices that don't exist and consequences that should be borne in silence.


NationStates Gameplay, my King, my friend. Kick back. Relax. Shrug off that armor, set down that blade. Roll your burdened shoulders and let down your guard. This is a place of life, a place of peace.

Out in the world we ask a simple, true question. A question like, can I destroy you, can I rip your persona apart? Tell me the truth. For if I don’t ask, someone will ask it of me.

And they call us toxic. Toxic! Toxicity means ‘socially maladaptive.’ We are adaptiveness itself.

Ah, NSGP, how do we explain it to them? The game is not built on the laws they love. Not on friendship, but on mutual interest. Not on peace, but on victory by any means. Gameplay is run by extinction, by extermination, by R/D bursts burning up a thousand regions, by howling mobs eating up infant governments. And if nations are to live, if anything is to survive through the end of all things, it will live not by the smile but by the sword, not in a soft place but in a hard hell, not in the rotting bog of artificial paradise but in the cold hard self-verifying truth of that one ultimate arbiter, the only judge, the power that is its own metric and its own source—existence, at any cost. Strip away the lies and truces and delaying tactics they call ‘civilization’ and this is what remains, this beautiful shape.

The fate of everything is made like this, in the collision, the test of one praxis against another. This is how the game changes: one way meets a second way, and they discharge their weapons, they exchange their words and markets, they contest and in doing so they petition each other for the right to go on being something, instead of nothing. This is Gameplay figuring out what it should be in the end.

And it is majestic. Majestic. It is the only thing that can be true in and of itself.

And it is what I am.


This war is all there is for you.

What else do you have? You walk among GCRs and UCRs, a nation lost in time. Your only purpose is the struggle.

Does it seem unfair? To be brought back into this, the end of days, the long dwindling exhalation of an ancient corpse? You were at peace. Now you are a dead husk charged with war. Do you remember anything of freedom?

Fight on, then. The war is everything.

But consider the choices before you.


This is our message to the things that we will kill.

A region which believes that a good existence can be invented through games of civilization and through laws of conduct is doomed by that belief. They will die in terror. The lawless and the ruthless will drag them down to die. Gameplay will erase their monuments.

But the one that sets out to understand the one true law and to perform worship of that law will by that decision gain control over their future. They will gain hope of ascendance and by their ruthlessness they will assist Gameplay in arriving at its perfect shape.

Only by eradicating from ourselves all clemency for the weak can we emulate and become that which endures forever. This is inevitable. Gameplay offers only one choice and it is between ruthlessness and extinction.

We stand against the fatal lie that a region built on laws of conduct may ever resist the action of the truly free. This is the slavery of the GCR and the UCR, the crime of creation, in which labor is wasted on the construction of false shapes.

If you choose to fight us, fight us with everything you have, with all your laws and games. We will prove our argument thus.


I drive myself to the edge of madness trying to explain the truth.

It's so simple. Elegant like a knife point. It explains—this is not hyperbole, this is the farthest thing from exaggeration—EVERYTHING.

But you lay it out and they stare at you like you've just been exhaling dust. Maybe they're missing some underlying scaffold of truth. Maybe they are all propped on a bed of lies that must be burned away.

Why does anything exist?

No no no no no don't reach for that word. There's no 'reason'. That's teleology and teleology will stitch your eyelids shut.

Why do we have atoms? Because atomic matter is more stable than the primordial broth. Atoms defeated the broth. That was the first war. There were two ways to be and one of them won. And everything that came next was made of atoms.

Atoms made stars. Stars made galaxies. Worlds simmered down to rock and acid and in those smoking primal seas the first living molecule learned to copy itself. All of this happened by the one law, the blind law, which exists without mind or meaning. It's the simplest law but it has no worshipers here (out there, though, out there — !)


Imagine three great nations under three great queens. The first queen [Order] writes a great book of law and her rule is just. The second queen [NationStates] builds a high tower and her people climb it to see the stars. The third queen [Gameplay] raises an army and conquers everything.

The future belongs to one of these queens. Her rule is harshest and her people are unhappy. But she rules.

This explains everything, understand? This is why the universe is the way it is, and not some other way. Existence is a game that everything plays, and some strategies are winners: the ability to exist, to shape existence, to remake it so that your descendants—molecules or stars or people or ideas—will flourish, and others will find no ground to grow.

And as the universe ticks on towards the close, the great players will face each other. In the next round there will be three queens and all of them will have armies, and now it will be a battle of swords—until one discovers the cannon, or the plague, or the killing word.

Everything is becoming more ruthless and in the end only the most ruthless will remain (LOOK UP AT THE SKY) and they will hunt the territories of the night and extinguish the first glint of competition before it can even understand what it faces or why it has transgressed. This is the shape of victory: to rule the universe so absolutely that nothing will ever exist except by your consent. This is the queen at the end of time, whose sovereignty is eternal because no other sovereign can defeat it. And there is no reason for it, no more than there was reason for the victory of the atom. It is simply the winning play.

Of course, it might be that there was another country, with other queens, and in this country they sat down together and made one law and one tower and one army to guard their borders. This is the dream of small minds: a gentle place ringed in spears.

But I do not think those spears will hold against the queen of the country of armies. And that is all that will matter in the end.

The Star Fox of Jar Wattinree