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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

ju44

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For what prolonged period of time did you spend procrastinating and pondering upon the perplexing problem of preparing a paragraph of P's before you postulated and provided this pleasant piece of work for the Paradox peasantry?
Please, this persistent pounding of "P" pains me.
 

stnylan

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Please, this persistent pounding of "P" pains me.
Perhaps perfection is painful, but precious purity must be preserved. :D
 

Farquharson

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As I have already noted, this is a condition brought on by lengthy exposure to the language of techno-priests. There is in fact an antidote, which I myself have discovered - as you can see, this reply does not contain a single word beginning with that accursed letter, which shall not, for obvious reasons, be named here. :D
 

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The Problems of Pursuing a Perplexing Project


When the First Eruxan War ended in 2247, and the victorious Puffhead fleets made their way home, Archprophet Pi-Gobza was seventy years old and he was wishing he could retire. Unfortunately, however, the post of Archprophet was for life. The procurement of Pedro had been a step forward for the Great Quest, but Pi-Gobza's problem was that he had no idea in which direction the next step should lead. To make matters worse, his son and heir, the High Priest Stippletob, seemed to take a perverse pleasure in tormenting him with awkward questions about the Quest.

Stippletob: So Pater, what about Plock? When will we be able to secure that Holy Planet?

Pi-Gobza: Oh, Stippletob, you know we can't start thinking about Plock right now. The Dima'Xanians are our friends, and they are allied to our other friends, the Luvvies, and our other friends, the Vsem-Klack, not to mention our other friends, the Kraxroz. We couldn't possibly declare war on all of them!

Stippletob: Well, what about Platinum, a Holy Planet perniciously polluted by the profligate Qwe'Pulci? Who do not, I note, currently have any allies.

Pi-Gobza: No allies, no. But they are more powerful than us. And Platinum is hardly on our borders. We would have to get through two other empires just to reach it.

Stippletob: Persistence? Purgatory?

Pi-Gobza: Stippletob, you know as well as I do that even if we utterly destroyed the Eruxo...

Stippletob: A pleasing prospect, permit me to pronounce.

Pi-Gobza: Even if we did, those planets would simply be swallowed up by the Pirak Combine instead. More of our friends, I need hardly mention.

Stippletob: Pater, these are piddling excuses. Has the Great Pi not given us a pressing project? How exactly are you proposing to pursue it?

Pi-Gobza: I... well, er... I'm building up the Puffhead economy. Now that the Helvan have joined us, there is much to be done in the Rimward Arm. Great opportunities lie before us!

Stippletob: Poppycock, Pater! Have we found a single Holy Planet in those peripheral parts?

Pi-Gobza: Er, well... let me see. What about Potosi?

Stippletob: Pah! Potosi is parsecs away. And protected by the pesky but potent Buhavilaa League.

Pi-Gobza: Well, by the time we have expanded our empire to their borders...

Stippletob: A profitless pipedream, Pater!

Pi-Gobza: On the contrary, my puerile prattling progeny, I believe there is plenty of profit to be had in pushing our borders around the Rimward Arm.

Sadly, the Archprophet was probably right. There really was little that could be done in the short-term to further the Great Quest. But it was true that the Rimward Arm offered great potential.


In 2250 the Helvan Foundation was formally integrated into the Divine Puffhead Planets amid great rejoicing on the part of both peoples. The Helvan had now got used to referring to Fern as the Great Pi, and were resigned to the fact that he did not have seven heads. More importantly, some of the Helvan had even become enthused by the prospect of fulfilling the Great Quest. Of course, as native Rimwarders, they were very pleased at the Archprophet's preoccupation with Puffhead expansion in their neighbourhood.

The other notable event of 2250 was the sudden, though not entirely unexpected death of Archprophet Pi-Gobza. He had reigned for only five years, so his death was not quite as momentous as that of his brother Pagglerod, and of course, the new Archprophet, Pi-Gobza's son Stippletob, was not entirely grief-stricken to see the old codger laid to rest in the grand mausoleum on Pi-Trobi Island.

After a respectable period of official mourning, Stippletob threw himself into preparations for the next war. He dreamed of wiping the Eruxo from the galaxy, and even if this meant that the Puffheads would then have to go to war with the Pirak Combine over Persistence and Purgatory, then so be it. At least it was a plan, and it involved doing something interesting, namely rebuilding the Puffhead Navy to unprecedented levels of power. The shipyards of Primordia and Ellamir hardly stopped their production of corvettes and destroyers. Within a year, the Puffheads had become the most powerful empire in the known galaxy, apart, of course, from the enigmatic Larongo, whose power still ranked in the “overwhelming” department.


It will be noted that the Eruxo at this point in time were so inferior to almost everyone else that they do not even appear, having been so recently trashed by the Puffheads. However, what the Puffheads possessed in fleet power, they lacked somewhat in technology, probably because they were also now the largest empire in the galaxy. Helpfully, at this point the lovely Larongo took pity on their primitive Puffhead protégés and sent them another data cache “to help you with your sums” as they rather patronizingly put it. The cache was of a more general nature than the last time and gave the Puffheads a boost to all their research for the next ten years.


Meanwhile, out on the Rimward Arm, the Helvan Fleet, now renamed the 2nd Puffhead Fleet, fully upgraded and reinforced with destroyers, was being put to good use clearing various Rimward systems of mining drones and other unwelcome inhabitants.


In 2255 the galaxy saw the birth of the first interstellar federation, the so-called “Just Axis”, with the Luvvies and the Kraxroz, the Puffheads antispinward neighbours, as its founding members. During 2256 the Demi'Xanians also joined the Just Axis, while the Bakturians, the Vsem-Klack, the Pirak Combine, and the Puffheads were granted Association Status.

The Puffheads' truce with the Eruxo expired in 2257, and as the long-awaited day approached, Archprophet Stippletob began ordering the fleets into position. The 1st Fleet was already stationed in Pedro which, due to some rather impertinent border expansion on the part of the Eruxo, was now cut off from the rest of Puffhead space. The 2nd Fleet was moved to the Tazri system, not far away. But what of the Eruxo's allies, the Alvanians, the Qwe'Pulci and the Humans of Sol? Fortunately none of them could actually reach Puffhead space due to their neighbours having closed most of their borders. And so the Archprophet decided not to call any allies, confident that the Puffheads could win this war alone. As it turned out, this was not the wisest decision.


The Eruxo Confederacy just before the war, with the perilously positioned planets of Persistence and Purgatory circled in gold
The progress of the war, which began in 2257 and lasted for nearly five years, can be divided into three stages. During the first stage, the 1st and 2nd Fleets invaded the Eruxo Confederacy and once again utterly trashed the place, with very few losses. Two years into the war all four remaining Eruxo planets had been captured and Archprophet Stippletob requested a parlay with First Speaker Apinix Umlatica.

Archprophet Stippletob: First Speaker, so good of you to agree to speak with me. I'm terribly sorry about the state we seem to have left your empire in, but you did insist on putting up a fight.


First Speaker Umlatica: What do you want from us, you worthless brood of hideous creepy-crawlies?


Stippletob: Oh, I thought we made that clear when we declared war. We just want three of your planets – the ones in Athuna, Oprimax and Ebliuq. Forgive me for not mentioning the barbaric names you have attached to them, I don't want to make myself sick trying to pronounce them. We will magnanimously permit you to keep your other planet, the one in Rathadore.


Umlatica: Go and stick your puffy head down a toilet, Archprophet. We're not handing over a thing!


Stippletob: I think you'll find we have occupied your entire empire, First Speaker. Further resistance is surely futile?


Umlatica: You forget that we have trusty allies, balloon-head! You'll have to deal with them, first.


Stippletob: You mean those odious races whose neighbours have all shut them in so they can't actually go anywhere?


Umlatica: Hah! Yes, the very ones!


Stippletob: Right! Well, First Speaker, if that's the way you want to play it, very well. We shall deal with them right away! Good bye.


Umlatica: Good riddance, bloat-brain!


And now the Archprophet realized his mistake in not calling any allies. The Puffhead Fleets were faced with the arduous task of crossing right through the Pirak Combine to take the war to the Alvanians. Fortunately, these detestable creatures only owned three planets, and by the time the Combined Fleet got to them, the Bakturian Star Hierarchy had also declared war on them and captured one of the three.


The Alvanians were another race of bizarre bipeds, seemingly incapable of coming to rational conclusions
The other two Alvanian planets soon fell to the Puffheads, but still the Eruxo refused to surrender. They did after all still have two more allies, the Humans and the Qwe'Pulci, as yet untouched by the war.


Kosta Mog, the nearest Alvanian planet, gets treated to a visit from the Puffhead Fleet
Fortunately, by this stage the Rek'Thalar Combine, the other Puffhead protectorate, had been successfully integrated into the Empire. Their fleet, upgraded and reinforced, now assembled in the Lox'Ungrak'O system, ready to invade Sol. It was pitiful to see the Humans' feeble attempts to defend themselves against this invasion which their stubborn allies had effectively forced upon them. And the Luvvies had been quite right – no sane species would want to conquer such a miserable corner of the galaxy anyway. But the job had to be done, and once Earth Spaceport had been blasted to space debris and the planet bombarbed, Archprophet Stippletob made another attempt to persuade the Eruxo to give in.

This time the First Speaker was a little less cocky, but, as he impudently pointed out, the Qwe'Pulci were still there, and could still put up a fight. Stippletob weighed up his options. He could wait until the main Fleet came all the way back from Alvanian space to deal with the Qwe'Pulci, or he could accept the Eruxo offer of two of their four systems – Athuna, and their home system Oprimax. He decided to accept the offer. If they still owned two planets in ten years time, he would finish the job then.


Here then was the state of the galaxy in 2261 at the close of the Second Eruxan War
The problem facing Archprophet Stippletob was the same one that had plagued his father. Where to, next? Apart from the sorry remnants of the Eruxo, the Puffheads were now surrounded by members or associates of the Just Axis. Should they simply keep expanding in the Rimward Arm, or was it time to start thinking about taking on the Qwe'Pulci? Stippletob began to realize that, in the rashness of youth, he had perhaps been a little hard on his dear departed father.
 
Last edited:

stnylan

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The new premier perhaps provides a parable on puncturing the paramour of youth. The ones passed did not prevaricate: they pondered, proposed, planned, prepared, and perhaps more. A pretty parade for a pair of planets, but what of purpose?
 

ju44

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The new premier perhaps provides a parable on puncturing the paramour of youth. The ones passed did not prevaricate: they pondered, proposed, planned, prepared, and perhaps more. A pretty parade for a pair of planets, but what of purpose?
I plead I perish post-haste
 

Specialist290

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Puffhead power now permeates the galaxy. Yet perhaps a period of peaceful development should be pursued posthaste. Porous borders imperil the permanence of the patrimony, after all...

And precisely how powerful is the Just Axis? (Just axin'.)
 

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The new premier perhaps provides a parable on puncturing the paramour of youth. The ones passed did not prevaricate: they pondered, proposed, planned, prepared, and perhaps more. A pretty parade for a pair of planets, but what of purpose?
As you will see from the next update, Stippletob has turned out to be quite a good leader in the end.
I plead I perish post-haste
Alas, the techno-priests are still present with their persistent prattle... :confused:
Puffhead power now permeates the galaxy. Yet perhaps a period of peaceful development should be pursued posthaste. Porous borders imperil the permanence of the patrimony, after all...

And precisely how powerful is the Just Axis? (Just axin'.)
More info on the Just Axis coming up. In short, they are theoretically powerful but in practice seem a bit of a pushover.
 

Farquharson

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Planetfall in Platinum and How it was Pulled Off

Archprophet Stippletob of the Divine Puffhead Planets stared long and hard at the galactic chart on the wall of his office. Puffhead space had grown vast, dwarfing the territories of every other galactic empire. And yet. And yet. Puffhead space still enclosed so very few of the Holy Planets of Pi, haloed in gold on the chart. Of the sixteen known Holy Planets, just three had so far been secured. And that was only the known ones. The more distant regions of the galaxy were still completely unknown to the Puffheads. There could easily be another sixteen Holy Planets hidden in those parts.

Stippletob had come to the conclusion that the Just Axis, with which the Puffheads now had Association Status, were a force for good. True, the Dima'Xanians, one of their core member empires, were harbouring the Holy Planet of Plock III, but that niggling problem would have to be put on hold. Persistence and Purgatory, the systems now within the Pirak Combine, were also problematic to procure. The only other Holy Planet anywhere near Puffhead space was the little moon of Platinum Ia, deep in the heart of Qwe'Pulci space.

Yes, thought Stippletob. That was where the Puffheads must strike next! Platinum really wasn't that far away. And the despicable Qwe'Pulci, with a mere four planets to their name, really weren't that powerful. What's more, the Alvanians and Humans had now abandoned them, leaving them with the pitiful Eruxo as their only allies. There was just one problem. The Puffheads had a truce with the Qwe'Pulci, and they would have to wait nearly ten years to deal with these perfidious polluters of Platinum.

There was however plenty to do in the meantime. The first priority was to build up the Puffhead Navy to unprecedented levels of power, a process which continued slowly but steadily over the ten years of peace.

Another problem was the size and location of Primordia. It was not a particularly large planet, and it was the only habitable planet in the Pi-Phara system. In 2266 Archprophet Stippletob announced that Primordia was being moved to Ellamir. Not, of course, that the actual planet was being moved, but the vast apparatus of Puffhead government was being relocated to the much larger planet of Ellamir Outback, which shared its system with two other habitable worlds. The Great Temple of Pi with its associated university faculties was also relocated to what was now named New Primordia. This gave the Puffhead central administration much more room to grow and continue its vital function as efficiently as possible.

Later that year there was a Summit Meeting of the Just Axis, to which all leaders of associated empires were also invited. Stippletob therefore found himself for the first time visiting the Dima'Xanian capital planet, Xania. It was something of an eye-opener for the Puffhead. Up till then the designation of his close neighbours as “slaving despots” had been easy to overlook as relations were cordial. But with more than a quarter of Xania's population working as slaves, it was an issue that was hard to ignore.

The Dima'Xanian leader, the Empress Tredagik I was hosting the meeting. Other delegates included Executive Torba Daggasch of the LUV Consortium, Empress Laktras of the Kraxroz, and the leaders of the four other associate members: the Pirak Combine, the Bakturians, the Buhavilaa and the State of Vsem-Klack. None but the Buhavilaa delegate, a large, tentacled, suffocatingly friendly mushroom, seemed at all put out at being on a slave planet. Clearly the Just Axis had a fairly lax view of justice.



Empress Tredagik: Well, my friends, welcome to this, the tenth Summit of the Just Axis. We have included our associates in this gathering as we are discussing a matter of pressing importance. I am speaking of the Qwe'Pulci, of course.

Executive Torba'Daggasch: Yes, Empress – what are we going to do about this hideous menace?

Tredagik: In my humble opinion, Executive, there is only one solution. War.

Archprophet Stippletob: Err... war?

Tredagik: Yes, Archprophet. These creatures need to be stopped before their foul poison spreads across the entire galaxy.

Empress Laktras: Indeed, they are an outrage. An offence against civilization!

Tredagik: They must be taken in hand!

Torba'Daggasch: Invaded!

Laktras: Subjugated!

Torba'Daggasch: Humiliated!

Laktras: Ground into the dirt!

Tredagik: Enslaved!

Stippletob: Ah... right. Well, speaking on behalf of the Divine Puffhead Planets, we would love to do all that. Ahem, well, most of it anyway. The trouble is that we have a truce with the odious Qwe'Pulci until 2271. However, we'd be very willing to go to war against them then. In fact, we'd be delighted to.

Torba'Daggasch: If there's anything left of them by then.

Tredagik: Yes, I hope you're not suggesting we wait until your truce expires, Archprophet? As I said, this is a pressing concern. I propose an immediate declaration of war.

Torba'Daggasch: Seconded!

Laktras: Thirded!

Tredagik: Any associates who are in a position to do so may join the war at any time.

President uv-Averfin: Er... has anyone considered, um – a diplomatic solution?

Tredagik: No. Next question.

Grand Marshal Bo-Gu: I need hardly mention that the Pirak Combine is in fact already at war with the despicable Qwe'Pulci.

Tredagik: Yes, Grand Marshal. A pity you haven't managed to do much in terms of military action against them as yet.

Bo-Gu: They're a long way away! We're dealing with the despicable Eruxo first.

Tredagik: I daresay. Anyone else?

Stippletob: Ahem. Yes. The Puffheads would like to contribute. We will send a reconnaissance craft to help with intelligence-gathering. We should have access to Qwe'Pulci space for two more years.

Tredagik: Excellent, Archprophet. Well, that's settled then. We go to war!

This was not, of course, what the Puffheads were hoping for at all. There seemed every likelihood that the war would be over long before the Puffheads' truce expired, leaving Platinum almost certainly in the clutches of the Just Axis. But astute readers may have guessed that Archprophet Stippletob had a Plan.

A Puffhead corvette equipped with the latest subspace sensors was indeed sent to Qwe'Pulci space to keep an eye on things, to see exactly what the Qwe'Pulci fleet strength was, what armaments they had, how well their planets were defended, and how the war was progressing. But, strangely, the information passed on to the Just Axis command did not always seem to tally 100% with the situation on the ground. Or rather, in space. Time after time, Axis fleets were sent off on wild goose chases, just missing the Qwe'Pulci fleets they were attempting to catch by a few days.

When the Qwe'Pulci closed their borders to the Puffheads it got slightly more difficult, but fortunately the Kamia system lay in Dima'Xanian space, right on the Qwe'Pulci border, and from there the Puffhead corvette could still see a lot of what was happening. And could still continue its mischief with almost as much effect.

In 2270 there came a decisive moment in the war, when the Qwe'Pulci and Luvvy fleets met in a major battle in the Usmzara system. The Qwe'Pulci retreated, rescuing only a fraction of their fleet from destruction, while the Luvvies, in response to hints that a larger Qwe'Pulci fleet had been spotted not far away, hurriedly retreated to Lox'Ungrak'O for repairs. Meanwhile, the now gigantic Puffhead Navy, accompanied by 40 assault divisions, was moving into position in Kamia. In 2272, shortly after the truce expired, Archprophet Stippletob declared war.

There is no need to go into the details of the campaign which ensued. Knowing that they now outnumbered the Qwe'Pulci by at least five to one, the Puffheads could afford to split their Fleet in two, thus making much more rapid progress. Their first objective, the Elthior system, was secured by the 1st Fleet in just seven months.

The Bardegan system, their second objective, held out for 10 more months before it fell to the 2nd Fleet. Meanwhile, the 1st Fleet had moved on to the Qwe'Pulci capital, Uklapp, whose spaceport put up a brave defence but was soon destroyed.

With Uklapp in Puffhead hands, the two fleets now joined up to attack the Qwe'Pulci's last remaining planet in the Brustam system. The Qwe'Pulci didn't even wait for the planet to be invaded, but surrendered as soon as its spaceport was gone. The war was over less than two years after it had begun. The Just Axis could only look on in astonishment.

Perhaps you are wondering about the Qwe'Pulci's trusty allies, the Eruxo? Well, they did have one corvette, which did attempt to invade Puffhead space and was promptly destroyed by a defence platform. They played a more prominent part in the peace negotiations, when they were obliged to hand over their Ebliuq system to the Puffheads as a reward for their complete failure to help their Qwe'Pulci allies.

As for the Qwe'Pulci, they were forced to cede Elthior and Bardegan to the Puffheads, which Stippletob calculated should place the as yet uncolonized Platinum system well within the Puffhead borders. But alas, this turned out not to be the case.

Archprophet Stippletob was enraged. He immediately summoned Techno-priest Nopple, Head of Society Research at the Great Temple of Pi.

Stippletob: What the devil is going on, Nopple? Take at look at this chart!

Nopple: A potent picture of Puffhead power, Your Holiness. I offer my profound congratulations!

Stippletob: Nonsense, Nopple – look! The Holy Planet is still within Qwe'Pulci space!

Nopple: Ah... Yes, that does present a perplexing puzzle, I will permit.

Stippletob: Perplexing puzzle, my head-vent, Nopple. It's preposterous! It's a problem that you buffoons in Society Research ought to be addressing! How can those despicable creatures maintain such vast borders?

Nopple: Their proficiency in perpetuating peripheral positions does seem particularly professional, Your Holiness.

Stippletob: And what are you going to do about it, Nopple? That's what I'd like to know.

Nopple: As yet, Puffhead postulations have not pioneered any pertinent principles, Your Holiness. Perhaps a colony on Bardegan IV might push our perimeter to a more pleasing position?

Stippletob: Perhaps. It is all we can do for now. But listen up, Nopple – if you value your precious position, you'll start pioneering some pertinent principles as soon as possible!

Nopple: I pray for Pi's provision, Archprophet.

But as was so often the case, Pi's provision came from an unexpected quarter. A colony ship was commissioned in Quannaga, destined to carry a contingent of ocean-loving Rek'Thalar to the continental world of Bardegan IV. But just as the ship was approaching Bardegan in 2275, news came that the Just Axis had made peace with the Qwe'Pulci.The Dima'Xanians had taken their home planet Uklapp, and the chart of the region had altered once again. Platinum was now in Puffhead hands! The colony ship was hastily redirected to Platinum Ia, which by Pi's provision was actually an ocean world, and a fourth Holy Planet was finally procured.


The DPS Final Frontier approaches Platinum I and it's tiny moon

 
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stnylan

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The Planetfall in Platinum is a perfect parable that the provision of the Great Pi is providential and profound.
 

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The Planetfall in Platinum is a perfect parable that the provision of the Great Pi is providential and profound.
A pertinent point.
Plainly the Qwe'Pulci have been pummeled into perdition. Perchance this presents a perfect prelude to Puffhead primacy.
Puffhead primacy is certainly the order of the day. I could probably even defeat the Just Axis on my own at this point, but not sure I want to go down that road quite yet. The Larongo of course are still "Overwhelming"...
 

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Puzzles Probed by Pioneering Priests

While Archprophet Stippletob was preoccupied with securing the Platinum system, the Divine Puffhead Planets had continued to grow and expand. In 2267 the second of the three habitable planets in Ellamir had been colonized. The third, the planet Gluggbath, was already inhabited by the primitive Mireesh whose late medieval civilization was as yet blissfully unaware of the strange aliens who had taken over the other planets of their solar system.

The following year a Rihi'Nar colony ship established a new colony in the Boggor system, plugging a gap in Puffhead space formerly maintained by a Frontier Outpost. The Rihi'Nar were a humanoid race from the Rimward Arm, the first race to be annexed into the Puffhead empire by covert infiltration of their entire society. Being from an alpine world, they now made it possible for any world to be colonized by at least one species within the Puffhead empire.

And Archprophet Stippletob had not forgotten the Rimward Arm and the possibilities for expansion which it offered. In 2273, while the Puffhead Navy were pummeling the wretched Qwe'Pulci, the tropical world of Seradon II had been colonized by another Rek'Thalar ship. The discovery that the Pirak Combine also had designs on the virgin systems of the Rimward Arm made this project all the more pressing.

Meanwhile, two intrepid Puffhead science ships had returned to the task of exploring the further reaches of the galaxy. The DPS Sacred Search had made a brief excursion through Bakturian space, confirming that neither Proof nor Pskov, two systems within their borders, had any Holy Planets. It had then gone on to explore the hub-end of the Rimward Arm and had then crossed over into Larongo space, with the intention of surveying the Perpetuity system, and more importantly, Panorama with its enigmatic planet, The Preserve.

The DPS Sacred Scrutiny meanwhile had entered Buhavilaa space in the Rimward Arm and surveyed the Potosi system, including the Holy Planet of Potosi II. It had then crossed over to the Distant Arm, where almost immediately it had made an astonishing discovery. Techno-priest Pi-Dimblo, who had recently taken over command of the Scrutiny, received an incoming message on a hitherto unknown channel.

Apparently the Puffheads of Primordia were not the only Puffheads in the galaxy!

Techno-priest Pi-Dimblo: Greetings fellow-Puffheads! We find ourselves at a portentous pass, a prominent point in our history!

Huvidu-Zaan: Fellow-Puffheads? What are you talking about? We are the Huvidu-Zaani.

Pi-Dimblo: Yes, yes, but I perceive that you are Puffheads like us. I greet you in the name of the Great Pi, who has created us both and led us to this pleasant predicament!

Huvidu-Zaan: Oh dear. You “Puffheads” as you put it seem to still be at a rather primitive stage in your development. But don't worry, our people were also once plagued by childish superstitions. Happily we managed to rid ourselves of them long ago.

Pi-Dimblo: Childish superstitions? This pronouncement surely cannot pertain to the Great Pi?

Huvidu-Zaan: Pi in the sky when you die, eh? Yes, yes, been there, done that. But as I say, don't worry guys, you'll soon get over it.

Pi-Dimblo: I pray not, my pagan pessimist. May the Great Pi perpetually protect us!

Huvidu-Zaan: Good grief.

Pi-Dimblo: Ah – by the way, we Puffheads are particularly predisposed to peeping at the names of your planets. In particular, are there any beginning with P?

Huvidu-Zaan: Yes, you certainly seemed to have a bit of an obsession if I might say so. But, no, I'm afraid we don't have any systems in our space beginning with P. Why?

Pi-Dimblo: Er – nothing, nothing. You probably wouldn't understand.

This at least was welcome news. The prospect of a Holy Planet being populated by such a pack of perverted prodigals would be positively petrifying. But the very existence of these Puffheads was profoundly perturbing. Being of a perversely pacifist persuasion, as well as positively pagan, they could not have been more different from the Puffheads of Primordia. What purpose the Great Pi had had in producing them in the first place was a perplexing paradox.

There was a mood of sadness on board the DPS Sacred Scrutiny as it turned away from the Huvidu-Zaan and began to explore spinward around the Distant Arm. Pi-Dimblo's next discovery was the system of Pest, in which he identified the Holy Planet of Pest IV, the seventeenth Holy Planet to be found by the Puffheads. On the planet itself were a primitive neolithic race, while not far away lurked the Khell'Zen Combined Nations who had not yet laid claim to Pest, but who would surely do so before too long.

By 2277 Techno-priest Dopplejip, commander of the DPS Sacred Search, had completed a survey of the Larongo's Perpetuity system. What they observed on the Holy Planet of Perpetuity I was truly awe-inspiring, displaying technology far beyond anything then known to the Puffheads.

However, there were no signs of the Puffheads who had been taken as “primitive samples” by the Larongo back in 2220. The Sacred Search continued on to Panorama and The Preserve, the Holy Planet rumoured to be the home of the Larongo's xeno samples. And indeed, that is exactly what they found.

Considering how many species the Puffheads themselves had by now encountered around the galaxy, The Preserve seemed to house very few of them. There were the Puffheads, the Helvan and the Rek'Thalar, three species found only in the Puffhead empire. The other three species which were represented, the Slerpanor, the Yaanari and the Khessam, were races which the Puffheads had never come across before. Techno-priest Dopplejip concluded that they must be native to planets as yet unexplored by the Puffheads.

But why were other races not represented? What of the Luvvies, the Dima'Xanians or the Kraxroz? Or even the Eruxo, the Qwe'Pulci or the Humans? To Dopplejip, it seemed there were two possible explanations. The first was that Archprophet Pagglerod had been naive to allow this Puffhead sample to be taken by the Larongo, and that other intelligent races had smelt a rat and refused their presumptuous request. Perhaps the Puffheads would pay in the end for their imprudence.

The second possibility was that the Puffheads and the few other races present were of special importance. Perhaps they were the only ones considered worthy of the privilege of being housed on this, the holiest of all the Holy Planets of Pi. But there was no way of telling. The inscrutable Larongo were giving nothing away. They simply presented The Preserve as their beloved Xeno Reservation. And did the Great Pi really want the Puffheads to one day conquer this planet? It seemed unthinkable, and yet, as far as the Puffheads knew at this stage, that was exactly what Pi had decreed.
 
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stnylan

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A perplexing pair of problems that Great Pi has presented the Puffheads with.
 

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Perfume my perspiration! I patroled the perfidious forum and found this peculiar AAR pampering in front of my peeling eyes! I presently have peeped at the electronic pergament and am properly pleased!
 

Farquharson

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A perplexing pair of problems that Great Pi has presented the Puffheads with.
And both have been conveniently put to one side for the moment. More pressing matters take precedence.
Pagan para-Puffheads? Perturbing!
Persuasive proselytization will prevail, in the power of the Great Pi!
Perfume my perspiration! I patroled the perfidious forum and found this peculiar AAR pampering in front of my peeling eyes! I presently have peeped at the electronic pergament and am properly pleased!
"Pergament"?? This is surely plumbing the profundities of the pot... :D
 

Farquharson

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Pristine Planets Populated and Prolonged Preparations for a Punch Up

In the last episode we left Archprophet Stippletob of the Divine Puffhead Planets pondering the puzzle of The Preserve, the Larongo's Xeno Reservation, and whether the Great Pi really wished for the Puffheads to try to procure such an unattainable objective. There were of course plenty of other Holy Planets to be dealt with in the mean time, and Stippletob decided to put the matter of The Preserve to one side for now.

For example there was Potosi III, colonized by the Buhavilaa, the extremely friendly mushrooms who lived in the Rimward Arm, some way spinward of the Puffheads. Stippletob's intention was to gradually expand around the Rimward Arm until the Puffheads had a colony within striking distance of the Buhavilaa, who were clearly too naive to suspect anything until it was too late.

In 2278 Admiral Pindra took the Fleet over to clear some of the annoying crystalline creatures which were blocking access to some of the systems in that region, and although a number of Puffhead ships were lost, Admiral Pindra gained plenty of valuable battle experience during these operations.

By 2280 all but the most fearsome of these crystal monsters had been eradicated and Pufhead colonies were advancing steadily towards the Buhavilaa.

Looking at this chart you may have noticed that by this time the Eruxo were no more, having been swallowed up in 2280 by the Pirak Combine. You may also be wondering why Archprophet Stippletob was paying so much attention to Potosi, rather than, for example, Purgatory and Persistence, the two systems in Pirak space so close to the Puffhead border, or even Pirazur, the Pirak home system. As a matter of fact, Stippletob was asking himself the same question. He immediately contacted Admiral Pindra.

Stippletob: Greetings, Admiral, and my congratulations on a job well done.

Pindra: Thank you, Your Holiness. By the might of Pi may all our enemies fall as the crystal monsters did!

Stippletob: Amen! So – new orders, Admiral. I want the Fleet in Ebliuq as soon as possible.

Pindra: Ebliuq, Your Holiness? But that's on the borders of the Pirak Combine.

Stippletob: Precisely. I want you to be ready for an invasion.

Pindra: Er... sir... are you forgetting that we have a Defensive Pact with the Pirak?

Stippletob: What? Pi's eyes, Pindra! Do we really? Who on earth signed that?

Pindra: I believe it was your dear departed father, Archprophet Pi-Gabzo, Your Holiness.

Stippletob: Well that figures, he always was a bit puffy in the head.

Pindra: If I might venture to add, sir, the Pirak Combine also have Defensive Pacts with the Buhavilaa and the Bakturians. A war against all three could be tough to win.

Stippletob: Yes, no doubt, Admiral, but by the might of Pi we shall be able to do it, I'm sure. Our new cruisers would make mincemeat of them, surely?

Pindra: Your Holiness, their technology is better than ours. They will certainly have their own cruisers – they may even have battleships by now.

Stippletob: Oh dear. And how soon do the boffins reckon we'll have battleships, Admiral? Aren't they working on it right now?

Pindra: Yes, Your Holiness. I believe the techno-priests are expecting production to be possible in about eighteen years.

Stippletob: Eighteen years? What on earth is taking them so long?

Pindra: Well, sir, these will be the largest Puffhead ships ever built. There's a lot of, er... techno-stuff that needs to be done to develop them.

Stippletob: Right, well, get yourself to Ebliuq anyway, Admiral, in case they get an unexpected breakthrough in the techno-stuff or something.

Pindra: Very good, Your Holiness.

It seemed like it might be some time before the Pirak Combine could be suitably punished for sitting on three of the Holy Planets of Pi. Meanwhile, Archprophet Stippletob began to look around for other options. Before long, his eye fell on the clutch of Holy Planets located in the Distant Arm between the Human Combine and the Larongo. With the colonization of Platinum, these might now just be within reach.

Providence III was an arid world, perfect for peanut-growing and Puffhead colonization, so in 2282 work began on Old Primordia, now known simply as Pi-Phara Plains, to build a Puffhead colony ship to go there. It was completed the following year, and then began the long voyage to Providence. It took a considerable amount of influence to extend Puffhead supremacy to this remote part of the galaxy, but fortunately Archprophet Stippletob had what was known in the trade as “Deep Connections” and these now stood him in good stead as the Puffheads made this audacious land grab, leap-frogging over both the Dima'Xanians and the Human Combine.

With the establishment of Providence Plains as a full-fledged colony in 2286, a spaceport was constructed and the next colony ship begun. This ship would extend Puffhead influence even further, into the Plauen system which contained no less than three of the Holy Planets. It would also take the Puffheads to within what was, in galactic terms, a stone's throw of the Larongo. These three Holy Planets were colonized in 2288, 2291 and 2294, bringing Archprophet Stippletob's tally of Holy Planets procured to an impressive five, and the total now controlled by the Puffheads to eight.

In this chart you can also see the state of the Puffhead empire in figures. It will be noted that Stippletob's Deep Connections still ensured that the Puffheads possessed huge influence despite his ambitious expansion over the last few years.

Meanwhile, the techno-priests of the Puffhead survey fleet were continuing to push the frontiers of knowledge as they ventured ever further into the distant regions of the galaxy.

In 2278 Techno-priest Pi-Dimblo in command of the DPS Sacred Scrutiny was contacted by a race calling themselves the Jibru Chroniclers. Like the Buhavilaa they were a strange fungoid race, but what was more fascinating, and indeed disturbing, was that their level of civilization was, like the Larongo, far beyond anyone else in the known galaxy. Unlike the Larongo, the Jibru were not particularly friendly.

The Jibru only occupied two planets, but it was now revealed that there was a system located on the far side of their territory called Palawan. It was impossible to know whether this system had any habitable planets. The Puffheads could only hope not. Needless to say, the DPS Sacred Scrutiny immediately found itself unceremoniously ejected from Jibru space, to reappear several months later back in the Platinum system.

In 2279 the DPS Sacred Search stumbled upon the Valdari Union, a race of zealously xenophobic alpine anteaters living out to rimward of Plauen and the Larongo. Their civilization fell into the “Pathetic” classification, but what drew Techno-priest Dopplejip's attention to them was the fact that they had colonized the arctic planet of Perigord III, the eighteenth Holy Planet to be discovered by the Puffheads. It was one more project on Archprophet Stippletob's to-do list.

In 2293 the DPS Sacred Spy visited the Zorikkan Black Hole, the last system but one in the entire galaxy to be explored by Puffhead ships. The one remaining unexplored system was inaccessible since the Huvidu-Zaan had closed their borders. There remained the Palawan sytem in Jibru space, which might or might not contain a Holy Planet, but otherwise it appeared that there were eighteen Holy Planets of Pi scattered across the galaxy, and the Puffheads had so far secured eight of them. It was certainly a start, but much remained still to be done.


The galaxy in 2298, now fully explored. Systems containing the eighteen Holy Planets are shown – green for those already secured and gold for those still controlled by alien empires.
Archprophet Stippletob's next plan was to make a move against the Pirak Combine, and hopefully secure Purgatory and Persistence. By 2298 the Puffhead Navy had been bolstered with three of the new Predator-class battleships, with another in production. It was something of a blow that the ageing Admiral Pindra chose this moment to die, and had to be replaced with a new recruit, the rather inexperienced Admiral Paxpla. Nevertheless, the Archprophet, now 73 years old himself, had high hopes that he himself might get two more Holy Planets under his belt before his time came around.


The first of the Predator-class battleships, the DPS Persuasive Argument
 
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stnylan

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  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
The primary purpose of the Puffheads is now plain: pugilism :D