Hello Interregnum fans,
First of all, yes it is that time of year again. The mod of the year contest is in full swing again, and we'd greatly appreciate it if you voted for Interregnum. In the next few days or so I will release a "State of the Mod" post, some cool new changes and hopefully answer some often asked questions. But that's not really what I'm here to talk about today.
If you've checked out the forums or played the mod a lot, you may have heard that Interregnum's alternative Star Wars lore is loosely based on a period of real world history. For a few years, many of you have tried to guess just which period it was. Well, the wait is over. It is my pleasure to announce a user named Shelteredspore has correctly identified the time period and won the "contest".
As a history major in college, it was perhaps inevitable that countless bits from all over our past was alluded to in the lore articles, ranging from antiquity to the World Wars. Many of you picked up on some of these in your guesses. But the era that inspired the plot, themes, and even the name of the mod the most is the "Third Century Crisis" of the Roman Empire.
First, lets clear up some misconceptions. The events leading up to the Fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 C.E. was a popular guess by many of you. However, the Third Century crisis started over 200 years earlier, in a very different Rome. The Rome of 234 C.E. was still mostly pagan, united (it had not been divided between East and West yet), and while Barbarian incursions were growing worse and the economy had seen better days, it was still fairly close to the height of its power.
The Third Century Crisis did not quite destroy Rome, but it truly brought an end to that era. Barbarian and Persian invasions, economic collapse, plague, separatist movements, and power grabs by top officials almost shattered the Empire into pieces, and while it did eventually recover, it was never the same again.
What about the third century crisis inspired Interregnum?
Both the the mod lore and the third century crisis feature a central powerful Empire (Rome and the Galactic Empire) with vast territory, a powerful military, and a diverse and tightly integrated economy. These Empires had traditional enemies (the Persians and Rebel Alliance), and sometimes these enemies won victories, but the integrity of the Empire itself had not been seriously threatened in some time. To the average citizen not on the frontiers, the idea that the Empire of their world might collapse probably bordered on the ridiculous.
In Interregnum, the decent into crisis was kicked off with the Battle of Endor and the death of Emperor Palpatine. This event is heavily based on Rome's Battle of Edessa,which was an unrivaled disaster which resulted in Emperor Valerian being captured by the Persians. For Rome however, the "Interregnum" had actually started 25 years earlier with the assassination of Emperor Severus Alexander.
Part of the reason the crises were unparalleled for both Empire's was that they had to fight powerful enemies on multiple fronts. In addition to their traditional rivals, new forces from the outside arrived and challenged the territorial sovereignty of the Empires. For the Galactic Empire, the races from Sins of a Solar Empire were forced to flee into their domain, starting a conflict of truly unrivaled size. Rome meanwhile had been dealing with Germanic tribes on its borders for a while, but only in the 3rd century did they become strong enough to break through and raid some of the core provinces of the Empire. Like the sins races as well, in some cases these invasions were a result of tribes trying to flee even more dangerous enemies in their homelands.
Both Empire's also suffered a breakdown of territorial control while the attempting to deal with these military threats. Even before the capture of Valerian, Roman Emperors of the 3rd century had immense difficulty maintaining control outside their immediate area of command. Many times, a general would win a victory and his troops would declare the victor Emperor, forcing the general and original Emperor to fight. After Valerian's capture, some of the provinces of the Western Empire including Gaul, Britannia, and Spain outright succeeded from the Empire under the command of a Legion General, and became the Gallic Empire. Later, some of the Empire's Middle Eastern territories came under the control of an ambitious noble family from Palmyra, creating the shorter lived Palmyrene Empire. While these break away states would also fight Rome's existing enemies, they also greatly hindered its power and were yet another distraction to ruling it did not need.
The story is again extremely similar for the breakaway Warlords from the Galactic Empire. The defeat of Palpatine and the inability of Darth Vader to keep full control in such a chaotic period saw high ranking Imperial Moffs, Admirals, and Intelligence Directors break away, the most successful of which also became essentially autonomous states like the Pentastar Alignment. Like the Gallic and Palmyrene Empires, they also would do their fare share of fighting against invaders as well, but together they took away as much territory from the Galactic Empire as the New Republic or the outside invaders, further weakening it.
There will be no official ending to the lore in Interregnum. It is up to you the player to decide which faction will ultimately win the conflict through your actions playing the mod. The third century crisis however of course does have an ending. Eventually several effective army generals were proclaimed Emperor, and under the Emperors Claudius II and Aurelian, the German Tribes were defeated and the breakaway provinces were conquered and reintegrated back into the Roman Empire by 275 C.E. The Roman Empire was profoundly changed by this traumatic experience however, and many reforms and social changes during and immediately after this era resulted in an Empire that was transitioning into the Middle Ages, and while it kept the name of the Roman Empire, at this stage Rome more closely resembled in Byzantine Empire than the Roman Empire of Augustus Caesar.
I hope my fellow fans of history found this post interesting, though I'm sure I'm forgetting some key details after so many years. And Shelteredspore, you will be properly credited on the load screen in the next mod update!