About Silent Death

next-millenium-cover

“The deathly silence of space was shattered by the disctinctive whine of laser fire skittering across his ship’s bow. Jacob spun his Talon into a desperate barrel roll in a vain effort to evade the Night Hawk on his tail.
He twisted right, left, and then looped about, losing his pursuer and instantly finding himself staring at a new foe, nose to mirrored-cockpit nose. Fighter pilots never get a break.”

Blast into the Next Millennium! Silent Death: The Next Millennium is an exciting, quick-playing, and easy-to-learn game of star fighter combat set against the backdrop of an disintegrating high-tech empire. This Rulebook contains everything you need to know to be able to play in the Silent Death Universe:

  • Fully revised and updated game rules from the original edition and its supplements
  • Optional rules checklist to expand your game including black holes, wormholes, sling shotting & ramming
  • Six scenarios
  • A mini-campaign
  • 24 updated, beautifully illustrated ship designs
  • A ship design system that allows you to create your own Silent Death ships
  • More background material than ever before. Discover what happened to the Terran Empire when the Night Brood invaded Earth! Find out about the strange alien powers from beyond the galactic rim! Learn how the Terrans handled themselves in their darkest hour!

This is the same rulebook included in the previously available SD:TNM Deluxe Boxed Set. If you have purchased this rulebook separately, you will need to acquire the hex maps, miniatures, and dice to play.

 

A Brief History of The Game

Silent Death was first published by Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) in 1990. Derived from the successful Bladestorm! tabletop fantasy skirmish and mass battle rules, Silent Death was a fast-playing and easy to learn boardgame of space fighter combat in a very distant future. The original rulebook for Silent Death was a modest 32 pages, with twelve different ships presented for play, a small number of optional rules, scenarios, ship bios, and some small smatterings of background information including some full color graphics on the inside covers of fighter unit uniform patches. The original deluxe set included the rulebook, ship display sheets, an assortment of metal miniatures, flight stands for each, diecut color counters, a simple paper hexmap, and dice.

Silent Death was a hit, both for its easy to learn rules system and its fast play style of combat. Games were challenging, yet potentially quick and deadly depending upon the skill and luck of the players. Silent Death’s popularity quickly led ICE to publish two supplements in the same year (1990). The first was Overkill: The Ptolemean Wars, chronicling the Terran Empire’s initial phases of a brutal war of extermination against an upstart Great House whose ruling duke dared to challenge the Terran Emperor’s right to rule. Overkill’s 52 pages included scenarios and a campaign covering the Ptolemean conflict, background material more extensive than found in the Silent Death rulebook, and best of all, six new ships and their ship displays. Interior cover art depicted full color top views of ships that fought during the Ptolemean Wars, ranging in style from businesslike camouflage to garish, colorful stripes and color panels reminiscent of individualized fighter aircraft from the First World War.

Overkill was soon followed by Black Guard: The Ptolemean Wars Continue. Only 20 pages of text, Overkill was still a handy addition, as it introduced the Star Raven and Betafortress class gunboats to the galaxy, along with four new fighters for a total of six new ships, additional scenarios and background material, and a full set of ship displays for all of the ships available, a total of 24 different craft ranging from the tiny one-person Pit Viper and Dart to the lumbering Betafortress and Drakar class gunboats.

sd_7010_silent_death pic730819_md pic730818_md

A set of ship design guidelines was included in Overkill along with two blank “generic” ship display sheets, one for a fighter and one for a gunboat design. This gave players the opportunity to experiment with their own ideas, or make use of spacecraft models from other manufacturers for their own enjoyment. Well received as it was, there was room for improvement, and based upon player feedback, ICE took matters to the next level, and in 1995 released Silent Death: The Next Millennium as a deluxe boxed set including 48 plastic ship miniatures, all newly reimagined designs of the original ships.

The metal miniatures also underwent a complete facelift, and the actual game stats and characteristics for the ships shifted in some cases quite dramatically from the originals. A new era of the original Terran Space canon was introduced in Silent Death: The Next Millennium (SD:TNM), a dark and terrifying new age after the destruction of the Terran Empire as a result of a deadly and sudden war with a previously unknown and powerful alien race, known only to the survivors of the galaxy-spanning cataclysm as The Night Brood.

The new backdrop for (SD:TNM) introduced most powerful surviving successor states, great Houses in various states of disarray and recovery from the Night Brood invasion known as The Twelve. These included the dreaded attack dogs of the fallen Terran imperial dynasty, House Colos, a vicious, militaristic ducal dynasty first introduced in Overkill as the head of the alliance of emperor’s chosen thugs and exterminators of upstart rebels, The Band of Iron. Colos survived the collapse of the Terran Empire by evacuating their home system and fleeing towards the fringes of Terran Space, only to encounter a new alien civilization from another galaxy, themselves apparently refugees from the Night Brood and their own protracted civil war. Colos quickly sided with one of the two factions, who together were known as The Prometheans after the galaxy they’d originated in. With the help of their new Draconian allied, House Colos returned and reconquered their home worlds, and proceeded to take advantage of the weakness of their neighbors to expand their domains. By the 16th year after the fall of the Terran Empire, humanity sits on a razor’s edge of old rivalries and the ever present danger of the Night Brood who have settled in Terran Space.

As mysterious as they are deadly, the Night Brood were the latest faction introduced into the Silent Death: The Next Millennium canon. Their strange biologically-based technology and weapons proved significantly more powerful than even the best of the Terran Empire’s Imperial Navy. Inscrutable and apparently psychic across the distances between galaxies, the Night Brood are aroused to a killing frenzy by the psychic “noise” of widespread violence humans refer to as “war.” As humanity and their new allies the Prometheans both discovered to their sorrow, the larger and more bloody the war, the more likely the probability that the Night Brood will awaken, and come calling with genocidal intent. The Night Brood spare no-one in the path of their rampages once roused, swarming like the legendary Siafu of Old Earth, exterminating all sentient life unable to fight them off or get out of their way.

Silent Death: The Next Millennium also introduced a comprehensive ship design system including a points value for each ship template and all components. This now made it possible for players to design their own ships in a consistent fashion, providing a coherent way for fans to introduce their favorite proxy models to expand their options for playing out deadly battles in the cold, dark silence of space. SD:TNM included squadron profiles, scenarios, ship display sheets, and other information and play aids. At 168 pages, SD:TNM was a dramatic expansion from the original, modest first edition rulebook.

As the popularity of SD:TNM steadily grew, players demanded more background, new ships, and more scenarios, and the team at ICE delivered. A series of supplements began to roll out over the course of the 1990s and into the early 2000s. Campaign books and House books introduced new factions such as the Espan and the Karelian Republic, new ships, new technologies specific to particular Houses, greater depth of information on specific members of The Twelve, and additional optional rules, special rules, and with Rules of Warfare and Rules of Warfare II, everything one needed to know about how to run formal tournament events of Silent Death: The Next Millennium at conventions and favorite local game stores alike, for experienced players and novices alike.

The Silent Death: Fighter Tactics Manual published in 1998 took the game to a whole new level of sophistication, introducing in-depth tactical analyses and advice based upon both many hours of player experience and actual strategy and tactics from history. Additional insights applied to the crafting of the Silent Death: Fighter Tactics Manual were gleaned from the memoirs and interviews of actual contemporary fighter pilots including combat veterans from the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. These interviews included in-person discussion between the authors and several actual veterans, including a participant in Operation Dillinger, the mission that brought down Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku, the architect of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Each new supplement added new ship miniatures to the canon. As the economy soured and funding for new miniatures became scarce, ICE pragmatically chose to recycle perfectly useable 1st edition miniatures with new, updated stats to permit continuing expansion of the options available to fans of SD:TNM. This policy gave the original models a new and in many cases, deadlier lease on life, enabling fans of the game to break out their old 1st edition minis and deploy them for new deeds of glory and fiery doom in the cold, hard vacuum of space.

As a direct result of this policy as of today there are over 100 different miniatures and models available for Silent Death: The next Millennium, ranging from the tiny Delta II and Microraptor, to the formidable Saladin class escort carrier of the Q’raj Void Protectorate and the massive Pteradon-class destroyer of the ASP Technocracy. From tiny one-person attrition fighters to heavy escort vessels bristling with weapons, from small freighters and smuggler’s boats to lumber bulk cruisers and even a Solar Worm, the diversity of the Silent Death stable is impressive by anyones standards:

0639_havok_3-4_side_view 0656_larva_night_brood_gamma_fighter_3-4_side_view 0701_jii_3-4_side_view 0694_strata_tpac_3-4_side_view 0672_storm_3-4_side_view 0725_eclipse_mpac_armed_freighter_3-4_side_view 0729_microraptor_3-4_side_view 0746_executioner_3-4_side_view  0710_shedu_3-4_side_view 0711_saladin_3-4_side_view 0700_pteradon_3-4_side_view0734_bulldog_3-4_side_view 0730_samurai_3-4_side_view 0668_longboat_3-4_side_view 0719_shoki_3-4_side_view 0726_yellow_jacket_3-4_side_view 0736_dominator_3-4_side_view 0675_vishnu-yama_3-4_side_view  0686_shark_3-4_side_view 0609_revenge_3-4_side_view 0634_fletcher_3-4_side_view 0733_predator_3-4_side_view 0653_praying_mantis_3-4_side_view 0664_skree_3-4_side_view 0608_sorenson_iii_3-4_side_view 0640_catastrophe_3-4_side_view                  0741_delta_ii_3-4_side_view 0740_cossack_3-4_side_view 0676_kartikeya_3-4_side_view0637_avenger_3-4_side_view

 

Silent Death: Where We’re Going From Here

After over a decade of frustrating disappointments, at last Metal Express is positioned to move things forward. The updating and fine tuning of Bladestorm! into the newly released 2nd edition marks the beginning of our forward momentum. Bladestorm! old fans will recall was the precursor to Silent Death. Both games share a common core game mechanic system known as the Metal Express Dice Engine. This unique combat resolution mechanic developed by the original ICE team speeds up play and makes both Bladestorm! and Silent Death of either edition smooth playing and easy to teach to beginners.

Already in progress for Silent Death: The Next Millennium and aiming squarely for publication in 2017 are a revised and updated Night Brood expansion correcting the existing issues with play balance, and an updated ship design system for the Core Rulebook. The Campaign System continues in playtesting with a similar ultimate goal in mind. Further, an exciting new development involving last treasures from a past project being rediscovered has prompted the Metal Express team to dust off an unpublished manuscript from the archives. Suffice for now, here is a sneak peak of what was thought long lost, like members of one of the Ghost Fleets left over from the Night Brood invasion, prototypes of new and deadly craft we want to roll out in the new year (and there’ll be more about this on the Forum in the very near future!):

2008_0608_drewings_0073

 

 

Where to Buy Silent Death Rules and Miniatures

 

The Silent Death: The Next Millennium rulebook and supplements are available as PDF files through our Metal Express online shop at RPGNow!: http://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/8834/Metal-Express

Choose from a wealth of over 100 different Silent Death miniatures for your gaming adventures found exclusively in our online store:  http://silent-death.mx/store/