Alien Dice Master Set
Game in General
The Alien Dice Master series was developed by the Alien Dice Corporation when several of their wealthy sponsors grew bored with the regular Alien Dice Game and wanted something with more challenge. (AD, Chapter 2, strip 25) In response, they developed a game that uses Dice that bonds to sentient beings. This new version is only a few years old, and of course.. there are purists (like Damian) who hate the new version and won't participate.
There are only nine or ten years worth of players out there. Lexx is part of the eighth year or so. Most of the master set Dice do not know of any other way of life than the game, and that's the way the ADC prefers it. (Lexx does... the only reason Lexx got put into the program is because of his intelligence and genetics.) The ADC prefers taking their orphans at under four or five years of age, then pumping them full of agents to make them age faster, get stronger and smarter.
They picked up the trash of the universe; orphans and those nobody really cared about ended up in the program and still do. It's like an orphanage on Earth, only far worse, because they were supposed to be trained for future jobs and not be a pull on intergalactic society. The Alien Dice Corporation as a gesture of goodwill, charity, took in hundreds of thousands of them. They educated them, taught them the game, and taught them things they needed to know. It looks good on the outside and nobody cares what happens to them anyway, just that they have a purpose and aren't a burden. Not everyone gets put into the game itself. Some get to work on other aspects of the game, less dangerous aspects. They like putting Rishan into the games, because there aren't a lot to begin with. They're rare in space, except on the space colonies, and to make things even more interesting, they are to play the basic game. Their only chance of freedom from this game is to complete three sets of Alien Dice. If they're defeated, they're a slave for life. (AD, Chapter 2, strip 26)
The public's perception is this: They are orphans. The ADC was kind enough to raise them and teach them a trade which will enable them to live without being a drain on society. They see the ADC as a good thing and they don't see how all of the attention the Dice get afterward bad, because they're mostly shown images of them smiling and getting awarded. The general public also sees them playing as adults, and the general perception is that they signed on to do this once they were of age.
This is reinforced because the ADC tends to focus on Dice who LOVE the game. They love to fight and love their rewards. (Lexx is not one of those. He's successful though, so they are forced to display him, otherwise, they'd probably neatly try to sweep him under a rug. They keep on offering him new contracts so that they can 1) Use his kids in the game and 2) keep him from talking out AGAINST them.) Most people are thinking too much about how entertaining it is to realize the true nature of it. When Lexx or a Dice is injured, they're generally in a bit of pain, but nobody really sees that because they are all told not to show they're in pain, and the general audience thinks that the Nanites keep them from feeling a lot of pain. The cameras rarely fixate too closely on serious injuries.
All of the participants in the main game were signed over to the ADC, establishing them as their guardians, who then signed for them contracts with the ADC, which essentially signs away all their rights until they win their game. They are forbidden from speaking out against it, and without the ones actually participating being able to speak,... and the general perception that they choose to play this way,.. and a lot of under the table money into the right hands,.... only someone who wins and completes the initial contract can actually speak out and tell everything they know and only one of them can put an end to it because Galactic Law requires that there be a witness, as in a being who experiences what went on. Since they all die in play... well, you see where the problem is. Others can and do speak out against it, but they have limited power until someone actually wins... and the ADC will do anything they possibly can to prevent that from happening.. including sabotage, but they still have to keep it challenging to the other players.
NO Dice who comes out of the ADC will ever speak outside of the contract. It has been drilled into their minds that the contract is all - they must abide by the contract and the ADC will keep its word as long as they follow the contract. The ADC does not push the boundaries, they know better, but they do use intimidation and threats to keep their Dice under control. After every set, the Dice return back to the ADC Academy for a month or so of fortification training... meant to remind them where they came from, their duties and their goals. The ADC NEVER outwardly threatens them - they just tell them that they will be punished by the contract if they speak badly about the ADC. They spread rumors/urban legends of Dice who have tried to complain to others aside from the ADC counselors... and that the nanites literally ripped their bodies apart from the inside out. It's that main fear that really terrorizes all of the ADC Dice. They are told to be thankful for what they have and not complain, because it could be worse.. and it will be better. They are rewarded when they do good and the majority of them DO like their rewards.
Once the Dice have been captured, their lives go in dramatically different directions. Most actually DO get more freedom, they are just bound to not say anything about the ADC because of the contract. They could break the contract,... but there are rumors about Dice doing that as well.. so now the ONLY way they see to stop it is for someone to win the game.
Anyone talking out against the ADC, inside or outside the contract stands a good chance of being terminated. The ADC makes a lot of money off of gambling on the matches, their exclusive feeds and the Dice themselves. A Dice getting free and being able to tell everything that went on will cause the Master Side of the game to pretty much collapse and then there will be several thousand Dice free... who know no other life than battle on top of that. It's going to be a mess in the end and everyone knows that at some point... it'll come.
There is an underground. They know about Lexx. You'll find that most of the Masters are hinging their own freedom ON Lexx.
Rishan are pretty much fodder in the game. They're the lowest group on the rung because they do not take the bonding as easily as Kourwine, Sairah and Littans. They have a large number of all four on hand (awaiting bonding to a dice) and other races in stasis so as not to flood the playing field.
Preparing For The Game
The most promising students from the Alien Dice Academy are bonded with a special Master Dice that affects sentients to be sent into the game. Only about a hundred go into play out of over a thousand that go into the ADC each year. Master Dice, instead of being bound to one element, have each of their levels represent an element or type, making more powerful than all of the 'old style' Dice. They go through physical changes when increasing a level, depending on what that level is. Most of them will barely be noticeable.
- Lexx's bonded Dice was experimental - he got a prototype... and is the only one who will and ever will have it. They set him loose on the field thinking that he'd probably be out within a few weeks and then they could study the effects of the tweaked technology. *There were actually a LOT more who had the prototypes, he was in the first 'batch' that got it, but through several batches, he's the only one who actually survived the initial bonding. They expected him, based on the others dying/breaking down, to not last very long, then they could research him and use that information to figure out how to improve upon the experimental Dice. Unfortunately, he's a bit out of hand since it was overly successful. His levels are comparatively stronger than anyone else's at his same level. The higher he gets the more 'unstable' he gets mentally and emotionally. This particular Dice completely rewrote his DNA in areas and has screwed up a lot. Tampering with it could cause more harm than good. It's like a running program, if you do something to interfere with how it runs, it could crash and take Lexx with it.
- The older sets of Master Dice ONLY revert to dice when they die. They cannot do it at will. They're working on experimental sets that can be reverted to dice for easier transportation and storage, but so far there are only a few who can revert to dice form and it has bad side affects. There are other, newer ones that have more rolls than the 20 sided most start have.
- Through intense combat they can force themselves to roll up a level faster. Doing so more than once in a 24 hour period can cause them to pass out. (AD day 22, strip 208)
They are all given a relay so that the ADC can monitor them, injected with nanites to prevent them from committing suicide before they can make a profit off of them (with the side effect that the enhanced healing they give make them tougher players),(AD, Chapter 2, strip 27) and are hooked up with a sponsor who provides a ship and basic funding for their game.
- Attempts at suicide are all written off to the media as simply a mental imbalance. (AD Day 14, strip 66)
The players are registered and each one is given a total set of 50 Dice, although they are not all used from the start. These Dice are recyclable up to three times, thereby, you can start over and build them up more three times. The third wave is usually the strongest, so the best method of preparation is to get all the current Dice up to their highest levels before recasting them on a new world.
- The regular Dice are the property of the Master Dice, if the owner is captured or killed, the regular Dice will be wiped and recycled, or destroyed, unless someone claims responsibility for them. The ADC has special forces trained for hunting down and retrieving unclaimed Dice, as well as destroying rogue Dice that refuse to follow the rules. (AD, Day 4, strip 25)
They also start with three very basic modifiers: two have six sides, one has 10. They usually can't afford to buy any others, and are purposely kept from getting enough to do so. The ADC gives them enough money to supply the ship, and a little extra, but not enough for them to save for anything really good. It is possible for them to win some however.
The Basic Game
The players have to play a training round of regular Alien Dice, then get reset and have to win three more rounds/sets of it for their main game. After each set they have to report to the Academy for testing and additional classes, a process that takes 3-4 months. (AD Day 10, strip 12) Once they complete a set they're also knocked back 10 levels and then randomly reset (in Lexx's case, this ended up with him starting the third set 15 levels lower - having been level 20, his maximum starting level would have been 10). (AD, Chapter 2, strip 26) The abilities are also scrambled in order with each reset, although the physical changes associated with the levels remain the same regardless of which ability is now attached to it.
- They do get rewards from the ADC for the completion of each set, as well as paraded around for 'winning'. Many players go on about the wonderful rewards they had received, the sex they had, and attention they received. (AD Day 12, strip 3)
- There is a theory that when an indentured player is knocked back the 10 levels they retain all of their experience and strength, losing only their actual abilities. It was a flaw, among many flaws in the game, which made it more interesting and challenging. (AD Day 6, strip 35)
In the first game, they start out with 3 groups of Dice. They add a new harder group for each set afterward. For the first group of Dice, they get to start with three of their basics, (Lexx chose Zeta, Stealth, and Fly). The second time it's two (Stealth and Zeta), while the third time it's one (Zeta). For his third time through, the Old Style Master Set was added to Lexx's list to capture. (AD Day 14, strip 1)
- There is a clause that allows players to go out and capture their own Dice without using their sets, and some take advantage of it. However, in the process their Basics never get any practice or go up levels... and usually become lazy, so when the higher level Dice are reached which require the use of the other Dice, the players can't fight them as easily. Also, the constant fighting against the Dice does not leave the player in the best of condition when a challenger comes along. (AD Day 14, strip 1)
They're competing against other players. There are several hundred planets set up to play the game on, and that it's allowed on, so they're spread out very well, although there's six or seven to most planets at any given time and a few to the fringe worlds. Earth is a fringe world.
The winner, is the one who can actually complete the game at all. Sometimes, Dice are lost to the weather or accidents if you take too long to capture them, sometimes others, like challengers, interfere, causing the game to end prematurely.
There are 762 entries on Master Dice Set rules regarding non-contacted worlds. (AD Day 7, strip 14) This includes requiring one to fill out specific paperwork when bringing along a native with you to serve as a native guide while playing the game - ones that clearly state that the native is coming with you willingly and signed by the native. Failure to fill out such paperwork can disqualify a player, and reset their game. (AD Day 11, strip 48)
If a player was captured by a non-participant in the game, especially on a fringe world, a crew would be immediately dispatched *It would take a couple of days.* They would monitor the situation through their link and allow them to escape on their own within a set amount of time. However, if they were in danger, or it interfered for too long with the game, they would pick them up and then they'd be reset and sent to another world to begin their game again, from the FIRST set with an entirely new set of Dice.
It would be breaking the rules to capture another player's Dice to prevent completion of a set. They would be heavily fined and disqualified from ever playing the game again. Those kinds of things are VERY serious.
It is against game rules for anyone to purposely use painkillers, anesthetics, or tranquilizers on Master Dice in battle due to the effects they have on the nanites.
It's against the rules to harm a Master Player (AD Day 18, strip 25) - the Master Dice are to fight the challenger's Dice if they use them. Likewise, hitting a player, even when baited, can be punished by a forced delay. (AD Day 20, strip 19) There is no rule keeping a player from hitting another player if no challenge is in effect though. (AD Day 20, strip 20)
- The ADC has been known to bring Dice up on charges if they fight back while being attacked by a Player, even when not in a challenge. (AD Day 21, strip 115)
They are allowed to be guardians to a child while playing, and can have children while they play, but if they lose or are killed and no other guardian steps forward, the children are claimed by the ADC. (AD Day 8, strip 26)
It is not allowed for a player to play the game on their world of origin, and a game can be reset if they do. Whether it also applies to those born off the world of origin for their species is up to interpretation. (AD Day 21, strip 158)
If a Master Dice is disqualified for breaking the rules, they have to start all over again from the very first set.
A challenge is a one on one battle, if the challenger loses they must then leave and cannot challenge the Master Dice again for that set, (AD, Day 2, strip 20)(AD Day 6, strip 26) although the challenged Dice can challenge back if they desire. (AD Day 6, strip 36) If the challenger wins, the Master Dice becomes captured, and the property of the challenging Master Player. If the Master Dice win, they get bonuses in the form of gifts and crids.
- The exception to this is if the Dice makes a challenge against a Player in their own home. In that scenario the Player is allowed to use two Dice against them. (AD Day 24, strip 95)
There was an allowed time-frame from the start of the challenge, with one player throwing modifiers until the other throws the Dice being fought, without it being considered cheating. (AD, Chapter 2, strip 20) It is not an unusual tactic to stall to make the other uncomfortable. (AD Day 9, strip 1)
There are no battles in space, they're usually waged on planets or space stations since one hit and your ship is most likely going to be totaled. Think about it.. if you get hit, you're dead even if you survive most likely. The only exception is if they run from a challenge, then the challenger is allowed to attack the ship.
Once the Dice has been challenged, they MUST fight, and by game rules, if they run away the challenger has every right to attack their ship, even if non-players are on board. (AD Day 6, strip 25) Likewise, if anyone interferes with the fight on their behalf, they lose by default. (AD Day 6, strip 30)(AD Day 24, strip 98) They can leave however, if the actual challenge hasn't been issued... as some Players will try ploys to throw them mentally off-balance before the challenge, so they are off-guard when the actual fight begins. (AD Day 6, strip 27)
If fighting against a Littan in a challenge, there is a battle penalty for hitting them in the face due to it being easy to dislocate their jaws. The Littans are never to bite, in part due to their racial ability, and in return they are never to be hit in the face. Hitting a Littan in the chest is also a bad idea, as punching their chest plate is much like hitting a brick wall, and many players have broken their hands trying, and lost the battle. It's best to avoid close combat with them. (AD Day 11, strip 51)
Not every Dice player goes into a challenge battle to win, they go in for bragging rights of even DARING to match their Dice, even if they lose. They don't always push their Dice that far either; very few want their Dice to fight to the death. Master Dice are EXPENSIVE, and also relatively rare. While Saign has a number of them, most Master Players have only one, while only a small percentage will have two to three. Often, what happens is that a Player will get one Master, find that he/she takes a lot more care than their usual Dice, or is extremely hard to handle, and then will get out of the game and sell it to someone else.
The Dice can have only one challenge when visiting a station or Away Point, but can be challenged again when leaving the station. Once the course has been set in the ship computer though to start transport, the challenge doesn't go into effect until the destination is reached. (AD Day 6, strip 57)
- The ADC loves it when an arena battle takes place on a space station or Away Point. They get a generous cut of the proceeds from the gambling and the winner of the battle also gets a percentage to do what they wanted with. Some players fell for that trap. Seeking the money they could win in the tournaments and waiting around near away points and planets that had many arenas. They didn't devote their time to their game and they had all inevitably been captured. A few had careers in which they were so good that they were moved to gaining more revenue for the ADC and its investors that way. They were never truly free, but they couldn't be captured if they lost. (AD Day 6, strip 26)
- It was a customary action for the crowd viewing the challenge to go down and congratulate the victor, especially to those who had won crids betting on them. (AD Day 6, strip 37)
- After a battle there is a period of 'safe time' when they cannot be challenged. (AD Day 18, strip 92)
A Master Dice who loses a challenge becomes the property of the challenger, although Master Dice cannot own another Master Dice. Capture by another player is just another part of the contract. To avoid it being referred to as slavery, they simply transfer ownership with a new contract that also has a non-disclosure agreement with it. As long as the players win, they are kept 'happy', if they are disagreeable, they quietly befall accidents or die in combat.
- A captured Master Dice being traded is fairly common. Anyone owning a Dice can will them to whomever they want,.. or give them their freedom. They never become free players again, they can only be traded or released since they already lost once. Nobody reclaims them and nobody can erase them. The Dice would die if that is done to it, kind of like how if you knock a master Dice unconscious,... and they revert to dice form they will be effectively dead and useless. Sicali Riane was among the first to be put into the game as part of the master set, and as some people quit the game they might pass on their old Dice to someone else. Someone with a lot of money can buy their winning masters - being a player or not doesn't matter. Sometimes the Dice can be 'shown' like one would a prized dog or horse, their records displayed. Sometimes, they become pets and guard animals. The game masters/sponsors don't really care much about the Dice themselves, they'd be destroyed, but the ship they want back.
- The only rules in the treatment of captured Dice is that you do not kill them on purpose if they are part of the master set. You do not torture them. You can sell them, trade them do whatever you want with them. There are no other rules. There is a group that does deal in cruelty investigations on normal Dice, but none for the Master set, because the Master set are supposed to be WORKING for the ADC and have volunteered for the game and signed a contract to do what it states. Yeah, the rules are strange, ... considering after a point it is slavery, but MOST of them will treat their Dice really well and since the Dice can't complain... and are usually kept happy until they're useless so it doesn't matter to anyone. Most of them are 'offed' at some point when they become useless, but since all anyone sees is that they lived well, nobody cares. They have constant feed on many of them per the contract. And as for the diced up cow... nobody wants to 'eat' the Dice since they're filled with nanites and such stuff,.. well,.. sane people don't and wouldn't dream of it, but yes, there IS a sex trade as well for popular Dice, but that is another rule. A dice cannot be forced, no matter who owns it, to do what it does not want to other than fight. That's the ONLY thing a Dice is contracted to do, but they are often bribed, drugged, etc into submission.
There is an official timeout following each challenge. The Dice can't be challenged again until they're back to perfect condition, otherwise you can see how people would just line up and eventually get them.
The game is very popular, and there are several channels devoted to each Dice player, as well as a constant feed with a ticker tape readout at the top of the screen with information on current standings, popularity, and so forth. (AD Day 7, strip 14)
There are also essentially 'time-outs' to accommodate Premium Visitations.
The Master Dice are recorded at all times and know they're on camera, they're just not allowed to watch their own feed or any other player's feed. It's unallowable access to study another player's fighting styles. The bathroom is the only room not on camera, for obvious reasons. The camera is on constantly, even though you never see them. They're all over the ship.
- Darkness offers some privacy from being watched by the cameras. They were enabled with night vision, but that came at an additional cost that most watchers didn’t pay. (AD Day 14,strip 63)
Most of the time, the sound is off on the feeds the camera is relaying, unless there's a battle. It's also ALL in real time. There's only one camera that follows Lexx that is capable of transmitting sound and because it's an expensive piece of machinery, it's only around for battles,... and for Premium Pass payers. At one time, they thought that people would only be interested in the battles themselves, but there's been so much interest in EVERYTHING, that they have the cameras fully fitted for sound most of the time. They just haven't been able to install them on Lexx's ship yet. They will soon though,... there is a high demand for audio of Lexx. *And later,... they did. (AD Day 11, strip 38)
They knows when the audio is on and by contract when it's on, they're not to speak about anything to do with their contract or offer their personal opinions on the game. And they can't just spill their secrets quickly to the galaxy because there's a slight delay in the feed, they start talking, they cut the feed.
When a sentient Dice wins, they retain all their Dice abilities (and nanites). If they were to win, all they have to do is sign an agreement that states they will retire and not say anything and the ADC will not secretly attempt to kill him. And yes, they would threaten him. They are very interested in keeping their hold on their biggest moneymaker, that of the Senmasts, or Sentient Master set. Being bonded to a Dice does extend their life somewhat. It extends the regular set's life much further than it would say, Lexx's. Lexx will probably live to be up to 200 years old HEALTHILY. I think I've mentioned it before, that he could possibly live longer but his mental state would probably finally cause the nanos to shut down.
There's also this event called the Gauntlet,... which has only been called twice by the ADC early in the games. They were both so disastrous that another one has not been called since then, although if a player were to win one, they would win the game as a prize.
There are also a number of master dice who have joined the Arena Circuit. They have some freedoms, though not full freedom. The circuits look good on the outside, but the investors are the only ones who really profit. The sentient Dice players that made it there had representatives. The representatives take care of everything, and lead them to think they're rich, until the players outlive their usefulness and start losing, then,.. accidents would befall them. (AD Day 6, strip 49)
Anyone can join the game as long as they have a Dice to fight with. There are regular arena battles as well. The majority of the players are not bonded, they just like playing the game and the only ones who are bonded are part of the game like Lexx is.
Normal people can choose to be bonded to a Dice and take part in the battles themselves. There are actually aliens out there who have the process done on them for their own entertainment and to make money in the arenas, ... not for the actual game, although it's a fairly expensive process to get done on you. They also don't have to fight to the death and there are different rules, plus, it's a slightly different process that is also reversible and doesn't cause any severe problems. There are no nanites, they don't have a Dice bonding. It basically ONLY allows them to use the same combat modifiers as regular Dice. They don't undergo any physical changes, but can stand up to a Dice to a point.
Black Market Dice
Buying a Dice would be tricky. The only ones you'll most likely find are black market Dice, which are that way because they are flawed. They were thrown away. Only desperate people agree to be bonded to these Dice. There's no way of telling what the flaws are ahead of time.
The Black Market is where Dice go who are released by their owners. Since fighting is all they're raised for, they tend to stick with it. There ARE 'free' Dice, just not in the way Lexx wants to be.
A good deal of black market Dice are bonded to defective dice that were thrown away as being substandard by the ADC, then sold before they were supposed to be destroyed. Some are bondings that did not result well... and many of the ones bonded are simply looking for a means to make money, support their families and in many cases... are kids parents have sold off to the system.
AD Players Against the Master Dice Set
There exists a secret organization of AD players fighting against the Master Dice part of the game.
Riley is a member, and they are actively trying to recruit Lexx to aid their cause. (AD Day 21, strip 106) Riley's brother is also member, (AD Day 21, strip 107) as well as Damian and Mauki. (AD Day 21, strip 108) Even Zaile is a member. (AD Day 21, strip 111)
- To help their cause they needed Lexx to win, but felt he'd need their help to win since the word was out the ADC was intending to issue a Gauntlet against Lexx. (AD Day 21, strip 107)
- The AD Council set the game up so that as long as they're under contract, they can't speak against them, until they complete the game. Nobody outside of the game knows what really goes on. Lexx won't reveal that, but they've seen it in his eyes and the eyes of others. It's been written in blood. (AD Day 21, strip 108)
- They offered to help him win if he would agree to go public afterwards and tell everything. Lexx was hesitant to accept, knowing the Gauntlet would likely kill him, and if it didn't the ADC would if he went public against them. (AD Day 21, strip 109)
- They felt they needed to act soon, since the ADC was bringing in 250,000 orphans for 'Life Training'. Half would die in training. The ADC has excuses for them all and no-one really checks. The master set is very profitable and the ADC has deep pockets. (AD Day 21, strip 110) To make it worse, many 'orphans' aren't really orphans, but rather kidnapped and reported to their families as deceased. (AD Day 21, strip 111)
- Upon finding out he had family alive, and that Zaile was his brother, he accepted. (AD Day 21, strip 114)