Opening Gambit - Peace Treaty Tactic Military Formation in Vellikka | World Anvil

Opening Gambit - Peace Treaty Tactic

"The Opening Gambit of any Peace Treaty conversations with a new species or planet are obviously crucial.   Any good Emissary of the Peacekeepers understands that first impressions last, which is clearly true. A less appreciated fact is that if you start from a position of advantage, it is easier to hold on to that advantage from the grab it from the hands of another. It is even easier, if the other person doesn't know you have the advantage in the first place.   87% of successful Peace Treaties are started with a successful Opening Gambit. Suffice to say, this matters. Get this right and you will make your job and that of your colleagues that much easier."  
— Extract from Your Word Is Not Enough; Building A Sustainable and Useful Treaty
by Peacekeeper M'Plisk  



It is possible to execute the Opening Gambit as an individual. It is better executed by three Emissaries working together towards the same goal, but that is not a requirement for this strategy to be effective. These three Emissaries perform the following roles. In the case that only one or two Emissaries are available, they may have to perform multiple roles.  

The Ally

A person capable of appearing friendly, and aligned with the goals of the planet in question.

The Antagonist

A person who appears actively against or disinterested in the goals of the planet in question.

The Sympath

A person who appears to be swayed to be sympathetic towards the goals of the planet in question.


A means of long distance communication is required for this formation. A Intergalactic Farsona is perfect in this regard, because it is portable and can be used within earshot of the relevant parties. Ideally, more than one is useful, but a single point of contact is sufficient.


No weaponry is required for this formation. This is a tactical maneuver of the mind, and not one for which weapons are required.   However, depending on the culture of the planet a weapon, or show of force of some kind might come in handy. This weapon, usually, doesn't have to be something which is used, but it should be in working order in case this is put to the test. All Emissaries should agree on this and be aware of it, prior to the start of the Opening Gambit.


The Opening Gambit is lead by the Emissary in the role of the Ally. If all Emissaries are of the same level within the Peacekeeper Diplomacy structure, then it should be agreed between them before the Gambit is started. However, in most circumstances the most senior Emissary will choose who will be performing which role. This does not mean that they will play the Ally, as it is important that the person with the best rapport play this part.  
"Ego has no place in the Opening Gambit. This is one of the many instances that a good Emissary must put the good of The Alliance ahead of glory for the self. It is imperative that the person with the strongest positive relationship with the planetary representatives perform the part of the Ally.   Without that rapport, the gambit is as good as lost before it has begun."  
— Extract from Your Word Is Not Enough; Building A Sustainable and Useful Treaty
by Peacekeeper M'Plisk  

The Opening Gambit


The Set Up

Key Players

  • The Ally
  • Planetary Representative
The Ally approaches the Planetary Representative and talks to them about the situation on their planet. They highlight an area which is a pain point to the Planetary Representative, and talk about how it's a shame that The Alliance can't help resolve it, while planting the idea that they should raise it with The Antagonist, but it probably won't help.

The Set Back

Key Players

  • The Antagonist
  • The Ally
  • Planetary Representative
The Antagonist waits for the Planetary Representative to bring up the idea that was floated by the Ally. If they don't raise it then the Ally might. The Antagonist shoots the idea down, blaming the Ally (regardless of which one of them raises it) and is harsh about it being against the policy of The Alliance to do such a thing.   This is where the weapon might be used to express the anger of the Antagonist, but it is far from essential.

The Step Forward

Key Players

  • The Sympath
  • The Ally
  • Planetary Representative
The Ally commiserates with the Planetary Representative and suggests that they might be able to get the Sympath on side. They approach them separately from the Antagonist and the Sympath is sympathetic, and while resistant, is eventually persuaded that it's a good idea.   In front of the Planetary Representative, the Sympath warns the Ally that they are suggesting something risky, and that they are putting their livelihood on the line if they choose to go down this route. The Ally declares that it will be worth anything if they help the planet in question.

The Closer

Key Players

  • The Ally
  • Planetary Representative
  • The Antagonist
  • The Sympath
The Ally allows the Planetary Representative to overhear their side of a long range communication which sounds as though they are getting disciplined for not being objective enough.   Depending on the culture and behaviour of the Planetary Representative, they are then either approached by the Sympath or the Antagonist. The aim is for them to get the Planetary Representative to ask for The Ally to be kept.

The Ideal End Result

The Ally will remain as the Planetary Representative's primary contact for the remainder of the negotiations. They will use the "remember how I went to bat for you and nearly lost my job" to keep the Planetary Representative in line and ensure that The Alliance gets what it needs from the negotiations.  

The Alternative End Result

In the case in which the Planetary Representative does not ask for the Ally to keep their job, the Ally is returned to a position off-planet, where they can observe and advise from afar, where necessary.   In this situation, the Antagonist becomes the primary point of contact. They have a "frank" conversation with the Planetary Representative in which they state that The Alliance has taken two major hits at the expensive of this relationship, and they won't be able to give anything else, and are expecting to be able to get something in return for this if it's going to go through. The idea is to make the Planetary Representative feel the need to make it up to them.  

Important Notes


The Pain Point

The Pain Point has to be something which can be solved by The Alliance without any real cost to them. It has to be pre-approved by The Alliance, and something that is of a lower value than what they want out of it. However, it also has to be something that the Planet will really want and will benefit the Planetary Representative.

Planetary Representative

Sometimes the Planetary Representative is a group of people, or can be multiple people throughout the course of the gambit. As long as they perform in the way which is required and have the correct emotional engagement, then it can still be pulled off.

Running the Gambit Solo

It is possible to play both the Ally and the Sympath within this gambit. The key here is for the Sympath to make sure that the Planetary Representative knows that the Ally's job is on the line.   In the case of a single Emissary, the role of the Antagonist is played by whoever is on the end of the long range communication, of set up to look that way. Phrases like, "I've spoken to my superiors and they are not happy," can have a similar effect.   If there are only two Emissaries it is better that one plays the Ally and the Sympath and the other plays the Antagonist. Having the face of the Antagonist on the planet can be a really good motivator, and make the gambit feel more plausible.


The Opening Gambit was developed during the negotiations between P'Ache Prime and the other planets in P'Ache Solar System. It was first successfully used for the negotiations between the Primians and the Majorans over Majoran and has been a fundemental part of the Peacekeeper Diplomacy training ever since.

Related Articles

Organisations Peacekeeper Alliance, Peacekeeper Command, Peacekeeper Diplomacy
Positions Emissary of the Peacekeepers, Head of Peacekeeper Command, Head of Peacekeeper Diplomacy
People Peacekeeper, Pachian
Timelines Peacekeeper Expansion
Locations Peacekeeper Territories
Documentation Peace Treaty Process, Peace Treaty Template
Overall training Level
Assumed Veterancy


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Jan 22, 2024 00:04

I gotta say, a peace treaty is not what comes to mind when I think "military formation", but this absolutely works. It's like a diplomacy special ops unit. I do wonder, what is the risk of planetary representatives recognizing the pattern of the tactic? What happens if they suspect the setup?

From The River to The Ocean, a civilization grows up.
Jan 22, 2024 14:13 by Elspeth

Exactly! A different kind of military ops. :D Great question, to date most of the planets they've tackled don't have a lot of interplanetary experience so don't see it coming. But this would be a great conundrum for a plot line. Thanks for the inspiration! :)