Competant Ancient Races

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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by ThomasP »

Ford Prefect wrote:
Gil Hamilton wrote:I thought the Photino Birds eventually got them.
Yeah, but just about everyone ever would be beaten by the Photino Birds. It's not exactly like the Forerunners being driven into suicide by the Flood, who are subsequently defeated by some green guy and his plucky holographic girlfriend. Being driven out of the universe after hundreds of millions of years of attritional conflict against an enemy so numerous they redirect galaxies simply by the mass of their forces is not exactly unimpressive.
I was talking about the photino birds actually
Like I just said, this isn't a negative.
That'd be why I suggested the Xeelee as competent ancients ;)
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Darth Yoshi wrote:I don't know if the Chozo from Metroid count, since they were still active in galactic affairs alongside humans (albeit in a pathetically emaciated state), and were eventually wiped out by raiders colluding with the super AI they built to administer their last community. In their favor, though, the plucky human who cleans up their messes was trained by them to do just that. And they built a floating steampunk city, apparently for SCIENCE! or the lulz.
I'd like to call the Chozo competent, but they did let their civilization stagnate to the point where there were few of them left and also decided to chuck their technology in exchange for magic at which point they stopped trying to fight their decline. Then again the only real goal of their civilization seemed to be the accumulation and sharing of knowledge so maybe they really didn't care if they lived or died in the end so you can't hold it against them.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Starglider »

Ford Prefect wrote:Yeah, but just about everyone ever would be beaten by the Photino Birds.
Says you. The protagonists of Schlock Mercenary fought creatures that are similar in concept and scale but much more actively malign, capable of attacking baryonic vessels directly, and with enslaved baryonic races helping them - and so far, the mercenaries/combined Milky Way naval powers/Fleetmind are winning. :)
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Photino birds? Heh. I give you the kosmokrats, who shape/reshape entire universes.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Starglider wrote:Says you. The protagonists of Schlock Mercenary fought creatures that are similar in concept and scale but much more actively malign, capable of attacking baryonic vessels directly, and with enslaved baryonic races helping them - and so far, the mercenaries/combined Milky Way naval powers/Fleetmind are winning. :)
The Paanuri, apostrophe forgotten, are nowhere near the scale of the Photino Birds. Seriously, I don't have the metaphors to describe the huge disparity between a couple of galaxies and the entire universe.
Thanas wrote:Photino birds? Heh. I give you the kosmokrats, who shape/reshape entire universes.
Perry Rhodan is just cheating, and you know it.

Besides, I can actually name entities more powerful than the Photino Birds (ie. kosmocrats, chaotarchs, the Demonbane and so on). However, this is distinctly tiny minority of science fiction polities.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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The First Ones from B5 other than the Shadows and Vorlons?
Which like the cosmocrats and chaotarchs from Perry Rhodan had their plans fucked up by the Younger Races? :D
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Batman wrote:The First Ones from B5 other than the Shadows and Vorlons?
I'm not sure they're ever named, but at the very least the First Ones race that Ivanova had to antagonize to get to join that alliance were there at the battles.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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My point was that UNlike the Shadows and the Vorlons they apparently didn't have their plans (whatever they may have been) messed up by the Younger Races (other than Ivanova badgering them into taking part in the final battle) so they should qualify for the title of COMPETENT Ancient Races.
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'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues.'
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'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Luzifer's right hand »

Batman wrote:The First Ones from B5 other than the Shadows and Vorlons?
Which like the cosmocrats and chaotarchs from Perry Rhodan had their plans fucked up by the Younger Races? :D
The solution for the Thoregon stuff was actually fairly nice, instead of killing very being involoved(Plan B :P) they just got some N00bs to do most of their work for them.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Ford Prefect wrote:The Paanuri, apostrophe forgotten, are nowhere near the scale of the Photino Birds. Seriously, I don't have the metaphors to describe the huge disparity between a couple of galaxies and the entire universe.
Oh, it's not that hard. The size of our solar system compared to the observable universe is roughly the size of a tennis ball compared to the solar system.

Anyway I was referring to individual Paanuri being similar in scale to individual Photino Birds (as far as I recall the relevant passages, which I confess is rather dimly). Obviously the scale of the conflict is much smaller, but then we don't know how many galaxies the Paanuri infest. Given how long they've been around and their obvious extragalactic travel capabilities it's quite possible that they're present in most galaxies and their two-stage eviction from the Milky Way was an exceptional case. I admit though that the fully described panuniversal war in the Xeelee sequence trumps a mere possible future panuniversal war in the Schlockverse.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Batman wrote:My point was that UNlike the Shadows and the Vorlons they apparently didn't have their plans (whatever they may have been) messed up by the Younger Races (other than Ivanova badgering them into taking part in the final battle) so they should qualify for the title of COMPETENT Ancient Races.
Huh.

With that point, it makes sense; it's heavily implied that almost all the First Ones are gone, except for the Vorlons and Shadows - given the behavior of both, one has to wonder what the other First Ones must think of them.

...Especially when (and under what circumstances) they finally left to rejoin their First Ones brethren. I imagine there'd be quite a bit of derisive laughter awaiting both of their peoples when they do.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Ford Prefect »

Starglider wrote:Oh, it's not that hard. The size of our solar system compared to the observable universe is roughly the size of a tennis ball compared to the solar system.
My claim of a lack of metaphor is in itself a metaphor! :)
Anyway I was referring to individual Paanuri being similar in scale to individual Photino Birds (as far as I recall the relevant passages, which I confess is rather dimly). Obviously the scale of the conflict is much smaller, but then we don't know how many galaxies the Paanuri infest. Given how long they've been around and their obvious extragalactic travel capabilities it's quite possible that they're present in most galaxies and their two-stage eviction from the Milky Way was an exceptional case. I admit though that the fully described panuniversal war in the Xeelee sequence trumps a mere possible future panuniversal war in the Schlockverse.
Honestly, on an individual level, which is extremely difficult to judge, the Paanuri are probably more impressive. At the end of the day, the Photino Birds operate in a cosmic scaled version of human wave tactics. I seriously can't think of them doing anything other than use huge numbers of Birds to shift large masses, such as galaxies, around. The Paanuri seem to not rely purely on mass.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Ford Prefect wrote:Honestly, on an individual level, which is extremely difficult to judge, the Paanuri are probably more impressive. At the end of the day, the Photino Birds operate in a cosmic scaled version of human wave tactics. I seriously can't think of them doing anything other than use huge numbers of Birds to shift large masses, such as galaxies, around. The Paanuri seem to not rely purely on mass.
In one of the last stories in Vacuum Diagrams (I forget the name right now but it's the one where the humans are trying to escape through the Ring and the Qax throw a star at the photino birds) there's mention of a battle where the photino birds are using their own mass to crush the Spline ships.

But you're right, that's the only example I can think of out of the whole series where they actually do anything of a tactical nature.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Adrian Laguna »

Let's see competent ancient races.

The Xeelee and Photino Birds have been brought up, and those are the first that come to mind. Particularly the Xeelee given the sheer magnitude of their opponent, and their ultimate solution to avoid defeat and extermination.

In the Schlockverse both the Dark Matter entities and the Gate Keepers have had their asses kicked around by uppity humans and their allies, upsetting plans that they've had in motion for hundreds of thousands of years. Therefore they totally and absolutely don't count as competent.

If I could remember a bit more about Exalted I might be able to come up with a few. The problems with that setting isn't that the ancients weren't competent, but rather that they were just a little too competent at stabbing each other in the back.

In WH40k the C'tan and Necrons are highly competent, both from their behavior during the War in Heaven and in the current "present" of the setting. The Old Ones... not so much, seeing as their short-sightedness in dealing with the Immaterium lead to their own demise, and that of most sentient life in the local galactic cluster. There's also the issue that much of what's fucked up in the "present" of the setting is their fault, but that's really more an issue of the Old Ones being gigantic assholes.

The Eldar can be pretty competent as far as ancient races go, sometimes scarily so, but they are also responsible for a catastrophe similar to the one that wiped out the Old Ones, though smaller in scale. I can forgive them that since debauchery was pretty much written into their genetic code, and they have learned from their mistakes of the past such that they are still major players in the galactic scale.

From the Star Control setting, there's the Ur-Quan, who successfully conquered the entire galaxy. They were only defeated by the younger races because they were a tad too busy having a religious civil war to pay attention to the player's shenanigans. This was entirely justifiable because if the Sa-Matra was equivalent to USS Montana (the planned BB-67) then the player's ship was equivalent to USS Fletcher (WW2 era), and everyone else was stuck with the equivalent of mid-19th century ironclads.

From what little I know of it, the main plot of Lensmen revolves around one competent ancient race attempting to create a psychic WMD in order to destroy their equally ancient and scarily competent enemies. This in a universe where the major powers can play billiards with planetary bodies.

In Doctor Who, depending on the episode/writer, the Daleks can be both very ancient, and very competent. The Time Lords are always very ancient, but their competence is highly dependent on who's writing, and I am to understand they are inept more often than not.

The cute aliens that shit dark matter in Futurama have managed to save the universe a couple of times. Granted they needed Fry's help to do it, but they didn't have much choice in the matter.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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The ancient races of Starplex appear competent; they are in fact still around and going strong, billions of years old. They just avoid the young races
Spoiler
who are actually in part their own past selves; they exist in a time loop from the far future to the far past.
What plans of theirs that are revealed seem to be working just fine, too.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Ford Prefect wrote:
Thanas wrote:Photino birds? Heh. I give you the kosmokrats, who shape/reshape entire universes.
Perry Rhodan is just cheating, and you know it.

Besides, I can actually name entities more powerful than the Photino Birds (ie. kosmocrats, chaotarchs, the Demonbane and so on). However, this is distinctly tiny minority of science fiction polities.
Whoah. Someone who reads Perry Rhodan and is not a german? Interesting.....
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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avatarxprime wrote:I'd like to call the Chozo competent, but they did let their civilization stagnate to the point where there were few of them left and also decided to chuck their technology in exchange for magic at which point they stopped trying to fight their decline. Then again the only real goal of their civilization seemed to be the accumulation and sharing of knowledge so maybe they really didn't care if they lived or died in the end so you can't hold it against them.
They didn't exactly chuck technology away. Tallon IV was essentially a wilderness resort for Chozo luddites, and there were still had plenty of crap lying around for Samus to scavenge. But yeah, the whole stagnation and decline is a point against them.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Thanas wrote: Whoah. Someone who reads Perry Rhodan and is not a german? Interesting.....
Me and the Rhodanites around HAVE had a a few squabbles you know. Obscure as the series may be overall it HAS come up on the SDN radar before. :P
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'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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As was stated, the Eddorians/Arisian. Both evolved as the sole inhabitants of their galaxies. The Eddorians then proceeded to go universe hopping once they realized there were no other species to dominate in their home universe. Once they landed in the Lensmen verse, the Arisians not only noticed them, but made contact and then hid themselves from the Eddorians, who were of equivalent mental power. The Eddorians proceed to dominate both galaxies and maintain that grip even after the formation of the Galactic Patrol and until Kimball Kinnison is in his 50s(is that the right age?)

And the entire time, the Arisians have been running their own plans, quite possibly while factoring in Eddores future moves just from probability.

Does The Culture count considering they were founded in 7000BC? ( reference Here.)
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Batman wrote:
Thanas wrote: Whoah. Someone who reads Perry Rhodan and is not a german? Interesting.....
Me and the Rhodanites around HAVE had a a few squabbles you know. Obscure as the series may be overall it HAS come up on the SDN radar before. :P
Define obscure - I am not sure any German around has not heard of it. :wink: (Not that I read it nowadays - their character work needs some serious overhaul. What is the point of introducing interesting good characters if somewhere along the line they are all going to end up insane or wasted?)

But seriously, I never had it heard mentioned before - or if it was, I do not remember it.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Marcus Aurelius »

Tasoth wrote: Does The Culture count considering they were founded in 7000BC? ( reference Here.)
Nope, they don't count as Elder or Ancient civilization in the Cultureverse. In fact the Culture is one of the youngest of the so called High Level Involved civilizations*. Some others are considerably older, up to several millions of years. The real Elder races usually do not take part on the daily matters of the Galaxy at all and there is very little communication between them and the Involveds. Most of them are Sublimed, but in the Cultureverse becoming Sublimed (i.e. retreat from the physical universe) does not require very advanced technology. Some species (e.g. the Chelgrians) have even managed it before becoming true Involveds and the Culture has possessed the necessary technology for thousands of years.

* There are three levels of Involved civilizations: low, medium and high. Overall technological capability defines the level.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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Do the Endurium guys count? Super-advanced metal aliens, so slow in movement and cogitation nobody realised they were alive and used them for FTL fuel until they triggered a galaxy-spanning wave of solar flares to eliminate organic life. Being used as firewood is pretty incompetent.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Ford Prefect »

Actually, that sounds pretty competant. If they're really slow when it comes to thinking, it may have taken them centuries or whatever to even realise they're being used as fuel at which point they promptly wipe everyone out.
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Re: Competant Ancient Races

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What about the super aliens from Terry Pratchett Strata?
Spoilers ho!
Humans in the future are in the business of building worlds. For whatever reason they get it into their heads to make sure Humanity survives they will put colonies of humans on thousands of terraformed worlds all over the galaxy with each planet brought in line to be human survivable and with duplicate geological species history to old Earth(As noted in the book, Not New Earth or Better Earth or Great Earth but old Earth the original) right up to including fabricated dinosaur bones and oil deposits.

Or in other words they copy paste earth with a large number of native species, stick a space elevator over the planet and let them evolve under an alien sun on planets terraformed to closely duplicate Earth to begin with (But it might have 1.05 G gravity, or much more active storm season or maybe it's a blue sun not a yellow one with the planet on a farther out orbit ect)

They do all this with technology scavenged from a dead race of advanced aliens who died out from social inertia but while they lived they were artists of terraform worlds, not to live on but almost as pieces of art to be modeled and species to be uplifted from time to time.

But spoilers ahead it turns out the super advanced aliens are in fact fake and the advanced aliens are humans, humans that were built not planets but universes of which the entire book take places in one such and said advanced humans keep of piece of themselves locked inside every human to observe and record their experiences. Why? Who knows... because they can I suppose.

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Re: Competant Ancient Races

Post by Simon_Jester »

Adrian Laguna wrote:In the Schlockverse both the Dark Matter entities and the Gate Keepers have had their asses kicked around by uppity humans and their allies, upsetting plans that they've had in motion for hundreds of thousands of years. Therefore they totally and absolutely don't count as competent.
The Gatekeepers' trouble is that they weren't in possession of all the relevant facts; their plan inevitably came unraveled once teraport technology went open-source, because their entire goal was "prevent the rise of teraport technology." and the sheer level of vigilance they'd have needed to stop it was quite high. Not being that hyperalert after tens of millenia of "all quiet on the teraport front" doesn't prove collective incompetence. Individual incompetence, possibly; some specific Gatekeepers may have screwed up badly. But individual incompetence doesn't require collective incompetence as a species.

Likewise the Paanuri; their plans pretty much boiled down to "don't do teraports because they eff up our living space, and we won't kill you all." Humans' only real achievement that gave them any trouble was being the first species in the galaxy stupid enough to touch off an AI Singularity that blew up out of anyone's ability to control. The real threat comes from the Fleetmind, which is a force comparable to them in power and intellectual ability- and you don't have to be incompetent to lose to an equal opponent.
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