SDNW4 General Facts Thread

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SDNW4 General Facts Thread

Post by Steve » 2010-08-08 02:55pm

Under Advisement from Simon_Jester, this thread will be used to convey facts about things surrounding current storylines.

Obviously, we start with Pendleton.

Pendleton is in Sector X-17. It is connected to an isolated network of minor hyperlanes in its sector that stretch into X-18 as well. To get to Pendleton's little network from the main galactic hyperlanes, you must cross shoals. The closest point is Bannerman System in X-18 to Acker System in X-17, hence the Bannerman-Acker Gap. The trip is a standard 2 days through shoals, which induce wear and tear on ship drives and can be dangerous if a drive has an unseen mechanical flaw or maintenance has missed something.

Both X-17 and X-18 are part of the Outback.

This is for the confusion Force Lord had as to what was where in terms of the Outback, the Gap, Bannerman, and Pendleton.


These three lanes are the only ways in and out of the Outback, though they do not represent the only traversible paths.

Any more questions, please relay them by PM or IM.
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Re: SDNW4 General Facts Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2010-08-08 03:11pm

Also note: During the Pendleton operation, the deep space around the Bannerman system is covered by a large task force of very alert and paranoid warships, spread out across the entire width of the Gap.

Any ship not equipped with excellent stealth technology will almost certainly be detected by this force. Ships approaching from the direction of Bannerman (going deeper into the Outback towards Pendleton) will encounter a screen of warships. They will be called on to state their business, and will be stopped and searched unless they can establish their bona fides as members of the Coalition armed forces.

Ships approaching from the direction of Pendleton (trying to reach the main lanes through the Outback and escape) will encounter a screen of Umerian ELINT cutters that are picketing the shoals of the Bannerman-Acker Gap. These cutters have excellent sensor equipment and will detect any ship that does not have equally excellent stealth suites; they will probably detect ships long before those ships detect them.

Once a ship approaching from the direction of Pendleton is spotted, the ELINT cutters will pass that information back to the Hiigaran carrier Black Knight, which is the flagship of the operation. If the approaching ship has a transponder announcing it as Pendleton-flagged, or has no transponder, it will be treated as a Pendletonian smuggler, warship, or freighter. Thus, unflagged ships gets a rather rough interception; see this post for an example.

Note that the freighter in this example was pulled out of hyperspace without warning, then called on to stop and be boarded. When it ignored the first surrender demand, the Umerians felt totally within their rights to fire nuclear missiles into the path of the freighter to intimidate it into stopping.

Ships that are flagged as belonging to a power other than Pendleton, with nice convincing transponders, get a more polite reception: they are ordered to leave hyperspace before being dragged out against their will.

In either case, immediately* after the Umerians drag the ship out of hyper (or it comes out of its own free will), a Coalition starship will show up to handle the boarding and search- or the fighting, if the ship decides to fight.

*In theory; see Battle of Bannerman, chapters four and five...
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Re: SDNW4 General Facts Thread

Post by Simon_Jester » 2010-08-08 11:12pm

Things Not to Do So Your Cloaked Ship Doesn't Get Spotted

The ongoing race between stealth and detection has proceeded since time immemorial. For the benefit of the galaxy's defense planners, this article seeks to outline some of the classic blunders committed by would-be stealthers using modern cloaked technology to evade the watchful eyes of their enemies.

We would like to thank our spiritual forebears in the effort to teach others How Not To Be Seen

1) Thou Shalt Not Tempt Fate
All cloaking systems have limits. It is generally unwise to explore these limits too closely, as the line between "I see you" and "I don't see you" is thin and easily crossed without warning. Pursuant to this, one should not send one's cloaked ship diving through a swarm of enemies. Or too close to a sensor installation.

Ideally, one should always operate on the assumption that the enemy's sensors are good, their operators alert, and that one's own stealth systems are considerably less effective than one would hope. The pessimist is seldom disappointed!

2) Thou Shalt Not Place All Thy Trust In Any One Method
In general, stealth systems are only used when not being detected is of extreme importance- for covert operations, delivering strategic weapons without alerting enemy defenses, and the like. As such, when one uses stealth, it is probably important. Thus, one should not use half measures: it is good stealth practice to be camouflaged, and good to hide behind terrain features, but better by far to use both!

More generally, one should always take as many precautions as humanly possible to avoid detection, consistent with the success of the mission.

3) Thou Shalt Not Be Distracted
Investigating or attacking targets of opportunity while in stealth is a Bad Idea. Even if you are certain you can destroy the target without being detected, the target may be cut off in mid-broadcast, or may miss a regularly scheduled update to headquarters. Therefore, the stealther should always be careful to focus on a specific objective, and avoid distractions that require them to linger in areas where they might be detected.

Diversions from the mission, no matter how shiny, are bad.

4) Thou Shalt Not Go Too Fast
Most stealth systems work infinitely better at concealing a slow-moving object than a fast one. Hyperspace wakes and exhaust plumes are facts of life for moving spacecraft, and the more energy the ship uses to move itself, the more energy is pumped into these detectable tracks. Stealth can only accomplish so much, so the stealth ship's captain is well advised to move slowly and carefully.

This concern goes double in atmosphere. Wake turbulence can easily betray moving spacecraft if the enemy is alert enough to go looking for it, unless the ship can exploit existing atmospheric turbulence to mask its travel (such as is found around storms or nuclear explosions). As speed increases, detection becomes even easier. At supersonic speeds, stealth is practically impossible due to the unavoidable sonic boom.

At highly supersonic speeds, the very idea of stealth becomes a cruel joke; as defense planner Dr. Stuart of the Umerian Strategic Defense Institute put it, "Another problem with hypersonic missiles is that they have enormous thermal blooms that can be seen while the missile is still far over the horizon (it literally looks like a volcano is hurtling towards you)."

It is extremely difficult to hide while hurtling through the air with a volcano on one's back. Thus, remember the Fourth Law of Stealth: Thou Shalt Not Go Too Fast!

5) Thou Shalt Not Radiate
This is perhaps the single most common mistake of the would-be stealther: to make transmissions he thinks will be undetectable but which in fact make him as obvious as a coal pile in a ballroom! While in stealth, do not send transmissions in the radio or hyperwave spectra, which are easily detected from long range by any competent sensor in the vicinity. At most, use subtle, single-directional laser tightbeams; even this can be dangerous.

In short, it is difficult to hide in the shadows while shining a flashlight!
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Re: Proposed Planetary Defense Rule Revision

Post by Simon_Jester » 2011-08-25 12:46pm

Original-ish rules:
Every planet is presumed to have a planetary militia of some form, be it reservist formations or literal town militias in the Colonies, also things like paramilitary gendarme forces. These forces are nominally not available for war, but rather mobilize and deploy when a planet is faced with invasion.

Much the same way, a planet or solar system's defense forces also control planet-based craft and weapons, including anti-starship artillery, minefields, theater shields, space stations, and orbital defensive weapon platforms. The quality and quantity of these forces varies by kind of Sector: Home Sectors have the best defenses and Colony Sectors have the least.

A Sector's overall defensive point power is determined by its GDP divided by 2. Therefore a Colony Sector's innate defenses are equivalent to $1,000, a Midrange Sector's is $3,000, a Core Sector $5,000, and a Home Sector $7,000. Each major planet in the sector enjoys a fifth of this as a defensive combat value: a Colony Sector planet has a value of $200, a Midrange Sector's system defense is $600, Core Sector system-planet gets $1,000, and a Home Sector planet gets the maximum value of $1,400.

Note that while an invading force that has seized control of orbital space can give its army superior planet-wide tactical maneuverability, to completely conquer a planet without permitting pockets of resistance to continue fighting will require you to achieve a ratio of at least 3:1 in your favor Thus a colony sector planet will require an invasion force of at least $600 to take over - a Home Sector world will require a full assault of troops with a combined value of $4,200 to conquer.

Moderators do reserve the right to determine exceptions in either direction based upon particular circumstances and situations.
Proposed revision:

Every planet is presumed to have a planetary defense of some form. There may be reservist formations or literal town militias in the colony sectors. On any world, there may also be paramilitary gendarme forces, 'coast guard' aerospace forces whose normal responsibility is patrolling planetary orbital space, and the like.

In much the same way, a planet may also have emplaced defense batteries or fortifications that can control both ground and space around themselves, theater shields to cover important parts of a planetary surface from orbital fire, space-based orbital weapon stations, minefields deployed to deny certain volumes to a spacefaring attacker, defense installations on conveniently placed asteroids or moons, or any combination of the above.

There may also be other kinds of defenses not envisioned in the above paragraphs, depending on your imagination.

These forces are not available for offensive war, and have no strategic mobility- they cannot be moved from one system to another. They mobilize and deploy when a planet is faced with invasion. They act as a permanent point value attached to the planet or system, which will be fielded against an attacker but cannot be mobilized to attack someone else. The quality and quantity of these forces varies by the type of sector. Home Sectors have the best defenses and Colony Sectors have the least. A nation's richest sectors will have the highest priority for quality defenses, and also be best able to pay for some of the cost of maintaining those defenses.

A sector's overall defensive point power is determined by its GDP. This is then divided in half, between ground and space. Therefore a Colony Sector's total ground defenses are equivalent to $1,000 and its space defenses are equivalent to $1,000. A Midrange Sector's ground and space defense forces are worth $3,000 each, a Core Sector's are worth $5,000 each, and a Home Sector's are worth $7,000 each.

[Note: Fin proposes that different empires might split this differently- I assume he means things like "two thirds of defensive points on ground, one third in space." What do people think of this?]

Each major planet in the sector enjoys a fifth of this as a defensive combat value: a Colony Sector planet has a ground and space defensive value of $200 each, a Midrange Sector's system defense is $600 each, Core Sector system-planet gets $1,000 each, and a Home Sector planet gets the maximum value of $1,400 each.

Space Defenses

The space defenses act as a deterrent to casual raiding forces, or to unopposed troop landings. Being sure of beating the defenses in a naval battle requires a task force strong relative to the point value of the defenses. Raiding the system with forces weaker than the defense point value is possible, and you can do damage this way, but there is a risk of losing the raiders, and the defenses will usually stop the raiders from wrecking anything vital.

In general, it's impossible to land a ground force of significant point value on a planet until the planetary/system defenses have been neutralized. However, even once the space defenses are beaten, the planetary ground defenses remain.

Ground Defenses

To overcome a planet's ground defenses, the attacker must assault the planet itself by landing troops.

If the point value of the troops being landed is less than the point value of the ground defenses, then the attacking troops will probably be repelled and the invasion force wiped out unless the attacker uses massive, indiscriminate orbital bombardment. Such bombardment has its own repercussions. It invites retaliation, hostile international attention, and moderator sanction.

If the point value of the troops exceeds the point value of the defenses by three to one or better, the invaders can subdue the whole planet in a lightning campaign. This usually means lower casualties in the long run, and is much faster, but also expensive in terms of troop commitment. Any ability of the planetary defenses to cause harm to spacecraft in orbit will be neutralized quickly. A handful of guerillas in remote areas or extremely well dug-in fortifications might last for some time, but practically the whole planet will be in the invaders' hands in short order.

If the ratio of invader point value to defense point value is between 1:1 and 3:1, the invader will need to fight a more protracted ground war. As long as they have orbital superiority, victory is likely in the long run. But there will be large holdout areas with meaningful ground-to-space defenses for some time: the invader hasn't brought enough force to hit every place on the planet at once and subdue it before resistance to the landings can be organized.

Long term occupation of the conquered planet will depend on the size of the population, the size of the occupying army, the locals' political attitudes toward the invaders, the nature of the planetary environment, the strategies used by the occupiers, and other factors. If the occupation force is extremely weak or badly handled, the conqueror may have serious problems with guerillas and resistance movements.

In general, occupation requires much lower point values than invading and conquering the planet.
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Re: SDNW4 General Facts Thread

Post by Dark Hellion » 2011-09-02 05:53am

[I thought I would put up a humorous little bit in the vein of Simon's stealth recommendation. If someone feels there is a more appropriate place for this feel free to move it. Also note that there is no intention for any of these to be official. They are civilian level information and may be distorted to protect sensitive information or for political purpose. Besides they are just for fun.]


N3BC: Short for NNNBC an acronym for Nuclear, Neutronic, Nanotechnological, Biological and Chemical, most often used to refer to weapons of the type. Usage of such weapons is restricted by various degrees to signatories of such documents as the Geneva Conference, the Ares Accord, the Antarctic Treaty, the Tannhauser Protocols, the Traité de Anglia et Nova-Fransais, and the Stevfin Timsim Initiative. All modern UN peacekeeping forces have completely banned the use of such weapons instead using RKP (Relativistic Kinetic Projectiles), M/AM Annihilation, Metastable Isomerics, or Condensed Plasma Conversion weaponry for greater than conventional ordinance needs and non-lethal smart designer molecules and microbots for exotic weaponry needs. Some older UN peacekeepers do still use low-rad fusion warheads with stabilized Dubnium jackets as defensive ordinance and less-than-lethal chemical irritants for riot control. Among all full signatories of UN charters the strategic use of Neutronic, Nanotechnological, Biological and Chemical weapons is prohibited (known as the N2BC Ban). Tactical use of such weapons is tolerated but each incident is examined on a case by case basis by a special section of the UN Sentient Rights Committee (Note: there is some controversy that such arrangement favors powerful members. See link for more detail). Usage of Nuclear weaponry is a much thornier issue (citation needed, suggest edit: flowery language) and deployment of such weapons are subject to complex regulations. Both UN Lawmakers and UN Military Advisers understand that fusion devices (using the B'Plo-Ulam-Teller design) are the most effective and economic way that smaller states can self-deploy to ward off aggressor states and Ork pirate raids. Usage by larger states is governed by a very different rubric. While large multi-sector states have the technology and money to deploy high yield non-nuclear weaponry they can also cheaply produce low-radiological nuclear devices in massive quantities. This is generally tolerated under opinions informed by Dr. Arthur Blade's (Not to be confused with his distant descendent Bart Blade. See link) groundbreaking paper On the Proper Use of Nuclear Weaponry for Casualty Prevention: The New C3, Coordination, Control, and Cleverness which argued that naval deployment of low-rad nuclear weaponry saved lives by allowing for the rapid destruction of military targets by both attacker and defender necessitating careful and decisive deployment of occupational forces reducing the costly attrition warfare that dominated non-nuclear conflicts (see link for full description of the argument and rebuttals). As such, strategic nuclear bombardment of wholly military targets is usually allowed while bombardment of mixed or civilian targets is completely forbidden. Tactical nuclear usage is governed by another set of complex rules entirely. These rules are extremely situational and a full recounting can be found in its own section (See Tactical Nuclear Weaponry).

Note that most major Galactic Powers are only partial signatories and thus many rules are relaxed when dealing with N3BC weaponry. Additionally a large number of Galactic Powers have not signed any of the listed documents and either follow their own treaties or do not have any legal restrictions on N3BC usage. Those not among the signatories include such groups as the Bragulan Star Empire, the Shepistani Republic, the Collectors, the Emissaries of XylyX and the Karlack Swarm. Against such nations one should not be surprised to find any or all types of N3BC weaponry in use.

On the Proper Use of Nuclear Weaponry for Casualty Prevention: The New C3, Coordination, Control, and Cleverness: Written in the 31st century by military analyst Dr. Arthur Blade this paper was the culmination of over 70 years of gathering and analyzing historical data on over a millennium of human usage of nuclear weaponry as well as data gathered from Bragulan, Dilgrud, Apexei, Tau and two unknown AI races. The paper took such a long time to complete both because of the breadth of information it covered and because Dr. Blade repeatedly refused to accept the conclusions he was drawing and would go back to review and regather data. In the end he finally accepted his findings which would lead to the startling first three words of the paper: "Nukes save lives!"

Within the paper the argument was laid out in painstaking detail with over 25,000 graphs to support his conclusion. In short form the argument read thus: All great powers have capabilities well within an order of magnitude of each other and all great powers have a vested interest in species survival. Thus, no great power can afford to expend too much population on any military action and yet simultaneously no great power can wantonly commit to an action that could outrage the rest of the community without proper diplomatic protections. Because of this there is a strong incentive to avoid both attrition warfare and indiscriminate bombardment. If restricted to only conventional weaponry it is very difficult to fully neutralize enemy military formations in the field which allows them to dig into urban areas and force attrition combat. Also if restricted to only conventional weaponry one can fire into civilian areas and remain within the generally acceptable casualty range. But if strategic nuclear weaponry is the primary naval armament one can both effectively destroy enemy formations in the field and yet be incapable of firing into civilian areas for fear of international action. So, any occupational force must only fight the initial defenders without having to contend with the endless waves of reinforcements that turn urban combat into a meatgrinder. This has the secondary effect of reducing the time needed to pacify a city and tends to proportionally reduce casualties do to collateral damage. At the same time it prevents both attacking and defending space ships from engaging troops in urban areas while leaving them free to engage any target in the field. This puts a great pressure on any attacker to be sure he can safely enter an urban area before he chooses to attack. This pressure means that any attack must be far more carefully planned than that in an environment dominated by conventional weaponry. With attrition combat and orbital bombardment being the two largest sources of casualties caused by direct enemy action use of strategic nuclear weaponry will save lives by rendering both highly unlikely to be committed by any sane species.

Among modern academia Dr. Blade's essay is largely discredited. The two most common points of dispute are that Dr. Blade confused a correlation between the weaponry selection of stable states and a causation by said weaponry or that he attempted to integrate too much data into a single hypothesis and included a number of outliers which skewed his conclusion. Other rebuttals point out a humanocentric bias among his assumptions, pointing to the Dilgrud's nearly suicidal stubbornness and the Bragulans in general. For the greatest rebuttals the Umerians' have produced dozens of papers which dissect the essay in intricate detail pointing out flaws in the methodology, data and logical processes. Despite being discredited the essay was monumentally influential to the thinking of many military advisors for the past four centuries.

Bragbang (updated May 27th, 3401): A colloquial term for an extremely brutal torture method employed by the Bragulan Star Empire. While widespread enough to be considered commonplace in Bragulan occupied territories no exact description has ever been obtained. It is so terrifying that even those who only witnessed it refuse to talk about what they have seen. The process is even believed to be so mentally scarring that when subjected to a full electronic mind upload a witnesses' brain will not acknowledge its occurrence and thus leave a blank space where those memories should be. Attempts to probe witnesses' minds with psionics have resulted in even high level espers being knocked into a catatonic state. There is evidence to suggest that a number of Great Powers are aware of what Bragbanging entails but none have been forthcoming. Shepistani officials and Solarian CIs have declined to comment while Byzantine Inquisitors have declared such knowledge heresy. The Chamarran embassy expelled UN investigators as persona non grata when asked and the Karlack Swarm ate 4 investigative teams before efforts were stalled. The Collectors are known to have a holo-disc of a Bragbanging but have refused all requests to share and have began randomly moving the disc from monolith to monolith to prevent any seizure. The only response the UN has received at all about the practice was a 13 exabyte datacube sent by Emissaries of XylyX containing a single ultra-high quality audio file consisting of 113,700 years of synthesized laughter. For now all that is known is the cryptic dying words of one Solarian witness: "It is the psychological equivalent of the bragsteel boot of Byzon stomping on your face... forever!"

The Forest Gump Effect: Named after the first two men to propose it in 2674 CE; Dr. Wallace Forest and Dr. Anuj Gumptapatra this theory was the result of hundreds of billions of hours of computer simulations which attempted to explain how the Orks had become so predominant throughout the galaxy. In its simplest form it states that "through gross stupidity sometimes a sublime genius is obtained by which a normally unqualified individual or species can achieve greatness." In a more complete form the two theorized that the Orks had achieved such success because their innate uncoordinated, bumbling and incompetent nature had rendered them nearly impossible for other advanced species to predict or mount effective counter-strategies. Orkish victories formerly thought to be the result of luck or poor leadership were examined and were often found to actually be the consequence of Ork forces using plans that no competent army would actually prepare a contingency for. This theory has been repeatedly expanded with additional hypotheses such as the Bubba Corollary and Lt. Dan Factor so that it now covers many aspects of military strategy and predictive systems programming. While originally considered a joke the theory quickly proved itself in action as Umerian expert systems testing it showed a 47% increase in effectiveness against Ork raiders. Since widespread adoption there has been a close to 80% decrease in total shipping lost to Ork piracy. Further development continues in numerous military AI thinktanks and academic institutions across the galaxy.
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