|Jedi Council Member
Joined: 2006-03-31 03:11pm
Location: Ultra Prime, Klovia
My preference, as Steve already knows, is for a fairly
uniform tech system, but one that's fairly well grounded in science. Ie, if you're using an antimatter reactor to power your ship, your firepower and such is going to be limited to what an antimatter reactor could be expected to provide (ie, 9e16J/kg fuel, assuming 100% efficiency). I actually think that number-crunching shouldn't be too much of a problem if we can agree for example that all players use the same (or equivalent-output) power source and same basic weapon types (eg, lasers, particle beams, missiles are the main weapons, whilst black hole guns or Xeelee starbreakers (or indeed, solar sodomisers...) are a lot rarer).
To use Steve's example above, the Quantum Discombobulator might be a laser cannon. The Mark 1 is rated at 1MT per shot, and has a rate of fire of 120 RPM. It's typically mounted on destroyers in the Federal Navy, and is designed to engage other enemy sub-capital ships at up to 10 lightseconds, at which point beam diffraction and lightspeed lag makes it only really effective at burning off unshielded sensors and the like. Shroom only knows what the Solar Sodomiser is...
The other thing with a fairly uniform tech system is that of reverse engineering and so on. If my FTL drives are powered by lesbian orgies, his by antimatter reactors and hers by shovelling carebears into a furnace... dear god I don't want to be the technician assigned to take apart the ship we recently captured. I mean, how the hell does that antimatter reactor even work
?! Carebear furnaces I can understand, but antimatter
? Anyway, the point is that the more similar the tech bases, the easier interactions on a technical level are going to be IMHO.
What else... in terms of points vs tiers, I think I'd either stick to equal points for all (or base + D6 points etc), with possibly a few
extra for a two-tier system. Say 30+D6 for most, and if you have an upper tier do say 33+2D3.
Now, as Steve's given me the ok on detailing the setting I was thinking of... here goes nothing.
The universe the Terran Alliance is set in basically offers the uniform tech system and such that I've mentioned above, as well as several other things that will hopefully be of interest to players. As a small, independent power in Wilderness Space, players have the option of not only getting involved in interacting between each other, but if desired could also get more involved in things like the major interstellar trade routes, piracy and anti-piracy actions, and so on. It's a big sandbox that should, I think, offer plenty of scope for whatever the Shroomanians or whoever want to get up to. Whether you're aliens native to the region, humans rejecting the safety of the Terran Alliance, the ruler of a pirate kingdom or something else entirely, you can be pretty sure that there's room for you in the vast reaches of Wilderness Space. Communists, Ayn Rand libertarians, hive minds and logic-driven AIs, you're all welcome.
Now that I've got your attention, lets' get down to some of the technical stuff. Spoilers used because I dislike big walls of text, and this'll be a big one
Really, this is just so know when humans arrived on scene and what year it is today.
2500: The Earth & entire Sol system is united under the Terran Alliance government. Hyperdrive-fuelled expansion soon follows.
4430: The galaxy is wracked by the largest war in recorded history, as a civil war in the Union of Free Systems spreads, known as the Conglomerate War. Almost every major galactic power is involved.
4454: The Terran Alliance enters the Conglomerate War.
4456: The Conglomerate War is ended with the restoration of the UFS and other pre-war boundaries.
4500: The present.
Thanks to the wonders of hyperspace, FTL travel is fast, easy, and safe. Or at least, as fast, easy and safe as your equipment allows. A modern warship from the Terran Alliance or Union of Free Systems can cross the galaxy in 10 days, or roughly 2 parsecs per second. Short of buying or stealing the technology from someone though, very few minor powers can hope to achieve such speeds.
Regardless of speeds however, hyperspace is a good way to travel. Ships enter hyperspace and zip around, then return back to normal space at the desired location, having either used scanners to detect where they are or by calculating where they've travelled based on their velocity etc in hyperspace. To remain in hyperspace, ships must have their hyperspace shields up at all times. This both protects them from weapons fire whilst in hyperspace and prevents them being forcibly dumped back into normal space along with an unhealthy (but not lethal) dose of radiation to everything on board. Hyperspace shields also protect ships from enemies who want to fire missiles through hyperspace so as to bypass their conventional defences.
Hyperdrives also take about a minute to cool down / charge up between uses - whilst you can rotate safely into hyperspace a fraction of a second after emerging from it, doing so will do Bad Things to your hyperdrives, so be sure to bring more than just duct tape along for repair work.
To prevent people doing this to planets, the universe has conveniently come up with certain laws that prevent you entering or leaving hyperspace within a gravitational field of 0.1G or greater. Attempts to do so will result in a painless, but very certain, death, and sod all collateral damage, conveniently preventing anyone from turning an FTL ship into a planet-buster. To make damn certain though, devices called "Hyperwall Generators" are relatively easy to build for anyone who knows how to use hyperspace well. Hyperwall generators create shockwaves in nearby hyperspace that force ships out of hyperspace and prevent them from entering (without exception). The spherical area affected might be as small as a planet / moon system or, in the case of the gigantic versions used to mark out interstellar borders, a parsec across. Whilst only the largest starships can hope to mount these inside their hulls, several major powers have been known to use this to trap enemy fleets or ground forces to fight unfavourable battles, and this is a tactic most admirals will be aware of.
If desired, players may also want to make use of giant hyperspace gates. These gigantic, stargate-like structures float in space and provide practically instantaneous travel between gates. They're of great use in interstellar trade and usually heavily protected for the very same reason. The important points, however, are that players can use hyperwall generators to set up choke points or traps, and the fast FTL travel allows for rapid travel & interactions between all the involved nations.
The most common means of STL travel is the good old reaction drive. Inertial dampeners / compensators are in widespread use thankfully, because if you're accelerating at 2000Gs without one your crew won't have time to regret not turning it on at all. Quite how they work depends on the precise design used - Terran Alliance ones compensate for the acceleration and can be turned off if you're not accelerating / decellerating, whilst others will turn you into red paste if you do so.
Another common type of STL drive is the gravitic drive. These act like gigantic tractor / pressor beams, pushing and pulling the ship off various big nearby celestial bodies like planets or stars in order to move it around. Often used near planets because, well, any rocket engine powerful enough to move a 100,000 ton starship at 2000Gs is also enough to slag a sizeable city. Sadly, the speed of gravity (ie lightspeed) means they are not good for rapid manoeuvres if you're more than a few lightseconds from something to use as reaction mass (ie, like a planet).
That said, if you can think of any other means of propulsion (photon drives, solar sails, etc etc), feel free to use them.
Whilst you may be able to make extremely strong or heat-resistant alloys, don't expect to go mining for unobtainium ore deposits. On the other hand, there are certain forms of exotic matter that can be useful if you have the know-how to find or create the stuff. Culture Orbitals are certainly a possibility - perhaps your nation in its early days traded its original homeworld for an orbital or two in a deal with a mining company from one of the big powers. Carve up the planet, tow the pieces away, and build an orbital in its place - it's been done before now.
Of course, it should be noted that buying terraforming & similar services doesn't come cheap.
Warships meanwhile typically don't get bigger than a few kilometres in length, especially in Wilderness Space. The largest ships are typically civilian bulk freighters hauling raw materials and such around the galaxy.
Fission, fusion, anti-matter / matter annihilation, or even total conversion - they're all possible. The most advanced civilisations can tap hyperspace for energy, store it, and essentially run everything from LEDs to starships off gigantic pocket-dimension-batteries. Given Steve's original post about the setting though, I would advise against using that last option - stick to M/AM or something as the top end. In practical terms, this means gigaton-yield weapons are going to be pretty rare due to the power requirements, so think more Babylon 5 or Star Trek (upper limits) in terms of firepower. 1kg of matter can yield up to 21.5 MT of energy.
Weapons & defences fall into four main categories in the setting: pulse beams, lasers, mass drivers, and exotic stuff. Pulse beams are like very long-ranged glowing laser beams (technically, they suffer from diffraction less than lasers do), and stopped only by pulse shields (well, and armour and stuff
). Lasers are rarely used because almost everyone has access to absorption fields that are very
effective at converting incoming radiation, radar pulses or lasers (of whatever wavelength) into useable (or at least storable) energy, to the point where the defence far outweighs the offence in any remotely even match-up, but does make battles look much prettier as everyone shoots pulse beams at each other
. As might be expected, they're also very useful in making machines like reactors very efficient. Mass drivers includes basically anything with a rest mass greater than zero - particle beams, neutrinos (you're firing what now
?), missiles, railguns, asteroids, and so on - and are stopped by yet another set of shields (often called meteorite shields, after their original use). Exotic weapons & defences might be using gravitational fields to bend pulse beams around your ship, or using a strangelet bomb
to try and destroy something.
The ratio of offensive to defensive capabilities depends entirely on how you want to design your ships. For example, the Alliance Navy has a 2:1 defence:offence ratio, makes very heavy use of pulse beams, has equally powerful pulse and meteorite shields, and very powerful EM absorption fields. The Union of Free Systems uses many more missiles than the Terran Alliance, and has a more equal ratio between defence & offence. Nations that use reactors can choose to be more flexible than these, eg by letting ships use all their reactor output for offence.
There are also the usual tractor / pressor beams and so on that make capturing rebel senators and so on that bit easier.
Practically all of these technologies scale down to the infantry level (and below) as well. If you want your main battle tank to have shields, a pulse cannon and the ability to use its forcefields and antigrav tech to fly, you can. Just, you know, be prepared for the bill at the end...
Spoiler: Computers, Comms & Sensors
Quantum computers & AIs are old hat, so if you need an arbitrarily fast computer that can simulate Culture Minds in its spare time, you can probably build (or at least buy) one. Computing power is cheap & plentiful in the setting, as are AIs - often divided into URAIs or UAIs (Unrestricted AIs) and RAIs (Restricted AIs) depending basically on whether they have free will or not. A popular Terran Alliance RAI operating system is called Cassandra, and often warships either use it or configure their systems to look or act like it. Most good computers come with holographic projectors and subspace scanners as standard.
Assuming your subspace comms system has sufficient power and isn't being jammed, there's no reason you have a conversation with someone on the other side of the galaxy without any lag issues. Communications between nations shouldn't be an issue.
Sensors or scanners on the other hand can be extremely precise. Remember that episode in Star Trek about the long-range Cardassian subspace telescope or whatever it was? You can do that here, too. Of course, the other guy will likely detect it and may try to shield his planet or something, but powerful scanners and a lack of stealth in space are the norm. Of course, if you can successfully mask your fleet from enemy subspace scanners, you can achieve one hell of a surprise attack. It's just sodding difficult to pull off.
It should be noted that subspace scanners can pick up things in both hyperspace and normal space, including gravity wells, photons and so on, which is why hiding from them is so hard. Everything leaves an "echo" in subspace that your sensors can detect, without affecting the object itself (yay for no observer effect).
Can be very good. In the event of a disaster (natural or artificial) there are various equivalents to the Red Cross and so on willing to help out. On a more personal level, you might be little better of than you are today or living as healthily as a Culture citizen.
Urgh, rules, rules and more rules. Oh well, time to think positive. Bearing in mind now that I've no clue how Steve wants to let us build nations, let's see what I can cook up on the fly...
The Celestial Republic wrote:
Systems: New Sol (C), Unity, Zodiak, Fakenham
System: New Sol: G4 star. One inner rocky (Hades), two terraformed worlds (Athena, Hera), three gas giants with moons (Zeus, Apollo, Ares). Kuiper belt & Oort cloud mining.
---Athena: Population 12 billion, capital world. Heavy shipbuilding industry in orbit. Planetary shield rated at 50GT / sec.
---Hera: Population 5 billion. Planetary shield rated at 20GT / sec, being upgraded to 35 GT / sec by year end.
System: Unity: G5 star. Two inner rockies (Unity I, Unity II, one orbital (Harmony), two gas giants with moons (Unity IV & V), two outer iceballs (Unity VI & VII).
---Harmony: Population 8 billion, constructed by Starship Industries (Terran Alliance) in exchange for original planet. Orbital shield rated at 200GT / sec.
System: Zodiak: G2 star. Two inner rockies (Aries, Taurus), one terraformed world (Gemini), six gas giants with moons (Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius), three outer iceballs (Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces)
---Gemini: Population 3 billion. Large agricultural & farming industry. No planetary shield.
System: Fakenham: G2 star. One damaged terraformed world (Fakenham), large asteroid belts in rest of system.
---Fakenham: Population 4 billion. Large asteroid mining industry in orbit for New Sol shipyards. No planetary shield.
Government: Liberal democracy operating a "first past the post" system of elections every 10 years.
Economy: Founded on extensive trade with neighbouring nations. Notable in the area for its entertainment industry and shipbuilding capabilities. Primary imports are raw materials and produce to be re-sold elsewhere.
Species: 84% human, 5% choroth, 2% dren, remaining 9% is various.
Religions: None official. Largest is Anglican Interstellar Church (14%).
Language: Officially Celestial Republic English, a dialect of standard English. Choroth 2 and 4 also in use.
Currency: Republic dollars. 1 dollar = 100 cents. 1 million dollars = 1 millo.
Taxation: Progressive income tax from 10-30%. 10% corporation tax. No other taxes.
Technology: Above-average forcefields, holograms, shipbuilding and ship drives, primarily due to commercial interests.
Foreign Policy: Centred around peaceful trade. Will view with suspicion any naval buildups, but will prefer to remain neutral than get involved in regional conflicts. Very hostile to piracy and protectionist measures.
Planetside Military (Republic Army): 340 million volunteers, mostly a mix of garrison troops, marines, and artillery. Considered by many to be under-funded, under-strength and under-equipped.
Spaceside Military (Republic Navy): 1 Storm class dreadnought (flagship, Nemesis)32 Thunderbolt class battleships, 142 Perses class cruisers, 212 Helios class cruisers, 3020 Eos class destroyers, 4420 Selene class frigates. 3,400 armed merchant ships in the Volunteer Fleet.
Brief History: The Celestial Republic is a relatively small nation originally established in 2544 by human colonists escaping what they considered to be a jingoistic Terran Alliance. Despite a tough start on Athena (New Sol II), they managed to preserve most of the technology they left the Alliance with, and soon built up a respectable business as traders in the region, despite the unusual lack of easily colonised worlds. However, rising tensions within the republic over the status of alien rights resulted in a brief civil war between 3233 and 3236. Following the civil war, it was decided to colonise the Unity system as both a focus for people's energies and a concrete gesture of how things would continue from then on. The high-profile deal with mega-corporation Starship Industries to destroy Unity III and replace it with an orbital ring was the highlight of the project, which was finally completed in 3255.
Following this expansion the republic experienced several centuries of relative peace before rising levels of piracy pointed to a pirate kingdom in a nearby star system. The Republic Navy was reinforced with two new cruiser squadrons, and an expeditionary force was sent out. The result was an easy victory for the Republic Navy, and the twelve-planet system was added to the Republic in 3860 as the Zodiak system in a return to the naming scheme of New Sol's worlds.
The most recent expansion came in 4222, when hostilities broke out between the republic and the Kingdom of Fakenham over the latter's attempted alliance with several nearby nations hostile to the republic and interference with the republic's trade. A rapid attack by the Republic Navy quickly overwhelmed the kingdom's defences and convinced its allies not to intervene. The heavy bombardment of Fakenham required to breach its planetary shields killed 70% of the populace, and following its annexation it was forbidden from having any significant orbital shipyards or planetary shielding, to prevent any viable future uprisings.
Sample Ship Design: Thunderbolt class battleship:
Approx. Dimensions: 1204m x 204m x 99m
Marines: 3 companies, approx. 160 men each
Power Supply: Type 414-B Annihilation Reactor (M/AM), rated 320MT / sec.
Hyperdrive: 1 parsec / 5 mins.
STL Drive: 1666G's max accel.
Fuel Supply: 30 days max reactor output.
Pulse Shields: Up to 320 MT / sec. Standard is 100 MT / sec.
Meteorite Shields: Up to 320 MT / sec. Standard is 60 MT / sec.
EM Absorption Fields: Up to 2 GT / sec. Max capacity: 150 GT + all active weapons & defences.
Broadside Weapons: 8 pulse cannon turrets per broadside, each rated 10 MT / sec max.
Dorsal Weapons: 12 missile tubes, each can launch 1 C-442 missile per 10 seconds. 10 missiles per tube.
Undercarriage Weapons: 4 pulse cannon turrets, rated 10 MT / sec max. Hangar for marine dropships & shuttles.
Prow Weapons: 1 spinal-mount pulse cannon, rated 320 MT / sec max.
Stern Weapons: 2 pulse cannon turrets, each rated 10 MT / sec max.
Point Defence: 64 rapid-fire pulse beam ball turrets, each rated 1kT / sec max.
Notes: Big pulse beam broadsides are the order of the day here. The Thunderbolt was designed to be a very flexible design, and can if necessary divert almost all its reactor output into either its large spinal mount pulse beam so as to act as heavy artillery, or into its shields for when unusually strong defences are called for. As befits a battleship, also has a small complement of kinetic-kill C-442 missiles for long-range engagements and planetary siege warfare, and a small complement of Republic Navy Marines for boarding actions, internal security and raids and the like on hostile planets or orbitals. Unusually for such an otherwise low-tech starship, the Thunderbolt has very modern and very powerful point defence systems: kiloton-yield weaponry is excessive for most missiles in the region, but is considered the standard defensive armament against more modern weapons, and has been mounted on all ships in the Republic Navy due to the rise in black market weapons from the Conglomerate War. Rumours that its targeting systems may have been salvaged from vessels involved in that war have been repeatedly denied by the Navy Office, but the Thunderbolt continues to exhibit unusually good target tracking systems.
And there's your peaceful little trading partner and its sample ship to give you a feel for how this could work. The number-crunching shouldn't really be too difficult (or even vital) unless you want Honor Harrington missile spam, for which we have the main site
anyway to do the hard work for you anyway
. Granted I know this stuff like the back of my hand, but I still think I'd prefer this to figuring out how good an M1A2 Abrams would be against a Challenger II in a modern-day SDN World scenario