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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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So /tg/ im homebrewing an Space opera setting with the twist of SOME (only some) of the tropes of the genre being deconstructed with a bit of hard sci-fi. So:
- The aliens are really alien and the humans are nothing special. And the aliens (as the humans) aren't all equal and united in one single faction, much of them are divided.
- Space battles are HUGE and last for months because of the great distance.
- No magic
- No sound in space, no stealth in space, and no artificial gravity in ships ( but there is some artificial gravity in some colonies and space stations)
- Almost every species is investing heavily in cybernetic augmentations or genetic manipulation (or both), so basically everyone is trying to drive his own evolution.
- Inter-species diplomacy is HARD.
- Yes there is a "UN" IN SPEHHS but is more like the real UN and less like Star Trek Federation or Star wars republic: That is, NO ONE CARES ABOUT WHAT SPACE UN SAYS ABOUT PLANETARY GENOCIDE, SLAVERY OR AGRESSIVE TERRAFORMATION.

So, this is some of the cliches i wanted to "improve" but there is this huge problem: Faster than light travel. What should i do with it? search a plausible explanation if it exists? ignore it and make travel take hundred of years and even generations?.

Can you help me /tg/? is there any elegan/tg/entleman that actually knows about science and can give me some techno-babble about how to apply it to a space opera setting with a twist?.

I will dump with pics meanwhile. If someone wants to know more about the homebrew setting just say it
Have FTL exist but not be all that quick.

Instead of taking decades to get to the next star system it takes only months or years. Still slower than Star Trek so as to give the isolation and anxieties of space travel but not so slow as to make interstellar governance nearly impossible.

If the aliens are truly alien then we should have nothing in common with them. We can't even live on the same planets.

They seem to prefer cooler versions of Venus. Also for some reason they seem to have set up a colony in the deep layers of Neptune.

We ignore them and they ignore us and we are happy about this because their shit is scary.
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My first idea was that of space stations that were connected between themselves and created what the humans called the "Casimir tunnels" basically wormholes where light (and everything) was faster and going 90% of the light speed ignored much of the worst effect of relativity.

So, this stations and tunnels are really important, in the same way that trade routes were important in the colonisation era in Europe.

But the problem is that even with this, the travel is INCREDIBLY SLOW. Going from earth to Alpha centauri, still takes like 3 months.

So, any idea of something faster without screwing up reality?.
Also, aliens are (most of them) different of humans as any animal can be from a human.

In fact, some of the species are basically a "what if animal X, evolved in a planet with Y: conditions, elements, gravity, atmosphere, and ended up creating society, technology and civilization?".

Interacting with them is as hard as interacting with a giant squid, yeah he might be interested in buying some of your stuff, but he still wants to eat you, because to him, you are like talking cattle.
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Nah man, downtime is fun! Basically the tech is awesome and advanced, but the time to travel means politics and trade acts like it would in ancient times. I like it, bro.
An interesting idea I have seen used before is that every alien species has their own form of FTL, and that form is incomprehensible to each other species. So you have species A that uses some form of wormhole, while species B uses a form of hyperspace and species C has teleportation, and so on. Similar to Sword of the Stars.
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Oh, there is something easier that maybe other anon can help with:

Spaceships parts, like, what is REALLY needed in a space ship: some way of put away heat, some kind of "brakes" to stop the ship when getting out of FTL speed, protection against space radiation..

More cool ideas for "hard" sci-fi ships?
you said cybernetics was quite advanced for most races, right?

well, if you extend the average human lifetime to 600 years with technology, the 3 years it takes to get between systems isn't that big of a deal any more. no need to break reality with wormhole FTL shenanigans.
>Sword of the Stars
Mah nigga. I need to pick that series up on DVD, along with its sequels. Only series to do Space Elves right, IMO.
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Oh, cool, i will keep the casimir tunnels then. On the sidenote: politics between species are very much like pic related but with them having the empathy of a lovecraftian horror.


Interesting, let me translate the stuff i had about the other FTL ways of travel, and give me your opinion.

They are as advanced as the species, humanity is a newcomer, and has only a "Deus Ex: Human revolution" level for the moment. Other species have cybernetics so advanced that they can't be told apart from the biology of the species.
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Aliens Unlimited had a pretty good space ship creation system

>some way of put away heat
depends on tech level. you can have disposable heat sinks or large radiator sails. maybe sift the heat to another dimension.
>"brakes" to stop the ship when getting out of FTL speed
eh, sounds like you're talking around a ship going fast there light with a rocked engine or something. which isn't possible. not really. it all depends on how FTL is achieved really
>protection against space radiation
You should be able to speed up or slow down travel through those lanes however much you want without violating relativity, since anything traversing the wormholes will never exceed the local speed of light within the wormhole. The only thing a wormhole really changes is the distance you need to traverse to get between point A and point B.

I'm assuming that you're considering the Casimir Effect capable of producing negative energies though.
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Downloading Aliens unlimited.

Im going with the radiator sails for "average" species like humans and the other newcomers, and advanced heat sinks for the big powers of the galaxy.

You need some kind of brake even if you don't go to near-FTL travel, intertia-less movement is one of the things i don't want in the setting. And technically they still have inertia when they go out of the casimir tunnels.

Lead sounds cool for humans at least.

> I'm assuming that you're considering the Casimir Effect capable of producing negative energies though.

Tell me more, i don't know about the downsides of the casimir effect. (the tunnels are only "inspired" by the casimir effect, and are really similar to wormholes, but any information would be really cool to make the setting interesting)
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I just use everything I find, file off the serial numbers, and that's that.
Banks had a nice open secret in his Cultureverse where gravity disturbs FTL drives. The giant squids native to gas giants had a way to travel from planet core to planet core.
>If the aliens are truly alien then we should have nothing in common with them. We can't even live on the same planets.

Half-good advice. Having NOTHING in common with the aliens would make it as thought they didn't exist. Make them depend on common resource(s), but require different survival conditions. Say, everyone wants uranium/deuterium/tritium and any planet with significant amounts is hotly contested, but everyone's biology is different enough that they can't actually live on the same planets. So, options include robotic mining, terraforming, and trade. Hence the "galactic UN" and its strict (and strictly ignored) rules about terraforming.
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Thank you based anon
I'll have to read more on this myself, but basically stable wormholes and Alcubierre Drives require negative mass/energy to exist. The Casimir effect violates some energy conditions of some sort, so some think that might be able to be exploited as a substitute for the negative energy.
I don't quite understand this all myself though.
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You got it, for example the "space squids" (wich are seen as bad guys by many races due to his biology and customs) had a war with other two aquatic species for a big clutch of systems with a high amount of "ocean planets".

Negotiation was impossible between cannibalistic, egotic squids, a hive-mind of shapeshifting algae, and a warrior race of a "what if mantis shrimp were a civilization".

They all wanted water worlds, but the kind of water they needed was very different, and the terraformation only could end in war.

The three of them are very advanced in genetic engineering, and the war ended in the creation of some shit that made lovecraft write his books, and a lax prohibition of space UN about genetics.

Also, contested worlds with biodomes of different aliens create common points to negotiate, trade and even know more of his neighbours, such places are very important, but very violent, being the "space wild west".
In a vacuum, the method for acceleration and deceleration is exactly the same. You don't need a specialized 'brake' system.
Also, for FTL, I like the wormhole idea. I would make it much faster, though, (or at least have communication through them being nearly instantaneous) with the main limitations being that each hole connects to only one other hole, and if you want to colonize a system you need to get a hole out there at STL speeds.
Also, depending on how cheap wormholes are, and whether they can be turned on and off, you can do a lot more with them than just fast interstellar travel. For example, stick one end of a hole in a gas giant and another on a spaceship you have an effectively infinite source of reaction mass- not quite reactionless, but really excellent nonetheless. Also, if the holes are directional, you can stick one end in a sun and use the other end as a cannon, and if they're not, you stick the other end on a missile.
Portals are fun, is what I'm saying. Wormholes are useful for a lot more than getting from one system to another.
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to "break", conventionally, a ship just flips ass end forward and fires thrusters. course, you need an equal amount of time slowing down as you used speeding up. that's why flight times are half acceleration and half deceleration

that aside there is also gravity acceleration and deceleration, which shuttles and probes use now. they have to use planets to achieve said effect though. so, a significantly advanced culture with gravity control could increase mass or whatnot to slow down

Yeah, im just thinking about the ship having some of his propulsors in the front to kill the inertia.

The wormholes are represented in the tunnels, portals don't really exist yet.

The gravity thing sounds interesting, but is other problem i have, there aren't even theories about practical artificial gravity or how to enhance or disable gravity. Ideas?
More in that vein- if the wormholes are the only FTL path between systems, then whoever controls the end of the wormhole can completely shut down any invasion attempt. The enemy will have to come through a single path, which you can cram full of mines and surround with dreadnoughts. You could park an asteroid over the exit, forcing the enemy to come through very slowly or splatter themselves, making them easy targets. And, of course, you could shoot the portal on a path that would take it through the outer layers of a sun, to absolutely fuck anyone coming through and anyone near the opposite terminus.
Also, if the other species have such sophisticated biotechnology and have no qualms about modifying themselves, why do they need to terraform planets? Why don't they modify themselves to suit the environment? It would probably take less effort, and allow multiple species to live comfortably together.
On that note, I think, given the world as you've outlined it, I think a distinct possibility would be for alien species to create 'diplomat' or 'translator' castes biologically modified to be a kind of halfway point between themselves and other species, to allow effective communication. For truly alien species, there might be multiple castes, each one a little closer to what they're communicating with. If these castes are capable of reproduction, you would get entire cities of diplomat-caste on the borders of empires, facilitating communication and trade while quietly diverging ever further from their feuding 'parents.' In fact, that might make a good backstory for a species- a diplomat caste that survived the destruction of their progenitors. Much more diplomacy-focused than other species, and possibly having most of their population spread out across other civilizations, each generation getting closer to the local inhabitants.
Not OP, but taking this idea.
You don't even need to have them mounted on the 'front'. You just spin the entire ship.
I'm not sure what you mean by 'portals don't really exist yet.' Portals are just another term for wormhole in this context.
This is space opera. You want artificial gravity, just say 'there's artificial gravity.' If you need technobabble, say 'gravity is a particle and it is possible to generate them using this doohickey.' Antigravity is of course the antiparticle of the graviton, the... I dunno. Liftotron?
>how to enhance or disable gravity. Ideas
You just use incredibly powerful electromagnets to pull your crew and everything else down. Neat plot effect: no metal items anywhere! Those Teslas will turn any iron shaving into a micro asteroid.
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Antigravitron, naturally.
But then wont it make invasion through wormholes so hard that they may consider invading the hard way, without them ? Sending a new wormhole exist may be enough by the way.
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Ok in going to do a summary of the other known ways of space travel.

Both are very uncommon in the universe.

The first, is the closes thing to "magic" in the setting, they are called "Big bang sails" by humans. Only the oldest four races of the space UN can access to them, and they are NOT their creators.

The big bang sails, claim to use the own energy and fabric of the space in constant expansion to move at thousands of multiples of c. Imagine space like a wrinkled blanket, and the sail hooking to it as it flows to move. Yeah it sounds really stupid to human scientists in-setting, but it seems to work, and very few ships have the drives, the ones that have it are considered some of the finest military and trade assets of the known galaxies.

The second way of FTL travel, is one forbidden. In fact, the only space UN law that is respected and FUCKING ENFORCED by all species, is this law. No time-travel. And no space travel that uses the fabric of time and space to become faster.

Young species don't know why is this so important, but the oldest species know. They know of the most ancient war, a war between their forerunners and aliens that used the fabric of time as we use our hands, and how this nearly destroyed the very fabric of the multiverse.

Nevermind, all the crime lords and pirate kings of space use some form of this shit. Ships that go FTL AND ignore relativity, or go back to past, ships that warp time and space around them to save time, and so on. Even if it is persecuted, the fact is, that almost all civilizations trade with this criminals, and they really need them and their fast travel, to keep their colonies alive and enhance their trade.

Both ways of FTL travel, are even more valuable if you think about how only with this kind of travel that can connect the empires with their overgalactic territories in Triangulum and Andromeda.
Sounds a bit like B5
Hah. The space elves are mega pansies in a feminist matriarchy until they eat out enough vagoo to turn into macho hairy gorilla elf superman.
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The casimir tunnels are more or less like that, if you control the station, you can shut down invasions, take taxes and shoot the ships that don't pay the taxes.

About the biotechnology. Its simple:
- Artificial evolution is SLOW
- Artificial evolution is expensive when you think about the trillions of individuals of each species.
- There is hardly any consense inside of any alien species about where to drive their evolution
- Terraforming keeps the economies flowing.
- PRIDE: Its always easier to change the others that oneself. And every species thinks that every part of the galaxy should be suited to them. Think of the nationalism and chauvinism pre WWI.

That doesn't mean that little augmentations don't exist in the colonies. It just means that they are not the rule, and the species prefer no to shatter their genetic uniformity just to adapt themselves. Its hard keeping a colony not independent, imagine if on top of that the frigging colonist are so modified that they have no physiological similarity to the metropolis.

In fact this idea you gave me here is so interesting i have to put in now. Mutant cyberpunk U.S here we go.
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Oh, i understand now (sorry english not my language if you didn't note).

About the portals, its not about "you can do it, its space opera" and more about me not liking portals very much. Furthermore, i wanted the hard sci-fi feel, and the portals kill it for me

Just opinions bro.
-But you don't need to change an entire species, just the subset that's going to be settling the planet.
-Artificial evolution may be slow, yes. But unless they're using artificial SELECTION, aka eugenics, unless the terraforming takes place in just years and requires no more resources than a big genetics lab would, engineering the colonists would be faster and cheaper.
-For the purposes of colonization, there only needs to be consensus among the settler group. Besides, what I'm envisioning are changes to biochemistry, to allow settlers to eat native flora and fauna and prevent allergic reactions, and minor changes to phenotype- shorter and bulkier for high gravity, for example, or larger lungs for thinner air. Such relatively minor changes would be much easier to obtain consensus on.
-I'm no economist, so I'll give you this one.
-I'll give you this one as well.
For the rest, I would argue that it's not genetic cohesiveness that matters, but similarity in psychology and culture. Unless changes to body shape automatically engender significant changes to the basic mental structure, the only obstacle to maintaining national cohesiveness is the ability to maintain a single culture. Given pre-WW1 levels of nationalism, it would be simple enough to get colonists to identify themselves as 'I am a citizen of the x Empire' before 'I am a member of y colony', and once you've done that secession is a non-issue. Pride in country and species will unite an empire, even if morphology doesn't. That's to say nothing of more minimal/decentralized organizational methods that don't require that colonies bow down to a central capital.
And finally, all these arguments are sensible when applied to humans. They do not necessarily hold true for aliens.
tl;dr I disagree with your assertion that a nation must all have the same kind of body to be united.
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is /tg/ dead today?
It's tiresome to keep sifting through the quest threads and find the good ones. I don't hate them but they could really do with their own board.

No - I'm very interested, please continue OP.
Do go on OP, I too like what you have so far.
Plus, I have more general objections to colonization of distant systems being focused on planets in the first place, but that's a different story.
What? There's a method of FTL that enables causality violation? That instantly kills suspension of disbelief. Anyone with access to time travel is essentially a capital-G God who can only be opposed by other time travelers. I mean, it's not outside the real of possibility that someone with a time machine could go back to the very picosecond the universe was formed and INFLUENCE THE BASIC LAWS OF PHYSICS. Even if they couldn't, just being there would change the way the matter in the universe expanded and poof! The FUCKING MILKY WAY GALAXY no longer exists!
Even more conventional uses of time travel, by someone unscrupulous enough, pretty much amount to 'I am God-Emperor of the entire universe, get on your knees and suck my dick.'
Now if the game was about time travelers battling each other to become God-Emperor of the Universe, I would be fine with that. But for a literally universe-changing technology to be part of the background is just stupid.
- The changes that you mention, like biochemistry fit in what i called "minor changes" (even that i imagine would end in minor racism inside the species) on the big changes we are talking in half of the organs being cybernetic and having more implants than a 40k space marine.
- As you say, this differs greatly by species. Some give more leeway in this matter (the space squids are very strick on what can you do to yourself, because is directly tied with the status). But the point where i differ, is that morphology doesn't change psychology. From my point of view, if humans have their psychology changed by different enviroments ( warm countries have the reputation of being laziers and happy and cold ones of being sad but working) imagine the difference of having an extra pair of arms.

As i said before, opinion, and yours is an interesting one.
The engineering vs physical purity debate reminds me of the split between the Hideauze and the Galactic Alliance of Mankind in that anime, Gargantia.

The Hideauze dealt with the difficulty in space by turning themselves into basically giant armoured nautili aided by nanite swarms. The Galactic Alliance dealt with it by building high quality space habitats and fighting inside space fighting mechs called Machine Calibers.

I would say it could go either way, and you might have species taking either approach, and even species splitting over it - perhaps a species starts spreading to other worlds, adapting themselves as they go, and then a puritan faction takes over on their homeworld and declares that the modified colonists aren't part of their species and effectively splits them into different political entities.

Then you also have the machine question - what happens if part or all of a species gets so into cybernetics that not only are their bodies wholly machine, they outright transfer to living inside raw computing substrate, treating their starships as bodies and using smaller machine avatars to deal with other species, Culture-style? How would they handle reproduction? Would they reproduce at all? Would there be legal restrictions around creating more of themselves? How would other species react to them? How much of their own way of thinking would they try to alter through programming? It's possible that such a civilization might withdraw from galactic society altogether, given that they can just sit deep inside a barren planet or far out in a dust cloud and simulate whatever reality they like.
Fair enough. I just disagree that phenotype is all that big an obstacle to maintaining a cohesive nation.
I explained myself pretty bad. Its NOT that they can go to the past. But that they don't suffer causality outside the casimir tunnels, and go to the past just enough for their travels to seem faster. Like making a 1 year travel in 1 week, not because you are going that faster, but because you are going a bit "earlier".

What you just said its in fact the reason why its persecuted, one alien species tried to make something like you said and nearly made the galaxy disappear.
>From my point of view, if humans have their psychology changed by different enviroments ( warm countries have the reputation of being laziers and happy and cold ones of being sad but working) imagine the difference of having an extra pair of arms.
That's a behavioral pressure, though. Seasonal climates where some seasons are very difficult to survive in makes a pressure to select for abstract thought, tight family bonds, monogamy, strong concept of time, etc. Because without these you die. That's why they are introduced in a population.
I almost brought that up, but a.) I didn't know if anyone would get it and b.) I didn't want to be called a weeaboo.
There have probably been instances of this happening, and each military probably keeps a few wormhole-carriers around. However, while having a wormhole onboard eliminates many of the problems of STL travel- limited supplies, limited reaction mass, being in a claustrophobic tin can for years on end, there's still the fact that the trip will take years or decades and the target system will probably have years to see you coming. The typical space battle would probably take the form of two wormhole carriers vomiting forth infinite streams of missiles from their wormholes at each other while they cruise at relativistic speeds in interstellar space. The entire military-industrial complex of each combatant would be focused on each battle, funneled through the wormhole network to this single ship. Millions of missiles and drones. Tens of thousands of fighters. Hundreds of cruisers. Immense, kilometer-long dreadnoughts sent through the wormhole piece by piece and assembled on the other side by elite teams of construction crews. All while the two combatants race towards each other at a combined speed of 99% light, a speed where grains of sand pack the energy of city-killers. Winner goes on to the enemy system and takes it. Loser gets turned into a nebula.
Epic. And I believe I am not misusing the term here.
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bu what does any of that matter to new arrivals to an environment with technology to negate such difficulties or was that why you were getting at?
Must have been pretty bad for EVERYONE to give up such a massively useful technology.
You're exactly right. Unless you actually have selection pressures going on and those selection pressures involve ways of thinking, you won't actually see changes in how a species thinks. As many blacks as we ship to places like Sweden, they will never become intelligent because there's no selection pressure.
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Wow, seems interesting. Now, about AI

The UN fordbid the mass production of them, and to give them the ability to self replicate. But, accidentally, in a world of high gravity and volcanic activity used as a garbage world, all the cybernetics and advanced computers wasted there, evolved over the years in symbiosis with the native bacteria and organic life to form "natural robots", that evolved trying to replicate themselves and makin imperfect copies.

Every individual of this "species" is entirely different (ones are ships, other are like spiders, other are simple robots for very specific tasks, other may be humanoid, other can change their form to be diplomats) but has a perfect memory of his ancestors, giving a hard sense of unity to their race.

The UN restrictions to them not apply because they are "natural" and do not seem to have all the potential the ancient species envisioned for artificial intelligence. They do not seem very ambitious to become the ultimate lifeform, or destroy all organic life, they are pretty happy making themselves perfect for the task they CHOOSE to do all of his life, and they can't force anyone not to choose. They pretty cool guys.

I would say the race that represents best the "do not terraform but adapt" philosophy are the Kelades.

The kelades are like big amoebas, inside robotic suits, kinda like daleks. Their vehicles give them the tools, the atmosphere, and the entertainment they need to survive and create.

Why they terraform so much if they can adapt their robotics so well?. Because they are paternalist hippies.

They take a life form that seems about to get extinct, they abduct them, and they give it a small terraform biodome in one his territories (one of the three factions of humanity is in fact, survivor of the Earth Massacre in Venus thanks to the kelades). And this could be good, in they didn't interrupt constantly natural selection. Also, their refugees end more or less like native americans in the U.S.
/pol/ pls go.
Also, has anyone actually tried shipping blacks to Sweden? How will we know it doesn't work if we haven't tried?
If you want to keep any realism while still having FTL travel, then have them use wormholes and/or alcubierre/warp drives. Those are the only theoretical methods for travel/communication.
How many species are there?
This isn't Space Opera. It's Hard Science. Get your Genres straight.
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18 that are represented in the space UN (srsly, i need a real name for it now). Other aliens are considered fauna or not civilized enough to be communicated.

I like to see it as a point between.
>space UN (srsly, i need a real name for it now)
well, why not just have humans call it the USN or whatever and the aliens have different names for it. it doesn't need to be a taco
Galactic Body of Governance.
Council of Inter-species Diplomatic Relations.
Plenipotentiary Peace Commission.
League of Sapients.
Confederacy of Civilized Races.
The Universal Forum.
Do you want me to go on?
Also, what are the requirements to be admitted into the SUN as a sapient species? Are there any sapient species that are not recognized as such by the SUN and thus can be freely exploited and enslaved?
>It doesn't need to be a taco
What were you trying to say here?
What's wrong with Alcubierre drives?
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The requierements to enter the league are for the race to begin space exploration. To be considered civilized, xenobiology and xenopolitics consider that the species needs 4 qualities: use of tools, social behaviour, capacity for survival without the help of other lifeforms, and of course intelligence (where intelligence begins and ends is dicussed, as it is the definition of "tool")

Oh yeah i forgot. The slavery and "domestication" is a huge point of this.

See, the 4 founding races of the League of Sapients (i like it) are really, really old. They saw half of the League raise from bacteria to spacefaring civilizations.

When they saw their own civilizations, treating lifeforms like cattle or slaves, even going as far to driver their evolution for their own purposes, the acted against both slavery and "ranching" of undicovered lifeforms: Even the most humble lifeform that only could be good to feed another civilization, has the potential in the eyes of the League, to become the most advanced life form of any galaxy.

Obviously that doesn't stop slavery and ranching of undiscovered and new lifeforms (and old lifeforms) making it a fine bussisness for the pirates, criminales and corrupt leaders.

The Consensus

It sounds like a bad guy name but imagine the fact that you are trying to get 18 different species that are vastly different from each other in almost every way to agree to some universal ground rules.

Perhaps, as a matter of good will, they picked a name that had universal meaning and a consensus, an agreement, is such a word that transcends language barriers and can be universally translated.
Fuck off, there are many threads you can whine in, this isn't one of them.

Anyways, yes, and the results have been poor.
If the four founding members are that old and powerful, than why is the League considered impotent? Are the founders just not that interested in their creation or what?

The four members don't really get along.

The giant squids and the Kelades are like France and U.K in the colonial era, they are opposites.
Probably the same reason we consider the UN impotent even though it has America, Russia, and China in its security council.

Just because they're members doesn't mean they're actually getting a lot of shit done. More likely they see it as a prestige thing, or the lesser of them, much like the UK and France, see it as a way to pretend they're important by hanging out with people who actually are.
One of the most scientifically plausible methods for FTL travel would be manufacture and use of exotic materials. The idea would then be to pick an asteroid (or really, any stellar body of suitable size and neglible importance), get fuckcklose (<1000meters if possible)in the same manner that you would execute a slingshot maneuver. At the apoapsis,use exotic materials to increase the vessels massby several million times that of the asteroid, thus forcing it into an orbit around you, bleeding its kinetic energy to you (have a hard time believing that part).Then, use exotic materials to decrease your mass to almost zero grams. Result; you shoot out of the system at a speed that could potentially be FTL.
Its still magicuhl,but hey, your not warping
I'm pretty sure there are much better ways to get acceleration out of eezo than slingshotting off an asteroid. For example, whatever it was that Mass Effect did.
So have I missed it or can you give us a brief list of the major species?
So what are the other 16 species?
I was thinking of doing a sci fi setting/system set in the near future, like 2100 or something. I'm planning on making it relatively hard sci fi; humans are still confined to the Solar System, travel between planets still takes months, ships have to rotate to simulate gravity, etc... But there's one twist; any place in the Solar System that has even a small possibility of supporting life, does. Mars has creatures similar to dessert animals on earth, Venus has extremely hot jungle-like environments inhabited by insect-like creatures, Jupiter has all manner of creatures floating around in its upper layers, Europa has that huge global ocean under its ice and all the life that goes along with it, and Titan has strange creatures that run off of liquid ethane. But none of these places would support any intelligent life, it'd basically just be alien animals.
I would like to point out that the wormholes don't necessarily have to go from one space station to another. You could just as easily have both ends on planets and save the trouble of going in and out of gravity wells.
you say car in English, but coche in Spanish
taco is taco in both languages
there's a word for words like that, but whatever
Ah. Thanks for the clarification.
In English that's just how our language works. English gets drunk late at night, goes out, beats up other languages in a dingy alleyway, and then rifles through their pockets for spare words.
Get back here and answer me you bitch.
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Right FTL I'm going to throw down a number of options their advantages and disadvantages in my interpretation of your setting.

Ancient alien gateways large enough for ships they could be rare and only link key points fast travel between them. The issue with this is A: sub-light between area's that do not have gates. B: partly creating history for said alien race partly because it has been done many times (Stargate being the example that comes to mind).

Folding/warping Space would allow instance or very fast travel my feeling on these is that its way to advanced for your setting. The only way I can see it working is with some form of navigator race like in the Dune universe. I would also include teleporting in this.

Space catapults large arrays that can slingshot ships between points like in Mass Effect. Using some kind of shielding to protect ships from breaking up. Same disadvantages as gateways in relation to sublight speeds.

dimensional/slipstream where ships can travel greater distances at the same speed outside of real space. unless the slipstreams where constructed which raises the question by who? I feel that yet again this is rather advanced for the setting.
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Time dilation so the time passes much slower inside the ship would allow the crew to live even if the trip took hundreds of years. But yet again has a number of issues including being to advanced in my mind. also the rest of the universe around them may change so much the war they where sent to fight may have finished long before they get there.

Hyper-sleep/Cryo-sleep you say fuck FTL everything works at sublight it takes years to go anywhere but the crew are put to sleep and don't or hardly age.

Ok, here there are the species i finished out:
- Merlik-teris: They are silicon-based life forms, huge floating crystals that manipulate things with electro-magnetism. Their "brain" workis with light signals instead of electric ones, making them the more intelligent species of the galaxies, and also the first superpower. One of the 4 founding species of the league.
-Theutilus: The giant squid race, aquatic, great knowledge of both genetic and cybernetic augmentations. Their culture is made of rape and cannibalism, as they are technically inmortal as long as they devour their brothers. In fact, his leadership is a ruling council of individuals that are old and big beyong measure, chtulhu big. They violate the law of "not enslaving, domesticating or genetically alter any species that was not original of their homeworlds" all the time. One of the old 4.
-Kelades. As i said, pacifist amoebas in dalek-like vehicels. One of the old 4. They hate the theutilus
-Galarcheras: The last of the old 4, they are a reptilian invertebrate species of only-females that reproduce by parthenogenesis, and they are genetically homogeneous as they killed all their males when they thought their evolution was complete and that further mutation was unnecesesary.
-Maur'ja: The mantis shrimp turned warrior civilization. They value honor, violence and strenght. They adapt to high gravities and all kind of atmospheres (they can even move in outer space) and have regeneration skills that surpass the best medicice of the galaxy. In fact their weapons are created, breaking their own exoskeleton, and letting ir regrow in specific ways so it regenerates as something as simple as a pincer or a sword, or as comples as a bioplasma rifle.
-Bemelit: One of the humanoid races that has the Walking Ones DNA in them (as the humans). Their ancestors were the cattle of the Walking Ones, not too different of pigs. They are good guys in humanity's eyes. They are egalitarian, and wise.
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-Ferropods: The "natural" droid formed out of trash.
-Larphilites: A hive mind of symbiotic shape-shifting algae. They have specialized castes. They also use bio-technology
-Lerumites: Cat-people. Agressive cat people. Take a na'vi and make it fuck an orc, and this is what you get. They have the Walking Ones DNA, and can in fact interbreed with humans. His society is strictly patriarchal and polygamic by biological needs.
-Ratsalits: The last species with Walking ones DNA. They are kinda like sand people of SW, with the burrowing abilities of the zerg. His homeworld is the same of the maur'ja. They are divided between the vassal states of the maur'ja, and pirate fleets of the ones that try to take revenge of the maur'ja.
- Humans: after the destruction of earth, they divided between the Revolutionary Hordes of Mars, the Venus Protectorate and the Independient Pureblood Cruisers/crusaders.
- Dufal-Anquiros: two species of symbiosis, the dufal seems live an exotic ox with strange horns, and the anquiros are like bats that live on the back of their dufal. Their symbiosis gave them the abilities they needed to evolve to a civilization.

There are more but they aren't finished.

Sorry im from spain and it was pretty late here.


Im going with the cryo-sleep for the short-lived races.

I think the Casimir tunnels fit into the dimension/slipstreams, they are links where everything is faster, and the technology to build them is old and difficult to understand.

The space catapults sounds interesting but doesn't it rape relativity?


As the setting is pretty full of wars and inter-empire conflicts thats why i try to avoid time dilations by the ships going STL inside FTL tunnels.
German does the same thing but doesn't actually understand what the words mean, it just uses them to sound cool
So a cellphone is called a handy and tough means plucky and sassy.
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I will continue to bump with pics. Sci-fi pics are welcome and needed.
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im not really understanding the use of exotic materials. What do you mean? how can you accelerate or decrease your mass with "exotic materials"?.
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Cowboy bebop is a huge inspiration for making a space opera with a twist of realism
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>>27903773 (OP)
>No stealth in space

Actually, it's somewhat possible due to the great distances. You're too far away to be seen by visuals, and if you can conceal your thermal output, you can be "invisible", unless others come close. The downshot of this is that you do need very large heat capacitors to be able to prevent the heat from giving you away, making you very bulky and thus much slower.
>You're too far away to be seen by visuals
Don't start that shit in here.

Just the heat, even when disipating, plus all other energy emanations make you easily detected. You would need complicated maneouvers using other emanations of energy or astral bodies to hide.
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Original content do not steal
>The space catapults sounds interesting but doesn't it rape relativity?

How would you rape relativity, exactly? If don't really understand what you mean.

As for space catapults: they're a really good way for intra-stellar travel. Given a mass driver roughly 150 km long and a constant acceleration of 4 or so G should give you enough of an increase in V to get you up to earth escape velocity from a low-earth orbit.
OP says space battles take months due to long distances.

Which other energy emanations? Unless you're talking about sensors sensitive enough to measure the differences in gravity caused by the ship, I think you can get rid of most of them, even if only temporarily.
Don't troll. You know what this turns into. Cut it out or just leave.
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space catapults ideas and things to think about.
>rape relativity
not if you don't want it to.

A ship could be pushed past the light barrier using some sort of shield or wake placed in front(invent some techno technobabble to make it sound plausible.) This could be too complex to house on a ship so you have space stations/arrays which throw the ships from one system to the next.

According to current science light is the fastest speed and nothing is or can go faster (so you will need to think of a way around that maybe the shield)

The issue being things like what's going to happen when you hit something travelling that fast (shield could also push smaller objects out of the way.) another issue is what happens to the crew when travelling FTL (factors would be inertia so the crews don't turn into mush on the bulkheads, also would they be able to see anything moving faster than light hits their retina) you could put them in some kind of hyper sleep I suppose.
Decent loadout. I like it.
I'd just like to mention that with recent discoveries, it seems that "earthlike" planets are more common than expected, not exactly startrek common, but around 1-in-100 solar systems have them.

If we go by those odds oxygen breathing, temperate species are probably all over the place in various stages of evolution and devlopment.

I mean, sure, chuck in the methane and sulpher breathing aliens, but even those are unlikely to be super alien. They are all going to be intelligient, tool using species with a vast amount of culture and language.

And i hate to say it, but something similar to apes is the "best" lifeform for advanced propogation.
I just started reading this, think it's awesome and don't you fucking dare die on me!

You are lucky i just came home. Thanks for all the feedback /tg/ you are awesome.
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Yeah, i only dared to make a silicon-based sentient lifeform because of that, and my poor knowledge of chemistry.
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I mean the time dilation, if the space catapult goes close to c there is time dilation.

I suppose low-level species are going to use hyper-sleep.
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Just make your aliens colorful. No need for forehead ridges, you're not putting actors in make up.
Exotic materials are just that, exotic. They wont have a place in our reality, and thus might not follow "our" set of physics. Thus they would have truly unique set of characteristics.
Never said it was best, I just stated that it is probably the least magical/most plausible way to do it.

Oh, unobtainium, ok i got it. And that reminds me of one of the key elements of any setting with trade, colonization and pirates.

WEIRD STUFF TO SELL, STEAL AND PRODUCE. You know the drill spice in Dune and Star wars, things that you don't want to get taxed.

Any cool ideas /tg/? i have:

- Golden ice: a mineral that is the best conductor of heat and electricity, specially when really cold (bose-einstein condensate) in the entire universe, and seems to be only in the Leo I and Leo II satellite galaxies. Really useful for state of the art circuitery and computation.
- Amonoida: its the ultimate drug, as its really an organism that adapts itself to give the user the ultimate sensation that he wants, just in order to get to their brain (its a parasite). His use is followed by the use of chemicals to kill it before it attaches himself to the brain.

Of course there is the obvious drugs, weapons and slave trafficking, and the cybernetics and genetically modified animals that are illegal in plenty of planets. Sometimes the smuggling is just because of strong taxes. More cool ideas?
I love the idea of a parasite drug people abuse the hell out of its suppression mechanism. What happens to people who dont take the second chemical in time? Maybe once the parasite settles into the brain, it keeps pumping the host full of whatever sensation they want, but its also slowly feeding on the body so they die, unwilling or unable to do anything to prevent it.
Dear diary, today I found a 2nd-millenium artifact, which an archeologist identified as a "refrigerator magnet". Sold it to him, got enough to buy my very own trade fleet.

Thats the idea, like the Inception dudes that get trapped into their own dreams. The parasite feed on bioelectrical energy more than actually feeding of the brain, the host becomes a battery and burns himself out. Tragically this is the only way of getting more amonoida, as they reproduce only when the host is about to die.
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Oh yeah, black market of archeology is a big deal even today (there is a huge black market of fossils in China).

Xenoarcheology and xenobiology could mean a big hit in the black market.

Maybe extracted DNA ready for cloning is pretty expensive because the animal is extinct or can't be introduced legally in the planet?.
Great idea.
Havent read the whole thread, so dont know if humanity has lost/ruined Earth. If they have, imagine a glorification of Earth flora and fauna.
Would be interesting, what with governments and corporate organizations saccing lives and burning wealth just to get a copy of...sloth DNA

Yeah basically, the moon got dropped on the earth pretty hard. The species could be invaluable to humans just by sheer nostalgia.

On the other hand maybe some animals/plants/whatnot are incredibly profitable to colonize a world, but have negative effects on the ecosystem. Like having animals specially good for producing meat, but they eat basically everything and are very dangerous, or reproduce too quickly. Like rabbits in Australia
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I run a long lasting hard Sf campain, we just finished the fifth arc, and i'll prepare the 6th one for the beginning of 2014, OP, and one of the thing my players liked the most was that i didn't try to find any smart workaround for ftl travel. They regularly have to deal with missions 60 or 80 years long, and are really interested in discovering every time they reach a settled solar system how civliation evolved here on its own and changed since last time they met other people.
Most of the setting is heavily based on the Revelation Space universe, but with many more settled systems (around 400), with serious bits of Blindsight, Manifold Trilogy and some other settings.
Slower than light travel is not much of an issue in terms of rythm and pacing, you can tell the story as fast as required by the plot , everyone jumps in its sleeping pod and voila. But it offers really interesting opportunities in storytelling. How much technology evolved or regressed during their trip, how culture changed, what regards colonists have on those elusive and so rare spaceship pilots, etc...
If you want your story to feel like hard-Sf, be extremely realistic on the physics. Laws that can't be broken simply can't. Then go really big on the engineering to stimulate their sense of wonder.
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One question, i don't want to lose all the great feedback of the thread. How do i find this in suptg?.
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Since i have some spare time before heading to bed i might as well talk a little bit about our campaign and give a couple ideas to the ttwo or three people that might be interested.

My objective was to break every soft Sci-fi trope we usually see in modern Star Trek/Star Wars inspired SF. I shamelessly ripped all hard-SF major books of the last two decades or so, including Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series, Stephen Baxter's Manifold's Trilogy, Peter Watts' Blindsight, etc.

The setting is basically the Revelation Space universe, but with more settled systems (around four hundred). In the first arc, the prologue, their newly created characters had to travel the inside of their damaged lighthugger carrying 500.000 sleepers to get to an secondary command center in the hope of getting control back of the ship whose IA was fried ("IA is a crapshot"™) and internal systems gone amok due to the Melding Plague (stolen from Revelation space as well). While they hoped to make it, all they were able to do was sending a distress beacon before dying in gruesome way. The story was centered on discovering the inners of a lighthugger and giving them the basics of how the world is, and a crash course in aerospace mechanics. Thankfully they asked for more.
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Fast forward two hundred years, for the second arc my players created new characters, who couldn't have same profession and archetypes than their former ones. It turned to be quite a good way to make them feel unsatisfied at who they were, fitting for such a proverbial ragtag bunch of misfits. They're the commanding crew of another lighthugger, one in a quite bad shape. The story of the Etoile du Soir spaceship is now stuff of legends, but our desperate crew sees the cargo of sleepers as their last chance to get enough money in a single run and repair their ship before it literally falls apart.
Following was a little bit of detective work, then a relativistic-speed chase against another lighthugger to get to the Etoile du Soir first, with a nice finale battle between the two five kilometers long ships when arriving in the destination system. In the end they got the sleepers+ plenty of interesting uncontaminated bits of the Etoile du Soir wreck, either usable of sellable. Everyone gets back to its sleeping casket for the return trip!

Awesome, keep it going.
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Third arc see them sixty years later entering the Epsilon Eridany system, a high population density system thanks to a super giant gas planet in the Goldilocks’ zone with several tenth of sizeable moons orbiting around, and thousands of space habitats. They discover a place ruled mostly by megacorporations (the Caldari State from EvE Online) ready to pay a nice price to get their hands on 500.000 sleepers for their workforce, including a large percentage of highly skilled personnel. While their lighthugger is under maintenance they are employed by one of those megacorps to spy on their concurrent, using mostly intrasystem shuttles no bigger than a couple hundreds meters, in a small but very dense volume of space, quite a change of scenery, pacing and firepower from last arc. Everyone is super tense as all corporations must divert a sizeable part of their resources to the development of a truly gigantic orbital railgun being powered by tapping energy from the plasma torus of the supergiant planet. It appears that telescopes detect an unusual amount of infrared sources since the 21st century, coming that way from the Sagittarius galactic arms.
The local powers realized this indicate a migration wave of alien beings along that way that is coming toward human controlled space. Ence the fabrication of the railgun to lob smart ammunitions at them as far and as fast as possible. Turns out that all corporations were going paranoids at the others not respecting their agreements and keeping more resources for themselves than they declared, giving them unfair advantage once the situation would be over. The player experienced a good bit of spying, stations bombed by mercenaries passing as terrorists, etc. In the end, as the situation cools back down to some cold war status between the corps, as they have the single lighthugger left around they're sent in the direction of the incoming migration wave to study the newcomers.
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Fourth arc was quite straightforward: thirty-three years of travel, they approach an unknown gestating orbital habitat. Turns out they meet the Rorschach and the Scramblers (taken from Blindsight, read that shit, best hard Sci-fi novel of the decade) and get their asses handed to them. Big time. They escape with two-third of a ship as all the front part is abandonned to give fire cover and offer a more threatening target than the rest of the ship while they escape. I tried again to change the style of the arc, with plenty of space weirdness exploration in the beginning, a lot of mindfuckery (remember those wonderful space horror threads we had a couple of years back, they came in handy for this), then massive but quite one-sided space battle (of course they didn't have a single chance at that point to overcome the Scramblers, but they didn't mind the railroading, or at least, they didn't told so to me :/)

Can you tell about the fifth arc sounds interesting?. After that im going to get some sleep and pherhaps making a second part about the thread, with some tasty fluff written out.
Fifth arc finished a couple of weeks ago.
After heading back to their home system they received reports that the elusive conjoiners, after retreating in the last decades from the politics of the solar system, abandonned their bases in the Oort Cloud, nowhere to be seen any more. seems they don't believe that fighting the migration wave is a winning strategy. With their lighthugger still under repair (when you have a fully functionning one, you basically just have to feed it raw materials for it to repair itself, but the process takes some time) they joined one of their biggest habitats to investigate were the hell they left. Browsing archives they read logs of the options the conjoiners studied, including getting their hands back onto the Hell Class weapons they locked far, far away. For the ones who didn't read the Revelation Space books, the Hell Class weapons are scary semi sentient star-destroying autonomous super weapons whose plans were sent from an alternate future were the conjoiners lost against the big bad evil of the setting. But other people don't have the luxury to escape tso the weapons are the best chance they have, better get them before someone else.
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Yup sorry it's the first time i write a summary of this part so it took some time to do right.


Yet another couple of decades of travel. At destination they found the Nostalgia for Intinity inside a docking chamber (yes, with Captain John Brannigan, Sajaki and Hegazi) scooping the weapons on board. After attempts at settling the matter peacefully with a fair split of the weapons, trade, and diplomacy they had to board the Nostalgia as it tried to force its way out. SPACE PIRACY FUCK YEAH!!!!

The managed to board the ship with assault vectors, combat drones and power armors, take temporary control of the relevant areas of the ship and eject 22 of the 40 weapons before the superior acceleration of the Nostalgia made them unable to keep pace with it with their own ship, still damaged and suffering badly from the fight. Not so bad.

And then the fifth arc ended with our brave crew on its way back home. Time to take revenge of those damn scramblers.
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That's it so far, next arc will see them ruin the day of the Scramblers, and discover that this migration wave is actually fleeing away from the big bag evil and murderous Inhibitors.

i'm off to bed, i hope you enjoyed the read.
How do you guys deal with AI in your settings?

The most common explanation is that they're forbidden because it seems a foregone conclusion that the AI will go rogue and try to kill everyone. That seems lazy to me. Here's what I'm thinking.

Any average supercomputer in a setting could be turned into a functioning AI, however the outcome is really sketchy. AI's are created by mimicking human learning in mathematical algorithms, but that's only part of the process. Humans still have a relatively long period of time during childhood where they learn how to learn. So once you program the initial algorithms (which are relatively straightforward and common-knowledge), the AI has to "compile" for a while by sifting through a whole lot of information that you feed into it in a process analogous to childhood.

The algorithms are chaotic in nature, and as such, are extremely dependent on initial conditions. So that means that the exact info you feed into it during compiling hugely affects what AI you're going to get out. And I'm not just talking about "good" or "evil" AI's. An AI isn't guaranteed to be very smart. People have tried, and gotten pretty close, to programming AI's to specifically function as historical geniuses, but the AI's tend to get hung up in similar ways that their base humans did (AI Einstein wouldn't be any better at reconciling relativity and quantum physics than the real one was).

Additionally, AIs that are programmed from regular computers tend to go senile or crazy. It's believed that this is due to the nature of the learning algorithms being coupled with what amounts to sensory deprivation by being a programmed brain without any eyes, ears, tongue, etc. This doesn't make them murderous, but really just corrupts the data and makes it unusable.
>Sci-fi pics are welcome and needed.

I have settings, characters, and aliens folders, which one you want me to dump?
Warping space is being researched now, the problem is power output. You need a gigantic fusion reactor, or a decent sized hunk of antimatter to power the thing.

Consider this: Warped space travel is feasible, and in fact, used heavily by the most advanced races (say two or three of them), but the rest are restricted to a far more dangerous or significantly slower system of transit. (you can get to the next star in a few hours with warped space, and even faster if you can shunt more power into it).

these small number of races use this speed to maintain dominion and access to the best resources of the galaxy, they don't fear the small races because you can't destroy them if you can't catch them.

I would suggest many different kinds of propulsion, but nuclear and ramscoop propulsion be banned by all civilized races (because it is so easily turned into a weapon of war)
>How do you guys deal with AI in your settings?
It exists, and can be ludicrously intelligent and powerful, but is very difficult to make, and the problem is, as smart as you make your AI, it's still not entirely proof against subversion... and as a result people tend to avoid making AI and instead just focus on improving themselves. Even in an advisory capacity, AI are avoided, because again, if it was subverted, then who knows what sort of devious plan for your own destruction it might set you on without you ever being the wiser?

So basically, people never put an AI in charge of anything important. Simple stupidity may cause damage when regular sapients are in control of things, but at least it's harder to subvert a whole bureaucracy of individuals than it is to subvert a single AI in charge of everything.

All that aside, robots are very common. Typically hard-wired so that they can't be hacked. This also prevents them from thinking creatively or indeed being anymore than complex programs, but it gets the job done. Generally you network them together with one or more sapient overseers, SupCom style.
Are you still willing to dump?
For your own sanity, stay far, far away from the sequel. Shit doesn't even begin to describe it.
Give it time, I guess? IIRC the first one was buggy as fuck for ages.

I'm hoping eventually SotS 2 will get in shape, because... well, I bought it a while back, in a moment of forgetfulness, and then after installing it remembered that I neither play nor like 4X. But if it was polished up, perhaps I could learn to like it.

I blame /tg/ for showing me all the awesome Loa background lore.
Do what you feel.
I personally suggest some form of phlebtonium that makes alcubierre drives economical and efficient.
It's not just the bugs, many of the core mechanics from the game are terribad. I don't think they can patch/expansion their way out of this mess like they did with sots1.
Well that sucks. Maybe some day Steam game trading will happen and I can pawn it off for a cheaper game or something.

Or a hat.
Great. I could use more sci fi references, anything you want to post
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Well I guess I'm in an alien mood, I'll dump those unless someone has a different request.
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that image... giant space vagina anyone?
and for space opera why not take a quick look at Legend of the Galactic Heroes for some idea's on the capabilities of the older species to be based upon.
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Cool, but where are these names coming from?
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Some of them, like this one, I made. Others like the Gapuri are what the guy who drew it on deviantArt named it. I try to keep them organized by their names in their respective media, and if I find something that doesn't have a name I try to give it a cool sounding one.
if you want space opera, you need ftl
ftl however, in real life, is impossible
so just ignore it, make something up and go with it
because apart from that, your setting actually sounds cool and interesting and Id hate for it to fail because of this single thing
its space opera, you dont need *everything* to be realistic - take the unrealistic elements (ftl) just as given so that you can develop a setting where having all those other tropes to deconstruct are even possible in the first place
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Oh and as for where I get a lot of my stuff:

The Orion's Arm project. Seriously, it's cool as hell.

Artists on deviantArt: Abiogenesis, Exobio, povorot, Transapient, IRIRIV, M0AI, and mikecorriero
Thanks, man
AI existed, once. An Arc Zero black project successfully booted a clinically-dead human brain with nothing but software. Unfortunately, while the personality encoding was functional, it also succeeded in "reviving" the human personality and memories, which didn't take kindly to the intended purpose of the AI as a holistic surveillance interpreter. Near Expanse quietly discouraged general AI research after that, Far Expanse refused, starting a very subtle cold war.

This is pretty far in the backstory though(2-300 years), the current plotline has a bunch of them, a bit like Eudaemon or the Rix.
The basic advantage to AI in my setting is that if they integrate properly(which can be a crapshoot, the general in charge of the original project was an idiot) you get a functionally human personality that can do autism-level math and pattern analysis up to n-body problems.

This has enormous applications since my FTL is "cube" drives roughly based on the Alcubierre metric, plus a physics loophole that drops the power requirements to "immense but viable". Standard cubes can take up to two years of precision engineering, as they have to be layered molecule by molecule. to ensure a perfect bubble. You can't see out of the bubble, so transits have to be planned down to the femtosecond.

AI allow less perfect cores to be used as they can correct transit paths if irregularities surface on the bubble predictively instead of reactively, cutting through both the limited number of FTL ships and the resulting Near Expanse stranglehold on interstellar shipping laws.
OP here, i can't believe this is still alive, i think i love you guys. And thanks to >>27922794 for the pics, i need specially pictures of landscapes, alien fauna and flora, and maybe weapons.
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In my setting the AI is forbidden because the Merlik Teris saw how the theutilus and the kelades developed war droids in a war against each other, and in one of their prophecies the AI went crazy and exterminated organic life, so they attacked both sides of the conflict and raped them pretty hard, making an effective prohibition on AI.

Important sidenote: the merlik prophecies are a huge plot point in the setting. They, as a species are able to to process thousands o toughts per second (as i said earlier, they have a light-based brain, million of time faster than ours) this has the effect of them not telling apart their scientific prediction of their religious prophecies. To them is the same, and they are accurate.

Imagine them talking to a human, and when the human is going to answer the merlik just go "save it, i already calculated the 43 possible answers, nothing interesting, just obey, is the best for you, i calculated it too".

The factions of the merliks are in fact, 7 different religions, based on 7 different prophecies, about the end (and purpose) of the universe since the big bang. The religions were created after the other 3 founding species of the League attacked the merlik for supremacy.

The merliks lost, but completely defeated them back after 10 years, and after that, they thanked their enemies, because thanks to them, the number of possible outcomes of the universe was reduced from 120,450, 566 to 7, because as they said it to the embassadors "only in 7 timelines you were so stupid to believe you could defeat us".
OP, forget SCIENCE. Just establish how FTL works, and draw socio-political conclusions on how the universe works.
There was this boardgame with a really neat idea.

Two alien species at war: the Moles and the Birds.

The moles can do almost instanteneous FTL travel via wormholes. They built a web throughout their empire and can move the enmtirety of their troops and fleet from one portal to the other at a moment's notice. However, without wormholes they can't go FTL. So they will need to send STL probes to build a portal ahead of their invasion forces.

The Birds' ships can do FTL Jumps at any time and anywhere. But they are small and can only carry so many troops. So if they attack a Mole planet, the moles will be able to wormhole overwhelming forces in short order and repell the Birds.

However, the birds can easily intercept SLT Mole probes, and prevent them from building wormholes near their territory.

A stalemate ensues.
There is hardly any middle ground, either you settle for as much handwavium as the plot requires a la Star Wars or Star Trek, which is fine, either you go all the way for as much hardness as your players can assimilate. The above poster talking about his hard scifi campaign seems to have nailed it just fine. Note that hard doesn't mean boring, hard sf books don't drown you in endless amount of numbers, or don't make you read one thousand pages of "and they sat on their asses waiting for their ship to travel from star A to star B at a fraction of light speed". If you're good enough at storytelling the rythm won't suffer from it.
Just read Blindsight and man, it feels like Crysis 2 and 3 were actually heavily inspired by it (and I know Peter Watts also wrote a book for Crysis); a lot of the stuff matches up.

I can actually forgive a lot of the poorly developed, poorly explained story stuff in Crysis 2 and 3 now, since I can finally see where they were coming from.

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