The Background Thus Far

Discussion of the background, history & universe
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Zero Revenge » Mon Apr 16, 2012 11:45 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:snip.


You Sir, are amazing. Thank you Joshua. So much information, I love the work you guys have done with the setting.

Here's another [sorry to ask so many] nagging question. If the Solar Union has precedent for abandoning colonies once they go past their peak, why do people keep signing up to go on these colonization ventures? The initial wealth gained is THAT exuberant? Is there any colonies that haven't been abandoned by the Union, even after they've past their prime?

*squee*

Talusmouse wrote:Also can there be a fourth "force" or mentality? The "Well the SU are jerks for ruining us but we sucked it up and now these young wipersnappers, the Free Colonies, are just causing more issues for us?" People? I'd love to create a defensive for people who just want to be left alone like when the colony was abandoned by the SU, but they still don't want to be part of the UMFL?


I assume that any colonies that aren't on any of the 3 Power's sides are negligible at best. They either pick a side, or starve/die off quickly.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Soren » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:02 am

Zero Revenge wrote:Here's another [sorry to ask so many] nagging question. If the Solar Union has precedent for abandoning colonies once they go past their peak, why do people keep signing up to go on these colonization ventures? The initial wealth gained is THAT exuberant? Is there any colonies that haven't been abandoned by the Union, even after they've past their prime?


Social and economic mobility. Earth, and by extension the solar system, is pretty stratified - not because of any formal class or caste structures (give them that - they're the only functioning constitutional democracy of the three), but simply because there's not much wiggle room in a tightly packed society of 40 billion people - the chance get really rich or really famous has been snapped up by someone with more resources a generation before you get there. Most colonists have a romantic image of the frontier as a place where competence writes its own ticket (often true - although woe betide the colonist who crosses some corporate princeling), fresh food is too cheap to tax, platinum lies in the riverbeds, et cetera. Throw in the fact that you don't need a license to have children, too.

I wouldn't imagine too many colonies are actually old enough to be 'exhausted' - some are closer to Earth and have been settled by more politically popular groups, though. Rebels and dissidents tend to head further out into the frontier than colonists whose primary motivation is economic.

Talusmouse wrote:Also can there be a fourth "force" or mentality? The "Well the SU are jerks for ruining us but we sucked it up and now these young wipersnappers, the Free Colonies, are just causing more issues for us?" People? I'd love to create a defensive for people who just want to be left alone like when the colony was abandoned by the SU, but they still don't want to be part of the UMFL?


Oh, there are several. The three sides are just the powers that control multiple gates - there's no reason why quite powerful system-bound powers can't show up. Just remember that societies are based around where the food comes from - 'we just want to be left alone' is the beginning of a sentence that ends with '...because of/to do X'. Then figure out what X is. 'We just want to be left alone... to keep owning slaves' is an example that's caused some notable messes in the past.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:02 pm

Here's another [sorry to ask so many] nagging question. If the Solar Union has precedent for abandoning colonies once they go past their peak, why do people keep signing up to go on these colonization ventures? The initial wealth gained is THAT exuberant? Is there any colonies that haven't been abandoned by the Union, even after they've past their prime?


"Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires."
—John Steinbeck

The colonists are the ones who are going to break free, find their way against the odds, make good with good old-fashioned knowledge and gumption and show the value of true individuality. They are going to beat the system!

So, of course there are wealthy colonies. Of course some prospectors get rich. Just don't ask a colonist to give you an answer about their hopes based on the odds.

(NB: it sucks back around Sol, too.)
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Axhead » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:31 pm

Each new Colony isn't necessarily just a planet, it has the potential to be an entire solar system. In theory each one has the potential resources of Sol. With that in mind it is not unreasonable for Colonists to want to go it alone. Given time they could in theory rise as far as Sol, but (naively? optimistically? correctly?) think they will do it better.

Since the main limiting factor of transport is mass, I assume that Mechs aren't shipped from system to system as they (plus all the tail end stuff needed to support them) would be crazy expensive. So only pilots would be shipped who would be equipped locally by loyalists (to whichever side the pilots were on). If that is that correct, it means that there will always be a local force parity in terms of technology which is cool as it is strongly supported in the rules.

This answers my question:
Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Mercenaries, by the by, would be sent by their employer without any real equipment. Gear is too massive. They get somewhere and then build themselves new frames. If they have a favorite component, they might pack that.



If there were no friendlies on the other side, the amount of hardware/logistical support required to mount a successful campaign would be literally astronomical. The only cases where it would be viable is where the given system had something of huge value, but then it would logical that the given system would be using that resource to buy/make defenses from another system. This in turn would make them even harder to take, and require more resourses to be sent thus depreciating the value of such a campaign even if it is successful...

On a side note can any Stargate send stuff anywhere or do they have limited ranges? Is there room in the fluff for a strategic metagame of Stargate pathways?
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Mantisking » Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:39 pm

Talusmouse wrote:Also can there be a fourth "force" or mentality? The "Well the SU are jerks for ruining us but we sucked it up and now these young wipersnappers, the Free Colonies, are just causing more issues for us?" People? I'd love to create a defensive for people who just want to be left alone like when the colony was abandoned by the SU, but they still don't want to be part of the UMFL?

I believe Joshua has said the Terran Transport Authority -- the corporation in charge of the gates in the SU -- is almost an authority unto itself. They have their own force of marines, for example.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:19 pm

Talusmouse wrote:I have a question about the colonies. Using real world nations where would you put the current livelyhoods of the Free Colonies, the Ijad Confederacy, the Solar Union, and the solar uion's colonies

The way I see it
SU = The United States (Rich, but not every person is rich)
FC = India (certain areas becoming rich other areas completely poor)
Ijad = ???


SU = Soviet Union or United States (you see what we did there?) or, while we're at it, the Netherlands, France, Spain, or England in the 18th century.
FC = the American Revolution, Indian nationalism, Japanese imperialism, or any of a kerjillion other, smaller, more isolated systems.
Ijad = the moral, borderless, nationless ideas and ideals of the 20th and 21st centuries: Jihad, Anonymous, anarchism, communism, anarcho-capitalism, and, of course, religions.

Also can there be a fourth "force" or mentality? The "Well the SU are jerks for ruining us but we sucked it up and now these young wipersnappers, the Free Colonies, are just causing more issues for us?" People? I'd love to create a defensive for people who just want to be left alone like when the colony was abandoned by the SU, but they still don't want to be part of the UMFL?


Of course! Roll your own, man! &^%$, I'd love to see a planet where the conflict is between the Free Colonies, a group that wants nothing to do with them, and the remnants of the corporation that ran the transit gate but now just has a bunch of shuttles to carry things between satellites of a brown dwarf.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:21 pm

Mantisking wrote:I believe Joshua has said the Terran Transport Authority -- the corporation in charge of the gates in the SU -- is almost an authority unto itself. They have their own force of marines, for example.


The Terran Transit Authority is a branch of the government that also operates as a trade organization for the corporations that run transit gates. Their branch of the military is the Terran Trade Marines.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:25 pm

Axhead wrote:If there were no friendlies on the other side, the amount of hardware/logistical support required to mount a successful campaign would be literally astronomical. The only cases where it would be viable is where the given system had something of huge value, but then it would logical that the given system would be using that resource to buy/make defenses from another system. This in turn would make them even harder to take, and require more resourses to be sent thus depreciating the value of such a campaign even if it is successful...


So you can see why it's so important to keep control of transit gates. At least that way you're only paying wholesale.

On a side note can any Stargate send stuff anywhere or do they have limited ranges? Is there room in the fluff for a strategic metagame of Stargate pathways?


Precision drops with distance. If you throw something far enough, you won't even know where you threw it until its radio signal gets back to you centuries later. Precision is greatly enhanced by having a receiving transit gate. The receiver doesn't need to do anything to receive; in fact, bogies could show up at any minute. That's why there are TTMs.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby shrimplor » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:01 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Precision drops with distance. If you throw something far enough, you won't even know where you threw it until its radio signal gets back to you centuries later. Precision is greatly enhanced by having a receiving transit gate. The receiver doesn't need to do anything to receive; in fact, bogies could show up at any minute. That's why there are TTMs.


I believe somebody else also asked this, but is the receiver linked to a specific gate/gates, or can any gate transmit to any other gate in the system?
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Zero Revenge » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:59 am

I am so looking forward to this book now. You guys really outdid yourselves with building the setting. :D
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby hari sugarglider » Wed Apr 18, 2012 1:11 pm

I'm not sure if I understand.

Each system has only one stargate, right (or most of them, at any rate - Sol probably has more than one)?

So, say System A is largely controlled by the Free Colonies (i.e. they control the gate), and they want to attack System B, which is SU. Their options are to
1) inaccurately send some pilots in a lifeboat to somewhere in the system and hope Free Colonies sympathisers on the other end can pick them up in time, or
2) accurately send them to the stargate. They'd probably have to send mecha with them, or maybe if the TTM were lax (which seems unlikely) a couple of pilots could be killed in their sleep and their frames hijacked.

Is that roughly how the gates work? Or does the presence of a gate on the other end make it possible to send stuff anywhere in the system with greater accuracy than with no gate?


And if the Ijad goal is simply to eliminate the Solar Union's ability to maintain an empire that threatens them, why can't they send nukes to every SU and Free Colonies stargate?
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:51 pm

shrimplor wrote:I believe somebody else also asked this, but is the receiver linked to a specific gate/gates, or can any gate transmit to any other gate in the system?


You can go to any gate from any other gate. I imagine there's a distance limit on that, so to go really far you'd have to make two transits. That sounds pretty **** expensive. I sure hope the colony at the other end has a high return.

harl sugarglider wrote:So, say System A is largely controlled by the Free Colonies (i.e. they control the gate), and they want to attack System B, which is SU. Their options are to
1) inaccurately send some pilots in a lifeboat to somewhere in the system and hope Free Colonies sympathisers on the other end can pick them up in time, or
2) accurately send them to the stargate. They'd probably have to send mecha with them, or maybe if the TTM were lax (which seems unlikely) a couple of pilots could be killed in their sleep and their frames hijacked.

Is that roughly how the gates work? Or does the presence of a gate on the other end make it possible to send stuff anywhere in the system with greater accuracy than with no gate?


Gate to gate. Your impression is good.

And if the Ijad goal is simply to eliminate the Solar Union's ability to maintain an empire that threatens them, why can't they send nukes to every SU and Free Colonies stargate?


Well, the quick, technical answer is that nukes don't do much in a vacuum (there's no atmosphere to carry a shockwave, the heat is like that of the sun, but you already have to be shielded from the heat of the sun, and the radiation is less than that of a solar flare, which you're also prepared against). Of course, that's not to say that there's not some big, destructive thing they could put through, so the slightly more complex answer is, "That's genocide". There's a whole town on the other end — maybe tens of thousands of people, most of whom are engineers and their family members. The more complex answer is in this equation:

  • I, an Ijad community have a hundred transit gates.
  • You, the SU, have a thousand transit gates.
  • I make a thousand bombs.
  • I send one through a transit gate and blow up the first SU transit gate. Hooray!
  • Your move.

Let's play this from the other end!

I, the SU, consider you, the Ijad, to be holding valuable resources. Among those valuable resources are transit gates that give me access to other valuable resources. So I blow one up. Gains to me: zero: losses to you: some. You can rebuild (and I bet you're pissed enough to do it), and all the while I can't even send a spy to see what's going on.

It turns out blowing stuff up isn't, in general, the objective of a war. Wars are fought to gain something, not just hurt the other guy. "The other guy" is defined, in fact, as "the guy who has the thing you want."

At the end of WWII, the US dropped two nuclear weapons on Japan. The first one was to demonstrate the cost of continued fighting. The second was a bluff to say we could do it all day long. But that's not where things ended*. Within a decade, Japan was a producer for our economy. Another couple of decades and they were a world power and ally. The US didn't bomb them to win the war. We bombed them to start a period of economic imperialism — the American Century. (NB: like the Thousand Year Reich that lasted six years, the American Century lasted from 1947 to, oh, the 1990s? Certainly it had ended by 9/11/2001, 54 years later.)

*I recognize that this is quite rightly controversial but a) I don't know about it to give a complete, multidimensional account, and b) it doesn't matter for the purposes of this example.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Axhead » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:56 pm

hari sugarglider wrote:And if the Ijad goal is simply to eliminate the Solar Union's ability to maintain an empire that threatens them, why can't they send nukes to every SU and Free Colonies stargate?

If this was a viable strategy, I would assume that some Free Colony or another would have done to the Sol Stargates and end the whole intergalactic planetary <insert Beasty Boys here> dominantion thing.

Or it could be that they are just way too expensive to destroy, since they take an entire star system several years to build.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:22 pm

It just wouldn't gain anything. And it's an expensive and risky enough idea (I really don't know what kind of machine would be required to cause that kind of destruction) that someone involved would immediately point that out. Don't neglect the "your move" part of that equation above.

War is a part of negotiation that uses large-scale force in order to gain a better position in the negotiation*. You can't eliminate the party you're negotiating with if you want them to do something for you. Destroying a transit gate might buy you time, but it would certainly start an escalation where the losers would be the ones with the least money to build new transit gates.

*Yeah, historically there have been other kinds of wars, like the Aztecs passion for capturing slaves to sacrifice. That's obviously not what we're modeling here.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby hari sugarglider » Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:23 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:the slightly more complex answer is, "That's genocide". There's a whole town on the other end — maybe tens of thousands of people, most of whom are engineers and their family members.

Yes it is mass murder, but I read the descriptions of the factions with enough pessimism that mass murder seemed like a tactic the Ijad (or any faction) would contemplate. Especially when those murders aren't the goal, but "collateral damage".

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:
  • I, an Ijad community have a hundred transit gates.
  • You, the SU, have a thousand transit gates.
  • I make a thousand bombs.
  • I send one through a transit gate and blow up the first SU transit gate. Hooray!
  • Your move.

This I accept. Even if the Ijad were coordinating somewhat better and using all hundred gates to transport WMDs, they would't be able to destroy the SU's gates fast enough to prevent retaliation. Though this requires a way for the remaining SU network to figure out that gates are being destroyed (either an expected shipment from a now-destroyed gate doesn't arrive, or the use of gates to send frequent EM communications isn't too expensive), and organise retaliation before the Ijad go through 9 more cycles of cooldown, send. Presumably the SU have some MAD system already in place. That is, if there even are WMDs in the setting that work in space, as you pointed out.

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:I, the SU, consider you, the Ijad, to be holding valuable resources. Among those valuable resources are transit gates that give me access to other valuable resources. So I blow one up. Gains to me: zero: losses to you: some. You can rebuild (and I bet you're pissed enough to do it), and all the while I can't even send a spy to see what's going on.

It turns out blowing stuff up isn't, in general, the objective of a war. Wars are fought to gain something, not just hurt the other guy. "The other guy" is defined, in fact, as "the guy who has the thing you want."

Oh I get why the SU and the Free Colonies don't do it. The SU want to gain the resources necessary to sustain themselves, and the fact that the various Free Colonies want to throw off the yoke of their oppressors doesn't mean they don't want to expand themselves (and/or free systems currently under SU control).

I picked Ijad for a reason - their want is a negative want, i.e. for the other guy to not have the capacity and/or desire to wage empire, so the Ijad can chill in their own private corner. Unless I have them wrong, and they actively, positively want noone in the galaxy to have an empire as their mode of governance.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Zero Revenge » Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:25 am

hari sugarglider wrote:I picked Ijad for a reason - their want is a negative want, i.e. for the other guy to not have the capacity and/or desire to wage empire, so the Ijad can chill in their own private corner. Unless I have them wrong, and they actively, positively want noone in the galaxy to have an empire as their mode of governance.


Don't forget the "spreading the faith" part of the Ijad. They're expanding themselves and converting [either peacefully, or through indoctrination, or even violence, I assume it depends on the invading force] others (Humans) to their cause.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby The Trilobite » Thu Apr 19, 2012 5:34 am

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:
  • I, an Ijad community have a hundred transit gates.
  • You, the SU, have a thousand transit gates.
  • I make a thousand bombs.
  • I send one through a transit gate and blow up the first SU transit gate. Hooray!
  • Your move.


A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.

Talusmouse wrote:Also can there be a fourth "force" or mentality? The "Well the SU are jerks for ruining us but we sucked it up and now these young wipersnappers, the Free Colonies, are just causing more issues for us?" People? I'd love to create a defensive for people who just want to be left alone like when the colony was abandoned by the SU, but they still don't want to be part of the UMFL?


Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:Of course! Roll your own, man! &^%$, I'd love to see a planet where the conflict is between the Free Colonies, a group that wants nothing to do with them, and the remnants of the corporation that ran the transit gate but now just has a bunch of shuttles to carry things between satellites of a brown dwarf.


I imagine the factions are not monolithic, so you could get all kinds of mixes like this. I mean, a planet is a big place and people are stupidly diverse.

The colony of Odvisteurla, for example, signed a declaration saying they would not allow SU forces to travel through their stargate if their intent was to make war against groups seeking self-rule. The same declaration also asserted their right and intention to defend themselves against 'outside aggressors regardless of their allegiance'. Most of the document focused on their willingness to remain within the Solar Union, but the SU authorities took one look at the section about denying stargates and arming up and declared Odvisteurla a traitor colony.

And that declaration itself was only issued by the Odvisteurla Parliament: not everyone, even in the government, agreed with making this declaration. Heck, even among those who did agree with releasing it, not everyone agreed on the terms. And the average Odvisteurlan has no interest in crazy politics or getting killed in a war: he just wants to get on with his day and put food on the table.

So on Odvisteurla you have United Mars Foreign Legion units who, while technically locals, find themselves suddenly caught between loyalty to their paymasters and being considered "outside aggressors" by Odvisteurlan forces; you have regions which support the UMFL troops tacitly or which have openly declared against the "rebel scum" in the Parliament; mercenaries and profiteers of all varieties; agents provocateur from all sides; there are forces that are simply trying to keep the peace and others that want out of the whole mess, even if they have to shoot their way out; and knuckleheads that just want to hurt someone, anyone, and see this as their chance.

Huge thanks to Mr. Newman for giving us something so much fun to work with, and for taking the time and effort to come here and talk to us about it. You rock!
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Joshua A.C. Newman » Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:10 am

The Trilobite wrote:I imagine the factions are not monolithic, so you could get all kinds of mixes like this. I mean, a planet is a big place and people are stupidly diverse.


That, there, is the core of both the most excellent and most horrible parts of the setting: no one really agrees, even within their own faction, about what to do. The SU is a constitutional representative democracy, so it's forged out of compromise between forces. The Ijad don't have any sort of central government so individual towns operate on their own, sharing or trading information with other towns. The Free Colonies want freedom to federate, but that doesn't mean they have any sort of unified vision of what to do with the federation.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Soren » Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:33 pm

Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:
The Trilobite wrote:I imagine the factions are not monolithic, so you could get all kinds of mixes like this. I mean, a planet is a big place and people are stupidly diverse.


That, there, is the core of both the most excellent and most horrible parts of the setting: no one really agrees, even within their own faction, about what to do. The SU is a constitutional representative democracy, so it's forged out of compromise between forces. The Ijad don't have any sort of central government so individual towns operate on their own, sharing or trading information with other towns. The Free Colonies want freedom to federate, but that doesn't mean they have any sort of unified vision of what to do with the federation.


Don't forget that the tail of local politics also tends to wag the (Union, Ijad, or Colonial) dog. When transport between systems costs so much, representatives of the larger polities tend to get stuck with the unenviable task of finding a local base of support - which may or may not have anything to recommend them besides an eagerness for legitimacy, training, and arms. The Mockingbird Regiment's last stand at Amritsar Baru doesn't have much in common with Serpent Legion raids on rebel mining towns in the Orion outback, the Sisters of the Dreaming Blade don't torture civilians for information like the Armored of God, and nobody would confuse the Janus Battalion for those Cerafi maniacs who gassed Amelia Side.
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Re: The Background Thus Far

Postby Wadmaasi » Sun Apr 22, 2012 4:01 am

MittenNinja wrote:If the SU can beat out the resistance they will have enough materials to supply expeditions to numerous other galaxies.

Uhhh...hey, boss? Galaxies are big. Big. Inconceivably so,

Also, I'm stumbling a bit over the fact that the SU abandons colonies when the ROI dips too low...but these self-same colonies can immediately begin to recruit, train, pay, and arm militias. For every colony/cell/unit that rebels and joins The Movement, likely another says, "F U homeslice, loyalty to Mother Terra > all.
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