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The Unseen University



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Lead Instrument Suggestions

Posted by Ymper Trymon , in Music Jul 01 2013 · 128 views
music, composition, question
So I've got a piece of music that's been sitting unfinished on my computer for something like two years. The current list of instruments is as follows-
 
-Flute
-Alto Saxophone
-Electric Guitar (Jazz)
-Electric Bass (Fingered)
-Drumkit
-Timpani
 
The first section went along fairly smoothly, with a four-measure ostinato primarily played by the flute and saxophone... the only problem is that, at this time, there isn't actually a lead instrument. Nothing's actually playing a melody over this, which is a big problem that kind of needs to be fixed before I go forward with this.
 
I'm going to experiment with various instruments to see what works well here. Suggestions are encouraged, as they might make my work here a little bit easier.


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Lord Voldemort

Posted by Ymper Trymon , Jun 09 2013 · 175 views
a thought occurs, harry potter
Gets a whole lot less intimidating when you realize that, with a quick enough draw, Gilderoy Lockhart could have won a duel against him.
 
What's that? Most powerful Dark wizard in living memory? That's impressive. Shame he can't remember which way is up.


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Help: Medieval Chola Naval Vessels

Posted by Ymper Trymon , May 15 2013 · 98 views
request, pictures, history, india
For a personal project, I find myself needing to know what ships of the medieval Chola Navy looked like - my particular interest rests with the Thirisadai and Vajara classes. My own searches on the topic have come up empty, for the most part. Accordingly, I am asking you to assist in this search, in the hopes that you might have better luck finding good sources than I have.
 
To be useful, pictures of these ships should show them from the side, front, back or top. A view of the ship from beneath is unlikely but would be nice. Colour images are preferred, but black and white is acceptable as long as there is enough detail. Photographs are probably more than we could hope for, but don't ignore the possibility.
 
If you choose to help with this, thank you. If you do not, it is not your project and you had no obligation to do so.


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On Artistic Talent

Posted by Ymper Trymon , Apr 27 2013 · 144 views
music, art, minecraft
One thing that bugs me, and which I hear a lot from people looking at drawings or playing Minecraft, is the tendency to look at anything that's been done well, and remark that they would never be able to make something as good as that. This is especially irritating in Minecraft, where we're all working with the same cubic-meter blocks of material, and thus there is no really good reason to think that any particular piece of work is impossible for you to match.
 
The idea of someone being naturally talented beyond anyone else's ability to match is, to me, ridiculous. No one's first attempt at architecture, with no background in it or Minecraft, was as good as what some people have made in Minecraft. M.C. Escher did not wake up one morning, with no background at all in drawing surreal geometries, and start producing art. J.S. Bach's first experience with music, almost assuredly, did not immediately result in any famous compositions.
 
Getting good at something took time for them, and it will take time for anyone looking to follow in their footsteps - they were not born doing what they do/did, but rather worked to do it and do it well. If you really want to be good at it too, study the principles of the artform, and practice. Practice until you're sure more practicing isn't actually possible, and then continue practicing.
 
Because if one more person looks at something I've built or drawn [I don't show compositions to non-musicians, because I can't get them to sit still long enough] and says 'Wow, I could never build/draw like that,' I'm going to chase them around the world with a diamond pickaxe and set their weird squarish wooden shack on fire.


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Starscape II Docs - Ship Design

Posted by Ymper Trymon , in Starscape II Apr 09 2013 · 154 views

This document gives a pretty good overview of the principles of shipbuilding.
 
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Spaceships vary wildly in their designs, based on their intended function, however, they can generally be classified according to their size and intended function. However, there are no standard ship classes; if you like, a good general principle is to build your ships along real-world Navy ship designs. However, your species’ biology and culture will influence this, and you’re free to design your ships however you like.   

 
Ship classes in this format

 
Name:
Description:
Reactor:
Propulsion:
FTL Drive:
Armament:
Defensive Systems
Detection Systems:
Cost:

 
You fill out every detail except the Cost, and send it to me in a PM; I’ll look it over, and if it looks good, fill out the cost.

 
SHIPBUILDING CONSIDERATIONS

 
You are not expected to know everything about a spaceship’s design. You’re not an engineer, after all. However, you should understand these basics of what spaceships are like, and how to build them.

 
Power and Thrust

 
The first step in designing your ship’s power system is picking its Reactor. Much like real world Naval ships, a spaceship needs a massive reactor. However, in space, a reactor is far more important, because it is usually also your main Propulsion system. The following are a list of a few basic Reactor types; feel free to pick from these, or choose your own system.

 
Nuclear Fusion Reactor

 
Your basic Fusion Reactor uses either lasers or magnetic pinches to force atomic nuclei to fuse, which produces a massive amount of energy and heat. Reaction mass(Hydrogen, Water, Deuterium, and Helium-3 are all common choices) is fed into the fusion reaction slowly enough that it is self-sustaining. This energy can be captured, the heat this reaction gives off used to produce power with temperature differentials. To produce thrust with one of these reactors, the reactor is simply opened to space; White hot streams of post-fusion gas race out into the night, propelling the ship forward. This reactor requires light elements to be fed into it as reaction mass, and thus increases the CHON cost of maintaining the ship.

 
Ramjet

 
A Ramjet is a Fusion Reactor, with the addition of enormous, kilometers-wide magnetic “sails” which, as a ship travels, capture free-floating hydrogen in space, and force it down into the ship’s reactor for use as Reaction Mass. Originally, Ramjets were designed as the best design for a slower-than-light ship, and were probably used if your species launched any. The advantage of a Ramjet is that its reactions get more and more efficient the faster a ship is going, and, more importantly, it does not require fuel to be carried with it. However, they are expensive to build and maintain, increasing the Money cost of ships they’re used in.

 
Gravity-Trail Propulsion: An option only available to species who have Artificial Gravity, Gravity-Trail Propulsion is an excellent option for propelling a ship; a gravity field is generated in front of the ship, strong enough that the ship “falls” directly forward. Gravity-Trail Propulsion is useful because the gravity waves it produces are difficult to detect, and the ship itself produces no bright Fusion Flares or other telltale signs of existence, making this one of the few options for a Stealthy ship.

 
Laser-Reaction Drive: Essentially, this drive is a fusion drive which emits its Fusion Flare in the form of a laser. There are two advantages to this type of drive; one, its drive can be used as a long range signaling device. Two, it can be used as a close range weapon, as this laser is incredibly powerful. These drives are more expensive to build than Fusion drives.

 
ORION Drive: Explode nuclear warheads behind an extremely thick shell built into your ship. Propel yourself with nukes. What more do you want from life? An ORION drive can be made far more useful by coating the shell in a Stasis Field, increasing the efficiency to nearly 100%.

 
Ballistic Sling: A Ballistic Sling isn’t a power production method, or a drive, per-se, but a means of getting from place to place. Using conventional rocket fuels to give an initial boost, or other low-intensity drive methods, a ship travels a long, slow, leisurely curve through a solar system, ending at its destination. These systems are useless for going anywhere but the place you actually planned on ending up, as there’s no steering and no power. However, these systems are also essentially free. For this reason, they’re popular when launching colony ships from one planet to another planet in the same system. This is the method that most Real-World deep-space spacecraft use.

 
Defense

 
Every spaceship needs armor, even if it’s just there to hold in the atmosphere. The most basic spaceships use metal layers, often Steel or Aluminum. Some spaceships, especially those preferred by races with more advanced material science, prefer Aerogel or Foam Aluminum armor, but armor is all essentially the same; a solid material designed to take impacts and energy, to keep the structure intact.

 
Interceptors are a critical system for defending your ship from missiles, because missiles, while slow, have insanely high damage if they do score a hit. Interceptors can come in the form of tiny kinetic-interceptor counter-missiles, bullets, or laser beams. All are about equally valuable. The effectiveness of these interceptors depends on how far away the missiles are launched.

 
Energy shields are, in the time of Starscape, mostly science fiction. The closest thing available is a large Magnetic Field, probably made with the same projectors the ship uses in a Ramjet. This Magnetic Field serves to deflect incoming plasma and particle beams. If dust and iron filings can be held in the field, it will actually serve as an effective shield against laser beams, relativistic-velocity kinetics, and missiles.

 
The above idea of a magnetic shield can be combined with a Flak Barrier, essentially a set of cannons that set up a spherical shell of explosions around the ship. This, filled with iron filings held in place by a field, provide a good, if temporary, shield against nearly everything.

 
Detection Systems: See the “Scanners” section of the Technologies post. Most ships will have all of those.

 
Other Considerations

 
Venting Heat: Spaceships build up heat while in space, and have to lose it somehow. Without an atmosphere, you can’t just vent heat to the air, so a ship must use Radiators. These aren’t the big, orange glowing things on the Venture Star in that one James Cameron film, but rather, a Radiator in use on a spaceship is a big sheet of aluminum, painted white, and run through with tubes of water or some other liquid. The tubes carry heat to the radiators, and the radiators bleed off their heat as light. However, these radiators are fragile. Pieces of shrapnel from missiles and destroyed spaceships could ruin them. Thus, in a fight, these radiators must be retracted to keep from being ruined. As all ship’s operations produce heat, a ship’s endurance is mostly determined by the heat tolerance of the crew, more than its ammunition supplies and reactor.

 
Atmospheric Entry: A ship’s gravity and pressure tolerances will determine what sort of planet it can land on. The Discovery from 2001: Space Odyssey might be able to handle the pressure on Earth, but its long, tube shaped structure would snap in half under the gravity. By contrast, the NASA Space Shuttles could fly on Venus’ low gravity without a problem, but would be crushed like little origami frogs by the pressure on Venus’ ground level. As a general rule, a smaller ship can handle less gravity, and a better armored ship can handle more pressure.


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Starscape II Docs - Resources

Posted by Ymper Trymon , Apr 09 2013 · 173 views

This document outlines the resources in Starscape, and how you acquire or spend them.
 
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Starscape features only two Resources; Money and CHON. Money is a representative value of how much of an empire’s economy something takes to build and support, while CHON(Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen) represents how much a ship takes at creation, and needs periodically.

 
These resources are gathered on Planets, Moons, Asteroid Belts, and generated in Habitats.

 
Planets

 
While a very wide class of object, planets can be grouped into a number of distinct classes. For the purposes of this game, Planet and Moon are interchangeable; the only difference is that Planets orbit a star, and Moons orbit a planet. Each class of planet is followed by a real-world example, and then the basic Resource values it produces. Anything that produces or consumes resources produces or consumes those resources every five days.

 
Airless: Barren chunks of rock, usually large enough to pull themselves into a sphere but too small to hold a substantial atmosphere. Airless worlds are valuable for manufacturing, thanks to their free and abundant Vacuum, highly useful for industries, and low gravity. A good example is Earth’s Moon. Your species may not have its Homeworld on an Airless World.

 
Money: 3
CHON: 0

 
Reduced Atmosphere: Thin atmosphered worlds, smaller than a terrestrial world, with lower gravity, less capable of holding an atmosphere, and only rarely having a planetary magnetic field. Reduced Atmosphere Worlds can be colonized with the appropriate measures to keep air pressure strong, such as underground habitats or pressure domes. Many Reduced Atmosphere worlds are actually large enough to hold an atmosphere, but had it blasted away in wars of eons past. These planets are particularly enticing to archeologists, and treasure hunters, who hope to find the occasional sample of technology from ancient empires. Mars is an example of an average Reduced Atmosphere world.

 
Money: 2
CHON: 1

 
Terrestrial World: Rare and valuable, but heavy and hard to lift goods off of, Terrestrial Worlds are always found with a thick atmosphere, and almost always found with oceans or ice caps, depending on the temperature. Rich in fissile materials, heavy metals, and organic substances, Terrestrial Worlds also make better living space than any other class of planet, provided the atmosphere suits one’s needs and they fall within a species’ preferred temperature range. A vast majority of races evolve on these worlds, as they also produce more life than any other sort of planet. Earth is a typical example of Terrestrial Worlds.

 
Money: 5
CHON: 3

 
Pressure Cookers: Hot, dense, with extreme atmospheric pressure, moderate to heavy gravity, and often close to a system’s sun, Pressure Cookers are created when a planet’s atmosphere exhibits a Greenhouse Effect, retaining heat faster than it loses it. Aside from making wonderful trash dumps, Pressure Cookers often have useful elements which can be harvested from their upper atmosphere. They can have valuable minerals on the surface below, but these are difficult to reach given the rest of the world’s traits. Venus is a typical Pressure Cooker, though not all share the planet of love’s corrosive atmosphere.

 
Money: 0
CHON: 2

 
Ice Balls: Cold, small gas giants commonly found at the edge of star systems, Ice Balls are around the middle of size as far as planets go. Ice Balls are mostly useful for the elements which can be scooped from their upper atmosphere, and occasionally for the valuable metals found on their moons. Neptune is a typical Ice Ball.

 
Money: 1
CHON: 2

 
Gas Giants: Massive, not very dense, taking up a large chunk of a solar system’s mass, Gas Giants are what they say; gigantic planets made up of gases. Often, a Gas Giant’s gravity allows it to capture dust and asteroids, leading to thick systems of moons and beautiful rings. Gas Giants are excellently useful for industrial purposes, as their moons often contain useful metals, and even fissile materials. The atmospheres of the Gas Giants themselves, however, are where the real riches can be found, mining and refining useful gases. Saturn is an excellent model Gas Giant

 
Money: 2
CHON: 5

 
Proto-Stars: The largest class of planet, a Proto-Star is a Gas Giant of exceptional size, known because they emit more heat than they absorb. Proto-Stars are often just a few masses short of becoming a Dwarf Star, and can actually be made into Dwarf Stars artificially if Fusion is ignited in their core. Proto-Stars feature the same attractions as Gas Giants, though their higher gravity makes elements more difficult to recover from the atmosphere.

 
Money: 2
CHON: 4

 
Other Features:

 
Asteroid Belts: Leftover detritus from the formation of a solar system, Cosmologists are interested in Asteroid belts because the thinner they are, the older the system is. Merchant corporations are interested in Asteroid Belts because they provide all the advantages of an Airless World without being so heavy that it’s expensive to lift ships off of them. Asteroid Belts are often critical to a system’s economy, however, they are dependant on planets for organic elements.

 
Money: 4
CHON: 0

 
System Upgrades

 
System upgrades are constructs you build to make your system more effective at its industrial tasks, add new capabilities to your system, or protect it better. Each System Upgrade costs a fixed amount to build for a fixed time; once complete, it has a Resource effect. This is written in the format.

 
Build Cost/Time(In real-world time)
Resources

 
The Resource effect, if positive, means that this upgrade produces resources. If negative, it means this upgrade is a draw on resources.

 
Interstellar Launch: An Interstellar Launch takes the form of either a Launching Laser, which propels Light Sail Craft to enormous speeds by means of hitting the Light Sail with a laser, or a Mass Accelerator, which uses magnetic rings to do the same. They are necessary for use of the Superlight Drive.

 
10 Money, 1 CHON/10 Days
-2 Money

 
Floating Habitat: Space stations, floating in space. Valuable for industry or farming, and especially useful because their goods do not have to be shipped out of deep gravity wells. Floating Habitats are very fragile.

 
4 Money, 4 CHON/5 Days
+1 Money OR +1 CHON

 
Defense Stations: Armed defense stations use the Ship profile, and are essentially spaceships with less engines. Use the Ship profile for these.

 
Shipyards: Space stations, designed to both fabricate ships from raw materials and assemble ships which were built on the ground; Shipyards are critical to producing any sort of Space Navy. For each Shipyard a system has, it can produce one Starship at a time. You can only have one Shipyard for each Population Level in a system(Example, if a system contains a Terrestrial World with 4 population and an Airless World with 2, you can have 6)
5 Money, 2 CHON/5 days
-1 Money

 
Planetary Upgrades

 
Planetary Upgrades are constructed in much the same way as System upgrades. However, they are obviously attached to a specific planet. Otherwise, they are identical.

 
Space Elevator: A set of long cables placed on a world’s equator, used to cheaply ferry goods and supplies from the planet’s surface to space.

 
6 Money, 1 CHON/10 Days
+3 Money

 
Tiara Ring: Multiple Space Elevators around a planet’s equator, connected to an artificial ring around the planet, whose spin counterbalances the planet’s gravity to make Zero-G. Requires at least two Space Elevators before construction.

 
4 Money, 1 CHON/10 Days
+6 Money

 
Developed Factories: Your planet has been colonized long enough that it has a sizeable industrial presence. This upgrade may only be built once for each Population Level, beginning at Outer World. Your Homeworld starts with three levels of this, for a total of +6.

 
5 Money, 1 CHON/5 Days
+2 Money

 
Developed Farmland: Counterpart to Developed Factories, Developed Farmland allows a world to put out a massive amount of food and other vitals, allowing it to contribute directly to the space effort. This upgrade may only be built once for each Population Level, beginning at Outer World. Your Homeworld starts with three levels of this, for a total of +6.

 
1 Money, 5 CHON/5 Days
+2 CHON

 
Population

 
A planet’s population is divided into abstract “Levels” These levels are used to represent massive increases of population. There are no set in stone numbers on how populous a planet is, because how are the slow-reproducing sentient whales, the slaughtering rat people, and the race of sentient Nanotech supposed to use the same scale?

 
Level 0: Colony. Planets begin their colonization at this level. Here, a population is beginning to eke out an existence, often living in a single city.
Level 1: Protectorate: The population is expanding, growing and slowly bending the planet’s environment to their will.
Level 2: Outer World: Your people have colonized much of a continent, and now the world is able to significantly contribute to your species. If contact with the rest of the species has been intermittent, it may have begun developing its own culture as well.
Level 3: Inner World: An Inner World is an industrial and economic power, able to maintain a small spacefleet of its own.
Level 4: Core World: The Core Worlds are the oldest, most settled worlds in an empire, often including a species’ Homeworld, Core Worlds are industrial powerhouses, dominating the local economy, and often having every continent on the world be settled. Your Homeworld begins as a Core World.

 
Now, with that outlined, the question is, how do you get from one to the next? Obviously, this includes reproducing, raising the new adorable little baby alien monsters, teaching them to be productive citizens, and providing housing and jobs for them. This is represented in game by a single action a planet can take, known as Go Forth And Multiply

 
Each species will have a different timespan they have to spend increasing a world’s population; the slaughtering rat people will reproduce far faster than sentient whales, and such. To that end, when you make your species, I will tell you the length of time and economic costs this action has on your world.

 
Strip Mining

 
Strip Mining is the opposite of colonizing in many ways; it’s not intended to produce a sustainable, long term population, but merely to get at what resources are easily available and move on.

 
When you begin Strip Mining a planet, its resource production is normal for the first five days, and then doubled. However, after thirty days the planet is Depleted; it cannot be Strip Mined further, and if it is colonized, will produce half as much resources as before.

 
Treasuries

 
Resources can be stockpiled, money stored in bank vaults, and CHON elements kept in vats. If a system is not building anything at any given time, its production automatically goes into your Treasury. For example, say you have an Airless World, which produces three Money per turn. You can feed that money directly into building spaceships of some sort, or you can save it up. In that case, it is sent to your nation’s treasury, and can be spent later, and in other places. Resources can be spent all at once, or, if you’re building things, spent in increments, like spending three Money in a week on building a scoutship.

 
Producer-Ships

 
Producer ships have two functions; they can sustain a species on an Exodus Fleet by producing food and manufactured goods, and they can serve the same function for Deep-Space fleets in unknown or hostile territory. To that end, Producer Ships are vital for invasions, embargoes, and occupations. However, their massive size makes them vulnerable.

Producer ships work very simply; you feed them a resource, and they give you more of that resource. However, the resources they produce can only be devoted to Upkeep of ships. The numbers vary depending on the size; I’ll tell you when you submit the profile. Producer ships come in two varieties, Forgeships and Garden Ships. Forgeships work with Money, and Garden Ships with CHON.


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Starscape II Docs - Common Technologies

Posted by Ymper Trymon , in Starscape II Apr 09 2013 · 120 views

The following is a brief overview of the technologies you can expect everyone to have.
 
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Every race has access to the following technologies; this means they have the science and industry needed to mass-produce, use, and understand them.

 
Scanners

 
Electromagnetic sensors: From radio waves all the way up to X-Rays, every race has an understanding of how to build these. These include devices such as infrared scanners, radar, LIDAR, and the like.

 
Gravimetric Sensors: Finely calibrated, sensitive pieces of machinery which track changes in gravity. Subtle changes can only really be noticed over the course of months, but using these is critical to getting a general idea of a star system’s setup. Every ship should carry one.
Note: Gravity waves travel at the speed of light.

 
Magnetometric Sensors: Scanners that detect magnetic fields. These are good for picking up ships using Fusion reactors, and especially Ramjets, which always involve a massive magnetic field. However, Magnetometric Sensors are easy to distort and confuse.

 
Cameras: Able to detect on all spectrums of light, not just visual, and easy to equip with a zoom lens, cameras are critical to a ship because they allow a ship to be built without fragile portholes.

 
Reactors

 
Every race has the technology to produce Nuclear Fission and Fusion based reactors, of varying design dependant on needs. Fusion Reactors peak at 300 watts per cubic meter.

 
Weapons

 
Lasers: Firing electromagnetic radiation on any part of the spectrum, Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated  Emission of Radiation. Lasers are the boring but practical choice for weapons in space; long range, lightspeed projectiles, and moderate damage. Their only downside is that the high heat lasers go through means they require constant repair and maintenance. These lasers are all approximately 99.6% efficient, leaking only .004 of their energy as waste heat. However, since gigawatts of power are being pushed through these lasers, this still means they produce a lot of heat.

 
Kinetic Weapons: All races have the technology to create Magnetic Railguns as well as conventional explosive-powder based guns.

 
Blasters: A Blaster is essentially a railgun, but rather than a solid shell, it fires a high-velocity ball of plasma. Short range, but high damage capabilty, as a general rule.

 
Missiles: Every race has the technology to create guided missiles; these can have chemical warheads, but a Nuclear Shaped Charge is preferred, and of course every race can create these.

 
Hyperwave

 
Hyperwaves are a strange thing; they behave like electromagnetic radiation in most ways, aside from moving roughly forty times the speed of light. However, they are only stopped by very few materials; Neutronium, Degenerate Matter inside of stars, and Stasis Fields, to name a few. Most usefully, however, a Lithium crystal antenna can be used to project them and pick them up. Thus, Hyperwaves are useful for communication systems, but only useful for sensors if one is hunting Stasis boxes.

 
Computers

 
Computer science is essentially over. Computers have reached their peak speeds. These speeds are so fast that the modern measure, FLOPS, is pointless because the numbers are laughably high. However, any equation can generally be solved by a computer faster than it takes to program it.

 
Other Tech

 
All races have access to any technological idea that was invented before 2000 in the real world.


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Starscape II Documents - Cultural Advancements

Posted by Ymper Trymon , in Starscape II Apr 09 2013 · 151 views

The following is the list of traits that can be selected at the beginning of Starscape II. Choose carefully for maximum coolness.
 
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Races get 6 points. This list is a work in progress. If you have ideas for other traits that should be available, write them up and send them to Xomeron!

 
Trait: Cost: Description

 
Physical

 
Natural Radios: 1: Your species has either evolved naturally, or altered itself to include, natural radio antennae, obsoleting spoken words and allowing for near-telepathy.

 
Predatory Physiology: 1: Your species is evolved to kill and eat its prey. They are better built for war than the average omnivorous species, perhaps including deadly claws and fangs, keen senses, and possibly  an instinctive understanding of pack tactics.

 
Natural Flight: 1: Whether by wings or by inflatable body parts, or something similar, your species is capable of flying on its homeworld. Varying gravity and air pressure will decide whether they can fly on other worlds.
Hazardous Environment: 2: Your species evolved in and is used to a decidedly hostile environment. Perhaps they are tundra dwellers, living at temperatures far colder than water’s freezing point. Perhaps they breathe sulphuric acid and evolved in temperatures hot enough to melt lead and pressures strong enough to crush other races. Whatever the case, their ideal planet is decidedly unsuited to inhabitation by other species.

 
Aquatic: 1: Your species lives in water. Their ships are by necessity heavier than other races, but can take far stronger acceleration, and are tougher. They are at home in their natural environment, but awkward on land, and the same is true of land dwellers in their realm. When combined with Hazardous Environment, your people live in water that is thickly contaminated with something hazardous to other races, or perhaps dreadfully cold or hot. Gills are an option, or your species could be air breathers, like whales and marine reptiles..

 
Amphibious: 2: Your species is equally at home in water or on dry land. All the aspects of Aquatic plus all the aspects of landdwellers.

 
Extra Limbs: 1: It’s no accident that the vast majority of species in the galaxy have two arms and two legs. Yet those that have extra can sometimes find themselves at a decisive advantage.

 
Engineered For War: 3: Your species has altered or discarded its normal bodies, and given its soldiers something greater. The specifics are up to you, but your species features a caste entirely devoted to war. Possibly cybernetic soldiers built from the ground up, or mindless soldier clones, or insectoid Warrior Drones.

 
Popsicles: 1: Your species is capable of surviving being frozen solid, like some species of terrestrial frogs and insects. Aside from giving you something to do during the winter, it allows your species to survive cryogenic freezing.

 
Technical

 
Artificial Gravity:  3: Your species has discovered and mastered the art of manipulating gravitational fields. This is easily one of the most important milestones a species can cross. The limits of Artificial Gravity’s effects on warfare and engineering are only limited by your imagination. However, Artificial Gravity is limited by power. When an Artificial Gravity field is set up, it is always a sphere. If the sphere is made larger, the power draw increases along the Square/Cube law; the Power draw is the cube of the square root of the size increase, making large Gravity fields very impractical.

 
CHON Independent Environments: 1: Your species has mastered the art of making spaceships their own self contained ecosystem. Your ships are not dependent on constant resupply of CHON from planets and outposts. This is a necessity if you want to launch Deep Space missions without using the Skip Drive. CHON Independent Environments does not mean your ships don’t need CHON for reaction mass, if you use Fusion reactors.

 
Stasis Field: 2: Your species has discovered(or perhaps looted the knowledge of) how to set up The Stasis Field. The Stasis field has two functions; first, it serves as a perfect reflector, reflecting 100% of all Electromagnetic Radiation. Second, time does not pass within a Stasis Field, making it the perfect system for preservation. Stasis Fields are occasionally found, and are very valuable, because they can contain ancient technology from empires of the Ancients

 
AI Systems: 1: Your species has created A.I. systems advanced enough to control and regulate their ships systems.

 
Mecha: 1: While not necessarily practical, your species has recognized the sheer  cool factor of giant robots carrying weapons around. Battlemechs, Power Armor, Battle Droids. and Giant Robots are all made available with this advancement.

 
Genetic Masters: 2: Your species has spent a great deal of time and effort learning the art and science of modifying their own biology. They can create specialized bodily forms for different situations. Purchasing this advance also reduces the cost of taking Engineered For War, Amphibious, and Biotech traits by 1

 
Biotech: 2: Your ships, stations, and weapons are made of flesh and bone, not metal and plastic. Your tech is far cheaper to produce than most races, but require a large investment of CHON, and grow more slowly.

 
Advanced Cybernetics: 1: Your species has developed, researched, and begun mass producing artificial limbs and computerized substitutes for lost limbs, organs, and the like. You have also learned to upload a brain and consciousness to computers, or enhance a brain with computerized implants, though it’s likely not a common process. If you use Biotech, this is instead the ability to regrow entire lost body parts, or grow generic body parts and then attach them to new bodies.

 
Faster Than Light Drives(At least one is highly recommended)

 
Warp-Tunneling Drive: 1: The Warp Tunneling Drive accelerates a ship to roughly ninety six times lightspeed, traveling in a straight line until the power is cut. If a ship begins their path in a large gravity field(such as that of a planet) the Warp-Tunneler Drive simply will not start. If a ship’s path intersects such a field, however, the ship, in its strange state of faster-than-light travel, will not survive the gravity, and be shorn apart into constituent molecules. One must be careful to appear off the plane of a solar system or at the edge of one, to avoid these “Holes”
A Warp Tunneling Drive is about 1000 cubic feet(the size of your average bedroom)

 
Skip Drive: 2: The Skip Drive forces the mass it launches into a strange, difficult to understand dimension dictated by mass quantum effects. When it reemerges less than a second later(whether the moment of transfer is instant or just very short is debatable) it can emerge anywhere in the universe, provided the place that it emerges is free of strong gravity fields and dense masses. Should it emerge in a strong gravity field, it will simply not come back together properly, and reappear in a burst of protons, electrons, and neutrons. If it intersects a dense mass such as an asteroid, the atomic nuclei will probably overlap, destroying both masses in a Nuclear Fusion reaction. This is unpleasant for all involved. A Skip Drive is about 800 cubic feet(a small bedroom)

 
Hyperdrive: 1: Hyperdrive is a very strange device. It takes the ship it is using out of our universe, and places it in a universe that is astrographically identical, one thousandth the size, , and follows very different lays of physics. While accelerating, a ship’s speed increases not linearly, like in the real world, but exponentially. The longer you stay in Hyperspace, the faster your ship moves. Aside from that matter which originates in Hyperspace, matter can only exist in Hyperspace for a short time before it flies apart, individual electrons accelerating out of their orbits, causing the matter to disintegrate. By maneuvering about in this micro-universe, a ship can cross interstellar distances on conventional thrusters, and then return to normal space. The Hyperdrive must be kept at around 400 degrees Celsius while in Hyperspace, or else the effect will fail. A Hyperdrive consists of a wire mesh running along the armor of the ship. Momentum is not conserved when transferring between Hyperspace and Normal Space(the proper word for this is “Tearing Through”)

 
Superlight Drive: 1: The Superlight Drive suspends two commonly held “laws” of physics. E=mc^2 and Inertia. In short, they allow a ship to break lightspeed in space on conventional power. However these ships must be traveling at .05c before the Superlight Drive can be initialized, likely with a Launching Laser or Mass Accelerator(See “Interstellar Launch”) A Superlight drive is an object about the size of a desktop computer that is clipped to any part of the ship’s mass.

 
Industrial

 
Colonized Asteroid Belt: 1: Your people have, over the course of the centuries since it became possible to leave your homeworld, colonized and developed an Asteroid Belt in your system, providing an economic boost. This advancement may be taken multiple times.

 
Extra Planet: 2: Whether by terraforming, or just luck, your home system contains an extra world inhabited by your species. This advancement may be taken multiple times.

 
Colonized Gas Giant: 1: While Gas Giants are an incredibly hostile environment to most living things, they have their uses. A Colonized Gas Giant is actually the moons and rings of a gas giant, along with stations placed in the upper atmosphere to gather valuable gases. This advancement may be taken multiple times.

 
Extra Colonized System: 3: By using slower-than-light “Generation” or “Sleeper” ships, your species has colonized a planet in a nearby star system.

 
Interstellar Launch: 1: An Interstellar Launch takes the form of either a Launching Laser, which propels Light Sail Craft to enormous speeds by means of hitting the Light Sail with a laser, or a Mass Accelerator, which uses magnetic rings to do the same. They are necessary for use of the Superlight Drive.

 
Homeworld Space Elevator: 1: A set of long cables placed on your homeworld’s equator, used to cheaply ferry goods and supplies from the planet’s surface to space. See the “Resources” document. This advancement may be taken multiple times.


 
Social

 
Fleetborn: 1: Your race is perhaps on a long lost exodus from your home stars, or perhaps they simply evolved out in the cold and the empty. Stranger things have happened. Your people have no homeworld, but begin the game with a motley assortment of warships and Producer Ships.

 
Perfect Dictatorship: 1: A Perfect Dictatorship is an incredibly valuable asset for a species in space. When the government controls the entire economy, it can produce spacecraft At-Cost, without worrying about giving profits to Shipbuilding corporations. A Perfect Dictatorship may well be a Hive Mind, insectoid Queen bugs giving commands to the Drones, or simply an excellently crafted system of controlling the populace.

 
Transhuman Society: 4: Your people have long since evolved beyond the need for physical bodies, existing entirely as AIs in Cyberspace. Your people are entirely independent of physical bodies, though they can have some in biological or robotic form. Their spaceships are crewed not by bodies on the ships, but are simply inhabited by the species’ personality. When combined with Perfect Dictatorship, this can represent an entire planetwide empire which is controlled by one single personality that can be everywhere at once.

 
Proud Warrior Race: 1: Your race honors and respects its Warrior class greatly. You will rarely have a shortage of volunteers for your military, and the Military has the right to do quite a bit without oversight from Civilians.

 
Technolepathy: 2: The logical extension of The Internet, and a step on the way to Transhuman Society, Technolepathy allows your people to instantly communicate with each other with an internet-like system, and control technology with the same.

 
Empathy: 1: Your species has evolved a specialized, unique system(perhaps pheromones or a subtle body language) that allow it to instinctively understand the feelings and emotions of one another. This obviously does not function on other races.

Single Mind: 2: Regardless of the mechanics of how, your species’ bodies are all extra limbs of a single, controlling hive mind, perhaps using natural Hyperwaves to communicate between body parts. This is the most controlled society possible, a single entity making up an entire race.


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Notes on Worldbuilding and Infodumps

Posted by Ymper Trymon , Jan 16 2013 · 135 views

It is hardly a secret that worldbuilding is my favorite part of writing. I don't care much for plots until I've got, at the very least, a detailed map of the relevant planet's ocean currents. I won't design a single character until I know where the tallest mountain is and whether it casts a significant rain shadow. I could go on, if I had no other responsibilities, for years, figuring out how a fictional world ticks. Once the planet is done, the ecosystems come in. Here I could get lost forever, and with good reason. I'm quite likely to, with no thought for what lies ahead, devote a significant chunk of my time to figuring out the last five million or so years of the planet's natural history. Once that's done, I can figure out cultures, and then characters and plot.
 
So I love world-building, and put clinically insane amounts of work into it. That is, from my perspective, great.
 
But, I do not harbor the illusion that the average reader actually cares about where all the deserts are. They don't. They're there for the plot and the characters, and pages spent lovingly describing the world will be met with a sudden loss of interest on their part. This is not their problem to fix, as it would be pretty daft of me to expect people to not read stories for the stories.
 
What this really means, then, is that only the bits of the world that are relevant need to show up. The rest is all still there, of course, much as the currents of the North Atlantic are still there in a Sherlock Holmes novel, but it never needs to be mentioned. This runs quite counter to the inclinations of some writers I've run into, who appear to believe that any detail is good detail, and thus pack whatever they write with infodumps on whatever they think might be involved in some way, even - or maybe especially - if it has no relevance to the plot.
 
If the way your starship's engine works never enters into the plot (or, if you're making an RPG, the gameplay of the RPG), the readers don't need to hear about it. You can have it all figured out in case someone asks, sure, but don't stress out about it if you don't understand all of the tiny nuances, and don't regurgitate every detail in a vain (of the self-image variety, not so much the futility sort) attempt to show the hours of work you put into what the reader is holding in their hands. Quite apart from making you look whiny, showing your work for the sake of showing your work is a recursive, stupid activity that tends to ruin your work.


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A Poll

Posted by Ymper Trymon , Jul 21 2012 · 232 views
minecraft, technic pack and 1 more...
I have recently procured a Black Pegasus in Minecraft, via the breeding of a Pegasus and a Unicorn.

Now, the Black Pegasus being the best of all horses, this one needs a name. I can't pick which.

Your options are either Sleipnir or Shadowfax (I named one of my other horses Stybba, and still another Snowmane, so LOTR-based names are perfectly valid).

Other options may be suggested, but nothing to do with MLP or I'll sic the Hounds of Tindalos on you.






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