Void Warfare

4 Years Ago
I woke up to a knock at my door. I could tell from the slight amount of sunlight peering in through the window that it was way too early for patients to be beating down my door.   I stood up, walked to the door, and eased it open. My father was standing on the other side, the red lens casting light through the crack in the door.     I saw him the night before, but he seemed excited. It was as if he hadn't seen me in years. "Amber," he said the static buzzing through the speaker.   "Dad? What's wrong?" I asked, opening the door in full. I looked at his hands and saw a makeshift container filled with various tools, containers of food, and other supplies.   "I came to drop this off. You mentioned being low on a few things." He pointed to the outside wall just out of my vision. "I wasn't expecting that though."   I tilt my head and step out into the morning air. I read the words and shake my head, seething as I run through a list of names. Someone violated my home, my clinic. I only just opened up and now I have graffiti written in big red paint on the outside wall. They even left the aerosol cans in a neat little row below their masterpiece. You don't want to know what it said.   "When do you open?" He asked.   "I guess I'm not now. This could take hours to clean up."   "I'll help," he began, rolling up the sleeves of his tattered robes. "Get some water."   Even then, I was useless when it came to manual labor. Dad did most of the work. His fingers were like razors, chipping at the metal wall and shaving off the paint in flakes and dust. It took him minutes to do what would have taken me hours.   I watched him, unsure if I should help or just let him work. I had never seen under his sleeves before. The metal frame looked barren, lifeless. I'm pretty sure dad felt the same way about it.   I leaned over and picked up the cans of paint, taking note of their weight. When I found one with some left in it, I sprayed it on the ground. I dipped my fingers in, then cautiously drew a smiley face on his free arm.   He didn't notice, even as I wiped away excess paint and fine-tuned the details. I wondered if he ever will. There weren't any mirrors in the archive. It seemed right at the time. He always hated his metal frame. I loved him for it.
It's cold. I sit at my workbench, crafting my latest batch of meds to pass the time. I have about three blankets cast over me and my hands are starting to go numb. I had to shut down non-vital systems to save fuel. There's no heat, little light, and my ship drifts through the void of space without so much as a whisper from the engines.   It's almost time. It's coming, I can feel it. Gibraltar will appear and I'll finally be able to bring it down. I'm still not sure how, though.   The proximity alert chimes and I leap from my chair to check. The sensors found an anomaly, a distortion in spacetime but without excessive gravitational changes that one would see with warp travel. Finally...   I run through the halls of the ship and up a stairwell to the cockpit. I flip all the switches, frantically pressing buttons even if I have no idea what they do. The ship springs to life, the engines roaring. I smile as the first wave of glorious hot air rises from the vent near my feet.   Every screen boots up, a series of five consoles varying in size and arranged in semicircles in front of me. When all systems check out, I hit a big red button on the side of the pilot's chair.   The floor panels rotate, revealing screens on their other side. Every screen lines up perfectly and activates to display a seamless 360° feed from outside.   I hadn't realized how dark it was out there. Despite the starlight, it's still pitch black.   "Come on," I whisper. I watch the screen, the sensors checking and rechecking the area for changes. "Where are you?"   I'll be sitting here for another twenty minutes. Gibraltar prefers the scenic route. When I see it, it takes me back. I haven't thought about it in quite some time, and for good reason. I watched this thing tear through a ship several times the size of mine and then watched it cower and run.   It's grown, a vast expanse of black on black, its tendrils like inky black hair stretching for thousands of kilometers. I can only see it based on the stars, its massive body blocking their light.   I prime my weapons and prepare the ship for combat. Adrenaline flows and I haven't fired a single shot. Elation can't even begin to describe how I feel right now.   I hear the muted hum of the particle ram charging. I watch for confirmation on the screen. When fully primed, I fire...
     
Fighting in space is generally considered a bad idea, but that didn't stop anyone. Since the first space-faring civilizations emerged and realized each other's existence, ships were given a means of protecting themselves. Naturally, on a long enough timeline, this practice gave rise to entire fleets and military organizations dedicated to war.   Every player on the board is different. They fight and organize differently, and outfit their vessels differently. Admiral Miranda Thrace did notice some similarities, however, and wrote the only book we have on the subject of stellar warfare. It isn't much, a pamphlet of about twenty-three thousand words, but it's more than enough.   I'll start as she did. To understand and adapt to the constant change in military might out among the stars, you need to pay attention to several principle rules. At the wayfarer academy, we called them The Thracian Axioms.

The Thracian Axioms

I never met Admiral Thrace. A war hero who fought during The First War and Rhey's Rebellion, Thrace was forced to learn and adapt quickly to a form of war humanity knew nothing about. She came up with a series of rules, each centered around facts and inferences made based on those facts to build a larger, more informed military theory concerning void warfare.
 
  • The postulate of limitations: All ships have limits and all ships have needs. This includes the generation of energy. It also includes what that energy is for such as heating and cooling. Logistics factors into this as well. Ships need cargo and the space to store it, like ammunition, supplies, and spare parts. A ship's limitations are more important than its capabilities.
 
  • The postulate of Division: almost every military organization follows the same principle. Every ship will have personnel dedicated to three divisions: security, operation, and maintenance. While other divisions exist with their dedicated personnel, these three divisions are essential to keep a ship in operation, making them key targets.
 
  • The postulate of illusion: In void combat, you are not fighting a ship, you're fighting its crew. A faster, more knowledgeable crew will always win if two ships are evenly matched. Identifying a concentration of personnel in one of the three divisions, and targeting it can cripple a vessel regardless of size and capability.
     

What did we learn?

The axioms give a foundation. We know ships have limits, so a ship without warp technology that happens to be a long way from home may not be able to fight as effectively. Seemingly irrelevant sections of a vessel may house crewmen responsible for operating the ships' weaponry or fixing the damage you cause.   I know what you're thinking: but what about you, amber. Where's your crew? That's a long story. The Solitude, my ship, was modified from the standard design of a Persephone class corvette. It only needs one person, but the axioms still hold true. I still need to know how to fix this ship, operate it, and protect it.   Ship combat is a bit of an illusion. From the outside, it looks like two behemoths are fighting one another to the death. In reality, it's just two groups of people trying to outdo one another with whatever happens to be attached to the pressurized steel container they live in. Falling for that illusion is a one-way ticket to the grave.

Modules and stations

Another shared trait of most vessels is their modular design. Ships need to be easily modified. They need to be easily put together, and easy to take apart but not in a way that endangers the structural integrity of the ship. We do this by creating modules.   Modules are anything you find on a ship. If you've ever looked at a ship's exterior, you'll notice a wide variety of features across its hull, communication arrays in the form of antennas or dishes, weaponry affixed to rotating turrets, armor plating used to cover precious electrical components, etc. These are all modular and can be removed and replaced with relative ease.   Every module is connected to a station. This station is usually operated by a member of the ship's crew. Common practice is for a station to be as close as possible to the module it operates to limit power outages due to damage and cut back on the resources needed to hook it up. For military vessels, it's just as common for stations to be isolated to the centermost part of the ship, labeled the CIC (combat information center) or the bridge.
The particle beam hits, and it appears as if the entity writhes in the void. As the beam breaks down the body, cracks form. I check my distance and see that I'm close enough for the turrets. I let loose a volley of steel, each round hurtling through space toward the damaged arm. It shatters like glass.   I try to distance myself. It's after me and I need more time to make another attack. I watch the screens, occasionally checking my surroundings for obstacles. It's faster than I thought it would be.   Gibraltar rushes toward me, its many arms outstretched as if to embrace me. I see an opening through the tendrils and barely manage to pass through it before the trap closes.   I see a wayward limb. It crashes down toward me as if to knock me down like a common insect. I wasn't prepared and I missed it. I won't be able to dodge this one. This is gonna hurt.   I stare in quiet acceptance. This is it. I failed. The tendril is so close I can see the smooth surface in the spotlights outside. Then it slows down. It recoils, pulling back with such force that cracks form along Gibraltar's skin.   I check my consoles and find nothing that could explain it. Did it just refuse to attack me? Was it toying with me? Gibraltar changes course, building speed in the opposite direction. It's running away?   "I don't think so," I scream. I rush the beast, firing everything I have. When that doesn't work I reallocate power, every watt sent directly to my engines. I start gaining on it, slowly building speed more and more as I set a course to ram its center of mass.   Reason tells me to pull away, to end my pursuit, and try something else. Why? Why bother? It's been years and I haven't come close. It finally hits me. I failed. I can barely make a dent unless I manage to surprise it. So much for feeling good. It was nice while it lasted.   I can't. I said this was it and I meant it. It feels like a commitment, now. I was ready. How dare this thing deny me my death. I'm finished with life, this constant cycle of misery that chewed me up and left me a fraction of what I could have been; what I SHOULD have been. God, I hate it here.   I mean, look at it. I'm staring at something I can't even begin to understand. It's beyond me. I've never stared at something so convincing. Why bother living if life is meaningless? I'm not chasing it to fight. I'm done.   Gibraltar fades away, there one moment, then gone the next. Maybe I should beg?   Come back, please. Just turn around and end me. Someone... anyone?
   
Just make it fucking stop…     Meanwhile
Fraeia sits and waits patiently as flashes of Viritine's shadowy form flow and dance about in the prismatic fluid. She spent the last several hours trying to find their next destination. Should they seek out a vigil system to rearm and restore their crew? Should they rendezvous with the nearest fleet and assist in the next engagement?   Fraeia enjoyed the silence. They didn't feel like talking and hadn't said a word since leaving The Fever Breach.   "What's wrong?" Viritine asked.   Fraeia looks up at the sudden breach of silence, jostled from their thoughts. "I'm upset."   "Is it the crew?"   "I'm trying not to think about the crew."   "That's probably for the best." Viritine pauses and lazily drifts in the medium. "What is it?"   "She saved us," Freaia replied.   "The human?" Viritine asked. Freaia nodded in response and she added. "Yes, she did."   Fraeia shook their head. "She didn't stand a chance and we just let her go."   "I doubt we could've convinced her otherwise. Her behavior was bizarre." Viritine waited and when Fraeia didn't reply, she asked, "Why does it bother you?"   Fraeia watched as Viritine continued her work. "I can't help it. I'm disappointed. It's a shame I'll never see her again."   "Is it?"   Fraeia nodded. "It could have been the light or maybe it was the cryo sickness, but when I first saw her I couldn't tell she was human. I wondered why one of our own was wearing such a primitive suit."   "You thought she was lebhan?"   "Yes," Fraeia said with a nervous laugh. "I found her beautiful, and thought, 'how could she be anything else?'"   "I see," Viritine replied with a giggle.   Fraeia's face twitched. "Sorry. I was too honest. That may not have been wise."   Viritine shifted in the medium, laughing. "Wisdom is beyond the likes of life, child. That's why the wisest creatures are so often old and dying."   "True," Fraeia replied. They then looked up to the waters above with narrowed eyes. "Are you trying to tell me something?"   "Are you hoping I will?"   "I… Hmm." Fraeia brought their hand to their chin and smiled.   "I'd advise against it, but we can follow her; save her as she saved us. I know where she is."   Freaia shook their head. "We can't handle Gibraltar, either. Being beautiful is not a good enough reason to step in." Fraeia paused, their mind racing upon realizing what Viritine was saying. "How do you know where she is?"   "We have the same information she does. I can imagine only one place she'd go. Would you like to go or not?"   "What about our mission?"   Several moments of silence passed before Viritine replied, "The mission was a failure, exactly as I predicted."   "You knew?"   "Of course. The crew insisted, even with the threat of The Loop hanging over them. We were not meant to survive the assault." She paused then changed the subject. "Now, about the girl."   Freaia crossed their arms and shook their head. "We all die. Beyond that, you're a goddess of the lebha. It wouldn't be appropriate."   "Well, no," Viritine said, darting through the medium until hovering just above them. "but It would be kind."
 
   
Rough RPG Outline

Combat rules

Hello! This is the first little bit of the RPG I'm working on for this setting. I'd super rough, unfinished and it's prone to change. Let's start with rules on void combat.   Ship stat sheet   Name   Class   Designation   Hull: The health of a vessel. For every ten points lost, roll on the following table   Armor: armor protects the ship from ballistic weaponry, such as auto canons, and railguns. It also protects from explosives such as missiles, mines, and torpedoes.   Shields: shields protect against particle cannons and beam weapons. They also protect the ship from heat and plasma weapons.   Power: every ship has a limited amount of energy it can store and generate. Exceeding power by consuming too much in a small period of time can result in system failures. If exceeded yes the following table.     Modules This section lists the most common modules used on ships. In the future, I'll be adding to it to provide new and upgraded modules. For now. Let's look at the standard-issue modules for a Persephone class corvette.   Offensive modules (Weapons): there are three weapon types in The Void Between both for ships and small arms. While other more niche weapons exist, they defy classification and are the closest analogy to legendary weapons in other RPGs.   Ballistic (projectile) ballistic weapons fire a projectile at high speeds. These weapons do a moderate amount of damage but always attack a ship's armor before its hull. The projectiles travel at moderate speeds making them hard to counter and avoid. Point defense turrets offer close-range protection and offense, while railguns off longer-range damage output.   Rail guns: Rail guns fire a single projectile at ridiculous speeds. This takes significant amounts of power. These rounds of tungsten can poke a hole clean through an enemy ship, making them particularly dangerous if they manage to hit a ship's critical systems. A critical hit with a railgun will penetrate through armor and deal double damage to a ship's hull. Roll on the following table to determine if critical systems are hit.       Beam (heat) Beam weapons are lasers and plasma cannons. These weapons do the least amount of damage and attack shields before they attack the hull. While they don't hit hard, they do build over time. Heat is hard to get rid of in space, and without a proper heat sink, beam damage is doubled for every consecutive hit with any beam weapon until a heat sink is used.   Particle lances: a particle lance strips armor and kills members of a ship's crew through concentrated bursts of particle radiation. It does increase the heat but its damage is not doubled unless hitting armor. Completely negated by shields.   Explosives Explosives deal the highest amount of damage and half of that damage is always given to a ship's hull. They travel slowly, however, meaning they can be targeted by enemy weapons and destroyed before dealing damage. Missiles, mines, and torpedoes are all explosive weapons.   Mines: Mines are often stored in a vacuum or cooled before deployment. This makes them much harder to detect. They deal massive amounts of damage to shields, armor, and hull, but need to be deployed strategically to ensure enemy ships hit them.     Defenses There are many forms of defensive modules, and not all match the definition for defense. The real purpose of a defensive module is to keep the ship afloat. Some of these modules are offensive but don't directly deal damage, such as an EMP burst or a drone bay.   Shields and adaptive armor: shields are rare and their modules have to be fitted to a ship in very specific ways. Armor on the other hand is inherent in the ship's construction. The only way to add armor is to either retrofit it at a dock or apply adaptive armor modules. Adaptive armor can be adjusted and even detached during combat if you need some extra speed. A good analogy from other rpgs is temporary HP.   Drone bays Some ships come with manual and automated drones that can assist in combat, repairs, and exploration.     Passives Passive modules rarely affect combat. They open up new styles of play and alter the base stats of a ship.   Engines: your engines determine speed and maneuverability. The better the engine, the easier it is to move and turn the vessel, and the quicker you can do so.   Warp drives Warp drives allow one to engage in warp travel, opening up a wider range of destinations. The better the drive, the further you can travel from a fuel source.   Stations A station is required to use a module and every module must have a station on the ship to be used. Improved stations can operate multiple modules, and even increase the effectiveness of the module.   Scanners "Scanner" is a catch-all term that refers to any technology used to gather information at a distance. Scanners are used to predict enemy movement and actions. These scanners can also reveal what an enemy vessel is capable of. The better the scanner the more accurate the results.     Crew allocation Every player will act as an officer and call the shots when it comes to their division, regardless of ship size or the number of their crew. Each officer is responsible for their division and each division has its unique actions and goals during combat.   Security Security officers are responsible for repelling boarders and operating weapon modules on a ship.   Operations Operation officers are responsible for piloting the ship, handling navigation, and communication, both with other ships and between officers on their ship. Engineering Engineering officers are responsible for power allocation, repairs, and operation of passive and defensive modules.     While other divisions exist, their officers will always boil down to one of these three divisions. Now let me explain why.   Strategic Tension Initiative is rolled for every officer, not for every ship. This means that enemy ships can fire before you can maneuver your ship and vice versa. It means you can raise defenses before they manage to fire. This makes every battle more tense. Every turn matters and can change the battle.   The system also helps ensure every player has something to do. Not everyone can shoot a gun. Refocusing on the people inside the ship instead of the ship itself opens up a wide array of roleplay scenarios and keeps it engaging for every player, especially given how the divisions overlap.   Teamwork is the name of the game here. The gunner needs to communicate with the pilot to ensure enemy ships stay inside firing arcs. The engineer needs to let people know when power is low and if repairs need to be made, and the pilot needs to notify the crew of key changes in the environment as well as planned maneuvers.     Table talk Table talk is not only allowed, it's essential. On most occasions, enemy ships will be spotted well before the players can engage them. As the ships close distance and ready themselves for combat, the players need to construct a game plan.   This extends to the combat scenario as well. During combat, the operations officer might detect high energy output in the enemy vessel, usually indicating a beam weapon is about to be fired. This is something to notify engineers about, so they can allocate power to shielding.   I'll go into more detail on how modules interact soon, but for now, just know that players must talk about strategies. Maintaining constant communication during combat is key to success.     Initiative and limitations Every officer must roll for Initiative (D100) on all vessels involved, arranged from highest to lowest. Once turn order is established. The encounter can begin with the officer who had the highest roll.   It should be said that no one vessel will engage with an enemy that has more than one vessel. It's suicide. This keeps to the lore and also helps make encounters shorter. I might venture into rules for larger encounters, but this is strictly for small skirmishes between two to three vessels.     Actions Every officer gets two actions, a standard action bandana ship action. Standard actions are taken by the character on their vessel, such as movement, repairs, and firing on boarders.   Ship actions involve the whole ship, and can only be taken if near the station responsible for that action. A pilot can move the ship, but unless weapons are linked to their station, they can't operate weapons. Stations are placed on the ship's map, and to operate a station, an officer must move to that station.   Special actions Every officer comes with their own set of special actions. These actions are either unique to their division or overlap to allow coordination with other divisions.   Ahead full: coordinating with the engineer's ship action and a pilot's ship action, the ship's power is allocated almost entirely to the ship's engines allowing for double movement speed, and double the damage for ramming.   Broadside: a pilot and gunner can coordinate an all-out attack that fires all weapons on the ship at the same time provided the weapons are loaded, primed, and operational. This can only target an enemy with the firing arc of all weapons.   Seal off: an engineer can seal off parts of the ship to put out fires on those parts of the ship. This makes the environment within those sections inhospitable and will kill anyone trapped in those sections who lack protection.   Salvage and upgrading At the end of every encounter, the winning side can salvage the enemy vessel and use the materials obtained to repair, rearm, and upgrade their ship. This is the loot system outside of merchants in The Void Between.   Once equipment stats are made up, there will be some clear progressions on how a ship upgrades over time, as levels won't be used for progression. This progression system will also inform the person running the game. It serves as a guide for building encounters that are just right in difficulty.       Void travel The RPG won't just be about void combat. It will center around travel and discovery, often unfolding larger narratives as the sessions pass.   Surveys The most common encounter and one that will likely provide hooks for players will be surveys. Wayfarers often survey uncharted worlds, forming navigational zodiacs to assist in charting the stars. Anomalies will appear, inviting players to dig deeper.   Bounties Some players may want to fill the role of a bounty hunter, and with the right connections, can hunt criminals across the state. At the same time, players can have bounties placed on them, which can lead to some lovely nemesis-style villains.   There's more in the works but I wanted to tease what I've been able to come up with thus far.
 


Cover image: by Kai Pilger

Comments

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14 Dec, 2021 07:48

Save heeeeeeeeeeeeeer pleeeaaaaseeee

Visit Daeliha, Iphars & Khulgran
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Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
14 Dec, 2021 10:59

I really like the relationships the three of them have together :D I look forward to see them save her and interact more! I'm very curious about Gibraltar but I'm more hesitant to comment since I still haven't catch up on season 1 and I'm probably missing info on the mystery :p

To see what I am up to, see the list of my Summer Camp articles—my favourite is Sentient Cells.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
25 Dec, 2021 05:01

Eh, so so. I've been really careful not to do too much that connects to previous seasons this time around. Some Easter eggs here and there but nothing much.   I'm glad you're enjoying it! It's been a fun season to write thus far. Sorry it took so long to comment.

23 Dec, 2021 09:06

I'm enjoying how this universe continues to develop. And this was a poignant story. Good work!

Author of the Wyrd West Chronicles and the Toy Soldier Saga. Mother of Bunnies, Eater of Pickles, Friend of Nerds, First of her Name.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
25 Dec, 2021 04:59

Thank you so much!

28 Dec, 2021 22:44

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH YES!!! THEY RETURN!!!!

Also, is that how the eden are made? Has there been an article on this that i forgot about? Can people ‘assend’ into eden hood? Is Amberlie a new Eden? Is she a ”god”? Is She?????

:DDDDDD

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
28 Dec, 2021 23:03

Not quite, its more like how there trained. I havnt touched on the vigils yet but I will be. The Eden are grown in vats, clones. Its mentioned but not to often. You Cant really become an Eden unless you use their gene technology to do it. Hmmm I guess you could then. Lol I can say that Amber is not an eden god nor will she be. Only the eden can ascend. It's a process. Xd

28 Dec, 2021 23:28

Awe man, I was so hyped for her to ascend. Makes sense tho, if everyone could do it then it wouldn’t be special.

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Master Monkos
Andrew Booth
3 Jan, 2022 21:26

You just never cease to impress with these, I love it! Can't wait to see Fraeia meet up with Amberlie (or at least, I hope that's what will happen!)

Creator of the world of Mythia, where writing is magic!
13 Jan, 2022 23:20

OOOOh YEAH Viritine and Freaia to the rescue!! Also does Freaia have a crush omg? But god my heart aches for Amber. I just want to hug her so much. I can just feel the rage and despair resonate through my body. Someone go help her out >:(

Author of Arda Almayed - check out my SummerCamp articles here!
24 Jan, 2022 06:07

The "4 years ago" and "meanwhile" spoilers made my heart hurt in such a happy way, Dyl. Just wanted to say that, it's some excellent storytelling <3   So excited to see if Viritine and Freaia can save her!


Cathedris, the world of God-husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
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Aiming for copper this Summer Camp, check out my few articles!
Sage Timepool
Garrett Grace Lewis
25 Apr, 2022 17:55

Man, you've really got a knack for weaving relationships between characters in a really engaging way.

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