Vir's Archive

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Fist of Mars! (Development, Art)

Introducing the Nowruz - Pride of the Martian Navy.

A Nowruz on manuvers near the Belt escorted by an Imbloc.

Jeff Cram and I have another ship for TDE to show off, this time a Strike Carrier, specifically the Nowruz Class Martian Strike Carrier.  Its one of the most powerful ships I envision for the setting - enough to lay waste to planets.  It is well armed, armored, and carries a large complement of Jammers, Drones, and Nanites making it very versatile.  The core mission of the Nowruz is not unlike modern-day carriers -- to project power and take the fight to the enemy.  Considering how delicate most planetary biomes are, its doubly important to fight when and where you want to.

Nowruz are state of the art.  They mount vectored magnetic rails to launch Jammers, torpedoes, and combat mass.  They boast multiple missile launchers, rail guns, and point defense systems.  They are defended by thick armor, electronic countermeasures, and extensive nanite swarms that orbit the ship and create a thin (but powerful) physical shield to serve as maneuverable physical shields and active chaff.  Specialized nanite swarms are also piloted across the ship"s hull to perform rapid repairs when damage does occur.  Its comms array and integrated systems are second-to-none (useful when patrolling deep space).

Aboard the ship are Jammers, planetary assault pods, dropships, pinnaces, and, other specialized vehicles depending on the mission -- including fighter-interceptors and/or ground vehicles (to augment the onbord marine expeditionary contingent).  The standard contingent of secondary vehicles support the Nowruz"s assault mission - including boarding hostile ships or taking/holding planetary points.

Unlike modern day aircraft carriers, the Nowruz is designed to operate on its own.  The combat doctrine for these ships is to have them constantly on patrol, often at high G, and just at the range that makes the other guy uncomfortable (but no closer - dont want to provoke a war).  In the event of a shooting war, the Strike Carriers strap their crew into acceleration couches and drives for the enemy, knowing full well that they are likely to be some of the primary targets.  Its not talked about much, but the other goal of the Strike Carriers is to drive the enemy's attention away from Mars.  Allowing the enemy to wage war in your near orbit is welcoming catastrophe.  So, the sailors, marines, and pilots that serve on Martian Nowruz Strike Carriers understand that it is destroy or be destroyed.  Survive the first crucial days of combat and the Nowruz could shift the initiative.  Die, and it is that much less enemy ordnance available to attack Mars.  Either way, CAID believes the fleet of Nowruz serves a valuable purpose just by existing.

Each Nowruz is home for hundreds of crew members and requires a number of specialized career paths to keep it operating at peak performance.  Besides standard living quarters and support facilities, the Nowruz calls boasts a large hab ring near the engine housings that can rotate to produce a number of different gravities.

Mars only has a handful of Nowruz in its inventory, but as things destabilize in the Gravity Well, they are looking to ramp up production at the few orbital industrial sites that can handle these beasts.  Time will tell if the Nowruz will be a difference maker or simply a giant pork-project of money better spent elsewhere.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tricked-Out Cybered-Up Mossad Is Some Badass Shit (Content)

As I mentioned previously – I want TDE to embrace some hard questions – including religion.  Too often S-F settings brush off the importance of religion or distill it into boring platitudes.   I can’t count the number of settings that just assume that as technology advances then humanity will, for some unexplained reason, just leave religion behind and become a culture of atheists.  Those same settings usually leave religion as a plot point for throwback cultures.  This is boring and insulting. 

TDE will deal with religion, warts and all – and I am working with members of the faiths I plan to highlight in order to do the various belief systems, ideologies and motivations justice.  I am sure I will get something wrong along the way, but I don’t want to avoid the issue of religion for fear of offending someone.  So, I am going to venture forth and if I get something horribly wrong – have the grace to admit I messed up and correct it.  In the meantime, I hope to develop some cool setting opportunities for the PCs.

That brings me to one of the great faiths of the modern (and ancient) world, Judaism.  Jews in TDE have been through yet another rough time.  Iran lived up to its threats and to the horror of the rest of the world, trucked in a number of dirty nukes and irradiated much of the holy land.  It was a catastrophe the likes of which the world had not seen in millennia.  Tens of millions died – Jews, Muslims, Christians and others.  Those who survived had to be evacuated – Israel and Palestine (and portions of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan) were no longer habitable. 

The repercussions were severe for Iran.  It became a political pariah, and in short order a coalition of nations, supported by a UN Security Council mandate* invaded Persia and forcibly ended the Ayatollah’s reign.  In the modern age of TDE, Iran remains a UN-administered holding.  Officially it is independent, but it lacks representation in any of the major international forums, and an uneasy coalition of bureaucrats

If history has taught us anything it is that the Jewish people are resilient and determined.  In TDE they wont let a thing like the irradiation of the Holy Land stop them.  In the wake of the Iranian attack, the remaining diaspora mounts a massive rescue operation with the support of much of the UN member nations.  The effort saves only a fraction of the Israelis (Jewish, Christian and Muslim alike), but it is a symbolic victory.  Again denied a home, the diaspora begins preparations for a new home, one where they can coordinate the reclamation of the Holy Land.  The displaced Israelis (and Palestinians) remain in a very murky legal status, but both continue to claim residence in the irradiate wasteland of the Holy Land. 

The latest great diaspora migration sees many displaced and sympathetic Jews move to the Hilda asteroids of Jovian space.  The Hildas were long neglected and ignored as too far away and yielding too few high-utility resources, perfect for the hard-nosed displaced Israelis to make a new home.  Over the decades, the conglomeration of Jews along with like-minded Muslims and Christians a “new” Holy Land in the Hildas.  The lack of exotic and valuable resources holds the New Holy Land back from becoming an economic or trading center, but do yield enough valuable commodities to provide the tools for life (including some trade).  Remittances and donations from sympathetic faith-based communities and individuals scattered across the System lend a not-insignificant amount of resources to the New Holy Land.  So, despite being material poor, the Hildas build a thriving (and surprisingly advanced) community. 

Quietly, the New Holy Land has moved from hard-scrabble, to thriving, to a center for advanced construction – especially if you want that construction done outside of the prying eyes of the inner planets.  Business, banking and advanced agriculture (especially for non-terrestrial environments) are major industries as well.  The New Holy Land is quickly becoming an economic force and manufacturing innovator to be reckoned with.  It is starting to turn the corner for a debtor nation into a creditor – with much of its newfound profits being poured into time-intensive processes for scrubbing Israel/Palestine. 

The New Holy Land* has also begun to flirt with creating its own navy.  Small but powerful (and advanced) ships are starting to come off the line and instead of going to fill the military needs of other nations, are staying put.  Rumors persist that tech teams from the New Holy Land have delved farther than other researchers into creating “stealth” technology. 
Trojans, Greeks and the lesser known Hildas... 

The rumors are true.  Recently, researchers in the New Holy Land figured out how to drastically increase the permissible temperatures of superconductors to serve as hyper-efficient heat sinks.  The technology is still very new and untested, but as the setting is about to kick off (potential energy) the shake-down voyages of the New Holy Land’s stealth ships are about to commence.  If/when discovered, the technology could very well upset the balance of power throughout the System. 

Oh, and Mossad?  Mossad is definately there.  In a game about mecha and special forces, of course Mossad is there. 

*Any Hebrew speakers out there are welcome to suggest a new name – if you could transliterate “New Home” or “Dislocation” into English that might work.  I am open to suggestions as well.