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Weapons of Mass Destruction

Weapons of Mass Destruction
Weapons of Mass Destruction behave in one of two ways depending on the situation. Where they are launched into an ISR field such as that generated around worlds with bases or against ships with ISR drives (and platforms), the vast majority of the energy (both in the form of radiation and particles with high levels of kinetic energy) is absorbed into subspace to bleed back into normal space over a radius of a few light minutes. Only energy below a threshold remains in realspace to inflict damage on the surrounding material. As this threshold is bound by the uncertainty principle it is not cut and dried as to which particles/photons bleed off into subspace. The energy signature however shows a clear attenuation with increasing energy leading to the term Nuclear Dampening.

Where there is no ISR field such as where a GP is hit by a nuke in space of the base commander has decided that secrecy is necessary so the ISR field has been turned off, there will be no nuclear dampening of the blast. As a consequence, the WoMD will deliver its normal damage but the damage will be sustained a further 99 times. A nuclear missile will normally deliver 1,000 damage (pretty much getting through any shield unless countered by point defence), though if it successfully hits a target without an ISR field it will deliver 100,000 damage. The important thing though is that this is 100 hits of 1,000 damage, not a single hit of 100,000 damage. This means that each block of damage is attenuated individually, leading to significantly more damage due to ground splash of 60% (see Everything you need to know about Damage (Issue 11)



WoMD in Phoenix are considered tactical weapons designed to be used against hardened targets rather than weapons of genocide. The reason for this is that the larger the weapons the greater the actual energy that bleeds off into subspace. It quickly becomes self-defeating to the point a truly massive nuke may well simply fail to fully detonate, producing little more than a lot of radioactive material scattered over a modest area.
Conventional nuclear weapons use fusion or fission mechanisms while antimatter weapons use a few particles of antimatter (colloquially referred to as ‘A-dust’) held in a magnetic bottle as the trigger mechanism. In all cases there is a significant radiation component released as part of the detonation. As the actual detonation is invariably tactical, it is the radioactivity component that is of greater significance to planetary populations and is dealt with largely through roleplaying effects.

Why Roleplaying?
Phoenix is not a war game, it is far too many components that deal with other aspects to be a war game. It has history, backstory and plot arcs not to mention the ability to alter the game through special actions. It is also a game in continuous development as more parts become fleshed out and the depth is increased. As a consequence there needs to be elements to the game that allow for the sociological reaction to a perceived disaster and immoral actions and attitudes.

The Game Moderator acts on behalf of the none-playing sentient populations within the game universe as such he is responsible for their reaction to events that have a direct negative impact on civilian populations.

The populated worlds issue is not so much with the actual damage which is generally relatively small when ISR dampening fields exist, rather it is the radioactive material generated as a result of the detonation. Even relatively clean antimatter will produce radioactive material as a result of the explosion ripping apart surrounding atoms. Total destruction of a nucleus will produce a lot of highly energy neutrons which can cause other atoms to have fragment. Even if the explosions are in orbit, the irradiated debris from destroyed ships will end up contaminating the biosphere.

Population Reaction
In an example, thirty ships enter orbit of a world populated by a million humans and open fire with antimatter missiles and nuclear missiles, bombarding the only starbase on the world. There is a single urban sector which also has the starbase in it. This urban is therefore presumed heavily populated. The world has an ISR field which dampens the nuclear strike.

The nuclear contamination however will shrug off into the surrounding urban sector. It will over the next few weeks kill thousands, possibly tens of thousands if there is no intervention and certainly hundreds to thousands even if there is intervention. The urban sector stands a good chance of being re-classed as ruin and there will be a tumble in the local merchandising and trade demand. At this point it can be seen as a win-win for the attackers as not only have they smashed a starbase they are going to get the on-going benefit of seeing their enemy dealing with scorched earth. Depending on circumstance however representatives of the victims could use this information to undermine support of the faction responsible for deploying the nuclear weapons especially where there is some degree of identification with the victims. For example the DEN nuke a KRL starbase on a world with a large human population. The KRL then spread propaganda, undermining support for the DEN on worlds with significant human populations. The effects are dealt with on a case by case scenario, but where the human populations are both supporting a system owner that does not use WoMD on populated planets, the DEN can expect to have as high as 80% merchandising complexes closed in the event of significant human casualties.




Dealing with Fallout
While Antimatter weapons are by far the cleanest in terms of having the shortest decay times of their radioactive products, it is expected that there will still be a cleanup cost to a biosphere. Basic modules can be exhausted (assigned to the civilian population) to integrate with the planetary infrastructure to scrub contaminants from susceptible areas. Generally speaking this will be in the order of 5 basic modules per Antimatter missile targeting a surface position. Where the atmosphere is unbreathable, this will be reduced 1 per AM missile reflecting much of the danger mitigated through standard atmospheric processing. Cleanup is likely to take a few weeks during which there will be possible deaths through radiation and reduction in merchandising and trade.

Nuclear weaponry is generally dirtier and as such the decontamination cost is closer to 25 basic modules per nuclear missile (or 5 on an unbreathable world). Cleanup is likely to take a few months.

As well as basic modules (used as scrubbers) 1 Planetary Restoration – Nuclear tech will be required per 500 basic modules.

These numbers are ball-park figures and reflect dealing with areas most likely to negatively impact on the civilian population. As such repairing damage to the ecology is secondary to saving sentient life. Where a serious barrage of nuclear missiles targets multiple locations on a world, there will be extensive and probably permanent damage to the environment that can’t be fixed by exhausting tech and modules. Finally, where there is a population in the tens of millions and above and high levels of infrastructure it is assumed that there already exists within the civilian infrastructure technology for dealing with the aftermath of a nuclear assault. As such, beyond the initial hit to the economy and possible ramifications of the attack (such as retaliation for an earlier nuclear bombardment), there will be no cost to the starbase for dealing with the aftermath.

NB. This article applies to weapons used in combat and not the Big ol’ bombs dropped off in starports before beggaring off. The use of these is hard-coded restricted by the profile as this considered an act of terrorism undertaken by single captain rather than a stand-up fight. In the future we may consider moving all use of WoMD into a hard-coded system but for the moment we are prepared to see how player use the current mechanic.




 
News
Is open for business...
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Falconians Saved ***

The Imperials have cunningly saved the Falconian Republic from being consumed by the Dewiek Elder Nation and at no small cost to the DEN either. Whilst the new pro tem Consul crowed about the “victory”, all former FCN systems besides Acropolis have been taken over by the two warring Empires - Human and Flagritz.

Was it all worth it? For the IMP / GTT it clearly was, for the movement of a few hundred thousand troops is surely nothing to the cost they endured trying to and failing to knock the DEN out of Solo after the fact. The FCN now plucked off most of their navy and wider assets are a tiny nothing of their former self. The DEN may have resorted to some dirty namecalling but can the costs endured to save an enfeebled FCN have really been worth it? Time will tell.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * INDignation * FELicitous Caribbean * Nah Plan for Naplia * Mercs Trouble DEN * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Acropolis Now ***

The IMP and GTT have brought peace and stability to Acropolis.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Goodbye Falconians ***

The galaxy bid farewell to the Falconian Republic as the Human Empire subsumed them into their expanding territories. This marks the second death of an alien civilisation at the hands of the IMP / GTT in recent years. Like the extinguishing of the nearby Ulians, no voices of opposition could be heard from other quarters. This marks a long-period of appeasement by the Detinus Republic and Dewiek Elder Nation.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * DOMination * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****



 
***** Inter Galactic News THE MUSICAL *****

*** Norozov, No More ***

Kantner: No more do I see the starlight caress your cyclops eye
No more feel the tender kisses we used to share
I close my fists and clearly my heart remembers
A thousand goodbyes could never put out the embers

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Chulainn: Oh all the Stellars mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Kantner: No more do I feel the touch of your hand on mine
No more see the love-light making your dark eyes shine
Oh, how I wish I never had caused you sorrow
But don't ever say for us there is no tomorrow

Chulainn: Oh all the ladies mine now!

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before
Please, come back to my arms; we belong together
Come to me; let's be sweethearts again and then let us part no more

Sylvansight: I will have his eye!

Chulainn: Oh the power is mine now!

Chorus: The power is in the eye!

Kantner: Norozov, I love you so, and my heart forever
Will belong to the memory of the love that we knew before.

Lanner: So, old cyclops has finally met his comeuppance
Maybe its time for a comeback

Chorus: No, no one wants you back!

Lanner: I always did like that chair of his…

Chorus: The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!
The power is in the eye!

Continued in this special edition of the SSS...

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** ALIEN CRIMINALS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE ***

FILTHY AND DISHONOURABLE Dewiek mercenaries have dared to attack HONEST AND HARDWORKING GTT warships in the Coptuv system.

THEY HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO JUSTICE. LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!

The Dewiek commander’s lengthy response was appreciated by xenophile and philanthropist HQ Manager Tom Krieger but this does not change the facts.

FURTHER JUSTICE IS EXPECTED AT THE EMPEROR’S PLEASURE. LONG LIVE THE EMPEROR!

Inside this issue of the SSS: * SEDITIOUS FET CHARGED * LIES OF THE FAILED REBELLION * TERRORIST PLOTS FOILED * ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE CRITICISED * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Voice of the Naplian Liberation Front ***

We are the Naplian Liberation Front. We have commandeered this station to bring you important and vital deprogramming. You are a slave of the Galactic Trouser and Tussles Imperium of Unspecified Services! We have witnessed the press ganged upon by Imperial thugs. Rounding up reporters by the thousands and throwing them in weasel dens. Mocking the Great Uncle of the Flagritz. Manufacturing consent out of a lust for imports of wheat cereals! We poor Naplians(*) are given no training and substandard equipment when preparing your nutritious breakfasts. We are sent forward by the Imperial snack commissioners with threats of triple-filing tax returns on unreasonable deadlines! Death would be preferable. We are allegedly paid a wage but have you ever tried to buy anything with just $1? Strangely none of those politicals earning $10,000 or more a week seem to care about our plight. Not to mention that the Imperials throw perfectly good meat into the grinder instead of slow cooking it in black bean sauce. They have no respect for a classic burrito! We are left grieving for young families who have never tasted quality ranch sauce. You don’t need to be a dead Naplian to know the value of a good guacamole.

* No actual Naplians included.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT vs USN * GTT vs NLF * GTT vs IND * GTT vs KAS * GTT vs FET * GTT vs SSS * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire On Warpath ***

The newly re-united Stellar Empire continued to wage war against the Flagritz Empire to bring about galactic peace and freedom for all. The latest system to fall to the inevitable tide of history was Morroglyph in the Coreward Arm. Dewiek intransigence reached fever pitch as the FLZ facilities changed to DEN paws and subsequently became targets of Imperial truth and justice. Despite putting themselves between the past and the future, the DEN seemed to lack much will for an actual fight with Dewiek military commanders adopting “meh” as their watchword.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * GTT smacks NLF * DEN whack MRC * Slaves Liberated * FLZ Retreat * ARC in Orion Spur * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Stellar Empire Re-United ***

Celebrations were held across the vast territories of the Stellar Empire as the two-halves represented by the governments of the Imperials and Caliphate determined to unite. This followed almost inevitably from the assassination of the Caliph, a crime that has gone mysteriously unresolved. The old Caliphate ministers were ‘retired’ and at first it seemed the Imperials had managed what had alluded them for decades.

However, just as orders to claim systems for the IMP went in some places, conflicting orders to claim for the CIA came from Laton. In other systems, it seems overwhelming civilian support lies with the defunct CAL government and there are a number of CIV and CAL bases that seem to have not heeded the CIA nor IMP orders. With all the Caliphate's armaments now in the CIA’s hand and no political leadership in the old government, it seems inevitable that the civilians will be dragged kicking and screaming into the future.

A muted and cautious response from the rest of the galaxy was only to be expected given the formation of a new unrivalled superpower. The chilling effect on public discourse as the Imperial war machine taps into the substantial, if stunted, economies of the former Caliphate will surely be felt for years to come. Does this mark the 'end of history' as we know it?

More on this story inside this issue of the SSS along with: * KAS v IMP/GTT v FLZ * DEN v MRC * FOCed by IMP * BHD v DEN * &etc

 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic