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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
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite and most reliable unbiased publication in the known universe from our home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last couple of weeks,


Cluster War! DNA Gather Fruit
 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe from our home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,


Cluster War! MZC attacks DNA
 
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*** Inter Galactic News ***

The Dewiek rise again!

After the death and destruction wrought upon the Dewiek Nation by the Architects, there was a period of calm if you were a werewolf fancier. But now the Dewiek have risen to once more in the name of the Dewiek Packs, led by Skarn. Their new message being one of peace, a most unusual change for the large humanoid wolves. While they rise from the ashes of the Mizuchi Combine the Galaxy waits to see how this new affiliation acts, baring in mind the Dewiek have something of reputation.

Empire invade the Cluster!

A significant force of GTT warships recently entered the Cluster, somewhere they have not seen the need to go for a very long time. At the same time the CIA banned the Dewiek Packs from it’s space and also sent a large number of warships into the Cluster to bolster the GTT’s presence. After this show of force the Crossley system, known for it’s wormhole connecting from the Cluster to CIA space shifted to be claimed by the GTT. Currently the Empire has over 200,000 troops and 2000 warships roaming the nearby systems. Inhabitants of the Cluster are waiting to see if there are any further developments. GTT CEO Xavier Fox when asked by our office dismissed it as a “Training exercise”.

Krell sale!

The Krell Clan Dark Angels has been selling off bases, outposts and even systems lately. It is unknown why they have decided to cash in their assets and territories, but it points to the accumulation of significant wealth by the Krell clan. If you have any spare cash and want to expand your assets then it seems to our office that the best place to go is the Dark Angel Clan and ask what will be going up for sale next, assuming they actually have anything left.

*** Affiliations ***

AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
BLG Bolg Organisation (22) - Akhenaten
BHD Brotherhood (63) - de Molay
CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - <unknown>
DWK Dewiek Packs (19) - Skarn
FCN Falconian Republic (70) – Bacran *
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
HEX Hexamon (23) - <unknown>
KRL Krell (30) - Namica
KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
MOH Mohache (73) – Listens
NHS Noble Houses (41) – Roy Roberts
NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz

* Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
** Only known contact, please update us if this is incorrect.

NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS
Inactive: ANT, COD, DOM, HVE, IDC, IMP, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG

*** Submissions ***

By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
 
GTT step forward to control protection and peace in the Stellar Empire.

With the retirement of Jack Johns and various lower-level IMP officers from public life, the Imperial Services were left on the verge of being unable to fill their role as protectors of the Stellar Empire. Due to the serious nature the Imperial Services found itself in, the Emperor recently travelled to GTT HQ to attend a board meeting with the directors of the GTT.

With Galactic Trade and Transport being one of the few remaining loyal Imperial Chartered affiliations, who also supply well over half of the war material to the Imperial Services, the Emperor sought the position of the GTT with regard to the Imperial Services becoming overburdened with bureaucracy and lacking effective leadership. Effectively the Imperial Services were at the point of collapse. A position highlighted when an opportunistic supposed ally subverted four Imperial Outposts in the Inner Empire, thinking their asset grabbing would go unnoticed.
 
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  Star Date: 221.30.5

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RAGNAROK COMES

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A Forlorn Hope

The seat of Dewiek Government has fallen. What began as a small group of Architect ships picking up retreating DEN forces, amalgamated into a much larger force. The bombardment fleet comprised dozens of Adult ARC ships plus several Planet Killers. The force made short work of the impressive fortifications of the planetary orbit of Newstart. Multiple heavily armoured and maximised deflector shield platforms crumbled. They did so only after releasing their volleys of antimatter and nova weapon batteries. Any DEN warships that remained from earlier encounters also stood the line. But within the week, the last defence was gone.

Bombardment of Wolf Lair starbase proceeded without further resistance from the Dewiek. ARC Plasmas ripped through starbase shields. They demolished tens of thousands of factories and research facilities. The ARC demolished the huge military recruitment and training facilities on the planet. Over half a million trained troops evacuated from deep bunkers, leaving a token ground defence.

The ARC were not satisfied to burn the facilities and murder the workers. They deployed repeated salvos of their Virus Bombs on the wider population. Reports began to arrive of civilians of the world regressing. Leaving settlements and returning to nature. Much as the Dewiek found themselves some decades ago when they started to recover from the First Great ARC-DEN War. This time there was no High Lord Magnus willing to obliterate the world to save a remnant of the people. Newstart was already lost.

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Newstart is lost

 
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  Star Date: 221.27.2

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RAGNAROK APPROACHES

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End Game Lost

A short-lived period of peace followed the Dewiek Elder Nation’s historic and Saga-worthy defence against the Architect Planet Killers. A handful of the more typically encountered ARC ships were spotted picking off DEN support ships in Forlorn Hope before more than forty of them appeared back in End Game.

While the ARC “Adult” class ships, as the DEN had previously classified them, were eight times smaller than the “Planet Killers”, they were still as big as the largest ships any other species has managed to produce. Including the otherwise technologically advanced Dewiek.

Forty-four of these Plasma armed organic vessels smashed through the DEN forces left circling the orbit of Beacon, End Game. The mass of ARC weapons bombarded the DEN Shipyards at Ragnorak with their superheated ionized gas, razing the entire outpost to the ground.

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ARC Plasma weapons devastate End Game

 
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  Star Date: 221.22.5

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RAGNAROK BECKONS

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Assault on End Game

The ancient Architects have declared war on the Dewiek Elder Nation. The first sign of the conflict was subspace transmissions in a remote system in the Pocket Periphery. This followed reports that the ancient Ragnarok shipyards on Beacon were malfunctioning. In response, the Wolf Mother sent urgent orders to several Dewiek scout ships to patrol the End Game system.

The Konungr Smidamadr was the first to encounter the gigantic, “Planet Killer” class ARC ships. Measuring in at thirty-two hundred heavy hulls and armed with a hundred ARC plasma weapons, the ship was more like a mobile armed platform. It is certainly the largest vessel ever recorded. The scout ship was vaporised instantly.

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ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships

 
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  Star Date: 221.11.4

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Caste Apart

The Flagritz Republic is (very nearly) no more. In its place, a single Hexamon and Flagritz power has arisen. The new Collective has absorbed much of the Flagritz holdings with only a handful of Clique-caste Flagritz systems choosing instead to align with the other Elder species, the Dewiek.

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Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?

 
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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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Meklanmania

Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.

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Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble

However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:

“We have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.”

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Doomsday On Pause

At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.

 
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  Star Date: 220.50.5

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Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space

As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.

Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemy’s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.

Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.

Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.

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When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...

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Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease

Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.

What they found will shock you!

 

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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