Artefacts are the result of unexpected events or ancient alien discoveries.
Artefacts as the name suggests are rare and sometimes unique items. Some may be ancient alien objects the true purpose of which is unknown such as the blanger flubolip ‘starship energy cannon’, found in the ruins of Randurial in the Transpiral Periphery. This has been described as a inter star-system messaging device, work of art, an alien joke or possibly an alien sex toy for gas giant behemoths. Artefacts may even be the result of improbable research blind-alleys that were abandoned due to inability to recreate the process or in favour of less impressive but infinitely more commercially viable alternatives.
Where the purpose is known or an obvious use is determined the artefact may be classed as another item type (as that generally defines how the game code handles the item).
Players always but always want to back-engineer them and mass produce them. We could simply make them a prototype and a 100,000 production cost each or something phenomenal representing the ridiculous efforts required to make one work no matter what. We could even make the mineral cost stupidly expensive representing completely unfeasible waste. Examples could be irradiation, doping, low neutrino capture or Z-space interactions. This though is probably not in the interests of the game because there is always somebody out there willing to go to extremes or even work out that our 'unfeasible' is orders of magnitude less than their 'unfeasible'.
Consider the mythical Z-ray Pulse Cannon. This is similar size to a Photon Cannon mkIV but significantly higher damage, however reproducing the components relies on neutrino capture rates to dope the materials according to the description in the associated investigations. This may be in excess of 100,000 production and be extremely wasteful of irradiated minerals due to failed attempts. Similar thing with maintenance bots. Each one requires such complicated components and neural networking development that the production cost is more than twenty years’ worth of work hours. In other words, production is not viable./P]
[P]Presenting it to the player as production and mineral costs however has historically returned the request to find ways to improve some part of the process and the more depth the GM has added in describing why the process is not viable the more strands the player has to try to wrangle down the production and mineral cost until it comes down to a battle of caveats and handwavium proposals between the player and GM.
We therefore intentionally state an artefact cannot be researched or reproduced for game purposes. This is simply a mechanic impediment used to represent inordinate amounts of time and effort required to build artefacts or we simply don’t want proliferation of the items into the game.
Why? The value of an artefact is in its scarcity. Having a flagship equipped with Z-ray Pulse Cannons is awesome, having the most powerful affiliation’s every ship equipped likewise is a potential game breaker while having every ship in the game with them would be the new norm and dull.
If you are lucky enough to discover an artefact in the game, enjoy it, use it, hoard it or sell it for an astronomical amount of stellars. If the item is described as unique, un-researchable or indecipherable alien, take the hint and don’t waste time looking at ways of duplicating it and attempting to gleam some new technology that will super-enhance your entire faction and let you ‘win’ the game.
Who’s Who Amongst the Ancients?
While most of the information regarding ancient aliens is hidden deep within affiliation data archives there are sufficient rumours and discoveries by explorers, along with a few encounters to generate a modest incomplete list of artefact sources.
Architects (ARC) – these living ships are everything from the bogeyman to demigods depending on which civilian faction is spoken to. They were originally thought to have created the stargate network but this is now looking decidedly doubtful. It is common knowledge that they fought a war with the TCA (see below) and the Dewiek Nation around half a millennium ago but are occasionally encountered even to this day.
Artefacts most commonly associated with them are their weapon systems though the occasional dead hulk is discovered.
Terran Colony Annihilators (TCA) – the name was given to the living ships when they were first encountered. It is certainly not their true identity and to date nobody has been able to determine what it actually is so TCA has now become the norm. It is believed that they were created by the ARC as a servitor species but eventually rebelled. The war it seems is ongoing but due to losses on both sides over the centuries, has reached stalemate.
They are more commonly associated with meklan though it is more likely that the meklan were created by the ARC. Meklan are not considered a distinctive species in their own right.
Artefacts associated with the TCA include meklan control units, weapon systems and like the ARC, dead hulks suitable for salvage.
Nautiloids – this species was most active across the Capellan Periphery prior to the arrival of the ARC according to what little evidence has found its way to Yank. They were responsible for tampering with the DNA of various organic species though for what purpose is debatable. It is possible that they were the only active advanced species present in the Periphery at the time and were experimenting, trying to uplift species, responsible for panspermia or simply messing around for their own whimsy.
It is presumed that they achieved sublimation* or regressed due to the loss of their home system or similar setback.
Boltzmann Brain – this is actually an artefact that existed in Straddle and was seemingly created by an unknown species, probably the Unknown (UNK) as a means of bending subspace in order to directly manipulate jump distances. Suffice to say, politics got messy and big red buttons were pressed resulting in Straddle leaping Peripheries.
Other than the single incident of the Brain (a self-aware non-organic entity capable of observing the universe and defining its qualities at a quantum level) and truly ancient ships mothballed in an asteroid, no other examples of the aliens’ technology have been reported.
Illuvatorians – this species fled an undocumented menace by splitting their population between numerous colony ships and heading out in all directions using obsolete inter-system sublight drives. As this technology relies on huge travel times lasting hundreds of years merely to reach the nearest star, the ships tended to be huge and reliant on cryostasis for one-way trips. The discovery of the first ship activated a subspace beacon that caused the occupants of the colony ships scattered across the Peripheries to awake.
Along with Phanali, a unusual items were recovered from some of the ships that had not survived the transit, the purpose and origin the Illuvatorians could not explain. It was surmised that the alien menace pursuing them was not completely unprovoked. To date, no sign of the alien menace has been detected.
Hive Diaspora – hive species have been around in various forms seemingly as long as the galaxy. They appear to share the same goal, create more hive and spread to a new world often by sublight methods. As these aliens are often subterranean and not overly reliant on biospheres, legacies of their failed colonisation attempts can occasionally be found on airless rocks.
A plethora of artefacts have been found associated with hive ruins the purpose of which is as much a mystery now as when they were first discovered.
Gate Builders – while it was originally thought that the ARC were responsible for the stargates, this has since been generally discounted due to age. Whichever species were responsible, like the Nautilloids, they have long since sublimed. The lack of artefacts beyond the stargate supports the presumption that they, like the ARC were living starships or at the very least, evolved in gas giants and had little to do with planetary surfaces.
Natives – many pre-uplift civilisations have oral histories describing alien visitors or believe they were brought to the world by aliens. Some even have treasured artefacts supporting the claim. In many cases explorers given access to the objects quickly identify them as dewiek, flagritz or hive in origin. This is not overly surprising as these three species have been the most active within the Peripheries over the past millennium though wars and the arrival of the Stellar Empire caused a shift in the balance. Even so, from time to time the origin of these artefacts cannot be determined and the aliens described by the natives bear no resemblance to known species active in the Peripheries.
*Sublimation is the end point of a civilisation due to reaching some form of technological or equivalent singularity. At this point the species effectively disappears from reality, possibly uplifting its collective consciousness to some alternative subspace dimension.
|******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******
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) ******
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
*** 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”.
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.
Star Date: 221.30.5
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.
Newstart is lost
Star Date: 221.27.2
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.
ARC Plasma weapons devastate End Game
Star Date: 221.22.5
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.
ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships
Star Date: 221.11.4
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.
Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?
Star Date: 221.3.3
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.
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.”
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.
Star Date: 220.50.5
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.
When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...
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!