Monday, June 17, 2019

Collated Rules - The Core of Psi-Wars

My patrons voted on a rule collation topic, and they chose "the basics." Over on the wiki, I'd added a page to collate the "basic rules" of Psi-Wars.  You can go and check it out here! It'll be the "master" of all further rules updates for the basic elements of Psi-Wars.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicles - Allegiance-Pattern Carrier

ST/HP: 7000

Hand/SR: -5/6

HT: 13

Move: 1/50 (+8)

LWt.: 340,000

Load: 150,000

SM: +13

Occ.: 7100ASV

DR: 2500*

Range: 5 jumps

Cost: $225B

Loc.: gGs22t

Stall: 0

Total Chase Roll: +3

*The Allegiance-Pattern Carrier has 2500 Carbide Composite DR on all sides (double DR vs plasma attackes). It also has a force screen with 10,000 ablative, hardened DR.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicle - Sword-Pattern Battleship

ST/HP: 7000

Hand/SR: -4/6

HT: 13

Move: 3/90 (+9)

LWt.: 360,000

Load: 23,000

SM: +13

Occ.: 2000 ASV

DR: 5000/2500*

Range: 5 jumps

Cost: $300B

Loc.: gGs21t

Stall: 0

Total Chase Roll: +5

*The Sword-Pattern Battleship has 5000 Carbide Composite DR on the front, and 2500 DR on all other sides (double DR vs plasma attacks and shaped charge missiles). It also has a force screen with 10,000 ablative, hardened DR.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Patreon Special: the Siege of Centauri Prime

My patrons voted on a Worked Example of an Ultra-Tech Framework setting for this month.  Sometime last year, I created a series on Ultra-Tech Frameworks, that is, how do you choose what technology you want for your setting.  

Today, I present the Siege of Centauri Prime, a worked example of a TL 10 setting, wherein the players play as students in a virtual high school who, when they're not busy helping with their parents' terraforming chores, sneak off to fight one another in drone battles with misappropriated terraforming drones.  This is not a full setting so much as a setting seed, and shows how one might go about choosing the basic technology for a setting, and then expanding on existing technological ideas to create nuanced gameplay (Mass Combat, in this case).

This is available to all Patrons ($1 is all I ask) as a thank you for their support.

Alliance Space Vehicles - Regal-Pattern Heavy Cruiser

ST/HP: 3500

Hand/SR: -1/6

HT: 13

Move: 6/110 (+10)

LWt.: 40,000

Load: 6,000

SM: +12

Occ.: 450ASV

DR: 2500*

Range: 5 jumps

Cost: $12B

Loc.: gGs17t

Stall: 0

Total Chase Roll: +9

*The Regal-Pattern Heavy Cruiser has 2500 Carbide Composite DR on all sides (double DR vs plasma attackes). It also has a force screen with 4000 ablative, hardened DR.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicle - The Lancer-Pattern Heavy Assault Frigate

ST/HP: 700

Hand/SR: +0/5

HT: 12

Move: 2/250 (+12)

LWt.: 2750

Load: 285

SM: +9

Occ.: 90ASV

DR: 2500/500*

Range: 4 jumps

Cost: $2.7B

Loc.: g3rR

Stall: 0

Total Chase Roll: +12

*The Lancer has 2500 Carbide DR on the front and 500 Carbide DR on all other locations. It also has a force screen with 1000 ablative, hardened DR.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Blog Roadmap: June

Last month was an alright month for views.  It didn't help that I'm not really sure what to do with my vehicle posts when it comes to promotion.  I feel like I'm spamming people with vehicles they don't care about, so I think I'm just going to stop promoting them, though there's more to come of course. Instead, I'm going to promote more generic GURPS posts, or more broadly interesting things.

That said, it was a great month for Patreon.  I've added two new patrons, the Secret Council has a new member (Sir, if you wake to find your bed surrounded by dark-robed figures who offer you a code ring, be not afraid and accept the ring).  I've also lost one patron, a long time patron, which is always sad.  God speed, good sir, and I thank you for your support.

For the rest of the month, the patreon topic votes are in.  Our general topic will be:

  • A new Ultra-Tech Setting
This will be a patreon special.  The intent will be to do a "worked example" of my "How to Build an Ultra-Tech framework" series from a few months ago. This is mostly done, it just needs a few touch-ups.

For Psi-Wars, I'll be continuing with my Alliance vehicles (4 capital ships remain) and over on Patreon, we voted on two things, and the results are:
  • Details on the Eldoth (and the Deep Engine) as monsters/conspiracy
  • Rule Collation: the Basics of Psi-Wars.
The Rule collation is already done and has been reviewed by the Secret Council.  It will go up as a post and on my Wiki.  The Eldoth, when they're done, will be a Patreon Preview, at least for now.

I'm looking forward to it, and I hope you are too!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Patreon Polls: June

Every month, for my Patrons, I hold a poll on topics for the next month, so I (ideally) give you guys at least one post per month that suits your interests.  A patron recently suggested that I make these polls visible to the public, so that people can see what we're talking about behind the scenes and, if they like it, maybe become a Patron.

All Patrons ($1+) get to vote on a general GURPS topic

  • A Deep Dive into Conditional Injury: I've been using Douglas Cole's Conditional Injury for my ships, but how well does it handle personal combat? I'll do a thorough review of the article, make suggestions on how to alter it or improve it and discuss how it might apply nicely to certain genres.
  • A Review of Fantastic Dungeon Grappling: I backed Douglas Cole's recent backstarter, not for the product itself, but because I wanted a copy of Dragon Heresy and Fantastic Dungeon Grappling.  This might also turn into a review of Technical Grappling, as they're essentially the same thing (as I understand it).
  • Trademark Moves as Style Basis: Back when Pyramid was still a thing, I had one idea for writing an article: the synergy between designing trademark moves and martial arts styles, and how to use one to build the other.  It's a topic I find myself explaining to people online regularly, so I could codify it into a single post.
  • Martial Arts as Power-Ups: When I started working with GURPS Martial Arts, I found it a little disappointing, as I was used to a different style, similar to Exalted where one buys moves and powers rather than some nuance to a skill.  I've recently been exploring power-up ideas for martial arts and struck upon an idea of how to combine the two. (This topic has obsessed me recently, and I actually have a mess of worked examples already)
  • Plague Creation Rules: As part of Orphans of the Stars' biotech rules, I worked out some guidelines for creating your own diseases: how severe should they be, what sort of knock-on effects might a disease have, etc.
  • A New Ultratech Framework with Setting: So back when I created my series on Ultra-Tech frameworks, I had a sample setting that I wanted to release to illustrate it.  I left it unfinished as it took more work than I expected.  I could round it off fairly easily and release it, if you're interested.
$3+ patrons ("Fellow Travelers") get to vote on Psi-Wars topics. Normally I allow a lot of leeway, but recently I've seen a lot of demand for rule collation, so we have two polls running right now:

  • The Basics: BAD in Psi-Wars, Impulse buys, and other basic core rules of Psi-Wars
  • The Call to Adventure: how to get a Psi-Wars adventure started
  • The Road to Adventure: Space and Planetary Travel in Psi-Wars
  • Unveiling the Secrets of the Galaxy: Investigation in Psi-Wars
  • Action: Combat rules and Vehicular Action rules
  • Templates! Just pick a template and revisit it!
  • Psionic Powers, including Negative Psi and new Techniques and Powers
  • Communion, with all the various little rules its picked up over the years. 
Last month, we had the Eldothic Deep Engine, but this turned out to be a bit more involved than I expected, so I pivoted, and this month we're looking at which race we'd like to see elevated to a full "conspiratorial" setting element, complete with their secrets, stats-as-monsters, and how one goes about defeating them.  Options here include:
  • The Eldoth, the Deep Engine, and their servitors
  • The Skairos, the Devils of Persephone and the Labyrinthine Worlds
  • The Templars and their secretive Chapters and the Temples of Communion
  • The Cult of the Mystical Tyrant, the Imperial cult and their catspaws
  • The Ghosts of Broken Communion and Death Cults
  • The Anacridian Scourge, its corruption, its relics and its connection to the Machine-World of Azrael. 
If you'd like to join in, just hit the link on the side.  Otherwise, I'll see you later this week when I announce the winner and thanks, as always, for reading.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Review: GURPS Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits

When I first heard about GURPS Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits, it naturally piqued my interest and when I saw it available for $5, I picked it up.  It's a slim volume, clocking in at a grand total of 17 pages and ~8,000 words, and it seems to represent yet another step GURPS is taking away from magic-as-skills and towards magic-as-abilities, which is a direction I can approve of.

Let's take a look, shall we?

Friday, May 24, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicles - Prestige-Pattern Diplomatic Shuttle

ST/HP: 210

Hand/SR: +0/4

HT: 13

Move: 2/200 (+12)

LWt.: 74

Load: 29

SM: +7

Occ.: 2+2ASV + 12SV

DR: 200*

Range: 2 jumps

Cost: $35M

Loc.: G3rR

Stall: 0

Total Chase Roll: +12

*The Prestige has 200 diamondoid DR on all sides; halve DR against crushing damage. It also has a force screen with 300 ablative, hardened DR.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicle - the Ronin-Pattern Battle-Yacht

ST/HP: 150

Hand/SR: +2/4

HT: 12

Move: 5/300 (+13)

LWt.: 27.5

Load: 5.2

SM: +7

Occ.: 4ASV

DR: 200*

Range: 5 jumps

Cost: $55M

Loc.: g3rR

Stall: 0

Total Chase Roll: +15

*The Ronin has 200 diamondoid DR on all sides; halve DR against crushing damage. It also has a force screen with 500 ablative, hardened DR.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicle - The Valkyrie-Pattern Light Psychotronic Fighter

ST/HP: 95

Hand/SR: +5/3

HT: 12

Move: 15/600* (+14)

LWt.: 7.0

Load: 1.1

SM: +4

Occ.: 1SV

DR: 75

Range: 18,000

Cost: $15M

Loc.: Wi3rR

Stall: 50

Total Chase Roll: +19 (+20 with afterburner)

*The Valkyrie is equipped with an Afterburner which improves the Move to 22/700 (+15) and consumes four times as much fuel (reducing range to 4,500 miles, if used continuously).

*The Valkyrie’s 75 DR covers the entire vehicle and comes from Diamondoid, and has half DR vs crushing damage. It also has a DR 300 force screen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicles - The Raptor-Pattern Strike Fighter

ST/HP: 140

Hand/SR: +2/4

HT: 11

Move: 5/375 (+13)*

LWt.: 24.5

Load: 5.5

SM: +6

Occ.: 1SV+1rx

DR: 100/50*

Range: 21,000, 2 jumps (Rating 1)

Cost: $20M

Loc.: g2Wi3rR

Stall: 20

Total Chase Roll: +15 (+16 with afterburner)

*The Raptor is equipped with an Afterburner which improves the Move to 7/450 (+13) and gains +1 handling and consumes four times as much fuel (reducing range to 5000 miles, if used continuously).

†The Raptor has 100 carbide composite DR on the front and 50 on the rest; double DR vs shaped charges or plasma attacks. It also has a force screen with 300 ablative, hardened DR.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Alliance Space Vehicles - The Valiant-Pattern Multi-Role Fighter

ST/HP: 130

Hand/SR: +2/4

HT: 12

Move: 9/530* (+14)

LWt.: 14.75

Load: 2.2

SM: +5

Occ.: 1SV+1xr

DR: 15

Range: 21,000*

Cost: $28M

Loc.: g3rR2Wi

Stall: 65/30

Total Chase Roll: +16 (+17 w afterburner in high speed or Agile configuration)

*The Valiant is equipped with an afterburner which improves the Move to 13/650 (+14) and handling to +3 and consumes four times as much fuel (reducing range to 5,025 miles, if used continuously). It also has a hyperdrive with a rating of 2 and sufficient fuel for 2 jumps.

†The Valiant has variable geometry wings. “Speed Geometry” use the above stats; “Agility Geometry” halves its top speed (275 (+12) or 325 (+13) with afterburner), gives it a +1 to handling and reduces the Stall speed to 30. While using both afterburner and Agility geometry, it has a total handling of +4 and a top speed of 300 (+13) for a chase roll of +17.

‡The Valiant has a force screen with DR 200. This may be angled to create 400 DR in a particular direction, but 100 DR in another directions.


Friday, May 17, 2019

Alliance Vehicles: Behemoth-Pattern Mobile Fortress

ST/HP: 1,000

Hand/SR: -4/6

HT: 11

Move: 1/17 (+5)

LWt.: 990

Load: 9.5

SM: +8

Occ.: 25AS

DR: 3000/1500*

Range: NA

Cost: $1.45B

Loc.: 4CGTt4X

*The Behemoth-Pattern Mobile Fortress has a DR 3000 armor on top and over its primary turret; the rest of the armor is DR 1500. All armor is composite (double DR vs plasma weapons and shaped charge attacks)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Alliance Vehicle: Phalanx-Pattern Orbital Artillery

ST/HP: 450

Hand/SR: -3/6

HT: 10f

Move: 1/8 (+3)

LWt.: 680

Load: 0.27

SM: +7

Occ.: 2

DR: 2500/1000*

Range: 1600

Cost: $290M

Loc.: 2CT

*The Phalanx-Pattern Orbital Artillery has a DR 2500 armor on top and the rest of the armor is DR 1000. All armor is composite (double DR vs plasma weapons and shaped charge attacks)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Alliance Vehicle: Sanctuary-Pattern Emergency Response Vehicle

ST/HP: 65

Hand/SR: +2/4

HT: 12

Move: 3/60 (+8)

LWt.: 2.3

Load: 0.8

SM: +4

Occ.: 2+7S

DR: 250/150*

Range: 250

Cost: $2.2M

Loc.: 4rRgX

*The Sancutary-Pattern Emergency Response Vehicle has DR 250 on the front, and 150 on the sides, top, rear and its gunshield. This armor is composite armor: double DR vs shaped charges and plasma weapons.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Alliance Vehicle: Charger-Pattern Combat Hovercycle

ST/HP: 40

Hand/SR: +3/3

HT: 12

Move: 5/100 (+10)

LWt.: 0.56

Load: 0.2

SM: +1

Occ.: 1+2

DR: 90*

Range: 700

Cost: $530,000

Loc.: 2ErR

*The armor is diamondoid; halve its DR vs crushing damage.

Monday, May 13, 2019

ARC and Maradonian Military Doctrine

Today, we continue the series on military vehicles in the Psi-Wars Galaxy.  Last time, we looked at the Empire and their "Imperial Combine" manufactured military vehicles.  Today, we look at their prime enemies and the default "heroic" faction of the Alliance.

I've been wanting to talk about them for awhile. When I wrote up the Empire back in Iteration 6, I also wrote up a series on how I saw the Empire fight their wars.  With the Alliance, I began to do something similar, but I don't think I ever released it, and I know I didn't finish the vehicles because they proved complicated and, by this point, I had already grown disgruntled with the Spaceship design system.  I needed to really build everything from scratch and think my way through their different tactics.

But I like the Alliance because it presents such a contrast to the Empire, but they also represent a fairly unique faction for the setting.  The Alliance, with their focus on elegant aristocracy, space knights and a precognitive preisthood, represent an obvious deviation from the Psi-Wars inspiration of Star Wars, and I feel like their doctrines and military vehicles, despite some obvious inspirations from Star Wars (such as the Valiant by way of Starhawk by way of X-wing) represent a very different way of war.

So, as usual for these series, I'll start by talking about how the Alliance engages in war and what their priorities are.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Review: Katana Zero

A friend of mine pointed out Katana Zero to me a few years ago and promised it to me for my birthday. I only just now got it because it only just now released.  Was it worth the wait?

In a word, yes.

I had high expectations of the game.  I expected lightning fast combat, nintendo-hard levels reminiscent of Super Meat Boy or Dust Squad.  I expected a brilliant soundtrack.  I expected a moody, cyberpunkish, neo-noir storyline with hints of unreality and conspiracy in it.  What I got was a masterpiece of game design crossed with an amazing storyline and a wicked good dialogue system.  I didn't expect a retro action-platformer to evoke so much from me, from the frustration of the wild, brilliant, super-hard boss fights to the satisfaction of watching a playback of my fights where my character is moving too fast for you to track thinking "Is that me playing?" to a wild, convoluted, amazing storyline that has me wanting to play it again, to better explore the world, to understand what's going on.

It's about $15 on GOG (or Steam, if you prefer).  It plays like a cross between side-scrolling Hotline Miami, Prince of Persia and Spec Ops: the Line.  If that speaks to you, then the game is better than you think.

Normally I fill these reviews with the good vs the bad and an analysis, but I'm still digesting it, so my thoughts mostly boil down to "Wow.  WOW!"

But is it Psi-Wars?

I'm not going to lie: that trailer there inspired the Dark Vigil chapter.  I loved the idea of a samurai lounging in a nightclub with time control powers that let him rip through his opposition while navigating an underworld filled with crime, and so that's what came out of it.  After playing the game, I think I can give you a few more Psi-Wars elements out of it.

I do want to say this, though.  One of my big frustrations with Star Wars and people who are "strong in the force" is that this always translates into how well they fight or how much they can lift.  We never really get a visceral sense of what the Force can do other than telekinesis and occassionally some people sit around glaring at one another and we go "Oh, telepathy," or they find no useful information in the future.

In Psi-Wars, I wanted to emphasize how "power" might mean deep insight into the future, or absurdly good reflexes.  I wanted to make you understand what makes a Templar a monster to fight, and it's not that he can throw big rocks at you.

Katana Zero captures that perfectly.  Most games sort of give you victory, with most NPCs having slow or dull AI handling them so you can creep really close or kill a bunch before they've even noticed you.  Katana Zero does no such babying. If someone sees you,  you have maybe a second before they shoot you, and they can see you and shoot you from all the way off-screen.  I've seen minor NPC mooks shoot thrown weapons out of the air (mostly by accident, but still).

Your character sees it all.  Every mistake just means you reset and now you know how it will play out.  You know every move they will make before they make it.  Nothing will surprise you.  You can slow time to a crawl and parry bullets, dash past opponents and take out 5 guys before they can blink despite their armor, shields and guns, and the game didn't just give it to you,  you earned it.

That's honestly how I think a Jedi should fight.  Perhaps it's too hard to bring across in film, but perhaps I can achieve it in RPG form, and this game certainly achieves it in video game form.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Patreon Post: Clarktech and using Technology as Magic

For this month, my patreons voted for "Technomagic," which in this context means technology that fulfills the same role as magic in a fantasy-like setting. I was pleased to see this topic voted up as it was, as it's been a bit of a hobby of mine for the past few years to ponder how one could create a fantasy-like character with nothing but material out of GURPS Ultra-Tech.  The ideas found their way first into the Dark Engine in my unpublished Protocols of the Dark Engine, then into the Deep Engine of Psi-Wars, and it informed previous games I've run like Blackout Saga.  I personally find that a dash of science fiction, if handled well and noted used as a bait-and-switch, adds quite a bit of spice to a setting.

This document focuses on setting building, do's and don't's of techno-fantasy settings, suggestions for handling an overall magic system using technology as its basis, and what specific technologies, if taken out of their usual context and given a fantasy skin, might look like.

I've made this a Patreon special as it feels more like the sort of thing that usually ends up as a special, and as a thank you to my patrons.  So, if you are a Patron ($1 is all I ask) enjoy!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Blog Roadmap: May 2019

April was not a bad month for the blog at all.  We've added three more patrons (a special shoutout to Shinanoki, if they don't mind), and while our views did not exceed last month's, they came close.  For a quiet month, it wasn't so bad.

Personally, the month was richly rewarding and also very difficult. I've been the sickest I've been in my life (and I'm still sick: this is the flu that never goes away), and I've been hard at work helping my wife with our new baby girl, and celebrating my son's second birthday!  April is a busy month.

I took my free time to play with a few ideas, especially the idea of a more explicit dive into a conspiratorial take on Psi-Wars.  It's always been there, but the more I look at it and the more I explore it, the more I think it's a necessary addition, or at least, a necessary clarification.  My patrons seem to agree, given how much weight the Elite Knight got in the poll.

The patreon polls for the topics of the month have a theme: Technology as Magic, so I'll touch on that in a broad post (or three) outlining Techno-magic: using ultra-tech as magic, the dangers, the pitfalls, some tips, musings on the themes and narrative options it creates and some specific examples.  The Psi-Wars request is essentially the same: the Deep Engine, the Eldothic "Techno-magic" element to the Psi-Wars setting.  I've got a lot of it worked out already for the full Patreon post I did some time ago, so it's a matter of cleaning it up and expanding a few elements.  Expect to see both of these this month.

Some men in black masks visited me in the night, and quietly pointed to GURPS Action 2, then to my Psi-Wars wiki, and nailed a note written in blood to my wall: "Campaigns begin."  I think the Secret Council's message couldn't be more clear: I need to collate the rules I've been working on for so long into a cohesive place so people can use them.  I've begun, but given the strain on my time, I don't know how much I'll get done.  We shall see. Hopefully the Secret Council will be pleased.

Our signature artist is almost finished with the Slavers portrait, and I think it's turned out quite well!  Expect to see at least a Patreon preview of the Slaver race soon, and with luck, a full blog post.

I haven't forgotten the vehicles we were working on.  The next set is the Alliance, and I currently have 4 ground vehicles and 2 starfighters.  I suspect I'll have them all done soon enough, and will begin to reveal them one by one on the blog soon.

That should be it for May.  I don't know how many of these priorities I'll manage, given that I go back to work, my son isn't going to get less rambunctious and my daughter is still quite young, so my wife will be tired and in desperate need of sleep and help, but in between moments, I'm sure I can get some things written.

See you then and again, to all of my patrons, thank you for your support.  You make this possible.

Friday, April 26, 2019

A Psi-Wars Historical Timeline V: The Eldothic Era

This is the final post of the history series: these are the earliest events of "Recorded history" in Psi-Wars.

The Primordial Era (100,000+ years BD)

The official history of the Psi-Wars Galaxy begins with the Eldoth and their first Galactic Empire, but civilization in the Galaxy did not begin with them. Something built the Hammer of Caliban and hollowed out the Labyrinthine worlds. Something built Azrael and the Adversary that the Eldoth would later fight are, themselves, ancient beyond even Eldothic description. Little is known about the Primordial Era, and it is left to GMs who wish to tackle the era to fill in the blanks. Possibilities include:
  • A civilization of the Skairos that spanned Sylvan Spiral, the Glorian Rim and the galactic core that meddled with human evolution and mostly perished in some great war against some terrible enemy (perhaps the Adversary or the Anacridian Scourge), but not before arranging to bequeath their civilization to humanity as a successor species and warning them of a coming calamity.

  • An elder cybernetic civilization that came from beyond the Galaxy and created Azrael (or was a civilization of enormous, world-sized “robots”) that once held all the galaxy in sway, or threatened to destroy it, before first being defeated by some civilization and then, later (in a much weaker state) by the Eldoth. They may have some connection with the Anacridian Scourge.

  • The Shapeshifter race has forgotten its origins or its purpose, but most evidence points to their being an artificial race created for some purpose by some impossibly ancient race. They may date from this era.

  • Communion is probably a completely natural phenomenon, but some fringe Communion theories speculate that Communion might be an artificial construct, a sacred psyshic engine similar in function to its more diabolical twin, the Deep Engine. If so, its lynchpins were created in this era, likely in the Sylvan Spiral or the Umbral Rim.

  • The Morass and its Leviathans are probably natural evolutions, but the Sylvan Spiral was not always infested with both. In the Primordial Era, the Sylvan Spiral was clear of both, and in this era, something may have made them or some events may have transpired that allowed for their rapid infestation of this galactic arm.
     

The Eldothic Union

~6000 BD The Eldoth Awaken (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~5150 BDC Lithian; ~-25gc U Eldothic)

The Eldoth begin to explore the space of the Arkhaian Spiral. They have very primitive forms of FLT travel, so this takes a very long time by modern standards. During this phase, they mostly set up colonies

~5500 BD The First Age of Chaos (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~4650 BDC Lithian; ~-10gc U Eldothic)

Once Eldothic colonies have been established and they begin to more regularly interact with one another thanks to slowly improving FTL travel, they find their civilizations have sufficiently diverged that they no longer have any sense of unity. The small “star states” begin to raid one another for technology and resources. They also regularly come across other aliens that they can experiment on and incorporate into their small empires. Their movements into the core and fringes begin to give them their first encounters with what their archives will later describe as “the Adversary.”

~5300 BD The Deadzone and the Corruption (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~4450 BDC Lithian; ~-2gc U Eldothic)

The first experiments with the Deep Engine go horribly awry, creating an monstrous, planetary-scale Broken Communion zone and an entity within it referred to as the “Deep Corruption.” The Eldoth are able to contain the planet as the core of the Deep Engine and contain the entity within the Deep Engine itself, locked away behind layers of security, but it still moves within the pan-galactic network, lurking behind safeguards, seeking a way to get out and express itself.
This naturally results in the total extinction of a species.

5251 BD Eldothic Universal Time (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(4384 BDC Lithian; 0gc U Eldothic)

The Deep Engine experiments conclude with the successful creation of the Deep Engine and its initiation on multiple worlds, thus networking them together. This moment is chosen as the arbitrary “cycle zero” of “universal time”

~5200 BD The First Eldothic Union (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~4300 BDC Lithian; 1gc U Eldothic)

Increasingly concerned by alien threats and united by the Deep Engine, the Eldoth set aside their differences and form a “Union,” governed by “the Convocation of Exarchs” representing each major state and faction within the Union, and administrating their own local portion of the Deep Engine. This council is physically located on their homeworld of Sepulcher.

~4700 to ~4500 BD The Great War with the Adversary (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~3800 to ~3600 BDC Lithian; 17gc to 23gc U Eldothic)

The coordination afforded by the Convocation of Exarchs allows for a deep push into the troubled Galactic Core and into the Fringe (the Anaciridian Cloud), where they definitively encounter and catalog what their archives refer to as “the Adversary.” The Adversary is associated with Azrael, locked away in the Core in the present day, and its dangerous minions located in the Anacridician Cloud on the Fringe of the Arkahaian Spiral trying to reconnect with it.

The Adversary initiates a war with the Eldothic Union, who are forced to defend themselves. This Adversary War lasts two hundred years, during which Deep Engine cores are broken, leading to more Broken Communion “Dead Gods” and more Deep Engine corruption. Entire Eldoth worlds are shattered during the war The Eldoth create their servitor race and their engines of war, such as the Titans, to defeat the Adversary, and even then, they are only able to force Azrael into a “slumber” state.

~4400 BD Eldothic Empire (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~3500 BDC Lithian; ~25gc U Eldothic)

Once the Adversary War completes, all of Eldothic culture is rocked by the aftermath. They pick up the pieces, repair what they can, seal away Broken Communion corruption and rebuild their society. Their culture has been deeply affected by the war and their near extinction, and slowly becomes deeply militaristic and paranoid. While still called the “Union,” the culture changes enough to mark a new epoch in the government and most human and Ranathim histories of the Eldothic Union begin to refer to it as the Eldothic Empire around this point.

~4400 to 3200 BD The Eldothic Conquest (The whole Galaxy)
(~3500 to 2300 BDC Lithian; ~25 to 65gc U Eldothic)

With an overriding goal of ensuring the safety of the Galaxy from the inevitable return of “the Adversary,” the Convocation of Exarchs set about bringing the entire Galaxy to heel. This required the creation of new Dark Engine nexuses, bringing new alien populations in line, scouring the universe for Adverserial taint, and ensuring that none posed a threat to the new Eldothic order.
The conquest took time, as the Eldoth were methodical, and because their form of hyperspatial travel was far slower. Worse, they ran into serious problems when attempting to conquer the Glorian Rim and the Sylvan Spiral. In the former, they encountered the Maelstrom and, according to Deep Engine archives, a manned Hammer of Caliban which fired upon their vessels and destroyed them, forcing them to retreat. Similarly, the Morass proved too difficult for the Eldothic Empire to conquer and this forced them to retreat.

~4000 to 3500 BD Ranathim Colonization (The Umbral Rim)
(~3100 to 2600 BDC Lithian; ~40 to 55gc U Eldothic)

The Ranathim, like most early star-faring species, colonize the local regions around them using slower, more primitive forms of hyperspatial travel. These colonies begin highly independent of one another, prone to raiding one another for slaves, and developing independent cults.

~3600 to 3200 BD Keleni Colonization (The Umbral Rim)
(~2700 to 2270 BDC Lithian; ~50 to 60gc U Eldothic)

The Keleni begin their colonization of the Hydrus Constellation, bringing their temples and True Communion with them. Their colonization efforts use primitive forms of hyperspatial travel, but they also move slowly to maintain close ties to one another, creating a unified Keleni star-nation named “The Temple Worlds,” focused on their homeworld of Temjara and the dominance of the “royal” Kihita Tribe.

~3500 to 3400 BD The Blood War (The Umbral Rim)
(~2600 to 2500 BDC Lithian; ~55 to 57 gc U Eldothic)

The disparate Ranathim colonies have bloomed into full star-nations and begin to wage outright war upon one another during this era. The war begins to spiral beyond pirate raids and into full conquest and total destruction of populations, much to the horror of other Ranathim who all agree that the war should stop, but do not want to be the one to surrender to make it happen.

~3400 BD The First Tyranny (The Umbral Rim)
(~2475 BDC Lithian; ~57 gc U Eldothic)

The homeworld of the Ranathim, Ranagant, rises supreme over its colonies, and establishes the first Tyranny. The Cult of the Mystical Tyrant claims its lineage begins with this Tyranny, and claims Ozamanthim founded this first dynasty. However, this may be revisionist history, as evidence from this era suggests the first founder was “Anthara” or “Mythamar,” and the character of the Mystical Tyrant cult of this era was much closer to a typical Divine Masks cult (though the Divine Masks, as a unifying concept, did not yet exist), with the Tyrant channeling the power of a divine “Mystical Tyrant” while in an ecstatic state as a means of making policy with “divine” assistance. This ends the Blood War.

~3300 BC Keleni-Ranathim Contact (The Umbral Rim)
(~2400 BDC Lithian; ~60gc U Eldothic)

The growing influence of the first Ranathim Tyranny ran into the growing power of the Keleni temple worlds. For the first time, the practitioners of True Communion encountered practitioners of Dark Communion. In these heightened tensions, Ranathim pirate raiders fought skirmishes with Keleni temple guards, Keleni merchants swapped relics with Ranathim cultists while offering new ideas. The two sides cautiously appraised one another: the Keleni horrified but not yet willing to commit to a full military response, and the Ranathim fascinated by the beautiful and strange Keleni.
This era also saw the first contact between the Ranathim and the Trades of the core, who carried with them the stories of Eldothic horrors.

~3200 BD The Keleni Apocalypse (The Umbral Rim)
(~2270 BDC Lithian; ~65gc U Eldothic)

When the Eldothic Empire reached the Keleni Temple worlds of the Hydrus constellation, they came across a force they did not understand or know how to combat: True Communion. Or, more specifically, the holy sites of their temples. Those who followed True Commonunion had a knack for cleansing the regions of “twisted psionic energy” that the Deep Engine needed to function. This threatened the whole of the network that the Eldoth had created and, despite their obvious technological inferiority, this power gave them the ability to resist the Eldothic advance. Horrified by what they found, the Eldoth turned their attention from the rest of the Galaxy and poured their firepower down upon the Keleni worlds and overcame them. They flattened temple complexes and enslaved and moved entire populations to the Arkhaian spiral to study, so they could better understand the phenomenon. This shattered whatever nominal power the Keleni had in the Galaxy, which they would never truly regain.

This era sees the first creation of “psi-blades,” used by Keleni insurgents to channel their psionic rage against the Eldoth and strike back to defend their people, a controversial move by the generally pacifistic species.

~3100 to 3000 BD The Great Monolith War (The Galaxy)
(~2200 to 2060 BDC Lithian; ~66 to 70gc U Eldothic)

The Keleni Apocalypse woke the Ranathim Tyranny up to the true danger posed by the advancing Eldoth war machine. From nowhere, a great power descended and destroyed a rival like they were nothing. The Ranathim hardened their defenses and prepared to resist. They used spies to subvert conquered populations and convince them to rebel, and they stole secrets from the Eldoth. With stolen Eldoth secrets, they created the Gaunt, and most True Tarvathim date from this era. Their cultists and priests used Dark Communion to send Deep Engine sites spiraling out of control and unleashing and even controlling the Deep Engine.

Despite great losses, the Ranathim marshaled their new technologies, their dark powers, and the discontent of the galaxy to drive the Eldoth all the way back to their homeworld and achieve something the Adversary hadn’t been able to do: defeat the Eldoth. Nothing remained of their empire by the end of the Monolith War.

(The Eldoth may have been fighting a two front war at this point. Constantly vigilant against the return of the Adversary, it seems a second wave from beyond the Fringe of the galaxy had struck and the Eldoth had been forced to split its forces and were thus unable to prevent their own destruction at the hands of the Ranathim).

~3155 BD The First Mug Incursion (Speculative) (The Sylvan Spiral)
(~2221 BDC Lithian; ~65gc U Eldothic)

According to the Lithian calendar, this would be a moment when the Draco Cluster was “open” and the Mug could have entered the Galaxy. Some records from the first Tyranny, during the chaos of the Monolith War, report raids by pirates and the use of mercenaries that might match either the Sathran or the Mug.
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