Monday, January 27, 2014

Starships in the Strange Stars

Though the spacecraft of the Strange Stars vary a lot in appearance and use, most of their systems are fairly standardized. Some of this similarity is due to the exchange of technologies through trade, but there is another reason. The level of technology across the known galaxy is lower than in ages past; many ships currently in use are the products of previous civilizations or at least built from parts scavenged from ancient vessels.

One example of a lost technology is superluminal drives. The vast majority of modern craft are sublight vessels that utilize the hyperspace network to short-cut interstellar distances. The most advanced current civilizations have a rudimentary understanding of the science behind some FTL travel methods, but they are are currently unable to build them. Some researchers have noted that the ancients made use of these other methods rarely, suggesting there was something that made the hyperspace network preferable.

The salvage of ancient derelicts or wrecks is an important (and lucrative) activity. Gravity generators and inertial suppressors are only two of the important technologies than many civilizations are able to exploit, but not necessarily manufacture themselves. Intact data systems are a particularly spectacular find. There is always hope of engineering schematic files executable in modern nanofactories.

New or improved weapon systems always find an enthusiastic market. The holy grail for salvagers would be one of the twelve great battleships of the Archaic Oikumene. These vessels were the size of cities and all possessed of sophont minds. Some of these great ships (like Terrible Swift Sword and Leviathan Smiles) are known to have been destroyed. Others (notably Achilles' Last Stand, Fearful Symmetry, and Conspiracy of Ravens) have disappeared completely from history, possibly restructuring themselves into vessels of different types.


  1. That's a nice touch, the old great vessels reconfiguring themselves into new forms.

  2. Thanks1 I figured there must be a few old warships that could learn new tricks.

  3. Makes sense, if your old warships have AIs they wouldn't just settle for their current armaments, would they?

    Would make a fun (if terrifying) scenario - arms deals set up by a ship AI looking for upgrades...

    I mean, how much morality does a sentient warship have? :)

  4. Loves the ship names. That (and the lost ships) remind me of the series Andromeda, which is surprisingly watchable for the first two or three seasons.

  5. @satyre - Very good questions. And perhaps ones with a scary answers.

    @Seaofstarsrpg - Thanks. Andromeda and Banks' Culture novels were in mind when I was thinking of the ship names, though I tried give them my own spin.

  6. I must read Banks - every time I hear about the ships I think oh yeah, I bet he's thought through a load of stuff I've barely scratched the surface of.

    And this is really interesting: networks + a tiny elite layer that doesn't have to play by the rules is my jam.
    When are you running this?

  7. I haven't started yet. I'll probably start in the spring, given a few work things keeping me busy for a bit.