More Robot Wars

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Timeline

2030s: Moore's Law finally begins to fail as new techniques to further improve electronics become economically unviable.
2050s: New gravitational and structural physical theories point to the possibility of traversable wormholes and gravity control.
2060s: Human augmentation and transgenics become common, early rejuvenation therapies introduced. Countergravity introduced, which while bulky and crude, bring the cost of spacelift down to that of air travel. Start of the second space age and Mars Colonization.
2070s: Invention of the Quantum Transition Engine, enabling fast in-system travel via a macroscale quantum 'teleportation' effect.
2080s: Development of wormhole technologies, resulting in static traversable wormholes and continuous-wormhole drives. Due to the limitations of the latter, ships with CWDs are used to seed static wormholes for sublight passage.
2090s: Interstellar colonization begins, and is the main release for the various social forces remaking the nations and institutions of the Earth. The Great Diaspora.
2060s-2100s: Various local conflicts, ideological shifts and disruptions due to unfettered use of emergent technologies chaotically reshape the Earth.
2100s: Long-term stability issues with first generation wormholes become apparent and second generation wormholes are sent out at sublight speeds.
2120s: First generation wormholes begin to destabilize and are closed to physical traffic, politically isolating maybe more distant colonies. First recorded instance of an iteratively improving human-AI hybrid (a 'posthuman'), outside of Solar-policed space. Machine Scare.
2130s: Development of the 'Tunnel drive'. While still cumbersome it nonetheless allows a certain freedom from the use of wormhole transit. Second Diaspora, primarily by small groups, sometimes little more than family-sized. Neuroquantum Aleph Effect discovered.
2140s: Solar colonies struggle for sovereign recognition, start of long-simmering disputes between Earth and the Jovians (so named because one of the primary wormholes had been placed in Jovian orbit). Charter of the Solar Federation signed, covering all worlds connected to Sol by wormholes at the time.
2170s: Adoption of the early Transgenic Tests. Generally seen as the start of de facto transgenic dominance of the Solar Federation.
2190s: Disputes between the Terrans and Jovians finally spill over into a proclamation of succession by the Jovians, resulting in the System War. The Jovians are eventually defeated and re-absorbed into the Solar Federation.
2200s: Solidification of various mutual defense alliances among outer rim worlds as security bulwarks against the Solar Federation. Mop-up operations in several Jovian-aligned worlds to root out holdouts. Adoption of 'imperial' policy by Solar Federation. Invention of the Zero Time Transit Jump Drive by outer rim scientists.
2210s: Seraphim Organization goes public.
2235: Current Day.

Factions and Entities

Solar Federation

From its capital in Geneva on earth, the Solar Federation rules the entirety of the Sol system and many of the near-Sol colonies. The Federation is hailed by its proponents as the best society earth has ever seen, fighting poverty, oppression and war like no previous political system has and, in the view of some, the last government Humanity will ever need.

Its critics however regard it as a device by which Earth and Mars transhuman elites rule humanity. This is due to the system of exams and tests that control appointment to the higher levels of Sol Fed Bureaucracies, the military and other civil service (and most business) positions. These tests are almost impossible for most “normal” humans to pass, but are much easier for the increasingly common transhumans.

While the civilian government remains democratic, the civil service, military and upper echelons of business are now dominated by transhumans. Humans and transhumans are rated into an ability letter, drawn from the exam system, from F (usually normal humans) to S (the highest grade of transhuman) with S Class being given positions of extreme power and responsibility, this has led to accusations of the development of a new nobility in Sol that bypasses the old democratic system with back-channel dealmaking between the new lords of creation.

Despite this, most people are happier, richer and less likely to be a victim of violence than they were before, and the Sol Fed remains very popular even among its lowest-ranked citizens.

Political

Solar Federation Senate

Military

Solar Federation Fleet

The 'big stick' of the Solar Federation. While they lack the individual expertise and effectiveness of INTACT ships and pilots, the Solar Fleet has a lot of battleships.

INTACT

The Independent Tactical Armoured Counter Terrorism unit. The Solar Federation's mecha-SS, FBI and Homeland Security all rolled into one.

Corporations

Tenshi Corp

A newcomer to the economic landscape of the Solar Federation, Tenshi corp has gone from an obscure think tank to a techno-industrial juggernaut in a single generation. Supplying cutting-edge equipment to various arms of the SolFed they have won contract after contract and swiftly became a fundamental component of the SolFed's military-industrial complex. This has spawned incessant speculation ranging from the plausible (bribery on a vast scale to various Senate members) to the outlandish (the Seraphim are secretly mind-controlling the Senate and various important military figures with alien technology).

Nivium Aerospace

Lunar-based Nivium Aerospace is a primary SolFed contractor for air and space fighter craft.

Ares Integrated Defense

Mars-based AID was the primary SolFed supplier for ground combat weapons during the System War, though it has lost substantial market share to Tenshi.

Westland-Shanghai

An immense heavy industry company that made its fortune during the colonization era, building everything from universal tractors to terraforming plants to prefabricated buildings.

Bank of Earth

The largest bank in human space, the BoE has market capitalization equivalent to every other top ten bank put together (all of which are themselves huge entities). While normally seen as nothing more than a unbiquitous fixture, rumors have it that the BoE has been covertly engaged in various shady deals on independent worlds.

Organizations

The Futurists

An 'Old Boys' network dedicated to advancing the security and interests of the Solar Federation, by which is meant a strong central government run by transhumans. Primarily made up of veterans of the Solar War, it can be seen as something of a spiritual successor to organizations like the Grand Army of the Republic.

Cypress

An pro-baseline organization that rejects the Solar Federation's philosophy of total dissolution of national borders and transgenic testing, claiming that the Solar Federation is working to homogenize humanity and eliminate cultural diversity to solidify the power hold the transhuman elites possess.



Outer Rim

The closure of the first generation wormholes led to a well-organized period of isolation in the outer colonies. While a few second-generation wormholes had already been established, many were a decade or more from arrival.

Political

Sagittan Union

The Sagittan Union is a multi-national organization that has its roots mostly in the 21st century Euro-American long-range colonization missions, centered around a first-generation wormhole and the subsequent radiation outwards from that. While having a strong transgenic population like the Solar Federation, the Union differs in having a much stronger socialist slant, the policy of subsidizing upgrades dating back to the isolation period. Some outside observers would expect the Federation and the Union to be natural allies, however the latter's tacit support and cooperation with the Jovian faction, including the sheltering of various refugees and former soldiers has led to a state of cold war between the two.

The Union has a relatively developed technology sector, thanks to both the large fraction of transhumans in the population and the work of a number of prominent Jovian scientists relocated in the aftermath of the System War. No amount of technical development could bridge the immense gap in resources though, and like most Rim polities the Sagittan worlds range from populated and advanced first-stage colonies dating to the late 21st century to frontier worlds of less than a million people.

League of Outer Stars

Another major Rim bloc, the League of Outer Stars is a dominantly baseline polity that existed as a loose trading group in the early 22nd century. It was the System War that really caused the development of the League of Outer Stars however, various independent colonists who traded with one side or the other faced punitive raids, unrestricted warfare on commerce and other. This caused several of the stronger independent colonies to band together into the League of Outer Stars, a diverse group committed to the goal of keeping the colonies free of Sol’s interference or control.

In the post war world, the League watches the new Solar Federation with suspicion and continues to build up its military forces, ready for a possible confrontation. Many of these military forces are based around mobile dolls, automated mobile suits operating independent of human guidance, which the League’s Space Armada plans to use in vast numbers to counter earth’s high end transhuman pilots. Relations between the Sagittan Union and the League veer between warm and cold, though the looming behemoth of the Solar Federation focusses the minds of either.

White Rose Kingdom

A political dynasty stretching over several star systems with its capital on the ocean world of Godford. As the name implies, the White Rose is a monarchy, with an elected lower house and has existed for decades as an oligarchical ruler of many millions of colonists. Now equipped with large numbers of second-line mecha and substantial political support from the Solar Federation, the White Rose is a rising contender amongst the multitude of distant colonies at the edges of SolFed space. In truth, the White Rose is a client state of the Federation and is used as a potential second front against the Sagittan Union. The recent assassination of the crown prince by assailents unknown has thrown the Kingdom into a panic however, and witch hunts have begun to root out the regicides.

Outremonde Republic

Outremonde was a dissapointment of a world and a stark demonstration of the limits of remote sensing in the late 21st century. While 'habitable' with a reasonably breathable oxy-nitro atmosphere, Outremonde had a climate far more disagreeable than anticipated. Nonetheless a wormhole was a substantial investment and the European backers laboured to make the most of it. Tailored bacteria was cultured and fired into the oceans and lakes by the kiloton and workers braved the blizzards to construct the fortress-cities that would become the halmark of Outremonde. Enticed by the promise of full employment and generous settlement credits tens of millions braved the interstellar gulfs to settle on Outremonde. Additional wormholes were sent out towards promising nearby worlds for secondary colonization efforts - this time with proper FTL surveying beforehand.

Unavoidably cut off when the direct wormhole to Sol was closed, Outremonde had its own period of 'glorious isolation' cut cruelly short by the unforeseen collapse of part of the orbital soletta network tempering Outremonde's climate. This and later crisises against exhuman raiders solidified the strong central Outremondian government and led to the commissioning of the first warships for the Outremendian Fleet and the formalization of military and political ties with its daughter colonies. Over the past half-century the Republic has watched the developments surrounding the Solar Federation with something approaching alarm, concerned with both the hierarchal transgenics and the militarism.

Bharat Commonwealth

One of the most populous extra-solar polities, Bharat is the result of a major Indian colonization effort. Facing substantial environmental degradation and continual overpopulation in the late 21st century the Indian government seized on the opportunity to ship people offworld into virgin territory. Unfortunately old, old cultural norms die hard and, isolated between the closure of the first-generation wormholes and the arrival of the slowboats with second-generation wormhole termini, transhuman technology reshaped Bharat's culture. By the middle of the 22nd century Bharat had solidified into a transgenic caste-based society, with higher castes having superior augmentations.

The Solar Federation's adoption of the placement tests and the resulting classification of its citizens into various grades of transhumanism was portrayed by its detractors as a partial step towards the caste system of Bharat, to the consternation of many Solar politicians. Many will indignantly claim that they place people based on ability, not give people abilities based on placement. Overtly negative comparisons were often hallmarks of the late 22nd century, though as the populace became used to the policy and Bharat officially aligned itself with the Solar Federation the practice faded.

Republic of Cygnus

The Republic of Cynus is named after the binary star system 16 Cygnus where its first wormhole and capital was placed. Colonized predominantly by the ASEAN block was fairly prosperous and a stable ally of the Solar Federation. Transgenic technology flowed freely and many parents took the opportunity to augment their children. Unfortunately, sectarian disputes and inefficiently applied genetic-economic incentives marred this stability. These would have been the simple colonial growing pains that all new nations went through had their peak not coincided with the System War. Attacks by Jovian raiders on the helium scoops in 16 Cygni and the subsequent destruction of the graviton condensory in Theta Cygni plunged the Republic of Cynus into an energy crisis. While at first the citizens drew together, social and ethnic faultlines soon began to fissure. Uprisings began as lower classes with inferior or no augmentation marched for better programs. Sectarian disputes blossomed into sectarian violence. Forgotten grievances were dusted off and trotted out. The military had to step in to restore order.

Fourty years later, it still is. Rabble-rousers and militants vanished into the poorly mapped wilds and heavy-handed attempts to control the situation failed to make a lasting impression. The vicious infighting that nearly tore the Republic apart was eventually contained but at the cost of many civil liberties. Today the Republic of Cygnus is a distorted mirror of the Solar Federation, with transhumans in all key positions in both the civil and military spheres and a government dominated not by civilian officials, but military ones. A focus on the capital and other important systems has let insurgents dig themselves in on several outlying systems which has not endeared the Federal government to the locals. The Solar Federation maintains ties with the Republic of Cygnus, though pundits question the benefits these bring to the Federation.

Democratic Republic of Axum

Military

The Red Dogs

Transgenic mercenaries for hire. Possibly with an all-girl fanservice brigade.

Corporations

Tensor Corp

Shady technology and shipbuilding conglomerate. Probably has a pyramidal HQ.

Organizations


Other Polities

The Seraphim

A pro-trangenic organization shrouded in mystery, the Seraphim were originally part of the Space Independence Alliance around Saturn until their defection from the Jovian cause, bringing vital military plans and codes that ultimately lead to the decisive defeat of their earstwhile allies by the Solar Federation. Today the Seraphim have been accepted by the inhabitants of Sol and now reach through every aspect of the Solar Federation. Their influence is felt from the very tip of the spear, in INTACT field units, to every aspect of the defense industry. Seraphim personnel comprise a larger percentage of the SolFed military every year, and their presence in the defense industry through Tenshi Corp, unknown a generation ago, has ballooned enormously, rendering them by many estimates the single largest defense contractor in known space. Their overt assets range from core worlds, to Sol itself, to hundreds of distant colonies bent on research and discovery in the name of their mysterious rulers.

Neo Jove

Neo Jove are the remnants of the Jovian forces that fled Sol and the rest of the Inner Sphere after the end of the System War. Some settled in Sagittan space while others feel back in to prepared boltholes, preparing for the eventual day of liberation when Jupiter will rise again.

Rifters

'Going beyond the Aquila Rift' has become slang for baselines departing the Solar Federation's power pyramid where many feel disenfranchised by a system based in part on genetic valuation. While the early Federation was quite happy to see the backs of malcontents and nonconformists, in modern times there is the opinion that letting so many groups with real or imagined grudges against the Federation depart has proven to be a manifestly poor idea. The addition of various ex-Jovian forces, up to and including main-line (if obselescent) warships has brought an extra urgency to those voices clamoring to 'deal with the Rifter problem'.

Exhumans

The Exhumans are, like Rifters, primarily made up of individuals or small groups that left the constraints of 'civilized' space. However, unlike Rifters which primarily left to escape the Solar Federation's pyramidal power structure, Exhumans instead sought to augment themselves beyond human limits via both transgenic and cybernetic technologies outside of the Solar Federation's monopoly on the techniques. Espousing any number of personal philosophies ranging from the Will to Power to radical libertarianism to violent revolution to simple greed they are thankfully mostly found in the outer rim.

The Engo

One of the most radical 'pure' transgenic groups out there, Dr. Alexis Engo departed Earth a century ago to perform her work unfettered by conventional morality of the time, creating twelve bloodlines based on different types of animals.

History

The Jovian Junction

At the dawn of the wormhole era, the Jovian Junction was the center of outbound transits. The plethora of lagrange points and free energy in the Io flux tube made the Jovian subsystem a natural starting point for wormhole generation; while the techniques of inflating a wormhole exploited 'phantom' energy and other tricks, they still required substantial amounts of energy. Even with the closure of the first-generation wormholes due to logarithmically decreasing stability and virtual particle production, the Jovian subsystem remained host to over half of Sol's second-generation wormholes. Consequently the Jovian subsystem became a major port of call and shipbuilding center and by the early 22nd century it had eclipsed Mars as the most inhabited part of the system outside of Earth itself. However the political representation never caught up to the economic growth and dissatisfaction was rife.

The presence of the Jovian Junction was what made the System War so massive and so long. While smaller than the Solar Federation forces, the Jovian seperatists had a massive industrial base and a single defensible location leading to rear areas that could supply manpower and resources without fear of interdiction. It was only late-war intelligence coups including the secret defection of the Seraphim that enabled the Federation to break the Jovian stronghold.

Historiography of the System War

The civil war between the Solar Federation and the Jovian seperatists was one of the Great Wars of human history and the only interstellar war to date. It should therefore be no surprise that the System War is the subject of intensive national myth-making in the Solar Federation, where it is hailed as a triumph of unity over parochal local interests and rebellious 'splittists' and 'seperatists'. It is treated as a Just War, with a narrative that paints it as a choice between civilization or anarchy.

Of course the Jovians have their own view of it, that being the Solar Federation retained too much power on Earth and was irresponsive to the concerns of the colonies. The war was one against the increasingly tyrannical central government to liberate the colonies. For many of the Jovians who still follow the cause, the original motivations have become irrelevant next to that of revenge.

For their parts, the League of Outer Stars and the Sagittan Union have a generally negative view; the League especially, as it was ostensibly neutral to both sides and as a result suffered attacks from both. This has solidified the anti-Federation views in the League. The Union was sympathetic to the Jovian desire for more indepence or else a greater voice and consequently suffered both militarily during the war and politically afterwards and regularly turns up as a rhetorical target for Federation politicians.


Technologies

FTL Technology

Quantum Transition Engine

First developed in the latter half of the 21st century, Quantum Transition Engines (colloquially known as QTEs or ‘Cuties’, or Q-Drives for the more straightlaced) revolutionized space travel. A non-newtonian propulsion method, they generate a macroquantum effect that essentially ‘tunnels’ the QTE and surroundings across significant distance. The effect propagates directly forward at the speed of light and as such does not violate relativity. However, as it takes substantial time to recycle a QTE between jumps, the effective pseudovelocity is far below c, rarely exceeding ~1 light second jumps every 10-12 minutes for high-performance units and giving an effective pseudovelocity of 4-500 kms or about 1 AU every 4 days. Outside of strong mass influences (several tens of light-seconds of distance for the Earth, for example) the quantum effect can travel much further before dissipating, resulting in approximately an order of magnitude increase in pseudovelocity. This is known as ‘high cruise’.
Despite many years of use, the performance and general design of QTEs has not improved markedly since the late 21st century; a QTE from an American Trailblazer deep-space cruiser circa 2090 would recycle in 25 or so minutes instead of every 12 like that of a Jovian Federation Endeavor destroyer’s, circa 2190. Growth in the speed of cargo ships has been essentially nonexistent with typical peudovelocities being in the 2-2.5 light second/shour range. Durability, fault tolerance, size and cost have improved however, and few ships of any size built in the past century are not fitted with a QTE.

Static Wormholes

The primary method of interstellar travel in the 23rd century is via static wormholes. These allow conventional sublight ships to cross the gulf between stars in speed and ease. While the original wormholes were spread by sending out terminus onboard a continuous-wormhole FTL ship, this had unexpected long-term stability issues and within thirty years, all had been shut down and their energy bled off to avoid a catastrophic failure event. Today, wormhole termini are moved outward at zero-gauge size onboard compact antimatter-powered ships, to be inflated to traversable size upon arrival - the energy costs of moving an inflated wormhole (along with the relativistic implications on the travellers) would be prohibitive.

Continuous-Wormhole Drive

The oldest and most common method of 'free' interstellar travel is via continuous-wormhole drives, or CWDs. They generate a zero-gauge wormhole between two points and push a 'bubble' of normal space time along it. While (fairly) flexible, they require substantial exotic-matter machinery and power input, increasing geometrically for linear increases in speed. While the state of the art has improved, the early termini-carriers 2070s could barely make 20 c with a payload mass fraction comparable to early chemical rockets. As a result, ships fitted with CWDs are fitted with sleep tubes for the months that they may spend in interstellar transit. Developments in the mid-22nd century allowed for a CWD to essentially 'follow' the spatial distortion of a nearby static wormhole, greatly increasing the transit speeds of the ship. While the Solar Fleet keep this technology secret for decades to its advantage, by the System War it had become widely used across known space.

Wake Tunnel Drive

An outgrowth of CWD technologies, 'tunnel drives' essentially seperate the wormhole generator and the payload into two (or more) seperate ships. The Boreships are made up complerely of enhanced CWDs that can maintain a longer-lasting tunnel, through which normal sublight ships can follow, rather like ships following in an icebreaker's wake. Privately owned Boreships have proliferated and have driven a rennaissance in private exploration and colonization and of course various governments have large fleets for both civilian and military use. The massive guide arrays on Boreships make them unmistakable.

ZTT Jump Drive

Zero Time Transit drives are recent innovations in wormhole technology, completely reworking various fundamental aspects of CWD operation. As the name implies, they use zero-time wormholes for (functionally almost) instant interstellar jumps, the ship and its transit metric rotating between two astronomically distant positions. The weakness is that jump range is limited to approximately 8-10 light years and as a consequence ZTT-equipped ships must 'dogleg' to cover large distances, sometimes substantially. ZTT-equipped ships are recognizable by the large toruses of the drive guide arrays. Sagittan scientists pioneered ZTT technology and significant effort was undertaken to keep the existence and capabilities of these drives from the Inner Sphere. While SolFed has since begun its own experiments, its internal lines of communication and stategic situation have kept ZTT drives something of a technical curiosity.

Graviton Condensates

One of the most important breakthroughs in FTL technology was the ability to 'condense' gravitons for long-term storage. As a graviton interaction was at the heart of wormhole creation and manipulation, the ability to use previously-generated graviton 'fuel' meant that wormhole motors could be made substantially smaller for a given mass-velocity relation. Swiftly adopted in shipyards across human space, by the 2120s graviton condensate (colloquial, 'GC') fueled continuous wormhole drives and the graviton factories needed to support them had driven a revolution in interstellar shipping and made non-wormhole bulk travel affordable. By the '50s the techniques had also been adapted to QTEs, which, while not leading to nearly as impressive performance gains, did still reduce cost and size.
Today, GC tankers are a common sight across known space, transporting their vital cargo from the condensaries to the distribution points. These ships are normally little more than large frameworks of GC containment bunkers with a drive at one end and a control cabin at the other. Some are modular, swapping out loaded containment bunkers for empty ones in an endless cycle, others pump it directly to fixed storage. Military fuelers normally also have large tanks of pressured fusion premix and reaction drive mass, making them a one-ship fueling station.

Antimatter

The only fuel sufficiently energetic to allow for effective sublight interstellar travel and thus the towing of wormhole termini from one system to another, antimatter is restricted by multiple treaties and international inspection teams for that purpose only. All antimatter factories are inspected on a regular basis and partially dissasembled when not in use; the spectre of weaponized antimatter proliferation has been sufficient to keep all major and minor human nations in agreement on this restrictive control regime.

Further Pages

More Robot Wars system mechanics
More Robot Wars Character Creation
More Robot Wars characters

More Robot Wars Technical and Military Notes

INTACT Mobile Weapon Armory
INTACT Mobile Weapon Recognition Guide
INTACT Ship Armory
INTACT Ship Recognition Guide

Old Stuff

More Robot Wars Character Creation (old)
INTACT Mobile Weapon Recognition Guide (old)
INTACT Ship Recognition Guide (old)