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Space terrorists (not exactly)

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The player is the Emperor of a galactic empire.

 

Among other obstacles the player will face I have a certain mechanic that works very similar to "terrorists":

- a notorious group that want the Emperor to fall (for whatever reason)

- they do not have planets (you can't attack them), yet they might have some bases (but destruction of all these does not mean destruction of the faction)

- they can spawn hostile fleets directly inside the player's territory and from then approach imperial fleets and instalations (so no bombing or terror or at least not only but a sort of "invasion from inside").

- they do so on regular basis and can't be eradicated fully

 

 

Now I want to understand them :)

- why are they doing it?

- how they are getting funding?

- where they keep the ships and why imperial security can't track these easily?

- do population supports them, if yes to what degree (what if they are usurpers or radicals or some sick sect no sane person supports)?

- how they call themselves?

 

 

Note: I want just to talk about it, so partial off topic is welcome, I just want to understand them a bit better. Of course there might be more than one of such organizations.

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The answers to those questions may depend heavily on your setting, including its technology, and perhaps the themes in your work.

 

A few ideas:

 

Since I'm currently replaying Deus Ex (the original, not Human Revolution), one thought that springs to mind is opposition to consolidation of power, or to dictatorship: they might object to the emperor's rule on the grounds that said emperor is a dictator forcing his will onto others whether they want him or not, or simply because, by bringing the various planets under one state, he's eroding the autonomy of those groups.

 

As to funding, they might get under-the-table donations from local governments that similarly dislike imperial rule, but that daren't express that sentiment overtly. Another source might be piracy, or looting in the wake of the emperor's wars.

 

As to tracking them, that's trickier to answer without knowing your setting's technology--they might have cloaking devices, or tracking ships might be inherently hard in the vast emptiness of space, or they might have found or otherwise acquired some piece of alien technology that masks their trails.

 

Ultimately, I suppose that the question is: in your setting, how does one usually track a ship?

 

As for where they keep their ships, they might have sympathisers amongst the spaceports, where their ships are "mislabelled", or "accidentally" left off of the books; otherwise, they might have--or take possession of--out-of-the-way space stations.

 

As to popular support, that depends heavily on who they are, what they fight for, what information the public has, and what the public thinks and believes...

 

As to a name, again, that may depend heavily on their nature, goals and culture.

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Since I'm currently replaying Deus Ex (the original, not Human Revolution)

I love that... Everyone loves that game! Also, I like how you didn't even consider someone might assume you were playing Invisible War or The Fall.

 


by bringing the various planets under one state, he's eroding the autonomy of those groups.

Particularly if those planets have what people in our time would call a 'strong national identity'. Another idea is that there should be a surge in hostilities whenever some planets are suffering, or just when others are much better off.

 


no bombing or terror or at least not only but a sort of "invasion from inside"


they do so on regular basis and can't be eradicated fully

So they attack your military and can't be completely eliminated. Maybe all your generals secretly want your job, and try to eliminate all the troops who are actually loyal.

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I love that... Everyone loves that game!

It is a great game, I do believe--albeit that, playing it again now, I do notice its age in a few things, especially movement mechanics. Nevertheless, it's weathered the years very well, I do believe.

Also, I like how you didn't even consider someone might assume you were playing Invisible War or The Fall.

Hahah, I didn't mean it that way! XD In the case of Invisible War I would likely have said "Deus Ex 2", and, well, to be honest I forgot all about The Fall... ^^; Edited by Thaumaturge

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Well there's the old fashion motive of the Emperor is a malevolent dictator that everyone wants to see fall. There is also the chance that they want to put another in the Emperor's place, perhaps a puppet  king that they can control. There is also the idea that they are just mad, and they want to create as much anarchy as possible. I mean, look at ISIS.  They think they are doing what's right, however there is no real logic to their actions. So you guys could be some sort of religious extremists. As for funding. There is the usual way that bad guys make their money. Suppose they are smuggling some kind of drug, item, or even people for wicked purposes. These are the ways that the real baddies do it, why not space baddies? Then again, if they are good rebels, they might not engage in such activities. They might try to drum up support among the people, and pass money through secret channels Certainly if these guys are considered the good guys, they will certainly get funding. Then again, good guys can still be smugglers. Maybe not drugs or people, but other items people might need or want. Like supplying a planets that is being blockaded or something.  It could be that these space bandits have some kind of cloaking device that hides them from unfriendly eyes. What this would be or how it would work, I don't know. It is probably viable to hide a base using one, but it would have to be very powerful. Another idea is to put your bases in an asteroid field like Star Wars smugglers run. That would be cool.  As for a name, I'm a bit lost on that one. "The Rebel Alliance" is taken so can't go there. Plus it's kind of boring.  For bad guys maybe The Horde, for good guys maybe Invictus (invincible)?  Anyway, just thoughts. Whatever you want to do is best. Cheers!!

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Now I want to understand them :)
1- why are they doing it?
2- how they are getting funding?
3- where they keep the ships and why imperial security can't track these easily?
4- do population supports them, if yes to what degree (what if they are usurpers or radicals or some sick sect no sane person supports)?
5- how they call themselves?

1 always has to be to achieve a political aim through fear, otherwise they're not really terrorists ;)

Some tropes:
1- your empire is occupying another state, who wants their independence back.

2- individual freedom fighters using their own personal resources.

3- they're private ships until the moment they're used for an attack (revealing the owner).

4- there's many sympathisers against the occupation, but not publicly because no one supports the killing.

5- (occupied state)-freedom/liberation/democratic/republican-forces/army/league... Etc...



1- your governance is seen to be at odds with individual freedom, leading to rebellion.

2- Foreign anti-empire enemies use their intelligence services to make contact with cells of sympathisers and to covertly smuggle funds/assets/training, or overtly provide aid packages to areas under attack by your anti-rebellion forces.

3- They're innocent ships that have been hijacked - hijacking airliners has always been a powerful terrorism trope.
Or, They're your ships, stolen from your bases that were reached by the rebellion.

4- it's hard to tell. All the universe's media is only publishing propaganda. There's support on both sides, split largely by geography (distance to your capital/strongholds).

5- The general people's congress, the transitional council, (season/landmark)-(peoples) e.g. sovereign-square martyrs.



1- Your say: because they hate freedom, they're a death cult, they're murderous madmen. Really: because they give you an excuse to weild an iron fist. Whenever there's unrest at home or your popularity drops, have your secret police blow up a Cafe housing some of the rabble raisers (while blaming the terrorists). Two birds with one stone!

2- the 'black income' of your own intelligence services. Drug running, extortion, etc...
If your own government has no transparency, then you can find them directly.

3- inside your own secret internal security bases. The anti-terror squads are lower ranking than internal security.

4- you run honeypot operations, having security pose as supporters to find actual supporters, so you can send them to the gulags.
The citizenry just wants their local Cafe to stop being nail-bombed, so they support any action you make.

5- you give them an Emmanuel Goldstein like figurehead for people to direct their hatred at, and give the group a foreign name similar to an actual enemy culture, to encourage nationalism.

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Important note:

- I have the "terrorists mechanic", but I don't want it feel like terrorists :) Or at least not much, I mean, I don't want any associactions with the real world... Like players thinking "they are just like XXXX". So, preferably make these not appear like terrorist (at the first glance) or make them appear as *space* terrorists.

- do not use nationality as the motivation, it makes ne sense with the game lore (the player starts with one home planet and then all other planets are conquered from aliens or colnized uninhabited planets)

- and the most important THEY ARE THE BAD GUYS, at the Emperor (the player) is the good one :D

 

About the overall mood of the game:

Think about an old bureaucratic empire. With an imperial court, internal politics, intrigue, etc. The coruption is quite high and unavoidable, some might want to overthrow the emperor and take over the throne. There might be some slight (but just slight) association with feudalism (but there are no nobles per se, just bureaucrats and imperial officials).

 

Technology:

Well, it's actually quite shabby for an SCI-Fi theme. Especially the availability. There is the technology and the empire can use avesome stuff, but common people still live on most planets leading quite a simple life, tending to farms and cows (overall tech level for commoners would be lower than in modern times). Note a high availability of various alien ancient artifacts and ruins (the remains of old races, which rapidly extincted around 10,000 turns ago :)) So, it's a bit of a galaxy that is leaving the dark ages period (and still far to reach the tech level of their predecesors).

 

Misc:

- There are various aliens around, so there could be aliens traders that could supply these terrorist factions.

- Curruption empire wide is commen (actually, each official has 3 stats one of them being corruption, so that aspect is quite important :D), they could easily acquire smaller stuff with money by bribing various officials

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If I understand what you're saying, you want to include a mechanic that is similar to random terrorist attacks, but without dragging the emotional weight of that subject into the game? You want it to be clear that these are "bad actors", you don't want the player to sympathise with them as freedom fighters or whatever?

 

It seems what you need is to invent some unsympathetic reason for this low intensity, random combat. Examples might included:

* Automatic defensive A.I. robots from conquered / ancient races, occasionally being tripped up and activated

* Shape shifting aliens that infiltrate and attack for inscrutable purposes

* "Grey goo" style self-constructing / adapting machinery gone haywire, evolving weaponry and suddenly surging in numbers

* Ship A.I. / Ship virus overriding human control, infecting or spreading and bent on eradicating anything it cannot subvert

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If I understand what you're saying, you want to include a mechanic that is similar to random terrorist attacks, but without dragging the emotional weight of that subject into the game? You want it to be clear that these are "bad actors", you don't want the player to sympathise with them as freedom fighters or whatever?
Exactly (except the random attacks, these are more planned and scheduled, also less terroristic and more military - instead of bombs targetting population they deploy small fleets and try to rush for a rebelion/takeover/weaken the state).

 

Note they are Terrans (race of the player's), so no aliens/robots.

 

I was thinking about some sects/political factions/usurpers/other madmen. Like a faction that believes the empire should be dissolved and the Terrans should come under the rule of the alien hive's queen. Or a faction that has a "better emperor" (it's all lies of course, only the player is the best and the rightful emperor capable of saving the human race!)

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Sounds tough. Almost any "Terran" or human motive, save maybe doomsday alien cults or some kind of alien mind control, is going to have to be rooted in believable motivations, which will have analogies in the real world and thus have the kind of problem you're trying to avoid.

 

After all, no matter how you try to portray these factions as "bad guys", people won't necessary believe it - simply because "terrorism" is one of the big scapegoats in the real world. We've all seen the attempts to dehumanise, dismiss and vilify opposing interests as being rooted in some form of terrorism, or trying to link disparate groups with a hated "other".

 

Players in tune with this thinking will naturally question any black and white picture presented of these factions, and may question the accuracy of any alleged atrocities used to support claims about their motives.

 

This isn't just an issue for this specific mechanic - while most people would naturally support the human side of an apparent intra-species war of extermination, some of your players might even question whether the war was as necessary / unprovoked as it may be presented!

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I was thinking about some sects/political factions/usurpers/other madmen. Like a faction that believes the empire should be dissolved and the Terrans should come under the rule of the alien hive's queen. Or a faction that has a "better emperor" (it's all lies of course, only the player is the best and the rightful emperor capable of saving the human race!)

 

I'm sorry, but this made me think of The Borg. However there have been human groups I suppose that sort of function in this way. Consider the rise of Mao and the Cultural Revolution in China.  It was definitely a single minded mentality when the Communists decided to take over.  So it does sound like you are saying that you want these guys to be strict baddies, getting the hate of all who are loyal. This is probably because the Emperor is sort of the player character. In that way, their goal could just be to wreak havoc. Then again, that's boring. So maybe putting their man and their way of thinking on the throne and the people is the end-game here. Which, considering that these are bad guys and not freedom fighters, makes sense. This may be an idiot question, but what is your Emperor like? Is his character shaped by the player? Just wondering.

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Hmmm, maybe let's forget about the "terrorists" parts for now. And think about some group inside the empire that opposes the Emperor.

 

What would they want? How they are named? Who supports them and why?

 


This may be an idiot question, but what is your Emperor like? Is his character shaped by the player? Just wondering.
No... The Emperor is not represented and is most likely not a character at all, it's just the player. Like in basicly all strategies (civilization, all 4X, etc).

 

In short the emperor IS YOU :) So obviously he/she is the most smart, competent and up to the job person that was even born in the whole universe :)

(how glad I am I can count on natural player's megalomania here, no player will question how marvelous and natural born leader the Emperor is :))

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So is this kind of like a Tropico 4 type game where you have your malevolent ruler and the player is basically in charge of what happens in the universe? However the Emperor is not really a player character but merely a representative character? If this is the case, then the usurper situation or the baddies trying to take out the pathetic infidels might be a good way to go. 

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They might be like "Rebel Alliance of Star Wars" or "Barbarians of Civilization" depending on your purpose. It might even be related to how Emperor treats people, rebel fighters if you're harsh, evil ones if you're benevolent.

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You can have it be an impromptu alliance of sorts. A good theme could be that when pushed by a large enemy, even unsuspecting allies emerge. Not all of your opponents are self-interested but a few are, that's the nature of an alliance of necessity. 

 

You can have terrorists turn coat on each other for you as well by this logic. 

 

Ships can have run around bureaucracy. With one man attempting to control large swathes of territory there is bound to be a bureaucratic problem. They might have paid off a few people in your cabinet. 

 

They also attract other prospective emperor investments from elsewhere. Ultimately they can be portrayed as a ragtag bunch consisting of ideologues, actual criminals, and those who want to succeed YOU. The power here is that you kill them all the same.

 

I dunno, this sound good?

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