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- Oct 2008
Stellar Empires for Critical Event Gaming (Wargame)
So I'm working on a wargame based on Critical Event Gaming and Stellar Empires 2 Prologue (or whatever it's called). This is connected to the thread I posted here, but in this thread I'll be looking for reviews of what I've got done so far, and some help with the template, that is, Engineered Life.
This second is what I'm looking for most at the moment. Before I continue, here's what I've got so far (it's just the species).
Charismatic: Hominids form far more complex social structures than any other species-type, making them superior at navigating even alien societies. Hominids have a noticeable talent at diplomacy, politics, and trade.
Natural Leadership: Some hominid species are even more charismatic and persuasive than the rest. Whether their social structures are more cutthroat, or if they simply have more brain power devoted to social interaction, they are just better at it.
Tool Talent: Hominids have fewer innate tools than most other species, making them excellent mechanics and workers, provided they have the tools they need.
Master Craftsmen: Some hominids don't really have the same kind of ingenuity when it comes to tools, relying, instead, on the same old tricks, that are always up to snuff. But a rare few hominids can do both, maintain a higher minimum of quality, while still being able to innovate.
True Ingenuity: Truly exceptional hominids know their tools so well, that the quality of materials is less important to them. Whether creating a trap with the flimsiest of materials, or fixing an engine without the right kind of wrench, these hominids can do it.
Ambitious: Of all the species that organize easily into groups, Hominids are the most individual-centric. While this does mean they are most likely to care for the plight of another individual, it also means that they all want to be on top of the social ladder. This means that hominids often have to deal with internal strife.
Three Dimensional Thinking: Avians, at least those who can fly, are literally made to be able to think in three dimensions. This makes it far easier for them to master aerial and space combat.
Ace Fliers: Some avians are not just capable fliers, but natural acrobats in the air. This makes their aerial maneuvers even more impressive, and means they have the best pilots around.
Mob Tactics: Some avians have had to deal with larger birds, and so have learned to work together to force them away. These avians are not only talented aerial combatants, but also excellent at flying in unison, and particularly at taking on bigger targets with many smaller ships.
Agile: Avians are extremely quick, often having to escape a predator at the last minute. As a result, they extremely quick reflexes.
Flash of Color: Some avians not only have fast reflexes, they themselves are streamlined for speed. This has obvious uses, including often making them better pilots than any other race can manage.
Gliding: Even the bulkiest avians still have vestigial flight feathers, enough at least to let them glide. This allows them to use some tactics unavailable to land-bound troops.
Flight: Most avians have retained the enviable ability to fly, which permits even more tactics, and allows them to move around faster than other species. They can't, however, carry much extra weight.
Fragile Structure: Unfortunately, in order to be light enough to fly, Avians have had to develop hollow bones or similar structure, making them far more likely to incur breaks or similar wounds.
Monocular Vision: Avians, having evolved from prey, have poor depth perception, although it does make them slightly harder to sneak up on.
Three Dimensional Thinking: Like avians, raptors can think quite well in three dimensions, making them exellent at aerial and space combat, especially fighters.
Ace Fliers: Again, like some avians, some raptors are natural aerial acrobats, making them undeniably dangerous as fighter pilots.
Big Threat: Some raptors are such successful hunters that the advantage of size and power is so well understood to them that they can even apply it to larger ships, making them skilled at maneuvers, even with clumsy ships.
Hunter's Instincts: Raptors are descended from birds of prey. As a result, raptors are naturally aggressive, proactive, and natural hunters and fighters.
Warrior Training: There are raptors who take those instincts, and hone them from birth. Members of these cultures are not only aggressive, but dominating, not simply proactive, but full on ambitious, and not merely talented hunters and fighters, but some of the best in the galaxy. Even those who aren't soldiers can fight well enough to defend their homes.
Gliding: Much like avians, all raptors still at least have vestigial flight feathers, enough at least to let them glide. This allows them to use some tactics unavailable to land-bound troops.
Flight: Those raptors who can fly are by far the most dangerous of the species-type. Stronger than avians, raptors with full on wings can really take advantage of all the ability offers, though they aren't exactly hard to spot unless they're flying way up high.
Fragile Structure: Raptors, like their avian cousins, have had to make some structural sacrifices in the name of lightness. As a result, raptors rely more on hit and run tactics, striking like a lightning bolt, though they are still generally more durable than avians.
Loners: The birds of prey that raptors have evolved from rarely formed larger social structures than the mating pair. As a result, raptors don't work terribly well with others. While this can be mitigated somewhat on ships by limiting the need for crew cooperation, it means they have a clearly notable lacking in diplomacy.
Naturally Organized: Hivers have an inbred social structure, the leaders lead, the soldiers fight, and the workers work. Each member is suited to their own role, and they rarely have any desire to change it.
Hive Mind: Some rare hivers have a unique connection, while each individual is just that, they are also a piece of a greater whole. Because the leaders of these hivers often are the hive mind, rebellion is practically unheard of, and the entire society functions seemlessly. However, due to the nature of the hive mind, it can't be aware of every detail of every location.
Exoskeleton: Thanks to their tough outer skeletons, hivers, like insectoids, are far harder to damage, though they do sacrifice flexibility.
Natural Weapons: Some hivers have natural weapons beyond simply nails or teeth, such as spikes on their carapace, extra sharp mandibles, full, clacking claws, or even, sometimes, poison.
Fast Healing: A few hivers have extra thick carapaces that are able to heal faster than any other creature's outer hide. It takes extreme effort to damage one of these hivers, and even then, they may heal.
Numerous: Partially because they have such an organized society, and partially just because that's how they are, hivers reproduce faster than most other species, and mature faster too.
A Place for Everyone: Many hivers even have dedicated breeders. Sometimes this is the queen caste, simultaneously birthing thousands while administrating to her people, and sometimes it's a separate caste altogether.
Inflexible: Hivers are bad at adapting to new challenges as individuals, and are generally uncreative.
Chain of Command: Among the hivers a thing is done because it needs to be done. New ideas are rare, and always come from the top. As a result, they aren't great at dealing with other species in trade or barter, and some have difficulty with diplomacy as well.
Exoskeleton: Just like their Hiver cousins, Insectoids have a harder outer carapace. This makes them harder to hurt, but also less flexible and slower to heal from damage.
Natural Weapons: Some Insectoids have natural weapons, claws, pincers, mandibles... poisons. All in all, this makes them far more dangerou.
Independant: Insectoids, unlike their Hiver cousins, are highly independant, making each individual more capable than most members of most other species.
Survival of the Fittest: Because they are so independant, some Insectoids only survive if they are capable of truly excellent work, whatever their task. This means that the average member of this species is far more capable at their main task than others, though it does tend to limit their versatility.
Only the Strong Survive: Some Insectoids are truly brutal, with combat the primary means of asserting dominance. Now, while this doesn't always lead to death, it can for the weaker members of the species, meaning that everyone, from farmers, to politicians, to scientists can fight nearly as well as the average soldier of other species.
Adaptable: Insectoids adapt to new environments faster and more extremely than any other species. This means that they are capable of surviving in more extreme environments, and that other species' natural environments become only minor advantages.
Genetic Drift: Some Insectoids take the adaptability to the extreme, they literally change their genes within a lifetime to adapt to a new environment. Within a couple generations, a brand new subspecies will be formed.
Loners: Insectoids, like Raptors, find that their independance makes it difficult to work in large groups as effectively as other species. They also suffer on the field of diplomacy, where, ironically, they find it hard to adapt.
Slow Growth: Insectoids find it difficult to spread quickly. Between a lack of empathy for each other, slow healing from more grievous wounds, and difficulty breeding, Insectoids' birth and death rates are close together, meaging that their population is limited and grows slowly.
Omnivorous: Porcine can eat just about anything. While other species are mostly also omnivorous, Porcine take this to a ridiculous degree, being able to eat many more types of food without side effects than other species. This means that it is rare for Porcine to be unable to find something to eat, and that they adapt fairly easily to new foods, even alien ones. It also means that there are somewhat fewer effective natural poisons that effect them.
Stomach of Steel: Some Porcine have digestive systems that can process practically anything. While they can't get sustenance from everything, almost nothing can hurt them by passing through their digestive system. This means that poisons, toxins, bacteria, even radiation is unlikely to do anyb harm by being ingested.
Good Nose: Porcine noses are better than most other species, they can detect far more smells, and identify them more reliably.
Acute Sense of Smell: Some few Porcine have such incredible sense of smell that they can practically see with their noses.
Trauma Overdrive: Anything that doesn't kill a Porcine only makes them stronger, for a while at least. Whenever most Porcine are hurt non-fatally, their body jumps into overdrive, making it nearly impossible to put them down for several hours. This also means that a grievously injured Porcine is often capable of walking themself to the hospital. While in this state, they do lose some of their finer degrees of control however.
Berserkers: Some Porcine cultivate that state of heightened energy, becoming capable of turning it on and off at will. These Porcine are true terrors on the battlefield, able to fight even when their body is filled with bullets. Howevver, this berseker state is, again, not good at finer controls, and is considered a state of impaired judgement. It is also exhausting to be in this state for terribly long.
Controlled Adrenaline: Other Porcine species are capable of retaining control while in the state of extreme power. This is far more useful for spaceships, where a crew member who knows he's going to die can continue to do his job until the last minute.
Can't Sweat: Porcine don't have effective sweat glands, leaving them less capable of cooling off. This leaves them less able to deal with warmer climates or other areas of extreme heat.
Short and Stubby: Porcine don't have terribly long arms or legs, leaving them less than agile.
Independant: Ursine, while more cooperative and diplomatic than Insectoids, are still extremely independant. Again, this leaves them far more capable than other species, at least as far as individual projects go. They're a touch worse at coordination, but not by much.
No Weak Link: Some Ursine have behaviors built into their society that cull the weak. Usually this takes the form of a trial of independance, though there are other forms. Whatever the case, the individual emerges having grown stronger and proved their capability or dies. Ursine of this type are less numerous, but far more dangerous.
Enforced Coordination: Ursine find it difficult to bow to authority, intensly valuing their independance, but some are able to acknowledge the benefits of cooperation, and are willing to subsume themselves more fully than most Ursine to a worthy leader. Of course, worth is often tenuous. Ursine of this type coordinate and cooperate with one another better, but are somewhat more prone to internal conflict and revolt.
Big and Sharp: Ursine are big. They are easily the biggest species with their average height being at least 6.5 feet, and almost always the strongest species. In addition they have dangerously sharp claws and teeth, making them a force to be reckoned with.
Massive: Some Ursine even dwarf other Ursine races. These Ursine can average as high as 8 feet, giving them far more physical strength than any other species, which they can use in battle, in construction, or any other kind of laborious work. This does make them larger targets, but also more durable ones, more or less balancing survivability in combat out. Fitting places can be an issue when dealing with smaller races.
Natural Travelers: Ursine are often naturally good swimmers, and their claws can be used to climb. This gives them a mild mobility advantage over other species, though it is more often utilized by their Spec. Ops. rather than any regular military force.
At Home in the Wild: A few Ursine species never lose their natural affinity with the wild, being able to traverse it with ease even after a long life spent in the city. This allows them to travel faster through wilderness, among other minor benefits.
Freedom Loving: Ursine do not like being controlled. This makes them untrusting of any kind of government, and especially the kind that enforces great amounts of control over them. In any case, they tend to do what they want regardless of laws. This can be a pretty serious source of problems, such as shoddy craftsmanship, criminal gangs, and other social problems.
Stubby and Sharp: Ursine, like Porcine, have rather stubby legs, and their dexterity and agility suffers for it. Plus, their claws and size can make fine manipulation a touch difficult for them, meaning anything involving that is slower.
Obediant: Although not blind to bad leadership, Canines do not work against their leaders, making them dependable and trustworthy. Unless their leadership is in contention, something which is almost always readily apparent, a leader's orders are carried out immediately.
Loyal: Some Canines are a bit blinder when it comes to their leaders. While this means that they are slower to respond to poor leadership, it also means it's harder to rile them up against their leaders. It also makes them far easier to control, direct, and command.
Pack Hunters: Canines are naturally good at coordinating attacks, or coordinating anything rapidly and naturally for that matter. As long as they have a clear leader and target, Canines are excellent at working together.
Natural Strategists: Some Canines are able to grasp even the big picture instinctually. Generals of these species are extremely talented, often touted as some of the best strategists and tacticians in the galaxy. Far more incredible, however, is the fact that even the troops seem to have an instinctual understanding of the sweeping tactics of war, to the point where they sometimes find themselves carrying out orders they haven't received yet. Their response time to orders is unparalleled.
Seamless Hunt: Few species can match these Canines' ability to function as a squad on the small scale. With minimal training and practice, they can attain an instinctual understanding of what their comrades will do in battle, and work together as a team to an unparalleled degree, even putting less talented Canines to shame.
Good Senses: Canines have both sensitive noses, and versatile ears. They can pick up subtle smells and identify them, using them to detect and track other creatures. Their ears are also capable of wider ranges of hearing than most, and can hear quite well at great distances as well. Finally, their eyes have the ability to see very well at night.
Natural Trackers: A few Canines have an instinctual knowledge of tracking, capable of finding a target with minimal training. When fully trained, it becomes nearly impossible to evade them, especially since they hunt mostly by smell.
Poor Eyesight: Aside from their nightvision, Canines don't have much going for their eyes. They are often colorblind, can't pick out patterns as well as most species, and just generally don't have great eyesight.
Blind Obedience: Although not likely to continue to follow a leader who shows themself to no longer be worthy of the position, Canines also often don't think about the orders they're given, simply carrying them out. This means that moral attrocities and dogmas are more likely to pass through a Canine society unopposed, and a bad decision often won't be recognized as such until later.
Stealthy Hunter: Felines are known, one and all, for their ability to stalk, pounce, and take down their prey. When it comes to covert ops and tracking, Felines have a great deal of natural talent.
Extreme Agility: Felines are also known for their speed and agility, but some of them excel over the others. These more dextrous Felines are often capable of sudden bursts of great speed, ability to turn on a dime, and extremely fast reflexes. They also tend to be able to do fine detail work faster than most species.
Vicious Predator: Some Felines are so dangerous that even other kinds give them a wide berth. These Felines are among the most dangerous animals in existence. Not always as big as some species, they are nonetheless capable of doing a lot of damage very fast.
Natural Climbers: Felines are skilled climbers, with built in claws capable of pulling them up. This is mostly limited to softer surfaces like wood, though some felines are also capable of climbing mountains.
Natural Swimmers: Although most Felines don't like water, some of them are very powerful swimmers. This versatility can make them dangerous.
Good Senses: Felines are among the most gifted when it comes to their senses, while not as good smellers as Canines, or as good at seeing as most Reptiles, they have the best senses overall, sight, smell, and hearing. They also have excellent night vision.
Sixth Sense: Some Felines seem to be in tune with something that other species aren't, and can simply identify details they shouldn't have noticed, or sense an approaching danger they should have no way of knowing about.
Territorial: Felines are not good at dealing with new people or places. They are also very protective of what they consider to be theirs. While this makes them excellent defenders, it far more often makes diplomacy difficult, makes colonization dominated by young, inexperienced Felines, and can lead them to hold when they should retreat.
Low Stamina: Felines aren't really built for long runs or fights, relying instead on a higher peak output to take their target down. Felines therefore tire quickly, and aren't really built for long exertions.
Climbing or Burrowing: Rodents either climb trees, or dig underground hide outs for themselves. Rodents only get one normally, though they can get the other as a specialization. Climbing Rodents have an affinity for heights, as well as skill at climbing, while burrowing Rodents have an affinity for being underground, and the senses necessary to thrive in low light.
Gliding or Tunneling: Some Rodents have the ability to glide gracefully from great heights, while others can tunnel through solid rock. The former are safer while operating at high altitudes, as well as having a unique view on tactical situations, while the latter are able to build vast, hard to find networks underground; although they do tend to like heights much less.
Proliferous Breeders: Rodents have oodles of children. They have them a lot at once, and fairly frequently. Their population growth is rivaled only by Hivers.
Rapid Maturity: Although all Rodents have many children, only a few mature at an astounding rate. Although they do tend to live shorter lives, the speed at which they can pick up new skills is unparalleled.
Able Adaptors: A few Rodents are capable of adapting to just about any environment, even without tools.
Small: Rodents are smaller than other species. This means they need less food, take up less space, and have some logistic advantages, mainly in concealing themselves.
Agile and Flexible: Some Rodents are even faster and more agile than others.
Small: Rodents are small. This has a few advantages, but also has many disadvantages, such as fragility, physical weakness, and shorter lifespans, on average.
Overwhelming Numbers: Rodents often grow too fast for their own good. Overcrowding can be a problem, even in the space age, though because of their small size, food shortages are far more likely. Additionally, they have more disease vectors, making them particularly sucseptible to plagues and the like.
Dermal Armor: Whether scutes or scales, Reptiles have a protective layer on their body. This armor serves to protect them somewhat from harm. Though not as strong as an exoskeleton, it also doesn't visibly impede flexibility.
Shell: Some Reptiles have an outer shell that encases the majority of their body. Practically an exoskeleton, it has some significant advantages. The first is that the presence of skin and an internal skeleton means that piercing the shell is not automatically a fatal wound. The second is that the shell heals more quickly from damage, whether it's serious or negligible.
Poison: Some Reptiles have an elegantly subtle natural weapon, the ability to produce a virulent poison. The effects can vary, and sometimes a single venom functions differently on different alien species. Ultimately, the venom is a subtle and difficult to remove weapon.
Excellent Eyesight: Reptiles have better eyes than most other animals, except Raptors. Although mostly limited to daylight, they still have a sharp clarity that can pick out details at a distance that would be hard to impossible for other species.
Infrared Vision: Some Reptiles have sensors that evolved from heat pits into full infrared sensors. Capable of detection nearly on the level of normal sight, these sensors provide information even in the blackest of darknesses.
Natural Travelers: Reptiles are almost all natural swimmers, and many are also natural climbers. All reptiles are at least one or the other, and some are both.
Burrowing:Some Reptiles are good burrowers, capable of tunneling through softer dirt, and navigating underground.
Cold Blooded: Reptiles are not designed to maintain their optimal body temperature independantly. As a result, they become sluggish in cold weather, leaving them vulnerable. Reptiles are therefore totally dependant on the external temperature remaining at optimal levels, making many environments unsuitable to live in without expensive advanced technology.
Primitive Minds: Reptiles are, unfortunately, driven more by their natural urges than other species. Although still capable of being very intelligent, they are also more susceptible to emotional manipulation, as well as being obsessed, and all the other dangers that come with extremely strong emotions.
Powerful Swimmer: Intrinsic to being an Amphibian is an incredible ability to swim. Amphibians are more natural in the water than on land. This makes them better swimmers than other species, even though they are relatively clumsy on land.
Lithe Elegance: Some Amphibians are as smooth in the water as a fish, and nearly as good on land. This puts their agility on land on par with or better than most species, though they're still not nearly as good as those species that are explicitly agile. They're also far more agile in the water than other Amphibain species with this level of talent.
Gills: A rare few Amphibians retain the gills they possess in their larval form, allowing them to breathe just as well in the water as on land.
Toxins: Amphibians are soft. As a result, many of them have a toxic excretion that covers their skin, and makes them hazardous to ingest, and irritating to touch. As sentient species, this toxin can be harvested to be used as a poison, but mostly it just makes them unpleasant to fight in melee combat.
Toxic Spit: Some Amphibians can spit a more virulent poison. This is both a more useful weapon, and a subtler one. The Toxic Spit replaces the Skin Toxins.
Cold Blooded: Amphibians are not able to maintain their body temperature independantly. They become sluggish in cold weather, and are extremely dependant on external temperatures, thus limiting their easily survivable climates.
Thin Skin: Amphibian skin is permeable to water. This makes it easy for them to dry out, meaning that they prefer to live in humid climates, and must, at the least, have a body of water nearby. It also leaves them more vulnerable to chemicals and other toxins, which can ride the water right into their skin.
Sticky Climbers: Amphibians secrete a substance that allows them to adhere to surfaces and climb them. They can even climb glass and other artificial surfaces unaided, making them one of the few species capable of climbing buildings.
Strong Jumpers: Some Amphibians have powerful legs, capable of incredible jumps. While hardly equal to flight, it does, especially when combined with their ability to climb, grant them a wider range of accesible surfaces.
Engineered Life - This is applied as a template on top of any one of the non-Artificial species.
So a quick deciphering: The Bold traits are given, while the Italicized traits are specializations. I plan to give each player 3 (or so) points to spend. 1 point for a specialization, 1 for a trait from another species' traits, and 2 for a second specialization (eg, a Hominid with Master Craftsman and True Ingenuity would have spent all their points.) You can also gain a point by giving up a trait or gaining a flaw, but you can only do each once for a maximum of 5 points.
Amphibians are unfinished, needing one more trait and specialization, so any suggestions are welcome, but that's not my main concern right now.
My main concern is, as I said, Engineered Life. EL is a type of life that has been manipulated by technology rather than simply evolution. This includes species that have been engineered by another race for a specific purpose and were then abandoned or rebelled, or a race that manipulated itself. I'm currently planning on the template adding two traits (representing the goal of the Engineering, whether overcoming a racial weakness or granting or enhancing a strength) and two flaws (representing side effects/results of being engineered, mostly for balance). For example, a race that was engineered to be servants/body guards might have traits that grant them enhanced reflexes and naturally appealing bodies, but might have flaws that make them somewhat submissive and make them eternally search for their creators so that they may serve them.
Anywho, I'm looking for suggestions and advice on what traits, specializations, and flaws I should include.