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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Where Do We Go With the Magellanic Cloud?

This is Steven Petrick posting.

One of the things we need to do to advance Module C5 to its next publication is develop the Chomak. There is a problem in that the original designer (Ken Burnside) had a vision for them that we could not accept. Much of his vision is, however, embedded in the history of the Magellanic module.

We are left with a history that pretty much says that the Chomak were, compared to the other known empires in the Magellanic module "invincible" (my word). The history pretty much makes them technologically superior to the other empires because they could essentially "move at will" and the other empires were literally afraid of them. And they resisted the Andromedan onslaught for a decade almost single handed (the other empires had all been reduced to "guerrilla warfare" in that decade).

This makes it impossible for the Andromedans to ignore them. They have demonstrated a capacity to move from their space to any point in the Magellanic cloud sans any significant logistics support (embedded in the history), and conduct combat operations for years (three) while operating in Andromedan held space. Given that the less advanced empires destroyed one, and crippled a second, of three Desecrators the Andromedans had in the Magellanic Cloud, and the power of the Chomak (all this is again in the history), it became impossible for the Andromedans to ignore the Chomak and continue on to the Milky Way. The Chomak might decide to hunt down and take out the last Desecrator, ending the Andromedan campaign there and then.

So Chomak ships and technology need to be powerful enough to overawe the Eneen and Baduvai and resist the Andromedans, but still be weak enough that eventually the Andromedans win.

The history of the cloud is open in some ways. Andromedan losses to the Chomak are not really defined, i.e., we can mess with the arrivals because this was something that was not known to the Milky Way until after unity. But to make the Chomak at least interesting to play they probably need to have some limits that make it possible for an Eneen force to have a chance of winning a battle with them, otherwise the Chomak wind up being a very restricted empire that only plays against the Andromedans.

It is a conundrum, but the original designer's intent that the Andromedans would ignore the Chomak and proceed with their assault on the Milky Way is simply unworkable if the Chomak are as powerful as he intended them to be.

All that being said, perhaps something can be done to develop the "Yrol Septs," which technologically should be on a par with the Baduvai, Eneen, Maghadim, Jumokians, and Uthiki, but they are not likely to make a publishable product by themselves. Even the Chomak and Yrol Septs together as a product would probably include some additional ships for the other five empires, and perhaps some "Magellanic specific" non-asteroid ships for the Jindarian caravans within the Magellanic Cloud.

It has been touched on that someone might develop a set of "linked" scenarios as a campaign of a Tholian force crossing Magellanic space (they cannot stop and set up light housekeeping in the current history) pursued by a Seltorian force, with various battles at various times with various elements of the Magellanic empires. Multi-player scenarios would be possible.