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Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Looking at the Inter-Stellar Concordium

Jean Sexton muses:

When I started playing Star Fleet Battles Galactic Conquest, I started by playing the Frax. When a person left the game in the second ongoing campaign run by Mike Incavo, he thought I might be interested in inheriting the Inter-Stellar Concordium. I gladly accepted this much larger empire.

Through careful alliances I built up my empire to be a formidable place to attack. I became known as the ISC Queen as I used in-game rhetoric to help keep enemies at bay until I would be ready for war. A dear friend attacked my empire, letting me learn more about how combat and stationary defenses worked. I knew it was a diversion to pull my forces south, but no one outside my alliance knew that I had so much income that I had built multiple starbases, had put money into research and development to build fighters much earlier than expected, and then had enough money to put those fighters on disputed borders. (Lots and lots of fighters as one foe discovered to his dismay -- and enough money to replace them all the next game turn so his damaged ships were facing fresh attrition units.)

When I came to ADB to work on the RPGs, I started looking at the one-paragraph species description of the species that inhabited the ISC. They seemed so one-dimensional, except for the Veltressai. Q'Naabians are the weird-atmosphere guys. Pronhoulites are Gorn-lite. Rovillians are from the water planet. And Korlivilar are a cross between Kzintis and Lyrans, the obligatory nod to the cats.


I wanted them to be so much more, to be their unique selves. I started with the Q'Naabians because there was a conflict in their information -- were they chlorine or ammonia breathing? What's this thing they have with history? That turned into an article in Captain's Log #51. Steve Cole told me the next issue of Captain's Log needed another article, so I moved to the Rovillians and they appeared in Captain's Log #52. A story came in about the ISC, and suddenly it became necessary to develop their government, based on chats Steve and I had earlier. I hadn't grasped a point in the first story about the ISC and that became a look at how the ISC found out more about the Gorns and Romulans.

As Steve and I chat and I look at the information about the Early Years ships of each nation, I slowly find out more about each of the species. The Pronhoulites have ships named for people; those names suggest a background of a kingdom. The crew quarters of the ISC ships have to be modular so that Rovillians can have a small pool, Q'Naabians can have their chlorine, Korlivilar can have their quiet, Pronhoulites can have their warmth, and Veltressai can have an entire Quad in the room.

As we work on each part, slowly the bones of an ISC Sourcebook are coming together. I look forward to working on it.