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[Blackwyrm Games] Terracide official discussion thread
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:57 pm    Post subject: [Blackwyrm Games] Terracide official discussion thread Reply with quote

Terracide is Blackwyrm Games' upcoming space opera noir setting for Savage Worlds, and I'm its author, Grady Elliott. This thread is for anyone who's curious about the Terracide setting.

Ask me anything! I'll do my best to answer. (Sorry, no spoilers for the GM's Vault.)

For starters, here's an excerpt from the introduction:

Quote:
2311 A.D.: Earth is a charred husk, rendered lifeless by the Terracide, a relativistic bombardment of unknown origin which sterilized its surface. Elsewhere in the Home System, every inhabited world, moon, comet or artificial habitat is shattered in the same attack. Those who try to return and look for survivors are never heard from again.

In the aftermath, panicked survivors from the Core Loop Colonies near Terra flee to the Frontier, causing a refugee crisis across Terran Space. A military junta takes control of the Core, and begins consolidating its rule over all of Terran Space, while a few stubborn hold-outs prepare to fight for their independence. The Colonial Reserve Fleet suffers from mass desertions, as its crews turn 'private', becoming mercenaries or resorting to outright piracy. And agitators seeking someone to blame for the Terracide threaten to start wars against various powerful alien species wars humanity cannot win.

Humanity's home is now off-limits. Welcome to the rest of the Galaxy. It's dark out there.

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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
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steelbrok
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, this ne has had me interested for a while, here's a couple of questions:

Is there faster than light travel in the setting?

Ship design rules?

Are the aliens typical antagonists or really a scarey off scene background threat?
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steelbrok wrote:
OK, this ne has had me interested for a while, here's a couple of questions:

Is there faster than light travel in the setting?

Ship design rules?

Are the aliens typical antagonists or really a scarey off scene background threat?


These are good questions; thanks!

FTL Travel: Yes! I wanted to use real star maps, and keep the setting focus tight. (a few dozen star systems) So I went with an FTL drive which is a bit slower than some other settings to give the whole thing an "age of sail" feel. Most starships travel at 80-100x lightspeed, so a typical interstellar voyage takes 4 or 5 weeks.

This strongly affects the pacing and tone of a Terracide campaign: characters won't likely go on such a long voyage without a compelling reason, and they'll go with the knowledge that things at home could change drastically while they're gone. This is a good place to note that FTL Communication is quite rare in this setting; limited to "official" traffic only. (A character with the right Connections Edge could use it, with a good roll!)

Ship design rules:
Rather than "reinvent the wheel" I adapted the basic starship design system from the Science Fiction Gear Toolkit for use with Terracide. I've added a bit more detail and made a few changes where necessary, although the weapons list is all new. Those familiar with ship design from the Toolkit won't have to learn a new system from scratch, and they'll be able to adapt old designs without too much trouble. There will also be a good list (maybe 20 or so) of starships designed specifically for Terracide, including several that are well-suited for PC groups.

When it comes to starships, the most important thing in Terracide is the new space combat system. Space combat in Terracide emulates the battles in space opera novels rather than tv shows and movies: they're fought at distances of thousands of kilometers rather than "visual" range. And the ships move like spaceships, not "sopwith camels in space"; I've created a simple set of rules for starship movement that emulate newtonian mechanics (more or less) while keeping Fast Furious Fun in the game. And of course there will be lots of new Edges for space combat! ("A Leaf On the Wind" was the playtesters' favorite.)

Alien Antagonists: In my campaign, I try not to over-use the aliens, and keep them in the background most of the time. That way it's more of a major campaign event when they do finally show up. Actually I've got a number of different alien species in Terracide, and most of them aren't necessarily antagonists, or allies. They're just... aliens. They have their own agendas, and humans might not always understand them. They have technology and information which humans value, and some of them are willing to trade for it. Here's a quick rundown of the most commonly encountered types:

Cytherians: smallish, short-lived, native to worlds with extremely hot, superdense atmospheres. Partly silicon-based, reproduce by fission. Not remotely humanoid; they look like silicon flatworms w/6 legs.

Fluorians: Fluorine-breathers native to very hot worlds; they have a limited form of racial memory. The closest thing to "human" in the galaxy; bipedal and they have a spoken language, but still extremely alien.

Ammonites: rather large, cold-natured ammonia breathers which resemble the extinct terran mollusks of the same name. Difficult to get along with, but not overtly hostile.

Titans: Overtly hostile. Methane-breathing tentacled blobs massing up to 50 tons. Social darwinists who consider property rights subject to personal strength. Not very numerous, but dangerous due to possession of advanced nano-tech.

Jovians: Gas-giant dwellers, several kilometers in size, who have mastered bio-engineering and adapted their own bodies for space travel. Nearly god-like in power and intelligence. Do not annoy them.

Keepers: Cryogenic He3 creatures living on the dark sides of tide-locked worlds in dead star systems; their entire species is quantum-entangled. They trade in information across the entire galaxy.

In your own Terracide campaign, it's up to you how often you'd like to use aliens as the enemy. In the demo I'll be running at MACE Con, I've got rather a lot of aliens: one species as an enemy, one as an ally (of sorts) and another simply in the background. (I'm not saying which ones: no spoilers here.) If you really want a campaign with a strong Humans v. Aliens theme, the most obvious plot-line is to have your PCs investigate the cause of the Terracide, find out who was responsible, and begin a crusade for righteous vengeance in the name of humanity... but they'll need whole a lot of help!
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
Welcome to the rest of the Galaxy. It's Dark Out There.
Coming in 2015.
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seawolf1969
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:06 am    Post subject: Very Excited Reply with quote

I am very attracted to this setting and look forward to seeing more about it in SW. I will post more after I get a chance to read more of the post but I wanted to thank Grady for chatting with me at MACE about it. His game went well and I look forward to more our our MACE events.

Ron


Last edited by seawolf1969 on Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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OSIAdept
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sound interesting...

What type of gear is present

Weapons
armors
Personal Shields?
Cybernetics
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OSIAdept wrote:
sound interesting...

What type of gear is present

Weapons
armors
Personal Shields?
Cybernetics


I've expanded the list of personal weapons and armor (especially weapons) but I'm not sure what you're looking for in terms of "personal shields." If you mean Riot Shields, well of course. But Terracide is hard SF so no "force fields" for personal defense or otherwise.

The weapons list includes a lot of options: slug throwers for every niche, both ETC (electro-thermal/chemical) and railguns, as well as a couple of gyro-slugger types. Lasers are improved over those listed in SWD, and there are more types available. Large shotguns double as mini-grenade launchers, with a wide variety of loads available, both lethal and non-lethal.

All the weapons have additional ammo types. Stun rounds, Armor-Piercing ammo, and "Smart" ammo are available. Military forces sometimes use Plasma ammo; it's extremely dangerous.

Regular body armor is divided into Flexible and Rigid; the Flexible style may be concealed under clothing but Rigid offers better protection. Both are available in Light, Medium and Heavy grades. Military armor is similar to that presented in SWD, with AP negation for added survivability.

The most common type of armor is the Body Pressure Suit, a skin-tight spacesuit which many characters wear under their clothing at all times. It functions as a short-term EVA suit in emergencies, and a G-suit under high acceleration. PCs start the game with this item for free. There are also Light EVA and Heavy EVA suits which offer longer endurance for Spacewalking (which is a separate skill in Terracide) plus higher tolerance for extreme temperatures and radiation.

Cybernetics have been almost completely overtaken by Bioware and Genetic Engineering, but elective surgery for any purpose other than repairing injuries is extremely unusual. (Terracide isn't a "biopunk" setting.) The basic Terracide equipment list doesn't include a lot "implants." However, if a GM wants to run Terracide as a "high biopunk" setting, the list of packages in Daring Tales of the Sprawl would be useful, with the trappings changed to bioware rather than cyberware.

There are going to be descriptions of a few "Alien Tech" implants; the Alien Tech Edge is a Weird Edge which allows a character to acquire or begin play with a piece of alien technology. Alien tech is illegal in most places, so it's usually in the form of a very hard-to-detect implant.
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
Welcome to the rest of the Galaxy. It's Dark Out There.
Coming in 2015.
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steelbrok
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds very interesting

I know there is FTL travel, how common is it?

Are journeys long and rare (focusing the setting on the surviving soalr system) or is interstellar trade fairly quick and common?

I do like that you have tried to make the aliens very alien
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steelbrok wrote:
Sounds very interesting

I know there is FTL travel, how common is it?


In the setting it takes place on a regular basis; there are scheduled FTL flights between the Core Colonies and Terra. -- or at least there were prior to the Terracide. Afterwards, everything is thrown into disarray and an entirely new economy must work itself out in Terran Space.

In a given campaign, it's up to the GM & players: do they want a game with lots of travel to different locations, or would they rather focus on a single location? Both of these are viable options in Terracide; there are several locations which could support a long-term campaign without interstellar travel, if that's your group's preference.

steelbrok wrote:
Are journeys long and rare (focusing the setting on the surviving soalr system) or is interstellar trade fairly quick and common?


Actually, there are no survivors in the Solar System - it was a total loss. All those who survived the Terracide were in other star systems. Interstellar trade after the Terracide is rather haphazard, with colonies who used to rely on trade with Earth trying to establish new economic ties, either with their neighboring colonies, who don't have much to trade, or with alien settlements. Trading with aliens is a problem because there are still remnants of Terran organizations and corporations who regulated and monopolized alien trade, and they're willing to fight to keep control of the alien tech trade.

steelbrok wrote:
I do like that you have tried to make the aliens very alien.


Thanks. I wanted to move away from the usual alien tropes; most of them seem to me like made-over fantasy creatures. For Terracide I figured it was worth a try to give them not only radically different body types, but also different biochemistries and psychological outlooks as well. The downside of this approach is that the aliens in Terracide are too weird to be playable as PCs. (Seriously... could you have a PC in your group that weighs 50 tons, breathes methane, and insists that IT owns the other PCs?)

For players who want an unusual character, Terracide features 8 or 9 various types of genetically engineered humans with lots of special abilities; they're sufficiently different from normal humans that they're equivalent to the "alien" PC options in many other science fiction RPGs.
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
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Coming in 2015.
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mac40k
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds exciting. After years of having the masses clamouring for sci-fi settings, we're finally getting somewhere. We got High Space last year, Nemezis was just release, and now we have Terracide to look forward to.
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:45 am    Post subject: A couple of questions for all the Savages... Reply with quote

If a Savage Worlds setting/sourcebook features sample characters, what rank (Novice, Seasoned, etc) is most useful for you?

What do you like to use them for? As NPCs in your campaign? As PCs for convention games? As a source for ideas? Target practice? All of the above? Something else entirely?

Thanks in advance for your input.
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
Welcome to the rest of the Galaxy. It's Dark Out There.
Coming in 2015.
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Snate56
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might try an assortment of levels but I prefer Novices so I can toss them at the players and start playing. I do this for a session or two then let them create their own. I normally do one shots initially so then they can have their own characters for the start of any campaigns.

Those who disappear: do they do so when trying to investigate Earth or is it anyone who even enters the system?

As for FTL, unless you have it all worked out, you might try an Alderson Drive. It has normal space travel between the planets but a form of teleport from star to star to get to another system. Now that I think of it, that may be too close to Traveller. In fact I think that's where Traveller stole their's! Laughing



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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Snate56 wrote:
You might try an assortment of levels but I prefer Novices so I can toss them at the players and start playing. I do this for a session or two then let them create their own. I normally do one shots initially so then they can have their own characters for the start of any campaigns.

Those who disappear: do they do so when trying to investigate Earth or is it anyone who even enters the system?

As for FTL, unless you have it all worked out, you might try an Alderson Drive. It has normal space travel between the planets but a form of teleport from star to star to get to another system. Now that I think of it, that may be too close to Traveller. In fact I think that's where Traveller stole their's! Laughing

SteveN


Thanks for the suggestions.

In answer to your question: any traffic bound for anyplace in the Sol system just disappears; it's not just Earth.

I'm familiar with the Alderson drive, but I worked out something else for the original version of Terracide, and I'll be using it again for the SW version, although I'll most likely simplify it a little.
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
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Coming in 2015.
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Kodyax
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Will there be anything for non-human heroes in the setting?
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kodyax wrote:
Will there be anything for non-human heroes in the setting?


There will be a lot of variations on human, genetically engineered for specific purposes, or for survival in different environments. Zero-G adapted humans, (including a sub-type with wings!), humans engineered for space warfare, humans adapted to terraform hostile worlds, and quite a few others.

When I designed the aliens for Terracide, I wanted to stay away from the usual cliches: no humans with pointy ears/forehead appliances, no "talking animals", no toga-wearing crystal-heads, etc. That's all been done to death. The aliens in this setting are really, truly alien: they don't look human, think or act human. They don't live in human-like environments (not even close!) and most of them are either much smaller or much larger than humans. As as result, they aren't playable as PCs. (So... let me get this straight... your character weighs 40 tons, breathes methane, sees in the 10mm band, and it's a megalomaniac who thinks the other PCs are its personal property. Oh, this should be good....)

So, I've tried to make as many variant types of humans as I could fit into the setting, with as much variety as possible, to give players who want "something different" a lot of character creation options to choose from. And there are definitely some "alien" options for human characters: one of the variant human races was genetically engineered by aliens, and there's a Background Edge for characters who grew up among aliens, whether their parents were part of a diplomatic mission, or they were orphaned and raised among aliens.

I think you'll find that some of the humans in the Terracide setting are every bit as strange as the aliens.
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:08 pm    Post subject: Next: Spacecraft in Terracide! Reply with quote

I'm curious as to what types of spacecraft would be useful in Terracide. I'm in the process of updating the original "sample spacecraft" chapter, and I've got room to add some additional spacecraft designs.

So far I've got the following:

Independent Merchant (the classic "free trader" type ship)
Fleet Intruder (a small multi-purpose strike ship)
Interstellar Yacht (a space-going billionaire's toy)
Fast Clipper (prestigious luxury-liner)
Hyper Shuttle (FTL shuttle for local passenger runs)
Exploration vessel (long-endurance research ship)
Light Assault Vessel (typical troop ship)
Assault Shuttle (military version of hyper shuttle)

I think I've got room for about a dozen more. What else should I add?
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
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coyote6
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other classic PC ship is the scout ship -- I don't know if the exploration vessel covers that, or if it's a larger ship. Either way, you've got a type -- either the small scout ship, or the larger science ship.

Some sort of corvette -- the kind of thing that might be out on patrol, looking for trouble (and thus either a PC vessel for a military/police game, or a possible foe for a criminal PC game).

An average pirate vessel, if they aren't just using re-purposed military vessels.

A sample of something big, bad, and dangerous might be cool, too, just so the folks know what Serious Muscle looks like.

If the setting supports "space fighters", a sample fighter or two. Maybe the "fighters" are drones?
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steelbrok
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some alien ships to use as antagonists
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Kodyax
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may take a look, but I'm someone that favors the talking animals over humans to be quite honest. Why does every sci-fi setting have to have humans as a major protagonist? It's almost like elves and dwarves in almost any fantasy setting you care to name.
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kodyax wrote:
I may take a look, but I'm someone that favors the talking animals over humans to be quite honest. Why does every sci-fi setting have to have humans as a major protagonist? It's almost like elves and dwarves in almost any fantasy setting you care to name.


It's probably because they're emulating certain sub-genres of SF; most science fiction stories are about humans, with a few notable exceptions. Alan Dean Foster's Nor Crystal Tears and CJ Cherryh's Chanur series come to mind. -both of which feature alien protagonists of the "talking animal" variety. It's certainly possible to take one of those "human-centered" SF-RPGs and do an all-alien campaign; there is a ton of supporting material for an all-Vargr Traveller campaign, for example. (And it would be a lot of fun!)

For Terracide, focusing on humans was a genre decision. I was inspired by source material from the "space opera noir" movement, which tends to have a lot of human-centric stories, in which aliens are depicted as being extremely different from humanity, and different branches of humanity become "alien" to each other as well. Long story short: I got tired of waiting for a science fiction RPG like this to come out, so I sat down and wrote one myself. Check out Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space series and Stephen Baxter's Xeelee stories for a couple of examples.
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
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Coming in 2015.
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Xavier Onassiss
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

coyote6 wrote:
The other classic PC ship is the scout ship -- I don't know if the exploration vessel covers that, or if it's a larger ship. Either way, you've got a type -- either the small scout ship, or the larger science ship.

Some sort of corvette -- the kind of thing that might be out on patrol, looking for trouble (and thus either a PC vessel for a military/police game, or a possible foe for a criminal PC game).

An average pirate vessel, if they aren't just using re-purposed military vessels.

A sample of something big, bad, and dangerous might be cool, too, just so the folks know what Serious Muscle looks like.

If the setting supports "space fighters", a sample fighter or two. Maybe the "fighters" are drones?


I've got notes on most of those, or something similar to them, so they'll most likely be added. Although the setting doesn't support space fighters. Space combat tactics look a bit like WW1, albeit at much longer ranges: the battleships carry heavy particle beams, but they're vulnerable to nuclear missile strikes from smaller ships, so they need destroyers for point defense.
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300 years from today: After the Terracide... the lifeless, charred husk of humanity's homeworld slowly cools in the empty, silent void of a dead star system.
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