• 📅 September 2022 is YE 44.6 in the RP. 1 IC month = 1 OOC month for the rest of the year.

Perceived Issues, Historical Precedent and the Way Forward

Should one or more of these concerns be addressed?

  • Yes

    Votes: 10 66.7%
  • No

    Votes: 4 26.7%
  • I don't care, just show me the results.

    Votes: 1 6.7%

  • Total voters
    15

Ethereal

Well-Known Member
Hello everyone,

I hope you take the time to read this thread at your leisure, as well as any replies.

I'd like to preface this by saying that everyone has a valid opinion and nobody's voice should be ignored. This website is a collaborative effort built by hundreds of people over decades.

To state my 'credentials', I'm one of the more veteran active members, I can trace my roots back to at least 2015 here, which by current standards is quite a long time to be active. I've seen a fair amount in those 7-8 years, a lot of friends come and go, a good amount of drama, the subsequent downfalls and improvements from how all that was handled.

So, please take this thread in the constructive spirit it is given in. I'd like this to not be so much a venting/rant thread (as threads of this nature have devolved to into the past), but one for retrospection, honesty and a safe place to advocate on what each of you think would make the Star Army an even better place to be.

I'd also like to request that this thread not be locked or archived, so that when similar questions or concerns inevitably come up into the future, as they so often have over the past decade, this thread can be pointed to and digested by those curious minds.



Introduction over, I'd like to list some topics for discussion. Some or all of these have been primary or compound issues that have been brought up in the past. A good number have been strongly held by people and caused a great many to leave the site over the years. These are not listed in any particular order, and this is done to not prioritise one over any others, as all are valid concerns.

1 - Scale beyond comprehension, scale beyond meaning.

While having ships, soldiers, planets and territory beyond measure can look good on paper, in practice it can detract from actual RP. If you have 10,000 ships fighting 10,000 ships, it sounds impressive, but the 1 ship in that battle with PCs becomes far less significant. Why not have 10 ships versus 10 ships? Or 1 ship versus 1 ship? There is nothing wrong with scarcity, the need to conserve resources or take resources into account during RP, rather than them being effectively unlimited.

The idea of having scarcity in setting breeds a lot of promising themes when it comes to roleplay. This is likely why plotships focused on disappearing off on their own, unsupported, are by far the most popular. Having PCs rely on each other for supplies, repairs, support and other such things to help them succeed IC is a very important aspect that is missing from most of the setting. If you're 1 of a fleet of 10,000, whether you fail as a ship, or as a character, means very little. If you're a single ship, or 1 of 10, each individual character's actions have immense impact on that battle. Extend this out to the implications of the battle, and character's actions have a real tangible effect on the narrative. If you lost 5 ships, maybe you don't have the ability to replace them for another month or two. How does this affect the situation the characters are in? Do they need to start rationing ammo and food? Set up a watch? Hide? Run? Can the officer handle it? Does the NCO need to keep up morale somehow? Having an army of billions only a day away negates a lot of what could be this very interesting and poignant RP for PCs to be put through.

2 - Rules for some, not for others.

This point has caused a lot of ruckus in the past. Yamatai, despite having far and away the most planets in the setting, apparently still does not comply with the rules surrounding fleets, resources and weapons. There have been times in the past where factions have been dismantled because they did not abide by these rules, while Yamatai itself did not abide by these rules. The usual explanation is that Yamatai had a huge amount of ships before the rules were put in place, and therefore it should keep a huge amount of ships even if this breaks the rules. It's up to you whether to agree with this premise or not. In terms of ships in particular, there are some irregularities with Yamatai having a far greater amount of capital ships than any other faction would be allowed. Personally, I believe there can be no meaningful standoff or confrontation between factions, as Yamatai will always win by means of not following the rules.

3 - Every character is a god.

Nekos are far and away the strongest of any race in the setting. A lot of stakes and ability to generate RP is lost due to their abundance in the factor of trillions. Psionics, magic, blood loss, suffocation, disease, toxins, starvation, sleep deprivation, overheating, chemicals, drugs, broken bones, forgetfulness, limb loss, organ loss, parasites and more are all entirely mitigated simply by being a Neko. Additionally, Nekos have super strength, super agility, can fly (even in space), have IR UV telescopic microscopic vision, have telepathy, are able to transmit data between each other's brains, sense electricity and even sometimes become invisible.

Having most every NPC and PC be this godlike detracts from being able to put characters into interesting or dangerous situations because they almost always can win without even trying. There's no character development or lessons to be learned in such an event. Being vunerable, fallible or scared in a cold uncaring universe simply does not exist to them.

4 - Nobody dies, nobody fears.

If your character is not in danger of any physical, psychological, or other kinds of repercussions for their actions, how much harder is it to generate a sense of urgency and meaningfulness in their actions? Even in battle, protecting yourself or your comrades doesn't matter if ultimately they will never be harmed. Even if you lose, all you've lost is time and nothing more. In some sense, all you've done is gained back time on your lifespan.

While some players make their characters have shock from being ST'd and losing memories, this is if anything a very temporary and low stakes setback in 99% of cases. Relationships can be fixed with one night at the bar. The only real threat of death is old age, and that can be entirely mitigated by just moving into a newer body. While the concept of being immortal is interesting in of itself, when it is this abundant it becomes the norm, and then there is nothing new to explore. There also seems to be no issues that would stem from a huge immortal population. Massive overpopulation, lack of housing, political differences, reproductive restrictions, unrest and other problems would arise from it. Therefore, the most interesting parts of both individual and population immortality are never explored and instead in real terms simply only serve to prevent a character from exhibiting any kind of terror in the face of what would normally be a life-threatening situation.

5 - No stakes beyond the mundane.

As a compound of the above, existential issues like whether a character, ship, fleet, planet or sector fails or falls is a non-issue in setting. There's always more immortal gods immediately available to squash whatever the issue is. This safety net means that if you look, PCs approach many missions with very little emotion, not often shouting, sweating, crying, stressing, or otherwise being visibly invested in the matter at hand - it's just another day of many. While this can work well for a time, it can ultimately end up like a series without a finale. There's no big bad guy, no man behind the curtain pulling the strings, no hidden knife waiting to go into your back. Even if there was, you're an immortal gods amongst another trillion immortal gods, unless it threatens your civilization, is there actually any stakes?

If there is a rare existential threat that could be scary and interesting to explore the implications of, like the Kuvexians or the NMX, they are swiftly dealt with by a handy setting element or an instant tweak in Neko biology. As far as I know, Yamatai has never been at threat of imminent collapse from the outside, and dangerous events like the 3rd Battle of Nataria occurred only very shortly before the abrupt and instant end of the war. Rather than having a protracted war, with PCs clawing every victory to regain worlds bit by bit, just as the stakes were finally high, they were dropped to zero.

Strangely, there has never been a substantial internal threat in Yamatai. The UOC never had a shot and was squashed, then absorbed, if they could be considered Yamataian at all. In fact, there's a very uncanny lack of any kind of internal struggle in Yamatai at all. The best we have is some upstart space bears who will be squashed instantly. There's no contrary view to imperialism, despite the vast array of species, cultures and experiences. Even ex-UOC planets are quiet as the grave. There are no PCs or NPCs from families that have a bone to pick with the Empire serving in the SAOY.

There's no opposition party in the Senate (even from UOC planets) and no attempts by the Ketsurui to keep the masses on-side. There's no rivalries in the Ketsurui or anyone who is channeling their power internally. No Nekos who were jaded by events during their service from bad commanders, bad colleagues, or maybe sympathising with their enemies' viewpoint. Oftentimes, it feels like there should be some kind of existential threat peeking out from behind a curtain to scare Yamatai, or at least scare the PCs, but it never comes, and the finale never comes.



Perhaps it is time to bring Yamatai into alignment with the rules, or for someone to run a plot about rebellion. Maybe GMs will play into events where the STs are offline and see how PCs respond, or encourage people to change out their Nekos for non-god characters. It may be the case that the FMs agree to all decrease their fleets and armies by a factor of 90%, to give more agency to PCs and make their actions more visible to the narrative?

I'd like to hear any responses to these observations, feel free to speak your minds.
 
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Cowboy

🎖️ Game Master
I think this is very well written Ethereal. Thank you for the effort and thought you've put into this. I think you bring up some very interesting thoughts. My Grandfather told my dad "You've got two ears and one mouth. You should listen twice as much as you speak." I'm going to take that advice and keep my comments shorter because I really don't think I can compete with how well you put things.

As I read your points I tend to group them into two groups. 1 and 2 is one issue and 3, 4 and 5 another.

Issue one, Factions, in particular Yamatai. My thoughts, as with most things Star Army is this is Wes's site. He created this place 20 years ago and has put way more time, effort and his own money into the site than anyone else here. If I disagree with something he has made, I would talk with him about it and let him know my concerns and see what he has to say. But if he disagrees with me, I'm not going to throw a fit. I'm going to say ok and either keep RPing, because it's a lot of fun. Or I'm going to go somewhere else, no hard feelings. This is a hobby, not my life.

That said, I think that discussion is good and that it probably would make more sense for Yam not to be such a power house, or rather more realistic. I had thought the same thing during the Battle of Glimmergold. Wow? This many ships? What does my little contribution amount to?

However, if there is to be change, I don't think just anyone should be able to say, "I don't like this ____ It should be different." Issues and ideas should be brought up to the respective FM. I believe the job of a FM is to make sure that the factions are up to date and balanced in a way that makes sense.

Issue two I've become more and more aware of lately in RP and I've kinda going "hu? That seems kinda boring. If you come back that quick, what's the point of even trying?" Now a lot of this comes down to the writer and the amount of effort they want to put into the character. For me, I like to say what my character is thinking and feeling. I try to remember that, hey they just had a big fight. They should be out of breath or kinda smelly or tired so they're not as polite to others at that moment.

Again a lot of that comes down to the player and how they want to interpreted they're character. I'm not sure it's fair to nerf all Neko's to make things more realistic. I agree it would make things more interesting, but some people like the god mode. Why should they change what is enjoyable for them because you think it should be different.

Well, those are my thoughts. Maybe if Ethereal reads this in his beautiful British accent it'll sound better. I think the point I'm trying to make is everyone has different opinions and not everyone can be made happy. So when people disagree with you, or your ideas don't get accepted, that's ok.
 

Soban

Convention Veteran
So I thought I would also share my thoughts. For me, I've been here exactly 5 years and two days. I feel like I've pretty consistently tried to expand the setting and give a sense of 'there is more happening offscreen'. I hope that I've developed and characterized the Separa'Shan into something better. I'm also interested in the future, I would like to write a lot more in this universe. Right now I'm working on building a better outline for Swarmtide Rising. I think we are all here because we like the setting and all of the little quirks and differences that have been built up by decades of people with their own perspectives and desires.

There are a lot of things that I think are appealing about Star Army. We have the breadth and depth for two types of roleplaying that you rarely see together. The first is this sort of space opera where big things happen and nations clash. Where people have the freedom to come here with the idea of a faction and build it through interaction with other factions. Lots of giant battles and politics. The second is smaller personal scale stories. We care about the individual people in a large and dangerous galaxy. We want to know if Sacre and Gravity will get together or if Sacre's misanthropy and grief will get the better of her. We want to know about the... diverse adventures of the Belmont family. I recently wrote a post that had nothing to do with the grand scale of things, just a father trying to connect with a daughter to make up for the mistakes of his past.

Often, these two aspects are somewhat opposed. It's harder to feel epic and space opera-y with ten ships compared to ten thousand ships. It's a lot easier for a single small gunship to change a battle when there are ten ships compared to a thousand ships. I think learning how to balance this is a struggle that is well worth the payoff.

How do we do that? We give our characters and factions meaningful challenges. Ten ships holding the line feels epic if things that we have grown to care about are on the line. A thousand ships that die in a single sentence that no one reacts to doesn't feel epic at all it's incomprehensible math. "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic." It should matter if we get that trade deal or a thousand tons of gold happens to be in the salvaged shipping container our crew finds. Relatedly, there need to be consequences for actions.

It's been said that economics is "the allocation of scarce resource which has alternative uses." However, is there anything really scarce in the setting right now? Energy is free, manpower is unlimited, everyone who wants to be is immortal, factories sit idle because our space washington naval treaty doesn't let them build more. There are two ways to deal with this problem I think. First, we can create scarcity. You have a lot of resources now, but what if a hurricane comes buy and destroys it all? Second, we can create alternative uses for things so that it matters who gets what. The conflict over how who gets what can drive a lot of stories.

That said, I don't think that we need to account for every bolt and screw. My sister is an accountant, I'm not and have zero desire to be one in my free time. If you read my recent wiki article on what the 7th fleet actually has ( 7th Fleet Assets and Organization ), you'll notice that I removed specific numbers and focused on what the 7th fleet was better and worse at. The Star Fortresses project power with lots of smaller ships, there is a core of big ships to smash growing threats quickly. Our focus shouldn't be on the absolute numbers, but on the relative advantage and disadvantages individuals, technologies, and factions have and you can't have everything.

Additionally, I think there are a lot of setting elements that are reactions to godmodding and poor behavior by certain roleplayers. These have helped protect from their bad behavior. However, I don't think they are needed and remove important limitations on our characters. In general, you should have more powerful limitations the more capable something is.

To foster a diverse set of factions, we need to ensure that everyone plays by the same set of rules. I feel that the military build up limitations were a good stab at this. I think that how much roleplay you bring to the site should influence how much military your faction can bring to the table. I think a periodic public audit of the wiki to bring things into line would help. Most of the time it doesn't matter much, but it does help us maintain the scale of conflicts that we want to see.

I won't repeat effectively verbatim Eth's points 3, 4, and 5. However, he's right on all three of the points. I'll just add that I feel like both the Essia Occupation storyline and the Kuvexian war as a whole ended overnight without proper build up. I tried to make the best I could of it, but in many ways it did feel like a deus ex machina rather than a eucatastrophe.

So how do we fix all this?

I think there are three things we can do. 1. Give the setting existential threats. 2. we should lean a bit more into conservation of ninjitsu. 3. make sure everyone plays by the same set of rules and setting expections. I'll explain each in more detail.

First, we should have Yamtai (let's be honest they are always going to be the biggest and most powerful player faction) not be the most threating thing in the setting. We should have 3-5 semi-npc factions who are some kind of existential threat. My suggestions would be the Mishhuvurthyar, Kuvexians, and the Swarmtide. Each of them being in some way a dark mirror. Kuvexians as a sort of lawful evil similarly technological species. What would Yamatai be like if they were actually evil rather than imperfectly good? Swarmtide being an animalistic force of nature that can't be reasoned with. The all devouring swarm of locust that we mostly hope don't decide we look tasty today. The Mishhuvurthyar are cunning and intelligent enemies. They don't need to be those, but we need several southings that fill the role of 'stuff Yamatai is actually afraid of'.

Second, We should lean a lot more into the PCs being special and useful and better than a whole mass of random NPCs. We should give the players the opportunity to be the heroes to save the day. They can make meaningful impacts on the setting and be meaningfully under threat by it's enemies.

Third, we need to enforce a level playing field to encourage roleplay and competition. I think that having limitations on the millitary power based on how many people we've managed to have playing in our stuff is reasonable. Losing and regaining in a cool story should be the norm. We should publicly audit and adjust things to help ensure favoritism isn't shown.

In conclusion, I love Star Army. I think we can build more and better stories in the future if we can fix some of the issues that have plagued us in the past.

TLDR; Star Army does both factional and personal roleplaying scales. These two aspects often seem somewhat opposed. However, the struggle to unify them is worth it. We do it by giving characters and factions meaningful choices and consequences. We need to have scarcity, but not accounting. Our focus shouldn't be on the absolute numbers, but on the relative advantage and disadvantages. We need to have real threats, real chances to change things, and the same set of rules and setting expectations.
 

Arbitrated

The Smollest Smol
🦊 FM of Neshaten
FM of Elysia
I RISE FROM MY SLUMBER!

Anyways, jolly intro aside, I've a few thoughts on this as well. I'll keep things, generally, divided into paragraphs, and do my best to explain my issue with something and how I believe it can be fixed... But expect rambling. Running around this keyboard is hard!


The Issue With Scale
In my opinion, scale is the largest single issue the setting of SARP has (pun intended). Ethereal has brought this up already in the initial post of this thread, and I wholly agree that events being too large, or having too many people (even if faceless, nameless NPCs) heavily detracts from the idea that any individual character matters. From what I have been told, and what I have seen, SARP was primarily founded with the focus of person-scale roleplaying (certainly, that is the most popular aspect of roleplaying in the community) - chiefly, badass catgirl-valkyries in space. When I see arguments happening within the community (several of which I have witnessed as well, but not as many as Ethereal), it is typically not caused by that - instead, those arguments are caused by disputes in the scale of entire nations/factions/empires.

I think that a global (that is, impacting every conceivable element) reduction in the scale of army size would be incredibly beneficial to handling this - I had mentioned on Discord the Conservation of Ninjutsu trope and think it would be interesting to fundamentally apply to the setting - encouraging low ship and soldier counts, where recovering from a loss is fairly difficult. Rather than nations having fleets with hundreds of ships, they have dozens in a fleet. This would make every ship feel like it's legitimately special without needing to be extensively modified or building up decades of history. A large battle could involve say, 50 warships total, where every enemy taken out is a chip in their fighting prowess gone, not a simple drop in the bucket.

To build on this, a smaller scale also could explain why soldiers with eccentric nature are showing up as "normal" forces. Much like ARC Troopers or Republic Commandos, the extensive training and special treatments to bring soldiers of the proper caliber where they can properly contribute to these starships means that you can't simply "throw them out" and replace them with something more obedient - in other words, this further reinforces the aspect of Player Characters not sticking out against the backdrop of the nation's forces.

Cycling back to Conservation of Ninjutsu in general for the setting, there is added narrative impact and tension from a situation where resources (ESPECIALLY manpower/starships/etc.) are limited - for example, the Rebels attacking the Death Star (they only had what, 30 or so starfighters?), one particular event in FTL where a disease is spreading through a mining colony (do you ignore it, or do you try and help those people and risk your ship, which has the information critically needed to defeat the Rebellion threatening your home?), and a dozen or more simulations I've made in my mind (Enforcing Starfleet's First Contact doctrine comes to mind as a general idea - imagine needing to make that decision, knowing that you're the only ship in the system who enforces them!).

Inconsistent Rules and "Grandfathering"
This is an aspect that often causes a lot of strife, but I think is primarily only brought to light as a result of the problem we currently have with scale. My talking here will be much more brief. I think that "Grandfathering" isn't an inherently problematic practice - it should be done with thought and caution, however, and alternatives should be proposed and enacted when reasonably possible. Working on something, pouring your time into it, and then being told "we need to change this" sucks, no matter who you are. Being treated poorly because of something you made or were involved with in the past, before it was known to have violations, ALSO SUCKS.

There is some baseline logic to why old features shouldn't be thrown out all the time, though - in many cases, the infractions are ultimately minor or even ignorable. I think that Yamatai being the "top dog" of player-centric Factions is okay given that they are the intended core of the setting as a whole, and historically a superpower, and additionally are the oldest Faction from an out of character analysis. Yamatai's power being above everyone else only seems to be a problem because of their ability to mass-produce armies (including equipment, transportation, and vehicles) on this simply overwhelming scale.

Overpowered or "Godlike" characters/player-accessible Species

Being strong, feeling powerful is awesome. The Nekovalkyria ("Neko") is really built to work well with this. They're also designed to be an ideal "default option" for new players who don't know the setting very well, who can make a character with a "non-backstory" that conceivably can be put into almost any plot - The roleplaying version of a "Pick Up And Play" game. This is undeniably the real strength of Neko, and I quite like it! Especially given that Neko have a large variety of appearances to let players go pretty wild with how they want their badass catgirl valyrie to look, sound, and act.

Neko have a few problems due to their "old" design (having been the centerpiece of SARP for as long as the Star Army itself, IIRC), but not weaknesses - Ethereal's listed a quite comprehensive coverage of their kit, and I do agree that it seems a bit much. Fitting their names, it would make sense that Neko are still exceptionally good combatants as a species, but some of the more "utility" stuff (such as effectively perfect memory retainment and, if I recall correctly, the ability to breathe in space and withstand the lack of pressure for an extended period of time) can definitely make it feel like there'd never be reasonable "room" for a species that isn't a Neko on board a starship or in a military scenario.

My suggestion regarding this is that the Nekovalkyria "kit" - their abilities, passive effects, etc. - can be slimmed down, perhaps under the name of "optimizations" that remove features that are deemed too situational to make standard or "expensive" abilities - the optimization in this case to make a Neko more cost-effective, whether that cost is in energy, rations, maintenance, medical supplies, etc.. You could then perhaps have optional "packages" or "upgrades" that a soldier may have, essentially making it more like "Build A Neko".

Immortality and Mortality

Soul Transfer as a fundamental concept isn't too unique, but it's not a raw copy of anything I've seen either. It's not the only way to "cheat death" though, I know the NDC has a system that is almost akin to Bioshock's Vita-Chambers. Nepleslia has these Brain Spider things which are friggin' spooky and gritty. There's a lot of potential things to explore here, from the Ship of Theseus argument to what it means to be Immortal. I think that Death-Cheating infrastructure is pretty cool, but I think that if we want to ensure that it gets more attention, it should be used more often. It seems that in many cases, Game Masters are quire reluctant to kill player characters, even those with the ability to cheat death. Obviously that's not really a setting or site problem, more reliant on the individual GM.

Ultimately, I think that the potential issues of Death-Cheating Infrastructure could be safely ignored, if we wanted to, and not much would be at risk. The option to increase the risk of something like this could be very interesting to explore, though, so like mentioned by others, a potential time where it's incapable of working would be an interesting and potentially enlightening narrative (I'm thinking of Destiny, where the Light was stolen by Dominus Ghaul).

In Conclusion

I have felt good, felt bad, and felt conflicted about SARP multiple times. I think that as long as this discussion remains civilized and thoughtful, we can come to an agreement on what the best way forward is for the community and this setting. Even if that way forward is to change nothing, as long as we consider all our options, it will be much healthier to go in this way.

Please remember to take time and rest as you need it, and drink plenty of water! Especially drink water when writing long posts, you are much thirstier than you'd think.
 

Charmaylarg Dufrain

🦾 FM of Nepleslia
🎖️ Game Master
[Rewrite number two~]
[Rewrite number 3~]
[Rewrite number 4 its still a rant but I want to say something in this topic so I'll keep it as breif as I can (also im on mobile so bear with me)~]


I have become slightly anti-yamatai over the years, and i've whittled it down from a rant of 'I said all these things years ago but wes/staff/everyone else just bullied me about them or spat on my efforts/literally co-opted them later and because of that I just have so little drive anymore'. I'll say I agree with all of these points without expanding on them but a lot of them suffer from the same issue that its too late to fix many of them with how stagnant the community has become.

There is bias and yamatai-privlage.
The neko were nerfed after the Nh-27 but even now are still OP whats the point of playing anything else other than wanting to handicap yourself?

Smaller fleets and smaller ships are just more fun than showing up with background super fleets when you can do cool things through just yourself/plot and win against great odds.

This is star-army RP and the others are forced to stay at a lower pedestal (nep has recieved more scraps then the rest like the OOC technology rules and the like i'm aware) to the point its Yamatai and friends.

It does hurt progression and IC experiences to just insta-revive them without the trauma. (Insert my Twinmaker as Neps solution to the issue).

People dont really understand political nuance and what happens behind the curtain, and when the focus is on a certain event its not seen favorably because the original event is the focus.

7-years ago I would say all these things are fixable with only some arguing and teeth pulling. 12-14 years ago fixing these issues would have had entire plots and events driving them with a half hundred if not more people involved and reforming the wiki and making articles and posts and threads and JPs.

The past few years i'm not very optimistic tbh and fixing them now with the resurgence (a yamatai plot) being the only real active plot while the rest advance at best every week at the best and entire months between GM or player posts at the worst, and with a few exceptions most all being yamatai-plots any changes are kind of redundant with DRv3 being half pointless, Yamatai being the only active faction with one active nep plot (derelict excluded for senti-shenanigans) far behind keeping nep up and I (the main and usually only contributor to neps wiki the past... 8 years................................) no longer even touching the wiki for even the most mundane making buildup rules pointless.

IMO the best thing to do is just start over again from scratch in some timeskip or major event and play from the remnants (which I know nobody would favor), have wes finally make good on his threats/jokes/comments over all these years about annexing everyone and just have it be SARP again, or somehow just keep on with the status Quo and hope the community just explodes again with daily new members like the good old days.

Boy, do I sound like a pessimistic downer!
 

Alex Hart

FM of NDC
🎖️ Game Master
I think the thing here I want to address most is the idea of the importance of smaller fleets and ships. I don't, nessecarily, think that SARP's scale when it comes to fleets is too big. You need a lot of spaceships to police and patrol many solar systems, and it's not unreasonable for a civilization of the scale that the Kikyo sector civilization has attained to have as many ships floating around as we do.

I think the problem arises from the fact that we too often put the focus on these large fleet battles, making them the pivotal points of a war rather than simply the backdrop against which player actions are painted. Yes, Yamatai's fleet of 500 ships might go up against a fleet of 500 Kuvexian ships, but that's not the important part. Yes, the NDC might send it's patrol fleets out to contribute to a joint operation, but how many ships there aren't important.

I think that we can solve the 'conservation of ninjitsu' issue by refocusing, rather than trying to broadly reduce the scale of fleets across the setting. (And I think that primarily the issue lies more in keeping people roughly in-line with the MBL limitations). Focus the pivotal moments of conflicts on the actions of PCs and plotships, rather than on a mass fleet engagement. The rebel fleet was fighting the imperial fleet over the second death star, but what won the day were the rebel fighters flying through the second death star.

The key is to focus on battles, or subsets of a battle, where PCs can make a huge difference through their heroic effort, despite being just a part of the army. Rather than being the average soldiers, they are the exceptional, uniquely capable examples of soldiery in their nations. An example why big scale sucked are the Battle of Glimmergold and the Battle of Nataria. These were giant fleet actions in which no single nation or ship's presence made a difference, but I don't think that was simply because the battles were large. I think the issue was that there wasn't anything to do but be there. However, I think that in a similarly large battle, it's still just as easy to tell a story about exceptional PCs. You just have to give them a chance to be exceptional. A squadron of plotships or a small fleet led by players can make all the difference in a battle of thousands of ships, if they're directed towards the enemy's flagship.

I recognize that this might be a bit of a weird take, since I'm arguing "Make PCs more influential on the outcome of battles" but I'm doing it from a bit of a different angle. I guess it's the Legend of the Galactic Heroes fan in me that kind of likes having reasonably large numbers of ships blowing each other up as the backdrop to characters doing awesome things.

Side note, is the forum being weird to anyone else and removing line breaks whenever you hit backspace? It's been doing that for me for the past few weeks now and it's REALLY screwing with me.
 

Soban

Convention Veteran
One thing that I want to clarify is that I'm agnostic about fleet sizes. The MBL page was basically made around the time that I arrived and I'm fine with those numbers/scaling. I think that as long as we are clear what the scale is and make sure everyone else is clear about it as well we will be fine. However, we do need to do a comprehensive assessment/audit to make sure the numbers are where we want them to be.
 

Wes

Founder & Admin
Staff Member
🌸 FM of Yamatai
🎖️ Game Master
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I want to start with some basic principles so you know where I'm at on these concerns. These are the core of what I think makes Star Army what it is.
  1. Star Army is a character-driven RP site. Factions are background elements that help great a sense of a living universe where things are always happening. In other word it's not designed for people to play nations (though you can play a member of the government).
  2. The primary focus of Star Army is the Star Army of Yamatai. The Star Army is a vast, functional, simulated space military that operates on an epic scale and is constantly working to keep its country safe and protected from some extremely dangerous enemies and threats, and it succeeds because of the constant efforts of its soldiers. As Yui says, "all things cost blood," meaning you only have what you have because someone fought for it at some point.
  3. The Nekovalkyrja and other androids, whether fleshy creations or chrome mechanoids, are a core part of the setting and the RP's theme. The ability to upload consciousness, swap bodies, become superhuman, get cybernetically enhanced, and the avoidance of death that allows for are intentional, core mechanics of the RP. At the center of SARP's vibe is an exploration of the consequences of transhumanism and adapting a world where the line between consciousness and computers are blurred. And yes, I acknowledge having anime catgirls is a little silly but they're part of what makes it Star Army and not some clone of a big franchise.
  4. Factions beyond Yamatai are good for the site for many reasons. These factions allow players to explore the universe in their own ways and flavors. They are welcome and deserve quality support and I welcome them as long as they're maintained and active.


While having ships, soldiers, planets and territory beyond measure can look good on paper, in practice it can detract from actual RP. If you have 10,000 ships fighting 10,000 ships, it sounds impressive, but the 1 ship in that battle with PCs becomes far less significant. Why not have 10 ships versus 10 ships? Or 1 ship versus 1 ship? There is nothing wrong with scarcity, the need to conserve resources or take resources into account during RP, rather than them being effectively unlimited.

The idea of having scarcity in setting breeds a lot of promising themes when it comes to roleplay. This is likely why plotships focused on disappearing off on their own, unsupported, are by far the most popular. Having PCs rely on each other for supplies, repairs, support and other such things to help them succeed IC is a very important aspect that is missing from most of the setting. If you're 1 of a fleet of 10,000, whether you fail as a ship, or as a character, means very little. If you're a single ship, or 1 of 10, each individual character's actions have immense impact on that battle.
This is largely the domain of the Game Master and the scenario that they present to the players. If they want a smaller force, the setting allows for that. If they want to be further from reinforcements, they can go further away. I've been promoting this lately and putting it into action by going off-map as needed. You don't have to put a battle in the heavily-defended core of the Kikyo Sector.

Additionally, even if huge battles like the site-wide RP event the Third Battle of Nataria, we had:
  • It was an open RP event open to all factions, created by 4 years of RP buildup
  • Player actions reduced Kuvexian forces prior to the battle so they didn't have the numbers they thought they would (buying off mercs, Kaiyo disrupting their stocks)
  • Player actions plus FMs bolstered the allies' numbers
  • Player actions took out the Kuvexian command ship, causing chaos in their ranks
  • The battle was presented as even numbers of Kuvexians and allies and it was players who got to tip the scales by showing up and fighting
  • Because of this victory, the Kuvexian advance was halted, at great cost, making it the most important battle of the war, and setting up the Battle of Glimmergold
The key point is even in this background of many ships, it was set up for the characters involved to be in a position to turn the tide. In Star Army, players make the difference. That said, I don't think it's wrong to sometimes have player character also roleplay reactions to stuff that happened offscreen. I think the key is communication with players to see what they want (this is why I survey my plot) and as a GM you set up players to have agency and be the one involved in the events. In conclusion, I think scarcity is less of a setting problem and more of a GM plot development we can improve on as we develop story plans.
This point has caused a lot of ruckus in the past. Yamatai, despite having far and away the most planets in the setting, apparently still does not comply with the rules surrounding fleets, resources and weapons. There have been times in the past where factions have been dismantled because they did not abide by these rules, while Yamatai itself did not abide by these rules. The usual explanation is that Yamatai had a huge amount of ships before the rules were put in place, and therefore it should keep a huge amount of ships even if this breaks the rules. It's up to you whether to agree with this premise or not. In terms of ships in particular, there are some irregularities with Yamatai having a far greater amount of capital ships than any other faction would be allowed. Personally, I believe there can be no meaningful standoff or confrontation between factions, as Yamatai will always win by means of not following the rules.
As FM of Yamatai I've vaguely followed the rules as a guideline but keep in mind these rules were mainly intended to provide a ballpark number of how many ships a player faction should have so that people didn't introduce new factions that had the military force to destabilize the core setting (e.g. the Star Army). The biggest example of me trying to follow the guidelines is that Yamatai, during the Kuvexian War, shed system after system and didn't take make the entire KMS region because we didn't have as many players, and we also shed thousands of ships (4+ fleets?), many of which were not replaced and the reason for that was the buildup guidelines. At this point, though, they've basically been tossed out the window with the Rathenkans being approved, so I think we should just delete the page at this point if we feel they're unfair to other factions like Nepleslia. In general the amount of ships available doesn't seem to affect RP on the character level much since it's just a background element. Note: Traditionally it's important for Yamatai's continuity to track its ship numbers and ship names and IRNs and posting our fleet numbers is part of IC Yamataian law as well. Other factions don't actually have to post their fleet numbers, in theory, if we remove the MBLs.
Nekos are far and away the strongest of any race in the setting. A lot of stakes and ability to generate RP is lost due to their abundance in the factor of trillions. Psionics, magic, blood loss, suffocation, disease, toxins, starvation, sleep deprivation, overheating, chemicals, drugs, broken bones, forgetfulness, limb loss, organ loss, parasites and more are all entirely mitigated simply by being a Neko. Additionally, Nekos have super strength, super agility, can fly (even in space), have IR UV telescopic microscopic vision, have telepathy, are able to transmit data between each other's brains, sense electricity and even sometimes become invisible.

Having most every NPC and PC be this godlike detracts from being able to put characters into interesting or dangerous situations because they almost always can win without even trying. There's no character development or lessons to be learned in such an event. Being vunerable, fallible or scared in a cold uncaring universe simply does not exist to them.
What do you suggest as a solution? I don't think removing Nekovalkyrja from the setting is an option.
If your character is not in danger of any physical, psychological, or other kinds of repercussions for their actions, how much harder is it to generate a sense of urgency and meaningfulness in their actions? Even in battle, protecting yourself or your comrades doesn't matter if ultimately they will never be harmed. Even if you lose, all you've lost is time and nothing more. In some sense, all you've done is gained back time on your lifespan.

While some players make their characters have shock from being ST'd and losing memories, this is if anything a very temporary and low stakes setback in 99% of cases. Relationships can be fixed with one night at the bar. The only real threat of death is old age, and that can be entirely mitigated by just moving into a newer body. While the concept of being immortal is interesting in of itself, when it is this abundant it becomes the norm, and then there is nothing new to explore. There also seems to be no issues that would stem from a huge immortal population. Massive overpopulation, lack of housing, political differences, reproductive restrictions, unrest and other problems would arise from it. Therefore, the most interesting parts of both individual and population immortality are never explored and instead in real terms simply only serve to prevent a character from exhibiting any kind of terror in the face of what would normally be a life-threatening situation.
I think this is going to happen in real life at some point with all the stickiness it entails. At some point we'll be able to escape the limits of the human body and transfer consciousness into something else whether that's a new body or a computer or something else. As I said at the top of this part, part of SARP's heart is figuring out how to live in that world. Having increased protections against death frees your character up to thing about a bigger picture and there's always something greater to protect besides your own life--that's what the Star Army and other military forces in the setting are all about. Thankfully the RP should always provide this to characters in the form of missions that help them protect their homes, families, and nation.
If there is a rare existential threat that could be scary and interesting to explore the implications of, like the Kuvexians or the NMX, they are swiftly dealt with by a handy setting element or an instant tweak in Neko biology. As far as I know, Yamatai has never been at threat of imminent collapse from the outside, and dangerous events like the 3rd Battle of Nataria occurred only very shortly before the abrupt and instant end of the war. Rather than having a protracted war, with PCs clawing every victory to regain worlds bit by bit, just as the stakes were finally high, they were dropped to zero.
Let's be clear here, like the Mishhu war, the Kuvexian War ended because the community wanted it to end, and the plot GMs agreed on a time for it to be over. After years of war people wanted to give peace a go. We agreed to end it OOC and then set up two large Open RP events to do that and allow everyone who wanted to join a chance to join. Tons of buildup paid off and gave the war an epic finish. Nobody wanted to RP the mop-up duty across 20 planets fighting the same guys they had fought for so long.

I hope this addresses your concerns at least somewhat or at least explains my thoughts on it. I have seen some good suggestions about things like maybe toning down Nekovalkyrja a bit and GMs using the frontiers more where they can easily set the "odds" of friendlies vs. enemies. I encourage everyone to post their feedback as well. I'm reading it all but it will take time to respond.
 

Addie-4th

☀️ FM of Rathenka
🎖️ Game Master
I haven't been here for long, but heres my two cents, short and sweet,

I think conflict has become synonymous with combat. We need more conflict, we need more stakes, but we don't need more combat. I think having diplomatic and economic conflict between nations, cultural differences and conflicts making character interactions more unique, and driving character driven plots more around internal an external struggles rather than fighting all the time would do some good for the server.

I built rathenka around this concept. They have a military, but they don't use it often for anything other than exploration, and their policies reflect that. So at the end of the day, my three suggestions summed up are

- Do whatever you want with the nekovalkrija,
- Promote more focus on internal character struggles,
- Stop going to war a lot, focus on political intruigue instead,

I think it would be arguably more fun to have two nations get into a spat over tarrifs than to just go to war over it.

That's just my two cents.
 

Alex Hart

FM of NDC
🎖️ Game Master
Additionally, even if huge battles like the site-wide RP event the Third Battle of Nataria, we had:
  • It was an open RP event open to all factions, created by 4 years of RP buildup
  • Player actions reduced Kuvexian forces prior to the battle so they didn't have the numbers they thought they would (buying off mercs, Kaiyo disrupting their stocks)
  • Player actions plus FMs bolstered the allies' numbers
  • Player actions took out the Kuvexian command ship, causing chaos in their ranks
  • The battle was presented as even numbers of Kuvexians and allies and it was players who got to tip the scales by showing up and fighting
  • Because of this victory, the Kuvexian advance was halted, at great cost, making it the most important battle of the war, and setting up the Battle of Glimmergold
I think it's a bit untrue to say that the battle was won by the players who showed up and played, and the factions who sent support. Yamatai would have won that battle with no assistance because of the deus-ex-machina Zero Fleet, and because of the way the event (and the third battle of Glimmergold) were GM'ed. No attention was really given to individual player action from those who showed up outside of the members of the Resurgence plot, not even a few offhand remarks in the GM's posts.

The crux of many people's issues with that event was that the players *didn't* make the difference there, and neither did they make the difference at Glimmergold. Both battles were won by deus-ex-machina plot devices, the Zero Fleet and the Essai.
 
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Soban

Convention Veteran
What do you suggest as a solution? I don't think removing Nekovalkyrja from the setting is an option.

What I think he's suggesting here is that we have a baseline sort of Neko then have a lot of the the more... exotic aspects be things that can be added on with tradeoffs. To me, I like this sort of format. It might not be exactly how the Mindy say is with modularity, but that is also a good customization system with trade offs. (although it could be better/better organized).


I think conflict has become synonymous with combat. We need more conflict, we need more stakes, but we don't need more combat.

I agree with this.
 

Charmaylarg Dufrain

🦾 FM of Nepleslia
🎖️ Game Master
i'd say maybe time for a new neko type that maybe wes doesnt have to make himself and people can make various types. But really the 33 is already 90% of that with the larger, stealth, etc. types and I cant think of a reason the YSE would make a new type thats worse than the one before (again) for other than OOC reasons.

Cant we just have the trolls, lorr, elves, and mini neko take over? They're the coolest races in the YSE anyway (birds go eat some seeds, you dont count).
 

Ethereal

Well-Known Member
To preface this reply, I hate doing 'snippet quotes', but if I didn't, this post would be gigantic. Apologies in advance for that.

Strangely, there has never been a substantial internal threat in Yamatai. The UOC never had a shot and was squashed, then absorbed, if they could be considered Yamataian at all. In fact, there's a very uncanny lack of any kind of internal struggle in Yamatai at all. The best we have is some upstart space bears who will be squashed instantly. There's no contrary view to imperialism, despite the vast array of species, cultures and experiences. Even ex-UOC planets are quiet as the grave. There are no PCs or NPCs from families that have a bone to pick with the Empire serving in the SAOY.

There's no opposition party in the Senate (even from UOC planets) and no attempts by the Ketsurui to keep the masses on-side. There's no rivalries in the Ketsurui or anyone who is channeling their power internally. No Nekos who were jaded by events during their service from bad commanders, bad colleagues, or maybe sympathising with their enemies' viewpoint. Oftentimes, it feels like there should be some kind of existential threat peeking out from behind a curtain to scare Yamatai, or at least scare the PCs, but it never comes, and the finale never comes.

I think you may have missed out on the above points when replying @Wes. It's odd to me that there's never been any real internal struggles inside Yamatai that challenge the Ketsurui or any existing structure to earn their position at the top. There's also no mention of the politicial and cultural diversity that may exist in confrontation to the status quo. Ex-UOC territory, disgruntled Elysians, nomadic Freespacers causing some havok, independents running arms. There should be a lot of moving parts there, a lot of potential RP and threats. Things that make PCs actually raise their eyebrows about how a world could potentially try a revolution, or something of that nature. This is despite, as I understand you told me once before, that SAINT and the SAOY apparently do nothing to control or indoctrinate the citizenry or even veterans. If you could make a comment on that it'd be appreciated. Is there something I'm missing here?

it's not designed for people to play nations
I believe that earlier in VC, @Alex Hart essentially said that he only plays here as a nation currently (not to put words in your mouth, Alex). Additionally, it's certainly encouraged for people to play in these kind of macro-roles, rather than boots-on-the-ground. That is, if you want to do something cool, someone's got to play an Taisho/Chujo to approve it. That or nobody can assist you with the countless SYNC messages that need to get thrown around to approve cool ideas IC, because of the infrastructure and everything needing to flow up to Yui. As cool as the organisations are (I've helped to make a number), the more that side of things is fleshed out, the more people need to run NPCs to manage them. I guess that's just a fact of life, but in any case, a lot of people do play national-level characters purely out of necessity, rather than actually wanting to do so.

protected from some extremely dangerous enemies and threats
Part of the issue is that there seems to be no extremely dangerous enemies and threats. I can't point to any that would actually try to do something. There's never any actual danger to Yamatai, or its people, or the Star Army. I understand that you want Yamatai to be all-powerful, but it's never even on the back-foot. Even if you know at the start of a war that Yamatai is going to prevail eventually from a Setting Manager perspective, can't we have moments where it's a tipping point, a climax, and then the day is won by some PCs? Instead, it never feels like we've ever got to that point, given the billions of soldiers off-screen and millions of warships untouched by the conflict.

we should just delete the page at this point if we feel they're unfair to other factions like Nepleslia
I'm not sure how I feel about removing the current rules and limitations we have on militaries, DRv3 etc. I feel like that would eventually devolve into a ****-measuring contest and "my X beats your Y because anti-anti" and such, which the rules were put in place to avoid. PVP happens eventually, and leaving it up to FMs/Setting Managers to decide rather than pre-set rules sounds like it's very open to bias.

What do you suggest as a solution? I don't think removing Nekovalkyrja from the setting is an option.
I think @Arbitrated's solution is a good one, make the various abilities of Nekos divided into optional packages. That way, it's possible to return some sense to not having every NPC be gods. It also doesn't compromise on players being able to take packages that do make them gods. A caretaker running a shop desk probably doesn't need to be able to throw a steel beam like a paperclip or withstand a nuclear explosion. It's such a disadvantage to not be a Neko that not only do we hardly see any PCs as other races, but 99% of NPCs I ever see are fully-powered Nekos.

I think this is going to happen in real life at some point with all the stickiness it entails.
Part of the issue is that we never see any of this 'stickiness'. As I said in the quote at the top of this reply, there should be massive issues to RP with once immortality is at a societal level. Talks about eugenics to keep the population down by stopping new births. Lack of housing and resources. Needing to apply to have a kid. Requirements to keep expanding borders and colonising constantly just to stop overcrowding. These ideas and viewpoints causing splits in families, political divisions, unrest. All of this feels like it's intentionally forgotten and handwaved away, despite having potential for very, very interesting situations to emerge as a consequence. I'm unsure if this was a deliberate decision, but I'd love to see some 'stickiness'.

I think it's a bit dishonest to say that the battle was won by the players who showed up and played
I have to agree with @Alex Hart here. Yamatai would always have won that battle. It felt more like a way to get a ribbon as a participation award and be involved in the rather abrupt ending of the Kuvexian War. Maybe that's a jaded way of looking at it and I apologise if so, but I was just getting to feel the stakes of that war before it ended.

I think conflict has become synonymous with combat. We need more conflict, we need more stakes, but we don't need more combat.
I'm inclined to agree with @Addie-4th. SARP has been good at providing an external (if non-existential) threat to fight in mission after mission. However, nothing seems to have high stakes. Once everything is infinite, death doesn't matter, you're a god and there's a million ships stopping any actual harm being inflicted on your civilisation, there's no stakes. As per my original quote in this post, we're also missing out on a lot of potential within Yamatai itself, and dealing with all the societal thought experiment stuff that is likely more interesting than transhumanism itself.
 

Wes

Founder & Admin
Staff Member
🌸 FM of Yamatai
🎖️ Game Master
🎨 Media Gallery
I think it's a bit untrue to say that the battle was won by the players who showed up and played, and the factions who sent support. Yamatai would have won that battle with no assistance because of the deus-ex-machina Zero Fleet, and because of the way the event (and the third battle of Glimmergold) were GM'ed. No attention was really given to individual player action from those who showed up outside of the members of the Resurgence plot, not even a few offhand remarks in the GM's posts.

The crux of many people's issues with that event was that the players *didn't* make the difference there, and neither did they make the difference at Glimmergold. Both battles were won by deus-ex-machina plot devices, the Zero Fleet and the Essai.
I disagree, Zero Fleet simply balanced the sides of the battle. If players had chose to show their characters getting killed there, and failing, I was fully prepared for the battle to be lost and for the consequences that would entail. At one point in the battle, they were actually losing until reinforcements showed up from played forces. I was the narrator but I didn't just make everyone win. People had a choice and they chose to win, individually and as a group.

For Glimmergold, you're right, it was more of a "show your character being awesome" and I just let people do whatever they wanted against the background of the battle, and it was supposed to serve as a fun action-packed finish to the war that let us finally move on.

i'd say maybe time for a new neko type that maybe wes doesnt have to make himself and people can make various types. But really the 33 is already 90% of that with the larger, stealth, etc. types and I cant think of a reason the YSE would make a new type thats worse than the one before (again) for other than OOC reasons.

Cant we just have the trolls, lorr, elves, and mini neko take over? They're the coolest races in the YSE anyway (birds go eat some seeds, you dont count).
For reference, Nashoba made the NH-33.
 

Charmaylarg Dufrain

🦾 FM of Nepleslia
🎖️ Game Master
(Edit* I meant to quote eth for the context on this)

Ngl if we brough back the anti-human sentiments from old neko who lived through the neko are property of the YSE first and have no rights era who want to take advantage of the post-war turmoil and recovery to get some of the other old neko now as ship captains and admirals and some impressionable youthes and start cleansing minkin, those who they perceive as undeserving of the neko bodies they transfered into, the elysians they once fought, the nepleslians they took in, etc. for a return to the true yamatai akin to imperialist jingoist japan Yamatai i'd play it~

Neko-on-neko attempts against the empress, sister against sister, Irim being loyal to Yui but untrusted by a lot of other loyalists especially when shes just raring to go HOG WILD on some traitors while the Rebels play her up as their ideal warmaster by quoting her and using her in their propoganda, False flagging and black-racket attacks, EWAR on a social scale~

Plus I could start quoting MG:R again.

LIKE THE GOOD OL' DAYS AFTER YE-11!
 

Wes

Founder & Admin
Staff Member
🌸 FM of Yamatai
🎖️ Game Master
🎨 Media Gallery
It's odd to me that there's never been any real internal struggles inside Yamatai that challenge the Ketsurui or any existing structure to earn their position at the top. There's also no mention of the politicial and cultural diversity that may exist in confrontation to the status quo. Ex-UOC territory, disgruntled Elysians, nomadic Freespacers causing some havok, independents running arms. There should be a lot of moving parts there, a lot of potential RP and threats. Things that make PCs actually raise their eyebrows about how a world could potentially try a revolution, or something of that nature. This is despite, as I understand you told me once before, that SAINT and the SAOY apparently do nothing to control or indoctrinate the citizenry or even veterans. If you could make a comment on that it'd be appreciated. Is there something I'm missing here?
I thank you for the suggestion and I intend to sprinkle more of this into the overall setting.

I guess one reason I've not played it that way is because I don't really get a lot of fun out of political RP, I primarily enjoy playing the everyday soldiers of the Star Army like Pidole the technician rather than playing the Empress.

@Charmaylarg Dufrain Let's not forget there's five thousand Star Army of Uesureya ships in orbit of Yamatai from Glimmergold that are full of those type of Nekovalkyrja.
 

Soresu

Well-Known Member
1: This has been brought up multiple times in the past. Rescaling of fleet sizes to where we are at present. When I first joined in 2006, each fleet numbered in the *millions* or hundreds of thousands. Since then we have scaled back immensely. I've oft tried to advocate what you are suggesting here. Especially post-war. A nation after a long and grueling war that lasts months to years would be, nay should be financially and industrially drained to some degree. More so if they are the ones that have committed more to the cause than others. In the past, we once had a RP (Resource Point) system which help drive how much a ship cost to build from an allocated pool of points each nation had. It went through several iterations until we stopped. Mostly because people could not be bothered for upkeep and it became tedious. Then came the Buildup solution which in turn led to our current fleet size decreases. Having an "Army of Billions" is a bit of a given considering the sheer size of the population bases for say the YSE who can clone armies at need, or Nepleslia who do not really have strict population control. There were also agreements on expansion. One nation can expand in one area while another can in the other direction to decrease international friction. We see expansion, but little in the way of if this world has mining colonies or that world is dedicated to manufacturing.


On some, you do in the rare instance. But usually, you see a lot of 'Resource-Rich' tacked on and the assumptions of scarcity being a non-issue. I get where you're coming from, but without someone, a team, or an automated system to track some things if it were to be a tangible system it simply cannot exist in a stable form. People will begin to forget, leave and their replacements either stop or begin to after a time. Same for keeping up with individual pay for soldiers. But in terms of scaling, you also have to understand we are not dealing with a single continent or one world, but multiple worlds and solar systems. Space is incredibly vast. Even in a single solar system, the volume you are talking about is huge. Some may not be as mineral, or water-rich as others (But everyone tries to make theirs as such) so resourcing should be an issue within them. Each of which can be terraformed, be it from moons around a gas giant, orbital habitats, asteroid colonies as an example, Ceres from The Expanse, and so on. People may overlook that sort of thing. But I like to think it happens. So scaling is a knife's edge of balancing.


One thing to remember as well is that each ship is its own enclosed ecosystem, we are part of the greater whole yes. But we are also our own little world. And to some extent control what happens in and around us on a macro-scale. Not saying you are wrong. But having been around for a significant amount of time I have seen multiple systems over a sixteen-year period. Some were mere bandaids. Some had a little promise but none have specifically panned out sadly. Saying individual characters do not matter in comparison to background nameless NPCs is... I won't say is necessarily incorrect. But we must remember that we as writers make up our plots and scenes. And these NPCs work for us as we are GMs or FMs and only have so much power insofar as we give them.


2: As I've mentioned before, being around for sixteen years I can attest to the always-win theme. If by the 'Skin of their teeth' mentality. I've had ideas in the past regarding loss, civil wars, etc etc. But none were ever acted upon or were shot down much to my chagrin. I'd like for something different to happen. It has been the same thing for nigh on twenty years for me. With each 'big bad' is progressively worse than the last. And my fondest is the SMX who at the time was perhaps the greatest of threats because of the collaborative effort and it is influenced by Fred (Give him sacrifices you fools or you will doom us all!) who helped drive it to a quality which in recent years has been lacking. I understand however that when it comes to enemies that it should be an effort between not only the GMs but various FMs/volunteers to help flesh things out. And that only one person trying to drive it forward is daunting and can only get so much done. Details may be sparse if so, and when it comes to pulling others together to sit down and try to make something cohesive, it can become a literal pissing contest (Forgive the language) on who's idea is best. Or a disagreement on this point or that point can cause derailment and no agreement reached. This is saddening to see since a good over-arching villain and driving force for the site is one of the main draws to bring in more players and regrow the player base as well as player retention.


3: As the above, but no character is a god. We have a running theme of 'I'm anti-ing your anti so I can anti your anti' this much is true. Nekovalkyrja come with many abilities, but it seems most players do not use the full breadth of them. Or simply ignore or do not read deeply enough into it to have it brought to their attention. Psionics have been a non-issue for many years with a very rare few exceptions. The subject is almost taboo due to the abuse in the past that called for more 'Anti' which is an incredibly bland and frustrating thing. Neko can still be influenced by toxins, Mishhuvurthyar toxin can actually be very debilitating to them, and I am certain some people can actually engineer something to do so. So they are not exactly god-like in terms of capability. For example, we have Nepleslians who have many of the same capabilities but that is at the cost of bodily organs and limbs being replaced by cybernetic components. Or the Iroma who do so through Symbiotics. In the past Elysians also had a breed called Seraphs who were created to compete with the Nekovalkyrja in the early years of SARP. And I am unsure if they will ever be used again or a new variant will be made.


With my current and only Neko character, I find myself utilizing aspects of their species that many others do not, or were unaware of on a semi-regular basis if the need calls for it. But do not abuse it. Only use them as needed or when it is appropriate. Doing so all the time detracts from her character where her mind is her greatest asset. Or, if it fits with the current theme of a thread, scene, or on a whim in what she is doing at the moment. I do these things mainly to show the difference between say humans/Neps, Lorath, etc etc. Each species have its attractions and detractions which add to the specific flavor of the given species.


4: This is true to some degree. I myself find the 'Place a quarter in the machine and restart' notion to be somewhat... bland. But I go along with the motion because if I have one I have written up and put the effort into I become fond of. If I lose them in a battle or knifing in the street that becomes a truly sad event for me personally. Because when you put care into a person you create you become attached. Koyama for example. She has never died. And I mean ever. But she fears death. Why? Because she considers herself the 'Prime' or 'First'. And all subsequent versions as copies. Should she die, as you mentioned we have some arbitrary memory loss and that is that. But I dig a bit deeper. It has become an internalized philosophical debate for her as she came dangerously close to death and has thus begun to question her own mortality. Yes, if she dies, she comes back provided her backup is not destroyed. But in that time whatever has been said or done. If she suddenly fell in love before her last backup will be forgotten and that can be dramatic gold in terms of RP opportunity. If she were with child that child would be gone. My first character on here was killed in battle while with child. When she was revived, in the tank she woke up. Her first action was to 'check' herself and felt nothing within her womb. It caused her to have a mental break and it had the additional effect of destroying her relationship with her lover who was the child's contributor. And as a result, her subsequent children have a dim view of her because she became estranged from them through neglect plus abandonment and has been RP'd as such with lasting consequences that have affected them all. So there can be more than just token memory loss. But genuine loss if we put forth the effort and add in the little details for both flavor and to make a more thematically engaging scene.


This just comes down to individual player tastes or desire for those little touches. One player may go the extra mile another may not as all are not made equal or think in the same manner. So we can have real consequences if we choose on an individual basis or if another player is also involved. But as I said before... not all are the same in both players and what happened.


5: The UOC is a subject I will only say this: If you were not there. Or were not a part of it, to bring it up for this discussion is not exactly in good taste because of the division it created OOCly and the drama associated with it. As for the Ketsurui *Waves a hand* I am a player of a Ketsurui. My Ketsurui is also the Senator of a former United Outer Colonies Capital World/System. And by extension wields influence within the cluster. I am working on these matters. My Ketsurui has a distinct dislike of Yui for reasons I will not unveil all of. But I will say the biggest reason is in regard to the Battle of Yamatai which is incredibly personal. The second is the treatment of the Samurai. Being raised by them she has an intimate familiarity with them and fondness. The loss of prestige rankles her something fierce after the Shadow Viper incident. In the Resurgence, if you pick through some of my posts you will see some slight hints here and there on her leanings politically, personally, and her desires. So I would not say the Ketsurui are doing nothing. But I am one of only a very few playing one and choose to develop Koyama's powerbase ICly instead of OOCly as much as possible. To do things the right way. -Sees Koyama sharpening her daisho in the background eyeing Yui- One moment... -Shushes her and takes them away seeing her pout.-


But! I have mentioned here or there on Discord how one could easily bring Yamatai to heel. Or to its knees. When you've been around for so long you become intimately aware of the strengths and weaknesses of a given thing. But going full Avengers Civil War would be a delicate and I mean delicate process. Or anything leading to true harm against any great nation on here for that matter. People have a lot invested in their creations and not everyone will be as amenable to certain things as others. It can take some cajoling, arguments may erupt, drama or a breath of fresh air as agreements are reached. What I truly fear as a long-standing player who has been here since I was nineteen years old is seeing a place I spent so much time RPing on to crumble before my eyes for want of something to change in a way that may cause division amongst everyone. Some, none, or the powers that be. I love SARP, and would hate to see another Exodus or for it to go up in flames. So I say this. Tread Lightly. Not as a threat. But warning on how delicate some things can be.
 
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