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machievelli
05-02-2006, 11:12 AM
As the critic, I have constantly pointed out the misues of military terms. I am sometimes guilty of misusing terms myself. When I was writing the first part of Republic Dawn, I was asking for advice from someone know knows the subject.

By the same token I have been asked about alien species and story lines. No biggie, I actually have been enjoying my stint here, and research is what I love to do.

We all need help and a little bit of expert advice. So here is where you can get it.

Post your question, and one of us that really knows will give you the run down. The first two posts after this are going to Generic information about Naval and Ground Forces. Just a basic 'this is what you have to work with. using X.'
Maybe later you'll give me some hard questions.

machievelli
05-02-2006, 11:59 AM
The Army:

I will start at the top so when you send out you 'squad', we can all work out how many people would be in it. If asked I will wax lyrical on 'troops (Cavalry or tanks) and if asked, I will also do this for snub fighters.

The Army:
An army is usually considered all of the troops you have, from the kid who is doing KP to the whatever many star Genral you have in command. But the Term 'army' when using troops in the field has a specific meaning when a military man is leading toops.

The standard for most European militaries and the US is about 100,000 men, comprising three corps of troops and the necessary add on units. If you have more than two armies working in tandem, they are what is called an Army Group.

The Russians during WWII had what they called Fronts, and they are what we would call an Army. Usually commanded by a General (4 stars)

Corps:
A corp is made up of between two and three Divisions and is usually comprised of about 35-60,000 men. Again, the variation in numbers is because of what it is composed of. Infantry units are heavier in manpower, Armor heavier in tanks (But smaller in men because you count the number of thanks, not their crews). This is what the Russians called an Army in WWII. Usually commanded by a Lieutenant (3 star) General

Division: A division depending on it's designation has between 8,000 and 16000 troops. It is composed of 2 or three Brigades. In large scale combat, this is the standard formation usually deployed. The only army in the world that has never fielded a Division is the Nation of Israel, which uses the Brigade as their standard large field unit. Usually commanded by a Major (Two star) General.

Brigade. A brigade is between 4,000 and 6,000 men, made up of two to three Regiments. This is also the size of what the United States fields as a Cavalry Regiment. A brigade is commanded by (You probably guessed it) a Brigadier General.

All of the units above have additional attached units assigned for operations, but not really belonging to it. Artillery, combat engineers, medical, supply, air support, signals, MPs etc. They can swell the numbers from the smaller amount to the larger quite readily.

Regiment:
A regiment is standardized at approximately 1500 men, but before that standardization, this was the largest unit of the British Army back during the Imperial Expansion. Some Regiments of the old British army had as many as 4,000 men because they recruited so well, but others numbered only eight or nine hundred. They finally created a standard size during WWI, where they actually fielded a lot of the larger units for the first time. A Regiment is made up of between 2 and 3 Battalions. Usually commanded by a Colonel.

Battalion:

A batallion is between five and six hundred men and is comprised of between 4 and six companies. One Company of this would be called Headquarters Company, and has the job you would expect. If you are reading a book anmd they talk about 'Head and head', this is who they are referring to. It is usually comanded by a Major.

Company:
A company is between 100 and 120 men, broken into 3 to four Platoons though standard in the US is 109. Again you have an additional group called Headquarters, and part of it would be the Heavy weapons platoon. When you see the guys carrying mortars and machine guns, they are usually part of the heavy weapons units. Commanded by a Captain.

Platoon:
Now we're getting to where most of what you see in Star Wars is happening. The platoon is 30-50 men depending on their composition, and is broken into 4 squads. The basic number if you look in the Field Infantry Officer's guide states that this unit is 44 men. One squad, again, is Headquarters, with heavy weapons sometimes added on in an additional squad. This is actually the lagrest unit that has an officer attached, commanded by a 1st or second lieutenant.

Squad:
The squad is the smallest 'organized' unit an army has. It is composed of 8-12 men, and is usually led by a sergeant.

Now it is rare for one of these units to have more than the number assigned, but it is not rare for it to have far less. One 'Brigade' of troops at the battle of the bulge numbered only 3,000 men when the battle started and less than a thousand at the end. The only other times you have a much smaller number is like the IRA who tried to convince the British that they had a lot more troops than they did by having a 'brigade' in every little town.

I have not covered special units or snub fighters here, but that is for later posts.

machievelli
05-02-2006, 12:58 PM
The navy:

The only real problem I have with the Star Wars movies is when they show 600 meter long (1800 feet, twice the size of the Nimitz) ships slugging it out at literally age of sail broadside range. I know intellectually that they need to do this for those who would consider a real naval battle about as interesting as watching paint dry, but still! Star Trek always had the same problem. You have two ships at 500 kilometers distance (About two thirds of the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco) looking close enough that you'd worry about collision.

The other problem which I will now address is what types of ships there are, and the names of the units they would normally travel in.

Class Vs Type:

A ship class is the name given to ships of a specific design. The Iowa class battleship is a specific group of four ships built in the 1940s. The Nimitz class is a specific group of six aircraft carriers at present.

A number of people have commented about the 'interdictor' class cruiser used in both the books set in the present Star Wars timeline, and the ship of the same class in KOTOR, which is 4,000 odd years past. I think what happened was the designers of the game knew little about actual nomenclature, and merely used it. That doesn't mean it couldn't be the same class name used. It has happened before, just not that often. I looked and automatically assumed that they meant Interdictor type.

As an example The Atlanta and Baltimore and Northampton classes are all cruisers (class) but the Atlanta, armed with nothing bigger than a 5" gun is considered an Anti-aircraft cruiser, Baltimore with six" guns a standard light cruiser, and the Northampton with her 8" a heavy cruiser. (See types)

Some of these get hopelessly confused, such as calling a ship a dreadnought (Which was an English Battleship class) but assigned in a SW book to what I would consider a cruiser) and another one with no specific type a Destroyer where I would call it a Battleship.

Type:
A type of ship is the designation of it's specific function. Escorts of course act as escorts for convoys, larger warships, etc. But Three of the ships that follow are also primarily designed as 'escorts' for larger ships.

The smallest unit in a modern navy is what is called the Corvette. It is lightly armed, and except for units designed by the Russians in the 60s and 70s assigned to escort and patrol duties. They are what you run into if you're trying to smuggle something into a core system.

The next up is where confusion sets in because it is the frigate. A frigate is a fast ship designed for long range patrols. This is what would chase you if you smuggle spice out of Kessel in other words. The name fell out of vogue between the beginning of the all steel warships of the late 19th century, and came back into vogue during WWII.

Then you have the destroyer, which got it's name from 'Torpedo boat destroyer', what it did during WWII, which was being destroy torpedo boats. During that war, the torpedo boats are what would have been called corvettes before that war, and were destroyers in everything but size. The name was shortened in the interim between the wars.

'I've outrun cruisers, not the local bulk types, I'm talking the big Corellian ones' said Han Solo. He was referring to one of the oddball designs which Star Trek has created in abundance, the ship that has so many duties, they probably get confused. A bulk cruiser is not only a warship, it handles supply runs, science missions etc. It has to be big because it needs all of the extra cubage for storage and what usually gets shorted is weapons and engines. A cruiser is a larger vessel, usually assigned to solitary patrols. It is well armed because when it needs help, it's highly unlikely that it will have it.

I won't go larger, because while a Star Destroyer or Super Star Destroyer are technically battleships, they aren't called that.

In company:

The formations are broken into Fleets, Task Force, Task Groups, Squadrons, Flotillas, and Divisions in their order from large to small. A fleet is all of the ships assigned to a specific area (Such as US 7th fleet which is assigned to the Pacific). This can be anywhere from 60 to 100 ships on the average. It is broken down into Task Forces as needed with no set number of them to a fleet.

A task force is, as the name implies, assigned to a specific task. They are usually designated by the fleet they are assigned to, and a number setting when they were formed. In the US Navy a Carrier task force has a carrier or two, and their escorts. A Surface Action Group (SAG) has larger ships that use gunfire to kill an enemy vessel, with their escorts. As an example 7th fleet above would have two carrier task forces (Two separate carriers and about 8-15 escort vessels each) and one or two SAGs comprised of 2 or 3 cruisers and their escorts.

The only difference between a Task Force and a Task Group is that a group is smaller. The SAG above could split in half, and become say Task Groups 7.2.1 and 7.2.2.

Squadrons and Flotillas are treated as pretty much interchangable, but actually a Squadron is a group of up to 8 ships of the same class operating together. It is usually assigned to the larger ships, so a group of 8 cruisers would be called a Squadron. A flotilla is small craft, meaning destroyers or smaller, and can number up to 15 though standard is 12.

A division of ships is two or more (But less than a the numbers above) operating together on a specific mission.

Jae Onasi
05-02-2006, 02:07 PM
My primary field is medicine, so just about anything in that field is fair game, and if I don't know it I can usually find out. Caveat: I can tell you how specific diseases can affect the body, but I am not able to give out specific medical advice to people on their specific medical problems. Without actually seeing someone, it's impossible to sort through the many things that could be causing the problem. That and my liability insurance company would be most unhappy. :)
My particular specialty is eyes/vision/optics.
Since we have to take so much science for the med field, I can provide information in varying degrees on chemistry (biochemistry, organic, inorganic), pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, general biology (just about any type except botany), and physics.
I can also answer questions on:
Nursing
Statistics (the more basic things)
French (though I'm not entirely sure how that would pertain to SW :) )
History (in varying degrees but particularly French history, Martin Luther King Jr., history of medicine and science, and Renaissance/medieval)
Weather
Birds (wild, not cage)
Gardening
Experiences with babies/young children
Christianity (including apologetics, and I know a whole lot more about Protestantism than Catholicism)
Taekwondo
Politics (that's not my expertise, but I certainly don't mind giving an opinion. :D )

Since I don't have the opportunity to see every thread every day (not enough hours in the day to do that!), if you have a question, it's probably best to PM me or ask here.

JediMaster12
05-02-2006, 03:44 PM
My area in in the realm of all things ancient and mythological. Being an anthropologist, I have reference to cultures and traditonal patterns. I am not up to date on current groups but I know of historical groups. My primary field is in Mesoamerica with a concentration on the Aztecs. I also have a wide source list and symbology books that range from Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, occult/Wiccan, Shinto, samurai, some Middle eastern, Middle Age/ Mideveal, Rennaissance. Mostly I have alot on religions and symbology. Some cultural ethnographies as well. I have a library that I am constantly adding to. My recent additions were China and Tibet.
Best bet is to PM me with questions or at LF.

machievelli
05-02-2006, 04:33 PM
Or maybe they can ask you here in this column?

It's not like I am the only one with specialized knowledge among us.

If someone decided to find a new planet, they might want a selection of native customs...

Jae Onasi
05-02-2006, 04:53 PM
Cutmeister pointed out that I had all my party going aboard a potentially hostile ship and was worried about what might happen. I read that and went 'oh yeah, should have thought about that' though since I've never had the opportunity to board hostile ships, I'm probably being a bit tough on myself. :)

When I tried to do (an admittedly brief) research online, I came up with zip for any guidelines (and the SEALs don't like to tell.). So, any thoughts?

JM12--I wouldn't mind picking your brain on more Li'adin culture, even if some details aren't used in the story itself. I'd like to make it more 'real.'

The Doctor
05-02-2006, 05:18 PM
I pride myself in being an expert at technobabble. If you anyone needs to ocme up with a name for a device, or get information on what a certain device might do, I'll be glad to help!

Hallucination
05-02-2006, 11:53 PM
I'm a grammar/punctuation/spelling troll, so if anyone wants me to give their fic a little attention I'll see what I can do.

Diego Varen
05-03-2006, 02:37 AM
I might not be the best person, but ask me if you need a good storyline for a Fic.

machievelli
05-03-2006, 03:02 AM
Boarding Actions:
Or:
The Few The Proud

One part of combat everyone remembers is the boarding action at the start of Star Wars A New Hope.

Having been asked to explain the mechanics of such as operation, I will use the same scene, but from the other side.
You are Captain Taggart, Strormtooper. Darth Vader had ordered that the Tantive IV, CEC Corvette Blockade runner that has just been captured be boarded, and you are in charge of the boarding action.
The ship has four access ways, two on the hammerhead port and Starboard, Two aft forward of engineering, so you spilt your company of 100 men into 4 25 man teams. You have chosen to enter Port forward.
You have relaxed a little, after all, you are not boarding an enemy warship, but at the same time you are worried that it is a civilian ship-

Yes, you at the back of the room. Why the dichotomy? Well it’s simple really. If you board an enemy warship, you can expect someone a lot like you in charge. Since you probably went to the same type of Academy, you would be able to at least try to anticipate what he’s going to do. You also are more careful, because you don’t have a deck plan, which you do for Tantive IV. This isn’t the only Corvette CEC built after all.

And while civilian ships have individually seal able compartments, no commercial ship would match the sheer mass of compartments aboard a Warship. Besides which a military vessel undoubtedly would have intruder/anti boarding systems. Blast doors that seal off areas of the ship that you have to either cut or blast through. Every step contested by men as good at their job as you are.

But it is a fact of ship building that no two ships of the same class are exactly the same. They have quirks, maybe the engineers who designed them changed a drawing. That deck plan might cause you to put your troops in the wrong place. At the same time you’re nervous because you may not expect to face regular combat troops, but there is the old saying ‘the best swordsman in the world isn’t afraid of number 2, he’s afraid of the idjit who just picked up a sword, because no one knows what he might do‘. What if this guy has a pet rancor, say? Brrrr.

So you address your entry way. The only question you had for lord Vader was ‘how much breakage is acceptable?’ Meaning, what percentage of the crew can be considered expendable? Vader tell you he’d really like some prisoners to interrogate. If you are under heavy fire, you are to show no mercy. If not, subdue.

This is an important factor you needed to consider. It limits the weapons you can use. First you sideline the Blastech T-21 light repeaters and the E-webs. Good weapons but they have too much penetration and moving a heavy tripod weapon is stupid in a passageway. You put away the rocket launchers and the frag grenades. These would cause shrapnel, and that could punch holes in the hull. The only holes you want are the ones you have planned on. After all, the enemy isn’t in heavy armor (You hope) and without the breathing systems your suits have, they’d die. Best not to disappoint Vader. So it’s E-11s, stun and smoke grenades, and stunners. Not to worry about too much penetration, the E-11 has little-

Excuse me? An E-11 uses a focused pulse of energized ionized plasma. It transfers not a projectile, but heat to the target, Against flesh it causes a steam explosion as it heats it to about 3,000 degrees instantaneously. On hull plating or most materials used on a ship, it is only going to melt about 5 cubic centimeters, less than the thickness of the hull, so no problem. Against armor such as you wear it will melt what it hits, blowing it through the men wearing it. Your armor is only supposed to try to redirect that jet of death, Like a helmet during the old wars having it means you have a better chance to survive, not that you‘re suddenly superman.

You give your final orders to the teams attacking. Maximum frightfulness on entry. You want to literally sweep the enemy under with firepower if necessary. Anyone unarmed is to be taken down with minimum force, but it’s unlikely anyone of real importance will be standing down here with a blaster pistol in hand, right? If they’re wounded they can be questioned, so no mercy rounds.

Ready, you signal to your entry team. These men are carrying breaching charges, strips designed for just this occasion. They set them along the hinge and lock side of the hatch. These are ignited by small thermite charges, and literally burn around the hatch at such a high rate of speed, that it might as well be explosives. The last thing you do is point to the squad behind the entry team, and they ready smoke grenades.

On the count, all four teams set off the charges. The thermite burns through the hull before they set off the strips. Then they go and you’re buffeted by the blast. As the hatch explodes inward, the first squad sets off their smokers, throwing them ahead. All the enemy can see is a wall of white mist. The first squad doubles forward, crouched, looking.

They see the enemy down behind cover, and the lead man of the squad reports as they engage. The enemy has standard civilian model blasters, not as powerful as your E11s, and while you lose some men, you push forward smoothly. As the squad reaches the first cross corridor it splits, half facing forward, half aft. The second squad leapfrogs them. The fourth squad takes first squad’s place facing aft and first squad starts the process of moving compartment by compartment one way, fourth another, second continues in a beeline advance to link up with the second platoon across the ship from you. This important. You can’t allow the enemy to pen you into a small area, and if you ignore the cross corridor they will use it to advance into your flank. By the same token a man quietly waiting in one of those compartments that is bypassed can pop out and ruin a trooper’s day.

Once the link up is complete, the second platoon moves forward to capture the bridge, your platoon now works to link up with the other platoons aft. Vader has boarded, and headed for the bridge, giving orders to his own team to check the computers.

Now Vader changes the orders. He knows there are passengers, and he wants them alive.

While your men have been clearing the ship, they have been doing it by looking in, seeing if they are fired upon, and if they are, killing the person shooting at them. Now you have to search every place that a person could hide, from that locker in the compartment to the cargo bays. This is time consuming and dangerous. It is hide and seek with a homicidal maniac. You may have Rebel rats aboard, but they might decide to die with their teeth in your throat...

Jae Onasi
05-03-2006, 11:03 AM
Thanks Mach.

Chatting with hubby last night, I asked "Honey, do you think a ship should fly with the turning winds of a tornado or against it?" I had my ideas, but wanted to see if he agreed with my science thoughts.
He answered with great emphasis, "I wouldn't be flying anywhere near a tornado to begin with!"
So much for that question. :D

machievelli
05-03-2006, 03:22 PM
Thanks Mach.

Chatting with hubby last night, I asked "Honey, do you think a ship should fly with the turning winds of a tornado or against it?" I had my ideas, but wanted to see if he agreed with my science thoughts.
He answered with great emphasis, "I wouldn't be flying anywhere near a tornado to begin with!"
So much for that question. :D

I know the feeling. My wife is constantly saying that I have conversations about people and she has to ask me if they are 'real' or characters. My mother used to say the same thing, so maybe it's true.

As for the question you asked him, it would probably depend on the structural strength of the ship. Simple aerodynamics suggests flying with them if you want to speed up. and through if you do not.

Jae Onasi
05-03-2006, 05:06 PM
^ :lol:

I wouldn't want to fly through an F5 tornado. Probably could do F0-2 if you have something as strong as what the Hurricane hunters fly and it's over water (and theoretically relatively free of debris), but I wouldn't bet on anything surviving 300+ mph winds and the debris that's flying with it.
When I double checked my info, I remembered that tornadoes are rotating updrafts and not downdrafts, and since I decided to get the ship up into the stratosphere out of the storm entirely, I went with for speed and height.

The Source
05-03-2006, 06:51 PM
About six months ago, I had set out to write for another franchise. So, I did this mess of research, and found a list of illogical rules.

Example of rules if you write professionally:
1. You must stick to cannon. (Very Important Rule. I like it.)
2. You cannot make your own characters. (Very Bad Rule.)
3. You can only write stories based upon established characters and storyline. (Horrible Idea.)
4. You must be familiar with the franchises characters, species, etc... (I can live with that.)
5. You have to have an agent. (Bad Rule.)
6. You must submit a two chapter draft, so we can determine if you are what we need.

There were at least twenty more illogical rules, which just drove me and a few others away from writting.

If you want to get an expert opinion on how to use certain lingo, this thread sounds like a cool idea. But, try not to limit the creative imagination. As long as a writter keeps their story logical, I can see no harm in a artistic liscense.

Jae Onasi
05-03-2006, 10:34 PM
I have no problem with creative license, and I feel free to use it, e.g. putting my character in a dress instead of Jedi robes, or inventing a medicine name (Carbasorb--meant to absorb excess blood carbon dioxide. Except I found out that's a real thing--a filter, of all things, so now I have to change my med name. :) ).

However, it's nice to have some realism in certain situations, like when I describe medical emergencies for instance--I want that to sound as 'medical' as possible, and the only way to do that is use real med jargon, which sounds better than medbabble.

That is what this thread is for--to help provide technical knowledge so that we don't make up something that just sounds totally ridiculous. However, I'm all for creativity, too. :)

machievelli
05-03-2006, 11:50 PM
Does anyone want to have proper nomenclature organization and maneuvering for snub fighters?

Jae Onasi
05-04-2006, 12:28 AM
Sure, and radio communication in flight emergencies if anyone's got that handy. I'm plowing through FAA stuff, but I'm in the mood to write instead of research right now. OTOH, when I go on my flight this Fri, if I hear anything out of the cockpit (doubtful now with new rules post 9/11, I now might have a passing understanding. :)

RaV™
05-04-2006, 01:03 AM
Is anyone a researcher? I need a little bit more info on the earliest race of Mandalorians. The Taungs, I can only find information on Wiki and that just isn't good enough.

Jae Onasi
05-04-2006, 01:21 AM
From the New Essential Chronology:
"Coruscant's humans may have come into dominance on their homeworld by defeating a near-human, gray-skinned species known as the Taungs in several series of legendary battles. The humans, who comprised the thirteen nations of the Battalions of Zhell, suffered an almost extinction-level defeat when a sudden volcanic eruption smothered their encampment. The towering plume of black ash loomed over the Taung army for two years, and the awed Taungs too the name Warriors of the Shadow--or in the ancient tongue, Dha Werda Verda. The Battalions of Zhell recovered and claimed Coruscant for tehir own, while the Taungs may have become the Mandalorians, judging from what we have learned concerning similarities between the Mandalorian language and surviving Taung texts. (p. 2)
and
Apart from the Republic, galactic colonization occurred among the Taung exiles, who settled a world that they named Mandalore, in honor of their leader Mandalore the First. (p.6)

Probably is more elsewhere, too, but I don't have other books to look up at the moment. Hope that's a little help, anyway.

RaV™
05-04-2006, 01:59 AM
That's nice of you I appreciate it.

machievelli
05-04-2006, 03:07 AM
Sure, and radio communication in flight emergencies if anyone's got that handy. I'm plowing through FAA stuff, but I'm in the mood to write instead of research right now. OTOH, when I go on my flight this Fri, if I hear anything out of the cockpit (doubtful now with new rules post 9/11, I now might have a passing understanding. :)


How about an emergency of a military nature? Say a fighter coming in badly shot up, or escorting a freighter being checked over before landing?

Sabretooth
05-04-2006, 03:20 AM
1. You must stick to cannon. (Very Important Rule. I like it.)

Nope, you need to stick to canon and not cannon. We have enough heads rolling by now...

Jae Onasi
05-04-2006, 11:55 AM
How about an emergency of a military nature? Say a fighter coming in badly shot up, or escorting a freighter being checked over before landing?

I was looking more for cockpit/tower chatter examples, but I wouldn't mind hearing about this, too, being the education junkie that I am.

machievelli
05-04-2006, 02:18 PM
Off We Go...

The Snub Fighters

The following is standard to all air forces (There are variations between Air Force and Naval Air forces which will be pointed out as we go), and can be used for any fighter combat you decide to write.

The Largest Formation of aircraft you will see in real life is the Air Force. The United States has one assigned to every place we consider important. It is composed of several Wings of aircraft, and has attached training, and transport aircraft. The largest Air Force during WWII had over 4,000 aircraft assigned to it. It is usually commanded by a Major General (Two Stars). We have seen nothing on this level of organization in the movies, so we will leave it at that.

The next size down is the Wing. A Wing is approximately 72 aircraft, broken into three Squadrons of 24 aircraft each, all of the same type. By type here I mean fighter-bomber, etc. There can be wide variations in what they might have, since as Star Wars A New Hope and Return of the Jedi showed, you can have a variety of aircraft all flying under one command at the same time. In numbers a Wing is approximately 4500 men, half of which are maintenance. Of these, only about a hundred are actual pilots. The bulk of the remainder headquarters, intelligence, armorers, etc. A wing is commanded by a Brigadier General.

The primary difference between an air force unit and a naval unit in this regard is that an Aircraft Carrier has to do all of the jobs that several different wings would be assigned to. Bombing, reconnaissance, cargo transport, protection from submarines, search and rescue etc. Using Combat Fleets of the World you can see that A Nimitz class Carrier carries 90 Aircraft. 48 of them on a carrier are Fighters in four squadrons (As the navy calls 12 aircraft instead of 24) 24 ground attack and antisubmarine aircraft 4 reconnaissance and EW (Electronic Warfare) aircraft, 3 AEW (Airborne Early Warning) and about 11 helicopters. This is by no means standard. Thanks to using F/A 18 Hornets that are designed both as attack and interceptors, those 24 ground attack aircraft can be used for other purposes, or be replaced by other designs. Aboard a ship this is called the Combat Air Wing today. It used to be called the Combat Air Group, which explains the slang for the commander of all those men, the CAG.

A Squadron as mentioned above is 24 aircraft each in an air force, while as I said, a naval unit is 12. Since most of what we got to see in the movies was in a naval context, from here on, I will merely address that aspect. The aircraft would have about 1.25% crews, meaning for every man you need, you have one additional pilot per craft. A Naval Squadron has 12 planes, and 16 pilots. A Commander commands squadrons in the Navy.

Squadrons are broken down on operations into Flights. The US and a number of our allies (Japan, Germany, and Italy) have flights of 4 aircraft, while others have flights of 6. There is a reason for this, and that is because the primary combat unit of a fighter unit is not the larger units above, it is not even the plane by itself.

It is the Element. An element is either two or three fighters, and is composed of a flight lead and his wingman or wingmen. In the units above, you can easily see that both flights break down into two elements.

The one thing about the last battle in A New Hope that bothered me was that except for Vader’s team, no one paid a bit of attention to it. Even though it was proven as far back as WWI that survival in battle depends on it. When you’re coming onto the tail or ‘six’ of an enemy, you’re more interested in killing that plane, and a lot of pilots through the ages have died because while they were trying to kill him, someone else slipped up and killed them. A wingman’s job is to stick as tight to you as he can, and to watch for enemy craft coming up on your six. That leaves you free to take your shot.

The craft we saw in the movies even though called ‘fighter’ were usually none of the kind. The Tie fighter, Tie Interceptor and A Wings were, but the others were actually fighter-bombers. The difference is minor, since all it depends on weapons load out. Proton torpedoes are good against enemy ships, and primary long range attack against fighters. The Y Wing and Tie Bomber are merely bombers that have some utility as fighters themselves. As we saw with the Y wing vs. TIEs, the chances of survival depend on the pilot.

There is no actual ‘snub fighter carrier’ in the movies. Instead they went for what we would call ‘hybrid’ or ‘hermaphrodite’ carriers; warships designed to fight on their own, but carrying fighters as well. This I think is due to the fact that a carrier in battle here can’t get the standoff it needs to protect itself. The smallest ship that we can verify carries fighters is the Nebulon B Frigate, which carries 24. But considering the size of the Corellian Corvette Tantive IV, it would have been able to carry at least a dozen. If you wanted, you could also modify cargo vessels to carry them as Fighter barges. If you have pirates, this is what you would probably have them do. After all, the average commercial starship would surrender if faced with half a dozen or so fighters.

A fighter takes up a lot of cubage because of the expendable ordinance and required maintenance crews. The biggest drawback of such an arrangement is the necessity of fuel and storage for the fighters themselves. The missiles a fighter carries are smaller than shipboard missiles if they are still using them.

Maneuvers:

There are specific maneuvers used by everyone, and they determine what you can and cannot do. All of the things you see the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds do in their routines are really just basic combat maneuvers with colored smoke. I was bothered in The Phantom Menace with Young Anakin deciding to spin. In real life guys, they have a name for him. They call him a statistic. You will no doubt notice that even though I will try to describe what is happening, it may make little sense. You will notice in movies when a pilot is describing his actions, he will use his hands a lot. This is because he is recreating what he and his enemy did with something you can see. If need be, read the descriptions, and use your hands to go through them.

At least it’s better than the Colonel describing an attack and rearranging your coffee table and tea service.

LOOP. Easy, pull the stick back, complete a circle, and continue on. The idea with a loop is to try to get behind the man pursuing you.

IMMELMAN TURN. An Immelman is a half loop with a change of direction at the end. Begin the loop as before, but when you reach the apex, turn onto a new course. It is used when you are below an enemy and want to get on his tail fast. Or shake some guy following you loose. If you dive instead of climbing, this is called a split S.

THATCH WEAVE. The thatch weave was created as a defensive ploy by fighters. Two aircraft flying, the enemy moves to attack one. His wingman either turns, or if he is flight lead retards his throttle so he drops back, then turns to get on the enemy’s tail. This is now called the sandwich, in that by turning to draw the enemy out, you have created a lethal sandwich of defender, enemy, and attacker. If he tries to break (Explained later) you merely turn the same direction, and the two on your side change jobs as it were.

SPLIT. In a split both aircraft want to reverse course. One way is the inboard turnabout, where you turn toward each other, one circling out farther than the other, and are now facing the enemy. The other is to break in opposite directions, again turning to face the enemy. This can be done in any 3 dimensions such as one climbing while the other staying in level flight, one diving, both breaking up and down at the same time, etc.

BREAK. A sharp turn into the attacker, hoping to cause an overshoot. When you see planes jinking around trying to avoid being hit, that is a break. If the enemy does overshoot, meaning he is now ahead of you, you roll back into him, onto his six, and hunt him. It can also be used to disengage to break off the action.

ROLLING ATTACK, DISENGAGEMENT. If you are attacking and are faster, you roll your aircraft to eat up some of that difference, and hopefully stay on his tail. If they are on your six you do the same to generate an overshoot. If you succeed, again he is in front of you. In the defense, this is called a high G barrel roll.

SCISSORS. An enemy is tangling with you, but neither has an advantage in speed or maneuvering. One way to break this deadlock is to use a scissors. You turn into the enemy, maintaining your line of sight on the enemy. This will cause him to either break away, or break toward you. If he breaks away, follow. If he breaks toward you, you again turn into him. Keep this up until you have gotten behind him.

YOYO. You are behind an enemy, but are travelling too fast. You do the opposite of the above situation, turning away then back sharply. This slows you down, and gives you a chance to again get on his six. If you add a roll to it, it becomes what is known as a rollaway. Merely turn opposite to his turn, roll until you can see him again, and complete your roll and turn on his six.

LUFBERRY CIRCLE. A defensive formation which is little used since the end of WWII because someone finally found a way to break it. In a Lufberry circle the fighters form a circle where every aircraft has a supporting craft behind it. The way to break it is to fly into it from any angle blasting away and trying to break them out of the mutually defending circle. (Addenda 2007: Oddly enough, the circle came back into vogue during the Vietnam War, but for only two reasons; to sucker American fighters, and to kill bombers. In the Mid 1960s, the American Air Force reported that the Vietnamese had begun using what the US called the Wagon Wheel. American pilots were getting slaughtered going against it.

There is a reason this was occuring, and that was tactical doctrine. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, pundits had claimed that since modern fighters were so fast, they would no longer have dogfights. All battles would be at long range with missiles. In fact the French got upset when the Israelis bought the Mirage III, then demanded guns for them. After all, the plane is capable up to mach 2, right?

The Israelis were smarter than the French. When the F4 Phantom first debuted in Vietnam, it carried four sidewinder missiles, and for Sparrows. But to use the sidewinder (What is called a dogfight missile) the rule is;

get on the enemy six, hold position until the missile locks on, fire missile

So a lot of pilots died trying to use those missiles.

Oddly enough, the Israelis, with those guns they would never need, racked up the highest kill ration of any air force during the 1967 war. They killed 50 enemy fighters for every one they lost

The last two are relatively unique in that one requires gravity to work, and the other would work better without it.

HAMMERHEAD STALL. Used by the US Air Force for the first time during the Vietnam War, it is also called the vertical reverse or ballistic reverse. You climb steeply until your aircraft stalls. In a normal situation this is bad. Your plane falls like a leaf from a tree, and until you gain speed, you have as little control as that leaf. However this is what you want to do, because your craft is now a projectile and ballistics is your friend. If you do nothing the plane merely continues over into a dive, and you recover.

When your craft stalls here, you reverse your controls, turning the nose to point downward instead of up. An enemy on your tail now has you coming down like the hammer of the gods in his face.

COBRA. Actually called Rogachev’s Cobra after the Russian pilot who first showed it off at the Paris Air Show back in the 80s. It uses the fact that modern aircraft have what are called AOA or Angle of Attack limiters, stopping you from trying to point your nose too high and thus stalling. What Rogachev did was remove that fixture from his aircraft, retard his throttle to idle, and at the same time, rotated up past 90 degrees. The plane was still flying forward, in the case of when he revealed it at about 500 knots, but the nose was pointed upward at about 75 degrees behind him. It has little utility in real combat, except again to force an enemy to generate an overshoot.

However picture it in snub fighter combat. No gravity, no drag from the air. A TIE fighter on your six. You retard, rotate back 180 degrees instead. Suddenly he is facing your guns, and closing the range.

Talk about ruining his day...

JediMaster12
05-04-2006, 02:46 PM
JM12--I wouldn't mind picking your brain on more Li'adin culture, even if some details aren't used in the story itself. I'd like to make it more 'real.'
What specifically are you looking for? What do you see them as? Are they more in tune with principles of nirvana or something?
I'd be glad to give a few pointers. :D

Jae Onasi
05-04-2006, 04:22 PM
Building a culture--if this gets too involved, I'm more than happy to take it offlist if need be.
Here's what I have so far--
The planet Li'adin--rotates a little faster, maybe has a little more axial tilt, so the Coriolis forces are higher and their weather is a lot worse during parts of the year, and they can have massive but fast moving storms. Otherwise, it's temperate. They have a specific growing season that happens outside the stormy seasons. The weather strongly affects their architecture--they have to build structures to withstand the nasty weather. I may have to move them more below ground--don't know yet. The sun is bluer than average (just because I liked that idea, no other particular reason). The plant life is more blue-green than green (which I associated with the blue shift in the sun's visible light spectrum) and nearly black dirt, just because I didn't want to be creative with dirt color at the moment I was writing it.
The people--Li'adans. Humanoid race, yellowish skin (due to different wavelengths of sunlight there?), brown hair (maybe other colors too?, shorter and slightly more frail than 'normal' humans. They are exceptionally sensitive to changes in time. They don't like to leave their solar system (haven't decided why). They come in Singles, Duos, and Triads. They're born as singles. Haven't figured out how they reproduce because it wasn't salient for my story (and because I'm not a randy teenager thinking about that all the time ;) ). They 'join' or become telepathically linked with another single at some point in life (I'm picturing young adult to adult) and become a Duo. Later in life, another single can be added to the mix to make a Triad, though that is not required. I suppose I could call it a Trio, but I liked how Triad sounded so I went with that. I thought that they might consider a Joining ceremony to be a big deal. Singles have names with a suffix 'a, Duos 'an, Triads 'ad. When they join, pieces of each of the individual's names are recombined into a new name. Maybe. :) Haven't figured that one out yet. When they talk, since they're linked mentally, the individuals can say parts of an entire sentence and tend to do so back and forth. The 'primary' or 'first' individual is the original Single, and the 'second' and 'third' are the individuals added to the group respectively. In social structure Triads generally outrank Duos who outrank Singles, but I'm thinking of it like a CEO outranks a VP who outranks a manager. All might be generally equal otherwise, but I haven't figured that one out. Only Unjoined can leave the planet. Don't know why, I just made it that way to advance the plot.
When they work, they work in concert. If you're a Triad, it's kind of like having 6 hands to be able to do more. Duos and Triads tend to stay grouped together but can be separated geographically. The grouping is more important than the individuals within the group. Going too far into adulthood before Joining leads to mental instability. They have some way of determining who should join with whom. Breaking the link, or becoming Unjoined back into a Single, can be mentally devastating and many don't survive (and I might have unintentionally taken too much of that from Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders series, since now that I write it out it sounds a lot like what happens when a dragon dies). I haven't figured out what happens if one of the individuals in a group gets sick or injured badly enough to die--do they re-Join with another Single to prevent the mental problems?
Homes and transports would be designed with more seats, larger, and more rooms to accommodate the larger groupings. Yes, the individuals all have their own rooms. The groups don't all pile in bed with each other. I'm not into exploring the social issues of polygamy/polyandry/etc. This is something my young son reads, after all. :)
I haven't figured out their likes/dislikes/forms of entertainment/dinner plans/fears/joys/etc. The only thing I thought of was that since the weather is so bad a lot, they like to go outside when they can, but they don't stray far from safe cover.

How's that for grist for your mill? :)

JediMaster12
05-04-2006, 04:50 PM
Sensitive to changes in time and yet they are linked as adults mentally. It sounds like you are stepping into the realms of magic.

Three is actually one of the powerful numbers to witches. 3,5 and the most powerful is 7. The number five is more common do to the sacred feminine factor in that five is often associated with all things feminine. The pentacle star for one. The human body makes it, the lengths of the sides have the divine proportion (Golden Ratio) and the planet Venus makes a pentacle star every eight years. In fact the Olypmic games were arranged around Venus's orbit.

The Joining ceremony is the passage into adulthood. A good example is a bar mitzvah, where the boy at the age 13 becomes a man in the eyes of Jewish law called Talmud. There are other kinds of ceremony for passage. Native American groups go on the vision quest which helps to determine their place in the tribe whether as a healer, a warrior and is often seen as an animal since animals are said to possess magical qualities. Native Americans traditonally tell of how things came to be through stories passed on in oral traditon. An example would be the Apache way in which they say "This is what my grandparents told me to be true..." It gives validity to the story.

I don't know much about dragons except that in Chinese folklore, they were highly considered and respected. They were even said to bring good luck. Only the Emperor of China could have the dragon on the Imperial crest and his colr was red another symbol for luck. Heck even crickets are considered good luck.

The part about only the Unjoined can leave the planet sounds a bit like the Melodies in EU. The Melodies are from Yavin system and the adults live in the deep crystal waters in the caves. The children are the only ones who can live on land seeing as they look like humans. When they become twenty years old, they undergo the changing ceremony in a shallow pool of algae where their legs are fused together into a tail and they develop gills and webbed hands. It is a specific time of the year and the time when the purella like to try and catch a Melodie.

Hope that helps a bit.

Jae Onasi
05-04-2006, 07:08 PM
Any references to magic were unintentional, since I know almost nothing about witchcraft. Three and seven are also important numbers in Christianity, three signifying unity and seven signifying completion. I mainly stopped at 3 because I didn't want to make it any more complex than it was starting to be.
A vision quest could be an interesting aspect of Joining, though I have to admit the only time I've seen that was on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger one time. :)
Haven't read about the Melodies, though that might be interesting to look at.
Thanks!

machievelli
05-04-2006, 09:07 PM
Any references to magic were unintentional, since I know almost nothing about witchcraft. Three and seven are also important numbers in Christianity, three signifying unity and seven signifying completion. I mainly stopped at 3 because I didn't want to make it any more complex than it was starting to be.
A vision quest could be an interesting aspect of Joining, though I have to admit the only time I've seen that was on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger one time. :)
Haven't read about the Melodies, though that might be interesting to look at.
Thanks!


If anyone is interested i have been a member of the Druidic Craft of the wise, a Wiccan organization for over 20 years.

As for 'magic', those who have read my KOTOR stuff would know that all Echani are empathic, and they bond with others. The way I got around this for Jedi or say soldiers, was to say they bonded to the ideals of the order or service.

JediMaster12
05-05-2006, 01:20 AM
@ Jae: I know the number three is in reference to the Holy Trinity in Christianity and seven was as you said completion. Harry Potter also mentions the use of the number seven. In many cultures, numbers play a significant role in determining fate and the like such whether or not to go to war. The Golden Ratio is known as 1.618 and ties in with Fabonacci sequence. It is called the divine proportion for a reason. It is prevalent in all living things and scientist/mathematicians thought it to be the number of heaven.
On another note Jae, many things in the modern world are based in magic probably the exception being science. It is known as transmutation. Many symbols have been passed through the centuries and used by other cultures. An example is the Madonna and Child. The same image is depicted in images of Isis nursing Horus. Christmas and Easter were originally pagan holidays until Constatine used Christian events in place of the pagan holidays. Pagan comes from the Latin root meaning countryside. Another symbol is the triquetra, the symbol from Charmed. A Celtic symbol, Christian missionaries used the same symbol to stand for the Holy Trinity. The little almond shape is seen in the image of the Jesus fish and in pagan traditon meant fertility.

As far as religion and culture goes, outside influences have an impact as well. I'll use the Aztecs since that is my niche. They believe in thise fatalistic universe and that everything is a result of fate. In fact they predicted that the age we live in, the Fifth Sun, will end (translation) in a huge earthquake and the celestial monsters will come out of the ground and devour everyone and all will disappear. Most of their mythology has ties to environment. Tenochititlan (Mexico City) is located in the Basin of Mexico, an area ringed by mountains and volcanoes. Earthquakes are frequent. The creation story tells of four previous ages, each destroyed by natural disaster. One is where the volcanoes erupted and the people of that age turned to dogs and turkeys. The famous Aztec calendar actually tells the story of the the Five Suns with Tonatiuh, the god of the Fifth Sun, in the center and the symbols for the animals the people of the previous ages turned into. The border shows the twenty name days in the calendar round.
The calendar round is cyclical and extremely fatalistic. There are two calendars, one 365 day solar calendar and a 260 day lunar calendar. A complete calendar round tokk 52 years. Near the end of the 52 years was a time of uncertainty as the gods could revoke their favor. Different calander days had particular sacrifices to accompany it. Sacrifices were public events that included music and dancing. It was considered the best form of honor to die as a sacrifice than in battle as it was said that you would get to return as a hummingbird to enjoy the sweet nectars of the Earth. The calandar round was followed by all Mesoamerican cultures. The Classic Mayan developed the Long Count. Based on their calendar, this age is set to end December of 2013. If I were you, I'd get my affairs in order :D

The Source
05-05-2006, 02:38 PM
How about an emergency of a military nature? Say a fighter coming in badly shot up, or escorting a freighter being checked over before landing?

Bogie:
The term bogie, also spelled bogey, refers to a false blip on a radar display. The term is also used to describe radar echoes that occur for unknown reasons, especially in the military, where such a signal might indicate hostile aircraft. There are two types of bogie: those that occur because of some real but unidentified or irrelevant object (called "real bogies" for the purpose of this discussion), and those that occur as a result of no concrete external object ("imaginary bogies").

A "real bogie" can be caused by an aircraft, a missile, a flock of birds, a tall ground-based metal structure, a balloon with a large payload or a radar-reflective coating, or (perhaps) an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Thunderstorms produce radar echoes, as do concentrated weather phenomena such as tornadoes. Meteors passing through the atmosphere create trails of ionized gas that can return radar signals. In the military, "real bogies" are sometimes produced by dropping myriad scraps of metal foil from high-flying aircraft, producing diffuse echoes that blind enemy radar over large regions.

machievelli
05-06-2006, 02:14 PM
Bogie:
The term bogie, also spelled bogey, refers to a false blip on a radar display. The term is also used to describe radar echoes that occur for unknown reasons, especially in the military, where such a signal might indicate hostile aircraft. There are two types of bogie: those that occur because of some real but unidentified or irrelevant object (called "real bogies" for the purpose of this discussion), and those that occur as a result of no concrete external object ("imaginary bogies").

A "real bogie" can be caused by an aircraft, a missile, a flock of birds, a tall ground-based metal structure, a balloon with a large payload or a radar-reflective coating, or (perhaps) an extraterrestrial spacecraft. Thunderstorms produce radar echoes, as do concentrated weather phenomena such as tornadoes. Meteors passing through the atmosphere create trails of ionized gas that can return radar signals. In the military, "real bogies" are sometimes produced by dropping myriad scraps of metal foil from high-flying aircraft, producing diffuse echoes that blind enemy radar over large regions.

You forgot Helium balloons which because Helium is as metallic gas, reads as solid. The Song 99 red balloons (English title, German is Luftballoons) is based on the idea that WWIII starts because both sides pick up the balloons and assumes they are aircraft.

Back in the 60s, one thing they discovered was that some frequencies of radar (The ones used most commonly now) penetrate the atmosphere. In 1962 right after the Cuban missile crisis, NORAD reported a massive launch from Russia, but coming the wrong direction. It seemed to be from east to west, which made sense only if they were attacking Europe. While everyone was going on alert, an astute radar man checked an ephemeris then reported that the 'launch' was actually the moon. After that, they installed what is called a range gate, a software fix that tells the set 'if it is beyond X range, ignore it'.

Jae Onasi
05-08-2006, 05:14 AM
Jae, being the retentive science type, is pointing out that helium does not fall on the metallic side of periodic table of elements. It is a noble gas and non-metallic.
Nevertheless, there is undoubtedly a good explanation for the radar signature--perhaps something metallic incorporated into the balloon itself rather than the gas filling the balloon?

machievelli
05-08-2006, 01:34 PM
Jae, being the retentive science type, is pointing out that helium does not fall on the metallic side of periodic table of elements. It is a noble gas and non-metallic.
Nevertheless, there is undoubtedly a good explanation for the radar signature--perhaps something metallic incorporated into the balloon itself rather than the gas filling the balloon?

I do know that helium registers on a radar screen, which is why I called it metallic. I know this because when I was in the Coast Guard way back when, we had to launch an average of five balloons a day to take weather readings. The package was about the size of a sandwich, and when I asked a radar operator why we had such a clear return off such a small object, that was the answer he gave me.

Jae Onasi
05-09-2006, 10:54 AM
I've been away at a conference for nearly 5 days--yesterday/night before was the first time I was able to get online, and that was only for a relatively short time, so I didn't get the chance to do much more than say hey, it's not a metal. Why it registers I don't know (yet, because of course now I have to find out the answer for my own curiosity). I caught some kind of bug during my travels (ugh) so I was too tired to do that last night. I should have some time today to meander around the internet. Here's a link for the periodic table of elements. They have a list of metals and non-metals.

http://www.chemicalelements.com/

I don't disbelieve you, btw--I'm sure it registers, I just don't know why.

machievelli
05-09-2006, 10:57 AM
A question for those who have a copy of KOTOR II. Beyond Master Vandar, who survived the attack on Dantooine?

Jae Onasi
05-09-2006, 12:32 PM
Vrook, since he's in the game at Khoonda. Bastila and Revan survive. Jolee is not mentioned at all other than in very brief references twice, and those don't say either way. I believe Zhar and Dorak are killed--if not there then on Miraluka when it's attacked by Nihilis, but I'd have to go look that up in some dialog files. Come to think of it, Vandar might have been killed on Miraluka, too. I'll check that one out some time later.

machievelli
05-09-2006, 12:42 PM
Just checking. In my KOTOR novel I had killed off Vrook. Have to change it...

machievelli
05-09-2006, 02:03 PM
In about a week we've had almost 300 hits on this thread. We must be doing something right. As the resident military man, I think we should explore another aspect of war, specifically merchant raiders pirates and armed merchant ships.

The history of armed merchantmen is long because until recently (The last three centuries or so) most countries honestly could not afford massive navies. Warships are expensive.

About 300 years ago most navies were merely small formations. The two largest navies in the world in 1700 were France and England in opposite order of size. The British Navy was only about 80 warships, the French about 70. An arms race not unlike our own cold war era had begun. But if you look at the entire world, and the area both nations were trying to protect, this is miniscule. Some places wer protected not by actual naval vessels, but armed merchantmen of the different chartered companies.

Sound familiar?

The British East India Company, also nicknamed 'John Company' included not only warships, but actual official army formations. The Indian Subcontinent was conquered not by the British 'Army', but by Company troops.

Most nations got around this in wartime by issuing what are called 'Letters or Marque and Reprisal'. A letter of Marque is an official document which states that the captain of the named vessel is acting as an auxiliary unit of a Nation's navy, with all of the rights that navy can demand.

A standard letter is published in a book entitled Mercenaries By Michael Lee Lanning. The important parts are excepted below;

"...to subdue, seize or take any armed or unarmed vessels of the British Empire... And also to retake any vessel, goods or effects of the people of the United States... This commission to contiune in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being."

In other words, this is a license to steal, pure and simple.

Why bother?

Because without such a document, you are a pirate. Piracy is almost as old as nautical travel itself, and the punishment has always been harsh. Hanging.

Captain Kidd, a famed pirate of the 18th century began with a British letter of Marque. But when one of his captains attacked an English vessel, he was labeled a pirate, and hung when captured.

Arming a merchant of that time was easy. Just buy the guns, cut out parts of the rail, deploy them, and voila!

The nations of our own world decided to stop it, and in 1856, the Paris treaty forbade issuing letters of marque and in fact arming merchant vessels unless they were taken into military service at the same time. However, two nations have never abided by this treaty. One was Britain, which has always maintained that they had the right to defend their ships in anyway they pleased.

The other was not as a lot of you might surmise Germany. It was our own US. The Brits signed the traty with the codicil I have mentioned. The United States in 1856 was not considered important enough. We observed but never signed it.

So why am I dunning you with history?

Because the way the Republic is run throughout the series of movies is not unlike our own world's imperial period. I can see a planet unable to build a true navy instead issuing letters of Marque.

Converting a merchantman of the Star Wars univers is both more difficult and easier than they had back in the day. Easier because most merchant vessels are a lot bigger than military ships, meaning they have room for prize crews, ammunition and weapons. More difficult because a warship is almost always faster than a merchantman, is more heavily constructed, and is designed to take the recoil of the weapons emplaced on them.

On a Star Trek Deep Space 9 episode in the sixth year they had a ship converted to raider, and when they fired the guns for the first time a lot of systems were knocked out of alignment. This is because as I said, they were not designed to carry such weapons. The heavier they are, the worse this problem would be.

As much as you might say 'but there is no recoil from energy weapons' you are correct but at the same time energy weapons such as blaster cannon and lasers and defenses such as shielding draw a lot of energy. Again a merchant vessel doesn't have a massive amount of energy generation to begin with. Why install all of the generators that a modern Battleship carries when your actual hotel load (Power necessary to run all systems) is smaller than a WWII destroyer? As an example, the hotel load of a super carrier is less than one 10th of the power it can generate.

You can't make money that way and civilian design in comparison to military has to be cost effective.

The worst problem is that civilian hull are weaker intrinsically than a warship. When you build a ship even down to the size of a patrol boat, you assume damage. You build in redundant systems, heavier blast doors, thicker hulls and decks. You plan for damage control, which increases you crew size, which also increases your required life support systems. A civilian ship on the other hand is built for the maximum amount of cargo that can be loaded in that space, and since you don't want to spend money on extra crew, a higher degree of automation. If a merchant is hit it will be more readily damaged and harder to repair.

So when you start loading weapons on that merchie, remember what I have said. Be sure to beef up the hull to take the pounding, beef up the generators so you can carry the energy load, and remember to increase casualties (If using this in an RPG).

Jae Onasi
05-09-2006, 03:00 PM
I do know that helium registers on a radar screen, which is why I called it metallic. I know this because when I was in the Coast Guard way back when, we had to launch an average of five balloons a day to take weather readings. The package was about the size of a sandwich, and when I asked a radar operator why we had such a clear return off such a small object, that was the answer he gave me.

I asked a friend of mine in the USAF about this, figuring he might have an answer, but in the meantime while waiting for an answer I found this link. The radiosonde has a transmitter which may help with the return.

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/gyx/weather_balloons.htm

I haven't found out if helium makes an infrared return yet (which might be an alternate explanation). I just know that since He is not metallic, that it can't be for that reason.

machievelli
05-09-2006, 05:17 PM
I asked a friend of mine in the USAF about this, figuring he might have an answer, but in the meantime while waiting for an answer I found this link. The radiosonde has a transmitter which may help with the return.

http://www.erh.noaa.gov/gyx/weather_balloons.htm

I haven't found out if helium makes an infrared return yet (which might be an alternate explanation). I just know that since He is not metallic, that it can't be for that reason.

I knew the Radarman pretty well, and both of us had taken into account the radio transponder. I would like to hear what you're friend said. After all I'm talking over 30 years ago.

Jae Onasi
05-10-2006, 08:44 PM
Sable Phoenix posted this link about lightsabres over at the kotorfanmedia boards, and the science was so interesting I thought I'd post it here for you all (with kudos to Sable Phoenix for finding and posting it there).
The upstart of a large chunk of it is that 'lightsabres are not made up of just light'. It includes analysis and fighting techniques.
Of course, it's going to take me forever to convert from writing 'lightsaber' to 'lightsabre'. :)

Lightsabres (http://web.archive.org/web/20000817192432/www.synicon.com.au/sw/ls/sabres4.htm)

Jae Onasi
05-12-2006, 11:32 AM
I knew the Radarman pretty well, and both of us had taken into account the radio transponder. I would like to hear what you're friend said. After all I'm talking over 30 years ago.

My friend got back to me this am. Background on him--he's a flight surgeon in the USAF and is currently assigned to NASA's astronaut program, so I know he has a serious Clue on a lot of things (or can find the answers if he doesn't know).
He said the balloons were radar reflective because the balloon material itself was metallized, not because of the He. He said he didn't know by what process the balloons were metallized, however, because he didn't think they had Mylar til after WWII.
I learn something new every day. :)
I'm totally speculating on this part here, so take this with a grain of salt, but my guess would be that if the balloons were metallized, they incorporated metal in some format while the latex was still liquid (as opposed to attaching it somehow later after the balloon was formed).
I did read that they also sometimes had metal streamers attached to increase the radar signature.
Your trivia for the day.

machievelli
05-16-2006, 01:38 PM
To Melee or not to melee;

The Soldier drew his melee weapon-

Now wait just a minute? Melee is a type of fight, not a weapon! A melee is where it's up close and personal as war was long before the invention of the bow or gun.

Melee weapons are broken into two broad categories, blunt and edged. A club is a melee weapon, as is a knife, but one does damage by cutting and stabbing, the other by blunt force trauma. You can get killed just as readily when the man has a quarterstaff instead of a lightsaber, but you're still dead.

We could go on in the descriptions, thrusting or slashing, serrated or razor sharp. fluid like a whip or heavy like a mace but you should have the picture now. I have a book entitled Weapons by the Diagram Group and they had 37 different varieties and styles of blunt weapons and two or three hundred different stabbing, cutting, and slashing weapons.

So whether it's a character in a story, or an RPG, look at what your person is carrying.
Is it a knife? Sword? stun baton? Whatever it is, describe it. If they have to use it, have them use that not their 'melee' weapon.

As an example, I had a character who was an assassin in a comedy story I was writing. She carried two curved double edged sickle swords (Sharply curved) a pair of brass knuckles a garrote and a ninja hand bow (A slingshot arrangement that fires short crossbow bolts).

machievelli
05-16-2006, 01:53 PM
The Republic military: An overview.

As much as we constantly talk of the Republic's military, the military we are using is actually an alliance. Each of the planets that have militaries and militias would have their own uniforms, ranks, weapons and tactics. The German Army of Today still wears their own uniforms when on NATO duty, and fields their own Armored vehicles artillery, and infantry weapons.

The Republic in other words, is NATO writ large.

This doesn't mean there's a lot of confusion. NATO drills constantly, and they have become a cohesive force by learning the strengths and weaknesses of each ally. They have created a playbook if you will of how something can be done, and how others do it.

This has caused changes even in the way every army uses their troops. The French Division shrank because the German divisional formation is more efficient, even though it has about two third of the men. The Americans developed the modern Armored Cavalry Regiment (Which is a Brigade in size) by seeing what the Israelis do with the largest standard formation, the Brigade.

What the Republic has that NATO does not, is a combined Staff and Tactical college that every officer proably goes to.

The only time I could see them being a combined unit was during the clone wars and Empire. Everything standardized right down to the weapons the troops carry.

stingerhs
05-16-2006, 02:09 PM
^^^^
i think the biggest difference there, though, would be that a lot systems didn't field much more than a security force, much like Naboo in Ep. I. although some systems might have been willing to run war games and other forms of training involving larger militaries, i think its quite apparent that the Repbublic wasn't unified enough to field a military that could challenge the Seperatists. otherwise, there wouldn't have been a need for the Clone Army in the first place.

its been my understanding of the Clone Wars that the systems and organizations that had a military or a method to quickly produce a military joined the Seperatists which is one reason why things would've been so hopeless for many of the Republic Systems during the escalation that led to the Clone Wars. in my 'Betrayal and Retribution' series, a major part of the story involves those same reasonings which is based on a lot of research into various EU and Official databases on the Star Wars Universe.

machievelli
05-16-2006, 03:10 PM
^^^^
i think the biggest difference there, though, would be that a lot systems didn't field much more than a security force, much like Naboo in Ep. I. although some systems might have been willing to run war games and other forms of training involving larger militaries, i think its quite apparent that the Repbublic wasn't unified enough to field a military that could challenge the Seperatists. otherwise, there wouldn't have been a need for the Clone Army in the first place.

That is why I added Militias to the commentary, stingerhs. Before the 1780s the US didn't have a standing army per se Each campaign was dempendant on militas. Once the war was over they couldn't disband the 'Fedeal' army fast enough. The Federal government had to call up militias, which is where the 2nd Amendment came from. Madison (Author of the amendment) commented in the Federalist papers that 'what chance would an oppressive Federal government have if their army is faced by armed militianmen of equal caliber?'.

The Military of Naboo is by my definition a Militia rather than an army.


its been my understanding of the Clone Wars that the systems and organizations that had a military or a method to quickly produce a military joined the Seperatists which is one reason why things would've been so hopeless for many of the Republic Systems during the escalation that led to the Clone Wars. in my 'Betrayal and Retribution' series, a major part of the story involves those same reasonings which is based on a lot of research into various EU and Official databases on the Star Wars Universe.

I think in actuality that it was the ones who have a hive or socialist leaning society that were the backbone of the Separatists, not merely the ability to raise and supply an army but the willingness to use that army to support the political and economic aims of their society. Otherwise the Separatists would have won at the outset.

I am looking at it not as a social scientist but as a military man. Each of the societies represented at Geonosis were not militant, rather they were socialist or aquisitive, extending their society/attitudes onto the Republic as a whole. That is the problem with an alliance based primarily on trade, you assume your well being as a supplier/industrialist is more important than the wellbeing of the being who works in your factories.

That is why the original Confederation that the Bill or Rights fostered collapsed to become the Republic that the Constitution supports.

Jae Onasi
05-16-2006, 04:39 PM
I also had the impression (rightly or wrongly) that the Republic could have put together an army long before the Clone wars had started if the Senate had not been bogged down in debate.
I.e. they were trying to decide if the Trade federation was really a threat, and if so if it could be dealt with diplomatically, but few of them ever got around to thinking of getting any kind of military force together to deal with it. I got the idea that it was sort of like Europe sitting on its hands in the late 30's/early 40's trying appeasement rather than building an army while Hitler amassed a large and well trained force in plain sight.

stingerhs
05-16-2006, 11:28 PM
I think in actuality that it was the ones who have a hive or socialist leaning society that were the backbone of the Separatists, not merely the ability to raise and supply an army but the willingness to use that army to support the political and economic aims of their society. Otherwise the Separatists would have won at the outset.no, the Seperatists were not socialists. just look at who provided the backbone of the Seperatist Army: the Trade Federation, the Banking Clan, the Commerce Guild, the Techno Union, and the Corporate Alliance. these are huge businesses that want to control the galaxy without government interferance. that is the reason for the Trade Federation attacking Naboo in the first movie, and it is the same reason why they all join the Seperatists: the promise from Count Dooku of a pure capitalistic economy where they would be the sole competitors. these are not corporations looking for a strong central government (ie, a socialist government), they are corporations looking for a government that will leave them alone to do their business without interference.

edit: okay, i've been doing some outlining for my story, and i was wondering if anyone knows what the Jedi Trials consisted of. my guess is that they would've had a test of Wisdom, a test of one's connection to the Force, and a test of Lightsaber skills. does anybody else have any ideas??

machievelli
05-17-2006, 03:22 AM
I also had the impression (rightly or wrongly) that the Republic could have put together an army long before the Clone wars had started if the Senate had not been bogged down in debate.
I.e. they were trying to decide if the Trade federation was really a threat, and if so if it could be dealt with diplomatically, but few of them ever got around to thinking of getting any kind of military force together to deal with it. I got the idea that it was sort of like Europe sitting on its hands in the late 30's/early 40's trying appeasement rather than building an army while Hitler amassed a large and well trained force in plain sight.

Their biggest problem was more likely the situation when the Federal Government wanted to have a standing army in the late 1780s. An army can always be used against it's own people. If you figure each planet has it's own navy and army, then the Republic wanted to turn all of those troops over to a leader appointed by the Chancellor or his war council. It's like trying to start an alliance with the war barreling down on you.

As for the WWII Analogy, did you notice that Palpatine used exactly the same ploy as Hitler did, the need for 'emergency powers' for an emergency that won't end.

Jae Onasi
05-17-2006, 10:36 AM
^
Oh yeah, noticed that Lucas used that. And why not? If it was successful for Hitler, it would work (and did work) in the movie. I wonder how much of his association with Spielberg influences that.

@stingerhs--I'm only opining, since this isn't based on anything I've seen in the books/movies (except for the saber-building).
It seems to me that building your own lightsaber is part of the trials or at least part of becoming a full-fledged Jedi (Vader's comments in RoTJ about Luke building his as well as KOTOR). Your list works for me. I imagine that the trials would have to be individualized to some degree because everyone's strengths are different, but I also think there's some minimum bar of skill in all the areas you list that one would have to reach in order to pass. That bar might also float depending on that Jedi's 'specialty'--a lightsaber specialist might have to show more lightsaber skill to pass the trials than someone who specializes in diplomacy or strategy/tactics, but that's just guessing.

machievelli
05-18-2006, 11:42 AM
Jae, for something I'm working on that won't be put here:

Would someone who claims to see fairies and refuses to accept that they are fictional be defined as fixated or delusional by the shrink?

Jae Onasi
05-18-2006, 01:57 PM
Jae, for something I'm working on that won't be put here:

Would someone who claims to see fairies and refuses to accept that they are fictional be defined as fixated or delusional by the shrink?

Actually, if you want to be anally precise, it's neither--he's (or she's) having a visual hallucination. A hallucination is a distortion in sensory perception (usually auditory--'hearing voices'), while a delusion is a distortion in reasoning. A fixation means someone is stuck in a pattern of thought or activity, like having to wash their hands 18 times in a row or turning a lightswitch on and off 3 times in a row before leaving it on. He might be fixated (or stuck) on the idea that he can see fairies, but the actual seeing of fairies themselves is a visual hallucination. Thinking that everyone is watching him would be a delusion.
If I could only choose between fixated or delusional, however, delusional is closer than fixated.

The shrink would probably diagnose him as having some type of schizophrenia (paranoid, undifferentiated, etc, depending on any other symptoms).
www.schizophrenia.com has some great info.

machievelli
05-18-2006, 03:54 PM
Thanks. I'm working on a story with the idea that Fairies are an actual offshoot of humanity that went down in size rather than larger, and have a native form of magic so only a very small percentage would be able to actually preceive as what they really are. The rest of us would only see some kid of 'bug' we can't identify.

DarthSaboteur
05-18-2006, 04:12 PM
@ stingerhs, Jae Onasi: Actually, the Jedi Trials consisted of trials of skill(i.e: fighting dark side apparitions), flesh(i.e: overcoming physical pain and loss), courage(i.e: completing missions with very low chances of success), and spirit(i.e: Luke not turning to the dark side on the Death Star 2).

Jae Onasi
06-13-2006, 01:56 AM
Well, I asked my hubby today, who is in the Army reserve, "Honey, about how long do you think it would take to write a debriefing on a ship explosion?"
His reply: "I don't know dear, I've never experienced a ship explosion."
We'd been travelling in a car for about 8 hours to get to family by the time I'd asked that and I was/am seriously overtired. When he gave the perfectly deadpan answer, I about fell out of my seat laughing.
So much for his expertise. :D

machievelli
06-13-2006, 10:36 AM
Define the parameters. Are you talking about the debrieifing of one survivor or witness? The actual report that will go to the Court of Inquiry? or the final ruling by that court?
As an example the witness reports of the destruction of USS Maine were filed in the first 30 days after the explosion, but the report delivered to the court took almost 8 months, and the court itself didn't file it's report for over two years.

Jae Onasi
06-13-2006, 11:47 AM
I was thinking "what happened in the 9 minutes you were infiltrating the enemy ship before you found the explosive device and got the h*ll out of there." It was a very short mission. :)

machievelli
06-13-2006, 01:14 PM
I was thinking "what happened in the 9 minutes you were infiltrating the enemy ship before you found the explosive device and got the h*ll out of there." It was a very short mission. :)


All right, we're having a terminology problem. It is what is called an after action report. The standard is to have an intelligence officer walk you thorugh what you did, someone else doing the same for every member of your party. They question you until they are satisfied. All these reports are then collated, and assembled into a coherent mass.

In the book Once a Hero, Elizabeth Moon went through it quite extensively. When the person had said something specific, and it couldn't be verified, they went over it again. Such as 'if you were on the bridge resetting the codeword for missile access at this time, how could you be here on your ship five minutes later, when it is impossible to walk that distance in time'.

This process take a hell of a long time. As I mentioned above, the Maine Incident report did not come out until after the Spanish American War. Even then, the answer they came up with (Spanish Attack) was incorrect as recent findings have shown.

As an even worse example, in a book lambasting the government for lying to it's people, Admiral Theobold commented that there were six investigations into what happened at Pearl Harbor, none of which adequately covered the facts, and what was known in 1953 when he wrote it. According to all of those inquiries, it was still Kimmel and Short's fault.

Jae Onasi
06-13-2006, 04:36 PM
I learn something new every day. :)
It's not important to the storyline itself, I just like to have the little details accurate, too. Thanks!

machievelli
06-16-2006, 03:41 PM
In my last critical review, I commented about someone using a rather odd version of torture. I think, while most of us might be appalled, I am going to cover that today.

The first thing to remember is that torture only works in one specific situation. That is when you want information that is both time sensitive, and can be answered by a single yes or no question. It is brutal, extemely painful, and otherwise usless. There are much better interogation techniques including sensory deprivation and drugs that work a lot faster and without a lot of the pain. They may not be as fast, but they work.

Unfortunately,there are always those that want to hurt someone else. They are the bulk of torturers. But they are by no means the worst of the lot. These are the kind that beat up on you because they can, nothing more. When it comes time for them to torment someone, they need direction to assure that they don't have a bit too much fun and murder the victim.

The worst however are the sociopaths who tend to run such operations. To a sociopath no one beyond himself is really important, so inflicting pain does not give him a thrill, or disgust. He is just doing what he wants to do. When someone is being tortured systematically, it is usually a sociopath who is directing it.

The character in the story I mentioned reminded me more of a spoiled brat. Sort of like Darth Vader saying, 'yeah, I'm mean, and if I want to hurt you I will'. His torture was neither organized nor systematic. He was demanding answers, but at the same time you knew he would have continued even if they had told him everything. This is a common flaw with people that write about such things without researching it. When Lucas had Princess Leia tortured in A New Hope, it was obvious even if we didn't see it. In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo mentioned it in that 'they don't seem to want answers' meaning he could see what was wrong with their methods.

If you are going to use a torture scene, read up on the subject. The one thing you will discover is that a lot of things you might define as torture is not because prisoner interrogation is not the same as the American Legal system where they can't even question you if you demand a lawyer.

Don't go in for the hot iron and bamboo shoots if you villain had other options. I figure if I had 25,000 years of historical experience behind me, I wouldn't use something so mundane.

As an example, read the KOTOR excerpt scene where Saul is torturing the members of the Ebon Hawk crew.

JediMaster12
06-17-2006, 08:58 PM
To add on, often I have noticed that mental and emotional torture is far more effective than physical torture. Sometimes all three achieve the same objective though I have not had the unpleasant experience of that. Ohysical intimidation is an effective tool as well. You can show it and if you have enough bark behind it, it can scare a person who is rather weak willed.
As to researching on torture, read up on kiddnappings especially of Americans being kidnapped by the guerilla groups in Columbia and other South American countries. Fictional novels set in south America make references to military regimes and such and the force used to maintain order. One such novel is The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende who lived in Chile during the time of Pinoche.
History provides some good examples of military regimes and often some interesting insights as to how they kept law and order, in their words. Sometimes torture is mentioned as well. One could be such as in El Salvador during the time of the war in the 80's I think. They would torture and kill their intellectuals in gruesome ways like with jumper cables, beatings and rape. Just some thoughts and add ins since I have read first hand accounts of kidnappings and torture. Just remember that methods differ between different groups and regions.

machievelli
06-17-2006, 11:50 PM
History provides some good examples of military regimes and often some interesting insights as to how they kept law and order, in their words. Sometimes torture is mentioned as well. One could be such as in El Salvador during the time of the war in the 80's I think. They would torture and kill their intellectuals in gruesome ways like with jumper cables, beatings and rape. Just some thoughts and add ins since I have read first hand accounts of kidnappings and torture. Just remember that methods differ between different groups and regions.

The worst part of torture by a government of it's own is, now get this because it is true;

Not illegal.

When the original UN rules about both Genocide and Torture were accepted, the term Genocide was defined as mass slaughter for 'religious or military reasons'. Meaning the Russians weren't in violation running the Gulags. When it came to torture, it was defined as 'extension beyond present days laws' If your laws allows torture, in other words, you are not in violation of International law.

JediMaster12
06-18-2006, 01:19 PM
And the funny thing is we condemn what some of our soldiers did to POWs in Iraq and are outraged by what the insurgents do in return. Heck I mentioned the rules of warfare to the males of my family and all I got was, "In war there are no rules." Funny eh?

Jae Onasi
06-18-2006, 01:46 PM
The insurgents were doing some really nasty things long before we did anything at Abu Ghraib. They choose to use Abu Ghraib and other events as excuses to continue their attacks. At least we _try_ to follow the Geneva convention. It's never going to be perfect, because when you're guarding the guy who just killed a bunch of friends in your unit, it's tough controlling your emotions enough to not wring the guy's neck.

There is one rule in war: Kill them before they kill us.

machievelli
06-18-2006, 03:00 PM
The insurgents were doing some really nasty things long before we did anything at Abu Ghraib. They choose to use Abu Ghraib and other events as excuses to continue their attacks. At least we _try_ to follow the Geneva convention. It's never going to be perfect, because when you're guarding the guy who just killed a bunch of friends in your unit, it's tough controlling your emotions enough to not wring the guy's neck.

There is one rule in war: Kill them before they kill us.

One of the things I have been working on it an historical overview of war crimes and war crimes trials. What I have found out is that we have yet to have a war crimes trial that has not been driven by political motivation. I can leave out Saddam and Milosovich in this regard because A: Milosovich was being tried by an international tribunal, and B: Saddams trial is based on incidents within his own country which by definition are not War Crimes.

What interested me more was the fact that in WWI the British violated international law, then whined because the Germans took the only option available in that situation.

As for your family JM12, that is almost a quote from Winston Chruchill, the man that ordered that original violation. 'In a war of survival there are no rules'.

Jae Onasi
07-15-2006, 02:03 AM
Mach (or anyone into Navy)--got any mutiny tips for me? My enterprising Sith Lord has managed to corrupt some captains and they're coming in their ships with the rest of a Republic force, only to turn on them when they arrive on site.

RedHawke
07-15-2006, 02:42 AM
Mach (or anyone into Navy)--got any mutiny tips for me? My enterprising Sith Lord has managed to corrupt some captains and they're coming in their ships with the rest of a Republic force, only to turn on them when they arrive on site.
My following suggestion comes from my adventures with the West End Games D6 Star Wars RPG;

I had an Imperial Remnant fleet persuing me one time of an Executor class Star Dreadnought, and twelve Imperator class Star Destroyers, I just had my one Battlestar at the time (yes a ship like the Galactica)... the rest of our group were each off on their own doing the Scooby Doo thing. Luckily for me I was ready.

RedHawke used Control Minds in conjunction with a few others, namely a little preparation with Rage and Concentrate, spent a Force Point and 'corrupted' the crew of the whole fleet... had to kill the Dark Jedi/Sith Wannabe on the Dreadnought, and his apprentice, but his normal minions weren't helping him any. As they now saw things my way. :dev6:

I made off with all those ships... the Star Dreadnought (Super Star Destroyer) was called the Harbinger and I definately transferred my 'flag' to that ship after that event, 17.6 kilometers of sheer terror, yup it was quite a game. The GM wanted my hide afterward as I took out his main villan in a quick duel and easily aquired all his ships. ;)

Anyway, for what it is worth... I hope it helps. :D

Jae Onasi
07-15-2006, 02:59 AM
That is just Evil. Sounds just like something Jolee would do. :D
Reminds me of a time when a friend of mine played an Oriental D&D campaign. This monk character leveled up and had to take a taboo, and so the player decided the monk wouldn't wear anything in the color 'a mauvey shade of pinky russet.' Well, weeks later, he'd pretty much forgotten about that, and thought everyone else had, too. Until the DM had them kill something and get treasure. In the pile of loot there was a magic obi the guy really wanted. The DM looked at him with a wicked grin and said, "It's a mauvey shade of pinky russet."

machievelli
07-15-2006, 01:10 PM
Mach (or anyone into Navy)--got any mutiny tips for me? My enterprising Sith Lord has managed to corrupt some captains and they're coming in their ships with the rest of a Republic force, only to turn on them when they arrive on site.

First thing to remember is that you need more than a captain. On a ship the size of say a Star Destroyer, you would need a minimum of ten officers and senior ratings who are in on it.

These people would have to be in positions of authority sufficient to pull it off in the necessary departments (Scan, command, engineering, weapons, Marines if any) and capable of giving the orders and expecting them to be obeyed.

To get them to fight their own fleet you will need a rationale. Unlike the scene in Revenge of the Sith you don't have men programmed to immediately obey. So come up with a reason for an enemy to be in charge of those other ships, and use it. A good way is faked signals suggesting that the Admiral in charge of the fleet is himself in mutiny, and you are trying to restrain him.

If you read that section of Republic Dawn, you will notice that the mutineers claimed that the Jedi were attacking. It was only officers outside the conspiracy unwilling to accept the situation and orders that saved that situation.

Once the fighting starts, it is unlikely that there will be a counter mutiny, because you would need to communicate to the crew that they are attacking their own ships, and organize a resistance aboard. An excellent series of books giving you that situation are Winning Colors and Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon. Moon herself was a serving officer in the Marines if I remember correctly.

Jae Onasi
07-15-2006, 03:29 PM
Thanks. I was thinking a few small ships actually--nothing huge like a Star Destroyer where I'd have to have a ton of people involved. My Sith Lord was planning on taking over the Navy at some point (in much the same manner that Palpatine moved up the Senate ranks to take over the Republic), so he's started to arrange to have allies placed in higher ranks. I may have created a continuity error already and I haven't even begun my next chapter. :) Ah well, that's what the edit button's for.
Yes, I did read that part in Republic Dawn (actually, the whole piece) and enjoyed it very much. :) I found the whole sequence of events fascinating to follow.

machievelli
07-16-2006, 02:14 AM
The numbers would not change much regardless of size of the ship.

JediAthos
07-16-2006, 01:00 PM
If anyone has any good resources on sword fighting I would appreciate it if they would share. I'm attempting to script the final battle of my story and it is not going very well at this point. I attempted to locate some web sources on fencing but haven't been very successful.

machievelli
07-16-2006, 03:16 PM
If anyone has any good resources on sword fighting I would appreciate it if they would share. I'm attempting to script the final battle of my story and it is not going very well at this point. I attempted to locate some web sources on fencing but haven't been very successful.

The best sources would be a book on Kendo, since the jedi style is closer to it than anything else. If you send specific scenes, perhaps I or we can help more.

Point Man
07-16-2006, 08:29 PM
If anyone has any good resources on sword fighting I would appreciate it if they would share. I'm attempting to script the final battle of my story and it is not going very well at this point. I attempted to locate some web sources on fencing but haven't been very successful.
I do not know of any published manuals on what you want, but fencing is not it. Fencing is all working with the point. Lightsaber dueling is more like medieval sword fighting, in which you use the edge. I have some experience with that activity. If you would like me to look over your stuff, I would be happy to help.

For others' reference, I will explain some of the mechanics of sword fighting. First, the most important thing in any martial art is balance. If your stance is off, it does not matter how well you handle a sword. Most people teach to keep your feet about shoulder width apart, one foot about shoulder width in front of the other. Bend your knees slightly, but keep your back straight. Keep your opponent in front of you always. If he moves, turn to face him. Never cross your feet when you are moving; it puts you off balance.

With regard to your saber, you must remember that your saber is both your offense and your defense. Therefore, you must keep it in front of you at all times. None of the huge arcing swings like you see in the movies. If you hold it with both hands and swing it like a baseball bat, you are leaving your body entirely open to attack.

IMO the best way to handle a lightsaber is to hold it like a bastard sword. Place both hands on the hilt, about 6 inches (15 cm) apart. Hold the saber at about waist height, pointing up, and tilted slightly toward your opponent. Holding your blade upright will block most body and head shots. To block your legs, simply drop your hands straight down.

To throw a shot, use the bottom hand to move the pommel and the top hand as a fulcrum. You can also snap the top hand forward as you pull the bottom hand toward you. You can vary the angles of attack, but never go for a target below your opponent's knees; it exposes your head. All your opponent needs to do is hop or sidestep and bring his saber down on your head. If you're thinking this looks like a static, slow method of sword fighting, you're wrong. Using the saber as a lever like this is incredibly fast because it only takes a minimum of movement of the pommel to make the tip move quite a bit. In my medieval combat group, bastard sword is the fastest system we use.

Keeping these principals in mind will keep the dueling realistic. I can usually suspend my disbelief in the movies, but it does bother me when I see the way people handle their lightsabers.

Jae Onasi
07-16-2006, 11:10 PM
The numbers would not change much regardless of size of the ship.

Thanks! I think I got something figured out.... :)

machievelli
07-16-2006, 11:30 PM
I do not know of any published manuals on what you want, but fencing is not it. Fencing is all working with the point.

That is why I compared it to Kendo, which works primarily with the edge and power strokes rather that European methods. The problem with the bastard or Zwei-hand is that you have a 200 mm section of what is really the blade to use with a German style Zweihander or Scots Claymore. But a 42" Dai-Katana has no such safety zone.

Point Man
07-16-2006, 11:40 PM
That is why I compared it to Kendo, which works primarily with the edge and power strokes rather that European methods. The problem with the bastard or Zwei-hand is that you have a 200 mm section of what is really the blade to use with a German style Zweihander or Scots Claymore. But a 42" Dai-Katana has no such safety zone.
I'm not sure what kind of swords you are using, but my bastard sword is 48" (120 cm) long overall, with 12" (30 cm) of it being hilt.

machievelli
07-16-2006, 11:49 PM
I'm not sure what kind of swords you are using, but my bastard sword is 48" (120 cm) long overall, with 12" (30 cm) of it being hilt.

The Zweihander and Heavy Scots Claymore are only different by the design of the two smaller blads near the pommel.

A bastard sword was originally designed for someone used to a standard sword learning to fight with a longer sword. The bastard is excellent for such combat except that the originals had rounded rather than sharp points.

Jae Onasi
07-17-2006, 12:56 AM
Mach, are you talking about the quillons? Or are you talking about a 2 small blades that come out near where the quillons, blades, and hilt meet?

Point Man
07-17-2006, 01:25 AM
The Zweihander and Heavy Scots Claymore are only different by the design of the two smaller blads near the pommel.

A bastard sword was originally designed for someone used to a standard sword learning to fight with a longer sword. The bastard is excellent for such combat except that the originals had rounded rather than sharp points.
Actually, the Zweihander, at about 72", was typically longer than the Claymore, which averaged 55". Some, but not all, had a couple of blades emerging diagonally from the junction of the blade and quillons or instead of quillons.

Obviously, the Zweihander does not compare to the lightsaber. While the Claymore is closer, it is still longer than a lightsaber. The term "bastard sword" as I am using it is simply a sword of about 42-60". It could also be called a "hand-and-a-half sword". It is more appropriate for lightsaber combat than a katana because it is double-edged, where a katana is single-edged.

JediMaster12
07-17-2006, 02:16 AM
Isn't a katana more deadly since they can be extremely sharp?

Jae Onasi
07-17-2006, 07:55 AM
All the blades can be made extremely sharp.

The danger in the Middle ages (the time period where we think about sword fighting being relatively common) wasn't necessarily getting something lopped off with a sword during battle. The immediate danger was shock, because there was no ambulance crew to come pick you up and get you to the first aid station--if your buddy didn't pick you up, you laid on the field. Even if you did make it back to help, there were no IVs or blood transfusions or other medications to combat the shock. The danger a few days after battle was often infection from even a small cut, because there were no antibiotics until the 1930's (Egyptians eating moldy bread notwithstanding).

You can also do a lot of damage with a dull blade, but it takes more force. You only have to cut far enough in to hit a vital area--hit one of the major veins or arteries in the arms or legs, or hit just about anything in the chest/abdomen. You don't have to go all the way through someone with a sharp blade. An inch or 2 in the right spot is just as deadly as going all the way through something.

machievelli
07-17-2006, 11:24 AM
Mach, are you talking about the quillons? Or are you talking about a 2 small blades that come out near where the quillons, blades, and hilt meet?
The two smaller blades.

And it is spelled quillions and pronounced 'kwee-ons'

The term "bastard sword" as I am using it is simply a sword of about 42-60". It could also be called a "hand-and-a-half sword". It is more appropriate for lightsaber combat than a katana because it is double-edged, where a katana is single-edged.
Actually the term bastard came because it wasn't a long sword, and wasn't a two handed sword, so it was the 'bastard in between'.

All blades can be made sharp, true. However the Japanese steel was and still is a unique contstruct that held an edge very well, yet was resiliant enough to take steady blows without shattering.

European Steel in comparison was a poor second. Even Toledo, which was the best European steel or Damascus steel which was an Arab invention were no substitute.

Also, unlike the European designs, which ranged from the short sword up to the Zwei-hander, the Japanese worked with a blade designed to be used most efficiently with two hands, yet be light enough to use one handed. For other situations they designed not different swords, but entirely different weapons. The saber-staff as JA call Darth Mall's weapon is based on an other Japanese weapon, a twin bladed Naginata.

The rapid strike-block-strike of a lightsaber duel is closer to the Japanese style as well.

Jae Onasi
07-17-2006, 01:07 PM
The two smaller blades.

And it is spelled quillions and pronounced 'kwee-ons'

Unless you're pronouncing it in the bastardized French version like we do, in which case it comes out kee-ons. :)

Yep, I spelled it wrong in my other post. I was on the committee running the church picnic all day yesterday, and it was 95 degrees out by us with 9000% humidity, and I was the one manning the hot beef station. Great food, great company, great fun, but I was exhausted when I was done, and I just forgot to spell check it.

Sure, Damascus may shatter more often (and both were far better than any European steel of that time), but it holds a very sharp edge very nicely. Since she asked about 'sharp' rather than 'blade quality/resiliency', I answered accordingly.

Kendo/Kumdo (I couldn't resist adding in the Korean version, since I take taekwondo :) ) works as a good alternate, but the shinai is a lot lighter than a real sword and it's a bit shorter. We have a shinai in our dojang so I've gotten the chance to handle that, along with various swords--I imagine mach has too. The shinai 'blade' moves much faster and you can almost whip it to strike since it's so light. My rapier moves much more slowly, though that could be as much from my lack of skill with it as anything else. I've only had about a year of experience with rapier. How that would transfer to lightsaber combat I don't know, since we really don't know how hefting a lightsaber feels. :)
Probably the best simulation for swordplay I've seen is the combat at events held by the Society for Creative Anachronism, because they're not choreographed. They don't use real swords, they use rattan, which was chosen because it a. doesn't kill people and is pretty safe for a martial art (they've been doing this for 40 years and no one's died from a combat injury) and b. simulates the weight of swords about as accurately as you can get with a non-deadly alternative.
The Kingdom of Acre also does this type of 'fighting' (and I _think_ their group was started by someone from the SCA), but I don't know if there are any active groups outside the NY/NJ region.
The Adrian Empire uses blunt metal swords and other weapons in their combat and have groups scattered throughout the US, but I know nothing more about them than what their website says.
There may well be other history re-enactment groups that also do combat like this, the SCA happens to be the one that I'm most familiar with.

Mach, any history reenactment groups (besides SCA--I know they have a bunch of branches in CA since it started in Berkeley) like this out by you? I'm only familiar with the midwest, and we don't have much outside of the SCA.

This may be way more about swordplay than anyone wanted. :)

machievelli
07-17-2006, 02:46 PM
and it was 95 degrees out by us with 9000% humidity, and I was the one manning the hot beef station. Great food, great company, great fun, but I was exhausted when I was done, and I just forgot to spell check it.

If you've been following the big fire in So Cal you should know I'm about 20 miles as the crow flies from there, and today is the first day it hasn't been 105+. Thanks to the weather patterns created we're reaching that 9000 humidity too.

Sure, Damascus may shatter more often (and both were far better than any European steel of that time), but it holds a very sharp edge very nicely. Since she asked about 'sharp' rather than 'blade quality/resiliency', I answered accordingly.

My answer was postulated on something that could be readily related to a lightsaber. There are very few forms for using two hands in European texts, and all assume the larger blades mentioned. You have to remember that the reason Damascus and Japanese steels were so sharp was neither group was heavilty into armor yet. The Arabs because of the sheer agony of wearing it in the desert, the Japanese because their training assumed rapid mobility. Up until the century right before the Meijii reformation they did get into it. Before that the armor was wicker made primarily to deflect rather than stop attacks.


Kendo/Kumdo (I couldn't resist adding in the Korean version, since I take taekwondo :) ) works as a good alternate, but the shinai is a lot lighter than a real sword and it's a bit shorter. We have a shinai in our dojang so I've gotten the chance to handle that, along with various swords--I imagine mach has too. The shinai 'blade' moves much faster and you can almost whip it to strike since it's so light. My rapier moves much more slowly, though that could be as much from my lack of skill with it as anything else. I've only had about a year of experience with rapier. How that would transfer to lightsaber combat I don't know, since we really don't know how hefting a lightsaber feels. :)

If you read the portion of my KOTOR novel that covers her learning the lightsaber, I mentioned something people forget. Energy, even a forcefield, weighs nothing. Part of the reason I saw for teaching children is that while they may have picked up sticks and waved them around like swords, they haven't gotten into the habit of whipping a mass of steel around. Steel that will not be there when they pick up a lightsaber. What you have when you're wielding a lightsaber is the pommel in your hand, and nothing else.


Mach, any history reenactment groups (besides SCA--I know they have a bunch of branches in CA since it started in Berkeley) like this out by you? I'm only familiar with the midwest, and we don't have much outside of the SCA.

This may be way more about swordplay than anyone wanted. :)

Take your pick. I spent 11 years at the Renaissance Faire and they had a military pageant/ reenactment every day. Friends there introduced me to a civil war reenactment group. As for SCA style I live between the different kingdoms. The nearest is in San Diego I think, and the next after that in Los Angeles.

Jae Onasi
07-19-2006, 06:59 PM
Anyone know the name of Admiral Dodonna's ship, if there is a name for it?

JediMaster12
08-07-2006, 11:43 PM
I don't recall there ever being a name for it. The only names mentioned are in TSL which are the Harbinger and the Sojourn.

On another note, I recently returned from a four week excavation up in my local San Bernardino Mountains. We were looking at the precedents to the Serrano Indians and the historic archaeology of Splinter's Cabin. THe Serrano site CA SBR-485 is located at the T6 crossing and is home to vegetation such as jeffery pine, black and live oak, poodle bushes and pine. Our site was mostly that of a midden (trash) deposit. It was also a work area because of the presence of bedrock mortars and milling slicks. We found some manos and grindstones and FAR or Fire Affected Rock. That is rock that has been heated repeatedly over time. Our biggest find were an obsidian flake and an obsidian point which indicate the site to be about 800 years old. We found the base of a basalt biface and a chert or jasper point. Charcoal was numerous and we collected soil samples to look for seeds and the like. It was hard work becasue the terrance we were on had huge bedrocks beginning at 30-40cm below the datum, the point from which we measure.
Next time I'll post on the Serrano or answer any questions.

machievelli
08-29-2006, 01:56 PM
Weapons of Mass Destruction:

On the logic of creation and deployment of such weapons in historical context and logical extension into the Death Star and the Shadow Mass Generator.

As much as the liberal peaceniks seem to think any such weapon is evil, a weapon is only as evil as the one who uses it. To deploy such a weapon and use it in the field needs a certain mindset, and those who have done so are sometime painted as monsters, and at other times, as heroes.

Creation:

There are three reasons for the development of such a weapon, be it chemical, biological, or nuclear, and extending right up to the Death Stars and the Shadow Mass Generator. They are:

MILITARY NECESSITY: The enemy has something you do not have a counter for, therefore you develop this fiendish thingie as a counter. More weapons have been invented for this reason than any other.

Examples: When the Japanese invaded Korea in 1591, they brought a new weapon, the muzzle-loading flintlock. Their supplier, Portugal was willing to sell them handguns (The definition used at that time) but were unwilling to sell them cannon, or rent them a warship. Muskets were not powerful enough to seriously threaten a Portuguese merchantman, and the cannon aboard would have blown them to hell if they tried.

The Koreans had cannon, but they were a generation and a half behind the Portuguese with corresponding levels of efficiency. A musket-armed warship could approach and use their secret weapon to sweep the deck and allow them to board and capture it.

When faced with this, Admiral Yi Soon Shin deployed a counter to this threat the first recorded ironclad vessel the turtle ships. This allowed his fleet to hang in and fight, and protected them from Japanese muskets.

Another such development was the poison gases used in WWI. The Germans did not have the forces necessary to punch through the combined French and English forces in Europe. The gas was to destabilize the lines, and allow then to push through. The technology for such gas had existed since the American Civil War, but had not been used in any great amount before.

DESPERATION: At the start of WWII, there were seven nations capable of developing a nuclear weapon. England Germany, France Russia, Japan Italy and the United States. When the Germans swept through Western Europe, they removed one of these. The Russians had been too busy during the Stalinist purges to think about it. Most of the men capable of making one had either fled to England or the US, or were in the gulags. So the Russians were way behind. Germany and Italy saw no reason to make it, and when the Japanese beat us so handily in the first half of 1941, neither did they. After all, they were winning.
The US and England with the help of expatriates from Italy Germany and Russia immediately began research because the US was desperate. We didn’t know if we’d even survive let along beat our enemies. We needed something that would level an enemy city in one blow, and this was it. The research continued after Midway because we still weren’t sure. By the time the weapons were ready for construction, we were winning on all fronts handily We kept it up because the US had already spent a couple of billion dollars on making the damn thing. It was easier to point at a completed weapon than admitting that the money had been wasted.

However deploying it was military necessity. We looked at four operations to invade the Japanese Home Island that would have cost another five to seven million American troops, and would have led to the annihilation of 125 million people. Dropping the bombs convinced the Japanese that we could slaughter all of them off and it would cost us NOTHING.

SHEER BLOODY MINDEDNESS: The ongoing development by third world countries of chemical and nuclear weapons is of this sort. The big boys have them, if we did they would treat us with respect. There is an old joke from when the IRA was letter-bombing England. The joke goes; the IRA has developed the atomic bomb. The problem is, they haven’t figure out how to make it fit in a letterbox yet.

Having Nuclear weapons would not deter a major nation so armed because they are still at the Hiroshima and pre Hydrogen bomb stage. Sure Korea can hit half a dozen American cities, or Iran could launch a nuke at Tel Aviv, but what happens then? Both of those nations are known to have such weapons in abundance. Israel has by my estimate about fifty to a hundred with yields ranging from 60 kilotons to a megaton. Tel Aviv eats 30 kilotons, and less than four hours later, every city in Iran is a smoking hole in the ground. The US had at the end of the Berlin wall and Evil Empire 16 thousand warheads ranging from dial -a-nuke B61s small enough for a fighter to carry that will pack between 50 kilotons and one megaton in the same bomb! That ranges up from 300 kiloton to 5 and ten-megaton bombs that need a strategic bomber or missile to carry. We get hit by dozen Korean missiles (Half an hour flight time, we know it’s coming) and the only question is who gets to level the entire nation, the missile troops, the bombers, or the Navy. We lose maybe ten to eleven million people, and 50 million Koreans join them in oblivion anywhere from thirty minutes to 26 hours later.

As you can see, Sheer bloody-mindedness is a reason to build it, but not a great reason.

So where does Star Wars fit it?

There are two such weapons shown in the Canon. They are the Death Star with the variant developed by the Imperial Rump after the Rebellion, where you just take the planet killer weapon and install it in a star destroyer. The other is the Shadow Mass Generator.

DEATH STAR
The Death Star and the follow on designs were originally built out of sheer bloody-mindedness. The Emperor wanted something that would blow an enemy planet to hell, be big enough that even a fleet could not attack it, and be mobile so that you were safe nowhere. IT may be slow and ponderous, but when it arrives, you’re toast.

After the original was destroyed, the Emperor built the second only to give the Republic a target they could not ignore. It became a desperation target, something that had to be destroyed even if it gutted the rebels in the process. The follow on weapons were built because like nukes, you already have the technology, and it’s a pity to waste it when you still need it.

SHADOW MASS GENERATOR

I was stunned when I found out about this because militarily it’s production might have made sense as an act of desperation, but deploying it made no military sense at all.

The time line if I am correct (Tell me if I am not) is; 40 years before Jedi Civil War, War of Exar Kun ends. Then 20 years later, the Mandalorians begin their expansion along the edge of the Republic. 12 years after this expansion, the Mandalorians attack. Four years after the original invasion, the Jedi enter the conflict. Four years after that, the Battle of Malachor.

Yet every story comment in TSL suggests that it was Bao-Dur who developed it, the Exile who ordered it’s construction and actually ordered its deployment. Then ordered its use.

Why? If the war ends less than five months later, why deploy it at all? As bad as the Mandalorians were, as destitute as the Republic might have been, this is like loading an atomic bomb on a plane after the battle of midway. Why would the Republic be so desperate?

A lot of writers who have added to the Star Wars Canon know little or nothing about weapons development, and I have to add the writer of this game to that group. There must be a reason for such a thing, and the story fails for me in that specific instance. When I reached the denouement when Bao-Dur lays the blame for it on the Exile, I had to come up with a logical reason. As you go one reading my work (Blatant Plug!) You will see that I came up with the following;

Bao Dur pointed out what it could do (Still the equivalent of the Einstein letter to Roosevelt that caused the Manhattan Project to be formed) and Republic officials desperate, begin construction. This is before the Jedi even entered the war.

The Jedi enter the war (Equivalent of the Battle of Midway) War turns around. Project continues.

Just before Malachor. The Jedi, specifically Revan and the Exile see that the war will end if they can remove the Mandalorian fleet. Without it, the Mandalorians, like a lot of warrior races are faced with to options. The logical one practiced throughout history of offering up their king (Such as Shaka allowing himself to be assassinated so another could take his place) or the Gotterdamerung option, which is what Hitler wanted to do and failed, but was expected from the Japanese.

So Malachor was for one reason, to smash that last active fleet. Like the second Death Star, they had taken a position the enemy had to attack.

Both sides knew it could go either way. However I can’t see the Republic with a lot more to lose committing every last ship they had. They had to have something to fall back on if the battle went against them. It would have done no good to send your entire fleet and suffer a Pyrric victory. You wouldn’t have been able to finish the job. The bad guys would rebuild enough to keep it going for another couple of years, and you don’t want that.

So another fleet was waiting in case Malachor failed. And the Exile orders the Shadow Mass Generator deployed. This is logical ONLY if total destruction of both fleets there would not affect the outcome, but the enemy must not be allowed to escape. So it is there like the atomic bomb in mid 1945. It can be used, but it is the necessity of saving lives that pushes Truman into using it.

But by the same token, unless you accept that even fighting a defensive war is evil, and everyone had already fallen to the dark side for daring to do so, using it means either the Republic was losing, or as I suggest, and accident. Some idiot pushed the button and blew away almost everyone, and as the one that sent it there the Exile gets the blame.

So if you create such a fiendish thingie, remember what I have said. k?

Emperor Devon
08-29-2006, 02:23 PM
The usage of the Mas Shadow Generator was neccessary. From one of Bao-Dur's dialogue files:

{Somewhat haunted, sleepless/restless}{Bao-Dur is in one of the rooms, staring at a panel, not doing repairs as usual, the Remote is missing, no one else is nearby, the ship is asleep}

Exile: What are you doing up?
Don't you ever sleep?
I didn't expect to see you awake.

Bao-Dur: {Emphasis on second line into next}I dreamt of Malachor. I remember the ships.

Bao-Dur: The last stand of the Republic. The tattered remnants of our fleet, the largest we could gather, but it was damaged, weakened and vulnerable.

Bao-Dur: The Mandalorians couldn't resist. They tore into us like beasts, shredding our ships to scrap as we fought back.

Bao-Dur: Yet this time, there were no reinforcements for either side. Revan had been delayed out-system by Mandalorian scout ships. By the time he arrived, it was too late.

Bao-Dur: And beyond Malachor, there were no more Mandalorians left to die.

Bao-Dur: I remember standing on the bridge with you and watching the destruction of the Republic - watching ships full of soldiers and Jedi burn and die.

Bao-Dur: I remember the look you had when you turned to me. It was the longest you'd ever looked at me.

Bao-Dur: You didn't say anything - just a nod.

Bao-Dur: {Brisker, as though the hard part of the story is over}Events move quickly then, even in my dreams. Flashes, explosions, you - falling. I could feel the pain around me.

Bao-Dur: And then the memory. The drifting hulks of the Mandalorian ships, the dead - allies, friends, strangers.

Bao-Dur: And then the echo. Lingering. The sound I awaken to in my nightmares.

That's all there is of relevance to the Mass Shadow Generator in there. From I've seen in the game and other dialogue, this is what happened:

The Mandalorians were routed, but not completely defeated. To end war soon as possible and to avoid having to follow the Mandalorians back into their homeland (the Unknown Regions, which was completely unfamiliar territory the Republic knew nothing of), Revan devised a trap that would let him completely crush the Mandalorians without risking his fleet too much. He sent a huge fleet to Malachor, and placed the soldiers and Jedi who weren't enitrely loyal to him in the positions where they had the greatest chance of being destroyed. As the battle progressed, the Mandalorians started to win, and the Exile to ordered the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator so the huge fleet the Republic gathered wouldn't be lost and so the Mandalorians could be defeated in one swift stroke. The activation of the weapon decimated the Mandalorians, and allowed the Republic to win the battle. The troops in that fleet not loyal to Revan were eradicated by the Mandalorians and the Mass Shadow Generator, because they had been placed at the front of the fleet.

The other Jedi who hadn't fallen to the dark side under Revan previously did then because of all the suffering, and because of the dark side energies Malachor possessed.

machievelli
08-29-2006, 03:23 PM
The usage of the Mas Shadow Generator was neccessary. From one of Bao-Dur's dialogue files:

{Somewhat haunted, sleepless/restless}{Bao-Dur is in one of the rooms, staring at a panel, not doing repairs as usual, the Remote is missing, no one else is nearby, the ship is asleep}

Exile: What are you doing up?
Don't you ever sleep?
I didn't expect to see you awake.

Bao-Dur: {Emphasis on second line into next}I dreamt of Malachor. I remember the ships.

Bao-Dur: The last stand of the Republic. The tattered remnants of our fleet, the largest we could gather, but it was damaged, weakened and vulnerable.

Bao-Dur: The Mandalorians couldn't resist. They tore into us like beasts, shredding our ships to scrap as we fought back.

Bao-Dur: Yet this time, there were no reinforcements for either side. Revan had been delayed out-system by Mandalorian scout ships. By the time he arrived, it was too late.

Bao-Dur: And beyond Malachor, there were no more Mandalorians left to die.

Bao-Dur: I remember standing on the bridge with you and watching the destruction of the Republic - watching ships full of soldiers and Jedi burn and die.

Bao-Dur: I remember the look you had when you turned to me. It was the longest you'd ever looked at me.

Bao-Dur: You didn't say anything - just a nod.


I cut it off, because this is where it ended in the game as I saw it. None of what followed came up. As I said, if there was a cutscene I never saw it.

In my version, (KOTOR Excerpts) Revan was there, and that is what I used, because I had never seen this. Besides, I stand by my contention. Only an idiot would have used it, and I can't see any Jedi doing something like this unless their was no alternative.

So my version is going away from the game. Mea Culpa

Emperor Devon
08-29-2006, 03:56 PM
I cut it off, because this is where it ended in the game as I saw it. None of what followed came up. As I said, if there was a cutscene I never saw it.

There never was a cutscene of the Mass Shadow Generator being activated. Do you mean that at the point you got to in your first playthrough the game ended in your opinion?

Besides, I stand by my contention. Only an idiot would have used it, and I can't see any Jedi doing something like this unless their was no alternative.

There wasn't. That situation was similar to the end of WWII - the enemy was severely weakened and was going to lose, but they were still fighting. To end the war in one swift stroke, a weapon of incredible destruction was used. If it hadn't been, the Mandalorians would have won the battle, severly crippled the Republic fleet, and killed off the commanders who were responsible for turning the tide of the war.

machievelli
08-29-2006, 04:43 PM
There wasn't. That situation was similar to the end of WWII - the enemy was severely weakened and was going to lose, but they were still fighting. To end the war in one swift stroke, a weapon of incredible destruction was used. If it hadn't been, the Mandalorians would have won the battle, severly crippled the Republic fleet, and killed off the commanders who were responsible for turning the tide of the war.

First, I went my own way because A: As I have said before, the battle and reasoning made no military sense. Comparing the war to WWII, the invasion was equivilant of Pearl Harbor, The Jedi entering was Midway and Dxun was their Operation Pestilence, which was the invasion of Guadalcanal. But the only comparison for Malachor was Stalingrad. A battle that both sides fought because Neither couldn admit the failure of their views!

If you continue the Analogy, think of the Republic as the US, and the Mandalorians as the Japanese. They had not seriously ruined the Republic's capability to fight, only it's will. If we had lost Midway it would not have destroyed our ability to fight. the way and reason the of the battle even being fought made no military or strategic sense.

It wasn't that I ignored the game after the commentary of Malachor, I simply resufed to accept the way things are said to have gone. I cannot see someone everyone agreed was a tactical and strategic genius (Revan) putting herself in the position of fighting an unnecessary battle with an atomic bomb when a lightsaber would have done. So I rewrote the war to have it make sense.

As I said before, a lot of people who know nothing of war, or have no scruples about throwing aside the scruples a Jedi would have been taught for their story have added to the canon. As an example, Steven Barnes, who I love as a writer has the Jedi running a false flag opreration. Two Jedi show up on a planet vital to the Republic's interests but as Obi Wan is there as a diplomat trying to sway them another Jedi is busily creating a guerilla operation to destabilize the government they are talking to!

As An American I can see the hamhanded political maneuvering of an American State Department, but can you see the Jedi doing the same?

Emperor Devon
08-29-2006, 05:27 PM
First, I went my own way because A: As I have said before, the battle and reasoning made no military sense.

I suppose you could compare the Mandalorian Wars to WWII, although there were quite a few differences. I think Kursk would be a better comparison, as both were the most massive battles of the war, although with Malachor the war ended as soon as the battle did.

the way and reason the of the battle even being fought made no military or strategic sense.

Malachor V and the Mandalorian Wars overall were not about the Mandalorians. It was nothing but a staging ground for Revan to get a large amount of the Republic and Jedi to be loyal to him.

I'll outline everything to do with the battle so I can clear this matter up:

The war is all but over, and Revan is the Supreme Commander of the Republic's fleet. This is 1945 for the Mandalorians, and they have no chance of victory. Their resources are bled up, they've lost the planets they controlled, and are incapable of fighting a prolonged war. The only possible chance they have at victory is a blitzkrieg-style attack on a large gathering of the Republic's fleet.

Realizing this, Revan sets a master trap. He has travelled to Malachor before, and knows how strong the dark side is. He will use the energies the planet possesses to completely convert the Jedi who followed him to the dark side. To make sure the Mandalorians come to Malachor, he marshalls the largest Republic fleet of the war, and brings his best commanders there, and has the Mass Shadow Generator created.

This is too tempting a target for the Mandalorians. If they win this battle, they might have a chance against the Republic. If not, they lose. But if things keep going the way they are, they'll lose anyway. The Mandalorians gather what's left of their entire fleet, and send it to Malachor, since the Republic has placed their best eggs in one basket.

The situation is a win-win one for Revan. If the Republic fleet defeats the Mandalorians, they win. If his fleet can't, the Mass Shadow Generator will be activated, and he'll win anyway, since his fleet can afford more losses, and the Republic has ships elsewhere in the galaxy. He also places ships with the Jedi and soldiers who would not betray the Republic at the head of the fleet, where they are at the gretest risk.

To protect himself from any possible harm, Revan lies about being off-system, and goes to the heart of Malachor V. He is completely safe, and draws upon the dark side energies the planet possesses. During the heat of the battle and amidst all the conflict, Revan uses his own power and the dark energies to corrupt the Jedi who followed him. After a whole war of conflict, and now direct corruption from Revan, the Jedi turn to the dark side.

With the Exile, the battle is going poorly. The Mandalorians are decimating her ships, and the battle will be lost. To avoid the loss of her fleet and possibly the Republic itself, she orders the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator. The tide of the battle turns. Revan comes out, and duels Mandalore personally. He kills him and takes the helmet, ensuring the Mandalorians will not rise again.

The end result: The Mandalorians are wiped out, and with the activation of the Mass Shadow Generator, he has purged his fleet of soldiers who are loyal to the Republic over him. The Jedi with him have fallen to the dark side. He then leads them into the Unknown Regions, claiming to see if any Mandalorians are still in their homelands. With his troops far away, he turn them into the Sith.

I cannot see someone everyone agreed was a tactical and strategic genius (Revan) putting herself in the position of fighting an unnecessary battle with an atomic bomb when a lightsaber would have done. So I rewrote the war to have it make sense.

Neither could I, or the writers at Obsidian. Revan was not even present for most of the battle. Instead, he was at the core of the fifth planet, safe from all harm. Although Bao-Dur and other Republic soldiers thought he had been delayed out of the system, he was in truth under their noses.

As An American I can see the hamhanded political maneuvering of an American State Department, but can you see the Jedi doing the same?

No. Jedi are pacifists who dislike concealment.

machievelli
08-29-2006, 07:23 PM
My question ED, is this your 'take' on it, or verified with data I can get out of the game?

I can't see Revan falling to the dark side so readily. I always postulated that Revan had ended the war with a burning desire to fix the government that had caused so much crap to happen. After all thery'd fought the first four with the equivilant of General Elpihnstone or Bazin in charge.

I can't see her murdering so many of her troops in the hope that it would solidify her hold. The idea that she had already been there needs explanation as well. If this had been the case, she would not have needed to find the Star Forge and enlist the Sith. No more than Cincinnatus needed to gather an army after his last battle. He would have been handed the Roman Imperial Crown if he had wanted it. Instead, like my Exile, he turned around and walked away.

My version would explain why she (My version: personal pronouns interchangable) suddenly took it into her head to find the Star Forge. In my version it was that and having to enlist the Sith to have sufficient troops first that caused her fall to the dark side. Sort of like Anakin in ROTS where he fell because he believed Palpatine's lie that only he could save Padme from dying.

Let us just say, too many people play fast and loose with how a Jedi should be thinking and how easy it is to fall. It's like agreeing with the Christians that an unfair test of two people made sense in sentencing an entire race to torment.

Emperor Devon
08-29-2006, 07:32 PM
It is verified with data from the game, and with the information on KotOR II's official site. The only thing that is not explicity stated is Revan lying about where he was, but that was obvious. :)

Revan's fall to the dark side I do not think ahppened during the Mandalorian Wars. Vrook states that, and I agree. It's implied that happened anyway, because Kreia says that the Mandalorians Wars were a series of massacres Revan used to gain an army.

How Revan found out about the Star Forge is anyone's guess, but the results can't be denied.

machievelli
08-29-2006, 08:57 PM
Then my books veer away, and to tell you the truth, I see no other way to write them.

Emperor Devon
08-29-2006, 11:31 PM
Do you mean Revan's desire to fix the Republic's government? Your books don't veer away that much. Kreia says that Revan sacrificed himself and fell to the dark side only so he could fortify the Republic for the war against the True Sith.

machievelli
08-29-2006, 11:35 PM
Do you mean Revan's desire to fix the Republic's government? Your books don't veer away that much. Kreia says that Revan sacrificed himself and fell to the dark side only so he could fortify the Republic for the war against the True Sith.


No I mean the 'let's slaughter off all of those that won't follow me at Malachor' part. My version had her fall after finding the Star Forge.

As I will point out in the segment with the Jedi Master on Nar Shaddaa, which I will post monentarily, fifty of the Jedi from the fleet at Malachor survived. They were the basis if that 'let's clean up this effing mess' which is what caused Revan to fall in my versions.

Emperor Devon
08-30-2006, 01:26 AM
No I mean the 'let's slaughter off all of those that won't follow me at Malachor' part. My version had her fall after finding the Star Forge.

What did you do about her/his/whatever's incentive to find the Star Forge, though?

machievelli
08-30-2006, 04:32 AM
What did you do about her/his/whatever's incentive to find the Star Forge, though?

She found an ancient translation of a Sith book that spoke of the legends of cruel monsters that conquered many worlds. Since Dantooine was one of them, she investigated the tomb there, and found the first portion of the star map. The book spoke of creating things from thin air, and she assumed that meant anything.

Her intent was to find it, and if it could build ships, she was going to outfit the Republic with as many as she could grab. But she began to slide, thinking of giving all that largesss to idiots like the Senate, and decided to repair the government first.

Emperor Devon
09-10-2006, 06:47 PM
I'm surprised the topic of naval ranks hasn't been covered, so I thought I'd post it. I'll elaborate on some of the more distinct/important ones. From highest to lowest:

Supreme Commander - The Star Wars equivalent of Admiral of the Navy. It naturally implies supreme command over all fleets. As we all know, Revan also had the title. Wookieepedia says the rank gave him direct command over one third of the Republic's navy.

Admiral of the Navy - The equivalent of a six-star General. Ranks like that are rarely needed outside of major wars. I don't think it's used in Star Wars.

Grand Admiral - A very high rank granted only to the best of the best. The use of it by the Germans is very similar to what it was with the Empire. With both, a very small amount of people had it. I've not heard of the title being used anywhere other than Palpatin's empire. This rank is not used in the U.S. Navy.

Fleet Admiral - I've not seen this used many times in Star Wars. In the U.S. military, it's the equivalent of a General of the Army (5-star general).

Admiral - The equivalent of General. Whoever has it controls a large amount of ships. Titles that include Admiral in them are usually the equivalent of something that includes the title General. The rank of just Admiral is the equivalent of a 4-star general. In the U.S. Navy, lower Rear Admirals were equal in rank to Brigadier Generals but could have more stars, since that could be affected by the numbers and classes of ships they commanded. I have yet to see any statements about this being a fact in Star Wars, but it's likely.

Vice Admiral - The equivalent of a Lieuteneant General.

Rear Admiral (upper half) - Someone who commands ships at the back of an assault, but not the furthest rear.

Rear Admiral (lower half) - Someone who commands the ships at the furthest rear of an assault. It's the most junior of all the admiral ranks, and the people who have it can expect the least action in a battle, as they're commanding the ships at the rear. In the U.S. Navy, lower Rear Admirals could often command anti-submarine groups.

Commodore - The only place I've seen this in Star Wars was Wookieepedia. It's not used in the U.S. Navy either, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Someone who had it commanded several ships.

Captain - Someone who commands a ship. The equivalent to a Colonel.

Commander

Lieutenant Commander

Lieutenant

Lieutenant, Junior Grade - Sometimes nicknamed 'Lieutenant, Junior God', because the people who achieve the rank sometimes get stuck up about it.

Ensign - The most junior of all commissioned officer ranks.

Other things:

High Admiral - Wookieepedia claims this is a legitimate rank, but in Darksaber one of the Imperial warlords had it as a title. Since all of those warlords had ridiculous and nonexistent titles, I doubt that's authentic.

machievelli
09-10-2006, 09:20 PM
Vice Admiral - The equivalent of a Lieuteneant General.

Rear Admiral (upper half) - Someone who commands ships at the back of an assault, but not the furthest rear.

Rear Admiral (lower half) - Somone who commands the ships at the furthest rear of an assault. It's the most junior of all the admiral ranks, and the people who have it can expect the least action in a battle, as they're commanding the ships at the rear.

Commodore - The only place I've seen this in Star Wars was Wookieepedia. It's not used in the U.S. Navy either, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Someone who had it commanded several ships.

Captain - Someone who commands a ship. The equivalent to a Colonel.


I was wondering for a moment if you were being facetious.

The admiral ranks (At least in the US Navy, are linked to the numbers and slasses of ships a commander of what ever rank commands.

In the US navy, the rank of commodore is subsumed by rear admiral lower half. As WEB Griffith pointed out, a lot of Brigadier Generals were upset when they found out that an RA lower was equal in rank, but still wears two stars.

In the modern US navy, a RA lower would command a standard surface action group or anti-submarine group, while a RA upper would command a Carrier Battle Group or Surface support group, which would include a battle ship or more. The Commander Destroyers (Responsilbe for all destroyers in the pacific would be a Vice Admiral, as would COMSUBPAC (COmmander Submarines,) or COM SUP Pac (Commander support vessels, PAcific) while a full Admiral would command the actual fleet as CincPac.

In the US we have exactly one fleet admiral in service. he is CNO.

Emperor Devon
09-10-2006, 09:33 PM
In the modern US navy, a RA lower would command a standard surface action group or anti-submarine group, while a RA upper would command a Carrier Battle Group or Surface support group, which would include a battle ship or more. {snip}

I guess I should've mentioned whether I was talking about Star Wars or the U.S. I'll fix that...

machievelli
09-11-2006, 03:05 AM
I guess I should've mentioned whether I was talking about Star Wars or the U.S. I'll fix that...


Not a problem. Most people don't even know where the ranks came from. The 'Admiral' or Fleet admiral was in overall command in action, with his assistant (Or his 'vice') as second in command, and the rear Admiral was just the lowest ranked one on the totem pole, so saying he takes up the rear wasn't too far off. In fact the Germanic version actually works better because he could be conter-Admiral, or opposite, the man who commands the opposite wing in a fleet action.

JediAthos
09-13-2006, 09:03 AM
My little addition to this discussion is that the title Commodore is actually used in the US Navy for the commander of an Amphibious Squadron, or PHIBRON. The person's actual rank is Captain. For example, when I served on an amphibious assault ship from 99-03 we were with Amphibious Squadron 8. The commander of Amphibious Squadron 8 was Captain so and so. He was always addressed both by our CO and by us as Commodore.

machievelli
09-14-2006, 01:10 AM
The Earth sucks;

or;

Commentary on gravity

Here I am flying along with my KOTOR II novel when suddenly I noticed a mistake worthy of the movie Citizen Kane.

I have a device creating a mass shadow equivalent to a B9 star with a surface gravity of 2 million standard gravities. Then I leave it on for, get this, 27 hours. When I wrote it, it bothered me, but couldn’t figure out why. So I looked in my Van Nostrand’s Scientific Encyclopedia. So here is what I did wrong;

Gravity is a force which on the surface of our planet exerts 9.88 meters per second per second acceleration. This means if you drop something from 30 meters off the ground, it falls 9.88 the first second, and 19.76 the second.

With me so far?

All right, with a force of 2 million gravities, after the first second, everything around it is now headed inward at 19760 kps. after ten seconds, it is traveling at 197600 kps.

But that second figure is 60 percent of light speed!

So after 27 hours, not only have you exceeded the Enstienian speed limit, but you have done so by over 6400 times!

Before you ask, yes, I am changing the segments where I fouled up.

But see, even we make mistakes.

stingerhs
09-14-2006, 01:32 AM
^^^^
ahh, now you run into the dilemma of the Black Hole where gravity is so great that not even light is fast enough to escape it. in that case, a more accurate name for the Mass Shadow generator would be the "Black Hole" generator. ;)

machievelli
09-14-2006, 11:27 AM
^^^^
ahh, now you run into the dilemma of the Black Hole where gravity is so great that not even light is fast enough to escape it. in that case, a more accurate name for the Mass Shadow generator would be the "Black Hole" generator. ;)


technically yes. However neither Malachor V nor it's star would have survived it is what i was trying to say. There would be no Trayus Academy to find.

stingerhs
09-14-2006, 02:53 PM
indeed. i was just pointing out exactly what your original calculations had entailed. ;)

and something that i should point out is:...that the Mass Shadow Generator is never deactivated until the lightside ending.of course, that's assuming that my understanding of the game is sound. :)

JediAthos
09-26-2006, 08:11 PM
okay experts here's one for you....do you think that in the realm of science fiction that one could rationalize a ship and possibly even droids being perserved over several thousand years?

Emperor Devon
09-26-2006, 09:19 PM
In Dune they had these devices called nullentropy fields, which generated a force field that stopped all form of aging for whatever it covered, but also froze it completely in place.

Or there's the self-repairing technology the Rakata had. As we saw in KotOR, their computers and droids could last millenia.

Or maybe that ship and those droids are extremely durable. This is science fiction, after all. You don't have to conform to what is and what isn't possible in our universe. :)

machievelli
09-27-2006, 12:47 AM
okay experts here's one for you....do you think that in the realm of science fiction that one could rationalize a ship and possibly even droids being perserved over several thousand years?


Has Solo and the lost Legacy. Driods from an empire that had died about 20,000 years earlier, if I remember correctly.

My disagreement with the concept is that it is like assuming a fighter from WWI would be an efficient tool facing a modern Jet. Technology would have surpassed them.

In the story above, it was a matter that the empire that had built them over engineered them so heavily that they were still highly efficient war machines still.

RedHawke
09-27-2006, 02:10 AM
okay experts here's one for you....do you think that in the realm of science fiction that one could rationalize a ship and possibly even droids being perserved over several thousand years?
I cannot remember the story it came from, but I do remember the technology it was called a "Smart Metal Maintinance & Repair System" basically nanotechnology that keeps a machine in peak condition and can even upgrade it over time with newer technologies the nanomachines encounter or sample. ;)

JediAthos
09-27-2006, 04:29 AM
hmm....well, I have written something into the fic that I'm currently posting here and I was looking for some way to explain it, hence the reason I asked the question. I kind of like the explanation you referenced RH...the only thing I would have to do is work it into the story.

machievelli
10-07-2006, 01:21 PM
A Long Time Ago...

Jedi Rolph Morkoi, pursued by a clone strike force makes a desperate leap into hyperspace without progamming his system. His ship comes out to close to a G0 class star.

Jettisoning his hyper-ring, he crashlands on an unknown planet, and is rescued by members of the US Navy from Philadelpiha Harbor in 1944-

You would be surprised how often I have seen something similar in the last year as the critic on three sites. Every writer forgot the three primary rules of writing in someone else's canon;

1: You must be true to the setting. If it's George Lucas' Star Wars, you cannot interject the United States in the 20th century into it.

2:You cannot merely leap Galaxy to Galaxy, which according to the opening credits of every Star Wars movie and game, is what is required.

3: Assuming the first two rules are true, the only way to do it-

Is to cheat.

Now, let's take the above commentary I did, and show you how it could work.

pursued by a clone strike force he makes a desperate leap into hyperspace without progamming his system.

Remember how much time Han Solo took in both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in programming his hyperdrive? Remember his comment to Luke. Improperly programming it could have been disastrous.

We never got a full explanation about how hyper-drive works, and quite frankly it would have been unnecessary in a movie format. You don't have as Gene Roddenberry said 'A town marshall explaining how a colt peacemaker works'. In my own KOTOR work I described making a blind jump as 'putting a pin in the galaxy blindfolded'.

But as a writer, that gives you 'wriggle room' to pull something like I did above. At least in space if not in space-time.

Now Michio Kaku who has continued Hawking's work suggests wormhole theory not only for distance but time as well. So USE it.

The jedi fighter is flying through an area of gravitationally disrupted space. It hits a gravity speed bump an the same time the pilot hits his unfocused hyperdrive. The chances of ending up anywhere he can get back from is already astronomical. Thuis last bump flips him toward a wormhole which can bridge not only intergalactic space but space-time as well. So he gets thrown, oh, 7,000 years into the past, and about 50 million light years, which would put him on the edge of what is called the 'neighborhood' galaxies.

Now how does he get back? Unless you now create a second sequence of events just as unlikely, he doesn't. Worse yet, no one can get him back out. But that is where the second paragraph come in;

Is rescued by members of the US Navy from Philadelpiha Harbor in 1944-

You see, at that location and time, the US government was working on a secret project dramatized in the movie The Philadelphia Experiment. It's still partially classified (What they were doing and what occurred is at least) so we don't know what happened. Maybe the experiment then throws our Jedi back to his own Galaxy near Alderaan.

So if you're going to cheat and use Earth come up with a logical reason why

machievelli
10-13-2006, 06:54 PM
A note on Holidays;

Ever since the really bad Star Wars Christmas Special, I have been leery of using holiday garb for Star Wars. The idea that a furred race (The Wookie) would intentionally wear something from another culture (Long white choir robes no less) is absurd. Clothing is for two things alone, protection from weather and natural conditions, or as ornamentation. But think, can you see a Wookie wearing a three piece suit?

If you can, I suggest therapy.

Yet people persist in using two major holiday almost consistently, and one in an on again off again manner.

They are Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine's day.

Fine. But did any of you consider that Christmas is celebrated in less than half of the world? And Halloween celebrated in even less. Halloween in fact in primarily a holiday of the English speaking world.

Valentine's day oddly enough is celebrated here and in England, but outside of Japan, not much else of the world. The Japanese go so far as to break the holiday in half, one part on 14 February when the girl give the boy darker chocolates, and the 14th of March when the boy gives the girl white chocolate (Called oddly enough, white chocolate day).

So like the article above, here is how to cheat on holidays, getting them in, but at the same time not offending your friendly neighborhood critic.

don't use common trappings: Leave out the mistletoe, the Christmas Carols, the Christmas Tree, or any religious connotations. Every major religion on the planet has a holiday similar to Christmas, so you can get away with this. The same goes with Halloween, since you have Obon in August in Japan, The day of the Dead in November in the South American countries, and Halloween here. There are a lot of reasons to play dress up, so costume parties are not a problem.

The second possible way is to create the equvilant of the Christmas story but in the context of the society of Star Wars. The Original Santa Claus for example was a Turkish Archbishop who wandered the streets in disguise, and listened to the complaints of the people. After judging whether they deserved it or not, he would then roam the streets and throw coins over the back walls into their houses. Halloween started as a seasonal holiday which is linked to the dead, and claiming that the veil between worlds is thinnest that day. So every fire in the kingdom would be put out, then a massive bonfire (Sometimes with a few prisoners to toast) would be lit signifying that life goes on. The only part of Halloween that does not really translate is Trick or treat, but if you use your imaginations, you can come up with a logical reason for it.

So use your imaginations

If you want to use the holiday as it stands, expect me to complain.

machievelli
10-20-2006, 01:52 PM
As an addendum, if you have read my latest post in the Critis' Two Cents, there is a story entitled Telosian Festival of Fear by xenzen and Athenaprime. This is an excellent example of what I mean.

Emperor Devon
10-22-2006, 05:14 AM
On the subject of Dark Jedi and Sith:

Contrary to KotOR, there actually is a difference between the two. It frustrated me to no end how I'd be fighting supposed Dark Jedi that were in reality Sith.

Enough of my rants, now for the differences:

Dark Jedi: These people are not Sith. Tecnically. That term can be given to any Force-sensitive being who uses the dark side of the Force, but is not a formal and full-fledged Sith. The Reborn in Jedi Outcast are Dark Jedi, for example. As are Joruus C'baoth, Lord Nyax, Lord Hethir, Mara Jade (when she was a Hand, that is), Sedriss, Lord Cronal and Tremayne to name a few.

Dark Jedi are rarely organized into groups, much less large ones. The only ones I can think of are the Reborn, the Disciples of Ragnos, the Shadow Academy, the Nightsisters (debatable), and Jerec's small band. This is only for organizations of Dark Jedi not controlled by a Sith, though.

Sith: A person who was formally accepted into one of the Sith Order's many incarnations. The Sith, as we know, have their own tradtions, customs, philosiphies, etc. As they are an organized group and have a past, they've in sense gone against the nature of the dark side, which is chaos. Although they've had a few civil wars, they obviously can be unified in large numbers.

The Sith have their share of secrets, and as we know, have developed many techniques, ideas, and artifacts. over the years. Being a cloistered order, those secrets have rarely found their way outside of their hands. There's a key difference between Dark Jedi and Sith; the later have a much greater amount of knowledge and pass it down to each other. Dark Jedi, on the other hand, can call upon the dark side but do not know it in the sense the Sith do. As many of them are self-taught and don't form groups easily, it's no wonder they're at a disadvantage compared to the Sith. I also have yet to hear of one who made a holocron.

That by no means prevents them from being powerful, though. Joruus C'baoth, for example, was more than a match for most Sith. He was even one of the few people that detonated in an explosion of dark side energy upon death. The last book he appears in claims he was more powerful than Palpatine at the end, but I doubt that.

More examples of their power were how some of Palpatine's adepts created the Chrysalides, Lord Cronal's strength in Sith alchemy, and how Luke thought going up against Lord Nyax in a one-on-one lightsaber duel was suicidal.

Dark Jedi organizations:

Though most were managed by Palpatine, here goes:

Dark Side Adepts: When Palpatine became the Emperor, the Sith had never before controlled such a large amount of territory. In addition, there were still quite a few Jedi who survived Order 66. The Sith couldn't easily manage that with just two people, so Sidious decided to solve his problem while by technicality not breaking the Rule of Two (something which he would often bend and infringe, but never outright break).

Dark Side Adept is generic term that any darksiders who served the Emperor were called. Subdivions are:

The Dark Side Elite - Seven powerful Dark Jedi handpicked by Palpatine to be part of this group. During most of Operation Shadow Hand, he didn't have a Sith apprentice to appoint to the second-highest position in his empire (Military Executor), so he chose people from here. Both of them, though, (Sedriss and Xecr Nist) were killed by Luke and Kam all in the same issue.

They used Vjun as their headquarters, and with Vader gone, took over a good amount of his power. In fact, Palpatine was distressed whenever he heard one died. Throughout Operation Shadow Hand, various members were killed by Luke, his Jedi, and two (technically) by Han. Once Palpatine died for good, the group wasn't reformed.

Inquisitors - One of the most important groups of darksiders. This was an elite division of Imperial Intelligence, restricted only to some of the most powerful Dark Jedi. Their jobs were to interrogate any victims Intelligence couldn't crack (though given their brutal methods, that was rare) so they for the most part helped finish Order 66. This group was large enough to the point that Vader wouldn't shed many tears if he heard one died, but still far too small be sent into open battle. Various ranks were:

Grand Inquisitor - handpicked by Palpatine, this person led the Inquisitorius. He was outranked only by a handful of individuals in the whole Empire.

High Inquisitor - another esteemed postion. The first people who earned it were personally trained by Vader in the ways of the dark side (but not the Sith).

Inquisitor - the regular, but still esteemed rank.

Apprentice Inquisitor - what the name implies.

Throughout the Empire's reign, the Inquisitors would track down any Jedi who survived Order 66, killing them when they could not be converted. Given how Jerec didn't even reach the rank of High Inquisitor, they must have been formidable. Another task of theirs was to find any prospective Force-sensitives and turn them to the dark side. Their position within the Empire was high, despite their small numbers. When the Empire retook Coruscant, they had a say into who the new Emperor would be. Of course, that was all moot once Palpatine returned.

Prophets of the Dark Side - this is a unique group. They were splinter faction of the Sith formed by Darth Millenial, who disagreed with the Rule of Two. They possessed a gift for seeing the future, and were also called the Secret Order of the Empire. Larger than the Inquisitorius but still small, their leader, Kadann, was probably one of the most powerful Force users in the galaxy in his time. Unfortunately for them, most were killed by the dark warrior Azrakel, and later on by Lumiya with her second apprentice Carnor Jax.

Emperor's Hands - although they were even fewer than the Inquisitorius, this group had a much less active role in the Empire. They were all top-secret spies who answered to Palpatine directly, and were given almlost unlimited authority to carry out his will as needed. If one of them wanted to kill all people on a planet who wore yellow because it served the Emperor's purposes, they could. They were unknown to almost all Imperials.

Other Dark Jedi - Palpatine had other Dark Jedi who answered to him that were not part of these groups. One example is Joruus C'baoth, and another is Azrkael.

The Royal Guard - I've seen in a few sources that they were required to be Force-sensitive, but there wasn't much detail.

Sovereign Protectors - the elite of the Royal Guard, I'm certain these few people were required to be Force-sensitive. They were given basic training in the dark side and the Force, though only a minimal amount.

Where they all came from:

Quite a few of Palpatine's Dark Jedi were Jedi who were converted to the dark side, or Force-sensitives he discovered during his reign. The Prohpets were already a functional group when he found them.

Other Dark Jedi organizations:

Jerec's band - seven Dark Jedi led by Jerec (which included him), they sought out the Valley of the Jedi. Six were killed by Kyle, and one of them when he turned back to the light side. None of them seemd to question Jerec.

The Dark Acolytes - during the Clone Wars, Dooku converted some Jedi and Force-sensitives to his cause. One of the most famous of these was Asajj Ventress, who gave Anakin the scar by his eye. They were all killed or abandoned the Seperatists by the war's end, to my knowledge.

The Legions of Lettow - headed by Xendor, these were the first of the Dark Jedi, and their descendants would later on become the Lords of the Sith. They were all wiped out or interbred with the Sith species.

The Nightsisters - a clan of Dathomiri witches who used the dark side. They were defeated during the crisis with the warlord Zsinj.

The Sorcerers of Tud - a group so stupid I'm not even going to talk about them.

There are others, but at this time at night, I can't recall them.

machievelli
12-13-2006, 08:06 PM
The bugaboo of technology: Mothballing a vessel

The biggest foible I get irate about at present is the 'HK' coming to life along with someone in Luke Skywalker's time running around in the Ebon Hawk.

It isn't that I don't like the character or hate the Ebon Hawk. It's just that if you're going to have them running around 4,000 years after the events of KOTOR, you have to consider storage.

I waxed lyrical in a sci fi story set in the StarFire universe because of the problem of mothballing. Warships are expensive, and mantaining them in fighting trim even more so. As someone back in the 1850s commented that refurbishing the Constitution (Built in 1804) after she had been laid up using the technology of 1825 had cost twice what it had cost to build the ship originally.

Ships that had been laid up after WWI by the US took up to seven months to bring up to operation when we gave them to England under the Lend Lease act. The optic had to be replaced, even sections of the boilers or hull had to be replaced by, you guessed it, cannibalizing the ships the Brits weren't getting.

Mothballing only became possible after WWII because quite honestly, no one had even considered the problem before. After the second world war a lot of those ships merely went through refits (Called FRAMS for Fleet Refurbishment and Modernization Schedule) where older guns and tech were replaced with more modern stuff. But that began to cost too much too.

So we had to mothball them in case we would need them later. Modern mothballing requires filling every possible crack (Including the bases of the turrets and radar antennae) with foam, draining out the normal atmosphere, and filling with inert dry nitrogen. But even then you need several moths before the ship is up to specs again because you have to replace all of the antique equipment. The last time the US has dipped into the WWII mothball fleet was in the seventies for ships to sell overseas.

Now picture 4,000 years of disrepair. I commented to one such author that it was the same as Themistocles sailing the Greek fleet that defeated Xerxes in 485 BCE to attack the American fleet carriers Sea Wolf Submarines and all off Chesapeake Bay. A fleet of 400 odd 70 man power (Remember oared galleys) attacking a fleet of around 2,000 that can sail for a month without fadditional uel at 30 knots (Three times their oared speed) and either shoot you in the face with a missile at 1600 miles (Tomahawk w/ nuclear warheads) or kill you with guns at up to 50 miles, long before your bows and arrows (about 150 yard range) can even range the enemy.

Who do you think is going to win?

Now picture this;

Back in the 60s, they found what they believe was a dry cell battery in the desert of Iraq. A rather large construct. Yet it is not usable. 5,000 years of storage even in a desert has seen to that.

So:

How do we have this ship and our favorite homicidal droid survive to plague us yet again?

Remember that Star Wars is a space opera. If you had stuck the ship drifting in deep space, all it would need is cleaning. The computers would probably still be fried, but the ship would be at least partially operational.

This means however that the memories of the droids would probably be patchy as well, but we can't have everything.

Either this or a full scale stasis field, which I think is beyond the tech of Star Wars. Maybe carbonite...?

JediAthos
12-18-2006, 09:29 PM
Well Mach, I have something of that nature written into my fic, and when I wrote it I really just thought it was a fun idea, and tried to explain it away as best I could. Looking back I figured science fiction explains enough stuff away with bolonga that I could get away with it :)

machievelli
12-18-2006, 10:36 PM
The first rule of Sci Fi is 'one impossible thing is acceptable'.

All I asked is that if you're going to use HK, find a way to keep him updated. If you don't see what I mean find a very bad movie call 'quest of the Delta Knights' which I was in to my chagrin. They had Archimedes make a death ray back in the 2nd century BC (And not the infamous mirror).

JediAthos
12-18-2006, 10:57 PM
actually...HK doesn't last long enough to be updated :) One of my characters gets rather annoyed with him. That said, I get your point and a valid one it is.

Emperor Devon
12-21-2006, 04:49 AM
Unlike in the massive WWs of the past with clearly established fronts, warfare on a galactic scale in Star Wars revolves around hyperspace routes. These are just as, if not even more important than having roads, bridges, trains, and etcetera in our world.

For a bit of background on what hyperspace routes are, let's compare it to the roads we have here on Earth. As they're a faster method of getting from one place to other than hiking through a forest, so are hypserspace routes the faster method of traveling in Star Wars. We all know about the hyperdrive, the impossible invention that provides starships with a faster-than-light form of travel. Since it's so fast, it's completely impossible for anything (artifical intelligence included) to move starships around once they've jumped into hyperspace. Try making a ship change its specific course when it's traveling at millions upon millions of miles an hour; nothing has such sharp reflexes.

To get back to the background of hyperspace routes, some are safe to travel and some are not. Since it's impossible to change course at specific instance, a starship will crash into anything between its starting point and destination at an unimaginably fast speed, will will result in a giant explosion where everyone onboard dies.

Because of this, only certain routes can work; for example, if the space directly between Byss and Tarkin's Fang is completely free of asteroids or other obstacles, a ship can jump into hyperspace at Byss and program the navicomputer to exit hyperspace upon reaching Tarkin's Fang. Since Tarkin's Fang would be a known destination to the ship, it can be programmed to go back into realspace upon reaching the destination. If there was an asteroid directly between those two points and no one was aware of it, there would be no time to change course and everyone on the ship would die horribly.

However, if the asteroid was a known destination in advance, the ship could be programmed to enter hyperspace upon leaving Byss, and exit it upon reaching the asteroid. From there, the ship could jump into hyperspace again and proceed to Tarkin's Fang. This is the basic principle of how galactic travel exists.

Because of all these different routes, the galaxy has some fairly haphazard borders. Two planets, for example, could only be a sector away from each other, but if no known hyperspace routes existed directly between them, they could end up having to travel several sectors along a different route to reach other. With a principle like these, two star systems physically next to each other could be, in a sense, twenty systems apart.

Although conventional travel through realspace is possible, it is an incredibly slow venture, and traveling halfway around the galaxy through hyperspace often takes less time. The only purpose traveling through realspace serves is for very short voyages, such as from neighboring planets.

The question 'why not just map out the whole galaxy and get all the routes?' seems like a ntural one. However, mapping out new routes is an incredibly dangerous task; a random jump into hyperspace could spell certain death if there's something in the way. Convential mapping through realspace is, as I explained earlier, far too slow. Early in the Republic's history, discovering new routes was a large business (since it could result in discovering new worlds), but an extremely hazardous one. By the time of the Galactic Empire, thousands of worlds had been discovered, and no one wanted to risk their lives to find more. (Although the practice actually was dicontinued in the eyes of the public, Palpatine would continue to discover new ones when he put Grand Admiral Thrawn in charge of a mapping expedition in the Unknown Regions.)

Another reason everything can't be mapped are some natural hazards the galaxy has. Nebulae, for instance, are dangerous for ships to pass through, and nothing can really be done to move them. The same goes for asteroids and other hazards.

Whoa, I got carried away there. Back to how this is all relevant to warfare:

As I've mentioned, hypserspace routes determine where people can travel in the galaxy. However, who possesses those routes and whether they share them is another matter entirely...

One example of this is how General Grievous was able to invade Corsucant in Episode III despite how countless neighboring star systems were under the control of the Republic. Palpatine provided him with some secret hypserspace routes that went through the Galactic Core, and allowed him to completely bypass the Republic's defenses. It had been thought traveling through the Core was impossible, (due to the extreme proximity of all the stars there) so there were no enemy forces for him to deal with. This allowed him to enter the Coruscant system without any opposition, despite being surrounded on all sides by hostile territory. This is obviously the main difference between Star Wars and one Earth; in real life, no army can just march to the enemy's capital city without any opposition.

This naturally makes borders and fronts a complicated concept. Again, planets don't truly border the ones that are physically close to them - they border ones ships can travel in a completely straight line between. If a planet in the Outer Rim had a direct route between itself and a planet in the Mid Rim, that would be the one it actually bordered. For further clarification:

http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k254/EmperorDevon/false.jpg http://i90.photobucket.com/albums/k254/EmperorDevon/true-1.jpg

In this case, during a war, it's more important to control the strategically placed planets than the ones that border them. Only in a case where every single planet that shares a direct route with a certain one is controlled does that really matter.

Since the rest of the logic behind this concept is apparent enough and I've typed a lot, I'll leave it at that. :)

JediAthos
12-21-2006, 12:55 PM
:clap2: very nice, and very informative!

machievelli
01-12-2007, 08:15 PM
Creating your society: Or from the abundance of the memory...

There has been a discussion over in the Ahto Spaceport bar about why the Mandalorians started the war, and I go into it at the behest of one of the people there. The primary stumbling block was someone with a loose grasp of history, and I don't like dealing with that kind of person, primarily because while history is not an exact science, it is a science. His primary contention is that a: The Mandalorians figured they had a good chance to defeat the Republic (Like a mouse kicking an elephant in the privates) and that both the Sith and Republic knew this, which violates both common sense and force appraisals.

So I'm doing this article to explain how your mythical society is created, and using historical models to show them. Since all of us are here because of KOTOR, I'm using the societies we see there.

Mandalorians: The best example in History of what kind of people the Mandalorians are is the German nation since before the Unification of 1870. From the 13th century on, the German city states made money hand over fist hiring their armies out as mercenaries. For seven centuries they learned every aspect of war. They proved it quite conclusively during the Franco Prussian War where a numerically inferior Prussian army ran the French ragged and defeated them in four months. Thye proved it again in both WWI and WWII where they pioneered all of the innovations that makes modern day land warfare so efficient and bloody.

Say what you want about the Kaiser and the Nazis, they are still considered so efficient that James Dunnigan, a military historian and Analyst still rates them as #1 in Europe. Only the US is considered better, but our armed forces have three times the manpower even today.

The Republic: There are two historical examples, but I lean hardest toward the Polish government between 1920 and 1939. The Poles (The butt of every joke) gained that notoriety by having a parliament made up of 800 co-equal nobles who elected a king for four years, and had to have complete unanimity in session. Everyone looks at the force appraisals, the two armies were almost equal in size, but the Poles could not get a vote passed to declare war before the invasion. All they needed to block it was one man saying no. The Germans were able to convince about a dozen, and the Polish government was pinned down by that.

The Republic is more honestly a trade organizing body, trying to assure that the merchants are honest, and that planetary governments do not pass too many restrictive rules. Palpatine was able to use the complaints of the Trade Authorities to suggest something that was 'short of war', I.E. Conquering a planet and setting up an exclusionary trade agreement. Don't laugh. England used the Opium Wars (Fought not to stop the trade, but forcing the Chinese to allowthe English to trade the addictive substance. France used the same reasoning in the invasion of Mexico in the 1860s because the Mexicans had gone into debt to them.

The Sith: The Sith are an example of strong man autocracy. 'I'm the biggest and meanest, so I'm in charge'. A lot like the Ba'athist government of Iraq. Saddam merely had anyone he considered a threat eliminated. Part of our problem now in that war is he didn't leave any really competent enemies to take over. It also has overtones of Communism as practiced now in China and Korea, because the man in charge stays there by assuring that either he is the 'first among equals' such as the Chinese premier, or has no one to replace him, like Kim in Korea.

So when you create your society, use what you have seen in history. Or like I did talking about elected governmenys in my Return of the exile, have fun with how many silly ways you can create the same thing.

JediMaster12
01-15-2007, 08:43 PM
Interesting comparisons mach. I actually utilized that when I created the Avalonians by using the Orient. It is a good tip to use.

machievelli
01-19-2007, 12:42 AM
Of ships and planets and especially communications:

On the bridge of the USS Enterprise D patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone, Captain Picard receives an emergency message from Star Fleet Command…

Wrong universe, I know, but there is a method to my madness. In Star Trek The Next Generation, this call is almost instantaneous. The distance is approximately 1500 light years from Earth. Yet in the Next Generation Technical Manual, direct talk and answer communications beyond 22.65 light years is not possible because of signal delay. All right, they are not paying attention to canon. So let’s scale it back…

On the bridge of the USS Enterprise patrolling the Romulan Neutral Zone, Captain Kirk receives an emergency message from Star Fleet Command…

Even worse. In the Deadly Years, Kirk orders a message sent to Starfleet and is told it will be several weeks before it is received. In one of the books they comment that while a ship of that era can travel warp 9 communications runs at warp 20, or 8,000C according to the old cube rule. By simple use of a calculator, I discovered that using that old rule, it takes 36.2 seconds for a signal to reach Proxima Centauri (So named because it is the closest of the three stars of that system) whereas USS Enterprise in that time would have taken a little over half an hour to get there.

I know, I know; this is a Star Wars site, right? Well the way they communicate in Star Wars is even less likely, but necessary for the plot to unfold swiftly. Ben Kenobi is able to go to a planet gods alone know how many light years from Coruscant (Kamino), and contact the council on Coruscant directly in conversational dialogue. He cannot do it later when he is shot up over Geonosis because of damage to his ship, not any equipment in between.

Why?

In the books, the hyper-com (Communications equipment) is little described, and as many times as I have seen writers here use it to talk to ships, I will show in a moment why it would not work.

Both Elizabeth Moon and David Weber in their own universes created a method for direct communications between planets or between ships (in Moon’s universe). They are called the Ansible (Moon) and Hypercom in Weber’s. In each case it is an installation (Small enough to mount on a ship for Moon) that literally connects two separate pieces of space in different places for a brief period. In Moon’s universe, it will allow direct communication, however it is hideously expensive. In Weber’s you have the problem that it must be beyond a set distance from a planet (Called the Powell limit), which for Earth would mean geosynchronous orbit, about 26,000 miles. A short enough distance that signal delay is no problem.

But for a shipboard unit in Moon’s universe, the signal is a packet. You don’t actually sit down and talk, you are responding to the equivalent of e-mail. If the authors here would use that it would be acceptable. But they insist on having the calls made as if it were a super telephone.

SIGNAL FREQUENCY
A ship traveling at high speed has a shift in first sound then light. The Doppler effect means that a noise is pitched higher when approaching because the sound waves are compressed, and lower when receding because the motion is taking the vehicle making that sound farther away with every second. When you reach a good fraction of light speed (around 15%) light has the same problem. Ahead of you, the stars shift in color toward the blue spectrum, and behind you to the red. Now assuming you were sending a signal to two ships headed the same direction within say half a light second, there is no noticeable difference. The signal is traveling in a straight line out the passenger window of your car, and in the driver’s side of his.

But if you are approaching each other at the same speed, the signal is coming from the front. At a light second range the signal (Which would take one second normally) takes only 7 10ths of a second. If the receiver were set like a normal FM radio at 66 on the dial, the signal would not be heard, because it would be received down around 95.

If you’re receding from each other, the signal now takes much longer because while it traveled that half light second (150,000 kps) you traveled an additional 45,000kps. Or 1.5 10ths of a light second. It will take that 1.5 tenths, while you add more, and just under a second after transmission, it finally reaches you. The same radio set on 106 is also receiving the message around 95 As you have noticed, you can have your set capable of receiving by having it cover a massive wavelength range making it possible to receive from ship A (paralleling you) Ship B (On a reciprocal course ahead) and Ship C, (on a reciprocal course behind you) so insystem communications is possible, just a tad difficult.

But if you include hyperdrive, it’s worse. To transmit to a ship you must know A: what its rate of pseudo-speed is; B. The direction it is traveling, and: C. the distance it is from you. Like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, you cannot know this.

Worse yet, we do not know what the acceleration of the signal is. If you are traveling toward them, and the signal is in the EM band, they are receiving it in the high ultraviolet maybe even the gamma ray range. Whereas if they are behind you it is being received in the lower infrared even X-ray range. To have a receiver capable of receiving on all these frequencies is beyond even envisioning beyond this paragraph.

COMBAT AND COMMUNICATIONS

Modern warplanes carry what are called ‘frequency agile’ radios. They transmit on a set number of frequencies (The US and our allies typically use fifty or more) and the transmitter and receiver jump from one to the next every tenth of a second or so. To give you an idea, the aircraft of your formation hears you say ‘Fire’ but the enemy hears, ‘F-’. To break into their communications you need a system capable of rapidly jumping frequencies and, (the hard part) the encryption algorhythm used by their computers to tell the radio sets when to change. Without both, all you get is static.

Now you can, during a fight, communicate with your enemy is you know the frequencies they operate on, however, a fighter pilot in the middle of a battle does not honestly have the time to stop what he’s doing and set his radio to the channel. He’s busy with the standard cockpit chatter of a group of pilots turning and burning.

It is easier for a capital ship. The communication between the Romulan Commander and Kirk in Balance of Terror however happened during a lull in the situation. The Romulan ship disabled, the Captain of that vessel able to talk because there is nothing to really do. But in a space battle anything smaller than a Star Destroyer is merely a fighter aircraft writ very large.

machievelli
02-09-2007, 03:12 AM
Of Medpacks, Stealth fields and other such things.

When I wrote my published Work Gryphonrider, I didn't give my character's sword a plus versus anything because as often as I've seen Elric or Conan whip his sword, no one ever commented on it's pluses. Even when I used the equivalent of a healing spell I had a specific time period in which it worked, and actually explained that after using the spell which speeds healing that the injured party needed to rest several hours afterward.

The problem with using these tools of the game is that they immediately say to the reader that you played the game, and couldn't think of another way to say it. A medpack is just a highly updated first aid kit which is when you come down to it, something used in an emergency to stabilize the injured party until he can be sent to a hospital. A stealth field is the equivalent of the modern day camoflauge, concealing you readily if you are not in motion, but like the bad guy in predator, it would create an area of motion that would be discernable against a background. In my own Return from Exile, you will notice that the one time i had someone use a stealth field, he knelt motionless until the enemy was within striking range.

Just a little pet peeve of my own.

Emperor Devon
02-10-2007, 09:34 PM
A medpack is just a highly updated first aid kit which is when you come down to it, something used in an emergency to stabilize the injured party until he can be sent to a hospital.

Or for the treatment of minor wounds. It would have been more realistic if the character would open up the medpack, apply bacta/bandages/synthskin where needed and pack everything back up when done after a few minutes, but that would have been too much work to implement (and would have annoyed players).

KotOR does make other inaccuracies with items, though. One example would be the adrenal stimulants. They appear to be injections, but characters just jam them into their legs with only a second's worth of thought. Not only are there the usual risks of piercing skin covered with cloth, but also missing the muscle it's supposed to hit. Qualified doctors don't do that on the spot.

machievelli
02-10-2007, 11:23 PM
Or for the treatment of minor wounds. It would have been more realistic if the character would open up the medpack, apply bacta/bandages/synthskin where needed and pack everything back up when done after a few minutes, but that would have been too much work to implement (and would have annoyed players)..

The problem is simple; the people who created the game probably learned using such games as D&D where you have potions and magicians throwing the spells.


KotOR does make other inaccuracies with items, though. One example would be the adrenal stimulants. They appear to be injections, but characters just jam them into their legs with only a second's worth of thought. Not only are there the usual risks of piercing skin covered with cloth, but also missing the muscle it's supposed to hit. Qualified doctors don't do that on the spot.

For something like a stim, you could inject it anywhere. The body would use the adernalin analog where ever it was injected. The problem with them is that an excess of adreanaline in the system would cause a corresponding crash in the character's fatigue as well, just like with any drug.

Emperor Devon
02-11-2007, 01:01 AM
The problem is simple; the people who created the game probably learned using such games as D&D where you have potions and magicians throwing the spells.

Yes, those are magical and can defy the regular laws of reality. But it's also because it's much easier for the developers to do. Making a simple animation of a character jabbing his leg and giving back HP is easier than devising some system and animations for it that use medpacks realistically.

Works best when people don't follow every detail in the game to the core, though. There was one fic I was reading at KFM that was good other than how it presented medpacks as stim-like shots that healed people's wounds instantly. An irritating detail in an otherwise good story.

For something like a stim, you could inject it anywhere. The body would use the adernalin analog where ever it was injected. The problem with them is that an excess of adreanaline in the system would cause a corresponding crash in the character's fatigue as well, just like with any drug.

The thigh is a poor place to inject it, in that case. And it's possible it might end up hitting bone, or actually injuring a muscle. The characters don't look like they're bothering with where they inject the stim very much. (Not to mention how they can do it while running)

Jae Onasi
02-11-2007, 02:23 AM
Epi-pens can be injected anywhere and they'll be effective.
The thigh actually is a pretty good place for an injection, because the quads are such big muscles. Nurses usually use the gluts (butt muscles) because those are bigger and a little less sensitive, and people don't freak out as much if they don't see the needle.

Emperor Devon
02-11-2007, 02:47 AM
Epi-pens can be injected anywhere and they'll be effective.
The thigh actually is a pretty good place for an injection, because the quads are such big muscles.

Seems odd characters could inject the stim while running. Probably the biggest health hazard, though, is how the needle is going through clothing. But the games can't be entirely accurate.

Nurses usually use the gluts (butt muscles) because those are bigger and a little less sensitive, and people don't freak out as much if they don't see the needle.

Now that would look odd in KotOR. :D

machievelli
02-11-2007, 03:51 AM
Jae, if you ever have to give me a shot go ahead and hit the thigh. I hate needles, but by the same token, it's better for her if I know what the nurse is doing.

You also forgot ED, that the emergency med kits issued to the military use e-pen designs, such as the atropine injector used for nerve gas attacks and morphine for serious wounds. The designers obviously considered the problem with clothing, and you get away with it by using a very sharp needle that injectas on impact of the pen on the muscle.

No doubt you have noticed I don't have a lot of medpacks in the stuff I've written. In fact the only comments I remember making about it is Dankia refusing to use stims because she doesn't like the effects, and her consideration of using her suit based meds fot a quick suicide.

The thing is, When I'm reading what should be a good piece of fiction, I don't like to hit the speed bumps.

Emperor Devon
02-11-2007, 05:52 AM
You also forgot ED, that the emergency med kits issued to the military use e-pen designs, such as the atropine injector used for nerve gas attacks and morphine for serious wounds. The designers obviously considered the problem with clothing, and you get away with it by using a very sharp needle that injectas on impact of the pen on the muscle.

That's where the inaccuracy of finding the same type of medpack throughout various areas comes in.

A lot of the problem with finding medpacks in a Sith military base is how about 9/10ths of the inhabitants are droids or armored troopers. The former you obviously have to heal in a separate way, but it's impossible for the later to give themselves injections on the spot because of their uniforms. Their actual armor a needle obviously can't pierce, and the same might be with that body glove they're wearing. Since it covers a fairly large amount of their body and shrapnel-based explosives and close combat are common, it would be sensible for that to provide some protection. Stromtroopers have a similar body glove, which shielded them from shrapnel and the like.

Granted, it's not 100% effective, but it wouldn't be very reliable to use in combat if needles could pierce it.

Civilian medpacks wouldn't need injections, too. It's probably assumed they won't be used during the middle of a fight.

Of course, this is just an animation we're talking about.

No doubt you have noticed I don't have a lot of medpacks in the stuff I've written. In fact the only comments I remember making about it is Dankia refusing to use stims because she doesn't like the effects, and her consideration of using her suit based meds fot a quick suicide.

It would be annoying to write about the party using buffs on themselves, and the Jedi generally frown on things like stims. They don't really need to with the Force, anyway. It's far more useful than an adrenaline rush. (And less dangerous to one's health)

machievelli
02-11-2007, 01:25 PM
One reason I am designing my own version of an RPG is I always gotten frustrated with the idea that just because you're a veteran, you have more hit points and therefore are harder to kill. So far I have found one, an old west rpg that actually take into account that bullets kill you no matter how good you are if they hit. A veteran survives because he knows how to take cover, is careful about laying accurate fire on the enemy, and knows when to either hold position or retreat.

That is also why in my melee scenes, I don't do a lot of description and having people hacked to bits. You have the rare individual who ignores injuries and continues fighting (Jim Bowie chasing away attackers with a sword stuck in his chest) but most times the injury distracts them sufficiently that they either withdraw or they get killed there. In a fire fight at the ranges you have in the average war game it should take only a few seconds.

As for her reaction to stims, the problem is not with being around drugged up associates. I was looking at the idea that it's good to have that boost but at the same time, you're writing checks your body has to cash whether you like it or not. If the military had the equivalent of stims, they would issue them, and a lot of the short term light casualties after a battle would be the ones who used them during the battle.

Tom Clancy called mild analgesics 'Light fighter candy' because you carry them into the field, and keep taking them pretty much all the time to getrid of the small aches and pains which will build up until you either rest or get out of the field.

Jae Onasi
02-13-2007, 02:48 PM
The former you obviously have to heal in a separate way, but it's impossible for the later to give themselves injections on the spot because of their uniforms. Their actual armor a needle obviously can't pierce, and the same might be with that body glove they're wearing. Since it covers a fairly large amount of their body and shrapnel-based explosives and close combat are common, it would be sensible for that to provide some protection. Stromtroopers have a similar body glove, which shielded them from shrapnel and the like.


Even with full body armor, there are spots on the body that don't get covered so that you're able to move and bend the joints--elbows, backs of knees, armpits, right at the hip, etc. You'd be able to find a spot to inject something there.

machievelli
02-13-2007, 05:09 PM
Even with full body armor, there are spots on the body that don't get covered so that you're able to move and bend the joints--elbows, backs of knees, armpits, right at the hip, etc. You'd be able to find a spot to inject something there.

ED's comment isn't accurate for one primary reason; Assuming something like Kevlar, you have the fact that it is a woven cloth. A needle can quite easily slide through the intercises of it.

Also, Kevlar is excellent against high speed projectiles such as bullets and shrapnel, however low speed projectiles (Arrows, spears,) and pointed or edged ones (swords,arrows with armor piercing or broadheads and knives) will go through it readily.

David Weberand John Rongo have the four books that I call the Chronicle of Prince Roger. (March Inland, March to the Sea, March to the Stars, and We Few) and they used a ballistic cloth made to stop anything but multiple hits by a high speed projectile, but it didn't work against spears. At one point in the story a mass of natives fired muzzle loading arquebueses (try a 30 mm smooth bore, and one of the people who got hit stood up suggesting dire consequences.

Emperor Devon
02-16-2007, 02:10 AM
Even with full body armor, there are spots on the body that don't get covered so that you're able to move and bend the joints--elbows, backs of knees, armpits, right at the hip, etc. You'd be able to find a spot to inject something there.

Standard Sith armor leaves no skin exposed.

It does have a body glove like the stormtroopers, (how they were obviously able to bend) but for some reason, despite how the Sith virtually had unlimited resources they have a lot less armor. Kind of odd, since the plating is far more protective than the body glove and not that cumbersome.

ED's comment isn't accurate for one primary reason; Assuming something like Kevlar, you have the fact that it is a woven cloth. A needle can quite easily slide through the intercises of it.

I looked up the stormtrooper armor, and apparently needles can go through the body glove. The same could apply to the Sith troopers, but they have far less actual armor than the stormies do.

machievelli
02-16-2007, 02:34 AM
I dis agree with the 'practically unlimited resouces' part. Having a super ship yard that can create entire ships and droids does not give you such a thing. I know that i used that consept myself in my KOTOR novel by locking the system into making emergency tents, but it would then come down to computing power. The primary reason people challenge Star Trek's transporters. It is one thing to transmit and have a reciever, it is another to send a message (Which is what the person is in transit) and have it just manifest in mid air.

Emperor Devon
02-16-2007, 05:30 PM
I dis agree with the 'practically unlimited resouces' part. Having a super ship yard that can create entire ships and droids does not give you such a thing.

In terms of technology, there was a practically infinite amount. Foodstuffs and people are another matter, but my original point was how odd it was for the Sith troopers to have armor like they did. :)

machievelli
02-16-2007, 06:23 PM
In terms of technology, there was a practically infinite amount. Foodstuffs and people are another matter, but my original point was how odd it was for the Sith troopers to have armor like they did. :)
It might have been something as simple political or military intransigence. Even though the Vietnam war had proven that moder body armor could stop some of the casualties, people like John Kerry refused to back the funding for it from the mid 70s on as wastful spending. Then when the present war began beat the President over the head with his 'hard heatedness' at not supplying it.

Remember that the 1962 Navy Budget got hung up because a cabal of Admirals wanted to build battleships instead of the first of the super carriers.

machievelli
02-23-2007, 06:41 PM
The economics and lag time of ship building.

Emperor Devon asked me about the death stars, part of the commentary suggested that the ships were built very rapidly.

I had to disagree, because throughout history, the time necessary to build a ship has been the same whether you were a Greek building a trireme in the 5th century BCE, or you were building a Super carrier.

The time from laying the keel, to operation status has always been four years. Back in greek times it was because of having to cut form and season the wood. In modern times it if connecting the plates with rivets, then later welding.

The first thing to remember is that only part of that is the actual building. A lot of it is fitting out and assigning the crew. The more unique the ship, such as switching from dried lumber to steel, steel to some other material sail to steam, new equipment etc, the harder it is to train the crew and work up because you simultaneously have to write the syllabus of how to operate that vessel. It is harder to crew something new and unique like the Monitor, which I will mention later, because you must teach the men how to deal with all of the innovations. You also spend more time on the average because everything is new and has to be literally created as you go.

When you build the ship, you a start from blueprints. I did not count this in the time needed, because all of that would have been done long before you lay the first keel block.

When a design is put forward in our modern day, it goes through a rigorous process. Engineers have to go over them to make sure you didn’t make mistakes in the design. Sometimes problems slips by or wrong thinking people screw it up. As an example of the former the Vasa, the largest ship the Swedes ever built for their wooden navy, sank because she carried too much sail, and her guns were mounted too high. When she used full sail, the ship rolled and sank. For the latter the British Ironclad Captain sank because the Admiralty refused to accept that the engine had sufficient range, so they ordered that fitting for masts be installed. The Monitor specifications were challenged, and the Navy department demanded that she be fitted that way four years before Captain sank. Only the direct intervention by Abraham Lincoln saved her from the same fate.

Once it has been cleared, only now does our build time begin. The keel is laid, and they start to build.

The actual solid parts of the ship are very small compared to the volume she takes up. On the average, a warship uses only 2.5% of that area. To give you an idea, I used a spherical ship about the same size as the original death Star, being 25KM in diameter. The reason I said this is that if the ship had been a solid mass of iron it would way over 400 times as much as I am going to describe. The actual vessel weighed in at about 6.6 gigatons, It would have weighed three times as much if it were a solid cube of ice. That is six point six Billion tons.

The figures I am using assume you would be building the Frigates such as the Endar Spire. So it takes four years from keel to operations for one of those vessels. The same is true later with the Star Destroyers, but not for the Super Destroyer. For it you would take about eight to ten years, because they are new. You didn’t even see a super star destroyer until TESB. But in another decade, they would have been cranking them out one every four because you are no longer using new technology.

So we have Count Dooku carrying the blueprints for the Death Star, and handing them to Sidious. This is three years before the Empire. First let’s work in the lag time before construction. Assuming (I will allow all challenges you wish to make as long as they aren’t merely ‘I think you’re incorrect.’. Be willing to show facts that can prove my assumptions invalid) the same time it takes here, cutting out endless Senate hearings, they began construction on the Original Death Star about five years after the Empire was formed. This gives them time to put down any small rebellions, and to get all their ducks in a row. This is 17 years before she was seen. But if they had built it at say the Kuati yards, she would have been there for everyone to see, even if she was done in about half the time.

The reason for the last remark is that everyone was astonished that that the Death Star was being built. This implies a serious amount of secrecy. Even with all of the paranoia of the old Soviet system, the US knew a year before they saw it that the Russians were building exact ‘bolt for bolt’ copies of the B29. They just didn’t believe it. The only thing secret about the Battleship Bismarck was her tonnage and radar system. The caliber of the guns, number, crew size etc was already known to Mi6. The same is true of the Battleship Yamato. The Allies knew a year before the first V2 hit London that the Germans had been building them, we even knew where. The Rebellion was lucky only in that they grabbed a copy of the blueprints. They probably knew a decade Earlier that the Empire was building such a monster. They just didn’t know her capabilities.


So the construction had to have been done in an out of the way system which is why the construction took so long. Billions of tons of material, hundred of construction vessels must have been diverted, and someone eventually noticed that.

The ship is unique in a lot of way if you use the word ‘ship’ rather than space station. They had to design a brand new engine suite to drive her, and the main gun must have been a new innovation as well, because the Empire hadn’t gone around blowing up planets before that. All of this means more time building and fitting out.

But what this also means is that the second Death Star had been started less than ten years earlier. The only difference was the Emperor demanding that her weapons systems be made operational, and leaking the data to the Rebellion.

Specific notes.

The only ships ever built that I can find that did not fit the criteria I described were the original ironclads of the American War Between the States. Neither set of plans were completely vetted before construction. The Virginia was built on the hull of the frigate Merrimac, and took just under a year from planning to sailing. The Monitor, built on what would be the equivalent of a war time ‘throw money at the problem’ operation took 101 days. If they had waited for government funding, it would have been 1865

Both had their problems. Virginia couldn’t wait for a brand new engine, and the one salvaged from the sunken vessel had been damaged, lowering her speed greatly. With Monitor the first screw they made for it was backwards, requiring another be cast. Then when they were testing her guns, the brand new friction clamp recoil system was set incorrectly, causing the gun to slam into the side of the turret. The flustered officer set the second the exact same way. This required that they remount the massive 11 inch smoothbores. Enroute to Chesapeake Bay, the ship almost sank because while Erricsson told them that the weight of the turret would keep her water tight, Captain Worden jacked it up, and stuffed the gap with standard sealing materials, which washed out. The same decision by the new captain after Worden was replaced because of his injuries is what caused the ship to sink.

machievelli
02-24-2007, 02:27 AM
In the Mud: Or basic infantry tactics in the real world.

A thousand men in white armor run across a desert, guns blazing. Facing them come an many if not more battle droids.

We all remember the scene, The Attack of the Clones, battle of Geonosis. As someone who loves Star Wars, it was grand. But as the French Pundit once said ‘is it war?’.

The first thing to remember only a group of clones who cannot refuse orders would have made such a reckless charge. It does happen in real life, as recently as the Iran Iraq War, but against any competent fire control, all you would get is one hell of a lot of casualties. That was proven at Antietam and at Gettysburg.

So let’s look at the Infantryman’s rules of survival.

RULE 1: COVER IS YOUR FRIEND

In my work Return of the Exile, I have my character training some militamen. She has them marching toward an objective, and they are ambushed. The men depending on their inclinations either; seek good cover, just dive out of the way, stand there like cattle, or; charge the guns.

Once they had, the action is stopped, and holographic representations replace them. For the ones who have good cover, just a head represents them. If they dived for the ground, they are head and shoulders, for those who stood, full figure shapes, and for the charging men, oversized figures. Then the men lock and load, take aim, and blow up the targets that represent them. They are appalled by how easily they decimate their own numbers.

The reason behind the scene is simple. The stupidly brave (Those that charge) are weeded out ruthlessly in long range combat. They are not only standing up right, they are approaching, making them easier to hit. Those that don’t react in time are also weeded out because a standing stationary target is also easy to hit. Diving for cover helps, but if that cover doesn’t stop bullets, plasma rounds, etc, it is only good for concealment. Good thick and by all means heavy cover is what keeps the ground pounder alive.

RULE 2: IT ISN’T SHOOT AT THEM, IT IS FIRE, MOVE, AND ELIMINATE HIM
If you just sit in one place, unless those are your orders, you are just making yourself a sitting target rather than a standing one. An infantryman’s job is to eliminate that threat, not make them duck down. Fire and movement was known as far back as the Mongols, but so many didn’t even think to use it. It wasn’t until modern armies of the mid 20th century that it came into constant use.

In the movie diehard, they comment on the ‘two by two cover formation. However the way it is done in the movie is not. A proper two by is done by having two groups, separated enough that one lucky burst or pan of the gun will not kill all of them. One group moves forward while the other group covers them (Which is why it is called a cover formation). This is done by leapfrogging. The first group moves until they find cover, then stop and prepare to cover. The second team now moves forward. Think of a chess board. You move from square one to row 3, the other guy passes you going to line 6, then the first moves to 8 and you’re across the board.

Under fire, it works like this. You have reached row three, and the enemy opens fire. You dive for cover as team two takes them under fire. This force them to duck or change their target to team 2. Once you are under good fire, you start shooting at them They have to honor the threat, which mean now they start shooting at you again. If you are doing your job, Team two is now clear to move forwa until they can again start shooting, at which point you move forward.

Simple really.

RULE 3: FRIENDLY FIRE ISN’T

In the movie Kelly’s Heroes, Big Joe gives a long diatribe about getting shot at by his own side.

‘On the left the British on the Right Patton and the third army. Mulligan right behind us, and on top of that it’s raining, and the only thing nice about the WEATHER, is it keeps out own Air Corps from blowing us all to hell.’

When you shoot, the bullets go somewhere, and a lot of guys get shot or blown up by their own side. So to an infantry man, you aren’t on his side unless you’re in the same hole with him. The infantryman learns to focus in front of him when actually fighting, but when he moves it’s like a wild turkey ducking and weaving. If there is cover anywhere, he will find it, and he is as worried about one of his own actually putting a round into him as he is that an enemy might. He watches, he is wary. He survives.

TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN IS BETTER THAN DIE DIE DIE
In the late 70s, the Us Army opened the Fort Irwin Advanced Infantry School. Someone had FINALLY done an analysis of the US penchant for just tossing extra men into a unit when they needed it (No one else does that except in an emergency) and were appalled to discover that 60 percent of the casualties of new kids occurs in the first 30 days of combat. If you live the first 30 days, the odds are you have a good chance of surviving it all. The school simulates combat at such a level that even veteran soldiers with combat experience cringe from it. The course is for a month, obviously. The training is that intense because they want you inured to all of the problems before the first real bullet comes by.. It works too. In fact the A Cavalry unit that served in the Gulf War returned, and cycled through Ft Irwin, and got their butts kicked because the training was that much more intense.

TWO IS EQUAL TO EIGHT

The special Forces created the ground based version of the Air Force wingman because in a fast free flowing combat environment, men die most often when they are paying attention to one enemy, and another one pops up to the side and kills him. So they worked in teams, one man watching for someone who can kill the rather busy leader, and that man is the wingman. In a close in firefight where two men are operating in this manner, the two men are equal to eight men fighting in the older manner.

WHEN IN DOUBT, PRETEND YOU DIDN’T HEAR THE ORDER

I had a friend who had served two tours in the Nam. His unit was given an order by a brand new butterbar lieutenant that they knew was going to get them killed. Butter-bar is slang for a second lieutenant. He is the boss, his word is law, but there are times when, as they would say, you have to teach them how to wipe both ends. They have the same problem that newbie kid has. He’s here, he hasn’t seen the elephant or heard the bullet go wheet, yet he’s telling guys that have been there and done that how to do their jobs.

So they pretended that the order hadn’t been given, just long enough for a first looie to come by, hear what had been passed on and ream the new kid.

So if they’re clones, they can be that stupid. If they’re droids, they can. But if you take normal men in that situation, I will complain.

Bet on it.

vanir
12-27-2008, 02:59 AM
I hope you won't take offense machievelli, I'd like to offer a mere handful of technical corrections.

The Russians during WWII had what they called Fronts, and they are what we would call an Army. Usually commanded by a General (4 stars)


A Soviet Front is anything bigger than an army and is commanded by a Colonel-General (5 stars). Technically it can be one army with some attachment (say, two tank brigades), but is more commonly 3-5 armies with a few attachments (5 tank brigades of various types and a paratroop corps). It might have say, 1.2 million combatants.

This corresponds to the Wehrmacht Army Group, which is commanded by a Field Marshal (or considering Hitler's whimsy, a Colonel-General who is Acting Field Marshal, such as for example Generaloberst von Wiechs in charge of Army Group B following the sacking of Generalfeldmarschall von Bock for his hesitance at Kursk-Orel in '42).

Soviet Marshals are a bit different, the term corresponding to "Marshal of the Soviet Union" and more like Hermann Göring's Reichmarschall rank, ie. unique and individual. Generally speaking the highest military rank in the Red Army is Colonel-General. Even in the Wehrmacht the rank Generalfeldmarschall in truth corresponded to the Prussian military aristocracy of the 19th century, I don't think there were any whom weren't a "von-something," so the highest rank for a non-aristocratic career military officer was also Generaloberst (Colonel-General).

In Star Wars the rank of Marshal or Generalfeldmarschall would correspond to Grand Moff. It is equivalent to the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe say, and trumps the classical US DoD Field Marshal which is really the equivalent of a Colonel-General in Europe.

Corps:
A corp is made up of between two and three Divisions and is usually comprised of about 35-60,000 men. Again, the variation in numbers is because of what it is composed of. Infantry units are heavier in manpower, Armor heavier in tanks (But smaller in men because you count the number of thanks, not their crews). This is what the Russians called an Army in WWII. Usually commanded by a Lieutenant (3 star) General


Among Soviet and Wehrmacht forces a Corps was either an understrength army or a reinforced division. It was not an interim between division and army but more an administrative title for specific purposes of something mid-sized, it works like this: Army (General), then Division (Lieutenant-General), then Regiment (Major-General), then Battalion (Colonel), then Company (Captain), then Platoon (2nd Lieutenant), then Squad (the ranking NCO en pointe).
You had a Corps when you had an understrength army or formed a special purpose force larger than a division, and a Brigade when you had an understrength division whether or not formed for a special purpose. Generally these were attachments to larger formations. They were commanded by a variety of ranks, nonspecific and usually (but not always) dependent upon the ranks of those placed under charge and those immediately above. More often than not a Corps in Europe was commanded by a General (4-star), except where it was formed by detachment from an existing army where a Lieutenant-General would be more typical (3-star). This can lead to confusion particularly in Soviet formations where Corps might be referred to as armies, but it is not the case. A Soviet army is as big as anybody else's and if anything infantry-heavy even when it's supposed to be a Tank Army.

Chuikov's 62nd Army for example had 13 full strength divisions plus 9 brigade attachments. Meanwhile the 6th Army of Paulus had 17 divisions plus a regimental attachment, which he divided into 4 Corps for special purposes and placed under Generals and Lieutenant-Generals. Hube (XXIV Panzerkorps) had 4 divisions, Heitz (VIII Legerkorps) had 2, von Seydlitz-Kurzbach (LI Legerkorps) had 8 divisions plus attachments. Hoth's 4th Panzerarmee had something like 4 divisions iirc, including the two given over to him from the 6th Army as a corps attachment (replacing earlier losses and bringing him back up to strength).

As you can see Corps and Brigades are more for battlefield purposes than strict military structure, at least among the two aforementioned nations as I'm not nearly as familiar with US or British doctrine. Even the term "Army" isn't strictly classified by strength but more command structure, ie. it has a General Staff with equivalence to the commander (except in the case of the Soviets whose only General Staff was Stavka, or the High Command and the Politburea). For the Soviets you'd classify an army as exceeding say, 6 divisions, with reserves and fully equipped for extended independent operations, and commanded by a General (4-star) or a Lieutenant-General in special cases (an understrength but very well equipped Guards Army for example).



According to the Imperial Sourcebook COMPNOR (the Commission for the Protection of the New Order) is the organisation responsible for Stormtrooper formations as well as certain other paramilitary personnel and has its own ranking system and battlefield organisation quite separate from the Imperial army and navy. It operates under the direct authority of the Emperor and obviously corresponds directly to the SS of WW2.
Stormtrooper squads have 5-10 men and are commanded by a Stormtrooper-sergeant.
There are no other ranks until battalion level, which contains 800 combatants and is commanded by a Stormtrooper-Colonel.
All members of a stormtrooper battalion are armoured combatants, including support personnel (such as AT-AT crews).
Stormtrooper battalions are usually placed under Fleet charge, but in truth operate at the Emperor's lesuire. This means they technically outrank all Fleet personnel, but are typically attached to them and therefore placed under their charge.
There are elite stormtrooper battalions (sandtroopers, snowtroopers, radtroopers and storm-commandos to name a few), and veteran stormtroopers (the closest thing to intermediary ranks, they're like unofficial lieutenants and captains with some real fighting prowess), but these all use the same ranking system and fighting doctrine.
Elite veteran stormtroopers are sometimes hand selected to become Royal Guardsmen. Upon acceptance they have the full authority of the Emperor upon specific missions and are generally treated with awe and without peer the rest of the time. Guardsmen are regularly rotated among Stormtrooper battalions among the fleets in order to keep them well practised in combat arts, when doing this they wear standard Stormtrooper armour and outrank the Stormtrooper-colonel, local generals, the fleet admiral and the regional governer. Often they prefer to act incognito.
Stormtrooper battlefield organisation is of course by squads, which are treated as platoon strength by the local (fleet or army) commander. Stormtroopers are always in communication with each other and should be treated as a collective, if simple minded intelligence for battlefield purposes. They act in unison, are not subject to failing morale and are the best equipped troops in the galaxy.

The highest rank among Stormtroopers is the Imperial Sovereign Protector. These are a special corps within the Royal Guard who have been trained to a limited degree in the Dark Side of the Force and equipped with ancient sith weapons (sithswords, alchemised slug-throwers, etc.). They were formed to protect the secret Imperial world of Byss deep within the Galactic inner-Core, amid the supermassive Black Hole at the heart of the galaxy in fact and impossible for all but a Jedi to navigate to. Hence the necessary training for these guardsmen, who occasionally find the need to venture out into the galactic slice.

COMPNOR officers also exist, they wear black uniforms instead of the fleet grey and army tan. Typically they're in charge of space stations and bases and some rivalry exists between them and Imperial naval and army personnel. Ranks are all equivalent, but training is separate.

Finally is the Royal Attache and Advisors. Darth Vader is an Attache, with the full authority of the Emperor. If he did something the Emperor didn't like, nobody he ordered around would be held reponsible and he would be dealt with by Palpatine himself. Advisors are like Palpatine's harem, they have no particular authority but nobody would mess with them. If one said, do this, it'd be smart to do it.

vanir
12-27-2008, 03:59 AM
In Star Wars I found the Wizards of the Coast RPG Imperial Sourcebook invaluable around our gaming table for a detailed outlay of Imperial Fleet and Army strategic doctrine.

It broke up Ship classifications as those of the Line and support and transport fleets. This had as much to do with ship structure as types and classes, as there are many crossovers.

For example an Imperial Frigate as a ship of the Line was a powerful light cruiser with 2 years of consumables, capital scale hull armour and banks of turbolasers and ICBM-sized concussion missiles. Many even had embarked starfighters or starfighter-defence grids (ie. small, fast targeting blaster turrets), or both and all had fairly powerful shields, capable of withstanding a limited exchange with any other ship of the Line. Length ranges from 110-250 metres. The Frigate (ship of the Line) is the smallest battlefield worthy starship and roughly corresponds to a WW2 fleet Destroyer like the USS Johnson or Heerman, the KMS Type 36 or the HMS Kelly. They do get as big as a Light Cruiser though, some like the Nebulon-B are more like the HMS Dido or Newcastle, not quite as powerful as the US Northampton class or the French Montcalm, but a like the KMS Emden. Battleworthy but not for long bouts.

An Imperial Frigate in the support fleets assigned to regional governers was roughly the same size but designed for boarding operations and system policing rather than ship to ship battles. It had starfighter scale hull armour, a lot of automated systems (ie. much less crew) and reinforced blaster turrets with small proton torpedo banks. It could stay away from a shipyard for up to 6 months at a time. It probably cost a quarter as much to produce or less, was easy to operate and wasn't particularly maintenance heavy.

Corvettes in the Line were anti-starfighter screening vessels. They had relatively lightweight, long barrelled turbolasers for targeting snubnose fighters before they could get within their own weapons range. Very difficult for small vessels to take out but could not stand up to any other ship of the Line. Some were fitted with extremely powerful sensor arrays as used as picket and scout vessels for the Imperial Fleet. Size is similar to the Frigate and it is mostly fighting prowess which defines them, lengths range from about 80m-200m.

Corvettes in regional service were essentially upgraded yachts. They were starfighter scale for weapons and field defence, had fairly powerful shields and weapons and roughly equivalent to a small, deepspace scoutship. They could withstand an assault from a genuine warship even less than a real corvette, typically not beyond the first shot and suffered much more from other starfighter scale vessels than the corvette of the Line.

Light, medium and battlecruisers were essentially older battleships. They were used in support of the Imperial Fleet or formed the flagships of regional governers and independent systems. Virtually all held embarked starfighter squadrons (20 to 50 vessels), light and heavy batteries, tractor beams and powerful ion weapons or huge missile banks. Shielding is for battlefield use and consumables range from 2 to 4 years. All have fully equipped medical, engineering and construction facilities and are like a real world battleship and aircraft carrier rolled into one.

Star Destroyers are a cross between a space station, a battleship and an aircraft carrier. For all intents and purposes they are like flying a massive fort all around space, though they are power hungry and expensive to operate, containing about 6 years consumables before sucking the produce out of an entire system to restock. Fortunately they have all the machinery short of a dry dock with which to process minerals, construct technology, upgrade components and etc. with. An Imperial class Star Destroyer is a mile long (1.6km) has 60-80 ship to ship weapons banks (turbolasers on four fire arcs, tractor beams on six arcs and ion batteries on five for the later model Imperial II class). There are 72 embarked starfighters (four squadrons of fighter, one bomber and one mixed at Ep.IV whilst the bomber was switched for interceptor by Ep.VI), plus shuttles and other vessels in about a dozen well shielded hangar bays. There are landing ships for a stormtrooper battalion (800 souls under command of a Stormtrooper-Colonel), plus a number of AT-AT, AT-ST and speeder assault vehicles. There is also a battalion of Fleet troopers embarked for starship security purposes (black uniforms and helmets). In the massive hold there are three fully equipped garrison bases which may be landed, and plenty of passenger space for the three stormtrooper, army trooper or COMPForce trooper battalions to man them. Hence if pressed the actual troop force of one star destroyer is regimental or about 4200 souls and extremely well equipped. Total crew is about 15,000 depending on the model and fit with additional passenger space for several thousand more.
Its hull is space station grade capital scale, it requires the combined fire of an entire fleet of battlecruisers to penetrate the hull alone of an Imperial Star Destroyer. Shields however are typical for battleships and can be successfully defeated in the typical manner, which then leaves the Star Destroyer vulnerable to heavy missile fire from Frigates of the Line like the Corellian Gunship or Nebulon-B (much easier for smaller militaries to mass together than battlecruisers), or pinpoint snubnose fighter attacks upon individual vital systems.
During a fleet battle, even once ship to ship combat is long since over and a Star Destroyer is successfully defeated it may take further months to clean the hulk out of continuing resistance, it is much like defeating an enemy base which then requires occupation to prevent continued partisan action. Fighting a Star Destroyer is not like fighting a regular battlecruiser. Only a cataclysmic and extremely rare event can desintegrate a Star Destroyer, firepower alone simply cannot do it. The Empire sending just one Star Destroyer to pacify a region of space is more than enough to deal with most local fleet resistance. He had five fleets of 6 (with about 3000 support vessels and a super-class command ship for each).

In keeping with the mega scale of Star Wars, the Death Star space stations are in fact planetary scale constructs, more like flying a moon around than any kind of artificial vessel for damage, combat and all other relevent purposes.


Star Destroyers form the leading battlegroup of a Line. A general battle line is composed of three Star Destroyers plus three support fleets of cruisers, frigates and corvettes each. A Regional Fleet has two battle lines and a command ship plus attachments. A supply fleet, scout group and other consignments will accompany them to a particular sector. Then there are Imperial Army transport and escort fleets and COMPForce assault fleets, which are both devoid of Star Destroyers and operate independently of the Navy, though typically in concert.

machievelli
12-27-2008, 08:37 PM
I hope you won't take offense machievelli, I'd like to offer a mere handful of technical corrections.
To avoid a wall of words post, I'll place a "to be continued" here.

Why should I be upset? The descriptions I used for unit size was based on an American military analysts descriptions, usually going by sheer numbers. As you do not know the Western form, I don't know the Eastern and most of the terms we are both using weren't even finalized until a century ago. Even the units I have described (Or you) are bolstered by additional attachments, MPs, Quartermaster, medical staff, et al.

As for the information from Wizards of the Coast, I am ambivalent, because no Earthly navy went to the level of creating ships with the same class, but different designations as to whether they are line or support. Every navy we can compare them to assign ships as need. A fleet destroyer of the Fletcher class could be assigned to fleet operations, convoy support, anti-submarine warfare, as needed. It wasn't until the modern age (1950s on) where escort vessels suddenly specialized in specific combat situations. The only two that do not fit this statement are the 'anti-aircraft' cruisers of the Dido and Atlanta classes from WWII.

The Star Destroyer Classes and Death Stars are more logically considered terror weapons where you aim them at enemy worlds or your own. Excellent for bombardment, but in full combat easily swarmed under by much smaller vessels. This is why the Republic didn't build or steal masses of them.

vanir
12-27-2008, 09:48 PM
because no Earthly navy went to the level of creating ships with the same class, but different designations as to whether they are line or support.
Hm, I'm a little confused by your wording.
The Japanese seemed to make the distinction of "fleet destroyer" as opposed to combat worthy supply vessels, whilst the Germans used light cruisers for both and destroyers as picket ships and sub screens. Consider the point it is not unusual for a destroyer to displace anywhere between 2500 and 9000 tons, and a light cruiser from 4000 to 12,000 tons. There is a vast breadth of fighting capability between different classes within the types, I guess you might look at the Wizards of the Coast description as a simplification of a classes grouping within the type (governed by damage scale, which essentially defined the power requirements and weapon types required to do serious damage in a quick exchange). Of course this was provided for gameplay purposes.

As far as Star Destroyers went my gaming group used the WotC system to produce massive fleet battles much like the Endor battle and it was perfectly workable. Lots of Nebulon-B frigates and Republic assault cruisers was the go, supported by a line of MonCal battlecruisers.
Whilst one star destroyer required a concentrated effort to render less deadly, a fleet of them was one seriously powerful combat force, especially considering in this outlay it would have a super-class command ship. The Royal Fleet for example (7 vessels) had the combat value of 15 or more MonCal battlecruisers, but there aren't even that many in existence. That's just in capital scale weapons and defences, add to this the troop force and assault vehicle value of about 50 full sized Imperial garrisons plus change.
By this reckoning it is true what you say that an Imperial Admiral would shortchange his combat value by using fleet tactics over a ground assault when dealing with enemy forces. Perhaps this is why Vader murdered Admiral Ozzel.
But it does not bely the fact the Star Destroyer was in part designed specifically for fleet combat, to be the most powerful battlecruiser type in the galaxy. Following early Imperial doctrine however its starfighter defences were poor, and it relied completely upon embarked TIE fighters and support vessels for small ship screening.

So the rule with star destroyers is, don't get in a fleet battle with them, but it's better than letting one or more assault your homeworld from orbit. Best choice is diplomacy, escape or a concentrated assault to take down shields (using frigates and assault cruisers), followed by heavy missile attacks and snubnose fighters to target specific systems and boarding actions by assault-shuttle or small tramp freighters. To have any chance at this you'd want to lure one into a ship to ship exchange with a battlecruiser to protect the initial frigate assault on the shields. You couldn't expect the battlecruiser to survive. And you'd have to be an entire sector military to even try it.

machievelli
12-27-2008, 11:19 PM
Hm, I'm a little confused by your wording.
I meant that there is no 'destroyer, support type' (With the exception of the destroyer escort class) because you sent what you had. The Destroyer escort was developed during WWII because it took only 3/4s as long to build one as it did to build a 'fleet' destroyer. Cruisers are broken down into Heavy and light, but except for people who don't know the difference, they are clearly diferentiated. In the period right before WWI they even broke them down into Scout Cruiser (Usually armed with guns of less than 6 inch caliber and almost no armor), Light, with 6 inch guns and slightly heavier armor (Difference between one inch of steel in a Scout, 2 inch to three belt armor in light cruisers) Heavy cruiser (Originally called Armored cruisers) with guns of less than 9 inch, and armor less than 5 inch, and Armored cruisers (Such as the Scharnhorst of the Graf Von Spee in WWI) with guns of about 9" and heavier armor.

By WWII they were finally broken down into only two classes, heavy and light, and guns standardized to 5.5-6" (The Hawkins class had 7") and 8" for heavies. The larger versions were now called Battlecruisers, and were ships of the line.


But what you are describing is unnecessary diferentation, calling it dd support, etc. That is what I was commenting on.

You see, of the seven 'destroyers' that protected Taffy 3 at the Battle off Samar, only three were 'destroyers' the other four were destroyer escorts

vanir
12-28-2008, 12:26 AM
What I find interesting is the system described did seem to work very well for tabletop fleet combat and general RPG encounters. It was logical and explained combat capabilities among the different types of starships and cruisers of the Star Wars universe quite well.

I'm pretty familiar with much WW2 militaria in particular and still I find myself coming back to this simplistic tabletop system when writing SW fanfic or even sci-fi in general.
One element it describes is starship power systems and how weapons, sensors and shielding rely upon them. Bigger ships means more powerful weapons but not just due to the physical mass of the emplacements, but also the power generator requirements of a turbolaser as opposed to blaster cannon or simple lasers. How more powerful shields require much more powerful weapons to overcome.
It essentially breaks up ship to ship combat into comparisons of starship reactor capabilities.
There are speeder scale reactors.
Walker scale reactors.
Starfighter scale reactors.
Capital scale reactors.
Planetary scale reactors.

Therefore you can get crossovers within a type. A frigate with a starfighter scale reactor or a capital scale reactor. The shielding and energy weapon power will be scaled accordingly, so the lighter frigate can be easily assaulted by starfighters (though will still have a very sturdy hull structure and may require boarding actions or large vessels to completely eliminate). Whilst the heavier frigate is barely prone to starfighter attack (though individual systems are still vulnerable if the shields can be removed by other means), but is still small enough that it can only handle combat against something like a battlecruiser for only a very limited period alone, and probably couldn't survive a concentrated fire mission from it.

Within this system for example, the Imperial TIE fighter was really a walker scale vessel but it was equipped with no shields and given additional solar panels to produce starfighter class weapon and speed values. Its hull structure however is extremely fragile and hence they cannot use defensive tactics but are bound to offensive doctrine and otherwise rely upon numbers and pilot skill alone (which averages quite high).

Similarly capital scale weapons simply lack the power requirements to do any damage to planetary defences (including Death Star structure and shielding). Hence Vader's fleet could not bombard Hoth and all Rebel attacks on the Death Star involved chain reactions caused by internal subsystems.

The system also works in reverse. A capital scale weapon (turbolaser) will desintegrate a starfighter with one hit, shields and all. The only exception would be corvettes which are often starfighter scale in power outputs but have powerful enough shields to withstand a blast or two.
Some of the Millenium Falcon's modifications might be considered to include corvette class military shielding and weapons systems, and additional hull plating but this overloaded the stock light freighter reactor and required a wealth of avionics hacks and caused severe reliability issues. What this meant in game terms is that whilst the hull and shields of the Millenium Falcon were a smaller scale to the Imperial Star Destroyer turbolasers that hit it once in ESB (EpV), they had such high values that it could withstand one capital scale turbolaser blast at the cost of losing the shields on that quarter (rear facing).

A planetary scale weapon like the Superlaser can desintegrate any capital scale vessel similarly, with one blast at minimal power. The problem is that it is extremely difficult to target small scale vessels with larger scale weapons, as the sighting systems are designed to specifically combat equivalent scale threats. This is also why cruisers and capital ships require separate anti-starfighter screening weapons (powered by starfighter scale generators and mounted in light, fast moving emplacements), as well as their main weapon banks (powered directly by the vessels reactor core and mounted within the structure, requiring some manoeuvring for effective field targeting).

This element of reactor scales cannot be described with equivalence to real world sea going ships. I realise the air defence and main batteries of actual warships may represent the different scale of weapons well, but there is no equivalence to all the various scales ranging from speeders to planetary defences in the space operatic environment.

Hence I thought I'd add it as a possible expansion for fanfic writers whom wish to develop large scale, combined operations involving warships and vehicles of varying scales within battlefields in a simple, easy to understand system which the gameplay of WotC SW:RPG provided.

vanir
01-02-2009, 06:03 PM
Shows how good my memory is...those Wizard of the Coast book references I gave are actually West End Games publications, put out some time before WotC took over StarWars RPG. Yep, gettin' old.


I thought I'd toss in something else which kinda started off in WW2 military formations. Types of troops.

There are infantry and shock troops.
There are light infantry, regular infantry, motorised infantry and armoured. Shock troops are usually but not always armoured (where available).

Light infantry can be deployed quickly. They are riflemen with machine gun companies, motorcycle companies, signals companies and mortar companies. Support firepower is light and mobile, such as recoiless guns and small anti-tank field weapons (eg. 3.7cm PaK). AA batteries are likely to be self propelled machine guns or small calibre automatic cannon. Heavy support may be in the form of armoured car battalions or in extreme cases (Soviet) scout/amphibious tanks.
Early SS formations were light infantry. Later SS-Polizei formations were light infantry (from camp guards to occupational troops). Luftwaffe infantry (fallschirmjäger) are also light infantry (being airborne). Pioneer battalions are highly specialised light infantry (engineers).

Regular infantry relies upon the local military doctrine. This is quite important, the military heirarchy does not expect infantry to win wars for them, they expect to do so with effective strategy and doctrine whilst it is the infantry which does the hard work to allow these things to win wars. They are the men in the trenches.
Classical doctrine is to rely upon artillery. An infantry division is based around the artillery regiment. Two opposing armies bring their artillery up and pound each other to oblivion, then when nobody knows what is going on any longer, the infantry charge. Last man standing wins.
Infantry are well equipped for extended actions. They have the full breadth of support equipment the Army has to offer, from heavy artillery to howitzers and field guns. Local support comes in the form of machine gun companies, mortar companies and field weapon batteries (ie. anti-tank guns and howitzers, 15cm calibre and smaller, typically 5cm-10.5cm). Scout companies have armoured cars and light tanks. An infantry division will usually have at least one tank battalion of MBTs (eg. T-34, Sherman or PzIII/IV). They are deployed in regions where air support is available, and air superiority is regarded as a necessary ingredient for successful surface actions so will often be fought bitterly over new battlefronts (a late realisation for the Allies in WW2).
The problem about infantry is with all their equipment and support required to function effectively, they're not the quickest deployment option around. It can take weeks to mobilise a number of infantry divisions, and years to prepare them.

Shock troops are an early forunner to modern special forces regiments (the other would be partisan action such as those undertaken by British SOE agents). Waffen-SS had this role early on, from Poland to the Summer Offensive of 1942 (at which time they were rotated out of action and upgraded to Panzer divisions). Soviets also used the shock troop doctrine.
Essentially shock troops are a fast deployment of soldiers equipped for close combat and limited independence. They get in fast, sow dissention and cause dissaray to allow the battlefield formations to get into a winning position. They're also used to break defensive hardpoints quickly with attrition. Morale is necessarily fanatical, in the case of the Waffen-SS via political extremism, whilst in the case of the Soviets many times convict battalions were used, forced to move forwards by "friendly fire" from behind.
Obviously the Wehrmacht appreciation of Waffen-SS was far, far different from the respect accorded them by later war American troops in Western Europe (idiots was a popular title in the early war, whilst brutal streetfights between Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS on leave in France were not uncommon...though my evidence for these assertions is anecdotal).
Shock troops are equipped with submachine guns, pistols and grenades. Support fire comes in the form of anti-tank rifles (typically 25mm penetration) and light mortar companies. Generally they're deployed into hot spots in armoured transports with heavy fire support from assault weapons (ie. SPGs like the StuG).
Hence SS Panzergrenadiers are shock troops, but not necessarily all armoured troops are used as shock troops. Wehrmacht panzergrenadiers are used to support tank warfare.

Motorised infantry are just regular infantry in trucks. Their (motorised) artillery is pulled by tractors (halftracks or trucks) instead of horses.
Contrary to popular impressions the vast majority of all infantry during WW2, German and otherwise was basically identical in deployment to WW1. They walked everywhere, some were on horseback and mules pulled big old howitzers on wood carriages.