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community:project:ranx_expansion

This is an official extension for the Domina & Oracus campaign that allows the player to travel deep into Ranx territory and fight against this deadly foe.

This page will be used to coordinate the design and development of this module. Feel free to edit it at the places provided. (NOTE: Before deleting anything, please contact George or Wolfy; the information in question may still be in discussion; for the most part, they will remove any information that has been deemed to no longer be under consideration.) Community members: please post your suggestions, questions & comments in this thread: http://neurohack.com/transcendence/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3270

Disclaimer: Note that though this page does contain information on the extension, it is speculative and subject to change.

Overall Design

This section covers the overall design of the expansion module.

The design of the expansion module should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The expansion module should be completely optional. That is, even if the extension is loaded, the player should have the option of ignoring the module. This is just like the Huari storyline.
  • It should fit in to the D&O campaign and thus be compatible with the main storyline (though it doesn't have to connect to the main storyline). At the same time, the module should tell a story (i.e., allow the player to participate in a story)–it should not be just another set of ships and stations. See the section on Storyline for more.
  • It should fit and be compatible with TX2, since many of the concepts in this expansion come from there.
  • It should not disturb the balance of D&O (that is, it should not introduce items that make the rest of the D&O campaign too easy or too hard). See the section on Game Mechanics for more.
  • The expansion module should not introduce any radical new concepts. For example, we should not introduce concepts that require new key bindings. Nor should we radically alter what the player already knows about the D&O world. For example, no new economy system or new galactic maps, etc.
  • The expansion should be similar in length to the Huari storyline.

OUTLINE

This is the current (but not yet final) outline for the expansion.

Trigger

  • The storyline starts in one of the following nodes: A1, A2, or EC (Eta Ceti). [We randomly determine which system at the beginning of the game.]
  • At a random time the player encounters a battle between a Rebel freighter and a squadron of Ranx gunships. If the player rescues the freighter, then the rebels become friendly and the player is able to dock with the freighter. Note: This should be a relatively easy encounter, but if the player fails (or ignores the freighter) then there are two more random encounters. If the player fails or ignores all three, then the Ranx expansion is never triggered.
  • Aboard the freighter, the player meets the Guide. The Guide tells the player a bit about the situation (rebels, Ranx, etc.) and asks the player to escort the freighter to the rebel base (offering payment, in Ringer-valuable ore, in exchange).
  • The rebel freighter leads the player to a hidden stargate that leads to a separate branch. [Note: Along the way, perhaps the freighter is attacked again.]

Notes

  • The first version of the expansion should have only one trigger, but future versions could have additional triggers, possibly leading to different guides (see section on Triggers).
  • All rebel bases are enemies before the trigger (so if the player finds the stargate accidentally, all bases within will be enemies).
  • Other possible triggers include: encountering a rebel outpost among all of the empire outposts along the main route (perhaps the outpost is under attack), Destroying enough empire stations (likely weighted, so an empire fortress would be worth more than an empire outpost), destroying (an) empire convoy(s). Suggestions for other possible triggers are welcome!
  • Identifying rebel bases may be possible, if they are given an 'upgraded' aesthetic modification to the general design of their ships.

Bump 1

  • The freighter docks at a rebel base. When the player docks, the Guide pays the player, but also reveals more about the rebel cause. He tells the player that the rebels want to retake the Ranx Empire and promises the player payment if he/she will help.
  • The rebels need weapons, armor, and fuel. The Guide asks the player to search the system for weapons and armor and bring them back to the base. The Guide also instructs the player not to harm any civilian stations but to only attack military installations [In addition to Ranx outposts there should be some Ranx weapon depots, fuel stations, etc.]
  • Everytime the player brings back weapons, etc., he/she is paid with ore (which is valuable to the Ringers).
  • The player can refuel and repair at the rebel base (for free if he/she has provided enough weapons, etc.)
  • The system consists of Ranx stations (civilian and military), a few Ringer stations, a few Teraton stations, and a few Ares stations.
  • If the player docks with any Ringer station in the system, he/she meets the Ringer Guide. The Ringer Guide tells the player that he suspects that the Ranx are building up a fleet. The Ringer Guide asks the player to keep his/her eyes open.

Bump 2

  • After the player has destroyed enough Ranx military stations and after providing enough weapons to the Rebels, the Guide gives the player a new mission: use a Ranx gunship to approach a Ranx shipyard and take pictures. The rebels suspect that the Ranx are building a new kind of dreadnought.
  • The player pilots a Ranx gunship to the next system, where a shipyard is building a Ranx Superdreadnought.
  • After the player takes pictures, he/she is discovered and is chased by Ranx gunships (or something).
  • When he returns to the rebel base, the player tells everyone what he's discovered.
  • Unfortunately, there is nothing that the rebels can do–they don't have the means to attack the shipyard.
Note on Gunship
  • Ship provided to player for spying mission shouldn't have max stats greater than that of the playerships. Perhaps a different ship is used for each of the different playerships?

Bump 3

  • If the player then visits the Ringers, the Ringer Guide uses the information about the Superdreadnought to convince his superiors that the Ranx are planning an attack.
  • [Note: there is distrust between the Ringers and rebels. The rebels don't trust neo-humans in general, and the Ringers don't trust anyone associated with the Ranx. Perhaps the player can mediate in some way.]
  • Eventually, the player, the Guide, and the Ringer Guide form a plan: The Ringers will hit the Superdreadnought shipyard as a diversion while the Rebels take the opportunity to heads towards Anhalt and the Ranx Imperial Citadel.
  • The player's mission is help the Ringers.
  • The Ringer fleet forms and the player follows it to attack the Ranx shipyard.
  • The Shipyard is defended by a large Ranx fleet (though the Superdreadnought is not yet active) and the two fleets clash.
  • If the Ringers fail to destroy the Superdreadnought, then the remaining Ranx fleet heads back to Anhalt and defeats the rebels.

Climax

  • If the shipyard is destroyed, then the player gets a message: The rebels have taken over the Imperial Citadel, but there's a problem: a Superdreadnought has already been completed and it is heading towards the Imperial Citadel to defeat the rebels.
  • The player must head to Anhalt and defeat the Superdreadnought before it reaches the rebels.

Resolution

  • It turns out that the Rebel Leader has died during the battle and now the Guide is the leader of the whole Ranx Empire.
  • The former Ranx leadership has fled and split up into multiple (sometimes conflicting) groups.
  • All of the Ranx stations in the branch are now friendly to the player, but the Ranx stations outside the branch are now controlled by the former leadership (perhaps they get demoted back to Warlords?)
  • In a coda the Ringers reveal to the player that the Guide has ordered the continuation of the Superdreadnought program and is seeking even more advanced weapons.

TO DO

Title

We need a good title for this expansion. Ideally, it should fit in to the style of the Domina & Oracus campaign (Part I is titled, “The Stars of the Pilgrim”). The title should be catchy, memorable, but not frivolous or humorous. Check out various D&D module names for inspiration. If you've got a suggestion, just add it to the list below:

  • Empire of the Ranx
  • Ranx Imperial Citadel
  • Citadel of the Ranx
  • [You suggestion goes here.]

Setpieces

This is a list of the scenes and sequences that we want to make sure are in the expansion. Think of the whole storyline as a series of setpieces, each one advancing the story, and each one designed to build up to the climax.

This is a list of setpieces (in rough order):

  • Defend the Rebel Leader: The player has to defend the Rebel Flagship against the new Ranx advanced gunships (or something).
  • Arming the Rebels: The player has to help the rebels destroy a Ranx weapons depot (or perhaps liberate a squadron of gunships?)
  • Undercover mission: The player uses a stolen Ranx ship to get close to the shipyards where the Superdreadnought is being built. This would be suspenseful rather than action-packed.
  • Ranx vs. Ringers: It would be great to have a large battle between a Ranx Fleet and the Ringers. It would be cool because it introduces some Ringer ships, plus the player could participate in some way.
  • Superdreadnought: One of the key setpieces is a battle between the player (perhaps aided by Rebels and/or Ringers) and the new Ranx Superdreadnought. This could be the climactic battle.

Note: The order of the setpieces should be such that they build to a climax. If we rated each setpiece on an excitement scale from 1-10, then we should have the following build up:

  • 6: The first setpiece should be pretty exciting–enough to get the player hooked.
  • 3: The next setpiece can be less exciting; we give the player a rest and set up for the next one.
  • 5: The excitement builds
  • 7: And it builds some more
  • 10: Finally we reach the climax.

Storyline

This section covers the plot, characters, and background lore required for the expansion.

Background and Lore

The story has not yet been designed, but consult the background on the Ranx: http://neurohack.com/transcendence/explore/cyc/RanxEmpire.html.

Setting

This expansion should take place in a new chain of star systems that connect somewhere in the Outer Realm and terminate at the Anhalt System, the home system of the Ranx. The systems in this chain are nominally claimed by the Ranx but they are also populated by Ringers, Teratons, Ferians, and the Ares. There is little (if any) Commonwealth presence (since Commonwealth stations in this region joined the Ranx). Perhaps there are some Corporate Hierarchy stations (Rasiermesser, in particular).

The systems themselves should tend towards the volcanic, iron, and rocky (no need for nebula systems).

Likely there will be three sovereigns involved: one for the Empire's fleet, one for the Empire's civilians, and one for the Rebellion. The reason the civilians should be separate from the fleet is that though the Rebellion is an enemy of the fleet, they have no interest in causing the mass-slaughter of their own civilians; nor do they wish the player, who is quite capable of doing this, to do that.

The TO DO section below lists specific areas that need help:

TO DO

Themes & Plot

Here are some proposed outlines for the storyline:

Ranx vs. Rebels

  • Hook: The player is contacted by a group of rebels who are fighting the Ranx Empire; they ask for help.
  • Bump: Turns out that the Ranx are building a giant dreadnought that could change the balance of power in the Outer Realm.
  • Conflict: The player has to figure out a way to destroy the Ranx shipyards with the help of the rebels.
  • Climax: Massive fleet battle (perhaps involving the Ringers too?)
  • Resolution: Ranx are defeated (or not); and the player earns the gratitude of the rebels (and perhaps some loot?)

» Player goal: Defeating the Empire Super-Dreadnought/Empire fleet/Empire

Ranx vs. Rebels (Ringer diversion)

  • Trigger: Possibly multiple triggers (Different guide with different experience each time? Increased re-playability). Triggers can include: Rescuing Rebel dreadnought from Empire attack fleet, discovering a Rebel-controlled station. Feel free to suggest more triggers!
  • Hook: Player approached by Rebels to help them re-take the Empire's government.
  • Bump: Intel shows massive fleet build-up; Empire is planning on launching a massive strike into Ares & Ringer space. Though their attention is diverted for now, they are likely to go after the Rebels next.
  • Bump2: Ringers find out about fleet build-up and are preparing a preemptive strike; the battle would likely provide a perfect diversion for the Rebels to march in on the capitol while the new fleet is busy. [Likely the player is sent by the Rebels to convince the ringers of the threat, if only to trigger the ringers into acting as a diversion]
  • Conflict: Player must help the Rebels oust the Empire's current government (who originally ousted them), but without demolishing the Empire in the process or letting the Rebels be destroyed.
  • Climax: Battle between Ringer forces, Empire forces breaks out at the perimeter of Ranx Territory; Rebel forces use this distraction to head for Anhalt. Meanwhile, the Empire sends its new fleet and one of the super-dreadnoughts to deal with the Ringers, leaving the other super-dreadnought and a token force to guard the capitol. Now or never, the Rebels attack, seeing as this is their only opportunity with the majority of the fleet away from he citadel. Only way to get the Rebel dreadnoughts to dock long enough at the citadel to unload its troops is to take out the super-dreadnought (otherwise it could blast the docked rebel dreadnoughts away as they would be sitting ducks).
  • Resolution: Rebel leadership is re-instated as the valid leadership of the Empire; handful of former leadership escape with some loyal people each and form various warlord states (in homage to both D&O & TX2 pre 1.03 ;) ); however, being unorganized, they are too busy fighting amongst themselves. Rebel's likely reward the player with some nice equipment, likely some of the higher-tech stuff the Rebels have; Peace treaty (more like an armistice) signed between Ringers & Ranx to prevent the encroachment of Ringers & Ferrians on Ranx territory (In exchange for Ranx not using the newly finished super-dreadnoughts & fleet to launch another attack). Given the Ranx & Ringers are nolonger openly hostile with each other, tensions between CW and the Ranx also drop. Perhaps the Ranx and Ringers unite (if still rather tenuously) against the Orthodoxy? [launching point for other things in TX2].

Dvalin side-quest

  • Hook: Player is introduced to Dvalin's Rebel sympathies by the Rebels as being one of their weapons designers (his father being one of them; Dvalin is leaking them specialized, unreleased prototype designs, similar to how he gives the player the Ion9 cannon) - Due to gameplay mechanic reasons, maybe the interfacing with Dvalin (ie, having a scientist relay for him, and having him travel there as the player progresses) can occur at any of the local Rassiermessers on the route to Anhalt, if Dvalin isn't already at one of them. Likely there will be some Rebel engineers working with him or his associate(s).
  • Bump: Player delivers Dvalin or his associate new technology; based on the type of technology, it determines what advances he makes; give him particle weapons & armors, he makes particle weapons & particle resistant armors; give him plasma weapons, he makes plasma weapons & resistant armors; these weapons, armors & shields then begin appearing (using some sort of randomization system) on rebel ships once unlocked - unlocking everything is impossible; doing so would likely take multiple playthroughs. Perhaps even mini missions could be done for Dvalin/his associates.
  • Conflict: Eventually once enough advances have been discovered, Dvalin will come in person (if he's not already at the station) to tell the player that he's on the fast-track to a new “super-weapon” (level IX or X scale; maybe even XI if the player is delivering plasma or positron weapons (or shields/armors resisting them)) of whatever type the player has been donating lots of. He needs you to retrieve a prototype thingamajig from say, an Ares shipyard.
  • Climax: A big battle with the defenders of whatever station is being used for the target.
  • Resolution; Player can either keep the device for themselves (likely it will be like the Lamplighter prototype, capable of malfunctioning, being a prototype and all, but still powerful), or give it to Dvalin, and the Rebel dreadnoughts in the final battle will sport the weapons to help take out the Empire's super-dreadnought. Perhaps after the Rebels have re-conquered the Empire they can give one to the player as a reward (as well as offering their other technology for sale to the player).

Your outline goes here

  • Hook:
  • Bump:
  • Conflict:
  • Climax:
  • Resolution:

Background & Lore

Name of the Rebels

The Ranx 'Rebels' need a new name (it's just a temporary name we're using for internal reference at the moment). Suggestions:

  • Ranx Resistance

We want to avoid any implications that this is like StarWars IV-VI; It's /not/, despite the temporary naming convention that is being used. FYI - The Rebels here aren't likely wide-eyed idealists (trope name); the ranx rebels are more likely to be combat pragmatists (trope name) and thus rather opportunistic. This opportunistic thinking should show up in their decision making.

Characters

We need a few characters to bring the story to life. We probably need the following archetypes:

Guide

Someone has to introduce the player to the storyline and give her missions and other tasks. For the Ranx vs. Rebels storyline above perhaps the guide is one of the rebels? Or perhaps it is one of the Ringers?

Here are some ideas for the Guide character. Add your ideas to the list:

  • Freja Bryn: Rebel leader who is on the run from the Ranx. Perhaps the player saves her and she enlists the player's help.
  • Grier nu Sawel: A Ringer is the Security Group that worries about the Ranx threat (though few others believe him). Perhaps he contacts the player to help him find proof of the Ranx superdreadnought.
  • [Add your Guide ideas here.]

Antagonist

To help make the conflict personal, there should be a character that personifies the Ranx. The Antagonist is probably a general or a high-level leader in the Ranx hierarchy. Perhaps he is the commander of the superdreadnought or maybe the best pilot in their fleet. Perhaps he has some connection to the Guide (a childhood friend? a betrayer?).

Here are some ideas for the Antagonist character. Add your ideas to the list:

  • Henrik Gunnar: Gunnar is the brilliant but obsessive captain of the superdreadnought. He will not stop until he destroys everyone who opposes him. His crew admires and fears him because he does what he thinks is right instead of following bad or weak orders from the Empire.
  • Elin Sigurd: Elin rose to the command of the superdreadnought on the strength of her tactical and disciplined mind. She always has a backup plan to any contingency and prepares diligently for any encounter. She is ruthless, but never impulsive. Perhaps she was the Guide's student at the Ranx Fleet Academy?
  • [Add your Antagonist ideas here.]

Traitor

It's unclear if the storyline requires it, but it might be interesting to add a Traitor character to the mix. The Traitor is friends with the Guide (or perhaps, is the Guide!) and is introduced to the player at the beginning. At some point, the Traitor betrays some critical operation and throws a twist into the storyline.

Note: In order to make this work in a replayable manner, the Traitor needs to be somewhat random (i.e., the player is not sure who the Traitor is) and the point of betrayal must be random. Perhaps every mission in the story can be sabotaged by the Traitor. Continue the discussion in the Game Mechanics section.

If you have any ideas for the Traitor character, add them here:

  • [Add your Traitor ideas here.]

Game Mechanics

This section covers the game mechanics (including balance) of the expansion.

For the most part, the game mechanics for this expansion should follow the core D&O campaign, but it would be worth it to add one or two unique elements that affect game-play.

TO DO

Trigger

The entire storyline is triggered by some player action. Here are some ideas for the trigger:

  • Destroy Ranx Stations: If the player destroys some number of Ranx stations, the rebels contact the player and ask him/her to help. [This is similar to how the Huari storyline is triggered.]
  • Rescue Rebel Ship: During a random encounter, the player sees a rebel Dreadnought being chased by a Ranx fleet. If the player rescues the rebel ship, the rebel ship becomes friendly and the storyline is triggered. [Note: We need to work on how to guarantee that the random encounter will happen at some point.]
  • Find Rebel Base: If the player finds a hidden rebel base in some system, then the mission is triggered. We could have clues scattered around the system to help the player find the base (e.g., random cargo crates [or something] that have logs or other information pointing to the base.).

Ships & Combat

This section contains ideas for unique game mechanics relating to ships and combat. Add your ideas to the list:

Ideas & Brainstorms

  • micronuke cluster: Perhaps the superdreadnought has a new type of micronuke cannon. It could shoot out a cluster of shells that seek the target and explode only when they are all aligned (or something). This might give the player a chance to destroy them before they detonate.
  • advanced gunship: Perhaps there is a new kind of gunship that is much more maneuverable than the previous version (but with weaker armor). Perhaps if the player obtains a particular weapon enhancement it would make dealing with them easier.
  • superdreadnought turrets: Perhaps the superdreadnought is (more or less) invulnerable to weapons unless hit at particular spots. Of course, those spots are defended by turrets (or something) that have to be destroyed/disabled before the player can hit the critical point.
  • [Add your ideas here]

Ships & Stations

Ships

These are the ships encountered in the Empire's territory.

  • Ranx Civilian ships: These would be various civilian ships done in the style of the ranx, likely light freighters, light gunships and personal transportation ships (similar to the sapphire, light IAV, and others)

» Civilian freighter:

>> Civilian transport: 
  • Ranx Ore Freighters: These are heavier commercial freighters, likely meant for moving ores around, as opposed to commodities like the civilian freighters would.

» Ore Freighter:

  • Ranx Logistics Freighters: These would be heavy, though lower-capacity freighters built for the sole purpose of carrying around valuable but not as massive materials such as fuel, ammunition, and anything else ships in the field may need.

» Military Freighter:

  • Ranx Mining Ships: These are heavy mining craft designed specifically for mining. Likely with heavy mining equipment and a moderate amount of cargo space to carry ore.

» Mining Rig:

>> Drill ships:
  • Ranx Gunship: This is the gunship that currently exists in-game, though re-balancing may or may not apply.

» Gunship:

  • Ranx Light Capships: These would be cruiser-class ships; lighter than the dreadnoughts, and possibly flying in escort groups with them.

» Cruiser:

  • Ranx Advanced Gunships: These would be an improved gunship design; the specifics are still being designed.

» Advanced Gunship:

  • Ranx Dreadnought: The current dreadnought, though re-balancing may or may not apply.

» Dreadnought:

  • Ranx Superdreadnought: This class of ship would be exceedingly rare; likely under construction for the new offensive.

» Superdreadnought:

  • Ranx Defense Turret: This would be an immobile station/ship capable of shooting out a barrage of projectiles in order to defend various Ranx stations that it is placed near or around.

» Turret:

  • Rebels may be using identical ships, or they may be using modified versions. Possible visual differences as well, if the latter.
  • Ringers will have some new ships; not sure if these will be introduced in D&O (vanilla transcendence) or just in here (the Ranx extension).

» Ringer ships:

>>> Freighter: This would likely be a freighter of the same design philosophy as the EI7000; tough, able to defend itself, and relatively fast. It sacrifices cargo space to do this however.
>>> Gunship: Fast and powerful, the ringer gunship would likely be powerful, fast and small. Likely something of a glass cannon; though it is tough given its ringer origins, it is not as heavily armored as it could have been.
>>> Capship: Again, this ship shows the ringers' interest in strength and speed; for its size as a capship, its heavily armed and armored, but its still small and light enough to get around quickly. Still no match one-on-one for a phobos, it'll still be likely to take on a deimos and easily survive (given Deimoses are definite glass cannons).
Stations

These are the stations that belong to the Empire.

  • Ranx Outpost: These are staging bases for the extremities of the Ranx Empire.
  • Ranx Supply Depot: These storage stations would be used to store ammunition and fuel. Likely to explode very violently.
  • Ranx Fortress: These are the primary focuses of Ranx military power; heavier ships are found escorting these.
  • Ranx Habitat: These stations are the homes of the Ranx citizens, a newer model than the old commonwealth habitats they original defected in.
  • Converted Colony: These stations were formerly Commonwealth, but the Ranx have modified them over the years.
  • Ranx mining outpost: These are stations not unlike the mining stations of the urak, clearly a detachable base connected to an asteroid.
  • Ranx Citadel: This giant construct is the center of all Ranx government: the surrounding community is larger than Starton, but not as large as st.katherine's.
  • Ranx shiyards: Here, the ships of the Ranx are built.
  • Again, Rebels may (or may not) be using identical or upgraded stations.

Devices & Items

Missions

What are some interesting mission ideas that might work in the Ranx expansion?

Add your ideas to the list:

  • [Add your mission ideas here]

Artwork

This section covers the artwork required for the expansion.

Implementation

This section covers the implementation of systems, ship classes, station types, scripts, and behaviors.

community/project/ranx_expansion.txt · Last modified: 2014/12/27 04:40 (external edit)