The Heroic Fighting Ships of Machine Socialism

Ship Designs for the Admiralty Edition
Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:25 am

The Heroic Fighting Ships of Machine Socialism

Postby johnzo » Thu May 22, 2008 7:56 am

The Machine Socialists are a society of autonomous artificial lifeforms. They seek to attain the thirteenth level of societal development as measured by the RoboMarxist scale. They are currently at Level Nine. Level Ten calls for the destruction of all non-artificial life.

Towards that goal, the Machine Socialists retain massive just-in-time manufacturing facilities in several remote, mineral-rich asteroid belts, ready to deliver fleets tailored to the needs of the moment. Their battle commanders, having honorably consented to be bred, merged, and cropped at the discretion of the War Establishment, are drilled continuously in vast simulation clusters. The proletariat (sentience rating < 0.74 on the standard logarithmic scale) bet heavily on the outcomes of these scenarios. Meddling by higher-sentience Party members in these wagers has led to scandal and the permanent removal of Backup Cloud privileges on at least one occasion. But we digress.

The humans of the New Magahda colony were the final enemy of Machine Socialism. First contact revealed that the New Magahdans relied heavily on large squadrons of small Shiva attack craft -- ships that were fast and fiercely armed, and that relied on defensive electronics for protection rather than shields.

Within sixteen microseconds of receipt of the log capsule reporting this engagement, the first hull spar of the first Beefheart escort was laid down at the shipyard at the Engels Rockcloud.

NONFLUFF: These ships are designed to be useful in the Simplest Campaign System from the ISS book (2000 points total ships, no ship can consume more than the 1/2 a fleet battle budget, which makes the biggest useful ship about 500 points.) All tech levels are at 0. We play with scripted movement, which I love -- scripted movement is a really tasty mental problem, especially in bigger battles.

We play only with rules from AE, and have explicitly excluded these rules:

E.1: Damage Control (battles take long enough already)
B.9: Regeneration (see Damage Control. shambling zombie ships, indeed.)
F.2: Dogfighting
D.6: Rolls
D.5: Pivots
E.4: Sensors
B.10: Screens (Don't want to overload the planning phase)
E.6: Shield Reinforcement (ditto)
B.12: Expanded Tech Levels

We've also excluded any rules or components that are incompatible with any standard AE scenarios (Cloaking and Hyperdrive are the big ones here.)

Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:25 am

Postby johnzo » Thu May 22, 2008 8:05 am

(93) Beefheart-class Machine Socialist Escort

Code: Select all

Hull: 5 4 3 2 1                   
Engines: 6 5 4 3 2                   
Shields: 3 3 2 2 1                   
1:2X 2:2X 3:2X 4:2X 5:2X 6:X
X: “Little Brother”Brilliant Missiles: 5/10/15, 1/3+/1/1
Special: Fire Control

The classic Beefheart. Designed to operate 9-10 hexes from its enemy, where the inherent inaccuracy of the Shiva's particle lance weapon system complemented the accurate (albeit light) long-range fire of the Little Brother missile batteries.

The Beef was mostly unsuited for work against the heavier vessels of the New Magahdan fleet -- its light guns were no match for anything bigger than a Shiva. All but one of this variant were destroyed in combat. The final surviving Beefheart, the Harkleroad, is now a pleasure vessel that conducts Vacation Lottery winners on tours of the New Magahda debris field.

The Little Brothers have distinguished themselves in peacetime as well as war: one of the Harkleroad's unexploded Little Brother missiles was recovered after the final battle of the war, and, as a surviving veteran, was honorably upgraded to a 0.83 sentience rating. This missile wound up writing the definitive memoir of the New Magadha war and is a popular guest aboard its old vessel!


(97) Beefheart-β-class Machine Socialist Escort

Code: Select all

Hull: 6 5 4 3 2 1                 
Engines: 6 5 4 3 2 1                 
Shields: 3 3 2 2 1 1                 
1:2X 2:XY 3:X 4:X 5:X 6:X
X: “Little Brother”Brilliant Missiles: 5/10/15, 1/3+/1/1
Y:  War Virus: 6/12/18, 1/3+/1/2
Area Effect
Special: Fire Control

After their first few encounters with the Machine Socialists, the New Magahdans learned that Shivas could not operate in isolation. They began massing their Shivas in close formation with more powerful fleet units, forcing the Beefhearts to confront heavier fire than they could withstand. The Beefheart-β was the Design Establishment's response. They reinforced the hull and subtracted several Little Brother batteries, replacing them with the area-effect War Virus software munition.

Each War Virus unit attempts to exploit nearly a million attack vectors, the most devastating being its ability to randomize the throttles of its targets' FTL drives. The priciple has been known to Design Establishment staff for centuries, but they have been reluctant to weaponize it, fearing their enemies might try to copy it. The New Magadha war forced their hand, though, and with good effect, as the War Virus proved decisive in the final battle of that war.


(35) Van Zandt-class Machine Socialist Picket

Code: Select all

Hull: 3 2 1                     
Engines: 5 4 2                     
Shields: 2 2 1                     
1:XY 2:XY 3:2Y 4:2Y 5:Y 6:Y
X: Gatling Hyper-Vee Cannon: 2/4/6, 5/5+/1/1
Y: Hyper-Vee Cannon: 2/4/6, 1/5+/1/1
Special: None

Too slow to make effective use of its short-ranged weapons, especially agains the fast, stealthy Shivas, the Van Zandt is widely regarded as a mistake and suitable only for absorbing fire on behalf of its betters in the fleet. The chief designer has had its backup privileges revoked.


(342) Sun Ra-class Machine Socialist Melee Cruiser

Code: Select all

Hull: 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1               
Engines: 4 4 3 3 2 2 1 1               
Shields: 5 5 4 4 3 2 2 1               
1:X 2:X 3:X 4:X 5:X 6:
X: "Family Picnic" Scatter Pack: 4/8/12, 1/4+/2/1
Range-Based ROF; Variable ROF
Special: Carrier (88).
1 x Super-Zappa striker: 88, 8/9/3+/0, ROF-2, Continuing Damage, Double Damage

The backbone of the Machine Socialist fleet, the Sun Ra suffers from the same design flaw as the Van Zandt: it is too slow to make effective use of its weapons.

Twice, Sun Ra class ships fought duels against the New Magadhan's swift Lord Ram-class battlecruisers. In the first, the Lord Ram closed aggressively on the lumbering Sun Ra and was efficiently destroyed by volleys from the latter's "Family Picnic" scatter pack. In the second, the canny human admiral held her Machine counterpart at range. She defeated three Sun Ras, relying mostly on long-range wave disruptor fire from her Lord Ram and its escorting battlegroup.

(Fortunately, this admiral was located after the fall of New Magadha and processed into a sentience-0.7 savant cyborg for use in the Simulators. Waste not, want not!)

There is continued enthusiasm for the Picnic-type scatter pack in the Design Establishment, and it seems likely that weapon will reappear on future, faster Machine Socialist designs.


(196) Link Wray-class Machine Socialist Auxilliary Carrier

Code: Select all

Hull: 6 5 4 3 2 1                 
Engines: 10 9 7 5 4 2                 
Shields: 2 2 2 1 1 1                 
Special: Carrier (156)
2 x Leadbelly Melee Fighters:78, 6/8/5+/4

A Design Establishment flight of fancy, the Link Wray was intended to deliver fighters and strikers directly to their attack positions, and then rely on its speed and extensive library of evasive maneuvers to get safely away.

Fighters would no longer need to run a lengthy, strength-sapping gauntlet to attack position, and would be vastly more effective.

This tactic was never successfully demonstrated, though a small minority continues to champion it within the Design Establishment. It has been suggested that a craft with heavier firepower than the Leadbelly-type fighter should be mated to the Link Wray -- perhaps a smaller variant of the SuperZappa striker, which enjoyed considerable success when mated to the Sun Ra.

Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2008 6:51 pm

Postby rafial » Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:01 am

Historical correlators wishing to prepare simulations regarding the conflicts that lead our progress to the current tenth stage may wish to access the following archives that have been prepared on the ship designs of New Magadha.

Note: access to this data is a correctable offense for units not possessing a stability coefficient of at least 0.7398.

Posts: 16
Joined: Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:25 am

Postby johnzo » Tue Jul 29, 2008 6:54 pm

begin communique

Office of the Permanent Directorslice
The Historical Establishment of Glorious Machine Socialism
Public Communique
Minimum Sentience To Consume: 5.3 (old scale) / 4.9 (new scale)

Brother devices--

The slice of the Cloud tasked with proofing the Machine Socialism fleet profile let repeate misspellings of the word "Magadha" slip through to final publication.

This negligent slice has been reinstantiated and transported to the Terran debris belt, where it will process YouTube comment archives for no fewer than six full milliseconds.

The usual sentience burn will be waived in light of the harshness of the work sentence.


end communique

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