The Emperor's new "Ship"

Sunday, January 27, 2013
His Excellency, Emperor DungeonMaster has directed the resources of the Cyborg collective into the creation of a new Ship which will now become available to all Cyborg commanders who research and activate its plans in campaign sectors.  

Our Emperor certainly does not think small. He has designed the largest technological creation the Echo Cluster has ever seen. Something at Cyborg scale. 

The Imperial Architects have named this new creation in honor of the wisdom and vision (though certainly not peace) that Emperor DungeonMaster has brought to the Echo Cluster. Introducing the:



Tech: 10
Mass: 1970 kt

Fuel: 440
Cargo: 3900
Crew: 100

Engines: 10
Beams: 0
Bays: 0
Launchers: 0

Megacredits: 1440
Duranium: 1250
Tritanium: 510
Molybdenum: 840

Advantage Point Cost: 35

The Dungeon Class Stargate is a massive space station which allows any ship to travel between two stargates, or to any Cyborg ship which can open a wormhole (a valid chunnel target). 

Additionally, the Dungeon Class Stargate emits a "Chunnel Stabilization Field" into the surrounding space which allows Cyborg chunnel ships to initiate a chunnel at any warp speed and to chunnel short distances. (as short as 1 ly)   

Special properties of the Dungeon Class Stargate:

The stargate can not move under its own power. 
The stargate can not be towed.

The stargate is too massive to fit through the mouth of a single chunnel wormhole. Four Fireclouds must work together on both the inception and reception ends of a chunnel to move the stargate. 

The stargate is a valid chunnel target. 

Any ship which is at a stargate after movement can chunnel itself for 50 fuel to any valid chunnel target including another stargate. The ship does not need to be the same owner as the stargate.

Additionally, the stargate emits a Chunnel Stabilization Field into the surrounding space. The CSF field allows any Firecloud (or other chunnel ship) to initiate a chunnel above warp 0 following movement. The CSF also enables chunnel distances as short as 1 ly. The range of the CSF is dependent on the type of engines that the stargate has. The range is calculated as: 100ly + 50 * Engine Type Id. (from 150 to 550 ly)

All ships in range of the CSF are able to detect the Stargate because of its high neutrino emmissions even if the stargate is located at a planetary system unless the stargate is located inside a nebula.    

Despite having no weapons, in combat the stargate is protected by shields. 

Even though the stargate can not be towed it can still be "tow-captured" if it has no fuel by locking a tractor beam onto it.   

The stargate must have fuel to function.  


There are 37 comments - add your comment
big beefer - Monday, January 28, 2013 2:12 AM
Nice, the CSF is an interesting replacement for tow-chunnel I'd say. Every cloaker out there will be aiming to sneak in and cloak-intercept this big boy. Also, interesting with the low crew count. I ran some sims and it actually "rewards" torpers with crappier torps (say Mark IV) because better torps tend to capture it instead of blowing it up. And I'm not sure why you'd ever want to capture one of these.
cadmus - Monday, January 28, 2013 2:35 AM
It could be nice to capture if you had your own Fireclouds. I am glad that it costs 35 advantage, a Cyborg player will have to make some sacrifice to fit this into their fleet.

Do all championship match winners get to make their own ship?
echoclusterveteran - Monday, January 28, 2013 3:10 AM
Super! Great job DM. I can't wait to see it in action (and to discover all the possible ways enemies could exploit the Emperor's new toy)!
big beefer - Monday, January 28, 2013 5:22 AM
"Any ship which is at a stargate after movement can chunnel itself for 50 fuel to any valid chunnel target including another stargate. The ship does not need to be the same owner as the stargate."

Does this mean that the ship entering the stargate can be of a different owner than the stargate, or the target can be a different owner, or both? For example, if I am playing birds and I drive a ship up to it, can I chunnel my ship to any of the borg's fireclouds? Can the borg chunnel to a firecloud I might have stolen?
vepr - Monday, January 28, 2013 7:19 AM
Awesome. Not some big ship to smash all opposition with, but rather something that adds an interesting element to the game and simplifies cyborg logistics in the process. Good work Dungeonmaster.

As a pirate however, I would like to be able to tow this thing to new locations. Perhaps if it takes 4 fireclouds to initiate a chunnel of this thing and 4 to receive it, we could make it that it takes a total of 16 engines to tow it. Eight 2 engine ships (or 2 8 engine ships like 2 golems) towing simultaneously get this sucker where it needs to go. Thoughts?
othrym - Monday, January 28, 2013 11:52 AM
Wonderful idea. This "ship" shows that completely different ideas could be introduced to the game.
One question: If I can use 4 fireclouds to chunnel a stargate, can I then also chunnel a stargate using a stargate? Why I ask is because of the cloning of that ship. It is normal that people can clone ships (except privateer and crystal of cause). But if you clone a stargate, this is only useful, if you can move the new one somewhere. And it is not so easy, to get by cloning 8 fireclouds into your fleet (if your not borg yourself). Thus it would be a help, if a not borg race can chunnel a cloned stargate to a new position (where there have to be 4 fireclouds) by using the first stargate as chunnel opener.
echoclusterveteran - Monday, January 28, 2013 12:15 PM
If you have one of these in your neighborhood, the anti-Borg goal would probably be to do everything you can to incapacitate it, right? Its huge mass but low crew means that in combat, this thing will be likely be captured and not destroyed (unless it's a planet attacking it). So the Borg will not want to keep this over a planet, because if the planet gets taken, the stargate can get attacked or land-and-disassembled. However, if it's in deep space, the owner/capturer of the stargate can simply dump the fuel out.

Nonetheless, having it in your neighborhood could be just beautiful for Privateers. Hop through the gate, chunnel somewhere, and steal everything that's there. Or if the borg chunnels to a firecloud that you have stolen, they probably kill the firecloud but you can steal it (or have shields when you attack it).

One concern that I have is, what if there's a Borg+Fed alliance? The Borg builds one of these early with StarDrive 1's and the Fed fixes them up later. Borg+Fed is already terrifying because of the extra fighter bays feature.

Since this has no weapons, it would count as a freighter and not raise military score. (That's possibly good for the Cyborg because opponents would not have an easy way of knowing when it was built).

Oh, and how fun would it be to feed this thing a steady stream of glory devices, if you had a way to do so surreptitiously?
cptspiff - Monday, January 28, 2013 12:40 PM
Good point Echo. So if the borg chunnel this thing out into space, and I come along and capture it instead of killing it, I can't do anything with it except for wait for it to be taken back by the borg?

I would assume that you can't chunnel to other races fireclouds/stargates since those aren't valid chunnel targets under normal circumstances? Or is it a valid target from the stargates perspective?
dungeonmaster - Monday, January 28, 2013 4:33 PM
Glad you guys like it and see its potential! The borg are already so powerful that adding a ship to their list must be done very carefully. Obviously any cloaker/decloaker is a mistake, a cheap battlecruiser is a mistake, so it's a difficult balance. Tow-chunnel was likewise deemed to strong, but some aspects of it are still possible though with more risk involved. So the idea was to add to the game with a "starbase class" ship that opens up possibilities and remains a double edged sword.

The stargate really is a stargate. Yes, any ship, ANY ship can use the stargate to go to ANY firecloud or otherwise accepting chunnel target. Now that that's clear minds are free to explode at the possibilities.

To answer some of the questions:
Othrym: It's still a ship, so it will be possible to clone it though it's damn hard, someone with advanced cloning chosen as an option and a single firecloud would be able to eventually do so (pirate is best). We may see scenarios where these beasts are derelict and open up strong positional points of control.
Vepr: I had not thought of multi-engine tow, that sounds cool but it may be too easy to achieve late game, particularly for the borg with the 6 engine cubes. I wanted to make it rough but not impossible to move it and this is the solution Joshua and I came up with.
Cptspiff: Everything at warp zero and chunnel capable is a target for the gate, including gates and fireclouds owned by other races.
ECV: There is an in-game message indicating a stargate has been built at the same level of full alliance in-game message.
dungeonmaster - Monday, January 28, 2013 4:37 PM
The inspiration is of course that stargates are everywhere in science fiction but there is a precedence for this in Trek lore in fact:
bondservant - Monday, January 28, 2013 8:48 PM
Nice and creative. I look forward to working with or fighting against a future Borg player with this ship technology.
tom graves - Monday, January 28, 2013 9:10 PM

All this is good for is getting people to not exterminate the pesky Borgs early as they need to do.

Just another diplomatic arrow in the Borg quiver. :-)

But seriously, seems like this will create some interesting new dynamics in the game.

challengespaceyard - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 2:54 AM
Most significant design so far, indeed.

On an unrelated note, attempting to look up design on my cyborg homeworld returns the following error: b is null

veldan - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:03 AM
Interesting puzzle to solve trying to figure how to capture this thing in combat.

Well, unless the formulas from Donovans are inaccurate, it seems the only weapon type capable of capturing this puppy would be the Heavy Disruptor. The first shot against the hull would kill 2 crew members while doing 1% hull damage, and every other shot (assuming a beam charge of anywhere from 50% to 98%) would do 1 of each.

Of course, since this ship type has shields, an aggressor has to strip the shields off before the beams even fire.

Which requires 16 mk8 hits, followed by at least 1 heavy D hitting at 100% charge against the hull. After that you cannot get anymore torp hits, and it has to be straight beams. Or you can count on 25 mk4 hits.

The margins are tight on this one. The 100 crew is misleading into how easy this thing is to capture.

Add in the 50kt fed crew bonus(or klingon shield generator), and you cannot capture this ship. A heavy D doesn't have enough kill capability. At that point it does 1 crew and 1 hull, at 100%, and 0 crew and 1 hull, at anything less.

Of course the whole equation changes for the privs, with their 3x kill bonus.

echoclusterveteran - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:12 AM
Yes but if you attack it more than once, the Borg has no possible way of recrewing! The Borg would have to repair with supplies or 10% per turn with its special repair misson - because the Borg would not want to keep it over a planet, since if the planet is taken, their opponent would probably land/disassemble it immediately.

So the way to capture would be to attack it over and over in successive turns. It can't kill you, and combat would time out before being destroyed, right? Similar to a probe attacking a super freighter?
veldan - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:14 AM
BTW very nice ship DM! I almost expected a ship that automatically squares off any zelrik map it comes across, just to give you your corners to hang out in. =)
veldan - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:27 AM
@EV Not sure how long it takes for a combat to time out. In that case, two Resolutes/Deth Specs/Saurians ought to be able to tag-team it in a single turn.

Of course, to what purpose... with the linear effect engine tech level has on the CSF, I would be surprised if there was ever a need to equip one of these puppies with anything more than tech 5 engines, considering that effects a 350ly radius. So capture it, unless you happen to have 8 fireclouds of your own, you're not going to chunnel this thing off to safety, much less drive it anywhere. And whether if it remains in control of the borg player or not, the borg are able to take advantage of its positive effects.
veldan - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:28 AM
Don't get my criticism wrong though, I like the idea of players being able to "craft" artifact like ships.
echoclusterveteran - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:31 AM
They can't take advantage of any of its features at all if you capture it and dump the fuel out!!!
dungeonmaster - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 3:44 PM
Thanks again guys for your comments and interest! It's a complicated beast and Joshua has spent considerable amounts of his own time testing it out (and he says it's enormously fun to use incidentally).
As designed most probe-like ships will time out in combat due to its extreme mass and most destroyers will either capture or destroy it in battle depending on weapon array. Capturing as most of you have guessed is quite easy with a high tech torp.

There's a fair amount of complex interplay in terms of opening and closing the gate, so opponents who gain control do not need to offer the CSF field and without fuel the gate is no longer a chunnel target so nothing will show up - that turn. Opening the gate is, well, like any stargate, monsters may appear. However if you know their FCC IDs you can send a nice welcome party of your own. While it's a truly powerful ship it can also be the means of destruction of the borg if they're not careful or their opponents are wise. I doubt the borg will be happy if it's captured or destroyed and it's designed to be a major blunder for them either way. (Fully 20 PBP! Not many destroyers can get that...).
Since everything chunnel happens in order of ID - going through the gate or not - I fully expect when one of these gets compromised by the enemy for quite a few "WTF?!" moments, part of the fun of course.
spacesquad - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:49 PM
Congrats Emperor!
You created another Monster that can bypass my webs. ;)

Am i right that you can use it to tunnel to any other players valid target? So can the Borg tunnel to a "stolen" Firecloud as he knows the ID?

If i get the chance to design a ship as well, i should design a SDSF with a device to force all tunnels in range to collaps. Everything you tunnel will just disapear. :P
azzazzello - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1:18 AM
It looks like with this ship you can eliminate Firecloud technology by everybody but Borg. If a FC gets missing just chunnel a Cube to it and blow it up.

With this device I be scared to posses a FC if I am not Borg
mentar - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 7:32 PM
Very interesting design, congrats DM :)

May I make one suggestion, though? The winner races of Championship games don't need further assistance with good ships. I would pass the right to design a ship to the player who fought the hardest to stay alive (this could be similar to the spirit award). And the new Emperor finances the design to placate this race, since it obviously feels the strongest emnity towards him ;)

Main advantage: This would give an extra incentive for players to try their hardest to stay alive, even when their chances to win are disappearing. And it would most likely be used to benefit one of the "weaker" races.
dungeonmaster - Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:06 PM
I'm not sure if the "special" prize will be the same as for the incumbent emperor, I suspect it might be or it might just be a one-off entirely at Joshua's discretion. Future emperors may have entirely different propositions from the Imperial senate.

If it is, I doubt the wise Emperor Spacesquad would be so foolish as to design something to counter the only tholian weakness. An ion storm weather beacon ship shaped like a squid, a ship which tugs on webs or recovers stolen fuel from drain and webhits, there are plenty of options although I find it hard to imagine options for the crystals that are double-edge, but I'm confident he knows best.

As for chunneling a cube in to break a stolen firecloud, yes, definitely an option. I'll note that the race most capable of stealing fireclouds are pirates, a blind chunnel may not be the wisest of moves. If you're in the situation where the borg can casually chunnel cube(s) to fight with their shields down, your game is probably already well into an assimilation death spiral and your firecloud capture is likely "irrelevant".

The stargate is in the battle simulator right now but it doesn't appear to have shields so timing out sims are not necessarily accurate but overall picture is there. You need a few high tech torp hits to hit the hull to guarantee capture otherwise guns will take it down.
othrym - Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:35 PM
Pirates robbing fireclouds?? Never heard about a case like this ....

But back to the discussion: The desciption says "Any ship which is at a stargate after movement can chunnel itself for 50 fuel to any valid chunnel target including another stargate."

The question is, what is a valid chunnel target??
According to the normal rules (and I apply them if there is nothing different said in the stargate discussion above):

1) The target must belong to the same race as the start point ship.
=> That would mean, that if Stargate SgX belongs player MrX that only "connections" to other Stargates of Fireclouds of MrX can be established.
Let us take an example:
Dungeonmaster pays the Rebels and has robbed a Stargate (ID:100) and 4 Fireclouds (101,102,103,104) from the local Borg. Othrym has a nice cloaked Darkwing at the position of the Stargate. Using 50kt fuel and the FC 101 the Darkwing would be able to travel to the Firecloud with the ID:101 (if the other requirements of a valid target also fit ... see below).

2) A valid target must also have Warp 0 and may not be towed at the moment.
=> If there is no Warp 0 or is towed at the moment, then the target Firecloud is _no_ valid target.
Because of this you can prevent the chunneling of the borg with his stargate to a stolen FCC, even if there would be an argument that my interpretation form (1) is wrong.

3) A valid target must also have at least 1kt fuel.... see (2)

=> Becaus of this, yes, "The [stargate using] ship does not need to be the same owner as the stargate.", but:
- the target ship must have the same owner as the origin ship,
- the target ship must have 1kt fuel
- the target ship may not have a locked tow beam
- the target ship must have warp0
Only then the target ship is a valid target. Thus you must know a lot if you want to use a stargate without the help of the owner.
echoclusterveteran - Thursday, January 31, 2013 5:54 PM
Traditionally, ships with no weapons don't have shields.
emork the lizard king - Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:40 PM
A very intersting monster of rules. All campaign Borgs will race to build the first one and report. Good work, DM!

One little correction may be needed. There is a good reason why 10 PBP ist the maximum you can get for destroying a ship. On the other hand we can wait if this 20 PBP source gets exploited or not. I would do it for sure.
joshua - Thursday, January 31, 2013 7:57 PM
Just to clarify the chunnel target. As Othrym wisely pointed out a valid chunnel target must be set to chunnel (warp 0, not towed) and must be the same owner as the ship initiating the chunnel.

So if you steal a firecloud from the Cyborg they will not be able to chunnel to your firecloud using the Stargate.

However, the Stargate is ALWAYS a valid chunnel target as long as it has fuel. So you will be able to use your captured Firecloud to chunnel a fleet to it.

There are a lot of rules around this ship, DM doesn't like to keep things simple. I was envisioning a "Dungeon Class Frigate" or something when I made the ship design offer. :)

@Cadmus - Do all Emperors get to make their own ship?

There is no guarantee that every Emperor will have that opportunity, but the Imperial Senate will work hard to ensure that every Emperor has an opportunity to shape the future of the Echo Cluster in a positive way. I expect that much of the time that will be through the design of a new ship. (Though hopefully not all will be so complex as this!)
dungeonmaster - Thursday, January 31, 2013 8:01 PM
Gah! We might have a confusion the gate rules. Of course birthing something like this is going to have teething pain.
juuso - Thursday, January 31, 2013 10:33 PM
Explain Emork. I don't have the patience to figure it out by myself.
emork the lizard king - Friday, February 1, 2013 12:38 AM
Juuso, you find the explanation here:

Imagine Merlin-build-control with Stargates instead of Merlins: Borg allied with Pirate needs more MBRs? Next slot builds a Stargate and transforms it into 10 MBRs. Even the Borg on its own can use this for good. The Bio cost less PBP to build than a Stargate destruction grants.

But the scenario "campaign and Borg with stargates" will be so rare that it won't matter. Merlin-build-control in regular games does!
cptspiff - Friday, February 1, 2013 7:03 PM
I really am struggling to figure out if this ship is really broken, reasonably balanced or even a liability to the cyborg.

But I must admit, after reading Emork's thread, I think a 20pbp ship could be a problem.
juuso - Friday, February 1, 2013 7:43 PM
So nothing magical happens above 10 pbp. This tactic you are talking about just becomes a bit more effective.

The cost for this exploit is quite salty also. You would lose over 2600 kt of minerals. You could use those minerals to build more defensive starbases. I don't know if it's worth it for the Lizards for example. They would get 5 LCC's with 20 pbp's. For the Pirates it is another issue. They would get 10 MCBR's and make the build queue crawl.
emork the lizard king - Friday, February 1, 2013 9:15 PM
juuso, no, nothing magical.
Btw, the cost for the Stargate doesn't matter. You'll experience this if you are running a well developped late game empire. In the early game minerals and money limit the ships you can build. In the late game ship building slots limit what you can do with all your minerals and money. You need to play in long running games with good players to get a feeling for this.
juuso - Friday, February 1, 2013 10:40 PM
Yes. In a very long running game with good players. Usually games just don't last that long, which I'm glad of.
sqlmedic - Monday, February 18, 2013 3:03 AM
Is there a post someplace that actually describes how to research ships etc? I saw one FAQ but that pretty much assumed you were already familiar with the Campaign process.
eeon - Friday, February 22, 2013 4:04 PM
i dont really see the need to capture a ship like this except for cloning. other than that this double edged sword is basically a nutral device since everyone can use it regardless of who owns it. its the first time a nutral ship device has been placed in the game. and capturing it to dump the fuel in an attempt to nullify its use doesnt seem to make all that much sense either as another race can simply transfer fuel, set up a chunnel and bingo bango bongo they are thru the gate.

borg get to build a device for everyone. thats a nice change of things.yay! but yes i see the diplomatic feather that will now allow them to survive past the early game. boo-hoo on that one!

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