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Hello, and welcome to Stellaris: Reach for the Stars. This will be an After Action Report (AAR) on a playthrough of Stellaris that I will be doing, specifically for the purpose of writing an AAR here. The only rule I have set for myself so far is that I will be using the humans, in order to create at least a sense of familiarity with our primary race. Naturally, I will start us off in the 'Sol' system, which would be where Earth, Mars, Neptune, etcetera are located. In order to give you a short overview of what the 'race' will entail, as well as the parameters for the game and the creation of our galaxy, I will provide you a short list here.









As for Stellaris itself, it is a beautiful game that has sucked me in both with the stunning graphics, the interesting attention to detail in space, the stunning writing and the mixture of realism with sci-fi. Standard concepts are present - and more. The game ranges from fighting space pirates, to fighting giant space-monstrosities in the form of Leviathans, ancient, gigantic creatures that take varying shapes.

Please enjoy, whenever I write in here, and please feel free to post in this thread to critique, comment or suggest actions to take in the future (such as 'you should enslave those damn aliens' or 'purge them!' or 'make a zoo with all foreign aliens' or something!)
1 Jan 2017 17:57
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We are not alone.

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Looking over the cityscape of London through the glass in front of me, I wonder if the Chancellor made the right decision when he named me his personal assistant and advisor. Now that the United Nations of Earth have managed to construct a space-port, as well as several functional corvettes, a spaceship equipped with top-of-the-line radar and science equipment, and a spaceship equipped with building materials and even drones that can construct spacestations, I cannot help but wonder what the next step will be. The Chancellor had informed me that his eyes were pointed towards the Sol system, our very own system. I had agreed with him, as this seemed the reasonable step forwards.


Left to right: science ship, space-port, Earth, three corvettes, construction ship.


First, we survey the Sol system, see what we can find here in terms of minerals and energy sources. It seems that those two things will be key to our expansion... where ever that expansion might lead us. The Chancellor seemed to understand precisely what he'd need. Although I hadn't accepted the position of assistant and advisor to him, it seemed that my consent for the position was not needed, as I was more or less pressed into service. And so, the Chancellor sent me off to order the science ship to survey the system and report it's findings. Before I could leave his office, he also ordered me to order the construction of a second science ship, and hire a new lead-scientist to man it. We'd need to survey other systems as well, 'just in case' he said.

Not long after the science ship had already left to survey our nearby Moon - although we had surveyed it a few hundred times by then, the new science equipment aboard would ensure that nothing slipped our gaze this time. Sadly, nothing was found there, and the science ship continued it's way to Sol - the sun.

In the meantime, nothing of particular importance happened. I was spending my day going through the selection of scientists that had volunteered to man the new science ship that we were building. I was about to call it a day, when I received a transmission. Not a regular phone call, but a real transmission. From space. I hurriedly pressed the button to accept the transmission, and surprisingly, I looked right into the face of Dr. Yuen. He was the scientist aboard the spaceship that was currently orbiting the sun.



“Dr. Yuen, what a surprise to see you. Um.. is something wrong?” I asked him, since I had not expected a message so soon - or rather, at all.

“No, no, not at all! My dear friend, we have just made a remarkable discovery! Sol, our very own sun, if you can imagine, it's producing energy! And if we build a station here, we can harness that energy and turn it into, well, energy!”

“Ah.. yes, we've heard of solar power before, trust me, Dr. Yuen.”

“Solar power, what, no! Are you daft, I am talking about- well, nevermind, just transfer this data to the science department at the UN headquarters, and send that construction ship over to build a station here. They'll understand!”

And with that, Dr. Yuen ended the transmission. I didn't quite understand what he meant, since I wasn't sure how we could generate energy out of the sun without solar panels, but that was a matter for another time. Dr. Yuen was much smarter than I was, so I shouldn't question what he said, I told myself. After running it past the Chancellor, he agreed to build a station near the sun. 'If it doesn't produce power, at least we'll be able to monitor other things from there,' he reassured me when I asked if this was cost-efficient.

A few months passed, and we discovered a similar source of energy on Mercury, though it was slightly different. The new science ship had been completed, and the scientist was hired - an archeologist, which would turn out to be a life saving qualification, even if we did not quite realize it yet. He was sent to survey Barnard's Star, a nearby system that contained, as far as we knew, a few planets. Hopes were low, but it was on the way to another star, so we decided to send them there in any case.

During the time it took him to enter a hyperdrive towards Barnard's star, we received a.. cryptic and strange transmission from Dr. Yuen once again. In a message half-broken by obstructing storms, he alerted us to the fact that 'there are strange buildings on Jupiter' and that he'd like to 'land the damn ship to take a look at this martian prank.'

Permission was, of course, denied. Dr. Yuens specialty laid in biology, and as such, we recalled the new science ship, and ordered it to investigate the ruins - the archeologist would do a much better job than Dr. Yuen, we were sure. Dr. Yuen would be sent to Barnard's star in his stead, to ensure that we kept him occupied. Ultimately, this too turned out to be a lucky decision.

Within a month we received word from the archeologist.

“We are not alone,” he told me in a direct feed from Jupiter. It was a worrying thing, and I did not quite know how to respond. We are not alone? Was this like one of those old 'Alien' movies? But he quickly reassured me, seeing the horror in my face.

“.. or rather, we weren't. According to my findings, which are quite accurate if I may say so, there were aliens here some two million years ago. Using the science ships' powerful computer and AI, as well as some of my expertise, I translated some of these artifacts. While we were on Earth running around like tribals, they were here establishing something called 'The First League'. If I had to compare it to Earthly matters, I'd say it's quite comparable to the first League of Nations that was created after the first World War.”

“But the human first league failed, did it not?”

“Yes, and from what it looks like, this one did too.”

“They're dead?”

“Well, we didn't receive a welcome party, and nobody stopped us from trampling all over their buildings, so I'd say so, yes. The artifacts were untouched for two million years.”

“Well, that's... both saddening, and mildly reassuring. Continue your work, regardless, and survey the rest of Sol. Dr. Yuen didn't get to that yet.”

“Ah, one last thing, sir. If I may be so free, it seems like there are more of these artifacts. I'd be.. happy to uncover them, if we get the chance.”

“Understood.”



After that, I was given a mere two seconds of calm and peace, before a transmission from Dr. Yuen came in. In a distressed voice, he spoke those same familiar words. “We're not alone!”

“Calm down Dr. Yuen, you found more artifacts, didn't you?”

“Artifacts? What the hell are you talking about, you idiot! NO! I'm talking about these.. these.. giant space cows! Look!”

With a press of the button, he switched the relay feed to the on-board camera's, centering them on some foreign object in the distance. Once the camera properly focused, I nearly fell out of my chair from excitement. He wasn't kidding - there is.. life! We're not alone! I proclaimed loudly, the excitement clearly audible in my voice. Then it hit me, oh.. lord. We are not alone. Dr. Yuen seemed equally dissatisfied with the discovery. What if they were going to attack us?



“You need to scramble the three corvette's, and engage these things before the kill us!” he yelled at me, and for a moment I considered following his directions. But, ultimately, I did not.

“Is it fighting you?”

“W-well, no?”

“Then... exit the system using your hyperdrive?”

“B-but, we need to extract data from their innards once we blow them up!”

“We'll not blow up anything. We're no longer savages, so we will try to hail them on our communication devices and launch an investigation as to who these.. spaceships are.”

“I- but- okay, fine! But I want to be the one to investigate them! Damn advisor, I wanted to blow this thing up and-” End of communication relay.

That was a deal easily made, since he was a biologist and seemed to be the most capable of doing the job. Dr. Yuen returned to the Sol system and investigated the 'space cows.' In the meantime a press-release was made to the people of Earth, expressing that we had found some sort of life, or precursor society. Both these things excited the people of the United Nation of Earth, and it seemed like people were scared but excited to find out what laid beyond us.



The following months were somewhat uneventful - the surveying of the Sol system was completed, and the bounties were incomprehensibly large - but, never the less, not a ground breaking breakthrough compared to the precursor 'First League' that existed in the Sol System when we were still making huts out of mud and sticks. And also not nearly as interesting as the 'space cows' that Dr. Yuen had redubbed into the more scientific 'Tiyanki'. It didn't quite matter, because most people still referred to them as 'space cows' or 'space squids' or, well, just about any name that started with 'space' and ended with a reference to a regular earth animal.

Thankfully, the slur of disinterest was broken when Dr. Yuen ran into the Chancellors chamber during a standard routine meeting, yelling something about 'breakthroughs' and 'space cows' and other random assorted words that sounded scientific. I promptly stopped him, grabbing his shoulder and forcing him to take a few breaths before he continued, slightly more comprehensible this time.

“We've figured it out! These Tiyanki, or space cows, they're just.. regular animals, except they exist in space!”

“So they are not spaceships?”

“Well, they're as much as a spaceship as a regular earth cow is a racecar. They also don't really do much. Sadly.”

“What do you mean 'sadly?'”

“It's hard to gather data on them. They just 'swim' through space, from one gas giant to the other, seemingly 'grazing' on the gasses before leaving again and finding another gas giant. They're quite boring really. They also don't hunt - they seem to just graze on gasses. They didn't even attack our ships when we drifted really close to them.”

“That's... good news. We can safely avoid them and continue our mining operations then.”

“Hmm, well, if you ever happen to 'find' one that is 'dead' then please contact me so I can 'test' it thoroughly.”

“You... want us to blow one up for you so you can test its' innards.”

“Yes.”

“... we'll see. Dismissed, Dr. Yuen.”



Once Dr. Yuen had left the office, I looked at the Chancellor to see what he thought. He just smiled at me and nodded, before getting up and leaving the office. Sometimes, some days, it almost seemed like the Chancellor didn't really care about anything other than mining minerals. Me, on the other hand, I was preoccupied with wondering just.. what these Tiyanki were. And if there were Tiyanki, then did that mean.. there were other things too? We'd have to wait and see what was out there for us - we'd have to..

....
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1 Jan 2017 22:35
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Please enjoy, whenever I write in here, and please feel free to post in this thread to critique, comment or suggest actions to take in the future (such as 'you should enslave those damn aliens' or 'purge them!' or 'make a zoo with all foreign aliens' or something!)


Enable Ironman Mode ya pansy.
2 Jan 2017 0:12
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We are most definitely not alone.

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It had been a few years since I first entered service now - the Earthly year was 2200 when I entered service as the advisor and assistant, and now it was 2202. Much had changed in these two years. Some might even be brazen enough to say that these two last years had provided us with more insights than the last 2200. They would not be wholly incorrect.

However, there was also much we had yet to learn about Earth. It was about 8AM when the Chancellor called me into his office, wishing to speak about urgent matters. Obedient as ever, and blind to what I was about to be told, I entered that room. “Sit down,” Chancellor Gorney told me, as he beckoned towards the chair I usually sat in. Obediently, I obliged, and sat down. “We need to speak about.. something relating to Earth. Since day one, you have been heavily involved with our spacefaring projects, and I commend you for it, but it is time we combine Earthly matters and galactic matters.”

“Some scientists have argued that.. well, that Earth is on it's last legs. Not us, humans. We're fine. But Earth itself is dying, the planet is.. slowly decaying. For some time I have ignored them, but as of late the charts show that they have been right - and we need to do research. They will inform you about the rest of this all, but I just want you to know that.. well, the fate of Earth depends on this.”

Well, that was something I had definitely not wanted to hear. When did I become 'Commander Shepard?' This videogame that was ancient by now spoke of a hero that could save Earth, no, not even just Earth, the galaxy. But I wasn't so sure I could do it this time. It was bad enough when I left the room, but when I saw the star-charts that the scientists gave me with locations for planets we had to research, I just about gave up. They were far apart. I disregarded it all and just ordered the scientists to 'slowly explore their way to these sectors and survey anything in their path.' It had worked so far - it would have to work again.

By now, we had received the reports on Alpha Centauri. A nearby system with presumed habitable planets. When we arrived and surveyed, it seemed that the reports were correct - the planet was habitable. Immediately the plans for a colony ship were put in motion - gargantuan sized ships, that could house a few hundred thousand if not millions of people, in order to colonize a new planet.



And to top it off, we also received new reports from an expedition we had sent into some discovered remnants of a First League precursor cruiser. Little of use was found - we had hoped for.. valuable technology to reverse engineer, but it seemed like the ship had gone into battle. This was valuable intelligence in and of it's own - we immediately began researching new ways to arm our own fleet, as seemingly warfare was a threat even in the vacuum of space.

Besides this knowledge, we also found a Manifest of the ship, detailing who was on it and who they were. Seemingly, the First League cruiser contained... many different people - not humans, but.. different. They were long dead, but the logs showed that they were definitely from different species. Some type of alliance, perhaps, or a world where different species could cohabit and cooperate? What a goal to strive for! The Chancellor was less impressed, and had asked them about the minerals these species mined. There was no definitive answer.



Not much more than a year later, we received a distressing call from a system not too far away - Ozzagamum system. They reported seeing 'strange cystal like entities' and were ordered to return to a friendly system at once when they reported that 'the crystal seems to be shooting shards at us.' If these crystals were anything like the Tiyanka, we would have to investigate them first, so that is what we did following the discovery of these things. An investigation was launched soon, and the reports were promising, but also indicated it would be some time before we'd receive results.





As the research on these new entities progressed, yet another distress call came in from a system on the other side of Earth, namely Jabeth system. There were eerie reports of 'a wormhole suddenly opening' and 'ships coming through.' Before the order to retreat to a friendly system was given, the ship then reported that the ship had come through the wormhole, clearly spotted them, but continued on it's way to survey the system, just like the science ship of the United Nations of Earth had been doing.

Attempts to hail the ships on the comms system went ignored, and in one attempt, were returned with a garbling mess of what we presume to be a language of some sort. I shook my head when I read this report, and wondered just what the hell was going on - space whales, space crystals, and now wormholes opening at will and summoning ships that do not answer our communication with anything other than angry gorbl's and garbl's. Thinking back, perhaps it had been foolish to assume that all aliens spoke the Queens' English, but what else was I going to think?

Never the less, the science ship continued surveying the system, this time with a new found wariness for the other ship. No incidents were reported, not even as the ships flew by each other more than once.



Although one would come to expect a large amount of new information and events to occur upon traveling to space, one would not imagine they would occur this frequently. New reports came in, this time of sentient life on another planet. Due to the reports of the space faring entities in the Jabeth system not yet being completed, this was the first public knowledge of sentient life on other planets and, as a result, caused a surge in the biological and sociological fields. Sadly for these people, the sentients we found were not quite as advanced as we were, and were merely primitives. Still, it was a large gain for science.

The species, which appears to be related to some sort of snake, was described as 'nomadic,' traveling from place to place even in communities. They were also said to be extraordinarily strong, some lifting rocks with great ease. They lived primarily in the desert or arid areas, as was evident from their 'choice of planet'. Years of evolution must have done that. For a moment we considered taking the planet for ourselves, seeing as it was able to sustain life, but a quick survey provided us with the information that we could not expect humans to live here unless we terraformed the planet - which was out of our scope at this point.

I also asked myself the question as to whether we should uplift them or not. Surely they would benefit from having us swoop in and teach them science, rocketry, weaponry, and greater things? The idea was discarded by the Chancellor, who said it was too costly, and that we could not expect them to be friendly to us. Still, the idea lingers. One day we will try it - and we will succeed.





There is much more to discuss, my dear journal - but I am afraid that duty calls. Tomorrow I will spell out the secrets of our discoveries for you even further - I will talk of our first contact, Project Atlas, and the fabled Ceramic Pot Project.




The post was getting too long, and I have a lot more material to cover for the first ten years. The rest will come tomorrow - please enjoy!
2 Jan 2017 0:13
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@Terminal Sadly, that requires me to have Steam cloud activated. I'd consider it for a regular playthrough when I understand the game better but as of yet, I am still just screwing around and exploring my options ;) I hope you are enjoying it regardless.
2 Jan 2017 0:31
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In your post you said you had already covered the first ten years. In the future, could you alert us to when we might be able to meaningfully interject/make suggestions prior to you taking action?

So that I can tell you to murder them all before you make peace with them. '-'
2 Jan 2017 0:33
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@Terminal I currently have material that can cover at least one more post, be it however long that might be. I haven't gone to war yet (actually, kinda pissing my pants and looking to explore the other way, you'll see) so..

I'll try to leave tomorrows post on a bit more of an open ending but I'm afraid there's not much to really say about things for now. I can let you name a planet, if you want.
2 Jan 2017 1:25
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Rename your Homeworld to Fatboy Slim. '-'

Alternatively, if you refuse to do that, name the next planet you colonize Fatboy Slim.
2 Jan 2017 14:30
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The future of Mankind in question

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After the discovery of the Vun-Okon species that lived in the arid deserts of their homeworld, our communication hub was targeted with a foreign transmission, and for a short period of time chaos ruled the communication division of the UNE headquarters. But once the transmission cleared up, it became evident that the species that had opened a wormhole in the Alpha Centauri system not too long ago and surveyed the system had managed to translate our language, and was now using on-board computers to automatically translate as they spoke. We were amazed to find that we could communicate with them in English.

They spoke of themselves as the 'League of Gorothi Territories' and were prompt to inform us to 'not mess with their citizens or territories' and were also rather quick to inform us that they considered Alpha Centauri to be part of their space territory. Within a moment they had shattered the dreams of the first human colony in Alpha Centauri - questioning the capability of a war against these people with three mere corvettes was not precisely what the Chancellor and me were planning to do. We accepted the outcome of this, and the Gorothians were prompt to also inform us that, in fact, they owned two planets.

Mankind had large steps to take in the galaxy, it seemed, and we were faced with a realization that the science team had not been right when they spoke of a 'similarly advanced space nation like ours' when we first found these creatures - they were in fact much more advanced. And they were, in fact, also very hostile. Dreams of a second 'First League' which included many different species of aliens were immediately shattered upon the realization that these aliens were much more interested in subjugating us than working together. Never the less, we responded by telling them 'co-operation will surely benefit us all.' The laughs from the other side made clear just who we were dealing with..



A few months after this discovery, a science ship reported back that they had found 'massive skeletal remains' of some sort on a planet. After investigating, they found reason to mount an expedition on full scale and requested our permission. Naturally, it was granted, as the pursuit of knowledge was one of mankind's greatest wishes. I would be lying if I said I was not curious at all either - perhaps that weighed in my decision to grant permission somewhat.



During this investigation, the other science ship reportedly was en-route to the first planet we were supposed to survey to gain knowledge on how to prevent the mass extinction of planet Earth. The planet Darep III was considered a planet that at one point sustained life, but could no longer do so now due to freezing temperatures that can not possibly sustain.. well, anything.


UNS Constitution en-route to Darep III


At the same time the colony ship was completed, and it was sent off to system Sirius - daftly named after a famous character in the ancient Harry Potter novels. The system was not the best system available, but after the Gorothians took Alpha Centauri from our list, we were forced to re-evaluate and re-consider our plans. Sirius was considered to be the best alternative, as it offered access to some minerals, and above all, would grow our influence over the galaxy, and allow us to potentially challenge the Gorothians claim to Alpha Centauri.

According to our scientists, the colony ship could sustain life in cryo-stasis for a long time, but fortunately the hyperdrive on the ship meant that the civilians on board only had to enter cryo-sleep for approximately a year. That meant that galactic politics were unlikely to change during that time - at least, as far as the Humans were concerned, as the Gorothians had other plans. I remember when the initial shock of meeting 'sentient, talking sea-slugs' passed and was replaced with fear. We would have to see if those fears turned out to be true.

The new planet, Sirius III, was re-dubbed 'Atlas' and the ship began it's slow descent into the orbit of the planet. There had been plans to auction the naming of the planet off to who-ever would pay enough for that honor, but after the submission 'Fatboy Slim' came in, it was decided that they would not auction off the naming of the planet just quite yet. After all, it was the first planet, and it was a monumental moment in the history of Humans. ... perhaps a third planet.







Initial reports from the planet were good - people were adjusting to the cryo-sleep quite well and immediately began converting the ship into a planetary administration. As the advisor, I used my power to immediately send forwards some resources to them in the form of minerals, and I ordered the construction of two hydroponic farms ahead of time, to ensure there was plenty of food so that they would grow rapidly. A stagnant planet was a bad planet.

It was now that the reports from the 'gigantic skeleton' came back. Although there was nothing of note - besides the wildlife on that planet, which was said to be particularly ferocious - it was still an interesting find. My questions were answered with the report, as it turned out that something or someone had sent the creature through.. some sort of portal, which to my best guesses would equate to a wormhole?

“So, this creature passed through a portal?”

“That's correct.”

“Is there any chance it made one itself? I mean, the Tiyanki are capable of hyperdrive travel between systems, so perhaps..?”

“Perhaps, but since only the skeleton remains, it's not really something we can check.”

“Do you think the Gorothians know?”

“Those spaceslugs- ah, sorry, those.. democratic Gorothians, they probably won't be willing to help us.”

“I see, well, thank you for your service, please mark the location somewhere and continue your work. London out.”



As you can tell from the logs and transcripts, I had increasingly gotten used to my position as the assistant and advisor to the Chancellor - though at times I felt like I was the one doing all the work concerning space and the galaxy in general.

But just when I was thinking that we would run out of things to explore and discover some times soon (the galaxy is only so large, after all, right? And our pace was tremendous..) a new transmission came in. “Sir, we have discovered.. ceramics floating in orbit around a sun.”

“A pot?”

“... yyyyes... you can call it a pot. So, do you want us to investigate it?”

“.. uh, sure, why not.”

“Copy.”

“Uhh.. yeah, copy. London out.”

The research would be done somewhat soon, but I was curious as to what the ceramics contained. The thing was apparently flying around a sun named 'Kazoo.' Hopefully not named after that awful instrument, I thought to myself, while I received an image from space that showcased the science ship hovering near Kazoo to investigate.



This marked the end of my first ten years as advisor and assistant to the chancellor. But what was next? In a short period of time we had gone from being the only creatures in the galaxy, to becoming an underdog, having our primary target for colonization taken from us, threatened by space-slugs.. but also to discovering great new things, skeletal remains of big creatures, ceramic pots flying around suns, a new colony, and the knowledge that there might be other spacefaring civilizations out there for us to meet and learn from.

But the real question is, what would be our next move?

3 Jan 2017 2:20 3 Jan 2017 2:22
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Sirius was not named after-

I am having a hard time determining whether you were being serious about that.

Anyway, you are not quite done being overwhelmed yet. Explore a touch more in the direction of your Galaxy's Rim - you should shortly find one or two of your Fallen Empires, and that will be a treat.

Also, you have an important choice to make now - Rush or Growth, and I am not talking about your military efforts. With every additional colony you make and with every pop above 10 (across your entire empire), Research becomes more difficult to complete in a timely fashion. In order to not be left behind in the stardust, you are going to want to pursue a specialized tactic or else find a balance that will let you keep pace with your neighbors.

If you decide to rush, completely forget about colonizing more planets (maybe one more if it has more than 20 tiles on it) - grind up Political Influence and start placing Frontier Outposts in resource rich areas to handle your needs there. It might interest you to know, you could potentially use such an outpost to Culture Bomb the League and steal Alpha Centauri back from them, assuming it is close enough to their border. I digress though - you can try a Rush tactic by building tall on the spot and using frontier outposts, then build your few colonies tall with research facilities. This will hit you pretty hard later in the game production-wise when you have to start competing with the industries of the blase AI, but you'll have a pretty hefty tech advantage from the get-go.

If you go for a growth approach - drop everything you are doing and start colonizing like crazy. Not every habitable planet you find though - only shoot for planets with 16 tiles or more, anything else is too much of a waste considering the Research penalty. Then invest in the infrastructure of your planets and try to go for a research-oriented ecology on each. This will leave you sucking wind until the midgame, but once everything is built up you'll probably be the dominant scientific power in the galaxy thanks in part to your Fanatic Materialist ethos. The eventual goal of this approach is to overpower the Research penalty by adding more science per planet than average.
3 Jan 2017 15:06
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@Terminal kek. I'm not a fan of space or anything related to it except for sci-fi games. I'm just making things up as I go along - the role of dumb advisor suits me quite well.

I knew it wasn't named after that, but didn't know what it was named after. It's more funny to pretend I thought it was named after that.

I'm probably gonna go for a mixture of those two - looks to be promising to expand more 'south' or downwards on the map but I'll need a stronger fleet to manage to do that.

3 Jan 2017 15:41
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End-session oversight




Expansion of technology and planetary ownership alike,
long live the materialist reign of the UNE.


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Things had been calm for some time - the first ten years of mankinds steps into space were truly remarkable and, as expected, filled with new discoveries and realizations alike. They were a busy ten years, that were divided into three logs in my logbook journal. The next fifteen years would not quite bring the same amount of new information worthy of sharing.

But all calm must come to an end once.

It was quite early in the morning when a military steward rudely awoke me from my sleep, seemingly having broken into my office for some reason. “Sir! We have reports of pirates coming in, sir!” he yelled at me while I was still sleeping on my desk, trying my best to ignore him and continue my sleep. But, he did not relent, and continued to shake my body until I was forced to wake up and address him. “Sir, what should we do?”

“Do.. what.. against who?”

“The pirates, sir! They call themselves.. Shipjackers. A menacing name, for a menacing group of good-for-nothing space brigands.”

“Shipjackers? ... it's ... creative?” Not really. Did they just think 'what do we do? Jack ships! So what's our name? Shipjackers!' Regardless, brigands were brigands and needed to be dealt with. “Steward, tell me, are they within our territories?”

“No sir.”

“Then how the hell do we know that they exist, and know their name to boot?”

“They uh, well, they kind of sent a message to our comms hub, and declared themselves the sovereign owner of 'our asses' and then continued to yell and scream. It was.. confusing.”

“Well, send them a message to go raid the Gorothian supply lines, since they're not in our territory and therefore not our problem.”

“.. yes sir!”

The pirates never appeared in my territory and as a result I don't know where they went.

It was a good thing that they didn't mess with us, because our fleet of corvettes had slowly been growing, to a larger fleet of 12 ships now, armed with Mark Two projectile weapons. No nukes or lasers for us - yet. Regardless, we were quite sure that if the pirates came to mess with our trading routes, they'd pay the price for it. Conform to our standards or die, damnit!



Later that day we received word on the Pot Project - finally! We had been waiting for so long to see what was contained within the pot. Sadly the news was rather sombre. “It's strange, but there's nothing in there, and we are not quite sure how the pot even got there to be honest. In fact, we've started to wonder if it's really there,” the reporting scientist said over the transmission feed. The entire room of scientists and interested officials sighed, disappointed with the outcome.

“On the other hand, we have spent our time investigating this pot reflecting on our inner selfs and have compiled a list of interesting philosophical thoughts. Uh.. somehow this has increased our influence over the galaxy. Again.. not quite sure how that happened either.”



Some months later during routine exploration and survey routes, we encountered a strange heavily armed fortress in orbit around a Pulsar star. The fortress didn't shoot, so we presumed it to be friendly, and hailed it on our on-board comm-lines. But sadly, we received no answer. After surveying the star, we left the system and ordered the scientist departments at the London UNE department to begin making contact and translating their language.

Luckily for us, the aliens beat us to it and managed to translate our language first. Impressive, but not wholly unexpected once they introduced themselves as the 'Curators.' They posed themselves to be a scared group of scientists and protectors of technology, in order to prevent the galaxy from plunging itself into another mass extinction. Apparently this cycle had been going on for some time - and that would also explain why the fortress looked so strange, unlike anything we had seen before. Furthermore, it would also explain why our radars gave them a rather high military power score. They must have had all the time in the world to invest in defenses.

They offered us their services and we immediately bought ten star charts, to avoid having to scout them ourselves. It meant we had to pass up on our chances of detecting anomalies and other interesting things, but it also meant we would be able to detect inhabitable planets without having to go there ourselves.



In an effort to appease the curators, to show them we were just as interested in technology and science as they were, we constructed an observation post to observe the primitives on another planet. There was much to learn from them and their social constructs, which contributed heavily to our sociological research - not wholly unwelcome either.



Years passed, in which nothing of real importance happened except the continuation of our scouting of those planets we needed to survey to find out how to save Earth from mass extinction. One day however we received a report that spoke of 'a Gaia world' in a world that was uncovered in a new set of star charts bought from the Curators. We started constructing a new colony ship that was to be named the UNS 'Ark of Noah' but sadly, our initial scouts also reported that there was a large amount of crystaline constructs about the planet, and an even larger amount of them in the same sector. The plans for the colony ship were not scrapped however as there were other planets we could inhabit.

Sarack I would be liberated later, and hopefully, colonized by human settlers. It was, after all, in a prime position to stop the Gorothians from expanding even further and becoming more hostile to us. While war was initially not among our thoughts when it came to the Gorothians, it seemed like it was becoming more and more inevitable. They had named us their rivals and closed their borders to our ships, preventing us from accessing the final planet we needed to research to save Earth.

We did not declare them our rivals just yet, but we did close our borders to their ships as well. If anything, this would slow them down at least a little bit. Things were beginning to look up for us now, and we were continuously exploring. We were held back at every turn, it seemed like, but that didn't stop us from overcoming our challenges. One of these was the encounter of 'space amoeba's' which looked like giant bacteria in space. We decided to satisfy our biologists, and promised to kill one as they appeared to be hostile regardless. Perhaps there were things we could learn yet about how they survived and traveled?

And finally, we found what we believe to be the home base of the crystal entities, only one system away from Sarack. There were more powerful looking entities here, as well as a singular large entity. Our biologists and physicists theorized that this was 'the leader' although it wasn't quite clear what capacity of leadership this ... thing had.







A few months later we received reports that were more important to the survival of Humankind. “Sir, Alpha Centauri is now within our reach!” This would turn out to be a great day for Earth and it's colonies after all.

“How, though? Didn't the Gorothians own it?”

“Well, we developed a technology that allowed us to expand our borders.”

“... what.”

“How to explain.. we interfaced with the Gorothian border generating interface and algorithm, and then changed it so that it would expand our borders by 20 percent.”

“So you just changed a few things and now we own the system?”

“That's a simplified version I suppose, and doesn't really do credit to our genius, but I suppose that is what happened.”

“.. okay, begin construction of a new colony ship immediately to secure Alpha Centauri for good.”

One day these hacking scientists would get us into trouble, but it seemed like the Gorothians had not noticed that they just lost their, perhaps, most important science system. It seemed like something you'd pay attention to, but well, perhaps the sea slugs were less inventive and advanced than we thought.





It seemed that our ambitions had not gone unnoticed either. Luckily, the Gorothians were none the wiser, but our comm hub picked up on another transmission from another system, and soon after we were contacted by 'The Panuri Nation' who had apparently managed to translate our language. Hm, it seemed like English was proving to be quite a security liability.

They seemed friendly enough however, and seemed to share our materialist ambitions! Furthermore, they were incredibly pacifistic. It seemed like this would be our first ally in the galaxy, perhaps even an ally for when we were forced to fight the Gorothians? Time would tell, but they were happy to sell us star charts in trade for our own star charts. This allowed us to see the borders of yet another empire, whom we quietly translated the language of and then contacted, to see just what they were and what they were like. Once again, we were lucky, as these new aliens who called themselves the 'Provalguvor Republic' seemed similarly interested in being friends, rather than fighting like the Gorothians.



3 Jan 2017 21:06
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Avatar of Terminal

Terminal Rancorous Narrative Proxy

Contest Mod Seen 19 Jan 2017 8:28

The League of Goroth Territories is constraining your growth and occupies space that should have been yours.

MURDER THEM TO THE LAST DESPERATE REMNANT.

Declare war. Demand the cleansing of every one of their planets and the seizure of their capital. Then let the PURGES commence. TAKE what should be YOURS.

If you can find the money, make a deal with the Curators. You may also find it worthwhile to build a frontier outpost in the same star system, which will prevent other powers from exploring it should you close your borders - denying them the advantage of any kind of relationship with the curators.
3 Jan 2017 21:16
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Avatar of Buddha

Buddha I'd rather be a wolf of Odin than a lamb of God

Member Seen 19 Jan 2017 18:51

@Terminal Ugh. You know, the Gorothi beat you to it, and barged in with a 3.1k fleet while I was running around with a mere 800 power fleet. I think they were an advanced empire spawn - regardless, they uh.. more or less killed my empire. I'm afraid that this will already be the end of the AAR, lol.
3 Jan 2017 21:48
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Avatar of The Spectre

The Spectre Rogue Agent

Member Seen 19 Jan 2017 18:22

Oh shit, you are doing an AAR of my favorite sci-fi strategy game. Sign me up. By the way, do you have other strategy games like EU IV and/or Victoria II?
3 Jan 2017 22:03
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Avatar of Buddha

Buddha I'd rather be a wolf of Odin than a lamb of God

Member Seen 19 Jan 2017 18:51






It seems that space slugs do not enjoy humans,
not even as food.


—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————


The knowledge of war was quite big for humans - we had after all experienced decades of war, and had compiled books upon books on the art of warfare. So, it should come as no surprise, that the humans were not too surprised when they heard of the report that there was now war - started by a pacifist empire no less. We did not interfere, as it was not our place and we likely did not have the power to do so either. Our fleet was 20 corvettes strong at this moment which was barely enough to police our own systems. We did not see a reason in entering a war, as this would 'result in a net loss of minerals anyway.'

Instead we focused on continuing our exploration. We were faced with another space station that much resembled that of the curators. We knew what to do now - so we launched an investigation, started communication, and began translating their language. When that was done, these people revealed themselves to be 'the Artisan Troupe.' Some kind of vague space-station filled with good-for-nothings that instead of brigandry had chosen to spend their lives making 'art' and selling it. A worthy goal.. had it not been for the fact that their interpretation of art was very different from ours.





We said our farewells to them and did not expect to need their help in the future. We continued our exploration routines and focused on our home systems again, where we decided to upgrade our frontier post on the 'south' border of the Gorothian seaslug empire. Here we built many mining and research stations to mine the plentiful resources and knowledge.



While this was happening, we also made a point out of it to actually combat-test our ships. We engaged with some crystals, as we were quite sure we could break them and destroy them. Our scientists, too, were eager to see what the crystals were made of and what we could learn from their ... 'dead bodies.' So to speak.

The engagement went swimmingly and we did not encounter any problems, though we lost two ships in the combat as the crystals shot their .. crystals at us. We referred to these as 'shards.' Sadly we could not discover and replicate the throwing of shards as weapons for ourselves, but our scientists did discover that we could use the left-over crystals from the entities as shielding in our hulls, to reinforce them and strengthen them. This seemed like a good idea, but needed to be researched more for us to be sure that it would work.

To me, it seemed like a good idea, as the Gorothian threat was growing ever larger and our neighbors had not yet offered their help.



As time passed, we also discovered a black hole with a space station nearby. As we translated their comms again, we discovered they were another curator enclave. While this was not so interesting, we did take a nice picture of the black hole in the distance with the spacestation hovering in front.



As our science ships continued exploring the galaxy, making our way around it entirely to get to the planet we needed to survey (the last one!) to stop the mass extinction of planet Earth, we also came across something that our scientists referred to as 'a ring world.' This thing was impressive on its' own, as we could not imagine building such a thing let alone having the technology to even dream it up. But as we surveyed it, we found out that the metal was in fact living. An impressive thing, and our scientists thought they might've been able to replicate it.

The application of that was something I could not think of but the scientists assured me they would find some material use for it. That was satisfying to hear, at least. We might earn minerals off of it.



The following years were of little importance, perhaps, in the grand scheme of things. Greater things were afoot, though the Human empire did not quite realize that yet. We grew our empire and improved on our infrastructure, building new food plants and power plants, and mining up more minerals than ever before.

But nothing we did could possibly save us. This will likely be my last journal entry, as the Gorothians have declared they will harvest our meat. They have declared war.






The following is a compilation of precursor artifacts found by a species that inhabited Sol and it's surrounding regions a few million years later. The human race had fallen, but their memory had not - that is, if the species could find enough of the artifacts.






“Sir, we have confirmation that the Gorathian fleet is approaching Alpha Centauri space-port.”

“Order space-port to engage.”

“Copy. Alpha Centauri, you are cleared to engage targets at will. God speed.”

“... do we have a visual on the fight?”

“Coming up now sir.”

In front of the military general, a screen flickers momentarily before a nearby scout ship transmits a video signal, showing the carnage occurring directly above Alpha Centauri. As the mass drivers of the space port whirl up and begin engaging targets, it takes down a mere three corvettes before the fleet overpowers it and shoots it down. The spaceport breaks up into pieces and the pieces drift away, some of them heading towards the planet. The destruction that will be caused by these massive pieces of steel would be unimaginable, but before they can even land on Alpha Centauri, the fleet rolls on it's axis and begins shooting it's drivers at Alpha Centauri. The hits, which are enormous, can be seen from space.

“By God.”

“Sir, we have lost communcation with Alpha Centauri south colony. North colony is reporting heavy losses and Gorothian dropships approaching. They are requesting exfiltration, but there are no ships left to exfiltrate them. Please advise.”

“... close down the comms to Alpha Centauri. Bring report to high command that Alpha Centauri is lost and should be considered Gorothian territory now.”

“Sir?”

“You heard me. They're dead - we can't do anything for them. Scramble the fleet and order them to approach Earths' spaceport.”

“... yes sir. Shutting down communications to Alpha Centauri. ... God help them.”

“There is no God, dead or alive, that can help them now.”






As the fleet positions itself above Earth, just like they had done in Alpha Centauri, the debris from the human fleet being destroyed is already starting to enter the orbit towards Earth. They had attempted to escape towards Earth when it was clear that the 30 corvettes could not win the battle against the 64 enemy corvettes and the cruisers they had brought along. It had been futile, as during the escape the remnants were shot down with remarkable ease.

The Gorothian forces continued their display of superiority, shooting down at Earth, bombarding it and obliterating whatever resistance was still there. While the military of the UNE scrambled to organize, VTOL ships flying to and fro, attempting to centralize some form of military resistance, the Gorothian dropships once again approached.

From the apartment of the man that was once the advisor and assistant to the Chancellor - who had died during the initial stages of the war - you could see clearly the shells raining down on earth as the Gorothian forces entered London. In the streets, combat roared. The First Defense Garrison of London prepared to repel the attack, taking up a stand near the UNE headquarters.

The gunfire was louder than one would think, the characteristic shots of the human guns rivalling the strange and foreign clacks of the Gorothian weaponry. At first, the gunfire had been fierce, but over time screams, yells and black smoke took over.

In the headquarters themselves, the garrison was now trying to hole up after a mere fifteen minutes of combat. For every Gorothian they had killed they had lost five men themselves. As they protected the front entrance, building a chokepoint out of debris and whatever machine guns they left, a shell from orbit hit the building, blasting an opening in the top. Whoever wasn't dead right away would die almost immediately at the hands of elite Gorothian forces that were now entering in a dropship through the new hole.

Deeper down in the headquarters, the scientists were busy destroying or preserving whatever they could find. The humans did not intend to give the Gorothian an even bigger advantage over the next civilization they attempted to conquer. It wouldn't matter ultimately - the sea-slugs-in-space found little use for whatever humans had cooked up, considering their own technology far more impressive.

One scientist was busy moving a desk to cover his door, barricading himself in to buy some more time for himself to destroy whatever scientific things were on his personal computer. Just as he was dragging the desk somewhat close to the door, the door swung open, revealing two space-slugs staring at him. He quickly reached for a pistol, but one of the Gorothian scumbags grabbed his arm and came closer with it's face, it's two mustache-tentacles moving when it did. It unleashed a roar of sorts, and then the other seaslug raised its' gun and mowed the scientist down with a barrage of at least thirty bullets. The clack of the gun would alert the rest of the hallway to their presence, but the Gorothians were okay with that. They wanted the humans to fear them, so that whoever would be caught as slave would serve their new master faithfully and would not think of stupid things like 'rebellion.'

Such ended the reign of the United Nations of Earth





Sorry for a lack of pictures of the war, I was too busy yelling 'what the fuck' at my screen when I saw the declaration of war to realize that I was still in the progress of writing the AAR. I hadn't expected for the AAR to end so soon, but there's nothing left to really do, as they took both Alpha Centauri and Sol, and I don't have anything left I can work with.
3 Jan 2017 22:04
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Avatar of Buddha

Buddha I'd rather be a wolf of Odin than a lamb of God

Member Seen 19 Jan 2017 18:51

Oh shit, you are doing an AAR of my favorite sci-fi strategy game. Sign me up. By the way, do you have other strategy games like EU IV and/or Victoria II?


I have EUIV, EUIII, Vicky 2, CK2, etc. Only missing HOI.
4 Jan 2017 0:40
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Avatar of Terminal

Terminal Rancorous Narrative Proxy

Contest Mod Seen 19 Jan 2017 8:28

It is a kill or be killed world.

Speaking of which, shameless plug ahoy, making preparations to start a Xenonauts AAR. Alien Genocide ON THE ALIENS guaranteed.
4 Jan 2017 0:44
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Avatar of Buddha

Buddha I'd rather be a wolf of Odin than a lamb of God

Member Seen 19 Jan 2017 18:51

@Terminal That's good because I don't intend to start another one right away. It takes a lot of effort, actually.
9 Jan 2017 11:17
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Avatar of Gowi

Gowi Exponentially Incessantly Pedantic

Member

Yeah, I think you lasted longer than my last CK2 AAR, lol.
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