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War of the Ancients.

mike wightman

SOC-14 10K
This subject has had me fascinated since it was first mooted in long ago library data.

I am going to run a game set during the Ancients war.

It will begin on Earth with the characters being a mixture of human, vargr, android, droyne, or sentient machine.

One of the factions will attack the Earth station and the characters will be the only survivors and must try to figure out what is going on.

There are the various Ancient children and grandchidren, and grandfather himself of course, but there are also those other races that MegaTraveller hinted at, and a couple of all new ones.

So, has anyone ever tied this sort of thing, and, if so, how did it go?
I wrote it all up before my Hard Drive got fried. Essentially, you are looking at the Droyne being passive carriers of the Ancient civilization. Even before Grandfather, they were according to AM an Interstellar Civilization.

Each of the Children had approximately one Imperial Sector of Space to call their own. In that space they created wonders beyond belief from the starbridge to supernovae just to make the night sky seem prettier.

Humans had their place as couriers, pets and slaves to the Children.

There were at least 10 precursor races some of official/some I created on my own.

Grandfather was an ordinary Droyne worker until he was exposed to the mysterious artifact known as the library.

The Ancient War initially was not between the Droyne themselves rather it was something known as the Enemy...which then infected them...creating a war against all.

As I said I lost all my files in Hard Drive fire...Swordy who was my editor might have a back-up.
Originally posted by kafka47:
he Ancient War initially was not between the Droyne themselves rather it was something known as the Enemy...which then infected them...creating a war against all.
"There are beings in the universe, onlder than my race and your race, the oldest of them are the Shadows, we have no other name for them."
- Delenn, Babylon 5 (but imagone a Droyne saying this, replacing "Shadows" with "Enemy"...)

All in all, I love these ideas - and it is similar to IMTU's Precursors and Inheritors idea.
maybe the Droyne 'enemy' was the virus from TNE?...afterall, the ancients where crawling all over this area of space, maybe they found it..got the 'infection' (and the rest is history)

imagine the carnage of ancient technology infected with the tne virus?.....

just a thought...
Id love to hear people's ideas on what caused the Ancient war... bickering with ya kids just doesnt seem 'all powerfully smart' to me. :)
Originally posted by Korgie:
Id love to hear people's ideas on what caused the Ancient war... bickering with ya kids just doesnt seem 'all powerfully smart' to me. :)
Actually, I've always liked that. Here's my take on it:

IMTU Yaskodray was truly "Grandfather" to the Droyne. Droyne society is intrinsically linked to Grandfather's idea of a perfect society (which is again instrinsically linked with Yaskodray's mind and it's incredible abilities). All had a place, all had a role, all was structured and ordered. He was creator, he was explorer, he was father, he was teacher.

Unfortunately, those roles conflicted. While he made his children in his image...he made them too well. They were not as locked into certain thought patterns, they were not as rigid, they were more individual, distinct, and above all random than he was. They surpassed him in a way. They were able to create that he was not.

Now, Yaskodray must have been precognitive. It seems to be an inherent, if rare, ability of the Droyne. So here was the most powerful psionic known...and he didn't see his children changing. He didn't see them become something other than his original design, his original plan. He had his own projects and researches, so he paid little attention to the children. After all, he had made them so he knew what they would do and not do.

So Yaskodray was blissfully unaware. Until one day he decided it was time to do something else, go somewhere new. He would need help, so there was no question that his children would obey and help him.

Except they didn't. Except they refused. Except they disobeyed...and he never saw it coming.

It was the single greatest shock in his existence. In fact, it may well have been the only shock of his existence. He may even have been literally unable to conceive that they would refuse. His perfect, structured, ordered universe began to crack. So as many have throughout human history, he lashed out. He struck back.

With all the fury that a veritable god had at his disposal. Worlds cracked. Nebulae boiled. Stars died. Who can imagine how many nascent civilizations were destroyed? How many planets would now have life if it wasn't for that great War?

Perhaps his children's greatest strength was also their greatest weakness. They may have been unable to fathom the extent of his displeasure...or even that he'd care in the first place. Maybe they were unable to imagine the singlemindedness he could put to his task to destroy them all. After all, how do you fight someone that plans on the order of millenia, someone that fired the first shot centuries before you knew there was even a war?

In the end, Yaskodray won. An orderly being, he may likely attempted to tidy up after himself and his children. The biggest surprise is that he left their surviving works mostly untouched, thus the many examples of their projects. He may have felt some small responsibility towards his species so he likely Droyne-formed several worlds scattered throughout known space. Finally out of sadness, out of hubris or perhaps even simple apathy, he retired from this part of the universe.

He will not return. He has no need to. All of this has simply been forgotten.
Here are some of my preliminary thoughts, there are gaps, and half formed ideas.

There were many starfaring races prior to grandfather, but none who could break the lighspeed barrier. Some even created colony worlds, empires and the like.

These are the old races.

The chirpers were one of the younger races at the time they were discovered by precursors. These beings by now had developed psionic teleportation drives. They regarded the chirpers, with their insect like castes, as worthy of some study.

The chirpers were bioengineered to become droyne, at the same time as the nanovirus granted psionic powers it was also able to reset genes and initiate the transformation that produces casted droyne.

Grandfather didn't discover jumpspace, he created it in the first place.

Grandfather's new research project was to find out about the precursor races, where had they gone, and what was their link with the metaconscious entities in and beyond jump space.

Grandfather discovered that several of his children were also investigating the jump space MCEs, and began to suspect that several of them were acually "possessed".

This is when the war began.
Just a couple of things, since I usually go for big and loud with my Ancients.

Gravity manipulation will have reached an ultimate expression with the Ancients. Quantum black holes that are set to completely decay via Hawking radiation at specified times make great weapons (a spinal mount that shoots these would be the ultimate expression of the meson gun concept). Quantum black holes can also be used to ignite gas giants and stars - see the article Lighting Stars in Robert Zubrin's book Entering Space for all the details.

Wormhole use will be happening during Ancient times. Personally, IMTU Grandfather began the War of Extermination because he found that some of his progeny were playing with wormholes - and time travel. Time travel in anyone's hands except Grandfather's would definitely be considered a threat and keep Grandfather awake at night. For a good example of reasons why, take a look at Allen Steele's book Chronospace.

If these ideas appeal to you, run with them! But please, be kind and let me know how they worked out in your games.
I intend to have a variety of extreme tech depending on the race and the child/grand child.

Singularity reactor powered self aware ships, zero point modules, portal network ships etc.

Jeff, I like the sound of a quantum singularity cannon - consider that one borrowed.

Jumpgates, wormhole generators, they'll all be there somewhere.
Meson gun pointed through a jumpgate.

Jump 6, AI piloted antimatter bombs.

Deadfall “bombs” moving half the speed of light.

Ish…sounds fun.
^ My group has played out a similar campaign. The starting premise was that the group were Droyne thralls fighting against the hideously devious Hivers and their Solomani henchmen. IMTU, the Droyne and Hivers are both ancient races with diametrically opposed agendas; both using humans, Vargr, Aslan, and K'kree as pawns.

Each group member was a commander of an elite group of warriors; A Vilani command staff, a Zhodani infiltration team, a Vargr pathfinder team, and an Aslan heavy combat unit. Behind each player was a group of NPC's of the same race that they could draw on for missions (their troops or staff). Their benefactor was a particularly vicious Droyne master who doled out horrendous punishment for loses (the highest ranking NPC's became the next PC's, after a bungled mission and the public execution of course). The missions were typical, ranging from search and destroy to all out planetary assaults. Lots of fun had by all.

What the players finally came to realize was they were in MTU's long forgotten past and they were really on the side of the aggressors in the conflict. They eventually played out the rebellion against their evil Droyne masters and the internal strife that led to the races splitting apart to return to their homeworlds (or to find homeworlds of their own).

I made a concious effort not to allow the tech levels available to the players to exceed those found at the peak of the 3I. Their masters had access to awe inspiring terror weapons but they didn't. As with the Jaffa and the Goauld, once the slaves figured out the master's weren't all powerful gods, it really didn't matter how fancy the tech was as long as it killed Droyne.
Don't forget moving planets through jump space...
Hmm, maybe that's where all the "missing" stars (systems and such) went. Power and fuel for the Ancients to move planets around and pinch off all those (largely undiscovered) pocket universes.
Originally posted by Employee 2-4601:
"There are beings in the universe, onlder than my race and your race, the oldest of them are the Shadows, we have no other name for them."
- Delenn, Babylon 5 (but imagone a Droyne saying this, replacing "Shadows" with "Enemy"...)

All in all, I love these ideas - and it is similar to IMTU's Precursors and Inheritors idea.
Actually, the Shadows were not my inspiration believe or not. Rather, I took an obscure reference from a 2300AD product as the timing was identical for the Ancients War.

Following up from my previous thread. Why? Which is the most common question associated with the Ancients.

It was said that Grandfather created his children, this I took to mean clone. Now, it does not mean that one is a schizophrenic to have an argument with ones self but when yourself is there looking back at you...this is a mighty scary concept. And, naturally with all clones the further that one clones the weaker the imprint of the original has over the copies.

Therefore, when the children were summoned to fight in the final battle. There was great resistance as the children of children simply saw no need and did not fear the enemy. And, some even sought an alliance with it; secretly to overthrow the rule of Grandfather.

The weapons and the technology exceeded that of planet busters and wormholes to plunge entire solar systems into pocket universes. The technology involved even the disappearance from existence of some of the children which in turn increased the war dead on Grandfather's side.

Nor were the other races of Antiquity passive during this whole period, as the average TL was F/G. Where these races went and what is left is part of the mystery. Certainly, the Ancients were even like gods even to these highly developed civilizations.

Some worshiped the Ancients, some plotted their downfall and some just lived on the edges scavenging what they could from the mighty Droyne/Ancient colossus that dominated Chartered Space.

But, as mighty was the forces raged on Grandfather's side. The other side was equally mighty. A stalemate was created. The Enemy took advantage of this moment and all was lost.
Some more ideas.

Psionics were an invention of one of the old races. They discovered how to access higher dimensions and to eventually build bionanites that can tap into them.

Some of these were sent out as STL probes to find out about the universe around them.

The chirpers were a TL10 culture, who underwent a period of development which could be described as a lot like the Transhuman space setting.
The end result of the period of development was a bewildering array of biomod chirpers - the droyne to come - and grandfather.
Resources for background:
CT adventures Twilight's Peak, Secret of the Ancients, Droyne alien module, Zhodani alien module.
MT Referee's Manual first starfarers sidebar
MT Knightfall adventure
DGP MTJ4 Sparklers/Primordials notes
GT Alien Races 3
Ask Dave thread for thoughts on the link between psionics, jumpspace and metaconscious entities.

Have I missed any?
My big problem is one highlighted by J. Michael Straczynski. We all know the big story about the Ancient War but when we are dealing with Player Characters we must also uncover the small story that would make a sourcebook work. And, merging the big story with the small story is where I have gotten bogged down and suffering from terminal writer's block.
Well, my goals for the PCs will be:

investigate primordial ruins in the solar system at the behest of their Neanderthal overseer Droyne

(thus gaining the knowledge that the Droyne aren't the only ancient race)

survive the attack on the Droyne bases within the solar system

(establish relationships with other Droyne fractions and servitor races)

discover who was behind the attack

(revealing Grandfather's plan to exterminate his children)

working with one of the grandchildren in an attempt to survive

(in the process discover that several of Grandfather's children have been possessed by MCEs)

investigate the MCEs, and present their findings to Grandfather

(Grandfather can then become their patron in the greater war...)

Still a few details to work out though.

How important are the primordial races, how are they involved with the war between Grandfather and his children (and the MCEs pulling strings in the background)?
My take weaved in the Slavers from Niven's Known Space, and turned the idea of the Ancients on its head:

The story about Grandfather and the Droyne is a story concocted to fool everyone.

The real Ancients were a parasitical slaver race... now that I think of it, they appear to resemble the Go'a'uld... humm, that's interesting.

Anyway, the Slavers' engineers were... genetically altered canines. Yes, the ancestral Vargr. And, like Science Fictional Knights Templar, a remnant of them are still guarding known space, but there are too few of them now, and a Slaver survived the last battle, and multiplied. The Slavers are fast reaching critical mass, and have possessed several key people in the Imperium... such as Dulinor, and Lucan... and are seeking to destroy the Imperium, then conquer and rebuild whatever's left.

These critters split into two every few hundred years. Thus, if there are currently 8 of them, there will soon be 16 of them, and their power is such that they will quickly become unstoppable. You get the idea.
Accolades to MW Turnage! Well conceived and expressed. It hews pretty closely to canon, but is more fleshed out, alive, and real. Yaskoydray canon now seems more plausible. Have you thought about trying to write for T20 or some Traveller fiction? It would be great to see more published Traveller with this level of imagination and writing ability.