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Old 11-17-2020, 06:58 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

For most of humanity, First Contact occurred in 2021, when a flying saucer landed in Hyde Park a bit after lunchtime, and the Irari surrendered to the (practically defunct) British Empire. This was as much of a surprise to the British as it was to everybody else who wasn't a conspiracy theorist - for one thing, they hadn't been aware that they were at war.

As it turned out, the Irari leaders had declared war just before entering British airspace (transmitting the declaration in a language and format no-one on Earth understood), shot a few lasers at the grass in Hyde Park (doing fairly little damage), landed, and signed the document of surrender. They had done this because the Irari are emphatically unsuited to and uninterested in ruling themselves, and wanted someone else to do it, while the British had a long history of going into other people's lands and telling them what to do, while at the same time being generally nice in the modern era, and are currently desperate for a new trading partner and thus in no position to refuse (something the Irari knew from having studied Earth's internet). Thus, the Irari and their client species (the Coeb'lds and the Gormelites) are now under the somewhat confused and reluctant authority of the British Star Empire (OK, Boris Johnson wasn't so reluctant, but a lot of others were).

(In case anyone decides to ask, they do leave a few saucers in orbit, to neutralize attacks in the event that someone panics and decides to nuke Britain. They also access the internet to share their older tech - anything one TL behind or earlier - freely with the world, while the British government gets the modern stuff; some of it, even the weird stuff (mostly psychotronics), is surprisingly easy to make. The files are in English, but most of them can also be found in a few dozen other Earth languages.)

One may ask how the Irari got here from their star system, and did so at a speed that would allow their worlds to be ruled by the British. They traveled via a permanent wormhole network, having discovered a partial 'map' of same about thirty years ago on a large black monolith on Irar's bigger moon; said monolith is believed to be about 66 million years old. (This, interestingly enough, is consistent with the period in which the earliest recognizable ancestor species of the Irari appeared abruptly in Irar's fossil record; said ancestor appears to have been some variety of Late Cretaceous pterodactyloid, which along with several other animals introduced at that time (apparently the only land animals on the planet) speciated to fill a wide range of ecological niches.) The Irar system is listed as having five wormholes, of which four have been rediscovered; the Sol system is listed as having seven wormholes, with only the one leading to Irar having been rediscovered.

Wormhole exploration even with the map requires finding the wormholes, which they're getting better at (the map helps, mainly by narrowing the area they need to search, but it's too old and too damaged to give them exact locations, and optical telescopes are of little help). This has involved a few vessels that did not return, as well as very recently three that they know were attacked by space pirates - one was attacked by Memer-and-Saret pirates and rescued by a Memer-and-Saret space patrol cruiser, another was attacked by Memer-and-Saret pirates and rescued itself due to the experimental weapons on board being particularly effective, and the third was attacked by what they believe to be pirates of an unknown race or races, and rescued by something that they didn't understand, which appeared to be some sort of giant energy being (an Aurora). Interestingly, the Memer-and-Saret and the unknown pirates also use roughly saucer-like craft, though many details do differ between species and designs (much like cars are in most cases broadly similar in appearance, but you can still usually tell the difference between a sports car and a station wagon of the same TL). Due to analysis of the weapons and the force-shield strength of the Memer-and-Saret saucers, and the unknown-race pirates' saucer, the Irari recommend nuclear shaped charges of 25 kilotons or greater for use against heavily-shielded targets (see also the Casaba-Howitzer article in The Path of Cunning #3).

(There may be other forms of FTL in-setting, but the Irari don't have one yet, and haven't directly encountered anyone who does.)

Technologically, the Irari are a TL(6+3)^ (Dieselpunk/Atompunk, with psi-tech) civilization (having oddly gone from vacuum tubes directly to vacuum microelectronics, among other things). Irari Gadgeteers are fairly common compared to other races (a little over one in a thousand), generally with a few limitations including either 'ESP, -10%,' or 'Probability Alteration, -10%,' and often 'Focused: <specific skill, skillset, or type of technology>' (value varies depending on narrowness), Accessibility limitations, Temporary Disadvantages, and/or other limitations. (Quick Gadgeteer exists in this setting, but is always psionic, and frequently accompanied by some form of Backlash or Nuisance Effect, or Temporary Disadvantages like Megalomania or Weirdness Magnet.) Psychotronics are very common, and closely integrated to many other technologies (including all 'superscience' tech), though biological psi-tech is rather limited, and the Irari had basically no psi drugs at all until encountering the Coeb'ld homeworld. (I'm working on a separate post in this setting for psi abilities and related details, because there's no way it'll fit under the character limit on this one.) Studying the history of Irari space programs is like reading & watching accounts of a few different people playing versions of Kerbal Space Program on supercomputers, but mostly in grainy black & white, with sapient pterosaur-people, a more realistic physics engine, and no physicsless parts (psychotronics are not physicsless, they just use aspects of the physics engine of reality that we haven't discovered yet). Fewer deaths than you might expect from that description, though. As the Irari homeworld has historically had more copper than iron accessible to miners, they tend to use lots of bronze or brass, and other alloys.

The Irari believe themselves and the Coeb'lds to be genetically engineered, and know for a fact that the Gormelites are.

The Gormelites are at roughly TL7^ and falling (their ancestor race may have been TL8^ with TL9^-10^ bio-tech, or TL9^ while retaining a lot of durable TL8^ second-line equipment, and having some experimental TL10^ tech). Many Gormelites have a phobia about AI due to the use and actions of robots and other artificial intelligences during the Final War. A distant human relative, their extinct ancestor race appears to be descended from Paranthropus/Australopithecus. The Gormelites are the only ones in the Irari sphere of influence to have proper police forces (mostly gendarmeries) from a human perspective, due to older Gormelites who had been MPs & gendarmes before the Final War attempting to continue the tradition, with varying degrees of success. The Irari first encountered their world a bit over fifteen years ago (Earth and Irar years are pretty close in length).

The Coeb'ld homeworld's most advanced civilization is at TL(5+1)^-(5+2)^, with fluidic computers and advanced steam engines. Coeb'lds are mostly blue-skinned (and are basically GURPS Banestorm Kobolds with a range of useful Talents), but appear to be related to humans through Homo floresiensis, H. sapiens denisova, or H. s. neanderthalensis. Their homeworld has few fossil fuels (and a short fossil record), but lots of plants, including several types of peat. They were 'discovered' by the Irari about nine years ago.

The Memer-and-Saret are at early TL10-equivalent with early TL9^-equivalent psychotronics, and are the only other space-faring race the Irari have made diplomatic contact with; they were first encountered three years ago. The second group of pirates appear to be roughly TL10^-equivalent, and may not be all from a single race. The giant energy beings (Auroras: 3,000-point psychic 'space gods' without a clear template) are beyond technology as we understand it. Species that the Memer-and-Saret have informed the Irari of include Sparrials (TL9^-equivalent), Drachids (dragons; TL12^-equivalent), Verms, Mrowruu (Felinoids from Basic Set p261; TL10^-equivalent Bio-Tech), and Traders (roughly TL12^+). (If the Markann exist in this setting, they should be TL11^, or possibly TL12^.)


Thoughts?
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Old 11-18-2020, 02:18 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

I like this setting, it could lead to interesting campaigns in space playing Royal Aerospace Force officers or intrepid merchants, or on Earth examining the social, technological and geopolitical implications of suddenly - and unwillingly - becoming an interstellar imperial power.

I guess my main question is why the Irari would come to Earth to find imperial masters to rule them, why not pick the more advanced Memer-and-Saret? Is there an ulterior motive in picking a planet less advanced than them?

And how did they come by client species if they're unsuited and uninterested in ruling themselves? Do the Coeb'lds and Gormelites also become part of the Empire?
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:19 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

If it were me, it would turn out this is a big "game" of Not It!, with the loser being the target of some galactic threat. The Coeb'lds and Gormelites already learned of it and surrendered to the Irari. The Irari eventually learned about the threat, and either found out somehow the Memer-and-Saret already knew -- and thus wouldn't accept a surrender -- or just figured they'd take the easy way out and surrender to a planet that couldn't possibly know (due to not having spaceflight).

The PCs would be plucky government officials who have to learn this and then do something about the threat.
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Old 11-18-2020, 03:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

Surrendering could also be a conquest strategy. Surrender to a nation to get a foothold on a world, lie about everything you tell your 'conquerers' while you dump enough cheap TL9 goods to ruin the global economy, and then have your people start buying up everything for bargain basement prices. By the time your 'conquerers' wise up, you own everything on their planet and, having bought off the ruling class through generous bribes, their government will defend your property rights.
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Old 11-18-2020, 06:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

A bit tired, so not quoting and sorting questions, just posting some answers:

1. 'Client species' may be the wrong term, but 'subject species' would be even less accurate, and I couldn't come up with anything better. Basically, the Irari have vaguely assumed responsibility for the races that they're studying, largely out of still having consciences, but they certainly haven't conquered them.

The Coeb'lds don't need serious help, they're chugging along at a pace that seems fast to them and that we'd consider fairly slow. A lot of them don't even believe in the Irari, or don't necessarily believe that they came from outer space if they do believe in them, rather than from 'The Ancient Lost City of the Bird-People,' or something (it doesn't help that they started out by landing in isolated places and were mostly noticed by the sort of poor unsuspecting soul that hardly anyone is ever going to believe, and I haven't decided for certain if they've tried to make official contact with the Coeb'ld governments, or visited major cities), so they probably aren't having First Contact Trauma. Still, if other aliens showed up and started exploiting or otherwise harming them, the Irari would feel obligated to do something about it, which they'd really rather someone else do.

The Gormelites are actually in trouble, they're living in an After The End setting and are getting worse, so the Irari are actively trying to help them as well as studying them. Given the natural paranoia and other mental issues common to the Gormelite psyche (though there are some who have and use various mitigators), this is not easy or safe. The humans are a lot more like the Gormelites (and the Coeb'lds, for that matter), and so ought to have less difficulty, allowing the Irari to focus more on research, right?


2. The Memer-and-Saret have two problems when it comes to the Irari choosing them as imperial overlords - firstly, the Memer are frequently shy, being a bit afraid of other species beyond themselves and the Saret (blueish, barnacle-like beings that grow on the Memers' underbellies, with an unknown level of intelligence - though they do seem to communicate with each other). Second, the Memer are creepy from the Irari perspective, given that they look like giant green beetles, and the more common cockroach species on Irar are green. Humans, on the other hand, are sort of vaguely 'cute' to Irari minds, resembling bigger, smarter, less furry versions of common pets.


3. The 'Not It!' thing isn't exactly wrong, it's just that the thing they're trying to avoid isn't a known outside threat, it really is 'being in charge,' and neither the Coeb'lds (not very bright, and poor at administration) nor the Gormelites (serious psychological problems) were ever in the running. Mind you, there are a number of suspected outside threats, it's just that the humans are both better at organization and better at war, and so the Irari are pretty sure that as long as they take some Irari science officers along, they'll do better than the Irari would do alone - or serve as good-enough speedbumps to give the Irari time to SCIENCE! up a solution.


4. The 'conquest by surrender' idea is interesting, and certainly something paranoid humans would come up with, but isn't the way the Irari are going.


Might have another information post, soon, still working on things.
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Last edited by Prince Charon; 11-18-2020 at 06:52 PM.
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Old 11-18-2020, 07:15 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

Not perfectly satisfied with this, but I don't see a way to improve it right now:

Royal Irari Armed Service

Before First Contact, this was simply the Irari Armed Service; the royal charter was granted shortly after the British establishment recognized that yes, this was really happening. Historically, the service was founded by merging the remaining military forces when the world government was formed, and mainly existed to assist police in the event of riots or other large situations that they could not handle, assist search-and-rescue workers after disasters, guard things that it's dangerous to let non-experts mess with, and so on. The IAS Space Corps was created as a 'just in case' measure when the idea of alien invasion was considered both plausible and something that it could be possible to defend against (which is to say, shortly after the wormhole map was discovered and the physicists agreed that what they could get out of it made sense), and was expended when off-world colonies started gaining significant populations. It was not given much consideration beyond that until exploration vessels started failing to return, after which it was expanded a fair bit more.


Ranks

The Irari mostly do not have formal military ranks (or, you might say that they have very few of them, but lots of numbered appointments). Rather, one is assigned to a position in command of some number of troops and robots (along with vehicles and other equipment), while being part of a larger hierarchy. The 'ranks' given below are mainly examples and general descriptions, though the titles translated as 'overseer,' 'foreman,' 'specialist,' adjutant,' 'manager,' and 'administrator' are consistent, and could be considered equivalent to formal ranks if you stretch the definition a little. There are few promotion ceremonies in this service, beyond moving from Trainee to Overseer or Specialist, and Student Manager to Manager (basically graduation ceremonies), or assuming the positions of Chief Adjutant of the Armed Service or General Administrator of the Armed Service. Likewise, moving from command of a larger group to command of a smaller group is often not a demotion, just a different position (and indeed, the position may be more prestigious and better-paid, even if the number of individuals one commands is lower).

Insignia generally consist of the abbreviated name of one's appointment: for example 'F.17' (a foreman in charge of seventeen Irari, and however many robots their subordinates are in charge of) or 'M.108' (the manager of a company-sized unit of one hundred eight Irari and some number of robots - potentially five hundred or more, though this would be very rare due to the need for adjutants and junior managers to do bureaucracy, and specialists to keep the robots going, keep vehicles working, check for hacking, and so on, which reduces the total number of overseers available); the words for 'adjutant' and 'administrator' do not start with the same letter in the dominant Irari language, which helps. The commander and senior-most adjutant of a unit important enough to have its own name will have the unit's abbreviated name in their insignia, rather than the number of people in the unit; e.g. the Administrator of the Field Artillery Corps would have something like 'A.FiArCo.'

Rank 9 [45]

General Administrator of the Armed Service

Rank 8 [40]

Administrator of two hundred thousand

Rank 7 [35]

Administrator of fifty thousand

Rank 6 [30]

Administrator of ten thousand

Rank 5 [25]

Administrator of two thousand

Rank 4 [20]

Manager of five hundred

Rank 3 [15]

Manager of one hundred
Manager of thirty


Courtesy Rank 3 [3]

Student Manager


Rank 2 [10]

Chief Adjutant of the Armed Service (w/Courtesy Rank 7 [7])

Adjutant of two hundred thousand (w/Courtesy Rank 6 [6])
Adjutant of fifty thousand (w/Courtesy Rank 5 [5])
Adjutant of ten thousand (w/Courtesy Rank 4 [4])

Adjutant of two thousand (w/Courtesy Rank 3 [3])
Specialist Grade 5 (w/Courtesy Rank 3 [3])

Adjutant of five hundred (w/Courtesy Rank 2 [2])
Specialist Grade 4 (w/Courtesy Rank 2 [2])

Adjutant of one hundred (w/Courtesy Rank 1 [1])
Specialist Grade 3 (w/Courtesy Rank 1 [1])

Specialist Grade 2
Foreman of twenty

Rank 1 [5]

Specialist Grade 1
Foreman of five
Overseer of twenty

Rank 0 [0]

Specialist Grade 0
Overseer of five
Overseer of one
Trainee (no insignia)
Robot (no insignia)

In the field, an 'Overseer of five' is in charge of five robots, while a Trainee is not likely to be in the field at all, and is learning to work with and command robots, as well as lead other Irari, and learning other needed skills. A 'Foreman' is in charge of other Irari (and sometimes directly commands a small number of robots, usually no more than three), who may themselves be in charge of some number of robots, while a 'Specialist' is a technical expert of some variety, and might or might not be in charge of any robots, or have direct command of any other Irari.

The word for the commanding officer of a vehicle is generally translated as 'Commander' in English, and may be applied to someone of just about any rank.

The honourary title of 'Administrator-in-Chief' was created by the Irari after studying British military culture, and was offered by them to the Empress Elizabeth of the House of Windsor (Queen Elizabeth II) as 'Administrator-in-Chief, Royal Irari Armed Service Academy' and 'Administrator-in-Chief, Royal Irari Armed Service Space Corps.'

Uniforms consist of standardised (and thus recognizable) harnesses, as well as, when needed, environmental suits or combat armour (of which there is some overlap).

There is some debate over whether the RIAS will be phased out over time, to be completely replaced by British services. The Irari are all for it, while the British are largely rather reluctant, for a variety of reasons.


Thoughts?
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Old 02-07-2021, 05:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

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Originally Posted by Crystalline_Entity View Post
I like this setting, it could lead to interesting campaigns in space playing Royal Aerospace Force officers or intrepid merchants, or on Earth examining the social, technological and geopolitical implications of suddenly - and unwillingly - becoming an interstellar imperial power.

I guess my main question is why the Irari would come to Earth to find imperial masters to rule them, why not pick the more advanced Memer-and-Saret? Is there an ulterior motive in picking a planet less advanced than them?

And how did they come by client species if they're unsuited and uninterested in ruling themselves? Do the Coeb'lds and Gormelites also become part of the Empire?
My question is why would they go with Britain when the United States stood up to them when they were arguably the greatest superpower on the planet at that time. Also without the United States Britain would have had to go on more drastic rationing as food would have been scarcer.
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Old 02-07-2021, 07:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

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My question is why would they go with Britain when the United States stood up to them when they were arguably the greatest superpower on the planet at that time.
I believe I answered the 'Why Britain?' question earlier in the thread, probably on page one. I'm not sure what a couple of wars more than two hundred years ago have to do with anything that the Irari would decide in 2021, though.

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Originally Posted by maximara View Post
Also without the United States Britain would have had to go on more drastic rationing as food would have been scarcer.
Are you assuming that the USA would suddenly stop trading with Britain?
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Old 02-07-2021, 08:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

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Are you assuming that the USA would suddenly stop trading with Britain?
I should have made clear I was talking about WWII and the Liberty Ships here.

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Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
I believe I answered the 'Why Britain?' question earlier in the thread, probably on page one. I'm not sure what a couple of wars more than two hundred years ago have to do with anything that the Irari would decide in 2021, though.
The "British had a long history of going into other people's lands and telling them what to do, while at the same time being generally nice in the modern era, and are currently desperate for a new trading partner and thus in no position to refuse."

Ok the second I will grant you but much of the US' behavior with its brief "Empire" was taken from Britain's playbook. Also actions such as those in Dividing the Middle East and the mess that was the Boar Wars are part of the reason those regions are basket cases/power kegs in the 21st century.

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... um, I'm going to read this in more detail later, but I think I should point out that there's already a write-up for the Irari, in GURPS Aliens, and also in the 4e conversion for it at GURPSLand.
That version is also on the GURPSwiki
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Old 02-08-2021, 04:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Psi/Space] Irar, the Jewel in the British Crown

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Ok the second I will grant you but much of the US' behavior with its brief "Empire" was taken from Britain's playbook. Also actions such as those in Dividing the Middle East and the mess that was the Boar Wars are part of the reason those regions are basket cases/power kegs in the 21st century.
You can't isolate one from the other. The point was that it's a combination of factors.
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