Minbari Federation Factbook...

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August
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Postby August » Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:59 am

There was virtually nothing there about Minbari prehistory, so a great deal of that section was created wholecloth and approved by the Great Maker. For the rest of it, a mixture of multiple sources, comments from the JMS Speaks web-commentaries, and creative license... which I happily abused. :)

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Postby Wulfhere » Sat Dec 20, 2003 7:54 am

:lol: After a more detailed reading. Real good work. Out of history are come some real good plotlines away from the mainplot.
The chapter for using Minbari in a campain have some interesting thoughts-

Really like it. Please more of it. :lol: :wink: :wink:
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Postby Sundog » Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:27 pm

Okay, I'm about halfway through the book at this point and have few quibbles.
The biology's good; technology works for me (Seems based on AOG's stuff, which is fine, I'm a B5Wars player from way back), clan and social structures match what we've seen.

Two small quibbles: There should have been either some conflict with the Centauri or a good reason why not. The Lion of the Galaxy was rabid; at the very least, they would have probed the defences of any star-nation they could reach.
Second - a 7000 metre tall bas-relief!?! Surely you mean 7000 feet? Unless they took the whole thousand years to carve the thing...
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Postby Sundog » Sat Dec 27, 2003 8:41 pm

OKay, one more: The Molecular Pulse Cannon on vehicles. Am I correct in assuming it's supposed to be rapid fire?
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Postby August » Sat Dec 27, 2003 10:05 pm

Hello, Sundog.

You are correct about the molectular pulse cannon. It should be rapid fire, though I left that element off the original write-up as a balancing factor. Without rapid fire, it's a solid, effective weapon. Wioth rapid fire, it becomes a sheer terror. Use whichever version fits your games best.

As for your other points, I stand on the text itself. The bas-relief is a piece of cultural flavour only; if you can't stand the idea of it being metres instead of feet, simply change it. As for the Centauri, they took one look at the wreckage of the Garmak Empire (which is an omission on my part; they should have been in the history section, but I deleted them due to space concerns) and decided to leave the scary people in the finned ships the hell alone.

:)
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Postby ShadowScout » Sun Dec 28, 2003 10:53 am

Mongoose August wrote:As for the Centauri, they took one look at the wreckage of the Garmak Empire (which is an omission on my part; they should have been in the history section, but I deleted them due to space concerns) and decided to leave the scary people in the finned ships the hell alone.
AHA!

Good, that settles one of the Really major quibbles I had with this one. The world starts making sense once more... :wink: :D 8)

Now if there was a better take on Valen's war to address my original point number four... :wink: :P :)
(one to three were more of personal taste matters anyway - and loose enough that I can ignore them when I GM...)
Sundog wrote:Second - a 7000 metre tall bas-relief!?! Surely you mean 7000 feet? Unless they took the whole thousand years to carve the thing...
Well, nowhere does it say they did the carving by hand... and high-techy civilizations like the Minbari Can afford to do such work on a large scale - making a carving out of a mountain isn't a problem for them (hell, at a smaller scale we humans can do it even now... or what about that mountain in the US with the president faces? Now think an effort like that with molecule-dissolving beams and anti-g work platforms, and it'll be done in a decade or two...)
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Postby Sundog » Sun Dec 28, 2003 7:56 pm

Mmm, I suppose I can accept it. That scale just gets to me a bit; 7 Kilometers high is a LOT bigger than Mount Rushmore. The only thing I can think of that compares would be the Great Wall, and engineering-wise that would be much more straightforward.
Still, your point is a good one, Shadowscout. Scale would get easier to handle as you advanced your technology.

And hey, the Centauri were rabid, not stupid. If these Garmak had technology near (or more advanced than) the Centauri of the time and still got wiped, that WOULD be a good reason to leave the Minbari alone!
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Postby ShadowScout » Sun Dec 28, 2003 11:09 pm

Yeah, the Garmak piece was one of the better BG parts AoG did. An empire about the same size as the Centauri of that day (1464 - in the Really early days of the Centauri republic), with similar if not slightly higher tech (they were said to be slightly older).
The Centauri, having learned from their history with the Xon, expected conflict with the Garmak empire to be inevitable, and started preparing for a loong, hard war (and I suppose many centauri back then feared they might be the ones who would loose, as the Garmak were just as aggressive, and had a bit more of everything, having a "head start" into space).
But then the Garmak erred, erred badly - they thought the Minbari's policy of isolation a sign weakness, thought their age an indication of a civilization in decline, thought them easy prey for their forces, and the Minbari holdings an nice addition to their empire. So they decided to test their mettle with a few attacks on outer worlds - if successful, they'd invade, if unsuccessful, they'd apologize and denounce those atackers as pirates.
The attacks were wildly successful from the Garmaks point of view, taking those worlds without any real resistance - making them think they had been right in their estimation of the Minbari, that they really Were "paper tigers" and far beyond the time when they knew how to bite - so the Garmak sent in their forces.
On the Minbari side there was outrage, as those outposts had been undefended religous retreats. The council voted, the warrior caste mobilized (glad they finally had a war to fight - hey, they were bored...), and they then completely crushed the Garmak. The Garmak invasion fleets were met by superior numbers of ships armed with technologies they couldn't even dream of, and fell to the minbari advance. The minbari cut through garmak space like a laser through butter, savagely destroying every colony and fleet they found in name of their holy war, all but wiping them out (they stopped before toasting the Garmak homeworld, but that was it).
Now the Centauri were standing on the sidelines and saw how the enemy that had them really, really worried was dispatched like nothing by the minbari. What's more, after the deed the Minbari went back to their territory - something the Centauri just couldn't understand (why would an victorious force not follow up their victory?) But it was clear to them the Minbari had no interest in conquest (after all, it was obvious that if they had, they could have conquered Both the Centauri and Garmak simultanously loong ago), and thus would be likely to leave them alone as long as they left 'em alone too - something the Centauri could work with.
So they left the Minbari alone, and snatched up the now rather undefended Garmak territory. But they never forgot what they witnessed, and made every effort not to annoy the Minbari. Oh, there may have been points of dispute now and then - but every time the Minbari showed real interest, the cenaturi backed down quickly (especially since when it came to territorial disputes the Minbari had this quirk of sending Really impressive fleets as "show of force", so daunting that usually the Centauri forces retreated without even daring to protest - burning out half their fleet's thrusters with the speed of their flight :wink: ).
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Postby Greg Smith » Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:02 pm

I finally got around to finishing this book. And I have to sayI was very impressed.

The biology and culture chapters were excellent, giving me a far greater understanding of the race. The detail on their languages was great.

The structures of the castes was informative, especially the worker caste who have been rather lacking in detail in the past.

The history was good, although the last great war felt a little underwritten to me.

The world descriptions were excellent. This is a very valuable tool for a GM, as were the worlds in the EA book.

Technology is the chapter I disliked. I felt it was unnecessary to include all of the military vehicles, particularly ships. Does anyone actually use these in their games? As others have pointed out, it would have been nice to see a scale diagram of all the ships. The CG diagrams of the ships are cool, but needed labelling. It was good to see the Leandra diagram, but stats should have been included.

The character chapter is also good, although I'm not sure how useful the prestige classes will be.

All in all, well worth the money and time spent to read. I'm looking forward to the Centauri book.
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Garmak stuff

Postby Chobbly » Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:40 am

ShadowScout, thanks for that stuff on Garmak. Hopefully, it will get a mention in the Centauri Fact Book. That gives a reason why Londo Mollari gives the "Do not bother the Minbari, and they will not bother you" speech - I always wondered what the reason was, and there is a reason to explain it.

What happened to the Garmak? Were they mentioned in any capacity after their defeat in the AoG stuff?
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Postby ShadowScout » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:21 am

Chobbly wrote:What happened to the Garmak? Were they mentioned in any capacity after their defeat in the AoG stuff?
Nope. All I know is that they lost everything but their homeworld, and then the Centauri snatched up their territory once the minbari left, including the now powerless Garmak. On the hyperspace map, it would be a region "over" or "under" current EA space (in a three-dimensional sense) - the centauri later abandoned that region of space during their first decline around 2050 or so, and never reconquered it when they got over that decline, instead expanding antispinward to conquer the narns. And after that backfired, and the narns as well as any other conquests in that region broke free from the centauri one way or another (no everyone had to fight a long guerillia war agaist the Centauri - some planets were all but overlooked by them, some were freed in the course of inter-house conflicts, some even abandoned as to far away to justify the expense of supporing a presence), the centauri resurveyed the space around the former Garmak empire, and found an insignificant little planet called "earth" by it's inhabitants...

Now, the AoG maps show that jump lines changed quite a bit since the time when the Centauri occupied Garmak, so it's not too far fetched to assume there were a few gates blown up, and the garmak might be slowly recovering in a system cut off from the gate network... and might make their presence known in the future. Or they might have blown their planet up in the meantime because they couldn't keep themselves from waging a nuke war. Until Mongoose makes a supplement dealing with them and their story, it's something every GM can decide for his campaign (well, afterward too, because nowhere is it written that a GM has to slavishly follow the "official" stuff in his private "alternate reality". Some may, most will alter some small things, some will be doing something completely different. That's the fun in it.)
Greg Smith wrote:All in all, well worth the money and time spent to read. I'm looking forward to the Centauri book.
Mee too. Sure, there were things I didn't like with the MFB, as anyone who followed this thread can see. But as you mentioned, there were more then enough things that were really great in it.
Technology is the chapter I disliked. I felt it was unnecessary to include all of the military vehicles, particularly ships.
So you do. Others think differently. It all depends on the type of campaign one plays. Think of it real world - do you need military units of a nation in their sourcebook? Depends - if you play an horror campaign and hunt vampires - probably not; if you play a military campaign and lead a team of PC specialists on commando raids - certainly. Mongoose put them in to cover as much of the spectrun as they could. Especially since they also did the EA stuff. Sure they could have made a special supplement for all that - and it'd still make sense for them to do so one day, once they have at least one really nice picture for each ship/vehicle, all in one book, with extra descriptions etc. But for now I'm glad they included a little overview in the factbooks...
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Postby Greg Smith » Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:55 am

[quote="ShadowScout"]
So you do. Others think differently. It all depends on the type of campaign one plays. Think of it real world - do you need military units of a nation in their sourcebook? Depends - if you play an horror campaign and hunt vampires - probably not; if you play a military campaign and lead a team of PC specialists on commando raids - certainly. Mongoose put them in to cover as much of the spectrun as they could. [quote]

I understand the need for variety. And it is good to see the whole cloth, as it were. I just thought that the sheer number of tanks and (aquatic) ships were the least useful part of the book. Which is only a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent book.

In all my years of role-playing (20+, god I feel old :( ), I can only ever recall playing on a military boat once. And the GM never used its stats.
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Postby frobisher » Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:14 pm

Greg Smith wrote:In all my years of role-playing (20+, god I feel old :( ), I can only ever recall playing on a military boat once. And the GM never used its stats.
You have led a sheltered RPGing life ;) I'd say a good 33-50% of my RPGing over the last twenty years has been of a military bent (B5 (homebrewed but using B5Wars to conduct ship to ship), Star Trek (FASA), Traveller just for starters...).

I guess it depends upon the style of a campaign, but ship and vehicle stats are the life blood of any military game.

And B5 ends up military quite often. Even if you don't roll your way through an encounter, expected results are good to know so that the roleplayed action would in fact fit a rule played encounter.
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Postby Greg Smith » Fri Jan 16, 2004 2:11 pm

I was talking about military boats specifically.

I've run Star Trek on and off for over ten years. I've played Rifts, Twilight 2000, 2300, Behind Enemy Lines and other military-based games. I've used starship combat an awful lot.

But I wouldn't expect to find tanks in the Call of Cthulhu rules or the Buffy rules (except in a supplement which specifically required them) and I wouldn't expect vampires in Twilight 2000 (again unless in a specific supplement). It just a case of what fits.

Now it is my opinion that tanks and aquatic vessels don't fit in B5 (of course they would fit in a GROPOS supplement). But I stress again it is only a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent book.

But I'm quite happy to agree to disagree with you Frobisher and Shadowscout. :)
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Postby CARTMAG » Sat Jan 17, 2004 4:54 pm

personaly I like the added touch of the naval vessels myself.. I think it adds to the ultimate flavor of the different race books... it shows that even tho space is where the most money goes there still are people who make it there lives to keep the surface safe.... and honestly I know alot of people that would do a land military type campaign.....

the second point I agree yes some of the pictures are pixelated but the truth of the matter is that its probably not mongooses fault they can only use what WB gives them and as myself being a graphics designer you can only fix a pixelated graphic soo much.. belive me iv tried and its a pain....
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Postby nitflegal » Tue Jan 20, 2004 2:29 pm

CARTMAG wrote:personaly I like the added touch of the naval vessels myself.. I think it adds to the ultimate flavor of the different race books... it shows that even tho space is where the most money goes there still are people who make it there lives to keep the surface safe.... and honestly I know alot of people that would do a land military type campaign.....
I too really liked them, since I'm running a quasi-military campaign during the War, it's very useful to have this information available. I'd rather have it this way than in a separate vehicle book. My only complaint with this section is that it would have been very useful to have pictures similar to the EA Factbook.

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