Vehicles in Babylon 5

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Jal
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Postby Jal » Thu Jul 08, 2004 7:36 pm

vorlon ships are alive, more so than shadow vessels, they appear to be sentient at some level and are not blind automatons.

the transports at least appear to be linked/paired with an individual vorlon as well.

if you go by the old AOG fluff the vorlon warships/fighters had some non vorlons in the crews, though there is no actual show evidence for that statement.

the shadows used to pilot their ships aeons ago, but now they use lesser races for that job, i`m not aware of the shadow ships needing anything more than one person (the cpu) to fly them, though i am sure that there is ample space for crew/passengers if necessary.

It always seemed strange that the living ship would scan that way.
how so? if the ship is alive and sentient, it would register as a non-human lifeform.

i think it comes down to two different design philisophies;

shadows grow ships that have no actual "brain" to run it, hence their use of a living being for that purpose.

vorlons grow their ships as a whole sentient living being that is subservient to their desires, much like a man rears and trains a horse.
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Postby Vorlon Servant » Fri Jul 09, 2004 3:51 am

One line from the show said that Kosh's ship was made for him and was a part of him. Perhapse the Vorlons can controle the ships using telepathy.
and i would disagree that either races actions were inherently evil at all.
I agree. The two races seemed to believe that they were doing the right thing, and that the damage to the younger races was unfortunate but unavoidable. ( see the episode Za'ha'dum )
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:20 am

OK, peanut gallery's turn....

As to whether the Vorlon's are good or bad for manipulating telepath genes into other species, well, there are some misunderstandings going on here that I want to clarify.

1st is that the Vorlon's chiefly represented the force of order/law and the Shadows represented disorder/chaos. These two forces are diametrically opposed, but no where in their definitions does law or chaos refer to good or evil. Yes, they were diametrically opposed, but both considered themselves to be doing 'good' and thought the other was doing 'evil'. In fact I could argue that both sides are evil or both sides are good. It is simply a matter of perspective. However, I believe one of the lessons to be learned from the show was that you can not have another person dictate to you what is good/evil or right/wrong. This is something that must be discovered for themselves.

2nd is that I feel the Vorlons were a great bit more evil then the Shadows. The Vorlons tampered with the mental characteristics of many species in the galaxy so that when these subject species saw a Vorlon they would think they were seeing their God. This creates an immense conditioning effect upon the species that indicates the worst kind of deceipt. I am not even going to go into the moral argument inherent about their rescue/abduction and subsequent conditioning of one human by the monicker of 'Jack the Ripper.' The shadows, for their part, were definitely not nice. I am not saying that they were, merely that their techniques were actually quite a bit more 'honest' then the Vorlons. They never really lied to anyone about their intent, they were just never up front about their main goal. [Yep, I'm picking hairs here] They felt that the galaxy needed a kick in the arse once in a while to get evolution stirring. Not necessarily 'evil', but definitely not nice. Actually, from what I understand about the previous wars, the Shadows were usually very up front about their engagements. This is what caused their defeat in the last war. Well, that and the time jumping huminbari named Valen.

OK, I'll stop here before this turns into a paper. Have at ladies and gentlemen.
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Postby Jal » Fri Jul 09, 2004 9:45 am

that about sums it up for me, nice one Dag. 8)
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Postby El Cid » Fri Jul 09, 2004 11:17 am

I don't agree as the Vorlons manipulated but their subjects still had free will to choose (one exception could well be Jack which would indicate that there were others)

The Shadows took the choice away from those who chose not to willingly do as they wanted. Anna Sheridan became a "pilot" whereas Mordin agreed to follow them in return for their promise to end his family's suffering.

I see the Shadows as EVIL and the Vorlons as a manipulative parant or older person whoes intentions are good but sometimes their methods are not.

Both groups had the same outlook as a religious fanatic who believes that the end justifies the means.

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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Fri Jul 09, 2004 2:05 pm

El Cid wrote:I don't agree as the Vorlons manipulated but their subjects still had free will to choose (one exception could well be Jack which would indicate that there were others)
OK, let's see, you say that the subject species that the Vorlon's manipulated all still maintained their free will so that they could make informed decisions.
Problems:
1) These species had their basic ideas about what is right and wrong often given to them by the very people that manipulated their psyches.
2) These systems of belief will all basicly put forward that their is a set order to the universe and that we should all seek to become better through finding our place in that order.
3) Any idea that goes against this belief will inherently be 'evil', and sought to be fought against in these species.
4) As such, the Vorlon's adjustment of these species has biased them and, in fact, closed their minds. This is simply a much subtler way of taking choice away from people.
5) This results in an actual loss of free will.
El Cid wrote:The Shadows took the choice away from those who chose not to willingly do as they wanted. Anna Sheridan became a "pilot" whereas Mordin agreed to follow them in return for their promise to end his family's suffering.
Not so, the Shadows, in both cases, gave both Mordin and Anna a choice. They chose to serve for whatever reason they could justify to themselves. They may have actually come to believe that what the Shadows were doing was right and good.
El Cid wrote:I see the Shadows as EVIL and the Vorlons as a manipulative parant or older person whoes intentions are good but sometimes their methods are not.
I understand, but you have to accept that you are merely basing your judgements on your perceptions of their actions. (Just as we all do) However, I term the Vorlons as 'EVIL' as well. For exactly the same reasons you blame the Shadows. At one point both species were acting with benign goals in order to shephard the young species that were developing in the galaxy. They both lost their way and began to fight over which one of them had the better technique. In this argument they lost their aim and fell into darkness. Just because the Vorlons wore white and the Shadows wore black doesn't mean that they are filling the respective roles.
El Cid wrote:Both groups had the same outlook as a religious fanatic who believes that the end justifies the means.

Sidney
In that one, I completely agree. The big problems matter, but they are all made up of lots of smaller problems. Fix the small ones and the big ones go away. Same thing with this; the way you solve a problem also determines how long it stays solved, and whether or not you've created a few more.
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Postby PottsBr » Fri Jul 09, 2004 2:27 pm

On the matter of choice...

The Vorlons may have taught and influenced, but in the end they left the races to choose their own path. If the races chose a different path, the Vorlons did little to interfere. For this reason, planets like Earth, which was clearly of tremendous interest to the Vorlons, still freely chose to ally with the Shadows. Only after Sheridans attack on the Shadow homeworld did the Vorlons move against any of the Shadow's allies.

The telepath thing was a bit more touchy, but it could be looked on as the Vorlons giving the younger races a gift. Sure, it was a gift that the Vorlons would find useful later, but it was Earth's reaction to it that caused the problems, not the gift itself. Those telepaths still had free choice, some siding with the Shadows and some with the Vorlons.

The Shadows on the other hand did not really give anyone a choice. The crew of the Icaras had a choice, serve willingly or unwillingly. Morden chose to be a willing servant. Anna did not, and was enslaved with technology and stuck in a ship. The Narn and the Markab knew too much and were eliminated (it is no coincidence that shortly after the Markab ambassidor brought knowledge of an ancient, evil force to the council that his entire race was exterminated by a plague). The Centauri chose to serve, but only based on incomplete information. As Londo learned more and tried to pull away, the Shadows used deception to keep him in line.

Even those who served were not safe. Even as the bulk of human telepaths worked for the Shadows, the Shadows secretly worked to exterminate them through Edgars Industries. Those who would not serve had alien hardware implanted in their brains to force them to serve.

Neither acted well, but the Vorlons did allow there followers to choose freely the path they would take. The Shadows gave you three choices, serve, be enslaved, or die, and sometimes they made the choice for you.
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Postby PottsBr » Fri Jul 09, 2004 5:46 pm

Back on the issue of crew on the Vorlon ships, now that I think about it, the Vorlon cruisers appear to have a large bridge with windows. A pretty good hint that it probably has a crew of some sort aboard (though not conclusive).

As for their fighters and such, if the Vorlons have crew on the cruisers, no reason to expect them to not have them on other ships.

What I was thinking when I was surprised by the life form detection is that the Vorlon ship would be so alien that I'm surprised the sensors would properly identify it. In order for the ship to survive in space, unprotected, it would need to be a very different form of life than the species that humans are accustomed to dealing with.
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Postby Jal » Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:17 pm

What I was thinking when I was surprised by the life form detection is that the Vorlon ship would be so alien that I'm surprised the sensors would properly identify it. In order for the ship to survive in space, unprotected, it would need to be a very different form of life than the species that humans are accustomed to dealing with.
ahh! :D

i see what you mean now, seeing as the sensors DID classify it as a life-form we could assume that it checked what limited readings it could get against its own data and found the category that was most suitable for it to be classified under.

on the down side; if the readings had been different it could have been classified as a small orange blamange. :?
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Postby Guest » Thu Jul 15, 2004 1:50 am

msprange wrote:Hi guys,

Vehicles are indeed due for a revision in Babylon 5, starting with starships in August!
That will be very usefull

I was thinking of trying to adapt AOG's B5 wars (I have have it all) for ship combat, it is also d20 based

However, it was going to be a definate challenge to do the same for AOG's Gropos

Any idea of when the revised vehicle stats will be done? Will these be in the web enhancements?
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Postby Big Pete » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:01 am

Anonymous wrote:
msprange wrote:Hi guys,

Vehicles are indeed due for a revision in Babylon 5, starting with starships in August!
That will be very usefull

I was thinking of trying to adapt AOG's B5 wars (I have have it all) for ship combat, it is also d20 based

However, it was going to be a definate challenge to do the same for AOG's Gropos

Any idea of when the revised vehicle stats will be done? Will these be in the web enhancements?
sorry I forgot to login
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Postby klingsor » Tue Aug 17, 2004 10:06 pm

I am not a fan of the Rifts RPG but as far as I understand it I do quite like their idea of different damage scales - for vehicles you have 'mega damage' which is literally on a different magnitude to 'human scale' small arms and hand weapons damage.

Of course they ruined it with personal mega damage weapons and mega armour.

So if someone shoots you with a macro-scale weapon you are dead - but a direct hit is unlikely, you are more likely to take collateral damage such as blast and fragments which would be on the smaller scale.

Conversely firing a hand weapon against a big vehicle needs a crit to do anything at all. Smaller vehicles such as cars, the sort most PCs interact with will be affected by small arms.
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Postby Dag'Nabbit » Wed Aug 18, 2004 11:44 am

To be honest, I really despised the theory behind regular damage and megadamage. It just made cerain things ultimately silly. Besides, if you want to reflect something like that just up the DR on ships/vehicles of certain size/characteristics in order to ignore the damage from small arms.
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Postby PottsBr » Wed Aug 18, 2004 6:20 pm

Mekton uses a similar system, with large vehicles like battlemechs and starships using a different scale of weapon. Almost all equipment and vehicles were built with the same rules, and could bescaled up or down as appropriate. Take a Battlemech at 1/10 scale, and you had a suit of powered armor (an oversimplification).

Anyway, rather than having you roll 20 something dise of damage, the bigger weapons and armor scaled. If you had a big enough low scale weapon, it could be converted to the higher scale to do damage against a larger scale opponent. At the same time, a large scale weapon could be converted to the lower scale dice for use against a small scale target (who was probably toast).

As part of this, the scale difference between to opponents applied a modifier to the to hit roll. A mech chasing a human had a hard time targeting its main weapons at such a small target (though there were rules for blast radius, etc.) The human, though, could almost not miss the massive mech. Things were reversed if your mech was going up against a massive starship, with the mech now being the tiny, agile, hard to hit target. One thing, put in to mimic the anime tendency of mechs to toast starships, was that if you hit by 10 or more, you ignored the enemy's defenses.
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Postby klingsor » Wed Aug 18, 2004 7:33 pm

I agree, the Rifts implementation of mega damage is terrible - though my knowledge of it is second hand but the idea of mega damage armour and mega damage dealing hand weapons then animals is ludicrous in the extreme. They took a basically sound idea and made a laughing stock of it.

As to the rest my inexperience with the D20 is glaringly obvious.
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Postby Xular » Fri Aug 20, 2004 2:48 pm

msprange wrote:Hi guys,

Vehicles are indeed due for a revision in Babylon 5, starting with starships in August!
WOW nice reply Matthew! :D I can't help but remember a similar discussion for the StarWars rpg in regards to the incredible low DR (DR 5) of the AT-ST walker. There the only official reply fans got was that he was misusing the AT-ST (quoting the enhanced range of its guns as a excuse that a two-handed sword with 2d6 dmg would be able to damage this high-tech scout-tank-equivalent vehicle). (Read the Jedi Counseling here for that reply).

In this regard: THANKX too for giving us such cool rules for B5 :!: I am especially a fan of your ship rules :!: When compared to the rules for the StarWars rpg (a d20 system too), they even shine brighter! For in B5 there is a nice balance between capital ships and fighters (in that fighters mostly can only scratsh capital ships) whereas by SW rules, an X-Wing takes apart even those huge Imperial Star Destroyers in only a few rounds (and I am afraid this isn't what we see in the films). Compare this with the B5 rules where a Starfury has no chance at all vs a Sharlin warcruiser (as it should be). :D

*giving Matthew a HUGE thumbs-up*

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