Trial Shadows Rules

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Postby Neo » Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:36 am

ShadowScout wrote: Hmmm... let's see... what would be more logical, telepathic jamming disrupting the brain (which we KNOW can be affected quite easily by TP), or the implant tech (which we also know can be affected by telepathy, but it taxed the enhanced Lyta to do it!), or the rest of ShadowTech (which we don't know anything definite about, except that teeps scanning it seem to go mad - Psi Corps trilogy)

I'd say, teepy jamming affects the brains, and not the tech... maybe the "interface" between tech and brain - but more likely from the brainy side.
I would be inclined to agree, were it not for two facts your failing to take into account
a) shadow tech is "Organic" just as vorlon tech is, and
b) its the tech that keeps the teep in the role he's filling on the shadow ship. If it wasn;t the tech keeping him under thier influence there would be little need to use powers on the pilot as he could possibly resist of his own free will... yet we know from the series that the tech takes thier free will. So its fairly obvious that to disrupt the teep you have to disrupt the tech.. simple process of elimination.
Well, yes, now. But while now they stay at home on Z'ha'dum while directing their ships via the Eye, some time ago they must have piloted their ships themselves.
undoubtedly
And when they went "beyong the rim" after Coriana, they certainly didn't book passage on an EA liner :wink:.
WHAT??!! you'd be surprised how anonymous you can be with some shades, a hawaian shirt and some flip flops on LOL, especially if said tourists are all wielding camera's... the constant flashes keep you from noticing they're all shadows LOL :lol:
AND we know from the TM trilogy that fully activated technomages can merge and unmerge with ShadowShips without trouble - all that led me and others to assume that Shadows can do it too. Especially since they seem to be more "hands on" kind of people then the Vorlons - they have to be, since their hibernation cycle doesn't allow them long-time manipultion tactics.
I'd imagine their ships "now" are more suited to being piloted by lesser subjugated species and captives entirely, leaving them to direction activities and act more directly in other regards.
Technomages have had the benefit of understanding shadowtech, and taking it apart and putting it back together so they can use it for thier own ends to a point. But your probably right they probably "could" if they needed to fly the ships directly, though I doubt its something they'd ever do except in emergencies or no captive teeps are available.
But there is more - current era YR-CPU-controlled ShadowShips are portrayed as weaker then Vorlon ships of comparable size, while the Shadows are mentioned to be quite a bit older then the Vorlons (actually the oldest of the "First Ones" {more accurately "second ones" as lorien was before all of them, and had the same status to them as they now have to the "younger races"}, older then the Walkers "by a smidge" according to JMS").
Just because a race is old doesn;t mean it can do everything... LOL if that were true the interstellar alliance wouldn;t have ever been able to beat them in any respects.

As for Vorlon ships being more powerful, I think thats fairly easy to explain as a cultural difference. both may have had thier agreement not to directly fight each other, but the shadows weren;t called the shadows for nothing... powerful weapons aside they are always seen using ambush tactics, dropping in, letting loose, then fading out just as quickly as they'd appeared. Then there is the actual design of thier vessels, which in and of itself has less overall mass than vorlon vessels that are generally much stockier overall. It's also a lot more obvious from the series that the Shadows used far more "servitor" type species to do thier dirty work than the vorlons who only really dealt with the minbari exclusively until the Humans came on the scene.

the shadows just didn;t need big awesome ships, as their war was all about intrigue and subterfuge and manipulating an enemy from within.

whereas the vorlons mostly advised sure, but you only need to watch the pilot episode to see how readily they will appear en mass to confront a suspected enemey even over the smallest of things (I'm dam* sure all those ships were needed to bring one human into custody <g>).

the vorlons also had thier planet killers look how readily they used those in the end, where as the shadows death clouds except for in testing only laid waste to strategic planets.

then you have the corlons history with the thirdspace aliens and having to drive those back (that certainly would have taken some firepower).

No I think of the two there a lot more reasoning to support the vorlons having tough more combat ready vessels of the two, as they are culturally the more militaristic of the two... they are just wiser and more tempered when the humans come on the scene (though still lose the plot somewhat towards the end of Bab 5).
And considering their conflict-oriented nature, it seems inconcievable that the Shadows were slackers in that tech department, so there must be a reason why their ships seem so weak compared to other ancients.
I don't think either would or are shoddy in the tech department, though I don;t really agree that they are conflict oriented by nature. Power hungry and manipulative sure.. but not conflict oriented.. I mean look at the lengths they go to to avoid moving before they are ready, and that wasn;t because they were building masses of ships and training millions of ground troops. They were using subterfuge and manipulation all along to reduce the need for over the top military action. And when actual conflict was required it was done decisively and strategically and always to make a point.

The shadows with all thier biologically manipulated viruses and shadow death clouds and all the rest of it, could quite easily have either dropped a single death Cloud at any point around earth before earth and the minbari secured forces and wiped earth off the face of the universe. and even later on, how difficult would it have been for them to have 20, heck even 1 shadow battlecrab appear above earth and drop a plague? In the end they didn't in the end it fell to thier less wise, less knowledge..and more conflict oriented minions the Drakh to do such a thing.
No the shadows were many things but they weren't confict oriented, at least not in the militaristic meaning of the words.
And the one that makes most sense is that they build them as "cheap" and "quick to build" attrition units, because They don't have to die when one of those vessels goes pop, and it makes sense for them to do so in face of their long inactivity periods to quickly get their fleet to the levels they need in their "kicking over the anthill" strategy.
I don;t think they saw thier vessel as cheap and expendable... heck just look at the lengths they go to retrieve them in the series when found. sure they didn;t want people to get the tech, but if that was the driving motivation they could have just blow the vessel up but they don;t they retrieve it.
Yet from this follows that in the times before they used younger races, they must have piloted their ships personally, and then they would likely have taken more time, effort and care to build them (as they as ancients have low birth rate and therefore must protect their lives more carefully), resulting in ships that probably outmatched the other ancients (oldest of them And kinda warlike focus).
I agree at some point they must have piloted them directly, and likely could if needed to do so again, but I think it would be a very rare thing, or for them to be aboard a much smaller craft. But they didn't have to outclass the other ancients with firepower as that wasn;t what the shadows were about... thier shadows faded in and out, they bided thier time and struck decisively when and if they needed to strike at all. I mean how many of the other ancients vessels do we see that can fade in and out at will, thier stealth was thier edge.
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Postby ShadowScout » Sun Sep 21, 2003 11:12 am

Neo wrote: would be inclined to agree, were it not for two facts your failing to take into account
a) shadow tech is "Organic" just as vorlon tech is, and
True, but as "pure" (as in - small fragment without other YR being wired into it) ShadowTech was scanned (Psi Corps trilogy, first book IIRC), the teep went mad. And even the enhanced Lyta had troubles surpressing the ShadowTech implants of the frozen teeps... while normal teeps could jam ShadowShips in "Shadow Dancing". So - ShadowTech drives them mad, YR brains they can play with... seems the latter is the weaker link!
b) its the tech that keeps the teep in the role he's filling on the shadow ship. If it wasn;t the tech keeping him under thier influence there would be little need to use powers on the pilot as he could possibly resist of his own free will... yet we know from the series that the tech takes thier free will. So its fairly obvious that to disrupt the teep you have to disrupt the tech.. simple process of elimination.
Yet when a ShadowShip is "jammed" it doesn't suddenly act as the "mad" (because the pilot was uncontrolled and unprepared) ShadowShip at Ganymede in S-3. It just stops. Doesn't maneuvre, doesn't fire, doesn't use it's energy diffusion mechanism - nothing works. That would indicate it's a "jamming" of the CPU, not the "influence tech", wouldn't it?
I'd imagine their ships "now" are more suited to being piloted by lesser subjugated species and captives entirely, leaving them to direction activities and act more directly in other regards.
Yees, that's what I wrote, they redesigfned their "current" ships for the task at hand.
(I personally also think considering their ideology and modus operandi, they they deliberately designed those ships to be tough, but barely beatable - their goal isn't to wipe out all life in the galaxy, but to create strife and thus further evolution; I think they would be delighted when someone takes up the challange, and "defeats" them like Valen did - in doing so, he did what they wanted, grew through conflict and strife)
Technomages have had the benefit of understanding shadowtech, and taking it apart and putting it back together so they can use it for thier own ends to a point. But your probably right they probably "could" if they needed to fly the ships directly, though I doubt its something they'd ever do except in emergencies or no captive teeps are available.
Actually not. They didn't understand it, they didn't take it apart - doing that to their own TM tech was forbidden within the TM's (remember the TM trilogy, the inner circle forbade that old mage to continue her studies... OK, she went ahead anyway, but "Technomages" as a rule would have obeyed this one - she was the exception, and suffered for it in her blunder, and the fact that she couldn't reveal it to try and get help). And as the TM trilogy explained, the tech they Do understand is what they gathered through their 1000 year existance, some advanced stuff, sure, but niot even within shouting distance of the levels the ancients are at.

And a fully activated TM CAN enter and fly a ShadowShip, and disengage on his own without problems - that's how Galen escaped Z'ha'dum after all. It's in the book. Of course, to date only Galen has reached that level of integration with his TM magic tech... but if he could do it, it will be routine for every Shadow.
Just because a race is old doesn;t mean it can do everything... LOL if that were true the interstellar alliance wouldn;t have ever been able to beat them in any respects.
Everything - no. Not even Lorien can do that. But the Interstellar alliance didn't beat them - they convinced them to let go. That was JMS intention - as he let Lorien say: "You cannot win this through force of arms, you have to... understand your way out of it"
As for Vorlon ships being more powerful, I think thats fairly easy to explain as a cultural difference. both may have had thier agreement not to directly fight each other, but the shadows weren;t called the shadows for nothing... powerful weapons aside they are always seen using ambush tactics, dropping in, letting loose, then fading out just as quickly as they'd appeared. Then there is the actual design of thier vessels, which in and of itself has less overall mass than vorlon vessels that are generally much stockier overall. It's also a lot more obvious from the series that the Shadows used far more "servitor" type species to do thier dirty work than the vorlons who only really dealt with the minbari exclusively until the Humans came on the scene.
the shadows just didn;t need big awesome ships, as their war was all about intrigue and subterfuge and manipulating an enemy from within.
Not really - they Always attacked sooner or later. They did it in Valen's war, they did it in the wars that came before, they did it in the last Shadow War.
whereas the vorlons mostly advised sure, but you only need to watch the pilot episode to see how readily they will appear en mass to confront a suspected enemey even over the smallest of things (I'm dam* sure all those ships were needed to bring one human into custody <g>).
Yeah, they did love a good show, didn't they :wink: :lol:
the vorlons also had thier planet killers look how readily they used those in the end, where as the shadows death clouds except for in testing only laid waste to strategic planets.
Says who? Oh, the Shadows were only using them late in the war, but they did just the same as the Vorlons did - start killing every planet the other side had influence. Like Zander prime, which now really wasn't a strategic target...
then you have the corlons history with the thirdspace aliens and having to drive those back (that certainly would have taken some firepower).
Sure... but we also heard that the Shadows have been fighting all the ancients in times long past.
No I think of the two there a lot more reasoning to support the vorlons having tough more combat ready vessels of the two, as they are culturally the more militaristic of the two... they are just wiser and more tempered when the humans come on the scene (though still lose the plot somewhat towards the end of Bab 5).
Rewatch "Z'ha'dum" again, and really listen to Justin. The Shadow philosophy can't be something they had as brain fart while lounging in their armchairs, they must have grown through strife themselves to come to such strongly an belief. Stands to reason that if they believe a race can only grow through conflict and strife, that they would be likely to seek out conflict and strife themselves, to better their own race too. And as every wargamer knows, you don't get better by beating up lesser opponets (that's only for satisfaction and to salve the wounds after you loose big time to a better opponent), you learn by playing guys who are at least as good as you. So I think in times long past the Shadows will have gone out of their ways to pick fights with every race they considered worth battling (and that'd be all the other ancients, which would fit with what Delenn and Kosh told Sheridan in "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum").
I don't think either would or are shoddy in the tech department, though I don;t really agree that they are conflict oriented by nature.
What - our "growth through strife" Shadows? Are you sure you don't confuse them with some other shadows... shadow bunnies for example :wink:
Power hungry and manipulative sure.. but not conflict oriented.. I mean look at the lengths they go to to avoid moving before they are ready, and that wasn;t because they were building masses of ships and training millions of ground troops. They were using subterfuge and manipulation all along to reduce the need for over the top military action. And when actual conflict was required it was done decisively and strategically and always to make a point.
You still seem to think they all did it to conquer the galaxy. They didn't however - been there, done that a million years or two before our time.

They did all they did because they thought a climate of strife and chaos would speed up the evolution of the younger races, something they (who shared "guardianship of the younger races" with the Vorlons after the other ancients mostly went away) wanted to do (but couldn't agree with the Vorlons about How, because Vorlon ideology of growth through order and obidience is diametrically opposed to the Shadows way of thinking). In terms of ideology, the Shadows just took Nitzsche's "That which doesn't kill you only serves to make you stronger" to an extreme, and used their "kicking over the anthill" tactics to weed out those their belief deemed too weak or inflexible to survive. And they used that much manipulation because they were playing this as a "galactic chess game" against the Vorlons, to see whose way proved the better (using those tactics much like Arisia and Eddore in one of the SF works JMS went to for inspiration, though those two have other basic considerations).
The shadows with all thier biologically manipulated viruses and shadow death clouds and all the rest of it, could quite easily have either dropped a single death Cloud at any point around earth before earth and the minbari secured forces and wiped earth off the face of the universe. and even later on, how difficult would it have been for them to have 20, heck even 1 shadow battlecrab appear above earth and drop a plague?
It'd have been very easy - but wouldn't further their goal of forced evolution. See above.
In the end they didn't in the end it fell to thier less wise, less knowledge..and more conflict oriented minions the Drakh to do such a thing.
Well, the Drakh Are power-hungry and all that. They don't care about helping the younger races evolve, they just want two things: Revenge on those who caused their benefactors to leave them and an interstellar empire of their own.
No the shadows were many things but they weren't confict oriented, at least not in the militaristic meaning of the words.
I think they were - they just hid their iron fist in a glove of midnight velvet, and preferd to strike at night as the light favored their opponents.
But how could a race believe in conflict and strife as the driving forces of evolution, and not be conflict oriented???
I don;t think they saw thier vessel as cheap and expendable... heck just look at the lengths they go to retrieve them in the series when found. sure they didn;t want people to get the tech, but if that was the driving motivation they could have just blow the vessel up but they don;t they retrieve it.
Well... that's another point... who said they did retrieve them?? I have my own thoughts on that... so let me give you an little essay I once wrote and sent to Agent-1 and the guys who were in charge of making the B5W ancients back then:
Buried Shadow Ships
Why do the shadows bury their ships? They could easily find a better way to hide them, if that is what this is about; but I think differently! What if this is their way of building ships? Think about it, a shadow vessel shoots a packet of self-replicating nano-machines into a planet of moon, where they multiply and start to build... "grow" a shadow ship – minus the central control matrix, which is provided later by inserting the "pilot". After the ship is finished, it lies dormant until the shadows call, or it is exposed to sunlight, at which time it sends out an automated call to it's masters, who come, complete it, and take it with them. This way perfectly fits the shadows active/inactive periods; it allows them to field massive fleets in little time – after all, they were "seeded" during their last active period (and shooting a tiny nanotech-projectile into a planet or moon doesn't require much time) and "grew" into big bad shadow vessels during their dormant period. This would also explain why they insert sentients as control matrix, instead of just building an artificial intelligence (which supposedly is the way vorlon ships are build, or grown, or whatever), since an AI might require some time to reach full decision capability, "adulthood" if you will (it takes humans a couple of years, too), while a adult sentient being chosen to fill this slot has had this time. So, upon awakening the shadows just have to send out a call to their buried ships, abduct some beings and field a impressive fleet in record time. Actually it is a distinct possibility their fleet size is limited only by the available sentients for use as "pilots", and (if they "planted" enough seeds during their last time around) they can recover massive losses easily by just gathering some more beings and activating some more buried ships… and these ships would be In Addition to any from their surely existing shipyards… which could be produced (and activated) the same way – a fearful but quite possible thought; it surely explains how they can go from zero (=Z'ha'dum) to an galaxy-shaking power in just a instant compared to the years, decades and centuries other races needed to build their stellar empires. This would also indicate that there might be more shadow vessels and other things buried in our galaxy than everybody thinks – even after the shadows went beyond the rim! Who knows what things the younger races might still face.

I agree at some point they must have piloted them directly, and likely could if needed to do so again, but I think it would be a very rare thing, or for them to be aboard a much smaller craft. But they didn't have to outclass the other ancients with firepower as that wasn;t what the shadows were about... thier shadows faded in and out, they bided thier time and struck decisively when and if they needed to strike at all. I mean how many of the other ancients vessels do we see that can fade in and out at will, thier stealth was thier edge.
Well, I think they would have built their ships as good as they could when they were still flying them personally against enemies of the same caliber, but just didn't see the need for such quality (and the time & effort it took to get it) when they were just facing younger races and not in danger themselves anyway...
But in primordial times, when they did fight with the Vorlons or the Kirishiac, they certainly would have built ships that made the current ShadowShips look like Inse... oh... well, you know what I meant :wink: :P :lol:

(whew, what an sting of text... I really need to cut down on online rants... some day... for now I enjoy furthering conflict of ideas and chaotic dicsussions too much! :mrgreen:)
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Postby DKeith2011 » Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:35 pm

You guys should pick up a copy of "War Of The Ancients" for Babylon 5 Wars if Bruce still has any.

It really lays out the whys and hows of the ancient races and explains most of the things covered in this thread in a creative and canon manner.

Just a few points being:

Way back when, the Shadows piloted their own ships and those ships were much more powerful than we see later. The decision to switch to quantity over quality was the result of several things, all of which are covered in the book.

The Walkers Of Sigma 957 extreme reaction to the mention of the Vorlons is explained in detail.

A massive war fought between the Kirishiac and the other ancients spurred the Vorlon and Shadow agreement.


It really is one of the best books AOG did and is worth reading even if you never played B5W.
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Postby ShadowScout » Sun Sep 21, 2003 5:12 pm

You guys should pick up a copy of "War Of The Ancients" for Babylon 5 Wars if Bruce still has any.
I have always been there...
(Check the credits of that supplement one day, under "Ancients Mailing List", sixth name. :mrgreen: )

But as I wrote, I enjoy such discussions... and I don't want to rest my intellectual butt on old stuff, holding things published by AoG (even those I contributed to in some small ways) like some holy writ and base all my reasoning on some unyielding "because IT says so, that's why" phrase.
I am perfectly willing to parade my opinions and the reasoning behind them again, no matter if AoG took them up or ignored them -or might have taken them up if I hadn't come a bit too late before the release date, as has happened too- (and I still think that many of my suggestions to A-1 would have made a better game... from "T'Loth with split hangar to represent it's apperance" over "Vorlon Transport as LCV" to "ShadOmega with 'Multiphased Beams' instead of mounting true shadow weapons")
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How Much Damage?

Postby chulbert » Mon Sep 22, 2003 1:06 am

Shadow energy beams "...always deal 1d3 critical hits in addition to normal damage." As I read it it, it's 1d3 * 2 + 1 damage rolls per hit, which ranges, on average, from about 1650 to 3850 points.

I'm not saying that it sounds high or low, I just want to know if that's correct.
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Postby Bekenn » Mon Sep 22, 2003 5:11 pm

msprange wrote:The PDF is a glimpse of what we are planning, in general, for the Shadows and we welcome any comments you chaps have about them. With regards to points like this, trust us. It will all make sense in the end :)
Will do; looking forward to seeing the final rules!
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Re: How Much Damage?

Postby BeronTheGrey » Tue Sep 23, 2003 12:28 pm

chulbert wrote:Shadow energy beams "...always deal 1d3 critical hits in addition to normal damage." As I read it it, it's 1d3 * 2 + 1 damage rolls per hit, which ranges, on average, from about 1650 to 3850 points.

I'm not saying that it sounds high or low, I just want to know if that's correct.
I don't have my rulebook to hand, but I think critical hits against ships don't do extra damage. Instead, they just damage subsystems to a degree based on the amount of damage done and the ship's DR. Presumably you still count the ship's DR for this.

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Re: How Much Damage?

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 23, 2003 5:29 pm

BeronTheGrey wrote:I don't have my rulebook to hand, but I think critical hits against ships don't do extra damage. Instead, they just damage subsystems to a degree based on the amount of damage done and the ship's DR. Presumably you still count the ship's DR for this.
You are absolutely right, and I am absolutely dumb. Sorry for the question.
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Postby KamokaziUK » Tue Sep 23, 2003 5:56 pm

jadrax wrote:Shadow fighters should have a pulse weapon not a beam weapon.
Spot on.
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Postby frobisher » Wed Oct 01, 2003 8:51 am

ShadowScout wrote:Agreed. And two of them did make short work of Kosh, peeled away the encounter suit and tore him apart
You're wrong on that one. There's FOUR of them in "Shadow Dancing". Two on one was a "no score draw" in the incident in season one.
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Postby ShadowScout » Wed Oct 01, 2003 12:31 pm

frobisher wrote:You're wrong on that one. There's FOUR of them in "Shadow Dancing". Two on one was a "no score draw" in the incident in season one.
Dunno about "Shadow Dancing", but it was only Two Shadows that went to tear apart Kosh in "Interludes & Examinations". Watch the scene - Morden opens the door to Kosh's quarters, Kosh looks at him, two Shadows appear and go for the Vorlon (though I wonder why Morden had to open the door at all, since he stood in the doorway the whole time, not letting any physical being or shadow-size through, while the shadows appeared before him anyway... well, maybe they wanted him as witness or somehting...)

The draw in S-1 wasn't a real fight though - then both still held to the "no direct conflict" part of their agreement. Probably just a slap on Kosh's hand, as he was a bit rude ordering the Shadows and Morden off the station... The nerve of those Vorlons, wanting to keep the Shadows from even playing the game so thay can win... :wink: :P :lol:
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Ship Damage

Postby El Cid » Wed Oct 01, 2003 9:11 pm

Has anyone worked the numbers on ship damage?

I'm starting by listing the max damage a younger race ship can do but with the different reductions the Shadow ship gets, I have this gut feeling that the loss ration will be far greater than 3 to 1 that I thought they quoted in the series.

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Postby ShadowScout » Thu Oct 02, 2003 6:19 am

El Cid wrote:I'm starting by listing the max damage a younger race ship can do but with the different reductions the Shadow ship gets, I have this gut feeling that the loss ration will be far greater than 3 to 1 that I thought they quoted in the series.
Remember, the 2 to 1 loss ratio was With hordes of YR teeps jamming the hell out of those ShadowShips. Without teeps, the "army of light" would & should have had something like 10 to 1 losses...
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Postby August » Thu Oct 02, 2003 8:39 am

ShadowScout brings up an excellent point. Without telepath support, the losses would have been a great deal worse.

Also remember that the special Damage Reduction a shadow ship gets can be 'maxed out' each round by enough damage, rendering it unable to cope with any other shots that round. This is how shadow ships can be defeated (logically enough) massed coordinated fire.

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Postby El Cid » Thu Oct 02, 2003 3:41 pm

Does anyone think the damage for the Vorlon Transport in the basic book is a little light when compaired to the other ships espically the Shadow fighter?

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Postby El Cid » Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:12 pm

Didn’t we see a G’Quan take out a Shadow ship all by itself?

If this is true, then the G’Quan is greatly undergunned; the shadow ship has too many HP and too much protection; or the G’Quan took out a much smaller Shadow ship.

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Postby jadrax » Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:26 pm

El Cid wrote:Didn’t we see a G’Quan take out a Shadow ship all by itself?
No, it was with a white star. But yes the G'quon is way undergunned in my opinion, it's main guns should be at least equivelent to an Omegas, and probably better.
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Postby KamokaziUK » Thu Oct 02, 2003 5:32 pm

If i remember the episode correctly 'Shadow Dancing' It was 2 Whitestars from below and a G'Quan that had just come froma jump point from above taking on a Shadow ship. There were 2 shadowships in that scene the other shadow ship had another 2 whitestars attaching it. All ships were useing thier beam wep's
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Postby El Cid » Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:01 pm

Now that you mention it, I do recall that Sheridan's White Star and the G'Quan finished the Shadow ship off after the first volley from the G'Quan.

I do not recall any other White Star(s) there.

I do recall a Minbari ship with some telepaths and the one Shadow ship broke free to attack the White Star after the White Star had used sustained fire on the first Shadow Ship.

Or am I misremembering the episode?

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Postby KamokaziUK » Fri Oct 03, 2003 8:40 pm

So many Episodes, so many Whitestars and Shadow ships. Who knows...

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