Star Fleet Battles
The Thousand Wandering Tribes
(or how the Jindarians could have been done)
The Thousand Wandering Tribes (also known as the "Wanderers" or "Thousand Tribes") were originally designed as my replacement for the Jindarians (R16.0) in module F1, which were widely viewed as rather broken (in that there were no viable tactics other than sit-&-spin). In analysing the problem, I changed most of the technology and much of the ship design. The resulting changes were far too extensive for ADB to publish as the replacement for F1, as they'd need to bin a large stock of counters, SSD books and so forth. So the Wanderers languished in private playtest-land for a couple of years, and here they are, renamed.
Summary The basic concept is the same as that of the Jindarians, with some tweaks. The Thousand Tribes use large asteroid ships (except they're bigger, DN-size and up), and smaller metal ships. Complementing these is a host of "cutters" and "gigs",
essentially lightly-armed PFs and interceptors without warp packs.
Instead of the old direct-fire railgun (E18.0), the Wanderers use a seeking weapon, the Neutronium Accelerator. This comes in three sizes and can be thought of as a plasma torpedo with a bad turn mode. This is backed up by
the Angular Momentum Corrector, a direct fire weapon which can prevent a target ship from turning. They otherwise use normal phasers, mostly P2s.
Instead of Jindarian eggshell armour, Wanderers use normal shields. There is no Anti-Transporter Field.
Wanderer asteroid ships have some special rules, including:
- They ignore some internal damage which goes on pulverising irrelevant rock. This makes up for some poor shields.
- They cannot HET, Warp TAC or use warp to move in reverse. This forces them to maneuver.
- They get lots of repair capability. They're huge and need it.
For most purposes, Wanderers use Jindarian background and concepts. For "caravan", substitute "tribe". For "Jinbaro" (the leader of a tribe) substitute "chieftain". For "Jindavo" (the captain of a ship) substutute "hetman". Most tribes split into different fleets as they travel; this is more economically efficient and allows specialist crews to exploit different systems. So while a tribe might comprise dozens of assorted ships and cutters, a fleet might be only a handful of ships.
The Wanderers were originally a genetically engineered servitor race designed to live in zero-G and operate spacecraft. The progenitor race died out some 100,000 years ago, leaving the Wanderers with a large range of ships and mobile shipyards but little idea how to design anything new.
Physically, a Wanderer is an 18" sphere with four 6' tentacles, each ending in two 4-fingered hands and an eyestalk. While ideally adapted to zero-G they would fall to the ground helplessly in Earth gravity, so use powered pressure suits and anti-gravity harnesses if forced to travel to a planet or other empire's ship.
Wanderer culture derives inexorably from the fact that they live in small groups in extremely hostile conditions. In the cold of deep space, any mistake could mean a quick death for everyone on the ship. As a result, Wanderer society is extremely disciplined, hidebound and resistant to change. Experimentation is strongly discouraged; this is exacerbated by the small tribes' lack of research facilities.
The technology employed on Wanderer ships is hard-coded into their construction robots, and has remained unchanged for countless millenia. While different ships might use the various items in subtly different
ways, all Wanderer Tribes across known space use exactly the same components.
For most of the Thousand Tribes' long ages in space, they had undisputed mastery of their mining grounds. Occasional empires such as the 'Old Kings' rose and fell, but the Wanderers could blithely ignore most of them. Only in later years (Y150 and onward) did the 'younger' races, and latterly the Andromedans, present any threat to the Wanderers' control of space. This led to unprecedented changes in Wanderer technology and society, as hard-pressed tribes found themselves forced to drastic action: to trade with one of the 'lesser' races for technology.
After a rare and bitter conference of a dozen leading chieftains, they picked the Orions, who had a wide range of military technology and few compunctions about selling it for the right price. As time went on, this relationship, though frequently very fractious, grew closer and more common. Many caravans still refuse to sully themselves in this
way, but some of the more adventurous Wanderers have even joined Orion crews. The change in attitude is best shown by the unconfirmed rumours of a hetman seeking refuge for his Fujiyama-class asteroid ship in the WYN cluster in Y177 after a failed coup.
The R Section
Created by Jim Davies.
Submitted to and copyright © 2005-19 ADB, Inc.