Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby dazrand on Wed 01 Feb 2017 07:52

olivertheorem's idea is similar to the "National Intelligence" model we had tested. Basically intelligence was treated like research, with breakthroughs and hazards, with a defined set of items you could collect against. The big benefit it offers is a reduction paperwork since you are targeting specific details and not collecting a long list of details to create a picture.

For Social Intelligence being random data, its use would still be directed to a given goal and could still fit in this model.

For a complete listing, the third system we tested was the Asset-Based Intelligence. If you liked calculating load and transit times for cargo ships in ISF, it was right up your ally.
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby Elminster on Wed 01 Feb 2017 08:30

Maybe a new type of facility?

Imperial Intelligence Agency (IIA)
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby Cralis on Wed 01 Feb 2017 10:15

dazrand wrote:olivertheorem's idea is similar to the "National Intelligence" model we had tested. Basically intelligence was treated like research, with breakthroughs and hazards, with a defined set of items you could collect against. The big benefit it offers is a reduction paperwork since you are targeting specific details and not collecting a long list of details to create a picture.


This is how most proposed espionage systems work. The only other one is the old "spy circle" method that Imperial Starfire tried to copy, and later someone else made a more complete version on the old Starfire mailing list.

For Social Intelligence being random data, its use would still be directed to a given goal and could still fit in this model.


I thought last night of a name that might give the proper connotation: "Natural Intelligence." The thing here is that I'm not getting the vibe that I'm properly communicating the "this information should come to your empire naturally, through the normal actions of elements of that empire, not because of any directed effort."

For a complete listing, the third system we tested was the Asset-Based Intelligence. If you liked calculating load and transit times for cargo ships in ISF, it was right up your ally.


Yuck. Even with my listening post concept and some of the other signal intelligence ideas, I tried to abstract most of that away.

Elminster wrote:Maybe a new type of facility?

Imperial Intelligence Agency (IIA)


I already thought of this for the directed intelligence and espionage operations. I was thinking each could control certain number of operations. And avtually I have notes about considering a central facility (think like SA) with satellite facilities that would be endpoints for operations (think RDS).

I even have notes to consider intelligence specials for graded leaders, or even a graded intelligence officer ;)

But I like your name better. Mind if I squirrel that away into my notes?
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby dazrand on Wed 01 Feb 2017 11:37

Yuck. Even with my listening post concept and some of the other signal intelligence ideas, I tried to abstract most of that away.


We were exploring as many options as we could. Also it made it easy to remove one of our sets.
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby Whitecold on Wed 01 Feb 2017 12:38

Hm, an IIA might make sense even for natural intelligence. You still need to collect, evaluate and process the data to use it, just having it out there doesn't help you.
Natrually gained information should still be random what you get. Maybe have research-like projects that give you a random new piece of information on completion each?
One could leave out the completion roll, and just reveal a random piece of information whenever you accumulated sufficient IP (Intelligence Points), but I am not sure if that is worth it.
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby olivertheorem on Wed 01 Feb 2017 20:37

Well, if you want it passive, then I'd say build a table based on treaty status with a percentile roll to see if you learned anything new that month (better status = better roll), then another table or something to define what that something is. At the very least, it helps keep the mechanic similar to research, so I'd think it'd be easier to pick up that some entirely new approach.
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby Cralis on Thu 02 Feb 2017 01:01

Whitecold wrote:Hm, an IIA might make sense even for natural intelligence. You still need to collect, evaluate and process the data to use it, just having it out there doesn't help you.


I would say that this shouldn't need an (IIA) for the simple reason that no empire would ever be able to collect anything without it. Small empires should not have to purchase it to get basic information. And we try not to have something that everyone must have, unless it's extremely important to know where and what it is (such as a Capitol).

Natrually gained information should still be random what you get. Maybe have research-like projects that give you a random new piece of information on completion each?
One could leave out the completion roll, and just reveal a random piece of information whenever you accumulated sufficient IP (Intelligence Points), but I am not sure if that is worth it.


Intelligence Points (IP)... not a bad name for it. Actually, we could go two ways with this... how about this for an idea: we can let passive intelligence collect certain kinds of IP and you can either trade IP in for random rolls against a chart, or do one of those active intelligence ideas (like sending agents to act as professors to learn at an alien's university or something) that requires MCr AND IP but you can direct what you want to search for on the charts. THAT would require (IIA) in my opinion.

So look at it like this: say every month your trade agreement gets you 2 Trade IP, your negotiation team offering a new treaty gets you an additional 2 Diplomatic IP, you are doing an accelerated research project for the NPR and generate 2 Research IP, and you have an Active Social Intel project where you choose to generate 5 more Trade IP (my explanation is I send agents out to trade with the other guys to try and learn something). You trade in the combined 7 Trade IP for a roll on the "Trade Knowledge" chart and you can perhaps learn about new population/planet names, or maybe an off chance of learning about a new race they know but you do not. I can trade in the small values of Diplomatic IP or Research IP for low chance rolls, or wait until it accumulates and make a higher chance roll.

Another possibility is that we say you get a free roll every 5 IP or something.

And all of this is separate from Covert Intelligence and Captured Intelligence. Though maybe we can have some sort of synergistic combination where they can boost each other... perhaps you can expend IP to boost Covert Ops rolls, for example.

olivertheorem wrote:Well, if you want it passive, then I'd say build a table based on treaty status with a percentile roll to see if you learned anything new that month (better status = better roll), then another table or something to define what that something is. At the very least, it helps keep the mechanic similar to research, so I'd think it'd be easier to pick up that some entirely new approach.


That's exactly what I'm thinking, but more varied than a single roll against a single table. The second possibility I mention above (where you get a roll every X IP) is probably more along the lines of what you are thinking.

So let's think, what kinds of areas could you earn IP that would merit a new table? I'm thinking for both Passive intelligence and for Active intelligence, maybe you can't get all of them using both methods?

Diplomatic IP (racial information, other race's information, treaties with other races, etc.)
Trade IP (trade volume, knowledge about other races, etc.)
Research IP (tech names, project names, etc.)
Military IP (names of ships, some highlights on design, general fleet movements, etc.)
Construction IP (names of ships, shipyard locations, etc.)
Social IP (news types of stuff)

What else?
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby southwestforests on Thu 02 Feb 2017 04:23

Cralis wrote:Social IP (news types of stuff)
What else?
Hmm, in that category, is that where one would find their celebrities who can be influenced to then influence their society to be more open to yours?
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby Whitecold on Thu 02 Feb 2017 12:45

Honestly, splitting up IP feels like over complicating the system. I'd have IP be just that, IP. If you have 6 different types, you have to potentially make 6 completion rolls per race, giving you lots of dice rolling. Also it potentially ends up complicated if you 'use up' all tidbits in one category, and still have plenty left over in another category.
You accumulate some on free 'natural intelligence' projects, which give you random pieces of public intelligence, while those on directed covert actions cost MCr, and IIA space. They should not be really transferable, or storeable, like RP.
Also I would very much restrict what information about military, research and construction is even publicly available, and one question is insofar operational measurements can be taken to conceal this. If you build and train your newest ship in a dead-end system which has nothing but a tiny dedicated military colony and shipyards, it should be harder to detect than if the ships are built in your yards orbiting your capital
All info has a finite shelf life, and you definitely should not be able to use IP you gained a year ago to find out about the newest constructions.
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Re: Strategic Intelligence ... aka how to learn about aliens

Postby Cralis on Thu 02 Feb 2017 15:35

Whitecold wrote:Honestly, splitting up IP feels like over complicating the system. I'd have IP be just that, IP. If you have 6 different types, you have to potentially make 6 completion rolls per race, giving you lots of dice rolling.


That's true. You could have only generic "IP" but then you'd want to roll for what kind of information is found, before rolling on what the information is. That could lead to situations that may be illogical (such as learning military information when your IP is generated by trade).

Also it potentially ends up complicated if you 'use up' all tidbits in one category, and still have plenty left over in another category.


You could have it roll over to the next month, but you're right that some information does not age well("pssst. secret alien trader who comes from a distant world once a year will be at dock 82 portside tonight.")

Perhaps IP is a "level" of information, like a bonus to rolls that you always make? It can be raised or lowered semi-permanently (better trade treaty) or temporarily for a month using the active peojects?

You accumulate some on free 'natural intelligence' projects, which give you random pieces of public intelligence, while those on directed covert actions cost MCr, and IIA space. They should not be really transferable, or storeable, like RP.


The method I mentioned above would do exactly that by not storing IP

Also I would very much restrict what information about military, research and construction is even publicly available, and one question is insofar operational measurements can be taken to conceal this. If you build and train your newest ship in a dead-end system which has nothing but a tiny dedicated military colony and shipyards, it should be harder to detect than if the ships are built in your yards orbiting your capital


I'm thinking more of what you'd find in the public. Such as a newspaper article about the launch of a new class, or a "Jane's" book on older existing classes, or stuff like the politician saying to the news "The KON cannot break 'The Wall' of forts at Redwing!"

All info has a finite shelf life, and you definitely should not be able to use IP you gained a year ago to find out about the newest constructions.


IP isn't timeless, but neither is RP. I think the "IP as a level" would prevent this exact thing. So it would manifest, for example, that a few IP might give your roll enough of a boost to learn about old stuff, but you'll need to boost it up high to learn new stuff. Either way the SM will need to decide, which is why I was saying it would ideally add to the SM's workload. You want the SM to rill anyway so the player doesn't know if he learned little because of a bad roll or because there's nothing new to learn.
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