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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - WHAT CHANGED?
[Examination of the changes in SOLAR STARFIRE]

The SOLAR STARFIRE rules were originally intended as a simple revision of the ULTRA STARFIRE ruleset. But as we progressed, we started making changes - some significant - that were molding the rules for the campaign play and story of the Terran Solar Union. As a result, we made over 46 typed pages of changes and additions (not including typos). What we've included here are a list of the most significant changes to the system.

NOTE: While SOLAR STARFIRE was based on the ULTRA rules, the rules and technologies have already begin to diverge due to the demands of the background history and will continue to do so as the history grows.

General Changes

Not included in the rules are the changes we've made to the assumptions in the psuedo-science. While many things have remained the same, as the background history unfolds many players will recognize that our assumptions on how the universe works, on certain key technologies, and in general have been brought-up to speed with the real-worlds more recent discoveries on our own universe.

  • A number of sections were re-written to provide more clarity. For example, Section K and Y6.
  • Movement Rules

  • A couple of smaller changes, one that MP used for EM do not counts towards TM, and LEL drive rules have been put into Section C for Cp and future LEL drives that will be added later.
  • Sensors and Detection Rules

  • Big changes were made here. LEL sensors are no longer "advancements" but considered inherent capabilities for those populations. IFF can be turned off and the identification of drive signatures (especially unknown signatures from races you haven't met yet) is much more difficult. Parasite units on transit carriers are much more difficult to detect - until you get close, transit carriers will look like any other ship.
  • Detection rules for WPs also had some major changes that could significantly impact gameplay. Due to the separation of "data" and "information" (in the communications changes below), WP information is now harder to get. No more detection of WPs with regular sensors unless you are close enough to directly see the transit (1/2 T or Scan range). Transits still give you some size and transit information, but you have to observe a transit - no more sending one ship through and that ship getting all the information. Further information on WPs must be obtained through analysis of survey or transit data and that takes time.
  • Other Rules

  • Ground based structures like RDS and PTF are now defined as "Facilities" - ground based complexes that provide unique functions. Populations can support a limited number of facilities, so players will no longer get a "limit" of each facility but rather a support limit and they have to decide which facilities to build. There are now EIGHT distinct facilities with more planned. To further confuse the issue, facilities can be mounted in space stations and other large space units but there are some restrictions and the facilities are HUGE.
  • Wrecks are now officially defined as the remainder of a destroyed ship. Partial wrecks and full wrecks are optional, as are the rules on which weapons have more or less chance of leaving wrecks, but if used they could potentially provide over intel, technological information, and a chance of cargo remaining.
  • Depleted magazines can be refilled for 50% of one month's maintenance - provided you have maintenance "on hand" (it does not come from the CFN). It takes 8 hours per magazine to refill, and each Hb can unpack only 1 Mg worth of munitions. Only munitions for weapons you have mounted can be reloaded. However, ammo colliers (FT with 33% or more Mg) can carry any type of munition. Because munition sources are limited to "on-hand" weapons, higher generation weapons can use lower generation munitions (and use lower generation to-hit and damage values) if that is all that is available.
  • Cargo rates have been adjusted so that it takes hours to unload at EL0, but the rate increases to the point it takes much less time at higher ELs
  • Economic Rules

  • System defense will now pay for FQ and GB as long as they remain in-system.
  • AB no longer provide double income - no more free bonus to all the other populations in the system. If you want the income, you have to colonize the belt.
  • EL bonus to trade has been replaced with an EL difference. Higher EL empires will make less out of trade with a lower EL partner, while the reverse is true for the lower EL partner. Trade is now limited to a % of your GEV...you can keep signing treaties but you don't gain any income from them. An NPR's limit is based on its government type. Last, trade now requires a 'trade hub' facility. No more pretending where trade happens, a specific treaty is setup on the trade hubs of a specific world and all trade flows to the trade hub(s)
  • Construction Rules

  • SY/M/S do NOT require a population to operate, but they do require access to the CFN. Without that access, they can only build using on-hand raw materials.
  • New smcft repair rules in Section M10. Described below under SmCft
  • R&D Rules

  • EL is now equivalent to SL. So PRE-IND/IND-1/IND-2 is now SL-2, SL-1, and SL0. This is for the calculation of RP costs and targets in the SL vs EL rules.
  • Tech Copy/Tech Item/Tech Data have been better refined so they make sense, are progressive and each type is better than the last, and the can be bought from NPRs or found with the intel rules.
  • R&D projects can be moved to a new location, but the project can degrade if it takes too long. Because of this, during amalgamation the two empires can combine projects that they are both doing.
  • A project now officially is canceled if it's RP ever reaches 0.
  • Communications Rules

  • Communications are now broken into "Data" and "Information." Information is what is traditionally passed as communications in STARFIRE. Data, however, is raw data that must be processed before it becomes easily transmittable information. For example, Survey Data and Warp Point Location Information.
  • For both data and information, there are three categories: basic, detailed, and complex. Each has longer transmission times.
  • IND-1 worlds now have broadbeam communications capabilities.
  • Graded Leader Rules

  • Graded leader death is now defined. There is a small chance something happens to a graded leader each turn, and it can range from death to a scandalous retirement. You can also force retire your graded leaders, it can shield them from death but has potential side effects of its own.
  • Retired leaders can be asked to return. He may not agree, and other graded leaders many not agree with you. It all depends upon WHY he retired...
  • Diplomacy Rules

  • Genocide is better defined. Each other race in the game has a modifier to how much they hate or like genocide, so one race could care less and another could go nuts over the slightest infraction. Guess which one is statistically likely to YOUR ally?
  • Nuclear demonstration strikes can now be used with more or less warheads, and more than once, but it risks turning a potential surrender into defiance against surrender.
  • First contact has been changed to account for more corner cases, and to be more like what would be expected.
  • An empire that delays or goes to war no longer does so in a set period of time. In fact, they may not tell you right away...or at all.
  • Intentional treaty breaking has more negative side effects.
  • Optionally, buying systems from other races has been expanded and 10 month forced payment plans have been removed as a requirement.
  • Intermediation has been fully defined and is now equal among NPR and players. No more can players intermediate treaties above NI/NA... and NPRs now charge 1% GEV + cost to intermediate for you.
  • Conquered races no longer conduct R&D...who wants those rebellious scum to build MORE weapons?
  • Ground Combat Rules

  • Ground units are now known as "Qt" and the rate of training is greatly reduced without Qt training facilities.
  • Ground combat rules have been revamped to be more unified in terminology and behavior among the different elements. For example, a population now produced "Qtc" (conscripts) that are basically national-guard style units when they are attacked. Removes the confusing "PU units" from the rules. If Qtc survive long enough they can even become Qt.
  • Qt now have sensors to detect intrusions in the atmosphere, but pre-ind Qt have no sensors and no anti-air capabilities.
  • Silos are now considered planetary XO that PDCs and populations can fire (at a limited rate, of course). They are much harder to detect and beyond Scan range it is impossible to detect if an LRW came from a silo or a PDC launcher. Silos cannot be used against surface targets.
  • If an attacker is overwhelmed at his landing point and has ships on the ground, defending Qt have a chance to capture them.
  • Bombs in bombardment have been revised. Bombs from a squadron or all dropped from a single large unit are considered part of the same volley.
  • Ast can stay on the surface and perform "close air support" to support their Qt. It is less likely the Ast will be shot down, but it isn't as effective as bombardment with bombs.
  • Survey Rules

  • Minor tweaks to rates and such. Habitable surveys now require an AC-capable craft in addition to an X-equipped craft.
  • System Generation Rules

  • New planet classifications: removed the old O1/O2/O3 have been converted to H/F/B (hot, frozen, barren). Moons are now preceeded with an "m" such as mH or mT.
  • gas giants can have mH in their tidelock zone, mT if a big moon. ice giants can have mF in their tidelock zone, F if a big moon.
  • Optional WP-Gravity interactions. WP characteristics have modifiers to their type, size, and visibility based on their distance from a star. Closer WPs tend to be smaller and harder to find, while farther WPs tend to be larger and easier to find.
  • Rings around planets are possible. They don't have an economic effect, but they do have a tactical effect of reducing weapons fire.
  • There are now "hot AB" in a star's tidelock zone and "cold AB" in the ice zone. These are important for alternate races.
  • a mineral value of "super rich" is now possible with random events. Optionally, a small percentage of very rich planets could be super rich.
  • A WP with the same orbit as a planet's will turn it into an AB. This causes WP-in-AB to be a natural result of system generation. WPs can also form in the corona of a blue giant or red giant, causing the Coronal WP to be a natural result of system generation. Those anomaly systems have been replaced with long-distance companion stars, proto-disks, and gravity waves.
  • Optionally, WP visibility no longer limits which WP can connect. This creates the possibility of an easy-to-detect WP connecting to an almost-impossible-to-detect WP and effectively re-creates the "closed WP" phenomena from CLASSIC STARFIRE. At least, until the enemy gains enough SL in Science Instruments to detect that WP.
  • Optionally, WP can be rolled around EVERY star component - not just the primary star. In this case there is a negative modifier to both components to the number of WPs. Certain anomaly systems have modifiers of their own.
  • Galactic oddities were tweaked to remove unrealistic oddities and replaced.
  • NPR Rules

  • Many changes to alternate races, not the least they've been adapted to the new sysgen. They now have "opposites" and "compatibles" that restrict how good of a treaty each can have. Terrans and Super-Terrans, for example, can amalgamate...a Venusian Race is restricted to a much lower maximum treaty with Ice races. Just a simple fact of how different their cultures are.
  • New random method for rolling NPR weapon trees, including more options at higher ELs.
  • LEL to HEL NPRs no longer "suddenly" have shipyards. They build them as they near HEL status.
  • OVERT INTELLIGENCE

  • There are some changes in the tables here, but the biggest change was that captured R&D facilities that have a project may yield research data or a breakthrough
  • TECHNOLOGY

  • more knots added to trees that previously didn't have the right knots. Certain trees had unfair advantages in this regard.
  • New "Command Center" split into CIC and CNC. CIC provides fleet-level bonuses, while CNC provides datagroup level bonuses. Most of the bonuses are a percentage increase to things like sensors or AP control, rather than flat values, still requiring the command ship to mount the proper systems.
  • Cargo bays - large H systems that actually have external access. Cargo transfer rates are now dependent upon the number of Hb, not H or Qv, but they are bigger and have less capacity. This creates a choice between carrying more cargo or loading/unloading faster. The purpose was to make a distinction between a freighter and a "landing ship" for landing troops on planets and doing bombing runs. It helped clear up other rules in the process.
  • Cp has many changes and rules have been added to Sections C and D for "ALL LEL drives". Cp now has a tech tree that extends into HEL, although it eventually can't compete with HEL drives and ends. However, Cp has "engines per accel/decel point" and max speed is limited by deflector technology (to protect from space debris). Eventually protective fields protect from ramming and warheads and lead to HEL drive technologies.
  • ast guns no longer damage large units, and are treated similar to the old fighter gun.
  • Early hull prototypes must go through each hull and cannot skip.
  • Mn changed to be an AI/Machine Race special technology. Perhaps more of these may appear in the future...
  • J'Rill must build Qt-j with shipyards. More J'Rill technology may appear in the future...
  • SS and AF no longer use EM/EMS, BS only use EMS, ADM no longer affects station keeping drives
  • D/Dc on AP are now "drone missiles" based on the counter-missiles from the original point defense systems. They have a maximum BASV range of short and no defensive capabilities. Instead there are now drone guns (Dg) as an early form of rail launched sprint-like munitions.
  • XOB can now be used by bases. Recharge rate is based on BS # as a generalization of the size of station-keeping drives
  • AP

  • AP in the same tH are now considered part of the same squadron. AP in a datagroup are considred part of the same squadron. In Scan Range individual squadrons can be targeted (to a degree). Penalty for firing at multiple targets does not apply when firing at AP. Optionally, instead of letting the defender choose which AP are damaged, roll randomly.
  • AP do not combine BASV, they fire separately
  • XO and APeW can now be combined on the same AP.
  • AP launching rules have been consolidated. Many AP rules were consolidated because they were spread across D, E, and AA depending upon context.
  • SmCft

  • Squadron repairs have been significantly altered. Squadrons can only be repaired by one facility at a time. Each bay holds 15 DP and SQnM 30 DP, and SY/M/S have repair rate * 30 DP. They can be refilled with maintenance each month for 4 MC. With the exception of SQnM, all other facilities must "house" the squadron to repair it. SY/M/S can hold a single squadron for this purpose. SY/M/S lose build capacity in an equal percentage to the amount of repair they use.
  • specialist smcft are starting to appear, such as buoy-laying shuttles and heavy shuttles
  • squadron reloads are no longer stored in bays, they are stored in Mg on the carrier. Squadron reload sizes depend upon the generation and type of squadron. Mg are developed with FQ/GB bays if you don't already have them.
  • ALL large unit weapons (except point defense) can now fire at squadons during the small unit combat sub phase. Optionally, munition weapons can fire only in one phase or the other (to preserve ROF limitations). Point defense eventually get dual-mode enhancement that allows them to defend and engage smcft at SL6.
  • PTF training is better defined with a limit to how many CP can be held over time.
  • refined squadron precision weapons and added fPg (limited to short range)
  • consolidated rules about anti-smcft fire from ground units in V6.02 and G7.06. Streamlined the rules on smcft attacking ground units and those ground units shooting back.
  • Things for the future....

    We aren't done. Not even close. Here are some things we have planned for the future...

  • new alternate races, and non-player races for the SM.
  • the BASV system will be changed for munition-based weapons. They will either fire at large units or small units, but do so during the large unit combat sub-phase. Their BASV values will need to change to reflect this difference. This is to preserve the ROF limits of munition weapons, and may contain a few surprises (depending upon balance).
  • Cloaking devices face a major overhaul to a tiered progression, likely with choices
  • orbital populations
  • Empire Indicators such as the "Economic Health Indicator." A possible new way to look at intelligence.
  • new ways to get Qt to ground at higher SLs
  • More special race technology (J'Rill, AI/Machine Race, etc.)

  • Advanced technology is being viewed in "tiers" based on particular scientific advances. Such as the unified theorem led to HEL technology, every 20 SL or so we'll likely see something similar. New drives (like Gt) and new technologies will result, and hopefully make it possible to go above EL50 and deprecate old technology in an ordered fashion.
  • more system types, star types, special systems, etc. that we just didn't get to this time.
  • WP characteristic changes in special circumstances.
  • And more.... we can't give everything away!<.p>

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