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Pancakelord

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So, in federations we're getting a Juggernaut mobile shipyard, this opens up a whole new frontier in possible mobile, FTL Capable, structures.

I suggest an additional juggernaut-class design: the Wormhole Ship, herein called the Gate Ship or GS.

Inspiration:
This is part inspired by the old wormhole stations from early versions of Stellaris, essentially bringing them back as mobile strategic launch points.
Further, the one way Gatecasting system (see below) was partly inspired by the farcasting technology from the Hivers in Sword of the Stars. The Hivers were a bug species that travelled at light speed, on arriving at a system they built Gateways that allowed for instant travel between owned systems. They got a midgame tech called Farcasting that would let them launch fleets at other star systems by inverting how their gateways operated, turning them into FTL cannons.

Construction
The GS is a large ship produced at a shipyard with a special docking bay module (similar to the titan shipyard module).

This would be a late-game ship design and would essentially bring back wormhole stations in a very limited capacity. It would require understanding Gateway technology.

Summary description:
Imagine a mobile Gateway that can harness a star to power itself and launch fleets at other nearby stars on one-way trips, or recieve incoming ships from any friendly gateway.

Operations:
The GS can operate in 2 modes, deployed and undeployed.
  • Undeployed mode: the GS is able to move about and is pretty weak, it comes with a vast array of PD and fighter bays, chiefly for its own defence.
  • Deployed mode: once the GS has been deployed, it can be set to one of two sub-modes. Switching modes takes 60 days.
    • Gateway reciever: the Gate Ship becomes a one-way reciever for the gate network. Any friendly ship that enters a gate your empire owns can exit via the gateship.
    • Gatecaster: the gateship's polarity is reversed and it allows you to launch fleets from it in a radius on the galaxy map (Similar to how wormhole stations worked in old-stellaris). But this is a one-way system, ships that have been Gatecasted must either find another gateway, that you own, to get back. Or they must fly back the slow way.
      • Gatecasting into a friendly, neural or hostile system (without any FTL inhibitors present) will have no immediate negative effect, but the fleet will receive a debuff "formation regrouping" for 30 days (for example) which lowers combat defences (evasion, and maybe missile/strikecraft tracking).
      • Gatecasting into a hostile system which also has an active FTL inhibitor present, will add an additional debuff "FTL Inhibitor Shockwave". Punching through an FTL inhibitor's network using this method is so disruptive that all shields on ships in the fleet will be overloaded and stripped, and shields will also recharge x% (50%?) slower for 30 days.
      • Gatecasting into a system with a hostile titan bearing an interdiction aura module could add an "Interdiction interference" debuff to the fleet on arrival, stripping off 40% of shields on arrival and reducing recharge speeds by 25% for 30 days. This doesn't stack with multiple hostile interdiction titans present. (if there is a FTL inhibitors present, this debuff would not take effect, as a planet/station inhibitor is more powerful).
      • Gatecasting would plop your fleet at the edge of the target system.
Deployment:
  • The GS can only be deployed in a friendly, neutral or occupied star system which does not also contain a gate network.
  • It must also be deployed directly over a star, as the device requires a power source (so no deploying it over a black hole and no deploying them around Dyson spheres, which would already be tapping the star).
  • Only one gate ship may deploy around any given star (but you could have multiple deployed in binary/trinary systems)
  • It takes 60 days to deploy or undeploy and be ready for transportation again.
Weaknesses:
  • Fleets take 45 days to spool up for Gatecasting, and have 15 days of travel time (no matter the distance), they will sit next to the gate and "spool up" during this time with a debuff "transport formation" which increases incoming damage by 50% and reduces evasion to 0% for all ships whilst spooling. (So you'll want to protect your gate ship and not leave your in-transit fleets undefended).
  • The ships will be unable to fight any hostiles unless told to stop spooling up for a Gatecast. It will take time for a fleet to spool back down again to be ready for combat (as many days as they'd spent spooling up).
  • Ships from corvette up to titan can be Gatecast. But any larger ships (Juggernauts, other Gateships and Colossi) will not be Gatecastable. They can still use a deployed GS as a destination when arriving from another gateway, however.
  • If a deployed Gate Ship is destroyed whilst a fleet is being Gatecast (either parked next to it or during the 15 day transition window), or whilst any fleets are in transit to the GS, those fleets are lost in the explosion/when the Gateway connection is severed. Any ships in the same system as the GS when it detonates, will be damaged by a system-wide shockwave too, stripping off their shields and dealing 50% of max hull damage.
  • The radius for gatecasting would be far less than for Jump drives (50% smaller?). But you can send as many fleets as you want simultaneously (on one way trips).
  • Gateships can not be setup to recieve ships in the L-cluster from the primary galaxy (though, if one is deployed in the L-cluster, they can Gatecast to other L-cluster systems).
  • Due to their high energy demands, gateships will draw Stellarite Devourers to them from across the galaxy (assuming any are still alive by this late in the game).
  • Deploying a Gateship in a system with habitable worlds/ringworlds will add a planetary modifier to all inhabited worlds (but not habitats). "Solar fluctuations": [this system's star is]/[one of this system's stars are] in flux. It is being tapped for power by a Gateship, this is causing massive solar activity, upsetting the local environment. This decreases stability by, say 10% (and adds a flat 5% devastation on the initial deployment only), whilst the Gateship is deployed in the system.
Interested in thoughts on this. I feel like wormholes and Gateways could be expanded upon more as a late game tech/mechanic and - in this case - be militarised.
 
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G S Palmer

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I really like this idea. I had a similar one after hearing about the Juggernaut. However, I think you need to remove some of the negatives, like needing to deploy on a star, drawing Stellarite Devourers, and affecting nearby planets. Also, I don't see the reason for this:
The radius for gatecasting would be far less than for Jump drives (50% smaller?). But you can send as many fleets as you want simultaneously (on one way trips).
considering you can already send as many ships as you want, assuming they have jump drives.
 

Spaceception

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Given
The GS can only be deployed in a friendly, neutral or occupied star system which does not also contain a gate network.
I don't think this would work well.
The radius for gatecasting would be far less than for Jump drives (50% smaller?). But you can send as many fleets as you want simultaneously (on one way trips).
There's already a lot of debuffs here, in fact, I wonder if they're too much. But at least one thing that should be changed is this: GS should have a decent radius, maybe about as much, or more than a Jump-drive.
50% less for it isn't very good, because, through your idea, you can't use it in enemy territory unless it's already occupied. Now, being able to receive ships from Gateways is a good idea, and probably a bit OP (a cooldown could work), but it should also be able to quickly send in your fleets to occupied territory via gatecasting. And since the GS would be an obvious target, you wouldn't want it to snuggle up as close as possible to their territory, you'd want it to be some distance away, so you can move it if need be
 

Pancakelord

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The main reason I mentioned the per system limit and it being exclusive with other gates, is because I'm not actually sure how Stellaris gate networks are coded, there might be a limitation on how many gates the game can have in one solar system, this might be a low number, or even one per system, so you could have enough around a trinary system, for example or it may only work with one. I'm not sure if there is a limit. If there isn't a limit then yeah that line could go in the bin.

And you are right about there probably being too many limits, a fair few could be removed. I figured it's better to list more debuffs than necessary as it's usually easier to make an idea 'stronger' by removing/buffing things than having to nerf something with contrived limitations, if it was OP out of the door.
 
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Tamwin5

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For construction, they are combining all the "make a big ship" buildings into one, so the GateShip would just use that like the other ones.

Personally, I'd completely remove the "Gatecasting" ability, as that just overlaps with jump drives too much, without any of the penalties/risks associated. You can completely ignore any choke point and fortification without any risk of your fleets getting caught. Even with the nerfed range, it's still a fundamental design flaw. There is a simple change that would solve this issue, as well as make things much more interesting:

Allow the GateShip to gatecast itself.

This would require a technology (requiring both GateShip construction and Speculative Hyperlane Breaching as prereqs), significant charge up time, and possibly even a cost of energy credits. Once on the other side, it would be able to set up as normal (possibly with a cool down from the jump), and then act as a bridgehead for the rest of your fleet. This would allow you to achieve the same effect of moving your fleets into an area at full combat ability, but you would be invested in the push; if you are forced to retreat you will almost certainly loose your valuable GateShip.

All the various rules about jumping into indictor auras, FTL inhibitors, etc. I'd scrap. They add a lot of complexity for no real benefit. I could see a "You can't set up a gateway in a system with a hostile FTL inhibitor", but nothing more complicated than that.

For cost, the Gateship should probably be 10k alloys and 6k energy. Another possibility would be to have it be 10k alloys and 5k energy, and then have setting up as a gateway cost 1k energy each time. I prefer the second option, as it makes setting one up a semi-permenant action.

----

A change I'd like to see alongside this is a change for how normal gateways work. When a gateway is occupied, neither party would be able to use it. This would mean that for long campaigns into hostile space, having a GateShip along with you would be necessary if you wanted to be able to quickly return back to friendly space.