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RossN

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Mght i make a recommendation? look into some form of crisis upgrade mod.whenever someone does an aar it almost always ends one of two ways. they steamroll the crisis and its really anticlimactic. or they pretend to be having a much tougher time than they are to drag out the story. with the way the crisis works at the moment those really are the only option unless you get mods to make the crisis less of a paper tiger.

it's your aar and i'm sure it'll be awesome no matter how it ends. these are just my two cents on how to make the end a bit more exciting.

That's not a bad idea, though I should say that in my last Stellaris AAR the crisis gave me a serious run for my money. I'll certainly see how things go. :)

The Yldars and their allies have been doing well so far, but it sounds like there's yet another grueling planetary campaign ahead of them before the end. Hopefully the War Guilds have been able to apply the lessons learned in the bloody struggle for Shi'Pator; an attack on the enemy's homeworld will almost certainly be a brutal slog even with the benefit of experience.

Of course, this newfound awakening could also make a useful force multiplier if the Yldars can find a way to deploy some "special talents" alongside the main fighting force.

A little early to invoke 'special talents' I fear, though I strongly suspect the harsh climate of the war has helped trigger some of those gifts in an uncontrolled way!

Nice going so far. Lucky for you your enemies are either far behind in tech, or their AI is too dumb to upgrade it's ships. You would have been in real trouble then. Now comes the long and tedious occupation campaign to get the Rothak to the peace table, while not getting surprised by the Kazam. Looking forward to part 2!

Thanks!

I am slightly ahead in tech, though not so much much i don't loose ships in every battle. If I hadn't adopted the Rothak 'eggs in one basket' approach to fleets I'd definitely have suffered at least one defeat by now!

One has to put in the hard graft to get the job done.

It appears though this communal effort has an unanticipated consequences ... one wonders what might come of it for the Yldar.


Indeed1 A long term trend or 'merely' an unusual quirk?

Finally found a bit of time to plug away at a couple more updates and, predictably, this continues to be really excellent @RossN! Just finished the update with the Pseudo-Yldars, and between that and the ancient lost species who killed themselves en masse I am enjoying the fact that this AAR seems to be developing a sort of philosophical side narrative about cosmology and one's place in the universe. Genuinely captivating stuff. :)

Thanks, really glad you are enjoying this! :)

As I've said before I like the feeling that this galaxy has historical heft to it, with a sense of what has come before. I really must write up an in-universe timeline at some point!

So as the war trots on, peculiar things happen in Yldar space. The gods, divine or not, are visiting.

Very interesting thoughts!

Nothing is as majestic as a fleet readied for battle, or engaged in battle! :cool:

I entirely agree! :D I love the design of the humanoid ships (especially the destroyers and cruisers), though the reptiles also have a great aethetic.

Going for the psychic path? Curious being materialist.

It all depends on how you look at these powers. :)
 

stnylan

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So the Rothak are well and truly vanquished - and now are welcomed among the habitats. The Yldar habitats are becoming quite cosmpolitan at this rate.

The Zelvan are uncomfortable allies however
 
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Qorten

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The Yldar can again enjoy peace. Time for a couple more habitats, I guess? They must fill up quite fast with all those refugees you are taking in.
I don't see the Zelvans staying in the federation. Either of their own accord or being pushed out by the other members. Their ethics seem too different from the others.
 
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Specialist290

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Another triumph for the Yldars and their allies. The loss of their home world must vex the Rothakans considerably, especially with their own people being evicted in such a perfunctory fashion -- but then "To the victor, the spoils" has long been the way of war, and I don't see the Zelvans being sympathetic to "human"itarian appeals.

The advent of the battleship is certainly a watershed moment, even if it made its appearance too late to have any meaningful effect on the war. I can definitely see how they'd be less popular with a navy that in some ways is naturally oriented towards trade protection (with maybe a little "commerce raiding" on the side?), but personally I've always had an affinity for the "big gun" ships in both science fiction and real life.
 
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With victory accomplished and a most powerful fleet, it is time to build more habitats, I think.
 
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Cromwell

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A bit disappointed to see the first battleship lost its chance for marvelous first combat cruise. Let's hope fate has an even more impressive fate in store for it.
 
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Jape

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I've been catching up on this RossN, lovely as always. The sense this is a real universe galaxy with a history bleeds through. The Zelvans are the awkward friend now - getting Saudi vibes; useful perhaps but the Yldar would rather you didn't mention them.

The advent of the battleship is certainly a watershed moment, even if it made its appearance too late to have any meaningful effect on the war. I can definitely see how they'd be less popular with a navy that in some ways is naturally oriented towards trade protection (with maybe a little "commerce raiding" on the side?), but personally I've always had an affinity for the "big gun" ships in both science fiction and real life.

That's a good point, the Yldar are probably better suited strategically and philosophically to cruisers and frigates. But the aesthetic draw (and prestige) of big rollicking battleships has been the norm for great powers, galactic or not!
 
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Appendix: Old Gods and Ancient Monsters and New Magic- the Yldar view of the galaxy.

RossN

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Partial Map of the Galaxy.jpg


A partial map of the galaxy in 2327 showing the locations of the Domanna Ancients, the Lilarobius Watchers and the 'leviathans'.


Appendix: Old Gods, Ancient Monsters and New Magic- the Yldar view of the galaxy.

The Great Interstellar War preoccupied the Yldar Free Traders for almost two decades with every government resource turned towards that conflict. While civilian life and the civilian economy continued after a fashion the world of the philosophers and the scientists not directly concerned with warships and weaponry seemed to dwindle away into insignificance. Yet these interests in the wider universe did not vanish, not completely. They remained dormant only until a Yldar populace bone weary of war could return to the them.

The two oldest surviving civilisations in the galaxy were enigmas to the Yldars, the Kammarians, Zelvans and every other member of the Galactic Community. Closest, at least to the Free Traders were the molluscoid Domanna Ancients. Slender grey skinned beings perhaps a head shorter than two meters tall, the Domannans were most notable for their single large red eye in the centre of their faces. Unsettling as this appearance was they seemed no more biologically advanced than any other species (at least as far as could be told from the limited interaction they allowed.) What made them so impressive and, well, spooky was their remarkable technology and sheer longevity as a people.

The attitude of the Domannans to the 'child races' was blandly superior. They disdained to answer questions despite the desperate curiosity of several Yldar scientists, philosophers and would be envoys. All offers of trade were politely if forcefully refused and Domanna space was closed to hyperspace travel. Thus far the major contact between the fallen empire and the Free Traders had been their request for copies of the memory codes of the extinct Bothrians in 2308 and their subsequent revival of that lost race via scientific wizardry. Since then, nothing.

Many Yldars were convinced that the Domannans were the fabled Originators and certainly their great understanding of science and willingness to intercede in the business of primitives on their own terms were suggestive. Other scientists and philosophers were less convinced. Yldar space was rich with the debris of alien civilisations and while it was possible some of the archaeological evidence was related to the Domannans there was no clear link. Perhaps many archaic species had lived in the sector between the twilight of the Vultaum and the rise of moderm galactic civilisation. Without direct answers from the Domannans it was impossible to tell.

On the other side of the galaxy, but of comparable vintage to the Domannans (presumably) where the Lilarobius Watchers. Sapient bipedal plantoids the Lilarobians were bizarre looking entities even by the standards of a diverse galaxy; comparatively the equally plant based Pelsimians appeared far more conventional. If the Domannans were poorly understood the distant Lilarobians were almost the stuff of legend. What little could be said of them was that they were not hostile to the galaxy at large, but nor were they friendly. A few advanced the theory that the Liarobians rather than the Domannans were the true Originators but this belief found little favour among the Yldars. The Lilarobians were too far away and too strange to make them plausible forebears.

It seemed the more knowledge the Yldars gained of the galaxy the more questions arose, but at least a few of the answers could be found by those who knew were to ask. The Curator Order was an enclave in Yldar space, a habitat-sized space station orbiting the black hole Rixar's Maw. The inhabitants were a curious arthropoid race known as the Multyx who had survived an earlier galactic civilisation and turned their talents to the pursuit and storing of knowledge. Unfortunately they could offer limited insight on the fallen empires save that they had once covered more of the galactic disc between them, but they did have a great understanding of the so-called 'leviathans'. These were strange and unique living relics from previous eras in galactic history.


Automated Dreadnought.jpg


The Curator Order's insights on the 'Automated Dreadnought'.

The closest 'leviathan' to the Yldars was also the most intriguing. An immense starship, far larger even than a battleship and of unknown origin that tirelessly patrolled a deserted system to the south of Yldar space close to the Kammarian borders. It was not a lifeform as such, though debates raged in scientific circles as to whether the Automated Dreadnought was intelligent and driven by a true AI or was following simple and repetitive programming like the archaic mining droids that had once caused so much trouble for Yldar spacefarers. It was generally agreed that the Automated Dreadnought was a warship, if only because its fearsome might had been displayed once or twice against unlucky Kammarian and Rothak explorers. Only after questioning the Curators were some answers unveiled.

Theoretically an expedition to investigate the Automated Dreadnought was possible, but it was all but certain to be fatal. The leading Free Traders xenoarchaelogist of the era Doctor Zurix, a male Kammarian hatched and raised on Oros summed up such a voyage as 'an excellent first hand opportunity to study the afterlife.' The famously acerbic scientist had similar comments about an expedition to investigate the 'Ether Drake', an immense starfaring dragon-like creature than inhabited a system in the middle of Zelvan space.

Gigantic space-borne fauna were not unknown to Yldar science. The fossilised remains of great void dwelling organisms had occasionally been recovered and first contact with the Kammarians had come via an indirect encounter with such an animal. Space Amoebas and the Tiyanki Space Whales were known and understood forms of spacefaring creatures though scientific identification Tiyanki took place surprisingly late (though common in a galactic sense the Tiyanki migratory routes were distant from Yldar space.) The Ether Drake was different though. In scale and power it compared with the Automated Dreadnought and like that enigmatic warship it was believed to represent an ancient order of life. Again the Curators proved helpful, revealing that the Ether Drake was the last known remnant of an era of monsters. As with the Automated Dreadnought what had once belonged to multitudes had dwindled through time into a single surviving entity. It was a sobering realisation that the scale of the universe and the passage of years could work on even something so powerful.

Like the Automated Dreadnought an expedition to contact the Ether Drake was suggested once in a blue moon. It was always refused on the same grounds. Scientific and philosophical discovery was to be applauded but such studies would only have proven an expensive form of suicide in these cases.


The Ether Drake.jpg


The Ether Drake.

There were other leviathans abroad in the galaxy with vague reports of something called the Voidspawn and the mysterious but seeingly non-sentient Asteroid Hiver. Yldar knowledge of these lifeforms was even more threadbare than their knowledge of the Automated Dreadnought and the Ether Drake and for the moment they remained as little more than proof of the weirdness and diversity of the universe.

While the study of existing civilisations and the leviathans preoccupied many Free Trader intellectuals an alternative view had begun to appear during the third decade of the Twenty Fourth Century. Psionics were a poorly understood field. In the immediate aftermath of the Great Interstellar War when the Board finally had the time and resources to conduct studies of the phenomena the results themselves were maddeningly uncertain. Depending on how one categorised psychic abilities 'talents' could be as rare as one in a billion or as common as one in a million. The difference lay in the wide spectrum of ability shown. Could someone who merely experienced uncontrollable 'lucky feelings' truly be considered similar to someone who could read thoughts, control minds or lift objects via pure willpower? The one thing the study could conclude was that psionics were rare and the more powerful and spectacular forms rarer still.

The emergence of psionics had been met with a characteristic mixture of pragmatism and awe from the Yldars. For many Yldars psionics were frankly another profitable skill to be employed and within a few years after the end of the war it was a rare prince that lacked a psychic bodyguard or two. The War Guilds had begun recruiting entire psionic divisions, though the sheer expense and difficulty of recruitment inevitably kept such units costly. In 2331 the Chairman had authorised the establishment of the PsiCorps as a legal body to bring some order to this free for all - which it immediately did by turning into a middle man between psionics and the state or individual employers, negotiating luxurious fees for their personal. The Yldar philosophy had neither the need nor the desire to operate a pychic secret police when they could simply make it far more profitable and safe for a talent psychic to work inside the system than outside it.

This cool and refreshingly greedy approach had many virtues but some Yldars were willing to look at psionics as something more. Everything known about psionics suggested it was a natural if normally dormant development in the Yldar brain with evidence of talents among the many other sapient species in the habitats rare to the point of non-existance. Did that imply that the Originators had 'programmed' this latent ability into the Yldars? Or conversely had they tried to suppress a pre-existing psionic ability in the non-sapient ancestral animals the Yldars had been modified from. Different scientists, philosophers wrestled with the conundrum.



Ancients and Watchers.jpg


Two possible Originator civilisations.

The identification of the Domannans with the Originators was a popular one but the appearance of psionics caused a wrinkle in that theory. For all their preposterously advanced technology the Domannans were not known to have any advanced mental powers. Adding to the confusion the Lilarobians were said to have some psionic abilities, but few believed they had anything to do with the Yldars. The plantoids were too distant and too strange.

In the wake of the Great Interstellar War two new competing schools arose in Yldar intellectual circles: the 'Realists' and the 'Spiritists'. The first, which in many ways was a throwback to pre-hyperspace beliefs held that the Originators were neither the Domannans nor the Lilarobians but a third advanced species which had gone extinct. There were various artefacts uncovered on different planets that might suggest the existence of unknown or unidentified races. Realists contended that the Yldars had in many respects surpassed their forebears and had to make their own way in the galaxy. In spirit (so to speak) this harkened back to traditional Yldar atheism and Realists tended to speak of psionics in strictly scientific terms.

Spiritism on the other hand suggested that while the Originators could no longer be physically found in the galaxy they had not gone extinct but rather evolved beyond their biological forms into beings of pure thought. Furthermore the Spiritists believed it was possible for Yldars (both individually and as a species) to survive physical death as a being of pure thought. This was straying far from the traditional Yldar view of the universe as solely materialistic. Even the most metaphyisical Yldar 'theologians' had always seen the 'conquest of death' as being through technology and science. The overt supernaturalism of the Spiritists made some more conservative Yldars nervous, though it was popular with some of the émigré religions such as the Glost-Weherni and the Order of Numa.

The Spiritists were still Yldar. For all their mysticism they had scant regard for any nonsense about cosmic oneness or serenity. The traditional Yldar virtues of cunning, enlightened self interest and pragmatism all combined to give a unique air to Yldar religion. A Spiritist was essentially trying to outwit the physical 'laws' of the universe, sharpening his or her psionic talents in a way to push further. Spiritists not only saw nothing wrong in using psionic ability for material gain they saw it as key to self improvement. A cloistered aesthetic who spent her days in deep introspection would have seemed shockingly wasteful of marvellous abilities that should be used. Only by doing so could a Yldar prove themselves crafty and strong willed enough to join the Originators in whatever lay beyond the physical universe.

The Realists and the Spiritists were minority philosophies in Yldar culture, at least in the 2330s. Most of the population still held that the Originators were still physically present in the galaxy and most of those equated them with the Domannans. Nevertheless they represented a new and vigorous streak of thought and attracted a disproportionate number of politically active Yldars and they were heavily represented and championed by the Committee of Technological Mastery and the Council of the High Priesthood respectively.



Factions 2327.jpg


The Committee of Technological Mastery and the Council of the High Priesthood were strongholds of the Realists and the Spiritists respectively.
 
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RossN

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So the Rothak are well and truly vanquished - and now are welcomed among the habitats. The Yldar habitats are becoming quite cosmpolitan at this rate.

The Zelvan are uncomfortable allies however

The habitats are very varied at this point, partly because they are something of a refugee hub and partly due to conventional immigration. A lot of galactic sapients want to make money in a comparatively tolerant society it seems!

The Yldar can again enjoy peace. Time for a couple more habitats, I guess? They must fill up quite fast with all those refugees you are taking in.
I don't see the Zelvans staying in the federation. Either of their own accord or being pushed out by the other members. Their ethics seem too different from the others.

The Zelvans are definitely awkward allies and in some ways I regret letting them into the Golden Monetary Compact.

Definitely time for at least one new habitat!

Those Zelvans are quite an undiplomatic bunch.

Yep! They remind me a little of the Tellarites from Star Trek.

Another triumph for the Yldars and their allies. The loss of their home world must vex the Rothakans considerably, especially with their own people being evicted in such a perfunctory fashion -- but then "To the victor, the spoils" has long been the way of war, and I don't see the Zelvans being sympathetic to "human"itarian appeals.

The advent of the battleship is certainly a watershed moment, even if it made its appearance too late to have any meaningful effect on the war. I can definitely see how they'd be less popular with a navy that in some ways is naturally oriented towards trade protection (with maybe a little "commerce raiding" on the side?), but personally I've always had an affinity for the "big gun" ships in both science fiction and real life.

I can see what you mean. Personally I'm a battlecruiser fan, even as I recognise the flaws in the idea. :)

We'll definitely see a fleet update at some point!

With victory accomplished and a most powerful fleet, it is time to build more habitats, I think.

Very much agreed!

A bit disappointed to see the first battleship lost its chance for marvelous first combat cruise. Let's hope fate has an even more impressive fate in store for it.

Perhaps. :)

I've been catching up on this RossN, lovely as always. The sense this is a real universe galaxy with a history bleeds through. The Zelvans are the awkward friend now - getting Saudi vibes; useful perhaps but the Yldar would rather you didn't mention them.



That's a good point, the Yldar are probably better suited strategically and philosophically to cruisers and frigates. But the aesthetic draw (and prestige) of big rollicking battleships has been the norm for great powers, galactic or not!

Oh that is a clever analogy with the Zelvans! That sort of fits well actually!

And yeah, while I like my destroyers and cruisers there is something impressive about battleships.
 

Henry v. Keiper

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Looking at the photo of the Ether Drake (which admittedly I haven't encountered yet in my Stellaris games), I can't help but think of that Gurney Halleck quote from Dune, where he sees the sandworm rising out of the desert and cries out, "Gods, what a monster!"
 
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Qorten

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Ah, you use the Leviathan pack to spice things up. Personally I don't like to use it as it somewhat breaks my suspension of disbelief. That's not to say it doesn't indeed liven up the galaxy a little.
Nice breakdown of the present currents of thought in civil society too. It'll be nice to see if and how they affect the government and it's stances.
 
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stnylan

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An interesting little introspective into the Originators and the twists and turns (some) part of Yldar society as developed
 
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Nikolai

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I somehow think the solition to the Orginators question lies in the Shroud.
 
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Jape

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"Here be Monsters" indeed - I don't blame the Yldar scientists for avoiding the Automated Dreadnought. Oh you mean its been annihilating interlopers since before recorded history began? How interesting...

I like the Yldars' very practical approach to spritualism . Reminds me of those books with names like "100 Quotes from Aristophanes that will make you a better junior manager" or "From Mantras to Millions". Except the Yldar have solid results to show its not a load of guff!
 
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Great job explaining the shenanigans of Yldar religion.
 
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Vilhelm

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I like how the Yldar aren't simply Originator-worshiping spiritualists and retain their original materialistic views on their origins. Overall, this was a nice chapter that really showed their views on the galaxy.
 
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Part Sixteen: The Long Peace (2327 to 2350)

RossN

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Trade Routes.jpg


Yldar trade routes in 2350.

Part Sixteen: The Long Peace (2327 to 2350)

Chairman Elemano strolled along the garden path. This section of Oros, adjacent to the offices of the Chairman had been sculpted into a small park filled with the blossoms of a score of worlds beneath a transi-plex dome that provided artificial light when needed. The few alien visitors who had been here often commented how much it felt like walking around in a planetary atmosphere which only made the Yldars shake their heads in bemusement. The senses might be tricked but the mind knew - and felt relief - at the superb artificially of it all, the work of scientists, engineers and artists.

Elemano felt the cool shade of sapphire coloured jaka leaves on his dusky scales. Like most plants in the parks they looked lovely but they had been chosen as much for their scent as their beauty. You needed the full four nostrils of a Yldar to truly enjoy the nuances and the Chairman did just that, sitting on a bench by a pond taking it all in until a chirping from his comm interrupted him. He checked it and sighed.

The Zelvan ambassador. Of course it was the Zelvans. It was always the Zelvans, no doubt with another whinge about the Rothakans. If they were not such lucrative customers he'd have wished them all to the Ether Drake long ago. Trying to quell his annoyance Elemano walked back towards the door and the thankless world of diplomacy and politics.

~~~~~


'The Long Peace' as the post-war quarter century was called was never an entirely accurate label. Piracy, always at least a small scale problem in Yldar space twice exploded into open war where pirate kings enjoyed exciting if brief careers before being atomised under the guns of the Yldar Star Navy. At Craxima (2328) and Ydria (2343) the pirates were hunted down and scattered or destroyed by a vengeful YSN. In a way even these violent interludes spoke of the wealth and stability of the Free Traders. So much trade was flowing through the hyperlanes that it was bound to attract the greed of others.

The peace of 2327 had seen whole armadas of reserve shipping sold cheaply to the civilian market. These craft may have lacked the armour or weapons of their civilian cousins but they provided an immediate boost to the many independent traders and companies who had always lacked the capital to compete with the merchant princes. The princes themselves encouraged this glut of civilian ship buying and building, both because they could effectively buy their way in to many an independent via loans to purchase a freighter and because they were uneasy with the idea of a very strong centralised navy - some of the most conservative plutocrats still pined for the days when the Navy had effectively been a collective of armed merchantmen, loyal to the tycoons who bankrolled the fleet.

This boom also saw the last of the old style expansion into unclaimed star systems. The frontier that had once seemed so infinite was rapidly disappearing and by 2341 it had all been claimed. The Yldar Free Traders were surrounded solely by other powers or the endless void beyond the galactic fringe. Of course for many years after the close of the frontier this last settled segment of space remained rough and tumble, home to diehard romantics and the legally flexible seeking a place as far from the inner systems as possible. While the pirates that plagued the Free Traders operated in more civilised systems like Craxima many had spent their earlier lives out in the backwaters, honing their trades.



Colonisation of the frontier.jpg


The claiming of Osseq in 2341 marked an end to the once vast unclaimed frontier.


Exciting as they were not many wished to live on scattered asteroids and barebones outposts on the fringe. The post-war era was marked by the building of true new habitats. In 2327 the Yldars and the other emigre sapient species that shared their space were settled in seven habitats: the original Three Daughters (Oros, Pirgak's Freehold and Lastagarvin's Shelter) and the four built by the Yldars in recent decades (Madragon's Stronghold, Irjamma's Treasure, Yltar's Bulwark and Khebb's Domain.) All had prospered but that success had led to overcrowding and the undertone of a troubled future. A continent sized space station might hold multitudes but it could not truly rival the near endless available land of a planet. By 2327 all of the habitats were near to bursting.

Theoretically the Free Traders could have authorised settlement of the dozen or so inhabitable planets within their space. 'Yldar' society had long since ceased to be a mono-species concern and the habitants were now home to billions of Glost-Weherni, Glirrs, Rothakans, Kammarians, Zelvans, Ithil, Uindars, Vengrals and Penthulans. All of these species were more suited by physiology and tradition to living with the dirt beneath their feet and the clouds overhead. The Glirrs - by some margin the most common sapient species in the galaxy - and the Ithil were especially well suited to planetary colonisation as their lithoid state granted them a wide range of climate tolerance.

In fact there was very little appetite even among the non-biological Yldars for planetary colonisation. Most of the alien species that lived in Free Trader space could be divided into three basic groups. The largest were those whose ancestors had come to the habitats and after generations of living in the artificial, carefully controlled space stations the idea of living in the open air was every bit as distasteful as it was for the biological Yldars. The second major group were recent immigrants. While there was more interest in planetary colonisation there the newcomers were more interested in building their own businesses in the established Yldar society than squandering millions of hard earned credits on a lonely colony cut off from wider society. For many of these recent migrants the chance to live on a habitat, immune from inclement weather, volcanic activity and dangerous wildlife had been one of the attractions about moving to Yldar space.

The final group of alien species in Free Trader space where the refugees of which the largest group where the Rothakans [1]. These people had the least affinity for living in space and might have considered planetary colonisation but most of them were still pining for their homeworlds and, unfortunately, lacked the credits or political clout to fire up such a project.

The Yldars were not stupid. They knew as well as anyone that the planets within their space held valuable resources. Occasionally an ambitious merchant prince had suggested funding a penal colony, though those initiatives had yet to succeed. Merchant princes tended to grumble about costs and the unpredictability of biospheres but really this was a rare instance where Yldar cultural values trumped even their finely honed pragmatism. The average Yldar would shiver at even the idea of setting foot on an alien world and though many traders, diplomats, tourists and mercenaries had managed to quash this visceral dislike there was a universe of difference between visiting a planet and staying there indefinitely.

'Darmull's Lair' and 'Untabb's Sanctum' and' Tiltar's Paace', completed in 2334, 2336 and 2344 respectively were built to take advantage of mineral and energy finds in what until recently had been the unclaimed northern rim of the galaxy. Externally they mirrored the standard design of Yldar habitats in scale and shape but internally they had been planned a little differently to account for the growing cosmopolitanism of the Free Traders. This was the logical conclusion of longstanding trends. Individual habitats were at least as different as individual colonies in other civilisations and each construction rapidly acquired its own lingo, music, cuisine and general entertainment. Oros for instance was known for her proud (others would say arrogant) culture, her distinctive nasal patios, and her rapid pace of life. Madragon's Stronghold on the galactic border with the Rothakans had a subdued, rather martial air disproportionately home to old soldiers and sailors. Irjamma's Treasure was famous for her casinos and nightlife, Khebb's Domain for her sleepy and well behaved industries and Yltar's Bulwark for being a bastion of traditional Yldar materialistic atheism. All of these were stereotypes and glossed over any number of quirks that a habitat with a population in the hundreds of millions if not higher might have but there was a whisper of truth to them. The newest habitats had drawn on these lessons and built up with the understanding they'd house a variety of different species and tastes.

There was one other singular method of coping with overcrowding as the habitats were being built. In 2331 the Domanna Ancients, that strange and secretive alien civilization that might (or might not) have played a part in the Yldar origin stirred once more.



Domanna Ancients endangered species.jpg


The Domanna 'request' of 2331.

The Domanna request was handled with great delicacy by the Chairman and the Board. One of the key virtues of Yldar culture was the idea of enlightened self interest and no one could deny there was a greedy and ruthless streak to the average Yldar. That meant 'volunteers' (or their families) would have to be bribed. Fortunately there proved a surprising number of Yldars willing to participate in the gilded cage that the Domannans promised; to those who truly believed them to be the fabled Originators the opportunity to join the ancient aliens was too tempting to pass on while to those who simply wished for a life of ease and plenty the grand technology of the fallen empire offered a secular vision of paradise. Millions of Yldars would be transported to Domanna space over the course of the next few years.

As cosmopolitan as the Free Traders had become the society had also shifted to more insular politics since the war. The Golden Monetary Compact was still strong and prosperous and traders plied the hyperlanes between Oros and Kamdor but there was a distancing of political responsibilities. The Yldars were in no hurry to resume war and suspected, with well honed cynicism that the Zelvans would cause problems in that area.

One of the strangest consequences of the war had been the arrival of millions of Rothak refugees in Yldar space. This was maybe not quite as surprising as it sounds. Ever since the first Yldar-Rothak War there had always been a grudging admiration of the Rothakans as worthy foes who fought a clean war. The growing shift towards spirituality among the Yldars had erased what had once seemed a vast gulf of understanding between the two cultures. There was too a common feeling that the Zelvans had been too greedy in their demands on the exhausted Fire Tribes. All of this meant that when the Zelvans first began suggesting another war against the Fire Tribes there was a swell of popular opposition against the move. On three separate meetings of the Golden Monetary Compact the Free Traders vetoed any suggestion of war.

The reluctance to fight the Rothakans yet again was not simply down to distaste at such an idea. The previous clash had benefited the Zelvans greatly, hobbling their greatest rival and bringing them wealth and power. It was not necessarily in the interests of the Golden Monetary Compact that one of their members grow too powerful and it was blindingly obvious that the Zelvans would be the only ones to directly benefit.



The Drums of War.jpg


Vikal Mikon.jpg


The first rumours of the Pseudo-Yldar unification were rapidly followed by the Great Khan's 'broadcast to the galaxy' in 2343.


There was another reason the Yldars declined an invitation to war. Startling events had occurred on the other side of the galaxy, that though remote from the immediate concerns of the Free Traders demanded their interest. In 2343 the 'Pseudo-Yldars', the alien species that by linguistic coincidence or the amusement of a higher power had such a similar name had unified under a 'Great Khan'. The marauding tribes had consolidated into an armada which invaded the Autocracy of Makaria within the year. The southern fringe of the galaxy which had seen some conflict over the years but had largely escaped the kind of epic warfare that had plagued the galactic north not found itself plunged into crisis.

As formidable as the Great Khan and his fleets were few among the Golden Monetary Compact citizens were directly concerned. The Pseudo-Yldar barbarians were simply too distant, with too much foreign territory in between to pose a military threat. The real threat was far closer at home: the Kobarian Freeholders. They certainly made unlovely neighbours The local marauders had been a thorn in the side of the Yldars for a century, demanding geld at the most opportune moments. There was scant indication that the Kobarians were close to unification but the news from the distant south made some in the Free Traders wonder. The Kobarians had a very similar society to the Pseudo-Yldars. Was it only a matter of time before they produced a 'Great Khan' of their own?

The idea of a pre-emptive strike against the barbarians had been mooted for as long as the Yldars had known about them but had never advanced beyond idle musings. By the Twenty Fourth Century Yldar technology had reached and in some ways pulled ahead of the Kobarians. Shortly after the Great Khan made his presence known to the galaxy Chairman Elemano ordered Admiral Rhass to study the idea of a strike against the Kobarians. The Navy report, complied over the course of seven months covered any possible angle of such a war.

In short Rhass believed a war against the Kobarians was winnable, though he strongly urged strengthening the fleet further before even considering it. Rhass's view was that the marauders were individually very dangerous fighters but that their endless feuding left them incapable of organising effective resistance. Unfortunately that was where the good news ended. A Yldar victory would probably cost as many ships and crew as the entire Great Interstellar War and those losses would come under a far briefer timespan. It was a problem; wait and Yldar weaponry would become more advanced still, but the risk was always there that the Kobarians would unify. Also if war did happen the Navy would have to use every available ship and sailor to achieve victory; abandoning the patrols that kept the pirates in line.

Throughout the 2340s the Kobarian question was the most delicate yet fiendish problem in Yldar politics with hawks and doves among the merchant princes almost coming to blows over whether to fight or not. As the decade ended without a definite a clear answer an even more important matter brushed the debate aside...



Galaxy 2350.jpg


The galaxy in 2350.

Footnotes:

[1] The Glost-Weherni the second largest minority species in Yldar space (they had recently been 'lapped' by the Glirrs) were originally refugees but a century of living aboard the habitats had left them culturally very similar to the biological Yldars and equally dismissive of 'dirtballs'.
 
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RossN

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Sorry this took so long folks! Hope everyone is doing well out there. :)

~~~

Looking at the photo of the Ether Drake (which admittedly I haven't encountered yet in my Stellaris games), I can't help but think of that Gurney Halleck quote from Dune, where he sees the sandworm rising out of the desert and cries out, "Gods, what a monster!"

It is an extremely cool design isn't it? :)

Ah, you use the Leviathan pack to spice things up. Personally I don't like to use it as it somewhat breaks my suspension of disbelief. That's not to say it doesn't indeed liven up the galaxy a little.
Nice breakdown of the present currents of thought in civil society too. It'll be nice to see if and how they affect the government and it's stances.

Thanks! Yes I use pretty much all the DCLs at this point and I do have a soft spot for my space monsters and ancient ruins. I loved a 'lived in' galaxy. :)

An interesting little introspective into the Originators and the twists and turns (some) part of Yldar society as developed

Thanks! I enjoyed writing it and considering the shift in philosophy.

I somehow think the solition to the Orginators question lies in the Shroud.

Perhaps we'll see...

"Here be Monsters" indeed - I don't blame the Yldar scientists for avoiding the Automated Dreadnought. Oh you mean its been annihilating interlopers since before recorded history began? How interesting...

I like the Yldars' very practical approach to spritualism . Reminds me of those books with names like "100 Quotes from Aristophanes that will make you a better junior manager" or "From Mantras to Millions". Except the Yldar have solid results to show its not a load of guff!

Hah! Very true!

The Yldar have a very D&D player approach to the magic of the universe, and I say that as someone who loves D&D. :)

Great job explaining the shenanigans of Yldar religion.

Thanks! :)

I like how the Yldar aren't simply Originator-worshiping spiritualists and retain their original materialistic views on their origins. Overall, this was a nice chapter that really showed their views on the galaxy.

Yeah, it has been interesting journey.

I think had the Old Gods event not fired the Yldars would probably be leaning much more towards a Synthetic Evolution pathway to immortality.
 

Specialist290

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The Great Khan begins his rise. Hopefully this time around it will prove rather more interesting than it did for the Baviiri (though I imagine the Baviiri themselves wouldn't share the sentiment ;) ). It's also quite apropos that the Marauders with the not-Klingon portrait would be the ones harboring ambitions to conquer the galaxy.

As always, I appreciate the little bits of attention to detail that you give to your settings, such as going into the different characters of each habitat and the stereotypes their inhabitants get associated with as a result. It definitely adds that little bit of extra color that makes the galaxy feel real, so to speak.
 
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