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NationStates Post-Modern Tech Community Thread

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The Macabees
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NationStates Post-Modern Tech Community Thread

Postby The Macabees » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:14 pm

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Do your soldiers wear power armor? Does your army employ nuclear-powered super-heavy battle tanks? Are your people powered by fusion technology? Post-Modern Technology, otherwise referred to as PMT (or PM/T) and Post-Modern Tech, is a roleplaying community that deals in speculative technology that lies between strictly modern technology and future technology. Because the boundaries of PMT are fuzzy and inherently ill-defined, the purpose of this thread is to provide a rule of thumb definition and to provide a shared space for the NationStates PMT community where you can ask for, and/or offer, advice or assistance.

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Because there are no true hard rules on where MT ends and FT begins, it's hard to give a concrete definition of PMT. The most common definition goes like this:

  • PMT begins at MT + 10 years. What does that mean? Modern tech is harder to define than a lot of people think, because there's a question of what would be possible if the real world had our budgets and our necessities (i.e. the constant existence of war on NS). A flexible rule of thumb is to see MT as anything that exists today, plus what might conceivably be used on the field within the next 10 years. Everything after that can be considered post-modern.
  • PMT ends at the introduction of FTL. FTL is faster-than-light transportation, which makes possible large space-faring civilizations. Everything after FTL tends to be considered FT.

Like everything on NS, RPing rules only become strict at the thread level, where it's the Thread Moderator (TM) — as I like to call the role — who decides what goes and what doesn't. So, you might see variations in the definition of PMT, depending on who you are RPing with. Likewise, some players are "strict MTers," meaning that they only accept what is used on the field today in their RPs, and so PMT might start a lot sooner for them than it does for others. But, in general, a good rule of thumb to follow for PMT is:

(Current Year + 10 Years) < PMT < (Faster-Than-Light Technology)


There are also be several school of thoughts to PMT. What I mean by that includes time ranges, where a world set in 2100 can be very different to one set in 2040 or 2050. But, also, styles of PMT. Gholgoth, for example, is known for its 'Nightmare Tech,' much of which — armored airships, armored airborne infantrymen, the Kraven Capitol Police, et cetera — can be considered PMT. There are flavors of PMT that have been strongly influenced by steampunk, as well. No matter your school of thought, you are welcomed to use this thread to get feedback on an idea, [ed. tastfully] share a thread, or ask for advice on any aspect of your roleplaying and worldbuilding. You are invited to be [ed. tastefully] controversial: what should be considered PMT? What should be considered MT?

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Because PMT is inherently speculative, PMT roleplay rarely works when participants take an "I want to win" mentality. When I say that it "rarely works," I mean that this mentality is the single largest cause of failure amongst PMT RPs. In a world where you can almost "make up" your technology, within reason, there are no hard constraints on tech that make it easy to say what's acceptable and what isn't. So this often leads down the rabbit hole of disillusion, frustration, and debate, and the RP will start to focus on out of character (OOC) problems more so than on the in character (IC) plot. That's why it's heavily recommended that you adopt the culture of "rule of cool," or what the FT community calls c4:

  • Collaborate: In PMT, the thread is all about the story. Your priority should be the plot, and making it interesting for both you, the other players, and the readers. You are, in essence, writing a collaborative novel with another player.
  • Cooperate: Oftentimes players have conflicting ends. For the sake of the RP (and for the sake of this game being fun for all parties involved), it's important to compromise when deciding on outcomes. Your opponent may not want to lose the essence of his world in a war, and you should be ready to find a solution with that player if that goes against one of your goals. Finding common ground is usually imperative to success in a PMT RP.
  • Consistent: As you develop rules that apply to your world — the rules you control —, you should apply these consistently. This applies both to your world and to how your world interacts with others'. A consistent world helps others stay involved in it, which helps to make your RPs stable and therefore more attractive.
  • Be Creative: The best canon is your own canon. You'll find the most success by developing your own world, rather than taking it from another players' or from some other source (e.g. a novel or a movie). Of course, everyone has been influenced by something; ideas are rarely independent. But, your canon should have your own personal flavor, or its own identity in other terms.

Know that c4, or "rule of cool" as I call it, are not hard rules. You don't have to follow them. The beauty of NS is that we can do what we want on it, within the constraints provided to us by the moderators (i.e. what goes in what forum). If you don't like the "rule of cool," by all means do it your way.

But, on average, the most successful PMT RPs follow this general culture of collaboration, cooperation, and consistency. They tend to go much more smoothly, they are generally more fun to participate in, and they usually last a lot longer and leave a much more prominent mark in players' memories. This being said, I'd like to quote Kyrusia on a related point:

Kyrusia wrote:Behavior and conduct are paramount to earning respect and merit as a writer and roleplayer in the Future Technology community; poor behavior tends to reflect poorly on the player and, ultimately, may lead to many individuals ignoring that player and his entities simply because it's not enjoyable to interact with the player.


The rules you set for your RPs will play a role in the willingness of others to RP and interact with you. Building a strong, healthy rapport with other RP partners comes with that willingness to cooperate and collaborate.

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Nobody can tell you what the best way of roleplaying is. Some players like long form, others like short form. Some like dialogue, others like a style more akin to non-fiction. It's all good — your thread, your rules. All PMT players, no matter your style or your preferences, are welcomed to join in on the discussion in the community thread. Ask questions, share your knowledge, we'd all love to hear what you have to say.

You following c4, or "rule of cool," does not mean that you belong to an exclusive circle of top RPers. "Top RPing" is a nonsensical statement, because the value of an RP is subjective. This thread is not restricted to a special group of players. Again, all PMT players are welcomed. Any rhetoric that tries to exclude or alienate others is not acceptable.

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The rules of this thread are simple:

  • This is not a general chat thread. This thread is specifically meant for the discussion of NS PMT in an OOC setting. You can, of course, share PMT RP ideas. In fact, I highly encourage that sort of activity.
  • Do not be disruptive. Long, heated arguments are not welcomed and you know when it's better to agree to disagree.
  • This thread is also meant to help build community standards and conventions, to help give cohesiveness to the PMT community. It's perfectly acceptable to RP outside of these conventions. So any advice should come with that caveat that it's optional to take it.

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You can find large chunks of the PMT community on:


There are also a number of Roleplay Mentors at your disposal: The Macabees, Santheres, Kylarnatia.



Last edited by The Macabees on Wed Nov 01, 2017 8:28 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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Postby The Macabees » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:15 pm

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[N.B. The glossary is clearly a WIP. I encourage word suggestions and contributions.]

Atompunk or Atomicpunk: This setting is popularized by games such as Fallout. The setting is basically based on 1950s/1960s Space Age and Atomic Age science-fiction, with a heavy emphasis on the post-apocalypse driven by Cold War themes. Because of the real-life historical timeframe of when this type of science-fiction was popular, you also see it combined with Decopunk. That's why, for example, in Fallout 4 much of the architecture is Art Deco-esque. A common example of Atompunk is fission or fusion core-powered power armor

Stratosphere Gun: A prime example of Nightmare Tech. It is a RADAR controlled and computer assisted anti-air emplacement operated by the Kraven Reich. It uses fragmentary, rocket-assisted rounds to tear into enemy aircraft; it has also found use in the direct-fire, anti-tank role. Drawbacks include relative lack of mobility, the need for frequent barrel changes, and difficulty hitting faster, lower flying objects. Photograph: Stratosphere Gun in action.

Battle Suit: See Power Armor.

C4, the Four C's [Borrowed from FTA&A]: The broadly-accepted, standard fundamentals of the NationStates Future Tech community: collaboration, compromise, creativity, and consistency; a willingness to collaborate with other players, a willingness to compromise with other players for mutual enjoyment, being generally creative in design and the execution of an idea or concept, and being consistent in regards to the rules of any one idea or concept - including culture, politics, technology, etc.; compare to "Rule of Cool" (creativity and consistency).

Cyberpunk: A subgenre, or school of thought, of PMT/FT. Cyberpunk worlds usually emphasize cybernetics and other facets of high-tech information technology, coupled with a decrepit social order. Examples of cyberpunk worlds are those where large megacorporations are above the law, with a lot of cultural and demographic friction between factions. Blade Runner (or Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) is a great example of cyberpunk; in literary fiction, the quintessential cyberpunk book is Neuromancer by William Gibson, which features a computer hacker in the underworld of a dystopian future society. See also Postcyberpunk.

Hard PMT: A style of narrative that places emphasis on 'scientific realism' or the use of modern physics to constrain PMT technology. For example, a hard PMT writer may use a torus bar to create artificial gravity on their space station versus a more fictional solution. Typically, players who write Hard PMT have an interest in the hard sciences. See also Soft PMT.

Hybrid pulse detonating turbine: A turbine engine with a pulse detonating combustor section, pulse detonating afterburner, and/or pulse detonation tubes placed in the engines bypass ducts (for a turbofan). Advantages include higher T/W ratio and higher fuel efficiency. Disadvantages are mechanical complexity and reliability issues associated with the valves used to modulate the airflow in the pulse detonating sections as well as matching the constant flow of the turbine engine with the pulsed flow of the pulse detonating sections.

Hypersonic: Defined as anything past Mach 5 which is the speed at which a ramjet will no longer generate any net thrust. Characteristics of the hypersonic regime include highly acute shock angles and severe aerodynamic heating due to skin friction. Hypersonic generally refers to 5<M<10, 10<M<25 refers to high-hypersonic speeds, and M>25 refers to re-entry speeds. At high hypersonic speeds the air molecules in front of the object will break up and turn into plasma which surrounds the object in an electrically charged plasma cone. Due to to lift and drag being dependent on the square of velocity hypersonic vehicles will generally not have large wings but rather use lifting bodies and/or small wings to generate necessary lift while also having low drag. Thermal concerns dominate the hypersonic regime which is why aircraft or projectiles which travel at hypersonic speeds require nickel alloy (or other extremely high-temperature metallic alloys) construction or ablative heat shields/thermal protection systems.

Mobile Offshore Base: In essence, a maritime military base built by certain countries for conducting expeditionary military operations. It is a self-propelling mobile platform often described to be larger than an aircraft carrier. The base can deploy them in deep waters where conventional land-based bases are not available or are just simply too far from the theater of operations. It is capable of carrying military strikes and act as a logistics and deployment area for troops, equipment, and cargo.

Nanotechnology: Nanotechnology has to do with the manipulation of matter at the nanoscale, which means the ability to control individual atoms and molecules. This enhances our ability to manipulate armor, weapons, chemicals, and a host of other assets that are used by both the military and civilians. Nanotechnology relates to the concept of metamaterials for purposes such as stealth.

Nightmare Tech: This is a MT/PMT school of thought that addresses the question of what technology would look like if some of the moral constraints on its development were lifted. Nightmare Tech usually exists in societies where eugenics is a popular solution, the best soldiers are cloned, and marriages are arranged by the State. The prime exponent of Nightmare Tech is the Kraven Reich, and its exemplified by the Capitol Police, which are bred in underground facilities and are all cybernetically loyal to Father.

Postcyberpunk: Rather than adopt the dystopianism of cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk adopts a more idealistic setting. It maintains the focus on the use of technology, but the political setting tends to be less extreme and more 'realistic.' Oftentimes, postcyberpunk literature includes critiques of the cyberpunk flavor, namely where the two genres diverge. Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age is a good example of a story set in a postcyberpunk setting.

Power Armor: As power supplies become smaller and infantry armor advances, some armies began to equip their infantrymen with power armor or battle suits, which can be considered as the next stage beyond exoskeletons. Power armor not only brings with it enhanced protection, including over areas previously left unarmored (such as the legs and the arms), but also augment the soldier's strength. The latter allows that soldier to carry heavier ordnance and more gear, making the infantryman much deadlier and more versatile. Power armor technology is often coupled with advanced electronics and can be integrated into a battlefield control system. Typically, battle suits increase the per capita costs of fielding infantry, and therefore the technology may not be universally available to all soldiers, depending on the size and wealth of the armed forces in question.

Rule of Cool [Borrowed from FTA&A]: General guideline for conduct within the PMT community, generally understood to mean, simply, "Don't be a bully with the application of your respective degree of technological advancement or tech"; guideline defined as encouraging players to be creative by not directly ripping or wholesale copying from existing sources of canon (such as films, novels, and video games) and by being consistent with the application of their degree of technological advancement and the nature of their technology as determined by community standard and internal rules of effect; the rule or guideline within the PMT community which states that, in some instances, even due to inefficiency or improbability, some items, ideas, and concepts are used purely for their novelty or "coolness" insofar as they do not approach the absurdly unworkable or otherwise diminish the potential for enjoyment of others.

Scramjet (supersonic combustion ramjet): An airbreathing, constant volume combustion (CVC) engine which relies on the ram effect to forcefully compress air before it's combusted. They key difference between a ramjet and a scramjet is that in a ramjet air is decelerated to subsonic speeds before being combusted where as a scramjet air flow is supersonic throughout the entire engine. Advantages of scramjets include simple construction (ie no moving parts) and the possibility of extremely high speeds, up to around mach 17. Disadvantages of scramjets are that they do not generate any net thrust at speeds below mach 4, have low thrust/weight ratios, and require exotic thermal materials in their construction to withstand the extreme thermal stress of sustained hypersonic flight.

Soft PMT: A style of narrative that places less emphasis on the 'hard sciences,' like physics and chemistry, and more emphasis on sociology, culture, et cetera. Generally, the science behind the world will be less 'realistic' or less based on modern science. A completely viable and acceptable way of roleplaying a PMT setting, soft PMT is perfect for players who are not interested in hard science or integrating hard science into their worldbuilding. See also Hard PMT.

Super Heavy Battle Tank: Larger than a main battle tank, usually in the multi-hundred tonne range. They tend to carry a greater variety of weapons, beyond the main cannon (of which it may employ two or more). These include anti-personnel machine guns, close-in weapon systems, and mortars, allowing the SHBT to perform a "shock and awe" role. In some cases, a large super heavy battle tank will be used to hold a pass against an invading army, with the intention of delaying the enemy and inflicting heavy casualties. This tactic is best exemplified by the Eurusean Scaramanga at Ket Because a larger percentage of the surface of the vehicle has to be protected against tougher threats, SHBTs tend to be heavier than MBTs relative to their protected surface areas.

Ultra Heavy Battle Tank [UHBT]: Some governments, intent on having the biggest and baddest tank, have spent a great deal of money on commissioning UHBTs. These are gigantic, often in the multi-thousand-tonne range. Many are powered by nuclear reactors and others rely on fusion. They are land battleships in the purest sense, with multiple, multi-gunned turrets, and vertical launch silos to boot. Although not that grande, the Arca. III Morridane saw action in Ruska along the River Tarkus. One of twenty built, MORR-8 helped the Macabean defense hold the river crossing with its 380mm cannon. This model, long decommissioned, weighed in at just over 2,000 tonnes.

Window Dressing [Borrowed from FTA&A]: An idea, concept, or thing in PMT, Future Tech, science-fiction, literature, art, film, television, etc. which serves primarily to add "character" or "flair" in order to demonstrate a given aesthetic, genre, idea, etc.; an idea, concept, or thing which is not the primary focus of an endeavor, but merely there to act as "curtains" or "decoration" for the primary focus; "decorations" or "curtains" meant to frame a given idea or concept and add to it, but not to detract focus from the primary idea or concept.
Last edited by The Macabees on Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:57 am, edited 25 times in total.

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Postby United World Order » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:24 am

Ayyy new thread smell
23:53 Moka "When GamePlay sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing Trolls. They're bringing Raiders. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

#MakeInternationalIncidentsGreatAgain

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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:50 am

Let's talk armored trains.

I heard the idea yesterday (I'm not going to call anyone out), and I thought it was one worth sharing and discussing. Specifically, the idea was to use armored trains in countries suffering from intense insurgencies. The concept is an interesting one; it's not something you tend to see today, for a variety of reasons: (i) the predominance of low-intensity insurgencies in relatively smaller countries where truck convoys are more cost effective; (ii) the relatively widespread availability of high-caliber APRs and AMRs, RPGs, and even ATGMs (e.g. 9K111 Fagot); (iii) the amount of surface area to armor, combined with the thickness of the armor needed to stop high-caliber APRs and AMRs, suggests that these trains will be heavy and slow; and, finally, (iv) a modern armored train is expensive relative to the other options (e.g. truck, aircraft, dirigible, et cetera).

It's easy to criticize an idea or see where its faults are; where the talents of the PMTer really shine are in seeing value in the concept. There are a number of things going for it: (a.) insurgencies on NationStates tend to be of higher intensity than in the real world; (b.) it has an undeniable cool factor and it's unique; (c.) modern and PMT composite armors are likely to be expensive — although, on NS, average costs for a lot of these things have gone down due to a rightward shift of the supply curve and because of internal economies of scale —, but they will help drop the weight down; (d.) politically, they can help augment the "presence" of an occupier in an occupied state, reminding the citizenry of who's in power and the consequences of revolt — this is something akin to Nightmare Tech, but it can be "imposing" to various degrees.

If I used an armored train, I suppose the first place I'd start is how to combat the most common threats to them, which are AP and AM small-arms and then RPGs/ATGMs. You can use a modular and lightish composite/ceramic armor for the former; for the latter, I wonder if you can use a networked and integrated active protection system. And, depending on how PMT one is, I suppose an armored train can be powered by a small nuclear reactor.

What do you think about armored trains? Does your nation or military use them? If you do or would, what kind of features would your armored train sport?

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Postby Post War America » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:55 am

I heard you guys were starting a PMT community thread. Is this like a formalized thing, or is it an advice thread?
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Postby Greater Themis » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:00 am

The Macabees wrote:Let's talk armored trains.

I heard the idea yesterday (I'm not going to call anyone out), and I thought it was one worth sharing and discussing. Specifically, the idea was to use armored trains in countries suffering from intense insurgencies. The concept is an interesting one; it's not something you tend to see today, for a variety of reasons: (i) the predominance of low-intensity insurgencies in relatively smaller countries where truck convoys are more cost effective; (ii) the relatively widespread availability of high-caliber APRs and AMRs, RPGs, and even ATGMs (e.g. 9K111 Fagot); (iii) the amount of surface area to armor, combined with the thickness of the armor needed to stop high-caliber APRs and AMRs, suggests that these trains will be heavy and slow; and, finally, (iv) a modern armored train is expensive relative to the other options (e.g. truck, aircraft, dirigible, et cetera).

It's easy to criticize an idea or see where its faults are; where the talents of the PMTer really shine are in seeing value in the concept. There are a number of things going for it: (a.) insurgencies on NationStates tend to be of higher intensity than in the real world; (b.) it has an undeniable cool factor and it's unique; (c.) modern and PMT composite armors are likely to be expensive — although, on NS, average costs for a lot of these things have gone down due to a rightward shift of the supply curve and because of internal economies of scale —, but they will help drop the weight down; (d.) politically, they can help augment the "presence" of an occupier in an occupied state, reminding the citizenry of who's in power and the consequences of revolt — this is something akin to Nightmare Tech, but it can be "imposing" to various degrees.

If I used an armored train, I suppose the first place I'd start is how to combat the most common threats to them, which are AP and AM small-arms and then RPGs/ATGMs. You can use a modular and lightish composite/ceramic armor for the former; for the latter, I wonder if you can use a networked and integrated active protection system. And, depending on how PMT one is, I suppose an armored train can be powered by a small nuclear reactor.

What do you think about armored trains? Does your nation or military use them? If you do or would, what kind of features would your armored train sport?


The idea is pretty sound in theory, until
you realise that the vulnerability lies not in the train, but in the track. If you look back to the second world war, a key tactic of resistance groups in Norway, France and other occupied territories was to use very small
amounts of explosive to blow the lines. Even a small amount of damage can stop a train, or derail it, the latter being catastrophic. Furthermore, damage to heavier infrastructure (tunnels, bridges) can take weeks to months to fix, paralysing the line. Finally, you'd have to ensure all lines were able to cope with the weight of the trains, to avoid collapse of embankments or bridges.

As such, you're back to the problem of protecting the route, which is the same drama as with the road.

In an insurgency, your best bet is transport by air, unfortunately. Not only are SAM systems a rarity amongst these groups, and the vulnerable points few, but firing a SAM is a guaranteed way of killing yourself as an insurgent (think wild weasel or w/e).

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Postby Mokastana » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:13 am

Not to cause a confusion of terms, but I've always heard the "rule of cool" to mean things that are impractical, but used because they are awesome.

For example, I like the idea of armored trains, but as Themis said, their weakness is in the tracks. Now, I have transport trains that may have weapons and some armor, but their purpose is to be last resort protection.

What purpose would a fully armored train serve?
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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:44 am

Awesome! Thanks for joining the discussion guys.

Post War America wrote:I heard you guys were starting a PMT community thread. Is this like a formalized thing, or is it an advice thread?


As a new thread, it's to be shaped by the discussions the community wants to have in it. It's an advice and assistance thread, but it's more than that too.

I wouldn't say it's "formalized," because that makes it seem like it might be used as a standard, which is not the case. Neither is this thread for a specific group of players; all PMTers, and anyone who wants to talk about the topic, are welcome, regardless of the standard they adhere to.

Are you a PMT player?

Greater Themis wrote:The idea is pretty sound in theory, until
you realise that the vulnerability lies not in the train, but in the track. If you look back to the second world war, a key tactic of resistance groups in Norway, France and other occupied territories was to use very small
amounts of explosive to blow the lines. Even a small amount of damage can stop a train, or derail it, the latter being catastrophic. Furthermore, damage to heavier infrastructure (tunnels, bridges) can take weeks to months to fix, paralysing the line. Finally, you'd have to ensure all lines were able to cope with the weight of the trains, to avoid collapse of embankments or bridges.

As such, you're back to the problem of protecting the route, which is the same drama as with the road.

In an insurgency, your best bet is transport by air, unfortunately. Not only are SAM systems a rarity amongst these groups, and the vulnerable points few, but firing a SAM is a guaranteed way of killing yourself as an insurgent (think wild weasel or w/e).


That's a good point. The tracks are vulnerable, and the longer the track the harder it is to defend. I wonder if you can use drones to help mitigate the issue a bit, with some kind of military infrastructure set up to get rapid response teams out to where the track is damaged. The point about tunnels is a good one too; you'd probably have to set up alternative routes, which can drastically change scheduling.

All that being said, it seems trains have an advantage over aircraft, and that's that they can transport very heavy equipment over long distances. I'm thinking tanks, which might have to traverse several hundred kilometers to reach the front in time to reinforce a position. The type of situation this might be relevant in would be something akin to WWII, where you're invading a country, there's an insurgency behind your lines, but you have to move material and men to and from the front more quickly than you could by motor and, all considered, by air (for heavier equipment you'd need larger aircraft and more trips).

Mokastana wrote:Not to cause a confusion of terms, but I've always heard the "rule of cool" to mean things that are impractical, but used because they are awesome.

For example, I like the idea of armored trains, but as Themis said, their weakness is in the tracks. Now, I have transport trains that may have weapons and some armor, but their purpose is to be last resort protection.

What purpose would a fully armored train serve?


Re: "rule of cool" — yep, that's how I use the term anyways.

I'll let others give their reasons for using, or wanting to use, armored trains, but I'd think the purpose would be to transport heavy materiel and soldiers in bulk over very long distances, faster than you could by truck.

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Postby United World Order » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:10 am

Honestly to protect the miles and miles of track and tunnels I would personally just place FOBs at certain distances along the entire tracks route so as stated already have a QRF to prevent sabotage and or ambush. Drones would be a good idea to keep eyes on the tracks and etc
23:53 Moka "When GamePlay sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing Trolls. They're bringing Raiders. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

#MakeInternationalIncidentsGreatAgain

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Postby Greater Themis » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:49 am

Possible solutions to the track issues...

1) Intelligent fences able to detect clandestine passage onto the tracks and alert nearby FOBs.
2) FOBs/ repair depots at strategic intervals, hosting drone patrol craft and drone repair units, able to autonomously or remotely fix damage to track segments.
3) Maglev. If you use Maglev, the track suddenly becomes more resiliant to sabotage, and you avoid many tunnels or cuttings/embankments (as you can have steeper track grades). Track costs are cheaper, maintenance is cheaper, and locomotive maintenance is cheaper.
4) Automated police drones. Either armed (dystopialand) or "non lethal" to incapacitate trespassers without valid IRR beacons AND permit to enter the track segment.
5) Self powered locomotives. Nuclear powered trains over ones using an overhead line. Sabotage becomes more difficult.
6) Dead zones around the rail routes, either figuratively or literally. Difficult in urban areas, though possible if the rail/transport lines are taken over as military strategic corridors (think interior border).

It can end up awfully dystopian.

Reference air travel, I'm sure PMT air travel has some perks in cargo transport. Airships for example... (wink wink...)

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Postby Post War America » Wed Apr 27, 2016 10:31 am

The Macabees wrote:Awesome! Thanks for joining the discussion guys.

Post War America wrote:I heard you guys were starting a PMT community thread. Is this like a formalized thing, or is it an advice thread?


As a new thread, it's to be shaped by the discussions the community wants to have in it. It's an advice and assistance thread, but it's more than that too.

I wouldn't say it's "formalized," because that makes it seem like it might be used as a standard, which is not the case. Neither is this thread for a specific group of players; all PMTers, and anyone who wants to talk about the topic, are welcome, regardless of the standard they adhere to.

Are you a PMT player?


I am in fact... well sorta. I guess the more appropriate term would be that I am PMT/FanT slowly growing some early FT elements... mostly because I have a progressive timeline where technology advances... and well, there's an FT nation that wants to feed the Commonwealth technology. I sorta broke that mold I guess. In all seriousness though, a Post-Modern (allowing for some low fantasy elements... I've grown rather attached to my Vorlonii) setting is my favorite setting to be in; specifically because I can have things for no other reason that rule of the cool rather than having to justify everything through "realism".
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The Kraven Corporation
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Postby The Kraven Corporation » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:37 am

On the point of armoured trains you could employ a land train system, utilising the large carrying capacity of a train but negating the vulnerability of tracks, weight would simply be a case of spreading the load out enough so it doesn't sink on roads, the system could be easily modified to suit the task at hand, it would only be limited ny the drive train of the prime mover, but this could be negated by having multiple power units along the land train system.

The Reich does employ armoured trains but this is mostly to shuttle Capitol Police about Fortress Norska

Kraven.
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho.

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The Kraven Corporation
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Postby The Kraven Corporation » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:42 am

Additional:

http://www.masterunitlist.info/Unit/Det ... n-standard

The image helps to put across where I'm coming from

Kraven
"If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever." - 1984
Scand: No one beats you Kraven for largest number killed a day.
Scand: Your nation is a glorified death camp after all.
Tiurabo: WTF Kraven.
Tiurabo: You are the last person who can tell me to be calm.
Tiurabo: You're a goddam psycho.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT0uR5wB76M The Updated National Anthem of Imperial Fortress Reich
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New Aeyariss
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Postby New Aeyariss » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:10 pm

My major argument with the rails is rather connected with predictable path such train would take, this making it easier for the enemy to attack it. Enemy would instantly know what route his enemy would take, and thus made it easy to ambush it.

Assuming that I am officer of Godforsakenland Liberation Army planning to attack such train, it would be made far more easy for it. I would know exactly how it would head, where it would head, etc. I could stage multi - kilometer long ambush resembling ones that Taliban currently stage in Afghanistan. Point to remember in here is, that if we are in year for example 2050, then Godforsakenland most likely already has far more lethal weapons than it would have had today:

- "Indonesian tony stark" built primitive exoskeleton that is meant to help him manipulate his damaged arm. Guerillas of the future could however use similar ones to carry weapons, thus greatly increasing their firepower.

- Islamic state already planing on using drones for attacks. Drones of the future will most likely have far higher load, longer flight duration, less noise produced during the flight, and above all, far increased resistance to ECM than ones produced today. Suicide drones are already a reality - recently first combat use of Israeli suicide drone "IAI Harop" saw use in Karabah where Harop allegedly struck a bus full of Armenian volunteers. Today drones could be bought with ease in every supermarket.

- Indirect fire is becoming more precise and lethal. Most modern MRLS systems can reach as 150km and successfully devastate large area.

Now, my general belief is that wars of the future will be characterized by far expanded use of C3D2 (cover, concealment, camouflage, deception, disguise). Because the power of weapons already was high enough to create phenomena known as guerilla warfare (even see what punch first class air force like USAF can deliver today), future weapons would most likely push the armies for even greater use of dispersal and C3D2. At the same time considerable firepower would become more and more compact (even look at now created hybrid grenade launcher - rifle designs like OICW), thus creating deadly cat and mouse game, where unit would be obliterated instantly once it is detected (sort of what already happens during BVR combat in Aerial warfare or in Naval warfare).

Thus, why I do believe that a design that can't cross the country is a bad idea. Armored train simply can't follow the guerillas fleeing on hoverbike or running away using bionic boots after several strikes from high - powered disposable RPGs fired from several directions at once overpowered active defense systems and seriously damaged multiple compartments in tandem with multiple suicide drones doing the same, and personnel crewing the FOBs was suppressed by high rate of fire weaponry based on metal storm technology for long enough not to come to train's aid. In such case, the train can't chase them.

Only thing I would see such train as is as a carrier of some indirect fire weapon, possibly several thousands of kilometers of range, while being able to defend it against an ambush (battlefield of the future would be non - linear) long enough for aid to appear.

Additionally - even if we allowed it to move off - road, sheer weight of such vehicle and it's mobility would have made it unprofitable.
Last edited by New Aeyariss on Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Lubyak
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Postby Lubyak » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:59 pm

Putting in a tag here for myself, cause this may be helpful and I want to keep an eye on it.

While the flavour of FanT-MT fusion Borealias and I use is pretty off, alot of the same principles apply to governing our branch of RP, and I'd love to make more connections. So hi all! Glad to be here. Looking forward to helping make this thread succesful.

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Morrdh
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Postby Morrdh » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:55 pm

Probably an idea to look at how armoured trains were deployed in past conflicts, probably the best examples to look would be the British trains in the Boer Wars and later the Russians in Chechnya.

Apparently pro-Russian militants have been operating an improvised armoured train in Ukraine since 2015.
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Nyte
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Postby Nyte » Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:58 pm

I too shall tag this. You never know where you might find some interesting things after all.

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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 3:15 pm

Post War America wrote:I am in fact... well sorta. I guess the more appropriate term would be that I am PMT/FanT slowly growing some early FT elements... mostly because I have a progressive timeline where technology advances... and well, there's an FT nation that wants to feed the Commonwealth technology. I sorta broke that mold I guess. In all seriousness though, a Post-Modern (allowing for some low fantasy elements... I've grown rather attached to my Vorlonii) setting is my favorite setting to be in; specifically because I can have things for no other reason that rule of the cool rather than having to justify everything through "realism".


Totally agree with you. You seem to have a really unique set-up, which is great, because that's exactly what PMT is all about.

You didn't tell us you're part of a PMT RP group! How are you liking that? It's a shame I didn't come across that thread sooner.

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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:15 pm

Greater Themis wrote:3) Maglev. If you use Maglev, the track suddenly becomes more resiliant to sabotage, and you avoid many tunnels or cuttings/embankments (as you can have steeper track grades). Track costs are cheaper, maintenance is cheaper, and locomotive maintenance is cheaper.


Asking out of ignorance, why are Maglev tracks more resilient to sabotage?





Re: armored trains. You know, 95 percent of the time, I don't think MRLS is going to be a problem in a NS counterinsurgency — they're just not a cheap, easy-to-access weapon for an insurgency. Not to mention that insurgencies also tend to lack air support, and so large pieces of equipment that do a lot of damage tend to get priority as far as occupier air coverage. It makes more sense for insurgents to, as New Aeyariss puts really well, focus on deception and concealment, and on a budget (since insurgencies usually don't have large sources of income, and even when they do have things like an income tax it's comparatively little). That means avoiding high-cost losses, especially for single-use equipment (that includes equipment likely to be destroyed after revealing its position — remember, insurgencies are usually fighting against an occupier with air dominance); with more of an emphasis on relatively small, relatively cheap, but firepower-effective weapons. ATGMs, RPGs, mortars (possibly with MIRV AP warheads), anti-materiel rifles is what I'd expect, and what I've seen in most COIN RPs. A countermeasure system, like APS, might help against these threats.

Like I mentioned above, I think one of the big advantages of trains is that they can carry a lot (relatively speaking) of equipment over long distances within a reasonable time. This is especially important if (i) the road network is poor, and/or (ii) you have to transport heavy equipment over very long distances. That's why tank transportation by rail is popular in the United States and Russia. Another reason rail might be preferred is if you're transporting a lot of tanks (say, a division's worth, or maybe several). Truck tractors are good, but "per capita," my guess is that they are much more inefficient than rail (remember the context).

In other words, players might find the need to armor their trains inevitable if they are in that kind of situation. The country they are occupying might be large; maybe they are invading another player and are dealing with partisans. Yes, trains are vulnerable — much like everything else, mind you —, but maybe the necessity is to minimize that vulnerability, because the other options of transportations aren't practical or feasible for what you're trying to do.

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The Technocratic Syndicalists
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Postby The Technocratic Syndicalists » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:20 pm

tag

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New Aeyariss
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Postby New Aeyariss » Wed Apr 27, 2016 5:58 pm

Re: armored trains. You know, 95 percent of the time, I don't think MRLS is going to be a problem in a NS counterinsurgency — they're just not a cheap, easy-to-access weapon for an insurgency. Not to mention that insurgencies also tend to lack air support, and so large pieces of equipment that do a lot of damage tend to get priority as far as occupier air coverage


So are we dealing here with PMT or MT? In MT of course, though 70mm MRLS is already a thing. Talibans used some MRL system (not sure which though, but they were shooting at German military base with it).

Not to mention that insurgencies also tend to lack air support,


Tamil tigers already solved that problem (see: Katunayake Air Force Base attack) with light aircraft made out of civilian models; and in the western world civilian ownership of helicopters is something common. In PMT we may be seeing advent of drone fighters launched from trucks, using rocket motors to bring them into the air - not only engaging plane in the air with conventional weaponry, but also attempting to ram it.

Even now we see plenty of designs like that - that could be modified for military use. Not to mention that homemade helicopters are already a thing, and lightest helicopter in the world offers possibilities also.

Like I mentioned above, I think one of the big advantages of trains is that they can carry a lot (relatively speaking) of equipment over long distances within a reasonable time. This is especially important if (i) the road network is poor, and/or (ii) you have to transport heavy equipment over very long distances. That's why tank transportation by rail is popular in the United States and Russia. Another reason rail might be preferred is if you're transporting a lot of tanks (say, a division's worth, or maybe several). Truck tractors are good, but "per capita," my guess is that they are much more inefficient than rail (remember the context).


Like I mentioned above, I think one of the big advantages of trains is that they can carry a lot (relatively speaking) of equipment over long distances within a reasonable time. This is especially important if (i) the road network is poor, and/or (ii) you have to transport heavy equipment over very long distances. That's why tank transportation by rail is popular in the United States and Russia. Another reason rail might be preferred is if you're transporting a lot of tanks (say, a division's worth, or maybe several). Truck tractors are good, but "per capita," my guess is that they are much more inefficient than rail (remember the context).


For that purpose rail is still used today... And I doubt that changes soon. Still using a train as physical weapon is a bad idea.

In other words, players might find the need to armor their trains inevitable if they are in that kind of situation. The country they are occupying might be large; maybe they are invading another player and are dealing with partisans. Yes, trains are vulnerable — much like everything else, mind you —, but maybe the necessity is to minimize that vulnerability, because the other options of transportations aren't practical or feasible for what you're trying to do.


Better idea is not to allow the partisans to do whatever they wish and hunt them in their own terrain. Road bound, conventionally oriented forces often performed poorly during COIN operations in the 3rd world. Only solution is to properly hit the insurgent in his own terrain, separate him from the population he is connected to and turn it on him, deny him freedom of maneouevere by dispersing your forces... trains won't do much good in any of those, to be frank, unless we will use a train network that resembles a web to quickly transport troops...

Pay in mind - I do wholeheartly believe that majority of future guerilla combat will happen in cities (see Tupamaros or Carlos Marighella) as only few counties posses "rural guerilla environment"...
Last edited by New Aeyariss on Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Psalms 144:1 wrote:Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.
Also known as El Cuscatlan, the original "Carrier Breaker", "Anti-Che", and "General Grievous of SACTO".


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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:21 pm

New Aeyariss wrote:So are we dealing here with PMT or MT? In MT of course, though 70mm MRLS is already a thing. Talibans used some MRL system (not sure which though, but they were shooting at German military base with it).


Either way, insurgencies are going to have very similar budget and tactical constraints. Your point on smaller MRLS is a good one, though. Taliban MRL (e.g. Soviet BM-14) is inaccurate, but you're right that the 'low end' of technology tends to move up over time. But, again, the larger, the higher-cost, and the more-firepower-heavy weapons are the most likely to get priority when it goes to allocating resources for COIN operations (like the ones you yourself describe). Why invest in that kind of equipment when it's unlikely to last long enough for it to become monetarily feasible?

And, if it's a country looking to invest in big, expensive armored cars, its air force is unlikely to be as ineffective as Sri Lanka's.

Your point regarding UAVs is a good one and you're right. In theory, the armored car would be able to protect themselves from direct attacks by UAVs. But, you'd have to develop the countermeasure system for it and the ordnance they carry.

For that purpose rail is still used today... And I doubt that changes soon. Still using a train as physical weapon is a bad idea.


Oh, I totally agree with you.I'm talking armored trains as in to help them defend themselves from attack.

With regards to COIN, I completely agree with your tactical assessment. But assume that this is easier said than done, as experience seems to suggest. Sometimes, no matter how much effort you put into it, you're not going to be able to avoid attacks on your trains. As economists like to say, there is no such thing as a corner (perfect) solution. There are always resource constraints, therefore there's always opportunity cost. Some things are going to take priority over others, and that might mean that a small group of insurgents ambushes, derails, and damages your train. It's interesting to consider the cost of losing, say, just one car. That might translate to a $150 million loss, depending on the equipment. Sometimes it might be more, sometimes it might be less.

I do agree with you. Thinking about it, let's assume that what we do is create a string of FOBs to deny that string of area to the insurgents. You can probably get away with a much lighter train, as far as armor and protection goes, because the whole purpose of the FOBs is to avoid attacks on the rails, which seems to suggest that they'd also help protect against attacks against the trains. You'd just need enough to protect from whatever can sneak in, or take advantage of a diversion.
Last edited by The Macabees on Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:30 pm

Bad economist thoughts:

(probability of attack) × (avg. damage [no armor]) >= (probability of attack)(avg. damage [armored]) + (cost of armor & protection)*

* (cost of armor & protection) should include the net of costs from FOBs that wouldn't exist otherwise, UAV protection, et cetera.

That's the function to follow, I think. Depending on the context of the situation, which are where you get your actual numbers on, that's how you know whether armored trains make sense.

At the same time, armored trains are cool. If you love them, screw sense.

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Riysa
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Postby Riysa » Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:54 pm

Hey there! Just wanted to put it my $0.02 about MRLS.

Respectfully, I disagree that MRLS will be rare for an insurgency. Pretty much every insurgent movement in the Middle East has their own, whether captured from their enemies, supplied by friendly nations, or built from scratch. Examples include:

Jeish al-Islam's Arrow of Islam-3 (homemade)
Ahrar al-Sham's 107 mm Type 63 (captured and modified)
HAMAS 107 mm Type 63(?) (supplied externally)

Rockets are surprisingly easy to build, and with the march of technology, its going to get easier. Back in the 2000s, we had the Qassam rockets - simple, cheap, and overall did not do much damage, but they were the start. Now, in 2014, we've got M75s, which are copies of the Syrian 302 mm MRLS rocket (itself a derivative of the WS-1, I believe), which are built in-house. A few months after they started making headlines, the Qassam Brigades came out with a four-round MRLS version powered by car batteries. And yes, its been mounted on a Toyota. While admittedly the Qassam Brigades are probably one of the best-funded insurgent groups on Earth, the fact that these are being mass-produced in whatever metal workshop/auto mechanic's store just shows how easy it is for any wannabe rebel faction to produce their own artillery.

Accuracy wise, a few years ago there was pictures being circulated of FSA fighters using iPads and other tablets to calculate firing angles for an artillery fire mission, via a special app developed by some of the more tech/physics-savvy FSA members. Something like this will significantly improve the accuracy of a guerrilla artillery company. And of course, the larger the target is (eg. SAA tank depot), the less accuracy really matters.

As tech advances, so will the ease of deployment of similar systems. I can see militia/home guard units, even in MT, using homebuilt or castoff MRLS systems to delay and soften invader's advance, let alone PMT. Dealing with guerrilla artillery should be a consideration for COIN operations on NS, even if a significant amount of the playerbase won't use it.
Last edited by Riysa on Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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The Macabees
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Postby The Macabees » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:04 pm

You make a strong point and one definitely worth considering and accepting.

What other crazy PMT ideas do you guys have?
Last edited by The Macabees on Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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