Super Computer, Overmind, or AI?

jedion357's picture
July 4, 2011 - 10:59am
ImpLord has some really cool stuff on the caste system for the sathar and I plan to borrow it whole hog but the super computer angle has some problems IMHO.

One the clans are spread over huge interstellar distances with Clan Y deffinetly to the "East" of the Frontier and I like to presume Clan X being to the "Northwest" for a number of reasons.

The authors of the Beyond the Frontier campaign gave us Clans X and Y and I would contend that there is the implication of a clan Z; people being people I would guess that the authors had rough ideas for a clan Z in latter modules and I'd even risk money in a bet on that.

So What follows will be a departure from ImpLords material- and tie into the other stuff I've been musing on involving a klikk connection with the sathar.

but first-

Super computer? lots of difficulties with this and an interstellar empire- namely communication with it over vast distances. its a liability as its has to be located somewhere.

AI- imagine an AI centuries old or if thats too difficult imagine your home computer and it being 15 years old and what you're still using- its slow and quirky and with all the scads of programs you've loaded its even slower and clunkier and gives you fits. Now imagine an AI centuries old. (it has to be centuries old IMO since the sathar visited the eorna 900 years before the voltunus modules). An AI running for 900 to 1000 years?!? that thing is probably certifiable.

Now Since the Klikk and the Sathar have been around with overlapping star faring civilizations in the same quardrant I has to be assumed that they were in contact with each other. I'm playing around with the AI in question being a klikk AI that began to show some quirkiness in its programing and was scheduled for a purge and reload proceedure. the AI decided it didn't want to be purged and used its resources to "liberate" a klikk slave race, the sathar. For 300 years the klikk and the sathar waged war till the klikk were all be erased from memory and existence. The eorna got destroyed because the sathar became aware of them and feared that they would become slaves to the klikk and used against the worms. Under that scenario the sathar obelisk is actually not for detecting the rise of eorna space technology but rather the arrival of a klikk craft. This also explains why the pirate activity took quite awhile to trigger the transmitter as it was looking for specific klikk drive signatures and the subroutines in the transmitter needed to see an X,Y,Z list of triggers to get it to transmit concerning the rise of indigenous space industry and the pirate activity in Zebulon just didn't quite reach that level yet.

At this point the AI was 400 years old and with the and it sees the threat to its existance erradicated with the downfall of the klikk but imagines that there could be other threats to its existence lurking out in the galaxy. it makes copies of itself and sends out seed colonies that are to set up shope 100-150 LY from the Clan Alpha's homeworld. in a plan to create buffer zones around itself and to jump start its total domination of the galaxy which is seen as neccessary to protect its existence.

This is the origin of the other clans- each was founded with basic genetic stock and a copy of the AI but as centuries pass these copies of the original AI change and evolve as a personality which makes them different and even leads to different technology focus for different clans. As the AI copies evolve differnetly the develop different vision for how things should be done and this can lead to clan conflict. At the time of the first sathar war there had been 600 years of divergence between the original and the copies.

Clan X was a week clan at the time of SW1 but was forced pressured by Clan Alpha to assist in attacking the Frontier and the Rim. It did this and managed to pull a sizable portion of its assets out of Pale after the two disasterous battles in Cassidine and Prengular wiped out 95% of all of Clan Alpha's expeditionary force. Since that time Clan X has risen to the top of the heap and been the powerhouse among sathar clans.

One benefit of the AI is that it can be on every clans home world. it could even in theory invade UPF computer networks- and wreck havoc much like the cylons did in BSG (new series).
The above proposed material allows for a major UPF campaign against the sathar to wipe out a clan and yet it still leaves the sathar in the setting- lets face it Star Trek TNG sucked without the Borg and the Frontier without the sathar suck as well.

Finally this explanation for the origin of the sathar clans can account for the much maligned Seesu ferengi/sathar as they came about as one of the seed colonies that suffered the loss of its AI somehow and have evolved themselves into the amoral users and traders that were presented in the Dragon magazine.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
July 4, 2011 - 11:26am
The relationship between the AI and the sathar upper caste is similar to what Imp lord proposed: the AI doesn't really command them but it is the object of their worship. It is their "god" and the lower and middle castes are fanatically loyal to it. The upper caste has a more cosmopolitan view of it but still pays lip service worship to the AI.

It functions to advise, and suggest policy and focus. The governing upper castes sathar usually follow its directions but not always 100%. They certianly recognize its power since the lower orders are fanatically loyal to it and they use this loyalty rather than work against it.

At this time with the original AI, being 1000 years old, and the copies, bing 600 years old, have become the AI/computer equiv of senile and demented. When asked for advice they can take a long time to answer and offer confused, contradictory and rambling advice. Thus the sathar rulers often follow their own councel as not to listen to the AI.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
July 4, 2011 - 11:18am
Incidently once the original AI realized that its copies were not going to kow tow to its will it forever scrubbed any future plans to send out seeder colonies fearing for its existence from a copy AI.

The sathar themselve are slow to inovate- the very nature of the society that ImpLord described would suppress innovation by any sathar techie types. I imagine them as being in a perpetual brutal Dark ages sort of society. The AI's actually have driven the innovation and new tech development but for centuries sathar tech has stagnated. Clan X recieved a shot in the arm when its forces occupied Pale as it came into possession of all sorts of new tech from the Frontier. This gave it the impetus to rise above all other clans.

This invigoration of the sathar tech community is also the reason for the campaign of agents, infiltrators and thefts of UPF technology as clan X realizes that the UPF will eventually out strip them in the technology department and destroy them and it also realizes that stolen UPF teck is the key to seccuring its position permanently in relationship to the other clans. Some of the other clans also realize this and they have their own agents and infiltrators.

EDIT: this stagnation of sathar tech is important to the logic and consistency of the setting; if the sathar had 900 years of star faring development their tech would be so god like to the UPF as to make the war a non conflict.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
July 4, 2011 - 11:29am
NOTE: a side effect of the klikk/sathar connection is that the sathar first used klikk designs for their starships and with the stagnation of innovation there has been little change in 1000 years. Thus klikk star ships look much like sathar star ships.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!