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KungFuFerret

Other kinds of Planetkillers!

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So I like Star Wars, do you like Star Wars?  Great!  However, I do find their tendency to use the "Giant Planetkiller Station!!!!!" a bit tiring.  

 

For me, the Death Star, Death Star 2.0, and the Starkiller Base, are all pretty dull.  I don't really feel any menace from the location itself, it's literally just scenery.  They don't do anything directly, and the action (and the camera) are forever focused on more immediate, and smaller scale threats.  So just by simple focus of my attention elsewhere, I don't really think about the stations at all.   Which is sort of a shame!  Because this is supposed to be the big scary threat!...but it's not really scary in and of itself.

 

So, I thought it might be interesting to brainstorm other types of "planet killers" that could be used, either in the movies, or in your campaigns, so that they are more immediately intense!

 

1. STAR DESTROYERS  :  Holy crap, how is this always overlooked!?  Maybe I'm spoiled from watching Babylon 5, but the image, of an entire FLEET of Star Destroyers, jumping into orbit over a planet, and raining down lazer blasty death is waaaay more intimidating than some planet base that is literally shooting bolts through hyperspace.  I mean the victims don't even see their threat in that scenario!   But dozens of ships, massive enough to occlude astronomical objects?  Showing up, and then giant pillars of red death start raining down on the major population centers?  Yeah, that's terrifying to me.  Also, it would make for a fight similar to the finale of Return of the Jedi, where you have the major capital ship fight, which was awesome!    Also, it's a lot more practical.   You'd think by now, the Empire would learn not to put all of their planet killing eggs in one basket.  As just a tiny little explosion in a part of the base, and poof, the whole thing goes up.  You lose a few cap ships, you can still retreat with the bulk of your force, and still be effectively capable of destroying a planet.

 

2.  This one probably wouldn't work well in the movies, but I thought it might be really good for a campaign.   Asteroids strapped to hyperdrives.   I got this idea after watching...Episode 2 I think?  When Obi-Wan comes jumping into orbit over a planet, and his little fighter was strapped to this circular device, that he detached from.  I remember thinking "Oh, well that's clever, a way for ships without hyperdrives to travel in hyperspace.......wait....what else could you strap a drive to!?"  And viola!  Orbital bombardment on an Extinction Level Event scale, without warning, and not a lot to trace the culprit back to.  Not to mention the fact that it's such a low tech way of doing it, just about anyone could pull this off, if the information got out on how it was being done.

 

So what other kind of planet killers have you come up with for your campaigns?  Or that you just simply think are better than the Death Star style of device?

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Actually, Grand Admiral Thrawn did something with meteors in Dark Force Rising, I think. I can't remember the exact details, but it caused quite a bit of distress. And he cloaked his, I think.

 

Did he?  Is Dark Force Rising his trilogy? Or a comic series spinoff of him?  I read the Thrawn trilogy like 25 years ago I think (and wasn't impressed), so I don't recall any details of it.  If it was in a comic series, I know I didn't read it.   But hey, cloaking them is even scarier!  

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1. STAR DESTROYERS  :  Holy crap, how is this always overlooked!?  Maybe I'm spoiled from watching Babylon 5, but the image, of an entire FLEET of Star Destroyers, jumping into orbit over a planet, and raining down lazer blasty death is waaaay more intimidating than some planet base that is literally shooting bolts through hyperspace.  I mean the victims don't even see their threat in that scenario!   But dozens of ships, massive enough to occlude astronomical objects?  Showing up, and then giant pillars of red death start raining down on the major population centers?  Yeah, that's terrifying to me.  Also, it would make for a fight similar to the finale of Return of the Jedi, where you have the major capital ship fight, which was awesome!    Also, it's a lot more practical.   You'd think by now, the Empire would learn not to put all of their planet killing eggs in one basket.  As just a tiny little explosion in a part of the base, and poof, the whole thing goes up.  You lose a few cap ships, you can still retreat with the bulk of your force, and still be effectively capable of destroying a planet.

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Yeah.  I do remember he was using it as a distraction, as Thrawn wasn't the super weapon type. It wasn't majorly catastrophic, but bad enough to lock down Coruscant.

What Thrawn did was gather up a about a hundred or so asteroids, outfit them with a cloaking device (the double-blind version that's more commercially available but blinds the ship carrying them as well), then used the tractor beams on his ships to launch them into Coruscant's orbits, and then kept firing the tractor beams long after they'd expended their payload of cloaked rocks so that the New Republic brass would think there a few hundred of those cloaked asteroids in Coruscant's orbit.  In this way, they could never be sure if they got them all, pretty much locking down the entire planet.

 

Thrawn didn't need folks to build him a superweapon, as the man's tactical acumen was itself a superweapon.  And while he may not have been perfect, he was dangerously close to it, due to being able to improvise on the fly as needed, savvy enough to pick up on threads that could unravel his plans, and able to recognize when it was time to withdraw to fight another day rather than foolishly wasting valuable resources.  The main reason he got killed by his bodyguard was that there hadn't been enough time for him to properly assess what was going with the Noghri in general, but he was aware that something was up.

 

The Alliance is probably lucky that Palps was enough of an egotist to disregard Thrawn's tactical advice as much as he did.

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1. STAR DESTROYERS  :  Holy crap, how is this always overlooked!?  Maybe I'm spoiled from watching Babylon 5, but the image, of an entire FLEET of Star Destroyers, jumping into orbit over a planet, and raining down lazer blasty death is waaaay more intimidating than some planet base that is literally shooting bolts through hyperspace.  I mean the victims don't even see their threat in that scenario!   But dozens of ships, massive enough to occlude astronomical objects?  Showing up, and then giant pillars of red death start raining down on the major population centers?  Yeah, that's terrifying to me.  Also, it would make for a fight similar to the finale of Return of the Jedi, where you have the major capital ship fight, which was awesome!    Also, it's a lot more practical.   You'd think by now, the Empire would learn not to put all of their planet killing eggs in one basket.  As just a tiny little explosion in a part of the base, and poof, the whole thing goes up.  You lose a few cap ships, you can still retreat with the bulk of your force, and still be effectively capable of destroying a planet.

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Yep!  Though I was referencing this  

 But yes, that works too.   :D

 

 

Side note, how do you imbed a link into a text like you did?  Every site has different coding for that, and I'm not familiar with this sites method.

Edited by KungFuFerret

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SWTOR had a literal ton of super weapons...

 

1. The Planetary shield which used up all the power on the planet. (Planet Prison)

2, The DNA tracking laser cannon (Death Mark)

3.  The Shock Drum which using sonic waves to kill all life on the planet and eventually destabilize the core.

4. Desolater (Combine all 3 above on a single super star destroyer with a few others.

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Our GM put us through these books.  When this happened I said, "Uh, we just fire our weapons forward as we leave the planet?"  (We didn't hit anything but neither did anything hit us - bluff unintentionally called.)

 

What Thrawn did was gather up a about a hundred or so asteroids, outfit them with a cloaking device (the double-blind version that's more commercially available but blinds the ship carrying them as well), then used the tractor beams on his ships to launch them into Coruscant's orbit

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Our GM put us through these books.  When this happened I said, "Uh, we just fire our weapons forward as we leave the planet?"  (We didn't hit anything but neither did anything hit us - bluff unintentionally called.)

 

What Thrawn did was gather up a about a hundred or so asteroids, outfit them with a cloaking device (the double-blind version that's more commercially available but blinds the ship carrying them as well), then used the tractor beams on his ships to launch them into Coruscant's orbit

 

Perhaps, but how many civilian ships don't have heavy firepower?  And blowing up one asteroid doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to completely turn into space dust.  Or that an asteroid might collide with your mid or aft-section that your ship's guns missed?

 

Sure, individual tramp freighters might be wiling to take that gamble, but in their role as a responsible government the New Republic's not about to take that same chance unless they absolutely have to, and would lock down Coruscant's air space until there was a reasonable certainty of safety.  Which they got when Talon Karrde passed along that Thrawn only had about a hundred asteroids to work with, and New Republic ships had already shot down about that many.

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I think there were other plans involving sweeps with tractor beams and the like (and maybe armed escort ships getting chaps to and from the surface?  Long time ago now).  Admittedly, we only suggested these things after the GM pointed out that we weren't the only ones stuck on the capital world.  :D

Edited by Col. Orange

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Let's not forget about bioterror. Just get one guy on the planet like Neil Breen and wipe out the population! Horrible super plagues and such. We know the Empire certainly dabbled in it.

 

For you SWTOR types, imagine wholesale dumping of Rakghoul venom into a planets water supply.

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Thrawn is so overrated

Thrawn in the hands of a capable writer is a pretty interesting character, one who is quite intelligent and a brillant strategist, but far from perfect; a clever adversary, but not an undefeatable one.  I suspect with all things being roughly equal, Admiral Ackbar could give Thrawn a run for his money in a starship battle, who in the EU was also noted to be a quite intelligent and a highly talented strategist that's come to accept that Rebellion/New Republic had to employ unorthodox tactics to win the day more often than not.

 

It was the collection of hacks under the direction of lead hack Kevin J. Anderson that made Thrawn out to some kind of super-genius that always out-guessed his adversaries at every turn.  When in fact the reality from the books he actually showed up in was that he suffered setbacks and occasionally under-estimated his opponents, even admitting to a point in his career where his tactical acumen failed him and he had to resort to the standard Imperial procedure of overwhelming brute force.

 

Though at least it's not as bad as the completely undeserved reputation for badassery that Boba Fett has, since in the films he was nothing more than a disposable flunky that got turned into monster chow in the one time we saw him get involved in the fight, with his biggest contribution being to very briefly slow Luke down before being taken out by a blind man with a wild swing.

Edited by Donovan Morningfire

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