The usage of the term "Kafer" and associated terms does not imply an infringement on any 2300AD copyrights, but are used here to describe the alien race in the Buck Rogers universe that are inspired by the Kafers of that roleplaying system.
Though unique, the Kafer Battleship is meant to be designed as a run-of-the-mill cruiser for the RAM-constructed Kafer aliens. Therefore, great care was taken in removing the "prototype" feel of this (so far) one-of-a-kind vessel.
If you own the 2300AD rulebook or the Kafer Sourcebook, I suggest you use them if and when your player characters encounter the Kafer Battleship. Otherwise, you may use the images provided here (incidentally, grabbed from some Star Wars supplement or other - I don't know, I merely copy 'em).
First of all, the Kafer Battleship is one tough bastard. Using an uncommon crystalline steel structure with a thin layer of dense, sectioned ceramical armor bonded to the crysteel structure, it provides extreme protection while sacrificing a fair lot of speed.
Second, it packs an enormous punch. Even providing for the weirdness of its particle beam weaponry, most everything it does is either chasing after its prey, or blowing it to bits. It does both most admirably.
Third, it contains an insane digital personality, which oversees the activities of the Kafers and Ylii on board.
Finally, it contains a warp drive. It is (obviously) non-functional, but had to be included to lend credence to the Kafer threat, if and when it is fought down.
Origins of the Kafers
The ghostly, holographic form of Simund Holtzerhein floated down the long corridors of the huge pyramid that was the heart of RAM. Not noticing the people that hurriedly got out of the way when the distracted RAM president didn't acknowledge their presence (thus avoiding the humiliating experience of being 'walked through' by the RAM president), the pattern of digital data that now was Simund Holtzerhein was deep in thought.
What RAM now needed, the digital personality thought, was someone to take the blame. The kid gloves had to come off when it came to dealing with RAM's problems in the solar system, but preferably without anyone knowing it was RAM. Clearly, a scape goat had to be found. But who? How?
Lunarians? No, nobody would believe that the Spartan and emotionless little creeps would do something of that magnitude. Besides, RAM needed their technology and banking services. Belters? No, nobody would believe that either. Ringers? Weird cyborgs running around killing and maiming? Hmm... not visceral enough. No, what RAM needed was ... someone else. Someone unknown. Someone ... not from this world?
A value changed in the incredibly complex decision tree that was the mind and personality of the digital personality. New branches sprang up where none were earlier. The idea had taken root, and was literally growing branch by branch.
The Destab and Subversion divisions soon found the genius behind the short writeup
that Simund Holtzerhein had provided them.
1) Create an alien entity.
2) Train and equip that entity to the best of its capacity.
3) Allow that entity to be a menace to the rest of the solar system at large.
4) Use that menace to cover covert RAM actions furthering RAM's current and future goals.
The Design Process
In order to create the illusion of alienness, complex designs were drawn up. However, nothing had the true taste of alienness that the teams of scientists had drawn up. In the end, the answer was found in a clever bit of backwardness.
In a specially-designed digital environment, a complex game of "Life" began. Tailoring the environment that this new race was to "natively" inhabit, the complex game ran through hundreds of thousands of permutations of life forms. In the end, something started to coalesce. Its native biology would be based around threes - one queen caste, one soldier caste, one worker caste. Its technology would be based on little-known technologies - particle beam weaponry, oscillating crystal cutters, sonic cannon. And lastly, just to induce that final, visceral response - they needed blood to survive.
It was quickly obvious that creating an entire culture of these alien beings would be nearly impossible, incredibly expensive, and would take far too long. Thus, a compromise was found. What if only one ship was created first? What if this ship was crewed by noone but the soldiers and workers? The end result was that which was termed the Kafer Deception.
Then, the Overmind was designed. Being a "god" figure of the Kafer and Ylii (soldier and worker castes), the Overmind is supposedly a digital personality based on a queen of their home system. Grown in a digital environment but programmed to believe that environment to be "real", it contains false (but convincing) memories of growing up on a strange world, being digitized, a warp jump that went wrong, and insane rage at being trapped in a world full of disgusting aliens.
The Overmind is a low-level (but thoroughly incomprehensible) DP that inhabits the Battleship's central core trinary computer. It directs the actions of the Kafers under its commands, subtly influenced by hidden programming that can be activated by coded RAM signals masquerading as cosmic radiation. It is, obviously, intelligent, but thoroughly insane.
Game mechanics: Though low-level, its arcane structure makes it nigh-invulnerable to the common attacks of other DPs, should it ever encounter them. In order to even be attacked, the attacking DP or PC must succed in a Difficult Computer Programming skill check. Even then, it will take only 1/2 damage from all such attacks. It itself is merely a 4th level DP, but acts in combat as an 8th level DP.
... more to come when and if I get it finished...