Wednesday, 30 October 2013

War Record: Return of the Kataphract and Anti-Piracy

My return to the Crusade, and the first flight of my Kataphract Slicer, could not have had a more fitting story.

My first patrol point put me on course for Taff. I have a strange fascination for this system. It presents a unique opportunity within the Crusades fighting zone... that of a civilian refuge. Some pilots on the Minmatar side who live there, the corporation Taff as Nails, recognize this too, calling it Fortress Taff. It is a cul-de-sac  collection of systems, easily defended, allowing exploitation of the resources.

But enough of that. My first stop proved to be in Gulmorogod. A minor Minmatar complex's cloak failed, and I quickly took the initiative to claim it for the Crusade. As I was overseeing the handover, a rookie pilot warped in.

If you are a new Crusader, be warned: this can lead to your destruction.

Typically, the more psychotic militia pilots will shoot you on site, for two main reasons.

  1. They believe you to be a spy
  2. They believe you to be a thief of Loyalty Points, the currency used to curry favour with the Crusade quartermasters.

Happily, I am not as paranoid or greedy as the common mercenary. My slave provides me with ample funds, and the Crusades armoury merely provides the occasional bonus. I gave the pilot some advice, and offered him the credit for the capture. He was greateful.

Unfortunately, as we were speaking, two pirates attacked! A Punisher and a Rifter, exploded into the station!

To my shame, I lost contact with the rookie pilot, and set myself to the task of destroying the Rifter. It went down surprisingly quickly, no doubt in thanks to the Kataphract's boosted lasers. I turned my attention to the Punisher, and stripped it's shields, before it escaped. An error on my part... I must pay closer attention to my Warp Disruptor.

I messaged the rookie pilot, and thankfully he had escaped unharmed. I think that seeing his companion fall so quickly had him rattled, and he lost concentration. The rookie pilot came back, and he took the complex, planting a Ni-Kunni marked Amarr flag on the station.

Good for him. New pilots should be shown leniency by their militia mates, and more importantly, shown how to survive. I wish him luck in his future patrols.

Continuing with my journey...

In Taff, another complex presented itself for capture. I leapt to the attack, sweeping away the lonely Minmatar regular fleet frigate, again, overseeing the removal of Matari personnel. As soon as it was captured, another pirate attacked!

This time, a Dramiel, one of the most powerful frigates in New Eden. I stuck to my plan, blazing away at range. it launched drones which hammered away at my shields. A quick ammunition switch to Multi-Frequency allowed me to damage his drones enough to force him to disengage.

I was migtily relieved, and cngratulated him on a battle well fought. He invited me to another duel, which I politely declined. If you think me a coward, then I can only excuse myself by saying my objective was complete in that system. Taff was brought to a vulnerable state from my capture, and I had other appointments to keep.

On the return home...

My flight home proved very eventful.

After a few hours stay in a Crusade held station, I took to capturing another minor complex, this time in Kourmonen. This system is usually a hive of Republic capsuleers, but I was looking to test the limits of the Kataphract Slicer.

Again, as I was capturing, a pirate attacked!

This time a Firetail. This time, the pirate had equipped a Micro-Warpdrive, and caught me with a Scrambler and two Webifiers. I was clearly a dead man, reduced to under 100m/s of speed.

But let it never be said that a Khanid goes down without a fight!

With a lion's roar I pushed my modules to their limits. I would not allow this rat to sully the maiden voyage of Kataphract! I would not allow this predator of the weak to dishonour the Khanid way of combat!

My armour repairer worked furiously as plasma bullets and EM rockets hammered away at my armour. My pulse lasers burned brightly, sending pure white rage into his hull!

The Kataphract was brought into structure, unable to keep the barrage of damage away.

Suddenly, the deadly percussion stopped. The Firetail detonated into a ball of flame!

The Kataphract Slicer had survived a duel with it's natural predator. The pirate flippantly broadcast I was lucky. I agreed, and congratulated him on the battle. He didn't take it well, devolving into a vulgar display of bravado and threats. I simply smiled in my still intact ship, and left for Kamela.

Pirates beware. The Khanid Kataphract has returned!


The Kataphract Slicer flew exactly as intended. I will say, however, it's important to overheat the repairer as well. Keep an eye on it. Deactivating the module turns off the overheating, and you should remember to re-heat before using again.

Sadly, I only killed pirates today. I must find more Republic targets. Not that I'm ashamed to show these criminals the courage of the Khanid!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Strategikon Arcani: The Kataphract Slicer

My return to the battlefield also brings with it a new direction. I must start learning new flight techniques. The Kontos Executioner has served me well as a training vessel, teaching me the importance of range control and damage application. Now, we will look at how to effectively wield a kontoss, without the aid of a Webifier.

But first, a history lesson.

Early Khanid settlements were on Arthra, now caled Amarr Prime. The Amarr civilization grew on an island of the coast of Khanid lands, the isolation no doubt leading to their zealous obsession with God. The Khanid themselves lived on the mainland, tribes of horse masters engaging in petty squabbles with each other.

When the Amarr left their cloistered island in the Reclaiming, the Khanid were the first to be absorbed into their growing empire. We became famed mounted warriors, adopting a heavily armoured style. Our warriors and mounts were covered in gleaming chain mail. Such was our prowess, that the Amarr, whilst all other civilizations crumbled before them, recognized the Khanid as equals.

This heavy cavalry warrior is known as the kataphract: quite literally meaning 'fully enclosed.'

Heavily armed and armoured, these were flexible assault troops, often required to field both lance and bow, well defended, but used offensively.

To mirror this, we will need a true master of frigates.

The Imperial Navy Slicer.

Advanced laser technologies increase the range of this vessels weaponry, extending our reach beyond that of the Kontos Executioner. Significant increases in power output to weapon hard points give this ships two turrets more punch. It can be flexibly fitted, giving more armour, more speed, or even more range. For those in the Crusade, this ship is easily obtained.

Today, we will look at a balanced ship, one that lives up to the potential of the thinking warrior.

The Kataphract Slicer

[Imperial Navy Slicer, Kataphract]
Fourier Transform Tracking Program
Heat Sink II
Overdrive Injector System II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
Damage Control II

Faint Warp Disruptor I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Small Focused Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Small Focused Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
[empty high slot]

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Energy Locus Coordinator I
Small Energy Locus Coordinator I

The rig slots are my personal preference, but at least one Locus Coordinator is a must. My own ship exchanges the Fourier Transfrom Tracking Program for a Tracking Enhancer 2, but this requires some implants.

This vessel is a true Kataphract; able to wield it's 'short' range weapons to beyond 20km, with the speed and agility that was once associated with cavalry. Not only that, but it fields the armour lacking on the Kontoss Executioner, able to withstand more punishment, and patrol for longer before re-docking, truly a ship 'fully covered'. It also carries several plates of black armour... hardly the true Khanid Black, but better than nothing.

I cannot claim full credit for this fitting, as I started with a basic layout given by a very dark shadow indeed: Rixx Javix. His fitting for the Slicer formed the basis for the Kataphract.

Like his ship, this is a flexible vessel. Our running order is still to kite, to give us a chance of tactical withdrawal. However, our much improved defenses allow us to engage in close quarter fighting as well. Since we can only control range with our speed and piloting, this option proves extremely useful.

Fighting drill:

  • Overheat weapons
  • Orbit at 18-20km
  • Fire
  • Manage heat
  • Repair as needed (turn auto-repeat off)
  • If the enemy closes and lands a scram on you, switch to Multi-frequency crystals, and hope God is smiling on you that day.

This ship is fairly expensive. If you are still unsure of your skill, stick to the Kontos Executioner.

As the infamous pirate Javix says, be daring. This ship will be enable you to engage a wide variety of targets. However, my own advice is this: be smart. This ship is flexible, but flexibility comes at the price of excellence in any one field. Brave men die in glorious fashion. Smart men go home to their wives.

Return of the Kataphract!

Whilst I freely admit I am a slave to my King's commands, that doesn't mean I don't see value in what I do. it certainly doesn't mean I can't have my own goals in mind.

My investigations of wormhole space reveled far more mysterious than this soldier can decipher. Exploration, whilst a pleasant break from the battlefield, is clearly not my forte.

I will post my findings later on, but for now, I am returning to the crusade. My King has put far more learned men than me to the task of investigating wormhole space, and exploration in general. I will post my own findings here in due time.

For now, I have been returned to the Crusade. Let the Minmatar rebels tremble in fear. Let pirates retreat to their shadows. Let Amarrians bear witness once more to a true Khanid warrior.

My goal is as always:

Walk in dark places,
Learn from shadows,
Bring the light.

I will learn and teach my fellow pilots how to succeed in combat. I will teach them how to survive to come home to their families. I will show them that civility need not be lost on the battlefield between immortals.

The Khanid Kataphract has returned!

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Geztic Shuttle

There is  mysterious shuttle orbiting the sun in Geztic.

It flies in an orbit around a beacon, almost on top of the sun. Aura, the ship-board computer, registers it as a pirate target, displaying it as a red cross.

It doesn't respond to hails, weapons will not fire on it, nor do any modules. After some reading, I found other capsuleers found that using ECM on it seemed to affect it. Which is curious in itself.

Aura states that there is a single life-sign, which shows signs of a cryogenicaly frozen mind.

If you're curious, I do suggest reading more about what other capsuleers have written. I only note it here, since it was the most interesting thing I found in the Khanid region.

I found it unsettling. Such a mysterious, and apparently indestructible, ship, barely 5 jumps from the Khanid homelands... and within 10 jumps of all the other major households Prime systems.

Far more scholarly men than me can surely make more sense of this. I simply find it disturbing, and too close to home.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Not much of value

So my careful investigations of the Khanid revealed this:

There are Blood Raider pirates in the region.

My King was hardly pleased with this, and was even less than pleased with the material I liberated from the pirates. He already knew the Blood Raiders were around.

In total I acquired around 20 million ISK worth of parts and training manuals. This is mostly due to my terribly inefficient scanning and collection routines, which will be the topic of a later Strategikon. Hardly worth the two-week effort, considering my one day patrol netted me around 50 million ISK in loyalty store goods.

I think, perhaps, that exploration is not my defining skill.

I ran a combat site, however, a Blood Cathedral. I picked up some bounties, and some some interesting items, along with the pleasure of eradicating the Raiders from Khanid space. That proved lucrative, and might be a potential supplementary income source, particularly in the worm hole sites.

All in all, not a very fruitful investigation. With more practice, I'm sure I can increase my exploration findings, and I'm sure that the Anoikis space data and archaeology sites will be more bountiful.

I did come across something perplexing in Geztic though...

Wednesday, 23 October 2013


I had a pleasant surprise once I reached my staging station. I've been promoted to Arch Lieutenant.

This involved a typically long winded Amarrian ceremony, with more hymns and praising God than is bearable for any involved, at the end of which the rank insignia was, with great pomp and grandiosity, clipped to my uniform.

An Amarr insignia. On my Khanid uniform. The King will not doubt smile at that.

Once I managed to escape from the various priests and other recently commissioned Junior officers, I retreated back to my quarters.

The insignia itself is quite an ornate little thing, and has an inscription on the back:

"The word of the Lord is pure,It is a shield for the faithful,Brought unto men by the Angels,As a guiding light in the darkness""- The Scriptures, Prophet Anoyia 8:15

There is definitely a similarity to my families oath. The Arcani believe in bringing the light of understanding and knowledge to dark places.

Knowlegde certainly can be a shield to those who believe in it, but I rather believe in knowledge given to me by men, rather than that of Angels. No disrespect meant to Angels, but from what I've read of the Holy Texts, at least half of them do not have humanities best interests at heart.

The capitalization on Angels is also rather curious. The obvious link is to the Angel Cartel, an organization waist deep in rumors of Jovian secrets. But that gets into the realm of fantasy and deep conspiracy. Still, it might bear looking into. I can't really find when the Prophet's scriptures were written.

The rest of Prophet Anoyia's scriptures start off in simple church propaganda, talking about the the great Emperor leading the people in God's stead. They finish on a more general note of good behavior, referring to the Amar as the 'Chosen', and a call of obedience.

Either way, I appreciate the guiding light of knowledge being part of the Amarr war philosophy, if not entirely part of their practice.

That Angel line does have me curious though.

War Record: Routine patrol

Today I completed a routine patrol of the Crusade conquest zones.

Why? Well, whilst I hardly think of myself as a mercenary, there were a few items in the loyalty store I wanted for my projects, and needed to endear myself to the armorer. I also felt a little guilty about leaving the front lines so abruptly.

In any case, I planned my patrol as usual, hitting Minmatar held complexes, as usual, flying my favorite frigate, the Kontos Executioner. It's upgraded a little now, since my fitting skills allow a bit more power, but the idea is the same.

Nothing much of importance happened. A few ships dropped in on me as I was capturing, but wisely thought better of tackling a Khanid fighter! My fellow crusaders have been doing well in my absence, so there were few systems for me to capture in.

On the way back I noticed a friendly complex whose cloak had failed, and went to provide cover until they repaired it.

Another Executioner appeared on scans.

After a quick comment to the complex crew not to panic, I readied my weapons, and the capsuleer working for the Minmatar entered.

The fight was short, and altogether uneventful. I was a little rusty, allowing the other ship to graze my armor, but he was defeated in good order.

I sent him a quick courtesy, which was ignored. No matter.

After the complex was restored, I flew back to my staging area, and repaired my ship, and went to smile sweetly at the loyalty store vendor.


My piloting was sloppy. I failed to maintain my orbit of him, and lost warp disruption twice, and over compensated my orbit allowing him to get close. Foolish.

It was not a display of my skill, but more accurately his pilot errors. Even when I was close enough to his scrambler range, he failed to shut down my Micro Warp Drive. I was lucky.

I must maintain better discipline when it comes to orbiting. I think perhaps my early tent-pegging exercises are no longer enough.

I will begin working on my manual piloting skills.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Choosing to be prey

Honestly, the prospect of exploring low sec and wormholes has me nervous. And I've just worked out why.

Before in the crusade, I'd head out to the wildlands to ferret out Minmatar dogs without batting an eye. The security status didn't phase me, and I whilst I wasn't reckless, I didn't avoid combat.

Not so with exploration. Flying in an unarmed, lightly tanked ship as I am, my only saftey lies in speed and stealth. I am no longer a hunter, but the hunted. The worst thing about this is that I put myself in that position.

I have invited predatory capsuleers to strike me and confound my plans. Despite flying a black ship, I'm a highly visible, and easy target.

It puts me in an odd position. Technically I'm doing a safer activity, but it puts me at more risk.

There's not much you can do to avoid this. But I wouldn't be me unless I conjoured up some solutions!

  • Patrol planning
  • Deployment of material

The same as with the Crusade, your best friend is a map. See my post on patrol planning for an in-depth examination. The principles are the same here. Map out your route to encounter the fewest pilots. This is slightly easier than in the Crusade, as relic and hacking sites aren't tied to any specific system... and backwater systems far from traffic are more likely to be unexploited anyway!

The deployment of material is fairly similar too. Only one or two exploration ships are required, and then bring a small stack of combat ready vessels. It'll depend on the sites you're hunting down, and I'm going to have to explore possibilities later. I'm undecided whether the ships should be fit for anti-rat or capsuleer combat. I think it will depend on the operating region.

However, a slight difference would be to include a mining vessel or two in the redeployment. Whilst exploring you will find many brightly coloured and interesting rocks to exploit. It would be a waste to ignore these opportunities!

The deployment then gives us back a rapid re-shipping option, weakening the impact of ship loss. Even if we are destroyed, we can fit out a new ship, and head back out into space in a short window.

I must think more on how to lessen the fear of being prey. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

Trade Log: Hauling (Regional Trading)

The graceful art of moving stuff.

Here's the secret. Look at your stuff. Put stuff in ship. Undock. Fly to destination. Dock. Take stuff out of your ship.

And that's it.

There are some tips though.

I rarely use industrial ships for this. Now that there are speedy industrials, it's not a terrible idea to use them, and can give you a good deal of tank.

What you deal in is usually quite mall, so the cargo capacity of a hauler isn't necessary. Gankers, pirates who prey on the humble hauler, used to be able to pop open most industrial ships without breaking a sweat. Not quite so true now, but gankers will still target you, since you're most likely to have cargo.

A fast frigate requires someone to have a ship designed for speedy locking, since they warp quite quickly, and they will also have to cargo scan you. No sense in wasting a destroyer or battle cruiser on a rookie's mission ship.

A Vigil, the Minmatar E-War ship, is usually the hauler of choice. However, gankers know this too, and will target those first. Any frigate will do though. I know of some traders that used to haul in destroyers too... no one ganks destroyers.

The speediest ship for moving around valuables is an interceptor. With this ship you'll zip across the space lanes, and outrun all but the most determined ganker.

It goes without saying that you shouldn't be asleep at the pod when you haul something valuable. Auto-piloting gives gankers an awful lot of time to peruse your ship. They'll scan you to see if you have cargo, and then blast you at their leisure. Manual piloting limits this time, and makes it less likely for you to be a target.

Also, avoid low and null security space. CONCORD won't help you out there. If you absolutely must, get a cloaked ship. Covert Ops vessels are good for this.

If, on the other hand, you find hauling too stressful (and boring), I recommend using either Push X or Red Frog on Courier contracts. I mostly deal with Push X. They are reliable, and have have a good insurance network.

When setting collateral for the contract, you might want to consider putting a small mark-up on your goods being hauled. Certainly do this for public contracts. I'm disinclined to do it for Push X though, as they're very professional about what they do. Good relationships are the foundation of any business.

The reason for the small mark up is lessening the damage to your business cycle. If you lose your valuables to a pirate, then you will have lost all that time spent buying and setting up the Courier contract. The small mark-up gives you a little bit of profit, to make up for the lost time. Don't be greedy, though. Just a little bit to pay for your time. Too much is simply unfair for your courier, and will damage your reputation.

So there you go. Get moving stuff. I've got things to do... 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Expanding project

I'm not sure why I thought exploration would be easier to jump into than capsuleer combat.

After a week of scanning across Khanid, I've realised that space is big. Rather obvious, but in my defense, fighting in the crusade focuses all your attention on maybe two or three points in any system, which can be easily ignored depending on what you want to do.

Not so with exploration.

What it boils down to is that mapping the Khanid region is taking a lot longer than I thought it would... and to be honest, I'm not finding a great deal worthwhile.

I'll be posting my findings shortly.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Back to the markets

Good grief...

My master takes me away from the markets for a month or two, and the Hek volumes plummet. Prices are all over the place! Well, at least in what I used to trade in.

Ah well, lots of room for profit now. Perhaps there's something to be learned from this: leave your ISK fields fallow for a few weeks, and then harvest.

Station trading is order of the day. With 2 billion liquid ISK my master doesn't need, and profit margins the way they are, all I need to do is set up some Buy orders. Region trading can wait for a bit, whilst my wife gets herself set up again.

Business will be slow for a bit, but my master isn't so hell bent on blowing up what he buys anymore, so we'll be able to see some growth.

Astrometrics Training

It's a foolish man that dives into a wormhole with rusty scanning skills.

I am not a novice when it comes to the gentle art of scanning. But it has been a long time since I did any serious exploration. I assigned myself a week of training in scanning. Here is my vessel:

A Khanid vessel! How fine it is the wear the black!

The Anathema is a fine vessel. Its name derives from an Amarrian root, meaning 'something cursed'. Odd choice for a ship of any kind, but the name has a deep root in old Khanid: 'something dedicated'. This ship certainly is dedicated to exploration. The Covert Operations ships are generally the most specialized of New Eden, their full focus devoted to finding things in the dark.

As far as non-combat exploration goes, fitting does not take a great deal of fore-thought. Simply fit a cloak, core probe launcher, a hacking unit and a relic analyzer. After that it's your choice. 

My personal preference is a Micro Warpdrive. I also keep a pair of rocket launchers in the bay, in case I come across some easy pirates. Remember, this is not a fighting ship... if you find more than you can battle, run. 

My training mission will be in Khanid space. I hope to get some shore leave in my family's holdings at the same, and hunt around for some local landmarks. I will be looking for relic and data sites. Once I have my scaning eye in, I'll depart to Anoikis,

Monday, 7 October 2013

Strategikon: Anoikis

Early Khanid culture shares a surprising amount with Early Gallentean. Whether this denotes a common ancestry or not is beyond my feeble scholastic skill, but there are clearly parallels to be drawn. The way the Gallente name their ships is taken straight from this shared cultural background, despite their extremely different naming conventions for systems.

The Khanid are an odd, mongrel race, claiming deep historic ties to Amarrians, shared language with the Gallente, and even an Pre-Stellar age nomadic lifestyle similar to that of the Minmatar. Throw in the Kingdom's more modern acceptance of Caldari technology and business practices, and you have a race robust enough to be at home in all environs.

Which is perhaps what has interested my King in Anoikis, or Unknown Space.

Despite the antique look of the word, Anoikis is actually a modern fusion of some ancient Khanid or Gallentean phrases, and is translated as 'to be without a home'. Very fitting for those systems only accessible by a wormhole.

As a simple aside, anoikos is a recorded word of antiquity, meaning 'homeless wanderer'. Given the conspiratorially nature of Anoikis lore, loose connections such as this should be noted.

The very word Anoikis hints that these places are actually some kind of place of exile, and there are at least a dozen conspiracy theories to explain this. It's also a medical term for a stage in the development in cancerous cells, with a dozen theories for that too. Then again, there are theories of all kinds surrounding wormholes, and don't really give us any guide lines for success.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Do not speak in local
  • You MUST bring a probe launcher
  • Stealth is helpful.
  • D-scan all the time.

The capsuleers that have moved into Anoikis are a paranoid and highly disciplined bunch. They live far removed from the comforts of Empire run stations, living out of POS stations and often leaving ships hanging in space with only a shield to protect them. The above is taken from listening to them.

Local broadcast only shows ships that start communicating. You have a certain degree of anonymity by not taking in Local. I intend to break this rule eventually, but I wouldn't recommend it for those who want to survive.

There is no way to locate a wormhole without a probe launcher. If you jump into Anoikis, and forget to bookmark your exit wormhole, and you don't have a probe launcher, you will need to destroy your clon to make it back home.

Stealth will reduce the chances of ships scanning you down. It's not a perfect defense, so make sure to use your mobility defense. Keep moving.

D-Scan all the time. You can see probes searching for you, and either run or cloak up. I suggested retrograde maneuvers.

I'm looking forward to my first solo steps into a wormhole. I'm also enjoying reading the mysteries that surround the history of these phenomena. But first, I'm going to need some scanning practice.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Back to New Eden

Well, that was a little longer than I thought!

Other duties demanded more time than I could give to commanding my ships. And in truth, I was not the most motivated crusader.

New technologies are on the horizon, meaning that new opportunities have arisen. My King has pulled me from the front lines, determining that my efforts are best spent elsewhere. I have yet to decide if this is a demotion or a boon granted to me.

His new orders are to explore Wormhole space.

I believe this to be a death sentence. But an Arcani never sways from a Royal Decree. They merely take extended leave from duties.

I once lived in a wormhole, standing with the once great Talocan United. I left after a few weeks though. I could not give the corporation the time necessary to perform well. It also felt far too restrictive. Too many rules and standard operating procedures, and too many calls to arms for people I barely knew.

This time, I will approach Anoikos on my own terms. I am going to fly solo.

Yes this is suicide. But many would have called flying a lightly tanked Executioner against a Firetail suicide. I look forward to proving people wrong.

The blog site will be refurbished, for no better reason than I like refurbishing it. I always say you need to look the part to play it, and I'll be tweaking things to show a more adventurous spirit. I may or may not include an antique compass.

There are secrets in wormholes. My King wishes to know them. I wish to seek them. Lets see what we can find!