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Characters: FTL: Faster Than Light
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The Federation

The Federation is a formerly-great alliance of alien species, now fractured and on the brink of destruction at the hands of the Rebels. What few ships and bases that remain are under siege by both Rebels and pirates, but they will help you if they can. The player's goal is to reach and defend the Federation base in Sector 8, The Last Stand.

The most common Federation member species are the humans, followed by the Engi, Zoltan, Rockmen, Mantis, and a few Slugs. All of these alien races however have sizable populations outside of the Federation, with the Rock and Zoltan homeworlds being self-governing, the Mantis being split among various warcamps, and the Engi living in nomadic bands. As of Advanced Edition, some members of the newly-reawakened Lanius species have also aligned themselves with the Federation.

The Federation makes use of the refitted Kestrel Cruisers (The Kestrel, Red-Tailnote , and The Swallownote ), the advanced Federation Cruisers (The Osprey note , Nisosnote , and The Fregatidaenote ) and the Engi-built prototype Stealth Cruisers (The Nesasionote , DA-SR 12 note , and Simo-Hnote ). Smaller Federation Scouts and Federation Bombers are also occasionally seen as non-player ships, usually commandeered by pirates in the wake of the Federation's fall. Federation ships in service have a simple white paint scheme with orange stripes, although most of the playable ships have varied color schemes with only the type A Kestrel and Osprey featuring default Federation livery.

Tropes relating to the Federation and its ships include:
  • The Alliance
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Osprey and Nisos' Artillery Beam weapons ignore shields, but cannot be manually aimed to make up for it.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The Kestrel is an old model retooled for a desperate mission.
  • The Federation
  • Fragile Speedster: The Nesasio starts with four levels of engine power. With a pilot and zero-rank engine officer in place, that bumps up the evade rate to 30%, which is pretty high for a starting ship, but the ship has no shields.
    • Lightning Bruiser: On the other hand, its Dual Lasers + Mini-Beam combo can inflict up to six damage per turn (assuming no shields) while damaging several systems at the same time, depending on the enemy ship's layout.
  • Glass Cannon: The DA-SR 12, sacrificing engine power and fast-charge weapons for a stronger cloak and powerful Glaive Beam. Once again, it has no shields, relying on its cloaking and the One-Hit Kill power of its Glaive Beam to carry it through early sectors, until a shield system can be installed.
  • Jack of All Stats: The Kestrel Cruisers, all of which are extremely adaptable and easy to handle.
  • Last Stand: They are having one in Sector 8, but they can win if you destroy the rebel flagship.
  • Multispecies Team: The Federation includes members from every race, and many of their ships start with multi-species crew. The Slugs are generally shunned by the Federation because of their Con Man antics, but even still, a few of them are seen as ship crew, mostly because of how useful their telepathy can be in tactical situations.
  • The Remnant
  • Shout-Out: The default name of the Stealth B (DA-SR 12) references the Normandy SR-2 of Mass Effect. Further supporting this is the fact that its starting weapon is the Glaive Beam, which is similar to the Normandy SR-2's Thanix Cannons.
  • Shiny-Looking Spaceships: The Stealth Cruisers.
  • Vestigial Empire: The Federation is in shambles thanks to the successful Rebel uprising, and your entire mission is to reestablish contact with the isolated main fleet.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The Stealth B's Glaive Beam qualifies, as does the Artillery Beam of the Federation Cruisers A and B.

The Rebels

The Rebels are a large, technologically advanced, organized faction of militaristic human-supremacists. It is implied that a large section of the Federation's former human populace became what is now the Rebellion, which seeks to overthrow the Federation and establish dominion over all known alien species. The Rebel fleet has already destroyed most of the Federation, and relentlessly hunts down the player throughout the game. Should the Rebel fleet overtake a beacon, the standard event located at that beacon will be replaced by a fight against a powerful Rebel Elite Fighter, with practically no rewards for victory. The fleet thus serves as an Advancing Wall of Doom, forcing the player to move on to the next sector and continue with their mission, and limiting the time available in which to explore each sector.

As the Rebels are a human faction, their crews are composed entirely of humans. Rebels make use of diverse and advanced technology, with their Riggers utilizing drone technology on par with the Engi, and Fighters possessing heavy weaponry of all known types, as well as teleporters for boarding actions. The Rebels also field a large fleet of fully automated ships which serve as scouts for their main fleet (the Auto-Scouts), but are sometimes armed well enough to be legitimate fighters on their own (Auto-Assaults). These automated ships possess no life support, since they have no crew, and can thus only be defeated by destroying their hulls. As of Advanced Edition, Rebel ships now utilize Clone Bays, Hacking and Mind-Control, as well as dangerous Flak weaponry and the Vulcan laser.

Finally, the Rebels possess perhaps the largest and most powerful ship in the game, the Rebel Flagship, which serves as the game's Final Boss. Defeating it is the player's ultimate mission, and is vital to the survival of the Federation.

Tropes relating to the Rebels, including their ships and flagship, include:
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: Their fleet acts as this, forcing the player to keep moving or face being overwhelmed by unlimited numbers of powerful ships.
    • In addition the flagship acts as this in the final level. If it reaches the Federation base you get a game over. Advanced Edition makes it so the Flagship has to be there for three turns, which makes this much less likely to happen. The base starts out further away, though, so they'll probably reach the base at least once, then retreat.
  • Alien Invasion: Inverted; they want to invade alien territories, and they're doing a damn good job of it.
  • Clipped Wing Angel: The third phase of the flagship makes up for its lost weapons with a powerful Zoltan shield (that will occasionally be restored) and Beam Spam Limit Break, but it has less normal weaponry and likely has less crew to play with this far into the battle.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Auto-Assault drones on Normal and Hard can pack as many as five layers of shields when you yourself can carry only four.
  • Dead Man Switch: If you completely kill the crew of the Rebel Flagship, the Flagship's A.I. takes over and repairs its systems.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway: It loses the cloak, hacking and triple ion cannon after the first phase, and the drones and Halberd beam after the second. It can still fight very effectively without them.
  • Fantastic Racism: They are extremely human-supremacist.
  • Final Boss: The Rebel Flagship. Subverted in that it's the only "proper" boss in the game. There are lesser bosses in the form of ships you can unlock, including a downgraded Flagship that was added in Advanced Edition to unlock the Federation Cruiser.
  • Final Boss Preview: An unfinished copy of the Flagship shows up in the Rebel Stronghold sector. It's equivalent to a Hard difficulty phase 3 Flagship, but with no Zoltan Shield, Power Surge, or backup AI. Certain systems may also be less advanced depending on what sector it was encountered in. Finally, it also starts with five crew. Beating it unlocks the Federation cruiser, pays out a hefty reward, and slows down the fleet for two turns.
  • Final Exam Boss: The Rebel Flagship employs basically every form of attack and defense in the game. Advanced Edition gives it a few new tricks, though with all the additional content it isn't able to use everything.
  • Keystone Army: Despite the overwhelming strength of the Rebel fleet, Federation victory will be assured if you destroy the flagship (even if the player dies in the process).
  • Humanity Is Advanced: Mildly. The Rebels possess every form of system and technology known in the game, including a supershield on the flagship which is significantly stronger than anything the Zoltans ever created. Their automation and drone technology is advanced even beyond that of the Engi.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The Rebels like to heavy-handedly "keep the peace" over any and all alien settlements in sectors they've captured.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Auto-Assault drones, particularly in later sectors, tend to have very dangerous weapons and also very high evasion rates.
  • Limit Break: In its second and third phases the flagship periodically has a power surge, which releases a swarm of drones (phase 2), lasers (phase 3), or restores the ship's Zoltan Shield (phase 3).
    • Killing all of the crew members on the Flagship causes an AI to take over, which provides massive bonuses to - and automatically repairs - all damaged systems.
  • Master Race: Humans.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted by the Elite Fighters in Advanced Edition, who will fight you one-on-one like any ship encounter in the game, but will take the support of Anti-Ship Batteries mounted on distant cruisers, which pierce all shields and do heavy damage as well as a guaranteed hull breach if they hit.
  • Nonstandard Game Over / Downer Ending / It's a Wonderful Failure: One achieved by letting the Rebel Flagship reach the Federation Base.
    "The Rebel Fleet is within range of the Federation Base. All is lost, they've won."
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: To everyone else.
  • Secret A.I. Moves: The AI drones and flagship don't need crew to survive, and the drones can have 5 shields whereas 4 is the usual limit.
    • The flagship also has several unique weapons, including a triple missile and triple ion gun (while Advanced Edition added similar weapons for the player, they are less potent). It's also the only non-Zoltan ship to have a Zoltan Shield, and the only ship that can restore it when it goes down.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized
  • Weaksauce Weakness:
    • The flagship's conventional weapons are each in isolated rooms guarded by single humans (who don't respawn between phases), meaning even a weak boarding crew can make short work of defenders and take the weapon offline. Furthermore, if you can manage to kill the main crew despite their level 3 medbay (not easy since there's eight of them, not counting the weapon room crew), you can easily take out their shields and piloting system, making the fight a breeze.
      • Averted in Hard difficulty, where the two primary weapons are now connected to the rest of the ship, meaning the tried and true strategy of killing everyone but the guy on the plasma cannon isn't quite as viable as it once was. Now if you want to leave at least one guy alive, he'll be running around the ship fixing things (certainly better than the AI doing it, though). The Final Boss Preview version also has connected weapon rooms, but without a backup AI, killing the crew means you win.
    • The Flagship AI takes over repairs if the entire crew is defeated. What it won't repair, however, is hull breaches, just like with the automated ships. A breach in a system room blocks the associated system from being repaired. Conclusion: Breach Bombing an AI-controlled Flagship on the last phase ensures that whatever systems are associated with the breached rooms will never, ever get repaired, at least unless you jump away.

Pirates

Pirates have little involvement in the war between the Federation and the Rebels, and instead make a living for themselves by hijacking ships and plundering other ships for spoils.

Pirate crew and their slaves come in most races (you won't find Crystal pirates outside of their own sector), and pilot all kinds of ships; a pirate Rebel Fighter, for example, will often have non-human crew, whereas non-pirated Rebel ships only have human crew.

Tropes relating to pirates and the ships they use include:
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Pirate ships have crude purple paint stripes across the hull exterior. The Kestrel C gets a pirate paint job, and the Federation C gets one in black and red, as opposed to the standard purple and white.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Pirates can consist of any mix of the standard races.
  • Slave Liberation: Certain pirate ships are slaver ships, either offering to sell you a slave or demanding you turn over one of your crew as a slave. If reduced to low hull, they may offer you a slave as a surrender bribe. If you can kill the crew without destroying the ship, you can usually find a slave after the battle is over, though not always. You even get your pick of species if you're lucky. Finally, if you have an upgraded teleporter, you can try to beam a slave off their ship before the battle even starts (which will make them attack you), potentially netting you two new crew from one battle if you follow it up by killing the crew or forcing a surrender.
  • Space Pirate: Obviously.

     Common Races 

Human

Humans are common and uninteresting.

Humans have average ability in all areas, but possess no special abilities or events, their only benefit being they learn skills slightly faster. Humans were the only race with multiple sprites (male and female) before the Advanced Edition, and can found in both The Federation and as the only member species of the human-supremacist Rebels. For tropes relating to human-crewed ships, see the pages of those factions.

Humans feature the following tropes:
  • Boring, but Practical: As of the Advanced Update, the only bonus of using a human is a 10% reduction in the amount of points necessary to level up a skill.
  • Humans Are Average: As the description notes, humans are competent at everything but have no special attributes, nor any special events.
    • Puny Earthlings: Slugs have the same average stats but also have sensor-powers and do have special events.
    • The Kestrel fits too, being the default ship with no special attributes, and only human crew.
    • Humans Are Special: Advanced Edition gives humans a 10% increase in skill acquisition, fitting the usual "adaptability" archetype.
  • Humans Are Diplomats: Averted. Other species have multiple events where they convince others or use their powers to defuse a situation, but until Advanced Edition, humans had none. Now they have one. Only one. You can use a human to calm down a confused Mantis who believes he is human.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: They're behind the rebellion you are fighting, which wants to put all other species under its jackboots.
  • Master of None: Humans have no special abilities in FTL vanilla, and cannot trigger blue events by themselves. Advanced Edition attempts to correct this with the boost in skill mastery and a single blue event.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: A human can be represented by a male or female sprite in three different tones, while all the others sans Engi have only Palette Swaps. The only difference between male and female humans is the available default names to each gender - i.e. "Jon Caldwell" is always represented by a male sprite, and "Lana" is always represented by a female sprite.

Engi

It's unclear if the 'Engi' are partly organic or entirely mechanical, but it's well known that they make exceptional engineers.

The Engi are a a vaguely mechanical, semi-humanoid species whose bodies are composed of swarms of nanobots that collectively use a sort of aerobic metabolism. In gameplay, Engis have unparalleled repairing ability, fixing systems twice as quickly as a human could, but are awful combatants, doing half the damage that a human would (or a third of what a Mantis could do).

Engis are masters of drone design and utilization, with the Engi Cruisers (The Torus note , The Vortexnote , and Tetragonnote ) all starting with Drone Control systems and at least one drone schematic, and all of them have an extra drone slot at the cost of having one less weapon slot. Non-player Engi Scouts and Engi Bombers, sometimes encountered as enemies, also invariably field several drones. In addition, the Engi also have a penchant for ion weapons, which can disable shields to pave the way for drone, laser and beam attacks. And finally, in Advanced Edition, they've taken up hacking. Engi ships are aesthetically utilitarian and boxy, but are also very compact and feature concise ring-shaped layouts.

The Engi within the Federation military exist in an organization known as the Engi Brigade, headed by General Turzil. The Stealth Cruisers were also designed and built by the Engi under contract from the Federation. Engi are the second most common Federation member species, following the humans. Outside of the Federation, many Engi live in nomadic bands, and their 'homeworlds' are adoptive, for no one knows where they actually came from. Being a fairly docile, almost timid people, they are sometimes preyed on and enslaved by the marauding Mantis, who use them to repair their ships, a task which the Mantis themselves are not very competent at.

Engis and their ships feature the following tropes:

  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Engi take a humanoid form, which many races are more comfortable with. It's mentioned that the Engi only form a bipedal shape "out of habit", instead of necessity.
  • Ambiguous Robots: As the description notes, they show signs of being mechanical, but they'll die if there's no oxygen.
  • Attack Drone: Engi ships begin with a 3-slot drone system and drones are the Engi A's only source of damage (at first).
  • Boring, but Practical: Their ships are described as looking like boxy pieces of junk, yet highly efficient in suiting their needs.
  • The Engineer: Engi know technology very well and are natural mechanics. In the game, they repair and put out fires faster than any other race and often employ drones and hacking systems in combat.
  • The Medic: Engi make terrible fighters but have doubled repair speed. Plus, they're immune to human diseases, making them perfect for curing infected space stations. An Engi augment also extends a weakened version of the Medbay's healing effect to your entire ship.
  • Nanomachines: Engi A starts with a special "nano-bot" augment that constantly heals every crew member, even if they're not in the Medbay. Of course, it doesn't heal as fast as the Medbay, but it's very convenient for constantly-moving repair crews or the slow-moving Rockmen. It can even slow down suffocation damage (though not for very long).
  • Nice Guys: Generally the least hostile of the races; most of your communications with them will be for distress calls rather than battles. You'll generally make it through Engi sectors with less damage than you would take in other sectors. They don't hold grudges against you if you are unable to or refuse to donate supplies to them when asked, though you should anyway if it's feasible so you can get rewards.
  • Organic Technology: Some random events show Engi building structures using this trope. It's implied that the Engi themselves are this, since they are at least partially robotic, but still die if there is no oxygen.
  • Robo Speak / Strange Syntax Speaker: They do not use "to be" verbs (i.e. "is", "were", etc.) or pronouns, they often speak in computer-y terms like "syntax error", and their sentences are short and to-the-point.
    "Satisfactory. Delivery of tech will assist in Federation cause. Gratitude alone insufficient. Commencing ship repair and compensation."
    "Beneficial. Subject goal: long, long journey. Remains compatible with transfer of goods from Engi."
  • Robot Master: Engi ships favour drones. The Engi B in particular only has one crew member and relies on drones to assist with repairs and fighting boarders. You usually won't encounter hostile Engi ships, but when you do they tend to pack at least two Defense Drones, making missiles and Boarding Drones unwise choices for combat.
  • Starfish Robots: Engi are made of nanomachines, so they aren't always vaguely human-shaped but keep that form around other species.
  • Support Party Member: Engi crew are great at repairing damage, but suck at fighting.
  • Take a Third Option: Engi frequently allow you to do this in random event scenarios, with their technical prowess and part-machine nature often allowing them to devise solutions to problems, without the drawbacks that the direct approach option would usually have in such events.
  • What a Piece of Junk: She may not look like much, but she'll fool ya. The Engi A starts with the Ion Burst II, a rapid-firing ion weapon capable of disabling any amount of shields on its own, and a drone to deal damage. This makes it capable of defeating the flagship using only default weaponry.
    "You see a number of Engi space stations and fleets nearby. Despite looking like piles of junk loosely tied together, they are actually the model of efficiency. They just lack a certain aesthetic emphasis in their constructions."
    • Due to the way defense drones intercept attacks, Engi ships also have the benefit of being more reliable with them than other, wider ships, since all the rooms are concentrated in an equally spaced box.

Mantis

The Mantis' disregard for individual lives lead to their evolution as a vicious, warrior race.

The Mantis are an alien species of, well, human-sized praying mantises. Mantis do an 50% extra damage and move 20% faster relative to a human, making them excellent in melee combat and for boarding. However, their repair rate is only half that of a human, making them less effective at holding ships together.

Mantises are an aggressive and violent warrior race. They follow a Might Makes Right and Defeat Means Friendship mentality. While some are indeed members of the Federation, most of them are independent pirate crews, or parts of warbands, seeking profit and glory in combat. Their ships focus on boarding tactics and taking enemy ships intact by crew elimination for greater rewards, a set up that takes advantage of the Mantis' melee combat prowess. The vast majority of enemy Mantis ships will have teleporters and will try to send boarding parties, and all three of the playable Mantis Cruisers (The Gila Monster note , The Basilisknote , and The Theseusnote ) expect you to act similarly. The Basilisk and The Theseus start with no anti-ship weaponry at all, but feature double-size teleporters capable of sending four crew members per wave into enemy ships to wreak havoc. Aesthetically, Mantis ships are symmetric, with hulls painted blood-red and layouts often featuring many large, square rooms.

The Mantis and their ships feature the following tropes:
  • Blood Knight
  • Boarding Party: The Mantis B mandates this approach, possessing a crew teleporter and boarding drone but no weapons. A fully leveled-up boarding team of four Mantis will rapidly turn the enemy ship into a space coffin.
  • Insectoid Aliens: Clue's in the name.
  • Lightning Bruiser: They are faster and deal more damage than any other race, and their Mantis Pheromones augment makes them even faster. Only a Rockman can take a Mantis one-on-one thanks to their higher HP, and the outcome of that battle will be really close (who wins usually depends on crew training and who hits first). Only drones are superior thanks to having Mantis-like damage combined with Rockman-like durability, and a Lanius in a depressurized room will win thanks to the quick health drain caused by suffocation.
  • No Cure for Evil: While not evil per se, their increased combat potential comes at the cost of halved repair speed.
  • Stone Wall: The Mantis B ship starts with no weapons, but begins with two layers of shields and a defense drone, making it near-immune to early game attackers. It also comes with a teleporter, so your crew can kill the enemy crew while your ship remains safe.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Where other races have special options that resolve conflicts and solve problems, Mantises have only one. It involves violence.
    Once on board, it becomes clear that nothing is wrong with their O2 system. Almost expecting this, your Mantis calmly responds to the trap. Once a couple of the Slugs have been spread across the walls of their ship, the rest surrender.
  • Zerg Rush: Their high speed lets them do this on the enemy ship, especially as crew teleporters ignore enemy shields. Their four-person teleport facilitates this as well.

Rockmen

The 'Rockmen' of Vrachos IV are rarely seen and are known for their fortitude.

The Rockmen are a race of large, tough humanoid beings akin to rock golems. Vrachos IV and the Rock Homeworld sector is not their actual place of origin; their ancestors hailed originally from a distant sector of space which, at some point long ago, got cut off from the rest of the known galaxy.

Rockmen move at half the speed of a human but have 50% extra health, making them tough to kill. Furthermore, they are immune to fire thanks to their rocky composition. In-game, Rock controlled sectors tend to be heavy in asteroid fields and red giant stars.

Rock ships, both playable and enemy, have a special rock plating augment that has a 15% chance of negating incoming hull damage, and a preference towards missile weapons. Rock Cruiser type A (The Bulwark) and type C (Tektite) both field missile launchers at the start of the game, with the former relying solely on missiles to deal damage until a teleporter or energy weapons can be acquired. The Rock Cruiser type B, the Shivan, meanwhile, is built around the Rocks' immunity to fire. With no airlocks, it relies on them to put fires out, but, conversely, possesses a fire bomb launcher which can be combined with Rock boarding parties to devastating effect. Aesthetically, most Rock ships feature bulky, segmented sandstone-brown armor, with black hulls beneath.

The Rock people are noted as being stolid, conservative and religious. Rocks are one of the rarer Federation species, with most of them living in self-governed sectors or under the rule of their homeworld. Rocks are fairly aggressive and some take up piracy, but they're not as violent as the Mantis. They have a strong sense of pride, and do not like asking for help, occasionally going to the extent of Honor Before Reason.

Rockmen and their ships feature the following tropes:
  • Arranged Marriage: On occasion you'll find one in the Rock Homeworlds, and are asked to escort the fiancÚ of a major Rock figure, the Grand Basilisk of Numa V.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: They're immune to fire damage and throw rocks at enemies as their ranged attack.
  • Fantastic Racism: Some ships will state they consider you "repugnant".
  • Hold the Line: Unlocking the Rock Cruiser requires fighting a very specific quest enemy ship and letting it jump away without destroying it. While at a sun beacon.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: Rocks have powerful immune systems, enabling them to subdue riots on a plague-afflicted station without fear of infection. Their digestive systems are also strong enough that in a random event where a Slug captain offers a drink, the text says your Rockman crew senses there's a heavy anesthetic in the beverage when he feels "slightly drowsy".
  • Kill It with Fire: The Rock B cruiser starts with Fire Bombs. Combined with the Rockmen's immunity to fire, all you need is a teleporter to do some serious damage to the enemy crew.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The Bulwark, the Type-A Rock Cruiser, starts with two missile weapons and a large stock of missiles. One achievement requires destroying a ship equipped with Defense Drones using missiles.
  • Mighty Glacier: The have 150% HP and are immune to fire, but are slow to move around ships. That extra 50%, however, means that only a Mantis can beat a Rock in a straight fight. Even then, a more skilled Rockman, or a Rockman in a burning room, will still win that fight.
  • Percussive Maintenance: They stomp on fires and whack hull breaches and damaged systems until they are fixed. Surprisingly, this seems to work.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guys
  • Rock Beats Laser: Most races uses lasers in melee combat. The exceptions (Rock, Mantis and Crystal) are the only ones likely to beat a Rock in combat.
    • Scissors Cuts Rock: However, Mantis claws will beat them more often than not, especially if they're on your side and have trained at least one level in combat.
  • Rock Monster: As their name implies.
  • Worthy Opponent: You must earn their respect by defeating their champion before they'll lend you their aid and unlock their ship.

Zoltan

The 'Zoltan' are close allies of the 'Engi'. Their innate energy is strong enough to power ship systems.

The Zoltan are a race of green glowing humanoids who have aspects of being Energy Beings. Gameplay-wise, they possess the special ability of providing one unit of power to the ship system whose room they occupy, at the drawback of having 30% lower HP than a human, and otherwise act just like humans. While their fragility makes them weak in direct hand-to-hand combat, the Advanced Edition gave them the special feature of exploding upon death to damage all enemies in a room. When combined with a clone bay, Zoltans can thus become moderately effective, if suicidal, combatants.

Zoltans are a highly technologically advanced species and their ships, both playable and NPC, possess a special augment called the Zoltan Shield, or supershield. This augment forms a non-regenerating green energy barrier every time the ship jumps that encases the ship, consumes no power, and blocks everything until its hitpoints get worn away. By everything, this means it blocks drones, hacking, mind control, teleporters, bombs, and missiles, all of which pass through normal shields. The supershields aren't very tough though, and take double damage from ion weapons, but the advantage they provide is notable nonetheless. The playable Zoltan ships (The Adjudicator note , Noethernote , and Cerenkovnote ) are built around using powerful weaponry and their supershield to fight quick, decisive ship-to-ship battles, with main shields not needing to be powered until the supershield falls. Zoltans prefer beam weaponry, frequently using beams together with lasers, ions, missiles and drones. Because of their supershield, Zoltan enemies can be punishing to players who are using unarmed or weakly-armed boarding ships, although Advanced Edition introduced an augment that allows key boarding strategy components - crew teleporters, bombs, and mind control - to bypass the barrier. Aesthetically, Zoltan ships are rounded and asymmetrical, with green hulls and round orange external lights/portholes.

Zoltans are seen both as members of the Federation and as organized self-governing peoples, likely ruled from their homeworld sector. Zoltans try to be fair and just, and like to enforce the laws of their space strictly, but can at times devolve into Obstructive Bureaucrat or Lawful Stupid behavior, which is the cause of most hostile encounters with them. They try to be pacifistic and diplomatic in ideals, but their heavily armed and shielded warships and frequent combat exercises imply that they're ready to back their diplomacy up with firepower when needed. They're also a highly scientific civilization, often encountered conducting experiments. Nonetheless, after the fall of the Federation, incursions by Rebels and Mantis into their space have become a fairly common occurrence.

Zoltan and their ships feature the following tropes:
  • Action Bomb/Taking You with Me: Zoltan become this in Advanced Edition, with the new ability to explode on death, damaging adjacent enemy crew for 15 damage. Fighting more than two will almost certainly kill your boarders, and two is still pushing it. Still laughing at their 70 HP capacity? Add in a Clone Bay to throw your own exploding Zoltan at the enemy!
  • Beehive Barrier: The Zoltan Shield.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Random-event boarding parties (not the kind that teleport from an enemy ship you're fighting) will still teleport onto a player-controlled Zoltan ship, even though Zoltan Shields are explicitly stated to block teleportation.
    • Averted with Advanced Edition. You can buy the augment that these boarders have been using. Revenge has never been sweeter. The event itself also specifies that the boarders are using said augment.
  • Energy Being: So much so they power the system they stand in.
  • Glass Cannon: To an extent, the Zoltan type B ship, Noether, is this. It has no operational shields at the start, relying purely on its supershield and its fantastic firepower to prevent damage in the early game. Unfortunately, unlike the Stealth Cruisers, it has no long-range scanners, so be prepared to take a hit or a few if you get unlucky and fly into an asteroid field, where the supershield will do you little good.
  • Limit Break: The theme of the Zoltan type C ship, Cerenkov. With its upgraded backup battery, it goes from being woefully underpowered to above-average, and with its ion weapon and beam drone, can deal severe damage per second, but only for 30 seconds until the battery runs out. Usually, this is all you need.
  • Martial Pacifist
  • No Body Left Behind:
    • Instead of keeling over like humans, Slugs or Mantises or crumbling like Rocks or Engi, they just disappear.
    • In Advanced Edition, they explode instead, damaging all enemy crew in the room for 15 damage.
  • No Sell: Two Zoltan put into the shield room will create an ion-immune layer of shielding, though the system will still be unable to be manned as long as the ion effect is in place. Put four into the room and you get two layers of ion-proof shields.
    • Irony: Zoltan Shields take double damage from ion weapons.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat
  • Proud Scholar Race Guy
  • Secret Test of Character: You'll be presented with one in the Zoltan homeworlds. Passing will unlock the Zoltan cruiser, and provide other rewards.
  • Shout-Out: While the name of their type A ship, The Adjudicator, refers to their lawful nature, the type B and type C are called Noether and Cerenkov respectively, both references to real-world 20th century physicists.
  • Space Madness: Some events suggest that Zoltans may be susceptible to this, and that they may be doing research on the issue.
  • Squishy Wizard: They have lower max HP than any other race.
  • Support Party Member: Zoltan crew can give power to ship systems, but their low health means that they're not good for fighting.
  • Taking You with Me: In Advanced Edition, Zoltan crew members will explode upon death, damaging and possibly killing the enemies they were fighting.
  • Teleport Interdiction: Zoltan Shields prevent bombs and boarding parties from teleporting past. Unless, of course, they have a special augment.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Zoltan border patrols will sometimes intercept you inside asteroid fields. These are perhaps the worst place for Zoltan vessels to fight, since the asteroids rapidly wear away their supershields and negate the advantage which makes them so annoying to take on otherwise.

Slug

These telepathic Slugs were shunned in the Galactic Federation for their constant thievery and manipulation of other sentient beings.

The Slugs are an alien race of human-sized... slugs. They're telepathic, and are in lore able to sense the thoughts and intentions of other sentient beings. In terms of gameplay, in the vanilla game Slugs are able to see into adjacent rooms and are able to sense lifeforms on your ships and enemy ships as red dots, and in Advanced Edition their telepathic sensor power was improved so they can now identify the species of the lifeforms and sense their actions (movement, fighting, repairing, etc.). Having a Slug crewman can often make upgrading sensors unnecessary, and make nebula sectors easier by compensating for the fact that sensors don't work in nebulae. Additionally, thanks to their telepathy, Slugs are uniquely immune to mind control.

Of course, the place where the vast majority of Slugs reside is within nebulae. The Slugs, despite being telepathic, are not very empathic, and will use their abilities to manipulate, deceive and steal from other beings whenever possible, resulting in them being shunned within the Federation. They are also hedonistic, and their goals are essentially to acquire wealth (typically by deceit) and spend it on pleasureful activities. While Slugs are unexceptional fighters (being equivalent to humans in hand-to-hand combat), they are pragmatists. They will try to take ships with intact hulls to maximize profit - eliminating the crew not by boarding and fighting, but by using indirect methods such as hacking, mind control and fire weapons. This trait can be seen in their playable ships, with the type A "Man of War" featuring an Anti-Bio Beam to snipe enemy crew members and the type C "Ariolimax" featuring both a hacking module and mind control. The type B "Stormwalker" is a singular exception, as it passes up manipulation for conventional boarding.

Most Slug ships feature smooth, curved hulls painted a metallic light purple, and possess a repair gel augment to automatically seal hull breaches. Slugs typically use all forms of weaponry, and sometimes use cloaking.

Slugs are rare among the Federation but still seen in the starting crews of a few ships, such as the Federation Cruiser type B and Stealth Cruiser type C. They're also among the rarest races to be encountered in general outside of their own nebulae. Having one can be highly beneficial however, since their telepathy can come in handy in a large number of random events.

Slugs and their ships feature the following tropes:
  • Boarding Party: The Slug B cruiser is initially designed for this role, though in a very odd way; it has an Artemis missile launcher, a Healing Burst, a crew teleporter and no medbay or clone bay. You basically spend ammunition to heal your crew.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: You'll receive lots of generous offers in Slug sectors, and it's even odds whether they're genuine or just looking for the chance to rip you off, smuggle enemies aboard, or sabotage your ship.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Quite a few random encounters with hostile Slugs have them sabotage one of your ship's systems for the whole fight. Talk about dirty indeed.
  • Con Man
  • Irony: Despite being ostensibly untrustworthy as a species, their sensor abilities, blue event options and mind control immunity make Slugs exceptionally valuable and reliable as crew members.
  • Jack of All Stats: They fight and repair just as well as a human, but also have sensor powers and immunity to mind control.
  • Mundane Utility: As well as sensing enemies and taking part in psychic duels with other Slugs, their psychic powers also help them talk to animals and counsel insane people.
  • Psychic Powers: They can see into nearby rooms even when sensors are offline, see all lifeforms regardless of sensor status (Advanced Edition upgraded this to distinguishing species and viewing actions, as well), and their telepathy comes in handy in several blue events.
  • Psychic Block Defense: As one might expect, Slugs are immune to Mind Control in Advanced Edition.
  • Space Clouds: They reside in sector-wide nebulas that obscure your own sensors, but not their own sensor powers.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Many Slug-related events have NPC Slugs that speak like this.
  • Telepathic Spacemen
  • Too Dumb to Live: The NPC Slug Fighter possesses a somewhat critical flaw in that their engine and oxygen systems are each completely sealed off from the rest of the ship. Take them out, and they're doomed to suffocation and unavoidable attacks.

Lanius

These anaerobic beings seem friendly enough.

A new race added in FTL: Advanced Edition, the Lanius are a species of metallic scavengers with a bizarre anaerobic metabolism that allows them to survive in the vacuum of space, drain oxygen from their environment, and manipulate metal. Gameplay-wise, they move slowly, at 80% the speed of a human, slowly drain oxygen from their surroundings, and uniquely, take no damage from being in a vacuum.

The Lanius spend decades in dormancy, hiding away undetected from the other races, and awaken in the aftermath of galactic war or the end of a civilization to feed upon the left-overs as scavengers. It is surmised that they are the reason why there is so little evidence of ancient civilizations in verse, for the Lanius have absorbed it all. Now, in the aftermath of the Federation-Rebel war, they are awakening once again. Lanius appear in 'Abandoned Sectors', areas of Federation space that were hit the hardest from the war and are now abandoned, from where they scavenge metal. While often misunderstood, they have established diplomatic relations with the Federation, and unlocking 4 ships apart from the original Kestrel will convince the Lanius to join the Federation cause and unlock their cruiser. The playable Lanius Cruisers, the type A "Kruos" and type B, "The Shrike", are the only Lanius ships which even possess a life support system in order to accommodate non-Lanius crew; their NPC ships are completely evacuated and crewed entirely by Lanius, making boarding operations against them rather difficult.

Lanius ships are a metallic silver with blue external lights, and are shaped like symmetric switchblades. They often pack a lot of new Advanced Edition features, such as clone bays, hacking modules, mind control, and flak weaponry. Additionally, their lack of oxygen dependence means that their boarding parties cannot be thwarted by venting atmosphere, and must be fought hand-to-hand. This can make the Abandoned Sectors rather tricky, but on the flip-side, they are practically the only places to get Lanius crew that you didn't start with.

Lanius and their ships feature the following tropes:
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The only race that doesn't require oxygen to survive. In fact, they actually drain all oxygen from rooms they inhabit.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: An alien race that actively drains oxygen is pretty bizarre.
  • Boring, but Practical: The race benefits are entirely passive, making it easier to extinguish fires and damage enemies at the cost of speed.
    • Crippling Overspecialization: Provided you have enough Lanius (or if every non-Lanius is dead), you can become fireproof and nigh-unboardable by simply opening all the ship doors or shutting off the O2 system. The catch is that if you try to do this and have any non Lanius members, they might end up just as restricted by the lack of oxygen as your enemy. Finding enough Lanius is also quite difficult, as you can only find them in Abandoned Sectors and that's entirely random.
  • Grey Goo: They sustain themselves by absorbing minerals left in the wake of interstellar combat. Some have theorized that the reason there's little evidence of ancient civilizations is the Lanius absorbing them without a trace.
  • Kung-Fu Proof Mook/No Sell: Boarding is the preferred method to deal with enemy ships, since it gives increased rewards. Boarding a Lanius ship is generally a bad idea, unless you sport Lanius boarders yourselves or don't mind pitching waves of clones at them. Furthermore, while fire does technically damage them, it will get put out almost instantly since there's no oxygen.
  • Obliviously Evil/Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Some of the Lanius don't seem to realize that eating people's ships is a rather dangerous thing for them to do. Others appear to have a rule against devouring the property of sentient beings, not that that stops people from seeing them as terrifying monsters.
  • Walking Wasteland: They drain oxygen from their surroundings at about the same rate as a hull breach.
    • Cursed with Awesome: They can afford to completely depressurize their ship, and as such, become almost completely immune to fire.

    Secret Race (SPOILERS) 

The Crystal

Ancient ancestors of the rockmen.

Crystal beings are the ancient ancestors of the Rockmen, hailing from a distant sector of space beyond the areas known to the Federation. They traveled to the region now known as the Rock Homeworlds long ago via a long-range portal, but the portal closed at some point for unknown reasons, and the two populations were left isolated to evolve on their own.

Crystals are the secret race and very difficult to obtain, accessible only as part of a tricky sidequest. They possess high HP (125% of the Human default), take half damage from oxygen deprivation, move slowly (80% of default), and possess a unique "Lockdown" ability that lets them seal off the room they are in with a crystalline barrier, equivalent in strength to high-level blast doors.

Unless you have unlocked the Crystal ships already, or unlocked the Rock Cruiser type C in Advanced Edition, the only way to acquire a Crystal crew member is to acquire a 'damaged stasis pod' from a random event involving searching an asteroid field, then having the Crystal contained within the pod revived by Zoltan scientists. Having a Crystal crew member is necessary in order to reactivate the portal in Rock Homeworlds to take you to the Hidden Crystal Sector.

The Crystal people are peaceful and inquisitive, but once exposed to the outside world again after their long isolation, they have a hard time, as the massive, nigh-unstoppable Rebel Fleet following the player arrives in their sector. Thus, they may not be entirely friendly, as they blame the player for leading the Rebels to their space, but the player's Crystal crewman, in thanks for taking him home, will grant the Federation the services of the massive, powerful Crystal Cruisers, the type A "Bravais" and type B "Carnelian". As of Advanced Edition, the Crystals have established diplomatic relations with the Federation, and their off-shoots, the Rockmen, and the type C Rock Cruiser, "Tektite", is the resultant hybridization of Crystal and Rock technology.

Crystal vessels feature black mechanical cores covered in blue asymmetric crystalline armor. NPC Crystal ships are, naturally, seen only in the Crystal sector. Both these, and the playable Crystal Cruisers, have two unique features - Crystal weapons, and Crystal Vengeance. Crystal weaponry is very similar to the lasers used by other species in performance, but with the added benefit that they ignore the target's lowest layer of shielding, which means that a target with one shield bubble is as good as having no shields at all. The drawback, however, is that Crystal weaponry is slower than comparable laser weaponry, and the shards they fire can be shot down by standard defense drones. Crystal Vengeance is a ship augment that randomly fires a missile-like shield-piercing crystal shard in revenge when the ship takes damage, which doesn't do much damage, but can be annoying for a player who's not expecting it while fighting the Crystals.

Crystals and their ships feature the following tropes:
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Crystal weapons ignore one level of shielding.
  • Boarding Party: The Type B cruiser is designed around boarding parties; it starts with a four-crew teleporter and a cloak for evading enemy fire, at the expense of weapons.
  • Crystal Prison: Their lockdown ability creates one, barring access to the room they are in. This can be used to keep enemies out or to trap enemies in with you.
  • Gemstone Assault: They throw crystal shards as a "ranged" attack against non-adjacent opponents. Their Crystal weapons also fire crystal shards.
  • Guide Dang It: The sidequest to obtain a Crystal crewman is so obscure you could play the game for days without realising they even existed.
  • Infinity Plus One Race and Ship: The Crystals are excellent boarders, due to taking less suffocation damage and their Crystal Prison ability (which locks down a room, barring exit or entry until it wears off). The Crystal Ship starts with weapons that can pierce a single shield, which is all the shielding most enemy ships have in the first few sectors.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Reaching the Crystal sector requires no less than three randomly-generated elements.
  • Mighty Glacier: While they have extra health, suffocation resistance and the ability to lock down a room, they're also slower than most races (although faster than Rockmen)
  • Palette Swap: Crystals resemble and use the same animations as the Rockmen, though mechanically they are very distinct.
  • Precursors: To the Rockmen.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: Crystals and their ships are very powerful, in return for being hellishly difficult to obtain.
  • Secret Character
  • Walking Spoiler: Their existence is intended to be a secret.
  • You Will Not Evade Me: This is one use of their Lockdown ability—to prevent an enemy from running away to their Medbay.
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