Here’s an idea for a new race that could be balanced and relatively easy to build. I am not intending to do the work myself, simply because I am not motivated enough to do the graphics work, but this is a start of a design document that anyone else could run with if they desired. Graphically it would not take much work as they are basically just rocks.
The Anarchists are not so much a race as they are anarchists that have escaped from all sorts of races and taken refuge, hiding in asteroid belts. They have no government structure at all. All dealings between them is pure anarcho-capitalist, free market. This does mean that they also have no organized standing military. They are not however a bunch to be trifled with. Their society has made for a highly efficient production system and at least when trading amongst themselves, their products are dirt cheap due to their concentration of capital on production. Labor costs for them tend to be quite high, and so they are also big on automation. This is especially so when it comes to security, many of their warships are entirely unmanned. They do have warships to deter the other races from trying to steal what they’ve got, but they are designed in such a way as to minimize costs and maximize results.
Anarchist warships are invariably hollowed out bits of asteroid. They look like asteroids. In fact telling them apart from asteroids is very difficult until they start actively accelerating or firing weapons. Building their warships out of asteroids has a number of advantages, and a few disadvantages. Asteroids are a dime a dozen when you live in an asteroid belt so the costs of even their largest hulls are virtually nill, just the cost of hollowing out whatever needs to be hollow. Armor too, while being nowhere near as strong on a ton by ton basis as other race’s armor, is absolutely free, it is simply asteroid rock that has ‘not’ been hollowed out. Many of the standard components for warships are produced quite cheaply, making it very easy for the Anarchists to field extremely large fleets for their money.
The downside for Anarchist warships is that they are absurdly heavy and move very slowly. The sheer physical size of the ships (rocks) makes it very difficult to shield them, and given that much of the utility of their approach is bolstered by the enemy not knowing which rock out there is a warship or just a rock, makes shielding their ships counter productive. So while in theory their ships ‘could’ be shielded, most builders don’t bother. Besides, who needs shields when you’ve got all that rock. And shields are expensive for something designed to get shot at.
The nuts and bolts mechanics:
Anarchists do not have fighters (not exactly), unless captured from other races. They have small rocks (frigates), large rocks, really big rocks, insanely big rocks, and small moon sized rocks. All of these rocks typically have lots of rock in them (armor). They do not tend to have lots of weapons. Why bother with lots of weapons when the cost of weapons is more than half the cost of the rest of your ship? It makes more sense to spread that cost among a few ultra cheap rocks. This means relatively few weapons slots, and way too many non-weapon slots, with the expectation that most of them would be filled with heavy and virtually free armor.
Anarchist hulls would ‘not’ have an armor bonus, but neither would there be any stacking penalty to their armor, which on a slot by slot basis is crap, but with the amount they put on can turn any decent sized rock into a tank. However their ships can take an extraordinary amount of punishment resulting in double the standard hit points. Many of the standard internal components of ships are produced very inexpensively, but that would be reflected by special modules (not fancy modules, just cheap standard ones), not an overall cost reduction, as weapons are expensive (not expensive compared to other races, just expensive as judged by anarchists). The idea is to encourage large numbers of very slow, highly armored ships each with just a few weapons (or even one or none). So a standard ‘cruiser’ hull might cost merely 10, it would have an integrity boost of 100% and a shield ‘boost’ of -80%. (Noting again that their rock armor would cost nothing.)
Weapons that would be unique to the Anarchists would be a couple of weapons loosely based on the Order radiation gun, weapons that do sustained damage over time. The idea here is that while their fire may be dispersed, while their enemy is spending time blowing up lots and lots of rock, anarchist weapons are still doing their damage. Given that they cannot move very well, they would have long range versions of these weapons as well as short ranged ones.
This last I am not sure about, but it would be something I would try if I knew how to build it mod wise: They would also have ‘very’ long ranged seeking weapons that would function much like really brain dead fighters, screaming in at high fighter speed and simply blowing up. They would be engaged by fighter defenses, not drone defenses. (This would serve to, among other things, keep opponents honest and guessing as to whether they would need fighter defenses.)