The ancients are a race, which are currently extinct, that have progressed far and had technology that baffles even (in game) today's scientists.
The player could discover a world where there are ruins of the ancients and learn of them. Learning them would reveal something about the ancients empire and that there are probably more places where information is to be found. Discovering the first ruin (colonizing or placing an outpost and setting planet to research) reveals a technology to discover and traverse hidden starlanes. Researching this tech would reveal all hidden starlanes in sensor distance.
These starlanes lead to more (previously unconnected) systems and allow for further investigation. Ruins in these systems will be of the Ancients and would reveal new technologies in the tech tree. There's also a story about their demise. Warning about the dangers of using exobots (of course, not directly). The end of the story would the players discover exobots, giving them the choice of using them.
Species suggestions, story ideas and contributions.
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