Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wargaming the Battles of Anerin and Aequus

With Anise in hand, Admiral Kemper formed two Imperial task forces from heavy elements of the 4th Fleet. While she remained in Anise with a large reserve force awaiting reinforcements from Ultima subsector, one task force jumped into the Anerin (2706) system while the second jumped into the Hyalin (2602), then known as Aequus, system. Both were exactly the sort of targets her plan called for: high population mainworlds with good starports.

Battle of Anerin

The system’s mainworld is a poor hellworld orbiting the K7 V primary in the habitable zone. A major secondary world, Nurmaukiad, is a hot, tide-locked world occupying the next innermost orbit. In 1000 Anerin (A541985-E) was the subsector administrative center, a TL 14 industrial powerhouse with a major shipyard. Nurmaukiad (G41186B-8), in contrast, had a majority Vilani population and was under military rule.

Order of Battle

Anerin maintained system squadrons of battlecruisers as well as multiple wings of system defense boats. The system was also defended by the Confederation 38th FleetRon, which had narrowly escaped the Battle of Idu.

Captain Valerie Martel commanded the Confederation 38th FleetRon along with the Anerin 1st and 2nd FleetRons, while Anerin Fleet Commodore Wynona Provenza directed the System Defense Boat wings.

Solomani Forces
Unit TL Jump Rating
Anerin SDB Wing 1 14 0 0-2-4
Anerin SDB Wing 2 14 0 0-2-4
38th FleetRon 14 4 3-0-4
Anerin 1st FleetRon 14 4 4-0-5
Anerin 2nd FleetRon 14 4 4-0-5

Command of the Imperial task force was given to Commodore Amir Eerkens.

Imperial Forces
Unit TL Jump Rating
226th CruRon 14 4 3-2-3
337th BatRon 14 4 6-3-6
513th BatRon 14 4 4-0-6
894th BatRon 13 3 4-1-4
115th TankRon 14 3 0-0-4

Resolution

  • Commodore Eerkens split off the Imperial 226th and 337th BatRons, commanded by Captain Siv Idowu, to face the Anerin SDB wings, while the remaining Imperial squadrons were set against the Confederation FleetRons
  • Round One
    • Attack
      • Captain Idowu’s squadrons roll a 6
      • Solomani SDB wings roll a 1
      • Commodre Eerken’s squadrons roll a 6
      • Solomani squadrons roll a 6
    • Damage
      • Eliminates Anerin SDB wing 2
      • No damage
      • Eliminates Confederation 38th FleetRon
      • Eliminates Imperial 513th BatRon
  • Round Two
    • Attack
      • Captain Idowu’s squadrons roll a 2
      • Solomani SDB wings roll a 1
      • Commodre Eerken’s squadrons roll a 2
      • Solomani squadrons roll a 3
    • Damage
      • No damage
      • No damage
      • No damage
      • No damage
  • Round Three
    • Attack
      • Captain Idowu’s squadrons roll a 4
      • Remaining Solomani SDB wing rolls a 2
      • Commodre Eerken’s squadrons roll a 3
      • Solomani squadrons roll a 2
    • Damage
      • Eliminates Anerin SDB wing 1
      • No damage
      • No damage
      • No damage
  • Round Four
    • With all SDB wings eliminated, the Imperials consolidate their forces against the remaining Confederation squadrons
    • Attack
      • Imperial squadrons roll a 4
      • Solomani squadrons roll a 2

    • Damage
      • Eliminates Anerin 1st FleetRon
      • No damage

  • Round Five
    • Attack
      • Imperial squadrons roll a 3
      • Anerin 2nd FleetRon rolls a 5
    • Damage
      • Eliminates Anerin 2nd FleetRon
      • Eliminates Imperial 226th CruRon

With the system defenses eliminated, Commodore Eerken moved directly to destroy the Anerin orbital highport and the associated shipyards. Although the action was successful, the loss of the 226th CruRon and its Atlantic-class heavy cruisers was a serious blow; the Atlantics had been intended to support the bombardment of the mainworld.

Battle of Aequus

The Aequus system (Magyar 2602), located in Anise subsector on a major trade route, consists of a G2 V primary and its M6 V far companion. The system was originally settled by Vilani and later absorbed into the Rule of Man. Aequus orbits the G2 V primary in the habitable zone while a second major world, Hyalin, is a frozen planet orbiting the M6 V far companion.

In 1000 Aequus (B556999-B) was a prosperous mainworld with a majority Solomani population while Hyalin (H505984-9) was a high-population, heavily industrialized world with a majority Vilani population living in cramped underground cities. The planet contains abundant mineral resources and Hyalin’s factories produced goods for use on the high population worlds throughout Clown and Anise subsectors.

Order of Battle

Aequus maintained system squadrons of patrol cruisers and monitors, as well as multiple wings of system defense boats.

Solomani Forces
Unit TL Jump Rating
Aequus 1st SDB Wing 11 0 0-1-3
Aequus 2nd SDB Wing 11 0 0-1-3
Aequus 3rd SDB Wing 11 0 0-1-2
Aequus 1st PatRon 11 3 2-0-3

Command of the Imperial task force was given to Commodore Ileana Moon.

Imperial Forces
Unit TL Jump Rating
236th CruRon 14 4 1-2-3
484th BatRon 14 4 6-1-3
568th BatRon 14 4 4-0-4
926th BatRon 13 4 4-1-4
155th TankRon 14 3 1-0-3

Resolution

  • Round One
    • Commodore Moon divided the Imperial forces into two groups: the first, which she commanded personally, consisted of the 236th CruRon and 484th BatRon, and was tasked with eliminating the SDB wings. The rest of the Imperial forces, commanded by Captain Mirkaiu Aarkhagaga, focused on the Aequus 1st PatRon
    • Attack
      • Captain Aarkhagaga‘s squadrons roll a 6
      • Solomani SDB wings roll a 5
      • Commodore Moon‘s squadrons roll a 5
      • Aequus 1st PatRon rolls a 3

    • Damage
      • Eliminates Aequus 1st SDB Wing
      • Eliminates Imperial 236th CruRon
      • Eliminates Aequus 1st PatRon
      • No damage

  • Round Two
    • With the only Confederation squadron eliminated, the Imperial side consolidates its forces to focus on the remaining SDB wings
    • Attack
      • Imperial squadrons roll a 2
      • Solomani SDB wings roll a 1
    • Damage
      • No damage
      • No damage
  • Round Three
    • Attack
      • Imperial squadrons roll a 4
      • Solomani SDB wings roll a 2
    • Damage
      • No damage
      • No damage
  • Round Four
    • Attack
      • Imperial squadrons roll a 5
      • Solomani SDB wings roll a 1
    • Damage
      • Eliminates 2nd Aequus SDB Wing
      • No damage
  • Round Five
    • Attack
      • Imperial squadrons roll a 6
      • 3rd Aequus SDB Wing rolls a 3
    • Damage
      • Eliminates 3rd Aequus SDB Wing
      • No damage

After Action Report

Within weeks the starports and shipyards of both systems were in ruins.

The task forces did not pause to besiege the mainworlds, but instead refueled and jumped into the Guenivier (2505) system. The mainworld, ruled by a religious dictatorship, had been interdicted by the Solomani government and therefore welcomed the arrival of the Imperials. Guenivier’s only moon, Umgaakhi (F100731-7), is also a major world by itself.

With a Class A starport, Guenivier was a valuable staging area for an attack into nearby Austa (2503). With a population of 90 billion and a TL of 13, Austa was an economic juggernaut with commensurate defenses.

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2017 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Ichor Ran Out Like Molten Lead: The Bronze Golem

The classic light blue Dungeons and Dragons Expert Set, edited by David Cook and Steve Marsh, built upon Tom Moldvay’s red Basic Set, taking characters from level 4–14.

The Expert Set introduced several neat new monsters, many of which were brought into AD&D with the Mystara Monstrous Copmpendium, but few were ever been given the full 3e treatment.

The bronze golem is one of my favorite monsters from that Expert set, and is probably one of the best variant golems, period. It shows the influence of Greek myth, recalling Talos, a giant man made of bronze who was met by Jason and the Argonauts. This encounter was memorably depicted in the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts, with animation by the great Ray Harryhausen.

The following text is Open Game Content.

Golem, Bronze

The towering figure appears like a 16-foot tall fire giant made all of bronze. The air around its metal form shimmers as if heated by an incredible fire.

A Burning Goliath. A bronze golem can be fashioned in any manner, but is often formed like a broad-chested, bearded giant with half-plate armor and a horned helmet. A bronze golem cannot speak or make any vocal noise.

Fire for Blood. This golem has a hollow body made from bronze filled with liquid fire.

The Very Earth Trembles. The body of a bronze golem shimmers with the great heat inside it. The golem moves with a surprisingly swift gait for such a large and ponderous creation.

A bronze golem is 16 feet tall and weighs about 13,000 pounds.

0e

Bronze Golem CL 16 (3,200 XP)

Bronze golems are huge hollow statues of bronze, filled with fiery ichor. Weapons of +2 or less do not affect bronze golems. Anyone scoring damage on a bronze golem with a piercing or slashing melee weapon must make a saving throw or take 2d6 points of damage from the fiery "blood" spurting out of the wound. These hulking statues are slowed by cold spells, but fire-based spells actually restore hit points to them. No other type of spell affects them.

HD 13 (65 hp); AC 4 [15]; Atk 1 fist (2d10 plus 1d6 fire); Move 9; Save 3; AL N; Special: Immune to all weapons +2 or less, fiery bloody, slowed by fire, healed by fire, immune to most magic

3.5e

Bronze Golem CR 12

Always N Huge construct (fire)

Init -1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +0, Spot +0

Defense

AC 21, touch 7, flat-footed 21
(-1 Dex, +14 natural, -2 size)

hp 150 (20d10+40 HD); DR 10/adamantine

Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +6

Immune fire, magic; construct traits

Weakness vulnerability to cold

Offense

Spd 30 ft.

Melee 2 slams +23 (3d10+10 and 1d10 heat)

Space 15 ft.; Reach 15 ft.

Special Atks heat

Tactics

In Combat A bronze golem attacks mindlessly, relying on its immense strength and burning form.

Morale A bronze golem fights until destroyed.

Statistics

Str 30, Dex 8, Con —, Int —, Wis 11, Cha 1

Base Atk +15; Grp +33

SQ fiery blood

Ecology

Environment Any

Organization Solitary

Treasure None

Advancement 21―40 HD (Huge), 41―60 (Gargantuan)

Special Abilities

Fiery Blood (Su) Anyone scoring damage on a bronze golem with a piercing or slashing melee weapon must make a DC 20 Reflex save or take 2d6 points of damage from the fiery "blood" spurting out of the wound. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Heat (Su) Those hit by a bronze golem's slam attack take 1d10 points of heat damage. Creatures hitting a bronze golem with natural weapons or unarmed attacks take heat damage as though hit by the golem’s slam attack.

Immunity to Magic (Ex) A bronze golem is immune to any spell or spell-like ability that allows spell resistance. In addition, certain spells and effects function differently against the creature, as noted below. A cold effect that deals more than 30 points of damage slows it (as the slow spell) for 1d6 rounds, with no saving throw. A magical attack that deals fire damage breaks any slow effect on the golem and heals 1 point of damage for each 3 points of damage the attack would otherwise deal. If the amount of healing would cause the golem to exceed its full normal hit points, it gains any excess as temporary hit points. A bronze golem gets no saving throw against fire effects.

Construction

A bronze golem's body is cast from 13,000 pounds of pure bronze, smelted with rare tinctures and admixtures costing at least 30,000 gp. Assembling the body requires a DC 20 Craft (sculpting) check or a DC 20 Craft (bronzeworking) check. Additionally, a DC 20 Craft (alchemy) check is needed in order to create the liquid fire that fills the golem's interior.

CL 16th; Craft Construct, fire shield, geas/quest, limited wish, wall of fire, caster must be at least 16th level; Price 120,000 gp; Cost 90,000 gp + 3,600 XP.

5e

Bronze Golem Challenge 11 (7,200 XP)

Unaligned Huge construct

Init -1; Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 10

Languages understands the languages of its creator but can’t speak

Defense

Armor Class 17 (natural armor)

Hit Points 138 (13d12 + 65)

Immune fire, poison, psychic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks that aren’t adamantine; charmed, exhaustion, frightened, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned

Offense

Speed 30 ft.

Multiattack The golem makes two slam attacks.

Slam +8 melee, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 26 (4d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage plus 10 (3d6) fire damage.

Statistics

Str 18 (+4), Dex 9 (-1), Con 20 (+5), Int 3 (-4), Wis 10 (+0), Cha 1 (-5)

Reactions

Fiery Blood When a golem is subjected to piercing or slashing damage, the attacker must make a DC 14 Dexterity save or take 3d6 points of fire damage.

Traits

Fire Absorption Whenever the golem is subjected to fire damage, it takes no damage and instead regains a number of hit points equal to the fire damage dealt.

Fire Aura At the start of each of the golem’s turns, each creature within 5 feet of it takes 10 (3d6) fire damage, and flammable objects in the aura that aren’t being worn or carried ignite. A creature that touches the golem or hits it with a melee attack while within 5 feet of it takes 10 (3d6) fire damage.

Immutable Form The golem is immune to any spell or effect that would alter its form.

Magic Resistance The golem has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.

Magic Weapons The golem’s weapon attacks are magical.

OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a

The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc (“Wizards”). All Rights Reserved.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wargaming the Battle of Idu

In the GDW wargames Fifth Frontier War and Invasion Earth, there is significant strength in numbers: massed naval units hit much harder than smaller groups of ships. Hitting harder means eliminating opposing forces more quickly while taking less casualties; the longer a battle runs the more attrition saps both combatants. But the more a player concentrates forces into massed units, the less territory can be protected or attacked. A player must therefore trade off unit strength with geographic coverage.

For our wargame, the Anise system has four distinct areas that naval units can occupy: (1) Anise, the mainworld, (2) Pinella Confederation Naval Base in the Idu Belt, (3) Pala, the innermost and largest gas giant, and (4) deep space. A defender that concentrates all forces in one of the three worlds gives good protection to that one world while leaving two worlds vulnerable; splitting forces between all three provides only poor defense to each world.

Order of Battle

Defense of the Anise system was entrusted to Solomani Confederation Commodore Dinis Yating. Once Darrukesh fell Yating realized that Anise was the likely next target for the Imperials; he sent dispatches to Sector Fleet Command at Keyor (1521) requesting reinforcements. He also recalled all other regular navy assets in the subsector to assist with the defense of Anise.

The local Anise navy, commanded by Fleet Commodore Terrance Stav, split the system defenses across the three main areas. The Makkima SDB Wing was located at the gas giant Pala, to deter refueling efforts there. The Mirama SDB Wing and PatRon were located at Anise, the mainworld. The Khidasa SDB wing was placed at Pinella Base along with the regular Confederation squadrons and the Pinella defense squadron of monitors.


Solomani Forces
UnitTLJumpRating
19th CarrierRon1331-2-4
47th FleetRon1334-0-5
38th FleetRon1445-0-4
Mirama SDB Wing1300-1-2
Khidasa SDB Wing1300-2-4
Makkimla SDB Wing1300-2-4
Mirama PatRon1332-1-2
Pinella Defense Squadron1300-0-5

The entire Imperial force, under the command of Admiral Miiri Elixabeth Kemper, jumped into the outer system and immediately made for Pinella Base.

Imperial Forces
UnitTLJumpRating
226th CruRon1443-2-3
236th CruRon1441-2-3
239th CruRon1441-2-3
285th BatRon1446-5-6
337th BatRon1446-3-6
484th BatRon1446-1-3
513th BatRon1444-0-6
568th BatRon1444-0-4
91st CarRon1441-1-4
214th CarRon1441-1-5
587th CruRon1452-2-2
602nd CruRon1452-2-2
492nd BatRon1444-0-6
495th BatRon1444-0-6
51st ScoutRon1440-3-4

Resolution

In Invasion Earth,

Each combat round consists of a simultaneous exchange of fire between the opposing naval units. At the start of each round, the players must divide their naval units into two groups each if the Solomani player has both squadrons and SDB wings present . . . . For the Solomani player, all squadrons must be placed in one group and all SDB wings in the other. The Imperial squadrons are divided into two groups as the Imperial player wishes . . . and each group is then allocated to attack one of the Solomani groups. If the Solomani player has only squadrons or SDB wings . . . then each side’s naval units remain in a single group.

For an attack by a group of squadrons upon a group of squadrons, their attack factors are totaled. The total attack factor of a group determines which column of the space combat table: attack is used. A player uses the column that most closely approximates without exceeding his total attack factor. . . . One die is rolled, and the number rolled is cross-indexed with the correct column on the table to determine the combat result.

An attack by a group of naval squadrons upon System Defense Boat wings is resolved in a similar manner, but uses Bombardment factors instead of Attack factors and a separate table. While Attack factors are calculated based upon the number and quality of spinal weapons in the squadron, Bombardment factors are calculated by fighters and missiles. Presumably, missiles and fighters are much more effective against swarms of small SDBs than large spinal weapons.

After attack rolls are complete then damage results are determined. In Invasion Earth, “The battle damage taken by the naval units is the (minimum) number of defense factors that must be eliminated by eliminating some or all of the affected naval units. The owning player chooses which naval units are eliminated.” Because this is an all-or-nothing operation, the butcher’s bill can become quite steep. (Fifth Frontier War allows for units to become reduced in strength before being eliminated.)

For the Battle of Idu, Admiral Kemper divided the the attacking Imperial force into two groups: Rear Admiral Frida Arrighetti commanded the 91st CarRon, 214th CarRon, 587th CruRon, 602nd CruRon, and 51st ScoutRon against the Khidasa SDB Wing, while Kemper herself commanded the remaining Imperial squadrons against Yating’s regular naval squadrons.

  • Turn One
    • All Imperial units move into the space around Pinella Base and engage the defenders there
    • Attack
      • Admiral Kemper’s force rolls a 1, does 5 damage
      • Commodore Yating’s force rolls a 3, does 1 damage
      • Admiral Arrighetti’s force rolls a 4, does 1 damage
      • Commodore Stav’s force rolls a 6, does 1 damage
    • Damage
      • Eliminates Confederation Pinella Defense Squadron
      • Eliminates Imperial 239th CruRon
      • Eliminates Confederation Khidasa SDB wing
      • Eliminates Imperial 91st CarRon
  • Turn Two
    • With the SDB wing destroyed, Kemper consolidates her forces and presses the attack against the Confederation squadrons
    • Attack
      • Kemper’s force rolls a 3, inflicts 8 damage
      • Yating’s force rolls a 2, inflicts 0 damage
    • Damage
      • Eliminates Confederation 19th CarrierRon and 47th FleetRon
  • Turn Three
    • The Confederation 38th FleetRon disengages and jumps outsystem

After Action Report

The Battle of Idu exacted a heavy price for both sides. Commodore Yating was killed when his flagship was lost with all hands. Pinella Naval Base was utterly destroyed after a short but brutal seige. Meanwhile the Imperial 239th CruRon had been broken, with all of its Effendi heavy cruisers disabled or destroyed. The INS Lianma, the enormous fleet carrier that anchored the 91st CarRon, was crippled and left adrift in the Belt.

But the Anise mainworld, which had been ambivalent to the Solomani cause and consequently labored under military rule, quickly capitulated without a fight—giving Admiral Kemper an intact Class A starport and attendant shipyards. The numerous planetoid habitats in the Idu Belt surrendered in the following days. The Anise system was hers, and Magyar sector lay wide open.

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2017 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Necromatic Siege Engine

The following updates the necromantic siege engines from Green Ronin's Secret College of Necromancy to 3.5. The following text is Open Game Content:

Necromatic Siege Engine

Necromantic siege engines are terrible creations built from the flesh, skin, and bones of dead creatures. There are three known types: dragon engines, ether towers, and zombie rams. Necromantic siege engines can be found in any land or subterranean area, usually a region controlled by a powerful necromancer or undead ruler.

Necromantic Siege Engine Lore

Characters with ranks in Knowledge (arcana) can learn more about necromantic siege engines. When a character makes a successful skill check, the following lore is revealed, including the information from lower DCs.

Knowledge (arcana) Results
DCResult
18Necromantic siege engines are gigantic constructs that resemble and are often found with undead monsters.
23Zombie rams are built to batter down walls and gates, ether towers are built to breach city or castle walls, and dragon engines are built to transport squadrons of undead warriors.
28A zombie ram can strike with such force that it can actually destroy items worn by its victims, while an ether tower is able to momentarily become mist and thus may pass through many physical barriers. A dragon engine has a breath weapon of negative energy.

Necromantic Siege Engine, Dragon Engine

Stiffly, the great shape moves forward. It has the form of a titanic dragon, but its wings are leathery and tattered, and its pallid skin is stretched tight against the bones. As it walks you can see that it is not truly alive, and that its massive body cavity has been hollowed out like a ship’s hull. Several dark figures seem to be moving within the dragon’s unliving carapace.

Necromantic Machines. Dragon engines are built from the tanned hides and preserved bones of elder dragons, retaining a breath weapon but with it transformed into one generated from a store of negative energy.

Troop Carriers. A dragon engine’s wings are leathery but functional. The flesh and internal organs are gone, the withered skin clinging to the bones. A hollow inside the bony ribcage can carry up to 12 creatures of Medium or smaller size. The entrance into this grisly chamber is hidden in the crook of a hind leg; the leg itself creates a step down from the ribcage to ground level.

Brutal Combatants. The magical processes required to trap a dragon soul within the necromantic framework allow a dragon engine some self-awareness but place it under the maker’s control. Dragon engines are willing to blast a battlement with a swooping diving blast of shadow breath, then landing on opponents and disgorging a squadron of undead warriors from their interior spaces.

Dragon Engine CR 13

Always N Gargantuan construct

Init -1; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +36, Spot +36

Defense

AC 24, touch 5, flat-footed 24
(-4 size, -1 Dex, +19 natural)

hp 236 (32d10+60 HD)

Fort +10, Ref +9, Will +11

Immune construct traits; negative energy affinity

Offense

Spd 50 ft., fly 50 ft. (clumsy)

Melee bite +15 (4d6+10), 2 claws +12 (3d8+5), tail slap +12 (2d6+5)

Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft. (20 ft. with bite)

Special Attacks breath weapon (DC 28, 20d8 negative energy), trample (DC 26, 3d8+15)

Tactics

During Combat Dragon engines fight without imagination or mercy, almost entirely at their controller’s command. Occasionally, a spark of draconic rage seems to seep through, but these constructs have never been known to break free of their master’s control.

Morale Dragon engines fight as long as their controller wishes.

Statistics

Str 30, Dex 9, Con –, Int 12, Wis 13, Cha 14

Base Atk +24; Grp +46

Feats Awesome Blow, Blind-Fight, Cleave, Flyby Attack, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Improved Overrun, Improved Sunder, Multiattack, Power Attack, Snatch, Weapon Focus (bite)

Skills Listen +36, Search +36, Spot +36

SQ provide cover

Ecology

Organization solitary

Environment any land or underground

Treasure none

Advancement 33–66 HD (Colossal)

Special Abilities

Breath Weapon (Su) 40-foot cone, once every 1d4 rounds (but no more than twice per day), 20d8 negative energy, Fortitude DC 28 half. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Negative Energy Affinity (Ex) Although a construct, a dragon engine is healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy, as if it were an undead creature.

Provide Cover (Ex) A dragon engine is large enough to provide improved cover (+8 to AC, +4 to Reflex saves, gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies, +10 bonus on Hide checks) to creatures sheltering in its interior. These creatures can fire through small arrow slits between the ribs.

Trample (Ex) A dragon engine that simply moves over a creature and doesn’t end its movement with that creature in one of its occupied squares can trample the creature. A trampled creature takes 3d8+15 damage. The victim can either make an attack of opportunity against the dragon engine or a DC 36 Reflex save to take half damage.

Construction

A dragon engine requires the corpse of a Gargantuan dragon, as well as special unguents and bindings. These materials cost approximately 16,000 gp. Assembling the body requires a DC 23 Craft (leatherworking) check or a DC 24 Heal check.

While the dragon engine does not require the difficult fusion of many separate parts that must work in unison, the enchantment of a container capable of holding and recharging its negative energy breath weapon is entirely as difficult a task as fusing disparate parts for a zombie ram or an ether tower.

CL 17th; Craft Construct, control undead, geas/quest, limited wish, magic jar, shadow evocation, shapechange, caster must be at least 17th level; Price 176,000 gp; Cost 96,000 gp + 6,400 XP.

Necromantic Siege Engine, Ether Tower

A great monstrosity comes teetering forth, a tall tower built on a series of massive metal rollers. Curling mists bubble from the rollers as they move. As the looming tower draws closer you can see that it seems to be made entirely of corpses, all of these twisted dead bodies fused together in new and horrific shapes—hundreds of corpses, and perhaps thousands.

Shrouded in Arcane Mists. Ether towers, sometimes known as mist towers, provide a way to pass over city walls or onto upper levels of a fortified manor or keep—they are named for the curling fog and mist that bubbles from the rollers they move on, a byproduct of the arcane energies that move the enormous structures.

Constructed from Undead. Ether towers are built from hundreds of bodies of dead soldiers, sculpted into towers and sent into battle. They are powered by the legs and withered muscles of undead humanoids, and their undead carapaces are made of bones or of skulls layered as if they were shingles.

Gigantic Creations. Ether towers are often 50 feet tall and 20 feet on a side, with five interior floors, thick armor plates on the front and sides (and sometimes on the back), plus three or four steamroller-like wheels made of metal drums that are filled with blood. The bone interior of an ether tower protects any creature riding within it. Some towers are fitted with expanding bone bridges (to assault enemy walls), cauldrons of boiling oil or flame projectors (to set fire to rooftops), and even small catapults or ballistae on the top deck.

Ether Tower CR 10

Always N Gargantuan construct

Init -2; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen -1, Spot -1

Defense

AC 18, touch 4, flat-footed 18
(-4 size, -2 Dex, +14 natural)

hp 181 (22d10+60 HD)

Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +6

Immune construct traits; negative energy affinity

Offense

Spd 10 ft.

Melee slam +23 (2d8+16)

Space 20 ft.; Reach 15 ft.

Special Attacks discorporate, trample (DC 32, 10d10+16)

Tactics

During Combat Ether towers are mindless and can only follow the orders of those who made them. Ether towers often discorporate just as they reach a wall or fortification, becoming mist for a moment and then reappearing on the far side.

Morale Ether towers fight until destroyed.

Statistics

Str 32, Dex 6, Con –, Int –, Wis 8, Cha 8

Base Atk +16; Grp +39

SQ grabbing claws (6d4+11), expert grappler, provide cover

Ecology

Organization solitary

Environment any land or underground

Treasure none

Advancement 23–46 HD (Colossal)

Special Abilities

Discorporate (Su) As an immediate action, an ether tower and any creature entirely within its confines can become momentarily insubstantial, disappearing in a wispy puff of smoke or sand. This effect lasts until the beginning of the tower’s next turn; an ether tower can discorporate up to 32 times per day. The ability is otherwise identical with gaseous form (caster level 20th).

Expert Grappler (Ex) An ether tower can maintain a grapple without penalty and still make attacks against other targets. An ether tower is never considered flat-footed when grappling.

Grappling Claws (Ex) The sides of an ether tower are lined with dozens of arms and clawed hands. Getting close to one can be dangerous, because the hands attempt to grab and hold anyone coming near them. Treat this as a free grappling attempt whenever the tower is subjected to a melee attack from an opponent occupying a square adjacent to the ether tower. This grappling attempt does not draw an attack of opportunity. The ether tower can then use its many clawing hands to automatically inflict 6d4+11 points of damage per round on a grappled opponent.

Negative Energy Affinity (Ex) Although a construct, an ether tower is healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy, as if it were an undead creature.

Provide Cover (Ex) An ether tower is large enough to provide cover to creatures sheltering in its interior. Creatures on the ground floor have total cover, while those on the higher floors have improved cover (+8 to AC, +4 to Reflex saves, gains improved evasion against any attack to which the Reflex save bonus applies, +10 bonus on Hide checks) and can fire through arrow slits.

Trample (Ex) An ether tower that simply moves over a creature and doesn’t end its movement with that creature in one of its occupied squares can trample the creature. A trampled creature takes 10d10+16 damage. The victim can either make an attack of opportunity against the tower or a DC 32 Reflex save to take half damage.

Construction

An ether tower requires graveyards full of corpses, a minimum of 1,000 bodies, as well as special unguents and bindings. These materials cost approximately 8,000 gp. The parts must be enchanted for motion, durability, and speed. Assembling the body requires a DC 20 Craft (leatherworking) check or a DC 21 Heal check.

CL 15th; Craft Construct, control undead, gaseous form, geas/quest, iron body, limited wish, wall of iron, caster must be at least 15th level; Price 168,000 gp; Cost 88,000 gp + 6,400 XP.

Zombie Ram

A great darkness comes upon you, like a sprawling cloudbank of shadows over a hundred feet across. And as the darkness comes, you hear a rhythmic drumming.

Crafted for Destruction. A zombie ram is built to take down a gate or wall. Zombie rams are composed of hundreds of bodies of dead soldiers, sculpted into rams and sent into battle. They are powered by the legs and withered muscles of undead humanoids, and their undead carapaces are made of bones or of skulls layered as if they were shingles.

A Fusion of Undead and Shadow Magic. A zombie ram is essentially a gigantic bone-and-iron ram with dozens of heads located on either side of the central ram. The bones are fused with iron, steel, and brass to strengthen then, and the skin and muscle of the corpses are strengthened with shadow essences to harden them. The point of the iron ram is traditionally a skull, but ram’s heads, horned demons, and other designs are common. Arms often stick out of the sides as leftovers of the fusing of iron and flesh.

The Tireless March of Zombies. A zombie ram always marches accompanied with a rhythmic drumming of feet marching in perfect unison—the motion of its two hundred feet resembles the synchronous slither of an enormous centipede.

Zombie Ram CR 9

Always N Huge construct

Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Listen +9, Spot +10

Aura darkness (60-ft. radius)

Defense

AC 27, touch 8, flat-footed 27
(-2 size, +0 Dex, +19 natural)

hp 128 (16d10+40 HD)

Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +5

Immune construct traits; negative energy affinity

Offense

Spd 40 ft.

Melee slam +17 (4d6+10)

Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.

Special Attacks ram charge (8d6+20), trample (DC 25, 4d6+10)

Tactics

During Combat Zombie rams have a minimal intelligence and are eager to smash their foes.

Morale Zombie rams fight until destroyed.

Statistics

Str 24, Dex 10, Con –, Int 4, Wis 7, Cha 9

Base Atk +12; Grp +27

Feats Alertness, Great Fortitude, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Iron Will, Power Attack

Skills Listen +9, Spot +10

SQ grabbing claws (6d4+7), expert grappler

Ecology

Organization solitary

Environment any land or underground

Treasure none

Advancement 17–33 HD (Gargantuan)

Special Abilities

Aura of Darkness (Su) A zombie ram is continually surrounded by a darkness effect (as the deeper darkness spell). Any light effect or similar effect brought into the area of the zombie ram is suppressed until brought outside of the aura of darkness. Once brought outside the aura of darkness, the light effect resumes. While this darkness will suppress a daylight spell, a daylight spell does not suppress the zombie ram’s aura. When a zombie ram is destroyed, the aura of darkness fades away in 1d3 rounds. Undead and constructs can see normally within this aura.

Expert Grappler (Ex) A zombie ram can maintain a grapple without penalty and still make attacks against other targets. A zombie ram is never considered flat-footed when grappling.

Grappling Claws (Ex) The sides of a zombie ram are lined with dozens of arms and clawed hands. Getting close to one can be dangerous, because the hands attempt to grab and hold anyone coming near them. Treat this as a free grappling attempt whenever the ram is subjected to a melee attack from an opponent occupying a square adjacent to the zombie ram. This grappling attempt does not draw an attack of opportunity. The zombie ram can then use its many clawing hands to automatically inflict 6d4+7 points of damage per round on a grappled opponent.

Negative Energy Affinity (Ex) Although a construct, a zombie ram is healed by negative energy and harmed by positive energy, as if it were an undead creature.

Ram Charge (Ex) A zombie ram deals 8d6+20 points of damage when it makes a charge. Any creature that takes damage from the charge is also affected as if that creature rolled a natural 1 on its saving throw against a spell effect. An exposed item worn or held by the creature (randomly determined) must make a DC 25 saving throw or also take 8d6+20 damage. The save DC is Strength-based.

Trample (Ex) A zombie ram that simply moves over a creature and doesn’t end its movement with that creature in one of its occupied squares can trample the creature. A trampled creature takes 4d6+10 damage. The victim can either make an attack of opportunity against the ram or a DC 25 Reflex save to take half damage.

Construction

A zombie ram requires graveyards full of corpses, a minimum of 100 , as well as special unguents and bindings. This costs approximately 2,000 gp. The parts must be enchanted for motion, durability, and speed. Assembling the body requires a DC 19 Craft (leatherworking) check or a DC 20 Heal check.

CL 13th; Craft Construct, control undead, forceful hand, geas/quest, limited wish, caster must be at least 13th level; Price 162,000 gp; Cost 82,000 gp + 6,400 XP.

OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a

The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc (“Wizards”). All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Anise System

In my speculative history of the Rim War, the first major battle in the Magyar campaign occurred when the Imperial 4th and 18th (Provisional) Battle Fleets jumped from recently captured Darrukesh (Solomani Rim 0106) directly into the Anise system. I had already developed the forces involved on both sides, but in order to assess the course of the battle I needed to also flesh out some of the system details.

Using T5SS data I had already developed the Missing Worlds of Magyar, which provided data on potential secondary worlds. As part of that analysis I hypothesized the existence of a second high population world in the Anise system: the Idu Belt. This planetoid belt also gave me an opportunity to explain why in 1105 Anise has a subsector fleet but no Imperial naval base.

The Anise System in 1105

The Anise system (Magyar 2904) is located on the Walpurgis Main in Anise subsector, only four parsecs from the Solomani Rim and eight parsecs from the Solomani Confederation. Anise has a long and proud naval tradition stretching back to the Long Night, when the world was a bulwark for surrounding systems against Reaver encroachments.

The mainworld (A8419B7-E) orbits the inner habitable zone of Agii, its orange dwarf primary, well within the star’s jump shadow. Anise is a poor, dry hellworld with a thin oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere tainted with excessive carbon dioxide. Anise was explored by Vilani during the First Imperium, who named it Mirama, but not colonized until the Rule of Man. A second major world, the Idu Belt (F0009BA-B), is a high population asteroid belt circling Agii at 1.5 AU. The belt is almost 0.5 AU wide. The total population in the belt is some 1 billion, with 209 million inhabiting the planetoid Khidasa. Nine other habitats have populations of 1 million or more.

During the Rim War the Idu Belt hosted Pinella Solomani Confederation Naval Base and was the location of the Battle of Idu (known as Yating’s Stand in Confederation accounts). During this battle Confederation forces attempted a valiant defense but were badly outnumbered and outmatched. Commodore Yating, who refused to surrender, was killed on board his doomed flagship. The Confederation’s 47th FleetRon and 19th CarrierRon were shattered; Pinella Base was utterly destroyed. The mainworld swiftly capitulated and its Class A starport and associated yards were captured intact. The Battle of Idu proved a crucial development in the Rim War, and the Idu Belt is still considered by the Confederation to be a hallowed area. (The Belt remains a popular destination for Confederation tourists visiting the system.)

In the aftermath of the Solomani Rim War Anise was rapidly reintegrated into the Imperium, though it remains governed by a Central Administrator appointed by an Imperial Navy oversight board. Today Anise is an important world, both the subsector capital and the seat of the Duchy of Gadarur. With a population of 6 billion living in domed cities connected by an extensive maglev train network, Anise is heavily industrialized and situated on a primary trade route running into Daibei sector, making it a bustling, cosmopolitan commercial center. Anise hosts the Imperial University of Anise, an Imperial Military Academy, and the headquarters of the Unified Army of Gadarur.

Anise also has one of the most powerful colonial navies in the subsector. The formidable Mirama Naval Base is directly owned and operated by Anise, but also berths major elements of the Imperial 20th Subsector Fleet, which lacks a base in Anise subsector. The colonial and Imperial navies drill together extensively. Although the Imperial Navy has made several overtures toward constructing a new base in the Idu Belt for the exclusive use of the 20th Fleet, fierce opposition from both sides of the border has prevented the proposal from ever advancing beyond the planning stage.

The Anise System
Orbit Radius
(AU)
(10,000 km)NameUWPRemarks
PrimaryAgiiK5 V
0.35Anise (Mirama)A8419B7–EHe Hi In Po Ho Tz Cp
0.56Agii GammaH300434-8Mi
0.69[100-diameter limit]
0.96Agii DeltaY400000-0
1.5Idu BeltF0009BA-B
2.9PalaLarge gas giant
52Pala AyY200000-0
59Pala BeeY200000-0
68Pala SeeY200000-0
80MakkimlaH4A8230-6Mi Fr
91Pala EeY100000-0
5.4JadeSmall gas giant
18Jade AyY100000-0
25Jade BeeY100000-0
33Jade SeeY100000-0
9.2MemoriaMedium gas giant
72Memoria AyY100000-0
15ZuaamSmall gas giant
24Zuaam AyY100000-0
33Zuaam BeeY100000-0
45Zuaam SeeY100000-0

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2017 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.

Monday, June 12, 2017

An Animal of Tilled Field and Hedge-Row: The Giant Mole

The prolific Roger Moore, longtime editor of Dragon Magazine, made many great contributions to the D&D game, including plenty of nasty new monsters. Moore was also an infrequent writer for White Dwarf magazine, though many of his pieces there are not very well known now.

Moore’s giant mole appeared in the "Fiend Factory" column of White Dwarf No. 33, the September 1982 issue. This monster, like the AD&D giant owl or giant lynx, is actually intelligent and furthermore, psionic.

Although these choices might seem rather weird at first blush, there is ample precedent in folklore and fiction for intelligent moles: the fairy tale “Thumbelina” features one; Mole is one of Kenneth Grahame’s central characters in the Wind in the Willows, and intelligent moles appear in the works of Beatrix Potter and C.S. Lewis. The psionic connection goes back to Eldritch Wizardry (1976) and the odd little brain mole.

The following text is Open Game Content:

Mole, Giant

This odd, soil-flecked creature with dark fur resembles a gigantic mole as large as a man.

Amiable Creatures. Giant moles are friendly with gnomes and generally indifferent to all other creatures. They are hostile only to ankhegs, which regularly threaten mole colonies.

Expert Burrowers. Giant moles have long, sharp front claws that allow them to move through just about any material softer than solid rock. A giant mole usually leaves behind a usable tunnel 5 feet in diameter when burrowing unless the material it’s moving through is very loose.

Winding Homes. A giant mole colony consists of numerous winding tunnels that connect large chambers 10 to 20 feet across. These complexes typically feature several entrances and secret exits.

A giant mole has barely visible eyes and dark grey or black fur. A typical giant mole is 5 to 7 feet in length and can weigh up to 300 pounds.

Giant Mole CR 2

Usually N Medium magical beast

Init +0; Senses low-light vision, scent; Listen +8, Spot +0

Languages Sylvan

Defense

AC 13, touch 10, flat-footed 13
(+3 natural)

hp 19 (3d10+3 HD)

Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +3

Offense

Spd 15 ft., burrow 5 ft.

Melee 2 claws +4 (1d4+1)

Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.

Tactics

During Combat Giant moles are shy creatures that avoid combat except to defend their colony.

Morale Giants moles normally retreat once wounded.

Statistics

Str 12, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 10, Cha 13

Base Atk +3; Grp +4

Feats Blind-Fight, Iron Will

Skills Knowledge (nature) +4, Listen +4, Spot +0

SQ detect magic

Ecology

Environment temperate hills and plains

Organization colony (3–18)

Treasure standard

Advancement 4–6 HD (Medium), 7–9 HD (Large)

Level Adjustment +2 (cohort)

Abilities

Detect Magic (Su) At will, a giant mole can detect magic by touch. In all other ways this ability is as the spell (caster level 3). Giant moles use this ability to amass minor magical items for their burrows.

Skills A giant mole has a +4 racial bonus on Listen checks and a -4 racial penalty on Spot checks.

Psionic Giant Moles

For DMs using psionics, a psionic version of the giant mole is presented below. Only the portions of the monster entry that are specifically changed by the addition of psionics rules have been listed. All other elements remain the same.

Giant moles are naturally psionic. A giant mole colony often contains 1d3+1 brain moles serving as guards.

CR 3

Usually N Medium magical beast (psionic)

A giant mole does not possess the detect magic special ability. This is replaced by the detect psionics ability.

Detect Psionics (Su) At will, a giant mole can detect psionics by touch. In all other ways this ability is as the psionic power (manifester level 3).

Naturally Psionic Giant moles begin with 3 bonus power points.

Psi-Like Abilities (ML 3rd) At will—defensive precognition, empty mind, force screen.

OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a

The following text is the property of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. and is Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc (“Wizards”). All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Free Form XP

S'mon had a nice post on "Is XP an Illusion?"  that reminded me of a handy free-form method that I used for my old Frilond campaign to calculate experience awards. The system was derived from the on-line comments of Frank Mentzer.

First, the DM decides how many adventures the characters should complete before gaining their next levels of experience. This number of adventures to increase one level of experience is the Rate of Progress. For the Frilond campaign, we set the Rate of Progress at three adventures per level. This is the fastest advisable rate; if we were playing once a week, we would probably set the rate at something like 5 or even 6 adventures per level.

Next, the DM determines the Level Award (LA). The Level Award represents the total amount of XP that needs to be awarded for each member of the party to advance to the next experience level. In 3e, the LA was easy to calculate: it is equal to the sum of all levels (and equivalent levels) for all characters in the party x 1,000. But as S'mon points out,  there's no reason why this couldn't be a constant,  arbitrary,  and small number like 20.

To determine the amount of XP to award for each adventure, divide the Level Award by the Rate of Progress. This gives the Adventure Award: the total experience to be given for each adventure. This award is the amount given for optimal play: less successful play would not be given the full amount.

Once the Adventure Award is determined, the DM can then use any desired scheme to divvy up the experience. This is the beauty of free form XP: it doesn't matter what type of campaign you run; it gives a specific goal that any DM can then design an adventure around. Like hack-and-slash? Then assign enough monsters so that their XP awards meet the goal. Prefer role playing? Place plenty of interesting NPCs, and pump the role-playing awards up. Want to give experience for treasure? Subtract 1 XP for every gp in the scenario from the Adventure Award. And so on.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Magyar Sector in the Rim War: Opening Moves

Confederation Invasion of Daibei (990)

In 990 the Imperial Daibei Sector Fleet had been constructed to address Aslan incursions to spinward, and as such relied more heavily on cruiser and carrier squadrons rather than capital ships. And unlike Diaspora sector, Daibei had no Imperial Depot. The Confederation Daibei Fleet contained only six subsector fleets and for the invasion was bolstered by heavier elements from Magyar sector.

Commander Coglan’s plan relied on deception, disruption, and speed to rapidly overwhelm the Imperial defenses, allowing the Solomani to deal heavy damage to the Imperial Navy in Daibei while suffering minimal losses. Confederation forces recaptured most of the worlds that had been reabsorbed by the Imperium, and in Gaalorn and Mulaar subsectors the border was pushed coreward of the old Autonomous Region another three parsecs or more, capturing Imperial systems that were never part of the Solomani Sphere. The Confederation inflicted serious damage to a major Imperial naval base at Bloddwyn (0326), but were unable to capture the system. At Durgaarurkim (2720) the Imperials mounted a fierce defense and repulsed a Confederation task force.

The Confederation moved quickly to consolidate its gains. The offensive had captured the economically important worlds of Kuliiga (0429), Zhemi (0627), Corve (1729), Tukera (2423), Muffin (0831), and Temeraire (3020). Tukera’s starport was destroyed in the fighting with great loss of life. The high population worlds of Zhemi and Muffin, with majority Solomani populations, welcomed the Confederation as liberators. But Kuliiga, Corve, Tukera, and Temeraire had significant Vilani and non-human sophont populations, and all were interdicted and suffered under the resulting Solomani occupation.

Stalemate (991–997)

Following the success of the Confederation offensive, the new Daibei border quickly stabilized. The Imperial Navy reinforced bases at Durgaarurkim, Chapel Mews (2320), Macella (2119), Aquilon (1820), and Sotto (0424). For the remainder of 990 through 992 each side fought a series of limited engagements that resulted in single worlds being traded back and forth. The heaviest fighting occurred in the Udo Cluster, 10 worlds centered on Udo/Dudin (Daibei 1922). As the Cluster was considered key to any assault on the high population Amdani subsector, the Confederation spent enormous resources attempting to establish a beachhead, but to no avail.

Confederation Sector Admiral Taskill recommended that Coglan be appointed Dudin Subsector Admiral, but SolSec overruled, citing Coglan’s reservations about the offensive as proof of “insufficient enthusiasm” toward the Solomani Cause. As a result, Commodore Coglan was given command of a modest patrol flotilla based out of Avalon/Fahlnar (Reaver's Deep 3238). The Rim War had spurred a new wave of ihatei raids up and down the length of the Confederation’s spinward frontier, and Coglan’s flotilla ranged through Reaver’s Deep and Dark Nebula, providing ample opportunity to observe and analyze Aslan attack patterns.

What Coglan realized was surprising: the Aslan attacks, which so often appeared reckless or disorganized, utilized calculated and deceptively effective tactics. Suicidal attacks by overmatched ships were actually planned sacrifices; Aslan bravado lured the unwary into traps; seemingly chaotic swarming assaults screened true objectives. Coglan used these new insights to anticipate and effectively combat the raiders, and in return the Aslan began to grudgingly call him the Khteiryos, after a mythical creature known for its devious and cunning nature.

Meanwhile Captain Kemper transferred to Imperial Sector Fleet headquarters at Warinir, where she was knighted as a Companion of the Order of Ilelish. From 990–993 she helped direct Daibei’s defences, leading sorties into Confederation-held systems. In 994 Kemper transferred to the planning staff of Grand Admiral Sakuuba, who was initially responsible for directing the Solomani Rim War. Kemper was assigned to Rear Admiral Arielle Adair. Kemper and Adair proved to be a formidable combination: both were avid students of Terran and Solomani history, and both believed that the Imperium would need to conduct the Rim War differently than any past war.

By 995 Coglan’s remarkable success against the Aslan had been noted by his superiors, who wanted to move him to the front lines of the Rim War. But once again Coglan’s public criticisms of the war prompted SolSec intervention. Instead of being given a command in Daibei or Diaspora sector, Coglan was instead transferred to the Dark Nebula Fleet, and in 996 he was named Admiral of the Akuusir Subsector Fleet. Based out of Column/Akuusir (Dark Nebula 3202), Coglan thrived under his new command.

Ironically, SolSec’s unwelcome interventions in Coglan’s career probably saved his life. Had he remained in Daibei, he very well might have found himself placed before the Imperial onslaught in Diaspora. While many of the Solomani Navy’s most promising flag officers would be lost in 998 and 999, Coglan instead was some 40 parsecs away, fortuitously placed in a remote, unsupervised theatre where he was free to experiment and innovate.

The Tide Turns (997–999)

By 997 the first of the newly raised Imperial battle fleets reached Diaspora and Old Expanses. The Admiralty felt these forces would easily break the stalemate that had endured since 993. They were wrong. Overconfident in their technological advantages, the Imperial commanders had inexperienced crews, tired naval doctrine, and most fatally, a very poor understanding of Solomani warfighting. The initial offensive proved disastrous as in battle after battle, the Confederation forces outmaneuvered and outfought the Imperials. In response, the Confederation Navy launched a withering counteroffensive into Libert, Sufren, Quinoid, and Ahrhi subectors, even striking at the important Imperial worlds of  Libert (Diaspora 1109) and Vaward (Old Expanses 1106).

In 998, following a humiliating defeat at Kmak (Old Expanses 1424), a frustrated Admiralty turned to a new generation of commanders, bitterly deemed “the rabble-rousers,” by Grand Admiral Sakuuba shortly after being dismissed. Adair was promoted to Grand Admiral of the Imperial battle fleets and Kemper became one of several newly minted admirals who were finally given the opportunity to prove their mettle against the Solomani. That was the year the tide turned.

Throughout the remainder of 998 the Imperium made steady advances into Old Expanses, and in 999 opened up a second front in Diaspora. Although successful, these campaigns were long, slow slogs. The Solomani fought fiercely and effectively while the Imperials proceeded cautiously, seeking to take worlds intact and largely fighting under the traditional Rules of War.

Planetary invasions consumed enormous resources and time and then sapped the strength of the advancing forces as each newly conquered world required garrisoning. Kemper noted that this approach was not sustainable: even the vast Imperium could only commit so many resources to the War. When asked by Grand Admiral Adair to develop a plan to open up a third front to spinward, Kemper proposed another way.

Kemper was revolutionary in her complete embrace of Solomani total war: her proposed Magyar campaign would target Class A and B starports, industrial centers, and system communication and navigation networks. Commercial ships would be seized and scuttled. Not wishing to be pinned down, she would forgo capturing worlds unless they contained a large pro-Imperial population. She was content to leave worlds largely intact provided they were left cut off from interstellar trade. Without a need to garrison captured worlds, she would be free to range far behind Solomani lines.

Opening Moves: Ultima (1000)

Kemper commanded assets drawn from the sector fleets of Verge, Ilelish, and Zarushagar. These prosperous sectors had been well insulated from most Imperial conflicts since the Ilelish Revolt (418 to 435). While these crews were relatively inexperienced, a large proportion belonged to minor Human races such as the Darmine and Suerrat, and consequently may have borne additional motivation for battling the Solomani. Their ships included older but well maintained Tiananmen-class battleships and Quiquilat-class battle riders as well as several new designs destined to become classics: Atlantic-class heavy cruisers, Azhanti High Lightning-class fleet intruders, and Inkaalur-class light battleships. The Inkaalur-class was unusually small but outfitted with mature TL 14 tech that could challenge Solomani battlecruisers. The assets also included several TL 14 capital ship designs rarely seen outside the Domain of Ilelish, including the 300,000 dt Liasdi-class fleet carrier, the 500,000 dt Triton-class heavy battleship, and the 700,000 dt Dlan-class dreadnought.

The Kemper Fleet was divided into the 4th, 9th, and 18th Provisional Imperial Battle Fleets. The 9th Battle Fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral Frida Arrighetti, was a penetration fleet intended to raid deep into enemy territory and attack specific objectives such as bases and industrial worlds.

The 18th Battle Fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral Ararat Becke, was an assault fleet, created to carry surface forces to a world and land them there in the face of heavy opposition. The 18th carried the 103rd Provisional Star Marine Division, which consisted of the 4011th, 4828th, 6419th, and 7737th Line Regiments. The 18th also carried the 333rd Lift Infantry Field Army, a  TL 14 force drawn from Amadani Subsector in Daibei. In addition to these troops the 18th was well equipped for orbital bombardment and fire support.

The 4th Battle Fleet was commanded by Kemper herself from her flagship the Arzemiir, an Atlantic-class heavy cruiser. The 4th was a true battle fleet, expressly created to engage and destroy any and all enemy vessels or forces.

Kemper’s fleets first gained experience in Diaspora in 999, where they followed the main line of attack toward the Solomani Rim, seeing action at Tarsale (2224), Eberly (2130), Waverly (1733), and bloody Alki (1136). But while the main Imperial force entered the Rim through Sulemain and Concord subsectors in 1000, Kemper wheeled spinward through the lightly populated Ultima subsector. Her primary goal was to cut off the Confederation’s Daibei and Magyar sector fleets from the Solomani Rim; with the Aslan pressing in to spinward, the Confederation would be hard-pressed to use these forces to relieve the Rim fleets. Her secondary goal was to degrade Confederation warmaking capabilities by destruction of its industrial infrastructure.

Both the Scout Service’s Intelligence Branch and Imperial Naval Intelligence were crucial to the success of Kemper’s Ultima campaign. The Scouts provided detailed economic and infrastructure data that allowed Kemper to select vulnerable critical targets. Naval Intelligence paved the way for insertion of Sylean Rangers on Amkhalarug (Solomani Rim 0301) and Darrukesh (Solomani Rim 0106) as early as 997. Both worlds had majority Vilani populations, excellent shipyards, reasonably high tech levels—and eagerly awaited Imperial liberation.

Kemper crushed Solomani naval defences in Amkhalarug, and while the 18th Fleet supported ground operations, the 4th and 9th Fleets jumped to lightly populated Atalanta (Solomani Rim 0304) and from there to Darrukesh.

Darrukesh was the key to Magyar sector. Kemper’s forces quickly overwhelmed the Solomani system defences, opening the way for an assault on the mainworld. A small Solomani elite had long controlled the Vilani majority through an oppressive police state, but the arrival of Kemper’s forces triggered a popular revolution. A Vilani junta quickly seized control of Darrukesh and within a week the Imperials controlled the entire system.

From Darrukesh Kemper could jump directly into the Anise (Magyar 2904) system, which hosted the subsector headquarters for the Confederation Navy and a major shipyard. The mainworld was a high population industrial center. And if she captured Anise she would be able to directly attack the neighboring high population, industrial worlds that lay beyond.

Copyright Information

The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright © 1977 – 2017 Far Future Enterprises. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises. Far Future permits web sites and fanzines for this game, provided it contains this notice, that Far Future is notified, and subject to a withdrawal of permission on 90 days notice. The contents of this site are for personal, non-commercial use only. Any use of Far Future Enterprises’s copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights or trademarks. In addition, any program/articles/file on this site cannot be republished or distributed without the consent of the author who contributed it.

Materials produced by Digest Group Publications (DGP) are copyright © Roger Sanger. Any use of Digest Group Publications' copyrighted material or trademarks anywhere on this Web site and its files should not be viewed as a challenge to those copyrights. Usage is intended to follow the guidelines announced by Roger Sanger on the Traveller Mailing List for preserving the overall Traveller milieu.