Monday, 23 April 2018

Full Thrust: The End of the World

Introduction

Star-rimed space whale,
Cosmic nomad, absolute alien,
Devourer of planets, eternal wanderer, 
Beware!  The Kraken approaches!


I created a scenario for Full Thrust some time ago in which an uneasy alliance of starships attempted to destroy or divert a space monster that was intent on destroying a rich planet: http://colgar6.blogspot.com/2013/01/full-thrust-its-life-but-not-as-we-know.html .  Astonishingly, this was over 5 years ago and I haven't reprised it since - until now!


The Scenario

In short, 2 factions are rivals for influence at the neutral planet of Trondacolmakus.  The Magister of Trondacolmakus has made it clear that he will not be happy if either force should attack the other.  Peaceful negotiations are well advanced when an urgent message is received from a scout: a space monster is approaching and making directly for the planet.  Its intentions are unknown, but if it tries to siphon off the atmosphere, lay eggs on the surface or take a bath in the oceans then it would be a disaster for the planet's population.



The Magister begs the visiting navies to drive the monster away.  Together they have more than enough firepower to defeat it - but clearly the side with the most surviving forces will have an advantage in the continuing diplomacy.  Can the Ferengi and the Federation cooperate well enough to defeat the monster?  Or will narrow self-interest cause either side to hold back and give the monster its chance to ravage the planet?  Read on...


The Battle


The Kraken advanced steadily, only to be stung by early long-range phaser fire from a Ferengi vessel.  Infuriated, the monster launched a huge plasma bolt at the gap between two asteroid fields, hoping to catch 4 assorted cruisers in the huge explosion.

Sadly (for the Kraken, at least), only the Federation escort cruiser Phoebe was caught in the blast; the other targets were moving slower than anticipated.  Phoebe's shields did sterling service and saved the ship from total destruction; instead she was just badly damaged.



A smaller, but still potent, plasma bolt was fired from the monster's side at the Ferengi ships which were attempting a wide flanking move.  The opposing player was having none of that; he dissipated the threat with a handy Torpedo Malfunction event card.



The Kraken plodded on, swatting the occasional frigate without even really noticing them.  It reloaded its prow plasma and spat out a bolt at the collected cruisers in front of it at very short range.



This time, there was no mistake in its aim; all 4 of the enemy ships would be hit.  "All power to the shields!  Brace for impact!" roared the captain of the Ferengi battlecruiser Krayton [courtesy of a "Reinforced Shields" event card.  Honestly, the Ferengi player seemed to have all the good cards this game!].


It helped, but the shock wave from the class-6 plasma bolt was immense.  Endeavour disintegrated under the force, both Krayton and Danube were heavily damaged, while the already-hurt Phoebe only survived through a superb piece of damage control [a "Legendary Engineer" event card caused the warp core to be damped down instead of going supercritical and exploding].



The Kraken had a clear run between the asteroids now.  One of the cruisers in front of it was so heavily damaged as to be combat ineffective and the other two were facing the wrong way; they would have to turn laboriously before they could pursue the beast.

There were a pair of Ferengi warships (a light cruiser and a destroyer?) and several smaller ships hovering around in the distance, but these would need to move quite quickly if they were to engage the creature.



Of course, nothing is ever a certainty.  As the Kraken passed the Ferengi battlecruiser, a few weapons from the latter were able to bear.  A short volley hit the Kraken right up the backside and caused it to shudder with pain. [In game terms, the shell armour was penetrated and the damage caused triggered a threshold check.  This damaged the creature's "engines" and therefore reduced its available thrust]

A swift calculation revealed that with its reduced thrust, the Kraken was travelling too fast to be able to slow down before it hit the planet.  If its roll for damage control failed to repair its engine then it would have to turn slightly and skim past the planet at too high a speed to enter orbit - and therefore it would be unable to complete its mission.

The game therefore turned on this single roll.  Fortunately for the Kraken [not so much for the humanoids], it was able to repair the damage, or at least to overcome the pain and use the damaged system normally.



Now that it could decelerate as originally intended, the Kraken performed a 6" microjump straight forward [via a "Picard Manoeuvre" event card.  Hah - the Ferengi weren't the only ones to hold some interesting cards!].  This opened up the distance between the monster and its pursuers nicely, which was especially important now that it had its back to them [and therefore couldn't bring any of its weapons to bear].



The event cards were coming thick and fast now [indeed, I don't think I've ever seen a game of Full Thrust where so many cards were used!].  Firstly, the Kraken played an "Organian Peace Treaty".  A bunch of super-beings from another dimension turned out to be whale-lovers; they forbade anyone to fire at the injured animal.



This respite allowed the Kraken time in which to position itself near the planet's upper atmosphere ready for spawning.  The Organians soon lost interest in protecting the space beast, but before the monster could do anything else the Federation played a "Static Warp Bubble" on it, thus causing it to be time-stopped for a complete turn.



Initiative on the last turn was critical!  If either the Federation or the Ferengi beat the Kraken then they still had ships which could hurt it badly [especially as the Kraken was a mere 2 damage points off a further threshold check].  On the other hand, if the Kraken won then all it had to do was to "fire" on the planet to win the game.

This time, the monster won.  It spawned in the upper atmosphere and the thousands of eggs caused havoc on Trondacolmakus.  Large areas of the planet were rendered uninhabitable, whilst many others required a constant border watch to prevent infestation from the new badlands.  The resources needed to protect the population dragged the economy down to poverty levels unimaginable to the previously wealthy citizens and neither Ferengi nor Federation were particularly interested in trade deals with the inhabitants any more!


Conclusion

Sometimes you kill the monster and sometimes the monster gets you!  This was a very close-run game, where early losses didn't matter too much because the defenders could just bring in more ships.  Mind you, it wasn't really a place for corvettes or frigates; such small vessels had virtually no chance against such a huge attacker.

Had the monster been defeated then the Ferengi would probably have won, as they looked to have the larger of the remaining fleets.  But the monster wasn't defeated...

25 comments:

  1. A rollicking good game! Part way through the narrative I wondered if a space-going equivalent of Greenpeace would show up - and they did! :)

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    1. That's spookily prescient of you, AJ :-) ! Glad you liked it.

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  2. Cracking read, Colgar6, absolutely nail-biting stuff. Love your write-ups for "Full Thrust" as you pack plenty of pictures in with your article and really give a great feel for the game as a result :-)

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    1. Thanks, such praise means a lot to me (though do feel free to offer criticism as well, if there's anything which could be improved :-) ).

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  3. Wow, that was a fun read! That is a great scenario, I could almost hear the Ferengi negotiating their attacks and letting the oo-mans do the heavy lifting! Loved it!

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    1. I'm not aware that the Ferengi were explicit in their negotiations, but they did seem to have fewer ships engaged at the crunch point, didn't they :-) ?

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  4. "Sorry Sir, no deep fried squid today."

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    1. I'n not sure how you would cook (or serve!) space monster! It's probably quite an acquired taste...

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  5. Right up to the ed I thought the monster would be defeated, but what a die roll that final roll would have been! I can only imagine the moans and groans from the players as the die revealed their fate! (I am right in guessing you were the monster?)

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    1. I was indeed playing the Kraken, Joe This was one of the tightest games I've seen in a long time; there were at least 2 occasions where a single die roll could have changed the outcome completely!

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  6. Great write up for a very fun game. Sadly many desk lamps were lost that day, those poor poor desk lamps

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    1. We were playing with some of my "flavour" enhancements; it seems that several of the Ferengi captains had filled their holds with desk lamps to trade. Many of these were destroyed.

      One frigate also had a Marriage Chapel (I'm thinking tacky, Vegas-style quickies here) that was also blown up.

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  7. That's a really well thought out scenario. Nice balance and constant choices for the players. Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Glad you liked it! I would have liked to try this scenario with more than 2 fleets, but on this occasion I didn't have enough players. Another time, then...

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  8. Wow, space monsters are Huuuuge.
    All the previous ones I've seen have been fairly humanoid looking..

    One more scary thing to worry about.

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    1. Star Trek had a number of large space monsters, both biological add robotic. They were typically large enough to swallow starships, or to threaten planets. That's the sort of thing I'm aiming for here :-) .

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  9. He is a fabulous specimen and a fabulous read to boot.

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    1. Thanks, Michael! Although since I wrote about the Kraken laying eggs I rather think it must have been a she :-) .

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  10. Star Trek and a great read ... noice!

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  11. Another fine Trek Full Thrust AAR. Love it.

    By the way, is that a scratchbuilt mini for the Kraken?

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    1. Glad you liked the report!

      My Kraken is an older Games Workshop model; it's a Tyranid "hive ship" or some such (I cannot remember the exact name). I've had it a long time and so I suspect that it's no longer in production.

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    2. Looks suitably alien and organic, like the Tin Man creature did on that TNG episode.

      I think I've got something similar but smaller somewhere, but I can't remember where I got them.

      I've seen someone over on Brad Torgersens FASA Trek STSTCS starship combat forum use diodes for space creatures.

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  12. By the way, what tool did you use to take the cannons off the front and wings of the Ferengi models? Some kind of mini razor saw?

    And where can you get them? I tried a company last year, and they wouldn't ship a modelling razor saw!

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    1. It was a long time ago and I cannot remember for certain how I converted these minis. I might well have used a razor saw, but equally it might have been just a stout modelling knife (and a *lot* of care not to slip and cut myself!). Either way, I don't remember the task being particularly difficult...

      I cannot recall when & where I obtained my razor saw blades, but I've never had any problems with this or indeed with scalpel blades. If one supplier/carrier won't ship them to you then I suggest that you shop around and find a different one that will!

      Failing that, some shows have vendors for this type of thing; I've found model railway shows more useful than games shows in this respect.

      As a last resort, you could try asking a local jeweller/watch repair shop (if such things still exist?) how they get their tools.

      Unless the part of the world where you live is *very* different from mine then I imagine that one of these approaches should work.

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