Wednesday 20 June 2012

Full Thrust: Destroy the Planetary Stabiliser!

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away...

Federation spies have learned that the Empire has nearly finished construction of a gigantic battlestation, capable of destroying an entire planet!  If this is completed then it will be a massive setback to the Federation's plans.  So, a makeshift force of starships has been gathered together; they hope to catch the Empire napping and destroy the unfinished Planetary Stabiliser!

Special Rules

  1. Fully Operational!  The Stabiliser is much more complete than the Federation imagines; apart from undergoing last-minute systems checks it is complete.  At the end of each turn, the Empire player rolls 2 dice to attempt  powering up the battlestation; these can be assigned to any of 4 different areas.  For example, he/she might decide to roll 1d6 on WEAPONS and 1d6 on SHIELDS.  If desired then both dice could be rolled for the same area.  The number of pips rolled is scored off the track for that area; when the total passed one of the given thresholds then the benefits listed for that area are gained.
  2. It's a trap!  The Empire isn't quite so foolish as to leave their newest project defenseless.  There are Empire ships (to the value of 50% of the attacking forces) lying in wait.  These are "running silent" and cannot be detected over 12".  The Empire player places 10 numbered "blips" anywhere he/she desires around the board and secretly writes on each ship record with which blip it is associated.  When revealed (either by a Federation ship within 12" or at the Empire's wish at the start of any turn), the ship is placed on the board at the blip's location, initially at speed 0 and with any desired heading.

The Game

 The Planetary Stabiliser is in orbit around the class-M planet Paxis.  There are some localised asteroid/debris fields nearby and a number of (triangular) sensor blips can be seen in the middle distance.

The Federation fleet came hurtling in between the asteroid fields, trying to close the distance as quickly as possible.  The light cruiser Los Angeles and the destroyer Antelope broke right, hoping to turn back later and end up directly behind the Stabiliser.  The rest of the fleet headed straight for the target, inflicting very minor damage at long range as they came.

At this point, the Federation were dismayed by a couple of things happening.  Firstly, the Planetary Stabiliser showed energy readings and its shields came partly up.  Obviously it wasn't quite as unready as they had been led to believe!  Secondly, a trio of Imperial ships (the cruiser Goliath and the destroyers Despot and Monarch) fired up their active sensors, right in the path of the Federation flanking move.

The Imperial ships barely moved as the Federation fleet charged forward.  Goliath launched a squadron of TIE fighters; these attacked Antelope but were almost completely ineffective and lost 3 of their number to lucky PDS fire!  Federation ships concentrated their weapons on the small destroyer Despot which blew up before it could fire a shot.  However, this did save the bigger Imperial ships from much damage.

The fast-moving Federation ships scattered in all directions as they (mostly) overshot their target.  The depleted TIE squadron switched its attack to the Ibex, but was still no more than a minor nuisance.  Ibex reduced the Imperial destroyer Monarch to a drifting hulk with a lucky first strike at point blank range.  Both heavy cruisers exchanged fire as the Danube swept past at high speed, though with both ships' heavy weapons unable to fire at those arcs, damage was limited.  By this time, the Planetary Stabiliser had all shields up and was starting to bring weapons and engines online.

The Toronto and the Sable headed off into the distance, having turned away from the planet (but not slowed down much).  On the other hand, the Los Angeles and the Antelope turned towards it; at the speed they were traveling it would be touch and go whether they could make it!  Ibex was the only Federation ship that was in a good position to target the Planetary Stabiliser, having been neatly positioned right behind her.  Unfortunately for the Ibex, the Empire had the heavy cruiser Goliath right behind her!

The Beast Roars!

Up till now, the Federation ships had been only lightly damaged.  But now the main batteries of the Planetary Stabiliser came on line.  Even with her fire split between the Sable (at long range) and the Los Angeles, this came to a terrifying number of dice in each salvo.  Although neither ship was destroyed immediately, both started to take some significant hits.

The Los Angeles scraped the top of the planet's atmosphere as she barely managed to turn in time.  However, this put her at point blank range for the Planetary Stabiliser's broadside; with massive damage taken she was unable to make any effective reply.  The Planetary Stabiliser's frontal armament was now targeting the Toronto; again significant damage was done even though the firing was at a considerable range.

Now things really started to go downhill for the Federation.  The Antelope failed to make her high-speed turn.  Her captain ordered "abandon ship!" just before she smacked into the planet's Southern Ocean (no doubt causing a considerable tsunami).  A few escape pods managed to pull free.

Even as the Danube came round to try to rescue the stranded Ibex, the Goliath hit the crippled Federation destroyer with a massive salvo (20 points of damage!).

The already-battered Los Angeles took further critical hits from the Planetary Stabiliser as she overshot.  Out of spite, the Federation cruiser used her last remaining weapon to destroy the ravaged Imperial destroyer Monarch, which had been creeping away slowly for some time.  At the same time, the Planetary Stabilier's other batteries continued to rack up serious damage to the Toronto and the Sable as they tried to turn at high speed.

A vengeful Danube got a lucky warp core hit on the Goliath; she blew up almost immediately.  Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles couldn't take the close-range pummeling from the Planetary Stabiliser; she was also destroyed.


Unluckily for the Federation, the 2 ships that had flown across the front of the Planetary Stabiliser had both taken warp core hits (as well as much other damage); neither of them survived.  Which left just the Federation heavy cruiser Danube on one side, versus the fully operational Planetary Stabiliser on the other.  Even though neither ship was heavily damaged, the odds would have been heavily in the Empire's favour, so the Danube beat a hasty retreat while the ponderous battlestation tried to turn round.
The Empire may have lost a few smaller ships, but they didn't matter.  The Planetary Stabiliser had all but obliterated a surprise Federation attack on its own.  This was obviously a massive Imperial victory and and immense propaganda coup!

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