14: Surface and Space Naval Units

Dropships: 

   Dropships should rarely enter combat. While they do have plenty of firepower, ton for ton they’re no match for units which don’t have to waste mass on huge, long term, life support systems, cargo and it’s maintenance facilities, living room, recreation, launch and recovery bays, and the incredible drives, and internal structure, necessary to get all of this stuff back and forth from a planetary surface. Like any other transport vessel, a dropship’s primary design objective is carrying things – not combat. For the purposes of the game, it usually suffices to treat them as somewhat abstract units.

   The base dropship has 100 points of armor, a thrust rating of 5/8, and a “fire factor” of 30. Cargo capacity varies with the type, as light/medium/heavy/ultraheavy dropships have cargo capacities of 6/15/21/45 “units”. They may be modified by spending some of those points; +50 Armor, +1 Thrust (Max; +3), or a +10 “fire factor” all cost one “point”. These may also be “sold”, to a minimum of 50 armor, thrust 2, and fire factor 0, for a similar rebate. One cargo unit suffices for facilities for;

  • 1 `Mech or Aerospace Fighter
  • 2 Heavy Vehicles or Infantry Platoons/Combat Armor Squads
  • 3 Light Vehicles
  • 6 Ultralight Vehicles
  • 12 MiniUnits
  • 24 Drones
  • 150 tons of cargo (Which takes a great deal of time to unpack and set up).

   Clan ships gain +1 capacity – but reduce morale. Obsolete ships will be down a point, as are older units which have been allowed to get run down. A dropship’s Structural Integrity is determined by the formulas given below. As they make obvious, Dropships are fragile. On the other hand, they’re all capable of using their astrogation computer(s) for fire control – giving them the equivalent of a “targeting computer”.

   Fuel and ammunition are not usually issues. Dropships are designed to travel from a jump point to a planet and back – under fire – without refueling. Their reserves are sufficient for a few fights along the way. Escape pods, life boats, and so on, (All totally ineffective in battle) may be assumed as relevant.

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Common Light Dropships, Structural Integrity = (6+ Armor/50 +Thrust Modifier).

  • Avenger: Armor 200, Fire 50/A, Thrust +2, Cargo 1
  • Broadsword: Armor 150, Fire 40/A, Thrust +0, Cargo 0, Mechs 5, Clan (-1).
  • Claymore: Armor 200, Fire 40/A, Thrust +1, Cargo 3
  • Confederate: Armor 200, Fire 30/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 1, Mechs 5, Clan (-1), Short-Range Weapons.
  • ConfederateA and –B (The Star League versions): Fire 20/S, No Cargo. Either Mechs 6 (A version), or Mechs 4, Fighters 2 (B version).
  • Corsair: Armor 150, Fire 10/A, Thrust +2, Cargo 0 and Infantry 10.
  • Cortez: Armor 200, Fire 60/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 1, Antimissile Systems (2/Arc).
  • Fury: Armor 150, Fire 20/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 2, Light Vehicles 8, Infantry 4.
  • Gazelle: Armor 150, Fire 30/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 0, Heavy Vehicles 10, Light Vehicles 3.
  • Leopard: Armor 150, Fire 30/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 0, Mechs, 4, Fighters 2.
  • Leopard CV: Armor 150, Fire 30/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 0, Fighters 6.

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Common Medium Dropships: SI = (10+Armor/50+2*Thrust Mod).

  • Achilles: Armor 250, Fire 80/A, Thrust +3, Cargo 1, Fighters 4, Infantry 2. May not enter a planetary atmosphere (-2).
  • Buccaneer: Armor 50, Fire 10/A, Thrust -2, Cargo 20
  • Condor: Armor 150, Fire 20/A, Thrust -2, Cargo 4, Light Vehicles 20, Infantry 12.
  • Hamilcar: Armor 150, Fire 50/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 1, Mechs 8, Fighters 4.
  • Intruder: Armor 300, Fire 60/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 5, Infantry 4, Fighters 2.
  • Kuan Ti: Armor 200, Fire 90/A, Thrust +1, Cargo 2, Fighters 2, Antimissile Systems (2/Arc), and Vulcan Lasers (2/Arc). Reduced Fuel (-1) and Short Range Weapons.
  • Lung Wang: Armor 200, Fire 60/S, Thrust +0, Cargo 4, Mechs 4, Fighters 2, Infantry 2.
  • Monarch: Armor 50, Fire 0/A. Thrust -2, Cargo 8, Infantry (Civilians / Luxury Passengers, x2/5) 25.
  • Nagumo: Armor 200, Fire 50/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 6, Infantry 12.
  • Noruff: Armor 350, Fire 90/A, Thrust +3, Cargo 1
  • Seeker-I: Armor 100, Fire 20/S, Thrust +0, Cargo 0, Light Vehicles 36, Infantry 8. (Variant; Mech’s 4, Light Vehicles 24, Infantry 8)
  • Union: Armor 150, Fire 50/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 0, Mechs 12, Fighters 2.

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Common Heavy Dropships: SI = (10 + Armor/50 + Thrust Mod)

  • Carrier: Armor 200, Fire 90/A, Thrust +0, Cargo 3, Fighters 10, Antimissile (2/Arc). (Clan)
  • Fortress: Armor 200, Fire 50/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 1, Mechs 12, Heavy Vehicles 12, Infantry 2, Ground Battery (Long Tom), and 2 Tech Imp.
  • Hannibal: Armor 200, Fire 70/A, Thrust +0, Cargo 7, Heavy Vehicles 12, Infantry 4.
  • Lynx: Armor 250, Fire 90/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 0, Mechs 10, Infantry 4, Antimissile System (2/Arc).
  • Okinawa: Armor 200, Fire 50/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 1, Fighters 18.
  • Sassanid: Armor 200, Fire 80/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 8, Infantry 16, Clan (-1).
  • Seeker-II: Armor 100, Fire 20/S, Thrust +0, Cargo 0, Light Vehicles 48, Infantry 4, Mechs 4.
  • Triumph: Armor 150, Fire 30/A, Thrust -2, Cargo 2, Heavy Vehicles 24, Light Vehicles 12 – and Mechs 4.
  • Union-C: Armor 200, Fire 50/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 4, Mechs 15, Clan (-1).

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Ultraheavy Dropships: SI = (10+Armor/50+3*Thrust Mod)

  • Behemoth: Armor 50, Fire 20/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 48, Orbital transport only, 10x capacity.
  • Excalibur: Armor 200, Fire 30/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 0, Heavy Vehicles 72, Mechs 12, Infantry 8. No Mech repair or drop facilities, takes hours to unload units. Total -7.
  • Hercules: Armor 150, Fire 50/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 12, Repair and Medical Facilities, Heavy Vehicles 36, Infantry 12.
  • Lion: Armor 250, Fire 120/S, Thrust -1, Cargo 18, Mechs 10, Infantry 10, and Antimissile Systems (2/Arc. 4/Arc in Clan Variant).
  • Mammoth: Armor 50, Fire 10/S, Thrust +0, Cargo 48, Cargo transport only, 5x capacity.
  • Miraborg: Armor 200, Fire 80/S, Thrust +0, Cargo 8, Fighters 30.
  • Mule: Armor 100, Fire 20/S, Thrust -2, and Cargo 48
  • Octopus: Armor 150, Fire 40/S, Thrust +1, and Cargo 28 (Cannot unload on a planet; x1.5 base cargo weight), Infantry (Passengers will take up twice the usual space) 16, Extra Fuel Tanks (+300 Tons), Engineering Gear (Equipped as a tug, 1) – and Fighters 4.
  • Overlord: Armor 200, Fire 50/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 1, Mechs 36, Fighters 6.
  • Overlord-C: Armor 300, Fire 60/S, Thrust -2, Cargo 0, Mechs 45, Clan -1. Known vulnerabilities (Half fire factor and -50 armor versus rear attacks; total -4).
  • Rose: Armor 100, Fire 40/S, Thrust -1, and Cargo 40 (Requires hours to unload, double the allowable mass), Fighters 4, Infantry 2.
  • Titan: Armor 250, Fire 60/A, Thrust +0, Cargo 9, Fuel (+300 Tons), Fighters 30. Clan (-1)
  • Vengeance: Armor 150, Fire 50/A, Thrust -1, Cargo 3, Fighters 40

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   “Clan” designs skimp on the accommodations, gaining one extra point of cargo capacity. Unfortunately, this reduces the morale of all non-clan units they carry by 10 for the duration of the turn.

   “Short-Range Weapons” boost a dropships fire factor by 50% (Round up) at short range, but reduce it by 50% (Round down) at long range.

   Those who wish to quickly deploy miniunits and drones without modifying their ships may stash 2 miniunits or 4 drones in a Light Vehicle bay. Alternatively, Cargo Handler units can unload things fairly quickly.

   For those who wish to transport ultraheavy vehicles (Usually Naval units – although some examples of other superheavy vehicles have been observed. There are even some genuine examples around), units of up to 150 tons may be carried in place of two heavy vehicles. Heavier items must be carried as cargo.

 

Weight and Loading Classifications:

Vehicles (Available Slots Vary By Category):

  • Minivehicles and Drones (0-2 Tons)
  • Ultralight Vehicles (3-10 Tons)
  • Light Vehicles (10-50 Tons)
  • Heavy Vehicles (51-100 Tons)
  • Ultraheavy Vehicles (101-150 Tons)
  • Larger Stuff (151+ Tons. Cargo Only)

Battlemechs (One `Mech Slot Each):

  • Combat Armor (1-2 Tons, QV; Infantry)
  • Ultralight (3-10 Tons. May Load 2/Slot)
  • Light (11-39 Tons)
  • Medium (40-59 Tons)
  • Heavy (60-79 Tons)
  • Assault (80-100 Tons)
  • Superassault (101-120 Tons)

Aerospace Fighters (One Fighter Slot Each):

  • Mini (1-2 Tons. May carry up to 6/Slot)
  • Ultralight (5-19 Tons. May carry 2/Slot)
  • Light (20-49 Tons)
  • Medium (50-74 Tons)
  • Heavy (75-100 Tons)
  • Assault (101-200 Tons)

Infantry Units (One Infantry Slot Each):

  • 5 Men with Combat Armor Occupy Mass/5 “Tons”
  • 21 Men with Jump Gear Occupy 4 “Tons”
  • 28 Men with Hand Weapons Occupy 3 “Tons”
  • 28 Men with Motor Veh. Occupy 6 “Tons”
  • 21 Men w’ Military Jeeps Occupy 6 “Tons”

Cargo:

  • Since no or minimal life support is provided, this is a lousy way to ship living creatures.

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Inner Sphere Military Organization:

  • Lance: 4 Mech’s/Vehicles or 2 Aerospace Fighters
  • Company: 3 Lances, sometimes augmented by an Aerospace lance as well.
  • Battalion: Three Companies. Usually 42 units, often with three Aerospace lances and a Command lance. Apparently originally standardized by the widespread, star-league era, usage of the Overlord ultraheavy dropship.
  • Regiment: 3-5 Battalions, usually 4. Support units, including scouts, dropships, engineering, artillery, and medical, units are usually attached at this level.

Clan Military Organization:

  • Point: 1 Mech, 2 Aerospace, or 5 Combat Armor
  • Star: Five Points, usually of mixed types.
  • Binary: Two Stars.
  • Trinary: Three Stars.
  • Cluster: Three Binaries/Trinaries
  • Galaxy: Several Clusters

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Dropship “Doors”:

   Actually, any dropship has numerous hatches, ports, and airlocks. Few, however, are designed to allow the rapid loading/unloading of massive quantities of men and materials, or for the passage of major military units. These are known as “Doors”. Each functioning door will allow the entry or exit (Not both) of one “major” unit or two miniunits/infantry/drones per turn. Unlike most of the other facets of designing a unit, the number of doors in a new dropship design is determined randomly. A new dropship design begins with (1D6) doors – albeit with a minimum of one per type of unit (Cargo, Battle- Mech, Fighter/Small Craft, Vehicle/Minivehicle, Drone, and Infantry/Combat Armor) it’s designed to carry. The number of doors on existing designs is listed below;

 

Light Cargo Mechs Fighters Vehicles Infantry
Avenger 1
Broadsword 5
Claymore 2
Confederate 1 5
Confederate-A 6
Confederate-B 4 2
Corsair 5
Cortez 2
Fury 1 1 1
Gazelle 1 1
Leopard 4 2
Leopard CV 6
           
Medium Cargo Mechs Fighters Vehicles Infantry
Achilles 1 2 1
Buccaneer 2
Condor 1 1 1
Hamilcar 2 4 2
Intruder 2 2 1
Kuan Ti 2 2
Lung Wang 1 2 2 1
Monarch 2 4
Nagumo 2 2
Noruff 3
Seeker-I 2 1
Union 4 2
           
Heavy Cargo Mechs Fighters Vehicles Infantry
Carrier 1 4
Fortress 1 1 2 1
Hannibal 1 2 1
Lynx 2 2
Okkinawa 2 6
Sassanid 2 4
Seeker-II 1 4 1
Triumph 1 1 2
Union-C 1 2
           
Ultraheavy Cargo Mechs Fighters Vehicles Infantry
Behemoth 20*
Excalibur 1 1 1
Hercules 2 2 2
Lion 1 2 2
Mammoth 10*
Miraborg 2 6
Mule 6
Octopus 2 2 2
Overlord 1 6 2
Overlord-C 9
Rose 5 2 2
Titan 2 10
Vengeance 4 8

   *) Enhanced by the cargo multiplier.

 

Exotic Dropship Equipment;

 

Item(s) Installed Capacity Cost
Antimissile System (Two per Arc) 1
Computer Systems
Engineering Gear Various Types 2
Flotation System 1
Fuel Add/Subtract Var
Ground Battery Ground Only 1
Long Range Weapons x2
Medical Facility 2
Naval Weaponry 10
Repair Facility 6
Space Battery 4
Speciality Weapons (See Below) Sp.
Tech. Improvement (Maximum 3) -1
Vulcan Laser Two per Arc 1

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Exotic System Notes:

  • Antimissile System; Don’t worry about Ammo. These may be Inner Sphere or Clan as appropriate to the unit and the builder’s resources.
  • Computer Systems include; “C3”, Battle Command, and Drone Control systems. Their tonnage is not a factor, but the relevant costs must be paid to add them. Other advanced electronic items may be added similarly – but are often pointless; Dropships already have the equivalents of Targeting Computers and Multifrequency Radar. Active Probes and ECM are quite useless on the aerospace maps unless someone’s invented something weird. Null- signature systems simply are not capable of concealing a dropship’s emissions effectively. TAG systems are normally only installed in conjunction with ground- or space- batteries (Q.V.).
  • Engineering Gear; This comes in a variety of types, usually specialized for particular purposes.
  • Flotation System; This allows a dropship to land on the surface of the water – or even to move up and down – rather then simply sinking to the bottom (While this is harmless enough, it’s quite inconvenient).
  • Fuel; Dropship “Fuel”, like Aerospace Fighter Fuel, is simply water. It’s far more efficient to separate out the hydrogen (fusion plant fuel) and oxygen (drive reaction mass) as needed then it is to fool about with cryogenic liquid – or absurdly pressurized – hydrogen. Light/Medium/Heavy/Ultraheavy Dropships “get” 10/8/6/4 “thrust Points” per ton of fuel, and may be assumed to carry 120/150/200/300 tons of it (1200 Thrust Points). Roughly 50% of that fuel is operational – required for the four planet-to-jump-point trips involved in an interstellar voyage – with a modest allowance for combat or “ordinary” unforeseen circumstances on the way. The remainder is available for fueling fighters and shuttles or handling emergencies along the way. Reducing this reserve is possible – if foolish; each 100 tons of reduced fuel capacity increases the ships cargo capacity by one. Additional fuel may also be added; each point of cargo capacity devoted to a larger tank permits the ship to carry an additional 300 tons of fuel.
  • Ground Battery; These are “artillery-class” weapons for use when on a planetary surface. They may not be used on either aerospace map. All ground batteries are considered to have either a 360 degree firing arc that can’t fire directly – or a 180 degree arc which can. Ammunition is not a problem. Possible types of batteries include;

Clan or Inner Sphere Systems

  • A) Long Tom x1
  • B) Sniper x2
  • C) Thumper x3
  • D) Gas Mortar x8

Inner Sphere Systems

  • E) Arrow-IV x2
  • F) Arrow-III x3
  • G) Arrow-II x4

Clan Systems

  • H) Arrow-IV x3
  • I) Arrow-III x4
  • J) Arrow-II x5

   As a note, any Arrow-X system comes with 2 TAG systems.

  • Long Range Weapons; This modification increases the range of the dropships weapons, at a cost of one point of the unit’s total cargo capacity per ten-point “fire factor” it possesses. New Ranges are; S/M/L 10/20/30.
  • Medical Facility. Q.V. Exotic Tech/Medical Equipment. All dropships may be assumed to carry ordinary medical and surgical gear, this is a major medical facility. It normally requires a door.
  • Naval Weaponry; The unit mounts an “abstract” naval class weapon (See; Planetary Assault And Defense/Entry 1B). These are limited to a particular firing arc and to a maximum of three per dropship. If someone insists on mounting and using these things in “normal” fights, they inflict 250 points of damage each, and have S/M/L ranges of 10/20/30. Given that the difference in size between a light aerospace fighter and a battleship is negligible at space ranges, such weapons may target any unit. (As a note, Fusion Cannons are naval weapons, but any unit which carries one cannot EVER travel by jump).
  • Repair Facility. Q.V.; Exotic Tech/Repair Shops. Such a shop has room for up to 100 tons of spare parts even without additional space allotments. All dropships are automatically assumed to carry the equivalent of the 20 ton shop. A major repair facility needs a door.
  • Space Battery; These are artillery-class (Extremely long-range guided missiles) weapons intended for deep- space operations. This option provides one battery per firing arc. Possible types of batteries include the Arrow-II, -III, and -IV, systems listed under the Ground Battery heading. These may only be used in space and are useless against warships (They have too many defenses)
  • Speciality Weapons; complicate things, usually with little point. Still, they are occasionally installed, modifying a dropships effective fire factor. Limited- Arc Weaponry costs only half as much as usual, but can only be fired into a single arc. One-Shot Weapons cost only 1/3’rd the usual cost, but no more then 60 points “worth of” damage from “One-Shot” Weapons may be fired from any one arc in any one turn (This limit is raised to 90 if the builder/user has Thunderbolt technology). One-shots need not all be fired at the same time – but must be fired in 10-point increments.
  • Technical Improvements are applied to specific ship designs, as usual. Technical improvements may also be used to increase the number of “doors” in a design, at +2 doors per improvement so invested.
  • Vulcan Lasers operate as usual. Unfortunately, they aren’t the same as usual; these aren’t one-ton devices which can be mounted on minor units; they’re multi-ton ballistic or energy based systems suited for units the size of dropships – and nothing smaller.

 

Modifying Dropships:

   While dropships can be “modified”, the procedure is considerably more limited then it is for smaller units or installations; the structure of a dropship is under a terrible strain. Excessive tinkering commonly leads to catastrophic failure.

   In general, the Armor and Thrust ratings may not be upgraded “in the field”. The basic dropship design may be modified by expending a technical improvement – but upgrading an older version to match requires expending 25% of the CP cost of building a new ship of the type. The Armor and Thrust ratings may be reduced as a field modification – but two points of thrust, or 100 points of armor, (Or half from each) must be taken out to get back one point of cargo capacity. Since this procedure also costs 10% as many CP as building a brand new ship would, it’s rarely done – except for salvage purposes.

   Computer Systems and other electronics may be added by simply paying the appropriate costs.

   A Dropship’s Fire Factor may be modified relatively easily by mounting differing weapons. This permits the exchange of the points devoted to; Fire Factor, Vulcan “Lasers”, Antimissile Systems, and One-Shot Weapons at a cost of 250 CP per point so exchanged. Since Limited Arc Weaponry requires major changes to the weapons bay designs, it may not be modified in this fashion.

   Installing Flotation Systems, Batteries, Long-Range Weapons, Limited-Arc Weaponry, Engineering Gear – and/or Naval Weapons, requires major changes in the structure and/or power systems. In practice, this means that any-thing beyond refitting batteries (EG: Exchanging “Long Toms” for “Arrow-III’s”. Refitting a battery costs 500 CP) requires an entirely new design.

   Medical and Repair Facilities – as well as facilities for BattleMechs, Fighters, Vehicles, Infantry and Combat Armor, MiniUnits, Drones, and Cargo – can be retrofitted in existing dropships at a cost of 100 CP per point of “cargo capacity” so modified. Unfortunately, this also reduces the dropship’s overall cargo capacity by one – the price of trying to fit units into spaces that were not designed to accommodate them. Similarly, this does not change the number of doors available – although it may redistribute them. Getting the cargo capacity back to normal requires the use of a technical improvement.

 

Exotic Light Dropships:

   “Battlesat” System Defense Station; Armor 100, Fire Factor 30/S (+60/Arc, One-Shot), Thrust -4*, Drones 24 (3 Doors), and one aft Naval Weapon. Cannot land (-3).

   -Definitely a special-purpose design, but something of a nuisance for invading forces.

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   Florence Hospital Ship; Armor 50, Fire 10/A, Thrust -2. Medical Facility, Light Vehicles 6, Miniunits 24, Fighters (Shuttles) 2, Infantry (Staff) 2 – and Cargo 2. Six doors; one per type of unit, cargo – and patient.

   -Usually loaded with ambulance-equipped helicopters, a variety of relief supplies, ordinary medical units – and rescue gear. A widely-recognized noncombatant vessel.

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   Tartan; Armor 150, Fire 10/A, and Thrust -2. Cargo 1, Repair Facility, Light Vehicles 3, and “Infantry” (The Engineers) 2. One door per type of unit, plus the ent- rance to the repair facility

   -Normally the exclusive territory of the Technicians and Combat Engineers, the Tartan is invariably in excellent repair. It’s also an indispensable aid to most major operations.

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Exotic Medium Dropships:

   Masin System Defence Station; Armor 450, Fire 40/S, Thrust -4*, 1 Naval Weapon (Frontal), Dual Antimissile System and Dual Vulcan Lasers (4/Arc). Cannot land (-3).

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Exotic Heavy Dropships:

   Summerlin; Armor 100, Fire 10/A, Thrust -2, Medical Facility, Repair Facility, Floatation System, Salvage/ Engineering Equipment (Also allows in-flight refueling of fighters with matched velocities and location), extra Fuel Tankage (+1200 tons), Light Vehicles 6, Miniunits 24, Infantry (Staff) 2, Fighters (Shuttles) 2, and Cargo 4. Has eight doors; 2 vehicle, 1 cargo, 2 minivehicle, 1 fighter, 1 infantry – AND 1 for access to the repair shop. Patients are usually taken aboard from vehicles or thru smaller hatches. Note that this ship includes four technical improvements.

   -The Summerlin is equipped and used for rescue/support operations, not combat. It is notable for being one of the few ships equipped for deep space salvage/rescue operations.

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   Traveler; Armor 100, Fire 10/A, Thrust -4, Cargo 8 (2 Doors), Fighters 4 (Shuttles. 2 Doors), “Infantry” 16 (1 Door) – and Fuel Tankage (+2100 Tons, 2300 Total).

   -Something of a legend, the “Traveler” doesn’t need a jumpship for interstellar travel. It can reach, and decelerate from without refueling, one-third of light speed, carrying a crew of 500 and the supplies needed to begin the colonization of an solar system – whether or not it contains an inhabitable world. The development of FTL drives rendered the “Traveler” obsolete within 60 years, but not before crews had claimed a dozen new solar systems for the human race.

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Exotic Ultraheavy Dropships

   Bastion System Defense Station; Armor 200, Fire 150/S, Thrust -4*, Fighters 36 (10 Doors), Vulcan Lasers, and Antimissile System (Both 2/Arc). Cannot Land (-3).

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   Capitol System Defense Station; Armor 300, Fire 250/S, Thrust -4*, Vulcan Lasers, Antimissile System (Both 2/ Arc), and Fighters 24 (4 Doors). Cannot Land (-3).

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   Gryphon; Armor 500, Fire 60/S, Thrust -2, 3x Naval Weapons, and Fighters 6

   -This dedicated combat design is fully capable of vaporizing another dropship with a single salvo, but is almost useless otherwise. It’s a rarity. If all you really want is an orbiting weapons platform there is little point in making it capable of landing. The Gunginor (QV) is more efficient.

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   Wanderer; Armor 50, Fire 10/A, Thrust -4, Cargo 16, Fighters 4 (Shuttles, 2 Doors), “Infantry” 32 (1 Door) – and Fuel Tankage (+4800 Tons, 5100 Total).

   -This larger version of the Traveler – sometimes called the “Mega-Traveler” – was dropped from production before it got anywhere; while it would have been capable of reaching half the speed of light with a crew of 1000, it was no match for even the earliest FTL systems.

   *) These units are generally moved around using Ion Thrusters. That “Thrust-1” can only be sustained for a brief period – such as during a battle. Constructed in orbit, such units have SI ratings of “1” – and cost only half as many CP to build as an actual dropship design.

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WarCraft:

   Gunginor; Basically a warship without a jump drive, the Gunginor was designed to provide massive firepower for the defence of multiworld systems – or assaults on major strongholds. Sadly – at nearly 300,000 Tons – it masses almost three times as much as the Behemoth, and takes up three dropship slots if it can be transported at all. In “Dropship Terms”; Armor 1000, Fire 60/S, May fire four Naval Weapons/Turn (Into any firing arc, 250 Damage, S/M/L Range of 10/20/30), Thrust -2 (3/5), Fighters 30, 10 Doors. 9000 CP.

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Other Notes:

   Orbital Bombardment; As real-world laser tests have demonstrated, ground-based laser weapons can easily be used against spaceborne targets. There is no apparent reason why the reverse should not apply. Thanks to the development of fusion power systems, the gravitational advantage of being in space no longer means much, even for missiles. In fact, it is far easier to fire things into space then it is to get them to reenter safely or to target energy-based attacks against specific points on a planetary surface. Beams spread – and the further they spread before encountering a planet’s atmosphere, the worse they’re affected.

   Ground installations do not need to be mobile, need not mount complex life-support systems, can be armored with any desired amount of rock – and are a lot easier to build and man. Even allowing for the fact that only about a third of them will be able to fire on a single target during any one turn (Orbital mechanics will let all of them in on the fun eventually) the defense will still have a substantial edge. Even worse, the defense can use Fusion Cannons (QV).

   This does not seem to happen. Evidently current ECM techniques, combined with atmospheric distortions, are enough to hide the exact locations of dropships (Which might also be an explanation for the ludicrously short effective ranges of the weapons). Installations can be further hidden by classical means. On the other hand, a unit which launches an orbital bombardment instantly gives away it’s location, and will probably be destroyed by the local militia moments later. Installations are harder to destroy, but can’t be moved once revealed, and so are hesitant to fire unless there’s no alternative. The net result is simple; orbital bombardments are not a viable tactic (Save, possibly, for the defense), and are not normally permitted in level four play.

Minor Notes: 

  • 1) Units exiting a dropship begin with the velocity of the dropship – not zero.
  • 2) If anyone happens to be interested, the speed of light is 41,510 Hexes per Turn.
  • 3) If someone insists on “Swarming” Dropships, Warships, and/or Jumpships, they can normally be presumed to be equipped with standard crews 2d6+ 10 (Light), 24 (Medium), 30 (Heavy), 36 (Ultraheavy), or 350 (Warship). A warship complement will normally also include up to 25 combat armor troops. All other members of the crew can be treated as standard infantry if a boarding action occurs. Secondarily, an attempt to “swarm” can expect to be opposed by fire from (Fire Factor/10) standard machine guns. This doesn’t make it impossible, but it is fairly difficult.
  • 4) Despite the aerospace rules and map, gravity has very little effect on aerospace units. As an example, Earth has a radius of around one hex (It would take up roughly half of each “Atmospheric” hex), and a surface gravity of equal to Thrust-1. In the first hex “above” the atmosphere that’s reduced to “thrust” one-half. In the second it’s one-ninth. Other habitable worlds will have similar compositions, radii, and fields. While this makes it easy to run aerospace battles on a blank hex sheet, the following – slightly unrealistic – rule may be used to add a bit of flavor; any aerospace unit that passes within 1 hex of a planetary atmosphere may make a facing change towards the planet for 1/3’rd the normal thrust point cost. Those which come by within 2 hexes may make a change for 1/2 the usual cost.

 

   Major Space Facilities are normally constructed out of asteroids and/or comets. There are plenty of them, they’re easy to get, and they supply lots of material; even a small, two-kilometer, nickel-iron asteroid will contain roughly 30 billion tons of usable metal, and can be readily smelted with solar furnace (A primitive relative of the jump sail).

   Smaller facilities are “built” using fusion-powered lasers and “flamers” to hollow out, smooth, and seal, an appropriate system of tunnels and caverns. While this is somewhat confining, a few airtight doors can easily render the entire tunnel facility virtually impervious to accident or attack; even a fusion warhead is rather unlikely to damage anything beyond the surface.

   There’s no point to trying to match these things to the conventional scales; “Battleships” typically mount less then 5000 tons of armor. These things would have to be counted as mounting tens of millions of tons or more. Enough to withstand a full warship bombardment (Say 2000 points a turn) for weeks or months. On the other hand, surface facilities – such as weapon mounts, ion drive systems, and sensors – are just as vulnerable as any other installation. Ergo, you can blow up the annoying bits, occupy the surface, and simply wait a few weeks or months for the inhabitants of the deeper levels to give it up and surrender. The standard defense facilities for such stations can be found under System Defense Stations in the Installation chapter.

   Larger facilities are usually constructed by a gas-injection system – you use a solar furnace for several years to melt the entire mass, inflate it with steam, let it solidify, and cut entrance tunnels. If you spin it up for artificial gravity, supply water, air, and “soil” from comets and stony asteroids, and put in lighting, you can create a stable ecosystem for human habitation. Large entrances permit such a converted asteroid to be used as a shipyard, zero-gravity factory, or jump-point transfer and recharging station. Unfortunately, such a facility is far more vulnerable then a tunnel system; the shell is rarely more then 100 meters thick. While still pretty much invulnerable to conventional mech-scale weaponry, persistent naval-weapons bombardments – or fusion warheads – will wreck them in relatively short order, forcing everyone aboard to seek shelter elsewhere.

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Major Surface Naval Units:

   While they are very rarely encountered under normal circumstances, some few planets still maintain serious “wet” navies – mostly because they’ve reverted to pre-spaceflight technological levels. An occasional water-world does so as well, simply because they’re a fairly “cheap” way of maintaining order. While vulnerable to orbital bombardment (A threat primarily past since the invention of the fusion cannon), major naval units can be a formidable threat to other surface units.

   Major naval units are designed like dropships are – albeit with a few modifications; The “base” naval unit has 100 Armor, a cruising movement rating of 3 – and a “Fire Factor” of 30. Cargo capacity may be expended to increase these, or to carry other units, just as it is for dropships. Infantry is an exception; surface naval vessels may carry 10 infantry units per point of cargo capacity devoted to the purpose. In combat, such ships are treated like aerodyne dropships. Unfortunately, at least from the viewpoints of most tacticians, you need to have an ocean handy to put them on.

 

Basic Cargo Point Cost for (____)-Gear;

Vessel Class CP Cost Capacity Dive Skim Land ICE
Light 1500 8 1 1 1 4
Medium 3000 16 2 3 2 6
Heavy 4500 24 4 6 4 8
Ultraheavy 6000 48 6 16 8 10

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   “Dive Gear” means that the unit’s a submarine. Such a unit’s basic movement rate is reduced by one when it is submerged.

   “Skim Gear” makes the unit a hydrofoil, and adds 3 to it’s base movement rate (Resulting in a maximum of 9).

   “Landing Gear” allows the unit to unload units onto solid ground despite an intervening hex or so of swamp or shallow water.

   Internal Combustion Engines – and their enormous fuel tanks – take up a great deal of room in a ship design. Still, if they’re used, the CP cost of the vessel will be reduced by 50%. Unfortunately, any fool knows that such a design is hopelessly obsolete – something which tends to damage morale.

   “Doors” still apply, and may represent landing pads and runways for auxiliary aircraft .

   There are traditional names associated with surface units; Light units are “Frigates”, Medium; Destroyers, Heavy; Cruisers or Aircraft Carriers (Depending on the speciality) – and UltraHeavy; Battleships and Aircraft Carriers. Most of the following, sample, designs date back to the pre-spaceflight era. Most were designed using old- style fission reactors and various guns. Fortunately for anybody who wants to build them, updating such details is basic engineering.

 

Light Naval Units:

   Citadel; Armor 200, Fire 50, Move 3/5, Three Ground Batteries (6x Frontal Arrow-III’s, 8x Large Gas Mortars), Antimissile Systems and Vulcan Lasers (Both 2/Arc) (This ship includes one technical improvement; capacity +1).

   The basic idea of a patrol boat hasn’t changed very much in 5000 years. Whether it’s a raft carrying some guys with bows and shields up to the fastest hydrofoil variants (Armor 150, Fire 20, Move 9/14 (Skim), other- wise as above), they’re floating boxes carrying a pile of weapons. While relatively cheap and effective, they are effectively limited to genuinely large bodies of water. Modest rivers and such simply will not do.

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   Moray; Armor-150, Fire 0, Move 6/9 (Hydrofoil. Sub- marine 2/3), Infantry 10 (2 Doors), Minivehicles 24 (2 Doors), Drones 24 (2 Doors), Ground Battery (3x Arrow-III’s, Frontal), Vulcan Lasers and Antimissile Systems (Both 2/Arc), and Landing Gear.

   Essentially a raider and screening unit, the Moray is notable for it’s use in rear-echelon raids and extensive use of remote-operated drones. It was, however, never designed to deal with major opposition. It’s intended to sneak up on relatively undefended spots.

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   Skean Du; Armor 150, Fire 20, Move 7/11 (Hydrofoil) Light Vehicles 3 (Fighters and/or VTOL’s, 3 Doors/Pads), Drones 48 (3 Doors), Cargo 1, Vulcan Lasers (2/Arc), and Antimissile Systems (2/Arc). The ICE Missile Frigate version has Armor 100, Fire 0, and move 6/9 – but is the same otherwise as far as performance goes.

   Designed for combat at ranges of a hundred miles or more, these classical missile frigates make for boring duty; you will probably never actually see your enemy, and can do little besides fire cruise missiles at each other. The ships short-range weaponry is designed for last-chance attempts to shoot down incoming missiles and for intimidating smugglers and such, not for genuinely serious combat.

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Medium Naval Units:

   Excelsior; Armor 300, Fire 10, Move 3/5 (Submarine; 2/3), Naval Weapon (Usually a fusion cannon or primary naval laser system. In either case, this is primarily intended for use against orbital dropships), Drones 24 (3 Doors), Cargo 1 (1 Door, usually supplies).

   A rarity in the deployable armed forces, but fairly common among the militia, the Excelsior is designed to deter orbital bombardments. While less heavily armored then a true planetary defense installation, it has the advantage of being able to change it’s position. The drone racks usually carry Skybreaker or Kali missiles, making the vessel a formidable menace to dropships and incoming aerospace fighters.

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   Poseidon; Armor 200, Fire 40, Move 3/5 (Submarine: Move 2/3 when submerged), Light Vehicles 12 (2 Doors), Infantry 30 (2 Doors), Drones 24 (2 Doors), Two Ground Batteries (Frontal, 2x Arrow-IV, 2x Sniper) – and a dual Antimissile System (2/Arc).

   Intended to launch and support an full-scale attack against a sizable town, a military outpost, or similar target, the Poseidon usually equips it’s infantry with inflatable assault rafts or some similar device. As an alternative, this vessel is occasionally equipped with light hunter-killer submarines and Typhon Hunter Torps – making it a formidable danger to oceangoing forces.

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   Tyrfing; Armor 250, Fire 60, Move 8/12 (Hydrofoil), Drones 24 (2 Doors), Light Vehicles 3 (1 Door / Launch Pad), Ground Battery (8x Aft Large Gas Mortars, mostly for depth-charging), Vulcan Lasers, and an Antimissile System (Both 2/Arc).

   A classic destroyer; fast, fairly heavily armed – and equipped with long-range missiles, and a massive battery of depth-charges. It’s “light vehicles” are ordinarily scout- or attack-class VTOL’s. Sadly, like most of the massive units, it’s quite vulnerable to smaller ones – and so, unlike Submarines (Which can hide – and are very useful in hauling things around secretly) and carriers (Not totally obsolete, but rare these days; most units can be shipped around without having to build a mobile base for them), direct-combat “wet” naval vessels like this one are virtually extinct.

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Heavy Naval Units:

   Brigadoon; Armor 200, Fire 10, Move 4/6 (Submarine; 3/5). Medical Facility, Repair Facility, Engineering Gear (Salvage and rescue equipment – as well as gear for minelaying and sweeping), Light Vehicles 6 (1 “Door” and 1 Door/Launching Pad), Miniunits 24 (1 Door), Infantry (Staff) 10 (1 Door), Cargo 4 (2 Doors). There’s also a door for access to the repair facility.

   The Brigadoon is actually fairly “common” on worlds with extensive oceans, running disaster relief, search and rescue, salvage, exploration, resource exploitation, and similar practical missions. It’s most often employed in a military capacity when a world’s defenders need a secret, and easily mobile, repair and supply center.

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   Nightwind; Armor 250, Fire 20, Move 6/9, Drones 48 (1 Door), Infantry 20 (2 Doors), Vulcan Lasers (4/Arc), Antimissile Systems (2/Arc), Light Vehicles 36 (VTOL’s and Fighters, 4 Doors/Launch Pads).

   A serious aircraft carrier, the Nightwind can bring enough bombs and firepower to bear to challenge almost any invasion force. “Taking out” the aircraft carriers is almost a requirement for a successful invasion. The countermeasure was, of course, to invent a submersible aircraft carrier. The Arsenal-class submersible aircraft carrier reduces the Fire Factor to 0, can “only” carry thirty fighters, and moves at 5/8 when submerged – but has identical statistics otherwise.

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   Phantom; Armor 200, Fire 20, Move 3/5 (Submersible, moves 2/3 submerged), Ground Battery (3x Arrow-III’s), Battlemechs 12 (2 Doors), Heavy Vehicles 6 (One Door), Light Vehicles 6 (One Door), and Infantry 10 (1 Door). It includes one technical improvement (Capacity +1).

   The Poseidon’s big brother – and something very nasty to find knocking at your back door. The “Phantom” is usually fitted with an array of stealth systems, and can often lurk underwater undetected for a month or more – before unloading a major strike force in an area which an invader had thought was well-secured.

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Ultraheavy Naval Units:

   Curtana; Armor 500, Fire 60 (Long Range), Move 5/8, 12x Frontal Ground Batteries (6 Long Toms, 12 Arrow-IV Systems), 4x Side Batteries (On each side; 8 Large Gas Mortars, 3 Arrow-III systems), Light Vehicles 12 (VTOL and Fighters, 2 Doors/Launch Pads), Drones 48 (2 Doors), 6 Antimissile Systems and 4 Vulcan Lasers per Arc, Cargo 2 (2 Doors, 300 Tons). The Obsidian-Class ICE version is a good deal less effective, with Armor 400, Fire 40 (Long Range), only 6 Light Vehicles, and only 2 Vulcan Lasers/4 Antimissile Systems per Arc.

   While the era of massive surface “battleships” came to an end long ago – in much the same fashion that the age of massive jump “warships” has drawn to a close in the present – lost colonies sometimes revive all kinds of peculiar things.

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   Enterprise; Armor 350, Fire 30, Move 5/8, Drones 24 (1 Door), Light Vehicles 96 (Fighters and VTOL’s mostly, 6 “Doors”/Launch Pads), Dual Antimissile System (Total of 4/Arc), Dual Vulcan Laser Systems (Total of 4/Arc), Repair Facility.

   The most massive, and perhaps the most potent, planet bound war machines ever designed, the enterprise-class carriers were victims of their own strength. An enemy simply COULD NOT be permitted to employ such a unit in battle – no matter what the cost. Nuclear weaponry, suicide-attacks, sabotage, and treachery, accomplished such destruction far more easily then simple battle.

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   Insurgent; Armor 250, Fire 20, Move 2/3 (Submarine; 2/3), Heavy Vehicles 12, Light Vehicles 24, `Mechs 12, Fighters 8, Infantry 30 – and Cargo 2 (One door each). Antimissile Systems and Vulcan Lasers (Each 2/Arc).

   Annoyingly, a single Insurgent can often load up, and conceal for weeks, the entire garrison of many lightly defended worlds. This kind of thing can get extremely annoying – especially when they pop up again later.

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   It should be noted that standard dropships were not designed to carry miniunits and drones ready for instant deployment. Such units are generally classified as too insignificant to bother with when rapid reinforcements are needed – and so are carried and unloaded as cargo when they’re used at all. When the Battlemechs and Fighters are needed NOW, who cares if it’ll take an hour or two to unload the jeeps and ambulance-helicopters?

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