LANCER: BATTLEGROUP - To Kill the Worthy King


Unlike traditional RPGs, there are no experience points or levels awarded in Lancer: Battlegroup. Instead, each group can decide how to award advancement - once every couple of missions is a good guideline.

Players can earn accolades and legacies, which provide benefits to their performance in battle, as well as reputations, which are relevant to narrative play only. Players never have to choose between being stronger in combat or being better in narrative play - the GM should give out combat awards to everyone, or narrative awards, or both.

Since play-by-post games tend to take a lot more time, I have opted to award both types of advancement after every battle.

Battlegroup Eland:
UNS-BB Nikolai Bukharin gains Legacy: Indomitable (+5 Overshield)
Captain Tabitha Saint-Germaine gains Reputation: Beacon - Eye of the Storm, Traits: (+) Diplomatic, (-) By-The-Book

Battlegroup Splinter:
UNS-BB Richard Wagner gains Accolade: Meritorious Service Bar (1/Battle may reroll any Single Target attack roll, but must take the second result )
Captain Caspian Var gains Reputation: Scion - Measure Of A Man, Traits: (+) Observant, (-) Cold

When a character first gains their reputation, they get additional Traits (one positive, ome negative). In addition, they get a reputation advance, which gives a special ability applicable outside of combat. Tabitha's Eye of the Storm makes her immune to fear and intimidation, and those around her are similarly protected. Caspian's Measure of a Man allows him to evaluate someone after engaging in conversation with them, thus determining the price of their loyalty.

And now, with these upgrades added, they are ready to move ahead with the plot.

Next: Reconsider your life decisions

log in or register to remove this ad

Chartreuse Star, Part 1

"So the Chartreuse Star? That's an interesting coincidence" Caspian raises his eyebrow at Tabitha's message. "Our good Captain Cortez has pointed us in that direction as well. Seems to be a magnet for trouble."

"Hopefully its nothing more than that, but I don't like coincidences," Tabitha grunts in annoyance. "I suppose I will have to prepare for an audience with Captain Warham at some point. For now, I guess I'll meet you on the Star."

"Indeed," Caspian shuts off the commlink and turns to Richards, "Man in the middle again it seems. A good way to get hit by traffic in both lanes."

Meanwhile, the thundering sound of mech-scale gunfire echoes through the link from the stationside docks. "The violence in the docks seems to require more stiff solutions," Vera remarks. "I'm reading chassis-scale nailguns...and is that a riot cannon?"

"Purely nonlethal," says Loving to the chatty NHP. "Our security mechs are taking necessary measures."

"Rubber-tipped 75mm autocannon rounds? Nonlethal indeed. IPS-N does not fool around." After a pause, Vera updates Tabitha on the fighting. "Ah, I see the riot is being quelled now. The offending crews are reconsidering their life decisions."

The Karrakin spacers in front of Tabitha are also reconsidering their life decisions. They quickly lower their tools and back off, leaving the bruised Purview spacers in Tabitha's care.

Caspian and his retinue arrive at a reception lounge on board the Chartreuse Star several minutes before Tabitha joins them. There's enough time to review what data they have on the Meritorious Rex.

The Rex was launched in 5014u, a first-of-its-class superdreadnought vessel equipped with advanced "turtleback" siege plating, powerful primary batteries, missiles, and a deadly long-spool Tyrant Cannon capable of reducing a Triton defense platform in a single shot. Additional intelligence from the Union Navy indicates that the Rex is more agile than its size would suggest, and is capable of coordinated defensive maneuvers with its escorts.

Finally, Cal Cortez provided one more tidbit: the Rex's onboard mech squadron, led by a flamboyant ace pilot in a red Tokugawa frame. As he told Caspian: "Their ace, 'Chip,' has a fondness for flying close to merchant ships, to intimidate them. He'll light up his plasma torches for a show and slash at the hull, just for fun. Someone should put the blighter in his place!"

Tabitha arrives just as a Chartreuse Star crewman comes to greet the Union naval contingent. "Captain Loong is this way, down the corridor. Please come with me."

They go through a pressure door, into a long, white-lit passage. At the far end, a tiny figure in an austere grey jumpsuit, her hair swept back behind her tinted spectacles. She does not walk to meet them. She just stands and waits, judging them silently with her eyes. She offers no greetings.

Next: Ernestine Loong
Last edited:

Chartreuse Star, Part 2

In this conversation, Caspian's player is able to use his Measure of a Man ability to gain additional information about Captain Loong's motivations. No roll needed, it's an automatic benefit.

"Captain Loong," Tabitha says in greeting as she and Caspian draw up to rest in front of the Captain, locking eyes with her, and nods. "Thank you for speaking to us. We have a number of questions regarding your crew and the activities of your ship with regards to the," Tabitha pauses a bit to give Captain Loong a moment to digest that, then continues: "The first is just a simple check and confirmation of the details of your support contingent, the others are a related to your activities in the Rim and a reported run in with one Captain Harman Wilder at Lambent Station." Tabitha cocks her head towards Caspian as she says that, her eyes never breaking contact with Loong's.

Ernestine Loong gives a slight affirmative nod to Tabitha, her poker face never breaking. "Captain Saint-Germaine, Captain Var, I thank you both for helping to protect my crew members from harm. And I fully understand the importance of your peacekeeping duties. I'll be glad to assist in any way that I can."

Captain Loong confirms the details of her repair crew, noting that they have served with her ship for nearly a year. "Like nearly all of us, Rittermeer-born. Talented and productive citizens, and I will vouch for every one of them."

This brings up the obvious question of why Strike Captain Wilder would pull up to the Chartreuse Star and board it. Captain Loong shrugs briefly. "He's doing his duty, distasteful as it is. There are paid informants, agitators, insurgents and saboteur subjectivities lurking all along the Long Rim's constellation of stations. Harrison Armory is being targeted by a far wealthier and more numerous adversary. We are the underdogs in this great contest for the Shore. Captain Wilder's job is to suppress any threats found in his patrol area, and my crew were the unfortunate victims of his overzealous behaviour. Of course we were guilty of nothing more than a few minor hygiene violations in the mess, and a documentation failure that took over a day to unravel. Wilder's boarding party assisted us in achieving proper compliance with all travel certificates. I submitted a report complaining of excessive enthusiasm to Wilder's superiors, as any hardworking Purview captain would, yet I don't really blame him. I would have done much the same."

She really isn't kidding. Caspian can hear it in her voice, see the glimmer of patriotism in her eyes. She is someone who can only be bought by the currency of advancing Armory interests. Preferably while taking credit for any gains for her masters.

"Perhaps," Caspian says with a studiously neutral expression. "An excess of zeal does lend itself to certain unfortunate circumstances. Would you happen to know his patrol zone?"

"I would assume it was the last few light months of the Long Rim nadir route," she replies. "Of course, now that war has broken out, it is a moot point."

She looks over the reports on the well-being of her repair crew, who are now having injuries treated by IPS-N medics. "We will be pushing off in a day or two. But if there are any other inquiries, please have your NHP talk to my NHP."


The Long Rim art by Tom Parkinson-Morgan

Next: New arrivals.
Last edited:

Detectives and Sellswords

Three days later. For the Union battlegroups at Lighthouse Station, it is a busy time.

With the recent arrival of the UNS-CV Maliau Basin came replacement crews and fighters for the Shamokin Rising. Lieutenant Vau has taken charge of assessment and integration of the new pilots into the fighter wings. He's determined to make sure the rookies have the best possible chance of surviving their tour.

For Caspian and Tabitha, the most important passengers on the Maliau Basin were Captain Tiburce Rodin of the Union Department of Justice/Human Rights, and his NHP assistant Hawker. Captain Rodin and Hawker wasted no time in getting up to speed on the war crimes of Strike Captain Wilder and the Meritorious Rex. After reviewing the particulars of the case, the DOJ/HR team requested to transfer to the Richard Wagner for the time being, in the hope of catching the trail of the Rex in the near future. "We promise to be unobtrusive," the mild-mannered Rodin said to Caspian.

Today, another battlegroup is docking at Lighthouse: A heavily modified battlecarrier and a pair of smaller assault transports. The Mirrorsmoke Mercenary Company has entered the fray in the Dawnline Shore.

"Captain Warham of the House of Stone is unlikely to be pleased with the mercenaries," says Vera to Tabitha, almost gleefully. "Mirrorsmoke has cancelled the security contract with the House of Stone, citing an increased threat level in the region. Shouldn't be too surprised. After all, their ship is named We Demand Hazard Pay!"

So why is the Mirrorsmoke battlegroup here, then? The answer comes quickly. Union has hired the mercenaries to support Battlegroups Splinter and Eland.

Vice Admiral Reality Gentle has scheduled a joint briefing at 1000hrs ship time, via remote conferencing, to introduce all of the captains involved to one another.

Tabitha looks up from her briefing pad in surprise, "So... they've... quit a contract with House Stone citing an increased threat level and they've instead signed on with Union... in the same region? How much are we paying them and why exactly are they being attached to us?"

Caspian scowls, "Mercenaries. We don't need their scum. It sounds like a potential liability if you ask me."

"Hard to disagree with that assessment, but it seems that high command thinks we need more firepower, dubious as its quality appears to be." Tabitha looks at her chronometer. "Let's see what Vice Admiral Gentle has to say about this. Let's link into the conference."

Next: Gentle words

Gazebo Party, Part 1

The holographic display wraps around both Caspian and Tabitha. They're now in a long, verdant garden, bordered by tall white marble walls. Three pale moons hang in a lavender sky, while the silver span of an orbital elevator arcs from the unseen horizon.

Caspian's eye is drawn to the group of humans in the central gazebo. Under the high white roof, cool lamps illuminate the open structure. Vice Admiral Gentle sits in an elevated chair at one end, looking grand-matriarchal in her high-collared spacer suit designed to match the black-and-gold of the Union Navy uniform. The four Mirrorsmoke representatives sit in a cluster: A rotund jolly uncle-type wearing a pilot jacket and fatigues, a small brown woman with a severe face in a cut-down monk's robes, and two damned lawyers. The lawyers wear conference suits and bland expressions, but Bernd and Vera pip them with targeting brackets for Caspian and Tabitha's eyes only, warning that these are members of one of Mirrorsmoke's feared legal detachments.

"Come, at ease," says Reality Gentle, beckoning to the two captains. "Captain Caspian Var. Captain Tabitha St. Germaine. My two finest group commanders."

She introduces the captains to the leader of the mercenaries: "This is Colonel Kenan Milch of the MSMC Board, in command of the 120th Detachment, 'The Sour Brains.'"

"A pleasure to meet you!" says the colonel, beaming and holding out his bear-like arms in greeting. "Let me introduce my staff!"

He gestures to the small woman. "Major Lani Mahayhay, my executive officer." She nods and smiles politely.

"And we have Nirmal King, compliance officer, on special attachment from the 32nd Legal Detachment, 'The Fighting Shaitans.'" This pale lawyer barely displays signs of life.

"Finally, Zoltan Pesh, liability manager, also from the 32nd." The androgynous lawyer nods very slightly at the captains.

"Zoltan Pesh?" Admiral Gentle approaches the lawyer, pretending to smile. "I've read your name before. You were representing Smith-Shimano after that business on Hercynia, weren't you? You were number two on their defense team I believe?"


"You put up quite a fight for your client. Beat us hard." Gentle pauses, then adds: "Well fought."

"Merely doing my job," says Pesh.

"And now you're with the MSMC?"

"Poached by the senior partners," Pesh replies. "They liked my work."

"A pleasure to meet you all," Caspian says with a polite nod, "We look forward to working with you in future," he says, smiling thinly. Tabitha mirrors his gesture. "I must confess to being curious as to what brought your team into our employ," she says, with an inquiring look at Admiral Gentle, "It does seem that things are starting to heat up around here."

Colonel Milch shrugs. "Once the shooting in the Shore began, the House of Stone made a number of demands, which went beyond our wartime hazard clauses -"

Pesh gives the colonel a sharp look, which cuts him off. The lawyer explains: "A number of disagreements arose. We were unable to come to an amicable agreement and we triggered our exit clause. Litigation by the House of Stone is pending, but we are confident that we have a very strong case." Pesh takes a breath, then adds: "Since we had already made the transit into the Dawnline Shore, the Board gave the Colonel authority to find alternative employment. The Rear Admiral was quick to hire us on."

Next: Interception plan

Gazebo Party, Part 2

Gentle glances at the Union captains. "That's the cue for my briefing," she says, standing quickly. She leads the party to a scenic pond behind the gazebo, where a glowing orrery of planets and flight paths can be seen over the water's surface.

"Following the massed fleet engagements over New Creighton and the skirmishes near Lighthouse Station, the Armory and Federal Karrakin forces have begun clashing at various DLS worlds aligned to either belligerent. We've cut blink access and airgapped the local omninet. Our Crisis Response Groups are guarding the blink gate and DS4 New Madrassa, but we will also need to secure the apex and nadir routes from the Long Rim. Without blink gate access, that's the only way any of the belligerents can send fleets into the Dawnline Shore."

A rather familiar gas freighter appears in close zoom over the pond. "This is the Chartreuse Star, an Armory-flagged civilian freighter that has been running a regular route from the Rim through several Dawnline Shore worlds. Union Naval Intelligence reports that the Chartreuse Star has been spying for the Armory, and has intercepted communications with an Armory fleet now approaching via the Long Rim nadir route. The bulk of our spare CRGs will be moving to intercept the Armory ships and force them back."

"And we're not going there?" asks Colonel Milch.

"Negative. Intelligence suggests that some Armory ships may also try to slip through the Long Rim apex route, passing by Lighthouse Station. We can't spare a full CRG, but I believe that your ships will suffice as a sufficiently strong patrol force to keep this corridor safe. Considering that the Meritorious Rex is still at large at the edge of the Rim, the threat here is very real."

"I've heard about the Rex," says Colonel Milch, rubbing his hands together. "Untouchable at long range. But if we can get close to its soft belly, I reckon a mass accelerator barrage and some boarding parties could crack it open!"

Next: Joint operations

Gazebo Party, Part 3

"Untouchable at long range, you say," Caspian raises an eyebrow. "I would assume then she will have company to keep people at range. Do we have any additional information of the kind of forces we might encounter besides the Rex?" he asks, turning to Gentle.

"According to Intelligence, the Armory has deployed a small number of advanced designs with experimental technologies such as thermal shrouding and blink-tunnelling drives. We haven't seen such weapons in engagements thus far, but it won't be long before we encounter them. And we expect the Rex to have some subline escorts, possibly some carrier support as well."

Major Mahayhay steps over to Tabitha's side. "Good to meet you, Captain. I heard you tangled with the Karrakin fleet up close, and came out the other side. That's rare and valuable experience. My crew have mopped up pirates before, but I have no delusions about the difference between pirates and the fleet of a major superpower like the Baronies or the Armory. Respectfully, I'd like to propose some joint training between my pilots and yours when we get underway. From the schedule that the Vice Admiral proposes, I think we have a few days. What do you think?"

"That would be splendid," Tabitha nods at her. "We can make the arrangements and also provide you with the recordings of the battle if you could also share some of your own previous engagements. The better for our fleets to work together."

Caspian gives Major Mahayhay a sidelong glance. He's unsure whether the small spacer is actually interested in cooperation or simply feeling them out. He keeps his peace with only a slight furrow of his brow signaling his disapproval.

"Very good," says Major Mahayhay. "I'll have a word with the legal team about sharing our battle records as soon as possible."

Next: Leaving Lighthouse Station
Last edited:

Into a Black Sky

The rest of the meeting is decidedly informal. Vice Admiral Gentle lets her battlegroup captains work out the details. She only stresses the importance of keeping more belligerents from entering the fray in the Dawnline Shore. "Both sides have enough manufacturing capacity and standing troops to keep up the fight for years, even without counting reinforcements from the Long Rim. So let's try to keep them from further fueling the fire. As always, use your discretion in interpreting your orders."

Once the meeting breaks up, the little fleet sets out into the black sky within just 10 hours. The Union ships are supplied and ready to go, and the mercenaries only stop at Lighthouse long enough to refuel.

More than a few Karrakin eyes watch the mercenaries leave with great annoyance. The We Demand Hazard Pay was supposed to shepherd the House of Stone convoy, but the contract dispute has left the Karrakins stranded here even longer.

With the Nikolai Bukharin leading the way, the fleet gets underway.

Operation SWIFT AMITY has begun.

Next: Nadir and Apex


Six days later. Operation WINGSPAN CORRAL.

Ten ships of the line cruise the black sky in a staggered formation, guarding the Long Rim nadir route. On the UNS-BB Six Grandfathers, Commander Louis Smalls reviews the latest sensor contact, a Smith-Shimano light freighter carrying luxury genetics bound for DLS9 San Simeon, accompanied by a Trunk Security parasite corvette. It's the only armed vessel they've detected on the nadir route so far.

"I'm certain that Fleet Commander Meng will have none of this nonsense," says Louis to his NHP executive officer, Fairchild. "They'll have to turn back. Unless they're bringing relief supplies and medical aid, they're not getting through."

"It's hardly the Armory fleet we expected, though," replies the NHP. "Either they're late, or the intel was incorrect."

"Well, where could an entire Armory reinforcement fleet have gone? Maybe they crossed to the apex route? Hooked up with the Rex?"

"In that event, we do have a scratch group outside Lighthouse Station. Richard Wagner, Nikolai Bukharin and their escorts. And some Mirrorsmoke mercenaries."

"Richard Wagner?" Louis laughs. "My classmate from the academy is in command. Caspian Var, the deuce!"

"Didn't he file a complaint against you in the academy?"

"Accused me of plagiarizing his report! Entirely a misunderstanding." Louis physically gestures as though brushing some lint from his uniform. "I have doubts about his good judgement."

"Captain Var has a solid record to date. Vice Admiral Gentle decorated him with the Meritorious Service Bar for his engagement with Karrakin ships."

"Hmmmph. Well, if our intel is wrong, and the Armory fleet is headed his way, he'll have more than enough chances to earn more medals."


Operation SWIFT AMITY, Long Rim apex route.

The fleet's extreme-range sensors pick up multiple nearlight contacts, and after initial analysis, Vera and Bernd deliver the news: an estimated 6 ships of the line, plus escorts, headed this way.

Intel was wrong. The Armory reinforcement fleet is coming. Now.

Tabitha and Caspian receive news of the unwelcome arrivals dispassionately on the fleet conference.

"Vera, please display the fleet composition readouts for everyone," Tabitha says. "We need to know exactly what we're up against."
Last edited:

Brilliant and Professional

"We're still looking at middle-confidence profiles, but at the moment we can make out four battleships and two capital-scale carriers, along with a dozen smaller escorts," says Vera. "The good news is that they're spread out, with one battleship and two carriers trailing the rest by 1-2 light days. There is a possibility - and I stress that this is all theoretical - that we could defeat the entire force in detail if we had to."

Captain Rodin of the DOJ/HR, sitting in on the fleet conference, squints at the data and frowns. "None of the battleships look large enough to be the Rex."

"Correct," says Bernd. "The Rex is not among them."

Vera displays the profiles of all ships in SWIFT AMITY. "Aside from Battlegroups Splinter and Eland, we have the Sour Brains, comprising the battlecarrier We Demand Hazard Pay, and the assault transports Facefirst and Fool's Gold. The former carries four wings of mechanized chassis and is armed with superheavy mass accelerator banks, and the latter two transports have several marine landers between them, for boarding actions."

"I'll have CGO Bryant start working up our targeting solutions as per standard, Tabitha," Caspian says, "I don't expect we'll be doing much out of our standard operating procedures to open this engagement, unless Colonel Milch and Major Mahayhay have anything to add?"

The Colonel says: "Get us close enough to use our mass accelerators and launch boarding parties. I suggest sending us into boarding range alongside Battlegroup Eland - more targets for the enemy to split their fire against when we dive in. Then we just need your fighters to cover us when we launch. The Major has told me she's quite pleased with the joint training exercises we've been running. So I'm confident we can pull it off."

Zoltan Pesh speaks up - although the lawyer's voice is just a soprano echo compared with the Colonel's bold bass. "We have cleared all legal hurdles to permit our NHP to fuse with your fleet legion in case of engagement. Thank you, Captains, for signing our liability release forms."

Battlegroup Splinter Uptime Action - consult with Gunnery, using Caspian's Professional trait: (17+4) = 21
Remove one additional charge counter on one of the SPKs during the first logistics phase.

Seeing as this is basically Caspian and his crew's SOP at the start of a battle (and he's somewhat obsessive on training and efficiency), he wants to run his crew through the necessary checklists to prepare to open the fight with everything they've got.

Battlegroup Eland Uptime Action - consult with NAVINT, with Tabitha's Brilliant trait: (16+3) = 19
1. What sort of charge weapons do the enemy Flagships have?
2. Which of the enemy fleets will be more willing to stand and fight - and which ones can I intimidate into surrender?
3. What sort of movement disruption abilities do the fleets have?

Tabitha uses her Brilliant trait to try and tease out some vital intelligence on the incoming hostile fleets. She finds that four of the six capital ships are on file. Two of the leading trio are identified as PCV-DN Hannibal and PCV-DN Shaka Zulu, both built and crewed out of Rittermeer. Intel considers Rittermeer to be one of the more loyal Purview worlds, and unlikely to break under fire. Two of the Hannibal's subline escorts, as well as the Shaka Zulu and the unidentified third dreadnought in the leading trio, are at the early stages of charging their long-spool weapons, and there are also some odd exotic radiation readings coming from both the latter battleships.

"It's a high chance of more paracausal technology," says Vera. "Maybe it's Voladore blink-tech. We've been warned that they're bringing some experimental ships into the Shore, in which case we may expect some unconventional movement tricks from these ships. I'll flag them on the threat display for you."

Captain Tiburce Rodin speaks up: "Strike Captain Catrina Bannon commands the Shaka Zulu. She was Harman Wilder's friend and classmate at the Purview Interstellar College cadet program. Strongly loyal to the Armory, a favourite of the high directorate. I would not be surprised if she's put in command of the fleet. She's supposed to be conservative and cautious. She prefers to let the long-spool weapons do the talking."

Of the three trailing ships (two carriers and a battleship), Tabitha is able to pull IDs on two of them. One is PCV-GC Arminius, an IPS-N-built battlecarrier commanded by Strike Captain D.S. Gopalakrishnan, a young rising star in the Armory, known for his unconventional strategems at the Purview Interstellar College war games. And the other is PCV-DN James I, a Man O'War commanded by Captain Lowell Petrie - an old acquaintance of Tabitha's from her academy days. Petrie was a visiting exchange student, benefitting from a time when relations with the Armory were better. He's a good man with an honourable heart. Not the sort to waste lives in a pointless battle. And he had a fond spot for Tabitha, even though they only knew each other for a few months...

"I beg to differ," says Vera to Captain Rodin. "If I was a smart Director, I'd put Gopalakrishnan in command. He's probably the most cunning officer of the bunch. They say he's studied NHP psychology in an effort to find new ways of tactical thinking."

Next: Opening statements
Last edited:

Swift Amity

"We could trim down these numbers somewhat, Tabitha," Caspian says, looking up from the weapons console that he and CGO Bryant have been methodically working over. "My crew has managed to work out some shortcuts in the powerup procedures for the Wagner's guns. If we push them into overdrive we can launch an immediate strike on one of the capital ships and take it out of play before the battle really gets going and have the second weapon ready to fire soon after. If all goes well, we could take two capital ships out of play before we get stuck in. Of course, there will be... consequences if we do this. We'll almost certainly burn out the power conduits to the overcharged gun which will take it out of the battle."

Tabitha frowns. "That's quite a gamble and you're assuming everything goes well and according to plan."

"My plans always go well, Tabitha," Caspian counters with an arrogant smirk.

On the bridge of the Bukharin, the bridge crew roll their eyes at that.

Tabitha St. Germaine looks worriedly at the readings. They're outnumbered and outgunnd. Caspian's plan might help even the odds but at what cost? She runs the numbers through her head. Cutting down the number of charge guns is a priority in her mind but unless the Wagner gets lucky, she isn't willing to bet that it would successfully kill a Battleship in a single strike. On the other hand...

"Given the number of charge weapons pointed at us, the Wagner might not get a chance to fire a second time, Captain," CSO Ghebo pipes up, watching his Captain closely.

Tabitha looks down at her feet for a moment. Then looks back up, facing the conference.

"Very well, Captain Var, proceed as per your suggestion. Take your shot at the Shaka Zulu and take it out of play as quickly as possible. We will aim for the Hannibal and its group. Colonel Milch, follow the Bukharin's lead. We take those charge weapons out of play as quickly as possible but we'll need cover against incoming. The Shamokin Rising's wings got chewed up the last time. I'd like that not to happen again."

"All ships, close. Full power to the engines and forward shields, Vera, open comms to all incoming ships and sound battle stations."

Tabitha St. Germain straightens herself and her uniform and faces the comms display.

"Attention, Purview ships. This is Captain Tabitha St. Germaine of the UNS-BB Nikolai Bukharin. You are in violation of the Union no-fly corridor - this route is closed to all military traffic. Please power down your weapons and remain where you are until such time that we can assign a battlegroup to escort you out of this conflict zone."

Even she says this, the Bukharin's sensors detect a massive energy spike originating from the Wagner.

Caspian smiles amidst the disconcertingly gentle warnings of the massive energy surge coursing through the Wagner's guns.

"Just a little bit of Big Stick diplomacy," he says coolly.

The gunnery crew smile along with him, the flashing red warnings lighting their faces in a sinister glow.

Expeditious Remarks

The reply comes just minutes later. The red-haired woman glares angrily out from the hologram, spitting her words like fire. "This is Strike Captain Catrina Bannon of the PCV-DN Shaka Zulu. We are on a mission of mercy to DS12 New Creighton. The legitimate government of the Perfect Ministeriat has come under vicious attack by terrorist factions sponsored by the Karrakin Trade Baronies. The Harrison Armory fleet is merely meeting its humanitarian and treaty obligations to our allies. We urge the Union Navy to step aside and let us do our job. We will not be held responsible for what happens if anyone interferes with us!"

She pauses for breath, then continues. "Captain, you can't seriously intend to throw away the lives of your men. I have six battlegroups under my command. We have numerical superiority. Our ships are more advanced. Our crews are dedicated and unrelenting." She snorts. "I laugh at your feeble fleet. Are we supposed to be impressed by these...mercenaries? When we are finished with you, Captain, I will take great pleasure from -"

The signal breaks up. There are stellar flares in the neighbourhood, and long-distance comms and tracking systems are being affected.

"Well, damn," says Colonel Milch over fleet comms, chuckling. "Our crappy name worked again! Nobody ever overestimates the Sour Brains!"

"Sir, perhaps we want to keep Bannon alive until last?" suggests Vera. "Lest someone more intelligent takes command?"

This Will Be Rough, Part 3

"A more intelligent commander would use their heavier ships to buy time for their carriers to slip past us," Tabitha leans over the plotting table. "And I believe the more intelligent commander is in charge of the carrier fleet."

"You think he might make a break for it?" Caspian asks with a raised eyebrow.

"They might if they see things go badly for their battle line. I might need you to get the Wagner stuck in, Caspian."

"Rather expected that Tabitha. We will follow you in. We'll also revise our targeting priorities as appropriate."

"This will get rough," Captain Evans mutters under her breath to the uneasy assent of the other ship captains.

Tabitha nods, "Unfortunately, these are the cards we've been dealt. We have our orders. Vera? Get confirmation from Fleet that they are aware of our situation," then she straightens up and faces the broadcast screen as the line opens once more.

"You are not expected to be impressed, Strike Captain. You are expected to comply. You are in violation of the Union no-fly corridor and are required to stand down immediately pending a suitable escort out of a live conflict zone. Union has made is stance on the issue clear and we will not be intimidated into inaction by superior force..." Tabitha pauses for effect and continues clearly and coldly, "... or deliberate acts of mass murder."

In the background, Caspian chuckles grimly.

Next: The 2nd Expeditionary Fleet

Order of Battle

State of the fleets:

2nd Crisis Response Group (Union Navy)

Battlegroup Eland (Range 5)
Interdiction 1d6+2
UNS-BB Nikolai Bukharin (31 HP, 5 OS)
UNS-CV Shamokin Rising (16 HP)

  • 2x Fighter Wing (5 HP, 5 HP)
  • Destroyer Unicorn (8 HP)
  • Destroyer Undine (8 HP)

Battlegroup Splinter (Range 5)
Interdiction: 1d6+2
UNS-BB Richard Wagner (26 HP)
UNS-LS Björn Járnsiđa (14 HP)

Battlegroup Sour Brains (Range 5)
Interdiction: 1d6+2
MSMCS We Demand Hazard Pay (25 HP)

  • 4x Mounted Chassis Wing (5 HP, 5 HP, 5 HP, 5 HP)
  • MSMCS Facefirst (8 HP)
  • MSMCS Fool's Gold (8 HP)

2nd Expeditionary Fleet (Harrison Armory Colonial Legionate)

Battlegroup Hannibal (Gyre Center)
Interdiction: 1d6
PCV-DN Hannibal (Turtleback) (35 HP)

  • 2x Brothers in Arms (8 HP, 8 HP)

Battlegroup Shaka Zulu (Gyre Center)
Interdiction: 2d6+2
PCV-DN Shaka Zulu (Paladin) (25 HP)

  • 2x Roughnecks (8 HP, 8 HP)
  • Ace: Albedo Cavalier (10 HP)

Battlegroup Titania (Gyre Center)
Interdiction: 2d6
PCV-DN Titania (UNKNOWN Man O'War) (35 HP)

  • 4x Daggerflight (6 HP, 6 HP, 6 HP, 6 HP)

The Turtleback is a big slow bruiser with heavy siege plating that takes half damage from any attacks from range 5-3. It is accompanied by subline destroyers with baby charge guns.

The Paladin is a sleek advanced battleship with a "jousting" charge gun that shoots just a bit earlier in the Impact step, various buff and debuff abilities, and decent defenses. It has marine transport escorts and an ace with paracausal charge gun technology.

A typical Man O'War is a big brutal battleship with a slow but devastating charge gun and additional batteries for laying down suppressive fire. The UNKNOWN template adds a paracausal omnigun that never misses, and blink-tunneling movement (needs time to power up). Its escorts are a squadron of fast corvettes that can screen it from attacks.

There are additional Harrison Armory battlegroups in Reinforcements (2 carrier groups, 1 battleship group), although they haven't yet committed to converging into the intercept.

The battle has an Environmental Modifier- Sensor Flares.

Environmental modifier- Sensor Flares: High levels of electromagnetic interference, solar flare activity, derelict IFF transponders, or other such phenomena make utilizing guided weapons more difficult as they waste time tracking phantom signals. Each time a ship launches a Payload attack roll a d6. On a result of 1, add 1 to that Payload’s flight time.

And yes, the Turtleback and Paladin have Payload weapons, so they'll suffer somewhat because of this.

Next: More trash talk
Last edited:

Ultimate Remarks

"Weapons are at 50%, Captain," CGO Bryant says, her face glowing red amidst the sea of blue from the warnings flashing across the screen.

"Starboard SPK is nominal. Systems are holding," calls out one of her gunners. The man next to him reports: "Portside SPK is nearing critical surge capacity. Power coils are close to meltdown." He looks up, "She'll probably blow when we fire."

Caspian nods. "Have all crews clear the port weapons spaces and secure them against damage cascades. Arm the emergency breakers," he stares at the sensor shadows of the distant purview fleet and a cruel smile crosses his lips.

"I do hope you will be impressed at our little light show, Strike Captain," he says quietly to himself.

On board the Richard Wagner, Captain Rodin straps himself into his spacesuit with just a slight sigh of regret. "My first space battle, and no sign of the Rex anywhere."

"Sir, it will get hot enough even without the Rex," says his NHP assistant, Hawker. "The Titania is carrying a Demisolar Lance, which is rated at...well, a significant fraction of the output of a star. If the battle drags on into 2 days, we will see that weapon fire. And that is in addition to whatever that black sphere is."

Hawker highlights what appears to be a globe of utter nothingness suspended over the Titania's bow.

Tiburce Rodin tilts his head. "That sphere reminds me of the omnigun on the Horus Pegasus. The gun that defies physics and never misses?"

"I'm sorry sir, you're absolutely right. A ship-scale omnigun."

Rodin sighs again.


Horus Pegasus art by Tom Parkinson-Morgan

A message comes through from the Shaka Zulu to the Nikolai Bukharin, but it is marked Captain's Eyes Only.

Strike Captain Bannon looms large, leaning into the display interface. "The disrespect. The sheer disrespect. That, I will not forgive. Captain St. Germaine, before this fight is done, I swear I shall rake your Second Committee relic from stem to stern!"

"Respect is earned, Strike Captain. It cannot be demanded by force," Tabitha replies coldly, then turns back to open comms. "This is the UNS-BB Nikolai Bukharin of the Union 2nd Crisis Response Group to all encroaching Purview ships. You are violating the Union no-fly corridor and are required to stand down pending an appropriate escort out of the conflict zone. Failure to do so will considered a hostile act and you will be fired upon. This is my third and final warning. Stand down immediately!"

"Well, now that procedure is out of the way, can we shoot?" Caspian smirks slightly.

Tabitha, nods, "I don't think they're going to stand down when they think they have the upper hand, so we give them enough time to get the message, then we start shooting."

Next: Prayers and digital apotheosis
Last edited:

Prayers. Apotheosis.

On the Shaka Zulu, the Armory crew members work at a brisk pace, clearing the ship for battle. Strike Captain Bannon is in a foul mood, sweeping through deck after deck on last-minute inspections. The junior officers pass around word that the Union fleet took out an equal force of Karrakin ships without taking a scratch. Splinter and Eland have already gained a rep in the Dawnline Shore. They are a force to be reckoned with, no matter what the Strike Captain says.

Every Armory capital ship carries a small garden lounge area, a small piece of Ras Shamra to remind the spacers what they fight for. In the last hour leading up to inevitable engagement, as the two fleets deccelerate and lock into the gyre of battle, some of the Rittermeer crew members stop in the ship's rock garden to press their hands against the slate boulder at its centre, saying a little prayer.

On the MSMCS We Demand Hazard Pay, Major Mahayhay busies herself with the readiness of the mounted chassis wings, ensuring that they have been fitted with breaching charges, CQB loadouts and boarding beacons. Data on the Armory ships is loaded into each mech's COMP/CON or onboard NHP. Where she deems it appropriate, she slaps the odd pilot on the back and gives them encouraging words. She keeps up a solid front that belies her misgivings about their voyage of death.

In his ready room, Colonel Milch revises his final will and testament. Messages to both of his ex-wives, and all seven kids. Despite his outward bravado and bluster, he too has a bad feeling about this battle.

Ship NHPs merge. The fleet legions coalesce.

In the Union fleet's command centres, Aegis greets each captain simultaneously. "Fleet is ready for action, Captain," the legion says to Tabitha. There's a slightly different tone to her voice - of course, Tabitha realises, the mercenaries's NHP, Cunningham, has been integrated into Aegis for this battle as well.

"I'm ready to designate targets for superheavy and primary weapons," says Aegis. "The Richard Wagner will soon suffer battle damage from its overcharging procedures. We will fire before any of the enemy flagships. Two of the Hannibal's destroyers will retaliate with short-spool spinal guns at roughly the same time. The Shaka Zulu's RED GIANT Solar Lance will take some hours more before it can fire. The Titania's Demisolar Lance will fire at the start of the second day of battle. And then, if the Wagner survives, one of its guns might fire again. Some time during this sequence of events, at least one enemy carrier will arrive to join the Armory fleet. These are some of the most probable events we must plan around."

In the Shaka Zulu's CIC, the Armory fleet's digital shipminds knit together and resolve into the towering figure of Aelita, the fleet legion. "Strike Captain, what is thy will?"

Catrina Bannon looks around the virtual battlespace at the faces of her subordinate captains. "We should keep our distance, let our spinal lances do the work. Captain Klukas, I want a curtain of Pulse-Pack Missiles in their path. Let's see if the Red scum want to taste nuclear fire to get to us."

Captain Ashanti of the Hannibal clears her throat. "Our lads on the Siegfried and the Roy will be the first to draw blood with their spinal guns. Who do we kill first?"

"That one." Bannon stabs her finger at one particular ship. "But Titania will be the one to fire first, with the Omnigun and the Harbinger laser. Klukas, soften her up, why don't you?"

"The pleasure will be mine," replies Klukas, stiffly saluting.

Bannon looks up at Aelita. "Coordinate the firing. Ensure the most efficient distribution of damage. Make them bleed."

"Thy will be done."

"Good. Remember, we just need to wait for Gopalakrishnan and his ships. Hold the line. Stall the Reds. Victory is inevitable."

Lasers at a Distance

The Wagner's bridge crew tensely watch the data readouts as the ship begins to shudder under the massive strain of its overcharging weapons. There is a certain sense of fatalism to their actions as their fingers dance across their datascreens. Most have already put their affairs in order with the crew chiefs firing off last minutes data flashes back to fleet for further action in case anything goes wrong. For many, the specter of death is made only bearable by their sense of duty and the cold comfort that - even if the worst should happen - many of their foes will join them in oblivion.

"They'll probably be shooting at you first," Captain Lutjens of the Björn Járnsíða observes flatly to Caspian Var, "You've got the biggest guns and they'll want to take you out of play before you can fire too many times." Caspian nods coolly.

"Perhaps, though they might well choose to fire on the Captain St. Germaine first seeing that our contribution to the battle is... relatively slow to build up to," He shrugs, "Regardless - we shall see shortly. Gunnery, how are our SPKs looking?"

"Both weapons are already at 250% nominal power loading, Captain," CGO Bryant responds, "80% Charge on both." Caspian nods.

"Make these shots count, Chief," He says. "If we fail, we die."

Even as he speaks, glittering emerald rays reach out from the Björn Járnsíða and caress the Shaka Zulu in their deadly light, disrupting shielding and burning away armor plate.

Logistics Step:
Battlegroup Splinter: Remove two charge tokens from one of the SPKs, remove one charge token from one of the SPKs. Add two Overcharge tokens to one of the guns and take 2 points of damage.

2 x Harbinger Confidence Lasers on the Björn Járnsíða deal 4 points of damage to the Shaka Zulu.

Battlegroup Hannibal: Brothers in Arms removes 1 charge token from Short-Spool Spinal Guns (1 token remaining).

Battlegroup Shaka Zulu: Shaka Zulu removes 1 charge token from RED GIANT Solar Lance (2 tokens remaining).

Battlegroup Titania: Titania removes 1 charge token from Demisolar Lance (3 tokens remaining) and its targeting laser deals 2 damage to a hostile Capital Ship in range 5-3. It chooses to deal the 2 damage to the Richard Wagner.

Demisolar lances, while not literally drawing half of a star’s energy, demand and output truly staggering wattages. Even a Demisolar’s targeting laser can kill a ship: a square hit will take anything out of the sky.

The Richard Wagner feels the strike of the 'hot' targeting laser against its bow. Temperatures rise alarmingly.

Titania also adds 1 charge token to its Naphoros Omnigun, which then deals damage equal to the number of charge tokens to a hostile target in range 5-0 (cannot be prevented in any way). It chooses the Björn Járnsiđa.

Lutjens' tactical officer speaks up: "Sir, I don't understand what happened, but we've been hit - just a glancing strike of some kind, no idea what it was. Very minor damage. But they may be ranging in."

System: Pulse-Pack Missiles (adding 2 Reloading tokens)
The Man O’War launches a massive volley of multi-warhead missiles that blanket an area in devastating explosions and deadly radiation. During the Logistics Step, choose one range band from 4-3. The Titania chooses Range 4. Until the next Logistics Step, any enemy battlegroup that ends their turn in the chosen range band takes 2d6 Area damage.

Aegis reports that the Titania has mined the approach vectors with nuclear missiles. "Capital ships and escorts alike will be taking dangerous levels of hard radiation if we spend too long in their area of effect. They're using these weapons to play keep-away, and it's a strong disincentive for our fleet. What do you want to do?"

"Damn the mines, full speed ahead," Tabitha snarls, "I want all power to the engines, signal the group - emergency maneuvers!"

Next: Helldive
Last edited:


Battlegroup Eland: Tactic - Emergency Maneuvers. Battlegroup Eland moves to range 4.

The crew of the Nikolai Bukharin simultaneously clench as the massive ship surges forward, its inertial dampeners straining to keep the men and women in place and in one piece, even as the first series of nukes go off. The crew watches with growing apprehension as momentum builds towards the ever growing energy blooms on their screen.

Tabitha is watching as well, tensely, timing it - there; a series of detonations go off close at hand, momentarily scrambling screens on the Bukharin's bridge. But the Titania's Pulse-Pack launchers cannot launch fast enough to carpet the area completely at all times - and Tabitha seizes on this.

The timing is meticulous as the ships of Battlegroup Eland plunge into the storm of nuclear hellfire with Tabitha calling out course corrections to the increasingly harried updates from the Bukharin's sensor teams, calculating launch times and ballistics amid the continuing series of detonations.

Then with one last order "All ahead full!" Battlegroup Eland surges through the killzone - their hulls singed but intact - and their guns swinging to bear flash a defiant reply.

Battlegroup Eland: Maneuver - All Ahead Full!, move to range 3.
Heavy Kinetic Battery fires on one of the Brothers-in-Arms; Roll: 9 (hit), Damage 5
Barrage Doctrine (Trait): Destroyers both fire, Damage: 2 + 2
One of the Brothers-in-Arms is destroyed.

"Battlegroup Eland is beginning its dive," reports Aegis to Colonel Milch and his bridge crew. The Bukharin and its accompanying ships steadily accelerate toward the sea of pips representing the pulse-pack missiles.

"Well, damn. Follow her in," Milch orders. Around him, the Mirrorsmoke crew check their straps and make preparations for the helldive. At the Liability station, Zoltan Pesh updates the risk assessment for the We Demand Hazard Pay.

The Sour Brains follow Battlegroup Eland into the fight. The journey into scope range is harrowing, and the hours tick by, punctuated by the many nuclear detonations.

On the Hannibal, Captain Ashanti grinds her teeth as she watches the approach. She shouts orders to the legion and the bridge crew. "Track the flagships with dorsal and ventral batteries, spin them up when we see them in scope range. Load swarm missile tubes and start printing reloads, because we're going to need them."

Surprisingly, the Bukharin and its companions come through with barely any damage. And they come through firing.

Captain Ashanti blinks in disbelief as the destroyer Siegfried, just a dozen kilometers off to starboard, goes up in a flash of kinetic impacts. The Bukharin's accurate shells smash into the subline ship's bow. Then, following fire from the Undine and Unicorn finishes the job.

"Siegfried is gone," Aelita reports. "No sign of ejections."

Ashanti pounds a gloved fist into her command panel. "Tell Bannon we're moving to engage!"
Last edited:

Boarding Exchange

But Bannon has already planned for this. The Shaka Zulu's advanced systems and robust CIC design allow its Fleet Legion to coordinate multi-pronged offensive advances across the entire theater. Targeting data cross-referenced from all three Armory battlegroups is fed to fire control teams. "These are priority targets," Bannon tells them.

Alongside the flagship, its escorts take action. The marine transports launch boarding skiffs at Battlegroup Eland. A lone mech launches from the Shaka Zulu's belly catapult, and a zero-point beam cannon lashes out, testing the Bukharin's shielding.

Battlegroup Shaka Zulu takes its Action Step.
1. Maneuver: Coordinated Advance, it chooses one of the options - Lock On to one or two hostile Capital Ships. Targets are Nikolai Bukharin and Richard Wagner.
2. The Roughnecks use Tactic: First On, Last Off to launch boarding skiffs at two Capital Ships within Range 3-0: Nikolai Bukharin and Shamokin Rising.
3. Albedo Cavalier uses Maneuver: 0 Beam. Deal 1 damage to a hostile Capital Ship or Escort in range 3-0, then add a heat counter to the 1 Beam ability (it deals more damage, the more heat it has). The Cavalier automatically hits the Nikolai Bukharin for 1 damage to its Overshield.

Next is the players' turn. They choose to let the mercs act.

As the fleets close the unpredictability gap and the first shots start to cross the kill zone between them, the Mirrorsmoke marines are already hurtling towards enemy battleships in their landers. The Shamokin Rising's fighters dart out to safeguard the landers on their way out. "Godspeed, Sour Brains," signals Lieutenant Vau as the deadly cargoes speed to their destinations.

Far behind him, the We Demand Hazard Pay disgorges its chassis wings: Raleigh and Everest frames, bulked up with high-powered flight mounts, toting fusion torches and assault rifles. But they're still just taking off, and won't reach their targets as soon.

Battlegroup Sour Brains:
1. Maneuver: Legionspace Siren. Sour Brains advances to Range 4. One enemy battlegroup must then choose; either they cannot take or benefit from actions or effects that would move player battlegroups any number of range bands until the end of their next turn or a Capital Ship of your choice in that range band takes 1d6 damage. Target is Battlegroup Hannibal.
2. Tactic: Emergency Maneuvers to move Sour Brains to Range 3.
3. Facefirst and Fool's Gold use Tactic: First On, Last Off to launch boarding parties at Hannibal and Titania.


Nelson Flight Type by Peyton Gee
Last edited:

A House of Flying Daggers

The narrowing space between the flagships fills with smaller missiles and point-defense gunfire as the Titania's escort corvettes lunge into action. The dagger-shaped vessels make strafing runs at the Nikolai Bukharin and the Mirrorsmoke carrier. Aegis also marks Unicorn and Fool's Gold on the CIC display in amber, indicating some damage.

But the Titania's primary batteries bark mostly ineffectively at the Bukharin. The Thoreau Class Battleship's forward interdiction screens and shields fend off the worst of the shots.

"Klukas, what the Hell kind of gunnery is that?" Bannon shakes her head ruefully. "You wasted our targeting solutions. If we survive this, I expect major improvements!"

"Yes, Strike Captain," he replies in a monotone.

Battlegroup Titania:
1. Maneuver: Counter-Battery Fire, a Single Target Attack at Range 4-0 aimed at Nikolai Bukharin, and consume Lock On. Roll: 8 total, which misses. Reliable damage 2 chips away at the Overshield some more.
2. The Daggerflight uses Maneuver: Battery Fire. Deal 2 damage to a different target Capital Ship or Escort within range 3-0 for each ship remaining in this Escort group. Since there are 4 Corvettes in the Daggerflight, they deal 2 damage to Nikolai Bukharin, 2 damage to Unicorn, 2 damage to We Demand Hazard Pay, and 2 damage to Fool's Gold. Fool's Gold has the trait Point-Defense Kinetics which deals 2 damage back at the Daggerflight automatically.
Last edited:

An Advertisement