Starship Troopers RPG - Ambush at Altair.pdf
Descripción: Starship Troopers RPG Adventure...
AMBUSH AT ALTAIR CREDITS Writer Greg Lynch
Editor Richard Ford
Cover Art Anne Stokes
Games Mastering Ambush at Altair 3
Internal Art Sam Hart, Danilo Moretti, Philip Renne
RPG Manager Ian Belcher
Production Director Alexander Fennell
Proofreader Ron Bedison
Playtesters Amelia Carter, Daniel Haslam, Mark Howe, Daniel Scothorne, Michael J Young
Special Thanks Special thanks to the citizens and UCF agents of Sony Pictures Consumer Products.
Starship Troopers: The Roleplaying Game – Ambush at Altair is TM & © 2006 TriStar Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Mongoose Publishing Ltd Authorized User. Starship Troopers: The Roleplaying Game – The Arachnid Empire is released under version 1.0 of the Open Game License. Reproduction of non-Open Game Content of this work by any means without the written permission of the pulisher is expressly forbidden. See page 32 for the text of this license. With the exception of the character creation rules detailing the mechanics of assigning dice roll results to abilities and the advancement of character levels, all game mechanics and statistics (including the game mechanics of all feats, skills, classes, creatures, psychic abilities and combat) are declared open content. Printed in China.
INTRODUCTION The Mobile Infantry has many tools and weapons at its disposal. Carried throughout the galaxy by the power of the Cherenkov Drive, armed to the teeth with the most advanced weapons and heavily armoured, the Mobile Infantry is a devastating force indeed. Yet these advantages pale in comparison to the one thing that makes the finest soldiers in the history of humanity so very effective – support. A Mobile Infantry trooper has access to a logistical support system of nearly perfect efficiency. All the ammunition, weaponry, supplies and vehicles he needs for any mission are automatically supplied to him. He need not worry about ammunition shortages, about his armour running out of power, about any damage done to his vehicle. SICON provides him with a safety net of more ammunition, more armour, more vehicles. In Ambush at Altair however, the troopers must learn to work without the usual safety net. Ambush at Altair is an extended series of missions for a squad of Mobile Infantry troopers, taking place entirely on the planet of Altair V. At the beginning of the scenario, the Player Characters leave their ship, the William Travis, for a few days of shore leave on the one colonised world of the Altair System – Tango Urilla. The William Travis is part of a larger task force of four SICON vessels, here in the system to fly the flag and enforce security. While the William Travis orbits Tango Urilla, the remaining three vessels embark on a survey sweep through the system, beginning with Tango Urilla’s closest planetary neighbour, Altair V. SICON believe the entire system is devoid of any Arachnid activity. SICON are very wrong.
As the three ships settle into orbit over Altair V, a sudden bombardment of fire from plasma bugs on the surface brings swift and unexpected destruction. Only one of the ships survives long enough to send a message to the William Travis before it too is consumed in fire. Altair V is infested with Arachnids, who have managed to keep their presence secret with the aid of the Tango Cloud, the ionic nebula surrounding the entire system. Now that their presence has been discovered, the Arachnids will surely act soon, and only the Player Characters stand between the invaders and the 155,000 colonists on Tango Urilla. Outnumbered, outgunned and cut off from all SICON support, the Player Characters face a series of terrible battles on the inhospitable surface of Altair V. The William Travis has only limited supplies of weapons, ammunition and vehicles, and the troopers must find a way to make them last. In Ambush at Altair, every shot counts. The troopers are up against a powerful enemy on unfamiliar terrain and they are the only line of defence the system has. If they fail, the entire Altair system will fall to the Arachnids. Ambush at Altair is intended for a group of four to six Mobile Infantry Player Characters of 6th to 7th level. Any kind of cross training will be helpful, with the exception of neodog handler (the atmosphere of Altair V is toxic), but the Player Characters will have their best chance at survival if there is at least one field medic and one engineer in their number.
Games Mastering Ambush at Altair
GAMES MASTERING AMBUSH AT ALTAIR Ambush at Altair is designed to be even more tense and exciting than a normal session of Starship Troopers. The Player Characters have extremely limited resources and are pitted against a seemingly unlimited number of Arachnids. As equipment begins to fail, as ammunition begins to run low, the players should begin to feel the same levels of desperation their characters are feeling.
SHORTAGES Ambush at Altair requires little extra work on the part of the Games Master. The Player Characters must work with extremely limited resources throughout the scenario, and in large part it falls to the Games Master to keep track of what the troopers have available to them. At the end of this chapter is a Quartermaster’s List, a complete inventory of everything the William Travis has on board that the troopers may need. In short, if it is not on this list, it is not on the ship. The troopers must learn to make do with what is available to them. The Quartermaster’s List is quite detailed, even going so far as to list the total amount of ammunition available for the troopers’ Morita assault rifles. If the Games Master would rather not be quite so detail-oriented, he may feel free to ignore this number, allowing the troopers as much assault rifle, pistol and shotgun ammunition as they wish. However, a large part of the drama of Ambush at Altair is the fact that resources are so very limited, so the Games Master should be careful with just how much latitude he wishes to give the troopers in this regard. For more powerful weapons, such as missiles and grenades, the Games Master should keep the troopers confined to the numbers listed on the Quartermaster’s List.
DEPLOYMENT, RE-SUPPLY & RETRIEVAL The first mission of Ambush at Altair requires the Player Characters be hot-dropped in capsules from the William Travis. Most of the troopers dropped this way will be killed by a plasma bug barrage, though obviously not any of the Player Characters (see page 9). Additionally, the Player Characters will not always be able to leave the planet after a mission. There are far more Arachnids on Altair V than there are troopers and the William Travis
cannot risk entering orbit or sending down its lone Viking Landing Boat if there is plasma bug activity anywhere near the troopers’ position. Getting on to and off of Altair V is one of the most hazardous parts of this scenario and, unfortunately for the troopers, it is a hazard they can do little about. At the end of every mission in Ambush at Altair (unless directed otherwise in the specific mission), the Games Master should roll on the table below to determine whether or not it is safe for the troopers to be extracted. If the Player Characters have been extracted to the William Travis, the Games Master should roll on the table to determine whether they can be reinserted on the planet with the Viking. The table should also be used if the Player Characters request an emergency re-supply during a mission.
Plasma Bug Activity D20 Roll 1-4 5-8 9-12 13-15 16-18 19-20
Plasma Bug Proximity None Nearby Small Group at Distance Large Group at Distance Very Small Group (12) Nearby Small Group (3-6) Nearby Large Group (7 or more) Nearby
Effect Viking can land safely. Viking has 10% chance to be destroyed on approach. Viking has 20% chance to be destroyed on approach. Viking has 50% chance to be destroyed on approach. Viking has 90% chance to be destroyed on approach. Viking will be destroyed on approach.
If there is any chance the Viking will be destroyed on approach, any Player Characters aboard the William Travis must be capsule-dropped to the planet below. In order to protect the troopers, the William Travis will simultaneously drop a number of empty capsules, which will soak up the plasma bug fire and allow the Player Characters to reach the ground safely (they are Player Characters, after all, and dying in a capsule drop is a poor death for them). However, the ship has only enough extra capsules to do this three times. After the third such drop, the Player Characters will not be retrieved from the surface under any circumstances until the end of the scenario.
If there is a 10% chance the Viking will be destroyed, the commanding officer of the William Travis may send it down anyway, depending upon the situation. For example, if a number of the troopers are wounded and all of them are running out of ammunition, the boat will likely brave the plasma bug fire to come to the rescue. If the situation is less dire, the Viking will likely be kept on board and any supplies dropped in capsules, if at all. The Games Master should use his discretion in this. In truly desperate circumstances, the Viking may even come down if there is a 20% chance of destruction. In the case of a very small or small group of plasma bugs nearby, the Player Characters may be tasked with eliminating them to allow for a safe landing for the Viking. Again, this will depend upon the health and current equipment levels of the troopers, for which the Games Master must use his best judgement. In the case of a large group, the troopers will certainly be ordered to flee the area.
RECHARGING Ambush at Altair requires the Player Characters to remain on the surface of Altair V for days at a time, far longer than the power supply of their power suits and Chickenhawks will last. This makes recharging power suits, something many troopers never need to consider, a concern of paramount importance to the Player Characters. Fortunately, there are several ways for them to recharge their suits while on the planet’s surface.
9 Hephaestus Station Power Core. In Mission 4, the Player Characters find Hephaestus Station, a volcanic research facility on the planet’s surface. The station’s power core, run on geothermal and solar energy, may be used to recharge the troopers’ M-9 Marauder ‘Chickenhawk’ Assault Armour and M-1A4 power suits. Recharging a suit with the Hephaestus power core takes half the time the suit’s power reserves are down. Thus, if a suit has been used for two hours, it will take one hour to fully recharge. If it has been used for its full eight hours, it will take four hours to recharge. The power core can recharge up to two suits at a time. Unfortunately, the power core has only limited excess power to expend this way. When at full capacity, the power core can recharge up to 50 hours of operational time. Once the excess power in the power core is depleted, it will take two full Altair V days (76 hours) to replenish itself. 9 MAC Hauler. Hephaestus Station has a single MAC Hauler that may also be used as a mobile recharging facility. Recharging a suit from the MAC Hauler requires one hour for every hour that has been drained from the suit’s power supply. Thus, if a trooper used a suit for three hours, it would take three hours hooked up to the hauler to restore the suit to full power.
9 GK-12 Gecko Armoured Personnel Carrier. Equipped as a mobile command station, the Gecko is able to recharge the M-1A4 suit (as well as a Chickenhawk suit, when the time comes). Recharging a suit with the Gecko takes onequarter the amount of time the suit’s power reserves are down. Thus, if a suit has been used for two hours, it will take 30 minutes to fully recharge. If it has been used for its full eight hours, it will take two hours to recharge. The Gecko can only recharge one suit at a time.
TRAVEL Obviously, use of the Plasma Bug Activity table means the troopers will often be forced to remain of the planet for several missions in a row, which requires them to travel from one mission area to the next. On a planet full of Arachnids, this is hardly a safe trip through the countryside. For every hour the Player Characters spend travelling between mission areas, the Games Master should roll 1d3–1 to determine the number of Arachnid encounters they have during that time. Of course, the Games Master may throw any amount
Games Mastering Ambush at Altair or kind of Arachnids he wishes at the Player Characters, but the following table offers a quick and easy way of determining encounters.
Arachnid Encounters D20 Roll 1-3 4-5 6 7-8 9-10 11 12 13-15 16-17 18-19 20
Encounter 1d3 hopper bugs 1d4+1 hopper bugs 1d2 tanker bugs 1d8 cliff mites 1d4 blaster bugs 1d6 blaster bugs 1d2 plasma bugs 1d4 warrior bugs 1d6 warrior bugs 1d3 rippler bugs Roll twice and combine results
LAYING LOW Because of the potential problems of putting the troopers back on the surface of Altair V, they will often be ordered to remain on the surface of the planet and lay low between missions. This downtime both allows wounded troopers to heal some of their injuries and recharge the ever-draining power reserves of their armour. So long as the Gecko is intact (or the Player Characters have some other means of recharging their suits – such as Hephaestus Station or the MAC Hauler) and the troopers are not wounded to the point of incapacity or running woefully short of ammunition, this is the preferred method for passing time between missions. If the Player Characters remain on the surface of Altair V between missions, they can attempt to hide their presence and reduce the risk of Arachnid encounters. A successful Survival skill check (DC varies with mission) will reduce the chance for an Arachnid encounter to 1d3–2 every four hours. As these encounters involve a mobile group of Arachnids coming across a stationary group of troopers, the Games Master should disregard encounter roll results of plasma bugs.
REPLACING PLAYER CHARACTERS Ambush at Altair is a dangerous adventure, even for the Mobile Infantry. Vastly outnumbered and low on supplies, the troopers on Altair V are in for the fight of their lives. For some, it will likely be the last fight of their lives. The death of a Player Character is always unfortunate, but in Ambush at Altair, it is all but certain the Player Characters will suffer casualties. Normally, fallen Player Characters can be replaced with ease, but on Altair V, the situation is rather different. There are
no incoming squads of MI from whom to draw new Player Characters. Obviously, no player should be forced to sit on his hands and watch his friends have fun if he was unlucky enough to have his character die in the early stages of the adventure. Fortunately, the Games Master has several sources from which he may draw new Player Characters when and if the need arises. The William Travis has a detachment of Light Troopers aboard, some of whom can be sent down to bolster the ranks of the MI (though these Light Troopers, having no power suit training, will be at a disadvantage). Likewise, the guards and personnel at Hephaestus Station would make viable replacement Player Characters, though they too will lack the superior training of the Mobile Infantry. Lastly, the Games Master may allow another trooper to have survived the plasma bug bombardment in the first mission (Omaha Beach), struggling alone across the surface of Altair V before joining with the remaining Player Characters.
PACING In some of the missions of Ambush at Altair, the amount of time that has elapsed since the previous mission is explicitly stated. In others, no time elapses at all as one mission segues into another. However, there are a number of missions that do neither. These missions allow the Games Master to give the Player Characters a little extra time to heal, to repair equipment or perform any number of other time-consuming but necessary tasks while stranded on the surface of Altair V. The chance to take an extra day or two in the safety of Hephaestus Station may certainly mean the difference between life and death for the troopers. On the other hand, the Games Master should be careful not to let the troopers become complacent. Altair V is home to a great many Arachnids, and they are not inclined to tolerate a human intrusion on their home ground. The very real fear of being wiped out by superior numbers at any given time is one of the strengths of Ambush at Altair, and the Games Master must balance his pacing between giving the troopers a better chance at survival and losing the sense of fear that makes the scenario so gripping.
ALTAIR V The planet of Altair V is almost habitable, but has no intrinsic value to make the immense cost of terraforming it justifiable to SICON. Like the rest of the Altair system, it is very young. Altair V is, essentially, a big brown rock with a great deal of volcanic activity. The planet is slightly larger than Earth, generating a higher amount of gravity. The gravity is not so high as to qualify as a high-gravity environment (see the Starship Troopers Roleplaying Game core rulebook) but it does impose some penalties, as follows:
9 Carrying Capacity: A creature’s normal carrying capacity is reduced by one-quarter on Altair V. Thus, a character who could normally carry 200 pounds of gear can only carry 150 pounds. In addition, characters take a –5 penalty on any Strength check made to lift or move a heavy unsecured object. 9 Long-Term Effects: A character that spends 200 hours or more on Altair V will take 1d3 points of temporary Dexterity damage upon returning to normal gravity. The atmosphere of Altair V is thin and toxic with various gasses. The usual penalties for breathing in a thin atmosphere (see the Starship Troopers Roleplaying Game core rulebook) apply. Additionally, anyone breathing the atmosphere must make a Fortitude saving throw (DC 14) every hour or suffer 1d2 points of Constitution damage. The average daytime temperature on the surface of Altair V is 135°F, subjecting exposed troopers to standard damage from hot environments if they are exposed to the elements. Altair V has a slow rotation, requiring 38 hours for a full revolution. Approximately half this time is daylight. At night, the surface temperature averages 70°F. Altair V has a single moon in low orbit. The moon’s primary role in Ambush at Altair is to provide the William Travis with a convenient place to hide from the plasma bugs on the surface.
QUARTERMASTER’S LIST This list represents the entirety of the equipment aboard the William Travis, minus the basic equipment carried by each trooper (see the Starship Troopers Roleplaying Game core rulebook).
Weapons Weapon Brunham TW-102-s ‘Peacemaker Pistol’ Brunham XW-103-S7 Shotgun FedCom SW-402 ‘Triple GL’ Grenade Launcher FedCom SW-403 ‘Thud Gun’ Rocket Launcher FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ Missile Launcher FedCom XW-110-G1 Grenade Launcher Morita TW-202-1 Sniper Rifle Morita TW-203-a Voight & Gromann TW-221-f ‘Tinderbox’ Voight & Gromann TW-226-f ‘Hel’ Heavy Flamer Wyman Arms CC-176-ER Combat Prod Yinimina MW-X29 ‘Scythe’
Quantity Ammunition 15 2,000 20 3
800 See Grenades
10 50 10
120 14,000 35 canisters
Explosives Grenades M-901 HE Grenade M-902F Frag Grenade M-909S Fog Grenade M-291 Fragmentation Round TOAD Charge Missiles M-711A1 ‘Scatterjack’ Rocket M-719A1 Plasma Rocket M-666C5 HEAT Missile M-714S2 ‘Firecracker’ Missile M-998A1 ‘Pee-Wee’ Missile
Weapon FedCom SW-402 ‘Triple GL’ Grenade Launcher, MW-209 ‘Trip Hammer’ Grenade Launcher, SW-411 ‘Spud Gun’ Grenade Launcher FedCom SW-402 ‘Triple GL’ Grenade Launcher, MW-209 ‘Trip Hammer’ Grenade Launcher, SW-411 ‘Spud Gun’ Grenade Launcher FedCom SW-402 ‘Triple GL’ Grenade Launcher, MW-209 ‘Trip Hammer’ Grenade Launcher, SW-411 ‘Spud Gun’ Grenade Launcher FedCom XW-110-G1 Grenade Launcher None Weapon FedCom SW-403 ‘Thud Gun’ Rocket Launcher FedCom SW-403 ‘Thud Gun’ Rocket Launcher FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ Missile Launcher FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ Missile Launcher FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ Missile Launcher
Quantity 60 35 200 100 4 Quantity 10 12 15 8 6
Games Mastering Ambush at Altair Vehicles & Armour Vehicle Bullfrog Combat Dinghy GK-12 Gecko Armoured Personnel Carrier M-1A4 Power Suit M-9 Marauder ‘Chickenhawk’ Assault Armour
XM-550 CHAS Unit
Quantity Weapons 5 None 1 MW-5050 (x2)
Ammunition — 4,000
None MW-265 ‘Electric Eight’
SW-219-f ‘Inferno’ Support Flamer SW-411 ‘Spud Gun’ Grenade Launcher SW-490 ‘Blizzard’ Missile Launcher Twin Morita TW-203-s ‘Ape Special’ Voight & Gromann TW-226-f ‘Hel’ Heavy Flamer FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ Missile Launcher MW-209 ‘Trip Hammer’ Grenade Launcher
90 See Grenades 108 See Morita TW-203-a entry See Voight & Gromann TW-226f ‘Hel’ Heavy Flamer entry See Missiles See Grenades
Miscellaneous Equipment Ammunition Bandoleer Communications Set Demolitions Kit Electrical Toolkit (deluxe) Field Rations First Aid Kit Lizard Line Mechanical Toolkit (deluxe) Medical Kit Multipurpose Tool Surgery Kit Cybernetics Bionic Eye Prosthetic Arm Prosthetic Leg
Quantity 35 5 3 3* 300 man days 23 * 50 1* 3* 20 6* 3 2 4
* At the Games Masters’ option, more of this item might be created by raiding the shipboard facilities of the William Travis.
SHORE LEAVE Ambush at Altair begins peacefully, with the Player Characters receiving a few days of well-earned shore leave in Altair City, the capitol of Tango Urilla. They were promised a full ten days of shore leave as a reward for recent missions, but will find their time in the colony cut short after just three days. The Games Master may read or summarise the following for the Player Characters: Your ship, the William Travis, is part of a four-vessel task force entering the Altair System. While the other three ships, the Trafalgar, the Flanders and the Coral Sea embark on a survey mission of the entire system, the William Travis will make orbit over Tango Urilla and put you down for ten days of uninterrupted shore leave in the colony. Tango Urilla may not be Zegama Beach, but it is certainly better than any other place you have been to for longer than you care to remember. After three days in Altair City, the troopers receive an urgent message informing them shore leave is cancelled immediately and they are to rendezvous at the city’s spaceport within an hour. Upon arriving at the spaceport, they will see the William Travis’s lone Viking Landing Boat warmed up and waiting for them. The pilot refuses to explain anything to the Player Characters, telling them they must wait for their briefing. Aboard the William Travis, the scene is one of barely-contained chaos. The Player Characters, along with the rest of the Mobile Infantry platoon assigned to the ship, are quickly shepherded into a briefing room. The Games Master may read or summarise the following for the Player Characters: Your commanding officer enters the room with a bleak look on his face, steps to the lectern and takes a deep breath. ‘This morning, at 08:53 hours, the Trafalgar, the Flanders and the Coral Sea came under attack while surveying Altair V. It was a plasma bug bombardment from the surface. The Flanders and Coral Sea were destroyed almost instantly; the Trafalgar managed to fire off two shots and send us a warning before it too was destroyed. ‘SICON had informed us there was no bug activity in the Altair System but it looks like SICON was dead wrong. Somehow, the bugs have set up shop next to one of our colonies.
‘The William Travis is the last SICON asset in this system. We have sent word to SICON regarding what has happened here, but we can’t expect the cavalry to come riding over the hill any time soon. If the bugs take us out, they’ve got a red carpet to crawl their way right onto our colony, and I’ll be damned if we’re going to let that happen. This platoon is all the Mobile Infantry within five light years. ‘There is only one way to deal with this, apes. We have to put boots in the dust on Altair V. The William Travis has no nukes aboard and it would be destroyed if it entered orbit. We only have one Viking, and we can’t risk it until we know what’s going on planetside. This leaves only one option: a capsule drop into unknown terrain. ‘Now for the bad news. We haven’t been re-supplied and our stocks of guns and ammo aren’t what you’d call overwhelming. I’m handing out a list from the ship’s Quartermaster – it’s an inventory of everything we’ve got. Your first drop you’re going in with standard equipment only. After that, I’ll make you a deal. You go easy on the bullets and make your shots count, and I’ll go easy on you when you requisition more. Remember, this is it. Take good care of your gear. You break it and you just might buy it on that rock down there. Now, go get ready.’ The Games Master should lower all Requisition DCs in Ambush at Altair by five, with the following exceptions: 9 M-9 Marauder ‘Chickenhawk’ Assault Armour: This may not be requisitioned until the Hephaestus Station mission, and even then only one will be released. If one is requisitioned, only one-third of the appropriate ammunition will be given out. The other Chickenhawks and remaining ammunition will not come into play until they are assigned as part of a mission. Thereafter, the Player Characters may keep them. 9 XM-550 CHAS Unit: Like the Chickenhawks, this item will not come into play until it is assigned. Thereafter, it may remain with the Player Characters. 9 FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ Missile Launcher: The Player Characters may requisition one of these (at an unadjusted DC), but the other will be kept aboard the William Travis until it is assigned. 9 M-998A1 ‘Pee-Wee’ Missile: The Player Characters may requisition three of these (at an unadjusted DC), but the others will be kept aboard the William Travis until assigned. The Player Characters must have at least one of these left for Mission 10: Under Pressure.
MISSIONS MISSION ONE: OMAHA BEACH Experience Points: 300 experience points Mission Type: Drop, search and report, clearance Mission Duration: Six hours Terrain: Rocky plains Special Equipment: None, standard only Available Support: None Enemies: Hopper bugs (2), plasma bugs (10), warrior bugs (15) Mission Briefing: ‘All right, apes, you’re about to make planetfall on Altair V. This is going to be a high-orbit cap drop, then the William Travis is pulling back behind the moon, in case any of those plasmas down there survived the Trafalgar. The two shots the Trafalgar managed to get off have kicked up a lot of dust down there, and the Tango Cloud is playing hell with our sensors, just as much as usual, so we don’t have a clear picture of what’s going on under our feet. When you hit ground, you kill everything that crawls, and you recon the area. We need to know what’s happening, whether those bugs are just getting started on Altair V, or whether they’ve turned it into Bug Central. We can’t risk the Viking until we know it’s safe to send it down, so make sure you scrub the place clean.’ Mission Breakdown: This mission begins with a capsule drop of the entire Mobile Infantry platoon to the surface of Altair V. Unfortunately, the plasma bugs on the surface below were not all killed by the Trafalgar’s two missiles, and a fusillade of plasma fire will arc upward from the dust cloud below to greet the incoming capsules. Games Masters should describe the sound of explosions (once the capsules breach the atmosphere) and the screams coming in over the comm unit as the members of their platoon are slaughtered. By the time the capsules hit the surface, only the Player Characters are left alive.
The dust cloud created by the Trafalgar’s attack is already beginning to dissipate in the thin atmosphere of Altair V, but it will remain a concern for the duration of this mission, reducing visibility to 200 feet. The Player Characters will have a few minutes after they touch down to collect themselves and find each other in the dust, which is easily accomplished. Any attempt to contact other members of the platoon meets with static; the troopers are alone. The troopers can communicate with the William Travis, though the ionic interference of the Tango Cloud creates a large amount of static. If asked, the William Travis can confirm they are not receiving any communication from other members of the platoon, and that all but the Player Characters are presumed lost. Even with their vision obscured by the haze of dust, it is easy for the Player Characters to tell this is a drab and featureless planet. They are on a rocky plain near the planet’s equator, with the ground rising in a slight elevation toward the north. Scattered about are the barely-recognisable corpses of plasma bugs, almost turned to dust themselves by the last strike of the Trafalgar. Here and there around the plasma bug corpses are dark smudges on the rock, marking the spots where warrior bugs and other Arachnids died in the bombardment. Bits of newly minted glass, born of the heat the Trafalgar’s attack, crunch underfoot. Though the dust cloud and the ionic interference make it impossible for the William Travis to perform a detailed survey of the mission area, there is some information it has gathered. By analysing the trajectory of the plasma fire coming from the surface, the William Travis can inform the Player Characters
how many plasma bugs are nearby (10), as well as their locations at the time of the capsule drop. Those locations are marked on the mission map; the plasma bugs have not moved. The troopers’ orders remain the same – to recon and secure the area. Several hours have passed since the destruction of the SICON ships and the bombardment of the surface, and the Arachnids are beginning to move back into the area. Just as the Player Characters set out toward the coordinates of the first plasma bug, they will be attacked by a force of five warrior bugs moving down from the northeast. Once this threat is dealt with, the troopers may resume hunting plasma bugs. This mission is not nearly so lethal as it may seem to the troopers tasked with carrying it out. There are indeed ten live plasma bugs out there they must find and kill, but these plasma bugs are hardly the picture of health. Rather, they are the few survivors of the Trafalgar’s attack, and all of them are at death’s door. Their speed is reduced to a pathetic 5 feet (one square), their hit points are reduced to 40 and even their damage reduction is reduced to four, half of what it normally would be. Moreover, as only plasma bugs survived the bombardment, almost all of the remaining plasma bugs are unprotected. If the troopers are clever, they will be able to dispatch each of the plasma bugs from a distance, without ever coming under attack from one of them. Should the Player Characters begin to run very low on ammunition at any point in this mission, which is a distinct possibility considering the number of enemies, the Games Master may take pity on them and allow them to find the ruined remains of one or two of the downed capsules, with the dead trooper’s gear still intact. Grisly as this may be, it is likely the only serendipitous discovery of more ammunition the troopers will make on Altair V. The troopers will be able to deal with the seven plasma bugs closest to the capsule drop point (those on or below the first 10° elevation) without being molested by any other Arachnids. However, once they move on to the last plasma bugs, that begins to change. As soon as the troopers come up to the level area where the last three plasma bugs wait, the Games Master should call for Perception (spot) skill checks from each of them (DC 15). Success allows a character to notice two flying objects at the edge of his visibility. A second Perception (spot) skill check (also DC 15) allows the character to realise the two objects are actually a pair of hopper bugs, hovering in the dust and apparently content to merely watch the Player Characters. If the hopper bugs are fired upon, they will retreat into the dust cloud, only to return a few moments later and resume their vigil. The southernmost of the three remaining plasma bugs is as unprotected as the first seven, but when the Player Characters
approach the two northernmost, they will discover the Arachnids are beginning to send in reinforcements. For both of these plasma bugs, a group of five warrior bugs will arrive from the north just as the troopers enter firing range of the plasma bug in question. The hopper bugs will continue to hover at the edge of visibility and observe for the first of these two fights, after which they will turn and fly away to the north. There are two points on the map marked as collapsed cave entrances. Nearly 30 feet across, these points mark where the Arachnid warrens opened to the surface, and where the plasma bugs the troopers spend this mission killing originally came from. Both entrances are hopelessly collapsed now – the Arachnids could surely dig them out in short order, but it is certainly a task beyond the abilities and resources of the troopers. Mission Objectives: With the destruction of the last plasma bug, the mission is officially over. The Player Characters receive their experience and move directly to Mission Two: Man Down. At this point, there are no plasma bugs in the area, and it is safe for the Viking to land. If one or more of the Player Characters is badly injured, they may all be evacuated to the William Travis. If none of them are badly injured, however, they should stay on the planet’s surface.
MISSION TWO: MAN DOWN Experience Points: 200 experience points Mission Type: Search and report, rescue, clearance Mission Duration: Three hours Terrain: Rocky plains Special Equipment: GK-12 Gecko Armoured Personnel Carrier (see below), any other successfully requisitioned equipment. Available Support: None Enemies: Hopper bugs (7), warrior bugs (20) Mission Briefing: ‘Good news, apes. You got rid of the plasmas, so it’s safe to send the Viking down. And it’s bringing you more goodies than Santa has in his sleigh. Most important, it’s bringing you the Gecko, which is what’s going to let you recharge your suits on that rock. We even painted it to match the ugly landscape down there. She’s the only one we got, so take good care of her. She’s loaded down with more weapons and more ammunition for you too, but don’t spend it all in one place – we don’t know when we’ll
Missions be able to re-supply you if more plasma bugs show, so we’re trying to play it safe. ‘Now for the mission itself. We got more good news. Looks like someone else survived the drop. We’re picking up scattered and intermittent signals from one of the capsules – we believe it is Sanchez – about 30 miles to the northwest of your position. Best guess is her capsule got sideswiped and blown way off course. As I said, the signal’s intermittent, so we can’t get a precise fix on her location, but we can put it in the ballpark for you. When the Gecko arrives, saddle up and go find her.’
GK-12 Gecko Armoured Personnel Carrier Beginning with the second mission, the Player Characters have access to the William Travis’ sole Gecko. So long as the vehicle is not destroyed, it will be with them for the rest of the scenario, and will almost certainly prove invaluable. When delivered to the Player Characters via the Viking, the Gecko will have all equipment the Player Characters have successfully requisitioned aboard, as well as the following: Bullfrog Combat Dinghy (1) Morita TW-203-a Assault Rifle (one per trooper) Morita TW-203-a Assault Rifle ammunition (3,000 rounds) Brunham XW-103-S7 Shotgun (one per trooper) Brunham XW-103-S7 Shotgun ammunition (200 rounds) FedCom SW-402 ‘Triple GL’ Grenade Launcher (1) M-901 HE Grenades (20) Voight & Gromann TW-221-f ‘Tinderbox’ (5) Voight & Gromann TW-221-f ‘Tinderbox’ ammunition canisters (10) MW-5050 ammunition (4,000 rounds) TOAD Charges (2) M-1A4 Suit (one per trooper) Demolitions Kit (1) First Aid Kit (10) Surgery Kit (4) Electrical Toolkit (deluxe) (1) Mechanical Toolkit (deluxe) (1) Medical Kit (1) Lizard Line (one per trooper) Ammunition Bandoleer (one per trooper) Field Rations (50 man days) Communications Set (2) Spare tracks for Gecko (6)
able to recharge the M-1A4 Suit (as well as a Chickenhawk suit, when the time comes). Recharging a suit with the Gecko takes one-quarter the amount of time the suit’s power reserves are down. Thus, if a suit has been used for two hours, it will take 30 minutes to fully recharge. If it has been used for its full eight hours, it will take two hours to recharge. The Gecko can only recharge one suit at a time. One non-standard piece of equipment aboard the Gecko is a set of six spare tracks for the vehicle. If a track is destroyed in combat, it can be replaced with one of these, a process requiring 20 minutes, a deluxe mechanical kit and a Repair skill check (DC 15). The Gecko can operate at normal speed so long as it has at least four of its tracks, and at half speed so long as it has at least two. If reduced to one track, the Gecko cannot move. The Games Master should be certain he deletes the equipment aboard the Gecko from the Quartermaster’s list. Though the troopers might wish for a Marauder suit or two by now, the three Chickenhawks aboard the William Travis are not yet even halfway through their warm-up sequence. Mission Breakdown: Like the first mission, this one is fairly easy, particularly now that the Player Characters have access to the Gecko. With the Gecko’s speed of 200, moving across trackless plains, it will take the Player Characters about an hour to reach the possible location of Sanchez’s capsule. Games Masters should remember to roll for potential Arachnid encounters during this time (see page 5). About five miles into the journey, the pair of hopper bug spies will return. By now, the troopers are moving out of the increasingly thinning dust cloud, restoring visibility range to normal. The two hopper bugs will hover about 500 feet away from the troopers, continuing to observe them. If fired upon, they will retreat, only to return again a few minutes later. If pursued, they will gain altitude and continue moving away. Now that the dust is no longer a concern, the hopper bugs can be spotted with a Perception (spot) skill check (DC 10).
In addition to the windfall of much-needed supplies, the Gecko provides one service the Player Characters desperately need. Equipped as a mobile command station, the Gecko is
After travelling for 15 miles, the troopers come under attack by a force of ten warrior bugs moving down from the north, apparently coming from the search zone where the troopers are hoping to find Sanchez. Once the Player Characters arrive at the search zone, they have two options open to them. They may begin an exhaustive search of the region to locate Sanchez’s capsule, or they may attempt a Computer Use skill check (DC 25) to break through the interference and lock on to the damaged capsule’s signal. Obviously, the second way is much quicker. The search zone is a round area about four miles across, making an extensive search an exhausting prospect. If the troopers come within half a mile of the capsule’s location, they may attempt Perception (spot) skill check rolls (DC 20) to notice it. If they come within a quarter mile, the DC of the skill check drops to 10. The Player Characters are not the only ones looking for the capsule. As they approach its location, a swarm of five hopper bugs will fly down from the north. If the troopers have decided to start ignoring the two hopper bug spies, they may be in for a tremendously unpleasant surprise when these five begin attacking immediately. When the Player Characters locate the capsule, there will be two warrior bugs already there, picking at the wreckage. One round later, eight more warrior bugs arrive from the north. Whether or not Trooper Malu Sanchez is alive when the Player Characters reach her is entirely up to the Games Master. If one of the Player Characters has been killed and a replacement character is needed, this is a perfect opportunity. Also, if the Games Master believes the Player Characters may need a little extra help, she would make a worthy addition as a Non-Player Character, presumably specialised in whatever the Player Characters themselves may be lacking. Of course, if the Games Master believes neither of these are necessary, he may simply say that Sanchez is already dead, killed during the descent or by the two warrior bugs who beat the Player Characters to the capsule. Mission Objectives: Locating Sanchez’s capsule is worth the full 200 experience point reward for this mission. If the Player Characters rescue Sanchez herself, the Games Master may wish to award an additional 50 experience points.
MISSION THREE: NORTH PASSAGE Experience Points: 1,000 experience points Mission Type: Search and report Mission Duration: 12 hours
Terrain: Rocky hills Special Equipment: Remaining equipment from previous missions; any newly requisitioned equipment which could be delivered. Available Support: None Enemies: Hopper bugs (10), tanker bugs (3), warrior bugs (?), worker bugs (112) Mission Briefing: ‘We got some interesting news for you, apes. Between the coordination of the plasma bugs and the pair of hoppers that have been dogging you, the consensus up here is that there’s a brain bug on the planet – maybe more than one. The bad news is that, according to everything we’ve got on bug colonies, you haven’t even scratched the surface down there. Best guess is there’s a population of a million or more bugs squirming around under your feet. Just means more targets for you. ‘If they do have a brain down there, it means they’re definitely up to something. We want to know what that is. Every mobile bug you’ve seen so far has come down from the north, so that’s the direction you’re going. To your north is a low range of hills, backing up to some small mountains. We’re reading multiple cave openings in the area. There’s nothing like it to the south, so that must be where the plasmas came from. Head up there and see what you can find, following the path we’re uploading to your map. Remember, this is a sneak and peek, not a stand-up fight. Don’t let them box you in. Keep reporting in and we’ll update your mission as needed. Good luck.’ Mission Breakdown: This mission, which takes place a full Altair V day after Man Down, is intended as a reconnaissance assignment. Throughout the course of this extended mission, the Player Characters are likely to come close to a great many Arachnids. If they try to fight them all, they will probably be overwhelmed, and in any event will be expending precious ammunition unnecessarily. Though sneaking about in a Gecko may seem counterintuitive, it is actually much easier than it sounds. The thin air of Altair V does not carry sound well, meaning that any Arachnid more than 200 yards away will not be able to hear the Gecko as it travels (the sound of the twin 5050s firing, on the other hand, easily carries for half a mile). Additionally, with the Gecko painted to match the landscape, it imposes a –5 penalty on any Perception checks to see it. Locations A, B, C and D are all in the low hills leading up to the mountains. Worn smooth after years of being buffeted by the wind, these hills pose no particular challenge to the Gecko. Locations E, F and G, on the other hand, are in the mountains.
While the path laid out for the troopers takes them through the easiest terrain, it is still a challenge. The Gecko is reduced to one-quarter speed while navigating these areas. Location A This location is devoid of Arachnid activity. Close inspection of the area reveals nothing aside from a shallow, wide-mouthed cave, apparently dug out of the hillside by wind erosion. Location B This location is a shallow, bowl shaped valley in the hills. Within the bowl are 60 worker bugs, busily digging multiple niches in the sides of the hills. Though there is no way for the Player Characters to know this with any certainty, the niches are designed to contain plasma bugs, essentially acting as foxholes for the enormous Arachnids. No other openings are apparent. Obviously, the worker bugs will not attack, but unwise and trigger-happy troopers might waste a great deal of precious ammunition slaughtering them. Location C This location is the first real battle of this mission. As the troopers approach within 200 yards of the cave, the Arachnids in the ground beneath sense the Gecko rumbling overhead. The ground erupts 50 feet to the right of the Gecko as eight warrior bugs spill out of the tunnels to attack. Five rounds later, another six warrior bugs emerge, followed seven rounds later by a tanker bug breaching the surface 50 feet to the left of the Gecko. Once this battle is over, the Player Characters have a few minutes of peace to investigate the area. The emergence of the Arachnids from underground effectively collapsed the tunnels around them, leaving the troopers with no means of exploring past the rubble-strewn holes left behind. If the troopers insist on lingering in the site, another 2d6 warrior bugs will arrive ten minutes after the fight, with another 2d6 arriving every five minutes thereafter. Location D This location may once have been an opening into an Arachnid warren, but it certainly is not one now. A trail of rocks spills out
of the opening of the 20foot-wide tunnel, choking it completely. When the troopers report this in, they are ordered to get out of the Gecko and take a closer look. A successful Perception (search) skill check (DC 18) reveals that this tunnel was not blocked by a random landslide or collapse. Instead, it seems massive chunks of stone were deliberately placed to close it off. There is nothing more the troopers can do here without commencing excavation operations, so they are ordered back into the Gecko to resume the journey. This is also the location where the two hopper bug spies show up again to resume their observation of the Player Characters. Location E See Mission 3E: Back Door below. Location F See Mission 3F: Peeping Toms below. Location G See Mission 3G: Underground below.
MISSION 3E: BACK DOOR Mission Briefing: ‘Careful coming up on this next site, apes. It’s the biggest bug hole we’ve located so far on this planet, and the welcome might be more than you can handle. Don’t let them pull you into a straight-up fight. If it gets bad, beat feet through the canyon to the north. You might want to prep some TOADs to blow the canyon walls if the bugs get too friendly.’ Mission Breakdown: After several sites containing light resistance, if any, the troopers may be feeling overconfident by the time they arrive at this location. All that is about to change. The tunnel entrance the troopers are tasked with investigating lies about 75 yards off the path laid out for them in the mission briefing. The path approaches the tunnel from the west, then abruptly veers due north through a narrow valley, closed in on either side with nearly vertical cliffs towering 100 yards into the air. The sides of the cliffs are ragged and crumbling, while the ground between them is composed primarily of fist-sized stones.
If the avalanche is successfully triggered, the warrior bugs will give up their pursuit. The two hopper bugs, however, will remain with the troopers.
MISSION 3F: PEEPING TOMS
As the troopers approach, there is no sign of life in the tunnel itself. However, there are Arachnids waiting inside. When the Gecko comes within 50 yards of the cave entrance, or veers north to follow the path (heading away from the cave), the Arachnids inside will strike. In the first round, eight warrior bugs will come boiling out of the tunnel. Two rounds later, another four will follow, with four more coming every two rounds afterward. If the troopers try to fight it out, they will be quickly overrun. Moving through this terrain, however, the Gecko’s speed is reduced to 50, meaning the vehicle cannot outrun the Arachnids now pursuing it. Fortunately, there is a way out of this predicament. A single TOAD charge placed on either cliff will be enough to cause a landslide 50 yards in either direction, as will a M-998A1 ‘PeeWee’ Missile fired into either cliff. Alternatively, each M-901 HE grenade fired into the cliff has a 20% chance to trigger a landslide extending 25 yards in either direction. If the troopers try to simply outrun the warriors, the Games Master may wish to have their commanding officer order them to plant a TOAD charge. Planting a TOAD charge in the crumbling cliff takes only one minute, as there are multiple apparent flaws in the stone’s integrity. The cliff is, in fact, so unstable that placing a TOAD device in it allows the character to take 10 with his Demolitions skill check. However, setting the detonator to go off at the correct time (crushing the maximum number of pursuing warrior bugs), rather than too early (merely creating a roadblock for the Arachnids) or too late (allowing more than five warrior bugs to make it through the avalanche zone after the explosives are set) requires a Demolitions skill check (DC 18).
Mission Briefing: ‘Nice work on that canyon. The warriors might be able to climb over it, but I’ll be damned if any of them survived having a mountain fall on them. Now, I think those two hoppers you’ve got on your tail have seen quite enough of your pretty faces. They may be hanging back out of range of the Gecko’s 5050s, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it stay that way. Coming up just before Site F is a hairpin curve in the valley you’re moving through. After you go around the turn, I want at least two of you to detail off, get out of the Gecko and set up a friendly little ambush for our peeping toms. Have the Gecko continue ahead, and when the hoppers come around the corner, blast ‘em.’ Mission Breakdown: Sometimes, splitting forces can be an effective tactical tool. Other times, it becomes a liability. This mission encompasses both of these. The hopper bugs tailing the troopers have steadfastly remained at least 500 feet away from the Gecko at all times, which is exactly what the mission briefing is counting on. Which troopers get out to set up the ambush is left entirely to the Player Characters, unless the Games Master wishes to choose which troopers are ordered out. Once the Gecko has moved more than 500 feet past the bend in the canyon, the two hopper bugs will fly around the corner. They are only flying about 40 feet off the ground, which should put them in easy range for the ambushing troopers. Because of the geography of the canyon, the hopper bugs cannot use their Deadly Pass (see the Starship Troopers Roleplaying Game
Missions core rulebook) or Lethal Pass ability (see The Arachnid Empire) while inside of it, unless they fly far enough past the ambushing troopers to put themselves in range of the Gecko’s guns.
How this mission begins depends in large part upon whether or not the Gecko is still operational. Ambush at Altair assumes it is.
Unfortunately for the troopers, their presence in this part of the valley has not gone unnoticed. The same round in which the pair of hopper bugs come around the corner into the ambush, another eight hopper bugs come from the northwest, swarming over the top of the cliff toward the Gecko. The troopers in the Gecko have two rounds to respond before the hopper bugs arrive.
As the Gecko enters the depression, the ground beneath it begins to give way as the Arachnid tunnels just under the surface start to collapse. If the driver can make a Drive skill check (DC 30), he will be able to get the Gecko free of the crumbling area. Otherwise, the Gecko and all its passengers go down the hole. This is not a straight fall. The ground gives way in stages, dropping the Gecko 25 feet to the floor of the tunnel below in a jarring, but ultimately harmless landing.
Three rounds later, warrior bugs begin to boil out of the cave entrance ahead of the Gecko, though it will take them five rounds to reach the troopers. The warrior bugs emerge from the cave at the rate of four every two rounds for ten rounds. After those 20 warriors have emerged, the troopers will have five minutes of grace before another group of 20 warriors begins to come out. Ten rounds after the first warrior bugs emerge from the cave, a tanker bug breaches the surface on the western side of the valley, just out of range of the Gecko. Five rounds later, a second tanker bug comes out on the eastern side. In the midst of this ferocious battle, the troopers who staged the ambush on the two hopper bugs must somehow make their way back to their companions. Even when the fighting is over, the Arachnids are not willing to give up. The Player Characters will need to put at least a mile of distance between themselves and the cave before they can take the time to repair any damage done to the Gecko (which hopefully survived the battle).
MISSION 3G: UNDERGROUND Mission Briefing: ‘I know that was a rough one, apes, but you aren’t through it yet. You’re on the downhill side of the mountains now, though, with only one more spot to check out. Stay alert and stay frosty. We haven’t logged any bug activity around this last site, but there’s no telling whether or not they’re hiding out under the surface.’
As the dust begins to clear, the troopers find themselves in a section of Arachnid tunnel that, for now, is mercifully uninhabited by Arachnids. Just a few dozen yards to the west of where the Gecko fell through the surface is the access to the cave mouth in the hillside above. However, that access is a vertical shaft some 30 feet deep – easy for the troopers to escape through with their lizard lines, but impossible for the Gecko to reach. Assuming the troopers report in to the William Travis as ordered, they receive the following communication: ‘Hell of a way to knock on the front door, apes. My hat’s off to you. You say you can’t get the Gecko back out? I believe we have a solution for that. We’ve got a reading on another cave about half a mile east of your current position. You should be able to take those tunnels straight to it. Now, as long as you’re down there, I’d like you to take a look around. We can’t afford to lose the Gecko if we don’t have to, so don’t be too bashful about using your ammo to bring a hurt to anything you meet up with down there. We may lose comms when you’re in the tunnels, but stick to the mission. Stay cool, stay focused, and we’ll see you on the other side.’ If the troopers managed to pull the Gecko back from the cavein before the vehicle was dumped into the tunnels below, they will still be assigned to explore the caves. In this case, obviously,
Mission Breakdown: By the time the troopers reach this site, they will be coming down out of the mountain range into the foothills. The cave entrance they are to investigate is a massive hole in the side of a cave, opening into a wide, bowl-shaped depression some 200 yards across. There is no sign of movement outside.
they will have to leave the Gecko behind and come back for it. When they do, they will find four warrior bugs poking at it experimentally. If the trooper’s Gecko has already been destroyed and they reached this area on foot, they will still be assigned to enter the caves and investigate. In this case, there will be no cave-in, and they will have to descend through the cave mouth with their lizard lines. In either of these cases, the Games Master may consider reducing the number of Arachnids encountered inside. Considering the tight quarters, troopers without the benefit of the Gecko’s weaponry may be overwhelmed. The tunnels in this Arachnid nest vary between 15 and 25 feet wide, enough for the Gecko to pass through easily enough, though the troopers must find an intersection if they wish to turn around. The tunnels are all about 15 feet tall. When running encounters within these tunnels, the Games Master should remember that many Arachnids can travel on walls or ceilings nearly as well as they can on level ground, and will not hesitate to use this ability when attacking the troopers. The Gecko itself would make an effective weapon in here, if the Player Characters choose to use it to ram oncoming Arachnids. However, that tactic would not stand up for long before the Gecko itself was destroyed by the damage of the impacts (see the Starship Troopers Roleplaying Game core rulebook). When running encounters within the caves, the Games Master should play things a little loosely. The Arachnids listed in the encounter areas below will not sit quietly waiting for the arrival of the Player Characters (except for those in Location 4). Instead (with the exception of the worker bugs) they will seek the troopers out. Depending upon how long the troopers spend in the tunnels, and what they do while they are in there, they might find all the Arachnids coming to them. Location 1 Only a minute or so after the troopers and the Gecko fall through from the surface, probably just a moment after the incoming orders arrive, the first Arachnids show up to greet the troopers. Emerging from the tunnels just north of this position, a wave of eight warrior bugs comes to attack the intruders. Four rounds later, another group of seven warrior bugs arrives from the south (Location 2). Location 2 This large chamber was, until the Player Characters arrived in the warren, filled with 12 warrior and 12 worker bugs. Ten rounds after the wave of seven warrior bugs arrives at Location 1, five of the warriors from this room will move to Location 1. Four rounds later, six more will arrive. The 12 worker bugs, on the other hand, will make their way toward Location 3.
Location 3 The tunnels near this location continue on in the direction of Site F (near the Peeping Toms mission). Currently, they are being used by more Arachnids coming to combat the intruding humans. Fortunately for the troopers, the Arachnids in this stretch of tunnel are rather spread out, and it will take some time before they can arrive in overwhelming force. The first group of Arachnids to arrive consists of 11 warrior bugs. A minute and a half (15 rounds) later, another group 14 warrior bugs and a tanker bug arrive. This location should only be used if the troopers actually come in this direction first, rather than travelling east as they were instructed. Otherwise, the Games Master should have the Arachnids come up from behind the troopers as they investigate the tunnels. Location 4 The troopers’ first hint that something is unusual here will likely come from the realisation that the Arachnids inside this cavern have not come in search of them. Instead, they seem to be guarding the contents of this cave. This cavern is perhaps the most important point in Ambush at Altair, as the discovery to be made within is the linchpin of the rest of the scenario. Inside this immense cavern are hundreds of round stones, each about a yard wide and with a surface that is nearly as smooth as an egg – except for a single hole bored into the side that reveals the centre as hollow. The stones are arranged in fairly neat piles. The stones are not actually stones at all. Instead, they are secreted organic matter, organic matter that forms the backbone of an Arachnid spore packet. These stones are being prepared for launch at the nearby human colony at Tango Urilla, awaiting only the insertion of the Arachnid eggs before the attack begins. Of course, there is no way for the troopers to know all this yet, though they should certainly suspect something is very odd about these stones. If they do not try to acquire one on their own, the Games Master should feel free to drop hints about the potential value of these items to SICON. Guarding and tending to the future spore packets are ten warrior bugs and ten worker bugs. Once the Player Characters enter this cave, all the Arachnids (even the workers) will attack. Location 5 Both locations marked ‘5’ indicate an abyss that falls away into the earth below. These deep pits (too deep for a lizard line) connect these caves to the larger Arachnid warrens below. They also offer a nearly endless source of enemies for the troopers. Ten minutes after the troopers fall through from the surface, warrior bugs will begin emerging from these pits at the rate of two every three rounds, continuing until the Player Characters flee the area.
Missions Location 6 This tunnel narrows at these locations to only five feet wide, much too small for the Gecko to pass. Location 7 This location marks the cave leading out of the Arachnid warren, back to the comparative safety of the surface. The troopers will be pursued by any remaining Arachnids, but with the increasingly level ground, the Gecko will be able to outrun them. Mission Objectives: The North Passage mission is a long and gruelling haul for the troopers and, fortunately for them, by the time they reach the end point of the mission, they will be far from any plasma bugs and can be returned to the William Travis by the Viking. Simply surviving this ordeal is worth the entire 1,000 experience point award. If the Gecko is still operational at the end, the Games Master should award an additional 100 experience points. If the troopers had the presence of mind to take one of the spore packets from the Underground mission, the Games Master should award an additional 100 points to every character, and 200 points to the one who first mentioned retrieving the packet. If the characters had to be coaxed into collecting a spore packet on the other hand, they should receive no additional experience. If the troopers were wise enough not to waste ammunition slaughtering worker bugs, the Games Master should grant an additional 50 experience points.
MISSION 4: HEPHAESTUS STATION Experience Points: 400 experience points Mission Type: Keep and hold Mission Duration: 90 minutes Terrain: Installation, lava plains
new intel from it. We’re still scratching our heads over that round rock you brought back, but we have a few ideas. Let’s just say I hope we’re wrong. In the meantime, I have something of a surprise for you. Turns out you weren’t the only humans on that rock. There’s a research station not too far from where we picked you up last time. We had assumed it was abandoned, but it turns out we were wrong. I don’t know why the bugs have been ignoring it, but you’ve stirred them up pretty good, and they’re not ignoring it anymore. About half an hour ago, a few warriors showed up to poke around the walls, then retreated. Now, it looks like they’re coming back. We’re not willing to give up our last toehold on that rock, not until we know what the bugs are doing, so you’re going back down to defend that station. The Viking will take you in, along with your new gear, and pull out all the nonessential personnel from the base. There will be a few of them staying behind, like Dr Yolanda Grier and Dr Samson Ybarra, the two high foreheads running things there – but don’t let them forget you’ll be the ones in charge now. ‘Now, you do have a few aces up your sleeve on this. Hephaestus Station is a volcanic research facility, and it’s sitting on top of a lava plain. About 20 feet underneath it is a sea of lava, so you don’t have to worry about bugs digging up from under you – the heat would fry them. It’s also built out of some high-grade composite to survive a brush with molten rock, so the bugs will have a hard time coming through the walls at you. Plus, I’m giving you the Scythe lasers we got on board for this. Now, have fun.’ Mission Breakdown: This mission takes place three Altair V days after the last one. If the Gecko managed to survive the previous missions, it will be repaired and dropped off with the Player Characters. All equipment that came with the Gecko when it was first dispatched will be replenished (if possible – for example, there simply is no more MW-5050 ammunition). The Player Characters also have the opportunity to requisition new equipment. Even if the Gecko is destroyed, the equipment will still be replenished and dropped off in crates along with the troopers (see the MAC Hauler on page 4). If the troopers do not already have these items, they will also be given a FedCom SW-404 ‘Javelin’ missile launcher and three M-998A1 ‘PeeWee’ missiles.
Special Equipment: 2 MWX29 ‘Scythe’ lasers Available Support: None Enemies: Hopper bugs (12), rippler bugs (3), warrior bugs (100) Mission Briefing: ‘Good work in the North Passage mission, apes. I know it was no cakewalk, but you handled it like you should, and we have plenty of
The MAC Hauler Hephaestus Station has a single MAC Hauler in its vehicle bay, which the troopers are well within their rights to commandeer. Considering its purpose on this planet, which often involves going through exceptionally rough terrain, the MAC Hauler has been upgraded with additional armour, raising its Damage Reduction as follows: chassis 12, crew 8, wheels (6) 4. If the Gecko has been lost, the MAC Hauler can be used as a replacement vehicle. Mounting a weapon on the MAC Hauler takes one hour and a Repair skill check (DC 15). Additionally, the hauler can be modified to allow the troopers to recharge their suits from its power supply, though the vehicle is not designed for this and any such recharging will be far less efficient than was the case with the Gecko. Recharging a suit from the MAC Hauler requires one hour for every hour that has been drained from the suit’s power supply. Thus, if a trooper used a suit for three hours, it would take three hours hooked up to the hauler to restore the suit to full power. There are eight spare wheels in inventory at Hephaestus. The hauler can operate normally with as few as four wheels intact, and can operate at half speed with three wheels intact. If reduced to two wheels, the hauler is immobile. It is possible for the troopers to upgrade the MAC Hauler’s engine, providing the vehicle with enough speed to give it a chance against the Arachnids. Doing so requires eight hours of work, a deluxe mechanical kit, a deluxe electrical kit and a Repair skill check with a base DC of 15. A successful skill check against DC 15 will increase the vehicle’s speed to 70. More impressive skill checks result in more speed from the engine. For every full increment of five over the base DC, the hauler’s speed is increased by 10. Thus, beating a DC 20 increases the speed to 80, while beating a DC of 25 increases the speed to 90. The hauler’s speed cannot be increased past 120. Once the Player Characters arrive at Hephaestus Station, they will have to move quickly to prepare for the Arachnids’ impending arrival. The station has an internal power supply, generated by a combination of solar and geothermal energy, which is suitable for powering the two MW-X29 ‘Scythe’ lasers that have been assigned for this mission. There are four spots on the roof of the research station where the power supply can be accessed, making them the best points to deploy the lasers. Setting up a Scythe and rigging it into the station’s power supply takes 20 minutes and a Repair skill check (DC 15).
Hephaestus Station Power The troopers will likely have two uses for the power supply of Hephaestus Station. First, it can be used to power the Scythe lasers. Second, it can be used to recharge power suits. Of course, as with all things in Ambush at Altair, it is not infinite.
The station’s power supply remains more or less fully charged during normal operation. When extra drain, such as firing lasers or recharging suits, is put upon it, it begins to run out of juice rather quickly. Fully charged, the power supply can provide energy to fire the Scythe lasers 500 times, or recharge 50 hours worth of power suit operating time. Thus, firing a Scythe 100 times leaves the power supply with only 40 hours of suit operating time left in it, while recharging 10 hours worth of suit time leaves only enough energy to fire the Scythe 400 times. The power supply will recharge itself automatically, but it takes two full Altair V days to do so. Note that the power supply will automatically shut off such ‘external’ functions in favour of keeping the base operational. After the nonessential personnel are evacuated by the Viking, there will be seven people still in the station, not including the Player Characters. There is also one unwelcome guest. Dr Samson Ybarra, one of the two lead scientists of the facility, is currently under the thrall of a control bug. The seven remaining humans are all 2nd level civilian scientists, manifestly ill-equipped to defend themselves against the oncoming Arachnids. While not completely unarmed (they do have four Morita TW-201-s rifles and 120 rounds of ammunition), they are hardly up to fighting a warrior bug. Fifty minutes after the troopers arrive at Hephaestus Station, the battle will begin. A force of warrior bugs is the first to appear, moving up from the southwest. The first enemies to arrive, however, will be a flight of six hopper bugs coming from the northwest, followed one round later by six more. They will attack and fly back out again the way they came to make another attempt at using their Deadly Pass ability. On the third round of combat with the hopper bugs, a flight of three rippler bugs swoops in from the south east, potentially striking the troopers before they even notice the rippler bugs’ approach. Ten rounds after the first attack of the hopper bugs, the first warriors will reach the 25-foot walls. As mentioned in the briefing, the walls of Hephaestus Station are exceptionally tough, making it difficult for Arachnids to dig through. Instead, they will simply climb the walls to attack the troopers before using the three roof access points to enter the facility. A warrior bug can break through any of the roof hatches with only two rounds of effort. The warrior bugs arrive in waves of ten every ten rounds, but once they are defeated, there is no sign of any more Arachnids. From this point on, Hephaestus Station is a safe haven for the Player Characters. It will come under attack again in later missions, but will never be the target of purely random attacks. They may pass the time between missions peacefully here.
Missions Mission Objectives: So long as the Arachnids are repelled, the mission is considered a success. However, the troopers might be penalised if they allow the Arachnids to get past them, break into the facility and start killing civilians. The Games Master should deduct 25 experience points from the total for every civilian killed. Note that Dr Samson Ybarra will not be killed, as he is currently hosting a control bug.
MISSION 5: ANTHILL Experience Points: 300 experience points Mission Type: Assault Mission Duration: Four hours
taking the eggs up. I’d give my meat arm for a good Senser right about now, but we all got our crosses to bear. ‘What I want you to do is pretty simple this time out. There’s a likely bug hole about 40 miles out from the station. Go over there and give them my regards. You’re authorised to use a Pee-Wee if necessary.’ Mission Breakdown: As the man said, this mission is pretty simple: create a diversion. The troopers must pass between two large fields of magma geysers (though with about 10 miles of clearance, this should be easy for them) to reach the targeted nest. For the first 30 miles of the journey, whether it is by Gecko or MAC Hauler, the troopers have a peaceful ride. Ten miles out from the target, they encounter their first resistance in the form of a flight of six hopper bugs striking the troopers at full speed.
Terrain: Lava plains, rocky hills Special Equipment: None Available Support: None Enemies: Hopper bugs (14), rippler bugs (5), tanker bugs (2), warrior bugs (?)
As the troopers approach within half a mile of the target location, another flight of eight hopper bugs swoops in to attack from behind. Four rounds later, the first wave of ten warrior bugs comes into view to the south, charging the troopers. Five rounds after the first wave, a second wave of ten charges up from the south.
Mission Briefing: ‘All right, you apes, I hope you like the food at Hephaestus Station, because it’s your home for a while. I got some bad news for you. Seems that rock you brought back from the bug hole was actually a bug spore meteor. The bugs put their eggs in these things and blast them to nearby planets to start a new colony. Considering how many there were in just that one location, and what little we know about bug eggs, it looks like they’re planning to replace us on Tango Urilla with a few million bugs.
Once the troopers approach within 600 feet of the target location, the resistance stiffens. Lurking underground nearby is a pair of tanker bugs, who will emerge from the ground 100 feet to either side of the troopers. Two rounds after the tanker bugs attack, the first wave of warrior bugs charges from the cave entrance. Every three rounds afterward, five more warrior bugs will emerge and attack. Only by collapsing the cave entrance (whether with a Pee-Wee, TOAD charge or other means) can the troopers stop the constant stream of enemies.
‘There’s more. If we’re right, that means it’s not just a brain bug down there running the show, it means there’s a queen. No one’s ever seen one of them before, and odds are we won’t now. She’ll be buried so deep in those tunnels it would take an army to reach her. So, if we can’t get to her and take care of things directly, we’ve got to do something else to keep them from firing those spores into our colony until Fleet shows up and glasses the planet. That’s your next job.
The Arachnids are not done with them, however. Though the troopers may have slain the defenders and destroyed the bug hole, other Arachnids are inbound. The first wave of attackers hits when the Player Characters are withdrawing from the site of the battle. Swooping in from the north is a flight of five rippler bugs, flying low to make a Deadly Pass at the troopers. Once these foes are dealt with, the troopers only have a few minutes to collect themselves before the first wave of warriors
‘Your other job is more fun. We want some eggs. The big brains at SICON have a few theories about bug eggs, but the bugs don’t share real well, and SICON hasn’t gotten the quality samples they want. You’re going to fix that problem. The queen may be buried deep, but they got to bring the eggs to the surface if they want to load ‘em and fire ‘em. While you’re out stirring up trouble, we’re going to take all the readings we can, see if we can find the path the Arachnids are
comes into view. Attacking from the northwest are two waves of warrior bugs – 10 in the first wave, 15 in the second wave that arrives one minute after the first. Once these foes are dealt with, the troopers can return to Hephaestus Station in peace. Mission Objectives: The only real goal of the troopers in this mission is to stir up trouble. So long as they do so and return alive, they are eligible for the entire experience point reward.
MISSION 6: PRE-EMPTION Experience Points: 300 experience points Mission Type: Interception Mission Duration: Two hours Terrain: Lava plains, rocky hills Special Equipment: None Available Support: None Enemies: Hopper bugs (17), plasma bugs (4), warrior bugs (?) Mission Briefing: ‘I know you’ve been wanting to hunt some big game, apes. Well, here’s your chance. We’re tracking four plasma bugs and their little warrior bodyguards that just came out of a hole 35 miles northwest of your position. I want you to go over there and kill them. ‘They had to make the surface because the area they’re about to cross is just a thin sheet of rock over a river of lava – just like the lake of lava Hephaestus is sitting on top of, only hotter, if you can believe that. They’ve got about two miles to go to get to the hole we think they’re heading for. Now, I know you’re thinking about how many bullets those things take to put down, but we got a plan for you. I got a would-be engineer up here who thinks if you plant a TOAD charge in the ground in the plasmas’ path, you can set it off while they’re waddling over it and give them and the warriors a
nice warm bath in the lava that’ll spew up from below. Your map should show the approximate area you need to set the charge in. Sounds good to me – but take enough bullets to do the job the oldfashioned way if it comes down to it. Don’t use a Pee-Wee unless there’s no other choice. ‘Those plasmas move slow, but you got some ground to cover to get to them, and I won’t be happy if they make it underground before you show up to throw them a party. So saddle up.’ Mission Breakdown: This mission begins with a long trek across the lava plains toward a cleft in the mountain range to the northwest. After 25 miles of travel, the Player Characters will come under attack by a flight of seven hopper bugs swooping in from the east. Games Masters should keep in mind a general idea of how fast the troopers are travelling, compared to the speed of the four plasma bugs that are their primary target in this mission. Chances are excellent the troopers will arrive at where they need to be in time to stop the plasma bugs, as it will take the enormous Arachnids two hours to cross the distance between where they emerged from the ground and where they will descend again into the tunnel network. If the troopers are too slow and too cautious, however, they may arrive at the site only to find they have failed the mission. The troopers have a general idea of where the TOAD charge should be set, but it will take some time to find the perfect spot. The troopers will require 20 minutes to locate the optimal site for the explosive, which can be reduced to ten minutes with a successful Knowledge (physical sciences) skill check (DC 15). Actually setting the explosive correctly requires a Demolitions skill check (DC 25). If the check is less than this, the oncoming plasma bugs and their warrior vanguard will not be killed (though the Games Master may wish to wound them – reducing the hit points of each Arachnid in the group by half ). Naturally, the troopers will have some unwelcome visitors to deal with in the meantime. One minute after the troopers arrive at the detonation area, they will come under attack by two waves of hopper bugs, five in each wave, with the second appearing five rounds after the first. Games Masters should note that this region has some intense thermal vents, creating very sudden updrafts that prevent the hopper bugs moving more than 120 feet in a round, and likewise prevent
Missions Mission Briefing: ‘Looks like you made an impression, apes. We’ve got long-range tracking on a whole world of bugs coming down on Hephaestus Station. Got to love those lava plains – keep the bugs from burrowing and they’re easy to spot. We need to hold on to that base, so get those Scythes mounted up and get ready for a storm.’
them from using their Deadly Pass ability. After five minutes in the detonation area, a group of six warrior bugs will come into view to the southwest, having emerged from the cave there. A minute later, another six warrior bugs come into view. For every minute after ten the Player Characters spend in the area (before the explosion), the Games Master should roll 1d3. On a result of one, 2d4 warrior bugs emerge from the nearby cave and attack. After the explosion, the Arachnids become even more unpleasant. Warrior bugs begin to swarm from the cave at the rate of 1d6 every three rounds. They will pursue the troopers for up to a mile before suddenly giving up and retreating back to their warrens. Mission Objectives: If all the plasma bugs are destroyed, the troopers are entitled to the full experience award. If they managed to kill the plasma bugs using a TOAD charge (or other explosive) in the manner prescribed, they should each be given an additional 50 experience points, except for the trooper who laid the charge, who gains 100 instead.
MISSION 7: WOLF IN THE FOLD Experience Points: 450 experience points Mission Type: Keep and hold
Mission Breakdown: The troopers are likely to start this mission thinking it will be a replay of the original assault on Hephaestus Station. They are very wrong. It does, however, begin normally enough. Half an hour after they receive their briefing, troopers will see a flight of five hopper bugs sailing in from the northwest to start the fighting. Two rounds later, a group of 11 cliff mites swarms up the walls at the northwest corner of the station, and troopers on lookout will spot a large number of warrior bugs moving up from the southwest. Six of the cliff mites race straight for the Player Characters, while the remaining five head for the southernmost roof access hatch and begin trying to chew through it. It will take the five cliff mites five combat rounds to make it through the hatch. For every mite killed, the Games Master should add one round to the time needed. When the first wave of 15 warrior bugs approaching from the southwest is two rounds away from reaching the facility, the Player Characters should (Perception skill check DC 10) notice another group of 10 warrior bugs approaching from the east. They will reach the station in five rounds. There is no way for the troopers to know this at present, but a number of the warrior bugs are serving as transports for control bugs, meant for the humans inside Hephaestus Station. At this point, things turn bad. A sudden crackle of static in their ears announces to the troopers that they are receiving an
Mission Duration: One hour Terrain: Lava plains Special Equipment: None Available Support: None Enemies: Cliff mites (13), control bugs (one for every human), hopper bugs (10), warrior bugs (80)
incoming message from the William Travis, which the Games Master should read to the players: ‘Troopers! One of the civilians we took off that rock just tried to detonate our power core! He had a control bug on him – check each other, check the civilians! Check the power core; check the bay doors. Make sure you’re not dealing with another!’ Of course, the troopers are dealing with another control bug, holding Dr Samson Ybarra in thrall. Probably the best course of action is for the troopers to detail off one Player Character to go down into the facility and inspect the civilians, but time is short. Fifteen rounds after the Player Characters receive the warning from the William Travis, Dr Ybarra will open the bay doors from Location 17, letting the warrior bugs and control bugs into the facility. At this point, the Games Master will need to use the map of the interior of Hephaestus Station. The locations marked on the map are as follows: Location 1 Vehicle bay. This bay contains the MAC Hauler when not in use, as well as the station’s mechanical tools and large spare parts. It is outside the station’s airlock system, meaning the air within is the same as the atmosphere of Altair V. The ceiling has a roof access point. Location 2 Storage bay. This bay contains a variety of large items that need not be protected by the station’s airlocks. Location 3 Dormitories. These spartan rooms serve as dwelling space for the staff of the station (except Dr Grier and Dr Ybarra, who have their own rooms). The easternmost dormitory has a roof access point. Location 4 Dr Grier’s Quarters. Location 5 Dr Ybarra’s Quarters. Location 6 Dr Ybarra’s office. Location 7 Dr Grier’s office. Location 8 Infirmary and general storage.
Location 9 Volcanic sample storage. Rock and magma samples collected by the scientists are stored here. Location 10 Kitchen. Location 11 Food storage. Location 12 Mess hall. Location 13 Common area. Location 14 Air and water purification and conditioning equipment. Location 15 Main research area. The majority of the station’s work takes place in this room. Location 16 Containment core. This area is actually a pit through the thin crust of the plains to the lava beneath. A powerful set of magnetic fields keeps the pressurised lava from creating a volcano inside the facility and prevents the temperature of the lava beneath from turning Hephaestus Station into an oven. The scientists use this ‘well’ and a collection basket to gather
Missions materials for experimentation, or to perform tests on other materials by placing them in the heat below. Location 17 Power core. Hephaestus Station is powered by solar and geothermal energy, gathered together in this power core. The room also contains secondary switches for most of the facility’s functions, from opening the bay doors to regulating the operation of the air and water purification and conditioning equipment. It is in this room that the Player Characters must recharge their suits – assuming they use the station’s power to do so. Location 18 Toilets. Location 19 Showers. By now, the Player Characters should know their way around the facility fairly well. The problem, of course, will be finding out Dr Ybarra is the thrall and stopping him before he can open the bay doors and the adjoining airlock. At the time the Player Characters receive their warning about a control bug, Dr Ybarra has already slipped away from the other civilians gathered in Location 13 and is in Location 17, donning one of the troopers’ spare power suits. While he does not know how to use it (he will suffer appropriate penalties – see the Starship Troopers Roleplaying Game core rulebook), it will offer him protection against both attack and the toxic atmosphere of Altair V when he opens the airlock to admit the warrior bugs and control bugs. If the troopers did not leave any power suits laying around, he will use one of the basic environmental suits (no armour protection). Ten of these hang in each airlock.
A second flight of five hopper bugs from the northwest arrives five rounds after the second wave of warrior bugs comes up from the southwest. If the Arachnids manage to breach the facility, the troopers are in for a nasty fight. Instead of merely slaughtering everyone they find, however, the Arachnids will attempt to grapple and pin their enemies, allowing a control bug to place the character in thrall. Mission Objectives: The main objective of this mission is to hold on to Hephaestus Station. So long as they do this, they are entitled to the full experience award. However, if they are able to stop Dr Ybarra without killing him, they are entitled to an additional 50 experience points.
MISSION 8: PRIZE FIGHT Experience Points: 400 experience points Mission Type: Drop, clearance, capture Mission Duration: 20 minutes Terrain: Lava hills Special Equipment: M-9 Marauder ‘Chickenhawk’ Assault Armour (3), XM-550 CHAS Unit (1), Bullfrog Combat Dinghy (2). Ammunition on Chickenhawks and CHAS is limited to two full loads for each weapon. Available Support: None Enemies: Plasma bugs (10), warrior bugs (80)
When one of the troopers opens a roof access hatch, any remaining cliff mites on the roof will be certain to take advantage of it. While the troopers hear the disturbing news of the control bug aboard the William Travis, the Arachnids outside the station continue their assault. The waves arrive as follows: The warrior bugs coming from the southwest arrive in waves of 15 every ten rounds, for a total of four waves (60 warrior bugs in total).
Mission Briefing: ‘Grab your gear, apes. The Viking is inbound to get you and bring you back to the ship. We got a reading on a group of plasmas massing on the surface. In about an hour, they’ll be in a perfect position to fire their spore packets at Tango Urilla.
The warrior bugs coming from the east arrive in three waves – ten in the first wave, followed by two waves of five every five rounds (20 warrior bugs in total). The control bugs riding these warriors will be in the first waves.
‘We’re going to cap drop you just north of their position. You go in there and kill everything you see, and you get your hands on at least one of those spore packets – we want the eggs. We’re busting out all the stops on this one, apes. You’re going in with all three of our Chickenhawks, and I’m even sending the CHAS along for the ride. I know you don’t need all that hardware, but might as well show the bugs what they’re up against. ‘One more thing. Just because you got the big toys is no reason to go crazy on the ammo. If we can’t pick you up it’s a long walk back to Hephaestus.’ Mission Breakdown: This mission is exactly what it seems – a knock-down fight against a large number of very tough Arachnids. Within a few minutes of arrival, the Player Characters come under attack by a group of ten warrior bugs rushing down the nearby incline. These warriors are followed five rounds later by ten more warriors. Upon climbing the first elevation, the troopers should be able to see the first plasma bugs a few hundred yards southwest of their position. As they approach the cleft between the two inclines, they will come under attack again, this time by a flight of five rippler bugs soaring in from the southwest.
As soon as the Player Characters ascertain there are no eggs to be had and report that fact, they will receive the following communication. ‘Looks like we may have jumped the gun, damn it all. I’d order you into those caves, but with the tanker sealing them off, you’d be jumped by a swarm long before you could get in there. OK, apes, here’s what you do. We can’t get the Viking in there now, so you’ll need to take the scenic route back to Hephaestus. It’s about 20 miles west of your position, so better get cracking before your power runs low. I’ll be in touch when you have new orders.’ The troopers will not come under coordinated attack on their way back to Hephaestus Station, a trip that takes them over plains and hills for a total of 25 miles, but the Games Master should remember to roll for random encounters during their travel time (see page 5). Mission Objectives: Although the Player Characters cannot complete the mission by seizing an Arachnid egg, this is due to unfortunate circumstances, not to any fault of their own. Survival of the mission guarantees full reward.
MISSION 9: SPECIAL DELIVERY Experience Points: 200 experience points
The sounds of battle so close will attract the attention of the 40 warrior bugs escorting the plasma bugs. Ten rounds after the rippler bugs attack, the first group of these warriors will be in melee range of the Player Characters. More warrior bugs will continue to arrive in groups of four every two rounds until all 40 have been killed. Once the warrior bugs are dealt with, the troopers still have ten plasma bugs on their plate. If they are wise, they will stay back from them and kill them at range. However, the plasma bugs will not remain unprotected.
Mission Type: Pick up Mission Duration: One hour Terrain: Lava plains Special Equipment: None Available Support: None Enemies: Hoppers (8), warrior bugs (25)
Five rounds after the Player Characters make their first attack on a plasma bug, more warrior bugs will begin appearing from the cave entrance in the southeast corner of the map. Coming out in groups of five every five rounds, a total of 20 warrior bugs will arrive to defend the plasma bugs. Once the last warrior bugs is killed, the troopers will see something very strange. A tanker bug erupts out of the ground just inside the cave mouth, but it does not attack. Instead, it collapses the tunnel, sealing it off from the Player Characters. This tanker represents the last Arachnid in the immediate area, however, the troopers have only to finish off the rest of the plasma bugs before time runs out. Unfortunately for the troopers, none of the plasma bugs had yet been ‘loaded’ with a spore packet, so the final element of the mission cannot be completed. Yet.
Mission Briefing: ‘Sorry about the sightseeing tour, soldiers, but you’ve really got those bugs in a lather down there. We’re seeing movement over half the surface of the planet right now. I know you need supplies, but we can’t get the Viking down safely, and a big hunk of burning metal falling on your heads won’t do anyone any good. ‘If there’s one thing we MI can do though, it’s improvise. We’re rigging some of our few remaining capsules with a wing and prayer guidance protocol, and we’re going to drop new gear to you that way. We’ll bring them down as close to you as we can get, but without a person piloting them, don’t expect it to fall in your lap. What’s in these caps is what we got left, apes. Be careful with it and make it last, ‘cause there’s no more bullets until Fleet arrives. Oh, and if you find an empty, don’t worry. We’re sending down some
Missions Mission Objectives: This mission is very straightforward. If the troopers retrieve their gear and return to Hephaestus Station alive, they receive the experience.
MISSION 10: UNDER PRESSURE Experience Points: 700 experience points dummies to distract the plasmas. Now, look up. Ten minutes and we fire them off.’
Mission Type: Keep and hold, nuclear deployment, evac Mission Duration: One hour
Mission Breakdown: The mission briefing had it right – the capsules do not land at Hephaestus Station. In fact, as the troopers watch multiple capsules breach the atmosphere, they will see plasma trails launch up from the far side of the mountains to the west, arcing straight for the incoming equipment. They will see several capsules go up in flames as the plasma charges strike them. The capsules land scattered over a three square mile area about ten miles to the southwest of Hephaestus Station. The troopers will need to go to the area and search through the capsules to retrieve the equipment, and would be well-served to bring a vehicle of some kind (whatever they have left to them, even if it is only a few combat dinghies) to haul the gear back. A total of 12 capsules made it down, six of which contain gear and six others which are empty – fired off from the William Travis as dummies for the plasma bugs to shoot at. Those capsules containing gear are marked on the map with a cross. Ambush at Altair assumes the gear-laden capsules all make it to the surface, though the Games Master may certainly have some of them destroyed. Before doing so, however, he should read the final three missions to make certain he is not depriving the troopers of something they will absolutely need to survive. The Arachnid presence in this mission is fairly light, compared to what has come recently, but is still nothing that can be ignored. As the troopers open their third capsule, a flight of eight hopper bugs will swoop in from the mountains to the northwest. As they open their fifth capsule, warrior bugs will arrive from the south in three waves of five, at five-round increments. Lastly, as the troopers get to their eighth capsule, two waves of five warrior bugs will arrive from the west, the second coming three rounds after the first. Once these Arachnids are dealt with, the troopers are free and clear. They can collect the rest of their gear and return to the station unmolested.
Terrain: Lava plains Special Equipment: None Available Support: None Enemies: Blaster bugs (?), hopper bugs (20), tanker bugs (20), warrior bugs (?) Mission Briefing: ‘Hope you’re not too attached to that station down there, apes, because you’re about to leave it behind. Get your gear loaded up and get ready to leave. We’re coming around the curve of the planet now, and I’m looking at the plains just west of you. The ground is crawling. Like I said, I want you to pack up everything you’ve got and get ready to make a … holy hell. Troopers, we can see your north, south and east now. You’re surrounded, and they’re all inbound on your position. All right, here’s what I want you to do. Load up everything you can’t stand to leave behind and get ready to resist an attack. We’ll work on a way to get you out of there.’ Mission Breakdown: Like the man said, the troopers are about to face truly overwhelming odds. By the time the mission ends, Hephaestus Station will be in ruins. The question is whether or not the troopers are still in it when it happens. From the end of the mission briefing, the troopers have ten minutes before the first of the oncoming Arachnids reach weapons range, which is almost certainly enough time to load their remaining supplies into a vehicle, be it the Gecko or the MAC Hauler. If both these vehicles are destroyed, the Player Characters will have to rely on Bullfrog combat dinghies to move their gear, their wounded and any remaining civilians in the facility. In other words, they will have significant problems. Though the gear can probably be loaded in this time, it is not enough of a window to remove both Scythes from the roof of the facility and mount them on a vehicle. However, if two
troopers work together, and both succeed with a Repair skill check (DC 20), they can mount one Scythe. Five minutes after the briefing ends, the troopers will receive another transmission: ‘All right, apes, we got your plan. Let them come. That’s right, let them get right up on the walls. If you head out now, you’re sure to be overrun on the plains. So here’s what you do. Give them hell. Keep them from breaching the walls while you carve a path in them away from the bay doors. Once you’ve thinned them out around the exit, head out of there as fast as you can. But you’re leaving a surprise behind. We want you to rig up one of the Pee-Wees with a detonator, and leave it behind in the station. That thing will vaporise anything within 120 feet when it blows, including the 20 feet of rock that’s holding the lava below you in check. We think the explosion will bring up enough lava to kill everything within a 500 foot radius. That should give you enough of a diversion to get away. We’re sending the modification specs for the Pee-Wee now. Good luck.’ Of course, there is a better way than simply leaving the PeeWee inside the base. If it is placed in the collection basket in containment core and lowered into the magma itself before detonating, the Pee-Wee will create a much larger zone of destruction. The Player Characters may think of this themselves, but if they do not, the Games Master may wish to have them make Demolitions or Knowledge (physical sciences) skill checks (DC 20) to realise that putting the Pee-Wee down into the lava will result in a much larger zone of destruction, as the pressure created by the subterranean explosion will cause the ground to rupture in a much wider area. Of course, if none of the Player Characters think of it, the Games Master could have one of the civilian scientists in Hephaestus Station (assuming there are any left) recommend it to the troopers. A Knowledge (physical sciences) skill check (DC 20) allows a rough guess at the zone of the devastation from this plan of action – everything within approximately half a mile will be destroyed. Ambush at Altair assumes the troopers lower the Pee-Wee into the containment core.
With the specifications in hand, modifying the Pee-Wee with a timed detonator requires five minutes of work, and a Demolitions skill check (DC 20). By the time this happens, the first Arachnids are entering weapons range. The Arachnids enter weapons range as follows: On the first round, 10 warrior bugs come from the west. They will be followed by 10 more every other round for the next two minutes, when their numbers increase to 20 every other round. Two minutes later, this increases to 40 every round. On the second round, five warrior bugs come from the east. They will be followed by five more every other round. On the fourth round, 10 blaster bugs come from the northwest. They will be followed by ten more every three rounds. On the ninth round, five warrior bugs come from the north. They will be followed by five more every other round. On the twelfth round, five hopper bugs arrive from the northeast. They will be followed by five more every ten rounds until a total of 20 have arrived. On the fifteenth round, two tanker bugs come from the west. They will be followed by two more every two minutes until a total of 20 have arrived. Obviously, the troopers cannot hope to stand against this onslaught, particularly as there is almost no end to the number of blaster bugs and warrior bugs attacking the base. The best they can hope for is to hold them back while they clear out some of the warrior bugs attacking from the east to secure an escape route. The escape requires some flexibility and quick thinking on the part of the Games Master, as there is no way to predict exactly how many Arachnids will be at the walls when the troopers make a break for it, or how much time they put on the PeeWee’s detonator. Assuming the troopers made a large dent in the number of Arachnids on the bay door side of the facility, however, and assuming they put enough time on the detonator for them to travel half a mile to a mile, there is a good rule of thumb for their escape. Every round, the operator of each vehicle (including the Chickenhawks, which obviously cannot fit into either the Gecko or the MAC Hauler) must make a Drive skill check (DC 15) to avoid obstacles and stay on course. Each round, the troopers will pass through 1d3–1 warrior bugs, which will attack any vehicle they can reach. This will continue for at least half a mile, with the total number of combat rounds dictated by the speed at which the troopers are travelling.
Missions When the Pee-Wee detonates, the destruction is predicated upon how it was deployed. If it was simply left on the surface, it will create a zone of destruction with a 500-foot radius, killing everything inside. If it was lowered into the containment core, it is far more devastating. The explosion rips a hole one mile wide in the rocky crust of the lava plain, and ejects a huge plume of magma into the air. This magma creates an immense wave, rushing outward at a speed of 200 for half a mile. After half a mile, it continues at a speed of 100 for another half mile before petering out entirely. Anything within this radius is utterly destroyed, which includes the troopers if they do not beat feet. Of course, even after all this, the troopers are not completely in the clear. They will continue to be pursued by 2d10 warrior bugs and 1d4 hopper bugs, but once these foes are dealt with, the troopers will be home free. Though now, they are trapped on a hostile planet with no base to fall back on. Still, they are alive. When the last of the bugs is defeated, the troopers will receive orders to head due east. Mission Objectives: Survival is the entire point of this mission, and making it through alive entitles the troopers to the full experience point award. If one of the troopers comes up with the idea of placing the Pee-Wee in the containment core without any outside help, the Games Master should award that character an additional 50 experience points.
bugs are confused right now, and more important, they’re spread out. So we got an opportunity to do some good work without too much trouble from the locals. Remember that bug cave the tanker collapsed to keep you out? Well, they’ve opened it up again, and my guess is they’re planning to take another crack at spraying spores at our colony. Go show them what we think about that. This time, get me an egg. And it probably goes without saying, but if you find more than one, grab a few and torch the rest.’ Mission Breakdown: The number of Arachnids in this part of the world has been reduced significantly by the destruction of Hephaestus Station, a fact that makes this mission possible. The troopers have a 15 mile trip to the east to make, but the decimation of Arachnids in the area means the Games Master should only make a random encounter check every three hours (see page 5). Though the Arachnids numbers are reduced, they are hardly gone. When the troopers arrive at the mouth of the cave (see the map for Mission 8: Prize Fight) they will meet their first resistance in the form of blaster bugs. When the troopers come within 200 feet of the cave opening, five blaster bugs will rush out to attack, followed three rounds later by five more.
Experience Points: 800 experience points
As with Mission 3G: Underground, the Games Master should remember that the bug cave in Belly of the Beast is not a static place. The Arachnids will react to the sound of intruders unless stated otherwise. Assuming, however, that the troopers make their way through the caves carefully, the location key below should serve as a reliable guide of when and where encounters occur.
Mission Type: Assault, pick up
Mission Duration: Six hours
Location 1 Entrance. The only guardians at this point were the blaster bugs the troopers dealt with as they approached.
MISSION 11: BELLY OF THE BEAST
Terrain: Underground Special Equipment: None
Location 2 In this chamber are 27 worker bugs, busily digging a new pit. Currently, the pit is 35 feet deep, and is angled to allow
Available Support: None Enemies: Blaster bugs (15), cliff mites (12), plasma bugs (4), tanker bugs (1), warrior bugs (?), worker bugs (27) Mission Briefing: ‘All right, you apes, I know you’re tired, but we still have work to do. Your little stunt back there at Hephaestus Station knocked the bugs back on their hind legs – we’re estimating at least 10,000 dead in that fireball. That don’t mean it’s time for you to take it easy. The
Arachnids that cannot wall-crawl to traverse it. The worker bugs will not attack unless they have no choice. Location 3 When the troopers reach this point, they will encounter a group of 15 warrior bugs moving to investigate the sounds of battle. The warrior bugs come in waves of five, three rounds apart. Location 4 At first glance, this chamber seems empty. However, there is a single tanker bug lurking just beneath the surface here. When the troopers approach within 20 feet (or when it is apparent they intend to bypass this chamber) the tanker will breach the surface and attack. Location 5 When the troopers reach this point in the cave, the Games Master should call for Perception skill checks (DC 20). Success indicates the trooper feels a vibration under his feet. If the CHAS is present, a Perception skill check (DC 15) will be enough for it to hear a sound like frying bacon. One round later, the ground falls away into a pit running from wall to wall and 20 feet long. Any troopers standing in that section must succeed in a Reflex saving throw (DC 18) or fall 20 feet into the embrace of the warrior bugs below. There are currently five warrior bugs at the bottom of the pit, which is actually just one end of a new tunnel running to Location 6. Location 6 This large chamber is currently home to 20 warrior bugs, which have just dug a new tunnel to assault the troopers. Five of these warrior bugs are at the bottom of the pit when it opens. Five more will move to join them by travelling along the new tunnel, while the other ten will use the main tunnel to fall upon the troopers from above (or attack any that avoided the pit). Location 7 This large pit falls 150 feet to the lower level of Belly of the Beast. Location 8 This immense cavern is sparsely populated. There are 11 cliff mites clinging to the wall above the entrance, which will drop on the troopers the moment they enter. Standing near the pit in the southern end of the cavern are five blaster bugs, which will move to attack as soon as the troopers come into view. Location 9 This large pit falls 70 feet to the middle level of Belly of the Beast.
Middle Level Location 10 This is the bottom of the pit marked as Location 9 on the upper level map. Location 11 This gigantic cavern holds one of the strangest sights the troopers are likely to see – subterranean plasma bugs. How these vast and very slow insects are moved about inside Arachnid tunnels has long been a mystery to SICON, but it is a mystery that is unlikely to be solved today, as the troopers’ survival is surely a higher priority. As well as four plasma bugs, this cavern is home to 20 warrior bugs, currently gathered near at Location 13. Location 12 This tunnel slopes sharply upward before ending abruptly, as though the Arachnids’ work on it was suddenly abandoned. Location 13 When the troopers first arrive in the cavern, there will be 20 warrior bugs milling about near this point. They will immediately move to attack the troopers, arriving in groups of five just one round apart. Location 14 This was once obviously a wide passageway, but now it ends in a pile of tumbled stone.
Lower Level Location 15 This is the bottom of the pit marked as Location 7 on the upper level map. Location 16 At this point in the tunnel, the troopers run into stiff resistance in the form of 20 warrior bugs (or 5 guard bugs, see The Arachnid Empire). They come at the troopers using the floor, ceiling and 25-foot-tall walls to attack. Location 17 This location marks the entry point of more warrior bugs, burrowing up to defend the eggs in Location 18. A total of 15
Missions strength is enough to support the robot. The line’s rewinding mechanism, on the other hand, cannot cope with the CHAS unit’s weight.
warrior bugs emerge from this new hole, coming out at the rate of three every other round. Location 18 This is it – the egg chamber. In this huge cavern, eggs brought up from the queen through the tunnel at Location 20 are tended by breeder bugs and prepared for installation in the empty spore packets piled around the walls. Currently, there are thousands of eggs in here, as well as two score of breeder bugs. The troopers do not have long to celebrate their success, however, as they have company on the way. Two minutes after the Player Characters arrive here, waves of enraged warrior bugs will begin issuing from Locations 19 and 20. Location 19 This tunnel descends sharply toward another part of the hive the troopers will never see. Two minutes after the Player Characters reach Location 18, warrior bugs will begin emerging from this tunnel at the rate of three every three rounds.
Of course, the CHAS may use its jump jets to reach the top of a pit, but only if it has fuel remaining. The CHAS can use a line to climb, but at the end of the mission, it may not have the time to do so. If this is the case, the CHAS will voluntarily remain behind, fighting the warrior bugs by itself to buy the troopers time. It will try to give them as much as 10 rounds to get clear of the caverns before activating its Deathwish Circuit – in the egg chamber if possible – and effectively cutting off any further pursuit. When the troopers break free of the caverns and report their success, they are immediately ordered to head due north and continue moving until they receive further instructions. They do not know it yet, but their long ordeal on Altair V is very nearly at an end. Mission Objectives: The most important aspect of this mission, more important than survival, is the acquisition of a viable Arachnid egg. So long as this is accomplished, each trooper is entitled to the full experience point award.
MISSION 12: FOND FAREWELL Experience Points: 500 experience points
Location 20 This wide tunnel makes a long, slow descent, eventually reaching the chamber of the Arachnid queen. As the troopers were warned long ago, however, the queen is impossible to reach. Two minutes after the troopers reach Location 18, warrior bugs will begin emerging from this passageway at the rate of five every two rounds.
Mission Type: Clearance, evac Mission Duration: One hour Terrain: Rocky hills Special Equipment: None
Once the troopers have the egg in hand, they would be wise to beat feet, as the Arachnid response is certain to be overwhelming. Warrior bugs will continue to issue from Locations 19 and 20 until the troopers are either dead or their pursuit is blocked. Unless the troopers find some way to cut off pursuit (such as collapsing a large part of the complex), the warrior bugs will pursue them until they run the troopers to ground, determined to retrieve the stolen egg.
The CHAS in Belly of the Beast The CHAS unit, if it is still functional, will be tremendously helpful to the troopers in this mission, but it does have one disadvantage – its weight. The half-ton CHAS can use a lizard line to descend the two pits in this mission, as the line’s tensile
Available Support: Viking Landing Boat for evac Enemies: Blaster bugs (10), hopper bugs (8), plasma bugs (3), rippler bugs (4), tanker bugs (2), warrior bugs (?) Mission Briefing: ‘Troopers, I have never been this proud in my life. You’ve delivered everything I’ve asked of you and more on that nasty piece of real estate, and you’ve done it on the bounce. Those eggs you now have should do the war effort a world of good; I can feel it. Now, I got one more thing to ask of you – survive. ‘See, there’s good news and bad news, apes, and the damnable part is they’re both the same. We’re not on our own any more. Fleet
terrain here prevents the troopers from seeing the oncoming warriors bugs until three rounds before they reach melee range. Four rounds after combat with these warrior bugs begins, a group of ten blaster bugs comes from the south, in two waves of five, the second arriving ten rounds after the first.
just hit the system, and they ain’t coming for a tea party. The news about the bugs and their plans to make a summer home on our colony didn’t sit too well with SICON, and Fleet’s orders are to cleanse that planet immediately – whether a few troopers are still on it or not. ‘You got one hour till Fleet gets in range and turns that whole planet into glass and ash. You will get out of there apes. You will make a hole the Viking can get through and you will get your ugly faces back up to this ship. We’re sending you the latest scans of your area now, complete with the location of the plasmas in the neighbourhood. ‘Now, here comes the order you’ve been waiting for. This is it, apes, so don’t be bashful with the ammo. The Chickenhawks can’t fit on the Viking, but I don’t want you loading that ship down with any unspent bullets. Fire them dry, apes. Don’t count on the Viking when it shows up, we already gave you all the ammo for its guns. Give those damned bugs a parting shot, and get back up here so I can buy you a drink.’ Mission Breakdown: As the players might expect, the last mission makes sure Ambush at Altair goes out with a bang. The intelligent Arachnids of Altair V have discerned the position of the troopers, and even as the Player Characters move to take out the last obstacles to their escape, Arachnid forces are moving to bring bloody vengeance on the human intruders. Which enemies the troopers encounter first depends on which position they move in. There are three plasma bugs that must be destroyed before the Viking can make its approach, each of which is guarded by three warrior bugs. The plasma bug to the northwest is in a flat area just beyond the hills. After three rounds of combat with this plasma bug and its warrior bug guardians, another group of ten warrior bugs will charge in from the north, coming in two waves of five, spaced four rounds apart. The plasma bug to the southwest is still in the hills. After five rounds of combat with this plasma bug and its warrior bug guardians, a force of seven warrior bugs will move up from the southwest, attacking as a single unit. The nature of the
No assistance comes to the plasma bug to the southeast until it is too late. Ten rounds after combat with this plasma bug and its warrior bug guardians ends, a flight of four rippler bugs swoops in from the east. Once the three plasma bugs are dispatched, the Player Characters are ordered to move to the evacuation point so the Viking can be sent it to retrieve them. Just because the plasma bugs are dead does not mean the fighting is over. As the Player Characters reach the evac point, a glance skyward will show them the glorious flash of the Viking as it breaches the atmosphere on approach – still five minutes out. It will also show them the flight of eight hopper bugs descending from the north. Five rounds later, a tanker bug bursts from the earth 100 feet to the east of the troopers. Five rounds after that, a second tanker bug emerges from the earth 50 feet south of the troopers. With two minutes left to go before the Viking hits the ground, the troopers will see a line of warrior bugs racing south toward their position. The evac point is actually on the tallest hill in the vicinity, allowing the troopers to see the warriors eight rounds before the first of them arrive. The warrior bugs arrive in slowly increasing numbers, first in waves of three, spread four rounds apart. After 20 rounds, if the troopers are still here, the warriors will arrive in waves of four every three rounds. Twenty rounds later, it becomes five warrior bugs every other round. The greatest problem standing in the way of the Player Characters’ escape may be the Chickenhawks. Far too heavy to be taken aboard the Viking, any remaining Chickenhawks must be discarded on the surface. Emerging from a Chickenhawk is not difficult, but it does require four rounds, during which the character may not attack. Once the Chickenhawks are abandoned and the troopers board the Viking – holding off the attacking warrior bugs with the last of their ammunition as they do so – Ambush at Altair comes to a close. The Viking lifts off, clambering out of the planet’s gravity well and making straight for the William Travis. Looking out the windows at the planet below, the troopers will see the surface light up with the first blooms of the intense nuclear bombardment Fleet is unleashing on the infested world.
AFTERMATH In truth, SICON would prefer to deny the events of Ambush at Altair. The reality that Arachnids were able to infest a planet right beside a major UCF colony, considering everything that has happened since Pluto, is a fact SICON would rather not become public knowledge. Writing the devastation of Altair V off as a geological instability run amok, or as the result of a rogue asteroid collision, would make certain no one had reason to doubt SICON’s ability to protect humanity. However, too many people are aware of what actually did transpire for SICON to hope it will remain a secret, so SICON will instead embrace the second-best solution – the truth. Every war needs heroes after all, and surviving the carnage of Ambush at Altair certainly makes the Player Characters good candidates for that title.
THE TROOPERS Each trooper involved in the action of Ambush at Altair will be recalled to Earth, where the Sky Marshall will personally (in an event covered by FedCom) award them each the Veteran Combat Medal, with an added ribbon for the newly-minted Order of Altair. In addition to the medal, each trooper will receive a bonus of +3 to his Prestige. Last but not least, the troopers’ shore leave is reinstated and increased to a full month. They may take it on the planet of their choice. Following this well-deserved leave, the troopers will report back to the William Travis for their next tour of duty in the ongoing war. They will find themselves the ‘old men’ of the ship now, their fallen comrades replaced by fresh new recruits just out of boot. Though they will likely be the subject of a fair amount of hero worship upon their return to duty, the Player Characters will find this fading over time, as the war grinds on and new heroes are made and killed. At the Games Master’s discretion, the troopers may even be able to keep the CHAS unit that served with them on Altair V as a member of their squad.
THE ARACHNIDS The annihilation of Altair V should be the death knell for all the Arachnids on the planet. However, if the Games Master wishes to have the adventure continue, it is simple enough to do so. Perhaps the Arachnid queen was actually buried so deep beneath the planet’s crust that Fleet’s awesome bombardment
was not enough to kill her. In time, the queen and any other surviving Arachnids would be able to tunnel their way back to the blasted surface of Altair V, repopulating the planet and preparing for another attempt at the Arachnid colonisation of Tango Urilla. It may only be a few short months after leaving Altair V behind that the Player Characters are drawn back to the system again, this time to hunt down and destroy the first inklings of an infestation on Tango Urilla itself.
THE CIVILIANS Needless to say, Hephaestus Station is no longer a going concern after the Under Pressure mission, and it is not likely to be rebuilt any time soon. The surface of Altair V will be offlimits to civilians for the near future, until SICON is certain (as certain as possible, anyway) that the Arachnid menace is well and truly ended. Dr Samson Ybarra may or may not have survived the Wolf in the Fold mission, depending upon the actions of the Player Characters. If he does survive, his life will undergo some radical changes. He was in the thrall of a control bug for some time, and Special Services will have a variety of questions and tests for him to undergo before he can resume his academic studies. Even upon his release, the fact that he was under the sway of an Arachnid will remain a black mark on his professional life.
THE EGG When Ambush at Altair ends, so too does the involvement the troopers have with the Arachnid egg they recovered. It will be whisked away almost immediately upon the troopers’ return to the William Travis, conveyed at maximum speed to Earth where SICON will pull it apart molecule by molecule. Obviously, SICON’s aim is to use the egg to create a new weapon for use against the Arachnids. As any Arachnid egg is capable of developing into any known form of Arachnid, SICON hopes the egg contains the keys allowing it to create a biological weapon designed to target the base genetic structure of the Arachnids. Whether or not these efforts bear fruit is something which will certainly be unknown for some time. Despite the troopers’ role in retrieving the egg, SICON firmly believes their part in the story is over. Any attempts by the troopers to find the location or status of the egg will be met with silence.
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